Sunday, April 5, 2015

Being vulnerable

Hi, my name is Karli and I have Crohn's disease. In case you don't know what Crohn's is, this is what Google said..."A chronic inflammatory bowel disease that affects the lining of the digestive tract." In other words, it wreaks havoc on your colon. I have chosen not to take the easy way out - taking a drug for the rest of my life and eating the same way I was before. I have chosen the hard way. The way that my body is healing itself from the inside eating extremely healthy. 

Tonight though was one of those times where I literally wanted to scream because the pain was so bad. This disease is embarrassing to me on a certain level. My body is doing things that I can't control and I hate that. I have no issues talking about it with others....but when you can't control certain functions that's a whole other story. Many days I just want to be home but I can't. 

I have no clue how well my colon is doing. Part of me wants to find out, but the other part doesn't want to have to go through a colonoscopy...although I should probably get one done within the next few years. It's not the most pleasant experience I've ever been through. 

When I am in so much pain I tend to cry out to God why. Many times over He points me to Psalm 34, and tonight was no exception. The beginning of the chapter starts out with praise, which was the furthest thing from my mind. By the end of the chapter though His praise was continually on my lips. 

Today in Bible Study we read in Exodus 34 about Moses' face being radiant after He talked with God. Only one other Person was seen having a radiant face and that was Jesus Christ. When you read Psalm 34 though, as a believer, I have the opportunity to be radiant if I look to Him. I love the fact that God used pain to draw the parallel between these passages and be able to apply it to my life.

At the end of the chapter this verse comes along...."Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all." It doesn't say that I won't have afflictions, but if I am found righteous in God's eyes, then the trials....and pain....I go through aren't gone through alone but with God beside me. There is rest on the other side and peace and that can only be found in Him alone. 

Tonight probably won't be the last time I feel that pain, but I know I can face it and weather the storm because of what Christ did on the cross for me. This is a day of celebration for Christians everywhere. Christ rose from the grave!!!! He is alive! I serve a risen Savior! When I get my eyes off of me and my pain/problems, I truly can praise the Lord for what He has done for me as well as will do for me and for who He is. The great I AM.

Saturday, November 29, 2014


Fear, anxiety, trepidation, denial, acceptance - these were emotions that were rolling through me 5 years ago today. The Saturday after Thanksgiving Dad had a seizure and was told that he can't drive again until he goes 6 months without having another seizure. I was going through my journal and came across this: "I'm scared. Dad didn't know he was looking at the wrong remote tonight and got frustrated because he couldn't find the right button. I'm scared because my future for 6 months looks really bleak and dim. I'll be Dad's chauffeur and it could also mean I watch him deteriorate before my eyes. I don't want to be selfish. I want to give of myself fully to others and God. I want to come out of this trial stronger and more like Christ."

We didn't know that weekend would be the last one that our family was all together. In God's kindness we got family pictures taken on Friday. Dad had his seizure and was hospitalized on Saturday. Unfortunately that was the last time Greg and my nieces saw dad/ a hospital, hooked up, with no doctor having seen him for several days. (I just realized that.)

This will sound strange to some, but looking back I wouldn't want anything done differently. Oh, yes, I miss my dad immensely, but to know that he is no longer in pain and has started his eternity praising God is a far better life than suffering here on this earth. I believe my family came out stronger and much closer to God because of this trial. I praise Him for that.

I've done a lot of reflecting this weekend. I really miss spending the holidays with my family. Over the last several years I've missed out a lot on that, however, my family literally spans the globe now. I don't even know how many families I've become a part of because of their desire to spread Christ's love to me. I'm humbled that God would want to bless me, His child, with not only His love, but the love of others.

I have so much to be thankful for. Unfortunately I am not always searching that out in my day to day life. I'm thankful for the body of Christ and that we are one in Him. I'm thankful for forgiveness of sins. I'm thankful that my sins were literally put on Christ when He suffered for me on the cross. I'm thankful that my God is not like any other god in this world, in that He is seeking after me and truly desires His best for me. I'm thankful that Christ wasn't left on the cross, but is alive, seated at the right hand of the throne of God. I'm thankful that in spite of all my insecurities, my identity is not found in myself, but in the fact that I am a child of God. He alone is my identity and I can stand firm in that.

