New Background

Can You Hear Me Now?

Monday, July 31, 2006

Certain Uncertainty

I finished “Buck Naked Faith” today and it ended as well as it began. I think Sandras did a good job of coming to conclusion with clear Biblically based aid in finding the cleansing and purpose many of us are seeking while sifting through some incredible pain.

I’ll be starting the Donald Miller book next: “Searching For God Knows What”. The title just seems to be exactly where I am on my journey. Sometimes I feel a bit like Dorothy standing on the yellow brick road and coming to a crossroads. Which road do I take? Which direction do I choose?

Other days I can’t even get myself to stand up…much less walk and choose a path. It sounds more pathetic than it is. I make sure to keep my feet and hands clear of the road so as not to impede traffic flow or risk life or limb loss. I’m a bit conflicted…not stupid.

I don’t honestly remember another time in my life when I felt so uncertain or so unsettled. I don’t know if it’s a natural part of the aging process in my journey or if there is something wrong with my synapses not synapse-ing as they should. For a person who NEVER has any trouble making decisions, this creates quite a conundrum!

It probably doesn’t come as a shock to any of you for me to admit I am one of those people who honestly felt they could create their own destiny. Now I know that’s a crock. I don’t want to spoil the next part of anyone’s journey, but I do want to give you fair warning…while you may be able to influence your immediate path, your journey was designed WAY before you were a thought; much less a crying, back-talking, occasionally back-sliding person who thinks she knows more than she does.

Did I just say that out loud? Clearly some repentance is in my immediate future! In any case, the longer I have been on this journey, the more confused I have become. The funniest part of the whole thing is if I follow the path I THINK God is lining up for me, I am in for one heckuva ride!

It reminds me of the first 5-10 times I went to an amusement park. I was one of those scaredy-cats that refused to even stand in line for the roller coaster. The day I finally broke down and road (even with my eyes closed tight) and amidst the loudest scream you may ever hear, I experienced the most incredible physical feeling. It would never be rivaled or replaced. So perhaps this next part of my journey will be like the roller coaster…once I finally face my fear and get on the darn thing…I’ll find not only some incredible joy, but perhaps a life changing experience. Now…will someone give me a hand so I can stand up on these dang bricks…I should have worn more sensible shoes!

Down AGAIN!

Headline: "Blogger downtime begins to take toll on tired users. 'Sick and Tired' becomes new catch-phrase for blogger.com.

Well, blogger won't upload my pics again!~I just had this cool picture to go along with a post for Overwhelmed. She's having a celebration of bloggers who have posted their 100th post at some time! She is shooting for 100 links So if you've got a 100th post and want to check out others...click on over there and put in a link! I suppose this downtime is for the best, as today is month end at work, which means BUSY-BUSY-BUSY!

I'm off to run report upon report upon report which no one really reads, but which must be run because "that's how we've always done it!" On that note...try doing something a bit different today and see how it is.

Here is something else to ponder today: When was the last time you practiced random acts of kindness and what are you 'paying forward' today?

I hope your Monday is full of picture perfect moments...even if you can't post em'! No I'm not bitter...I'm just saying...

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Did You Hear That?

I went to my FIRST concert last night. Okay, so allow me to qualify that a bit if you will. I had purchased tickets to a certain concert, while in college, of a white-gloved performer during his “VICTORY” tour, though I ended up selling the tickets for more needed books/food while in college. I also purchased tickets to an Air Supply concert (YES, I’m THAT old), also while I was in college, and also sold, in order to meet basic needs.

I did actually attend a concert at the Oklahoma Fairgrounds, though I only stayed for a few songs before I felt completely over-crowded, over-heated, and over-stimulated to each of my six senses. The same thing happened during one other ‘trial run’ at a White Snake concert in the late 80’s. I just didn’t think I was wired to enjoy a concert and frankly I was okay with that.

So when my husband asked me recently if I would be interested in going to a Christian Concert I was at first a bit leery. When he told me the venue and the band I rethought my uncertainty. It was Delirious and it was held at the SNU campus church. I decided worst case, it would be like a crowded Sunday at a BIG church and I’ve done that without pain and suffering, well without TOO much pain and suffering. Plus it was Delirious and I’m a fan!

It was ‘open seating’ but we didn’t rush to be 1st in line…we arrived 45 minutes early and we were still seated well within the first 15 rows. It wasn’t overcrowded. As a matter of fact it wasn’t crowded at all. There were probably 400-500 people there….maybe less. It was LOUD, but intimate.

The opening band was definitely geared towards the teen-aged audience, but they weren’t unbearable. When Delirious took the stage I was struck by their interaction with the audience and ability to lead us all in worship and singing. Even with the small audience, I didn’t feel ‘shorted’ by their ability and desire to reach us and lead us. As they sang I began to feel both the pumping of my heart (from the noise level) and also the piercing of my heart (from the Holy Spirit).

The first clear presence/voice I heard was during the performance of “Majesty”. The Holy Spirit began to move and I heard the Lord ask me; “What are you willing to lay down, to sacrifice for me?”

I began to list off the things I was holding on to…He asked for more. I realized I hadn’t really laid down my own marriage and my husband and his life and purpose, or my own church and church service. Last night I laid them down before Him and I’m not kidding when I say: I felt FREEDOM. I felt such freedom and ‘lightness’ as these things and worries and thoughts that had plagued me were lifted from me.

Later during an instrumental time of worship, and an incredible guitar solo, I was led to think about a book I hadn’t thought about in a LONG time. You may remember it: Tommy Tenney’s “God Chasers”. I felt my mind and soul drifting, it was almost like the way I imagine ‘astral projection’ would be. It was more moving than any physically manifested spiritual movement I’ve felt in the past, if that makes sense.

There is a part of “God Chasers” that talks about a church that was praying for the Holy Spirit to come into their presence. They congregated together and waited and waited…and waited…and waited…and when the Holy Spirit came into their midst, even after hours of experiencing that…no one wanted to leave. They stayed together praying and EXPERIENCING the Holy Spirit for like 18 hours.

God asked me when I would get to this point. When would I seek after the Holy Spirit with such passion that I wouldn’t want to leave His presence when He sent His helper. When would I stand and wait and TRULY experience the Holy Spirit and ALL the Holy Spirit wants to do with and for and through me.

This comes on the heels of some major needs in or church. I shared with my pastor this morning that I while I was completely committed to our church, I wasn’t doing everything God had called me to do with regards to prayer and service and seeking and EXPERIENCING the Holy Spirit for our church. God revealed to me that as our church seeks and waits and begins to experience this power, then and only then will we experience the ‘breaking’ He is preparing to offer us.

I’m clearly having a hard time putting into words this experience, and I doubt I could ever give it justice verbally either. Suffice to say, I’m so glad I went and I thank God that He continues to talk to me so clearly. I pray my spiritual ears would always be open to hear His prodding and pushing and that I would be in His position of movement or silence as He directs.

With regards to the title of this post and my blog...I'm sensing a trend here...at least in MY life!

Have a super blessed Sunday! Did you hear that?

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Home Sweet Home!

It's time for Boomama's Tour of Home's and I'd like to welcome you all to Casa kpjara...

I wasn't sure I'd recognize my front door. We always use the garage. This is the picture I took outside our home...and I'm pretty sure it's the front door!


You know me...I did a special effect on it..."Fresco" I think.

Come on in. Let me take you to the office, where I do my writing (when I write from home that is). It's where I'm writing this now. You've seen this room after we painted it in the spring...the "Green Room".

I love this room. I still feel the same peace I did when we originally painted it. The desk is 'new'. It's a $7.00 garage sale find that fit in my car...so it became my 'new' desk. It's got great bones and a nice shape with a beautiful color. I'm still looking for a reading chair for this room, so keep your eyes peeled!

The next space is the main 'living area'. In our home it's the only living/family room, and yes those are the 'girls'. That beauty in the front (the yellow one) is Mimi. She is a Golden Retriever -Cocker Spaniel mix. The little black and white 'runt' in the back is Bubba and she is mostly Rat Terrier, but mutt at heart. This is where we watch movies or 'veg' while daddy is at work or in school. I tried home-schooling them, but they only got to counting and basically just wanted to play...so clearly the brain function comes from their 'dads' side of the family, LOL!

Next is the kitchen and frankly this is more my husband's stomping ground. He does the majority of the cooking...though I do the 'baking' (uh, and I covered the refrigerator with magnets and pictures and 'stuff'. I DO love to bake: cookies, cakes, pies and pretty much anything on the sweet end of the food chain (chocolate or coconut are a bonus).

Finally is the "my choice" photo of a favorite room or spot in the home. I decided not to take you into my bedroom or the 'spare bedroom' because they just aren't done yet. The spare bedroom is actually a work in progress as we speak and I will 'blog' about it upon completion. Suffice to say it's going turquoise (walls) with a 'scripture' border (yes I did say Scripture, as in the Holy Bible). Hey, don't freak on me, I was originally going to do all the walls and the ceiling in the whole Bible, but decided it was too much work and I found this new comforter that is turquoise and lime green and royal blue! You'll see soon! It's slated for the Labor Day weekend project.

