Friday, September 22, 2017

As of Today...

I am closer to my 90th birthday than I am to my original birthday.

Happy birthday to me! I'm 46 today.

Karen

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Organic Cotton Grocery Bags

Are you in the market for an Organic Cotton Grocery Bag?

Because I know where you can get one! Just follow this link.

My daughter is doing an internship in Chicago this semester at Foresight Design Initiative (FDI), and they are selling these bags (and coordinating lunch bags) to build up their scholarship fund. That is, each summer FDI hosts a leadership program for high schoolers who care about sustainability issues - and approximately 80% of those kids come on some sort of scholarship.
So, besides supporting kids and a great cause, besides getting an attractive and responsibly-made bag, purchasing this bag *might* make you as adorable as my girl.
I guess "modeling services" falls under the heading of "Intern Responsibilities".
Lucky for them, they got such a pretty intern. *wink*

Karen

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

HE Rocks

I did my homework.

I studied the leader guide.

I made notes, and reviewed, and did my best to understand how the lesson ought to flow.

And I prayed. I invited the Holy Spirit to dwell among us and lead.

Then I thought better of it, and I begged the Holy Spirit to invade our space and guide us with His heart. I confessed that I didn't even want to think about trying to lead the lesson without HIM.
I begged, Holy Spirit, please come!

And, guess what???

HE did!!!

God dwelt among us in the Person of the Holy Spirit at Precepts yesterday, and it was glorious.
HE led the discussion. HE revealed insights and gave understanding. HE moved in our hearts.
HE even stuck around and spoke through the video lesson.
And I?
Am still doing a praise dance in my thankful heart!

How have you seen God's Spirit moving in your midst this week?

Karen

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

She Makes Me a Better Woman

Ahhhhh, my girl came home this weekend!

We hosted a baby shower for one of her best friends, so Elizabeth crossed our threshold for the first time in over four months. Yes. I've been counting. *wink*
And it kind of surprised me how much time I spent anticipating her visit.
*I made our dinner menu to suit her vegetarian-ism.
*Cleaned up the living room for the baby shower, but left the decorating for her - because I knew she'd enjoy it, and would do a lovely job. (She did. Both!)
*Took clutter off her bed and set it aside. (Yeah. I didn't go crazy and clean her room...)
*Verified that she could join us for Krav Maga Saturday morning.

But as much as I enjoyed preparing, it was what Elizabeth did that made the biggest impact.
That is,
*I watched my daughter genuinely and enthusiastically greeting loved ones (her brothers and friends) who she hasn't seen in a long time.
*I saw her taking time to talk and listen - to go places for the sake of building relationships.
*I listened to her share her heart with friends about real thoughts and struggles, being authentic and vulnerable - rather than resorting to shallow conversation, which would have been easier.
*I observed her care for humanity and creation.

And, in spite of the fact that I have spent the better part of the past 21 years trying to shape her character and lead her in godly living - this weekend I felt like she was teaching me.
I looked at my girl and thought, Wow. When I grow up, I want to be like her!!!

I thank God for the young woman He has made Elizabeth to be.

Karen

Thursday, September 14, 2017

I Haven't Forgotten

Earlier this week, I found out the retreat in November for which I was scheduled to speak has been postponed to this coming spring. *sad face*
During my email exchange with the coordinator discussing the details, I was reminded of a post I'd written in the past. And I decided to look it up in the archives.
Thus I read about Trusting His Best:

So, I had this thing to which I was really looking forward.
Might have been obsessing about it a bit.
Maybe.
And then, just like that, it was over before it even started. Not gonna happen the way I had imagined. At all. And I was tempted to be disappointed.

But then it was as if God asked my heart, Why should you be disappointed with My best?

Why? Indeed!

God used that moment to remind me this "thing" is not about me. It's about HIM.
HE knows what's best. HE's working out what's best.
And HIS best is still best - even if it isn't what I wanted.

Honestly, I was almost in tears because of the initial disappointment. But after God had that little talk with my heart, I was almost in tears for an altogether different reason.
HE cares enough about me - about my holiness and my relationship with Himself - to do the hard thing. To say NO to me. To risk me being upset with Him. That is, God loves me too much to give me everything I want. Because HE knows what's best.

And I'm learning to trust HIS best.

Are you?
The thing which really got to me while reading that post is this: I don't even remember what the event was, about which I was writing. And believe me - I've thought and pondered and searched the recesses of my mind, but I cannot fathom what it was that tempted me to be so disappointed.
But I haven't forgotten the lesson God taught me in the midst of it.
Even though it was nearly five years ago.
And that difference right there - between what I don't remember, and what I haven't forgotten - has convinced me to trust even more in God's propensity to do the best thing.
*peaceful sigh*

Karen

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

We Had a House Guest

Sunday morning as he was getting ready to go to church, Josh found a kitten.
Apparently it was sitting on the tire of his truck, or something. And when he went to look closer, the little kitty scampered under the hood and found a hiding spot on the engine.
But Josh is a smart cookie, and he popped the hood to get the kitty.
However, the kitty was faster than Josh was smart, and by the time Josh got into a position where he could grab the kitty - it had run under Brian's car and found a place under the hood there.
Somehow, Josh managed to get a hold of the frightened kitty (along with several bites and scratches) and put it safely in our house before coming to church. Unfortunately, I don't think he heard a single word of the sermon, as Josh's first words when we were leaving church were...I don't remember. But they were about the cat - not the sermon. *wink*

Anyway, when we got home I posted about the kitty on our neighborhood website, and Josh had already plastered her cute little picture on his Instagram.
Especially because the two of us are allergic to cats, I was eager to find this kitten's family. However, as time passed and no one responded - coupled with some of the kitten's behaviors - we began to think this little girl was orphaned, not lost.
So we established a 24-hour deadline for someone to respond, and agreed to give the kitten to a good home if nobody claimed her.
And I had the pleasure over that 24 hours of watching my man-child tenderly care for that little critter. She started out seeming very afraid of people - hence the bites and scratches Josh acquired in trying to catch her. But as the day went on and Josh tended to her, that little kitten became quite friendly with him. He carried her almost everywhere with him, rubbed her back and belly, saw to it that she ate and drank, and made her comfortable when she was sleeping. Never mind that his allergies were kicking in. He took an antihistamine and kept right on loving that fur ball.
Monday he was laying on the bed in the guestroom, doing stuff on the computer with the kitten curled up by his stomach - and he called me into the room so I could hear her purring. I could tell Josh was pleased that the kitten seemed to now feel so comfortable and happy with him.
Almost made me want to keep her.

Almost.

Even so, Josh had located someone to give her a forever home (a friend of a friend...) and Monday after dinner our house guest took her leave.
But not before I got a picture. *grin*
Aren't they sweet???

