F-A-C-E

Word of the day: https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/27030/posts/1762943855

In the early days of a new students’ piano lessons, I share with them several mnemonics to help them learn their notes. Musical notes appear on music staffs as dots or O’s, placed appropriately on either lines or spaces for either the Treble or Bass Clef. Their location in the staff determines the note, and corresponding key on the keyboard.

Learning to read the notes is very much like learning to recognize the letters of the alphabet. Before one can spell words, they must know their letters. Before they can make sentences, they must know how to spell words, which requires them to know their letters. Mnemonics can be helpful in learning the notes

There are four different groups of mnemonics – two for the treble clef and two for the bass cleff.  For the treble clef, there is one for the “line” notes (those whose center is on the line) and one for the “space” notes (one whose center is on the space) between the 5 lines making up the staff.   There are many different mnemonics that teachers have used over the years, however, it seems that one “standard” seems to be that the Treble Clef Spaces mnemonic is “F-A-C-E”.

Bass clef line mnemonics have ranged from: “Go Bring Down Fanny’s Apron” to “Good Boys Deserve Fudge Always” to “Grizzly Bears Don’t Fly Airplanes”

img_0770

For some student, learning the mnemonics seems as challenging as simply learning the notes themselves.  Perhaps for those students, mnemonics may not work the best.  Th successful teacher will experiment with different teaching techniques to find that which suits the student best to help them fourish in their new endeavors and find satisfaction with their challenges.

Dancing with the Devil

Dancing

Evil lurks in the strangest place

With a mask upon its face

Pretends to court its truest love

Its secret motives never show

 

Unsuspecting of its snare

We motion toward the one so fair

Reach for the hand, begin to dance

Unaware of its powerful trance

 

Before long, it’s too late

We’ve fallen prey to hands of fate

Fooled by the tempters snare

He’s caught us unaware

Beware, beware, beware

Photo cred:  indusina on Deviantart
Copyright Journey-For-Life. 2017. All rights reserved. 

Surviving or thriving? (thoughts to let simmer)

Are you merely surviving? Or thriving?

Good morning, beautiful readers!   I just wanted to check to see how you all are doing today?   Is it a good day so far?

For some, every day is a struggle – whether emotional, physical, or spiritual, some are facing battles difficult to win.  We trudge through life, barely keeping our head above water, overwhelmed by each new battle we face.  Often, the trials come at us so quickly, like bullets fired from automatic weapons, that we can barely duck fast enough.  Before we can address one crisis, another simmers on the stove beside us.

img_6361

For others, those i like to call the “thrivers”, life appears easy and effortless, as if there is not a care in the world.   To see them from the outside, it appears as though they have everything put together, not facing any battle they cannot win.   Sure, they have battles, but they move through them gracefully, unscathed by the barrage of artillery, and continue in bliss as if nothing happened.

IMG_2468

Sometimes, the “survivors”  begrudge the “thrivers” and accuse them of not living in reality.   (I know this, because I am one of them!)  I like to think of it differently, mostly because I am a survivor as well as a “thriver”.   I have enough battles in my life to know life is difficult, but i truly believe what Jesus told us in John 10:10.  “I have come that you may have life and have it more abundantly”.   I believe that God intends for us to live a life of purpose, and to be able to see beauty in the world around us.

It is my believe that the difference between merely surviving and thriving comes down to choice.   I choose to believe what scripture says and do my best to live as God intended, including wearing my rose colored glasses at times.   I admit there are times this is difficult.  It’s hard not to look at the events of the world or listen to news stories about people killing people, and hate, and ugliness that abounds. However, as I read the scripture above, I believe that God’s intent is not that we turn a blind eye, but rather that we don’t allow those bad things to change who we are.

My hope for you today is that you are not merely surviving, trudging through another day, but THRIVING!  If you are merely surviving, I challenge you to reflect on what it means for you to live life abundantly, and choose to take that thought captive to step toward thriving!

Blessings!

SB

Copyright Journey-For-Life. 2017. All rights reserved. 

As always, feel free to reach out if you have any questions!   You can contact me at sbjourneyforlife@gmail.com.