One of the favorite 'spots' in our home is the 'cross wall'. I collect crosses from places we've been and some are gifts and some are just unique 'finds'. Without further ado...the cross wall! I 'fresco'd' it as well! Strange how that light circle formed around them isn't it? I didn't do that intentionally, it just turned out that way in photoshop.

Thank you so much for visiting! I hope you enjoyed this visit to Casa kpjara...and ya'll come back! Next time we'll have coffee and fresh cookies, k?

Have an awesome Friday!

No Ugly Fruit Here!


Buck-Naked Faith by: Eric Sandras, Ph.D.
Chapter V: “Feel the Reign”

This was a tough chapter for me. I’m realizing with all certainty that I have EXTREME issues with regards to lordship and leadership. I really WANT to experience the freedom that comes with true Lordship from Jesus, I just don’t have good earthly patterns to follow. I’ve either been led by the ‘iron fist’ of parents, weak teachers, or domineering and sometimes labile bosses most of my life and adapted through withdrawal, rebellion or shut-down. I can’t say that I’ve seen it successfully patterned by church leadership either, until very recently.

Obviously I realize Lordship from Jesus is something entirely different than leadership imposed by parents, teachers, bosses, preachers, or even our government. However I did not realize how great a block it would create for me in my own journey. I learned to manipulate and overpower weaker people with finesse and that’s not something easily removed.

This chapter deals directly with lacking the real experience of the Holy Spirit in our midst. In my own journey the greatest obstacle to feeling/hearing/seeing the Holy Spirit move is my own inability to release my own ‘reign’ on my life. Sandras uses this expression:

“Experiencing God is an attitude, not just an event or theological construct.”

That’s powerful! He explains that as I allow brokenness, from repenting often, and exaltation to the very God that created me, I will begin to actually experience God’s presence in my actions. It becomes a part of who I am.

Sandras also turned on a light with regards to the Word of God.

“People whose lives are oriented around Christ don’t just study the Bible to be smart. They see that every single page of the New Testament is stained with the crimson blood of Jesus himself. Suddenly, the Bible isn’t just a text to be studied but a source of life for a withering branch. Unless the Holy Spirit brings the Word to life, study will only make you smart, not healthier.”

This is a reminder I need daily. It helps me realize that when I read the Word without praying and asking God for His wisdom and His guidance and His Spirit, I’m reading only to read and grow smarter. If I want to abide in Him and Him in me, I’ve got to experience the Word as if it were breath of life. Powerful stuff, eh?

Here are the first growth points:
1. Outside of religious context, think of someone you regularly abide (live) with or someplace where you regularly abide. What makes abiding with that person or at that place attractive to you? What do you get out of it? What does it cost you? What similarities does the Holy Spirit show you through John 15:4-7?

2. Take some time and ask Jesus if there are some horizons in your life that he wants you to go beyond and if there are some anchors that are keeping you from the journey.


The thing I continue to hear from God on this is also found in John 15, verse 16. “You did not choose me, I chose you…to go and bear fruit.” This verse helped me during a deep depression I had several years ago. It’s become a bit of a life verse for me. It would have been enough just to receive the pat on the back by Him choosing me (sort of like being picked 1st for a sports team)…but then He goes on to tell me WHY He chose me (or why He created me)…to GO AND BEAR FRUIT!

Frankly, “GO” would have been enough and God tells us to GO several times in the Word. Then He has to add “BEAR FRUIT”! I don’t think He’s talking about apples and oranges either. As I understand it, it’s not enough to rest comfortable in His arms forever…nope, He wants me to get off my butt, recognize His purpose, and GO FULFILL IT!

“Okay, I’m going; I’m going….just let me finish my coffee first!” I implore.

“Go and bear fruit.” He says again.

“I’m not feeling particularly ‘fruity’ this morning God.” I reply.

“Are we going to review this again…the whole cutting off the branches that are NOT bearing fruit and burning them up?” He asks.

“Nope, I got it God! Though it might be 'ugly fruit' this morning!" I affirm.

Thus begins another day in the life of a girl trying to abide and bear good fruit.

The second part of this chapter really slapped me upside the head with the section titled: Making the Mundane Sacred. It has a passage about Brother Lawrence (1611-1691) who worked in the kitchen of his order. He saw everything as from God and nothing was without purpose. He lived in the ‘habitual presence of God.’

Finally here is what clenched it for me:

“Perhaps Jesus is giving you the chance to experience his kingdom. Are you so consumed with trying to do something FOR God that you aren’t allowing room just to BE God’s? You can take the most mundane and even despised task and turn it into a glorifying kingdom experience. This perspective opens the heavens so that God’s life-giving reign can satiate your emotional dryness. It’s a perspective of humility and surrender.”

The final growth points include:

Ponder the times when you have sensed the tangible presence of God. Where were you? What was going on in your heart? Are there any aspects of such encounters that you could carry over to the times when you feel nowhere near God’s presence?

For me, I think of a few experiences with God when I felt His tangible presence and I DO recall these times when I’m in valley-seasons of my journey. I also think of the people God used throughout His Word that were so broken and that was the only point in which He could use them. That gives me such hope, to realize that the times I spend in the valley are the times God wants to mold me and break me and use me, not in spite of my brokenness, but because of it!

Happy Thursday…Remember tomorrow is the “Tour of Homes” sponsored by our dear blogging friend Boomama. I’ll be preparing my pics later tonight in preparation!

Now go…bear fruit!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Burning From Both Ends

Buck Naked Faith by: Eric Sandras, Ph.D.
Chapter IV: Enrich Your Soil

This book just gets better and better. One of my favorite paragraphs from this chapter is:

“Being a follower of Christ does not allow me to pick and choose biblical principles that fit my lifestyle and disregard those that don’t. Instead, it’s imperative I understand that obedience and faith are crucial to following a master. If I follow Christ’s commands only when I agree with them or they feel right, I have no longer committed my life to a person but to a religious philosophy with as much substance as that bag of cheese puffs. It may taste good, but soon the cells in my body will be starving for something more. I need the rich, undiluted nourishment of God’s Word!”

Here are the some of the questions we ponder today:

Following the section: “The Truth is Out There”
What are some areas in which you instinctively trust Jesus, areas you know are “truth”? What are some areas in which you instinctively turn elsewhere for answers first? Why?

I’m sitting here pondering this question. I’ve mentioned in a previous post how “ABSOLUTE TRUTH” has baffled me and today is no exception. The only TRUTH I can commit to is the truth of the love God has for us and that is displayed through the sacrifice of Jesus. That includes the truth of Christ’s birth/death/resurrection and that role in my own re-birth.

I may be one of an exception (and that’s my hope) but I don’t typically just accept things as truth until I can see it (tangible truth) or I have it imbedded in my heart/soul (Holy Spirit truth).

The easier part of this question, for me, is areas in which I instinctively turn elsewhere for answers first. In all honesty I did turn to the paper and online information to gain information about voting BEFORE I prayed and asked God for His divine hand in deciding. I instinctively turn to my pastor for counsel, when I should turn to God 1st! I instinctively turn to many worldly sources for seemingly unimportant issues, but ultimately it only reinforces my own lack of trust and faith in God and the three “O’s”. You know: Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent.

One sort of ‘twisted’ side note and reflection of my own temperament is regarding counsel. When I (emphasize ME, MYSELF and I, not anybody else) consider a need for a therapist or counseling, I’ve always been one to ‘pooh-pooh’ that because…‘I can handle it myself!’ (She said with the certainty of an indignant 3-year old).

I always felt like if I ‘caved’ and pursued counseling to deal with ‘issues’ I had/have it would be admitting my failure. I am more comfortable today (as in the past 12 months) realizing and admitting that my weakness does not equal my failure; quite the opposite. My weakness equals my ultimate salvation and success through Jesus!

There I said it. I am weak and sometimes (every stinkin’ day) I need HELP! I cannot do it alone. I am utterly helpless some days…yet I seek and find help…either through helpers Jesus sends or direct from the source of ALL help! On those days when I’m too PROUD to seek help from others…my Helper is still here…helping me.

“I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber.” Psalm 121:1-3


That is the source of my help! Praise God!

And after “Defragmenting Your Hard Drive”
This will seem a bit bizarre, but try it. Find a place of solitude. Turn off all the noise you possibly can. Dim the lights and light a candle. Stare at the candle, and ask the Holy Spirit to teach you something through that candle. Could you stay focused? Could you listen? Is this a discipline you need in your pursuit?


Side note: a dear friend of mine from Albuquerque would regularly burn the prayer candles that are so popular among many churches, everyday… until she burned her kitchen down and nearly her entire house. Yes, even prayer candles can get out of control. Some of the worst fires in NM were ‘controlled burns’.

So as you can see from the side notes I’m constantly inserting and as the title of this post indicates…I’m clearly burning the candle from both ends; therefore I am unable to sit and stare at said candle due to fire hazard and “Martha” qualities.

