Strength Zapper: Living in FFW Mode

Has anyone else found themselves trying to microwave a miracle, a manifestation, or a moment? I’m old enough (and experienced enough) to know that life doesn’t work this way. Hitting the “fast forward” button to skip over the routine, mundane parts in an attempt to “get to the good part” only happens with technology. In real life, process requires time and has patience inherently baked in as an essential requirement (is that redundant? LOL). Yet, in repetitively familiar cycles, I find myself in the same place (albeit with a different situation and set of circumstances) trying to hurry the results. 

While reading about joy this morning, I found myself speeding up and just trying to “get to the end.” Mentally, I wanted to check the box for “completed morning devotions.” How disingenuous, insincere, and un-worshipful! I realized I hadn’t even noticed (let alone processed, absorbed, or retained) what I just read. Isn’t the point of reading about joy to draw closer to God? I was going through the motions and missing the point. 

I repented and reread the passage, from the top – slower, deliberately, and with intention. I saw a phrase pop out that was confirmation of what God had spoken to me previously this week, but I was probably rushing too much for its significance to even register. I laughed as I was reminded that the point of reading about joy isn’t to complete the reading, but to be pulled into closer relationship with the Source of Joy. Perspective maintenance complete? Check!

My prayer for us today is that we slow down long enough to experience the love of God instead of just reading or hearing about it – there’s a tremendous difference! May we be refreshed as true joy causes our strength to be renewed…

“And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

(Nehemiah 8:10)

© Copyright 2021 by Kayren J. Cathcart

Spring Cleaning of the Soul: Release the Garbage

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Listen to this episode of my podcast:
https://anchor.fm/kayren-cathcart/episodes/Spring-Cleaning-of-the-Soul-Release-the-Garbage-euct01

As I sat on the porch waiting for my lunch to finish cooking, I marvelled in the beauty of this splendiferous sunny Spring afternoon. I soaked up the rays amidst the natural wonder of warbling birds, flitting butterflies, and a mischievous chameleon stealthily navigating the shrubs. Out of nowhere, the garbage collector noisily rumbled down the street…and then went away as the sound faded in the distance. As quickly as the truck appeared, it dumped the container’s contents into its massive jaws and vanished down the street. Then it ambled around another corner to collect from the other side of the street.
I waved to the driver in appreciation for the consistent service of keeping our community clean and safe. Yet, I was struck by the fact that I saw no one running down the street behind the garbage truck saying, “Hey, I put my old rubbish and refuse in there for you to haul it away, but I’ve had a change of heart…stop and gimme back my stuff!”
If that’s the case in the natural, why don’t we let the garbage collector haul away our old thoughts, habits, emotions, hurt feelings, and inaccurate beliefs that no longer serve us in our current space & place? Why do we insist upon tightly clutching what can only be accurately labeled as TRASH?! Prayerfully consider what “Spring Cleaning of the Soul” would be to your benefit this week – and then, release the garbage. You’ll find yourself in a better position to allow God to fill that new space with HIS goodness…

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
(II Corinthians 5:17)

“4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.”
(Revelation 21:4-5)

© Copyright 2021 by Kayren J. Cathcart

Likeminded and On One Accord

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My wonderful hubby is a consummate coffee drinker – with one caveat: he must have his sugar-free creamer. I found a hazelnut-flavored one that he likes; since he was down to his last drop, I decided to swing by the store after my nail appointment and grab some more creamer for him. Yes, even in the rain and separate from my regular weekend grocery run – because that’s what love does, right? 🙂

I also grabbed some of his favorite cinnamon-raisin mini-bagels and sugar-free seltzers. As I got into the check-out line, who did I see rolling up behind me? None other than my handsome, freshly clean-shaven husband – armed with those same items I had in my hands (plus a few extra snacks) – who had decided to stop by the SAME STORE after his haircut. It was SO funny! After 20 years of marriage, we are (finally) thinking alike! I am grateful for God’s mercy as He continues the process of making us one IN HIM…

“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”
(Genesis 2:24)

“Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.”
(Philippians 2:2 KJV)

“Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, having the same love [toward one another], knit together in spirit, intent on one purpose [and living a life that reflects your faith and spreads the gospel—the good news regarding salvation through faith in Christ].”
(Philippians 2:2 AMP)

© Copyright 2021 by Kayren J. Cathcart

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Take Time to Listen

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Have you ever walked into a Walmart knowing that the power of the Holy Spirit would overshadow you on Aisle G13? Me neither – but that’s exactly what happened today when a gentleman asked me if I knew where the toddler toothbrushes were. I laughed that my “toddlers” were now teenagers, but offered to help him look for the specific item.

