January 18, 2017

The Power of Words by Paul Tripp

A friend forwarded me his devotion for today. We all can benefit from understanding this more.  It is also relevant to the things we have been thinking about recently. I hope it gives you as much to consider as it did me!




The Power of Words

My two oldest sons are two years apart. They’re adults now, but when they were younger, I remember an argument they had. I can’t specifically remember what the argument was about, something silly and insignificant. It was one of many, like all brothers have.
What I do remember was how harsh their tone was, how their words were laden with accusation, and how their choice of vocabulary was personally damaging. Their sentences were designed to tear down, not find a solution to the conflict.
I had never taught my boys how to speak like this. Had they heard their father speak poorly to their mother? To them? Yes, regrettably. But I never sat them down and said, “Boys, if you want to win an argument and get your way, this is how to do it.”
In this mundane moment, God reminded me: the natural tendency of the human heart is to selfishly employ words to get what we want.
Listening to the same argument, God also opened my ears to hear how powerful words can be. Since I often don’t listen to what I say, or understand how my words are received, God was giving life and breath to the famous passage on the power of words in James 3.
"The tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness ... It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison ... With it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God."
More than 25 years removed, that argument still gets me reflecting today: how often do I naturally employ powerful words to selfishly get what I want? How often do I threaten, manipulate, accuse, guilt, or slander those in my life with what I say?
If you’re anything like me, I know you do the same. Be honest, but don’t be discouraged. God never reveals our hearts to discourage us. Convicting us of sin is one of the most profound ways he demonstrates his love for us.
Additionally, God never sets a lofty standard for our speech and demand that we reach it on our own, sitting back and waiting for us to fail. Rather, he gives us everything we need in life for godly speech (2 Peter 1:3).
How does he do that? He sent the Word – Jesus Christ – to become flesh and blood (John 1:14) and help us with our words. We have power and glorious riches at our disposal through Christ and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.
This week, listen to yourself talk. Take note of how natural it is for you to employ words for selfish gain. Be aware to the powerful vocabulary at your disposal. Grieve and confess how you threaten, manipulate, accuse, guilt, or slander others with words.
But take hope. The Word came to release us from the power of sin. We can experience a new direction with our words!
God bless
Paul Tripp


Reflection Questions

  1. What was the last argument you engaged in? Rewind the audio of that conversation.
  2. Did you attempt to use words to repair conflict, or were your words chosen to "win" at the expense of another?
  3. How can you use powerful words this week to build up and restore?
  4. What practical steps can you take to "dwell" with the Word? How might that help with your words?

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December 23, 2016

How Long Can This Go On?





Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.  See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;  that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. Hebrews 12: 14-16



Having been over a month since I have had a moment to continue where I left off, I had to revisit the details of where we were.   If you want to review it click this link.

The first question in the random list was: How long can this go on? Length of time under pressure is indeed one of the first culprits which weakens us enough to take pause, when we are heading toward a crisis.  It isn't the first thing which happens; usually we have made attempts to under gird and manage our discomfort, but we get frustrated and worn out. Reminds me of the Happy Train analogy we use: Our Happy Train is scooting on down the track and at first there is a bump, then a metal sparking sound and THEN a disastrous flailing of bodies and loose objects slinging around the box car?

Most of us can do well with a bump or two.  We are even able to adapt bumps into our everyday life without too much disarray.  However, what happens when we are a bit frazzled from "life" and the ride is bumpy for hours? Add to this: everyone around you being pesky, only to have  the screeching metal sound shrill the airwaves in a grand crescendo!  How would your comfort level be in this moment?

Habakkuk wrote, that it was not of the Lord that we weary ourselves in vain. What does that mean to you? Do you think God desires for us to weary ourselves to the point we are disconnected and tolerating life? What are we pursuing? What are YOU pursuing? Most of us ARE pursing peace....but is it more rightly having what we want, which makes us happy and we deceive ourselves that we are experiencing peace?  Even if we are achieving this goal at the moment and no one seems to be grinding the gears of our Happy Train experience, we must realize we've seriously bypassed one of Gods major train stop.

