Category Archives: LOVE

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

Transformed

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

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

Explore His creative genius

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

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

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

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

George Burns and Gracie Allen married 38 years

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

Shine on. . .
karan k

Beach Beckoning

 

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

 

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

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

Destin Beach

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

Shine on. . .
karan k

 

 

 

Ponder the Wonder

THE KING OF CREATION

TOOK THE FORM OF MAN

TO SAVE OUR SOULS HE SUFFERED

FULLY IN CONTROL

HE IS THE GREAT I AM

One of my favorite depictions of Jesus
One of my favorite depictions of Jesus

“I AM WHO I AM.” Exodus 3:14

 

“. . . I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I Am.” John 8:38 New Living translation

“Who are you looking for?” He asked. “Jesus the Nazarene,” they replied.
“I AM HE,” Jesus said. (Judas, who betrayed Him, was standing with them.) As Jesus said, “I AM HE,” they all drew back and fell to the ground!” John 18:4b-6 New Living translation

There’s an old song from the ’80s that stirs my heart about this incident.
Terry Talbot’s “I Am He” from the album Stories of Jesus album. You can listen to it on Youtube. Here’s the first verse:

In the final hours of darkness
In the garden there He prayed
Oh Father take this cup from Me
Is there any other way?

As His prayer was turned to pleading
His sweat was turned to blood
Oh Father come prepare Me now
Your will not Mine be done.

So the thousand came to take the One
And there He was betrayed
By the kiss that bound forever
The Lamb who would be slain

And when they asked which one is Jesus
He spoke these simple words
And a thousand soldiers fell before
The answer that changed the world. . .

I AM HE, He said.
It is I you seek
I’m the One you want
I AM HE.

You have found Me now
I AM the One
You have come for Me
I AM HE
I AM.

 

All powerful!

All Knowing!

All Glorious!

He gave it ALL up

Came to earth

suffered and died

So we could be set free

And have real life

 

PONDER THE WONDER

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SHINE ON. . .

karan k

 

Lord of the Rings:Part XII

Paradise this side of Heaven
Paradise this side of Heaven

 

March 2017 holds two milestone anniversaries for me personally. Ten years of marriage to Dwight and the first anniversary of this blog site. Both I consider wonders of grace provided exclusively by my heavenly Father. I am so grateful for His faithful love inspite of all my frailties and flaws.

This particular series “Lord of the Rings” is a declaration of His loving care and guidance. Matthew 6:33 says, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.” New Living translation

I have experienced the glorious truth of these words and I pray you have as well. If not, keep giving more of yourself consistently to God. His promises do not fail. You can trust Him and His care for you.

Dwight wanted to get married barefoot on a beach and I said fine if I get to pick the beach. I didn’t want a lot of fuss over the ceremony and details. I knew I needed to focus more on preparing for a “marriage” rather than plan a “wedding”. So we chose an all inclusive resort on a beach that provided wedding ceremonies in the package price.

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I knew that two people from two different backgrounds successfully learning to live and love out the rest of their days together would take mutual commitment and intentional effort. So we carved time out of our schedules for marriage prep work.

Dwight and I signed up for an all day seminar for engaged couples. It proved to be a fun experience learning just how much we didn’t know about each other. We attended premarital Christ centered counseling regularly as a couple and took personality and temperament tests. We learned to pray together. We asked God to help smooth off each of our rough edges to make us ready for a tighter fitting bond.

Closer to the wedding date we sought out a special therapist to begin family counseling with Cortney. All three of us needed assistance in the upcoming transition. Any tools concerning marriage preparation we tried. We were committed to giving this union the best foundation possible (Matthew 7:24) which definitely included worshipping together.

During working hours, however, I daydreamed constantly about less important things. I was obsessed with a certain suite at the resort we booked. It had two large rooms and a bath with a private plunge pool and patio connected to the bedroom. The suite sat high  the on bluffs overlooking the Carribbean sea. The view was phenomenal.

Unfortunately, the cost was phenomenal as well. An extreme luxury that we couldn’t afford. There was no way I could justify starting our marriage out in debt. The suite  had to  remain only a dream. Dwight and I were splitting the cost of the wedding/honeymoon package and our big splurge was to stay for 14 days. So we booked a regular room in the main building with a balcony area attached. This would be where our marriage began.

Seven months after our engagement, we got on a plane and flew to St. Lucia. We were like two teenagers brimming with excitement and hormones. I knew now why we traveled in packs as singles. Just so much easier to behave ourselves.

zipping through the rainforest
zipping through the rainforest

Dwight and I were committed to doing things God’s way. The first challenge was the two day legal requirement being in St. Lucia together before we could be married. Funds at this point were tight. Perhaps we should spring for two separate rooms? We decided since our room had an attached balcony area that Dwight would sleep out there until we were married. I appreciated His willingness and it saved us a bundle. Maybe not the wisest decision but by the grace of God this arrangement worked for us.

4-wheeling on a private beach
4-wheeling on a private beach

During the two days prior we kept busy with our friends who were honeymooning at the resort and agreed to be witnesses to our wedding. We ventured  to the local market area and bought souvenirs and explored the vast grounds of the resort. We set up some couples spa treatments and other excursions for later in the trip. We had meetings with the onsite wedding coordinator and told them our ideas for the ceremony. And then the  big day arrived.

