Friday, 28 February 2014

Alive and Kicking!

Is it really, truly the 1st March tomorrow? It's just unbelievable how quickly the months are flying by. I have been a busy bee since I last posted in November with raising my family, leading a church, being a friend and well - just living life really!

I've missed posting but am hoping to get back into it now. I was listening to 'Coffee with Christine' the other day - a short podcast by Christine Caine (founder of the A21 anti-human trafficking campaign). It was from January 6th, if you want to listen, and she was tackling the issue of decluttering. The whole podcast is provoking but something Christine said really hit me. She talked about the fact that we can procrastinate so much because we tell ourselves that we can't do something unless the conditions are right, for example - "I need a whole afternoon to declutter that cupboard instead of tackling it 15 mins at a time". She, on the other hand, is what you would call a 'do it now' girl! In other words, she wants to do things well but knows that it will never get done if she is waiting for perfection - from herself or from external factors.

Oh boy, I am such a procrastinator! I'm kind of an all or nothing type of girl - when it comes to tackling jobs and tasks. I really need to retrain myself to do things a bit at a time instead of putting things off because I don't have a whole chunk of time to accomplish something. The more things get left, the bigger and more overwhelming things become. I know I need to change!

So, I'm interested to know - are you a do it now type, or are you like me - a bit of a perfectionist and procrastinator? Maybe you were a procrastinator but have learnt some keys to just getting on with stuff bit by bit - please do share what has worked for you.

Have a wonderfully blessed weekend and I look forward to being back here again soon!

~ Kathi ~

Monday, 11 November 2013

Things aren't always how they appear

At Easter time this year, my parents bought us a small trough with some grape hyacinth bulbs in it. They had already flowered and were really lovely. As they started dying off I placed them in our porch until they had gone fully brown, with the intention of planting them in the garden. But unfortunately, out of sight was out of mind and I didn't get round to doing anything with them. I felt guilty that I hadn't got the most out of these beautiful flowers, that I had let the bulbs die.

Earlier today, my husband was doing something in the porch and noticed that the bulbs had new green shoots coming up. I was amazed! It got me thinking about a post I wrote in 2011 all about things not always being how they appear. You can read it here.

I can't wait until these bulbs flower again!

Hope you have a wonderfully blessed week.

~ Kathi ~

Monday, 4 November 2013

Spinning Around

It was one of those evenings at the end of a long week and I just felt too tired to cook. So off I went to the Fish and Chip shop with my littlest boy. I put our order in and stood by the counter waiting. As I stood there, my son started walking around me in a circle. I watched him as he continued to do this, smiling as he passed in front of me. After about 20 seconds I started feeling a bit dizzy and sick! So I looked up and focussed on something else just above my eye level. I could still feel and hear my son circling me but I wasn't affected by it negatively. 

In that moment I realised that this was an exact picture of how I have been feeling about the craziness of life lately. Life has seemed to be spinning round me at 100mph not showing any signs of slowing down. I feel like I can't keep up anymore. And God spoke to me. Life will keep on spinning and I will always be involved with things that are going on but if my focus, my gaze, my attention, is fixed on Him then I will not feel the effects of the spinning. This is a discipline, a habit, a refocussing that must happen daily and even multiple times a day. If I can grasp this, if you can too, then I assure you -  things will be very different for us.

Hebrews 12:2 in The Message Bible says: "Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this reach we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed - that exhilerating finish in and with God - he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honour, right alongside God.

Sometimes we feel like we can't lift our head up from our circumstances and the things that spin around us. If you feel like this, I want to encourage you - Psalm 3:3 says: "But, you Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high." All you have to do is ask God to help you and He will. 

I hope you have a wonderfully blessed week!

~ Kathi ~

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

10 reasons to smile today

It feels good to smile. It lights up your face and is good for your soul. My Dad used to tell me that I looked so much prettier when I smiled!

So, here are ten reasons to smile today:

1) You are alive ~
God, the Lord, created the heavens and stretched them out. He created the earth and everything in it. He gives breath to everyone, life to everyone who walks the earth.  Isaiah 42:5

2) God loves you ~
But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Romans 5:8

3) God knows you ~ 
I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Jeremiah 1:5

4) God has a purpose for your life ~ 
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

5) God listens to you ~ 
The Lord watches over the righteous and listens to their cries. Psalms 34:15

6) God is in control ~ 
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:28

7) You are blessed ~ 
You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Psalms 139:5

8) God provides for you ~
You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus. Philippians 4:19

9) God will never leave you ~
Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you. Deuteronomy 31:8

10) You are forgiven ~ 
He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. Psalms 103:12

And remember…it takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile!

Blessings :)

~ Kathi ~

Sunday, 13 October 2013

A meal of stones

I don't know if you're anything like me? Sometimes, ok quite often, meal planning, shopping and cooking get on top of me. It's usually because I'm not organised enough and sometimes it's because it just seems so mundane.

The other day I came across a leaflet sitting in my in-tray at work. It had been sent by Farm Africa and it was requesting donations for Harvest. I was having a quick read of it and on one of the pages was something that I will NEVER EVER forget.