Karen

Monday, September 11, 2017

Ask - and Wait in Expectation

Click here for more information about Ladies' Day at Rockford Reformed Church in Rockford, MI.

Karen

Friday, September 08, 2017

Lovelier Moments

My dear friend, Lovely, had her 91st birthday on Tuesday.
And on Wednesday, she took her final breath on this earth.
For the past several days, she had been mostly sleeping. Eyes only opening briefly and intermittently.
But one of her children told me at the end they were praying over her and in that moment she opened her eyes - as if seeing Jesus and her loved ones welcoming her home.
I have heard stories of other people opening their eyes at the last moment, and it delights my heart to think of them seeing Jesus.

So, for now my Lovely moments have come to an end. Though I trust God will lead me to another precious soul with whom I will be able to spend lovely moments.
And, more than that, my heart rejoices to think of Lovely having lovelier moments with her Savior. Indeed, the loveliest of moments!

Karen

Thursday, September 07, 2017

And In Other News

A rubber band pistol was confiscated in Algebra class yesterday.

The student was sent to the principal's office, charged with possessing a weapon of math disruption.

May your day be filled with laughter, good puns, and the joy of the LORD!

Karen

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Krav Maga, Anyone?

Have you heard of Krav Maga?

It's a pretty intense military self-defense training and fighting system.
I first heard of it a couple weeks ago, and last night? I found myself at a Krav Maga class.
Yes. You read that statement correctly.
I - who am made happy by pink, purple, and sparkles, I - who love to pray and study my Bible, I - who do my best to keep my nails nicely filed and in shape, I participated in a Krav Maga class.
Learned elbows 1,2,3,4,5,and 6; ear smash, head-butt, eye gouge, elbow; and how to break a choke hold. And, honestly? I'm glad I went.
Not necessarily because I am interested in learning fighting techniques.
Rather, because all my guys were there, too.

That is, once upon some time ago, Brian and Matthew learned about Krav Maga and got interested in it. Josh must have heard them talking about it and got interested, too. Then Brian started looking for a Krav Maga training facility near us and found one. He told the boys, and they all decided they'd like to try it out. And Brian invited me. (He thinks it would be good for me to know self-defense.)
And I'm all, No, thanks. Not interested. Wait!!! This is something we could all do together???
So, although I could hardly be less interested in it than I currently am, I went along to check it out. Because if we can find an activity in which both of our boys willingly, even enthusiastically, participate?
I don't care if I don't care. I'm there!

So it is. We haven't made a final decision about signing up for classes. But if the guys want to do it, I'm in. Because connecting with them is worth the effort it will take to get over my lack of interest.
Besides, who knows? Maybe some day a foolish thug will think he can mess with me because I'm little. Ooooooo, he'll be in for a BIG surprise!

Karen

Monday, September 04, 2017

Friday, September 01, 2017

Lovely Moments

We greeted each other with smiles and kisses.

I told Lovely about Elizabeth's new adventures in Chicago.

We sang Amazing Grace together.

I read Psalm 23 to her as she drifted off to sleep.

And she woke up so I could say good-bye and pray for her when it was time for me to leave.

Besides those interactions, most of my moments at Lovely's place yesterday were spent talking with her daughter - who is in the midst of making decisions about where her mother is to go, and what is to be done for her now that she has entered her end-of-life phase.
It's hard stuff.
And she really needs your prayers.
So, would you please take a moment to pray for Lovely's daughter? For comfort in the process of saying good-bye to her mother, and for peace in her relationships with her siblings.
And while you're praying, remember to thank God for each of the moments He has allowed you to have with your loved ones.

Karen

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Awaken the Dawn

Have you heard about Awaken the Dawn?

I'm going to skip giving you the details here, and encourage you instead to go to their website and read all about it. The bottom line is - it's a HUGE prayer gathering in Washington, D.C.
I am not going to be able to attend the bulk of the event because I will be speaking for a retreat Oct. 6-8. However, October 9 is a day on which the organizers are specifically calling for women to descend on the National Mall to pray.

And I've been asking God to make a way for me to get there if it is in His will.

So, last week a friend told me she's going to Awaken the Dawn with her family. But her family is going home Oct. 8, which means she has space in her hotel room for a few ladies who want to come for the 9th. Yes, it was my friend who spoke the words, but I believe it was God who made the way. And I'm pretty sure I felt His nudge and sensed His smile when I heard those words come from her mouth.
Now, I am in search of a few women who will make the trek with me to D.C. to pray.
Is it you???

Please pray for Awaken the Dawn (There is a link on their website to specific prayer requests - under "Prayer Procession".) and spread the word. I am so excited about what God is going to birth through this movement of prayer.

Karen

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Put A Lid on It!

So, last night Josh was working during the dinner hour - thus he didn't eat dinner with us.
Matthew was, too, for that matter.
Brian and I had dinner alone.
Getting a preview of how the empty nest is going to feel!

Anyway, the dinner I made isn't good re-warmed, so I only made enough for Brian and me. It's easy to put together and I knew the boys would be able to make it "fresh" when they got home. (With a little coaching, of course.) Therefore, I was prepared to talk Josh through it after work.
The challenge being, I was also in the midst of other "chores" so I was a little pre-occupied as I gave instructions. (That's my excuse, anyway.) That is, Josh had gotten through all the steps of his yummy Italian Pork Hoagie when I turned around and looked as he was about to put it in the oven.
I said, "Whoa! You don't need to put the lid on."
And he looked back at me like I was from another planet. "The lid???"
It, uh, took me a minute to understand his confusion but I recovered.
"The top, I mean. Leave the top off to the side so the cheese melts and the TOP gets toasty."
Josh placed the top of the bun next to his sandwich, and put his dinner in the oven. But I could hear him chuckling and mumbling, The lid. You called it a lid. Really, Mom.
And I'm all, It was a slip of the tongue. I was thinking about something else. Don't laugh at me. Eh, put a lid on it!

*wink*

Karen

Friday, August 25, 2017

Lovely Moments

Ahhhh, my sweet friend, Lovely.

Although she denied it, I think I woke her from a nap when I entered her apartment yesterday. Either way, she always greets me cheerfully and I felt welcome to stay and talk with her. So I sat on the love seat next to the couch on which she was resting, and we went over our usual litany of conversation - during which time I filled her in on how the plants are doing around my house, and my visit with Elizabeth last weekend. As it has been recently, our discourse was rather one-sided because Lovely's memory-loss has affected her ability to carry on a conversation. However, her forgetfulness also helps me when I'm running out of things to report or charming stories to tell.
Because...
I've always got jokes.
And Lovely doesn't remember when they're ones I've already told her.
Her laughs are just as hearty the second (or third!) time I tell her a good joke, as they were the first time around.
Like this one:
What did the bald man say when someone gave him a comb for his birthday?

