Keep Moving Forward

IMG_0227That title has some special meaning to me of late.  Why?  Because we are moving, and we hope that we are moving forward into a better situation for our fun years!  It is sometimes hard to navigate those seasons of change.

Actually, it’s very hard.  I have always been a person who could do whatever needed to be done, and not have repercussions from that activity.  Now, I am at a season of life that is more simple, but it also means that I have to acknowledge within myself that I can’t do certain things like I used to…such as, lift heavy things, pack boxes all day long every day and bend over the boxes, or even sitting down on the floor to be more comfortable.  And then…try to gracefully get up.  Life changes.  Our bodies don’t accept abuse anymore; it tells you about it.  Sometimes in a loud voice.  So how do I handle this challenge?

Just like I do with every thing else…I keep moving forward.  I am excited about the change.  I know my hubby will be more comfortable with having only boxes to go through rather than upkeep in a yard that is too much to handle, or steps that cause him to breathe heavy.  It’s an adjustment.  We have to acknowledge limitations and how that changes our future.  It doesn’t mean we sit back and do little; it means we lean into this season of life with gusto!  We have freedom to live our lives out the way God intended for us at this season of life.  Just because it looks different to us, doesn’t mean God isn’t in it.  OR, that He doesn’t provide, because we have seen him provide for us over and over again!

IMG_0204So when I think I can’t pack another box, I stop for a while and give my back a rest.  We get away from it for a mocha or ice tea.  We ask God to give us the strength to keep going, and smooth the way for us.  I take out my notebook and plan decor for our new home.  That always lifts my spirit.  What will be the name of our new place?  How do I want it to look?  We have always moved what we had and made it work for our home.  This time, we want to invest in items that fit this home in particular.  That will be very enjoyable for me!

So… I was sitting for a minute and reflecting that it is less than 13 days before we are being loaded up!  We will be heading to our Boon Street Bungalow. With a name like Boon, I thought I would refresh my memory on the definition of Boon.

  • boon
  • bo͞on/Submit
  • noun
  • a thing that is helpful or beneficial.
  • “the navigation system will be a boon to both civilian and military users”
  • synonyms: blessing, godsend, bonus, plus, benefit, advantage, help, aid, asset

I believe I will add strategic to this definition too because I see God’s handiwork as very strategic in this change.  And…we have submitted to this plan even though it has been hard. Not long now…but the process has not been easy.  However, when does the devil EVER make things smooth for us…NEVER.  I had to come to a point where I hit my RESET BUTTON.  It was necessary.  I was stressing over something I could do nothing about.  I can’t change how people do their jobs, or the personalities of those involved.  I can only prepare us AS IF all is well and moving forward.  I trust God is in this move and so I must also trust Him to take care of all the details.  Would I like answers?  You bet.  We in fact do not even know for sure that our house appraisal has passed!  We are 13 days out from this day!  But God…  UPDATE:  we just got a verbal response only, but they said it was ok.

IMG_0230So… October for us is a change of season not just in weather, but in our lives.  This was a “suddenly” in our lives.  We had to adapt.  We have this idea that we have to know all the answers ahead of time.  God’s timing isn’t like that at all.  So will I believe Him?  Will I trust Him?  Yes I must.  I have experienced too much of His grace and provision to ever think He won’t take care of this also.  October 15th, I will look forward to your success in this venture.  I pray over our Bel Aire home for the next owner, and that this home gives them as much joy as it has given us.  I am thankful for all the wonderful handiwork that my son did in this home to make it special for his folks.  Bless him Lord for that.  It gave us an edge in this market.  See, God is in ALL the details!

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So it is exciting to think about a new place to make our home.  A feeling of… you guessed it… koselig.  Can’t wait for that!  That is one of my happy places…making my home a place others like to be, as well as, how we want it to be.  So watch for the updates as we make our way North come October 15, 2018! God has something in mind, and we are open to His leading.  As a song lyric goes, we don’t what the future holds, but we know Who holds the future!  He invited us to follow Him.  I said yes when I was 8 years old.  I have never looked back.  Walking with Jesus is a process, but one that always leads to our best.  I am placing my obedience at His feet as an offering.  The rest is up to Him.

