New Background

Can You Hear Me Now?

Friday, September 29, 2006

'What Does it Mean', Meme

My dear friend Shalee (who I have even MERL’d at the KC Bloggers Lunch) sent me this little word meaning meme. I’ve seen it around at different people’s ‘homes’ and now here it is…so without further adieu.

It's a word meaning meme where I am to write what the words mean to me.

Buttercup: At first I thought Reese’s Peanut BUTTERCUP it’s my husband’s favorite candy…but it also reminds me of the flower and using them to ‘paint’ with as children.

Bookstore: One of my favorite places to be either by myself or with other book lovers. I think of Barnes & Noble and Border’s and Books-A-Million…all of them! I love, love, love, love BOOKS. I love big comfy reading chairs. I love getting ‘lost’ reading. It also reminds me of the movie: “You’ve Got Mail.”

Pasta: I think of the summer I was 15 and I learned to make Manicotti. Since I'm on a roll providing two answers each (I'm SUCH an overachiever!) I also think of one of my favorite restaurants; Johnny Carino’s.

Inspiration: I first thought of that old Chicago song. Then I thought of how I want my life to be an inspiration to others to never, never, never quit. I want to inspire people to be the best at whatever it is God has made them to be.

It doesn’t state how I pick my words when I tag others, so I’m assuming its total random-ness…I’ll tag: JoyM, Kari, Serenity (if she’s up to it), KP (if she’s out there…), and of course Tam. I don’t want to leave Miche out but figure perhaps Tam’ll get her! My sister is getting off easy (for now) since she’s still adjusting to life-changes at home.

Your words are:


Have fun with it and let me know when you’re done!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Left and Right Collide

I have a bit of free time this morning. My work is caught up and I decided to take my ‘cruise through the cyberspace’. I find it so interesting the diversity of topics even among my small blogroll.

This morning I read about everything from; raising babies and young children, books to read, books in the works, favorite clothing, product endorsements, a lesson in Hermeneutics and Exegesis, a story full of personal pain, the grieving of a grand-daughter, Gnosticism, Fingernails, and frankly much, much more!

My left brain (let’s call him MAC) is always trying to understand and grow in knowledge, while my right brain twitters away (thanks Tam for this re-invented word in my daily vocabulary). My right brain (whom I will call MAGGIE) on the other hand, is constantly seeking spiritual wisdom and relying on the sensory and intuitive nature of all things. Things MAC will never ‘get’.

It’s not unusual for MAGGIE to struggle in attempting to reconcile what MAC is perusing. MAC then sits sometimes in physical pain to what MAGGIE tries to introduce as important and interesting. Conversations, sometimes heated, ensue.

“When will you quit relying on written word alone to teach you?” MAGGIE begs of MAC.

“When will you realize truth is black and white?” MAC responds vehemently.

MAC tends to be a bit more aggressive than MAGGIE in conveying information and defending his own truth. MAGGIE typically ignores it with rolled eyes and a slow shake of her head.
This morning they ran smack into each other as I read a few of these posts. MAC and MAGGIE are feeling a bit cramped, but are handling the merge with a sprinkling of dignity in tact. They have agreed to be civil in this merge (for as long as it lasts) and I’m sure we’ll all benefit.

So what have I missed in my reading? What’s out there? What should I see? Don’t tell MAC and MAGGIE but I’m hoping to introduce as much as possible during the merger so we can ALL grow in it!

I hope your Thursday merge is pain-free!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Chew and Renew!

One of my co-workers just stopped by to share with me about an incident that occurred last night and really just de-brief about it all and BOY did it minister to me.

The gist of the thing is this: when I find myself wallowing around in the sameness of defeat, it is time for some serious renewal and review of Scriptural truth. In that frame of mind I decided to go ahead and post some truth to chew and renew, remembering of course:

“…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

1. He loves me…He REALLY loves me.

2. He has my “back”.

3. He plans each of my days.

4. Every decision DOES matter.

5. Bloodless…but still at war!

6. I am created in HIS image!

7. Don’t waste/hide your gifts.

8. He chose me.

9. We’re in this thing together and I NEED you as much as YOU need me.

10. What was I thinking?

Here’s to a week of renewal!

In Other Words

"It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else."
~ Erma Bombeck ~

You know those days when the words won’t come. They get lodged somewhere between your voice box and your lips on their brave journey from your heart and soul. I have many of those days…ask anyone who knows me at all. These hidden words are my dreams…my hopes and dreams.

It’s really easy to appear strong and invincible when you walk behind the disguise of a smile and assuredness that when peeled away reveals the scared little girl beneath. The little girl who is afraid the others will laugh if she shares her heart. The child who can’t quite find the words to encompass the fullness of her dream. The maturing girl who knows failure is an “F” word and the death knoll of all her dreams. The grown up woman who has been stopped in her tracks under the weight of that realization.

It’s really easy to appear courageous in the safe places…the places where you excel because you were made for more. The places that replace the challenge awaiting you with the world defined ‘successes.

I trade a piece of my heart for my dreams; each day I deny them as they come to visit once again. I trade a piece of my spirit for my dreams; each day I stroll down the road of mundane security. I trade a piece of my soul for my dreams; each day I deny the purpose exposed in these dreams.

If I tell you my dream will it never come again?

Monday, September 25, 2006

Out of Balance and on Repeat Repeat Repeat Repeat...

Have you ever had one of those days…or weeks…where it seems as though the perfectly tuned balance your world is spinning within, has somehow become off-kilter, like a recording that now skips…or worse yet is stuck on the same note? That is where I am this morning.

Picture it…the many cultures and occupations that have people wearing and balancing baskets on their heads? This morning I feel like the ‘basket’ I have balanced on my head is becoming completely out of balance and is beginning to shift and slide and everything I have neatly packed in that basket (every issue, thought, or feeling) is preparing to spill out onto the roadway. *(and YES my basket DOES feel this big some days!)

