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Hopegrams

Hope Rays

Shining the light of hope into dark places

Why?

Karen Sebastian - Sunday, February 18, 2018

Why?

Pour out all your worries and stress upon him and leave them there, for he always tenderly cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 TBT

Recent events with more school shootings and needless deaths of the young have left us breathless. After the shock sinks in we start to ask, "Why?"

I am a widow who was the full-time caregiver for my precious first husband for two and a half years. I learned a lot from him. I never remember him asking Why?

Now that is astounding because he endured ongoing muscle weakness due to an adult form of Muscular Dystrophy. In the latter years, his diaphragm failed and he relied on a ventilator for his very breath. 

I don't know how he did it, yet I am inspired by his courage and determination to not make his day about what he could not do. Instead, he focused on reaching out to bless others. His selfless determination left a legacy of purpose and tender care.

You may not know the reasons why something happened in your life. 

Would it really help to know? 

What you can know is that the Lord is ready to carry all your worry and stress as you give it to Him. He tenderly cares for you. Somehow in the scheme of things He has given us choices. 

I choose Him. 

I choose to trust in the true HOPE that God will work out the details and somehow make it better than if it had never happened. 

I choose to have compassion and extend that love to others.

STOP

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, sign up to receive Karen's emails.

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http://www.karensebastian.com/hopegrams/why

Wearing Love Like a Glove

Karen Sebastian - Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Wearing Love Like a Glove

Put on love. Colossians 3:14

Today is a day when many celebrate love and relationships. Others feel sad because they don’t have someone special who will send them flowers, buy them chocolates or send them a card.  They are sad because they do not have that ‘perfect’ life they always dreamed of. I have the hope antidote – begin to share your love extravagantly with everyone you come in contact with no strings attached. You will be amazed at what happens as you share with no strings attached.

Nothing is required except a loving heart and a desire to bless someone as you put on love. Here are some free expressions of love:

  • Hugging
  • Telling that person what they mean to you
  • Writing on post-it notes words that describe and honor them
  • Writing on a white board what that person means to you
  • Smiling and making eye contact
  • Extending small courtesies
  • Making a slideshow with pictures of those you love
  • Baking favorite dish or cookies
  • Making a telephone call
  • Making time to listen with no interruptions
  • If you are far away, send a text with these same honoring words

Let me know what happens as you shower those around you with extravagant expressions of your love for them without expecting anything in return. The miracle of that principle is that the rewards will be amazing because that’s how love multiplies as we give it away to others. Encourage others to do the same as the Put on Love.

What did you do to express your love? What was the response?

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

Agree

Karen Sebastian - Saturday, February 03, 2018

Agree - Five Minute Friday

I am God's incredible work of art. Ephesians 2:10 NLT


"Let every experience of your life teach you something that you can leave as a legacy. Once you agree with who God says you are, you will respond differently," I declared boldly to the women at a conference a few years ago.

Just then, I moved among the tables to address another side of the room. My shoe caught on the tablecloth and I fell flat on my face. Instantly, I became the message illustration.

You know that feeling when everyone gasps and you have a choice to make? I instantly popped up and holding my hands out in my best gymnastic pose exclaimed - "TADA!"

My prayer for you is that you agree with who God says you are. You are His masterpiece. You are His work of art. You are unique and precious.

STOP

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, sign up to receive Karen's emails.

 Facebook  | Instagram | LinkedIn | Twitter | Home

Surrender

Karen Sebastian - Sunday, January 28, 2018
Surender

Surrender

God is energizing you so that you will desire and do what always pleases Him. Philippians 2:13 Voice

A memory popped into my head the minute I saw the word for the Five Minute Friday. My first husband, Bill, had just gotten out of the hospital. He had almost died due to breathing complications from a simple procedure that would prolong his life. The worship team was practicing the Hillsong song I Surrender.

My heart protested. I felt that if I surrendered it would be the same as giving up the fight for his life. I felt vulnerable and weak. I started to cry. 

That's when I realized that this was a trust issue.

