Modern-day homesteading

Staying #healthy at home – working from home, educating from home, and coming together around the dinner table more often. If you take away the electronics, the picture is similar to a couple of generations ago when families either farmed and everyone had a role, or during the depression when families had city gardens, dads worked where they could find it, and mothers kept house and raised the kids.

Since March, we’ve taken a step back in time to find the home and the family the center of ourhttps://www.mattel.com/en-us existence. Malls, entertainment centers, and sports were shut down. Restaurants were closed or had limited capacity. No place to go, we’ve settled into our homes and gotten creative with how we entertain ourselves. At first, we #binge-watched our favorite series. After our periodic parade through the kitchen for snacks, and when the meal rotation went stale, we dug out our cookbooks and tried new recipes-some worked, others didn’t. Games played and created. Our kids have dug out their bikes, skates, and skateboards and gone outside to play. The after-dinner walk has made a comeback.

We’ve found ourselves around the table more often than usual. The conversations have changed from who needs to go where, to the adventures in the yard, neighborhood, or park. Instead of running all the time, we’ve slowed down to enjoy our family, our people.
Our homes have been elevated in importance. We’ve taken advantage of not going anywhere to sort, organize, give-away, or sell our abundance of stuff. Closets, drawers, basements, and garages are organized. That ugly pink paint in the extra bedroom has been neutralized to a “pearl white.” Our yards have been mowed every week, and some planted a vegetable garden. About now they are starting to reap the harvest and feeling the satisfaction that comes from planting, watering, and shooing the squirrels away from their Heirloom tomatoes.

Homesteading, no matter when or why is all about creating a space called home and discovering the joys and challenges of family.

Tell me your #healthyathome story.
KK


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5 Small things

Today it can feel trite to suggest that we count our blessings. We live in a hard world. So, I will not lead you through a song and dance, or even the science of happiness. This morning I heard a short message from Kyle Idleman from Southeast Christian Church (Louisville, KY). His message began with life’s disappointments and ended with supplication and #thankfulness. How can we be thankful amid disappointments?

I once heard that if you wake up every morning breathing than God has a plan for you that day. Makes sense, as long as we are alive, we have the opportunity to work, play, love and encourage; to make a difference.

What does thankfulness and making an impact have in common? Both are intentional decisions we make daily. We must look beyond the fog of hardships to the good even if it’s something small. Maybe in your current state of mind, you can’t see the big good. That’s fine, look around, what is one of those small things in life that you are thankful for. In fact, don’t think big right now, think small. Maybe it’s something like when you open the ice cream container to find there is just enough left for your midnight snack. For me, it’s the bubbles in my #Coke and the first sweet draw through the straw. Are you a dog person? What about when your dog brings his ball over and drops in your lap so as to say, “it’s time to play.”

Notice that my examples are the sappy romantic things (that my husband is wonderful about). They aren’t the Hallmark Channel ideal setting; they are ordinary things that can make for an extraordinary moment.

After listening to Kyle’s message, I read through Philippians 4:6 with a different heart. I invited the God of the universe to please intervene in my current challenges. Challenges that I already have that odd peace that doesn’t make sense by worldly standards. But while my prayers have been honest, made requests, and even questioned, I hadn’t just asked the Creator of the universe to simply intervene. And while He’s working out the details, I just need to be thankful. I wrote myself a note and posted it where I would see it multiple times throughout the day to notice 5 things that I’m thankful for every day.

Today you have a purpose and opportunity. What will you do with them?

All the best,

KK


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Post #COVID-19 normal

What are you doing now that is different than before our #stayhealthyathome that you will keep doing post #COVID-19? We are in a new rhythm of life. It’s slower and less distracted by managing the schedules of work, school, and family activities. I personally like that I’m not spending so much time in traffic. Meetings? Get up, brush hair and teeth, put on presentable top and click into the meeting portal.

There’s really nothing other than home supplies to shop for. I guess there is on-line shopping (if that’s your thing), I recently saw a shopping network modeling face masks; is this the new spring fashion?

I’d like to think that we will embrace the rhythm that we feel right now. The ease of schedules, meals around the dinner table with family, sidewalk chalk artwork, game nights, playing along with JEOPARDY, and just taking each day as it comes.

Taking each day as it comes, there’s a thought. The reality is that our calendars will refill quickly. Why not commit now to be intentional to leave a few holes to just let something wonderfully unexpected happen? Before all this happened, I was almost to that point. I had quit my second job and was studying for the CAPM exam, knowing that as soon as that was successfully passed, I would have my evenings back. Now I have evenings, but I’m not sure what day it is. They all feel about the same. Yep, true confession, I’m one of those who lost their job because of COVID-19. Myself and eight of my co-workers who all served the organization well received a call earlier this month. That’s about all I’ll say about that. The real point is that beyond the five or six hours a day I spend applying and networking, I could be doing anything.

