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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  • Karen i will be praying for your dear sister-in-law Thais. I am happy that you are listening to our GOD. What a great example of being obedient. I pray that you will enjoy your vacation and that your to do list will be in GODS hands. Enjoy have fun be still and know that he is your GOD. What a beautiful back yard you have all your flowers and trees who wouldn’t enjoy that scenere.. Love you and have a great summer.

  • Dear Karen,

    I just signed on to your blog this week. I will miss you while you are taking some much needed rest, but I certainly understand why this is necessary.

    The pictures of your home tells much of your love for your family, your flowers, your dog, and especially your love for God. Thanks for sharing.

    I have added Thais to my prayer concerns. I too was diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago. Each time I go to the oncologist for my check ups (every 6 months) I have a fear of more cancer being found. Please let her know I am praying for God’s healing.

    Thinking of you and Thais – Emily

  • Karen, I am saddened that you are dealing with so much now but I am so happy that God has given you direction and purpose. One of the reasons I love reading your blog is your encouragement for us to listen to God and always keep our priorities in order. And that is exactly what you are doing. What an example for us all. I will pray for God to give Thais strength and peace in trusting Him to walk with her during these health issues. Even in the midst of the fire, she is tremendously blessed to have a wonderful friend and sister-in-law that holds her hand and encourages her. I was just reading something yesterday that I thought was so beautiful. “. . . desiring to understand is the most gracious and beautiful and sacred gift you could ever give to another person.” We can’t fix situations or problems that people go through but we can certainly lift that person up to the ultimate Healer and just BE THERE. And you are doing just that. Bless you as you minister to your family and to Thais
    during the coming days and may you return refreshed and encouraged. Already looking forward to August!

  • A wise woman knows when to follow God’s voice – praying for you and your family and wishing you some rest in between all the “Dos”. I needed to take a few deep breaths just reading your To Do list.

  • We certainly understand that you need this time for family and other things. I’m so sorry about your sister in law. My sister had lung and brain cancer and passed away in Feb. of 10. It was a hard time so I know a little about what you are going through. Cards from people meant the world to her. If you can send us an address for sending them I don’t mind sending her some. It’s nice to know that people, even complete strangers are remembering you in prayer and bringing you before the throne of our Heavenly Father. She will surely be in my prayers.
    Enjoy your time and come back with lots of new things that God had laid on your heart to share. Thanks for sharing this with us. Jean

  • Sweet Karen…I am praying for Thais and you…Thank you for demostrating how to follow God’s leading, even when it is difficult…I pray a time of peace, refreshment and the sweet presence of God for both of you…Bless you both…

  • Karen, may I join you in Spirit by your fire pit and pray for your precious sister-in-law? ……..”Oh, Lord Jesus I lift this beloved child of yours up to you for healing and peace and strength. Thais needs your endurance right now, Lord, to walk these next miles you’ve called her to walk. But Father, please , remind her every single minute that she does not walk alone, nor does she have to lead the way, much less find her own way. You are treading the course and blazing the trail. She doesn’t have to! All she has to do is follow you. In fact, Lord, right now, while this new turn of events is new she doesn’t even have to fight,, for you tell us in your love letters to us that the battle is yours. Bring loved ones near to her, Father, so she can not just hear their voices, but see their faces, hold their hands. Bring sweet fellowship and support her way so that Thais will know she truly is not alone. YOU are there and her family and friends are there! Give her heart courage! And give her heart and body rest in your arms, for your arms will never leave or abandon her! Ever! I pray all of this in your healing name, Amen……. Thank you Karen for the privilege to pray for your sister-in-law…..I am so looking forward to meeting you at She Speaks!………and may you be refreshed also in your “techno” break!! Blessings, Cate Tuten

  • Thank you again for your ministry and your obedience to HIM. I pray that HE will hold you all close in HIS arms as you walk with your sister in law.

    XOXO

  • Karen,
    Praying that this time will be a blessing for you and your family. May your sister in law feel God’s presence near and experience a peace that passes understanding. Thank you for sharing of yourself to help other women like myself on our journey, God has given you a gift for encouragement.

  • Praying for Thais! Hope you are able to collect yourself and find peace in the chaos during your break!! Thanks for your encouragement. I have really enjoyed your posts and the facebook study, even though I am behind. God bless you and keep you!

