My nostrils don’t match

seriously

You think you know yourself, and then one day, you record yourself singing at the piano and you’re like, WHAT? ONE OF MY NOSTRILS IS SMALLER THAN THE OTHER!

How does that happen?

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You know how they say that the most beautiful people are symmetrical? Obviously I’m not one of those.

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Source: Wikipedia

Actually, people with perfectly symmetrical faces aren’t the beautiful ones. Nowadays you have to have the golden ratio of phi to be beautiful. Someone’s even patented a mask based on that. I think they’re going to try to sell it to plastic surgeons and cosmetic companies, but I’m not sure.

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Source: goldenratio.net

Okay, so I may not have a perfectly-proportioned face. I know I’m not a classic beauty. Never claimed to be. It’s hard living with average looks in a world of golden ratios.

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Source: goldenratio.net

I guess that’s just another reason why I’m excited about Jesus coming to get us! We get glorified bodies!

“He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control” Philippians 3:21.

But the thing is, even if we are trapped in imperfect bodies, they are temples of God. And that makes them priceless.

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.” 1 Corinthians 6:19.

God indwells this nostrils-don’t-match old lady. It’s good enough for Him. It should be good enough for me, and irrelevant. Sometimes, we are just too shallow and it makes me sad. I’m so glad He is faithful to love us no matter what!

His graciousness is just one more reason I sing.

Hopefully you can look past my non-matching nostrils and enjoy this song my husband wrote. It’s recorded during a live church service. To God be the glory forever and ever amen!

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Tweet this: EEK! Did you know, @KarlaAkins, that your nostrils don’t match?

Do your nostrils match? Leave me a comment and let me know!

The Many Adventures of Mr. Himself: In Which He Gets Ready to Travel Overseas to the Philippines

Yesterday I introduced you to my husband, whom I lovingly refer to as Mr. Himself and explained that I’m dedicating a blog post category to him. After I wrote the post yesterday, I realized I failed to let you know the important work he’s up to besides hoarding toilet paper. 

My husband is a gifted guitarist, song writer and worship leader besides an extremely knowledgeable theologian. He is going to the Philippines in October to minister to some churches there and to teach and minister at a pastor’s leadership conference.

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If you’d like to contribute to his missions fund, feel free to visit his website. You will be blessed!twitter34

Tweet This: Besides hoarding toilet paper, he’s actually a gifted musician and preacher, too!

The Many Adventures of Mr. Himself: In Which This One Involves Toilet Paper

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Mr. Himself (as an avatar)

With his permission, I’ve decided to dedicate a portion of my blog to Mr. Himself. He is such a funny person to live with that I can’t help writing about him. And since he doesn’t take himself seriously, he’s okay with being exposed in this way.

Mr. Himself lives at the mercy and whims of many others for various reasons. One of them is that he’s married to me. Being married to an author and scholar isn’t easy (I’m also a full-time college student at the moment). He has to do his own laundry these days, and has for a long time. I think he’s a tad bitter about that, but that’s another blog post.

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He takes care of his mother who has Alzheimer’s and lives with us, and helps me with the twins (age 20) with autism in addition to being a full-time pastor. So, as you can imagine, there are very few things he has control over.

And that’s why, I believe, he tries to control weird things.

Like toilet paper.

Bing Free Use Image

Bing Free Use Image

Currently, there are six adults living in this house. The twins have a caregiver who comes for a portion of the day, so technically we have 6.5 people in this house using toilet paper. We go through a lot of it. Like maybe a roll or two a day. I don’t know because I’m too busy to keep track. Apparently he has time to because it’s driving him bonkers.

So, a few days ago, he decided toilet paper was something he would control.

We were each assigned our own roll of toilet paper with our names on it.

And we were not to use any else’s roll.

He was going to find out who ran out first. And he was rationing it. It had to last us at least a week, or ideally, two weeks.

Right. Like that’s going to happen.

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Bing Free Use Image

There’s this funny thing about humans. We don’t like to be dominated. We don’t like to be told what to do. And we are competitive.

So instead of using my own precious roll of toilet paper, I sneak a few Kleenex in with me, or I swipe some off one of the boys’s rolls. Bad. I know. I’ve sinned over toilet paper. TOILET. PAPER.

Bing Free Use Image

Bing Free Use Image

Me: Honey, I’ve decided to feature you now and then on my blog. I’m giving you your own category. And I’m going to write about this toilet paper experiment of yours.

