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Showing posts from December, 2011

Lesson learned in 2011

Yesterday my good friend Pastor Lisa Alexander posted her lessons learned in 2011 . I get a lot of great ideas from her, and this was one so here goes. I learned a plethora of lessons in the past year but I'm only going to share one today. Don't make a spiritual excuse for what's not working . I get so sick of excuses in other people but I was making this one myself!!  So often we say, "if just one person was touched, it was worth it." We say that whenever something's bringing a low amount of fruit in but we don't know what else to do.  While the, "if just one person is changed/touched/grows" theory is true in some cases, in other situations it's just an excuse to put off the necessary. What is necessary? Often it's making a wise change. In the business world nobody would keep doing the same thing over and over again year after year without some serious return on investment. So why do we do it in Christianity or the church? B

2012 Goals...here's what I'm reaching for

Here you have it, my list of personal goals for 2012.  Just posting this for anyone who might be curious or need an idea to springboard off of to establish your own goals. If this ** is next to a goal, it means I'm already working toward it at the present time and have a head start. Spiritual Goals Participate in First Forty with Celebration Church .  Organize my weekly personal prayer list   Keep a prayer journal. Make a miracles list for the year.  Lead twice the amount of people to the Lord outside the church this year as I did last year. (People I do not meet at the church, or through the church but totally on my own.) ** Write down each thing the Lord gives me the moment it comes. (No waiting til’ later – I lose some of my best thoughts.) ** Physical Goals Get blood pressure down to normal on a daily basis. Bring my weight  10 pounds below where my doctor says it needs to be at minimum.  (The minimum she asked for is just a starting point -- she made it clear it’s just

How do you set goals for the year?

Irene Porto, Founder and President at Career Integrity Recruitment and Coaching published the following on her Facebook status yesterday: How to set goals for 2012~  Step 1: Take stock of what went well and what didn't go well in 2011. What successes did you have in 2011? Why do you think you succeeded? What didn't you accomplish in 2011? Honesty will get you closer to putting these goals back on the list for 2012. Don't give up, recommit. Why do you think you fell short? What did you learn from the experience and how can you do better in 2012? I'm sure she'll share more as the week unfolds, but this first post gave me a lot to think about. Actually I was already considering what my goals for the year are going to be. There are years I have dispensed with "New Year's Resolutions" altogether, believing they are mainly unrealistic goals people aspire to that never quite get off the ground. They sort of limp year to year with the same old goals that

How to communicate for the best result possible:
Lessons from Kathryn

This is another one post where I share with you another great insight I learned from Kathryn Kemp , my boss and one of my mentors. We are up to 21 posts now of things I've learned from her although it's actually been a lot more than that. Kathryn loves text messaging and does it often, even for business purposes. Years ago when we were first starting to work together she texted me about something important she wanted to ask me about for work - something above and beyond my normal course of duties.  I am often blessed to do special projects for work, and never lose sight of the honor it is to be asked and entrusted. When we got on the phone to confer about things she quickly apologized for texting me and said she was reminded never to do it again when it is something important she wants to ask me about. I never complained about her texting me but she knew from previous personal conversations we've had about our lives in general that it's my least preferable form of

Do you wonder about pain?

People often try to comfort you by saying, "don't worry, it will all work out for the best." I know that. But I also know that getting to the best is sometimes hell. CS Lewis said, “ We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be. ” Someone once asked me why God doesn't reveal more -- why we have to live without knowing so many things and learn so many things through hindsight. I told them I truly believe God doesn't reveal it because if He did we couldn't handle it. What if you saw your ultimate outcome and it was a wonderful, glorious thing but you took a wild and sometimes treacherous rollercoaster ride to get there? Well, for the believer it's exactly what happens to all of us!  Heaven is going to be absolutely grand. But you have to die to get there. Accomplishing important things brings greater depth and meaning to our lives but the road to get there is never easy. T

What does your favorite Christmas gift say about you?

Time goes on in our lives and we progress from screaming with glee over opening an Easy Bake Oven Set, a Barbie, a toy gun or a video game, to other things. Decades beyond childhood, the Keurig and a Tempur-Pedic pillow are my two favorite Christmas gifts.  I got to thinking about what this says about me. At this stage of my life I value comfort over play. I'm not sure if this is a good thing or not but it's just reality at this moment. I read a blog post by Michael Hyatt this week that really challenged me to embrace discomfort.  It's the last thing I wanted to hear. I've been in an uncomfortable place for quite some time trying desperately to grab on to any bit of comfort that I could find and still retain ministerial credentials. ;P I'm only half kidding there.   I have hope for 2012. Even if just a little bit on some days, I still have hope and on the days it's low, a few friends give me some that they have to spare. Lucky for me, I have some friend

Are we having service on Christmas day? DUH.

