Rainy Day Treats

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Hello friends and sweet readers of this blog!  It’s good to be back to my desk for some writing.  Lately there have been so many thoughts flooding this brain of mine, that its been a bit difficult to get my thoughts sorted out.  Some seasons in our life are like that and we just have to press through it, don’t we?

Guitar MandolinHere is some pressing through activities that I have found helpful to me:

  1.  Daily quiet time – I am reading through the Bible this year, and even though I didn’t start until April, it doesn’t matter.  It is a goal of mine with a year’s time.
  2. Reading – I have been so behind on reading and I enjoy it very much because I gain such great insights and enjoyment from it.  I have again set aside time to read.
  3. Music time – Playing some tunes on my instruments.  I have to break in my finger pads for playing the strings.
  4. Walks – even in the rain.  A big umbrella helps and I enjoy the freshness in the air after a rain.
  5. Baking some bread – There is nothing like the smell of bread in the oven on a rainy day.  Recipe IMG_3009is below.
  6. A get-away to nature – To really see what is around me and let my soul settle down.  Our Cabin works great for this, but sometimes a drive can be just the ticket. I do that a lot too.  Drive to the water, or to the mountains; whatever you enjoy.
  7. Create with photography – With My Story 365 project that I am doing, it helps me see in the present moment and make a message with a memory every day.
  8. Write a note and send by mail – yes by mail.  I like receiving them and I think others enjoy it too and you never know what a note in the mail may do for the receiver that day.
  9. Let a person who has been an influence in my life know – Tell them, call them, send a card, but let them know how and why they have been such a great influence in your life.
  10. I enjoy, without guilt, doing nothing sometimes – That has been a difficult lesson for me.  But I am learning to enjoy it very much… that special brand of slow.

Leaves and Moss-3When we take a measure of time to see it in positive ways, it changes how we look at the day.  Even when things are at their most difficult, doing some of the activities above, can change your whole perspective!  It can bring joy back in where a heavy burden has been.

Pick one this week that you can do for yourself.  We are reminded this weekend of why Jesus died for us…and why He arose on Easter.  Don’t let the devil steal that joy from you. Christ died and arose again so that you could have a life abundant and full of joy; even when things seem less than joyful.  I know.  He has done that for me this last week.  I am ever so grateful, and I have dropped more than a few hearts in my jar this week!

Big River-3Go!  Walk the path of creative joy!  Let me know in the comments what you do to enjoy life even amongst the rainy and difficult seasons on your journey.  I would love to hear about them!

My Recipe:

Beer Bread:

  • 3 cups of self-raising flour
  • 3T of sugar
  • 1-12 oz can of beer

Mix together and put into a lightly greased loaf pan.  Bake at 350º for 55 minutes.  Once out of the oven, run a thin knife if needed around the edge of the bread, and then drop out onto your surface.  It’s ready for a yummy taste!  It is just as good when it is not warm, and it also toasts well.

Until next time…

~JoAnn

 

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Vision Changes Our Life

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I’m sure many of you have heard the expression, “He/she has an eagle eye.” I think we sort of know what that means; the person sees everything.  However, here are a few fun facts about the eagle’s vision:

  • The eagle’s eye is 4-8 times stronger than a human.
  • An eagle can spot a rabbit that is 3.2 km away, which is 4-5 times farther than we can.
  • They can swoop down to their prey at 125-200 mph
  • they can pick up details in their vision and their vision magnifies them.
  • The angle of the eye gives them a 340 degree visual field.
  • They turn their head to look for prey, and when found, the prey is magnified to see how far they have to fly and at what speed.

So when we think we are sneaking up on an eagle to get a shot with a camera, I doubt we are hidden at all.  It is amazing to me when we study God’s creation, that He made them so intricate.  I often times have wished I could see that far ahead of me just in one day, let alone my life ahead of me.

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Why am I talking about the eagle’s eye?  For one thing, God sends eagles to soar over me almost every time I go out.  It’s our thing.  Another thing, I think it gives me a good open door into the idea of vision.  We hear people talk about vision in a few of the following ways:

  • What is your vision for your education when you get out of school?
  • What is your vision for your career?
  • What is your vision for the project?
  • What do you think is God’s vision for you?
  • We are casting a vision for the direction we want to go.