Thanks! I'll never part with it!!!
We had a good belly laugh with that one yesterday.

In spite of Lovely's claim that she wasn't tired, she fell asleep while we were visiting. So I watched her and I prayed for her. And every time she slipped out of sleep and opened her eyes, we smiled at each other - and then she'd close her eyes and drift off again.
Even though she really wasn't interacting with me while she napped, I found it to be a very sweet time with Lovely. Committing her to God's care, considering His love for her, and wondering at the memories she's made and the adventures she has experienced over the past (almost) 91 years.
There's something enchanting about watching a sleeping person, isn't there? It reminded me of the times I would peek in on my children when they were babies, when I would wonder at everything before them in their young lives. Only this time, when I studied Lovely's face and hands - when I watched her breathing - I pondered the many years behind her. I contemplated how many weeds those hands pulled, and how many flowers they tended. I wondered how many brownies that mouth has tasted, how many boo-boos it has kissed, and how many times I love you has passed over those lips. What sights have those eyes seen? What fragrances has that nose savored?
And so, although our visit was mostly quiet, the time we spent together was filled with joy - and the moments were lovely.

What lovely moments have you had this week?

Karen

Thursday, August 24, 2017

I Hear You, LORD

So, Tuesday I posted about Longing for Someone. I actually wrote that post sometime last week when I was in the thick of the feelings, but I visited a friend Tuesday and we got into a lengthy discussion about our corresponding someones.
Because she had read the post earlier that day.
And we both had thoughts, emotions, and complaints we needed to air.

*ahem*

All that to say, I think God was prepping me to see His faithfulness again. Because re-hashing certain things with my friend made the struggle fresh in my mind. And I think the struggle needed to be fresh for what God was arranging.
That is, after spending the afternoon with my friend I went to a prayer training class at my church - during which a young man (22) shared some of his prayer experiences from a recent mission trip to China. When he sat down, his mother told the group that it gave her such joy to see her son standing there and testifying as he did. Because she said a few (Several? I don't remember exactly.) years ago that same son was her "angry" child. He was not walking with God and was caught up in darkness.
But she prayed.
She called out to God on her son's behalf.
Through a series of events, that son had an encounter with Jesus.
And everything changed.
This brief testimony was not scripted or scheduled by the class leaders. It was simply an off-the-cuff, from-the-heart observation this mother felt compelled to share at that particular moment. But this mother here - the one typing these words - was absolutely convinced that testimony was scripted and scheduled by God, to bring encouragement and renewed hope to a needy heart. It was as if He was saying to me, Karen, dear, keep praying. Keep trusting in Me. I do beautiful work!

I believe Him. Do you???

Karen

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Longing for Someone

I have lots of great kids in my life, who are eager to share their lives with me. They come in various shapes, sizes, and colors - and from different backgrounds - but they all have one thing in common:
My love.
They willingly receive it, and graciously reciprocate it.

And I treasure them.
The ones who are comfortable enough to come over un-announced at dinner time.
The ones who call my house "home" for whatever length of time is necessary.
The ones I only see once a week when I go to Mileage Club.
The ones who ask me to pray for them.
I treasure these kids. And I am so glad God has allowed me to participate in their lives.

But Someone is missing from that group.
I love Someone fiercely, and want to share life with him like I do with these others - but Someone is so standoff-ish. Oh, sure, Someone is at my house most nights for dinner, my house is home to him, I see Someone more than once a week, and he doesn't need to ask me to pray for him.
Nonetheless, I barely feel like a part of Someone's world.
While a part of me thinks this is probably a very normal phase in the life of a mother and adult-child, the other part of me feels like a chasm is growing, or a bridge is breaking.
And my heart is breaking along with it.
Many, many years ago God spoke to my heart about Someone, and I believe HE made a promise to me. Occasionally throughout the past years, God has been gracious to remind me of that promise. And each time He's done it - I first apologize for forgetting, second repent of doubting, third thank Him for being faithful, and fourth commit to trusting His plan - and His time.
Today, I find myself in that fourth step. While my heart is breaking for want of closeness with Someone, I choose to believe God's promises - and trust He's going to do what He said He will do. I wish my eyes could see the future. I would love for my heart to already feel the peace. But I am content to know we (Someone and me) are in God's hands, and that He will complete the good work He has begun.

Are you longing for Someone, too?

Karen

Monday, August 21, 2017

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Mother Knows Best

I told you so!!!

Ahhh. I feel better for having let that out.
At least I think I've been holding those words in.
That is, I've thought them a lot. But I've been biting my tongue to keep from saying them.

OK, the story is, a few weeks ago Matthew submitted a job application online. A friend told him she knew of a great job which was open, and he was very excited about making a change from where he is working now to the circumstance she described. So he got right on the computer and filled out the proper paperwork.
Uh, screenwork?
Whatever.
He applied for the job.
And when a couple days passed without him getting a call for an interview, I suggested he ought to take himself right down to the store and talk to the manager in person. Because it sounded like they were really eager to hire someone. So I thought he should have heard from them already, and wondered if perhaps they didn't receive his application.
But my tech-savvy, 21st century-livin', internet-is-everything kid insisted nothing could have gone wrong.
"It's the internet, Mom. Things don't get lost."
And that was the end of that conversation.
(No it wasn't. I continued to nag suggest he go talk to the manager.)

So, the day finally came when I stopped giving if-you-want-a-different-job-you-ought-to-do-something-about-it advice, and wouldn't you know it? Matthew decided to go personally and talk to the manager of the place at which it sounded so great to work. You know. Just to make sure he/she had seen his application, and maybe decide to hire him on the spot. But the thing Matthew found out was *gasp* his application never came through! It was lost somewhere in cyber-space. For a few weeks.
And my precious son said to me, "I should have listened to you."
*SWOON*
Then he went right to his room and re-submitted his application. (Couldn't do it at the store, you know. Because they don't do paper applications anymore!)
And the very next day my repentant son drove right back to the store to be sure his application had arrived this time. And to see if they wanted to interview him.
And hire him.
On the spot.
Unfortunately, unbeknownst to the manager -while Matthew was re-submitting his application - somewhere else in the system arrangements were being made for an employee to transfer from a different store to the one at which Matthew was seeking employment. So by the time Matthew got there to check on his application, the position was no longer available.
And my precious son said to me again, "I should have listened to you."
Yes, son. You should have.
As it is, he filled out applications for a few other local businesses. And I have a feeling he'll be diligent about following up on them. And, maybe - just maybe - the next time I give my precious son some hard-won advice, he'll listen to me before it's too late.

