random stuff

Did You Know … Music Enriches Your Child’s Life?

As many of you know, music is VERY important in my family. Kevin plays electric guitar and has his entire life. He plays in a band and given the choice, would give his career up in a heartbeat in order to pursue his first love (well, his first love is ME, but you know what I mean *grin*).

And I quite often (probably TOO OFTEN) brag talk about Jazz’s experiences with his music in band at school.

Me and Dude? We are content to simply enjoy the whole music experience – we don’t play instruments.

You’ll hear, from time-to-time, when schools are thinking about cutting back on their budgets, about cutting music from the curriculum. I’m here to say, and to testify from first-hand experience, that would be a big, big, BIG mistake.

Music enriches lives FAR more than anyone could ever DREAM possible.

So please, be an advocate to keep music in our schools. Not only do the children benefit, but so does the public at large.

Can you imagine your life without music?

I can’t.


Also, have you heard my niece, Jil Powers, sing?!

“Lead Me to the Cross”

“Help Me Lord”

She’s also a beautiful person.

Yes, we’re very proud.

Thanks for listening. 🙂

Giveaway/Contests

Giveaway: 2010 Cute Overload Desk Calendar

AND THE WINNER IS …

#54 – HEATHER!

Capture1

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Thank you to EVERYONE who visited and played!

(Heather, if you see this before I’ve had a chance to contact you, please contact me).


SURPRISE! IT’S ANOTHER GIVEAWAY!

CO Last week, I gave a Baby Blues calendar away. So, it only seems fair that I give a calendar away to the animal lovers out there!

Want to win your very own 2010 Cute Overload Desk Calendar?

Here’s what you do:

Tell me about your pet, or a special animal in your life.

1. Each comment you leave in the comment section counts as one ticket. (One comment per day, please).

2. Subscribe to my feed, receive another ticket. (Please leave separate comment if subscribed).

3. Follow me on Twitter, receive another ticket. (Please leave separate comment if following).

I’ll draw a winner via random.org at 11:00 a.m. CST November 23rd.

(This giveaway is open to US residents/addresses only. Thank you).

More from Write From Karen

random stuff

Christmas is Coming to Write From Karen

I worked on my Christmas header over the weekend (in between writing my fingers off for NaNoWriMo and putting the high school newsletter together – why yes, the right side of my brain IS dead, why do you ask?).

I plan on decorating my blog for the holidays this Friday at which time we’ll get into the Christmas mood by doing yet another fun giveaway – stick around.

In the meantime? Here’s a sneak peek:

Abundant Life

What Exactly IS Truth or Tradition, Anyway?

Every Sunday I provide videos and valuable links to the Truth or Tradition teachings. We’ve been following the Truth or Tradition teachings for many years now and they have truly blessed our family. We have found peace and happiness through our beliefs and we walk confidently for God. My hope, by passing on this information to you, is that what you find here, or on the Truth or Tradition website, will guide you to a better, more blessed and abundant life.

If you would like to read my views on religion and how we got started with the ministry, you can read this.

But what exactly IS Truth or Tradition?

Well, let me tell ya:

Christianity doesn’t have to be confusing. Knowing God doesn’t require a theological degree. Living a full, abundant and peaceful life IS possible.

There are only TWO rules to follow:

1. KNOW GOD
2. OBEY GOD

It takes discipline. It takes perseverance. It takes humility. But the rewards FAR outweigh the work required to reach that level of conviction and happiness.

Are you ready for peace? Are you prepared to live in paradise forever? Are you willing to take control of your life and mind and obey God’s simple rules?

Then I urge you to consider looking into the Truth or Tradition ministry. They will help you make sense of religion. They will prove common Christianity beliefs are erroneous. (Like Christians don’t go to heaven when they die, they “fall asleep” and await the return of Christ who will gather up his soldiers, defeat evil and transform our world, our EARTH, into paradise – to take one of MANY common misbeliefs).

It’s time to sift through the devil’s lies and get back to the truth – God’s Word.

If you have any questions, or would like to learn more about God’s wonderful message, please visit the Truth or Tradition website. You can also keep track of the ministry through their Facebook page, their YouTube Channel, or follow them on Twitter.

If you would like to take the ministry with you wherever you go, watch this tutorial on how to subscribe to their podcasts.

It’s time to get your life back on the Christian path. God will reward you and you will live a happier, and more productive life.

God bless you.

Abundant Life

Teaching: What is the Point of Prayer?

