karigraceplace – A Lighthouse

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

One Letter

OK, I’m finally ready to stand up and be counted.  But I’ll make it short and sweet, I promise.  Just like me.

Ecclesiastes 3 verse 7 says there’s a time to speak and a time to be silent, and I’m tired of being silent.  He’s the president. Period.  Whether we like him personally or not, whether we agree with his choices two decades ago or not, he’s the leader of the country and we’d better get behind him or we’ll have a fractured nation and we’ll pay a high price for that.

The one little word i have is actually two, depending on which way you swang during the election.  I talked to many, many people around that time, from all cultures, all races, all walks of life, and all economic strata.  For some reason I was exposed to a whole lot of people in my home town I’d never met before, and I did an experiment.  I came to a conclusion I’ve been thinking through and am ready to share.  I hope you still love me when you’re done reading.

If you fell into the category of couldn’t decide/didn’t vote, then my one word is apathy. Please don’t complain about the state of a nation you didn’t try to change.

If you fell into the alternate camp, who I hear about every single day, what my husband calls “the Snowflakes”, folk just plain don’t like it, I have a different word for you; democracy.

As a Christian my life often doesn’t go the way I planned, and many times doesn’t go the way I’d like, but I don’t go round telling everyone it’s not my life.  It is what it is. That’s the thing with democracy – everyone gets to vote.  And sometimes they’re happy with the result and sometimes they’re not.  Just like life.  I don’t have to like something to respect it, and I certainly don’t doubt what I don’t understand.  If I believe God is in charge of my world then I believe He is in charge of every little thing.  People who look for the bad in anything will find it, but they’ll live a very unhappy life.  I’d rather look for the good.  A wise woman once told me, “every place you see “good” in the Bible, take out one oh.”  I got it immediately.  I decided that day to be the kind of person who looked for the GOD in everything, not the bad.  Same word minus one letter, totally different meaning.

So for those folks out there still stewing about the results and telling us he’s not your president I have news for you: yes he is.  But there’s something you can do about it.  In about 4 years.  I just have one request.  Give the guy a chance.  He may be stirring up a lot of hornets nests but let’s wait till the dust settles and see what happens.  He may surprise you yet.  I have faith that God is still in charge of this nation and that He still moves through its leaders.  And I’m looking for the good.  And the God.  You?

Kari, the finally vocal

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Building A Fence

Anyone who knows me knows I love one-liners and tend to collect them.  It’s an odd habit I admit, but it’s also been a source of growth to me as a Christian.  Words tend to stick with me, and teach me more than whole sermons could.  Like, “Consider the source, ” whose original source, ironically, is unknown but accredited to multiple famous people.   Take today, for instance.

It’s amazing what you can learn in life by accident if you’re not careful.  In one morning I discovered that Buddha took credit for God’s words, Confucius took credit for God’s words, and I also saw Steven Furtick’s take on the spirit of offence.  God does nothing by accident; I’d like to share with you the reasoning behind that belief.

First, the one-liners.  Then, the lesson.

Buddha said, “What we think, we become.”  God said, in Proverbs 23 verse 7, As a man thinks in his heart, so IS he (emphasis mine).  And God was here first so I figure He originated it.

Confucius said, You cannot open a book without learning something.  God told Joshua very clearly, “this book of the Law” should never leave our mouth or our mind (Joshua 1 verse 8).  With good reason.  David realized reading changes folk, and wrote all about it in Psalm 119 verse 11.  But action has to come into play too.  As Christians we don’t just read, we read with purpose.  Steven Covey encourages us to begin with the end in mind, and there’s a lot of wisdom there.  After all, you can learn anything from anyone if you’re teachable.

Now for the lesson.  By this point in my day I was highly ticked off that people who didn’t even acknowledge the Creator would not only quote Him but take the credit.  I had the opportunity to walk out what I’d learned just hours before; seeing Steven build a fence from wooden planks with each ‘offence’ ran briefly through my mind.  After all, as he quite rightly pointed out, “Offence is an event; offended is a decision.”  Ouch.  Guilty as charged.  When we choose offence, it does indeed build a fence.  Every time.  Not only between us and the other person but also between us and God.  I’ve heard this so many times but it took a visual for it to finally sink in.  I think I might be Missouri personified – the show-me state.  Once you give me a picture I rarely forget the lesson.

So then my random redhead brain started thinking I find I’m with Aristotle – “Those that know do, and those that understand teach”: how does Steven know the spiritual principles he teaches in such depth…?  Duh!

