Vision Changes Our Life

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I’m sure many of you have heard the expression, “He/she has an eagle eye.” I think we sort of know what that means; the person sees everything.  However, here are a few fun facts about the eagle’s vision:

  • The eagle’s eye is 4-8 times stronger than a human.
  • An eagle can spot a rabbit that is 3.2 km away, which is 4-5 times farther than we can.
  • They can swoop down to their prey at 125-200 mph
  • they can pick up details in their vision and their vision magnifies them.
  • The angle of the eye gives them a 340 degree visual field.
  • They turn their head to look for prey, and when found, the prey is magnified to see how far they have to fly and at what speed.

So when we think we are sneaking up on an eagle to get a shot with a camera, I doubt we are hidden at all.  It is amazing to me when we study God’s creation, that He made them so intricate.  I often times have wished I could see that far ahead of me just in one day, let alone my life ahead of me.

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Why am I talking about the eagle’s eye?  For one thing, God sends eagles to soar over me almost every time I go out.  It’s our thing.  Another thing, I think it gives me a good open door into the idea of vision.  We hear people talk about vision in a few of the following ways:

  • What is your vision for your education when you get out of school?
  • What is your vision for your career?
  • What is your vision for the project?
  • What do you think is God’s vision for you?
  • We are casting a vision for the direction we want to go.

That doesn’t mention how vision is used when we talk about our eye sight.  Vision is how we see things.  It’s our perspective as well.  Think about it.  Have you ever had a vision for what your career would be, only to have it change?  Or what about a vision for who you will marry and what that would look like, only to find its lots of work laced with difficulties.  I have found in my life that my vision changes and evolves.  Here is an example from my own life.  When I was growing up, music was my life.  I got involved in everything I could get involved with where music was concerned so that I could enjoy my passion.  I wanted to go to college and become a music teacher.  I knew how musicimage
was important to me and I wanted to share that passion with others.  I was even a delegate to the All State Chorus from Washington State my senior year.  The choir performed under the direction of Jester Hairston, which was a life altering experience all to itself!  Then after two years and an Associate Degree and Certificate in Special Education, I could no longer put myself through school.  Instead, I went to work for a local school district in Special Education.  I wrote a grant letter to get funding for a small bus for the Sp Ed department to have for transporting the students to and from school.  I had currently used a station wagon to do that.  I got my CDL to drive the bus routes and sports runs.  My vision was changed.  It evolved into something else.  I have had many, many of those vision changes in my life.  All of them making me who I am today.  I still got to direct choirs and community choirs in my time.  Just wasn’t the original vision I had.

untitled-3-2I think we sometimes have this idea that our vision is stationary and doesn’t change, and if it does change, then it is lost.  But I have come to know that it is how I SEE those changes, that then give me a new vision.  It evolves into the next thing that I get to do.  We are each given vision to see the world around us.  HOW we see it can make all the difference.  If I had stuck with my earlier vision, I may have felt defeated and disappointed in myself that I didn’t continue.  But I would have missed all the other visions that God has placed in my spirit.  I would have missed the people he has brought into my life.  I would have missed the promptings to expand and readjust my vision of my life and circumstances.  THAT would be a total loss of vision.  Instead, I have allowed my visions to change and I have changed with them.  I have gotten to do some marvelous things in my life.

That word vision has been so used up.  Don’t let it discourage you.  Start lookingGuitar Mandolin around and ask for new eyes to see; a vision to open up to you.  Watch out when it happens though because it will be life changing and life altering.  You may find a new zeal in your life that wasn’t there before.  It may move you to do things you haven’t ever done.  It COULD even make it so you take part in activities that others think are kind of wild and crazy.  I say this:  “DO what you love, and do it every day.”  It’s like drinking from the good glasses every day!  Or…a different mocha cup!

Here are a few of mine:

  • I’m getting back into music and playing instruments.
  • I’m singing more.
  • I do more with my photography by taking classes through books I’m reading, My Story 365 project, adding a lens to my bag, and asking God to help me see the unusual.
  • The cabin we purchased to enjoy more down time.
  • More time spent with family and friends.
  • Reading more again.  I used to read with a goal of a book a week.  I never made that goal but I read around 200 books in a year, of all kinds.
  • I enjoy decorating to make our home, and now the cabin, more like we want them to be; which is our vision for retirement years.
  • Sew into the life of my kids and grandson.
  • Take out my Mini for rides just to enjoy driving it more.
  • Time on the patio enjoying the feeling of quiet time.
  • The joy of a mocha in the morning as I choose a cup from my collection.
  • Taking pictures I love and enjoy because I LOVE them, and think about who else make like them.  The pictures I take speak to ME, and that is what taking photos is about.

