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2017 Offers An Invitation to New Things!

Newness

Fresh. Invitational. Possibilities. Wide open doors. Blank canvas.

“I’ve learned that fear limits you and your vision. It serves as blinders to what may be just a few steps down the road for you. The journey is valuable, but believing in your talents, your abilities, and your self-worth can empower you to walk down an even brighter path. Transforming fear into freedom – how great is that?” Soledad O’Brien

2017 is fresh before me inviting me to the new possibilities that are just ahead of me. It’s exciting. I am a processor. I want to take in every part of the journey. I want to glean the pearls of wisdom and insight along the way. I want to eat of the bread and then turn around and sprinkle a breadcrumb trail behind me.

From time to time my fears tell me that there is no need for my talents and abilities. I get to choose who I believe. This new year I am walking into for 11 days now is offering newness.

Fresh vision of what can be done with the crumbs gives new life to my thoughts. I am not one to make a new year’s resolution. Yet I do approach each new year both looking back and looking forward. What have I lived through? What have I learned? What lessons can be caught along the way? How can I live them out loud?

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be blinded by fear.

I want VISION to be the very thing that beckons me to keep walking down the bright path.

Each of us has a particular part to play in the bigger vision of our world. The decisions we make day by day determine whether or not that part is fulfilled. Do you know that your part is valuable? If I am honest, I know that the part I’ve been given is valuable, but I have lacked the ability to make good decisions at times to make the definitive decisions to move forward one thing at a time.  The decisions are the pillars that hold the vision high. Not for ourselves, but for others to benefit from.

Can we walk into the newness of 2017 together? I would love to hear about your vision!

  • What is the vision you’ve been given?
  • What decisions need to be made in January 2017 in order to affect the next three months?
  • Who can you share the vision & decisions with & ask them to pray with you?
  • Who are the people you can ask to be a part of the decision going forward?

What are you waiting for?

LET’S DO THIS THING!

Visioning WITH you,

                                        Karen 

 

 

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Love Well. Two Words…Simple

img_5024Two words. It should be simple, right?

Love well. Now, go and do it!

A friend presented me with this beautifully framed gift. With it she gifted me her words; you do this well. Gifts like these keep me humble. I don’t always do this well. And to be completely see-through, God is continually showing me where I fail to love well. Impatience. Self-righteousness. Needing to be heard or understood. Did she see some of this too? I believe she has seen glimpses for sure, yet she still values the relationship. And my heart says thank you.

Maybe you’re like me and want to stay in the classroom of learning to love well. If so, listen in to where my thoughts have taken me today.

See, if we are learning to love well, we are probably not even aware of it. To say I love well is itself an arrogant comment. To say I long to love well more accurately casts a humble note over both my posture and my words. It’s impossible for me to accomplish such a task without complete dependency upon and daily surrender to God. He alone enables me to carry out any good thing.

One of my favorite scriptures instructs me on the HOW.

Years ago Jen and I sat across the table from one another contemplating what God was teaching us. I remember so clearly the words she directed me to read. She wanted to learn to love well. These verses were tugging at her heart. She asked me to pray with her that might be able to love this way. The scripture admonishes us to turn from loving in a way that seems natural to us, to a deeply centered, intentional love.

We turned the pages until she showed me, “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection,[a] and take delight in honoring each other.” {Romans 12:9-10} NLT

My favorite version speaks even more pointedly, Love deeply from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle. {Romans 12:9-10} MSG

A few other versions speak it this way:

Love for others must be sincere {NIV}

Love must be without hypocrisy {HCSB}

Let love be Genuine {ESV}

We tend to think loving well is something that if we try hard enough we will be able to accomplish. We are off the mark. If we are loving well in the truest sense of the phrase, most of the time it’s because we’ve done some hard work of getting ourselves out of the way.

If I say I trust in Jesus, then I am told He lives at the center of who I am. The love I have for others needs to come from the very core of who I am in Christ. For me, this only happens when I trust in His love more than I trust in myself. Jesus literally laid down His life for me. It’s the ultimate of loving me from the core of who He is.

Oh that I might really believe in my every day hours that He loves through me as I lay my life down for others. My dying moments come every day. My self screams for the attention it wants and I have to tell it the truth over and over.

Before I knew Christ, to love well meant worrying about every move I made relationally. My confidence came only from people’s response to me. God would not let it remain that way. He wanted to break old sinful habits in me in order to build new healthy life-giving habits in me. The Builder…He is still at work in me today.

Oh, Lord, how i desire to love this way. Genuine. Honoring others.

