Musings From A Musical Mind

Archive for the ‘Being a light’ Category

Crossing Paths

English: Crossing of paths, Gwydyr Forest The ...

English: Crossing of paths, Gwydyr Forest The waymarked walk taking in Llyn y Parc is crossed by a singletrack section of the Marin Mountain Bike trail. Walkers should watch out for speeding bikers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Every once in a while the many tracks of our lives intersect.  The subtle joining of like interests and purpose combine into one timeless moment.

My journey and purpose that God has uniquely designed for me sometimes crosses the path of my past life and career, my music legacy, sometimes through writing, sometimes through people sometimes through specific events  - leaving me feeling  humbled and reflective.

The last week I have been organizing my music studio/office in my home – plus gathering video and pictures for my website, which just went up for the first time this last Monday.  If you missed it – you can visit me on my website at  Cindy’s Music Studio  It is my first attempt to duplicate what happens in my studio and in person – to an equal experience online.

In the process of trying to break down and ‘capture’ all the special moments of my music teaching career over the last 15+ years in this one area alone – it has been a daunting but also given me many thrilling moments looking at many past recital performances and pictures over the years.  The growth and development in each one – and the happy glow of pride and sense of accomplishment – the feeling of joy and resolution in choosing the path of teaching that I chose many years ago instead of a sales career teaching and training women about skin care.

This too has crossed my path again recently as my daughter (who was a little girl at the time when I was with Mary Kay) has decided to join the ranks of the many sales representatives and sell this great product as well as continue to do hair styling and color in her own home studio.  It is all very surreal to me and brings back many memories of my 5 years spent with that company – 2 years as a sales director.

Sometimes our lives intertwine into areas that we never dream we will cross again.  We do not simply just “wave good-bye” and then never see them again – sometimes they comes back in ways we least expect.  It is the same with my music teaching and my writing – the two are different and yet – sometimes they cross.  The things we are passionate about in this life – the unique and God-given talents and abilities we are given –  have the potential of crossing and interjecting every day – through people, events and circumstances – and yes – even our own children.

Buttermilk – Who Knew?

 

Biscuits or dumplings. ONE part vegetable oil ...

Biscuits or dumplings. ONE part vegetable oil TWO parts buttermilk FOUR parts self-rising flour (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I LOVE buttermilk.  Yes I do – I’m one of those weird (I like to think of it as cultured - some would say “special”) people who love to drink it straight.  Others mock and turn up their nose at me – even faking a disgusting face, as if to say, “how could you drink that – it’s revolting! ” But I just ignore them.  I know who I am.

 

But most would agree that when it is mixed in food recipes – something magic happens!  For example, my husband has found and perfected a buttermilk pancake recipe that melts in our mouths.  Without buttermilk the pancakes taste ordinary.  Others have found that buttermilk mixed with soup makes a delicious chicken bake – other use it as a batter for frying chicken – and I know some use it when making bread.  Some make biscuits and dumplings.  I also love it as one of the ingredients for ranch dressing.  That one ingredient makes the salad have just the right zip.

 

So – what is the buttermilk of our lives?  Jesus told us that as believers we are the “salt of the earth” – without salt, things are pretty much useless.  We bring flavor to the dull and flavorless, light to the darkness etc. – you get the idea.  Would buttermilk then become the ingredient that is like “truth” – pretty hard for most to take straight up – but when mixed with the other qualities of humility, peace, mercy and graciousness – it becomes not only better – but actually palatable.

 

How do you like your “truth”?  - straight up, right from the source?

 

Or do you find that “truth” is a blessing when it comes from someone loving, who is kind, gentle and full of humility?

 

One thing is for sure – no matter how it comes – how it is packaged, we all need truth in our lives.    We need the correct blending of Christ-like qualities operating in our lives at all times.  Like a finely tuned recipe for our palette – we need to have an ability to receive everything from God Himself, to enjoy the bountiful feast for our souls, with all things blending beautifully together.  Nothing sticking out, nothing out-of-place, nothing used as a weapon against us to beat us up – or drag us down.  Nothing making us feel defeated or unworthy – just harmony and peace for our souls.