Until next time…

~JoAnn

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In Memory of A Great Man

IMG_5295When you live long enough, you are bound to experience many things that add to your life story.  Today, half of a loving couple who played an intricate part in my story, passed away.  I have had a few people who have had tremendous influence in my life, and this man was one of them.  He was my boss, along with his wife, for about nine years and it was the best time of my life in terms of getting to do what I loved best; helping others to live their dream and be successful in their pursuit of the dream.

The thing is, they became so much more than bosses to me.  I loved helping them look good.  They worked very hard to help hundreds of others become successful and would do whatever possible to make that happen.  I in turn, did whatever I could to help them all to meet their goals.  I had the dream of teaching classes on business, time management, how to make an interesting demonstration, teach them how to work in cooperation with others, and helping them grow as individuals. I watched our success be my bosses success.  It  was a such a great time.

P1020566The other side of it is, they are like family to me.  In many ways…I felt I was.  I spent many  days sharing lunch with them, and brainstorming how we could be more effective in helping the sales team meet their goals.   God spoke to me early on in my employment with them, that I was to leave encouraging notes for them on their desks.  Be their armor bearers.  When they encouraged others all the time as they did, sometimes someone needs to encourage them.  That is what God asked me to do.  So I did.  My boss went out of his way to help me in different times of crisis in my life, and I will never forget that kindness.  He had a hard time when I would try to thank him then, and even in the years to come, but I wanted him to know how much it meant to me.  I would also pick up some sugar-free black licorice candy for him sometimes too because he loved it.  Yep.  Good times.

Thanks to him being so innovative, our sales force was #1 and others looked to us for our leadership in that industry at that time.  Fun place to associate with.  I learned a lot about business, life, and financial freedom through my time there too.  I received a great foundation for life.  He was always willing to bring in great speakers that would lead, encourage and teach us in ways that would improve our business if we desired to follow the training.  He was also the one who, after a brainstorm lunch one day, tossed the keys to their Lincoln Continental to me to drive back to work because they were running errands with the other car.  I was so nervous driving it back to work that I ended up tripping in the parking lot and skinned my knee.  But I made it safely back to work and did classes that afternoon in spite of a torn up knee.  The car?  What a drive that was!  Like riding on air!

He had an answer for everything, and it was usually positive in nature.  He was direct as a leader, and you could listen and make something better, or you could choose not to.  As he always said, “The choice is yours.  It’s up to you!”  I don’t want to imply he was this perfectly calm individual all the time.  Because there were many times a manager would have to bring up a point for him to consider because he hadn’t thought about it in that way.  Or he said something in a way that might be just a little TOO direct, and his sweet wife would have to call his name and graciously correct his manner.  She was so good at that, and he would take it from her as a sign to back up a bit.  Yes we are all only human.

So when life took a hard turn several years after their retirement, and he had many things he loved to do that he had to give up. He handled that with his usual attitude.  Take it head on and make the best of a negative situation.  It’s all in how you look at it right?  I would visit them when ever I could get into town, and we would have some lively conversations.  Still…always direct.  You never had to wonder what he was thinking about anything.  Brilliant mind too.  Always enjoyed that.  He was also a great photographer.  His BBQ salmon was to die for!!

If you are fortunate enough to have this kind of person in your life, let them know of their influence on you.  Nothing can bless them more than knowing what they have done has been a blessing in your life.  Don’t wait.  His wife is one amazing lady and I treasure our friendship more than anything.  We often had many miles between us, and yet we managed to stay in touch.  Love that about good friends.

10472690_10204325035506406_3275917140237936182_n.jpgSo today as I read the news of his passing, the tears flowed for all the above.  And…for my very good friend who now must live on without her husband by her side.  I knew it was coming, since my last visit made that clear, but we are never ready really.  Life is hard and God tells us we will all have trouble in this life.  But we can’t keep them here when their quality of life makes it so difficult.  Then, even though it seems trite, we need to remember that they are now whole and not suffering in this life any longer.  However, that is always harder than we think it will be.  That is why I think God gives us memories.  I believe, that He gives us the memories so that in hard times, we can be comforted by them.  When we are sad, let it out, when we need to cry, cry.  When we are angry, let that out too. It helps us heal.  When a memory gives us joy, let the joy heal us as well.

So, to a great boss… a little like a second dad… and one true friend… thank you for everything you deposited into my life.  I know you are breathing fresh air in heaven and celebrating with a brand new body.

I will never forget all those “little” things you did that were “BIG” for me.

Love you J.

