Correcting the Soundtrack in Your Head, How to Fix a Broken Record, Amena Brown, Relationships, Be Yourself

Correcting the Soundtrack in Your Head

After graduating from college, I moved to the biggest city in Maine for my first “real job,” bringing with me a wardrobe fashioned around college life south of the Mason-Dixon. Clearly, my flimsy sandals would not fit my new life as a ministry professional. However, it soon became apparent that my feet were not going to fit into any of the smooth and snappy dress shoes I admired at the Maine Mall. Navigating life with big feet has been part of my journey of self-acceptance, and a huge aspect of my mental soundtrack that I’m still rewriting.

In How to Fix a Broken Record: Thoughts on Vinyl Records, Awkward Relationships, and Learning to Be Myself, Amena Brown shares her own trail of super-sized footsteps from sneakers and flats to styling elegance in her Beyoncé stilettos. With footwear as a metaphor for self-acceptance, the spoken-word poet and inspirational author also remembers the freedom of learning to love her own natural hair after years of fighting it. Looking back over her shoulder with humility and gratitude, Amena honors the resiliency and courage of the women who have contributed to her story’s formation:

“My great-grandmother picked cotton
and worked in a tobacco factory
so my grandmother could work at a hospitalCorrecting the Soundtrack in Your Head
so my mom could become a nurse
so I could become a poet.”

A product of the I Kissed Dating Goodbye generation, Amena was astonished to find herself still single at age 30. Now, happily married, she writes with transparency about the disappointment of infertility and her puzzlement with the ways of God, who moves slowly and in ways that are, at times, inscrutable. Her collection of stories documents her progress in working on the broken messages that have colored her thinking (and which are prevalent in Christian circles):

“I am learning the painful truth that even when you pray and ask God, even when you quote back to God the applicable Scriptures, even when you walk around the object you are praying for six times and play your trumpet on the seventh, God doesn’t always answer the way you want him to.” (158)

Remind Your Soul that God is Bigger than You

Solid roots in the Body of Christ and in one’s identity as a daughter of God are indispensable in embracing the hard realities that come with a complicated family tree. Amena began laying down healthy grooves in her record by honoring her roots following a DNA test, some hard disclosures, and a commitment to the challenge of painful wondering.

Like a vinyl record, the grooves in the human heart catch and preserve all manner of voices. We spend our lives layering message upon message, and in the process we come to define ourselves by what’s been caught in the grooves. It is startling, then, when words and feelings long forgotten (we thought) rise to the surface as a reminder that the healing process must continue. The God who makes all things new can also make broken things whole.

Be Humble and Kind and Say “No”

As an artist and an entrepreneur, Amena Brown lives in the tension between staying true to her calling and building a business.  Taking responsibility for her own choices, she has learned to say “no, even if it means less money, less popularity, fewer likes.” She has concluded that there is much wisdom in realizing she “must constantly lay down the weight of opinion, the chokehold of pride, the race of comparison. It is saying no to my own selfishness, no to trying my best to be god instead of walking with and learning from God how to be who he created me to be.” (119)

Brown urges women to surround themselves with a squad of warriors who will lament, pray, rejoice, and speak truth into our lives. Book-mentors and on line friends lend us courage if we read well and choose our influencers carefully.

There’s Healing in the Stillness

It takes discipline to pull away from the continual pressure to “do” when your soul requires time simply to “be.”  The healing power of sleep, the perspective that comes from pulling away, the peace of a slow listen to the voice of God: this is a humble stance and a product of wisdom.

Amena Brown invites her readers into a thoughtful parsing of our motives behind our lists and all the busy-ness that keeps us spinning. Intent on “making something of ourselves,” we forget that God is the primary Maker, and it is only He who can fix our broken records. We are made for the music of truth and hope. Healing and a healthy future are found in the groove of grace that God longs to write into your story.


This book was provided by Zondervan through the BookLook Bloggers Program in exchange for my review.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


I  am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. If you should decide to purchase How to Fix a Broken Record: Thoughts on Vinyl Records, Awkward Relationships, and Learning to Be Myself simply click on the title here, and you’ll be taken directly to Amazon. If you decide to buy, I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.


Every blessing,

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Michele Morin

Michele Morin is a teacher, blogger, reader, and gardener who finds joy in sitting at a table surrounded by women with open Bibles. She has been married to an unreasonably patient husband for nearly 30 years, and together they have four sons, two daughters-in-love, two grandchildren, and one lazy St. Bernard. Michele loves hot tea and well-crafted sentences, poems that stop her in her tracks and days at the ocean with the whole family. She laments biblical illiteracy and advocates for the prudent use of “little minutes.” She blogs at Living Our Days, and you can connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.

