Happy New Year

Happy New Year! I heard a radio personality talk about how far into the new year it’s appropriate to say Happy New Year. I think this first week, and this first post of #2023 lends itself to the greeting. Okay, on to other first-of-the-year stuff. Has anyone else already taken down their Christmas decorations? We have! I love having my house back. The calendar page has turned, or maybe we closed one calendar and started a new one. I love a fresh calendar – 365 days of possibilities and unknowns. Some good days and some bad; hopefully more of the former.

The first of the year often brings a new set of goals and plans. After two weeks of some time off work that ends with the pop of a new year, how do we go back to the daily routine and keep our minds fresh? It has to be an intentional renewal every day. We need to think of each day the same as we do at the beginning of the year – new possibilities and unknowns. Lamentations 3:22 – 23 (there’s a book of the Bible you don’t read often) tells us that God’s mercies are new each day. Why shouldn’t we adopt the same mindset? Each day is an opportunity to do a little better than the day before. Show yourself and others more grace and humility.

Write it down. Not just your #goals, but things you want to be intentional about. On my 2023 planner weekly page, I have a box called #Gratitude. It’s a blank box and reminds me to look for things to be thankful for. Even if I don’t write anything in it, just seeing the word, “Gratitude” is a reminder enough. Let’s talk about #goals. They should be written. To be sure we don’t get too far into January, I always have them written by the end of the first week.

Written goals are more likely to be completed. There are multiple ways to write, organize, and accomplish goals. Mine fall into three main categories: Spiritual, Financial, and Physical. There can be multiple goals for each, but be sure they are specific, measurable, and attainable. We tend to be very optimistic about what we can accomplish in an entire year, but we also tend to put off the action items we can do today, this week, or this month toward that goal. Don’t start efforts toward your goals all at once. Maybe add a timetable to allow for you to ramp up. Remember slow and steady (mostly steady) wins the race.

Mostly steady wins. Keep moving forward. If you have a big goal, break it down and take small steps toward the bigger goal. Weight loss and exercise are big areas goals are set in. Both can feel monumental. In both of these, remember small changes lead to bigger successes. I joined Weight Watchers to give me the accountability I need to lose some weight that I’ve gained over the last several years. I was doing well last Spring and Summer, but then I slowed down when it was harder to be outside and it was too cold to swim. It took years for me to slip into some bad eating habits, I’m not going to fix them in a day or week. Here I go, slow and steady.

I’ve heard it said that financial success is 80% behavior. I think that could be said for many of our goal categories. Self-discipline to not let distractions take us away from our goals is huge. So while you’re writing your goals, go ahead and include one or two actions you need to take to get started.

Let me encourage you to take some time this week to write down what you’d like to accomplish this year. Find a friend who has goals they are working toward. Accountability is important to accomplishing goals. And add a couple of steps to get started. Oh, and don’t try to start everything in January. Slow and steady. Small wins lead to big wins.

You can do this! As of this posting, you have 361 days, and 8,664 hours to complete your goals.

All the best,


Watch for Karen H. Richardson’s debut novel, Curtains for Maggie, in 2023!


Dateline: December 30, 2021, For some, the week between Christmas and New Years is like living in another dimension. Christmas is over, this may be a week of vacation or staycation. Work is slow (unless you’re in #retail), it’s an opportunity to get odd tasks complete, but nothing that depends on others or that is super deep. It feels like life is in suspended animation. This week is all about completion and anticipation.

What is something that has a December 31st deadline for you? Something in business? Perhaps you had a goal set and you’re trying to complete it. One year, I set a goal to read 20 books of the Bible, you guessed it, got to the last week of the year and I dove into the shortest books I could complete – Ruth, Obadiah, I, II, III John, Jude. Hey, they were quick checkmarks toward my goal completion. It’s hard for our thinking to not creep into what the new year will bring.

We start a new planner, click over to a new month, or start a calendar. The pages are blank, a clean slate. It’s all potential. We are given as many as 365 days, 8,760 hours. What will we do with them? What will we make of them? How will we be changed or grow as individuals because of what our days are filled with? If you are not thinking about it, you’ve got today and tomorrow. Don’t float out of one year and into the next without a plan or at least a few thoughts about how you will invest your time. Use this anticipatory week (or now a couple of days) to dare to dream about what a fresh new year will bring.

No excuses. No, “yes but…” And if I hear one more thing blamed on the pandemic, my head is going to explode. We have to keep ourselves healthy and safe, but so much of what we’ve loved to do has made the pivot to allow us to continue.

Go ahead, leave a comment here, or write it down on your device or a scrap of paper, what is one thing you’ve put off that it’s time to complete or make a priority.

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.

Theodore roosevelt

A great quote, but also let me encourage you to stretch a little. Challenge yourself in some area that you have let settle. Grow as an individual and make a difference to those around you, even if they are strangers.

Happy New Year,


Fire hose or Water hose

Recently, I was hosing the leaves and dead blooms from the back porch hanging baskets. It was the end of the day, and I was hustling to get it done. I set the hose nozzle to “jet” to get the hardest, fastest blast of water to move the debris. The powerful gush of water scattered the debris around but it didn’t move it quickly in the direction I needed it to go.