God allows things to go on so that we understand what is going on.  The reason I went to Hebrews to address this is because in chapter 11, we were given the great cloud of witnesses legacy.   Esau, we are told, sold his birthright to get what he desired to happen.  He may have had peace in the moment, worldly peace, but he was not pursing peace with others; it was only about what he wanted.  Do you think Jacob was on a Happy Train Ride? What about their parents? Were they happy, did they have peace?

The Christmas Hymn, link above, speaks of peace and goodwill toward men.  This is the peace Hebrews 12 was speaking of, not the selfish peace of getting what we want.  Sanctification is the only means of experiencing a peaceful journey through life - How long can it go on till you make it? Till
Christ comes again!

Fortunately, as we begin seeing others and caring about the weight of our own wants upon them, God gives us all the mercy and grace to BE different all along the way.  This year give something beyond a perfect present, give notice to how you have treated others to get where you are and what you wanted.  Give a sincere apology for wrecking their train at times and ask how you might be able to help them find their way back.  If possible.......

When we begin living out the long lives we are blessed with in this way, we might feel less days of "How long can this go on?" and more day filled with " How much longer do I get to experience life?"

For God so loved the world, shouldn't we join in?

Merry Christmas to all and to all a marvelous night,

Kisses,
Candace

© 2016 by Candace Huffmaster / Kaleidoscope Butterfly, Inc ®

November 18, 2016

Something's......Got to Give


"Behold, it is not of the Lord of hosts that the peoples labor to feed the fire, and nations weary themselves in vain."Habakkuk 2:13



With everything going on and our current state of affairs, it isn't odd that Habakkuk has come to mind often lately. I never turn away these prompting. I use them to revisit our past studies and retrace the experiences of those long ago.  God, always has new insight for us; if we are willing to give Him the opportunity.

To start with, lets consider what Habakkuk was dealing with and find some common ground: We all, at times, encounter situations where the burdens upon our life stem from the stubbornness, or rebellion, of others. A natural response during these experiences can be to carry on a dialogue within our self, attempting to find a sane refuge from the insanity outside us.

Due to many conversations with myself and others I have a few examples below:

  • How long can this go on?
  • How long can I put up with this?
  • Why doesn't God intervene in this situation?
  • How does God expect me to relate toward the this person; knowing the person was well aware of the consequences to everyone?
  • Does God consider it selfishness to not have anything to do with those who continue to be selfish?
  • Would God desire me to suffer silently, in order for Him to work in and through me to reach them?
  • Is God going to help me in my pain and deal with the things they've stolen from my life?

If you recall, Habakkuk asked questions similar to these. We are going to touch on all these, but not all today.  Today our focus is the emotional weight he was experiencing; it had become incredibly burdensome.  We do not know all of his thoughts, however it is obvious the dialogue was with God not himself. It is painfully obvious Habakkuk had been crying out to God for a long time....and he had reach the point where something or someone had to give:

 “How long, Oh Lord, shall I cry, and you will not hear? Even cry out to You,‘Violence!’ And you will not save.” ~ Habakkuk 1:2

There are so many raw emotions in the words of Habakkuk. Read it again, and picture a man, trying, exhausted, desiring to see God and feel His salvation from the pain of living among all that he was dealing with.  From scripture we know he was speaking of  imbalance, injustice and the oppression taking place; and he pointedly questioned God as to why He causes him to experience it.  Although he questioned God he did so reverently; he never questioned the Sovereignty of God.  I do not know if Habakkuk was confidently bold, or broken, and at the end of his rope. However, the last nugget of insight he gave us was this:  he was sure he would need to consider, after God spoke, what he would say when corrected.

Have you ever been confident that you could handle something, only to find that it went on way longer than you could have fathomed?  Has the torment and confusion of others ever caused you to take solace, in your own conversation and companionship, in hopes of finding clarity? Have you ever, in exhaustion, simply cried out to "God knows who" just to vent? If so, I can honestly tell you you are not alone.  However, sometimes it is better to be alone with those things / thought than a group of people, in confusion, considering their own thoughts, and rehashing the debris of life. More often than not, those people find comfort in the commonality of their pain and forget, for a brief moment, the misery coming down on and around them.