Until we meet again…

~JoAnn

Building My Story on The Rock

IMG_0310Have you ever had someone say to you, “I was one decision away from a different life path in life.”?  I can relate to that.  I have had many points in my life been at a crossroads and my decision totally changed the trajectory of my life. I have not always chosen what was right for me, but often chosen out of compassion or not wanting to hurt feelings, rather than listening to the Holy Spirit that is sending me a different message and a different path to take.  Those decisions are so hard, aren’t they?  Sometimes there is so much to give up…but what if we listened to the hard message in the first place and didn’t take OUR decision, but listened to the leading of the Holy Spirit?  And…what if the Holy Spirit even sent friends along the way to ask you the hard questions about a decision you were making?  Ahhh…now THOSE are hard questions!  Here is another one for you…what if changes in your life circumstances mean that you NEED to consider yet another change in order for it to be the best yes in your life, and it will require a LOT out of you?  That’s not even to mention all those who think you are nuts to have done it in the first place, or they are thinking you can’t seem to make up your mind.

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Ever been in this situation?  Let me share mine, or yet another one of mine, with you.  A little over two years ago, it was our goal to move away from a very busy area, where noise of traffic and walking traffic kept us awake all hours of the night.  Didn’t mind the house, we even made some great improvements on the house that we really loved!!  But in order to move after retirement to where we could find affordable housing with a more quiet and peaceful surrounding, we made a move away from family and friends.  We have worked very hard on this home to improve it and make it our own.  Loved every minute of it!  I love the house, the quiet back yard and have spent many a morning and afternoon.

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So…here it comes…but before it does, I want to remind you that you need to build your house on the Rock.  That is where we can live strong.  Anyway, back to the story…it brings to mind this photo that I took several weeks ago with our grandson.  When I took this picture, I heard this message:  “Expect something ahead.”  Without going into detail, it made us reconsider what is important in the scheme of things for us.  But the reality is, we don’t know what is in our tomorrow.  Sometimes we have to make the hard choices now for the sake of the future choices.  So after much conversation, we have made the decision to put our “house on Bel Aire” on the market.  We will be moving back up north where we will have family closer and where I am blessed to have life long friends.  The hard part is that I have recently began to enjoy some sweet friends here also.  But… The Captain and I are used to the trip, so I expect I will still be coming this way to say hello.  I will have to come back to enjoy a refreshing visit to the ocean.

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So what have I learned through all of this?

  • I am not as young as I was since the last move.  My body gets weary quicker.
  • We have too much stuff, which someone in our household has trouble letting go of.
  • I have had fun sharing treasures with others.
  • Simplifying isn’t just something I think about, it is something my heart craves at this point in life.
  • Only I and God know the reasons for decisions made and I can’t care about who thinks what about it.
  • It’s sad to see JoAnn’s House on Bel Aire disappear into Real Estate Boring Decor.IMG_0095
  • Life is precious, and when the unknown rears up, I want to live out today fully alive.
  • Change is STILL hard.
  • I put my heart and soul into my home so I leave part of myself behind with every home.
  • It is important to pray for the next occupants of the home, that they found the joy I found in this home.
  • I don’t want to live with expectations, but with expectancy.
  • We get to start a new story; the next page can be the best written page in the story yet!
  • God resides IN me, so where ever I am, I am home.
  • I can’t control this, so I have to rest in Him.
  • I am STILL up for a good adventure.
  • I am never alone.  Ever.
  • I can travel more with my hubby when we have less to care for.
  • I appreciate each day we have to live with joy.
  • I have to be willing to give up what I want, for what may be better for someone else.

When we think we might have to give up something we love, God gives us a way to make it special in the next place we are by giving me a talented son who can repair and make it look new again.  That’s how God is.  He will sometimes take away, so He can make us new with a clean slate.  That was a heavy light we are taking with us.  And you can’t even see it hung there.  God is a carpenter too, and He knows how to put things together.  What a relief, huh???

