Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Alyssa Bentley Makes it Happen - Do You?

Recording Artist Alyssa Bentley
at LA Fashion Week
Photo by Thomas Connors*
I went to school with a girl named Alyssa who had the voice of an angel. She was beautiful and she could sing. We choir kids talked about how Alyssa would be famous one day. I didn't get the chance to hang out with Alyssa when we were in school together (she was several years younger than me) but I do remember her as a sweet and talented girl who smiled often and sang her heart out when given the chance.

Look at her now!

All these years later, Alyssa's still singing her heart out. She's been on the road to making her dreams come true for a while now. Recently I listened to an interview she did with WSJU Radio. I was so impressed by her willingness to talk about how she had to work hard to get to where she is today. She talked about coming from a family full of musical talent and being raised by a daddy who taught her the value of hard work. She spoke of being very aware of the kind of people she surrounds herself with. She does her best to be sure that she's working with people who share her vision, people she can trust. Alyssa has a goal, and she's not just sitting around waiting for her goal to realize itself. She's definitely dreaming big, but she doesn't stop at the dream. She's working. She's reaching. She's getting out there and singing, doing shows, writing songs, getting studio time in, promoting her tunes, surrounding herself with people who support her (a BIG key to realizing your dreams)... and she just released her first music video! That's right. Today is the world premiere of Alyssa Bentley's video "Brand New Girl" at www.AlyssaBentley.com! Go, Alyssa, go!




Alyssa Bentley makes it happen. Her secret (besides the fact that there's an abundance of my favorite magical color in this video - which my regular readers will recognize as as a must for any successful joy-filled dream fulfillment) is hard work and a love for what she does. I've had a few dreams in the last year or so. I've made them happen. You can read a little about that by clicking here. Alyssa Bentley can do it. I can do it. You can do it too.

So I have a couple of questions for you:



What is your dream? 

Are you working to realize it?


I'd love to see some discussion in the comments section about your dreams. Until next time... may you be blessed - and inspired to pass it on!

*Used with permission. See more of Thomas Connors' photography at www.waveguider.com

Monday, October 25, 2010

Beautiful Scars

OCTOBER 2010, the month of all months! It's been F-U-L-L of scheduled this-and-that and a few unscheduled surprises. But there's something wonderuflly wonderful about October 2010 that I've just gotta brag about. This week my husband and I will celebrate ten years of *gasp* HAPPY marriage!

Throughout my life I've relied on music to carry me through tough times, and in honor of the last decade I want to share a song that reminds me of my husband and my healing journey. My husband has known from the beginning that I have scars, and he has always loved me anyway. He has seen me through over ten years of joy and pain and he has never judged me. He knows more about me than anyone else on earth ever will, even the ugly stuff - and he's still here. When I hear this song, I always think of my husband. His constant and loving reminders that the Lord is watching out for me (and blessing every step on this path) sustain me. God truly blessed me when he gave me this man who loves me so unconditionally.






"Beautiful Scars"
By: Steven Curtis Chapman
Album: This Moment, released 2008
Lyrics:

Sit here with me
And tell me your story
Even if it breaks my heart
Let me see your scars

Shame will whisper
Oh but we can't listen
'Cause these are the stories
That make us who we are
And I love who you are and your

Beautiful scars, your beautiful scars
Reminders of the wounded love
That has carried us this far
Beautiful scars
Turning the marks of our pain
Into beautiful scars

For us, bruised and broken
For us, He was forsaken
Our wounded Healer
Suffered to set us free
See in His hands and His feet

Beautiful scars, beautiful scars
Reminders of the wounded love
That has carried us this far
Beautiful scars
Turning the marks of our pain
Into beautiful scars

See in His hands and His feet

Beautiful scars, beautiful scars
Reminders of the Savior's love
That has carried us this far
Beautiful scars
Turning the marks of our pain
Into beautiful scars

Oh, how I love Your beautiful scars
So beautiful, so beautiful
Beautiful scars
 


My wish for you today is that your life may be blessed with someone who loves both you and your Beautiful Scars.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Light Will Show You the Way (by Philip Duncan)


I like to start my days with devotions and coffee, devotions and tea, devotions and donuts incredibly healthy foods. This past week, I read an email devotional that was addressed specifically to survivors of abuse and violence. I'm sharing the complete article with permission from the author. I hope it speaks to your heart as much as it spoke to mine.



- A SPECIAL MESSAGE TO A SPECIFIC GROUP OF GOD'S PEOPLE* -
 
Bible Focus: Psalm 97:10-11 - “Love the LORD and hate evil! God protects his loyal people and rescues them from violence. If you obey and do right, a light will show you the way and fill you with happiness.” (Contemporary English Version)

The longer I live, the more I am becoming aware of abuse and violence in our world. The writer of the 97th Psalm apparently was very aware of many of the injustices around him. He mentions in this psalm the promise of God’s justice three times.

