This…Right Here, Is The Best!

Before I begin the post, I just want to take a moment to wish all the Moms out there a blessed and wonderful Mother’s Day.  You are amazing!  My mom was one of those amazing people.  She was there for me; behind me to support and to help when I needed it.  She went through a bad patch when I was in high school for a couple of years, but God took care of that matter.  She was always willing to help someone, and loved to craft and had many projects going at one time.  She was also known to have a completely different looking room or house by the time we got home from school.  It was wild a few times!  I will always be grateful for all she did for me, my home, my kids and my life.  Thanks mom.

How many joys and blessings do we miss out on because we don’t see them, or we take them for granted?  I have been thinking about that this week as I have pursued getting healthy after a horrible sinus infection.   I have a trip coming up in two weeks and I don’t want to deal with being sick while I am gone.  I am better but still not 100%.  As I rested and resisted pushing myself, I was thinking about the opportunities that God has given me in my life.  It’s so easy to get cruising with life, and forget that we have the life we have because of the blessings God has bestowed on us.  It has once again caused a shift in my thinking.  I seem to have had a lot of those shifts lately.  I think God has a plan.

Because of this shift, I found myself on my first drive out after being sick, pulling in to park at our home, and just feeling an overwhelming sense of thankfulness for our home.  God has been good to us, providing this home, and giving us many of the items we desired to have in our home.  For me, He has given me many of the dreams that I was looking for in a home for this season of my life.  That isn’t just happenstance.  I have found myself, in spite of the troubles with my eyes and sinus these last months, feeling very thankful for being healthy over all, and able to take this trip without worry or concern.  It has filled me with wonder as I consider God’s provision to take my middle son and my grandson on this trip. I’m also very thankful to have a husband who believes that this is important enough in my life and that of the boys, to help make it happen.  It means so much to me.  It is hard to describe how I feel when I go to Norway.  It is like going home.  It is hard to explain, but it is there non-the-less…that deep connection.

That anticipation has continued as the sunny days showed up this week and last weekend.  I loved being out on the deck and enjoying it.  I was out there most of the day.  Again, not missing the moments of flowers growing, a hummingbird coming to visit, the quiet, the breeze, and an overwhelming sense of feeling “just right” with the world.   I realized that I don’t want to miss any of those kind of moments.  I want to:

  • take the time
  • see the sunset
  • see what is around me that God has given me to enjoy
  • be a legacy example of how to live

I don’t want to just see it, but see it in the way that helps me experience it at that moment.    I want to have more and more of those times when I say, “Wow!  This right here?  This is living!  This is a great moment!”  As Andy Andrews talks about, “It is also about creating those perfect moments…”.  I agree.  I do that for myself and family whenever I can.  It is just a great way to live.  We have to become intentional about it, however.  I have become more and more aware of how God wants me to stay in tune with that.

I was even excited to get my old glass frames with new prescription lenses put in them, so I have glasses that not only work better, but I like them better than my current glasses.  So now, I feel better about that too each day.  Saved $200 by doing it that way too.  Score!  It’s in the little things that God does for us that makes up the whole of a life well-lived.

As I have thought about the upcoming trip, I am having fun planning and executing the schedule so it comes together well.  I have my ironing board out to iron this next week so I can finish packing.  I have connected with the airline to find out what time we need to be at the airport, and about checking bags, and all those little details.  What fun!  My youngest son is bringing his brother and nephew down to the airport, so we will meet up and have a nice lunch before going to the airport to check in.  The anticipation of going is pretty exciting for the three of us.  This will be Ethan’s first time on a plane, let alone traveling internationally.   I got a kick out of him as we talked about the money.  He thought it was so dumb that our money wasn’t the same as theirs, and that given one day or a few days later, could be worth even less, or maybe worth more.  So cute.  But he will learn all about that exchange first hand.   Learning first hand is always best.  I hope this trip will be something they will never forget.  I love the idea of giving them some historical background about where they came from.  I am also very thankful to those who make it possible while we are there, to meet up, and share history with us.  And of course, anytime I can walk outside and immediately see the fjord, I feel like I am getting a glimpse of heaven.  I thank God every day I am there for the beauty!

So grab those moments of joy where everything feels right.  Create them in your lives, as well as in the lives of those around you.  Don’t wait for the special times to come to you.  Instead create them.  Look for them.  Take pictures of them.  Write them down.

