Girlfriends & Bookends – Community

Have you ever wondered how in the world to build authentic community?

Do you secretly wonder if it is possible to go deeper with God and with others?

Do you long to show someone what’s under the surface and know – rather than be rejected you will be offered a safe place ?

Several years ago I had the privilege of spending a week with a group of people who longed to learn more about true spiritual community. We learned together under the teaching and interaction with Larry Crabb of NewWay Ministires. What I took away from the time profoundly impacted my life. I carry the nuggets of insight, wisdom & truth with me daily.

Please come and be a part of GIRLFRIENDS & BOOKENDS ONLINE!photo-3

Let’s turn the pages of Larry’s book together and learn what Becoming a True Spiritual Community looks like.

Girlfriends – For the next few months I would love for you to share your thoughts as we spend time together. There WILL be give-aways :-). I will share an initial response to the chapter & invite you to do the same. We will each bring different insight from what we take away from each chapter. It will be a time of rich growth together.

Order your book RIGHT AWAY so that we can get started on October 22nd.

Leave a comment & let me know you will be a part of Girlfriends & Bookends. I am excited and cannot wait to turn the pages with you!



Fabulous Friday Find – P31 Ministries

Little Pitchers
I have had the honor of being encouraged the few years by the amazing group of women at Proverbs 31 Ministries. I’ve gained wisdom from the teaching of these women. They share n such a way that I know beyond a doubt I am not alone.
Take a peek at this Proverbs 31 Ministries link to see what I and others had the privilege to share about P31.
Whether you are a woman needing to know you are not alone, a woman serving other women, or just a woman in need of a little encouragement today, look, listen and add this page to your favorites.
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The Faces of Hospitality

She said, …”tell us how to open our homes to invite someone in.”

  • Open your door. Open your life.

Simply:Open Door Image

Open your life to make room for others.

  • Invite her in to exactly where you are in life. No need to wait until the perfect time. It may never come.
  • Invite her to join you at the table with your family.


  • Whatever your table may look like.
  • Share your recipes with her!
  • And all your favorite finds.


  • Ask questions about her life. Listen well. Drink deeply.
  • Share insight as you are invited with sensitivity to not giving “advice”.
  • Savor the moments of conversation.
  • Let her see you as you are – no pretense. She will let you see her too.
  • Speak truth with love.
  • Receive what she speaks to you. Into the depths.

Drink deeply.

  • Pour out when asked.
  • Laugh.

Drink deeply.

  • Cry if needed.

Celebrate together!!!

Eat chocolate. Hide it if necessary. Share when least expected.

  • Take time to think of what makes her smile.
  • Be involved in what matters to her.


 Let her give to you in ways she chooses

Drink deeply.

  • And don’t forget to laugh!







photo-1Did I mention – laugh?

Drink deeply.

In doing so…you are leaving a legacy.

Drink deeply. Give generously. Trust that it matters.

More to come on hospitality – another day.

Today I am full of gratitude for having walked through the door opened to me.

How have you opened your door recently?

What would it look like to share your life, right where you are, in this season of life you are in?





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Mentors Matter Monday – Worst Experience

Google ImagesI remember it like it was yesterday. I was waiting for her to call me, but she never did.

As mentors we desire to take our role to heart. We want to be dependable. It’s important we do what we say we will, right?

I waited for her to call. I assumed she got busy. She was, after all, a full time college student with much on her plate. But I knew she was struggling through some difficult personal issues, and I wanted to be there for her. The agreed time to talk passed and I moved to the next thing assuming she became distracted or changed her mind.

At the onset of our next conversation I was shocked when she asked, “why didn’t you call?” In fact, I felt like I had been hit by a semi truck. “I thought you were going to call me.”

The thought of letting a friend down was enough to make me cringe, but realizing I had confused the conversation and I was actually the one who was supposed to call her, made me physically ill! I berated myself beyond comprehension for letting her down, not being there for her. Even considered maybe I wasn’t supposed to be anyone’s mentor if I couldn’t do it right.

The conversation that changed the way I view myself in the mentor role.

When we finally were able to connect I was heartbroken and asked her forgiveness for not being there for her in a time I understood she had great need. Her response completely changed the way I enter and relate within the relationships I have the honor to be a part of.

She was grateful I had not been able to call as I had committed to. Needless to say, I was confused. She continued – “When you didn’t call, I was upset at first, but then God met with me in a way that I’ve never experienced. That might not have happened if you had called. Thank you.”

I realized in that moment, I felt responsible to meet her needs.

It wasn’t my plan. I didn’t set out to think I was responsible. But before I knew it I had taken that responsibility upon my own shoulders. I was crushed.

What I considered my worst mentoring experience taught me a lesson I carry with me to this day. It is not my responsibility to meet the needs of those I invest in. It is my responsibility to lead them to the only One who can meet their needs. It’s ok for me to fail. Sometimes it leads others directly to Him. And isn’t that what we really want?

