Published by Kelly Wilson on 07 Apr 2022

The Power of Hospitality

This is a video teaching. I hope it will encourage you to entertain with greater purpose and joy.

Hmmm. Not the most flattering thumbnail photo I’ve ever taken.

Published by Kelly Wilson on 14 Nov 2021

Thanksgiving Tips 2021

If you are alive to read this post, you have something to be thankful for!

As we approach the 2021 Thanksgiving Holiday, I am reminded of the tumultuous year that we have lived through. I won’t list anything other than the word covid – which I know is usually spelled with a capital c – but it makes me feel like we take away some of the “ominous-ness” by using a lower case c.

I love the Thanksgiving holiday because it brings together so many of my favorites things… I get to cook, eat, and prayerfully host some of my family and friends. I get to be a little lazy and lounge the day of and day after, if I choose to.  For many of you, there is a weekend of celebrating with extended friends and family who are in town. And best of all – we take time to tell God how grateful we are for blessing us.

Psalm 111:1 captures this sentiment beautifully…

I will thank the Lord with all my heart, as I meet with his godly people.

Isn’t this a great passage to describe Thanksgiving!

To help you get ready, here is my 2021 list of Thanksgiving tips and ideas…

12.    If you haven’t done so yet, now is a good moment think about the people you can safely celebrate with this year. Try to confirm whether these people are available and willing to gather. And if yes, determine how and where. Is it dinner in person, or a Zoom meeting after dining with the people you can eat with? Or is it a gathering on a different day?

11.    Once you know this, those who are hosting/cooking can plan the menu. I usually type my plan on a spreadsheet. (See the screen shot below.) I list the dish, the person who is making it, and if it’s me, when I will cook it. Some things get cooked well in advance and they go into the freezer. Most are cooked the day before. My list helps me not forget things people are looking forward to and also to pace myself and to help from other people.

10. I have noticed that turkeys might not be as plentiful this year. Rather than fret, this could be a chance to try a new protein. One year my mom made fried chicken to go with the turkey. From that point on our family demanded friend chicken and most only eat turkey when the chicken runs out. Or you could roast a whole chicken and have a similar look as a traditional turkey. What ever you have – it will be delicious – if you cook it with love and thanksgiving like the first celebrants did.

9.    I find that the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving are a perfect time to clean out your refrigerator and freezer. You are going to need that space for the feast and leftovers. I typically plan to cook and eat whatever is currently in the frig/freezer. I candidly have more this year because of covid. I trust we will be eating some creative combinations…

8.      If you are making a dish for the first time, or one you haven’t made in a long time, consider making a small sample as a practice dry run. That way you will be confident when the big dinner arrives.

7.      If you are hosting the dinner, layout the serving dishes that you plan to use a few days in advance. That way you will know what you have and what you might want to borrow from friends or family.

7.      Take pictures of the preparation and throughout the big day. Don’t worry about posting them anywhere. Just keep them, the good, the bad, the ugly, like the dozen uncooked yeast rolls that my dog pulled from the table before I got a chance to bake them, to savor during future holidays. (And if you must share just do a quick air drop to people in the house.) These photos may become precious mementos like the one below of my mom, who is now celebrating in heaven.

5.      If you are a house guest staying at someone else’s abode, ask how you can help. Men folk, maybe you can keep an eye on all the garage cans in the house and be the emptier/bag replacer. My favorite guests help clean the mountain of dishes from dinner. That is one of the best gifts that can be given.

4.      If we have a large crowd, our dining room table isn’t big enough for all our guests to sit there. So we dress-up the kitchen table and add a cute table in the family room, so the football heads can watch the game while they enjoy the meal after we say grace. Each is decorated and set with plates and utensils that guests can carry through the buffet line. This can be a great strategy to help manage create social distancing spaces.

3.      Consider setting up the food buffet style. We sit our dishes around our kitchen countertops so folks can serve and get seconds easily. I try to make it attractive while self-sustaining once the eating begins. Keep plenty of hand sanitizing handy so people can be safe. And wear masks while fixing plates, especially if guests have not taken the vaccine.

2.      Make it a priority to enjoy the process of cooking, cleaning, visiting. Make sure you laugh. Play encouraging music or listen to books on tape/CD while you cook and clean or pack if you are traveling. (Check out this playlist of music written by Vince Guaraldi – https://youtu.be/zSR4m6xF6I0) for inspiration. And definitely watch the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special. Make popcorn and toast as your show-watching snack if you dare. Gather up some board games to play when Thanksgiving dinner is over.

1.      As you finish reading this post please take a moment to tell God how grateful you are for His grace and mercy in your life. Be thankful this Thanksgiving holiday and don’t stop. (Just like Psalm 103:1-5 says… https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=psalm%20105%3A1-5&version=NLT)

Published by Kelly Wilson on 17 Aug 2021

Volleyball and Christianity: Keys to One helped me with Keys to the Other

I really enjoyed the Olympic games this year. I was on the edge of my seat on so many occasions. Simone Biles, choosing wholeness over possible self-harm do to the twisties. Alyson Felix showing the power of hard work and the pride of motherhood. I loved seeing how the US Women’s Indoor Volleyball Team worked as a true team, stepping up with different players when injury struck. They continued to fight through the tournament to become Gold Medalists.

