Lord of the Rings: Part III

 

Free to dance
Free to dance

That Fall as the leaves began to drop, I rejoined life at 42 years of age. Freedom felt scary. I felt as if I woke up from a 22 year dream. Or like I had been drowning below the water and finally able to surface and gasp for life-giving air. Freedom and a second chance to figure out who I was in God’s great plan. Discovering what assignments HE had for me revitalized my will to live and to live well.

I knew the 22 years were not lost or wasted. For in that time HE refined, chiseled and shaped me. Molding my character to better resemble His Son Jesus. Polishing my faith and strengthening it through the fires of a difficult life. Those years challenged me much more than I ever foresaw at age 20. Though many saw my young decision as a real shame, God knew my heart’s motivation and used it for good, healing and preparing me for this day to begin a new chapter in life.

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Right off, I joined a small group from the large church I attended. It thrilled my heart to meet and get to know people on a real and raw level. To learn how to get along and operate as the body of Christ. I had never experienced this special forum of love before. I saw it from a distance as a child when cottage prayer meeting groups met in my family’s home. Now I had a safe group to grow further in my faith and share the good, the bad and the heartbreaking.

I also joined a local christian support group sponsored by a church I’d never attended. The group formed to help those in need of healing from recent losses.

I continued volunteer work with the teens at the youth center and also began seeing a Christian Psychologist.

On Friday evenings I attended a class called Wise Choices at another church in a neighboring town. Geared toward singles, this class taught us how to make healthy and wise choices for any relationship whether friends, dating partners or future spouses.

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All these groups occupied my free time in positive and constructive ways. I expressed gratitude to God for the opportunities each provided to protect me from the pull to run back to my former life. For the pull could be very strong at times if I got too lonely.

I met people from all four of the churches and made friends in each arena. I had carpool girlfriends and one old guy friend from the past who seemed safe. Plus there were social functions now opened to me for the first time. I cannot even describe to you the excitement that flooded my soul.

Barn dances, hayrides, skating parties,  hiking adventures, day trips to the beach, DC or NYC all opened up to me and I was ecstatic. And then I received an invitation for a Murder Mystery dinner. You know the whole 9 yards type where you get an invite in the mail assigning you to a certain character that you are expected to portray the night of the murder.

This was especially intriguing because the only person I knew was the hostess and she was a new acquaintance. So it was scary exciting but I was determined to go all out knowing Jesus was going with me.

My assignment described my character as a wealthy wife to a lawyer in the story. So I needed to have fancy clothes and a big diamond to wear.

Now that's a rock!
Now that’s a rock!

I had a midnight blue satin gown I procured from a thrift store and plain black pumps. I decided to have my hair put up for the special occasion. I scheduled my hair dresser friend who excelled in updos.

My boss at the time offered to let me borrow a family heirloom ring. She brought it in for me to see. It was gargantuan! A literal ball of diamonds. It would have been perfect but I feared losing it and not having money to replace it so I declined the offer.

The next day a coworker brought in another ring for me to see. Still a rock but much more manageable.

.77c Emerald cut diamond flanked by trillion diamonds set in white 14K gold
.77c Emerald cut diamond flanked by trillion diamonds set in white 14K gold

 

The ring was a gorgeous emerald cut with trillion cut diamonds flanking it. I fell in love with it and couldn’t wait to wear it for the big event.

Now I needed to dig up a date to play my learned lawyer husband. I wanted to go so bad and tried my older friend but he had plans. The desperation became a downfall for me. In a weak moment I invited the guy from my past. He accepted.

Shine on. . .

karan k

 

LORD of the Rings: Part II

 

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So here I am on my Canadian odyssey. I spent time throughout the week getting to know some of the guys as well as the girls. I chatted on the dock with kids who were fishing or just hangin out in the sun. Reluctantly, I braved canoeing with some overly excited girls. Needless to say that exploit turned out all wet.:(  I ran races, shot hoops, broke up some fighting and even ventured out on the lake at midnight to see the full moon and  a flock of loons.

So many treasured moments occurred but one gave me a send off I didn’t expect. Soon after our arrival I bonded tightly with a 16 year old named Tasha. She lived in a Children’s home back in PA. Her faith was strong for one so young living in such a difficult circumstance.