IMG_2445

Word of the day: Simmer

Surreal – reflections on 9/11

via Daily Prompt: Surreal

I remember it well – the phone call I received from my mother on the morning of September 11, 2001.   At first, the conversation was like any other when we wanted to share news with one another.  “You aren’t going to believe this,” she started.  “A plane just hit one of the towers of the World Trade Center.”   Both she and I assumed it to have been a small piper plane whose pilot made a terrible error. In the next few seconds, she began her now-famous, “Oh my stars, oh my stars!” She left me hanging for a few moments while she was digesting what was happening before her eyes.   “What???” I exclaimed, wondering what could possibly have happened.   “There’s another one!”  I learned later that my mother had poured her morning coffee and turned the news on to start her day, and heard the “big news” of the day.  It has just occurred minutes before, but already the Today Show was reporting on it… and, quite literally, while she and I were on the phone the second plane hit the tower, and the whole nation became aware that we were under attack.    Stunned and somewhat in disbelief, I looked around my office quad to see if anyone else had received a phone call from home or was aware what was happening.  No one was.   For a few moments, it seemed I was the only one in my office who understood the gravity of what was happening.  Slowly, other people in my office received phone calls from loved ones, telling them to turn on the news, and began comparing notes on the details we knew.

We gathered in a conference room equipped with a television to understand the situation.  Overwhelmed by the sight of what was happening before my eyes, I felt as if i were watching the scene from behind a movie screen.  I somehow felt disconnected.  It was all so surreal that I thought it couldn’t possibly be happening.   Yet there i was, along with the rest of our beloved nation, in the midst of unprecedented chaos.

Over the next few hours and days, we saw horrible visions of people jumping out of windows to their certain death.  In the first few days and weeks after the attack, our nation turned to God for answers.   Churches left their doors open just so that people could come in and pray. Companies changed their advertising signs to ask for prayer. For a moment, it seemed as if our country was coming together as one, both to console each other as well as form a unified message to our enemies that we would not be broken. For a moment, we put aside our differences, our political views, our party affiliations, our religious opinions, and came together as One Nation Under God to humbly ask for help and healing.

As time wore on, we evolved into the “new norm.”   Although wars continue to be fought, and citizens continue to lose their lives for the cause, it seemed complacency replaced compassion. Slowly we returned to focus on our differences, our political views, our party affiliations, our religious opinions, divided for our own agendas. For all practices, it seems as if the world goes on….until I visited the Ground Zero memorial during a mission’s trip to New York City this past summer. As I walked down the road toward the memorial, I was overwhelmed by a flood of emotions, remembering the pictures I had seen from the day that brought such a significant change in our nations’ history.   Vivid images resurfaced from deep in my memory of people running down the streets of New York covered in ashes from the devastation that once was a symbol of strength in our country. While I thought the original experience sixteen years ago was surreal, I underestimated the emotions of being in the presence of the place in the midst of the people who had personally experienced unthinkable evil. Solemnly, my fingers traced the names on the wall, recognizing families who lost multiple people simultaneously.   Though I knew none of the victims personally, I felt, in a strange way, that we were connected.

IMG_0407

In fact, we are connected, one with another. As co-members of humanity, we are sewn together with a thread that connects our souls to one another. Indeed, we emerged from the ashes of that horrible morning, however we are splintered. With all the compassion of the world, I long for a time when, without tragedy, we would recognize the connection we have to one another and be able to set aside our differences in favor of loving support and encouragement to one another.

 

Ascend

img_7360

Ascend

Out of the pit of despair, I begin the slow ascension toward the light.  I realize now I cannot do it on my own.  No, I’ve tried that already.  Tried and failed.  Over and over again.  In the past, I thought the best way to demonstrate my courage was to boldly climb, hoping that others would follow.  On my own, I was able to overcome obstacles and actually climbed quite high at times, only to find myself falling down, back in the pit of despair.    No, I cannot make it on my own.   I need someone to guide me, to encourage me when I’m tired and feel like I cannot climb anymore.  On this climb, I realize I need God, and his words ring true:  from Psalm 40: 1 I waited patiently for the Lord;he turned to me and heard my cry.2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,out of the mud and mire;he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.3 He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.

Psalms 40:1-3 NIV

No, I think I can only ascend on the wings of God, for it is through Him alone that I find the strength to continue the climb.

