Like I See Me: A Poem

Not many people see me like I see me.
Not aggressive. Not passive. Just something in between.
But not many see me like I see me.

Not many people see me like I see me.
Not pretty. Not rude.
Not polite. Not organic.
Just something in between. I’m just something in between.

Not strange. Not smart. Not particularly efficient.
No talent. No class. Just livin’ in the moment.
But not many people see me like I see me.
Yeah, not many see me like I see me.

I guess it’s okay, ’cause there’s only one me.
I know who I am, and I know my individuality.
Shaped by the Trinity. Forged with identity.

Stand back world, ’cause here comes Kali.

 

Tales of a Small Town: Bellingham, WA

There are a few, usually sunny, days a year when the famously laid-back ‘city of subdued excitement’ puts on its party pants.

The biggest is the annual Ski to Sea Race in May. Participants strap on boots, sneakers, helmets, and life jackets (not all at once, of course) to ski, run, bike, canoe, and kayak from the glorious slopes of Mount Baker to picturesque Bellingham Bay.

Just a few weeks before the big race, however, when the super-human ‘Hamsters are pushing themselves to new feats of strength in preparation for their race events, the rest of us average work-out-five-days-a-week-for-two-hours folks are looking to swell our ranks.

Yes, Bellingham, despite its reputation for hippy-like slothfulness in the winter, is a competitive, active community when the sun comes out. After all, we have to keep up with our big sisters, Portland and Seattle, who are consistently ranked in the top most active cities in the U.S.

And so, when the sunshine of spring seems like it’s going to push away our ever-looming rain clouds, us averagely-active ‘Hamsters initiate our modus operandi numero uno: Bike to Work and School Day.

We say this well publicized event, plastered on the back of every passing bus, is about saving the environment from carbon emissions. But we all know it’s really about broadcasting one message to the entire town: Get Active or Move Out. Maybe the neighboring county towns of Lynden and Ferndale will accept you with your ten pounds of holiday weight, but we won’t!

Today happened to be Bike to Work and School Day, and, as I was driving my husband to work through the streets of downtown, I couldn’t help but smile at how unique our little community is.

There was bike shop number one with a tent, a healthy display of bikes, and a yeti cut-out on the corner next to Starbucks where the mentally-ill homeless are usually yelling greetings at passersby.

Down the road, bike shop number two was appealing to the younger crowd in handing out free stickers and juice boxes. Ambitious moms were checking the strength of helmets and corralling youngsters whose wheels ranged from tricycles to training pedals.

I saw a gaggle of pimply teenagers swarming the local police station, where bicycle cops were handing out free donuts and wishes for a good day at school.

The local triathlon club even had a tent, and was sending out siren calls to any muscley man or woman walking by.

And the streets were filled with bikes. Everyone from the jaguar-like sleek-body road bikers, to the hulky mountain bikers whose calves look like chiseled arrowheads, to the free-flowing long haired beauty on the beach cruiser, to the family of four with the little ones stuffed in bike trailers. They all came out en masse to celebrate this community event.

As I looked around, my healthy dose of shame at having driven to work on Bike to Work and School Day was trumped by a swelling sense of pride in our small community. And laughing to myself, I silently agreed with bumper sticker on the car in front of me: Welcome to Bellingham. Now Get a Bike! 

Time and Money: Keeping an Eye on What You Value

Somehow, and at some point, the popular lie started that money is more valuable than time. People seem to believe that the more money you make, the more time you’ll have. That’s false. They also seem to believe that creating more money doesn’t come at the cost of a great amount of time—that there’s somehow a quick and magical way to make a ton of money. Also false. Wait, there are quick ways to make a ton of money, but they are a) illegal and b) highly unethical.

The question we have to ask is: what do we hope to achieve or do with the money we make and the time that we have? Are we meeting those goals with our current lifestyle?

For the Christ follower, it’s pretty clear. Our money, time, and purposes—even our very lives—come from Christ. Therefore we have a responsibility to devote all those things back to Him. (This responsibility is echoed throughout the entirety of the Biblical text—from Deuteronomy to James. If you need specific examples, write me a comment below). What that looks like and how it plays out is different for every person.