In all seriousness, it does indicate my extreme need for this discipline and I’ve always known my primary temperament is not ‘transformed’ to the extent that I’m comfortable just sitting still and waiting…hearing…without falling immediately asleep. I AM going to attempt this Friday evening though, when the brain typically goes from ‘work mode’ to ‘play mode’. I’ll hopefully do a f/u afterwards.

In other news…

There are a couple of really good magazines out that I have recently started subscribing to. I’m sure many of you already read them currently but if you haven’t, get online and ‘mark’ the box to receive your free copy to check it out!

The magazines are ‘RELEVANT’ and ‘RADIANT’. Radiant is an offshoot of Relevant and it’s geared towards women specifically. I am actually a bit disappointed in ‘Radiant’ because it tends to lean towards YOUNG women, but if your twenty-something and actually sit down and read magazines…this is a good read. The cover-stories of this ‘summer issue’ include: Inside the world of sex trade; Prayer how real is it; as well as Pursuing God with a passion, and Bridesmaid on a budget. It has shopping guides, poetry, music and book reviews and the editor is actually funny!

The current issue of Relevant includes these cover stories: Overcoming debt; Off the mark (an honest look at the emerging church); and a Summer reading guide (if you’re only going to read one book this summer, that’s just really sad). This issue includes an interview with Thrice (there is always at least a couple of ‘band’ interviews in each issue). Relevant is my favorite of the two.

If you haven’t read either of these, they really are worth a review. The graphics alone are outstanding and even the advertising is a bit off the beaten path. It lists upcoming events and one in particular I’m looking forward to is: ‘starvingjesus.com (40 days of nothing tour). It’s going to be all over the country in August and September. I may just attend in OKC on August 18th.

So there you have it, a day in review…by kpjara. Remember; never burn candles unattended.
Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Can't We All Just Get Along?

NOTE: This is NOT a political blog. I am not here to assert my own political beliefs on others (even if I know I’m right…LOL).

Today’s the day we have an opportunity, some would say a duty, to make our voice heard. Today are the primaries in Oklahoma. Today is the day we select from among the ‘most vocal’, to begin narrowing a search for Governor, Lt. Governor, State Senators and Representatives, Treasurer, etc. To be frankly honest the ballot is one of the worst I’ve ever seen.

How does this translate in my own life? The most obvious answer is: Thank GOD its summer and I don’t really watch TV…in the summer anyway, because on the few occasions when I have turned on the ‘immobilizer’, I have seen some ads that do NOTHING but tear down the ‘opposing party’. We never learn anything in these ads its simply about name recognition; either positive or negative. One year I swore not to vote for 1-candidate that ran a negative ad. Had I stuck with that initial assertion, I wouldn’t have voted, period! Yes it’s THAT bad, even in Oklahoma.

During the past 5 years I have actually taken the initiative to investigate, on my own, the parties and their candidates. I have looked at the picture they have painted and sometimes dug deeper to understand their ‘politics’. I have reviewed the incumbents voting records.

I have voted in every single election (even the sometimes ridiculous bond issues). I have changed affiliations over the years as I have ‘matured’ and realize with ALL certainty that people over 30 should, in fact, be allowed to live. Though perhaps the privilege of voting should be withheld until age 23-25 or at least until a person has held a job for more than one year and actually paid taxes.

What it boils down to is no surprise and my seventh grade Social Studies teacher was an idealist in thinking our voting system was ‘pure’. I have had the opportunity to live in several different regions of our country as a voting adult and regardless of the location, it has always been the same…smear campaigns dominate the field. The ‘winners’ are typically the loudest and it’s not always a fair race. Votes are stolen and bought. I suppose our forefathers didn’t account for a population explosion or for votes from uneducated (think Florida), uninformed residents.

I’m voting anyway! I am "We the People", and if I choose to silence my own voice I am no longer a part of the solution, I am only a cog in a wheel that is sometimes veering out of control.

Happy Voting!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Still Naked...and Other News

“Buck Naked Faith” by Eric Sandras, Ph.D.
Chapter III: Embrace the Power of Community

How do you see your search for God? Are you drawn to a place/building, or a journey? What could you learn from experiencing the other?

My personal search for God led me away from church for many years. Honestly the “Kim and God” show were the best years of my life. However; the spirit within was restless and wanted more. I wanted more community and growth and to be able to use the gifts God had given and was revealing to me. Initially I found ‘church community’ to be the most constricting, judgmental environment I had ever seen. I avoided youth groups because of that teen judgment that was only slightly veiled hostility even at church.

I wasn’t a ‘Prom Queen’. Heck I didn’t even go to the Prom. I wasn’t a ‘jock’. I wasn’t a ‘freak’ (translation in 1980’s: I didn’t smoke, cut class, or get high). I wasn’t in band. I wasn’t a ‘nerd’. I was labeled as a cross between a ‘brain’ and a ‘drama geek’. I was never much of a conformist, as a matter of fact to this day I struggle with taking an opposing view (even if I disagree with it) just to spur a bit of a debate…or create conflict. It’s a character flaw I know, but God’s working on it. So the idea of community is a bit foreign to me. The drama ‘community’ is probably the closest I came to feeling a ‘fit’ and even that was a bit of a stretch. I was so haunted by the knowledge that it wasn’t going to be my life’s work, that I couldn’t enjoy the moment even when I was 16 years old.

I set lofty, out-of-reach goals only to prove I was the disappointment I had convinced myself I was. If I happened to excel in something I would spend so much time belittling it that other would eventually agree. It is true what ‘they’ say: “if you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will believe in you either.” God was the exception.

God never let me down. God accepted me and all my own self-proclaimed limitations and imperfections. He didn’t judge my physical appearance or my book knowledge or my abilities. He did push me to think differently…to view the world differently…to see that not only was I different (and it’s not a bad thing), but He actually created us all to be different so that we could and would desire to find our fit and see that each of us together…do in fact fit!

I’m ‘drawn to’ the journey Christ has lain out. I’m hoping my flesh-radar doesn’t impede the audible flow of Jesus, but when it does I’m certain I’ll ‘feel it’ and He’ll redirect each step AND I’ll learn something along the way!~ I have learned that no step of my journey is without meaning; good and bad.

How would you assess whether a church is “healthy”? Do the ‘ABC’s’ (Attendance, Buildings and Checkbooks) have any legitimacy?

I’m not sure this question has a ‘round’ answer. I KNOW God deals with us all exactly where we are so our needs are different. Sure we can argue that there are basic needs; but the level of that need is very subjective. In as much as Jesus came to be ‘all things to all people’ I believe the same holds true for church. God has a church for each one of us…they don’t look or act the same with the exception of the love of Christ that I hope is displayed and taught. Even that definition is subjective. Chew on that one!


Make a list of the top five reasons you attend the church that you do. How many (if any) reasons facilitate your experiencing the presence of Jesus? If you chose to, could you find the presence of God in each of your five reasons?

1. God sent us there.
2. God sent us there.
3. God sent us there.
4. God sent us there.
5. God sent us there.

How have your life experiences and the generation you are from influenced your view of what Christian community is? What would you change if you could about how you live in community today?

The generational influence on my own view of Christian “community” is haunting. I avoided all organized ‘church’ and religiosity for many years because of my own experience and the expectation surrounding the experience. I am so pleasantly surprised to be a part of something today that I believe is closer to the Acts church than I ever would have imagined on earth.

It’s easy to get ‘bogged down’ by numbers or religiousness, and when I sense it coming/happening (i.e. Recent Constitution/By-laws issues)…I do still tend to ‘flee’ and have found for ME…it’s best to disengage from that process and just experience Jesus in a real way, not a conformed/denominational way. I am better now than I was even 3 years ago. I will not RUN from my church. I will choose my ‘battles’ based on God’s urging (hopefully) and I will do the work God has called me to do, as He calls me to do it. I will raise my voice and my hands in worship and praise of the most high God (no matter what building I stand in).

Ponder community with Jesus this week. Ask him to speak to you through the culture, through His word, and through His voice. What would He have you do with what He shared?

So far…Jesus has asked me to ‘trust Him’ to ‘trust the spiritual ears He has given me’. He continues to ask me to die to self (a point of regular contention for my flesh, needless to say)! We’re working on ‘stuff’, trust me!

I bet you cannot WAIT for chapter IV, huh? We’re almost half way through this book already!

EXCITING NEWS: Don’t forget this week is also “Tour of Homes”and I’m so excited to take a peek inside some of the famous “blogging homes” and see not only where they let their ‘fingers do the walking’ but other areas in the home, including the kitchen or as I like to call it: My husband’s area…How I LOVE this non-traditional marriage, where I can mow and take the trash out, but rarely do a load of laundry or cook and clean dishes. I am truly blessed among women!


*oops got a bit off track as I drifted to Never land once again….anyway…Tour of Homes, Friday 07/28/2006, be there or…well, just be there! It’s hosted by Boomama and it looks like over 100 participating…Good grief! Well you can pick and choose based on her linky on Friday!

Have an awesome Monday!