Kindred Spirit Dock
Kindred Spirit Dock

Tasha and I bore our souls and prayed together for our futures.  We talked and shared our personal stories throughout the week during whatever activity ensued around us. Both desperately wanting to make decisions that pleased God and kept us in HIS will. We felt like kindred spirits. Sisters in Christ, even though I was old enough to be her mother.

 

Asher Durand's painting, "Kindred Spirits" 1849
Asher Durand’s painting, “Kindred Spirits” 1849

At the end of the week Tasha wanted to purchase gifts for all her new friends. Surprisingly, this included me. She decided she wanted me to have a ring and insisted I pick one out for $10 at Walmart. I protested but she explained that it meant a lot to her to be able to give me something to remember her.

She said, “I want you to have a special ring  from me. I want you to wear it until the man God has for you replaces it with another ring.”

My heart melted and I agreed to pick out a ring. Tasha smiled the warmest smile as I chose a ring from the large display. She nodded in approval and rushed up to the cashier to purchase it. I put it on as soon as we got in the van to drive back to the Lake House.

The next day everyone parted for home. Tasha and I hugged for a long time before she climbed into the Chevy Tahoe that brought her to Canada. We wrote for a few months afterward,  but I never saw her again.

I wore her ring faithfully into the autumn season until my finger began turning green. I reluctantly took off the ring and wrapped it up, storing it carefully in my jewelry box. I felt bad for no longer wearing it. In addition to the oxidation issue, the ring had taken quite a good beating on my job.  I decided her words were what truly mattered. I guarded them in my heart.

A bit worn out Walmart ring
A bit worn out Walmart ring

That experience in Canada fueled my resolve to deal with my haunting past when I returned home. A past which included two men who I loved. Both good men but neither were the fulfillment of God’s plan for me. Neither were the one Tasha told me I would find if I followed God’s wisdom.

The first loved the Lord but could not be a husband due to his circumstances. The second was free to be a husband but had no desire to put Jesus first in his life. I wanted to put Jesus first, walk away and let both of them go. But I struggled emotionally many months over each of them.

My heart ached because of all the compromising. All the sins of idolatry I committed with each of these men tormented my soul. I realized I had placed my desire for a relationship with a man ahead of my desire for a relationship with my God. The same God who gave everything up to save me. The same God who took care of me. The same God who I called Lord. The same God who loved me unconditionally even after I did this to Him. I cheated HIM out of His rightful place in my heart and now it had to stop. Finally I could see the truth and was genuinely sorry. I had left my First Love and now I urgently wanted to return to Him!

My journey began by tough admissions and cutting ties with both men from the past. I slowly took the first few steps of this new adventure to rebuild my life with Jesus. Change was frightening and I had no idea what was ahead. Only that Jesus held my hand in grace.

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“Nevertheless, I have this against you, that you have left your First Love. Remember therefore from where you are fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come quickly and remove your lamp stand from its place—-unless you repent.” Revelation 2:4 + 5 New King James version.

Shine on. . .
karan k

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LORD of the Rings: Part I

“If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” James 1:5 New Living translation

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Wouldn’t all of us like to know how to make right decisions? Especially concerning the important stuff of life? The verse above is the answer. We simply need to ask God and He will show us. Sometimes in unexpected ways and not as fast as we want it. But He will show us if we truly ask in faith, believing He WILL answer in HIS time.

The summer of 2005 turned into a time of extreme transition for me. I had just spent the past 22 years of my life in a rather cloistered environment steeped in codependency, to say the least. (You can get an inkling of it if you read the Devilish Detonation series) I knew I needed to keep close to God and and spend my time serving where He could use me. If I found myself with too much idle time, the pull of the familiar would take over, drawing me back to where I didn’t want to be. Where my faith ran into a wall and began dying. I could not allow anything or anyone to hinder my relationship with Jesus.

So I began asking Him for wisdom to rebuild my life according to His plan. Not my plan and not even what I THOUGHT was “His Plan” for me. It had to be ALL His idea and so I had to stay closer than ever to hear His voice.

First HE led me to volunteer at a youth center. Attempting to spend quality time with rowdy misfortunate teens week after week is enough to challenge anyones faith. My personal insecurities forced me to pray for wisdom every time I drove to the center. In time I formed a few healthy relationships with the kids and my faith began to soar toward new vistas.

