are you ready to cozy up?

I’m sorry that as I type this, WordPress has made the titles in caps; it seems like I’m yelling. I don’t like the change. But here we are anyway.

So what was your answer to the title question? As we are officially now into Fall, are you ready to slow down and cozy up? It seems like a natural progression for this time of year. I love it! However, many just don’t know quite what to do with themselves. Why? Because they keep themselves so busy all the time, their minds never shut off and it is hard to relax.

I also look at the Fall leaves drifting to the ground. Last week we have had high wind warnings, and I went out and looked at what survived the wind storm. I have two burning bushes; one on the left and one on the right side of our deck steps. I went out and looked and it was naked…totally exposed! (Don’t look Ethel!!) Me? I was so disappointed. It was just becoming full and deep red and now nothing is on there. It reminded me of how we can live when we know Jesus. When I turn my life over to him, then I have to be willing to strip myself of all that I HAVE known, and let him cleanse me completely NEW. I am vulnerable yes, but only for a moment, and then a great God who loves me, will help me grow again through His guidance and my willingness to follow where He leads me. I remain willing to follow. The best part? I love how He speaks about the pace at which we are told to live. He talks about it quite often in His Word. But we can get to busy to do that too.

Fall speaks to me about about the need to cover myself. I am covered by His presence in my life. I am also covered with warm, cozy clothes during these winter storms and the months ahead. It is my favorite time of year! I love cozy sweaters and sweatshirts, comfy stretchy pants, comfort food, making bread, and warm drinks. It feels right in my world. Oh… and we can’t forget candles. What is your favorite part about Fall leading into Winter? I enjoyed taking the time to pull some chocolate mint off my plant and making some hot mint tea today. I don’t just enjoy sipping on it, but I enjoy the process of making it too. I savor those moments.

We went on a short road trip, which I will share about in the next post, and I was reminded of the color down at our eye level for us to see, but sometimes we need the reminder to look up. Long ago, and wonderful friend and mentor told me to always remember to look up; not when things are good or even really good, but when things are difficult and very hard also. Look up! I can’t count the number of times that I would have missed something glorious had I not remembered that advice and followed it. My header photo shows the majesty of Fall on the mountain! God is a great artist isn’t he? Photography is another way that I slow down and really see what is around me. God often speaks to me in those times, so that, I don’t miss out on what He wants me to see.

I hope you are finding ways to cozy up in your own schedule, home or work place. Don’t miss out on the opportunities for God to do something extraordinary in your life when you slow down enough to enjoy some “cozy” moments in your life? Yours will be different than mine, but I would love to hear about your cozy moments.

This post was just a cozy moment to touch base with you. I have shared some of this before and you can go back and read any of my posts from the main page. I hope you do and you find encouragement there. Let this Fall Season be a time when you let God blow away all those things that cling to you and weigh you down. Let them fall off so you can become totally free from them. Then, run and get into a cozy place, thank God for His love, and enjoy your favorite thing to do when you want to feel loved and a sense of belonging in your cozy place.

Until next time…

~JoAnn

“Kos”: A Way of Life

IMG_3789IMG_2953Knock…knock…come on in!  I have a story to tell!  The other day I did a happy dance because I received a book in the mail that I was so wanting.  It is all about making the Scandinavian waffle; not just a waffle, but all kinds of ways to serve the waffle.  I was very excited!  I tasted the Norwegian waffle while on my visit to Norway.  In the wonderful hospitality of my cousins, it was served like a dessert waffle with a jam and whipped cream on top and each one was heart-shaped.  They were very, very good and had a touch of cardamom flavor.  What a treat!  I immediately wanted the recipe.  I have a couple other books and recipes, and now, I have this book. I have learned the history of waffles also.  And the recipes!!  That is really fun!However, there was a word in this book that really grabbed my heart.  My soul immediately resonated with it.  I have been familiar with its feeling, and always leaned this way in my daily life and IMG_3725living.  But this word description put the finger on the pulse when I read it.  It is described as the Norwegian word “Kos”.  As with many languages, sometimes it takes many words to understand the meaning of one foreign word used, and this word is no exception.  If we tried to translate it, it seems the word “cozy” would best work.  Sort of…but not really.  It is really described as more of a life style.  It’s about the quality of life we live and making an atmosphere that totally makes you feel like, this is the life!  This is what it’s about.  But she talks about “Kos” not just being about the home, it’s also about getting together for coffee, or when you see someone you haven’t seen in a long time, or sharing a bonfire with snacks or hotdogs together with friends, neighbors and family.  It is also about being out in nature on a walk or hike, or sitting on a deck and just enjoying what you see around you.  Hearing the sounds, and breathing in life.