 

I like my buttermilk straight up – but brutal truth?  Not so much.  But I have an appreciation for the kind of Savior that I serve.  He is gracious, gentle and kind.  He is the perfect gentleman.  He silently corrects my bad thoughts and behavior.  He does this in secret.  He never humiliates, never makes me feel like the ultimate loser.  He works with me and my unique personality – He knows how to positively motivate me – because He knows me best.

 

Ever try to correct someone you didn’t know very well?  Ever have someone try to motivate you based on their own fear or private agenda?

 

To all those our there that can relate to this – I say this:

 

Try a little buttermilk straight up – then have some of my husband’s buttermilk pancakes and you will see the light – I guarantee it.

 

 

 

God Bless

 

Authentic Me!

I am authentic

I am real

I am down to earth

 

These are all “catch phrases” that we toss around today.  And it’s especially popular to hear this among Christian pastors and leaders.  But how many really are?

Our pastor led the way last Sunday morning, for it to be okay to be “real” and share with us an area that he has been struggling with.  It was honest and had no pretense. He was just a human being with needs and struggles like the rest of us – he experiences good times and bad, highs and lows.  It was the first really honest moment I’ve witnessed from the pulpit in a long time – if ever.

Now that being said, there are some that would disagree with this approach.  In fact my husband and I were both raised in an era where the pastor (or leader) had to be above reproach and almost ghost-like in perfection.  That was of course, because he (or she) would never allow anyone into their world and all that was personal was highly protected.  It seemed that the worst thing they could do was to let people really know who they were.  The thought being, “They cannot lead others if they admit they don’t have it all together”.

Those of us from my generation and older – bought into this.  We believed you couldn’t have close friends in ministry – believed that others did not want a flawed leader – believed that showing anything less than the perfect role model – would hinder the testimony of Christ.  This caused a false sense of security for others trying to live up to that standard.  And much guilt on the part of the minister and his family.

We discussed this dilemma much in our small group last night.  All of us were there last Sunday morning to witness the beautiful worship service – and Stephen’s willingness to “go there” – for the sake of being truly authentic.  And gave permission for everyone to feel the same – reach out and know that there are others that feel the same way.  It was really beautiful.

As we talked about it in our group, I was very aware of the balance between “sharing” and “sharing too much”.  Who can we really be that “real” with?  Is it important to let people know what you’ve come from – how you handled it and how God has worked in your life?  Or is it better to just talk about surface issues and keep it light?

I know it’s a touchy subject and although some, like me – are grateful for this new freedom in sharing – I know that there are some that simply don’t feel comfortable sharing – or having others share with them.  It is a risk, and certainly some will even look differently at you when you open your heart.  But in light of all these things – I still choose to be a more authentic me.

Here’s why.

I am not perfect.

I struggle with thoughts.

I am selfish by nature.

I like to be right.

I like to have the last word.

I don’t have it all together.

Three years ago I went through a traumatic experience of the heart and emotions.  I started writing a blog to express things I was unhappy about and things I hoped to change.  I went on a journey both spiritually and emotionally and my writing was a vehicle of healing for me.  I tried to be authentic about the way I was feeling.  I knew it would be criticized, as a former pastor’s wife – we aren’t allowed to be sad or struggling – but I plodded along anyway.  The benefit was two-fold:

1.  Others read my writings and daily personal thoughts, as I searched for answers and hung on to the fact that in spite of pain – God is still good.  I connected with many people who would either comment – or privately contact me on Facebook or by email – telling me how helpful and encouraging my writings were and are to them.  Being authentic had a purpose after all – to others who are struggling, questioning and hurting.  It provided a vehicle for them to share – and know for sure that they weren’t alone.

