Category Archives: LIFE LESSONS

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

 

Technical Difficulties

How many remember this sign appearing on your TV set with a long loud annoying beep? It was to inform you that the station was experiencing technical difficulties. Never a source of joy that I remember.

Television technical difficulties sign

“. . . when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.” James 1:2&3 New Living Translation

Lately my phone has not  been working properly. The battery wouldn’t keep a charge so I got a new battery. However, the phone continues to malfunction. I can’t use it unless I have a strong internet signal. The only thing on the phone that seems to work right is the phone feature itself. I can still makes calls. WooHoo! But rarely do I make personal calls anymore.

How about you? Do you text or email rather than call? It’s become the norm for most of us. Who has time to sit down and talk on the phone with a friend or family member? These days I make appointments ahead of time to talk to friends or relatives on the phone. I have to intentionally block out segments of time to make this happen and sadly, it doesn’t happen very often.

Our world is changing rapidly with all the advancements in technology. Some changes and developments are fantastic but the old ways should not be discarded just because they’re old. Sometimes the old ways are best.  And they’re reliable when we run into technical difficulties.

For example, when I write posts for this FLURISH blog, I use my various Bible apps to look up verses on specific topics. It gives me skads of information and saves me lots of time. I’m truly grateful for this capability. But at the moment, I don’t have access to that luxury. I’m facing technical difficulties.  I have to  actually open my Bible and search the scriptures by hand. I have to  wait for  the Holy Spirit to guide me to verses or passages I want to use. IMAGINE!

Some may think this is a pain? No way! Although seemingly inconvenient at the moment, it forces me to spend more time digging around and studying the Word of God. That my friends is a blessing of technical difficulty! In fact, I think I’ll add a new category to the FLURISH blog called “Offline Musings”—-posts written without the internet. Who knows, perhaps the Father wanted some undivided time with me— no competing with FaceBook, YouTube,  Instagram or Google etc.? HE is sovereign over the internet so it is certainly possible.

Have you had any technical difficulties lately? Allow Him to turn them into a blessing.

“Restore us, O Lord, and bring us back to you again!” Lamentations 5:21 New Living Translation

Shine on. . .
karan k

The living breath of God in readable form

Honoring Friendship

C-3PO and R2D2

 

“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10 New International Version

 

What does loyalty look like in friendship?  How do we honor our friends?  Share your thoughts or a story in the comment section.

One on One time is extremely important

Yesterday filled my heart with warm fuzzes all day. I felt the privileged glow of spending time one on one with six of my precious friends. The day grew long but entirely satisfying.

I treasure all my friends. Each one is so distinctive and as such each friendship is unique. I attempt to encourage them, be understanding when they have issues and revel in their joyful moments. I make efforts to keep in touch, remember birthdays (by the grace of God), and spend time with them when I can. But I haven’t always valued my friends as deeply as I should.

In the past I had a group of older friends who also acted as mentors in my life. I met them during a floundering season of lowness. Their presence and support buoyed me back on my spiritual feet and helped me soar to new heights.

But as time passed I didn’t appreciate them properly. I loved them but my love was shallow. I grew bored and dissatisfied. I longed for younger friends. Friends who were more physically active and who I could relate to with ease. Simply put, I was an ingrate! I acted as an ungrateful person. Maybe not on the outside because these dear ladies may not have even been aware of my selfish discontent? But my heart swelled with it.

Can you relate? Ever have a good friend who you didn’t appreciate at the time? If they remain in your life consider reaching out to them and let them feel your love and gratitude for their friendship.

 

“A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.” Proverbs 17:17 New Living Translation

Shine on. . .
karan k

Practical Columbo [people pleaser finale’]

“If you live for people’s acceptance you will die from their rejection.” Lecrae

Let that sink in.

 

Columbo always made me think

Now are there any Columbo fans out there? For those unfamiliar, “Columbo ” was a successful TV crime drama that ran from 1960 to 2003. Lt. Columbo, played mostly by actor Peter Falk was noted for the phrase “Just one more thing”. So I’m sharing one more time some thoughts from my own ongoing journey to overcome people pleasing:

Listen up People Pleasers: Learn your own limitations. Each of us have different energy levels. Too much people pleasing can deplete our energy affecting our health and close relationships leading to serious breakdowns in either or both. Remember the opening quote.

