Karen

You’re So Right for Me!

May 12, 2017 in Inspirational

My husband recently gave me an anniversary card that declares, “You’re so Right for Me!”  Now mind you, our anniversary is not until September 22nd, but we kind of feel every day we celebrate the wonders of God’s grace in bringing us together.  We like a daily anniversary moment.  This card also reminds me of a selection from my Wellspring book.  I thought I’d repeat it here for those of you who might need a reminder that “You are So Right for God!”  Yup!  That’s why He chose you.

“Sure, God could have passed you by. He could have decided that you had too many issues, too much ego, too many sins to deal with.  He could have thought you were just too much trouble.  He could have. But He didn’t!

In fact, He looked at you with the eyes of compassion and thought how wonderful it would be if you could see yourself as the whole and beautiful person He sees when He looks at you. He thought about your willingness to be tender at just the right moments and your ability to kindly tolerate those who aren’t quite like you.  He saw you in a way that raised you up above the turmoil and the mess that life can be and He determined that everything about you was good.  He chose you.  He thought you were just right for Him!

Today, He wants you to go out and walk in love, share your heart, and do whatever you can to bring peace and kindness to just one other person. You have been forgiven, loved, and entrusted with this one job.  You have been chosen to represent Him to others. Show God what you’re doing with His unending and steadfast love for you. Make Him proud that He chose you!”

Therefore, as God’s choice, holy and loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Be tolerant with each other and, if someone has a complaint against anyone, forgive each other. As the Lord forgave you, so also forgive each other. And over all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.   Colossians 3:12-14

You are simply amazing!

Karen

It’s Okay to Have a Soft Heart

January 17, 2017 in Inspirational

I once read a quote that said something to the effect of, “The biggest judgment of God on the world comes with the hardening of people’s hearts.”  If we look out at the world with a lens for politics or others who might convince us that having a heart no longer makes sense, then it’s a scary world indeed.  We wonder where the people are who are willing to throw their hearts over the fence first and see where it takes them.  We wonder if anyone remembers the old adage that claims we get further with sugar than we do with vinegar. We might even wonder what happened to the words of Jesus when He advised us to treat others as we would want them to treat us.

For me then, living this life is a heart thing.  Sure, we have a lot of work to do, but allowing bitterness to take root in the soul of humanity, or building more walls to keep us insulated and alone, may not be the best ways to exercise the power that lives in our hearts.  It’s okay to be a soft-hearted person no matter what your position is in society, in your community, or in your home, because that heart of yours is then able to be shaped and molded by the only real power in the universe, the Creator God Himself! Only He can give you a heart strengthened by the wisdom born of love!

Perhaps then our work is not to give in to those who have forgotten the power of kindness and love, but to surrender instead to the One who has been about love right from the beginning.  We don’t have to be theologians or politicians or scientists or rock stars to recognize God’s heart.  We only need to be willing to set our humble hearts at His feet and open the way for Him to lead us to being people who bless each other’s lives.

I encourage you to see if there is any space within your heart today that you might surrender to God’s hand, allowing Him to give you a little more power, fueled by love and grace and mercy and forgiveness…those are the tools of His trade…and yours.  Blessings to all of you, my friends!

Karen

A Little Bit of Scrooge

December 19, 2016 in Inspirational

Dickens Christmas CarolThis is the season where we watch our favorite Christmas shows and this year, I’m pleased to be watching the various renditions of A Christmas Carol.  I’m not sure if Charles Dickens ever anticipated some of the poetic license that has been used to spin his tale, but overall, I still find it an intriguing storyline.  Of course, Dickens’ intention was to shed light on some of the cultural disparities of his day; the rich and the poor, the givers and the takers, the have’s and the have-not’s.  As I have watched this show over the years though, I realize that the brilliance of it is that we are all Scrooge sometimes.  Oh, we may not have his miserly ways and we may not be grumpy about Christmas, but chances are, some part of us stays walled up in a world we created in our own effort to shut everyone else out.  As the story unfolds and the ghosts of Christmas help us determine the reasons behind Scrooge’s life view, we come to understand his losses and his heart that grew ever colder, becoming one tiny ember in the fireplace.

