Conversations With Myself

JoAnnWhat inspires you each morning?  When you wake up and you aren’t at your best even AFTER your first cup of coffee, what tickles your senses and inspires you to get a different attitude or a new way to go forward in your day?  Or, do you find that if you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, that it tends to be your feeling all day long?

This morning as I drove to my Bible Study, I was thinking over my last several weeks and I discovered how much better I feel today then say a month ago.  Humm…interesting, self.  I feel better able to cope with most things, and I find joy in the simplest of things.  I have energy.  Usually in my life, that is most of my days because I try to live that way, and if I wake up different I can usually pull myself around anyway.  But of late, I have found that I tend to wake up and feel better from the beginning of my day.  My outlook is better.  Clearer and more directed.  So, what has changed?  Here’s my thought:  As I getIMG_6102 older, I am more in touch with myself and I have become more aware of what I am feeling.  In becoming more aware, I realize that life throws us a curve ball sometimes and our mitt covered hand just isn’t up for it.  There are times when our body and energy level just isn’t there.  For women, it may be that our hormones are out of sync or something along those lines.  In men, it make relate to their jobs.  It DOES affect us.  So I have learned that when I find out about something that helps me with those areas, there is wisdom in making the purchase!  Now I could talk to myself and say something like, “Wow!  That is $20 a month and then means $240 a year!”  But what I have learned is, it is important to take care of our bodies, minds, emotions, hormones, and our brain fog.  You can not put a price on good health and having the “want to” for life.  So…will I complain about the things that bother me, or will I do something about it when I KNOW what I need to do?  I have decided that there is no excuse if I know what will help me.

My car conversation with myself this morning was just that.  I realized that I had started back on my TriVita Sublingual 12 after running out and not ordering it for about 5-6 weeks.  Now after deciding THAT didn’t work very well for me, and saving the money wasn’t worth the fall out, I ordered it again and have been faithfully taking it now for about 3 weeks.  ALL the difference in the world!  Now I’m not here to sell you a product, but I am here to share an idea with you!  Is there something you should do or take to help you in your daily thought life or in your physical life that will make a difference for YOU?  Then by all means do it.  It is called preventative care.  When you are feeling at your best, you will also fight off other cold and flu symptoms because your body is operating more at optimum.  You will handle your daily life differently too.  So what about YOU?  Do you need to take Vitamin C?  Vitamin D?  What about using essential oils like Lavender at night to help you sleep better?  I know that I am at that age where sleep can happen for me or not… and then there are other factors that make sleeping more difficult too!  Snore…snore…from the other side of the bed.

I hope you will let my revelation be a wake up call for you.  What “something” do you need to consider that will help you get back your feeling of well-being?  I followed that whisper I got to do what I needed to do and boy what a difference it made in all the areas of me!  Ask yourself how you are once in a while.  It’s scriptural; “Why are you downcast oh my soul?”  Then, take care of what you need to do to make that happen in your life.  Be aware.  Be proactive.  Take care of the temple God gave you.  There ARE benefits to talking to yourself sometimes!

IMG_7322Walking the journey with you…

~JoAnn

Are You Satisfied With Where You Are?

Dance
Dance like no one is watching.

Happy January my friends!  I hope you have settled in to your new year and have a sense of expectation about what this new year will bring!  As I read over my hearts from my Gratitude Jar on New Year’s Eve, I was once amazed at all that the Lord had done!  Amazing!  It brings so many areas into perspective, and it once again, has changed who I am.

I have made some pretty drastic decisions at the beginning of this year.  My title question is, “Are you satisfied with where you are?” is a tough question for some to answer.  Did it bring some stirring to your soul?  Did you stop to ask yourself that question once you read it?  What was your answer?  There are two sides of the coin regarding that question for me.  I am satisfied in what God is doing in my life and lessons He is teaching me, however, I am never satisfied with where I am spiritually.  I will always want to move forward, learn more, apply more, press in more, and especially never be satisfied with where I am, but ask God to continue to take me where He wants me to be.  We can see the turn in the road ahead of us, but we don’t know what is around the corner.  I am always trusting that, just like I shared last time about God going with me wherever I go, He will lead me where I need to go if I will follow Him and trust that HE knows best for me no matter how it may look.