2. It helped me personally.  My empathy and sensitivity grew with my writing journey. Things I had no patience with before – I found compassion and understanding.  I found others who struggled and needed a friend to lend a hand.  While helping, coaching and counseling with others – I’ve found a new purpose for things I was allowed to go through.  And the friendships were and are numerous.

But there is a down-side.  There always is.  I have been burned by sharing myself.  It’s made me more cautious – and I question things more.  I wish I did not.  I wish that I still believed that everyone had my best interest in mind – but now I question that too.  It doesn’t entirely stop me – but it has changed me.  Anytime someone doesn’t understand us or does not validate us in some way – it is very hard.

But I still choose to be a more authentic me.  I choose to take the gifts and blessings God has given me – and reach out to those who need that extra help, support and love. I choose to learn from the painful, dry and empty times along my journey – and share with others what I’ve learned – how God has helped me and most of all – how it’s NOT fatal to go through times of failure, uncertainty and darkness.  It’s been in those times that my heart was much more open to hearing what God was telling me.  And the biggest blessings came when God didn’t answer me at all, instead gave me the tools to find joy again – by writing and opening my heart.

I encourage you today – it’s a scary thing to open up and share, but find someone you trust and have a heart-to-heart with them today.  You may find that the person you’re opening up to – will do the same and there will be strength and blessing in your authenticity.  Even if you’ve been hurt before – you need to trust again.

Have you ever had a truly authentic moment?  This last year?  This last week?  How did others around you respond?

God Bless

Is Your Guard Up? Should It Be?

Signature of Eleanor Roosevelt.

Image via Wikipedia

If someone betrays you once, it’s their fault; if they betray you twice, it’s your fault. ~Eleanor Roosevelt

 

We are really big into “self-protection” these days.  When someone hurts us – the first thing that we want to do is either lash back at them – or run, duck and cover.  And while neither of these options are good choices and ultimately can leave a residual effect that follows you for years – it is good to know just how to handle your emotions when this does happen – if it has not happened – wait for it.  It will.

We all have people and situations in our lives that bring us distress.  Life is made up of imperfect human beings - from different backgrounds and families.  To expect that everyone is like “me” – is unrealistic – and yet somehow we expect that people will act and react like us.

Betrayal can come in many different forms.  The most important thing that I can do is to keep my own heart from bitterness and wrong motive.  How do I do this?

1.  Be more concerned about relationship than about being right How often have I felt justified to tell someone off – knowing they were DEAD WRONG and I was RIGHT?  Holding my tongue was hard in those situations – but it also  quickly diffused a very sticky situation.  Words cannot be retracted – even with theatrical apologies.  We have a funny and uncanny way of remembering.  Words remain imprinted on the mind.  Therefore – be slow to speak – careful to weigh each word and keep the relationship at the top of the priority list.  If you HAVE to speak – do it carefully and with a lot of love.

2. Be the first to forgive Not easy to do.  It writes and sings well – but putting that into everyday practice takes an act of my will. And living it day after day especially after I’ve said that I forgive – is even more difficult when things pop up from time to time that remind me of a nasty situation.

3. Maintain a standard of right behavior and don’t lower your behavior to compensate for others who don’t get it. We must model right behavior to others.  Retaliation and the “blame game” is a junior high tactic that never worked very well when we WERE in junior high.  Don’t resort to this as an adult – it never works – and makes you appear “smaller” to others.

4. Be loving – but not gullible. I’m guilty of this one.  Where is the line?  It’s hard to detect it sometimes.  I have learned a lot – but have still not arrived.  I love to get involved with people and hear about their lives, dreams, goals etc.  I find it fascinating.  I empathize with hurting and broken people.  I’ve been told that I am naive and can be “played” – or at least that is what has happened on occasion.  I’m wiser now and have learned a lesson or two about just whom I can have close to me or whom I can confide in, etc.  It is like walking a “tightrope” for me – because I love to engage with people and believe that God made me like this for a reason.  But gullible I am not – at least I have had to work very hard at it.

