Guardian of Our Wo

I am back after back issues and then sinus infection!  Boy!  What a journey this last six to eight weeks has been!  Silver lining?  I have had much more time to read!  That’s always a great thing.  So what do I have to share with you today?  I want to share with you something that can be a hinderance in the life of a Jesus follower.

I have to say that I am finding more and more in this day and age, that many people just have no filter at. all.  You can’t make a comment on Facebook before someone else has to get nasty about it.  What is it about this media option that gives people anonymity as a faceless person behind a screen, to feel you can just let loose on someone just because they don’t agree with your view.  Or let me go a little deeper, you just don’t LIKE their view.  We just start attacking.  It only takes one person and away they all go!  It stinketh! Where in the world has our sense of right and wrong gone?  I don’t agree with MANY of the things said, shared, or done, but I don’t rip someone apart because of it.  Why is it that we feel we have a “right” to express our opinion in such a way?  Does it change the other people’s mind?  No.  They don’t even listen.  They are too busy planning what they will say to the next comment that comes up.  We gain nothing.  All we do is show who we REALLY are.  That is very sad to me and I think since God talks about the tongue, we should do a better job of controlling it.  You see, just because it is out there, doesn’t mean we have to respond to it, or even share it, or believe it to be true. We even get into Twitter where we can let ‘er rip in 140 characters or less.  Are the words that come from our mouth or finger tips edifying?  What do your words or language show others about you?  The Bible tells us that we shouldn’t let any unwholesome words come out of our mouth or our fingertips but only that which will build another up.

We seem to forget that we have choices every day.  We can choose how we respond, and most of the time, it isn’t worth responding to in the first place.  We just have to get our opinion out there.  Have you ever asked yourself why you even feel the need to say something?  I always ask myself if my comment or response will do the following:

  • make a difference?
  • change a mind and thinking?
  • be of value to someone?
  • encourage a person?
  • edify the person?
  • is it helpful?
  • is it kind?

If it doesn’t meet the above criteria, that is what the “scroll” is for.  Move on.  Don’t jump in to the pool of ugliness.  If I really feel I need to respond to something that stands up for my faith, I will do so, but it a way that states what I believe to be a kind way of standing up for God and represent what He stands for.  But then, I don’t go back and read every comment and get all wrapped up in the argument.  Many just like to start one so they have the excuse to let ‘er rip.  No thanks.  That is neither wise on our part, or a good example of God’s love for one another.  There may a time to confront, but with love, not anger and hate.

This type of involvement not only stirs us up, but it usually stirs us up to the wrong things and feelings.  We find ourselves upset, angry, and develop feelings that don’t easily go away.  We in turn, can take it out on someone else.  Be angry at the person for not “getting it” to a point that it begins to rub off on those around us, and changes their perspective on the subject also.  It would be wise of us to decide what we let into our lives and what we don’t.  If we don’t act in a manner that reflects God, then we become no better than those who are choosing to attack with their words.  I learned a long time ago to be careful what I read, listen to, and what or who I associate with.  Everything we surround ourselves with leads our hearts, and our hearts lead our actions.  “As a man thinks, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7.  Satan would like nothing better than to take away our credibility as a follower of Jesus.  He loves to trip us up. However, it also trips up our faith…we can lose our firm grip to the Father’s hand, not because He let go, but because we start to let go.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t ever want to be in a position where I lose the hold of God’s hand on mine.  Making wise choices about what we involve ourselves in, can make a difference in the choices you make and the way you think every moment of every day.  What is it about us that we can’t resist weighing in a question on social media?  Do they really care about our opinion?  No.  It is just a ploy to rile everybody up; keeping you mad and upset, and focused on the wrong thing.  Since when do we have a right to sit behind the screen and determine who we stone?  He who is without sin cast the first stone, Jesus said.  Don’t. take. part.

So what do we do?

  • If we truly want to be salt and light to the world, we want to act in such a way that they see Jesus, not us.
  • Before we comment, ask yourselves the above thoughts.
  • Spend less time on social media and more time with people face to face.
  • BE a good listener and then respond.  Don’t be so eager to say what you think before hearing the person out, and determining our part in the scenario.
  • If you are turning down the opportunity to learn and have quiet time with the Lord to be on social media or TV, then that’s a place to start.  Change our priorities.
  • What would change in our lives if we stayed out of everyone else’s business, and swept our own doorstep?