What have I been up to in my decisions for this year?  I felt the pulling of the Lord to get off of Facebook.  There are many reasons for that but suffice it to say, I do value my privacy when it comes to online.  I think there is also way too much time that I was spending there that He wants me to use for other things.  I did of lot of ministry and encouragement, which is my passion, but there are times that I felt God was telling me that it was becoming first in my life.  Now, did I go off of social media completely?  Pretty much.  I also closed my Twitter account and my LinkedIn account.  I now have anKey Moments Photography account on http://www.weme.com and I have loved the privacy and the ability to generate positive comments and posts.    And do you know what? I feel quite free!  I have more time and have accomplished so much more by not feeling compelled to check into all those things through out my day.  Even good things can pull us in directions that pull us away from God and HIS agenda for us. I’m happy about this change in me.

I am also working in areas of shedding unnecessary things from my schedule.  I want to have a soul at peace and our souls are not at peace unless we are making our schedule allow time for nurturing our soul.  I am doing that everyday and that makes a big difference in my response to my day.  Busyness is the downfall of so many things and we think we can’t change it because that is just what life is for us right now.  But it doesn’t have to be.  When the soul isn’t nourished and on center, we can start thinking wrong thoughts and go ways which are NOT best for us.

Another area that I have made changes is to change things in my home and streamline.  I am sharing things with others, give away items to Goodwill, and clear out the clutter.  Oh what a feeling!  I have done a little each day and quite pleased with the results. God doesn’t want us to live in clutter and chaos.  It’s hard to relax when we live that way.  He wants us to enjoy the life that He gives us if we are willing to make some sacrifices.  That’s right.  It takes sacrifice to make the changes that I have made or that you need to make.  But when we are obedient to what God asks of us, He will bless the results.  He will help us to let go.

IMG_5522So, ask yourself the question once again, and then pray about what lesson God may have for you.  I don’t feel I write the posts for not.  I believe when God lays something on my heart to write about, it is for someone; sometimes a reminder for myself, and other times for someone out there.  I pray you will take it to heart and do what you need to do.  I want to always be moving forward and never be satisfied with where I am until the time when Jesus takes me home.  Does that mean I feel pressured to always be at it?  Be the best at everything?  Nope.  I rest in His unchanging grace and ask Him to make the ride with me and advise my direction.  I hope you will too!

Walking the journey with you…

~JoAnn

Who Do You Travel With?

64 Chevy
Image from BringATrailer.com

There are always hiccups in life.  For example, I had this post almost ready to publish and I come back to find it is gone.  So, I will go at this one more time!

I have been doing a lot of re-evaluating for this coming year, so it has set my brain to thinking.  A lot of thinking.  I have been in the process of writing the rest of my goals for this year and two of the most important for me are:

  • Be diligent about my study of God’s Word more than ever before
  • Study of the Holy Spirit
  • Effectual Prayer through the leading of the Holy Spirit

That is now part of my prayer life; asking God to lead and direct this study He has laid before me.  With that in mind, let me share with you what happened the other day.  But first, let me ask you a question.  What is the purpose of a HOV lane?  We often take them when we are going into a high traffic area, right?  We use them because they can help us circumnavigate a very busy traffic area.  I like it when I can drive by all the long lines of cars and I smile as I go.  However, I can only go in that lane if I have more than myself in the car.  So as I was driving with my sweetie into Seattle the other day, this whole little scenario played out in my head and heart.  Taking the HOV lane helps me avoid sitting in traffic and avoiding obstacles that can come from heavy traffic.  But if I have a person riding with me, I can avoid those obstacles better by going through the HOV lanes with my riding partner.

I felt God was telling me that this year, I need to be aware of His desire to be my cruising partner.  Oh I know.  Things aren’t always perfect in the HOV lanes either.  But they sure have a likelihood of a much easier drive.  So God wants to be in the driver’s seat with me so He can help me avoid heavy traffic and difficult drivers.  He can guide me around obstacles.  He can make my crooked places straight.  And…He wants to do it!  I COULD live my life and do things for myself as so

JoAnn Shiley Photography
JoAnn Shiley Photography

many are doing; leaving God out of the equation.  But I would be in for some rough rides if I do that.  When we choose to leave Him out of our daily lives and dealings, then we can’t be upset when things become more and more difficult.  We can look like the child who says, “I want to do it myself!”  It usually isn’t that successful and it isn’t what He wants for us.  Now that is NOT to say that having Jesus as your pilot or driver means that all will be well with you all the time.  We know that God says in His Word that we will all have times of trouble.  BUT, God is there to drive the journey with you.