Looking out for my cue to walk the aisle
Looking out for our cue to walk the aisle

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My dear friend Sue curled and styled my long hair in the bedroom of their beachfront bungalow. Hyperactive butterflies beat their wings inside my chest as I thought about what would transpire in the next few hours. Part of me remained steadfast knowing I had done my best to prepare for this day. But another part from my past cowered in the shadows attempting to overwhelm me with fear. I realized at this moment, as Sue gently added the sparkly barrett to my hair, that I was grateful we travelled so far to get married. Being here away from all that was familiar forced me to lean on Jesus for the unknown like never before. Marrying Dwight in a few moments would be just another step of faith with Jesus holding my hand.

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The ceremony in the garden gazebo floated along with my steps to Karen Carpenter singing “We’ve Only Just Begun” and looking more like my mother than I wanted. Dwight looked incredibly sweet in the gauze shirt we picked out together and his favorite ripped jeans. The sun shone brilliantly through the purple and pink bougainvillea climbing the trestles of the gazebo. We read our heartfelt vows that were open, honest and realistic. Dwight sang “You’ll Always Be Beautiful in My Eyes” and when he got choked up, we finished the song together swaying with the tune and Joshua Kadison.

Then we travelled down to the beach for the second part of the ceremony. Dwight stopped on the steps to sweetly help remove my white sandals so we could walk barefoot together across the warm sand.

The ceremony on the beach exceeded all my expectations. I was living in my own fairy tale that had “only just begun”.

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After the wedding we were asked to see the resort manager before heading out to a special celebration dinner. Turned out due to an error by the manager we were  being upgraded for the duration of our stay.  Where do you think we spent the next 12 glorious nights? You got it, the very suite I dreamed about!  God is so good to His children. In my heart I felt it was God’s special blessing on our marriage. A divine wedding gift.  I knew then  He would take care of us  the rest of our lives if we kept our marriage focussed on Him.

Heading into the waves after becoming man and wife
Heading into the waves after becoming man and wife

We just celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary and  our love and marriage have bloomed  more colorful every year as we remain rooted in Christ.  He continues to care for  and provide for us through the good and bad that find their way into all our lives. Even the rough patches haven’t seemed too bad because of His amazing grace. May each of you also FLURISH  because of His  blessing in your lives and never stop seeking to know Him more!

“And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that God exists and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6 New Living translation

 

My tall drink of water relaxing by our private pool
My tall drink of water relaxing by our private pool

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Let the Good Times Roll. . .

Shine on!

karan k

Lord of the Rings: Part XI

 

“. . . I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” Jeremiah 29:11 The Message

Car voy lead car to PaJamaRama
Car voy lead car to PaJamaRama

Now it was time for the rubber to meet the road. Could I successfully hold up my end in a healthy relationship? Doubts continually attacked my thinking, but I pressed on in faith. I accepted the ruby ring and began walking into a relationship with a man I hardly knew. In the beginning I found everything deliciously exciting.

Dance lessons---we were terrible!
Dance lessons—we were terrible but had boatloads of fun!

Dwight and I planned many events together for Christian singles. Hikes, dinner theatre, pool parties, etc. Two of my favorite events were a Pajamarama Cereal Social where everyone brought their favorite breakfast foods. We wore pjs, while watching movies and eating cereal into the wee hours. Dwight decided to design a logo and made T-shirts for those who attended. He even ironed everyone’s logo on their shirts during the gathering. He had such a servant’s heart.

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The other event I called a Decade party where everyone dressed up in clothes from a certain decade. Dwight chose the 60s and I chose the 90s. We played decade music trivia, staged our version of the Dating Game and attempted the game of Twister. The costumes were a hoot.

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Dwight as Slim, the dating game emcee
Dwight as Slim, the dating game emcee

Dwight took me on many day trips in the months that followed. Sometimes with the singles group and sometimes alone. Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, Washington, D.C., South street in Philadelphia, Ocean City, N.J. were a few stops. I traveled more in those few months than in my last 20 years. He loved to drive and I loved seeing new places.

Hershey Park
Hershey Park

Every other weekend we had Cortney with us. Being a Tweenager at the time, her moods were anything but stable. We attempted to include her in our adventures, but she had a love/hate relationship with this new arrangement. She truly struggled giving up first place in her father’s life. Looking back, I wish I could have been more mature myself and assured her that I was not trying to take her father from her. Of course in reality, I did not want second place in Dwight’s heart. Unless it was to Jesus. So Cortney and I danced through power struggles for Dwight’s attention that first year. It became a season of growth for all three of us as we slowly merged toward becoming a family.

Hawaiian night out
Hawaiian night out

In September of 2006, I drove to Dwight’s place after work on a Sunday afternoon. When I arrived I noticed he seemed exceptionally giddy. Laughing about almost everything I said. I spotted a fresh gash in one of his fingers so I inquired. He downplayed it and chuckled to himself. Tempted to become suspicious, I told him I was hungry and he said “patience is a virtue”. That did not go over well. Frustration began to form. I told him I needed food asap. He invited me to get in the car.

We headed toward the next town but then began driving around in circles. My agitation increased. “Why aren’t we stopping to get some food,” I demanded.

“Wait. Wait.” Was the response.

