Reads N Deeds: Biography and Music

“When I get a little money, I buy books. If any is left, I buy food and clothes.”

Erasmus (1466-1536)

I resonate with Erasmus’ attitude about books  — well, with a twist to it.  When Paul and I have house shopped, one of my first concerns has been a good room for our library. I praise God that I have never had to choose between reading and eating!  You know the two are much alike. We eat for the body and read for the soul. Yum. Of course, God made this comparison millennia ago (Ezekiel 3:1-3; Rev. 10:10). Today, let’s consider two nutritious books.

1. A Biography:  The Pastor’s Wife, by Sabina Wurmbrand.  Glendale, CA: Diane Books, 1970.

I read this book recently and was surprised at how well it was written and at Sabina’s insights. Having read many of her husband’s books which contain an amazing breadth of insight, I should not have been surprised at Sabina’s alert descriptions and observations. If you have read Richard Wurmbrand’s Tortured for Christ and his devotional books (most of the devotional ones were composed and memorized in his mind in prison and then written down later), you know these are riveting books about living for Christ no matter the cost. The Wurmbrands, Jewish as well as Christian, survived Nazi rule in Romania and the subsequent take over by the Soviets.

I was just going to flip through Sabina’s book and then read it later. Once I opened it, I kept reading.  Here is an instructive quotation for you.

“It is the indirect way that succeeds [in getting rid of sinful thoughts]. Don’t try to eliminate thoughts which you abhor. They will not go. They have come to stay. But fill your mind with beautiful and pure ideas. Throw yourself into whole-hearted, time and energy-absorbing religious, social, political, philanthropic or educational work.  The taking upon yourself of Christ’s responsibilities in some field will make you Christlike in time” (page 202).

While the above quotation is didactic, most of her book is an engaging narrative. Good reading for the soul. Check out Voice of the Martyrs where you’ll find this and other related books. Also available through

2. Music:  Alfred’s Basic Adult Piano Course: Adult All-In-One Course, by Palmer, Manus, and Lethco.

Interested in learning to play the piano? If not, you may want to skip the next two paragraphs, but you may find them interesting anyway.  Music is a language we all enjoy, whether as performers or audience or both!

Every woman for a number of generations on one side of my family has been a pianist. The one male who pursued piano majored in piano (full ride through college) and attained the level of a concert performer, but he turned lawyer and American diplomat. His grand piano moves with him when he is transferred from one country to another. Talent on steroids.

Then there’s me. My mom started me in piano lessons when I was six. I was struggling to learn to read, so learning another language, the musical score as well as the instrument, greatly stressed me. I cried and cried. My dear, tender mother replied, “You can cry all you want, but when you’re done crying, you’ll practice a half hour.”  Ha! I lived.

Now, I’m teaching piano to a senior citizen (a few years old than I am). If you are interested in the instrument, I recommend trying Alfred’s Basic Adult Piano Course.  The text is called Adult All-In-One Course (lessons, theory, and technique).  It presents a clear and good foundation, including hand exercises, learning about the instrument, learning scales and chords, and practicing incremental piano exercises. In the last section, the budding pianist learns such great songs as “Over the Rainbow,” “He’s God the Whole World in His Hands,” Amazing Grace,” a bit of “The Entertainer,” “Singin’ in the Rain,”  “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and more. Quite fun.  Available on for under $20 and some versions come with three CDs.

Books and music present opportunities for good deeds.

You can always cheer up a person with the gift of a good book or music CD. I guess CDs are going by the way, so how go you pass on recorded music now? Via Facebook and YouTube? You tell me.

Singing softly to a child or a bed ridden person can sooth them and pour some love into them.  Reading orally to such a person can do something similar, but the person needs more mental clarity to enjoy reading. (We should revive the art of oral reading at home and in groups.*)  Singing (or playing an instrument) and reading are simple good deeds one can do to bless someone else.

To read, we need the page, but to sing, well, we always have a song in our heart’s pocket. Pull it out and hum it. Sing it. You don’t have to go through Alfred’s piano exercises to sing. (Bless Alfred.) Singing is a good deed ready to happen serendipitously. Reading can be too. Read this:

“Praise the Lord! It is good to sing praises to our God, for it is pleasant and praise is becoming.”

Psalm 147:1

*  Check out Our Daily Bread online. You can click to have them read orally to you. (They have a bit of music too!) Yummy.

Categories: Spiritual Growth | Tags: , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Reads N Deeds: Biography and Music

  1. Carolyn Wilkins

    Karen, I’m lying here after an emergency appendectomy, trying to heal . Slowing down is not to my liking, as you know, but in doing so this morning , I notice your blog. “Hearing” your voice this morning has been a great encouragement as it always is.
    And now I have a couple more books to add to my “Want to Read” list !! I’m hoping heaven will have a mammouth library where all the books have been edited by God!!!

    • kltolsen

      Wow, girl! Hope you are getting real rest and are not in much pain! A heavenly library sounds excellent. I’ll join you there!

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