"Do you trust me?" I felt the Lord say to my heart.

"I want to... but...."

And there was the catch. I felt unable to move forward and live my life without Bill. Surrender was losing him.

That was a lie. I remember taking a deep breath. I remember letting go. I remember a feeling of peace like I had never felt before. The circumstances had not changed ... but I had.

STOP 

P.S. Bill did move to Heaven two years later. I have always had just what I needed when I needed it most. Surrender is sweet when you trust.

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, sign up to receive Karen's emails.

 Facebook  | Instagram | LinkedIn | Twitter | Home



Intentional

Karen Sebastian - Friday, January 19, 2018

Intentional

I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. Jeremiah 29:11 MSG

Every year I start with a long list of intentions (AKA resolutions) that I am going to accomplish. I start strong and begin to dwindle by about this time every year.

2018 was different. My word for the year is MOMENTUM and that has given me several new perspectives.

Celebrate small beginnings

You don't have to change everything all at once. Make a list of positive health changes and establish one new habit before you add the new one.

Rest first

My new year started with a bout of the flu. No fun. Still, I prayed more than I have ever prayed during this busy time. I was forced to rest because of exhaustion and it turned into a precious time of rest.

Bounce back quickly

What happens when life's challenges derail you from your resolutions? You make the best of it and lean in to Jesus. I hate being sick yet I love being in His presence. I don't recommend it as a way to start anything yet this morning I am grateful for renewed health and vitality. I am grateful for the ways He can redeem my time and allow me to get the tax stuff finished with greater focus than ever. Be intentional about your future steps.
STOP

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, sign up to receive Karen's emails.

 Facebook  | Instagram | LinkedIn | Twitter | Home



Comfort and Joy

Karen Sebastian - Friday, December 22, 2017
Comfort-and-Joy

Comfort and Joy

Matthew 2:10 “When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.”


I enjoy decorating for Christmas and getting my family involved. I just had the best weekend ever with two days of carefully decorating the trees with non-breakable ornaments because of the two little princesses we have to help this year. The best part of having grandchildren is the opportunity to rewind and get it right. It's less about everything being perfect and all about the fun we can have. It wasn't always that way.


There was a point in my life when I became obsessed with decorating for Christmas. I started buying ornaments in July and had multiple series going. I had a themed tree in every room of the house and a big open house.  I would wake up early on December 26th to buy ornaments at half price. I lost the joy and the reason for doing any of it.


In my perfectionism, I wanted my house to look like a magazine cover. Instead of enjoying the time with family, I kept tweaking and fixing things. You combine that with procrastination and you have the recipe for disaster. I would marathon wrap on Christmas eve and be exhausted and grumpy the next day.


As I sit here sipping my cup of green tea and looking at the decorations, I am overwhelmed with the grace that comes when we give the Lord our painful memories. I feel sad that there were a few super crazy years, yet I feel excited about the future. I won't get upset if all the ornaments come off the tree or if one is accidentally dropped. People bring comfort and joy. God is restoring my joy and we are enjoying the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.


Dear Lord, thank You for continually working in our lives to conform us to Your image. Thank you for your presence and peace that can be the center of our home when we invite You in. Grant us the continual awareness and the comfort and joy that Your presence brings us. In Jesus' name. Amen.

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


Different - Five Minute Friday Post

Karen Sebastian - Saturday, December 16, 2017
DIFFERENT

If ONLY - Five Minute Friday Post

Karen Sebastian - Sunday, December 10, 2017

If ONLY

Fear not, only believe. Mark 5:36 ASV

What happened as you looked at this idyllic photo of a secluded cabin in the mountains? Did your heart say - now that is what I wish my life were like right now? You are not alone.

This is the my fifth Christmas without my first husband, Bill. I remarried a widower in June of this year. It is his second Christmas without his first wife. There could be a lot of "if-only's."

The temptation is to go to one extreme or the other. One would be to shut off all the pain and every emotion due to the loss of that loved one and thus, diminish the present joy. The other is to be so consumed with sadness and regret that you don't allow yourself to enjoy life again.