A lot of churches are closed today. How crazy! Not us.  We're anticipating celebrating the birthday of the King today! I know some people want to go to church today but can't go to their own church where they are a member because the leadership of the church made a choice to close today. I feel sorry for those people and have encouraged them to go visit another church in their area that's open today. It's interesting, that some Christians and even pastors fight the whole "happy holidays" versus "Merry Christmas" yet many of those same people stay home from church today or even made a decision to close.  That's really where the rubber meets the road for me.  How strong IS your faith? Just strong enough to complain about "Christmas" being misaligned by some store clerk telling you happy holidays?  That's pretty weak.  By the way, the word holiday derives from the term "holy day" which is exactly what we are celebra

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Our Max ~ he's loving Christmas! We love traditions at our home especially during the holidays.  Tonight we have Christmas Eve Candlelight Communion at the church.  It's one of our most special times of the year.  Everyone loves it!   Afterwards we go out for Chinese food.  We've done that for 25 years now, since the very first year Larry and I were married. We started it because after all the preparation I do in cooking and cleaning for christmas, we've already got a full refrigerator, and I'm tired.  The last thing I want to do is MORE cooking. So, we go for Christmas Eve and invite anyone who wants to join us to come.  The past few years we've gone with at least 20-30 people.  It's a lot of fun. Today I'm putting the finishing touches on all the home festivities for tomorrow. When we wake up we're going to have what the kids call  "sweet rolls".  They loooooooove these and we always have them on holidays. I make them with a butter

What should your role be?

Many people ask me this who are new to leadership or ministry, or those who are headed to a new location and with it a change in responsibilities or opportunities. My advice is always the same.  I would encourage you to not seek a role. Just focus on making a difference.  In doing so the role takes care of itself. Have I ever cared about roles?  Yes. It was a waste of time. Hindsight is 20/20.  Today I could care less about roles and quite frankly sometimes I'm sick of them.  I'm terrible at role playing, but never tire of making a difference. I believe it's the same for most people whether they know it or not.  Roles tend to be prescribed and since God has made us all so uniquely, rare is the person who fits the prescription exactly. Just something to think about.

Why I stopped responding to vague statuses entirely

"That's it, I'm done!" was the vague Facebook status that caught my eye a few years ago.  My heart immediately went out and I  messaged the person who posted this and said, "what's up? How can I help?" What followed were long private messages back and forth as I tried to help her. It didn't matter what I suggested, there was an excuse as to why it wouldn't work or wasn't true. If I said, "You're not alone." She would say, "Yes I am." If I said, "People care." She would say, "No, they don't." If I said, "God cares," she'd say, "I don't feel it." If I said, "Well, I care" she'd say, "You don't really count. You're different." If I said, "change is possible," she'd say, "nothing about this can ever change."  You get the picture. I soon discovered, she didn't really want my help, or anyone's help.  She ju

My failed attempt at responding to vaguebooking

So yesterday's post received a lot of feedback about people who try to use guilt and manipulation in their facebook status posts. Concerning vaguebooking my friend Jennifer Tatum has a strategy she calls "counter-vague".  When anyone posts a vague status she comments with something equally vague.  For instance if they post, "Just not sure anymore..." she might post, "so much to think about..." in response.  She gave me this counter-vague idea so I tried it out.  I started posting equally vague comments just like that to people's vague statuses.  One friend posted, "Weird!" so I countered by posting, "Unbelievably!" Another friend posted, "Just not sure anymore...."  I countered by posting, "Come what may..."  Most people responded with "what?" or just ignored me and kept up their vaguebooking. Then I had an idea that when people posted manipulating or guilt-tripping vague statuses, I would us

What to do about facebook status guilt trips

A man once said, "My mother in law should be a travel agent because she specializes in guilt trips." The truth about guilt trips is, you don't have to take them! You can say no.  I realize it's easier said than done and today I'm going to give you a few tools to actually say no. What is a guilt trip? It's a manipulative tool some people use to try to influence the actions of others. Now that inventions like facebook have come on the scene it's unfortunately even easier to try to guilt trip someone.  How?  Through status updates, particularly through vaguebooking . Vaguebooking is an intentionally vague Facebook status update that prompts someone else to ask what's going on.  Or, it is a manipulative cry for help. This can happen at any time of the year but holidays are times when it seems these things can really flare up. Let's say you have decided to have Christmas this year with your spouse's side of your family, or with friends un

Having ourselves a merry little Christmas...

