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Hopegrams

Hope Rays

Shining the light of hope into dark places

COMPLETE

Karen Sebastian - Friday, September 21, 2018

A thief has only one thing in mind—he wants to steal, slaughter,and destroy. But I have come to give you everything in abundance, more than you expect—life in its fullness until you overflow! John 10:10  The Passion Translation

Today's writing is part of the Five Minute Friday link up. Join us by writing for five minutes every Friday. Here goes…

When I tried to get into my computer it locked me out this morning. I was so frustrated. I looked at my long to-do list and panicked. It seems like that list will never be COMPLETE. And now with is setback I was reduced to tears.

I sat in the rocker and prayed for wisdom and strength. I started to rock back and forth as I prayed. "Lord, I need a miracle so I can get on with my day."

I felt the gentle nudge of the Holy Spirit that I must first focus on being not doing. The doing will come from a place of peace as I focus on who He wants me to be first. What a good reminder!

I prayed for a miracle and pushed the button to restart the computer. This post is the evidence of that miracle.

I'm thankful for the reminder that while my to-do list may never be completed, I can continue to do what only I can do. I can live an abundant life and continue to move in the right direction. The Lord will take care of the rest.

Prayer

Lord, thank You that I do not have to listen to the lies of the enemy who wants to steal my joy. I am grateful that You give me the strength to stand up anything that would slaughter my dreams and destroy my life. I choose to focus on the life that You are building in me. I choose to relish the abundance and overflow of more than enough. I choose to live complete in you even when my computer won't start. In Jesus' name. Amen.

STOP

This is a blog written as a part of Five Minute Friday prompt. Please join a vibrant community who blogs for five minutes on one word every Friday by clicking 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, check out her Facebook page - The Power of Hope. Karen's third book on hope - The Power of Hope for Caregivers: Honor the Ride will be released on 11.20.18.



CROWD

Karen Sebastian - Friday, September 14, 2018

CROWD

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. Hebrews 12:1 NLT


Today's writing is part of the Five Minute Friday link up. Join us by writing for five minutes every Friday. Here goes…

This has been a tough week for my family. It is the 6th anniversary of my first husband death. So many memories flood your mind when you approach these markers. And, memories can be funny. I may not remember what I wanted in the kitchen but every detail of that trip back home in indelibly engraved in a special memory chip in my brain. 

With the benefit of a time, it is possible to shift perspective. It's funny that I never felt alone after my husband of almost 40 years moved to Heaven. I'm not saying that he was there talking tome or anything like that. It was just a sense of not feeling alone. 

One of the things that you gain when walking through my experiences as a caregiver and widow is a different perspective. It is not one that you ever wanted to go through and yet, here you are.

A few months after that eventful September 13th, our youngest son married the love of his life. We had planned on ways to get Bill to the wedding and he was going to start practicing the Father-Bride dance with our precious daughter-in-love from his motorized wheel chair. The last conversation with our son was about the rehearsal dinner. 

On the day of the wedding I had to run out and get something. As I headed over an overpass I looked up and saw glorious hope rays. It felt like the Lord was pulling back a curtain and allowing Bill to see the fulfillment of our hopes and dreams in a sweet wedding. My tears turned to smiles and my heart was filled with hope. 

I don't believe for a second that Bill is my angel and watching my every move. Yet, I wonder if the crowd of witnesses  get a front row seat to cheer us on from the banisters of Heaven on those special days. I guess that might be one of the questions I might ask when it's my turn.

Meanwhile, I am grateful for the hope that one day I will get to see Bill and all those who beat us to Heaven.  My question will be, "Did you get a front row seat to Sean and Sarah's wedding?"

And then again, what matters most to me now may no longer be important as I enter the presence of my Lord and Savior.

STOP

This is a blog written as a part of Five Minute Friday prompt. Please join a vibrant community who blogs for five minutes on one word every Friday by clicking 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, check out her Facebook page - The Power of Hope. Karen's third book on hope - The Power of Hope for Caregivers: Honor the Ride will be released on 11.20.18.





RAIN

Karen Sebastian - Friday, September 07, 2018

Your favor will fall like rain upon our surrendered lives, like showers reviving the earth. Psalm 72:6


Today's writing is part of the Five Minute Friday link up. Join us by writing for five minutes every Friday. Here goes…


When I saw the word of the week - rain - I immediately thought about the term, "When it rains, it pours..."

This week has been expensive. Both of our cars needed major repairs, there is a leak under the master bathroom in the rental house and the air conditioner went out last night. My first impression was to exclaim - "Why can't I catch a break?"

Then, I remembered my identity as the King's daughter and I reframed the situation with, "Thank You, Lord that I have received a few months of rent and can now take care of these things without going in to debt."

Actually, we are wealthy. We have a roof over our heads, two cars and a rental house. The provision of the Lord is abundant and opportunities are present to see some miracles. 

I don't know what is raining down on your life but now. I pray that you can take a few steps back and realize that what may have seemed like it was too much - was just right. Favor is raining on you as a child of your Heavenly Father. He always makes a way through the wilderness.

