Musings From A Musical Mind

Archive for the ‘Learning Styles’ Category

What Is Your Slot?

All of us have a place where we just – fit. A lovely little slot where we shine and flourish.

I am happiest when teaching, playing piano, listening to music and when I’m writing.  I love to do a lot of other things too – but this is where I shine and feel happy.

But I am also undisputed in my ‘role’ as the chief cook – Queen of the kitchen.

Greg  has many interests and a couple of businesses which make him very happy – that is where he shines.  But his role in our home is ‘clean-up guy’.  He is very happy to do this.  He is one of those people who is the only one who knows how to load the dishwasher correctly – and does so with a pride and arrogance that is undisputed in our family.  It’s a great set-up – I cook – he cleans.  As long as we keep to that prescribed formula – things are great.

Once in a while it is necessary for me to step in and clean the kitchen and *gasp* LOAD THE DISHWASHER.  It’s never pretty – because I have no love for loading dishes – and Greg can tell.  He sighs and pats me on the head – like he would a small child – and is very patient and gracious with my feeble and uncaring attempts at order and precision under his tutelage.  I am somewhat of a lost cause.

And once in a while it becomes necessary, with my teaching schedule for Greg to step in and begin dinner preparations.  He doesn’t like this especially when I have not thought ahead and just say something like, ‘Greg could you start on dinner?”  It freaks him out.  He has NO IDEA how to just ‘start’ dinner.

Case and point – the other day I was busy teaching and in a small break I asked him if he could ‘start dinner’.  I laid the items out on the counter and told him quickly what to do.  I was assuming he would get it – forgetting that he is not comfortable in the kitchen unless he is making breakfast items – or following along (precisely) from a cookbook.  So I left him in the kitchen – very much in distress – and very much to his own devices.  Very scary.

I went back to teaching.  When the last student had gone – I went into the kitchen hoping that dinner was ready.  Greg seemed pleased with himself.  I looked around and spotted a half-opened jar of marinara sauce on the counter.  Hmmm.   I did not see any container or pan with sauce in it.  The trout was simmering in a pan on the stove – the butternut squash was in the microwave – just as I had directed.  Where is the sauce? –  I wondered.

I peaked in the microwave and under the paper towel.  And what to my horrified eyes should appear – but butternut squash with marinara sauce on top – bubbling away!  I was horrified – and couldn’t imagine what ever could  have possessed him to think that I wanted him to cook it that way!  He saw my horror – and began to quickly explain, ‘You said you wanted squash with marinara sauce’ – as if that settled the question – and would assure me that he had done everything just as he was directed to do.  I took out the raw squash with the very hot and bubbly sauce out of the microwave and proceeded to spoon the sauce into a bowl while explaining, ‘Greg, what I meant was that the squash would be served with marinera sauce.  Squash takes a long time to cook so you can’t have sauce on it – when cooking it’.

I realized something.  Men and women don’t think the same way – even about food.  You can’t assume.  My husband needs very clear directions.

Butternut Squash with Marinara Sauce

Squash with Marinara Sauce via Flickr

Very clear.  A woman would have understood that I wanted the sauce on the side and heated up separately – but not a man.  I should have said, ‘We are going to have squash served with marinara sauce for dinner.  This is how to cook the squash – slice in half, put a little butter and salt and pepper – cover with a paper towel and cook for 15 minutes on high in microwave. – pour the sauce in a pan – put a lid on it and cook on low heat’  Next time I will be more clear.

He was very happy to let me take over – and was happy to clean the kitchen.  He feels very much at home doing it – it is a good fit. And all is well that ends well – the dinner was a wonderful success – fresh trout – butternut squash with sauce – on the side. It was very funny – and he was such a good sport about it 🙂

The Bottom Line is this:  We all have areas where we shine – tasks are easy, almost effortless!  Those we do with joy because we love them.  And then there are those that do not seem to fit us.  We struggle.  We get it wrong.  There is no love.  It is in these times that we need to have grace and patience for others and understand that we cannot – nor should we be good at everything.

What is your slot?  Where do you shine?  Or not shine?  Have you figured it out?  Are others patient with you?  Are you gracious to them?

Here’s hoping that you will find it – as you slosh your way into what is the best fit for you – and as you discover how to fit in your slot.