These moments reminded me of watching Olympic Volleyball during the 2016 Games. Back then I was viewing with a specific purpose. I watched intensely because I was having the privilege to coach my daughter’s fifth-grade volleyball team that year. Ironically, I am a short lady, and I hadn’t played volleyball since Junior High. But our school needed a third coach because a large number of girls wanted to play that year, so I grabbed the opportunity to serve and share the experience with my daughter and her buddies.

I watched every indoor and beach match, I could, whether male or female to try to figure out what would be the keys for our students to have a productive and enjoyable season.

And I prayed, asking God to make the keys to volleyball success obvious and allow me to communicate them to fifth graders well. At some point He gave me some patterns that made sense. The following is what we had to do:

  1. Serve well.
  2. Return well.
  3. And volley as a team.

I spent weeks talking these concepts with our team, over and over. We would repeat them every practice. With support from many other parents, we taught them specific skills. If we served tough, at that level of volleyball the other team wouldn’t be able to easily return the serve and we could score lots of points. In many causes we could “ace” the opposing team, as they couldn’t return the serve at all. But in contrast, if we could return “tough” the serves of our opponents well, then we could keep them from scoring “aces” and potentially score a point if we volleyed the ball as a team. For us, that meant – obviously getting the ball over net in three hits or less – but also knowing who should be doing what and how to place the ball so that we could score points while having fun doing so.

These simple keys helped us have an outstanding season. Despite many twists and turns, we made it to the Championship Game. Though we were underdogs we ended up with the “silver medal” losing by one point in the third set to a team who was a local powerhouse.

This year, God brought my faith to my mind as I watched Volleyball. I kept wondering if there were three simple keys that could help believers grow and develop like our three volleyball priorities helped us. After some prayerful pondering, here are three for your consideration:

  1. Read the Word (your Bible) every day.
  2. Do what it says.
  3. Be regularly integrated into a community of believers.

I think these are even stronger than the ones we used for the fifth-grade season.

Start by reading the Bible every day. The majority of believers who live in the United State are fortunate to have access to the Bible in its entirety. We can easily read or listen to the very Word that God has given to us as His set of instructions and inspiration for a godly life. And because there are so many other voices speaking to us daily from so many vantage points and motivations – we really need to hear from our Creator daily to get “tuned” to His voice. My routine is to read in the morning before I do anything else. I ask the Holy Spirit to help me understand what I am about to read so that the Words can give me life and whatever God wants me to have in that moment. I am a huuuugee fan of the One Year Bible (https://www.tyndale.com/sites/oneyearbible) and use it, but know this might not be everyone’s cup of tea. I would say that each of us has 5-7 minutes that we can take to read at some point in each day. May I suggest beginning in the Gospel of Matthew. Pray and then set the timer on your phone for seven minutes. After you finish, put a bookmark where you ended. Maybe take a moment to ask God what He wants you to carry forward and then you are prayerfully ready for the next task of your day. Pick up the next day where you left off reading so that you can read in context for greater understanding.

(Read through all four Gospels and then the book of Acts and you will have daily connection to the time when Jesus was walking the earth, what he said and did, and also you will learn in Acts about the early church and the move of the Spirit of God in it. If you are ready to read other parts of the Scripture that is fantastic and if you want to stay in the Gospels, there is great benefit to doing so.)

Once we begin to know what the Bible says, we should make it our practice to do what it says. God’s Words give us the information to live lives that are meaningful, productive, and have measures of peace and joy, even in challenging times. And maybe most importantly the Scriptures lead us eternal life, which is the wonderful life that last forever with God, after life on this earth is complete. 

I suspect obeying God’s instructions in the Bible are like when a child obeys a good-godly parent’s instructions. Toddlers, children, teens and young adults, grow and learn as we get rewarded and corrected. We gain self-control and honor the instructions that are set out for our good. By God’s grace we mature into well-functioning people who have lives that we are glad to have. Of course, there are stutter steps and wipe-outs along the way, but these are part of the process. Thankfully we can ask for help from the Holy Spirit, and He will do so, especially when we have a heart and desire for obedience to our Lord.

The last thing is to be actively engaged in a community of believers. Ideally, that is your church home. Or maybe this is more accurately described a small group with the larger church. It could be a Bible study group, your family members or a handful of faith-filled friends who do life together. These communities of believers will help you remain accountable to do the first two things and these relationships are going to give you opportunities to expand in your knowledge and experiences. Importantly, the people in your community of believers will ask you to pray about things and they will pray for you about things. Candidly, some of the encounters with them will likely force you to pray because you may become frustrated or annoyed. Prayer will be a natural outgrowth of being actively engaged in relationship with other believers.

Another great benefit is just the joy of having people to live life with; it is beneficial to be with folks who are headed in the same “heavenly” direction.

For many of us, Autumn is volleyball season for school-based athletics. The next time you see a match, I hope you will cheer for your favorite team and be reminded of the above three keys to growing in Christ that were cultivated from a special silver-medal volleyball season. If you would like additional tools on how to thrive in your life from Christian worldview, please visit https://www.betterdaybetterlife.com

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