So I tried a different setting. Instead of “jet” the dial was turned to “shower.” The strong but gentle stream of water pooled around the debris to move it off the porch in a more efficient manner.

Sometimes we go in with a fire hose, when a water hose is all we really need to accomplish our goal. Both are great tools that use the same fuel.

Think about it. Has there been a time when you went marching in on your high horse, blasting the jet of orders and demands? While you may get what you want, you did so at the expense of everyone around you, leaving a trail of people scratching their heads. It’s not pretty, and usually anything gained is short lived. There is a time for taking out the #firehose, to turn on the “jet” setting, but it should be rare.

Consider this. Click the #waterhose setting from “jet” to “shower,” allowing your message; your goal to wash over those in your way or on your team. Lifting them and carrying them along with you across the goal line. You’ve accomplished what you set out to do, and you’ve brought your team along. Together, you cross the goal line with a sense of impact and accomplishment. The shower of success, will leave your team feeling appreciated, satisfied, and ready to move forward with you again.

Think about it, and let me know your thoughts.

All the best,


Let’s connect!

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,


Let’s connect!


The Olympic RingsWatching the Olympic opening ceremony (#olympics), thousands of athletes proudly parade into the arena. They come from all parts of the globe- 3,000 athletes from 92 countries. For most, they have worked toward this their entire lives. Their families have sacrificed dearly while supporting the dream to be an Olympic athlete. These games are the highest form of competition they will experience. The athletes speak different languages and have different cultures and traditions.

One similarity stands out among the different shapes, sizes, cultures, and languages. Every athlete is smiling. They strut in proudly wearing the colors of their country and they are all smiling. With a cheerful cadence, they carry their flag and smile with excitement. No matter the culture or home country, all humans share this expression that means something positive. It’s amazing that something so small that doesn’t have to be taught can instantly bring people together in a shared experience. A smile promotes warmth and unity among those who share it.

May these Olympic games promote other commonalities among the nations.


GED Grad Day

 Today we celebrate with GED Grads everywhere. Too many times we take for granted our education and the support we had from family to complete high school, college, or trade school. Get a skill and make your self marketable to employers. Easier said than done for some who live in our communities. It is very possible that you live or work within steps of someone who struggled in school or didn’t have the support of parents to complete even the most basic education. Those individuals either give up and settle for a minimum wage job (that doesn’t come close to supporting someone) or by their own fortitude they set their goal and found the resources to finish their high school education.

Today we say hats off to you. Congratulations on sticking with it and completing your GED.

What’s next? Set your next goal and go for it! You may not know us, but there are thousands of us cheering you on.

Please share this post with #GEDGradDay and encourage someone today.

All the best,


Heading: The King on the Cross

This week, many of us are preparing our hearts for Easter celebration. Prior to the ressurection festivities we can’t ignore the events leading up to it. Jesus was crucified. It was the end of his human existence. While we usually focus on the fulfillment of prophecies, consider for a moment Him being fully human and fully God. He served as the perfect sacrifice for salvation. Tonight I was enlightened to the completion of Christ’s human purpose on earth.

Jesus had earthly parents. While his earthly father, Joseph, more than likely died earlier, this left Jesus as the oldest male in his family. He was responsible for his mother, Mary. The Gospel of John recounts an endearing moment with Jesus and His mother.  While hanging naked and humiliated on the cross, Jesus is concerned about His mother. In John 19:25 – 27, Jesus entrusts the care of His mother to John (the disciple who He loved).

In the final minutes of His eternal purpose, verse 28, Jesus says that He is thirsty. Spirits don’t get thirsty. In His human need, he is given sour vinegar.

With all prophecies fulfilled, Jesus died. He surrendered His life. Just like each of us will someday do.

Jesus’ eternal purpose was more important, but what makes Him relatable, was His human existence.

Your thoughts please,


Two Days Shy of a Whole Month

snoopy dance

Tomorrow brings in February. We flip the calendar page to a fresh month. Just as we looked with anticipation to January and the new year, look at February (or any new month) with the same anticipation. What will this short month bring?

We’ve settled into a new year. More than likely you’ve quit dating things 2016. The hype of resolutions is over. Let’s get something done. “They”, whoever “they” are, say that if you do something for 21 days in a row, it becomes a habit. I can say that there are things I do every day that are part of my routine that if I miss, I can tell. So, I would agree with this habit-forming method.

February is short of a typical month by two or three days. There’s a whole history on this that I won’t go into, but you can enjoy on YouTube. Today’s encouragement is for you to use this “runt of the months” to create or build on a habit. A good one preferably. Did you resolve to do something you haven’t started yet? Well here’s your month — or at least three and half weeks to get going.

For me, I will work everyday toward my exercise goals. There, I’ve said it and now it’s published for all to see. You have permission to keep me accountable. Two other things I will be doing daily is writing and reading. I’ve also developed a system for keeping my chores/projects around the house moving forward (Husband, consider yourself warned smile.) Might be a lot, but keeping these priorities may also eliminate some of the time I waste everyday.

Who’s with me?