Prayer

Dear Lord, I want to thank You for your favor. I choose to be like a child going out to splash in the puddles and enjoy the rain on my face. I choose hope in these uncertain times when it seems like another shoe is about to drop. You are the author and finisher of my faith (Hebrews 12:2) and I am grateful you know the beginning from the end. I look to the abundant resources you provide rather than fear of lack. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

STOP

This is a blog written as a part of Five Minute Friday prompt. Please join a vibrant community who blogs for five minutes on one word every Friday by clicking 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, check out her Facebook page - The Power of Hope. Karen's third book on hope - The Power of Hope for Caregivers: Honor the Ride will be released on 11.20.18.




RUSH

Karen Sebastian - Friday, August 31, 2018

Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell him every detail of your life, then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding, will make the answers known to you through Jesus Christ. Philippians 4:6-7 TPT


Today's writing is part of the Five Minute Friday link up. Join us by writing for five minutes every Friday. Here goes…

I woke up feeling so inadequate for all that I have to do. I had gone to bed the night before feeling overwhelmed by the tasks that I had embarked on and what I needed to do. This morning, I felt the same, except with a deep sadness and hopelessness. (Not a very good start for #thehopelady.)

The prompt today is RUSH and this verse gave me an antidote to the futility of trying to get more done in less time.

HOPE TOOLS

Release

This is the hardest one because you have to let go of what you are most want to hang on to when you feel the push to get more done than you have time to do. It comes down to simple trust. 

Saturate situations in prayer

I love that word - SATURATE. Here are a few synonyms: infuse, permeate, penetrate, soak. (Feeling better already as I inject the impossibilities with Your presence, Lord...)

Ask for answers with faith

How amazing that we are told to ask for answers. That means that the solution is possible and we are half way there already. The answer is to know what to do right now rather than be pulled in opposite directions. 

Overflow with gratitude

It's more than saying 'thank you' half-heartedly. Gratitude grows in my heart as I realize that what I am feeling is less about what I have to do and more about knowing who I am. Doing vs Being....

Share the details

You may feel like those around you are rolling their eyes at your rantings over all you have to do. But not your Abba. He wants you to tell Him the details. 

Accept peace

This completes the circle as you experience His wonderful peace. It bypasses your mind. Now that's a miracle.

PRAYER

Lord, I quiet my heart before you today. I don't see how I am ever going to get all of this work done. I have so many projects in so many different arenas. I love how you have reminded me today that I can release this overwhelmed feeling to you. I let go of my panic right now and bring you all these unfinished projects. I trust You that the answers are available and forthcoming. I AM grateful. My identity is less in what I do and more in who You say I am. I am grateful that you want to hear the details of it all. As I ramble on, the burden lifts and I feel Your peace. Thank You, Jesus! In Your Name. Amen

STOP

This is a blog written as a part of Five Minute Friday prompt. Please join a vibrant community who blogs for five minutes on one word every Friday by clicking 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, check out her Facebook page - The Power of Hope. Karen's third book on hope - The Power of Hope for Caregivers: Honor the Ride will be released on 11.20.18.




LOYAL

Karen Sebastian - Friday, August 24, 2018


Ruth: Stop pushing me away, insisting that I stop following you! Wherever you go, I will go. Wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people. Your God will be my God. Wherever you die, I will also die and be buried there near you. May the Eternal One punish me—and even more so—if anything besides death comes between us. Ruth 1:16-17 Voice

Today's writing is part of the Five Minute Friday link up. Join us by writing for five minutes every Friday. Here goes…

I was re-reading the Introduction to my soon-to-be-released book, The Power of Hope for Caregivers: Honor the Ride. I was struck once again with Ruth's loyalty. It would one of the greatest personal qualities she possessed. She did not choose the easy road of returning to what she knew. Instead, she clung to her mother-in-law who was a bitter, angry woman after the deaths of her husband and two sons.
 
I would like to honor your loyalty if you are a caregiver.
 
Here's how I put it in the book:
"Ruth and Naomi stood there, staring into the distance until Orpah’s silhouette disappeared on the horizon. They slowly turned around and stepped into the flowing water to cross the Jordan River. Each time that Naomi would stumble, Ruth would help her. They somehow made it across the treacherous waters and continued on their journey to Bethlehem.
 
This is how I imagine the details of the story of Ruth in the Bible. It reads like a rags-to-riches romance novel with a main protagonist who was an unlikely heroine with a shady past. There are few details given, yet many clues that give us insight into what motivated this powerful hope ambassador. We have the benefit of knowing the end of the story and it’s a wonderful ending. At this point in her life, however, Ruth was essentially giving up her future happiness and the prospect of finding a husband and giving birth to children in order to care for Naomi. Even after caring for an invalid husband for ten years, she was willing to rewrite the final chapters of her mother-in-law’s life through powerful hope and honor. Ruth embraced honor with obedience to God and devoted her life to serving willingly and lovingly. In turn, her heart of service and hard work opened the way to unprecedented favor and carried her to a great future.
 
