Archive for December, 2010

ONE Update At A Time

U.S. Army Sergeant Kornelia Rachwal gives a yo...

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The Change for ONE blog has been updated, and is ready to ROCK for 2011!

Take a LOOK!

Get INSPIRED!

And put some action behind one of your PASSIONS!

Make 2011 the year you start living ON PURPOSE!

Do something to make a difference in your own community and change a life!

THIS is the year!!!

Check it out!

Change for ONE

 

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Jesus Is Our Security Blanket

A Charlie Brown Christmas

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Someone pointed out to me this year that in A Charlie Brown Christmas, Linus drops his blanket for the first and only time when he explains to everyone the reason we celebrate Christmas. As I thought about that, I smiled way deep down. Isn’t that just like our God to use a child, someone so young and fragile to be so bold and tell us what we needed to know? After all, He gave us our Savior, His Son, an infant, born to the Virgin Mary to save us.

When Linus drops His blanket it is probably not that he doesn’t need security any longer. Like us-even us adults, we still crave that security we once had in a blanket or other item we would run to each time we felt those insecurities, fears, and uncertainties. But, God gave us His Son. And once we accept Him as our Savior, we find that we don’t need all the crutches-

  • addictions
  • co-dependency
  • outside approval
  • crutches and other habits we once relied upon…

Once we accept Jesus as our Savior, the real work begins in our lives. He becomes our security blanket. Because it is only through our faith and devotion to Him do we find eternal life with our Father.

Jesus is your security blanket. He’s my security blanket. And the only one we need. Like Linus, we can drop the other things.

Thank you, God, for your Son. In Him we truly find peace, security, and eternal freedom.

 

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Help (Un)Wanted?

help wanted

Image by kandyjaxx via Flickr

Help Wanted:

Reliable, self motivated, able to solve problems, perform with minimal supervision, work well in a team environment, progressive, adapt well to a rapidly changing environment, goal oriented, strives for personal improvement…

We’ve all seen these types of help wanted ads in the classifieds and posted on job boards to bring in a group of dynamic and qualified prospects to fill open positions within our organizations. And once the word is out, the influx of resumes and cover letters comes pouring in sometimes as if your announcement is the only one in a 200 mile radius. So at this point- the hunt is on. It’s time to weed through the never ending stack of potential employees and new leaders in hopes of finding the best of the best, and the individuals who most closely match our must have list of qualities.

After asking a multitude of questions, hearing personal testimonies of success stories, and comparing the final candidates through interviews and reference checks, it happens. You bring that perfect person on board. This new team member is the one who possesses the specific qualities that were complete absolutes for this position, the mission, and your organization. Excitement is high, the possibilities for success are endless, and it’s the beginning of yet another adventure. Your new super-star hits the ground running and starts off strong.

And then it happens to more than just your old staff. It affects the new, too.

Suggestions are no longer made.

People seem to lose interest.

The bucket seems to get passed further and further down the line, until it’s the janitor holding it. And this is a real problem when you remember that your organization doesn’t even have a janitor.

At this point in time, the questions should start to surface:

Who’s improving the products?

Where is the innovation?

Who actually knows your customers, how the products and services work?

Who knows which products don’t work and need to be corrected and improved to satisfy the true needs of the end users? (Hint…it’s the people using them daily, dealing with the customers, and doing the dirty work.)

If you unleashed all the minds, talent, skills, diverse experiences and backgrounds that made each person you hired THE perfect candidate with all the skills you outlined when searching for help, you could unleash some serious power within your organization. Sometimes it simply requires allowing the individuals you have to use those qualities they possess to do what you hired them for.

Remember what you looked for in your help wanted ad and think about encouraging your staff to use it:

When they use their creativity

When they use their adaptability

When you invite workers from the ground floor up to work with a team and not have every decision made from the top, but become part of the development and implementation process

When they use problem solving skills and become engaged in finding solutions instead of passing them off

When they experience the value they bring to the organization

When they grow and are grown into the organization

When they are experiencing their work, help, expertise, and all the skills they were hired for being desired, encouraged and embraced, the benefits to your organization will go beyond what that little classified sought to find in an individual. While you may have signs on the outside of your organization saying “Help Wanted,” once  inside the culture may be  “Help Unwanted,” which is discouraging and signals an opportunity to do little more than simply earn a paycheck.

