Music – Ministry and Muse

I couldn’t hold a note in a container with a lid on it. My father once told me I could sing and my mother told him to quit lying to me. My brother Steve tried to teach me. Told me about the count 4 beats, 8 beats, etc. Needless to say, that is not the gift that God gave me. Although talented singers do run in the family, my father, my mother, my oldest sister, cousins and both my daughters have beautiful voices. I told my sister once that if I could sing I would have to pay someone to make me be quiet.

That said, I was listening to music this week while driving. I put an eclectic selection on my phone. Gospel, contemporary Christian, rhythm and blues, and Motown sound are included; from the Four Tops, Patti Labelle and Smokie Norful to Nick Jonas and Adele. Yes, I even have a country artist or two. I mentioned eclectic earlier. Not saying I am most current, but true soulful music lasts forever. The right words and the right instrument combinations minister to the soul.

Satan was the minister of music before his downfall. Angels continue to sing praise before God. Music helps to calm, bring peace. Even David musically ministered to Saul when he had issues, ordained by God. When I am going through these issues of life, music does help. My appreciation for the talents of singers and musicians was renewed this week. Music will be used more often this year to calm, to get out of my own head when I get overwhelmed, to just enjoy.

Music is a ministry. And, when we listen to the music from our childhood, young adulthood, etc., it allows us to look back, reflect on the good and bad times. Music reminds us of who we are and from where we came. New artists allow us to see development and growth; especially the youth who appreciate the path made for them from those gone before. We have lost a number of truly great contributors in the past year, naming just Whitney Houston and BB King. To name them all would make this a long post.  Beautiful voices and masters of song and instrument that enhance our lives, making it richer and more enjoyable. My favorite instrument by the way is the sax.

This is just a shout out to those that God has blessed and continues to bless for us. I thank and praise God for them.

What’s Your Focus?

Focus. Today’s conversation is about focus. The definition is to concentrate, to focus one’s thoughts; to direct one’s attention or efforts. This is the word for me for 2016, focus. My attention and efforts will be focused on writing. I encourage my readers to comment, give feedback and engage. I have always loved words, reading and writing them. Learning new ones has always been fun to me. Call me a nerd, I’m okay with that.

That said, have any of you decided what your focus will be for this new year? This year is about growth, change and reinforcing your core value system. With any focus, consider how it will influence all the areas of your life. I have expressed my faith and focus for me is also about making sure that my attention and efforts are also reinforcing and building my faith.

The Scripture I read this morning from my devotional talks about “being anxious for nothing.” The actual Scripture is Philippians 4:6. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God…” Hold on, I will tie this altogether for you. There is a difference between excitement and anticipation compared to being anxious. I notice that as I get more focused, I am getting more excited and have energized expectations from this focus. I have to calm myself when I begin to feel anxious. This word’s definition includes uneasiness, fear and mental distress.

When focused on a specific thing or venture, it is necessary to put your best foot forward in preparation and effort. The bottom line is to leave the rest in God’s hands, trust Him. The encouragement today is to stay focused but be aware of feelings, situations or incidences where you begin to feel anxious. Stop and do a mental check. Take the steps necessary to kick out the negative and move forward with the positive.

Small or large, I believe everyone should have a focus. Make sure your focus doesn’t have you. Some people may not believe they even have a focus until they check behaviors and in what activities they engage. Let’s focus for 2016!

Strength

Strength. What is it and do you have it? The definitions according to the dictionary include physical strength, mental strength, moral strength and a few other aspects of what strength truly encompasses. Today, the focus is on mental and moral strength, as well as courage. When life throws those curve balls, where does your strength come from for moving forward from striking out on a particular opportunity? When you get hit by a pitched ball, do you have the tenacity to rise and move forward?