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Midsummer I received a deeper challenge: to accompany a group of these kids to a Canadian retreat as chaperone for all the girls. Surely there were others more qualified, I thought. But none of the other volunteers were available. I had some vacation time coming which easily got approved so what excuse did I have not to do it? So I asked for wisdom to know how to be what these young girls needed and plunged ahead in faith.

The entire road trip to Canada became a battle for my focus. Old emotional love attachments knocked on my mind’s door in hopes of admittance. I had to keep sending Jesus to the door to send the former interlopers running.

Another church group from Pennsylvania crossed into Canada behind us and gathered at the old Lake House. We split up the the girls into several rooms on the west side of the house and the boys and their chaperones headed to the east side.

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Everyone took turns cooking and cleaning up. We had a common dining and lounge area where we spent our time inside. Otherwise, weather permitting we were out on the lake in canoes, kayaks or row boats. We only had one motorboat for skiing and tubing. This kept the male chaperones busy all day running the boat with screaming teenagers dragged in tow.

One of the male chaperones was a young Pastor from the Coal regions of PA. He took me and a few others across the lake Sunday morning in the motorboat to church. It was a hoot. A savored memory from the trip. He told all types of great stories about how his Dad and Grandfather taught him about Jesus and biblical principles through boating and fishing on this lake.

At the time I heard a small voice inside say, “This is the type of man you should have. A man with a rich Godly background.”

This clue dropped into my heart and I pondered it many times in the following months. His whispered wisdom would not be forgotten.

Memories lingered
Memories lingered

Shine on. . .
karan k

 

My Love Story

 

Valentine Brownies for a genuine Sweetie!
Valentine Brownies for a genuine Sweetie!

To all my readers I hope that you will indulge me today. I have been writing the past week on themes of love in preparation for Valentine’s Day. Now that the day has actually arrived, I would like to send out a special message to my Valentine.

In 2006 I experienced the Valentine’s Day of my dreams. It seemed a long time coming since I had just turned 43 a month earlier, but BLTN (better late than never). I can tell you it was worth the wait.

Valentine’s Day fell on a Tuesday that year, so my date had to pick me up after work. He arrived promptly at 6pm. When I opened the door he was carrying beautiful roses and a gift. From the tips of his black leather shoes to his well combed hair, he stood 6 foot 3 of handsome. He wore black dress pants with a deep red shirt neatly tucked in at the waist. His tie and belt accented the ensemble perfectly.

I showed him in and nervously handed him the gift I baked. It was a plate of heart-shaped brownies in milk and dark chocolate. He graciously took them and helped me on with my wrap.

We looked like we were trying too hard since I was also wearing a red blouse and black slacks. We were all about  celebrating Valentines but both terribly nervous, like two school kids.

He reserved the best table in the underground chambers of the Catacombs
He reserved the best table in the underground chambers of the Catacombs

He took me to a restaurant that had a special area below the main floor called the Catacombs. It was dimly lit by intermittent candles perched in stone ledges in the wall. The place oozed of romance and  ambience. He pulled out my chair for me and gave me another rose as I sat down. My heart swooned.

Before our food arrived, he held my hand and prayed. When I opened my eyes the shimmering gift-wrapped box reclined near my fingers. His grin urged me to open it. The box contained a heart-shaped ruby ring set between two tiny triple diamonds clusters. It was gorgeous and he explained that it had multiple meanings;

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  1. His incredible LIKE for me
  2. The hope of a future with me
  3.  And a promise of purity until a wedding date

How could I eat after that? The  sumptuous meal  arrived delighting  my tastebuds as we engaged in nervous innocent conversation. I could not resist the sweetness of his heart and the directness of his pre-proposal. I found myself smitten.

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Fast forward to 2017. This is our 12th Valentine’s celebration together. Not quite as showy this year. Went to our first Thai restaurant a week before Valentine’s to beat the crowd and had a truly quiet relaxed dinner together. We sat and discussed upcoming travel plans and the new food experiences on our plates and yes, a bit of politics. One of Dwight’s passions.

Relaxed ambience
Relaxed ambience

These last twelve years have been the best years of my life. Every morning when I wake up, I cannot believe the life I have been given. Dwight, you are such a precious gift from God. You have crafted such beautiful expressions  over the years of your love for me and  I am not at all crafty. So today I am writing to let you know I love and respect you ever more deeply as time passes! And before you ask “WHY?” Here’s a small list:

You accepted me and the unusual past I had with love, understanding and interest from the very first day we met.

