Traveling Alone?

In anticipation of my upcoming trip, a friend asked me if I was nervous about it. No, not at all. To be perfectly honest, I absolutely LOVE traveling all by myself.  In fact, I find that I am most comfortable when I am absolutely alone in sea of thousands of people, whether it’s in a crowded airport, busy city, or in line for a slide at a water park.  I find myself watching people, wondering what their story is… because EVERYONE has a story.  From the pre-teen with long, straight, blonde hair and a beanie cap traveling with his family, to the young couple juggling their twin toddlers, exasperated, to the straight-laced business traveler, annoyed by the girl next him who is cracking her gum, everyone has a destination, and has left something behind to get there.

I rarely speak to people in airports or planes, certainly not those seated near me. When traveling, I retreat into myself, my favorite place to be…as frightening as it is sometimes.

My mind races with ideas and thoughts about an omniscient God who sees all of it at once, and is intimately interested in EVERY one of them.  I sometimes find it hard to keep track of just the things I need to do, let alone my children, and I only have 3. Yet the God of the universe knows every intimate detail of every one of His children at all times.  Amazing.

Hebrews 4:13

And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do”

omniscient

Stay blessed, my friends.

SB

 

 

Get back up

This morning, I was up at 3 AM to get ready for a 7 AM flight, ultimately to Los Angeles.   The circumstances of the trip aren’t great, and it is with very mixed emotions that I travel.  The company I work for is closing one of its service centers, and I am flying out to bid farewell to the team who has worked tirelessly for years to repair our products and keep our customers happy.  Though they’ve had about six months to adjust to the news, it will still be difficult.

Typically, I am a big fan of change.   I do it often, from hairstyle, to furniture placement, to new and improved ways of doing things, both in my personal and my professional life.  The older I get, however, the more I can relate to people who find change difficult.  There are certain patterns we fall into, certain comforts we’ve become accustomed to, and when our world is rocked, sometimes it’s difficult to pick up the pieces and move on.   Be it the death of a spouse or loved one, the breakup of a marriage, the loss of a job, there are times in our lives and the lives of those around us where unwelcomed change rocks our world.

One thing I learned through the death of my father, although I was too young to realize I was learning a lesson at the time, is that there really is no other choice but to pick up the pieces and move on.  I spent about 10 years of my young life being a victim of my circumstances, not knowing how to recover.  At some point, however, in my late teens / early twenties, I got my sea legs and realized that I could either keep shriveling in insecurity caused by changes in my life, or reinvent myself, having developed strength and character from surviving my loss.  My friends, I know first hand that re-inventing yourself IS possible, so long as you don’t cave to the insecurities you feel initially. Sure, take the time you need to lick your wounds and self-reflect, but don’t stay there too long!  Pick up the broken shards of glass around you, dust yourself off, and find a new focus to give you purpose in the process of healing.

You CAN do it.  I know you can.   Change is inevitable.  Keep fighting and don’t give up.

Roll with the changes, my friend. It will make you a better you.

Be blessed, today, my friends!

Love you all!

SB

Copyright 2019 Journey For Life.  All rights reserved.

What comes around

When I was three-four years old, I constantly tinkered around the antique upright piano in our home. My grandmother had a friend, Mrs. Stonebraker, who taught piano lessons but she said I was too young for lessons. Because of her friendship with my grandmother, she reluctantly agreed to a trial basis. As it turns out, I had some natural ability, and thus began my musical journey.

I remember lessons at her house, which was not far from my grandparents’ home. She was sweet but stern. One day, I skipped a difficult passage of bass clef and she asked me why I didn’t play it. I told her my dad said I didn’t have to. Both she and my mother quickly decided that i DID, and she helped me learn it.

I studied with her for several years before finding a teacher closer to our home. As a very young child, I don’t think I really knew much about the Stonebraker family, and quickly adapted to my new teacher, with whom I studied for about the next ten years, before studying with Professor Rummo at Duquesne University.

Fast forward thirty some years, to the church I now serve in a town east of Pittsburgh. One of our congregants names is Stonebraker. From the first time I heard it years ago, I wondered if there was a connection, but never asked. Last fall, though, She posted some small furniture on the Facebook market place, which I bought for my daughter’s house at college. When I met her for the purchase, I asked. Turns out her husband is my piano teachers’ son! Not only that, but his sister also attends our church!

