Thursday, December 12, 2013

CHRIST is CHRISTmas

Can you believe that we are into December already? Neither can I! With December comes the season of The Rush. Everywhere people are rising around, trying desperately to find those gifts, search out those decorations and other assorted things needed for Christmas parties, New Year's gatherings and everything in between.

Christmas lights. Christmas cookies whether store-bought or homemade. Gifts and wrapping those gifts. Decorating the tree and your house. Running to this store and that store for the perfect presents. Last minute store runs for those pesky forgotten items for your party or for gifts that somehow were overlooked! Making sure that everything is in it's place and that your house smells just right. These are all things that come with the Winter season. Cleaning your house like a madwoman in an effort to unconsciously go insane in preparation for whatever upcoming festivities that you have planned. Running out the door 5 minutes late (or longer!) to get to those important parties/gatherings that you may not really want to be at in the first place. Too little time spent at those places that you do want to be at because you spend so much time running around like a chicken with her head cut off!

Whew! I am nearly worn out just from typing that out! Knock, knock. (Who's there?) Gasp! (Gasp, who?) Gasping for breath much? ~I know that was sad.~ I have news for you. Slow down! You aren't any good to anyone if you can't catch your breath. Breathing is a necessary part of life, a main entree that we find ourselves skimming/skipping over at times in our mad rush. Do this with me now: Deep Breath In. Slow breath out. Deep Breath In. Slow breath out. Close your eyes and picture your favorite peaceful place to be. That special place that you have in the back - or forefront - of your mind, where you always feel refreshed and at peace. Imagine that you are there for a few minutes. Find that peace and tranquil place that I know you can find and, if for just one minute, relax.

Open your eyes and think of who can you bless by having a clean house, filling someone's tummy with food that they might otherwise not have. You could be blessing someone with a safe place, a comfortable haven where they can just sit back and relax. You want your home to be a place where people walk in and "smell" the comfort. You could bless someone with just a cup of tea or coffee and some teacakes or cookies to go with it. You could bless someone with a companion, a friend.

Anywho.... Have a very, Merry Christmas, a healthy, Happy New Year. I wish you love, happiness and laughter. Quick prayer for ya'll.

Dear Abba (Papa),
Thank you for blessing us with our friends and families. Jesus, thank you for being the Reason for the Season. Abba, thank you for your love and grace. Dear Abba, please bless my friends and family and show us how we can be a blessing to others. Give us the strength and courage to get through this Holiday season and to bring Your light into this dark world. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Merry CHRISTmas, my friends.
~Karen

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thankfulness with a Right Heart

Philippians 4:12 "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or want."

As we gather with our friends and families to celebrate Thanksgiving, let us please remember what it is that we are truly thankful for. 

These are just a few of the basic necessities that are so easily taken for granted. If you take the time to think of all the things that you've been blessed with, you will realize that the important things are not the kind of car we drive, how big our television sets are, how many material things we can accumulate and how full can we cram our closets and cupboards with, just stuff. 

Having a safe, warm house to live in, food to keep our bellies full, water to quench our thirst, clothing to cover our bodies and keep us warm, a comfortable bed to lay in and get our rest, family and friends who love and care about us - these are just a few of the basics.

Things are so easily overlooked, taken for granted or even forgotten completely. When, and if we pray, we ask for things, and don't usually take the time to be thankful and to express that gratitude. 

My wish and prayer for you, my friends, on this Thanksgiving and throughout the rest of the year, is to focus on the things that we have been given, been blessed with by a loving and powerful God. Let us take the list the things that we are needing instead of the materialistic wants and things that we can truly do without and make a list of all the ways that we can be a blessing to someone who truly is in need. 

Instead of making a list of all the things that we want but think that we need, make a list of the things that we can do to help others and how to go about doing so. 

Do you know of a person that has no place to go for Thanksgiving or even Christmas? Invite them into your home.

Do you know of someone who will not have enough food to feed their family? Feed them.

Do you know someone who is in need of warm clothing? Clothe them. (Whether by buying new clothes, buying second-hand clothing, or just giving from your own closets - it does not matter.)

Do you know of someone who is hurting? Be the shoulder to lean on, cry on, an ear to just listen to them. 

The basic point of this post is to just really take the time to be thankful for the things that you have such as your life, family and friends to gather and fellowship with, a warm place to be, etc. 

Matthew 25:35-36 "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me."

Have a blessed and truly Thankful holiday.

God's blessing to you all.
~Karen

Friday, November 22, 2013

Humility is Not Humiliation


"In humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others." - Philippians 2:4


 
Humility by definition means "a modest or low view of one's own importance; humbleness." Other words for humility are modesty, humbleness, meekness. Wikipedia states that humility is defined as, "a quality by which a person considering his own defects has a humble opinion of himself and willingly submits himself to God and to... recognize and live up to your talents and gifts in the service to others, being humble in what you do without expecting praise and adulation from others."

"Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." Colossians 3:12

Being talented and gifted in servitude - not as a slave but a person with a servant's heart desiring only to serve others in whatever capacity you are capable of - is the putting of other's first and setting your own desires aside for the sake of someone else. Matthew 20:26-28 tells us, "...whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave - just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many." Humility is a lowliness of mind, submission which can only occur when the soul is triumphant over the flesh. When our own desires and interests are put aside for the good of another person as evidenced by Christ when He put His own earthly desires aside in order to sacrifice His own body completely for mankind. That is humility and love shown at it's highest and fullest extent.


John 10:17-18 tells us, "The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life - only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from my Father."
Humility is a submission completely done on one's own accord, willfully and deliberate service to God. Our flesh wants only to be in control, win all arguments, putting itself first. Daily practice and exercise in putting our flesh behind us, taking on a servant's attitude and heart is a real struggle. It is only when we overcome our own flesh can we triumph. It is a classic "tale" of good vs evil. Good will win out because we have a Saviour, Jesus Christ on our side. This is the Son of God himself, the ultimate child of God sent by God to earth in human form only to overcome the very grave itself.


"For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." - John 3:16
This verse does not mean that we will be immortal on earth, but that we will live eternally in Heaven, with Christ. Our earthly bodies will indeed pass away, becoming dust but our souls will not die as long as we believe in Jesus as the Messiah, who came to earth where he was crucified, died and three days later rose again in the land of the living. We confess that we are sinners, ask God for His forgiveness and believe in Him. After He was resurrected, Jesus then walked the earth for 40 days to show the people that He was alive again. His body still held the scars of His sacrifice. After this 40 days were over, Jesus ascended to Heaven with the promise to return, and that He was preparing a place for those who believe in Him, where we will live for eternity with God. The Son of Man, of God, is still serving the people by preparing that special place for us!

Jesus' ultimate sacrifice - His life and body - were given so that we, even in our sinful natures, may live in eternal life. Jesus was beaten, His body broken and bleeding, was given for our sake simply because we are so loved by God, our Creator. Jesus was not a man filled with pride. He was a man who was humble, had the ultimate servant's heart, a perfect being. He walked with the sinful, ate with prostitutes and tax collectors. He showed us again and again, demonstrating in every situation of how we are to live our lives. "I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you." John 13:15. While Christ could have easily called down the angels to save Him from being sacrificed, but He was following God's will, not His own earthly desires. There is no one who wants to give their body over to be beaten, broken and eventually have their very lives taken from them voluntarily. Only the Son of God, following God's will would sacrifice Himself, taking on our own sins - those which have been commited as well as those not yet commited, future sins - because of His love for us.

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." Romans 12:2

We aren't expected to be perfect as Jesus was. Overcoming our flesh is a thing that we strive to achieve. It is a constant fight to overcome our sinful nature. Even in our darkest hours, we have hope. We have hope in Christ because He has overcome the entire world. Death could not hold His body down. Within three days time, Jesus walked among the living again. No, he was not like the "living dead" of our movies and television shows. He did not stumble and stagger around in that body's search for human flesh so that it could feast upon it. Jesus was fully and completely alive again, His body made whole. This Son of God is with us, giving us the strength and courage to overcome these fleshly struggles. "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified...for the Lord your God goes with you." Deuteronomy 31:6 We are not alone in our struggles. God is with us, giving us strength, courage and the ability to overcome.


Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God, my Saviour, and my hope is in your all day long. - Psalm 25:4-5
Another great example of humility is the Proverbs 31 woman, aka "the Perfect Woman." Many people believe that this woman is unattainable. If you read about this woman in Proverbs 31:10-31, you can see overall, that we can strive to be like her. It is not an impossible feat. Remember, we "can do all things through Christ who strengthens me," Philippians 4:13.

