Musings From A Musical Mind

Posts tagged ‘Friendship’

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The Winds Of Change

All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another. ~Anatole France

We are in the season of “change”.  I don’t what this will mean, ultimately.  But I do know that I can resist change – or ride along with it.  It is my choice.

Change is a part of life.  To stand still and refuse change is like a child holding his hands over his ears with eyes closed saying, “I can’t hear you – I can’t HEAR YOU!   NANNY, NANNY BOO BOO!!!”  Ridiculous, right?  Unfortunately, the older I get I can honestly say that those things that used to sound appealing and fun – do not entice me anymore.  Nor do I like things where I seemingly have no control.  Yeah – I’m funny that way.

None of us like to think we are leaving a part of ourselves behind.  But in essence this is what we do when we embark on a new adventure.  Change.  That one word can alter everything.  Dying to one life – entering into another.  With no control – or at least it feels that way.

After years of doing the same thing – year after year with not much variation in my schedule – I am at long last taking a sabbatical.  I do not know how long this will be.  Nor do I have any idea where this change will take me – as it most likely will mean a move out of state for us.  As we explore opportunities for our “next chapter” I am again reminded of how much I used to love change.  “I love change, I love change – yes I do.  I really do.  I really mean that

So for all of you out there who are on the cusp of something great – or you simply don’t know where you are heading – but feel the winds of change, I hope that you will not feel alone.  There is someone else out there in the blogging community that knows what you’re feeling and going through.  Try to find the positive in change.  Remember that change brings its own rewards – new friends, new situations to discover, new places to explore – lasting memories and a wonderful opportunity to use gifts you never dreamed you possessed.

Don’t resist it.  Go with it.  Ride the wave – feel the melancholy, drink it in.  And then – finally learn to embrace the impossible.

I am praying for you,

God Bless

Three Beautiful Things

"Everytime you smile at someone, it is an...

“Everytime you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, and a truly beautiful thing…” (Photo credit: deeplifequotes)

 

Today has been a series of three beautiful things.

 

A reunion with an old friend doing what we love best – singing.

 

A glowing recommendation from a former colleague that turned into a new student and future friend.

 

A message from a former student, long ago in another life, telling me what an impact I made in his life all those years ago.

 

All of these are wonderful in themselves and each of them gives me many things to ponder.  But the fact that all three occurred on the same day is a beautiful gift.

 

Sometimes we just plod along, unaware how we affect others.  Those of us who are teachers, coaches and encourage others – take for granted what we do each day as just part of the job.  It is sometimes not until we really need to hear it – that the miracle of blessing comes.  And sometimes it does not ever come.  And that’s okay.

 

But today…

 

Today as I went about my day – these three beautiful things happened.

 

And I am grateful.

 

And very blessed.

 

Go out and bless someone’s life today.  Tell them what you appreciate about their life and what they mean to you.  I promise that they will be blessed by your words and  you will be their beautiful thing. 

 

 

 

God Bless

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Change Of Scenery

Today I am almost fully recovered from a week long cold. I cannot remember the last time I was sick with a cold. It seems so long ago. I pulled my prescription cough syrup off the top shelf in my bathroom, a sure sign of any affliction that made me wheeze, sneeze and cough. The date is June 2012.

I don't get sick very often. There is no time in my schedule usually, so I just don't do it. I do not like being sick. The simplest of tasks become exasperating. I get short with Greg and the dogs. I have to blow my nose every 3 seconds. I can't breathe.

But life and my teaching schedule went on. There is no time in a teacher's existence to be sick during the work week. I have a tiny window of time each weekend to be sick. Why – oh WHY did it last so long this time? I thought I would drink lots of orange juice, get some more sleep and I'd be all better by the next day – but it didn't turn out that way. I went through tons of oranges making my nutribullet juice.

But after being cooped up all week – it is nice to be out again, not just once but twice today! I told Greg that it's important to get out to have that important change of scenery. We all need a fresh perspective. A chance to take something new in – to reflect ad look at things in a new way.

As I sit here and write Greg is meeting with potential new wedding clients, I looked up a moment ago to see a familiar face smiling and walking over toward my table. It is a young lady from one of Greg's many wedding ceremonies. We are in an obscure spot – and somehow it is a very small world. She has never forgotten either of us and we are grateful for the gift of friendship and encouragement from so many wherever we go.

This is the best part of going out of my home. Meeting up with people. Sharing in laughter and small talk. Hearing pleasant chatter from the table next to me. Hearing laughter from the baristas around the corner and most of all – feeling so much better!!

Have a wonderful Sunday

God Bless

Are You Alone?