Long story short?  I decided to forgive Buddha for stealing God’s words.  To forgive Confucius for stealing God’s words.  To thank God for Mr. Covey, for reminding me where my mind should focus.  And I really, really, really appreciate Steven for breaking it down for the slightly more hard-headed among us.  Lesson learned.  Hopefully permanently.

Your thoughts?  K

The Buddha #1 – Bold Leggings

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Will Power

MDDM, aka my dearest darling man, just loves Facebook and will visit multiple times a day.  Me, not so much.  Usually once or twice a month is my preference.  With all the political unrest and race violence happening right now that’s pretty much my max.  His explosive reactions tell me what’s going on anyway, so I’m usually up to speed.

In a world gone mad I’ve been finding it a challenge lately to reconcile God’s goodness with His justice, which He promises will always win out.  I’m also an avid reader and have learned many spiritual lessons from, of all things, fiction.  Take a for instance:

“I’d like a featherbed world…where a guy couldn’t land a blow on someone smaller than himself, where no one ever got to touch me without my consent.  That’s the world I would have created. But God decided to create a world where free will was more important than no one ever getting hurt.  There must be something stunninglupy beautiful and remarkable about free will only God can truly grasp… God sees something in free will and choice that is worth tolerating the horrifying blackness that would appear if evil was chosen rather than good.  I find that utterly remarkable.”  – author Dee Henderson, from the book Taken.

I don’t know about you but to me this reads like the evening news.  It also explains a lot in my world.  Like the fact that this morning I saw a video of a guy in a mask kicking an old homeless guy mercilessly – an innocent soul just pushing his cart along the street – for no apparent reason.  Which makes me wonder three things.  Who was videoing it, how did they know to capture the event, and why did it happen in the first place?

I don’t know if I’ll ever understood random senseless acts of violence, but one thing I do know.  In the immortal words of S M Lockridge, “it’s not a skin thing, it’s a sin thing.”  It’s getting easier to see how most of the world will be deceived when the anti-Christ comes on the scene, which Daniel 9 verses 26 and 27 speak of, and why ‘many’ will do anything to obtain a false sense of security.  But at what cost?

Dear reader, your soul is your most precious possession and if you’ve never made Jesus Lord of your life I urge you to do it today.  The day is coming when giving up life will become a guaranteed certainty.  Make sure you do it for the right reasons.  Think through the eternal consequences of a decision to both follow or walk away from Him.  Whatever choice you make, if you’re still here don’t take the mark.  May God give you true peace in uncertain unstable times, and I pray I get to meet you in heaven.

Kari, the anti-sin pro-God girl

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It’s Not OK!

I don’t often address current political issues but I’ve finally had enough.  I care!  Do you?  Enough to do something?  Say something?

North Carolina has been getting grief from many quarters on one issue, to the point that some have chosen to “boycott” us.  So much for living in the land of the free.  I suspect the brave are rethinking their stance on the issue too.

“An earlier report published in April 2011 by the Williams Institute estimated that 3.8 percent of Americans identified as gay/lesbian, bisexual, or transgender: 1.7 percent as lesbian or gay, 1.8 percent as bisexual, and 0.3 percent as transgender”.


I do realise I’m in the ‘minority’… even though I’m actually in the majority in North Carolina – the others don’t have enough moxie to speak out – but I’m sick and tired of 3.8 percent of the population of a country supposedly deciding for me how I can and cannot live my life.  I’ve never imposed my views on one of that 3.8 percent, and I doubt I ever will; I choose to pray for them instead.

If my children were still young right now I’d be driving them nuts every day.  They wouldn’t be going anywhere without me.  I fear for my unborn grandchildren, who may be unable to take a bathroom break without meeting up with some confused soul who can’t decide what they want to be when they grow up.  I happen to agree with a friend of mine – check yer plumbing!  Seriously.  It’s not hard to figure out.

I also think it’s pathetic for grown folk to throw a temper tantrum and boycott my whole state just because some brave God-fearing individuals in the so-called Bible Belt who happen to hold different moral values are finally speaking out.  If that’s not abuse of fame and fortune, not to mention manipulation of emotion and politics, I don’t know what is.

Seriously?  The Bible Belt is going to let 3.8 percent of the population accuse them of discrimination, while that same 3.8 percent is discriminating against others themselves?  It reminds me of a lesson I learned, of all things, at an Amway convention.  A speaker started swinging his arms wildly, as he proclaimed, “you have the right to freedom of speech…” at which point he walked over to a fellow speaker, now hitting them with his flailing arms, adding, “… until your freedom of speech takes away mine…”  I couldn’t agree more.