Are you all still here? Well then...here's a 'funny' I got via email today and I'll share it with you:

An old pastor was dying. He sent a message for an IRS agent and his Lawyer to come to the hospital. When they arrived, they were ushered up to his room.

As they entered the room, the pastor held out his hands and motioned for them to sit on each side of the bed. The pastor grasped their hands, sighed contentedly, smiled, and stared at the ceiling. For a time, no one said anything. Both the IRS agent and Lawyer weretouched and flattered that the old pastor would ask them to be with him during his final moments.

They were also puzzled because the pastor had never given any indication that he particularly liked either one of them.

Finally, the Lawyer asked, "Pastor, why did you ask the two of us to come here?"

The old pastor mustered up some strength, then said weakly, "Jesus died between two thieves, and that's how I want to go, too."

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Emotional Rescue

I’m NOT a fan of the Rolling Stones (never have been) but I remember this song from my ‘youth” and frankly when I ‘googled’ the lyrics to use here…what God did for me today (and does everyday), rings true in a very small portion of this song:

“I’ll be your savior, steadfast and true
I’ll come to your emotional rescue
I’ll come to your emotional rescue”

Seems appropriate as I reflect back. He IS my savior and He IS steadfast and He IS definitely true. He also came, and always COMES, to my emotional rescue.

You see sometimes I find myself drowning in emotions and that is where satan grabs a hold of me and shakes me like chicken in a bag. If he can immerse me and hold me in the emotions and apply some heat, I come out crusted over in emotions that now must be picked off…and that process is actually quite painful. Imagine if you can; “Sinners Shake-N-Bake”. (together now: 'Its Shake-N-Bake and WEEEEEEEEEE helped!')

I think perhaps God is once again chipping away at the crust that I forever find myself covered in. The day I resist “emotional paddy-cake with the devil” is the day of complete victory for me in this area.

I’ve shared before that I often come across as extremely cold and dis-engaged from people altogether. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. I have such an incredible amount of love for all people, I just have a hard time being open and vulnerable to people. When people do find their way into my heart and my life, they also find the labyrinth of emotions and twists, turns, and detours that accompany this part of my journey.

This morning God reminded, me through His Word, that He provides lasting fruit that are NOT emotion based; rather they are seeds placed in me during my ‘rebirth’ that must be nurtured and cared for and exhibited in order to grow. My joy is lacking because I’ve been feeding the emotions. My love and peace and patience and kindness (though there is some question whether this seed even took root)…and all those fruit seeds we are given when the Holy Spirit takes residence within have been lacking. They have been lacking the nourishment and water required to grow.

God asked me this morning to take a look at specific words in Psalm 51 (one of my favorites). I think I’ve been trying to make the sacrifice of my emotions, when God is calling for my ‘clean heart’ for which, lo’ and behold, He is the sole source.

“Have mercy on me, O God,
because of your unfailing love.
Because of your great compassion,
blot out the stain of my sins.

Wash me clean from my guilt.
Purify me from my sin.

For I recognize my shameful deeds--
they haunt me day and night.

Against you, and you alone, have I sinned;
I have done what is evil in your sight.

You will be proved right in what you say,
and your judgment against me is just.
For I was born a sinner--

yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.

But you desire honesty from the heart,
so you can teach me to be wise in my inmost being.

Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me--now let me rejoice.
Don't keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt.

Create in me a clean heart, O God.
Renew a right spirit within me.

Do not banish me from your presence,
and don't take your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me again the joy of your salvation,

and make me willing to obey you.
Then I will teach your ways to sinners,

and they will return to you.

Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves;
then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness.

Unseal my lips, O Lord,
that I may praise you.

You would not be pleased with sacrifices,
or I would bring them.

If I brought you a burnt offering,
you would not accept it.

The sacrifice you want is a broken spirit.
A broken and repentant heart, O God,
you will not despise.

Look with favor on Zion and help her;
rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.

Then you will be pleased with worthy sacrifices
and with our whole burnt offerings;
and bulls will again be sacrificed on your altar.”

What my pastor did at the end of the service really served to ‘solidify’ what God was teaching me in the service. We each had a blank piece of paper and a pen. We were asked to write down any and everything that we are putting above Jesus; whether it is “service-oriented” or fleshly desires and addictions. We were then told to take it to the front and ball it up and throw it in a large trashcan, because EVERYTHING placed above Jesus is rubbish!

Needless to say…I wrote for a while. I didn’t completely cover my ‘blank sheet’ but darn near. My husband, who is clothed in mercy and grace ALWAYS, sat quietly beside me until I was done and then walked up with me to the front to ‘trash’ his page as well. God even revealed some things to me I didn’t even realize I was putting before Jesus and I was able to HEAR that this morning.

I realize this symbolic ‘trashing’ is only as effective as I allow it to be. The more the significance permeates my soul, the more lasting it will be. Right now, eight hours later, I feel the same conviction I did earlier today. I know my emotions have literally been running away with me and I also know that only I hold the power to release each of the things; feelings, that bind me and stall my journey.

With much hope for a joy-filled week!

"It is not the moutain we conquer, but ourselves." Sir Edmund Hillary

Thursday, July 20, 2006

What Kind of Leader Am I?

Totally Random but fun for Friday!
"What Famous Leader Am I?" (other than KPJARA, that is)
I'm off work Friday, so thought I'd post this today as a draft
and I'll hit...publish from my home tomorrow!
God bless and Happy Weekend!
Not completely surprising...though somewhat?
Lord I hope my hair is better...most days...

and apparently here is the "Classic Movie" I am based on my answers to 45 questions....hmm...never saw it...and frankly, I still don't feel compelled to see it!

*edited 07/21/06* I got to talk to a famous blogger last night. She's one of my favorites AND yours. She's like a 'blog-counsellor' and she was an ear during a stormy time for kpjara! That's right folks...I talked live and not-in-person...with GiBee last night. She sounds JUST like what I imagined she would...though she talks FASTER than most "southern ladies" do. I can't wait to meet her one day...either on this side or the other of Heaven!

Stripping Down to Nothing...

“Buck Naked Faith”: (Eric Sandras, Ph.D.)
Chapter II notes/thoughts

Here are just a few notes I jotted down while reading Chapter II. I hope they challenge you as they are me and again I would encourage you to actually read this book.

“What do I think about God?”
Honestly, I have often thought of GOD as a white-haired, white-robed JUDGE who has a stern look and furrowed brows. In my minds eye, He’s sort of a cross between an OLD hippie and an ancient judge (sans curls in his white wig). I have almost always thought of Him as angry and very strong physically and large (tall and big). I think of Him as straightforward. I think of Him as all-business. I can’t imagine God telling Knock-Knock jokes.

As I sit here this morning writing this, I feel much the same way. When I take it a step further and imagine Jesus…He’s like the younger, calmer version of God. He’s the more ‘reachable’ God. He’s the God I can look in the eye without fear. He’s the God I can hear without screams of wrath. He’s the God that is my friend.

By the way, my box (the one He’s kept in) is pink and lime green, with a lovely coordinating ribbon atop, tied in a perfect bow, of course! I’m trying to step outside the confines with which my mind sees God and the biggest barrier is not being able to truly wrap my mind and HEART around the incredible love with which we were EACH created. You see, my heart knows that God is not the white-robed harsh judge waiting to damn me with each infraction. God is the ultimate giver of love…how do I ever grasp what that means?

“What’s the story He has for your life?”
I’m beginning to think it’s like the push-me/pull-me in Dr. Doolittle
I realize this is the flesh/spirit conflict that exists and every single day is a battle of will and wit and sheer strength. I’m trying to stick with it (the story that is) and not give up and just live a life without purpose or passion…but some days…I feel certain I’ll find myself sitting in the living-color version of “The Shining” typing this message over and over again: .

Yes, it is a bit scary. These are the days I ask myself: What is it you feel passionate about? What do you want to do for the rest of your life? What is it you feel CALLED to do with your life?

I get confused here. I’m not confused about what I desire to do…what I feel PASSIONATE about…I get confused about God keeping me exactly where He has me; to continue to mold me and teach me and break me until I’m truly ready to move to the next chapter of my life: ‘Passion and Life Purpose’ by kpjara.

Am I here to learn more? Am I here to learn endurance? Am I here to learn contentment in ALL things? Am I here to learn to fully let it go? Am I here as a part of my own test or someone else’s test? Are there people I haven’t witnessed to here? Am I a part of someone else’s story right now? And if so, when will we de-collide and continue our individual journey?

“Ask Jesus to give you eyes to see something He is doing this week that you can be a part of. NO matter how large or small it appears, commit to be obedient. You may have to step out of your routine.”

Lord, Hear my prayer…let me see through your perfect eyes and help me to stay on YOUR track…no matter how large or small! Help me Lord!

