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Life is a journey

Birth is a beginning and death a destination

And life is a journey

From childhood to maturity

And youth to age,

From innocence to awareness

And ignorance to knowing,

From foolishness to discretion

And then, perhaps to wisdom,

From weakness to strength

Or strength to weakness,

And often back again.

From health to sickness

And back, we pray, to health again

From offense to forgiveness

From loneliness to love

From joy to gratitude

From pain to compassion

And grief to understanding

From fear to faith

From defeat to defeat to defeat

Until, looking backward or ahead

We see that victory lies not at some high place along the way

But in having made the journey, stage by stage, a sacred pilgrimage

Birth is a beginning

Death a destination

But life is a journey

From birth to death to life everlasting

Author unknown, from the prayer book of the Shiva of my friend.

Baruch, my friends, Baruch

(Blessing, my friends, blessings)

SB

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Who are you and what breaks your heart?

The answer to the question is an important one and is different for every person. Within the answer to this question lies the desires of your heart, and where you can begin to find your purpose.

Who are you and what breaks your heart?

Who are you and what breaks your heart? I first heard this question a few years ago as a challenge from our youth pastor. Along with the other adult sponsors of our youth, I searched deep within myself to answer the question.  The answer to the question is an important one and is different for every person.  Within the answer to this question lies the desires of your heart, and where you can begin to find your purpose.   It took me several days to fully craft my response.  Over the next several years, I returned to the question as well as my answer, sometimes tweaking the verbiage, but never the message.

I am a musician, an engineer, a mentor; my desire is to leave things better than I found them; I am a sister, daughter, wife, mother, aunt, friend.

Suicide breaks my heart; cancer breaks my heart; human trafficking breaks my heart; seeing people make bad life decisions breaks my heart.

I am thankful for the One True and Living God who saved me from myself and, through His Son Jesus Christ, has saved me from my sins.

I am confidently persistent, boldly creative and passionately determined that I may inspire others to live a life that ultimately matters.

I am a believer in Jesus Christ and a firm believer that God has a plan for every one of our lives.   In my young life, I struggled to find that purpose.  Once I found it, I developed a passion to help others find their purpose in life as well.

This blog is a collection of life experiences, probably some past and some present, designed to connect with you on your life journey, to help you ultimately live a life that matters.  My sincerest prayer is that through my words, you are drawn into a deeper relationship with the One who can fulfill your purpose in life.

Blessings,

SB

 

Prayer today…

Father in Heaven. I come before you humbly asking your guidance and your grace, your healing and mercy. Bring unity where there is division, bring laughter where there is sadness, hope where there is despair, healing where there are wounds…. in our homes and communities, states and in our nation, we humbly ask you to intercede and bring peace.

In your holy name I pray

SB

Healing

Good morning, friends. As PRAY is my word of the year for 2020, I start each day with devotional time and prayer. This morning, I have several requests for prayers of friends and loved ones battling health issues. I know that Jesus is our ultimate healer, and I pray for His healing on my friends… that throughout the their healing, they might see the power of Jesus to transform their lives.

Father in Heaven, I pray to You today, and ask that You touch those I’m thinking about with Your touch… that in the name of Jesus, they would healed of their afflictions. I pray for healing of body, mind and spirit. Restore the bodies that need restoration, bring peace where it is needed, and bring health to those who need it

In Your Holy name I pray, amen

SB

Labeled

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me” FALSE

In an ironic twist, the very platforms that were launched to give everyone a voice have created the very place where opinions are like bellybuttons, and when mine isn’t like yours, you can berate me for it. Social media bullying has replaced social graces and tolerance, in the very name of tolerance itself. The world of social media is an ugly, ugly place.

Those who know me well know that one of my joys in life is seeing other people develop to come “out of their shell” and reach their full potential. I’m about helping others achieve whatever their goals and dreams are… and sometimes in the process, they need a little push…. not over a cliff, but sometimes out of their comfort zone. I do it, not because I think there’s anything wrong with them being in their comfort zone, but because I’ve discovered that sometimes, when we take a leap outside of it, we discover a whole new world, a whole new perspective and whole new experiences that we’d have never known had we just stayed inside our box. It is exhilarating to me to watch people discover they had the ability to do things they never thought possible.

