Fixing it ALL – the humbling process of fixing my life.

Many years ago, I was ready to make some life changes.  In fact, in January of that year, I decided it was the time to fix EVERYTHING that was wrong with my life!   I wrote out a very detailed list of goals – it included perfecting everything in my 1) Physical life/fitness (ie.. get skinny once and for all)  2)Financial (out of debt, college for kids paid for, retirement fully funded, etc) 3) Spiritual life (ie, get to know God in an up close and personal way) and 4) Relational (ie, fix everything that’s ever been wrong in my marriage, become the friend that I should be, etc).     I went at it like gangbusters for about 2 weeks.   I was conscious of everything I ate and drank, I logged more miles on the treadmill than I had in a very long time.  I created a budget, read my Bible every day, tried to engage my husband in deep, philosophical discussions.     And then…  fell of the wagon.  I failed at every single one of my goals.

The problem wasn’t lack of desire… or even that my goals were bad.  The problem was that I tried to fix everything all at the same time – and I got overwhelmed, and in the end, fixed nothing.

Fast forward a few years – I learned to set much more REALISTIC goals.  Because I had previously learned that I couldn’t fix everything all at the same time, I decided to pick one or two things to really focus on, master, gain some confidence – and then move on to other areas while maintaining the one.

I realize that my life is a work in progress – I didn’t get where I am (either good or bad) overnight, and I’m not going to be able to change overnight either.  On occasion, I lose sight of this and become frustrated with people who haven’t “gotten it” yet until I remember that I am still growing too, and there are plenty of things I haven’t “gotten” yet.  God allows me to continue growing and learning – He is so much more patient with me than I am with myself or others – I guess that’s why He’s God and I’m not.

As we approach New Years, there are plenty of people making resolutions.  My resolution is simply this:  to continuously improve something – to consciously work toward making something better tomorrow than it is today – in whatever area of life I choose.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year, my friends.  Thanks so much for supporting my journey!

My challenge to you all today is to leave something better than you found it.

Blessings,

SB

Copyright 2018 journey for life. All rights reserved

Whisper to a riot

The words of Dave Grohl,  “whisper to a riot” (Song called “Walk” from the band, Foo Fighters) create a dichotomy of audible discernment interpreted by many in different ways.  For some, it speaks simply of the musical style of the Foo Fighters, which often starts with a catchy tune or lyric and eventually explodes into less melodic screaming synonymous with grunge or punk music.  For me, its symbolism reflects growth from someone shy or intimidated who comes into their own and is no longer afraid but stands boldly to proclaim something they’re passionate about.   More specifically, it accurately describes my journey in faith. 

People are often surprised when they hear me say I’m shy and introverted but truthfully, I’m perfectly content when I’m all alone.  Some say it’s because I’m seldom all alone, and that if I were, I would feel differently – I’m not sure about that.  As a very little girl, I was painfully shy and terribly awkward.  In school, I hated to be called on, even if I knew the answer.  I preferred  (and still prefer) to be largely unnoticed despite the fact that my deepest desire is to make a strong positive impact on people.  My favorite opportunities to play music for people occur when I can simply be background music out of the limelight.

As it relates to my faith, for most of my young life, I kept my belief’s to myself.  I didn’t really see a reason to share my thoughts or beliefs with others.  Something’s changed, however, over the course of my life, and more specifically last summer when I felt as if God asked me if I’m willing to share my story.   At first, I wondered out loud what story I could possibly have to share, but as I’ve stepped out in obedience, I’ve realized that God has done some amazing things in my life and the lives of people around me that it excites me to share the good news.   Truly, the more that happens to me, the more I want to share with others.  I’ve truly become part of the “go bold or go home” club.

This reminds me of a verse in Luke 12:8
“I tell you, everyone who confesses Me before men, the Son of Man will also confess him before the angels of God.”

My challenge today to each of you is move from whisper toward riot. Get out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself to share your story with someone. Who knows, you may discover or unleash a new passion.

Be blessed, my friends!

SB

Copyright 2018. Journey for life. All rights reserved.

Song of the day: rooftops

Lyrics:

Here I am before You
Falling in love and seeking Your truth
Knowing that Your perfect grace
Has brought me to this place
Because of You I freely live
My life to You, O God, I give
So I stand before You, God
I lift my voice ’cause You set me free

[Chorus]
So I shout out Your name
From the rooftops I proclaim
That I am Yours, I am Yours

[Verse 2]
All the good You’ve done for me
I lift up my hands for all to see
You’re the only one
Who brings me to my knees
To share this love across the earth
The beauty of Your holy word
So I kneel before You, God
I lift my hands ’cause You set me free

[Chorus]
So I shout out Your name
From the rooftops I proclaim
That I am Yours, I am Yours
All that I am
I place into Your loving hands
And I am Yours, I am Yours

Gym playlist #8. Walk. (Foo Fighters)

Immediately following the most hellacious 3 minutes of my treadmill routine, I consider this song my “recovery” song. A slower pace, but good beat and message, “walk” is one of my favorite Foo Fighter songs.