If you are struggling with painful loss due to the death of someone you love deeply, I encourage you to do what we do with it. We have learned to "enjoy missing them." Let me explain. It means that we let the memories roll with happy ones that pop up. We speak fondly of those memories and appreciate the legacy they left us. We distill the best of the experiences yet continue to the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

Something wonderful happens at that point. There may be tears or there may be laughter. Regardless, we feel richer and more filled with hope. Why don't you try it?

STOP

Please join a vibrant community who blogs on one word every Friday for five minutes 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, sign up to receive Karen's emails.

 Facebook  | Instagram | LinkedIn | Twitter | Home


Near - Five Minute Friday Post

Karen Sebastian - Friday, December 01, 2017

NEAR

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18 ESV

This is a Five Minute Friday post. Set your timer for five minutes and create a meaningful blog post in that time. What a great concept! Try it!!!

The events that create grief can isolate. The shock hits you and you need to sit down to process. You need to be alone to take it in. That's how I felt when I got the call that my first husband, Bill, had died during the night due to breathing complications of Muscular Dystrophy. It was e unexpected nature of the event that, to this day, can take my breath away as I work to recall the details. Certain ones stand out and are indelibly engraved in my memory. Others, are a blur.

Bottom line - all of us have lost something in life - a fight, a game, a job, a marriage, a loved one to death, etc. Take your pick. We are all united in this experience. Then why - oh tell me why - do we feel that we are the only one who has experienced this level of grief.

If someone you love is experiencing grief leave them alone yet stay NEAR. They may try to push you away in the anger felt for the injustice of the loss. Stay anyway.

That is a fine line to walk - leave them alone yet stay NEAR. Don't hover yet don't abandon. Lay down your own feelings at this time and focus on the one who is hurting.

When they are ready to talk they will. When they are ready to say that they are 'glad he/she is in a better place' they will say it. And you will hear it because you are NEAR.

Stop trying to shelter them from the tears. Instead, cry with them. That's what Jesus did.

NEAR means that you trust God is working and is closer than you could ever think of being. In fact, I can say that during my deepest nights of grief I felt the nearness of God in unmistakable ways.

NEAR means that you are ready to drop everything and go shopping, meet for coffee, etc. when they are ready (and not one second before.)

NEAR means that you know your relationship is strong enough to be the surf board to carry both of you as you ride the waves of sorrow to the shore. Jesus is there making breakfast for you just like He did for Peter.

You can count on it.

STOP!

For more tips on The Power of Hope in Mourning: Ride the Waves to Comfort you can purchase the book here.

Please join a vibrant community who blogs 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, sign up to receive Karen's emails.

 Facebook  | Instagram | LinkedIn | Twitter | Home





Familiar - Five Minute Friday Post

Karen Sebastian - Friday, November 24, 2017

Familiar

In other words, adopt the mind-set of Jesus the Anointed. Live with His attitude in your hearts. Philippians 2:4


We all got together Wednesday night for our family gathering. It was familiar to make it easy on others by laying down the expectation that we HAD to get together on Thanksgiving.

It all made sense yet something was off. In the familiar expectation of two gatherings a year I insisted that we all wait to start eating. It was almost 8 pm by the time we ate. Everyone was required to go around the table to express what made them feel gratitude. Food was the most common thing said because we were starving.

The kids were totally out of control. The mood was strained especially when we got to the part of the mandatory photo.

After everyone left, it hit me. I have prided myself in flexibility yet had become locked into a mold created by expectations. 

Next year we will simplify. How about a brunch? How about staggered eating? How about meeting for desserts on Sunday? How about a totally different menu that included Chick Fil-A Nuggets?

I choose today to break out of the familiar while keeping all the best parts of family and connection. The strain is fading and I know we are stronger than ever now that blood sugar is back up.

Love freely

Create new traditions

Release expectations


Please join a vibrant community who blogs 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, sign up to receive Karen's emails.