“If you live for people’s acceptance you’ll die from their rejection.”

How many nonessential activities can you handle each week and remain fresh and lively? If you feel sluggish or grumpy, perhaps you need to cut back? It’s not wrong to put yourself first now and then when the motivation is to rejuvenate and stave off resentment!

 

What do your life commitments look like to those who care about you? Ask them for their honest opinion. Listen with a mind willing to make adjustments.

Another Columbo catch phrase; “There’s something that bothers me” and that is, people pleasers need practical tips to reform. So here goes:

 

Realize you always have a choice: It may not be apparent to you right away, but look for options. Don’t let fear pressure you to take the road more comfortable. That choice could lead to deeper pain later down that same road.

Columbo’s Wheels

Set your priorities ahead of time: Know what you believe and why about yourself, your capabilities and your faith. This is an area to revisit often throughout your life as you grow and change.

 

Stall for time to pray about the request: This is key. Telling the person/persons making a request of you that you need time to pray and consider their request will help you make the best decision. It gives you time alone with God and away from the pressure of answering in a weak moment.

 

“For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts.”
I Thessalonians 2:4 New Living Translation

“What did you pay for those shoes?” Another famous Columbo question. My answer? Doesn’t matter because I like them and they were worth the price.” Said with confidence and a wink.

Shine on. . .
karan k

“Oh, just one more thing:” Be advised that saying “No” to some people could cause unfavorable backlash. This is to be expected and all part of the process for becoming a reformed people pleaser.

 

 

Friendship Lost

“If you meet me and forget me, you’ve lost nothing but if you meet Jesus and forget Him, you’ve lost everything.”

I first saw this phrase written in a ZIGGY greeting card in the 1980’s. Remember him? Simple cartoon drawing of a short stubby guy, no hair, no neck, big nose and often traveled with a cute dog? Why Ziggy creator Tom Wilson used this phrase in his cartoon, I’m not sure. But I have never forgotten it.

Are you familiar with the term dyadic relationship? Concerning human beings it occurs when two people share something similar. For instance they may share backgrounds as far as hometown  location, or stage of life such as both being young and married, or they could share a common interest. A dyadic relationship forms when two people share something in common at the same point in time. The circles of their lives bump and mesh together for a period of time.

Coworkers and friends?

Laboring together as coworkers is fertile ground to form dyadic relationships which can turn into lifelong friendships. But sometimes it’s only the commonality that holds the friendship together. When natural change turns the course of our lives friendships are always affected. Sometimes the change brings a strengthened commitment and sometimes the change results in drifting and dissolution. That can be painful.

Dyadic encounter

Dyadic relationships are an inevitable part of life. Normally, every 3-5 years our relationships alter with the natural changes in our priorities and responsibilities. We should expect changes in our friendships. Our lives flux in constant motion like a zillion spinning spirogragh wheels interconnecting spontaneously in brilliant designs and colors. The Master artist never ceases creating. Without advance warning He sets change in motion scattering all the wheels.

We are all intertwining in constant motion like the circles of a spirogragh

People in our lives come and go and it can be heart wrenching when we see them turn away from our friendship for whatever reason. Ultimately worse, like the phrase in the Ziggy card, happens when they walk away from God. They reject Him and His offer of salvation.

With great regret I say that I had a dear friend turn heels on both myself and Jesus. It hurt to lose my friend but my heart aches more for their choice to leave Jesus in the dust. It remains one of the most painful departures of my life. I pray and trust for their return, that they will realize the truth of friendship with Christ:

“For God has said, ‘I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.’ ” Hebrews 13:5b New Living Translation

“A person who has friends may be harmed by them, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24 NET Bible

Jesus Christ is our constant,  non-dyadic friend. May you FLURISH in your relationship with Him!