I don't know about you, but when I take the time to really read and absorb what these verses are describing, I am pretty sure that this is a woman that we can become, with God's help. The Proverbs woman loves the Lord wholeheartedly, loves and cares for her family, is wise in all she does, honors her husband, bringing him respect and trust, in turn respecting and honoring her, she takes care of her home personally, helps others, etc. Most importantly, this is a woman who loves and fears the Lord, living a life of humility, quiet strength, mercy and wisdom.

Dear God, thank you for your love. Thank you for all the blessing that you have bestowed on us. I pray, Abba, that you will create in us a servant's humble heart. Give us the strength, courage and ability to overcome this earthly flesh and desire to be more like you, Lord. I pray that we will be peacemakers in our families, the ability to keep and maintain that peace no matter what the day will bring us. I pray that we will be men and women of God, demonstrating a life of Godliness and humility. I pray that the doors to our homes, our hearts and minds be opened to those in need. I pray, Abba, that we bring respect, honor and blessing to our families and friends. Let us be the light in the midst of another's darkest hours. I pray that we bring you honor, Lord, in all that we do. In Jesus' mighty name, Amen.

Have a blessed day, my friends. I wish you humility, love, honor and respect.
~Karen







"Serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' " - Galations 5:13-14

Linked to: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-DCsue5_SLAE/UozI5_UHFhI/AAAAAAAAb74/NEy7QkG182k/s1600/wisewomannewbutton250x.jpg

Thursday, November 14, 2013

"I'm going to put my money on Jesus..." Phil Robertson *Updated with link

Ok so I just finished watching a video on YouTube a bit ago and it drew me in.  I have a strong need pressing on me to share with you. Not sure why this happened at 12:01 am but when the need is there, so will I be.

The video that I watched was one of Phil Robertson aka Duck Commander from Duck Dynasty speaking about Eternal Healthcare. I'll tell you that that man can really bring a message. The video is just over 26 minutes long so it isn't a quick view but I am sharing it with you anyway. I pray that you will be blessed with the time to listen.

Phil is the man behind the Duck, so to speak. He is the man who started the Duck call company. He is a "low-tech man living in a high-tech world." He is a simple man who was not always the man that is known and seen today. He used to be... wait for it! Phil used to be an immoral, drinking, cussing man. This was before his wife of now 49/50 years turned his heart to Jesus.

As Phil will tell you, he married Miss Kay when they we 14/16 years old. Through all his sinning, Miss Kay had found Jesus, waited on Phil, brought him to Jesus and together they have raised 4 boys - Alan, Jade, Willie and Jep - who also love the Lord with all their hearts.

In the midst of the various hunting seasons, they are raising the grandchildren to be Godly people as well. The Robertson's are very close with one another and do many, many things together. For all the typical - and some not-so-typical issues that come from having siblings, they are deeply rooted in family. On their show they are shown sitting at the table together, Phil says a blessing aka a prayer and then Willie will briefly speak about whatever it is that they would like to showcase that week, such as feeling with family can be rough but they are family and you love them no matter what. One episode even shows Willie and his "senile" uncle as they affectionately call him, Si (Silas) being handcuffed together for a day! Yes there are some story lines that are played up and acted out but the way they portray themselves is real.

Sorry, as I have digressed from my main thought here. Anyway, this video was recorded in California at the Saddleback church. Please take the time to listen. Phil does ramble (why does that seem so familiar to me? (-; ) but take time to listen.


 Go to YouTube and look up ( it isn't letting me post a working link, SORRY you have to physically type it in) * UPDATE with link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyL1xha_1aU *

Duck Commander Phil Robertson Talks About Why This Country Needs More Jesus


"Physical death is coming your way. It's a problem; you can't fix it. Now you're fixing to pay out the nose...You're going to live or die with or without Obamacare. ... I'm trying to get you to get in to the Eternal healthcare - that's FREE!"

Abba Father, I thank you for the freedom to choose you. Thank you for the many blessings that you have blessed us with. Thank you for men like Phil Robertson and his family, who are on tv and refused to be censored when they speak of you. We need more that that!
Abba, I pray that my friends and family will be blessed with the time to watch this video. Phil is a simple man filled with your spirit and heart, Lord. I pray that You may be seen in this man as people view this video. I pray that it stirs their interests and they crave finding out more about you, Lord. I pray that friends and family will all have good days tomorrow - or today - and be get a taste of the blessings that you bestow upon them on a daily basis. I pray that their eyes may be opened to see you, that their ears be opened to hear your voice and that their - and my - mouth be opened to speak of you and share your free Eternal Healthcare that Phil shares in the video. Thank you Abba. Through Jesus's name I pray, Amen!

Have a great and blessed day, my friends. May you one day look upon the face of Jesus and be wrapped in His loving embrace as you enter through Heaven's gates. Like Phil, I am putting my money on Jesus and I pray that you do as well. 

Love to all,
Karen

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Happy Hearts, oh those Warm, Fuzzies

My heart was super happy today, especially this morning. Although I did not think it would be a happy heart day. Those warm, fuzzies are a happy heart hug from the inside. ;-) Weird, huh? I certainly am. :-)

Shortly before my alarm would normally go off, my phone buzzed. I'm not sure why, because there was no text, no alarm or anything. Just felt like buzzing I suppose. After checking my phone, I noticed that our window blinds were more orangey than the typical gray of most mornings. I checked outside to see why the orange color was showing up and there it was. A gorgeous morning. The sky was a medium gray color due to the rain, and below the tree line, things were in shadow. But, oh the trees! Gorgeous yellows, reds and oranges. The sun was shining on the trees. The bright Autumn colors were offset by the darker sky. Over the trees was a very vivid rainbow. Every single color was shining brightly.

I wish that I had a picture to share with you but alas, by the time I grabbed my camera and got to the window in the kitchen, the houses were being brightened by the sun, the clouds were parting and the rainbow was quickly fading away. Within a moment's span, it was gone; nothing but a memory. In lieu of a photo of the actual rainbow and Autumn trees, here is a similar sky and bright trees picture.
Google images photo
My prayers this morning definitely including thanking God for showing me the scenery with the rainbow. I felt it was just for me in a way, because before I could share it with my family, it was gone. Sometimes life is just like that. There are things that we feel we want to share but in reality, are not meant to share. Sometimes though, distractions happen. I was definitely distracted soon after by my dog who left a single "present" on the sofa cushion. That was not a good distraction, by any means!
Koko, my mental cat
 
Genesis 9:12-16
 
And God said: “This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.  It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud;  and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.”
 
In the midst of our distractions, there is a voice that speaks to us. Sometimes we are too busy to hear it. Sometimes we listen. Sometimes we just ignore it. Although ignoring it, does not make it go away. That little voice keeps speaking gently. At times that voice can be barely a hum, and other times, it is like a slap against the head-cannot miss it for anything. This morning that voice was telling me that it was about time I sat up and listened. It was telling me that I was missing out by being so focused on things that were not as important. It told me to take the time to listen with my whole being. Listen to my children's voices as they speak. Listen to the sound of the rain against the window. Listen to the "heartbeat" of life, as I go about my day. Listen. Quietly listen.

I truly heard my children's emotions as they spoke to each other. (Not always the happiest.) I could hear the purring of my cat as she was stretched out under the kitchen table as I drank my coffee smoothie. (Yum!) I could hear the hum of vehicles on the highway, the sounds of the neighbors leaving for their day at work or running errands. I could hear my dog snoring and snoring as she was laying under the coffee table in the next room. I could also hear her whimper as she dreamed. As I sat on the sofa between my boys, I could hear them breathe, and felt that if I was quiet enough I could hear their hearts beating. It did my heart good to hear their laughter.

I love to listen to children's laughter. They feel so much and cannot hide it. It is honest laughter. It is laughter straight from their hearts and makes me smile every time. I love the way their eyes light up and seem to shine with their hearts. Before I became a mother, children's laughter did not make my heart melt like it does with my own boys. They make my heart happy. (That warm, fuzzy feeling that people get, to me that is my heart being happy.)




It is said that laughter is the best medicine and it definitely was doing my heart good to hear it today. Spend time with your children and/or grandchildren. Listen. Enjoy the time with them and just listen. It will do your heart good.

I pray that you all have a wonderful day and that you see many blessings and hear many things that cause your hearts to be happy. If your day is sunny, "listen" to the sun. If it is rainy, hear the rain. Focus on the things you normally miss because you are too busy. Slow down and smell those flowers before they fade away into Winter. I wish you all Happy Hearts.

~Karen

Friday, October 18, 2013

Shh! There is Beauty Hiding in the Ashes!

Ladies, this one is for you. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2MsId44A4Y

(I hope this link works! We saw this tonight at church and EVERY woman should hear it.)

I have a little secret. Do you want to hear it?

Are  you sure?

Ok. Here is my little secret. Did you know that I think that a.... Are you positive you want to know?

