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

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?

Two kinds of people…

When you live your life expecting miracles, you see them unfold right before your eyes. It’s like opening a Christmas gift!

With the highs and lows in life, sometimes simultaneously, we can get caught up in distractions that keep us from blessings that unfold before us.

I have discovered, though, that there are people who cannot see the miracles even though they happen right in front of them. I think to myself, “are they blind?” Yes, truly I think they are. Blind to the Spirit, I suppose.

Perhaps there was a time in my life, too, where I missed the miracles and wonderful things God was doing in my life. If so, I don’t ever want to return to that state. My desire is to continue being the person that sees miracles everywhere I look.

I pray that you see miracles today, my friend. Today and every day.

Blessings,

SB

Copyright 2018 Journey For Life. All rights reserved

Blessings and Bikes

Blessings and Bikes – 2016

This post was originally from 2016, but tomorrow morning is the 2018 Blessing of the Bikes  – and my son just called to say he and a friend are driving all night from Minnesota to be present for the blessing – so say a prayer for their safety, will ya?


Last Sunday, our church hosted the 20th annual Blessing of the Bikes.  It’s an event that started when 4 bikers from the church approached the pastor with an idea to bring their friends to church. The first year, there were 162 bikes, and the town of Murrysville wondered what in the world was going on as they all rolled through.  Over the years, that event has blossomed, and is very well-known in the area.  The town of Murrysville actually sends the Mayor and emergency workers now, and even shuts down traffic for a while, to allow the event to be held.  It’s a completely free event, because, in the words of Pastor Dan, “so is gift of salvation”.   This year, on the 20th anniversary, we estimated approximately 15,000 bikes piled in – to our parking lot, and the adjacent blessing_bikes.jpgstreets, and the parking lots along Rt 22.  Figuring many bikes had 2 riders, we’d say there were A LOT of people who turned out for the event.  For the past 13 years, I have had the privilege of participating in the music for the service.   This year, our good friend Dave Smith, sang a song called “Jack Daniels & Jesus”.   I’m pretty sure there wasn’t another church in the country that sang that song on Sunday.

(By the way, I think there’s a message in here somewhere about starting a “movement” – it doesn’t take something BIG to make something BIG – it just requires someone to dream it and make it reality).

“Jack Daniels & Jesus”

Lately I’ve been trading
A good sermon and some praying
For a stranger in my bed
And a night that needs explaining
I’ve opened more bottles than I ever have my bible
This dirt road communion sure won’t lead me to revival

Between the black label and the letters in red
I felt what livin’ is
And what it’s like to live dead

I’ve taken a ride in the devil’s Cadillac
I’ve been so high I thought I wasn’t coming back
And just when I think I’m too far gone
Ringin’ in my head’s the 23rd psalm
I’ve seen the light
I’ve seen the darkness
Only God knows where my heart is
I’ve got my strength
And Lord knows, I’ve got my weakness
Oh, I’m lost somewhere between
Jack Daniels and Jesus

It’s my fault that I ain’t called
My momma in a month of Sundays
She’ll smell the whiskey through that phone
I can’t stand to hear her heartbreak
Next week, I see my brother Casey for the first time
Since it all went down
And I blacked his eye the night after our daddy died

I ain’t afraid to admit I’ve hit rock bottom
You wanna see a lifetime full of sins
Just look at me
I’ve got ’em

I’ve taken a ride in the devil’s Cadillac
I’ve been so high I thought I wasn’t coming back
And just when I think I’m too far gone
Ringin’ in my head’s the 23rd psalm
I’ve seen the light
I’ve seen the darkness
Only God knows where my heart is
I’ve got my strength
And Lord knows, I’ve got my weakness
Oh, I’m lost somewhere between
Jack Daniels and Jesus

blessing_people.jpgblessing_bikes_2.jpg

This is what 25,000 bikes looks like from the Medic One Helicopter.

Wall to wall people

blessing_people

blessing_shirt.jpg

(can’t see the killer boots from here, but they were awesome.. lol)

I am watching life unfold for several young adults – some of them are making some very good life decisions, and some of them are making some incredibly bad life decisions, some of them very, very public, and some of them very private.   And my heart breaks.   In almost all of the cases, I say to myself, (and I’ve heard their parents say), “but they were raised differently than that”   and then I remember the words, “somewhere between Jack Daniels and Jesus” and remember that we’re really ALL somewhere on that journey.   I haven’t had Jack Daniels in over 30 years  – one REALLY BAD experience with it all those years ago, and I can’t even smell the stuff to this day…. And I was raised differently than that…. And still, I made some poor life choices along the way – hopefully ones that I have learned from, and that have made me stronger.  By the grace of God alone, He brought me through those poor choices and gave me a second chance, or maybe a third and fourth.   And, by the grace of God, He will bring those folks through their choices as well, allowing U-turns to correct their course.   Pray for them, will ya?

 

Copyright 2018 Journey For Life – all rights reserved

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

Satan cannot win!

There are times in life where we feel as though we are losing the battle. Beaten and defeated, we sink into depression, deeper and deeper, feeling more hopeless than ever. The devil thrives on seeing our self-defeat, but the reality is that Satan cannot win!

In my book, Masquerade, Charissa is fighting this battle, and she knows in her head that God wins over Satan, but she cannot seem to pull herself out of the pit. Her good friend, Dwayne reaches down to extend a life preserving reminder that Satan cannot win! They were just the words that she needed to hear to be reminded that we have the power of God to call upon when life seems hopeless.

Everybody needs a Dwayne in their lives; someone who is sensitive to the needs of others and knows how to encourage them when they need it.

Charissa is forever grateful for her friend, Dwayne, and his faithfulness to encourage others. Do you have someone in your life who needs encouragement that Satan cannot win the war? Be a Dwayne today! Remind someone that God has not given us a spirit of weakness and fear, but of power through Him. With that power, we can fight the battles of depression and despair!

Be a blessing!

To those who have ordered my book, thank you! If you’d like, you can leave a review here

For those who haven’t, you can get your copy here!   Order Masquerade Here!

 

SB

Will you share your story?

those questions popped into my head last summer, as I drove 3 hours to set up and play for my cousin’s wedding.

What story?

I don’t have a story – I’m really just an ordinary person, with some good qualities and many bad ones. I love Jesus and want to be faithful to him.  I prayed silently as I drove by myself with music blaring and thoughts racing.  Of course I’m willing to share my story if it will help someone.  I just wasn’t sure which story.

Through my prayer life over the next few weeks, I jotted down some ideas of experiences that I’d want to share with others to help them see God in the face of adversity.   Turns out, when I put my “God” lens on, I had plenty of stories – and it turns out that I am excited to share what God has done in my life.

That single step of obedience to His question has led to a wild roller coaster ride over the past six – nine months that I can hardly keep the blessings contained – surely, my cup runneth over!

I believe I’ve only scratched the surface of the scripture in Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.  It’s less about getting what you want, and more about aligning your desires with God’s desires.  We are all work-in-progress, and God uses each lesson to teach us how much He loves each and every one of us.  He will not let go, and will keep pursuing us  until we find Him.

I would like to challenge each of you today – are you willing to share YOUR story?   are you willing to share how God has answered prayer in your life?  If you’ve never thought about it before, take out a piece of paper, or, better yet, a prayer journal, and start writing down the blessings He’s given you as if you intended to share them with someone – and then share them!  The result will be an amazing step of obedience in a way that will allow God to bless you even more!

Read more about my story here

Order Masquerade Here!

May you truly be blessed by God today and every day!

Blessings,

SB

copyright 2018 Journey For Life – all rights reserved.