*wink*

Karen

Monday, August 14, 2017

In the Garden, Again

If you need to catch up - here's the link to the post referred to in the video.

Karen

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Survival of the Fittest

At least, that's what I'm telling myself.

That is to say, I'm allowing such a line of thinking to assuage my guilt.

What I mean is, Monday was my wedding anniversary. (Twenty-four years!)
Brian and I had plans to go out to dinner - alone - and as I was making my menu/grocery list for the week I found out both of the boys were going to be working Monday night.
So I didn't plan anything for dinner at home.
Because why should I make something for nobody, right?
Even though Nobody does so many things for us around here. Like, Nobody changes burnt out light bulbs. Nobody picks up clumps of dirt that Somebody brings into the house on their shoes. Nobody wipes crumbs or splashes of water off the counter. And Nobody ALWAYS turns the lights off in the basement. (Which must be why "he" always changes the brunt out light bulbs, too. Very concerned about our light usage, that Nobody is!)
Anyway, where was I???
Ah, yes, I was not making dinner Monday night.
So, as late-night Monday came along Brian and I were in bed and heard the boys talking after they were both home from work. And the topic of conversation? Pizza!
Seems there were no left-overs from dinner *ahem* so they decided to order pizza for their hungry tummies. (Never mind that I had gone grocery shopping Monday morning, and they could have made themselves something to eat. Yeah. Never mind that detail. It would have required too much effort.)
As I lay in bed listening to them discuss crust preferences, toppings, and who's going to pay for this?, I had an inkling that I ought to have made dinner for them - even though Nobody was going to be here to eat it. I considered feeling guilty. But then I thought better of the situation and declared, "I'm teaching them survival skills!"
Because, you know, I'm not always going to be around to make them meals.
They need to know how to order pizza. *wink*

Karen

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

In the Garden

Ahhh, In the Garden.
That's a beautiful old hymn.
It was my grandpa's favorite, so I always think of him when I hear it.
And I was blessed to be able to spend some time in the garden with God yesterday afternoon.
Actually, I was on the deck.
I don't have a garden. But I was doing gardening-like things.
So - in my mind - it counts!

And (full disclosure) I didn't enter into my gardening-like activity with the intention of having an interaction with God.
But HE's always doing unexpected God-things.
So - in my heart - that counts, too!

OK. Now that I've caught you up on the scene, I can tell you my story.
I was outside pulling weeds and stuff when I noticed the flowers on the deck looked pretty bad. I admit, it had been a while since I'd paid much attention to them - so I went over to pick off a few dead flowers. And before long, I determined picking off a few dead flowers wasn't going to be enough. So I got some scissors to assist me in my operation and I got comfy sitting on the deck to officially "prune" the plant.
Honestly, I wasn't even paying attention to how long I was sitting there. But when sweat began beading on my forehead (and it really wasn't that hot out) I realized I had been sitting there (in the sun) examining and cutting and turning and looking and trimming some more - for quite a long time. And as I became aware of how meticulous I was being, and the amount of time I was spending on this one potted flower, the passage about God pruning branches came to mind. (Thank You, Holy Spirit!)
I thought about God pruning me - cutting off dead branches (i.e. sinful and useless behaviors) so I can be more fruitful - more like Jesus. And I considered the commonality that these two circumstances (the one at my hands and the one in my head) might possibly have.
I thought, When God is pruning me, is He as close to me as I am to this flower? Is He looking at me and studying me and assessing what needs to be done to make me more beautiful? (In character, I mean.) Does He spend extended time holding me and turning me so He can evaluate His next move? Is He doing all this so I can be who He has created me to be?
With all my heart, I believe the answers to those questions are a resounding, Yes, Yes, Yes, and Yes!
So as I continued my work I thanked God for His work in my life. I vowed to trust the cuts He makes. And I made a mental note to seek awareness of His tender, loving presence the next time He's in the garden of my life with pruning sheers.

How does the reality of God's nearness and careful attention affect your view of the pruning process?

Karen

Monday, August 07, 2017

Friday, August 04, 2017

Lovely Moments

*squee!*

I got to visit Lovely yesterday and she was, well, lovely!
She was lying on her couch when I arrived, but she was dressed and alert and ready for a visit.
I had brought her some red lilies which are growing by my driveway, and after she admired them and we selected a spot to display them - we got right into visiting.
Because it had been two weeks since we last saw each other.
And there was so much to catch up on.
Like how she's been feeling, and what I did on vacation, and how old she is, and how long she was married to the sweetest man in the world - who never said an unkind word to her, by the way!
You know, that kind of stuff.

And then, then we really got down to business.
I noticed a crossword puzzle on her clipboard (Lovely loves crossword puzzles!) which only had two words filled in and I asked her, "What happened here? It looks like you've hardly given this puzzle any attention!" And Lovely said she was having trouble with it because her "mind isn't very good any more." So I picked up the clipboard, plopped down next to Lovely on the couch, and we tackled that thing.
We determined that the only "kind of fund" with five letters ending in "sh" had to be a slush fund. And we agreed we would both like to have a big one of those.
I reached back into my Spanish class memories to recall that a "lady in Spain" is senora, and "Pedro's house" is casa. And Lovely told me I'm smart. (See why I enjoy visiting her? *wink*)
We laughed when we discovered that "pound sound" was arf. (What else could blank-R-blank be???)
And even though neither of us knew what "verdant" meant, we decided it must be leafy, because that answer supported Fonda being an "actress Jane" and neither of us could think of any Jane other than Jame Fonda. (BTW, I checked it when I got home and got on my computer. "Verdant" equals leafy in a crossword puzzle. You're welcome.)

If you are not a fan of crossword puzzles, I can understand how you might doubt the possibility that two grown women could find enjoyment and opportunities to laugh while wracking their brains over clues, puns, and pointless trivia. Trust me, though, Lovely and I did it.
We frequently told each other how smart we think the other is. We exchanged 'high-fives' and confessed at times that if we had the answers nearby we'd take a quick peek. But mostly we just took pleasure in the chance to be together. To share love and laughter and time.

That's one of the greatest lessons I'm learning from Lovely: What you do with a person doesn't matter very much. The thing that's important is being together.

