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Hopegrams

Hope Rays

Shining the light of hope into dark places

Slow Down and Accept the Help

Karen Sebastian - Thursday, February 16, 2017

Slow Down and Accept the Help

So let’s walk right up to Him and get what He is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help. Hebrews 4:16 (MSG)

We are experiencing an early spring here in North Texas. What that look like at my house is lots of dandelions and other weeds in my yard. They are emerging with a strong root system and fun puff balls that my granddaughter loves to scatter throughout the whole yard.

This morning I felt a sense of panic grip my heart as I looked at the way the weeds seemed to be taking over. I only have 5 minutes to spare. I went out and started to pull the weeds. I was overwhelmed with how much needed to be done. Then I felt a cool breeze.

I made the decision to slow down and ask for help. As I said a prayer I felt a surge of purpose in picking one small patch and making that one area weed free. What a revelation! I don't have to do it all at once.  Instead, I can celebrate every bit of progress and keep going tomorrow.

The second decision is that I can ask for advice and help. It's as simple as going to weed and feed store to ask for the best weed control lawn food. Then I can ask the guy who mows my lawn to apply it properly.

Slowing down can bring clarity

The decision to fully enjoy every part of the process focuses in on what's important. Be intentional and clear about expressing your love and appreciation to those closest to you. Just pausing for a few minutes to take a break to enjoy the cool breeze was refreshing to my body and my spirit.

Slowing down can lift the weight of responsibilityi

There is a part of me that enjoys getting things done. I could be what you would call a workaholic at times. My focus streamlines to the end result and leaves out the people around me. I become curt and defensive. 

Slowing down can help us see that others are willing to help

I avoid being a martyr when I openly ask for help instead of hinting around about it. Open and clear communication of what I need is a gift to those who love me and want to serve me. I am still going to clip as many of the puff balls on the dandelions as I can. For the flowers, I am happy to let the bees enjoy them for a few more weeks as it get to them gradually and steadily.

How about you? How are you going to slow down and ask for help?

It is a wonderful way to show you love someone.

Prayer

Father, forgive me for trying so hard to do it all on my own. Underneath all the defenses of trying to do things my way I can say that I truly want to come boldly to You. I lay aside all my self efforts and relax into the purposes You have for my life. It may not look like what I thought it would, yet I will rest in what You have planned for me and trust, with hope, that is good.  Teach me your ways. In Jesus' name. Amen.

28 Ways to Honor and Love Series


For more inspiration on how to honor and love those closest to you during this season of love click here.

Author, speaker, corporate trainer, ordained minister and Hope Catalyst, Karen Sebastian enjoys sharing her rich life experiences with others – engaging them in adventurous discoveries of the beauty of hope in a dark, cloudy world. Her books will inspire you to embrace hope no matter what you are going through. To increase hope and improve relationships with yourself and those that you love, sign up to receive Karen's emails.

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Linking up with Katy Motaung  - Five Minute Friday  

Today's prompt was "Slow" 
You are given five minutes to write about the prompt, no editing, no erasing, just writing for Five Minutes. For more information and to read other's writings, go to the above link.

View Life through Your Hope Filter

Karen Sebastian - Wednesday, February 15, 2017

View Life through Your Hope Filter

May the God of HOPE fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with HOPE by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

Faith, hope and love are intricately linked. Faith if believing for the impossible. Hope is a confident assurance of a good outcome. Love is the sense of belonging and knowing that we are a family. Hope is hard to hold on to when someone you love seems determined to keep going in the wrong direction. That was our oldest daughter during her teenage years. This happened a few years ago before we all had cell phones where you can track where your kids go. One night, after a heated argument, she slammed to door and didn't come back for two weeks.

It was during this difficult time that I had a life-changing experience around the reality of hope. I remember that I was sitting at the kitchen table crying uncontrollably. My prayers were angry cries that the Lord teach her a strong lesson because I was so tired of this behavior. (Have you ever thanked God for not answering your prayers when your heart was not right? I do now.)

I was begging for wisdom to know what to do. When I finally had no more tears to shed I was prepared to listen to His answer. I felt Him speak to my heart, "Paint her a picture of hope. Look at her through My eyes of hope."
You can read more details about this miracle in my book, The Power of Hope for Prodigals: Prepare the Way Home.

Get out of the way

When you are angry because of the choices of those you love you want to withhold your love. Instead, be loving while you let your teen suffer the consequences of his/her behavior. This really works. It can be a hard balance to find so practice it regularlyl for when you really need it.

Share hope generously

You can share hope without showing approval. Put your confidence in the plan God has for your loved ones and trust Him to continue to work in their lives no matter what it looks like right now.

Change the atmosphere

Hope changes the atmosphere of any room you enter. When you stop being the ruler of your world you can relax, laugh and enjoy the memories you are creaating. One day this will be hilarious. Trust me! I know it's true.

Prayer

Thank You, Lord, that you define yourself with the word HOPE. That means that you will provide the joy and peace that I need in the midst of the hardest situations. Others may give up hope but You never do because it is who You are. It would be like giving up on Yourself and we know that is never going to happen. When I trust You to work out the details You fill me with ALL joy and peace in the middle of the mess. I release my loved ones to You. Forgive me for painting a dismal picture of what the enemy will do in their lives instead of encouraging them with who they already are in You. Fill me with so much hope that I slosh on everyone around me. In Jesus' name. Amen.

28 Ways to Honor and Love Series


For more inspiration on how to honor and love those closest to you during this season of love click here.

Author, speaker, corporate trainer, ordained minister and Hope Catalyst, Karen Sebastian enjoys sharing her rich life experiences with others – engaging them in adventurous discoveries of the beauty of hope in a dark, cloudy world. Her books will inspire you to embrace hope no matter what you are going through. To increase hope and improve relationships with yourself and those that you love, sign up to receive Karen's emails.

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Keep Communication Channels Open

Karen Sebastian - Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Keep Communication Channels Open

Words have power in matters of life and death, and those who love them will savor their fruit. Proverbs 18:21 Voice

One of the last conversations with my late husband, Bill, was filled with tension as he gasped for breath. I was upset and angry that he really didn't want to go to the doctor to get it checked out. Looking back on it we were both afraid. I regret that our last conversation was not full of loving words as he told me how he really felt. I won the argument and we got good news and bad news. The good news is that he qualified to get a ventilator so he could get the oxygen he needed. The bad news was that he was put on a ventilator so he could no longer speak as he had to keep the C-Pap mask on full-time. The good news was that it had several filters that allowed him to continue hanging out with our beloved grandsons. The bad news is that we were unable to hear his voice ever again because he did not have enough air to make a sound. The vocal chords were in good shape. What had happened is that his diaphragm failed.

