Wow, hard to believe that we are already saying good-bye to 2014. The past 6 months since starting our media business has really been amazing. We have been able to connect with some incredible authors and some amazing musicians. We enjoyed our trip to Nashville to be a part of the 2014 KLove Fan Awards. We made some memories on that trip that will stay with us the rest of our lives. We also had a lot of fun going to some festivals this summer- RISE Fest and REAL Fest. We were thrilled to do a short promo video for REAL Fest. Meeting different bands, vendors, and attendees was so much fun. We were blown away to get the opportunity to create the lyric video for the song "Swamp Jesus" by the awesome Christian rock band, Piercing the Darkness. Our friendship with this band is such a blessing. We are looking forward to working with them again on another lyric project (coming out in January). Another great band we had the opportunity to interview and hang out with was Bread of Stone. These young men really touched our hearts. We are looking forward to the chance to meet with them again as they release their new album. The numerous authors we have interviewed have made an impact with their written word and also their spoken word. A special author for Jenni was Steven James. She started 2014 just as a reader of his work, but ends 2014 counting him as a new friend and mentor. We also owe a huge thank you for all of the artist friends that helped out with our October Cancer Awareness campaign. The response for help with a give-away basket was just humbling. Their kindness and generosity is so appreciated. I, personally, want to say how humbled I was by the outpour of prayers and kindness since my cancer diagnosis and surgery. Those prayers totally touched the ears of Jesus, because I sit cancer free. God is so good. So blessed to carry all of the many memories of 2014 into our new adventure of 2015. As, I sit here typing this blog, I am excited about what we know is currently in store for us in 2015 and for the opportunities that I don't know about right now. I can't wait to see what all the Lord has in store for us this year. Jenni and I look forward to more opportunities to share more positive authors, musicians, and events with you. We are also excited about the new path for our business. With the name change- we will be getting to be a part of more media activities. Our mission is to still be a light for Jesus in the world of media. We know God has given us gifts that He is ready for us to use and share with others. As, I close this last blog for 2014, I just want you to know we appreciate everyone who supports our business. God bless you in the new year! Talk to you next year.
Wow, it seems like forever, since I sat down to blog. My mind and heart are filled with so much that I want to share with each of you today. The journey of faith that I have been on for the past 5 months has been: life-changing. As, I have said before, I have had a personal relationship with Christ for many years and during my 47 years of life, I have traveled through some trials, that at the time I thought were quite life-changing, but now I think those trials were just life-shaking. Five months ago, I would have told you that life was good and that God was good- and I would have meant it. However, now I can tell you- GOD IS GOOD and because of that my life will be great. I am not going to assume that everyone that reads this blog is part of a society that judges life by what it looks like. I will be honest with you I have been guilty of that. I have allowed my feelings on someone and/or something to be formed on what I have observed and not taking the time to learn actual facts about them. I truly have lived my life by Emotion- a total rollercoaster. I know that I have missed out on some amazing adventures, friendships, and opportunities, because I was living by emotion (a lot of that emotion being FEAR). However, during the past 5 months, that living by emotion (FEAR) has been turned into living by faith. Many of the things that have happened- there was no choice (should I do this, what if, etc.)- it has just happened. All I could do was say- Okay, God, I know you are here with me- with your strength I will make it. I am learning that judging life by what you see or how you feel about it, is really not a good thing to do. Today, as I dressed for my day I was so excited , but when I looked in the mirror, I was reminded of cancer and the change it made to my body. BUT, then I had to change that stinkin thinkin. I am alive. I am so blessed that I have the chance to enjoy this day, no matter the change in my appearance. I am the same person I was before (hopefully better). My situation does not define me- God's grace does. When God created the world, He knew me and knew what I was going to face. Now, I know none of us want to be like Job, but you know he had favor with God. He never faltered in his faith. As, I continue this journey I want to be like Job- so faithful to God, that each morning I say Thank you, God for this journey you have put me on. With each questioning look I get, let me smile with pride, that God chose me to travel this path. Each breath I take is a blessing. Each step on this journey is taken in faith. GOD IS GOOD and my life is great.