Perhaps we don’t have money to hide behind, or a nasty demeanor that snipes at the world.  We may not have a big heavy door that we keep bolted shut so that no one can enter into our homes or our hearts.  But, we do have some Scrooge in us, or at least many of us do.  When we’ve suffered ill will at the hands of others either intentionally or not, we tend to erect walls to protect ourselves from letting those things happen again.  When we’ve been abandoned by family or friends, we withdraw and wonder if there’s any sense at all in keeping any relationships going.  We may even find it irritating to see so many people walking around with “Merry Christmas” on their lips when the world is in such a mess.

What will it take then?  Do we need a visit from the ghost of Christmas past to change our attitudes and help us understand ourselves better?  Do we need the ghost of Christmas present to show us what we’re missing in our relationships with friends and neighbors?  Perhaps we need the ghost of Christmas future to remind us that we surely hope to go to heaven one day and we want to leave a legacy of love and joy behind.  Or maybe, we simply need to remember that the One who created Christmas brought us all three of those things in the form of His Son.  He gave us a tiny baby to remind us that He knows us exactly as we are, and that we are all fragile and often innocent.  He gave us the hearts of wise men and shepherds who wanted something better for the world they lived in, right then and there.  He even brought us a peek at the future, a chance to understand that through that baby Boy we could leave a legacy of love and live in His grace and mercy.

Yes, Christmas reminds us to wake the Scrooge up that might be living in us and transform him to go out into the world with his heart on his sleeve, ready to be kind and giving and loving to everyone he meets.  Why? Because the Scrooge in us has been changed by the love of Christ and that light carries us through every season of the year.  With Dickens and Scrooge and Tiny Tim, we say, “God bless us, every one!”

Karen

Do You Still Have Room?

December 16, 2016 in Inspirational

One of the things we learn as we read Luke 2 and prepare for Christmas is that the city of Bethlehem was filled with visitors.  Everybody and their brother had shown up to be counted for the census.  Unfortunately, Joseph didn’t have access to Yelp or Hotels.com or some other source to call ahead for a room.  He simply had to keep walking, a walk that took two weeks,  with his very uncomfortable, very pregnant wife and somehow reassure her that he would take care of things once they got to town.  The problem was that everybody else had the same idea.  Every five star hotel and B&B was booked.  Every neighborhood already had taken in the rest of the wayfarer’s through their air b&b’s.  So, there they were, Joe and Mary, going from door to door asking if anyone still had room?

Having had three children myself, I remember what it was like those last anxious days of waiting for the moment when the pains of giving birth would begin.  I remember that all I had to do was call my husband, call the doctor,and head to the hospital.  A room was already prepared for me. The interesting thing is that I was nobody special, just one more woman giving birth to a baby.  When I think of Mary though and try to relate to her thoughts as they walked wearily along or as she rode on the back of a donkey, flinching with every step, hoping God had a plan, it must have been frightening indeed.  It must have made her wonder what she had gotten into.

Coming back into the current age, to the house where you live, I wonder if you have given any thought to whether or not you’ll have room if Mary and Joseph knock on your door.  Will you have room for the baby Jesus to come into your home and into your heart? At Christmastime, we are filled with a divine spirit of love and most of us do everything we can to reach out to friends and neighbors and our families.  We invite people into our lives and into our homes to share warm conversation and sparkling Christmas trees.

This year, as you open up your home to the people around you, give one more thought to what you’ve done to prepare for the baby Jesus to be born in your heart anew.  Look around your house and see if you still have room for Him and for His family.  Open the door to His love and offer the gift of His presence to everyone you can.  The nice thing is that it’s never too late.  He just wants to know if you still have room for Him.  “O, come, let us adore Him!”Christmas pencil drawing of Joseph and Mary and donkey

Thanks for giving room to all the people you love this holiday season.

Karen

United We Stand!

