Amigo Experiment

“Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.”

I Corinthians 15:33 New International Version

My paraphrase is; “Choose your friends wisely. You become like those with whom you spend your time.”

As I approached the grand ole age of fifty, I decided to be proactive about my friendships. I have several precious long time friends but unfortunately some of them live out of state and time with them is limited. So I wanted to surround myself with good people who lived in my general vicinity. People who were solid in their faith. People I could rely on, seek counsel from, share burdens in prayer and spend quality time with on a regular basis. I talked it over with God.

 

With fifty years behind me I felt His lead to make my remaining time count. I wanted to be shaped by people I respected and had a solid hold on Jesus’ hand. I prayed and names began coming to mind. I discussed my ideas with my husband. With his approval we moved forward and came up with a plan.

Sojourners 2017
Dinner out— one sojourner missing from photo

We organized a dinner party for eight. I sent out invitations and was delighted when all three couples responded positively. I hired a chef and coerced our kids to be the wait staff, freeing up Dwight and I to focus on our prospective friends. I threw together a few games to get to know each other because some of the people never met before.

Silly times together alleviate stress

After our sumptuous meal, we retired to the living room and I explained my plan to form a close knit group of friends who I felt would encourage growth and Godliness in our lives. As that information sank in we played the games and later they shared how they felt about the ideas I laid out. No one objected to the ideas I put forth. Some said they were honored to be invited and some were quiet but all agreed to move forward. The Sojourners group was born five years ago.

Disney Fun

From the King James dictionary, a sojourner is: A temporary resident; a stranger or traveler who dwells in a place for a time. As in I Chronicles 29:15. So we are a group of travelers on earth passing through on our way toward home.

Coffee and prayer times

We regularly share prayer requests. We get together for meals out, or special themed dinners at home rotating at all four locations. Sometimes we see movies together. We uplift one another through difficult times such as illness, transitions and blessings. We share together, weep together and laugh together.

Fit and healthy fun

We’ve gotten to know each other on a deeper level. Sometimes common interests draw members off on their own. We have two writers, four campers, one photographer, four bicyclists, and an avid foodie. I’m sure we’ll learn more about each other and our great God as the next five years roll on.

Encouraging each other to use our gifts

We have each other’s back which is such a comfort and joy.  Each couple is involved in ministry of their own so we make the best use of our time together which isn’t as often as we like but the Lord multiplies it to replenish us to continue serving wherever we are called.

supportive when illness strikes

I encourage you if you do not belong to a small group of Godly friends at this point in your life, make the effort to join one or form your own as I did. The blessings are immeasurable. We need each other more and more as the Day of the Lord approaches!

Enjoying a magic show

 

“And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near.” Hebrews 10:25 New Living Translation

Shine on. . .

karan k

 

 

North Shore Adventure Part II: The Time of My Life

After our lovely bike ride and photography session along the Banzai Pipeline I picked the next adventure. The shuttle skirted around the bay just a short mile and dropped us off in Waimea Valley. We walked into an amazingly lush 1,800 acre botanical sanctuary for rare birds and over 5,000 species of plants endemic to Hawaii.

I believe this was the most beautiful display of greenery I’ve seen in my life. Every angle was a fabulous photo op. So of course my photographer husband dove into photo taking frenzy mode. But unbeknownst to him, I had a goal which needed immediate attention to reach.

 

I wanted to hike to a waterfall at the edge of the garden. I dreamed of a romantic lunch in a scenic spot and swimming in a fresh pool with a waterfall. Now my dear husband knew I wanted to go to the waterfall but he had no idea that I had romanticized about it in my mind. So he meandered along the trail snapping photos of everything while I grew impatient and finally we broke into a spat. I told him I was headed to the waterfall and stomped away in a huff.

During my twenty minute hike at a fast clip, I muttered and complained to God out loud since no one else was around.

“Why doesn’t he understand how important this is to me? I went with him to his photo tours.”

In a still small voice I heard the Father speak in a gentle tone to my heart.

“Remember, Dwight has never been to Hawaii before. He’s overwhelmed by the beauty I created. Let him enjoy it his way. You come with Me. You were worried about having special alone time with Me, so this is your chance. This will be our adventure together at the waterfall.”

Peacock hiding in shrubbery

That was all I needed to hear. Immediately my heart shed the frustration toward Dwight and overflowed with excitement knowing I had heard from my heavenly Father and He wanted to go on this adventure with me. My pace quickened and I reached the waterfall in no time. My heart pumping with joy, the young attendant took notice and said;

“Nice to see someone so eager to get in the water. You know it’s really cold in there since this is our winter season.”

“I don’t care, I just hiked up here so I could swim in the waterfall pool. I’m hot and need to cool off,” I replied.