A few weeks before Bill moved to Heaven, our oldest daughter came to see him. I was gone and so she was unable to get in the house because she forgot her key. She sat on the porch and yelled at him through the window. He responded by texting on her cell phone. When you can no longer speak then use whatever means you have to still communicate and speak honoring words.

Our other daughter had the custom of telling Dad she loved him every time she said good-bye. She usually said, "I love you to the moon and back." He also used a white board to communicate and therefore wrote, "I love you to Pluto and back." 

"Dad, Pluto isn't even a planet anymore," she chided him.

"I know, sweetie," he replied. "But it is the furthest away from the earth."

To this day, we still say "I love you Pluto and back," every time we say good-bye.

Speak honoring words

Your words are important. Speak positive, honoring words every opportunity that you get. If you are tempted to say unkind words, say nothing. Words establish an atmosphere and change the course of lives.

Develop special code words

There are times that you may need a hug or for someone to be quiet for a few minutes. The code in our family was to pull on your ear (like when you are playing charades). Just as soon as you pull on your ear the other person says, "Sounds like...." The response to that "silence." Sometimes we would forget what they meant and would start laughing as they kept tugging on their ear lobe. This little code actually helped us put out many potential firestorms in our family as we laughed together (after apologizing for whatever offense caused the need for an ear tug).

Prayer

Thank You, Lord, for the truth that our words are so powerful. I choose today to speak encouraging, life-giving words to those closest to me. I love positive words and the fruit they can produce in everyone I meet. I choose to be known as the one who inspires and lifts others up. I choose to change the atmosphere in every room I enter by the power of hope and love manifested in how I speak.  In Jesus' name. Amen.

28 Ways to Honor and Love Series


For more inspiration on how to honor and love those closest to you during this season of love click here.

Author, speaker, corporate trainer, ordained minister and Hope Catalyst, Karen Sebastian enjoys sharing her rich life experiences with others – engaging them in adventurous discoveries of the beauty of hope in a dark, cloudy world. Her books will inspire you to embrace hope no matter what you are going through. To increase hope and improve relationships with yourself and those that you love, sign up to receive Karen's emails.

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Strengthen Weaknesses with Hope

Karen Sebastian - Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Strengthen Weaknesses with Hope

So, with confidence and hope in this message, strengthen those with feeble hands, shore up the weak-kneed and weary. Hebrews 12:12 (Voice)

Despite the adult-onset Muscular Dystrophy (FSHD), my late husband, Bill, had strong legs. He had worked diligently as a young man to strengthen them. The disease began to take its toll on his body and first affected his core. He would often say, "At least my legs are still strong."

I will always remember the night I sat by the side of his bed and had to lift his legs on up to the bed because he no longer had the strength to do so. As I lay in bed that night, I wept to think of the wasting away of something that brought confidence to him. Yet, through it all, he maintained a positive faith-filled approach to life. 

In the last few months of his life he had to use a ventilator full-time in order to breathe. He chose to use a C-Pap mask with the ventilator and so was unable to speak. Each morning he would point to his legs. I knew what he meant. He wanted me to pray for the healing and strength of his legs. I would pray and then he would somehow manage to get out of bed and take faltering steps with the walker. We used a scooter to get him to his lift chair in the living room. And he made it - every single day.

We continued forward with hope and confidence. In his weakness, we saw miracles every day.

Our confidence in the Lord grew and our hope knew no bounds.

Point out potential strengths

We often are very aware of the weaknesses of those we love. Instead of a direct attack, stop to consider what needs to be strengthened. Pray about it. Speak to the areas where God is working.

Paint a picture of hope

Fear torments us when we see the shortcomings of others. Instead of focusing on their weakness recognize that God is working to bring an upgrade in those very areas. Also, if you are super irritated, it is probably an area where God needss to work in your life.

Show kindness and grace

Demonstrate the same grace you would like to receive. Come along side that person with encouragement. They may just need a nap so give them a chance to rest when they are weary. 

Prayer

Thank You, Lord, for the honor and privilege of coming alongside those we love with hope and strength. We joyfully hold up their tired arms and help them up when they fall down. Thank you for the strength that comes from you as we  life in peace no matter what is happening. We ask for your wisdom in taking in any weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and afflictions for your sake. Give us the wisdom to recognize that when we are our weakest, You makes us strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10 (Voice) In Jesus' name. Amen.

28 Ways to Honor and Love Series


For more inspiration on how to honor and love those closest to you during this season of love click here.

Author, speaker, corporate trainer, ordained minister and Hope Catalyst, Karen Sebastian enjoys sharing her rich life experiences with others – engaging them in adventurous discoveries of the beauty of hope in a dark, cloudy world. Her books will inspire you to embrace hope no matter what you are going through. To increase hope and improve relationships with yourself and those that you love, sign up to receive Karen's emails.

 Facebook  | Instagram | LinkedIn | Twitter | Home


Join the fun by writing for five minutes every Friday. This is a dynamic group and opportunity to link up with other bloggers.
 

Honor the Meaning of Their Name

Karen Sebastian - Sunday, February 12, 2017

Honor the Meaning of Their Name

Let the person who is able to hear, listen to and follow what the Spirit proclaims to all the churches. To the one who conquers through faithfulness even unto death, I will feed you with hidden manna and give you a white stone. Upon this stone, a new name is engraved. No one knows this name except for its recipient. Revelation 2:17 Voice

The meaning of names is important even though many times we don't act like it is true. Our culture does not put as great a significance on what a name means when picking names for our babies. It is a different story in the Bible. In fact, significant things happened when God changed names. We see examples in Abram (meaning exalted father) when it was changed to Abraham (father of multitudes). Sarai (princess) became Saran (mother of nations). Jacob (meaning supplanter i.e. deceiver and one who grasps) to Israel which means honest man of God. In Heaven, we will one day get a stone with our new name engraved on it.

Ways to honor names

  • Do a little research to find out what the names mean. Write it in a card.
  • Find a verse that goes along with the main concept defining the name.
  • Tell stories of how they have fulfilled the positive aspects of their name and explore ways they can grow in those areas.
  • One of the most loving things you can do is create an acrostic for the names of your loved ones. Look for the words that personify how you see them and their potential. I created photo books for my grandsons and used a significant word for each letter in their name. They still ask to look at them. One day I will give it to them to pass them on to their children so they can honor their names as well. 

Prayer

Thank You, Lord, for your commitment to the details in our lives even down to the very meaning of our names. I am so very grateful that you speak life and newness over us. You have great plans of hope and purpose no matter what we are going through. Bless our loved ones with fulfilling their destiny. In Jesus' name. Amen.

28 Ways to Honor and Love Series


For more inspiration on how to honor and love those closest to you during this season of love click here.

Author, speaker, corporate trainer, ordained minister and Hope Catalyst, Karen Sebastian enjoys sharing her rich life experiences with others – engaging them in adventurous discoveries of the beauty of hope in a dark, cloudy world. Her books will inspire you to embrace hope no matter what you are going through. To increase hope and improve relationships with yourself and those that you love, sign up to receive Karen's emails.