Last night's leadership Christmas party at our home...the last guest didn't leave til' after 1:30 am, and a great time was had by all.  I wish I could sleep all day today.  I'm exhausted!  But, I have so much to do for Christmas so I've got a full day today. It was all worth it! Love spending time with our leaders.  Here are some photo highlights of the festivities last night.

Hot crab dip that will leave your guests screaming for more

We'll serve this dish tonight -- another popular one at our leadership Christmas party and many other functions. Being that I'm from Baltimore, I love seafood and anything that contains crabmeat.  Old Bay Seasoning makes it into many things we eat in our house all year round.  I use it to season everything from my chicken salad (yes, that's the extra "yum" ingredient that everyone wonders about that gives the chicken salad it's extra special flavor), to soups to many other things. If you take this to a party be prepared for people to ask you for the recipe! Hot Crab Dip 2 cans crab meat (I always use white, not claw.  And, I use fresh crab meat if it's available.  If it's fresh I use 1 cup.) 2 packages of cream cheese softened to room temperature 1 cup sour cream ¼ cup mayonnaise ¼ tsp onion salt 1 tsp. dry mustard 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce 1/4 tsp Old Bay Seasoning and extra to sprinkle on top Mix cream cheese, sour cream, mayo, onion salt, dry

Artichoke Dip so great your guests will moan while they eat it...

Things are super busy today getting ready for our leadership Christmas open house.  I have a lot on my mind to write about but not a lot of time to do that adequately. So, I'm going simple and posting a recipe  -- one of the favorites that we serve at the party.  People love, love, love this and it's so easy to put together.  Enjoy. Artichoke Dip 8 ounces softened cream cheese 12 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese 1 cup mayonnaise 1 cup parmesan cheese 2 small jars or 1 larger jar marinated artichoke hearts Drain artichokes well.  Tear apart with fingers and put in mixing bowl.  Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl, well.  Bake in greased casserole dish 30 minutes at 350.  Serve hot with Ritz crackers. 

Hospitality Hints from the Hostess with the Mostest!

Forget calling, responsibility and all that stuff..............I'm convinced some people might stay on our leadership team simply because they want to come to our Christmas party!  ::giggles::  Every Christmas my husband and I host a party at our home to show our love and appreciation to our Celebration Church leaders.  Between 70-80 people usually come as our leaders are invited to bring their spouse and kids. Everyone loves this party from the youngest to oldest!  We do everything from eat (of course!) to play games, and sit around the fire, and sing carols around the piano, and dance, and talk, talk, and talk some more.   We start at 6:00 PM and usually the last person leaves by about 2:00 AM.  I did mention that our name is Celebration Church?  Emphasis on the CELEBRATION. Being a person that loves fresh culinary ideas, I'm always wanting to try something new but every time I dare mention changing the menu there is an outcry.... "Nooooooooooooo!

5 ways to get something done when you don't feel like it

People who are most effective in life have in common that they get things done regardless of what comes up.  Dependability is one of the most important soft skills a person can possess. Right now you may not feel like you're at your optimal best with hustle and bustle and holiday stress. I know the feeling. The other night it was all I could do to get through a rehearsal, I was so physically and emotionally exhausted from the extra holiday load.  Then a few days ago a cold sore showed up on my lip -- always one of the telltale signs that I'm stressed. But I know that my success depends on me pushing through the more challenging days and doing what needs to be done in spite of the way I may feel. Your success depends on that too. Here are five things that help me to press on when I feel like stopping or procrastinating: 1) Start the day with a bit more self care For me this means extra time to get ready in the morning.  I like to start my day quietly with just the na

Is this really true?

Yesterday I found this saying on Pinterest and re-pinned it to my "I so agree!" board that I made. (Yes, Pinterest is fast becoming my new favorite thing...) I find myself getting very philosophical about things like this and meditating on it for days.  Is it really true that very little is needed to make a happy life? I'm convinced that it's true, especially for Christians. I remember the first time I worshipped in Mathare Valley, in Kenya, Africa with some of the most poverty stricken people in the world.  They don't have running water (other than sewage running with rainwater in the alleyways of the slum) and they don't have electricity or toilets or all the things we have.  Dogs are loose wild animals and not pets, and they don't have healthcare or coffee bars on every corner, but they do have happiness. I saw it. When we worshipped in the church that November morning, it was amazing to see so many fall to the ground worshipping, crying out