Written by Dave Grohl, it’s been speculated to symbolize his own recovery after the death of friend and band member Kurt Cobain (Nirvana).

I highlighted the lyrics that speak most to me in this song below. First and foremost, the recognition of being lost is the first step to finding your way back. The uncertainty in the statement “I think” paints a gut-wrenching familiarity of knowing something is missing but not quite sure what or how to fix. I’ve felt this and I feel other people feeling this, and pray they find their way as I have found mine.

“Getting good at starting over every time that I return” paints vivid imagery of the prodigal’s son. The most vivid message I ever heard on this biblical account was by Judah Smith at Calatyst Convention a few years ago. Judah pointed out that when the son returned, the father didn’t wait for him to get cleaned up before running to him and hugging him. In truth, the son was probably filthy. That didn’t stop the father from meeting him exactly where he was and bringing him back home

So, too, the Fathers love for us. No matter how many times we’ve strayed, or how far we’ve gone, He always welcomes us back.

For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.” Luke 15:24.

For the whole account, read here Prodigal

A million miles away
Your signal in the distance
To whom it may concern
I think I lost my way
Getting good at starting over
Every time that I return

Learning to walk again
I believe I’ve waited long enough
Where do I begin?
Learning to talk again
Can’t you see I’ve waited long enough?
Where do I begin?

Do you remember the days?
We built these paper mountains
Then sat and watched them burn
I think I found my place
Can’t you feel it growing stronger
Little conquerors

Learning to walk again
I believe I’ve waited long enough
Where do I begin?
Learning to talk again
I believe I’ve waited long enough
Where do I begin?

Now,
For the very first time
Don’t you pay no mind
Set me free, again
To keep alive, a moment at a time
That’s still inside, a whisper to a riot
The sacrifice, the knowing to survive
The first decline, another state of mind
I’m on my knees, I’m praying for a sign
Forever, whenever, I never wanna die

I never wanna die
I never wanna die
I’m on my knees, I never wanna die
I’m dancing on my grave
I’m running through the fire
Forever, whenever
I never wanna die
I never wanna leave
I’ll never say goodbye
Forever, whenever
Forever, whenever

Learning to walk again
I believe I’ve waited long enough
Where do I begin?
Learning to talk again
Can’t you see I’ve waited long enough?
Where do I begin?

Learning to walk again
I believe I’ve waited long enough
Learning to talk again
Can’t you see I’ve waited long enough?

Daunting Doubts

In my sophomore year of college, I signed up to be part of a Co-Op program between local companies and the University of Pittsburgh School of Engineering.  I was pursuing a degree in electrical engineering, and, though the program added 1-2 semesters to my overall college career, it provided an awesome opportunity to do hands-on work in the field of engineering, gain experience and create good networking contacts.   The program was designed to have students work full-time for a company during their second-semester sophomore year instead of attending classes, then attend class full-time during the next semester – and continue this rotation right through graduation.  Not all students who signed up were hired by companies, but the university did its best to ensure all applicants had a fair shot at interviewing.  The students were subject to candidate competition just as in the “real world”. 

On the day before my interview in the Test Engineering department of a local manufacturing company, I learned that one of my classmates was also interviewing with the same company.  He was a better student than I was.  He would surely get the job.  The insecure part of me told me that perhaps I should cancel the interview, but the rational part of me told me I should interview if not just for the experience of it.  I was positive Tom would get the job; there was no way I could compete against him.

I approached the interview much as I approach everything in life – by just being me; open and honest and just myself.    When the  Test Engineering manager asked me what motivates me, I answered with the only honest answer I could give:  “Fear of Failing”.   A few days after the interview, I was surprised when I was offered the position.  I accepted, and became the only female in the test engineering department.

During my first semester working there, I created schematics for black-box testers they used but didn’t have documentation for in case they ever needed to recreate, and designed and built some additional test equipment.  I also worked on a process problem that they were having, which involved gathering and evaluating data on their combustible gas sensor manufacturing process.  At the end of the semester, I had to give a presentation to the CEO of the company (along with my boss and managers in between).   Within the first few minutes of the presentation, the CEO discovered that I was left-handed – and so was he, so he made a few comments which helped to put me at ease.   After the presentation, my boss told me I had done a great job. I mentioned that, though I was finished with the “project” itself, I wanted to follow through with the process changes that were made, to see how they were performing during my school semester.  I asked if they could continue to send me data during the semester.  He was so surprised by this that he went to HR to ask if I could simply work part-time during my school semesters; so, until I graduated, I worked for that company – sometimes full-time and sometimes part-time. 

