Monday, November 29, 2010



Gratitude List as I Look Ahead:
  1. So blessed to have friends and family who feel close even when they are far away. Thankful for technology to keep us up-to-date with each other. Never at any other time in my life have I enjoyed interacting with so many. Grateful to renew old friendships through e-mail, facebook, blogs, and more.
  2. Grateful for the legacy others have left behind even though they've gone on ahead. I get reminder flashbacks all the time. Special memories of Dad, grandparents, cousins, Mother-in-Love, and more. Today I saw a picture of an evergreen and candle centerpiece and had a flashback of the years Mom and Dad wired me this flower arrangement for a combination birthday/Christmas gift. It graced my table as I entertained various groups for the holidays. Such a special idea (Mom—thank you for making it happen!).
  3. Love the gift of "anticipation." This is going to be a great week, and I can't wait to get this party started! Bible Study through Priscilla Shirer's Jonah study, Ladies Christmas Banquet, great clients to serve with projects to dream up, and more.
  4. Grateful for the opportunity to help others. Anytime that happens, it makes me feel better inside and out. I need to be aware of even more of these opportunities and avail myself to them. Made a meal Saturday for a family, and even though I was feeling rough, it soothed the physical pain to know I was helping out a family in their time of need. It's possible it blessed me even more than it blessed them (especially since my cooking wasn't stellar!).
  5. So glad for a helpful husband. Russ brought home a few groceries this afternoon. I wasn't even expecting it—he just did it. Enough for us to have a meal, and to have a few extras. Even my favorite diet soft drink—he noticed I was all out. What a guy!

"Developing a true attitude of gratitude means inviting our heavenly Father into every aspect of our lives—including thanking Him even in situations we don't like.

"Thank You, Father, for being with me."

"Thank You, Father, that somehow You will bring Your good out of this mess."

And, yes, it's okay for us to stay that with tears running down our cheeks. He understands our hearts. And we do not pray to air."

— Sandra Aldrich

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving Gratitude List

This isn’t just a Monday Gratitude List. This time, it’s a Thanksgiving List. When I look at how life has changed in the last year, I’m counting my blessings for:
  • I’m grateful for a place to live. The thought of not having shelter is a scary thing, and just a couple of weeks ago, I wasn’t certain we’d be able to afford the rent much longer. What a relief to have work come in. Security!
  • I’m grateful for new clients. Not just provision for bills, but rewarding work to do. Fulfillment!
  • I’m grateful for settling in to a new town. Finding new friends. A place of worship. Community!
  • I’m grateful for a loving husband who would take me to the moon and back if that’s where I wanted to go. Intimacy!
  • I’m grateful for a God who loves me. Who wants me to commune with Him. He listens when we talk. Security, Fulfillment, Community AND Intimacy!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Boundaries and Borders

I've been thinking a lot about boundaries and borders this week. Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend wrote
Boundaries: When to Say Yes, When to Say No, To Take Control of Your Life. It's obvious Christians often confuse the lines when it comes to what we allow to happen in our lives. We're supposed to live yielded lives with a focus of God and others before self. When does that yieldedness turn into a doormat? The Bible says we are to love others as we love ourselves, so are there times when our love for self requires us to say "no" to prevent us from burn-out? We are supposed to be willing to "go the extra mile" for others. What happens when they want TWO miles? What happens when we are feeling spent and taken advantage of? If we go the extra miles do we wear out our soles? And our souls? Three issues came to the surface just yesterday to cause me to evaluate this delicate balance even further.
  • What do I owe my clients as far as my time? When is it okay to be unavailable because it's family time and not work time? When is it time to tell them "poor planning on your part does not necessitate an emergency on mine"?
  • When someone wants a piece of me that is not theirs to take, how blunt do I have to become before they comprehend they have asked too much of me? Some say I'm "too nice" and because of that I encourage others to use me. I'm trying to balance "serving-it-forward" with saying "no" to create appropriate boundaries. Not because it's all about me but because I won't have any "me" to help others if I'm no longer effective. I guess it's a lot like having to put the oxygen mask on myself before I help others place their own oxygen masks (taken from a flight attendant spiel.)
  • When is it time to seek legal counsel to represent my best interests? Health insurance won't pay claims related to an injury—subrogating responsibility to the hotel that was negligent. The hotel insurance will not assume liability, piling on more paperwork and using intimidation tactics to bury me in details so I'll give up. Medical providers are sending notes saying "pay or else." I do not like working with attorneys, to be frank, because my past experience has proven they ramp up the hours and end up being the only one getting anything from a lawsuit. But I also know we have zero monies to pay these medical bills. I'm praying I can find an attorney who will take my case for a percentage of the win, rather than a retainer. I can't believe I'm at the point of needing to seek counsel. I would rather be Mrs. Nice Gal.
I want to always be available for what God has me to do. Serving Him. Serving others. I don't want to become hardened by circumstances and jaded by users. I'm praying I continue to learn how to create godly boundaries, only excluding from my life what God leads me to exclude, and letting in all the other stuff, even if it takes a big chunk of me in the process. Not a doormat, but a door-tender.