5. Accept that others will sometimes get it wrong – misjudge, jump to conclusions or turn away based on faulty information. Even Jesus was misjudged, treated badly and betrayed.  He is our ultimate example.  He still loved – He still gave – He did not compromise Himself – He did not blame or try to deflect – He was who He was – and even though others treated Him badly and ultimately had Him killed – He never tried to defend Himself, was never nasty to anyone – He told it like it was – that is all.  He lived a life of love and acceptance of others – giving freely of Himself.

6. Always believe the best in people – even when they betray Again Jesus is our great example here.  Jesus trained 12 men while He walked this earth.  He knew they were only human and that some of them would turn away – He even knew about Judas betraying Him – and Peter denying Him before they did it.  Still He believed the best for them and prayed for them. He lovingly restored Peter.  How much more should we be able to forgive, believe the best and want to restore others to a healthy relationship with God and with us?

7. Find your worth and value in God alone I am in trouble the minute I have an expectation in someone and they let me down.  Or they do not validate me like I think I deserve to be – or worse yet – they betray me.  My worth is not based on what someone else thinks of me, says about me – or does to me. My worth and value come from God alone. When I remember this – it puts everything into perspective for me.  Since I am highly valued by God – I can risk loving you too. There is no fear in stepping out and doing the right thing – because God LOVES ME.  I am valuable to Him – He made me exactly like I am – and no one is just like me!  There’s freedom in that!

8. Live a peaceful life – do not spin in other people’s drama How many times to we spin with things we should not?  We get involved in other people’s lives in such a way that it is unhealthy for us and our family?  We press in – where we have no business.  Some things we need to walk away from – in order to have peace in our homes – and that includes good friends and family.  Jesus bring peace to us and wants us to find that rest – He doesn’t call us to “spin” – but to be peacemakers in a lost and dying world.  When we have peace and are restful spirits – we can minister to others in a more effective way.

9. Love your family and friends God has entrusted us with our spouse and our children.  They are precious “gifts”.  We are called to support and love them.  God also gives us the “gift” of friendship too – those who do not HAVE to love us and be in our world – they choose to be.  Be a good friend and it will be returned.

10. Be trustworthy When someone confides in you – BE TRUSTWORTHY.  “Loose lips sink ships” was a phrase during WWII – and the enemy was able to break down our defenses because people “talked”.  I take a confidence very seriously and I hope you do too.  I have risked telling someone close to me too much about my personal stuff – only to have it told to someone who I did NOT want to know anything about it.  It was horrible and painful and now it has made me wiser and much more determined to be a trustworthy friend.  I hope your friends and family can trust you.  I love it when people just know they can come to me about anything and that I will pray for them – but most of all – I will keep it to myself.

 

Remember – like Eleanor Roosevelt said above – be careful – guard yourself and take precautions – once is “shame on them” – but after that – it’s “shame on me”.  Can you keep your guard up – and still love?  Yes.

 

God Bless

Reflecting God’s Love

Mount Hood reflected in Mirror Lake, Oregon.

Image via Wikipedia

As water reflects a face,
so a man’s heart reflects the man.
–Proverbs 27:19

 

When I see a reflection of myself in the mirror – especially in the early morning when I first get up – my appearance is disheartening – especially to me.  I don’t like what I see – it means I am getting older.  My face reflects what is going on inside of me – the aging process that never ends – and I am part of it.

And yet – my age, wisdom and knowledge can benefit others so much – as I encourage and help those around me and use that ‘aging’ to bring perspective to others – concentrating on the positive aspects on middle age.

Mostly what I want others to see – is God’s love in my life, in what I do, what I say. I want to reflect His tolerance, forgiveness, grace and  unconditional love.  Because I have lived it – and understand it fully.  I fail miserably at this most of the time – because my own self gets in the way and I’m afraid I become a rather poor reflection of His love and unlimited mercy in my own life.

