. . . and then some more . . . More life. More Jesus.

Category Archives: The Year Of Rightnow

Four Ways To Help Find The More That Jesus Promised

Every day last year was a first. An exclusive. The sole September 6th I would spend living in the Land of the Deutsch. The only December 1st, April 13th, May 20th, I would spend in residence in the foreign land called Bayreuth, Germany.

Every day was an adventure.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And it was easy to  recognize. Because, well, I was living in Europe. An American mom finding my way through a foreign culture filled with tiny refrigerators, screen-less windows and cashiers who cared nothing for the speed at which I could bag my own groceries, as long as I got them out of her way.

But last year is over, and we are now back home. Back to life inside the comfortable.

Where I know how to do groceries and banks and post offices. I have no problem answering  simple questions from strangers on any given topic. (Where is Chipotle? or Do you know what time it is?)

And it’s easy to forget my life is still an adventure. Because it feels a little less than when I wake up to boxes that (still!) await my motivation to unpack them. Every day seems a bit too normal to feel like adventure.

As I wrote through the journey of our year in Germany, I often wondered what might happen when it led us back to Ohio. Would I still have stuff to write? Would you still want to read it? Would it still feel fresh and interesting and new every time you visited this cyber land place that bears my name?

Deep down, I knew the answer. Because I started this blog long before we ventured into the land of unknown on the other side of the world. I wrote here for years before the everyday held something so new it had the potential of breaking me into pieces.

It’s all a journey, isn’t it? Every. day.

and. then. some. more.

But sometimes the living feels less than more. (Man, I hope that makes sense.)

The truth is sometimes the wake-up in the morning is all it takes to feel alive and find the more that Jesus promised when He said He came so I could really live.

So I could have more and better life than I could ever dream up.

Then other days, it just feels like survival. Many days, in fact, the living and the more He promised looks like a bit of a farce. And it’s tempting to watch other people who seem to have grasped the adventure He promised and settle on living vicariously through them.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

That’s why I prayed for you every morning when I walked that Richard-Wagner Strasse after dropping off my kids at that Germany Montessori Schule. I prayed that as you read about my crazy mishaps and hilarious mis-speaks you wouldn’t settle for the idea that I’m the lucky one who gets to actually live.

I asked God to show you the more even as you drove your kids to school each morning. As you dodged cars in the Walmart parking lot while pushing your 300-pound shopping cart with the wobbly wheels that face four different directions.

And I asked Him to show me how to find the more even after I got home to Ohio.

So here I am, exactly three months after landing on this side of the Atlantic, looking for adventure of a different sort. And asking you to join in.

It’s taken on a different flavor than the one that smelled like bratwurst and beer and apple strudel. And lots of bike rides and walking and German-speaking bus-drivers.

But it’s still the flavor of living more. Still the finding and the wanting to know Jesus so well that we can’t help but chase Him hard into whatever He leads us into.

Finding the more. In Jesus.

And here’s how you can join in…

Join in the discussion right here or on the facebook page. Let’s help each other find the more and better life Jesus promised by talking about it when we catch glimpses.

What’s the more Jesus showed you today?

What adventure has He led you into? What’s He showing you about Himself that has you floored? Confused? Amazed? Enamored?

Maybe it’s in the form of  holding a barf-bowl for your 9-year-old. Or remembering the way your dad always pointed you to Jesus.

Maybe it looks like quiet morning coffee alone on the back porch. Or a 15-hour drive to a friend’s lake house in Montana.

Maybe it’s in tears shared with a friend whose husband just left her with three kids and a hamster.

I do not know what it looks like for you. But I do know this:

Jesus promised more and better life when we follow Him. And I believe Him.

So I’m gonna’ search until I find that more and better. And I could really use some company. Because sometimes the search gets hard and dark. And I’m going to need reminding sometimes about the promise and the chasing and the finding.

How about it? Will you join me? Here are 5 quick ways you can help find the more Jesus promised…

1. Ask God to show it to you. Then commit to looking.

2. Join the discussion here by leaving a comment or sending me an email.

3. Come over to my facebook community page and talk about it over there.

4. Tweet it or Instagram it and us the hashtag #moreinJesus.

Let’s search for more in Jesus. Together. I know we will find it. He promised.