My priority is to find a job sooner rather than later. Since my husband is working and my son is doing college from home, I keep the schedule of working during the day (my job is to find a job). Take a minute now, close your eyes and picture the world opened up again. Our evenings are dinner and then [you fill in the blank]. You leave the office and go [you fill in the blank]. And what about all this talk of self-care? Will you keep self-care as a priority?

How will you intentionally leave holes for something wonderful in your schedule, post #COVID19?

All the best,

KK


Click to tweet: What are you doing now that is different than before our #stayhealthyathome that you will keep doing post #COVID-19? 


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Happy #Earthday

In the first verses of Genesis, we read that the heavens and the earth were created. That which makes us think of eternity (heavens) and that which reminds us of the here and now(earth). The earth is the foundation upon which we build our lives and homes. Today we celebrate the earth.

#kitchentableIt’s April and in Kentucky, it’s a little bit early for planting flowers, but planting or rooting starts to plants seems to be on the list of things do during our #healthyathome time; and planting focuses our thoughts on what’s to come. This is a photo of my kitchen table. If we must #stayhome much longer, I may need another table.

The potential that lives inside a seed is worth considering in our recognition of Earth Day 2020. While it’s early, I did go ahead and buy some marigolds. They are a hardy annual that is bright, and some say keep the mosquitoes away. When I purchase flowers for container gardening, I don’t choose the plants that are in full bloom. I leave those for people who need instant gratification. I choose the plants with a few blooms, but more buds than flowers. Those buds remind me that there is a beautiful flower yet to come. What better way to participate with nature then to watch it in action? To participate in the process by planting, watering, and weeding.

#lilacbushI’m also working on rooting a lilac bush from our front garden because my dad bought and planted it for me. It’s finally matured to bloom and be fragrant. I’d like to add to the lilac garden so instead of#growlilac buying more bushes, I want to propagate this one.

The theme for Earth Day 2020 is climate action. Climate change poses challenges for people and animals around the world. That’s about all I know about climate change. But what I do know about the climate and the earth is that we are accountable for being good stewards of the resources that result from each. While I’m not great at recycling, I do feel like every plant I put in the ground offers something back to the climate and those of us who live around that plant. That is my contribution.

What can you do to contribute to be a good steward of the ground we walk and build on? The earth that farmers plant in and provide our food. The world our Creator made for us to inhabit. How will you show your gratefulness for what our climate provides – air, water, sun, fertile soil?

All the best,

KK


#annualsorperennials

 

 

 

 


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Things to do while we are being #healthyathome

Last weekend was sunny and seventy degrees. It was wonderful! I felt like this picture of a dog. wallowing in the grass. As we are in our fourth week of working from home, I’m beginning to get a little antsy in the evenings. I don’t have a drive home to shift from the work to family mindset. I don’t want to just downshift to eat dinner and watch TV all evening. Or just letting social media be my time-suck. So, I’ve decided to make a list of projects to do around the house. What am I saying, I don’t need to make a list, there is always a running list. We all have them. We call it our rainy-day list, or our “if I’m ever snowed in” list. Well, we have our storm. It doesn’t look like others, but it’s keeping us home. I’ve checked with some others to collaborate on a list of options to get you started. Let me know if any of these are on your list.

  • Clean the house – thoroughly wiping down doorframes, woodwork, and cabinet fronts
  • Clean out closets
  • Clean out the basement storage areas
  • Change out your wardrobe from winter to spring – perhaps trying the 3-3-3 method
  • Clean out your emails and unsubscribe from lists you no longer care about

Lots of benefits to cleaning and refreshing your home (#COVID19). Enough cleaning, here are some other more fun ideas:

  • Learn a Language – DUOLingo seems to be the app that’s trending these days; it’s free and#duolingo easy to use.
  • Take a virtual tour – The national parks and many great museums have opened their virtual doors for tours.
  • Write something – perhaps you’ve always wanted to write a book, or short story, now’s your window of opportunity. I may try my hand at poetry 😊.
  • Pull out that instrument you played in high school and see if you can still remember your old music. Or create new music. Just #Google Apps for learning to play [NAME YOUR INSTRUMENT].
  • Take a daily walk – it takes 21 days to form a habit, we may have 21 more days, get after it.
  • Learn yoga or tai chi
  • Choose something you don’t know, but always wanted to learn, and learn it.
  • Benge watch Financial Peace and learn about budgeting and personal finance. It’s free for 14 days.