When I fail – I am acting out of my own selfish desires and motives and it leaves a rather poor reflection of the nature of the God that I serve and that I live for.  Instead it reveals what kind of person I really am – on the inside.  Just like my face in the mirror – I cannot hide it.

And like you – I am still on that never-ending journey – I’m getting older, I’m learning valuable lessons about life and people on the way – and I have a great many things to share with others about God’s love – His grace – and mercy – and I am still taking steps toward that incredible stubborn love – to be a better reflection for others.  Less of me – much more of Him.

God Bless

Working The Anger Out

"Always write angry letters to your enemi...

Image by Abby Lanes via Flickr

‎”Always write angry letters to your enemies. Never mail them.” – James Fallows

How many times have we done this? I know I have.  More than once.  My own dear husband admits to writing one of these to me a couple of years ago – and never let me read it – and he’s glad – so am I.

Letters written with anger are never restorative. Instead they can do real damage – as the written word is forever.  It is always imprinted on the memory and heart and is a tough thing to move past.

I don’t believe it is a sin to be angry.  Jesus was angry – many times.  He never sinned in anger and asks that we do the same.  There are going to be things that make us angry – it’s just a fact of life.  There are things we can’t understand – things we can’t resolve and the list goes on and on.

I wrote one of these ‘angry’ letters to a friend I had a falling out with – but I’m so glad I never mailed it – or passed it through an email.  The letter was for me alone – part of my healing to just ‘get it out’ on paper and reevaluate what went wrong – and validate me as a person.  Sometimes this is a necessary thing to do.  Once the anger and emotion is passed – often times there is something left in its place.  Perspective and sadness. Sadness for the circumstances – and perspective that time passing brings – taking the punch out of the anger.  Sadness that so much time is lost in the mean time.

I must admit that I don’t get angry very often.  I’m pretty even-tempered – yet I’m passionate about certain things – but usually not angry.  I love people in my life – deeply.  Love my family and friends with a solid love.  I think what really sets me off are ‘half truths’ told about me – or people totally misunderstanding me and passing me off as something that is not even true.  And being helpless to change this opinion.  Another thing that really sets me off is being helpless to change past circumstances that got blown WAY out of proportion.  I am naive enough to believe that adults should be able to get past themselves – truly and totally forgive – to save the relationship – learn from mistakes of the past and be restored in every sense of the word.  My dear husband smiles at me and pats me on the head – like I’m a small child full of innocence and wonder.  And says, ‘Oh Cindy – that is just not the real world’

And so writing letters are for me alone. God is the only one who sees them.  And He is doing a deep work of art – in my heart.  Helping me work out the disappointment, hurt and anger – and stop it before I spew it on others close to me.  I’ve kept a journal for years – and recently I told ‘my story’ as I remember it.  We all have our ‘story’ don’t we?  Mistakes we have made?  Someone that has hurt you?  Something you can’t fix on your own?  Yes – we all do.

Can I be angry and not sin?  That is the challenge for me. Can I still be passionate about wanting change – and not push before people are ready for change?  Can I keep who I am intact – and not lose myself to emotion?  Can I do and feel what is right – and not compromise what I feel God would want me to do?  Follow His leading and direction – rather than what others tell me?  Know myself so well – that it is not a dilemma for me to restore others in love?  These are the questions I struggle with – daily.  And sometimes what I feel God is leading me to do – is not the popular consensus.

My encouragement for you is this:  Write that angry emotional letter – get it all out!  All of it. The feelings and emotions – the being misunderstood – the slander against you – the feelings of betrayal and being wronged.   Imagine taking a walk with that person who has wronged you.  Find a nice place to stop along the road – a nice grassy patch that’s very quiet and peaceful.  Take out the letter and read it out-loud to that person.  Ask them not to interrupt you until you’re done reading it.  This letter will say it all – and you won’t have to depend on your memory – and get lost in emotion – you can just read it.  Imagine that they hear you.  Really hear you. Imagine that they understand – and that they feel sorry for causing you pain – and they accept your apology too.  Imagine the conversation of healing and restoration – even if you have to MAKE IT UP.  Remember - it is for you. It is part of your heart healing – and letting go of the anger.

