Karen

Walking in Bill’s Shoes

September 18, 2017 in Uncategorized

My Father-in-love, William Barbour was an incredible man and I have updated this post in his honor.

 

William Rinehart Barbour, Jr. turned 95 in March of 2017!  The sparkle in his eye was as welcoming as ever. His love for his family and friends radiated from a face that lit up when you entered his room, glowing more than 95 birthday candles ever could.  He had enviable silver white hair and a ready wit.  He was a man to be admired; always was, and always will be.

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

That’s not the whole story though.  Yes, he was a brilliant publisher, but even more he was a man with a capacity to love and forgive and bless the lives of others in every way he could.  He was a man who loved his brother Hugh and his sister-in-law, Eva. He loved everybody in ways that were reminiscent of the kind of brotherly love Jesus talked about.  He was a man who blessed his children, Bruce, Betsy, and Alan with gifts and talents beyond measure and hearts like his that are as big as all outdoors.  He was a man who honored his wife of 65 years, Mary, and understood the gift that she was to him for many years. He loved his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. William Rinehart Barbour, Jr. was a man with big shoes and most of us will spend years trying to find ways to walk in the path he created.  As his family and his friends, when he turned 95, we shouted with love and joy, “Happy Birthday, WRB!”  “Happy Birthday, incredible, remarkable and wonderful man!

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

Don’t you?

NOTE: William R. Barbour went home to be with Jesus on September 12, 2017.  He was peaceful and loving all the way to heaven.

 

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Karen

Coaching Myself

October 22, 2015 in Inspirational, Uncategorized

 

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Recently I read a piece in my devotional book called You Are Worth More than Rubies.  I love the title of this book because it’s such a good reminder to try to be a little more tender to myself.  After all, the worst critic in the world is the one who lives right inside your head.  In the piece from the book I was reminding readers, and myself, since I always need the words God gives me on those devotional pages, that it’s important to coach ourselves to not talk defeat.  After all, when the coach comes out to give a pep talk to the players before the big game, he doesn’t even suggest that they won’t win.  In fact, he makes it pretty clear that they were born to win, prepared for that very moment in time to create the victory.  He lets the team know in no uncertain terms that they’ve got what it takes to play well and spur each other on toward the goals.

That’s what we need to do too.  We need to spur each other on to the victories that God intends us to have.  We need to see ourselves as worth more than a pile of rubies and we know that we have been prepared from the start for whatever this day brings.  We’re part of a team because we have friends who are prayer warriors who keep us lifted up to the Lord even when we don’t know they are praying. We have the word of God to remind us that He is with us every moment no matter what opponents we might face.  We have the assurance that all things are possible with God!

As it says in Hebrews 10:39, “We are not of those who turn back and are lost. We are people who have faith and are saved.”  We have the victory and we have to keep coaching each other, and keep coaching ourselves to trust in that truth.  Your value is beyond description and you never have a reason to talk defeat.

This is a great day because you have everything you need to win!  Now get out there and play!

Karen

Rocking Horse Dreams

February 3, 2015 in Uncategorized

Do you remember those fabulous antique rocking horses?  They were often made of hand-painted wood, sometimes with a little rope mane and a padded seat to look like a saddle.  When you were a little kid, that rocking horse could take you any place you wanted to go.  You could imagine yourself riding across the prairie, your hair flowing in the breeze, your trusty horse keeping you safe and happy.  You could ride away from the bad guys, or maybe from mom trying to get you to take a nap, but one way or another, this was a great place to be and you rocked on and on.

The problem is that the rocking horse never left the room.  You didn’t get anywhere.  You didn’t even outrun that nap.  So, where are you now?  Are you still sitting on some dreams that you meant to pursue?  Are you still wondering just where you could go if you really took a chance on yourself and headed out the door to make a new discovery?  If you’re a dreamer, that’s a good thing, but if you’re only having rocking horse dreams, you may not ever get out there on the prairie.  So what would help?  Maybe it’s time to let go of the yesterdays and redesign today.  Maybe it’s time to go out and rock the world the way you meant to.  Yesterday really is behind you, and today is the field of opportunity.  Today is that big wide open space with your name all over it and as it turns out, God has actually given you a clean slate.  He makes you new every morning.  He brings you new chances and new blessings and new dreams to pursue every day and He’ll help you get where you want to go.  If you were waiting for the cavalry to rescue you, well consider yourself rescued, out there on Calvary.

