Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Music–Divine Therapy for Inner Harmony

My music calendar shows me that this is the 218th anniversary of the premier of Mozart's "The Magic Flute" in Vienna, with Mozart himself furnishing the background music from the harpsichord. After 218 years the music from this opera, however many times we've heard it, still inspires, thrills and even sometimes brings tears of laughter and sadness to our eyes. Music does this, poetry does this, a good book can do this and certainly love can do this. I like to think that music that "hath charms to soothe the savage breast" is something that comes directly from God as a part of faith's consolation and therapy. My daughter Amy and I will be speaking at a conference in Scottsdale, Arizona over the weekend and one of the things I want to say in my "brief hour on the stage" is music was created in the heavenly realm to compensate for our inability, or refusal, to hear the Divine Voice in any other way, such as through art, literature or the wisdom of children.

I think Mozart knew a thing or two about God that we, who are less than he himself or Beethoven or John Denver, have trouble hearing. A child born deaf or who loses hearing through a childhood disease may very well hear celestial things hidden from those of us who have “normal hearing." In our book Whirlwinds and Small Voices, Amy and I write of ways in which the Creator/creating God uses music to do the soothing of our distresses. As the troubled Saul looked to the singing of David for rest and peace so in like manner can we use such divine therapy for our own inner harmony. It works; try it! Sing, hum, whistle, croak it out, make a sound, the whole world will hear you and thank you. Perhaps you’ll share with us a way that music has led you to an inner harmony.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Happy Monday... remember Tuesday, too

I've often had the thought that there must have been something clever (Godlike?) about the way life is fixed so we automatically pass from one day to the next. If a day didn't pass, actually end, until we had done everything we needed to do, did the forgiving we needed to do, the loving we needed to do, the getting over our mistakes we needed to do, most of us would still be on the first Monday of our lives. Thanks be to God we're going to be given Tuesday however we might have messed up Monday. Tuesday is often a better time to straighten up Monday than if we tried to do it on Monday. I personally like the last line of the poem, “New Every Morning” on page 15 of WHIRLWINDS AND SMALL VOICES (

Every day is a fresh beginning
Listen, my soul, to the glad refrain,
And in spite of old sorrows
And older sinning
Troubles forecasted
And possible pain,
Take heart with the day and begin again.
- Susan Coolidge

"Take heart with the day and begin again." See what a new day can do? I was supposed to write this blog yesterday but I blew it. Now there is opportunity to do it in a new day. What a blast! Today I may even forgive those bunnies out there eating away at my garden. Yesterday I wasn't ready to do that, today I am., AMAZING! Who have you forgiven today now that you've had time to sleep on it? I'm going to get out of here and go bake a bunch of peanut butter cookies and take them down to my shut-in neighbor. Wanna come with me? Just send me your affirmative and good for you! Onward Christian soldiers, going as to war with peanut butter cookies!!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

What’s Your Secret Recipe for Vital Balance?

Don't we sometimes take on the weight of the world without having to do so? We say, "If I just had more time," when all the while we've had all the time there is, 24 hours a day just like everybody else, no more, no less. God didn't invent an eight-day work week, friends. Haven't we sometimes thought we ought to get up early in the day to help the sun rise when what we ought to have done was to get up to see the sun rise. This is one of the themes Amy and I will be discussing in our keynote address at the upcoming conference, “Investing in Family Support,” October 4 in Scottsdale, Arizona.

How many times have we wished for an extra day or just a few more minutes in the day? It's a natural instinct. Learning the nature of the Vital Balance (a term coined by the legendary Dr. Karl Menninger) is what counts, measuring our commitment to our work by our commitment to our own personal growth and enrichment of our spirit.

You agree? Disagree? Maybe you have a secret recipe for achieving Vital Balance in life and work. Share it with us. Perhaps it could inspire someone else.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Can't Give What We Don't Have

That’s as true for parents, clergy, therapists and educators as it is for the Salvation Army when it has run out of money. Parents can't teach their children to be good citizens with those parents speeding 70 miles an hour in a 35 mph zone. Doctors who hold an MRI film up to the light and see a trip to Paris will never have a patient thank him/her for caring. In working with children with special needs, the heart of our new book, the worker/parent/therapist/clergy person/educator is reminded that a child recognizes instantly sham, pretense, and false caring.

Have you experienced this when interacting with a child, either in an educational or conversational setting?

What about the little boy in the restaurant whose parents ordered broiled fish and broccoli for themselves, and when the waitress asked him what he wanted, he replied, “I’d like a hamburger.” His dad jumped in “Oh no, he doesn’t. He’ll have broiled fish.” The waitress replied to the young boy, “And what will you have on your hamburger?” The boy turned to his parents and said, “See….she thinks I’m a real person.” What parent hasn’t reacted in a way that unintentionally denies his child’s status as a “real person?”

Getting in touch with who we are as “real persons”, or as A. Lincoln said, “the better angels of our nature,” makes us all more authentic - whatever we are and who we would like the children to think we are. Daughter Amy and I will be speaking on topics related to recognizing children as real persons, burnout and the “vital balance” when we present the keynote address at the Investing In Family Support conference in Scottsdale next month. You can find more information at: