Storms of Contentment


 

Thunder boomed and lightning flashed overhead as I experience the first t-storm in my trailer…though normally I am scared of storms, this one seems peaceful.  Though normally I want to hide under the bed, this time I just typed away to the pitter patter of rain drops on my roof…Perhaps its because I’m finally content in my own little home.  Or simply knowing that God is in control…

 Even my cat has been content…during the last couple of moves, she seemed stress to the point of not eating and/or getting sick; however, since we moved to the trailer, her appetite has been normal and she seems more playful like a little kitten…

 Though I’ve had a few incidents with the trailer like draining the tanks during a downpour (Yeah, that’s my life now…), thinking my fridge was about to go out (just a matter of adjusting the temperature), and dealing with bugs…yeah, I’ll have to find a way to keep really gigantic ants and flies out of my trailer

 Yet, I often worry about these little things…in some ways, I get impatient with them yet I’m working on being patient…because little things happening is a part of life.  I stress and worry about things like getting ready to go back to work…or making a good impression in my new community and church.

 Therefore, I need to let to let worry go as heard on the radio the other day when the DJ quoted the following by CS Lewis (The Collected Letters, vol 3):

Remember one is given strength to bear what happens to one, but not the 100 and 1 different things that might happen…and I’m sure God never teaches us to fear of anything…

Yeah, that’s me…I worry about 101 plus different things and constantly fearful like worried about what could happen as I prepare to start my new job…

 Or most recently…I had an interaction with someone and my analytical mind thought I had done something wrong because I didn’t hear from the person for a few days.  So I became almost physically sick from worry…yet, that was not the case.

 Yeah, I could say I have a right to fear because things have happened in my life…yet, I continue to pass through those valleys and come out stronger each time with the strength God has given me.

 Anyway, what are you worried about?  What can you do to lessen stress and worry in your life? 

According to Luke 12;25 (NIV) “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?” 

As someone who needs to keep stress down due to a health concern, I’m not helping by worrying so I need to let go and turn it all over to God…and not be so fearful about what could happen.  Or just be like my cat as she cuddles with me during the storm…knowing Mama will take care of her like God, the Father, takes care of us…

 Or, like I do, take a moment, sit on the front step, and just enjoy His Creation and the wonders of the earth…meditating on his word with scripture reading and prayer.

The Delivery Process


Well, my trailer has been delivered and setup…though we had a few hiccups…like wrong delivery address and electricity issues…I have spent a couple of nights there already and everything seems to be going smoothly…even with a few worries like getting rained on…

 

First, after unloading and unpacking, I settled down…since it was a warm day, I sat on the front step and studied the scenery…on one side is a golf course and then the rest of the trailer park is surrounded by trees and mountains…plus, across, the street, is an old barn with a herd of cows!  Yeah!  I finally have my little trailer in the country…yippee!  Or should I say moo?  The simple life I’ve been dreaming about for a while…

 

Next, while talking to my mom, I had a visitor…a little kitty who I had met before…he/she wanted to come in; unfortunately, I had to put a stop since my little lady is very territorial.  Anyway, the little thing hung out with me before heading off to find another adventure…

 

That first night was interesting…I heard thumps on the roof…were wild animals breaking in?  Oh, how I worried…then it was a matter of adjusting to new sounds and a mattress; however, by the time I spent a second night, things were more comfortable…though I missed the little lady, who also missed me…and less worrisome.

 

Despite the ups and downs throughout the process, I am excited to live here…though it was cool “home” after church last night rather than facing the danger of deer on the road or even blinding sun to get to my other home.  Plus, it is about ten minutes versus over an hour…so sweet!  I don’t even have my laptop, radio, or even a working television yet so it was nice not to be distracted by gadgets except my phone…just enjoying God’s creation practically in the middle of nowhere…

 

<<sigh>> I once heard you are in the place you’re supposed to be when you’re happy…well, this new adventure called trailer is a happy and relaxed place to be…where I truly believe God is calling me to live a simple life while even ridding myself stuff.  I guess, after losing my husband, relationships are more important than stuff…

 

Well, at the same time, I do have other worries like how to light the propane oven, change the gray and black water tanks, and then supporting myself…yet, I also know I shouldn’t worry since God will take care of me.

 

After all, according to Luke 12:22 (NIV):  Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear…basically have faith for God to provide since according to verse 30 “your Father knows that you need them…” 

 

At the same time, don’t wait for things to come to you…like me, I am looking for a job; however,  I know God will provide while I work on ways to earn an income through writing or whatever God has in store for me to live this simple life.

