Holidays


Many look to the Christmas season for memory-making. We get together with family and friends, share time and some fun. The best memories from these times aren’t the ones that are made to happen. The extraordinary memories are those moments that happen organically. They are extraordinary moments that fate brings together and that leave an impact on our hearts.

Recognize an extraordinary moment by being in the moment. Go through this holiday season and all of your activities, both new and the every-year traditions, focused on the place, the people and the activity. Be mindful to not let outside distractions rob you of a memory-making moment. Enjoy the events and times you will have in the coming weeks.

One of my favorite passages in the Christmas story is Luke 2:19, “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Mary wasn’t distracted by the stink of the barn, or the sounds of the animals, or possibly the disappointment of having her Mary-Film-The-Holy-Familyfirstborn far from home and away from family. It wasn’t her perfect plan, it was God’s, and she rolled with it. She took it all in.

While Mary’s extraordinary moment changed the course of history, ours probably won’t. But if we are paying attention and taking in the times that have potential, they may change the course of a relationship or even our lives.

Merry Christmas (#merrychristmas) season,

KK

 

 

 

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Please take a few minutes before you continue to read to listen to this song by Mercy Me.

We would all like to believe that when things in life get tough that our convictions will stand strong. Well, things are tough right now. I’m waiting for the locust and frogs to show up (a little comic relief). At this point, there is so much out of my control, things I can’t just fix, that all I have to lean on is my faith. My husband and I hold on to each other and our belief in a God who is bigger than all our worries or concerns.

Are we perfect in remaining constant in our faith during the storm? No. On any given day or hour, there is an internal struggle between ego, self, and selflessness. This time in our lives is just as much about how we walk the journey in faith, and what we learn in the process, as it is about just getting to the other side.

We believe that every season, good or bad, is the opportunity to learn a little more about ourselves, grow personally and spiritually, and eventually be ready to encourage someone else in their journey.

On one level, going into the Thanksgiving holiday we have much we could wallow and moan about. But on more important levels we have much more to be thankful for. We have what we need, and those we care about are healthy and safe. Those are the things we will focus on tomorrow and each day after.

Be encouraged today, and reminded for tomorrow as you are enjoying time with family and friends (or being driven crazy by them), that there is always far more to be thankful for than to complain about. Stand firm in your beliefs even if things are not going as you planned.

Happy Thanksgiving. (#happythanksgiving)

KK

 

 

 

Every country in the world has a 4th of July, but in America, we celebrate it as Independence Day. The day our founding fathers drew a line in the sand and said, no more! We will make our future as our own nation, our own country providing freedoms no country has offered their people in the history of the world. Men went to war so we could have that freedom. Centuries later and many wars later, we still want to protect those freedoms provided for us some 240 years ago. It’s getting harder. Wars are just as ugly. The definitions of freedom are getting skewed.

This weekend like many churches, ours held a special music program. It was all the songs that celebrate our free country. I stood in a sanctuary with 6,000 others singing about being a proud American. I am proud. We are a blessed nation. And I’m thankful for the millions of soldiers who chose to fight and continue today to defend our boarders and freedoms.

I heard the story of one veteran who was watching someone burn an American flag in protest. He said that everything in him wanted to stop the flag burning, but he was reminded that whether or not he agreed with burning a flag, he fought for that other person to have that freedom. The veteran didn’t understand why the protester did it, but he agreed in the freedom.

Being a proud American isn’t a political decision. It is a decision of citizenship. To live within our boarders, by our laws and participate in a community of people. You raise a family here, work and contribute to the greater good. Within this framework there are hundreds of choices we get to make — preferences on the kind of work, relationships and life we want as individuals.

So while you are grilling out, or playing yard games, look over at your neighbor doing the same thing. They may likely not share your faith, your lifestyle, or your skin tone. Give him a smile and a wave or a little head nod. In that moment you are both just Americans, celebrating freedom.

Happy Independence Day.

KK

Every year folks talk about how busy the Christmas season is. They declare that THIS will be the year they slow down and enjoy the true meaning of the season. Good intentions. I’m guilty of it too. Every year I begin December longing to truly feel that silent night, holy night. And while there will be moments late at night, or in church on Christmas Eve, I don’t feel like I experience what I long to have during the holiday. I’m not looking for movie-like Christmas miracles, just a little deeper peace; an expectancy throughout the season seeking the coming King.

Part of the problem is the noise and clutter in everyday life. What if we made intentional decisions every day to remove the noise we can control? What if each day until December 25th we live expectantly? starUnlike the shepherds and wise men, we have a date on the calendar. We know that we are going to celebrate the birth of Jesus. For believers, it is the birth of our King. The man who changed the course of history.

I don’t sacrifice for Lent. But this year, I’ve decided to sacrifice for Advent. I’m clearing some clutter and making way for the birth of the Savior. I’m giving up talk radio for Advent. No Dave Ramsey or Sean Hannity or NPR. My time with the radio on will be with music declaring the coming King.

The other decision I’ve made is to not get caught in the hurriedness. We will make choices about the most important activities and be in the moment; not worrying about rushing to the next thing.

How will you make this season special? Will you join me in living expectantly each day, choosing to prepare your heart and mind for the birth of the King?

Merry Christmas,

KK

 

This is absolutely amazing. Please take 4 minutes to sit quietly, eyes closed and let the message pour over you.

