Jeannie Bruenning Author

Is it good?

Is it really possible that we can bring things into existence by speaking it? Can we move mountains or walk on water? There are many who say we can’t – Jesus said we can.

I believe that we are creative people. In fact, I think that it may just be our creativity that God made in His image (I certainly hope its not our physical appearance). Creating is a powerful energy. Sit in the middle of a group of creatives and you can’t help but feel it. It pulls you in and allows you to dream big and feel bigger.

During one of my many contemplative days, I felt I was missing a piece of the puzzle. “God,” I said, “I’m not understanding this whole create your life thing, I’m missing something.” Each time I found myself trying to figure it out, which was most of the day, I’d pray the same pray. 

The next morning I woke with this thought. In the story of creation God has laid out everything we need to know. 

“So what does that look like?” I said out loud. Then I thought about creation.

  1. God called things into existence.
  2. God set them into motion.
  3. God called them good.
  4. God rested. 

I call things into existence all the time! In fact, I’m rather good at it! I’m never without an idea. My mom claims I walked around the house at the age of three saying, “I gutz a ide!”

I’m pretty good at setting things into motion. I’ve started a lot of things. I get charged up about bringing ideas to life!

Then my mind went blank. My head dropped as I sighed a big deflating sigh…I couldn’t remember the last time I called those things I’ve created ‘good’. I’ve waited for others to claim they were good. I’ve hoped someone else would see my creations goodness. I even start sentences with, “I did that but it’s not really good….”

I signed again as I thought of the next step. “…and I don’t rest after I create them.” Who has time to rest when you’re worried if someone else is going to notice how amazing you are? 

Four easy steps all demonstrated to us through the greatest creation story ever. 

  1. We call things into existence by having an idea, thinking a thought, dreaming a dream.
  2. We set them into motion by taking steps to making our ideas, thoughts and dreams real.
  3. We stand back and realize just how amazing it is that we have the ability to do so AND we see the good in what we’ve created.
  4. We rest in the knowledge that we have given it our best, grateful for the ability to create.

I’ve still never seen a mountain literally moved. That actually seems a bit dangerous. I have seen mountainous situations move. 

I’ve yet to literally walk on water (and yes, I’ve tried that too). But I do know what it is like to step out of the safety of a boat onto the rough waters  – knowing that if I looked down, I’d surely lose it. Feeling the excitement of taking the first steps with no knowledge just how far down the bottom is. 

We are creators. I don’t think we have any idea just how powerful our creativity is. Maybe it’s because we aren’t good at seeing what we do as good or resting in the satisfaction of creating. But if it truly is our creativity that is made in the image of the Creator of the Universe…the possibilities are endless. 

 

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Down and to the Left

We had a kitchen faucet that leaked. It was a slow drip. The only way to stop it was to move the handle slightly to the left when turning it off. We lived with this special faucet for approximately seven years – which was 6 years, 11 months, 3 weeks and 6 days too long, but we survived.

Down and to the left became a normal response when we found a guest standing at the sink unsure how to stop the gentle flow of water. 

Down and to the left was the instruction given to the grandkids when they grew tall enough to reach the handle.

Down and to the left was our normal.

Then one glorious day, my husband and son installed a new faucet. It was a new day! A new dawning! I was certain there would no longer be the need for down and to the left. 

And I was correct. Those five little words were successfully removed from our vocabulary. However, it did not changed our behavior. When not in use, the new faucet is in it’s old familiar position – down and to the left. 

We have a new vocabulary now. Ouch! This water is too hot! You have to adjust the temperature! The problem? Down and to the left is the new hot. Really hot. Our sink is directly above the hot water heater, a direct line. It’s instantly hot.

Our old faucet forced us to learn a behavior the new faucet doesn’t require. Learned behaviors can be difficult to unlearn. It’s been 3 years since that new faucet was installed. Three years of mindlessly following the down and to the left rule. Three years of hot water blasting out of the faucet and 3 years of Ouch! This water is too hot! You have to adjust the temperature!

I am certain I have a lot of down and to the left kind of behaviors in my life. Things that I do on a regular basis that were once essential to my existence and are no long required. The problem? I still do them. Sometimes, I have to scald my hands a few times before it dawns on me that I could possibly be the cause of my own pain.