So what is it going to take to get you off that cute, but going nowhere rocking horse?  Here are a few ideas:  Try doing one thing in a different way today.  That’s right!  Connect with someone you hadn’t thought could do a thing to help your dream move forward.  Change your routine.  Pray first!  Eat later!  Rock on!  Okay, try this!  Laugh!  Take a moment to see yourself on that horse and laugh that you’re still there.  Give yourself a medal for staying the course this long and then get going in a new direction.  Give thanks!  Be grateful that you’ve gotten this far and that you haven’t given up on your dream already.  Then jump!  Jump at the chance to get out of the old groove, get the wind in your hair and move and see just where it takes you.  And, if you’ve been riding in the dark, well, put away your flashlight and follow the One who can light your way wherever you want to go!  This is your day to get a move on.  Remember these great words from Lamentations:  “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not.  They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.  The Lord is my portion, says my soul. Therefore I hope in Him.

So it’s your day to ride like the wind.  turning up the lightpsd

Karen

Square One? Really?

August 7, 2012 in Uncategorized

If you’re as familiar with Square One as I am, you may wonder why it is, that no matter how many moves you make to get ahead, you somehow end up back there.  You may have tried new things, pushed through the obstacles, found new doors to open, and yet, still, without warning, there you are…Square One!  What is it that sends you back to the beginning like a pawn in a chess game just when you thought you were finally making progress? What do you do now to motivate yourself to get back out there and try again?

Square One may feel like you fell down and skinned your knees, but let’s look at it again.  Standing on the first Square in any game, in any arena in life, means that you showed up.  It means that you are IN.  You believed enough in yourself to get in the game.  The first Square is where your coach is the loudest because you need a lot of instruction and it’s important to get prepared for all that is up ahead.  We might call Square One, the place where you’re willing to hear God’s voice the most.  After all, this is the space where you’re most uncertain about what comes next, most aware that you need help to move to the next step.  This is the connection Square then, the one where you know you’re not alone, that even if you jump out of an airplane, the Coach is tied to you and jumps with you.  Yes, Square One is the renew, refresh, and review square.

Square One is the safety zone too, the place where you can ask more questions and get answers.  It’s where you go back over the game plan and maybe find the reasons why you fell off the path as you worked your way toward your goal.  Going back to Square One then is not a punishment or a failure, it’s just a resting place, a chance to remind yourself of what’s important now.  When you were out in the game, you were so busy with the effort of your work and your dreams, that you may have lost sight of the goal, the one that you and God set from the beginning.

Did God send you back to Square One then?  I’m not going to suggest that He did, I’m just going to suggest that He’s there with another safety net, another smile because you tried so hard, and a reminder that you have a lot more information to keep moving ahead. In fact, now you may get around the board in record time. After all, life is a marathon and not a sprint, and you’ve jumped the gun more than once, or at least made a few false starts. So…it’s up to you.  You can sit in Square One and never try again to move on, always assume you’ll find yourself back there again, or you can rest, pray, renew yourself and get your new game plan together.  The One who directs your steps has been all around the board and knows every move and He waits for you on every square.  Get back in the game as soon as you can because there’s some wonderful moments up ahead that will make you feel like an Olympic champion finally winning the gold.

You’re awesome and it’s time to move again.  God bless you BIG!

Karen

Lost and Found

August 4, 2012 in Uncategorized

Did you ever lose something, search frantically for it, then try to back track and figure out just where the thing you’re searching for may have gone?  If you were lucky and you lost your treasure in a public place, you may have stumbled across a big sign along the way that said, “LOST and FOUND.”  Oh, now there’s a place to start searching again.  Now you can rummage through other lost things and find what you’re missing.  Of course, if you think about it, the thing that was lost doesn’t “know” it was lost.   It was safely being kept in the “Found” box all along.  I don’t know about you, but sometimes life comes at me in such a way, that I just feel lost.  I don’t realize I have been sitting in that one safe zone marked “Lost and Found.”  I don’t realize that even though I feel lost, I’m not.

How does it happen you wonder?  How do you go from being secure and happy to feeling somewhat left behind?  Of course, the “How” doesn’t really matter because the fact is that you are where you are. You know you must choose to discover what all lost things must discover, that there is a way to be found.  That  means you may have to accept where you are for now.  You’re actually safe there and you can wait with an open heart and a hopeful spirit, anticipating the day you’ll find yourself in a better situation, a more fulfilling relationship, or a more exciting job.

