Are you on a difficult road in your life right now? Twists and turns you weren’t expecting? It can be tough and we don’t always understand. But I am so glad I know the One who does know the beginning from the end. I trust that. Gratitude wins.
Have you recently had a time of silence for yourself where you just sit and enjoy the sounds of life around you and take a deep breath to take it all in? Do you lean in to listen to your own thoughts. I do that regularly because I DO know how important it is to me and to my daily life. Share your thoughts in the comments or what you do for that time of silence. Maybe you don’t do this at all. What makes that difficult for you?
Just to remind you that Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, which I know you all know. But… let’s think about this day as a day to tell those around you, whomever they are, that you love and care for them. That means all of them; family and friends alike. Make a card for your kids or grandkids, or a friend. Send a text, or better yet, give them a phone call. Enjoy the day! I know I will. The Travelers2 are making a road trip to a different area around where we live. So I’m excited! I’m sending out all my love to all you readers because I sure appreciate you and your visits to the blog. (I have a page on Facebook called The Travelers2 where I share road trips my hubby and I take and share pictures and memories of the trip. Look me up!)
This is a short post just to let you know about something new coming from Journeys of My Heart. I have always enjoyed giving a name to my homes, we have had many moves, and names for things that are important in my life. It is a fun little detail about me. This includes my office spaces I have had. A few weeks ago, God gave me a nudge about a name for my bedroom and office space. In this home, it is above the garage and has ample space in which to have a bedroom with sitting area, and a separate space across from it for my creative and office space. The name He gave me was The Loft. Fitting since it is like my High Tower and quiet space. I loved the name. So I made a logo for that to use in different creative projects.
Fast forward to yesterday. I was having my quiet time, and because I enjoy sharing encouraging ideas, thoughts, questions, and general fun, God laid it on my heart to use that name and create posts “From the Loft” and share them two or so times a week. Then…also to share them here. Because many of you are email subscribers, you would not see them, so I will post them here with my other blog posts. My hope is that you will find them thought provoking, maybe change making, but most of all, a reason to evaluate how we live our lives. So watch for the posts “From the Loft” in the future. They will be different in that they will probably be a photo I take that may ask for your involvement to share your thoughts, or it may be a thought I thought was worth sharing with you that day.
I hope you find it enjoyable and something that will move you forward in some area of your life that day. God always has a plan for us, even with little nudges here and there, so that, we can be encouraged in our spirit.
Have you ever found yourself lost in an activity and not realizing how much time has passed you by? A week or so ago, I worked on a project that brought back lots of memories forward to my present. I love those journeys of the heart! Have you ever had that happen? Something you see, or hear, or a smell from something you love to eating, and boom! You are right back there. We all have a story and it is fun to share them with others as a way to bring nostalgic moments and memories into the life of another. So let me share one with you from my life’s archive.
A week or so ago, as I said, I stepped back in time as I went through my grandma’s button jar. I found out quite by accident as I was looking for a certain button, that even though the buttons were in a great jar with a good lid, that it seemed dampness had gathered at some point, either in moving or from storage for a short, or some other way, but it was evident on the buttons. I took them all out and sorted them, washed or cleaned them, and then put them on towels to dry. Then I polished them and put them back into a clean jar. As I did this, I found buttons that were used on sweaters my grandma made, Norwegian buttons that may have come from a Norwegian sweater, and so many more buttons that had always caught my eye. I remember her cutting buttons off of everything when the article could no longer be worn. There are many different designs that are no longer made. These intrigue me now just as they did as a child. I love looking at the different styles and designs.
There is one that right away connected me to a coat my grand wore. It is shown in a picture below. It was a heavy coat worn when she went out to the store and this button was the top button of the coat collar that was offset on the coat.
I have taken a picture of some of my favorites. There are so many I like that it was hard choose just a few. But I’m sure you see some that maybe you might recognize or at least bring back memories of your grandma’s buttons. I remember looking through her jar often just for the fun and pleasure of it.
The buttons our grandma’s and mothers used were just as individual as they were. There are used for function, but they were also used to enhance the look of the clothing being worn. Several years ago, I took a few of her buttons and made a book mark with them for a few friends when we were together so that they could have a fun memory of the time spend together. I still mine as you can see in the photo.
