Saturday, December 31, 2016

Somewhere Under the Snow week 1

Photo Credit: A. Berg @ Grant Co., WV

"Somewhere under the snow are footprints of the past.
Imperfections hiding under a blanket of pure white.
Alas, snow melts and flaws surface.
And a New Year has begun." - D. Kelly

2016 didn't teach me lessons I never knew. Nor did it bring challenges never before faced.
AS in years past, in 2016 we’ve loved and lost.
We've laid some angels to rest.
We've smiled, cried, bled, faked, and fought.
We’ve lost friends and found new ones…then lost a few of those too.
We've felt the thrill of living and cried many tears from death.
Yet 2016 proved one thing:
Life goes on
and it moves at a rapid pace.
If we aren't careful, life can and will go on without us.

BUT this is a new year. 
So instead of proclaiming this as "New Year, New Me" or "Make it a year to remember," make this the year we ask what's so wrong with the person I am? What should I improve, what should I enhance?
Ask why will this be the year to remember?
We can't plan out the events that will make us look back and say “Oh remember in 2017 when we....”…nah, our story is found in our life’s journey, not in the date. 

So girl, take a risk, go out on adventures, make a bucket list, try online dating! And if your this kind of girl: get another dog...or cat!
But whatever you it with pride, raise your head and stop looking at the ground.
Adventure lies ahead of, not beneath, you.
It's 365 blank pages, start writing your story.

Cheers to 2017!

OT: Psalm 37:3-5; Isaiah 26:3
NT: James 1:2-18; Matthew 6:25-34

There comes a time in each of our lives when we take a good look at ourselves. Sometimes, circumstances force us to take that look; other times we feel the need from within. And sometimes, a perfect self-reflection comes only after being broken and then renewed by God. No matter what prompts it, self-reflection is never easy. This week, I encourage you to consider some areas of strength that you can further develop and use for the kingdom of God. Somewhere under the snow is life. Life we embrace or reject. As the New Year enters, start writing your life’s story.

Write the outcome you want to live. Make memories you'll never forget.

Find and take on new challenges.  Love others before they're lost.  Make your house a home.

And yes…Get. Another. Dog. 🐶 - J. Taylor - D. Kelly

Monday, December 26, 2016

My Heart Stirred for New Years Past week 52

Photo Credit: A. Redmon, Grant Co., WV

"...But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" (Joshua 24:15).

I gazed at the old house.
I’d seen it a hundred times.
Yet every time I wonder…
What did it look like before the great ruin?
Could this cold and lonely skeleton have once been a warm and cozy abode on New Years past?
Did it have a family?
Did they usher in the new year with rifle shots?
Did answering shots ring back from the dark West Virginia sky?
And wonder, oh wonder, were Christmas gifts stuffed inside a sock?
Were they wrapped in newsprint instead?
Did the family set its table with gaiety or simplicity?
Did they work its land? Did they appreciate its creek?
So many questions I had for the old house; questions to remain unanswered.
I smiled at the deer standing near its creek;
As I imagined the house’s family.
Would their faces have been pressed against a now missing windowpane?
Would they be watching the deer graze too?
But alas this old house would never again entertain its family.
Like the memory of the chimney, etched against the house’s north end,
The family, too, was long gone.
Only unanswered questions
And the shell of a house now remained.
A tear slid down my cheek.
Overtook by strong emotion, my heart stirred in my chest.
It stirred for the ancient family.
It stirred because another year was drawing to an end.
And the old house knew it not.
I put the Jeep in drive…someday, I thought, my home, too, would have stories to keep.
And I drove toward it, the house called home, determined that, if its walls could speak, Ours would speak of the story of love; the love stories of a few lifetimes.

OT:  Joshua 24:15
NT: Matthew 10:35-37

Journal your thoughts here
Have you ever considered the legacy you will leave behind? Will it be one of love, joy, peace? Will the memories you are making now last a few lifetimes? Just like this old house, each of us have stories to tell and memories to share. And just like this old house, we can keep them hidden behind a cold, rough exterior.

During this winter of empowerment, take time to reflect upon the legacy you will leave behind. As you do, seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit to help you uncover and develop your treasures hidden within.

In Christ with love and compassion,
Coach Kelly

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Where's Jesus week 51

Photo Credit: A. Goldizen @ Grant Co., WV

"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." (John 1:14, KJV).