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Establish Special Places

Karen Sebastian - Saturday, February 11, 2017

Establish Special Places that Evoke Warm Memories

Remember the Eternal One your God. He’s the One who gives you the power to get wealth, so He can keep the covenant promises He made to your ancestors, as He is doing now. Deuteronomy 8:18 Voice

"I really want to take the grandkids to see Camp Cedar Crest one day," shared Bill, my late husband.

"I would like that a very much, sweetheart," I replied quickly.

We proceeded to brainstorm all the fun things we could do together as a family when Bill felt up to it and the finances allowed. That trip never happened because of Bill's physical condition and our limited finances. 
We have lived many places and served others in many capacities. One of the very best was at Camp Cedar Crest. It is a youth camp where he had spiritual breakthroughs in his youth. It was a place where we connected when we were both attending L.I.F.E. Bible College in the days that we were "friends." 

What a joy it was to return to this beautiful spot to serve in the background! I was the food service manager and Bill headed up the maintenance crew. We lived there for four years and left to be assistant pastors and then later senior pastors. The warm memories there are vibrant yet poignant.

After Bill moved to Heaven I was desolate with grief. Valentine Day was one of the hardest. I remembered his wishes and decided to take the entire family on the Billy Joe Sebastian Memorial Road Trip. We traveled to places that were significant in his life. The highlights were Balboa Island and Camp Cedar Crest. We refreshed old memories and created new ones for the next generation. What a joy to share this beautiful place with them!

Ask about special places your kids remember

You might be surprised at some of these. You may not remember the ones. My childhood memories are of the farm where Dad grew up. I also have a strong memory of a special Christmas where Mom grew up. I found a picture the other day of that Christmas. 

Tell stories about the places that stand out

A walk down memory lane does wonders to organizing memories. Ask others to tell their version of the same story. You will laugh together as you realize how different these can be. Have you ever gone back to places you last visited as a child only to discover the rooms are so much smaller than you remember.

Accentuate the love and warmth

What were the expressions of love there? What food did you share? Where did you sit? What was an inconvenience that now is super funny? Create a verbal history that enriches the memories and accentuates the humor and reality of shared experiences.

Prayer

Thank You, Lord, for the ability to remember. You have made us in Your image so that we can recount and reframe what has happened to us in the past. I pray that today as people remember the experiences of their life that these memories will be filled with hope and love. Thank You for the people who helped us through tough times. Thank You for the wealth of relationships birthed out of every one. Thank You for always keeping Your promises. In Jesus' name. Amen.

28 Ways to Honor and Love Series


For more inspiration on how to honor and love those closest to you during this season of love click here.

Author, speaker, corporate trainer, ordained minister and Hope Catalyst, Karen Sebastian enjoys sharing her rich life experiences with others – engaging them in adventurous discoveries of the beauty of hope in a dark, cloudy world. Her books will inspire you to embrace hope no matter what you are going through. To increase hope and improve relationships with yourself and those that you love, sign up to receive Karen's emails.

 Facebook  | Instagram | LinkedIn | Twitter | Home


 

Open the Story Suitcase

Karen Sebastian - Friday, February 10, 2017

Open the Story Suitecase

A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children. Proverbs 13:22 Voice

I pulled the dusty suitcase down the attic stairs. It was heavy as I pulled on the make-shift handle and stumbled as I carefully dragged it to the living room. The snap as I opened it startled Mom as she was napping on the hospital bed we had set up for her in their tiny living room. The musty smell of old photos and newspaper clippings wafted up to my nostrils as I opened it carefully. 

"What are you doing?" Mom was sweetly.

"Oh, I  just found a treasure of old photos and papers in this suitcase," I answered quietly. "Sorry I woke you up."

"Have I told you today how much I love you?" she answered back.

"Yes, Mom but you can tell me again," I said with tears in my eyes.

This visit to see Mom would be my last. She was getting weaker and was under hospice care. She slept most of the time yet still knew us. More importantly, each time she awakened she told us how much she loved us. I sat for the next few days asking her questions about the contents of the suitcase. 

"Mom, tell me about this picture with Dad. You're standing by such a cool car and you're all dressed up," I added.

"Oh, I guess you could say that was our first date. Your Dad's cousin had that car and drove us up to the mountains. We were still in our church clothes. That was the first time we held hands," she said lovingly.

"You Dad was always interested in me, I think. Up until that time though we had done everything in groups and mainly for ministry," she explained.

"How did you know that he was 'the one' for you?"

"We prayed and just knew that it was the Lord's will. I'm tired now so we can talk later," she said.

I continued to sort through the contents of the suitcase. I found a program for her college graduation that showed her as the valedictorian and preaching twice. In addition, she presented the founder of L.I.F.E. Bible College, Aimee Semple McPherson, a special present from their class. She preached on the topic of the Holy Spirit which would become her life message and the topic that blessed countless hundreds as she gently prayed for them to receive their Heavenly language - and they did! I couldn't help but smile as I glanced over at her sweet frame and heard her shallow rhythmic breathing.

"So Mom, tell me more about your romance with Daddy," I asked her as she stirred once again.

"Oh, we were engaged after three months," she revealed for the first time.

"What? You never told me that, Mom!" I retorted.

"Yes, we were so in love with the Lord and both had the same calling to serve Him. We knew it was God's will. Be sure to let the grandchildren know that we didn't marry for another year. We waited until after I graduated from Bible College and we were given our first church in North Hollywood," she continued.

That was one of many anecdotes and chuckles as I continued to mine the treasures of a suitcase before it was too late.  I love the time we shared.

How fun it is to #tellhisstory!

Ask key questions

If you are blessed to have your parents still on this earth, set aside specific times to ask key questions that will reveal more about their lives than you know now. Mom was so humble she never wanted to brag about being valedictorian of her class. I am so grateful to have found what helped us to spark these priceless conversations.

Tag the back of old photos

My only regret is that Mom was unable to identify the people in the old photos as her vision was affected by macular degeneration. It was mainly of her family so there are many photos that we were unable to identify. Record the names of the family for future generations.

Honor the values

I am so grateful that I was able to honor Mom's intelligence, spiritual legacy and love while she could hear it. I collected a list of 10 things that most people didn't know about her as I shared at all three of the services we had to celebrate her life. 

There is no time to waste. Write your own family stories. Record them. Scan the pictures and get the names while you still can. Honor fully and live with no regrets.

28 Ways to Honor and Love Series


For more inspiration on how to honor and love those closest to you during this season of love click here.

Author, speaker, corporate trainer, ordained minister and Hope Catalyst, Karen Sebastian enjoys sharing her rich life experiences with others – engaging them in adventurous discoveries of the beauty of hope in a dark, cloudy world. Her books will inspire you to embrace hope no matter what you are going through. To increase hope and improve relationships with yourself and those that you love, sign up to receive Karen's emails.