Habakkuk could have become discouraged and found solace in social circles; he could have found something to comfort him in his time of desperation.  However, when he demonstrated that he only wanted God and would not turn away, God spoke:
Look among the nations and watch - Be utterly astounded! For I will work a work in your days which you would not believe, though it were told you!~ Habakkuk 1: 5


Did you notice how we become more utterly astounded by the hurtful / harmful situations cause by people; we are taken aback; we just cant believe it - And we loose sight of God.   Doubtfully, we would have believed it if we had been told beforehand. As the bible says God uses foolishness to confound the wise (my usage is tongue and cheek).  God uses our crazy desperate thoughts and conversations to calm, stabilize and encourage us; as well as boldly declare He is Lord and listening!  Remember, He is God and does not operate as we think best.  He is too loving to allow us to misunderstand what is going on and get in harms way. As in Habakkuk's life, God took time to explain the work He was doing.  He was in the process of raising up a bitter and hasty nation to take possession of places that were not their own. He even warned him that they were terrible, even dreadful; their judgment and dignity emanated from themselves.  If that wasn't enough, God stated they would be coming for violence and claiming all power, honor and glory for their god.

While all this sound disastrous and unfathomable, in His Sovereignty, He explained that something, was indeed, going to Give.  We will stop here for today and I ask for you to consider, when you are in a time of distress, to consider Habakkuk: how he carried his grief to a place of true refuge.  He climbed the tower and waited for a reply from his faithful God.

Please note: It is wise to find Godly counsel when you are in a desperate place, but if fear has not yet grabbed hold of you, climb away to a safe space and find solace in the One who is faithful and with you even now.  He listens, He speaks and is faithful to save us, if we believe and trust Him.

I pray peace, comfort, joy and the ability to hear His wisdom, over you all.

Kisses,
C


© 2016 by Candace Huffmaster / Kaleidoscope Butterfly, Inc ®

August 12, 2016

You Lucky Dog!



He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. Peace I leave with you.  My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you......And now, I have told you before it come, that when it does come to pass, you may believe.....  (John 14: 26,27,29)



Our family once had a dog named Lucky.  He was a rescue dog from the Salvation Army.  I cannot recall if we gave him his name; he certainly was not a puppy when he came to live with us. Lucky was a beautiful Collie, like the picture I posted here.  But being confined to a small fenced area most of his life, he did not know how to use all his energies and strength well.  He never learned to run; his head would get too far in front of his front paws and he would tumble.

When a car would come by our yard, Lucky seemed to forget all his awkward inabilities; all he remembered was "I want to GO!".  Time and time again he would fall and several times even hit by a car.  Finally, Lucky's luck ran out.....Ironic isn't it?

Today, I went back to read over the past 4 months journals of prayers, biblical studies and how God has been using all these throughout my everyday life.  What I realized is some of the thoughts and questions I have had, He had already talked with me about.  It was all there; did I forget? Did I just get going too fast?  Did I not pay attention because something passing caught my eye?  Or ....is it all the above, but now I see all the experience, in focus of the journey through it all.

Today, as many other days my focus isn't on the sprint from thing to thing, getting caught up in things passing by me, but on watching all that has gone by and talking with my Creator about what He has planned; what He was accomplishing; where I could see Him and bring His activity to light.  These are the reasons we're all alive; to know Him, bring Him glory, and other to Him.

So today, I prayerfully challenge all of us to slow down and stop looking around at what "next thing" we might not catch up with, or miss out on.  But instead, to slow down, so that we don't get run over by something in all our awkward attempts - and allow Him and His power some time, space, energy for strength training.  Just like Lucky, we have no idea, what He is capable of doing, since we are no longer limited and confined.