It’s not the fact that my ‘issues’ will be exposed…I really do believe in transparency, it’s the whole ‘out of control’ feeling I get. At my very core I BELIEVE the more I attempt to control something the less control I have. Until I get to the end of my rope where I am so concentrated on holding on…and God can do His work, I am suffering in futility.

Last night I went to the first session of our women’s study for church. I’m so conflicted about actually joining it and while I’m not prepared to share they ‘why’ to my reservation I will say it was clear God had me there for a specific reason last night. I had to share a prayer request for this ‘season of my life’ with my selected ‘partner’ (a women I absolutely adore, by the way), and what came out of my mouth even surprised me.

My greatest prayer request was…is… “What is the purpose of my life, God?”

I can SO see God shaking his head and thinking/saying… “My child, how many times will we go down this road?” Even my husband, as I shared this with him this morning said: “So you’re back in THAT box again huh?” not insulting, just truth spoken.

I know God (nor Paul) is angry that I continually get into this endless loop…though I do feel like a bit of a disappointment to God, like my significance is lacking because of a career or physical or emotional issue and He just wants me to seek MY significance IN HIM. Why can’t I get it?

I admitted again last night that as I see my husband approaching his own college graduation (hopefully with a degree and career choice he LOVES), I feel so aimless in my less than meaningful work. I am struggling to find any purpose in what I do 8-5, and frankly that is where I spend most of my time. Add to that I am a restless spirit and have NEVER worked ANYWHERE as long as I have worked here…now 5 ½ years.

I hear God asking me to redirect my mind…my life…to Him and watch as the pieces fall into place (almost effortlessly). He is also asking for something a bit harder…be content in this season. Any physical or emotional suffering I endure (for Him) is only for the growth factor. He has a plan for me and a part of that plan is exactly where I am today…God help me!
Have a fulfilling, meaningful Monday!

Friday, September 22, 2006


It’s funny…I used to look at the World Trade Center buildings in NYC as such beacons of strength, strongtowers, in every sense of the word. When they collapsed I thought a part of my faith would collapse with them.

I heard a sermon once about faith (okay tons of times but once that really stands out). Anyone worth their muster in Bible-speak knows the definition of FAITH from Hebrews 11:1: “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

The teacher I listened to talked about how we have such FAITH in so many things on earth. We have FAITH that our brakes will stop us at a red light. We have FAITH that our lights will turn on when we flick the switch. We have FAITH that a gun will stop an intruder and more FAITH that the gun will actually work (as intended) when fired.

We say we have FAITH in God, but do we? Do we believe God is who He says He is and can do what He says He can do? Do we really? Do I believe I am who God says I am?

There are days when my FAITH about my brakes is stronger than my FAITH in God. On those days I have to pray and remember the God of the Bible. The Father who sent His only Son to redeem me…to rescue me from certain death. This is the same God who is my strength. He is my Strongtower.

I heard this song on the way into work this morning and my husband will tell you, I LOVE THIS SONG. It reminds me that even on days when I am weak…like today…even in my faith…He is my STRONGTOWER! And I will praise and worship and BELIEVE Him. Sing that chorus with me today and believe every single word of it…this is OUR God.

When I wander through the desert
And I'm longing for my home
All my dreams have gone astray
When I'm stranded in the valley
And I'm tired and all alone
It seems like I've lost my way
I go running to Your mountain
Where your mercy sets me free

You are my strong tower
Shelter over me
Beautiful and mighty
Everlasting King
You are my strong tower
Fortress when I'm weak
Your name is true and holy
And Your face is all I seek

In the middle of my darkness
In the midst of all my fear
You're my refuge and my hope
When the storm of life is raging
And the thunder's all I hear
You speak softly to my soul

Have a day of FAITH renewed and stand in certainty of the STRONGTOWER surrounding you...who is GOD!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Provisions of Grace

There are so many incredibly gifted artisans and writers and home-makers and home-builders and encouragers in this world joined by a network of fiber optic cables. I can almost picture the massive cables sparking as written thoughts, the gamut of emotions and words rush across lines to reach the desired destination. Of course typically my mind travels a much different route than real life, but hey…this is my story!

Among the masses is a woman who I first came to know as a wonderfully encouraging commenter. She would encourage, but she would also push towards something greater. She has that gift. She can sense (in words alone) where Spiritual nudging is needed. She has walked beside me (and countless others) during bouts of uncertainty and reminded me our certainty is steadfast in Christ. She is most certainly an earth angel. I could never begin to encompass her completely in words alone…especially since we’ve never actually met face to face…yet!

We all know her as Tam at “Time for Twittering”. She is a child of God first, a wife second, a mother to beautiful children next, followed by home-maker, artist, encourager, partner. When I think of Tam, I think of the extended family God has given us. She is no less than a sister to me.

With that said, her right and left brain have merged to launch a new business venture. Her love of many things vintage, especially fabric and sewing has led her to this place in her own journey. You probably already know all about it…but just in case you’ve been hidden beneath a mound of endless paperwork and daily grind-ings…her offerings are now available to all of us at Provisions of Grace. The name alone should speak volumes.

Go take a look, browse and if you don’t see anything you can’t live without…let a friend know. She’s got a promotion going and “free treasures” are always wonderful!

I hope you’ll help me wish her well in this venture and pray God would bless her abundantly in this pursuit.

By the way…I’m SO getting some of that alphabet fabric! I can’t WAIT to create something perfectly ‘spell’bound!

Have a day made for embellishing!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Who Do You Say I Am?

Admittedly I’m a lover of most all live theater. I love stage performances both with music and without. Last night’s performance was the absolute epitome of what I love about the theater. If you EVER have the opportunity go see The Rock and The Rabbi…you won’t regret it!

Travel with me there now…after a delightful dinner at the new Interurban Restaurant in town, we drove, without hurry, the LONG way (not on the highway but surface roads with actual sites), arriving downtown almost forty minutes early. We found a ‘good’ parking place and strolled around the landscaped perimeter of the Civic Center debating whether we wanted a cup of coffee to deter the day’s exhaustion factor.