I am at a Starbucks out of town, while on a road trip with Greg. I noticed when walking in this place that it was unusually crowded. I peered around for a vacant table – and then I saw it. The only empty table in the place. A lonely LARGE table. This table holds eight people. It is empty. There are many smaller tables around it – all full. It is awkward. Little old me at such a large table. By myself. Alone.

Throughout the years I have witnessed people alone at a table for two in restaurants. I'm sure they are uncomfortable. They avoid eye contact, are often reading a book or a magazine and trying to “appear” busy. At the few times I have found myself alone out in public having to eat alone at a table for two – it is very awkward. I try not to feel that way – but the society in which we live – dictates that to be alone means something dreadful and sad. You feel people watching you – you want to scream, “I'm only alone because I am choosing it” but it is no use. Alone is alone. No matter how you slice it.

Many people find themselves alone at different seasons in life. Usually it is not planned, can happen suddenly and takes them by surprise. Being alone is an unpleasant prospect. Being alone out in public – even scarier. Especially for women.

I have often marveled at how people, once in a long-term relationship and suddenly alone, can begin again. They takes the necessary steps to go out in public again – and even after time *gasp* – begin the thought process of dating again. *Double gasp* The first time around is scary enough for anyone – why oh WHY would anyone choose to do it again? – I've always thought. But at the same time – I am amazed and warmed by those who have not only taken steps to not be alone – but actually find someone else. The chances for 'love the second time around' are really great!! And I have witnessed this marvel – many times over the years. Usually it is a long time friend, who also finds them-self alone or in this technically advanced society – through online dating sites.

The holidays can be wonderful – but also very lonely. Especially for those who have lost a mate, child or friend. There are so many sad songs surrounding the holidays. Some of the best lyrics involve sadness and loss. You would have to be intensely naive – to think that this season is automatically joyful for all.

If you are alone this season, the best thing you can do is get out and be with people. Attend a church service, holiday concert or an invite to a Christmas party. You may find that the warmth of friendship is your anchor and will bring you additional courage in the months to come. And because you are alone – your relationship with others in your life will become much more precious and you will now have time to renew old ties. If you have The Lord in your life – you know how much of a comfort it is to have a friend that “sticks closer than a brother” and who knows it all. He will become more dear to you during this time.

If you know someone who is alone for the first time this season – invite them over. Be a friend. Look around. Notice the ones who are alone in your church services. Get involved. Show gentleness and compassion. Spread love around. Sprinkle kindness. Stir in humor. Fold in understanding. Bring true meaning to the season this year. Make someone's Christmas truly special. You may be the only person who can.

God Bless

 

God Is Still Working

I have been enjoying my devotional time with Joyce Meyer Ministries.  The other day Joyce was teaching on “Asking God” – as taken from these scriptures:

Matthew 7:7-11 (NKJV)

7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

Matthew 21:22 (NKJV)

22 And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.

If you are like me you have heard these scriptures many times.  I had heard them but must admit that I was not really asking.  Somehow it did not seem polite to keep asking for things – like a spoiled child who never thinks about anybody else but themselves.  Me, me, ME!!!!  Mine, mine, MINE!!!  Whah, whah, WHAH!!!!  It just felt WRONG.

So my prayer and communication had taken on a different tone over the years.  Always respectful and thankful, bringing out confessions, my weaknesses and concerns for others, my family and friends.  Walking and talking with God.  But I believe I was missing one important aspect to prayer.  I wasn’t asking.

Not only does God say to ask – but we are told to do so boldly.

Hebrews 4:16

New King James Version (NKJV)

16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

So the other night in my prayer time – I took a bold step and just asked.  And because God already knows what I am thinking about I have to believe that the asking is partly for me.  A step of faith.  It helps me get things out and really deal with them.  Rather than shoving them aside – or pushing them down deep where I don’t have to think about them.

Another thing Joyce said was this:  Even if we don’t see the answer to prayer after asking – we need to tell ourselves that God is still working.  That clear statement of faith with drive doubt and negativity from our minds and hearts when the waiting for answers seems long and hard.  To think that when I boldly ask – and then leave it with Him to work it out in His timing behind the scenes – leaves me feeling peaceful and reassured.

For some circumstances it is easy to believe and have faith in the process of God’s timing.  It is maybe even easy to ask.  But there are situations where it is very difficult to ask.  I have one right now – that has actually made me feel guilty about even asking.  But the other night I asked anyway.  I gave it away, and though I’m sure it won’t automatically just go away from my mind and heart – I took the steps to begin that great ‘behind the scenes’ work that only God can provide.

Have you an issue right now that you’re afraid to even ask about?  You can be reassured that God wants you to ask.  He will work out the details.  He is trustworthy to bring only good for your life, peace for your soul and health for your mind and body.