 Facebook  | Instagram | LinkedIn | Twitter | Home

Start New Traditions

Karen Sebastian - Thursday, February 09, 2017

Start New Traditions

He keeps His covenant promises forever and remembers the word He spoke to a thousand generations— Psalm 105:8 VOICE

When our family moved into a new house we had a big fireplace with a large hearth. I started a new tradition of taking a picture every time we had a family gathering. As my daughters married, their spouses were less than enthused about the ritual. I was unflinching in my resolve to get that group picture. They came to accept it  - especially since that was the only present they needed to give me. We take a smiling photo and then one with crazy faces and antics. These pictures are priceless especially now that their Dad moved to Heaven. I am forever grateful for this tradition that I started despite the protests.
What are your traditions? Are they for special holidays? What's the motive behind them?

Establish consistency

Don't try to do everything that everyone else does. Decide what your traditions will be and be consistent with them. Less is more and know the reason you want to do them. Don't do it just because it has always been done. This is for you and your family. 

Borrow from old traditions but tweak them

I started trying to get a studio picture every Christmas. This got harder and harder as the kids got older. Busy schedules and tight budgets made this one hard to do. Instead, I set up my camera with a tripod and a self-timer. I love how now the grandkids expect and we time the picture around the new grandbabies.

Find a way to publish the results

I love Facebook because this becomes my cover photo. I am planning to get all these photos together and publish a photo book with them. It is important to remember promises kept and the words spoken. Future generations will want to know and the legacy continues. 

Prayer

Thank You, Lord, for always keeping your promises. Your faithfulness astounds me. I am so grateful for the inspiration to do what I can to establish routines and traditions for our family that will bless future generations. Give me the grace to see beyond what is happening so I can bless and love future generations. In Jesus' name. Amen.

28 Ways to Honor and Love Series


For more inspiration on how to honor and love those closest to you during this season of love click here.

Author, speaker, corporate trainer, ordained minister and Hope Catalyst, Karen Sebastian enjoys sharing her rich life experiences with others – engaging them in adventurous discoveries of the beauty of hope in a dark, cloudy world. Her books will inspire you to embrace hope no matter what you are going through. To increase hope and improve relationships with yourself and those that you love, sign up to receive Karen's emails.

 Facebook  | Instagram | LinkedIn | Twitter | Home 



Create a SAFE haven

Karen Sebastian - Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Create a Safe Haven

You are my hiding place. You will keep me out of trouble and surround me with songs that remind me I am free. [pause] Psalm 32:7 VOICE

When someone you love dies it feels like your warm blanket has been ripped off and you are standing in the middle of a winter storm. That's how I felt when Bill woke up in Heaven. I was glad that he was no longer suffering. I was rejoicing that he could now walk and breathe and swallow. His glorified body was whole and he was healed.

A few weeks into the grieving process the reality of finances hit and it seemed like I might not be able to pay the mortgage on our house. That is when I decided to create the SAFE list. This was a list of people where I felt safe. They would tell me where their extra key was hidden and I would feel like I could walk in comfortably. I could open their refrigerator and get something to drink. I could poke around in their cupboards and make a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich. Do you have any of those safe people in your life?

I discovered that I had quite a few. While I so missed the warm squeeze of my hubby's hand, my heart was warmed to know that if I should end up homeless I would have plenty of places to go where I could stay for 2 weeks (the length of time research says before you wear out your welcome).

The good news is that I saw miraculous provision every single month and I am still here.

I reached out to these friends to let them know that I considered them a safe haven. They were on my list. They said to come ahead and where the extra key was hidden.

Today I feel safe and very rich.

Prayer

Thank you, Lord, for being our safe haven. Thank you that we can hide in You. I am so grateful that You provide those who can bless us in times of trouble. You are the true safe place. I love that You hug us and sing songs to remind us of who we are. We are free. We are safe in You. I pray for those who are mourning the death of someone they deeply love. Give them a safe haven. May they hear your singing over them. In Jesus' name. Amen.

This post was part of Five-Minute-Friday where you write for five minutes. Click here to learn more about this amazing group and read some really good posts. 

28 Ways to Honor and Love Series


For more inspiration on how to honor and love those closest to you during this season of love click here.

Author, speaker, corporate trainer, ordained minister and Hope Catalyst, Karen Sebastian enjoys sharing her rich life experiences with others – engaging them in adventurous discoveries of the beauty of hope in a dark, cloudy world. Her books will inspire you to embrace hope no matter what you are going through. To increase hope and improve relationships with yourself and those that you love, sign up to receive Karen's emails.

 Facebook  | Instagram | LinkedIn | Twitter | Home 



Start an Inspiration List

Karen Sebastian - Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Start an Inspiration List

How enduring is God’s loyal love; the Eternal has inexhaustible compassion. Here they are, every morning, new! Your faithfulness, God, is as broad as the day. Lamentations 3:22-23 The Voice (VOICE)


After my husband's death, several advised me to make a list of the perfect man that I would want to sweep me off my feet. Somehow that did not work for me. I had a really good marriage for many years to a Godly man who loved me very much. Still, he never would have matched up to a perfect list. Instead, I purposed in my heart to be content to continue to allow Jesus to be my perfect husband and to bring me someone if (and only if) that was in His plan. I knew that this man would need to have a heart for God.

God has been faithful to bring this man into my life. When I began to feel like there could be a future with him I started to write a list of qualities that inspired me through him. For a while, I added to it every day as I discovered new facets to his heart and love. I found great joy in reading it to him recently because I knew that he needed the encouragement to see how others see him.

What inspires you?

The essence of honor is to look at motives behind actions. This list is what will give you the honoring words to fully express your appreciation. This list might surprise them because these may be things they automatically do but that you find difficult. 

What is the best word to describe it?

Adjectives carry rich meanings. Look at this verse. Instead of saying, "God loves me and has compassion," it speaks of loyal love and inexhaustible compassion. Be generous with descriptors. 

What is a specific expression of that quality?

When you provide a concrete example that shows that point in action it has an even greater impact. The mental picture of God's faithfully painting a new sunrise and sunset every day fills my heart with peace even in difficult circumstances.  
Use as many adjectives as you can to express love.

List Starters

I admire the way you _________________.
You influence me to _____________________ (action) better because you do it ____________________ (adverb).
I most admire the ______________ (adjective) approach you take to ___________________.

28 Ways to Honor and Love Series


For more inspiration on how to honor and love those closest to you during this season of love click here.

Author, speaker, corporate trainer, ordained minister and Hope Catalyst, Karen Sebastian enjoys sharing her rich life experiences with others – engaging them in adventurous discoveries of the beauty of hope in a dark, cloudy world. Her books will inspire you to embrace hope no matter what you are going through. To increase hope and improve relationships with yourself and those that you love, sign up to receive Karen's emails.

