Brief Notes About Karen Mains

Karen Burton Mains - Best-selling author  Karen Mains is a professional writer, mostly for the religious markets, with 25 published books to her credit.
 
Her first book on Christian hospitality, Open Heart Open Home, has sold more than 650,000 copies, and her work has been awarded several national prizes. With a background in daily radio, television and publishing, Karen is crucially involved in the issues of the times—working to develop microenterprise projects, relating current culture to issues of concern to Christian men and women, and keeping a critical eye on developments in the arts.

Her spiritual growth ministry, Hungry Souls, is a division of Mainstay Ministries, which she co-directs with her husband, Dr. David R. Mains.

Hungry Souls serves as a developmental laboratory to design and test tools for spiritual growth. Karen is involved in developing retreats of silence and in training retreat leaders. She has overseen some 240 Listening Groups in the last four years.

She is in the process of developing an Internet-based / teleconferencing mentoring approach for Wannabe (Better) Writers on writing personal memoirs.

Karen and her husband live in West Chicago, Ill., and have four adult children, all married, and eight grandchildren. This blog is a compendium of her opinions on everyday events and experiences. Karen is an avid gardener, a developing mixed-media artist, an avid book-lover, and DVD fan. She is passionate about cross-cultural issues, environmental concerns, and is intrigued by the impact of globalization on our world.

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All in the Family

Friday, August 9, 2013 by Karen Mains

Have you ever gone on a God Hunt? A God Hunt begins when you teach yourself to look for God’s hand at work in the everyday occurrences of your life. Here’s one of my personal God Hunt Sightings:

 

 

Jeremy and Angela cashed in a retirement fund. Concerned about hospital bills and extra expenses and not being able to work, they thought they should have some cash on hand for an emergency and home-improvement fund. The downstairs study has been turned into a room where Jeremy can recover after returning from the hospital, and since he needs to have a bathroom that he can exclusively use as his own (since his immune system will be compromised), the first-floor washroom is being divided into two units.

So, Jeremy paid us back some small loans. This was nice since we are also cash-short.

During the third week of July, while Jeremy was still in the hospital and Angela was tied up managing all she has been managing (also while my son-in-law had scheduled an outing to a weeklong dad-and-son camp), Joel Mains was in the midst of a house move. We had had fair warning, but since I am 70 and David is almost 77 (and feeling really lousy with a head cold), we thought we had better put contingency plans in place.

Melissa paid for a moving crew who had helped her to lug all the larger furniture pieces—the bed, the couches, the cabinets and the refrigerator into PODS Joel had rented to store his things until two weeks had passed and he could close on the new home.

David thought that we needed some more assistance. Jeremy was in the hospital; Doug and Ayden were at camp. Our other grandchild, Josie, was getting cram-tutoring so she could make the deadlines for her online courses. So, David arranged for the Ayers boys (actually one Ayers teen and an older high-school friend) to spend several hours over two days passing boxes in a fire-bucket line to the PODS, hauling miscellaneous stuff to the storage locker, and just lending a hand (four hands actually) in the general commotion that comes from breaking down the belongings in any American home.

“What did Dad pay those guys with?” Joel asked after he had relocated himself into our house. I didn’t know how much he had paid, but I know he used Jeremy’s loan repayment (the brother who was fighting cancer and not available to pitch in on this move). “Dad shouldn’t pay for that. When I close on the house, I’ll have some money and I can pay him back.”

This, I am sure, David will not want to accept. Joel can pay for extra help when we move him into the new home. Right now, it’s simply money that is all in the family.

It’s amazing, isn’t it, how God times His provision to perfectly fit our need. One gives; another receives. One is in need; someone else is in want. I have reserves; you may have dearth. My excess serves your lack. Your experience informs my naïveté. It’s all in the family.

I spy God!

 

 

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The God Hunt

Award-winning author Karen Mains has long had an interest in spiritual formation and the obedient Christian walk. She has written about the God Hunt in her book by the same name, The God Hunt: The Delightful Chase and the Wonder of Being Found. A hardback copy can be ordered from Mainstay Ministries for $10.00 plus $4.95 shipping and handling. Contact Karen at info@mainstayministries.org and she will be happy to autograph a copy for you.

Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.

Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags, Africa bags. This microfinance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.

For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. They are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and congregations at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.

Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.

 

(GHS-291)

 

Resale Chairs

Thursday, August 8, 2013 by Karen Mains

Have you ever gone on a God Hunt? A God Hunt begins when you teach yourself to look for God’s hand at work in the everyday occurrences of your life. Here’s one of my personal God Hunt Sightings:

 

 

My daughter, Melissa, and her family moved last August into a renovated barn—and it is a big, big place. One morning coming home from a run to the bank, I popped into my nearby resale shop, St. Vincent de Paul’s, in downtown West Chicago.

I have been looking for a used blender for an immigrant friend who once mentioned at my house that she “didn’t have one of those,” pointing to my Cuisinart food processor.

I found, instead, two gorgeous wingback chairs in almost perfect condition, upholstered in an outrageous fabric (cream oversized chrysanthemums on a rust background) that would look wondrous (I thought) in the hallway outside the barnhouse’s master bedroom. (The hallways are so wide in this former dairy barn that we are able to make little sitting rooms out of them.) Melissa had set up some cream-colored bookcases in this spot.

Luckily, these days, we can take smartphone camera shots of resale finds. I e-mailed a photo to my daughter with the text, “What about these?” She texted back, “Pick them up. I’ll pay you later and bring the truck down tomorrow to pick them up.” The chairs, from a well-known high-end furniture store, were $45 each.

When Melissa came back to look at the chairs, she also spotted a gorgeous, old cream-colored pedestal coffee table with a round glass top and quirky molding around its edges. It was a stunner that I had overlooked. This cost $45. But I spotted the matching ceramic lamps ($4.95 each), and we grabbed those as well.

After four days spent moving our son Joel into two PODS, one storage locker and our house (his closing on the new home is not until two weeks after the closing on his the old one), we spent the fifth morning frantically breaking down wooden work, hanging a banister on the basement steps, shoving the last of the boxes into the van, vacuuming the final room and broom-sweeping the garage clean. We finished exactly at 8:55 a.m., with a closing scheduled to take place in five minutes.

Since I was in the moving mode and filthy from that morning’s work, I decided to make the hour run up to my daughter’s and push furniture around for her as well. Joel, being off work and having nothing to do after the frantic preparations of changing homes, came along.

We pushed a Chinese chest handed down from David’s mother into place across the room, pulled a carved Edwardian chair from its storage place for the living-room area, found the throw rungs I had passed along to Melissa that looked perfect in the hallway across from the master bedroom, arranged a collection of Roseville and Weller American pottery in the shelves of the cream-colored bookcases, took old oriental carved stands for either side and put the resale lamps on them, then finished the grouping with the wildly patterned wingback chair on either side. It looked terrific.

I did dishes in the kitchen, wiped the dining-room table, and we set it with placemats and napkins. (Nothing will fill with mess faster than an empty dining-room table.)

When you are going through the long arduous endurance run of fighting and overcoming cancer, sometimes God gives gifts along the way that we can overlook because of our grief and fatigue. But we must not overlook them. The sun still shines. The birds still exult. Flowers bloom. People laugh. Children splash in pools. We still lay ourselves down to rest.

And perfect, affordable, in-good-condition resale chairs still appear in secondhand shops. The pain of our lives God uses, but He still give us joy and delight and gifts along the way to make the sorrow and the suffering bearable.