I remember sitting on the porch after arriving in Norway, at my cousin’s house, and we all just sat on the porch and took in the sights of the fjord, the sunset, and…coffee… with cake.  And…conversation.  We would also sit on the back porch in the mornings with our coffee and enjoy the view of the mountains and nature.  I felt that same feeling when I went with _DSF4797other cousins, to see my grandfather’s church, and where his siblings and family attended, were confirmed, and lived their life.  I walked the road where my grandfather walked and then went up the hill to where his house was.  I traveled with other cousins to learn of my father’s mother and her life in Norway, and my great-uncle, who was a pastor, and gave his life to ministry in Norway, and later in the US.  I walked inside of the house where my great-grandmother, grandmother and her sister lived.  That was on my mom’s side._DSF5052  I could imagine for a while what their life was like and how hard their life was.  I could also look out the window at the beautiful mountains across the valley.  I stood there a moment trying to imagine them waking up to that view every day!  What a view a view it was.  Did they stand at the window and dream about a time when they would leave these mountains and come to the land of plenty?  Did they dream about a way to make a better life for themselves and for their family by leaving Norway?  Maybe they prayed for provision and food enough to get by?  Maybe their prayers were answered by our presence there that day.  Stories…do we know them, or are we too busy to gather around small tables by oil light to listen? (I will allow you an electrical light too, or, candles are welcomed). Can we slow down enough to hear the stories?  Everyone has one.

I think “Kos” isn’t about the just looking and seeing, it is about the appreciating it all; having a heart response.  It is about taking time to give your heart and life a chance to slow down; take it in.  That is “Kos”.  It is about living in the moment.  Right now.  It is like sitting by a window or out on the porch at night, lighting a candle and enjoying the evening with a cup of your favorite thing…for me it would be a mocha or tea.  Finding complete satisfaction in the moment.  Feeling like this is what life is IMG_3726about.  Whether by yourself, or with others, it is about squeezing every bit of enjoyment out of each moment lived.  For me, one of them just recently was laying on the floor with my grandson and just talking and giggling.  Listening to his story.  I can remember many days going to my grandpa and grandma’s house after school and sometimes just sitting there in a rocker and rocking back and forth, the Generator wall clock is sharing it’s “tick-tock, tick-tock”, and the quiet…we just enjoyed being together.  I have memories of my grandfather taking the time to teach me how to play solitaire.  I play a game on my phone before I go to bed each night in his honor.  Time.  We all have it.  What are we doing with it?

I remember going on a hike up the mountain in Norway and as we approached this mountain cabin, there was a small group of friends that were outside and eating IMG_3723their lunch together.  They invited on in to share the circle with them.  We ate our snacks there and they offered us cookies and coffee.  Here we sat, strangers to them, my son and I, and yet they invited us in like they had known us for a long time.  We were invited into the cabin for a tour.  My heart fell in love with this cabin on the mountain.  It squeezed my heart a little to leave, but I left feeling the “Kos” that day for many reasons.  Walking back down the mountain, it WAS hard to put into words.  But I know the feeling because my heart recognizes it.

So today, I am writing this post to not only teach you a new word, but to encourage you to put some “Kos” in your life.  Figure out what that means for you, and then add it into your life style.  Bring the outside in.  Take your inside out.  You know that I love nothing more than to sit on a covered deck, even in the rain.  I enjoy the sound of the rain, and watching the flowers stand up straighter after a rain, the lawn becomes greener, and the air is fresh.  Our culture is getting too busy for “Kos”.  It should not be so.  Slow it on down!  Put the breaks on.  Hang a light in the window, take your shoes off and enjoy the steam from a hot cup of cocoa, coffee or tea.  Breathe in the moment and then say thanks.  Invite someone in to enjoy this time with you.  Make “Kos” your lifestyle.

_DSF4843I thank my Norwegian relatives for reminding me once again what life is about and what is important.  I think God wants us to live this way.  It was never His plan to be running so fast that we run away from life instead of running to it.  We are running so hard that we forget to look around us at nature and what God has given us.  We can’t even hear Him because we are too busy moving on to the next thing.  I came back home with a reinforced perspective about this area of my life!  I am passionate about it!  I implement it in my home as well.  I now understand why. It was how I was brought up.  But it still takes ME to implement it.  When we allow it, our heart and soul will speak.  When it does, we have no choice but to listen and follow if we want harmony in our lives.

I want “Kos” in every area of my life.  What about you?  See that picture to the left?  This is a road trip we took and we stopped for coffee and cake along the roadside.  What a way to travel!  Now that is “Kos”!  Getting the idea?

Walking the “Kos” journey with you…