Category Archives: LIFE LESSONS

Post Conference Reflection Ramblings Part I: Learning to Fight Fear

“We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.”

II Corinthinthians 4:7

DO YOU HAVE TROUBLE FACING CHALLENGES? PERHAPS YOU ARE FROZEN IN FEAR? I  CAN TOTALLY RELATE:

 

For months I strained over how to compile notes and story threads for two hour-long sessions to be presented at the women’s conference earlier this month in Tyler, TX. It was the first time I’d be speaking for more than an hour and I wasn’t quite sure how to go about organizing all the information. I literally had scattered notes covering an entire dining room table. My inadequate organizational skills stared me in the face.. This was new territory for me and a bit scary.

fear-uncertainty-doubt

I don’t usually have trouble filling time talking but I wanted my words for this conference to be edifying to the heart and soul of each woman in attendance. I didn’t want to waste time with my own vain babblings. I wanted the precious Holy Spirit to speak through me.

I prayed for guidance. I asked for courage because what I would share was very personal and painful. Simply acting as keynote speaker terrified me if I took my eyes off Jesus. But I remember a song from Audioadrenaline’s 1996 BLOOM recording called “Walk on Water”. The line that repeated in my head is:

“If I Keep My Eyes On JESUS I Can Walk On Water!” Taken from Matthew 14:29.
I had to remember I can do anything HE calls me to do IF I keep my eyes on Him, further backed up by the Apostle Paul’s words to the Philippians in chapter 4 verse 13: “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” New Living Translation

I persisted in asking God to help me and little by little as I trusted Him, the presentation began taking shape. Over the weeks in April and May He gave me idea after idea to keep the audience engaged and remain interested. The table in our dining room slowly cleared and actually looked organized with neat stacks of paper.

My husband worked tirelessly on a two part powerpoint presentation involving movie clips and stills. He stayed up late on work nights just to perfect everything into a professional looking presentation. I so appreciate his tech talents.

Just before leaving for Texas, onslaughts of fear and anxiety, dread and depression took turns tormenting my mind and emotions. I had to fight back because I knew the more opposition the enemy threw at me the greater the need was for someone to hear my message at the conference.

I leaned heavily on God’s words to Joshua in the first chapter of the book bearing his name, verse 9:

“This is my command— be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” New Living Translation

And from God’s word in Revelation:
“And they defeated him (satan, the accuser) by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony.” Revelation 12:11a New Living Translation

I had to trust God that He wanted to use my testimony, no matter how inadequate I felt. I had to trust Him and not give in to any fear, doubt or worry. We boarded the plane flying West and the adventure began.

 

The Pastor and his wife of “The Lords House” in Tyler, Texas welcomed us into their home. They encouraged me with their enthusiasm and I continued in faith.

My husband gave advice and suggestions to tweak the final version which we got to practice once with the sound system at the church. I barely got through it. The near 100 degree temperatures and traveling had left me exhausted. Even my dear husband’s face expressed the same conclusion— it was flat. But I had made up my mind by now that God wanted to use my message.

Deep inside a still small voice assured me all would be well the next day when the conference began.

To be continued. . .

Shine on. . .

karan k

 

 

The Coffee Compromise

Quote from a regular customer on the pike: “Try Turkish Coffee— It wakes up the camel!” Klassen’s say “Proceed with caution.”

 

How many coffee lovers out there? I happen to live with one. Dwight truly enjoys his coffee. Just a smidge of cream in his medium roast and he’s good to go. Vanilla Lattes at Star Bucks, Cappuccino at Turkey Hill convenience store and regular coffee from Dunkin Donuts. Those are his staples. Usually three cups a day. One in the morning before work. One a few hours later from Dunkin and then one when he gets home from work but NEVER with food. However, after a meal he might have a cup as his dessert.

I struggle to understand the attraction. If I drink coffee, it’s strictly for the stimulating properties it releases, not for the sheer taste of coffee. Bleh! I gotta add stuff to it to halfway enjoy it.

Dwight’s regular “Go To” brew

I never dreamed I would drink coffee. My first experience occurred while working at a fast food restaurant. The strong brew certainly did help me work faster. I was 17 and used 11 packets of sugar to wash down a very small cup of joe. I decided quickly that practice was rather unhealthy and quit drinking coffee altogether.

Fast forward 25 years later when I met Dwight who not only loves coffee at home but also delights in frequenting coffee shops. He likes modern chain shops and quaint private shops as long as the coffee is good. He’ll hang out and read an hour or two enjoying the brew. Truly it’s one of his pastime passions.