What Brianna R Wasson Is About

I’ve been planning and praying and planning some more all over this place called briannaRwasson(dot)com. This place in cyberland that bears my name and resembles who I am and what I’m about.

I mentioned last week that I’d been planning to plan. If you’ve been hanging here for a while you might remember my affinity for all things calendars and notebooks and empty paper that screams fill me up with dreams and hope and whatever else might come out of that brain and through those cool German pens you now own.

You might remember I started praying for some clarity 40 days before we flew home from that year-long vacation from comfortable my family enjoyed in the land of Deutsch. Started asking God what He might want to do through my little home on the web.

So I was super excited when I got my Blog Planning Kit from How They Blog and then signed up for Kat Lee’s Blog Planning Boot Camp. Because I believed it to be a place I could start writing down the dreams and figuring out how to actually go get them.

I was right to believe that.photo (8)

See, God’s got me in a spot where I know He wants to do amazing things with every bit of my small obedience. With my thirteenletters and a little dot com. He wants me to point to Him.

One word at a time. One smile, one step, one prayer at a a time.

There’s a lot going on in the dreaming and the planning still. But one thing is clear. The purpose of this place. 

Every day when I walk away from this computer, I will have fulfilled my purpose if even one of you can honestly say . . .

I want to know Jesus more.

I want to point straight to Him with my words and my life. Want to know Him in such a way that my passion for Him can’t help but spill over right out of me. Right out of everything I do. Every word I say. Every look I give. Every text I send. Every post I write.

I believe with all my heart that everything about Jesus is better than anything you or I could chase or grasp or even think we want. That’s why He promised life to the full, more and better life than (we) ever dreamed of, when we follow His way. Because He is so much better. He gives so much more. His way is so much more full. So much more amazing. Such greater adventure.

It’s tempting to believe the adventure’s on hold. I mean, I just spent a year with my family in a foreign land learning words and culture I knew nothing of, travelling roads and train tracks I hardly knew existed and facing fears I thought I would never, ever conquer.

But the adventure of every next small step, whether in the Land of Deutsch or the hills of the Amish, can only be awesome. That’s what He promised.

So, how about it? You in? Come back on Friday, and I’ll tell you how you can help. How we can be partners in this great big adventure.

Question for you: Do you tend to see life as an adventure or more as a bunch of days strung together to get to the other side of something?

 

**Here’s where I tell you there’s an affiliate link in this post, so if you click on the Blog Planning Kit link, I’ll get a little bit of cash for Panera. And when I go there, I will think of you and thank God for you. And then I’ll probably write another post. A fun little circle that will then be complete. 🙂

 

 

When God Makes You Small To Show You His Grace

I dove into last Tuesday morning with a plan. I would think through my blogging. Take three hours the day my kids started school and fill in my Blog Planning Kit with the purposes I’ve been asking God to clarify for me.

But God had different plans. Same purpose. Different methods.

He wanted to remind me that small steps lead to huge purpose when it comes to His ways.

So I followed Him to the hospital where my grandpa-in-law would spend his last few days. He showed me through the Emergency Room and then up to Floor Two. Then down to Floor One. Then to the big, beautiful room reserved for Hospice and goodbyeing.

I followed God later to my grandma-in-law’s side. To my father- and mother-in-laws’ embrace. To my husband’s hand.

He showed me what love looks like for a couple married more than 70 years. The faithful hand stroking. The grieving concern.

The pain of life’s end.

God took me from my own plans and led me into His. He let me be part of the sacred moments and difficult doctor visits.Red heart leaf with grace

I am certain it was God’s grace alone that led me into that family. To know and love a grandpa who was not mine by blood. To play a relative’s role in the lives now mine by virtue of marriage.

Because I don’t know what to say and I talk when I’m nervous and I often ruin quiet moments with stupid things like, “Do you want some coffee?” and “Where’s the bathroom?”

And I know all I can do is just offer my presence, but it feels so small in the midst of this great big moment. The one that takes two days to sum up a 91-year-old man’s life, a 70 year marriage, a legacy of life and love and Navy stories and hand-carved walking sticks.

Even though I know it, my mouth won’t let it be and I talk when I shouldn’t and I say more stupid stuff.

And still they want me there.

And I am humbled because we all know I don’t deserve the honor.

Truth is, I don’t deserve this family God has blessed me with in my in-laws. Or the love we share even when nobody’s saying a word.

