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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

 

HourGlass

How much time spent

Building castles in the sand

Only to have the waves

Crash it down again

without the waves,

The sand dries and Cannot stand

Only a matter of time

Til the cycle starts all over again

Sophia

…. shortly after opening our studio, we faced some unique challenges that made me wonder if we had done the right thing. I was completely overwhelmed with the responsibility yet felt strongly that God had put the dream of creating a music studio/coffee shop in my mind years before. During that time of uncertainty, I prayed incessantly, asking for God to show me a sign that I was following his will and doing the right thing. Inevitably, and faithfully, God would send a student to inquire about lessons at just the right time, and it gave me just enough hope to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

We survived that crisis, and actually started growing, and then Covid hit. Like so many other small businesses, we were hit hard, and lost nearly half of our students. Convinced we were doing what God has planned, I continued to pray… even bigger, I continue to pray that I will be able to work in the studio full time someday. I prayed that He would send the students who needed to see Him through us.

Yesterday, after some car trouble, one of our instructors asked if I could fill in for one of her lessons. I gratefully obliged. When I arrived, Sophia was already playing a tune for my business partner, Dan. She is a beautiful blonde haired, blue eyed little girl with a lot of spunk and curiosity.

Her mother, with whom I’ve had brief encounters with, sat quietly in the lobby. In the past, I’ve tried to hold conversation with mom, but her demeanor is very withdrawn, almost cold. She would give one word answers to my open ended questions, clearly demonstrating she wasn’t interested in talking.

Sara, Sophia’s regular instructor, had asked me weeks before if I’d sit in on one of her lessons to help coach her on how to handle Sophia, who is a bit strong willed. We had agreed, but I had lesson conflicts on each of the weeks since… that is until yesterday, when Sara needed me to fill in.

The lesson with Sophia went fine, we talked a bit about what happens in her lessons with Sara and she played for me pieces she’d worked on and we learned a new one.

That evening as I was packing up my stuff, my business partner called to see how everything went at the studio that night. We got to talking about Sophia’s lesson… and he commented that he felt she didn’t get much support at home. He had had a brief conversation with Sophia’s mom, with a similar reaction that I’ve experienced, and told me he felt like she really didn’t seem to care if Sophia practiced or progressed on piano.

It struck me once again…. we are there to teach these kids (and their parents really) so much more than simply how to play an instrument. We are there to love them and coach them and teach them how to learn. Particularly with our young ones, we are there to teach them life lessons through the arts (one of our tag lines). We are there to make an impact in their life…

I pray for Sophia. And I pray for her mom. And I pray for Sara as she continues yes to teach Sophia… that she’d teach her far more about how to navigate in a cold world… and the coping/healing properties music brings… the connection that music brings … the bridges it builds between people who might otherwise not connect…

And this reminds me why we do what we do.

I’m so very grateful God has given me an opportunity to make a difference. I continue to pray for all the Anna’s and Sophia’s amd Sara’s in the world… may they find Jesus! Lord, may we humbly ask to have some small part in their journey!

Be blessed today, my friends, as I have been

SB

Kyle the second

Our paths are often crossed by people with chance encounters… or are they?

Several weeks ago, I was contacted by a young man who expressed interest in becoming an instructor at the studio. I made an appointment for him to come by to meet us and show us his skill, which included finger picking guitar. I noticed that we had some mutual connections on social media so I talked with those folks a bit about him so if felt prepared for our meeting.

When he arrived, he was visibly nervous, so I did all I could to make him feel at ease. My business partner was also there, but we had not talked much about this meeting prior to Kyle entering.

He came in with his guitar strapped on his back, and nervously looked around. I offered him a coffee, he asked if we had water instead. I handed him a bottle as he put his guitar case down. I asked him to tell us a bit a bit himself.

With very polite words and tone, he said he didn’t want to sound like a “woe is me” but that life hasn’t been easy (whose is?). His dad is a heroine addict and he lived with his very strict grandmother until recently when he came to live with his mom. when he was in high school, a history teacher took an interest in him and showed him a few chords on a guitar. This was a hinge-point in his life and he began to learn to pick. He told us that he found healing in music, and a way to cope with his life. Since graduating from high school, he’s had a couple of jobs that haven’t worked out well, and is currently unemployed but wants to fill his life with music.

Sensing his nervousness continued as his story unfolded, I shared with him a bit of mine… and how I found healing in music as well after losing my dad to cancer at a very young age. I gave him the cliff notes version of how the studio came to be… and how our vision is that the studio be used as a catalyst for people to develop themselves into what Gods intended.

He got his guitar out to show use what he could play amd as he did, he said he’d have to remove his glasses because they were broken and they’d fall off as he looked down toward his guitar. When he took them off, the right stem simply dangled as if barely holding on by a thread. What a symbolic moment.

Kyle played a few tunes and pics for us, and demonstrated his passion for music. It was clear he did not have much confidence in himself and he kept apologizing for what he called “messed up”. I thought about how hard his life must be and my heart broke for him.

Dan shared a bit of his musical history and his part in the studio as well and we asked him to demonstrate more of how he’d teach people. It became obvious that he didn’t know a lot about music but could play by ear what he’s learned. We talked as but about how he could actually benefit from taking some lessons to learn more so he’d be equipped to answer questions if a student asked. He sheepishly said he couldn’t afford lessons, so Dan asked him to let us talk over how we could make it work. He agreed and we exchanged goodbyes.

A while later, I got a text from Dan saying he’s feeling led to pray about mentoring Kyle. he asked me for his contact information and made an appointment with Kyle for this Tuesday evening at the studio.