I'm thankful for the little things....socks, a roof over my head, heat (that's a big one as we head back in to winter), the fact that I only have 2 pairs of jeans and they haven't worn out yet because I wear them all week long, affordable food for my diet, Christmas music, books on my bookshelf, sunshine, taking food to a neighbor who stood there speechless that someone cared about him that much, scarves for short haired people, and so on.

I'm sure many of you have, but take time to reflect on all that you have to be thankful for. But don't just do it once every year, it should be a daily thing. For without thankfulness, I believe that what Christ has done on the cross will not be that big a deal to those who rejoice in it.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

You're hired!

There was once a girl who needed a job. Oh wait, that would be me. I have been searching for a job for over 6 months now. In other posts I've mentioned that I've been looking at administrative assistant positions because that's what I know to do.

So - here's a story... I sent out my resume to local businesses here in Tyler. One day I had turned the news on and saw a commercial about a furniture consignment shop. I was thinking how fun it would be to work there, but that will never happen.

I went to a staffing agency to hook me up with a, you guessed it, admin assistant job. After that I decided to stop by the consignment shop just to see if it would be a place I would want to work at. I asked if they were hiring and the owner told me that I'd be working on Saturdays. I was a little bummed, but thought it would be a cool side job - get my foot in maybe for something else down the line. Plus I'm at a place in life where I could work 6 days a week.

A few days later I went to my first interview since high school - needless to say I was one nervous wreck. The interview went way better than I thought it would. One thing they didn't like that they told the staffing agency was that I had moved around a lot. Totally understandable, but I was thinking why they didn't just address that with me in the interview.

Throughout the next week I went to several more interviews. I was offered a temp job that was lucrative if it would have extended to full time, but I did not want a temp position. I didn't feel right taking the job, but once I said a final no, I felt absolute peace.

I had another interview for a position that was not something I wanted to do. I mainly went just for the practice plus you never know what could happen. After the interview I called the staffing agency and told them that if I was offered the job I would take it. I mainly did this because it was a full time job and I needed a full time job. That weekend I wrestled with that decision. I called the staffing agency on Monday as soon as they opened and left a message that I did not want that job.

I interviewed that Monday morning with another staffing agency to help find me a job. After leaving that I felt good that this particular person actually got to know me and understood what I was looking for and why. Later that day I got a call from Kate Kombos of Rega of Paris (furniture store) asking if I would like to do an interview. I said sure. Tuesday morning I went to Rega of Paris for an interview for a Saturday job. In the midst of the interview I'm told that I would have Tuesdays off, so I would be working Monday and Wednesday through Saturday. I just stared at Kate and didn't say a word. I had no earthly clue that when she told me I'd be working Saturdays that she was talking about a full time job. She said she would call my references, asked me when I could start, and told me she would call me later that afternoon.

Well, the afternoon came and went and I thought that she wouldn't be calling and had resigned myself to not working there at all. Then the call came....she offered me the job if I wanted it. OF COURSE I DO!!! I have been wanting a job that doesn't require me to sit behind a desk all day and work on a computer. I've been wanting a job that allows me to use my hands. I've been wanting a job where I stand for most of it. I've been wanting a job where I can learn about furniture. I told my friend down here that there was no way I would get a job like that. She threw that back at me after I accepted this position.

I must say, it is weird to have my work week split up like it is, but I have been getting used to it and sort of like it. Kate told me that she doesn't expect me to stay with her for forever, but at least give her a couple of years. Honestly, I see myself giving her more than a couple, but we'll see what other adventures God has in store for me. For now, I don't really have a title, I have to remind myself where I work when answering the phone as I automatically want to say Hanalani Upper School, I don't really have a lunch break - which I actually love, I get to work with furniture every day, and it's like a treasure hunt when new items are brought in, which is every single day.

There are some crazy things in the store, but that's what I love about it. It's constantly changing and it's exciting to see people come in and find something they absolutely love and can't live without. So, if you're ever in Tyler, TX you need to stop in and see me at Rega of Paris across from Walmart on Broadway! I'll welcome you to the store, but don't worry, you'll still recognize me because I'm the one that doesn't have a southern accent.

I'm still awed by the fact that God took delight in me and gave me a job like this. I have bruises in weird places on my legs from work, but I wouldn't trade it for the world right now.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Who wants a car?

There was once a girl who needed a car. Oh, that girl would be me. Once I moved to Tyler, I immediately started looking for a vehicle. Then the family I live with went on vacation and so I borrowed their second vehicle to get out and about. I was going to borrow their second vehicle when the dad went to Italy for a little over a week but the day right before he left we found out he needed to use the vehicle to get to the airport, which is 2 hours away.

That was a Thursday. I came home and scoured over craigslist for something. A mechanic here told me what make to look for, so I was focusing my efforts on those. I had been searching for a SUV for around $4000, but people kept telling me it wasn't going to be possible to find that. So, I resigned myself to the fact that I was going to be buying a car.

I was trying to work around the family's schedule so Friday was the day we were able to go out and actually look and test drive cars. I called a guy about a car and left a voice mail. When he called me back he had just sold it. He asked me what I was looking for, so I told him and he said that he had another car for me so we arranged for us to go to his car lot later that afternoon.

When we pulled into the lot my heart kind of sank as I knew which car this guy had in mind. However, I told myself that I needed a car and it was in my price range, so just go with it. The guy went to get the key to unlock it so I could take it for a spin. He spent a good 3 minutes trying to unlock the car with the key, but had no luck. I went to look at the other vehicles he had and came back when I noticed he had walked away. He went inside to get a lock out kit. You see, the door wouldn't open even with the key and the passenger side door didn't have a keyhole anymore - just a hole.
He asked me to help him by holding my hands in such a way that I would cut the glare.

At this point I didn't want to suggest trying to go through the trunk....mainly because this car obviously needed a little more work done! At this point I asked him if he had other vehicles at a certain price range and he did. I didn't want leather and this next vehicle he showed me had it. At this point I was done with him. We all got back in the car (because the kiddos came along for the ride) and started driving with no real plan. My friend and I realized we had seen at least one car lot on the way so we took off in search of it.

We were going to make a night of car searching and go out for supper in the midst. We stopped at the car lot we had first seen and pulled in...only to not be able to move. The small lot was packed with cars. I got out and approached a guy asking if he worked there. Immediately he gave off a vibe that said "Oh, you're a woman, you don't know anything." I told him what I had and was not willing to budge one bit and he made a few comments about that.  I allowed him to show me one car, said no, thanked him for his time, then got out of there. We drove past another one, but nothing jumped out at me. At this point I was a little frustrated, but I needed to get a car - how would I get to church on Sunday or to my interview on Monday morning?

We drove by another car lot and noticed that the Open sign was on, so we stopped. I saw a few cars that were what the mechanic had told me to look at and was relieved that they were in my price range. Just because, I walked down to where the SUVs were located at and saw a Toyota 4Runner sitting there. It was priced somewhere between $4500 and $5000. I went in search of the guy who worked there and found him in the little shack with a customer. When the customer walked out, I told him that I had $4000 cash on me and needed to buy a vehicle today. I then asked if he would consider taking $4000 for the 4Runner - expecting him to say no. He sat there and hemmed and hawwed for a little bit, then said yes. WHAT?!

He gave me the keys and I took it out - to get gas. The gas light was on and I prayed the entire way to the gas station. On my way there, I knew this was my car. I got back, told him I wanted it, and we shook on it. I left it there overnight because he said he was going to pay for the inspection - wow! The family took me back the next day to pick it up. One thing I was planning on for Monday was getting it registered. When I picked it up for good, the guy made a comment and I said, what? I didn't realize that the registration was part of the $4000 package....EVERYTHING was included!
She's all mine!
 I'm still in shock. I was thinking the car was tan, but it's silver. This lot was on the side of the road in the dirt and trees and it was reflecting the color of the dirt. It makes a noise when it reaches 50. The antenna is not on it. The clock doesn't work. There's a crack in the dashboard plexiglass. Minor issues! It will get me to and from work, church, and the grocery store. I am so amazed at the kindness of my great and awesome God. This vehicle is totally His, bought with His money. I desire to use it totally for His glory. I'm anxious to see what He will do with it.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Culture Shock, Ya'll

Um, I'm not in Kansas anymore, Toto!

Everyone says ya'll.

People are seriously, REALLY friendly. Makes me wonder what they want.

Boots. They. Are. EVERYWHERE! and rather expensive too.

The clothing choices in certain stores down here - camo, fringe, bejeweled everything.

