About Karen Jordan

Karen Jordan encourages others to tell the stories that matter most as an author, speaker, writing instructor, and blogger at karenjordan.net. A native Texan, Karen now resides in Arkansas with her husband, Dan, near their two children and seven grandchildren.

Melissa Wootton Phillips, 1962-2015

Remembering our friend and her godly legacy: ” … a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise” (Prov. 31:30-31).

iB2 News

Melissa PhillipsSpringfield | A faithful and remarkable servant of Jesus Christ went home Thursday night. Melissa Wootton Phillips died July 2 after battling cancer for almost a year. During that time she continued to serve Illinois Baptists admirably in her capacity as Associate Executive Director of the Church Cooperation Team of the Illinois Baptist State Association (IBSA).

“Melissa’s service to the Lord, and to the churches and staff of IBSA over the past 35 years, has been truly immeasurable,” said IBSA Executive Director Nate Adams. “Her professional competence and sacrificial work ethic were always wonderfully complemented by her sweet spirit and servant heart. Whether it was managing finances, personnel policies, our major building renovation, our IBSA camps, or a host of other operations, Melissa served IBSA tirelessly and with great integrity.”

Melissa is survived by her husband, Doug, and two daughters, Laura (who is married to Caleb Adams) and Melinda (who…

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Arkansas Women Bloggers Conference #AWBU 2014

StoryWriting Studio

Talya Tate Boerner and Dorothy JohnsonTalya Tate Boerner & Dorothy Johnson

Interested in connecting with other women bloggers in Arkansas? 

Arkansas Women Bloggers will hold their Fourth Annual Conference, #AWBU 2014, at the Embassy Suites NWA (479-254-8400) in Rogers, Arkansas, September 5–7, 2014.

I highly recommend #AWBU 2014I think #AWBU might be one of the best-kept secrets in Arkansas. I attended #AWBU 2013, and we had a blast! I especially enjoyed connecting (and re-connecting) with other bloggers here in Arkansas.

Here are some helpful links #AWBU 2014 if you’re interested. 

Logo/AWBU#AWBU 2014
#AWBU 2014 Registration
#AWBU 2014 Speakers
#AWBU 2014 Sessions
#AWBU 2014 Foodie Friday

I hope to see you at #AWBU 2014!

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Did you attended #AWBU 2013? PLEASE tell us about your experience in a comment below.

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Linda Miller: Wasting Time

Photo/KarenJordan

Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? (Luke 12:25)

Wasting Time

Why do you worry?
Why do you fret?
It is easy to see
You’re not dead yet!

What can you gain
By worry and strain?
Why fill each day
With unwanted pain?

If all of your plans
Slip through your hands.
Then maybe your schemes
Are unworthy dreams.

It isn’t your life
You are living you know.
It is only borrowed
For your time here below.

Dream all you can,
But before you pursue,
Pray to the Father
His Will to show you.

All of your blessings
Are His to bestow.
His Plan is better
Than any we know.

He will fill you with peace
In the darkest of storms;
He will wrap you in Love
And protect you from harm.

So take each day
As the Gift it is.
And never forget
Your life is all His.

Linda Tracy Miller
LLTM © 5-16-2012

Photo/LindaMiller

Linda Miller lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, where she recently retired from the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. Linda is a widow, a mother of four children, and she has eight grandchildren. Besides family, she loves God, music, and words. Her purpose for being is to share glimpses of glory, to brighten the lives of those around her, and to affirm that God knows best even when we don’t understand.
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Photo2/LindaMiller
 
What are you worrying about today?
 

Discover Blessings in Your Own Backyard

Sometimes we’re unaware of the blessings that exist right in our own backyards.

The call. When asked to speak on the topic “A Fresh Glimpse of God When …” at the Balboa Baptist Church ladies luncheon, I thought of the series of articles that I’d just posted on my blog. I wanted to capture some of my thoughts as I observed a doe with her fawn right in my own backyard.

“What a blessing, ”I thought, “to be able to share this experience with some other Christian women in my community.”

At times, my life as a writer can cause me to feel a little isolated and lonely, as I sit in my writer’s cave day after day with very little face-to-face contact with the real world. So, I’m always excited for the opportunity to meet some new friends, especially since I still feel like a stranger in my new community.

The scene. The event planner asked me to arrive a few minutes early, and I expected to find a few ladies making the last-minute preparations for their luncheon. Instead, I greeted a friendly neighbor with a smile and a beautiful Hawaiian lei. As she placed the lei around my neck, she introduced herself, welcomed me, and guided me to the event planner.

Through the glass doors of their banquet room, I observed tables set up for the expected 150 guests, decked out with festive flowers and colorful decorations. A grass hut with beach decorations stood on the speaker’s platform. And most of the ladies there wore festive dresses; some even had flowers in their hair.

My hostess offered to help me distribute my handouts and introduced me informally to some of her friends. And as the luncheon began, I found myself engaged in an interesting conversation with the ladies at my table.

As Hawaiian music played in the background, we all enjoyed the tropical meal, served by several men dressed in Aloha Hawaiian shirts.

After our meal, a ladies trio sang “Blue Hawaii.” Then, we laughed at a wonderful skit, performed by another trio of hula dancers.

I found it hard to follow such an entertaining troupe with a more serious message of “a Glimpse of God When … Creation Speaks.” But I sensed the entire audience connecting with the message I offered, as I encouraged them to see a fresh glimpse of God in the beautiful scenes of nature visible to us everyday all around us in the Village. I’ve discovered that God often teaches us important life lessons as we observe nature.

