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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

 

Paris burning…

This is me. In front of Notre Dame in 1993 on the vacation of my lifetime.

I had just graduated from college and travelled with my mom to Paris to stay for nearly a month in an apartment I. Montmartre section of Paris. I could speak a little French, having taken it as a language in high school and a refresher in college. I had been obsessed with France since first grade, when my teachers’ daughter would stop by the school at the end of the day and share with the class the words she was learning in French class.    Since then, I dreamed of a time when I could visit France.

In 1993, my mother was the executive administrative assistant for the President of Carnegie Mellon University, and had previously worked as an admin for the Dean of the Graduate School of Industrial Administration, some of which had apartments across the globe.  One of them allowed us to stay in his Paris apartment – another of them had parents in Belgium who invited us to stay with them during our month-long trip to Paris.

We arrived in Paris with an address for the apartment and clumsily hailed a cab who took us there.  We made our way up the 6 flights of stairs to the apartment where we were greeted by the neighbor, who was thrilled to see us as she’d been told to expect us.  She talked a mile a minute, for which even my “Conversational French” class in college couldn’t have prepared me.

We were exhausted and jet-lagged from our trip, but that didn’t stop us from exploring nearby Montmartre and Sacre Coeur.  We spent the next few weeks traipsing all over Paris, visiting all of the tourist spots completely on our own with no tour guides.  (Just a recommendation… this was an awesome way to see Paris!).

We took a train to Belgium and visited Antwerp and Brugge, and returned to Paris. I have so many wonderful memories about that trip and my pictures don’t do it justice. One day I hope to return and I know it just won’t be the same.

My heart is bleeding this week. To me, the loss is more than material. It’s history, and memories.

heaven and earth shall pass away

Blessings, SB

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SCARS….

Today, I’d like you to check out a blog from my friend, Joni –

Grief to Life

Her post today reminds me that, no matter how broken you feel today, as long as there is breath, there is hope.  God is not finished with you yet.

“My scars remind me that I did indeed survive my deepest wounds. That in itself is an accomplishment. And they bring to mind something else, too. They remind me that the damage life has inflicted on me has, in many places, left me stronger and more resilient. What hurt me in the past has actually made me better equipped to face the present.” ~ Steve Goodier

I borrow the quote she used in the post to share below because it is a simple, yet true reminder.  There is, indeed, pain in life – sometimes because of choices we’ve made, sometimes because of the choices of others, and sometimes through no choice at all…. but the reality is, God will never, ever, waste a hurt.  He will use all of our pain and all of our scars to help to tell His story through us…  if we let Him.

photo cred:  kswpgoodfriends.com

romans-8-28

All the marbles

Years ago, during a Lenten service at a church, I heard an evangelist from India share this annecdote.  I never forgot it.   I am creating it from the best of my memory, and may get some of the details wrong, I will trust that the original message is conveyed.  I hope you enjoy…

Little Sammy loved two things more than life itself; chocolate and marbles. He loved playing marbles with his best friend, Jenna, who lived next door to him, and he knew she loved chocolate as well.  Jenna and Sammy would often meet in their yards, and, on common ground, would pull out their prized collection of marbles and play with one another, passing the time together without a care in the world.

One day, Sammy came out of his hand with his bag of marbles in one hand, and a handful of chocolates in the other, which he quickly dumped into his right-hand, pants pocket. Jenna, always the adventurer, cheerfully greeted him with an offer, as she, too, quickly put her marbles into her pocket.   “I’ll trade you my best marbles for all the chocolate in your pocket,” she said.

Sammy thought about it.   He would love to have her best marbles, but he wasn’t so sure he was willing to give up all of his cocolate.  As he contemplated, a devilish thought swam around his head – perhaps he would just give her some of the chocolate.  After all, she didn’t really know how many pieces of chocolate were in his pocket.

“Ok,” he said, without hesitation.  He reached into his pocket to pull out the chocolates, but as he did, he left a few pieces in his pocket and pulled out the rest.  He willingly opened his hand for her to see he delectable candies, in their shiny, foil, wrap, and prepared to hand them over.    She reached into her pocket and pulled out her best marbles and held them out for him to see.