I take very literally the scripture where a Jesus says, “I have come that you may have life and have it abundantly” and feel it’s part of my mission in life to help others achieve abundant life.

I also come about this mission quite naturally because, in my young life, I was very much governed by “victim” mentality, having lost my father to cancer early in my life. From age 8 to about 22, I felt very sorry for myself and allowed that loss to affect all areas of my life. I didn’t walk around talking about it, but had sunk so deep in depression that I was truly unable to pull myself out of the mud. In hindsight, I would actually say my depression caused by that loss had truly disabled me from even wanting to achieve anything.

By Gods grace, He truly picked me out of the muck and mire and put a passion in me to a) recognize this characteristic in other people b) encourage them that they, too, can be pulled out of the muck and mire. In both my professional career as an engineering manager and director of music studio, and in my personal life as a youth leader for our youth group, I seek to pull people out of their “victim” and to “victory” through Gods grace, and to achieve what they never knew was possoble. My passion is fueled because I can so clearly see what I was and what I’ve become, through Christ alone… it is not a change I could have made on my own. I was truly headed for self destruction… and God literally came after me like the Shepherd goes after the one lost sheep.

All of this is backdrop for an incident that occurred online that truly has me very upset, mostly because I felt it was an unfair attack on my character.

One of the groups I belong to on social media is for online music teachers, a support group and a “safe” place where teachers can ask for advice and feedback from others. It’s been a great resource, especially during Covid where so many lessons have gone from face to face to online in many cases. Questions range from technical setup to teaching techniques to business questions, and everything in between. The creator of the group seems wonderfully caring and encouraging to the teaching community.

The other day, a teacher posted a question asking how to deal with a student who refused to count outloud and, as a result, could not play the correct rhythm. In my studio, when teaching students rhythm, I require them to count outloud, even if they are shy or awkward about it. (It’s actually one of the techniques I use to help people come out of their shell). As an aside, my personal experience with rhythm probably exacerbated my passion for correct rhythm. My first two piano teachers never really stressed good rhythm with me. As a result, my rhythm was terrible… until I auditioned to take lessons (yes, I had to audition to be accepted as a student) with a professor at Duquesne University. He told me my rhythm was terrible (and he didn’t mince words!) and essentially demanded that I learn it correctly. I rose to the challenge, and have committed that I will always do my best to teach students what I wasn’t taught by my first two teachers.

Other teachers responded in similar fashion, that they would force students to count loud, but one of the teachers apparently did not like my response and lashed out at me (but not the other teachers who said they required outloud counting) and said my rigid ways were “SUPER, SUPER albeist”

Ableism is the discrimination of and social prejudice against people with disabilities based on the belief that typical abilities are superior. At its heart, ableism is rooted in the assumption that disabled people require ‘fixing’ and defines people by their disability.

Can I just say here that I’m honestly sick to death of the people who think every comment is a social prejudice of some sort? My goodness… I truly feel as though we’ve become a victim society!

That said, I will admit that her unfair label of me is bothersome… my initial response truly was anger and resentment. Who did she think she was calling me an albeist!? And then my reaction was to recoil, and all sorts of thoughts of self doubt came through my mind, as if it was telling me she’s right and that I’ve never really helped anyone at all, so why keep trying? I’ve lived this pattern before… it’s theme is all through the book Masquerade and I believe it’s a lie Satan would have us believe to render us ineffective.

I think about the outcasts I knew from school, the kids who sat by themselves at lunchtime, the ones who had no friends and were picked on… I wonder if they ever figured out that they are more valuable than the label someone put on them unfairly because they didn’t understand their past, or their true personality, or their true motives.

