All from an Ember


Sometimes it takes getting away to help us think; contemplate.  Where we are, what we want, what we may be missing, or what we are thankful for, and the memories we are making.  But whatever is on our minds, we certainly can think better if you get in a place where the noise of the world is far from us.

This last weekend, I was in such a place…our Cabins on Big River.  As my grandson was the fire attendant, he thought the embers were so low at one point that fire was out, so he spread the coals around a bit to allow it to go out.  Since we wanted to continue to use the fire, I used the bellows and gave wind to the embers and watched as the coals became flames, and the flames became a bigger fire once again. He was quite surprised!

IMG_2473I thought it was a good example of our life, and so with a teachable moment, I told Ethan a story… “Life is kind of like that Ethan.  It make look like there is no hope in sight.  Nothing is going right, there is a lot of stress, sometimes hurt feelings in the process.  We may have lost something important to us.  It can feel just like this fire that you thought was going out.  But when the bellows gave wind to the embers, they became coals of fire, and then became flames once again.  In my case, it is God who gives wind to the embers. He helps me see the good.  Encourages me to have faith.  It may also be a friend who calls or texts at the right time to encourage me.  Or, it can be someone who comes my way and for whatever reason, is led to help me.  It is kind of like your dad’s car situation. God worked out something for you both that you weren’t expecting.  That person gave wind to what seemed like a dead situation.  So when things look grim, and you see no light at the end of the tunnel, let the winds around you give your heart a little firing up.  Fan the flame of hope for something better to come along.  God IS faithful to me, and He will be faithful to you.  He wants us to trust Him completely.”

It is always such a joy to me when God gives such profound wisdom over the simplest of things…but then He always does.  He WANTS us to understand.  It IS simple.  We just need to allow it to breathe life back into us.  I think Ethan got the message too.  At least that is my hope.

How about you?  Where do you need God to breathe wind into your life to fan the flame of your heart?  Ask Him.  He wants to do that; just as He breathed life in the beginning, He wants to do that again in you.  Will you let Him?  Will you close off the world’s noise to get quiet and lean in to Him?  Let that wash over you.  Just like a fresh stream of water you can sit by, let the trickle and rolling of the water refresh your soul.

Until next time,



Honoring Memories


A little late in posting this, but that is a whole other post for next time.

Honoring Memories…isn’t that something we should all take part in?  Not just honoring them, but taking part in making them?  Even when its difficult?  It sure feels right.  This last weekend, my hubby and I made the trip up north to do just that…clean stones and add the beauty of flowers to their gravesite.  You know what I loved even more than honoring them in this way?  On a cloudy morning we all met up in the most unlikely place…the cemetery.  But it just seems right.

You see, my family were the care takers of that very cemetery all the time I was growing up and even after that for a while.  We did the mowing and trimming of the lawn, disposed of dead flowers, set flowers back up when they had fallen over, watered them, and brushed off the stones of all in the sweet people on the hill.  So it seemed right to now be there with my boys and grandson to do the same for a couple that had done this for years; my parents.  Flags were flying proudly on the gravesite of those who served.  As we all met up, God gave me a glimpse in a moment in time to notice…my boys coming from their homes, traveling the distance in bad traffic just to meet up with us to help clean and trim out everything in honor of their grandparents.  As I watched their interaction with each other, greeting each other with a hand shake and then doing the same when my brother came to meet up at my folks gravesite, it made me smile.  The respect shown to one another was something that just tickled me as their mom.  Oh how I wish my folks could have experienced this part of the kids’ journey and watched the kind of people they have grown to be.  I was proud of the way I was brought up, of the way that I had raised my boys, and how God kept us all safe and still together.  For a mom with more days behind her than before her, it was very special moment for me to see once again, the faithfulness of God.  My life may not turn out how I expected it to years ago, but it is great none the less!  My boys would do what ever is possible for each other…and as a family, we would do the same.  We all paid honor to our family, and then spent some time together over food before we went home.  What a joy!  Thank you to my sweet son Jesse, who bought us all a burger!  Those sweet times are what it is all about!  It was also a legacy for my grandson to see his dad and uncle and Grandma and Papa showing respect to the memory of family.  This is what “being in the present moment” is all about.  I could have just missed it, but God nudged me just in time to see it through His eyes.  That made me smile and feel so proud of them!  Maybe it was just to encourage me… I think so.  I’m so grateful.  I’m thinking my parents were glad to see us gathered too…the gift of presence.

My hubby and I then went on to honor family on my dad’s side.  One was my Grandma, my dad’s mom, who died a year or less after I was born.   I had a different kind of conversation with her this time because I had been where she came from in Norway.  I have learned some things about her life that brought me closer to knowing who she was.  There were also some of my family with just tiny tin plaques that I prayed, that if I had the money in the future, I will put a nice stone in its place.  I know my dad wanted to do that, and maybe God will allow me to do that one day instead.  The memories flood my soul as I walked around.  Good family times of sharing and helping each other.  We were raised in community a lot more as I was growing up.  Family helping family when needed.  It brings me back to the thought of what I want to be remembered for…what I hope people will remember about my life and focus.  It’s not over yet, so there is work to be done.  There are gatherings to be had, and reunions to plan, food to be shared, and love to be given.

It was a good day.  I left knowing my efforts were rewarded by God’s faithfulness to answer prayer.  He can do what we can not.  I like to think of God bringing my parents over to Him and pointing down at us that day and saying, “Look at that…all of them together, loving on each other, paying honor to your memory.  You led well.  Well done good and faith servants.”

Lifting my mocha cup to lives well lived!


Until next time…






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…