As a parent or grandparent, we know how fast time goes by us.  Because we know that, do we really want to be spending time in this kind of activity and missing that time of being with the Lord and hearing His voice?  We are so busy thinking of what we will post next, that we hurry through our life to get to the next idea.  Now I will tell you that I use Facebook myself.  I use it as a way to keep up with family and close friends, BUT I also use it for encouragement and Bible Study.  So I can be seen online often.  However, I’m using it for other purposes more than for the sake of blindly scrolling through the lights of Facebook, and sharing what I think.  It is always my hope that what I share causes someone to think about how they spend their days.  We can’t expect our children or grandchildren to put down the devices when they see us with our faces in them.  Or, what about what they hear you listen to on social media or movies or TV.  That could be another story right there.  However, I too, am going to lay down my phone and involvement on social media.  I challenge you to consider that for yourself.  We might find ourselves much happier people.

So I close with this:

I will share a personal post that I don’t wish to see.  I personally don’t agree with everyone posting political posts.  What is the point?  It just offends most of the time.  You have your beliefs and others have theirs.  You don’t  need to put down one to raise up the other.  That reflects more about you than the person you support.  We Christians have said some awful things about people in our attempt to clarify or give an opinion, and I don’t guess if we were to be in the spotlight with our own lives, that ours would be clean and white as snow either.  So let’s put the stones down.

How about if we started a revolution of caring, rather than scaring.  What if we used it more for what it started out to be; a way of sharing your life with friends and family and an optional way of encouraging each other.  THAT would set us a part as followers of Jesus, I think.  What if our pages, posts, tweets and Instagram, reflected more of that?  What if we used the idea that Jesus taught, “a kind word turns away wrath” as a way to set ourselves apart from the world.  Non-believers can’t see a difference between Christians and non-believers many times.  Let’s show them the better way…let’s not trip them up with our words and actions, but instead lead them to walk it out with us because they see something different in us.  Let’s reset.

Until next time…

~JoAnn

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Taste and See

If you had your choice, which would you rather do?  Visualize for a moment that you have just gotten your favorite coffee drink.  Would you rather get that coffee to go, or would you rather sit in your favorite part of your home or a favorite spot and drink that coffee?  Does your environment play a part in how you enjoy your coffee?

To most of us, I think we would say that our environment plays a huge part in how much we enjoy something.  Take coffee, for example.  I drink a mocha.  So for me, when I drink my mocha, I want to savor the taste.  I want to hold it in my hands, feel the warmth of the cup in my hands, and I want to enjoy each sip I take.  If I can have quiet while I’m drinking it, so much the better.  Or, take it to a special spot that I love and enjoy, and to sit with the mocha there is a treat too.

So what is the point?  Well…our environment is the point.  Where we are, and what we surround ourselves with, is key.  We can’t have those moments if our life is going a hundred miles an hour.  We can’t experience the peace of the moment if we live in chaos.  We certainly won’t be savoring the moment because we will be on to the next thing.  It is the same with our relationship with Jesus.  If we don’t give Him more than a passing nod in our day, we certainly can’t expect to hear His whisper or prompting, let alone act on it.  We can’t even take action on the scripture that says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good!”  We are too busy gulping our coffee down as we get on to the next thing we THINK we have to be doing.

I think God leaves it up to us how we will invite Him into our day.  He isn’t going to force Himself into your life.  He is gracious like that and will wait to be invited.  I know personally, the benefit of taking those moments to ask Him in for a cup of coffee or tea with me has changed my life.  Invite Him for a sit down at the table of your life to talk.  And don’t do all the talking; listen to His side of the conversation.  It’s hard to hear Him when we keep ourselves so busy that He can’t get in a Word edgewise.  His Word is alive.  So read it during your coffee times.  Light a candle, turn on a lamp, go to the water, enjoy your coffee and let His message to you sink all the way to your toes…just like that feeling you get when you taste a really good cup of coffee or tea.  You close your eyes and say, “Ahhh…so good!”  Let us say that about Him!

Lifting my cuppa to you today!  This is what God spoke to me this morning, so I’m sharing it with you.  He wants to be a daily part of your life.  Invite Him in for coffee.  He doesn’t even care if you have bed-head.  He is just happy to be invited.

