Musings From A Musical Mind

Archive for the ‘Moments’ Category

Instant In Season

Last night I was sitting on the love seat in our living room – getting ready to watch the movie “Radio” with Greg, when suddenly my cell phone rang.

I will back up and give you a little history on that phone call.

We are getting a little Bichon Frise puppy from a lady in the Tri-Cities area named Monica.  She and I have developed an email and phone relationship as she has watched over and cared for our little puppy, who was born very tiny, has been bottle fed every hour and a half for the first 3 weeks of her life, and coaxed and coddled into growing and being healthy.  Monica has been careful to allow me to be a part of the process through pictures and phone calls.  She is a loving person who thinks of her three adult Bichon’s and all their puppies, as her children.

We had planned a trip to go see our puppy tomorrow, when Monica called me at the beginning of the week to tell me she was very ill and would have to have surgery to remove her gall bladder.  Surgery was scheduled for yesterday morning.  I texted and told her we would be definitely praying for her and the family – for a fast recovery and strength over the next few weeks.  She thanked me and I anxiously waited to hear something yesterday evening.  I sent off another text and then went to sit on the love seat to watch our movie.

The cell phone rang.  It was Monica.  She didn’t sound like herself.  She apologized and said, “I’m sorry, I feel bad because I don’t know you very well – but…could you please pray for me?  I’m really sick and I’ve been throwing up every 15 minutes since the surgery.”   I acted immediately – and said, “YES.  Let’s pray right now!”  and I did.  I’m not sure what I said – I was a little stunned, because it isn’t every day that someone asks you to do this – but somehow in that moment the Lord helped me and I was able to pray peace on that situation – and that the doctor would be able to get a hold of the situation and figure it out – FAST.

It was an “instant in season” moment.  You know the kind.  When your called upon to do the extraordinary - in a very ordinary time.  To  be “filled up” with God –  so that in these “moments”  responding is done without hesitation.  Sometimes, if I’m honest – I don’t feel like this.  I feel very inadequate.  But in spite of my weakness – He spoke through me and was strong.

Somehow she knew that I was a Christian – we had never discussed it.  But when she had a real emergency – a real life or death need, she knew who to call and that I would pray.

It was after the prayer that I was able to tell her that we are Christians and that we believe and have a faith that God not only understands us – but that He made our bodies and that He cares.  I told her that Greg was a minister and had been for almost 30 years now.  This was amazing to her – but very comforting in her time of need.  Her vomiting sounded very much like an allergic reaction to the pain meds – because something similar had happened years ago to Greg when having his wisdom teeth removed.  I told her about my hunch – and this morning I received a text from her saying that the doctor discovered that she indeed had an allergic reaction to the drugs. And all is well.

It is certain that the bonding moment that we shared in prayer during that crisis will be a pivotal moment for both Monica and her husband who was in the hospital room with her while I prayed for her on the phone.

Never take little “moments” with people for granted – you never know when you are being placed in someone’s life for their moment of crisis.

Stay close to Him.

Stay “instant in season”  and even “out of season”  because – well… you never know.

Turn your ordinary – into the extraordinary.

God Bless

 

24 Years Ago

I remember where I was 24 years ago tonight.  I was in a room in a hospital in New Castle, PA – getting ready for 5 hours of hard labor to have my first-born child – Ashlee Renee.  I went into labor on her due date of August 5th and she was born at 2:27 am on August 6, 1987.

So much has changed since I was 26 years old.  We’ve lived an entire lifetime since then – crisscrossed the country a couple of times and have finally wound up back in the Pacific Northwest.

Everything about life changes when you have a baby – our doctor told Greg and me that we would enter the hospital as two people – and  leave as three.  Our life really changed and we discovered that Ashlee was the new boss of our home – deciding when she would eat and sleep – and most often in those first few months – she was at an opposite schedule – so NO ONE slept much.  I remember not minding – she was precious and I had prayed for a girl and she was PERFECT.

Happy Birthday, Ashlee – you will be 24 in 6 hours!

Where were you 24 years ago today?

God Bless!

What’s Making Your Noise?

Animated noise

Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday our youth pastor, Jeremy spoke on a passage of scripture in Ephesians 3.  It is the prayer of blessing.  But it wasn’t so much that prayer that we have all heard a million times in our lives that stood out to me – it was what he said about paying attention to God that made me sit up and take notice.  He talked about things in our lives getting the most attention – the things that are maybe not the most important – but that which make the most  noise.

