First Crush: Platforms and Earth Shoes

DIBLASI’S sandwich shop. . . I’d been waiting for this night for months. My best friend and I ate cheesesteaks and french fries while planning our strategy for the evening. We walked back to her place after eating and changed into our outfits for the evening.

It was the night of our middle school dance. I chose snug fitting bell bottoms and platform shoes paired with an off white peasant top embroidered with multi colored threads around the edges of the neck and sleeves. I decided on an au naturalle look and let my long strawberry blonde hair flow freely across my shoulders and down my back. This was as good as I could possibly look. I felt confident. I did not want to be a wall flower. My mother told me “You got a mouth, learn how to use it.” So I determined to ask all the cute popular guys to dance in case no one asked me.

When we arrived at the school the outside portico buzzed with preteen energy. Making our way through the crowd and into the cafeteria, we found a good spot where we could see everything. Soon our group of friends rushed over and everyone talked about who they hoped would ask them to dance.

The first song began pulsating through the speaker system S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y NIGHT! Saturday Night by the Bay City Rollers got the party started. I watched as mostly girls flung themselves across the dance floor. A group of jocks across the room laughed as they talked among themselves totally caught up in each other. Most of them were on my mental dance list.

 

Then I saw the kid from my homeroom hangin around the entrance. He  wore brown plastic glasses that were usually smudged and earth shoes. I tried to avoid his eyes. He talked to me a lot at lunchtime about tv shows we both liked and some of the bullies in our class. He was forever getting picked on by bigger guys. He always seemed to enjoy my sympathy.

First slow song began. “Mandy” by Barry Manilow, not a favorite but I decided not to waste any time. As I walked across the room toward the first guy on my list I could see the homeroom kid watching me. I ignored him and arrived at my destination. I asked the first guy to dance. He said ok and out we went. He hunched over me in that awkward way and I kept my eyes closed most of the time. When I opened them, I could see the homeroom kid continuing to watch.

The next song was “The Hustle”, you know, Do the Hustle! All my friends wanted to dance since we learned the steps in gym class earlier that year. So we went out as a group and all of sudden homeroom kid comes out to dance. He starts movin and groovin around the floor. He wasn’t John Travolta but he was pretty darn good. We were all looking at each other like “what the heck”? I was amazed. He just wove in and out between my friends and I. It was a blast.

Do the Hustle!

Every slow dance I successfully got a different jock to dance with me. All the fast dances I was out with my friends and the kid from homeroom joined us. KC and the Sunshine band, the BeeGees and Elton John tunes carried us through the night. And then the last dance was announced.

It was a slow dance and I had one guy left on my list, the most popular guy in our class, tall dark and handsome. On my way over to ask him, I was intercepted by the homeroom kid.

He saked me to dance and my heart sank. I didn’t want to dance the last dance with the homeroom kid. But the haunting voice of Eric Carmen singing “All By Myself”struck my heart a crucial blow and  I gave up my plan and said yes. My friends all danced with partners they dreamed of all year and shook their heads at me. But just like his fast dancing, the homeroom guy knew how to slow dance in a way those jocks had no clue about. The jocks were stiff and awkward, but he was fluid and confident. I sensed a genuine caring within him even at age 12.

When the song came to an end he grabbed my hand and pulled me toward the exit before the mass of middle schoolers exploded into departure mode behind us. We ran across the portico and stood against one of the pillars in a corner. He took off his glasses and gave me the biggest longest kiss sending me headlong into my first crush. All I kept thinking about was what my mother said ’cause This guy “had a mouth and he sure knew how to use it!”

It was an unforgettable lesson in not judging a book by its cover.

February 27, 2018

With God’s help I faced my fear of public speaking and  successfully told this story at this months Story Slam in Lancaster city earlier tonight. It was a hoot!

Shine on. . .

karan k

 

 

Common Cents In Plain Sight

Teeny Tale  from the Booth

“Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord.” Psalm 4:4 + 5 English Standard Version

My cuddliest pet peeve on my job as a toll collector is when a customer pulls up and hands me their ticket and money together with hidden change on the bottom. It’s almost always a change chasing moment, with coins rolling under the car or down the lane. Since speed and efficiency are important to waiting customers, chasing dropped change is an unwelcome interruption to traffic flow. And sometimes the change dropping customers seem the most irritated by the delay.

