Musings From A Musical Mind

Archive for the ‘Being Genuine’ Category

Just Another Coffee Kind Of Day

Today I sit and drink coffee at a familiar setting but in another town, listening to my iPad music library through my earphones. The sights and sounds are all around me. I am trying hard to block out the conversations near my table. But I must admit that I am intrigued by others and what they have to say. I am not purposely eavesdropping – you could call it a ‘forced eavesdrop’ only in that I am in a confined area with no where else to go. And things are especially loud if I can hear them even with my music blasting away.

The weather is nice today – not quite as hot as what I thought it would be. Not hot like Leavenworth a couple of weeks ago, which was around 100 degrees! It is clear and about 85 – at least where I am today. The nice weather brings people to Starbucks to have iced coffees, frappuccinos and other iced beverages. People are gathered around tables, happily sipping from their plastic cups. Behind me is the ice machine and I hear coffee brewing and blenders whirling. It is just a matter of time before I take out the earphones and give in to the noise around me. At least for now.

There is a young woman in the corner absorbed in her book, “The Coldest City” (it looks intriguing) and some guy on his laptop across the lobby. He wears a pony-tail and glasses, shorts and boots.

A local policeman just interrupted me while standing and waiting for his drink on the bar to ask me, “is that a bluetooth keyboard? – I mean – does it work well?” I explained to him that it does. Both the iPad and keyboard are bluetooth compatible. “How about that”, he said. Many people have seen laptops in here and probably iPads too – but I have a separate wireless keyboard which I LOVE and I’m realizing that it is not something most people are used to seeing.

The policeman sits in a lounge chair near the window and reads his phone messages. He could use an iPad ūüôā And a wireless keyboard.

Have a great weekend

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 Рyou 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!

 

Crossing Paths

English: Crossing of paths, Gwydyr Forest The ...

English: Crossing of paths, Gwydyr Forest The waymarked walk taking in Llyn y Parc is crossed by a singletrack section of the Marin Mountain Bike trail. Walkers should watch out for speeding bikers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Every once in a while the many tracks of our lives intersect.  The subtle joining of like interests and purpose combine into one timeless moment.

My journey and purpose that God has uniquely designed for me sometimes crosses the path of my past life and career, my music legacy, sometimes through writing, sometimes through people sometimes through specific events  Рleaving me feeling  humbled and reflective.

The last week I have been organizing my music studio/office in my home – plus gathering video and pictures for my website, which just went up for the first time this last Monday. ¬†If you missed it – you can visit me on my website at ¬†Cindy’s Music Studio¬† It is my first attempt to duplicate what happens in my studio and in person – to an equal experience online.

In the process of trying to break down and ‘capture’ all the special moments of my music teaching career over the last 15+ years in this one area alone – it has been a daunting but also given me many¬†thrilling moments¬†looking at many past recital performances and pictures over the years. ¬†The growth and development in each one – and the happy glow of pride and sense of accomplishment – the feeling of joy and resolution in choosing the path of teaching that I chose many years ago instead of a sales career teaching and training women about skin care.

This too has crossed my path again recently as my daughter (who was a little girl at the time when I was with Mary Kay) has decided to join the ranks of the many sales representatives and sell this great product as well as continue to do hair styling and color in her own home studio.  It is all very surreal to me and brings back many memories of my 5 years spent with that company Р2 years as a sales director.

Sometimes our lives intertwine into areas that we never dream we will cross again. ¬†We do not simply just “wave good-bye” and then never see them again – sometimes they comes back in ways we least expect. ¬†It is the same with my music teaching and my writing – the two are different and yet – sometimes they cross. ¬†The things we are passionate about in this life – the unique and God-given talents and abilities we are given – ¬†have the potential of crossing and interjecting every day – through people, events and circumstances – and yes – even our own children.

How Do You Love?

Last night Greg and I watched the movie “Three Men and a little Lady” – made some 20 years ago or so. In the last part of the movie – the leading man finally finds the courage to tell the leading woman how he feels about her. She wonders what took him so long (5 years later) in fact on her wedding day to another man – he finally confesses that he loves her, not just for her 5 year old daughter, but for himself alone. Complicated? Yes. Self serving? I’m not sure. Does he have the right to love for just how it makes him feel? With no regard to how anybody else does? Because it brings him happiness to love her?

