February 3, 2017
Lately when I sweep my kitchen floor I want to cry. It’s not because I hate cleaning my kitchen. I actually like having a clean kitchen. I want to cry because my floor had a hidden kitchen sweeper that I am reminded of when I sweep. It was my nearly 13-year-old dog, Kondi Wilson.
Kondi was a Wheaten Terrier. She was loving, kind, funny, loyal and protective. Whenever the doorbell would ring, she was over the top crazy, making sure we knew a possible intruder could be at hand. But if we allowed the person to enter, she was a friend.
We got Kondi in May of 2004 and she was named after Condoleezza Rice. My husband bought her for me as a surprise, a few months after our oldest daughter, Kennedy died. He thought Kondi would be a good distraction for me over that first mother’s day weekend without our infant. She was.
Of her many talents, Kondi was a great vacuum sweeper.
I candidly didn’t realize how much she did to help me keep the floor clean. She must’ve licked up millions of crumbs over her 12 years of being our pet. I never noticed until now, how fraught with crumbs the kitchen floor is and has been. It makes me miss her even more.
Kondi was a really good friend. She was always optimistic, believing the best of me. She was always available to play or just sit next to me while I worked on my laptop or read my Bible in the early morning. She was quirky, loving to lie on stinky clothes that she dragged from the laundry room. The worst the smell, the better it was to her.
I suspect that my human friends and loved ones have value that is hidden too. I am afraid that I overlook or take for granted so many of the wonderful things that they do – and I don’t fully savor the quirky and unique ways that they are. Or worst, I get impatient and annoyed.
As Valentine’s Day approaches, this will be a great time to acknowledge many of the wonderful people in my life. Maybe I will make them a treat. I trust Kondi would approve.
My command is this: Love each other as I [Jesus] have loved you.
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command.
I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
John 15:12-15 NIV
January 9, 2017
Ironically I’ve not yet seen a top ten list of New Year’s resolutions for 2017 or 2016 from a professional research organization, but in 2015 Nielsen reported that 18% of people want to get more organized and I would guess that holds true every year.
As a person who helps people achieve their goals, I know this is a common one that makes a world of difference. Knowing where your stuff is, when you need to get to it, saves time, money and reduces stress. And having a comfortable and attractive place to live or work makes life better. When I work with clients to help them improve their level of being organized, I use principles from the Bible, because they work.
I wish all of the concepts were laid out in one place. But like many specific topics, they are spread throughout the Scriptures and this makes perfect sense because the Bible has 66 books, by 40 authors and was written over a span of 1500 years.
That said, if you are seeking to get your home, office, calendar and life tidy, logically arranged and functioning effectively please contact me for help and in the meantime, here are a few principles from the One who created the world and all its systems:
You are to bring in the table and set out the things that belong on it; then you are to bring in the lampstand and set up its lamps. Exodus 40:4 (NET)
Your grandmother was right… have a designated place for everything and then put things in their designated place.
Most clutter happens because people don’t know what to do with our stuff. (This happens to everyone I know, myself included.) For example, my daughter brings home papers from school and in the old days they would sit on the kitchen counter. But now we have a designated school binder. It has the wonder pocket tabs.
Papers that we need to keep for information, or to study for a test, etc., go into the binder and then the binder goes on a cabinet in the kitchen, right it is used. Other papers get tossed or recycled. If she has a cool drawing of project I may take a snapshot of her with the item so we have a record and then it get tossed and she has a really special item she has a keepsake box in her room or it might even get framed and hung.
It does take time and diligence to create a logical “address” for the stuff in our lives, but it is well worth the effort and is key to being organized. In the verse above, God is giving Moses a very detailed set of instructions to set up the place where He would meet with His people. And though our spaces are not as formal as that place, our homes and offices and classrooms and vehicles, etc., will function better if we know where things are and they are logically organized.
Therefore be very careful how you live – not as unwise but as wise, taking advantage of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16 (NET)
Use your time wisely.
