Breathe

If you’ve popped over here after being at the She Speaks conference, you’ll see I am on a blogging sabbatical til next week. (Details below) Hope you loved the conference and that you’ll connect with me on Twitter or Facebook and back here soon. :-)

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It is with a slight sigh of relief, coupled with a twinge of sadness, that I write this post.

I need a breather.

Ever been there?

Life is starting to spin faster than your little legs can sprint; faster than your brain can function; than your heart can process or spirit can pray?

You feel the nudge to let something go, but you really don’t want to, for the thing you hold tightly in your hand is a thing you adore.

My ‘thing’ is this blog.

However, some things (and several someones) need me right now.  So, I need to free up time to be available.

My July is always slammed with our Proverbs 31 She Speaks conference and my duties there. (Speaking three times, spear-heading a drama, planning and carrying out our team’s two-day training session before the conference with many special guest speakers).

My boys’ baseball schedules are in full swing, one that requires out-of-state travel.

I have the manuscript of my next book due November 1st and I am not where I should be in writing it.

And finally, oh please be praying for I’m weeping as a type this, my sister-in-law, the one I interviewed here about her journey through breast cancer 5 years ago, has now been diagnosed with bone cancer.

She is not only my sister-in-law, but a very close friend and my kids’ second mother. And, she is also the victim of an unwanted divorce who now lives alone, with her two precious adult children many states away.

I’d been feeling for a while that I needed to take the month of July off from blogging due to the demands of trying to juggle ministry and family in the right order.

With a nudge from my friend Marybeth (who is also taking July off) and a great post she linked to on taking a sabbatical by Michael Hyatt (CEO of Thomas Nelson), I was sensing God telling me it was time to drop off the radar for a while.

Then the tragic news about Thais came three days ago.

The following morning during my time alone with God, I turned to where I am reading in the book of Matthew and the very next words I was to read said,  “When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place.” Matt 14:13

What “had happened”? Jesus had heard the tragic news of John the Baptist’s beheading.

He heard.

He withdrew.

Oh how I needed to see that in black & white.

So, I am at peace with stopping blogging for July. I will miss you but I don’t want to miss out on what God is telling me to do. I need to focus on my family right now. After all, how can I encourage you to live your priorities unless I am doing it myself???

So, I’ll be back here in August.

In the mean time, I will breathe.

I will still occasionally post Twitter updates which appear on the sidebar here, but other than that, I’ll be taking a blogging break and Facebook fast.

If you think of it, would you pray for Thais? Or leave a comment for her here and I’ll be sure she reads it.

Thanks so much for the ways your comments and presence here encourage us weekly—–me most of all. I love tackling life together with Jesus as our guide.

I’ll miss you, but will see you back here in a month.

And, I have to admit, I am looking forward to seeing less of my computer perched on my office desk and more of the outdoors where I can sit, pray and have a thought to myself!

And I’m excited to not be tied down if I want to head to my sister-in-law’s for a stay (she lives 1 1/2 hours away).

So, I’ll leave you with a few pics I snapped recently of where I live.

It is where my heart lives too.

God bless you my friends!

 

My office that the hubster painted a robin's egg blue, Ralph Lauren shade called 'sanctuary'. Desk from Craiglist. Reconditioned Mac and yes, that is a real working corded phone.

 

Father's Day bistro set we bought Todd in 1999. Love taking the laptop out there to write.
Back deck, where we eat many of our summer meals. See the bell? It is how I call kids home for supper, usually Spence and his friends from the creek.
Some of my herbs. Lavender alongside oregano in the ground. Chocolate mint, sweet basil and lemon verbena in the terra cotta pots.
Potted annuals in a stair step made from old barn wood.
Chaise lounge from a garage sale nestled between pots of tomatoes for salsa.
Our side yard of perennials and a birdhouse made from a leg of an Ehman family dining room table that was over 100 years old.
Our back yard fire pit. A favorite early morning place to read my Bible, pray, cry, etc... I think I'll be spending a lot of time here this month.
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  • Just came here after reading your blog post in “Made to Crave” book page 80. I pray your sweet sister Thais to be cancer free and to find strenghth and peace from the Holy Spirit. I pray refreshment and renewel for you.
    Looking forward to coming here often!
    Thank you,
    God Bless,
    Donna

  • Proud of you for realizing you need to step away and actually doing it!

    Sometimes so much life comes our way, we can’t seem to be in the moment to live any of it. Knowing what is a priority and putting it where it needs to be is something the world would tell us that is impossible. God says otherwise. Good for you for listening.

    I am so sorry to hear about Thais. As I just posted on my blog:

    God wants us to pray the big prayers. Ask for things that seem impossible to us. Ask God to move in ways that aren’t only impossible for us to believe, but to move even beyond that and do something so huge, so amazing, that we are left standing with our mouths hanging open, hands raised and tears streaming over the fact that God is THAT BIG.

    That is what I am praying for Thais.

    I look forward to hearing what God has done in your month away.

    Shannon

  • Dear Karen and Thais,
    May you both feel the comfort and peace from God’s Holy Spirit as you are carried through these difficult days. Be still in God’s presence as he works his will and his way in you and through you both.

