Post-Christmas put-away

The gifts have been unwrapped, looked through, played with, and tried on. Within in the next few weeks (if not days if this unseasonably warm weather stays around), the decorations will come down, and we will put all our gifts away in their new home. This is a great time to go ahead and clean out a closet or two.

I’m amazed at the amount of stuff we as a society store. There are self-storage units being built like hives at every turn. What are we storing? I get the need for short-term storage, but we would not have what is now a multi-million-dollar industry if it were all short-term. I respect the family who keeps clothing for hand-me-downs. True confessions, I currently have three coffee tables in my basement that I’ve offered some of the young people in our lives who are planning their first apartment. But we have accepted living in abundance, to become living in gluttony.

Allow me to challenge you to clean out at least one closet (or one part of your storage area) a weekend in the month of January. It’s a month of post-holiday quiet and all the newness of a new year. You’re going to be making resolutions anyway in the next few days, here’s one that is easily attainable. A quick win in the first month.

Just my thoughts,
KK


Click to tweet: True confessions, I currently have three coffee tables in my basement that I’ve offered some of the young people in our lives who are planning their first apartment. But we have accepted living in abundance, to become living in gluttony.

31 Days left

Welcome to December. This is what I believe to be the fastest month. It’s the hardest month to manage your schedule because there are so many great options for how to spend your time while you still maintain 40 hours of work a week. It’s also the last month of the calendar year, so all those wonderfully optimistic goals set 11 months ago, and forgotten 10 months ago, more than likely won’t be achieved. Here’s to those of you who did stick with your goals and you are about to celebrate that victory. But for many of us, too many other things, important and not important, got in the way of goals.

Okay, so there is a lot to do in addition to our obligations this month. This is the time of year for holiday parties and shopping-which leads to eating out a little more. It’s also a time when we are feeling festive and want to get together with others. So we plan a few more evenings out. All of it fun. But is it meaningful? When you think about your “holiday season” are you intentionally doing things to make this season meaningful to you and your family. Or do you just say “yes” to everything and race to January 1st. Let me suggest two things:

Pace yourself. Take a deep breath and embrace the remaining days of the year that lead to one of the most significant holiday and the close of calendar year 2019.

Before today is over decide on the one, two, or three things or activities that will truly make your holidays and wrapping up another year meaningful. Maybe review those goals, you may be closer than you think (I’m not, unless there’s a literary agent reading this, wink, wink, still waiting for your response).

For example, you’ll hear people say, “I’d love to go see The Nutcracker Ballet, but there isn’t time. We’ll do it next year.” Next year could be this year, are you doing it? Maybe for you it’s finding a holiday concert or candlelight service on Christmas Eve to attend. Don’t wait, find one and make it a priority to attend.

I’ve began this mindset with our Thanksgiving plans. Instead of cramming two full-blown family Thanksgivings during the four-day weekend, we did one the weekend before. This, allowed us to relax at each gathering and enjoy the time with family-the laughter, children’s squeals, and a little family drama. And I could sleep in a little and not feel like I was living in hyper-speed.

What can you do, plan, or decide today that will make the next 31 days the most meaningful to you?

Let me know.

KK


Click to tweet: Welcome to December. This is what I believe to be the fastest month. It’s the hardest month to manage your schedule because there are so many great options for how to spend your time while you still maintain 40 hours of work a week. Pace yourself. Take a deep breath and embrace the remaining days of the year that lead to one of the most significant holiday and the close of calendar year 2019.

Dip or Condiment?

Recently a co-worker and I had a conversation over watermelon salsa about what constitutes a condiment versus a dip. Both require something else to assist consumption. Yet, we give them different food values. I wonder why? Who determined that ketchup would be tasty spread on a hot dog, but cocktail (primary ingredient is ketchup) sauce is for dipping shrimp? Salsa is for dipping, but mayonnaise is for spreading. Who makes these decisions? What if everyone decided to dip chips in spicy mustard, would that change it’s aisle at the grocery?

If we downshift here to look up the definition of condiment, it’s “something used to enhance the flavor of food.” So what does dip do? According to our friends at Merriam-Webster, there are five definitions of the word, none of which have to do with food-to immerse; thrust; lower in and out- and a few definitions around chewing tobacco. YUCK. All the definitions have to do with actions.

According to the Foodimentary blog, dips didn’t show up on the entertainment scene until the 1950’s. However, there is evidence that President Wilson’s wife made dip for him. It was one of his favorites. And according to the Food Timeline History notes site, it was James Beard. In his very first cookbook (Hors d’Oeuvre and Canapes, 1940), Beard wrote: I think it delightful to have large bowls of cheese mixtures which are of a consistency that permits “dunking.” There are also tales of dip being served during the depression years when entertaining changed dramatically.