Not wanting to rain on his coffee consumption parade during our courtship, I started sampling the accompanying pastries sold at these java establishments, much to my waistline’s chagrin.

We had delightful times together and I grew to love especially the private coffee shops brimming with character and ambience. But I also grew in size. So not a kool part of my courtship experience but one I believe is common for those of us dating during our more, shall we say, ‘mature’ years.

In time and to fit into my wedding gown, I weaned myself off pastries, though not completely mind you, and began drinking coffee with cream and most times flavored cream laden with sugar and fat. Lord have mercy on me! I continue to battle for balance in this area even more so twelve years later.

Shortly after we were married, we took a trip to Disney World so our daughter could experience it while she was young. Strolling through downtown Disney one sultry evening, Dwight and I had a full blown fight in front of a Lego sculpture. What do you think we argued about?

Lego sculpture

 

Coffee is the correct answer! His desire for a Cappucino, which probably cost $5 or so back then caused a blow up. There we stood creating a public spectacle over coffee in what some think of as the happiest place on earth! All because my values were different from his. I worried about the budget.:(

I didn’t value coffee. I could spend $5 on a dessert but could not understand $5 for a coffee. And of course I thought I was right in the sight of God and man, except for this man I married who just happened to love coffee.

It’s humorous now but sure wasn’t that night or even a long time afterward. His desire for coffee had become a sore subject between us. I daresay even a source of resentment. Praise God, in time I was able to see I was being foolish and accepted his love and enjoyment of what I considered “Rocketjuice”. I now include extra funds whenever I budget for vacation, groceries, date night etc., there needs to be “coffee money” set aside for my Beloved.

Pineapple cake and Cappuccino at CourtYard Cafe—Denver, PA

These days I relish coffee time with my husband at home relaxing in our living room or on a jaunt in discovery of a new cafe. He clearly revels in his java jive, and I’ve honestly learned to have it no other way. My corrected attitude adjustment did wonders for our leisure life together. I’m grateful that I chose to compromise my view of coffee so I could enjoy my husband while he savors his brew. Now I look forward to our adventures in coffee and the openhearted discussions which often accompany them.

Got any positive compromises you need to make?

What’s your “Go To” coffee spot?

Shine on. . .
karan k

Jet Ski Redemption

2007 Honey Moon

 

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 41:10 New International Version

Earlier this week Dwight and I had the pleasure of jet skiing on Lake Tyler in Texas. Pastor Samuel Priddy provided us with this exciting experience along with his lovely wife, Amy. I am so grateful we had this redeeming opportunity and blessed with such good friends.

2018

You see, this happened to be my fourth time on jet skis. A bay in Honolulu in 2001 marked my maiden voyage. I drove the jet ski myself with trepidation around the still water at first but became somewhat confident after an hour. Weaving in and out of the buoys and gaining speed. I loved it.

Second time I rode with someone at a local lake in Southeastern Pennsylvania. This was on a high power jet ski with an experienced driver. We zipped and zoomed across the water at higher velocities than I can imagine. I hung on and what an adrenaline rush!

Third time arrived during my honeymoon in St. Lucia. I wanted to share the thrill of the jet ski experience with my new groom. He loved motorcycles so I figured a jet ski is like riding a motorcycle in the water, right? I talked him into renting a jet ski at our Sandals resort. The problem arose when we discovered that the area where we rented to ride involved only the open sea! Not a bay, not a lake, not calm waters! The swells were about four foot that day.

My precious new husband Dwight did not tell me he was scared to death but bravely took me out onto the open sea. I smiled as I expected a similar experience as I encountered previously, anticipating the fun and exhilaration. Instead, both of us clung on for dear life as we plowed through the gathering waves. Thank GOD for life jackets because Dwight never learned to swim. My heart pounded fearing all sorts of sea creatures lurking below waiting to get a nibble on us if we capsized.

yikes!

After that harrowing episode I promised never to ask Dwight about jets skiing again. However, the desire never left my heart to someday share a positive jet ski escapade with him. So when Pastor Sam invited us to go on Lake Tyler I was so proud of Dwight for not letting past fear stop him. This time his experience was 100% different than in St. Lucia! He loved it and tore all over the lake! We had a blast!

 

By the grace of God and His goodness, the positive jet ski adventure has been redeemed! (Click on below)

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Are there events in your life that scared you in the past? Things you’ve been avoiding due to fearful memories? Let God redeem the experience. Don’t allow the enemy to steal your opportunity because of fear. Fight back with your shield of faith, fully trusting in the Lord’s care and help. Pray now for His courage to overcome past fears. When occasions present themselves, you’ll be ready to meet and enjoy the challenge in Jesus’ Name!