Mr. Himself: Why?

Me: Because you’re hilarious. I mean, you wrote our names on toilet paper. Think about it. WHO DOES THAT?

Mr. Himself (laughs with great satisfaction): It is pretty funny, isn’t it?

The experiment is failing. No one is using their own roll of toilet paper anymore. And besides, he’s gone to Michigan for a week to play his guitar and sing for a revival. There’s no way anyone is going to use their own roll with him gone.

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Bing Free Use Image

Poor Mr. Himself. Once again, there’s something in his life he can’t control.

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My very own man in black: Rev. Eddie Akins

What do you think? Is Mr. Himself normal or weird? Leave me a comment!

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Autism grows up: Their first jobs!

God will make a way!

It’s been an exciting school year so far at the Akins ranch.

The twins are in their senior year. They are 20 years old and will be 21 in February. They’ve waited quite anxiously for several years for this to happen and now it has.

They have jobs!

Their vocational school, Heartland Career Center, has a program that helps high school students with special needs gain job experience. The twins get school credit for working at their assigned jobs several afternoons a week.

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Isaac’s first day on the job!

Isaac got a job at Pizza Hut. He had to go through the interview process and he was amazing. We’re so proud of him!

Isaiah got a job at a local bakery boutique. He was so excited on Friday because he got promoted from making pie boxes to doing dishes. I got a text from him: “My boss let me do dishes!”

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Isaiah and his tower of boxes!

When the boys were four years old, one of their psychologists asked me what my aspirations were for them. I told her that I hoped they’d learn to read and be independent someday. She leaned forward in her seat and said to me, “That’s just pie in the sky thinking and you might as well get that out of your head right now.”

Really?

Pie in the sky is pretty tasty if I do say so myself.

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Here. Share a slice with me!

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Acknowledging the supernatural

And lest I should be exalted above

The devil buffets me.

If you saw my personal life right now, you’d know it to be true. I’ve had a fairly challenging life, but the last six years have been absolutely awful in terms of hardships.

Now don’t get me wrong. In the midst of my troubles, God has provided for me, kept me safe, and comforted me. For these things I’m grateful. But in the process of the last six years, I’ve definitely been on the anvil and the potter’s wheel. I’m being refined and made stronger. I’m almost afraid to see how strong I am on the other side of all these things. Why is He toughening me up?  Or am I only being refined? Am I proud and He needs to take me down a peg or two? Time will tell and it’s not for me to know.

It’s for me to trust. So I am.

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart;

Recently, the night before Mother’s Day, my life had actually been going quite well, and I had even praised God for the restoration of some things in my family.

BOOM, on Mother’s Day, life kicked me in the gut again and knocked me down so hard I literally could not breathe.

Therefore, I’ve decided, if the devil is going to fight that hard to stop me from speaking out, I’m not going to let him win. If I’m going to be buffeted, then he’s getting some pay back.

For we wrestle not against flesh and

What’s all this devil talk, you ask?

I believe there’s a devil and I also believe there’s a God. I believe like a child, just as Jesus told me to. You might call me nuts, but that’s okay. I know with every fiber of my being that God created me and is up to something good on my behalf.

But as much as I know that God loves me, I know that the devil hates me.

Make no mistake. There’s no way the devil is nearly as powerful as God. Lucifer wants us to think so, but he’s not. In fact, the Bible (which is my authority on all matters) tells us that when we see him, we’ll not be too impressed:

12 How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground—mighty though you were against the nations of the world. 13 For you said to yourself, “I will ascend to heaven and rule the angels. I will take the highest throne. I will preside on the Mount of Assembly far away in the north. 14 I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High.” 15 But instead, you will be brought down to the pit of hell, down to its lowest depths. 16 Everyone there will stare at you and ask, “Can this be the one who shook the earth and the kingdoms of the world? 17 Can this be the one who destroyed the world and made it into a shambles, who demolished its greatest cities and had no mercy on his prisoners?” Isaiah 14:12-17, TLB

The thing that gets me through this life, and frankly, always has, is the knowledge that this isn’t all there is.

All the things around me, all the events, all the troubles, the stuff–it’s all temporary. I don’t think of life on earth as the end all and be all of my existence because that’s not how the Bible has taught me to think. The only thing that last forever, when it comes to this world, are souls. People. People last forever.