My friend Chris Tomlin, just came out with a new CD and it has so many amazing songs on it. But, there is one song on there that has really been a special blessing to me during this past month. I want to close this blog post with that song- "Jesus Loves Me"- it really says it all. Thanks for reading and for being a part of my journey.
I just heard this amazing song called "What Faith's About" by Jenny Simmons.
What if I jump and I find
I was always made to fly?
What if the days I'm walking into
Are the best of my whole life?
What if the things I dreamed
Become my reality?
When it looks impossible but still works out,
What if that's what faith's about?
These lyrics sum up the past few months.
I've been holding on tighter than I ever have before, but I know I was meant to fly. So, what if I let go and I find that I actually fly and not fall? What if these things that I'm going through are the gateway to the best days of my life? What if my dreams are coming true right before my eyes? What if these things that seems impossible are just there to show me what faith is all about?
What if that's true for all of us? How much greater does that make life and how much more motivation should we have to have a little faith?
These past few months have been really hard and I've wondered how my head is still above water. I know what I have to give isn't enough, but God has taken it and He has made it enough. He has taken all of my hurt and my frustration and my fear and He's kept me afloat. He hasn't let me fall behind in schoolwork because of what's happening at home. He hasn't let me give up on my dreams even when I wanted to throw it all away.
I've been feeling let down with my dreams because they haven't become reality, at least not how I wanted them to. I've thrown a few of them to the side, hoping for some kind of magic that hasn't happened. When my life fell apart a few months ago, I realized that life is really short and fragile and I need to make time for what I'm passionate about, even if my dreams stay dreams for a while longer. However, when I heard this song, I felt like it was God's way of telling me that someday, at the right time, these dreams of mine are going to be a reality, and I just need to be ready.
I'm ready, and I hope you are too, because great things are going to happen for all of us!
Sorry for the lack of posts lately, but a lot has been going on!
I recently started listening to Natalie Grant and purchased her new Hurricane CD. I fell in love! My favorite song on the track is one called Whisper, and here's why...
"I'm always looking for the lightning, for the thunder crashing down. I'm always wanting easy answers, wanna hear you speak out loud. I keep wanting something bigger, sometimes I miss your whisper."
Whoa. I don't know if it gets any truer than that.
For a few years now I've been avoiding the whisper. It hasn't been about God's plan, because I'm following that. It's not about book ideas or agents or publishers or study habits or anything like that. It's been about forgiveness.
He's been telling me for years to get my act together and forgive, but I've fought the urge. I've told myself that I was never the one at fault and that he was the reason for all of my anxiety and struggle. I've blamed him for everything all while God called me to forgive this very person.
I heard that I wouldn't make it to heaven if I didn't forgive. I still didn't budge. I avoided doing anything with him because I knew we'd scream at each other and it always happened. We'd be having a great time and then it would spiral out of control and the hatred that I held for him would bury itself deeper and deeper. This hatred, Satan's foothold, locked in on me and ate me to the core.
I was looking for some kind of lightning or thunder or flashing neon sign that would lead me to a way I could make it past this situation without forgiveness. In my mind I thought that by forgiving him I would be accepting that I wasn't good enough. I thought it would be defeat.
Then, something amazing happened...he lost his job.
I know, I know, how could that possibly be amazing? Well, after 16+ years of not having him around, he was around all of the time. He started spending time with me and making me feel like maybe, just maybe, I measured up to his expectations. At times, he even made me feel like I exceeded his expectations. He told me he loved me and that he was proud of me and for the first time in my entire life I felt like he really meant those things.
The emptiness I had felt because of his lack of attention, slowly faded away. The hatred that had buried itself so deep, it let go of me and finally, finally, my heart opened up.
I got behind the wheel of a car for the first time in three years and he sat in the passenger seat, teaching me how to drive. During the course of a few weeks something unthinkable happened! We laughed, we joked around, we had a good time, and all of my anxiety melted away. For the first time in, well, almost forever, I wasn't afraid of letting him down.