God Bless

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Beautiful Music

Music makes one feel so romantic – at least it always gets on one’s nerves – which is the same thing nowadays.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

Music is the language of the heart.  No one knows for sure why we connect to certain styles or songs – but one thing is for certain:  Everyone has a certain style of music that speaks and moves them.  One style can be just ‘noise’ to one person – and a beloved ballad to another.  Music can be annoying to some – and greatly appreciated by another.

I was raised on classical music – it played in my home growing up – night and day.  After a steady diet of this for 20 years of my life – I would have to say that I have an appreciation for classical – but it is not what I listen to when I relax.  I have always liked and responded to ‘pop’ music of my generation – the 70’s and it is still my favorite genre of music – by far even though I have an appreciation for other styles.  I would listen to my transistor radio or cassette tapes in my tape recorder at night before going to bed.  I was also a song writer and my ‘style’ of music on the piano was in a ballad form – or what you might call ‘easy listening’ today.  Music has to evoke an emotional response from me in order to be good – and it usually has something to do with the chord progression or lyrics – or both.  Movie soundtracks are also my favorite for relaxing and one of the best musical scores in my opinion is from the movie “Meet Joe Black”.  I also love the soundtrack from “To Kill a Mockingbird” – these are both noteworthy in my opinion and brilliant.

I like to think I am extremely tolerant of any kind of music – even though I’m sure my own children think I am not.  That’s pretty typical.  But since they know I appreciate any style of music if it’s good – they are quick to share their music with me.  Shawn loves to play ‘his music’ for me in the car – going quickly to a song he feels I will like – and usually he is right.  I don’t like everything he likes – but there are certain songs from bands he likes – that he knows I will be able to appreciate and give positive feedback to.  I think it helps him to feel better about his music in some weird twisted way ☺

About a year and a half ago –  he was driving me to a Chiropractor’s appointment and he played me the song below, “Amsterdam” from Coldplay. Now crazy as it sounds – it really moved me.  I remember it was raining and dark and this song played in the car and we drove in complete hushed silence.  It was one of those moments I will never forget.  A bonding moment with this song playing – just me and my son.  It was pretty emotional – I was going through a rough time that fall – and it meant a lot to me that Shawn actually seemed to ‘get it’ and find something he knew I would connect with.

The other day Shawn drove me to a wedding and he again pulled out this song and it brought back such memories of that day for both of us.  Imagine?  Two people from two entirely different generations – actually agreeing on and liking the same song – and the same band.  Crazy right?  Actually – Shawn likes classic rock from the 70’s too – so that’s always been the way we’ve been able to connect with music over the years.  I think it’s really great.  And because I have tolerance for his music and he with mine – we’ve been able to agree on many things over the years.  It is wonderful to know that he is a much sought after musician in his church on both drums and guitar and that he can appreciate music of all styles too.  I am very proud when I hear songs that he has written and recorded on the guitar – mixed in a studio – and they sound just like something you’d hear on the radio!  In fact when doing my own music ‘mix’ a few months ago – I accidentally added a song he had written – thinking it was a great song from “Angels and Airways” or something.  He saw that I had added it and said, “Mom – did you know that is the song I wrote”?  Ha!  No I didn’t! – but it was really good and that’s why I choose it for my CD mix.

Music – it’s a crazy thing – one man’s ‘noise’ is another one’s ‘bliss’ – and it’s nice to know that good music – is still good music – no matter what generation it is produced.  There are classics that have and will stand the test of time because they are well written – from the heart.

Do you have something that ‘moves you’?  We all do – and it’s nice to know that we are all different in our likes and dislikes – and yet the human element of music is still there – touching and affecting our lives – evoking good and bad memories – but most of all – deeply moving us.

Here’s to beautiful music – and not just annoying ‘noise’ in your world tonight.

God Bless

Come on, oh my star is fading
I swerve out of control
If I, If I'd only waited
I'd not be stuck here in this hole.

Come here, oh my star is fading
And I swerve out of control
And I swear I waited and waited
I've got to get out of this hole

But time, is on your side
It's on your side, now
Not pushing you down
And all around
It's no cause for concern..

Come on, oh my star is fading
And I see, no chance of release
And I know I'm dead on the surface
But I'm screaming underneath

And time is on your side
It's on your side, now
Not pushing you down
And all around
Oh, It's no cause for concern

Stuck on the end of this ball and chain
And I'm on my way back down.

