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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

Featured

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

 

Today

Today, Lord, let me by wholly consecrated to Your will…. Whatever desire You have for me to lean, and be and do, let it be for Your glory

Thank you for fighting my battles. The battle belongs to you. Help me to let it go

Be blessed today my friends

SB

But are we really Tolerant?

Hey friends. I haven’t posted in a long time for many reasons… but I’ve got some things on my mind and want to get them off my chest.

First, I hate how ugly our world has become. In this post-pandemic world in which we live, the love of many waxes cold, just as scripture said it would. that’s not exactly what this post is about though.

In previous posts, those who follow me may have read about the music/art studio we opened 3 years ago. It’s a long story but the short of it is that I felt called to open it, and my business partner and I have dedicated our business to the Lord. I don’t yet collect a paycheck from the studio, but have worked very hard in the last three years while working my day job too to try to grow the business. One day I’d like to quit my day job and run the studio full time.One of my role models is Mark Batterson, successful part or/author who is known for encouraging Gods children to follow their dreams and “work like it depends on you and pray like it depends on God”. I am trying to do that in all we do.

At the encouragement of our accountant (also a Christian), I have been joining various groups on Facebook for the purpose of posting our classes and workshops to as many people as possible. I personally despise the way social media has turned people against one another and have found that even people with similar viewpoints will lash out at one another because of the animosity in language. However, I find that a significant number of our students came to us because they learned about us on Facebook.

Several weeks ago, I saw a post on our local community page by a woman who was starting her own cleaning business. I forget the exact name if it but it was something like HisGlory Cleaning, and on her add, she had the words “servant”. Clearly hers was a Christian owned company and she wanted everyone to know. I applaud her. I scanned through the comments and saw a lot of well wishes, and people tagging other people who might be interested… and then I saw a comment by a girl who graduated with my daughter (she was known to be a bit of a prima Donna). She said, “but why say servant, tho?” For all the world I wanted to reply to her comment but I knew it would not do any good. So I kept my real thoughts to myself and posted that I am not in need but wished her much luck and success.

Ours is a Christian business, and anyone who visits our website can see that, but we teach anyone. We have instructors and students of all ages and religious backgrounds. I don’t push my views on anyone, but am unashamed of the God I serve. I have signs and artwork in our lobby that clearly show who we serve.

I’ve had some reasonable success finding groups to post our events and workshops on. An upcoming workshop we have for the summer is called Bandwagonz.

https://12thoctave.com/bandwagonz

We have two classes available, one a rock band and one a worship band. I’ve posted:

Good morning, friends! Our Bandwagonz program kicks off in June 1! Time is running out to register!

We’re looking for students who play instruments (guitar, bass, keyboard/piano or drums) to join our summer Bandwagonz program!

Bandwagonz is an 8 week workshop which forms a band and teaches students all aspects of being in a band together. You need not be a current 12th Octave student to pre-register.

We’re specifically recruiting guitar, bass, drum, keyboard and vocals! Have some friends who play but don’t have a full band? Pre-register at the link below! We’ll form the band!

Rock Bangwagonz will meet on Wednesday evenings through June and July.

Praise and worship Bandwagonz will meet on Sunday evenings in June and July. Both programs culminate in a concert at our studio and other locations to be announced!

For more information visit our website or contact us: 412-414-3051 or info@12thoctave.com

I’ve posted on several local town groups, business groups and musician groups . Today I found a new group that seemed geared to theater, but since there are often musicians involved in theater, and theater is part of creative arts, I thought “why not?” So I asked to join the group and then posted the same as I had in other groups.

Almost immediately, someone commented and said I should have said it was a church group up front. Well… it’s not a church group. It’s a music studio. Another person commented and copied verbiage from our website where we indicate we operate on biblical principles. They criticized that we should tell everyone we are teaching hymns…. We are not teaching hymns… we teach a variety of music!

Keenly aware that a gentle answer turns away wrath, the anger inside me welled up large enough that I knew I couldn’t reply right away but prayed that God would give me words to say in defense of myself and our Savior. In short both of the members of this group had a real problem that we used the term “Christian” on our website (not on the original post mins you, although one workshop is for a “worship” band.

The one member went on to say that whether I realize it or not, the use of the word “Christian” was offensive to him and to many. The other person said that I should be upfront about being a Christian business so that someone wouldn’t unknowingly come somewhere they weren’t welcomed because they don’t subscribe to Christian values. Um… do you mean like how I unknowingly stumbled on their group and felt unwelcomed because I do subscribe to Christian values?

Christian values screams “you’re not welcome here”???? Really? Well for my first time posting on this group I surely didn’t feel welcomed THERE! So these two individuals were assuming that because we’re a Christian organization we must be intolerant of them… but THEY were being intolerant of me… and didn’t even see the irony in it.