 Facebook  | Instagram | LinkedIn | Twitter | Home





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Hopegrams

Hope Rays

Why?

Karen Sebastian - Sunday, February 18, 2018

Why?

Pour out all your worries and stress upon him and leave them there, for he always tenderly cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 TBT

Recent events with more school shootings and needless deaths of the young have left us breathless. After the shock sinks in we start to ask, "Why?"

I am a widow who was the full-time caregiver for my precious first husband for two and a half years. I learned a lot from him. I never remember him asking Why?

Now that is astounding because he endured ongoing muscle weakness due to an adult form of Muscular Dystrophy. In the latter years, his diaphragm failed and he relied on a ventilator for his very breath. 

I don't know how he did it, yet I am inspired by his courage and determination to not make his day about what he could not do. Instead, he focused on reaching out to bless others. His selfless determination left a legacy of purpose and tender care.

You may not know the reasons why something happened in your life. 

Would it really help to know? 

What you can know is that the Lord is ready to carry all your worry and stress as you give it to Him. He tenderly cares for you. Somehow in the scheme of things He has given us choices. 

I choose Him. 

I choose to trust in the true HOPE that God will work out the details and somehow make it better than if it had never happened. 

I choose to have compassion and extend that love to others.

STOP

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, sign up to receive Karen's emails.

 Facebook  | Instagram | LinkedIn | Twitter | Home



http://www.karensebastian.com/hopegrams/why

Wearing Love Like a Glove

Karen Sebastian - Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Wearing Love Like a Glove

Put on love. Colossians 3:14

Today is a day when many celebrate love and relationships. Others feel sad because they don’t have someone special who will send them flowers, buy them chocolates or send them a card.  They are sad because they do not have that ‘perfect’ life they always dreamed of. I have the hope antidote – begin to share your love extravagantly with everyone you come in contact with no strings attached. You will be amazed at what happens as you share with no strings attached.

Nothing is required except a loving heart and a desire to bless someone as you put on love. Here are some free expressions of love:

  • Hugging
  • Telling that person what they mean to you
  • Writing on post-it notes words that describe and honor them
  • Writing on a white board what that person means to you
  • Smiling and making eye contact
  • Extending small courtesies
  • Making a slideshow with pictures of those you love
  • Baking favorite dish or cookies
  • Making a telephone call
  • Making time to listen with no interruptions
  • If you are far away, send a text with these same honoring words

Let me know what happens as you shower those around you with extravagant expressions of your love for them without expecting anything in return. The miracle of that principle is that the rewards will be amazing because that’s how love multiplies as we give it away to others. Encourage others to do the same as the Put on Love.

What did you do to express your love? What was the response?

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

Agree

Karen Sebastian - Saturday, February 03, 2018

Agree - Five Minute Friday

I am God's incredible work of art. Ephesians 2:10 NLT


"Let every experience of your life teach you something that you can leave as a legacy. Once you agree with who God says you are, you will respond differently," I declared boldly to the women at a conference a few years ago.

Just then, I moved among the tables to address another side of the room. My shoe caught on the tablecloth and I fell flat on my face. Instantly, I became the message illustration.

You know that feeling when everyone gasps and you have a choice to make? I instantly popped up and holding my hands out in my best gymnastic pose exclaimed - "TADA!"

My prayer for you is that you agree with who God says you are. You are His masterpiece. You are His work of art. You are unique and precious.

STOP

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, sign up to receive Karen's emails.

 Facebook  | Instagram | LinkedIn | Twitter | Home

Surrender

Karen Sebastian - Sunday, January 28, 2018
Surender

Surrender

God is energizing you so that you will desire and do what always pleases Him. Philippians 2:13 Voice

A memory popped into my head the minute I saw the word for the Five Minute Friday. My first husband, Bill, had just gotten out of the hospital. He had almost died due to breathing complications from a simple procedure that would prolong his life. The worship team was practicing the Hillsong song I Surrender.

My heart protested. I felt that if I surrendered it would be the same as giving up the fight for his life. I felt vulnerable and weak. I started to cry. 