I think that everyone is beautiful. Every single woman has something to be proud of. Every. Single. Woman. Every sincere smile is beautiful. A smile is like the sun breaking through the clouds on a rainy day. It literally lights up your entire face. Your beauty shines through your smile; it comes out your eyes and is radiant.

Now I am sure that you were expecting a more gasp-worthy secret but nope, not this time at least.

We also all struggle and doubt ourselves. We find ourselves listening to the little voice inside our heads that tell us to doubt. That little voice speaks volumes to us. I know that you know exactly what voice I am talking about. It is the loud voice that completely shuts out other sound. It tells us, "you can't do that", "you are ugly, unworthy." "No man is ever going to love you." "You are worthless." That voice makes me so mad!

That voice, ladies, it lies. Not one word it speaks is true. That voice is  meant to deceive. It is meant to keep you in that a low, dark place and never come crawling out of it. That voice means to hurt. It speaks those words that make you disbelieve in yourself, in others, even in Jesus. That is the goal of that voice.

Words cannot express how much I disdain that voice. The words that it spews is filth. Lies. Things that you hear often enough and just at the right time, it tears you apart. It leaves you shredded and crying. It drowns out all the good you KNOW you know.

That voice needs to be silenced. Satan is the great deceiver. Scratch that. I don't want to associate "great" with him, even if it is meant the way it is. "Great" is a good word. Good is not associated with Satan. He is evil, speaks evil and wants to drown you in it.

When that voice speaks, don't listen to it. Now, I know. How do I not listen?! I am right there with you, ladies. You are not alone. When that voice speaks, I wholeheartedly pray that the voice you hear, be the voice of God. Now that is one voice that I love to hear.

God's voice speaks love. It speaks beauty. It speaks truth. Come on ladies! God is love. God is truth. He looks at you and sees beauty. He listens to you and shares your emotions. Those times when you are touched by something (emotionally) and the hairs on your arms and the back of your neck stand up, that is God's hand at work. He wants you to feel loved, cared about, beautiful. When you are sad, the angels cry with you, Jesus is right there with you, crying and still wiping away the tears. When you are happy, the angels rejoice, Jesus right along beside you, holding you close, rejoicing with you. When you are feeling alone? Guess what? You cannot be any closer to God. He is right there. He is just there. Always. He holds you in his strong arms, protecting you. Caring for  you. Loving you. Even if you doubt, or just don't feel His presence, He is right there, waiting on you.

Here are some words that you should focus on. Beauty, for you are beautiful. Strength, because you are stronger than you know. Worthy, because you are worthy of love. Worthy of affection. Worthy of being loved by a God who created the entire world, who loves you so much that He sent His only son to die on that cross, for you. His son, Jesus took on your sin. Every single sin. He took it all and hung it there on that cross, so long ago. You are worthy of the love of a man who cares enough to die for you.

Beauty. Strength. Worthy. Brave. Funny. Strange and unique. Cared for. Loved. You are loved.

We all walk through life. We fly high on the good and crawl like a snail on the bad. We all have fears. We all feel alone at times. We all go through things that we are 1000% positive no one else in the entire world has ever gone through. We are not alone. Somewhere, probably a lot closer than you think, there is someone going through the same thing, or has already gone through it and made it out the other side alive. These are the times when that cruel voice speaks the loudest. These are the times when that voice desperately need a good duct-taping. Permanently!

Have you ever felt so alone, so defeated that you just wanted to give in to that voice telling you those lies? Has life pushed you so hard that you have no clue where to turn, what to pray - how to pray? There is a whisper talking to you. Ignore the loud, obnoxious voice that screams lies and obscenities at you. Focus on that itty, bitty voice. Focus on the words it speaks. For it speaks truth. It speaks love. It speaks compassion. It speaks LIFE. It speaks LIFE. That tiny whisper needs to be heard. You desperately need to hear its words. You desperately need to believe those words. You can believe it. Every single thing that angel-soft whisper says, is life. That is God's own voice.
God wants you to feel beautiful. God wants you to feel love, to be loved and to love. He wants so much for you! You are His creation, His daughter. You are the product of His love. God never lies, never is unfaithful and will never let you down. I know that last part can be hard to believe at times, but have faith.

With faith we can move mountains. With faith, impossible becomes possible through Jesus. There is nothing that is impossible for Him. He was sent down from Heaven to take on our sins because of God's love for us. The sky turned dark when Jesus died on that cross. Many people truly believed that that was it. The Savior who they waited so long for, was dead. Impossible became possible, which became truth. God said that three days later, the savior would rise again, the living Savior. He would once again walk among the living. Three days later, Jesus got up, left his grave clothes behind and walked out of that tomb. Impossible becoming possible, became truth.

God loves you. He sees you and He loves you. Think on that for a minute. God loves you. He loves you. He looks at you and sees beauty. He sees strength. He looks at you and sees a person who is so worthy of His love.

I want you to remember - I know it's hard - in those dark, lonely times, God loves you. God is with you, whispering the TRUTH, the true words that you need to hear. He has his arms wrapped around you, crying with you. Lean on Him. Let your body speak the words that your mind doesn't know to pray. Let the Holy Spirit inside you be your voice. I want you to remember that you are worthy. You are loved and you are cherished! You are worthy.

Abba, (that's Papa by the way),
Abba, I am on my knees before you with my heart in my hand. My heart breaks over the pain that Satan has caused - and is causing - so many women. His cruel words shatter even the strongest souls. Father, I ask that your voice be the voice that we women hear. I pray that your words be heard and that it drowns out the lies that Satan speaks. Fill these women, Abba, with your love. Open them to feel that love. Open them to the fact that they are worthy, priceless. Open them to your truth, Abba. Some women right now are crying out for help, for love, for compassion. Let them seek you and find you. Wrap your arms around them tightly, Abba, let them feel your arms, your strength, your love. Fill their minds with LIFE, Lord. Fill them with feeling of strength, of courage. When they look in that a mirror the next time, show them the beauty that you see in them. Give us a heart like your heart, Abba. Fill us with your love to overflowing. Let it overflow and spill and completely fill someone's heart with your love. Abba, Papa, I have crawled this earth when I should have let you carry me. I have turned to others when I should have turned to you. I make mistakes, constantly, and yet, you still love me. Let us feel that love, let us share that love. I pray that God works the miracle that each and every one of you ladies needs in your lives. I pray that your eyes will be opened to the good inside you, the beauty inside you and that it comes spilling out so you cannot help but notice it. Abba, silence the wicked voice in our heads. Drown out the death it speaks and instead fill us with love, life and truth.
Abba, thank you for your love. I love you.
In Jesus' name, AMEN!

I am honestly not sure about how much  of this post will actually make sense since it is midnight and I am writing it, but I had this on my heart to share with you. Please, please, please remember that you are more worthy and loved than words can express. You are beautiful, inside and out, ladies. I really do hope this makes sense and isn't too "rambling" but these are the rambles that are my thoughts. Good or bad. ;-)

May God bless your lives, ladies, bringing you the answers to your prayers. Even if those answers do not come in our time or in our "wants", He always answers.

Have a great week, my friends. God bless and love you lots!
~Karen

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Giving Up is Not the Answer

Good morning! What a morning this is. Though it is cloudy, it is still a brand new day, with brand new chances to right some wrongs, begin anew, reach out your hands and just say, "Thank you, God, for this new day. It WILL be a good day because you have blessed me with this new day. In Jesus' name, Amen." It may be cloudy outside, the sun may be hidden from my view, but it is shining brightly in my heart.

Okay, last night I was troubled. A friend of mine was THISCLOSE or probably more precisely, TCHLIOSSE (if you can't read that, it is this close, interchanged) to giving in and giving up. She said that she did not want prayers. Well, anyone who knows me, knows that I will be praying anyway. She sounded completely overwhelmed with her life, and just had gotten horrendous news affecting her family, not once, not twice, but three times yesterday. Now I know that you are thinking how can people think about giving up. You are wondering what can be so bad to make them give up. I know, I was thinking it too.

You see, my friend has a lot going on in her life. Her family has health issues, an assorted array of them, money issues like many people among other things. She is a strong person who was being attacked at a crucial time. Satan was on her with more than she thought she could handle. On her own, she could not. But, she isn't, and wasn't on her own. Jesus is right there by her side, through it all. The problem, I believe, was that she couldn't feel him through all that Satan was throwing at her. He was giving it hard and fast. Get your mind out of the gutter, people, didn't mean it that way.

When my friend was on her knees, completely broken, Satan was on her in that instant and taking her down. She felt like giving up, giving in and honestly thought that she would. Jesus has other plans for her. Better plans. Happy plans. Life gives us many struggles, and yes, God does let them happen. There are things that we need to learn and remember. At times, suffering has to be endured to learn - sometimes again - that we need Him. We cannot get through life without him. We are to lean on him.

