Musings From A Musical Mind

Posts tagged ‘Seattle’

Are You Present?

Queen of the day

Queen of the day (Photo credit: simon.hucko)

 

Last weekend I was invited to go with Greg as he officiated a wedding.  The venue was the Columbia Winery nestled in a scenic part of Woodinville, Washington.

 

This was a unique gathering – most were relatives of ours, although we had never met the bride and I can’t remember meeting the groom either.   Greg has a long history with the step father of the groom – it is his Uncle (just 2 years older than himself)  and had in fact also officiated this Uncle’s wedding just 10 years ago.

The young couple was married on a romantic beach in Lake Tahoe last summer so this ceremony was simply a formality for the relatives and friends who live here in Seattle.

 

What I observed was something I usually do not see at a wedding.  I was watching the bride throughout the ceremony.  She was having fun!  She would look around the room and notice all those in attendance and smile in recognition.  She was present in the moment.  She did not have tunnel vision – she saw everyone.

 

How nice not to be tired, nervous, hyper focused and mentally absent – like most brides are on their wedding day.  The pressure was off for this bride – since she was already married – she could enjoy herself fully – nothing to worry about – just have fun and enjoy her guests.  What a concept.

 

I wonder how many of us actually enjoy events that are a BIG DEAL.  Like our wedding day?  How many of us can say we are present in the moment of important days?  Most of us get so caught up in things being a certain way that we can’t enjoy the moment when it happens.

 

This year I plan to be present in the moment for all the upcoming festivities.  Thanksgiving is next week – and so what if my house isn’t perfect.  I will not wear myself out in planning and preparing – and lose sight of what really is important.  I will get my proper rest and be able to enjoy the day.  Christmas is looming ever closer with gatherings, a recital and a trip to California to see Shawn.  I am going to enjoy each one of those things – concentrate on being present for each one of them.  I will not be robbed of what is really important and be too tired physically and emotionally drained.

 

When I am relaxed in mind and body I am able to take in and give out.  Like a bride already married on her wedding day – I will be ready, relaxed and at peace.

 

 

 

God Bless

 

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A City Weeps

This last week Seattle lost long time anchor woman Kathi Goertzen.  After a long battle with brain tumors and many attempts to remove them, her compromised body had had enough.    But it was pneumonia that finally took her.

Kathi Goertzen

Kathi Goertzen (Photo credit: Steve Lacey)

Those of us living in Seattle followed her story and her courage through her long battle.  She lost her smile on the outside only – her courage never wavered.  She was a role model for grace under pressure to all of us who watched with horror as the brain tumors increased with ferocious intensity.

When we learned that she was only 54 – we were stunned.  Not that she had brain cancer and had struggled for more than 12 years with this – but that she was so young.

Greg is 52 and does weddings and funerals for a living.  It is not unusual for him to perform a memorial service for young adults and those more than 10 years younger than himself.  It seems to be a growing epidemic for men and women to struggle with things like cancer and heart issues to die while only in their early forties.  On rare occasions it happens even earlier.

I am reminded of what the Bible says in James 4: 13-14

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

Our bodies are temporary and meant to break down and eventually die.  The body is not who we are and we cannot be defined by it.  Our real self is much deeper than just our body and will live on past this life.  I am grateful for this, as I have had people I love already pass on into the next life.  And it is especially comforting to read in Romans 6:23:

The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

A gift from God.  No matter what happens to me while I’m here on earth.  No matter what battles physically I have to fight.  A place where there will be no more fighting.  No more long battles with things like cancer and heart disease.  No more sickness of any kind.  No more loss.  No more weeping.

I am taking many long moments of reflection in this last week to truly be thankful and live in the moment.  Because we are not promised tomorrow – any of us, it is important to stay in the present and live in an eternal state of contentment and thankfulness.

My prayer for you and your family is this:  That you may stop and reflect today on the many reasons you have to be thankful.  For contentment and courage in all your present circumstances.  And for the love of Jesus to be an ever-present compass as you embrace your life and others around you.

God Bless

A Good Father

Tomorrow we celebrate another Father’s Day.  I am fortunate to still have my father – he is pushing 80 and that is very hard to believe!  Some of my friends younger than me have already lost their father.  Some do not have pleasant memories of their biological father.  Some have emotionally disconnected because of that.  Some never knew their father.  Some of those relationships were complicated.  And like there are so many different individuals and personality types – so there is father and child.

What does it mean to be a good father?  If you were lucky like my sister and me – who had a good father – one who was steady and hard-working, who loved the Lord and his wife – then you were blessed.

So many do not have a legacy like this one.  My own father does not.  With a biological father who fled when he was a baby and a biological mother who abandoned him at a young age – he had absolutely no idea and no role models to show him how to be a good father.   The family that raised him taught him how to work hard.  And he was determined to be a better person and example than that of his parents.  In recent years he has written of his experiences growing up with this family on a farm in northern Canada.  He chooses to remember the good and to take all things taught him, to be generous in nature and finances and God has truly blessed him.

