Monday, December 13, 2010

For a Limited Time Only.

I'm going to take a moment and be very vulnerable here. This is hard for me to share because, well, it just is. Money is tight right now, real tight. All the bills are paid, but there's nothing left, tight. And truly, there is no money for Christmas this year. There was no money last year either, but Todd's very generous parents helped us out tremendously. But we just don't feel we can ask again. We are facing a loss of my income at the beginning of 2011, which frankly scares me more than I can admit. When that fear strikes I immediately run to the Lord and ask Him to provide. And He always has. Today I believe he put this idea in my head. So, here goes:

From now until December 23, I will be offering a fabulous cake for purchase suggested donation.

A homemade, from scratch 4 layer, 8-inch round, chocolate ganache-filled cake with cream cheese frosting. It will look like the cake above with red and green decoration and either say "Merry Christmas!" or have only the swirly decorations. It will serve up to 16 people.

I guarantee it will be delicious. People who have tasted it say they would pay up to $60 for one. But I will be offering it for the pre-paid suggested donation of $40. (the ingredients alone cost $15) Call me, E-mail me, Facebook me or leave a comment here if you'd like to order one for your holiday gathering. Tell me how many you want, what date you will need it on, and whether you want it to say Merry Christmas or not. Be sure to leave your phone number so we can discuss delivery or pick-up of your cake. This is for local friends and family only, sorry I cannot deliver outside the metro Denver area.

Oh, and please spread the word.

My sweet friend, Nancy, who lives on the other side of the country from me decided she wants to donate a cake to someone in Denver. What an incredibly generous notion! I will find a family in need to give a cake to, a double blessing! So, if you live outside the Denver area and want to donate a cake to someone in need then go for it!


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Happy Heaven Day Daddy!

Today we marked 5 years since my Dad went home to be with Jesus. It seems like just yesterday I talked to him on the phone, and it seems like an eternity since I heard his voice. The {unlaundered} shirt of his, that I took home from my step-mom after the funeral, no longer smells of him, it just smells dusty. I used to bury my face in that shirt everyday, it was like getting a hug from him. I miss him. And so, I am reposting this story of him from 2 years ago.

The Blessing.

In loving memory of Niles Edward Haworth, Jr.
5/10/41 - 12/12/05

Years ago my father read the book, "The Blessing" by John Trent and Gary Smalley. I knew it effected his life, but not until [5] years ago today did I realize how much.

On this date, December 12, 2005 my father suddenly, unexpectedly died. He was out doing yard work and getting his garage ready to make wooden puzzles for his 3 new grandchildren. His wife called him at 5 o'clock to tell him she would be home shortly. He told her he wanted to quickly finish what he was doing before it got too cold. Less than 10 minutes later when she pulled around the corner to their home she saw him sprawled out on the driveway. She ran to him and tried to rouse him, but he breathed about 3 more times and was gone.

Earlier that summer, Dad had told me that he had a spiritual connection to his wife. Each morning when she was getting ready for work, he said, he slept right through, but when she pulled the door closed he instantly woke. He said it was like his spirit knew she had departed the house.

I believe that his spirit waited to depart his body until his wife was present.

That morning he had called my sister, more than half the nation away. She had recently had a baby and he hadn't yet seen pictures. He spent more than an hour on the phone with her talking and looking at pictures of his newborn grandson online.

The week before his death he was coming home from where he worked in Branson, Missouri and he made a point to stop by each of his aging relatives' homes, including his father, "because you never know when you won't see them again." He had stopped and talked with each one and taken pictures.

Three days before he died, he called me. At the time our family was living in Manila, Philippines. I remember distinctly that we talked, he talked to each of the children and after that he got back on the line with me. He told me he loved me. He told me he was proud of me and the way I was raising my family. And we said goodbye, like the kind of goodbye when you'll talk again next week or tomorrow if you want.

In that conversation my dad gave me "The Blessing". He had no way of knowing what was to come. There were no signs, no illness. But he made sure I knew of his love. And in that he could not have given me a better gift. For the rest of my life I will carry around the blessing he gave me. He could very well have left me wondering. He could very well have left things unsaid. He could have left me with the burden of past hurts. But, he chose, consciously, to bless me. What a precious gift that is to me.

My dad was not the perfect father, far from it. His faults and mistakes far outweighed his good points, and he had accepted that. But in the last years he strove to be better, do better, and love more. And he lived those years making ready for a day he knew would come but didn't know when. At the very end of his life he succeeded. He went out with a blessing and I am sure he received his blessing from Jesus Himself when he heard Him say, "Well done, good and faithful servant!"

Thank you Dad for loving me, and telling me so. I will try to give the same blessing to my children. I miss you and your long, boring, corny jokes. I miss talking to you each week. I love you. Hug Jesus for me, and my babies. Love, Karina


Thursday, December 9, 2010


I'm extremely shy. If you know me you might think this statement is ludicrous. I assure you it is not. Talking to people I don't know scares the pants off me. I have to psyche myself up to make phone calls about anything, insurance, repairs, even ordering things over the phone.

I describe myself as a dichotomy. And it's probably the best word I have ever come across to describe me. I'm extremely shy, and I'm very social. I love interacting with people, friends, loved ones, people I know and know well. But occasionally I get caught in a situation where I want to know the people I'm with better but I really don't know them well now. If I let my shyness rule, I would never get to know them, because, well, people who don't talk to other people don't get to know them or be known. Funny how that works, huh? To compensate for my shyness I try to remove my social filters. The trick is knowing how much filter to remove. It's a fine line between being charming and obnoxious. I rarely strike the balance there, much to my chagrin. Yes, when I try to put my shyness away it usually means I will be just a little bit over the edge into the land of obnoxious, not horrible but there!

