Back From My Break: In Pictures

How can I thank you all for the comments, Facebook messages and encouraging emails you sent saying you were praying for me (and my sister-in-law) while I was away in July?

Thank you.

My break was needed. But I did miss doing life with my cyber friends. So let me catch you up on last month.

~ Spent time preparing for our annual She Speaks conference in Charlotte, NC. Conference was fabulous & God enabled me to get all my messages, dramas and our two-day Team Time Training done just in the nick of time. (This self-confessed control freak was sweating just a little!)


Got to travel on the last leg of my trip with the entire Little League team from the Bahamas. THis baseball-loving mom was in her glory!!!

~ Some lessons learned on my trip?

1. Let God chisel. Thank you Lysa TerKeurst!

2. Be grace-filled & grateful. I needed that Ann Voskamp.

3. Do not throw away your confidence. Blessings Renee Swope.

4. Competition has no place in ministry. Amen, Micca Campbell!

5. More practical life-lessons from my trip? Wearing flip-flops through airports makes security check points a breeze.

6. Do not try to flush an airport toilet with your foot to avoid germs while wearing a flip flop.

7. Flip flops float. Enough said.

~Best part of trip? Seeing where our Kenna works during the day. The next morning, she left for a missions trip to Germany. She flies back to the states today.


Kenna (on the right) & two co-workers at her salon.

~Lots of time (not spent blogging) to spend in the kitchen. My boys have gently told me how my cooking had ‘slipped’. A too-stressed momma often comes out in the form of frozen pizzas around my house. So, I stepped it up in the kitchen (thanks in part to my Facebook Study on organization’s week when we talked about the kitchen. Super. Convicting.) Here are a few results:


Fresh-picked Michigan strawberries from Felzke’s Farms.
A batch of the finished product. 52 jars of jam. Enough for us and a few for the neighbors.
Boys played lots of baseball in July so I had to make them at least one apple pie. And yes. Of course! We do own a Chevrolet! (A 1998 Prism with 217,000 miles on it!)

~ Spent time with my brave sister-in-law who is now battling bone cancer (after surviving breast cancer in 2002). After a two-week stay in the hospital, surgery for a broken femur (which she broke just by trying to get out of bed) and now a stay in a rehab/rest home, she hopes to go home later this week. Docs have talked in terms of weeks or months but with chemo say it may stretch to a few years. She has displayed AMAZING faith & trusts that He knows her days. I’ll be writing more about our time in the hospital and what she taught me through her pain. What a strong woman!!!


Our family busted Thais out of the rest home for a trip to the park. When I left for my NC trip, she could barely sit alone post-op. Now she can cruise with a walker!

~ 37. The number of times I had to assure readers & friends that no, my desk isn’t always that clean. (As they viewed a pic I’d uploaded on the last post below.) Here, I’ll post it again along with the bookshelf from my office. Take note of the baskets, bins & drawers from these two great Craig’s List pieces I found for peanuts! We all have piles ladies. Some of us are just more strategic in disguising them!


My office that the hubster painted a robin’s egg blue Ralph Lauren shade called ‘sanctuary’.
My work station (used to be in Kenna’s room). Left top basket for ‘today’. Right top for ‘this week’. Bottom two for manuscripts to read for endorsement & ‘when time’ items. Right middle shelf mostly empty in July. That is shelf where blog ideas/giveaways go.

~ Finally, my time with God basket found at an antique store. Sits on my office floor but can be taken outside or to a comfy chair. In it? My ESV Bible, current Beth Moore Bible study, leather journal from Kenna & my two favorite devotional books; a 1935 copy of My Utmost for His Highest &  The Valley of Vision book of Puritan Prayers given to me by a She Speaks attendee in 2007.

My basket on our picnic table on the back deck next to my spearmint plant. My town is famous for mint & I LOVE a sprig in my iced tea while I study.

Blessings to you for humoring me during my pictorial tour of July. :-)

During the time of seeking God about so much in my life, I feel I’ve heard from him and will be making some changes. I’ll write about them later this week so come back. Or, better yet, sign up in the top of the sidebar to receive new posts from me automatically via email. Just click on the envelope, flame or orange radio signal icon for simple instructions.

Have a fabulous week!


