Musings From A Musical Mind

Archive for the ‘authentic’ Category

Let Them Wait! I’m A Klutz.

I didn’t fall. The floor just needed a hug.

Hatha Yoga Standing Balance Pose - Warrior 3

Hatha Yoga Standing Balance Pose – Warrior 3 (Photo credit: myyogaonline)

Tripping, stumbling and a little off-balance.  That’s me.  I have always been a little on the clumsy side – ok  – so I’m a klutz.   This could be why I was always picked last at  baseball when I was a kid.

 

That’s ok.  I was never going to be a serious athlete.  Playing a little recreational tennis and par 3 golf were more my speed anyway.  I just wanted to feel athletic.

 

But I have always had trouble keeping my balance.  Even when doing some yoga and Pilates, it was always a challenge for me to balance on one leg.  And I have lost my balance when getting dressed or undressed in my own closet.  I have done some weight training and core strengthening exercises – but they don’t help.

 

Years ago I had a couple of bad falls.  Once in California when goofing around with family on the rocks at the ocean, I fell and sprained my right thumb – leaving me unable to write or play the piano for about 6 weeks.  Then later I fell down cement steps at the church where my husband was on staff – and broke my right foot.  I had to wear a “boot” cast for 6 weeks and could not drive.

 

It was during this time that Greg was installing new stairs in our 2-story home.  The bannister was torn out and the only way for me to go up and down the stairs was to walk very close and hug the wall while being careful not to fall again.  It must have been hilarious to watch.  Wouldn’t you have just loved to be a fly on our wall during those days?

 

I remember riding to the store with Greg and then having to walk the short distance from the parking lot to the store.  Because it was also an intersection for other cars to drive on – Greg did not want the cars to have to wait for us – so he did what any sensible guy in his position would do – he dragged me across the road.

 

I remember feeling indignant.  I mean – good grief, I was the handicapped one!  “Let them wait”, I said.  Was I wrong to feel like that?  Shouldn’t we make allowances for the ones that are slower?  Less capable?  Visibly not able?  Are people really that much in a hurry?  Can’t we slow down for all the klutzy people – like me?

 

Here’s my prayer today:  That we will all remember to slow down – look around and give others much grace and allowance.  That we will use love as a guide as we prefer others above ourselves.

 

Remember – inside everyone – is a klutz waiting to have great balance who needs understanding and a wide berth.

 

God Bless

 

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The Quiet Center

Dream of the Abandoned Chair

Dream of the Abandoned Chair (Photo credit: garlandcannon)

We sang this beautiful song during our morning church service.  The words are reflective and personal.  With any good lyrics, I find myself searching deep within and relating so well with each line.  The title is simply, “Come and find the quiet center” and invites all to pause and reflect.  In stepping away from the noise and chaos so often associated with our busy lives – I love the times I can quietly retreat and find my ‘center’ – that place reserved for God alone.  A place where He is my focus and steadiness in a world gone mad.  In the second and third verse (which are not on the video) there is a richness of word pictures.  I especially love how ‘silence is a friend who claims us, cools the heat and slows the pace’.  And ‘there’s a place for deepest dreaming, there’s a time for heart to care, in the Spirit’s lively scheming there is always room to spare!’

 

Do you have a quiet center?  A place of reflection?  A refuge in time of  the great storms in your life?  Take a minute today and reflect on these beautiful words – you will be blessed!

 

 

 

God Bless

 

 

by Shirley Erena Murray

 

1 Come and find the quiet center
in the crowded life we lead,
find the room for hope to enter,
find the frame where we are freed:
clear the chaos and the clutter,
clear our eyes, that we can see
all the things that really matter,
be at peace, and simply be.
2 Silence is a friend who claims us,
cools the heat and slows the pace,
God it is who speaks and names us,
knows our being, touches base,
making space within our thinking,
lifting shades to show the sun,
raising courage when we’re shrinking,
finding scope for faith begun.
3 In the Spirit let us travel,
open to each other’s pain,
let our loves and fears unravel,
celebrate the space we gain:
there’s a place for deepest dreaming,
there’s a time for heart to care,
in the Spirit’s lively scheming
there is always room to spare!

 

Never Assume

English muffin on a salad plate with table knife.