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Hopegrams

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Slow Down and Accept the Help

Karen Sebastian - Thursday, February 16, 2017

Slow Down and Accept the Help

So let’s walk right up to Him and get what He is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help. Hebrews 4:16 (MSG)

We are experiencing an early spring here in North Texas. What that look like at my house is lots of dandelions and other weeds in my yard. They are emerging with a strong root system and fun puff balls that my granddaughter loves to scatter throughout the whole yard.

This morning I felt a sense of panic grip my heart as I looked at the way the weeds seemed to be taking over. I only have 5 minutes to spare. I went out and started to pull the weeds. I was overwhelmed with how much needed to be done. Then I felt a cool breeze.

I made the decision to slow down and ask for help. As I said a prayer I felt a surge of purpose in picking one small patch and making that one area weed free. What a revelation! I don't have to do it all at once.  Instead, I can celebrate every bit of progress and keep going tomorrow.

The second decision is that I can ask for advice and help. It's as simple as going to weed and feed store to ask for the best weed control lawn food. Then I can ask the guy who mows my lawn to apply it properly.

Slowing down can bring clarity

The decision to fully enjoy every part of the process focuses in on what's important. Be intentional and clear about expressing your love and appreciation to those closest to you. Just pausing for a few minutes to take a break to enjoy the cool breeze was refreshing to my body and my spirit.

Slowing down can lift the weight of responsibilityi

There is a part of me that enjoys getting things done. I could be what you would call a workaholic at times. My focus streamlines to the end result and leaves out the people around me. I become curt and defensive. 

Slowing down can help us see that others are willing to help

I avoid being a martyr when I openly ask for help instead of hinting around about it. Open and clear communication of what I need is a gift to those who love me and want to serve me. I am still going to clip as many of the puff balls on the dandelions as I can. For the flowers, I am happy to let the bees enjoy them for a few more weeks as it get to them gradually and steadily.

How about you? How are you going to slow down and ask for help?

It is a wonderful way to show you love someone.

Prayer

Father, forgive me for trying so hard to do it all on my own. Underneath all the defenses of trying to do things my way I can say that I truly want to come boldly to You. I lay aside all my self efforts and relax into the purposes You have for my life. It may not look like what I thought it would, yet I will rest in what You have planned for me and trust, with hope, that is good.  Teach me your ways. In Jesus' name. Amen.

28 Ways to Honor and Love Series


For more inspiration on how to honor and love those closest to you during this season of love click here.

Author, speaker, corporate trainer, ordained minister and Hope Catalyst, Karen Sebastian enjoys sharing her rich life experiences with others – engaging them in adventurous discoveries of the beauty of hope in a dark, cloudy world. Her books will inspire you to embrace hope no matter what you are going through. To increase hope and improve relationships with yourself and those that you love, sign up to receive Karen's emails.

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Linking up with Katy Motaung  - Five Minute Friday  

Today's prompt was "Slow" 
You are given five minutes to write about the prompt, no editing, no erasing, just writing for Five Minutes. For more information and to read other's writings, go to the above link.

View Life through Your Hope Filter

Karen Sebastian - Wednesday, February 15, 2017

View Life through Your Hope Filter

May the God of HOPE fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with HOPE by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

Faith, hope and love are intricately linked. Faith if believing for the impossible. Hope is a confident assurance of a good outcome. Love is the sense of belonging and knowing that we are a family. Hope is hard to hold on to when someone you love seems determined to keep going in the wrong direction. That was our oldest daughter during her teenage years. This happened a few years ago before we all had cell phones where you can track where your kids go. One night, after a heated argument, she slammed to door and didn't come back for two weeks.

It was during this difficult time that I had a life-changing experience around the reality of hope. I remember that I was sitting at the kitchen table crying uncontrollably. My prayers were angry cries that the Lord teach her a strong lesson because I was so tired of this behavior. (Have you ever thanked God for not answering your prayers when your heart was not right? I do now.)

I was begging for wisdom to know what to do. When I finally had no more tears to shed I was prepared to listen to His answer. I felt Him speak to my heart, "Paint her a picture of hope. Look at her through My eyes of hope."
You can read more details about this miracle in my book, The Power of Hope for Prodigals: Prepare the Way Home.

Get out of the way

When you are angry because of the choices of those you love you want to withhold your love. Instead, be loving while you let your teen suffer the consequences of his/her behavior. This really works. It can be a hard balance to find so practice it regularlyl for when you really need it.

Share hope generously

You can share hope without showing approval. Put your confidence in the plan God has for your loved ones and trust Him to continue to work in their lives no matter what it looks like right now.

Change the atmosphere

Hope changes the atmosphere of any room you enter. When you stop being the ruler of your world you can relax, laugh and enjoy the memories you are creaating. One day this will be hilarious. Trust me! I know it's true.

Prayer

Thank You, Lord, that you define yourself with the word HOPE. That means that you will provide the joy and peace that I need in the midst of the hardest situations. Others may give up hope but You never do because it is who You are. It would be like giving up on Yourself and we know that is never going to happen. When I trust You to work out the details You fill me with ALL joy and peace in the middle of the mess. I release my loved ones to You. Forgive me for painting a dismal picture of what the enemy will do in their lives instead of encouraging them with who they already are in You. Fill me with so much hope that I slosh on everyone around me. In Jesus' name. Amen.

28 Ways to Honor and Love Series


For more inspiration on how to honor and love those closest to you during this season of love click here.

Author, speaker, corporate trainer, ordained minister and Hope Catalyst, Karen Sebastian enjoys sharing her rich life experiences with others – engaging them in adventurous discoveries of the beauty of hope in a dark, cloudy world. Her books will inspire you to embrace hope no matter what you are going through. To increase hope and improve relationships with yourself and those that you love, sign up to receive Karen's emails.

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Keep Communication Channels Open

Karen Sebastian - Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Keep Communication Channels Open

Words have power in matters of life and death, and those who love them will savor their fruit. Proverbs 18:21 Voice

One of the last conversations with my late husband, Bill, was filled with tension as he gasped for breath. I was upset and angry that he really didn't want to go to the doctor to get it checked out. Looking back on it we were both afraid. I regret that our last conversation was not full of loving words as he told me how he really felt. I won the argument and we got good news and bad news. The good news is that he qualified to get a ventilator so he could get the oxygen he needed. The bad news was that he was put on a ventilator so he could no longer speak as he had to keep the C-Pap mask on full-time. The good news was that it had several filters that allowed him to continue hanging out with our beloved grandsons. The bad news is that we were unable to hear his voice ever again because he did not have enough air to make a sound. The vocal chords were in good shape. What had happened is that his diaphragm failed.

