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

“Kos”: A Way of Life

IMG_3789IMG_2953Knock…knock…come on in!  I have a story to tell!  The other day I did a happy dance because I received a book in the mail that I was so wanting.  It is all about making the Scandinavian waffle; not just a waffle, but all kinds of ways to serve the waffle.  I was very excited!  I tasted the Norwegian waffle while on my visit to Norway.  In the wonderful hospitality of my cousins, it was served like a dessert waffle with a jam and whipped cream on top and each one was heart-shaped.  They were very, very good and had a touch of cardamom flavor.  What a treat!  I immediately wanted the recipe.  I have a couple other books and recipes, and now, I have this book. I have learned the history of waffles also.  And the recipes!!  That is really fun!However, there was a word in this book that really grabbed my heart.  My soul immediately resonated with it.  I have been familiar with its feeling, and always leaned this way in my daily life and IMG_3725living.  But this word description put the finger on the pulse when I read it.  It is described as the Norwegian word “Kos”.  As with many languages, sometimes it takes many words to understand the meaning of one foreign word used, and this word is no exception.  If we tried to translate it, it seems the word “cozy” would best work.  Sort of…but not really.  It is really described as more of a life style.  It’s about the quality of life we live and making an atmosphere that totally makes you feel like, this is the life!  This is what it’s about.  But she talks about “Kos” not just being about the home, it’s also about getting together for coffee, or when you see someone you haven’t seen in a long time, or sharing a bonfire with snacks or hotdogs together with friends, neighbors and family.  It is also about being out in nature on a walk or hike, or sitting on a deck and just enjoying what you see around you.  Hearing the sounds, and breathing in life.

I remember sitting on the porch after arriving in Norway, at my cousin’s house, and we all just sat on the porch and took in the sights of the fjord, the sunset, and…coffee… with cake.  And…conversation.  We would also sit on the back porch in the mornings with our coffee and enjoy the view of the mountains and nature.  I felt that same feeling when I went with _DSF4797other cousins, to see my grandfather’s church, and where his siblings and family attended, were confirmed, and lived their life.  I walked the road where my grandfather walked and then went up the hill to where his house was.  I traveled with other cousins to learn of my father’s mother and her life in Norway, and my great-uncle, who was a pastor, and gave his life to ministry in Norway, and later in the US.  I walked inside of the house where my great-grandmother, grandmother and her sister lived.  That was on my mom’s side._DSF5052  I could imagine for a while what their life was like and how hard their life was.  I could also look out the window at the beautiful mountains across the valley.  I stood there a moment trying to imagine them waking up to that view every day!  What a view a view it was.  Did they stand at the window and dream about a time when they would leave these mountains and come to the land of plenty?  Did they dream about a way to make a better life for themselves and for their family by leaving Norway?  Maybe they prayed for provision and food enough to get by?  Maybe their prayers were answered by our presence there that day.  Stories…do we know them, or are we too busy to gather around small tables by oil light to listen? (I will allow you an electrical light too, or, candles are welcomed). Can we slow down enough to hear the stories?  Everyone has one.

I think “Kos” isn’t about the just looking and seeing, it is about the appreciating it all; having a heart response.  It is about taking time to give your heart and life a chance to slow down; take it in.  That is “Kos”.  It is about living in the moment.  Right now.  It is like sitting by a window or out on the porch at night, lighting a candle and enjoying the evening with a cup of your favorite thing…for me it would be a mocha or tea.  Finding complete satisfaction in the moment.  Feeling like this is what life is IMG_3726about.  Whether by yourself, or with others, it is about squeezing every bit of enjoyment out of each moment lived.  For me, one of them just recently was laying on the floor with my grandson and just talking and giggling.  Listening to his story.  I can remember many days going to my grandpa and grandma’s house after school and sometimes just sitting there in a rocker and rocking back and forth, the Generator wall clock is sharing it’s “tick-tock, tick-tock”, and the quiet…we just enjoyed being together.  I have memories of my grandfather taking the time to teach me how to play solitaire.  I play a game on my phone before I go to bed each night in his honor.  Time.  We all have it.  What are we doing with it?

I remember going on a hike up the mountain in Norway and as we approached this mountain cabin, there was a small group of friends that were outside and eating IMG_3723their lunch together.  They invited on in to share the circle with them.  We ate our snacks there and they offered us cookies and coffee.  Here we sat, strangers to them, my son and I, and yet they invited us in like they had known us for a long time.  We were invited into the cabin for a tour.  My heart fell in love with this cabin on the mountain.  It squeezed my heart a little to leave, but I left feeling the “Kos” that day for many reasons.  Walking back down the mountain, it WAS hard to put into words.  But I know the feeling because my heart recognizes it.

So today, I am writing this post to not only teach you a new word, but to encourage you to put some “Kos” in your life.  Figure out what that means for you, and then add it into your life style.  Bring the outside in.  Take your inside out.  You know that I love nothing more than to sit on a covered deck, even in the rain.  I enjoy the sound of the rain, and watching the flowers stand up straighter after a rain, the lawn becomes greener, and the air is fresh.  Our culture is getting too busy for “Kos”.  It should not be so.  Slow it on down!  Put the breaks on.  Hang a light in the window, take your shoes off and enjoy the steam from a hot cup of cocoa, coffee or tea.  Breathe in the moment and then say thanks.  Invite someone in to enjoy this time with you.  Make “Kos” your lifestyle.

_DSF4843I thank my Norwegian relatives for reminding me once again what life is about and what is important.  I think God wants us to live this way.  It was never His plan to be running so fast that we run away from life instead of running to it.  We are running so hard that we forget to look around us at nature and what God has given us.  We can’t even hear Him because we are too busy moving on to the next thing.  I came back home with a reinforced perspective about this area of my life!  I am passionate about it!  I implement it in my home as well.  I now understand why. It was how I was brought up.  But it still takes ME to implement it.  When we allow it, our heart and soul will speak.  When it does, we have no choice but to listen and follow if we want harmony in our lives.

I want “Kos” in every area of my life.  What about you?  See that picture to the left?  This is a road trip we took and we stopped for coffee and cake along the roadside.  What a way to travel!  Now that is “Kos”!  Getting the idea?

Walking the “Kos” journey with you…