Image via Wikipedia

It all started with a simple english muffin.  A misunderstanding and an example for my blog today.  But first – I have to go back a few years…

I remember taking classes on the subject “never assume” when I worked for a cable company years ago.  The simple concept stuck with me – and I try to be clear in my intentions and words to people.  But I am not always successful.

In my own business, I have a written contract stating the obvious, things like payment, make-up lessons and what is expected and have students and parents sign it.  I learned the hard way that when it is business – you must never assume that everyone can read your mind and know what your intentions are.   Before using a contract – it was very difficult to collect the monthly fee from those who would start and not finish out a 3 month period – which I now require in my contract.  I would “assume” they would understand and just somehow know my heart.  Yeah right.

In the cable company, where I was office manager – it was important to train our staff to speak clearly and never assume that you had covered an issue – or that others could read their minds – when things like payment and appointment times were in question. Many times we were caught in the “I thought you knew that, sir” – and the  “you never said that” game.

At home and with our families – this concept again came into play MANY times – especially with young children.  Greg and I thought we had told them something – and they were quick to say, “you never said that” – on many issues regarding school, friends coming over and just about everything else you can name.

It puts me in mind of the Brady Bunch show of the late 60’s and early 70’s – where the eldest son Greg wants to go out and his dad asked him to rake leaves or some chore before he left.  Greg didn’t do the chore but went out – got caught and then proceeded to tell his father that he was not very clear about the exact time that he had to do the chore and insisted that he was SURE his dad had meant before bed – and it was still before bed and he had planned all along to do it when he got home.  It baffled and confused his dad so much (all teenagers are good at letting us thing that WE are the crazy ones) that he decided to make a deal with Greg and have him live by EXACT words.  He warned Greg that living by this method is difficult to live up to – but they made the bargain and it ended up costing Greg in the end of the program as he had to miss something important with his own exact words to do a chore for his dad.

I have tried to use exact words with my own children – but every once in a while – we too would do the same dance that Greg on the Brady Bunch did with his own dad.

I have found that it’s not just limited to children either.  Yesterday morning I was making a big breakfast, hash browns, ham, eggs, the works and got the english muffins out of the freezer.  Greg was standing over by the toaster making coffee.  I placed the muffins on the counter right beside him and said, “do you want english muffins with breakfast?”  He mumbled something that sounded like “Sure – Okay” – what I really meant was: “please take the muffins out of the package and place them in the toaster and PUSH DOWN”  Greg did not read my mind – or catch my drift and just walked away to another room.  A few minutes later when I was dishing up the breakfast on plates – I looked around for the toasted and buttered muffins – and to my surprise – they were STILL in the package where I placed them!

We had a good laugh over that one – and I should know by now that I can never assume that people (Greg) understands even the hints that I drop – when it seems more than reasonable to me.

When was the last time you assumed someone understood what you meant?  Were you baffled by their response or lack of one?

God Bless

Being Authentic

The Sad Clown! She is a teacher at my daughter...

Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday my husband Greg and I had a most interesting and enlightening conversation in the car – while discussing our pastor’s message that morning at church.

Normally I love our pastor’s messages – he is always prepared and seems to have his pulse on what is going on in the lives of his congregation.  This time I felt he was right on – as usual – but must admit, it made me uncomfortable.  Uncomfortable and a little sad – because I simply was not raised with the idea that it was okay to let people know what you are feeling – especially if it is bad, questionable or sad.

I’m from a generation who believed you did NOT let anyone see you sweat – never voiced a fear or regret – or even dared to be sad or depressed about anything.  This was true in our family – and sadly, in the church.

And to further complicate this – about 3 years ago I found myself in a touchy situation with another person and I was going through a bad time – was in a dark hole of sadness and was criticized for posting a SCRIPTURE verse on facebook about being downcast and sad from the PSALMS!  Good grief.  And because I was in leadership – I was not allowed to mourn over a loss – or even hint that I might be having a problem with it.

So it seems there are two very different schools of thought on being authentic:

1.  We should be honest in expressing who we are – how we’re feeling and doing – and not afraid to be real with people and let them know that we struggle like everyone else.

Or

2. Never let people know that you struggle with temptation or sin.  Always be “fine” when asked and only post positive things when on a social network or in person.   Especially leadership.  Because leadership is perfect and never struggles.  We paste on a smile and never let them see us sweat.  We never have problems with our children – we never have illness or marital trouble.  Never.