Ruth’s decision to honor her mother-in-law earned her a spot in the Bible and a place in the lineage of the Messiah. We will explore more details of the special relationship between these two amazing women in later chapters. Suffice it to say that here Ruth’s future was uncertain, yet she knew that she was headed in the right direction with renewed hope and purpose."
 
STOP

This is a blog written as a part of Five Minute Friday prompt. Please join a vibrant community who blogs for five minutes on one word every Friday by clicking 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 check out her Facebook page - The Power of Hope. Karen's third book on hope - The Power of Hope for Caregivers: Honor the Ride will be released on 11.20.18.


DONE

Karen Sebastian - Saturday, July 14, 2018

Today's writing is part of the Five Minute Friday link up. Join us by writing for five minutes every Friday. Here goes…


My heart sank when I saw the word for the week. It instantly made me think of the things that make me say, “I’m DONE.”


Have you ever wanted to give up? Your internal dialogue might sound a little like this, “That’s it! I’ve had enough! I’m DONE.”


This is not a good place to be because it’s tempting to give up on everything and hurt those you love the most. On the positive side, it can be a transformational opportunity to examine what is going on underneath the surface and develop some HOPE Antidotes of what you will do the next time you feel like giving up.


Let’s take a HOPE approach to the “I’m Done Syndrome” with some HOPE Antidotes that will replace the sense of futility with feeling of hope and a sense of purpose.

Release Expectations

Disappointment can set in when you thought something was coming together and it did not do so. This is often attached to what you understood other people to have said.


NEXT TIME

Get clarification and details from the beginnings. Rephrase what you heard so that you are on the same page. Remember that you are only responsible for your response to situations. God can change the hearts of others and is in the process even though you don’t see anything from the outside.

Recover Personal Purpose

Focus on what only you can do. It can feel heroic to be the one who solves everyone else’s issues and problems. What can happen easily is that you can get sidetracked from your own purpose as you attempt to rescue others who may not even want your help.

NEXT TIME

Take off the superwoman cape. When someone is venting ask them what they need from you right then. They may just need a listening ear.


Refresh What Works

When you feel like giving up remember what has worked well. When did you feel fulfilled and engaged? What were components of that feeling?

NEXT TIME

God has great plans for you. He redeems, restores and has great plans for you. This time may seem a little more difficult than the last, yet you are now stronger. Your capacities have grown. You are an example of how to keep believing and being all God has called you to be. This current situation is going to be an awesome testimony that you can share with many who feel the same sense of hopelessness.


STOP


This is a blog written as a part of Five Minute Friday prompt. Please join a vibrant community who blogs for five minutes on one word every Friday by clicking 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 check out her Facebook page - The Power of Hope.



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VACATION

Karen Sebastian - Friday, July 06, 2018

VACATION

Today's writing is part of the Five Minute Friday link up. Join us by writing for five minutes every Friday. Here goes…

You’re the only place of protection for me. I keep coming back to hide myself in you, for you are like a mountain-cliff fortress where I’m kept safe. Psalm 71:3 TPT

Vacations are a fairly new concept and were once available only to the wealthy. They have become a badge of honor and a bragging point for many. They are often built into a salary package as a negotiation point. In fact, many people tolerate a job they dislike in order to have a few weeks of  prime time as they live a fantasy of perennial.


Enter the entrepreneur.


As a serial entrepreneur, I am usually working on one of many projects as I get away for vacation. Here’s the funny part: When you are passionate about what you are doing it does not seem like work.

Hope Principles

Design a life that does not crave escape

Do you feel excited to head to work on Monday? Every job has parts that we may not like, however, many are stuck in a job that does not match their greatest strengths. It’s important to have courage to find what works for you and press in to the parts of your job that you may not like.

Hope Questions

  • Would you continue to work at your present job if you inherited a lot of money?

  • What type of work does not seem like labor?

  • What do you enjoy doing?

Enjoy every day

The sense of joy may be missing because of life stress. When your adrenals are fatigued you may not have the biological components of feeling true joy.

Hope Tools

  • Take more breaks throughout the day.

  • Let go of what you cannot control.

  • Take charge of what you can do.

  • Release, release, release.

Feel safe

Our scripture today shows us the main way to feel safe is to take a spiritual vacation. It is to quiet your heart before the Lord and get His input on the situations that are stressing you. Fear doesn't have to control your life.

Hope Tools

  • Write down what you are feeling.

  • Write in a journal or create a blog.

  • Find a person you can trust to be a sounding board.


What are your ways to take mini-vacations every day/week?

How can you implement these concepts into your current situation?


STOP


This is a blog written as a part of Five Minute Friday prompt. Please join a vibrant community who blogs for five minutes on one word every Friday by clicking 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 check out her Facebook page - The Power of Hope.



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IF

Karen Sebastian - Friday, June 29, 2018

IF

Today's writing is part of the Five Minute Friday link up. Join us by writing for five minutes every Friday. Here goes...