Peter

People are the most precious of all creation to God. And it’s because of this that the devil fights us so hard. He is insanely jealous of us. From the beginning of time he’s done everything he can to mess things up when it comes to how we think and believe. Because we are precious to God, the evil one fights in arenas of sickness, mental illness, abortion, sexual perversion, broken homes, false doctrines (beliefs) and more.

His first goal regarding his hatred of humans was to stop the lineage of Jesus Christ because he knew that Jesus would die for us and redeem us. Satan can’t be redeemed. So he wants to drag us all to hell with him.

He rescued us from the control of

Now that Jesus has come and paid the price for us, the devil does all he can to make sure that humans do not reign with Christ forever. Because of this, the gates of hell are opening as never before and evil fury is unleashed upon the world. But we aren’t without hope. Because God’s Word tells us that the “gates of hell will not prevail” against us (Matthew 16).

In future posts, I’m going to be writing more about supernatural answers to earthly questions. I’m not going to let the enemy stop what God has called me to do.

Don’t you let him, either.

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Tweet this: Satan can’t be redeemed. So he wants to drag us all to hell with him. #bible

Dear autism families, how do you spell spontaneity?

Because I love someone (1)Because I really want to know.

Sometimes I fantasize about running errands and grocery shopping. Freely, that is. I mean, without all the logistical hoop jumping that has to take place before, during and after.

Before: rustling up the courage to ask someone to either go with me on errands or come watch the family so I can go alone. Then once I’ve got a helper in tow, figuring out when, where, and how it’s going to happen. Get everyone dressed appropriately and toileted and pray that no one has a bathroom emergency before you get to the store.

 

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During: finding the patience to deal with the meltdowns in the store and grabbing grabbing hands before they grab another grape or cherry and plop it in their mouth.  Or, fielding the 1.2 thousand text messages you’re getting from the auties and the babysitter while calculating the difference in cost if you buy 10 pounds of cheese versus 1 pound.

 

After: Dealing with the meltdowns because everyone’s tired and stressed from running errands with you. or the stress of being left at home without you. And praying you don’t meltdown yourself. Not that it would do any good or that anyone would notice.

 

Autism parents

On a particularly faith-filled day I might fantasize about going to a movie with my husband or getting away for the weekend. But most days I don’t have the energy for that. (Not the getaway. The thinking about and hoping for it. )

Now, before you think I’m complaining, I’m really not. This is just reality. And it’s so much a part of our lives, that we’ve grown used to it. We don’t stop to think about how we can’t do anything spontaneously until someone says, “want to go to a movie?” or “Want to get away with us for a few days to the Poconos?”

"MP overlook" --Wikimedia Commons

“MP overlook” –Wikimedia Commons

Alright, I admit, we never get asked to go to the Poconos. We live in Indiana. But you get the idea, right?

“Uhm. No. Sorry. Can’t. Can’t leave the boys alone even though they’re 20 years old. Can’t leave Mama alone, either, even though she’s 80 years old (she has Alzheimer’s).”

I know, I know, our life would be so much simpler if we just put them in a home.

But would it, really?

I think it’s just exchanging one stress for another. And besides, what if we warehoused everyone who inconvenienced us?

Seriously, though, the thought has crossed my mind more than once. But the twins are still in high school and it doesn’t seem right to find them “a home” before they graduate. And Mama? Well, she gets a lot more stimulation with us (trust me on this point) than she would in a home. So she’s staying, too.

Jesse and Ellen

My son, Jesse, showing his Grandma his tattoo. It’s his daughter’s name which is also Grandma’s name, too. But she doesn’t realize that. She has her own rocking chair in the church sanctuary. Adorable!

Besides, group homes aren’t exactly a haven. Those hired to work in group homes are paid a pittance. It’s hard to attract quality people to work as a caregiver. No one is going to care as much as family.

Still, family needs a break now and then.  All parents and caregivers need respite. Time to recharge. I wish people could learn to reach out and offer to help, but everyone is so busy. Way too busy. Busy, busy, busy.

I also think people are afraid of kids with autism. They worry they won’t be able to interact with them. I admit, it is a little overwhelming sometimes. But it’s a worthwhile, important endeavor. It’s part of what makes us human.

Caring. Kindness. Love. People with autism need those things.

And so do their parents.

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All the shiny things

SHINY

Blogging is like exercise. It’s too easy to get in the habit of not doing it.