Side bar, Lucky was a rescue, as are we.  We got Lucky through Salvation army and we are rescued through Salvation in Christ. I could keep going but I will stop with we are not Lucky....we are blessed =D

Kisses,
Candace


                                                         © 2016 by Candace Huffmaster / Kaleidoscope Butterfly, Inc ®

July 5, 2016

How Could I?

He who troubles his own house will inherit the wind and the fool will be servant to the wise of heart. ~ Proverbs 11:29

This past month as I was studying some scriptures, which are common to me, they resonated in a unique way.  In Genesis 39:9

There is no one greater in this house than I, nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?”

As I was reading through this experience of  Josephs', I found myself thinking more of Adam and Eve than Joseph and his master's wife. I began to compare some things between Joseph and Adam. Of course, before Eve, there were no other human beings in relationship with Adam; nor was it just a household given for Adam to tend and manage.  The similarity is in there not being anyone whom was given more authority than Adam, and his Creator had not kept back anything from him but the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  Genesis 2:15:

"Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

Both men were tested with a lust through a woman:

  • Adam, through the wife his Master had given him
  • Joseph, through his masters wife 
As I read Joseph's response I was incredibly humbled:  ....." How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?" Can we all pause and examine the tremendous gravity of the sins we have slammed against God? 

I cannot begin to imagine what Adams ability to comprehend a never before seen or felt truth might have been; nor would I attempt, beyond this point, to compare these men's actions and intent.  However, this one thing I have extensively thought about: How on earth did Adam and Eve so casually disregard, seemingly,  how great God is and how inconceivable it was that He would bless them with such splendor and authority - of course at the same moment I reached the end of that though, immediately, my mind envisioned my own reflection many times over, instead of them.

My (our) God is SO great, has blessed me (us) so very much!......How could I ever do wickedness against Him or His precious Son? How can I bare to grieve His Holy Spirit which abides within me, sealing me till the return of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ?   In closing, I beg of us all to see the lies of the tempter, realizing no one or thing is off limits as a pawn, and respond as Joseph: speak the truth of our Master with great respect and appreciation.  Also, no matter how long the trial assaults us, even if day by day as was the case with Joseph, that in the end when the evil will not flee, we will! 

Most importantly, it is my prayer that through it all we will believe every word the Lord has spoken is truth; knowing in His perfect timing all will happen just as He states.  May we all be weak, yet courageous in Christ, that God alone may be seen as our Might.

Sending Peace and Love in Christ,
Kisses,
Candace


© 2016 by Candace Huffmaster / Kaleidoscope Butterfly, Inc ®

May 24, 2016

What Do You See?

From Desktop Nexus

For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage,  up to the day Noah entered the ark.  And they were oblivious...... Matthew 24:38,39...





Having taken some months away, to gain clarity, what I truly gained was liberating.  We simply cannot begin to comprehend how oblivious we can be to the things God is attempting to show us.  Sometimes it is more lack of understanding, immaturity in Christ, than lack of interest and or rebellion. This is why we are repeatedly instructed to be on the look out for:

For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are in your midst deceive you, nor listen to your dreams which you cause to be dreamed.  For they prophesy falsely to you in My name; I have not sent them, says the Lord.  Jeremiah 29:8,9
Then if anyone says to you, "look here is the Christ!" or "There!" do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.  See....I have told you beforehand. Matthew 24: 23-25
Our view points are nothing much at all, till we discern field of vision. Many times it is too narrow, other times it is too vast, and sometimes we are looking and seeing God on the field.  Shouldn't He be seeing us in His field of vision? Park on that thought prayerfully for awhile ~ As we discussed in the past, It isn't about what we see, but rather if we seek Him.  If we are holding up our thoughts, hopes, dreams and even what we are learning (ergo:the things which are real to us) to align them with the truth God has laid open before us, then we can have a hope of seeing what really going on.

It is far too easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of "doing life".  Most things are impressed upon us as vitally important, but are they?  I understand that it appears easier to not rock the boat, but does it ever feel like the boat is heading over Niagara Falls?!?  Maybe to jump ship is not as ridiculous as it appears, maybe it is......what do I know?

