Creative and Renewed Vision with the Heart of a Warrior


Well, as the end of one year approaches and another is about to start, I have been reflecting on my life especially as I spent the last few days going through photos and reading a book about Chazown, or God’s Vision for Your Life, for my next class.  This book is about taking your life’s experiences, gifts, and even values to determine your chosen path in life.

That is one thing that I struggle with as I ask – am I on the right path with my master degree?  In just 18 months, I will hopefully be graduating and hope to be in a ministry or even starting my own.  Though I feel God is calling me to be involved before He puts me into my own ministry…so involved I will be.

Yet, in the meantime, a few interesting things have happened in the last few days that have given me a sense of what I am called to do…almost like a renewed vision for my life.

First, as I examined the pictures, I came across a few cool ones including scenic photography and even my own paintings…I never really had the dream to paint yet as I study my art and even the photographs, I have a continued dream to use my gift of creativity for God’s glory.  Yet I wonder how will I make the time with husband’s care, school, and maybe a job, hopefully soon.  Yet, I must continue to trust God to work His Ways to help me fulfill this desire to use my creative gift of writing, artwork, and even love to create things with Legos.  Therefore, I hope to start a writing project that includes writing a devotional about God’s path in life so stay tuned…and pray that I can accomplish this dream.  Perhaps I even need to make time for my creative side before it goes away…

Second, I often wondered if I would ever fulfill a vision that was spoken over me years ago as I was commissioned as a leader at a local church.  It was about doing great and mighty things for God.  Yet, I’m shy and I don’t know if I can ever speak to a crowd of people to preach or even lead them to the Lord.  Then, yesterday, as I went forward to have my husband prayed for, an acquaintance – who I would to become friends with – prayed over me and she told me that she was given a Word about me.  It was almost similar to the vision as she reminded me to be a warrior and be bold as I would be reaching a great multitude of people!!!  I was like wow and all I could say was – thank you and that was the second time I have heard that message in my life!  Now, it is time to be bold and become that warrior for Christ.

Third, our pastor spoke about boldness and walking with God to fulfill His purpose in our lives.  That we need to wake up from our slumber and speak up in His Name and proclaim the Gospel.  that we need to grow in Christ and develop a lasting relationship with God as we continue to be bold.

Therefore, in conclusion, instead of a New Year’s Resolution, I will take one step at a time in this coming year to hopefully become a warrior in the Name of Jesus, standing up boldly for Him, praying for this nation, and bringing people into His Kingdom.  This includes building/rebuilding relationships with God, family and friends, spending more time with God and focusing on Him as I strive to serve Him more and become more obedient to His will.

What are your steps to becoming a better you in the coming year?  Is there a vision that you have put on hold or forgotten?  Is there something standing in your way?

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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.

How wide is your path?


Well howdy again, this is Ann’s husband and I will be writing tonight’s blog (yes, God has healed after the trip to the emergency room of dehydration).

Has anyone in authority ever told you to get on the straight and narrow path?

I was that young person that was told that by my senior pastor, he was a retired air force colonel and when he told you something; you always put it into action.

That was thirty five years ago and ever since then I have only fell off the straight and narrow once.

Now Ann and I are starting down a straight and narrow path to Las Vegas, you ask? How can you be on the straight and narrow in Las Vegas?

We saw quite a few hurting and lost souls in Vegas during our recent trip.  We also went to a thriving church, in the same area.

Just don’t make sense why someone couldn’t get the two together…Especially since less than 35% of the population in Nevada are affiliated with any religious organizations!  Turns out Nevada is one of ten states that fall into this statistics.  It’s time someone did something about the lost and hurting in Nevada…though ministries are thriving in that area.

So that’s why Ann and I are heading down to see if we could cast our vision to some churches and groups of pastors, thank you Jesus they will catch our vision.

This has been a long road with a lot of false starts and misleading dreams but now after much prayer on our knees and listening to the still small voice,

We are right at the jumping off place, it’s very scary.

We move ahead with faith and mercy leading our way.

So when it’s your vision or dream calling to you be bold and courageous and walk the straight and narrow path and find others that are excited about your vision, start casting and bring in the harvest.

But first we need to plant the seed…

Thanks for listening…Dene Cole (The Praying man)

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What path are you traveling on?  Is it narrow or wide?

Trust and obey…simply trust and obey


I wanted to write a blog about the Fourth of July and the freedoms we have to write blogs; however, life has taken an unexpected turn.  Last night, I had to rush my husband to the hospital after he had a fall.  This was the final straw after watching him grow weak and barely function for the last several days.  The docs believe he may just be dehydrated; however, he will be in the hospital for another day or so as they run tests and monitor his condition.  Tonight he is already looking better and we – the cat and I – miss him.

Tomorrow will be a more trying time since my neighborhood streets will be closed due to a local parade.  I won’t be able to make it to the hospital until early evening so I will trust that he will be okay even though I will miss him like the dickens.

Yet, I must trust and obey as the following song reminds us to do so…

  1. When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
    What a glory He sheds on our way!
    While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
    And with all who will trust and obey.