Stood on the edge
Tied to a noose
Sick to the stomach
You can say what you mean
But it won't change a sin
I'm sick of the secrets
Stood on the edge, tied to a noose
and you came along but you cut me loose
You came along and you cut me loose
You came along and you cut me loose

Have You Upgraded Your Marriage?

My husband Greg is a Pastor – a Celebrant – or Minister.  Whatever title you choose to give him – he’s ordained with the Assemblies of God and does Weddings and Funeral services full time for a living.

The following excerpt is taken from a wedding that he performed yesterday:

Genesis 2:18, 24

The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.  I will make a helper suitable for him.”  For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and they will become one flesh.

“God said, “I’ll make a helper suitable…”

He specifically designed a man and a woman to be “suitable” to one another…to be compatible…he made it to “work” together well

(You both work at Microsoft…you know about programs “compatible” and “incompatible” and what that can mean)

– and I know there are personality types that seem to work beter with or “click” with – I get that…

– but you know what I’ve found?

– the biggest challenge to a relationship (and especially in the marriage relationship) is that there are more incompatible people than incompatible relationships!

Interesting quote I read…

When a man marries a woman, they become one but the trouble starts when they try to decide which one”

what am I saying here?

* God made us well – he didn’t mess up

* love and marriage are His design – and wow, did He do a great job!

* just as he made Adam and Eve (from the beginning) to be “suitable” (compatible) for one another….AND HERE’S THE KEY…

YOU need to continue to be “suitable”

you must continue to be “compatible” all through your married life…(let me burst a bubble here: it’s not automatic!)

* it’s in what you decide to do

* make the choice from the start to remain “suitable” to one another

* right now it’s “marriage 1.0” – you’ve run the “install” disk, but you’ll need to constantly adapt/upgrade…marriage 2.0 and so on!

* because you know what?  You will go through seasons of changes in your lives, individually and as a couple

– you won’t be the same in 5 years that you are right now…or 10, 0r 25, or 50…

– my wife Cindy and I are definitely in a new season right now after 28 years of marriage than we were when we stood where you are standing now…

* I’m sure your parents could echo the same thing…marriages go through different “seasons

Now, here’s the secret that so many miss – the deepest joy and satisfaction your married life will bring you…

* it’s the continued compatibility of saying “I will learn, I will grow and adjust to the changes taking place in our relationship, I will continue to love you deeply no matter what the cost” ( I will upgrade to marriage 2.0 and so on!)

– I will continue to “know you” on the deepest level

* even when I don’t “get it” ( when I feel like I’ve had a system crash!) – or when I am supremely frustrated in the process

– I will continue to be authentic with you about who I am on the deepest level (I won’t stuff!)

* That’s being “compatible” – that’s being “suitable” – and you know what – that’s what will bring you the lifelong satisfaction in your marriage that God designed you to have!”

Isn’t he the cutest?  So many request him to perform their weddings – and he specifically designs a whole message around who they are and what they do for a living.

I loved this particular example – because I have been so FRUSTRATED with my computer over this last year – and will try to run a program only to have it NOT speak to my computer because I don’t have the most current “upgrade”.  Marriage is so similar.

Are you upgrading your Marriage?  Downloading the files necessary to co-exist and effectively communicate?  Do you need to have a “systems crash” before you DO something about it?  I would say to you – do the maintenance and avoid the “crash” – but if the “crash” is the only way to rebuild your marriage – then God can even use your brokenness and failure to restore your “system” back to a healthier and stronger marriage.

Do the steps

Be authenic

Talk it out

Rebuild

Bond

Remain

Live!

God Bless!

How Do You Handle Difficult People?

grumpy

 

 

How do we handle difficult people?  Those that we would rather just avoid?  Sometimes it is not possible.  Sometimes it is people you are forced to see everyday in the work place.  Sometimes it’s people in your neighborhood.  Sometimes folks that attend your church – or other people that are connected with your child’s school.  Sometimes it’s in your own family circle.  Almost everybody would admit to having difficult people in their life – somewhere.

These people can bring a little spice to our otherwise “dull” existence.  Or maybe not – No – sometimes they can just make life difficult.

I love the sign above – we encountered it when walking into a place of business today and just had to laugh right out loud!!  For it describes people that each of us know and have to “handle” in some way at one time or another.  And although humorous to us – there is a serious side to this as well.

