Karen DeVault

Karen DeVault is a story teller and published author. She has been featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul and Guideposts. As a columnist for Women to Women Michigan Magazine, she tells inspiring and humorous stories of her outdoor adventures, from mule riding in the Grand Canyon to swimming with manatees.

Establishing Healthy Boundaries in the Grit and Grace Life

Healthy personal boundaries are the key to healthy relationships. Without them, healthy relationships are impossible. Yes, you heard that right. Impossible. That is because boundaries provide a necessary and very important distinction between yourself and other people. It is where you end and others begin, and vice versa. Every kind of relationship can benefit from healthy personal boundaries, whether it’s a spouse, boyfriend, co-worker, family member, friend, child, or parent. What Are Boundaries? Boundaries are described as guidelines, rules, or limits that determine the safe and permissible ways for other people to behave around you or treat you. They are based on your beliefs, values, preferences, likes, and dislikes, and help you develop a healthy and secure sense of “self.” They also […]

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A Woman’s Grit Is Her Best Asset for Success

Have you ever been introduced to an idea that radically changed your life? Did this idea not only explain your past frustrations but offer direction for a better future? Recently I have. In essence, the idea says that how we see ourselves profoundly affects how we lead our lives. Let me explain… My journey began when I read a book entitled Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth, a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. Based on science, interviews with high achievers from multiple fields, and her own personal history, Duckworth explores what creates outstanding achievement. Duckworth found that what she calls “grit” predicts success more reliably than talent or IQ, and that anyone, at any age,

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5 Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Breast Cancer

5 Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Breast Cancer

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It is an annual campaign designed to increase breast cancer awareness worldwide, promoting research, risk assessment, screening and early detection, and treatment options. According to Breastcancer.org,  more than 287,000 women in the United States alone are estimated to be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in 2022. Nearly 43,000 of them may die from the disease. If you are concerned about breast cancer, there are steps you can take to lower your risk. While we can’t do anything about risk factors such as family history and age, some lifestyle changes have been shown to reduce breast cancer risk, even in high risk women. Five of them are provided below. Important to remember is that these steps are

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How to Make Journaling Your Sacred Space

How to Make Journaling Your Sacred Space

Have you ever been curious about starting a journal? And if you have, have you wondered exactly what a journal is and what purpose it can serve in your busy life? A journal has been described as a record of one’s thoughts, beliefs, desires, experiences, and observations, and what they mean to that individual. In and of itself, writing those things down can be both therapeutic and enlightening. If that isn’t quite the encouragement you need, what if I told you that journaling could also be a way to experience God? I know that got your attention. If you are a Christian, you have a built-in longing for that, whether you know it or not. Sometimes, when we don’t recognize that longing,

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What Is the Key to Exceptional Customer Service?

Throughout my career, I’ve noticed that some of the best companies, both large and small, put a premium on providing exceptional customer service. I’ve also noticed that exactly how to achieve it often tends to be elusive. It is this same question that companies, consultants, and marketing gurus all over the world have attempted to answer many times. As a result, there is now an abundance of strategies, formulas, programs, and methodologies designed to help organizations find that sweet spot. The problem, at least in my mind, is that most of the strategies focus on modifying behavior in some form or another. Certainly, that does work with the right motivation, but it often does not last, and a new concept needs to

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6 Ways to Cultivate Joy in the Grit and Grace Life

Most people would generally agree that while related, joy and happiness are two different things. Happiness tends to be dependent on external factors, such as events, circumstances, people, places, and possessions. On the other hand, joy is something we cultivate internally. It runs much deeper than happiness, reaching into the very core of who we are. It is an enduring state of being that remains even when circumstances change. Ultimately, God is both the source and sustainer of all joy. But we must still do our part. As I have studied joy over recent months and what it means to me, I’ve identified the following six areas that help me cultivate joy in my own life. It is my prayer that they

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Anne: A Sobering Story of Domestic Violence

Whenever I travel a certain stretch of highway near where I live, I think of her. Along that route is a wooded area with a pond that can be seen from the road. On a frigid December morning in 1979, her battered body was found there by people passing by, lying face down on the ice, wearing only a sock. Her name was Anne. She had been a high school classmate, part of our group of awkward kids from less affluent families who struggled to fit in. Anne was a quiet girl, introverted and at times painfully self-conscious. Her family lived in a mobile home park which at the time had a stigma of its own and some kids ridiculed her for it.

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What a Breast Biopsy Taught Me About Grace

A young woman who appeared to be in her early thirties sat two chairs away from me in the breast imagining center. While I was still in one of those gowns they give you when you get a mammogram, she was fully dressed. I was waiting to learn if the additional imaging just conducted on me would clear me, or if a breast ultrasound was next. She too was waiting, wearing a look I thought I recognized. Curious, I opened a conversation with her and she was all too anxious to talk to someone. She was alone and clearly did not want to be. Tears came to her eyes. She was waiting for the results of a breast biopsy. She explained that

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Overcoming Shame from Abuse in a Grit and Grace Life

If you were a victim of child abuse or neglect like me, you very likely have experienced or do experience some level of shame. In my case, it plagued me for many years, yet I had no idea what it even was. Shame from abuse is hard to pin down because it assumes many forms. But it has the same message. It tells us that we are inferior, a mistake, fundamentally flawed. Shame is not the same as guilt. Shame focuses on self. Guilt focuses on behavior. Shame says that “I am bad.” Guilt says that “I did something bad.” Instead of saying “I made a mistake,” a person who experiences shame says that “I am a mistake.” Think of shame as

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