Ironically enough, this week ALL church staff and “leaders” are out of town either at “Falls Creek, Youth Camp” or on vacation. How does this translate for me? First I volunteered to deliver the “visitor pack and cookies” to our new visitor from Sunday. Honest to goodness I stood outside her door praying she WASN’T home. Is that sad or what? It’s not as though I don’t LOVE my church, it’s just so outside my comfort zone to go visit with new people that I have to remind myself Sunday how would I feel if I came to visit a SMALL church like ours and NOT ONE PERSON came to me and said WELCOME! So I do it…on Sunday…but this during the week, evening visit thing…not so much!

Additionally, my husband and I are checking on one very sick young lady (whom I truly do love and care about), yet it still feels so uncomfortable in my skin to be this type of person and this is exactly the people I believe God wants us/ME to be. This is exactly the person Jesus lived to be on earth; the servant. So, with my husband we will go to them this weekend, pray with them, check on them and take some food (because that’s what we church people do…take food and pray). It’s in my heart; it’s just not in my skin yet.

God is teaching me so much about what it is to serve. It’s more than the Sunday morning coffee prep and donut time. It’s more than music and the words on a big screen TV. It’s even more than nursery schedules and air conditioning. Serving is a week to week, day to day, hour by hour call on each of us. It translates differently for each of us. But as I endeavor to be more like Jesus; I feel more and more everyday, a call on my own life to be His servant through each of the people (HIS people) He chooses to cross my path with. He has asked me to put my ‘mettle’ where my mouth is!

Activity versus progress: Stairmaster. “Am I measuring my success by the activity or the progress? Am I more like Jesus?”

Sandras talks about how a Stairmaster can get your heart rate up to aerobic level (and beyond in some cases) and simulate hills and flat walking surfaces. The Stairmaster leads to sweat (when you’re doing it right) and when it’s over…you feel as though you’ve walked miles. Look around! You are exactly where you started. You are more winded and tired and sweaty, but this is where you started!

If we’re not careful, our journey with Jesus can become like the Stairmaster. We work and work and work and the ACTIVITY is strenuous…but the progress…non-existent!
Unlike physical exercise, I believe with spiritual testing and ‘exercise’, Jesus has a goal in mind. We are stretched and pulled towards or away from something and it results in progress. It may not seem like much at the time, but we are steps away from where we started.

“How big is the gap between what you have learned and who you are in your daily living? Why does that gap exist?”

The gap sometimes feels like a small puddle and other times like the Grand Canyon! As I am totally honest about why the gap exists I have to question the activity/progress scenario above. It seems some things just “take” easily (like a bad perm) and other things take FOREVER for me to get (doctrine and Scripture context, Absolute Truth).

One positive note on that ‘forever’ timeline…is in my experience, the longer it took me to ‘get it’, the more quickly it returns when I’m faced with a similar test…challenge or temptation. God is faithful in His word to not put me through more than I can handle.

“Make a list of the spiritual disciplines you participate in during the week; prayer, Bible reading/study, church attendance. Is each one adding substance to your intimacy with Jesus, or just helping you maintain a fa├žade? Are they more for activity, or progress? If you see a problem, is it the tool, or the way you’re using it?”

Spiritual Disciplines:
Prayer
Bible Reading
Bible Study
Church Attendance
Church Service
Encouraging others
Evangelizing (at work)
Meditation
Worship
Other disciplines as assigned (LOL)

Sometimes church attendance and service feel more driven by activity and less like progress but what I’ve found is TYPICALLY it’s not the tool, it’s ‘user error’.

In retrospect when I think about my list of spiritual disciplines I’m saddened I have fallen victim to this box. Even listing these disciplines is more activity focused. As I sit here this morning, I also realize the spiritual disciplines are not defined by some list (of activities), they are my love expressed; nothing else. My love for Jesus is because He first loved me and my life (spiritual disciplines included) are because I love Him…because He loves me…

There’s something to chew on a bit! Unlike the chicken and the egg…it’s clear…His love FOR me came first.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

These Are Growing Pains

*I’m postponing this weeks WORDPLAY, but will resume next week (if I’m out of my blue-funk by then). If you have a challenge, post it, let me know and I’ll try to participate! Or if you want to throw a challenge out next week, let me know!*

I just finished reading Karen Kingsbury’s “Forgiven” last night…yes I cried…big tears. I even found myself reading the excerpt (I never read these) from the next book in this series…what a tease! I decided to start reading another one of my ‘new’ books today because pain without growth, seems so futile. If I’m going to walk through a valley, at least let me read a book down here in the hopes of finding the location of the ladder God is building.

I plucked “Buck Naked Faith” by Eric Sandras, off the shelf and have completed the first chapter. WOW! It’s really good. It’s definitely worth a library visit, even if you don’t want to pay the $2-$10 for a used or slightly yellowed edition via Amazon.com.

I don’t want to ‘spoil’ the read for you but I do want to dive into what is reaching me in this journey. By the first 10 pages he states something that struck accord in my own struggle: “Little did I realize that my crisis was actually bringing me to the brink of what my spirit truly longed for--a cooperative friendship with Jesus.”

I got to thinking about how I know that I’m a friend of Jesus and have been for some time. What I didn’t know, and began to question, is am I the type of friend that comes to the birthday party only? Or am I a REAL friend that gets to stay for the slumber party? Are we the type of ‘best friends’ that finish one another’s sentences? Do we have nicknames for each other? Do we have that nonverbal language that only really good friends have? Do we laugh at the same jokes?

Does Jesus know what makes Kim tick and better yet; does Kim know what makes Jesus tick? What’s Jesus’ favorite movie? Or favorite color? Or favorite class in school? I began to think of the questions I ask my new friends as we’re getting acquainted.

I have always known that Jesus wanted relationship not just obedience to law. Jesus was very clear during His time on earth that He wants to walk with us and teach us as a friend, not as our perception of a King. Sandras calls it Cheese Puff Christianity. He states: “Cheese puffs take up space in the bowl, but crush them and you’re lucky to get a tablespoon of substance out of them.” Life without passion and purpose, this is cheese puff Christianity.

What I feel lacking and the point I’ve now reached is best expressed through my spirit crying out: “There must be more!” I am ready to truly be broken. I’m there! I want to know what it means to be Jesus’ best friend! It’s one thing for me to be able to say Jesus IS my friend. It’s something much deeper to state Jesus is my BEST friend.

That whole thought pattern conjures up so many images for me. You see I consider myself a pretty good friend. I am a friend who may not call everyday…but I will send a note, and offer prayers daily. I will spend time getting to know someone intimately. I will ask question after question, sometimes to the point of annoyance, to understand someone better. I will question why a person thinks or says something. I will explain, when questioned, my own story. That’s it in a nutshell; true friendship is when the stories collide and become one from that point on. We have merged and now our journeys are conjoined. We even schedule time together so that we can just hang out!

Sandras also teaches a bit about the word ‘knew’ used in Matthew 7:23 when Jesus teaches that not all will enter the kingdom of heaven. “The word knew can be paralleled with Genesis 2:24-25, where Adam and Eve are to be one flesh and are unashamed of their nakedness. In essence, we shouldn’t hide anything -- God wants us buck naked.” At first thought, that’s a bit frightening. Until I realize Jesus sees me as an intimate partner/friend, not just a date…and that’s a good thing because if we were just dating he wouldn’t even know my ‘ugly’ side, much less see me naked.

How many times have I stopped dead in my tracks and thought: “I wonder if Jesus can see me now?” Clearly the answer is ‘YES!’ All the more important that my FRIENDSHIP with Jesus grow because the more time we spend together in communion, the more like Him I will become and the godly behaviors will flow naturally from me as fruit.

I have found myself in a cycle (described by Sandras) of “binging and purging” my Christianity. “I try really, really hard to be good and pure and holy”…only to fall into temptation, time and time again. He also asks what things we tend to binge and purge on. Depression, lust, ESPN (or perhaps LIFETIME), reading novels, food, Xbox, chat rooms, and I can also think of super-wife/motherhood, Netflix, shopping; pretty much all the diversions we have in our lives.

The chapter uses other wonderful analogies but again I trust that you’re dying to read it and I don’t want to spoil the whole thing…I will use his growth points at the end of the chapter as a launching pad for this desire.

1. Friendship with God. What a concept. List 3 specific things in your life that would change if you were/are cultivating your FRIENDSHIP with God.

For me this is easy:
1. I would write to God more.
2. I would ask more questions and listen to His answers.
3. I would ‘hang’ with Him more.

2. Sit down with a cup of coffee/favorite beverage and give yourself permission to be honest. Write down four things that you tend to binge and purge on. Are they “God” things, or “sin” things? How are they related? When do they occur?

Have a Peace-Filled Wednesday and remember...DON'T be a cheese-puff!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Truth Hearts

Fair Warning: In the words of a wonderful "temperament" teacher I had: 'Uh, Kim, your melancholy is showing!'

I almost hate to write this for fear of judgment I suppose...or worse yet...pity! I feel weak admitting that as a Christian I am weak, yet in my weakness He is made strong. I have to believe that or all my faith is based on MY strength, not His love, grace and mercy!