 

I crawled down over the slippery rocks  abandoning any fear and dove into the 30 foot deep pool. The exhilaration was indescribable. I could feel the presence of my Lord with me as I bobbed around in the fresh cold water.  I struggled to swim toward the waterfall even though I approached from the side rather than head on because of the tremendous pressure.

 

At one point my energy waned and discouragement made an attempt to overcome me. But the voice of my Lord spoke into my heart again saying, “Relax, I AM here and you have a life jacket on, just enjoy floating with Me awhile.” I followed His instruction and quit fighting the pull and allowed my body to glide across the invigorating waters. To say I had the time of my life is a gross understatement. When do you get to swim in a waterfall . . . with GOD??

In time He helped me get over to the side and find a ledge next to the waterfall where I got my photo taken by my sweet husband who made his way to the waterfall afterall. This remains the highlight for me of a very eventful trip.

 

 

How do you experience Jesus in every day life? How does He communicate with you? Each of us has the opportunity to be intimate and close to Him the more we focus on His reality and spend time in His word. He forms a deep bond in your soul if you let Him and each of us can have a totally individualized custom-made relationship with Him IF we choose it. Even on vacation!

Shine on. . .

karan k

 

North Shore Adventure: Part I

“There is precious treasure and oil in the house of the wise [who prepare for the future], but a short-sighted and foolish man swallows it up and wastes it.” Proverbs 21:20 Amplified Bible

While vacationing on Oahu, Hawaii my husband Dwight and I had a great desire to travel from Honolulu to the North shore of the island. It was approximately a 45 minute drive so we booked a shuttle excursion because it cost less than a rental car.

In addition to the shuttle passage through pineapple plantations, our excursion included two activities in the North shore area. We were able to choose from a long list of inviting adventures.

The first thing we decided to do was some bicycling. We rode along the Banzai Pipeline where the rich and famous have homes on the beach some valued over $5,000,000. We parked our bikes in a grove of palm trees where we were just a few steps from the beach.

Filled with glorious joy, Dwight strode out to the shoreline like a giddy school boy, camera clutched in his eager hands. The subject? Surfers practicing on the big waves for the next days competition.

 

Twenty-five to 30 foot waves came crashing toward him over and over as his camera clicked and captured the daring surfers unafraid to challenge the powerful tide. A photographers feast for film, Dwight delighted in every click of his shutter. I stood a good distance away in the shade of the palms observing my husband’s joy. There’s something so warming to the soul to watch first hand as someone you love experiences what I call “unbridled glee”. His smile  bigger, his gait  faster and he’s relishing every moment. My heart soared for him.

I had to praise Jesus for this utter blessing to see Dwight so happy. The Lord provided our jobs and some overtime and the grace to save money to afford this fabulous trip. It was worth every moment of self denial over the 12 months we saved to see Dwight thoroughly enjoy himself at the North Shore and many other Hawaiian adventures I have yet to record.

 

I hope these entries will inspire you to FLURISH through travel and see some of what our loving Father has created for us!

 

Shine on . . .

karan k

Leaning in to love

 

Sweet Trust

“Every word of God proves true. HE is a shield to all who come to Him for protection.” Proverbs 30:5 New Living translation

When I returned from my anniversary trip to Hawaii I went to visit my Mom at the nursing home as soon as I could. She never did well when I was away. So I was concerned and when I saw her she did not look good— slumped in her  lift-recliner, pants down with depends showing and sweater struggling to cover her bulging belly.

Mom’s wedding in Hawaii 2001

I woke her up and when she saw me, she asked if I had gone to Hawaii yet? My heart dropped. I had been gone 3 and a half weeks without her cognizance. I fought back the tears. She hated it when she couldn’t remember. I knew her dementia had progressed.

Somehow the Spirit of the Lord showed me my time with her was short. We had three good visits together in the next two weeks. The last one being Christmas Day when she spent the afternoon at my house with family. She told me it would be the last time she leaves the nursing home because it was just too hard on her. But she said “It was a nice party” and was glad she could come one last time. That was Monday Christmas Day 2017. Little did I know what the next week held.

I saw her Thursday the 28th again because I was concerned about her. She seemed a bit better but two days later the nursing home called and requested I talk her into going to the hospital because something was terribly wrong. I hated to push her but it had to be done.

Mom’s speech was slurred when she came to the phone and she did not want to go to the hospital but by the grace of God I convinced her to go. Two hours later I met her in the emergency room at the local hospital. My husband Dwight stayed with us as two different paramedics tried to insert an IV at various locations to no avail. Mom screamed in pain because her veins were so tiny due to immense fluid retention. We requested lidocaine numbing spray and an IV specialist was called.