So when you think God is out there, maybe in the distance, or far away, we are wrong.  Because…Jesus is in us.  He cares about what we care about.  And like an author said from a book I have been reading,  “God’s breath both creat and sustains our spirit, and that spirit was always meant to be His home.” …”We think of God as out there, somewhere, and search for Him as though He were lost.  In reality, our omnipresent Creator is “out there” and also “in here”.  Christ is within.  So being with God and remaining in Him are awakening to and exploring forever the biblical truth that we are God’s resting place.”  Alicia Britt Chole

So you see, no matter where I live, what home, or condo, or whatever kind of home we end up in, God is there because He lives IN me.  That is a comforting thought for me to be reminded of when I fret a little about where I will be.  I can rest in that knowledge.  He is IN me, and that is Home.  God always has a purpose, and if we are willing, He will  use circumstances to teach us and lead us in the direction we are to go next.

So…lead on Lord.  Your servant heareth.

Until next time…

~JoAnn

Trust the Process

 

Time…Life doesn’t usually go as planned.  At least from our perspective.  Ever noticed that?  What do you do when things don’t go as planned?  Do you fight it?  Get angry about it?  Complain to others, or take it out on those around you?  Do you talk to others about it more than you pray to God about it?  I have had quite a few of those not so timely interruptions over the last year.  Strange health issues, falls, and the repercussions of all of them.  But… when I think about this last year, my life isn’t really any different from anyone else.  We all have them…those times we wish we didn’t have to experience.

Just this week, after some hard weeks have passed, I got some good news and some not so good news.  I had some swelling in my left hand from a fall where my left side and my nose took the hit.  The swelling caused me to need my wedding ring cut off.  I have worked in jewelry and it is hard to see a beautiful ring have to go through a cutting process.  You see, if you don’t have the right people doing that work, you can cause damage to the ring and to the diamonds it holds.  What will happen?  It will loosen the settings as the ring is stretched in order to go over the finger after being cut off.  So it worried me a little to have it done.  But I found a great jeweler locally, and he did a great job!

I then went into the Doctor to go over my hand X-ray.  That good and bad news? The X-ray showed no broken bones.  The good news.  The bad news, other than not being able to wear my ring, was that it was a pulled ligament between my ring finger and my middle finger.  That type of injury is a very long healing process; six months to be exact.  That’s a long time.  It is best to elevate the hand when possible, and I can ice it if I want to, should it be painful.  Wow!  Six months!  He told me I have to be patient.  If I try to hurry the process, then I will just cause more problems and my healing will take even longer.

Two days after cutting off the ring. Still extremely cut into my finger.

Isn’t that like our lives sometimes?  We want to hurry through uncomfortable times in our lives, so we can get back to life as we want it to be.  But when we don’t have patience for the process, we can take short cuts, hurry the process, or even get angry about it, and then we do more harm to the situation than if we are patient.  If we DO trust God with the process, then our faith can grow, be stretched and strengthened.  We don’t have to stand on our strengthen at all, but we stand on His strength.  He is the rock on which we stand.  I have to take care of my hand or I will see permanent damage and pain that will go up my wrist and arm.  In the last couple of days, it has gone down significantly because I am doing what the Doctor told me to do.  The same thing will happen when we lean on God for our needs in those hard times.  We do what He wants for us to do, we will see right changes.

So when it comes to my life, will I allow God the time to work on the issues going on in my life?  Or, will I get impatient and try to do something myself?  The latter is never good.  I need to depend on God to lead.  If I had tried to cut the ring off myself, I could have caused more damage to the ring.  If I didn’t cut the ring off, I could have done some nerve damage in my hand.  If I don’t listen to what I need to do to heal, I will cause further damage to my hand.  Our lives can be like that.  If we aren’t willing to surrender those hard times to the only person who has the answers, then we just struggle along trying to fix it ourselves.  I have come to know that God is big enough for anything I have going on.  He already knows.  There may be a lesson in the midst of it that I need to learn.  Ok.  I’m willing.  I trust Him.  I will do what is necessary and be patient with my process, knowing I will come out the other side with much better understanding and a healthy life.  I will trust the process.

Will you?

Until next time…

~JoAnn

 

Your Words and Actions…Do They Line Up?

Do you ever think about your words and actions?  Do you think about what you say to yourself as well as others?  Do you think about what you do?  Does one line up with the other?  We learned all kinds of words in school.  We learned to pronounce them, spell them, and good and bad uses of our words.

I have noticed more and more lately, that our words do not line up very well with our actions.  We say one thing and do another.  We say we believe this, but our actions aren’t exactly a picture of what we say.  Or, our pictures in no way line up with our words or life style.  Oh, we know they are important.  We do.  But then maybe we want to impress someone, or we want to be “bad” or whatever we are wanting to portray, and we do something or say something that may not line up with the latest Bible verse post we just posted.  Or, maybe we are sharing something that only stirs the pot, instead of calming the storm.  If we are believers, then that is not the way God calls us to live.