This has always been a topic of conversation around our house. Greg has always claimed that love in its most stripped down mode – is selfish. I’m not sure I have always agreed. I’ve had my share of relationships (in the love department) gone sour and very bad. And though I agree with the premis – I have trouble coming to grips with loving someone just because it feels good or because they love me. Aren’t people worth loving even when they don’t love back? How about those who choose to walk away? Are we to stop loving them?

The Bible tells us that God loved us while we were still sinners – and far from Him – Christ died for us. That kind of love is far beyond our comprehension. We as human beings have trouble with it. Most people who hurt us, mistreat us, stop loving us, turn away, love someone else, stop speaking, etc. – we write off as being unlovable and unreachable. Even when we have had relationship with them that has been good at one time. How different we are from the heart of God. God loves even when it is not returned.

Marriage – especially a long-term one is a great example of unconditional love. You don’t always feel like loving all the time. There are disagreements and differences. There is not always romance. You don’t say: “I will love you as long as it feels good for me and as long as you love me back – otherwise all bets are OFF!” Love is so much more than that – it is a choice. 7 days a week, 12 months, 365 days a year. Every year. Through rain and shine – thick and thin – in sickness and in health. Even when the person does not love you back in the way you think they should. Even when they don’t always understand you. Even then.

How do you love? Does your love have conditions? Is your love a selfish love that says: I will love you only if you love me back? I will give of my time only if I get something back from it? Are people worth loving just simply because they are?

I think they are.

 

God Bless

Authentic Me!

I am authentic

I am real

I am down to earth

 

These are all “catch phrases” that we toss around today. ¬†And it’s especially popular to hear this among Christian pastors and leaders. ¬†But how many really are?

Our pastor led the way last Sunday morning, for it to be okay to be “real” and share with us an area that he has been struggling with. ¬†It was honest and had no pretense. He was just a human being with needs and struggles like the rest of us – he experiences good times and bad, highs and lows. ¬†It was the first really honest moment I’ve witnessed from the pulpit in a long time – if ever.

Now that being said, there are some that would disagree with this approach. ¬†In fact my husband and I were both raised in an era where the pastor (or leader) had to be above reproach and almost ghost-like in perfection. ¬†That was of course, because he (or she) would never allow anyone into their world and all that was personal was highly protected. ¬†It seemed that the worst thing they could do was to let people really know who they were. ¬†The thought being, “They cannot lead others if they admit they don’t have it all together”.

Those of us from my generation and older – bought into this. ¬†We believed you couldn’t have close friends in ministry – believed that others did not want a flawed leader – believed that showing anything less than the perfect role model – would hinder the testimony of Christ. ¬†This caused a false sense of security for others trying to live up to that standard. ¬†And much guilt on the part of the minister and his family.

We discussed this¬†dilemma¬†much in our small group last night. ¬†All of us were there last Sunday morning to witness the beautiful worship service – and Stephen’s willingness to “go there” – for the sake of being truly authentic. ¬†And gave permission for everyone to feel the same – reach out and know that there are others that feel the same way. ¬†It was really beautiful.

As we talked about it in our group, I was very aware of the balance between “sharing” and “sharing too much”. ¬†Who can we really be that “real” with? ¬†Is it important to let people know what you’ve come from – how you handled it and how God has worked in your life? ¬†Or is it better to just talk about surface issues and keep it light?

I know it’s a touchy subject and although some, like me – are grateful for this new freedom in sharing – I know that there are some that simply don’t feel comfortable sharing – or having others share with them. ¬†It is a risk, and certainly some will even look differently at you when you open your heart. ¬†But in light of all these things – I still choose to be a more authentic me.

Here’s why.

I am not perfect.

I struggle with thoughts.

I am selfish by nature.

I like to be right.

I like to have the last word.

I don’t have it all together.

Three years ago I went through a traumatic experience of the heart and emotions. ¬†I started writing a blog to express things I was unhappy about and things I hoped to change. ¬†I went on a journey both spiritually and emotionally and my writing was a vehicle of healing for me. ¬†I tried to be authentic about the way I was feeling. ¬†I knew it would be¬†criticized, as a former pastor’s wife – we aren’t allowed to be sad or struggling – but I plodded along anyway. ¬†The benefit was two-fold:

1. ¬†Others read my writings and daily personal thoughts, as I searched for answers and hung on to the fact that in spite of pain – God is still good. ¬†I connected with many people who would either comment – or privately contact me on Facebook or by email – telling me how helpful and encouraging my writings were and are to them. ¬†Being authentic had a purpose after all – to others who are struggling, questioning and hurting. ¬†It provided a vehicle for them to share – and know for sure that they weren’t alone.

