Musings From A Musical Mind

Archive for the ‘Success’ Category

Living On The Edge

I recently ran across this article from my new blogging buddy  Elizabeth Esther.  She explains how her daughter wanted to jump into their pool with her dance recital outfit on – to know what it would feel like to ‘fly’ with it on.  It’s a sweet story complete with a picture of her ‘in flight’ after Elizabeth finally relented to letting her daughter ruin her outfit for that ‘thrill’ of flying through the air.

Absurd?  Impracticable?   Foolishly frivolous?   Yes.  All of these – and more.

A chance to ‘let go’ – to ‘run with reckless abandon’ and do something spontaneous – just because.

We lose this ability as we mature.  We become responsible and (gasp!) practical.  We think in terms of conserving and ‘pulling in’ – often times squelching any creativity or spontaneity.   Because we are grown up and have to act responsibly – I mean if we don’t – WHO WILL?  Right?

Do you remember a time when you ran through the sprinklers in your yard (or someone else’s) and got soaking wet?  Even your hair?  And it felt SO GOOD, didn’t it?  Just kicked off your shoes and ran through!

How about the time you risked your life swinging on a rope swing?  The kind that was on its last few precious strands of rope weeks before and everyone that was swinging on it – you just knew they were on borrowed time?

When was the last time you had a popsicle?  The kind you used to get when you heard the ice cream man coming?  My favorites were banana and root beer.  How about a slurpee?  When was the last time?  They’re not just for kids you know 🙂

We grow up and get ‘careful’.  And not just ‘careful’ – but ‘cautious’.  Life becomes so serious to us – and granted – there is much to be serious about.  There are bills to be paid – and family situations – but there is also a mind-set that creeps in – if we’re not careful.  The mind-set that fun is for the young – and life becomes very mundane and predictable.

Well – that may be okay for you – but NOT FOR ME!  I love excitement – I even have to have something exciting for breakfast!  No dull and dry cereal for me – NO SIR!  I need something – ANYTHING with a little pizzaz! A yummy bagel with flavored cream cheese – or a wonderful mouth-watering scone – or a Danish with a little something extra – you know. Greg likes the same thing for breakfast everyday. (Boring) He really likes it like that!  Amazing!

I like to ‘live on the edge’ – LOVE adventure, romance and just plain living! Greg likes consistency and routine.  That’s where he is comfortable and safe.

Greg knows that I just can’t ‘exist’ – but that I love to express myself – share love and friendship with those in my world and – love to explore new places and get to know new people – and love to encourage others to LIVE and LOVE life!!   And in this ‘new season’ that we find ourselves in – it is nice that we are both now self-employed and can do some of the things we’ve always wanted to do – it doesn’t always take money to do them – (we don’t have any – so that’s good!) and I’m thrilled for that!

We do something fun everyday. Each day is an adventure.  We had been married far too long – raised a couple of children before we realized that the ‘fun’ and ‘spontaneity’ had been robbed from us.  I blame so many things on that – the families we were both raised in (duty, work and responsibility) and the church we found ourselves in for years (appearances and being an example) – and yet I know that these only served as a guide – and did not mean to suck the joy out of our marriage – but somehow – they did.  Add to that the stresses of life, family situations and burdens from those in crisis close to us – and even some dysfunctional behavior from others and mix it all together and you can get a very dry and tired marriage. With no joy.  Safe, predictable, practical and boring. A slow death sentence for me.

Bringing ‘fun’ back into our marriage was a choice – but also a necessity. Without it – we would not have made it.  We took a step toward excitement – and I’m happy to report that keeping things ‘fresh’ and ‘new’ has become our theme song after 29 years of marriage.  We were both Christians since we were children – so our faith was never in question – just our ‘duty’ and commitment’ became old and stale and we needed a better reason than that to keep doing the same old things over and over and over again.  Like a worn out song that never ends – is how our marriage was becoming.  We were becoming that couple with an ‘arrangement’ but that really wasn’t very happy anymore.  And it scared us.  We refused to be that couple and live that way – with separate lives and interests – pulling further and further apart.