He was excited to see the collection of marbles, especially since it contained some that he’d never seen anywhere else.  He eagerly handed over the chocolate pieces, and she eagerly handed over the marbles.  As he put the marbles into his pants pocket, he felt the remaining chocolate kisses, still in his pocket.

Suddenly, a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach came over him.

“Jenna….   did you give me ALL the marbles?” he asked.

“What would make you think I didn’t?” Jenna asked.

you see…  God wants to give us all the marbles.. but what he requires of is is that we give up all of ourselves in order that ALL of His best can be given to us.  When we are able to give up all of ourselves, God is able to bless us with so much more than we could have ever imagined.

Have you given Him all the chocolate so that He can give you ALL of his blessings?  Are you holding some back because you’re afraid to give them up, or afraid you’ll loose to much in the process?

Give Him your all, today.  He’s waiting to give you His best.

Blessings,

SB

Journey For Life

Letting it Go

In my twenties, just out of college, I worked for a small contract manufacturing company for a couple of years.  I grew to really hate the job, specifically because I couldn’t stand the owner of the company, who was my boss. I saw him as manipulative, power-hungry person, who created conflict among the team that worked for him so that he could solve their problems for them and they would think him a hero.  He would blow smoke up my skirt to make me think he thought I was wonderful, but that was part of his maniuplation. He relished in the drama he created among the ladies who worked in the shop.  I affectionately referred to him as “the old, fat guy” because he literally ate food off of my plate when we were out to lunch.  It was a toxic environment and I grew to hate it.   I literally found it difficult to get out of bed every day.

I recall distincly the moment I decided I couldn’t take it anymore and began to look for a new job.   As a female electrical engineer, I thought it should be fairly easy to find a new job in what was a decent job market at the time.   After 3 months of sending resumes out to local companies, being fairly selective, I was admitedly frustrated.

Although I had been raised in a Christian home, circumstances in my life had caused me to question God, and I had only recently come to my own personal faith in Him.  I hadn’t learned the art of full surrender to Him in every aspect of my life (and, in fact, wonder if we ever really fully learn that… but that’s a topic for later).  I wrestled a bit with God over the fact that it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be to find a new job.

I distinctly remember the day I came to the place where I was able to fully surrender that aspect of my life to God’s will. I had gone, by myself, to lunch at a local restaurant, and was having a conversation with God about my frustrations about the job.  I remember saying (hopefully not outloud) “there must be a reason You want me to stay here, so if You do, I am willing to stay.  If there’s someone here who needs to see You in me, I am willing to stay in this job I hate to do what You’ve asked me to do. ” And with that, I was able to completely let go of the situation and, with a peace that I can’t explain, completely gave it up to God.  It was more than just words that I said.  It was a full surrender of my heart to the Master’s will.   Difficult to explain to someone who has not experienced.

Exactly four days later, I was on a sales call in another small town, and I met with the Director of Operations for a manufacturing company.  During our conversation, he mentioned he was looking for a manufacturing engineer.  I told him my background, and handed him a resume (which I happened to have with me).  He intereviewed me on the spot and offered me a job before I left.   I gave my notice the next day (Friday), and the following Monday, began my new job.

I KNEW in that week that what had transpired was more about my obedience to God, and my willingness to TRUST Him than about the job itself.  I KNEW that God was just waiting for me to get the point where I could FULLY SURRENDER to HIM  – relinquishing my control to HIM – and then He answered my prayer.

I wish that I could tell you it’s just as easy as saying, OK, God, it’s yours.   There was more to it than that, but it’s difficult to explain.  There was a feeling that came with truly releasing the control, knowing it was hard to give up, but I knew when I did it.  I wish I could tell you that, because of that experience, I could live a life where I release control to God all the time.     I can’t tell you that.

I am wired to be a take-charge kind of person, and, as such, I tend to find it difficult to relinquish control at all..  not because I don’t want to.  (In fact, I actually prefer sometimes whene other people will step up and control a situation).  But the peace that comes with knowing God has our back and will provide for us better than our wildest imaginations..

