Archive for April, 2011

Recognizing Miraculous Events

Friday, April 29th, 2011

Last night in family prayer my wife gave thanks for a “miraculous event.”

My first thought was that it was a miracle that such event was going to take place, because no one thought it would happen.

Then, I realized she was referring to another aspect, which really was miraculous, and quite a serious issue.

I was going to joke about the event and why it was a miracle, until I realized the aspect she was talking about, and knew it was best to not joke about it.

Where I saw funny, she recognized divinity.

I’ve been thinking about miraculous events since the prayer.  Miraculous is defined as:

heaven-sent: peculiarly fortunate or appropriate; as if by divine intervention; “a heaven-sent rain saved the crops”; “a providential recovery” (wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn)

and

A miracle is an unexpected event attributed to divine intervention. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miraculous)

I like two elements of these definitions:

  1. Divine intervention, and/or heaven sent. Regardless of what faith you are, to recognize a miracle is to recognize something given from on high, usually something positive.
  2. Unexpected. When we expect it we give credit to [ourselves/circumstances/our preparation/others]. When it is unexpected it’s easier to give credit to divinity.  I saw this in abundance in Mexico, where people expect little. Even the simple pleasures of life, like a hot meal or a somewhat-comfortable bed, are recognized as miracles, and appreciation is expressed.

To often I see things happen in my life that I credit to circumstance, happenstance, coincidence, or my own efforts.  Not to say I don’t work hard to get results, but maybe the results come more as blessings, indeed, miraculous events, than because of ME.

I love the saying:

Work as if everything depends on you. Pray as if everything depends on God.

This gives you responsibility to do what you can, but recognize the hand of God in the results.

In my life there have been many blessings. The big ones have been easier to recognize as miracles.

The small things are easy to discount, forget, and not recognize.

I’m going to try and recognize more of the miraculous events around me – how about you?

iPad2: A Very Expensive Mouse Pad

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

Today I was in a mastermind meeting for a few hours and set up my work station… didn’t even think twice about it until my colleague (Mitch Seehusen), from across the table, started cracking up and said he had to take a picture… of this:

iPad 2, a very expensive mousepad!

I realize this has a hint of sacrelige… but it was the only option I had :p

My New Toys: iPad 2 + bluetooth keyboard

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

I’m sitting on my couch plucking away on a Microsoft 6000 keyboard I just got in the mail, writing this on my iPad 2.

I feel like I’m such a techie, although in reality I’m usually quite behind on new technology.

But this is pretty cool, I’m really enjoying it. 80% of the coolness of having an iPad 2 is that, well, I have one! Most iPad people only have the grossly outdated iPad 1 :p This is my first real apple product (not including a non-touch iPod), and I’ve had to figure out how it works… I’m slowly falling in love with it.

Here are some things I love about my iPad 2:

1. It is fast to turn on and turn off! I LOVE this for when I’m on the plane… as soon as we hit 10,000 feet I pop it out and turn it on and I’m ready to go. No watiting to load up.

2. It is small, small, small! Normally I like big, big big! but on a plane (I guess I spend a lot of time on a plane!) I find it more comfortable to collect my thoughts (work on a book, etc.) than using a keyboard… where my wrists and elbows are bent at unnatural angles.

3. It definitely has a “cool” factor that I’m not used to. Everyone wants to ooh and aah over it…

4. I love my first exposure to Apple design. I find some stuff to be non-intuitive, but once I figure it out it’s easy to navigate and use. Sometime’s it’s just hard to figure out :p I’ve already given a few design ideas to my JibberJobber dev team based on the interface I’m experiencing on the iPad.

There’s more I like, but I’ll stop here.

I don’t see this replacing my laptop (for on the road) and my PC, because they have different purposes, but it is really cool technology for someone who group up before cell phones, GPS and the rest of the amazing technology we have today.

I hope I can find some older iPads at discounted prices for my family… it’s pretty amazing!

First Piano Lesson by Sam

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

Today I started piano lessons with my 13 year old daughter.

That is, SHE is teaching me.

Considering she’s been playing since she was 3 (see a cool song she self-taught herself below), I figured she’d be an excellent teacher.  Plus, I’d like to see if she likes it and would teach other young kids and make a buck here or there.

It went well, although my fingers and hands don’t really want to do what they must.  Piano isn’t as much about learning what sound each key makes as it is figuring out how to control the movements of my body, and retrain my movements.

The sound I’m plucking right now are very simple, but if I can get the form down I’ll be able to move into other, complex, more beautiful music.

Just like earlier this morning when I took her to the raquetball court.  She wants to hit with her wrist, and she wants to hit overhead, and she wants to have her body point in the wrong direction on a hit, and she wants to—— use bad form.  Because it’s more natural.

But she’s learning good form, and as she masters the good form, and her muscles strengthen, and she gets more control, she’ll be able to play at a higher level.

Just like her mom, who started to write songs many, many years ago, but a few months ago she started to go to local songwriter meetings to learn how to write songs – what is a bridge, what is a hook, how to use twists, how to relate to the audience, etc.

She has dozens of songs started, but some of them are probably pretty sophomoric, because she didn’t have the training.  But she’s getting the training, and she’s practicing – in the mornings she pulls out a notebook while her mind is fresh and she writes for ten minutes.  She is reading books on lyrics.  I’m sure she’s already improved, and over time her songwriting will only mature.

Just like blogging – when I started blogging I thought I was freaking awesome, but I’m coming up on my five year anniversary and I know my blog posts have gotten better.  I didn’t go to blogging school, but I have been at it, writing almost 2,000 posts in the last five years.  I’m experimented, played, tried and just plain written, and I can only hope that my posts are more meaningful, more impactful, and just plain better.

So, could the formula for getting proficient at something be:

proper instruction + plenty of practice = profiency

?

About Sam – she’s really good.  She self-taught herself to play this song (we need to get a recording up on youtube):