How did we turn it around?  We brought FUN back into our relationship.  We looked closely at us.  Not the ‘us’ as parents of our two wonderful children – not the ‘us’ as a ministry couple (as most people had known us) – not the ‘us’ as wonderful obedient children of our own parents – but we just stepped back and looked at us. And we had to go back and remember just what it was that sparked that interest and kept us – way back then.  The ‘little’ things that meant so much back then.  We started doing that again.  We started thinking of ways to be creative without much money – going and doing something interesting everyday together – being spontaneous and FUN!  Not holding back or squelching each others creativity – but allowing each other to be exactly who we are. And that included allowing each other to grow individually without feeling threatened by it.  I have a lot of friends and love each of them in their own special way.  Greg now understands how important that is to me and does not limit me – nor is he threatened by it.  I understand Greg’s need to feel ‘safe’ by routine and his work – and encourage him to do the things that make him most happy and fulfill him as a man.  It is a win/win – born out of necessity – and has grown into something secure and trusted – a mutual respect and understanding for each other – two completely different people who decided to grow old together and two people who chose each other.

Here’s wishing you and yours some fun and spontaneity – as you endeavor to ‘live on the edge’ in your marriage and in your own personal life.

God Bless

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How Do You Define Success?

Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.

Albert Schweitzer

Heard an excellent message on Sunday morning.  The topic: “How do you define success?”  Pastor Greg was speaking from the book of Luke – the portion on “The Beatitudes” – where Jesus is speaking “Kingdom” concepts to the crowd and especially the disciples.  He was speaking things that were in direct contradiction to the way human nature and limited senses allowed them to comprehend.  They always had trouble understanding what Jesus was trying to teach them because it went against everything they were taught – everything they knew.  They saw Him with people – heard Him teach  walked right there beside Him – working crowds of people with such grace and mercy – healing people and dealing with things without impatience or crankiness.  But they still did not understand Him – and they were right there with Him.  Today we still don’t get it – even though we have the Bible – and many writings from scholars and very wise intellectuals to help us be  “enlightened” and “informed” on what scripture said and what Jesus really meant when He said it.  Our ways are so much different from His.  Our definitions of “greatness” have more to do with “power” and “being the best” than it does with being “meek” and “humble” – even “poor in spirit”.  We care more about how we look to those around us – than just simply doing what’s right.  Even though we know from what we read here that the “last will be first” and that success here on earth is very different from success with God.

This led to the question – “how do you define success?” – and more importantly, “how do you define your success?”  What will people say about you will you die?  My husband deals with this all the time when he councils with grieving families – preparing to do a someone’s funeral service.  He will meet with the family and hear their stories.  How does their family remember them?   Was it their spotless house?  Their finely manicured lawn and beautifully landscaped yard?  Did they have many possessions but no happiness?  Did they invest in people?  What do their friends and family say about them?  Do they even have anything nice they can say about them?  Sometimes – there isn’t much nice to say.  Sometimes the person was never able to give love – never showed any compassion to anyone – never had any friends.  Sad, sad, sad.

But the happier funerals have been where the one that passed on was a positive influence – and a happy person – one who had found the secret of success in their own personal life – and lived it out.  Creating a legacy from personal success – a relationship with Jesus – the giver of ultimate joy and peace – and one who surrounded themselves with good people in their lifetime – who learned from mistakes – pulled themselves up time and time again – who would not give in – or give up.  Who loved people and had love returned back to them.  Who was happy in what they did – and was content.

I love the quote at the top of this article – because  I would have to say that success for me is doing something that I feel I have been gifted in – and doing it with my whole heart and soul – loving God,  my family and friends with everything in me – being a positive encourager and lover of people – and finding that all the joy and happiness that is given away – is again brought back to me full circle and running over. That to me – is success.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. Philippians 4:12

And like Paul in this scripture – I want to do my best to live this out in my own life.  I know I do not hit the mark all the time – but it is my ultimate goal. I am still learning.  I am still on a journey.  A journey to learn to be contented – and find success through contentment.

I am praying for you tonight – that you too would find the secret of “being content” and also be able to write your own “personal” statement of success.

God Bless

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