I was mad enough to spit nails actually but chose to wish them well and then left the group. The one member tried to backpedal a bit, acting like what he was doing was a favor to me to attract more people.. but the truth of the matter is that these liberal thinking people were actually doing the very thing that they were afraid I would do to them.

Why is this okay?

“You better let them know you’re Christian so some unsuspecting family doesn’t come in and feel unwelcome because they don’t live by Christian values.” Really? Believe me… it’s obvious from our website who we serve. If that’s not you’re interested, scroll on by… but to think we’d make someone feel unwelcome?

To be fair, I’m sure there are people who call themselves Christian who are intolerant… and I get it… they’ve probably been burned by something in the past… but THEY themselves were the intolerant ones!

I am committed to the Lord… and I am committed to the business He has brought me to, until He calls me otherwise. By that same hand that has provided this far, He will continue to provide.

2 Timothy 3 summarizes: I belong to the Lord and I have all I need.

3 Be sure of this. In the last days hard times will come.

People will love themselves. They will love money. They will talk about themselves and be proud. They will say wrong things about people. They will not obey their parents. They will not be thankful. They will not keep anything holy.

They will have no love. They will not agree with anybody. They will tell lies about people. They will have no self-control. They will beat people. They will not love anything that is good.

They cannot be trusted. They will act quickly, without thinking. They are proud of themselves. They love to have fun more than they love God.

They act as if they worshipped God, yet they do not let God’s power work in their lives. Keep away from people like that.

They are the kind who go quietly into people’s houses. There they get foolish women to believe them. These women know that they have done many wrong things. And they want to do many kinds of wrong things.

They are always trying to learn, but never able to find out what is really true.

Jannes and Jambres were two men who were very much against Moses. In the same way, these men I am talking about are against what is true. They are men who have wrong thoughts in their minds. They do not believe.

But these men will not get very far. Everyone will see that they are wrong, just as people saw that Jannes and Jambres were wrong.

10 Timothy, you know my teaching and the way I lived. You know what I want to do and what I believe. You know my patience, my love, and my strength to bear trouble.

11 You know about my troubles. You know what happened to me in Antioch, in Iconium, and in Lystra. You know how badly the people treated me. But the Lord brought me safely through it all.

12 Yes, all who want to live a good life in Christ Jesus will be troubled by other people.

13 Bad men and those who fool other people will grow worse and worse. They will fool other people, and other people will fool them.

14 But you, Timothy, must keep on doing the things you have learned. You know they are right. You know who taught them to you.

15 From the time you were a child you knew the holy writings. They showed you how to be saved by believing in Christ Jesus.

16 All that is written in the holy writings comes from the Spirit of God. The holy writings are good for these things: to teach people, to show them when they are wrong, to make them see what is right, to teach them to do what is right.

17 In this way a person who belongs to God has all he needs. He is ready for every kind of good work.

Be blessed today, my friends, as I have been blessed.

Stay of execution

Monday, January 17, 2022… Martin Luther King Jr Day… and the day the Northeast got hit with a hefty snowstorm. Memorable for our family for more than one reason.

I’ve shared previously about the way in which God revealed Himself to our family through our dog, Lucky… way back in 2009 when Lucky came to live at our home.

Lucky will be 15 this summer, and for the past year has had degenerative issues with his back legs. It has been heartbreaking over the recent past, facing the inevitable certainty of having to make a decision to be merciful to our precious answer to prayer, no matter how hard. Last week, I made that decision and called the vet for an appointment. I underestimated how emotional it would be until I found myself sobbing to the vet tech who answered the phone. She made the appointment but told me that I could cancel if something changes.

One by one I told the members of our family and we prepared. On Saturday, my mom took Lucky for a long walk and let him play in the leaves.

The weathermen predicted a storm starting Sunday afternoon and ending sometime Monday. As called for, it started snowing around 3 pm on Sunday, right on through. Our schools were already off due to the holiday, as was my company (which is why I had originally made the appointment for this day). The skies dropped about 10 inches of snow…

Rich plowed our 1/4 mile driveway and the girls and I unburied the cars and shoveled the places the plow couldn’t. I took Lucky for a “last long walk in the snow”. He LOVED it. I called the vet, but there wasn’t anyone there, so I left a message canceling Luckys appointment on account of the snow. I asked them to call me back if they made it into the office… otherwise I’d call the next day to make another appointment.. but this time I decided to consult with the vet first to have hime help me decide if possible. I called my son, who is now in Nebraska, and while we talked, I walked Lucky all around the yard. It was as if he had a new lease on life! We must have done the loop around our yard twenty times! While we talked, my son prayed. He prayed that God would tell us, through Luckys actions and through the vet when it’s time to say goodbye.