Want to change it? It’s about engagement. Engagement creates a culture involved.

Hang up a Help Wanted sign for the next project and ask for solutions from your staff. Encourage them to engage.

You’ve probably got more help than you need.

It’s just a matter of tapping in to it.

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Giving That Goes Beyond The Bow

Christmas gifts.

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With Christmas approaching, my memory lapsing, and time moving faster than I can keep up with, I’ve been thinking about Christmas presents. You know. The perfect Christmas present. One that will be the right size, the right color, and comes with a KILLER warranty. While in a store this morning, I noticed gifts that are creatively geared toward meeting specific needs and marketed to buyers so we “feel good” about the gifts we are giving. After all, we like to give things to people especially when it is just what the person needed.

Some gifts I noted to meet certain issues or obsessions: (At least I’m guessing they are issues or obsessions, because the aisles are filled with this stuff, and they’re selling like crazy!)

Stress: Buy the electric chair massager for your tired back, stress ball to squeeze at your desk, or daily calendar full of silly little jokes to ward off those stressful moments and induce a little laughter into your day. I’m guessing they don’t eliminate stress, but rather give the illusion of relief with a temporary fix. That’s creative marketing to people who who are desperate for a stress-free life, which is about 99% of us!

Body Odor: People must be stinky or completely obsessed with scents, because there are TONS of things to spray on, roll on, and marinate ourselves in. There were more body sprays and potions of smell than I could possibly smell in one day. I think my nasal passages are scarred from all those hefty scents. What was going through my mind as I walked down that aisle of olfactory sensory overload was that anyone who wore that much stuff would be a walking fire hazard. Seriously! The label should read, “Wear with extreme caution. In case of lightning, stay indoors. Do not barbecue or sit next to a fireplace for three hours after application.”

Ugliness: Are people really ugly? With the amount of beauty treatments, you’d think we were the land of trolls! Good thing we’re not, or our tourism rates would drop! We all have things we don’t like about ourselves, so I think this is a fairly vulnerable area for most of us.  I mean, if it weren’t, why would so much make-up sell? Every corner of the store has some way to cover the true self, alter it, or provide a way to color over it. Beauty is available in powders, sticks, bars, and jars. No one wants to look or feel imperfect, so we fill our wish lists full of things that can provide the temporary relief we seek, and of course, we buy it for our loved ones to help them do the same. I’m personally a girl who loves make-up and all things girly, but I have to be careful to avoid the “I’m ugly trap!” And I had to wonder…if all I got from everyone one year were make up kits, I think my self-esteem would plummet! I know I’d be thinking, “Surely they don’t ALL think I’m ugly. Right? Purely coincidence!”  🙂

After wandering around the store and considering each person on the list, I realized how much time we spend searching out the perfect gifts for our loved ones. If we can’t find it at one store, we go to another. If we can’t find it there, we will go to great lengths to find it, special order it, and pay out the wazoooo for delivery in time for Christmas. There are gifts to meet every want, need, ailment, improvement, issue, and everything in between.

But, I wondered: Do we always have to do this to find the perfect gift for someone? Do we really have to search, ship, and max out our money pots? And what if we wanted to give the perfect gift to someone we barely knew? What would we do then?

Aha! A revelation in my thought process. There are so many ways to give the perfect gift! And yes, even to those we don’t know well, even if we’re broke, even if we have little. How? Keep reading…

Have you thought about regifting?

Can you give a blanket you have to someone who is cold?

Can you give furniture that you don’t need?

Can you give clothing to those who have none?

Can you give wood that you have to someone who needs some wood for heat?

Can you give a book you no longer read that sits on your shelf to someone who would really like to read or learn the subject?