As I've grown up, I've always told me mom that if anything ever happened to her, I wouldn't stay with my dad. I said I would leave and never come back. Start my own life far away. All of that unforgiveness I harbored was bound and determined to destroy my life. It would have, if it hadn't been for that pink slip.
Just a few weeks ago my family found out something that changed things. My mom has breast cancer. Whoa. I know I'm not the one with cancer, but let me tell you, this has torn me up inside. What could God's plan possibly be that He would let this happen? I was on the verge of anger until I realized something...
First of all, they caught it early, so she's going to be fine. However, the craziest part of the whole thing is that God's been preparing all of us. He restored relationships. He initiated forgiveness. He opened our hearts. He had us trust Him with our lives, finances, and everything. He prepared us for the storm that was coming.
Had this storm come just a few months earlier, our family would have fallen apart at the seams. Now, we're standing strong. A marriage was restored. A father-daughter relationship was restored. It all happened because of God.
Maybe I didn't hear the whisper and God did have to send a big, huge, radar to get me to listen, but could you imagine how much easier things would be if we listened for the whisper? My ears are open and my heart is ready. I'm not missing the still small voice this time.
Until next time,
On June 30, the life I had grown accustom to (well for the last year and seven months) totally changed. Jenni and I arrived home from an interview with the guys from Bread of Stone and noticed my husband's car in the garage. For Duane to be home at 12:30pm was unheard of, because for the past year and seven months he had been working from 6am to 6:30pm and later Monday- Friday and sometimes weekends (and that was when he was home and not on the road for work). My heart sank, because I knew something was not right. When we got upstairs, there was Duane standing in our kitchen. At the moment our eyes met- I felt a peace that was so powerful I can not even explain it. I knew I was about to hear bad news, but like I said I had this peace. He started telling Jenni and I that he had been let go from his job. He kept saying, "I am so sorry" and I could tell his heart was broken. Now, let's stop here for a moment. As you know from reading the blogs and Facebook posts, Jenni and I started On a Positive Note Media on June 27, 2014. So, here we were a new business that promotes the positive and now our life seemed to be no reflection of that. However, in our short time in business God had been placing artists and authors in our path that at that moment on June 30th, I totally knew why. I had been reading on being a warrior for God and tearing down negative walls in my life, so God could start a new work. Negative walls like depression and resentment. You see God knew what my family was about to face and He totally knew that I needed to tear down walls, so that this job loss would not be a negative in my life. I needed to have a heart that was totally open to God, so that He was in total control. Another book that I had been reading was "When God Vetoes Your Plans". Wow, now that was a big one. You see the job Duane had was like the great Success Story- title and nice paycheck. Now, Duane worked so much that Jenni and I never saw him. For that whole year and seven months, we had very limited family time. The time Duane was at home, he was so exhausted or stressed that there was honestly no fun around the house. I have to be honest I was lonely, Jenni in college and Duane not around. It was a really rough time. I had been praying that God would restore our family relationship, put laughter back in our home. So, reading the book about God vetoing our plans- well, that is exactly what He did. He took something away, but gave peace that He had everything under control. I can't say the first few days were smooth for us, because we were all adjusting and facing our own heart aches. But, God revealed Himself within 2 weeks in such a way that we knew He was there and He totally had it all under control. God started open doors that were totally unexpected. He opened a door for us to be a part of the media ministry at Sunnybrook Community Church. Here is the interesting thing about all of this- we did not even go to Sunnybrook . We had only visited one time. But, around July 6th we got an email from the Creative Director from the church that said he heard we were interested in being part of the media ministry. Wow. We all knew that it was God. A family ministry opportunity. Thank you, God!! Now, we started being a part right away- all of us. We were all really excited to be a part, we had been wanting this for a very long time. But, God had to remove something, so we had the time to do it. Jenni and I kept busy with the new business. God just kept opening doors for us and putting special people in our paths. We were working on amazing projects, that we knew that God had given to us. Duane's job hunt continued- with what we thought was no