I have done this – not once – but many times. It is always a restorative conversation.  The anger is no longer there.  I am still writing – and there are days when I have to take that walk with someone again and read a letter – forgive and be forgiven – and have a healing conversation.  There are days when I have to forgive myself all over again.  I wish I could say that all of my relationships have been finally worked out and are restored – back in good daily communication – having put the past behind – but sadly this is not true.  But I still wait in anticipation for God to truly restore and heal – and bring back to me – what was once lost. There must still be lessons for me to learn. Until then – I am still working on me. I am in process – on a long journey.

God Bless

Walking Inside Of You

Scared child

Image via Wikipedia

“First of all,” he [Atticus] said, “if you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view-until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

To Kill A Mockingbird

 

This is one of my favorite quotes from the movie – and the book.  And sums up how much better we would get along with people if we would first take the time to see things from their point of view – instead of just looking at them through our very limited lens of understanding.

I watched the original version of ‘Freaky Friday’ last night with Jodi Foster – and although it is a silly movie – the point is made quite clearly:  If we walked around in another person’s body and could see things from their point of view – how differently we would see them!

In this film a mother and daughter change places only to find a unique perspective on what is going on in their world everyday – and what seems to be easy to the other person – turns out to be difficult.  How many times do we wish we could change places with someone so that they could see how hard – or how complicated our life is!  Or for them to understand us better.  I have often wished I could understand them better too and  have wished to be a ‘fly on the wall’ in certain homes – so I could watch the ‘drama’ unfold – as I know it does.  Many have wanted to do this in my home as well, I’m sure.  It’s human nature.  It’s difficult to identify with what we cannot understand.

Think about it – if we all were granted this wish – to walk around and be somebody else for a day – who would it be?  And who would you want to walk around in your skin for a day and be you?

If we could apply this simple principle into our lives everyday – to stop and consider – the next time someone says something unkind or uncalled for – or the next time someone acts irrationally – or hurts you, remember this:  consider what it is like to be them. Walk around inside their skin and look through their eyes.  You may just see things you didn’t see before.  And you may gain some perspective and understanding for things you didn’t have before.  You see if we really did this – If I really did this – there would be no room in my heart for blame and bitterness.  I would no longer have to hold you at an arm’s length because of fear of the unknown.  I would know.  And I would love and embrace the scared lonely child in you.  And if you did the same in my skin – so would you.

 

I am praying this prayer today for you.  That you would see people how God sees them.  Understanding them on a heart level – with no agenda and no angle.  Just pure love.  Take a little walk inside of them today.

 

God Bless

 

Fear Of Failure

Thoroughbred racing at Churchill Downs.

Image via Wikipedia

Heard an excellent message this morning from our pastor – “How to deal with Failure”.

I jotted down some thoughts while I was listening:

We have all failed.

We can let that failure make us better – or keep us bitter.

God uses failure in our lives to prepare us for better things.

It can be Fear of Failure that keeps us back and holds us down.

 

A few days ago my husband and I went to see ‘Secretariat‘.  And yes I am actually old enough to remember watching him race  in those ‘triple crown’ races in 1972-73.  It brought back many memories for me – and was thrilling to hearing the back story.  The film also had a common theme today with our pastor’s message.  Failure. The owner of that magnificent race horse – had experienced failure and set-backs.  She could have given in to defeat and even what she knew about the horse’s genetics – but she refused to give in to either.  She knew that horse was a winner and so against all odds – she believed and that belief empowered her.  Instead of being afraid – she pushed on – and Secretariat is still known today as the greatest race horse that ever lived – no race horse has come close to beating his record in 37 years.

When I heard the message today – I was reminded of that horse.  And of the horse’s owner, Penny.  She was completely convinced that her horse was the best – even though the horse had lost a race at first and others told her – to give up.  She stared failure in the face and didn’t bat an eye.  At a great financial gamble – she believed and made the investors believe too.

