WFWM: A Different Kind of Piano Lesson

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My kids love music, which might be a nice way of saying they are noisy people {wink}.

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We have a flutist and percussionist in the school band and they both love playing on the piano with their little sister.

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We stopped piano lessons once they started focusing on their school instruments (because momma only has so much music money).

[side note: Want to know how to get your children to practice the piano for their lessons? Take them out of lessons. I can't keep my kids off the piano now!] They can each play a couple of songs and by a couple I MEAN CHOPSTICKS.

My son begs every week to take piano lessons again. Lord, have mercy.

When I was asked if I wanted to review the QuNexus by Keith McMillen Instruments, a portable keyboard that is re-infusing life into what has been known as the dreaded piano lesson, I jumped at the chance. Because apparently, I LIKE NOISE.

But really, I love the music my kids make and how it’s made them better students and given them an identity in school and made them feel great about their musical gifts.

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It’s so cool! With  25 pressure-sensitive silicone keys and LED illumination, it makes the QuNexus uniquely interactive and fun to play. (System requirements)

We are still figuring it out, but my kids are excited to try their hand at composing music and I really love that it’s more than a high tech toy. It’s interactive with educational music apps and it’s improving my kids keyboard ability and they have been making (more) music.

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There are some great online tutorials for installing and playing the keyboard.

User tip: If you’re an Apple computer or iPad-user like me, you will need to use music software such as: Reason, Kontakt, Ableton Live, Logic, Arturia software synths, AudioMulch, Animoog, and GarageBand. While it plugs right into our mac and works with GarageBand, you’ll need the camera cord set from Apple to make it work on an iPad.

Disclaimer: We were sent the QueNexus for free to review. All the opinions expressed in this post are mine.

Music works for us!


The Best Book I’ve Ever Read. Period.

Imagine a 6 year old child ripped from his mother’s arms during an outdoor church service.

He along with other boys from his community were taken away at gunpoint to a military camp and forced to become child soldiers in Sudan.

I have a 6 year old and the very thought makes me tremble.

But this child with the help of some older boys (he calls angels) runs away from the camp.

He runs for days and weeks. He runs for his life.

And spends the next 10 years surviving in a refugee camp along with thousands of other lost boys without parents or siblings. But he has God and his love for running and he thrives…..

His life takes an unexpected turn when he is 16 years old. I’ll give you a clue…it’s leads to the USA Olympic team. Running for My Life: One Lost Boy’s Journey from the Killing Fields of Sudan to the Olympic Games is a riveting true story of one Lost Boy of Sudan who beat unthinkable conditions of danger, hunger and poverty to become a present-day US Olympian. This book will make you laugh as he tells of coming to America, it will make you cry as you read about him returning to Sudan as an adult. It will take your family on a journey that just might change their life. It has my family asking some pretty amazing questions right now.

I’ve never felt so strongly about a book (which is why I’ve mentioned it a few times). I urge you to read it for yourself, to your family. It’s the perspective change we needed this summer. It’s a heartbreaking, inspiring true story of courage and of a mighty God.

This book is written in an engaging way and my kids begged for more at the end of the chapter.

This is a God story.

This review is not compensated and I was not asked to write it. I simply loved this book and can’t stop talking about it. Part of the proceeds from Lopez Lomong’s book go to his foundation to help the people of Sudan.

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I’ve also updated my list of 80+ Books to Inspire and Encourage Your Family (affiliate links used)


What I’m Reading This Summer

We are heading out for a few glorious days at the beach. We are driving to the nearest coast and collapsing in some sand. I am realizing just how badly we need to get away –because Galveston, Texas ain’t exactly known for post cards. But there’s water and sand and relaxation and no complaints around here.

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I am bringing a bag full of books. I’ve started all of these (multitask much?) and am anxious to read and relax.

Here’s what I’m reading this summer (click the cover to buy a copy):

Cleaning House: A Mom’s 12-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement:: This book intrigued me and I just pulled it out of the mail last week. I think the title says it all. Can’t wait to dig in.

A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet:: Boomama makes me laugh and just a few pages in, her book is full of sentimental stories and a lot of chuckles.

There You Will Find Me {Beach Reading}:: My niece gave this inspirational young adult book to my daughter while she was cooped up in bed from her oral surgery. She read it in 2 days and bought the next one on Kindle for $3. They talked me into reading it…perfect easy reading for the beach!

The $100 Startup:: I bought this book for my husband who gets the entrepreneur itch every once in awhile. Who doesn’t love the idea of starting something for a $100?

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Dinner time is our family time to talk and read together. Here’s what’s on the our table this summer:

Running for My Life :: My husband read this book in two days and couldn’t put it down. He said it was amazing and an unimaginable story of survival and faith from one of the Lost Boys of Sudan.  I can’t wait to get started. It’s up next for our read around the table with our kids.

End of the Spear :: This isn’t a new book, but after recently hearing Steve Saints testimony after a life-changing injury, I was reminded of this great man’s unbelievable story. I’ve seen the movie and I can’t wait to read the book with my family. A friend sent it to me and said it reads like Robinson Crusoe.

My Life: A Guided Tour :: My dad read this autobiography (of the man who started Tyndale Publishers and wrote the Living Bible) during his recovery recently and couldn’t put it down. He said he cried like a baby. I can’t wait to dig into it!

What is your must-read of the summer?

[These affiliate links will take you to Amazon, my favorite place to buy books]


What’s Inspiring Me This Week

Do you ever wake up feeling like I was made for more than this?

This overwhelming pile of laundry.

This underpaid job I hate.

This sadness I can’t shake.

You feel that was because you were made for more.

“As long as you are alive, God wants you to go further, dig deeper, and draw closer to him. Every dream or desire you have that comes from God is an invitation for more intimacy with him.” -Holley Gerth.

This is the book–the guide– I needed 3 years ago, when I took the first step towards the dream that was so much bigger than my ability. I’ve had a lot of time to catch up on my ever-growing pile of nightstand books this week. You’re Made for a God-Sized Dream: Opening the Door to All God Has for You is inspiring me this week! I’m highlighting and nodding my head and learning. Because dreaming isn’t just for the crazy (me) or brave (not so much), it’s for everyone who breathes. God has more for you and when you dream, you are changed. And when you stare in the face of something so big is scares the soup out of you, He is there and nothing is bigger than God. Even the impossible.

I’m a firm believe in filling up on the Word, and books that inspire me to love God more.

Also on my nightstand this week:

Table Life – Savoring the Hospitality of Jesus in Your Home -Table Life is a call to transform the daily routine of eating meals into a celebration of loving connections and spiritual nourishment.

Redeeming Love -It’s been years since I’ve read this fictional retelling of Hosea and Gomer. I love this story of redemption. For every non-fiction book I read,  I always have an open fiction book, too.

What are you reading?


Introducing Colton Dixon {Giveaway}

Updated with random winner, comment #185 Ann McCarville

You might remember him from American Idol?

Colton Dixon is a new artist with an old message. He could have probably had any number of record deals, but he’s following his passion and his heart by singing the good news of Jesus. His debut album The Messenger is just that: a message.

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And I don’t know about you, but I like these kind of young leaders for my son to look up to.

Colton Dixon is 21 years old, has a stunning voice and some wild hair.

I love this. Powerful.

Today, I’m giving away Colton’s new album, The Messenger, a cool messenger bag, journal and a $25 iTunes gift card to winner.

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Listen.

Leave a comment to win!