I sit back to reflect all the good that God has done and is doing… and it affirms the reason I’ve been so passionate about the music studio… what happened this weekend is an example of why we’re there. I firmly believe that God has orchestrated every bit of the story of the 12th Octave studio … for His glory alone ! I’ve prayed for a long time that God would allow me to be part of His story, changing lives… through music amd creativity

The common friend that Kyle and I shared on social media is a pastor of a nearby church that I know casually. When I inquired about Kyle, he said he couldn’t speak to his musical ability but that he had been baptized a few years ago before moving away. He said he was a nice young man. When I mentioned to Kyle this connection, he told me he hadn’t been to church “in a minute” but that he should go again.

I don’t know who Mr Best is, but I can tell you he’s made quite an impact on Kyle. Wherever he is, I hope he knows that he did a good things for Kyle, showing him the cathartic process of music.

I am praying not only for Kyle, but for Dan as he continues to pursue what God has laid before him. I pray they will both continue to grow in grace that comes from God the father alone… and I pray God will continue to use the studio to change lives.

This Kyle reminded me of another Kyle I met a few years ago, who was also impacted my music at what I believe to be a crucial time in life.

I continue to pray for all of the Kyle’s in the world… and all those searching for healing… may they find it through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

May you be blessed today and every day.

SB

Tunnel

I fumble through the darkness

Toward the light that now I see

Getting closer by the day,

Thankful, Lord, for Thee

I feel the evil presence

of the past I leave behind

Reminding of my failures,

Bringing every one to mind

Demons beckon backward

To darkness filled with loss

But I must continue forward

In my journey toward the Cross

I see the light before me

And all it represents

The new life I can have

If only I repent

Give me courage, Lord, to follow

Leaving demons far behind,

Enjoy new life You have promised

Renewing of my mind

This tunnel’s not so scary

Now that I can see the Light

I pray I will continue,

Seeking wisdom, God, and might

Guide me and protect me, Lord,

Forgive me when I doubt

Love me when I stumble

Help me find my way out

Onward toward the cross I go

To the light that now I see

Keep me safe and guide me, Lord

For all eternity.

Blessed desperation

In my hopeless desperation

I thrust my face into my hands

Overwhelmed by life’s demands

Sinking in the sand

I could not feel the presence

Of the Father’s loving hand

Surrounding me in silence

Til I have the strength to stand

He’s patient til I remember

He is with me all the while

To guide me and direct me

As I go through countless trials

He brings to mind remembrance

As I face uncertain times

That He’s my loving Father

And I His blessed Child

Weapons to defeat the devil

My morning devotional time (over coffee) has become a staple for my life. I treasure the time I spend in the morning, meditations on Gods word and talking with Him. I’ve been studying the Bible through an Ap called Mission 119 for the past 70 weeks (yep, over a year). I’ve learned a tremendous amount from Pastor John Stoper!

I recently expanded my morning devotion to learning more about spiritual warfare. I truly believe we are at war, and the closer we get to Christs’ return the more battles we’ll face! My word of the year this year is PREPARE… so I am preparing as best as I know how for those spiritual battles: By learning all I can.

Lately, in addition to my 119 study, I’ve been studying the pub Youversion… different studies that last 3 to 5 days, all on the topic of Spiritual Warfare

This weeks’ study was by Mark Driscoll, and Day 4 was particularly impactful so I thought I’d share.

“The key to catching fish is knowing what kind of bait they like. Once you get the right bait on the hook, the rest is pretty easy. You drop it in front of the fish, they swim up, bite the bait, and overlook the hook.

You would think that at some point the fish would catch on to this ploy. Nope. The fish never learn, and the same old bait-and-hook method works every time.

People are a lot like fish. The devil and his demons figure out what bait we like and dangle it in front of us. Like a fisherman, the devil couldn’t care less what bait we prefer. He will gladly give us sex, money, power, success, comfort, drugs, alcohol—pick a preference. Like fish, we continually swim right on up and take the bait, forget about the hook.”

Don’t forget about the hook, my friends… the devil would like nothing better than to destroy our relationship with Jesus.. prepare for your own battle by learning they voice God and discerning His over the devils. By knowing God and His word well, we can learn to recognize imposters.

I pray today that the Lord would fill you with an insatiable appetite to know Him!

Holy Spirit, I implore you today to fill my friends and draw them to desire to know You more… to learn and study and prepare to battle the devil. Fill us with desire to know the schemes of the devil so we’d recognize the battle for what it is. Give us weapons to prepare and courage to fight. In Your Holy Name I pray, amen

Be blessed today, my friends!

Sketches

For my birthday last summer, my cousin gave me an adult coloring book amd some colored pencils… like the colored pencils that sit in the lobby of out music and art studio to encourage people to “create while they wait” for students having music lessons..

Last month, I picked up the pencils and, for the first time, sketched something

I didn’t really know what to sketch, so I started with music, because that’s what I know… and I just kept experimenting… I’m still experimenting and haven’t found my niche in drawing, but I’ve found it an interesting way to express my thoughts.. like usual, I’m drawn to represent sadness… but want to get the message of hope out to people who feel bound by their chains… whatever they are…

I feel there is a lot of untapped talent out there, chained up in people who are afraid to just try… something new… something out of their comfort zone… something that could take them to a whole other level of understanding.

I challenge you today to find something mew you’ve never done before…. and do it. Let it unleash your creativity.

Be blessed today, my friends,

SB

Psalm 021721

Father God, may Your name be praised above all, in the heavens and the earth.. may you reign forever. Give us, today, what we need. Draw us close to you. Reveal to us The steps You need us to take today…

Lord, reveal to us those who are seeking You, those who are ready to truly HEAR your gospel message and ready to turn their lives over to You. Give us courage to speak to them. Give them understanding.

May You have all the glory for all You are doing.

Amen