Sunday, March 05, 2006


Lutheran-Baptist Meets Seventh-Day AdventistI walked into my new friend's kitchen and was rocked back in time to my childhood. Grandma's kitchen: Homemade peach cobbler cooling on the counter, homemade fried chicken, ditto (no such thing as Kentucky Fried Chicken), baked beans (real, not canned), potato salad, macaroni salad, and, of course, lemon jello salad with celery, walnuts, apples, bananas and a jar of homemade topping. Jars of homemade bread n' butter pickles, stuffed celery, canned, Queen Ann Cherries, store bought olives and rolls. I'm only remembering some of the dishes prepared ahead for Sunday Dinner. Grandma didn't work on the Sabbath but the family must go to church and come together for dinner on Sunday. All of us cousins were kind of like 'litter-mates'. No movies, no card games, all family.
When I fell back in time and space I was in my friend's kitchen again and there was the 'before Sabbath array'- only it was Friday night. I was in a home that honored the Sabbath by whatever name and I felt right at home, tears of nostalgia in my eyes.
That was a couple of years ago and we're even better friends now. We study together, sing hymns to the Lord together and pray together. We are Christians, sister's in Christ.
Thank you, Holy Spirit, for convicting me and leading me back into the habit of honoring my Father's Holy Day.
@copyright 2006 Karen's Passage

Monday, February 27, 2006


Twentyone years ago I came home to pour my first drink of the evening. It would be a normal evening of drinking and smoking pot until I passed out then waking up with a hangover, going to work and getting through the day until I could start the cycle all over again that evening. Weekends were more of the same except less constrained.
I had stopped going out to drink and carouse two or three years earlier, it seems there's a point beyond which even alcohol and pot can't blot out the shame of permissive, licentious behavior. So, I stayed home and drank.
That particular night was during the week between Christmas and New Year. As I poured the first drink I speculated about how long I could keep a New Year's resolution to quit drinking. Mentally, self responded to self, "Don't be stupid, you'll be doing this the rest of your life." I probably sighed with exhaustion at all those empty years stretched out ahead of me, acknowledging I was powerless to do anything about it. At least that was the mood and substance of the moment. From behind me I heard a voice, "Do it now". There was nothing scary about it, it was broad daylight and I was looking out the kitchen window at people coming and going. But there was no doubt about the voice or what He said.
That drink never got poured. I dragged the chair over to my cupboard and began emptying the shelves of brandy, gin, vodka, tequila, etc. I emptied them all into the sink and filled two or three garbage bags with empty bottles. Next came the pot and paraphernalia and finally even the cigarettes. I guess it took three or four trips to the garbage dumpster and several searches through the apartment before I was satisfied it was all gone. I even scattered the pot among several dumpsters in the area so it couldn't be traced back to my building. I didn't give much thought to what I was doing - I just obeyed that voice. I knew what to do. I didn't think about D.T.s, withdrawal, hullucinations, I'd had them in the past, horribly, but I didn't anticipate I just responded to His voice.
I woke up the next morning without a hangover, the first time in years. No shakes, no hullucinations, I didn't even want a cigarette. The cupboards were bare of bottles, the top of the refrigerator was empty of cigarette cartons and I felt so good, so healthy, so content. I thought of my Grandparents who had given me what religious background I had and began reading my Bible. Soon I began looking for a church.
God has been with me since then, even when I forget to be thankful, when I let the tongue slip into gossip, or fail to love as He loved me. I know His voice and I follow. @copyright 2006 Karen's Passage

Monday, February 20, 2006


He poured out His Glory
He humbled Himself
He lived among us
He was tempted
He resisted
He was sanctified
He walked with the poor
the sick
the sinners
He cared
He healed
He wept
He suffered
He died
He lived again
All for me
All for you
All for love
@copyright 2006 Karen's Passage

Saturday, February 18, 2006


"I AM", Elohim, El Shaddai, Yahweh: "The Lord appeared in the past, saying: 'I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness."Jer 3:31 "Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen that you may live." Isa 55:3a
"No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets: 'They shall be taught by God. Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from Him comes to Me." John 6:44-45
Has God drawn you, have you been touched by Him, has He whispered gently? Listen.......
"I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me" John 10:14 "He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out. When He has brought out all of His own He goes on ahead of them, and His sheep follow Him because they know His voice."John 13:34-35
Incline your ear, listen for His voice, follow.
@copyright 2006 Karen's Passage