My five year old son, Kevin, is just the opposite. Kevin does not have a shy bone in his body, not one. He has never met a stranger. It does not bother him in the least to order food for himself, or have a chat with anyone nearby, anywhere. He can did walk up to a homeless man in a wheelchair, grab the armrests and demand, "What's your name?" and moments later grabbed the poor man's stump and demanded to know how his leg broke off and if it happened today! In this, I recognize myself. Kevin has no social filters. No boundaries. There is no question too personal to ask. There is no subject too delicate to broach. In a five year old that quality can be endearing (to someone who loves and understands children), or it can be hugely annoying. It's not really that far off from my Mrs. Shy-awkwardness-trying-to-be-social-butterfly.

We may be opposites, but my dear son and I must both learn some better social skills!


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Some Thoughts on Sin.

I spent a good portion of my day wrestling with sin yesterday. Yes, yes, I did. It was all in my head, but understand that Jesus said that if you even think about sin, it's as if you've already committed it in your heart [Karina paraphrase]. That's rough. But it's so true.

As humans, our tendency is to hide sin, and when we are found out to blame anyone else we can, even God. That's exactly what Adam and Eve did in the garden. First they hid from God. Then, when God confronted them, Adam blamed Eve and he blamed God for giving him Eve! Eve turned around and blamed the serpent. Later in Genesis, Abraham lies about Sarah being his sister, when confronted by Abimelek he makes all kinds of excuses, including "I was scared because God sent me on this journey."

I made all kinds of excuses in my head yesterday, even talking to God about my sin I wanted to blame Him. But James is very clear, "When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death." (James 1:13-15)

It's hard to read that verse and not be confronted with the Truth of it. Yes, my sin was born of my own evil desires. My evil desires dragged my mind away from the truth about my life and marriage and gave birth to sin in my heart. Does it matter that it was only in my head? No. It was sin. And that kind of sin in my head can SO easily turn into sin in my flesh, putting my wants and desires above all else is dangerous on every level.

The worst thing you can do with sin... hide it. Let me tell you, it's really easy to hide the kind of sin I wrestled with yesterday, after all it was my own private thoughts. It's easy to convince yourself that it can't hurt anyone else. But it can, it does, it did. What's going on in my head makes me treat others differently. It makes me do stupid stuff, like fight with my husband, or covet something that isn't mine.

It seems lately that satan is really hitting hard on every front. Marriages are one of his biggest battle grounds. Marriage is God's allegory of the love between Jesus Christ and the Church. It isn't any wonder that he wants to destroy it. If satan can destroy the institution of marriage by destroying individual marriages, it will destroy not just something beautiful that God created to show His love for us, but he will take many souls in the process. The end of the battle is secure. God wins! But we aren't just fighting to survive. We are fighting to win. To win souls, that is. God would prefer that none perish. And that needs to be our goal too.

So for me, if I allow my sinful thoughts to eat away at, and erode the foundations of my marriage, I would lose something even more precious than my husband. I would lose the chance to live the allegory of Christ's love for His Church, for me. The only way to defeat sin is to confess it, which I did, both to God and to my husband (in a way that would not bring harm or hurt to him) The Truth is there is nothing wrong with my marriage. It's good. It's strong. We love each other, deeply. And by speaking that Truth, I can defeat the lies my own evil desires have created and on which the enemy has tried to capitalize.

Is my marriage perfect? Nope. Have my thoughts all been pure today? No. But, I have not wrestled with sin. I have taken each thought captive (2 Cor 10:5) and given it over to my heavenly Father, and told him that I do not want to go there. And He has been faithful to provide the strength I needed to stand up under the temptation I faced! (1 Cor 10:13)


Monday, December 6, 2010

Things Are Not Slowing Down.

Things are not slowing down anytime soon. Last week I was in rehearsals every night and stayed after rehearsals to help with the set. I spent my days homeschooling 4 boys.

This week I have several jobs to finish up at the teen drop-in center, Movement 5280. Homeschooling. Two concerts with the choir at assisted living facilities. Worship at Movement 5280 on Friday night, which will be a regular occurrence every couple of weeks from now on. Our annual Christmas tree hunt is coming up on Saturday, then we'll need to carve our time to decorate for the season, which also means cleaning house, a task that has long since fallen by the wayside.

This past weekend, in the midst of 4 performances of our Christmas musical I learned that a young friend of mine has been diagnosed with cancer. It sent me reeling. If this young woman who has a very healthy life-style can get cancer, then anyone can get it. There aren't any failsafes for avoiding it. I can already see God in the midst of her diagnosis, yet I still don't understand how or why.

Nevertheless, it's a reminder to enjoy the moments of life. I laid in bed last night, dog tired from lack of sleep and craziness, and listened to the sounds noise of my house. What I heard was the infectious laughter of my youngest giggling! I savored it. When we were helping friends move last night and the littles were being all kinds of mischievous, I gave them some cleaning wipes and set them to dust, and savored the cuteness of their 'helpfulness'! While my daughter pondered the unfairness of life, I savored holding her in my arms while we talked about it.

No matter how long I have left to live on this earth, I want to take every moment I can to appreciate what I've been given. Sure, I forget sometimes and let frustrations get the best of me. But as we pondered cancer this weekend in the midst of a busy schedule, that won't be slowing down anytime soon, the Holy Spirit helped me to remember to live in the moment.

And while I discussed my questions with my friend, she reminded me that God's ways are not our ways, and that this life is the little life. The big life is the one yet to come!