Turns out he was getting it for an octogenarian neighbor, and an adult soft toothbrush just wouldn’t do. I looked for Hello Kitty and the other usual suspects in children’s dental gear, to no avail. I summoned a nearby employee and she directed us to the other side of the aisle a few feet down (not intuitive)…and he found exactly what he needed.

As he put the toddler toothbrush into his basket, I said cheerily, “You know, this pandemic is such a reminder that we really need each other!” He blurted, “I’m all alone; my wife just died and I don’t know what I’m gonna do; I don’t know how I’m gonna make it!” I certainly didn’t expect that impassioned outburst before adding deodorant to my own basket, but I immediately began to pray aloud for his comfort, peace, and strength. This gentleman was obviously heartbroken and tears filled his eyes as he told me about losing his wife of 46 years a few months ago. Recently bereaved of my beloved godmother who valiantly battled dementia for years, my heart was tender and open. In that very moment, NOTHING on my shopping list was more important than pouring oil on the open wound of this fellow child of God. 

We talked for at least 15 minutes as I encouraged him to connect with other believers instead of continuing his stoic attempts to process through his grief in isolation. I shared the powerful resource of GriefShare.org with him and invited him to connect with my church as well. He said, “Thank you; I wish I could hug you,” and I said, “Well we’re gonna do a socially-distanced hug in Jesus’ name,” as I put my arm on his arm. 

I’m honored God chose ME today to be His hands and feet to remind this precious man that his Creator loves him immensely and has not forgotten about him. And I’m grateful that I heeded God’s leading to come to THIS particular store (instead of my usual Walmart closer to my house) at this precise time of day to fulfill this divine assignment.

I thought I came to purchase a tea infuser (after a dear friend blessed me with a loose leaf tea set and I realized I’d need a strainer). I found the tea infuser, then meandered from Home Goods to Health & Beauty to grab some toothpaste. And there, the knock of opportunity connected with my gift of encouragement. I’m so grateful I wasn’t too busy to answer the Father’s call! I encourage you to keep your ears attuned this week as God summons you to work in His vineyard, fulfilling an assignment custom-tailored to fit you…

“10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.”
(Romans 12:10-16)

© Copyright 2021 by Kayren J. Cathcart

Mic Drop: When Second Place is #1

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For someone with “math phobia,” I’ve certainly been dealing with a lot of numbers lately! 

I just competed in a Spring 2021 Toastmasters Area contest tonight. I won Second Place in both categories – International Speech Contest and Table Topics Contest. And you know what? For this recovering perfectionist, it feels great! Why? Because I challenged myself to compete in BOTH contests (instead of staying in my comfort zone with just one), I prepared in advance, I determined to have fun no matter what, and I did my best. My response to NOT winning First Place in either contest signifies that I’m GROWING – and that’s what life is about. Plus, I got to hear a bunch of really good speeches and learn some new techniques for speaking effectiveness and excellence! 

So here’s the backstory. In the Fall of 2020, I competed in my first Toastmasters contest. I won First Place at my Club Contest, which was pretty cool since my competition was no lightweight. I advanced to the Area Contest, where I won First Place for the Evaluations Speech Contest – it was exhilarating. When I moved ahead to the Division Contest, I didn’t even place – not even third. Seriously! I was stunned…and if I hadn’t had other stuff going on in my life, I might have felt a bit bruised or crushed. (Kinda ironic since I’ve had my share of musical competitions where I didn’t place at the top…but that was decades ago LOL…time does heal wounds – even not making All-State Chorus LOL).   

Yet, after a dazed day (or 2 or 3) of wondering whether I exceeded the given time limit and trying to figure out what exactly counted against me, I decided to let that “kick in the pants” propel me into my “next.” Since I know I want to do more public speaking, I decided to keep working at improving my skills. I began giving speeches more frequently (every week) and invited candid feedback, which I diligently incorporated the following week. And I saw my “speaking muscles” growing stronger with every speech.

Today, I celebrate ALL who participated and gave of themselves and their personal stories in the Spring 2021 contests, especially my Mentee who competed for the first time – I’m really proud of him  for stepping up to the plate and the way he represented our Toastmasters Club. There’s something to be said for knowing what to expect “the next time.”