My father was a young father – just 22 years old when my sister was born – he was mature for his age because of his life experiences.  But my mother and father were very poor and going to school was difficult for them and they had to work hard for my father to have any education and succeed.  As a little girl I remember spending the summers in Missoula, Montana for him to work little by little on his master’s degree in music.  The summers were hot and sticky and we spent much of our childhood in little plastic swimming pools with the neighbor kids.  My father was a high school teacher in Calgary, Alberta – our home until I was 8 years old.

In 1969 we moved to Seattle, Washington so my father could pursue his doctorate at the University of Washington.  Times were hard.  There was very little money – but as a kid I don’t remember being poor like my parents do.  It took about 3 years for my father to earn his Ph.D all the while teaching part-time at Northwest University in Kirkland (formally known as Northwest College).  His special distinction is that he was the youngest and the first man to receive his doctorate at the College – and still a Canadian.

I remember during those years it was important for us to be quiet in the evenings so my father could study.  He was always studying for another exam and another level that would earn him the ultimate goal of that doctorate.  But once a week – he would put away his studies and we would have a family night where we would watch our favorite TV programs and eat cake.

The father/daughter relationship is not too difficult to understand – it is simple and straightforward, uncomplicated.  I have seen this same understanding in our own daughter and her father.   The adoration of father/daughter goes both ways without effort.  But I have seen Greg relate to each of our children in different ways.  With a son it is much more difficult over time – especially as that son grows up and becomes a man.  The son tries his whole life to gain the approval of his father – while the daughter does not have to prove anything – she just is.

I believe that Greg has had his own issues to come to grips with concerning his own father.  It is in the things spoken or written that are sometimes hurtful, though well-intentioned – but also in the things that are not spoken.  Being and staying a good father is like walking a tight-rope as your children are not small anymore – but have their own lives and families.  And it is much harder for a father of a daughter to accept a son-in-law as another man now enters the picture and takes over where he has always been king.

We are both lucky in that we have wonderful memories of our father.  It seems incredible that we are as old as we are – and that our own fathers are as old as they are too!  But what we’ve learned over the years is this:  some things are timeless and unspoken between a father and his children.  Hopes, dreams, plans and happiness are always there in a silent prayer as you watch your legacy continue through your own children and grandchildren.  And if you are lucky enough to have a Christian praying father then you are indeed blessed.

Happy Father’s Day to all of you Dads out there!  May your children have fond memories and speak well of you when you are old.

God Bless

Here is a great song of dedication for all you Dads out there!

Shadows are falling and I’m running out of breath
Keep me in your heart for awhile

If I leave you it doesn’t mean I love you any less
Keep me in your heart for awhile

When you get up in the morning and you see that crazy sun
Keep me in your heart for awhile

There’s a train leaving nightly called when all is said and done
Keep me in your heart for awhile

Sha-la-la-la-la-la-la-li-li-lo
Keep me in your heart for awhile

Sha-la-la-la-la-la-la-li-li-lo
Keep me in your heart for awhile

Sometimes when you’re doing simple things
around the house
Maybe you’ll think of me and smile

You know I’m tied to you like the buttons on
your blouse
Keep me in your heart for awhile

Hold me in your thoughts, take me to your dreams
Touch me as I fall into view
When the winter comes keep the fires lit
And I will be right next to you

Engine driver’s headed north to Pleasant Stream
Keep me in your heart for awhile

These wheels keep turning but they’re running out
of steam
Keep me in your heart for awhile

Sha-la-la-la-la-la-la-li-li-lo
Keep me in your heart for awhile

Sha-la-la-la-la-la-la-li-li-lo
Keep me in your heart for awhile

Keep me in your heart for awhile

On A Clear Day

Driving to Seattle on a clear day is very revealing.  It shows me what I’ve been missing all the other days of the year.  The things that are there, yet hidden.  The Cascade Mountains, for one.  Suddenly I’m aware that my world isn’t so small after all – and just beyond my ability to perceive them lies untold beauty.

Views of Gas Works Park and Lake Union facing ...

Views of Gas Works Park and Lake Union facing towards the North East from Queen Anne, Seattle WA. The Lake Washington Ship Canal Bridge is in the background with a backdrop of the University of Washington and the Cascade Mountains. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How many times are we like a cloudy, rainy day in our thoughts – going along through the day with all the correct motions and intentions, and yet perceiving our world as much smaller than it really is.

I was challenged to take a lesson from nature – open up my eyes and LOOK around me – for things I cannot see with my natural limited senses.  I want to reach far beyond the box of “normal” and see with God eyes all the beauty I’m missing.

I thought of the song “On a clear day you can see forever” and was reminded that it is clearness in both our eyes and thoughts that can give us that unique perspective on things around us.  And I want to always remember what is invisible when the storms of life close in on me and I cannot see.

Dear Lord – help me to hang on to that clear vision from those clear days – and to use it when those tough times close in around me.

When was the last time you saw things with “clear vision”?

I heard the following song on Spotify today from a local Seattle band – and have been writing this article with this tune in my head.