Speaking of writing them down… I now have a prayer wall.  I have a window between my cabin/office and the dining room.  It is a wavy glass window; not real practical.  I have my kitchen queen on the dining room side, and so I thought I might as well make good use of my side.  So I made it into my prayer wall.  It’s coming along nicely.  I’m digging in and not letting the devil get any foot hold here!  Prayers up!!!

While I am on a rabbit trail of good things to help make us strong, I am also reading Priscilla Shirer’s book called, Fervent.  GREAT book!!  That will fire you up!!!

I will close this post with a hope that you are finding more in your life to notice that is good, than what isn’t going the way you want right now.  It’s so much more fun to look for what is right than what is wrong.  A whole new perspective will come into view!  It is my wish that you think again about what makes life good for you and do more of it!  It’s all waiting for you…call it in.

God bless you to that end.

~JoAnn

 

Don’t Miss Out

Dad's Harmonica

I know I have talked about his before, but this blog is about the journeys of my heart.  So, I will once again share today’s heart journey with you.

You know, as we get older, there are people we begin to lose from our lives, and the older we get the more of them we lose. I don’t have too many in the generation above me left now.  I have become the last generation, except for just a few.  I just recently received a photo of my grandfather in his element, working as a contractor/builder.  I loved seeing this for the first time!  As I was putting my grandpa’s picture in the picture frame to hang in my bedroom, I realized that this is yet another reminder to me of another time.  While enjoying the memory of the photo,  I received a phone call about another cousin who passed away.  There are have been many cousins who have left this earthly realm just recently.  So much of my childhood memories were spent with our family and extended family. We did holidays together, potlucks, reunions, overnight stays on weekends, and camp outs at the beach or lake.  We would ride bicycles in the summer time to meet up and play together.  When one family needed something and the other had it, we shared.  If one family was a bit short on groceries, they would be invited to dinner, or a package would appear on their door step.  Many of us might remember hearing our parents or grandparents talk about the “old days.”  I sometimes feel like I am now living the “old days”.  I have also come to understand why they said the things they used to say.  It enriches our lives when we understand more.  Ask questions if they are still with you or ask people who may have known them, to share a story or memory or two.  You can get to know them all over again!

IMG_4167
Grandma and little feet sharing life.

This particular man, my cousin, was happy all the time. Always had a smile on his face, and would always find something to tease me about. He enjoyed making me blush.  He was a ski instructor. I remember seeing him always wearing sweaters. I always thought that being a ski instructor was such a cool job to have. Kind of a status symbol to me since most men I knew as a child were blue-collar workers.  He was a ski instructor!  I mean, if you loved skiing, what better job could you have than to teach it, and be out doing what you love all the time!  He also loved music and he could play a one and half-inch harmonica like it was a full size one. In later years, he carried it around his neck on a chain and would entertain anyone around, that wanted to listen to him, with a tune or two.  Then he would ask, “How about that?”

My dad had three harmonicas.  One of them was mini harmonica.  He could also play that like it was his big harmonica.  I was always amazed that such a sound could come from something so small!  My older brother now keeps company with that little harmonica, and younger brother has his medium harmonica.  Thinking these thoughts, reminds me that life is very short, and spending time with each other and sharing memories is so important. Time goes so fast!  In the end, the memories we have and make, are what we have to share with OUR families.  My cousin’s music and story will live on in the lives of his wife and family.

A harmonica is rather special instrument to me because my dad played. I have his harmonica and I take it out and play it as best I can. I wish I could truly play because it is something that reaches deep in my soul every time I take it out. I can remember times when dad played with this cousin, and other relatives, and oh what fun it was to listen and watch.  You can see by the pictures that my dad taped and re-taped the box so that it would stay together to protectIMG_1500 his harmonica.  I treasure the box almost as much as I do the instrument because it just shows a little of my dad’s personality.  I have shown this box to my grandson many times as a part of his treasure box of memories that we go through when he comes to see me.  I try to add things all the time to that box so he has different stories to hear.  Someday, that box will be his, and possibly the harmonica as well.

So…today I remind you to consider choosing a legacy for yourself that can be told in years to come by your family.  Make memories today that will last a life time. Don’t let the music stop because loved ones are gone. Keep their song of life going.  I think when we do, THAT is when we truly understand them and the life they lived.  I think I know more of the heart of my parents and family now then I ever did!  If this hasn’t been your experience to have a family unit like this, then my wish for you is that you will decide today to be a generation changer.  You can always begin anew to set a legacy for yourself and your future.  I pray you do.