You comforted both me and my Mom when my step Dad Dale had his stoke and and accompanied me on regular visits to cheer him for seven years until he passed away.

You were the one who found and rescued my mom when she fell and went into shock while trapped in her home.

You helped me find a decent place for my Mom to live when she could no longer care for herself.

You supported me through the entire process of packing up Mom’s  earthly belongings and selling her home to pay for her care in a reputable nursing facility.

You were with me when I found out my brother Ray had died unexpectedly and helped me be strong for Mom.

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You discuss and make decisions big or small with me, always wanting to know my views.

You perform tasks and run innumerable errands for me whenever I ask without complaining.

You give me plenty of room to grow, which trust me, I have needed.

You still open doors for me.

You give me freedom to try new things whenever I want as long as it will benefit me as a person and strengthen our bond of marriage.

You support me in my writing by your affirmation but also by your involvement. You read everything I write and lovingly critique it. I can never find words to say how much that act alone means to me as a person!

You have not stopped trying to understand me even when I don’t understand myself.

 

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You have shown me the West coast,  and the Mid- West.

You explored with me the deep South, New England, Europe, Canada and many tropical locations.

You encourage me to face and meet new challenges that I never dreamed I could handle.

You are a Godly man who is not afraid to serve others in nearly any capacity.

You allow me to dance on the stage while you watch from the wings.

You do not shirk hard work and have faithfully taken care of me financially, pushing yourself countless times when you had serious migraines.

You explore all my interests  with me even when you may not find them as fascinating as I do.

You always fill my gas tank.  Always.

Everyday I work  (even when you have off), you get up and make coffee for my thermos.

You hold my hand in the car, while walking and especially while worshipping together at church.

You text me all day long EVERYDAY!

You are witty and silly fun whether we are alone or in a crowd, your focus is US.

Our first Valentine's Day 2006
Our first Valentine’s Day 2006

God uses you everyday to help me FLURISH!
It has been an exciting and stretching 11 years since our very first inkling of a life together that Valentine evening. I am soooo glad God brought us together. . . looking forward to all the adventures HE has for us in the future! HappyValentine’s Day, my Dwight!

Valentine's Day 2017
Valentine’s Day 2017

Shine on. . .

karan k

Attitude Adjustment Appreciation

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“Reflect upon your present blessings of which every man has many— not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”
Charles Dickens
During our first year of marriage I had grown weary of the tough and constant work it took to blend and compromise daily for the sake of our marital bliss. I felt like the Israelites after they were freed from Egyptian bondage only to complain shortly after how their journey was hard. They longed to go back to Egypt where the food was good EVEN THOUGH THEY LIVED DAILY AS BEATEN SLAVES. Simply put, the green grass of singleness SEEMED easier.

My heart began to harden a bit toward being married. I thought I would go about business as usual and take care of my own needs as I did before. I thought I didn’t really need anyone else but God.

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Fortunately, I married a man who is longsuffering and he put up with my nonsense for awhile. But my God, who loves me more than even my husband, was not about to let me off the hook so easily.
One morning in the wee hours when I had a day off and had a chance to actually sleep in, Dwight, my husband stirred from slumber. I had no idea what was happening and I wanted to continue sleeping. He sat up in bed and I opened my eyes to see his hand resting on his heart. His heart had gone into an A-Fib (Atrial Fibrillation) attack. We waited a few minutes and the rapid, irregular heart beat did not pass. He told me he needed to go to the hospital to get his heart rate back to normal.

I got up and he asked what I was doing?

“I’m getting dressed to go to the hospital,” I answered.

He didn’t answer but continued to get himself ready. We got in the car and he drove us in silence to the emergency room. I was not quite prepared for what happened next.

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We got a bed in the emergency area and nurses began trying to hook up an IV to begin blood thinner to prevent clots. I learned one clot in this condition could be the end of him. My heart quivered and began to soften.

The nurse did not do a great job with the IV and I saw my sweet husbands blood dripping out of his arm and pooling on the linoleum below his gurney. I almost passed out. Why were they allowing this to happen? I wanted action now to stop the flow! My Dwight lay there calm as a clam preferring that I didn’t make waves as his lifeblood poured out creating a crimson tide on the floor.

