Tag Archives: Joyce Landorf Heatherley

Who’s in Your Balcony? (Encouraging book: “Balcony People” by Joyce Landorf Heatherley)

Friends! This is a post I’m bringing back from three years ago, its’ concept of being a “balcony person” well worth repeating should you have missed it. I pray you’re blessed by it.

Enjoy!


Oh, the days of cheerleading.

Peer pressure at its’ peak.

Mine peaked in Middle School as we know it now.  In my school days, (when we had to walk a mile in the snow to school) we attended “Junior High”, which included sixth thru’ ninth grades.

Seemingly every girl in eighth or ninth grade tried out for cheerleading.

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Clueless, I signed up.

What, pray tell, had I gotten myself into?  We had to attend several practice clinics.  Quickly, try-outs were upon us.

Bad-n-sad memories of not making it in eighth grade surface.  Oh, but then came ninth grade and by some miracle, I made it.  You haven’t “made it” ‘til you make the cheerleading squad.  Or, at least that’s what appeared to be true.

Shallow, naïve, junior-higher that I was, our new cheerleading squad became my new friends.  Dumping my old friends for girls I didn’t even know was my “M.O.”   Horrors.

We quickly learned new cheers, cheering for football and basketball games.  Humorous given I had no knowledge of sports, much less which cheer to do, etc.  Follower…Very insecure follower.

So, had I known of the concept we’ll discuss today, that of “Balcony People”, I’d have told you my tally was a big, round, fat zero.  Oh, but wait ‘til you see how many we have!!! Hang with me…

One of my favorite gifts I received for Christmas this past year, a must-read, is Balcony People by Joyce Landorf Heatherley.   Joyce has the gift of opening your eyes to people in your life.  She talks about people with the gift of affirmation: Those who go around affirming others, not dragging them down.

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Those dragging you down are known as  “evaluators”, also known as “basement people”.  Know any of these?  Making a mental list?

“Basement people” spew snide remarks such as, “you’ll never make it…you can’t do that…”, inflicting judgment, damage, and unnecessary critiques.  Note the lower location of this moniker. (!!!)

One woman wrote to Joyce and asked, “Please keep reminding us how much God loves us.  We need that love, not the constant judgment we pour on ourselves.”

We got a large dose of judgment last week (check out “When Grace Rescues You From Judgment”), so this week we’ll discover “Balcony People”.

Joyce asks, “Who is the special affirmer who catches quick glimpses of the flames from the fires of your potential and tells you so?  Who, by his or her words, helps you to respect and believe in your own value as a person?”  We can dub these sweet souls our personal cheerleaders.

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Joyce douses any doubt you may have should you think you don’t have any affirmers.  She said, “I have known only a few genuine affirmers, but one affirmer is worth a thousand evaluators.”

She adds, “The need for affirming one another is crucial to our process of becoming real, not phony or hypocritical, people of God.  Affirming brings authenticity and credibility to our faith as it is lived day by day…Otherwise, we miss one of the main concepts of the Holy Scriptures—to love one another and to bear one another’s burdens.”

These affirmers, or “Balcony  People”, “practically hang over the rail, cheering us on.  As you begin to think of who in your life may be in your balcony, you’ll find it fun to discover these people do not have to be alive.” Do you love that?

One of Joyce’s friends shared his list of Balcony People: Number One:  The Lord (think about THAT!!!),  Paul the Apostle, and David the Psalmist, for starters.  Joyce added Peter the Apostle as well as her Mother who had also gone Heavenward to her list.

One aspect I love from Joyce is she includes her children on her list.  I’d like to think our boys and their wives are in my balcony.  That completely warms my heart.  You?

I have to say my biggest cheerleader/balcony person is my husband, John.  Love is blind comes to mind, God bless him.  (Kidding.  Sorta.)  Amazing grace.

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Jumping backwards to Middle School or Junior High, I can tell you I was not in my Mother’s balcony.  I gave her enough trouble to bond with her “basement people”  for years.  Awful.  By the same token if you have middle schoolers right now, never fear, for they will mature to cheer you on later.  Pray hard.

Joyce gives us one of my all-time favorite verses:  Hebrews 12:1 “telling us to run with patience (and perseverance) the race that’s set before us ‘since we have such a huge crowd of men of faith watching us from the grandstands’”.

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With that in mind, here’s the kicker to this whole concept of “Balcony People”…

Joyce admits, “Listing the people who were in my balcony, I concluded, was only half of what should be written.  So I got out another sheet of paper and put down all the names of people to whom I’d be a “balcony person.”  She continues, “It was time to concentrate on my balcony people and on being a balcony person to others.”  Whoa.  That turns the tables a tad, huh?

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Taken from Liz Curtis Higgs Facebook page, “‘The Choir’ by Ofra Zimbalista, three life-size statues made of painted aluminum in 1995. You can almost hear them singing…”

Joyce teaches us to look for and cultivate the following three traits of a “Balcony Person”:

1 – “They Love.”

2 – “They Listen.”

3 – “They Care from the Heart.”

Joyce directs us to the entire sixteenth chapter of Romans where Paul is cheering numerous people onward.  Joyce calls it the “Biblical ‘balcony person’ passage.”  She says her “favorite balcony motto from Paul is ‘whatever you do, do it with kindness and love.’” (I Corinthians 16:14)

When Jesus was juggling the disciples’ arguments over who was the greatest among them in Luke 9, He gave them the formula, as Joyce calls it, “for being the best manYour care for others is the measure of your greatness.”