When people speak, one syllable becomes two, two becomes three, and so on.

Obama bumper stickers aren't actually for Obama.

There aren't any hicks here, they're just all rednecks. (The redneck I live with will confirm this.)

It's totally easy to get into an accident with the way they do traffic flow at stop lights here. Not at all what I have ever seen. Gotta remember - turn left on a green arrow NOT a green light. So confusing!

Strangers talk to each other - like they are interested in what the other person does/is doing. I was at a car fix-it shop when these two men just started chatting it up.

There's a Sonic on every other corner.

Church's Chicken is real - remember that phone clip that was going around back in the early 2000's?

I have never seen so many Baptist churches in one city, ever!

There's a Robert E. Lee high school in this here town in the south.

At this one grocery store they don't ask if you want help out to your car, they just do it - and you don't have to tip them. 

Cowboy hats aren't just for wearing during a Western Theme - they wear them every day.

The news anchors and local commercials all have people with accents on them.

When I visited a church and the lady found out I came from Chicago I thought she was going to have a heart attack. She was very sweet and said - "Oh, you poor thing, this has got to be incredible culture shock for you!" It's not like I haven't gone through culture shock how many times in my life now!

Coming from Chicago where people honk at you if you don't hit the accelerator as soon as the light turns green....everyone around here seems to drive slow, as in slower than the speed limit. I'm constantly checking to see if I am speeding, but I'm not.

Food is cheaper here than in the last many places I've lived. Finally!!!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Not your typical move

This is not your typical move....OK, I should reword that phrase...this is not my typical move. You see, the normal American moves within the 48 states...normally. You get a few people who move up to Alaska or HI and then there's always the military going all over the world...but for us little people...

Well, you see, it's like this. Within the last 10 years my moves have been across the ocean. Yep, you read that right....across the OCEAN. I am quite good at shipping my life via the USPS in a timely manner. These moves have also required me to have to fly. Going by car or boat just isn't an option. Now, these flights that I take have meal options - granted, now-a-days you have to pay for most of them, but still, it's an entire meal. These flights also have movies - at least 2 movies and then a few hours of regular TV. Unless you're somehow special and get a behind the seat entertainment system or a handheld one from Hawaiian Airlines (which I wasn't that special...or didn't want to pay the extra cost). At one point I was allowed to take up to 70lbs for international flights, but that has been changed to 50lbs - which, thankfully, is the same as domestic flights.

I also have a place and job waiting for me. Then there's getting used to the new time zone that takes a few days. A little cultural adjustment happens whether it's seeing a bunch of brown people everywhere or feeling like a minority in a sea of white people...and reminding myself that I am a white!

This move - it's totally not the norm for me. Like, at all. I'm flying domestic - what is that? It's only costing me less than $120....which there's normally one more zero in that number and it's not at the beginning! I'm going to be shipping a few food items that most people don't even know what these items are used for that I use on a regular basis. I'm trying to figure out what to take and what can wait until I actually get my own place. I'm moving in with a family (which I've been assured of I'll fit right in) that has small children. 

I don't have a job. I need a car. I won't be able to get a license until I'm established with my own place. (Praise the Lord for HI licenses that expire 9 years after they've been issued!) Oh, and my flight time between two airplanes is a total of 2 hours and 35 minutes. That's a typical layover time. I'm also going to the same time zone. So my morning will really be my morning and my nighttime will really be my nighttime. In theory I won't be getting hungry or tired at the wrong time of the day!

There will be no in-flight entertainment, at least overhead. Some Southwest Airline flights have streaming to devices, which I'm hoping will be my flights, but I highly doubt it. I will be getting a free drink (I only drink water) and a bag of peanuts or pretzels (which I can't eat anyways) because the flight isn't long enough to serve meals. I won't know what to do with myself on these flights! I'll just be getting into the groove of my inflight routine and we'll be landing already...which I have no problem with at all!

Then there's the issue of my stuff. How am I going to eventually get it all down to wherever I'm living? I don't have an answer for that, but my all-knowing God does and I gladly leave that in His hands. I'm not going to lie, there have been times when I've just looked at my stuff and said, "What in the world do I take?!" Thankfully it's not like I'm moving across the ocean or anything.....

