Musings From A Musical Mind

Posts tagged ‘United States’

Let Them Wait! I’m A Klutz.

I didn’t fall. The floor just needed a hug.

Hatha Yoga Standing Balance Pose - Warrior 3

Hatha Yoga Standing Balance Pose – Warrior 3 (Photo credit: myyogaonline)

Tripping, stumbling and a little off-balance.  That’s me.  I have always been a little on the clumsy side – ok  – so I’m a klutz.   This could be why I was always picked last at  baseball when I was a kid.

 

That’s ok.  I was never going to be a serious athlete.  Playing a little recreational tennis and par 3 golf were more my speed anyway.  I just wanted to feel athletic.

 

But I have always had trouble keeping my balance.  Even when doing some yoga and Pilates, it was always a challenge for me to balance on one leg.  And I have lost my balance when getting dressed or undressed in my own closet.  I have done some weight training and core strengthening exercises – but they don’t help.

 

Years ago I had a couple of bad falls.  Once in California when goofing around with family on the rocks at the ocean, I fell and sprained my right thumb – leaving me unable to write or play the piano for about 6 weeks.  Then later I fell down cement steps at the church where my husband was on staff – and broke my right foot.  I had to wear a “boot” cast for 6 weeks and could not drive.

 

It was during this time that Greg was installing new stairs in our 2-story home.  The bannister was torn out and the only way for me to go up and down the stairs was to walk very close and hug the wall while being careful not to fall again.  It must have been hilarious to watch.  Wouldn’t you have just loved to be a fly on our wall during those days?

 

I remember riding to the store with Greg and then having to walk the short distance from the parking lot to the store.  Because it was also an intersection for other cars to drive on – Greg did not want the cars to have to wait for us – so he did what any sensible guy in his position would do – he dragged me across the road.

 

I remember feeling indignant.  I mean – good grief, I was the handicapped one!  “Let them wait”, I said.  Was I wrong to feel like that?  Shouldn’t we make allowances for the ones that are slower?  Less capable?  Visibly not able?  Are people really that much in a hurry?  Can’t we slow down for all the klutzy people – like me?

 

Here’s my prayer today:  That we will all remember to slow down – look around and give others much grace and allowance.  That we will use love as a guide as we prefer others above ourselves.

 

Remember – inside everyone – is a klutz waiting to have great balance who needs understanding and a wide berth.

 

God Bless

 

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The Quiet Center

Dream of the Abandoned Chair

Dream of the Abandoned Chair (Photo credit: garlandcannon)

We sang this beautiful song during our morning church service.  The words are reflective and personal.  With any good lyrics, I find myself searching deep within and relating so well with each line.  The title is simply, “Come and find the quiet center” and invites all to pause and reflect.  In stepping away from the noise and chaos so often associated with our busy lives – I love the times I can quietly retreat and find my ‘center’ – that place reserved for God alone.  A place where He is my focus and steadiness in a world gone mad.  In the second and third verse (which are not on the video) there is a richness of word pictures.  I especially love how ‘silence is a friend who claims us, cools the heat and slows the pace’.  And ‘there’s a place for deepest dreaming, there’s a time for heart to care, in the Spirit’s lively scheming there is always room to spare!’

 

Do you have a quiet center?  A place of reflection?  A refuge in time of  the great storms in your life?  Take a minute today and reflect on these beautiful words – you will be blessed!

 

 

 

God Bless

 

 

by Shirley Erena Murray

 

1 Come and find the quiet center
in the crowded life we lead,
find the room for hope to enter,
find the frame where we are freed:
clear the chaos and the clutter,
clear our eyes, that we can see
all the things that really matter,
be at peace, and simply be.
2 Silence is a friend who claims us,
cools the heat and slows the pace,
God it is who speaks and names us,
knows our being, touches base,
making space within our thinking,
lifting shades to show the sun,
raising courage when we’re shrinking,
finding scope for faith begun.
3 In the Spirit let us travel,
open to each other’s pain,
let our loves and fears unravel,
celebrate the space we gain:
there’s a place for deepest dreaming,
there’s a time for heart to care,
in the Spirit’s lively scheming
there is always room to spare!

