Thoughts from Big River Cabins

Sitting here at the cabin where it is quiet always gives me time for the soul to settle down and the heart to speak. We all need that place. If we stop the busy lives we lead long enough, we may be inspired by new ideas, changes we need to make, insight we have been seeking, or just listening for a Word. I know I need it.

So as this weekend comes to an end and I’m looking at Monday when the surgery part of this journey is hopefully over, I thought I would share a few thoughts with you that came to mind over a mocha and the dim lights of the cabin.

  • I felt that I was to prepare myself. For what, I’m not sure yet. But one of the preparations was to invest in a mic set up for my computer. Now it could be for the purpose of leading the online studies, doing a once a week live to start the week, or leading classes I believe could benefit others. Or, it could be for a totally different reason. If I am going on an adventure trip, I better be prepared. When I asked what I should do these last couple of day, I felt this was my direction. So… I got one and set it up. I am still waiting on my headset to come.
  • I also know what music does for the heart and soul and spirit. I know how it moves me. So I am renewing my commitment to doing more with my music and instruments. That was supposed to happen this year, and it did take place, but not as much time as I think I am being called to spend. Better me, better life, better example.
  • That my time is valuable and I need to spend that time in better ways. If I am walking my life out as an example, then I need, not should, but need to spend time in the study of God’s Word. I can’t give out what I don’t have.
  • Use my level of computer skills to help others in whatever way God calls me to do that.

So those are a few things I believe God laid on my heart. The last three points I have everything I need for the most part. However, that number one point is still a bit vague yet. But it is kind of like the biblical reference in the Bible about going to the Jordan. They had to put their foot in the river before God moved the waters. We expect God to part the waters first so we don’t get our feet wet, and then we will go.  He is asking us to step out in faith first, and then He will part the waters. Walk by faith.

So with that, I have my mic system set up and will be a student of its use over the weeks of recovery from surgery, and being praying for what God has in mind. To you who may be feeling the same way but different circumstances, get in prayer with God and ask Him to show you. Ask Him to be specific. He will. However, you won’t hear through chaos usually. You will hear in the quiet whisper of His voice…a sense that it is from Him. So important for it to be Him and leave you out of it. We can convince ourselves right into trouble. So be wise and ask a good prayer partner or mentor to praying with you about the direction you are to take. Then take a step or leap, or whatever you are comfortable with. I have lived my life in leaps and jumps following His leading. He has always caught me and led me on!

However, when these bumps in the road come along, whether unexpectedly or not, we look for reasons or justifications not to move forward. Or worse yet, we rely on our feelings. Often times we can not see clearly ahead of us. But if we wait for it, God slowly reveals what He was doing, but in His timing. We only know we hit the wall and we want to know why.  I don’t ask that anymore because I have learned there is always a reason. So when that “unexpected” bump come, I just ease on over it and ask God what do you want to teach me? It takes a few days to work through that process, and some times it is a few months. But he wants to hear from you. Ask Him. Just be careful though…He WILL show you! Be prepared. How?

  • Educate yourself about the area you are considering.
  • Find the best way to present it.
  • Learn equipment or processes.
  • Purchase a book or two.
  • Find a mentor and watch what they do.
  • Find a group you can be a part of for the information you may need.
  • The internet can give good information about what steps you may need to take.
  • He had me go through my studio this summer from top to bottom and reorganize it. Makes it so much easier to operate from. He was already preparing me for something new.

You see, none of my hiatus at home has been wasted. God had me digging in. Praying, researching, using my hubby as a sounding board, and reading various books. Some of you may need a kick in the backside to move forward.  If you are like me, once I know what I am supposed to do, I’m jumping in with both feet! So I have to be careful to pray as I go to make sure its still God’s deal and not some of my own jumps I’m taking.

The big idea here is this has changed me once again. We are called to change as we go through life. In this process with skin cancer, God has called me out from what is going on with my face, (and the losing of hair also…another story), to something beyond ME. Beyond the look of what I’m used to seeing, to operating more as God sees me. In this world, those ideals can be hard because we are surrounded by the culture that tells us we must look a certain way. I’m not prideful about my looks, but I care how I look. That has made this process very humbling to say the least.  However, I want to be an encouragement to others and I believe that is my calling. So it is my hope that by sharing this journey, you have found encouragement somewhere between the words of this blog.

So watch out! JoAnn’s Studio may just surprise you…scars and all! I knoq no scar is wasted no matter where they are or how they come to us. God will use them to build compassion in you, and FOR others. You may be the one compassionate person that can come along side another, and understand, when God places that special person in your path.

Watch for it to unfold over the next month or so. See you on the other side of tomorrow!

Until next time,

~JoAnn

A Dream Come True

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What did you do on this Labor Day Weekend?  It is some times a fun time with family before school starts, last camping for a while, maybe BBQ, or maybe it is a day to kick back with NO labor.  But, it is always a nice time when you have a three-day weekend!  So…Happy Labor Day to each and every one of you!

Dreams DO come true!!!  Today, I wanted share with the you the importance of not giving up on a dream.  We all have them whether we verbalize them or not.  For myself, I speak them out whenever possible, but I also write them down.  I have a book that I keep with my current year’s goals and dreams tucked away in it.  Do you know that I was told in my prayer time going into this year?  I was told that we would have a great year.  But, it would also be a year of change.  A great year?  What does that mean?  What does it look like?  I didn’t get specifics.  I just had to trust what He said was true.