Do you see a pattern with my second list? Experts are saying we could be another month in some sort of social distancing. If we really have another 30 days, consider what you could accomplish. We have at our fingertips the ability to learn and grow, and the time to do something about it. There is no confinement to our ability to reach out and have the world open to us. With our #stayhealthathome time, why not use this down time to broaden our minds?

What’s on your list?

KK


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#GoodFriday

It’s Good Friday. One of the darkest days in history. Or at least it was for those who lived it. We know what happens three days later, but the witnesses of the crucifixion weren’t sure. Those closest to Christ had left families, homes, and jobs to follow and serve him. There they stood hiding in the crowd or just hiding, clinging to all hope that what he told them was true. He would rise from the grave and make a better way for them and millions to follow throughout time. A better way. An eternal way.

Thinking in terms of eternity is so hard when we’re trying to navigate this world and the ups and downs it presents. It has been said that there are 365 “fear not” statements (or some form of do not be afraid) in the Bible. I’ve not counted them, but if there are, that’s one for each day of the year. Many times fear not is followed by comforting and reassuring words from or about God.

Here are just a few I found. What’s interesting is that while they are words of comfort, there is often a suggested action on the believer’s part. Words of encouragement have no power unless the recipient opens their mind and heart to them. Where is your heart as you read these:

“He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deut. 31:8

“Don’t fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine.” Isa. 43:1

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isa 41:10

“Do not be afraid Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.” Daniel 10:12

“But Jesus came and touched them. ‘Get up,’ he said. “Don’t be afraid.”

“Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe.'”

Jeremiah 29:11 is often quoted in times of unsureness. But the real key to taking in this verse is to go back to verse 10. It is there that we see that God is faithful and fulfills promises, but it’s in His time; when the time is right. I don’t know what makes the time right. Because God doesn’t function within the constraints of clocks and calendars, more than likely it’s a heart thing or having all the right people in the right place at a given time. Not a clue. So like I mentioned the other day, we just have to listen and expect to hear him and be ready to walk forward in faith.

That fateful Friday the earth shook, it was dark at noon, and nobody understood what was happening or when it would end. Ever felt that way?

Jesus felt that darkest hour when he cried out, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” My God, my God, why have you forsaken Me? Do you think the disciples were thinking the same of him? But then Christ “yielded” his soul. He gave up His life.

In our darkest hour, are we yielding our hearts to the will of God?  On this #GoodFriday yield your heart, bow your head and mourn for this world’s loss was eternity’s gain. Sunday will come literally and figuratively.

Jesus walked out of his own grave to solidify our hope in eternity and in promises about our time on earth that will be kept.

God Bless,

KK

Listen and expect to hear Him

We are in a storm. As a world community and as individuals. Whether you are simply going stir-crazy at home or you’ve experienced some other tragedy, it’s a storm. Many years ago when I was in a similar storm, I wrote this quote from Priscilla Shirer, on the refrigerator whiteboard, “Listen and expect to hear Him.” Funny that I never erased it. It’s something we should always remember no matter what kind of season we are in.

Before some of you decide I’m nuts, let me clarify. God speaks to His children in many ways; the Bible, encouraging words or prayers of other believers, in our conviction, or in that still small voice in our hearts. Even before the storm I’m experiencing blew harder, God was preparing my heart. I didn’t see it at the time, but there was a reason a devotion featuring Job and life challenges popped up on my feed.

This morning He spoke to me through one sentence in an email from a friend of mine, Betty Owens. She’s praying for me. And a message from Liz Curtis Higgs in her weekly Bible study reminded me of how much I am loved by our Savior. Yesterday, a former co-worker encouraged me to read Psalm 20 and 91.

May the Lord answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
May he send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion.
May he remember all your sacrifices and accept your burnt offerings.[b]
May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.
May we shout for joy over your victory and lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the Lord grant all your requests.
Now this I know: The Lord gives victory to his anointed.
He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of his right hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.
Lord, give victory to the king! Answer us when we call!
Psalm 20

Wow! I needed to hear about the victory that will come on the other side of the storm. We don’t

know how long it will last. So every day we get up and do what we can do. We don’t just sit down, throw up our hands, and say God’s going to get us through. Which is true, He will deliver. But living our faith and doing what is in our control every day allows us to truly feel like we are walking in sync with God’s plan. We are praying, seeking His will, listening for Him, and doing what we can to move forward in what we are seeking. Doing so, we become very sensitive to His guidance, what is an open door, and what is closed.

The winds are whipping and howling. Stressors are thundering down. Remember friend, we are all in this together, and no matter how big the storm, God is bigger.

