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.”

I love fresh-squeezed lemonade. And I make it very often. It’s actually really easy and hardly anything is better. Here ‘s how I make it.

I start by rinsing and drying three large lemons. To get the maximum amount of juice I microwave them on a plate for 30 seconds at 100% power.

Lemonade 1

Lemons vary widely in size and juiciness. From a big lemon you will likely get 1/5 to 1/4 cup of juice.

I have a hand juicer, which I what I typically use. I also have an electric juicer for times when I am making lots of batches.

Lemonade 2

When you squeeze the juice, don’t go crazy. If you twist the lemons too much you’ll get the pith along with the juice, which is bitter.
Lemonade 3
Shoot for at least 1/2 cup of pure lemon juice.

lemonade 4

Pour the juice into a pitcher. I prefer glass because it doesn’t hold flavors from one beverage to the next. (My husband loves Kool-Aid and I don’t want his flavored drink affecting my fresh lem-mo-nade.)

lemonade 5

Add 5 cups of water, stir, then taste. I know, it’s not sweet yet. But it is often easier to tell whether the juice to water ratio is right before you add sugar. If there the mix is too lemony add another half or full up of water until you get a the right ratio. I prefer more lemony than too watery.  If it’s too watery, add more lemon juice.

Next stir in the sugar. I add it 1/4 cup at a time. I like sweet lemonade, but some like it tart which might be at 3/4 cups of sugar.

I usually need a cup and a half. I know… make it to your own liking.

I’ll also use this a moment to make a plug for beet sugar. It dissolves well and some say it is easier to digest than cane sugar. I get my beet sugar at Meijer grocery store. It’s the only place I’ve seen it to date.

Now… that you have the perfect mix, you could add a few lemon wedges or slices to the pitcher for visual beauty. If you do, don’t leave them in over night between the lemonade will get bitter. Serve your delicious fresh squeezed lemonade in a beautiful glass, over ice.

lemonade 6
Bon appetit

Kelly