That doesn’t mention how vision is used when we talk about our eye sight.  Vision is how we see things.  It’s our perspective as well.  Think about it.  Have you ever had a vision for what your career would be, only to have it change?  Or what about a vision for who you will marry and what that would look like, only to find its lots of work laced with difficulties.  I have found in my life that my vision changes and evolves.  Here is an example from my own life.  When I was growing up, music was my life.  I got involved in everything I could get involved with where music was concerned so that I could enjoy my passion.  I wanted to go to college and become a music teacher.  I knew how musicimage
was important to me and I wanted to share that passion with others.  I was even a delegate to the All State Chorus from Washington State my senior year.  The choir performed under the direction of Jester Hairston, which was a life altering experience all to itself!  Then after two years and an Associate Degree and Certificate in Special Education, I could no longer put myself through school.  Instead, I went to work for a local school district in Special Education.  I wrote a grant letter to get funding for a small bus for the Sp Ed department to have for transporting the students to and from school.  I had currently used a station wagon to do that.  I got my CDL to drive the bus routes and sports runs.  My vision was changed.  It evolved into something else.  I have had many, many of those vision changes in my life.  All of them making me who I am today.  I still got to direct choirs and community choirs in my time.  Just wasn’t the original vision I had.

untitled-3-2I think we sometimes have this idea that our vision is stationary and doesn’t change, and if it does change, then it is lost.  But I have come to know that it is how I SEE those changes, that then give me a new vision.  It evolves into the next thing that I get to do.  We are each given vision to see the world around us.  HOW we see it can make all the difference.  If I had stuck with my earlier vision, I may have felt defeated and disappointed in myself that I didn’t continue.  But I would have missed all the other visions that God has placed in my spirit.  I would have missed the people he has brought into my life.  I would have missed the promptings to expand and readjust my vision of my life and circumstances.  THAT would be a total loss of vision.  Instead, I have allowed my visions to change and I have changed with them.  I have gotten to do some marvelous things in my life.

That word vision has been so used up.  Don’t let it discourage you.  Start lookingGuitar Mandolin around and ask for new eyes to see; a vision to open up to you.  Watch out when it happens though because it will be life changing and life altering.  You may find a new zeal in your life that wasn’t there before.  It may move you to do things you haven’t ever done.  It COULD even make it so you take part in activities that others think are kind of wild and crazy.  I say this:  “DO what you love, and do it every day.”  It’s like drinking from the good glasses every day!  Or…a different mocha cup!

Here are a few of mine:

  • I’m getting back into music and playing instruments.
  • I’m singing more.
  • I do more with my photography by taking classes through books I’m reading, My Story 365 project, adding a lens to my bag, and asking God to help me see the unusual.
  • The cabin we purchased to enjoy more down time.
  • More time spent with family and friends.
  • Reading more again.  I used to read with a goal of a book a week.  I never made that goal but I read around 200 books in a year, of all kinds.
  • I enjoy decorating to make our home, and now the cabin, more like we want them to be; which is our vision for retirement years.
  • Sew into the life of my kids and grandson.
  • Take out my Mini for rides just to enjoy driving it more.
  • Time on the patio enjoying the feeling of quiet time.
  • The joy of a mocha in the morning as I choose a cup from my collection.
  • Taking pictures I love and enjoy because I LOVE them, and think about who else make like them.  The pictures I take speak to ME, and that is what taking photos is about.

I can’t say the above ideas works for you, however, at this point of my life, THAT is myIMG_2473 vision of happiness.  Yours is of course different depending on where you are in life journey.  It doesn’t mean you can’t have a vision geared toward you.  Would you do me a favor?  In the comments here on the blog, share a part of what you feel your vision is for your life at this time?  It may just be that you get through your day.  It could be a new craft you want to spend time doing.  It could be more family time.  It may be doing something different on the job.  Whatever it is, I would love to hear about it, as well as, how you see that coming to fruition.  What do you see?

I hope this post has fanned the flame in your soul for making you feel more alive.  The fact that our vision isn’t carved in stone is liberating to me.  I hope the idea that visions can change makes your heart skip a beat. IMG_7900It will change until the day I pass from this world into my heavenly home.  That is a really great way to live in freedom…a vision that excited me!  You see the picture to the left is me with a Tootsie Pop out camping and staying in a cottage; something our family did a lot of growing up.  That vision has always been a live in me, and now I am establishing that vision for my family; our cabin.  Yes.  Having vision IS important and can be life changing for generations to come.