I know not everyone in my life will love me, or even like me for that matter, but this week was a reminder of how important it is to treat others with respect. I will not apologize for trying to help someone achieve what they didn’t think possible. I will apologize for hurting someone’s feelings, which is something I would never intentionally do. I will try my best to not label someone unfairly, and I will forgive those who have done so unto me, that I might be able to grow instead of recoil. … most importantly, I will continue to help other people grow in whatever way I can as that is a passion that truly fuels my spirit. I will seek to understand what makes them.

As I contemplated leaving the group, I reached out to its founder to thank him for everything he’s done to create a support group for online teachers and wished him well. He asked what happened and I shared with him. He immediately responded with a video message saying unfortunately sometimes aren’t ready to accept that they need help or need to change something …that perhaps at a later point they will realize the wisdom in the help offered… and that perhaps my comments helped someone else who needed to hear them. He encouraged me to keep being who I am.

May we please continue to learn from one another instead of tearing each other down. May we continue to evolve and grow and encourage others to do the same in a loving way. I pray God will give me grace to give to others when I need to give it, but continue to allow God to develop others and me into who He intended is to be, that’d we’d love the abundant life He intended us to have.

Be blessed today, my friends. If you’ve made it this far in my post today, I congratulate you! Forgive the rant… it’s been weighing heavy on my heart. I am forever grateful for those who pushed me out of my comfort zone to achieve what I never thought possible. Had it not been for them, I would still be the insecure wallflower that I was all those years ago.

SB

Dreamland

Off I go to dreamland.. Sleep, sleep,

Stress weighs heavy upon my conscience after tense and moving day, ever conscious of pending deadlines, marked by highest levels of anxiety among those with whom I work, in a world where simple things seem increasingly difficult.

I pray tonight my dreams take me to places far away, to escape the intense reality of the world that has become my norm, replacing angxt and deadlines with creative freedom, ever exploring silliness and fun

Off I go to dreamland, praying God speak through my dreams, guiding and directing next step. I lay my burdens at His feet and ask Him to envelop me in His Goodness, cradle me in His arms, giving me the mental rest He knows I need

Be blessed, my friends, be blessed

SB

Sustain

Oh Lord, my God… sustain me when I cannot sustain myself… when Ive grown weary of the tasks before me and cannot feel your presence, revive me.

Father God in Heaven, I give you today… I ask that You fill me with Your spirit. Go before me to all the places I have to go, that Your spirit will pave a path of peace… for the tasks that lie ahead, I pray Your wisdom to indwell, remove obstacles. I pray for cooperation among teammates, grace among friends and love across neighbors.

In Your Holy name I pray

Amen

SB

Love and compassion

So many things to pray about this morning in my quiet time. Above all, today, my heart is stirred with compassion for a hurting world. A world that has forgotten how to care for people… ironic as it seems, in a world filled with “mandates” intended for saving people, we’ve forgotten how to treat one another.

Hurting people hurt people.

They do.

My prayer today goes out to all the hurting people, searching for peace in a cold and cruel world. May they find the only true peace that comes from our Savior, Jesus Christ. May He use His warriors to reach a lost soul today, to bring another Home.

Be blessed today, my friends

SB

In my darkest hour

There was Jesus

You may have heard the song by Dolly Pardon and Zach Williams… if not, click the link above.

I’m not sure I can pinpoint one specific dark hour of my life… there are many to choose from… there are a few that stand out in my mind… now that I’ve found His light, I’ve rewritten some of those dark memories from a different perspective… my perspective was limited, and only focused on what was happening to me… God, in His infinite wisdom and omnipresence has the best perspective… the one that shows Him overlooking the scene and bringing what’s happening to me with what’s happening to someone else… and another someone else… and another someone else… and He is tying things together and bringing things together like only He can.

If you’re in a dark and lonely place right now, I’d like to encourage you to hold on… whether you feel it or not, Jesus is right beside you… and He will work all things together for good for those who love Him… trust that.

Be blessed today, my friends!