luck. I started putting in applications at various places. My precious Jenni, she kept asking what she could do. I kept telling her that school was her focus and God was going to take care of us. For 2 months, we had no income but the once a month AF retirement check. But, it was like the parable of the 2 fish and 5 loaves- God took that retirement check and made it go and go. Right before September 1st- I was looking at our bank account and our bills- how was God going to make this work. Well, He did. We received a check from the VA for money they said they owed us (wow- you know that was God). Then Iowa started Duane's unemployment, so we got paid for July and August. Talk about doing a dance and shout of praise- I did. God had blessed us over and above our need. Now, it gets better. God blessed me with a job at Morningside College in the Admissions office (a dream job). The the week after I got my job, Duane got a call from the Social Security office and they offered him a job. So, here we were- a family ministry at church, I had a job that I totally wanted, and now Duane had a job that he was totally excited about (a Monday-Friday job 8-4). From June 30th until September 5, God had been restoring our family too- our bond as a family has never been stronger. I was watching Jenni and her dad laugh together and spend time together, something that had honestly not happened in Jenni's whole life. I was so excited. Now, readers, I want you to know that God is mighty and He can take care of you and totally give you the desires of your heart. Now, this story is not quite over yet. On September 15th, I got some more unexpected news- I have early stage breast cancer. What?? The news was rough, but I had that peace again. I knew that Duane and Jenni had formed a relationship that would allow them to work together (something they had not had before). My relationship with Duane was something so precious, almost like we were newlyweds. Our family was good. So, the news of cancer was a sting, but I know God knew this was coming and He prepared and equipped us to be able to handle this. The ministry at the church, it was something we wanted, but now I see it was something we needed. Since the news of my cancer has reached our church family, words of encouragement and prayers have already started coming in. I am so thankful for that life changing day (June 30, 2014). God knows each of us. He knows what we have done, what we need to do, and what we are going to face. He truly has everything under control, if we will just let Him have control.
My friends, I share this story with you, to encourage you. No matter what you are facing, God can take care of you. My very first blog post was Change is a Blessing and I still believe that is so true. I am so blessed. I look forward to sharing my new journey with you and sharing with you what great things God is doing. Be open to change in your life. Allow God to take control of your life. Be blessed in the changes that happen.
Last night our Facebook page reached 200 likes and now we're at 210! It doesn't seem like a large feat, but we just started our company on May 29 and we've been waiting a long time to see that 200!
This got me to thinking about companies and how certain people choose to run their companies. Lie. Cheat. Steal. Do whatever it takes to conquer all. That's not at all how our company is run. Think about the big, fortune 500, kind of companies. For them, it's almost always about money, money, and more money! When their predictions for monthly or yearly wages are off by a few cents, they're furious, because, for some odd reason, those few cents are the only thing in life (at that moment) that could possibly make them happy. They're trying to beat out the company that's just slightly bigger than they are by hiring more employees, buying more ads, upping their prices on goods or services, and in all of that they seem to lose the reason they started their company in the first place. At that point, is it worth it?
On A Positive Note Media was founded on the basis that everyone has a story, and we want to share those stories, uplift the name of Christ, and do it all through media. Our center, our anchor point, is Christ. We didn't come into this to make millions of dollars or even thousands of dollars. We came into this because we felt God pulling us towards this particular ministry. After a few months we began to worry about those Facebook numbers and those dollar signs. However, after a long co-owner discussion, we realized how off track we had gotten from our mission in this company.
We prayed and we put aside the thoughts of the money in our bank account. We focused back on our mission and guess what happened...we were asked to do an official lyric video for a Christian rock band and we earned $150. It doesn't sound like much but we were ecstatic! We couldn't believe that we had finally made money. I can honestly say that there was a lot of God thanking in those moments after we saw that check. We had stopped thinking about the money and God had provided us with a job that earned us money. Crazy how He works like that.
