Tag Archives: hope

Be Searching for Something 

As I sit watching the sunset, I ponder that ‘something’ I search for.   That ‘something’ that will fill feelings of grief, sadness and overwhelm.  

That space that I try to fill every time I open my phone to check Facebook. 

The hole I avoid when I run away from what I am feeling.  

The darkness I turn from every time I sit in numbness, not wanting to feel, not wanting to go down old trodden paths of pain.

But sometimes life doesn’t give us a chance to avoid.  

It allows us the privilege to sit up, to notice, to see our grief journey clearly and how much pain we have turned into gratitude.  

This search for something that is really nothing outside of us at all. 

We can’t avoid living life and why would we want to. 

The privilege to be with our people, to see into the eyes of their souls and to get to know them on a deeper level. 

Yes, Facebook could do that. 

Walking away could help us reflect. 

And that darkness I talked about, well, that only helps us see the brightness of the light.  

See, I have learned to let go of my sense of judgement as things are neither good nor bad, they just are.  I have also learned to be present with what I am feeling, as these feelings are neither good nor bad, as well, they just are! 


So, as you search for that ‘something’ today may you first look within your soul, your beautiful unique self sitting within you.  Resting in your spirit.  

Being you! 

Then may you look around you at those imperfectly perfect people around you. Building Knex, asking about the birds and the bees, reading books, playing with pillows… are what my people are currently doing. 

Being them! 


Search for that something that is already within you. 

Beautiful.  

Imperfectly perfect. 

Neither good nor bad. 

Just being. 

Full of strength.  

Overflowing with hope.  

Sitting in the presence of His peace.  

Knowing you are loved.  

Searching for nothing. 

Found! 

*written for a special person in our life on this significant ‘something’ kind of day! 

Be Finding Forward

Forward.

Moving not backwards.

Forwards.

Moving in a direction.

Which one will we choose?

Moving from the west to the east.

Finding the dance that takes you forward.

Into your dreams.

Into your spirit.

Into your spidey sense.

Presence.

How does one stay present?

Moving forward?

This is what I have learned and this is what propels me forward.

Taking peeks into the tiny, narrow, rear view mirror to pour gratitude into where I came from.

Gratitude.

Love.

Letting go.

be-finding-forward

Looking straight-forward into my large, expansive windshield watching the exciting places I am going.

Joy.

Peace.

Light.

Eyes, wide open, looking for the gold thread of hope woven throughout my day.

Holding my empty hands of faith.

God’s goodness poured out over all our lives.

Into my hands.

Will we choose to look for it?

Will we choose to have open hands to receive it?

Moving forwards.

Dancing the dance of my life.

Trusting.

Fun.

Faith.

Forward.

Smooch, Joanna

Be Hope 

Hopelessness is a paralyzingly dis-ease.  I have felt it in the core of my being, the deep down dusty place that seems hard to reach.  Hopeless that circumstances will change.  Hopeless knowing death brings physical disconnection.  Hopeless knowing that I may no longer be the same.  

But, I stand and lie down today knowing that this did-ease called hopelessness can be overcome.  Our circumstance we absolutely cannot control, even though I thought I could, BUT we can control our conclusions about these circumstances.  

One wintery day, only two months after my mom died, I make a conclusion that only great goodness would come from the gift of grief I received from her death. I decided that I would live in a negativity fast and a positivity feast, as Steve and Wendy Backlund describe it.    Guess what happened?  The last three years have been a walk in greatness.  I have found my passion that melds my teaching brain, coaching mindset and mother’s heart.  I have found my meaning and my passion for how I can be a permission for hope no matter your circumstances.   Through great nutrition, an ever growing mindset and being able to learn new truths about myself every day through the circumstances around me, I have found hope and freedom!  

Hope replacing dis-ease.  

Hope in any circumstances.  

Hope overflowing.  

Hope pouring. 

Over me. 

Through me.  

Hope.  

Be Keeping your EYE on your Dreams

IMG_1509[1]

My heart and mind overflow with hope.

Dreams are energetic and flow through our family daily.

My vision for my life is unfolding before my eyes.

Can you see the excitement?

IMG_1510[1]

(This photo was taken right after a friend shared a “freedom”moment with me!) 

Time + freedom.

Time with my boys and other people that I LOVE.

Freedom to be me.

I don’t know exactly how my dreams are going to “practically” workout, but I know that they will.

I am no longer practical.

I listen to my heart, God, people that love me, those that are doing what I would like to do.

If you see me wander by, give me a high five and know that I am just following my dreams!

Be ‘Knowing’ You Are BELOVED.

Aren’t you, like me, hoping that some person, thing or event will come along to give you the final feeling of inner well-being you desire? Don’t you often hope: “May this book, idea, course, trip, job, country, or relationship fulfill my deepest desire.” But as long as you’re waiting for that mysterious moment you will go on running helter-skelter, always anxious and restless, always lustful and angry, never fully satisfied. You know that this is the compulsiveness that keeps us going and busy, but at the same time makes us wonder whether we are getting anywhere in the long run. This is the way to spiritual exhaustion and burned out. This is the way to spiritual death.