Finally he pulled into WaWa and parked. “Just a minute,” He said as he jumped out of the car. I rolled my eyes in exasperation. I heard him bumping around in the trunk.

What is he doing back there, I wondered?

Momentarily he appeared at his open car door with a glowing white candle and a leather satchel. He carefully placed the glass ensconced candle in between our seats and opened the satchel revealing two champagne flutes and a bottle of sparkling grape juice. He pulled a wrapped package from the roof of the car and handed it to me grinning all the while.

I began opening the package to find a journal inside. I thought it was for me to use to write so I didn’t open it. Dwight prodded me to open it and perhaps I should let the photos tell the rest of this story. . .

The journal
The journal
opening pages
opening pages

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Proposal in German
Proposal in German
Proposal in Italian
Proposal in Italian
Proposal in French
Proposal in French

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The gash in Dwight’s finger occurred while he made this book earlier in the day. The ring inserted in the last page is the same one I wore for the murder mystery almost a year before. Dwight contacted the owner and made arrangements to purchase the one of a kind ring I loved.

The Lord not only provided this gorgeous ring to be available, He also provided Dwight with the money to buy the ring. HE is our loving provider and LORD of the Rings! So of course I accepted the ring!

“It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, He had His eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose He is working out in everything and everyone.” Ephesians 1:11&12 The Message Bible

Conclusion coming in two days!!! Also subscribe to be eligible to win a free T-shirt from FLURISH.

Shine on,

karan k

Lord of the Rings: Part IX

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During the next ten days I did some serious soul searching. I poured out my heart to God. I shared my fears, my joys and concerns. The trivial as well as the serious. I believed He cared about all of it. I wanted to move forward in HIS plan not stumble around mindlessly following my nose.

I kept hearing words repeated in my head from a christian leader during a singles conference I attended a few weeks prior. I spoke to him intentionally during a break about my desire to date only Christian bachelors. His response shocked me. “You will greatly narrow your pool of choices. Sometimes bachelors already in their forties are single for a reason.” Was I being foolish setting my standard for bachelor’s only? This particular man of God thought so. What do YOU think God, I wondered?

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The following week Becky and I attended evening church like normal. The service was about to begin and the place packed with excited worshippers. Becky noticed Dwight and his daughter Cortney getting seats several rows behind us. She waved. I turned and smiled. The service began. I admit I had a hard time focussing on the message that night. I kept wondering if Dwight got my note? Did he understand it? Would he talk to me at all now? Lord, forgive my distracted mind.

After the service, Becky and I exited the main auditorium which spilled into a large gathering area next to a snack cafe’. The singles hung out here in packs before and after services like clockwork. I loved these informal group fellowship times.

Like bees on honey flower
Like bees on honey flower

Tonight, however, was a bit different because there was a full table already buzzing with energy before we arrived. Seven women gathered around a very tanned Dwight who was showing photos from his recent trip to California.

I pushed my way in and his eyes met mine. His lips curved into a smile but he said nothing. The women were peppering him with questions about desert nights in southern California. His photos showed beautiful sunsets and scenes of Palm Springs. I stretched to see each photo and our eyes kept meeting as if we were talking telepathically but neither of us spoke to each other. The women droned on but we were in a world of our own.

At that moment Cortney approached carrying two half helmets. One woman who I didn’t particularly care for exclaimed the obvious.

“You rode tonight?”

 

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Dwight smiled and that opened up a can of motorcycle worms! The women wanted to know what type of bike he had and when he would take them for rides on it. Something inside me snapped to attention as I felt my blood begin to boil. I didn’t know what was happening but I knew I didn’t want any woman riding on his bike with him.

What was the matter with me? Why did I care? Was it because I did care? Because I somehow knew he was part of God’s plan for my life but had been denying it out of fear?

Dwight got up and took his helmet from Cortney and began telling everyone he had to get Cortney home. After all, it was January and when the sun set the cold would increase.

I had to act fast. I was not going to lose my chance to some motorcycle babe. I moved through the crowd to hug Dwight. He hugged me back and I whispered in his ear that I would call him when I got home. He grinned and he and Cortney made a hasty exit.

Immediately the group broke up and Becky and I left for home. I dropped her off, headed home anxious to make my call. I shed my heavy coat and dialed the number from our small group list assigned to Dwight.

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The phone rang four times before it was answered and the voice on the line was not what I anticipated.

Shine on. . .

karan k

Lord of the Rings: Part VIII

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 6:23 New Living translation

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I had off the day before the NYC trip and busied myself prepping the outfit I planned to wear. The phone rang in the kitchen so I scampered downstairs to get it. It was Dwight asking if he could drop by in an hour to give me something to take along to New York the next day. Completely flabbergasted, I nervously agreed. When I hung up, I panicked and called my second Mom for advice. She prayed with me over the phone for courage, wisdom and protection. I told her I’d come over to see her after he left.

I ran back up to my bedroom and dressed myself in casual attire. I prayed some more and tried to keep busy until Dwight arrived. I had no clue what he intended to give me. He mentioned going ice skating at Rockefeller Center several times so I thought maybe he had ice skates? But how would he know my size? Truly a mystery.

Turns out Dwight received an unexpected bonus at work. He felt he should share his good fortune with others. So with some of the money he bought me a Coolpix digital camera with charger and rechargeable batteries. I was speechless. Never had I received such an extravagant gift.

