Saturday, May 29, 2010

Where in the world have I been?

Wooo!  My sweet blog friends....where in the world have I been all month?

Let me just say that the month of May has been INSANE....INSANE good...but crazy nonetheless....

So I wanted to catch you up, first of all, at little admin....

Let me first tell you that the mission of Signs of Life was to be an encouragement and a place for me to post short stories that would eventually lead to the publishing of the devotional, Signs of Life: Adventures of an Everyday Soul. And it's been a great run of that....then I made friends and now Signs of Life is more of a true journal....and I like it that way....so I am transitioning this site to be more of a "What's up in my/our life" place. That being said, I will be posting my stories on www.carikaufman.com and/or www.stringsattachedministries.com.

I just posted about God's eternal love and forgiveness over on www.carikaufman.com- check it out!

Ok, now that all that is out of the way...what have I been doing?

Well...the short answer is speaking to women's groups....it's been such an awesome month of meeting new friends and sharing God's message for women and their friendships, and Strings Attached is really starting to gain momentum.  Pray for discernment and guidance for me as I navigate the waters of women's ministry...they are sometimes murky.

I spoke to my home church on May 15 and just returned from a trip to Burlington,  KS to speak to a budding support group there...Both great experiences in very different ways!

Let's see what else...Xander started baseball and is doing really well! We are enjoying watching his games!

My sister graduated from college and we spent some wonderful time with family celebrating that awesome accomplishment.

The kids are out for the summer and I am so looking forward to the next few weeks! We are headed to Maryland for a few days to attend Charlie's brother's wedding and then on to the Outerbanks for a week at the beach! YAY! I am so excited! As an aside, I am looking for a place to speak while I am in  town, so if you are east coast NC or western MD and have a group for me to speak or would like to host a book signing  June 9-19, message me!

Other than that not much going on! So nice to catching up! What are you guys up to?

Friday, May 7, 2010

To all the Moms I've loved before.....

I wrote this note last year, but as I look through it, well, it fits...so well....to the women in my life- I love you all- from the woman who bore me to the women who bear with me, thank you for mothering me in one way or another! Happy Mother's Day, Ladies!

This is a shout out to all the Mom’s in my life. 

I wanted to take a moment to let you all know how blessed I am to be surrounded by such wonderful examples of motherhood.  To say thank you to the women who daily model for me what being the keeper of the keys to the household is all about.  Some of you I know well, and you daily share your wisdom with me. Others I watch from afar and probably wouldn’t be able to pick me out of a line up, but you still impact me in such a real and positive way.  There are so many of you I can’t even begin to mention you all, but here are just a few.

Mama- wow, how do I begin? You have the ability to sit and listen to just about anyone’s problems/issues with compassion and empathy.  Your wisdom shines through in your daily demeanor and you share it freely with those around you (I like to think that I got this from you and hope that I do it as gracefully as you do).  You have taught me to genuinely care about others and the impact that service to just one individual can make.  In my rush to save the world, you help me to realize that real change happens one soul at a time.

Lora- You have the gift of bridging the generations.  You can easily communicate with people from all walks of life, young and old.  What do I learn from watching you as a mother? The power of calm.  You always seem to take everything in stride, but with enthusiasm and zest for life.  I love to watch you play with your son and my children.  You never seem too busy to stop and take a moment out to just focus on them.  You teach people that they are important through your love and attention.

Alexis- I sometimes get sad for you because I think you are a mom too soon.  I want you to be a kid more, but that is an unreasonable desire….you have always been a mom in heart. You have always been the one who tended to the relationships of this family, kept in contact with everyone.  You have taught me that love is best shown face to face, spoken aloud, written down….not assumed. Keep reminding me, I will learn it eventually!  I am amazed by the way that you have juggled the responsibilities in your life.  Raising three children in this world is not easy, let alone the working full time and finishing school. And you do it with grace and acceptance that I often don’t have at 35, let alone did I have it in my twenties. 

My friends: some of you are “biological” moms who have children of your own, some of you are different types of moms altogether.  But all of you have taught me life lessons.   Like Kim Gordon, who daily teaches me that my high calling…more than anything else, is to minister to my family; or Kim Gartner, who simply amazes me with her peace and grace in the face of 20 K-2 kids everyday, but most of all, reminds me to look for and reward the great things my kids do each day.  My homeschool mom friends, Holly, Tonya, and so many more women who go beyond active participation in their children’s educations, but have made it their lives’ work—I am daily in awe of what you do.  My teacher moms (some with their “own” children, some without)- uh, yeah…wow! You are at times the only real love and structure some children know, and you provide it to 20-30 people at a time. My working mom friends, who are able to hold their household together while working a full time job outside the home. My at-home mom friends, who are able to hold their household together while working a full time job inside the home. And all those in between who manage to be the glue that holds all of the individual parts in place and together. Nicole and all my single mom friends…crazy, how you  manage all the stuff…all the time…just amazing.  Lauren, Beth, Fannesha, Missy, and all those other women out their that are military or corporate “single moms”…I have been there, sometimes knowing you’re partner is on the other side of the world makes the work of a single mother even more difficult because you hold open the space for the your mate, thank you for sharing your husbands with us.  Heather, Kim, AJ and all those other moms who are running/trying to start their own businesses (slash rockstar singing careers) but value the importance of time spent with their children and families…I am constantly in awe of your persistence and ability to continue moving forward.  To my blog friends, who sit down to write and open up your world, thank you for sharing your weaknesses, your thoughts and your heart with us.

