One of the nine…

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.


Ten Lepers By Larry Patton (

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!!!



Like many people at this given moment in time, my circumstances have caused my well-intentioned plans for Thanksgiving to go awry.

I am grateful to God that none of my problems have been major, just time consuming and stress producing. Hopefully these situations will increase my thankfulness and force me approach our family celebration in a more relaxed way.

Her are some tips for people who are hosting/cooking…

  1. Determine the people who are planning to have dinner with you.
  2. Decide on the menu. Get 80-90% of it determined. This year I will have to make fewer dishes, but more of each one. And I will be asking for more help.
  3. Make a list of the people who have confirm for dinner. Consider sending an email (or evite) to confirm the start time and assignments for folks who are bringing a dish/beverages. Ask if anyone has any dietary needs that need to be kept in mind.
  4. Make a list of what you will be making and create your grocery list. Decide when to shop – keeping in mind how much freezer/refrigerator space you have. I might do two medium sized trips instead of one mega shop, so I can start cooking some items over this weekend.
  5. Think about the best day/time to prepare the various menu items. Perhaps you can do some cooking after church on Sunday and freeze those things.
  6. Clean out your refrigerator, by eating the stuff you have on hand over the next few days. That will give you space for the feast items.
  7. On Monday or Tuesday of this week, spend some time cleaning and de-cluttering your home. If you need help, this might be something you can hire out or assign to family members. My oldest son asked to have a female friend over to visit two weekends ago – and he and his brother scrubbed down the whole house in advance. I was pleasantly surprised how good a job they did when properly motivated.
  8. If you want to try a new or difficult recipe, maybe you can make a “test” batch this weekend. That is one of the few things I did do for preparation last weekend. I tested my great-grandmother’s sweet dinner roll recipe and was thrilled that I could still do it a whole year later. I also remembered that these have a lengthy prep time, so I need to set aside enough time to make them.
  9. Think about the serving dishes that you will use for each menu item. Stage them close to the cooking action on Wednesday, so they are ready when needed. Consider setting all of the food up buffet style. That might make it easier to serve everyone upfront and for folks to have seconds.
  10. I usually enjoy the splurge of using cloth napkins for Thanksgiving, along with a “seat” card that has a Bible verse on it. I place the place near the napkin so that folks have a beneficial memento of our gathering. Here is a template to print cards for your table. Just print on 8 ½ x 11 paper, cut out the seat cards, fold and arrange on your table. Home-ista’s 2012 Thanksgiving Seat Cards

Grace & Peace

Home-ista Kelly

Countdown to Thanksgiving

November 1, 2012

I’m singing… “It’s the most wonderful time of the year. There are tables to set, groceries to get, clutter to clear… It’s the most won-der-ful time of the year.”

You guys already know, that Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Even though the whole “event” can be stressful with all of the traveling and cooking. There might be strained relationships and the challenge of old family traditions vs. new ways of doing things. There is a lot of work to do and maybe not enough help to do it. But nonetheless I am still counting down the days.

This year I want to enjoy not only the final destination of dinner at 3:30pm on November 22, but I am hoping to enjoy the journey to get there.

Over the next several posts, I’ll be sharing tips, ideas, strategies and recipes to encourage you in your preparations.

Today’s tip:

Grab your calendar and begin to map out what “big” things needs to be done to have an enjoyable and meaningful time of giving thanks over a shared meal.

Do you need to travel? If yes, what’s the mode of transportation, the logistics needed to make it work. If you are headed to parts of the country that have been affected by the storm what adjustments need to be made.

If you are hosting guests, could some part of your home, benefit from a spruce up before the holiday season get going?

Where are you planning to eat? Is a plan in place for the location and guests?

If you are the primary cook for the big meal, what is on the menu? Can others help by bringing dishes? Will you try to offer healthier options? Doe you need to brush up on a dish you don’t make very often by preparing it over the upcoming weekend.