That's when I realized that this was a trust issue.

"Do you trust me?" I felt the Lord say to my heart.

"I want to... but...."

And there was the catch. I felt unable to move forward and live my life without Bill. Surrender was losing him.

That was a lie. I remember taking a deep breath. I remember letting go. I remember a feeling of peace like I had never felt before. The circumstances had not changed ... but I had.

STOP 

P.S. Bill did move to Heaven two years later. I have always had just what I needed when I needed it most. Surrender is sweet when you trust.

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, sign up to receive Karen's emails.

 Facebook  | Instagram | LinkedIn | Twitter | Home



Intentional

Karen Sebastian - Friday, January 19, 2018

Intentional

I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. Jeremiah 29:11 MSG

Every year I start with a long list of intentions (AKA resolutions) that I am going to accomplish. I start strong and begin to dwindle by about this time every year.

2018 was different. My word for the year is MOMENTUM and that has given me several new perspectives.

Celebrate small beginnings

You don't have to change everything all at once. Make a list of positive health changes and establish one new habit before you add the new one.

Rest first

My new year started with a bout of the flu. No fun. Still, I prayed more than I have ever prayed during this busy time. I was forced to rest because of exhaustion and it turned into a precious time of rest.

Bounce back quickly

What happens when life's challenges derail you from your resolutions? You make the best of it and lean in to Jesus. I hate being sick yet I love being in His presence. I don't recommend it as a way to start anything yet this morning I am grateful for renewed health and vitality. I am grateful for the ways He can redeem my time and allow me to get the tax stuff finished with greater focus than ever. Be intentional about your future steps.
STOP

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, sign up to receive Karen's emails.

 Facebook  | Instagram | LinkedIn | Twitter | Home



Comfort and Joy

Karen Sebastian - Friday, December 22, 2017
Comfort-and-Joy

Comfort and Joy

Matthew 2:10 “When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.”


I enjoy decorating for Christmas and getting my family involved. I just had the best weekend ever with two days of carefully decorating the trees with non-breakable ornaments because of the two little princesses we have to help this year. The best part of having grandchildren is the opportunity to rewind and get it right. It's less about everything being perfect and all about the fun we can have. It wasn't always that way.


There was a point in my life when I became obsessed with decorating for Christmas. I started buying ornaments in July and had multiple series going. I had a themed tree in every room of the house and a big open house.  I would wake up early on December 26th to buy ornaments at half price. I lost the joy and the reason for doing any of it.


In my perfectionism, I wanted my house to look like a magazine cover. Instead of enjoying the time with family, I kept tweaking and fixing things. You combine that with procrastination and you have the recipe for disaster. I would marathon wrap on Christmas eve and be exhausted and grumpy the next day.


As I sit here sipping my cup of green tea and looking at the decorations, I am overwhelmed with the grace that comes when we give the Lord our painful memories. I feel sad that there were a few super crazy years, yet I feel excited about the future. I won't get upset if all the ornaments come off the tree or if one is accidentally dropped. People bring comfort and joy. God is restoring my joy and we are enjoying the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.


Dear Lord, thank You for continually working in our lives to conform us to Your image. Thank you for your presence and peace that can be the center of our home when we invite You in. Grant us the continual awareness and the comfort and joy that Your presence brings us. In Jesus' name. Amen.

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


Different - Five Minute Friday Post

Karen Sebastian - Saturday, December 16, 2017
DIFFERENT

If ONLY - Five Minute Friday Post

Karen Sebastian - Sunday, December 10, 2017

If ONLY

Fear not, only believe. Mark 5:36 ASV

What happened as you looked at this idyllic photo of a secluded cabin in the mountains? Did your heart say - now that is what I wish my life were like right now? You are not alone.

This is the my fifth Christmas without my first husband, Bill. I remarried a widower in June of this year. It is his second Christmas without his first wife. There could be a lot of "if-only's."

The temptation is to go to one extreme or the other. One would be to shut off all the pain and every emotion due to the loss of that loved one and thus, diminish the present joy. The other is to be so consumed with sadness and regret that you don't allow yourself to enjoy life again.