I can love you most deeply, only as I draw from the part of me that is sincere, genuine & without hypocrisy. Yet, I wake every single day with a propensity to live in complete opposition to these character traits.

Loving well according to the scriptures isn’t really about me. It’s about you. True hospitality is all about meeting needs of others. Not just those who reciprocate our love, but those who persecute us, those who don’t care for us, or maybe even those who rub us wrong.

Precious One,

Will you join me in continuing to look to these scriptures to equip us to love well? If you leave me a message to pray for you as we learn to love well together – – – I’ll stop and breathe a prayer over you.

                                Karen

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THE FIGHT BACK From the Wall

The window closed. The words stopped coming. At least words that I could share publicly with others. Imagine filling a swimming pool with ping pong balls and trying to submerge all of them at the same time. Arms not long enough or wide enough. Body mass not able to cover the expanse.

Two and a half years ago I stopped writing publicly {mostly} in order to deal with the thoughts that came rushing in when my mother died. The thoughts came from every direction in uncontrollable succession. I didn’t know what to do with them when they came. Most days I couldn’t even catch my breath. I’ve written maybe three times on my blog since then. The winter months left me frustrated and overwhelmed, unable to make syllables come to form words. In private the ink pen was ready. Nothing. I was waiting on God to help. Nothing. I showed up and waited. Longed. Did what I had done before hoping it would flip a switch somewhere in me. Silence. Spiritually I hit a wall. Over and over.

FullSizeRenderI had been patient in the first days, weeks and months of waiting. Waiting for the words. When spring came I would go to my quiet place. The place where the breeze blew through the screens and the sun warmed my skin. The words came bit by bit but stopped as quickly as they came. Just a few at first. A few more the next time. Some days none.

While she was still living it was hard for me to find words with my mother. The words I used and the timing – always wrong. Should be no surprise that the words didn’t come. I felt I had no voice with her. As she left this earth I began to wonder if my ability to find the words left too. Ironic. A writer-friend shared with me that perhaps I might consider uncorking the bottle of wine. Not literally, but figuratively. She wondered if I might be able to just let the words spill out at first in my writing and come back after I’d gotten them out to clean them up.

I wonder if you have ever experienced a time like this in your life? I wonder if maybe you’re there now.

Oh how my heart feels for you. I long to walk with you through this time. To let you see in to where I’ve been. To see where I am today. And to help you find hope and courage to keep fighting. Fighting for life. Fighting for words. Fighting for peace. Fighting to believe God is with you even when you aren’t so sure.

I stepped over each crack in the concrete and rounded the corner. As my eyes lifted I was glancing at this brick wall at this beautiful angle. It pulled me in and reminded me that in much the same way, unexpectedly, I had begun to see beauty again. I was still hitting a wall, but I began to set my sights to give thanks for every circumstance God was allowing me to walk through. Trusting He would work all of it for His good.

As I dare to let my words spill out before you, this messy-real life-writer, please know it is a part of my fight to find my way back. Just showing up. See, I would never have called myself a writer before. I would just share my words and others who knew me well would tell me I was a writer. It’s only as I lost the ability to find the words that I knew what it was to be a writer. A writer with no syllables.

I am a writer. I am back. The cork has been popped. The wine is spilling out and it is messy. This post is the first in my attempt begin to process out loud with you what the fight back has been and still is for me today.

Precious One,
My hope for you today is the same encouragement I received from a dear friend in the middle of the hardest part of the process: O, LORD, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forevermore. {Psalm 131}. May you find the rest you need as you hope in the LORD.

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Legacy – Live On Purpose

home-box-sofaI am passionate about investing in others! Maybe you are too.

Living on Purpose & Passing it On. It’s what Legacy from the Leather is all about.

I deeply desire to encourage women to learn how to become authentic in all areas of their lives.

It is my desire to journey with women encouraging & equipping them to be real – struggles and all.

Legacy from the Leather is an extension of Ruth’s Hope that seeks to connect, engage & equip women to cultivate generations of Christ-centered relationship. A place where women of all ages gather and begin to understand their legacy, what they live now, lives far beyond their days on this earth.

It is my hope that Legacy from the Leather  will be a place you will feel comfortable enough to not only drop in, but stay for a while. Read my thoughts from time to time, and feel free to join in, interact and comment on any of my published thoughts so that we may begin a conversation of sorts of authenticity before God and others. It would be great to be able to sit face to face, but this is another format that technology offers us, so let’s take advantage of it.