First shot together on Coolpix 1/2006
First shot together on Coolpix 1/2006

I told him I couldn’t accept it but he insisted. Said he didn’t feel right keeping all the money for himself.  He wanted me to record my birthday in the big apple through photographs. The first photo taken on that camera you see here. Also the first photo taken of us together. I felt funny about the whole thing but my second Mom told me to accept it with grace.

The trip to NYC exceeded my expectations although we never did ice skate. We decided early on to forego the chance of any injury ruining the day for everyone. Settling for watching seasoned skaters at Rockefeller center and at Bryant Park, I attempted to avoid hanging with Dwight. I mingled with my other guests but I needed his help a lot with the camera. Somehow I think that was part of his plan.

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Walking in the city, seeing the famous naked cowboy, riding the horse drawn carriages through Central Park, touring  Madame Tussauds wax museum,  and an NBC tour were a few of the highlights. The day ended at Mars 2012 for an out of this world meal served by aliens.

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All fourteen of us were seated together at a long table in the underground restaurant. Some opted to arrive by spaceship to experience the full effect. I sat next to my niece but was surrounded on all other sides by male friends. The crazy ambience made for some interesting dinner chat.

At the end of the meal a green extraterrestrial delivered to me a warm chocolate lava cake glowing with a candle on top. I thought maybe Kelly, my neighbor had ordered it for me but when I asked her she said she hadn’t. One by one all 13 guests including the driver denied ordering it. Dwight finally fessed up. Was this guy for real?

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That next week my mind and heart were in turmoil. I went to my Monday night ladies Bible study and asked for prayer for direction. A day or so later I decided to put myself on a “Male Sabbatical”. I could think clearer and listen more closely to God without the interference of any guys around. This was truly a first for me since I seemed to need a man’s approval to breathe.

 

Now the painful part. I had to inform the handful of men who had thrown their hats in the ring, so to speak, of my intentions.  The  toughest task had to be handing my  “Male Sabbatical” note to Dwight. I hated disappointing anyone let alone someone who had been so kind. So chicken me slid it into his Bible while he talked with some other group members. Later that week I knew he would be flying to the West coast on business. I wondered if he had found the note?

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Shine on. . .

karan k

Happy Anniversary

 

Lord of the Rings: Part VII

A gift of Love
A gift of Love

“I planned to drop this by your booth on Christmas day but UPS was late. It only arrived today. I felt bad you had to work on Christmas,” Dwight said smiling and blushing at the same time. He handed me a flat box tied with a beautiful red bow. Cortney huddled close under his other arm.

I stood there rather dumbfounded a moment. I didn’t know what to say. Such a kind gesture but I didn’t want to lead him on. Overcome by awkwardness, I asked them to come in but he explained they had his other daughter, Theresa, in the car and had to get her back home. Theresa needed special care because of multiple disabilities. So I thanked him and smiled at Cortney. She looked away and tugged  on his coat. In a flash they were gone.

I closed the door, looked down at the package and sighed as I slowly pulled the ribbon to open it. Inside the box I found a leather bound copy of “A Tale of Two Cities.” My heart wrenched. This man paid attention to me when I spoke. Somehow he remembered this was my favorite story from a casual meeting over six weeks ago. Wasn’t sure how I felt about that?

Love confusion
Love confusion

2006 began on a bright sunny Sunday morning. I determined to get myself to church even though I had been out late ringing in the New Year with the singles group. Applebee’s, bowling, movies and midnight munchies could not deter me from what I really craved, God’s direction.

Dwight may have  had the same idea? I saw him from across the gathering area. I knew he wanted to sit with me so I motioned  him to join me.

I enjoyed any time shared with Dwight whether it was small group Bible study, or fun stuff. So I didn’t mind him sitting with me for worship. I told him afterwards that I planned to rent a 15 passenger van to take to New York city on a day trip to celebrate my birthday in 2 weeks. I’m sure he wondered who I intended to invite and if it included him.

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Since I am not one to play head games I asked him if he was available for the trip. He was sure he was and appeared quite eager for the opportunity. I rattled off the names of a few of the other people I wanted to invite. He listened with eyes riveted on my face and a big smile on his. His smile was hard to ignore.

A few nights later after returning from visiting my mother, I found a detailed map of New York City on my porch. Hmm, that’s odd, I thought. I wondered if Dwight put it there?

 

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The night before my birthday loneliness hit me hard. I caved to my emotions. I said ‘yes’ when Mike asked  to take me out for supper to celebrate. He treated me to an inexpensive hamburger joint because we both like cheeseburgers. Unfortunately, we had a huge fight afterward. We truly cared for one another but were on such different pages in life. I struggled to accept this. I wanted us to be a couple but it never worked. I cried for hours that night and felt awful the entire next day, my birthday. The day’s steady rain mirrored the dreariness of my emotions.

When I got home from work and pulled in the driveway there were balloons tied on my garage door with a small package. I jumped out of the car and ran over to it, hoping Mike had placed it there.

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A large Lindt swiss chocolate candy bar hung attached to the balloons with this beautiful custom made card. I suppose you can only guess who it was from? My heart sank. Why couldn’t Mike be like this guy, I moaned to myself.