If you are struggling with painful loss due to the death of someone you love deeply, I encourage you to do what we do with it. We have learned to "enjoy missing them." Let me explain. It means that we let the memories roll with happy ones that pop up. We speak fondly of those memories and appreciate the legacy they left us. We distill the best of the experiences yet continue to the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

Something wonderful happens at that point. There may be tears or there may be laughter. Regardless, we feel richer and more filled with hope. Why don't you try it?

STOP

Please join a vibrant community who blogs on one word every Friday for five minutes 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, sign up to receive Karen's emails.

 Facebook  | Instagram | LinkedIn | Twitter | Home


Near - Five Minute Friday Post

Karen Sebastian - Friday, December 01, 2017

NEAR

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18 ESV

This is a Five Minute Friday post. Set your timer for five minutes and create a meaningful blog post in that time. What a great concept! Try it!!!

The events that create grief can isolate. The shock hits you and you need to sit down to process. You need to be alone to take it in. That's how I felt when I got the call that my first husband, Bill, had died during the night due to breathing complications of Muscular Dystrophy. It was e unexpected nature of the event that, to this day, can take my breath away as I work to recall the details. Certain ones stand out and are indelibly engraved in my memory. Others, are a blur.

Bottom line - all of us have lost something in life - a fight, a game, a job, a marriage, a loved one to death, etc. Take your pick. We are all united in this experience. Then why - oh tell me why - do we feel that we are the only one who has experienced this level of grief.

If someone you love is experiencing grief leave them alone yet stay NEAR. They may try to push you away in the anger felt for the injustice of the loss. Stay anyway.

That is a fine line to walk - leave them alone yet stay NEAR. Don't hover yet don't abandon. Lay down your own feelings at this time and focus on the one who is hurting.

When they are ready to talk they will. When they are ready to say that they are 'glad he/she is in a better place' they will say it. And you will hear it because you are NEAR.

Stop trying to shelter them from the tears. Instead, cry with them. That's what Jesus did.

NEAR means that you trust God is working and is closer than you could ever think of being. In fact, I can say that during my deepest nights of grief I felt the nearness of God in unmistakable ways.

NEAR means that you are ready to drop everything and go shopping, meet for coffee, etc. when they are ready (and not one second before.)

NEAR means that you know your relationship is strong enough to be the surf board to carry both of you as you ride the waves of sorrow to the shore. Jesus is there making breakfast for you just like He did for Peter.

You can count on it.

STOP!

For more tips on The Power of Hope in Mourning: Ride the Waves to Comfort you can purchase the book here.

Please join a vibrant community who blogs 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, sign up to receive Karen's emails.

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Familiar - Five Minute Friday Post

Karen Sebastian - Friday, November 24, 2017

Familiar

In other words, adopt the mind-set of Jesus the Anointed. Live with His attitude in your hearts. Philippians 2:4


We all got together Wednesday night for our family gathering. It was familiar to make it easy on others by laying down the expectation that we HAD to get together on Thanksgiving.

It all made sense yet something was off. In the familiar expectation of two gatherings a year I insisted that we all wait to start eating. It was almost 8 pm by the time we ate. Everyone was required to go around the table to express what made them feel gratitude. Food was the most common thing said because we were starving.

The kids were totally out of control. The mood was strained especially when we got to the part of the mandatory photo.

After everyone left, it hit me. I have prided myself in flexibility yet had become locked into a mold created by expectations. 

Next year we will simplify. How about a brunch? How about staggered eating? How about meeting for desserts on Sunday? How about a totally different menu that included Chick Fil-A Nuggets?

I choose today to break out of the familiar while keeping all the best parts of family and connection. The strain is fading and I know we are stronger than ever now that blood sugar is back up.

Love freely

Create new traditions

Release expectations


Please join a vibrant community who blogs 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, sign up to receive Karen's emails.

 Facebook  | Instagram | LinkedIn | Twitter | Home





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