That is my point, actually: What DO I know? Truthfully....I know absolutely nothing outside of what has affected my own life.  And those things, unless I know all the things of God, cannot benefit you and head you in the direction God is leading you, if it is His will, it can:  Who am I to say? Somethings may be aligned, others will not. I do not know the desires of your heart, your pain, or all your ways; but God does, and He asks us to trust that He will show us the way in every thing.

Never discount what happens across your path, but also do not put too much weigh in it, with out the Holy Spirit assuring you...this is the way. We have studied Jeremiah 6 in the past where the Lord was speaking regarding everyone being given to covetousness and from the prophet even to the priest they are dealing falsely and having no shame.  He tells them and us even now:

 "Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls.....

 But will you?? Do you?  What about me, will I? Do I?

So let me ask you, the same question I always ask my self: Whether a thing is good, bad or just a thing, have you thought to hold it up to God before thinking about it any further?  If you feel the need to ask a person, do not do so prior to asking the Lord for direction, where He is and what He sees regarding it.  People, no matter how careful we are, how much we care, unless we have asked for God's involvement in opening our mouth to offer an opinion, are careless at best.  I pray we not be shameful.  But "when we are" I pray that we all have the humility to thoroughly blush and ask for forgiveness....and be oblivious no more.  (at least regarding that issue :)

In closing, my prayer for us all is to not be so concerned with "what we see" but that we focus on seeking the one who see's all and ask Him, "What do you see that I can comprehend" please lead me through things and thank you for your patience, mercy and grace Every Day. - Amen

Please be sure to extend grace to folks, we need so much!

Kisses,
Candace
 
  
 © 2016 by Candace Huffmaster / Kaleidoscope Butterfly, Inc ®



January 29, 2016

You're Doing It Wrong!

image from fanpop

Never haughty, or selfish, or rude.  Love does not demand its own way.  It is not irritable or touchy.  It does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong.  ~1 Corinthians 13:5 The Book

How often do we become offended when others are not loving us as we think….we know...at least we think we know God’s truth tell us to love.  How often do others blame us for becoming grieved due to their lack of desire to love well?  How often are our motives for taking a stand to speak, about their unlovely actions, from a place of love?  How often is the compelling force of our speech coming from an unrighteous plot of hardheartedness?

Did you notice in the above passage the words never, does not, is not and there is just one hardly ever mentioned for us to actually take notice of?  Don’t we usually find in situations that we condemn others in our own demanded rights to love only as we see fit? After all how can our love be wrong, isn’t it our love to give or not give?  Here in is the vital difference: from where is your ability to love emanating? 

Worldly love is haughty, selfish and rude because the other people are loved when they give into making the other feel lifted up, special, accepted, supported.  It has less to actually do with the actual people; and more to do with their participation in these special feelings; they must stick around to continually feed the otherwise empty love tank.  Love cannot be generated from nothing, it must emanate from something.  Otherwise it is a delusion, right?

People act the right way to keep others from becoming irritable, touchy, having a reason to hold a grudge……and noticing that they are doing it wrong.  But acting loving and being loving are two different relationships.  When a person is acting loving and they get their way, having been unloving already toward another; afterward they will become even more unloving if the grieved individual is perceived as irritable or touchy.  If they give in and do not get their way they will usually become irritable, touchy and definitely hold a grudge to boast about in the future. 

Being loving is quite different.  A loving person gives others the benefit and is willing to suffer a perceived loss if it benefits unity, peace and the glory of God.  Love emanating out from the love of Christ will always show His heart for others. And if this person becomes haughty, rude and it is noticed I pray it is noticed by the Holy Spirit and there will hardly ever be a time when another person would have to mention it first. 

The truth is the only go ahead God has given us to notice and to speak up regarding IS when someone is loving “loving wrong” and claiming to be a follower of Christ.  If they are loving wrong something in the list below would have to be the culprit:

  •          Somewhere God isn’t coming first in their life; somewhere their spouse isn’t coming second, after God, in their life; somewhere their children are not coming third, after their spouse under God,  in their life; somewhere the actions of their life are not lining up with the character of God, found in Christ Jesus.