Until next time,

~JoAnn

 

All from an Ember

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Sometimes it takes getting away to help us think; contemplate.  Where we are, what we want, what we may be missing, or what we are thankful for, and the memories we are making.  But whatever is on our minds, we certainly can think better if you get in a place where the noise of the world is far from us.

This last weekend, I was in such a place…our Cabins on Big River.  As my grandson was the fire attendant, he thought the embers were so low at one point that fire was out, so he spread the coals around a bit to allow it to go out.  Since we wanted to continue to use the fire, I used the bellows and gave wind to the embers and watched as the coals became flames, and the flames became a bigger fire once again. He was quite surprised!

IMG_2473I thought it was a good example of our life, and so with a teachable moment, I told Ethan a story… “Life is kind of like that Ethan.  It make look like there is no hope in sight.  Nothing is going right, there is a lot of stress, sometimes hurt feelings in the process.  We may have lost something important to us.  It can feel just like this fire that you thought was going out.  But when the bellows gave wind to the embers, they became coals of fire, and then became flames once again.  In my case, it is God who gives wind to the embers. He helps me see the good.  Encourages me to have faith.  It may also be a friend who calls or texts at the right time to encourage me.  Or, it can be someone who comes my way and for whatever reason, is led to help me.  It is kind of like your dad’s car situation. God worked out something for you both that you weren’t expecting.  That person gave wind to what seemed like a dead situation.  So when things look grim, and you see no light at the end of the tunnel, let the winds around you give your heart a little firing up.  Fan the flame of hope for something better to come along.  God IS faithful to me, and He will be faithful to you.  He wants us to trust Him completely.”

It is always such a joy to me when God gives such profound wisdom over the simplest of things…but then He always does.  He WANTS us to understand.  It IS simple.  We just need to allow it to breathe life back into us.  I think Ethan got the message too.  At least that is my hope.

How about you?  Where do you need God to breathe wind into your life to fan the flame of your heart?  Ask Him.  He wants to do that; just as He breathed life in the beginning, He wants to do that again in you.  Will you let Him?  Will you close off the world’s noise to get quiet and lean in to Him?  Let that wash over you.  Just like a fresh stream of water you can sit by, let the trickle and rolling of the water refresh your soul.

Until next time,

~JoAnn

My Story 365

IMG_2322This week I was reminded once again about life; daily life.  We don’t often think we are going to wake up one morning and get news that turns our life upside down.  But it happens.  We don’t think we have to worry about our health because we feel pretty good, and then something shows up and changes everything.  We think we will always have our family around us, and then there is a transfer and a move.  Life is one change after anything, and it requires us to be life changers.

IMG_2321We never expect the difficult things that come along, but we seem to remember those far more than we remember what is GOOD in our lives, or what great things have come our way.  It may feel like it’s the end of the world when our season of challenges come, but it will eventually come to be something we can handle.  We wake up every day, and each day that goes by becomes a little bit easier.

I am going into a new season myself.  I don’t know exactly what it has to hold for me but I am moving forward with confidence that God will reveal what is ahead of me as I step forward… trusting.  Give me light for the step I’m on!  I am hoping it won’t be like the last couple of months, but if it is, then I am prepared to walk it out.  Not complaining, but with expectation of what I will learn through it.  This is a transforming time for me, I believe.  I like those times and welcome the changes that it may bring for me.  My personality is such that when things get hard, I look all the more for something to counteract that challenge in my life.  It’s why I make goals every year in January.  It keeps my focus on good things, and always gives me a grateful heart for what I DO have in my life..

One of my goals has been to improve my photography, not necessarily just taking better IMG_2301photos, although that is part of it, but more to see with different eyes.  Catch that unusual idea, that special lighting, or a unique perspective.  It challenges me, but in a good way.  I am not out to compete with other photographers, or those who enjoy taking pictures.  My goal is doing something I love, and conveying a message to a person who is looking at my photo.  I love creating something that conveys a message to the person looking at it.  I have felt that God usually has a message for me in each photo I take, which always keeps my life perspective on the right focus.  I love that!  That is how the Holy Spirit works in us.  Helping us learn, convicting us, and helping us see that God is there in every step.  