Well, yesterday – my dear pastor admitted that he struggles.  He admitted that he’s not perfect – in any way.  That he can be and mostly always IS a disappointment to others in his life.  He admitted that he’s a human being capable of temptation and sin like the rest of us.

I loved what he said about those that attend AA meetings.  They have to say their name and then say, “I’m an alcoholic” or “I’m a recovering alcoholic”  and he believes that when we introduce ourselves to others that we should be quick to say, “I’m a recovering sinner“.  Because it’s true.  We are all at level ground.  Even leadership.

Now I’m also aware that people who are lost need to have a role model – and have someone they can look up to.

Here’s the problem with that.  Most of the time – it’s not reality – and the first time that this “seeker” or really lost person has a problem – they fall, because they don’t have it “all together” like the Christian people they encounter at church on a Sunday morning – and they believe they can’t make it.

Instead – I would submit that you do the following:

1.  Stop trying to elevate ourselves by trying to look better than anyone else

2. Have a humble spirit and listening ear

3. Admit that you have problems and temptations like everyone else

4. Admit that you stumble and sometimes want to go the other way

5. Have a testimony of God’s grace and love ready to share with others when they become discouraged.

6. Be a person that is “instant in season” knowing that God places certain people in our path.

7. Do not let anyone tell you  – you can’t express who you are.  Even if that means you have to admit you’ve failed.

I wish I would’ve done that back then – but I’ve learned some valuable lessons about people and myself since then.  I’ve found out that everyone struggles – we are ALL THE SAME when it comes to this.  How you RESPOND is truly the difference – NOT whether or not you get hit with struggles, temptation and sin.  Because if you live long enough – you will.

Here is what you SHOULD do:

1. Respond in an authentic way

2. Admit that you struggle

3. Ask for forgiveness and for strength from the only one who truly understands and can forgive without strings attached.

4. Tell others that it’s only the grace of God that gives anyone ANY hope in times of struggle – including you.

5. Have a fast recovery time from failure to repentance.

6. Be unafraid to be yourself – including gifts of encouragement and hospitality to bring renewed hope to others who may be hurting and struggling.

7. Do NOT let others rob you of your ability to be yourself.

8. Listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit – not to man alone.

9. Develop a deep joy in your spirit even in times of trouble.

10. Pray for your leaders – they are human beings too.

 

God Bless

What’s Making Your Noise?

Animated noise

Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday our youth pastor, Jeremy spoke on a passage of scripture in Ephesians 3.  It is the prayer of blessing.  But it wasn’t so much that prayer that we have all heard a million times in our lives that stood out to me – it was what he said about paying attention to God that made me sit up and take notice.  He talked about things in our lives getting the most attention – the things that are maybe not the most important – but that which make the most  noise.

So I ask you this – as I ponder this same question for myself.  What is creating the most “noise” in your life right now?

Does God allow the “noise” to see if you’re really paying attention to what is important?

Do you still hear Him in the midst of all that “noise”?

What does your “noise” sound like?  Do you spend your time trying to quiet the noise and “put out tiny fires” instead of really concentrating and centering down to the quiet still small voice in your heart?

 

God Bless

When Is It MY Turn? Please Pass The Teddy Bear!

Teddy Bear

Image via Wikipedia

A couple of years ago Greg and I attended a counseling retreat – that concentrated on intense communication between married couples.  We got to know several couples at this retreat in all stages of marriage – who had lost the ability to effectively communicate.  The retreat was led by a couple of counselors who had many suggestions to encourage the communication and health between spouses.

One such technique was using a teddy bear.  The spouse that had possession of the teddy bear – could do ALL the talking without interruption.   It was a “safe zone” for the spouse that held the bear.   And as long as they held it – they could do all the talking.  After they were done – they would pass the bear to their spouse and their spouse would be given the same treatment while holding the bear – no interruption – no fear.  This required intense listening – and validation to the partner who was speaking.  The idea being of course, that partner with the bear would affirm the other and say, “I hear what you’re saying….” or “I understand how you could feel that way…” thus verifying that they really heard – and not just sitting there thinking of something else.