That night, he slept beside me, getting up twice through the night to go outside. But the next morning, I was happy that I had decided, at least for now, to hold on a bit longer. He’s had a great week, able to jump up on the couch and back down again.

I know it won’t be forever, but for now, Lucky is still with us. ❤️

Be blessed, my friends.

Don’t be afraid

Hi friends! It’s been a minute since I’ve posted. I’ve underestimated how difficult it would be to keep everything going in my life, and my sweating has suffered at the hands of my busyness. I have many posts drafted. Perhaps this holiday season I’ll find some time to finish them!

Today I’d like to share a poem written by a friend of mine who is a pastor at Community Alliance Church in Butler, Pennsylvania. His words, not mine. i hope they touch you like they touched me.

Blessings,

SB

It was a great morning at CAC! There were many requests for a copy of Pastor Joe’s poem that he read at the end of the service, so we wanted to post it here for you. Be encouraged and, as we were reminded today, don’t be afraid.

Don’t Be Afraid
Joe Floris

Don’t be afraid
Because your sins are forgiven
Shame can no longer
Bind you from living
My blood was shed
My body was dead
Your punishment is paid
So don’t be afraid.

Don’t be afraid
Because I know how it feels
Torn between what I want
And what God wills
I’ve been where you are
The proof is My scars
See the blood and sweat as I prayed
And don’t be afraid.

Don’t be afraid
Because I will never leave you
Even if you can’t see Me
You’re always in My view
We’ll walk this path together
I won’t bail, not ever
Even on the cross, I stayed
So don’t be afraid.

Don’t be afraid
Because I’ll take up your burden
In your eyes, I can see it
You’re hurting
I’m the One Who cares
Cast on me your fears
I can carry the weight
So don’t be afraid.

Don’t be afraid
Because there was an empty tomb
500 people testified
My resurrection was true
Before, my disciples would fearfully hide
After, they would fearlessly die.
I conquered the grave
So don’t be afraid

Don’t be afraid
Because I’m still writing your story
There’s suspense, there’s tragedy
But it climaxes in My glory
So as the drama unfolds
There’s more to be told
The final scene has not played
So don’t be afraid.

Don’t be afraid
Because I love you too much
To withhold what you need
And only give what you want
In moments of stress
Trust I know what’s best
Fear’s lies may be portrayed
But don’t be afraid.

Don’t be afraid
Because I will fight your battles
I’m your shield that protects
Your armor that rattles
The victory has been won
I’m a fiery-eyed, tattooed thighed, warrior Son
Between my teeth swings a mighty blade
So don’t be afraid.

Don’t be afraid
Because I’m coming back
In world gone crazy
My schedule’s still on track
I’ll fix the mess
I’ll restore justice
It’s a promise I’ve made
So don’t be afraid.

Don’t be afraid
I declare to a world that is broke
In exchange for your fear
I’ll give you my hope
It’s the message of My birth
Salvation has come to the earth
Forever – for you – it was conveyed
Don’t be afraid.

Are you going to trust me when it gets really bad?

Several years ago, just after a friend and I opened our music/art studio, he became very ill. As I was driving one day, praying about the situation, the Holy Spirit asked me a question.

Are you going to trust me when it gets really bad?

I don’t like the sound of that.. I didn’t then and I still don’t. But what I learned through that experience is to truly rely on God. For someone who likes to make things happen, I often find it difficult to not step in to intervene when things seem to go awry. With Dan’s health issues, I quickly realized I was out of my league. I knew nothing of medicine. Even the doctors couldn’t agree.

When he first went to the hospital, I worked hard to be his advocate because he was unable to articulate what was happening. I shared everything I knew about his situation to every doctor who asked. My dear Christian friend, Sue, worked in the hospital where he was, and I cleared with the doctors that she was allowed to help me understand what was happening. She helped me to understand the doctor-speak to know what was happening…. We did not see improvement for several weeks. It was painfully frustrating for me that there was literally nothing I could do to help his medical situation…. Except pray.

One day, when I was desperately praying, and desperately frustrated, Sue came a long side me, as a good friend would, and said, “you really need to let go…. This has to be in God’s hands and His alone. You can do nothing”

Nothing. I could do nothing to change the situation except fully surrender it to my Lord and Savior. And I needed to trust Him. When it gets really bad.

Sometimes I think God allows things to happen to us that are completely out of our control so that we HAVE to trust Him!

Are we going to trust Him when it gets really bad?

As bad as that chapter was, I don’t think we’ve really seen “bad” yet. Since 2020, I believe we’ve seen some brief glimpses of how bad things could get…. But even what we’ve seen pale in comparison to what is described in the Book of Revelation.