Life is a bit like that. We get so busy collecting things we think will make things better and all we do is keeping filling our life up with activities, buying things, keeping busy, and we forget the simple thing…like the simple pleasure of looking through buttons. Each of those buttons has a story just like we have; a story of individual experiences. I found myself lost in the button project and it called me to simpler times. It is like when we get away for a stay in a cabin or hotel getaway and dial down. Without the frenzy of life, we just enjoy being and living. We are drawn away from a life that pulls us in several directions, and also can be discouraging at times. But with some times of simpler pleasures, we can really our life and those simple times and activities. When we do that, we can hear that still small voice speak to our hearts.
This simple time of going through the buttons, and cleaning each one…I really enjoyed their color, their little diamond in the center, the ones that look like flowers, or wooden buttons, or tiny ones and big ones, but all had a story. It didn’t matter what was going on around me. I had a big table and spread them out like a puzzle. It hugged my heart back in to yesterday where I also remembered her sewing room, her sewing machine, which I now have, and seeing in my mind’s eye the button jar, her scissors, material on top of the machine and in the drawers of her machine, and sweaters made that had some of these buttons on them. It all came flooding back. The purpose we know was to save money by saving buttons from items to be used on other sewing projects. Very practical, and yet years later, it made me grateful for those thoughts and times, and the story the buttons tell even today.
When God talks about digging out nuggets from the Word, it like this button adventure…a hunt for treasure found in a book (also written a long time ago), instead of the jar. But oh, if we could just look at it in the same way, it would be buttons like no other! Don’t ever get too busy to enjoy those simple things. I think my grandma would be very happy to see that after all these years, that I am still enjoying her button message as I look through them. Now, they are kind of sorted as I put them back in the jar so their beauty can be seen, even with a few favorites along the side of the jar to be seen and remembered by the one gazing at them…me. I found this item pictured here on the left and it really got me wondering. I have no idea what it is unless it might have been a lapel pin. But so unusual!
Below to the right, you will see some fun buttons and the top one is one of the buttons I remember from my grandma’s coat. So unusual and the rest of the buttons on the coat were simple. Just this top button was accented. Funny the things you remember.
It is my hope that just like these buttons still tell me a story years later, that it will speak to you. It is my prayer that those who follow after me will see my story that has stood the test of time, and those who find my “treasures” will remember my story. What story will my buttons or life tell? Even though the buttons went through the depression, they are precious still today and have not lost their value, monetarily, as well as, the memories of a life well lived. I hope others can see the fun “buttons” in my life; the flowers, the colors, the look of diamonds and reflections, the sturdiness of wood, the shiny fun, and even some of the corrosion that hit some areas but where the beauty still shows itself. I pray that is seen in me.
Do you have a button jar from your mom or grandma? Go have some fun and look through them. Maybe it can be an activity with your kids or grand kids. Tell the stories. Take the time. You won’t regret it. Someday they may be sitting around the table remembering the stories of the buttons in your life.
What did you decide to do with this new year? Are you a little bit of a nay sayer that doesn’t like making goals, or don’t like to make a list of what you would like to accomplish in this new year because you don’t feel anything changes anyway? Or are you the person who sees value in thinking about the change you want to make within yourself, your daily living, your health, relationships, what needs to come BACK into your life, or activities? I know, it takes some honest moments for us to think about that, and most of the time, we don’t want to. I am one of the latter people as you may have figured out already. Not because I think it is going to change the world, although, it may change a few. But it is more about what I want to see differently in my life and in my surroundings. I make a list every year, but not all of it happens. I don’t care. Do you know why? Because… there are many things that do change. It keeps my focus on the right things. Ask yourself what you can do this year that will change even one part of your life…something that you love and enjoy the most. What would yours be? Pick just one. Let me know in the comments. Don’t think of it as some prison walls around you, but one thing that you love to do and commit to do more of it. Here are a few of mine. With all the moving and settling, I found many things had gone on without me. So some fun changes this year is in store.
⭐︎Photography is my favorite therapy. I have a couple books I am reading, online classes I am going to choose and take, and a couple lenses have come to live in my camera arsenal. It is a fun challenge as well to change things up and see differently through a different lens.
⭐︎Music is one thing that I have always enjoyed and I have many instruments, none of which I play really well. I don’t care about that either. I don’t play for anyone but myself anymore, but if it brings me joy, why would I want to not “get around to it”?
⭐︎Then there is another thing…I have a wonderful sewing machine that I love. Am I a great seamstress? Most certainly not!!! But I love to make crafty things or curtains or runners. But with all the moving all the time, I haven’t gotten that going, but I want to.