People in the restaurant business know ALL ABOUT difficult people!  Just ask any server – and they will have stories that will make your hair curl.  We’ve all heard stories about servers in the kitchen of a 5 star restaurant actually SPITTING or worse in customer’s food before it is served – to uhhhh – teach them a lesson or something.  Yes – it’s true – they have hidden cameras in those places and it’s a sad but true fact.  It pays to be VERY NICE to your wait staff in any food establishment people!  I honestly can’t believe the grumpy rude people in places like this!  I’ve often heard them – sitting close enough to hear conversations – and it’s not pretty.

Last Christmas I was trying to return some perfume or something in Victoria’s Secret and the “girl” behind the counter didn’t even seem to be able to speak english – let alone try to help me get a refund for my product.  And I admit – I was not the most patient person in the world – but that’s the closest I’ve ever come to actually being rude to someone in sales – and my reaction was VERY mild compared with others in line.  It is not usually my way – but sometimes being just “nice” doesn’t cut it – when there is a very simple transaction.  So I know there are times that everyone has – we’re all human after all.  But it is when people are rude ALL THE TIME – everywhere they go that you have to wonder – what’s up with that?

I think we have to remember that when we have  those people in our lives – often times there is something else brewing beneath the surface – things are not always as they appear.  They may have just received some rough news – or just been fired from work – or maybe someone just broke off a relationship with them and said – I HATE you – I NEVER want to see you ever again.  Yeah.  That would make me grumpy and put me in a bad mood for quite a while – how about you?

If we remember to handle people with grace – and treat them like we would like to be treated – then I believe we can even get a smile from the grumpiest of people.  We need to hold our tongue – listen – listen – LISTEN – be slow to react to them – be quick to offer a shoulder.  Don’t give advice unless it is asked of you – don’t interject a lecture on how you think they should be acting around you – or in public – or at the workplace 0r anything else.  Let them be – show your support and love – rest your tongue – and win them over by being a supportive stable person in their life – you may be the ONLY one in their crazy mixed up world.  You have NO idea where someone else lives – what is waiting for them at home – what junk they have to wade through each day.  If they can find one true kind friend in their life – maybe it’s you – then when the time is right – you will be able to offer hope and life to that person.  They may eventually feel “safe” to ask you – “what’s your secret” – or “can you help me?”  Then, my friend – it’s ALL worth it!

Let’s be like this as the holiday season pulls in close.  Surround yourself with love and grace – so that you will have plenty to give away – when called on to do so.

I am praying for all my friends – grumpy and non grumpy 🙂

 

God Bless!

Men’s Brains Vs. Women’s Brains

Just found this crazy hilarious video on a friends wall this morning on facebook.  It’s the best description I’ve ever heard on the differences of how Men’s brains are different than Women’s brains.  Enjoy!!  It will give you much understanding and hopefully – much laughter today!!

God Bless

Welcome to “Cindy Land”…

I have a special world in which I live in.  I didn’t know that it was so unique until my dear husband pointed it out to me.  I will say something – or do something and think everyone says or does this – and he will say to me, “that only happens in “Cindy Land”.  Does everyone have a land such as mine?  I’d like to think so.  However – the problem is: no two lands are exactly alike.  No two people think exactly alike.

Here’s what mine looks like:

Everyone is kind

Everyone is peaceful

Everyone had good manners

Everyone has my best interest at heart

Everyone loves me unconditionally (no matter what)

No one is nasty

No one is jealous

No mistake is beyond repair

Every problem has a resolution

No one thinks bad about me

I’m free to express who I am – and others can too – with no judgement

God forgives and so do others

Everyone has “my back”

Where I openly “trust” others and they “trust” me

No one would betray my trust

To this – Greg just laughs and says, “That’s “Cindy Land”.  Now OF COURSE I know that isn’t true – that’s not how life is – I’m not a child for goodness sake – but I would like to think that I kept some of my “child like” innocence and naivety.  Where everyone loves everyone and everyone gets along without bickering, blaming and past hurt.  Where one can have “pure” motives for loving others – and caring and loving them makes everyone better people.  But I know now after living this long – that no matter how much I want something in “my world” – I cannot make it so.