Can you invite someone (a college student,  missionary, elderly person, coworker) who is alone over the holidays to celebrate with you and your family?

Can you give some of what you already have in time and money (and material possessions) to help meet the needs of someone?

I’m not saying we shouldn’t give people gifts, thoughtful surprises or shower them with blessings and presents. I’m not saying we shouldn’t shop for things we know our friends and family members really enjoy. Not at all. In fact, even I love shopping for those I love! There IS something special about finding something I know they will really enjoy. Hint: I love anything chocolate, kitty cats, and Jesus. In reverse order! I love Jesus more than chocolate! I just thought I’d straighten that out. 😉

There is something that gives me a different kind of satisfaction. It’s a deeper and long-lasting satisfaction. It’s a life-changing satisfaction. And it’s giving part of what I have to help meet the need of someone, on the spot, and it normally doesn’t require that I look too far. If someone is cold-give them a blanket from the cabinet. If they are hungry-give them cans from the pantry. If they need clothing-check the over-stuffed closet filled with things I no longer wear.

BUT WAIT! I saved the best for last.

If I hadn’t, maybe a few of you wouldn’t have read this far. Oh, what I learned from those marketers while shopping! Totally slick, I know!

We have the perfect gift to share with everyone. It doesn’t cost a dime. It’s available to everyone. It is the only answer to every need, ailment, improvement, issue, and everything in between. We can and should be regifting Jesus. Not just at this time of year, but all year, and to every person. Because gift giving whether it be sharing God’s gift for our salvation or offering someone a meal, can go way beyond the bow. I remember how a dear friend of mine shared Jesus with me. And I have the opportunity to share Him with others. Jesus is the perfect gift to give, the perfect seed to sow, the perfect story to tell those who haven’t heard.

I’ve learned that the most beautiful gifts in the world don’t require gift wrap or a long search to find them.

Luke 2:8-12 (New International Version, ©2010)

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Jesus arrived and and was wrapped in cloths without splendor or great, beautiful coverings. Jesus was our gift from God, and he was delivered simply and plainly, yet was the Savior who would save us all!

Let’s make this a season of giving beyond the bows and frills.  Give what you have, and share the Good News. It’s the most beautiful gift in the world, because when giving truly does go beyond the bow, it cannot be contained.

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Finding Joy When My Life Is A Train Wreck

Bar Harbor train wreck- 9/2/13- Car Chrisholm ...

Image by The Library of Congress via Flickr

I sat watching a train going down the tracks. It’s something we see in Kansas quite a bit. And those trains can seem to go on for forever. I don’t think any other state has trains that are 3000 cars long on a regular basis. Nonetheless, we have them, they are long, and I was staring at one.  I kept thinking how they just kept flowing. One car behind the other. They all moved, because the one previous moved. The rest followed smoothly, and things kept flowing smoothly.

I thought about how all it would take to disrupt the flow of the cars getting to their destination was for something to be thrown in front of one. If that happened, all the cars following would be dislocated, scattered, and thrown all over. None of them would’ve reached their destination. And I thought about my life.

Just when it seems I get caught up. Just when it seems things run smoothly, and I can run full speed ahead to continue on my life’s journey and live out my calling, something gets tossed on the tracks and tries to derail me. All of the sudden a seemingly simple journey becomes complicated, or the resources I need all of the sudden are nowhere in sight. And I have to wonder how I’m going to get back on track.

This is how I feel on the missions field, in my life, living my calling. My life is full of train wrecks. And I like to think it means I’m on the right track. The opposition doesn’t want me to reach my destination. But today, I was reminded of several things.

Yesterday I had an unexpected dental issue with my son, and on the way to the dentist, I had a car accident. I have been busy planting seeds and was so excited about the steps I’ve been implementing, that when it happened, I felt despair at having a delay. I felt that no matter how hard I try, it’s just impossible to stay on track. There is always something! In the mix of it all, I realized that I totally forgot to renew my driver’s license, so I got ticketed for an expired license as well.