    • Refrain:
      Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
      To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
  2. Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
    But His smile quickly drives it away;
    Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
    Can abide while we trust and obey.
  3. Not a  burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
    But our toil He doth richly repay;
    Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross,
    But is blessed if we trust and obey.
  4. But we never can prove the delights of His love
    Until all on the altar we lay;
    For the favor He shows, for the joy He bestows,
    Are for them who will trust and obey.
  5. Then  in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet,
    Or we’ll walk by His side in the way;
    What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
    Never fear, only trust and obey.

Trust…we are told to trust and obey for there is no other way; yet that can be a difficult way especially as you trust that all is well with the love of your life.  Yet, as I walked away from him, I felt at peace that he will be all right when I see him tomorrow night.

This trust and obey can be difficult especially as you prepare for a new journey in life.  We wonder if this setback is God’s way of saying “stop” or the enemy trying to discourage us.  All we can do is trust and obey…

Finally, A friend stopped by the hospital tonight and he reminded us that sometimes we just need to wait on the Lord, even if it is almost the last moment.  Therefore, we will trust and obey as we wait on the Lord.

What difficulty are you facing now?  Are you struggling to trust and obey?  If so, simply put your trust in the Lord and pray that He will help you through it.

Reference:  http://library.timelesstruths.org/music/Trust_and_Obey/.  Retrieved 07/03/13

The burden of too much junk in our lives…both materially and spiritually


Well, we started the process of packing yesterday.  So far we have a small stack of boxes, a blessing pile, and furniture is being labeled; however, as I pack, I am sorting through the bookcases around the television that contained books, CDs, and movies.  As I sort through this assortment of “stuff,” I do wonder why people collect so much stuff as I get rid of material things as well as junk within me that may be holding me back from fulfilling my vision.  After all, if we put too much stuff on the moving truck, it will come at a cost just like other junk in our lives will come at a cost.

Have you ever seen what happens to a person when they are walking or climbing up a path and have too many burdens on their shoulders?  It weighs them down and they struggle to get through life. 

After all, sometimes we all carry too much baggage called fear, sin, and guilt as we step into this path to fulfill our vision in life and we get weight down with it.  Jesus wants me to give it all to Him; therefore, I need to release it to my Redeemer and live a more carefree life that is not over burdened with junk.

According to Gal 5:1 (NIV) “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.   Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” 

This passage means that Jesus paid the price so that we are no longer burdened by the slavery of sin.  The Biblical idea of freedom is related to slavery and being released from a lifetime of servitude; however, Christ’s ministry was about liberation from sin and the darkness.  On the other hand, just because we have this freedom in Christ, we do not have the liberty to continuously sin.  Therefore, we must do our best not to sin and release this burden of sin by confessing of our sins on a daily basis.

What does this have to do with preparing for our vision?  In order to fulfill a person’s God given purpose, they need to make sure their heart is right and they are truly living free from sin.  After all, our dream will be to reach out to other people and if we are habitually sinning, how will we reach people?   Therefore, my husband and I are making sure we do have peace in our hearts as we release any sin in our souls by asking for repentance…

What burdens are you carrying around that are holding you back?  Whatever your burdens, you can surrender them all to Jesus.  After all, He is the junk remover and He paid the price at the Cross for our freedom.

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.

Happy Father’s Day Tribute


Father…Dad…Papa…Pops…when you hear those words, what do you think of?  Do you think of a father who is respectfully intimate with you and loves you? On the other hand, do you think of a man who is hard working, loving, or kind?  Perhaps, your image of your earthly father has never been so favorable or you do not have memories of a father.

Over the years, I have had a mix of both good and bad with my own father.  He had his rough moments and yet he had his good moments with my mother, me and my four siblings.  However, over the last few years, he has become a great dad as he enjoys retirement with my mom.  Once a pastor turned carpenter, my “retired” dad spend his days helping at the church and tackling his “honey do” list of projects around their house.  When he is not busy, he spends time spoiling his grandchildren. 

Because my father was once a pastor, I have always had the desire and calling to serve within a church.  I would love to pastor a church either by starting the vision of a community coffee shop or even a community center that teaches about Jesus and who He is.

Furthermore, there are fathers like my father-in-law who work hard all their lives while managing the health care of his oldest son, my husband.  Along with his day job and caring for my husband, while growing up, my FIL managed two other kids with my mother-in-law.  Today, my “retired” FIL continues to spend time with his kids and taking care of my husband and me.  In addition to his family life and helping us, he spends time helping a local food bank and other needs of the community.

This father is the essence of serving the community as my husband and I dream of serving the community as a way of honoring him.

Another father is my heavenly Father who I call Abba and love with all my heart, soul, and strength.  At times, I may disappoint Him with my earthly ways; however, no matter what happens, He is there with a warm embrace and a warm welcome as I ask for forgiveness of my earthly sins.  He has been my source of strength and He constantly has my back.  He is a Father who will never retire from His job…

For the longest time, I was afraid of fathers until I was taught about this caring Father and I have learned to respect and honor my own father in the process. 