“North Carolina isn’t the only state that’s been caught up in these discrimination debates. Since January, almost 200 anti-LGBT bills have been introduced in states, which many people see as reactions to last June’s Supreme Court marriage-equality ruling. Recently, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed a religious freedom bill, saying, “I do not think we have to discriminate against anyone to protect the faith-based community in Georgia.”


There’s a whole lot of truth to that statement. Actually, I never have.  Discriminated against someone.  For any reason.  But it also goes vice-versa.  Or, to quote my grandmother, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.  They don’t need to discriminate against me either.

I guess it might be a catch-22, or ‘circular reasoning’ if you prefer the scientific term. One citizen accuses another of —— (fill in the blank; racism, bigotry, sexism, discrimination…), while ignoring the fact that, by doing so, they are doing the same.

Your thoughts?

Kari, the slightly-ticked-off-and-getting-worse-girl

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So Not Happening

It’s been a while since I had the chance to blog, and I’m some kind of fired up! My bible says in Colossians 3 verse 12 that we’re to ‘put on’ mercy.  That would imply to me two things; one, it doesn’t come naturally, and two, it’s an active choice.

I got to make that choice just last night. And, hallelujah thank God for growth, I kept my mouth shut.  Yep, that’s major growth for me.  An opportunity to get offended presented itself and I turned it down.  Growth takes a whole lot of dying, but it’s worth it.

For integrity’s sake I’ll share only general details.  Someone had the opportunity to help me, but chose to exert their power and withhold that help.  The ironic thing was, all I was asking was the same courtesy that leader had been extended to a fellow church member just two minutes before.  I realize of course that the leader in question withholding the help was completely unaware of this fact, but I learned a serious lesson.  If God ever puts me in a place of prominence and power I pray I never use it to withhold help from those who ask, but rather, not only to never withhold good but to even have my mind full of ways to be a blessing, according to Galatians 6 verse 10, and to prefer one another more highly than myself, according to Philippians 2 verse 3.

Many years ago I read a quote by a guy whose name I truly wish I could remember because I’d give him credit. He said simply this: a great man shows his greatness by the way he treats little men.  As the years have gone by I’ve meditated on that and though I understand his intent I’ve realized that there are no little men.  My fellow Christian leader acted like they have yet to learn that lesson.  After many interactions with this individual it has become apparent that if the child of God before them is not important (prominent), they are not important (of value to the leader personally).  Which is ok, but that’s not the kind of person or Christian but above all, leader, I want to be.

Hopefully, lesson learned.

How ‘bout you? Any comments?  Seriously.  I’m interested.

Kari, the hopefully-humble-and-definitely-humbled

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Barn and Noble

Growing up in England introduces you to a whole lot of idioms.  One of my special faves, something I was asked frequently as a young child, is – “Were you born in a barn?!!!”  Had I known then what I know now I would have responded, “No, but Jesus was.”

How ironic, even oxymoronic, that the King of kings would be born in a barn.  Nobility laid aside and humility embraced.  Luke makes this quite clear, though some theologians disagree; I believe it doesn’t really matter whether  it was a ‘stable’ or a cave, what matters to me is that history has proven He was born, He died, and I happen to be convinced He lives and guess what?  Some day I’ll be joining Him!

In time she of turmoil and civil unrest its good to have a rock-solid truth you can hold on to.  Try ‘He will never leave you nor forsake you’ on for size.  Or ‘for God so loved…”. It’s the ‘so’ that gets me every time.  I’m constantly told I take things too literally but I don’t believe God talks in metaphors.  Parables, yes, but not metaphors.

If you’re feeling down He’ll lift your head.  If you’re lonely He’s the friend that sticks closer than a bro.  (If you knew mine you’d understand the significance there.)  If you feel your life is insignificant, He has a future in mind for you, and it’s amazing.

Today and every day, I pray you will prosper and be healthy and live every day you have left in light of the fact that He loves you unconditionally.  It’s a great feeling.

stay blessed and sane,

Kari, the daughter of a Saviour-born-in-a-barn girl

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A Love Story Worth Telling

Who doesn’t, deep down, love a good story?  I’ll be first to say yes, but that might be the writer in me taking over, as it is prone to do.

Today I have a wonderful, some would say even pround, one to share with you.  If you’ve never read it before I hope it blesses you like it continues to me tho it’s been years since I first read it.  I urge you to read it in the light of Christ and all He has done for a people He loves.  After all, He is the ultimate hero.