I think you know your words have power, right?  Power to build up, or power to destroy; and I’m not talking about just those are around you.  I’m talking about you.  Your words or actions are your self-talk.  Self-talk has lethal effects on your thinking and brain.  Negative thoughts or attitudes is like injecting yourself with an addictive substance; an addiction to bad thinking.  We soon start believing it is true.  What do you see, or think about yourself, as you look in the mirror?  Do you tell yourself negative things?  Do you believe you are shining the light of Jesus in all you do and say with your words?  What about your actions?

I have always been a monitor of my self-talk and I have noticed a slight change in mine.  I’m not liking where it goes.  Oh sure, it is mostly my private time and no body hears it.  But…God does.  I do.  It changes how I feel about things, and the circumstance that is causing it.  Here is a good example.  When I take out The Captain, my Mini, I will get on a road where there isn’t that much traffic and let him go!!  I did that today.  Blow the carbon out, I call it.  It’s fun for me with the speed and the wind blowing in my hair.  But it’s also good for The Captain.  He sits a lot more than he should.  In essence, we need to do that with our thinking and feelings.  We can’t be governed by our thoughts and feelings because those just built up, clog up, and cause us to be sluggish and we may even have misfires.  If we allow God to help us clean out our “thinkers”, and replace those words with something powerful and positive, then we blow the carbon out of our innards and make it possible to run with the wind!  We can once again see our words lining up with our actions.  In scripture, God calls it renewing our minds.  Makes total sense to me why He tells us to do that so often.  Ask Him to renew your mind.  We NEED to allow Him to do it.  It isn’t likely we will do it on our own, given our devices.  We have to surrender it, and renew our thought life.

Why you may ask?  People watch you.  They see your posts.  They see your life style.  They see your actions in public.  It is a lot of responsibility.  I get that.  But God calls us to it.  He doesn’t tell us it’s going to be easy.  He may tap you on the shoulder many times in the next few weeks IF you agree to change things up.  We can’t bash a person to bits who thinks differently than we do in one post, and then post how much we love Jesus or a Bible verse about love, in the next one, unless we take down the bashing posts.  We can’t call someone a name, or use bad language, and then not expect those who know we are Christians not want to turn their heads sideways with a questioning glance, and be thinking… what?!?!???.  God expects us to be different.  As we ask God to renew our minds, we are asking Him for the Holy Spirit to work in us. He will, and He will do that by bringing us up short when we lean in the wrong direction.  But because we are the only Jesus that some will see, what kind of person do they perceive Him to be?

Before you say, “Humph! Who does she think she is?!”  I’m just a child of the King!  A child of a God who is pruning my tree pretty hard!  I just wanted to let you know you aren’t alone.  However, I AM allowing God to do the hard pruning.  I say ouch quite often.  But I can see His purpose in calling me out to become a better example of Him.  Like today, when someone went flying into the beach throwing dust and sand all over, I didn’t have nice things to say about how he was messing up The Captain and blowing that into the car.  But it didn’t take long and the Holy Spirit said, “Well now.  That didn’t take long.”  So I said, “Well…he was a nice idiot.”  I think I heard God clear His throat.  Ok…  I repented and asked forgiveness. That is key.  Give it to Him.  Be obedient right away.

Here are some ideas:  ask Him if this is what He wants you to say, or post, or share.  Is it edifying?  Will it reflect well on the person?  On me?  You aren’t responsible for others actions, only yourself.  We don’t have to like someone, but neither should we bash someone.  This idea that we just say what we think, is not wise.  What stirs us up, changes our thinking.  Let’s stir ourselves up for the Lord with good things, good thinking, and ask Him to help let His love shine through more than your own agenda.  Discipline…it takes a boat load of it.  However, the blessings easily overflow that boat if we empty it first of ourselves.  Just like in the photo of the gingerbread person at the top of the post, I have to be willing to let the Designer prune off what is around me that needs to come off, so that, you can see the creation that is meant to be.

I felt the sting of these words myself too so I don’t say them lightly.  It is my prayer that I see more of His glory in my living because I allowed Him into the dark places to do a little excavating in my inner self.  It is a healthy path and one that God certainly rewards.  I hope this encourages you to be more aware of God in the room than before you read this.  I know it has changed me.