Competition Day

The day starts early. The temperature is cool but the day promises to be warm. It doesn’t really matter, any weather short of lightning and the players take the field in competition. The boys and girls of the band wander in early because arriving on time is late to these musicians. Bottled water is consumed by the case-load. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate is the beat of the day. There’s a quiet rumble of voices that increase as the members continue to gather.

Roll call — by score — wood winds, brass, drumline, pit — where’s the pit — guard. Flying in from loading their equipment onto the field comes the pit. The four-minute pep talk from the director reminds the band of what they need to work on this morning, their strengths, and their purpose on the field. To perform with excellence for the glory of God.

img_3479Our band includes kids from 7th to 12th grade. Their skill level may be divided, but not their loyalty to each other and the band as a whole. Experienced members encourage, coach and help the new guys. The older ones know what it feels like to play “under the lights”. They know what it takes to succeed and what it feels like to be defeated. This wisdom isn’t something that can just be talked about, it comes from the medley of emotions that several years in marching band brings.

Competition becomes a day when parents and their band kids work in concert with each other. While its the band that earns the score at the competition, the parents feel both the successes and challenges of the day as well. We cheer for the win and we encourage at the failures.

The band dads know what’s expected and have the tools to accomplish it. They build, they take apart, they rebuild. But in the middle when there’s a few minutes to spare there’s always time for a few minutes of ball game watching or bocce ball playing. When the band takes the field, the props that support them have been designed, built, packed, moved and removed by the loving hands of their parents.img_4847

The 26-foot box truck is loaded under the direction of a couple of dads who stand at the ready. Their uniform includes bungee cords, straps and work gloves. They have a plan for maximizing the 1600 cubic feet of space for the half million dollars’ worth of cargo — instruments, props, and uniforms. The symphony of loading is conducted by two men in the truck and others on the ground fulfilling the requested next items to load.

The moms march to their own beat. In addition to getting their band kid up and moving, band moms are praying, cooking and sewing their support into the score of the day. The competition day itinerary sets the pace for the moms.

img_4774The uniform moms have made sure uniforms are clean, hung in alphabetical order along with the shoes and hats. Not to forget fluffing the plumes! Their instruments include a sewing kit, machine and ironing board. Band kids tend to keep growing between July and October. Hard to keep their hems from climbing up their legs.

The meal moms have arranged a menu sure to hit all heights of the food pyramid. Always making sure there is more than enough of the tasty cuisine. Lunch is served. Band members come through with complements to all the chefs. img_4792The directors and other parent volunteers fall in step with the service. The crescendo of the buffet leaves the mothers whose hands prepared the meal, a few minutes to eat as well. The rest doesn’t last long, a check of the clock and its time to clean and reset for the snack to be served mid-day.

The directors spend their day like super bowl coaches, laser focused on the kids and their performance. The competition site has been carefully chosen to allow the band to meet challenging competitors and be judged fairly. Their movements of the day are all about the kids and what they need to be ready to take the field.

The band takes the field. Once the props are in place and band members are on their mark, directors and parents exit the field. Parents are peppered throughout the stands and on the sidelines ready to move props on and off the field. For the next ten minutes it’s all about the kids and their performance. Cheers come throughout for outstanding formations and solos.

The last note is played.  Their musical message delivered. The success of the day will be measured in the judges’ comments and score. The directors will dsc06092use the feedback to fine-tune for the coming bigger competitions that earn the band a run at the state finals. Along with the kids, the directors have worked and rehearsed for hundreds of hours. There is no doubt that the band can succeed if they perform at the level the directors know they can.

Competition days are long.  The band kids spend as many as 15 hours together working, traveling, and performing. They step off the bus weary. Drop their backpacks and blankets knowing no one goes home until the truck is unloaded, flags and instruments are put away and they hear final words from their director. Parents are ready to go home, but help with unloading.

Final roll call for the day — by score — wood winds, brass, drumline, pit — where’s the pit — guard. The pit crew are the first on and the last in, but they are taking care of their equipment. Theirs aren’t easily tucked into cases.

After a few more encouraging comments from the director and instructions about the upcoming week of rehearsal, they are encouraged to get some rest, go to church and be ready for Monday. A prayer is said and the band disperses. Seven clicks of the calendar and they do it all over again.











No Picture Necessary

Today cameras are as close as our cell phones. Pretty much at the end of our arms at all times. Pictures of meals, pets, gardens and of course our selves are posted, tweeted and shared all over the world. Are we too busy taking pictures of memorable beautiful moments to stop and enjoy the moment?

On my way home one evening there had been a summer rain shower. Sitting at a stop light I looked up to see the most beautiful full seven-color spectrum rainbow. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Right in front of me. Admittedly, I started to reach for my phone to snap a photo. I stopped. Instead of taking a picture and posting it, I just enjoyed God’s handiwork. It was a beautiful quiet moment.

There is a lot of chatter these days of everyone being too plugged in. We are. We are rushing through our days, living for the weekend and not experiencing the sights, sounds, smells and tastes we encounter. Breathe for a minute. Look around you. What’s new or unusual? What are the stories in the lives of all the people you are rushing by?

Take a minute and let me know what you find.