Musings From A Musical Mind

Archive for the ‘Happiness’ Category

October Baby

Tomorrow you turn 22.  I remember this day so well, 22 years ago today.  A beautiful sunny crisp October day in Northern California, much like the day here in Seattle.  A day like any other.  The day before my life changed forever.

It’s funny how the seasons come and go – yet some things stay constant and perfectly formed in our memory.   Sometimes those moments that drastically change who we are forever are more clear to us than things that happened yesterday.

According to Dr. Phil, you can trace who you’ve become in this life to three types of external factors: 10 defining moments, seven critical choices, and five pivotal people. But first it’s important to understand the following terms:

Ten Defining Moments: In every person’s life, there have been moments, both positive and negative, that have defined and redefined who you are. Those events entered your consciousness with such power that they changed the very core of who and what you thought you were. A part of you was changed by those events, and caused you to define yourself, to some degree by your experience of that event.

Seven Critical Choices: There are a surprisingly small number of choices that rise to the level of life-changing ones. Critical choices are those that have changed your life, positively or negatively, and are major factors in determining who and what you will become. They are the choices that have affected your life up to today, and have set you on a path.

Five Pivotal People: These are the people who have left indelible impressions on your concept of self, and therefore, the life you live. They may be family members, friends or co-workers, and their influences can be either positive or negative. They are people who can determine whether you live consistently with your authentic self, or instead live a counterfeit life controlled by a fictional self that has crowded out who you really are.

 

As I reflect over those 10 defining moments of my own life – getting married and having each of my babies certainly ranks up there with the most important and most life changing.  No matter how old I am, or where life’s journey takes me – I am forever changed by the birth of Ashlee and you.  You are part of those seven critical choices and definitely one of my five pivotal people.

And so Shawn – it is with very sweet and sentimental memories that I remember today, the day before you.

09_27_4You made your entrance on October 5th, 1991 at 8:26 pm.  You filled up an entire room – even back then.  You were laid back, shy, sweet, calm and peaceful.  As you grew you developed a slow and steady manner and a great ability to make and keep friends.  Your sense of humor has sustained you even in the tough times of relationships and finding your own way.  Your deep faith in God continues to guide you and be your compass.  You are one of the things that forever changed me.

I could not have dreamed you up in a million years.  Shawn means “gift of God” and you were that for me.  It was a privilege to be your Mom and I am proud of who you are and all that I know you are still becoming.  It is in the letting go that we truly find.  And I have always known that you were on loan and that you would need to find your own way.  I’m so glad you are learning all those tough things while realizing your family loves and supports you in the background.  You are learning to rely on God’s help and have deepened your faith in those things that are really lasting and important.  Money, fame and even friends will come and go.  Love, family and faith in God lasts forever.  And I pray every day for that special young woman who will change your life forever.

Until you have finally found your stride and your place stay strong and firm in your faith.  You are loved and thought about each and every day.  You are special and have a special purpose.  Don’t give up, never lose heart – for a part of the end result is the journey you’re on right now.  And these times will be what you look back on as one of your defining moments.

I love you…Happy 22nd!

 

 

 

 

Treasures In Heaven

Last weekend and this have been a fun time for Greg and me as we are sorting through all of years of “stuff”.  Having a garage sale is the best remedy to hoarding and having too much of that stuff.  I’ve seen those “hoarding” programs and I’m sure you have too – you maybe even know a friend or two who has WAY too much – and you wish they would give some of it away – or take it away yourself!  A big problem we have in this country is the accumulation of TOO MUCH.  I mean – how many pencils, pens, pictures, purses, folders, shoes, jackets, plates, cups, clothes, electronics and other things does one really need?  Good grief – we even have FOUR TVs!!  (At least until our garage sale last week)  Um yeah.  There are TWO of us who live here.  The dogs don’t watch TV.  It’s pretty crazy.  I’m selling or giving away purses – I don’t really use them – so WHY would I have so many?  And what we don’t sell this weekend we are going to give away – no one needs so much.

I’ve learned a great deal about myself and the “stuff” I posses in the last few months.  In an effort to downsize it just is not practical to take too much – so – what do I really need?  Can I be just as happy with 3 less bookcases?  Do I really need that cabinet sitting under the window in my office?  Why?  So many pillows?  So many shoes, clothes, jackets??  REALLY???  No.  We are stopping the madness.

And we may not get it right – but at least we are moving in a direction that will allow us to lighten the load – not become too dependent on material things.  Reminds me of that passage of scripture which reminds us to keep in simple.