Karen

Thursday, August 03, 2017

From Broken Heart to Bent Knee

I started a new activity this week.
A local children's home has a mileage club (Kids walk/run a mile and log their progress, earning "awards" for milestones.) and they're looking for new volunteers to walk with the kids. I thought it sounded like a neat way to love on some kids who need lovin' - so Tuesday I tried it out.
And I'm hooked!
I walked the first lap (mile) with a "group" and enjoyed conversation with a couple of kids and staff members. Then those kids went inside and a new group came out. So my second lap was with a 13-year-old girl who was full of dreams and was eager to tell me about the purse/bag she'd just made out of Duck Tape. This young lady surprised me with her maturity and optimism. I mean, for living in a children's home, she was so hopeful. Told me that she gets to visit "on campus" with her mom once a week, and that her mom is doing the things she needs to be doing - so sometime soon they're going to be able to visit un-supervised. And then she'll be able to spend an entire weekend with her mom. On the outside, I was excited with her, and talked about how great it's going to be when they get to have that time together.
But inside was weeping.
Because a kid shouldn't have to deal with stuff like that!

When my new friend went inside I took a rest in the shade until another group came around the bend.
In this group was an eight-year-old little guy who was one lap away from his next award, and he wanted to keep going. Since everyone else was ready to be done for the day, I said I'd go around with him.
Once we finished talking about the water bottle he was going to get for completing 20 miles (Not all in one day!), and the cool things he has at his mom's house, and his love of movies - well, that's when this little guy broke my heart. He told me he doesn't have to see his dad for another 10 years. Not until he's 18.
And the reason?
"Because then I'll be able to hurt him back if he hurts me."
The adorable kid at my side - who loves Spiderman and playing on his X-Box (things an 8-year-old boy ought to be doing) - told me that his dad abuses him. He went on to share stories about his interactions with the police, and his thoughts about helping them chase down his dad when he's big enough.
And that's when my heart broke.
Because a kid shouldn't have to deal with stuff like that!

I found myself feeling very angry toward the parents of these children.
How can an adult do such awful things to a child???
Even so, in spite of my anger I was sincere when I told 13 that I hope her mom keeps doing the right things so they can be together again. I spoke truthfully when I told 8 that I hope by the time he's 18 and sees his dad again, his dad will know it isn't OK to hurt another person. And part of me was feeling good for moving past my anger to wish well for these people.
But it didn't take long for God's Spirit to convince me that my well-wishes were not enough.
HE persuaded me that I need to do something.
That is, HE called me to pray for them.
I do not know their histories, their motives, their hurts, habits, or hang-ups. I don't even know their names. But I know God does. And so I am asking Him to work a miracle in each of their lives - to transform their hearts, to heal their broken places, to free them from any bondages which are holding them down.
Then it occurred to me, What if no one else is praying for 13's mom and 8's dad???
God has officially put them on my heart, and I commit here and now to praying for them both.
You are more than welcome to join me!

Karen

Monday, July 31, 2017

Friday, July 21, 2017

Lovely Moments

Awwwww, my sweet Lovely.

My heart is always filled with joy when it's time to visit her.

And this week, the anticipation was a little higher than usual. Because I received an email at the beginning of the week letting me know Lovely had been temporarily moved to another facility. She was experiencing severe pain and needed round-the-clock attention. So my concern was "on alert," and I wondered what her condition would be when I saw her.
It took me a while to find her in the new place, and when I did find her - I found her sleeping. So I sat by her bed and just looked at her. And as I started to pray, her eyes fluttered open.
Not wanting to startle Lovely, I slowly moved into her line of vision and said, "Hello, Lovely." And I sort of expected her to be a little confused - because she often is. Except this time, she wasn't. She smiled at me and I am pretty sure I could tell by her expression that she recognized me.
That she remembered me.
And my heart was doubly filled with joy.

She sat up and we looked at the pictures I had brought from my Colorado trip. Lovely enjoyed the pictures and the opportunity to marvel at the beauty. She even commented on the handsome-ness of my dear husband. (As she does every time she sees his picture.)
A short time later, her son came to visit and the three of us shared moments of laughter in the midst of conversation about years-gone-past.
Soon, her daughter arrived, too.
The four of us together found things about which we could laugh, and I enjoyed seeing Lovely look fondly at her children. But the moments passed too quickly, and soon it was time for me to go.
I told Lovely that I won't be able to see her next week (And she gave me the cute little pout she gives whenever my next visit is going to be delayed.), I kissed her cheek and told her I love her, and I took my leave - realizing how blessed I am to be even a small part of Lovely's life, hoping (a bit selfishly) God continues to allow us to have these lovely moments.

What lovely moments have you had this week for which you can give thanks to God?

Karen

P.S. As I mentioned to Lovely, I am not going to be around next week - which includes the blog. If God says the same, I'll be back here July 31.
Keep holding on to HIM!!!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Watchin' My Babies Grow Up

I've just got to say, I love my daughter so very much.
Among many other things, I treasure seeing how she loves so well. How she seeks to be the hands and feet of Jesus to her friends and all those around her. And I am thankful for the ways her efforts to love others spill over onto the rest of us as her family.
That is, approximately seven years ago Elizabeth made a friend at school. And over the past seven years, that friend has become a part of our family. To the extent that we refer to this friend of Elizabeth's as our honorary daughter. (In fact, that's the way we refer to a couple of Elizabeth's friends. *grin*) She has always been welcome in our home and we've been able to be an extended family to her - offering all kinds of support as she's needed it.

And it's truly been a joy.

Well, this honorary daughter of ours has been living with us (in Elizabeth's room - since Elizabeth is gone for the summer) for the past two months. And one of the things we've been doing during these months is helping our honorary daughter navigate the world of "adulting". We've seen her find jobs (Not a new thing for her. She's a hard worker. But she was unable to work for a while and this was a big step.); learn about and make a budget (Including some of the hard choices that come with living on a budget.); make grown-up decisions which weren't always easy to manage; search for a place to live which was safe, suitable, and stayed within the budget; and yesterday, we got to see her get the keys to that place.
Ahhhh, another baby bird leaving the nest.
Through having this young lady living with us, we have also been able to get to know and love her boyfriend. He's become an honorary son to us, and it has been a joy to watch him walking into the ways of "adulting", too. The road ahead of them will surely be difficult at times, but God is faithful and I trust Him to lead them.

And so it is. For both the children I have physically birthed, and those who are children from my heart - I am trusting their futures to the LORD. As I watch them grow up, as I watch them make decisions and take action and sometimes make mistakes, as I occasionally want to step in and do "it" for them, I find myself praying and trusting my Father.
Because He is their Father, too.
And He is good.

