Acting My Way Into Feeling

What to Do When You Don't Know What to Do

Photo/KarenJordanI’m about to do one of the hardest things I’ve done recently—WRITE!

“What? How can that be?” you ask. “You’re a writer! Isn’t that what writers do?”

I wish I could tell you what’s keeping me from doing what I need to do. But I don’t have any answers at this point.

In fact, I’m not even sure I have anything of substance to offer anyone now. But I’m just going to write—and hope something helpful surfaces. Anything is better than nothing at this point.

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Finding Grace on Narrows Road

An Energy Crisis in the Gray Zone

Photo/DanJordanThirty miles from home, my low fuel warning light flashed on.

How could I have forgotten to fill up before I left my daughter’s house two hours ago?

I panicked and called my husband, Dan, “Where is the nearest gas station to our exit from the interstate?”

“What? Where are you?” I could hear concern in Dan’s voice.

“I’m exiting I-30 right now.”

“How much gas do you have left?” Another question I couldn’t answer.

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A Wake-up Call

Grace in the Gray Zones of Life

Photo/KarenJordanWhat are some of the blockages to communications in your life?


Silence? Well, duh! Of course, silence would be a blockage to communication. But how do you open the door to conversation when the other person is not in the same room? Easy. Text messaging.

I’m embarrassed to admit how early I woke up this morning. Well, okay–it was three a.m. How’s that for vulnerability and transparency?

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It’s Always Something!

4 Tips about Rashes and Relationships from the Gray Zone

Retirement days never get boring here in the gray zone—always a new problem, pain, or predicament to test your patience.


Patience. Did I say “patience”? If you haven’t pulled that “fruit of the Spirit” out of your treasured promise box lately, you might want to take it off the shelf and dust it before you graduate to the gray zone. Just saying …

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Every Day is Saturday!

Lessons from the Gray Zone

Many of you may have wondered, “What happened to Karen? I guess she’s unplugged for awhile.”

Photo/TaraRossThen again, you may not have even noticed.

Either way, here’s the deal—we’ve entered into a new season of life at our house.


Gray Zone. Maybe you’ve noticed my gray hair and tennis shoes. If you happen to drop by our house, you’ll also see some subtle changes in the décor—like the two new recliners in front of our big-screen TV.

You’re laughing? What’s the big deal? Every day is Saturday!

Several of Dan’s friends have asked him, “How’s retirement?”

Saturday Fever. If you know Dan, you won’t be surprised at his quick humor and pithy comebacks. So, don’t say I didn’t warn you. But if you dare to ask him that question, he’ll just smile and repeat his canned response, “Every day is Saturday.”

The first time I heard Dan reply to questions about retirement from one of his friends I thought, Maybe for YOU every day is Saturday. But I haven’t retired yet!

Writer’s Life. Do you know how hard it is to focus on a writing project when “every day is Saturday”?

Yet, the first eight weeks of Dan’s retirement, that is exactly what I needed to do. Why? I had a deadline to meet to turn in my first book manuscript.

Yes, I am a late bloomer. Just when my ‘baby boomer” decides to wind up his career, I’m stepping into a new role as a book author. 

How on earth can I do that? Good question. I’ll keep you posted on how it turns out.

In fact, I can’t wait to tell you all about my debut nonfiction book, Words That Change Everything, scheduled for release in Spring 2016. But I’ll save that news flash for later. But considerer yourself warned—I’ve waited a LONG time for this moment. 

First Lesson. Back to Dan’s retirement—I know what you’re thinking, “What a great time for a writer to sit down and write her memoirs!”


I’m hoping this first lesson from the gray zone will help you understand a little bit more about this new season of my life. I never expected some of the blessings I’ve discovered with my husband’s retirement.

In fact, when one of my Texas friends found out Dan retired, she said, “Bless your heart!”

Now, if you’re from the South like me, you know what she meant. And I don’t think it was about counting my blessings.

So, I’m glad Dan didn’t hear her. He’s a native Texan, too.

I do plan to write more about the tribulations and celebrations of retirement—or my lessons from the gray zone. But at this point, I’m not making a lot of commitments. Remember–EVERY DAY IS SATURDAY. Right?

Hope to see you again next week—”If the good Lord’s willing and the (saints) don’t rise”!