Praises be to the One who is not so mighty that He doesn’t delight in small things.

I spy God!

 

 

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The God Hunt

Award-winning author Karen Mains has long had an interest in spiritual formation and the obedient Christian walk. She has written about the God Hunt in her book by the same name, The God Hunt: The Delightful Chase and the Wonder of Being Found. A hardback copy can be ordered from Mainstay Ministries for $10.00 plus $4.95 shipping and handling. Contact Karen at info@mainstayministries.org and she will be happy to autograph a copy for you.

Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.

Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags, Africa bags. This microfinance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.

For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. They are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and congregations at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.

Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.

 

(GHS-290)

 

Piles of Refuse... However...

Wednesday, August 7, 2013 by Karen Mains

Have you ever gone on a God Hunt? A God Hunt begins when you teach yourself to look for God’s hand at work in the everyday occurrences of your life. Here’s one of my personal God Hunt Sightings:

 

 

So what do you do with piles of refuse, neatly organized from a deconstruction project but now sitting smack in the driveway so the car can’t be parked in the garage?

I called Waste Management, where a young woman informed me that we could put out garbage sacks no larger than ones that held 32 gallons with some of the refuse. David and I had taken a good month to dispose of waterlogged carpeting from a huge storm that swamped the drainage systems in our basement. So we filled three 32-gallon sized black garbage bags, looked at the ugly remaining piles and thought to ourselves, This is going to take awhile.

One morning, however, in between hospital visits, I woke up thinking about our friend Tim Ayers.

He and his wife, Donna, hold a huge bonfire at the end of the summer, and they invite all their neighbors and friends. In fact, Tim and his two high-school sons had cleared out another pile of last year’s storm refuse earlier in the summer. Tim had a truck and two strapping offspring. Maybe he would want the wood to our tear down. This morning, when I woke, all the discarded wood (which had been nicely sawed into manageable portions) was gone. David had called and said, “If you want it, just take it.” And they did.

With some careful calculations, we figured we could sledge hammer the moldering particle panels into smaller sections, roll the screen into a garbage-sized panels, keep filling three or four 32 gallon garbage bags. “Probably,” I announced, “by the end of September we’ll be rid of these piles.”

“Oh, no,” said David, he of the confident character and the past roller of sodden carpeting. “We’ll get rid of it all by the end of August.”

So I thank the Lord this morning for friends who have pickup trucks, strapping sons and yearly end-of-summer bonfires.

I spy God!

 

 

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The God Hunt

Award-winning author Karen Mains has long had an interest in spiritual formation and the obedient Christian walk. She has written about the God Hunt in her book by the same name, The God Hunt: The Delightful Chase and the Wonder of Being Found. A hardback copy can be ordered from Mainstay Ministries for $10.00 plus $4.95 shipping and handling. Contact Karen at info@mainstayministries.org and she will be happy to autograph a copy for you.

Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.

Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags, Africa bags. This microfinance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.

For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. They are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and congregations at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.

Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.

 

(GHS-289)

 

Serve Sunday

Tuesday, August 6, 2013 by Karen Mains

Have you ever gone on a God Hunt? A God Hunt begins when you teach yourself to look for God’s hand at work in the everyday occurrences of your life. Here’s one of my personal God Hunt Sightings:

 

 

The church we have been attending is small, meets in a neighborhood school, but puts a high value on interacting in the community. In fact, one Sunday a month is set aside as “Serve Sunday.” Kindly, they had scheduled to help us on July 14th.

The week before this had been a brutal week—with Jeremy in the hospital we nevertheless had to meet 16 folks up at the Stratford Theatre Festival in Ontario, Canada. This is an annual trek David and I (and for many years, our family) have made up north. We love the total immersion in Shakespeare and musical and little interested theatre pieces. By rights we would like to have stayed home—but houseguests had arrived from Canada and were driving up with us—and a friend or two suggested that maybe this would be a good break from the stress of our son’s battle against lymphoma.

So we went. Our friends were right: The diversion was helpful, even though I thought about Jeremy and his wife Angela and their three little kids most of time (during Fiddler on the Roof, during Romeo and Juliet, during Waiting for Godot, during The Three Musketeers, Blithe Spirit, as well as the rock opera, Tommy).

Believe me, when the next weekend rolled around—after a 36-hour hospital watch with Jeremy—I kept thinking, how can I possibly get things organized for 5-25 people for this coming Serve Sunday? Finally, I just prayed, Father, help this day to organize itself. Too tired to do any prep work.

I went to bed that night, took two sleeping pills, and woke up early to be ready for the first crew who had made plans to arrive at 8 o’clock to organize the teardown of our rickety and wretched screened-in porch.

God did such a good job that my husband complimented me on my organization abilities! Here’s a list of what was accomplished by about 20 eager (and mostly young) people.

  1. The porch was torn down without injury to life or limb of the wreckers.
     
  2. The job boss for this project figured out how to do this without needing to dig out a stand of very large hosta or taking out an arbor.
     
  3. Crews sorted wood into piles and either pulled nails or hammered them down; old screens were shoved together and the shingles placed in another section of the garage. This left us with clutter, but it was organized.
     
  4. The stones in a garden path were lifted, the soil rototilled and then the stones were reset.
     
  5. Grey bricks, which have been sitting in a pile since we bought the house in 1977, were laid down as edging for the hostas at the far west side garden.
     
  6. A team screwed together rough wooden shelving braces and made a huge trellis for the clematis vines (my design).
     
  7. Another team deadheaded spent flower heads.
     
  8. A twosome painted the mailbox across the road and reset screws that had gone missing.
     
  9. One little boy, tagging after his mom, picked the yellow cherry tomatoes.
     
  10. Two large gardens were weeded; the spent irises were deadheaded and trimmed back.
     
  11. One outdoor back door lamp was replaced.
     
  12. One of the three upstairs bathrooms that had been out of commission for a couple years was made functional again.

This all happened within a two-hour period. In God’s timing this Sunday was a perfect Sunday, and the Master Planner hardly needed my help at all.

I spy God!

 

 

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The God Hunt

Award-winning author Karen Mains has long had an interest in spiritual formation and the obedient Christian walk. She has written about the God Hunt in her book by the same name, The God Hunt: The Delightful Chase and the Wonder of Being Found. A hardback copy can be ordered from Mainstay Ministries for $10.00 plus $4.95 shipping and handling. Contact Karen at info@mainstayministries.org and she will be happy to autograph a copy for you.

Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.

Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags, Africa bags. This microfinance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.

For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. They are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and congregations at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.

Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.

 

(GHS-288)

 

Where Is God in the Valley?

Monday, August 5, 2013 by Karen Mains

Have you ever gone on a God Hunt? A God Hunt begins when you teach yourself to look for God’s hand at work in the everyday occurrences of your life. Here’s one of my personal God Hunt Sightings:

 

 

On June 4th, David and I were called home from California with word that our son, Jeremy, age 41, was desperately ill. We arrived to quickly discover that he was suffering from an aggressive form of blood cancer, mantle cell lymphoma.

It has been almost two months since that diagnosis, and Jeremy has been out of the hospital only three days since that June onset. We have gone through two very aggressive rounds of chemotherapy. He has had a small reservoir inserted into his skull, a PIC line in his chest, and has to take hundreds of pills daily. He’s lost his hair, lost his appetite, lost his strength, his summer plans, some part of his future, had to understand that he probably won’t be able to work three jobs this year, and consequently, has lost his income. He also has lost his facial expression and the ability to pronounce six important consonants—B, D, F, M, P, V and W. Jeremy is suffering from “bilateral facial droop,” the same effect that might be experienced by stroke victims.