⭐︎I’m a reader. At one point I was reading a book about every week and a half. I wanted to read a book a week for a year. I made it to 46 one year. I love to read and I love to learn so I’m starting my year with a new book and making time for that, even if it is just 30 minutes a day. What a great way to getting higher learning!
⭐︎I want to have my quiet time and so I am getting back into that. Part of that will be using my Gratitude Jar; a different one this year with many personal touches. But this time keeps me focused on what is good and what direction I want to take in my day, and influences the way it goes.
⭐︎I need to establish a better health regime for several reasons. So I have started that. I didn’t get too strict with myself during the holidays, but I did be a bit careful or where I wanted to be and cut portions down even during the goodie time of year. Discipline.
If this seems daunting to you, start with one. I pray every day for God to give me the discipline to do what I need to do to stay healthy both in my body, mind, and spirit. Less TV, less social media, and more time doing what brings me joy. I would rather create something with that time. I am sitting in The Loft watching a very light snow coming down. That is a bummer for us right now because it can mean our window installations may be delayed, but I still love to watch it fall and give a time of silence to the surroundings. Enjoy your moments and don’t hurry through them.
There are a few things that I have on my list… 40 so far. Already a couple have come to fruition. So find one to concentrate on or to bring back into your life that you let go of, and go for it this year. I read where one friend was going to do more snail mail this year to put something in the hands of people she loved. That is a super idea and great way to reach out.
Here is my Gratitude Jar this year. The lace or edging is actually from my Grandmother. I remember her having it in the right top drawer of her sewing machine. When my mom gave me the sewing machine, all her items were in there, including that. I have left it in there and admired it many times. I decided I would “take the plunge” and cut a piece to use on my jar. The watch was one of my mom’s that can’t be repaired anymore and reminds me to “Cherish” my time and be mindful of how I use it. The chain you see hanging on it is from my mom’s heart necklace and was the original chain, which was a gift to my mom from my dad before they were married. She wore that necklace for her wedding and so did I. So I hung it there and it reminds me of my list. My mom was quite the list maker and organizer. The top of the jar is a glass top, so I cut out a card that came with some flowers from my youngest son and his fiancé and I put that into the bottom side of the lid. So all together, it is a great reminder of all things joyful and as I put in my hearts in the jar for all I am grateful for. It keeps my attitude in check in all areas of my life.
We hear so much about going big, thinking of ourselves and what we want, making a business successful so WE can feel successful, and the you can do it,. All the while, we strive for something more but feel less fulfilled. I am encouraging you to live each day and be present each day in the moment you are in. Notice the sky and clouds and colors and people. Be present for family and friends. That is more important than how much money we make, what jobs we hold, or how tied up we get in choices we have made only to leave the important people behind while we strive to create what WE think is successful. So I am adding things into my life this year that are more in line with my heart.
Today marks the beginning of one of the goals for this year and that is an exciting step. We are replacing all the windows that are metal in this house, and the work starts today! I am really excited about that. Press in to the what your heart desires, however, ask God if it is from him first. I have had some times I went ahead on my own, and I wouldn’t recommend it. Even though it was delayed, I prayed for peace and He gave it. He was able to come the next day and four windows were installed. I know resting in His plan is the best way. Tomorrow he will be here again for the next set!
So with the above in mind, I’m excited for you and for what this year holds… for all of us. It may be some of the same, but it could be a lot more if we make sure we are adding in the things we enjoy most, or maybe has got put on the back burner or lost altogether. I hope this post has encouraged you even if you aren’t the goals type, because just one change can change up life. Share with me your thoughts in the comments and let me know how I can pray for you this year. I wish for each and everyone of you to have a great start to 2023 in the months to come!
Let me leave you with this from a book I am reading to start my year:
🎚️”We consider that God has a purpose in our troubles. We know He’s cultivating character and motivating maturity. We ask for wisdom to see beneath the surface of the trials. We endure through the strength that comes from Him…we learn significant lessons we could never have learned any other way.” Chuck Swindoll from Clinging to Hope.