A few weeks before Bill moved to Heaven, our oldest daughter came to see him. I was gone and so she was unable to get in the house because she forgot her key. She sat on the porch and yelled at him through the window. He responded by texting on her cell phone. When you can no longer speak then use whatever means you have to still communicate and speak honoring words.

Our other daughter had the custom of telling Dad she loved him every time she said good-bye. She usually said, "I love you to the moon and back." He also used a white board to communicate and therefore wrote, "I love you to Pluto and back." 

"Dad, Pluto isn't even a planet anymore," she chided him.

"I know, sweetie," he replied. "But it is the furthest away from the earth."

To this day, we still say "I love you Pluto and back," every time we say good-bye.

Speak honoring words

Your words are important. Speak positive, honoring words every opportunity that you get. If you are tempted to say unkind words, say nothing. Words establish an atmosphere and change the course of lives.

Develop special code words

There are times that you may need a hug or for someone to be quiet for a few minutes. The code in our family was to pull on your ear (like when you are playing charades). Just as soon as you pull on your ear the other person says, "Sounds like...." The response to that "silence." Sometimes we would forget what they meant and would start laughing as they kept tugging on their ear lobe. This little code actually helped us put out many potential firestorms in our family as we laughed together (after apologizing for whatever offense caused the need for an ear tug).

Prayer

Thank You, Lord, for the truth that our words are so powerful. I choose today to speak encouraging, life-giving words to those closest to me. I love positive words and the fruit they can produce in everyone I meet. I choose to be known as the one who inspires and lifts others up. I choose to change the atmosphere in every room I enter by the power of hope and love manifested in how I speak.  In Jesus' name. Amen.

28 Ways to Honor and Love Series


For more inspiration on how to honor and love those closest to you during this season of love click here.

Author, speaker, corporate trainer, ordained minister and Hope Catalyst, Karen Sebastian enjoys sharing her rich life experiences with others – engaging them in adventurous discoveries of the beauty of hope in a dark, cloudy world. Her books will inspire you to embrace hope no matter what you are going through. To increase hope and improve relationships with yourself and those that you love, sign up to receive Karen's emails.

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Strengthen Weaknesses with Hope

Karen Sebastian - Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Strengthen Weaknesses with Hope

So, with confidence and hope in this message, strengthen those with feeble hands, shore up the weak-kneed and weary. Hebrews 12:12 (Voice)

Despite the adult-onset Muscular Dystrophy (FSHD), my late husband, Bill, had strong legs. He had worked diligently as a young man to strengthen them. The disease began to take its toll on his body and first affected his core. He would often say, "At least my legs are still strong."

I will always remember the night I sat by the side of his bed and had to lift his legs on up to the bed because he no longer had the strength to do so. As I lay in bed that night, I wept to think of the wasting away of something that brought confidence to him. Yet, through it all, he maintained a positive faith-filled approach to life. 

In the last few months of his life he had to use a ventilator full-time in order to breathe. He chose to use a C-Pap mask with the ventilator and so was unable to speak. Each morning he would point to his legs. I knew what he meant. He wanted me to pray for the healing and strength of his legs. I would pray and then he would somehow manage to get out of bed and take faltering steps with the walker. We used a scooter to get him to his lift chair in the living room. And he made it - every single day.

We continued forward with hope and confidence. In his weakness, we saw miracles every day.

Our confidence in the Lord grew and our hope knew no bounds.

Point out potential strengths

We often are very aware of the weaknesses of those we love. Instead of a direct attack, stop to consider what needs to be strengthened. Pray about it. Speak to the areas where God is working.

Paint a picture of hope

Fear torments us when we see the shortcomings of others. Instead of focusing on their weakness recognize that God is working to bring an upgrade in those very areas. Also, if you are super irritated, it is probably an area where God needss to work in your life.

Show kindness and grace

Demonstrate the same grace you would like to receive. Come along side that person with encouragement. They may just need a nap so give them a chance to rest when they are weary. 

Prayer

Thank You, Lord, for the honor and privilege of coming alongside those we love with hope and strength. We joyfully hold up their tired arms and help them up when they fall down. Thank you for the strength that comes from you as we  life in peace no matter what is happening. We ask for your wisdom in taking in any weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and afflictions for your sake. Give us the wisdom to recognize that when we are our weakest, You makes us strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10 (Voice) In Jesus' name. Amen.

28 Ways to Honor and Love Series


For more inspiration on how to honor and love those closest to you during this season of love click here.

Author, speaker, corporate trainer, ordained minister and Hope Catalyst, Karen Sebastian enjoys sharing her rich life experiences with others – engaging them in adventurous discoveries of the beauty of hope in a dark, cloudy world. Her books will inspire you to embrace hope no matter what you are going through. To increase hope and improve relationships with yourself and those that you love, sign up to receive Karen's emails.

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Join the fun by writing for five minutes every Friday. This is a dynamic group and opportunity to link up with other bloggers.
 

Honor the Meaning of Their Name

Karen Sebastian - Sunday, February 12, 2017

Honor the Meaning of Their Name

Let the person who is able to hear, listen to and follow what the Spirit proclaims to all the churches. To the one who conquers through faithfulness even unto death, I will feed you with hidden manna and give you a white stone. Upon this stone, a new name is engraved. No one knows this name except for its recipient. Revelation 2:17 Voice

The meaning of names is important even though many times we don't act like it is true. Our culture does not put as great a significance on what a name means when picking names for our babies. It is a different story in the Bible. In fact, significant things happened when God changed names. We see examples in Abram (meaning exalted father) when it was changed to Abraham (father of multitudes). Sarai (princess) became Saran (mother of nations). Jacob (meaning supplanter i.e. deceiver and one who grasps) to Israel which means honest man of God. In Heaven, we will one day get a stone with our new name engraved on it.

Ways to honor names

  • Do a little research to find out what the names mean. Write it in a card.
  • Find a verse that goes along with the main concept defining the name.
  • Tell stories of how they have fulfilled the positive aspects of their name and explore ways they can grow in those areas.
  • One of the most loving things you can do is create an acrostic for the names of your loved ones. Look for the words that personify how you see them and their potential. I created photo books for my grandsons and used a significant word for each letter in their name. They still ask to look at them. One day I will give it to them to pass them on to their children so they can honor their names as well. 

Prayer

Thank You, Lord, for your commitment to the details in our lives even down to the very meaning of our names. I am so very grateful that you speak life and newness over us. You have great plans of hope and purpose no matter what we are going through. Bless our loved ones with fulfilling their destiny. In Jesus' name. Amen.

28 Ways to Honor and Love Series


For more inspiration on how to honor and love those closest to you during this season of love click here.