Karen

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

God Sightings

*When you're looking for a place to live and nothing's working out, and just when you feel like you're out of alternatives a near-perfect option becomes available...
*When you're checking your grocery receipt (and you don't usually do it) and you catch errors totaling over $25...
*When you take the receipt back to the store and for some reason part of the error is returned to you in cash, and you go to another store to pick up something you forgot you needed, and the cash you just received at the other store provides you with perfect change...
*When ends aren't meeting and you don't know how they will and then somehow, they do...
*When you've got a bunch of things to do and not a lot of time to do it, and lines are quick, and lights are green, and you remember this morning you asked God to order your steps...
*When you've been praying for a long time for a family who was in a serious accident, and you find out that everyone is finally out of the hospital and living under the same roof again...
*When you're doing yard work and you notice the intricacy and beauty of a flower...
*When your pregnant friend lets you feel the baby kick...
*When the encouragement you needed arrives via text message at just the right moment...
*When a kind stranger smiles and lends you a hand...
*When you find the courage to do what you did not think you could do...

...consider yourself blessed, because you've seen the hand of the Almighty at work.

I compiled this list of God sightings from my own experiences and those of a couple friends over the past several days. Please add your own in the comments. I'd love to hear of the ways you have seen HIM, too.

Karen

Monday, July 17, 2017

Friday, July 14, 2017

Somebody's Missing

So, I spoke during chapel last night at the women's mission.
And as I have been doing since February, I scanned the room to see if H was present. Because I was eager to hear an update from her about how her circumstances are progressing. (When I was there two weeks ago she told me she was on a waiting list for an apartment and I wondered if she had any news about when she might get into it.)
However, as I looked around the chapel, I didn't see her. I asked a woman sitting near me if she knew H - was hoping I might find out from her about H's housing situation.
But she didn't know H.
And I was left to wonder.
And my wondering is going down a very hopeful track. I'm thinking maybe that waiting list reached H and she is no longer a guest at the Rescue Mission. My hopeful imagination is telling me maybe H is taking a major step toward getting back on her feet, and that she is probably telling everyone about God's power and faithfulness expressed in her life.
True, the only thing I know for sure about H is that she was missing from chapel last night. But I also know a few things for sure about God:
*HE is faithful.
*HE knows where H is and what she's doing.
*HE is working for her good.
I am so thankful for these things I know about God. They give me confidence that wherever H is today, it is well with her - because she's in His hands.

How does what you know about God help you face what you don't know about everything else?

Karen

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Disorders are NOT Logical

So, the other day I was talking to someone about depression - and what it looks like in my life. And as the conversation went on I began to understand why disorders are so hard for non-disordered-people to understand.
That is, as I spoke about my tendency to take what I hear and turn it into an attack on myself (That's the disordered part of me!) my friend suggested I ought to recognize that the speaker didn't intend to be critical of me, and I ought to laugh it off. Or, when I am in a situation which is not going as I had hoped, rather than berating myself for being a failure I ought to realize the situation won't be hard forever and try to look on the bright side.
And as I listened to her giving this very good advice, I was thinking, Yes! Of course. That's what I ought to do. And I know it. Everything you're saying is logical and makes sense and I know it's the logical way to handle a circumstance.
Chin up!
Cheer up!
Don't be so sad.
And if a disorder like depression could be managed with logic, that - right there - would be my answer. Unfortunately, disorders aren't logical. That's why they're disorders. Because something isn't working like it should be - as it would be - if it were all in order.

It's kind of like me saying to my young friend who has an eating disorder, "C'mon, sweetheart. Just eat something. You know you need to. Your body must have some nourishment. You cannot get better if you don't eat."
All true statements.
All logical and good.
All of them make sense to me!
But not one of 'em is helpful or productive for my friend.
Because disorders are NOT logical. And, therefore, they cannot be treated, managed, or cured with logic.

All that to say, do you know someone with a disorder-of-some-kind? Ever wish you could snap your fingers and get through to them? Get discouraged because they aren't taking your logical, rational, reasonable advice and suggestions? Ever feel frustrated because you don't understand what's going on inside of them?
Eh, don't feel bad - most of the time we don't understand, either!
And so we (all!) must cling to Jesus, trusting Him to help us (and help us help each other) get through this not-always-logical thing called life.

Karen

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

LOVE is Patient

Yesterday morning I walked into the kitchen to discover a counter FULL of dishes which had not been washed the night before - by one of my sons who claims he always does them before he goes to bed. (We've argued over my desire that they get done right after dinner. And compromised that the time frame could be extended to at-least-before-bed.)
But yesterday the kitchen was a mess when I walked into it.
And that did not make me happy.
Nonetheless, I pushed through my disappointment in a job-not-done and went downstairs to exercise. However, as soon as I reached the bottom of the stairs I noticed a suspicious dark spot on the carpeting - and I knew Mindy had peed on it.
That super-duper did not make me happy.
I mean, seriously. She has these "accidents" waaaaaaay too often. *ahem*
I begrudgingly cleaned it up, and went on to my work-out. And in the middle of that, I noticed a small shovel which I'd been seeking this past weekend. I was doing some weeding Saturday morning and could have benefited from having that shovel - but, no! The last person who used it (a nameless son of mine) didn't put it back after he'd last used it, and no one could find on Saturday. But there it was in plain view Monday morning - adding to my angst of things-not-done-right-around-my-house.

I am not sure how it happened, but somehow I persevered and finished my exercises. *wink*
And when I sat down to eat my breakfast, and I bowed my head to pray - the strangest thing transpired. Thoughts of the un-done dishes, the peed-on carpet, and the not-put-back shovel flooded my mind.
For a moment I thought of the guilty parties.
Then I thought about some of the (many) times I have not done what I was supposed to do - or have done what I wasn't supposed to do - and my view of the morning's guilty parties changed. Before I had even thanked God for my food, I found myself thanking Him for His patience with me.
And oddly enough, my cereal tasted an awful lot like Humble Pie.

Karen

Monday, July 10, 2017

God's Ultimate Desire for You

Hahahaha! This thumbnail totally cracked me up.
I couldn't resist choosing it. Especially when Matthew told me he'd be proud of me for "getting out of my comfort zone" and posting it. *wink*

Karen

Friday, July 07, 2017

Lovely Moments

Lovely didn't answer her phone when I called yesterday to see if I could come visit.
But last week she wasn't feeling well, so I imagined she just might not be able to answer the phone and I decided to go over, anyway.
When I arrived, she was sleeping on her couch - still in her nightie - so I just sat on the adjacent love seat and prayed for her. I listened to her breathing, I watched the expressions she was making on her face (must have been having an interesting dream...), I considered the stories she has shared with me and wondered at all the things she has experienced in her life, and I asked God to give her peace.
When Lovely awoke she said she felt "out of it", but that didn't last long.
I knew she hadn't gone to the dining room to eat (They had brought a tray with her meal on it into her apartment.) so I offered to warm up her lunch, hoping some nourishment would help her get back to normal. And as I was re-heating the main course, Lovely got started on the chocolate cake. I walked into the living room with her lunch and observed, "Oh. You're starting with dessert today?"
She smiled and said, "I love chocolate!"
And that seemed to be the end of her feeling-out-of-it troubles.
We laughed about chocolate being the answer to solve every problem, and with just about every bite of cake she took, Lovely reminded me again how she loves chocolate. The rest of our visit centered around her lunch. The egg roll was delicious. She didn't realize how hungry she was. She wanted another bite of this thing which was so good - though she didn't know what it was, but she sure did like it! (It was still the egg roll.) And, oh yeah, she really loves chocolate!

