The Dream of Big River Cabins

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“Live like no one else, so you can live like no one else.”  Have you heard that from attending a Dave Ramsey Financial Gathering?  We have, and we have tried to live that motto out in our lives for years.  Debt free-living.  There is a time when we have to say no to ourselves, so that, we can later say yes.  So… I’m excited to share a thought with you about an exciting new project in our lives!  With a lot of prayer and years of conversation about it, we believe this is our time to say yes.  Yes to us.  Yes to our kids.  Yes to dreams,  Yes to possibilities.

What did we say yes to, you ask?  We said yes to purchasing a recreational piece of property where hubby and I can go to get-away.  A place where our family can also get away from life’s stresses and enjoy a campfire, quiet time, and nature.  A place where dreams can be made, planned for, prayed over, and manifested, in the beautiful nature God made for us to enjoy.  Is it all fancy?  Nope.  But it is a diamond in the rough.  And I’m not afraid to rough it a little to have the enjoyment of simplicity of life.

IMG_1988It’s so easy NOT to take a risk.  It can be scary stepping out.  I think too often we get so tied up in the culture of our lifestyle, that we forget to come away for a while.  Sit around a campfire.  Roast marshmallows.  Make s’mores.  Read a good book in front of a wood burning fire, (We have one outside and inside there!  Happy me!), play a guitar, Uke, harmonica or whatever you may play, or just enjoy music from our play list without doing anything else while we listen.  Enjoy the sky, eagles we see, the mountain ranges,  take walks on the trails just to see where they go, and enjoy the deep green of luscious trees that are so much a part of our area.

Instead, its easy for us to get our coffee in the morning and then get on the treadmill of life.  We might even forget to make prayer talk with Jesus a morning priority, and we just hit the road running.  Is that what you really want?  Is it the way you really want to live every day?  I hope not.  I hope that you want more.  More of the above.  Plus, more family time.  More parents time,  more grandparents time.  More down time.  And the BIG deal????  Not feeling guilty for wanting or taking part in it.

IMG_1926It’s been a learning curve for me to come to this point. That is for sure!  You see, sometimes we might see something exceptional that someone else has done, and how easily we forget that they have made a tremendous sacrifice of some kind to get where they are or have what they have.  Sometimes we let a little envy come forth.  However, even though it has taken a lot of time and living differently in order for this purchase to come to fruition, we couldn’t be happier to have made this decision.

How can we get better at this idea of finding out own time and space to do this?  For me, I am the type of person that can easily jump in to help someone with a project.  I am a “helps” type person.  But even as I sit at my desk to write this, I have just said no to a couple more things.  It wasn’t because they were not good things.  They were GREAT things.  However, we have to be aware of what is most important.  It’s not always about us, or, saying yes to please someone.  There may be more in my life I have to say no to, but I will wait for that direction to come.  Maybe we need to learn to be willing to step aside to allow someone else to step into our place, and allow them to maybe do an even better job than what we did.  If we lead well, then we train or teach someone else how to track our path.  And maybe, just maybe, the results might be that it leads to you walking around with less burden on your shoulders.  We are our own worse enemy for carrying way more than we need to.  You are the only that can make those changes for yourself.

IMG_1915I realize you might be saying, “Well, that is good for you.  You don’t have the obligations I do.  My kids are small, we don’t have a lot of money, or we aren’t in a position to do that.”  I would say to that, change some things so you can eventually BE in that position to take advantage of the opportunity! Start now. You are the only one that can change it.  It may not look like our project, but make it your goal to plan for your own place to go!  It has taken us a long time to be in this position, and we have had to make many, many sacrifices to do so.  But it’s possible!!  So if you don’t see me writing a lot, this little piece of heaven might be why.  I will have fun dialing down, being off the grid, and having the ability to do some of the things that I haven’t had time for.  I am also kind of excited to have a quiet place to study uninterrupted.  And… even more fun, I have another place to decorate… a very creative project for me!  All those extra items I wasn’t sure how to use here in our little Bungalow, will now have a new place to live and be comfortable.

IMG_0443I believe we will make great memories at Big River Cabins, and it is my hope that we leave a legacy of, living a good life, behind for the kids.  It is our desire to live as a positive example to those around us.  At least that is our goal.  Let’s remember that people around us watch our example.  What do they see and learn from you about Jesus and His provision for your life? What do they learn about daily living by watching you?  Yes.  That question has kicked me in the backside when I think about it too.  Isn’t God great??  He cares about every little thing that concerns us.

Let’s leave a legacy behind that our kids, grandkids, and our circle of friends want to emulate.  It is my legacy.  What do you want your legacy to look like?

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.

 

Rains of Change

This is a post that I had written quite some time ago, actually in September of 2011 and never posted it. So as I was reviewing it, I realized it started that day! I now see the pieces coming together.

In Washington, we have a lot of experience with rain. However, we also enjoy the beautiful lush green color that goes with it! We know a refreshing rain is good for many things. One of those things is the freshness to the air we breathe. So, as I sat yesterday inside my cozy office, I was thinking about that. I decided to take a moment and I went outside to listen and to watch as the rains came down.