Mike did call later that night to smooth things over. That gave me peace for I truly valued Mike as a person as well as an old friend. But God was finally getting through to my damaged heart.  When Mike suggested going out for a nicer birthday dinner I said “No” and that I would be going out with my friend Becky. It felt great.  It felt freeing to finally follow God’s leading and stop putting myself in painful situations.

I called Becky right away and arranged to meet her at the local smorgasbord. We talked and laughed through the evening. My soul as well as my stomach was satisfied on my 43rd birthday.

First card
First card

I returned home later to many birthday messages on my answering machine. A very sweet one from Dwight and I knew I had to return his call and thank him for the Birthday surprise. I prayed for wisdom. I needed to be careful. I didn’t want to give him false hope because I simply did not want to involve myself romantically with a divorced man raising a young daughter and having several older children to boot. The poor guy had no clue how terrified I was of him.

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Shine on. . .

karan k

Lord of the Rings Part VI

 

Good or Bad Experience?
Good or Bad Experience?

The next few weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas held tons of excitement. Becky and I attended a Christian singles group for awhile but felt uncomfortable. It reminded us of a meat market rather than a safe place to meet and connect with other people of like faith. So I decided to plan special group events for Christian singles  myself and pooled people from the various churches whom I met over the past few months.

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Movie theme nights, bowling parties, midnight munch sessions, indoor rock climbing, and pick-up volleyball games kept me busy. I was meeting so many new friends. It was an exciting time for me, so different than the last 22 years.

The downside soon reared its ugly head. Men began asking me out on dates. I didn’t feel ready or comfortable outside of a group setting. And saying “NO” to unwanted dates stressed me in many ways. I did not want to hurt anyone. My boundaries needed to be built and strengthened fast.

I continued to struggle to let go of every last drop of feeling for Mike. Until that happened, I refused to go out except in group dates. It was a safe way to get to know people. By this time, I met about 35 or so new people. And then I had an idea.

Party over or just begun???
Party over or just begun???

There were several popular reality tv shows at the time where a person needed help figuring out who to date.  Parents or friends would meet the prospective dates, grill or test them and then give their advisements. So I devised my own  evaluation arena through a special party.  A ‘Day after Christmas’ party when most people who are alone can become blue. I employed family members to come as servants and rate all the guests both male and female.

My oldest brother acted as the butler receiving all the guests and their wraps. He observed the personal hygiene and apparel choices of each guest. His wife served as maid keeping the food and drink filled. All the while she carefully observed each of the guests eating habits and the food they chose to bring to share. My cousins were in charge of games which I devised to discover each guests level of playfulness. My oldest niece was an undercover mole planted among the guests for close observation of conversations between them. Lastly, my second Mom portrayed a Mrs. Claus type character named Mrs. Jingle. She questioned guests throughout the evening concerning their ideas about Christmas and what it meant to them personally. She recorded their answers to provide insight into their hearts concerning Christ’s coming.

Every party needs ice breakers
Every party needs ice breakers

Oh what a night of fun to see this whole scheme unravel without a hitch. 26 single guests arrived at 6pm, 13 men and 13 women. Most left at midnight but some remained until I had to literally chase them out in the wee hours of the morning. Definitely a night to remember!

Red and Green jello eating contest---no hands allowed.
Red and Green jello eating contest—no hands allowed.

And the result was much more intriguing than speed dating. I discovered which people were fun, which were stuffed shirts and which were absolutely delightful. Some of the answers Mrs. Jingle acquired revealed character traits that amazed me in both positive and negative ways.

My family weighed in on all their own observations.  There was a difference of opinion over the best food presentation. One guy totally impressed my brother, the butler, by bringing deviled eggs in a pampered chef self chilling egg tray. My sister in-law, the maid, was leaning toward another guys more artistic presentation.  It consisted of sweet baloney cream cheese wraps and tri-colored cheese slices on a bed of green garnish surrounded by cherry tomatoes. And, it was not store bought.  Certainly had some impressive dishes from the men. Who knew?

Everyone agreed on the winners of the best dressed category. My neighbor Kelly took the prize for the women and Dwight won for the men. I must admit he was not hard on the eyes in his white textured button down shirt and  well fitting carpenter jeans.

My family weighed in on each guest and gave marvelous recommendations. I had a lot to think about and consider prayerfully heading into the New Year. What did the Lord have in store for me in 2006? Would I like it?

The next evening my doorbell rang about 6:30pm. Who was stopping by on a Tuesday night right after Christmas, I wondered? I peeked out through the powder room blinds to see Dwight and his young daughter Cortney standing on my porch.

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“You’re my cave to hide in, my cliff to climb. Be my safe leader, be my true mountain guide. Free me from hidden traps: I want to hide in You. I’ve put my life in Your hands. You won’t drop me, You’ll never let me down.” Psalm 31:3-5 The Message Bible

Shine on. . .

karan k

Lord of the Rings Part V

Let us break bread or eat cheesecake
Let us break bread and eat cheesecake

“Aquila, Priscilla, and the church that meets in their house say hello.” I Corinthians 16:19b The Message Bible

A week or so after the Murder Mystery my small group had a celebration dinner just before Thanksgiving. Each of us brought a covered dish. My new friend Becky and I carpooled. We arrived early and met Dan in the kitchen. He had some photos he wanted to share with me from the Murder Mystery. So Becky and our fearless group leader, also named Becki set up the incoming foods in the kitchen and dining area while Dan and I checked out the photos on his disc in the computer room.

