Friday, May 20, 2011

Balcony People

Some people are in the "balcony" of your life, cheering you on, energizing you with their affirmation. Others are in your "basement" doing exactly the opposite. ~Joyce Landorf Heatherley

In 1989 Joyce Landorf Heatherley wrote Balcony People.  I was an avid fan of Joyce's writings and this book quickly became a favorite.  I've read hundreds of books since 1989 but this one has stayed with me.

Basement people are those who pull you down or discourage you.  We all have people like this in our lives.  Basement people are all about themselves.  They are negative and critical. They criticize you in order to make themselves feel better. They often presuppose others who “might” think they are a cut above themselves, thus they make no effort to affirm their associates.

Balcony people pull you up and encourage you.  They are quick with affirmations; they cheer you on and are quick with words of encouragement.  They want you to be the best person in Christ that is possible.  They give you confidence to reach your goals.
I have many balcony people in my life.  My family just about fill the balcony section.  My daughters are my biggest fans, rejoicing in my achievements as though they were their own.  But I'm a big girl.  I know who I am in Christ.

Teens, however, need big doses of affirmation.  They need a balcony cheering section that is loud and brave.  Those determined to build them up regardless of who is listening. They need more cheering to counteract the basement people who jealously put them down.  I’m especially grateful for the crowded conditions in Emily’s balcony.

One person in Emily's balcony is Bill -- Mr. Crabtree to her.  Bill is our greeter at church -- the first person you see. Without fail, you find him smiling, joking, but always with the “underneath” feeling of care and love.  Bill not only passes out the encouraging words, but backs them up by being the first to give to mission trips and other school promotions. Countless times, he has told me, “You got yourself a good girl there.” And just recently, another friend shared, “Bill thinks the world of Emily because she has only one mood – cheerful.” I was able to tell Emily, “You may not think anyone notices how hard you try to be like Christ, but some do.” Would Emily strive to be Christ-like without affirmation? Yes, it’s her heart’s desire…But, it’s good for her to hear the words of blessing and appreciation.

How about you?  Do you have balcony people in your life?  Maybe a better question would be Are you a balcony person? Do you exude negativity or positive cheer?  Do you take time to value people?  Are you a dream smasher or are you leaning over the banister rooting for others to achieve their dreams?  Emily Dickinson said, "A word is dead when it is said, some say.  I say it just begins to live that day."  May my words descend from the balcony instead of rising from the cellar.

* * * * *

I met Peter Lord when I was in a writing conference in Titusville, Florida.  He has written numerous books, including Bless and Be Blessed: How your words can make a difference.

"When you bless," says Peter Lord, "dramatic, miraculous changes take place."

With wisdom, personal anecdotes, and hands-on exercises, Lord teaches readers everything they need to know to deliver powerful words with life-changing impact today. He discusses the scriptural basis for blessing others, describes how readers can receive their own blessing from God, and teaches them to weave the practice of blessing into their everyday lives. 

Our May has been quite crazy, leaving little time for "play."  So instead of an idea of my own, I found a few for you to thank the balcony people in your life.  

For women in the balcony:  Heavenly Soap Wrappers: Funky Times

For men in the balcony: Chocolaty Chocolate Chip Cookies: Shoregirl's Creations

For children in the balcony:  Bubble Gum Bouquet: Bentley Boutique   
This  post linked to 


Rebecca said...

Sweet (VERY sweet) ideas for encouraging the balcony people in one's life....I REMEMBER that book. Don't know where my copy is anymore...


Three cheers for balcony bloggers likt YOU.


Xenia said...

What a wonderful post, Pamela! And such gorgeous pictures.

Thank you so much for joining us for Friendly Friday, I hope you have a great weekend!

Janette@Janette's Sage said...

Oh I remember and have that fact my husband worked with her on a project. So true, we all need balcony people...what a good reminder.
Beautiful fun!

Anonymous said...

Emily is a lovely young lady - what sweet photos. I am grateful for many balcony folks in my life and in my blog family. Thanks for this uplifting post. Have a blessed weekend.

no spring chicken said...

Thank you for the book recommendation. I know a basement person who would be receptive to the encouragement in the book.

Maybe I'll give her a bubblegum bouquet with it, as a balcony gesture...

Blessings, Debbie

Michelle DeRusha@Graceful said...

I love this phrase, balcony people -- and they make such an incredibly difference in lifting us up, encouraging and supporting us, don't they. I have so many lovely balcony dweller in my life: including blogger friends -- what a supportive community this is!

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Shore Girl said...

I love the comparison between the basement and balcony --- and I certainly strive to be a balcony person!
BTW - thanks for featuring my cookies -- so sweet of you!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post, as always, an oh my! That dress is a dream! :)

Renee said...

I really like the balcony people concept. Wonderful! So important to plant ourselves on the balcony, and stay out of the basement!

Saleslady371 said...

You can tell Emily is cheerful; she's gorgeous, too. Love the idea of balconey people. Yes, it is my goal always. Inspirational people point to Jesus, like you Pamela.

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Hi Pamela,

What a wonderful post ... every single bit of it. I had never heard those terms before used like this, balcony and basement, but I certainly know exactly what you are talking about. It sounds like I should read that book. I try to be a balcony person and am surrounded by many of them, online and offline. Still, I have a few basement people around and I don't like it at all. I have finally found that I just needed to step back and "not play". You are right about that not being easy.

Your daughter is so pretty, inside and out ... and I love the bubble gum tree too; that looks like something that I can make.

Have a wonderful week!

Kathy M.

Virginia said...

Your posts are always so positive, uplifting, and encouraging.
Thanks and God Bless you.

Ginger~~Enchanting Cottage said...

This book would be something I would love to read. You have very special people in your balcony.
God Bless,

Joan said...

My prayer is that I am a balcony person. Great post.


Crystal Mary said...

As Christians we should all be Balcony people.. I can never understand people who pull others apart and hurt them...
Have a beautiful day Pamela, I pray you are blessed with many sweet people who uplift you up the same way you do others.. Hug xxxx

micey said...

I think I'm a pretty decent balcony person to my patients and the people I love... striving to be a balcony person to my co-workers =)

Esther Joy said...

Thank you for being a "Balcony Blogger" with another encouraging post!

Kiran Bajaj Sawhney said...

I love your blog.
Can we follow each other?

Charlotte said...

I am not familiar with this book. Sounds wonderful. I have lot of balcony people in my life too. And it is so true, everyone needs lots of balcony people in their lives. Fortunately I don't remember having too many basement people. I'm glad. Thank you for sharing this encouraging post.

Vilisi@islandmusings said...

I love the analogy of balcony and basement people.I'm with Esther Joy in saying, 'thank you for being a balcony blogger!'