The question, of course, is: Where is God in all of this?

Indeed, I have been writing out my God Hunt sightings, evidences of His involvement and intervention in my daily life, for well over a year; that year and a half mostly a happy time.

Apart from just pure exhaustion wiping us out, is it possible to distinguish God’s presence when we are staring death in the face, when waves of shock and awe overwhelm us, when much of our life is spent on “hospital time” with resulting fatigue and we can’t find the energy to get back to our friends and family who are concerned and want to help.

So the blogs from this point in the year going forward will be concerned with finding His loving interventions in the journey through the shadows of the valley of death.

I opened my Bible the other day and my eyes fell on a random passage from Isaiah, chapter 28, verses 23-26:

“Give ear and hear my voice,
        harken and hear my speech.
Does he who plows for sowing plow continually?
        Does he continually open and harrow his ground?
When he has leveled its surface, does he not scatter dill,
        sow cumin, and put wheat in rows
        and barley in its proper place and spelt as the border?
For he is instructed aright, his God teaches him.”

In some strange way, this reminded me that God gives wisdom even to the common peasant. Certainly, he can impart wisdom to educated medical specialists dealing with a rare form of lymphoma in the blood of my son. I began to consider this: After all is said and done, isn’t it really the One who made the body the One who was directing Jeremy’s medical team?

Spending weeks in a hospital convinces us of how much modern medical specialists know (and how much they don’t know). We rest in the perfect instructions of the One who knows all.

I spy God!

 

 

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The God Hunt

Award-winning author Karen Mains has long had an interest in spiritual formation and the obedient Christian walk. She has written about the God Hunt in her book by the same name, The God Hunt: The Delightful Chase and the Wonder of Being Found. A hardback copy can be ordered from Mainstay Ministries for $10.00 plus $4.95 shipping and handling. Contact Karen at info@mainstayministries.org and she will be happy to autograph a copy for you.

Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.

Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags, Africa bags. This microfinance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.

For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. They are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and congregations at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.

Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.

 

(GHS-287)

 

Gifts from the Psalms

Friday, June 7, 2013 by Karen Mains

Have you ever gone on a God Hunt? A God Hunt begins when you teach yourself to look for God’s hand at work in the everyday occurrences of your life. Here’s one of my personal God Hunt Sightings:

 

 

Don’t you love this Psalm?

“Praise the Lord from the earth, you sea-monsters and all deeps;
Fire and hail, snow and fog, tempestuous wind, doing his will;
Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars;
Wild beasts and all cattle, creeping things and wingèd birds;
Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the world;
Young men and maidens, old and young together.
Let them praise the Name of the Lord, for his Name only is exalted,
His splendor is over earth and heaven.
He has raised up strength for his people and praise for all his loyal servants,
The children of Israel, a people who are near him. Hallelujah!”

—Psalm 148:7-14

When I am out in the wild world, or the cultivated one, these songs and refrains are very close. Alleluia!

I spy God!

 

 

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The God Hunt

Award-winning author Karen Mains has long had an interest in spiritual formation and the obedient Christian walk. She has written about the God Hunt in her book by the same name, The God Hunt: The Delightful Chase and the Wonder of Being Found. A hardback copy can be ordered from Mainstay Ministries for $10.00 plus $4.95 shipping and handling. Contact Karen at info@mainstayministries.org and she will be happy to autograph a copy for you.

Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.

Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags, Africa bags. This microfinance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.

For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. They are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and congregations at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.

Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.

 

(GHS-286)

 

Gifts from the Raised Beds

Thursday, June 6, 2013 by Karen Mains

Have you ever gone on a God Hunt? A God Hunt begins when you teach yourself to look for God’s hand at work in the everyday occurrences of your life. Here’s one of my personal God Hunt Sightings:

 

 

I decided that there was not enough continuous sun for annual vegetables in the raised beds a son, a husband, and a friend worked to make for me in the front garden.

Last year drought took the tenuous vegetables and though a house guest worked to put in an irrigation system, a series of hoses and drip nozzles joined all together by lengths of black tubing, by the time all was ready, most of my annual vegetables had died.

This year, I am planting perennial vegetables. Due to the clay soil, it takes a few growing seasons for the roots of returning plants to find firm footing and if they do, then they begin to flourish. Clay soil, as difficult as it is to cultivate, also holds moisture better than the black loam I’ve been determined to create over these three decades of mostly frustrated gardening history.

A friend’s son who was interested in gardening, came with his mother one Sunday afternoon, and we did plant three rows of bush beans of the green variety. This morning I noticed that many were pushing up their heads and discarding the little cap that seems to sit atop each sprout. Well, I thought, at least the beans are up.

Rhubarb is in another box (with spinach seeds interspersed in the empty four corners) as is asparagus in another. I’ll probably trim the fern leaf tops of the asparagus, just to balance the work of their roots, and I’m eager to find horseradish to plant; it grows almost six feet high with strong architectural leaves—an unusual specimen for the vegetable plot. Angelica, another strong tall herb-grower, would also be excellent to discover.

Curiosity drives all this activity—how will they grow (if they grow)? Can they thrive?

“Oh, Lord,” I pray:

“With all this scheming and dreaming, don’t let me forget that You are the Master Gardener. I am a lowly assistant. This garden is a collaboration between your divine design and my human intent.

Help me to remember that you delighted to walk and talk with your original earthlings in the ‘cool of the day’. Help me to work and walk with you in the same way. Amen.”

I spy God!

 

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The God Hunt

Award-winning author Karen Mains has long had an interest in spiritual formation and the obedient Christian walk. She has written about the God Hunt in her book by the same name, The God Hunt: The Delightful Chase and the Wonder of Being Found. A hardback copy can be ordered from Mainstay Ministries for $10.00 plus $4.95 shipping and handling. Contact Karen at info@mainstayministries.org and she will be happy to autograph a copy for you.

Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.

Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags, Africa bags. This microfinance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.

For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. They are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and congregations at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.

Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.

 

(GHS-285)

 

The Gift from David’s Study Window

Wednesday, June 5, 2013 by Karen Mains

Have you ever gone on a God Hunt? A God Hunt begins when you teach yourself to look for God’s hand at work in the everyday occurrences of your life. Here’s one of my personal God Hunt Sightings:

 

 

 

It’s rather ironic that the only windows that show the whole glorious vista of the back yard are the double windows in David’s study. If I want to check and see what is in new bloom, I run to my husband’s study and settle into exalted exultation.

“Oh, look the spring flocks are blooming. The irises are out. The peonies are popping. Look, David, look.”

The irony in this is that I am the family gardener. David puts in maybe an hour or so every two weeks, but I am the architect, the hauler, the digger, the composter, the delighter-in-the beauty and in the wonder of it all. Sometimes, I suspect, that if I weren’t always taking my husband by the hand, suggesting a garden walk, inviting him to sit with me on the patio, this dear, focused and concentrated man would not notice the panoply of life that is going on in our garden (and which I have worked so hard to achieve, wept and cried in frustration over—literally—and consequently been absolutely amazed by things growing as they are designed to grow.)

Perhaps there is a design in this fact that the only windows that look out over the whole back yard are those in David’s study. Perhaps he looks up more than I know and glances at the moveable eye-feast that begins in early spring and advances in continual bloom all through the summer. Perhaps that design draws me into his study with the double windows, just to check again, so that I might say, “Oh, David, look, look!”

