karigraceplace – A Lighthouse

How do you change your world? One word at a time, one heart at a time

Eagle Feathers

We’ve all been hit pretty hard by multiple “natural disasters” in recent years and I still don’t get why the powers-that-be have to give ’em names but there ya go. ‘Florence’ really took a toll on residents here in NC, as it did almost everywhere in the whole nation. Few escaped her devastation. Yet one major thing I’ve learned in life is that in every bad there’s always some good. A joke I once heard about two kids and a horse taught me to look for the good in the most unexpected places. Like a hurricane. Fail to plan and you’re planning to fail. Now I have a plan. And I plan to rest in the shelter of the Most High.

Because I’m extremely visual and tactile, for some reason scripture memory never worked well for me. The good turned out to be discovering Esther Mui. No-electricity-days will apparently make a gal stir crazy in a very short time. No light, no reading, no coffee, no writing, pretty much nothing. I’ve been trying to speak Psalm 91 over me and my family for years but as my grandmother told me, where there’s a will you’ll find a way. My way is YouTube. Ms. Mui has set scripture to song and it resonates within me. I encourage you to check her out.

During a hurricane there are many opportunities to fear, but we don’t have to take them. It may be a little more work in a 60mph wind than facing a flat tyre, but faith is a principle and doesn’t change based on circumstances. It often gets you to take a hard long look at your priorities. I’m praying more than normal that He’ll show me what’s important. Today.

It wasn’t what was above the surface that sunk the titanic, it was the hidden. Jerusalem’s inn was full and overcrowded – they had no room in their lives for Jesus. As for me, I think I’ll be doing some spring cleaning, spiritually speaking. I’m making room for a miracle. For me, and everyone I come across in life. Including you.

Kari, the feather-covered girl

all original content, copyright © 2000, karigraceplace.com, all rights reserved

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When the Bough Breaks

I came across Elizabeth Muser’s blog recently and have found many a gem there to soothe the soul. This one happened to inspire me so I thought I’d share it:

https://internationalchristianfictionwriters.blogspot.com/2018/08/the-tree-that-bore-too-much-fruit.html.

As Elizabeth quite rightly points out, John 15 verses 1 and 2 say that He is the true vine and we’re just the branches. I don’t know much about gardening – my mother’s the one with the green thumb – but I do know one thing from having survived many a North Carolina storm. Branches need wise pruning from time to time if the owner wants the tree to bear any fruit. Or even continue to be a healthy tree. I’ve heard Joyce Meyer say that we’re pruned if we do, and we’re pruned if we don’t. I’m convinced she’s right.

Pruning is a painful but necessary part of growth. For trees, but more importantly, for humans. If we keep investing in things that are dead, eventually those branches will fall off because they’re no longer necessary. Do we really want to wait that long? As I mentioned before, storms here have a habit of breaking healthy boughs off the best of trees, not to mention rotten oneself half-dead trees. Appearances can be deceptive; a tree can look healthy… until a storm blows by. That reminds me of life, how we have the right intentions but sometimes build on sinking sand and don’t realize it till storm season. I’m so done with dead branches that aren’t producing anything but heartache.

I’ve got to say I’m with Elizabeth on this one – I want to bend and not break. Even if it does involve God’s pruning shears. I prefer to be trimmed than lopped off.

Your thoughts?

Kari, the fruitful branch

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Making Lemonade

For anyone interested in what’s going on in this random redhead’s life recently, I’m reliving Romans 8.28.  Last year my sweet kind Duke of Wellingtons (husband) was at work when some special person decided to leave an obstacle course on the warehouse floor but forgot to tell him. This resulted in a fun “trip”, two ankle bone fractures, surgery, a metal plate that turns cold when the weather does, and one ankle permanently larger than the other, which started us on what my pastor affectionately calls “a whole new journey”, one involving pain, doctors, sleepless nights, flaring tempers, and a heavy dose of patience and long suffering… not to mention erratic drug-induced mood swings.

I recently had a similar experience myself but not quite as bad. In January, my man’s wolf dog and my Rottweiler decided to have a turf war in the middle of the living room. The Duke of Wellingtons had only been asleep for three hours, and I told the ‘boys’ that daddy was going to kill someone and it wasn’t gonna be me! So being the random redhead that I am, I tried multiple times to be a peacemaker… which resulted in a very strange finger. After praying for three months I realized i needed a little more help so I went to the doc and was told very casually, “it’s just boutineer deformity…”.

