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So, where are  you with your walk with Jesus?  Have you accepted Him as your personal Savior or are you still in the stage of not quite sure you want to go in that direction?

Next, are you totally devoted to Christ, broken and  humbled before Him as you draw near and completely surrendered to Him?  Or, are you saved, yet you do not know what to do next?  Do you drift from one church activity to the next, not really know Jesus and who He is…not being completely surrendered, humble before Him?

For many years, and even now, I have been the person drifting from one activity to the next…after all, I grew up in the church and thought I knew it all when it came to the Bible and even how to act in church.   Yet, then my world came crashing down on me as my marriage ended and my son was taken from me…then I had to surrendered myself to Him and desire to know Him more.  I then realized He has always been with me even when I turned my back on Him during the marriage.

I haven’t been perfect with my walk as I still struggle with it; however, the more I resist, the more He seems to remain with me.

Yet one thing missing from my walk is discipleship such as not praying or even reading His word – the Bible – as much as I should.  Many times I shrug it off as too busy but I can’t be too busy for Him.  If I can watch hours of TV then I should have hours of time devoted to Him.

By now you are asking – is Ann rambling on in this post?  It may seem like I am but its about the next series of blogs.  I will be devoting time writing about that blank page or even a page that is a bit dirty but can become white and clean as you build your journey with Christ.

So stay tuned…I may not write every week or even write a few times a week, depending on my schedule.  I hope to have a few guest bloggers sharing their own journey.

So, if you want to share tips on your journey with Christ or have questions that you want answered, please feel free to send me a private message either here on this page or  at https://www.facebook.com/vsn63.  Your identity will remain anonymous…

Blessings, my friends!

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Adoption Anniversary…A Cat’s Journey


Well, in just little over a week, we will be celebrating our cat’s 4th anniversary since she came to live with us…

Her journey from the start has been interesting since we adopted her from a pet fair at a local pet store.  We already had one cat but felt she needed a companion so we made the decision to adopt.  She was a scrawny thing at that time, facing away from people, and already rejected by one potential family.  Yet, my husband wanted her even after she swiped at him with a claw.  I told him maybe we shouldn’t adopt her because he does not need a scratch from a cat.

He insisted so adopt her we did.

We took her home where our one cat became pissed even after we took our new baby into the spare bathroom.  Frightened, we left her alone until the next morning when I went in to check her.  She was scared and wanted nothing to do with us yet I sat with her for a bit and comforted her.  She cuddled with me for a few moments before backing away.

After a couple of days, I let her out and she went wild so I told my husband that maybe we should give her back.  He decided to call about her history and discovered that she was the runt, lived with an older person, and had gotten pregnant at a young age and then lost that batch.  The foster parent told us that once you got to know her, she was quite loveable so we decided to keep her and give her a chance.

Well, that chance became a challenge as I was determined to change her into a sweet cat.  It has been tough and it has taken a long time to tame her especially when she spent most of three years outside.  Even then it was a journey as she brought in everything from dead snakes, live baby bunnies, and even a rat into the house and let it loose!  Yes, many near heart attacks but I survived…

Then, unfortunately, due to issues with my husband and his health, we had to give up our older cat.  Later, we realized we should have tried other methods to prevent this cat from attacking my husband’s medical equipment, which was causing infections.

Then, our girl started to calm down as she was finally able to sleep with us and started bonding with us more.  More bonding came as we moved to an apartment and she was not able to got out.

Yet, since our move to our new town, she has become even more calm and the bonding continues to the point that she is finally warming up to even strangers and finally doing some serious cuddling.  We’ll just see how she does after we take her to a new vet this week…sigh…

Throughout this journey, she has taught us the following:

  1. That no matter what, it’s important to give not only animals a chance but humans as well.  Being patient and loving will lead to bonding and trust, which needs to be earned even with humans.
  2. Forgiveness – she has forgiven us for a lot of unintentional boo boos like me kicking her at night in my sleep, taking her to the vet for shots, leaving her alone for 2 weeks (with a cat sitter coming in to visit), and even the long trip to a new home.  Thus, we need to learn to forgive each other no matter what happens.
  3. Even cats can be service animal especially with our cat who has alerted us when hubby is low on blood sugar or even having a stroke…so listen to them when they try to tell you something.
  4. Oh, she loves company sine we always have a cats coming up to our porch and hanging out…
  5. She loves to listen when I read the Bible with her as the audience…her big eyes watch and she acts content…so read the bible aloud to your animal…

So, yeah, if you can, let your animals teach you something…after all, God made them to be companions and even possibly teach us a thing or two.

What have you learned from your pet throughout your journey?

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Another Change to the Path


Well, my path is changing once again…or I should say, I am returning to a path to fulfill a dream that started 27 years ago when I attended a weekend visitation at then Northwest College.  That dream was to earn a degree at Northwest and since then I’ve been on a series of paths that have taken me all around life.