“I sought the Lord and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.”
Psalm 34:4 New International Version

Shine on. . .
karan k (click on below)

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Do You Need A Reminder?

Lovely Reminder

“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?” Romans 8:25 New Living Translation

The other Sunday I found myself struggling through my work day. On the PA Turnpike the toll collectors work 3 out of 4 weekends every month. Weekends are the busy traffic times so everybody works. Somehow after 29 years I have not managed to accept working weekends. I still dislike it. It feels like the rest of the world is out to play and we toll collectors are helping them on their way. Wah. Wah. Wah. Realistically, I know every job has a few negatives and I must accept it.

Besides the work related wound licking, I’ve been fighting for weeks on a personal level with strung out emotions. I function everyday but my FLURISHING feelings are just not able to push through to the surface. I know they are there because nothing has changed in my life. I remain a child of the Most High and nothing negative has touched my life. I should be enjoying all the goodness He gives.

But instead, I seem to be tired all the time and lack desire and motivation. I cannot get a handle on it. I must push myself to do everything: push to get out of bed; push to pack my lunch for work; push to go to work; push to go to gym or workout at home; push to cook supper; push to write or read anything. The only easy thing lately is going to bed.

yawn. . .

 

Some may accept this as their Modus Operandi but I do not want to live like this under a constant cloud of depression. I detest it. I want to be free to FLURISH again so I keep praying, trusting, believing that this dark cloud will lift by the grace of God. I know He’s been faithful in the past and I’m sure He has a lesson for me to learn while I slog through this difficult season.

So I continue collecting on the job this busy Sunday afternoon and a man in his forties pulls up and asks if I need something to brighten my day. Not wanting to sound as pathetic as I feel, I shrug my shoulders and smile. He reaches over and hands me a dozen beautiful red roses.

He saw hesitation on my face and explained that he had a blind date in the city. He bought flowers for her but she never showed up. He was disappointed but thought someone should get some joy out of the flowers.

I received the roses as a caring reminder from Jesus, through the hand of a stranger,  that He loves me even when I feel weak and struggling. I took them home and my husband set them up in a vase where I can see and enjoy them daily.

Are you weak and struggling too? Be encouraged, His love for you remains! Look around for His reminders.

“No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:39 New Living Translation

Shine on. . .
karan k

Sweet Read

Praising God for the ability to read 🙂

So I just finished another 12 hour shift that I honestly did not want to work but we’re short of help right now. I didn’t have a choice. When this happens I always ask  God for grace. I need it for my body to hold up and so I don’t get cranky with my customers and/or make costly mistakes. I recognize I can’t get through this on my own in a positive way. (John 15:5)  He answered my request and added a sweet something I didn’t expect.

The hours were going by saturated in grace as I refused to allow non-work as well as work related problems to agitate me. But oh how they tried.

One of them included a giant jackhammer that pounded through the concrete next to my booth all day. Reminded me of the scene in LOTR’s ” The Return of the King” where Frodo is battling the giant spider and SHE keeps trying to sting him but with added sound effects like a magnified dentist’s drill. Makes me shudder thinking about it.

Frodo battles Shelob

Anyway, later in the day  while the jack hammering continued, I began reading a book between customers. It just drew me in and I could not stop reading.  It wasn’t  necessarily an adventure story, although it was someone’s adventure. It wasn’t a steamy romance, sci-fi fantasy or crime novel. It was a self help memoir of all things.  Who  knew? The book was given to my husband by a friend. While he was finishing a current book I snagged it and finished it in record time. For me it was quite enlightening and gave my whole day a huge lift. It was a sweet read.

The power of a good read no matter the genre should not be underestimated. Have you experienced any sweet reads lately?

Reading can enhance your ability to FLURISH. It did for me today even under adverse conditions. If you haven’t read any good books for awhile, put it on your ASAP TO DO LIST. You won’t be sorry.

Shine on. . .
karan k

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

Be Prepared

 

“Being prepared has taught me to look ahead, to anticipate the unexpected, and to carefully prepare myself.” An 83 year old former boy scout.

Woman pulls up to pay her $5.35 fare with a debit card. Her account is 90 cents shy of the total. She has no cash. So I ask for her license to do an insufficient funds procedure whereby she has 10 days to pay by mail or online with an added $2 processing fee.

Not prepared?