The leaflet told me that in East Africa, mothers who have no food to give their hungry children collect stones and put them in a big pot of boiling water. As the pot 'cooks' the stones it sounds to the children like a meal is bubbling and steaming away. As they wait for the meal to cook the mother sings to her children and tells them stories until eventually the children fall asleep, hungry but very much loved and cared for.

As I read this, tears streamed down my face and my mamas heart felt the pain that these African mothers must feel so often. I don't think I have read anything that has impacted me as a Mother as much as this has.

It's difficult to know what to really do to help these people, other than support the charities that are on the ground there. I felt so helpless in that moment. As I was thinking about it later on in the day I realised that I could do something - I could change my own attitude towards providing food for my family, whether shopping for it or cooking it or planning for it. And I asked God to help me to never have a complaining attitude again in this area of home life. I also told my children about this true story and it has had an impact on them in terms of eating the food that is offered to them and not complaining.

Lord, I am so grateful for the life you have given me.

Enjoy the life that God has given to you.

~ Kathi ~

Monday, 2 September 2013

At the brink of another milestone

It's now the beginning of September, yes, it really is. As a family we have had a wonderful summer. We were so blessed to have a week away in the lovely seaside town of Whitby, it was great to get away and have a change of scene and pace. Not only that, but when we returned we came back to a newly decorated dining room which has made such a difference. I am so thankful to God for His provision! We've had fun catching up with friends and being able to enjoy time together as a family, not rushing from A to B all the time but living in the moments and knowing God's amazing blessings in the detail of life (something I preached on a few weeks ago...but that's another post!).

Here's a few snaps from our summer :)

Our first evening in Whitby...the sea was freezing but that didn't stop them!

This was actually taken in Robin Hood's Bay - I had forgotten how lovely that place is :)

We went crabbing for the first time and loved it - Niamh caught a fish too!

Our friends took us to Falling Foss Tea Garden just outside of Whitby - we highly recommend it :)

Enjoying the sea again!

So now we're in back to school mode! I kind of like the feeling of getting back to some routine and normality (whatever that is!). The two oldest kids go back tomorrow and then our youngest starts school for the first time on Wednesday - another milestone in the Kelly family! He is definitely ready...but am I? It will pull on my heart but will be freeing at the same time as I step more into my leadership role at church. I feel incredibly blessed to have had the opportunity to be at home with each of my kids in their pre-school years (the last eight years) and I trust God with the foundation that my husband and I have given them. And of course, the teaching and training doesn't stop just because they will all be in school.

I do hope that you have all had wonderful summers too and that you will experience God's lavish grace whatever is in store for you during the last part of 2013.


~ Kathi ~

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Life-makers (Re-post)

2012 was a big year for the UK in many ways but especially because we hosted the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. It really did cause a buzz not only in the capital but also in communities around the country. We were so excited to see the Olympic torch go past the end of our street in the lead up to the Games!

I was inspired, not only by the competitors, but by the thousands of volunteers that became ‘games-makers’ for two weeks. This army of volunteers had all manner of jobs from directing people to the many different venues, to dealing with lost children, caring for grazed knees, and helping to make the sport happen on the field of play, to name but a few. Whether visible or unseen they ALL made a necessary and vital contribution to the Games as a whole.

Whilst watching the 2012 New Year celebrations live from London I heard a lady being interviewed briefly. She had been one of the Games-makers and was commenting on what an amazing experience it had been. She said that it was a shame to stop at the end of the two weeks and that we should carry on and have ‘Life-makers’. 

My ears pricked up at this! It’s exactly what you and I have been called to be, as Christians, wherever we are in this world. We are called to be Life-makers in all the spheres we find ourselves in, to bring the life of God wherever our feet take us, whatever our hands find to do.

One Games-maker said, “I’m here to make sure everyone I interact with goes away with an improved experience.” That’s what we are here for in life too, to make sure that everyone we interact with has an improved and real experience of who God is, His love, His grace, His Kindness, His compassion, His justice and the life that He brings.

Another Games-maker said on reflection, “…what really made taking part in the Olympics and Paralympics so special was making friends, seeing it come together, working  hard for the nation, for the athletes, and giving part of yourself for a bigger picture.” As Christians we are serving and working hard each day, giving not part but the whole of ourselves, for the bigger picture – Christ and His Kingdom. We are part of His body coming together on this earth, part of His lifeblood that flows through His creation.

One of the roles the Games-makers inside the Olympic stadium had was to lift the mood and to check if anyone was excited. Some days that is exactly what we need to do in our families, with our friends, our neighbours, our work colleagues, or a stranger on the street or in the supermarket. We can lift someone’s spirit by smiling at them, listening to them talk about their struggles, praying for healing, speaking words of encouragement, hope and life. We can lift someone’s spirits, because of the Christ in us – it’s all about Him, not us, but He wants to use us.

So I want to encourage you – you have a very important role to play in God’s Kingdom. He has chosen you to be alive at this very time to make an impact on this earth. You are unique and only you can be you and do what you do in the way that you do. You are called to be a Life-maker, so go and be one, letting the life of God flow through you in all you are, in all you do, in all you speak. And remember that it is not in your own strength but by the Holy Spirit!

May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.  Ephesians 3:19


~ Kathi ~