  1. It was a pleasure meeting you at She Speaks. I’m glad you had a good ‘break’, and it’s good to see you back. I love your basket idea; I’m going to get one for myself. We are continuing to pray for your sister-in-love — thank you for the update.

  2. Good. For. You. I don’t know if you can really hear relaxed in a blog post, but well, you sound relaxed!

    So glad you and God got some special time together, He likes that a lot! Can’t wait to hear what all He shared with you.

  3. Looks like you had a good break! Makes me wish I’d been at She Speaks this year too. Love the strawberry pics – we’re enjoying some fresh-picked Michigan blueberries (and resulting blueberry jam) here. And can I say that I’m the proud owner of a Chevy Prizm too (a 1999 – woo hoo!)? Will continue praying for your sil.

  4. Welcome back, Karen! You were missed, but I’m happy you had a nice break. Those strawberries are spectacular! I will continue to pray for your sister-in-law and you and your family.

  5. Loved this post! You’re office is beautiful!!! I’ve gotta’ tell you the lessons about flip-flops and airport restrooms just totally cracked me up! I snorted and everything!!! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Welcome back Karen. Looking forward to reading your posts again. You are truly an inspiration and breath of fresh air. Glad you were able to spend some time away. May God continue to pour into your life.

  7. Just last evening when I was cleaning out my emails, I thought….hmmm…I haven’t recieved any updates from Karen lately. I wonder what is up? And, then today an email blog update…and wonderul pics. As a basket user myself, I so appreciate your organizing style. As a breast cancer survivor of 2 1/2 years it really saddens my heart to hear of your sister-in-laws recent reoccurance….and yes, many women live years after a secondary diagnosis. (Actually, there is a gal I know who has had bone cancer for at least 10+ years and she recently did the jitterbug at her grandson’s wedding!) Looking forward to hearing about the new adventure’s God has planned for you!

  8. Welcome back. It was such a blessing to meet you at the elevator at She Speaks. Your skit was outstanding! Love your God basket idea. I’ll be adopting that one. Looking forward to reading how God met you during your sabbatical.

  9. Karen, I’m so glad you took a break but so very glad you are back. I really did miss you. I’m so glad that Thais is feeling better…….she has been on my heart. She Speaks sounds like it was a success and that you have rested some and are ready to keep sharing the gifts God has given you. God Bless you, Sister, and I can’t wait to see what God and you have in store for us.

    Love ya,

  10. I love that you told your recap in photos! I met you at She Speaks and you are AWESOME! I want to sit out back on the deck with you some day, and eat pie! You warm my heart. Thank you for everything! And- so happy that Thais is doing better – she looks great in the pic! Blessings to you and yours!

    Candace Havens

  11. I LOVE the idea of a time with God basket. Lately, my purse has become just that. glad to have you back! Looking forward to the rejuvenated posts He’s gonna bring to you!

  12. Love looking at pictures of your home – I really appreciate your decorating style. You beautifully use items that convey your faith and love of family and heritage. Taking some more ideas from you and hoping to find the perfect pieces (on Craig’s list maybe) to do the same in my home. Glad you are back Karen!

  13. Hurray for homemade jam and apple pie! Love the blue in your office. Your devotion basket is well supplied, but no kleenex?
    Funny how it feels good to take a break for blogging for a while, but how great it is to get back at it, too. blessings, k

  14. Good for you!!!!!! So glad you were able to refresh, spend time with God and your family!!! What a Blessing. And it’s good for us (blog readers) to see those that influence us take time out, just like Jesus did!

  15. One of the best parts about your sabbatical (and mine) was that I got to see you several times for three days straight!

    That jam looks very yummy to a very pregnant me :P

    God did some great things in and through my time of rest from blogging too. I haven’t written about it yet because God had me going in a different direction for my first post in August but I will be talking about it over the next few days.

    I want you to know that you have blessed me so very much in the short time we have been friends.

    More than words can adequately express so for now I’ll just say I love you and am praying for you as you implement the changes that God has brought to your attention.

  16. Thanks for the mention, Karen. Your office is beautiful and I love the basket idea. I’ll have to remember that in the fall. right now it’s too hot to sit and study outside. My hair would grow three times the size! Love you!

  17. Love the ‘God basket’! Reminded me that I used to do that too and had forgotten in the aftermath of a tidy up…going to look out my basket to put my ‘God pile’ in!

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