78 thoughts on “Correcting the Soundtrack in Your Head”

  1. These are such encouraging words, Michele. Especially today. Such truth in these words that I “must constantly lay down the weight of opinion, the chokehold of pride, the race of comparison. It is saying no to my own selfishness, no to trying my best to be god instead of walking with and learning from God how to be who he created me to be.” (119). It’s a process…one that will continue until heaven. I’m having to learn to be patient with myself- to receive the amazing patience my Maker has for me.

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    1. We’re all there, Anna, trusting for grace to receive the gift of ourselves every single day. And thanks for reinforcing the truth here that it’s a process–sometimes a very slow process–but guided by a patient Father.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Michelle this book sounds so good. Thanks for sharing so much. I resonate with so much – the infertility and how God answers because He does and love how He has done it in our family. We’ve been there – not marching – but walking through the house with arms raised up.

    The shoes resonate with all us women. Ha! I’ve been trying to get a post up on shoes, but the words aren’t all there yet.

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    1. Shoes are the bane of my existence. Truly, I think I’d rather shop for a bathing suit than for shoes.
      Amena’s story is inspiring, and that quote about her mother and grandmothers is from the dedication, so she had me immediately.

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  3. Hi Michele ~
    Looking back, I’m seeing how the soundtrack has continued to change, morph, re-event itself. Yet there’s a steady tune that wends its way through each season …

    And this I love –>’We are made for the music of truth and hope.’

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  4. “It takes discipline to pull away from the continual pressure to “do” when your soul requires time simply to “be.” The healing power of sleep, the perspective that comes from pulling away, the peace of a slow listen to the voice of God: this is a humble stance and a product of wisdom.”

    Yes, and amen!

    I cracked up reading you’d rather shop for bathing suits then shoes! Oh no, sister, I’m not gonna shop for bathing suits! I wear the same one for 10 years at a time because it is. just. too. scary.

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    1. I wish shoes lasted for ten years. 🙂
      And it does take discipline to pull away from the rush.
      I have your latest post in my inbox waiting for me. Looking forward to catching up with all your doings.

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  5. Sounds like a great book. Love the quote about praying and walking around the object 6 times. There comes a time in our lives where what we were told would and should work, doesn’t, and it can be so frustrating to learn that life is not just following formulas to get what we want. Even the good things we know God wants for us. I can so relate to some of her struggles. Thanks for the book review.

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  6. Dear Michele,
    Oh, this sounds like another great read! Especially since I have been working through some words of my own that fit so well with these words: “in the process we come to define ourselves by what’s been caught in the grooves. It is startling, then, when words and feelings long forgotten (we thought) rise to the surface as a reminder that the healing process must continue.” Thanks for the confirmation to continue with the process that God keeps nudging in me. Blessings to you!

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  7. Michele,
    I think I’ve spent my life trying to correct the soundtrack in my head 🙂 I feel like I’ve been doing a pretty good job lately and it’s been a lot easier! I love that she used shoes as an analogy. I have a message I preach called, Walking with Perseverance and Purpose in Really Cute Shoes and do the same.
    Praying God continues to expand the reach of your writing.
    Have a great weekend!
    ~Sherry Stahl
    xoxo

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  8. Sounds like a great book to check out! I really like that part about staying still. It is so hard to just be in society these days, we are always propelled forward to do more and more. But sometimes what we need is to rejuvenate ourselves so that we can be ready to give when the opportunity arises. Thanks for sharing! Have a great week!

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  9. Sounds like a good read! Thank you Michele for linking up at the #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty 25! I shared your post on Fb, G+, Pn, and Tw ♥

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  10. This is so funny. I wrote a piece once for Parent.com about the shoe emojis available to women and this entreprenuer in Palo Alto who designed a new one that spoke to the women of today. Shoes are a great metaphor for personality and life.

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    1. I remember reading that piece. And I’m looking forward to putting on my huge clogs for church today because they are so comfy and functional but look okay with a skirt. It’s crazy having mini-van feet in a world of MGBs.

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  11. It’s a tough and valuable lesson that even when we do everything “right”, God doesn’t always give us what he wants. We learn that his goodness and love is not dependent on our circumstances. This sounds like a great book, thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The most important feature about that “soundtrack” in our head is that it be TRUE and centered on ultimate truth.
      Thanks so much for reading, Mimi.
      Blessings to you, and hope today’s song is happy and fun!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Interestingly, I’ve been contemplating authenticity and the connections that can only be forged in that process a lot lately, Michele. And it seems that is the crux of what Amena’s experience and book are about too. Thanks for sharing with us another inspiring book to read!