According to a Huffington post, the history of condiments is considered unique and perhaps bizarre. Because I mentioned ketchup above, it’s history is reported as being traced to a seventeenth-century Chinese sauce made of pickled fish and spices called kê-chiap. It was discovered by English explorers, who brought it back to England, where they made it less fishy and added more mushrooms and shallots. Tomatoes didn’t make their first appearance in ketchup until the early 1800’s.

Not sure we’ve completely answered the question other than the two yummy treats took parallel journeys to our grocery shelves and party tables. Imagine Superbowl Sunday, or a Summer cookout without either one. It’s not an appetizing thought. So go ahead and scoop, dip and squeeze your way to food happiness. Oh, and don’t forget to mark your calendars for March 23rd- National Chip and Dip Day!

KK


Click-it to tweet-it: Recently a co-worker and I had a conversation over watermelon salsa about what constitutes a condiment versus a dip. Both require something else to assist consumption. Yet, we give them different food values. I wonder why?

In Honor of Those Who Serve

There is #grace for all, and #forgiveness is always extended, but the hurt is real for too many still today. Thank you to those who went running in when others were running out.

Inspired Prompt

Fireman

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You can’t rush Jello

We all enjoy it. The jiggly, cool, fruity treat makes us smile. But to get to the treat we have to wait. In fact, to make the delicious cubes of goodness, both hot water and ice are added. Hot and cold-timed perfectly, and never to be rushed. But on the other side, we have a great snack or addition to a meal.

#jelloIsn’t that the same with the ebb and flow of life? There are good times and challenging times. We’re hot, we’re cold. The seasons and process of going through both are what form who we become on the other side.  There is no rushing the challenging times, we just have to go through them. And who would want to rush the good times? We just need to savor, and learn from them, appreciating the blessing after the storm.

Next time you find the Jello gelatin treat on the menu, have some and enjoy the happy treat. Go ahead and be transported back to elementary school lunches, find a straw!

KK


Click to tweet: We all enjoy it. The jiggly, cool, fruity treat makes us smile. Making Jello is a lot like life.

Prepare for worship

For every faith, there are rituals used to draw the participants into the worship experience. For those in the evangelical Christian church, we have very few rituals. During worship services, there is music, communion, and a message. What I’m about to say is going to make me sound very old, but I’m going there. The contemporary Christian churches are building the worship music performance to the point of concert status. The loud music, lights flashing and waving, the imagery on the multiple screens do not help prepare hearts for the word of God to be shared. They don’t. It’s just a reminder of the craziness of the world we come to church to escape for a few hours. Psalm 46:10 is my go-to-prepare-my-heart-for-worship verse, Be still and know that I am God. God of creation, transcending time and space. He is bigger than all our worries, we should come humbly to Him.

One Sunday a few months ago the electricity went out in the sanctuary. The worship team didn’t have the lights or screens. They just had their voices and the words of praise. It was wonderful. They led us in a couple of songs, and the voices of believers were raised to the rafters praising God and inviting Him into the worship hour. As the last note echoed out of the sanctuary, we were calm and ready to receive the blessing of the message.

I heard a preacher, Alister Begg, once say that your church experience for Sunday morning begins Saturday night. He asked if we went to bed at a reasonable hour like we would throughout the workweek, so we can wake up refreshed, or are we up late, and partying? Do we get up on Sunday and go to church with prepared hearts for hearing God’s word and how it applies to our life, or do we scramble out the door fussing and arguing with our families about the issue of the morning?

Walking into the sanctuary are we intentional about leaving our to-do lists outside? Set our hearts on things of God, and pray for an open mind and ears to receive what He would have us learn about Him or ourselves in the passage the preacher shares. Are we ready to be attentive?

Don’t misunderstand, music is a wonderful form of worship. If you see me singing in my car, it’s probably worship music. But have we let the music in our churches become so much of a performance, we’ve forgotten about its purpose in preparing our hearts for God? Where is the quiet reverence of coming to the foot of the cross?

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Psalm 95:1

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing. Psalm 100:1-2

There is plenty of Biblical talk of singing, and use of instruments, but nothing of performing, and flashing lights. We are to be distinctive from the world, and this worship style is not the way to do it.