We eventually found our way indoors to view the various upcoming show posters, do some necessary people watching, and use the facilities prior to the intermission-less show. We eventually made our way up the three levels to the Mezzanine and while it is very high UP…we were in the second row, center, thus providing a wonderful view of the stage and entire theater. We got the theater glasses (binoculars to sports fans) into focus and my husband even exclaimed he could read some man’s program on the third row. I told him to quit eavesdropping…and to share the dang binoculars!

The show began promptly at 7:30 p.m. and that is when the magic began. It’s like traveling to another place and time and becoming a part of the program. The most wonderfully gifted “Storyteller”, Gary Richardson, who also wrote the script, began without ado. It was as though he was speaking to each of us individually. His voice resonated to the upper balconies and he told his story. He was the older Simon Peter.

The story starts when the “Rabbi” meets the “Rock” and calls him to ‘follow me’. It goes through the death and resurrection of Christ and the scene depicting that moment was breathtaking in its minimalism.

The music was all incredible. I don’t even have words adequate to express the emotions it evoked. Suffice to say we bought the CD and I have already listened to part of it this morning on the commute. The most poignant scene and song, is when the Rabbi asks the men; ‘who do people say I am?’ and following their responses he asks Peter, ‘who do YOU say I am?’

I didn’t even share with my husband what happened to me at this moment but God spoke to me. He asked me what I would say in response. He asked me: “Who do you say I am, Kim?”

I’m still thinking about it this morning as I write this…and I’ve got to say I’m not sure I ever fully capture WHO HE IS in words outside my heart. If someone were to ask me: “Who is Jesus?” This is what I think I would say:

Jesus is first and foremost Christ my Savior. He is the Son of God. He is the Son of Man. He is the only worthy sacrifice and He has redeemed me and cleansed me. He is my Lord. He is the Alpha and Omega. He is the very core of my heart. He is my one way to God.

What would you say? Who is this Rabbi? Who is Jesus?

Monday, September 18, 2006

Eight Years Ago Tonight...

...I was enjoying the company of almost all of our family. I lived in Albuquerque at the time and our back yard, on this evening, was transformed from a dusty desert mesa to a beautiful, candlelit garden oasis.

We had spent hours making tamales and chocolate dipped strawberry’s along with carne’ adovada, guacamole’, and all the local flavors. We had strung lights throughout the back yard and decorated with tiny candles hanging from the porch and on all the tables. It was absolutely stunning. Sadly, I can’t lay my hands on any of the pictures.

Most all the women were in the kitchen making last minute adjustments for this occasion. My best friend from college was trimming sparse grass with SCISSORS. It’s the desert, mowing is rarely necessary. My best friend is a bit OCD when it comes to perfect environment and I love him for it! Paul and I also had a friend in town, from my years in Baltimore. All my immediate family was present and all Paul’s immediate family was with us as well. We even had some extended family in town for this evening.

This was our rehearsal dinner. We were preparing to enter into marriage and I’m happy to say the very best years of my life.

My favorite memory of our wedding was our rehearsal dinner…because I remember it. I barely remember the actual ceremony. I know my brother (who performed the ceremony) spoke about Adam and Eve and the first ‘marriage’ and he cried and I was very touched and moved and so very hot! I remember bits and pieces from the overwhelming reception that had grown from my ideal small wedding of 70 to about 150-175 people. My husband has a LARGE family.

But the rehearsal dinner was this low key event where I could spend time with people and actually visit before the rush of activity the following day. I was able to give my sister a very special ‘scrapbook/journal’ of our journey to this day and we cried together reading through the book. I was able to visit with each person there at length, something I was unable to do at the reception. I didn’t have to pose for pics or smile for an audience. I could just sit back, enjoy the music and ambience and visit.

My husband and his ‘crew’ left a bit early to go out for an evening of fun and frolic and I had opted out of the “girls’ night out” festivities choosing instead to visit with these dear friends and family of ours. We stayed outside til late in the night and while I still didn’t sleep a wink all night, it was a magical, wonderful evening.

Tomorrow I celebrate eight years of wedded bliss with my wonderful husband Paul. He has taken the evening off and we are going to see a new musical “The Rock and the Rabbi”. I had mentioned it to my husband in passing some time ago and he purchased tickets for our anniversary evening. I was floored! I figured we’d squeeze in dinner and a movie on the weekend before or after….oh no…my wonderful husband is missing work and school to take me to a musical (not his favorite thing to do in the world).

I can’t imagine being any more happy and IN LOVE than I am at this moment and yet I know beyond a shadow of a doubt our journey is nowhere near over. Our love will grow and I look forward to each and every day…til’ death do us part…

Happy Anniversary Honey! You are the very best of me!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Un-Evangelical Interactions

I admit it. I follow the links of my favorite "reads" to find more favorite reads. I'm assuming most of us do it. It's like being impressed upon to buy a product because someone we know and TRUST uses it.

So recently, I was clicking through the blogdom as I followed one of my favorite reads and I ran across a blog and I started reading a few of her posts. While our political and religious beliefs are at complete opposites, her writing is gifted and poignant. She proclaims her beliefs openly, without apology and usually without attack. I have only commented on her site once but I lurk there regularly. Mostly because what she says sparks conversation and sometimes debate. What she lacks in Biblical wisdom, she makes up for in seeking and searching for truth and discernment.

I know at this point many would argue that you cannot have discernment without Biblical wisdom, but note I did not state BIBLICAL DISCERNMENT. She is one of those souls who will find God because all TRUTH seeking leads to Him. She may still reject what she sees and finds, but He will be there, at every turn, meeting her stance, facing her theories and tearing down the wall she has built around her empire.

Recently she shared about an interaction with a “Christian” who was using her ‘title’ in a financial pursuit via email. While I’m not a HUGE advocate of separation of church and state (after all state wouldn’t be here without church), I am sickened by any politicians using their Christianity as a launching pad or position defense in their politics and I abhor this tactic in political fundraising. My feeling is your life should speak who you are and what you believe.