God will never give us more than we can handle without Him. I know that this is often misquoted and used completely in the wrong way. Think about it. How much can we handle on our own, without God? Our God loves us so much that He sacrificed his own son, his only son to save our eternal life. God knows exactly how much we can handle on our own. He knows our breaking points. I can tell you that it is higher than we think it is. He has created each and every one of us. He knows us inside and out, much better than we do. He knows our strengths, our weaknesses. He is on our side, people!

The God who created us with purpose, and ON purpose. He makes no mistakes, has no misconceptions about us and who we are. He wants so much for us, so much good for us. He never gives up on us, but we do give up on ourselves. There are times when we are so lost, so afraid, so alone, thinking that there is no one to understand. Thinking that God doesn't care about us because he didn't/doesn't/won't answer our prayers. We tend to forget that our time is completely different than God's time. We forget that he knows what we need, when we need it and he does answer our prayers.

Think about your answered prayers. I know you have them. Dig deep is you need to. God does and will answer our prayers in the way we NEED them to be answered, not necessarily how we want them to be. God has given me answered prayer. How do I know that he's answered my prayers? This is a simple one really. I am alive still. See, simple.

Anyway, back to my friend. I did what she did not want, by praying. I just NEEDED to be praying for her. I felt it to my core. She needed prayer. She needed to know that God was there, caring for her, was holding her tight.  I know that I am not, was not the only one praying for her. I believe that all her friends were praying for her. She may have wanted to give up, but her friends were not giving up on her. God was not giving up on her, nor was he going to let her give up on herself.

Last night was a Valley that she was walking in, staggering in probably. God was right there with her, but she was blinded to him, completely blinded and felt alone. Everything she could see and hear was from and of Satan. He forced her to focus on him instead of God, like she desperately needed. He is such a trickster, a deceiver, that Satan is. He feeds our minds with lies and misconstrued thoughts. He finds our weaknesses and uses them to keep us blinded and feeling alone.

This morning, my friend was ok. Life is still going to be tough. It will be filled with struggles and joy. For all the joyful and happy times, we have to get through the struggles and hard times to truly enjoy them. Otherwise, those joys are felt less, not appreciated as much, or at times, at all. My friend, I believe is feeling God's hand in her life. She is feeling his arms holding her, not letting her fall. She has blown Satan's mind with her strength. She has God on her side, fighting for her. What else could she need? She has friends who love and care enough to not give up on her. We are here to remind each other that God is with us.

 
"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me...."
Psalm 23
 
Remember that God is always with us, he is for us and wants the best for us. He won't ever, ever give up on us. Your friends will not give up on you. To all my friends out there reading this, if you are struggling, remember that you ARE loved, you ARE worthy of God's love. You ARE stronger than you think you are and if you need to, yell, holler and scream. Get the frustrations out. Then, pray. Pray again. Once you are done praying, pray again. Even if you don't know what to say, just tell God, "Abba (dad), I have no words. I don't know how to pray. Listen to my heart. Hear the words I don't know how to say. In Jesus' name, Amen." When we don't have the words, or even coherent thoughts, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us, prays for us. God always listens. No matter the time, he never sleeps. His ears are always open. He is just waiting on us. The ball is in our court and it is up to us now. What are you going to do?

Love you all, have a blessed, happy day and God bless.
~Karen

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Thoughts Become Words Which Become Reality

Wow, we are in October already! Just yesterday it was September. I know, I know. My only excuse is that it is nearly 8 pm.

Anyway..... I have been really made aware of my negativity over the summer. I had been stuck in that rut of feeling sorry for myself and could not seem to shake the negative talk. Things were coming out as thoughts, which turned into words. Words that became my reality. I thought that the day would go bad and basically declared it into being a bad day.

For those of you who heard this "failure" talk, if you will, I sincerely apologize. It is not easy to admit to wrongdoings but I have certainly done that.

I bought a book yesterday. This is also admittedly commonplace. This particular book was purchased for the sole reason of my liking the sample for the Kindle. The one and only line I read was, "You cannot speak defeat and expect victory." Kablam! That was a knock-you-upside-the-head moment. This is exactly what I was doing. I would speak things like, "this day is going to be a bad day because..." or "_______ but I'm not...." and "I don't feel good, I'm sure it will be worse later." etc.

(The book, as I am sure you are probable a little bit curious about is, I DECLARE by Joel Osteen.)

"You cannot speak defeat and expect victory."

That simple thought, that one little line has so much power and truth to it. You, like me, have millions of thoughts. It is so very easy for them to overflow and spill out as words. These words become our reality. The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. PROVERBS 18:21 Basically whatever comes out of our mouth will become true.

We will eat what comes from our tongues. I, for one need to stop speaking defeat, death over my life and start speaking victory and life instead. God wants us to enjoy life, and not be unhappy. Life was not made to be easy but it can seem much easier if we remained focused on positives. When you wake up and there is a beautiful sunrise, even when you are so tired and want to be buried under your covers, look at the sunrise. Actually view the sunrise and take notice of the colors. Thank the Lord out loud for the beautiful sunrise, the blessing of another day on earth with your loved ones. If you are beyond words tired of doing dishes, be thankful that you have food to dirty those plates. When your children drive you absolutely bonkers, hug them and tell them how thankful you are that they are in your life to drive you bonkers. Believe me, life is so much better when you have children, to refocus yourself and be thankful - OUT LOUD - of those children that God has blessed you with. Then at the end of the day and they are asleep, watch them for a few minutes. Look at the simple peace on their faces. Remember how they have looked over the years, all the way back to the first moments when you first held them in your arms.

 I encourage you to purposefully find the good things, things that bring you peace, joy and life and say out loud, "Lord, I thank your for all the good that you bless me with. Thank you for ___________ that is _______ right now. Open my eyes, Abba, to the blessing that I miss. Make me aware of the things that are meant for joy and help me to overlook the negative. I lift up all the negative thoughts, attitudes, words that are now /have been filling my life for too long. Help me to remain focused on you, Lord. Help my thoughts to be from you. Guide me, Abba. I I DECLARE that this will be a great day. I DECLARE that speak words of life and not death. I will not bring death to my life. I choose life, Abba. Help me to live it the way that you mean for it to be lived. Thank you for your love, Abba. Thank you for your arms that hold me close, for you constant and unchanging love for me. In Jesus' holy name, AMEN".

Speaking victory over your life - out loud - brings it into being. If you think you will be happy, you will be happy. Mind over matter people. If you think that the day is going to go well, you will have a good day. Force yourself to say one positive thing every 30 minutes. I know that it can be a stretch to come up with something. Even a simple, small positive thought, such as "I am strong. I am blessed. I am loved." can change your attitude and whole being.

Speak victory, not defeat. Think your thoughts but only let the positive out. When it is a rough day, speak the opposite. When it is a good day, be thankful and say so, out loud. Speaking our words out loud helps us to truly hear them. It helps us to focus on those words and they become our reality.

Dear Abba, I thank you for all the things that you have blessed me with. Thank your for my husband, my two sons. Thank you for your love, such a powerful love that sent your own precious son. Thank you for a warm, dry home, food that fills our bellies, clothing that covers us. Thank you for the blessing of family, the friends that become family and protection that you provide for us. Bless us, Abba-God with a great night with peaceful, restful sleep and a good day tomorrow. Even if the sun hides behind the clouds, help us to see the beauty in the day. In Jesus' name, AMEN!

God's blessing to you, my friends.
~Karen

Monday, July 29, 2013

Baptism and the "H" word

Yesterday was a good day, a very good day. A person close to us was baptized at our church and it was amazing to see the results of God working in someone's life. To sit back and watch the changes and to see it come to this point. We are very proud of David in his decision to accept Jesus and to be baptized.

How amazing is our Lord? Here is a person who while believing in God, not having that true belief in him. God works in his life and there is a change that you can physically see. This man comes from a family who practice many different religions and he chooses Jesus. To stand there, watch him be baptized and to see the glow and joy on his family's face was amazing to see.

Before the baptism, the physical results of the message, there was the message, the sermon itself. It started off with a "Some of you are going to be offended." See, the thing I love about my church is the fact that they are not trying to just fill seats. They are after the people themselves. They are after the heart of the people, just like Jesus wants. (My memory is not such that I can relate to you all the things spoken, so here are my thoughts, my words.)

Today, in so many churches - great churches even - people expect to leave with those warm, fuzzy feelings. Somehow the church has been transformed from a place of bringing people to Christ, into a place of bringing people in to fill seats. So many, many places are afraid of offending someone that they disregard the messages that we are to have a healthy fear of Hell. Oh.... there, I said it. *Gasp* It's the "H" word.

