I have a soft place in my heart for Halloween. Maybe it’s because October 31st is my birthday. When I was a little girl, back in the stone ages, we dressed up as princesses or cheerleaders and paraded through the neighborhood with parents watching. Today the world has more risk and caution is needed. Some in the Christian Community think it is “ungodly” to celebrate.

candy-cover

Several years ago I read an intriguing book called, Redeeming Halloween, Celebrating without Selling Out by Kim Weir and Pam McCune. They discuss the origin of the holiday and its tie to All Saints Day, which was a time to remember and celebrate Saints and martyrs from Christian history. In a practical sense it is a perfect opportunity to show the love of Christ to the people who ring our doorbells.

Before you start typing a rebuttal email, I ask you to consider two passages from the Bible:

This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24 (NKJ) and Jesus says of Himself, in Luke 4:18-19 (NIV)

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

In a nutshell the first verse says that the enemy has not created any days. October 31 is NOT his day. God is the Creator of time and every day belongs to Him. 10/31 is no different. So I am going to rejoice by giving out candied blessings to the people who come to Trick or Treat.

The second passage is where Jesus quotes Isaiah stating that He is now on earth to do what was promised. In the great commission Jesus extends this work to all His followers. Because of the Holy Spirit we now have the ability and responsibility to share the good news of His love with other people so that they can be fully connected with Him. One simple way to share this message is with the treats you giveaway.

A few years ago, our church provided stickers to place on candy that said “Because God Loves you BIG! (Not just fun sized.)” And they encouraged us to buy large sized candy bars to give away. You can create your own version on your computer and tape them to the candy and maybe include the website URL for the place where you worship or your address.

oyddesseyOur family often gives a sample Adventure in Odyssey CD to the first 20 families along with some candy. (Adventures in Odyssey is an outstanding children’s radio program that teaches faith-based concepts in a creative storyline. Check your local radio station for air times, or listen online at http://www.whitsend.org.) You can get samplers online.

If you’ve already bought a bunch of fun sized candy packs, maybe you can bundle them with a note that says – Here’s some Fun Sized Candy to say, “I love you” from a Super-Sized God.

I think this is a great way to show the generosity of our Father.

As you give out treats at your door or walk in your community, you could dress as a person from the Bible… or some other positive role model in history as you smile and share His joy. Who knows, your Queen Esther or Prime Minister Joseph costume might spark great conversations.

Please let me know how you decide to celebrate the Lord of the Harvest, with Halloween babies everywhere.

big-time

Blessings to you and yours,

Kelly

 

 

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You are not pretty and you don’t belong here.

These would be really harsh words if I were talking to a person. But I am saying them to weeds in my front yard.

Sometimes several days go by when I don’t notice the front entrance to our home. This is because I typically enter through the door inside the garage.

But, because we have guests at least a few times a month and they enter the front en they door, I want it to be welcoming and look nice, so I garden every couple of weeks…

For the most part, the plants in our yard are easy to take care of and not elaborate. Maybe that’s why the ugly uninvited weeds look so bad when they inevitably show up. I hate them because they are growing all proud and strong like – I’m cute. But they are Not!  They are not pretty and they don’t belong.

weed

I was recently having this discourse with myself and realized that I sometimes have thoughts like the weeds. They are not pretty and don’t belong. Sometimes they are ugly because I am judging someone else or being a hypocrite. Sometimes they are ugly and full of self-pity, which keeps me stuck in bad behavior. They don’t belong because they are not consistent with my faith in Christ.

By His grace, when I ask Him, He takes a divine trowel and digs up the nasty thought weed. He puts down a version of “Preen Weed Preventer” so they don’t grow back as fast. He can do the same thing with any kind of sin. He can do it with anything that keeps us away from Him. Though the weeds are unattractive and create work, I’m grateful that God is using them to help me grow in Him.

 

As Easter approaches or as my Pastor calls it Resurrection Sunday, I see people being more open to teachings from the Bible.

I am so glad that the Bible speaks about all aspects of life, including our dwelling places.

In Deuteronomy 6:9, it says that believers are to write God’s commandments “on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates”

One modern way to do this is with art and décor. Here are two ideas…

FOS Art FOS Chair Jeremiah Vertical Jere

As you celebrate the glory and joy of the risen Savior on Easter, capture the season by hiding His word in your heart and displaying it in your home and office. This is a great faith builder.

 

 

Carrot & stick incentive

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. If I am what I eat, I want to be made up of good things. Eating healthier foods and beverages will give energy and help with weight management. Whole foods will be featured at every meal.
  1. Water will be the beverage of choice. Soda will be a “treat” rather than a staple.
  1. Take a few minutes on Saturday or Sunday to plan your dinner meals for the upcoming week. You can capture the plan on your calendar or smart phone notes.