 

Partings and Meetings

Life is full of “meetings and partings” but rarely do we get to have it the other way around. Two years ago I wrote an article: Memories And Lost Boys. If you missed it – check it out.  It is because of that article going viral that one of my “lost boys” was able to do a “google search” for his own name – and stumble upon the article I had written several months before.  This has taken all of us on a strange and wonderful adventure and ended yesterday in a “meeting” after a “parting” some 26 years before.  When you read the article you will see that the brother, William (or Bill as we knew him back when he was just 18 years old) wrote me a comment saying, “two lost boys found” and ended up in many email and Facebook communications since then.

But I must back up.  In the article it explains that Greg and I were youth pastors in Jeannette PA in 1984 and 1985.  This is where our story began with these “boys” – four of them in fact listed in the above article.  We had a special connection with them – all four boys dedicated their lives to Jesus Christ while we were there and Greg ‘baptized’ all of them as well.  Then our world was turned upside down as the church board asked our senior pastor (a man we loved and looked up to) to resign after 10 years ministry.  We had only been there a year, but it was not an option for us to remain without the pastor who had brought us to this church from where we were living in Fairbanks, Alaska.  We soon found another position in New Castle, about 2 hours drive from Jeannette.  The brothers, John and Bill came to see us while I was pregnant with Ashlee in early 1986.  After that – the boys moved to New York with their mother and the others dispersed and went on with their lives.  We lost touch.  This was in a day before internet, email and cell phones.  When you said goodbye – it was forever – there was no way to stay in touch.  Here is what everyone looked like 27 years ago.

John is on the bike – Bill in the blue shirt.

Greg and Bill above.

John, Bill and Greg above.

Some of the girls we’ve never found – John, Bill and me above.

We lived in New Castle 3 1/2 years – and when our time was up in that church we looked to the West Coast where we both were from.  Soon we settled in a little church in California where Greg was the lead and only pastor for 3 years.  From there we ended up in Fort Worth, Texas, Vero Beach Florida and then back in Seattle where we have lived since 1995.

Not a year went by that I didn’t think of those kids in the youth group and especially the boys we had been close to.  It’s funny to think of it – Greg and I were not much older than any of them – at the time it seemed HUGE!   BUT the age gap closed in as I began to think of them and wonder where they were – knowing full well that these were not “boys” anymore but grown men – probably with families of their own – like us!

Fast forward to the age of email and internet.  Opening doors for those of us who had literally lived all over the United States!!  I was able to find some people through email – if they had been good about staying in touch – with others in was near impossible – like searching for a needle in a haystack.  When internet searching became available right around the time of our first computer, back in the late 90’s – I looked every 6 months or so for those boys.  When MySpace was all the rage – I looked for them then – when Facebook was more popular I looked again – every few months.

Fast forward to 2 years ago – the time when I wrote the article above about “lost boys”. I took a chance and listed their names – just on the perchance that someone would come across it – I didn’t know how – I just did it because you never know, right?

I forgot about it – and a few months later I found the two other boys on Facebook.  We were so excited to find Randy and Todd were both on facebook by then – and had emails and Facebook conversations with them both.  We even Skyped with Randy a couple of times and it was really wonderful to catch up on all the lost years.  But still no Bill or John.  We searched, Randy even helped me – and we looked for some of the other people from the youth group – but hit a couple of dead ends.

Then OUT OF THE BLUE I got the comment left to me on the above article by Bill – telling me I had found them and explaining a little bit about he and his brother – what they were doing now etc.  That was followed up by other emails and Facebook greetings and conversations.  It seemed like a miracle to me especially because all of us lived much of life before internet.

That miracle has been such a blessing – as we met William (Bill) with his new wife, Donna in Seattle and had a wonderful dinner together and a time rejoicing over how good God is in bringing us all together again after so many years.  Bill shared with us that those lost years had been tough ones as his mother died shortly after we lost touch with them – his father had left them many years before that.  The brothers were truly on their own after that and had some rough years.  Bill said that he spent many years running from God and searching for things in all the wrong places – had a few failed relationship and was “lost” – until a man approached him in the lobby of somewhere he was passing through and told Bill, “you look lost”.  This man prayed for Bill right there – and though it took another year for Bill to really turn his life around – he finally did begin by saying to himself, “I need to find a church”.  Soon after he rededicated his life to Christ and became very involved in his local church.  He told us last night that he never forgot being baptized by Greg and the impact that had made on his life – it was his turning point for sure.  He described it “like a marriage” for him.  It was a beautiful moment in the restaurant and Donna and I were very teary.  The picture of that lost boy – (now man) coming full circle and coming back to something he had once believe so strongly in – was a miracle.

