Iridescent Grace

I have been away from my blog for a number of months working with a team launching a new book. We are excited to get it done.

This book, a memoir written under the pen name of Carly Richaven, reveals the cruelty of mental illness, the resilience of a child, and the amazing grace of a loving God.

Most who have read it say Carly’s book is extreme. The abuse is intense, but the love of God and His grace throughout is also intense.  Get ready for a roller coaster ride that you will want to stay on until the peace-filled end.

The abusive Mom had multiple personalities. The three her children were most familiar with were the Quiet Mom, the Party Mom, and the Evil Mom.  They knew which one she was at the time by her eye color. When her eyes changed from blue to silver, they knew things were about to get bad.

How are those children sane? Find out in Carly’s book. You can find it at iridescentgrace.com or amazon.com. Barnes & Noble also carries it.

Carly also has a blog on WordPress. carlyrichaven.com.

If you love true stories of God’s grace and love, don’t miss this one.

The trailer is coming soon. I will post it when it is sent to me. Can’t wait.

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At the Atrium

Veteran’s Day is a time to honor those who fought to keep America free. The military has an especially warm place in my heart – my dad was a career Navy man.

The Atrium

Remembering our military and the sacrifices so many have made takes me back to a day when I visited the Atrium at Arlington Cemetery.  Honor, respect, and the scent of great sacrifice permeates the air on those sacred grounds.

I stood on the upper terrace of the Atrium and watched a soldier. He, his petite wife, and toddler son had been in the center of the Atrium and were then walking up the steps to the top of the terrace where I stood.

Gratitude flooded my heart and I felt compelled to speak to him. I took a step  toward him as he arrived on the terrace with his family.

My breath caught as I took in the full scope of this man. His uniform revealed him to be special forces, our elite of fighting men, and I realized that he would be placed in the most dangerous of assignments to keep people like me free. He was someone’s son, this woman’s husband and this little tyke’s dad, yet he risked so much for all of us. I took a deep breath and stepped over to him.

“May I shake your hand?” I asked, my hand extended. His huge hand reached out and engulfed mine. I continued, “Sir, I want to thank you for your service.”

He bent down a little to look me in the eye and with a little smile said, “Yes, Ma’am.”  Such chivalry, such tenderness from this massive military man.

A lump formed in my throat as I looked at his wife and son standing there. Nodding my head at her, then again at the soldier, I felt I was in the presence of greatness. He released my hand and we both walked away. Me, back to my tour group, and he, back to his visit with his family.

I prayed that day, and still do today, that he fights the good fight and comes home safely. Thank God for him and soldiers like him, both men and women, who sacrifice time away from home and family, and risk life and limb, to make sure America remains free.

I am humbled by the thought and deeply grateful.

Chiseled to Perfection

Credits: accademia.org
Credits: accademia.org

The Statue of David is perfect.
The Prisoners that line the hall leading to the Statue of David are not.

Credits: accademia.org
Credits: accademia.org

There is work to be done on them. Inside each block of half-chiseled rough stands a perfect statue waiting to emerge. All that each one needs is the sculptor to remove the clutter, the rubbish, anything that hides the perfect form. As Michelangelo saw David in the block of marble before he picked up the chisel, so God sees the beauty in each one of us. Chisel me, Lord, a little at a time, until I am the perfect me. (1)

What if everyone in church said that?

I attend a great church. The pastor is kind. The people are friendly. The music is awesome! But we are not yet perfect, we are still being chiseled into the beings God sees.

I’m guessing your church is the same way. Or maybe your church is perfect like the Statue of David. Let’s see…

In a perfect church pastors would:
– understand a churchgoer as well as God understands him.
– preach and/or teach so that a churchgoer can easily understand and comprehend any and all Biblical doctrine, theses, and principles needed to live a Godly, successful life here and be translated into Heaven when he expires.
– know that a churchgoer cannot remain attentive for a sixty-minute sermon, nor can he sit still for that long.
– live lives above reproach, and be a positive influence.
– never, ever get tired, frustrated, or angry.
– always be considerate, pleasant, and cheerful.

and the music leaders would:
– structure the musical presentations so the churchgoer worships, prays, is inspired to give tithes and offerings, dedicates himself to the mission field, and is strengthened every Sabbath.
– make sure the singers are always on-key, never forget the words, and worship.
– keep his or her own mind healthy by safeguarding against any and all negative influences coming from worldly music, social media, ungodly peers, and activities away from the church.
– arrive early, clean, well-dressed, with a Godly spirit, each Sabbath.

and each of the churchgoers would:
– easily understand, comprehend, and PRACTICE, any and all Biblical doctrine, theses, and principles needed to live a Godly, successful life here and be translated into Heaven when he expires.
– volunteer.
– upon arriving at church, quickly and easily dismiss any social or emotional problem that may have occurred during the week, so he can focus on worship.
– bring a Bible, either hard-copy or electronic.
– always be willing to give when a need is presented.
– never gossip, even about prayer requests.
– always remain cheerful, cooperative, and excited about church.