It would be nice to think that, because of that experience, I never waivered on surrendering to God.  The truth is, I can only think of a few times in my life where I’ve truly let go to let God.  It’s hard for us to let go of the things that we want to control, but there is freedom in the release.  I want to live my life in the full surrender of God, knowing that His plan is always best for me.  I want to give it all to Him.   I’m finding it difficult to let it go…    not my will, Lord, but Yours.

Laying it down,

Blessings,

SB

 

Five Years since our world was rocked

Today, April 9, 2019 marks the five year anniversary of the day our lives were rocked by a stabbing incident at our high school, where a single student, acting alone, took two 8-inch kitchen knives to school and launched an all-out attack on his fellow-classmates early in the morning in a crowded hallway. In a sense, it’s hard to believe it’s been five years.  In another sense, it seems like a life-time ago.

To those who would suggest this event was a conspiracy theory to further political agendas concerning bullying or weapons, I would literally fight you.  That’s the “mama-bear” instinct in me. I saw some of the physical wounds first hand.  I visited hospitals with families who weren’t sure whether their kids would live.  I witnessed many of the emotional wounds first hand.  I can assure you they were real.

In the days immediately following the attack, I personally drove scads of kids around to various Pittsburgh hospitals to visit their friends who had been stabbed.  My daughter’s boyfriend took a blade to the back which amazingly enough only nicked his liver, but truly missed all vital organs.  He spent a few days in the hospital without food in the event they had to perform surgery, but was lucky enough not to require surgery.  Other victims underwent multiple surgeries to address their extensive wounds.  Miraculously, and only by the hand of God, there was no actual loss of life.  Sometimes I believe that because no one died, people have dismissed the seriousness of the attack.

In the weeks after the event, I found myself literally consumed with needing to know how the community of Columbine, CO recovered from the school shooting that redefined school violence.  I remembered that, in the years prior,  the teachers at our high school went through active shooter training, and being told that the demographics of our community were eerily similar to that of Columbine – that the trainers felt it wasn’t a matter of “if” something would happen in our school, but a matter of “when”.  In a matter of days, I read a 400 page book entitled, Columbine, by Dave Cullen, that depicts the grisly details of the event and the investigation as well as how the community coped (or didn’t).  It felt, at the time, almost as it did on 9/11/2001, and I wondered if and how we’d ever move on.

Five years after the event, and many miles away in respective colleges, my kids and their friends still hear gasps around them when people learn what school they went to. It is as if they can’t seem to get away from it.  The even has shaped all of us to a degree – I’ve seen some students choose careers in law enforcement because of it.  I’ve seen some emerge as leaders, determined to make the world a better place.  I’ve seen others shrivel in the wake of the day.

In a moment when we try to make sense of the violence around us, I cling only to the hope that we have in Jesus for eternity spent with Him.  I pray for His guidance and His continued healing on those who are so desperately broken and need Him so much.  I know His hand is upon us.  I can see His miracles around us every day.

I know they’re rather long, but if you would, I’d be honored if you’d read my previous posts on the subject.

The Blood That was spilled    ( This post was originally posted as a Facebook note in April, 2014, and was shared with over 25,000 views)

Keep ‘em Safe in the Hallways  (This post really dealt with the fact that sometimes we don’t fully understand the reach of our prayers, and the impact they can have).

My heart bleeds for a broken world that needs to know Jesus.

In humble servanthood,

SB

Copyright 2019 Journey For Life – All rights reserved.

 

Trusting You

Lord, I am Yours. Reveal Yourself to me, bring me to Light. Remove from me that which is not of You but bind to me that which is Your plan.

Forgive me for all my sins and unrighteousness, cleanse me.

At the cross, I surrender my life,

I owe all to You

At the cross, where your blood ran red for my sins to wash white, I owe You more than I can ever repay. I am Yours

I claim the victory and strength that You give over the Devil.

I love you, Lord.

Forever and ever,

SB