Shine on. . .

karan k

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 New Living Translation (Malachi 3:6)

Attention Paid: A Tale from the Booth

Does this grab your attention? Just checking. . .
“But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” Acts 9:6 English Standard Version
From my booth I noticed a driver in a luxury station wagon traveling toward our Interchange entrance to access the Turnpike. He headed for the EZPass only lane but appeared distracted. I didn’t think much about it until a loud CRASH sent metal and plastic debris all over our entry lane! His car ran head on into the yellow cement bullnose! So much for his nice car, it was smasharooneys as those bull noses ain’t playin!
Fortunately no vehicles, especially trucks, were following him closely or he’d be history. Was he texting? No, but he admitted to the police he was looking for his EZPass and became distracted. In a moving vehicle, not a smart move. He should have paid better attention.
Ever see the movie Seven Pounds?  Released in 2008, it stars Will Smith and Rosario Dawson. It’s a very hard hitting story about how quickly ones life can change when we’re not paying attention.
How are you at following the rules or following directions? Do you pay attention the first time or do you have to be told more than once?
The first time I took my drivers test shortly after I turned 16, I quivered with fear as I sat behind the wheel next to the state trooper conducting the exam. I wanted to do everything right. But after the initial part of the test that evaluated your knowledge of your vehicle’s instruments, I forgot to turn off the headlights.
This realization distracted me during the toughest part of the test. The three point turn. I thought I would fail the test if I let the lights in the ON position. So while performing the three-point turn, I carefully reached down to push off the lights and then bump! My little green Pinto nudged the guardrail of the driving course.
Immediately the officer had me stop the car and the test.
“You know I have to fail you,” he said. “But you learned a valuable lesson that most people do not learn— just how quickly an accident can happen.”
Of course I didn’t appreciate the lesson at the time. Failing my driver’s test devastated me. However, I never forgot the words of the kind officer. What he said proved true not only on the road but in many other areas of life.
Distractions sometimes sneak, sometimes march into all our lives. And at times we notice, other times we’re oblivious. Focus cannot be maintained if we don’t pay attention. God has many fulfilling things for us to see, learn and experience if we’ll just keep looking to Him and pay attention. Otherwise, things will eventually go awry.
sit up and pay attention
So what in your life do you need to pay  some attention to at this point in time?
 Remember: Paying attention is always better than paying the price.
“Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” Proverbs 4:23 New American Standard Version
Shine on. . .
karan k

Successful Failure: Part II

What is success for you?

“. . . This is what the LORD says: ‘When people fall down, don’t they get up again? When someone turns away, do they not return?’ ”

Jeremiah 8:4 New Living translation

How do you view success? Do you see it differently for others than you see it for yourself? Can you recall a time when you failed? How did you respond? Can you recall a time when you felt you succeeded?

In 1987 my father died suddenly. I was 24. My mother needed support financially and emotionally. I decided I should take care of her. We tried to sell her house and move where she could walk to work since she didn’t drive. It was a disaster and two years later I couldn’t take it anymore. I needed to move out. I failed in my plan to take care of my mother. I certainly didn’t FEEL like a success.

As I explained in Part I, I feared failure and any sort of risk. I lacked the knowledge and experience of independent living apart from renting a room when I moved away from home at 19. As with any new venture, alot of unknowns accompanied having my own place. But I was desperate to be independent and I chalked up the failure with my mom to lack of planning. I was not gonna let that happen again.

So I carefully counted the cost of moving out on my own. (Luke 14:28) After doing my homework and seeing my budget on paper I felt a degree of confidence. I prayed and moved forward finding a snug 2 bedroom apartment the week between Christmas and New Year’s.

Scheduled to move at the end of January made it difficult to find volunteers to help me. I didn’t have much money but I remembered I had an insurance policy I received when my father died. He had taken it out when I was born. I figured my first apartment was cause for cashing it in to help with the move.

The Prudential building intimidated me with its vastness. The insurance agent who handled my policy seemed kind and trustworthy. When he found out why I was cashing in my policy, he asked if I had help to move. I told him “No” and he immediately made some calls. He told me he and a few friends from church would help. Yes, I was naive to trust a stranger but I had no one else and so I trusted God’s provision.

The night of my move two big flat bed trucks arrived right on time. Two men and the insurance guy made short work of loading all my belongings onto the trucks. My middle brother also lived at my Mom’s and he sat on the sofa and watched while these men carried my possessions passed him time and again. He never lifted a finger to help and as I carried a box out, he said, “You’ll never make it.”

He said it with such a sneer that the pain shot deep in my heart. I could never forget his words and lack of confidence in my ability. Inspite of what he said, the Lord helped me to live successfully for 12 years in that apartment and then go on to buy my own house.