Mother Daughter Banquet

In the meantime the hospital ran some tests and a a chest catscan without contrast revealed something we never considered. Lung cancer. Massive tumors filled her lungs so every breath was a struggle for my precious mother. A year prior she developed breast cancer but was adamant about no mastectomies. So the surgeon did his best to remove the cancerous tissue. However, unbeknownst to all of us, cancer cells were missed and spread quickly throughout her lungs in a years time.

The doctor in the emergency room was kind and showed me photos of her lungs in 2016 as clear and less than a year later riddled with cancer. I went back to Mom and asked her if she wanted to know what the doctor said and she said she did. I told her it was lung cancer and she cried a little.

I held her hand and said, “This is what you’ve told me you wanted ever since I was six years old; to die and go to Jesus.” She looked at me with her little girl eyes and said, “Well, when you come right down to it, I’m not s sure.” She cried a little more. “So you are playin chicken with me my whole life,” I said trying to add some levity? “No, I wasn’t,” she said whimpering.

My 50th Birthday with Mom

I told her I would stay with her and we sang the hymn we sang together when my father died suddenly 30 years earlier.

‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His Word:
Just to rest upon His promise;
Just to know, “Thus saith the Lord.”

(chorus)

JESUS, JESUS, how I trust Him,
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er.
JESUS, JESUS precious JESUS!
Oh for grace to trust bHim more.

I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,
Precious JESUS, Savior, Friend:
And I know that Thou art with me,
Wilt be with me to the end.

JESUS, JESUS, how I trust Him,
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er.
JESUS, JESUS precious JESUS!
Oh for grace to trust Him more.

 

“Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus
Louisa Stead and William Kirkpatrick
1882 inspired by Proverbs 30:5

That was the last day Mom was able to communicate completely even though every breath was difficult. They were precious hours spent together and I stayed the next two days with her in the hospital. Hospice was called in but due to it being a holiday weekend, they never got to help her. She passed from this life into the arms of Jesus late New Years Day night still holding my hand.

Together to the end

God’s amazing grace helped me as HE and I were all alone in that hospital room once she went home. Be encouraged for HE never left my side! Praise His glorious name! His words are true!

“. . .and be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20b New Living translation

Shine on. . .
karan k

 

 

Eulogy for My Mother: Celebrating Romayne Part II

 

After I spoke what you read  at my Mother’s funeral service in Part I, my dear husband spoke. As I held the mike for him my eyes scanned ahead on his notes, which he barely used. Love and pride swelled in my mind and heart for this man and his caring words which so totally captured the essence of my Mother. The following is a written copy of what he said at her Celebration service.

“My memories of Romayne I’ll share focus mainly on her ‘words of wisdom’ that would sometimes suddenly appear out of nowhere. I like to call them ‘ROMAYNEISMS’.

Those of you who knew her and spent any amount of time with her know that she was rarely at a loss for words. Maybe not a lot of words at times but those snippets of profound truth impactful all the same. . . and impactful for different reasons.

There are three expressions or truths I heard from her often over the last few years. The first being, ‘That’s the way the mop flops’. On the surface this may sound a little superficial maybe even somewhat cavalier. I think though it speaks to Romayne’s acceptance of whatever life threw at her. As Karan just said, Romayne’s life wasn’t always easy or happy, but inspite of difficulty you have to keep moving on, keep living life. That is what I saw her do.

She became a mother at 17, then raised four children, lost two husbands, and a son. She also struggled with multiple health issues throughout the years and did it with little or no grumbling or complaining. In fact, I’m told she did not like complaining or hearing complaints. She accepted life as it came and persevered, because ‘THAT’S THE WAY THE MOP FLOPS’.

Romayne Christmas 2017

Another truth I heard from her and Karan often told me Romayne expressed was ‘They’ll get good again’. This can go hand in hand with the previous quote, but I think more so she meant it as she was going to live life on her terms. She was her own person. Again those of you who knew her would have to agree, if how she decided to live bothered some folks well. . . ‘they’ll get good again’. She was not going to allow others to affect the way she chose to live. She had her life to live and her decisions to make, as we all do, and if others are upset by that, well. . . ‘THEY’LL GET GOOD AGAIN.’

The final Romayneism is not so much a truth as just a comment she made regularly in the last few years as her physical body was failing her more and more. Simple things like sitting down or standing up and walking became increasingly difficult for her— not to mention trying to get her in and out of a car to take her places. Every movement was a painful battle.

She would often cry out ‘Oh Jesus! Oh Jesus!’ Sometimes I secretly thought depending on where we were, I hoped that people around us wouldn’t think she was swearing! Those of us that know her, know that could not be farther from the truth. Romayne simply knew where her strength to go on came from.

I would like to imagine for a moment a different circumstance:

Imagine with me, if you will, what Romayne was doing this past Monday at 11:46pm. . .
There she is. . . she can see Jesus. Maybe from a distance at first. As she moves closer to Him she begins to sense the awesome glory of where she is.

