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


Let’s connect!

Leaping into a new decade

Between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2029 there are three years with extra days-2020, 2024, and 2028-Leap days. Today we turn our calendar over to face 366 days. What will you do with your Leap day this year? February 29 falls on a Saturday, giving you the opportunity to plan whatever you like. How could we make the most of your extra 24 hours? Start now and plan.

What I’d really like you to consider is the 3,653 day we begin today. That is the number of days (including leap days) in the next decade. What’s fun about decades is that there is even greater potential than just considering one year. Think of 10 years! What goal could you set that is too big for one year, and so great, it could take 10? It is almost too much to take in. Let’s take a look at how much we can do in a decade in terms of age.

Between 10 – 20 years old we “survive” middle school, graduate high school, and start college, trade school, or our first adult job. Big changes in these 10 years.

In our 20’s, some complete their higher education, begin careers, some get married and even start a family. Think about it, from college freshman (18 years old) to parent in 12 years. What a huge swing in life path, maturity, and responsibility. Or perhaps marriage and family are delayed, and this is the decade you spent exploring the world, going on adventures or serving others.

In our 30’s, we have children or raise children, continue to build a career, enjoy family time and what is sometimes considered a chaotic decade. Sometimes at this point there are not so great adult things like early death of a loved one or divorce happen. It’s life’s experiences that grow our faith, shape our character, and give us wisdom. We settle into adulthood and begin to learn what is most important to us.

In our 40’s, our children are grown and begin to venture out into life as adults, this tends to grow a parent’s prayer life (funny but true). We understand and are more confident in who we are as adults and in our careers. If we’ve paid attention and learned anything from our 20’s and 30’s, we begin to grow deeper in our thinking and priorities.

I won’t venture into the 50’s, because then you might think I’m older than I am at heart. You get the idea. A decade, 3653 days, can be very important to how we are shaped as individuals and the roles we carry in this world. Each day, the way we think, the things we do (and how we do them), what we put into our minds, and what comes out of our mouths can bless others, change the world around us, continue to teach us something, move us forward in our own goals and accomplishments, or mold our fundamental beliefs.

What will the 20’s bring to your life? What is something you want to accomplish that could take 10 years to do it? How will the events of the coming decade change or grow you? What will you do each day of the over 3,000 ahead of you? What did you learn from the past 10 years that will adjust your thinking for the next? Just as the 2010’s brought many joys, and some sadness, opportunities and disappointments, we will see much of the same in the coming decade, but how we approach each will be different.

Happy new year, and new decade!!

KK


Click to tweet: But what I’d really have you consider is the 3,653 day we begin today. That is the number of days (including leap days) in the next decade. What’s fun about decades is that there is even greater potential than just considering one year. Think of 10 years! What goal could you set that is too big for one year, and so great, it could take 10? It is almost too much to take in. 

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Making change happen

hound dog on porch

#hounddog

There’s a story that is told of an old man sitting on his porch with his hound dog. The hound cries out every few minutes, but the old man does nothing about it. A passerby hears the dog and says to the man, “Your dog sounds like he’s in pain. Is he hurt?” The old man replies, “probably, he’s laying on a nail and I can’t get him to move, and he’s not motivated enough to get up himself.”

Isn’t that the case for many of us? We know there are changes we need to make, but we aren’t motivated enough to go through the pain to reach the benefit of the change. Exercise is a big one that many of us struggle to make a part of our schedule every week. Over and over we hear that exercise is good for us. Exercise isn’t just about losing weight or having a buff bod; it’s about taking care of the vessel our souls must live in while on earth. How badly do we want to keep it healthy? We need to make the commitment, and then be determined to keep it.

Exercise is just one example of a self-imposed change. There many other changes that are within our control-a job change, a personal habit, or relationship changes-all need to be healthy choices for our lives.

What is one change you need to make? Don’t be the hound dog.

KK

#doglovers #exercise #goodhabits

Written Goals

Here we are at the end of January. Twenty-eight days of the new year complete. How are Meme that says There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.those New Year’s resolutions (#newyearsresolution) holding up for you? By now, many have given up. As I’ve shared with you, I’m a little behind on things and had to give myself permission to take the month to catch up. So far, so good.

The goals from last year have been reviewed, renewed or rewritten. There were several from that last year that did not get accomplished. While considering the reason, I realized that those were the goals that required someone or something outside of me or my control to accomplish.

For example, if the goal was to get a book traditionally published, well, that requires a publisher to accept it etc. But if the goal is to get my book completed, edited and sent to a publisher, then I am the only one who controls the success of that goal.