There are times when the church will offend someone. Get over it. It is supposed to grab you, the messages that is. Those messages should reach deep into you, grab your attention and make you really think. Why be a good Christian and truly live the way Jesus wants us to, when we have no true fear of Hell. Sure, we know it exists. We know it's a "bad" place. That is where it gets left off at.

Most churches will not go deeper for fear of people leaving those pews, those seats and walking out. What if someone gets offended? They may leave, but it still will grab their attention. On some level it makes them think. Good or bad, it makes them think. Good or bad, thinking if not necessarily a bad thing. Who says that days down the road, that person that may have been offended, will not one day come back to that church.

They may enter that church, sit down and listen to the message again. Thinking leads to more thinking, which in some cases, can lead that same person back to that same church. They may return with thoughts of possibly being mistaken, or wondering if the church has "changed". They may return to try to justify their offense, try to make the church feel "in the wrong".

My church will at times offend someone. They are not afraid to give the hard messages, those messages that will offend, those messages that need saying. Jesus was not afraid of offending people. He said what needed saying. Jesus did not give the Sermon on the Mount in a way that left everyone with those happy, warm, "huggy" feelings in fear of making someone feel upset or offended. No, Jesus preached the messages. All of them. The good, the bad and the downright offensive messages to people who needed to hear them, but may not be accepting of it. Jesus didn't shy away from certain topics.

Okay, picture this. You are going to hear this man, this Jesus person speak. You want to find out what he has to say. You've heard so much good and bad about this person and want to hear it for yourself. You have a seat and hear his strong voice. There is a hush over the crowd as he continues to speak. A powerful message that you know is important because you can feel it. Wait! What's that, he's saying now? Uh uh, that can't be right? Did Jesus just say that_______________?! How dare he? You rise up, offended and leave. As you leave you think about what was said again, and again, and again. Oh, the audacity of the man! How could he that you __________?

*Sound of record scratching* Wait a minute. Hold up. Somewhere in the back of your mind a nagging little thought pops up. I do tend to, I suppose, sin on occasion. So what? Everyone does. These little thoughts lead to more thinking.

Now, picture this. Same situation with sitting there to listen to Jesus. You've heard of the powerful messages that he speaks. You've heard all the stories about him. Suddenly a hush comes over the crowd as Jesus holds a hand up. The people listen expectantly. Yes! The powerful messages that you've heard so much about is about to start. Jesus stands up and begins to speak. The powerful message that  you are expecting is nothing but a touching, moving yet weak message. You get the feeling that he is holding back but you leave feeling good. You leave with the thought that you live a good Christian life, even showing people how a "real" Christian lives. You have no fear whatsoever of that "other" place because you haven't been taught to fear it. Sure, you've read some part of your Bible. Of course, whenever you would come to those places in the Bible where it starts to make you feel... less good about yourself, you turn to another page or close the book entirely.

Those parts you didn't read because they made you feel bad, or made you second guess your life, those are the parts you should have been reading.

Pastor Eric preached about the basics again this week. He was not afraid to share those tough messages that so many others would fear. It was a message that grabbed your attention. It made you think. It may not have left everyone with those warm feelings but it left people thinking. It was a hard message. Hard thinking should be done by people. Hard messages should be heard. He explained that Hell is not a place where it will be just hot. He told us that Hell is a place that you can't imagine the bad that fills it. There are no words for it. It is far, far away from anything comfortable, tolerable even. It is even farther away from Heaven and anything that is remotely good. Hell has NO good inside it. There is nothing good about Hell. There should be no message that leaves you with even a niggling feeling of Hell being any less than it is. There is nothing good about it. Hell is as far from anything good as you can get.

Hell is forever suffering. There is no coming back from it. There is no chance of repentance once you are there. There are no words to explain how bad Hell is. None whatsoever. Without a fear of Hell, you cannot live the way you should as a true Christian. What's the point otherwise? If you have no fear of ending up there, why should you feel the need to change the way you live, the way you act, even the way you speak? There are no repercussions to fear because the end result isn't "that bad".

I shiver just writing that last sentence. The end result on that way of thinking, that life, is bad. It's very, very bad. You cannot even imagine how bad. Having a healthy fear is not a bad thing; it will not make you weak. In fact, it makes you stronger.

I like the hard messages. Of course, I like the warm, fuzzy feelings that some messages leave with me, but I honestly like the hard messages. They are important and necessary.

God's blessings,
~Karen

Friday, June 21, 2013

First Day of Summer

June 21st marks the beginning of the summer season! That long awaited time of year to be outside playing. That time of vacation, friends, smores over the fire, and catching lightning bugs. The time when both of my boys are anxious to get out there and start the fun.

The sun is shining. The sky is blue. The birds are out there making noise. There is a very nice amount of wind to keep things from getting too hot. So why is there no one outside and my boys are insisting on staying indoors?

Growing up for me meant being outside as much as possible, unless it was too hot. Or the boys would bother my girl friends and I. We'd be out for the majority of the day and we would be forced to come inside for lunch. Once that last bite was stuffed into our mouths, it was out that door like lightning!

Riding our bikes, playing all sorts of girlish imaginative games and often quite unimaginative sorts of things as well. We'd play house, Dukes of Hazzard where I was always Bo and Luke Duke for some reason. Maybe because I was always the tallest and guys are "always" taller than girls, at least in our young girlish eyes. We would torture my brother and his friends, which was always a good time for us girls.

We would go on adventures to the creek down the road and climb the fallen tree over to the "island" and be pirates, princesses left on the island to fend for ourselves, English Ladies on the ship taking us to far off places and many other games and adventures.

There were 2 problems with the island. The first is that it was accessible from land as long as you were wanting to wade in the ankle-deep water that was filled with cow poo, or were very good at the long jump. The second is this island was not quite big enough for 3 young girls to crowd on it together and have any space to move, unless one of us would sit on the branches of a tree.

Being young, it didn't bother us unless were aboard ship.  That became an issue because two of us had to be the crew and the last was always playing some sort of girly-girl, meaning she couldn't get dirty, wet or work. This usually meant that our adventure had come to a quick end and we would begin the adventure of getting off the island. This usually involved the youngest of our group falling into knee-deep water, terrified that she was going to drown. Being a most tomboyish girl there, I would go to the rescue. Sounds pretty daring and adventurous until you factor in that the fallen tree was only 2 feet above the knee-deep water of a girl and just a helping hand to "gently" force the girl to stand up. At this point, our conversation would nearly always end in an argument over where the drowning was actually an accident or on purpose.

On purpose. Just two little words that were completely filled with deep meaning for us children growing up. "Mom, _____ hit me... on PURPOSE" would come the cry. The rest of us would hold our breath, waiting for the outcome of this "new development." Another cry would be, "Mooooommmmm! _______ broke my toy... on PURPOSE!"

One of my favorite parts of the summer was vacation. In my family, this meant having campfires. We loved to sit around a campfire at night, dressed with as much skin covered as possible to keep the bugs off, which usually was only a slight deterrent. My mom and I would come back from our camping trip looking like we had some weird, funky disease that caused multitudes of red and pink splotches with a little bubble in them. (We don't' take too well to skeeter bites.)

Another favorite is catching lightning bugs at night. We'd search out as many as we could literally get our hands on to fill a too-large jar, that we had no realistic chance of filling with these bugs, even if it took all summer. But, try it we did. Every. Single. Summer.

Growing up and always outside in the summer, makes it very hard for me to figure out kids today. More times than not they are inside playing video or computer games. What is wrong with being outdoors? Even in the winter, we'd be outside playing all sorts of games and things in the snow. I realize that snow is something that is needed in the winter to play the plethora of snow games that we used to, so that does factor in. But summer? When and why did our childhoods of being outdoors turn into the new childhood where being indoors was more fun?

Drop me a comment below and let me know your thoughts. Seriously, what is so bad about being outside? Driving around, I see less and less children playing outdoors. If you have a big of a peeping-Tom in you, if you peek quickly - and innocently - into the main windows of the house, you can usually find at least one child playing inside the house.

God bless you, enjoy his beautiful summer days that he has created for us!
~Karen

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Sunshine and Bees

Can you believe that we are here in June already?! Time flies. Seems like it was May one day and I blinked and up popped June. Well, I guess it did. Anyway, only 3 more days of school for the boys until summer break. I can't wait!

There are so many things on my To-Do list with the boys. Parks, library trips, mini golf, museums, zoos, aquarium and Inner Harbor in Baltimore, and many other things. Filling in the "off" times are the times that the boys will be outside enjoying the sunshine. That is, if T-man can get over his fear of bees.

Bees. Buzz. Buzz. If he spots one across the yard, in the neighbor's yard, or thinks he may have seen one go flying by, he is in the house quicker than you can say BZZZZZ. Lightning legs. His feet have wings. Whatever words you use to describe the speed, he is Speedy Gonzalez.