After perusing the photos, Dan and I came back to the dining area where the rest of the group had now gathered. A new guy stood in the entry way holding a cherry cheesecake. Becki introduced him as Dwight. He smiled and Becki led us in a prayer before everyone scrambled for seats. Nine of us crammed around a tiny table for four.

I noticed everyone making connections with Dwight, especially the women. He was a likable sort. A few people discussed the recent baptism service and Dwight shared his feelings of being deeply moved by the testimonies. The women were amazed at his sensitive openness. I found the progressing dinner conversation amusing and decided to join in.

“You didn’t make that cheesecake did you, ” I questioned Dwight?

“Honestly, I did,” he answered.

“I don’t believe you. It looks too perfect,” I teased.

“What can I say, I’m a perfectionist to a fault,” he grinned.

I still didn’t believe him but I was more interested in the Dove chocolates on the table than further chit chat. Conversation buzzed round the table and I could tell everyone liked the new guy.

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After dinner we played some games in the living room. I sat between Becky and Dan. Becki the leader posed a question for each of us to answer: What is your favorite book? One person said “The Bible,” and Becki named a few favorites since she was an avid reader and had trouble choosing only one.

That’s a snap, I thought. “A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens,” I said during my turn. A few others responded with war novels and romantic book series. When we got to Dwight, he laughed and blushed before saying, “I read Super Chevy magazine.” We all got a good chuckle which we shared with him and not at him. He seemed a good sport and a good fit for our group.

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Becky and I left early because I overloaded on chocolate and my sugars were dipping dangerously low. Even so it was a diamond evening for me because my circle of friends was growing. I went home fat and happy in a chocolate haze.

A few days later I decided to send Dwight a welcome card from everyone in the group,  hoping he would continue to join our meetings. I forged everyones signature but my own so it wouldn’t look like I was interested for myself. I actually thought he completed our group in some way.

Thanksgiving eve I came home from seeing my mother and my answering machine was blinking. On it I heard a long message from Dwight expressing his gratitude for the group and our friendliness toward him. He wanted us to know he looks forward to seeing everyone again but that he would be gone on a road trip over the holiday and miss our next gathering.

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Immediately I called Becky to tell her about Dwight’s message. She shared my excitement on his plans to continue with our group. Like most of the other members, Dwight knew the pain of divorce and the difficulty of single parenting. In those respects, he could relate much better than I could to other members of the group. Attractive,  kind and open, I figured he’d be married again before too long. Lots of women at our huge church were already interested in him. However, I was not one of them. My stubborn “bachelor’s only need apply” mentality disqualified him.

Perfect but disqualified
Perfect but disqualified

Shine on. . .

karan k

Lord of the Rings: Part III

 

Free to dance
Free to dance

That Fall as the leaves began to drop, I rejoined life at 42 years of age. Freedom felt scary. I felt as if I woke up from a 22 year dream. Or like I had been drowning below the water and finally able to surface and gasp for life-giving air. Freedom and a second chance to figure out who I was in God’s great plan. Discovering what assignments HE had for me revitalized my will to live and to live well.

I knew the 22 years were not lost or wasted. For in that time HE refined, chiseled and shaped me. Molding my character to better resemble His Son Jesus. Polishing my faith and strengthening it through the fires of a difficult life. Those years challenged me much more than I ever foresaw at age 20. Though many saw my young decision as a real shame, God knew my heart’s motivation and used it for good, healing and preparing me for this day to begin a new chapter in life.

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Right off, I joined a small group from the large church I attended. It thrilled my heart to meet and get to know people on a real and raw level. To learn how to get along and operate as the body of Christ. I had never experienced this special forum of love before. I saw it from a distance as a child when cottage prayer meeting groups met in my family’s home. Now I had a safe group to grow further in my faith and share the good, the bad and the heartbreaking.

I also joined a local christian support group sponsored by a church I’d never attended. The group formed to help those in need of healing from recent losses.

I continued volunteer work with the teens at the youth center and also began seeing a Christian Psychologist.

On Friday evenings I attended a class called Wise Choices at another church in a neighboring town. Geared toward singles, this class taught us how to make healthy and wise choices for any relationship whether friends, dating partners or future spouses.

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All these groups occupied my free time in positive and constructive ways. I expressed gratitude to God for the opportunities each provided to protect me from the pull to run back to my former life. For the pull could be very strong at times if I got too lonely.

I met people from all four of the churches and made friends in each arena. I had carpool girlfriends and one old guy friend from the past who seemed safe. Plus there were social functions now opened to me for the first time. I cannot even describe to you the excitement that flooded my soul.

Barn dances, hayrides, skating parties,  hiking adventures, day trips to the beach, DC or NYC all opened up to me and I was ecstatic. And then I received an invitation for a Murder Mystery dinner. You know the whole 9 yards type where you get an invite in the mail assigning you to a certain character that you are expected to portray the night of the murder.

This was especially intriguing because the only person I knew was the hostess and she was a new acquaintance. So it was scary exciting but I was determined to go all out knowing Jesus was going with me.