Mary knelt at His feet.
Closing her swollen eyes against the darkness,
'My Son,' she thought, 'why my Son?'
And her mind raced back in time.
The angel…why did he not speak to her of this heartache?
But Simeon…she’d seen heartache in his eyes…
She had pondered it all…but could not have imagined this.
She recalled His birth still clear as could be.
Yes, she could still see it all:
The manger, the animals, the babe...the kind innkeeper. The angels and wise men too.
She rolled her head from side to side – wishing to wake up from this nightmare.
There was death. So much death.
Always lurking. Always there. 

Yet…nothing like this. Not before. Not ever.
Her heart thumped against her chest.
The same one that was ripped open at Calvary…
Not unlike the temple curtain, she thought.
Then suddenly she saw Him, her baby boy. He was wrapped in swaddling clothes.
Then the scene changed. Too quickly. Too harsh.
But there He was, draped in a torn and blood stained robe.  He shouldn’t be there, not hanging from a rugged cross.
He was too good. Too kind. Too loving.
Even in sleep she gasped for air when they appeared: the graves clothes - the tomb – the boulder. A tear slid down her cheek as she heard the noise, so much noise. It was all too much. Then slowly the scene changed yet again as a light and another angel appeared - beckoning her forward. 
She waited realizing that something wasn’t right – 'God help me something isn’t right...'
With a startled cry she awoke; mind racing, searching for the truth.
Then it hit her: the reality of her Son’s journey.
The manger – long vacant,
The cross –  bare of all but stains,
The stone – rolled away,
The tomb – empty,
Yes, He arose.
He’s no longer bound by death.
He's very much alive.
God’s Son…her Son…He’d accomplished what He came to do.
Thoughts of Him, 
Of His smile,
Of His love for her, for others too,
Brought tears.
Slowly, she closed her eyes against the darkness.
With a smile, she wiped her eyes…
'Oh my Son...why my Son?'
For a deeper look read:

OT: Proverbs 2:1-5; Joshua 1:9
NT:  Galatians 5:22-23; Romans 12:2; Hebrews 10:23

Have a blessed weekend and a Merry Christmas,
Coach Kelly

Sunday, December 18, 2016

What Christmas Means to Me

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6, KJV).

I had spent hours capturing my thoughts on what Christmas meant to me. It was a 'feel good' piece about family, laughter, food, and music. It then segued into a few lengthy paragraphs about Jesus: His birth, life, death, and resurrection.  

But this morning when I started tweaking it, I realized it was not really what I wanted to share. Or maybe truer yet: It wasn't what I needed to share. 'Write from your heart' was God's gentle reminder.  So from my heart, here is what Christmas means to me: it's about the empty tomb. And the stirring of the Holy Spirit in my gut - someone we wouldn't have without the blood stained cross. Christmas is about God's wonderful gift: the gift of eternal life. This is what Christmas means to me... 

I don't think Christians shouldn't be surprised (or greatly upset) when we aren't allowed to put a manger scene in the town square or a cross on top the tree there.

Why? WELL...if we were speaking up all year long, serving out of love, and actually sharing the gift of Jesus like we should be...I don't think there'd be such a fuss in December. It should be a gift we use and share with our neighbors daily - like a starter of friendship bread! Spread it around, share it, give it away...and watch what you have left multiply and grow into something amazing. The true meaning of Christmas can be found in the 14th chapter of John and Acts chapter 1. 

These point out that Christmas is not just about the cradle-to-cross life of Jesus. It's about His final promise as He ascended home. It's about heaven or hell, life or death, light or darkness. It's about the life we live and choices we make all year long. We can't just put on some Christmas music, strings some lights and all is well with the world. It doesn't work like that. Christmas is about eternity and the gift we've been given to secure ours.  


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Journal your thoughts here
As another Christmas season quickly comes to an end, I encourage you to share the gift of Christ. How can you make this a tradition...all year long?

In Christ with love and compassion.

 - Coach Kelly


Saturday, December 17, 2016

Just Beyond Normal

All my life I have tried to hide in the shadows. Never good enough. Always lacking. Always trying to blend in - to go unnoticed. I had an opinion but unless pushed or provoked, it stayed internalized. I was fine in the shadows, they hid my flaws. I was fine in the back of the line, from there I could encourage others to do what I didn't have the guts to do myself. I wasn't a pushover but I wasn't pushy either.

But a few years ago, something changed. Something far out of my reach was suddenly right in front of me. Something not necessarily scary...but close. And with this change I was somehow forced outside of my comfort zone. Pushed to a place where only God could have empowered and equipped me to go. Somewhere standing in front of what feels like a spotlight about to get turned on...and anyone who knows me, the real me, knows that none of this is right...yet somehow here I am ready for whatever comes next. Doing things that go against every natural facet of my self. So I have to ask how in the world did I get here, where am I going, and in God's name did I get here?