He met Donna at that church after recommitting his life back to Christ and they were married a year ago last February.  She is a wonderful lady – so perfect for Bill and we are so happy for them both.

Here are some pictures of our very joyful reunion last night with Bill who is not 18 anymore – but 46!!!  How can this be???


Greg, me and Bill


Bill and Donna


Greg and Bill


Bill and Donna

I am hoping you will be encouraged by what has happened to Greg and me the last couple of years – and that you will know for sure that God orders our steps and allows us to make the impact on lives for His purpose and in His great timing.  Never be weary in well doing – for in time you will reap a great harvest if you don’t give up.  Those you touch and influence for His glory – will never be in vain.

God Bless

Freedom To Be Me

god

god (Photo credit: the|G|™)

I was watching a Joyce Meyer video teaching this morning during my morning devotional time – as is my custom the last couple of months.  She is direct and motivating in her teaching style – and I appreciate that she speaks from a place of personal pain and victory – mistakes and repentance – experience and transparency.  She is quick to say how far gone she would be without the grace of God – His love and mercy.

Today she was talking about being ‘good to yourself’, getting enough rest, not overdoing, finding balance.  And appreciating those in her life that give her the freedom to be herself.

She told of how she has that kind of relationship with her own daughter, the two of them can have something planned – but if she has to cancel or just simply doesn’t feel right about it – or just doesn’t want to do it – there are no questions.  Her daughter just says, “fine – no problem, whatever you want to do”.

What freedom to have people in your life where you don’t have to explain yourself – you can just do or not do.  Sometimes we take this for granted – this is a HUGE thing.  Acceptance, no questions – just freedom to be me.  How rare a gift this is!

Life and people can bring expectations.  Unspoken (and sometimes spoken) list of expectations as to behavior, protocol and proper procedure.  Sometimes those that place those spoken and unspoken “rules” on us – are coming from their own place of insecurity,  lack of information and fear of losing control.  We tense up or “clam up” when around them.  And whether real or imagined – it seems real to us.

I love that God does not place any “expectations” on us.  He is not just some ‘big giant in the sky’ – or mean father above ready to pounce on us when we mess up.  He waits for us, like a gentleman.  He comes in love.  He pursues us at our own pace – because He knows us.

 There is no one that knows me like He does – and because He knows me, He also knows what motivates me.  He is an expert on me.  He wrote the “Master’s Class on Cindy”.  Even the closest people in my life have messed up in this area – because of their own personal perspective and agenda – but  GOD never does.  He treats me the same – loves no matter what – and gives me freedom to be me.

I’m glad to have a heavenly father who is easy to be around – peaceful and easy.  I do not fear that I cannot talk to Him about the things on my mind – my concerns and pain – my little funny quirks and thought patterns.  He knows it all – understands and still allows me to be me.

Even if you are not lucky enough to have people in your life that allow you this freedom (I am lucky, I have several) I am hoping you will allow the love of God to invade your chaos, your feeling that “nobody gets me” – or “nobody really understands me” and release that to the one who made you.  What you will find is one who knows you best and loves you most.  He wants you to experience that freedom. That freedom that comes from being uniquely you.

I am praying for you

 

God Bless

Guilty

Conviction (film)

Conviction (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last night Greg and I watched a movie called “Conviction” – starring Hillary Swank, based on the actual events of a man sent to prison for a murder he did not commit.  He was convicted by a faulty legal system without DNA testing to prove him guilty.  Because of this injustice his sister decided to dedicate her adult life to becoming a lawyer so she could one day represent him, run a formal investigation and then have him released after being proven innocent by testing DNA samples that miraculously were not destroyed after 10 years as was usually the case in the state of Massachusetts.  It took time but she was finally able to get him released 20 years after his original conviction.