Until next time…

~JoAnn

Love In Action With A Servant’s Heart

 

Is it well with your soul today?  It is well with mine.  I wanted to share a little more about my experience following the adventures that God has me on.  Namely…helping my friend after her surgery.  You see, I believe that God places people in our lives to help us walk it out.  Without them, our life would be much more difficult, and sometimes, we just might feel like giving up.  But when we can find someone who we can share life with, cry with, laugh until our sides ache, just sit with, help in times of need and hurt, THAT is when we need to leave our cares behind, and be love to someone else.  It causes us to get our eyes off of ourselves and onto the task of loving on someone who needs it.  That was my experience.

The Captain all packed and ready for the journey north.

I have known this friend since we were in second grade, and I’m not telling you how long ago that was, but let’s just say, it’s been a while.   We have done many firsts together…firsts for her

Squirrels in her yard were so fun to watch.

and first for me.  We both enjoy going to the ocean and walking on the beach in silence, or even at different paces, and when we go to the ocean, the first thing we do is throw wide open the doors to hear the ocean waves.  Then we sit and say, “Ahhhh…” at almost the same time.  We can talk about anything and have gone through many things together.  So I didn’t think twice when God put on my heart, AND that of my husband, for me to go up and help her after surgery.  We rearranged our plans for our get-away, and away I went; The Captain and I.  I have totally been blessed with many of these kinds of friends and have received the same kind of help from them at times.  That is what relationship is all about.  If I have something I can do for someone, and it is in my power to do so, I will do it.  I always have…I always will.

So what did I learn in this adventure?

  • God provided the resources for us to do this.
  • When He puts something on your heart, He will take care of the details.
  • He gave me the strength to get up every 2 hours.
  • He gave me energy to help out with all that was needed and cooking a meal, and never feel tired during the time I was there.
  • It isn’t about me in this life.
  • It is about what I can do and give to make life easier to see Jesus every day.
  • I don’t do it on my own.  I learned that doesn’t work way back in Junior High School.  I still had bumps in my journey, and I still do.  But God is the one who helps me through it, keeps me strong and focused on the right thing…Him.
  • We love to show the heart of Jesus.
  • Her family got to see love in action.
  • It’s not about the person I am, but the person I have become BECAUSE of Him that I want them to see.  We live like Jesus as best we can, with His help.

We had her surgery, her husband took a fall the next day and hurt himself, and another emergency all within 36 hours of my coming.  When your friend covers her head with a blanket after all that happened and sobbed, you KNOW why you are there.  You sit down, you cry because your heart hurts with and for her, and you assure her that we will make it through this one together too.

A cup with a Starbucks card given to me by my friend’s daughter-in-law.

I ended up rooming with her, because of her husbands fall and he needed to be on the lower level.  How fun…it was like junior high and high school and many times after that…laughing into the night.  Doing her exercises and laughing so hard we could hardly do the exercises.  But I found I had to watch her too.  She is Miss Independent and would try to do it on her own.  God helped me to wake up at her moves and anticipate what she was doing.  I told her it was like in an old folks’ home; I was putting her walker on my side of the room so I would know what she was sneaking to do.  Or in exercises, we would be giggling over the leg lifts that aren’t coming even an inch off the bed and you couldn’t help laughing as I would ask her if she was lifting her leg!  I remember that feeling.   Then in the quiet of night, you think about some of those things and burst out laughing because you picture it all over again!  Yep!  And of course, trying to be sort of quiet when its 2 am in the morning or 4 am in the morning as you get up to use the rest room.  We would say “shhhh to each other back and forth” and I’m sure made more noise than was necessary telling each other to be quiet!  We also had breakfast together, lunch together, and dinner together.  Conversation and dreaming together.  That is awesome times right there!

Gift basket waiting for me in my room when I got there. How sweet is she??

I was reminded we aren’t promised a tomorrow and we need to take care of ourselves and be our own best advocate for living.  It brought back some hard memories for me because its only 3 years or so ago that I went through it with both knees at the same time.  I recognize the pain.  I know the struggle.  I have been there.  But you see, that is why God can use me.  I can sit alongside them and say, I know what that feels like.  Don’t sit on the sidelines, when you can be a help or encouragement to others.  THAT is ministry.  That is living a joyful and purposeful life.  After it is all said and done, she and I changed the world sitting in our chairs, over a mocha.  That’s good stuff!!  When we do what God suggests we do, and we are obedient to it, God will get us through it by walking with us.  I have had many friends in my life that have been that kind of people to me and it makes me feel great to pay it forward.