So I ask you this – as I ponder this same question for myself.  What is creating the most “noise” in your life right now?

Does God allow the “noise” to see if you’re really paying attention to what is important?

Do you still hear Him in the midst of all that “noise”?

What does your “noise” sound like?  Do you spend your time trying to quiet the noise and “put out tiny fires” instead of really concentrating and centering down to the quiet still small voice in your heart?

 

God Bless

How Persistent Are You?

sunny disposition |24

Image by ms.Tea via Flickr

I am a positive person – one who used to jump out of bed in the morning as a child and have a “sunny” disposition most of the time – just ask my mother.  And although I do NOT jump out of bed in the morning now – I’m still the same positive person – for the most part.

I usually see the best in people – not the worst.  This can be a problem.  How – you say?  Well if I only see the good in people – and ignore or avoid the dark side of behavior or tendencies – then it always seems to surprise and sneak up on me when things go sideways.  And not in a good way.

However – because of my ability to “see only the best” I have been able to go places that few ever dare to.  Jumping in and charging full force into something I have NO CLUE about – or what dangers may lie waiting for me there.

I like to think of this as sheer optimism – but others call it reckless abandon and naivety.   And I have paid a very high emotional cost for going there with some.  A price that I still pay today.

How does one truly love and see the good – without holding back and analyzing people first?  Deciding whether or not they are worth my time – or anyone’s time?  I’ve never been very good at holding back.

I’ve also never been one to give up easily.

I am VERY persistent in the things that other deem “impossible”.

You say I CAN’T do that?  I say – Yes I can!

That situation is impossible, you say?  No it is NOT!  Thank you very much.

You say that I will never be able to learn that new task?  I will learn it or die trying.

If there is an unresolved relationship, daunting and scary to revisit and investigate  – You say – “that person will never revisit – ever begin the scary process of starting again  – where there has been silence – suddenly start talking again”.  I say, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?”  I will never stop believing – never stop praying – never stop hoping.  My motto is:  “Hope spring eternal” – and that is how I will always see it.  Period.

And if we are Christians and really live like we believe – then SHAME ON THOSE who tell me there is no hope in a situation.  No possibility for reconciliation from a estranged brother or sister – no glimmer of things to be put to right again.  I believe the impossible – because I really live what I believe.  I cannot be responsible for how others respond to pain, loss and hurt – but I can be ready to receive them back – when they finally are ready to come back.  I am ready to give up the fight – and to welcome back what was lost to me.

And I’m just dumb enough to believe that once someone imprints on your heart – they are never really lost to you – and that someday they will come back.  And that love is the greatest motivator we have.  A friendship that had depth and meaning – will always find a way to make amends.  Even when dumb things are said and done.  Even then.

How persistent are you in your faith?  In a relationship gone bad?  In something new that takes patience and resolve?  Don’t wait to resolve it – the other person at the end of your dark journey may just be waiting for you there.

I am praying for you today.

God Bless

How You Live (Turn Up The Music)

The Best So Far (Cindy Morgan album)

Image via Wikipedia

This wonderful song written by the great Cindy Morgan is fast becoming one of my favorites.  Recorded a couple of years ago by the group “Point of Grace” it needs to be noted that Cindy’s original lyrics were slightly “edgier” for the simple reason, she said – “Because I’m married”.  But because “Point of Grace” wanted to record it – they asked Cindy to rewrite the first two lines so it could be universal and not just for the married lady.

I love how Cindy writes.  She really seems to get it – the good, the bad and the ugly all mixed up together in wonderful and poignant lyrics that transcend gender, era and circumstance.  I have posted her music videos before to showcase not only her songwriting ability – but also her great and versatile singing voice.  She is also an accomplished pianist and often during videos she is playing keyboards.

This song is about making every moment count.  And as Father’s Day approaches – and we remember our Dads and our husbands  – I want to challenge you to make every moment count with the “Dads” in your life – Hey – TURN UP THE MUSIC!!!

God Bless!