What have you learned about setting boundaries? Share your tips and your dilemmas here. Maybe we can help each other along on this journey!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

JONAH: From the View of a Child

Watch this amazing child tell the story of Jonah. Talk about an actress in the making!

The story of Jonah from Corinth Baptist Church on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

No Greater Joy!

"He's serving as a deacon in his church."

That's the news we heard about Craig Long, one of the first teens in our first student ministry. Not only was Craig all grown up and serving as deacon, but he was blessed with a full family, married to wife Carol (also from our first youth department) and parents to their precious children. To make our joy even more complete, we discovered they lived just 75 miles away. The Longs came to my husband's very special ordination service to give a few words endorsing Russ to the congregation. It was a magical night. Craig and Carol, I'd love to reconnect!

Speaking of reconnecting, just recently I found a young girl from a previous ministry on facebook. Not so young anymore, she sported photos of a new hubby and baby, and a brand new nursing degree. Beautiful—this one! April came to me as a child so we could talk about her terrible nightmares. It was something we shared in common. She must have been 8 at the time. To fight the fear, she started journaling and memorizing scripture. I'll never forget how proud I was when she stood in front of the entire sanctuary to quote a full chapter in the Bible. She knew there was special power in God's Word. It got her through a rough time.

I smile every time I think of Easter that year. She was just learning about the Christian faith, and had lots of questions. She'd ask her mom and grandma, "Is the Savior going to be at church on Sunday?"

They'd reply, "Yes, April, the Savior will be at church. He's everywhere."

She got frustrated the more they assured her because it was obvious they didn't understand her question, so finally she blurted out, "No Grandma. Not Jesus. Is Savior WILLIS going to be at church on Sunday?" Pastor—Savior. I can see how that would get confusing! Certainly gave Russ a bit of a boost, and all of us a smile.

But nothing could prepare me for the joy of today. You see, today when I checked my facebook updates, I read that April had given a devotional Bible lesson for her church ladies the other evening. Little April, all grown up. Not just physically, but spiritually.
The Bible verse I share at the top of this post says it so well. There really is no greater joy than for me to hear that those I've mentored, my spiritual children, are walking in God's truth. It's times like this that God nudges me and says, "See Kathy. It's worth all the frustrations and suffering and pain of this life to point a child in the faith to learn of Me. To know Me. To trust Me. Don't give up. Keep shining the light so others can see the way."

By sharing this story, I pray you also realize that you are making a difference, and you can continue to make a difference.
Can you think of the ones who made a difference in your life? Why not leave a comment sharing their names? Let's all show thanks for those who impacted us when our lives were at the crossroads. Shaped us. Compelled us to choose right and to love the Lord. We get to serve it forward—and be blessed with no greater joy!

Monday, November 15, 2010


Here's my gratitude list for the past couple of weeks:
  1. I'm blessed by the beautiful decor and touching program of Faith Mission's Candlelit Christmas Banquet. So glad to be a small part of it, and looking forward to next year. Even more, praying Faith Mission raises the funds necessary to finance all the good they do in our community.
  2. So glad for fleece when it's cold. 'Nuff said.
  3. Indulging in homemade when the norm is store-bought. A special unctuousness that elicits nostalgia. Comfort cozy.
  4. I'm grateful for e-mails and facebook connections to bond me with friends all over the world. This is not just surface stuff. In fact, I think sometimes it strips away the casual and gets to a deeper level sooner.
  5. Mobius coffeehouse. Love my nearby hang-out.
I'm finding a theme surfacing here—comfy cozy warm and fuzzy, whether it's socks or my heart, all these things bring me to a special place. Thankful, me. Blessed to the rim.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Come on a WHIM (See, Giggle, Share!)