November 8, 2016 in Inspirational

Today, Election Day, is one of those times as voting Americans that we put our hope in each other.  We hope that somehow love will rule the day as we make choices that affect the lives of millions of people.  We pray that our differences will only illuminate those places where we need to grow and understand more of what God would have us do.  It’s interesting how much we try to believe in the promises of those in authority, the ones who would lead us forward into a new day.  We try to believe that they really will demonstrate leadership that is sustainable and that brings people together.  We hope for the best because it feels too big for us to handle, no matter what the outcome.

My hope now is to remind all of us that God knows our situation and He has a plan for us at this very moment.  He knows what He is able to do in the hearts of leaders around the world and He knows that He has ambassadors everywhere who strive for the rights of humanity that are born of love.  As John Calvin said many years ago, “We must not imagine that the Lord’s promises are true objectively, but not in our experience.  We must make them ours by embracing them in our hearts.”  God’s promises stand firm, steadfast and unchanging.  Together, those of us who trust in His promises must humble our hearts before Him and be brave.  He is good and true to His Word.  These are the things that will hold us up. These are the things that will remain true election after election.

Elections are but a moment, governments are forever in His hand and the difference that remains is what rules our hearts.  I encourage all of us to imagine that love is still a sustainable objective, love is still a measurable experience, and in your heart of hearts hope remains strong.  May you celebrate the faith that keeps you strong and the joy that comes from knowing that the vote is already in and God chose YOU!  Feel His embrace today and stand on His promises with joy!

“All of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Him. That is why we say “Amen” when we give glory to God through Christ.”

Sending blessings and joy to your hearts today.image016

Karen

Keep Saying “I do!”

August 22, 2016 in Inspirational

In just one month from today, Bruce Barbour and I will celebrate being married for two happy years.  Here, on day 698 of that event, I thought I’d share a blog from Ryan and Selena Frederick  that Bruce sent to me several months ago. For all of you who are married, see if this one resonates with you.     I adapted their work a bit to say this:

Most marriages start with the words, “I do”, but sustaining marriage means we have to say “I do” nearly every day. When we truly love, we choose “I do” in the day-to-day interactions of our life together. We say…

I do…make you a priority.
I do…speak to you kindly.
I do…practice integrity when you’re not around.
I do…honor you.
I do…make time for you.
I do…stop and listen to you.
I do…forgive you.
I do…choose to never give up.
I do…choose to put my phone down and have a real conversation with you.

I do…love you more than words can say.

I do…thank God every day that He brought you into my life.

I do…seek God’ guidance to be a better spouse.

I do…look for little ways to bring you joy and make you smile.

I do…realize how precious our love is.

I do…take care of myself for both of our sakes.

This list could go on forever.

Feelings of love are great, and words expressing love are romantic. But as much as possible, let your feelings and words of love be punctuated by actions that bring joy.

Say “I do” every day to the people you love!

 

Karen

Saying “I Do!” for Seventy Years

January 20, 2016 in Family and Friends

 

My parents became Doug and Beverly Moore on January 21, 1946.  They were incredibly young and courageous.  At tender ages, they had to learn about life and marriage and raising children.  It was not an easy job, but it was one they were committed to protect and build on.  It’s amazing to me to think back on the challenges they faced.  Few teenage girls today could cope with the things my mother took in stride and did her best to overcome.  Sometimes there wasn’t enough money and so the day to day living caused my parents to be creative in the ways each dollar was spent.  We ate a lot of macaroni as I recall because you could make a lot of dishes with it.  As parents, they were tough and tender.  As a little girl, I remember my dad coming home from work with his lunch pail which often held a treasure or two.  Sometimes he’d have a whole Hershey bar in there which put a glow on the cheeks of four little girls.  Mom often made our clothes for special occasions and she taught us how to bake when we were old enough to hold a spoon and mix things in a bowl.  We made lots of family recipes and our kitchen was usually a toasty and warm place to be.  I don’t recall a time when someone appeared at our door close to the dinner hour that they weren’t welcomed to the table, whatever it is we were having that evening.

One of my favorite things about my parents though is that they always were loyal to each other.  They never said unkind things about each other in public and they always held hands and smiled and made the best out of any situation they faced.  My dad seemed to always have an instinct about how to handle mom if she flared up and mom knew the right things to say when dad found any reason to doubt himself.  They were in it to win it as we often say in business.  They were in for the long haul and there was no thought about a short term crisis that could do anything except make them stronger as they faced the challenge it brought.