Sometimes I know a ‘typo’ is really God-Talk. I was going to name this “The Truth HURTS”…but my fingers, in response to God, typed “HEARTS”. Just as I went up to ‘fix it’ I stopped and figured it must be God’s way of redirecting my thoughts and renewing my mind. Who am I to argue…I am but a faithful servant (in training) to the most HIGH GOD!

So, with this new title comes a new line of thinking. The TRUTH HEARTS. When I think about what this means to me; I think immediately of the phrase “speak the truth with love”. I think sometimes, okay I KNOW many times I don’t achieve this. There are times when I speak out boldly and EXPECT others to jump on board with what my heart is hearing or worse yet…what my mind is brewing and my mouth is spewing. Aside from anger…this sometimes breeds hostility and a seed of bitterness starts to take root!

I also think of getting to the “heart of the matter”. I’ve been thinking much more than speaking lately. It’s not such a bad place to be, though I have to remember I do need to speak SOME of these things aloud as God prompts me; things that get to the heart of the matter. I don’t know exactly what happens during these introspective phases. I do know I typically come out of them with much more to say and in much more contemplation than before.

I’ve been hurting (internally) a lot lately for various reasons. Right now, it’s not so important why, what’s important to me today is: what is the source of my healing? The source has to be God or the healing will never be complete. I do believe God brings other people to help sustain us, and to encourage us, and to disciple us, and to befriend us, and to lead us, and to just be there for one another, but I know ultimately my healing comes direct from Jehovah Rophe; God who heals or more literally “being healed”.

It also comes as no surprise to me that on the heel of this recognition, we are studying Philippians in church and we were talking just this past Sunday about our need of other people in our lives. I’m just having a hard time feeling connected to anyone enough (other than my husband who is a MAN so he can’t possibly relate, LOL), or desiring to ‘engage’ with anyone enough to ‘spill’ and just be myself! It scares me to think of taking off the mask with the smile. It scares me to think of what I will sound like if I really open up.

The other interesting side note to this anguish is recognition that there are others I see, both at church and just in passing in my “world”, even in this blogdom, that I KNOW are feeling the same way. Is this ONLY the enemy? Clearly his goal is to steal, kill and destroy; to divide and conquer and to make me feel like no one wants to hear about it anyway! He is such a jerk!

I think I’m just having one of those moments when I know if I sit down for more than 3 minutes and try to process the pain, I’ll never want to get up again and so I don’t…sit down that is…except to sleep. I wake up feeling as though I haven’t slept and I don’t really want to DO anything…just ‘veg’!

In reading back over the past few weeks of this blog I see a shift from my own free thoughts and words to ‘safer’ and much less interesting… ‘fluff’ really. I am going to try to be bold and just speak what is on my heart and if the only thing I have is ‘fluff’; in the words of a friend I’m going to ‘zip it!’

I’m closing today with the lyrics to one of my favorite songs: Toby Mac “Stories (Down to the Bottom)”. While my own story is different, the feeling is the same!

Stories…we’ve all got em’
When we hit rock bottom,
If you’ve been there, put your hands in the air
To let the lost know that someone cares.


Cause we’ve been down to the bottom
Stories we’ve got ‘em, when we hit rock bottom
If you been there put your hands in the air
And let somebody know that the Most High cares.

I never knew that it would feel like this
When the two that raised you up and call it quits
Nobody told me ‘bout the emptiness
When the place you call home is closed for business

I push the pain down, I gotta "get by"
Always knowin' in my heart that it ain’t gonna fly
Rock bottom's never felt so near beforeAnd if pain is God's megaphone it's loud and clear

So hold me now Father, human love ain't enough
I've failed and been failed by the people I love
But your faithful arms they surround me
And any other soul who has to sail those seas
Of a broken family

Been so many times that I've been close to rock bottom
Tryin' to look for answers but nobody's got 'em
Like the time my mother looked me in the eye
Tryin' not to cry, tellin' me the cancer might cause her to die

How can this be, I thought that God loved me?
So why would he try to take my mother from me?
And as I cry myself to sleep at night, holding on my pillow tight
He spoke to me and said that everything gonna be alright
So I tried to fight all the pain that it caused
Try to move on and I try to stay strong

So put your hands up, hey, if y'all are feelin' me
And put your hands up for everyone to see
So put your hands up, we all a family
So put your hands up, in unity, in unity

I've been there too

When everything falls apart and the best you can do is
Get through each day wonderin' will this never end?
Is it always going to be this way?
And the greatest lie you've ever been told is that
You're the only one to ever walk on this road
And that you'll never see the light of dawn, so we came together to say

Hold on
Cause we've been there and found our way home
I promise you that you're not on your own
One day this will pass, God will see us all through
God will see us all through,
…God will see us all pass through



And that is how I really feel, trusting still that from the bottom…the only way out, is up; and the only way up, is at the hand of Jesus! Praise God, He is there to help lead me out…if I just take His hand.

Empty-Headed

I haven’t had much to say lately…I’m honestly just observing and working through some ‘stuff’ so I’ll fill this space today with a Meme I found while surfing candidates for the Blogs of Beauty awards recently, and have since seen it in several places. I’m going to call it the “RIGHT THIS MOMENT” Meme.

BTW, congrats to those nominated for Blogs of Beauty there was some fierce competition!
Here goes nuttin’:

1. Grab the book nearest you, turn to page 18 and find line 4. When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair: by Geneen Roth. “Be open to the outcome. Predict nothing. Be…”

2. Stretch out your left arm as far as you can. What can you touch? The “stress” ball I have in my bookshelf here at work and some pads of scratch paper.

3. What is the last thing you watched on TV? Kyle XY.

4. Without looking, guess what time it is. 7:37 a.m.

5. Now look at the clock. What is the actual time? 7:28 a.m.

6. With the exception of the computer, what can you hear? The ‘phone radio’ easy listening station playing: “He’s Not Heavy, He’s My Brother.” The air conditioner humming. The doors to the hallways opening and closing. The printer working. My fingers on the keyboard.

7. When did you last step outside? What were you doing? When I got out of my car at 6:43 a.m. in the parking lot to come into the office.

8. Before you started this survey, what did you look at? Blogs I surf daily.

9. What are you wearing? Turquoise shirt, black capris, black sandals, my wedding ring and the bracelet my husband made for me.

10. Did you dream last night? Of course…I don’t remember it…but I dream EVERY night.

11. When did you last laugh? When I was “blog-surfing” for the “Blog’s of Beauty” vote and came across this blog…made me laugh, laugh, laugh! And listening to my niece chat about her babysitting antics when I picked her up last night.

12. What is on the walls of the room you are in? Beige paint…one of the physicians here doesn’t want anything on the walls…WHATeverrrrrr….Just 6 more months, just 6 more months….

13. Seen anything weird lately? Only people.

14. What do you think of this quiz? Interesting, very interesting…

15. What is the last film you saw? The Devil Wears Prada. It wasn’t nearly as good as I expected and frankly I think it will reinforce the eating disorders that exist for young women. I think it is far more harmful than The DaVinci Code…but that’s just my opinion!

16. If you became a multi-millionaire overnight, what would you buy? Pay off all debt (including school debt) and give to church and family. Invest in charitable causes and open a quaint book store/coffee shoppe.

17. Tell me something about you that I don’t know. I’m one of the most versatile people (often mislabeled ‘bored easily’) I know and I consider it a strength.

18. If you could change one thing about the world, regardless of guilt and politics, what would you do? Only one thing…good grief…that’s TOUGH…if I could only do ONE thing it would be end child abuse and suffering (physical, sexual and emotional abuse).

19. Do you like to dance? Of course!

20. George Bush: no comment.

21. Imagine your first child is a girl. What do you call her? Savannah Michelle

22. Imagine your first child is a boy. What do you call him? Diego (I AM serious)…okay the other name is: Bryce Diego

23. Would you ever consider living abroad? Anywhere but Africa or the Middle East…You know our deal God!!! LOL. Honestly, it would be a ‘burning bush’, but anywhere God said to go…I’d go with the hubs of course!

24. What would you want God to say to you when you reach the pearly gate? “Well done, good and faithful daughter! Welcome home Kim!”

25. 3 people who must also do this quiz in their blog: anyone looking for an outlet and lacking words perhaps?

My question to you today: What inspires you?

Have an inspired Tuesday!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

This Young Lady...


This young lady drove me around today...no, not the one in the green...that would be me...about 16 years ago. The young lady I'm holding is my beautiful niece, "B". She celebrated her sweet-16 Saturday and came to OKC for a babysitting job this week.

We took her to church and she drove us to lunch afterward (in my treasured 'Maxx', no less). It is almost a surreal experience...remembering this day; I held her so clearly and then holding her hand as she stood shoulder to shoulder with me, in church today.

People have often thought she is my own daughter because our physical resemblance is so striking. This is a picture of both of us at 5 y.o. It's not a great shot but with the exception of her coloring and lips, and my left-handedness we are pretty much 'spittin' images'. The physical resemblance is virtually all we share. She is someone I would choose as a friend, even if we weren't family.