Sadly, as I approached my graduation time, the company had a hiring freeze because it was closing a plant in another state and relocating people to Pittsburgh, so they were unable to offer me full-time work after graduation.  During my exit interview, my boss told me two things that really impressed him about me.  The first was that comment about being motivated by fear of failing during my interview.  He said he’d never had anyone be so honest in an interview before – that was the single moment that secured the position for me – brutal honesty.   

The second thing that impressed him was how well I fit in with his male-dominated department.  Most of the guys in the department were in their mid-late twenties (I was 20-22 at the time), although a few a bit older, and all of them respected my work, were able to kid around with me.  We all had a great working relationship  (some of them called me “cupcake” – LOL – that was before people got so uptight about everything).    I’ve actually kept in touch with a few of them for all these years. 

Thinking back to my own moments of self-doubt, when I thought for sure Tom would get the position over me. I could have crumbled in the face of competition, but I didn’t allow my insecurities to deter me. Instead, I just was myself, and I happened to be who they were looking for. When you’re feeling insecure about something, just remember that sometimes you can’t see the big picture. Keep your faith and be yourself Be blessed today, my friends

SB

Copyright 2018 journey for life. All rights reserved

Gym playlist # 5 Back From The Dead (Skillet)

Frontman John Cooper wrote this tongue-in-cheek track after the release of Rise, when people were predicting the demise of the band due to the decline in the general popularity of rock music. “I started getting really annoyed about people saying, ‘Oh, rock is dead, and nobody is going to like this.’ Some people were hammering on Skillet, saying, ‘Oh, they’re over,” he recalled.  Cooper added that Skillet was treated “a little badly by some of the people that we’ve always been faithful to and had good relationships with in the industry,” so he penned the track as “a little bit of a ‘shut up’ to everybody. It became my fight song, and it really didn’t have a deep meaning. It felt a little rebellious in the right ways.” (Songfacts.com)

Some songs of my gym playlist I select just because of the beat. This one’s pretty quick paced and good for the point in my treadmill workout where I have it.  Although John Cooper may feel this song has no particular meaning, I would see it as appropriate for anyone trying to make any positive change in their life – to breathe new life into whatever they are trying to accomplish.   I’ve bolded a couple of the lines that I like from this song.   The first (I scratch and bleed just to stay alive) I will expound on in a future post.   The other two, “You took a piece now I’m biting back” and “Full of love, full of light, full of fight” to me, refer to my own life transformation from being a victim (of the devil, of life’s circumstances, etc) and a filthy sinner to being victorious in Jesus.  Before I knew Jesus, my life was full of sin. And in truth, now, even though I know Jesus I still sin.

I am full of His Love and Light now, and the fight that He gives me to relentlessly pursue those who are lost. Today, my fight is physical – in support of my wonderful friend.  Tonight or tomorrow, it may be spiritual or emotional.

In his sermon this week, our pastor talked about his visit to Paris to see his son, who is a missionary there.  He visited beautiful cathedrals and various churches, all of which were like white-washed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful but are dead inside.  There are so many of us wandering around who just feel dead inside.  Jesus provides the opportunity to come back from that dead and be renewed and transformed through Him, and will fill us with love and light and fight.

Keep fighting, my friends, keep fighting.  We are in the battle to win the war.

Love and blessings to you!

SB

Copyright 2018 Journey For Life – All rights reserved.

Matthew 23:27 English Standard Version (ESV)

27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.

Back from the Dead (Skillet)

