Where Do You Live?

Where do you live?  No, not physical addresses, but where do you live in your life and choices?

We often times find ourselves living in the past where we remember things we have done that we wished we wouldn’t have, or a sin we feel we can’t be forgiven of, or we can find ourselves living in the future where we dream of how things will be, or what we want or desire them to be.  BUT, we don’t often think about our present moment or day except in terms of a schedule.  How much of your life do you live in the present?  I came across some notes that I had written down when I was studying about circumstances, and how they can affect our thinking, and thus our lives.  I thought I would share some thoughts about that in this post.

We all have a story…the way we live our life, is our story.  It doesn’t always look like we envisioned for ourselves, but it can become more about how you approach living it out.  Gifts to us can come from the hardest places that we find ourselves.  If we are trying to heal from hard circumstances, that healing can move us out to help others.  It gives hope on the other side of our pain, and our hope makes it possible to share it with another.  Don’t be afraid to step forward into that.  With eyes of faith, we can see our script as something that is a part of a bigger story, or part of a bigger picture.  Our current circumstances are not the end; just part of the bigger picture.  Do you know that God is always in the NOW?  And guess what????  He doesn’t want us to miss it!  How much of yourselves do you live in the present?  We don’t want to miss the moments!

It’s true that in looking back we can gain some information for our life, and faith in action can help us rearrange our lives in terms of patterns, or see God’s faithfulness.  It can help us notice what God wants us to see.  But it starts with our thought pattern.  God can give us the ability to see our story in the bigger story; the one that God has for us.  Unfortunately, we don’t get to choose who our parents were, our family, the economics of our family, or where we live(d).  Are we in a thought pattern of wanting a different life?  God really wants us to live the life He has planned for us.  But walking by faith means we are not going to always know the details.  I always liked the idea in the scriptural stories where they gathered stones and built an altar in places of remembrance where God did a great thing.  I thought about making a wall of stones in a small area of my yard.  It would kind of be like a gratitude wall just like I do the gratitude jar that I use.  But God is so good that I would quickly have a stone wall!  I would have to use mine strictly for the BIG things…of course, they are all big things to me!  See my issue???  🙂

However, time can give us a different or re-interpreted perspective on what happens in our lives.  That is always the blessing of a faith walk; spiritual eyes to see.  We have the Holy Spirit to help and guide us in the direction Jesus wants us to go.  Here are some questions to ask ourselves:

  • What about working on re-framing our lives?
  • What about choosing to look into what really makes up our life?
  • Are the above areas in line with God’s plan, or in more in line with our plan, and asking God to bless it?
  • What we think in our head affects the heart, which affects the heart, and makes our habits.  How’s our thought life?
  • Ponder the kind of life we would like to look back on at the end of our life.  Does it look the way we would like it to?

I just got back from a couple of days of road trips for our anniversary.  It is always good to get away from the existing environment and it’s requirements, in order to give our brain a break.  It’s amazing what thoughts and ideas come to us during those times when we let time teach us.  As I contemplated the above notes and what I was writing for this post, I thought it was also important to share how this works out in life as we allow it to be implemented.

I think of my past life with love and compassion for the hardships my parents had as they built a life and provided for me.  You see most of my generations’ parents lived through the depression.  It gave them some unique traits that got hardwired into their lives by their experiences.  We all have been influenced that way.  Some of my generation tried, and are still trying, to outlive that mentality.  My parents were simple in their living; it was to MAKE a living and provide for the family.  Our house wasn’t anything fancy, our cars were mostly paid for, so not new.  My clothes were sewn by my mother or hand-me-down from my cousins.  But as I started to say, many of my generation and forward, look at success as having the brand new home, and a big one, new cars, the best home furnishings, and work 24/7 to have it, by golly.  Where I saw my parent’s generation work hard, but also play hard.  Gatherings of family at reunions, sharing Sunday dinners or dessert together, picnics, and cousins playing together and actually staying in touch as we got older, as well.  So…I look at my past, not as something I have to get away from, but something that I embrace, take all the good from, and implement that into my life.  My past is different from yours.  Granted.  But we all can take what is good, and be thankful for that which is good.  Leave and dump the negative.  We didn’t live in their shoes, and there is something in their lives that made their lives the the way they are/were.  Love them in spite of it.  There are many things I didn’t understand about my mom at the time, but when I look back now and think about it, I now understand some of her life better, how she may have felt, and what made her the person she was.  In my life, I choose to take every ounce of good and create that good in my daily life.  That is something I can do.  And…I keep creating that for myself.  It’s my life’s journey to live it out in such a way, that my family is encouraged to remember what is good, and take that with them however it looks, into their lives.  I want that for all of you who read this blog.  I’m not perfect by ANY means.  I have my struggles too.  However, it never stops there.  If I have a struggle…I take it to the One who does not.  He knows what to do, and will gladly bring it to mind when I need to change up my view.