Who might you be the hands and feet of Jesus to today?  Are you willing to give up your schedule or time to follow through?  One less post on Facebook to send a text or make a phone call, or even a day without technology to help someone, have some quiet time, or whatever it is in your life that you need to do.  I got in the car to leave, left her crying and I was crying, but I thanked God for the time I got to spend helping her.  She deserved the help.  She helps others all the time.  God knew.  He gave something back to her and just used me to do it.  Love how God works!

So now this next week, I get to be the hands and feet of Jesus to another gal, and also to my husband after his surgery.  God keeps us humble and uses us when we notice where He is working.  I ask God for opportunities to be there for someone.  He always answers.  Always… I hope you find encouragement for your journey through these thoughts on my adventure.  I pray these thoughts push you out of your comfort zone and you begin asking God to show you ways you can love on others also.

 

Until next time…

~JoAnn

 

 

The Blessing of Giving Up Something

Have you ever had to give up something that you really wanted, or something you wanted to do, in order to do something you felt you were being asked to do?  It’s not always easy to give up our idea for what God may be asking us to do.  It’s called sacrifice.  God always rewards our obedience though!  I love that about Him!  So here is my story…I hope it helps you make the decision that is right for you in the future.

My hubby and I always take a day or two get-away for Valentine’s Day.  It was our plan to marry on Valentine’s Day when we got married but that plan didn’t work out.  So because of that, we have always gone away to do something together to celebrate our “almost” wedding day.  We consider it our anniversary day, even though we also celebrate our actual date of marriage.  So we had planned a three day time away in one of my favorite places with lots of other fun activities included.  But then, I found out that my very good friend was having surgery for a knee replacement two days before Valentine’s Day, and I was scheduled to go up and help her.  So… hubby and I talked about what we could do, and decided we would make plans to do something together the weekend before.  Terry wanted to make the plans for those two days, so that was kind of fun for me since it’s usually me who does that.  Friday afternoon, he went and did his food shopping for the weekend, and came back with a beautiful rose and card.  That was a part of his table setting the next morning.

Here was his plan:  he made me breakfast with mocha included, he would make dinner for me on Saturday evening, but he had planned snacks for during the day.  I was to do  whatever I wanted that day…read, take pictures, whatever I wanted.  I didn’t get to know what was going to happen the following day until it came.  We had a lovely candlelit dinner at home with time together and a special movie we watched.  He had snacks planned for later in the evening too!  Lovely day!  He told me we had to get up early the following morning because he had a plan for that also.

My hubby’s table set for me.  Still have to work out the deal with bottles but hey…it looks awesome!

Ocean view at Pacific Beach, WA

 

Little town of Pacific Beach, WA

The interesting layers of nature after the storm.

Seemed almost appropriate somehow for the reason we were out that day.

Always good to attain the climb from worldly things to go for higher ground.

 

 

I hate having my picture taken.
Silly guy!

So we got up and he fixed me breakfast.  While we ate he said he wanted to take me for a ride, and I was to bring my camera and we would go out to Pacific Beach and take photos!  Don’t have to ask me twice to do that!!!   He would buy me an early dinner after my beach fix, and we would just check some places out as we went.  Well…be still my heart!  That is MY kind of day.   So we went to the beach and I took photos; some fun photo opportunities.  We walked around, and got silly photos too!   Then I just happened to find a wacky kind of second-hand store that I found my Norwegian Farmers Rose cups for $.50 each!!!  I was SO excited.  That was just a drive by and I said, “Look!  That is open!  Let’s go see!”  It pays, I tell ya!  After all that, we went to get our dinner, and then on the way back home, I bought us a Starbucks.   We both came home feeling wonderful after another day of fun together!

What a treat!  It doesn’t take much to find sweet times together, or with a friend if that is the case in your life.  It also taught me that to give up is to get back.  We decided together that we wanted to do this so that I could help a friend.  We were blessed by that decision, and God gave us a wonderful couple of days to enjoy the little things in life.  Don’t hold back because you think you will lose when God calls you forward to do something different from your plan!  Step through the door and let Him bless you with other ways, and the means to find joy in the change.  We will still go do our first idea, but just for the day and one night.  We get to have another fun day activity, along with our weekend plans we enjoyed so much.

