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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

 

Blue Horizon

This weekend we spent in Virginia Beach in a gorgeous beach house named “Blue Horizon” celebrating the marriage of a family member. Aptly named, for the horizon of the new union stretches far in front of the nuptial couple, a blend of both blue and gray hues, some clouds and some storms, in the vast expanse of sky that stretches before them, like a canvas waiting to be painted.

As I write, I am sitting in front of a bank of windows, staring out at the Atlantic Ocean, mesmerized by the never ending crash of the waves. Even in the brisk temperatures of the February air, the calming effect of the gray-blue waves and white caps soothes my soul. This moving painting never gets old; I’d be content to be here forever, giving my heart and soul to the sea.

We have enjoyed our time with family and new friends, celebrating and enjoying one another’s company.

The evening was filled with special moments, funny moments, tremendous laughter and much love 💕

Tomorrow, it’s back to reality for us; the hustle and bustle of conference calls, even as we return home, followed by a week of meeting planned, after school activities, evening lessons, etc.

Back to reality for the newlyweds as well. Both the bride and groom have been previously married, and bring children into the union, and so far, family blending has gone well. As anyone married for more than a month knows, though, life is hard. Our thoughts and prayers are with Hannah and Michael as they navigate these waters.

Best wishes, Hannah and Michael. We’re thrilled for you!

The horizon is blue

SB

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Our purpose

The notes below are from the sermon series in our church over the last few weeks on knowing Gods will for our life….

We think our life is about figuring about Gods will for our life as if we’re the central character. In fact, it is His will in our life for His purpose. He is the central character, and our role in His story is to point to Him.

We are created to worship Him.

Am I filling my life with things that are for MY life or for His?

Sometimes we have a “Dip and skip mentality”. Dip into the promise and blessings but skip the responsibilities and commitments and obedience for Jesus.

We allow the devil to get into our thought process and we get confused.

You will not pick up the cross if you have your self interest at heart.

To know Gods will:

1) spend time in His word

2) spend time in prayer. Talk to God.

3) do ministry for him. Not necessarily in the local church. Tell others about Jesus

4) surrender to what you hear him tell you. Surrender to his will

Be blessed today

SB

What must I do to come home?

Several years ago, I attended the Catalyst Convention in Atlanta where I had an opportunity to hear many speakers talking about various aspects of leadership. The convention is hosted by Andy Stanley, one of my favorite speakers, and though the conference is church focused, the content is good for any kind of leadership role.

During the conference that year, Judah Smith spoke one evening, and gave one of the most powerful representations of the story of the Prodigal son that I have ever seen. He talked in raw detail about some of the ways in which the young man squandered his fathers money, and the various sins he committed and how messy he was; how when he returned home; and he talked about how his father ran to him while he was a long way off – and welcomed him with open arms – he didn’t wait for him to come home and get showered and clean himself up – he was just so excited that he returned home – he knew there would be time to really clean him up later, but wanted to have a party to celebrate his return right away.

Judah Smith Prodigal

Just as the angels in Heaven rejoice over one sinner returned home, so should we! Often, however, in our churches, we are more judgmental, making those who have returned home feel unwelcome, look down on them when they falter. On the contrary, we need to understand that our path hasn’t been a straight one either, and offer to help them along the way, not to judge them if/when they stumble.

What must I do to come home?

Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were acutely distressed and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “What should we do, brothers?” 38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far away, as many as the Lord our God will call to himself.”

If you are far away today, Know that there is a Father waiting to throw a party for your return. Know that there are people willing to help you on your journey, to help you clean yourself up.

Be blessed my friends.

SB

Love is

Happy Valentines Day, my friends. For some of you, today comes easy, as you look forward to spent time with the one who makes your heart sing.  I celebrate with you. You are blessed. I wish you a wonderful day.

For others, today is a painful reminder of a hurting heart, longing to be understood by someone, longing to know someone who loves you more than life itself and isn’t afraid to show it. I hurt with you today.

Love is…. complicated. Or maybe it’s that we complicate love.

A week or so ago, I read a passage in Philippians 1:9 and the phrase in bold has been haunting me ever since. Praying today to learn to love appropriately, as God would have me love.

9 So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings  10 so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. 

I am reminded often that Gods ways are not ours, especially as I watch life unfold. In the Old Testament is a story that exemplifies this, and Judah Smith delivers it so effectively. It’s a little long, but worth the time.