Author, speaker, corporate trainer, ordained minister and Hope Catalyst, Karen Sebastian enjoys sharing her rich life experiences with others – engaging them in adventurous discoveries of the beauty of hope in a dark, cloudy world. Her books will inspire you to embrace hope no matter what you are going through. To increase hope and improve relationships with yourself and those that you love, sign up to receive Karen's emails.

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Establish Special Places

Karen Sebastian - Saturday, February 11, 2017

Establish Special Places that Evoke Warm Memories

Remember the Eternal One your God. He’s the One who gives you the power to get wealth, so He can keep the covenant promises He made to your ancestors, as He is doing now. Deuteronomy 8:18 Voice

"I really want to take the grandkids to see Camp Cedar Crest one day," shared Bill, my late husband.

"I would like that a very much, sweetheart," I replied quickly.

We proceeded to brainstorm all the fun things we could do together as a family when Bill felt up to it and the finances allowed. That trip never happened because of Bill's physical condition and our limited finances. 
We have lived many places and served others in many capacities. One of the very best was at Camp Cedar Crest. It is a youth camp where he had spiritual breakthroughs in his youth. It was a place where we connected when we were both attending L.I.F.E. Bible College in the days that we were "friends." 

What a joy it was to return to this beautiful spot to serve in the background! I was the food service manager and Bill headed up the maintenance crew. We lived there for four years and left to be assistant pastors and then later senior pastors. The warm memories there are vibrant yet poignant.

After Bill moved to Heaven I was desolate with grief. Valentine Day was one of the hardest. I remembered his wishes and decided to take the entire family on the Billy Joe Sebastian Memorial Road Trip. We traveled to places that were significant in his life. The highlights were Balboa Island and Camp Cedar Crest. We refreshed old memories and created new ones for the next generation. What a joy to share this beautiful place with them!

Ask about special places your kids remember

You might be surprised at some of these. You may not remember the ones. My childhood memories are of the farm where Dad grew up. I also have a strong memory of a special Christmas where Mom grew up. I found a picture the other day of that Christmas. 

Tell stories about the places that stand out

A walk down memory lane does wonders to organizing memories. Ask others to tell their version of the same story. You will laugh together as you realize how different these can be. Have you ever gone back to places you last visited as a child only to discover the rooms are so much smaller than you remember.

Accentuate the love and warmth

What were the expressions of love there? What food did you share? Where did you sit? What was an inconvenience that now is super funny? Create a verbal history that enriches the memories and accentuates the humor and reality of shared experiences.

Prayer

Thank You, Lord, for the ability to remember. You have made us in Your image so that we can recount and reframe what has happened to us in the past. I pray that today as people remember the experiences of their life that these memories will be filled with hope and love. Thank You for the people who helped us through tough times. Thank You for the wealth of relationships birthed out of every one. Thank You for always keeping Your promises. In Jesus' name. Amen.

28 Ways to Honor and Love Series


For more inspiration on how to honor and love those closest to you during this season of love click here.

Author, speaker, corporate trainer, ordained minister and Hope Catalyst, Karen Sebastian enjoys sharing her rich life experiences with others – engaging them in adventurous discoveries of the beauty of hope in a dark, cloudy world. Her books will inspire you to embrace hope no matter what you are going through. To increase hope and improve relationships with yourself and those that you love, sign up to receive Karen's emails.

 Facebook  | Instagram | LinkedIn | Twitter | Home


 

Open the Story Suitcase

Karen Sebastian - Friday, February 10, 2017

Open the Story Suitecase

A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children. Proverbs 13:22 Voice

I pulled the dusty suitcase down the attic stairs. It was heavy as I pulled on the make-shift handle and stumbled as I carefully dragged it to the living room. The snap as I opened it startled Mom as she was napping on the hospital bed we had set up for her in their tiny living room. The musty smell of old photos and newspaper clippings wafted up to my nostrils as I opened it carefully. 

"What are you doing?" Mom was sweetly.

"Oh, I  just found a treasure of old photos and papers in this suitcase," I answered quietly. "Sorry I woke you up."

"Have I told you today how much I love you?" she answered back.

"Yes, Mom but you can tell me again," I said with tears in my eyes.

This visit to see Mom would be my last. She was getting weaker and was under hospice care. She slept most of the time yet still knew us. More importantly, each time she awakened she told us how much she loved us. I sat for the next few days asking her questions about the contents of the suitcase. 

"Mom, tell me about this picture with Dad. You're standing by such a cool car and you're all dressed up," I added.

"Oh, I guess you could say that was our first date. Your Dad's cousin had that car and drove us up to the mountains. We were still in our church clothes. That was the first time we held hands," she said lovingly.

"You Dad was always interested in me, I think. Up until that time though we had done everything in groups and mainly for ministry," she explained.

"How did you know that he was 'the one' for you?"

"We prayed and just knew that it was the Lord's will. I'm tired now so we can talk later," she said.

I continued to sort through the contents of the suitcase. I found a program for her college graduation that showed her as the valedictorian and preaching twice. In addition, she presented the founder of L.I.F.E. Bible College, Aimee Semple McPherson, a special present from their class. She preached on the topic of the Holy Spirit which would become her life message and the topic that blessed countless hundreds as she gently prayed for them to receive their Heavenly language - and they did! I couldn't help but smile as I glanced over at her sweet frame and heard her shallow rhythmic breathing.

"So Mom, tell me more about your romance with Daddy," I asked her as she stirred once again.

"Oh, we were engaged after three months," she revealed for the first time.

"What? You never told me that, Mom!" I retorted.

"Yes, we were so in love with the Lord and both had the same calling to serve Him. We knew it was God's will. Be sure to let the grandchildren know that we didn't marry for another year. We waited until after I graduated from Bible College and we were given our first church in North Hollywood," she continued.

That was one of many anecdotes and chuckles as I continued to mine the treasures of a suitcase before it was too late.  I love the time we shared.

How fun it is to #tellhisstory!

Ask key questions

If you are blessed to have your parents still on this earth, set aside specific times to ask key questions that will reveal more about their lives than you know now. Mom was so humble she never wanted to brag about being valedictorian of her class. I am so grateful to have found what helped us to spark these priceless conversations.

Tag the back of old photos

My only regret is that Mom was unable to identify the people in the old photos as her vision was affected by macular degeneration. It was mainly of her family so there are many photos that we were unable to identify. Record the names of the family for future generations.

Honor the values

I am so grateful that I was able to honor Mom's intelligence, spiritual legacy and love while she could hear it. I collected a list of 10 things that most people didn't know about her as I shared at all three of the services we had to celebrate her life. 

There is no time to waste. Write your own family stories. Record them. Scan the pictures and get the names while you still can. Honor fully and live with no regrets.

28 Ways to Honor and Love Series


For more inspiration on how to honor and love those closest to you during this season of love click here.