Each year around November, I start praying about the word I am to carry into my new year. I ask God to give me guidance in the selection. Why? Because He knows what I need; what I need to learn, what I need to see, what I need to change, and what I need to hear. So I ask Him to show me what that word is for me personally. I hadn’t received my word yet as of last week, and so as I was working in my Loft, I prayed again for my word to be known to me. I immediately felt like I was to go to my “Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words”. As I opened the book, I came to page page 98, and my eyes immediately fell on the word CHERISH. I read the definition and correlating scripture reference, and I knew He had just given me my word for 2023. Here it is:
Cherish: to heat, to soften by heat; to keep warm as in birds covering their young with their feathers; to cherish with tender love; to foster with tender care; to take care of others as a nurse cherishes the children.
Cherish: (in other sources) to hold something dear; protect and care for someone in a loving way; keep hope in one’s mind; keep with special care.
What struck me was that. the feeling that I was to get that book and open it, that my eyes would land on this word, was amazing. But that is how God works. The part that hit me most was that it is to soften by heat. Does that mean that maybe, just maybe, there are some hard times where I go through the fire? That I am to also cherish THOSE times? Why? I asked God about that. I felt He told me that going through hard times or the fire, helps us know who we are and who God is. I may not be able to do a thing about it, but I know WHO can. What else? Well…maybe the fire is going to purify me and my heart and attitude. It hopefully will increase my trust quotient. Not so much warm fuzzy with that one. However, if we are willing to take that on, God can really work in us and in our situation.
I am a BIG “cherish-er”! I am the keeper of memories and special things. They have great memory and insightful encouragement for me. When I miss my folks, I can see something in my home that I cherish because of the memories that something invokes. In fact, my home is home to many others’ memories that I have been a part of. So what is the big deal about this word for me?
One of the other comments regarding this word was that I should be careful WHAT I cherish. What is really important in my life? What to I put above all else? Am a cherish-er of things? Money? Perfect home? How I look? What I drive? How successful I am in business? Who my friends are? My favorite hang out and a drink in my hand? The big question here for me was, “What do you cherish, JoAnn?” After that question came the statement, “Be careful what you cherish.” Ouch!!
You see, cherish means that I take the time to cherish what God has given me. I spend some time and thought there. I don’t get so busy in life, that I forget the idea of cherishing a cuppa and reading a good book, or listening to music, playing an instrument, or just sitting in a comfy chair and enjoying the lights on our Christmas Tree, or a time of prayer for those who need it. As I am willing to take that time, so shall my “cherish” moments expand and become bigger and bigger. Sometimes, we may find out lives feeling lonely even though we have people around us (or not), and even when we have a life that seems full. However, we can also get to a point in our lives where we are alone, or, it feels like we are. But God spoke a word into my heart. When He gave me the word “cherish”, I was listening to a speaker who shared, “You might feel like you are alone, but you are not. YOU are set apart.” Cherish that thought. Yikes! Was God shining the light on me or what?!?!? I mean, this year my word was SAVOR, and didn’t I do that? I sure did! However, I heard God say, “Go deeper child. Go deeper.” Alrighty then! I am ready for a new adventure! Let’s do this!
So… as I slide into the end of this year that will quickly move me right into the NEW year of 2023, I will make every endeavor to cherish God in my life, moments in my life, treasures in my life, my family, and as a good friend shared with me yesterday, ask God to show me the people He wants me to touch and encourage. I may need to put myself out there first in an act of faith…dip my feet in the water before He will part it for me and show where I am to go. Is it easy? No. Depression is a sneaky tool of the devil and I need to be aware of where my thinking is in this process. I hope my truth can resonate with someone reading this. I believe there is a someone who needs to hear this…God is always faithful!
I always enjoy watching the changes as Fall turns its attention toward winter. All the color changes, cooler weather and comfy clothes. It also reminds that change isn’t so bad. It can be beautiful as well as challenging. Just as the colors change and we can enjoy the beauty, we also know that it is only a season. Hopefully, there are changes we make that are more permanent…you know those pesky ones that keep coming up in our spirit that we could benefit from permanently changing? Let’s look at this a little closer.
How do you celebrate Fall? Or are you one that doesn’t look forward to the colder weather and the challenges it can bring for you? Well… you are talking to a cool weather person right here. I love the cooler weather and and the beauty of snow. I know. I know. You want summer and the beach. But let’s see if we can come up with a different perspective on the Fall leading into Winter.
Here is a list that I enjoy for myself:
First of all, notice the changes and enjoy it. Notice the colors, and know that as flowers die back, they will come again in the spring. I don’t think there is anyone who doesn’t enjoy Fall colors if they are looking for the beauty of Fall changes.