Until next time…

~JoAnn

Unexpected Detours

Do you like detours?  Or do you find them irritating and time-consuming?  We often just want to get where we are going and not waste time, isn’t that true?

Let me share a detour that has caused me to really take a closer look at my life and what I am doing.  I had a small health issue the last few weeks off and on, and with it was excruciating pain in the kidney.  Thinking I had an infection, I used an over the counter product that would help with the symptoms until I got into the Dr the following day.  Apparently with my body metabolism, the amount used wasn’t something that my body could tolerate, but toxic, actually.  So my normal appointment to the doctor the next morning turned into going straight from the doctor’s office to ER.  Suffice it to say, it was quite a detour.  I couldn’t drive myself, couldn’t reach my husband at home, and so I had to be transported to the ER by ambulance for three blocks to the hospital.  The journey began.  Doctors and nurses worked hard to find out why my oxygen levels were so low and not able to be raised past 88 percent.  Not good.  Tests, blood test, blood gas tests, scans…you name it and it was done.  Find out that my body had a toxic reaction, and a VERY rare case I was.  My blood looked almost black, and I was asked from the ER Doctor what planet I was from.  I just told him it was strong Norwegian blood!  But, I wasn’t out of the woods.  My highest levels even with high flow oxygen was only 88 percent.  They thought it was caused by blood clots in the lungs and that turned out to be negative, thank you Jesus!!  What was it?  It turned out to be hypoxia methemoglobinemia. It is very rare for someone to react this way!  Oh good!  I’m special!!!  So with that diagnosis, the doctor knew of the antidote to give me and sent me upstairs to a room to receive it.  Warning:  my daily bathroom visits could yield all blue for a while.  So true.  I usually have a high anxiety when visiting the hospital because of my previous experiences, and I get quite emotional.  However, it was like someone else dealing with it and it’s seriousness.  I couldn’t understand the peace I had.  I asked God to give the all clear on the blood clots in the lungs and He did.  I am so thankful for that.  Blood draws every couple of days doesn’t seem fun at all.

Here is the deal about detours.  They are often unexpected when it comes to our lives.  Road detours are sometimes announced a head of time and we know how to plan ahead.  We have to watch for the sign that tells us the path of the detour.  Give ourselves extra time  for the detour.  But in our lives, that isn’t the case always.  Sometimes, it just happens.  We have to deal with it as it comes.  Is it ok to feel scared?  Of course.  But we can know where to take that fear.  God is always there.  Sometimes our detours come and God uses them for us to see something different; a new path or a new direction.  As we use these times to ask God what we are to learn from them, we find Him in that storm and He will whisper… He wants my attention in areas I need to be better about.

It my last few weeks, I had been struggling with some areas and asking God to show me where I needed to be, as well as where He wanted me involved.  Sometimes, I need to lay down something so another can pick it up and lead.  Sometimes He wants to use me in a completely different way.  We often see a picture of ourselves and where we are and think, that is where we are to stay.  But God may want to reframe our lives in ways that allow Him to use us even more.  Am I going to complain about the pain, the pokes and prods, and the uncertainty of what is going on in my body, or will I say thank the Lord for bringing me through it, slowing me down even more, and ask Him to guide my next steps?

  • If I wasn’t having that appointment that morning, I would have not known what was going on.
  • If I wasn’t in the doctor’s office.
  • If the ARNP that was on the ball and recognized my blue lips and blue fingers.
  • If the saturation levels didn’t indicate an issue.
  • If the ER doctor hadn’t been diligent enough to keep working at it.

I could have lost my life that day.

But God…He had that detour all planned out.  He knew the end from the beginning.  The outcome isn’t over, because I now have a whole list of things I can’t take now because of how my body may react to it.  I can’t even use BioFreeze, which I often used on my sore back.  I got an antibiotic that day for the first issue and that gave me hives.  However, it was the only one available to me.  I took three doses and that was all I could do, but he said that would work.  So… I am now on a new path with different ways I must live; at least for now.

