Thoughts from Big River Cabins

Sitting here at the cabin where it is quiet always gives me time for the soul to settle down and the heart to speak. We all need that place. If we stop the busy lives we lead long enough, we may be inspired by new ideas, changes we need to make, insight we have been seeking, or just listening for a Word. I know I need it.

So as this weekend comes to an end and I’m looking at Monday when the surgery part of this journey is hopefully over, I thought I would share a few thoughts with you that came to mind over a mocha and the dim lights of the cabin.

  • I felt that I was to prepare myself. For what, I’m not sure yet. But one of the preparations was to invest in a mic set up for my computer. Now it could be for the purpose of leading the online studies, doing a once a week live to start the week, or leading classes I believe could benefit others. Or, it could be for a totally different reason. If I am going on an adventure trip, I better be prepared. When I asked what I should do these last couple of day, I felt this was my direction. So… I got one and set it up. I am still waiting on my headset to come.
  • I also know what music does for the heart and soul and spirit. I know how it moves me. So I am renewing my commitment to doing more with my music and instruments. That was supposed to happen this year, and it did take place, but not as much time as I think I am being called to spend. Better me, better life, better example.
  • That my time is valuable and I need to spend that time in better ways. If I am walking my life out as an example, then I need, not should, but need to spend time in the study of God’s Word. I can’t give out what I don’t have.
  • Use my level of computer skills to help others in whatever way God calls me to do that.

So those are a few things I believe God laid on my heart. The last three points I have everything I need for the most part. However, that number one point is still a bit vague yet. But it is kind of like the biblical reference in the Bible about going to the Jordan. They had to put their foot in the river before God moved the waters. We expect God to part the waters first so we don’t get our feet wet, and then we will go.  He is asking us to step out in faith first, and then He will part the waters. Walk by faith.

So with that, I have my mic system set up and will be a student of its use over the weeks of recovery from surgery, and being praying for what God has in mind. To you who may be feeling the same way but different circumstances, get in prayer with God and ask Him to show you. Ask Him to be specific. He will. However, you won’t hear through chaos usually. You will hear in the quiet whisper of His voice…a sense that it is from Him. So important for it to be Him and leave you out of it. We can convince ourselves right into trouble. So be wise and ask a good prayer partner or mentor to praying with you about the direction you are to take. Then take a step or leap, or whatever you are comfortable with. I have lived my life in leaps and jumps following His leading. He has always caught me and led me on!

However, when these bumps in the road come along, whether unexpectedly or not, we look for reasons or justifications not to move forward. Or worse yet, we rely on our feelings. Often times we can not see clearly ahead of us. But if we wait for it, God slowly reveals what He was doing, but in His timing. We only know we hit the wall and we want to know why.  I don’t ask that anymore because I have learned there is always a reason. So when that “unexpected” bump come, I just ease on over it and ask God what do you want to teach me? It takes a few days to work through that process, and some times it is a few months. But he wants to hear from you. Ask Him. Just be careful though…He WILL show you! Be prepared. How?

  • Educate yourself about the area you are considering.
  • Find the best way to present it.
  • Learn equipment or processes.
  • Purchase a book or two.
  • Find a mentor and watch what they do.
  • Find a group you can be a part of for the information you may need.
  • The internet can give good information about what steps you may need to take.
  • He had me go through my studio this summer from top to bottom and reorganize it. Makes it so much easier to operate from. He was already preparing me for something new.

You see, none of my hiatus at home has been wasted. God had me digging in. Praying, researching, using my hubby as a sounding board, and reading various books. Some of you may need a kick in the backside to move forward.  If you are like me, once I know what I am supposed to do, I’m jumping in with both feet! So I have to be careful to pray as I go to make sure its still God’s deal and not some of my own jumps I’m taking.

The big idea here is this has changed me once again. We are called to change as we go through life. In this process with skin cancer, God has called me out from what is going on with my face, (and the losing of hair also…another story), to something beyond ME. Beyond the look of what I’m used to seeing, to operating more as God sees me. In this world, those ideals can be hard because we are surrounded by the culture that tells us we must look a certain way. I’m not prideful about my looks, but I care how I look. That has made this process very humbling to say the least.  However, I want to be an encouragement to others and I believe that is my calling. So it is my hope that by sharing this journey, you have found encouragement somewhere between the words of this blog.

So watch out! JoAnn’s Studio may just surprise you…scars and all! I knoq no scar is wasted no matter where they are or how they come to us. God will use them to build compassion in you, and FOR others. You may be the one compassionate person that can come along side another, and understand, when God places that special person in your path.

Watch for it to unfold over the next month or so. See you on the other side of tomorrow!

Until next time,

~JoAnn

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..

Speaking of Detours

IMG_5603Ever since this car came out, I have wanted one.  I love the look of it, it is different from other cars, and it is economical to drive, and has a touch of class!  Know what it is yet?

It’s the Mini Cooper!  That has been my dream car ever since they came to the US!  Every time I see one, I say, “There goes my Mini Cooper!”  Everyone hears me say it!  Ethan now says, “There goes your Mini Cooper, Grandma!”  I even have a small replica of a Mini Cooper that has been in my office for years just as a reminder of my goal!

