Category Archives: Creative Genius

Spicy Life

“It’s so much easier to pray for a Bore than to go and see one.”
C.S. Lewis “Letters to Malcolm”

Got any interesting routines in your life? Most of us have at least morning routines to help us get our day started. Alarm. A cup of coffee or tea. A Shower. Brush teeth. Get dressed. etc. I usually throw in a few stretches to start pumping the blood before I don my work uniform.

Routines can be extremely helpful when attempting to maintain a time schedule. But routines can also be a detriment. The problem with routines are they can become. . . routine. Yeah, they become so automatic that we may not even consider them routine but a part of who we are. That ‘part’ can becoming boring.

Do you think of yourself as boring? Do you feel bored?  Do others shy away from you at social gatherings? If so, you may have stumbled into the rut of the routine, operating mechanically, without passion or conscious thought. The longer you keep your routines, the more enslaved by them you become. You can morph into a boor. Is this what you want?

Consider God and His consistent love affair with variety. He spills unending assortments into our world through color, shapes, sounds, seasons, creatures, food, topography, emotions, plants, and so on constituting an entire universe exploding with diversity.

Flower fields of color—San Diego, CA

“Variety is the very spice of life” a familiar phrase written by English poet William Cowper in his work entitled “The Task’. Fifteenth century dramatist Aphra Behn stated the same thought this way, “Variety is the soul of pleasure.”

Maybe its time to change things up a bit? Explore a new interest or hobby? Visit someone you haven’t seen for a long time? Try new foods? Take the scenic route from time to time. Whatever you have to do to break the monotonous spell of the routine. Unless of course, you enjoy being bored and possibly boring?

If you sense you could be boring or a boor and you wish you were different, here are a few tips that may help:

Try photography
  1. Read more— magazines of various types, books, newspapers etc. The more interesting and diverse issues you can converse about the more interesting you will be perceived. You will no longer fear discussions when you have new information to share.
  2. Develop multiple hobbies. Start trying new things you may never have considered in the past. You might be surprised to find enjoyment from an unlikely source.
  3. Explore new places even if it starts close to home. Just follow your nose to unfamiliar areas and then widen your circumference of exploration as time and finances allow.
  4. Challenge yourself to do one spontaneous thing each week, even if it seems silly. Example; Buy an outfit that is totally unlike anything else you own whether in style or color. Or sign up for lessons of some sort like dance or cooking or ask a friend to teach you a skill they have.
Dance classes?

I hope you choose to FLURISH in variety rather than relegate yourself to routine!

Shine on. . .
karan k

Love the Alps! Have you seen them?

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.” Ecclesiastes 3:11-13 New International Version

Breaking the Chains of Loneliness, part IV: Lonely No More

Transformed

“So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord–who is the Spirit–makes us more and more like Him as we are changed into His glorious image.” II Corinthians 3:18 New Living translation

Do we see, really see the glory of God? It’s here all around us if we look with eyes of faith. Study the planets, the animal kingdom or the workings of the human body. His glory covers every inch of anything we can see, feel and hear plus all the unseen as well. Look deeper. Ask Him to show you His glory. He will. Why wouldn’t we want to know this truly awesome God on an intimate level?! What in this life is more important?

Explore His creative genius

Dating God regularly in various arenas of our world not only renews our mindset from lonely glumness to powerful praise and purpose, it also converts our character. Time with Him anywhere reshapes our character to reflect Him. We begin to become like Him in our hearts.

As this reworking process changes us on the inside, the results will show on the outside. We begin to express His character traits of kindness, faithfulness, love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, gentleness and self-control in our daily dealings with others. It is a lifelong dating process to become like the object of our affection, Jesus Christ, God’s only son. He is the exact representation of God on earth.

In 2010 psychologist Robert Zajonc and his team from the University of Michigan found truth in the old belief that married couples look alike.  He found that close couples tend to mimic each other’s facial expressions, developing the same muscles and over time begin to look alike.