As I reflected back on our visit, it occurred to me things are changing. This was two weeks in a row that Lovely hadn't been to the dining room for lunch before I came. It's been almost a month since we've reminisced about her younger years. (Although she did brag about her husband being the sweetest soul on earth. I don't think a day ever passes without that thought going through her precious mind.) It seems our recent visits have found me with greater responsibility for keeping the conversation going. And she is lamenting more frequently about being "old".
To face reality I understand I must admit that my Lovely moments may not last much longer. But I am thankful for each one I've had - and for as many more as the Lord allows.

With whom are you (or should you be) cherishing lovely moments today?

Karen

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Everything to Me

When my heart is disturbed, when my spirit needs to be reminded of what matters, this is one of the songs God consistently uses to set me right.
Needing it at the moment, and praying HE encourages you, too.

Karen

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Adam Raccoon: Back in Print!

Adam Racoon - back in print

That was the message in the subject line of an email I received which made me so very, very happy.
The email was from the publisher, informing me that last November all eight titles of the Adam Raccoon series had been re-released in beautiful hard-cover books. I'm telling you, I love LOVE Adam Raccoon and this news made me feel like I'd just been reunited with an old friend.
That is to say, my kids grew up with me reading Adam Raccoon to them, and in a moment of what-was-I-thinking - when the kids had out-grown children's books, and grandchildren were nowhere near my thoughts - I sold all of my Adam Raccoon books in a garage sale. Then one day when I wanted to buy a copy to give as a baby shower gift, I discovered they were out of print.
And my heart sank.
Because I thought, How am I going to re-build my collection for the day when I have grandchildren running around and I want to read these wonderful books to them???
I mean, I know there's always Amazon (In fact, I have purchased Adam Raccoon books through Amazon many times to give as baby shower gifts. Actually, there are two sitting in my room right now waiting for a special little boy to be born!) but Amazon doesn't have ALL the titles. And I wanted to re-build the whole collection. *sniff*
And now I can.
That is, now I'm going to!

So, whether you're a mom, or a grandma; or you're going to be a mom, or a grandma; or you know a mom, or a grandma - if you love kids and you love Jesus, you really need to check into Adam Raccoon.
And a little insider information I found out about which may be of interest to you:
*The publisher is almost done with some activity and coloring pages for the series and they should release as a free download on their website later this month or next.
*The Signature Set which includes the slipcase and signed art card and from Glen Keane is only available through their website. Promo code BRUBAKER will work for free shipping on domestic orders of the Signature Set.
Annnnnnd, just in case you need a preview, here's a recording I made several years ago of one of my favorite (They're all my favorite!!!) Adam Raccoon books:




Karen

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

The Top Ten Things I Learned on Vacation

10. Sometimes it's better to get it all done at once. 

In planning our recent trip to Colorado (to visit our girl, since she's doing an internship there this summer...) we thought long and hard about how we were going to get there. That is, I am not a fan of driving long distances because, well, because it takes so long. So we checked out the option of flying. However, I am even more not a fan of spending a lot of money, so we quickly ruled out that alternative. And taking the train wasn't going to be much better, so we acquiesced to the driving plan.
Only that decision didn't entirely solve the problem.
That is, Brian proposed driving straight through - from Michigan to Colorado. And I was all, Nooooo, that will be so long! And I am not a fan of long car rides. But, if we didn't drive straight through, that would mean paying for a hotel room along the way and, well, I am even more not a fan of spending a lot of money... So, I complied with Brian's proposal and we made plans to drive for 18+ hours.
And, can I tell you? That was such a good idea!
We stopped along the way for gas and lunch and dinner, and were in our hotel room by 11:00pm local time saying, "I can't believe we were in Michigan this morning, and we're already in Colorado!"
I was so glad we got to start our fun the very next day - instead of having to drive more. 
Indeed, sometimes it's better to get it all done at once. That is, sometimes we need to admit that somebody else was right. Thanks, Brian!

9. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. 

We did a good amount of hiking in Colorado, including one day in Pine Valley Ranch Park along the North Fork South Platte River. During that particular walk, I became enamored with a pretty pink flower I kept seeing along the trail. I know, I know. I become enamored with just about anything pink. But this one was special. I figured it must be some kind of distinguished specimen. Maybe one of Colorado's home-grown treasures. So I took pictures.

But when I showed the pictures to Elizabeth at the end of the week she told me it was just a Thistle - with a bit of a disapproving tone in her voice. And I'm thinking, Thistle. Sounds like whistle. And you whistle when you're happy. This flower must make people happy. 
Until Elizabeth told me, "Mom. It's a weed."
But it's pink! And it's pretty.
Then I realized: plants in which some people find no worth can be precious to others.
And I thought, Hmmm. The same can be said for people, too.

8. Having a GPS doesn't preclude the need to have a plan.

OK, I know I have been accused of being a Luddite.
I admit I can be guilty of holding on to "old ways".
I realize there is value in embracing today and taking advantage of the technology we have.
But sometimes batteries die, and signals get lost (especially in the mountains!) and it would be a good idea to know how to get where you're going without having to rely on said batteries or signals.
And that's all I'm gonna say about that one. *wink*

7. Murphy's Law can find me on horseback. 

Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
That stupid adage follows me everywhere I go.
We were in the Rocky Mountains on a 2-hour trail ride and everything had been going smoothly. So I decided to get my phone out and record some of the scenery. What could go wrong? I thought to myself. We're just moseying along. Everything's good. I can ride one-handed for a few minutes.
If only I had heard ol' Murphy snickering in the woods.

 

Yeah. My horse got spooked by something and started running, so I dropped my phone.
Fortunately, the phone didn't get stepped on by a horse. It was dusty, but no damage.
I guess Murph gave me a pass on that one.

6. Things that look like trouble aren't really trouble when you trust the leader. 

One of our more adventurous days was spent white-water rafting down Browns Canyon in the Arkansas River. Yes, even my 72-year-old mother-in-law came along. Go, Grandma!!! 
That's her in the blue helmet. Haha!
 One thing we learned very quickly on our adventure was the importance of listening to, trusting, and obeying our leader. Mike was a great guy, and he had been down this river many, many times before. He knew the location of every rock and rapid. He knew how to steer and when to turn us. He called out "forward, 3" or "forward, 4" and "forward, 2 more" at all the right times to get us to give the raft the power he needed to steer us in the right direction.
We might be headed toward a rapid, or approaching a big rock we thought we should avoid - and we might be tempted to start paddling "away" from it. But our strict orders were to row only when and how Mike instructed.
 And when we worked as a team - trusting our leader - we made it safely through and around every obstacle we faced.
Something tells me white-water rafting could produce a parable about trusting Jesus.