2. It helped me personally. ¬†My empathy and sensitivity grew with my writing journey. Things I had no patience with before – I found compassion and understanding. ¬†I found others who struggled and needed a friend to lend a hand. ¬†While helping, coaching and¬†counseling¬†with others – I’ve found a new purpose for things I was allowed to go through. ¬†And the friendships were and are numerous.

But there is a down-side. ¬†There always is. ¬†I have been burned by sharing myself. ¬†It’s made me more cautious – and I question things more. ¬†I wish I did not. ¬†I wish that I still believed that everyone had my best interest in mind – but now I question that too. ¬†It doesn’t entirely stop me – but it has changed me. ¬†Anytime someone doesn’t understand us or does not validate us in some way – it is very hard.

But I still choose to be a more authentic me. ¬†I choose to take the gifts and blessings God has given me – and reach out to those who need that extra help, support and love. I choose to learn from the painful, dry and empty times along my journey – and share with others what I’ve learned – how God has helped me and most of all – how it’s NOT fatal to go through times of failure, uncertainty and darkness. ¬†It’s been in those times that my heart was much more open to hearing what God was telling me. ¬†And the biggest blessings came when God didn’t answer me at all, instead gave me the tools to find joy again – by writing and opening my heart.

I encourage you today – it’s a scary thing to open up and share, but find someone you trust and have a heart-to-heart with them today. ¬†You may find that the person you’re opening up to – will do the same and there will be strength and blessing in your authenticity. ¬†Even if you’ve been hurt before – you need to trust again.

Have you ever had a truly authentic moment?  This last year?  This last week?  How did others around you respond?

God Bless

Being Left Alone

English: An anxious person

Image via Wikipedia

Sometimes things just happen. ¬†Sometimes it’s a good thing. ¬†Sometimes it’s bad. ¬† ¬†There are things and people added to our plans – and sometimes things and people are taken away. ¬†There are times of happiness, comfort and safety – But ¬†then there is a time of desolation, hurt and loss.

No one wants to feel abandoned, isolated and left behind. ¬†While it may not happen so much when we’re young – sooner or later it does as we get older. ¬†The same comforts, circumstances and even people in our lives, that are with us when we begin our journey, or part way through our journey – sometimes do not continue with us the rest of the way. ¬†It is the feeling of being “left alone”. ¬†It is difficult to understand. ¬†But it is called life.

This week we’ve been training our 14 week old puppy, Daisy to stay home alone – without anyone here. ¬†Training her to wait – be patient – that we will come back again – therefore reassuring her, by our return that she is not being left permanently. ¬†It is a training for us too as we do not want her to feel lonely, brush her aside like she is not important – but at the same time we want to reduce her anxiety by the fact that we will return. ¬†It is difficult to explain that to a puppy.

In the same way – I wonder how much our earthly anxiety is a mixture of “unnecessary¬†worry” and “childlike anxiety” simply because we do not understand our situation and circumstances like God does. ¬†We don’t have the ability to wait and trust that God sees the bigger picture – and that it is only for a “season” and not “forever”. ¬†I’m sure that God must say, “I know best. ¬†I can see everything all at once. ¬†Trust me” ¬†But we miss it – because we’re too busy being uncomfortable at our own perceived feeling of “being left”. ¬†And more than that – that God doesn’t hear us or understand.

There are some lessons that can only be learned without anyone with me.  Feeling that isolation is good for me.  In anxiety I learn trust.  In feeling abandoned by my overwhelming circumstance РI learn faith.  And I also want to remain hopeful that God has all the answers to the questions I have.  That there will be a time when I understand.

And until then РI must learn the same painful lesson that our puppy must.  Being left alone is sometimes how God speaks His most powerful insights to me.  It is in that lesson, that I am stronger, more compassionate to others, and ready for God to use me again.

When was the last time you feel completely alone?  When you lost something you thought you would always have?  Did you hear God speak to you?

 

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 Рabout 3 years ago I found myself in a touchy situation with another person and I was going through a bad time Рwas 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 РI was not allowed to mourn over a loss Рor 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

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