B-b-b-b-b-back-back-back
B-b-b-b-b-back-back-back
B-b-b-b-b-back-back-back
Cold and black inside this coffin
‘Cause you all try to keep me down
How it feels to be forgotten
But you’ll never forget me now
Enemies clawing at my eyes
I scratch and bleed, just to stay alive, yeah
The zombies come out at night
They’ll never catch me
They’ll never catch me
B-b-b-b-b-back-back-back
B-b-b-b-b-back-back-back
Light it up, light it up, now I’m burning
Feel the rush, feel the rush of adrenaline
We are young, we are strong, we will rise
‘Cause I’m back, back, back from the dead tonight
To the floor, to the floor, hit the red line
Flying high, flying high at the speed of light
Full of love, full of light, full of fight
‘Cause I’m back, back, back from the dead tonight
B-b-b-b-b-back-back-back
B-b-b-b-b-back-back-back
Break the skin, spread like poison
Dying slow when we all attack
How it feels to be the broken
You took a piece now I’m biting back
Enemies clawing at my eyes
I scratch and bleed, just to stay alive, yeah
The zombies come out at night
They’ll never catch me
They’ll never catch me
B-b-b-b-b-back-back-back
B-b-b-b-b-back-back-back
Light it up, light it up, now I’m burning
Feel the rush, feel the rush of adrenaline
We are young, we are strong, we will rise
‘Cause I’m back, back, back from the dead tonight
To the floor, to the floor, hit the red line
Flying high, flying high at the speed of light
Full of love, full of light, full of fight
‘Cause I’m back, back, back from the dead tonight
Back, back, back from the dead tonight
Deep down, for the count, don’t you dare cut me out
Never break, never bow
Never beg, not a doubt
The zombies come out at night
They’ll never catch me
They’ll never catch me
B-b-b-b-b-back-back-back
B-b-b-b-b-back-back-back
B-b-b-b-b-back-back-back
B-b-b-b-b-back-back-back
Light it up, light it up, now I’m burning
Feel the rush, feel the rush of adrenaline
We are young, we are strong, we will rise
‘Cause I’m back, back, back from the dead tonight
To the floor, to the floor, hit the red line
Flying high, flying high at the speed of light
Full of love, full of light, full of fight
‘Cause I’m back, back, back from the dead tonight
Back, back, back from the dead tonight
dead tonight
(B-b-b-b-b-back-back-back) back from the dead tonight
(B-b-b-b-b-back-back-back) dead tonight
(B-b-b-b-b-back-back-back) back from the dead tonight

The Gym Playlist: Back on the Chain Gang

As my motivation to keep going on this journey-for-life, I will share with you my playlist.   I am still tweaking the playlist, so it may evolve over time, but as it is right now, the song below is first on the list. Because the tempo of the song dictates my pace of my run/walk, I start with a not-too-aggressive pace – quick enough to get started.   This song is listed at 154 BPM (beats-per-minute for the non-music junkies out there) and is 3:48 min long.  For me, it’s about a 3.8 MPH.  I’ve noticed that I  adjust my stride length to the beat of music as well – this works well (at least for me) because by adjusting my stride length, I work different muscles –so the change is good in a long treadmill workout.   At 3.8 MPH and a medium stride length, this is a good song to start my treadmill workout. 

One thing you’ll probably notice about my playlist is most songs will have a strong bassline. Next to keys, bass is my favorite instrument. Often understated and overlooked, it is actually the bass guitar that adds both rhythm and depth to music we hear. That which we sometimes overlook may actually be what we’re looking for…

DISCLAIMER:  Please note, I am by no means a fitness expert – I am experimenting with what works for me, and sharing with you that I may somehow be an inspiration to someone along their journey.

Enjoy

Be a blessing today!

SB

Copyright 2018 journey for life. All rights reserved

Back on the Chain Gang

The Pretenders – written by Chrissy Hynde

I found a picture of you, oh oh oh oh 
What hijacked my world that night 
To a place in the past 
We’ve been cast out of? Oh oh oh oh 
Now we’re back in the fight 
We’re back on the train 
Oh, back on the chain gang

A circumstance beyond our control, oh oh ohoh 
The phone, the TV and the news of the world 
Got in the house like a pigeon from hell, oh oh oh oh 
Threw sand in our eyes and descended like flies 
Put us back on the train 
Oh, back on the chain gang

The powers that be 
That force us to live like we do 
Bring me to my knees 
When I see what they’ve done to you 
But I’ll die as I stand here today 
Knowing that deep in my heart 
They’ll fall to ruin one day 
For making us part

I found a picture of you, oh oh oh oh 
Those were the happiest days of my life 
Like a break in the battle was your part, oh oh oh oh 
In the wretched life of a lonely heart 
Now we’re back on the train 
Oh, back on the chain gang

Songwriters: ChristineHynde

Back on the Chain Gang lyrics © Sony/ATV MusicPublishing LLC

No category for a castle

In his book, If, Mark Batterson recounts a blessing God gave him for which he didn’t have a category.

He ends the chapter that recounts this blessing with these words,” what if everything in your past is preparing you for the future God has for you?’

“God wants us to get where He wants us to go more than we want to get there and He’s awfully good at getting us there”. Even when we make a wrong turn, He has ways of getting us there, and He’s using everything in our past to prepare us for the blessings He has for our future.

He’s got blessings for us for which we don’t even have categories!

I am still praying Jericho prayers and trusting God for His blessings. I believe He has a castle waiting to be used for His glory.

Blessings,

SB

copyright 2018. Journey For Life. All rights reserved