Do you recognize this couple? They met in 1922 and married in 1926. They worked together as a comedy team in vaudeville, radio, movies and tv for almost 40 years.

George Burns and Gracie Allen married 38 years

This is exactly what we want to do with God. We want to spend time with Him studying His ways and imitating Him. Working with Him, laughing with Him, and learning with Him moment by precious moment.  In time, we will begin to look like Him.

 

Reflecting our great GOD in turn makes us quite attractive. If we display His attributes freely people will be drawn to us. Given enough time with Him to transform us, we will have more friends than we may be able to handle. Loneliness will be a thing of the past. God will fill our hearts. Those full hearts will attract others and voila, Lonely No More!

 

Consider Enoch in Genesis 5:23 and 24. “Enoch lived 365 years, walking in close fellowship with God. Then one day he disappeared, because God took him.” New Living translation

He dated God so intensely that one day God just took him away to heaven with Him. Enoch never experienced death. When you’re in dating mode you give every moment your best shot. You’re attentive and all in. Being aware of His presence is only the beginning. Enoch knew this. He chased after God and was not lonely.

“To walk with God, is to set God always before us, to act as always under His eye. It is constantly to care, in all things to please God, and in nothing to offend Him. It is to be followers of Him as dear children.” Matthew Henry concise commentary on Genesis 5:24

So do you want to remain a Lonely heart or Lonely No More? Try dating God and watch things change. Get started asap.

Shine on. . .
karan k

Beach Beckoning

 

“Those who go down to the sea in ships, who do business on great waters, they see the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the deep.”
Psalm 104:23+24 New King James version

 

So here it is the beginning of summer on the east coast of America. Swarms of people will hit the beaches along the coastline in the next few months while the temperatures hover high. Some people dream of beach living all year long. Are you one of them? What do you look forward to when you get there?

Sitting under a bright umbrella with a new book? Strolling on warm squishy sand at sunset? Breathing the salt infused air swirling around your skin? Combing the beach at sunrise in search of the perfect shell? Riding the waves on a surf or boogie board? Building sand castles along the shoreline? Jumping through the crashing waves?

Destin Beach

Do you have a favorite beach spot? Tell us where it is. Beaches have inspired endless paintings and songs. They seem to be a place that awaken love and deep thought. Perhaps that’s intentional?

 

There’s something mysterious and powerful about the rolling waves of the mighty bodies of water no matter where they are located. Endless spools of water rush toward us and then away. The moon and sun pull and push in a perpetual gravitational dance. Friction forever forcing corals and rock to yield pieces of themselves to another purpose, the sands on the beach.

What would the beach be without sand? Uncomfortable! I’ve been to beaches where the shoreline is stony and rocky. Stones hurt to walk across and hard and lumpy to sit upon unless you were prepared with a beach chair. Not a pleasant experience for this east coast girl who is used to sandy softness.

 

Love and deep thought on the sand? Next time you find yourself beckoned to the beach spend some time meditating. Focus  on the awesome wonder of our Father who created the entire beach concept. Here’s a passage to ponder to get you started;

“How precious are Your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!” Psalm 139:17 & 18 New Living translation

Lots of sand on the beach. Can we even fathom that His thoughts about us outnumber the sand? Mind boggling. His love for us runs so much deeper than any ocean He created.
“For He commands and raises the stormy wind, which lifts up the waves of the sea.”
Psalm 104:25 New King James version

Shine on. . .
karan k

 

 

 

Needful Phix-ation

Dogwood Trees ca. 2001 Tokyo, Japan
Dogwood Trees

Is your life traveling by at the speed of light? One day slips into the next and all of a sudden we are beginning a new month? How did the last month disappear without your notice?

I have experienced these warp speeds throughout my life because I like to keep busy but once in awhile I gotta force my foot to step on the brake.

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Sometimes life gets so hectic and stressful even doing good things. We find ourselves in a constant whirl of busy activity. The needs of the many scream louder than our own . Somehow each need around us SEEMS most important and urgent. Our own inner needs are overlooked and sink like lead into the abyss of neglect.