My own heart rocked in agony as God gently used these moments to teach me a valuable lesson about not taking my husband for granted. Dwight was a gift the Lord gave me and I needed to start appreciating and caring for him as a loving wife. The single life and its luxuries as well as its loneliness was gone forever. I needed to put that behind me once and for all and cling to the marriage God gave me. I needed to treasure my husband second only to Christ.

I made up my mind that day never again to take my husband for granted. Or worse, wish for easy street because there was no way I wanted to be without him.

 

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Dwight ended up being admitted to the hospital. After 24 hours of blood thinner, his heart still stubbornly refused to come out of A-Fib. The attending physician ordered a Cardioversion, you know, where they shock your heart with those paddles on your chest?

Dwight had been down this same shocking road many times but this was my first time. I was not taking any chances of losing God’s gift. I prayed and asked others to join me in prayer for Dwight’s heart to sync back into normal sinus rhythm through the cardioversion. Praise Jesus it did!

Dwight had to stay in the hospital for another two days for observation. I took sick time and stayed with him enjoying the time together almost like a mini vacation. It turned out to be a bonding time of such closeness. I am forever grateful for the divine attitude adjustment the Lord gave me those few days. I now endeavor diligently to guard against taking Dwight for granted ever again.

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During our special time together in observation, Dwight explained his silence earlier when we drove to the emergency room:

In his past he always went to the hospital alone when A-Fib attacked his heart. No one ever showed interest in going along. He was shocked that I actually got up to go with him. So he remained quiet with his thoughts.

I couldn’t imagine letting him go alone! Oh for the mercy of God that my love had at least a bit of depth to it when the attack hit. I am so grateful I made the extra effort even before the attitude adjustment!

Whatever type of love relationships we have in our lives, we must not take them for granted. We are not promised tomorrow and neither are the ones we love. It only takes a moment for our lives to be changed forever by illness/disease, an accident, death or the person simply leaving to go where they ARE appreciated and loved. Do what you can today while you have time to let those you love know in no uncertain terms what they mean to you and to your life. Tomorrow may be too late.

 

“Many claim to have unfailing love, but a faithful person who can find?” Proverbs 20:6
To FLURISH in love we need to consistently CHERISH our loved ones in heart and in deed. Express your love in unconventional ways this Valentines Day!

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Shine on. . .
karan k

Valentine Revival

 

Prep your heart
Prep your heart

“Parents, don’t come down too hard on your children or you’ll crush their spirits.” Colossians 3:21 The Message Bible

A beat up sedan lumbers down the lane toward my booth. Loud cursing escapes as the window rolls down. A woman in her 60s sporting disheveled gray hair is yelling over her shoulder to the children in the back seat. “Sit the ‘F—‘ down!” I see two small heads disappear behind the seat. The woman turns forward to look at me with a sheepish smile as she hands me her ticket. In a rather soft tone she says “Here Mam,” and hands me her money.

As I dig in my cash drawer for her change, my heart aches for all the occupants of this car. The anger I first felt toward the woman who is most likely a grandmother, has shifted into sadness. Sadness for whatever it is in her life causing her to treat these children with such disdain. She little realizes she is injuring their young hearts possibly for a lifetime by her foul words and spirit.

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As I handed her the change, she responded in the same soft tone, “Thank you, Mam.” I tried to smile but I am sure the sadness seeped out onto my face when I looked at her. I tried to wave enthusiastically to the children who were about 4 and 8 years old, (definitely old enough to understand expletives) and they returned the same sheepish smile of the woman. I breathed a prayer of protection for the children and mercy for the grandma as they exited the lane.

I am certainly no expert on child rearing but this was so blatantly wrong, it made my heart sick. The saying comes to mind, “Hurt people hurt people.” It can be a vicious cycle in family circles.

Yelling helps no one
Yelling helps no one

As Christ followers desiring to FLURISH we need to be aware of our own words and tone of voice we use with  and around those closest to us.  We may never swear at our loved ones but we can cause pain verbally in other ways. Sarcasm, curtness, insults, and yelling all have something in common; they hurt.