I will always envy the fact that they were able to maintain their connection, whatever life brought their way.  They  let love guide them and they never went to bed angry at each other.  They knew you had to deal with things as they happened.  I feel confident that God must be pretty proud of these two.  They never made excuses and they never gave up.  They just knew that they were together and they had each other.  They celebrated their victories with laughter, and worked through their troubles as best they could.  They were friends and nothing was going to change that.  The best part is that they are still friends, still a couple who is genuinely in love, and I’m now aware that nobody knows either of them quite the way they know each other.  They are a gift to their four daughters and to their grandchldren.  They offer a legacy that none of us will compete with. My dad told me a story not long ago about how he would run across the river bridge to go see mom when they dated.  “Run?” I said.  “Oh, yes,” dad replied, “I ran across that bridge to see Bev.”

Congratulations, Mom and Dad!  I’m so proud that I’ve been blessed with parents who not only love each other, but help me understand that I am loved as well.  I thank God for you both every day and for the example you are to me and to the people around you.  You beat the odds and made a teenage marriage work for a lifetime.  May God continue to watch over you and keep you always in His loving embrace.  You have my love forever.image016Mom and Dad Moore

Karen

Stocking Stuffers

December 16, 2015 in Inspirational

In my family, we have a tradition of filling Christmas stockings.  We hang a stocking for each person who will be part of our Christmas celebration.  Everyone brings one thing for each stocking and usually the stockings are bulging with delights before the last treat can be added.  It’s great fun to anticipate these sweet surprises.  When I was growing up, I remember that we most always got an orange in the toe of our Christmas stocking.  Oranges were treats to country girls back then.

I’m thinking today about what  I’ll add to the stockings on Christmas Eve.   Some things would truly delight me if I could wrap them in little gift boxes.  In fact, if I could fill a stocking for you, it might look like this.  I would put a little box with a red heart on it filled with love for the coming year.  I wouldn’t want you to go one day without enough love.  Then I would add some cinnamon sticks to spice up your cocoa, bundled with Scriptures to remind you that God has given you the spice of life and the pleasures that surround you, and all good gifts come from Him.  Of course, you would get a tiny baby Jesus so that you could hold Him in your hands and remember that He always holds you in His heart.  I would give you a little packet of  Trust so that you could carry it with you always, trusting  in God’s care and mercy.  Of course, no stocking is quite complete without some chocolate to sweeten your days and a little peppermint to refresh your spirit.  And finally, yes, I would give you a beautiful orange.

An orange serves a lot of purposes.  It has a joyful appeal, a lovely fragrance that quickly fills your senses when you first break into it and it’s loaded with vitamin C.  It reminds you that no matter what you think, you can squeeze a bit more goodness out of it.  It offers you a vibrant awareness that there’s always a bit more that God has in store for you.

Yes, I love stocking stuffers, and so imagine there’s a stocking with your name on it, hanging on God’s fireplace today.  He has so many treasures to give you that He can hardly wait to fill your stocking.  In fact, He may not wait for Christmas because He wants you to have love and hope and special moments of joy right now.  You are such a delight to Him!  Thank Him for all He does to fill you with goodness and love every day. Share some of His stocking stuffers with the people you love.

Hmmmm….turning up the lightpsdlooks like I need to get out and buy some more oranges!

Karen

Walking in Bill’s Shoes

March 2, 2015 in Family and Friends

William Rinehart Barbour,Jr. is 93 today!  The sparkle in his eye is as welcoming as ever. His love for his family and friends radiates from a face that lights up when you enter his room, glowing more than 93 birthday candles ever could..  He has enviable silver white hair and a ready wit.  He’s a man to be admired, always has been, and always will be.