Ask Him today.  And know that He is still working.

God Bless

Trusting God

Hand in Hand

Hand in Hand (Photo credit: Jenn Durfey)

The other day I walked and talked with a friend.  I felt safe.  There was a quiet understanding and acceptance there – a  freedom to be all I am supposed to be.  A human touch and validation can soothe in the dark and gray areas that lurk in the corners of our heart and mind.  Especially true if you, like I have known the sharp betrayal of trust from a ‘friend’.

Sometimes we can talk more freely to a trusted friend – and not feel that same freedom when we talk with God. Even when we know He will not betray us – or hurt us in any way.   I don’t know if it’s because saying things out loud to Him makes us feel silly, and seem unnecessary – as He already knows it all before we utter a single word – or if in saying things out loud confirms just how foolish, jealous, prideful, secretive, malicious and self-serving we are – even in what we feel are the best of circumstances.  But I do know this:  just because He already knows – does not discount His absolute validation and understanding, His stubborn acceptance and love.  As I learn to trust more – with all my feelings, no matter how silly they seem to me – I find no condemnation there.

I once heard a powerful message on the subject about being truthful with God.  We can hide from those around us – and even ourselves – but we cannot hide from Him.  We may fool ourselves into thinking that He will not know if we do not speak of it – yet scripture and everything we know about God would say otherwise.  And still He wants us to come to Him and confess it – say it out loud.  I like to think of it like this:  If I’m walking and talking with a good trusted friend – I would not hold back in expressing myself.  How much more should I trust the one who made me?  The one who has a unique “take” on my multifaceted personality – who is not surprised when something is difficult for me to get over – or I cannot seem to ‘get it’?  Who lovingly understands when things are frustrating for me.   He patiently waits for me to finish my rant when all I want are answers to questions when there are no answers.  How much more confidant should I be to bring all to Him – the things He has asked me to walk away from – the things that still bother me – the tears that no one sees?  And the absolute feeling of failure because I am still ‘going there’?  The fear of betrayal.

If you are on a similar journey – learning to open up and empty out your heart to God – and you’re finding it difficult knowing where to start, remember what it is like talking to your very best friend – someone you trust with your secrets, private emails and conversations.  You know they will not betray you – no matter how crazy you sound.  They will keep it to themselves and only want the very best for you.  God is much more trustworthy than your most trusted friend here on earth.  He will not turn you in, ‘rat you out’, embarrass or humiliate you.  He will listen.  He will quietly wait for you.  And then He will lovingly show you what to do next.  He is on your side – in your corner and has your back.  Forever.  Trust Him today.  Start that conversation with this:

Dear Lord – I know I’ve blown it big time in the past.  I’ve been a big failure and disappointment to others, myself and to you.  I don’t want to live that way anymore.  I’m tired of feeling bad, guilty and tired all the time.  I need you to replace all the icky stuff in my life with your forgiveness, peace, joy and love.  I believe you came to earth, died for my sins and rose again to give me eternal life.  I believe all I have to do is accept you into my life and that you and I together can begin a new life.  I need you as a trusted friend to help me through my many problems and decisions.  I am going to start today to trust you.  I believe that nothing is impossible with you.  Help me to come to you whenever the going gets tough – I am going to talk with you everyday and together we will figure it out.  Thank you so much for loving me.  Amen

If you sincerely prayed that prayer above – you’re ready to have daily conversations with Him.  Let Him into your thought life – your daily circumstances and everything that touches and affects you.  Nothing surprises Him – nothing takes Him off guard.  He is willing and able to be your support and help in time of need.  And because He made you and formed your unique personality – He knows just how to help, comfort and support you – like no one else can.

God Bless

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

The Risk Of Friendship

There is a conference happening next weekend in Chicago called “When Jesus met Mary – A sacred friendship gathering”. It is a conference exploring friendship between men and women. Here is the link from the website of Dan Brennan.  Dan is an author and leader of this event – he is also a new friend of mine, and I have enjoyed his blog articles and things he has written on the subject of men and women.

This has been a subject of much debate over the years – emotional affairs seem to be on the rise – especially in churches and among leadership.  Can a relationship between a man and a woman who are NOT married – be just a friendship?  Can they love each other, be concerned and care about each other?  Be involved in their daily life, share humor, special moments and kindness?  I believe they can.  My friend and fellow blogging buddy Alise Write wrote a great article on the subject today of “Guard your heart” – what does it really mean?  To put a fence around it – or to love recklessly and on the wild side – like Jesus did?

