Musings From A Musical Mind

Archive for the ‘Blessing’ Category

25 Years Ago Today

25 years ago today we were blessed with a baby girl, 7lbs 10oz – and we called her Ashlee Renee.

We have been so blessed by this little bundle of energy – and although 25 years ago we were living in a completely different place and were much younger things have not really changed that much.  We are still the same people we always were – except that this little baby changed our lives – forever.

We thought we were prepared for a baby.  No one is prepared – even with the planning and waiting (we waited 6 years), the financial security (or lack of it) and the books on babies and parenthood.  A baby simply changes your life.

We dressed her up – put pretty bows on her once bald head and tried to make every moment count.

But along with the joy of having a little doll to dress up – what most people don’t plan for is sickness, long nights and days with no sleep, a fussy eater, a baby who won’t sleep anywhere except her own bed and trips to the ER for croup.  At 10 months old Ashlee had complications from the flu with a high fever reaching 105 and had to be in the hospital.  These were the tough times of having a baby.

Still she has been a light and joy in our lives. Stealing away any sense of privacy and sanity – babies are the best things in life.

Here’s to you Ashlee – you’re not a baby anymore – but I still remember you as one. One of my favorite memories of you as a little girl was when you were a flower girl at age 3.

Now you are a grown woman with a wonderful husband and home of your own. And you still continue to bless us.

You are loved and always in our prayers.

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Leading With My Life

Change your opinions, keep to your principles; change your leaves, keep intact your roots.

~ Victor Hugo

There is much in life that bewilders me.  Things I either do not agree with – or am simply at a loss to understand.  Many times I have been tempted to be in a theological debate with others who do not believe the same as I.  But have discovered that it is when I close my mouth – open my heart and really listen, that I really learn something.

Simple values, principles and character issues cannot be debated.  But much of life sits in a “gray” area – which is neither right or wrong.  Some things are more profitable and beneficial to us as a whole or individually – but if neglected or not deemed important does not affect our salvation.  And just because someone has a louder opinion in person or online does not make them more right than you or me.

And if you want to get really spiritual about some issues that we quibble about – some are not even spelled out in scripture *gasp* – therefore they are open to personal and yes *groan* our own brand of church affiliation and denomination – especially those in which we were raised as children.

I believe that my life and not just my words should lead.  I can give a flowery argument for politics, religious beliefs,  sinful ‘dos and don’ts’ and shout to you about “all we need is love” and yet continue to live a negative, frustrated, prejudice and narrow lifestyle, showing no tolerance for my lesbian neighbors.  I can abhor divorce and even be quick to judge you if you have had an emotional or physical affair – and then be so unguarded and puffed up with self-righteous pride that I am not even aware that it is happening to me.

And because God is the only one that can really look into me and see my heart – it is Him that I want to please most.  What does it matter if I say things and try to convince everyone how spiritual and wonderful I am – if I’m harboring un-forgiveness, pride, arrogance and secret sinful thoughts?  I cannot pretend with God.

People will not remember what I say (who can blame them?) but hopefully they will remember me for the life that I live.  Someone who has survived and overcome even when at times it would have been easy to throw in the towel.  Someone who in spite of differences – has chosen to stay in a long term marriage, learning that marriage is a series of being willing to change, learn and grow.   Who had a career change more than 15 years ago because I felt God was leading me into teaching instead of a potentially lucrative sales career.   Who tries not to judge – but tries to listen, accept and validate everyone I meet.   Who has been dealt some interesting blows in my personal life, ministry and even survived betrayal from a good friend.  But instead of having a pity-party and living with the pain and humiliation of certain events – I got back up and decided to be an encourager and a giver, knowing what it feels like to have things taken.  You see it’s not the events in life that define us – it’s the life we lead in spite of those events.

And so as my seasons keep turning and spinning – I plan to hold true to my roots and principles but change my opinions and keep an open mind and heart.  And most of all…

Lead with my life.

When was the last time you were tempted to argue with someone and chose instead to let your life be proof enough of what you believe?

 

Dear Lord – help all I come in contact with today to learn how valuable, unique and influential they are.  Help them see that simply by living their life for others and giving themselves away is the key to happiness.  Help them to trust you to show them how to become all they were created to be.  Help them to lead with their life.  Amen

 

God Bless

A Safe Place

The "Safe Place" logo promoted by Na...

The “Safe Place” logo promoted by National Safe Place. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have you ever been in someone’s presence and felt that you weren’t safe?  You had to weigh every word spoken, had to ignore the little ‘jabs’ of humor and eventually you found yourself either pushing back or shutting down?

Being and feeling safe is different for each of us.  And by safe, I mean something beyond just comfortable and easy.  It’s that intangible something that feels like you’ve come home and don’t have to watch everything that you say – you’re free to express without judgement, free to be yourself, free to confide, and be appreciated for your own uniqueness.