I love to blog. I’ve blogged since the 90s and have had at least a dozen blogs over the years. My problem is finding a focus. 

I tend to lead life that way, too. There are so many shiny things that distract me: theology, writing, music, history, conspiracy theories, politics, entertaining, disabilities, advocating for children (my CASA work), my church ministry–and I haven’t even begun to brush the surface of my family, job and college responsibilities.

Barking dogs

Because I’m attracted to so many things, I’m easily distracted. Sadly, I remind myself of that verse in Daniel 12:4:” Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” Sure, I run to and fro doing regular human stuff, but I also go here and there indulging my insatiable appetite for knowledge. How far I run! Via google I can browse the National Palace Museum in Taipei and then fly over to Venice and purse the Ca’Rezzonico. If I want I can squeeze another couple of hours at the British Museum before sauntering over to study the Mona Lisa at the Louvre. 

many shall run to and fro, and knowledge

So, dear reader, I’m learning I have a need to get focused.

Right now I’m in the throes of college math exams — working on my degree for Special Education — another shiny thing that is important to me. Just as important as writing.

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And, to be honest, there’s also a family crisis in our lives right now that is emotionally draining.

But as I sit here in the library waiting for my granddaughters to get out of one of their summer fun classes, I’m filled with gratitude for a patient, loving God. I know He’s waiting for me to quit running around like a toddler and settle in and pay attention. (I’ve always said you can’t teach a moving target. Is that what I am, Lord?)

-Be still and know that I am

I may not have been here writing very much these past few weeks, but one thing I’ve managed to keep up with is prayer and bible reading. I’m thankful for that. I don’t think I could survive the buffeting without time in His Word. I’m so thankful for the hunger God has given me for Him . And I wonder — is that what He’s calling me to focus on more?

My heart is so full. I have so much to share with you. But where do I start? How do I begin? And just what is it you want to know?

Your Questioning Servant,

Karla

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What’s on Your Writing Desk?

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In the coming weeks, I’ll feature an author’s writing desk/den/cave/lair on my blog. I’m super excited about this! I love peeking into writer’s spaces to see where they tune into their inspiration.

Some spaces are more glamorous than others. And I think it’s fun to see how other people do it.

Where in the world do you write-

As for me, I have a room called an “office,” but right now it’s a storage closet. <sigh> So I’m hoping to be inspired to dig it out again as I feature other authors on my blog.

If you follow me on Pinterest, you may have already realized how obsessed I am with home office spaces. 

My ultimate dream is to have my own “she-shed” as a writing space. I keep trying to talk Mr. Himself into it, but he’s dragging his feet because he likes having me around. It’s nice to be wanted. Still, I like the idea of hiding. Until that day when he can part with me, I write pretty much like this:

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As you can see, I have a full range of office staff to help me. Fur and skin people are constantly at my service to advise me and help with editing. <cough, cough>

They work long hours, well into the evening, too. (Click the images twice and once again to enlarge and see full photo.)

If you have an office space, writing lair, or desk you’d like to share with my readers, download the guidelines below and contribute! I’ll feature one office space per week. You don’t have to be a writer or published author to share! I can’t wait to see where you go for inspiration.

What’s On Your Desk Blog Guidelines

This image is owned by Karla Akins and cannot be used without permissionTweet this: What’s on your writing desk?

 

Public Shaming

Who gossips to youwill gossip about youEveryone’s talking about it. The recent scandal of a popular homeschooling family has tongues wagging all over the world. And even if I don’t mention their names here on this blog, chances are, you know exactly who I’m talking about.

And it’s not all our fault. The family put themselves out there for public consumption. Except that, I like to think they started out as a family who saw an opportunity to share Jesus with the world in a unique way. Maybe I’m naive, but that’s how I like to think it started.

As a former homeschool Mom myself, I know the idealism I embraced in those days. Looking back, maybe I was a little too idealistic. There’s no real way to know. But I don’t regret homeschooling. I wonder sometimes about some of my choices because I know I’m far from perfect. But I also know that my choice to homeschool my children was made prayerfully each year. I never took the decision lightly.

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HOMESCHOOL-COMICS

It makes me sad to see a family taken to task for something so humiliating in such a brutal way. I feel for the parents. I feel for the children. It breaks my heart because I know how it feels.