“Here is Soren Kierkegaard’s version of the story:

Suppose there was a king who loved a humble maiden. The king was like no other king. No one dared breathe a word against him, for he had the strength to crush all opponents. And yet this mighty king was melted by love for a humble maiden. How could he declare his love for her? In an odd sort of way, his kingliness tied his hands. If he brought her to the palace and crowned her head with jewels and clothed her body in royal robes, she would surely not resist—no one dared resist him. But would she love him?

She would say she loved him, of course, but would she truly? Or would she live with him in fear, nursing a private grief for the life she had left behind? Would she be happy at his side? How could he know? If he rode to her forest cottage in his royal carriage, with an armed escort waving bright banners, that too would overwhelm her. He did not want a cringing subject. He wanted a lover, an equal. He wanted her to forget that he was a king and she a humble maiden and to let shared love cross the gulf between them. For it is only in love that the unequal can be made equal.

The king clothes himself as a beggar and renounces his throne in order to win her hand. The Incarnation, the life and the death of Jesus, answers once and for all the question, “What is God’s heart toward me?” This is why Paul says in Romans 5, “Look here, at the Cross. Here is the demonstration of God’s heart. At the point of our deepest betrayal, when we had run our farthest from him and gotten so lost in the woods we could never find our way home, God came and died to rescue us.”

Kari, the living-in-the-story girl

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Sheep and Shepherds

Today I was listening to one of my heroes, Joyce Meyer, which I’m prone to do early in the morning, and felt encouraged to research something I admit I’ve never actually done before.  Sheep.  Which, at some point in life, I’ll get around to.  But in the meantime, I learned a few take-aways to share if you’re interested.

Joyce was teaching on Psalm 23, a passage that just so happens to be a personal fave of mine.  There’s a lot behind that, many reasons why it’s deep in my heart, starting with an upbringing involving the local elementary school in England which, strangely enough, was very Christ-oriented.  Extremely low-key, but the influence was felt.  This gave me  a strong foundation in my early years.  I’m convinced it played a major factor in my return to Him at the tender age of 30.  In “assembly”, which began every school day, we prayed, listened to the bible, and sung old hymns most millenials don’t even know exist.  Enter Psalm 23 for the first time in my life.

Another happy memory was when it was read at my youngest cousin’s wedding, again in England, in a small out-of-the-way country church.  As much as I enjoyed hearing it, the greater pleasure for me came when my oldest daughter, Alison, aged 6 at the time, leaned over and said to my mother in a rather loud stage whisper, “I know this one…”

A proud momma couldn’t help but smile.  It’s a legacy I pray I’ve left in both my children, Alison and Sara, that will continue after my death.  An enduring one.


Joyce pointed out a few things this morning I either hadn’t known or considered in a long time.  Such as:

Shepherds actually purchase their sheep.  Didn’t know that.  But it makes sense, and did make me think.  If you own something, you usually value the investment and take good care of it.  Conversely, I’ve also heard some are stewards of the sheep, (the reasoning behind this being John 10 verse 11), where Jesus explains the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.  So I’m starting to think some buy and some steward.  Your thoughts?

Sheep are fearful.  Been there, done that.  They’re stupid.   Done that too.  Stubborn. I plead the fifth.  Prone to disease.  Which could be an allegory for sin.  There are a lot of things God is working on and taking out of me.  I still choose to trust that He is good and He is working all things for my good.

Sheep can get sad and mad all they want to, but that just makes them easy prey. And they have a lot of enemies.  Perhaps that’s how King David got the revelation of “walking through the shadow death.”  He might have had to, a time or two.  The lions and the bears would have solidified the lesson, I’m sure.  We all face hard times and difficulties; it’s what we do with them that counts.

I wouldn’t have chosen many of the experiences I’ve gone through in life, but I wouldn’t change them either.  I’ve gained from every one.  And I’m still sweet.  Kind of.

Joyce says we can be bitter or better but you can’t be both – I choose better.  We can’t give what we don’t have so if you’re not free you can’t help others get free.  I am.  In many areas.  Which is another reason I love my Heavenly Father.

I’m also an expensive sheep.  He gave His most valuable gift to me.  His blood.  He considered me to die for.  That’s the reason I’m radical about Him.  Just a thought.

Kari, the sweet sheep girl

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Thanks Giving Living

Happy Thanksgiving to anyone and everyone I know and don’t know out there in the world wide webiverse.  I’ll make this post short and sweet, with just one thing to ponder or not as you choose, dear reader, but it has shaped my life significantly.