I have decided this year to heed His call on my life even more carefully, to make changes that allow me to put Him in the driver’s seat more and more.  I need to let Him do the driving and I can look out the window and enjoy the ride!  See what He wants me to see.  Help where He wants me to help.  Go where He wants me to go!  We can cruise, Jesus and I!  I like that picture.  Cruisin’ with Jesus!

What other areas are changing for me?  I have made the decision to leave Facebook and Twitter.  Instead, I am establishing myself over at MeWe.com.  I have enjoyed the ad free, politically free, bad language and suggestive behavior free connection that is available to me there.  It is quite refreshing!  The best thing?  I am excited about the change.  I have those who I know won’t add another social website in order to stay in touch and that’s ok.  But God has led me to this change and I think He has His own plan in mind, and since I am into His plan BIG time this year, I’m ALL IN!  I’m cruisin’ with Jesus…the wind blowing in my hair and my hands in the air!  Free!

How about you?  Do you feel a leading in a certain direction or area of your life?  Feel free to share your thoughts.

Cruising’ (in a 1964 white Chevy Impala, which was my car in high school) the journey with you…

~JoAnn

The Focus in 2015

IMG_8874Just wanted to pop in before my day gets going and wish you all a Happy New Year!  I love how our page is blank going in and we can make it what we want with God’s help.  Of course that means that we would be willing to follow Him in the first place to the places or even areas of our life that He chooses to take us!  I’m always excited to start a new year!  It brings a new morning, new blessings, and a new beginning that allows the U-Turns in life.  We all need them.  I, for one, want to do things differently than I did in 2014:

  • IMG_8873I want to seek Him more and in a deeper way
  • I want to love better
  • I want to see in a new and different way
  • I want to be with my family more
  • I want to listen to the Holy Spirit in my life with more awareness
  • I want to use my camera more
  • I want to live my life as God would have me to live not as someone else does or some fad out there
  • I want more drives and visits with friends
  • I want to enjoy and celebrate my history
  • I want to get all my technology working together instead of competing with each for attention
  • I want to enjoy every minute of my life more than I have ever enjoyed it in years

I already have about 10 hearts in my Gratitude Jar as of last night and that is just the evening!  It blesses me to read over those cards and see His faithfulness to me and to my family!  I thank Him for theIMG_8887 little tiny things and the huge things in my life!  That is how I want to live it!  Don’t let the darkness of the world creep in on your Jesus lit life!  Let that light shine and erase the darkness.  Don’t complain about things you need to be thankful for.  Celebrate all that comes your way and in doing so, you will experience God like you have never experienced before!  I have a relative that turns 100 years old today!  Happy Birthday my sweet Nona!  I have wonderful memories of visiting your house!  Wow!  She has lived well and loved well and I would love to follow in those footsteps!  She has loved unconditionally and that is something I seek more and more in this New Year of 2015.  She inspires me.

IMG_8704I ask God to keep the fire lit!

Will you join me in considering a prayer asking God what He wants to do IN you as well as what He wants to do THROUGH you this year?  Where do YOU want to go with Him this year?  It’s exciting to be on His team!

Walking the journey with you…

~JoAnn

Changing Things UP for 2015

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Today I am posting a little different type of post because I want to inform you of a change I am making for 2015.

I have been a Facebook user from the early beginnings of it and have loved the way that I can touch base with friends and relatives afar.  It brings joy to my heart to be able to have conversations and share photos to keep updated on their lives.  But of late, I have found the changes in Facebook to be very much like “poking your nose where it doesn’t belong” in their dealings with us as users.  As some have said, we are Facebook’s product and everything we do is sold and given away.  So for me, when I post my photos, they are no longer mine anymore.  Facebook owns them.  And, just how do they decide to use what’s on my page and then post a “Year in the Life of…” on my page without my permission?  Because they can.  Have you ever tried to talk to someone at Facebook?  Yeah…doesn’t work.  There IS no one.  When someone hijacked my Facebook page a while back and put a pornographic picture up as my profile that everyone could see, could I report it?  Not really.  I did report it after going in circles and never getting anywhere.  But you can never talk to anyone. There report methods go around and around.  They don’t contact you.  It continued to happen and I couldn’t delete it.