There’s an adage which reads, “All who wander, aren’t lost.”  I encourage you, if you’ve been feeling like I have recently, somewhat uncertain of where you are, somewhat disconnected from all the things that usually make you feel whole and complete, that the truth is still one of hope.  The truth is still that the One who created you knows where you are at every moment.  He knows what you need.  He knows every ounce of your being and does not want you to suffer a sense of loss because He’s there, wrapping His love around your heart, shining His light into your soul, ready to claim you from whatever “Lost and Found” table you might be on.

You may not recognize it today, you may not feel it tomorrow, but no matter where life takes you, no matter how many losses you sustain, your hope is sure.  You’re in the good news Lost and Found.  Your hope is always in the One who is seeking your highest good, finding new doors for your dreams, opening new paths to joy.  You’ve been found!  Here’s a big hug for you!

Karen

My Almost for His Highest

January 31, 2012 in Inspirational, Uncategorized

With apologies to Oswald Chambers and his classic devotional, My Utmost for His Highest, I wanted to address a struggle.  Perhaps it’s simply my struggle and you won’t really relate to it.  The struggle is all about that word “utmost.”  What does it mean in today’s world to do your utmost and what do you expect from God’s highest?  Of course, the hope is that we’re always growing and changing and getting closer to becoming what God dreamed we’d become.  The hope is that we want to know more of God.  I’m thinking at best, I give God my almost, my attempt to do better, to see people as He sees them, valuing them and loving them inspite of them.  I trust that He has to do that with me.

The fact is, I’m pretty sure I couldn’t swear on a stack of Bibles that I give my utmost to know Him, or even my utmost to life.  After all, life often shreds you so finely you aren’t really clear if God is actually near and so at best you make feeble attempts to draw closer to Him, hoping against hope that He is truly there.  Regardless of my futile attempts however, I believe that God always operates from His Highest.  He doesn’t have days when He’s slacking off a bit because He’s worn out by the noise of the Universe or the weight of the world that literally rests on His shoulders.  He doesn’t take a break from  hearing my prayers, even ones I’ve prayed for years still waiting for the answers.  He doesn’t get tired of giving and loving and being God.

Giving my almost may work for a while.  It may be that I get a glimpse of God’s glory and His love when I give even that much.  He encourages me, even when I give a little.  He connects with me the moment I get online, never making me wait or go through several messages and then putting me on hold whenever I make an attempt to draw more closely to Him.  He is always there…always operating at His Highest!  Imagine that!

I’m in the process of writing a new devotional book, one that centers itself on the reasons we have to be grateful every single day.  It’s the truth that if we only strive to count our blessings, we could conceivably count every waking moment and never run out of things to be thankful for.  After all, we just rose from a comfy bed with a big warm blanket, had a great cup of coffee and found ourselves in the midst of others who care about us.  That’s a good place to start when you’re counting blessings.  Today, though, I have to count this blessing.  The blessing that comes from my almost and mostly feeble attempts to draw near to God and the fact that He embraces my attempts, hugs my spirit and loves the almost me so completely it’s overwhelming.  Sure, He tugs at my sleeve and hopes my heart will desire even more, that it will truly want to go from almost to utmost.  I love this idea from Charles Spurgeon that says, “He who counts the stars and calls them by their names, is in no danger of forgetting His own children.  He knows your case as thoroughly as if you were the only creature He ever made, or the only saint He ever loved.”

Perhaps that’s the reason to keep trying, to keep moving toward giving Him your utmost.  After all, we always try to please the ones we love.

May His highest bring you great joy today!

Karen

Planning Your Way

January 2, 2012 in Inspirational, Uncategorized

Proverbs 16 reminds us that we can make our plans, but only God can make them come true.  Before I left Ohio to make the 17 hour drive back to Florida, I made a plan.  I printed out the route from google maps and felt  satisfied that I could accomplish the task.  After all, it was pretty much a straight shot down I 75.  No problem.  Home free.  Winding my way through the holiday traffic around Chattanooga, Atlanta, Macon and Valdosta, I started feeling pretty confident that even though I’d been driving for well over fourteen hours, I was still ready to finish the job and head for home.  Happily, I wasn’t feeling too sleepy, though I was a bit bleary-eyed from all the lights of oncoming cars and heavy traffic through all the big cities.  I had stopped for coffee and planned to just get home and crawl into my own bed.