  • Karen, you came into my life at a time where I needed the encouragement and motivation to take back my home after my own battle with breast cancer. I will always be grateful for your Facebook book study. As another pink warrior, my heart hurts to read of your sil’s diagnosis. My prayers are with her. :(

  • Karen, Thank you for being honest and real with us. I appreciate that quality in you. What a wonderful thing to have the Lord ask you to spend time alone with Him and to know that He wants you all to Himself!!! I am praying for you and your sister-in-law. Can’t wait to see you at She Speaks!

  • Praying for your precious Thais. Karen, I also enjoyed your pictures of your habitat – how sweet of you to share yourself. May you have a blessed sabbatical – of sorts! I know you will still be busy.

  • Dear Karen…
    In prayer tonight for your sister-in-law leaning back into His arms of love.
    In prayer tonight for you listening to His leading.
    In prayer tonight for our Lord alone to be raised high and exalted in all things.

    Kneeling with you, friend…
    Ann

  • Praying that your time away refreshes your heart and soul even amidst the trials of life. Praising Him for all things……..

    Hugs
    Brenda
    sometime I will have to tell you of the sorrow that our family has endured………multiple trials going on at once………..I don’t know where I would be without my Jesus. Years later, some of the trials have helped me help others going through the same thing. There is always a reason……..

  • Hi Karen,
    How devastating for your sister-in-law to be faced with so much adversity. It sounds like she is blessed with a very special friend and confidante in you. And taking the time to spend with our children is so important, and something I have just done myself. Sometimes Facebook and technology take up an overwhelming amount of our time and we don’t always realise ho much time until we take that break.
    So, I admire your courage in making this decision and I pray for you and your sister-in-law as you travel on the course of your journey. Be strong and be blessed.
    I dread to ask the prognosis for your sister-in-law, but hope sincerely that all will be well with her.
    Take good care of yourself, your family and each other.
    xxx

  • Yes, yes, and yes to all of your questions in the first part of this post.

    I did that with Facebook last year (after several heart-hurting but spirit-healing nudges from God) and ended up permanently closing my account. I have never been the same when it comes to my peace and who I am in Christ since.

    And now I am taking a break with blogging; “coincidentially” for the month of July as well. You just confirmed God’s desire for me to do that after I spent the last two weeks sharing my painful season of going through a divorce and how God made a beautiful story out of my ashes. God told me that after that I needed rest; physical, emotional, and above all, spiritual; and that I needed to focus on me, my pregnancy, my son, and my husband, and preparing for SHE Speaks (can’t wait!)

    I can’t begin to understand what Thais and all of your family are going through right now but I do know that God is a healer, strength/peace/joy-giver, and a very present help in time of trouble. Praying that He would envelope Thais in His loving arms and that she would continue to trust Him through all the confusion, questions, and details to work through in the days ahead. I pray that she would be comforted in knowing that there will be a time in Heaven where there will be no more sorrow, cancer, or pain, and that she will have a new body in Him. And until then, God will give her exactly what she needs and when she needs to get her through this difficult time.

    Love you wonderful sister in Jesus and here for you; just a phone call/email/tweet/Bigby coffee :) away.

    XO

  • Love this font!!!!
    Will pray for you as you “go dark” on FB this month!! If you check my blog site, you’ll see I’ve been more absent than present the last couple of months. Family issues DO take priority. I certainly understand and will pray for you and your SIL!!!

  • I will be keeping you and your sister-in-law in my prayers. Thank you for the many ways you have touched my life.

  • I think that it is a wonderful idea as sometimes it feels as if all this media entangles us. This is wonderful and I encourage you to soak in God’s presence at this time. Spend time with what matters most in your life. Be at peace and seek strength through the Spirit of God. God bless you….

  • Karen, I will put Thais on my prayer list. I have several friends now that either just found out they have cancer or have family members with it, and I have begun praying Sun Stand Still prayers for them (see Joshua 10). I pray that God will do a miracle in Thais’ life and that He will be Comfort and Peace to you as you take time to breathe in His presence.

  • Will pray for you and your sister-in-law. Good for you, I took a break from FB on all the Friday’s during Lent and I LOVED it, ever since then I don’t do FB as much as before and I am glad, I am doing so more now just b/c of the Melissa Taylor Bible Study. Sometimes I think all this technology and advancement is sad but at the same time would hate to lose it too :)

    Enjoy your July!!!