I think the moral of this story is that when we are willing to follow what the Lord calls us to do, and we are willing to do it in obedience to Him, He will take care of giving us back more than what we give.  It’s really a heart issue.  It had nothing to do with giving something up.  It wasn’t hard.  I was glad to do it.  But it taught me once again that when I am willing to step out and obey, God will take care of everything else; my hubby’s willingness to change the schedule, be a bachelor for a week, the plans to still do some of what we planned when I got back, it all worked out.

Have a willing heart to let go of your plans, and hang on to God’s plans.  That is best for all of us anyway!!!  I will share more of my insights with my friend in my next post.

Until next time…

~JoAnn

P.S.  My sweet cups that I was so excited to find!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Have You Missed?

Family…a circle of individuals, that even if you grew up together and experienced the same family unit, are all different.  Their perceptions of experiences are unique to them, and unique in how they see it.  I know for me, when I talk to my kids about their time growing up, I sometimes ask myself, “What house did they grow up in?!?!?!??”

View from her mother’s sleeping room.

So in the last week or so as I have read letters that my mother wrote to relatives in Norway, I found myself learning about things I didn’t know.  Things she protected her children from…such as the grief she felt after losing her brother.  We kids knew that it was hard for her, and we all felt anger towards the irresponsibility of the driver that was driving a large work truck while drunk, and crossed into the oncoming traffic.  Even though he was in a line of five cars and the third one back, he was killed instantly.  I went on to read in her letters about how she lost her dad only about eleven or so months after losing her brother and the difficulty she was having to even get a letter out to the person she was writing to.  I feel bad that I was less attentive to what she was going through.  I remember those life moments, but as kids, we don’t always get all the ramifications.  We are in school and/or working a job, keep ourselves busy because that is our life at the time.  It can also be that we don’t know how to deal with it or want to replay the emotions of losing someone special ourselves, so we in turn, aren’t prepared to give the comfort where we could to someone who needs it.  As I’m my case, where although I was old enough to understand my uncle wasn’t coming back, I wasn’t mature enough to understand how deeply that would affect my mother.  When I read about her struggle almost a year later from losing her brother and then her father, my heart hurts for what she felt.  And…I wish I had realized.  Sometimes, we think our parents are so invincible that nothing can take them down.  However, that isn’t true.  They are hurting and yet have to press on in life.  When she is home alone, and writing a letter, safety permits a peek into the honesty of her heart as she writes the letter.  The door of the heart is opened a bit.

 

Why am I sharing this with you?  Well…a couple of reasons.  One of them is that we need to be open to share our lives and feelings with our kids and grandkids.  Tell your story at the age level they can understand.  Let them know when you hurt so they can better understand their own hurt and know they can trust you with their hurts.  We don’t want to be the one who says, “Man!  I wish I would have asked more questions of my mom and dad to know and understand their life and how it was for them!”  Ask the questions.  Get the story.  Otherwise all you have are fragments of their lives and more questions than answers sometimes.  I know in my case, I asked some questions.  With my grandparents, most of the answers never came.  It may have been difficult for them to talk about too given what they experienced in their lives before coming here and then the hardship of making a life for themselves once they arrived.  Then again, it seems to be kind of a Norwegian trait to keep those things to themselves.

Her mother’s house that she grew up in.
The valley where her mother’s house first sat.

The second reason is this.  Regrets can paralyze you.  We all have a few that we think we can handle.  But it’s better to live without them.  Mom never drove.  That was her choice.  However, it isolated her from doing things she could have done to enjoy her life even more.  I was her chauffeur, but she had to wait 15 1/2 years for that to happen.  I think she would have enjoyed her life a bit more freely if she had been willing to learn to drive.  Many offered.  It can be a bit lonely.  So I would say to you, show interest in the stories you hear now.  Record them telling the stories while they are here to share them.  One day you won’t be able to say, “Hey Mom/Dad…or Hey Grandma/Grandpa…” or whoever it may be.  I read these letters where my mom talks about wanting so much to go to Norway and see relatives.  She wanted to see where her parents grew up and what they did for a living there.  Wow!  Wouldn’t I love a little bit of time with my parents and grandparents to share what I saw and learned while I visited Norway.  Your story is all a part of you.  Tell your story…write your story…put together a picture story.  Whatever works for you, but share it.  One day, you may come to understand yourself better because of it.