Wake up to the sunlight
With your windows open
Don’t hold in your anger or leave things unspoken
Wear your red dress
Use your good dishes
Make a big mess and make lots of wishes
Have what you want
But want what you have
And don’t spend your life lookin’ back[Chorus]
Turn up the music
Turn it up loud
Take a few chances
Let it all out
You won’t regret it
Lookin’ back from where you have been
Cause it’s not who you knew
And it’s not what you did
It’s how you liveSo go to the ballgames
And go to the ballet
And go see your folks more than just on the holidays
Kiss all your children
Dance with your wife
Tell your husband you love him every night
Don’t run from the truth
Cause you can’t get away
Just face it and you’ll be okay[Chorus]

Oh wherever you are and wherever you’ve been
Now is the time to begin

So give to the needy
And pray for the grieving
E’en when you don’t think that you can
Cause all that you do is bound to come back to you
So think of your fellow-man
Make peace with God and make peace with yourself
Cause in the end there’s nobody else

[Chorus]

Cause it’s not who you knew
And it’s not what you did
It’s how you live

Launching The Kid

Today I put my husband and son on a plane bound for California – the place of dreams for my 19-year-old son – as far back as he and I can remember.  I remember 10 years ago while on a family vacation – we were in L.A. and driving by the U.C.L.A. campus in Hollywood – and Shawn saying – ‘I’m living here someday’.  And although he will be attending Musician’s Institute in Hollywood and not U.C.L.A. – it feels the same to him – he will be living his dream of “someday”.  And we have all learned that today – “someday” has arrived.

I have many memories of my son as I think of him trying to navigate in strange surroundings and remember that he was the child who did NOT like anything strange and unfamiliar.  He would hang back – ponder and take his time on everything – even as a young child.  One time when he was three and staying the afternoon with my parents  – they couldn’t find him – he was playing “hide-n-seek” and took it seriously being very still and quiet – even when they called and called him.  They freaked out and called the police because they were sure he had run away or something terrible had happened to him.  I came back from my errand and they told me “not to panic” but they couldn’t find Shawn!  Because I know my son – I was confident it just was NOT in his nature to run off and knew he must be hiding.  As soon as he heard my voice – he came out – and was bewildered that there were police there – not understanding what all the fuss was about!

He has been a shy, timid and thoughtful child his whole life – growing into a kind and generous human being with a great sense of humor.  He has what Greg and I have always called “the X-Factor” – charm, good looks and talent.  He has also made and kept many friends – one in particular, since he has been three years old.  This is the mark of an excellent person – one who keeps friends,  his promises and cares deeply about others.  But he has never been one to venture too far from home.  Oh he’s gone on the occasional trip with friends and even some missions trips with church – and one memorable trip to help with the relief effort in Haiti this last December – but he always came back home.  There was always the safety of knowing where he came from and felt our arms of love and protection over the years.

As his talent grew and made way for him – we saw him blossom – and God use him in incredible ways with his music – and particularly his drumming.  We’ve been proud of him, self-taught like his Dad and I’ve been proud to have been his singing and piano teacher for a time in his earlier life because I believe it gave him the foundation to teach himself guitar as well and develop as a song writer and worship leader.

Leaving home for bigger horizons was just a matter of time – and we have known this day would come for about two years now.  But God as been preparing all of our hearts and so beautifully blessed him financially and with a wonderful support system of friends and family.

But still – like any parent I ask myself these questions:

Did I do enough?

Was I a good enough example – with all my flaws and failures?

Did I prepare him enough?

Will he cling to Jesus in his darkest and loneliest days so far from home?

Will his faith sustain him?

Will he remember all the things we tried to teach him?

Were we good enough role models?

Did we love him enough?

Did we live what we believed?

If you are like me – you probably wonder the same thing as your children grow up and begin to step into the world and have their own lives.  As they begin to launch.  I’m thankful that God makes up for any lack that I may have – and He understands that I am flawed and human.  I also know beyond all question that Shawn was given to me to raise – and not someone else.  God knew that I was exactly what Shawn needed me – flaws, mistakes, shortcomings and all.  And because I know that to be true – and that He loves Shawn even more than I do -  I can rest and know that all is well.

And so the journey continues – our son who was a special gift on loan to us – is off to pursue and live his dream.  And we release and bless him to be everything that he can be – to be a blessing to others and follow God’s voice in his life.

Launching complete.