My song of life still has some verses to add, how about you?

Walking the journey with you…

The Legacy Continues

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Today starts a new legacy for something that I have had in my home for about ten years, but has always been a part of my life. What is that, you ask? My dad’s jewelry box. I don’t know about yours, but my dad’s jewelry box was a treasure box of stored goodies. Anything from jewelry to an old ceramic marble could be found in there! One of my favorites? A little tiny bible that you can actually read out of. It was so cool and we had to be very careful when we opened it so nothing would happen to it. I don’t know the story behind that bible or where it came from, but I know it was always there as far back as I can remember. I have that Bible today and Ethan finds as much joy in that little book as I did. As a child, I loved to browse that jewelry box often. He even had coins and silver dollar bills and some $2 bills that could be found in there. Good times and memories!

So this weekend as Ethan and I were talking, he mentioned he really wanted a jewelry box for his ring and a few necklaces he had. So I thought today was a good day to share more of the story, empty out the items and send it home with him. I also told him how much I know my folks would have loved to meet him and that they would be proud of him wanting that old jewelry box for his treasures! He was very excited and told me how he was going to take such great care of it. I love passing the legacy of stories along to him. That is how he can learn more about where he comes from.

So I am happy to report it went into his little backpack to its new home and somehow I feel that mom and dad are looking down with big smiles today on that little boy who wanted that box.

Sharing life…walking the journey with you…

Journey Back Home

Memories Lasst
JoAnn’s Memories

As I was filling up my “good glass” with ice tea the other day, I was reminded of my “life motto” that I made several years back to drink out the good glass every day.  At the time that I decided that was important in my life, I had already lost my mom and then several years later, my dad.  I was thinking back over my times with them and my grandparents, and realized that sure, it is all stuff; stuff that they couldn’t take with them, but, that I now have.  That means that these items are now mine to enjoy, as they obviously did because it was a part of their household.  Why would that idea come to mind to use an item as a way to remember the blessings of my life?

Here is my little journey of thought on that question.  Background:  When I was a young girl, I spent a lot of time with my grandma.  My mom never learned to drive so when we

Where does your journey lead?
Where does your journey lead?

would travel to my grandma’s house, we would either ride down early with my dad and he would drop us off before work, or we would pay ten cents per person, and ride the shuttle car into to town.  Now this shuttle car was a green station wagon owned by a man who lived in Cedarhome, just outside of Stanwood in Washington state.  He would get up every day and drive from Stanwood up to Brandstrom’s corner(up close to I-5), which was about a five mile trip, to meet the Greyhound bus.  He would take people from the bus stop by the highway into the town of Stanwood.  So anyone along the way, could stand out by the road and catch a ride with him.  We would watch for his car and flag him down.  THAT was our way back and forth from town; once in the morning, and once in the afternoon.  Special arrangements would have to be made with him for other times.  He knew us well.  So it was a big thing to go to Grandma’s house on our own while dad was at work.

My Grandma had everyday dishes, and then she had her good dishes that were used for special holidays.  But somewhere along the way, she had this plate and was “different”.  It was creamy white and rose colored, with these beautiful roses on it.  I was attracted to the plate as a little girl and it became “my plate” to eat off of.  Grandma knew I loved that plate so she would try to make sure that it was at my place setting for me.  I have never forgotten that.  And that is still kind of my style to this day.  I love old and pretty things that have meaning to me.  My house is full of them.  So it is quite natural for me to come to the conclusion that my “one glass that I have of hers” is used most every day.  Or, that I would purchase that special cup to drink my mocha from, or, to share a mocha across the table with a friend.

Further, when my kids were little, I had a special red plate that they got to use on birthdays or special occasions that we could write a message on.  They loved getting that plate set at their place setting when they were young.  Ethan, my grandson, knows the story of drinking from the good cups and glasses, and he will ask for them at my house.  He knows the meaning of many of my things in my home and I feel it is a way to pass on the legacy.  Items may be just stuff, but it all has a story.  I’m sad that I couldn’t have my grandma long enough to be OLD ENOUGH, to share how much those things meant to me as a child.  So I don’t want that to be the case with me.  I want to share the stories.  I was given a set of silverware a while back by a very good friend; the set was her mother’s.  When I opened the case, I found the set was the very one that was my grandma’s and then my mom’s.  SO fun to use at my table now.  But also in that case was a very beautiful vintage fork.  It now has become my daily fork.  It reminds of some great people in my life!  Like a reminder every day of my blessings!