I am grateful beyond words to have experienced this with her. We have grown together over the years and still refer to this experience from time to time.

What was your worst mentoring experience?

What did you learn from it?


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When A Woman Finds Her Voice

“I won’t tell if you don’t!”

We never really said it, but we knew we shared the common bond. The bond of silence.

The decision to swallow our words helped us through some terrifying times and erected a wall of protection around our hearts. With an unwritten allegiance, my brothers and I stood by each other within those constructed walls.

I was familiar with deferring to the voice, stifled by fear. The one that held the power. My first lesson in this subject came at the age of five. If you tell, they will not believe you. And they may never let you come back. Back to visit the pony with the silky flowing mane.  And so, the lump in my throat grew large, larger than life for a young girl barely school age. I loved the pony. I swallowed in silence. I will not tell.

It wasn’t the first time I had been rendered speechless.

These childhood classrooms provided curriculum–educating me early. The lessons learned provided a legend for the map I would navigate through life.

Until…God beckoned me to begin voice lessons. The journey to finding my voice began. One lesson at a time he began to teach me how to use the voice he gifted me. A new classroom.

In her soon to be released book When A Woman Finds Her Voice: Overcoming Life’s Hurts and Using Your Voice to Make a Difference,  Jo Ann Fore invites us to allow God to be the one who gives us a voice. The one he intended for us to use as he gifted us our first breath.

Cover When A Woman FInds Her Voice


“Whether you need emotional healing or are looking for tools to help others, When A Woman Finds Her Voice offers practical hope, straight talk, and insightful biblical truths that lead you to find this healing, and then helps you lead others to do the same…”

Her book is available now for pre-order. Grab yours NOW and begin the journey to finding your voice.


New Name

Legacy From the Leather: Transformation one conversation at a time.

I am excited to unveil the new name for the blog. It began with posting a new header photo. The sofa photo was taken in our home with the sunlight splashing across the back of the cushion. Do you have an old worn sofa in your home? Or maybe just your favorite oversized chair? In our home, this is where transformation occurs. One conversation at a time. For more than a decade, this has been our story. Do you have an old worn sofa in your home? Or maybe just a couple of oversized comfy chairs? Can you invite someone to join you for intentional conversation?

I have brainstormed for years about changing the name, but only wanted it to reflect the life on life interactions of what is authentically my  life.

Share what you think of the new header and name change please.

And would you be willing to share the link for the blog with at least one other person you think may benefit from it? If you will share the link and then let me know that you did, I will put your name in for a chance to win a surprise at the end of the month. I’ll announce later what surprise is.

i look forward to hearing from you.

HIS, karen


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Pouring In – Pouring Out

What does it look like in real life?

yellow pitcher

Pouring into the generations that come after you.

It has as many different looks as there are people on the face of the earth. Because it is about authentic relationship. And each one of us is uniquely different.


Maryann sits across from me in our favorite breakfast booth. They know us when we walk through the door. If she beats me to the table, the hostess sees me come through the door and with a simple, “She’s already here”, asks me to follow her. We open our books to share our personal takeaway from our reading through the week. And we talk through what challenges I face. How I am wanting love well and fail. How I am wanting to be disciplined, yet struggle daily with follow through.

She has walked the road before me. She invites me to peek through her lens and invites me to see all she has learned along the journey.


I remember my conversation with Jen like it was yesterday. We were  part of a prayer group together. It was a sweet time of coming together simply for the purpose of praying together once a week. The group could have a different number of people on any given week. But we all agreed the sweetness of coming before the Lord together was always beyond what we could have hoped for. Simple, sweet & real.

Jen and I also met one on one from time to time. The conversation would always lead to truth. Not a feel-good ruth that works for me kind of truth. No – an anchoring, challenging, sharpening kind of truth. And the sharpening – it was from a two-edged sword. It sharpened us both – never one sided.

I remember a day we sat face to face in our familiar towering booth at a local Panera. Tucked in behind those towering walls, we felt we were all alone.

Her greatest desire this particular day? To  love well. She shared the words that described how she wanted to love. She asked me to hold her accountable to love this way.

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with a genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. {Romans 12:9-10 NLT}

Her words, the words from the pages of Romans, are words I carry with me daily. They remind me to love well. To love deeply. They remind me I cannot do it if left to myself. It is impossible. But, when I choose to open the book that sharpens – when I choose to live a life pouring in & pouring out with genuine affection, a legacy is being written day by day.

What is left when I am gone, you see, is really not at all about me.

It is about loving well.

When Jen left our towering booth she would go and meet with a youth she invested in. She would pour herself out.

Real relationship.