If you love the Eternal your God and listen to His voice and always remain loyal to Him, for He is your life, then you’ll be able to live a long time. Deuteronomy 30:20 VOICE

My Dad just celebrated his 101st birthday. He personifies this scripture.


This is an “IF-THEN” statement.


If you know anything about Excel formulas, you know they are powerful. When you have different outcomes, you set up the options and the rest works on the back burner. They seem to be work like magic to those of us who do not know how to write them, yet simple for those who have learned how to use them.


Moses is setting up a powerful dichotomy in this chapter. You get to choose life or death. 


Serving God or living in your own strength


Here’s the formula for a long, prosperous life:

Love

At the root of this formula is a deep love for the Lord and people. Your motivation is out of love not religion or duty. My parents were missionaries in several different companies and collected disciples in each one. These are people that they stayed in touch with and reached out to over 75 years of ministry.Hope Tool Dad has an ever-expanding circle that he texts every night to say “Good night.” He has hundreds of friends on Facebook that he communicates with each day.

Listen

Listen to God's voice. Obey all that you know at the present and keep moving in the direction to seek Him more. Quiet your heart every day to hear what He is saying. 

Hope Tool 

Dad has a daily discipline (regular) where he gets a sermon (or several) every day. He is seeking inspiration to share with others in order to encourage them.

Remain Loyal

Loyalty follows the heart. Even when others may not understand your choices, you can move forward and know that you trust God in everything. God is good and will take care of you.

Hope Tool

Dad is extremely loyal. He speaks kindly of everyone and does not indulge in judgment or criticism. 

We enjoyed a wonderful time last weekend with a man who allowed the Holy Spirit to imprint this “if-then” statement on his life. The rewards are great.

Practical Application

How’s your love quotient today?

Have you taken time out of your busy day to really listen to your Abba (Heavenly Father)?


Have you remained loyal when tempted to express negativity about someone else? 


These are heart conditions that can become regulars that enrich and lengthen your life. They make a huge difference.


THEN you will enjoy the promise of a long, prosperous life.



STOP

This is a blog written as a part of Five Minute Friday prompt. Please join a vibrant community who blogs for five minutes on one word every Friday by clicking 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 check out her Facebook page - The Power of Hope.




RESTORE

Karen Sebastian - Friday, June 15, 2018

RESTORE

The Lord offers a resting place for me in his luxurious love. His tracks take me to an oasis of peace, the quiet brook of bliss.
That’s where he restores and revives my life. Psalm 23:2-3 TPT

Today's writing is part of the Five Minute Friday link up. Join us by writing for five minutes every Friday. Here goes...

This familiar Psalm is one I have quoted since I memorized it as a child. I love the freshness of this translation.

Do you need to be restored? Then you need to go back to the best times when you felt the presence of the Lord in your life.

Restoration is rooted in love

You can only be fully restored when you know your identity and how much your Heavenly Father loves you.

Restoration comes when you rest

When you are exhausted, nothing makes sense. My sweet little Mom (now with Jesus) used to say, "That most spiritual thing I can do right now is take a nap." Follow her advice.

Restoration results from peace

Find a place of peace. Where is yours?

STOP


This is a blog written as a part of Five Minute Friday prompt. Please join a vibrant community who blogs for five minutes on one word every Friday by clicking 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 check out her Facebook page - The Power of Hope.


FLY

Karen Sebastian - Friday, June 08, 2018

FLY

An undeserved curse will be powerless to harm you. It may fly over you like a bird, but it will find no place to land. Proverbs 26:2 TPT


Today's writing is part of the Five Minute Friday link up. Join us by writing for five minutes every Friday. Here goes...

A few years ago, I prayed a dangerous prayer, "Please, Lord, give me an unoffendable heart." You can only imagine what happened next. Even those I thought were on my side began to have issues with me around the way I did things. I won't say that they cursed me but their feedback seemed incredibly negative to me. I cried a lot in my prayers times in that season.

Defining a curse

Your words have power. Negative words can come back to land in your lap. The Passion Translation has the following in its footnotes for this verse: There is an implication in some Hebrew manuscripts that the curse will go back and land on the one who wrongly spoke it, like a bird going back to its nest."

Removing landing places

The best way to remove the landing places is to remove negative words and gossip from your own life. As you look at others with eyes of love and compassion, you will discover that you are able to let negative words spoken over you to fly right on by. They will not hover or linger in your thoughts.You will be free.

Changing the atmosphere

Every place you go, speak positive words of encouragement and hope. You will begin to change the atmosphere in dynamic ways. Find ways that you honor those closest to you and that may be challenging you in special ways. 

Questions to ponder

How is the Lord using difficult people in your life? 
In difficult situations, how is the dynamic similar to one where you dished out the negative feedback? 
What nest of unforgiveness have you allowed to fester in your own heart that has come out in comments you have made about others?

STOP


This is a blog written as a part of Five Minute Friday prompt. Please join a vibrant community who blogs for five minutes on one word every Friday by clicking 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 check out her Facebook page - The Power of Hope.