I use to waste time “browsing” online stores for items that I didn’t need and likely couldn’t afford. I’d plan to search for 10 minutes and 60 minutes later, I was mad that I got caught in the time-waste-vortex, because God’s know I have too much to do.
Using my daily calendar helps me waste less time. I think about what I need and want to do, then schedule time to do it. This might include some online shopping, but I try to set my phone timer so that 10 minutes stays as 10 minutes. I use mu calendar for important things and urgent things alike. Reading my Bible first thing in the morning is very meaningful to me. So is watching University of Cincinnati Basketball, which is date night quality time with my husband when he asks me to watch with him. And yes I the usual work assignments and appointments .
Most importantly, I find that praying about how God wants me to use my time, invites Him into the process and He helps me to get more done.
Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest. Proverbs 14:4 (NLT)
Be focused and balanced…
I love this verse. In a nutshell it says, that a stable stays clean if there are no oxen, but during Bible days oxen were needed to make a living. To me, that means that some amount of clutter is evidence of a productive life. And cleaning, stooping, composting, etc., is required. So yes, you have a laptop or pots and pans or exercise equipment that enable you to do what you need to do. Just arrange them so they are well cared for and positioned attractively.
It is wise to be balanced regarding possessions as you pursue a well-organized life.
Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. Ecclesiastes 4:9 (NLT)
Get help from a friend or professional to get organized if you need it. I need help with many things because they are not my area of expertise. I am grateful for those who provide support. And – I am grateful that some people are willing to forgo other things or risk embarrassment in order to hire me to help them get organized. I help them to succeed.
It is a privilege and a joy to see a space go from dominated by clutter to arranged, tidy, organized… Yes!
I hope these principles will encourage you to achieve greater organization in 2017.
November 23, 2016
I had the honor to speak at chapel for my daughter’s school on 11/16/16. I love speaking to the 4th 5th and 6th graders at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy and their teachers and administrators.
This time I was assigned “thanksgiving” as the topic, which was way better than “forgiveness” which I had last time. Or so I thought…
The presentation started really well as I shared the meaning of the word “thanksgiving” as found in Psalm 95:2 and Psalm 100:4. These were the anchor verses I’d been given. But, because my daughter Koah warned me to “not be boring,” we added a short skit with 13 students from her religious studies class. Two teachers had even given all of the “actors” a tunic from another event. We were doing a skit from a day in the life of Jesus, as He healed the Ten Lepers.
As background leprosy was/is a devastating disease of the central nervous system. It made the body numb and caused lepers to injury their limbs, eyes, faces. Often they had sores and deformities. To make it worse the disease was highly contagious. If a person contracted it, he or she was banished from society. The afflicted loss their family, friends, job, synagogue, wealth… lives. Lepers often lived together, but isolated away from everyone else.
This story also confronts what sounds like 21st century bigotry. One of the lepers in the story is noted as a Samaritan. To our modern ears we hear this in context that is much different than the original audience. Samaria was at one time the capital of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. But it fell quickly into sin and was judged by God. It was captured and its enemies moved in and took over. In time the Jewish people intermarried with the Gentile captors. The rest of Israel referred to Samaria’s citizen base as despised half-breeds. The Jewish people in the southern Kingdom hated the Samaritans so much that they would walk miles and miles out of the way to avoid going through Samaria, even through it was the direct route through the territory.
With this said, the actual story is short so I’ll share it directly from Luke 17:11-19 (Amplified Bible)
While Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem, He was passing [along the border] between Samaria and Galilee. As He entered a village, He was met by ten lepers who stood at a distance; and they raised their voices and called out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” When He saw them, He said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were [miraculously] healed and made clean. One of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, glorifying and praising and honoring God with a loud voice; and he lay face downward at Jesus’ feet, thanking Him [over and over]. He was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten [of you] cleansed? Where are the [other] nine? Was there no one found to return and to give thanks and praise to God, except this foreigner?” Jesus said to him, “Get up and go [on your way]. Your faith [your personal trust in Me and your confidence in God’s power] has restored you to health.”