How much I would love to be like this.  Just because I know something is true – how often do I really believe it and act on it?  Stare fear in the face and not bat an eye?  Take my power back?  Not care about the whispers and humiliation set against me?  Push on past my own reputation and pride?  Get back up after failing and be changed and transformed through the experience? And most of all – see the blessing in it?

It’s hard.  I have failed.  I am just now seeing the blessing in that failure.  But at the time – I thought it would be what would take me down and steal my joy, my testimony and my walk.  And although I am no champion – like Secretariat and numerous others that have had set-back and failures that are far more high-profile than I – I would have to say that it is because of that failure and my response to it – that I am where I am today. I found God’s grace in the midst of pain and hurt.  I might never have discovered first hand how much He loves and forgives if it hadn’t been for my failure.  I might never have discovered how much my husband really loves and believes in me – or how many true friendships I have – how much they have my back and love me beyond my many mistakes.

The key is our response – not the fear of failure.  To fall down and be broken before our God -  but then to get back up. To allow that failure to create something gracious inside of us that sees past the shortcomings and failures of other people.   To allow grace, mercy, humility and love to be our close friends when dealing with other people.  And to release that champion in our hearts that just wants to run – free – just like that race horse.

Here is a beautiful passage of scripture from the Message Bible.  When I was listening to my friend lead worship on a youtube video – she quoted a portion of this Psalm and it is so fitting when speaking about failure.

Psalm 51

1-3Generous in love—God, give grace! Huge in mercy—wipe out my bad record.
Scrub away my guilt,
soak out my sins in your laundry.
I know how bad I’ve been;
my sins are staring me down.

4-6 You’re the One I’ve violated, and you’ve seen
it all, seen the full extent of my evil.
You have all the facts before you;
whatever you decide about me is fair.
I’ve been out of step with you for a long time,
in the wrong since before I was born.
What you’re after is truth from the inside out.
Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life.

7-15 Soak me in your laundry and I’ll come out clean,
scrub me and I’ll have a snow-white life.
Tune me in to foot-tapping songs,
set these once-broken bones to dancing.
Don’t look too close for blemishes,
give me a clean bill of health.
God, make a fresh start in me,
shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.
Don’t throw me out with the trash,
or fail to breathe holiness in me.
Bring me back from gray exile,
put a fresh wind in my sails!
Give me a job teaching rebels your ways
so the lost can find their way home.
Commute my death sentence, God, my salvation God,
and I’ll sing anthems to your life-giving ways.
Unbutton my lips, dear God;
I’ll let loose with your praise.

16-17 Going through the motions doesn’t please you,
a flawless performance is nothing to you.
I learned God-worship
when my pride was shattered.
Heart-shattered lives ready for love
don’t for a moment escape God’s notice.

18-19 Make Zion the place you delight in,
repair Jerusalem’s broken-down walls.
Then you’ll get real worship from us,
acts of worship small and large,
Including all the bulls
they can heave onto your altar!

 

May you find that this new week  steeped in ‘chaos’ – is actually a ‘Genesis’ week – a new beginning – rich with possibilities and newness.  And no fear of failure.

 

God Bless

Addicted To Love

Addicted to Love (song)

Image via Wikipedia

It’s so great how the ‘lost’ can be ‘found’ – if you wait long enough.  25 years ago, Greg and I were youth pastors in Jeannette, PA.  We had a small youth group – but with those eight or ten ‘kids’ we developed  deep and lasting relationships – especially with four of the boys.  They were and always will be ‘the lost boys’.  This was my pet name for them – because each one had their own unique set of circumstances and challenging home lives.  We came into their lives in that crucial part of life – when they were teenagers.

You never know how you will affect lives while you are in the middle of your own journey – or what the future impact may be.  We were just simply doing our job and it was easy to love these kids.  And with no other distractions and no children of our own yet – they became our ‘children’.