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Hopegrams

Hope Rays

COMPLETE

Karen Sebastian - Friday, September 21, 2018

A thief has only one thing in mind—he wants to steal, slaughter,and destroy. But I have come to give you everything in abundance, more than you expect—life in its fullness until you overflow! John 10:10  The Passion Translation

Today's writing is part of the Five Minute Friday link up. Join us by writing for five minutes every Friday. Here goes…

When I tried to get into my computer it locked me out this morning. I was so frustrated. I looked at my long to-do list and panicked. It seems like that list will never be COMPLETE. And now with is setback I was reduced to tears.

I sat in the rocker and prayed for wisdom and strength. I started to rock back and forth as I prayed. "Lord, I need a miracle so I can get on with my day."

I felt the gentle nudge of the Holy Spirit that I must first focus on being not doing. The doing will come from a place of peace as I focus on who He wants me to be first. What a good reminder!

I prayed for a miracle and pushed the button to restart the computer. This post is the evidence of that miracle.

I'm thankful for the reminder that while my to-do list may never be completed, I can continue to do what only I can do. I can live an abundant life and continue to move in the right direction. The Lord will take care of the rest.

Prayer

Lord, thank You that I do not have to listen to the lies of the enemy who wants to steal my joy. I am grateful that You give me the strength to stand up anything that would slaughter my dreams and destroy my life. I choose to focus on the life that You are building in me. I choose to relish the abundance and overflow of more than enough. I choose to live complete in you even when my computer won't start. In Jesus' name. Amen.

STOP

This is a blog written as a part of Five Minute Friday prompt. Please join a vibrant community who blogs for five minutes on one word every Friday by clicking 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, check out her Facebook page - The Power of Hope. Karen's third book on hope - The Power of Hope for Caregivers: Honor the Ride will be released on 11.20.18.



CROWD

Karen Sebastian - Friday, September 14, 2018

CROWD

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. Hebrews 12:1 NLT


Today's writing is part of the Five Minute Friday link up. Join us by writing for five minutes every Friday. Here goes…

This has been a tough week for my family. It is the 6th anniversary of my first husband death. So many memories flood your mind when you approach these markers. And, memories can be funny. I may not remember what I wanted in the kitchen but every detail of that trip back home in indelibly engraved in a special memory chip in my brain. 

With the benefit of a time, it is possible to shift perspective. It's funny that I never felt alone after my husband of almost 40 years moved to Heaven. I'm not saying that he was there talking tome or anything like that. It was just a sense of not feeling alone. 

One of the things that you gain when walking through my experiences as a caregiver and widow is a different perspective. It is not one that you ever wanted to go through and yet, here you are.

A few months after that eventful September 13th, our youngest son married the love of his life. We had planned on ways to get Bill to the wedding and he was going to start practicing the Father-Bride dance with our precious daughter-in-love from his motorized wheel chair. The last conversation with our son was about the rehearsal dinner. 

On the day of the wedding I had to run out and get something. As I headed over an overpass I looked up and saw glorious hope rays. It felt like the Lord was pulling back a curtain and allowing Bill to see the fulfillment of our hopes and dreams in a sweet wedding. My tears turned to smiles and my heart was filled with hope. 

I don't believe for a second that Bill is my angel and watching my every move. Yet, I wonder if the crowd of witnesses  get a front row seat to cheer us on from the banisters of Heaven on those special days. I guess that might be one of the questions I might ask when it's my turn.

Meanwhile, I am grateful for the hope that one day I will get to see Bill and all those who beat us to Heaven.  My question will be, "Did you get a front row seat to Sean and Sarah's wedding?"

And then again, what matters most to me now may no longer be important as I enter the presence of my Lord and Savior.

STOP

This is a blog written as a part of Five Minute Friday prompt. Please join a vibrant community who blogs for five minutes on one word every Friday by clicking 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, check out her Facebook page - The Power of Hope. Karen's third book on hope - The Power of Hope for Caregivers: Honor the Ride will be released on 11.20.18.





RAIN

Karen Sebastian - Friday, September 07, 2018

Your favor will fall like rain upon our surrendered lives, like showers reviving the earth. Psalm 72:6


Today's writing is part of the Five Minute Friday link up. Join us by writing for five minutes every Friday. Here goes…


When I saw the word of the week - rain - I immediately thought about the term, "When it rains, it pours..."

This week has been expensive. Both of our cars needed major repairs, there is a leak under the master bathroom in the rental house and the air conditioner went out last night. My first impression was to exclaim - "Why can't I catch a break?"

Then, I remembered my identity as the King's daughter and I reframed the situation with, "Thank You, Lord that I have received a few months of rent and can now take care of these things without going in to debt."

Actually, we are wealthy. We have a roof over our heads, two cars and a rental house. The provision of the Lord is abundant and opportunities are present to see some miracles. 

I don't know what is raining down on your life but now. I pray that you can take a few steps back and realize that what may have seemed like it was too much - was just right. Favor is raining on you as a child of your Heavenly Father. He always makes a way through the wilderness.