I had an epiphany at a college football game. As our team was running across the field, I asked these same questions again. And the answer brought a single tear running down my cheek. The answer was simply "It's My plan"...His timing - His will. It was Him.  And then I thought of what seems to be on the horizon. Of what possibilities may follow. I know how important it is to be aware His unctions. Of His prompts to push us forward. To listen to His voice. Otherwise, I would still be living Matthew 6:1 out in earnest. Hiding in the shadows of a verse that I took to mean I had to be there...but when reading the Bible...context is everything.

So lately, I realize with more clarity than ever before, that there is a time and a purpose for everything in life. And for this season in my life, Philippians 2:13 is my new courage: "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (KJV). 

The reason I am here, the reason any of us are here, is for His pleasure. To love one another enough to step outside our comfort zone. To share Jesus with the lost. To encourage each other to be a light in darkness. For me it is to follow Him, as a willing vessel, and be courageous enough to share Him through the written word. Yet all the while, I am learning to listen and not allow my own comfort zone to box me in. He has, after all, gotten me to this point (1 Samuel 7:12b) and trust me, nobody is more uncomfortable with life changes than this ole gal...but my life purpose seems to be just beyond my norm. 

Y'all, have a blessed week and stay strong in Him

In Christ with love and compassion ~

Coach Kelly


Sunday, December 11, 2016

I'm afraid I'm weird but...

My Reflection:  
I don't mean to be. And I don't wanna be. But I’m afraid I’m a little weird. And in the past, I hated that about myself, so, typically, I don't do anything to draw attention. As a matter of fact, I’d much rather fade into the background than stand out in a crowd. Yet I find myself in front of groups teaching and trying to entertain as a public speaker (which is hard because as my husband says, I’m most funny when I am trying not to be) yet somehow I enjoy the training workshops and engaging others. Which with my personality, is definitely weird.

For example, my family knows that when shopping, I prefer the quick and easy in and out experience but that rarely happens. I frequently find myself engaged in conversations with old friends or total strangers – something that my husband laughs about because he knows that I’m more of a loner than a social butterfly…yet, chit-chat seems to be one of my gifts.  But still if you were to ask me or anyone who knows the real me, it’s a given that I’d rather be behind a monitor pecking away on a keyboard. That’s what comes naturally to me. Yet there is this other side of me that pushes beyond my personal preferences to accomplish what seems to come naturally.

Picture This:
Have you ever considered the success of other women? Why some of them make it while the rest of us don't? What is the difference?  I’m sure there are a lot of you just like me. Content setting small, manageable goals that we can happily check off our list. And finding contentment here is a good thing. But y’all know that there is something especially satisfying when we push beyond our nature to achieve a loftier dream.

But then again, maybe you find yourself on the safe side of your dreams. That place there something is holding you back, keeping you from even attempting to strike out. Now, what if that something is an internal nemesis called fear? Something that is not from God (2 Timothy 1:7) ? Can it be managed? This nemesis I know personally…and the answer is yes, it can be managed and overcome because God has made a way to overthrow this one (Isaiah 43:16-19).

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Fear has many faces. The face of failure. The dread of being different. An intimating need for hard work. Even the panic of being rejected. Then there is the fear of performing outside personal comfort zones.

Fear can be all consuming. And it can trap us inside ourselves. In other words, fear can keep us from embracing our uniqueness. And instead of embracing a full and out-of-the-box life, we embrace mediocrity. But I don't think that is what God has in mind for us. I honestly believe that He wants us to push beyond the limits we've set for ourselves and let Him work through us (James 2:14-26).

Let’s Take a Deeper Look:
Mary Magdalene – need I say more? Think about what may have came naturally to her. Her role as a woman back in that time period, hiding away in a room somewhere waiting for something to happen, or her personal calling to run back from Jesus’ tomb? Imagine her stumbling over her skirt, out of breath, trying to tell the disciples who she just talked to. Can we honestly think that it came naturally to her to buck the system and become a notable woman of history? Reading her story makes me wonder if she too was weird? Or was she simply willing to let God use her in such a way that went against the natural order of that time period. I wonder if she would have kept running if she knew she was setting herself apart for eternity?

Ladies, each of us have a calling. Something God has given us to accomplish that will have an eternal impact. Not all of us will go down in history, yet we still have an impact to make.  My question to you is this: What can we accomplish for God if we say “I’m afraid I’m weird but…” as we allow God to work through us? Are we willing to blend in and allow fear to hold us back? What price are we willing to pay in order to be His weird daughter? 