As I watched the rain and saw this little plant, I realized, or God chose to remind me, “so it is with our lives”. We need times of refreshing so that we can continue to grow and revive our weary souls. New beginnings so to speak; renewed every morning. We may decide on a different direction for our lives, a move, re-arrange our home or decor, or maybe even our change our schedules so that we CAN have more times for the soft rain of change to happen. It brings peace and calmness to our souls. You may be in a torrent of rain right now, but all the more important for you to really pray over these words for your life circumstances. Ask God to reveal Himself in the circumstances.

So here is what I felt as I watched the rain. I feel change coming. Have you ever had one of those seasons where you feel like something is about to happen and you aren’t sure what? You are kind of excited but not sure what God is up to? I have been living with this feeling for a long time. I feel God calling me to rely on the Holy Spirit for direction. I am in preparation for something yet unknown, but its going to be great! Crazy, huh? But…exciting!

I think that is the whole idea, though, don’t you? He wants us to live in expectancy of His next move or work. But we have to lay a foundation for that work before hand. Think about this…satan lays his groundwork before he plays out his full hand. Have you ever thought about that? He doesn’t just hit you with an attack. He has been laying ground work by planting doubt, discouraging you with circumstances, causing insecurities, hurt in relationships and anything else he can come up with. Then, before we know it, he is inside our door! One little chink in our armor and he will use that to turn your life upside down. Spend time with the Lord and let His refreshing rain fall over you and give you what you need when you need it. Use the Word to stand against it, pray always, so you are laying a solid groundwork!

What refreshing rains are falling on you?  What will you re-arrange so that you can have times of refreshing in your life? You see, 10 months later, I am finding out that there is a move in my future to a different home, and selling the home we have lived in for over three years. He is moving me into a different season and I am moving forward TOWARDS it as each day passes!

Funny isn’t it? No…not funny, but exciting to see the hand of God move in our lives and see all the pieces of the puzzle start coming together. God bless you as you throw the umbrella away and let the soft rains of change wash over you! Walking the journey with you…in the rain!

What Crows Are Heckling You?

Do you ever feel like circumstances of life or other people are keeping you from living the life you would like to live? I know I have. A couple of weeks ago, I heard this awful, loud, noise coming from somewhere close to my house. I went in search of what it could be and as I got closer to the back of our house, it got louder. I opened the back door and walked out to see one tree in particular completely covered and surrounded by crows! I couldn’t imagine where they all came from. There was at least 40-50 of them! I knew from reading about eagles, the crows must have an eagle surrounded. As I got closer, I saw a young eagle sitting down in the branches. The crows were acting crazy and the eagle just sat there.

I felt this sudden urge to come to the rescue and help that eagle out! I went over by the tree and made some loud, most likely, unfeminine, type noises and waved my arms in the air. As I did that, the crows attention was diverted from the eagle to this crazy lady running around making noises. At that precise moment, the eagle took flight. Before he could get very far, he was surrounded by several crows trying to get at his wings and keep him from flying. But the eagle just spread those beautiful wings and flew off with the crows still trying their best to keep him distracted and heckle him. I saw this very same thing again just this last weekend while enjoying the day at the Lake. I think it has such a perfect message to all of us! (The picture came from this last weekend.)

Just like the eagle, there may be something in our lives that God wants to change:

  • A new direction He is giving us with our family
  • A specific area we need to improve.
  • Draw closer to Him.
  • Changes in our finances
  • A ministry with our church
  • Reading the Bible on a more regular basis

Whatever it is, He wants a more intimate relationship with you, SO THAT, you can affect the lives of those around you and show God’s love in a way others can see. But just like that eagle, we have those “crows” in our lives that want us to feel less effectual. Bring us down. Shoot down our ideas or endeavors. Keep us distracted. Those circumstances or people want to keep you grounded from ever taking flight!  You may hear such things as:

  • “That would never work.”
  • ” You are way too fanatical for me since you became a Christian.”
  • “Where’s God in THAT?!”
  • “You could never minister to someone with the problems YOU have.”
  • “You are such a dreamer!”
  • “Your life is such a mess!”

What do I know? I know that God has a plan for each of us. He wants to speak to us and keep our dreams alive! He is the author of dreams! He wants to use us. The eagle isn’t afraid of the crows! They are just an annoyance. So the eagle will wait until they get tired of annoying him, or are distracted, and then he will take flight!

That’s a good lesson for us. Those annoyances around us are just that; satan and/or our own thinking trying to keep us from our best. Surrender it all to Him. Let God give wind to your wings so that you can be strong like the eagle and fly to places God wants to take you. Eagles have focused vision and can see clearly for a VERY long distance. The eagle didn’t keep looking back to see how close the crows were. He kept his focus forward on his destination; away from the crows.

God wants to do that for you today! He will give you focus on the next stream of refreshing! What or who are the crows in your life that keep you from being who God wants you to become? Do you have some radical person that will come to your rescue and chase away the crows to help you focus on where you need to be going? Just like the eagle did, wait on Him snuggled down in His branches, until He gives you the all clear, and then fly like you have never flown before! He will take you to places you never dreamed of! That is a promise!