Prayer

Dear Lord, I want to thank You for your favor. I choose to be like a child going out to splash in the puddles and enjoy the rain on my face. I choose hope in these uncertain times when it seems like another shoe is about to drop. You are the author and finisher of my faith (Hebrews 12:2) and I am grateful you know the beginning from the end. I look to the abundant resources you provide rather than fear of lack. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

STOP

This is a blog written as a part of Five Minute Friday prompt. Please join a vibrant community who blogs for five minutes on one word every Friday by clicking 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, check out her Facebook page - The Power of Hope. Karen's third book on hope - The Power of Hope for Caregivers: Honor the Ride will be released on 11.20.18.




RUSH

Karen Sebastian - Friday, August 31, 2018

Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell him every detail of your life, then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding, will make the answers known to you through Jesus Christ. Philippians 4:6-7 TPT


Today's writing is part of the Five Minute Friday link up. Join us by writing for five minutes every Friday. Here goes…

I woke up feeling so inadequate for all that I have to do. I had gone to bed the night before feeling overwhelmed by the tasks that I had embarked on and what I needed to do. This morning, I felt the same, except with a deep sadness and hopelessness. (Not a very good start for #thehopelady.)

The prompt today is RUSH and this verse gave me an antidote to the futility of trying to get more done in less time.

HOPE TOOLS

Release

This is the hardest one because you have to let go of what you are most want to hang on to when you feel the push to get more done than you have time to do. It comes down to simple trust. 

Saturate situations in prayer

I love that word - SATURATE. Here are a few synonyms: infuse, permeate, penetrate, soak. (Feeling better already as I inject the impossibilities with Your presence, Lord...)

Ask for answers with faith

How amazing that we are told to ask for answers. That means that the solution is possible and we are half way there already. The answer is to know what to do right now rather than be pulled in opposite directions. 

Overflow with gratitude

It's more than saying 'thank you' half-heartedly. Gratitude grows in my heart as I realize that what I am feeling is less about what I have to do and more about knowing who I am. Doing vs Being....

Share the details

You may feel like those around you are rolling their eyes at your rantings over all you have to do. But not your Abba. He wants you to tell Him the details. 

Accept peace

This completes the circle as you experience His wonderful peace. It bypasses your mind. Now that's a miracle.

PRAYER

Lord, I quiet my heart before you today. I don't see how I am ever going to get all of this work done. I have so many projects in so many different arenas. I love how you have reminded me today that I can release this overwhelmed feeling to you. I let go of my panic right now and bring you all these unfinished projects. I trust You that the answers are available and forthcoming. I AM grateful. My identity is less in what I do and more in who You say I am. I am grateful that you want to hear the details of it all. As I ramble on, the burden lifts and I feel Your peace. Thank You, Jesus! In Your Name. Amen

STOP

This is a blog written as a part of Five Minute Friday prompt. Please join a vibrant community who blogs for five minutes on one word every Friday by clicking 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, check out her Facebook page - The Power of Hope. Karen's third book on hope - The Power of Hope for Caregivers: Honor the Ride will be released on 11.20.18.




LOYAL

Karen Sebastian - Friday, August 24, 2018


Ruth: Stop pushing me away, insisting that I stop following you! Wherever you go, I will go. Wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people. Your God will be my God. Wherever you die, I will also die and be buried there near you. May the Eternal One punish me—and even more so—if anything besides death comes between us. Ruth 1:16-17 Voice

Today's writing is part of the Five Minute Friday link up. Join us by writing for five minutes every Friday. Here goes…

I was re-reading the Introduction to my soon-to-be-released book, The Power of Hope for Caregivers: Honor the Ride. I was struck once again with Ruth's loyalty. It would one of the greatest personal qualities she possessed. She did not choose the easy road of returning to what she knew. Instead, she clung to her mother-in-law who was a bitter, angry woman after the deaths of her husband and two sons.
 
I would like to honor your loyalty if you are a caregiver.
 
Here's how I put it in the book:
"Ruth and Naomi stood there, staring into the distance until Orpah’s silhouette disappeared on the horizon. They slowly turned around and stepped into the flowing water to cross the Jordan River. Each time that Naomi would stumble, Ruth would help her. They somehow made it across the treacherous waters and continued on their journey to Bethlehem.
 
This is how I imagine the details of the story of Ruth in the Bible. It reads like a rags-to-riches romance novel with a main protagonist who was an unlikely heroine with a shady past. There are few details given, yet many clues that give us insight into what motivated this powerful hope ambassador. We have the benefit of knowing the end of the story and it’s a wonderful ending. At this point in her life, however, Ruth was essentially giving up her future happiness and the prospect of finding a husband and giving birth to children in order to care for Naomi. Even after caring for an invalid husband for ten years, she was willing to rewrite the final chapters of her mother-in-law’s life through powerful hope and honor. Ruth embraced honor with obedience to God and devoted her life to serving willingly and lovingly. In turn, her heart of service and hard work opened the way to unprecedented favor and carried her to a great future.
 