We need each other: I to see what focused intention accomplishes and David to have me continually demanding that he open his eyes and see. (“See, see, the roses in the front garden hedge are beginning to bloom. Oh, isn’t it all beautiful!”)

The additional irony is that God put this man and this woman together in this shared life and the greater miracle is that I have become a focused gardener and David is learning to notice (particularly since all he has to do is look up and out.)

Ironies aside, a glance out David’s window, a walk on the paths he has mostly laid out for me, the smell of the lilacs which languorously droop over the driveway glider, these beauties evoke prayer—pure prayer. My heart is joined. Selah!

I spy God!

 

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The God Hunt

Award-winning author Karen Mains has long had an interest in spiritual formation and the obedient Christian walk. She has written about the God Hunt in her book by the same name, The God Hunt: The Delightful Chase and the Wonder of Being Found. A hardback copy can be ordered from Mainstay Ministries for $10.00 plus $4.95 shipping and handling. Contact Karen at info@mainstayministries.org and she will be happy to autograph a copy for you.

Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.

Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags, Africa bags. This microfinance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.

For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. They are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and congregations at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.

Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.

 

(GHS-284)

 

Gifts from the Brick Pile

Tuesday, June 4, 2013 by Karen Mains

Have you ever gone on a God Hunt? A God Hunt begins when you teach yourself to look for God’s hand at work in the everyday occurrences of your life. Here’s one of my personal God Hunt Sightings:

 

 

 

The evening after I had finally wrestled with the front patio garden making it spring clean, I invited my husband to sit in the cool of the dark. The weeds had been hoed, the bricks raked of fallen limbs and twigs. The planters had been filled with bright red geraniums, the red benches hosed and scrubbed. David had repaired the broken brace of the red umbrella. My unwieldy fountain (which is now leaking; last summer it was not bubbling) was plashing and splashing. The pillows a friend helped me sew were plumped and inviting. The night air was cool and comforting.

Suddenly, I started to laugh. The “Poston” antique bricks at our feet had been hauled from our home in Oak Park, Illinois some almost forty years ago. What besides deprivation had possessed me?

“Why are you laughing?” asked my husband.

“I can’t believe I made you haul all those bricks from Oak Park.”

Everything is possible, even the improbable, when you are in the twenties and thirties. But I am grateful for this touch of absurd madness, because I love the old brick rose of the patio and the walk leading to our front door. These bricks have been the key to our outdoor color scheme, deep rich brown on the house accented by shocking spots of red and maroon and wine.

In fact, when we moved to this house, which was three years old at the time, stacks of grey cement bricks and Chicago-style bricks were piled by the outside chimney. Through the years I have snitched them time after time. David laid a small brick square so I wouldn’t have to stand in mud while working at a potting table. I’m forever propping wood table-legs up on bricks to keep them from moldering in wet earth or piling bricks to elevate a large pot above the grasses or hosta, which will eventually hide them without this intervention.

The brick pile has been an unending gift to me through these years. I’ve neither paid for the bricks nor been wanting when their services were required.

I have plans for the grey cement bricks, of which we have quite a few. One of the back garden borders would look great with some edging, and this pile has been appointed for and assigned to that task. Hopefully, we’ll complete it during this growing season.

In nothing else I do, do I feel so completely inhabited by God.

“Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
     make music to our God upon the harp.
He covers the heavens with clouds and
     prepares rain for the earth;
He makes grass to grow upon the mountains and
     green plants to serve mankind.
He provides food for flocks and herds and
     for the young ravens when they cry.
He is not impressed by the might of a horse,
     he has no pleasure in the strength of a man;
But the Lord has pleasure in those who fear him,
     in those who await his gracious favor.”

——Psalm 147:7-13

I spy God!

 

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The God Hunt

Award-winning author Karen Mains has long had an interest in spiritual formation and the obedient Christian walk. She has written about the God Hunt in her book by the same name, The God Hunt: The Delightful Chase and the Wonder of Being Found. A hardback copy can be ordered from Mainstay Ministries for $10.00 plus $4.95 shipping and handling. Contact Karen at info@mainstayministries.org and she will be happy to autograph a copy for you.

Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.

Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags, Africa bags. This microfinance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.

For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. They are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and congregations at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.

Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.

 

(GHS-283)

 

Gifts from My Garden

Monday, June 3, 2013 by Karen Mains

Have you ever gone on a God Hunt? A God Hunt begins when you teach yourself to look for God’s hand at work in the everyday occurrences of your life. Here’s one of my personal God Hunt Sightings:

 

 

Before I go rushing off to the nursery and run up a $100 - $150 sale, I do a yard walk around my own garden, just in case I have something to fill that hole where what used to grow no longer grows.

Plants, like people, if they don ’t die from cold or a drought season, often like to try new locations.

This spring, I have replanted the pentsamon sprouts that flew somehow into other parts of the garden away from the mother plant. Consequently, several of those holes have been filled, and I ’m looking forward to seeing how all the transplants take to their new locations.

The monarda, a croftway pink, was subdivided into three sections and found new homes in the herb garden and in the border beside what could still become a small apple orchard (in the plans).

And the lungwort, which has gone wild this year, has me digging and composting plants, which in the 37 years that we ’ve lived in this house, and through all of which I ’ve wrestled with this yard, is unheard of. We have finally reached the point of plant profligacy—at least in the case of these pulmonaria.

Yesterday, I was transplanting the miniature iris by our mailbox, which is across the street from our house. “Hello, ” said a man walking his dog on the sidewalk. “How are you today? ”

I looked up and said, “Muddy and consequently, happy. ” And it is true. I ’m happy working in the garden, my heart filled with praise.

I see gifts in everything. I ’m up to my elbows in clumpy, sticky clay, but my heart is at ease, my soul is at peace and I feel the handiwork of the Creator God, everywhere, everywhere.

When I am receiving gifts from my own garden, this prayer is easy to pray.

“Lord, keep me ever near to Thee,
Let nothing keep me back from Thee.
If I fall, bring me back quickly to Thee,
and make me hope in Thee, trust in Thee,
love Thee everlastingly—Amen.”

—E.B. Pusey

I spy God!

 

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The God Hunt

Award-winning author Karen Mains has long had an interest in spiritual formation and the obedient Christian walk. She has written about the God Hunt in her book by the same name, The God Hunt: The Delightful Chase and the Wonder of Being Found. A hardback copy can be ordered from Mainstay Ministries for $10.00 plus $4.95 shipping and handling. Contact Karen at info@mainstayministries.org and she will be happy to autograph a copy for you.

Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.

Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags, Africa bags. This microfinance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.

For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. They are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and congregations at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.

Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.

 

(GHS-282)

 

Reticular Activating System

Friday, May 31, 2013 by Karen Mains

Have you ever gone on a God Hunt? A God Hunt begins when you teach yourself to look for God’s hand at work in the everyday occurrences of your life. Here’s one of my personal God Hunt Sightings:

 

 

 

I had never heard before of the “reticular activating system,” but the women of my small Hungry Souls planning team seemed to be familiar with it. An Internet search informed me that the RAS is one of the most important parts of the brain. Neuroscience has revealed that this part of the brain, located near the stem, the thalamus (I am still learning, so pardon me, any neuroscientists reading my blog).