As I sat today in my drive way, I looked at a gate on my garage. It’s hanging crooked. It looks pretty beat up for the style of house I have, and I started laughing. It’s barely hanging on to this beautiful house. And I feel the same way in many aspects. Some days, I am barely hanging on. So the reminders started.

Even though I have all these additional expenses now, car repairs, insurance issues, and dental visits, tickets, and the uncertainty of how we’re going to get through this “train wreck”, I had one thing that brought me to tears.

No matter what happens, no matter how hard I am derailed, no matter how hard the opposition fights, one thing IS for certain. I have eternal life because God loved me so much that He sent his son, Jesus, to die for me. And that is something that no wreck, no damage, no life chaos can EVER take from me. It is a gift that I always have.

I am so blessed that even through all of life’s train wrecks, I have something that will never be taken. No matter what storms, heartaches, uncertainty, or disasters get tossed on to my tracks to derail me in this life, I have eternal life waiting for me with the King of kings.

I am now ready to celebrate Christmas. I am focused on Jesus, God’s plan for our salvation, and the everlasting life I have to celebrate during this joyous occasion. And I can still find joy and celebrate even if it’s in the midst of a train wreck.

I still have God, and I feel His love.

That is my blessing.

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When Living Becomes An Art

London Philharmonic Choir

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Back in January, I wanted to do something out of the ordinary in my life. I had plenty of things going on to grow me in my business, in my writing, and in my teaching and coaching. But I still craved something more. I wanted to expand my horizons and do something different in my spare time. And not just anything would do. No way! I was on the hunt for some specifics, and I wanted to find something right here in Hutchinson that would meet all the criteria I laid out:

I wanted to learn something non-business related.

I craved culture.

I wanted diversity.

I wanted to create something beautiful.

And I wanted to have some fun!

I was sitting in my dining room one evening when I happened to glance in our local newspaper. And it caught my eye. In the Upcoming Events section, a blurb on the Reno Choral Society jumped out at me. I can still remember the ad or most of it: No auditions, $15 per year dues, several performances per year including the Messiah each spring.

That was it! I wanted to learn to sing the Messiah and perform it just once in my lifetime. I guess you could say it started as a bucket list type of thing.

So, the following week, I collected my purse, gum (for fresh singing breath-A MUST, hint, hint for those who don’t chew! I’m kidding!), and my funds to support this endeavor. I arrived at Stringer Fine Arts Center for our first night of practice and anxiously sat down to start singing the music in the huge stack I received. And as we started, I realized I was in serious trouble.

I don’t know how to read music.

AT ALL.

In true Christine style, I decided that I would jump right on in, way over my head, and learn to swim while already drowning. There’s no better way to learn quickly, right? Hmmm…maybe that just works for me!

Well, to make this long story short:

I still have no clue what a whole note is. It reminds me of a donut and makes me hungry.

A quarter-note is that shiny thing I carry in my pocket worth 25 cents.

When the conductor talks about a ‘rest’, I say “But what happens if I snore?”

And a dotted 8th note…What is that? A fashion statement that the 8 needed to make?

As you can tell, I still can’t read music worth a hoot. Only it’s 11 months later, and I’m still singing with the choral society, figuring it out as we go along, asking a lot of questions, learning from my diverse group of peers, and just enjoying the life out of it! It didn’t require a lot of effort for me to stick with it. I really enjoy it and see myself singing for many years to come.

I love the people. I love the culture. I love the diversity in music. I love the beautiful sounds we make as our voices come together and sing such masterpieces such as the Messiah and The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols. I love the conductors who make us laugh and strive to make each sound better than the last. I found I have more than just an appreciation for the Messiah and finding something cooler than cool to do in our great community.

I found a way to make part of my life a living art. And it’s a beautiful way to live.

Be sure to watch one of our performances Friday, December  3  or Sunday,  December 5 at First Baptist Church, 8th and Main in Hutchinson.  And if you enjoy singing…think about joining the choral society this next year!

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