What Have You Missed?

Family…a circle of individuals, that even if you grew up together and experienced the same family unit, are all different.  Their perceptions of experiences are unique to them, and unique in how they see it.  I know for me, when I talk to my kids about their time growing up, I sometimes ask myself, “What house did they grow up in?!?!?!??”

View from her mother’s sleeping room.

So in the last week or so as I have read letters that my mother wrote to relatives in Norway, I found myself learning about things I didn’t know.  Things she protected her children from…such as the grief she felt after losing her brother.  We kids knew that it was hard for her, and we all felt anger towards the irresponsibility of the driver that was driving a large work truck while drunk, and crossed into the oncoming traffic.  Even though he was in a line of five cars and the third one back, he was killed instantly.  I went on to read in her letters about how she lost her dad only about eleven or so months after losing her brother and the difficulty she was having to even get a letter out to the person she was writing to.  I feel bad that I was less attentive to what she was going through.  I remember those life moments, but as kids, we don’t always get all the ramifications.  We are in school and/or working a job, keep ourselves busy because that is our life at the time.  It can also be that we don’t know how to deal with it or want to replay the emotions of losing someone special ourselves, so we in turn, aren’t prepared to give the comfort where we could to someone who needs it.  As I’m my case, where although I was old enough to understand my uncle wasn’t coming back, I wasn’t mature enough to understand how deeply that would affect my mother.  When I read about her struggle almost a year later from losing her brother and then her father, my heart hurts for what she felt.  And…I wish I had realized.  Sometimes, we think our parents are so invincible that nothing can take them down.  However, that isn’t true.  They are hurting and yet have to press on in life.  When she is home alone, and writing a letter, safety permits a peek into the honesty of her heart as she writes the letter.  The door of the heart is opened a bit.

 

Why am I sharing this with you?  Well…a couple of reasons.  One of them is that we need to be open to share our lives and feelings with our kids and grandkids.  Tell your story at the age level they can understand.  Let them know when you hurt so they can better understand their own hurt and know they can trust you with their hurts.  We don’t want to be the one who says, “Man!  I wish I would have asked more questions of my mom and dad to know and understand their life and how it was for them!”  Ask the questions.  Get the story.  Otherwise all you have are fragments of their lives and more questions than answers sometimes.  I know in my case, I asked some questions.  With my grandparents, most of the answers never came.  It may have been difficult for them to talk about too given what they experienced in their lives before coming here and then the hardship of making a life for themselves once they arrived.  Then again, it seems to be kind of a Norwegian trait to keep those things to themselves.

Her mother’s house that she grew up in.
The valley where her mother’s house first sat.

The second reason is this.  Regrets can paralyze you.  We all have a few that we think we can handle.  But it’s better to live without them.  Mom never drove.  That was her choice.  However, it isolated her from doing things she could have done to enjoy her life even more.  I was her chauffeur, but she had to wait 15 1/2 years for that to happen.  I think she would have enjoyed her life a bit more freely if she had been willing to learn to drive.  Many offered.  It can be a bit lonely.  So I would say to you, show interest in the stories you hear now.  Record them telling the stories while they are here to share them.  One day you won’t be able to say, “Hey Mom/Dad…or Hey Grandma/Grandpa…” or whoever it may be.  I read these letters where my mom talks about wanting so much to go to Norway and see relatives.  She wanted to see where her parents grew up and what they did for a living there.  Wow!  Wouldn’t I love a little bit of time with my parents and grandparents to share what I saw and learned while I visited Norway.  Your story is all a part of you.  Tell your story…write your story…put together a picture story.  Whatever works for you, but share it.  One day, you may come to understand yourself better because of it.

I know.  You are busy.  But your parents, grandparents, and their siblings did a lot for you.  Slow down.  Put down the phone.  Shut off the TV.  Shut down the computer.  Tell their story.  Tell your story.  It’s the next best seller book you can read with your family.  I have a treasure box for my grandson that I made when he was little.  It has all kinds of things in there that tell about myself and my parents and grandparents.  Each time he came, something was added, and he would want to go through it.  It is a very fun way to share your life story with them.  They love stories…especially when it is about someone they know and love.  And if you love your parents and grandparents and family, even though, as in Ethan’s case where he never meant them in person, he knows about them and the kind of people they were.  That blesses me, and someday, I think he will be very glad grandma shared it with him.