Well, you and I don’t have to kill ourselves. We are the Beloved. We are intimately loved long before her parents, teachers, spouses, children and friends loved or wounded us. That’s the truth of our lives. That’s the truth I want you to claim for yourself. That’s the truth spoken by the voice that says, “You are my Beloved.”
IMG_6831.JPG
These beautiful words are from the book called ‘Life of the Beloved’ by Henri JM Nouwen. This is an author that my counselor recommended that I begin reading. His books have tremendously blessed me. And today my prayer for myself, my dear family, my friends and every person that reads these words today would know that they are God’s Beloved.

Uniquely created.

With individual DNA.

Distinct fingerprints.

Exclusive ancestry.

Chosen by God.

Yes.

You.

Me.

All creation shouts His name.

May this fall season encourage us all to see with our hearts, minds, bodies and spirits that we are uniquely His BELOVED.

Be Saving a Seat for Nana

I am continually amazed by my children’s insight and childlike faith. I have discovered a deep understanding of the meaning when God asks us to have ‘faith like a child’.

Last night, I shared about the storm that exists for me in my rowboat of grief. I choose to show my grief to Sexy Neck, a few close friends and privately in my laundry room. I don’t expect my children to heal me, distract me or provide for my emotional well being. I sit with them in their grief but don’t expect them to sit with me in mine. But I am always surprised at how God uses them to teach me.

After I wrote yesterday’s blog post, the boys came to get Sexy Neck and I to watch a show. Wasn’t I surprised when I saw three chairs waiting for the ‘Up and Down’ show. The boys seated us and exclaimed as they pointed to the middle chair, “This one is for Nana!”
20140829-120047-43247275.jpg Nana always loved watching the boys shows, school performances and activities.

Childlike faith.

Ever present Nana.

God’s blessing.

Peace.

Love.

Be Creating a New Life (Painting again!)

I realized as I started painting YET ANOTHER item in our house tonight that my sole purpose of painting is to create new life.

Life without my mom a phone call away.

Life without my mom to negotiate schooling and my boys. Schools aren’t the best places for boys these days!

Life without my mom at our sides reading, laughing, cooking, exploring and painting.

I am not completely sure what this new life here in KCity is going to look like. My grief-filled emotional brain doesn’t know what to do in this new life.

So I paint.

I actually don’t really like painting and haven’t painted before.

BUT as I move my brush back and forth in silence tonight, I felt myself moving forward.

The sense of working out my grief.

Peeling off layers of grief as I add layers of paint.

Create new life in the things around me.

Waiting for God to unfold my new life around me in His perfect timing.

Being in my home.

Completely present with my children.

Changing poops.

Making cushion forts.

Playing cars.

Painting.

Resting.

Being.

One brush stroke at a time.

New life.

20140225-223010.jpg

20140225-223017.jpg
(I finished the fireplace tonight and had some extra white paint. I attacked our bedside tables that have been in Sexy Neck’s family for many years and probably are older than us.)

….Stop me if I start painting the toilet….

Be Looking for Balloons and Book Clubbers

I dropped our middle guy, CC, off for his first day of preschool and then saw this out the window.

20130910-230112.jpg

Tonight, I was able to see light and hope in my mom’s beautiful blue eyes.

20130910-230508.jpg

Then I was fortunate to end the evening with my magnificent book Clubbers sitting in a candle-lit garden talking about a book, life, kids and other miscellaneous topics. Glory.

20130910-230352.jpg

Be Not Knowing

Hmpppff, we are two months and ten days into a six week renovation project.  We bought a “smokers” house.  Here and here are the sordid details.   It has been a difficult process for me.  More of the groaning and moaning here.  But nothing compares to the constant not knowing of the “mass” that lays in my mama’s abdomen.

Here’s my mom!

As we have been renovating, we have been living with my parents in their basement.  (No we don’t play video games!)

I have been completely baffled watching my mom in pain, on the couch or in her bed.

MY MOM RODE HER BIKE IN SPAIN IN APRIL WITH PEOPLE TRAINING FOR THE TOUR DE FRANCE!  MY MOM WAS RIDING 90KMS PER DAY.  MY MOM EVEN FELL OFF HER BIKE THREE TIMES!  HOW CAN THIS BE HAPPENING? Now my yelling will stop, sorry about that.

Anyways, the ebb and flow of my parents lives has changed into this every day living of “unknowing”.  Unknowing of whether my mom will get out of bed or will be able to fall asleep.  Not knowing what she will want to eat that day.  Unknowing of how to help or not to help depending on what she needs.   When to sit beside her and when to step aside.

I am living between two words right now, the one we are trying to create in our new home 60kms down the lake and my life here living with my parents and trying to support my mom and dad through their pain and grief.

Every day though, I have hope.  Hope knowing that God does know.  Hope knowing that He has placed people around me who can empathize, who really listen and hear what I am trying to convey.  I have hope that God wants to prosper us all, not by the words standards, but by His!

Glory to God alone.  It’s okay that I don’t know.  It is going to be very interesting to see how everything works out.

(This post has been percolating for awhile in my hamster wheel brain and I pray that it conveys the strength of my parents, the shock of this illness and the hope we place in God. )