The lesson on this detour?  I am re-examining my motives in where I am and what I am involved with.  I am taking time to ask Him the hard questions.  Then listen to His answers.  I can’t expect to have things different in my life if I am unwilling to change what I need to.  The biggest ones I think about after this experience?   Am I REALLY ready to meet Jesus?  Is my life in order?  It could have went a lot differently that day.  Am I prepared for that?  Am I willing to take a different road and let Him show me what He wants me to see?  Will I have a new appreciation for life that I am given everyday, because I am breathing today?  Take the correction if needed?  Forgive someone I may need to forgive?  Am I in the Word enough and not just sharing it, but in it enough myself?  Billy Graham was known to say the one thing he wished was that he studied the Word more.  That leaves a big gap for me if he was saying that.  Is my life so busy that I am not slowing down enough to notice where He wants to use me?  Is the idea of having stuff more important than something else in my life?  A desire for better this or that, rather than being thankful for what I have?  Hard questions = Growth.

Yes.  Detours can be educational if we allow them to be.  I am allowing it to be.  I want it to be.  Looking forward to the detour.  If you are looking for hope, don’t look around, look up.

Until next time…

~JoAnn

Honoring Memories

 

A little late in posting this, but that is a whole other post for next time.

Honoring Memories…isn’t that something we should all take part in?  Not just honoring them, but taking part in making them?  Even when its difficult?  It sure feels right.  This last weekend, my hubby and I made the trip up north to do just that…clean stones and add the beauty of flowers to their gravesite.  You know what I loved even more than honoring them in this way?  On a cloudy morning we all met up in the most unlikely place…the cemetery.  But it just seems right.

You see, my family were the care takers of that very cemetery all the time I was growing up and even after that for a while.  We did the mowing and trimming of the lawn, disposed of dead flowers, set flowers back up when they had fallen over, watered them, and brushed off the stones of all in the sweet people on the hill.  So it seemed right to now be there with my boys and grandson to do the same for a couple that had done this for years; my parents.  Flags were flying proudly on the gravesite of those who served.  As we all met up, God gave me a glimpse in a moment in time to notice…my boys coming from their homes, traveling the distance in bad traffic just to meet up with us to help clean and trim out everything in honor of their grandparents.  As I watched their interaction with each other, greeting each other with a hand shake and then doing the same when my brother came to meet up at my folks gravesite, it made me smile.  The respect shown to one another was something that just tickled me as their mom.  Oh how I wish my folks could have experienced this part of the kids’ journey and watched the kind of people they have grown to be.  I was proud of the way I was brought up, of the way that I had raised my boys, and how God kept us all safe and still together.  For a mom with more days behind her than before her, it was very special moment for me to see once again, the faithfulness of God.  My life may not turn out how I expected it to years ago, but it is great none the less!  My boys would do what ever is possible for each other…and as a family, we would do the same.  We all paid honor to our family, and then spent some time together over food before we went home.  What a joy!  Thank you to my sweet son Jesse, who bought us all a burger!  Those sweet times are what it is all about!  It was also a legacy for my grandson to see his dad and uncle and Grandma and Papa showing respect to the memory of family.  This is what “being in the present moment” is all about.  I could have just missed it, but God nudged me just in time to see it through His eyes.  That made me smile and feel so proud of them!  Maybe it was just to encourage me… I think so.  I’m so grateful.  I’m thinking my parents were glad to see us gathered too…the gift of presence.

My hubby and I then went on to honor family on my dad’s side.  One was my Grandma, my dad’s mom, who died a year or less after I was born.   I had a different kind of conversation with her this time because I had been where she came from in Norway.  I have learned some things about her life that brought me closer to knowing who she was.  There were also some of my family with just tiny tin plaques that I prayed, that if I had the money in the future, I will put a nice stone in its place.  I know my dad wanted to do that, and maybe God will allow me to do that one day instead.  The memories flood my soul as I walked around.  Good family times of sharing and helping each other.  We were raised in community a lot more as I was growing up.  Family helping family when needed.  It brings me back to the thought of what I want to be remembered for…what I hope people will remember about my life and focus.  It’s not over yet, so there is work to be done.  There are gatherings to be had, and reunions to plan, food to be shared, and love to be given.

It was a good day.  I left knowing my efforts were rewarded by God’s faithfulness to answer prayer.  He can do what we can not.  I like to think of God bringing my parents over to Him and pointing down at us that day and saying, “Look at that…all of them together, loving on each other, paying honor to your memory.  You led well.  Well done good and faith servants.”

Lifting my mocha cup to lives well lived!

 

Until next time…

~JoAnn