Speaking of Speedy...the boys love the old Looney Tunes cartoons. It is a frequent show that we put on for them. As my dad says, "way back in the way back days..." 2001 to be exact, he taped as much of the June Bugs that was on Cartoon Network for us while Hubs and I were on our honeymoon. I believe we have 10-11 tapes. Good thing we still have a working VHS/DVD combo player! We need to get the Tunes put on DVD for future viewing before the tapes wear out or the player begins to not work.

J-boy was on a field trip last week that was a walking tour of our town. He was at the fire station, the community center, the veteran's memorial, "town hall" building, the library and another 2 places which I forget. He LOVED the library. The librarian showed all the kids where the chapter books are, the books for the younger brothers and sisters who she "knows they will all be reading to over the summer" and explained the working of the library. I have a form to take in with me tomorrow to make sure I filled it out properly because J-boy desperately wants/needs(!) his own library card. If it helps him be interested in reading, we're all for it!

To do what we can to prevent the dreaded summer slide, I will be working with the boys on reading and math with science thrown in for good measure. Since our vacation this year will be taking us west, I am putting together a couple unit studies on the places we will be visiting. (Mt. Rushmore and the Black Hills National Forest, Badlands National Park, Bighorn National Forest, Yellowstone National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Million Dollar Highway - Colorado section, Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods.)

I'm including reading of course, but throwing science in which will be pretty easy considering the topics! J-boy is interested in keeping a travel journal anyway so I'll be encouraging him to keep it up and add some "school-ish" notes and things. I need to find a cheap camera that the boys can use that will hopefully allow them to document the things they are interested in to add to their journals. They want to draw some plants, do some leaf/bark/stone rubbings which will add art to the mix and you know that I will find a way to get some math in there as well. I have my fact sheets ready to be printed which will help a lot.

We are all looking forward to getting on the road for the road trip. We usually have a good one about every other year or so. Our last big trip was back in 2010 so we're over due in a way. We flew out to Seattle and rented a car to visit 9 different National Parks/Forests. Lot of time in the car but everyone LOVED it.

Also during the summer, T-man will be getting some reading tutoring and we are still working on getting the list of teachers who will be the grade 2 tutors for reading in hopes of getting J-boy some help. My main goal for this summer is to have fun with my boys, and with daddy when he is not working.

My other goal is a bigger one. The summer is my chance to "prove" that my relationship with the boys is good enough for me to be a homeschooling mama, which I would dearly love! I have lots of ideas which the boys have approved and a lot of fun ideas so that they won't realize they are learning as much. Got to make it fun. This is an area that I could use prayer in specifically. I believe whole-heartedly that I can do it. Proving to hubs and the boys that I can will be the challenge. There are some behavioral issues on the boys part and a temper issue with me. Everyday is a challenge to breathe in, breathe out, not yell and get snippy. The boys and I have a deal. When mommy starts "seeing red" I am supposed to let them know before I blow my top and they will do whatever they can to keep me from having steam out the ears. When they start really pushing it, I am supposed to let them know as well and give them fair warning and a split-second, no nonsense, hopefully no yelling, reprimand and/or punishment depending on the situation. If that makes absolutely no sense, it is probably because it is nearly 11:00 pm and I'm shot.

Busywork activity books and puzzle books for while we're on the road along with their precious toys, of course. I also will be hitting up the Dollar Store and getting quite a few new things to bring out when the "old" toys are getting boring and they don't want to color or count certain colored vehicles, or any of the other car games we play. Secret stash needs to be hidden, and hidden well for the ride back home too to prevent their daddy and I from going nuts and wanting to drive off the edge of the road.

One of our trips, on the way home T-man screamed and was flailing his arms and legs the entire way from I-83 in York to our house in Mountville. Not the greatest distance but just try it with a tantrum-ing 3 year old. Seems A LOT longer than what it is.

We have been picking up tricks and things since we take the boys to the Outer Banks in NC nearly every year. In fact, it seems that this year will be the first time in six years that we will not be going there. Our first year was back before T-man was even born, in 2006. That was the year we needed to get out of the area and just be a family after we lost Aaron. Our family favorite place to vacation. We rented a house - the Shore Boy - which was on the Sound. Beautiful! Peaceful. Fun. It was what we desperately needed and more than we hoped for. We've been back to the OBX every year since. We usually stay in different houses but usually within the Avon/Salvo/Waves/Rodanthe area.

Anyway, I need sleep.

God's blessings to you, my friends.
~Karen

Friday, May 24, 2013

Power of Life and Death

The power is in the tongue. It says this in the Bible.

Proverbs 18:21 "The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit."

Our words have the ability to wound, scar, maim and overwhelmingly knock someone down - at times for good. It also have the ability to bring life to things, the power to lift people up, turn someone's day completely around for the better. Sometimes all it takes is just one kind, caring word to turn someone who is so broken, lost and alone into someone who knows there is one person who cares.

Psalm 52:2 "You practice deceit, your tongue plots destruction; it is like a sharpened razor."
Now, I'm pretty sure most people do not want to have this verse thrown out in reference to themselves. Our words wound. Our words have the ability to bring death to people. Sometimes even the physical death, but most often the emotional death that cruel words spoken can bring. It kills the person inside, turns them into people who lose hope, lost the faith in themselves, even their faith in God can be ripped from them by one wrong word, one wrong phrase.

Proverbs 15:4 "The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but the perverse tongue crushes the spirit."

Being human, we are folly. We are inherently evil. Through Jesus Christ this is changed. Our minds still can be led where the devil may take it but we don't have to let it happen. YOU control your thoughts. YOU control your words. Not him. See, he gets into our heads, makes us see things in ways that are flawed, not true. He makes us hear things spoken in ways that are not how they were intended or he makes our imaginations take over, running full-tilt straight into sin. WE control US.

Proverbs 31:26 "She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue." This applies to men as well, of course. Wisdom aka the heart of God should be in us, leading us down the righteous path. I would much rather have this verse spoken about me.

Isaiah 50:4 "The sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He waken me, morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed."

Each morning when we wake, if we listen, even with half an ear, we can hear the instruction from God. He reminds us of the way we are to live, what our purpose for the day is. Let that purpose be to be blessings to others and not a burden.

James 1:26 "Those who consider themselves righteous and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless."
Where there is evil in the heart, so the tongue spews forth the folly. Guard your words. Teach your children, grandchildren to guard their words, as well as their hearts. One seemingly innocent though wrong word can change things so completely that relationships cannot be mended, hearts cannot be fixed.

One of the videos on YouTube says about the power of the words. It is an object lesson for children, on the power of the tongue. My favorite part is when the woman has her children squeeze a little toothpaste from the tube and asks them to put it back in. You can't put it back in once it's been squeezed out. (I'm sure there is a way to do so with suction or something, but if that is your focus, you're missing the point.) Words cannot be taken back. Once spoken, they are forever engrained upon someone, and I hope that it is good.

A friend on Facebook had a post about her daughter being called chubby by a little child. This breaks my heart. As a mother, I feel the pain she feels. That is HER flesh and blood that this word was engrained on. That's a memory that I pray her daughter will not keep. Words can be so cruel, intentionally or not. Words are just words though. We have the power to control the way they are used. We have the power to control the way we respond to those words, the power to close your eyes and imagine those words are just drops on a duck's back, sliding off into a puddle. I realize that this is not easy to do.

Personally, it has taken me a long time to be able to let words slide, from certain people. Usually those who we care about the most, seem to hurt us the most. Some words are easy to let slide off where other words just stick like feathers to tar. Even when the words that are spoken aren't meant to hurt, they can still wound.

This is the time where you need to pray. Pray for the speaker and pray for yourself. Pray that you will take the words in the way they are meant and not in the way they are heard. Our ears can deceive us. Our minds can play tricks on us, causing us to hear things that are so far from the way they were meant to be taken, that you need an international flight just to get to them.

Tongue Diagnosis

Guard your tongues. Guard your hearts because what fills your heart, fills your mouth to overflowing. I pray that your heart is filled with the Holy Spirit and it's the heart like God that you have. James 3:5 says about the tongue being a small part of the body. For something so small, it is more powerful than any other body part. Imagine that. A small part that has the power to bring life or death to people.

Whatever is spoken, whatever attitude it is spoken with, if you say it in front of your children, they will hear it. Although they only have two little ears, it seems as if their entire bodies are covered with nothing but ears. Our children will say what we say, how we say, in the ways that we say it. If you lash out at someone for whatever reason, they will repeat it to a T. If you use harsh, cruel words, your children will use harsh and cruel words.

Let's say you miscommunicate with someone. Something you intended for good has come out wrong and taken the wrong way. Once spoken, you can't take those words back. Even if you mean to compliment, it can be taken out of context, taken in the opposite way you intend for it to be taken. We can't take it back. Before you open your mouth to utter one word, stop and think. Let the Holy Spirit guide you. Let Him guide your words. Even a quiet person can be thought as foolish until he opens his mouth and removes all doubt.