Come read my article over at The Pastor's Wife Speaks. Today we're talking about funny stories that happen when we're at speaking events. I share a couple of mine and offer a giveaway drawing for others to share their stories. Come see. Come giggle. Come share.

It's all over at: The Pastor's Wife Speaks

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

JONAH: Week One

I just completed Week One of Priscilla Shirer's study book Jonah: Navigating a Life Interrupted. Tonight our study group meets at Champion Fellowship to discuss what God's been showing us through the study, and to watch the video for the next lesson. I'll be facilitating a small group during this study, and am looking forward to the interaction. Here are some key points from Week One.

Day One:
Insignificant Person + Insignificant Task = Interruption
Significant Person + Significant Task = Divine Intervention

How do I view interruptions in life? Are they an inconvenience? Do they cost me time and money to stop and do something not in my plans? What if I viewed them as gifted to me from God to accomplish His bigger purpose?

I find we all have the potential for significance, not from anything within ourselves except a choice we make to allow God to work. Which leads to Day Two.

Day Two:
"God doesn't need us to complete His purposes, yet He still chooses to ask us to partner with Him...Believing that divine interruptions are a privilege not only will cause us to handle them differently but also to await them eagerly." Page 17

Divine Intervention + Yielded Submission = Eternal Significance

When I think of yielding or submitting to God, I think of merging on to traffic. They have the right of way. I must stop and look and use all my senses and then join the flow of traffic. Just like in life. If I'm to yield to God, I have to stop what I'm doing and stop going in my direction at my speed, and merge to His direction, His speed, His wishes.

Day Three:
How will we make our mark—make a difference—for the Kingdom? It's when we come to an end of ourselves and put God's agenda ahead of our own. It's not about my resume or my abilities. It's about my availability to God's leading. And through this yielding, it is God who is writing my story. And He knows how it's going to end!

Day Four:
The real star in my story—just like in Jonah's story—is God. He's the One who makes the difference. Page 23 says, "...having a fresh view of Him is paramount if we are to begin believing that life interruptions are really divine interventions."

I see that God IS the boss of me—He is the owner. I'm merely the manager. We haven't been asked to be in charge of our lives, but to make sure the boss' wishes are carried out by overseeing the implementation of His instructions.

Day Five:
Sometimes following God makes no sense, but His ways are not our ways. They might even sound ridiculous, like some distorted dream. But His instructions are very real and when we act on what He says, we are showing trust and faith in His plan. Our feelings and thoughts can sometimes lie to us and confuse us. By being focused on God's Word we can have a true measure of what is right (through the Bible and through the nudges of the Holy Spirit as well as from instruction through wise counsel).

Monday, November 08, 2010

Worry and Prayer

I love what The Message says about worry and prayer. Check it out:

Philippians 4:6
Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

James 1:5

If you don't know what you're doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You'll get his help, and won't be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who "worry their prayers" are like wind-whipped waves. Don't think you're going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.

Friday, November 05, 2010

A Style to Dye For

Ever endured one of the dreaded "bowl" haircuts while perched on a stack of books atop a kitchen chair? Mom managed to perform several of those, especially on school picture day. In my mind I was a pleasant little girl, sitting ramrod straight, but I'm quite certain that in the real world it was next to impossible for Mom to get me to sit still long enough to cut the straight line required for those school-girl bangs. I do remember a couple of hair salon visits in my childhood, but those were rare. At times Mom brought home a Lilt permanent to torture my hair (and nostrils) just a bit more. You see, we often had to make do with what we had.

Imagine our joy when Aunt Minnie began to apprentice as a hair stylist at her sister's shop. Finally I could sport the latest hair-dos! I became a living practice mannequin for Aunt Minnie. Shag haircut? Mine. Dorothy Hamill's wedge, yep. French braid, perfect for Senior Awards Ceremony. Soft curls for my wedding day. And later, we newlyweds sported matching bi-level unisex styles (permed curly on top, straight and short on bottom). Aunt Minnie started my love affair with hairstyles. Just one more way to express my personality and style—like changing jewelry.

Color came next. My hair hasn't known the hue of its base color since 1995. I say my hair is chemically dependent, but I'm not ready to go in for rehab just yet.

I've had home cuts and perms. Been to Barber School and Beauty School. Even been blessed with some expensive salon experiences (sometimes complete with sticker shock). And now that we are back to the basics, I'm doing my own color again.