My assignment described my character as a wealthy wife to a lawyer in the story. So I needed to have fancy clothes and a big diamond to wear.

Now that's a rock!
Now that’s a rock!

I had a midnight blue satin gown I procured from a thrift store and plain black pumps. I decided to have my hair put up for the special occasion. I scheduled my hair dresser friend who excelled in updos.

My boss at the time offered to let me borrow a family heirloom ring. She brought it in for me to see. It was gargantuan! A literal ball of diamonds. It would have been perfect but I feared losing it and not having money to replace it so I declined the offer.

The next day a coworker brought in another ring for me to see. Still a rock but much more manageable.

.77c Emerald cut diamond flanked by trillion diamonds set in white 14K gold
.77c Emerald cut diamond flanked by trillion diamonds set in white 14K gold

 

The ring was a gorgeous emerald cut with trillion cut diamonds flanking it. I fell in love with it and couldn’t wait to wear it for the big event.

Now I needed to dig up a date to play my learned lawyer husband. I wanted to go so bad and tried my older friend but he had plans. The desperation became a downfall for me. In a weak moment I invited the guy from my past. He accepted.

Shine on. . .

karan k

 

My Love Story

 

Valentine Brownies for a genuine Sweetie!
Valentine Brownies for a genuine Sweetie!

To all my readers I hope that you will indulge me today. I have been writing the past week on themes of love in preparation for Valentine’s Day. Now that the day has actually arrived, I would like to send out a special message to my Valentine.

In 2006 I experienced the Valentine’s Day of my dreams. It seemed a long time coming since I had just turned 43 a month earlier, but BLTN (better late than never). I can tell you it was worth the wait.

Valentine’s Day fell on a Tuesday that year, so my date had to pick me up after work. He arrived promptly at 6pm. When I opened the door he was carrying beautiful roses and a gift. From the tips of his black leather shoes to his well combed hair, he stood 6 foot 3 of handsome. He wore black dress pants with a deep red shirt neatly tucked in at the waist. His tie and belt accented the ensemble perfectly.

I showed him in and nervously handed him the gift I baked. It was a plate of heart-shaped brownies in milk and dark chocolate. He graciously took them and helped me on with my wrap.

We looked like we were trying too hard since I was also wearing a red blouse and black slacks. We were all about  celebrating Valentines but both terribly nervous, like two school kids.

He reserved the best table in the underground chambers of the Catacombs
He reserved the best table in the underground chambers of the Catacombs

He took me to a restaurant that had a special area below the main floor called the Catacombs. It was dimly lit by intermittent candles perched in stone ledges in the wall. The place oozed of romance and  ambience. He pulled out my chair for me and gave me another rose as I sat down. My heart swooned.

Before our food arrived, he held my hand and prayed. When I opened my eyes the shimmering gift-wrapped box reclined near my fingers. His grin urged me to open it. The box contained a heart-shaped ruby ring set between two tiny triple diamonds clusters. It was gorgeous and he explained that it had multiple meanings;

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  1. His incredible LIKE for me
  2. The hope of a future with me
  3.  And a promise of purity until a wedding date

How could I eat after that? The  sumptuous meal  arrived delighting  my tastebuds as we engaged in nervous innocent conversation. I could not resist the sweetness of his heart and the directness of his pre-proposal. I found myself smitten.

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Fast forward to 2017. This is our 12th Valentine’s celebration together. Not quite as showy this year. Went to our first Thai restaurant a week before Valentine’s to beat the crowd and had a truly quiet relaxed dinner together. We sat and discussed upcoming travel plans and the new food experiences on our plates and yes, a bit of politics. One of Dwight’s passions.

Relaxed ambience
Relaxed ambience

These last twelve years have been the best years of my life. Every morning when I wake up, I cannot believe the life I have been given. Dwight, you are such a precious gift from God. You have crafted such beautiful expressions  over the years of your love for me and  I am not at all crafty. So today I am writing to let you know I love and respect you ever more deeply as time passes! And before you ask “WHY?” Here’s a small list:

You accepted me and the unusual past I had with love, understanding and interest from the very first day we met.

You comforted both me and my Mom when my step Dad Dale had his stoke and and accompanied me on regular visits to cheer him for seven years until he passed away.

You were the one who found and rescued my mom when she fell and went into shock while trapped in her home.

You helped me find a decent place for my Mom to live when she could no longer care for herself.

You supported me through the entire process of packing up Mom’s  earthly belongings and selling her home to pay for her care in a reputable nursing facility.

You were with me when I found out my brother Ray had died unexpectedly and helped me be strong for Mom.

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You discuss and make decisions big or small with me, always wanting to know my views.

You perform tasks and run innumerable errands for me whenever I ask without complaining.

You give me plenty of room to grow, which trust me, I have needed.

You still open doors for me.

You give me freedom to try new things whenever I want as long as it will benefit me as a person and strengthen our bond of marriage.

You support me in my writing by your affirmation but also by your involvement. You read everything I write and lovingly critique it. I can never find words to say how much that act alone means to me as a person!

You have not stopped trying to understand me even when I don’t understand myself.

 

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You have shown me the West coast,  and the Mid- West.

You explored with me the deep South, New England, Europe, Canada and many tropical locations.

You encourage me to face and meet new challenges that I never dreamed I could handle.