The woman I write of notified the “Christian” that she did not share her beliefs and would appreciate being removed from automatic emails that were religious in nature. She received a harsh reply and cold personal interactions since the confrontation. The resulting comments on this post were less diplomatic and I pray they serve as a reminder to us.

Here is an excerpt:
“J” said...
“I think you handled this issue very politely and sensitively. This woman's attitude is patently un-Christian (and I am not a Christian, but I was partially raised as one, and I have studied the Bible, so I do know of what I speak). Her bad attitude does not stem from her so-called Christianity. Rather, her religion is a mask she employs to hide an ugly personality, and her self-righteousness, a crutch for a fragile, overblown ego.

I have, unfortunately, met several individuals like this woman-- shallow, selfish people who use religion to justify their conviction that they are better than everyone else and therefore somehow more deserving of attention or good fortune. People who use religion as an excuse to alienate and belittle anyone they deem to be too "different" from themselves, because that is easier for them than attempting to step outside of their own concerns long enough to try to understand the perspective of another human being.”

Then “W” said...
“It's people like this that make me think of that saying some Christians use (usually about h@mo$exuality- and it really annoys me), "Hate the sin not the sinner"-- well here's what I have to keep telling myself when I run into these types (and it is da*n hard to remember) ‘hate the Christian, not the religion’!”

So as I’m reflecting about my own daily interactions with people and thinking there just may be truth in the statement: “You may be the only Christ this person ever sees.” I am going to T.R.Y. to remember my own experiences as a young Christian and comments like these that are the things people remember when they are excusing themselves from any possible interaction or connection with “CHRISTIANS”. Hopefully I’ll remember these things while driving or worse yet at the Big “W”!

I’m still not fully convinced demons don’t lurk the doors at Wally World waiting to capture the mind and MOUTH of some of us as we enter the labyrinth. But that’s another post…

By the way, I was originally going to post the Friday Feast, but decided against it...but the very first question is: What was the very last song you listened to? and in PERFECT God-Timing...and in light of my own vision issues, I heard "Open the Eyes of My Heart Lord" this morning as I was driving to work and of course that was the last song I heard on the way in the door, thus the song on my mind, heart and lips this morning.

Have a day worth remembering!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Four-Eyes For Life!

Some of us struggle with nearsightedness, some with farsightedness. Some of us, as we engage in the aging process, experience what is termed Presbyopia (aka: old eyes), ‘losing our ability to focus sharply on objects that are close’. I struggle with an additional type of vision impairment.

I struggle sometimes to see beyond myself.

Did I just say that out loud?

No! Oh good.

It’s somehow less powerful in print than spoken aloud.

As I was sitting in the break room yesterday trying to read a book that is just not capturing me and as I daydreamed and turned pages I realized, in my literary absence, I was mentally reading my own story. It wasn’t pretty.

You see (no pun intended)…God put a pair of glasses on me today. They’re not new…as a matter of fact I’ve had them on several times this year already. Apparently I keep forgetting about this impairment, but lucky me, God never forgets.

These glasses enable me to see myself through His eyes. It wasn’t all bad! I saw the passion I have to encourage others. I saw my love of art. I saw my desire for a deeper relationship with God. I saw how blessed I am with a husband that always puts me before himself. I saw the family and friends God has blessed me with. I saw the richness of my life in material things and more importantly richness in love and freedom, all provided by God.

Then I saw something that took awhile to focus on because it was too close and I, being in my EARLY 40’s, am still in denial about those funky little half-glasses my mother keeps trying to push my way by calling ‘magnifiers’. When the UP CLOSE me came into focus in stunned me. It probably shouldn’t have and it may not surprise any of you…but God showed me the thing that is closest to my line of site before any of my passions or blessings or love or freedom is…ME! Me, myself and I…we are so ‘in my face’ so to speak, that I have to look THROUGH myself to see the rest of the picture.

It can’t be! It just can’t be! I am spiritually visually impaired! That’s when I heard the increasing vibration of the singsong melody that goes: Me, me, me, me, it’s all about me!

I had heard of others struggling from this ‘selfishness’ but not MOI! I am the one that only thinks of others. I am the one that hears you when you speak. I am the one that seeks YOU in all my ways! I am a child after your own heart, Lord!

The Lord showed me through whose eyes I saw infertility, and professional fulfillment and success and financial provision and all things “KIM”, even my own call to ministry. My vision was being impaired by my own will.

I tried to rub the vision from my line of site, but it was there. Sure it got blurry again for a moment, but the longer I sat there the more clear it became. I have taken my eyes off the Creator and put them firmly on myself. Everything I see is clouded first by the filter of ME! This is NOT a good place to be.

A LONG, LONG time ago (I think I even mentioned it here), probably before I had anyone reading this, I asked my husband if he thought I was selfish. Remember that conversation?

He said: “On some level, all people are selfish.” And if you know my husband at all, he wasn’t being cutting, just completely honest. Anything my husband says…is truth as he knows it, or it won’t be uttered.

It wasn’t the answer I wanted and in these question/answer games I’m looking for a specific answer (my husband needs a bit more training on this game’s rules)…so I waved it off because I KNEW beyond a shadow of a doubt I was NOT selfish. At least not compared to……

Like I’m going to go down that route…you’re just trying to trap me!

It dawned on me I never “CLEP-ed” out of this test. The God first, others next…me last…test. God has brought the ‘dummies’ version of this ME ME ME test because I’m too blinded by myself to see it otherwise. This ‘dummies’ test even has it’s own pair of carnival glasses. I’ll tell you right now…if it means I’ll be four-eyed for life, I’ll wear them every single day until that cloudy interference is gone…and I can clearly see the world; myself included, through God’s eyes.