Sunday – Lasagna & Spinach Salad

Monday – Teriyaki Chicken Wings, Brown Rice & Mixed Veggies

Tuesday – Roast Beef, Baked Potatoes & Corn

Wednesday – Beef Soup (made from leftover Roast Beef) and Super Salad

Thursday – Baked Chicken, Hash Browns & Salad with Beets & Goat Cheese

Friday – Pizza from Donatos (Kenny & Kids – Pepperoni, Kels – Veggie)

Saturday – Scrounging leftovers from the week’s meals

  1. Try to move more throughout the day. Experts say walking 10,000 steps each day is great for our hearts, bodies and minds. Stand up – while you type at your desk. Park far away from the door and use the walk from the parking lot to get some extra steps. Take the stairs up. Secure a pedometer in an after CHRISTmas sale.
  1. Get and stay connected. Call a friend while driving to work. Have a lunch date with your honey-boo. Text your tweens, teens and young adults between meetings. Write a hand-written letter to an older relative; ask him/her to respond to your family history questions.
  1. Laugh more.
  1. Hire a coach to help you set and achieve meaningful goals. Check out http://www.betterdaybetterlife.com for one approach.
  1. Take time to rest. Some days I realize that I hardly sat down all day. I don’t want to live like that anymore. This year I will rest more and take time to savor the moment. I might have some full days of Sabbath where I plan ahead and just focus on Christ.
  1. Fret less and pray more. Lean on God’s word as found in the Holy Scriptures. Philippians 4:19 says, And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus (NIV). Memorize this verse and then speak it to yourself as needs arise throughout the day.
  1. Spend quality time with God, your Creator and Lord, daily. Perhaps the first 10-30 minutes can be spent in prayer and reading your Bible. (Start with the Gospel of Matthew and read through Acts by July 4th.) You might have to go to bed 30 minutes earlier, to be up early enough to get a good soaking in His word. It will be worth every moment that you invest, paying eternal dividends. I wish you a productive and joyful 2016!

 

Making Progress iStock_000000919492XSmall

Names have great power; even for inanimate objects.

When we moved into the house where we live now, for the first time ever God gave me a name for our new home. The name is Grace Haven.

That was eight years ago and this name has defined and influenced so many things.

When contractors were doing work in our hot attic in the first month of being here, God said to me, at Grace Haven there is water and a snack for the people who are doing work. It prompted me to take beverages and fruit to the crew.

When I was ready to explode at my teenage son who was defiant. God said, at Grace Haven – there is grace… Don’t yell. Talk.

When I get frustrated with my own mistakes and failures, He says, there is grace for Kelly at Grace Haven.

In time, I started incorporating the words around the house. When people walk through our front door, they walk under the word grace. It prompts me to pray for guests who come to visit, that they would feel the love and faithfulness of God while they are here. Haven is over the back door that my immediate family and I enter and exit daily. I pray that our home is a haven for each of us.

Grace 2

The name Grace Haven has instructed me on what to do and what not do. It has given me something to aspire to. It has encouraged me to see our dwelling as a type of embassy for Christ. Just like embassies in different countries are the “property of” the nation it represents. I hope that our home is God’s territory within our neighborhood.

Haven door

I am so grateful for the power of this simple name and I pray that God will tell you the name He has for the place where you live… and that you will live accordingly in it.

towels

Bath Towels

Kelly

 

My dear friend Tracy had a fabulous 50th birthday party in October. She is a sweetheart and looks great.  I’m sure few people would guess that she was born in 1965. Her husband hired a professional photographer for the event. A few weeks later Tracy was gracious to email pictures to guests. They featured the person or groups who were in the photo. But there is bad news… when I opened the photos that featured moi, I was aghast at how many l.b.s.’ I have gained.

In my best Martin Lawrence as Sheneneh voice –  I have to say –  “Oh my goodness.”

Image result for Sheneneh Jenkins

Okay so now that I have new awareness of the situation I’ve got to make changes and I am calling on Leslie Sansone to help. Aside from changing my diet I am going to start using her walk at home video series. It helped me in the past and I trust it will help again.

Leslie Sansone is an internationally recognized fitness expert and creator of the Walk at Home fitness program. Her walking videos are easy to use and fun. I love that I can watch by DVD and now play them on YouTube.com using an adapter on my TV.  It is especially helpful that I can walk early in the morning in my family room before going to work, since walking outdoors is tough because it’s so dark.
Sansone
So hopefully in the upcoming weeks and months I will be walking my way to a stronger heart and thinner torso. What a great gift from me to me!

As I write, I’m riding in my husband’s vehicle with my husband, daughter, son Kyler and his friend Teliek, a young man who lives on the same dorm floor as my son at the Ohio State University. We are taking them back to campus after fall break.

I met Teliek’s mom Sandra when she brought him to our house for the drive.

She said, “Thank you for taking my baby back to school.” I smiled as I looked at the 6’2 inch young man standing next to my 6′ son.

I feel the same sentiment about my babies Kyler, my oldest KJ and my girls Kennedy and Koah. There is something about the love and care of a good mom.

Last week my mom, Loraine, an attractive, petite 71-year-old fireball attended a workshop with me. I heard her say on several occasions, “I’m the mom of the speaker.” I had to laugh. She was proud like she was Mother-of-the-bride again. I think it was her way of saying that’s my baby. Even now.

A few years ago, my husband sent the picture below to me. I think it is funny because for many people it is very real. (If I knew here it came from I would credit the author.)

Mom Comic for Blog

So… even though we are nowhere near the official time of year when Mother’s Day is celebrated, call your mom, grandmother, big sister, or favorite aunt and tell her that you appreciate being her “baby.”