All the best,

KK


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Why did I give up soda pop for Lent?

On February 26th I committed to sacrifice one of my favorite things for Lent-soda pop. Specifically, Coke Cola or any drink that had bubbles. Coke is the hardest though. But it is such a minor thing compared to what our #Savior gave up for me and you. And many, many times over the last month when I’ve really wanted to dive into the case of #Cokes in the garage, I have been reminded of His gift. It is preparing my heart and resetting my spirit.

Our last day in the office was March 13th. In observance of CDC recommendations, the NCFL leadership sent everyone home to work. It was the most generous thing they could do to keep us working and serving millions of families who are now essentially homeschooling their children. That was the weekend that I believe everyone went nuts in the groceries as if the worst snowstorm ever was about to hit. I get it, parents are home with their children and the number of meals you serve has increased. We are now eating all three meals at home.

We must monitor how much news we watch or it all can become overwhelming. Admittedly, I check the #COVID19 map everyday praying and hoping the curve will start to flatten. I hope that all these extra make-shift hospitals won’t be used. Just give me something!

It’s in those moments when I’m feeling most discouraged that I wonder why I chose this year to give up soda pop? Someone recently told me that the crisis we are in is no surprise to God. He knew on February 26th what was coming for me and all of us, and still He laid it on my heart to sacrifice. When I stay my craving it not only makes me think of Christ’s sacrifice, it also now reminds me that there are individuals and families around the world sacrificing much more, and hurting far more than I am. It reminds me to think about others to pray for. It gives me the opportunity to look outside myself.

So, while we are all limited to staying at home or quick trips to the grocery, may our thoughts reach far beyond these limits to others we know or don’t know who are alone or hurting. And may we look to the eternal, that which knows no boundaries in time or space. We have hope. Easter is coming.

Stay healthy,

KK


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Click to Tweet: He knew on February 26th what was coming for me and all of us, and still He laid it on my heart to sacrifice. When I stay my craving it not only makes me think of Christ’s sacrifice, it also now reminds me that there are individuals and families around the world sacrificing much more, and hurting far more than I am. It reminds me to think about others to pray for. It gives me the opportunity to look outside myself.

40 Days begins today

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. On the Christian calendar, it marks the 40 days leading to Easter. For our Jewish brothers and sisters, this season includes Passover. Both events profoundly changed the course of history. Both included a sacrificial lamb that today should give us all reason to pause. How do we do that in a time when we have high demands on our time? How do we find and recognize the peace of ultimate sacrifice when we have “noise” all around? We have to make a personal decision-we must be intentional.

In the Christian faith, some choose to give up something of pleasure during Lent. I’ve also heard of people adding something positive to each day, like an act of kindness, a donation, or a special devotion. Whether you are giving up a vice or pleasure or taking up a kindness, the goal is to point us to the eternal, to our Heavenly Father, who made the ultimate sacrifice which was also the ultimate act of grace, mercy, and kindness.

Most of us don’t have fatted calves to demonstrate our faith, but we carry with us many other things we can lay at the foot of the cross- pride, control, self-centeredness and the list goes on. But there are tangible things we can do to refocus.

My family is in an odd season of change. Some of it is exciting, while other things are stressful with the potential for good. This season has brought my husband and I to a decision to pray together every day; not just periodically. Our prayers are for today and the future. Just as in the Lauren Daigle song, First, we bring our hearts before we bring our needs. Above our requests, we want to walk in God’s will; to align the will of our hearts with that of Godliness.

Personnally, right now it’s harder for me to sacrifice something than to do something positive, so I will be giving up soda pop. It may not see hard, but I have a Coke Cola every day. Last weekend we bought a case at Costco that will now have to wait until Easter. And my trips to McDonald’s will be limited to a portion of my daily sodium intake allocated to french fries. To sacrifice this guilty pleasure, I will replace some of the sugar with fruit and the caffeine with coffee. Those things are what draw me to a soda. What I will miss is the effervescence of the bubbles, and the sweetness of the perfect mixture that dances across my tongue with every draw from the straw (let’s face it, the only way to enjoy a carbonated drink is over ice and through a straw). So, until April 12th I will not drink any carbonated drinks.

Will this grow my faith? It is a real sacrifice for me, and every morning I will think of it when I’m not feeling the mist from the Coke falling over the cubes in my to-go cup, or I pass by my local McDonald’s; or at lunch when I go looking for another boost of bubbles. When I experience what I’m missing, I’ll say a little prayer, listen, and expect to hear His voice.

This may seem silly, but when it comes to matters of the heart, it’s not. What will you do to recognize Lent? Easter is coming, death has been conquered, it will be time to celebrate.

All the best,

KK


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