Here’s hoping you have a VISUALLY UNIMPAIRED Thursday!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

"Inconceivable" Review

“Inconceivable” by Shannon Woodward

09/11/06: I finished it. The book. The one I ‘won’. The title sums up so much for me. I know God has been preparing me for days…months…perhaps years to read this, and yet I still feel such pain and sorrow, such crippling emotion as I put it down.

I know beyond all else that NOTHING I have read to date touches or digs at scabs more intently than Shannon Woodward does through this personal story. My head is physically throbbing as I continue to hold ‘in check’ the tears fighting to race down my cheeks. A bit over-dramatic…perhaps…but honestly that is what I am feeling as my heart works to process all the emotional ‘spillage’.

09/12/06: It’s a bit less ‘raw’ today. The feelings and emotions that were flooding me yesterday from “Inconceivable” and yesterdays 9/11 anniversary and subsequent tributes have eased a bit.

I’m still processing so much of what I read and yet I want so badly to convey the way Shannon crept into my life…my heart really…and absolutely captured a bit of my personal journey.

At first it’s a bit offsetting because as I’ve shared, my journey is MINE…I own it. Its part of what makes me--me. For someone to not only totally relate to what I’m experiencing and have experienced, but to also word these experiences so eloquently and honestly is at first breath…intrusive; then at second breath…a relief.

Was she with me as I cried over the physical conception that would never come to be? Did she hear my cries to God about the unfairness of it all? Could she see behind the shadow of my downcast eyes as I tried in vain to worship the God I felt had betrayed me after yet another negative pregnancy test? Did she feel the failure I felt?

In my reading, it is clear…she did. She not only related to my own journey, she experienced far greater tragedies in failed adoptions and failed fertility treatments. At first it began to discourage my own consideration of adoption. But each time I felt myself reaching the absolute end of my SELF, God met me. He listened to me yet again as I cried through chapter after chapter.

You see, for me, when I feel like I am the only one that has ever experienced such depth of emotional torture…endless tears, fists to heaven, all of it…it somehow makes it seem a bit more valid. How could anyone have ever experienced even remotely close to what I had experienced? And since they could NEVER truly understand, it was a new challenge, one that God would meet and conquer for me. Every other story of infertility I had heard ALWAYS ended in childbirth. That was what I was banking on!

This one did not.

Suddenly, my own experience was no longer novel to God…it was no longer some NEW challenge to be conquered by the ALMIGHTY CONQUERER! It was the same thing as I was reading.

Shannon Woodward has this way of pulling you into her story and it’s as though her story and yours collide and with the replacement of a few names you could easily be reading your own personal story. She reaches these points of ‘breaking’ throughout and as I began sensing the end of her story was close…I felt so unresolved and unclosed and UN-ready to face the conclusion. It’s like when you’re at a movie you become so engrossed in…you don’t ever want it to end.

I hadn’t reached my breaking point. Then she shared how she held the passion of authors and teachers that had taught her. She states:

“For a while, my new understanding and my old anxiety coexisted unhappily…”

God then challenged her:

“You want to leave your mark? He asked. Then leave an impression on the hearts I bring you.”

I couldn’t believe she included it! The very thing God has told me time and time again. “Kim, you cry out for children to teach and love and grow and nurture and yet you reject the very ‘children’ I bring to you.”

God showed me how through these two start-up churches we had been a part of, during the heat of this infertility struggle, that He had placed me and positioned me in the midst of young women who needed AND desired to be taught and loved and grown and nurtured. He showed me faces and names and I had to seek his renewing forgiveness as I repented of my own selfish pursuits.

As I re-read this and re-edit this it seems I may again have over-shared…but that’s okay. It’s where I am today, and almost everyday if you know me at all! It’s my story, my journey and if you’ve made it this far, you’re practically family anyway. Thank you for being here and listening and praying and understanding…or at least recognizing that even in the midst of darkness…there is LIGHT! You see, without the hope I have in Christ…I wouldn’t have made it this far.

Now here is the abridged review…Inconceivable: 2 thumbs WAY up. Check it out!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

I Have This Friend...

Every time I hear that phrase… “I have this friend”, I figure the information which follows will actually be about the person in front of me.

So let me rephrase…

A woman I work with, who attends a Mega-Church here in OKC, is helping to revamp the women’s ministry. She asked my input and I told her I’d put it out here for all the blogdom to scour and sprinkle with wisdom.

1. What makes a strong women’s ministry?

2. What are the core elements that must be present to have effective women’s ministry?

3. If you are involved in a women’s ministry what works/what doesn’t work?

4. What do you personally seek from women’s ministry?

5. If you could add one thing to your current women’s ministry, what would it be?

Pick one or all…but give me feedback! (Please and thank you!) And YES I know, I know its Tuesday tossup over at Gibee’s place and I think Heather does a Tuesday ‘quiz’-like-thing too, sometimes… give me feedback whenever you can. You can put it in comments…write as much as you like…or email me.

Thank you in advance for your input.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

With a Humble Heart...I Write

Several months ago I came upon a site 2996 that was started with the sole intent of recognizing and commemorating, in the form of written tributes, each of the fallen victims and heroes of 9/11. I signed up the same day for this momentous honor.

As the weeks and months passed and 9/11 was quickly approaching, even as late as last week, I was unsure of my own ability, my worthiness, to pen such a tribute. What an incredible honor to speak about one of our fellow Americans following such a tragic event in our history.

I write this tonight in preparation for the flood of memories and tributes that will be written and read for weeks to come; for and of, each one of these 2,996 people on year 5. My prayer is that the words will come and offer a glimpse of one life…while I never actually met him in person; I have his image eternally etched in my heart as I pray for, and remember a life that was taken too soon.

Quilt square 611 of the “United in Memory” project holds a picture of the strong man that lived a life worthy of the honor I write. He was a New York City Fireman. His life was a life of serving and protecting each of us. He offered a bit of hope in despair. He offered certainty in an uncertain world. His name was Ruben David Correa.

In my quest to learn what I could of this hero, I searched and found over 277,000 matches online. Among them, a place where visitors and family still come and write notes to “David”, as he was known among those close to him. He is obviously loved by friends and family and continues to touch many lives beyond his short time on earth.