So I didn’t win First Place this time – it’s all good. I get the opportunity to give another speech at my home club (filled with people I absolutely enjoy growing with) tomorrow. I’m advancing along my Pathways (the Toastmasters educational program) journey at a strong clip. And before the contest ended tonight, I was asked to provide a keynote speech at another club – wow! That squeak sounds like doors of opportunity opening to me…

No matter what the award says, it’s a win either way – and a matter of perspective. GOD gets the ultimate glory because the gifts belong to HIM – and HIS is the only applause and approval I need. I’m excited for what’s yet to come as I continue working to develop my passion – encouraging, motivating, and inspiring others! What wins can you celebrate with gratitude this week?
#WatchMeGrow #LosingIsWinning #LossIsGain #Lose2Gain

Blessings to you,
Kayren 🙂

“7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.”
(II Corinthians 4:7-10)

“7 But whatever former things were gains to me [as I thought then], these things [once regarded as advancements in merit] I have come to consider as loss [absolutely worthless] for the sake of Christ [and the purpose which He has given my life].
8 But more than that, I count everything as loss compared to the priceless privilege and supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord [and of growing more deeply and thoroughly acquainted with Him—a joy unequaled]. For His sake I have lost everything, and I consider it all garbage, so that I may gain Christ,”
(Philippians 3:7-8, AMP)

© Copyright 2021 by Kayren J. Cathcart

Pursuing Progress, Process, or Both?

Butterfly KC 8-29-2019

Today wasn’t a cartoon-y kinda day for me. There was just a certain gravity I felt. Sometimes your cup gets full, and tears leak outta the corners of your eyes, ya know? As I considered the events of my past 7 days (some weighty, others celebratory) – not to mention the past month – I got full. So much is changing in and around me, even as my “stay at home” surroundings remain. I guess I was overdue for a good ol’ cleansing, let-it-all-out type of cry. 

It’s what happens when you realize that whatever food you shove down your gullet doesn’t fill that empty place in your soul. You feel it when checking the next item off your list of goals doesn’t bring the lingering sense of accomplishment you’d anticipated. You’re reminded every time you reflect on the list of dreams you tucked away (again) because you think it may be just beyond your grasp – and yet, you can’t let it go because you’re called to it.

You’re smack dab in the middle of growth and change with no roadmap, no template, no lifejacket. Kept afloat and constantly buoyed by hope and faith. Propelled by persistence and propensity to persevere.

Does it hurt a butterfly to emerge from its cocoon no longer a caterpillar? Regardless of pain or its absence through the process, the butterfly comes forth lookin’ different and actin’ different – because it IS different!

The process of transformation is intricate, detailed, and cannot be rushed; yet, neither can it be prevented. How many times have we tried to remain in the same place of comfort and familiarity, only to be thrust forward and propelled into something unknown but totally aligned with our divine destiny?

It’s March, it’s Spring, and it’s time to PUSH…I don’t know what’s coming, but I know it’s big. What will YOU birth in this season? Let us diligently prepare now…our purpose awaits!

“But he knoweth the way that I take:
when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”
(Job 23:10)

© Copyright 2021 by Kayren J. Cathcart

Vitamins + Cookies

Kayren-Tine Comic Strip 02.18.2021

This one needs no introduction…just share in the comments if you’ve ever reasoned using a pattern like this before! LOL 

It’s like starting the day off riding the indoor bike because it’s too rainy to walk outside, and then advancing to a healthy breakfast…only to end up with ice cream at bedtime (for example…so I’ve been told…by someone else – ha ha!). Almost cancels out the positive effect of the exercise, eh?

Sometimes we try to justify our nonsense when we truly know better. How many times do we get caught up in foolishness, only to find ourselves at the feet of a loving Savior who is ready to forgive us once again? Oh, what grace, love, and mercy! 