May you all feel Gods love today, regardless of your circumstances.

Love you all, my friends.

SB

Judah Smith. The love of the Father

Snow Angels

A few years ago, my son and I made a trip in February to Virginia to visit a college. It was a weekend visit complicated by the fact that our older daughter had a scholarship interview at the college she’d be attending that fall – scheduled for Saturday of the same weekend. Since his trip was from Thursday to Sunday, that meant that I had the privilege to drive to Virginia on Thursday, stay the night, drive home to PA Friday, to daughter’s college Saturday then back to Virginia for the concert being held on campus that night and home again on Sunday – lots of miles, lots of driving, lots of adventure.  I’m always up for adventure… even in the winter.

As we pulled out of our driveway, the snow was falling and the windshield quickly needed cleaning, but when I sprayed my windshield nothing came out, so I assumed the wiper fluid tank was empty.   We stopped at the local gas station and bought a gallon of fluid, but when we went to put it in, found the tank was full.  I imagined I was crazy but we had a deadline and an 8 hour trip ahead of us, so we started out.

As we entered the PA turnpike, the roads slush and filthy, I found it wasn’t enough to rely on the snow being kicked up onto my windshield to wipe off for clear vision.  I couldn’t go more than five miles without having to pull over to clean the windshield.. and how exactly did we do that when the squirters wouldn’t work?   well..   my poor son had to get out of the car with the gallon of fluid we bought, open the jug an throw some fluid on the windshield for me to wipe off.   Honestly, it was a scary situation because in some spots, I couldn’t pull  very far off the road and there was a lot of truck traffic that day.  He said his part was far harder than my part…

After just a few stops along the turnpike, I thought to myself, this is going to be a REALLY long day.   After a couple of hours, we made it to Breezewood, then south in to Maryland.  As soon as we crossed the border into Maryland, the weather warmed up a few degrees and … you guessed it… my squirters worked.   Frozen.  I had recently had my oil changed at the local shop and apparently they Topped off my fluids with water, not wiper fluid…

From that point, it was a much more pleasant ride. Eventually we made it to campus and connected him with his weekend roommate (who was a friend of ours from home!)

I found the hotel I had reserved for Thursday and Saturday nights, and settled in.  The next morning, I attended a few of the parent meetings at the campus and then headed back toward PA.  The state of Virginia has about a million antique stores, so I took my time and stopped at quite a few along my way home. I returned home late Friday evening with a trunk full of antiques  (yikes!).  Early the next morning, the girls and I headed to college again for the scholarship interview (which went well, by the way).   We had lunch and headed for Virginia – except this time I thought it would make more sense to take a different route since we were starting from her college which is near the PA / West Virginia border.  Thus, we travelled through the Appalachain Mountains… in February… in my stupid van (sorry, Nellie, but it’s true – you’re terrible in the snow!). I’m not sure why I thought that was a good idea. Sometimes hindsight is 20/20.

I’m convinced the state of West Virginia had declared a state of emergency because there were literally no other cars on the road for many hours as we drove through – save the snow plow which was throwing the freshly fallen powder so high in the air we could see absolutely nothing! When the road cleared, we were literally on the other side of the yellow line.

This was the actual picture my daughter took. We can’t see the snow plow, but it’s in front of the giant pile of snow blowing our way.

I drove, white knuckled, for what seemed like days, up steep roads that made my driveway look like Ohio, without seeing another soul. I didn’t want to vocalize my concerns to the girls about what would happen if the van couldn’t navigate one of the hills, or if we broke down. Then, just as I was beginning to loose hope (and REALLY had to pee), in the middle of nowhere, a convenience store!

We pulled in and ran to the bathroom, the gathered some snacks and had a brief conversation with the clerk. When we got back in the car, we all agreed that it felt like we were in a Twilight Zone episode.

Shortly after our stop, we began to descend the mountains. I had been concerned about our car making it UP the hills, but to be honest, coming DOWN the mountain was even scarier. I felt like we were in a giant luge. Still hardly another vehicle on the road, we made our way down the mountain. I was never so glad to see a “Welcome to Virginia” sign in my entire life.

This weekend, my husband and I will be traveling to Virginia Beach for a wedding. I doubt we’ll take a shortcut through the West Virginia mountains! (And somehow I don’t think he’ll want to visit the antique shops!)

Be blessed, my friends!

SB