SB

Every time I try to make it on my own
Every time I try to stand,

I start to fall
And all those lonely roads that I have traveled on
There was Jesus

When the life I built came crashing to the ground
When the friends I had were nowhere to be found
I couldn’t see it then but I can see it now
There was Jesus

In the waiting, in the searching
In the healing, in the hurting
Like a blessing buried in the broken pieces
Every minute, every moment
Where I’ve been or where I’m going
Even when I didn’t know it
Or couldn’t see it
There was Jesus

For this man who needs amazing kind of grace (mm-hmm)
For forgiveness and a price I couldn’t pay (mm-hmm, mm-hmm)
I’m not perfect so I thank God every day
There was Jesus
There was Jesus

In the waiting, in the searching
In the healing, in the hurting
Like a blessing buried in the broken pieces
Every minute, every moment
Where I’ve been or where I’m going
Even when I didn’t know it
Or couldn’t see it

There was Jesus
On the mountains
In the valleys
There was Jesus
In the shadows
Of the alleys

There was Jesus
In the fire, in the flood
There was Jesus
Always is and always was, oh No

I never walk alone
Never walk alone
You’re always there

In the waiting, in the searching
In the healing, in the hurting
Like a blessing buried in the broken pieces
Every minute, every moment
Where I’ve been or where I’m going
Even when I didn’t know it
Or couldn’t see it
There was JesusThere was Jesus
There was Jesus
There was Jesus

Grace, not race

“The problem is sin…not skin.

The answer is grace…not race.

We are all equal and we all live under the same sky…despite what the hateful media wants to you to believe to stay in fear and tuned in.”

The above post appeared in my Facebook feed this morning, from a friend I’ve known since high school.

Every day, i amazed by Gods grace. As I allow Gods spirit to fill me up, I find His grace spills over toward others. May this always be so… may His love flow so freely through me that I can love whose who don’t see the world through the same lens as me.

I’ve honestly never felt racist in my life… never even considered the color of someone’s skin to be a significant part of what defines them as a person… red and yellow, black and white, they are ALL precious in His sight.

I am truly saddened by the people who have made war out of skin color – I dare say even people who may never have thought about skin color difference before.

The truth is, we’ve ALL sinned and fall short of His glory. And need His grace in our lives. It has nothing to do with what race we are and everything to do with the sin that separates us from God. Without His grace, we will fall prey to what the receiver wants us to believe… his divisive ways are tearing us up and he loves it.

I am praying for revival in our country, for the grace of God and the Peace of Christ will change hardened hearts. I His holy name I pray, amen

SB

Army

7 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed before the king of Assyria and all the horde that is with him, for there are more with us than with him. 8 With him is an arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people took confidence from the words of Hezekiah king of Judah. 2 Chronicles 32:7-8

22 So the Lord saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib king of Assyria and from the hand of all his enemies, and he provided for them on every side. 23 And many brought gifts to the Lord to Jerusalem and precious things to Hezekiah king of Judah, so that he was exalted in the sight of all nations from that time onward.

In my early morning devotions, I’ve been learning about the Kings of Israel… some of whom did evil in the sight of the Lord and some did good in the sight of the Lord. Hezekiah did right in the eyes of the Lord. Yes interestingly, in the verses between the two quotes above, people tried to convince those in Hezekiahs charge that he did not have the favor of the Lord and that people should not listen to Hezekiah… they painted him as a bad king… yet the Lord prevailed and delivered Israel out of the hands of Sennacherib…. because Hezekiah humbled himself and obeyed the Lord.

I am increasingly fascinated by the Old Testament… and the parallels of history repeating itself. If ever there was a time to humble yourself before the lord and ask Him to fight our battle, it is now. Be it a personal battle, or a local, national, or global battle, the fight belongs to the Lord.

As I live my life, I am also increasingly aware of the battle the Lord is fighting for me… battles that have already been won as well as battles still waging… and even those not started yet. As I face each battle, I know, without a doubt, I am in the Lord’s army… He is raising up warriors through His might alone… and I will forever trust Him.

If you are fighting a battle today, humble yourself in the sight of the Lord… seek His will first and foremost, and trust Him with the battle.

Be blessed today, my friends!

SB