Every Sunday I provide videos and valuable links to the Truth or Tradition teachings. We’ve been following the Truth or Tradition teachings for many years now and they have truly blessed our family. We have found peace and happiness through our beliefs and we walk confidently for God. My hope, by passing on this information to you, is that what you find here, or on the Truth or Tradition website, will guide you to a better, more blessed and abundant life.

If you would like to read my views on religion and how we got started with the ministry, you can read this.

Let’s get started:

You can read the original article here.

FAQ: If, as the Bible says, God knows what we need, what is the point of prayer, and why should we spend valuable time praying to Him for something?

I’m not sure—let me pray about it. Just kidding. The easy answer to the question is: because God tells us to (e.g., “Pray continually”). But that begs the question of why He tells us to pray, so let’s delve into that a bit. And “a bit” is all we can do here, at least compared to how many verses of Scripture there are about prayer. For more elaboration on this critical subject, I recommend our audio teaching, Let Us Pray. I also recommend a book by Brother Andrew titled, And God Changed His Mind, as well as The God Who Risks, by John Sanders. Among many books on the subject of prayer, the work of E.M. Bounds is very good.

Although prayer can be most simply defined as “talking to or with God,” there are in the Bible various kinds of communication and conversation with the Almighty. Thinking of a Father/child relationship helps us determine what categories such communication would fall into. Why and how would a child talk to his father?

Petitionary prayer is perhaps what most people think of first, that is, asking God for something for ourselves or for someone else. God often encourages us to come to Him for whatever we need, be it big or small (e.g., Phil. 4:6). 1 John 5:14 guides us to pray for things that are in accordance with His will, and His Word is where we find His will. Far too many Christians needlessly preface their prayers with “If it be your will…” when more understanding of Scripture would reveal to them whether or not this is the case.

Praise, worship, thanksgiving, and exaltation of God are other forms of verbalizing to Him what is in our heart (see just about any Psalm). He loves it when we tell Him how wonderful we think He is. Why, because His ego needs to be stroked? Heavens, no! Everything God asks us to do is for our benefit, first and foremost. When we praise God and magnify His goodness, it solidifies for us how much He loves us and wants the best for us, and our faith in Him is strengthened.

What about just talking things over with God or the Lord Jesus? That’s cool.

Asking for guidance and/or direction—there’s another form of prayer. See James 1:5ff for more details.

How about griping? I’d say there is plenty of that kind of upward communication in the Psalms. David was always ready to pour out his heart to God, be it good, bad, or ugly.

How does God say we should pray? According to Luke 18:1ff, we should pray insistently, vigorously and persistently. Luke 18:9ff shows that we should pray with humility. 1 John 5:14 says that we should pray for things that are in line with God’s will. Philippians 4:6 says that we should pray with thankful anticipation of our prayers being answered. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says that we should pray continually—in other words, God really wants us to stay in touch with Him!

OK, but why does God tell us that we should pray as much as possible? The basic reason is because of how He originally chose to relate to mankind. That is, (a) once upon a time (b) when He was all alone (c) in the beginning (d) all of the above, God sovereignly decided to enter into a personal, working relationship with mankind. Scripture calls us “God’s fellow workers (1 Cor. 3:9),” and shows that, generally, God needs our prayer in order to get involved in the affairs of men and bring to pass His will. According to the Bible, life is not a big puppet show with God pulling all the strings.

Think about it—if God had carte blanche to intervene in the world and right every wrong, He would constantly be doing so, because by His very nature (“God is love”) He is bound to do all He can to help people. But God gave Adam the legal dominion over Creation, and Adam “delivered” it to the Devil (Luke 4:6), and because God cannot act unrighteously, even toward Satan, He cannot intervene unless He is given the legal right to do so.

And who is it that gives God that right? A born-again son or daughter of His who, by virtue of his or her faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Savior, has been given authority to invoke “the name of Jesus Christ” and thereby access the same power that created the heavens and the earth and raised Jesus from the dead. That’s who. Is that who you?

Have you ever watched “Bigtime Wrestling,” and seen a tag team match? It is akin to how prayer works. Let’s say that you are one of your two-man team who is inside the ropes wrestling one of the other team partners. He gets you in a hold that will pin you unless you can somehow stretch out and touch your tag team partner.

But why do you have to touch him? Why doesn’t your partner just jump in and clobber the guy? He can’t, because the rule is that he cannot intervene unless you “tag” him. Unfortunately for you, however, your teammate has his back to the ring, oblivious to your predicament, signing autographs! Not if he is a good partner, he doesn’t. What is his posture? He is leaning over the ropes as far as he can toward you, extending his hand for you to touch him.

When it comes to the spiritual war in which we live, God and the Lord Jesus are never out of reach, and if you stretch out in prayer and “touch” them, they will always provide something beneficial for you, even if it is “only” comfort and strength in time of suffering.