When was the last time you wondered if you had done enough?  Have you ever felt inadequate?

God Bless

Not TOO Close And Personal

A couple of nights ago I accompanied my husband, Greg on a work assignment in downtown Seattle.  He “moonlights” as a contractor for Starbucks doing light maintenance after hours – or any “emergency” situations.  This was one of those.  A homeless person decided to “take a dump” as it were – right outside Starbucks back door where their dumpsters are (it could have been worse – and sometimes is, but not this time). He gets paid a lot of money for being the on call emergency clean-up guy.

While we were driving from the east side into downtown Seattle – the skyline of the city was breathtaking.

This lead to some great conversation.  You see, from afar – the city looks beautiful – but careful – you don’t want to look too close – you may see some things that are – well – kind of disturbing and not so pretty.

The inner city life and all the dirt and grime.  Not so pretty.  Drugs and alcohol abuse.  Street walkers and dealers after hours.  The raw and the gritty.  Not pretty.

 

While we were discussing this great truth – I was reminded of a movie that we had seen recently “Soul Surfer” about the young girl who had her arm bitten off by a shark.  In the story her Bible Study leader, played by Carrie Underwood, shows them several pictures of things up close and personal – things that looked AMAZING up close – and then when you backed up – you were seeing an ants eyeball.  And then things that looked so HORRIBLE up close – were actually things that were surprisingly beautiful – like a flower petal.

Things are not always as they appear.  Hardly ever.  First impressions can be killers.  And sometimes our imagination is WAY better than the real thing.  A little like every day life.

I love the way God takes me just as I am – up close and personal.  He is not afraid to go deeper and see all the ugly things lurking beneath the surface.  And He loves me just the same.

What have you discovered to be different up close and personal?   How are you about accepting the good with the not so pretty in others around you?

 

God Bless

Drops Of Jupiter

I can’t tell you why I love these song lyrics – but I identify with them somehow.    I was singing this with a voice student of mine this last week – and I asked her, “What do you think these lyrics mean?”  Interesting question, right?

I have found that the best song lyrics have a universal meaning.  And even though the writer of these words was taking something from his real life – it usually is a personal story that inspires the best songs.   This song is actually about a dream.  The lead singer of Train lost his mother to cancer and had a weird dream about missing her.   Enjoy it – it’s one of Train’s best songs and after listening to the song and seeing the lyrics – there is another video of Pat explaining about the dream and why he wrote the song.  It’s really great!

Who’s your “Drops Of Jupiter” today?  Who do you miss?

God Bless

In His Presence

Our pastor has been speaking the last few weeks on the subject of forgiveness and yesterday on the subject of grace.  Something he said at the end of that message really spoke to me.  He said that when we are in the presence of Jesus – something happens to us.  His presence draws and changes.  We basically do nothing without Him and should receive no credit when there is a changed life.  I thought to myself, “how true this is”.  If we could only get ourselves out-of-the-way and let those around us really see HIM – His contagious and transforming love would radically change people.

There is example after example of this in scripture – the transforming, life altering encounter with Jesus – forever changing the broken, cynical and desperate into new creations of wholeness, optimism and health – boldly going forth with new purpose and determination.  All things different forever because of that extraordinary brush with deity.  The woman at the well – Paul on his way to Damascus – knocked off his horse – both of these had an encounter and a moment with the almighty – that forever changed them.

There are many stories in the Bible of how Jesus changed lives just simply by walking among the people – and being in their presence.  It is something that we have access to all the time – a life that is saturated with the love and presence of Jesus – made evident in our daily walk and talk.  It is also something that I need to be aware of – and I need to get out-of-the-way and let others see Him in me – so that they too can be changed.  He is the great beautifier – He is the one who changes hearts – He is the one capable of restoring and bringing new life and purpose to people – not me.

Lord – help me to remember to point those around me to you.  Help me to be sensitive enough to get out-of-the-way and let your love and grace shine through my life.  Help them to see you.  Help them feel and experience the transforming love of your presence.

If you are struggling today – my prayer for you is that you come back into His presence – find renewed strength for what you are going through and a fresh perspective on situations that you alone cannot carry.  All things that are possible – in His presence.