Are we going to trust Him when it gets really bad?

It’s important for us to start trusting Him now, in the little things AND the big things we experience…. So that we are truly ready to fully surrender to Him when it gets really bad.

Father in Heaven…. Help us to trust you, not only in the good times but also (and especially) when it is really bad. Give us Your eyes, and a childlike faith to know You have everything under Your control. Amen

Make your story count

This sign hangs on my wall by the door I walk through every day to leave my house. It serves to remind me that my story is so much bigger than me. My story is about a loving Savior who is writing His story in all of our lives, whether we know Him personally yet or not.

I am so very thankful today for all of the pastors, teachers, and Godly friends that God has used to shape my life.

God never wastes a hurt. And He uses people in ways we can’t fathom to reach people. Who are lost.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

Thank you all for being so awesome.

The future is bright

A little over two years ago, a friend of mine and I formed a partnership and opened a music/art studio in a small town. We’ve been working very diligently to grow that business through various challenges, including Covid as well as other health issues. My business partner has cancer. He had his cancerous kidney removed in May, and we were hopeful for his future. I’ve prayed so many times for God to heal him. In July, he learned that his cancer had spread to his spine and his liver.

A couple of weeks ago, we were talking about some things we have going on… we are making some updates in our studio to create space where students can perform live, and opening a recording studio. Very excited about the possibilities before us, one evening I said to him, “wow, the future is bright!” I heard him chuckle out loud and immediately wished I hadn’t said it, remembering the death sentence hat cancer so often represents. Luckily, his sense of humor allowed him to laugh as he said, “well, that all depends”

We’ve talked at length about eternity, and where he will spend it. I am grateful that God has been so very gracious to all Dan an opportunity to get his life straightened out before he is called home. I know without a doubt that Dan has accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior amd will spend eternity in Heaven.

I will continue to pray that God grants him more time on earth to see the business he has enabled become its vision.

For him, the future really is bright. To live with confidence that you’ll spend eternity in Heaven is the most comforting place to be.

Lord, let my life reflect the goodness of Your mercy in all I do. Let our music and studio grow to bring others life…. We ask your blessing on our students and their families, our decisions and those we interact with every day be for Your glory alone. I ask humbly that you heal Dan of his cancer, that you give him more days on earth to accomplish what You’ve asked him to… that his life would reflect your grace… and that others would see Your goodness through all You’ve done for Dan. We pray You would help us to seek the lost.. and what the Light of the World with them so their future is bright, too. In Your Holy Name I pray, Amen

Blessings,

SB

Before You

Lord, I kneel before You now,

Everything I am before Your throne

You are sovereign over all the earth

And even the skies and stars.

Have mercy on us though we don’t deserve,

Slow the storms

Bring peace

Bring healing amd comfort to those who need

Let Your Spirit dwell in us and move us

Use us to further Your Kingdom and let others see You through us

In Your Name I pray,

Amen

Fully consecrated

“The world has yet to see what God can do with and through and in and for a man that is fully consecrated to Him”. D L Moody

With Gods help, I aim to be that person…

To consecrate oneself is to seek to make Gods interest your own interest. Lord, I’ve felt Your call on my life for some time now, and clear that calling is with music. Lord, let this not be what I want but what You want to do through me and with me.

Peel away from me all that is holding me back… give me eyes to see the vision You have for me. give me the courage to follow You with complete abandon of myself.

Provide my needs, oh Lord my provider. You have provided so much already. You alone know what I need…. Let me be in Your presence Lord! Use me in ways only You can to bring Your message of healing and salvation to a dying world, that they might know You as their Lord and Savior.

Forgive me for all that I’ve done in my life that have not honored You. As You have forgiven me, forgive others who have also sinned. By Your grace, bring us to a place of humbleness before You.. that Your work would be made complete. Help us rid ourselves of meanness and contempt and replace it with Your Holy Spirit that we would breathe LIFE into people.

Make right in me and around me all that needs to be to fully do Your will. Lord, if it’s music You want me to do, let me see a glimpse of Your vision to know Your will. Give me courage to follow.

Protect me from the evil one who wants to do harm to those who love You. Let Your sovereign Will be done here on Earth. May people come to know Your saving grace.

In Your name I pray

Amen.

Humbly I bow

Humbly I bow

Empty my soul

Pour out myself

So You make me whole

All that I am

And ever will be

Humbly I bow and

Lay at Your feet

You are my savior

you are my King

lord of my life

Over everything

Less of me, Lord

More of You

Fill me up

Faithful and true

All that I am

And ever will be

Humbly I bow

Lay at Your feet

You take my failures

You take my pain