Sunday, January 24, 2021

Casting Stones

Are you concerned or perhaps even mad about our new president’s actions on his first day in office?  You may need to take a step back and look at the big picture. 

The goals and pathways are being made clear from the get go by our new leadership in Washington.  But this could be said for all presidents’ first 100 days in office.

If you do not know what SOGI laws are, it is time to educate yourself.  After that, consider the root causes of this shift in law making.

Perhaps the idea of transgender kids being allowed to play on sports teams based upon their chosen gender makes you ask:

“What does this mean for my kid?”

“What about female rights?”

“Is this an attack on our Christian values?”


SOGI laws are more complex than what they seem.

In order to speak truth into the foreseeable darkness, you must educate yourself.  And, do not misunderstand me, to have more complete understanding you will need to look outside of your own standards and beliefs.

Then, once you have a fuller picture as to what these legal actions mean, where they originate from and where they are leading us, take another step back.  Time for an eagle eye view.


Society is changing, each year moving farther away from Christendom.  But, should we be surprised?

To expect people to ascribe to Christian beliefs when they do not hold to that set of standards is asking someone to enter into a maze and giving them the wrong map.  Things will never add up, North will be South and East will be West. 


Christ ended his ministry on Earth with clear instructions for His followers. Go forth and make disciples. Did Jesus say go forth and condemn the world? No.  He did further say to teach those who believe all that He has commanded.  But, again, condemning was never an instruction. 

More than this commission, we also have Christ’s example of how to reach hearts.  It wasn’t through angry voices and bashing gentiles (non-believers) either.  Christ came along side people in their everyday life, meeting needs and gently asking questions or telling stories that led people to living waters (John 4:10).


Look around you.  People are hurting.  The World is groaning under the weight of the Fall.  Secular theories have led to great inner turmoil, and the remedies the world offers only increases the turmoil.

The more outspoken you become against the things you hate (you may also label them as things God hates too), the farther you push people into the arms of their hurts. 


John chapter 8 tells of an interesting account Jesus has with a woman caught in sin.  While Jesus was at the Mount of Olives, in Jerusalem, the pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery before Jesus.  Scripture says the motives of the religious leaders were devious.  They had hoped to catch Jesus in apostasy and bring charges against Him.  The irony is the accusing pharisees were themselves not following Mosaic law.  The Old Testament states if adultery occurs both the man and woman are to be punished.  But only the woman stood before Jesus.


I wonder what led the woman to that moment.  While current culture is beginning to move away from the idea of monogamy, in general, adultery is still considered wrong on some level even today. 

Why would she choose to step outside of her marriage?  Did she even choose?  Had she been pushed into the arms of a new man due to abuse at home?  Perhaps she had an arranged marriage that was loveless.  Or maybe the adultery was not what the pharisees believed it was.  No matter the reason, this woman was broken.  Laid bare before a crowd of people, angry religious leaders with stones in hand, looking towards Jesus. 

How did Jesus respond?  Weirdly, in my opinion.  Counter-culturally would be a kinder way to describe His actions. 

Jesus stooped and began to write on the ground.  What did He write?  The book of John does not say.  However, many scholars believe Jesus began to write counteraccusations pointed towards the pharisees.  Maybe he simply wrote, “Where is the adulterous man?”  After Jesus did His writing in the dirt, He simply said whoever is without guilt cast the first stone.


Sometimes in conversations with my husband I will exclaim, “Glass houses!”  Rolled eyes are the usual response.  But my husband knows precisely what I am meaning. 

Do not go throwing stones at other people when you do not live in a figurative shatterproof home. 

Jesus’s dirt note and small statement were effective.  Suddenly, the accused woman was left alone with Jesus.  The accusers were gone and Jesus tells the woman to sin no more. 


Now, let me ask you this:  As you see the world turn farther away from the Lord, are you the red faced pharisee with a stone in your hand?  Or, are you looking at people and seeing their broken hearts?

Make no mistake, Jesus ended His encounter with the woman by telling her to turn from her sin.  But He also extended her grace and mercy.  Then, within ear shot of this woman and to all who were still at the Mount of Olives, Jesus proclaims more hope:

“I am the light of the world! The one who follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)


It is time for us to look for new avenues to share the living hope we have in Christ.  Does that mean we might get messy?  Yes.  Does that mean we may need to put ourselves in the shoes of other people?  Yes.

But when we approach hurts and confusion with empathy and humility perhaps hearts will soften to our Savior.  This is a relational pursuit which means it will take the building up of personal relationships!  Can there be a widespread global impact? The Lord works in mighty ways.  But, in the meantime, as secular culture takes hold around you, look for the hurting, confused hearts.  Walk along side them.  Try to understand them and how they got to where they are.  Speak truth sprinkled (doused!) with love.  Pray without ceasing. 