IMG_2286So with that being said, I invite you to watch for my group “My Story 365” on Facebook, and I will share maybe once a week if I can here on the blog, to highlight some of the photos I take.  If you would like to learn more about how to take better pictures yourself, I’m happy to help in that area as best I can.  I don’t pretend to the a great photographer, but I can sure tell you how to improve your basics!  I love seeing others take up their cameras to capture those wonderful life moments!

This blog is evolving and I’m excited to see where it might go.  Join me in the group if you like, watch for the posts here, and also share a photo you may have taken and be a part of My Story.

Until next time…

~JoAnn

 

The Dream of Big River Cabins

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“Live like no one else, so you can live like no one else.”  Have you heard that from attending a Dave Ramsey Financial Gathering?  We have, and we have tried to live that motto out in our lives for years.  Debt free-living.  There is a time when we have to say no to ourselves, so that, we can later say yes.  So… I’m excited to share a thought with you about an exciting new project in our lives!  With a lot of prayer and years of conversation about it, we believe this is our time to say yes.  Yes to us.  Yes to our kids.  Yes to dreams,  Yes to possibilities.

What did we say yes to, you ask?  We said yes to purchasing a recreational piece of property where hubby and I can go to get-away.  A place where our family can also get away from life’s stresses and enjoy a campfire, quiet time, and nature.  A place where dreams can be made, planned for, prayed over, and manifested, in the beautiful nature God made for us to enjoy.  Is it all fancy?  Nope.  But it is a diamond in the rough.  And I’m not afraid to rough it a little to have the enjoyment of simplicity of life.

IMG_1988It’s so easy NOT to take a risk.  It can be scary stepping out.  I think too often we get so tied up in the culture of our lifestyle, that we forget to come away for a while.  Sit around a campfire.  Roast marshmallows.  Make s’mores.  Read a good book in front of a wood burning fire, (We have one outside and inside there!  Happy me!), play a guitar, Uke, harmonica or whatever you may play, or just enjoy music from our play list without doing anything else while we listen.  Enjoy the sky, eagles we see, the mountain ranges,  take walks on the trails just to see where they go, and enjoy the deep green of luscious trees that are so much a part of our area.

Instead, its easy for us to get our coffee in the morning and then get on the treadmill of life.  We might even forget to make prayer talk with Jesus a morning priority, and we just hit the road running.  Is that what you really want?  Is it the way you really want to live every day?  I hope not.  I hope that you want more.  More of the above.  Plus, more family time.  More parents time,  more grandparents time.  More down time.  And the BIG deal????  Not feeling guilty for wanting or taking part in it.

IMG_1926It’s been a learning curve for me to come to this point. That is for sure!  You see, sometimes we might see something exceptional that someone else has done, and how easily we forget that they have made a tremendous sacrifice of some kind to get where they are or have what they have.  Sometimes we let a little envy come forth.  However, even though it has taken a lot of time and living differently in order for this purchase to come to fruition, we couldn’t be happier to have made this decision.

How can we get better at this idea of finding out own time and space to do this?  For me, I am the type of person that can easily jump in to help someone with a project.  I am a “helps” type person.  But even as I sit at my desk to write this, I have just said no to a couple more things.  It wasn’t because they were not good things.  They were GREAT things.  However, we have to be aware of what is most important.  It’s not always about us, or, saying yes to please someone.  There may be more in my life I have to say no to, but I will wait for that direction to come.  Maybe we need to learn to be willing to step aside to allow someone else to step into our place, and allow them to maybe do an even better job than what we did.  If we lead well, then we train or teach someone else how to track our path.  And maybe, just maybe, the results might be that it leads to you walking around with less burden on your shoulders.  We are our own worse enemy for carrying way more than we need to.  You are the only that can make those changes for yourself.

IMG_1915I realize you might be saying, “Well, that is good for you.  You don’t have the obligations I do.  My kids are small, we don’t have a lot of money, or we aren’t in a position to do that.”  I would say to that, change some things so you can eventually BE in that position to take advantage of the opportunity! Start now. You are the only one that can change it.  It may not look like our project, but make it your goal to plan for your own place to go!  It has taken us a long time to be in this position, and we have had to make many, many sacrifices to do so.  But it’s possible!!  So if you don’t see me writing a lot, this little piece of heaven might be why.  I will have fun dialing down, being off the grid, and having the ability to do some of the things that I haven’t had time for.  I am also kind of excited to have a quiet place to study uninterrupted.  And… even more fun, I have another place to decorate… a very creative project for me!  All those extra items I wasn’t sure how to use here in our little Bungalow, will now have a new place to live and be comfortable.