I was listening to a novel on my cd player and it looked like I would finish the book just about the time I arrived in my driveway.  As I hummed along on I 75, I saw a sign that showed an exit for Belleville, Florida.  I was awed that I had reached my destination exit so quickly, but got off the highway, knowing that I’d face some country roads as I wound my way to my home town.  It was around midnight and the further I went on the old road, the darker it got.  There were no street lights, no houses, hardly any road signs.  After a bit, I realized that I was totally in the wrong place.  I started to go down one back road and then another, hoping to see a bigger road that would let me get back on the highway.  After a half hour or so, I was still trying to find my way.  It was foggy and my gas tank was getting lower on fuel.  Making one turn to the right, I started down yet another road hoping it would get me to somewhere I could recognize.  There were still no gas stations, no little mom and pop stores, nothing but darkness and uncertainty.  As if it could get worse, I found myself in a dark road where a fire had happened earlier.  By the time I arrived, and there were no firetrucks or other indicators anywhere, the thick smoke was still wafting its way across the road, making it impossible to see.  Now I was not only lost, I was unable to drive forward because of the smoke and even breathing was difficult, and the road itself was very narrow.  I started to pray.

“Lord,” I said.  “This isn’t exactly how I had planned to start the New Year.  In fact, I’m wondering if I’ll be seeing YOU before I see my bed again.  Please help me.”  I started to weep with frustration and worry that someone would surely run into my car because of the thick smoke.  I did the only thing I could do.  I started backing up, hoping I wouldn’t back into the ditch that was a three foot drop-off on the side of the road.  Slowly, I turned the car around, praying the whole time that no one would come around the bend and run smack into me.  I was scared to death.  This was NOT my plan at all.  I started thinking about how grateful I was that I had just seen my kids and how much I hoped to get out of this mess so I could see them again.

Finally, I found a clear patch of road and drove till I saw a sign for a town about thirteen miles away.  I decided to drive toward the town, hoping my nerves and my gas tank would get me there.  When I finally found my way back to I 75, having now traveled a good two hours more than I had planned,  I remembered that I was supposed to get off the road at Bellevue, Florida, not Belleville.  At 3AM, I pulled into my garage and wept for joy.  I thanked God for getting me home again.

Sometimes, we make our plans and sometimes with no warning at all, we get off the path, unable to see what is up ahead.  Fortunately, we have a God who goes before us, who helps us find a way to the light again.  This year, as you travel your path, know that you will find moments that are somewhat uncertain, somewhat off the path you had planned.  If you do, then keep looking up, for your Heavenly Father will surely provide a way back to better ground again.  What a blessing that is!

Karen

Wonders Never Cease!

September 12, 2011 in Uncategorized

Whoever said “wonders never cease” may have been in awe of a particular event, something monumental, like seeing an awesome view from a mountaintop or holding a newborn.  That person may indeed have been taking in a wonder of the world.  More than likely though, it may have been a tongue in cheek comment where the person was amazed at something on the opposite end of the scale, someone’s willingness to be greedy and cause others harm, or some craziness like a 9-11.  Wonders never cease!

For you and me, it’s important to pay attention to the wonders.  It’s important to note the people who are doing everything under their power to do good, to bring light, and to create the balance in a world that feels almost out of control.  Sometimes it’s even necessary to point out the wonders so that others remember what they take for granted and keep seeing the miracles God provides moment by moment.  We aren’t serving a wimpy God who looks the other way when the going gets tough.  The fact is, the One we serve is indestructible.  The doubters, the nay-sayers, the arrogant only cause Him to try harder to wash His light over their negative views.  No matter how often we shake our puny fists, He’s strong.  He’s there and He knows that we need Him more than we need anything else this planet has to offer.

Some days are hard.  Some days are full of coping with one thing or another.  Some days feel like there’s nothing left, nothing to wonder about, nothing wonderful.  Fortunately, that feeling gives way to truth and the truth sets you free to see that there is much to be in awe about, much to help you shake off the lethargy.  As Oprah said in her farewell show after 25 years, “you have it.”  You have the light of God within you to do your calling.  You have everything you need to stand up and be counted and to not only see that wonders never cease, but to become part of the force that brings wonder and delight to others.  You have something special that others need and it’s important that you don’t hoard it away, store it in a box, or simply give up on it because it seems like too much effort.  Consider yourself on a team.  You and God are a force to be reckoned with.  You’re a team that cannot be defeated, but you can’t walk off the field.  You have to stay and keep in the game.  In fact, God’s wearing your jersey.  He’s got your number.  So play!

Today, make it your business to stop and be awed at something around you.  Really see the landscape.  Really consider the miracle that comes in the form of your children.  Really understand the complexity of human nature and the simplicity of God’s love.  Be in awe because “wonders never cease.”