I saw a movie the other night on the life of Earnest Hemingway during the war years – and at one point in the movie he had to address a crowd of people.  He suffered terrible stage fright and when finally was able to speak to the crowd he told them, “I’m a writer – writers don’t have to speak out loud and address a crowd”  And in this very same way – we all relate in our own unique way.  Some of us are writers – some are good oral communicators – others are teachers some are shy computer geeks.  And each of us communicate in different ways to others.

Sometimes that mode of communication is misunderstood by others.  For me personally I have found that to be true.  Frustrating yes – but also disheartening.  I begin to hear people as they “joke” and “jab” about “those of us who are expressive” and “those of us who write feelings down” and I slowly begin to shut down.  It’s past the curiosity of just being different – it’s a smallness and intolerance that I find sad – and it’s in those people whom I do not feel safe.

Where is your safe place?  Do you relate to what I’m saying?  Do you have those whom you feel safe with?  Where you are able to express those words, written or spoken?  Where you feel understanding and acceptance for the way you are?  If you do – then you are blessed.

Don’t let anyone rob you of your unique voice.  God made you the way you are for a reason.  Years ago I had a pastor friend of ours tell me, “Cindy – don’t let anyone steal your joy”  This was after I got into trouble for being myself.  It was great advice and I still remember his words to this day.  Others have tried to mold and make me into what they think I should be.  But I am always frustrated when I am not free to be me and express myself in the way that is God-given.

Eventually though, someone – if not everyone will disappoint you at one time or another and even “rain on your parade”.  Where is your safe place then?

Psalm 18 says this:

1-2 I love you, God— you make me strong.
God is bedrock under my feet,
the castle in which I live,
my rescuing knight.
My God—the high crag
where I run for dear life,
hiding behind the boulders,
safe in the granite hideout.

3 I sing to God, the Praise-Lofty,
and find myself safe and saved.

I love this.  In God we find a safe place where we can hide out and feel loved.  He will always accept us and encourage us – help us to find our unique voice.

He breaks down the barriers that safeguard my heart

He encourages me to be me

He hangs on my every word

He offers His silent support

He makes me want to be better

He has time to love me right

To fill the emptiness

and loneliness

and promises unending joy

He restores that which has been lost

and those things I cannot let go

knowing me better than I know myself

He is my safe place.

 

God Bless

Finding Balance

Adele - Hometown Glory (Re-Release)

Adele – Hometown Glory (Re-Release) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I sit at my desk this morning listening to “Hometown Glory” by Adele.  I am reflecting on the last busy week, struggling with stress, unexpected twists and turns, and then lack of sleep resulting in a head cold – all of these I could have done without.  And yet, despite all of these events – I am grateful for the continual blessings I experience each day.

I believe that life is a series of highs and lows and the secret to happiness exist in learning the balance minute by minute – day in and day out.  Existing in the unexciting, preparing for the unexpected, finding stability and holding on in the temporary euphoric – realizing that real life happens in the ordinary events – the ones that are not very exciting – and finding contentment and laughter in something every day.

Balance is such a key to a rich and full life.  Learning to ride out the storms of life which are always temporary times.  Realizing that life cannot just exist in the high points – but that the real sustenance and strength of character comes from the dark days.

I am a much happier person for all my experiences, good and bad.  They have made me who I am today  – the dark, bad, ugly and also the joy and lessons learned through pain.  Happy has such a close and intimate relationship with pain and struggle – one cannot truly exist without the other as a measuring stick.  And deepest joy from God alone comes from an understanding and experience with both.

Whatever you are struggling with today – just know that it is temporary.  God understands and knows your struggles.  Won’t you allow that struggle to pull out of you some joy and understanding to pass on to others?  As you allow pain and struggle, lack of understanding and dark circumstances to do their work in you – you will have a story of God’s great joy in the midst of where you are living right now.  They are forming an even better you.  One with a heart of empathy and understanding for others and a word of hope.

As we all push forward today to find balance in our daily circumstances – I am praying for you.

 

God Bless

 

Ten Years

I’ve been reflecting this past month on the events of 10 years ago. It is the anniversary of purchasing our home in the Seattle area.

Time has a way of sneaking up on you, and for me – this journey happened slowly at times and at other times very quickly.

Ten years ago our daughter was 14 and a freshman in high school. Our son was 10 and in the 4th grade. That seems like a lifetime ago when they were that age – and at the time, it seemed as if time moved very slowly.

But in between the swim meets, choir concerts, endless baseball and basketball tournaments we knew these were the best years and we tried to enjoy them and hang on to every minute, knowing that once these days are gone – they are gone.

When 10 years comes and goes it is a funny thing – we say to ourselves and others around us, “What happened??” And we are truly surprised when things don’t stay the same or when we do something and our bodies don’t feel the same as they used to in the “good old days”. I truly do wonder where we got as much energy as we had to be running all the times with kids and their events and I know I couldn’t do it today without paying for it!