And the biggest question of all – how will I set aside time to spend time daily with God in prayer and thanksgiving remembering…

I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving, And will call upon the name of the LORD. Psalm 116:17 (New King James Version)

Once you start answering the big questions, you can begin to fit these and the support activities on your calendar. The support would be if I want to be in Chicago by Tuesday afternoon, when do I need to leave to drive or fly or get there by train, and then secure the tickets, etc.

My calendar has been extremely useful for Thanksgiving preparations.

Happy Planning & Preparing

Home-ista Kelly

The song “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year was written by EDDIE POLA, GEORGE WYLE, JOHN MOSS


It’s the final stretch for us home-istas as we prepare to visit or welcome loved ones into our homes. Every time I get to this point in the celebration I say to myself, “why did I think this would be a good idea? I’m tired, I’m overwhelmed, I can’t get everything done.” But God is always faithful and He tells me what to do, not do, and when our guests arrive and we are all having a great time, I confirm that it is worth the effort that goes into preparing the sustenance and establishing a place and where people can connect in a meaningful way.


CLEANING – Felicia “Lady” Hawkins is the owner of Changing the Atmosphere (CTA) Cleaning Service. She is a dear friend and valuable resource. I asked her to give me her last minute tips on getting our homes ready for guests.

If time is too short for a deep clean, focus on the public areas. She says we can do a “light dusting in the living/family/dining rooms. She suggests using a Swiffer Duster on tables, shutters, blinds, or any surface where particles are visible. If there is clutter, I say grab a big laundry basket and place items there to be sorted on Friday or Saturday. (This will be a less expensive activity than a Black Friday spending spree.) After the dusting is complete, vacuum the carpet or rugs or damp mop wood floors with plain water.

Another must for Lady, is to clean the bathroom(s) that guest will use. Make the shiny surfaces sparkle with an all-purpose cleaner like Formula 409. Fabuloso is another good all-purpose cleaner and it smells great and really freshens toilet bowls, bathtubs, and tile floors.

Lastly, the kitchen needs to be clean for cooking in a safe and sanitary way and if it is open to other public areas – we need to cook in neat way – like we are on a TV Show. Clean the space as you go and put away items that are not in use at the moment to reduce visual clutter.

CUTE ATTIRE – I often say that Thanksgiving is like the “Superbowl” for home-istas. I believe that my “uniform” can help me play well. My goal is to look elegant still being comfortable so that I can get all of the last minute preparation done. I describe the outfit as something that is part “Jackie O dress” and part Nike workout gear.

I have found that a hip or waist length tunic (in a cotton or a nice blend) over slacks or modest yoga pants give me a good balance. I can move easily and still look nice and it is breathable so I don’t get too overheated. I especially love a patterned top over solid bottoms because spills are not so noticeable and the tunic and dressier yoga pants are fairly forgiving in case I eat a little too much. I do choose comfortable and stylish 1½ inch heels. I’m short and the day is better when I am 5 feet 1½ inches tall.

GREAT GUESTS – The best guests are people who are coming to enjoy the party and to help. My mom, sisters and sister-in-law’s are awesome. All are home-istas. When they come to visit, especially at Thanksgiving, each one pitches in to help me do whatever ever needs to be done. They corral kids, they set tables, they keep their eyes on the powder room and restock the TP and soap. They wash and dry dishes after dinner is finished. They tell me that the food is great and mean it. They bring a dish to share and label it so I know to whom the serving platter should be returned. They don’t take over, they support. They come to visit me, not to inspect the condition of our home. They laugh and smile. They have my back! Remember to be thankful for the great guest who come to your home or for being a great guest yourself.

Happy Thanksgiving – And may God be greatly praised during your celebration!

Home-ista Kelly

As I think about the countdown to Thanksgiving, I feel great excitement and smidge of trepidation. In a sense this event is like the “super bowl” for people who like to cook and entertain. Similar to the players in the big game, I have the desire to execute with excellence and the nerves that go along with the desire.