 

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In closing, Joyce shares a memory of her grandson being very fearful of an unknown noise:  A big garbage truck screeched to a halt in front of their house.  Joyce said, “James looked up to her yelling, ‘Hug! Hug!’ And the look on his face screamed, ‘Hurry!  Hurry!’”  She added, “I remember reaching down for him and wallpapering his little body to my chest.”  Precious…

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From that experience, she paralleled the noisy “pandemonium of this evil world making us desperate to be:

Hugged,

Rescued

Home safe…

We are shouting through our panic, ‘Hurry!  Hurry!’”

Then she poses, “What is the frightening noise in your life?…

Is it the noise of:

Cancer

Divorce

Rejection

Discouragement

Depression

Loneliness…?

Whatever is pounding loudly in your mind, your body, or your soul,

LET ME BE YOUR BALCONY PERSON.

LET ME HUG YOU WITH MY WORDS.

LET ME WALLPAPER YOUR SOUL TO MINE.”

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Joyce reminds us of the Apostle Paul’s words:  “Long ago, even before He made the world, God chose us to be His very own.” (Check out the whole passage:  Ephesians 1:4-14)

Joyce further encourages: “You and I are His children.   I believe in you.  I’m leaning way, way over your balcony railing; I’m waving my coat above my head, and I’m yelling above the frightening noises of your world, You can do it!  Keep at it!  Keep on!  God’s here beside me; yes that’s right, He’s here, and He’s not sitting down.  YOU  are His child, He is YOUR Father.  and we are BOTH in your balcony cheering YOU on together!”

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I pray this concept of Balcony People has encouraged you…

Who’s in your balcony?

Whose balcony are you in?

May God guide us all to be more attentive to those whose paths we cross.

‘Til next time!

 

 

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Happy New Year! Fun-n-Grace-n-Rooted for 2014…

What’s your favorite memory from 2013?  We have been blessed with several, but one particular evening brings a boatload of laughter for us.

My way-more-patient-than-I-deserve-husband recently had a thirty-fifth high school reunion.  For you Louisvillians, John went to Ballard High School.  For me, growing up in Lexington, and going to Henry Clay High School in the ’70’s (!!!), we were “taught” to rival Ballard akin to how The University of Kentucky rivals the University of Louisville.  (GO CATS—couldn’t resist…)

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Anywho, because John goes to events with me I know he doesn’t really want to attend, I figured I’d best be a good sport and go to this reunion where I’d know basically no one.  To my surprise, I knew a couple of people and greeted them like long lost friends.

To my astonishment and high level of amusement, I realized that every single person I met and talked with had trouble hearing.  Granted the room had lousy acoustics, but this “problem” became comical.  We fifty-somethings were going to need to add “hearing aids” to our Christmas lists!!!  Guessing no one was brave enough to do so.

The most recent Costco catalog arrived yesterday and I said to John, “Oh, looky!  They have hearing aids on sale!!!”   File thirteen it went…

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Moving right along….another fun memory from 2013 includes reading some mountain-moving books. Books that made an impact on me, and, I pray will on you as well.  I plan on sharing some tidbits of these with you over the next few weeks.  We’ll have fun in 2014, soaking in some incredible grace, while learning how to be more grounded, or my new favorite word from our walk today, “rooted” in our faith.

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Here’s a preview of coming attractions we’ll discuss:

 329480_w185The Power of a Whisper—Hearing God—Having the Guts to Respond
by Bill Hybels

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One Light Still Shines—My Life Beyond The Amish Schoolhouse Shooting
by Marie Monville with Cindy Lambert

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To Heaven and Back—A Doctor’s Extraordinary Account of Her Death, Heaven, Angels and Life Again
by Mary C. Neal, M.D.

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Balcony People
by Joyce Landorf Heatherley

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Prayers and Promises for Worried Parents—Hope for Your Prodigal—Help for You
by Robert J. Morgan

In addition to talking about books, we’ll have some interviews of friends and authors who are well-rooted in their faith.  We’ll also talk about interesting road trips and travels, sprinkling in some chocolate treats from time to time.  One always needs incentives to keep one going, doesn’t one???!!!

Finally, for a new thought for the New Year, let’s hear from Billy Graham and Craig Groeschel.  In a daily flip calendar by Billy Graham, Unto the Hills, he tells us, “How many times in your life have you wished you could start all over again with a clean slate, with a new life?  Resolve to allow God to wipe your slate clean by confessing your sins and letting Him give you a brand new start.”

Billy adds a beautiful verse from Psalm 51:10 – “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”

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Craig Groeschel puts it in layman’s terms:  “For many, it is difficult to accept that the past has passed.  Sometimes, it’s so hard to just leave it there, where it belongs.”

 Oh, we’d best repeat that:  “The past has passed.”  We must “leave it there, where it belongs.”

So, let’s vow to start out this year anew.  Don’t worry about resolutions. (I’m busted already and it’s January the second.) Let’s do strive to grow our faith, to develop strong roots together.  We’ll have fun-n-grace, and will be rooted like redwoods.

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My dear friend Liz Curtis Higgs will be blogging about “50 Favorite Proverbs” this year.  (Click here to go to her blog as she’ll be asking you to send in your favorite proverb.)  I’d like to cast my vote early and show you one of several verses we’ll be marinating in re: rooted.  Look at Proverbs 12:3 from The Message:  “You can’t find firm footing in a swamp, but life rooted in God stands firm.”

‘Til next time!

 

 

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