  • Dear Karen and Thais,

    You are being lifted in prayer, my dear sisters. Thais, may the Lord our God restore you to total health. He loves you so much. I, too, am a breast cancer survivor for about two years now. You know God hasn’t left you, but still has a perfect plan for you in glorifying him. He has control of this cancer, not the other way around. May the peace of Jesus reign over you and your family.

    Hugs of Prayer!

  • Karen, I pray that Thais would know your presence in an undeniable way. I am going to folow you lead with taking a break from Facebook and general internet-surfing. My mom was diagnosed with lung cancer one week ago. It has spread to her brain and some of her lymph nodes. God has graciously given a peace that passes all understanding in the middle of this shocking news. I wasn’t sure what I needed to do next, and your post confirmed it.

    Mom (who doesn’t usually post anything on Facebook) wrote a note on her wall titled “What’s Happening”. She called it a family and friends “press release” about her diagnosis.

    I will follow the lead of Jesus and withdraw privately to a solitary place. I will pray for Thais as I pray for my mom.

  • Stay at the feet of the Master during this time and He will surely lead you! You’ve been such an inspiration to me. I’m glad to hear you’re taking time to be where you need to be. Sometimes saying it out loud gives us all permission to take the time we need. Thank you so much for your transparency and authenticity. I’ll keep you and your sister-in-law in prayer until next time and beyond.

  • When you need time – take the time, you’ll be much better for your family and your “internet family” for it! I’m so glad to hear someone actually say it – I need to take a break from the internet – that in of itself is refreshing. BUT no cheating!!! Keep of the FB =) Enjoy this time

  • I am praying for you and your sister-in-law. God bless you for setting biblical priorities and having the courage to listen to God and live as He directs.

  • My first thought as I read this was, “Good for you, take care of yourself.” My second thought was, “Take August off too.” We will miss you but think of all the rest you would have and how much you could get done! I was pretty tired reading all you had to do and then I was wanting to be in your chaise lounge enjoying your garden, I will picture you there resting and rejuvenating. I have often been struck by how many times Jesus did retreat and get refreshed even to the puzzlement of the disciples. Man, if the Creator of the universe needs to rest in His ministry, we should definitely be taking our cues from Him.
    Enjoy, have fun, love your family, roast marshmallows, drink iced tea and listen to the crickets, if you have them in MI……we will all be here waiting for you when you come back.

  • May your sweet sister-in-law be blessed by the Lord with healing. If she has the time or interest here are so really good “alternative” resources for cancer, the first I just heard about but it looks promising, the second has been around for a long time but due to politics of drug companies it has not been allowed to flourish..

    http://vimeo.com/24821365
    http://www.gerson.org/GersonTherapy/gersontherapy.htm

    Thank you Karen so much for taking the time and effort to do the book study with us. I know it was a lot of work but I am thankful you had a heart to help us draw closer to God through organization. I look forward to any other studies you decide to put on once you forget how much work this one took :)

  • As you know, I’m praying for Thais, for you and your family, and for She Speaks.

    Thank you for sharing the pics of your home. WOW on the office! I’d hate for you to see mine. LOL My desk is nearly 20 years old – it was the first thing I bought new when I was “single again” with an infant and I put it together myself. I remember what an accomplishment that was and how it made me feel like I was going to “make it.” It also reminds me that even when I could not do it, the desire to write has been a part of me. My husband installed shelving above it and to one side, and that is where I keep all my resource materials. To the other side is a framed poem written by my younger girls for Mother’s Day, and a framed poem from my nursing co-workers that begins “evangelist of encouragement.” The desk itself is a mess – but decluttering it is on my project list from our study for the past month. :)

    Blessings to you!

  • Love your pictures of your house! Have a sweet rest. I will keep you and your family in my prayers. Thank you for encouraging us and see you in August sweet sister in Christ.

  • You are a delight to read. Comfort to our eyes, laughter to our bodies! But the time you need away to do what needs to be done is precious to you and to us. I am thankful that you recognized the need and doing something about it other than just adding it you your list or worse! Please take your time to be where God wants you, as much time as He wants for we shall be blest because you listened. Be of good cheer my friend, we will still be here when you return with much to share. We will be ready, too.

  • Thank you Karen for sharing with so much love. Have a peaceful sabbatical.
    Praying for God’s very best for Thais. Keep standing firm in His promises.
    In His love.

  • Karen,

    I cannot begin to tell you what a blessing your blog has been for me these past few months. And I can’t fathom how you are able to balance all you do. I hope this time off will truly be one of rest and refreshment. I will pray for you and your family, especially your sister, that God will give you strength and peace.

    ~Eve~

  • Many hugs and prayer to you and your family. Take this much needed and deserved time and know that God is with you and will help you through it all.

  • often in our fast pace lives he tells us “be still and know that i am GOD”…it’s your time to “be still my sweet friend”
    my prayer is for you ….to have strength from him to comfort Thais at this time….and that she also relax while his loving arms surround you both…..let him do what he does….don’t get in the way of his sweet blessings….
    give Thais my love…hugs and more hugs…for you both.

  • Hi Karen,

    I am so sorry to hear of your sister-in-law and will absolutely put her in my
    prayers each evening, as well as put YOU in my prayers. You are a very smart
    woman to take a break when you need to! Hang in there and know that we are
    thinking of you and your family and praying for all of you. Please give me a
    call if you need anything or Spence needs a place to hang out for the day!

    Take care,
    Amy