She begins looking for her license. Meanwhile, the traffic is backing up because my coworker is on his break. She tells me she doesn’t have her license so I inform her that I must call for a trooper to ID her. She tells me she has a job interview and she’ll be late if she has to wait for a trooper. This customer was in no way prepared.

I wondered if she sensed my frustration? These type moments make me beg Jesus for more grace. I mean really. Why would anyone drive on a toll road to a job interview without money or their drivers license and expect a positive outcome? She didn’t even offer any excuses. This appeared to be her habitual modus operandi.

 

I needed grace!

In the end I don’t know if she made it to her interview on time or if she got the job, but I do know she wasted time and paid extra fees for her lack of preparation.

Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts of America, devised the motto “Be Prepared” in 1907.

Baden-Powell’s idea of BE PREPARED was that “Scouts should prepare themselves to become productive citizens and strong leaders and to bring joy to other people. He wanted each Scout to be ready in mind and body to meet with a strong heart whatever challenges await him.” 13th latest edition of Boy Scout Handbook

Baden-Powell further expounded:

“Be Prepared in Mind–by having disciplined yourself to be obedient to every order, and also by having thought out beforehand any accident or situation that might occur, so that you know the right thing to do at the right moment, and are willing to do it.

Be Prepared in Body–by making yourself strong and active and able to do the right thing at the right moment, and do it.”

 

Sounds like a healthy and productive way to conduct ones life. I believe Scripture also encourages this way of living.

“But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” Jeremiah 29:7 English Standard Version

What preparations are in your knapsack?

So, how prepared are you?

For todays situations?

For your place in eternity?

Read Matthew 25:1-13 to gain important insights on being prepared.

Shine on. . .

karan k

 

 

Dysfunction Junction

Any body remember Schoolhouse Rock? The animated series teaching grammar was fun, melodic and ran from 1973 to 2009. One of my favorite episodes was “Conjunction Junction What’s Your Function”. Conjunctions are used to connect things.  ‘And’, ‘But’ and ‘Or’ are stars of the show.

In 1981 I had an unusual opportunity to connect/join a healthy situation. A close friend who lived in my town and attended the same church became acquainted with my home life. He described what he saw to his parents over a period of six months. They found the situation appalling and decided to do something.

In June after graduation my friend and his parents paid a visit to my home. The two sets of parents sat at the kitchen table discussing things for nearly an hour. I heard my friends parents state they wanted to take me with them on their upcoming move to Louisiana. There was no rebuttal from my parents. Somehow that saddened me even though I hated being in that home.

I resolved to move away with them for a  fresh start to an unknown place until my friend’s mother made this statement that probably was not meant for my ears. She said, “Karan has too many hang ups.”

The words struck my heart like a swift rusty javelin. My mind swelled with infectious questioning.

Hang-ups? What hang-ups? Were they obvious to everyone but me? I always suspected there was something wrong but hearing it out in the open seemed cruel.

My wet dab of self worth evaporated on the kitchen floor as the guests walked across it preparing to leave. I announced my decision not to go with them to Louisiana. Before they scrutinized my words or my reddening face I retreated to my bedroom and shut the door. Oh how I wished I could lock that door and hide. I could not face the truth that may be lurking in the words recurring in my mind; “Karan has too many hang ups”.

 

This episode of my life was a Dysfunction Junction. Years of toxicity connected me to a caring family who saw the reality of my situation and chose to reach out to me. The function was to help me heal and move forward. But I chose to remain steeped in my own unhealthy issues. I let fear prevent me from escaping my own pit. The pit I hated.

How many of you have done the same thing? You embrace fear because it’s familiar. Familiar because we have lived with it far too long. Fear creeps into our lives in many ways. When safety cannot be found whether emotional, mental or physical. When needs go unmet and unnoticed. Abuses in our family of origin are usually hidden from public view and so it can go on for years. No rescue in sight. When we are faced with the truth of what we’ve been through it can be terrifying.

 

Such enslaving fears cause compounded dysfunction in our lives. We need divine strength to move beyond these devastating pains and toward whatever junction God is providing to begin the healing process. The first step is recognition. Do you see any Dysfunction Junctions in your life? Don’t allow fear to keep you from looking into your own heart and life for abuses. If you don’t face it you will be forever enslaved by it.

Trust your heavenly Father who loves you. Our great God is ready and wanting to help us on the journey toward healing. Will you step out in faith, take His hand and let Him help you overcome your fears?

To join us to healing freedom!

 

“So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when He adopted you as His own children.” Romans 8:15 New Living Translation

Shine on. . .
karan k