 

So, what are you worried about?  Like me, I was worried something would go wrong with the delivery, which did happen but, overall, the delivery went smooth and I met some great people with my dad’s help…so trust God and unwind from worry…after all, like the delivery guy said, worry just stresses a person out so release the worry…deep breaths…and let God work things out for His glory.

 

Or, just bask in His marvelous creation…like my new friend who doesn’t seem to have a worry even after accidently being locked in a shed all night…

Celebrating an Old and New Birth


Yesterday, I experienced one of many firsts without my husband…though they have been tough, I manage to get through each one from our anniversary, holidays, and other milestones.  Yesterday was no different since it would’ve been his 53rd birthday…though we miss him dearly, he probably celebrated with Jesus or other family members who have passed.

 

To celebrate this day, I went to the dealer to inspect the trailer with my parents.  Not only did I inspect the trailer I am now calling Mercy, I was given a quick guide on how to handle the many hoses, gadgets, and other bells and whistles that come with the trailer.

 

The appointment started with anxiety when I showed up and they weren’t ready…I just wanted to see Mercy and touch her again…after all, it’s been two weeks since I bought her.  Oh, Mercy is a name I gave her since my van’s name is Gracie…me and my husband tended to name our vehicles.  Well, anyway, after a several minute wait, I looked out in the parking lot and there she is…clean from a “bath” and ready for inspection…it was like welcoming a new member of the family.

 

Unfortunately, within an hour, my head was overwhelmed with learning how to hook up hoses and cords…and so on.  How to turn on each function…rather to use propane or electricity…battery power or electricity and so on…then learning the difference between black water versus gray water and types of hoses to use…and so on…

 

Excitingly, she comes with a ton of bells and whistles that include an outdoor kitchen and speaker system…an amazing entertainment center plus other cool features like the awning and tons of storage.

 

Of course the downfall is deciding what to keep in the trailer, store, or bless other people with…after all, I finally decided to be a girl and splurge on some cute shoes other than black flats…then there is my princess kitty who gives me looks as I pack AGAIN…but I hope she enjoys the new home; though I’m sure she’ll be content as long as she can keep hogging the bed.

 

Well, anyway, it’s getting excited and tomorrow Mercy is delivered to my spot in a really tiny town with trees and fresh air.

 

As for my husband’s birthday, I plan to celebrate my first night in the trailer with his favorite treat of cherry pie and sparkling cider…though I have a feeling he is smiling so I raise my class to a classic husband and the new adventure I am about to embark on…

SO HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO A WONDERFUL HUSBAND 

Anyway, are there some firsts you are about to celebrate with or without a loved one?  How are you handling them?

 

 

Widowhood Journey


This is a journey that I cannot leave…you see, since I last blogged, life became interesting.  My husband entered the hospital for a while…well..the equivalent of over month.  The first time, he had an infection, which we thought had cleared up.  Then, a week after he was home, the infection returned.

After a few days of tests, he had a heart attack…then after another round of tests, he had surgery to remove his catheter and another one was placed in him for his dialysis.  The infection continued and he kept having more complications plus more procedures.  Until, one day, he realized that he no longer wanted to fight so we gave him the okay to go Home…

Well, almost three weeks ago, after a couple days of no sleep while watching him struggle from the infection, he took his final breath…now its the journey of widowhood…

The weeks since have been a struggle…the first few days were a daze but I’ve been focused on God and becoming a godly person like my husband.  My mom stayed with me for a few days while I figure out how to plan a funeral…something that is totally new to me…all I know is that losing someone as close as a husband is a lot different than losing someone like a grandparent or in the case of my in-laws, losing a son.

I come and go but no husband here…I do have our cat who has been a blessing…and I’ve been turning to God during this dark valley.  Yeah I’ve experienced all kinds of emotions since losing him from anger, tons of tears, and even smiles as I think of him…graduated and fully healed.