That failure with my mother became a bundle of lessons learned to help me move forward to succeed on my own. I worked hard through the lean times. I sacrificed when necessary. And no bills were ever late or unpaid. I felt good about what I had accomplished, just me and Jesus.

We can turn every failure into success with perseverance and the Lord’s help. Or put another way; “Whenever you fall, do it forward and get up again as soon as possible.”

So what is your definition of success? Please feel free to share it in the comment section. Here’s my favorite definition of success;

“To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Shine on. . .
karan k

Successful Failure: Part I

 

 

“The LORD’S loving kindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail.” Lamentations 3:22 New American Standard Bible

HE’S THE ONLY ONE WHO NEVER FAILS!

Anyone remember the old show “Wide World of Sports” and Jim McKay’s famous catchphrase? “The thrill of victory . . . and the agony of defeat?” No one wanted to be that poor skier shown in the footage representing the “agony of defeat”. As bad as it looked, Vinko Bogataj, the Slovenian ski jumper in the clip, walked away with a concussion and a broken ankle. You can watch it on YouTube if you’re too young to remember Wide World of Sports.

His failure made him famous and admired by athletes the world over. Muhammed Ali asked for his autograph in 1981 at the 20th anniversary celebration for Wide World of Sports. Vinko continued skiing competitively and then became a ski instructor coaching the 1991 World Champion Franci Petek. He went on to lead a full life with his wife and family and later discovered his talent for painting.

Think about failure in your own life. Have you had a lot?

 

I recently read an interview with a young high school graduate. She was asked, “What’s the worst thing about being 18?” In answer to this question, she said:
“Everything you do after you turn 18 counts, so there is no room or time for error.”

Think about that for a moment. This is an 18 year old ‘determined goal chaser’ as she calls herself in another section of the article. I admire her raw ambition and desire to make the most of her time to make a difference in our world.

I was blessed to meet this young woman named Danielle and she has quite an impressive outlook on life. However, I do want to caution her and others not to fear failure. Because for those of us who know Christ, failure is just a different tool in the hand of God to chisel us to perfection.

Each of us will come face to face with failure more than once in our lifetime, but we can benefit from it IF we look to our all knowing God. We can learn lessons from failure that may not otherwise be possible. If we determine to be teachable we can learn and grow from the experience of failure. We should expect it and not fear it.

 

Don’t know about you but I was taught that if I fail at something then I AM a failure. I believed this lie for most of my life. For years I did all I could to avoid failure. Unfortunately unlike Danielle, my motivation avoidance was not commendable. Self preservation motivated me rather than striving to be my best for the sake of others. I did not want to look stupid at any cost. Too often in my past people were cruel and made fun of me and my ideas so I began to hide my ideas inside and not take risks.

 

As an adult if I was not fairly sure I could succeed at something I would not even try it. How many opportunities have I missed because of fear? What about you? Have you missed opportunities because of fear?

God in His mercy has scooped me up many times when I felt I could not go on. Then He’d take me at the moment of my failure and teach me useful things so I could move forward into other areas of life I never dreamed possible.

In weak moments fear sneaks in and attempts to rule me again but now I know the truth. That even failures I encounter may be part of God’s divine plan for me. So I turn my back on fear and lean hard into my faith in Christ. Because with His leading and help I can do anything and so can you!

“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13 New Living translation

Take time to enjoy the journey and FLURISH through any failures. And Danielle, as you head off to college remember, He’s got your back!

Shine on. . .
karan k

Hot Flash

“The LORD is your guardian; the LORD is your shade at your right side.” Psalm 121:5 International Standard version

Twenty-five years ago I had  my introduction to God as my “shade” in reference to the opening verse. It was an awesome experience in my booth.

On a tremendously hot and humid summer day my boss scheduled  me to work the temporary booth which had no AC. The dread  spread through my mind like wildfire The burning anxiety attempted to overwhelm me.

How could I survive with such heat and humidity baking me in this flimsy tin can of a booth I questioned? I felt ill. I fought the desire to call off work and just hide in my air conditioned apartment.

 

When I arrived at work and entered the booth, the heat was already unbearable. A friend of mine had told me recently to ask God for grace whenever I felt in trouble. I began begging God for grace because I knew I was prone to fainting spells when exposed to intense heat.