David Correa was only 44 when he was taken on 9/11. David has a wife and three daughters. He also has grandchildren who will never know first hand the wisdom and wit he carried in life. He was a man of passion, an encourager and comrade among his fellow firefighters.

I would ask each of you that come to this place, no matter why you came, to stop today and pray for David’s family and friends. Pray for their peace and joy to be fully restored. Pray for their souls. Offer a prayer of thanks to God for allowing us to know an earthly angel, a man of love and integrity…a man that would strive for his family, a man that would protect his nation. This is a life that will be remembered and will inspire others for many years to come.

At the Engine 74 Station, behind the Fire trucks is David Correa’s jacket in a place of honor, to remind the other firefighters and visitors that once a life was lived, a price was paid, a man gave his all. While his jacket and helmet now hang unused, his legacy will live on in a spirit of what America was called to defend five years ago…on 9/11.

God bless you Ruben David Correa!

Friday, September 08, 2006

I Am Wholly His!

As I read the comments yesterday and RE-read my own post prompting these comments it dawned on me what I know...and you may not realize…this is only a snapshot of my life. Did it mold me? Yes! Did it affect my wholeness? Absolutely! Did it hurt me? Perhaps some. Did it teach me? You bet!

All of my combined experiences are what contributes to the WHOLE Kim. Truly, my motivation for that post was an ongoing ‘ribbing’ of sorts from Pastorman about my disdain for these weekly hymns. It did become a bit cathartic when I began to look at the ‘why’. I suppose I always knew ‘why’, but when it’s out there, for all the blogdom to see, it becomes much clearer.

You see I believe God created me and knowing what I was going to face even before it dawned on me. He prepared me and armed me physically, mentally, spiritually to handle everything…even before I knew Him well enough to call out to Him in these times.

I always wanted to be one of those tiny petite girls, the kind the boys felt they HAD to protect. Even now, when I begin to lament to God about how tall and ‘sturdy’ I am, He shows me a glimpse of how I’ve been able to use this physical strength not only for His glory but for my own self-preservation.

I joke with others that I never learned to fight because my sheer size and demeanor would be enough to ward off any potential enemies. This served me well when I found myself in situations I probably should have never entered.

I also lamented about my own intelligence (I know it’s pathetic to admit this). I saw how much EASIER it was for those that didn’t understand. The quote “what you don’t know won’t hurt you” became all too clear to me. I didn’t WANT to understand because with understanding and clarity come knowledge and wisdom and that same knowledge and wisdom demand change.

God reminded me how incredibly blessed I’ve been to see the pain and hurt of others and gifted to respond to that. He reminded me that it is not demanding to hold wisdom…rather it is a gift to be sown in discipling.

I lamented to God about His seeming ineffectiveness in my own trials and tribulations. I know it actually seems a bit laughable when I see just how cushy I actually had it. God has shown me time and again His hand on MY life and His hand on my head and His hand carrying me through trials both from Him and the tribulations I found on my own.

I lamented to God about most everything and I also believe it is in that kind of relationship with God, that I have become who I am today and am moving closer to what God desires I become…eventually.

So I do not lament about the past with my parents ‘demonstrative disagreements’. Even that taught me the power of love and healing and FORGIVENESS. I saw the ‘rest of the story’ when my father was finally saved not too many years ago. I saw my mother begin to mellow and heal with age and an understanding that life is short. I saw the difference finding a church (recently) to SERVE in, made in their lives.

Here’s how intricately our lives are woven. I won the CWO book last month: “Inconceivable” by Shannon Woodward. I want to say right off the bat, it's an INCREDIBLE read. It pulls you in and you are walking hand in hand with Shannon as she takes you on this tortuous yet healing and HOPE-filled journey!

God knew that in my own infertility struggles it was time to begin the healing in my journey. He brought me this book, free of physical charge. It has cost me gallons of tears and comes at a high emotional cost, but God is there as I turn each page and begin to embrace the healing He holds in this area, just as He heals the spirit of hymn rejection.

Last night as I read (way too late into the night) I came across a chapter called: “Beauty”. Shannon was trying to capture on video the Northern Lights that erupted above her but as she trained her camera to record the view, it fled. It was as though God had presented the show just for her…for that moment.

This is the quote I pray we all hear and hold: “Some things can’t be captured. Some things you just have to remember.”

We have all experienced pain in one form or another. This is what molds us. Psalm 139 is what molds me. I pray we have all seen God’s hand (cause it IS there) in the aftermath in healing. For me, I have seen and continue to see the ‘me’ that is WHOLLY His, and this is what I CHOOSE to remember!

Have a FULL and HOLY Friday!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

No Hymns For Her!

I have mentioned, more than once, my disdain for all things ‘hymnal-esque’. Of course it’s not the actual book that I openly reject. It’s not even, ALWAYS the music inside that I run from. It’s the place, the memory ridden place, my mind and heart travel to when I hear these melodies and return to my childhood and youth.

My parents have had a bumpy marriage (and that’s a generous term in an effort not to offend this early on). They have been (in the past), shall we say, rather demonstrative and verbal in their marital woes. My father has also struggled with alcohol abuse back when it was not only accepted socially, but almost expected among businessmen. They were members of the Elks Club for goodness sake, a perfectly respectable establishment much like Vegas. What happens at the Elks Club stays at the Elks Club, sans a few well timed photographs.

The memories of our household remind me of perhaps… “Cleavers Gone Wild”. We were the average family, living in suburbia-America. We had two cars, the latest and greatest in electronics, a new home, good income, went to good schools, in the latest fashions, and my parents had the debt to prove it. There was a bit of stress to say the least.

Add to this mix, my parents were both the youngest children of their families and while I wouldn’t go so far as to say they were spoiled with material things…they do carry with them much of the mentality of a ‘youngest sibling’. Read that however you wish.