From the time I was little, I have always had goals and dreams.  I did little jobs to earn money.  When I was almost old enough (they let me start early because I was eager to make some money), I picked strawberries and earned enough for school supplies that I could pick out.  In upcoming years, it was a new bike, clothes for school, or whatever else I needed.  It was a help to my parents too because they didn’t have to buy that item or items.  Times were hard for them.  So I have always been focused on working for what I wanted and needed.  I am not likely to give up on something that I feel is important or something I would like to achieve.  But one thing that always accompanies my goals and desires is, prayer.  I pray over those goals.  I pray for change, understanding, wisdom, things I desire for my family and their goals, and just about anything that involves my life or environment.  It is just what I do.

So here I am in 2016…God spoke to my heart this year about this being a great year and a year of change.  Here are just a few thoughts regarding changes:

  • Directed to Study, even more
  • Major financial decisions
  • Felt strongly that we needed to move to a place of calm and quietIMG_4151
  • Get back even more to enjoying our surroundings
  • Sold our house
  • Finding a quiet place to live
  • Many challenges in the purchase and selling of our home
  • A major move
  • Problems with our financial lender
  • Death of many friends and family
  • God drawing me to a more simple life
  • Living in peace in my home and life
  • Preparing for our retirement years
  • God’s provision in answered prayers in our finances
  • Our commitment to tithe in a way we hadn’t done before
  • Call to spiritual change and challenge in both of our lives
  • Feel impressed to prepare our lives for what may come
  • Bring back more music into my life
  • Pray faithfully when asked
  • Pray diligently for my family and friends
  • Get into a regular “heart dropping” this month which has gotten a bit more slow
  • A prayer answered in one area of my family

IMG_4083All while these challenges and changes were happening this year,  I felt God telling us to be faithful.  New things were coming, but we must be faithful with our current situation.  So we have.  We have managed to do some of the things we wanted and most of the things we felt God calling us to do.  We have made decisions together and asked God to lead us in those decisions.  It hasn’t been easy.  In fact, it has been really hard at times.  Timing…there is that THING that we have to keep turning over to God.  I am getting better at that, but I haven’t arrived.  I am so grateful God is patient about that.  We keep moving forward.  We prayed that we would be faithful to accept and live in God’s timing.  When it didn’t happen, maybe we just had to accept it won’t happen.  When we get to that point of turning it over, then it allows God to work.

All that to share how faithful God has been as we come into Fall of this year.  It is totally exciting to me!  Something that I have wanted, dreamed of and prayed about for many years.  In fact, every

time I saw one, I would shout out there goes my _____!!!  What is that you ask??!?!??  My Mini Cooper!  Yesterday, I drove home my dream car…. my Mini Cooper that was  years in waiting for. When I quit worrying about it happening, God carefully worked out the details for it to become a reality, and to show His faithfulness for what He told me at the beginning of the year.  I believe God wants us to be blessed.  I don’t believe it is about just things either.  I don’t feel that way about my car.  I have had many clunkers in my day, believe me.  But I drove what I had and was happy to have them.  So now, God graciously worked out for me to have my dream.  I am very thankful!  I loved my Lime Squeeze and she served me well.  However, I am thrilled to have this sweet little car to drive!

Now, before you get excited about God blessing with “things”, I want to say that God will bless us with His love anytime we are willing to accept it.  He will provide us with what we need, but He is a God who will also bless us with things we want too.  He blesses us so we can be a blessing.  When we are faithful with little, He is will bless us with much.  Not always “stuff”, but He may also bless us with our family, our good health, our friends to walk through life with, or maybe someone who is a great mentor in our lives.   We have been blessed this year so that we in turn can bless others that He brings our way.  Yes.  I believe that everything I have or will have comes from the Lord.  I believe that with my whole heart.  So every time I get in my car, I thank Him for it.  What a wonderful way to be reminded of what God can do.  I kept believing no matter what the circumstances looked like.  He completely provided for our present circumstances.  Everything that we are doing in our home as well.  But we are to do something with it…use it for His glory.  All of it.  We are willing to do that.  We are extending our gratitude by tithing what He has given us.  I  believe He likes to see us turning our life over to Him…in everything.  I want my home to feel welcoming and a safe haven.  I believe that is what God wants for our home, but He wants that in our lives as well.

I share this to encourage you to press forward with what is on your heart.  I’m not saying He will give you a car, or even things.  But I do believe He speaks to us differently, and so I remain open to BIG things but I serve a BIG God.  You know what your heart desires.  He will make a way when there is no other way.  Keep your eyes on Him.  This isn’t about my Mini.  It’s about a faithful God who loves me and shows me in all kinds of ways that He does.  And you know what?  It’s God’s Mini.  I am just blessed to use it.

What is your heart pondering?  Tell Him.  Ask Him.  Ask Him to show you.  He is faithful.  He loves to hear your heart’s desire confirmed in prayer.  Why?  Because it just may be Him who placed that desire in that spot of your heart, and now that you have turned it over to Him, He can move.  He customizes His stamp for each of us.  I pray you come to recognize His stamp in your life.

What dreams are you praying about?  How can I pray for you?

Walking the journey with you…

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P.S.  If you would like to share in the name selection for my Mini, please leave your ideas in the comments.  Might be something special IF your name is chosen.