I forget who it was that said, “Prayer is not forcing God’s reluctance; it is taking hold of God’s willingness,” but I love that statement. When we pray, we are connecting with the Creator. Prayer focuses our hearts on God and reminds us of our absolute dependence upon our heavenly Father. Perhaps that is why Philippians 4:7 says that when we pray with thankful anticipation, “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

When we know God’s will from His Word, we can pray with greater faith, knowing that we are aligned with His purposes. The traditional “praying hands” are not like they are in a tug-of-war with God. In fact, even the palms-together posture seems insufficient to me. I think “praying hands” are palms up, expectantly ready to receive our Father’s blessings.

Despite the popular ideas among many Christians that “God is in control” and that “everything that happens is God’s will,” Scripture says otherwise. Jesus himself debunked the latter of those two myths in “the Lord’s Prayer” when he instructed his followers to pray, “Thy will be done on earth….” If everything that happens is the will of God, why pray that?

Yes, thanks to the finished work of Jesus Christ, God’s ultimate goal of a family living forever in Paradise will come to pass, but who will be there and what rewards they will receive is determined by the individual, free-will choices that people make moment by moment during their lives. Remember, God is not the Big Puppeteer in the sky. How do I know for sure that God is not in control of my life? Because if He were, it would be a lot better!

If the future were already fixed, prayer would be superfluous. But God chose to enter into genuine personal relationship with mankind, and thus our prayers make a difference to Him. The prayers of Moses (Exod. 8 and 32) and Hezekiah (2 Kings 20) are two Old Testament examples of God responding to people and changing what He saw was going to come to pass. Prayer changes things (actually, prayer allows God to change things)—history would not be the same had people not prayed. God has invited His people to participate with Him in shaping the future.

Some quotes from The God Who Risks, by John Sanders (pp. 272 and 273), are most pertinent here:

“God wants us to be His partners not because He needs our wisdom, but because He wants our fellowship…Our requests are important because God is interested in us. God loves us and takes our concerns to heart just because they are our concerns. This is the nature of a personal, loving relationship. The relationship is not one of domination or manipulation but of participation and cooperation wherein we become co-laborers with God (1 Cor. 3:9)…It is so only because God wanted a reciprocal relationship of love and elected to make dialogical prayer an important element in such a relationship.”

“God has open routes into the future, and He desires that we participate with Him in determining which ones to take. This should not be construed, however, to mean that we get whatever we want. We may prevail with God because God genuinely takes our desires into account. Yet God may also prevail with us, getting us to change our minds and pursue a course of action that we did not initially think best. In this regard, prayer provides a dialogical resource for God to work in this world. When we turn to God in prayer, we open a window of opportunity for the Spirit’s work in our lives, creating new possibilities for God to carry out His project. Dialogical prayer affects both parties and changes the situation, making it different from what it was prior to the prayer…Our asking in faith may make it possible for God to do something that He could not have done without our asking.”

I don’t know about you, but knowing that my heavenly Father longs to have me share my heart with Him, and that my prayers make a difference in the course of history, motivates me to pray. And I need to remind myself of this—often.

Should we pray? Yes! Why should we pray? Because God needs our prayers to help Him bring to pass His will. How should we pray? Passionately! When should we pray? Any time! Where should we pray? Anywhere!

Let us pray.

If you have any questions, or would like to learn more about God’s wonderful message, please visit the Truth or Tradition website. You can also keep track of the ministry through their Facebook page, their YouTube Channel, or follow them on Twitter.

Thanks for reading.

(Comments have been turned off. The information is here, it’s up to you to accept, or deny, it).

More from Write From Karen

Life

The Birthday Bash of 2009

So that’s it – my son is now officially 17 and my husband is … still older than me by four years. (I’ll let you do the math. *grin*)

Birthday Boys - 2009

We have pretty low-key birthdays at our house. We celebrate with immediate family and pretty much leave friends out of it. (The reluctance to invite friends most likely stems from my idiotic and quite irrational phobia I have of putting friends in the awkward position of HAVING to buy gifts – I really must get over that).

This year was no exception. I did take snippets of video throughout my day, preparing for the guys’ birthdays that I plan on stitching together … sometime this weekend (in between furiously writing for NaNoWriMo [I’m SO BEHIND!] and putting a newsletter together). I thought it might be fun to document the craziness I go through each year on November 18th (but I’m not complaining!).