I'm so glad I get to be her "Aunt" because we can have fun and she can confide in me and I get to enjoy the fruits of her parents' labor! I don't have to be yet another parental figure, I get to be her friend and hopefully a mentor as well.

She is the most gentle spirit and has an incredible gift of Mercy for people and animals alike. She has always befriended the unfriendly and the friendless and finds a positive light for each soul she encounters. She still maintains this sweet demeanor and I don't doubt that she will carry it with her throughout her lifetime and into whatever career she chooses to pursue.


Meet my niece "B". She is one of my favorite things about life. She is light on a dark day. She is part of the hope I have for motherhood. I know God smiled the day she was created and I know He smiles today at this beautiful young woman she is becoming!

God bless you "B" and Happy 16th Birthday. May your life be immersed in love both inward and outward! Remember who your Father is!

Thank you to my sister for being "B's" earthly mother and for modeling, molding, and 'reinforcing' the qualities that shine in "B" today!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Too Cute For Words!


I went over to my friend "G's" house last night to visit (just girl talk that I so desperately need regular intervals of...and needed even more last night) and I was wearing my "glamour flops" which are Gordman's version of Hollywood...budget style; $1.50 for flip and another $1.50 for flop. As it turns out...G's daughter little "k" has the same pair as she so excitedly exlaimed: "HEY!" (as only a 3 y.o. can).


Here is our version of "Hollywood: Past and Present"
and for a bit more "perspective"

Happy "Glamour-Flop" Friday!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

More Randomness, Less Wisdom

You all obviously know (because I've droned on and on about it) how much I love words and word play and all things associated. Here's some randomness in the form of "tongue twisters".

I remember vividly doing tongue twisters in English in grade school. What I read on the site referenced below, is that these are commonly used by speech pathologists. Maybe I missed my 'calling'...ya think?

Here are 25 of "MY PICKS" I tried to select the shorter ones just for brevity sake but there are oodles of them (including the piper, the bitter batter and of course the sea shells).

Don't hurt yourself trying these and if you do...for goodness sake, wipe the spit off your screen before you electrocute someone and let me know so I can laugh...WITH you not AT you! FASTER!!!!! FASTER!!!!!

Tongue Twisters

1. Six sick slick slim sycamore saplings.

2. A box of biscuits, a batch of mixed biscuits

3. A skunk sat on a stump and thunk the stump stunk,but the stump thunk the skunk stunk.

4. Red lorry, yellow lorry, red lorry, yellow lorry.

5. Unique New York.

6. Six thick thistle sticks. Six thick thistles stick.

7. Is this your sister's sixth zither, sir?

8. A big black bug bit a big black bear,made the big black bear bleed blood.

9. The sixth sick sheik's sixth sheep's sick.

10. Toy boat. Toy boat. Toy boat.

11. One smart fellow, he felt smart.Two smart fellows, they felt smart.Three smart fellows, they all felt smart.

12. Pope Sixtus VI's six texts.

13. I slit the sheet, the sheet I slit, and on the slitted sheet I sit.

14. Mrs. Smith's Fish Sauce Shop.

15. "Surely Sylvia swims!" shrieked Sammy, surprised."Someone should show Sylvia some strokes so she shall not sink."

16. Three free throws.

17. Knapsack straps.

18. Which wristwatches are Swiss wristwatches?

19. Lesser leather never weathered wetter weather better.

20. Inchworms itching.

21. A noisy noise annoys an oyster.

22. The myth of Miss Muffet.

23. Friendly Frank flips fine flapjacks.

24. Vincent vowed vengeance very vehemently.

25. The epitome of femininity.

Happy VERBAL Friday Eve!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

WHAT!!! NO DRYER!!!

Subject: Rocks in Dryer
To: Kpjara
From: deb@maytag
Date: Wed, 12 Jul 2006 14:47:43 -0500

Dear KPJARA,

We have received your request in providing dryers to needy moms or moms to be.

We regret to advise that we will not be able to honor this request.

Thank you,
Deb Michel
Corporate Services
_____________________
Can you believe it! After my thoughtful and full explanation and request for consideration to the: CEO; North American President; AND Executive Vice-President of Marketing Operations, all I received was this lousy email reply! (Maybe I’ll make a t-shirt…sort of like those vacation t-shirts you see…wait I guess I’ve never actually seen anyone wearing them…oh never mind!)

I realize some of you may be clueless to what I’m even rambling about…well after viewing a popular blog recently and hearing her testimony about her blog name, I thought I would try to ‘go to bat for her’ and plead her case with Maytag for a new dryer that could handle her extreme-needs!

Well, it’s clear…I’m going to have to stick to Kenmore or my “No-Name” brands for all future appliance purchases. Here is what I submitted:
____________________
Dear Whirlpool “Bigwigs”,

I have a friend (and by friend I mean; one of the people whose musings I read regularly on her ‘blog’). She has four children, the oldest three of which are boys. She has “rocks in her dryer’ in the literal sense. Please refer to this ‘
posting’ for reference.

She is in search of a dryer that can handle this type of abuse. I thought for only one millisecond before stating: Maytag! Obviously as a stay at home mother on a strict budget, she has limited resources to invest heavily in a dryer suitable for her extensive needs.

I figure it couldn’t hurt to ask that you consider including her as a spokesperson for Maytag via her ‘blog’ following, or other potential advertising. By donating a dryer to this mother of four, you immediately get word-of-mouth advertising, and if the dryer performs as reputation states, you could even receive a spokesperson to include in print advertising for a set period of time.

How does this benefit Maytag? Let me explain. You see “Rock In My Dryer” is one of THE most popular links and ‘blogs’ in cyberspace. She has a following of MANY other mommies with dryer needs and other non-mommies or mommy-wanna-be’s, such as myself, who will not make major purchases without word of mouth via someone I know and trust who has similar or greater needs. I’m sure I am not telling you anything you don’t already know from years of successful advertising.

Check her out! She is at
http://www.rocksinmydryer.typepad.com/. See if what I say is true. Please consider this proposal and if you discover, as I’m sure you will, she is the ultimate ‘test launderer’ (with personality and camera-ready) let us know! Who couldn’t use a little POSITIVE advertising in America, the land of competition?

Sincerely and amidst the rock-filled wet pockets of children’s laundry,
kpjara for Rocks In My Dryer
________________________
I didn’t really expect a dryer, but at least an actual LETTER from the corporate office would have been nice. No offense to this poor woman (Deb), who had to send me the “regrets” notification, but clearly, based on her response, she didn’t even get to read a copy of my request.


Apparently, either the dryer isn’t ready to be ‘rock-tested’ or Whirlpool and it’s subsidiary Maytag are too hard-hit by the class-action settlement for problems associated with the Neptune washer to consider this proposal.

It’s a shame really. It also makes me wonder if the blogdom will ever have Executive offices and if only certain people will have access to these high-level blogs? If we ever reach that level, I’m so ‘outta here!’

Alas, poor Shannon will have to increase her pocket security checks prior to dryer usage and who knows; maybe Kenmore will go for it?

Wednesday WordPlay #3


It’s time to write: mark, inscribe, put pen to paper, engrave, carve, note, enter, record, jot down, compose, create, generate, produce, fashion, form, build, construct, design, originate, initiate, coin, conceive, commence…what are you waiting for?


Here are today's offerings: click on the title to find the online source.

YOU ARE INVISIBLE *edited to note I could not make this connection via this link but it is from an MIT Creative Writing Exercise website.

Okay, you're invisible. Where would you go? What would you be able to see that you can't see when you yourself are seen? Play out such a scene for yourself and thoroughly describe it in writing.

Starting phrases
Try starting with any of these phrases:
I remember
I don't remember
I have always
I see
I don't see
I have never
I know
I don't know
I want to
I wonder
I don't wonder
I don't want to
I hate
I love
I try to
I try not to...

Write for 10 minutes in response to any of these.

Let me know if you're participating. I'll post mine later today!

Happy Wednesday...


edited to include my own 10-minute exercise:
I DON’T REMEMBER…
the day John F. Kennedy was shot and sometimes I don’t understand how it has become such a pivotal day in history. I was five days old. My mother told me, only months ago, that she had actually voted for Nixon in that Presidential election because Kennedy was from a Catholic family and her own family made it clear that these Kennedy’s were reckless and carefree, at an expense to our Nation.

Sometimes it seems the death of a Kennedy holds more power and importance than the death of Jesus. The ‘game’ that has been played and played: “Where were you when Kennedy was shot?” rings in my ear. I wonder sometimes if an answer would come with the same ease to the question: “Where were you when Jesus died for you?”

Of course, my husband the literal-ist would defend his lack of answer with: “I wasn’t on earth when Jesus died.”

My candid reply would be: “Honey, not literally WHERE WERE YOU, but where were you in LIFE when the realization hit that Jesus died for you?”

My own response would be: “obviously I was nailing His hands and feet down and being bathed in the blood from His wounds.”

It sounds a bit dramatic but this I do remember: I am the reason Jesus died on that cross, I was there and I thank God that I DO REMEMBER this daily.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Incredibly Blessed

I just wanted to add a quick post to say I have the most wonderful husband...