BUT…we were raised going to church. It is expected and required that unless you’re lying on your death bed, you WILL be attending church. My father would share that he even had to go when he was ill. We would get ready for church and pile into the Buick and head across town. Living in Colorado during this time, we didn’t even get to miss church on snow days because the city did such a fantastic job clearing the roads immediately upon first snowfall.

My parents, in their demonstrative, passionate way, would discuss (fight, argue, and verbally assault) the days activities or the previous night’s (at the Elks Club) activities on the way to church. My younger sister would be crying, my older brother would be zoning them out (before Ipods or even Walk-mans, mind you), and I would listen intently and hear the abuse and even speak up (no surprises there) in defense of my mother usually.

We would arrive at church 15 minutes later and be reminded of the proper appearance and we’d each put on our mask and enter the building for another fun filled Sunday message from God. I even thought God must be a complete idiot if he just allowed this to happen each week.

After an hour of Sunday School boredom and basically Sunday SCHOOL of sitting still and listening (no questions were allowed and YES I am serious), we would enter the Sanctuary, find our parents, and be seated for more listening. The organ would start playing, we’d be instructed to turn to page (fill in blank) and sing the first, third, and fifth stanzas of whichever hymn was first. We’d sing 2-3 hymns prior to service, an offering hymn, and of course the alter-call hymn of inspiration.

The whole time I’d be thinking… “I wonder if they’ll fight the whole way home. I wonder if they even love each other. Why doesn’t God DO something? Why don’t they just get a divorce? How can they stand there smiling and singing this stuff when they obviously hate each other? If this is marriage…I ain’t buying!”

You see I’m the child that wasn’t sent away during the fights. I’m the child that would hold my drunk father back while my mother tried to call for help. I’m the child that would watch as my mother flung hot oil on my father and covered them both with blisters. I’m the child that saw the knives thrown and the violence surge and escalate. I’m the child that would beg my mother not to take the handful of pills and end it all.

I’m the child that witnessed the tears from both, as they attempted healing once again. I was very angry and bitter for a long, long time because it seemed they were both too ‘weak’ to give up and divorce. And every week, when I re-entered that church building and had to put on the smile and sing those hymns and try to find the safety for those two hours, I was weeping uncontrollably inside.

Eventually the hymns became an audible cue to trigger these feelings and emotions of despair. I felt utterly helpless and no ‘slain lamb’ was coming to my emotional rescue. The ‘Old Rugged Cross’ was apparently completely useless, splintered wood and the only thing amazing about ‘Amazing Grace’ was how seemingly pointless it seemed.

My parents have both mellowed with age (don’t we all). There is no more flying oil or knives. The arguments are much more civil, and the few heated arguments are much shorter-lived. I actually think they love each other and I KNOW they like each other. There was fall-out...most of it mine.

I didn’t attend church for a very long time as an adult…but then it seemed the music was evolving and it wasn’t all hymns…it wasn’t hymns at ALL. It was music. It was choruses and beautiful, SAFE music. It didn’t trigger anything. It wasn’t always breathtaking and meaningful…but it was worshipful and gave me a chance to sing without trigger or fear. I returned to church and found it had changed as much as I had changed.

Then, like all things you think have gone away for good…they came back, the hymns came back. It seems these old hymns are making resurgence in modern and even post-modern churches.

The aftermath from my shoes is this: I didn’t trust marriage for a very long time. I felt it was an acceptable form of abuse via a contract of commitment and I wasn’t buying into that one bit. I was 34 before I married my husband. Thank you GOD for a husband that is so obviously created by YOU specifically for me for a lifetime! Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

The other, less resolved outcome is, to this day, when I hear those ‘retro-hymns’ starting, I look around at the faces (even in my wonderful church home) and immediately travel back to those days in that church in Colorado where I knew the joy was merely a manic mask and the music wasn’t masking anything.

I can see the anger in my parents’ eyes as I hear the music build. I can still feel each and every word ‘bomb’ thrown between them and the harmony only makes my stomach churn. I realize I am a bit like Pavlov’s dog. I realize therapy would probably help; I’m just not there yet. It’s easier and frankly much cheaper to just walk out during these hymn times and return for the music that isn’t the road to perdition for me.

In all honesty this is one of the reasons we almost didn’t join our current church, but I am believing God will heal me and I’m believing that one week, when we sing our one token hymn, I will be able to stand and sing along and believe what I’m singing. I’m hoping that there will be a day when I do not travel to a place in my life that holds pain resulting in wounds and scars and memories that refuse to die. Until that day, it’ll continue to be a great time for a bathroom break and making sure the coffee pot is turned off.

Have a melody-filled Thursday!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Conforming In My Nonconformity

I’m just going to be honest here…oh wait…I always am!

Sometimes I’m actually TRYING to open a can of worms! And ironically, sometimes I hear the can opener operating when I feel it is a fairly benign statement. Here goes…I struggle with conformity. I know…no surprise there!

There’s more…I don’t care if I ever fit in. In fact I hope I don’t.

I’ve seen what it is I’m supposed to FIT IN and I am NEVER going to fit. Even if a large portion of my brain and heart were removed…I couldn’t stuff myself inside the lines the modern world has created and outlined and called “woman”. I’ve always been an ‘outside the lines’ sort of artist anyway. Apparently my life actually imitates my art.

But wait…there’s more. I also HATE labels.

I hate being ‘pegged’ and assigned as if I’m described as an A, B, C, D or E. I even hate being labeled as an ‘outlier’. I hate the “Bell-Curve”. I hate political labels and religious labels and size labels and talent labels and intelligence labels…I hate them all! I guess that’s pretty clear.

I am ‘kpjara’ and there are NO OTHER kpjaras out here. Okay, well there might be another USER named kpjara…but trust me when I say I’ve yet to meet my exact duplicate in thought and feeling. I do not have an identical twin.

I love that I am an original. I love that my ways are not your ways. We are our Father’s children after all. I love that in seeing that our ways are different we both have an opportunity to see and potentially learn a new way…at the very least we recognize there IS another way.

