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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

 

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

Hear me

Father God, in the quietness of this morning we come before you humbly… quiet my restless heart and clear my scattered mind. Let me hear Your voice. Guide me now through the waters You’ve called me to step into.

You’ve heard my plea for healing, and You’ve answered so many prayers before… I kneel again at Your feet, empty myself before you, and ask once again for time…. Your graciousness abounds, Lord, and in Your mercy I see forgiveness and transformation.

You know my heart, Lord, and my desire to serve you all my days.. open the eyes of my heart, Lord, and let me see a glimpse of the path before me. Give me the courage to walk the path You have before me, knowing You are with me.

Bring healing where it is needed. Bring grace where it is needed.

In Your holt and precious name I pray

Amen

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