So I have been researching other options and found one; MeWe.com.  I have played a bit with the idea of this site, read some on it, took it for a ride, and just the other day when a friend posted about it in a food for thought post, that was my confirmation to go look at it again more seriously, and I went ahead and signed up.  Is it hard to leave Facebook?  Yes it may be.  I have friends I really want to stay in touch with.  Hard?  Not horribly difficult, just a learning curve.  But I am willing to learn it for the sake of the privacy that I experience there.  No ads.  No hints drawn from key strokes.  Don’t believe me?  Just type up something different on your page than you normally would on a subject of choice and see what ads come up all over your page.  Then wait for the emails that follow.

The social network I went with is called MeWe.com.  It’s all about clean pages, and the chance to enjoy connection with friends.  It operates a lot like a Facebook account would operate but much more freedom with how it is set up.  You canDSC_0733 have groups and actually decide more how you want your page to look.  I have never been interested in the numbers of people who I have either.  I just like to share and connect with people.  I enjoy being a resource for others.  This is my goal:  Share life together and encourage each other when we need it; walking the journey together.

You don’t have to quit Facebook if you don’t want to but you can join MeWe and still have your other account.  I’m just choosing to streamline my life a bit and make the time I do give to social networking something I can enjoy with out all the earmarks of other stuff I don’t care to see.  I hope you will check it out and see what you think.  On this site, they actually encourage input and there is someone you can talk to.  So you will see less and less of me on Facebook and more and more of me on MeWe as I build my connections there.  Don’t settle for the “it’s just too hard to move” when you really don’t like what is going on where you are but are just too afraid to take the step.  Do something about it and change.  I love it! I hope I will be watching for your friend request.  Go to www.mewe.com/i/joann.shiley and let’s meet up!

Start the new year right…with privacy and fun!

Walking the journey with you…

~JoAnn

Christmas Has Come!

_DSC0765 2I love Christmas and everything about it!  Well…maybe not everything.  I dislike all the commercialism and the advertising at the beginning of Fall now.  THAT totally upsets me.  I enjoyed it when Thanksgiving had its own time and not everybody wasn’t thinking about all the Black Friday stuff.  Shoot!  We can’t even enjoy the Fall because we are headed for the Christmas and the New Year already.

But that being said, I love the lights at Christmas, the music, the special goodies, time with family, choosing gifts, Christmas movies, and the idea of giving.  What a whole bunch of blessings all at once!  My gratitude jar has filled up a lot this month!

My advice? Don’t let all those other entanglements get you down. Satan wants to discourage us, and what better way than at Christmas?  If he keeps us discouraged, he keeps us from enjoying the real reason for this season.  I for one am not going to let him do that to me.  So turn on some music, sing along, do something special to honor those who aren’t with you this year, and look up.  He knows and He is there!  Those that have gone before you would not want to see you defeated.  Need a boost?  Plug into the only One that can give it you and let your light shine!

And now? I am going to go and put the rest of my decorations on the tree! Light up your house and boost your joy level! See you around the tree!

Merry Christmas!!!

Walking the journey with you…

~JoAnn

Holiday Reflections

IMG_6481Reflections…it can mean many things.  But these last several weeks have been some hard weeks for myself and my family.  It has given me many opportunities for reflection; from a birth that makes me a great, great Auntie, all the way to the other end of the spectrum, to a split in a family.  It has really made me reflect on my life in general and how I live it.  We can’t always have that straight path we may have hoped our life would be.  In my case, it has always been ups and downs, around mountains, sometimes plowing through the mountains, but itIMG_5516 has never been straight for too long.  When I think on it, nobody’s life is.  In fact, I purchased a ring several years ago that sums up my view of my life.  Those ups and downs always remind me I may hit the valleys, but that life comes back up.   So why do we think it should be straighter or easier, and why do we get upset when it isn’t?