It performs various important functions, one of which is the regulation of transition between sleep and wakefulness, but the function of the reticular activating system that most intrigues me is its capacity to filter out information, once a person has programmed himself to achieve a certain goal—like writing a book on listening, as I am now doing. Having experienced this in other situations, such as when pregnant, noticing that the world is full of other pregnant women—something I had not noticed when I was not pregnant (the goal, of course, was to deliver a healthy baby), I am totally psyched for the quotes, conversations, books, testimonies to the physiological impact of the a regular practice of listening to others in a small-group setting.

Of course, one cannot scientifically measure the work of the Holy Spirit in laboratories set up to study the brain. Neurosurgeons think the brain is the most fascinating and complex organism on earth—naturally, they would. And I am prepared to give a nod to the RAS and to give praise to a Creator who could design such a complicated physiognomy that brilliant scientists can scarcely fathom its function.

For now, and because it is the habit of decades, I will give credit to the Holy Spirit who moves in mystery and brings to light truths we didn’t know we should know, and who displays beauty of thing or idea or of substance that we can scarcely apprehend; yet we do!

I trust that the RAS and the Holy Spirit, working in conjunction somehow, will focus my attention on the task at hand—and assist me in the learning I need in order to write the book I am impelled to write.

Amen.

I spy God!

 

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The God Hunt

Award-winning author Karen Mains has long had an interest in spiritual formation and the obedient Christian walk. She has written about the God Hunt in her book by the same name, The God Hunt: The Delightful Chase and the Wonder of Being Found. A hardback copy can be ordered from Mainstay Ministries for $10.00 plus $4.95 shipping and handling. Contact Karen at info@mainstayministries.org and she will be happy to autograph a copy for you.

Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.

Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags, Africa bags. This microfinance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.

For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. They are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and congregations at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.

Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.

 

(GHS-281)

 

The Velvet Wine Clematis By the Back Door

Thursday, May 30, 2013 by Karen Mains

Have you ever gone on a God Hunt? A God Hunt begins when you teach yourself to look for God’s hand at work in the everyday occurrences of your life. Here’s one of my personal God Hunt Sightings:

 

 

Every morning during the growing season, I step out my back door to see what in the garden surprises me. At this time in May, it is the velvety wine-colored clematis that is thriving on the wall by my back door. Beyond it, the blue delphinium is in bloom, the purple iris is beginning to unfold, and the blue columbine that have self-planted are thriving small bushes in the patio garden.

This beauty causes me to catch my breath and praise my Creator for the sheer grace of it all. I give thanks that I am here to see the exquisite creatureliness of created things. For this morning moment, I am absolutely present. “To be present where we are,” says one writer, “is to wake up to this place.” I smell the earth, and the rain that has come and is gone; I want to yearn to fold my hands into the soil.

But I press my fingertips lightly against the velvet flower on the vine; I bless it and in turn am blessed by the beauty of it.

“We need to stay alert for moments of inspiration. The word inspiration means literally “in-breathing.” I breath in the world and know more of the God who has made it so unbearably lovely. I breath out again. I am still alive.

I spy God!

 

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The God Hunt

Award-winning author Karen Mains has long had an interest in spiritual formation and the obedient Christian walk. She has written about the God Hunt in her book by the same name, The God Hunt: The Delightful Chase and the Wonder of Being Found. A hardback copy can be ordered from Mainstay Ministries for $10.00 plus $4.95 shipping and handling. Contact Karen at info@mainstayministries.org and she will be happy to autograph a copy for you.

Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.

Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags, Africa bags. This microfinance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.

For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. They are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and congregations at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.

Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.

 

(GHS-280)

 

The Things I Want

Wednesday, May 29, 2013 by Karen Mains

Have you ever gone on a God Hunt? A God Hunt begins when you teach yourself to look for God’s hand at work in the everyday occurrences of your life. Here’s one of my personal God Hunt Sightings:

 

 

I wrote a list in my prayer journal, the one I had lost then found again. These are all projects I have finally figured out that would complete the admittedly idealized garden I want to complete after having lived in this house for the last 36 years.

Here is my list:

  1. Sheds for the side yard as a privacy fence and for storage.
     
  2. Crude structure for east side by house with fallen tree limbs attached. (I’d seen something like this at a Renaissance Faire and coveted something similar.)
     
  3. Privacy fencing to fend this east side from eyes on the street.
     
  4. Huge plants—acanthus; angelica; rhubarb—hard to find at local nurseries.
     
  5. A matching outdoor light (bought on sale and stored in attic) hung by the back door.
     
  6. Something stunning-looking in the cold frame garden that I haven’t been able to solve. A garden house? A play area for grandchildren? A miniature apple-tree orchard?

About this time, I began to hear that still, small voice saying, Now, wait a minute, dear; wait a minute.

I looked at the list again—my list—my list in which I am telling the God of the Universe what I want for my garden (after all, this has been a collaborative project from the start, some 36 years ago; a good portion of this garden is His garden).

OK. OK. Time to recalibrate. Didn’t mean to tell You what I wanted You to do, God (Master Gardener). I’m sorry—I need to work myself into a place where I accept all these things as a gift from Your hand.

Still, small voice: Now, wait a minute, dear; wait a minute.

Whoops!—further recalibration. Self-examination, a turning inward. Yep—too much attachment here: What I want. What I want. “The obstacle which we must overcome is attachment, even attachment to our own effort.” (Quote written in prayer journal.)

Resignation: Detachment is the cure. Detachment decreases our needs. I pray.

Lord, Master Designer, forgive me for running lustfully ahead of You. Just give me the gifts for the garden that You want me to have. Help me go forget my grand schemes (even backyard gardens can be conceived with grand schemes), and just toss it away to You. You design and provide what You want me to have to finish up the garden design. Just, please, help me to see the gifts that come my way. Amen.

“Most loving Father, whose will it I for us to give thanks for all things, to fear nothing but the loss of you, and to cast all our care on you who cares for us. Preserve me from faithless fears and worldly anxieties, that no clouds of this mortal life may hide from me the light of that love which is immortal, and which you have manifested to us in your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.” (Morning Office, The Divine Hours, Spring)

I spy God!

 

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The God Hunt

Award-winning author Karen Mains has long had an interest in spiritual formation and the obedient Christian walk. She has written about the God Hunt in her book by the same name, The God Hunt: The Delightful Chase and the Wonder of Being Found. A hardback copy can be ordered from Mainstay Ministries for $10.00 plus $4.95 shipping and handling. Contact Karen at info@mainstayministries.org and she will be happy to autograph a copy for you.

Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.

Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags, Africa bags. This microfinance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.

For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. They are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and congregations at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.

Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.

 

(GHS-279)

 

Torn Between the Better and the Best

Tuesday, May 28, 2013 by Karen Mains

Have you ever gone on a God Hunt? A God Hunt begins when you teach yourself to look for God’s hand at work in the everyday occurrences of your life. Here’s one of my personal God Hunt Sightings:

 

 

What conflict! The mornings are cool, there has been plenty of rain, the garden over which I have labored—often fruitlessly, learning essential lessons as I go—is glorious. Because of sun falling across the grass and bushes and beds, I actually have blooms.

The velvet wine leaves of the clematis plant by the back garage door beckons, entices and seduces me. The ground is soft, perfect for weeding and transplanting. The yard is a thick carpet, spongy and springy to the foot.

And I—well, I have made a vow to begin a book. This, I know, having written at least 23 others, will take hours everyday. Things material will fall apart. I will not be able to gallivant by spontaneous trips and expeditions. Nor will I have the strength to extend hospitality to friends (not when I’m in a long writing project). So I am torn between the better and the best, but I don’t know what is what or which is which.