There is a couple of ways to fix this. We could switch the hoses and have the cold be hot and the hot be cold. My father and father-in-law did this once when installing a toilet. When you flushed, steam rose from the bowl. 

We could get a new faucet, the kind with two handles. That would certainly bring an end to the down and to the left. 

Or we could just learn to do it differently with gentle reminders that we don’t have to do it that way anymore.

 

 

Check out www.LivingUnstuck.us

Living Unstuck

 

 

 

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Olivia

Olivia blog post for Jeannie BruenningI’ve spent more time on elementary school grounds recently than I have in the past twenty years. It’s one of the benefits of having grandkids living close by.

My daughter held tightly to Liam’s hand as they made their way to his room. The door was decorated with Owls, not easy to miss. Emery and I followed quite a bit behind. If you ever have the privilege of walking hand in hand with Emery, you will quickly realize that she is all about stopping to watch an ant, chase the birds, get a drink, and run down the ramps. We dance to school in the morning and play hop-scotch on the broken concrete. She skips and hops and does steps on my shadow.

As the space between Mom and us grew larger, it allowed a group of children emerging from a classroom to force us to stop. Each student was clutching their math book like it was a teddy bear. We stood and watched the parade. When the teacher emerged, I assumed she would be the end of the line. I figured it would be safe for Emery and I to continue.

A few seconds later, a girl burst out of the room, spun on her heals and skipped down the sidewalk in the opposite direction. I couldn’t help but notice her expression of delight that radiated in the sunshine. Her eyes fixed on the sky. I wanted to hear the music that was most certainly playing in her head.

“Olivia,” I heard the teacher say. It was in a tone that suggested she may have been  anticipating Olivia’s choice of direction. As if she knew that Olivia would need be guided. “This way,” she instructed. Without pause, Olivia did an about-face and began to skip down the sidewalk in search of her classmates. She was still looking up taking in the beauty of the day.

I love Olivia. She makes me smile.

I pray that as Olivia grows older, she never looses the courage to be the last one out the door. That she’s not afraid to turn left when everyone else is going right. I hope she never stops looking up and that the sun will always reflect off her smile. And that she is blessed with teachers who gently guide her.

When the sidewalk was once again safe for travel, I glanced down at my little partner. She had her back to me and was pointing to the sky.

“Neenee, look at the birds.”

“They’re beautiful,” I said squeezing her hand. “Come on, Sweetie, we need to go this way.”

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Our Deepest Desires

Our Deepest Desires blog by jeannie bruenningLast week I listened to a meditation. Now that sentence doesn’t even make much sense. How can you listen to a meditation? Well, for people like me who find it hard to think about nothing, we must be instructed how to meditate. Apparently organizing the day, planning the menu, and practicing conversations are not what mediation is all about.

Facebook flashed an intriguing ad about meditating and I clicked. Then I listened and for the first time in my life, 15 minutes passed without me wondering what time it was. Or thinking that surely this is longer than 15 minutes. Or if the carpet needed to be vacuumed. Or what we should have for dinner….

At the beginning of the meditation the instructor, who had a deep and gentle voice, told me to repeat the words “I am” whenever I found myself wondering. He actually said it in another language but I couldn’t understand him. I figured I could repeat sounds I didn’t know or I could just say them in English. I stuck with I am.

I heard the newspaper delivery guy and I said, I am. I thought about my day and I said, I am. I thought about Miss Piggy wanting to kiss Kermit a lot and I said, I am. I even asked myself, What am I? and then I answered, I am. I was quiet, I was peaceful, I was.

Then I heard a soft chime and I opened my eyes just a few seconds before the gentle soft voice said, “Open your eyes.”

Wait till he says, “Open your eyes” next time, I noted to myself.

“I am”, he repeated and it sounded calming, soothing. I felt that this was good!

And then he ended the meditation by saying, “I am my deepest desire.”

Pause….long pause….what the hell does that mean? My deepest desire! What’s my deepest desire?  I loved the sound of it but what did it mean – I am my deepest desire?

Any stress that had left me in the past 15 minutes came rushing back. I felt pressure. I felt the calling.

Now I have to find my deepest desire!!

I repeated the question over and over and my mind immediately went to…

all the things I want to do,

all the stuff I want to have,

all the words I want to speak.