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Just a little something to ponder this Sunday morning, have a blessed day y’all.

In Christ with love and compassion,

Coach Kelly


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Looks Like Love

"And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon  the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. [3] And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. [4] And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness" (Genesis 1:2-4, KJV).  

"I'm starting to realize that we are a lot like the earth before 'And God said...'"  Coach Kelly

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My Reflection:
While decorating for Christmas this year, I've been thinking about what it means to be a Christian. Is it just a title? Is it a calling? Maybe it's just a different lifestyle? Or is it something else. Something that gives off a light that looks a lot like love? Maybe, just maybe, being a Christian is all these things and more...Earlier this evening I discovered the difference a little light can make which started me to thinking about how Jesus called us the light of the world (see Matthew 5:14-16). I was decorating my front porch with my Christmas bears and stacked them on the table. I took the first shot only to realize it was blah at best. Looking around I saw a lantern and decided to light it. And while that shot was better, it still wasn't quite right. And then I thought that maybe each bear needed its own light. And the transformation was amazing. The scene went from drab to cozy. A welcoming front porch scene that I'd like to enjoy with a friend over a cup of hot chocolate. 

Picture This:
Before time began, God had a perfect plan. Things got a little wonky but He wasn't going to leave us like that. Nope; God knew the difference that a perfect light would make so He sent His Son to light us up (see John 8:12). Before Jesus, we were full of darkness (see 1 Peter 2:9); but when we answered His call to come into our life, He brought His love along. And that love looks a lot like light. Inside each believer is a light to shine brightly, boldly, because it is, after all, God's perfect light within us (see 1 John 1:5). And that light should not be hidden but shared for all the world to see.

Let's Take A Deeper Look:
When the apostles started following Jesus, there was something visibly different about them (see Acts 4:13). When Moses came off the mountain after spending time alone with God, (see Exodus 34:35), there was something visibly different about him, too. The differences? A new boldness. A brighter light. An increased hope. A renewed sense of peace. And love, lots and lots of love.  

Our neighbors should be seeing this same light in us. We should be radiating God's love, reflecting His light to everyone we meet. Without words, our neighbors, co-workers, strangers on the internet, everyone we meet should be able to see Christ in us. So what does it mean to be a Christian? It means that we share God's light...and His light looks like love.

This Christmas season, my prayer is for us to truly be and share God's Light.

In Christ with love and compassion,
Coach Kelly
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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Fires and Floods - Faith and Logic

"Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed," says the LORD, who has compassion on you" (Isaiah 54:10. NIV)

The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever" (Isaiah 40:8, NIV).
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2016 has certainly been a test of faith in the Bible Belt and beyond. Fires, floods, civil unrest... Yet somehow, for the most part, our overall faith in God remains. Perhaps in some cases, growing even stronger.  And some have asked how can this can we keep trusting in God after looking around at the chaos and devastation?  I understand their doubt…because, logically keeping the faith doesn't always make sense. 

But then again, faith isn't about logic…

Logic. The ability to reason things out, to make sense of it all. And once again, logically, I can't explain why I embrace faith in God…yet, even after I've witnessed tragedy, devastation - both natural and man-made  - I continue believing. In my heart, I know it is because I've experienced the 3-Gs of God: guidance, grace and goodness. Faith often tested and proven during times when stuff doesn't make sense but somehow works out. in God is nothing I can explain using words...but I can feel Him surrounding me, encouraging me, prompting me to keep going forward. It's a feeling in my soul coming from my unexplainable nudge. So because of what I've experienced in the past and believe for the future, through faith, I keep going. I keep trusting in God through faith. 

There is a  verse in 2 Corinthians that talks about being in trouble but not distressed. About not being forsaken even when we're persecuted. It ends with a statement that tells us to bear witness of Jesus when we go through these things (2 Corinthians 4:8-10). So when our faith is being tested by fire and floods, famine and drought, or plenty of lack,  it should remain. Because more important than what we go through is how we go through it: with an unwavering faith tethered to an unchanging God.

2016 has truly been a monumental year. Things have happened that defy reason but though it all, many of us have remained steadfast in our love for community and God.  And we are charged to share the hope we have in and through Christ with our neighbors. 

Today I encourage you to find a moment to share His love; give someone a taste of the hope you have. The greatest gift we can offer our family and neighbors this Christmas is the gift of Jesus’ love. 
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If you would like to request special prayer this holiday season, please send me an e-mail to , use PRAYER as the subject. 

Have a blessed day y'all - 
In Christ with love and compassion 
~Coach Kelly


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...