Ruth’s decision to honor her mother-in-law earned her a spot in the Bible and a place in the lineage of the Messiah. We will explore more details of the special relationship between these two amazing women in later chapters. Suffice it to say that here Ruth’s future was uncertain, yet she knew that she was headed in the right direction with renewed hope and purpose."
 
STOP

This is a blog written as a part of Five Minute Friday prompt. Please join a vibrant community who blogs for five minutes on one word every Friday by clicking 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 check out her Facebook page - The Power of Hope. Karen's third book on hope - The Power of Hope for Caregivers: Honor the Ride will be released on 11.20.18.


DONE

Karen Sebastian - Saturday, July 14, 2018

Today's writing is part of the Five Minute Friday link up. Join us by writing for five minutes every Friday. Here goes…


My heart sank when I saw the word for the week. It instantly made me think of the things that make me say, “I’m DONE.”


Have you ever wanted to give up? Your internal dialogue might sound a little like this, “That’s it! I’ve had enough! I’m DONE.”


This is not a good place to be because it’s tempting to give up on everything and hurt those you love the most. On the positive side, it can be a transformational opportunity to examine what is going on underneath the surface and develop some HOPE Antidotes of what you will do the next time you feel like giving up.


Let’s take a HOPE approach to the “I’m Done Syndrome” with some HOPE Antidotes that will replace the sense of futility with feeling of hope and a sense of purpose.

Release Expectations

Disappointment can set in when you thought something was coming together and it did not do so. This is often attached to what you understood other people to have said.


NEXT TIME

Get clarification and details from the beginnings. Rephrase what you heard so that you are on the same page. Remember that you are only responsible for your response to situations. God can change the hearts of others and is in the process even though you don’t see anything from the outside.

Recover Personal Purpose

Focus on what only you can do. It can feel heroic to be the one who solves everyone else’s issues and problems. What can happen easily is that you can get sidetracked from your own purpose as you attempt to rescue others who may not even want your help.

NEXT TIME

Take off the superwoman cape. When someone is venting ask them what they need from you right then. They may just need a listening ear.


Refresh What Works

When you feel like giving up remember what has worked well. When did you feel fulfilled and engaged? What were components of that feeling?

NEXT TIME

God has great plans for you. He redeems, restores and has great plans for you. This time may seem a little more difficult than the last, yet you are now stronger. Your capacities have grown. You are an example of how to keep believing and being all God has called you to be. This current situation is going to be an awesome testimony that you can share with many who feel the same sense of hopelessness.


STOP


This is a blog written as a part of Five Minute Friday prompt. Please join a vibrant community who blogs for five minutes on one word every Friday by clicking 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 check out her Facebook page - The Power of Hope.



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VACATION

Karen Sebastian - Friday, July 06, 2018

VACATION

Today's writing is part of the Five Minute Friday link up. Join us by writing for five minutes every Friday. Here goes…

You’re the only place of protection for me. I keep coming back to hide myself in you, for you are like a mountain-cliff fortress where I’m kept safe. Psalm 71:3 TPT

Vacations are a fairly new concept and were once available only to the wealthy. They have become a badge of honor and a bragging point for many. They are often built into a salary package as a negotiation point. In fact, many people tolerate a job they dislike in order to have a few weeks of  prime time as they live a fantasy of perennial.


Enter the entrepreneur.


As a serial entrepreneur, I am usually working on one of many projects as I get away for vacation. Here’s the funny part: When you are passionate about what you are doing it does not seem like work.

Hope Principles

Design a life that does not crave escape

Do you feel excited to head to work on Monday? Every job has parts that we may not like, however, many are stuck in a job that does not match their greatest strengths. It’s important to have courage to find what works for you and press in to the parts of your job that you may not like.

Hope Questions

  • Would you continue to work at your present job if you inherited a lot of money?

  • What type of work does not seem like labor?

  • What do you enjoy doing?

Enjoy every day

The sense of joy may be missing because of life stress. When your adrenals are fatigued you may not have the biological components of feeling true joy.

Hope Tools

  • Take more breaks throughout the day.

  • Let go of what you cannot control.

  • Take charge of what you can do.

  • Release, release, release.

Feel safe

Our scripture today shows us the main way to feel safe is to take a spiritual vacation. It is to quiet your heart before the Lord and get His input on the situations that are stressing you. Fear doesn't have to control your life.

Hope Tools

  • Write down what you are feeling.

  • Write in a journal or create a blog.

  • Find a person you can trust to be a sounding board.


What are your ways to take mini-vacations every day/week?

How can you implement these concepts into your current situation?


STOP


This is a blog written as a part of Five Minute Friday prompt. Please join a vibrant community who blogs for five minutes on one word every Friday by clicking 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 check out her Facebook page - The Power of Hope.



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IF

Karen Sebastian - Friday, June 29, 2018

IF

Today's writing is part of the Five Minute Friday link up. Join us by writing for five minutes every Friday. Here goes...