IMG_0443I believe we will make great memories at Big River Cabins, and it is my hope that we leave a legacy of, living a good life, behind for the kids.  It is our desire to live as a positive example to those around us.  At least that is our goal.  Let’s remember that people around us watch our example.  What do they see and learn from you about Jesus and His provision for your life? What do they learn about daily living by watching you?  Yes.  That question has kicked me in the backside when I think about it too.  Isn’t God great??  He cares about every little thing that concerns us.

Let’s leave a legacy behind that our kids, grandkids, and our circle of friends want to emulate.  It is my legacy.  What do you want your legacy to look like?

Until next time…

~JoAnn

Yummy Recipe You Asked For

IMG_1765I promised local readers that I would post this recipe for them, originally from the website: Table to Soul.  You will love them!

 

 

I always enjoy the simple pleasures of chocolate chip cookies.  I used walnuts instead of pecans, and used mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, when I made them.  A cookie scoop works well or in my case, I rolled them into a ball and then used a glass to press them down some.

And while you are here, check out some of the other posts!  If you enjoy what you read here, then click the button and add you email and you will receive an email each time I post.  Blessings!

Until next time…

~JoAnn

 

First Things First

f4ec8f96-ebc6-472b-a8fc-ffa210ae7947That title sounds like a great way to start the New Year, doesn’t it?  I am living out some of that by setting the goals I have written down for this year.  It helps me sort through priorities for my life and that of my family.  But how willing are we to do what it takes to put first things first?  Are you willing to give something in order for something better to be given to us?

It is never easy.  But we may need to ask ourselves how teachable we are.  When I was in a local bookstore the other day, I saw this view and knew I needed to make a picture.  So I took the photo because I thought there was a great lesson I could learn from it.  Do you see it?  Let me clarify what I see.

We all know we can learn a lot from books, and if you know me by now, you know I love to read!  But the real story I believe is found in the signs above the bookshelves.  Do you see the first sign?  It says Theology.  Let’s think about that for a moment,  Theology by definition according to Merriam-Webster means:

  • 1.   a system or theory or study of religious faith, practice, and experience.
  • 2.  The study of God and of God’s relation to the world.

I am not talking about the theology of denominations.  I’m talking about a study of what we believe and why we believe it.  It’s like building on a good foundation.

The next sign you see is Christian Living.  An abundant life , full of purpose, potential, showing love, and being a joy-giver, along with challenges that will surely come our way… all part of Christian living.  On the other hand, living this way, we can also receive “pleasures for evermore” scripture tells us.  We are fortunate that He has given us a Bible to show us the way through this life we live.

Are you getting a clearer picture?  We have to have our belief system in place through our level of faith, practice our faith and relate it through our experience.  We have to study the Word in order to KNOW our God, so that, we can have a relationship with Him.  If we know and study the Word, we then we will build on our theology of belief and that in turn gives us the foundation for living the Christian life.  We can’t skip what we believe and why we belief it and go straight to Christian Living.  Why?  Because we have no solid foundation from which to believe and live.

We have too many trying to live the Christian life but with a shaky foundation.  In that a case, We have 8c3ca0c2-b442-4ebd-a668-5cfbc89efeb0 a hard time sharing what we believe with someone for a couple of different reasons.

  •  One being that we don’t don’t know enough of what we believe.
  • The other is, we don’t want to stand out as being radical or fanatical.

However, if we have a good foundation, then it becomes easy to share what we believe and to live by it.  I don’t think we can have one without the other.  Having a foundation is very important to build on. I am very thankful for the foundation that I was given growing up and in my adult life..  It gave me confidence in what I believe.  If we have a strong experience with God and a deep understanding of how He wants us to live, then we can live the Christian life with confidence.  We will then be excited to share what He has done in our life.  Let the Light shine down your path to understanding.

Isn’t fun how God will use the simple things to remind us of a powerful lesson?  Sit for a while and ponder these thoughts.  Ask yourself,  “What is my theology of belief?

Until next time…

~JoAnn