T.O.N.G.U.E. can either be:

Torturous
Opinionated
Nasty
Ghastly
Unbearable
Excruciating

Or:

     Treasure
incOrruptible
     Noble
     Genuine
     Uplifting
     Edifying

I'll leave you with this though.

Job 33:2 "I am about to open my mouth, the words are on the tip of my tongue..."

What will pour from your mouth once it is opened?

Baby Tongue out

Will it be Life, or Death?

God's blessings to you,
Karen

Sunday, May 19, 2013

I'm Still Here!

Sorry I've been gone for over 10 days!

My husband made it to Germany/Prague safely AND back home again. He had a successful trip for work. We missed him so much but were able to Skype with him just about every night. The boys even were able to watch 2 movies with him! We are very glad that he is back.

I was going to work on a new post last week but on Wednesday morning about 10:40 or so, asking if we could go to the school to pick up T-man. He had fallen on the playground and annihilated the left side of his lower lip, causing it to split in 5 spots, all on that teeny little lip. Both knees were skinned and his left cheek, upper lip was scraped just a bit as well.



As you can see from the first picture, he really tore his lip up! In the second picture, the injury on his left knee is on the inside, so you can't really see the bandage. His right knee was torn up so much that the Band-Aid is too small. It's a very large bandage!

I posted these on facebook and asked for prayers. Thank you so much for those of you from there who have been praying for healing. Continued prayers for his lip especially would be very much appreciated. His scab on his lip is very crusty and honestly, it looks like someone put scotch tae over that torn side.

On Thursday, I took T-man to the doctor to get  him checked because he started to throw up. Just like I thought it was, he was just sick from the entire experience and the fact that there was blood and pain. I remember the times that I have had such injuries, it makes you feel physically ill. The doctor put non-stick pads on with the Neosporin with the pain medicine to numb the pain. Then she wrapped it with the non-stick wrap, the kind that will supposedly only stick to itself. Needless to say, he was home from school this day.

Friday he was back to school. You should have seen him climbing up those high steps to get on the bus. Keep in mind that he could not bend his knees well at this point. He made it on the bus and through the kindergarten morning just fine. He was very ready to come home when it was time. After school I needed to change the bandages.

No sweat. They are non-stick wraps. Non-stick pads. Well....

Guess what?

Yup, those wraps that were very cute, stuck very tight to itself, AND to his skin. Luckily, the non-stick pads did not stick to his knees. Now, my son has always had strong lungs. I did not know that he could scream like he did as I tortured us both by removing the bandages. I felt physically ill, like I was going to pass out. I can only imagine the pain he was in!

I was bawling like a baby. He was screaming at the top of his lungs. Outright. Screams. I have NEVER heard that sound from him before, even last year when he buckled his collarbone. He was crying very, very hard but no screams like this. It sounded like someone was cutting him open, stabbing him AND ripping his legs off, all at the same time.

His face was both pale and red. I haven't seen that before. Didn't know it was possible to be so pale and yet so red at the same time. I found myself praying for him to pass out from the pain, because it took FOREVER to get just one bandage off. I asked if he wanted a break before I started torturing both of us again by removing the second bandage but he told me, "Please just get it over with, mommy." Bless his heart! I tried every possible way to use the teeniest pair of sewing scissors to cut the bandage off but the bandage was on so tight and stuck to him so much it wasn't possible without cutting him.

After the bandages were both off, I was holding him and he was shaking. His screams were dying down but he was still sobbing so hard. Once he finally relaxed enough to watch his cartoons again (they were on the TV this entire time - about 45 minutes or so!) I left the room and had to lay down with a cold rag on my forehead because I thought I was going to pass out myself. I knew that if I stood up or had to stay upright holding T-man, I would have gotten sick on him and/or passed out with him on my lap.

To give you a reference point here as to how long this torture was going on, I pick T-man up from school at 11:40 am and the time that we were both calmed down, it was pushing 1:00 pm. Neither one of us wanted any lunch until about 3:00 pm so it was a very light one.

T-man's left knee is nearly healed. It has the bright pink new skin but it is past the scab stage. His right knee still needs a scab to form. We do need to let it air out more to help the scab form. A problem we have with this is that when he is either outside or at school, it needs to be kept covered. This does not help it heal quickly. It is still a bit painful to him, especially when he needs to bend that knee. That is still very difficult for him.

His lip is awful looking still! At first we thought it was just 2 splits, but turns out that it is 5 splits. That is a very small lip to have that many splits. It is very nasty looking. The scab that formed is very solid and a slightly disturbing color. His cheek is nearly healed and his upper lip is healed completely since that wasn't badly scraped.

I ask that  you will all please pray for his continued healing. His right knee and especially his poor lip. That lip is ripped up, y'all.

God's blessings and good will to you, my friends. I pray that you all have a great week and lots of laughter in your daily living.

~Karen

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Struggles

Sunday afternoon, the boys and I dropped Daddy off at his co-workers house. They were going to Germany together and this guy was driving them to the Philly airport. They'll be back on the 14th and we cannot wait!

The boys are missing their daddy, especially J. It really hits him at bedtime and we've had some teary-eyes. We Skyped with him last night before bed, which they really, really loved. It made me sad, especially when J was so teary-eyed. One week to go.

My life motto is "One Day at a Time, Sweet Jesus." Even though at times those days can be more like an hour at a time, or even a minute at a time. I've been living this. Honestly, caring for the boys is the easiest part. The constant up and downs are my big trial. It works on my knee and makes the achy pain turn into excruciatingly stabbing, throbbing pain that makes the eyes cross.

The boys have been helping, especially my oldest. Last night was bath night, so I only had to take care of T-man. J can do the washing, drying and dressing himself and only occasionally needs help with rinsing his thick hair, but only when he's used a bit too much shampoo.

With my husband being gone, I really feel God showing me how to be mom and dad, at least temporarily. My husband's flight on Sunday was supposed to be departing Philly at 8:20pm, but got pushed back a couple hours due to a breaker needing replacing on the plane. I'm so glad that that was all it was. They were airborne by about 10:45 or a bit before.

The flight to Frankfurt, Germany was about 7.5 hours or so. Once they arrived and went through customs and all, they had to find the right train to take them to Bietigheim. Later this week they will be travelling by train to Prague in the Czech Republic. 

All in all, I'd say travel time was over 12 hours. That's a very long day! Especially with only about 3 hours of sleep on the plane. When we Skyped on Sunday, he looked exhausted. The boys really loved to see their daddy and thought it was very cool that he is 6 hours ahead of us. (That means that while I am typing this, it is 7:20pm in Germany.)

He surprised the boys this morning with a phone call to wish them a good day at school. He was eating at a German McD's and told them all about it. He is looking into some kids' meals to get them toys as a special surprise.

Everyday, the boys and I say a special prayer for daddy to be safe. On Sunday, we were praying hard for him to have a safe and uneventful flight to Germany, and next Tuesday, we'll be praying for a safe and uneventful trip back home. The boys each draw a line to make an X on the calendar to cross off the day. The countdown has been on! Only seven days now, or if you'd like to be picky, 6.5 days now since we are past the halfway point of the day.

With my knee being hurt, I am supposed to focus mainly on caring for the boys and the pets. We have enough clean clothing (he did laundry before he left since crouching is not something I can do well right now.) I do want to fold some laundry at some point. It is sitting in the basket and since it is under things, socks, pjs, etc. I am not worried about wrinkles. The boys will help put their own clothing away once it gets folded.

Psalm 46:1 tells us that "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble."

I know that God is constantly at work in our lives, protecting us, protecting our loved ones while they travel, like in our case. God is watching over the boys and I as well. Monday morning, Jeremy told me that he woke up feeling a little scared and so alone without daddy here. When  I asked him why he didn't come over to my room or call out and he told me that he felt all warm and comforted when he was nearly to scared to stay in his bed. He feels that it was Jesus holding him until he slept again.

Oh to have the faith of a child again. So pure, so innocent. Some people call it being na├»ve but it isn't. It is having that blind faith that we, as adults, so often lose and we are hardened by the things of the world. To see the world through the eyes of a child again, would be so amazing. They are amazed and excited by the things they see, things they experience. They feel with everything they are.

I love to see the wonder and that awestruck excitement on their faces and in their eyes. To be with them and to watch them as they experience new things is a special part of being a parent. They learn through life experiences and by our example. We are to raise them "in the way they should go, and when they are old they will not depart from it" (Psalm 22:6)

My boys are demonstrating this blind faith and trust in God by they fact that they tell me how they know that Daddy will be home, when daddy comes home, or how God will be bringing their daddy home to them. They take it on faith that God will bring him home to them safely. They trust that God is, and will be, answering their prayers. Such faith is awesome.