My brain is like, excuse you?!” Thankfully I caught it before it slipped out. Basically it means your finger is permanently bent into a hook, extremely painful, and impossible to use. Btw you get it from “a strong blow to the knuckle” according to google, which was confirmed by the Duke of Wellingtons, who told me, “… his fang is at an angle…” Ya think?

(Oh, I forgot to mention the 4 inch bump and the black eye… I’ve asked God for a slow mo replay when I get to heaven… )

The lesson? Never get in the middle of a dogfight. Duh! The blessing? In one of my stories there will be a guy arriving at the morgue they can’t identify but eventually they realize he’s ‘the Claw’, an old homeless man with boutineer deformity in several fingers. The occupational therapist gal laughs at me every time I go – I think I make her day – but it’s real life! You can’t make this stuff up! Jesus didn’t waste the loaves and the fishes, and nor will I! Someone someone reading that book is going to think,’boy, she did her research!’ They’ll never know.. it’s just my life…

Kari, the lemonade girl

all original content, copyright © 2000, karigraceplace.com, all rights reserved

** disclaimer – I wrote this some time in March/April but for some reason it didn’t post. Life has been so hectic I didn’t even realize it was still unposted, so for those interested, here were my thoughts earlier in the year!

Truth Teller

I recently heard Natalie Grant say she’s not a singer, she’s a Truth-teller. It stopped me in my tracks, and as I pondered the idea in the coming weeks I realized that simple concept, from the minute I heard it, had begun revolutionizing everything for me, especially writing. I’ve always believed I had a call on my life to write, which became a passion to share the gospel thru the foolishness of fiction, with a vague end goal to influence souls for eternity, but I hadn’t got to the root concept yet. Now it’s crystal clear. Sharing breadcrumbs for those with eyes to see and ears to hear. Truth-telling.

My man often says that if you have any kind of addiction you’ll eventually be one of three things: sobered up, locked up, or covered up. There’s a lot of truth there. Anything you put before Christ becomes an idol, and it’s a slippery slope once you start down that road. Addictions come in packages large and small. They may be physical, emotional, or even spiritual but bondage abounds in this world. I personally have to stay home from Pinterest. Every time I visit, I’m there for a good five hours average. The sad part is, when I look at all the windows I’ve got open, the one I started with is nothing like the one I end up with. It’s scary. It’s also a behavior pattern for me. Don’t get me wrong – I love it as much as the next (wo)man. I just know it’s a weakness for me.

The only way to be free of anything, according to John 8 verse 32, is to know the Truth. In the original Hebrew, ‘know’ isn’t written in the passive tense but the active. Many folk know many things, but if they don’t act on it that’s not know, that’s mental assent, which is a completely different concept. You are then a hearer but not a doer, and that will never impact a heart or change the course of an eternal destiny. I wanna snatch folk out before they feel the flames. Or at least show them they have a choice.

Words just happen to be another of my passions, and it really lights my fire when people use them inaccurately or indiscriminately. Fellow wordsmiths would agree that what we sow with our mouth often comes back to bite us. Seedlings start growing and tend to produce fruit at the most inopportune of times. I’d rather tick someone off with Truth and pray God will change them than be too scared to speak and have their blood on my hands. Yep, in case you didn’t know you do now: when you contribute willingly to another’s downfall (either by action or inaction) it doesn’t sit well with Him.

I want the silly stories I pen to do mighty things in many a heart. I want to make a whole slew of folk in heaven who say, “this changed my life!” Anyone on earth ever complement anything I’ve ever done I want my responsibility, “ain’t nothing but Jesus.”

How ’bout you?

Kari, the Truth-telling gal

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The Overtaker and The Undertaker

I don’t do drama well and for that reason I try hard to stay away Facebook but recently it’s become abundantly clear to me just how diverse the eclectic band of folk I choose to call friend has become.

We’re different politically, ethnically, socially, culturally, spiritually, morally, even ethically, but there’s one common theme in most of my friends – a passion for writing. Different stories, different messages, different viewpoints, different disposable income, different levels of what many would define as “success”, but we all have a goal to share what’s burning deep down on the inside of us with anyone who’ll listen long enough.

Getting back to the drama thing, I’ve not seen this nation so divided in all the years I’ve spent here (which is almost 3 decades!) I’ve decided I’m not fighting anyone anymore on anything they feel the need to share. I only ask the same in return. I’m just going to state my case and then bow out gracefully as I look to see what they do with what I say. I’m half-done with my years and I’ve reached a time in my life when I’m more excited about the overtaker than the undertaker. (If you don’t understand, read Deuteronomy 28, verse 2 – trust me, you’ll understand.)