Have you ever dropped change during a transaction at a toll booth or in a grocery store line? What are your thoughts and experiences? Did you become frustrated?

In these instances I have to breathe a prayer asking for extra grace.

Otherwise I get so frustrated wondering how they expect the collector to know what they are being handed. Common sense dictates placing the change in PLAIN SIGHT on top of the bills when handing it to someone if you want to avoid  chasing change. Right?

Proper way to hand change

 

But how often do we expect people to know things about us that just like the coins are also hidden? We think because we know something or feel something that everyone else does or should as well. We think it should be obvious to others like it is to us. And when we don’t get the reaction we expect, frustration can easily occur. At times we feel insulted thinking, if they really cared they would KNOW this or that. Ever experience that?

It can be especially painful when dealing with someone close to you. A family member, a close friend or especially a spouse. We MUST remember NO ONE can read our minds except GOD. Period! You must fight the urge to feel offended. Or the urge to entertain condescending thoughts (possibly accompanied by the dreaded eye roll—-I am so guilty of this).

Are you are tired of being disappointed? Tired of being frustrated? Then join me to bust up this hidden block to the FLURISHING life. Carefully consider the expectations you place on those who share a close relationship with you and during daily interactions with strangers.

Endeavor to put things in PLAIN SIGHT by;

  1. Consciously questioning the fairness of your expectations.
  2.  Considering others may have a totally different view from your own.
  3. Choosing to communicate clearly and thoroughly.
  4. Covering others offenses real or imaginary in love.

These practices if done consistently can help you FLURISH and avoid frustration.

Hand out love wherever you call home!

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” I Peter 4:8 New International Version
Shine on. . .
karan k

HOLY SPIRIT, Where Art THOU?

“Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20 New Living Translation

Our daughter finished high school in 2012. For her graduation gift we sent her to Germany for six weeks to visit her foreign exchange family she met the year before in Bavaria. The plan was for us to follow after the first 3 weeks and stay nearby in a local pension or what we would call a bed and breakfast.

The first thing we noticed is that Bavaria is a place that truly looks like it was ripped from the pages of a fairytale. Quaint little villages with tiny houses and shops in varied bright colors nestled here and there along cobblestone streets. Baskets hanging from lamp posts lined the streets and window boxes on the cottages all brimming over with beautiful blooms of pink, white and purples. It felt surreal.

The bed and breakfast where we stayed oozed adorability. Everything smaller in size than what we were used to  but clean and tidy with fresh flowers daily. The doors and walls were heavy, old and wooden but kept in tiptop shape.

Heavy Bavarian breakfast

The food the inn keeper served delighted our eyes as well as our stomachs. Eggs with the deepest orange yolks I ever saw, fresh sausages, pancake crepe creations, fresh milk, various bacons and a score of pastries laid out neatly on our table every morning. (Across the street was the town bakery and the Bavarian people pick up fresh baked delicacies every morning.) Talk about Foodie Heaven, this was it! Everything naturally organic because they didn’t use preservatives in Germany.

Bavarian bread basket

We visited many of the famous sights as well as some out of the way places with the German family who were very gracious to show us around for three full weeks. So many wonderful memories and countless cross-cultural experiences. It far exceeded any expectations I had of what I perceived of Germany.

Only one thing dampened the joy of this Bavarian Odyssey. Everywhere we went the people seemed tragically indifferent toward God. The towering ornate cathedrals reeked of deadness. Each one we visited felt cold, just a lifeless shell of an architectural marvel. My heart ached for the German people at this point. The beauty of God’s creation surrounded them and yet they did not have eyes to see. The majesty of the Alps alone sent thrills throughout my entire being evoking praise and gratitude to my Creator God. Not so of the people I encountered. They did not give God much thought let alone credit.

While touring one cathedral our German guide pointed out the beautifully carved and painted ceiling. I noticed a dove sculpted into the eaves and asked about it. He explained the dove represented the Holy Spirit.

“You know that you are God’s sanctuary and that God’s Spirit lives in you, don’t you?” I Corinthians 3:16 International Standard Version

Happy to hear this I asked how the Holy Spirit interacts with him. He said the Holy Spirit is carved into the high ceiling to symbolize how far away He is and that man cannot reach Him. I explained I have a very different view about the Holy Spirit based on biblical passages and my own experience with Him. The guide listened intently but could not grasp the idea of the Holy Spirit living in a human heart as I told him I believe.