The blessing. As I left the luncheon, inspired by the event and the new friendships that I’d made, I realized that God had given me another fresh glimpse of Himself, as I engaged with other Christ-followers here in my new hometown.

In Luke 6:38, I read this promise,

Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back. (NLT)

Even though I arrived at this event prepared to offer a word of encouragement, I received a blessing far greater than I could have ever prepared to give.

And as I recall this moment, I’m in awe at the blessings that God often provides right in my own backyard.

Photo/KarenJordan

What blessings have you discovered right in your own backyard?

Thank You, Cec Murphey and Twila Belk!

Why am I celebrating the release of Heavenly Company:Entertaining Angels Unaware compiled by Cec Murphey and Twila Belk?

I received my contributor copies of Heavenly Company in the mail today. And I’m so honored that they chose my story, “Watchmen,” for this book.

Tara’s eyes brightened, as she continued to describe her protectors, “They wore white clothes. One of them had a big, gold sword with little drawings on the handle.” Tara traced a line on the palm of her hand, as she recalled the etchings on the sword. “His sword was really long—from his waist to the ground.” As Tara described the sword, she bent over to her side and reached to the ground with one hand and up toward the sky with the other.”

I’m also grateful to Twila Belk for inviting me to submit my “angel story” for the Heavenly Company book project at the 2011 CLASS Christian Writers’ Conference. [One of the many benefits of attending such a great writers’ conference!]

In this collection of real-life stories from encounters with God’s angels and mysterious, helpful strangers, Cecil Murphey and his co-writer, Twila Belk, masterfully bring together stories from all over the world that share one thing in common: the way in which God uses his messengers to touch our lives. Heavenly Company

I hope you’ll check out this powerful book–a compilation of stories about people “who have encountered angels, seen and unseen” (Heavenly Company).

BookCover/HeavenlyCompany

What benefits have you discovered attending a writers’ conference?

 

A Faithful Friend

” … We could shake our fists / In times like this / When we don’t understand/ Or we could just hold hands” (“I’m with You”  lyrics by Nichole Nordeman and Bernie Herms). 

Tough times come in everyone’s life. And some people face their storms alone. Do you?

Promise of God’s presence. The psalmist expresses his faith that God will walk wil be with him, “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside” (Psalm 23:4 NLT). 

Commitment. Not only does God promise to always be with us, sometimes He brings someone along to walk through the storm with us. 

Old Testament example. The story of Naomi and Ruth in the Bible shows us a picture of two women who walked through some tough times together. Naomi’s husband and her only two sons had died. Ruth was one of her daughters-in-law. And Naomi encouraged both of her daughters-in-law to go back to their homelands. 

But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God” (Ruth 1:16).

Personal example. I’ve been blessed to have a few people in my life that have stuck with me during some of my darkest days. And even when that season of life ends, and we go our separate ways, these people remain close to my heart. I pray that I never forget what a gift they’ve been and continue to be in my life.

Gratitude. Today, I as I listened closely to this song by Nichole Nordeman and Amy Grant, I’m reminded once again of some of my faithful friends, who have been with me during some of the hardest times of my life.

“This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends” (John 15:13 MSG).

Blessings. So, I want to dedicate this post to those faithful friends and family members. Even though they’ve seen me at my worst, they still choose to love me, forgive me, and support me. Blessings to you! [You know who you are!]

YouTube/martinone9 “I’m with You” sung by Nichole Nordeman and Amy Grant)

Do you have a faithful friend? Are you a faithful friend? Tell us your story!


Distractions: Focused on Clothing?

Remember every road that God led you … He put you through hard times … Your clothes didn’t wear out and your feet didn’t blister those forty years. (Deut 8: 2, 4)

Distractions. I began this series on distractions, with my post, “What are you thinking?” I wanted to identify some of the things that tend to distract us from seeking God first in our lives, since the Bible encourages us to “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else …” (Matt. 6:33).

Examples. I discovered some great examples of how we tend to get distracted by things in Matthew 6, like food or clothing, money or lack of money, friends or lack of friends, and difficult circumstances. And I discussed my own focus on food in my second post, “Distractions: Focused on Food?”

Seminary. During our lean seminary days, living on a lower income forced me to seek God about all of our of my family’s needs. And I discover many stories in the Bible about how God provides for His people.

Clothing. As I studied the plight of God’s children in the Old Testament, I discovered that during their wilderness journey, the Israelites’ “clothes didn’t wear out and (their) feet didn’t blister those forty years” (Deut. 8:4).

So, as I began to learn how to seek God’s for my own needs, I discovered He was interested in my family’s clothing needs, too. And during this needy season of my family’s life, I learned how to dress for less—before it was popular. I added trendy patches that I found on sale to my kids’ worn-out jeans. I also discovered ways to add cute ruffles to lengthen my daughter’s outgrown pants; I even made some of her outgrown jeans into trendy skirts. And I found ways to update some of my own out-of-style clothing,

As I continued to talk to God about my family’s needs, He answered my prayers in ways that I never expected. And as I redirected my thoughts from worry to trusting God to provide my needs, He provided more than I could ask or imagine.

Today. I’m still tempted to worry about the area of clothing from time to time, especially when I get caught up in comparing myself with other people. But it helps me to remember stories from my past, where God proved that He could provide all my needs.

“And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:19 NLT).

Stay tuned as we talk about another distractions soon: money or the lack of money …

Photo/JordanFam

More “Distractions”:

What are you thinking?

Focused on Food?

To you remember a story from your past about how God provided for your needs?