God Bless

In and out of situations
that tug of war at me
All day long I struggle
for the answers that I need
But when I come into His presence
All my questions become clear
And in that sacred moment
No doubts can interfere

In the presence of Jehovah
God Almighty, Prince of Peace
Troubles vanish, hearts are mended
In the presence of the King

Through His love the Lord provided
A place for us to rest
A place to find the answers
In our hour of distress
Now there’s never any reason
For you to give up in despair
Just slip away and breathe His name
You will surely find Him there

In the presence of Jehovah
God Almighty, Prince of Peace
Troubles vanish, hearts are mended
In the presence of the King

In the presence of Jehovah
God Almighty, Prince of Peace
Troubles vanish, hearts are mended
In the presence of the King

Loosening My Firm Grip

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

I was out taking a walk around the neighborhood yesterday, in one of those rare sunny and fairly “warmish” days.  I had my iPhone/iPod tunes coming through my ear buds and I was humming a happy little tune.

I turned a corner and walked toward a nearby park when all of a sudden the thought struck me:  What if I lost all this great music on my iPhone?  What if my computer had a melt-down and my WHOLE music library was GONE!  In an instant!

Well,  while this and other great thoughts invaded my mind along my walk – I had to ask myself, “would it really be a big deal? – I mean, come on – it’s just music, right?”

I had to admit that it would not be a huge deal.  An inconvenience for sure – but not the end of the world (as in what’s supposed to happen this Saturday – but that’s ANOTHER story).  No – my life and my world would continue on – I would just turn on my Pandora Radio and slowly rebuild my music library again – or just listen to CD’s and the radio in the car until I gathered my music once again over time.

Now while this is a silly example – I thought about the “things” I hold on to.  Those things that I feel ownership over.  The things that are mine.  My personal belongings, my pictures, my books, my computer, my piano, my blog articles and so on and so forth.  What if something happened to them?  Would I be Okay?  Would I survive?  If EVERYTHING was taken away from me tomorrow – would I really be able to make it?  Is my identity defined by all those things?  Would I really be lost without them?

No.  I would be Okay.  I choose to keep a loose grasp on my material blessings.  I can move, sell, sort and get rid of extra junk when I need to – and have in the past done several BIG MOVES across the country and back – to know that I am not defined by things.  I’ve witnessed several households of furniture come and go in 30 years of marriage and have not been devastated when the time came to unload it – or lighten our load.

I believe there is a principle in this for not only the material “things” – but I believe we should be willing to let go of our firm grip when it comes to the people in our lives – even if we don’t want to.  I was determined when raising our two children, that I was NOT going to be one of those mom’s who couldn’t bear to let my kids grow up, change and become independent from me.  It is perfectly normal for them to need me less and less as they mature – and to someday be fully developed and have their own life – apart from me.

Our children are only on loan to us.  I don’t believe there are any accidents.  God knows what He is doing – and He gave me my children to love and raise.  I do not OWN them.  And when I have invested into them everything I can – (not always in the most perfect way – but with the best intentions),  I can release them, knowing that they are individuals who must answer to God for themselves – they are no longer my responsibility.

Many parents become unhappy when their grown-up children do not need them anymore – when it is very normal and natural that they should NOT need us anymore when they are mature.  Some are bewildered because they feel they lose their control over their children and even try forms of manipulation and even guilt to keep them young – while imposing their need and dreams of the “good old days”.  While this is natural because of the time investment spent in them – it should not be used as a method of control towards our children.  They are given to us – they really belong to God.  It is important to raise our children “in the way they should go”  and then let them go – loosen the grip – release them in love.  Even if we don’t always agree.  Pray for them – and then trust God.

And though I am far from perfect as a mom – I have always tried to let my own grown-up children lead their own lives.  I feel like Greg and I did everything we could do while they were living in our home – and we tried to set a godly example for them while growing up – through good and bad, happy and sad times.

The secret is to have a “loose grip” on the things and people that we don’t feel we can let go.  Have a firm grip on God – and teach your children to do the same.  He will make His plans known to them – and He is ultimately responsible for their journey – when they allow Him to guide their steps.  This is so freeing to me as a parent and I know it will be to you too.  This will lead to a happy life – full of deep joy with no regret.

How’s your grip?  Do you feel it tightening around things you can’t bear to lose?  Can you just relax and trust?  How do you apply a “loose grip” to your own situations?

God Bless

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