I can’t say the above ideas works for you, however, at this point of my life, THAT is myIMG_2473 vision of happiness.  Yours is of course different depending on where you are in life journey.  It doesn’t mean you can’t have a vision geared toward you.  Would you do me a favor?  In the comments here on the blog, share a part of what you feel your vision is for your life at this time?  It may just be that you get through your day.  It could be a new craft you want to spend time doing.  It could be more family time.  It may be doing something different on the job.  Whatever it is, I would love to hear about it, as well as, how you see that coming to fruition.  What do you see?

I hope this post has fanned the flame in your soul for making you feel more alive.  The fact that our vision isn’t carved in stone is liberating to me.  I hope the idea that visions can change makes your heart skip a beat. IMG_7900It will change until the day I pass from this world into my heavenly home.  That is a really great way to live in freedom…a vision that excited me!  You see the picture to the left is me with a Tootsie Pop out camping and staying in a cottage; something our family did a lot of growing up.  That vision has always been a live in me, and now I am establishing that vision for my family; our cabin.  Yes.  Having vision IS important and can be life changing for generations to come.

Until next time,

~JoAnn

 

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

 

 

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..

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!

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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…

Who Is Valentine’s Day For?

DSC_1010This week I am celebrating all week!  Why?  Because this is a special week in my life…its Valentine’s Day week!  It has special meaning to me.   People think more about love this week than any other week so it is said, but it also seems to bring other emotions to some.  I would say it is less about couples, and more about love.  Showing and demonstrating to the people around you, family, and friends just how special they are to you.  My man and I were to become husband and wife on that special day many years ago, but circumstances didn’t cooperate with us.  So we were married in May instead.  However, we have chosen to celebrate our anniversary in February also!  We do something special every year at this time.  But don’t let the “couple thing” be a stumbling block to how to share your love that day.  Here are a few things to make it fun:

  • Note in your child’s/parents lunch
  • Pay it forward in a Starbucks line
  • Let someone go before you in a line in the store or gas line
  • Sneak a note in to a co-worker to let them know you care
  • Note on the windshield of a special personIMG_2490
  • A phone call, text, card, or letter to let someone know you care; personal touch is best if possible
  • Cookies to a neighbor
  • Invite someone you love out for coffee and tell them how much they mean to you
  • Write a letter or card to someone who has had a great impact in your life and tell them what it has meant
  • A special movie night in your home or meet up with a friend(s)
  • A treasure hunt in your house or office for messages of love
  • Cook a special dinner and invite a friend
  • Write down 14 ways that you have seen God’s love in your life in the first 14 days of February
  • Do something special for your pastor and family to let them know you appreciate them
  • Go visit a shut-in
  • Make a love collage of how you have been shown love lately
  • Starbucks card
  • Go visit your favorite place
  • Take yourself out to dinner
Photo by Cameralab
Photo by Cameralab

The most important thing is to have fun.  Don’t let the day go by without taking the time to do an act of love.  I get to share some love with a wonderful group of women Wednesday morning and following that, my hubby and I are making a road trip and enjoying a few days away.  I will be using my Valentine’s gift from him; my Fujii XT1 camera!  We will sport our LOVE Tumbers in the car with us.  We will enjoy a few snacks on the road.  Picture taking all the way.  My car should have a sign on it that say, “This car stops for all photo opportunities!”  We will check out a little church I told you about in the last post, and stop where ever we want to stop, and enjoy every moment.  But we are making a week out of celebrating it with all we do.  We are living in expectation of this Wednesday afternoon.  There is something to be said for expectation.  We should live our lives that way every day because God has something in mind for each day He grants us.  I don’t want to miss out on what it is!  I want to jump up and down in the morning, waving my arms, saying, “Here I am Lord!  Where are we going today?”  Can you see that visual picture?  Joy in the journey!  He cares about big and small things as I have shared before and here’s another good example of it today:

We got back home from the accountant’s office and we had to check out something regarding the Lime Squeeze and get the information back to him.   Low and behold, we find in that process that we have been driving the Lime Squeeze with expired tabs since September!!!!  I don’t have any notice of it anywhere in the files.  Now I have been around many state patrols and policemen/women and yet I have not been stopped.  I say that, not in trying to be a smarty pants, but because I believe that God has blinded the eyes of many in order to keep me from having to pay a ticket.  I didn’t plan it that way, but God sure took care of me!  Needless to say, first thing in the morning, I have to go get that done.  But this is just another example to me of how God cares for the little things in life!  He watches over us.

IMG_1095Be crazy celebrating in gratitude this week!  Look over the list above, add some of your own, and commit to do something different this year when that special day comes on Saturday.  You know, with technology being what it is, you can even send a mocha or coffee via the internet and they have it right away to enjoy!  Whatever your choice, I want to wish you a wonderful Valentine’s Day FULL of love, and I hope you make it a great day of sharing your love in action with others.

Walking the journey with you…

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