But stop being surprised or angered by the world in such a way that makes you pick up stones, how can we fulfill the task Jesus has set for us when we are busy throwing rocks?

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

R.E.S.P.E.C.T. find out what it means to me!

This morning during our daily car ride to school, my oldest mentioned today was the inauguration of our new president and more than likely they would discuss it in class.  I asked her what she thought about that.  After she paused to think for a few moments she said she was excited but also sad.  “Sad? Why?” I questioned her. 

“Because I liked our last president.” 

Now, mind you, my oldest has little reference as to what makes a good president.  She, like most children, frames her beliefs around what she hears in the home.  That may sound like she liked our previous president because she heard daily adoration for president coming from her parents. 

As I continued to drive towards school, I carefully thought of how to respond to her statement.  I gave my response careful consideration because I knew that she would most definitely repeat my words.

Finally, I answered with, “What you felt for our previous president was respect.  You feel this way because we are called to respect the leaders the Lord has placed over us.”  I didn’t expect my daughter to have a powerful “lightbulb” moment on our way to school, she simply nodded her head and continued to look at the window. 

No doubt, as she exited our family van and walked with her sister into school, this conversation drifted away from her, to be filed into the outer edges of her brain.  The file called “Things Mom Tells Me Too Early in The Morning.” 

But, as I watched my kids walk into school, I sat there thinking about our exchange. 


Respect.  What is respect really? 

The dictionary has quite a list of various definitions.  Esteem for a sense of worth.  Deference to a privileged position.  To honor, to show favor.

All these definitions would fit for why we “respect” leaders.  But respect shouldn’t simply be reserved for places of honor. 

Respect: to show regard or consideration for.  Now, this definition seemed to fit into my mental puzzle most snuggly this morning. 

Yet, my brain didn’t stop with simply defining respect.  No, the wheels began to turn, especially after my second cup of morning coffee. 

Does respect mean agreement?  Is respect only granted when earned?  How is respect earned?  How is respect lost? 

Let’s start with respect and agreement.  In my quick dictionary scan no where did I see agreement coming up to define respect.  It is not even listed in the thesaurus.  So, no.  Respect does not mean agreeing.  In application to my morning conversation, I could say to respect our president, past and present, does not mean you must agree with them.  Likewise, disagreeing does not necessarily mean disrespect.

What about respect needing to be earned?  Again, I did not find any particular action being a prerequisite of respect.  Can respect be earned?  No doubt!  I would even venture to say in this day and age more often than not people only give respect after it has been earned.  But, again, that isn’t required. 

How do we see people earn respect?  Oh, so many ways.  For me, when I see a mom skillfully handle a toddler that has suddenly become possessed by a fire breathing dragon while waiting in the grocery store check out line.  Wow, respect mom!  I see you!  Will you be my friend? 

Lastly, how is respect lost?  Let me count the ways…just kidding.  You would be reading a long list.  But, after such a year as 2020 was, I do know that respect is lost through having differing opinions.  Why?  Again, respect does not mean agreement. 

Peter writes to Christians in his first epistle during a very tumultuous time.  Nero was the ruler of Rome, and he waged great persecution on the Christian church in Rome.  It is believed that Nero set fire to Rome in 65 A.D. and then blamed Christians for the chaos and destruction.  Peter was even executed by Nero in 68 A.D.  Knowing this, we could assume that Peter may have had some fiery words for Nero.  However, Peter wrote quite the opposite.

1 Peter 2:11-12

“Dear friends, I urge you as foreigners and exiles to keep away from fleshly desires that do battle against the soul, and maintain good conduct among the non-Christians, so that though they now malign you as wrongdoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God when He appears.” 

Wow.  But Peter just meant treat other normal people this way, right?  Surely, he didn’t mean “bad” leaders, too. 

Wrong.  He follows this up with verses 13-17:

“Be subject to every human institution for the Lord’s sake, whether to a king as supreme or to governors as those he commissions to punish wrongdoers and praise those who do good.  For God wants you to silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing good.  Live as free people, not using your freedom as a pretext for evil, but as God’s servants.  Honor all people, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the king.”

Peter did not leave much wiggle room here.  He also didn’t mention the need to agree in order to do any of these things. 

Again, Peter reiterates this message in 1 Peter 3:

“Finally, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, affectionate, compassionate and humble.  Do not return evil for evil or insult for insult, but instead bless others because you were called to inherit a blessing.” (vs.8-9)

All of Peter’s words give me pangs of conviction, but none more than verses 15-17:

“But set Christ apart as Lord in your hearts and always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks about the hope you possess.  Yet, do it with courtesy and RESPECT, keeping a good conscience, so that those who slander your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame when they accuse you.  For it is better to suffer for doing good, if God wills it, than for doing evil.” 

