2017: Off and On


Man, I didn’t write much this year. And I can feel the effects of that, for sure.

Ever since childhood, I’ve turned to pen and paper for organizing, processing, and expressing my thoughts and feelings. Each day of every year brings many words, and I do better when I pay attention to them; helping them to find their place so I can find mine. Next year, I vow to pay closer attention…

But I hold on loosely, asking God to make me just as content to receive words as I am to offer them.

Though it’s meager, here is my 2017 offering -or its highlights, anyway:


c-swv5slqo-saeed-mhmdi1. A Strong Start

January is a hard month. There are new routines and rules. Special diets and detoxes. Lofty plans and new purpose.

There is this new version of yourself, but you’re not quite sure you like her. There is small progress, but nothing measurable. You know things will get easier, but not before they get much harder.

I’ll say it again: January is a hard month.

I know all too well. Too many of my years have had hard beginnings. Not any more.

Now, I’m at a softer stage of life. I find myself searching high and low for shoes with the softest soles. I can wait for books to come out in their soft covers, and am willing to pay extra for softer, gentler soap. 

Read more of this post… 

9-v-oxu4dtm-jakob-owens2. The Lunatic Fringe

Chronic doesn’t blow anyone away, it starves you out, leaving you isolated and anemic.

Killing you softly. Casting you out. Making you desperate, irrational, and even willing to try something crazy ….

If only I could just touch his garment, I know I would be healed…

Twelve years. After twelve years of chronic bleeding, she had to be tired. Tired of stares and whispers and unanswered prayers. Tired of their same questions:

Is that still going on? What did the doctor say? Haven’t you tried…?

I’m sure she could see the skepticism in their eyes. She had to notice them shortening the conversations. I bet she could feel them pulling away…

Read more of this post…


fitlqerhxic-noah-silliman3. Ordinary Time

Week four of a New Year’s resolution is not for sissies. Week four is when you notice your biggest supporters, Motivation, Novelty, and Determination, have all packed up camp and headed to wherever they hide. I’m guessing they ran way ahead of me to the final days of December. Or rushed on to Lent. Or are waiting for me in the countdown to swim season. Bye, Felicia. 

These are the days when our chronic, nagging problems hang in the air of our living rooms where the holly used to be. It’s when dreary chores and doctor’s appointments fill the squares of our calendar instead of parties and breaks. It’s when, in your Bible reading plan, you hit the book of Numbers.

Read more of this post… 

ryan-holloway-1689254. The Same 88 Keys

My piano teacher ended every lesson the same way. After thirty minutes of my plunking on her Steinway, she would scoot me off the bench to watch her play some impressive, advanced piece. At the end of the last note, she’d look up at me, gesture to the keyboard, and say, “Now remember, you have these same 88 keys on your piano at home.”

She was trying to encourage me, but sometimes, especially after a rough lesson, it felt like an accusation: You have everything you need… so why aren’t you playing better? What’s wrong with you?

After four years of lessons, it was evident that I lacked many things, but mostly I needed a deeper desire and a different DNA. No matter how hard we tried, those 88 keys just weren’t enough.

Read more of this post… 

redd-angelo-119015. Unbroken Bones

Every year, as Easter draws near, I think about Will*, a student in my Sunday school group a few years back. One morning during Lent, we were revisiting Jesus’ arrest, suffering, and death.

We discussed the road to the cross and the method of crucifixion. We read about the inscription, the casting lots, and about how the soldiers didn’t break Jesus’ legs.

The kids, especially the boys, were curious about the details of crucifixion: How did they get the nails in? Since Jesus is God, did he feel it? Did he scream/fight back? Was blood pouring down the hill?

I guess I’m used to their weird curiosities and obsessions, so I marched through their questions like a pro, without flinching, until this one came from Will’s half-shouting voice:

Read more of this post…


Thanks for sticking with me as I write (and live) off and on. Happy New Year!




Book photo by Daria Shevtsova on Unsplash.

Other photo credits given on separate post pages.



5 thoughts on “2017: Off and On

  1. Michele Morin December 26, 2017 / 10:09 am

    I smiled as I read and remembered. Thanks, Karen, for lifting your voice once again.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Cher Curtis December 26, 2017 / 11:11 am

    Karen – Your post made my second cup of coffee so much more enjoyable! Thanks for reposting your 2017 reflections. Some seasons we are so overwhelmed by “busyness” that reflective time slides off the table altogether. Your fan club hopes you are able to carve out time to reflect and write in 2018!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Christan Perona December 26, 2017 / 3:18 pm

    You’re a beautiful writer, Karen. Seasons are a beautiful thing, for they reveal surrender. They remind us we are not in control. Thank you for getting vulnerable about this season of your life. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Coon, Sue December 28, 2017 / 8:33 am

    I know…i was gonna mention that i missed your sweet verse at the Christmas pageant.

    All the best, Sue

    Susan K. Coon Senior Associate, Financial Advisor 5700 Oakland Avenue, Suite 400 St. Louis, MO 63110 (314)932-4300 – Office (314)569-2109 – Fax http://www.renaissancefinancial.com

    “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

    Securities and Investment Advisory Services offered through Securian Financial Services, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. Renaissance Financial is independently owned and operated. CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This email is intended only for its addressee and may contain information that is privileged, confidential, or otherwise protected from disclosure. If you have received this email message in error, please immediately delete this email transmission and notify us by telephone of this error.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Karen Brown December 28, 2017 / 9:07 am

      xoxo – Thanks, Sue. It was fun seeing you in the balcony 🙂


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