There were still those pesky FB numbers, though. We kept posting asking people to like our page and nearly begging on all fours for them to click that little button so our number would increase. Finally, we gave up and said that it would happen when God wanted it to happen (that was just about a week ago). Then, last night, our numbers jumped from 192 to 200 in the span of about 2 hours. Then, this morning, we had 206. Now we have 210 and the number is still climbing. When we stopped worrying about it, people started coming and liking the page, people we don't even know! God is leading the people our way and soon we'll reach that 1,000 likes goal we have for June of 2015 and we'll each it as long as we never forget our anchor point. Where did all of this amazing stuff come from? It came from God. What is our anchor point? It's God. See the connection?
Thanks for reading and if you think you want to know more about our company you can visit our website or like ourFacebook page.
The title sounds a little scary, doesn't it? You may be wondering, "Jenni, why would you want to live on the edge?!" I would answer you with another question...why wouldn't you want to live on the edge? Let me explain...
I have lived a lot of my life playing it safe. I haven't wanted to push down that extra wall or go through that next door or take that leap of faith off of the cliff because I've always been afraid of hurting myself or, to put it another way, I've been afraid of failing. If I were being completely open and honest, I would also say that I've been afraid of God making me work and using me for BIG things and not just little things. I would say that's a common fear.
A lot of us will say, "Jesus use me," but what we really mean is, "Jesus use me, as long as it's easy." Wouldn't you say that's true?
When I was very young, I started playing the piano and for a while it was really easy. I could go days without practicing and still impress my teacher, but then I ended up with a teacher who caught on to my game. She started giving me harder pieces that required me to practice harder and longer each day. So, I did something that I've regretted ever since. I quit. When things have gotten hard in my life, to the point where I have to work hard to reach a certain goal, I'll quit. I run away from the challenge. Something very similar almost happened with my writing. I am currently writing a book that involves a lot of emotion and it requires me to be completely transparent with my blank paper. It's hard and it scares me to death, because I'm constantly thinking about what others will think. I almost quit, but then Joanie B. brought me back to why I write in the first place. I want to be transparent with my readers and I want them (you) to relate to me. I want my stories to make people feel something and sometimes, a lot of the time, it requires me to suffer through some hard writing moments.
I told you all of that because in some ways that's the way our walk with God is. We ask Him to use us and to make us His hands and feet, but as soon as He puts us in a situation that's hard or uncomfortable, we quit and run away. We aren't willing to put ourselves in the middle of a storm to be His hands and feet. Trust me, I've been there. I certainly don't like putting myself in situations where people are going to ridicule me and tell me that I'm stupid for believing in God or that I live an irresponsible life because I worship God out of faith. I really don't like feeling like I'm wrong and at times I have questioned whether or not it was worth it. This is what I've found...
The first time you accept God's challenge to live fully for Him and you agree to put it all on the line, you're going to lose a lot. Relationships are going to crumble, people are going to tell you that you're an idiot and that you don't have any common sense. You're going to watch as the people you thought would support you and stand with you, pull themselves away and hide in a corner. You're going to find that you may have to stand alone most of the time, because others are too scared to truly stand up for their faith.
It sounds scary, and that's because it is. You're going to wish you didn't have to be the hands and feet of God, at least in the beginning. However, God is never going to put you in a battle that He hasn't equipped you for. He'll give you the wisdom of what to say and what not to say. He'll show you the way and He'll help you get there. That's the wonder of God. He'll put you in uncomfortable situations, but He won't bail out on you. He's with you the whole time.
So, the moral of the story, is don't be scared of living for God! Live on the edge for Him every single day! For every relationship that falls apart, He'll bring someone new into your life. For every person that says you're stupid, there's a person dying to know more about God, and you could be the one to share that with them. For every uncomfortable moment you face, you'll also get to witness some really incredible God moments. You're going to see some pretty terrible things and you're going to have people talk down to you, but keep this in mind. If people are telling you why you're a stupid Jesus freak, that means they're listening to what you have to say. They may not get it, but one day something will happen and they'll remember that day they dogged you for your faith, and that could be the exact moment they need Jesus the most.
