Author Archives: Charis

Charis (Ka-reese) is a 33 year old mom to 5 boys and wife of 11 years to her best friend Bill. They are a full-time intercessory missionary family giving themselves to oversee The Watch House of Prayer in Redding, Ca. She is involved in raising up godly children, pastoring, leading worship, and encouraging people in growing in a life of prayer and pursuit of loving God as the “One Thing” (Psalm 27). She writes regularly at her blog, At the Gate Called Beautiful, where she shares her journeys and encourages other believers to grow in faith together.

When You Need Some Perspective


I look down at my “to do” list and it is daunting. Managing a family of 7, partnering with my husband in ministry, and the trials of normal life makes it seem that the “to do” list gets longer as the day goes on instead of shorter. I get caught up in running too and fro in the tyranny of the urgent. I easily lose perspective on what is important – what is eternal – in my continual strife to “keep up.”

Do you find yourself feeling that way? Do you find the demands of life so pressing that it is hard to pull back and see the larger picture?

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The Best Treasure Hunt

IMG_0025 As we walked along the shore, their eyes lit up with delight. The tide had washed up hundreds of small crabs and sand dollars. Without even thinking there could be any danger, my almost 3 year old picked up live crabs with his pudgy little fingers. “Look Mama! It won’t hurt you! He is nice.”

And without another thought he dropped it into his purple bucket to join the other treasures he had found along the shoreline.

The older boys ran ahead with their cousins, squealing and laughing with delight as they scooped up all sorts of beach treasures into their buckets to show off when they returned to the towels.

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For the Times When You Feel Like You’ve Really Blown It

lake pic

We were sitting in the car driving back from a lovely summer afternoon at the lake. I gazed out the car window at the rolling hills, lush evergreens, and aqua skies that where sprinkled with fluffy white clouds. My heart pounded and I opened my mouth in a confession, looking out of the corner of my eye at my husband who was driving, “So… I lost it with the kids this morning. Again. And it was all over a lost library book. It’s not how I wanted the morning to go.”

My eyes looked down at my sandy tanned toes as my heart felt like a ton of bricks filled with a bit of shame and a lot of regret.

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When You Feel Painfully Alone


There are painful times in life when it seems that all we can do is grasp for some sort of encouragement to get us through the present moment. These times can either be full of a flood of excess emotion or the opposite absence of emotion. Both are a sign of a heart in intense pain. It can be hard to tell which way is up, and time is blurry and abstract. It can be hard to have vision for the current day, let alone the grand scheme of life.

If you aren’t in a time of life like this right now, chances are you have been or will be in not too terribly long.

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The greatest lesson…& a Giveaway!


Please make sure you read to the end of the post for the details on another amazing giveaway!

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When I think about my mom, the thing that comes to mind first is that she is a worshiper of Jesus. She was involved in leading worship at our church since I was very small. I spent many a Thursday night worship practice running up and down the aisles of the church sanctuary, hiding underneath pews, and exploring every nook and cranny of the building to the chagrin of the church custodian. As I grew older I served on my mom’s worship teams playing both flute and piano, singing, and eventually leading worship under her leadership and encouragement.

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Keeping Faith in the Reason for the Season

Christmas can so easily become one big swirl of commercialism and hype. I know that we all fall into the trap of the lists of gifts, parties, deadlines, baking, etc becoming THE focus. In fact, while I am typing right now, I am also feverishly trying to work on a knit scarf for my oldest son. I love the opportunity to give this time of year. As much as I love the hustle and bustle of the season, if I am not purposeful I can lose vision for what this season is really about – Jesus. I have found that even with my best intentions, it is so easy to slip into making Christmas about me and those I love instead of about Him.

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How’s the fruit?

We were running late. The baby was screaming though his diaper was clean and he was freshly nursed, shoelaces were needing to be tied, one child was still in the shower, dinner plates were strewn all over the kitchen with some still on the table, and my hair still up in the disheveled knot on the top of my head that had kept it out of my face during the early morning garage sale we held and the 2 soccer games we played in (well, I cheered at) immediately after. One child yelled from the other room how he couldn’t find the matching shoe, another was digging in the basket of clean clothes that had sat in the living room corner all week trying to find socks, while one more ignored every effort to insist he get ready quickly.

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Maybe all we really need…

It is so easy to look at our lives and only see what we are lacking. Maybe it is money. Maybe it is a lack-luster marriage. Maybe it is opportunity in career or ministry. Maybe it is friendship. Maybe it is a family.

For me, though it seems trite, it was just about chicken tonight… or my lack of chicken. My thoughts went something like this:  This curry dinner would taste so much better with chicken in it… I sure wish we had the money to run and pick up chicken so we wouldn’t only be eating veggies and rice… We just don’t have enough money to get the things we need when we need them.

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