God's blessings to you, my friends.

~Karen

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Normal Does Not Work For Me...

It's been a bit since my last post. Sorry! I have been doing my workouts and being careful with my legs until I had the chance to get to the doctor to see what kind of exercises and things I could do to strengthen my weak knee and not injure it.

Ironically enough, a simple and quite normal step out of my house did my knee in. There was no weird stepping involved. Normal doesn't work for me, apparently. After about a week of grinning and baring it, I finally went to the doctor. One x-ray later, there seems to be nothing abnormal with my knee.

A brief bit of history here: Back in 1995, my senior year of high school, I tripped and feel down a driveway that was steep, so steep it was like this  / angle. I landed on my knees with my right knee dead center on a very sharp rock. The fall was about 5 feet, by my memory guess. "I believe[d] I could fly..." At least that's what my body decided. I made the mistake of not going to the doctor and put up such a stink whenever my parents would try to get me to go. (I was afraid there would be a needle involved.)

Looking back, I could say that it was one of the dumbest decisions I have ever made. To this day, I have issues with it whenever the weather changes, or the seasons change. Worst. Pain. Ever. I should have gone to get it looked at way back then. I regret that choice. I am paying for that mistake, quite literally. Every doctor's trip has the inevitable co-pay.


Right now it does not take much for my knee to ache. Unfortunately, this time, it is worse than it ever was. My doctor was concerned that there was a meniscus(?) tear so he ordered me to get an x-ray. It apparently is clear so I can go ahead with physical therapy. I am a bit nervous. I get varying degrees of nervous/scared with new situations.

I am unable to workout to lose weight since cardio is out of the question so I am working my upper body for toning so once the weight is (I'm determined here!) gone, the nicely tones muscles will show up. Like I have said in a previous post, I am not looking to get in model shape, but a healthy shape. My boys need me to be around for a long time and the way I was, there were too many health problems creeping in. Also, extra weight is not good for the joints. This does not help my knee any.
So, the weight must come off. No more 191 pounds for me. If my health wasn't being affected by the weight, I wouldn't worry about it so much.

They say that weight loss is 80% clean eating, 10% exercising and 10% genetics. So, since I can't get the exercise in the way I'd like, I can definitely still focus on the healthy eating part. Here's to yummy, yummy, tummy-rumbly, finger-lickin' good food!

God's blessings to you, my friends.
~Karen
 
Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Healthy Living

Good morning, my friends! It is a gorgeous Spring morning today. The windows are open and there is such a nice cross-breeze. So comfortable in the house with the fan on. Yesterday I ended up turning the a/c on because the house was 90 degrees inside and it was cooler outside at about 80 degrees or so. The a/c works!! YAY! (I'm excited because it needed fixing during the summer last year.)

Daniel 1:8-15 tells us: (emphasis mine)
 But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.  Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel, but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned you food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.”
  Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.
   At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food.

Healthy foods, healthy drinks = healthy people


Fresh veggies look so bright and shiny and colorful, don't they?
Who doesn't like fresh fruit?!

Right now I am drinking my breakfast. I know, I know. It is a protein fruit breakfast smoothie which fills you up! It has strawberries, blueberries, banana, peanut butter, honey, vanilla Greek yogurt, milk, and chocolate protein powder. So easy to make by putting the liquid/wet things in the blender first and then all the solids. Blend until it is as smooth or as chunky as you like it. Simple and filling and good for you!

God wants us to be healthy, physically and spiritually. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 tells us: "Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;  you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies."

What do you do with an actual temple building, or church building? You take care of it so it stays standing; it needs a strong foundation. Our bodies being the temple of God also need a strong foundation. We need to take care of ourselves. I'm not talking about spending hours putting makeup on and doing your hair. That's all fine and dandy. It's perfectly okay to want to look nice and for some people it helps them to feel good about themselves.

The care I am talking about is healthy living. This means eat clean, eat well. Whenever you can, eat fresh fruits and vegetables. Cook with fresh herbs, if at all possible. The flavor is AH-mazing! Yes, I mean "AH"-mazing. The kind of good things that make you say, AH. I love going to the Farmers' Markets like Roots in Manheim, PA and Green Dragon in Ephrata, PA. All those stands with fresh fruits and vegetables, herb plants, and other plants. Gorgeous infusion of color everywhere you look! Foods that are in season taste best... mmm, so fresh and delicious. Who better to help you pick the "cream of the crop" and how to prepare them than the farmers themselves? You have questions? They have the answers. They grow them, they know them.

For me, I am finding that the healthier I eat, the "cleaner" I eat - meaning, no processed foods, nothing that you can't pronounce is added - the better I feel. I'm much more energized and my mood is better. (My family is saying a prayer of thanks, I'm sure!) My view is this: If Jesus wouldn't recognize it as food, you don't want to eat it! Now, I'm not saying that I am perfect and only eat clean - I do like my snacks and easy to prepare dishes. But, I am conscious of what I put in my body. I try to eat things that are mostly good for you - or at least not bad for me. The more processed, the more additives and preservatives something has, the worse I feel. Whereas the cleaner I eat, the fresher I eat the better I feel. My skin is softer, less dry - less WRINKLED! Yup, I said it.

Along with the fresh foods, I do try very hard to drink at least 8 - 8oz cups of water a day. It helps maintain the balance of your body fluids, helps keep your skin healthy, it also helps with the digestion in terms of ... maintaining proper "output" if you get my drift. Did you know that sometimes when you feel hungry, you could actually be thirsty or hungry for socialization or rest or even hungry for some alone time to read or pray, etc?


Also along with healthy eating and choosing to drink your water, y'all - instead of all the sodas - you need to get some form of exercise. Just get up and get moving! If all you  can do is go for a walk once a day, get  up off that chair or sofa - or bed even - and grab your comfy walking shoes or sneakers and get out there. Seriously, the morning is gorgeous today so get out there and enjoy it! Some people take prayer walks, some go for jogs, runs. Some people sprint as fast as they can, as hard as they for as long as they can and then they walk for 3 minutes or until you can sprint all out again. I like to feel the burn, so to speak. This week, every day, I have been pushing myself to 25 minutes of working my core (abs and back) and 25minutes working the total body followed by 20 minutes or so of working my lower body. You feel it! You really feel it.

They say if you aren't feeling it as you do it, you aren't doing it right. Say you are doing bicep curls with or without weights - standing up, bending the arms at the elbow one at a time, lifting your forearm up in a controlled motion and lowering it again in a controlled motion. If you aren't controlling your motions, the motion is controlling you and you might as well be sitting on the sofa lifting a strawberry up to your mouth. You will not lose the jiggle, tone or if you going for it, you will not build any muscle that way.

No matter how you choose to exercise or workout, make sure that you are in control of the movements. If you cannot get up and walk, you can sit and work your upper body. Sit straight up with a straight back - not arched - and tighten your muscles in your arms as you lift the up, straight out in front of you and lower them again. This will help strengthen your shoulders and give it good stretches. If all you can do are some stretches, do it. It is good for you! You don't want to be walking around with tight, sore muscles all the time.

Stretching is good for you, especially before and after a workout. You need to warm up your muscles before doing any exercise to avoid injuries. Before going for a walk, stretch out your legs a little bit. Warm up your arms by doing arm circles, even if you aren't going to swing your arms like a crazy walker. The point is to warm those muscles up, walk as quick as you can to get your heart rate up a bit. Just as much as you can, don't push too hard and make yourself sick though!

Along with trying to have or maintain a healthy body, you also need to have a healthy spiritual life. One way to do this is by listening to the Bible on cds, Christian programs on the radio, on the tv. If you are working on a treadmill, outside going for a walk or a jog, pop on a set of headphones or pop in those ear buds and listen to praise and worship music, the Bible, or just pray or meditate on the Word as you move your body.

Reading your Bible is great for you as you take in what you read. Reading it in front of your kids (as well as eating right and exercising) is a great influence on those kiddos. They see mama or papa doing it and they get interested. We teach by example without even realizing it. Who knows, they may end up encouraging you to keep up the healthy living - spiritually and physically!

John 15:5 "I am the vine and you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."

This tells us that we need God. If you don't already know it, you need God. Even if you do know it, same thing. Everyone needs God. Now, He never said that we would have an easy life, but it is worth it. Eternal life in heaven with Jesus is the goal. Life is the journey to get to that goal. Everyone has a starting line, some later than others and that's okay. Everyone has to start somewhere.


"Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your strength."
Deuteronomy 6:5


"Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths." Psalm 25:4-5
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your path straight." Proverbs 3:5-6
Have a great, and blessed day, my friends.
God's blessing to you.

~Karen

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