After moving away from Jeannette in ’86  – we took a position in New Castle, PA and two of the boys came to visit us.  I was pregnant with Ashlee at the time and it was so great to see them!  They told us of some trouble that one of the boys had found himself in – and we wanted to reconnect with him – even back then – but it was hard in those days with no internet.  Sadly we lost touch with all of them and some time later moved back to the west coast.  Because there was no internet yet – or at least very limited – I had no way of finding anyone – but always thought about them and wondered what had happened.  The memory of my ‘lost boys’ was always on my mind.  When we first had internet, back in the late 90′s I tried once more to locate them.  Nothing.  Years passed and I got on myspace and looked.  Nothing.  Then a few years later I got on facebook and tried again.  No luck – until….about 6 or 8 months ago.  I typed in two of the boys names and FOUND THEM!!  It was like a miracle!  I contacted them – one now lives back in Jeannette and the other is in the army and stationed in Afghanistan.  What a thrill to talk to them and catch up on their lives – there’s a whole lot to catch up – 25 years!

One of the ‘boys’ suggested that we use Skype to talk to each other using a webcam on the computer and seeing a real face in front of you while you’re talking.  We had never used it before and after a lot of bugging on his part – Greg finally downloaded Skype.  Last week we were able to call him.  I can’t tell you how it felt to see him (this was the one that had some trouble in his teens after we left) and to see that he’s all right.  During the conversation I said, ‘You know Randy – you were the original ‘lost boys’ – you were like our kids’  and without missing a beat he said, ‘Well in many ways – you were our parents’  That was so nice to hear.  That ‘lost boy’ is 40 years old now.  And he has never forgotten us.

Two of the other boys were found from this blog.  I wrote an article about a year ago – still looking for these ‘boys’ and wrote their names in an article hoping someone would see them.  Someone did.  One of the boys himself -  who was not on facebook – was using ‘google’ to find another one of these boys and my blog popped up!  He commented on the article and gave me his email.  That was amazing too!  He told me news of he and his brother and what a journey their lives had taken.  Randy and I pushed and pleaded with him to join facebook – and he finally did!

Here is a video I made for the four ‘lost boys’.  This song has much meaning – it was an ’80′s tune that played on the radio ALL THE TIME back then and Bill use to ‘sing’ parts of it and make us all laugh.  Good times, good times.

Here’s hoping that whatever  you have ‘lost’ – will someday be ‘found’.

Enjoy!

Reflections in the Glass

Mirrored self-misidentification

Image by eqqman via Flickr

Windows are designed to look through.  Especially in the daytime – and we don’t notice the flaws, imperfections and plain DIRT on them unless the light hits them a certain way.  Clear enough most of the time to look through them at others.   We don’t notice the flaws until the light is just right – or when there is an absence of light.  And when the angle and light is just right – we are able to see our own reflection in that glass.  And glance at our own imperfections.  It is sobering.  It is humiliating.  But it is also  necessary.  Sometimes I get so focused on the ‘out there’ past the flawed glass – that I don’t notice what’s up close and personal – like my flawed reflection.  The real me. It is easy to take my attention off of me – and on to other people – silently criticizing or rebuking in my thoughts – and sometimes voicing them, spreading hurt, distrust and disillusionment around in a way that cannot be fixed.  Anything to hide my insecurity and my flaws.

The Bible talks about this kind of judgment  in the book of Matthew chapter 7:

3“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Take care of your own reflection, my friends.  Clean the dirt from your window – then you will see clearly to  remove the plank from your eyes.  Then gently, very gently go to your brother or sister and ask for  permission to remove the speck of dust from their eye.  Remember that those you have heavily criticized – for having many flaws – you also have many of the same flaws and MANY more that they don’t.  You can be sure that with the same lack of grace and mercy you have judged – you will also be judged.

I want my plank out for good.  I want to see through my window knowing that I can see others with an unselfish and pure motive – free of any hidden agenda.  To see them as Jesus sees them – and how Jesus sees me.

God Bless

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