As I reflect on yet another Mother’s Day – I realize this is the first one where we are true empty-nester’s – our daughter has been married for the past 2 1/2 years and our son is going to school in Southern California – so it is my first Mother’s Day without him in the area.

But I also think to myself, “Wow – what great well-balanced grown up kids we have! We must have done something right – or maybe they turned out in spite of us – either way I’m thankful and grateful for all of God’s MANY blessings poured out to us in this last decade and the ones before that.

I am looking forward to a great future in this next decade and the ones to follow as God wills it for each of our lives and can’t wait to reflect back on those memories. But mostly I’m learning to live in the moment and enjoy the journey along the way.

Where we’re you 10 years ago?

God Bless

To Journal Or Not To Journal

Private journal, Diary of Henriette Dessaulles...

Private journal, Diary of Henriette Dessaulles, 1874, Ink on paper, 21 x 14 cm Français : Journal personnel, Journal d'Henriette Dessaulles, 1874, Encre sur papier, 21 x 14 cm (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have kept a journal off and on since I was a teenager.  I would write in it at first to put my feelings, thoughts and dreams down on paper – and then to look back at one month increments and when I had reached a year or more, then I would look back by year too.  It made me feel like I could go back to a certain situation in time and then see how I reacted and came through it.  I found it therapeutic.

I wasn’t as loyal through my early adult life with this – it was like my creative juices were not needed, or perhaps didn’t feel a need for an outlet until I became pregnant with Ashlee in 1986.  I kept a journal then to help me with diet and show progress with the pregnancy – to register names we likes and used it as a way to track gifts given to me at baby showers.  I kept this journal until she was several months old – then got too busy to be bothered.

I started again when I was pregnant with Shawn – though not as seriously.  Every few months and then years I would post an entry while the kids were growing up.  It was so great to look back at my last entry and see the progress of our family – the dream to own our own home before we did – and the dream to go on a cruise (which we did) for our 20th anniversary.

When I became better online than keeping a hard copy journal – I began using “Word” on my computer to keep track of events, feelings, dreams and other things going on in our lives.  While praying for the right guy for Ashlee I began a journey with my walks and prayer life – and typed away on my online journal – keeping many things personal to me there about each guy who came into our family, while dating our daughter.

When Drew entered our lives, I was in full swing so I was able to journal about his arrival on the scene and everything since we had first met him.  I even wrote a letter to be given to my future son-in-law someday – back before I was doing my journal on the computer – I printed it out and kept it in an envelope in my office drawer for about 2 years.

Last night I took a look at the journal saved on my computer that had its last entry over a year ago.  I have kept it for 5 years.  I look back to see where I’ve come from – what was going on with me and the family back then – what hopes, dreams and situations were going on at the time and see where I am today.  And while I still believe it is great to take a peak back where we’ve come from – I also know we can’t stay and dwell there – but must keep looking forward.  I was reminded of this last night when reading about a painful situation and  I did not like the way it made me feel.  The problem with writing about pain, hurt and sadness – is that it is always there in black and white and there is something permanent about it.

I blog because it is my way of expressing myself through writing.  I blog because it is interactive with others who are writers like me – and find the daily encouragement and comments from others to be therapeutic far beyond private ‘journalling’ used to be.

So this has been my journey with keeping a journal – and I prefer to use those thoughts and feelings to help and encourage others just like me – in a blog.  This is my way to turn things around and keep my focus “outward” and “positive” – constantly moving and becoming…instead of looking back and being “inward” and becoming “negative”.

What is your experience with keeping a journal?  Do you still keep one?  Have you found that your blog site takes the place of keeping a personal one?

God Bless

Faithful

English: Image for BBVA EAGLEs article

Image via Wikipedia

 

My puppy puts me to shame

She is loyal

Faithful

She will not leave my side

even in the early morning when she’s hungry

She waits for me

to have my devotions

and coffee

and to fully

get up

and put my slippers on

even though it takes me

several minutes

to finally go downstairs

She does not get upset

or anxious

she trusts

and waits

 

How faithful am I?

How patient?

Can I wait?

Do I run ahead?

Anticipate?

Set my own course?

Am I willing to wait

on God

for the things

He says I must?

Can I sit

and  quietly contemplate

drink in

calm my scattered mind

and just

be faithful?

I’m tired

and need strength

I complain

fuss and fume

I need

to relax

stop the spinning

sit back

and wait.

But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. 
   They spread their wings and soar like eagles,
They run and don’t get tired, 
   they walk and don’t lag behind.  Isaiah 40:31  Message Bible

What about you?  Feeling weary?  Need some fresh strength today?  I know a source of strength that will not only renew – but help you to soar like an eagle.  Imagine running and not getting tired, walking and not lagging behind?

Yes – I think I can – I know I can – Lord help me to...wait.

God Bless

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