Not only does Peter call Christians, who are enduring enormous persecution for their faith, to remain above reproach to bring glory to God, to be subject to the authorities placed over them, whoever they are, Peter calls Christians to be respectful in how they respond to those who question the source of their hope. 

Now, I am no theologian nor am I gifted in hermeneutics.  These are words that I can barely spell without auto-correct!  But I do believe Peter is also writing to Christians today. 

Literally, today.  As a new president is sworn into office over America. 

How should we, as Christians, respond?  With respect.  With humility.  With a focus on our actions and how the world sees us.  Believe me, the world is watching.  Should we be chomping at the bit to voice our disagreements, displeasure, maybe even fear?  That desire is strong for all people, including Christians.  But we are called to something higher than making sure our political voices are being heard.  We are called to love, to be humble, to meet evil with good.  Then, when our actions become so alien to what the world does, Peter did call us foreigners after all, that we are asked why we are different – be ready!  Not with all the reasons why we are dissatisfied with how the world is today.  No, be ready with the hope we have in Christ! 


My prayer is that in four years, as I am driving my daughter to, GULP, high school, we will have this conversation again.  Not only do I hope we have this conversation again in four years, about respecting our leaders, but I pray that my child, my neighbor, the nameless people I encounter daily, will see me living out a life of respect and humility.  To the leaders the Lord has placed over me and to all people the Lord places in my path. 

That is a big prayer.  But the Lord loves big prayers!

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

"Mamma Mia! Here we go again!"

 2012 to 2021

 Nine years have passed. 

Last I wrote a blog post my oldest was 2 years old. I think my mind just broke a little. 

Thinking over the last almost decade, wow. 


How incredibly different my life looks as compared to the 9 years younger me.  I was just attempting to mentally sum up how life has changed from 2012 to now in one word.  I simply cannot do it!  

9 years ago I was just entering into the journey of motherhood and marriage, too!  I barely felt like an adult and suddenly I was adulting in a major way.  How quaint my previous posts seem to me now...a few recipes...being home sick.  Perfect reflection of where I was at the time.  

In some ways nothing has changed.  I still love to cook and try new recipes (which I instantly choose to not follow exactly, sorry Mom) and missing home.  Home is a different entity now, though.  It is less of a place and now more about people and emotions.  

I am fully aware of how cliche it is for me to write about life right now in light of pandemic.  But, that is life right now.  Almost a year ago how naive the world was.  In many ways happily living life.  Enjoying things like travel, restaurants, toilet paper and good health.  Those things are luxuries to many now!  

But, if I had to be completely honest, I'm not sure I would want to go back to those times.  Because, while life seemed so carefree and busy, it was also lonely.  Lonely in the busyness if that even makes sense!  

When our life moved into "lock down" I thought well now what to do?  Two kids at home and none of our normal outlets available to us.  But, you know what?  While I was told to change all the ways I was physically living, I decided that perhaps I also needed a change in how I was thinking as well.  I am not going to lie and say each day was blissful in our pandemic isolation.  However, changing my thoughts to be purposeful in finding the life where we could made each day easier.  As the mind habits changed, my heart changed, too.  Thank God!  

And this was when I started to notice the fatigue of others.  The loneliness fatigue.  It takes time for fatigue to mount and these signs of fatigue revealed themselves very quickly.  What does that mean?  I had a suspicion.  

Lonely in the busyness of life.  I believe most people, dare I say all people, were struggling in this for some time.  It is easy to miss the signs.  I certainly can masks the signs of loneliness very well.  Add another activity, organize a room (kon mari anyone?), take a class, work harder and smarter!  See, so much to do!  How can anyone this busy be lonely?! 

Then, having many of these techniques stripped away, there it was: the loneliness.  Our lives losing so many things created a vacuum of loneliness.  

People need people.  Even the people who say they hate people need another person to share that sentiment with!  

So, no, I do not want to go back to whatever we called normal, whether it was nine years ago or just one year ago.  I choose to live in this knew knowledge of our vast loneliness because I also know how to fill that void.  Jesus taught His disciples this answer in John 13:34-35:

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

I know I cannot stop a global health crisis.  But, with the love Christ has shown me, I can love others and do my part in healing loneliness.  

I hope this offers encouragement to you!  

And, hopefully, my blog will not become lonely for another nine years! 

Saturday, January 7, 2012


I have not composed an entry since last Spring.
My rather lame reason being I had forgotten my password.  
(which is the truth!)
My brain suddenly retrieved the lost password for a dark and dusty corner of my mind.  
So, here I am!