But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal.    Matthew 6:20  Holman Christian Standard Bible

My Precious Jewel

My Precious Jewel (Photo credit: cammy♥claudia)


 

And I believe the whole purpose behind this particular scripture is to gently remind us – that while having material things is not in itself wrong or bad – if our focus and only source of happiness comes from having them – GET RID OF THEM.

What does it mean to “collect treasures in heaven”?  I know what it means down here on earth and for me personally.  It means the things I love and hold onto in my heart.  The things I dwell on and think about.  The things that overwhelm my thoughts.  They are desires, people, pets, things that bring comfort and much, much more.  To “collect treasures in heaven” must mean that God wants my thoughts and desires to be focused daily first and foremost on Him and what is important to Him.  His words of love in the written word tell over and over again how he loves so much that He sacrificed everything – not withholding His only son to save us.  He is concerned for lost people.  He is concerned with showing love and compassion because it is what he provided as an example for each of us.  When we love, show compassion, are kind, gentle, generous and forgiving – we model the very behavior that He came to earth to show.

I don’t know about you – but I am “collecting treasures in heaven” by showing love.  By dwelling on thoughts of being an encouragement and by being kind and generous.  I want others to see what Jesus looks like – by seeing me.  I want others to collect those treasures for themselves too.   And in heaven you don’t have to have a garage sale to lighten the load – up there it will be THE MORE TREASURES THE BETTER!!  I want my treasures to be the people I have influenced and loved.  I want to see them all represented – all the years and investment like shining jewels sparkling and bragging about me!  And I want you to have just as many if not MORE than I will have!

 

God Bless

 

 

Another Time Another Place

Watching this video today brings back so many memories!  This duet and song is one of my FAVORITES from back in the day – (look at Wayne Watson’s long hair!) and both of these artists are still touring, writing and singing today – 20+ years later!  Sandi Patty and Wayne Watson are the real deal and this is just one example.   Truly an underrated song with wonderful lyrics, melody and incredible voices – hope you enjoy going down memory lane today as much as I did.  Parts of this song gives me chills!

 

God Bless!

God Made A Dog

The other day my friend Linda sent this to me.  It is so good I just had to share it with all you dog lovers out there!

God Bless!

God And Dog

Today Greg found this wonderful video by Wendy Francisco.  This darling song has also been made into a children’s book by the same title, “God and Dog”.  You can purchase it on Amazon by clicking here.

If you have and love dogs like I do – then this is for you today.  Watch it and smile :)

 

God Bless

My Wingman

A wingman (or wingmate) is a pilot who supports another in a potentially dangerous flying environment.

The traditional military definition of a “Wingman” refers to the pattern in which fighter jets fly. There is always a lead aircraft and another which flies off the right-wing of and behind the lead. This second pilot is called the “Wingman” because he or she primarily protects the lead by “watching his back.”

Wikipedia

I’ve seen movies where a “wingman” is very important to the pilot, such as “Top Gun” and “Pearl Harbor”.  I’ve always been fascinated with the concept.  That protection.  That feeling of safety.  Knowing someone has your back – priceless.

We all have humans in our lives that we think of in this way.  My husband Greg, for example is my “wingman” in every sense of the word.  He stays with me – protects me from unseen things, keeps me feeling safe, etc.

But I also have a canine “wingman”.  My puppy, Dexter.IMG_4259He takes his job seriously.  Barks at anybody near to me and gets agitated if he cannot get close enough so that he can protect me.  He is never far from me during the day.  When I’m in my office typing – he is at my feet or by my side – amusing himself with a toy or bone for hours at a time.  When I leave the room, he dutifully follows.  If I’m in the kitchen, he sits on the floor and watches everything I do.  When I sit to watch a movie, he joyfully jumps into my lap, his favorite place to be.  At night he cuddles up next to me – happiest under the covers with his head resting on my arm.

He is my “wingman” extraordinaire  :)

Of course this togetherness can get a little trying at times – especially when I have students coming and going during the afternoon for lessons.  His sharp barking reminds everyone coming in the house that he is trying to protect me!  And although very endearing – it gets annoying and I have to be firm with him and tell him to stop that barking!  But it is also sweet and loyal – how angry can you be with an adorable puppy who just wants to be with me?

It’s funny.  Our Bichon has never had any concept of “protecting” me.  She is a loveable, complicated, high maintenance, beautiful, and independent dog.  But she never stays with me very long.  Her favorite thing to do is go for a ride in the truck – go for a walk on the trail – or go upstairs and hide from Dexter – sleeping for several hours at a time.   Dexter loves to run upstairs and find her – jump on top of her and wrestle.  She will play along most of the time – and it’s cute when they play together.  But other times she will give a warning growl when she has had enough!  Sometimes in the evening we won’t see her from 7:00 – 10:30!  Not so with Dexter.  He is happiest when he can see me and be beside me.  Oh he’s not a perfect dog – barks too much at the neighbor dogs and most of the time will not come when called.