What have I learned?  That you don’t know how to be a widow…you expect people to drop things and be there for you, but they have their lives. Yeah, some have been here like my mom and the friends who brought dinner but i’m basically on my own now.  I’m not the type of person to stay in bed all the time…getting up and taking care of myself has helped because, not only have I become a widow, I need to find a job and a new home…so that’s another journey that’s easier to walk than the journey of being a widow…

So for a while my blogs will be sporadic but I hope to start back up again as I share insights on being a widow while finding a job and a new home…but I know God is helping me on each of these journeys.  And, as one pastor told me, my husband is probably helping God with my journey too as I cherish memories, his ashes, and our rings while being part of the widowhood club…

New Journey


Hello, my friends…I’m back…

Since I last wrote this blog, quite a bit has changed, most of it for the good like having major surgery and discovering no cancer but still healing…praise the Lord.  This taught me that God is in control no matter how scary life gets…

Then, in the midst of recovering, I learned that I would be finishing school earlier than planned.  Yep, I’m done…my last two classes were on care ministries where I learned to counsel, shepherd, and care for people; then, Small Groups, where I learned how to set up and maintain small groups.  Both classes were amazing and I learned a lot but then as quickly as they started, they ended and now no more classes for me…except eventually to take a few for credentials.  My last class wasn’t done up to the standards I was used; however, I did pass and learned that I do not always need to be perfect and life still goes on…

Then in the midst of finishing my classes, I also had to complete paperwork and a portfolio required to graduate…that was a major project itself since it took me back through looking through three years’ worth of final papers as well as collecting information and figuring out where to find this information.  The exercise taught me to be a bit more organized in the future…

So, now I’m done…my portfolio was approved and one of the next steps is to walk in December so now I need to make travel plans to California, which should be fun as I decide to drive, fly or train?  While making the trip fun…

So, now that I’m done, I need to find a ministry Care that comes with many questions since I don’t know what’s around the next river bend…but I am learning to seek God and His desire for me and my husband.

After all, according to Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Questions:

  1. Are you struggling with your own future or next journey in life?
  2. What fears do you need to overcome?
  3. If you’re not sure of which direction to go, have you prayed and read scripture?

So, what’s next? Well, I hope to continue writing a blog about the journey including following God’s lead on deciding our future so that I am able to use the degree that I’ve worked so hard for, with God’s and my husband’s strength, while fulfilling His purpose for our lives…

 

A God Who Delights in Mercy…Like You


Hello everyone, how are you doing on this blustery fall evening?  Hope all is well with you…

So, this is my 100th blog and as I write this, I am reflecting on a final paper on the prophet Micah that I just wrote for my prophets class…

The passage that I based the paper on was Micah 7:1-20 and one of the verses was as follows:

Micah 7:18 (NIV):

Who is a God like you,
    who pardons sin and forgives the transgression
    of the remnant of his inheritance?
You do not stay angry forever
    but delight to show mercy.

This passage starts out with how the prophet is upset because the leaders of Judah are corrupt and even those within the community from friends to family members have turned against each other…sort of reminds me of today’s times.  Yet Micah wrote about a God who is merciful and does not stay angry with his people forever.  That the problems of the world can be overcome through God’s salvation…

Questions:

1) when  you hear a phrase “who is a God like you,” what do you think of?  Negative or positive thoughts?

2) If negative, do you know where these thoughts are coming from?  Have you been hurt by corruption or even people turning against you?  I’m praying for you and I know the feeling…I once thought God was negative because of the words Father that were associated with Him because of bad experiences yet after prayer and listening to a message one night, I realized He’s an Abba Father who does not stay angry forever and loves to have compassion and mercy on His children. Yeah, He may get angry at times because of things like social injustice, corrupt people, idol worship, and so on but He doesn’t stay angry forever and He forgives people because He loves them.

3) If positive, good for you and maybe use the positive thoughts to encourage those who are discouraged by negative thoughts?

So, I leave you with these thoughts and prayers that all is well with you…and remember God DELIGHTS to show His mercy…

I’m going to put together a contest soon to celebrate 100 blogs and I started a class on World Religions about the different religions around the world and how we as Christians can reach out to them…so stay tuned for the contest and a few words on what I am learning…

Blessings to all of you and sticking with me through the journey of 100 blogs…

Lost and Found


Well,  how was your week?  Have you been creative or reflective in your walk with Jesus?  Or even made an important decision to accept Him into your life?  Or do you feel lost rather you have accepted Him or not?

Throughout the book of Luke in Chapter 15 there are a few parables about sheep, coins, and even a son who were lost and so these parables reminded me of my own lost story this past week.  You see, I have been losing weight to fight a health issue and so my wedding ring has been getting loose.

Earlier this week, I ran a bunch of errands and noticed it was quite loose but I kept it on.  A few hours later, I noticed it was missing and went in an almost panicked mode…worst scenario – it was flushed down the toilet!  Or lost under the tires of a car in a store’s parking lot!  I even dug through the garbage, garbage disposal, hamburger, fish and so on (I’d split up the meat and produce picked up at the store)…but alas no ring!  We were both devastated and I moaned the loss of such a connection with my husband.