Our souls, hearts, minds and bodies need care if we desire to continue serving others fulfilling the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19 & 20. Otherwise, the crash and burn is only a lap or two down the raceway of life.

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I  know it’s NEEDFUL to pull myself and my mind away from all the pressing things of the day whether they be good, bad or mundane. I must choose to follow the advice of the Apostle Paul in his tiny book of Philippians chapter 4 verse 8;

“And now dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. ‘PHIX’ your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and LOVELY, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” New Living translation

So how do we do we do that? How do we clear our minds and rejuvenate?

It’s time for a NEEDFUL PHIX-ATION. Focusing on PHI-lippians 4:8 and the word lovely. What lovely things surround you? Can you ‘phix’ your mind on them?

Beautiful Song Birds
Beautiful Song Birds

Listen more:

I notice everyday about 5:10am or so the birds begin singing and chattering outside my window. Robins, Sparrows, Finches and Cardinals each sing a different song. Doesn’t matter if it’s raining or clear, they’re active and communicating. I always find it a cheery sound even when I may wish to be sleeping at that hour. I take a moment or two to listen and enjoy the loveliness; grateful I’m not on a farm with a resident Rooster.:)

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So much exuberance in our own back yards like the spring flowers  peeking up through the grass.  Bright colored tulips in rainbow shades adorn sidewalks and fences. Yellow and white daffodils huddle together in flower beds adding their own brilliance to the palette of my neighborhood.

Taking a stroll around the block can take  only a few minutes from your day. The benefits of soaking in some fresh air and lovely sights are well worth the time.

What flowers do you see in your corner of the world? When is the last time you took time to look? To really examine their beauty?

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Sniff more:

And the fragrance, don’t forget to check for that. When you find a scent you enjoy, inhale deeply and let the natural aroma intoxicate your senses. I love finding Lilac and Honeysuckle bushes. Such sweet smells. Invigorates the senses and definitely helps in the de-stressing process.

Enjoy more:

Another favorite event of the season are the blooming trees, especially the Dogwood. Pink and white petals delicate enough to float on the air it seems. Some areas even boast red Dogwood trees. Any Dogwood is a lovely marvel to behold. I always wish their season could be extended. Driving through the countryside becomes refreshing when I ‘phixate’ on the gorgeous trees instead of incessant thoughts about more pressing matters.

 

God offers lovely things for us in every season. Sights, scents, and songs to refresh and revitalize our mind, body, soul and spirit. Are we allowing them to recharge us regularly so we can pursue His assignments with renewed vigor and excitement? If we do it will allow us to  truly FLURISH while we serve.

 

Dogwood Tree, Loudon County Courthouse, Loudon, Tennessee

 

Shine on. . . and smell the roses. . .

karan k

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

SoCal Dreamin

California Dreamer
California Dreamer

“Seize life! Eat bread with gusto, Drink wine with a robust heart. Oh yes—God takes pleasure in your pleasure! Dress festively every morning. Don’t skimp on colors and scarves. Relish life with the spouse you love each and every day of your precarious life. Each day is God’s gift. It’s all you get in exchange for the hard work of staying alive. Make the most of each one. Whatever turns up, grab it and do it heartily!”

Ecclesiastes 9:7-9 The Message Bible

Of all the days to enjoy life, vacation days should be at the top of our list. Unfortunately for many, vacation time can be stressful, tiring and anything but enjoyable. The following are some thoughts I wrote while on our last vacation.

Paddle with gusto? Didn't want to fall in!
Paddle with gusto? Didn’t want to fall in!

It has been a vacation bursting with diamond days here in southern California for both my husband and myself:
We explored surfing history in Huntington Beach. Hiked to the famous Hollywood sign through the tumbling chaparral of the Santa Monica mountains. (Never do this on a hot day) Discovered renovated places like Peterson’s Automotive museum and luxuriated in Chinese massage houses in LA. We savored American cuisine at various retro diners like Norm’s and Pann’s that have sustained business since the 1950s.