It’s been quite some time since I’ve posted on my blog. Since launching my new freshly updated website I’m eagerly anticipating giving in to the creative writer juices flowing within me again. As blog posts speak to your heart I encourage you to let me hear.

Let’s spur one another one to be real women who desire real relationship and run hard after a very real God

Precious one, I can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

Take a second to sign up to have THE LEATHER delivered to your inbox. {Right hand column}

31 Days – What keeps?

A friend and I were spending some quality girl time together recently. Our conversation led to the topic of authenticity. We really care deeply about the topic. Basically because we really care deeply about relationship.

It seems this is a girl topic not a guy topic.

As women, we tend to guard our emotions carefully. We hold our natural responses close until we know we can trust. Then, perhaps we can let another know us – really know us. Or do we really know ourselves?

I hope to hear from you on today’s post.

What keeps you from being authentic; letting others see you as you really are?

photo 2

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31 days – Pursuing authenticity – Filters

IMG_0156Some days I am still blinded as I was in my twenties. But if I am careful to remember, there is a filter that helps me to see more clearly.

He {God} knew me before he formed me in my mother’s womb. All of my days were written before one of them came to be. The New Living Translation of the Bible says every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. The one who created me knew my days. Knew my form. {Psalm 139:16}

What’s the first thought that comes to your mind when you hear the word authenticity? Being real? Saying what you really think when someone asks? Letting someone know if you don’t like something? Sharing every thought?

I’ve learned a lot in my years of being refined and sharpened. Here are just a few:

Living a life of authenticity is a response to understanding who I was created to be.

  • It is an expression of who I was formed to be.
  • The expression often has few to no words.
  • At times it includes laughter and joy.
  • And some days the expression reflects sadness and struggle.

It has little to do with me and more to do with God.

How I’m wired determines how I may express myself in any number of circumstances.

God’s love for me is so real that he sent his son Jesus to die for me. My greatest and most real presentation of myself is rooted and grounded in this.

I am learning every day about living and loving others by filtering all things {when I remember} through these questions:

Who is God in relation to who I am?

Who does God say that I am?

Am I living out of the answer to these questions or am I still trying on hats that belong to other people?

DEAR READER,

What’s your filter in your pursuit of authenticity?

 

 

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Days upon days – Let’s define it

DockDays upon days – missed!

Best laid plans of mice and men – right? Sign up for a 31 day writing challenge and then leave on day two for a women’s retreat. Without having your drafts set to post while you are away. Not a great start. I’ve got just enough audacity, though, to keep pressing on.

What does it mean to be authentic anyway? Not false or copied; genuine; real.

I don’t know about you, but there were years in my twenties I tried on personality qualities of those around me. I respected them. It’s not that I wanted to steal from them. I just didn’t have a clue who I was. As women often do, I compared myself to women around me and knew I fell short in most areas of my life. Grasping at straws to have some kind of identity, I tried on different hats waiting for one to fit just right. They never quite did.

Perhaps that’s part of why I’m so passionate about authenticity. My journey to understanding authenticity is a journey I would not trade for anything. You see, my first taste of what it meant to be the real me came at nineteen. I had no idea what to do with it. I came face to face with the reality of just how lost I was. At eighteen I was pregnant and scared to death.

I felt alone, overwhelmed and confused about what to do. I had options, they said. Numb and terrified I researched those options. One cold silent step at a time I walked the halls in search of the answer. A young fatherless woman in search of wisdom that would direct me, I cried out in my numbness to God I wasn’t sure existed. If you are real, will you show me what to do. I need to know. The days passed in slow motion until before I knew it these twenty-four hours periods passed into weeks. Just a few weeks after the research began I made the decision to keep the baby. I couldn’t make sense of any of it. How would I do it? How would I parent and provide for this child who would be dependent upon me for everything. Everything? In a moment I made a decision I would give anything to go back in time and change. Before I knew it I was home in the solitude of my bedroom with darkness surrounding me. Just the way I wanted it. Deserved it to be. How could I have chosen to take the life of my unborn child? Nothing made sense to me except the shame I felt.

Yet, this is the very beginning of truly understanding the real me. The reality of what my fear would drive me to choose was something I could not run from or ignore.

As I sought to understand how to be beautiful like Leigh and Debbie and how to carry myself like they did with such confidence and joy, I followed them to a bible study we were invited to. Now you have to understand, the bible was not something I grew up with. Turning the pages week after week revealed things I had never heard before. With increasing guilt and feeling dirty and ashamed I showed up on the doorstep ready for more. Something was enticing me to return.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. Proverbs 9:10. (KJV)

The day I began to understand myself in light of this truth is the day my credible search for who I was took root in something (someone) other than those around me.