A few minutes later the sky darkened and then a heavy downpour. Within twenty minutes the temperature dropped from 95 degrees to 75 degrees. A customer pulled up and asked, “Did you know it’s only raining around your interchange?” I KNEW at that moment the truth of Psalm 121:5. The LORD was my shade! He cared for me enough to send a personal storm cloud! I worked the rest of that day  praising God in fresh cool breezes after the storm passed. It was heavenly.

“. . . The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” James 5:16b New Living translation

The key to answered prayer is having faith in God’s love for us and His goodness. Believe when you pray or don’t bother.

Ponder Mark 11:22-24 and Hebrews 11:6

Fast forward to July 2017 when heat and humidity hit hard. The HVAC technician arrived for our seasonal maintenance and after an hour of checking he came to me with the news. Not good. We had a leak and were losing coolant like a geyser. I authorized him to locate the leak. More bad news. The leak was in the coil which translated into needing a new AC system. My heart sank.

Worse news came later after we ordered  a new system. We were told it could be two weeks or more before installation due to seasonal demand. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I’m a girl who grew up with air conditioning. I’m spoiled and do not like heat when coupled with humidity. And now I’m menopausal!

Hot Flash!

My  husband Dwight and I were not quite on the same page concerning how we would pay for the new AC system. I wanted to drain our savings and pay it outright avoiding finance interest charges, then trust God to help us build back our savings. Dwight, however, preferred to use financing, not wishing to deplete our savings.

We were bumping heads since of course we each thought our way was best. I did not like being at odds with my husband. My heart was not at peace.

So I started praying. I prayed we could somehow afford the AC without causing a rift between us. I also prayed for a speedy installation. Some may feel these issues are too small to ask the God of the universe to remedy. But I disagree. If He cares about the hairs on our heads to continually keep track of how many fall out and grow in daily, (Matthew 10:30) surely He cares about helping me and my husband in the heat.

The first answer to prayer came when the salesman offered us an AC system with 5 year financing for 0% interest. As long as we paid it off in five years there would be no interest tacked onto our fee. An affordable option satisfying both Dwight and I. Praise God! Thank You, Jesus!

Second answer came the next day when the HVAC company called to say they could install our system in one week rather than two or three as they originally thought. Hallelujah!

 

Midsummer hot week began nipping at my mind as the temperatures rose. I asked for grace, grace and more grace to get through the week without whiney complaining.

Beginning of the week the weather turned less humid and cooler at night so we slept well. We only had to endure heat for about 6 hours each day. Then midweek the heat and humidity climbed. I again asked  for grace and He faithfully helped me get through the sweaty hot days and muggy nights. Again I am amazed how He cares about each of us more than we can imagine!

What causes you to become unglued?  Wigged out?  Panicked? Ask Him for His grace to help you overcome. Believe and expect His help. FLURISHING will follow.

“. . .My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness. So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” II Corinthians 12:9b  New Living translation

For those who may view this entire post as silly, remember simple faith is a state of mind ; ASKING, BELIEVING, RECEIVING lived out in daily life.

Shine on. . .

karan k

Nuff Said

 

“Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut.” Proverbs 10:19 New Living translation

During my growing up years I had a mouth problem. It ran constantly and caused me trouble. My mother called me a Babblemau, which was her version of “Babbling mouth”. My father had a rule about speaking at the supper table. He would slap my mouth if I spoke out of turn during a meal. You’d think that would have cured me after a few swift smacks but no. That need to babble, continued on when I got to school.

uh oh!

My teachers agreed on one thing about me that did not change from kindergarten through twelfth grade; I talked too much. I stood in corners, had to write on the board, “I talk too much” several hundred times and once got detention. All for my quantity of talking. For me, too much talk led to discipline. Hopefully by now I have learned to listen more than talk.

Instead of remaining a babbling brook I now find words fascinating. Their meaning, their sounds, how they can affect us. They are powerful. It’s a temptation to be verbose in my writing. More words do not equal quality. Brevity is a blessing. A skill I aspire to master. I attempt to use my words with wisdom whether in speech or in writing. I endeavor to think before I speak but am not always successful.

In our computer age, words we speak are often in written form. Texts, emails and social media have become our main form of communication. The written word becomes the words we speak. I see the need to carefully choose my words in light of Matthew 12:36;
“And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgement day for every idle word you speak.” New Living translation

What are idle words?
Idle word– This literally means a vain, empty, thoughtless, careless, useless word; a word that accomplishes no good.