No, I don’t have my own reality  TV show. But I’m a pastor’s wife in a small rural town. We live in a glass house. Always have. And it’s not been easy on my children. Yes, we chose to be in the ministry. But that doesn’t mean the pain of public humiliation doesn’t hurt just as much.

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As a mother of sons who made mistakes as adults, I can identify with the TV mother’s grief. I know what it’s like to be publicly humiliated as a family. The emotions are overwhelming and confusing.

But I still don’t understand the delight people have in pointing their fingers and wagging their tongues. Even before my family went through such things I never liked the way TV programs and newspapers convicted people who were charged with crimes before they went to trial.

I’m not siding with any crime. I don’t condone crime or abuse of any kind. But it does trouble me to watch people rush to harsh judgement as if they’ve never faltered or made a mistake themselves. But for the grace of God none of my mistakes have been hung out for the world to see. How many of those who point fingers have sin in their own lives?

Judging others doesn't define who they

I suppose there have to be harsh critics in the world or we wouldn’t have judges or law enforcement officials. I know I wouldn’t make a very good one. I believe every soul is redeemable. I believe that wrongs can be forgiven and that no one is perfect. Mercy is, thankfully, one of my gifts. That doesn’t make me better than anyone else. It just means I’d not make a very good supreme court justice. I’m more of a defense lawyer-type than a prosecutor. And that’s okay because society needs both.

Homeschool families who believe in the Word of God as their guide aren’t perfect. I know for myself, I cling more desperately to His Word because I know how weak I am, how fallible, and how at risk I am of falling. It’s what holds me up. It’s what keeps me from making mistakes I’m sure to make without its guidance.

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People see what they want to see and believe what they want to believe. You can’t reason with unreasonable people. Those who hate that TV family will continue to hate them. And I hope the ones that love them will continue to pray for them but also learn some valuable lessons:

  • No one’s perfect.
  • Every family has secrets.
  • People delight in your shortcomings–suck it up and hold your head high.
  • You aren’t what people say you are, you are what God says you are.
  • This world is temporary but your relationship with God and others is not.
  • Pray for your enemies.
  • Pray for each other in the Homeschool/Christian community.
  • Be careful who you idolize and look up to because there are no perfect families or Christians.
  • You aren’t supposed to be idolizing anyone on this earth in the first place.
  • The only one who will never disappoint you is Jesus.
  • Follow Jesus not other Christians or Christian leaders.
  • Forgiveness doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences.
  • Some sins have harsher consequences than other sins but there is no sin too great God can’t forgive.
  • Some things aren’t any of your business.

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There are a lot more lessons to be learned and it’s a shame we’re learning them at the expense of a very nice family. I hope and pray you’ll join me in praying for them and for those who love to hate them. They need Jesus, too.

Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?  (Romans 2:1)

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Behavior is communication

KarlaAkins.comAs a Mom with special needs children, my mantra has always been, “behavior is communication.”

Before my twin sons learned to speak at the ages of 7 – 9, they were constantly frustrated because they couldn’t express their needs and desires in words. Tantrums were a constant.

As I watch the riots on TV, I have to wonder if part of the problem is that people don’t know how to express themselves. When commentators question them, many of them can hardly speak in coherent sentences. They are out of words or they don’t know how to access them.

Be not quick in your spirit to become

I’ve read about the conspiracy theories, that these riots are our government desensitizing us for marshal law. I don’t know about all that, but if that’s true, then the oppressed masses have played right into their hands.

It’s easy to manipulate those who feel they have no voice.

There is definitely a time and place to stand up and be heard. But if you feel that every time you try to speak out you’re ignored and misunderstood, I can see how you’d get to the point of throwing a tantrum. But that doesn’t make it right. Civility and citizenship requires that we use those processes provided us by our republic. But those who haven’t been educated regarding these feel their only recourse is violence.

O Lord, you hear the desire of the

I think people are feeling frustration at a level they haven’t felt in decades. It’s ironic that at this time of technology and knowledge that there’s so much ignorance. The breakdown of the family, poverty, joblessness, lack of morals, lack of leadership all contributes.

But the bottom line is this: people need the Lord. Until they can know Him, and know that He is the father of the oppressed, and He will fight the battle, there will be violence on this earth.

Until Jesus comes there will be no peace.

All the more reason to keep living a Christ-like life.

To be available with THE answer for folks when they have nothing but anger, frustration and questions.

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Tweet this: Anger lodges in the bosom of fools.