When Kevin got home from work, we gave Dude his gift(s):

presents

He already knew he was receiving the Left 4 Dead PC game (what is it with teenage boys and zombies?!) but I threw him for a loop by buying him the Halo 3 t-shirt, which he loved and then promptly said, “Cool! A weekend shirt!”

He wouldn’t be caught dead in that at school. Why? Because one, HELLO, I’M A GEEK! and two, it would draw attention to him and Dude likes to remain low-key.

It adds to his whole mystique persona, you see.

I didn’t give Kevin a gift. Why? Are you kidding me?!

We took Dude out to his favorite Chinese restaurant (the boy LOVES him some Chinese food) and that’s … about it. Like I said, we keep it pretty low-key.

Now next year, when he turns 18 (EIGHTEEN?!?), I’d like to throw him a party, though maybe not, because he’ll be graduating and I want to throw him a party for that and … well heck, why can’t the boy have two parties in one year?

Anyway, since Kevin’s birthday is also Dude’s birthday, I made him pick a restaurant he would like to go to (we’ve always just done the one restaurant in the past and that was always Dude’s pick and you know? How is that fair?) and he’s picking a steak house, which we plan on eating at tomorrow, for lunch, because it’ll be cheaper.

And yes, we really do think like that. 😀

It was a great evening. I’m always a little glad when it’s over just because it stresses me out, having two birthdays on the same day and I want to make sure both of my guys are happy and treated equally, and yet, uniquely.

But you know what? The whole running around with my head cut off? Is totally worth it.

My Pride and Joys

They’re worth it.

NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo Update

I’m chugging along. I got sidetracked because of all of the birthdays this month, but now that they’re done ….

I have Thanksgiving to get through. *sigh*

So. I’m going to work my tail end off and hopefully have close to 40,000 words BEFORE Thanksgiving gets here.

We’ll see …

After I write this next story, I plan on printing out the pages, which should be around 80 by that time. I can’t wait to fill up my notebook!

NaNoWriMo’s, how are you doing?

Thursday Thirteen

Thursday Thirteen – How to Write A Bad Novel (Part One)

I happened to “stumble upon” this site and simply could not resist sharing these tips with you. Writers, are you paying attention? 😀

Thirteen Tips on How to Write a Really Bad Novel – Part One

1. Make sure you’ve got a lot of similar names too. Donald, Donna, Dina, Dana and Danny just feel right together.

2. Explain everything. When your character is angry, just say that she’s angry. There’s no point in trying to show that through her actions when you can just tell that to your reader.

3. Remember that real writers use a typewriter. They don’t like these newfangled computers. A manual typewriter and a bucket of Wite-Out™ are the tools of a serious writer.

4. Fill your book with coincidences, especially towards the end. Nothing beats having the exciting climax occur because the hero bumped into the villain in a small-town cafe when they both had a craving for peach-filled semi-sweet chocolate pie. Did you mention that both characters love the exact same pie? Now would be a good time.

5. Don’t let your character’s established traits get in the way of a good plot twist. Just because your hero is a priest who preaches non-violence (We’ll call him Father Angeltoe) doesn’t mean he can’t be an expert marksman with an itchy trigger finger.

6. Use lots of technical jargon. Don’t worry about whether your reader will understand it, or whether you understand it. Just stick it in. It will make your characters sound smarter.

7. If you are writing a historical novel, don’t sweat accuracy. The reader won’t care. Go ahead and have Napoleon invent the automatic rifle. Who could say he didn’t?

8. If you are writing fantasy literature, make sure your magical animals have never been thought of before. Try a talking armadillo. No, forget the talking armadillo. I want that one for myself.

9. Make sure to add …A Novel to the end of your title. You don’t want people to forget what they are reading.

10. Pile on the adjectives and adverbs. Why have a woman speak when you can have her whisper breathlessly in her lustful, wind-swept voice?

11. Don’t feel as if anything has to happen. Plots are optional. Two people sitting in a room staring at each other is great material, as long as it is handled with plenty of adjectives and adverbs (see tip ten).

12. Exclamation points! Exclamation points! Exclamation points!

13. Don’t sweat the order of the action. If the big football game needs to occur just after the prom, then that is when it should be.

tags: thursday thirteen

More from Write From Karen

At the Moment, VideoPlay

At the Moment … He’s Still Trying to Get to the Next Level

I love these moments in time. I need to start doing these more often. Just the little, inconsequential moments that probably won’t mean anything to you all, but will mean the world to me years from now. 🙂

Kevin doesn’t play video games very often, in fact, only rarely, so I thought it was cool that he jumped on this particular day and I thought it was funny how he kept failing the driver’s test (you have to pass the test in order to proceed to the next course level).

I don’t know. Some things just tickle me. *smile*