“Here {in this particular verse} it means wicked, injurious, false, malicious, for such were the words which they had spoken.” Barnes’ Notes

So written or spoken, our words should be weighty with goodness, enlightenment, love and encouragement. How do your words stack up in this list?

Ever encounter a battle of opinions on the internet? Or conversations that seem to go on forever in a negative manner? Individuals arguing a point by beating it to death? Those words lose their power and will one day come under holy scrutiny.

Think before you type

Twice in the second chapter of II Timothy, verses 16 and 23, Paul instructs his young protege’ to avoid what he calls “foolish talk”. Repetition like that is means for paying attention.

As believers we need to be aware of our words and take responsibility for them. Follow James’s instruction to “. . . be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” (James 1:19b New Living translation)

Next time you notice rampant opinions flying all over the internet about any myriad of topics, think twice before you add your words to the conversation. Your two cents here may have a much higher cost in eternity.

 

“But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness.” II Timothy 2:16 English Standard version

Good conversation skills include lots of listening

Shine on. . .
karan k

Who’s the Boss?


Then He said to the woman, I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth. . . ” Genesis 3: 16a

The above passage is familiar to most of us. All too real to those who are mothers and have gone through the experience of nine months of pregnancy and then labor pain to bring a child into our world. But how often do we pay attention to the second half of that verse?

“. . . And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.”
Genesis 3:16b

How do you feel about control? Do you enjoy being in charge? Some personality types thrive on playing follow the leader as long as they are the leader. How does this play out in a marriage where the dominant personality is the wife?

Early in my marriage, I got frustrated often over “his” way of doing things as opposed to mine. After living on my own for many years, I had grown accustomed to wielding control over my affairs. His way was slower. He lacked a “sense of urgency”, I thought. His way caused him problems in the past. His way SEEMED inferior to mine. Can anyone relate?

Control is difficult to relinquish. It can be more painful than birthing  a child for some of us. I can tell you it’s a process that requires diligent effort. Most of the time we women are too busy with all our domestic and maternal  responsibilities to even think of giving up control. But the effort we make to give it up in the end will be worth it. It’s another “MUST JUST TRUST  God’s truth” lesson.

 

My dear husband kept mentioning his personality type as a reason for his method of handling concerns. After hearing his explanation at least a hundred times, I began to listen. I let him show me the personality test he referred to and read up on his personality type as well as mine.

Are you familiar with the DISC Personality Model? It’s one of many systems for evaluating personality type and learning about human behavior. It’s the personality test my husband took before I met him. Below is a basic skeleton of the DISC model. Each of us can have a combination of these with one usually standing out as the strongest.

D = Dominant and Direct Behavior
I = Inspiring and Interactive Behavior
S = Supportive and Steady Beahavior
C = Cautious and Careful Behavior

After a bit of study on the DISC model, the light began to dawn and understanding crept into my mind. I could see my husband being a Type S on the DISC scale. He is Supportive and Steady. This formerly translated in my mind as “taking too long” to finish a task. Of course when he performed a task it was done right and it was done well as opposed to my quick and shoddy workmanship.

 

I’m a huge believer in learning to study your spouse because it will increase your understanding of him or her. Understanding can go a long way to aid you in getting along on a day to day basis.

“People with understanding control their anger, a hot temper shows great foolishness.” Proverbs 14:29 New Living translation

If you are single, taking a personality test will help you understand yourself more and will benefit your relationships.

Sailing requires serious teamwork

For wives, understanding your husband can build your confidence in who he was created to be. It will help you to allow your husband to take charge, instead of hanging on to your natural bent to control. This is God’s design. He wants to mold a husband and wife together as a team but ultimately the husband has the final say. So learn to let go and trust God’s plan, His way works so much better than our own! Isaiah 55:9

“But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” I Corinthians 11:3 Berean Study Bible

 

We must diligently guard and protect the love relationship with our spouse IF we happen to be married. After Christ, they are the number 2 priority. Don’t take them for granted, they may not always be there. Learn more to live better together!

 

Shine on. . .
karan k

There are lots of free personality tests online. Here is one example.
For a free personality test try: personalityperfect.com

The goal