This movie moved me so much that I even dreamt about it last night.  In the dream I was friends with the sister and brother and was witnessing first hand the day he was released from prison and sent on his way home.  I was one of the special people allowed in to take pictures of them in a secluded room.  The absolute joy of these siblings was tangible in my dream.  And I was moved beyond words knowing he had missed his daughter growing up and countless other things due to a corrupted legal system that put him away for life in prison without the possibility of parole.

It is impossible to put myself in the place of these siblings whose love for each other is immeasurable.  To simply sacrifice myself for another in that extreme is incomprehensible to me.

The Bible tells us that “while we were yet sinners – Christ died for us” – we were unloving, unwilling and unknown – and yet – Christ still died – sacrificing Himself for us so that we would not have to miss out on anything good in this life and the next.  He gave the best for us even though we were guilty.  Someone might have tried to rescue us, like this sister did her brother because he was innocent – but only God’s great love will do and go beyond the reasonable limits – to find out and seek us out long before we really know and understand.

And I’m grateful.  God loves me that much.  And He loves you that much too.

God Bless

Southeastern Sneakers

Yesterday while driving to an appointment something to the side of the road caught my eye.  An older gentleman running in the above rain boots.  It was especially comical because it was not raining yesterday – and he was wearing shorts.  Yup – not making it up.

My husband spent a good deal of his life in Alaska, and after we were first married we lived in Juneau for a year.  The common foot attire was – and still is this:

That’s right.  They are affectionately known as – Southeastern Sneakers.

When I saw that man running along the side of the road – it took me back to years ago when this is exactly what you would see in Juneau.  People work in them, play in them and even run in them.

What funny sites have you witnessed lately?  Anything that made you stop short and just stare?  Did it conjure up a memory from your past?

Take care and God Bless

Things That Go SQUEAK In The Night

I am used to unusual noises in our home – especially at night.  We live in an older home and it likes to POP and CRACK at the most inconvenient times – like when I’m all alone.  When we first moved in – almost 10 years ago, I was downstairs in my office – and the wind blew a door shut upstairs.  I was SURE there was someone in our house!  It sounded creepy like footsteps above me!   And going to sleep was difficult at first.  But over time I have become accustom to it.  When we have guests here – often they will hear something above their heads and then look at us quizzically, and then ask, “are you sure there is no one home”?   We will then nod and look at each other with knowing looks (we could really have fun with people if we chose to) and say, “it’s just our old creaky house – it likes to settle.

It is also not unusual for Greg to be gone until the wee hours of morning.  He is a contractor in his “other” job, moonlighting for a company called “Northwood Construction” and they are contracted out to many Starbucks stores in the greater Seattle area.  So his job includes, and is not limited to:  window washing after hours, high dusting, pressure washing and light maintenance.  Last night it was another late one.  He has become an expert at slipping in very quietly – that is until we got a puppy. Dogs have an uncanny way of smelling and hearing you before you arrive – and our puppy is always looking for someone to come and see her and is listening intently – especially for Dad to come home after working.

So Greg can not exactly slip in unnoticed anymore.  Daisy will jump off the bed, and I will hear her running down the hall, clickety click – down the stairs and then to the back door wagging her tail madly and waiting for that magic moment when Greg opens the door.  Last night was no exception.  But Greg was very quiet and soon I drifted back to sleep.  The next thing I remember was hearing a very loud SQUEAK from one of Daisy’s toys and wondered to myself, “why is she playing with her toys in the middle of the night?” and then I heard a very LOUD CRASH – which had me sitting straight up in bed yelling, “Greg?  Is that you?  What’s going ON?”  This was accompanied by Greg laughing out loud and saying, “well – first I tried to turn out the light down here, I stepped on this blasted squeaky toy and then in the dark, I knocked over the coffee table!”  We had a good laugh as I accused him of playing with Daisy’s toys and telling him I was sure it had been her!

It’s the little comedies in life that give an extra sparkle to relationships and have us looking at ourselves and others with humor – as we all try to  take ourselves a little less seriously.  And folks, if you can laugh at things even in the middle of the night – then I would say that you have passed the test and have found the little things are some of the most important things, after all.

Here’s wishing you and yours a little more comedy and a little less tragedy as you discover laughter and the true medicine it is 🙂

God Bless

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