Then, a little voice kept whispering check the bags…check the bags…so I checked the baggie storage and then I checked on bag that had been shoved in an obsolete spot.  My heart leaped with joy as a small shiny object popped out and fell to the floor…rolling under a few more bags that had fallen!  Praise the Lord..after doing some more digging…I found my ring.

Quickly I tucked it away until I can find a nice chain to wear around my neck until the ring can be resized…

Lesson learned was that I need to tuck something precious away especially your ring if you notice it in a hazardous situation (yes I got the lecture from my hubby).

Above all, I felt like the woman did in Luke 15:8-10 whens he found one of her ten coins that signifies she has been faithful in her marriage.  She rejoiced just as Jesus rejoices when even just one sinner repents.  Or the Father who rejoices when His son returns home in Luke 15:11-32.

Questions:

1) Do you feel lost?

2) If so, where are you at in your walk with Jesus?

3) Have you said the sinners prayer?  Or even returned to Him after a long time away from Him?

4) How do you take care of your relationship with Jesus?  Are there warning signs that you are drifting away on the way to becoming lost?

5) Did you know that even if you have drifted away, God still loves you?

Wherever you are at, I’m praying for you and will rejoice with you once you are found and return to Him…

Blank Pages


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!

Creative Journey


I’m back…hopefully I can keep blogging but life is a bit hectic right now…We’re now settled into our new home with a few hiccups along the way like a few health things and a battle with fleas…plus I got to go camping with a group of people from church…now that was an adventure!  Not far from a wildfire plus we dealt with several thunderstorms including a downpour in the middle of the night.  Now I know why people camp with a tarp over their tents here in the Pacific Northwest.  Even with the rain, it was a great trip and wish to do it again.

I started back to school and I’m currently in a class about the Old Testament Prophets…a learning experience and I hope to learn more about prophecy and the great people who wrote these amazing prophets, which may seem gloomy but were meant to bring hope to people.

Next, along with caring for my husband and school, I’ve started volunteering  a couple hours a week at my church as a way of getting experience working in a church while staying busy; otherwise, I was going stir crazy being home all the time.  Then had a great day at the fair earlier this week where I had hoped to win a horse…but alas…it was not to be.  Oh well, someday I hope to own one…

Well, I do want to keep this blog going…God keeps reminding me that I need to keep writing so I’ll try to get back in the groove of it but going another direction.  I want to take it on a new journey where I focus on being creative to help people through a journey to becoming whole while using their creative skills to help them along that journey.  Even if you don’t think you’re creative, this journey may help you along the right path and understand you and God while helping you heal anything that feels out of joint from within, outwardly, and even upwardly.

So stay tuned…

Question:

So, what is your creative side?  Do you like to write, paint, take pictures, or even day dream as you contemplate life or even the clouds in the sky?  Whatever your creative side is, use that to think about where you want to go in life…what does feel out of sorts?

Stepping Back in the Journey and Forging On


Hi everyone, I think I’m back…

Since it has been a while since I posted a blog, I thought I would give an update and let you know about my next round of blogs, which may be sporadic but I hope to keep them going once I get started again.  So, the last few months have been hectic with hubby in and out of the hospital with everything from strokes, infections, pneumonia, you name it.  Along with that, I was diagnosed with diabetes and so I have been working on controlling that as well as focusing on school and my husband’s health.

Thus, my husband’s care became more than I can handle so our journey has taken a step backwards…for the good.  We packed up our belongings and moved back home to Marysville to be closer for the family support as well as help in caring for my husband.  Praying he lasts a few more years especially with this round of hospital visits.  Even as I write this blog, we had another visit to the hospital due to an infection.

Even with what seems like a setback, we are still forging on with our dreams as we focus on my husband, our “new” home and my master degree.  Yet, even the master degree has taken another journey as I returned to Hope International for various reasons; however, I will be completed about this time next year with four more required classes to take plus two extra…

As for the blog, well, after a few more blogs about this latest path of the journey, I will be writing about a spiritual journey that is creative and fun as I take you, my readers, on a journey that will help all of us develop a deeper relationship with God.

In conclusion, you may be wondering – did we misunderstand God when we went to the Spokane area?  Or even with school?  We still have the dream to someday open up a community style coffee shop; however, we are not sure about the location yet.  Thus, look to the future and know that God is in control and He will help us figure out our next step in the journey.

After all, according to Jeremiah 29:11:  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

So have you ever followed through on plans only to have a setback?  How did you overcome these setbacks?