Let’s be crystal clear: there are no rules in the Christian faith about how much money or time is “enough”. Any religion that puts a dollar or time amount behind your service to God is, frankly, wrong; the reason being that it takes the focus off God and puts it on you. I.e. if you put in x hours or dollars, you’ll be free and clear to live your own life with good conscience. That’s a dangerous way to live—seeing God more like an insurance account than a supreme being. We ruin our lives when we take things into our own hands. I think rising suicide rates, debt increases, divorce numbers skyrocketing, terrorist threats, and general unhappiness in the American public are evidence enough of that.

God wants your entire life to be devoted to him because that is the only way you can live a fulfilled life. He proves that time and time again in the Bible and in our own lives.

My life is horrible when I walk away from God and do my own thing. I hurt people I love. I hurt myself. And I back-track any positive progress I managed to make in my faith and my personal goals. I’m betting that the same thing happens to you when you take the solo route.

So, together, let’s re-evaluate the way we are living. Does how we spend our money and our time reflect our faith in God and our ministry in the lives of others?

If your answer is ‘no’, I encourage you to pray this week about what God can do to change your goals— to make them more focused on Him. I guarantee you will see a profound difference in your family and ministry life.

Blessings on your journey,

Kalene

Meine Gefühle auf Deutsch

Ich finde es manchmal leichter, mir die Schwierigkeiten auf eine andere Sprache zu auspacken. Vielleicht versuche ich meinen Wehrlosigkeit zu schützen. Ich weiß es nicht.

Aber ich fühle in letzter Zeit, dass ich mir nicht ehrlich bin. Mein Hochmut macht alles unnötig kompliziert. Ich bin nicht richtig da für mein Mann. Was gibts?

Die Antwort ist meine Beziehung zu Gott. Wenn Gott alles ist, das beeinflußed unser Denken. Wir nehmen alles leichter. Unsere Perspektive ändert.

So bete mit mir weiter, dass Gott mir mehr und mehr echt sein wird—und mir dadurch umwandelt.

How to Make God Louder in a Screaming World

It was over six months ago when God called me into account. I was struggling with grasping control of my life, yet feeling helplessly out of control, all at the same time. Finally, on the verge of total anxiety failure, I collapsed on the floor and cried out to Him,

“What do you want me to do?! You tasked me with these things. They are on my plate because of you! Now everything is overwhelming me and I can’t keep anything straight. I’m losing control.”

Good. I never asked you to have control. I never gave you the reigns, Kalene—you took them from me.

Why do you need control? What are you afraid of? That I won’t take care of you? That you’ll be a failure because of me? 

Give everything back to me, and you’ll finally be free.

“I want to, but I don’t know how! Help me!”

Make me the loudest thing you hear, the realest thing you feel, and the most vivid thing you see.”  


Well friends, there you have it. That’s the answer God gave me over three months ago.

Does it surprise you to know that in this world, making God the loudest thing you hear, the realest thing you feel, and the most vivid thing you see is extremely difficult? I bet it doesn’t.

Many of you are probably like me: bombarded with visual images, drowned out by seemingly constant noise, feeling like the butt-end of unthoughtful conversation.

It’s hard to bring God to the forefront of all that stimulation (especially for those of us who are more emotionally, visually, or physically sensitive than others).

So here are some things I’ve learned in my last three months of practice:

  1. Downplay the noise. Take some time outside to observe God playing out in nature. Read. Activate your God-given creativity by turning off other stimulus. Enjoy the company of the people you enjoy. Don’t forsake meeting with God in the quiet.
  2.  Imagine the seemingly impossible. God is a very visual creator. He desires you to see between the lines. See what’s not there—like the emotions of the people around you; or what it must have been like at the battle of Jericho; or how God might look sitting in the chair next to you (He is there, you know).  Explore with your mind. One caution, though: God must always be there—otherwise you’re a boat without a tether, my friend. And unfortunately, the mind likes the dark places.
  3. Feel with the God filter. It’s amazing how incredibly insightful God can be when it comes to human emotion :). He knows things about the people you’re dealing with, the situations you’re in, and the associative emotions you have, than you could never know on your own. And guess what? If you care to listen to Him, He will share His knowledge with you. You’ll find yourself with more compassion and more insight, than you ever thought you could have.