Another consideration was that some of the goals were really more like behaviors. A goal (#goals) might be to lose 10 pounds. A behavior change is to do something like eat healthy meals. Perhaps a behavior change will support accomplishing a goal. It’s too easy to write down a bunch of goals that will later overwhelm you. This year write three or four real goals to accomplish, but then commit to one or two behaviors you would like to change.

What will 2018 hold for you?

KK

 

 

It’s been a while —

It has been a while, it’s been a mixed-up couple of months. Just this week I’ve started to feel like I’m coming out of the surreal and back into whatever my new reality will look like. Between KK's CandorDecember 12 and 22, I lost two very special people. One a good friend, the other my mother-in-law. One was expected, the other eminent, but not expected so soon. These on the heels of encouraging a co-worker through the death of three family members and oh, did I mention having my appendix removed?

What felt so unreal was that I had spoken to my friend just a couple of weeks before and I had spoken to my mother-in-law earlier that day. They were here and now they aren’t. Life is precious.

A few days after my mother-in-law passed away I listened to a voicemail she had left me earlier in the month. I just wanted to hear her voice before saying a final farewell. Some might find that morbid, but we all mourn differently. Then I deleted both from my contact list. But neither has gotten very far from my thoughts.

Needless to say given the timing of both of these deaths, our holidays were less than relaxing. And starting the new year, well there has been a trail of things to clean-up and finalize. It has taken me 19 days into 2018 to begin to feel like I’m getting order back to my home, and back to living somewhat of a routine-driven life.

For the last several weeks, I’ve taken care of my family and I’ve worked. Two things that are a priority. But I haven’t had much brain-space for the other things I want to do — read, write and stay true to my new year’s habits consider goals for the year. Don’t worry, we will get there. If you’ve followed KK’s Candor for long, you know that I am all for setting goals and creating order. Rest assured both are coming soon.

We still have some challenges to work through. But doesn’t everyone. We will get there with faith, love, and dedication.

Thank you for sticking with me. I look forward to moving forward in the year sharing with you the anecdotes of my life.

All the best,

KK

#grief

Hospital Time Warp

There have been two occasions recently that I found myself in the hospital, visiting not doctor visitbeing cared for. As when anyone goes to the sit with a friend or family member it was impossible to plan for how much time is needed. What I learned about the way time works within the walls of a hospital is that the clock measurements are secondary to the events that take place.

Time is measured from having a test run to when the results come back from it. The next measurement is what will happen from those results. A CAT scan is ordered. Wait. Go have CAT scan run. Wait. Receive the results. All clear, good, breathe, next steps. Wait. The doctor will be in with the official diagnosis. Wait. Meds are offered every four or six hours. Shift change. New nurses, another round of vitals. Dinner comes at 5:00 p.m. Food services do seem to use a regular clock. Perhaps food service workers are the links to living on real-world time.

As a visitor, it’s an odd feeling to walk out of the hospital time warp and back into normal timekeeping to realize 10 hours have passed. If I had started knowing I would be there for a long period, would I have planned differently? Taken snacks? To be honest, sitting in the hospital with a family member, time really doesn’t matter, only they do and making sure they are being cared for. The time warp of hospitals is necessary to keep the health of the patient the priority. Here’s hoping for less time spent in the hospital and especially in a hospital bed.

All the best,

KK

Leggings are NOT Pants

leggings not pantsWell ladies (young and old) this Maxine cartoon pretty much says it all. Leggings are NOT pants, nor were they EVER intended to be. I’ve been watching this phenomenon for months. Every time I see one of these fashion emergencies I just shake my head in disappointment. My judgement isn’t limited to those with robust bums or the aged, it is cast on the young and skinny as well.

I’m no couture expert, but I do know a couple of rules about what not to wear and how to wear clothing that looks good. Your outfit should complement your shape. It’s the difference between someone saying “I really like that outfit” and someone saying “That outfit looks great on you.” You make the outfit. If you are one to wear your leggings as pants, next time you don a pair, look in the mirror. Do they really flatter your figure or just give it smooth lines?

Leggings look cute with a skirt or dress. I sometimes wear them under my workout shorts in the winter. The styles with color or designs can really add some flare to your outfit. But they absolutely do not look good by themselves as a means of covering your lower extremities. The fashion industry confused some when they added pockets and tried to call them jeggings. Let me help you out — they are NOT pants.

Would love to hear from you on this one.

KK

 

Content or Complacent?

This morning our lesson in Sunday school (or for the modern church they are called Weekend Groups) we discussed a passage in Philippians about being content.