It’s just my thoughts.
KK

#worship #christianchurch

All Americans: 4 Cities 2 Towns

https://www.today.com/parents/best-family-vacations-louisville-kentucky-kids-t131936

In the last month, I have visited four major US cities and two small towns. The four cities were San Antonio, TX, Chicago, IL, Detroit MI, and New York City.

In each of the four cities, I spent time in high-traffic tourist areas – #NavyPier, the #Riverwalk, #FordField, and #TimesSquare. I observed people who were at home there, and those who were just visiting. Of the three, Chicago (even downtown) felt the warmest. Nowhere was anyone rude to me or anything close to the stereotypical big city rushed rudeness. But something about #Chicago and the downtown felt more inviting. What I loved about #Detroit was visiting a town outside the city, West Bloomfield, where my husband went to high school. But comparing the downtown experience it felt like a big city that developers had just plumped a bunch of large builds down and moved on. New York, admittedly I spent the most time in.

I stayed downtown near #BatteryPark and #GroundZero. Before and after the two-day work conference, I took the train uptown to Herald Square and then to Times Square. One note about my train experience, https://www.nycgo.com/it was clean and air-conditioned and not difficult to figure out., It had all the kinds of people you would expect-the crazy talking to themselves type, young professionals, and tourists. My goal was to look as little like a tourist as possible. I probably failed miserably, but I felt comfortable enough even reading a magazine while I road back to the hotel.

Many of the retail options were the same as we have in Louisville (except Bloomingdales and Tiffany’s), every store was bigger, louder, and had lights and sounds coming from all angles. Not to worry, I managed to make a few purchases😊 despite noise and crowds.

I bought a hotdog from a street vendor and stopped to look at the “genuine maybe some kind of designer” purses. I walked from Times Square to Rockefeller Center, and on another journey walked Herald Square, and then the financial district. New York truly is a representation of the melting pot America has been described as. I heard many languages, saw families, couples and individuals of all shapes, sizes, and nationalities. All moving in tandem with each other. All accepting that it was crowded and loud, but no one pushing or shoving to get to the front of the pack. Amid the volume of sound and people, there was a peaceful co-existence.

The two small towns I visited were Kinsman, OH, and Stillman Valley, IL. Both very quiet towns. Both primarily farming towns. Not a lot of diversity in either one, but still many colorful people to observe and meet. Both had a limited number of restaurant choices, but the food was outstanding.

In Stillman Valley, we went to Fritz’s Wooden Nickel. The menu boasted everything from seafood to steak. I stuck with the cheeseburger. Walking into the dining room felt like we were invading someone’s family reunion. The rumble of conversation, while all in English, was warm and comfortable. In Kinsman, we had the opportunity to eat at one of their nicest establishments, The Peter Allen Inn, and one of their https://www.exploretrumbullcounty.com/things-to-do/towns/kinsman/most down-home, Times Square Restaurant where they really did know names when the locals came for breakfast. Both establishments were locally owned, and the owners were mingling among the diners. Conversations were around the amount of rain, some flooding, and the challenges farmer were having with not being able to put the corn out, or it being too wet for it to grow.

Traveling in and around both of these towns, I wondered about the people who were born, raised, and built their own families there. How many of them only knew America from the perspective of their corner? Of course, I could ask that of the New Yorkers, or Texans I encountered as well.

When you ask the citizens of these six cities what it’s like to live in America or to describe America, how different their perspectives would be. One loud and busy most hours of the day or night, the other steady, peaceful, and little changes day-in and day-out. Both have their share of challenges.

The farming families are growing food that will be shipped across the country; including the big, fast-paced cities like #Detroit, #Chicago, and #NewYork. Similarly, it’s the industries in these major cities that provide the vehicles, financial options, and raw materials that the farmers and those in small-town America count on every day.

I’m headed home now to Louisville, Kentucky. Our microcosm includes all the things these cities have. We have sports (semi-professional), the arts, many people of different languages and cultures who have come to our fair city (metro of about 1 million) to build a life, raise a family, and be a productive part of society. We have our challenges of a river that floods twice a year, homeless, a fussy government structure, and the list goes on to parallel many other places. But it’s home. It’s where I was raised and have chosen to stay. But I like to visit other places and learn something about how others live. It’s these adventures that broaden my capacity to empathize with those who are challenged by life and appreciate very different points of view.

KK

P.S. As I write this post, I’m on my way to #Atlanta, Georgia, another great American city! We are headed to the Mersedes-Benz Stadium for the Drum Corps International Southeast Regionals (#dci). We will be cheering on #PhantomRegiment!

#getaway #IAMJOAN

Click to tweet: https://ctt.ac/iISDQ