So there you have it. I’ll be keeping on this journey until I master it (which will probably be never, knowing me). Keep reading along as I learn more and more—and share with me what you learn too.

Stay strong. Talk to you soon.

Kalene

Praise to Lord, the Almighty, the King of Creation

It occurred to me, today, while reading Acts, that much is missed when we fail to report on the works God has done in our lives.

As Paul and Barnabas gathered with the believers in Antioch to report the works of the Lord to the Gentiles, so I will here report the good works of our Savior, that we may together “rejoice and glorify the word of the Lord” (Acts 13:48). And perhaps, as occurred in Pisidian Antioch, “those designated for eternal life [might] believe[]” (Acts 13:48).

This publication is as much for my own benefit as anyone else’s. When the works of the Lord are remembered and held close, resentment and bitterness are held at bay. And perhaps, through my simple proclamation of faith, others will be lead to His light.

So, what you should know about me: I’m a late twenties gal who’s known the Lord from a very young age. My parents, bless them, raised me in the scriptures from day one, and impressed upon me the importance of a life devoted to the King.

It wasn’t until early high school, when emotional maturity caught up with head knowledge, that I dedicated my life to serving Him. What that would mean, I could have hardly imagined at the time.

I have a quote on my refrigerator from Hellen Keller which reads, “Life is a daring adventure, or nothing.” That is how I would summarize my life for Christ. In all honesty, I wouldn’t have it any other way. The Lord has shaped my thirst for adventure into a comfort for embracing the unknown–which is exactly what I’ll have to do in these next steps of my life.

You see after high school, I married my kindred spirit (John), and, together devoted to the Lord, we started the scariest adventure of my life up to that point….a internationally focused non-profit called Jesus’ Economy.  Little did I know that through Jesus’ Economy, would come some of the greatest fruits of my ministry.

Now, three years after starting Jesus’ Economy, God has once again called us into the unknown.

Two years ago, a restlessness began deep in the pit of my stomach. I would lie awake at night and think about it. I would walk around my home during the day, listless and wondering. It was in the middle of the night that the Lord finally spoke to me. “Kalene,” he said, “I want you to start packing up your things. Sell them off and follow me.” These words washed over me like a wave of cool water.

To be honest, they didn’t come as a great shock. We were attending a church at the time with a worship leader who wrote a song called “You Say”. One of the verses reads, “if you say to sell everything and follow you, I am willing to—no matter how it hurts. When you say to pick up my cross and follow you, what else can I do? I’ll live what you say.” The words were like a pinch in my side, but I wanted to honestly say them.

So, a few months later, the Lord called me on those words with his vision in the middle of the night: a cleaned out house. A house ready to go.

That was two years ago, when I packed up almost our entire house, sold off our stuff, and got ready to move. I’ll give you a clue: I’m sitting in the same kitchen I’ve had for six years, surrounded by empty walls and boxes, with very little plan and nowhere to go.

You see, I figured that after I packed up my house as the Lord had asked me to, he would immediately provide the next place, the next task. Well he didn’t. Not even close. He took us on trip after trip to ministry opportunity after ministry opportunity and nothing was the right fit. He got me involved in youth ministry again, and, although that produced much great fruit, it wasn’t the right fit. He had us go down the road of adopting a little girl, only to have her be given to another family.

And now, once again, he’s telling me to get mobile. Get the house ready to sell. Focus on facilitating full-time ministry in my life through Jesus’ Economy. I don’t have a plan. We don’t have a place to go if we sell our house. We have options, but the right one hasn’t popped out yet.

So what’s my theory? Well, I believe that God is calling us on journey similar to Paul and Barnabas. We are setting out to proclaim his good news to the people. We are bringing life and hope to the poor through Jesus’ Economy and bridging the divides of the church through our other non-profit, Resurrect Church Movement. Who cares if we don’t know where we are going? We are being led by the owner of the earth. He has resources beyond number and He’s got a great network of folks who can help us.