10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. — Philippians 4:10-13New International Version (NIV)

While the passage focuses on being content no matter what our human situation is, the lesson made me think of two things. First what is the difference between being content and being complacent?

lazy manBoth definitions include the phrase “being satisfied”.  The difference is that the definition of content indicates not needing more and complacent includes not wanting more. I agree with the author here that when we fully rely on God, we can be content in all earthly situations that come our way. But what I wonder is if we get complacent, do we stop seeking Him? Do we stop stretching ourselves in order to grow in our faith?

The other thought I had was about the things God doesn’t want us to be content with. This list would include the eternal. I don’t think he wants us to be content with where we are today in our faith. We should always strive to grow more in our faith. I don’t think He wants us to be content with our current knowledge of His word. The Bible says to meditate on it day and night. I don’t think He wants us to be content with how strong our witness to others is today. Every person we encounter needs to see Jesus in us.

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. – 2 Peter 1:3 – 8

Can we do all of this perfectly? Never. But at the end of the day, when we fail in our human efforts we take comfort in the fact that His mercies are new each day and the words of Paul in second Corinthians 12.

But he [the Lord] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. — 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 New International Version

Be encouraged.

KK

There is a Difference

Recently I heard someone say there is a difference between being filled and being fulfilled. This was a statement I had to write down and think about.  Later that day I treated myself to some McDonald’s French fries. I don’t do this often, but I took my son to get his lunch and the waft of deep fried potatoes made only the way McDonald’s makes them, overtook my judgment as soon as I opened the door.

cokeThey came out piping hot; a golden delight to behold.  My fountain Coke bubbling wonderfully over ice with the straw at the ready. I chose the perfectly shaped fry and took that long awaited bite.  As I chewed up this fantasy favorite, I quickly noted that there was no salt on them. My craving and thoughts of sinking my teeth into the perfectly deep fried, lightly salted McDonald’s fries were shattered by the reality of what I was served.  It was if karma (if you believe in karma) swooped in with my doctor’s orders to watch my salt. I left the restaurant filled with carbs and completely unfulfilled otherwise.books1

In that moment I was seeking fulfillment from something very temporary.  Even if the salt had been correct, I would have still been hungry an hour later. Had I chosen more wisely, perhaps a something in the protein family, or even chosen an entirely different restaurant, my fulfillment would have been of higher quality and would have lasted longer.

In a similar fashion, each day we choose what we fill our minds, hearts and souls and body with. Are we choosing high quality information?  Are we looking for positive stories and information that grows us personally and professionally? Are we using our own judgment to determine what to believe and dwell on or are we just believing everything others tell us? Do we fill our minds with the junk food offered on television or in the media? Are we choosing that which is temporary or that which transcends earthly misperceptions of lasting peace and satisfaction?

TV setBy filling our hearts and minds with that which leads us to grow, learn and even change for the better, each day we become more of who we are meant to be. We will find ourselves more in tuned with that which produces longer lasting fulfillment.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9

Share with me your thoughts on the matter.

All the best,

KK

Are you up for the test?

When I have meetings at the Kentucky Shakespeare office in downtown Louisville (Kentucky), I like to park in the open-air pay lot across the street. First of all, I don’t like parking garages and secondly, the man who runs it is friendly. It’s obvious he’s an ordinary guy, doing his best to make a living.

Recently, I pulled in and there was another gentleman in the booth. This time my meeting was the Fund for the Arts board meeting. After the meeting, I was pulling up to the booth to pay I pulled out my wallet to find that I had a large bill. Please note that I don’t make a habit of carrying large denominations. So I pulled forward and the gentleman checks my ticket and tells me it will be $4.50. And so begins my inquiry as to whether he could “break” a large bill.parking booth

He immediately said “no”. All I had on me in change was two dollars. So I implored him to let me just run to the bank and I would come back with money to pay him. He hesitated. I promised. I gave him the two dollars I had and emphatically promised to be back in 10 minutes. He relented. I went to the bank and was back in the time frame.

When I pulled in the same gentleman opened the metal booth door and smiled. “You are an honest person,” he said. I handed him a $10 dollar bill. “I didn’t believe you would come back.” With that he handed me change as if I’d given him $20. After quickly checking my bank envelope, I handed the money back explaining his error. He chuckled, “I was just testin’ ya.”

Enough tests for one day. I drove away thinking that in reality, he was probably a little challenged by the money math. I was also glad to be the honest example for the day.

Have you found yourself in situations like this? Has your character been tested?

All the best,
KK