I sat amazed by the magnitude of the shipping industry in Long Beach as my husband drove across the Gerald Desmond bridge. It gave him a chance to expound on the import/export trade knowledge he had of this particular port. (Gerald Desmond bridge is highlighted in the Monkee’s feature film Head several times throughout the movie—excuse me, I happen to be a long time Monkees fan)

I meditated at Wayfarers Chapel while Dwight photographed breathtaking vistas. We were entertained by street performers in Santa Monica, not to mention a bit of shopping at the Promenade and feasting at a personable Greek cafe’. Oh for the love of spanakopita!

Throughout the week both of us captured on film glorious sunsets at various beaches. We especially delighted in the swelling surf at the Wedge in Newport Beach, CA. Quite a spectacle. Reminded me of a mini tsunami.

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Dwight attended the Costa Mesa car show while I inadvertently met some new friends at a Jack in the Box fast food joint. Conversation flowed as if we had known each other for years. Dwight joined us and we made plans to see them for a local street fair and open mike night of Blues.

 

Laguna Beach
Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach is a favorite spot but being fair skinned finding shade here is a challenge. I am currently sitting in a gazebo on Laguna Cliffs Drive in Heisler Park, California. I’m sharing the shade with a clan of hungry Japanese who have laid out a banquet on the floor. I think they plan to stay for the day and I wonder if they are annoyed by my presence? It’s a public park and one of the benefits of living in a free country. Which is an unbelievably beautiful thing that I often take for granted.

Worshipped at Saddleback church in Lake Forest and then relaxed with family in Ladera Ranch. Catching up on all the news and lots of hugs and laughter.

Crossed off some bucket list items such as learning to surf (See SURFS UP? post) and paddle boarding. Both required core strength and balance. In the process we met another set of new friends, what a surprise blessing. The entire trip smacked of HIS divine presence and joy! It was all almost too good to be true. Made me think of a quote from a famous Olympic champion;

Eric Liddell 1924 Olympics
Eric Liddell 1924 Olympics

“I believe God made me for a purpose, but He also made me fast! And when I run I feel HIS pleasure.”
Eric Liddell 1924 Olympic Gold   400 meter run

Chariots of Fire 1981 movie — Watch it if you can.

All of us were created for His purposes and His pleasure. When we fulfill His dreams for us, we enjoy life on a level far above what the world alone can offer and HIS pleasure surrounds us. . .  it’s not enough to simply do  the right stuff but to fully enjoy ourselves while doing them—-this is the height of FLURISHING, to feel HIS pleasure! My California Dreamer and I felt it during this vacation. It’s both satisfying and intoxicating. Blessings on your next vacation!

Shine on. . .
karan k

Personal Note: Look for Part II of Devilish Detonation soon!

Black Rain Fallout Comimg SOON!
Black Rain Fallout Comimg SOON!

Wayfarers Welcome

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“For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see His invisible qualities—-His eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” Romans 1:20 New Living translation

So we are traveling around in southern California for ten glorious days. Each day is a new adventure as we explore a different section of my husband’s favorite piece of land on earth. Today we happen to be at a place I have wanted to see for several years. It’s called Wayfarers Chapel. It’s a place welcoming weary travelers to stop and rest. To meditate on the beauty of God and His creation of which we are all a part.
Wayfarers Chapel sits high above the Pacific ocean in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. Built in 1951 it’s essentially a modern glass chapel designed and built by Lloyd Wright, son of American architect and innovator Frank Lloyd Wright.

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The chapel overlooks the ocean and was built into a grove of young Redwood trees. It’s an example of organic architecture where the trees grow to become part of the sanctuary and help display the sacredness of the Almighty architect.

A solemn experience awaits as I quietly sit down on a narrow bench inside the chapel. Calming waters trickle down a rock formation fountain off to my left. Stone steps engraved with the Lord’s prayer guide the eye upward toward the expansive circular glass window and ceiling. Through the ceiling a wooden cross cleverly looms in sight above the tower next to the chapel. A modern marvel built for the Makers glory.