May we extend the same to others…(and ourselves, too)…

“10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”
(John 8:10-11)

© Copyright 2021 by Kayren J. Cathcart

Home Cookin’ in Quarantine

Kayren-Tine Comic Strip 02.11.2021

When I wrote about An Ounce of Prevention 10 months ago, I didn’t imagine that the act of baking could be so hazardous to my hips! LOL 

Nevertheless, as quarantine continues (and many more homemade lemon-glazed sour cream pound cakes later than I care to admit), I find myself challenged to increase my physical activity and decrease my caloric intake…how about you? Apparently, creating domestic culinary adventures (1. Without leaving my home, PLUS 2. Keeping a minimum of 2 sticks of butter on hand – in the vegetable drawer, no less…for SHAME! <gasp!>) can become a cumulative experience. Who knew?! Oh, I knew… 

I’m thankful to have a couple of neighbors who literally keep me “on my toes” – texting me regularly to make sure I lace up my tennis shoes a few times a week and hit the pavement for some cardio. Accountability counts…stay encouraged and stay connected, my friends – we have MUCH to be grateful for! Love is all around – and not just in the Valentine’s season…call someone today and make their day. You just might save them from that extra bite of pound cake they were wrestling with…or they may offer to share with you!

“A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”
(Proverbs 17:17)

“A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”
(Proverbs 18:24)

© Copyright 2021 by Kayren J. Cathcart

I’m Having a Moment Here!

Blobs Kayren-Tine Comic Strip 2-3-2021

We ALL have emotional moments; don’t think you’re the only one!

Having a support system makes all the difference in the world – during tough times and during great times. In the midst of ongoing quarantine, I encourage you to find your tribe. Never before has it been so important to maintain meaningful connections with other humans. I recently joined several amazing virtual groups (come along if you’d like! organizing group here, inspirational book club here, and authors’ network here) that admittedly, if I weren’t stuck at home (er, I mean, having the divine destiny to be with my family pretty much 24/7), I likely would not have reached out to connect with in person. 

Nevertheless, I am already benefitting from exposure to new people with different (or surprisingly similar) mindsets, backgrounds, and experiences. Each group has uniquely challenged me to try new opportunities and to say “yes” to unexpected possibilities.

So today, I embraced a chance to create via a different medium. Instead of limiting myself to writing with words, I tried my hand at expressing my thoughts through a “Kayren-Tine in Quarantine” comic strip (thanks, Canva!). I’m sure there was some subconscious influence from the fantastic Toastmasters webinar (The Humor Workshop – check it out!) I attended today. 

Whaddya think? Please share your thoughts on my first comic strip (since a high school assignment LOL) in the comments section, and tell me how you’re handling those pop-up “emotional moments” of extended quarantine. It’s nice to know someone’s listening, isn’t it? 

Blessings to you,
Kayren

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”
(Proverbs 17:22)

“A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;”
(Ecclesiastes 3:4)

“Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.”
(Luke 6:21)

© Copyright 2021 by Kayren J. Cathcart

Late in the Midnight Hour…

PP Late in the Midnight Hour

…God’s gonna turn it around…if ya know the song, then sing along!

Even after putting 2 potential slots for an outdoors walk on my calendar, it still didn’t happen amidst 5 back-to-back conference calls – ugh, talk about a sedentary day! As I wearily powered down my laptop at 11:30pm, I repented in my heart for not getting my physical exercise in for the day and silently made an “air promise” to get it in tomorrow. As I approached the shower, I realized, “I have absolutely NO excuse not to do SOMETHING for my physical well-being today!” 

So I marched to the closet, threw on some workout clothes, laced up my tennis shoes, refilled my water bottle, and headed over to vigorously attack the stationary bike that my wonderfully visionary hubby procured months ago to facilitate perpetual pandemic home workouts. Not sure why I thought I might wake my children, but the cackling I heard from their respective rooms confirmed that they are truly teenagers. Armed with my earbuds and favorite playlist, I purposed to do at least 20 minutes…and I surpassed that goal. Honestly, as someone who’s done MULTIPLE weight loss programs over the years, I admit I’m often hesitant to set goals (let alone share them) – so this is kinda a big deal for me. Celebrate my glamorous midnight sweaty = healthy glow look with me! LOL

20210120_0019594218463224743342784.jpg

Inspired and invigorated, I thought about posting this “later” – but later usually doesn’t come when competing with (and crowded out by) all the other items on our to-do lists, right? So I’m doing my cool down/stretch as I write. Now I’ve earned my shower (and burned off a couple of cookies that may have found their way across my lips in the past 24 hours…gotta pay to play, right?) ha ha… 

In 2021, I’m deliberately and intentionally choosing OBEDIENCE – one decision at a time.  What’s your testimony in this freshness of this new year, full of unlimited possibilities? What imprisoning bands will be loosed by your prayers, praises, and obedience? I invite you to share in the comments below…

“25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.

26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.”

(Acts 16:25-26)

© Copyright 2021 by Kayren J. Cathcart