During our discussion I learned so much more about her! Ruby was an accomplished musician, composer and pianist with extensive study in New York City and Carnegie Music Hall. She gave her life to Christian music through education and her church. Her husband was a Wesleyan minister who founded the International Student Fellowship with the University of Pittsburgh. His funeral, in 2012, was held at our church, though I did not play for it. Ruby had already passed in 2003.

On Sunday, a woman introduced herself to me as Mrs Stonebraker’s daughter. She said she never quite learned how to play the piano despite her mother’s record, but would like to take lessons, and asked if I teach. I do, indeed. We exchanged information and I’m looking forward to planting a new seed.

I had no idea, when I started piano lessons all those years ago, that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was orchestrating music ministries to span generations as they have. I am convinced, more than other, that He cares about every last detail of our lives, and, until we breathe our last, we are to be faithful to the purpose to which He has called us. I am equally convinced in this affirmation that my love of music, and my love of instilling the love of music in others is part of the purpose He has for me. I am confident He will continue to reveal His plan for me as I continue to seek His will.

Be blessed, today, my friends.

SB

Snooze

This is standard for me. I’m not a morning person by nature, and usually hit snooze several times before having my first morning coffee. I’ve been told I’m like “pushing rope” in the morning. I’m not sure it’s a compliment. Of my many fault, I consider this minor.

Truly, though, I believe God wants us to be fully awake, spiritually speaking, to experience all He has for us. It’s easy to become comfortable and complacent in our lives, and the danger in this is that we will fall asleep spiritually, and miss the blessings He has for us.

32 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Be on guard! Be alert ! You do not know when that time will come. 34 It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.35 “Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. 36 If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. 37 What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’ ”

Mark 13:32-37 | NIV

In my year of WAIT, I will challenge myself not to snooze spiritually. This means I need to vigilant with prayer time as well as spending time reading His Word, watching and listening for Him. Challenge yourselves, my friends, not to snooze

Be blessed

SB

Building Character

My daughter posted this on her Facebook page yesterday. I told her i consider it successful parenting.

Truthfully, I do have some eccentric tendencies and love to have fun (although I’m told my idea of fun is different than others’).

Have you ever thought honestly about what builds character, though? And about what kind of character you want to build?

Romans 5 tells us that suffering build character through perseverance.

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Romans 5:3-5 | NIV

Are you suffering today? Physically? Mentally? Spiritually? (Silly question, for I dare say that each of us are to one degree or another). Remember, the degree to which you endure is the degree to which you build your character. Are you building a good one?

Stay strong, my friends. Endure the trials and build your character.

Be blessed,

SB

Copyright 2019 Journey For Life

NYC missions ~2~

I was traveling last weekend and missed my opportunity to post another story about our missions trip to NYC in 2016. Looking forward to June 2019 when we do it again, I find it fun to think about our experiences during the first trip.

Our trip began on a Sunday after church, where we gathered all of our food and luggage and kids and chaperones into two vehicles rented by the church. We originally rented three but decided everything fit in two and it might be easier. This is a key decision as you will see in a subsequent post.

We pulled out around 2 pm ish and drove across Pennsylvania into Nee York. The ride was fairly uneventful despite the excitement of the kids, who ranged from 4-6 grade. About 5 hours to NYC… not bad. We underestimated the NYC traffic, however, and spent the next three hours navigating through the city to find our host church in Brooklyn.

I asked my daughter, who was on the trip with us, what she remembered about our travel day. She said, “I remember it was a nice, peaceful drive across Pennsylvania and then ‘WABAAM!’ New York City traffic was chaos!” Lol. My sentiments exactly.

Our host church was a place called Living Waters, a three story building with a sanctuary and fellowship hall on the street level, and living quarters above. The pastor and his wife lived in one area, and the other area had dormitories set up for missions groups. We arrived after dark and the group who had occupied the dorms the week before were sleeping because they had a 5 am flight to catch.

Without realizing how lucky we were, both vehicles found parking on the street right in front of the church. We unloaded our luggage and supplies as quietly as we could so as not to disturb the other guests. The pastors mother had a medical problem just before we arrived, so only his wife was there to host (also key for subsequent post).

Exhausted from our trip, we quietly suck into the sleeping quarters to get some rest before our first project the next morning. We fumbled in the dark through the second floor dorms and fell into bunk beds made of two by fours, trying not to wake our roommates.

Goodnight, NYC. Anxious to see what tomorrow holds.