But I have decided that the positive far outweighs the negative.  I do love my little “wingman”.

God Bless

A Unique Perspective

Photograph of Shuffleboard at the Century Vill...

Photograph of Shuffleboard at the Century Village Retirement Community – NARA – 548567 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday Greg and I had the opportunity to observe people in action.  People who manage a retirement community here in our area.  They were gracious hosts and showed us what they do to make a safe and comfortable environment for senior adults age 55 and older.  It is an independent living community, filled with many amenities, love and warmth.

The facility itself is large and beautiful – but what was impressive to us – were the people who live there.  Everyone was  happy, in good humor and eager to meet a new friend.  When we first walked up to the facility a couple of older gentlemen sitting outside the front doors flirted with me right in front of Greg,-  telling me that I had made their day – so cute :)  Greg got a real kick out of it and teased them back, which they found very endearing.  We walked in to  the large lobby where an art display was in progress.  The artist was a sweet lady in her 80’s that got started with art lessons at age 69!  There was wine and cheese and a display of her pictures with everyone milling around.  And we found to our amazement, someone we had known from a staff position at a nearby church about 5 years ago.  Greg had baptized this man and he had remembered the experience with fond memories.  It was great to talk with him and find out he had been in this facility for 19 months and LOVED IT!

In this unique independent living facility – the live in managers either make or break any feelings or atmosphere for the senior adults.  It was great to witness that this management couple was doing something right.  This kind of lifestyle is certainly not for everyone, but the rewards can far outweigh the drawbacks – because like church work – it is about people.  It is about ministry in the truest form – serving people.

Our unique perspective was in witnessing the dynamic of happy people living with a group of people who thrive on love, attention and time.

I think we are all like the people who live there.  We thrive when someone takes a special interest in us – someone who makes us feel special, our needs are important – and someone who really listens and understands.  It is a shame to think that we must become senior adults to have people pay attention to us in that way.

It is a lesson to all of us on this side of retirement.  It is a great reminder that life is short.  Enjoy each day as it comes.  Live each day to the fullest.  Listen to others.  Make others feel safe in your company.  Make others feel wanted and special.  Love on people.  Watch what happens.  See people  blossom right in front of your eyes.

 

God Bless

Skipping Ahead

Sometimes with all good intentions, we think we are hearing and communicating correctly.  But if you have a mind like mine – you may be missing things and actually skipping ahead.

Check Engine light on a 1996 Dodge Caravan.

Check Engine light on a 1996 Dodge Caravan. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This happened the other day.  I was sure that Greg had said something.  My car had a flashing “check engine light” all the way to church.  He had preceded me to church to play drums for the youth, taking part in the services.  I got to church and found Greg to tell him about the flashing light.  A solid “check engine light” is nothing new to this car.  There are things that eventually need to be fixed and we’ve done everything we can – or I should say everything we want to spend money on.  But this flashing light was something new.  As I finished letting Greg know – I was sure that he said, “I’ll need to call Steve about that and during the message I can go out and take a look – it’s the only time I have to do that”.  He started to walk back up to the drums and I asked, “do you have your keys to the car”?  He looked at me blankly for a moment and then said rather cautiously, “yes” – with a sidelong glance.

For a second I wondered why.  Greg never carries more keys on his person than he has to.  He usually never has my car keys because he has his truck keys.  But since retiring from a night window washing job he had been able to lighten up the load of keys he was carrying around for that job.  Maybe, I thought – he has permanently put my keys on his truck ring.  I guess that’s it, I reasoned.

The song service and special youth numbers came to a close and it was the time right before the message.  Greg came down from the platform and placed his phone and other papers beside me and said, “I’ll be right back”.  I thought, “good – he’s going to look at that light and make sure the car isn’t going to blow up while I’m driving home!”  In about 5 minutes he was back – sneaking in during the prayer time.  I whispered, “is everything okay??”  He didn’t answer.  I said again, “is it okay??”  He looked at me puzzled – as if he didn’t hear me and said, “what?”  I whispered directly in his ear, “the car – is it okay??”  He answered, “I don’t know I didn’t look – I went to the bathroom.”  “But didn’t you say you were going to look at the car during the message?”  “No”.