If our life is point others away from Christ in any area, at any time then the love and humility of Christ is being overshadowed by our haughty, rude, selfish, demanding, irritable, and touchy human nature.  If however we turn to Christ, humble ourselves in the power of His grace, we can love more deeply, be satisfied, and joyful…..even when we do not get our way or feel loved by others well.

We know that this life will someday come to an end, but love goes on forever.  In light of this let us examine our love, believing in Him who loved us first.  And make sure He is not only the ground we are standing upon, but also the One whom we are defending in love.  

May Christ be glorified in all we think, say and do, that God and His Kingdom may be what is honored in our life – Because He lives in us.

Kisses,
Candace


© 2016 by Candace Huffmaster
 Kaleidoscope Butterfly, Inc ®

December 8, 2015

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?




Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us. ~1 John 4:17-19

It is our thoughts which stir up fear, due to a desire to avoid or suppress something undesirable. Fear creates an uneasiness of mind and if left unattended wreaks havoc physically (our body, relationships) and eternally. We have not studied fear as a focus topic since 2010, this is fresh information to benefit our current subject.

Fear:

Definition: an awareness of my lack of control or certainty about a given situation and the possibility of an undesirable outcome, leading to a fight, flight or freeze response in my mind, will, emotions and or body.

We all have to face fearful elements in life; the manner in which we face them is our point here. CS Lewis stated: "Perfect love, we know casteth out fear. But so do several other things- ignorance, alcohol, passion, presumption, and stupidity. It is very desirable that we should all advance to that perfection of love in which we shall fear no longer, but it is very undesirable, until we have reached that stage, that we should allow any inferior agent to cast out fear."

We cope with life, we manage our emotions, habits, jobs and relationships. We attempt to control the things which tempt us to exit our "comfort zone". Because when we are in the zone, there is no fear to speak of. At least nothing so uncomfortable we cannot manage. These coping mechanisms can be destructive, or might I suggest sinful. It is the destructive fears stemming from unrepentant sin in our life, which will be our main focus.

For most individuals the result of fear is either to respond in an aggressive or passive manner. We have discussed those in the past, along with the effects of fear (check archives).
Fear usually falls into one of the following categories and at times several:

1) Fear of loss/needs not being met
      a. Relationships end/being alone
      b. Financial loss/job, spouse, economy
      c. Personal health, attractiveness, meaning
2) Fear of Death, Dying, Judgment
      a. The manner in which we pass away & or our remains
      b. Spiritual state of life after death
      c. Family, assets, reputation/ physical matters left behind
3) Fear of others
      a. Losing their good opinion
      b. People judging or gossiping
      c. Confronting others regarding sin


The great thing about fear is how God can use it for good, as He tells us in Romans 8. In the Old Testament it is often written regarding what was meant for evil God will use for good. The way God uses fear is to start a dialogue with us. We all know fear is trying to tell us something. It tells us something about our self for sure, but Satan wants something deeper: to deceive us regarding God. He would LOVE to lead us away from the clarity and simple-ness of His truth. After all, if he could get the angels to follow him……

Could I get you to consider all this? Maybe even join with God's conversation instead of the demonic one that has been screaming throughout the world. Would it make better sense to sit with God, His word and ask: What is my fear trying to tell me Lord? If you will join us in this, see if you can't tie it, or them, back to one of the categories above and then ask for help, His power and grace to repent and be reconciled to His perfect love. And where He leads you, to ask others for forgiveness confessing where you have sinned against God toward them.

I pray for any and all who sit with this, that you will receive the gift of repentance and that the person or people you are lead to encounter will have already forgiven you long before you ever asked, that the Lord may begin to find joy in His body, as we become one: reconciled and unified unto our Holy God. I know we will not be perfect, but we can continue to be perfected as we walk out this life with each other.

I thank Him for His good plans for us all- may we never doubt His faithfulness!
Because He first loved us,


Kisses C

© 2015 by Candace Huffmaster
 Kaleidoscope Butterfly, Inc ®