One of the things, besides prayer, that helps me manage the nerves is to plan and plan some more. Over the many years of eating, helping and observing my mom, mother-in-law, great grandmother and a myriad of friends and co-workers at Thanksgiving, I have learned some of the things that make for a good plan.

My plan starts by asking and answering some key questions in early November.

I talk with my loved ones and friends about their plans for dinner? Where are people planning to dine? If I am hosting, I confirm who is available to attend? What is the menu? Who will bring which family favorites? Who will prepare new recipes? Will anyone be staying overnight or through the weekend? Does anyone have a food allergy or situation that I need to keep in mind? Etc, etc, etc.

As I address these questions, I typically write the answers down. And… then four years ago when I hosted my large extended family for first time, I set up an Excel spreadsheet that includes my cooking plan and other to-do’s. Though I don’t really use the matrix to do any math computations, it was an easy way to document my decisions and to-do’s in a way that I could easily see what was what. The extra benefit is that I could re-use it the next year by making a few modifications. Here’s a sample of the sheet I use…

Thanksgiving Sample – Menu & Cooking Plan
Dinner Dishes Who & When Cooked Status Serving Dishes Notes
Turkey Breast 1 KLW – Wednesday Mom’s white platter
Turkey Breast 2 Mom Loraine Done
Dressing Monday In Freezer White server with lid
Mashed Potatoes Wednesday White server with lid
Mac & Cheese Gerri Glass dish with lid
Candied Yams KLW – Mon Done Mom’s slow cooker
Green Beans Tanya
Pick up Turkey Ham Wednesday Glass platter Heavenly Ham
Gravy Thursday AM White gravy bowl
Cranberry Sauce Monday Glass bowl
Corn Bread/Muffins Tuesday Red ceramic platter
Rolls Tuesday/Wednesday Bread warmer
Tossed Salad Thursday Wooden bowl
Desserts Who & When Cooked Status Serving Dishes Notes
Sweet Potato Pie Kathy Y
Chocolate Cake KLW – Wednesday
Pound Cake Mom
Brownies Tanya
Vanilla Iceream Uncle Randy
Beverages Who & When Cooked Status Serving Dishes Notes
Bottled Water Allen & Tyna Bronze Bev tub
Soda Kathy Y Bronze Bev tub
Sparkling Wine Kelly Bronze Bev tub
Other To Do‘s Who & When Status Notes
Extend Invites Kelly 11/5/11 Done
Print Thanksgiving Verses Kenny 11/22/11
Set-up & Set Tables Boys 11/23/11
Set-up beverage station on desk Kenny TGD
Participants/Guests Notes
Wilson Tribe 5 Kenny – watching sugar intake
Smith’s 2
Boyd’s 2
Files’ 5
Peters’ 5
Kathy Wilson 2 Tori is watching her salt intake
Randy Wilson 2
Total 23

I know this is not the easiest to read, but maybe an excel matrix like this could help you in your planning?

Here are two more ideas for those who are saying the spreadsheet is just too much.

1.      The next two weeks are a great time to eat the food that is currently taking up space in your freezer. You will likely need that valuable kitchen real estate for items that you prepare ahead and or for leftovers. This would be a good time to use the “menu planning” suggestions from my first post to creatively use those frozen jewels. This exercise can be a test of your creativity as you try to figure out how to use three different packs of ground beef, a bag of frozen shrimp and two bags of smoothie strawberries.

2.      Early November also provides a choice opportunity to make a “sample” batch of any recipe that is temperamental. Last weekend I baked two “test” batches of homemade rolls. I don’t make them very often and I didn’t want to have a snafu on the big day. I’m glad I did because now I know which recipe works best and I can have confidence that this item will be yumm-o. The cost of making a batch of homemade rolls – about $7.00. The benefit of working the kinks out in advance – priceless.

Wishing blessings on your preparations!

Home-ista Kelly