Today, after 8 weeks of neglecting my hair, I finally ran down to the Continental Hairlines shop for a nice (reasonable) razor cut. After a trip to Wal-mart, I brought home a new kind of hair color. Two-process. Now I can have my color, and highlights too!

I'm not sure why I procrastinated this for so long. It feels great to be back in the "hairstyle" saddle again. No more tears.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

I'll Never Be a Famous Singer

Yesterday while riding the exercise bike at physical therapy, I watched music on TV. Not my pick—but the music drew me in. I think it was a country music video channel. I noticed the striking beauty and youthfulness of the celebrities. Each singer was model-like; stunning really. But what hit me even more than their style was their age. All were about half my age (and half my weight)!

I used to want that life. Be a singer. Do concerts. Record songs. Not to be a star so much as for music to be a big part of my life. I love the harmonies. The lyrics and chords move me. I would have especially loved to be part of a group because joining voices and instruments together is the best.

But God had other plans, and I've loved my life. No complaints! It's just it hit me. At my age, the dream is over. I'm never going to be a "singer." I can still do lots of new things in life that aren't affected by age or looks.

As soon as the thought hit me that I would never be a singer, a second thought hit me. "Not in THIS life." But the exciting thought is that in eternity, guess what I'll be doing? SINGING! And can you imagine the lyrics and tunes lifted up when we get to sing praises in front of our King of Kings? It's going to be thrilling.

I better stay in practice. Just in case.

Life Interrupted

Last night I attended the first session for a Bible Study entitled Jonah: Navigating a Life Interrupted by Priscilla Shirer. I have to admit I would never think a study of Jonah would be something I could relate to. I obey God. I've made some extreme directional changes in my life because He said so. But over the past month two or three people said that my crazy 2010 life sounds like what Priscilla writes in this book. It's all about seeing the interruptions in life NOT as inconveniences to our agendas, but as divine appointments. God is getting ready to do something and we need to pay attention to see what it is.

The description of this study says:
What do we do when God interrupts our lives? Many times, like Jonah, we run! In this 7-session Bible study, Priscilla redefines interruption and shows that interruption is actually God's invitation to do something beyond our wildest dreams. When Jonah was willing to allow God to interrupt his life, the result was revival in an entire city.
I'll fill you in on what I discover during this journey!

Monday, November 01, 2010

Grateful Gratitudes


“When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.” Anthony Robbins

For several years, I've participated in a weekly gratitude sharing exercise on an e-mail loop for those with Sjogren's Syndrome. We've found that an attitude of gratitude really helps put life in better perspective. Every Monday I try to collect a list of small and large blessings for which to express thankfulness, and it's been a wonderful practice to develop. Here's my list for this week:

  1. The praise team led my current favorite song during worship yesterday. "Beautiful Things." My how that song (lyrics and music together) lifts me to a higher plane.
  2. We were able to pay first-of-the-month bills even though we had some financial reversals this past month. Can't explain it except that God provided for our needs.
  3. New recipes helped us save money, but gave us fresh new flavors for our taste buds. Double good!
  4. We are seeing some improvement with my physical therapy. Two of the six motions for range of motion are getting better. I'll take what I can get, knowing the rest will respond over time.
  5. I'm blessed to get to encourage some really special writers and speakers. Many are just at the beginning stages of setting this up as a business/ministry rather than a hobby, and it's so fun to see them blossom. Talk about getting me jazzed!
What's on your gratitude list? Feel free to leave a comment to mention yours. You'll feel better for it!

Overheard on the Subject of Love...

Overheard on the Subject of Love...

"Dear Lord, thank You for loving us. For BEING love."
— prayed by Worship Leader Jason Morgan during service.
That's right! God doesn't just show us how to love. He doesn't just love us. He IS love. IF we looked up "love" in a LIFE dictionary, we'd see God. So when we have love issues, where do you think we should go? Dear Abby has NOTHING on our Lord!
"They say the Top 3 gifts are faith, hope and love. When we are in heaven, we won't need faith because we'll see Jesus with our own eyes. We won't need hope because our hopes will be realized. But oh! LOVE will still abound. And that is why the greatest of these is LOVE."
— in Pastor Tim Webb's message today at Champion Fellowship.
My prayer for this week is that I will think more about selfless love and how to display that to others. May I have the heart of God to have the love of God, with the eyes of God to see the ones who need the love of God, and the arms of God to reach out to those who need the love of God, delivered walking with the feet of God.