WRB, as he’s often called, is a man of many talents and for most of us, it’s hard to even imagine walking in his shoes.  Some of you may recognize his name as the man who picked up the gauntlet set down by his father and his uncle to find a way to make Christian books available to everyone.  His uncle, Fleming H. Revell,Sr., His father, William R. Barbour, Sr. set the groundwork for WRB to continue to develop a publishing legacy.  He was an innovator and when he became president of Revell in 1968 he wanted to make sure that great preachers, and Christian entertainers, businessmen and laymen and women all had an opportunity to get their work into the marketplace.  He pioneered the things we take for granted today…getting Christian books into secular stores, creating books about family and ways to live life more honorably.  He published women like Marabel Morgan, whose “Total Woman” was one of the top selling books of the 70’s.  He published Corrie TenBoom’s, “The Hiding Place”, and Dale Rogers, “Angel Unaware.”  He was a publisher who was always connected to his readers and humbled by their messages.  He began every editorial meeting with a letter from someone who wrote to share how their life had changed because they read one of the books he published.  “This is why we do what we do,” he beamed.  He was intent on publishing books that matter.

That’s not the whole story though.  Yes, he is a brilliant publisher, but even more he’s a man with a capacity to love and forgive and bless the lives of others in every way he can.  He’s a man who loves his brother Hugh in ways that are reminiscent of the kind of brotherly love Jesus talked about.  He’s a man who blessed his children, Bruce, Betsy, and Alan with gifts and talents beyond measure and hearts like his that are as big as all outdoors.  He’s a man who honors his wife of 64 years, Mary, and understands the gift that she has been to him for many years.  William Rinehart Barbour,Jr. is a man with big shoes and most of us will spend years trying to find ways to walk in the path he creates.  As his family and his friends, we shout with love and joy, “Happy Birthday, WRB!”  “Happy Birthday, incredible, remarkable and wonderful man!

Sometimes we wonder if we make a difference.  Sometimes we look in the mirror and try to imagine what it would be like if the work we did in the world, and the love we shared with others, could be so amazing that it would last forever, long after our days on earth. All I know is that it’s a great blessing to me to be part of this family and I’m humbled as a daughter-in-law, as an author of Christian books, and as a friend of this man to realize all he’s done to make my path a bit easier, long before he knew I’d ever be in his life.  I want to be like that.  I want to walk in Bill’s shoes!

Don’t you?

turning up the lightpsd

Karen

Getting More than a Garden Variety Partner

May 28, 2013 in Karen's Soapbox

 

I don’t usually post my articles, but I thought I’d share this one today for all of us who are still single and searching for the best partner possible.  Enjoy!

 

Adam and Eve were made for each other—literally!  They didn’t have to go to a juice bar or hope to get lucky at the Work-OutGarden.  Eve didn’t have to strut her stuff in the latest fashion, or get a tattoo on her left shoulder blade to get a little attention.  She didn’t have to have a Ph.D. in horticulture or be at whiz at 1001 Ways to Cook Zucchini.  She didn’t have to prove her brilliance or do a thing to impress Adam.  He was impressed the moment he laid eyes on her. 

 

That must have been a great thing!  She didn’t have to wonder if he was really Mr. Right or whether he had depth or a spiritual side.  She didn’t have to worry that he’d ever even look at another woman.  Apart from grooming the garden, she had no competition for his love at all.  She could just tickle his ribs and be happy!

 Well, Adam and Eve were the first and the last couple to find the dating and mating game so easy.  Singles today face everything from AIDS to aging and varieties of baggage that need to go to the dumpster.  Though it would be nice to pick a guy straight from the garden, many are the rootless variety or they have clay feet.  Some are just plain seedy.  Weeds start to look good.

You wonder if there really is any merit to recycling.

 So what does a spiritual, sophisticated, intelligent woman do these days to find a worthy companion?  Women with a faith perspective often have the difficulty of praying about a partner, but then not waiting for real guidance.  You imagine the next guy that comes along must be the one you prayed for.  Most of the time, he’s not. He just happened to be walking out of Wal*Mart when you ran into him with your cart.   So how do you choose with a little more hope and possibility?

 Taking another look at Adam and Eve, I tend to believe that when God puts two people together, He doesn’t leave much question in their minds about whether He meant for it to happen. From the first meeting, He plants a mutual interest in their hearts and gets something growing.  He gently mixes the sunshine with the rain.  He sends a little shiver of intent right through their stems.