It’s all grace, Ann Voskamp is teaching me to sayEvery last ounce of everything I have is grace straight from God’s hand.

God’s undeserved gift in the form of a family with whom I share no genes. A family by whom I am amazingly loved.

 

p.s. I’m an affiliate for The Blog Planning Kit, so if you click on that link and decide you want to buy it, I’ll get to go to Starbucks. 🙂

How To Find the Bigger Picture

I sit for cappuccino and a butter croissant. Nothing like a late morning snack to get the writing going.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I choose my place carefully so I can see more than just a wall. Someone walking up the stairs to approach the barista and the little cafe part of the Hugendubel bookstore I have loved since the first time I stepped inside.

I sit near the railing that overlooks the main floor. Not much going on today. The barista’s reading a newspaper, at the ready with a Hallo! Or a bitte shoen and a glass for whatever request a new customer might bring.

She’s not real warm. But polite. She chats with customers she recognizes. Not with me, though.

I place my bag on the floor, re-arrange the little table to make room for my mini laptop which I bought for such occasions.

I’m overlooking the beautiful bags that hang by the stairs in the children’s department. Every time I see them, I touch them and dream. My kids would look adorable carrying those bags through these German streets. Or across the world in an airplane. To school in Ohio.

If only they didn’t cost so many euros.

My eyes move beyond the stairs to the wall behind. A mass of book covers from who-knows-how-far-back. Yellows and reds and white and blacks. A few pink ones and purple and blue and brown.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I try to read the titles, but most of them are German, so I can only sort of understand them. Each looks fine on its own, but random at best, were it not for the bigger purpose they serve.

I only see it when I adjust my eyes for the bigger picture. Take a step back to see the whole of the wall-sized display.

Each cover acts as a pixel for the bigger picture. Each serves a purpose for which it did not know it was ever intended. Not to point to themselves but to create something entirely different.

I switch my focus, make it wider and bigger. I must step back to see it, so I do.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

That’s when the outline shows through and the individual points fade. The display on the two-story-high wall suddenly becomes prominent in my gaze. The gaze I cannot seem to break.

It’s a man. A poet. An author of long ago.

It’s brilliant, this display. I’m enamored with the detail. That someone could take individual pieces of art and form them into something entirely unexpected. Unintended. Unknown from the first.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

That one little piece of art could play a part in one much bigger. Could display a beauty entirely different from the one each author at first intended. That books called Silver Sex and Stop Smoking Stay Slim could play a part in the bigger picture of this silhouette art.

We don’t accomplish anything in this world alone . . . and whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry of one’s life and all the weaving of individual threads form one to another that creates something.       -Sandra Day O’Connor

Brilliant.

I sit across from it, and I can’t stop looking at the details of each book cover. Each color and design and word inside the complete picture that is this wall.

And the deeper truth does not escape me. The truth about real art from the One Who invented it.

I think of the tapestry cliche I’ve heard so many times. The one about the tapestry God is sewing and the whole picture none of us can see.

The truth that minutes make up days and years and whole lives. And the picture God is painting looks altogether different from the one I think I’m drawing. The art on which I work with such desperate intentionality to serve my purpose in these minutes. In these rightnow’s.

I consider His intentions. For this year. This life and every life with whom I intersect.

What if God, the Sovereign Perfect Artist that He is, has an altogether different purpose which I cannot possibly recognize but for the eternal focus He asks me to fix. A complete design He’s got all planned out in which He will use these minutes I call my life? The ones you call yours?

That’s really it, isn’t it? The serving of His purpose. The making of His picture.

The trusting His working of the design He has purposed.

The book cover pixel I create even now. Contributing to the big wall picture He is purposing to draw.

There would be a void without any one of those book covers. A blank hole where there should be color. Because each of them serves to complete the bigger picture.

And faithful calls loud as I realize its importance. Who am I to hold back from the book cover I now paint? In the form of this life. This living and telling and loving and serving. How could I not be faithful to fill this point in the picture God is using me to help paint?

Aren’t we all just pixels in His wall-sized silhouette? He chooses the color and the shape. And I paint as He asks. By living what He gives. Keeping in step with His Spirit. Making lunch for my kids. Typing words on a computer. Giving money to a beggar. Going to coffee with a friend.

When we are faithful with every rightnow, His picture gets more beautiful. More complete.