Lifeway Women’s Leadership Forum this year is all about Pouring In – Pouring Out. Copy and paste this link to see more. us about your Pouring In & Pouring Out.

Tell us your story of Pouring In & Pouring Out! We want to hear.




The Storm Within

Originally posted March 7, 2013

The Storm Within
The Storm Within

It came out of nowhere. I felt it coming. Even shared with a friend in hopes it would diminish. In hopes I could conquer the emotion washing over me as I readied myself to walk into a group of women I did not know.  I’m a grown woman who God has re-purposed. What is my problem? Why can’t I get it together? If I know it’s coming, creeping up into the quiet places of my heart and mind to stir up a storm within – surely I should be able to stop it…right?

In the cold of the gray day I somehow remembered what it took to fight the battle within.

If this is your battle too I want to ask you to take this cold gray walk with me.

Leaving the weight of my shoulder bag in the hand of my friend, I made a decision to put one foot in front of the other as I sought to do business with God. One foot in front of the other as I remembered that I had the ability to conquer. Not in my own strength, but in the strength of God my Father. Though it was a brisk day I knew I had to have time alone to talk out loud to God. Not so much so that He would hear me, but more so because I needed to cry out to Him with my whole heart.

Oswald Chambers says “The surf that distresses the ordinary swimmer produces in the surf-rider the super-joy of going clean through it. Apply that to our own circumstances, these very things–tribulation, distress, persecution, produce in us the super-joy; they are not things to fight. We are more than conquerors through Him in all these things, not in spite of them, but in the midst of them.”

Through Him – Therein lies my hope. And your hope too. Not in the success of never having to return to the same dreaded battle again. My mind tells me I should be able to master this. So that I will not find myself back in this position again. The last thought I have in the midst of the battle is this is going to produce super-joy in me.

Oh Lord, help me to trust that the storm – the surf – will lead me to you – the One who has conquered death. The One who reminds me that I too am a conqueror, in ALL things.

Do you need to step out into the brisk cold and put one foot in front of the other as you cry out to God? I’ll join you. Or if you like, I’ll hold your shoulder bag.

We can both learn to trust the surf.




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Be what?

Oh – that’s it…Be still…and know I am God.

Stillness has not been on my menu of late. My life since the end of April has at times felt like the turn-style at an amusement park entrance. It has been good, but it has been non-stop. Going first in one direction and then another.

But this past weekend I took a long deep breath in. Took it down deep to the places that needed fresh oxygen.

photo-4One step at a time I slowly climbed to my perch.

This was an invitation to listen to my heart, my mind, my soul. My body.

It whispered at every turn winding through the halls, be still, listen, know that I am God.

A sign hung in the main area to remind me. Just in case I lost my ability to remember. I do that, you know. I forget to stop and breath in all that is around me. Simple things like a rainstorm gently blowing its way in. The hint of fresh rain wafting through the air and landing on my shoulders. Wrapping me in its embrace as it lets go of its need to wait.

Fresh rain drops on tin rooftops. And then the sun bursts through.

As I sit, hoping for fulness to pour into me, it comes, gently flowing as if from the narrow mouth of a pitcher. I drink it in. Deep.

They say retreat, stillness, solitude is good for the soul. They are right. Words flow freely as I make room for them. photo-2

Why don’t I make room more often?

I wonder…do you make room? Change comes as we make room. As we slow our busy

How often do you intentionally choose to be still?

What happens when you do? Does fullness pour in like a soft rain? Does healing come? Does revelation gently unfold? Does hope find its way to your heart like the smell of the coming rain found its way to let go and wrap me in its embrace?photo-6

Oh that we would take the time to make space to be still, you and I, more often. Could we make it a discipline? I don’t think it will just happen.

As I stood and watched this butterfly he let me click multiple camera shots of him, click, click, click. I stood in awe of how long he just sat there letting me glimpse his beauty.

And I wonder if God softly chuckled as he observed my stillness.

Be what?

Be still and know that I am God.




What in the world IS a MENTOR?

“As we get older, it’s important for us to help hand back some of what we’ve gained as we’ve grown older. It should be one of your responsibilities – it’s almost like being a mentor.” ~ Ciara ~

What in the world is a MENTOR anyway?

I sometimes still get intimidated by the word. Do I need to purchase “Mentoring for Dummies” to get a grasp of the definition? Is there a final exam? Is it cumulative? Will I fail?

Have you silently asked yourself these questions?

According to


[men-tawr, -ter]  



a wise and trusted counselor or teacher.

an influential senior sponsor or supporter.
verb (used without object)


to act as a mentor: She spent years mentoring to junior employees.
verb (used with object)


to act as a mentor to: The brash young executive did not wish to be mentored by anyone.
1740–50;  after Mentor (< Greek Méntōr )

Related forms

men·tor·ship, noun
1. adviser, master, guide, preceptor.