 

 

First of all, you need to understand that I am not a shopper.  If faced with a few free hours my first inclination is not to go to the mall.  I shop when I need or want something specific.  Even when I go, I shop, I find, I buy.  Knowing this you will naturally understand why I have never found it necessary to get up before dawn on the Friday after Thanksgiving to go buy stuff that surely I will find during my Christmas shopping ritual.  While I do approach Christmas shopping differently than normal shopping, it’s never been worth it to me to get up at some horribly early morning to shop.  I enjoy Christmas shopping for the loved ones on my list and finding the ultimate gift to fit the person.gifts

Except for this year; I’m writing this 48 hours after the experience because it has taken me that long to recover.  You see, my husband wanted a new computer for Christmas and we were considering one for Cole as well.  We shopped it online Thanksgiving night and found that a local store with low, low prices were having a doorbuster sale starting at five in the morning.  Five in the morning, did I love my husband enough to get up at four thirty and go out in the cold for the purchase?  Yes, I do.  So I printed the ad and set the alarm.

The alarm went off and I got up, brushed my teeth and washed my face grabbed the ad and left.  When I turned on the car the radio was playing Christmas music.  I thought “how cool, this could be fun.”  The neighborhood was quiet. It was an easy drive to the store with the low, low prices.  Then I turned onto the road to the store, came over the rise and there before me was a sea of cars.  I had never seen so many cars in the parking lot.  They were even parked at the gas pumps and the pharmacy drive-through.  Remember the sale was to start at five, it was four fifty-five when I pulled into the parking lot.

I parked in the back of the store, grabbed my ad to go in find the computers choose the one I came for, buy it and leave; as you can guess it didn’t turn out that way.

I walked into the store to immediately see checkout lines a mile long.  It was just then seven minutes after five how were their carts already full!  There were people everywhere hauling big screen televisions, clothing and toys.  There was a kiosk of movies that looked like a beehive swarming.  I tried to get a peek but decided to stay focused on my mission.  To look around and find my route to electronics I saw faces of people not filled with Christmas joy or the joy of buying the cool presents for those they love. Children were crying. I saw blank stares and intense glares at anyone who would get in their way.  I was in over my head.  Weaving and bobbing through the aisles, I found electronics and laptop computers.

There I was — chaos all around — staring at an empty case.  I kept looking at the ad in my hand and the case and no computers appeared.  A woman standing next to me had a computer in her arm.  I asked which model it was.  It was, in fact, the one I was looking for.  She was very helpful to tell me that those computers were being distributed down in hunting and fishing.

To get to hunting and fishing I had to navigate through toys.  When I looked down the main aisle through the forest of games and toys and parents running amuck with lists, I reaffirmed my mission and purpose and headed straight through.  On the other side, I found a cashier, a long line and a pallet of computers.  When I asked if this was the line for the computers I was told yes, but I needed a voucher. A voucher? I was pointed to a worker a few feet away who was handing out the vouchers. Great; I go ask the lady for a voucher.  She told me she didn’t have anymore. Didn’t have any more?  The sale started less than fifteen minutes ago?  How could they have been out?  I thanked the lady.  Looked at the line that I would not have a voucher to join and made my way back through the store.

I considered other shopping when I came to my senses and looked around at the crazed shoppers.  I had to leave the mayhem and craziness. I just wanted to go home.  Where were my ruby slippers?  Driving home, I kept recanting the whole experience.  I didn’t understand what all the hubbub was all about.  There was nothing fun about my experience.  To see all those people with full carts you would have thought they were giving everything away.  I really wanted to say to someone, “you know you have to pay for all that.” But I guess they knew that.

This was not the Christmas spirit, it was retail mayhem.  Inutsonut so.  This was no way to launch into a season of silent night holy night. This experience needed to be trained for, it wasn’t for the casual shopper.  Someone should have warned me.

I may have to pay a little more for that one “must-have” item.   There was nothing about that experience that helped me feel the Christmas spirit.  And I’m pretty sure anything I would have saved I would have spent with my therapist getting over my PTSD (post traumatic SHOPPING disorder).

Merry Christmas,
KK

P.S. — It’s been several years, still the thought of early morning black Friday shopping gives me a stomach ache. As long as I don’t feel any absolute need to make a specific purchase I can go out in the afternoon just for the fun of it.

Fair_volleyball_wingsSunday evening it occurred to me that we would be going straight from Thanksgiving into Christmas. Like within a week. The first weekend in December my father and his wife are coming for their Christmas visit. Given that they will be staying with us and we will be hosting the entire family for a Christmas celebration I needed to make a list.

Actually, there are three lists. Groceries for Thanksgiving week, groceries for the week of their visit and the other “to dos” I want to make happen for it to be a wonderful time. By December 3rd my house will be completely decorated for the holiday and there will be cookies baked. That’s the goal that getting all the things on my list marked off will accomplish. Reviewing my plan and lists something was missing. Something was nagging at me that I needed to do. What was it?

The AHA moment hit when I laid my notebook and pencil down. As I let go of my plan, I realized I needed to be sure I took time to be grateful and enjoy the planning AND the doing. No matter how many things get marked off the list, my dad won’t care and my family won’t notice. It will be preparing my heart for the holiday and the time together that will be the most important thing to do.

Blessings,

KK

 

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