GrayZone Q & A:  Do YOU have any helpful tips or warnings about retirement? Bring ’em on!

Grin with Grace: A “Study, Story, and Steps” Approach to Grace


 To celebrate the release of her newest book, Grin with Grace, I invited Kathy Carlton Willis to tell us about her latest project. Be sure to check out Kathy’s blog or follow her on Twitter.

BookCover/GrinWithGraceHave you ever felt the need to bite your tongue or grit your teeth?

With humor and candor, popular women’s speaker Kathy Carlton Willis explores ways to smile in the face of adversity and challenging circumstances. Her go-to phrase Grin with Grace is the title of her latest book. She explores the word “grace” in Scripture, revealing how God’s grace blesses us and how it impacts our relationship with Him and with others.

Grin with Grace is part of the Grin With … Bible Study Series. This line of books is designed to help women on the run focus on a central theme. The “study, story and steps” formula helps readers assimilate new traits in small sections, all the while anticipating the next insight. Photo/KathyCartonWillis

“You can never have too much of God’s grace,” says Kathy. “While writing this series, I dealt with multiple health issues, surgeries, cancer, and hospitalizations. At the same time, I moved to a different town, diving in to a new church ministry with my husband. Very little in life seemed familiar or comfortable. But God infused grace into each challenge and turned them into opportunities.”

Kathy learned anew what the Bible means when it says: “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Cor 12:9 ESV).

God’s grace strengthens us to live the lives He directs us to live. When we’re weak, grace makes us strong through Christ. His grace is not frail; it’s power-packed. (Kathy Carlton Willis, Grin with Grace)

Photo/KathyCarltonWillisThere’s an important element about grace. It’s not meant to be hoarded, regardless of its wonderful value. Once God blesses us with grace, we are then recruited to His team to be instruments of His grace to others.

Grin with Grace tells stories of real-life grace and gives suggestions for creating new grace moments for others. Every Bible passage is contained in the text, accommodating ease of reading anytime, anywhere. Read it straight through as a book, use it as a personal study, or join with a group to discuss the material together. The chapters are short enough to combine—resulting in a seven-week group study.

Photo/KathyCartonWillisMore about Grin with GraceEach chapter features five sections:

  1. Grin with Grace contains real-life stories and observations. You’ll laugh at the humorous confessions and wacky insights, and relate to Kathy’s transparent honesty. Be inspired to see grace in your everyday life.
  2. Grow with Grace features a grace word study. Kathy examines Bible verses and personalizes the meaning to your situation. Workbook prompts allows you to write down your thoughts as you read along.
  3. Go with Grace offers life application. Pick one action step and make it work for you, or pick all of them—but do something to live out your grace-walk.
  4. Give with Grace advances life application further, equipping you to become an instrument of God’s grace to others. You’ll be inspired to take what you’ve learned and give it away to others. This is when faith becomes ministry—when your focus expands to see the needs of others.
  5. Your Grin with Grace Challenge describes a grace-challenging scenario to give you an opportunity to exercise your newfound grace. It allows for speculation and judgment calls, to prepare you for the what-ifs that happen in life.


Kathy Carlton Willis writes and speaks with a balance of funny and faith—whimsy and wisdom. Not many funny girls also have Bible degrees! Kathy’s a pastor’s wife, which gives her plenty of opportunities to grin with grace. She shines the light on issues that hold women back and inspires their own lightbulb moments. Almost a thousand of Kathy’s articles have been published in books, magazines, newspapers and online publications. Kathy’s tagline describes her best: Light & Lively: His Reflection/Her Laughter. Kathy lives with her pastor/husband, Russ, in Rockdale, Texas.




What to Say When We Don't Know What to Pray

Today’s post is for my friends—who just lost their only child this week. I cannot imagine enduring such pain!


This tragedy reminded me of the day my sister, Leslea, lost her youngest son, Colter, to a tragic accident. Heartbreaking!

Lord, what will they do? How can they survive such a loss?

What can we do when life places us in unbearable circumstances? I can’t even imagine the pain—I refuse to even let my thoughts go there.

Where can we go? Who do we run to? What should we cling to when we’re drowning in a sea of our sorrows? When will someone throw us a lifeline? How will we we survive?