This is another wake up call for me.  Live well. Live long…as the Lord allows.  Life is full of lessons.  Listen to those who have learned them, so that, you can better share your legacy.

Until next time…

~JoAnn

 

 

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Remember to… Stand Up

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Boy!  Are you feeling the waves of life hitting you today?  I have to say, I sure am feeling it.  So when these kinds of things happen for me, I seek out the things that will bring my heart back into alignment.  What do I do?

  • I start with a mocha in the morning.  img_6696
  • I don’t just drink it from the cup.
    •        I ENJOY the taste of it, enjoy the cup I use, and the place where I am drinking it.  The whole thing becomes an experience.
  • I dial down.
  • I listen for the birds talking.
  • I ask God to give me the perspective I need for my situation.
  • I and The Captain are taking a drive,  which is always a treat in my car!
  • The Captain and I are driving to the ocean today, and that is one place where I can FEEL my rhythm come back.
  • I begin to put hearts in my Gratitude Jar to remember what God HAS done.
  • I ask God to give me the love in my heart that only He can give.
  • I stay in the Word and study on a regular basis.  That in itself, gives me more knowledge and it reminds of how God wants me to live.
  • When I am in the Word, it also keeps my focus in the right place, and on the right things.

img_6687This was challenged this week as it become very apparent that my sweet vintage range is not going to be something that I can keep.  (I am going to sell it though, if anyone is interested.)  So begins our search for a range.  We have looked at so many, trying to find information and make a decision about what would be best for my kind of cooking.  It can be overwhelming.  Of course, money is an issue also.  I’m trying to be gracious about what I get and the money that is spent.  I am also having to get a fridge and so in order to do both, I may have to spend less on my range.  I could feel my attitude tanking a bit after going around to see so many different ranges that I would love to have.  My attitude surfaces: “I mean, how many times do I have to compromise?”  And THEN… the Holy Spirit taps my shoulder and reminds me of what He HAS done:

  • my ongoing faith journey with God
  • the car I drive
  • the car my hubby drives
  • the house I have
  • the extra for some of the work in the house
  • the remodeling I have been able to do
  • the back yard paradise

Aren’t we funny creatures?  We have the waves of life hit us, and we let them come and pull us under.  But really, all we have to do is stand up!  When we do, the waves aren’t nearly as high.  I know many of you are dealing with waves way worse than a decision about a range.  But the premise is the same.  We have to allow God to work.  We can’t sit in the waves, wonder why they are so rough, and why they won’t stop. They won’t.  They may become less ominous, but they won’t go away.  There will be another one.  It is best that we learn how we can stand up against them and move forward, and even away from the big ones.  Let the waves wash away the ugly and take it with.  What comes back is fresh and new.

Getting back to my revelation about what I had been given, there many.  Too many to count.  Then… I have to ask for forgiveness.  Yep. I silently ask God to forgive me, and give me what He thinks would be best for our kitchen.  And as I have done before, I lay it down and ask Him to give me joy; joy that I can even GET a new range and fridge.

ocean-for-two-3I once again heard a song this last week called, “Leave It There”.  Boy!   That is so fitting for me this week.  Take all my burdens to the Lord and leave it there.  So, once again, God knows what the desires of my heart are… He cares… and He will do what is best for me.

And maybe, just maybe, our TV will quit working.

Walking the journey with you…

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A Great Book, Flashlight and Warm Covers

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When you were a child, did you ever get a good book from the library, you took it home, started reading it and it was so good that you had to read into the night? You even faced the discipline of parents to sneak the book into bed, wait until lights were out, turned on the flashlight, under the covers, and read? Your parents wouldn’t see the light through the blankets, right??? Hahaha! Yep! That was me!!! It still is one of my most favorite things!

img_7892Well, yesterday, I experienced that feeling all over again! I was privileged to receive an advanced read for the book, “Maybe It’s You” by Candace Calvert, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. As soon as I figured out the technical side of downloading it, I started reading. No housework catch up, a few hours break to hurry up and make something for hubby to eat, and back at it again. All. night. long. Laying in bed this time with no covers over my head, but the room is dark and only lit by my Kindle, but the feeling is the same. I felt just like a kid with a great book that I just had to finish… in the dark… but this time, on a device that would have shocked my parents. I think secretly, they liked that I read so much.