Until last night – we had not used this communication technique and had almost forgotten about it.  We were having what you might call a “difference of opinion” and I could see that the “discussion” was going no where – no one really listening to the other at all.  No – in fact – we were both talking at each other – no positive interaction or exchange.  The discussion had pressed some “fear” buttons and immediately we went into a very familiar “dance” of words and programmed responses brought on by what we were interpreting as non-validation.  It was easy for us to slip into, “What???  I did not say that!” or “You ALWAYS say that”  “You’re not hearing me” or “That did NOT happen like that” etc.  This went on for some time until I remembered the retreat – grabbed a teddy bear that usually sits on the pink wing-backed chair in our entry way and grasped him firmly.   I brought him into the family room where Greg was sitting on the couch and announced, “I have the teddy bear”.

Of course this brought smiles and chuckles of recognition from him – but he continued to talk, saying, “HEY – I wasn’t through!”  “You know the rules”  I said, “The one in possession of the teddy bear – gets to speak”.

And so we continued in this fashion – smiling the whole time – but also realizing that there is something to this after all.  A “safe zone” where the one in possession can speak freely without interruption – forcing the other to really listen and NOT say anything.  It forces one to “button the lip” as it were.

It was amazing what happened after that – maybe the mood was different – maybe we both just started listening more – I don’t know, but I do know that we were able to dig a little deeper into some past issues that had been lying dormant – all with the bear on our laps.  And it was not long before the real issue came out and we were able to identify it – with no fear – only validation and recognition.

There is something about a teddy bear.  Ask any child who has one.  They are sweet – and you want to hug them.  They make you smile and feel like a child again.  And you just cannot be mad at a person who is holding one – try it and see if you can!

There are many methods to resolving marital conflict – this is just one that seems to really work – because it is a visual reminder that unless you are holding the bear – you cannot talk – you have to listen, be supportive and validate the one talking.  And I suppose that is at the heart of most miscommunication – wanting to be validated and feel heard.

Next time you have a disagreement – try bringing a teddy bear into the room with you – and suggest that your spouse hold it – and then really listen as they talk.  It will amaze  you as you feel the tension in the room lighten up and you find listening skills you never knew either of you had 🙂

Whose turn is it to hold the bear?

Can you sit still without interrupting until your spouse is finished speaking?

Are you one that encourages and validates your spouse?

Try it today!

God Bless

How You Live (Turn Up The Music)

The Best So Far (Cindy Morgan album)

Image via Wikipedia

This wonderful song written by the great Cindy Morgan is fast becoming one of my favorites.  Recorded a couple of years ago by the group “Point of Grace” it needs to be noted that Cindy’s original lyrics were slightly “edgier” for the simple reason, she said – “Because I’m married”.  But because “Point of Grace” wanted to record it – they asked Cindy to rewrite the first two lines so it could be universal and not just for the married lady.

I love how Cindy writes.  She really seems to get it – the good, the bad and the ugly all mixed up together in wonderful and poignant lyrics that transcend gender, era and circumstance.  I have posted her music videos before to showcase not only her songwriting ability – but also her great and versatile singing voice.  She is also an accomplished pianist and often during videos she is playing keyboards.

This song is about making every moment count.  And as Father’s Day approaches – and we remember our Dads and our husbands  – I want to challenge you to make every moment count with the “Dads” in your life – Hey – TURN UP THE MUSIC!!!

God Bless!

Wake up to the sunlight
With your windows open
Don’t hold in your anger or leave things unspoken
Wear your red dress
Use your good dishes
Make a big mess and make lots of wishes
Have what you want
But want what you have
And don’t spend your life lookin’ back[Chorus]
Turn up the music
Turn it up loud
Take a few chances
Let it all out
You won’t regret it
Lookin’ back from where you have been
Cause it’s not who you knew
And it’s not what you did
It’s how you liveSo go to the ballgames
And go to the ballet
And go see your folks more than just on the holidays
Kiss all your children
Dance with your wife
Tell your husband you love him every night
Don’t run from the truth
Cause you can’t get away
Just face it and you’ll be okay[Chorus]

Oh wherever you are and wherever you’ve been
Now is the time to begin

So give to the needy
And pray for the grieving
E’en when you don’t think that you can
Cause all that you do is bound to come back to you
So think of your fellow-man
Make peace with God and make peace with yourself
Cause in the end there’s nobody else

[Chorus]

Cause it’s not who you knew
And it’s not what you did
It’s how you live

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