I started this journey over 8 years ago when I entered their BA in Ministry Leadership program as a person yearning for a college degree.  After an issue with finances, I dropped out and continued my journey at Hope International.

After earning my BS in Human Development at Hope, I flittered from one Master program to another, trying to decide the best fit for me while yearning to return to Northwest University, yet unable to because it would have meant traveling 30 or so miles once a week, late at night, and away from my disabled husband at night.  So I scrapped that plan and started the MA in Pastoral Care at Hope, with still the yearning to go back to Northwest.

Then, recently while taking a break from Hope, I realized that I still had that dream so I checked out the programs at Northwest and discovered they finally had an online Master in Ministry program that I can do while living 300 miles from the school. Yes!  So, I applied and just learned today that I have been accepted and will be starting in less than 2  month so there will be a lot of scrambling to get registered, etc.

This is so exciting to finally end my educational journey at Northwest, the school that started the dream…plus I will be able to have more people at graduation versus if I was still at Hope, which is in Southern California.  They have an internship/special project class to learn to be a pastor while being able to get my credentials to become a pastor.  I cannot wait so I can finally have the right tools to show people the Good News of the Gospel and teach them about a Savior who is compassionate and wants them to be a part of the Kingdom of Heaven!

Even now, in my Matthew class, I am learning so much more about the Gospel and wish to spread what I learn to other people yet I need prayer to overcome a weakness of being shy and often not able to express the Good News to people in a face to face conversation.

Many, even I, may wonder why God is using a shy – something very imperfect person – to reach out to people as a pastor.  Yet, I am reminded that God used imperfect people for His purpose.   The Bible is full of them…

So, in conclusion, remember that you may not always wonder why God is using you, just believe that He does have a purpose for you and to keep on that path.  If you’ve strayed from your intended path, pray to Him and ask Him how to get back and He will, in a surprising ways, like He showed me how to go back to Northwest University.

So, what is keeping you from your purpose in life?  Do you worry that you are not perfect enough?  Or, that you have strayed so far that you can’t get back?

Blogging and Life


I am posting a short blog today to let you all know that I have not forgotten you, my faithful followers.

Life has been hectic with the start of a new class on Matthew plus church, bible study, and household stuff that is keeping me busy.  Plus the job situation has been hopping with interviews, sending out resumes, and two upcoming interviews.

Prayers needed for one strong job lead that is a part time job with great pay – perfect so I can continue to do school and have time for other household stuff and draw closer to God.

Hopefully, there will be an announcement soon about a change so stay tuned and I hope to be back to blogging this weekend.  I may just do 2 blogs a week as time permits so I hope you continue to follow.  Blessings to each of you and may your vision be fulfilled as you seek God’s purpose for your life.

Blessings, Ann

Knocked on my Noggin to get Focused


Well, we have approximately 7 weeks before we make the move and it is coming up quick. Today was spent organizing some stuff we have stored at my in-law’s garage, where during this process I managed to bang my head on a ladder. Ouch! That hurt but I’ll live.

After bumping my head, I realized we need to slow down a bit even in the midst of this rush to get things ready, we still need to remember what the mission is all about. Recently, I wrote the following for the vision that has been cast on our hearts.

Introductory

My name is Ann Cole. We – my husband Dene and I – share the vision of opening up a community-style coffee shop called Vision 63. We are being called to open this place because we want to make a change in society by reaching out to the lost and those who are considered misfits in this world. These people are hurting, lonely, and they are searching for a safe place to know and be known and to find Jesus.

 When did this vision start?

For me, this dream started when I was a kid watching my dad preach at a local church. My heart and soul has always been to minister to the lost within the community. After all, I was the kid who made friends with the least popular kids, was somewhat respected by the popular kids and enjoyed nurturing animals. Therefore, it was no surprise when I spent a weekend in a neighborhood that was known for its daily shootings during a mission trip in the mid 90s.

This trip would include cleaning up a community center house, evangelizing, and interacting with the kids. I even spoke at a local church and was given the nickname of evangelist as the dream for a community center began to take hold.

The journey towards fulfilling this calling started about seven years ago. During that time, God took me on an interesting journey when I visited the church that sponsored that ministry. As I stood in the lobby, I was reminded of my calling to minister to people within a community. Even more amazing was this church “grandfathered” the church where I was commissioned as a leader, called an evangelist once again while developing the faith to start my educational journey towards ministry.

Currently, I am pursuing a Master in Pastoral Care as it prepares me to reach out to those who are hurting in both the church and the community. I have also been involved with volunteer, and ministry opportunities for different organizations.

Finally, I am highly skilled in technology, administration, supervision, accounting, and analyzing data that will be valuable in setting up a community style coffee shop that will have the following services and programs:

• Coffee and Fellowship for people who may not go to church or anyone else who wants to be involved with the ministry

• Community-style classes such as art, writing, computer, Bible, skill training, etc.