Here is a photography analysis.  I live a life of “re-framing” or as I like to call it, “re-inventing”.  It’s my daily focus…kind of like a camera taking a picture.  If view is not quite clear, I refocus and then take the picture.  I can change the angle of how I see it in the view finder.  I can decide what to include, and zoom or crop out to exclude what I don’t want.  Maybe I need to shed some more light on the subject to get a better picture.  In other words, I do what I need to do to get the best results.  Do I always get a great capture?  Nope.  I am sometimes in too big a hurry to spend time getting the best photo.  But I can always try it again, and this time, I will know better what to do.  You see, if we look into what makes up our lives, we might find areas that take up our time, but add very little value to the end of our lives.  Because of that, we may not be living out God’s plan for our lives either.  We may actually be living out what we want, and asking God to put HIs hand of favor on that.  Nope.  Wrong way to go about it.  Remember, what we think affects our hearts and what affects our hearts, make up our daily habits.  We need to be watchmen/watch women on the wall of our lives.  Recognize it before it gets to close as to whether you holler out a warning or a hallelujah!  By faith, we can do that.  I like this statement from Anne Graham Lotz, “Faith is not a “gift” that some people have been given and other have not.”   So good.  We all can have faith.  So on the trip in the car, I did some re-framing through faith, and I believe God has given me new direction to take.  It may not be easy, but it will be best.  Knowing God in a deeper way gives us a better understanding of our relationship with Him, as well as, where He wants us to take action.

I am many things…wife, mother, teacher, encourager, proud Norwegian, a proud American, believer in God, photographer, blogger, lover of music and playing instruments…and many more things, yet, I am one person.  We all have facets just like a diamond.  But just like the diamond, all of us make up one beautiful creation that gives off light and reflection of who we are and what we value.  So…ask the hard questions.  We learn from them.  Sit a while and ponder life with sweet tea and time, or coffee and time, and see where God is leading you.  Have a happy journey!

Until next time…

~JoAnn

 

 

Advertisements

This…Right Here, Is The Best!

Before I begin the post, I just want to take a moment to wish all the Moms out there a blessed and wonderful Mother’s Day.  You are amazing!  My mom was one of those amazing people.  She was there for me; behind me to support and to help when I needed it.  She went through a bad patch when I was in high school for a couple of years, but God took care of that matter.  She was always willing to help someone, and loved to craft and had many projects going at one time.  She was also known to have a completely different looking room or house by the time we got home from school.  It was wild a few times!  I will always be grateful for all she did for me, my home, my kids and my life.  Thanks mom.

How many joys and blessings do we miss out on because we don’t see them, or we take them for granted?  I have been thinking about that this week as I have pursued getting healthy after a horrible sinus infection.   I have a trip coming up in two weeks and I don’t want to deal with being sick while I am gone.  I am better but still not 100%.  As I rested and resisted pushing myself, I was thinking about the opportunities that God has given me in my life.  It’s so easy to get cruising with life, and forget that we have the life we have because of the blessings God has bestowed on us.  It has once again caused a shift in my thinking.  I seem to have had a lot of those shifts lately.  I think God has a plan.

Because of this shift, I found myself on my first drive out after being sick, pulling in to park at our home, and just feeling an overwhelming sense of thankfulness for our home.  God has been good to us, providing this home, and giving us many of the items we desired to have in our home.  For me, He has given me many of the dreams that I was looking for in a home for this season of my life.  That isn’t just happenstance.  I have found myself, in spite of the troubles with my eyes and sinus these last months, feeling very thankful for being healthy over all, and able to take this trip without worry or concern.  It has filled me with wonder as I consider God’s provision to take my middle son and my grandson on this trip. I’m also very thankful to have a husband who believes that this is important enough in my life and that of the boys, to help make it happen.  It means so much to me.  It is hard to describe how I feel when I go to Norway.  It is like going home.  It is hard to explain, but it is there non-the-less…that deep connection.