 If you find yourself jumping through too many hoops to figure out if the guy you’re dating is the right one, chances are he’s not.  Mr. Right is clearly all wrong if everything connected with him makes your life more difficult.  Why would God give you a perfect mate and then set you up in an obstacle course to get through the relationship?  Mr. Right will be working as hard to keep you as you are to keep him. 

 When God worked with Jacob and Rachel on their relationship, He did keep them apart for an additional seven years, and Jacob did marry Leah first as was appropriate in those days, but He never allowed Jacob’s heart to be turned from Rachel.  She was the love of Jacob’s life from day one. It was Rachel’s father who put up the red flags.  Jacob just kept taking the flags down till he got to the finish line.

 Granted, most relationships wave a few red flags and they have to be dealt with.  One flag can be good for getting the race for your affections started, but if you keep finding a flag at every turn, chances are you’ll hit a wall eventually.  Sometimes a red flag, just means that you should pay attention to an issue, work it out, and then let the flag disappear.  Having more flags than the United Nations though, might mean you’re not ever going to find harmony.

 Sometimes spiritually oriented women have difficulty believing they deserve a good partner.  They think the guy that likes them (even if they don’t particularly feel the same way back) is probably acceptable.  After all, they should just be happy with someone who is nice, or okay, or stable.  They can’t expect too much. 

 Well, I’d like to know how many of us would pick a new dress or a car, or a pair of earrings with that kind of attitude.  Some of us pick a guy more easily than we do a new hairstyle.  If we pick the right one, we feel gorgeous. If we pick the wrong one, we just weren’t attractive anyway.  We make the assumption that God never meant for us to be beautiful.  Even worse, we make the assumption that we don’t deserve to be loved.

The truth is, God means for you to be beautiful because you already are!  He also means for you to be happy, fulfilled and totally bonkers for the guy in your life.  In fact, if you’re willing to wait for His choice, you’ll get just that.

 Waiting is the hard part.  Sometimes it’s too hard to wait and women find themselves marrying for all the wrong reasons.  They marry for security, or to overcome loneliness, or for help raising children, or simply because they give up looking for the person they really want.  Then, when the marriage fails, they look to God and ask why, when God didn’t pick this person for them to begin with.  What went wrong was that they didn’t wait for God’s choice, they beat Him to the finish line and carried off the wrong prize. 

 Now with self esteem dragging them even lower to the ground and hope nearly gone, they don’t even know how to start the search again. There are no easy answers.  There are endless questions.  Want some  helpful hints?

  • Stop playing the blame game.  Don’t decide because you weren’t raised right, your dad had big ears, your mother didn’t speak five languages and your dog was not a pure bred that you don’t deserve the right person. 
  • Don’t think God isn’t interested in your love life.  He started the whole thing and He is really big on the whole notion of love.  If you’re not clear on that, I refer you to His Word which you can count on.
  • You need to be ready for your partner when he shows up.  That means you’re not encumbered with old baggage, you’re not still kicking yourself about the past and you’re not expecting an Elvis impersonator.  You’re expecting a real, lovable, honorable guy and that’s the one you’ll truly recognize.
  • You also need to put all your cards on the table, express all your concerns, and then leave them in God’s hand.  Let Him hoe out the weeds and restore your garden to good shape.  He’ll help you cultivate something that will really grow!
  • Finally, you need to do something else while you’re waiting.  You can be more effective if you channel the energy that attempts to pull you down and apart, into helping others.  Build a house for Habitat for Humanity, baby sit your grandchildren, or get a cat. Do something for yourself that makes you feel good and benefits others at the same time.  Maybe your partner is out there doing the same thing and that’s how you’ll meet.
  • And one more thing, become a lover.  Become a lover of yourself,and of humanity, and of God.  Remember that everything Adam and Eve started in the garden is pretty good stuff to look for today. So watch out for the snakes, fold up the red flags, plant some new seeds and trust your heart because the right partner is out there and he’s looking for you too.  It could happen today!

 

 

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