 

Karen

Missing Matt Dillon

July 27, 2011 in Inspirational, Uncategorized

I guess growing up in the Gunsmoke era meant that I was gently exposed to the rough and tumble West and its struggles with good and evil during my formative years.  Fortunately for me and all the other viewers of this classic TV show that ran for twenty years, we had Matt Dillon to keep everything straight for us.  James Arness brought Matt into our lives and reminded us that things like honor and truth existed even in those dusty corners of early TV westerns.   I find myself pining for Matt Dillon to make an appearance all over again to bring back the code of the West that allowed the good guys to win.  Today’s cop shows that go to great lengths to put the gruesome realities of the crime in your face and those money-making reality shows that leave you wondering whatever happened to common sense,  make it look like nice guys don’t actually stand much of a chance.  Matt Dillon lived on biblical principles and even kept his relationship with Miss Kitty at an always respectable familiarity. He was an honorable man and the producers of the show wanted us to believe in him.  We did.   It was good TV.

Personally, I’m still rooting for the good guys, the ones who respect the ideals of law and order and make all of us feel like we can be safe in our own home town.  It’s hard for me to imagine what it’s like for girls growing up now, teenagers with no heroes to speak of, no sense that justice prevails.  If I had to reflect on life from the vantage point of all I see on The Shield or Lost, I might not know where to hang my proverbial cowboy hat because chaos seems to be the order of the day.  The other night, I had a chance to go to the American Idol tour in Orlando.  It was faithful in the sense that it showcased the talents of the fabulous young singers from the TV show.  It was flashy and loud, maybe too loud at times drowning out the powerhouse voices and causing them to have to scream to be heard, but it was  great.  I couldn’t help thinking that if each of us worked as hard as those kids did to give our best to our work, or to our life for God, we’d all be a force to be reckoned with, but that’s for another day.  The point I wanted to make is that the show took on a whole different pace when Scotty McCreery came on with his deep cowboy voice, allowing us to hear the words of his spirited songs and quieting our hearts and minds.  It was just a bit of Matt Dillon walking into town and reminding us to get back to our roots, to hold on to the good.  For me, it was the best part of the show because it wasn’t about glitz and power, but about gentle longings for things we don’t ever want to lose sight of.

Today, remember that the good guys have a Source of Power that nothing can shake and that Source is the one lighting up your heart and soul.  You can step out onto the street, well armed, well prepared, ready to take on the villains.

Meet ‘cha for a sarsparilla!

 

Karen

Fathers, Dads…and Papa

June 19, 2011 in Uncategorized

My Dad has remarkable courage. He managed to help raise four daughters and with only one bathroom, that wasn’t an easy task. He started out as a teenage father with a teenage wife and he could have walked away any time. He could have taken the quickest exit and shirked the responsibility. After all, he was young. He was good looking and he was headed to Japan just after the War ended. Instead, he returned from active duty to the young woman who held his only daughter and created a family. With what little he had when he left the army, he started taking care of his first daughter and created a second one. He had courage and honored his commitments.

As a blue-collar parent, he couldn’t always provide special things for his two daughters, who soon became three daughters, and then four, but he did what he could. He wrote poetry to honor their birthdays and made swings out of tires. He brought candy bars home in his lunch box and found great delight in letting little girls discover the treat. He laughed easily and hugged us a lot. He was proud when we achieved something in school and taught us all how to bowl and how to fish, two things he enjoyed.

I know that people who are blessed with good fathers have a better way of understanding their Heavenly Father as well. They can more easily imagine the twinkle in His eye when they do well, and the smile it brings when they discover the special treats He has for them. Earthly fathers sometimes reflect the One who created us and that reflection stays with us for a lifetime.

One of the things I loved about Wm.Paul Young’s book, The Shack, is his way of addressing God as Papa. Papa is such a warm and inviting way to think of God. It brings a sense of connection and promise, of healing and hope. Papa takes care of His own, loving and guarding and guiding each one. Good dads everywhere are reminders of Papa, of all that is good about our Heavenly Father.

To my dad, Doug Moore, I say thanks for the love, the guidance, and the hugs of welcome that always make home a great place to be. To our Papa in heaven I say thanks too for giving so many of us wonderful fathers, to laugh with, to grow with, and to love our whole lives through. Happy Father’s Day to all dads who share your gifts of love with your own children, or the children around you who see the twinkle in your eye.