God told us again and again in His Word not to get caught up in petty disputes but to keep our eyes on eternal things. I really don’t care if the president ate one scoop of ice-cream or two: what I care deeply about is that hell is growing bigger and that precious souls are going there daily. Souls made in the image of the Father of all creation. His heart is breaking and I want to be a part of the solution, not the problem. Words are so powerful, and mankind uses them so indiscriminately. I’d rather heal than wound, every time. That’s why I write. To touch a soul. And perhaps change a heart. Maybe even make my Daddy smile, and plant eternal seeds in a hungry heart. That’s a goal worth pursuing, doncha think?

ps. This is a song that seems to pop into my brain at the most inopportune times…

He’s an on time God, yes He is! 🎶

My favorite part? (note of sarcasm there) “May not come when ya want Him…” Ain’t that the truth!

Kari, the excited-about-the-overtaker-girl

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Tribble Trouble

I don’t normally do this but I have to give a shout-out to a brand new friend.

I’m reading – well, re-reading – a rather compelling book by a guy who’s touching a very unreached segment of society (namely comi-con geeks). That struck me as so out of the box thinking, I couldn’t help but admire his approach. He has wisdom to share from the most unusual places, or, to quote his bud Vincent Stephens from the books’ foreword, “… I believe Hector’s true gift is seeing the gospel in everything.” And he does mean everything. From Daleks to Wonder Woman, Star Trek to Star Wars, Thor to Popeye, I experienced the nuggets Hector has found and freely shares on every page.

Wise beyond his years, I met Hector Miray at the local authors showcase and his passion for Jesus immediately caught my attention. Reading Faith & Fandom Five has deepened that respect. I even learned a thing or two along the way. For instance:

1 Corinthians 9.22 says that Paul had decided to be “all things to all men” in order to win them to Jesus. That’s just what Hector does. Here’s what I’ve learned:

When Superman had a meltdown Wonder Woman simply asked, “tell me who you are.” When we forget who and Whose we are, we’re liable to have a meltdown too.

Tribbles may be cute and furry, but when they ate indiscriminately it cost them their life. We have the same problem. It’s called sin, and when we consume it, it’s lethal.

We all, Like Luke Skywalker, have the choice every day to hide in the darkness or lead others to the light.

Just like Dr. Who, we as humans are liable to run when things get tough. The question becomes are we running from, or to?

Batman told Flash, “every battle defines you.” Now that’ll preach. We may cause more harm than actual help. When we fight the wrong battle or use the wrong weapon, as Hector quite rightly points out, we become the enemy. In his own haunting words, “Choose your battles well. Fight your battles well.” That’s how we shine our light in dark places. By choosing well and fighting well we honor God and show the world integrity and authenticity.

Those are just a few of the takeaways I gleaned. How simple can the gospel be? I encourage you to read and find out.

Kari, the so-not-a-tribble-girl

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Be One!

For some reason the powers that be at a certain national magazine have decided to send me a subscription, unpaid and unrequested. The editor of said magazine wrote an article about creating mentors rather than manipulating folk into an unwanted role in their already busy schedule.

Here are a few take-always I was reminded of that may be useful to others on the Jesus walk with me:

  • Rather than clamoring for and boldly demanding one, cultivate relationships.
  • Have casual but mutual times of investment in each other’s success, such as 6 monthly coffee dates/Q&A sessions. It may lead to one or it may turn into many, depending on the areas of life you seek wisdom in.
  • Most of all, it’s often unofficial and the giver doesn’t even know they’re doing it. No pressure – just friendship.

I know the value of this approach. I watch from afar but my pastor’s wife has taught me more about human relationships in the last 25 years than she realizes, not to mention being an example of humble but passionate pursuit of Christ. She’s my hero and I’ve told her many times. I’m 50-something but when I grow up I want to be a lot like her.

So now it’s a new day and I have a new priority. To stop in the moment and share any wisdom or knowledge I may possess with any who ask. Who knows? It may sow a seed that can totally revolutionize a life, both now and for eternity.

Kari, the coffee-drinking, relationship-sharing gal

all original content, copyright © 2000, karigraceplace.com, all rights reserved

What’s Good for the Goose…

Do you know the rest? Is good for the gander. I heard this so much as a young child and had no clue what it meant. As an adult, what it now means is that you can’t exercise one freedom while denying another the same.

Case in point: the whole Red Hen debacle with Sarah Sanders. Yes, the restaurant owner had every right to refuse the family service, but why did they do it after the food had arrived? Just a thought. (They were removed from the restaurant because their “political” conflicted with the owner’s.)

The reason for my confusion? Another case in the news of a Christian printer, owner of Hands On Originals, who felt led to tell a potential customer he could not accept their order because it violated his conscience.