The day I understood I was created by God and meant to acknowledge my need for him was the first time I tasted peace in the search for the authentic me. The pieces were not all accounted for and appropriately placed on the roadmap to finding my identity, but meeting the Creator of the universe and understanding that he knew each of my days before one of them came to be was the stake in the ground I would come back to over and over through my lifetime. You see, it is the one thing that changed the course of my life.

How can we, you and I, live with audacious authenticity unless we draw from the one who knows us best?

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31 Days of Audacious Authenticity

31 Days31 Days

It seems like a long time. But in reality, the last year and a half has stretched out like a rubber band at times. Threatening to break me. I’ve written only twice, maybe three times. To be honest it’s been quite the journey for me. I’ve stretched and NOT broken. And I am better for it. So, 31 days…I think it’s do-able. I invite you to come along as I share posts on Audacious Authenticity. Will you risk with me?

A friend wrote for my website, “Long before authenticity and transparency became the ‘new black,’ Karen Trigg modeled an authenticity that drew me in like a moth to light. A true connector, Karen taught me the importance of real, genuine relationship. Her passion for women to connect with others, to live authentic lives, is genuine and runs ocean deep.”

Authenticity is by no means easy for me. But it’s what I’m wired for. It runs in my blood. Yet, some days I run hard and fast into the woods to bury it under a bush! It’s a battle. Internal. One nobody sees.

Audacious, according to vocabulary.com means to be ‘disposed to danger or to take risks, unconstrained by convention or propriety’. Everything in me cries out to live this way. To be a cliff-jumper. And to trust the outcome.

When I heard about the 31 day writing challenge something inside me involuntarily jumped up and said YES PLEASE! Words are of utmost importance to me. the word ‘Authenticity’ seems to cover a broad range of what I fills my heart. I wonder if it fills yours too. Perhaps as I share, you will respond and share what you’re learning as well. I would love that!

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Buckets, Clay & a Wheel

photo-4It’s been on my list since I watched Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze in Ghost back in the 80’s. As she positioned herself toward the turning wheel and leaned into the clay something stirred in me. What woman in those days wouldn’t want to possess the natural beauty of Demi. What held my attention, though, was something about the block of clay. I’m not even sure why.

Recently I gathered the courage to walk in and sit at my own wheel. I took my place in the small circle of women, some of whom had been here before, some had not.

Ready. Teachable. Trusting, or at least attempting to.

Have you ever felt off kilter? It’s where I’ve found myself this last year. Not having the ability to find my sure footing again, I decided to keep moving forward in this new place wondering if it’s my new normal.

My bucket list holds just a few things I want to do while still here on this green earth. Learning to throw pottery on a wheel is one of them. It’s the first I have had courage to follow through on. Seven years ago while working on some personal goals I wrote these words regarding myself: She, The Clay on The Wheel Woman, is willing to be refined in areas that need sharpening. Today I find myself being shaped and refined as much as the block of clay I now throw on the wheel. And the longing for this one thing to be something I might experience…the longing itself… it comes from God. He knew me before He formed me in my mothers womb.

I’m finding the first lesson in throwing is critical. If the clay is not centered the piece will eventually wobble or be off kilter and may fall altogether. The centering is not difficult, but the steps are clear:

  • Place clay in center of wheel
  • Pat into a cone
  • With the wheel spinning use whole body to force clay into the center
  • Continue to force clay into center pressing downward
  • With whole body strength use both hands to force clay upwards
  • Press clay down into a cake

It’s only after these steps have been successfully completed that I am able to move to the second step of opening up the clay.

God’s got my number for sure. In the midst of my feeling off on my footing, He draws me to this class. He knows I learn with all my senses. It’s not enough for me to hear it and learn it. I have to hear it, see it, touch it, work it, ask questions, fail and rather than have someone fix it for me I need to fix it myself so I can remember how to do it all next time.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. He knew I was weary with my alls. My heart, mind, soul and strength have grown weary as I’ve sought to stand on firm ground again. But I have set my will to keep my face like a flint toward Jesus. It’s what Jesus did as He walked the earth. He kept His face like flint toward the Father. I had no idea how putting my hands to the clay would be a catalyst to re-learning drawing near to God and relearning how to trust again.