Greg has a “Greg World” too.  His looks much like mine – but he’s way more practical than I am – when it comes to emotion.  He’s a first born so he plays things pretty close to the vest.  His would look something like this:

Everyone is nice to one another

Everyone has a strong work ethic

No one is moody

The moody people live on a special “island” – and only visit “Greg Land” when they are done being “moody”

Everyone has “his back”

Everyone loves unconditionally

No one has an ulterior motive 0r hidden agenda

Everyone leaves something cleaner than when they found it

He has a certain place for “emotion” too.  It’s in a special “drawer” and he only pulls it out when he has too.  Most men are like this.  It’s painful sometimes to open that drawer – so they don’t.  Oh he can remember things from the past – but not like I can.

I am emotionally driven – being female.  It enters into every aspect of my life.  And an emotional trauma can leave me reeling for a very long time.  I can still remember something traumatic that happened to me 30 years ago – a “matter of the heart” so to speak.  And this morning while eating breakfast with Greg – we were discussing “Cindy World” and how my emotions are very close to the surface in times of hurt, happiness and love.  I still cry at things that happened 9 months ago – any loss is a very real grief to me.  Greg would never be able to conjure up that emotion or feeling – at least not in real tears like me.  I cry often.  That’s who I am.

But even though my “land” is different from his – and he may not fully understand how deeply things affect me – he is very kind and thoughtful – giving me freedom to express them without judgement or any hint of amusement.  He truly believes that all these emotions – such as they are – make me what I am.  And he loves that about me.

Greg leads with his head – I lead with my heart.  I am learning to lead with my head too – as I know that the emotions can be fickle – oh they seem real – and they ARE.  But sometimes not the best.  We need to make choices with our head – and then the heart will follow – even in “Cindy Land”.  God gave us men in our world to help us establish the difference between “head and heart” – and though one may seem to be very strong and RIGHT – over time we come to discover that it is the head that MUST rule the heart.

I’ll put out the foot bridge for you – come on over to “Cindy Land” – I’d love to get to know you – and show you around.  It’s a happy, safe place – and you are loved.

God Bless

Anyone can Love…

I just got done watching “The Other Sister” about a mentally challenged young woman named Carla.  It is her journey of discovering independence from a very protective Mother – and also her well meaning Father and sisters.  Her life takes her from not being able to cope with “normal” life when she is younger – to being put in an institution – to again being brought back home as a young adult.

I love this story and it was intriguing to see a handicap portrayed so authentically.  Carla goes to a college and soon discovers a young man like herself living independently in his own apartment – and soon she wants to be independent too.  After a long struggle she is able to convince her family that she can live alone and take care of herself.  During this time she falls in love with the mentally challenged young man from her college – named Daniel.  When they fall in love – it is so pure and innocent  – it is so beautiful.  After a series of events including a HUGE mistake on his part (after all – he is STILL a guy – and sometimes guys CAN be stupid when it comes to love) Daniel decides to “crash” a family wedding.  It is there that he proposes to Carla.  And even though he has hurt her and made mistakes along the way – she loves him so much – and is so childlike – with NO baggage – she is able to forgive him right away – and accept his proposal.  When her Mother has a melt down about her engagement – Carla simply says, “don’t worry Mother – I’ll be alright – I know you don’t think he can take care of me – but we are going to take care of each other – you were always trying to make me do things that I wasn’t good at – hoping I’d be someone else – and you never really saw me.  I’m just ME.  I don’t know how to do those things – but I know how to love“.

All of us – young or old – know how to love.  Even if you’ve come from extreme circumstances in your life – you were made to give and receive love.

It is something born in us – instinctive and wonderful.  You don’t need to have a college degree or even an ability to do a complex mathematical equation.   Loving is not limited to just the wisest or the richest.  It knows no racial, religious or political boundaries.  Love just is.  Plain and simple – and we all know how to do it.  Even a child knows how to love.  And there is nothing like really being loved – and fully giving that love to another.

Who do you love today?  Do they know it?  Are you free enough from all your “baggage” that you are able to also receive love – no questions asked?  I challenge you today to be a “giver” of love – sweet and pure – with no hidden motive or expectation.  I also challenge you to be open to receive love in your own life.  You are loved.  I challenge you to open yourself up to God’s great love for you – and I challenge you –  to love yourself.

I am praying for you

God Bless

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