She’s moving toward Jesus and her steps become hesitant because she is so overwhelmed by the presence of our Savior. Jesus sees her hesitation as He is now standing before her.

He has the biggest, widest smile on His face and with His arms outstretched He says, ‘C’mon, come here my beautiful daughter. What took you so long? . . . I was waiting for you! Don’t be scared. Come here! Walk to Me! I gave you those new feet and those new legs, and knees and hips so you could come to Me!’

She looks down at herself and realizes she’s been given a new and perfect body, without defect. She looks up at Jesus’ smiling face and runs to His arms and one more time she cries out, ‘OH JESUS’!!”

 

I hope your heart is blessed by this even if you didn’t know my Mom. For someday Jesus will welcome each of us who knew Him!!

Shine on. . .
karan k

Romayne’s Eulogy: Celebrating Romayne Part !

Mom’s loves:
Leon R. Buffenmyer–my Dad
Dale E. Carpenter –my second Dad
Romayne and her children
Hawaii

For those who could not attend any of the funeral services  for my mother Romayne, here are a few glimpses for you.

Funeral service at Reamstown Church of God

It is my complete honor to celebrate and share with you a little bit about my mother that you may not know. Romayne, as she liked to be called was her middle name and forever wanting to be different she refused to spell her name according to her birth certificate. She felt the “Y” rather than an “I” was much more distinguished. However, it was never legally changed.

Young Romayne at 15

I am not going to place my mother on any pedestal, the Lord knows how frustrating Mom could be at times. She was strong but stubborn. Loving but certainly not gentle. She was loud in manners and louder in her fashion choices. But we are all flawed human creatures in need of His grace and I am happy to say Mom received that grace when she was 15 years old at St. Pauls EC church also in Reamstown.

Up until that point in her life, she struggled in a broken, unhappy home. Her mother suffered severe depression and little Romayne was scared of her father. Her search for happiness began early and she dreamed of moving out West and living on a ranch. She never wanted children.

At 16 she met my Dad while he worked on her parents well and they were married that same year. Motherhood arrived early while my father was serving our country. Depression overtook her young life. Romayne gave birth to 3 boys and much later, a little girl.

 

She sought happiness in music throughout her life, first cowboy music such as Hank Williams and later she discovered one of the loves of her life— Gospel Quartet music. She liked it loud and “peppy”. The music used today were her personal favorites. When she wasn’t coaxing my father to take her to Gospel concerts in the tristate area, she was blasting her Quartet music thru her five foot long stereo.

A special shout out today to those of you choosing to honor Romayne with your apparel choices of Hawaiian shirts or her signature colors of pink and black. She loved to have fun and she wanted her funeral service to be a celebration of her life so she pre-planned some of the details of this service.

 

 

Because her early years were dark, lonely and depressing a common theme for my Mom’s life was Heaven:

She sang about it often when I was a little girl. The song “I’ve Got A Mansion Just Over the Hilltop” was the one I heard her sing the most and she wanted it played for you today as her casket entered the sanctuary.. She also loved hearing others sing about Heaven.. Vestal Goodman was her favorite soloist so thanks to YOUTUBE, we could share that with you as well.

Vestal Goodman

 

My Mom loved to laugh. She wanted a Happy funeral service. So some may view this service as irreverent but it is what she wanted and I know if God allows her to see us, she is happy over every detail.

Contagious laugh!

Speaking of laughter, during my high school years when I participated in plays, my director wanted my Mom to come to every performance because he knew her infectious laugh would stir laughter in others even if the play itself was subpar.

 

Besides laughing, Mom also loved hugging and kissing the people she loved. Often unsuspecting loved ones left her presence carrying her special brand of a hot pink lipstick kiss mark on their cheek.

Mom’s youngest great grand daughter, Maya

 

I think Mom wanted to escape this world of pain and sorrow and go to the place Jesus prepared for her. So she focussed on Heaven. I am so grateful she taught me about Jesus at a very young age. He is the ONLY reason I am able to stand before you today and can speak to you at this time.

I was extremely close to my mother for many reasons and I’ve been asking Jesus for years to prepare me for the day when He called her home. I know there are bawling sessions ahead… had a few already but she is no longer suffering and I know I will see her again. But I have also had some laughing sessions as I remember so many funny memories of her. I hope that in the days to come you will remember her smile, her laugh and her hugs because she truly was a unique individual and will be missed.

Last lucid pic of Mom and me
Christmas day 2017
She crossed over to Heaven New Years Day 2018

 

In one hour we will commit her physical body to the grave but the real Romayne is dancing on the streets of gold with Jesus next to her pink mansion!

God bless us, everyone!

Shine on from Heaven Mom!

karan k