If you love the Eternal your God and listen to His voice and always remain loyal to Him, for He is your life, then you’ll be able to live a long time. Deuteronomy 30:20 VOICE

My Dad just celebrated his 101st birthday. He personifies this scripture.


This is an “IF-THEN” statement.


If you know anything about Excel formulas, you know they are powerful. When you have different outcomes, you set up the options and the rest works on the back burner. They seem to be work like magic to those of us who do not know how to write them, yet simple for those who have learned how to use them.


Moses is setting up a powerful dichotomy in this chapter. You get to choose life or death. 


Serving God or living in your own strength


Here’s the formula for a long, prosperous life:

Love

At the root of this formula is a deep love for the Lord and people. Your motivation is out of love not religion or duty. My parents were missionaries in several different companies and collected disciples in each one. These are people that they stayed in touch with and reached out to over 75 years of ministry.Hope Tool Dad has an ever-expanding circle that he texts every night to say “Good night.” He has hundreds of friends on Facebook that he communicates with each day.

Listen

Listen to God's voice. Obey all that you know at the present and keep moving in the direction to seek Him more. Quiet your heart every day to hear what He is saying. 

Hope Tool 

Dad has a daily discipline (regular) where he gets a sermon (or several) every day. He is seeking inspiration to share with others in order to encourage them.

Remain Loyal

Loyalty follows the heart. Even when others may not understand your choices, you can move forward and know that you trust God in everything. God is good and will take care of you.

Hope Tool

Dad is extremely loyal. He speaks kindly of everyone and does not indulge in judgment or criticism. 

We enjoyed a wonderful time last weekend with a man who allowed the Holy Spirit to imprint this “if-then” statement on his life. The rewards are great.

Practical Application

How’s your love quotient today?

Have you taken time out of your busy day to really listen to your Abba (Heavenly Father)?


Have you remained loyal when tempted to express negativity about someone else? 


These are heart conditions that can become regulars that enrich and lengthen your life. They make a huge difference.


THEN you will enjoy the promise of a long, prosperous life.



STOP

This is a blog written as a part of Five Minute Friday prompt. Please join a vibrant community who blogs for five minutes on one word every Friday by clicking 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 check out her Facebook page - The Power of Hope.




RESTORE

Karen Sebastian - Friday, June 15, 2018

RESTORE

The Lord offers a resting place for me in his luxurious love. His tracks take me to an oasis of peace, the quiet brook of bliss.
That’s where he restores and revives my life. Psalm 23:2-3 TPT

Today's writing is part of the Five Minute Friday link up. Join us by writing for five minutes every Friday. Here goes...

This familiar Psalm is one I have quoted since I memorized it as a child. I love the freshness of this translation.

Do you need to be restored? Then you need to go back to the best times when you felt the presence of the Lord in your life.

Restoration is rooted in love

You can only be fully restored when you know your identity and how much your Heavenly Father loves you.

Restoration comes when you rest

When you are exhausted, nothing makes sense. My sweet little Mom (now with Jesus) used to say, "That most spiritual thing I can do right now is take a nap." Follow her advice.

Restoration results from peace

Find a place of peace. Where is yours?

STOP


This is a blog written as a part of Five Minute Friday prompt. Please join a vibrant community who blogs for five minutes on one word every Friday by clicking 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 check out her Facebook page - The Power of Hope.


FLY

Karen Sebastian - Friday, June 08, 2018

FLY

An undeserved curse will be powerless to harm you. It may fly over you like a bird, but it will find no place to land. Proverbs 26:2 TPT


Today's writing is part of the Five Minute Friday link up. Join us by writing for five minutes every Friday. Here goes...

A few years ago, I prayed a dangerous prayer, "Please, Lord, give me an unoffendable heart." You can only imagine what happened next. Even those I thought were on my side began to have issues with me around the way I did things. I won't say that they cursed me but their feedback seemed incredibly negative to me. I cried a lot in my prayers times in that season.

Defining a curse

Your words have power. Negative words can come back to land in your lap. The Passion Translation has the following in its footnotes for this verse: There is an implication in some Hebrew manuscripts that the curse will go back and land on the one who wrongly spoke it, like a bird going back to its nest."

Removing landing places

The best way to remove the landing places is to remove negative words and gossip from your own life. As you look at others with eyes of love and compassion, you will discover that you are able to let negative words spoken over you to fly right on by. They will not hover or linger in your thoughts.You will be free.

Changing the atmosphere

Every place you go, speak positive words of encouragement and hope. You will begin to change the atmosphere in dynamic ways. Find ways that you honor those closest to you and that may be challenging you in special ways. 

Questions to ponder

How is the Lord using difficult people in your life? 
In difficult situations, how is the dynamic similar to one where you dished out the negative feedback? 
What nest of unforgiveness have you allowed to fester in your own heart that has come out in comments you have made about others?

STOP


This is a blog written as a part of Five Minute Friday prompt. Please join a vibrant community who blogs for five minutes on one word every Friday by clicking 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 check out her Facebook page - The Power of Hope.


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