This Abba Father is the one who has given my husband and I the vision to serve Him through a community type coffee shop. Though we love our earthly fathers, we want to serve this Father and hear His voice as we step out in faith…

Though many of you may not have warm and fuzzy thoughts about your own father or may not know your father, do remember that on this day – Father’s Day – there is a Father who loves you today and every other day.

Happy Father’s Day

A Harness of Unforgiveness


Since we are about to move to a new state, we need to prepare our cat for such a long move.  To prepare her, we bought a harness to put around her little body so that when we make stops and need to let her out, we do not want her running off.

Our first step in preparing her for the harness was to get her used to a collar.  We never had one for her because we wanted her to be free since she used to be a part time outdoor cat.  When we moved to a new apartment, she lost that freedom and now she is mainly an indoor kitty who is getting lazy and a bit chunky so we want to exercise her; thus another reason for the harness.

She likes the collar especially the new one with a jingle bell on it and little bees decorating the collar.  My blind husband can hear her and she is warming up to him more since he knows where she is at and can be petted more by him, which is a way to bond with a cat. Though the new collar makes a great wakeup call especially early in the morning when she decides to play near the bedrooms – before the alarm clock goes off.  We love her anyway especially when she comes up and cuddles with me first thing in the morning.

Anyway, when we first put the harness on, she hissed and growled so I removed it.

After she had time to calm down, we tried it again and I was given the look that said I wounded her pride and she was not happy.  Next came lots of lovin’ and kisses and treats with a dose of reassurance.  After a couple of hours, we removed the harness.

Today, the harness went back on for several hours.  When I finally removed it, there was a bit of fussiness but soon she relaxed as “mommy” petted her and reassured her that all is well.

Our next step will be to spend a few hours a day with said harness and eventually work up to the leash…what a chore!  Guess we’ll put test the theory as to rather or not you can train “old” cats new tricks…

Our Misty is learning new tricks as we learn that animals…no matter what you do to them, will forgive you for many things especially if they are treated well.

Though forgiveness is not always so easy for people since we are not so quick to forgive.  This bitterness and unforgiveness will keep us from fulfilling our purpose.  As you read this blog, is there someone in your life that you need to forgive?  Like a harness, perhaps this heart of unforgiveness is keeping you from pursuing your vision…

Moving from cold rainy forest land to dry arid desert land!


Our first step with our vision, which is to open a community-type coffee shop, is to relocate.  Even though this is a beautiful area, my husband and I no longer enjoy the cold and wet of the great Northwest.  We both love dry, arid and desert type communities.  After all, I grew up in Eastern Washington so I remember the cold bitter winters and the dry, hot summers.  I miss those and I am starting to feel claustrophobic in Western Washington.  It is time we move on and so we are preparing to move to the great desert land called Nevada. 

We visited this area not too long ago and feel God calling us to go down there and set up our dream of a community-style coffee shop.  This process of deciding where to go has been long and we have visited many other states including Montana.  We decided that Montana was not for us and that we need to find another land so we drove down to Nevada last month.

That was a long drive but it was a great drive especially when we were in the Death Valley National Park.  Even as I admired the beautiful landscape, the temperature was quite hot and I discovered that we would need to acclimate to the warm weather especially when I became frequently dry and thirsty.

Why do we want to move here?  For one thing, along with the call, my husband and I noticed our aches and pains seem to go away.  I have arthritis in my hips and the pain lessened as my joints soaked up the heat.  Furthermore, my husband’s health improved as his diabetes related aches and pains lessened and he seemed more alive in that area then he does up here.  Normally, bedtime is 10 o’clock for us; while in Vegas, we were staying up until midnight and still had energy to burn even on just a few hours of sleep.  My husband’s appetite was tremendous down there; here I would be lucky to get him to eat a few bites for each meal.

As we study the pros and cons of this move, the pros outweigh the cons and we are pushing forward as we look at movers, medical staff, and rentals in that area.  We are praying that God opens the right doors since we hope to move at the end of our current lease in August.

What step do you need to take to fulfill your vision or purpose?  Where is God leading you?  I am praying that God opens your eyes to your vision or purpose.

Stay tuned for our next blog as we describe our vision and learning that cats do not like halters!

 

Blurred Vision


This is a quick blog since I may not be able to post tomorrow’s blog due to a eye doctor’s appointment. I will be dilated and it takes several hours for my eyes to clear. This dilating of the eyes reminds me that we often lose focus on our vision and we need to re-focus our eyes on the vision and the one who is leading us to the vision – which is God.

Over the years, I have strayed from focusing on the vision with distractions and other life’s challenges. Now, my husband and I are focused on fulfilling that vision and feel if we do not act now, the vision will never come to fruition and our future will remain cloudy like my eyes tomorrow while I wait for clear vision.

What is distracting you from your vision? Is it fear? Or something else? I am praying for each of you that God clears up your vision and you can see what is distracting you while becoming re-focused on your vision, or purpose, in life.

Stay tuned for my next blog by Thursday or Friday that will start giving more clarity to the next steps in our vision.