We all have a story – or know someone who does, where it taints our idea of platonic love between the sexes.  I get it.  And it is a risk to love someone – regardless of gender.  But I believe with all my heart that it doesn’t have to be that way.  I believe that we can love – with no fear – like Jesus did.  Where the end result is a deep and lasting friendship.  Is it a risk?  Yes – all the time.  I’ve risked myself several times, been misunderstood, been betrayed, humiliated and accused – because of someone’s fear.  But I believe that there can be a safe place to have others in our lives – where understanding, respect, kindness, gentleness and love – compel us to do right – not wrong.  And I believe that day is coming – as we move past our fear of sin where we bind up the protection of our heart so tight that no one can get in – and where every one of the opposite sex looks menacing and evil – and into a better place of community and relationship where we don’t think of others as “scary”, “sinful” or “just wrong”.

As I’ve written about before – I have had several male friends in my life – before I was married and since.  I still have several that I consider very close friends – who I can count on – and I know would have my back in any crisis or situation.  They are stable, kind, funny and solid.  And I love being able to be myself with them with no judgement.  I love that I don’t have to explain myself to them – and I love it that Greg agrees that all of these men are good people – and he is friends with them as well.  There is no room for jealousy in our marriage – and we have done the hard work to rid ourselves of that – and we have a better marriage because of it.

I’m hoping there will be a day when this subject is an understood one – where people can agree to love deeply and build relationships based on trust and the common good. Where friendship is not seen as suspicious, because of so much abuse – but instead looked on with acceptance and love.

I want to challenge you today:  Live a life of love – of intentional relationship – with no fear.  Take the risk of friendship.  You’ll be glad you did.

 

God Bless

A Life Worth Watching

god

god (Photo credit: the|G|™)

“One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it’s worth watching.” –Unknown

At the end of the day – when no one else is watching, that is where truth and honesty shake hands and become good friends.  Forced together in the privacy of my own heart – this is where I find myself,  facing my own life and my own truth.

It is not what I do in public, or even with good friends – it is what happens to me in private that really matters.

I can “put it on” – and shine for people – light up a stage, cause people to laugh, or even brighten someone’s day.  But it is in that secret place that only I know about, where my life begins and ends.

My good deeds will indeed be remembered by many, and my encouragement and willingness to lend a hand to those in need, my gifts of service to others and even things I write about, be note worthy and even may be talked about at the end of my time here on earth.

But it is in my heart – the place where no one sees that is of worth to God alone.  He takes special interest – enough to make a permanent dwelling place there.  It is there that I cannot hide my attitude, my motives and my desires.  I am forced to be real, honest, flawed, imperfect, disheartened, confused, depressed, even rebellious and questioning.  Most of these things I can easily hide from you.  But I cannot hide it from myself or God.

So for me to be a success – it is not in the outward, the things I have accomplished in my work, with friends or family – it is in the private moments and in the state of my own heart.  The place that I am reduced to each day when I am alone with my own thoughts.  Where God remains with no signs of bolting.  He stays through the toughest storms in my mind – the confusion of hurt, and even when I’m not being honest with myself.  He stays to be a gentle reminder of what my life can be.  A buffer to still the messiness and clutter that I take on myself.  He alone knows the real me – what my life is really like away from the eyes of people I know.

And though I am well aware that I have not arrived – I would like my private life – that only God and I know about to be His vision for me.

One where I have learned through experience, time and patience that kindness, gentleness, meekness and graciousness have won and are becoming more evident, more real, each new year – as I strain forward to be more loving and more understanding and compassionate, regardless of circumstances around me, or reactions of events or from people who have come and gone.  It will be that steady, unwavering conviction that love always wins, gentleness heals, and showing mercy is always the best way.

This is what I hold as a true value in my life – and the true test whether I have been a success at the end of my life.

What about you?  Will your life be a life worth watching?

God Bless

Deferring To The One Not Sleep Challenged

My assignment today was to write about a recent event hosted at my home with fellow blogging buddies (and personal friends) from the West Coast, AKA – West Coast Ninja’s. However – I am WAY to tired and over stimulated due to our recent trip to the Tri-Cities yesterday to pick up our new addition – 6 1/2 week old Daisy, a Bichon Frise puppy.  And although she is mostly very good – she DOES take up the WHOLE bed and I did not have my usual amount of sleep for the last two night – the first in anticipation of going to get her – and last night – her first time home with us.

However, while I may have no brain cells left to write coherently on the subject of our wild and wonderful adventure – my good friend, Deanna has written about it in the following article. Egg timers, Oreo Castles and Twitter…with Cindy’s delicious cheese dip.  I thought it was so clever – so I invite you to check it out. In the article – please find links to the other fellow bloggers from this great event and see what they have to say about the AWESOME West Coast Ninja’s!

God Bless!

Oh – and “Hi” from Daisy 🙂

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