Reading over that list left me sad and a bit depressed – because a lot of those things have been on my list for a very long time.

Maybe this is about being and not about doing. That thought rang true, but I really didn’t want that to be the answer. I wanted all the things!

I ask a few of my friends and they too went to the doings: they had their projects and adventures.

“What if this is about who we are rather than what we do?” I asked. “I wondered if this might be about being and not about doing.” They nodded in agreement, yet none of us could quantify it.

When we define ourselves with what we do, or have, or achieved, it’s a defined list. These definitions come to an end when the need for us to do is no longer needed. If they are our defining moments, we will someday become undefined.

When we can define ourselves based on character and desire, our definition continues to redefine itself to the end of our lives.

This sounded really good, but I still wasn’t sure if it was right.

I repeated those words for three days. “I am.”

 What? I don’t know, but I am.

This morning I woke-up defined. The words were so solid in my mind that I don’t think they’ll ever leave me. “I know who I am.” I said to myself. “I am my deepest desire.”

What’s that desire? To trust God with reckless abandon and live each day as a new adventure.  This is a definition I can live with. This is a life I want to live. It’s amazing what happens when we quiet our minds.

Meditation isn’t new. It’s as old as the Psalms. It’s a gift that we’ve been given and one many of us have forgotten. It’s a time of peace, a time of stillness, it’s a time of knowing. Sometimes it’s a time of self-discovery.

On rare occasions it can be a defining moment.

Namaste’. 

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Servants, I Have Many!

Servants...I have many!!She gives food to her household and an allotted share to her maidens. Proverbs 31:15

I managed a women clothing store for two years. It was an interesting experience to say the least. There was a lot of butt checking, arm wiggling, and tummy tucking. There was a great deal of comments like, “I’d never wear that” and  “But you should…”

During my time there, my little store did fashion shows. We would take eight volunteers and dress them up in three different outfits each and then allow them to parade through a crowd of other women who were all wishing they knew how to put together outfits like these. We all had a good time. At the beginning of the fashion show all the newly named models were prim and proper. Buy round two, a few began to sashay. And on the final round, there was undoubtably be one or two who felt the need to show off their chorus line moves. It was all great fun.

One of the last events that I did was for a large… as not to offend anyone, lets say… Organization. It’s one of those Organization where large numbers of people go on a Sunday morning and fewer attend Organizational Meetings throughout the week. These newly named models who attend this Organization unanimously won the ‘nastiest group we’ve ever encountered’ award. It was a new award as we had never needed it before.

As a writer, I could go in many different directions with this topic. But the one that blasted like a fog horn in my ears is taken from a Proverb called the Virtuous Woman. It’s the famous one; where the woman gets up before dawn, is wise in her business dealings, tends to her children’s needs for which they in-turn rise up and call her blessed; all while her well known husband sits at the city gates. Ya, that one.

There is a one liner in this well known Proverb that tells us this rare woman cares for her servants. Most of us would say we don’t have servants but would admit we would like a few.

I consider this question of who are our servants and realized they are all around us.

I believe its the person who checks me out at the grocery store, or the teacher who spends eight hours a day with my grandchildren. It’s the kid who takes my dry cleaning and young women who writes down my order and dutifully serves me my food. It’s the guy who has been assigned to answer my customer service call, and the barista who hands me my latte. These are my modern day servants. According to this Proverb, I need to care for my servant’s needs and watch out for their wellbeing.

How do I do that from the other side of the counter? That’s simple. It’s with kindness, gentleness and self-control. Be gracious. Be complimentative. Be present for them in the few short moments you are together. Making their life, day, or just moment better because they encountered someone who truly cares. Care more about them rather what they can do for you. Do it even when you’ve encountered some of the nastiest people ever.

I remind myself every day that I am to care for my servants, no matter where they work. After all, my children need a reason to call me blessed and my husband needs something to talk about while he sits all day at the gate.

Servants, I Have Many is taken from a study on Proverbs 31 titled, Moxy 31. These lessons have been recorded and can be found on youtube.

Audio Lesson: https://youtu.be/1kyVPYuurX8

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Writer, Author and Coach. Jeannie started a publishing comapny in 2009 called A Silver Thread. Resides in a small beach town on the Central Coast of California and has a passion for people and stories. Click here to learn more.

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