It can be so easy to treat outsiders with kindness and respect while allowing familiarity to breed seeds of contempt toward those we claim to love the most. If we can hold our tongues with others then we certainly can do it with those we love. It just takes some mind renewal (see Romans 12:2) and intentional appreciation for the gift of family.

In the case of children it’s especially crucial to act with kindness and love so that they will learn to show others that same kindness and love. Of course there are times we may slip up and speak harshly before we realize it, but in Christ there is forgiveness and second chances. Jesus wants us to come to Him with our failures as we explored in CRUMBY TOASTERS: “But if we confess our sins, HE is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from everything we’ve done wrong.” I John 1:9 Common English Bible

Jesus can even protect the children from being affected negatively by our slip ups. Trust Him to help you.

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“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to the point of resentment with demands that are trivial or unreasonable or humiliating or abusive; nor by showing favoritism or indifference to any of them], but bring them up [tenderly, with lovingkindness] in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4 Amplified Bible

We must diligently guard and protect the love relationships within our family structure whether it’s our spouse, children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews  or grandparents etc. If we can’t treat these people who we CLAIM to love lovingly, how are we going to love those fighting for survival in a cold world?  As Christians we alone have the light and warmth to shine into their hurting lives.

Ask the Holy Spirit to help you develop a truly loving heart first toward your spouse if you have one, then to your immediate family members, then to other believers and then to the world at large.

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Learning to let Christ love others through you takes time.  It’s a  lifelong endeavor but the results can be phenomenal in your spirit and in the lives of others!

As Valentine’s day approaches, make your start to love as HE loves; unconditionally. Don’t just use symbols for Love and talk about Love. Instead, sincerely learn how to love one another.  What better way to truly celebrate this holiday that many see as superficial?

WILL THIS WORLD KNOW YOU ARE A CHRISTIAN BY YOUR LOVE?

“Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.” Romans 12:10 New Living translation

Shine on. . .

karan k

Crumby Toasters

“Catch the foxes, those little foxes, before they ruin the vineyard of love, for the grapevines are blossoming.” Song of Solomon 2:15 New Living translation

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One of my favorite things in my kitchen is a shiny red retro toaster. It sits nestled in the corner of the counter near the sink where the sunlight streams in through the window. I love this toaster even though I rarely use it. Adore bread but sugar issues limit my consumption of it so I just admire the pretty toaster AND I clean it.

My husband has toast or an english muffin everyday before work so any crumbs that collect in the pretty toaster are his doing. Now my husband is not one to shirk domestic duties. Don’t even get me started (unless you wanna hear it) about how well he helps around the house. At times, I have to strategically battle to do any of the housework before he goes ahead and does it. And does it well, I might add.

Looks clean from this view
Looks clean from this view

Fingerprints and smudges mar the beauty of my  appliance so I have caught him cleaning the exterior.  What about the inside Honey?     After all, the insides are what causes the toaster to function properly. The outside is just for show. I can only surmise the reason he doesn’t clean the inside is because  the crumbs are out of sight so he doesn’t realize they are STUCK in there.

So on my day off I decided to check the toaster. I looked down in the slots and saw a few crumbs. Nothing much to be concerned about. But when I turned it upside down, the debris that fell out was tremendous. Crumbs littered my entire sink area. I began to shake it and more crumbs tumbled out into the sink. Turning it right side up I heard hardened crumbs rattling inside the toaster, so I turned it upside down again and shook the thing with gusto. Over and over I repeated this process and the stream of crumbs seemed never ending. Where were all these crumbs hiding that were unseen upon a casual inspection?

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Some crumbs were small, some minuscule and some were huuuggee!! Also, some were white, brown or a charred black. Guess it all depended how long the crumbs were trapped in the heat.

Sometimes we tend to think the teeny crumbs of sin in our hearts aren’t a big deal. Like the little crumbs or the little foxes that spoil the grapes (see opening passage), our ‘seemingly’ small and possibly daily sins (such as judgmental attitudes, anger expressed in nasty speech, impatience, pride over how we look or what we have, envy over what someone else has etc., to name a few) are ignored or glossed over as if they are harmless. But they can destroy our souls and testimony just like the major crumbs of sin like lying, stealing, adultery, murder etc.,

To God, all crumbs of sin no matter the size are dangerous. They destroy our ability to FLURISH in Him and function the way He intended. If we don’t regularly clean out the crumbs from our hearts, our loving God will allow things to be shaken up in our lives so the crumbs fall out for us, and sometimes others, to see. Crumbs are not a pretty sight. But He allows shaking to motivate us to clean them up and confess our sins. This is the only way we can remain close to Him and FLURISH.