Anyway, now my head is spinning with all of these moms that I want to shout out to….too many to count, too many to list.  But know this, whether you have your own children or not, if you are a woman, you are a mother. We as women, bring life to the world, both biologically and through the outpouring of our love on those around us. Regardless, of your circumstances, you deserve to be honored. 

Know that your everyday work and love it is not going unnoticed.  I watch. Others do too.  Your children watch.  We are all learning from your example.  Thank you for providing such a wonderful one for us to follow!  You are all beautiful and awesome! Happy Mother’s Day!



Company Girl Coffee 5/7/2010- Estou com saudades de VocĂȘ!

Or I missed you in Portuguese! I did! ALOT!

Oh, Girls, where do I begin?  I'm not sure...let's go back a couple of weeks to April 22-25...I had the awesome opportunity to join 406 other women at "Captivating" in Fraser, Colorado.  Captivating is based on John and Stasi Eldredge's book, Captivating: Unveiling the Mysteries of a Woman's Soul. If you have not read it, Girls, don't read another book until you have read this one! I am serious....do it now!

Anyway, after years of trying to get to one of these conferences: it finally happened! My friend and I traveled by plane to Denver, and then by shuttle bus the two hours to Fraser.  I volunteered to be one of the four shuttle commanders- which entailed a little more than I had imagined.  I was thinking more shuttle van than shuttle charter bus...200 women, 4 buses, 4 very different shuttle bus commander personalities- it's a good thing I'm a teambuilding coach...just sayin...

Fortunately all that military leadership training didn't fail me:



We ended up snowed in on the mountain...it snowed ALOT...beautiful...which forced me (and i needed it) to STOP and BE. To REST and LISTEN. God met me there and I am forever grateful for the renewal I experienced.  


Transitioning has been a bit more difficult than I thought and getting back to the "real" world while trying to cling to the truths I learned while on the "mountain top" (figuratively and literally) has been a jarring experience.  Frankly, and this is completely outside my normal M.O., I haven't wanted to be around people at all...I just want to sit with God, bask in His love for me, feel the weight of His delight in me....ah, what a lovely , soul refreshing place to be! But he calls me to be in the world, so I can be of use to Him and well that's where I need to be...I don't have the words yet to fully describe what happened to me and for me up there on that snowy mountain....so I apologize if I don't make sense...maybe soon...;)

So that is where I am...preparing to give a Strings Attached presentation on May 15 and working through where God wants me and this ministry he's given me.  Lots of writing to come....you may want to subscribe...some of the best stuff I've ever written is flowing from my pen these days...God is showing me so much and I pray that my human words can do it justice....Until then, I will share a journal entry from my first morning quiet time at the retreat:

Big fluffy snowflakes fall, muffling the sounds of four hundred women beginning to stir. The beauty of the mountains surround me. We have all come here together seeking the same answer to the same question, a question every woman bears- "Am I captivating?"

We all ask it different ways-but it is the ageless question on every woman's heart. On mine.

"Lord, am I beautiful? Am I truly yours, Lord? Do you really love ME so much that you would send you son to DIE...FOR ME?

I wish I could say that I am a woman who didn't need that question constantly answered. I wish that the blessed assurance that I am God's BELOVED DAUGHTER- bought and paid for...no RANSOMED..by the blood of Jesus Christ would sit, would stay put in  my heart forever. But the understanding of that sacrifice escapes daily, sometimes hourly, sometimes by the minute.

The world and the enemy of my soul they tell me it's not true, they tell me I am not lovely, I am not captivating, I am not beloved....even worse- they tell me I am not His. 

And I wish, God, I pray, that I did not believe that lie so often. So Lord, I come to ask you , "Do you see me? Am I lovely? Am I yours, Lord?

In this room, where others are asking the same question in each their own special way...I hear You shout, not whisper, but cry out a definitive, "YES!"   And my heart cries out in joy...in response.

I see it now, all around me...your extravagant love for me...like a beau bringing flowers to his lady. I see it in the fluffy snowflakes on my eyelashes- like kisses form God. And in the beautiful smiles of the sister hearts I meet all around me. And the breathtaking views of the mountains. And the vivid blue of the sky. And I hear it in the 400 voices raised in song and worship, and the shouts of praise and the whispered prayers of intercessors.  Thank you, Lord Jesus, for meeting me here. For bringing me here. For loving me here. I love You.

"I kept running around it in large or small circles, always looking for someone or something able to convince me of my Belovedness. 

Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the "Beloved". Being the Beloved expresses the core truth of our existence." 





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