Sunday, February 12, 2006


In New Testament times the names of the church's were designated by their geographic location, the Church at Corinth, the Church at Ephesus and so on.
There were no denominations, rather, "one church" with Christ at its head.
Christ asked His Father in John 17 that those who believe in him all 'be as one' and that they all be 'perfected in unity'.
Now, I know another way has become natural to us in this world but does that make it right? It occurs to me that what seems right in the world is not a good measure for what is right in the eyes of God. Jesus said we would be known (or recognizable) by our love for one another. Jesus asked that we would be as one, perfected in unity.
And what of denominations, divisions and quarrels?
Paul says in 1 Cor 1:10-13, "Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment. For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe's people, that there are quarrels among you. Now, I mean this, that each one of you is saying, "I am of Paul," and "I am of Apollos," and "I of Cephas," and "I of Christ." Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?"
I know this won't be a popular opinion but I can't help but believe that denominations are an abomination. Paul asks,"Has Christ been divided?" Will heaven be divided for our convenience?
I think not, we are to be a reflection of heaven, surely heaven is not to be a reflection of the world.
People often ask, what's happened to the power which the early church had: to heal, to exorcise, to spread the Holy Spirit - perhaps, it's deteriorated along with the love and unity. At least, as it is meant to be, it is food for thought.
@copyright 2006 Karen's Passage

Saturday, February 11, 2006


For those who always ask, why am I here, what is my purpose? I spent years in evening classes and reading books on philosophy and science trying to figure it out. It didn't help much. But the Lord had a great answer for me. What's it all about Alfie, "It's about the Great Commission."
Mt 28:18-20 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make desciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
John 13:35 "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
I try to quiet the clashing, the noise and chaos in my life by making this the criteria for all my actions. I have a feeling the whole body of philosopy is just man seeking God. Well, if a picture is worth a thousand words then the classic painting of man and God reaching out to each other says it all. Science is on the same track. God alone knows what the druggies are after, oblivion?

And how does that oblivion differ from the oblivion we all seek in every day life? The minute we walk in the house the television or music must go on, in the car the radio must be on and like as not we have a cell phone glued to our ear shopping and driving. We are under a constant barrage of distraction. We can't even be 'on hold' without noise blasting in our ear. Can we never be quiet and think? Would it really be so bad? God said, "Be silent and listen."

Lord, help me keep focused on You and through the Holy Spirit draw me closer, ever closer as my life draws closer in joy to my eternity with You. Amen

@copyright 2006 Karen's Passage

Friday, February 10, 2006


The weather has been sunny the last few days so I went searching for my leather gardening gloves. I found them with my tools all curled up and stiff from the winter cold. Pretty useless looking . Well, I had awakened that morning in much the same condition so I put on the gloves and began weeding. Soon the gloves were warm, pliable and useful and so was I.
My meandering thoughts compared myself with the old gloves. Without the Lord in me, using me - I am an empty, wrinkled up old glove. But with the Lord in me I have purpose, vitality and life. Thank you God for giving me this joyful purpose and companionship, for putting a song on my lips.
Christ said, "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing." John 15:5
@copyright 2006 Karen's Passage

Monday, February 06, 2006


We can know what the Lord chooses to reveal. Our Lord has revealed himself through the Bible, through joining us on earth and living among us and through the Holy Spirit.
What can we understand? Very little probably, Ecclesiastes says," cannot discover the work which has been done under the sun. Even though man should seek laboriously, he will not discover, and though the wise man should say, "I know," he cannot discover."
We see the tip of the iceberg, but even that is only physical reality and God is a spiritual being. 1 Co 2:14 says, "But natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised."
Lord, give us the wisdom to understand we must learn about you spiritually and lead us to study your word and your life among us and to pray unceasingly so that we might know you. Amen
@copyright 2006 Karen's Passage

Friday, February 03, 2006


I was amazed as a child to find out that redwood trees, one of the tallest trees in the world, also has the most shallow root system. Now, how does that make sense? Nature solved that problem quite easily and logically, the trees grow in clumps of three or four and their roots are interwoven for broader base support. If one tree becomes diseased or is struck by lightning the whole clump suffers and weakens.
The shallow root system reminds me of Christians who are in this world but not of this world. We are here in the world but it not our home and we must not become too deeply entrenched in this world.
How then, do we sustain ourselves in this world? God solves this problem quite easily and logically, we grow together in fellowship. By interweaving our lives we develop a broad support base. We encourage one another, we help each other when disease (corruption?) or some outside force strikes one of us. We are one body under God.
What happens when we don't follow God's plan? The whole is weakened. The body of Christ is weakened. We are each individually responsible for the whole within God's purpose.
@copyright 2006 Karen's Passage

Thursday, January 26, 2006


As a child I spent lots of time in Big Basin State Park camping among the redwoods. We ranged far and wide and came back to camp for meals only. On one of our hikes we found a dilapidated cabin with a small graveyard. I used to wonder about that family that came from where? And built a small cabin way up in the woods far from anyone. The small wooden crosses were all falling down and illegible but I knew it was a family - a Mom, a Dad, and children. One grave was very small, it must have been a baby. I always thought the Father dug the grave alone while the Mother, still weak from having the baby, and the children waited inside. I wondered if he read the Bible over the grave. Did they sing a song? Did the Father read the Bible to the children and teach them the ways of our God? In earlier days it was the responsibility of the Father to teach, help birth the children and dig their graves when necessary. Father's don't do that anymore, some stranger does it.
It was getting dark and kind of spooky, besides we were hungry so we headed back to camp. There were about ten of us and not one of us ever told the adults. I think we all had a story in our head and it was kind of sacred. @copyright 2006 Karen's Passage