Author, speaker, corporate trainer, ordained minister and Hope Catalyst, Karen Sebastian enjoys sharing her rich life experiences with others – engaging them in adventurous discoveries of the beauty of hope in a dark, cloudy world. Her books will inspire you to embrace hope no matter what you are going through. To increase hope and improve relationships with yourself and those that you love, sign up to receive Karen's emails.

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Start New Traditions

Karen Sebastian - Thursday, February 09, 2017

Start New Traditions

He keeps His covenant promises forever and remembers the word He spoke to a thousand generations— Psalm 105:8 VOICE

When our family moved into a new house we had a big fireplace with a large hearth. I started a new tradition of taking a picture every time we had a family gathering. As my daughters married, their spouses were less than enthused about the ritual. I was unflinching in my resolve to get that group picture. They came to accept it  - especially since that was the only present they needed to give me. We take a smiling photo and then one with crazy faces and antics. These pictures are priceless especially now that their Dad moved to Heaven. I am forever grateful for this tradition that I started despite the protests.
What are your traditions? Are they for special holidays? What's the motive behind them?

Establish consistency

Don't try to do everything that everyone else does. Decide what your traditions will be and be consistent with them. Less is more and know the reason you want to do them. Don't do it just because it has always been done. This is for you and your family. 

Borrow from old traditions but tweak them

I started trying to get a studio picture every Christmas. This got harder and harder as the kids got older. Busy schedules and tight budgets made this one hard to do. Instead, I set up my camera with a tripod and a self-timer. I love how now the grandkids expect and we time the picture around the new grandbabies.

Find a way to publish the results

I love Facebook because this becomes my cover photo. I am planning to get all these photos together and publish a photo book with them. It is important to remember promises kept and the words spoken. Future generations will want to know and the legacy continues. 

Prayer

Thank You, Lord, for always keeping your promises. Your faithfulness astounds me. I am so grateful for the inspiration to do what I can to establish routines and traditions for our family that will bless future generations. Give me the grace to see beyond what is happening so I can bless and love future generations. In Jesus' name. Amen.

28 Ways to Honor and Love Series


For more inspiration on how to honor and love those closest to you during this season of love click here.

Author, speaker, corporate trainer, ordained minister and Hope Catalyst, Karen Sebastian enjoys sharing her rich life experiences with others – engaging them in adventurous discoveries of the beauty of hope in a dark, cloudy world. Her books will inspire you to embrace hope no matter what you are going through. To increase hope and improve relationships with yourself and those that you love, sign up to receive Karen's emails.

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Create a SAFE haven

Karen Sebastian - Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Create a Safe Haven

You are my hiding place. You will keep me out of trouble and surround me with songs that remind me I am free. [pause] Psalm 32:7 VOICE

When someone you love dies it feels like your warm blanket has been ripped off and you are standing in the middle of a winter storm. That's how I felt when Bill woke up in Heaven. I was glad that he was no longer suffering. I was rejoicing that he could now walk and breathe and swallow. His glorified body was whole and he was healed.

A few weeks into the grieving process the reality of finances hit and it seemed like I might not be able to pay the mortgage on our house. That is when I decided to create the SAFE list. This was a list of people where I felt safe. They would tell me where their extra key was hidden and I would feel like I could walk in comfortably. I could open their refrigerator and get something to drink. I could poke around in their cupboards and make a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich. Do you have any of those safe people in your life?

I discovered that I had quite a few. While I so missed the warm squeeze of my hubby's hand, my heart was warmed to know that if I should end up homeless I would have plenty of places to go where I could stay for 2 weeks (the length of time research says before you wear out your welcome).

The good news is that I saw miraculous provision every single month and I am still here.

I reached out to these friends to let them know that I considered them a safe haven. They were on my list. They said to come ahead and where the extra key was hidden.

Today I feel safe and very rich.

Prayer

Thank you, Lord, for being our safe haven. Thank you that we can hide in You. I am so grateful that You provide those who can bless us in times of trouble. You are the true safe place. I love that You hug us and sing songs to remind us of who we are. We are free. We are safe in You. I pray for those who are mourning the death of someone they deeply love. Give them a safe haven. May they hear your singing over them. In Jesus' name. Amen.

This post was part of Five-Minute-Friday where you write for five minutes. Click here to learn more about this amazing group and read some really good posts. 

28 Ways to Honor and Love Series


For more inspiration on how to honor and love those closest to you during this season of love click here.

Author, speaker, corporate trainer, ordained minister and Hope Catalyst, Karen Sebastian enjoys sharing her rich life experiences with others – engaging them in adventurous discoveries of the beauty of hope in a dark, cloudy world. Her books will inspire you to embrace hope no matter what you are going through. To increase hope and improve relationships with yourself and those that you love, sign up to receive Karen's emails.

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Start an Inspiration List

Karen Sebastian - Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Start an Inspiration List

How enduring is God’s loyal love; the Eternal has inexhaustible compassion. Here they are, every morning, new! Your faithfulness, God, is as broad as the day. Lamentations 3:22-23 The Voice (VOICE)


After my husband's death, several advised me to make a list of the perfect man that I would want to sweep me off my feet. Somehow that did not work for me. I had a really good marriage for many years to a Godly man who loved me very much. Still, he never would have matched up to a perfect list. Instead, I purposed in my heart to be content to continue to allow Jesus to be my perfect husband and to bring me someone if (and only if) that was in His plan. I knew that this man would need to have a heart for God.

God has been faithful to bring this man into my life. When I began to feel like there could be a future with him I started to write a list of qualities that inspired me through him. For a while, I added to it every day as I discovered new facets to his heart and love. I found great joy in reading it to him recently because I knew that he needed the encouragement to see how others see him.

What inspires you?

The essence of honor is to look at motives behind actions. This list is what will give you the honoring words to fully express your appreciation. This list might surprise them because these may be things they automatically do but that you find difficult. 

What is the best word to describe it?

Adjectives carry rich meanings. Look at this verse. Instead of saying, "God loves me and has compassion," it speaks of loyal love and inexhaustible compassion. Be generous with descriptors. 

What is a specific expression of that quality?

When you provide a concrete example that shows that point in action it has an even greater impact. The mental picture of God's faithfully painting a new sunrise and sunset every day fills my heart with peace even in difficult circumstances.  
Use as many adjectives as you can to express love.

List Starters

I admire the way you _________________.
You influence me to _____________________ (action) better because you do it ____________________ (adverb).
I most admire the ______________ (adjective) approach you take to ___________________.

28 Ways to Honor and Love Series


For more inspiration on how to honor and love those closest to you during this season of love click here.

Author, speaker, corporate trainer, ordained minister and Hope Catalyst, Karen Sebastian enjoys sharing her rich life experiences with others – engaging them in adventurous discoveries of the beauty of hope in a dark, cloudy world. Her books will inspire you to embrace hope no matter what you are going through. To increase hope and improve relationships with yourself and those that you love, sign up to receive Karen's emails.

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