Enjoy and God Bless

Tell me somethin’, give me hope for the night
We don’t know how we feel
We’re just prayin’ that we’re doin’ this right
Though that’s not the way it seems

Summer gone, now winter’s on its way
I will miss the days we had
The days we had
I will miss the days we had
The days we had
Oh, I’ll miss the days we had

Loving, leaving, it’s too late for this now
Such esteem for each has gone
Has time driven our season away?
Cause that’s the way it seems
In the world of the speech that is new
I’ll be back again to stay
Again to stay
I’ll be back again to stay
Again to stay
I’ll be back again to stay

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

When Pop Machines Attack

Two Slurpees in a car cupholder.

Two Slurpees in a car cupholder. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The other day was sunny and “warmish” in Seattle – and I was feeling like having a coke slurpee.  We were on the way to take a drive on a lazy Sunday afternoon and Greg stopped at our neighborhood 7-11.  Because we had our puppy in the truck with us – I went in alone to get my slurpee and snacks for the road.

As I approached the slurpee machine – I noticed one of the nozzles on the pop machine right next to the slurpees, sizzling and spraying – like a hose from the yard where the nozzle has been tightened not to let any water out – after a while the water pressure is too much if the water is not turned off and the end begins to sizzle and spray.  It was just a very small amount – so I did not pay too much attention to it and proceeded to choose my cup.  Finally the angry nozzle just LET GO – and I jumped back in time, barely avoiding getting completely soaked.  The manager quickly came over and adjusted something to stop the spray.  He then went to the back of the store and disappeared, I assumed to shut the machine off – and I went back to where I was and started filling up my slurpee cup.

Suddenly without warning – no sizzling, no sound of pressure – the nozzle EXPLODED – and it was too late to get out-of-the-way this time.  It was all over me.  I remember thinking right while it was happening – “this will make a really good blog article – no one will believe this!”

That is my story – exactly as it happened.  I received no apology for the explosion – maybe there was none that needed to be given – I mean, whose fault was it anyway?  It seemed like just a freak accident.  I mean – things sometimes just happen, right?

When was the last time an explosion happened close to you, right on you or by you?  Do you ever feel like that nozzle – ready to just EXPLODE?  No warning – no lead up – just all of a sudden – “THAR SHE BLOWS”!!

What’s your story?

God Bless

Galatians 6:1-3

Laetare

Laetare (Photo credit: Lawrence OP)

For the last several weeks, our pastor has been talking about “fruit of the spirit” out of Galatians 5.  Yesterday he talked about “goodness and kindness”. Galatians 6:1-3 has been a theme throughout the series and was mentioned again yesterday.

This particular portion of scripture has been a puzzle to me since first reading it.  Here it is in the NIV:

1 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves.

Greg and I were driving to Seattle yesterday and the subject turned to this passage and my questions of what exactly does it mean entered into a long debate.  It seems clear that we should always restore a fallen brother or sister gently when caught in sin – but after that it is stated “But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted”.  Tempted with the same sin?  Tempted with some other sin?  What exactly is Paul saying here?

I researched parallel versions of this passage and most of them have the word tempted in them.  However – it is unclear how the person restoring is actually tempted.

Two thoughts here:

1)  Tempted by association with the person involved in the sin – such as a counseling situation that is unhealthy with no boundaries in place – allowing inappropriate sharing and confiding – therefore allowing the person “helping” to be brought down – even though more “spiritual”.

or

2) Tempted by “spiritual” self-righteous pride – looking down on others who are not as good and strong as they – blasting them for weaknesses and sins that are so far beneath them.  Creating their own “blind-side” for helping others – devoid of the proper amount of compassion and empathy for those fallen.  This is a “set-up” for failure in many areas – not necessarily the same one.

One thing is very clear.  Paul says to “be careful” or this will happen to you.

I was thinking that the true meaning was more like the first reason – and Greg was leaning toward the second one.  Until I found this passage in the New Living:

1 Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer[a] is overcome by some sin, you who are godly[b] should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.

This seems to support #1 above.  And here it is in the Message:

1-3 Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out.

This is probably my favorite version of all.  I love how it emphasizes keeping your critical comments to yourself – and saying you might be needing forgiveness.  And that forgiveness might be needed for many different things.

So it seems we do not have the exact meaning – still, I believe that the heart of that passage is whenever you confront someone caught in sin – or feel they are doing something inappropriate, you must be careful how you approach it – very carefully and lovingly – being sure to remember that you too are frail, weak and prone to sin and sinful situations all the time.  And you certainly are no judge and jury in and of yourself.  Be careful not to look down on those who slip and fall – or it will come back to bite you – maybe not that particular sin – but one that you don’t see coming.  So be ON GUARD – and live humbly and authentically with others.  Most sin happens because it hits our blind side.

When was the last time you were judged harshly and not lovingly from someone?  How did it make you feel?  Did you wonder (like I did) when it would be their turn to be tempted with sin because of their harsh words of judgement and criticism?

Remember that God is the final judge – and that He knows your heart best.  Make things right with Him today – and don’t worry about others.  It will take care of itself in the end.

God Bless

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