I could spend hours reclining on the soft carpet like grass surrounding the chapel,  just contemplating the goodness of God. Reflecting on the Bird of Paradise and other exotic flowers flourishing and adorning the grounds as the ocean rolls ceaselessly below. Unfortunately, many seem to visit this gorgeous place only as tourists taking selfies, not that I am above that, but there is so much more here if we look a little closer. Even if you are not able to experience Wayfarers Chapel, the Lords beauty is all around you. Take a careful, conscious look and drink in the divine wherever you are! His glory commands attention.

Tower chimes ring every quarter
Tower chimes ring every quarter

“I wanted particularly to allow those trees and those trunks to be seen and the space beyond and into infinity to be observed, so those who sat in the sanctuary would perceive the grandeur of space out beyond and around them.”
Lloyd Wright

Shine on. . .
karan k

Father of ALL Lights

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom can be no variation, neither shadow that is cast by turning.” James 1:17 American Standard version of the Bible

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Some theologians think the term Father of lights refers only to heavenly lights such as the sun, moon and stars. The Amplified version of the Bible says “Father of all (that gives) light. This interested me as I began considering some tiny natural twinkle lights. Read on.

 

Today the first month of summer quickly rolls to a close. I feel compelled to mention one of my favorite light givers. Pennsylvanians experience a magical phenomena shared by many other areas of our world. Across meadows and yards, in cornfields and forests the sun fades slowly and darkness begins to cover the landscapes. Enchanting teeny lights flash and flicker all around us like nature’s personal celebration of summer. In these parts we call them Lightning Bugs or Fireflies. In Jamaica they’re called Blinkies. Other names include: Moon Bugs, Golden Sparklers, Fire Devils and  in Japan, Hotaru.

Synchronous fireflies of Smoky Mountains actually have a tourist season
Synchronous fireflies of Smoky Mountains actually have a tourist season

Glimpsing Lightning Bugs the first time each June is a delight catching me off guard almost every year. Not only do they announce the arrival of summer but they remind me to slow down life’s pace. Watching firefly activity on warm summer evenings stirs carefree memories of childhood and deeper ponderings on the detailed creativity of our God. I am sure we all have fond memories of these delicate creatures. Consider a few facts about them:

  • They are beetles not flies
  • They are nocturnal, duh:)
  • Found on almost every continent
  • Some species do not light up
  • They flirt and communicate with each other using various flashing patterns
  • They come in different light up colors: yellow, light red, green, bluish green and orange
  • Some are aquatic and begin their lives in the water
  • Some species lay eggs that glow
  • Part of their survival is that they taste disgusting to predators
  • Light produced by the firefly is the most efficient light ever made, almost 100% of the energy in their chemical reaction is emitted as cool light.
  • Some species are cannabalistic:(
  • Firefly chemicals have been studied for medical and scientific purposes to fight disease and to be utilized in spacecraft.
  • They are becoming endangered due to pesticides, fertilizers and light pollution

Wait! Light pollution? Have you ever heard of too much light? Fireflies once had uninterrupted forests and fields to live in and mate but now development and increased use of exterior lights threatens their survival. Who knew? How can we help these tiny light bearers God created?25964344_5600d48893_o

Simply turn off exterior lights if you don’t need them, porch lights, garden lights, deck lights etc. I am not an environmental activist by any means but I also want to take care of the world our Father gave us. This is one minuscule way to help a small creature we may take for granted. I believe no matter what you call them, we all have fond memories of these tiny living lights. And I happen to believe they hold a special place in God’s heart too.

 

See Genesis 1:26-28 and later in chapter 2:15 “And the Lord took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and guard and keep it.” Amplified Bible

Care for His creation where you can and enjoy all the sights, sounds and smells of summer. Bask in His loving gifts. . .

Shine on,
karan k