You are a Godly man who is not afraid to serve others in nearly any capacity.

You allow me to dance on the stage while you watch from the wings.

You do not shirk hard work and have faithfully taken care of me financially, pushing yourself countless times when you had serious migraines.

You explore all my interests  with me even when you may not find them as fascinating as I do.

You always fill my gas tank.  Always.

Everyday I work  (even when you have off), you get up and make coffee for my thermos.

You hold my hand in the car, while walking and especially while worshipping together at church.

You text me all day long EVERYDAY!

You are witty and silly fun whether we are alone or in a crowd, your focus is US.

Our first Valentine's Day 2006
Our first Valentine’s Day 2006

God uses you everyday to help me FLURISH!
It has been an exciting and stretching 11 years since our very first inkling of a life together that Valentine evening. I am soooo glad God brought us together. . . looking forward to all the adventures HE has for us in the future! HappyValentine’s Day, my Dwight!

Valentine's Day 2017
Valentine’s Day 2017

Shine on. . .

karan k

Attitude Adjustment Appreciation

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“Reflect upon your present blessings of which every man has many— not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”
Charles Dickens
During our first year of marriage I had grown weary of the tough and constant work it took to blend and compromise daily for the sake of our marital bliss. I felt like the Israelites after they were freed from Egyptian bondage only to complain shortly after how their journey was hard. They longed to go back to Egypt where the food was good EVEN THOUGH THEY LIVED DAILY AS BEATEN SLAVES. Simply put, the green grass of singleness SEEMED easier.

My heart began to harden a bit toward being married. I thought I would go about business as usual and take care of my own needs as I did before. I thought I didn’t really need anyone else but God.

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Fortunately, I married a man who is longsuffering and he put up with my nonsense for awhile. But my God, who loves me more than even my husband, was not about to let me off the hook so easily.
One morning in the wee hours when I had a day off and had a chance to actually sleep in, Dwight, my husband stirred from slumber. I had no idea what was happening and I wanted to continue sleeping. He sat up in bed and I opened my eyes to see his hand resting on his heart. His heart had gone into an A-Fib (Atrial Fibrillation) attack. We waited a few minutes and the rapid, irregular heart beat did not pass. He told me he needed to go to the hospital to get his heart rate back to normal.

I got up and he asked what I was doing?

“I’m getting dressed to go to the hospital,” I answered.

He didn’t answer but continued to get himself ready. We got in the car and he drove us in silence to the emergency room. I was not quite prepared for what happened next.

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We got a bed in the emergency area and nurses began trying to hook up an IV to begin blood thinner to prevent clots. I learned one clot in this condition could be the end of him. My heart quivered and began to soften.

The nurse did not do a great job with the IV and I saw my sweet husbands blood dripping out of his arm and pooling on the linoleum below his gurney. I almost passed out. Why were they allowing this to happen? I wanted action now to stop the flow! My Dwight lay there calm as a clam preferring that I didn’t make waves as his lifeblood poured out creating a crimson tide on the floor.

My own heart rocked in agony as God gently used these moments to teach me a valuable lesson about not taking my husband for granted. Dwight was a gift the Lord gave me and I needed to start appreciating and caring for him as a loving wife. The single life and its luxuries as well as its loneliness was gone forever. I needed to put that behind me once and for all and cling to the marriage God gave me. I needed to treasure my husband second only to Christ.

I made up my mind that day never again to take my husband for granted. Or worse, wish for easy street because there was no way I wanted to be without him.

 

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Dwight ended up being admitted to the hospital. After 24 hours of blood thinner, his heart still stubbornly refused to come out of A-Fib. The attending physician ordered a Cardioversion, you know, where they shock your heart with those paddles on your chest?

Dwight had been down this same shocking road many times but this was my first time. I was not taking any chances of losing God’s gift. I prayed and asked others to join me in prayer for Dwight’s heart to sync back into normal sinus rhythm through the cardioversion. Praise Jesus it did!

Dwight had to stay in the hospital for another two days for observation. I took sick time and stayed with him enjoying the time together almost like a mini vacation. It turned out to be a bonding time of such closeness. I am forever grateful for the divine attitude adjustment the Lord gave me those few days. I now endeavor diligently to guard against taking Dwight for granted ever again.

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During our special time together in observation, Dwight explained his silence earlier when we drove to the emergency room:

In his past he always went to the hospital alone when A-Fib attacked his heart. No one ever showed interest in going along. He was shocked that I actually got up to go with him. So he remained quiet with his thoughts.

I couldn’t imagine letting him go alone! Oh for the mercy of God that my love had at least a bit of depth to it when the attack hit. I am so grateful I made the extra effort even before the attitude adjustment!

Whatever type of love relationships we have in our lives, we must not take them for granted. We are not promised tomorrow and neither are the ones we love. It only takes a moment for our lives to be changed forever by illness/disease, an accident, death or the person simply leaving to go where they ARE appreciated and loved. Do what you can today while you have time to let those you love know in no uncertain terms what they mean to you and to your life. Tomorrow may be too late.

 

“Many claim to have unfailing love, but a faithful person who can find?” Proverbs 20:6
To FLURISH in love we need to consistently CHERISH our loved ones in heart and in deed. Express your love in unconventional ways this Valentines Day!

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Shine on. . .
karan k