- Jesus is available to those who seek Him
When the lepers cried out, He was listening and responded
- Everyone Needs Jesus
Whether we know it or not, we all need His offer of salvation
- Jesus is willing and able to help/heal
What ever your situation Christ has the ability to make a difference
- It is wise to ask for His help
- We have a role – to obey
The lepers were healed as they walked. Obedience to His instruction is crucial.
- Thankfulness is a choice
Only one person who was healed choose to thank Jesus
- Those who are thankful get closer to Him
The Samaritan, was in a sense the furthest from Christ as an “outsider” but he was the only one who was healed of leprosy, but had the privilege of having a true and conversation with Jesus. He was brought closer, by expressing thanksgiving.
- When we give thanks we lift Jesus up and encourage others to receive Him
By sharing our thankfulness with others, we have the opportunity to tell them about Christ and how good He is
As I was sharing the above lessons from the story I was hit with a big aha… I asked the student why did the others not come back. And God said to me… maybe they think they DESERVED to be healed. Kelly, maybe this why YOU are not always thankful. You believe that you deserve my grace.
Yikes!!!!! As I heard God’s words to me, I’m sure that my expression was that of horror, sadness, and conviction. I was so taken aback that I just shared the revelation with the audience right then. And they looked the same way. Am I really one of the nine?
I am. But prayerfully, not going forward. From now on I am the tenth. I am going to thank God privately and publicly for what He does and I am going to praise Him for who He is. (Because He does what He does, because He is, who He is.)
Here is my challenge to you and me. It’s called 1-4-2.
Praise God at least 1 time, before you start your day. Ideally when you open your eyes and realize that you are awake and lived through the night. Some days I do this. But candidly some days I am downstairs in the kitchen having a cup of coffee and it is not until 15-20 minutes that I say, Good Morning Father. Thank You for giving me life. Some days, it’s much later.
4 is thanking God, four times throughout the day while you are at school, work, running errands, raising your kids. I asked the kids and parents that day for ideals on what we could thank God for: passing a test, pizza for lunch, no homework, enough money to get a full tank of gas, for health, a new pair of show, that we can read, we have enough food, our family, our jobs, etc., etc., etc.
2 encourages us to thank God, at least two more times when you get home or in the evening. Ideally one of these times is when you climb back into bed, as you are grateful to have survived another day.
On this Thanksgiving-Eve in the United State I challenge you to give thanks using 1-4-2 daily between now and CHRISTmas.
If you don’t do it, no condemnation, just try again when you remember. And if you do, no haughtiness, because it is only by God’s grace that we do anything well.
I’d love to hear what you think and how it goes… Thank You Lord, for allowing me to share what You told me to share. May if bring people closer to You, myself included.
Happy Thanksgiving, on Thursday 11-24-16 and everyday!!!
October 6, 2016
I have a soft place in my heart for Halloween. Maybe it’s because October 31st is my birthday. When I was a little girl, back in the stone ages, we dressed up as princesses or cheerleaders and paraded through the neighborhood with parents watching. Today the world has more risk and caution is needed. Some in the Christian Community think it is “ungodly” to celebrate.
Several years ago I read an intriguing book called, Redeeming Halloween, Celebrating without Selling Out by Kim Weir and Pam McCune. They discuss the origin of the holiday and its tie to All Saints Day, which was a time to remember and celebrate Saints and martyrs from Christian history. In a practical sense it is a perfect opportunity to show the love of Christ to the people who ring our doorbells.
Before you start typing a rebuttal email, I ask you to consider two passages from the Bible:
This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24 (NKJ) and Jesus says of Himself, in Luke 4:18-19 (NIV)
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
In a nutshell the first verse says that the enemy has not created any days. October 31 is NOT his day. God is the Creator of time and every day belongs to Him. 10/31 is no different. So I am going to rejoice by giving out candied blessings to the people who come to Trick or Treat.