I’m sure you could add to each list ideas that make church perfect for you. In reality though,there are no perfect pastors, music leaders, or churchgoers. God is not finished with us yet. And church can get a little messy with all the chipped pieces and dust flying around!

Let us focus on the beautiful aspects God has already fashioned, not on the unfinished parts. And certainly not on the dust and chipped pieces God has removed. Let the Holy Spirit blow them away.

By the marvelous grace of a perfect God, we are loved in spite of our unchiseled parts. And by this same grace, as we head toward perfection in Christ, we ought to support each other in prayer and offer understanding and consideration during the process.

“My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us—perfect love! “(‭1 John‬ ‭4‬:‭11-12‬ MSG)

(1)  Paraphrased from Unglued, by Lysa TerKeurst. (Zondervan, 2012)

 

In a Perfect World…

Wouldn’t it be great if we lived in a perfect world?

I know for me, the school day would not be so messy in a perfect world because…

teachers would:
– understand a child as well as his parent understands him.
– know that a child has soccer, football, baseball, or basketball, FFA, 4-H, cheerleading, church activities, and chores, so they do not assign homework.
– teach so that a child can easily understand, comprehend, or calculate any and all skills needed to score a high mark on the state test.
– grade every paper the same day it is done by a child to give timely feedback.
– understand that a child is human and should be allowed to have his “moments.”
– know that a child cannot sit that still for fifty minutes and should allow movement at will around the room.
– maintain control in the classroom.
– live lives above reproach, and be a positive influence.
– never, ever get tired, frustrated, or angry.
– always be considerate, pleasant, and cheerful.

and parents would:
– structure the home so their child has a good night’s sleep (8-10 hours) every night and is fed highly nutritious, very delicious meals every day.
– make sure their child maintains optimum health with yearly check-ups and regular visits with a doctor and a dentist.
– keep their child’s mind healthy by safeguarding against any and all negative influences coming from music, video games, peers, and activities away from the home.
– assure that their child is up early, clean, well-dressed, well-fed, and at school on time each day.
– keep their child’s school supplies on hand, so he always has paper, pencils, highlighters, a dictionary, a planner, and books.
– check their child’s homework and discuss it with him.
– keep up with the current information, trends, and events in all subject areas, so they can give up-to-date information and help with homework and projects.

and students would:
– learn any skill, presented in any way, no matter the type of learners they are.
– do every assignment on time, every time.
– complete a long assignment in a short time because they are focused and alert.
– easily understand, comprehend, or calculate any and all skills needed to score a high mark on the state test.
– quickly and easily dismiss any social or emotional problem that may occur during a school day, so they can focus on academics.
– always have any and all supplies needed for any assignment given.
– arrive at school on time, every day, properly dressed with completed homework in hand.
– always be cheerful, cooperative, and excited about each assignment given.

Unfortunately, there are no perfect teachers, parents, or students. The school day can get a little messy, but it is truly wonderful that we support each other by showing understanding and consideration for one another’s “imperfections.”

Let Me Be Claire

I am new to blogging. I’m sure that will become painfully clear.  I usually have a decent amount of self-confidence, but I am not feeling it right now.  I realize that anyone who can connect to the web can read this – my thoughts, my opinions. That is scary. What if I say something really stupid?! For those of you who know me personally, that can and inevitably will happen. You will forgive me, I will move on, and we will laugh about it next year.

Since I begin every day with prayer, I want to  begin this experience that way.

Lord, I am starting a blog. The life lessons I have accumulated over the years I’ve known You are wasting away in the filing cabinet of my mind. I would like to share them so that others might not make the same mistakes I did. Maybe someone will be inspired to know You in a more personal way. Maybe  someone will be encouraged to get up and go at it again. I’ll try not to use overused Christian cliches, and I will always be honest. Help me to guard against the TMI trap. And I will try not to use too many acronyms.  If You see that I am leaning toward pretentiousness, please nudge me.  I just want to be Claire. Thank You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

And so we begin…