The thing is, I have come to know, that how I live each day matters to my tomorrows.  I have family.  I want to spend time with my family.  It is a gift I want to enjoy whenever possible.  Some of my family is gone on to be with Jesus.  But I still have family here.  I don’t want to accommodate schedules, I want to have the family gatherings BE the schedule; that we make it a priority to be together at some point close to the holiday.  Why?  We may not have a tomorrow.  I was at my American Sign Language Class in Seattle in July of 1992 when I got a call to come home because my mom had suddenly passed away from a heart attack.  There was no tomorrow with her.  I have seen this happen over and over, and I don’t want that to be the case in my life.  I want my family to know that I have put priority on our relationships, so that, I put aside my schedule to make Thanksgiving or Christmas, or any other holiday, something special for our family to celebrate together.  I also want them to know that they are loved.  When I was growing up, we spent many of the holidays with family and extended family.  But now, everyone gets busy, so it doesn’t happen as much anymore.  Pretty soon, we end up saying to ourselves, “Gosh!  I wish I would have spent more time with so-and-so before they died.  There are so many things I wanted to know and ask about.”  Just the other day, I shared something with my youngest son and he said , “I never knew that about you before Mom.”  I want to answer those questions, share about my life and my parents, so that they too, can makes some lasting memories and leave a legacy for themselves and those they have and will come to love.  In our household, we often shared our lives with foreign exchange students, or with widows that didn’t have family to spend holidays with.  That was just a part of who we were.

IMG_1095So, do you feel your traditions are rather silly these days?  Don’t.  They are the things that your kids and family will remember.  Someday, they may be doing the same things that they thought were silly before, and now, are something special.  We have a toast of sparkling cider at each Thanksgiving and Christmas so kids and all can toast.  We have special dishes and goodies that are part of our heritage that we make every year.  Great way to bring in the story element by sharing why these goodies are a part of our day.

Don’t play the busy card.  Slow down enough to make it happen with your family and extended families.  Make those special dinner dishes, even though it may take extra time.  I remember one Thanksgiving that my boys were upset because I didn’t make one of the dishes I usually make for that day’s dinner.  So I now know! That is something they enjoy and feel needs to be a part of it.  So, I make it each year.  Another memory is to bake cookies or goodies together for Christmas and chat about traditions as you do.  It’s a great time of bonding.  If your children are older or you can’t get together, share making cookies together when another relative to share stories.  It’s just fun to do!  Long distance?  Skype them and toast together or share your family table scape with each other.  It can change the day!

Here’s a fun activity for you and your family:  Make sure everyone has a cell phone or camera this holiday that they can use.  It could be disposable cameras also.  Ask them to use that cell phone camera or another camera to take pictures of what means the most to them.  Put the pictures together in an album and share with the family.  You might be surprised at what they take pictures of!  Then, you also have record of a wonderful time spent together!  What is one of your holiday traditions in your family?  Please share in the comments.

Here is my wish for you…I lift my best glass of sparkling cider to a wonderful Thanksgiving for you and your families!  *Clink* and *Snap*!

IMG_4082Walking the journey with you,

~JoAnn

Zoom In – Focus for 2015

FocusFall…it brings wonderful feelings of cozy days and nights, fires burning, a candle or two of your favorite fragrance, and soup and bread.  There are colors that touch us deeply as trees change, and their colorful beauty helps us transition into another season.  Then, comes that first frost and the leaves are falling and blowing in the wind.  The other day, I took a walk in the wind with all those leaves blowing around me.  It felt wonderful!  Fall ushers in changes in our lives as we begin to think about holidays and what the new year brings.

In my case, the Fall brings another area to pray over, and that is my word for the year.  I usually don’t get my word until the middle or end of November each year.  However, this year, I received my word very early.  This last summer God gave me my word for 2015…wait for it….zoom in…and there it is…Focus.  Go figure…God would give me a photographic reference as my word!  In years past, I have had journey, light, celebrate, and last year it was watchful, to name a few.  Let’s look at a definition of the word Focus:

  • a central point, as of attraction, attention, or activity:
    a point at which rays of light, heat, or other radiation, meet after being refracted or reflected.
    the focal point of a lens.
    the clear and sharply defined condition of an image.
    the position of a viewed object or the adjustment of an optical device necessary to produce a clear image:
    in focus; out of focus.
    to bring to a focus or into focus:
    to focus the lens of a camera.
    to concentrate:
    to become focused.
  • center, heart, core, nucleus