By the end of the first week of January I am sure most people are SICK of New Year's resolutions.  
I am not really an active participant in making a yearly resolution.  However,  I can see why New Years is the perfect starting point for change.  Starting at the beginning of something is very logical. 
I like logical.  I support logical thinking.

My mom asked me (a few weeks ago) what my "One Word" was going to be.  A very confusing question.
One word I use often?
Having a toddler...that word would probably be "no"...
One new word I begin using?
My brain just screeched to a halt trying to think of a new we won't go there.

No, apparently someone much more creative than me had started this "One Word" thing for the new year. 
 I just did a quick internet search for the "One Word" blog and didn't find it so I won't post it here...sorry.  I have a feeling most people who regularly go on the computer would know what I am referring to.

So, after my mom asked me and I didn't have an answer...well now I do.


Sounds good right?  My cynical half (which is more like 3/4) says it sounds like garbage.  
But, here we go.  
My husband and I would love to have more children.  However, neither of us want to go into another pregnancy with baby #1's weight still clinging onto both of us. 
 And, horror of horrors, baby #1 is almost 2!! 

I'm not looking to turn KSR into a "this is my journey through weight loss and getting healthy to run and marathon and get on US Weekly magazine" blog.  
Although, I'll probably post little things about my One Word here and there..

...Or the next thing you read on KSR might be my One Word for 2013 if past blogging history holds true....

by the way.
I had a salad for lunch but I imagine it was a large french fry with chili from Wendy's.  
I have a good imagination.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Home Sweet Home

Visiting my family in Florida is always a welcomed opportunity.
But, sometimes I can't help feeling some disappointment.

Your bedroom may now be a sewing room or an office...
Your favorite restaurant has closed...
or you might recognize someone in the grocery store...and they walk right past you...

Each time I visit I realize more and more that home isn't a building.
Home is my family.
Home is holding hands around the dinner table.
Home is a familiar face...
A hug, a laugh, a well-worn story
even a phone call.

I love my family, my home.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

One Year

The Lara of five years ago seems  more like a friend than me. 

Five years ago I was 21.  I lived in Florida with my family.  My brother and his wife didn't have any children yet and I didn't have any life direction....yet.  

At that point in my life I didn't think I'd be married.  I wasn't worried about marriage or children or really anything.  I thought that it would be cool to open a coffee shop...maybe write a childrens' book.  I knew about current music...books...movies...

Sure, I admit, I feel like I've lost touch with that Lara.

But, I've gained so much more.  

Today is my daughter's first birthday.  One year ago (technically one year and one day ago..) my mom and I went to Charming Charlie's...and I went into labor.  

For many years I wondered over what was my purpose in life...and tried many different 'purposes'.  But, when I became a came into focus for me.  It is ironic that the girl who avoided children (like the plague) would find completion in having a child.  God really does have a sense of humor.  

So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY baby girl!  Thank you for giving your mommy a purpose & I love you.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Girl Scout Cookie Adventure

I recently set out to recreate some of the classic GS cookie in my own kitchen.  Through the magic of Google I found recipes for Tagalongs, Thin Mints, Do-si-do's & Samoas.

Thin Mints were up first.  After reading the recipe I realized that Thin Mints are just chocolate/mint shortbread cookies dipped in chocolate.  Doink.  So, this recipe was very easy with rather good results.

Thin Mints Cookie Dough
2 1/4 C Flour
1/4 C cornstarch
6 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 t salt
1 C sugar
1/2 C butter, room temp.
1/3 C milk
1/2 t vanilla extract
3/4 t mint extract
I. Whisk together flour, cornstarch, cocoa and salt in a small bowl. set aside
II. Cream together sugar and butter. with mixer on low speed, add milk and extracts.  (mixture will look curdled)
III.  Gradually add in the flour mixture until incorporated.
IV. Chill dough until firm.  Then, shape into two logs about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for 2 hours or until very firm.
V. Preheat oven to 375.  Slice dough into rounds about 1/4 inch thick and place on parchment lined baking sheet.  cookies don't spread much, so they can be placed close together.  Bake for 13 - 15 minutes.  Cool cookies on wire rack.

Chocolate Coating
10 oz dark or semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 C butter, room temp
I.  Combine butter and chocolate in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave on high until melted.  Stir to make smooth.  So dipping is easier, chocolate should be almost like chocolate syrup.
II.  Dip cookies and let set on parchment

Makes 3 - 4 dozen

After making my Thin Mints I noticed that I should have cut the dough thinner.  For the cookies to taste authentic you'll want that real crisp cookie.  The cookies freeze well.  When I made the recipe I actually only baked half and froze the other half.  

So, is it worth making Thin Mints at home over buying a box from your local Girl Scout for $4.00?  
Yes, but there is a little more effort required than just tearing open a box on the way home from the grocery store.