Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricanes and Mother-in-Laws

"Before the storm"
Ocean Grove on the Jersey Shore

© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.
Well here we are... again.  A hurricane/superstorm is here in New Jersey.  Of all things they named it the same name as my Mother-in-law.  It's unfair or maybe a test of my faith.  I found my peace a few months ago.  She's not controlling, just anxious.  Who am I to judge?  My husband said, "Look honey my Mom is coming to visit on Monday."

My heart started to pound, back spasmed, "Whaaat?"

"She's in the News."

Oh of course, it's ok.  I can breathe.  We laughed together.

I took this photo last summer.  I wonder if the cross will stand up to Sandy.  The old wooden cross is just a symbol really.  Zephaniah 3:17 promises God Himself is in our midst.  Especially when we're scared.  Or maybe we pay more attention to His presence when we're scared.  This is a scary storm.  It's huge and our state is the front door for it to move into the midwest.  My heart goes out to the millions of people in New York.  NYC is cramped.  We have lots of open space that the city doesn't.  I really appreciate all the prayers for us.  Even the candidates are stopping to help out and pray.  Thank you.

One person said the lack of campaigning is a gift from God : )  Maybe so.  We are weary of all the negative ads.

As I was anxiously praying about the storm Zephaniah 3:17 came to mind.  God will never leave us nor forsake us.  He is mighty to save.  For hurricane Irene I sang Kumbaya as the wind pounded the big trees outside.  "Come by here my Lord, come by here."  I will probably be singing again this year.

Dear Heavenly Father,
I pray You will comfort and guide us through this storm.  Please change this mighty storm to a wisp of wind.  Let it go out to sea where no one will be hurt.  You are mighty to save.  Comfort us in our fear and help us remember Your Word.  You are always with us.
In Jesus Name, Amen

I don't know how long we'll have power.  I wanted to get this out before we're in the dark.  The worst for us is supposed to be tonight and tomorrow morning.  My battery operated gadgets are charged.   Camera ready.  May God bless us one and all.   I'll keep praying : )

I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.  
Psalm 27:13

Last night I prayed they wouldn't forget us and leave us in the dark.  This morning I woke up to a helicopter outside the window : )  It was the National Guard checking in on us.  We got our power today (11-4-12) after 4pm.  Thank you so much for prayers.  God bless!  Karen  
P.S.  Still more prayers and work to do for others.  God will guide me.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

We can do it!

This morning I was making pot roast in the Crockpot. I do my best thinking while my hands are busy hahaha.  Cooking is a necessity for me, not something I really enjoy.  When my husband smiles, it makes me happy.  I have collected several quick fix, nutritious recipes (I might post some on the side of my blog).

As I sliced carrots and celery, I was thinking about our economy.  I mentioned working for The Boeing Company before.  The upcoming defense contract cuts are going to raise unemployment and can cause some serious damage in the states.  There was a time when Seattle lost so many jobs a billboard was put up which read, "Will the last one out turn off the lights please?"

So, Romney is right, investing in defense helps in more ways than just military status.  The fact that Seattle and Boeing, are still here  is a good reminder that our stubborn, hard-working people are survivors.  We've been here before and we'll get through this.  Remember Rosie the Riveter?  This was used in World War II and still inspires me.  Yeah!  I know God, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."  Philippians 4:13

"Rosie the Riveter"
National Park Service
I keep thinking about Savings Bonds too.  When I was at Boeing we had the option to purchase Savings Bonds through our paychecks.  They are great.  We were able to move from Seattle, WA to New Jersey with the money I'd saved.  Plus it puts money back into our National Treasury.  It was started by Franklin D. Roosevelt, in 1935, and contributed billions of dollars to offset the costs of World War II.  Parents could buy a $25 bond for children, put them aside, and have some college  or wedding money for the kids when they grew up.  I would love to see our government focus on these again rather than hospital fines or insurance.  These fines could bring more unemployment to the healthcare industry.

Unemployment is hard on people.  Even though I've graduated from NYIP, at age 52, I catch myself feeling unemployed.  It's different from business for sure, much more relaxing and satisfying.  The truth is I have a career, just need to keep at it.  I've earned some money so far.  "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."  Philippians 4:13

My heart goes out to those who are unemployed.  I know what it is to have to look through the Want Ads one more time, each day.  I contracted a lot, which meant lots of searching between jobs.  It's not fun.  God hasn't forgotten you, He has a plan.  You are not a failure, just out of work.  Never give up.  We all need to think new thoughts, and come up with creative ideas for careers these days.  One guy started a snow shoveling business.  He was out of work and got busy shoveling.

3 cheers for the cheerleaders who are putting up banners with Bible verses on them, at football games!  That's great!  It seems God is getting His Word out in all sorts of places : )  They never thought they couldn't do it, so they did.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Trust issues

"Wonder what the little butterfly is thinking..."
© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.

I heard that the winner of the VP debate last night was Joe Biden's dentist.  He grinned and laughed the whole time, interrupting Paul Ryan.  I had to admit the dentist did do a great job : )  His teeth were white and straight.  American humor strikes again.  My husband and I tried to watch the debate but we'd seen too much of these antics in the last four years.  Nothing new there.  We went to bed early.