* (dictionary.reference.com)

So, what does this word Focus mean for me this year?  I think God wants me to make Him my central point; that’s where my attention needs to be, and where I need to Focus.  It is rather like my camera lens.  I can set my settings so that my subject is all that is in Focus Coffee Breakfocus.  But, I can also set my settings so that the whole view is in focus.  I think God wants me to zoom in on my life lens and Focus more on Him, my main subject, and what He would have to me to do.  He wants me to have a clear and sharply defined view of his will for me. My concentration should be seeking Him at every turn, trusting Him with everything, and allowing Him to work in me.  I may need some BIG time cropping!  It may not be all that comfortable.  However, if that is the case and my Focus is on Him, then I am going in the right direction.  In terms of  photographing a personal portrait, it is wise to Focus on the eyes and if you do, the portrait will be in good Focus.  It is the same for us.  If we are concentrating our Focus on Jesus eyes/face, we will have a life that is centered in Him as our core, plus, we will have a Focus like never before!

I also love the idea of Focus being a point at which rays of light, meet after being reflected.  So, in my case, I think God is telling me that I need to be a light to those around me and to be so connected with Him that I reflect Him in all I do.  Is that going to be easy?  No, most certainly not.  Satan will always cause things to happen in our lives where we are tested with our Focus and clarity.  I have had that very thing to deal with in our family these last few months.  It has been very difficult!  I can already see that the reason for my early impartation of my word for the year, may be just because it is at this season in my life that I need it!  Thus, he gave me the word Focus so I am viewing it with the right lens.  It’s like when you take a picture of a person, for example, if the background it is all cluttered with any number of things in the house or room, you find yourself looking at all of that clutter instead of the person.  What we need is to learn the skills that help us learn HOW to focus better on the main subject.  It is kind of like that old saying about “keeping your head in the game”.  We have to be aware of what is going on around us.

If we want to gain Focus in our lives, we need to:

  • prepare ourselves – in prayer, study of the Word and asking God to give us the right focus
  • learn better ways of focusing – study and meditate how to implement it in our life
  • have the right equipment – our Bible out and reading it, a devotional, podcast, attend Bible Study, Sunday Service, friends who will give us insight
  • keep our eyes peeled – always be watching for where God is working in us and our lives around us, and join Him in that work. Asking the Holy Spirit to lead, guide and teach us what we need to know

Isn’t it interesting that these words of center, heart and light would be used for the meaning of the word Focus?  We think of it like Focusing in on something, getting direction, narrowing our view, or whatever it will invoke in us as we think about it.  Where is our Focus?  Is it on Twitter, Facebook, a blog, sports, or this or that activity?  I am really re-thinking my life and purpose.  I want it to be about the right things, and if I am always distracted by the things I think I HAVE to be a part of, maybe, just maybe, I am really the one missing out.  THAT is something I don’t want to happen. I’m finding that Focus can require a lot from me, but I think I need to be a seeker of its meaning for me.  When I am taking pictures, they don’t just come to me.  I have to look for them, seek them out, walk or drive out to get the shot, have my head in the game, and I have to give of my time.  I believe the same is true of sharpening our Focus on the right things in my daily life.

JoAnn ShileyI can’t wait to see what God has to teach me in the next year in regard to the word Focus!  I know from experience in years past, that my word for the year is life changing!  He will change my center and heart.  He has already started!  Won’t you ask God how He wants to work in your life this next year?  What word may He want to give you to Focus on?  Please share if you have been given a word.  I would love to pray that over your life this year and next.

Walking the journey with you…

 

~JoAnn

 

With My Arms Held Upward


Ocean Shores

If I were to ask you what living upward means, would you be able to tell me?  Does it mean always looking up?  Does it mean I live my life better than others, therefore making me better than another?  Does that mean that I am always feeling “up”?  Or, if I do live this way, I won’t have problems?  Hummm…

My heart really resonated with this thought last week as my pastor shared this.   It rang its bell of personal meaning in me.  So, as I thought about this concept of living upward and pulling another up,  I felt for me, it is about living my life in such a way that I am looking upward in expectation of what God is doing in me, and my life, each day.  I am seeking to live forward, towards what God has for me to do, so that, I can pull another up.  I’m equipping myself.