If I neglect the gardens, I will rue it. The invasive groundcovers will mount more invasion tactics. The delphiniums will droop at their two-short stakes. The mint will swagger and take back the territory I commandeered last fall. I won’t get the west garden ready for vegetables. I need one Tuesday for gardening and the same Tuesday for writing (etc, etc).

Cirilo Leon, my brother-in-law’s former gardener, lives in our basement room. Due to the coaching he received at the hand of Doug Mains, he has become a master gardener.

As an exchange for living with us at no charge, he throws a few hours of labor of week our way (for which I am inexpressibly grateful). On Monday he said, “I have no work Thursday. Maybe I work for you that day.”

Inside, I fainted with relief and gratitude. Cirilo’s labor is like the work of ten men. What a gift to me! And I also have a little money to pay him for the extra hours. What he does, I will not have to do. It will be done well—better than I could do—and his labor will free me to write and not worry about what I am not getting done.

How perfect this verse is today, Psalm 118:28a, “Early in the morning I cry out to you.” I had prayed, Lord, I’m going to need help with all this. And He answered: Cirilo had a day when his work arrangements fell through. “Maybe I work for you that day.”

I spy God!

 

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The God Hunt

Award-winning author Karen Mains has long had an interest in spiritual formation and the obedient Christian walk. She has written about the God Hunt in her book by the same name, The God Hunt: The Delightful Chase and the Wonder of Being Found. A hardback copy can be ordered from Mainstay Ministries for $10.00 plus $4.95 shipping and handling. Contact Karen at info@mainstayministries.org and she will be happy to autograph a copy for you.

Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.

Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags, Africa bags. This microfinance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.

For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. They are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and congregations at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.

Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.

 

(GHS-278)

 

A Losing-Things Week (Well, Two Weeks)

Monday, May 27, 2013 by Karen Mains

Have you ever gone on a God Hunt? A God Hunt begins when you teach yourself to look for God’s hand at work in the everyday occurrences of your life. Here’s one of my personal God Hunt Sightings:

 

 

It feels as though I did nothing but hunt for lost and misplaced things all last week. First, I misplaced my black leather satchel I haul to and from work. Securely tucked inside was my irreplaceable prayer journal. I searched the house high and low, checked the corners of my writing study, under the bed, in the closet, the downstairs listening room, the back seat of the car, the trunk of the car—well, you get the idea—a satchel-hunt search yielded nothing. Where could I have left my bag?

I discovered when time came to write these blogs that I am keeping as a spiritual discipline—to record God’s interventions in my everyday life—that I was having trouble remembering where I had seen His hand in the days. Usually, I list in the mornings all these wonderful, funny and amazing interludes that have convinced me in the almost four decades of recording that God is intimately involved in my life.

Oh, Lord, I prayed. You are the finder of lost things; help me to find that satchel—most of all help me to recover my prayer journal.

Even more proof for me that journal-keeping, a formal kind of list-making, is essential if we are to detect and remember the divine interactions with our all-too-human existence.

I lost the blue cash bag from a presentation I had made last Saturday and where I had a table of Global Bag Project products for sale. When I unloaded the car on Saturday afternoon, I remember thinking, I don’t want to leave this cash bag in the open on our office administrator’s desk… And I thought I remembered putting it somewhere—but after that, my memory was just blank. I opened desk drawers, looked on shelves, went through all the speaking folders; nothing. How could it just disappear? There hadn’t been a whole lot of sales—but it held pencils, a small desk calculator—it couldn’t just fall between some crack, could it?

Again the prayer of finding: Oh, Lord, You are the finder of lost things, people and places. What have I done with that money bag?

By now, I was suspecting that there was a theme of sorts developing here. Mains was losing things. So what?

Last week was the week I started to write the book on listening groups, Listening With My Fingertips. I could not find the book that first gave me the idea for that title, and I wanted to include it in my first chapter. I checked the spiritual-growth-books shelves in my writing study, hunted through the bookcases at the office, checked more carefully my books—those piled on surfaces and those stacked at the back of the shelves—nothing.

Lord, maybe I’m not supposed to be writing. If You want me to begin this week in this way, help me to find that resource.

On the way out the back door, one cool morning last week, heading out to do a quick job in the garden, I grabbed a hoodie off a hook in the hall. Lo and behold—there was my satchel. Oh and the journal—the prayer journal was inside. I never hang my work tote on those hooks, but there had been lots of people in the house, and I’d stored it there just to get it out of the way.

One lost thing found.

As I was checking to find the resource for the title Listening With My Fingertips, I decided to search through the library in the little first-floor listening room. There, sitting on a stool, totally nonchalantly as though it had nothing to do but gaze at the ceiling, was my blue cash bag. In plain sight. On top of the pile. Why had I not seen it there before? I had certainly passed by the study; one glance would have revealed its location.

“Oh by the way,” I informed my daughter. “I found the blue cash bag. It was on the stool in the downstairs library. Why on earth did I put it there?”

“Maybe you didn’t,” said my irrepressible Melissa. “Maybe some angel took pity on your always losing things and placed it where you couldn’t ignore it.”

At any rate, with relief that was proportional to replacing thousands of dollars, I turned the $180 over to our office manager this morning.

Finally, while sitting at my writing desk, I realized that a few of the binders of the books in the left-hand pile were facing the window. Turning these right-side out, sure enough, I found the book by Brother David Steindl-Rast, A Listening Heart. The writing proceeds as planned.

So what was the theme, the message important for me to understand, heard through the venue of these three lost things—satchel and cash bag and book? Now that I have time to stop hunting, with the found items in place; now that I have time to listen, the question comes, spoken quietly yet forthrightly, Haven’t you misplaced something important about yourself? Haven’t you lost your way a little? Haven’t you forgotten who it is I have created and expect you to be?

Whoops—with all the activity, the business, the responsibilities, the programs and the plans—I have lost me. I have lost me.

“Almighty and merciful God, in your goodness keep me I pray, from all the things that may hurt me, that I, being ready both in mind and body, may accomplish with a free heart those things which belong to your purpose, through Jesus Christ my Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.” (Morning Office, The Divine Hours, Spring)

I spy God!

 

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The God Hunt

Award-winning author Karen Mains has long had an interest in spiritual formation and the obedient Christian walk. She has written about the God Hunt in her book by the same name, The God Hunt: The Delightful Chase and the Wonder of Being Found. A hardback copy can be ordered from Mainstay Ministries for $10.00 plus $4.95 shipping and handling. Contact Karen at info@mainstayministries.org and she will be happy to autograph a copy for you.

Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.

Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags, Africa bags. This microfinance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.

For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. They are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and congregations at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.

Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.

 

(GHS-277)

 

Which Comes First?

Friday, May 24, 2013 by Karen Mains

Have you ever gone on a God Hunt? A God Hunt begins when you teach yourself to look for God’s hand at work in the everyday occurrences of your life. Here’s one of my personal God Hunt Sightings:

 

 


What pleasure $10 brings!
Catnaps after gardening. Swinging at night and looking up at the stars.

 

Looking out my dining-room window on the barren March backyard, I saw the string hammock we purchased some 20 years ago, swinging forlornly between the two trees to which it is attached. Through the decades it has gone grey, but today I thought, Oh, I should really get a new hammock. That one looks pretty used.

Believe me, it has been used. Nine grandchildren, the oldest of whom is now 21 and the youngest of whom is now six months, have all swung to and fro in the hammock in the backyard.