The second passage is where Jesus quotes Isaiah stating that He is now on earth to do what was promised. In the great commission Jesus extends this work to all His followers. Because of the Holy Spirit we now have the ability and responsibility to share the good news of His love with other people so that they can be fully connected with Him. One simple way to share this message is with the treats you giveaway.
A few years ago, our church provided stickers to place on candy that said “Because God Loves you BIG! (Not just fun sized.)” And they encouraged us to buy large sized candy bars to give away. You can create your own version on your computer and tape them to the candy and maybe include the website URL for the place where you worship or your address.
Our family often gives a sample Adventure in Odyssey CD to the first 20 families along with some candy. (Adventures in Odyssey is an outstanding children’s radio program that teaches faith-based concepts in a creative storyline. Check your local radio station for air times, or listen online at http://www.whitsend.org.) You can get samplers online.
If you’ve already bought a bunch of fun sized candy packs, maybe you can bundle them with a note that says – Here’s some Fun Sized Candy to say, “I love you” from a Super-Sized God.
I think this is a great way to show the generosity of our Father.
As you give out treats at your door or walk in your community, you could dress as a person from the Bible… or some other positive role model in history as you smile and share His joy. Who knows, your Queen Esther or Prime Minister Joseph costume might spark great conversations.
Please let me know how you decide to celebrate the Lord of the Harvest, with Halloween babies everywhere.
Blessings to you and yours,
June 7, 2016
I stopped my SUV in the parking lot of the church behind my daughter’s school like I do most mornings. I flipped the visor and mirror door to apply my blush and lipstick.
To my surprise was a “Post-It” note was taped on the mirror with blue painters tape. It was from my 10-year-old daughter and said “you are beautiful”
I laughed and wondered when she had time to execute this precious show of love and encouragement. Not only was I touched by her affection I was impressed by her thinking ahead.
Aside from making me feel like a queen, her words of affirmation and encouragement reminded me of the power of a kind word to build a person up.
I’m asking each person who reads this post to place a post-it-note with a word of affirmation or encouragement on a desk, night stand, lunchbox, lamp, mirror, underwear drawer, cabinet door, etc., and really make someone’s day. You might be changing a life in the process.
“So encourage each other and build each other up…” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
After your “encouragement target” sees the post-it – please post it – to this blog!
March 22, 2016
Easter or as my Pastor calls it Resurrection Sunday, is fast approaching and I see people being more open to teachings from the Bible.
I am so glad that the Bible speaks about all aspects of life, including our dwelling places.
In Deuteronomy 6:9, it says that believers are to write God’s commandments “on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates”
One modern way to do this is with art and décor. Here are two ideas…
As you celebrate the glory and joy of the risen Savior on Easter, capture the season by hiding His word in your heart and displaying it in your home and office. This is a great faith builder.
December 28, 2015
At the end of each calendar year, I always pray for ideas to make the next year better. Here is my top ten list as of today. Maybe some of these will work for you too.
- If I am what I eat, I want to be made up of good things. Eating healthier foods and beverages will give energy and help with weight management. Whole foods will be featured at every meal.
- Water will be the beverage of choice. Soda will be a “treat” rather than a staple.
- Take a few minutes on Saturday or Sunday to plan your dinner meals for the upcoming week. You can capture the plan on your calendar or smart phone notes.
Sunday – Lasagna & Spinach Salad
Monday – Teriyaki Chicken Wings, Brown Rice & Mixed Veggies
Tuesday – Roast Beef, Baked Potatoes & Corn
Wednesday – Beef Soup (made from leftover Roast Beef) and Super Salad
Thursday – Baked Chicken, Hash Browns & Salad with Beets & Goat Cheese
Friday – Pizza from Donatos (Kenny & Kids – Pepperoni, Kels – Veggie)
Saturday – Scrounging leftovers from the week’s meals
- Try to move more throughout the day. Experts say walking 10,000 steps each day is great for our hearts, bodies and minds. Stand up – while you type at your desk. Park far away from the door and use the walk from the parking lot to get some extra steps. Take the stairs up. Secure a pedometer in an after CHRISTmas sale.