I know.  You are busy.  But your parents, grandparents, and their siblings did a lot for you.  Slow down.  Put down the phone.  Shut off the TV.  Shut down the computer.  Tell their story.  Tell your story.  It’s the next best seller book you can read with your family.  I have a treasure box for my grandson that I made when he was little.  It has all kinds of things in there that tell about myself and my parents and grandparents.  Each time he came, something was added, and he would want to go through it.  It is a very fun way to share your life story with them.  They love stories…especially when it is about someone they know and love.  And if you love your parents and grandparents and family, even though, as in Ethan’s case where he never meant them in person, he knows about them and the kind of people they were.  That blesses me, and someday, I think he will be very glad grandma shared it with him.

This is another wake up call for me.  Live well. Live long…as the Lord allows.  Life is full of lessons.  Listen to those who have learned them, so that, you can better share your legacy.

Until next time…

~JoAnn

 

 

Finger Prints of Love

Photo Credit: pixabay

How do you think that God sees us?  I was reading a book recently and he talked about finger prints making us unique.  That got me to thinking…we know we all look different.  We also have been told, at least I hope you have, that God knows the number of hairs on our heads.  He doesn’t have as big a problem with mine now because I don’t have as many as I used to, but He knows the number. 🙂  What does that tell you about how special we are to Him?  Let’s think about that for a minute.  What happens when we get into trouble with the law, or we have to get a permit, or work for certain institutions?   We have to get finger printed.  Why?  Because each set of prints is individual to each person.  It is uniquely you.

So as I thought more about this, an experience I had many years ago, came to mind.  In 1973, I burned my right hand and arm and the part of my hand on my left hand in a fire.  I was making a specialty item for Christmas and the lard (we used that in those days) caught fire on the stove.  I ended up with 2nd and 3rd degree burns on my hands and arm.  I was eventually hospitalized because of infection setting in even though it was covered.  I don’t want to make you feel ill, but in order to make my point, I need to share this with you.  I lost the skin on my hands and also my arm in places.  I could look down between my old skin and the new that was growing and see the intricate work of God.  My body had to grow new skin and it was extremely sensitive to touch.  I couldn’t touch two fingers together without pain.  That is because my nerves were raw and open.  When my new skin came back, it was, and still remains, thinner than it was.  Even to this day it doesn’t take much to have an issue with a burn that I may get while cooking.  If I get a burn, it takes a long time to heal.   So here is the interesting part….I still have my finger prints.  My finger tips aren’t scarred from it.  My skin on the hands are more wrinkled than most people have, but my fingerprints are still uniquely mine.

I find it rather fascinating to see that even though I lost my prints, this creation we call our body, grew new skin and gave me my finger prints back.  God did that in His creation of us.  My hands and arms became a new creation…and my prints today are used when I have had to apply for jobs and permits.  How unique God has made us!  The thing is, if He can make us unique enough that an accident can not take away my unique prints, even when they had to become new, and they can still identify me as me, THAT is pretty amazing!  He cares for me that much.  He cares for you that much.  He has made you unique and has unique plans just for you.  Not to be compared with others, but made and created just for you.

I love that about God.  We each have a plan.  We each have unique gifts to offer in service to Him.  If you are feeling unworthy or overwhelmed by life in general and trying to find out what God wants of you, don’t look at that mountain and say how big the mountain is, but tell the mountain how big your God is!  Let’s leave our finger prints all over the people around us, so that, they know of the love of a God who cares enough to love them individually for who they are, and to help them along the path to who He wants them to become!  He tells us to love our neighbors.  Let’s leave fingerprints of love on those around us, so they can feel, and thus know, that they are loved by a BIG God!

Until next time…

~JoAnn

A New Look

How has your new year started?  Are you feeling energized by the fact that you are starting to write on new pages in your life this year?  Are you feeling a bit like you are in a funk?  Maybe you don’t see this year as any different from the last year?