I didn’t think about it any more. Come summer when the trees, bushes, grass and flowering plants are all green, when the four bright-blue pillows are bouncing on the string hammock, I’ll forget how forlorn and worn it looked in March. Because notes in my own grandmother’s hand, written to record some of the history of her family, indicated that her mother—my great-grandmother—had died after a fall from a hammock, I always check to make sure the hammock is solid. This grey hammock is sturdily attached to the two trees that guard it; not a string is frayed, not a knot untied.

It would probably serve us well for the next decade.

However, when I popped into St. Vincent’s, the closest resale shop I frequent, there in the back hall where odd items are stored, was a bright, new, white-as-white-could-be string hammock. “How much?” I inquired of my friend who manages the shop. “Oh, how ’bout $10?” I almost didn’t get it, thinking it was a frivolous purchase since the graying hammock would probably last for quite some time. Yet, I am trying to learn to pick up bargains at impulse (they are often gifts to me). I’ve regretted many of the purchases I’ve passed on—the latest being a big red sun umbrella that would have been PERFECT for the outside color scheme in our yard—Oh, well.

I bought the hammock, assured by the guarantee that if I unrolled it and discovered holes, I could return it in the morning. It was in perfect condition, and the hooks stretched the exact length to the two fasteners embedded in the trunks of the guardian trees. More than that, the clean, crisps white really looks beautiful. I can’t wait to pull out the blue outdoors pillows that are stored in the attic.

My question about all this is: Did God put the desire in my heart so that I would be open to hauling home a $10 resale hammock because He knew it would delight me? Or did He catch that thought and steer me within a month to walk into the resale shop when a nice new hammock was stored in the back hall, meaning it had just been delivered and wasn’t even priced yet?

I don’t know. I really don’t know. I just know that I am embarrassed by the lavish love of a divine process I can’t fathom or understand. I’m like a little child chanting, “Jesus loves me, this I know…” Perhaps the intricacies and mysteries of how God works are beyond my capacities. I just need to know that Jesus loves me. Yes, He does.

I spy God!

 

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The God Hunt

Award-winning author Karen Mains has long had an interest in spiritual formation and the obedient Christian walk. She has written about the God Hunt in her book by the same name, The God Hunt: The Delightful Chase and the Wonder of Being Found. A hardback copy can be ordered from Mainstay Ministries for $10.00 plus $4.95 shipping and handling. Contact Karen at info@mainstayministries.org and she will be happy to autograph a copy for you.

Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.

Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags, Africa bags. This microfinance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.

For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. They are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and congregations at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.

Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.

 

(GHS-276)

 

A Folded Check Slipped Into My Hand

Thursday, May 23, 2013 by Karen Mains

Have you ever gone on a God Hunt? A God Hunt begins when you teach yourself to look for God’s hand at work in the everyday occurrences of your life. Here’s one of my personal God Hunt Sightings:

 

 

Every so often throughout our decades of ministry, someone will slip a folded check into my hand. This happened recently, and I quickly thought, How lovely. Perhaps it is a gift for the women in the Global Bag Project.

Mary Ogalo had just graduated 11 seamstresses, awarded them certificates of achievement, and presented each with her own sewing machine (part of the value of which they will pay back to buy machines for other seamstresses who complete training).

Because I was talking with other people, I stuck the check in a pocket just to make certain I wouldn’t lose it in the joyful confusion of meeting and greeting.

An industrial-strength sewing machine with dual controls for electricity and for manual operation (when the power goes off in Kenya, which it is always doing) costs about $325. You can imagine my amazement when I opened the check and discovered it had been made out to me personally and that it was for $5,000. The short message on the distribution line indicated that it was to be used to spread the love of Jesus. I was left in kind of happy shock!

So as soon as I got home, I wrote a thank-you note and said, “I would love to know what God whispered to your heart?” Then I wrote out a $900 check for the Global Bag Project, a $300 check for a friend whose husband has had a freelance job but has not been paid since February, sent $1,000 to the Brendan and Kailey Bell fund to contribute toward paying down their catastrophic medical expenses. I put some money aside so I would be able to pay our friend from Mexico when he had a day here and there without work; the funds would help him and his expertise would help me. The rest I divided between my Hungry Souls ministry and a donation to Mainstay Ministries.

You get the idea—I had joy, overflowing joy at being able to share the generosity shared with me. Indeed, I spread the love of Jesus, absolutely happy with being able to do so.

When we teach about the God Hunt, one of the four categories we use to help people identify God’s intervention in their everyday lives is that of “help to do God’s work in the world.” This is a prime example. Go find some examples of your own.

I spy God!

 

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The God Hunt

Award-winning author Karen Mains has long had an interest in spiritual formation and the obedient Christian walk. She has written about the God Hunt in her book by the same name, The God Hunt: The Delightful Chase and the Wonder of Being Found. A hardback copy can be ordered from Mainstay Ministries for $10.00 plus $4.95 shipping and handling. Contact Karen at info@mainstayministries.org and she will be happy to autograph a copy for you.

Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.

Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags, Africa bags. This microfinance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.

For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. They are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and congregations at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.

Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.

 

(GHS-275)

 

Food From the Food Pantry—Again

Wednesday, May 22, 2013 by Karen Mains

Have you ever gone on a God Hunt? A God Hunt begins when you teach yourself to look for God’s hand at work in the everyday occurrences of your life. Here’s one of my personal God Hunt Sightings:

 

 

The call-waiting notification rang three times while I was talking with someone else on the phone. I rarely interrupt conversations when this happens—but someone was trying to get hold of me.

It was Angela—my daughter-in-law. “Karen, I have boxes of food from the food pantry. Can you come over and pick stuff up, some of it is frozen. I have the three kids and think if you can make it here, it will be easier for you than for me.”

I finished the phone call, then hopped in the car. This kind of notification comes from my daughter-in-law a couple times a year. The Neighborhood Food Pantry, which provides for those who are economically stressed, sometimes has to clear out their shelves and commercial freezers because another delivery has been scheduled and they must clear space.

One of Angela’s neighbors, a woman with eight children, works at the pantry. Her van is loaded with the discarded food (discarded but perfectly safe and edible), and then everyone on Angela’s block get the word. This time, there was so much food, we all went home with a couple boxes and several sacks—ready-made sandwiches from Panera Bread, pork chops, ground beef and steaks for the freezer, cereal and granola and boxes of crackers for the shelves, packages of pasta. It was so much food that I was having difficulty finding room for it all.

Just when I had stored everything away (sometimes shoving boxes into corners and shutting the cupboard doors fast), I heard a noise in our garage. It was a friend who does odd jobs for me when he has time and I have money. He had come to put a second coat on the windows for the cold frames he had made for me during the winter. But that task was already done; the second coat—Cinnamon Tea, the color chart informed me—had been applied.

“Oh, could you use some food?” I explained about the food pantry and the fact that I had more than I could use and he would be helping me by taking some home with him. I know this friend has been out of work for a while, and I understand from personal experience what a break it is not to have to put out money for grocery store bills.

We laughingly filled three sacks, and I sent him out the door with that warm satisfactory inner feeling. Not only had Provider God filled our food needs (not to mention the block on Claremont Street that is fortunate to have a neighbor who works at the food pantry), but I was able to pass it along to someone I knew it would help.

Which Scripture is it that tells us, “…He fills my with good things”? If you find the reference before I do, let me know. (Hint: It’s somewhere in the Psalms.)

With or without the Scripture reference, however, the truth is this: He bounteously supplies us with all good gifts. Even when we are not looking to His hand, He stretches it toward us. He gives us enough to share with our mother-in-law, and enough for her to share with a friend.

