karigraceplace – A Lighthouse

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

Truth, Justice and the American Way

I stopped reading a local rag I had enjoyed reading for years, the Up and Coming Weekly, because they proudly bill it as ‘family-friendly’ but a while back did something I consider the complete opposite. Not they know or care I stopped reading, but I did.

I was unintentionally a rather captive audience recently at a venue where the mags were freely available, so I grabbed one just to check it out. I have to give Karl Merritt a shout-out for his excellent article entitled, ‘Objectivity is Very Near Death in America’. He defined the Cambridge Dictionary’s meaning of the word ‘objectivity’, and made a strong case for its death with the example of the ruckus that erupted after Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination. Merritt encouraged interested readers to read the full report made by Arizona Prosecutor Rachel Mitchell, but gave us a few of what he obviously considered the highlights. I happen to agree.

Here are a couple of undeniable facts:

The lady in question, a Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, apparently initially wished to remain anonymous. (So how can you legally accuse a judge of sexual wrongdoing but remain unnamed? That seems a tad unfair. Especially given there’s a small clause somewhere   with something about the right to know your accuser… perhaps that doesn’t pertain to the press, since they’re always so impartial.)

Said Dr. Ford could not keep her story straight as to when, where, or even how the alleged incident occurred. Few details came to mind, and the ones that did were inconsistent, including who was there with her to witness the event. The witnesses she did name and claim unfortunately claimed either complete denial of knowledge of the incident or simply did not remember it. Her story was never corroborated.

However, her allegations did destroy a man, his wife and two young children, bringing irreparable harm for the sake of a few minutes’ headlines. Is a reputation really worth so little to us as a people and us as a nation?

I could be wrong but it seems to me a pretty clear cut case of bullying and abuse. In fact, Senator Mazie Hirono was quoted by Tyler O’Neill in his article, “Dem. Senator: Kavanaugh Doesn’t Deserve ‘Presumption of Innocence’ Because I Disagree With Him”, as saying, “I put his denial in the context of everything I know about him in terms of how he approaches his cases.” Well. that says it all. Apparently Ms. Mazie has decided she is God and she alone has the right to judge her fellow man.

In Merritt’s own words, this strongly suggests ‘the presumption of innocence – a core tenet of English and American law  going back more than one hundred years – depends on one’s judicial philosophy.’ (emphasis mine). Is it really wise to condemn a man as guilty, despite all facts and evidence to the contrary, simply because you don’t happen to like their approach?

I agree with Merritt. If the media will go after a respected judge voted into office by a public who trust and respect him, for a public he has served faithfully for upteen years with such passion and dedication, then no-one is safe. We are indeed “all Brett Kavanaugh now.”

Your thoughts?

Kari, the passionate-believer-in-innocent-until-proven-guilty

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

 

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My Brother, My Hero

He was a carpenter, yes, and I’ve always loved wood so I appreciate the gift highly – it doesn’t help that before my man came along I seemed to have a thing for those tv house-fixer carpenters – but what I love most about my brother, my hero, is that He was an accomplished storyteller. He could draw a crowd in a hot minute, and they’d hear Truth disguised as parables. Whether that Truth sunk in was another matter entirely but as the old folks used to say, ‘ya can lead a horse to water…’. I trust you know the rest.

I discovered a major part of my calling and destiny at the tender age of 42. I’ve always been a reader, but was rejected as a writer so soundly in my 14th year of life that I didn’t pick it up again until what I fondly refer to as, ‘my epiphany moment’. It has coloured my world ever since.

John Bevere once said you never know a life-defining moment when you’re in it, and boy can I testify an amen to that. i didn’t, but I made the choice to follow my heart. I, like Robert Frost wrote, “took the road less travelled. And it has made all the difference.” I’ll take the highway of holiness every time.

I struggled for many years with Proverbs 11.30, but I now know how I can win souls and influence people. Through fiction. The foolishness of the gospel in bite-sized breadcrumbs. With everything I pen I pray Papa gives those He chooses eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to perceive, Isaiah 6.10, the traces of His Truth. Even if they don’t get it right then and there I pray I sow fruit that remains in silly stories about dogs, and teddy bears, a door in the middle of nowhere, and lost socks, not to mention 5 adult dysfunctional sisters and a timid teen with a strong anointing.

Is He your hero today? Your brother, protector, lover, provider, safe place and so many other things? If He’s not I encourage you to check out the tab, May I Introduce You? I’d love to pray with you so if you have any needs or just want to talk, feel free to respond below and start a conversation. We’re all in this together, and I’m here for you.

Kari, the child of a carpenter

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

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. I once heard a joke I about two kids and a horse that 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 e-books, 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 that 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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/

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