Archives for June 2018

The Orchid Blooms

I’ve always loved orchid blooms. We have several beautiful orchid plants in our kitchen window. They seem to thrive there, blooming and growing in abundance. Their colors are bright and vibrant and they bring us joy as we look and see how well they are doing. The orchid blooms fill the space in the window and prove they are healthy by their spectacular looks.

However, for the second time in two years now, we have suddenly noticed that the orchid blooms are looking sad. They are slowing falling away from their strong, green stems and to our horror, some of those stems are beginning to turn brown! When this happened two years ago, we waited patiently – and a little doubtfully – for something to else happen. Would the orchid blooms return? Had we killed the plants? Too much water or not enough food or sun? Neither of us knew the answer so we decided to bide our time and wait.

At times, life seems to be like those orchid blooms. Things are beautiful and moving along at a smooth pace. You couldn’t ask for a better time in life. Your needs are being met as well as your desires. In fact, it doesn’t seem that you can do anything wrong. The word “Camelot” comes to mind, equating your present journey with that fictitious, perfect land. Then it happens. A small bump in the road causes you to veer just a bit. Instead of gliding along, oblivious of sadness and hardship, you now begin to wonder about the future. That small bump turns into a major uphill climb in your life. You pray and seek wisdom yet see no real end to the detour that has been thrust upon you. Like the orchid blooms, parts of your life seem to be falling aside and you see no reason nor have control over those circumstances in your way.

Take courage my friends. Every path will encounter rough spots. No matter how smoothly you are moving along through life, there will be moments – even long spaces – of hardship to endure occasionally. Why? I believe one reason is because you and I get too comfortable in our “Camelot” worlds to learn and grow as we should. Complacency takes the place of moving forward and becoming better, more informed people. We enjoy it when life is easy and it requires less energy from us. However, what do we really gain in those times?

It’s not a bad thing to have to it easy once in a while. In fact, finding rest and relaxing is necessary to re-energize for the days ahead. If we go full-tilt all the time, burnout will surely occur. However, be prepared for the periodic bumps in the road. When you least expect them, they can appear out of nowhere and throw you headfirst into a deep, dark cavern of loneliness and hopelessness unless you are already well-grounded (or in the case of the orchids, well-rooted) in your faith.

Next time you experience unpleasantness or are forced to face a rather sudden and harsh bend in your path, look up for guidance and remember the orchid blooms. I told you earlier that we decided to wait and see what would happen with those poor bare stems last year. It took several months of continuing to water the roots and dirt, hoping for new blooms, desiring affirmation that all was well with the plants. Finally, an assurance came that all indeed was well. One morning we saw a tiny bloom on the end of one new green shoot. As we watched day by day, continuing to feed and water the seemingly useless potting soil, we saw that life was indeed coming forth. Before our very eyes, we experienced the gift of new blooms appearing daily. Before long, the plants once again held beautiful, full blooms and they were plants we could be proud of.

Thinking back on that waiting period, I now realize that we could be proud of those plants even in their dormant stage. Just like you and me, my friend. We are still a wonder to behold. We are still made beautifully and have a purpose in life. That reason for being may not be as clear-cut at the moment, but you can be sure, just below the surface – if you keep watering and feeding and growing – you will come forth with beautiful reasons to be doing life and knowing what direction you are to go. Be proud of who you are, for you are created special and wonderful.

Don’t let the dormant times knock you down. Hold your head up, point your eyes upward and seek out what you are to learn as you rest and grow and get ready to bloom once again.

“Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, ‘My way is hidden from the LORD, and my right is disregarded by my God’? Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:28-31 ESV

Until next time –


Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667

E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650

Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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The Dash

I had a friend comment on all that the dash signifies when used between dates. 1960 – 2010 signified the span of my first husband’s life; 2006 – 2010 the dates of my son’s high school years. A lot of life can occur within the span of the dash.

2000 – 2018 reflects my span of work and service at Riverside. A lot of life has occurred within this time period. The move to a new town. The purchase of a new home. Watching our boys grow, get married, and begin families of their own. The death and burial of one husband and the discovery, love and marriage to my current husband. The joy of watching kids grow up and discover who they are in Christ and the equipping of parents to be their own children’s spiritual leader.

These past 18 years have been amazing. They haven’t always been easy, but they’ve been good because this is what I was supposed to do. However, the time has come when this chapter of my life has been called to close and I await with anticipation, joy, and perhaps just a bit of nervousness to see what the next chapter holds.

I have gained knowledge and many skills over these past 2 decades. Skills that will serve me well in another workplace. Knowledge that I’m eager to put to use in making a difference in the lives of people I will come into contact with and work alongside. I desire that chance! I will pursue that opportunity! To know that whatever I’ll be doing will be important if only in my own little world. And I know this to be true because God wastes nothing. No part of the dash in my life is for no reason. The space on either side of the dash signifies a beginning and an end. Not an end that will stop forever, but an end that involves a change of direction.

So I’m ready! I’m ready to see what this new direction will be. I’m taking up the challenge of doing something new and different after all these years. Just bring it on! I’m eager to begin a new dash!     2018 – ___ !!

Until next time –