Why did I do the sleep deprived thing? BECAUSE! It was THAT good! She totally had me at “chocolate chip sea salt cookie”. It was a story about second chances,  love, truth spoken out of the mouth of a babe, doing what is right even when you know it will cost you, and how grace makes way for forgiveness. Absolutely loved this story. I have been following Candace’s books for years and like all others, this one really spoke to me.  God allows u-turns and second chances. What is in our past doesn’t have to determine our future.  God will see to that if we allow Him.  Candace weaves the story like no other and her personality comes out in her characters. You will find yourself laughing out loud, and then crying along with the characters…yep tears in the dark lit by Kindle light. So… you just have to read until 5 a.m. to find out what happens…just like when I was a kid reading under the covers. AND…you know what? Washington State is mentioned. Tickled me pink!!!!

I would highly recommend this book! I would recommend that you go right now to her website or Amazon and pre-order it! Seriously! It will be hard to put down!!! Sloane, her main character, has a lot to say to us!  Her website is: http://CandaceCalvert.com or Facebook http://facebook.com/candacecalvertbooks.  Here is a link to the first chapter!  http://candacecalvert.com/ChapterOneMaybeItsYou.pdf

 

~JoAnn

Set Aside Complaint

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Set aside complaint?  Are you KIDDING me?  I have a lot to complain about Lord!  I mean, look at what’s happened in the last few months!  I am not supposed to complain about it?  I am about to burst at the seams with complaints!!  It like that time when you had a mouth full of pop or something, and you are just about to burst out laughing?!  It wants to come out!!  But, you are telling me to set aside complaint and put on a smile.  Set aside complaint and change my expression.  That’s a tall order!

I kind of feel like Job in my life over the last two months, in particular.  But you know, he never complained, even though he lost family, home, possessions, friends, cattle…everything!  So when God gave me this picture yesterday and the scripture to go with it, I guess I was supposed to “get” this message!  I pondered these thoughts for a while, giving myself time to understand what God was telling me.  Here are a few thoughts:

  • It doesn’t ever do any good to complain really.
  • It doesn’t make me feel any better.
  • It doesn’t change the situation.
  • It doesn’t make those around us feel any better.
  • It doesn’t honor God either.

Job had to trust God even though all he saw was chaos.  I am choosing to do the same.  I tell Him out loud several times a day just to remind myself.  I think He likes to hear that!

IMG_0321So this morning as my eyes didn’t want to open to the chaos, I thought I would check my messages on my phone.  There was a text that the appraiser had finally submitted his appraisal to our lender!  Today was to be the day we were to close on the new house.  Now I can choose to complain that he made us have to wait another week, or I can be thankful that it is in.  I choose to be thankful it is finally submitted.  I won’t say I haven’t complained.  Hear me out.  I am saying, that God has gently reminded me not to.  I will move forward one more step and believe that we can close on the third of June as planned when we signed the extension.  I pray for the sellers of our new house, that they continue to be patient with us in something that was entirely not of our doing.  AND…I rest in God’s promise to restore what has been taken.

If you are dealing with a difficult situation, I won’t say ignore it, or that you don’t have the right to be angry.  That isn’t practical.  There is a place for anger.  But I will encourage you to set aside complaint.  We can’t change what we don’t have power over.  But we do have power to change what CAN be changed.  In my case, ME and my thoughts.  Do that.  Change what needs to be changed, so that, you can begin living the life God has planned for you.  Live the “tests” in life well.  As we have heard before, you can’t have a testimony without the test.

In school we couldn’t take a test over because of a bad grade.  We had to prepare ahead to enable us to get that good grade.  In this instance, with God we CAN have do-overs.  We can turn our life around!  We can set aside complaint and put on a smile or happy expression.  Not because what is happening to us is ok, but because we know that God will restore what has been taken from us, if we will be faithful!  Stay the course.  Stand!  May God help you to that end.

Walking the journey with you…

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P.S.  If you are going through a tough time and want some prayer, just leave a message in the comments and I will include you in my prayer list.

In Your Life, You Will Have Trouble

IMG_0084Today has been a double shot kind of day!!  I have been reminded of the title of this post for several months now, but more particularly, in the last few months.  I have to admit, I am a bit overwhelmed by the circumstances of this whole mess of selling and buying a home this time!  THAT doesn’t happen often for me.  But if it weren’t for some fun activity in my day today, I think more words and unkindness would definitely be swirling around our house right now.  The thing is, people just don’t do what you expect them to do.  When they don’t, things don’t go as planned.