So, you might ask, what does this have to do with me?  A lot.  We all have things in our life that we need to share with someone.  Your story. Your life.  But many may not know.  It is something that only you can tell.  And, it IS worth telling.  I often wish I could sit with my grandparents and parents and ask the questions that I didn’t quite feel comfortable asking them as a young person.  Not sure where the idea came from that I wouldn’t be able to ask, but I sure do wish I would have.  However, I can make the memories all come alive again through the stories and experiences that I have!  What a blessing a legacy is!

So this is the deal:  Life is an exciting journey and I want to live mine out to the fullest extent that I am given.  I am excited about life over all; hardships and all.  But you know what excites me even more?  That I have a Heavenly Father that is saving not only the special table for me to sit down at, but He is saving a room just for me in His mansion in Glory.  Now that is something to celebrate!!  Maybe mine will be decorated with old furniture and vintage decor.  I don’t know.  Smile…but He does know my heart.  To think I am invited to His banqueting table to enjoy meals with the saints, well…that just does my heart a whole lotta good!  So I am going to practice here on earth with special dishes, glasses and cups so that I am ready for that heavenly banquet.  If my earthly family benefits from my practice, so much the better!  Don’t lose out by forgetting to remember.  God has given us what we have, and we should appreciate it and share it with others.  So, grab that special glass that you are afraid to use in case something happens to it!  Use it.  Enjoy the memories that come with it!  And smile all the while knowing that with Jesus in your heart, you will be enjoying the ultimate feast with the most beautiful table you have ever seen… sometime in your future.

Lift your glass or cup to some comforting and cozy times!  Walking the journey with you…

Where Do You Go?

If you could choose a place where you can go when you need to be refreshed, where would it be? Where can you go, that when you get there, you can dial down, hear God’s voice, and actually feel your spiritual tank getting filled back up? In Romans 15:32, it says “… so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and together with you be refreshed.”

My place?  Anywhere near the water. That’s a beach, ocean, river, stream; it doesn’t matter. I love to sit and look out on the water. When I am there, I can feel my body calming down, I can breathe deep of the fresh air and feel the relaxation that the water brings to my soul. The ocean is one of my most favorites but I will take what I can get where I am, which is usually the bay, a lake or river. I can think and create there, and it is there that often times God places special things in my heart. If we know our place of replenishment, then why don’t we go there more often? We know what it can do for us, we know it gets our creative juices flowing again, and that our spirit is renewed. So, what is the problem?

I think it has to do with what we tell ourselves. What do you tell yourself that keeps you from being in that spot where you can be lifted up? Is it the time? You might have to do somethings differently to make it happen, but you can. Is it children? It may mean taking kids along with you. Make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and milk with you. GO! Even if it is cold, you can go with the kids and have a car picnic and enjoy the view and talk about all things fun with your kids while you look out, see the beauty, and let God speak into your heart. Even a ride through the country can change a mood pretty quickly when you see the beauty all around you. Maybe it isn’t the water at all but a country farm, or a hike. Whatever it may be, find it. Search it out. If it is just you and your sweetheart, then pack a love basket, bundle up and go for a walk on the beach, and look for shells, or just go for a drive. If you are a camera bug like me, make some memories with your camera. BUT DO SOMETHING!

What if you can’t get to a beach or to your special place outside the home? Ladies, our home is our sanctuary. Find that place in your home that can give you that same kind of lift! It may be a corner of a room with a chair and light next to it. Make it your corner. Add your favorite reading materials, your bible and maybe get a candle to place there when you are sitting there. The man’s spot may be in front of the fireplace, out fishing, or in his work shop. For me? I have my office. I love it there and it is the first place I set when we  have moved. Why? Because I know I need that in my life. It’s my creative space. In my office, I have a little fountain that I run that also helps me feel close to the water. I love the sound. I have candles to light up my life. I have music that makes my heart sing. Key word: do SOMETHING!

God wants some time with you, when you aren’t distracted. When you can hear His voice, and it is quiet enough in your spirit to be refreshed. Let’s go to that place! Know where it is! Let’s get refreshed! Let’s ask God to help us arrange it. Let’s ask Him to speak specifically in that place of renewal. I’m ready! My car is packed. My camera is in the back seat! I want to hear what He will give me next! How about you? Let’s go!

God bless you as you find the “sweet spot” where you can be refreshed with Him. Walking the journey with you….