I have found myself energized by the new year.  I have received a lot in this last year:

  • Insight and wisdom
  • Made it through some very hard times
  • God has strengthened my resolve
  • I have left some old things behind
  • Embraced new things
  • Did some heart excavating
  • The importance of family and friends
  • Seeing life differently both with my eyes and my camera
  • Learning what to say yes to
  • No fear of saying no more often
  • Renewed my love of making music
  • Learning more and more to lean in and listen to the Whisper

I know there is much more to learn this year too, and I am happy to say that I have entered this new year without regrets.  What was hard, made me stronger.  I  reviewed what was going on and examined my reaction to it.  I believe in changing what I can to make it better.  Most of the time, if I am honest, my reaction to something is really just not allowing God to handle it.  I feel excited about what is to come this year!  I have purchased a ukulele and mandolin to learn, got new strings on my guitar, budgeted a little for photography investments, started reading again everyday in those books I purchased.  I approach it just like it is a class I attend.  I give myself time for lessons to learn more, I give myself quiet time to reflect.  I take in the moments in my day rather than moving so fast that I don’t “notice”, or hear God”s whisper.

As I am reading in a current study, I find myself in total agreement with the author who says we can get deafened to hearing from God because we have so many loud noises trying to get our attention.  He also says that we become deaf to God speaking to us.  He needs to be our loudest voice.  I think so too.  When I am living more like I shared above, I am more relaxed and just enjoy the moment for what it is.  A mocha, a phone call from a friend, a prayer request that I immediately pray for, time with a child, listening to a great song, playing a tune I just made up, or spending time with hubby doing some of our favorite things.  For example, I don’t just drink a mocha.  I savor the warmth of the cup, the flavor of the drink, who I am with, where I am at….all those things.  I’m thankful.  Some do not have a warm drink, let alone a warm home.  So I say thank you that I can enjoy this moment because He has been provided for that.  When I sing and play, I am thankful for the gift of a singing voice and that I can even still sing; not like I used to, but at least I can still sing.  I sing my thanks, I listen to the lyrics as I sing…it is all about taking the time to hear what song God even brings up in my spirit TO sing.  That can be a message all by itself!  That is listening! The new year for me brings up all the things that are right in my world, not all the things that are wrong.  I look for good when I make my goals, and let God show me what He will willing to do with this year.

The gift that my hubby and I gave each other this year for Christmas was a spa type hot tub.  It is portable and not real big, but it fits us and has a semi hard casing around it.  We are excited about spending time enjoying a good soak when these bones and muscles are kind of stiff.  It will be outside amongst the trees and cold air, while we are relaxed and refreshed by the heat of the tub.  I can’t wait to try it out with a mocha in hand!  I hope it will be ready soon!

I just got a new journal that I love.  It is very old-fashioned and that draws me to it.  It’s blank pages are screaming for a story, and…I just might have to write one.  It may be for my own eyes only, and something I pass on, but it may be a treasure some day for someone else.  There are mysteries in our lives, and I think we need to be more open to sharing them while we are here to share them.  I encourage my boys to ask me what they want to know if I haven’t shared it with them already.  So if you aren’t a journal type person, remember, it doesn’t have to be a page; it may only be a paragraph.  It may even be a sentence or two.  Great!  Just put it down.

My new year’s wish for you is that you take this new year as an opportunity to mix things up a little bit.  Do something new.  Change what you don’t like and replace it with something you do!  Become a an artist of your own life; a writer of your own story.  There are times in my life where a certain situation comes up and I would love to see God change that, like… immediately.  But of course, that is not the case. God has His own time frame, and His own reasoning for where I am and what I am doing.  So instead of complaining about it, I’m learning to ask Him to help me understand it, AND the process.  That way my focus is more on solution than complaint.  You see, if we change how we look at things, we change everything about it.  I can’t take a picture of a flower if I’m focused on the sky.  I have to get down where the flowers grow, maybe even grovel on the ground a bit to get the best view.  THEN… I can see the beauty that is there to see.  It is all about our perspective.

Let me just say that I hope you will grab that extra cup of coffee or what ever your favorite is, and take a moment to ponder this post.  See and ask what you are supposed to put your eyes and ears to this year.  What does this mean for you?  What is my heart telling me about my adventurous journey?  Not adventurous, you say?  Well then!  You have your first goal for the new year!  Adventure!  Seek out something new!  Go for it! I am!!! 🙂

See you on the Adventure trail!

Until next time…

~JoAnn