So, this last month, when we decided to start looking for a car for us, I started looking for a Mini.  I checked on so many of them, and there was a lot!  However, I now had some specifics that I needed to have on this little gem.  I wanted an automatic, after having the bilateral knee replacement, because I don’t want to shift all the time.  I also wanted air conditioning since I haven’t had that in a while, and the heat gets to me rather quickly.  I also wanted cruise control because we are hoping to take some trips and that makes it so much easier.  An extra blessing, would be a sun roof.  So, those are the things I looked for, and hopefully, I would find one with lower mileage.  So in my search, I finally found one.  We worked back and forth for a couple of days because this mini was about 3.5 hours away from us.  So with the appointment set, we went down to Olympia.  We traveled down the night before so we didn’t have to be up so early to get there on time.  The plan was to meet and see the Mini, and then follow-up with the sale if we made that decision.

IMG_5842Saturday morning brings us to the parking lot meet up, and there she sits.  All blue and ready to go!  She is automatic, sun roof, air, cd player, and looks pretty great.  BUT, she doesn’t have cruise control.  Boo!  We take her out for a drive and she is pretty snappy and nice to drive.  I love how she corners, and drives and I am thinking, maybe I could do without cruise.  But as the owner talks about the car, there are items of check that shouldn’t probably be something that this new of a car should have problems with.  We get back to the parking lot and look the car over again.  We talk about it while he goes to his other car.  Terry says he thinks that the car isn’t in as good a shape as was presented originally.   I’m thinking, looks pretty good, rides wonderfully, leather interior, and its a MINI!!  Sure there a few little things, but its a used car.  I ask what his concerns are and he tells me again of some of the concerns, and that it just doesn’t feel right.  So I told him, after all the owner had done to make this possible, I just couldn’t be the one to tell him no.  So, if he felt is wasn’t right, he needed to tell him.  So, Terry gets out and gives him the news.  He gets back in the car and apologizes (bless his heart), and says he knows how much I wanted a mini.  It’s not that you may never get one, I just think it’s too much money for the car.  I’m thinking…we didn’t even negotiate.  But as I say that to myself, I hear in my spirit, “It doesn’t mean no or forever.”  So I surrendered my dream to another time.

On the way home, I couldn’t get a handle on this whole thing.  Why come down, and do all of this for nothing?  So I asked if we could stop in Tacoma to see if the Mini dealership had something more suitable.  Oh my!  Nothing older than a 2009.  Well I already know THAT’S out of the question, because that is beyond what we wanted to spend.  So…Terry starts to ask questions about the Minis, and finds out that it is best to buy them 2008 or newer because of the engine in them.  They went back to a BMW engine in 2008 and they much more reliable.  Now it’s confirmed from a Mini dealership.  No mini for me.  I will just have to continue saying, “There goes my mini!”  (Do you detect a whine here?)

One third of our way home, Terry suggests that maybe we go look at this car up in Lynden (area of Washington) that we saw there before.  He wanted to see if it was still available.  It was in great shape, lower mileage, auto, sunroof, air, cruise and it was aIMG_5783 second choice if I wasn’t able to get a mini.  I told him I would be open to that.  The price was also more along the lines of what we wanted to spend, rather than stretching ourselves with the purchase of the Mini.  Did you notice that this little car has all the things I was looking for in a Mini?  So, we went up and looked at it, took it for a ride, and he felt this was as he originally thought…a good buy.   As my Mini went out with a puff of smoke, my little Lime Squeeze came home to live with me.  She fits me well and I hope we have a long friendship together.  God still heard my prayers about what I wanted in a car.  The Lime Squeeze has all those amenities.

Why do I share this story with you?

Do you care?

I hope so, because I am sure you have had disappointments in your lives as well.  I am here to say that when we stay in authority with whom God has put over us, in my case, my husband, then He will bless us more than we can imagine.  I could choose my attitude about this whole circumstance.  Am I going to be mad about it?  I felt like it.  But, God wouldn’t leave me alone about my attitude in this.  Again I heard the echo, it doesn’t mean never, just later.  What perspective was I going to choose?   This applies to so many dreams and prayers in my life.  God isn’t saying no, He is saying later.  Or, He may be saying no for reasons we don’t know yet.  However, I know God is faithful.  I have seen His constant love in my life over and over again.  Do I trust Him in this?  Yes I do.  It certainly kept us in line with all that He is doing in our lives.

IMG_5757So my VW Beetle, I named Lime Squeeze, is now happily sitting at our house.  The fun part?  When I first went over to Idaho to meet Terry, I was driving a VW Beetle at the time.  The weather was blizzard like and frozen snow.  But, I felt I was supposed to go.  So I drove over washboard roads at 25-35 miles an hour for about 60 miles to get to the airport.  I wondered at times, if I should just turn back.  But, I didn’t.  I thought I was this far, my little car would take me the rest of the way.  It did and the rest is history.  It has some special meaning in our lives and I have decided to deck the Lime Squeeze out to the max!  Well, at least how I want her to look.  She and I will be covering lots of miles in the future together.  I want her to be comfortable.  She is my reminder that I don’t always get the things I want when I want them, but God will provide for me how He feels is best at the time.  And the color?  Yep…a reminder that I still have areas to GROW.  Lime Squeeze is lime green.  But you know what?  I always want to be where God wants me to be and listen to those He has placed in my life.  I will be thankful that I have this little gem to carry us around, make road trip memories in, but best of all, be in God’s will for our lives.  God gave Terry counsel in staying closer to our budget so we can pay it off and Terry listened to that wise counsel!  I’m thankful he did!

Don’t give up on your dream.  Remember His plans are not OUR plans, His timing is not our timing, and we can be in good attitude in the waiting!

Walking the journey with you…

~JoAnn