I won’t deny that we become more ‘user friendly’ when we’re ‘dumped’ into categories and potentially understood that way. I will also admit that some conformity is helpful in military life and even some school regime (imagine a non-conforming marching band…it’s a scary thought). I just want to let you know right now that that ‘exception’ rule we all struggled to learn in English class, i.e. ‘I before e except after c, the vowels are a, e, i, o, u and sometimes y’, etc. is actually the rule of life and understanding others.

If we’re completely honest with one another, we’ll admit we don’t want to feel like we are being described as Susie Sunshine, when we’re really Jennie Joker or Traditional Tammy or Leader Lou Lou or Chatty Chandra or Whispering Whitley. We are all as unique as our fingerprints.

What’s so magnificent in this truth is that in our unique-ness, we come together, and just like a puzzle we fit. We do not fit with every single piece we are put against, but when we are completed, we can and do, co-exist and make the world a more beautiful place as a mosaic.

In finding and embracing the ingeniously created and unique “YOU”…you begin the journey of becoming a part of that mosaic.

We truly are better together, than we are apart.

Have a well-blended Wednesday!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Does God Punish?

I was surfing the blog-o-sphere the other day and ran across this question at the ‘Emerging Women’ blog which I have recently started reading. While I don’t agree with everything written, there are some interesting and thought-provoking conversations going on over there.

The author (Tiffani) of this post asks:

'While there are certainly instances in the Bible where it appears that God has punished His people, does He in fact punish or does He simply allow us to suffer the consequences of our sin? Could the answer be in the definition of the term? Is there a difference between punishment and discipline? I have, for the first time, begun exploring these thoughts and am curious to hear other opinions.'

I immediately thought about how ANGRY God seems in the O.T. Every message to the prophets was one of ultimate destruction to those disobedient Israelites. The Bible even mentions God’s anger when he spared Noah during the great flood.

I also thought about what draws me to reach for and know God more. For me, it’s simply due to His great LOVE. I don’t cower in fear to the God of punishment. Rather I seek, read, and pray to the God of love. A love born out of creation. A love so deep it crosses time and space. A love that led Him to offer the ultimate sacrifice of His son, in order to free ME from the bondage of sin and ultimate death and separation from Him for eternity.

I thought about children and the discipline parents must provide. This discipline (punishment) is typically done so out of love, and the desire to train the child to mature and grow into the person God created them to be.

Ultimately I do believe that God does punish His children, but not out of wrath, or desire to destroy, rather out of desire to train us and mold us. I believe our Heavenly Father provides punishment as a form of parental training.

We live in a fallen world. We are no longer created in the image of God, rather in the image of Adam and Eve. We sin because sin is what we’re born into. The sin we are born into is in constant struggle with the love with which we are created.

I imagine a world, born into sin, full of free-will…without ‘punishment’…and shudder to think of the chaos and ‘hell on earth’ state in which we’d exist.

I believe unmerited punishment to the point of suffering is actually torture. The goal of Godly punishment is NOT to torture needlessly, rather the goal of Godly punishment is redirection and growth out of love from our Father…our creator.

Perhaps discipline is a better term for what the ‘author’ is expressing. The word ‘punish’ (to me) implies a negative connotation, where as the word discipline (to me) implies character molding and growth.


Friday, September 01, 2006

The Devil Really DOES Wear Prada!

I remember as a child there was a very popular girl…in 1st and 2nd grade. I have absolutely NO IDEA how she reached such star status, but she was the “IT” girl at Virginia Court Elementary School. She knew it and so did everybody else.

She used to select her playmates for the day by a leg race. If you wanted to play with her you had to race an opponent and if you won, you got the coveted spot of Cynthia’s playmate for that recess (not even the whole day).

I used to race, though I don’t remember racing daily. I was always the tallest and back then, the fastest in class and could beat ANYONE who tried to compete with me. Alas that ability has faded without training and practice.

I digress. The point is, when I look at that scenario NOW, I am sickened. Not so much because we would actually fall prey to this little girl’s self-serving circus, but because we still do!

I have this friend…we all do; a friend who is a little less than secure about her looks, her image, her personality, her abilities and talents, her intelligence, her feet size, her weight, her children, her husband, her career…yes, sadly the list goes on and on and on. Even more sadly, sometimes the ‘friend’ is really US!

She became hurt by a comment made about one of her ‘insufficiencies’ pointed out by another person. It’s happened to me, I know how it feels to have someone say: “What’s wrong with your HAIR today?” or any comment that points out something WRONG with me. For this young lady, the particular comment was something entirely different, but the effect was the same…the tearing down of a spirit, a soul, that longs for acceptance and to ‘fit in’.

The more we seek and find our significance in what others see in us, the less we focus on what God sees in us; what He PUT in us, that is our very core.

I tell this young women, whenever I’m around her, to ‘speak life’, just as others have told me. I have already told her I am bringing her a book of affirmations for this weekend to speak over her life. I have learned, from taking this route myself, that until I start to speak what only seems to be insignificant words over my life (but is actually the breath of God through His Word), I will continue to cough out the ‘truths’ others’ see and speak about me.

Which one sounds better to you?

I know I mentioned a few weeks back about the power of speaking Scripture over our lives and the lives of our loved ones. It’s one of the tools God has given us to immerse ourselves in who He created us to be.

Satan, in Prada, seeks to point out our differences and even convinces us that we will never be pretty enough, thin enough, smart enough, good enough, wonderful enough, PERFECT enough, for God to truly love us. God says: ENOUGH! You were created BECAUSE I love you. My love equals YOUR creation. You are my child. You are my beloved. You are my hearts desire.

Each of you is different…with purpose. Each of you NEEDS the other; not for significance, but for the wholeness only found in community and relationship. No two people are exactly alike. No one is LESS significant and no one is MORE significant. We are all beautifully and wonderfully made, each a unique fingerprint among God’s hand.

I pray we all walk in THIS truth today and every day! Have a picture perfect Friday!