5. Scary is a matter of perspective. 

Another adventurous thing we did in Colorado was riding bikes down Pikes Peak. For those who don't know why that would be considered an adventure, let me just tell you: our bike ride started at over 14,000 feet above sea level, and lasted approximately 19 miles. And when we were riding in the van to the top of the mountain I experienced several moments of honest-to-goodness fear.
See, the driver was very comfortable with mountain driving.
Sometimes she would turn her head to address a passenger's question and I would want to scream at her, "Keep your eyes on the road! We could slip over the edge and fall to our death in a matter of seconds! Don't drive so close to the edge!!!"
Because from where I was sitting in that van, it really did seem like one inch to the right was going to be our end. And my heart was on edge. (Pun totally intended!)
Then we got to the top and I got out of the van, and I felt comfortable enough to walk around and see just how high we really were.

And how far down we could fall if we slipped.
And I thought, I'm really going to ride a bicycle down this mountain?
But the craziest thing happened.
I got on the bike, rode around the parking lot a bit to get acclimated, and when we started down the mountain and I was riding in the middle of the lane - even when I was in the lane on the outside of the mountain - I felt totally secure.
I wasn't scared.
My mind didn't scream at me about being careful to not fall over the edge.
Seems that being in control of my own "vehicle" and feeling like I wasn't on the edge of the road changed my outlook. I had the perception of being safe. And that's when I learned that scary is a matter of perspective.

4. Spicy Uno brings people together. 

I've mentioned Spicy Uno here before. And if you haven't tried it, I'm telling you now: you must!
I don't think I have more fun playing any other game than this one.
In addition to the fact that my 17 and 19-year-old sons will play with us, I love Spicy Uno because it brings all kinds of people together. From my husband to my sons to my mother-in-law to my daughter's roommate (who we had just met) we had a room full of diverse people who were laughing together, having fun together, enjoying time together, not looking at smartphones together.
And this momma's heart loved it.
If you're looking for a way to create some good family/friend time, check out Spicy Uno!

3. People don't have to be "like" you in order to be liked by you. 

It's easy to like people who are like you, isn't it?
You talk the same, dress the same, eat the same, think the same. 
It's easy to get along with people like that, you know?
But during our time in Colorado - and with the various adventures we took - I had several opportunities to meet people who were not like me.
There were those with lots of tattoos, women who went without bras, some folks with interesting piercings, and others who looked as though they hadn't been to see a barber anytime in the past 12 months. They were people who - on the outside - didn't look anything like me. People who - had I not been placed with them by an outside influence - I might not have engaged in conversation or relationship. 
Yet, when I spent time with them, when I learned about the people inside the appearances - I discovered beautiful souls who were a blessing to know, regardless of how they look, or talk, or act, or eat, or whatever else sometimes divides us.
Made me wonder how many times I have missed a friendship just because a person wasn't "like" me.
Let's not do that again!

2. I need JESUS.

Ahhhhhh, the most important things I learned(And not for the first time, I might add). Numbers 2 and 1.
Let's be real: 
The trip was great. 
We had fun adventures and made good memories.
But it was also full of struggle for me. 
Although I am doing much better with regards to dealing with depression, there are times...(Like when I'm in close proximity to family 24/7 and I'm trying to keep peace, make decisions which will satisfy everyone, guide plans to best utilize our resources, answer the same questions repeatedly, and not blow my top - you know, when I'm on "vacation".) 
Yeah. 
There are times I feel like I'm losing the battle with my depressive tendencies. When my insecurities rise to the surface and the negative self-talk crushes the timid voice of truth which is trying to come through. When every little thing I hear someone say gets turned around in my head to be a jab at my very existence. When I'm pretty sure everyone around me is certain I am a failure.
And then, Jesus.
Jesus steps forward in moments like this one - when we were climbing to the top of a waterfall, and I stayed back because the climb got too steep for me. So I stood by myself, taking in the beauty of what I was seeing, overwhelmed by the majesty and power of our Creator God who could make such a display with rocks and water. And in that moment HE reminded me - His Voice of Truth spoke to my heart - that when I am weak, HE is strong. Though I am inadequate, HE is enough. My insecurities don't limit Him. HE is all I need.

  

1. God's plans are best. Always.

And, the number one thing I learned on vacation - which God has shown me time and time, again: 
HIS plans are best. Always!
It was our last night in Colorado and I had an idea of something that would be special to do with my daughter on our "final" night together. But it didn't happen as I had imagined, and the disappointment - in combination with the week-long struggle I described in #2 - was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. I could do nothing to hold back the tears any longer. So, I wept.
Yet, as God would have it, something different happened which was far greater and more significant than the original plan I'd had in my mind. Yes, HE did immeasurably more than all I had asked or imagined (Eph. 3:20) 
And my heavenly Father graciously reminded me that I can trust Him to do what is good.
Even in the face of what looks disappointing.
I pray, my friend, that you may also be convinced of this wonderful Truth.


Karen

Monday, July 03, 2017

Friday, June 16, 2017

Lovely Moments

As I was driving over to see Lovely yesterday, I noticed a moth clinging to the base of my windshield. I was on the highway, going 70 MPH, and that little guy was struggling to hold on so he wouldn't be swept away by the wind.
And I do mean struggling.
As in, I was nearly ready to pull off to the side of the road to let him fly away peacefully - because he made it look like staying safe was such a hard task.

Then I noticed what song was playing on the radio, and how perfectly it fit with the scene playing out before my eyes. So I grabbed my phone and recorded my insect-friend's journey - that I might share it with you. (I love that God speaks through every.little.thing!)
On the days when you're feeling like this little guy, when life seems to be dragging you through a 70 MPH wind, my friend - stop holding on, and just BE HELD.

Karen
P.S. I'm taking a vacation! Will be away from the blog for the rest of the month. See you in July! :)

Thursday, June 15, 2017

When You Begin Your Day...

by asking the Holy Spirit to order your steps, and take you to the places HE wants you to go - to do the things HE wants you to do:
*You might find that your time is spent in ways you hadn't planned.
*Which may mean you haven't the time to devote to creating a blog post.
*Which is fine. Because you've trusted God to lead you.

May your day be filled with promptings of the Holy Spirit, leading you to the good works HE has prepared ahead of time for you to do.

Karen