It’s been a long road I’ve walked this last year. I’m not done walking this road. It’s a lonely wilderness. A dear friend asked me a question recently (I love good questions – hard ones). She asked “How do you know it’s a wilderness?” My response…because though I know beyond a doubt that God is near, I am not able to feel intimacy and His nearness. I keep trying to do all the things I know I’m supposed to “do” but the intimacy is not returning. I won’t give up.

Instead I’ll show up at the wheel. I’ll choose to let God center me as I re-learn trusting. Much like sitting at the wheel and following the steps with the clay as the wheel goes on spinning, I will let God shape me as I continue walking forward; face like a flint. I’ll follow the steps that will keep me centered in Him:

  • Place myself in His presence. Quiet myself before Him
  • Give God my heart, mind, soul & strength – one day at a time
  • Read His Word. Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
  • Spend time talking with and listening for Him in prayer
  • Trust in Him with all my heart – lean not on my own understanding
  • Surrender to His pressing and shaping me

I’ll keep walking forward with courage letting God refine and sharpen. How about you? What encouragement do you need today? What step can you take today to keep you centered in God?

 

 

 

 

Curtains drawn

I see you through the curtains drawn,
knees held close, a vacant stare.
Release of breath with no response,
to silent cries that fill the air.Dock

 

Be still I hear your cry.
Be still I know your pain.
Be still and hear my voice.
Be still and know my name.

I see you in this wilderness,
restless in your solitude.
Searching in an endless maze,
desperate for a glimpse of truth.

Be still I hear your cry.
Be still I know your pain.
Be still and hear my voice.
Be still and know my name.

I am your prince of Peace,
your portion,
now and always.
Retreat from all the noise and you will find me.
You will find me.

Be still I hear your cry.
Be still I know your pain.
Be still and hear my voice.
Be still and know my name.

Let my love infuse your soul,
disintegrate this shroud of lies.
I am your sustaining strength,
rest in me a little while.

I am your sustaining strength,
rest in me a little while.

Rest in me a little while.

Hannah Oberlin, Karen Trigg & Megan Pifer

 

Where I’ve been. Where I’ve wrestled. Where I’ve lived.

Three steps out, two steps back. Or so it seems. A new dance. A least I am on the floor.

Through these curtains I’ve glimpsed two women who have given me the courage to write today.

To begin again.

Their written words have breathed life and courage and hope into places that are growing cold and distant.

One, a young beautiful Mama of three. Facing her fears head on and in doing so, daily defeating the enemy.

This Mama recently let her words flow in the midst of fear, uncertainty and no absolutely no guarantees. As she made her journey on the long road between East and West Tennessee to her final destination of Saint Jude Hospital for children she quoted the words of a dear friend “Confession disarms the devil”. It’s why she chose to write in the midst of the terrifying uncertainty. You can read more of her story of clinging to truth in her journey here at Garland & Pendant. 

The courage and transparency with which she wrote as she sought with all she had to disarm the enemy spoke volumes to me. It spoke deeply to the woman with curtains drawn. Drawn because I don’t know what happened that day in February at the hospital bedside. I thought I heard God whisper and I trusted the whisper. But – – – I’ve never felt so far from him. I can’t seem to find my way out. “Confession disarms the devil”. I confess today I have no ability to get it right. To get to the place where I feel safe again in God’s presence. It’s not my doing. It’s His. Did I do anything that first day I knew His presence? The certainty that He was with me? No.

Another Mama, beautiful, compassionate, full of a big love for others. A love that encompasses everything thing she does and everything she touches, left her earthly home yesterday for an eternity spent face to face with Jesus. Kara Tippets is a woman I never met. I emailed with her after a friend shared her blog with me. We shared a common thread; love for others, investing in a way that leaves our lives, hearts and homes open to impacting others through loving them well. Believing it’s what God calls us to.

As I followed her days at Mundane Faithfulness the last two years I’ve always been drawn to Jesus. Always. No matter what she faced in battling cancer she always let us see her struggle. Her desperate desire to remain here and be with her love and her littles and those she loved so dearly. To be present for the sweet moments, the hard moments, the tender moments and the joys of all that life holds. She let us hear and feel the gut wrenching tension in the battle but she always, always led us back to her resting place. Jesus. Her all. Her Sustainer. Her Strength. I’ve needed to see Jesus. Many days it has been through her words that I could taste and see.

It’s because of these two women I put my fingers to the keys today with no plan, no eloquence.

I’m returning to something God drew my heart to in the very beginning. Desperate to fight this battle against the enemy of my soul.

In returning and rest…rest in me a little while

As you read...

Have you known HIS rest?

Have you felt HIS strength lately?

How can you rest in Him today?