Love flames make marriage soar

Flames - 1

From small-town Okemah, Oklahoma to exotic hide-aways around the globe,
each year has brought new challenges and new adventures …
ever-increasing pleasure, joy, and love … years filled with “new.”

A life in crescendo.

Shanghai - 1

I have been honored to share those experiences with you since the day I met you.
May your year be filled with glacial joy, white-hot love,
Taj Mahal memorials, jewel-studded opportunities, and abundant blessings.
I truly adore you, my Beloved.
Happy Birthday!

My prayer

Father in heaven, thank You for Keith and his powerful love. Bless him with Your wisdom as he touches others for You. Give him favor with all the people he encounters. Thank You for this man who You prepared for me from the foundation of the world. May he please You and point others to You.

Love and marriage … the work of our Divine Artist

Pink Taj Mahal

God is the artist working in our marriage and in our lives – to create a love that never fails. He takes the rough stones and polishes them. He carves the designs and inlays the stones.

He inscribes His words, and dyes the letters, so that all can see.
My Beloved, you are an artist working in my life. You have given me a treasure chest as you have picked up my rough stones, polished them, and inscribed your love upon me. 

Thank you for your love. I cherish you.

My prayer:

Father, thank You for my Beloved husband. Through him, You have given me a glimpse of the intimacy of heaven. What a wonderful gift You have given to Your children and Your church. Thank You for Your love, a love that is so amazing that I cannot understand it or imagine it.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

God’s 5 promises in 2 verses … Psalm 84:11-12

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God’s light overshadows even the beauty of the Taj Mahal

For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
the Lord gives grace and glory.
No good thing does He withhold
from those who walk uprightly.
O Lord of hosts,
blessed is the one who trusts in You! Psalm 84:11-12

In these two short verses, we find promises for those who walk in God’s light:

  1. Light. God shows the way we should go.
  2. Shield. God provides His protection for His followers.
  3. Grace. God bestows His favor upon His children.
  4. Glory. God gives honor, a weightiness or fullness, to those He calls His own.
  5. Blessings. God creates a blessed state in the one who trusts in Him.

My prayer for you:

Lord, bless, I pray, Your dear children. Shine Your light on their paths and protect them with Your mighty shield. Pour out Your fullness upon them and keep them on Your righteous path. Lord of hosts, fill Your dear children with the blessing of great faith as they trust in Your great faithfulness. For You are our glory, our might, and our strength. We love you Lord.

5 things I’ve learned since the Lord healed me 2 years ago

Keith and Karen at the Taj Mahal. Impossible with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;
Who pardons all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases;
Who redeems your life from the pit,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;
Who satisfies your years with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle. Psalm 103:1-5

In the fall of 2010, I was at the end of my hope. I was on reduced work; my doctor was trying to get me to agree to go on disability, and he had recommended that I needed to think about resigning from my job. I knew that God had work for me to do in my current job, and I clung to that knowledge.

Yet, I just got worse.

On November 21, 2010, God miraculously healed me of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. That Sunday night, I took no pain or sleep medication. I slept through the night until 7:00 a.m. Even with medication, I had not had such a restful sleep in, perhaps, a decade.

Coincidentally, the next afternoon, I had an appointment with my doctor. My doctor, a dear Christian, listened, asked many questions, and then said, “This could be good, Karen. What do you want to do?”

I went back to work and am no longer on fibromyalgia medication.

Five things that I learned since the Lord’s healing:

  1. God requires a walk of true faith. Friends asked me if I was afraid to say that I was healed. What if this was the placebo effect, and two weeks later, I still had fibromyalgia. Jesus asked many people He healed to do the impossible, like the man with the withered hand–stretch out his hand.
  2. God creates opportunities to point people to Jesus. Because of my experiences, I am now able reach out to others in similar conditions and give them hope. This has occured in one-on-one conversations, opportunities to speak, and a Bible study on the promises of God, healing, and walking through chronic illness.
  3. God equips us for His plans. Without the healing, I would not have been able to accomplish what I am doing now, including accompanying my husband on study abroad courses. Each one has provided an opportunity to point students to Jesus.
  4. God has a sense of humor. I had to learn how to be well, and our first physical demonstration that I was well was on New Year’s Day. I ran on the San Diego beach flying a kite.
  5. God blesses His children beyond what we can think or imagine. No limitations. I had limited God. I did not realize the power of the promises in the Bible.

My prayer for you

Our Great Healer, You know the suffering that Your children are enduring. Thank You that You are carrying them through their valley and that You are in control of their lives. Draw Your children to a much deeper intimacy and knowledge of You as You work Your perfect will in their lives. Bring healing to their bodies and their souls. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, Bless His Holy Name!

What is the Lord teaching you as you walk with Him?

Artistry of Love: Taj Mahal


“Love is patient, love is kind … rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails … But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.“ 1 Corinthians 13:4-13

Last week, Keith and I visited the Taj Mahal , one of the seven wonders of the world. Shah Jahan’s third wife, Mumtaz Mahal, died giving birth to their 14th child. To show his great love for Mumtaz, Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal as a memorial to her. Semi-precious and precious stones were used in the inlaid artwork, and as many as 1,000 elephants transported the marble and other materials during the 22 years of construction.

Shah Jahan undoubtedly showed Mumtaz his great love for her when she was alive. Her original name was Arjumand Bano Begum, and Shah Jahan christened her as Mumtaz Mahal, meaning the “Chosen One Of The Palace” or “Jewel of the Palace.”

Such great love memorialized in 1653, and almost 4 centuries later, 2-4 million people visit this structure each year. Perhaps they think about Shah Jahan’s great love for Mumtaz, take photos, smile, maybe kiss their loved ones, and then go home to tell their families and friends about the beautiful Taj Mahal. Perhaps a few think about the nature of love.

An artistic work dedicated to the dead.

What if that artistry, that costly sacrifice of all that is precious, and those years of construction were replicated in my marriage—while my husband is alive?

An artist is patient; he is kind to the materials he uses; an artist rejoices in beauty, bearing the burden of the weight of construction; the artist believes that beauty will be the outcome; the artist hopes that others will see the beauty; the artist endures tedious work.

God is our great artist, and He is working in our marriage to create a love that never fails. He takes the rough stones and polishes them. He carves the designs and inlays the stones. He inscribes His words, and dyes the letters, so that all can see.

What artistic form is your love taking?

My prayer for you:
Our great Creator, You have created a kaleidoscope of colors, a bouquet of fragrances, a blanket of textures, and a symphony of hope. Thank you for your great artistry. Take our marriages and create a masterpiece of love that never fails, and we will give You the glory forever.