It was a most frustrating but amusing moment.  I had evidently skipped ahead to another whole chapter – maybe even two or three!  When Greg joined me at home later that morning we had a fun time trying to figure out just what he had meant.  He had absolutely no recollection of saying what he did!  Nothing about checking the engine during the message – nothing!!  You can imagine how we laughed when he thought I was asking him how he did in the bathroom!  And why was I asking if he had the keys to the car!  Funny – good times!

I was pondering this funny moment since it happened on Mother’s Day.  How many times do I skip ahead feeling justified to ask for answers, demand results and more often than I want to admit – am impatient with those not on our same page?  More than once – I can assure you.

This is a "thought bubble". It is an...

I hear and fill in those empty spaces with things I want – or that sound logical to me, forgetting that not everyone thinks like me.  This happens too often and reminds me that I must slow down - not only my words – but also my thought process.  Slowing down is hard for me.  My body may not always cooperate but my mind has always been quick.  I have always been a step or two ahead.  I am a planner.  I like to have things organized – especially in my thinking.  In this way I can feel in control.

But what does God require of me?

Be still and know that I am God

Psalm 46:10

There it is.  Be still.  What does that mean?  To be still is to be quiet in my mind.  Meditate on God’s love and peace breathed in my life.  Nothing else.  No agenda, no planning, no anticipating.  No skipping ahead.

This is a daily discipline for me.  To slow down.  Take one day as it comes with all its wonders and discoveries.  To ponder.  To relish, reflect and  to be still.

My prayer for you today is that you too will slow down.  You will appreciate the little things.  Take time to stop and ponder.  Really listen.  Stop planning three steps ahead.   To be still.

And may your spouse always be effective in communicating just what they mean.  :)

God Bless

Mercy Says No

Last night we watched a wonderful story on forgiveness.  It was on Oprah’s new program, “Where are they now”.  Many years ago a brutally raped woman accused and put the wrong man in prison for this crime, due to a mistake on her part.  He had to be in prison for eleven years.

The story was unreal.  Can you even imagine being falsely accused by someone because you happen to look like the real criminal?  It seems horrific.  And yet this story has a powerful ending.  The man was released when DNA tests proved he was not guilty.  When the women found out her mistake she set about to rectify it.  She asked this man face to face if he could ever find it in his power to forgive her.  What he said to her next was so wonderful.  He told her, “I forgave you years ago – I had to let go of the poison of hate in my body so I could continue to live”.

As I watched the two of them who appeared on the Oprah show many years ago telling their story, and then an update to right now – their story did not end there.  They are close friends involved in each others lives today.  Their easy give and take is so genuine.  Truly love and forgiveness of even the most unspeakable things that people do to us CAN win out every time.  But that decision is up to us.

I have heard of people who were able to forgive their children or spouses murderers.  Stories of grace and God-given mercy.  It has to be God – in ourselves we are just not equipped to handle the emotions on our own.  We want revenge and for someone to pay.  But mercy says no.

Love Hope, Grace, Mercy, and Faith

Love Hope, Grace, Mercy, and Faith (Photo credit: nme421)

I think about what I deserve.  It is death.  It is wrath.   And I need to be reminded that if it were not for the grace of God I would be lost.  Because of that undeserved and unearned favor from God – and what he did to save me – I am free.  Freed by love.  Freed by something I could never repay.  Because of that example of total reckless abandon and outpouring – I can love and forgive others.  Oh it doesn’t come naturally to me.  In fact I don’t want to even talk to anyone who has hurt me – let alone invite them back into my life and live as if nothing has happened.  It is against my natural tendencies.  But because of God’s great love for me, I can take baby steps toward understanding this incredible kind of love.  I can take baby steps in showing grace – and in showing mercy.

I have a few people like this in my world.  Where it is an act of my will to just let it go.
I know that God will take care of them in the end.  But it is hard to
wait for that day that seems so very far away.  Where is the justice???  I don’t want to show mercy and grace.  I want them to pay and know how they have hurt me.  It is not a pretty picture.

When was the last time you had an encounter with the unlovely side of yourself?  The side that turns away, runs from conflict and those that have deeply hurt you?  Or the side of you that DEMANDS payment?  When was the last time you had an opportunity to show grace?  They didn’t deserve it.  They never will.  They deserved your wrath and exploding anger.  But you were able to dig deeper and lean on God’s great arm of forgiveness and understanding.  And instead of making them pay – you were able to let it go.  You found the strength to say, ‘mercy says no’.

My prayer for all of us today is that we can find that place to ‘let it go’.  I pray that you will come to that place where you practice the forgiveness that frees and releases.  I pray that you will continue to prosper even as your soul prospers, living happy, healthy and full of grace and mercy.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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