Living according to the way He gives us, we fill that pixel spot up on that wall. The spot He is saving just for us.

What pixel are you? How will you fill that hole for the whole? How can I encourage you to be faithful even today in this very rightnow?

How To Find The Gift of Right Now

We entered 2012 with hopes of high adventure in a land of what was yet unknown to us.

It took longer than we’d expected to actually arrive and begin our year in Deutschland. So we had lots of time to feed our romantic notions with expectations of what life would entail. Apartment-living, walking to the market every day for groceries, riding our bikes all over town rather than driving a car, learning German and becoming part of the life for a whole entire year. These were the things we dreamed of. The stuff we looked forward to.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Then we arrived, and it was harder than we thought. Because walking with groceries is sometimes hard. And the apartment’s really small. And riding our bikes in the cold makes it even colder. Not to mention the German language is just plain hard.

I was thinking about that the other day. About how this is what we wanted, with all the realness of life in a foreign land. I thought about how it’s exactly what we expected in many regards.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Only it’s life.

So it’s not quite as dreamy as we’d imagined or hoped.

And then I realized life is full of that kind of truth.

We once dreamed of having children. Kids running around all crazy and happy and throwing Cheerios under the table and chasing the dog and making him growl.

Then it happened.

And suddenly the mystique flew out the window with the black Lego spaceship and the laundry from all those crazy kids spilled over into our romantic-no-more bedroom and the dog peed under the table and the baby ate the Cheerios anyway.

Remember dreaming of home-ownership? Painting walls whatever color we wanted. Mowing lawns and planting gardens. Then we had to clean the paint brushes and, well, mow the lawn, and the garden grew weeds that have yet to be pulled. And it’s January.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Yeah, life has a way of filling up with reality.

So here’s the thing: we have a choice. We can find the reality behind the high hopes and let it crush the dream. Or we can realize we’re living right where we wanted and find the gift inside.

I’m choosing the latter.

Because, after all, this is exactly what I wanted. Only I didn’t picture it this real.

Is there some reality you’re dealing with right now that turned out different than you expected? Why not share it in the comments?

If It’s Good Enough For the Birds . . .

Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds (v26, The Message).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’ve been thinking a lot about birds this past week. Because of the whole I-want-to-live-out-Matthew-6-this-year thing. Trying to notice the way they survive. How they fly and land and just be.

Careless in the care of God.

I wanted to consider birds like robins or cardinals or woodpeckers or goldfinches. You know, the pretty kinds that don’t really annoy people. But, I live in the middle of a European city, and it’s the middle of winter where the only birds I can find to observe are pigeons.

So Saturday when I saw a bunch of them lining the rooftop of the Altes Schloss in the middle of town as I walked home from my photography class, I had to take their picture.

Just perched up there waiting for whatever it is birds wait for. Some of them would fly down to the ground  in search of crumbs or trash. But mostly they just sat there looking over the city.

Nowhere to go, I imagine. Nowhere except anywhere. And that is what I find so amazing about pigeons.

They’ll go where the food is, without worrying about where they might find the next crumb. They have this innate calm that just knows their Maker’s gonna’ provide enough. A trust that enables them to gather on a rooftop on a sunny Saturday afternoon and hang out with a bunch of other birds.

I consider this about pigeons, and I think I’d like to try it. To just know that my Maker cares enough about me to provide for every next moment. To be where I am, not worrying about where I need to go next. Or about where I will find my next piece of sustenance to get me through whatever awaits me around the bend.

To hang out on rooftops all bold and waiting for whatever food He shows me. And then to fly down and grab it just as soon as I see it. Not a moment too soon. Not an instant too late.

So, I guess Matthew 6 living means thinking like a bird? Does that mean I’m gonna’ have bird brains by 2014?

Seven Reasons I Love RightNow

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It was an impulse purchase at the Metzgerei. I was actually buying meat for the meatloaf I’d planned, but I saw what looked like homemade Schnitzel, so I went out on a limb. The sign said Rinderbraten, but it looked like Schnitzel to me. So I pointed right at it and asked for the Rinderbraten. The lady behind the counter smiled nicely and confirmed my suspicions, so I nodded and happily said Yes, please.

Clueless American gets brave and orders more than the pre-planned meat at the local butcher. You know, the order she practiced in her head the whole way there. Turns out, the unafraid life leads to happy things in the RightNow.