Don't keep quiet. Don't stay in the back of the classroom. Stand up, be His hands and feet, just worship Him with all you have inside of you. Walk toward the edge of that cliff, don't look back, and take a leap of faith. I promise you that God won't let you jump without a parachute.
"I tell you the truth, if you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could tell that mountain to move from here to there and it would move. Nothing would be impossible for you."
- Matthew 17:20
Until next time,
God is so good!! My thoughts this week are simply- Thanks you, Lord, for all your many blessings. In this one short sentence, I proclaim to all who take the time to read this blog, that my Precious Jesus, my Savior, my Heavenly Father has truly blessed me and my family beyond my wildest dreams. My prayer for you today is that you allow Jesus in your life today. Allow Him to become your everything. Give Him total control of your life. Then be excited to share with others the great things that He has done for you. Be blessed today!!
As a Christian it is my job to hold tightly to my faith and to share that faith with others. Just a few years ago, I would have never dreamed of talking to an evolutionist or an agnostic, because I was always afraid of saying the wrong thing. In some ways, I'm not that different from that person today. I always seem to get worried right before I have to stand up for my faith, and prayer is the only thing to keep me floating on the water.
I'm in one of those phases now. It's a live or die situation, because if I miss this chance, the person I'm talking to could wind up in a less than ideal eternity and I would be partially responsible for that. I would be the one who let him or her get away. I never want to be that person.
I would rather feel my legs shaking beneath me and feel like I'm about the pass out than have someone look back at me on judgement day and ask why I didn't tell them the truth. I don't want somebody's eternity in hell to feel as though it falls partially on my shoulders.
Now, in reality, if someone chooses not to accept Christ, it isn't your fault or my fault, because that person has to choose for themselves. However, it is our responsibility, our duty as followers of Christ to spread the good word and love of Christ. We can't do that by being afraid.
So, let's not be afraid. Let's put on the armor of God and go into this world knowing that we may get torn down, but let's go in anyway. Raise those swords of the spirit, hold onto your faith, and let's take a journey deep into the world of true life. Don't be afraid. Just go for it and I will too!
Until next time,
God never ceases to amaze me. He knows right what you need, right when you need it. Now, let's be real our timing is not always God's time. We think we need to have our needs met asap, no delay. Waiting seems to have become a bad word in our society. We hate to wait in lines at the grocery store, traffic, internet connection, etc. At times it seems that waiting is the attitude gauge; no waiting equals happy person and waiting equals grumpy person. Does that sound about right? Now be honest. I am the first to admit that waiting is not my favorite, but have you ever thought what you might miss if you don't wait. Like waiting in after work traffic- you could witness an amazing sunset . Waiting in line at the store- you could have time to check your shopping cart for all the items on your list, maybe you missed an item. It might be just little things that you might miss out on if you are not waiting. Here is one- waiting an extra second at a green light, that might be the second you need to miss having an accident with the car running through the red light .
Maybe it is time for us to slow down our lives and wait- wait on the Lord. What have you been missing out on because you have been too busy to wait on Him? Here is something that I know for sure, if you have given your life over to God and I mean total control to Him, He will never let you down. He will always meet your needs. God loves us so much!! He loved us before we were even born. He has a perfect plan for all of us, if we will just be willing to have Him in our lives and be willing to listen to Him.
Now, if you like a challenge, I have one for you. Today, I challenge you to turn over everything in your life to God. Everything. Make time each day to talk with God and make sure some of that time is just listening to Him. Also, make sure you are reading His word- the Bible. The Bible is the best self-improvement book ever written, so take time to study it and apply it to your life. If you accept this challenge I truly believe that you will be blown away with what God is going to do in your life.
Dear Lord, I want to thank you for always being on time. Thank you for taking my imperfect life and allowing me to live your perfect life for me. Touch the lives and hearts of each person that takes the time to read this blog. Give them the strength that they need when they are struggling with waiting. Lord, thank you so much for blessing me with change and teaching me the reward in waiting on you!! Amen
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