I wonder if this idea about the Holy Spirit being far away is a commonly held belief by Germans? Without  knowing what the scriptures teach and experiencing the presence of God through His Holy Spirit in the world and in my heart, I suppose I would be indifferent and apathetic about God too. But knowing the truth certainly does set one free to experience the glory and majesty of our Great God!

“And because we are His children, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, ‘Abba, Father.'” Galatians 4:6 New Living translation

Please pray for revival to spread throughout Germany that they may have a desire to read the Bible for themselves and see what they are missing. That they may receive the truth and discover that they too can know God personally, that He is not faraway but desires to live in their hearts through His precious Holy Spirit!

Shine on. . .

karan k

 

Call the Midwife!

“Never trust anyone completely but God. Love people, but put your full trust in God.” —Lawrence Welk

I admit I know very little about Midwives. I did try to watch the popular tv drama “Call the Midwife” once but I was too squeamish to finish even one episode. But I do have a little story to share involving a Midwife.

Over 35 years ago I had a friend who was adamant about not wanting to have children. She never gave details as to why. She complained when women’s magazines printed articles on children and parenting. She felt they over focussed on childrearing and took personal offense. I listened but didn’t know what to say that would not offend her further. So I remained silent and let her vent whenever she felt the need.

This same friend also claimed to be an Agnostic. She believed there was not enough evidence for or against the existence of God. We had many discussions over the years about our differing belief systems.

In the late 80s she divorced her husband and later remarried. Imagine my surprise when she told me in early 1992 that she was pregnant! I couldn’t believe it!  Was this the same woman who complained at length about children?

Nine months later as she gave birth in a local hospital she experienced a change of heart and mind. Seeing the birth of her daughter was proof  enough to her that God does indeed exist. She adored her baby and became a loving mother at age 34.

Shortly after her daughter turned one, she moved several hours away to a sparsely populated area in the North. We continued to keep in touch and I visited on occasion when time afforded a road trip. I encouraged her and her budding faith as often as I could.

In 1995 she told me she would be having another child the next spring. This time she wanted a more natural child birth experience at home with a Midwife. I admired her for her courage.

Months rolled by and one day I got a frantic call from my friend. Her delivery time was approaching and her husband was out of state on a business trip. She was scared because the only Midwife in her secluded mountain area had taken a full-time job and could only assist with delivering babies on certain days during certain hours. She asked me to pray that the baby would come when the Midwife was available.

So I took her urgent request to my ladies Bible study group and asked them to join me in praying. Now I must tell you these dear women loved the Lord. They were older mentors for me and each of them had gone through childbirth themselves, some several times. I was the only one in the group who never experienced pregnancy.

So when I made my request, they snickered. One of them even said, “A baby will come when it’s good and ready.” I could tell they thought my prayer request was foolish. But I was not deterred.

I knew that our great God cared about my friend. HE cared about the fears that were trying to dampen her faith. HE cared about her struggle. I knew HE alone was in sovereign control over the exact moment that baby was to be born. So I prayed for the baby to come when the Midwife was available, believing, inspite of what the other ladies thought. I trusted in HIS best for my friend.

What do you think happened?

When her labor came and proper dilation occurred she called the Midwife. By the grace of God the Midwife had just finished her shift and was able to attend to my friend immediately. My friend successfully delivered a healthy baby boy to join her toddler daughter. Her faith was strengthened by this specific answer to prayer and so was mine!

So never let anyone discourage your faith in God’s care for you! Trust HIM above all others, even those you respect and your faith will FLURISH!

 

 

“It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.” Psalm 118:8 New King James Bible

Shine on. . .

karan k

 

Supernatural Snow Day

“Like the cold of snow in the time of harvest is a faithful messenger to those who send him; he refreshes the soul of his masters.” Proverbs 25:13 English Standard version

yeeha!

 

If you happen to live in cooler climates, you might be well acquainted with the term “snow day”. Those of us who grew up in the Northeastern area of the US probably remember listening anxiously to the radio or tv as kids early in the morning waiting for the announcement of school cancellations due to weather conditions.

Now our own kids or grandkids look forward to “snow days” just as we did—A free day with no school. Of course in the scheme of things, a snow day was followed later by a “make up” day to replace the required school hours that were lost during the “snow day”. But kids don’t care about such future details.