Today brought some more decisions and one of them was to accept an offer on our home.  Again.  We lose to gain, but we have an offer that allows us to move forward.  At least that is our plan again for our house on the hill.  The first showing of the house when it hit the market again, was the offer we chose, and she was very excited it seems, because we had an offer almost the same day she saw it.  So now we go through the process of an inspection and appraisal.  Yep….all over again.

But the kicker came when, the first offer went into default.  We had to change how we plan our mortgage.  We also find today that the appraiser on the new house we are buying is not an approved appraiser for the lender we are working with.  So now what???  We have to have another appraisal done with an approved appraiser of the lender.  More time spent that we were hoping to shave off so we could get into the new home earlier.  The waves are coming in high and mighty!

No early home ownership for this couple.  We want to scream at the unfairness of it.  We want to be mad at the couple that mishandled their situation which made them not able to get our home the first time.  That made us have to:

  • re-list the house1620846_663367490411504_7125225829380545061_n
  • change our financing
  • camp out
  • use laundromats
  • have 4 storage units
  • pay for the appraisal up front instead of at closing
  • upset at the lender
  • delay our sale and closing from an early closing for the new house
  • makes us look rather flaky to the sellers of the new home we are buying

and… yet none of it is our fault.

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Shopping for the Bel Aire house.

So… what do we do with these kinds of feelings?  Well, I let God hear a few of my thoughts in words today…He’s big like that and He can take it.  He knows them anyway.  He lets me go on for a while and then I feel the nudge and have to calm myself down.  It does absolutely no good to continue to feel like that.  There is absolutely nothing else we can do except go with the flow and take the next step, asking God to smooth the rough and rugged road we are traveling.  Do I feel like it?  No.  Do I need to?  Yes.  I only hurt myself by staying in the place of emotions.  So ok.  Shift gears JoAnn.  Then, I find myself turning to the enjoyment of planning how we want our new home to look.  That makes me smile, my heart rate slows a bit, and some of that joy seeps back into my spirit once again.  I thank God for it.  I drop a heart in my jar with thanks that God sends the Holy Spirit to nudge me in the right direction when I need it.  And…when I am too mad to do it by myself, He helps me focus in the right direction and turn me around!  You should see some of the fun ideas I have for our new home!  Now THAT changes my focus!

Stand your ground friends!  Don’t let satan’s schemes keep you from the joy that God has planned for you.  Open the door, tell him to take a leap off a very short dock and close the door behind you!  I hope by sharing my struggles with you that you will be encouraged in your own!  I’m cheering you on!

I fee like I’m kind of like a football player who is dodging the hits, moving and swerving, pushing and shoving my way to the goal.  I may be little, but I’m mighty!  God made me that way.  I’m pulling up my big girl pants and pushing through!  Touchdown!

Walking the journey with you…

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A Different Road To Travel

Cropped RememberWow!  What do you do when you get hit with a situation you weren’t counting on having to deal with?

How do you react?  Where do you go?  Who do you turn to?  What?!?!???  Are you kidding me??  I had the opportunity to experience this yesterday.  I didn’t have to ask those questions because I knew who I needed to turn to!  But I can’t say that my reaction was without feeling.  However, I was rather numb after last night’s phone call.  Next, I was ticking off the points.   What does this mean for us?  Here is the dilemma:  our sale contract on our current house has defaulted.  No sale one day before closing.  My thoughts?  My word for the year came to mind…Remember.

There are so many thoughts that I ticked through in my mind over this situation.  What does this mean for our other house?  Can we pull this off?  We are starting this whole process over after working so hard to meet deadlines.  We are exhausted and we are going to start all over again?  Where’s the lawn mower?  Oh yes…it’s at the BACK of one of the storage units!  Laundry without a washer and dryer?  We better move the food and a few items back into the house.  How long will it take to have a secure offer?  At least we have a new air mattress!  Random thoughts as my mind races for answers.