I was thinking today about how on earth we'll get through this time.  Then I remembered Proverbs 3:5-6.  It's good for us to think about things and figure it all out.  But at the end of the day, it's really the Lord who gives the best advice, knows all and sees all.  Nothing gets past Him.  I need to trust Him that whatever happens next, He will direct us and guide us in the right direction.  I'll continue to pray for wisdom about the candidates.  Another month and the elections will be over.

I chose this photo because it reminded me of how bugs, birds, and most animals know exactly where to go for food.  God has given them instincts to go where they need to during the seasons.  I believe this is called a "Butterfly bush."  But the bumblebees seem to like it too.  God's given us a pretty good set of instincts too, when we're trusting in Him.

Feel free to comment if you like : )

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


When I worked in business, one of my roles was to lead teams to come up with system requirements to automate Boeing, a large defense and aerospace company.  I was there for ten years.  My Mom used to ask, "You lead teams of men?  How can you do that?"

Quite honestly, I needed to earn money.  But the truth about good leadership is that it requires listening to the team.  There was no way I could tell the team how to do their jobs.  But with faith, and prayer, I was able to ask the right questions and document requirements.  I always got the job done.  The guys lovingly called me, "Mad dog."  It still makes me laugh because I have a high pitched squeaky voice and am not the mad dog type hahaha.

I never forgot how effective listening is in leadership.  It's about standing up against rudeness and letting everyone have a say.  It's about allowing the experts to come up with world class ideas (without killing each other).  People really appreciate that.  At one point one of the guys said, "Why don't we just say we did this and don't?"

I panicked and prayed.  The words spilled out of my mouth, "This is America, with freedom comes responsibility.  We owe it to our managers to do the job right."

One of the guys stood up and said, "We shouldn't even be asking such a question."

I envisioned the American flag waving in the conference room.  We went on to finish the job.

What made me feel successful was when I saw the pride on the faces of my team members as we finished projects and solved problems.  I was just the facilitator for these guys.

So when I heard Romney, in the debate, say he would reach across the aisles in Congress.  And allow people to speak, I smiled.  Obama insisted you have to tell people what to do.  But I know the difference between dictating and disabling, and allowing people to do the job.  I've seen it first hand.  The agenda must be clear.  The details need to be sorted out by our Representatives, Senators and the President.  This is America, with independence comes responsibility.  They owe it to our people to represent us well, listen to us and do a good job.

The story of how Jesus fed the 5000 is a great example of leadership.  Naturally Jesus is the best all-time leader.  He always included the disciples.  They needed to learn the truth so they could carry on with His work to build the Church.  Also, God has always loved people.  He became the sacrifice for our sin.  It makes sense He would want to be with people face to face.  The only time He didn't bring the disciples along was when He was crucified.

John 6 

1…Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. 2  And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick. 3 Jesus went up on  the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. 4 Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. 

5 Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” 6 He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. 7  Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.”
It makes me wonder if Jesus heard tummies growling or if He just knew they were hungry.  He always knows what we need even if it's not exactly what we want.

8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, 9 “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?” 10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.”  Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number. 11 Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted
He listened to ideas.  He provided their needs and there were leftovers!  Jesus started small with 5 loaves and 2 fish.  There are many uncertainties in our world today.  But, we can be sure Jesus will supply our needs.   Nothing is impossible for Him.

12 And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” 13 So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten. 14 When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!” 15 Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.
Becoming a human king wasn't Jesus' agenda.  He became the King of Kings, our Savior.  He didn't allow His agenda to be changed.

Feel free to comment if you like : )

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


"Memories of my Grandma"
© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved. 

Guess I'm not the only one going bonkers over the elections this year.  I just saw an ad from JetBlue. They are offering free flights out of the country, if our candidate doesn't win the election : )  One thing I love about the USA is the sense of humor.  

We agree budgets need to be cut.  All the nations seem to be struggling with their economies.  Our President will be making military budget cuts, before the soldiers come home.  Sometimes my mind goes into a loop trying to understand the thought processes.  Bring them home and no budget cuts will be necessary...  Maybe I'm too simplistic.  My husband yells at football on TV.  I yell at the politics.  The cats go upstairs and sleep... err hide? 

I had a hard time sleeping last night, worrying about the future of the world.  Oy!  God has a plan and I need to keep the faith.  His shoulders are way more capable of carrying the weight of the world than mine.  This morning I prayed again for the military, and all these verses came to mind.  Guess He knew I needed to quit worrying!

Isaiah 43
18 Do not remember the former things,
Nor consider the things of old.
19 Behold I will do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert.

I shouldn't dwell in the past.  Yesterday is gone.  I don't want to miss the new stuff today.  I can shoot photos on the same trail and come up with something new everyday.

Matthew 6
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
13 Do not lead us into temptation.
But deliver us from the evil one.
Focus on today.  Make it the best today ever.  I thank God for all we have today.

34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Tomorrow isn't here and what I do today, will impact tomorrow.  I need to get some paintings done.  Gotta keep shooting those photos.  Still praying for Israel and the military.

My Grandma was good at keeping busy.  She watched sports while knitting, crocheting, or tatting.  One game on the TV, another on the radio.  She was born in 1896. I don't remember seeing her worried.  She didn't seem to have time for that.  Yet, she experienced some real adventures in her life.  The first man on the moon, a world war, the depression, the first TV sets, the hippies...    

Jeremiah 29
11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Things will work out for us too.  Here on earth, or in Heaven.

Feel free to comment if you think of something : )