In such realities do praises begin.

I spy God!

 

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The God Hunt

Award-winning author Karen Mains has long had an interest in spiritual formation and the obedient Christian walk. She has written about the God Hunt in her book by the same name, The God Hunt: The Delightful Chase and the Wonder of Being Found. A hardback copy can be ordered from Mainstay Ministries for $10.00 plus $4.95 shipping and handling. Contact Karen at info@mainstayministries.org and she will be happy to autograph a copy for you.

Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.

Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags, Africa bags. This microfinance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.

For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. They are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and congregations at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.

Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.

 

(GHS-274)

 

The Bees Are Back!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013 by Karen Mains

Have you ever gone on a God Hunt? A God Hunt begins when you teach yourself to look for God’s hand at work in the everyday occurrences of your life. Here’s one of my personal God Hunt Sightings:

 

 


Bee hives early morning. I get up first!

 

Our bee colony died over the winter. Last summer, grandsons Elias Mains, age 14, and Ayden Timberlake, age 13 and I ventured into the world of apiculture. Our gentle bees produced (in their first year) some two and a half gallons of honey, and though we worked with them all summer and became acquainted with this extraordinary other world that borders on the numinous, none of us received one sting. (And I separate the boxes of the hive supers, pull out the frames, stand with bees swarming around me without suiting up or wearing a hat with a veil.)

So it was sad to hear that our precious colony that had served us so well and delighted all who can to observe did not survive the harsh Chicago winter of this last year. I would have taken that most personally, concluding that we were new apiarists and had done something wrong, but many professional beekeepers also lost whole hives of bees.

The bee population is fragile due to the poisons we use on our crops and grasses, so one of the reasons we are keeping bees is to make sure that the gardens within a five-mile range of our normal worker bee’s flight pattern will have these busy golden buzzing creatures to ensure flowers, food and fondness. I actually have become most attached to the whole bee-keeping apparatus and apiculture.

This spring I ordered another hive to match the one we bought last year. We cleared the earth and leveled it, set two smooth pavers on which we stacked two cement blocks (causing some height to keep out skunks), then stacked the hives on these. A friend, Pat Mitchell, who has been tutoring us in things apiary, demonstrated how to take out the queen, uncork her small box cage, stick in a marshmallow so there will be time for the colony to get used to her pheromones before she has eaten her way through the sticky substance. Then he dumped in two colonies of bees—one in one hive, the other in the other.

It was fascinating!

We evened out the frames with last year’s honey so that each hive had a similar amount, and then I spent days waiting for the bees to begin darting out and back, and circling around the hive. Dead bees were swept by the drones out of the hive, but there was so little activity that I actually lifted the lid from the supers, moved the top box a little just to make sure they weren’t all dead. I could see busy bee heads around the can of sugar water we left in a hole in the top super.

This lack of activity went on day after day. I resisted the urge to sneak a peek into the hive. My anxiety wasn’t assuaged by David’s frequent question, “See any bees today?”

Yesterday, I spent early morning and evening gardening. The day wasn’t any warmer than the few before it, but the temperature was perfect for early tasks—transplanting the lungwort that has gone rampant this year (maybe because of so much bee pollenizing)—moving herbs so they won’t crowd each other in the kitchen garden, getting the hoses all hooked to spigots again and making sure there are no leaks that spray excess water in places I am not wanting to water.

It was a happy day. I noticed bees drinking at the ponds that formed on the now-muddy earth. When I glanced at the two bee boxes, I was delighted to see the familiar hive activity that I have come to love because I know it means that healthy bees are doing the work God created them to do—making lively things live.

So the bees are back! What a gift of God this world is—in its spectacles and in its particularities.

One little bee stung me slightly; it was my fault. I picked up my trowel and didn’t notice that it was sucking water from its muddy handle. I quickly scraped out the stinger, noticed the syrupy string and watched the poor little creature go wobbling in flight out of sight. I’m sorry. Had I been more careful, you would have had more life to live.

But I am happy to have you and your brothers in my way—underfoot, in the water pools on the earth, on my tools, because it means you all are back. My garden (and my disposition) are all the better for you.

I spy God!

 

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The God Hunt

Award-winning author Karen Mains has long had an interest in spiritual formation and the obedient Christian walk. She has written about the God Hunt in her book by the same name, The God Hunt: The Delightful Chase and the Wonder of Being Found. A hardback copy can be ordered from Mainstay Ministries for $10.00 plus $4.95 shipping and handling. Contact Karen at info@mainstayministries.org and she will be happy to autograph a copy for you.

Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.

Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags, Africa bags. This microfinance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.

For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. They are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and congregations at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.

Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.

 

(GHS-273)

 

A Sniff in Time

Monday, May 20, 2013 by Karen Mains

Have you ever gone on a God Hunt? A God Hunt begins when you teach yourself to look for God’s hand at work in the everyday occurrences of your life. Here’s one of my personal God Hunt Sightings:

 

 

Amy Roth, the guest worship-leader and soloist for the Warm Beach Camp Women’s Retreat, leaned across the table as I was hacking and blowing my nose (I have a chronic allergy that seems to be dust-related) and said, “Have you tried a saline solution? I spray two squirts up each nostril four times a day. It’s made all the difference in the world to me.”

Now, I listen when a vocalist shares the tricks of her trade. My father was a music professor specializing in training vocal majors. Sore throats, hoarseness, scratchiness, anything related to the glottis, the vocal chords, are all hazards of the trade, as they are susceptible to overuse, strain and infection. Concerts get canceled, money is lost. I listened to what Amy was telling me.

“When you go out this afternoon (Amy and the pianist were planning a jaunt into the little towns around Port Susan Bay), will you please pick me up some of that spray?”

And she kindly did.

I sprayed two squirts up each side of my nose, and I have been using it for the week and a half since coming home. I am doing so much better!

Now this is a cyclical allergy, and my lack of sneezing, wheezing and waking myself at night with coughing may simply be that I have circled out of the active allergy phase. But I don’t think so. If I sit down on any surface, like an upholstered chair where the dust has had a chance to gather, or if the vents on the car blow in my face (I usually turn them off first thing), I may sneeze a few times, but it doesn’t set off panic in my system.

I just go get the bottle of Premier Value Saline Nasal Spray containing sodium chloride 0.65% and take four whiffs that I can hardly tell are filling my nasal passages, the spray is so light, and I’m OK! (Can it be this simple? I’ve been harried by this allergy for over 15 years.)

I’m testing it on my husband. He has one of those little hack-hack-hack coughs. He’s been taking it for a few days and is much better also.

It’s amazing, isn’t it, what results a simple solution (and cheap too—the Premier Value 3.0 fl. oz. bottle only costs $5.99) can bring about.

Just wanted to tell you about this God Hunt Sighting—might be of help to you, and if it is, pass the information along.“My mouth shall recount your mighty (and small—my addition) acts and saving deeds all day long, though I cannot know the number of them.” Psalm 71:15.

I spy God!

 

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The God Hunt

Award-winning author Karen Mains has long had an interest in spiritual formation and the obedient Christian walk. She has written about the God Hunt in her book by the same name, The God Hunt: The Delightful Chase and the Wonder of Being Found. A hardback copy can be ordered from Mainstay Ministries for $10.00 plus $4.95 shipping and handling. Contact Karen at info@mainstayministries.org and she will be happy to autograph a copy for you.

Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.

Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags, Africa bags. This microfinance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.

For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. They are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and congregations at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.

Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.

 

(GHS-272)

 

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