Sunday, January 22, 2006


What a long day, not feeling well and missed our new Vicar's first sermon. Amazingly, he stopped by to check on me, what a surprise. I love clerical suits and collar. He looked great Anne, wish you were here.
Anyway, need to lose weight so went to a seminar on health, diet and exercise last Thursday, Friday and Saturday. They encourage a Vegan diet, so I was chopping onions, cilantro and trying to powder whole cumin by rolling over it with a small spice bottle. Made bean and rice soup - whole protein combined that way.
Wonder if I can get through tomorrow morning without coffee and milk. It's a choice! And it's my choice! I hate it when that happens. Then after no coffee I have to walk for half an hour, plus ten minutes after each meal. Two fruits before noon and no food after 4:00 PM. Yeah, right!
The hardest part is learning a new way to cook. Actually, the rice was my first attempt at a sort of Spanish rice (had to use brown rice) and the beans I cooked to make refried beans, Hispanic style.
The rice turned out too salty and not enough cilantro, the beans didn't have enough cumin but I was tired of rolling that little bottle around. Anyway, I tossed them together and now I have a not too bad bean and rice soup.
After that I laid down on the couch and surfed T.V. until I found "Pretty Woman" in progress, cried my way through the last third of the movie. Felt better after that.
Help, tomorrow's going to be an experience. If Jesus is close I'll make it. Lord, help me make it through the day with humor and a gracious attitude. By the way, is this a test?
Thank you Lord for your presence in my life, you've helped me through tougher times, I trust you. Amen @copyright 2006 Karen's Passage

Friday, January 20, 2006


Remember coloring with your Aunt when you we're a little girl? I had one Aunt who made me stay in the lines, it was very important. My Aunt Mildred didn't make me stay in the lines and rhinos didn't have to be grey. I could color with humor, adventure and even experiment.
Aunt Mildred used to discuss all of her ideas with me, just like I was a grown up. Once she was even a John Bircher, everybody thought that was a scandal. She talked about wood grain and wood smells as she refinished furniture, in paint spattered jeans and an old plaid shirt. She never seemed to mind being dirty.
She took me to Art Galleries,antique stores, camping and when I was almost a teenager she took me to see Billy Graham at the Cow Palace in San Francisco. I can't even remember who else was there, just me and Aunt Mildred and Billy Graham. Then God was there and I swore that if I ever got to see Billy Graham again I would go forward.
Many years passed and I finally accepted God in my life and through all those years until she passed away Aunt Mildred and I corresponded in an 'out side the lines' kind of way. And about three years ago I got to see Billy Graham in Fresno, California and yes, I did go forward. My Aunt Mildred was on my mind the whole time. In fact, she's often on my mind. @ copyright 2006 Karen's Passage


I had to make a quick business trip over Pacheco Pass into Silicon Valley, when I left my house at about 5:00 AM it was almost a dead fog. You could see the lines on both sides of the road and cars within a block, otherwise it was almost a whiteout. I drove out of town through the rural valley and wound up into the foothills through the fog with intense concentration. After about an hour and a half of this I was gripping the wheel tightly, frozen in the tiny world of my pickup cab. I hadn't seen another car or sign of life for at least 20 minutes as I climbed up the pass.
Suddenly, I broke out of the fog into golden sunshine with miles of sunny, green hilltops spread above the dense layer of fog. Alone and awed, I involuntarily said aloud, "Holy, Holy, Holy". I'll never forget that moment or what came out of my mouth. I think I know how Isaiah felt when he cried, "Woe is me", at the sight of God.
Even the reflection of His Great Glory I experienced in that brief moment drew true worship from the depths of my being. God, thank you for your love, your closeness and your generosity. Amen @copyright 2006 Karen's Passage

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


I awoke this morning with a cat purring on my chest all warm and snuggly. The early morning hours bring unfettered thoughts, as yet uncluttered by the world. Sometimes the immensity of the universe and the look of everything just 'hanging' there in space is scary until I remember who created it and holds it all together. It reminds me of the phrase from Narnia, 'He is both good and terrible' and that "fear is the beginning of wisdom", Psalms & Proverbs.
As the day wears on and takes on the dimensions of time and space, in my busyness I forget the truth and become aware of how much I must accomplish, how much depends on me. It's only when I become blinded by this self importance that I become impatient with others - they become obstacles, impediments - something to get around. All of this distorts our relationships with others, even those whom we just touch briefly in the course of the day. We become impatient, competitive busy bodies. How can this atmosphere foster love between us?
God, help me remember who and what I really am, help me remember what is really important and guide and protect me through this day. Amen @copyright 2006 Karen's Passage

Saturday, January 14, 2006


I waited patiently for the Lord to help me
and He turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
out of the mud and mire.
He sat my feet on solid ground and steadied
me as I walked along.
He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of
praise to our God.
Psalms 40