• Meeting the needs of the community through giving of resources such as providing food, training, clothing, and possibly shelter

We are learning that Nevada is one of the least religious states in this country. They need people like my husband and I to reach out to them.

Therefore, with this in mind, what is our next step? Well, stay tuned as we fill in more information with our statements, how we plan to fill in this gap, and more stories behind the mission.

So, what is your vision or purpose for life? Are you rushing to get it done but not looking at the picture of what needs to be done? Maybe slowing down and remember that God is in control of the vision and He will help you get what needs to be done finished.

ANNOUNCEMENT COMING UP – My husband will be releasing his own blog called PrayingMan63 so stay tuned for its launch.

What happens if you don’t listen…especially to your wife?


So, as reported on an earlier blog, hubby went to the hospital earlier this week and went through a series of tests.  ERs do need to make sure they cover all the bases!   We thought it might be his heart or an infection.  Alas, it turned out to be simple dehydration…

Dehydration…it’s what happens when you do not drink enough fluid; however, my husband needs to be careful since his kidneys do not function and if there is too much fluid, that can cause problems too.

Before we headed to Nevada for a vacation, I warned hubby to stay on top of his fluids and make sure he was drinking enough water especially in the dry heat and in our area, where we experienced above average temperatures.  Did hubby listen?  No…he went in the hole without enough water and landed in the hospital (a place he does not like to go to).

Though many of you can relate to your spouse, a child, or parent not listening to you, there is one voice that we – including me – do not always listen to.

Or, we ignore that small quiet voice telling us what to do.

This person we all ignore is God as He gives us guidance, answers prayers (not always the answer we were expecting) or when He is casting a vision into our lives.

Why don’t we listen:

  1. By human nature, we have a tendency to disobey
  2. With many distractions, we would rather listen to other voices
  3. Like my husband, we think we have it under control
  4. With prayer, we want a different answer
  5. Hearing gets worse as you continue to ignore the voice of the Holy Spirit
  6. Simply, we don’t have time to listen or we ignore it completely

As we prepare for our journey, we are trying to listen to that still small voice and the direction He wants us to go.  It is difficult and I am preparing for a new class on Monday called The Spiritual Journey: The Integrated Approach of Henri Nouwen where I’ll learn to listen to that voice more and focus on listening to God and the purpose He has for our lives.

Finally, if you don’t listen, you can land yourself in hot water for not listening (like my husband) or end up on the wrong path….

So, what direction are you ignoring?  Are you ignoring that still small voice?

If so, take time to be still and quiet while listening for that still small voice.  This can be done through prayer and reading His word.  It can also be done through turning off electronics like phones, computers, etc.  Even getting away for at least an hour or so, if you can.   And, remember, He is listening to you too…

Finally….remember to listen to your spouse!  Often the Holy Spirit is using them or they have sound, sage advice…

You cannot take a moose, moth or spider webs with you…


Yikes! First, Henry the big old moose tumbled into my arms. Then came the avalanche of plastic bins mixed with a tool kit and camping gear. Once the avalanche stopped, my husband and I examined what remained in the storage unit and thought, “We’re moving…time to get rid of a few things!” After all, we have stuff at his parents’ house, a storage unit, and what is shoved in the closets and cupboards of our apartment. Thus, starts the part of our journey that requires de-cluttering even more…

This is not the first time we have purged our belongings. We did it about a year ago which resulted in a yard sale and trips to the Goodwill. The second time was six months ago as we prepared to move to a new place.

Perhaps there is a reason that there is a verse that reads “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal,” (Matt 6:19, NIV).

This verse is so true – why would we continue to store stuff in a storage unit that will only collect dust or other problems? That’s taking precious resources like money and time to manage? Fortunately, no moths flew out of the unit; however, there were traces of dust and spider webs around the door. Therefore, this move is a great excuse to take back the money and time that will be used elsewhere since we definitely cannot take it all to Nevada nor can we take any of it to heaven.

After all, our time and money can be used to build up the kingdom of God and fulfill His purpose for our lives.

Matthew 6:21 (NIV) reads “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” I want my heart to be in the right place and to be used by God, not spent storing stuff that collects dust.

How will we accomplish this? We will follow the rule, unless it’s irreplaceable like the many pictures we have of family and friends or my grandma’s old kitchen table now used as a desk as I write this blog, it will go to the Goodwill if it has not been used in over a years.

After all, according to 1 Tim 6:19 “In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” Therefore, we will continue to store up treasures in heaven as we prepare to move towards our vision in Nevada.

What do you have stored up that is keeping you from your vision or purpose? Like me, do you have the gene that causes you to horde stuff?

Finally, one question remains – do we keep the moose or give it away? What do you think?

Oh, yes, we managed to get everything but the moose back.  He is now sitting quietly in our rocking chair as he studies the world around him in our apartment.