My encouragement to you, if you’ve stuck through reading this whole thing, is to take the leap. Devoting your whole life to the Lord is scary, to be sure, but it’s the most rewarding thing you will ever do. The friendships we’ve made through this journey, and the deep fellowship we’ve had with other believers, would never have come about if we hadn’t chosen to let the Lord be our guide.

I’m excited for the next steps, and I’ll continue to proclaim his goodness on this site as the journey progresses.

What are your thoughts? Drop me a line if you like.

How Sweet It Is

Milton and Paul Morell
Milton and Paul

It is another cloudy April day in Whatcom County and Milton and I are ready to tackle the eastern part of our map—making the trek across the county towards Lynden. We start at Natures Path and park our car. I’m thinking, “Hey, we’ll get in a couple miles today; maybe even finish our map.”  It was not to be, but more to come on that later.

Milton and I enjoy the pastoral scenery going down Sweet road, and, after a quarter mile, spot a familiar drive way: the home of my Aunt and Uncle Morell. My thoughts turn to the 1995 British film Cold Comfort Farm and the strange magnetism family dwellings can have. I detour into the driveway, chuckling to myself as I do about having seen “something nasty in the woodshed”.

After traversing up the long winding driveway to the front of the house I stop, and hear noises coming from the shop. Milton finds him first. My Uncle Tom is working away, as usual, and informs me that later he will be delivering furniture to my Grandmother at Spring Creek where she lives. We laugh to ourselves at the thought of having to visit my slightly senile, rather inappropriate Grandmother, whose temper tantrums we’ve all endured over the last several months. She calls him Paul, although his name is Tom, and happens to think that he makes for poor company—a feeling she expresses to him quite regularly.

Uncle Tom invites me inside after my request to use the bathroom, and I find Paul, my cousin, sitting in the living room. He is restraining his two friendly (to humans and other well meaning animals) min-pins. Milton and the min-pins have a luke-warm relationship. I keep him under close watch and Paul and I talk. Paul plans to travel to southern China in late summer. I wish him well and discuss the possibility of combining our efforts through Jesus’ Economy. He walks me to the end of the driveway, min-pins in tow.

By this time I’m ravenously hungry, although I haven’t said anything to him. We bid our farewells and I continue down the road. And then it hits me….like a slap to my empty stomach. The air is heavy with a sweet, syrupy smell. I realize immediately what the smell is: Natures Path Chocolate Bars are in production. How can people live on such a road. They must be craving chocolate all the time.

All I know is that thoughts of swirly, drippy, gooey, chocolate syrup were making the last half mile to the car seem annoyingly long.

Until next time, Happy Travels!

Kalene

Blaine’s Best and Least Known Parks

What did I expect to find when turning off Blaine’s derelict portion of Peace Portal Drive onto Hughes Ave? Well certainly not a quaint and classy beach community with expensive views and million dollar houses. And most definitely not the intricate park/trail system that links the Montfort Conservation Land Trust to the surrounding neighborhoods.

I was shocked by the spectacular Drayton Harbor and Semiahmoo Spit views of Montfort and Bayview Park. The beach access was extraordinary—beautiful, calm and serine. Milt and I were practically unbothered by human contact. We became lost in our own musings (yes, Milton has lots of musings) sitting on the thoughtfully provided and secluded benches. Then, when it was time to return to civilization, we made our exit through garden paths and chatted with park-bordering neighbors. Some even had treats reserved for the dogs on the trail. Milt was delighted.

I thought we had hit the single jackpot on secluded parks, but we found the very same thing down at the Drayton Harbor Kayak Launch: friendly neighbors, secluded and serine beach access, beautiful views.

If you haven’t tried these parks out yet…don’t. Leave the peace and serenity for me—because believe me, I’ll be back.

The view from Bayview Park

The boring weekend

I run around so much, going here and there, experiencing things, helping others,  and doing “work”, that a peaceful weekend at home with my husband seemed at first, well, boring.

Two days of reading, connecting and creating later, I am charged for the week.

This weekend’s reading list for me has included: Revenge of the Wrought Iron Flamingos by Donna Andrews, Searching for God Knows What by Donald Miller, and Getting Better by Charles Kenny.

Add in a drive out E Smith road for our favorite two punch coffees and we are made!

A Woman on a Mission