Thursday, December 31, 2015

Help Me Get the Cross Right

As I sat at my sewing machine working on a new Grassroots Americana quilt, I noticed how the blocks formed a sideways cross. I grew excited and shared with my husband that this was yet another way the quilts' pattern could minister to someone who simply needed a glimpse of Christian love. You know the kind of love I'm talking about right? The kind that Jesus showed as He ministered to folks' basic and spiritual needs.
Because I am a "hugger", it is my prayer that these little quilts will offer warmth as they give the recipient a little hug so to speak...and since each one comes complete with prayers for health, peace, wisdom, and HOPE stitched right in, I believe its possible for them to evoke a smile as well.  As I started to feed the quilt through the machine, I whispered a small prayer over the quilt (as well as for my still-under-development sewing skills): "Father, help me get the cross right." And with that small prayer, reality slammed me in the chest.

Let me be real here:  Isn't it too easy to look down our holy noses at those who are not as faithful in their Christian walk as "we good Christian" folks?
How easy is it to forget that it was for the weak, the sick, the hurting, the confused, and the failing that Jesus went to that cross we Christians hold so dear?
Isn't it easy to take the Cross for granted?
Do we see it solely as the pathway to heaven?

Or maybe these are just my personal convictions...and if you know me at all, maybe it is just me being too honest and sharing too much...

"Oh Father, help me get the cross right" 

I am looking forward to a new year full of opportunities to, on purpose, Get the Cross Right.
Wishing each of you a blessed last day of 2015 and a blessed 2016.

"Your Life doesn't have to be just needs to serve a good purpose."

In Christ with love and compassion,

Coach Kelly & Family

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Sew I Made a Mistake

I looked down at the finished sampler. It was perfect...well close enough for me anyway; after being washed, starched, and tossed onto the back of a chair, the ripped-out and resewn seams would be but memories.
And then I saw it. It glared at me from the finished "Grassroots Americana" samplier, so named for the red-white-blue-and-green color scheme. It is still there, in the top left block, do you see it?  That one misplaced star point?  

I took a deep breath. And then another. Breathe Coach Kelly, take some of your own advice. Breathe. Breathe. BREATHE! As I calculated the tedious process of ripping the quilted blocks apart, I knew it was doable. The mistake was one that most quilters, if they are honest, have experienced. And the exact reason Mrs. Kessel, our high school home economics teacher, stressed the importance of a good seam ripper! As I glared back at the block's imperfection, something changed. Maybe it was the deep breathing, maybe it was the Holy Spirit, maybe I was just tired of ripping seams, whatever the reason, instead of becoming irritated (I had hit that point after my 1000th ripped stitch), I was inspired to use the quilt as teaching material. I would add it to my expanding Coaching Toolbox, coaching tool expansion happens quickly when you screw up as often as I do.

With yet another deep breath, I forced a grin onto my face, and in a childish move, stuck my tongue out at the quilt saying out loud "Take that! I choose to see the big picture." And then I decided that "Grassroots Americana" was indeed pleasant to behold.  An imperfectly beautiful quilt that has a lot in common with real life. 

Grabbing my laptop (maybe that's why it is stored under my sewing machine?) I started blogging about a misplaced star point!  The more I typed, the bigger I smiled...and the glaring star point, which in all reality was nothing more than a chopped up square, seemed to lose its power over me, the glare became more of a glint, and after a while, it humbly faded back into the pattern of the semi-perfect quilt.  It was a great learning moment for me as a woman. 

I have noticed that when we separate the many facets of what composes life real, its easy to see those glaring "mistakes" that taunt and mock us. Those moments when we lose our temper, subtract wrong in our checkbook; the moments when spilled milk really does make us cry.  When we choose to focus on the misplaced star point which is meant to catapult our lives into the "out of control" zone, life doesn't appear to be that great.  But then I glanced at the whole quilt and I genuinely smiled.

Although my life has had many glaring moments, mistakes I made either on purpose or by accident, I have a choice.  I can choose to add real life experiences to my tool belt, tighten that thing up and take control of my perspective, or I can let them continue to glare at me, robbing me of my joy. I have options. As do we all.

I think it is past time to put away my life-sized seam ripper. To see the big picture and stop ripping my life apart at the seams. Those open seams reveal past financial woes, a broken marriage, an alcoholic father, a depressed mother, sibling that I swear sometimes forget I exist. But when I look at the big picture of what is my life, I see a life full of lessons learned, a big and loving family, Christian values and morals passed down generation-by-generation, and siblings that have always been there for me and my children. But enough about me! What about your life? 

Are there things in your life that have the power to make you smile in spite of their imperfections? If so, I encourage you to look at the big picture and see beauty instead of mistakes, to seek joy instead of perfection, to simply learn to see the beauty in your life!

What a freeing concept! And, for me, the realization came about through one misplaced, chopped up square which I will forever see as a guiding star point.

Have a blessed Thursday everyone,

In Christ with love and compassion,

Coach Kelly

Thursday, December 10, 2015

'Tis the Season

I am getting old...well, compared to my children and grandchildren, I am old. As I contemplate the fact that my life is more than half over, and I look back over my past, I realize that this is the time of my life that I like the best. Don't get me wrong, I loved being a "mommy". I loved snuggling with my children or watching them sleep with that angelic glow of youth shining on their tiny, perfect faces. I loved watching them explore the world around them. These things brought me happiness...But those were highly stressful days too.

It was not easy putting those darling little ones to bed because I knew that more-than-likely, they wouldn't stay there long. Bath time for three little girls often resulted in as much water on the floor as in the tub! And then, there came along the youngest child, a boy. Arriving eight to thirteen years after the girls, he was solely to be loved, spoiled and fought over by his sisters! For you expert parents out there, how to you discipline for that?  "You are grounded because you want the 'baby' to sleep with you?" I mean, come on, where is the logic in that?

It was the season where I constantly second-guessed myself. I cried, cussed, and prayed a lot during my children's formative years, trying to figure out the whole mommy-role...but oh...those were the constructive years that led to this...this season of life that I like best!

I am forty-eight. I have a wonderful husband. We have three amazing grown daughters, a fourteen year old son, two pretty special sons-in-law with another on the way, and three amazing grandchildren. Our house is quiet and peaceful on most days, but when all get together it turns into a domestic circus...and I love it! Yes, this is the season of life that I like best.  I know that I made mistakes as a mom, but I see that, somehow, I helped  craft children into incredible young adults. I see where childish bickering helped with problem-solving skills; I see where helping around the house molded responsible adults; I see where sharing the burden of keeping a home running taught them to not give up when the going gets tough. And I realize that maybe, just maybe, I wasn't such a screw-up as a mommy after all.  And with that thought in mind, I can honestly say that I wouldn't want to go back there or change a single thing...because, altogether, the other seasons formed my destiny and brought me to this one.

And oh 'tis the season to be jolly in this season of life that I like best.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours with prayers of peace, joy, and love...lots and lots of love.

He knows the Stars by Name

Photo Credit: Dolly Sods Facebook Group - Unknown Hey y’all.       After journaling morning prayers and reading a devotion, Psalm 147:4 ca...