Getting the idea?  This is not just inconvenient.  It changes everything.  Everything.  I can’t even really process it.  All I could say today was, “You know God.  You are in control.  There has to be a reason.  There is, right?”  Let’s be honest here.  I want to trust with my whole heart.  Not give in to emotions.  But there is no doubt that it is hard.  As I put things back into the bathroom so we can use it, and items of food back in the pantry, I still have to tell myself that.  Minute by minute.  We were advised to put it back on the market right away with the market being even better than when we first listed the house.  We are looking around at our house that hadn’t been cleaned well since starting the hard part of moving out.  Show someone our house right now?  We said ok.  We are IN!  Then, just a few minutes after our house was listed again on the market, an offer came in, two calls for showings and away we go!  We will see what the weekend holds for us.  The blessing?  We can ask more for our house with this listing than the last because of the change in the market.  God knows…

IMG_2529So I approach the next few days with careful watch on my feelings because they can get me into trouble.  I heard Laura Story’s song today as she sang about all the hardships we go through and the tears we shed, being what draws us closer to Him.  Yep!  Ok God.  There is my answer.  I will do my best to wait on your intervention; whichever way that should go.  We aren’t new on the block of trials, so I press on toward the mark.  Face the “new” in our journey and ask God to give me grace.  Sound good?  It is our only answer.  The only one.

Walking the journey with you…

 

 

Are We Here, or Are We There?

IMG_2834I still don’t know.  We think we see the light at the end of the tunnel, but then there are the signs that tell us, no entry.  We have had a hiccup in the process and we are waiting to see how big the buyers think the hiccup is.  The kicker?  If we have to put more money into the house to sell it, hubby wants to invest in the house for ourselves, and stay.  WHAT?!?!?!????  I have packed half of the house up to do what???!!!  STAY here?  Oh boy!  Breathe girl… breathe!

So I let this idea roll over in my heart a bit, and I tell God that He sure go through a lot of trouble to maneuver what happens, to get us where we are supposed to be.  He must be exhausted trying to keep us in His will.  But that may happen in the plans.  It also can be that the process of selling this home is to teach us:

  • What we REALLY want.
  • What our focus is.
  • Get some things accomplished.
  • Learn to have an even deeper focus on trusting Him.

We certainly have had to do that, because it has been a ride for sure!  Scripture shows me how He will always be faithful to bring me back.  I have read of His faithfulness over and over again, even when I may have repeatedly abandoned what I know to be true.

IMG_2837Today as I opened my Bible, I turned to Psalm 116.  It talks of the author’s love for the Lord, and all that the Lord has done for him.  He is praising the Lord for His goodness.  That was lifting to my spirit today, as well as, a gentle reminder to stay in gratitude.  What refreshment to my soul!  My Gratitude Jar hasn’t been growing over the last month or so.  That’s not good.  When I am not dropping those hearts in my jar, I can easily let other things that come my way get the best of me.  Of course, that is exactly what  satan wants; he wants to discourage me in every way possible.  So today, I have dropped a few hearts in my jar and told God I will continue as I always do to remember (my word for the year) to always live in gratitude.  Today, I am very grateful for U-Turns that we are allowed in life.  Wow!  What a blessing to be able to know that God will forgive me, gently lift me up and turn me back around.  What a picture word that is…u-turn.  I have to allow it.  I have to be willing to turn back around.  I am the “U” in u-turn.  I can either keep struggling, or surrender and let Him do what He needs to do in me.

So today, I send out my message to you to encourage you to let God allow u-turns in your life.  Maybe you have never even considered that God WOULD
IMG_2838allow a u-turn.  You may be carrying around a huge amount of guilt from your past.  Don’t be a martyr and carry that heavy load around.  Unload it at the cross.  Surrender it.  We just experienced Easter and that is what Easter is all about.  He doesn’t want you to have to live under the burden.  Let Him pick you up, clean you off, set you down in the opposite direction, and walk the rest of the way with you.  It is what He desires.  You have the decision to make.  I would love to walk up to the window of my life and look in to see what He has in store for me.  But I can’t.  However, He sees the end from the beginning and He will eventually help me see clearly through the window with out cracks, or brokenness.

I turned around once again today.  I did allow Him to work in my life.  He immediately encouraged me through His words in the Psalm.  Do you know what?  Even though I had some good plans and reasons for the change we felt God was leading us in, maybe, just maybe, God can make all those changes right here where we are.  I will wait on Him, and I am asking Him to help me see with more of His perspective and vision.  It’s like walking out from the darkness and into the light.  Don’t wait.  Talk to Him about it.

Walking the journey with you..