The good news for us as adults is we don’t have to wait for a snowstorm to grant us a “free snow day”. We  can schedule our own every now and then. We can take some time to just BREATHE. We can put all the responsibilities on hold for a day. It will recharge our minds, bodies and souls.

We also are not forced into a “make up” day. We just trust and expect our Heavenly Father to help us with anything that piled up during our day with Him. I have found Him to be faithful each and every time I do this to help me catch up on whatever work I have. It’s a supernatural thing!

Relaxing with JESUS

The trick is to actually TAKE a “free day”. To entrust your myriad of responsibilities to the Lord who loves you for one 24 hour period and not fret over them. HE actually expects us to do this once a week not once in a blue moon. HE gave us the Sabbath to refresh us to better serve and worship Him. HE knows we need it it whether we realize it or not.  (Luke 4:16 for any desiring New Testament proof—Jesus is our ultimate example) We need to incorporate this into our weekly lives no matter what our work schedules dictate.

I have worked weekends for 29 years now and it has been a challenge to take my “snow days” or Sabbath days. Sometimes corporate worship with other believers cannot take place the same day as my “snow day” time with Him due to my work schedule, but that’s ok.  He sees my heart and knows my desire is to be with Him so I proactively plan to do it as regularly as I can. This will be different for each of us.

Let HIM melt your heart of stone

For many years I didn’t carve out a 24 hour Sabbath for myself and burn out would overtake me. When I was young it took longer to burn out but now I grow tired faster which is actually a blessing since it forces me to physically rest.   Illness sometimes created forced “snow days”. But now I want to be proactive and obedient to HIS command. I don’t always do too well but I keep trying because I know HIS ways are higher than mine so I trust HIM rather than what I think or my schedule dictates.

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9 English Standard Version

Our world is so busy and everything seems important. The more complicated our world becomes the more we NEED weekly undivided time set apart with Jesus in addition to daily communication with Him.  We need to rest, to refresh and to refuel to FLURISH!

February 2018

 

Today I’m taking a “snow day” supernaturally as well as physically!! When was your last “snow day”?

Shine on. . .
karan k

 

Sent from my iPad

 

Prayer, Paper, Passion

“The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” Michelangelo

Without a dream, goals are rather useless. Completed tasks need a common target to make the most of each shot.

I am not one to make New Years resolutions but I do like to make goals for each new year. Time slips by so quickly and I want to accomplish things while my health and energy allow it. Carpe Diem if you will. SEIZE THE DAY!

I first heard that term in 1989 while watching a new movie with a new friend. Since that day I’ve watched that bittersweet movie many times. Dead Poet’s Society stars Robin Williams as a new English teacher at a stuffy boys prep school who attempts to teach using very unorthodox methods. One of the ideas he promotes is “Carpe Diem” a phrase from the Roman poet Horace, literally translated “Pluck the Day”. However, the term “Seize the day” has become the popular translation in our modern times.

Merriam-Webster defines carpe diem as a term of exclamation “used to urge someone to make the most of the present time and give little thought to the future.”

Now I like the idea of seizing the day but to attain goals you also have to reach into the future. You need to make some plans that become steps into the unknown toward achieving whatever goal you desire.

So what goals are on your horizon? What do you want to accomplish before 2018 closes? As we begin the second month of this fresh new year, ponder and pray about your passions. Then make a plan. Write it out on paper.  With God’s leading guidance there are no limits.

My year is turning into one of developing and practicing speaking skills. I jumped into Toast Masters last month. One goal now achieved. {I had been putting it off for months due to fear}. But I promised Jesus I would Trust and Obey. . . It turned out to be a fantastic experience! I hope to join and attend regularly, speaking as often as I am allowed.

Just today I received an invitation to join a friend to try a story telling competition at the end of this month. And the ginormous goal for this year is a Ladies Conference in Texas. Guess who the keynote speaker will be for two days? I covet your prayers as I move toward that goal in faith. I want to do my best for my King and His Kingdom here on earth.

So again, I ask you; WHAT IS YOUR DREAM? WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS? HAVE YOU MADE SOME PLANS? HAVE YOU COMMITTED THEM TO PAPER? Share with us and may we encourage each other.

Don’t delay! Seize the Day!

 

“. . . Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times. Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants.”
Ephesians 5:16 & 17 The Message Bible

Shine on . .

karan k