Thursday, May 22, 2014

In Short, I'm Moving

The last time I wrote a post I had a friend message me on Facebook and said "Come live in my extra room for free" and then at the end of the message she said "PS I mean that" - um, ok. I was thinking, this is what she's said before, however, this time seemed different. When I was in Uganda, she told me I should come visit, if not move down to where her family lived and go to her church. A job would eventually come. 

You see, all this time I haven't been wanting to be a secretary, but it's all I know how to do in order to move to some other place. So, what do you think I've been searching for these past months? A secretarial position in a warm state. Last week I was especially frustrated, particularly as I was filling out an application for a job I know I didn't want. Seriously, the entire time I was filling it out I kept telling myself to stop, but I like to finish what I start. 

Then I get this message and it seriously seemed like God was talking to me. I've been reading a book titled "Discerning the Voice of God" by Priscilla Shirer. I had picked this book up a couple of months back and thought, I should read this since I am trying to figure out what the next step is. Funny thing is, I put the book away for a bit. I finally go around to reading it, but not faithfully like I wanted to. I picked it up again on Monday and these last few chapters have really hit home for me during this particular time. Especially the chapter I read today, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

I told this friend that I've been seriously thinking about moving in with them, but haven't had any direction in that way particularly...until I read the message Tuesday morning. Then the floodgates opened. I told her that I eat a certain way, not the typical American fare. Thinking that this would be a game changer, she throws something at me out of left field - she wants me to help teach her how to eat healthier - pretty much the exact way I eat. I about fell out of my chair. 

I wanted to make sure her husband was ok and he didn't hesitate on being cool with it, as long as I am looking for a job. Oh yeah, no problem there!

On Tuesday afternoon I sought the Scriptures to see if there was any direction/peace about this. I did pray specifically for a plane ticket that was $100 or less. Well, I found one....Spirit Airlines. I would not recommend this airline to anyone unless you are only taking the world's smallest carry on. They were selling a seat for $84. Bingo I thought. Then I searched for baggage fees....that added up to $55 for two pieces of luggage, plus the world's smallest carry on. Um, no thanks since that was only a few dollars short of what I found on Southwest.

I didn't purchase a ticket that day mainly because I still didn't have complete peace that this was the right thing to do. That night my sister called and I ended up telling her about this possibility. She said that it was obvious that God was in this for sure with the way He was laying it all out for me. I was getting a little excited, but this has happened before and then it doesn't pan out.

Wednesday comes along and I'm still talking back and forth with my friend and she asked me if I was coming since the way I was talking sounded like it. I had told my mom the same thing, but I really wanted confirmation from the Bible that this is what God wanted me to do. I believe that if we make a decision, it needs to be backed up biblically - sure fire way that God is in it.

I asked my friend a few more questions and was blown away by the answers she was giving me. It was a clear sign to me that God's best was for me to move to Tyler, TX. I couldn't really believe this was happening.

Thursday, I was reading in the book I mentioned above and the chapter was titled, "Yes, Lord." When we hear the voice of God, we are to obey immediately. She talked about Abraham and his testing - God told him to take Isaac up the mountain to be his sacrifice. Abraham had no idea why, didn't ask questions, he just did. Earlier in his life God told him to go without any clear direction and Abraham went. This was me. God is telling me to go without any clear direction beyond that and being His child I need to obey. I don't know what's in store for me, but I'd rather follow God's leading than do what I was doing and would continue to do here.

I then looked up ticket prices and the date and time I was going to go had a price hike of $20. No big deal, right? Wrong - especially when you don't have a job. So the Lord nudged me to look at the whole webpage again and I saw something that showed the cheapest flights per day. I clicked on it and found a ticket priced $118. That's it....with 2 free bags and a carry on that I know I can take on a Southwest plane. (FYI, flying on a Tuesday is the cheapest day of the week to fly. You're welcome.)

So, I am officially moving to Tyler, TX. No, I do not have a job or a car. Yes, I do have money for a car. Instead of leaving in just a little over 2 weeks, I got a cheaper ticket to fly a week later. There are a lot of I don't knows, but I need to take things one day at a time and commit absolutely everything to prayer. I also need to make sure that I am allowing myself to hear my God when He speaks to me. 

Thank you to those who have been praying for me, I still need those prayers as I now have a little direction. 

No distrust made him [Abraham] waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.
Romans 4:20-25