- Get and stay connected. Call a friend while driving to work. Have a lunch date with your honey-boo. Text your tweens, teens and young adults between meetings. Write a hand-written letter to an older relative; ask him/her to respond to your family history questions.
- Laugh more.
- Hire a coach to help you set and achieve meaningful goals. Check out http://www.betterdaybetterlife.com for one approach.
- Take time to rest. Some days I realize that I hardly sat down all day. I don’t want to live like that anymore. This year I will rest more and take time to savor the moment. I might have some full days of Sabbath where I plan ahead and just focus on Christ.
- Fret less and pray more. Lean on God’s word as found in the Holy Scriptures. Philippians 4:19 says, And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus (NIV). Memorize this verse and then speak it to yourself as needs arise throughout the day.
- Spend quality time with God, your Creator and Lord, daily. Perhaps the first 10-30 minutes can be spent in prayer and reading your Bible. (Start with the Gospel of Matthew and read through Acts by July 4th.) You might have to go to bed 30 minutes earlier, to be up early enough to get a good soaking in His word. It will be worth every moment that you invest, paying eternal dividends. I wish you a productive and joyful 2016!
December 11, 2015
Names have great power; even for inanimate objects.
When we moved into the house where we live now, for the first time ever God gave me a name for our new home. The name is Grace Haven.
That was eight years ago and this name has defined and influenced so many things.
When contractors were doing work in our hot attic in the first month of being here, God said to me, at Grace Haven there is water and a snack for the people who are doing work. It prompted me to take beverages and fruit to the crew.
When I was ready to explode at my teenage son who was defiant. God said, at Grace Haven – there is grace… Don’t yell. Talk.
When I get frustrated with my own mistakes and failures, He says, there is grace for Kelly at Grace Haven.
In time, I started incorporating the words around the house. When people walk through our front door, they walk under the word grace. It prompts me to pray for guests who come to visit, that they would feel the love and faithfulness of God while they are here. Haven is over the back door that my immediate family and I enter and exit daily. I pray that our home is a haven for each of us.
The name Grace Haven has instructed me on what to do and what not do. It has given me something to aspire to. It has encouraged me to see our dwelling as a type of embassy for Christ. Just like embassies in different countries are the “property of” the nation it represents. I hope that our home is God’s territory within our neighborhood.
I am so grateful for the power of this simple name and I pray that God will tell you the name He has for the place where you live… and that you will live accordingly in it.
December 1, 2015
My dear friend Tracy had a fabulous 50th birthday party in October. She is a sweetheart and looks great. I’m sure few people would guess that she was born in 1965. Her husband hired a professional photographer for the event. A few weeks later Tracy was gracious to email pictures to guests. They featured the person or groups who were in the photo. But there is bad news… when I opened the photos that featured moi, I was aghast at how many l.b.s.’ I have gained.
In my best Martin Lawrence as Sheneneh voice – I have to say – “Oh my goodness.”
Okay so now that I have new awareness of the situation I’ve got to make changes and I am calling on Leslie Sansone to help. Aside from changing my diet I am going to start using her walk at home video series. It helped me in the past and I trust it will help again.
Leslie Sansone is an internationally recognized fitness expert and creator of the Walk at Home fitness program. Her walking videos are easy to use and fun. I love that I can watch by DVD and now play them on YouTube.com using an adapter on my TV. It is especially helpful that I can walk early in the morning in my family room before going to work, since walking outdoors is tough because it’s so dark.
So hopefully in the upcoming weeks and months I will be walking my way to a stronger heart and thinner torso. What a great gift from me to me!