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  13. Swallowing hard as I read this. It hits so close to home. I have scheduled it to Tailwind as a book I would love to read. Thank you for sharing with Grace and Truth Link-Up. I always look forward to your reviews. I just wish I had more time to read. I guess the magic word I need to find in my vocabulary is “no” to some other things.

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    1. There’s so much to do, right? And the more we read, the less time we have to write, and as bloggers, I think we struggle with saying no.

      I keep hearing about Tailwind, so I’ve got to get educated as to just exactly what that is! (Research: another blogging time grab!)

      Liked by 1 person

  14. The book sounds interesting, with lots of lessons to learn (or be reminded of).
    And yes, just because we ask does not mean we’d get our way. God has a will. He walks according to His will. And it’s for our own when we seek His will and remain at the very center of it. Then we would not be asking amiss when we ask.
    Thanks for sharing, Michele. Blessings to you.

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  15. Wow, this book sounds both cute and deep…and that’s my kind of book. I can definitely relate to some of the lessons she learned in life. Thanks for bringing this one to my attention, Michele! 🙂

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  16. Michele, I had to chuckle at your comments about big feet. It’s a wonder I can walk after squeezing my feet into shoes that were too tight rather than admit I needed a size 9 1/2 as a teen and years of wearing the highest heels I could find so my big feet wouldn’t be so obvious. It delights me to see my granddaughter buy her size 10s without a second thought. As for the book, it sounds like it’s both profound and entertaining. Blessings!

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    1. I had no idea when I wrote that post that I would be discovering the sisterhood of the double digit shoe size! It’s great to know there are so many of us, and I’m thrilled to hear that your granddaughter is managing her shoe size with grace. My tiny grand girl is only 6 months old, but one of the hopes I had for her even before she was born is that she would not inherit her Bam’s big feet!

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  17. I love Amena Brown and follow her on social media. I have heard her spoke word at IF Gathering and this year she was a behind the scenes reporter interviewing speakers. Her words are such a blessing.

    The book is one that would really dig deep into some of my own recordings that play over and over in my head. I know her message would be convicting and clarifying. Thank you for sharing Amena’s book.

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  18. I love the idea of a vinyl record. I remember listening to them many years ago and finding such frustration when they stopped playing the right track and “got stuck” in the scratches. Getting stuck isn’t what the author meant for them just as with us, getting stuck in negative thoughts about ourselves is most definitely not what our Father meant for us! Correcting that soundtrack is so important to living fully in who we truly are. Thanks for this review (always wonderful!) and thank you for being beautifully you!♥

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    1. Yes, those grooves are always capturing the messages we send to ourselves as well as the words we hear from others. So important for us to speak truth to one another!
      Thanks, Lori, for your faithfulness as an encourager!

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  19. While my tootsies aren’t overly big, they are wide and I also struggle with the shoe problem. I think it’s very important to surround yourself with a tribe of supportive folks who help life you up at every stage of life. This book sounds really interesting!
    ~Jess
    #GlobalBlogging

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Michele, this sounds like an excellent book–I love her quote about God not always answering like we want him to, even when we’ve circled our “Jericho” more times than we can count. But her encouragement to trust that God is bigger than ourselves is so right on! Another book to add to my list of good reads for the year! 🙂

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    1. That image is still with me, because (secretly) I have an “insert Tab A into Slot B” image of prayer that crashes and burns and needs rebuilding every so often.
      I hope you get to read and be encouraged by Amena’s good words!

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  21. Another one to pin to my board! LOL! You had me at “the tension between staying true to her calling and building a business.” That is precisely where I reside. Thanks for sharing! Blessings!

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  22. Hi Michele! Going by this review alone, I would love to read this book. I needed to read these lines given by busyness 🙂 – It takes discipline to pull away from the continual pressure to “do” when your soul requires time simply to “be.” The healing power of sleep, the perspective that comes from pulling away, the peace of a slow listen to the voice of God: this is a humble stance and a product of wisdom. Thank you so much for the beautiful read and review.
    Please read my #MondayMusings post for this week: https://thetinaedit.com/2018/03/06/life-is-a-fairy-tale-mondaymusings/. Thank You! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Michele! I don´t know if it is available here in India. But, let me check if there is an online version of the book. Would love to read. Your site is also very interesting…I need to read more given this time of Lent. 🙂

        Like

  23. What a fresh idea on a book! It is so hard in this day and age to tun into the master musician and really be who God wants you to be. #journeysingrace

    Like

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