Smile!

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.

KK

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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,

KK

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,

KK

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?

KK

#goals

#goalsetting

 

 

 

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.

KK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

KK