Same reason for refusal – conflict of conscience; different result: folks applauded the restaurant owner, while the printer was sued by the offended potential customer. This same printer was then dragged through the court system but the judge ruled that the print shop business owner had the right to refuse any potential business he wished, on moral grounds.

Before you tell me the printer was a homophobic you need to know that he employs gay people and he often prints t-shirts for other gay customers. He just felt that he could not accept this one project.

1 Timothy 1.5 talks of love, a pure heart, a clear conscience, and a sincere faith. Tell me, of these two stories, who had the love? The pure heart? The clear conscience?

Just a thought.

Kari, the radical rebel for Jesus

original content, copyright © 2000, karigraceplace.com, most rights reserved

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/may/12/christian-printer-wont-have-make-pro-gay-shirts/

Fools Gold

If it wasn’t for Margaret Dickson and her article in last week’s Up and Coming Weekly I’d never have known about the Barr’s and the Bee’s. Namely, Roseanne and Samantha. More on that in a moment.

My pastor has been saying for years that Truth (God’s Word) is the new hate speech. A good friend of mine experiences this on a regular basis with her FB page. I myself was lambasted there twice recently for an innocent remark. Folks like to exert their freedom of speech amendment right but belittle you when you do likewise because you happen to disagree with their views.

Back to the Barr Bee debate. Margaret Dickson pointed out that when Roseanne attacked the previous administration with mouth her show was immediately pulled by her network: however, within hours Samantha did the same to the current one on a different network with a completely different result – no consequences whatsoever. I agree with Margaret; this tells me far more about the slanderer than the slanderee. It also tells me the core values of said tv networks.

As a Brit and a true lover of the English language I’ve never really understood why educated people resort to vulgarity, and apparently Margaret feels the same way. Or, in her words, ‘does not know or is too lazy to search for a precise and insightful word or phrase…’ to get their point across. I got so fired up I found these to make my case:-

Military Challenge Edition –

Proverbs 11.9a with his mouth the godless man destroys his neighbor,

Proverbs 11.12a whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense,

and

From the CEV version – Proverbs 14.14 you harvest what you plant, good or bad.

I don’t want to get into the whole “who is my neighbor” thing, (and I considered throwing in Proverbs 11.22 for good measure but didn’t want to be accused of defamation of character), I just wanted to show once again the high priority God puts on the words we choose to speak. We will be held accountable for them some day soon, and I try really hard not to have to eat mine…

Your thoughts?

Kari, the careful-word-planner

mostly original content, copyright © 2000, karigraceplace.com, most rights reserved

upandcomingweekly.com

Begin Again

I have to admit, every single time I go to church I always get more than I bargain for. True to form, recently James Al Brice  jr. did not disappoint. One more one-liner found its way into this redhead’s head: Compromising leads to captivity. To you that might not mean much but to me it’s powerful. Every day is a new chance to change a life, and I’m starting to take them. The chances. Well, the days too, but mostly the mercies. Today was another opportunity to begin again, with a fresh new slate. Another chance to realign priorities, and show loved ones just how much they mean to me instead of putting them on the back burner. That’s one area of compromise I’m definitely open to changing.

Lamentations isn’t a book I visit regularly, but chapter3 verses 22 and 23 say it’s because of God’s mercies we are not “consumed”, and that we get new ones every morning. They must be new every morning ‘cos I need ’em! It gives me hope to know that every night I go to sleep, I’ll wake up to a whole new batch the next day, cooked up specially for me. Folk who think their day has to go the way they want it for them to be happy just amaze me. I can’t remember the last time my day went exactly how I had planned.

Take today, for instance; it was a very trying day… with a lot of unexpected things, and I had many opportunities to get upset. In fact almost nothing worked out how I thought it was going to, including a trip to get my man’s truck inspected, which culminated in me accidentally locking myself out of the house. But God is good and God is faithful, and He has His people in the right place at the right time for the right reason. I’m living proof. I got in the house. I was so thankful I did a happy dance!

If you’re in a rough spot right now I offer you the same advice a gal in one of my all-time fave movies did; when you’re in a hole… stop digging… and look up! Our Father is always there, ready to help, if we’ll just ask. Holy Spirit is a gentleman – He will never force Himself upon anyone – His help is there for the taking, if were humble enough to do so. I highly encourage you to forget yesterday, even today if necessary; begin again tomorrow with a whole new outlook and a fresh batch of mercy at your side, just in case you might happen to need it… which I very likely will, do if you don’t use yours may I borrow some?

Kari, the professional-beginner-again

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