Julie Andrews sang in my head all the way home. “Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens . . . doorbells and sleighbells and schnitzel with noodles . . . ” I joined her with my own voice as I worked my magic in the kitchen tonight. Even danced a bit.

So in honor of Julie Andrew’s Maria VonTrapp’s favorite things, I thought I’d share a few of my own today. You know, some of my favorite things about RightNow, in completely random order.

  1. German food is amazing. From the pumpkin seed bread, to the apple strudel to the plain croissants, and, yes, straight to the Schnitzel with the noodles. Amazing. And don’t forget the beer, the brats, and the rolls.
  2. I got to ride my bike to the grocery store today. I love this because of the cute little basket on it’s handlebars. And because, at home in Ohio, I have to drive my bike places if I want to ride it. (Too many hills, in my opinion.)
  3. Have I told you about the bathtubs here? Deep enough I can fill them up to almost overflowing. And they don’t drain the water unless I open the drain. Love. This. Especially with lots of bubbles. So this morning, I took one.
  4. Sometimes when I walk through the city, I see someone I know. It always amazes me that I know people in a foreign city.
  5. Yesterday when I got on the bus, I’m pretty sure the bus driver recognized me. And he smiled nicely when I said Hallo! I am choosing to ignore the reasons as to exactly why he may have recognized me and simply deciding to believe he’d missed seeing me because my smile is recognizable, not my broken, clueless German.
  6. Every morning, first thing, the girls and I read the Bible together. We have never done this together before — especially not in the morning. And, I must say, it is truly one of my favorite things about life right here, rightnow. We’re reading through the kid’s version of the devotional book Jesus Calling. We take turns being amazed at how relevant a particular day is to our specific goings-on right then. Amazed.
  7. We just planned out the trips we will take for the remainder of our year here in Germany. Let me tell you, Lord willing, it’s gonna’ be a fun spring! Berlin, more Vienna, a beach near Venice, and the Sleeping Beauty Castle called Neuschwanstein in the Alps. The anticipation is well, one of my favorite things at this very moment. Can’t wait.

So there you have it. Seven things I love about life RightNow. How about you? What are some of your favorite things about RightNow?

Three Truths That Help Me Live Inside the RightNow

The start to the year has been slow and not very steady here at my house. I’ve somehow managed to meet a deadline for the devotional blog I get to be part of, despite my struggle to move fingers over computer keys and produce legible things.

I’ve been thinking a lot about taking the RightNow for all that it is. Enjoying the every moment and finding content right inside. Because it’s my word for the year, and well, it’s the beginning of the year.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Like the way I got to hang with my kids yesterday when they weren’t feeling well. And the wide-open windows that I’ve been letting air out our home after two weeks of closed-up tight.

Then there’s the whole I live in Germany thing.

RightNow there is hard stuff about it. Stuff that mostly has to do with the fact that my youngest despises that she has to go to German school and fights it every morning. It also includes things like figuring out how to carry 20 pounds of groceries four blocks home in my big old blue striped grocery-getting bag.

But this is the RightNow I am living.

And I am learning to be glad for it because of what I know.

Because I know that she is learning things no school book ever could. And I realize I’m gaining muscles and walking off pounds I never would.

Mostly, though, I am starting to realize how very awesome it is to get to live this adventure. RightNow.

The Year of RightNow

Today starts a new writing year for me. Forging ahead with new goals and aspirations, a new focus finds itself in the forefront of my mind. A new word for 2013.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

RightNow.

As in:

I will not worry about what might happen, or what will happen, or even what I cannot control. Because God has given me all I need for RightNow.

I don’t know what’s coming, but He does. In fact, because He is the eternal Alpha and Omega God, He’s somehow already there. So when not yet turns into RightNow, God will be there waiting for me with everything I need. And I know I will have what it takes to deal with every single RightNow no matter what.

Yes, 2013 is the year of RightNow

It’s the year of resisting the temptation to glide through one RightNow so I can get to the next one. The year of trusting Almighty God for every RightNow by giving up my propensity to worry. It’s the year of being present inside of each moment rather than biding my time until the next.

This is the year of Matthew 6 living.

Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes (vv33-34).

No worry. First things first. RightNow. 2013, here I come. . .

Do you have a word for the new year? A flavor you hope 2013 takes on?