Exceptional!

via Daily Prompt: Exceptional

Many visions envelope my head as I reflect on the word, “Exceptional”.   Exceptional performance.  Exceptional behavior.  Exceptional service.  Exceptional children.  Exceptional teamwork.  Exceptional leadership.

Having just completed day 2 of a 3 day leadership program sponsored by my company, I pause to reflect on EXCEPTIONAL LEADERSHIP. In my career, I have been fortunate to have the pleasure and benefit of working for an exceptional leader, one like whom many people can only wish.  What made him exceptional was not merely what he accomplished, though we could point to a host of awards and trophies he had earned throughout his career.  What made him exceptional wasn’t that his expertise was sought by many, though it was.  What made him exceptional was that he genuinely cared about developing people to be the very best that they could be.  I knew that he “had my back” and that I could count on him for support and encouragement.   He took the word MENTOR as seriously as I wish everyone would.

When I struggled with a particular strategy, or business decision, it would have been easy for him to simply tell me the answer the way many “leaders” would.  Instead, he would ask leading and open ended questions to help me determine the best answer.  He coached me through various options, gently guiding me in thought processes to help develop the right decision for the situation.

Three particular examples stand out in my mind. First, he took a chance on me.  Prior to being hired into my first formal leadership role, I worked as a supplier quality engineer.  He took a chance that I could make the leap from independent contributor to manager.  During my first year in that role, I lamented the fact that, although “TEAMWORK” was defined as one of our companies’ core competencies, I saw great opportunities to improve within my team alone.   I had devised a rather unconventional program to develop teamwork within my team, consisting of a variety of teaming activities designed to help break down the walls of my team members to help them build relationships to enable better performance.  My leader believed in me enough to allow me the freedom to try something new and innovative.  Although I was criticized by other managers for holding these events, he continued to support me and allowed me the freedom to develop the program so that it could develop the people in my group to be the best they could be.

In the second example, our company was introducing a new way of doing something, and I was at the forefront of it. It wasn’t specifically my idea.  However, because of the position I held, it was a natural decision that I become the driver behind the culture change, which you might guess was met with resistance across the larger organization.   The change was frightening.  In this case, the change required a bit more work due to the regulatory nature of our work, and though not a popular idea, was one that must be introduced if we wanted our company to continue operating in the current spaces.  My leader allowed me to become the “expert” in the area, learning the intimate details of how to accomplish what needed to be accomplished.  He became my Roadblock Removal Champion.  I relied on him for support whenever we had to present our position to the President of the company, and he paved the way to get the support we needed from the President.   He didn’t do it for me; he made me do it.  But he coached me through my approach, providing tweaks where necessary, and he truly paved the way and removed necessary roadblocks.

The next example involves a mis-hire. The position reported to me and was actually a key position in the paradigm shift mentioned above.  We were looking to bring some “expertise” to the new processes, so we reviewed resumes from people who had been performing this type of work. We found what we thought to be a promising candidate, who “wowed” us with his knowledge.   My leader and I were both on the interview team who decided to hire this man.  About 3 months into his employment, I noticed some inconsistencies in his behavior and his performance, and I voiced my concerns to my leader.  We discussed various aspects of my suspicions, and facts gathered, etc.   I could tell he didn’t completely agree with my decision on how to handle the situation, and he gave me some alternatives. He asked me to think about the alternatives over a weekend and let me know that he would support whatever decision I made.  When we reconvened the following Monday, I reaffirmed my original decision, which in this case was to terminate employment.  True to his word, he supported my decision and had my back, despite possibly having a different opinion.   In that instance, he allowed me to make the decision that I thought was best, knowing that even if it was the wrong decision, I would learn from the experience.

I could site many other examples of his exceptional leadership, and reasons why I count him a mentor still today, though we have both moved on to different roles and responsibilities.  For me, an exceptional leader is not the one who seeks the glory, but the one who strives to develop people to be the very best they can be.  Through servant leadership, exceptional leaders accomplish much through their influence.  Further, their leadership transcends their role, and ultimate bears fruit in generations of leaders borne out of their abilities.  I am forever grateful to have had a wonderful experience with an exceptional leader.   (Thank you – you know who you are).