I came home for lunch (as I do everyday) to let the 'girls' outside and grab a quick bite for lunch and on the bar I found this:


An M & M smiley face! He loves me, he REALLY loves me. So after I sang his praises to the "girls" I ate every last one of those babies and felt immediately better!

Chocolate is the BEST medicine for the PMS Soul, that is for sure!

Thank you Honey! You're the best...SWAK!

Reminder: Wednesday is WordPlay...see ya tomorrow.

Attitude Adjustment

I’m either maturing or becoming a bit more cynical (sometimes these two words are interchangeable). I’ve found myself becoming less and less tolerable of inconsiderate drivers and shoppers at the Big W. I find myself trying to avoid all crowds. I find myself actually contemplating the lesser of the two evils: late night shopping at the Big W with the maniacal forklift drivers, or regular day shopping with maniacal oversized cart drivers!

I would actually bet that the way people maneuver their carts is exactly the way they drive their cars. Some people stop and talk in the middle of the aisle (cart askew to block the ENTIRE aisle)…these are the same people who don’t get completely into the lane, rather ride the middle…or park next to someone they haven’t seen in 47 years to revisit each and every memory since that day (in the middle of the ROAD!) Then there are the cart drivers that side swipe, heel knock, and cause complete head-on crashes…yep I bet they drive their cars that same way. There are the people on phones, only half paying attention. There are people with children running free through the store (I’m CERTAIN they don’t buckle their kids in the car seats).

There are the lovebirds walking next to each other as they each use one hand to shop and they can’t take their eyes off one-another. These are the couples on the road where you can’t honestly tell who is driving and who is sitting in whose lap. There are the extreme-seniors who have lost or forgotten their glasses and are trying to push the cart while maintaining control of their walker. These are the same people who when driving you aren’t sure there’s anyone in the car at all, because their head is below the headrest.

I wonder sometimes if this isn’t the ultimate “test” from God and once I SUCCESSFULLY negotiate a trip to and from the Big W, encountering both traffic and PEOPLE, I will immediately pass “Go” and proceed immediately to gold-brick laden eternity. Either that or I’m facing complete mental collapse. Some non-believers might even think the ‘eternity’ thoughts are in direct correlation to the mental collapse. Thankfully I’m not among those poor, misled, antagonists.

It dawned on me Saturday as I attempted to have a shopping day that my bad behavior on the road was not completely due to all the OTHER people. It was also one of the worst cases of PMS I’ve had to date. So bad, in fact that I cussed out God. I’m talking; full-fledge complete and total tantrum level screaming and cussing at God (while I’m driving, mind you). When I was telling my husband about it on Sunday, he was a bit perplexed, though I think it keeps him on his toes to live on top of the God-box lid as I sometimes do, dancing around towards the edge to see if it’s truly a box, or more likely a sphere.

He did finally agree that God is the only one who can handle these tantrums + cussing without either running away or ‘fighting back’. God does what He always does…He listened and He loved. God didn’t shut down or cease to exist because I screamed to Him. He didn’t proclaim: “My love for you has ended!” I couldn’t serve a God who did these things.

While I believe completely, with all my heart that God has a great plan for my life; I also believe completely, that part of that destiny is this journey; the good Kim, the bad Kim, AND the ugly Kim!

I’m so thankful that when the ugly Kim rears her head and in the midst of a PMS-induced, head-spinning, green-pea spewing, sailor-mouthed level tantrum, God not only doesn’t run away, He does one of those intervention type body hold hugs that remind me I am not alone…I am never alone. Nothing I do can separate me from the love He has for me!

Well PRAISE GOD! That is MY God!

Here is my Tuesday Mantra:
“…I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can't, and life can't. The angels can't, and the demons can't. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can't keep God's love away. Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Hebrews 8:38-39

Rest in that truth! Happy Tuesday…

P.S. If you see me on the road or in Wal-Mart this week, please feel free to ignore me out of safety for yourself!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Which Blog Am I?

So I’m sitting here thinking and rethinking what to say, how to say it…the same thing I do every time I sit down to write. The question remains: What kind of blogger am I? Am I funny? Am I heartfelt? Am I a gut-spiller? Am I a slammer? Am I mysterious (NOT!)? Am I encouraging? Am I discouraging? Am I honest? Am I authentic? Am I fake? Am I ‘Heloise’? Am I Lucy in her .05 cent psychiatric booth? Am I even heard?

I didn’t set out with a specific idea in mind. I honestly thought of this ONLY as an online journal and since my typing is oodles faster than my writing I could almost keep up with my mind on overload with thoughts, ideas, randomness…whatever!

Things were going along nicely. I wrote for over a month with no unknown commenter. Then the worst thing happened. I got ONE comment. That’s all it takes is one measly comment from some unknown, but seemingly kind reader to ‘hook ya’! My very first, non-family or non-coerced comment came from Karen and that just about did me in…I was hooked…I wanted MORE!

Well that’s not entirely true. I did receive a comment very early on…like my 2nd post when I started writing some feelings about women in ministry and I even blog-rolled her for a few weeks. I did find, however; that her intentions were not entirely pure. She had very strong, vocal and sometimes forceful views about women in ministry. Mine was not a political campaign. I was only lamenting my inability to use God given gifts (at least that was what I thought!).

Then I had some pressure (thank you VERY much, you know who you are!) from a dear OLD friend, whose voice I can hear saying: “Just be funny! You’re always so funny, just write funny stories.” I tried that and still do occasionally (insert laugh track), but that’s not who I am…everyday, well every MINUTE of every day.

I wrote what came to mind and the thing is…because of the comments (I had 2 or 3 by then), I felt some pressure to seek more comments because it seemed as I surfed the blogdom, that some people had like 40 or 50 comments everyday! Was I a TOTAL LOSER or what?

The internal voice wasn’t going to go down that road. She whispered (in my good ear): “Kim, you’re doing it again!”

“Doing what?” I asked innocently.

“Seeking approval from others. You know God is the only approval you need, right?” I heard clearly.

“Of course I KNOW that…I’m just thinking about what to say today, that’s all! Sheesh!” I reprimanded.

Uh, yeah, okay, whatever you say…” I heard as she silenced herself again.

So it began…the wanting and needing approval via comments for the things I write/wrote! It’s an incredibly emptying experience. It empties my heart and mind. It empties my fun-factor. It empties my think-tank. It empties itself in the form of some forced, stilted writing that doesn’t always fully express who I am or what I feel.

Then I found as I did open up and received honest feedback, that I still wasn’t happy. I began to think people would think I was needy. God forbid I come across as NEEDY! I am SUPERKIM, able to leap tall tales, able to tear down and lift up with words, able to silence the worst of critics with the written ‘look’.

Give it a rest Kim, just be yourself.” I heard from a distance.

“Back OFF!” I bellowed back, until the person behind me at Wal-Mart was certain I was under far too much pressure and steered for another lane. Hey, it’s an advantage to talking to ones self!

I am better now. I absolutely LOVE the comments, but on days when there are none…I don’t feel any less a person or that my voice doesn’t matter. I know God hears every word I speak or write…because He put most of them in me (the good ones anyway)! He also helps redirect me when the bad words come (and they DO come). He reminds me I am His child and He desires great things for me. He reminds me He is the one that gave me this gift that is the blogdom and my desire to write.

What I found is when I write what He desires, it comes with ease. When I try to write the best, most comment-seeking entry…it bombs (not the good ‘da-bomb’, the bad BOMB), or worse yet, it offends!

So I have decided and am affirming that I am here for Him! I may need reminders every so often (like daily), but what I write is a reflection of who I am in God through Christ. I pray it encourages you and hope it makes you laugh (the funny stuff, not heart-wrenching stuff…are you laughing at my pain?…how CRUEL!)…but in the end I hope it always glorifies God to the highest!

God Bless!

**Edited to add a BIRTHDAY Greeting to one of my Dearest Friends "G" and know that even when we don't get to see each other often you are in my prayers and heart daily and I thank God for allowing us earthly time to hang' and encourage one another! You rock...see you Friday!


1 Corinthians 10:24-32

“Don't think only of your own good. Think of other Christians and what is best for them.
Here's what you should do. You may eat any meat that is sold in the marketplace. Don't ask whether or not it was offered to idols, and then your conscience won't be bothered. For "the earth is the Lord's, and everything in it."


If someone who isn't a Christian asks you home for dinner, go ahead; accept the invitation if you want to. Eat whatever is offered to you and don't ask any questions about it. Your conscience should not be bothered by this. But suppose someone warns you that this meat has been offered to an idol. Don't eat it, out of consideration for the conscience of the one who told you. It might not be a matter of conscience for you, but it is for the other person.

Now, why should my freedom be limited by what someone else thinks? If I can thank God for the food and enjoy it, why should I be condemned for eating it? Whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, you must do all for the glory of God. Don't give offense to Jews or Gentiles or the church of God. That is the plan I follow, too. I try to please everyone in everything I do. I don't just do what I like or what is best for me, but what is best for them so they may be saved."