“Do what thou dost as if the stake were heaven, and this thy last deed ere the judgment day.”  ~Orison Marden

It is kind of like, what we have yet NOT attained, keeps calling us upward.  We know there is more that God wants us to learn and do.  We need to keep our focus upward.  However, it is not something we can attain on our own.  It is something that we have to do with God.  In our own power, we could not continue, but God gives us the desire and the power, to attain that which would be overwhelming otherwise.

I have been leading a study on being mindful of Gratitude and the Gifts we are given…thousands of them.  If I truly and intentionally live this way, I believe I am living upward.  I am living in expectation of what God CAN and WILL do in my life, my family’s life, my church, and my friend’s lives.  He will never fail us, and never leave us, no matter how hard it gets.  It may be even more important that we lean in close in those difficult times, so we CAN hear Him give us His reassurance.  Living upward is that pull to the next thing God wants to do in me, and doing it with an attitude of excitement!  As a friend said last night to me on the phone, “JoAnn, my expectations of God have been WAY too low!”  He wants to show us His power and glory!

So this week, live upward!  Look for how you can do that, and pull another up.  Be intentional about it.  Love as if you might not have a tomorrow.  Some won’t.  See where He takes you.  It reminds me of a picture of a little child who holds their arms up to be picked up. They have that look on their face that you can’t resist.   They expect to be picked up, want to be held, and/or comforted.  But they know the non-verbal language.  Hold my arms up,  someone picks me up.  Can you picture yourself in that position with God?  That is a great visual for me.  I hope it is for you.  Hold those arms up!

Thanks again for your faithful readership!  Please share what the phrase “living upward” may mean to you.  It may be a road you never dreamed of traveling, but God equips you for the journey.

Walking the journey with you…

~JoAnn

Do We All Need A Bit of Surgery Prep?

IMG_5454It’s been a whirl wind around our house once again. What we prepared for almost a year ago for me, is now being prepared again for my sweetie. He will have hip replacement surgery in the morning. So many things to think about and plan.  Paperwork that they need to have, just in case, a notebook to read for the both of us so we know what to expect, along with a no eating and drinking schedule, taking a shower tonight and then having to wait an hour use those lovely cold wipes and THEN try to sleep.  That’s not counting removing rugs and shower doors, and equipment that you need to have to safely maneuver in your own home!  Phew!  But, he has been working so hard of late to get everything in order around our home because he knows he won’t be able to do that kind of thing for a while.  Then in the morning when we arrive, they will ask you several times what you are in the hospital for today.  I can remember before my surgery, after telling someone for the fifth time, I really wanted to tell my nurses that I was in for surgery for my “behind” just to see what they would say!  Giggle…

So as I was thinking about all this preparation, it made me think of whether or not we spend any of that kind of time and preparation for our daily adventures that God has for us.  Like:

  • Do I think about the importance of prayer for my day when my eyes open in the morning?
  • Do I have my Bible as my paperwork, to tell me what I need to do today, or what is expected of me?
  • Do I read it enough to KNOW what is expected of me?
  • Do I ask that God remove the sin in my life, just like Terry has to clean his body in preparation for surgery?
  • Am I mindful of my schedule enough that I make time to communicate with the One Person who can teach me and guide me?
  • Do I watch for rugs that can be pulled out from underneath me as I go through my daily walk?
  • Am I willing to do the hard work that is involved to change the things that need to change?
  • Do I keep my life in balance?
  • Just like those hospital staff asking the patient several times about the surgery to be performed, do I ask God to show me what it is He may want to cut out of my life, or where I might need healing?

Humm…kind of gets a person thinking, doesn’t it?  So as I go into this adventure of surgery with Terry, I will also be asking God to do His work in me.  Especially in me.  I want to learn to walk with purpose and my gait to be steady.  I want to cleanse my mind and body of unclean things, SO THAT, I can be healed anew with His touch over my life.  I want to feel safe in His presence and trust Him with my outcome and that of Terry also.

If you think of it Wednesday morning around 10:30 a.m., please say a prayer for miraculous healing and precise hands to serve him in surgery and his recovery.  Let me know what God may be speaking to you about today!  Are there any of the above thoughts that resonate with you?

Walking the journey with you…

~JoAnn