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We need to check our toasters and our hearts to evaluate the crumb factor. Crumbs hide in all our toasters and hearts. Give each a good shake regularly. Shake over the sink for our toasters and over prayers of confession for our hearts. Deal with these rogue crumbs promptly. If not, serious damage will occur to our relationship with God and others. “People who conceal their sins (or crumbs) will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.” Proverbs 28:13 New Living translation
Crumb build up can ruin a toaster. Neglected sins can have deep consequences. God wants to spare His children as much pain as possible. He wants our daily existence to be full of life not dead dreams and suffering bodies because of poor choices. Because of the  unseen crumbs of sin festering in our hearts. “For sin is the sting that results in death. . . ” II Corinthians 15:56a New Living translation

So God will shake us like a toaster sometimes. This can be a painful experience. It can last longer than we may want because some crumbs stubbornly cling to the walls of the toaster. Some sins are stubborn too.  All  the shaking is to get our attention so we address these rogue crumbs that are destroying our insides causing us to malfunction.

Every model needs care and cleaning
Every model needs care and cleaning

When’s the last time you cleaned your toaster? When’s the last time you checked your heart for unconfessed sin? Confession is something we need to practice regularly, even daily or we can expect to get a good  supernatural shaking!

“If we claim, ‘We don’t have any sin,’ we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from everything we’ve done wrong.” I John 1: 8&9 Common English Bible

Confession Tip: Find a translation of Psalm 139:23 +24 that you like and attach a tune to it to help you memorize it. Sing it to God during your talks with Him as often as you remember and see if He reveals areas of hidden crumbs.

Tales from the Booth: Just For Fun

“. . .Send men out to explore the land of Canaan, . . .” Numbers 13:1b

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Isn’t this a beautiful panoramic scene?  Get out your walking stick, hiking boots  and back pack. It screams out to be explored.  Anyone recognize the area? I admit I never heard of this place.

In addition to exploration, I also like words. Some people like numbers but I relate much better to words. Out here in the toll booth I see all types of things and lots of words. The other day a tractor trailer pulled up and on the side of the blue cab was painted the necessary ID info. When I noticed the name of the town from which his trucking company hailed, I laughed to myself.  Sounded absurd. Salmon Arm, B.C.

Fresh clean beauty of Gods creation
Fresh clean beauty of Gods creation

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Perhaps that doesn’t strike you funny but it tickled my funny bone. What possessed someone to name a town Salmon Arm? Fish are devoid of appendages.  I decided to investigate. By the way, have  you heard of Salmon Arm? Or better yet, visited this place? Send me your experiences in the comment section.

Salmon Arm has graduated from a village to a city (as of 2005) located in the southern Interior of the Canadian province of British Columbia. It sits on the shores of Lake Shuswap where the Salmon River empties into the Salmon Arm reach of the Lake. Thus the name Salmon Arm. Mystery solved.

Salmon Arm Wharf --- longest inland wooden curved wharf in Canada
Salmon Arm Wharf — longest inland wooden curved wharf in Canada

In 1962 the final stretch of the Trans-Canada highway aka Rogers Pass was opened. This construction threw wide the floodgates of tourism to Salmon Arm. Several beaches and lake areas surround the city providing fishing, camping and boating. House boat rentals are big business for Salmon Arm.

The Salmon Arm Roots and Blues festival has been the pinnacle event for tourists and locals alike at summers end for over 20 years. The three day festival features diverse musical genres, instruments and acts from all over the world. Highlights include a Family Fun Zone, a Global Food Village, shaded beer gardens, an Artisan market selling local wares and six music stages. The festival expands with each passing year, adding new attractions and more artists. Sounds like a road trip destination if you are looking for unusual places to visit.

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So where will your vacation plans take you this year? Shoot me a comment and share your plans.  There’s a huge world out there. Get your gear ready and go exploring. There could be a personal adventure for you in the most unlikely of places. For some people, that place is Salmon Arm. 🙂

FLURISH wherever you go exploring!

Shine on. . .

karan k