Injustices in our day, just as in the psalmist’s world, often occur to innocent and good people; many of them are Christians. “Why does God allow these things to happen?” is a question I often hear; and at times, it is a question I ask, too.

I don’t know the answer. But these things I do know: I trust God because I know He loves me (Jesus’ death on the cross proves that to me); He wants me to hate evil as much as He does; and, He will rescue those who have suffered violence.

If you are a victim of abuse, you will most likely find yourself dealing with strong emotions such as anger and fear. Even if you are now free from the act(s) of violence, you may continue to be held captive by troubling thoughts and feelings related to your experience.

God wants to protect you from the additional harm that may come to you as a result of faulty thinking and from behavior fueled by negative emotions. He wants to bring healing to your life. Healing involves doing things God’s way. Do the right things: things that He teaches in His word that are good for you and things that you can do that will help others. Then you will become more aware of the light of His Spirit… a light that will help you find your way through a very dark and troubling part of your life.

My prayer is that you will be freed from the hurtful after-effects of the wrongs you have experienced and that you will trust God to bring justice to you and to those who have harmed you. Give Him the hurtful thoughts and emotions that are so much a part of your daily life and watch God replace them with the joy that comes from your relationship with Him and with others who love Him. And, I pray that God will place good people in your path… people who will help light your way with God’s tenderness, compassion and love.


*Written by and shared with permission from Philip Duncan

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Memories Lost and Found

One of my favorite things about Facebook is the old pictures people dig out of their memory boxes to share with the rest of the world. People seem to find the most incriminating, unflattering and ridiculously funny pictures they can possibly find, and then they post these pictures and "tag" everyone in them so we can all have a good laugh at the memories.

Memories...

Childhood sexual abuse left me with little to no recollection of many major events in my life, and most minor events were completely lost to me. I used to get so angry and frustrated because my friends and family would often get together and reminisce... and there I'd sit, lost in a thick fog caused by a lifetime of dissociation. I spent a lot of time wrapped up in jealousy and anger due to my inability to relate to the stories being told by the people I'd grown up with.

When I (re)entered therapy last year, one of the things I discussed with my therapist was that I was hungry to recover some of those good memories. My therapist assured me that in time I would begin to unwrap the good memories as I dealt with the bad ones. I must confess I'd spent so much time "without a memory" that I thought she was blowing smoke, just trying to make me feel better about my recovery. After all, I'd forgotten everything from childhood Christmas mornings to my first date to my high school graduation to some of the major details of my college life. I felt like a hopeless cause. Nevertheless, I attended (and continue to attend) therapy regularly and I dedicated myself to true healing no matter the cost or consequences. I learned to let go of expectations and take life as it comes.

And something's happened to me in the last year or so. I've begun to recover some good memories of my childhood and adolescence. Many of my good memories are actually triggered by photographs. A lot of those old pictures on Facebook are starting to mean something to me. I've noticed some of the old childhood pictures I've posted on my own Facebook account now elicit more than just a surface recollection of events. Many of them now bring forth a rich reminiscence I never thought I'd experience for myself. I never thought it would be possible for me personally, but I've really started to remember.

For example, this photograph used to remind me that I liked going roller skating... that's all... just "Oh, yeah. I used to go skating a lot."


But the other day I was looking at this picture and I suddenly remembered not only that I used to love skating, but that those skates were my favorite Strawberry Shortcake skates, and I wore them until they blistered my heels because I was so upset that I was outgrowing them... and I remembered that my mother (a wonderfully talented seamstress who often earned extra money by sewing for family and friends) made me three of these little skirts to skate in because I wanted to look like an ice skater, and not just any ice skater. I wanted to look like Dorothy Hamill because she was the best skater ever. (I later got the famous "Dorothy Hamill haircut" because she was, in fact, the most amazing and beautiful lady on the planet and I simply had to look like her.) I also recalled that this picture was taken with a Polaroid camera, which I won in a game of BINGO at one of my daddy's company Christmas parties, where they served little cubes of cheese with fancy toothpicks that looked like teeny little swords. (This good memory train of thought goes on for a while so we'll stop here.)

I could give you about a hundred examples of "oh my gosh I'm suddenly flooded with wonderful memories" but I'll spare you the trip down my own personal Memory Lane. I just wanted to write this little bit today to let you know that if this is something you are struggling with yourself, I understand. I know how frustrating it is. Hang in there. Keep healing. Keep moving. Keep trying. Keep on keeping on. And while you're waiting for those good memories to resurface, don't forget to make some beautiful memories of today.

Until next time... may you be blessed - and inspired to pass it on!
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