That anticipation has continued as the sunny days showed up this week and last weekend.  I loved being out on the deck and enjoying it.  I was out there most of the day.  Again, not missing the moments of flowers growing, a hummingbird coming to visit, the quiet, the breeze, and an overwhelming sense of feeling “just right” with the world.   I realized that I don’t want to miss any of those kind of moments.  I want to:

  • take the time
  • see the sunset
  • see what is around me that God has given me to enjoy
  • be a legacy example of how to live

I don’t want to just see it, but see it in the way that helps me experience it at that moment.    I want to have more and more of those times when I say, “Wow!  This right here?  This is living!  This is a great moment!”  As Andy Andrews talks about, “It is also about creating those perfect moments…”.  I agree.  I do that for myself and family whenever I can.  It is just a great way to live.  We have to become intentional about it, however.  I have become more and more aware of how God wants me to stay in tune with that.

I was even excited to get my old glass frames with new prescription lenses put in them, so I have glasses that not only work better, but I like them better than my current glasses.  So now, I feel better about that too each day.  Saved $200 by doing it that way too.  Score!  It’s in the little things that God does for us that makes up the whole of a life well-lived.

As I have thought about the upcoming trip, I am having fun planning and executing the schedule so it comes together well.  I have my ironing board out to iron this next week so I can finish packing.  I have connected with the airline to find out what time we need to be at the airport, and about checking bags, and all those little details.  What fun!  My youngest son is bringing his brother and nephew down to the airport, so we will meet up and have a nice lunch before going to the airport to check in.  The anticipation of going is pretty exciting for the three of us.  This will be Ethan’s first time on a plane, let alone traveling internationally.   I got a kick out of him as we talked about the money.  He thought it was so dumb that our money wasn’t the same as theirs, and that given one day or a few days later, could be worth even less, or maybe worth more.  So cute.  But he will learn all about that exchange first hand.   Learning first hand is always best.  I hope this trip will be something they will never forget.  I love the idea of giving them some historical background about where they came from.  I am also very thankful to those who make it possible while we are there, to meet up, and share history with us.  And of course, anytime I can walk outside and immediately see the fjord, I feel like I am getting a glimpse of heaven.  I thank God every day I am there for the beauty!

So grab those moments of joy where everything feels right.  Create them in your lives, as well as in the lives of those around you.  Don’t wait for the special times to come to you.  Instead create them.  Look for them.  Take pictures of them.  Write them down.

Speaking of writing them down… I now have a prayer wall.  I have a window between my cabin/office and the dining room.  It is a wavy glass window; not real practical.  I have my kitchen queen on the dining room side, and so I thought I might as well make good use of my side.  So I made it into my prayer wall.  It’s coming along nicely.  I’m digging in and not letting the devil get any foot hold here!  Prayers up!!!

While I am on a rabbit trail of good things to help make us strong, I am also reading Priscilla Shirer’s book called, Fervent.  GREAT book!!  That will fire you up!!!

I will close this post with a hope that you are finding more in your life to notice that is good, than what isn’t going the way you want right now.  It’s so much more fun to look for what is right than what is wrong.  A whole new perspective will come into view!  It is my wish that you think again about what makes life good for you and do more of it!  It’s all waiting for you…call it in.

God bless you to that end.

~JoAnn

 

Mother’s Day Love

IMG_1813

It has come again.  That day when we remember to let our moms know in special ways, how much they mean to us.  Happy Mother’s Day to all of you moms!  You are indeed special!

I’m all for this day of celebration.  But, I also think that it is better to let them know every day in small and big ways what they mean to you.  It only takes a minute to send a text, make a phone call, Skype in, or better yet, get together with them in person.  Don’t get too busy that you don’t have time.  Most moms will tell you that their greatest treasure is being with their family.  One better?  Go to church with her!  Score!!  That touches the heart of a momma more that you can ever imagine.

Why do I encourage you to make it a point to let them know every day?  One day in 1991, I went about my day like any other day.  I went to work and after work, I went on into Seattle and attended my sign language class.  I was half way through my class when someone came in and gave me a message to call my son.  I left the classroom to call my son only to find out that my mom had just had a massive heart attack and did not survive.  No more time to communicate, share projects, do things together, or to tell her I love her.  No one knows the time or place.  If you don’t have your mom, as I don’t now, then do something in her honor tomorrow.

Let your love ones know how important they are to you.  Thank your momma if you are blessed to still have her.  Tell her how much you appreciate everything she does, and for being who she is.  Not perfect.  Just a woman who is trying to do the best she can with what she knows at this point in time.  We all need time to grow into ourselves.  Some have more time to grow than others.

Time…give her some of yours.

Walking the journey with you…

IMG_0094