What could have such a radical effect on a random redhead? you murmur.  I’m glad you asked.  The word Thanksgiving.  Many say it but few live it.  Me included.  Until the day I learned the root word.

Most things in life I seem to learn the hard way, but this one came easy.  A total stranger asked me if I knew the root word of Thanksgiving.  To my shame I had to admit I did not.  Which was why I used the word just as flippantly as most do in this journey some call life.  After being issued such a challenge, this inquiring mind wanted to know.

The root work of Thanks-giving is actually Thanks-Living.  Which brings a whole new meaning to Psalm 118.24.  And Psalm 150.6.  And many others.  It rocked my world then, and still does today.

Whenever I start to feel depressed or irritated or just plain awnery I remind myself to think about all the things I have to be thankful for.  Before I know it I’ll be so full of gratitude for all my Father has done for me and given me, it will go from ‘faith it till you make it’ to sincere praise.  And you’d be surprised how a few thank-full days in a row can turn into thanks-Living.  Seriously. It’ll sneak up on you if you’re not careful. You can be living with the Grouch whole Stole Christmas and Tigger and Eyore all in the same house and you’ll still have a song in your heart.  Try it – I promise you’ll like it!

Happy ThanksLiving!

Kari, the Thanks-Liver

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All Kidding Aside…

I found this posted on Facebook and thought it worth sharing.  It has to do with the recent upheaval in this nation, and how it affects the average American youth.

“The President of Oklahoma Wesleyan University gave a lecture to students they’ll never forget. Recently a student complained about a sermon that made him feel guilty and blamed the school for making students feel uncomfortable. This is not uncommon. Many universities now are so afraid of offending even one student, that political correctness has run amuck. However, this University is based on religion and so one would expect that discipline, good character and personal accountability would be a big part of the curriculum.

Everett Piper, who is the President of the school, wrote a letter to the students admonishing them that playing the victim, blaming others and not admitting mistakes is not a way to live a productive and meaningful life. Here is the letter titled “This is Not a Day Care. It’s a University!”

This is Not a Day Care. It’s a University!

This past week, I actually had a student come forward after a university chapel service and complain because he felt “victimized” by a sermon on the topic of 1 Corinthians 13. It appears this young scholar felt offended because a homily on love made him feel bad for not showing love. In his mind, the speaker was wrong for making him, and his peers, feel uncomfortable.

I’m not making this up. Our culture has actually taught our kids to be this self-absorbed and narcissistic. Any time their feelings are hurt, they are the victims. Anyone who dares challenge them and, thus, makes them “feel bad” about themselves, is a “hater,” a “bigot,” an “oppressor,” and a “victimizer.”

I have a message for this young man and all others who care to listen. That feeling of discomfort you have after listening to a sermon is called a conscience. An altar call is supposed to make you feel bad. It is supposed to make you feel guilty. The goal of many a good sermon is to get you to confess your sins—not coddle you in your selfishness. The primary objective of the Church and the Christian faith is your confession, not your self-actualization.

So here’s my advice:

If you want the chaplain to tell you you’re a victim rather than tell you that you need virtue, this may not be the university you’re looking for. If you want to complain about a sermon that makes you feel less than loving for not showing love, this might be the wrong place.

If you’re more interested in playing the “hater” card than you are in confessing your own hate; if you want to arrogantly lecture, rather than humbly learn; if you don’t want to feel guilt in your soul when you are guilty of sin; if you want to be enabled rather than confronted, there are many universities across the land (in Missouri and elsewhere) that will give you exactly what you want, but Oklahoma Wesleyan isn’t one of them.

At OKWU, we teach you to be selfless rather than self-centered. We are more interested in you practicing personal forgiveness than political revenge. We want you to model interpersonal reconciliation rather than foment personal conflict. We believe the content of your character is more important than the color of your skin. We don’t believe that you have been victimized every time you feel guilty and we don’t issue “trigger warnings” before altar calls.

Oklahoma Wesleyan is not a “safe place”, but rather, a place to learn: to learn that life isn’t about you, but about others; that the bad feeling you have while listening to a sermon is called guilt; that the way to address it is to repent of everything that’s wrong with you rather than blame others for everything that’s wrong with them. This is a place where you will quickly learn that you need to grow up.

This is not a day care. This is a university.”

Just a thought to consider in the coming days.

Kari, a small but none-the-less-a-part of “we the people”.

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“This is Not a Day Care. It’s a University!” : College President Writes Scathing Letter About Students Wanting To Play The Victim And Blame Others


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