When friends and family walk through horrible events like this, my words fail me. Mere words seem inadequate to express my emotions.

This isn’t the first time I’ve been at a loss for words. And I don’t think any human words could ever bring peace and comfort to a parent in the death a child.

Now, after facing many trials and crises in my own life, I do know where to go. And I do know Who to run to. I know Who we can cling to when we’re drowning, and Who will throw us a lifeline. And I know how we will survive.

Help. The Lord promises to help us when we don’t know what to say or pray.

… the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. (Rom. 8:26 NIV)

Hope. The Holy Spirit offers promises of hope, even if we never understand “why?” these things happen.

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Rom. 15:13 NLT)

Assurance. God’s Word provides the assurance that Jesus will bear our grief and carry our sorrows.

 He suffered the things we should have suffered. He took on himself the pain that should have been ours. (Is. 53:4 NIRV)

Peace. God’s Word can speak peace to the storm ravaging our dreams. And He promises to throw us the lifeline of His Word.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:7 NIV).

Confidence. We can have the confidence to know that in Christ, we will survive. And we can expect Him to provide the power we need to overcome any circumstance in our life if we trust Him with the situation. Healing and hope for the future can be found in Him.

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. (1 John 5:14)

As I pray from my friends. God continues to guide my prayers with His Word. So, today I pray these promises from God’s Word will give hope to my friends and to others who may be suffering under the heavy burden of loss and grief.

Blessings to you, my friends! You know who you are. And God knows your needs—even better than you do. He understands. And He wants to assure you of His presence right now and in all the days of your life.

I lift my friends up to You, Heavenly Father. You knows their pain because You lost Your only Son long ago in a tragic death—so we could all experience Your promised land of rest and peace in this life and in the life to come.

YouTube/Attitude of Gratitude (“Wayfaring Stranger” Selah)



Storytelling Workshop, Sponsored by Perry County Writers

Do you want to record some of your family stories, but you don’t know where to start?

Photo/CCWC.workshopI will be teaching some storytelling workshops, this Saturday, May 16, 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at Perryville Second Baptist Church, 1520 N. Fourche Avenue, Perryville, Arkansas.

Workshops. These writing workshops, sponsored by the Perry County Writers, will offer practical and creative ideas to help you capture and craft some of your legacy stories.

Logo/PerryCountyWritersCost. There is no charge for this workshop; but donations will be accepted by the Perry County Writers group.

Lunch. Be sure to bring your own lunch (coffee and tea will be provided).

RSVP. Email or call 501-590-6172

What family stories have you written?


2015 Reader Survey

Photo/TaraRossWould you consider taking a few minutes to take my 2015 Reader Survey?

Here’s why this is so important to me … 

I want to ensure my blog does the best possible job of answering the needs and interests of my readers.

So, that means I need to know more about YOU! That’s why I created my 2015 Reader Survey.

Thank you SO much for reading this request to fill out my reader survey!

I believe this survey will not only help me, but it will ultimately help you.

How? Because YOU will be helping me create content that’s even more interesting and relevant to you.

Your input is VERY important to me!

This survey is easy to fill out, and your input is COMPLETELY anonymous. I can’t even tell who said what. Plus, you can finish it in just a few minutes.

Yes! I’m happy to help. Take me to your SURVEY!

Thanks in advance for your help!

P.S. Please excuse the ad at the end of my service–that just comes with the survey service. I was not able to choose the content of the ad. Thanks for your understanding! 

Writing The Shepherd’s Song: Prayer Made the Difference

Welcome! Today, I invited The Writing Sisters, Betsy Duffey and Laurie Myers, to share their new book, The Shepherd’s Song. These award-winning authors and speakers believe in the power of story, “When we hear stories or tell our own story we connect, heal, and grow. Each of us is part of a bigger story – the story of God’s love and work in the world.”

BookCover/TheShepherdsSongThe Shepherd’s Song was a different writing experience for us.

After twenty years of writing children’s books for the general market we were now writing our first book for God. The books we wrote before were from a Christian worldview. What made this book different was our desire to submit every word to God and to reflect in our words what He would say. An overwhelming task on our own.

But what if we could connect with God and hear from Him as we worked? C.S. Lewis wrote once about “taking dictation” from God. The connection with God was key. But how?

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