Examine your attitude. Maybe it is more you than the Fall/Winter Season. Only you know what you need to do to help lift your spirit to get an attitude shift.
Take time to try different recipes. Get out that slow cooker or Instant Pot if you are a work outside of the home person.
When you are home, cook something that is an all day cooking pot recipe and enjoy a taste here and there as you cook and get taste tests and make it just like you like.
Try making some home made bread. Saves money too. If worried about it turning out, borrow a bread machine or get yours out of the back of the cupboard. 😉 Makes the house smell so good.
Wear warm cozy clothes and socks.
Read a book that you have thought about or bought and haven’t had the time to read.
Light some candles and create a nice ambiance for yourself.
Plug in some small miniature lights to enjoy.
Get a sweet fragrance in your home with essential oils wafting into the air.
Hot chocolate or apple cider for the evenings or while you cook.
Do a craft project.
Work on genealogy if that is something you are interested in. Or just begin a search.
Pull out the sweaters and hat and scarf.
Change out your closet for the seasons clothes so you don’t have to sort through your closet to find something cozy to wear.
Make a list of plans for your Christmas. This year may take a lot more planning.
Turn on some favorite music for those quiet moments or while cooking or doing chores.
If you knit or crochet, make something as a gift or maybe an afghan to cuddle up in.
Upscale a spot in your home to give it a new look and see how you can do it on a budget.
Take an online class in a subject you enjoy.
Bundle up and go for an evening walk with your household. Find something you haven’t noticed before and take a picture.
Brew some tea or special coffee and enjoy the sunset or what they call golden hour.
Sit outside with a fire going and a hot drink and take in your surroundings.
Make a special breakfast on the weekend. I just made some great Norwegian pancakes yesterday and I will certainly make them again.
I would add for myself, to read the Bible and a good devotional with a cuppa in hand and not just read it, but contemplate its’ meaning to yourself.
Make sure you have winter wear so you are ready to still enjoy it but can stay warm.
Let the nostalgic enter your front door!
I could go on and on…because these are things I have learned to do for myself. I have always rewarded myself in ways that lift my spirit. It keeps my soul happy and keeps me looking up. Please share some of the things you might do for yourself and family. It would be fun to hear about them. Share them in the comments.
I have had some fun activity with a friend of mine and our cameras. It has been very enjoyable and just getting out and taking pictures makes my heart happy. You can see the beauty through the lens of a camera, capture it, and forever be changed by it. It is my hope that just sharing some ideas with you, will give you a new perspective or a reminder to make your own list of things you want to enjoy this season.
You know, sometimes our change has to come from deep within us. We have to be willing to be honest with ourselves and face those things in our life that keep us from the very change we want to have. I have to be THAT willing before I will see consistent change. I can do anything for a short time, but it won’t be lasting unless I face what is keeping it from making a successful move toward the changes I want to see. My number one mistake is thinking I can do it by myself. I CAN help myself, and I can move to some change, but long lasting change? That requires me to look within myself to see what is keeping me from moving forward. I might look different to myself as I move into and embrace the changes, but I know from experience, dropping this things which hold me back can also be the very thing that will move me forward. It is rather my life being like the tree… the leaves will die off my branches, I can see beauty as they fall because I know in the spring of my change journey, that I will grow back better and healthier than I ever was! So I encourage you to take a deep dive into your heart and soul and discover this journey for yourselves. Embrace the change. God sees you and will assist you in the process if you ask Him to do that. Ask Him to show you what is keeping you from moving forward. I write this as I just get a call from my doctor’s office on lab results. To say I’m not thrilled with the report I got would be an understatement. So…now I must consider changes that are not in my wheelhouse. However, if I want the quality of life and the life I desire in years to come, I must make those changes. So I am digging into what makes this girl resist the results I have just received. I have to have a big talk with myself and practice the very things I shared today. Look deeper and be honest with myself about the reasons I need to make those changes.
These Fall views are for a short time. Enjoy them, and even though your winter may be upon you, it doesn’t have to scary or fearful. He has told us He will never leave us or forsake us. We are covered!! As one of my favorite songs by the Gaither Vocal Band says, “He will bring us out, to bring us in!” So ask Him to bring you out of the things that keep you from changing from the inside, to bring you out so your changes can be more permanent. And…so you can live long and enjoy the life God has planned for you. May God help you and me to do just that!