In the past year, I was pitched so many different balls; curve balls, high balls, low balls, and was even hit by a few pitches. This is a brand new year and I am still standing. Faith in God and His Word is what keeps me going. It is the foundation and core of my strength. Some may believe, others may not. This point is that I share from where my strength lies. I know that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is real to me, my rock and my fortress. How strong is a rock? Depends on the rock and if it is big enough and has been building over time, it is hard to move a rock. Rocks build strength over time after weathering the forces of nature. Rain, cold, sleet, ice and other natural elements that people have no control over. These elements represent those curve balls I reference.

I have been knocked down but not out. This year brings a new vigor and force with it for me. It brings more trust that I am stronger than I once believed because my true strength lies in my faith in God. This year renews my belief that God sees me. This year brings a reinforced and stronger commitment to God and His Word. This year brings a renewed and stronger passion for writing, to share and encourage others from my own experiences. Like the sharing, love the sharing, use the sharing or lose the sharing. The experiences can help others. My belief is that in sharing, others will be encouraged and strengthened if they choose to be. Once shared, it is released from my hands.

I feel empowered for this year as I maintain my commitment to Him. I feel empowered and more passionate about my writing. I feel excitement and anticipation for what God has yet to do in me and through me to help others on life’s journey. I am truly excited for 2016! How about you?

Life and Baseball

Although life throws curve balls, fast balls and even some strange balls at me, I rise to the occasion. I even rise like the balls that are thrown. Sometimes a little curvy or wobbly, sometimes fast and sometimes even strangely since I can’t always figure out how I even rose from the ball thrown. Of all the sports, I love baseball. Yes, ladies do love baseball, too. I like the analogy of the game. The pitcher is on the mound and as the batter, you are at the plate. You are ready for the ball. Not sure what’s coming. In your stance, swinging the bat, ready for the ball you swing. Strike one. Okay, you get ready for the next one. You didn’t like that you missed but confident that you will hit the next one out of the park. Hopeful, excited. You prepare for the swing again: stance, swinging the bat. Here it comes. Too high, a ball. Okay you now have a minimum of two swings left and a maximum of five (a few more maybe considering the foul balls), two more strikes and three more balls. The excitement mounts because you know you have to make the best of these next few opportunities. Or, you will have to wait until you come up to bat again.

You are ready again. Prepared to swing, here comes the ball. Strike. Oh my! Laughing out loud for those of you who would have used a completely different adjective. Okay, down to four more chances to hit this thing out of the park. Looking at the pitcher, you realize he’s confident he will strike you out. Laughing to yourself, you think, “Good luck with that!” The next two pitches are balls. Here is the defining moment, two strikes and three balls.

How would feel if you did strike out? How would you feel if you walked or got a pass on this opportunity? How would feel if you hit a foul ball and had to take that stance one more time? Life is like this game. Emotional highs and lows with opportunities to keep trying when it’s your turn to bat again. Thank God there are more than nine innings. Or are there? Depends on how long your innings are.

Not sure if this will change your perspective on baseball, but it is my sports cup of tea. It helps keep life in perspective.

(Note: Assignment #4, http://bloggingu.wordpress.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

who am I, why am I here?

I recently discovered more about my desires resulting from a loss. I do know that I love writing. That answers the why am I here question. I am a writer at heart and that answers the who am I question. Of course, being a writer is only one facet of who I am. I have a lot to say but have been struggling with how to put it in writing. Based on my recent loss though, I realize that I am who I am and whoever decides to be in a relationship with me, friend or otherwise, needs to accept that. The problem, as I seem to recognize it is that I wasn’t accepting myself for who I am.

That said, I realized that I was too worried about what others would think or say about my writing. That care has disappeared like 2015. It is a new year and a new me. Forward we march.

It is amazing to me how long this journey has taken. Acceptance is key for shortening any difficult or challenging journey. I have it now in clarity though. I look forward to what blogging will do for me this year. The decision to make my writing my priority is stronger than ever. As this is a new beginning, I am expecting exciting things in 2016!