Chipped, Cracked, & Broken: A Song

Chipped, Cracked and Broken.

So, I don’t share many of my songs, but when I discovered this rough and vulnerable voice memo from last year, I felt nostalgic about when I was still living at home. 

**Forgive the glitches, okay? It’s from the heart, and sometimes the heart isn’t in tune . . . 

At that time, my family was going around and around the mulberry bush regarding the remodel for our house. Rebuild, add a kitchen, move the house,  build the Taj Mahale . . . the list goes on.

Meanwhile, while we were in “waiting” mode, our couch, carpet, and other household items have fallen in major disrepair. However, us kids were perfectly happy in our odd humpty-dumpty log cabin.

I was listening to our parents walk through the house with designers and architects, and my mother laughed:

“The counter is chipped, the oven is chipped, the plates are cracked . . . we need help!”

Daddy tagged on with a laugh, “Things are going to break, that’s just the way it’s going to be.”

Instantly, I began to see the tattered carpet, our dented van, and my rough and tumble kid-zone home with new eyes.

My living space was chipped, cracked, broken and beautiful. 

I love nice things. Daddy and Mother have given me a love of quality and pride in ownership, and I’m happy we renovated our home. But at the same time, kids are going to “mess stuff up.” They’re going to crack the expensive countertop and (if they’re like me) burn a whole in that lush carpet with the iron. They’re going to press their curious noses to the window panes and smudge their grubby fingers along the walls. You can clean (and clean we did) but no matter how hard we try, our surroundings aren’t going to be perfect . . . not perfect, but precious.

I wouldn’t trade my siblings for the world and I’m thankful my parents understand what really matters in life.

Yes, they invested into making our home beautiful, but they were somehow miraculously understanding when a sweet sister drove into their car with a quad, and a dear brother broke our window.

Let’s invest eternally in relationships! I cannot wait to teach my own little baby the value of people, not things. 

Let us remember what really matters.

Chipped Cracked and Broken 

I go over to the neighbors,
Their cars are new and clean,
There’s no dents in the bumper,
No peanut butter jelly squished in the back seat.
The windows are clear and sparkling,
The carpet’s not stained and torn.
The couch isn’t threadbare, the porch is organized,
Then I remember the love in my family’s eyes.

CHORUS:
Where the dishes are cracked and chipped, from lots and lots of use,

Muds tracked on the carpet, from little boy’s little shoes.
Laundry’s piling over, the electric heater broke,
These years will pass by all too fast, Chipped, Cracked and Broken’s where it’s at.

Daddy can’t to find his tools again,
They’ve been used to build a new fort,
Mama’s new necklace is missing,
’cause sister’s gone out with the boy next door.
Somebody broke the mower,
The keys got locked in the car.
Milk spilled on the floor,
Baby colored on the wall,
This house is a home to 13 people after all.

CHORUS:
Where the dishes are cracked and chipped, from lots and lots of use,

Muds tracked on the carpet, from little boy’s little shoes.
Laundry’s piling over, the electric heater broke,
These years will pass by all too fast, Chipped, Cracked and Broken’s where it’s at.

Other people’s flower beds aren’t dug up by treasure huntin’ kids,
Other people’s books, aren’t re-read and read and read, ’till their tattered and ripped,
But other people’s houses, don’t have the fun we do,
So I’ll take this mess, thank the Good Lord above,
That in the end we know that all that really matters is love.

CHORUS:
Where the dishes are cracked and chipped, from lots and lots of use,

Muds tracked on the carpet, from little boy’s little shoes.
Laundry’s piling over, the electric heater broke,
These years will pass by all too fast, Chipped, Cracked and Broken’s where it’s at.


The Kathryn Joy

The Quickest Way To Change Your Life

Difference

There will always be someone who will see the problems.

There will always be someone who will tell you “you’ll fail.”

There will always be someone who will make it their goal to drag you down with them to a life of mediocrity, and defeat, and hopelessness. 

That’s all fine and good . . . if you want their life.

Today, I spent 5 hours talking with one of the most motivational couples I have ever met.  They are passionate, brilliant, and hungry learners. They reach for the stars—and they touch them. They have the Joy of Christ I delight in, the travel schedule dreams are made of, and the day-in, day-out drive that gives meaning and purpose. 

I want to be like these incredible humans–we quickly became friends. 

I am going to pursue them, their ideas, and their input, in my life. 

People that excite and challenge you:

  • Are upfront and honest
  • Believe in you
  • Make you realize you can do anything 
  • They accept your failures, and tell you to fail more . . . fail the right way . . . fail forward.
  • They stretch your brain to places it dared not travel
  • They grow your vision–your perspective
  • They push you closer towards Christ 
  • The learn from you

People that belong to mediocrity:

  • Are subtle and sneaky
  • Remind you of your faults
  • Tell you why you should be comfortable where you are, “you’ll never get anywhere better anyways.”
  • Point out your failures . . . scare you from trying again 
  • Make you small-minded and petty
  • Talk about people, and problems
  • Encourage selfishness

Why do we sell ourselves short when it comes to friends? Why do we surround ourselves with people that speak of other people, and pop culture, and themselves?

Friends are the support network of life. Friend groups either push each other to greater heights, or pull each other down to a life of status quo and apathy.

Years of studies show we read what our friends read. We watch what they watch. We listen to what they listen to. We get excited about what they get excited about.

Today, being built-up, encouraged, and challenged in Jesus, entrepreneurialism, and intentional living, a thought hit me:

The quickest way to change your life is to change your friends. Selah.

But remember, our friend’s are never responsible for how our lives turn out. We choose our friends, therefore, we choose our destiny.  

The Kathryn Joy

 

 

 

P.S. Thank you to my dearest friends who have poured energy, life, and goodness into my life. Thank you for picking me up when I fall, and reminding me I can do all things in Christ. You give me passion and excitement, and I only hope I can in some way be the same support to you. 

15 Things I’ve Learned in 2015

The year 2015 shall forever go down in history as one of the grandest and most stretching years of my life. I’m not going to say all I’ve learned, because some of it is embarrassing, some of it is irrelevant, and some of you don’t have time to read through “The 3 Billion Life-Lessons Katie Learned in 2015.”

Here’s a smattering of thoughts.

1. The Sooner You Surrender the Better

If you don’t learn your lesson the first time, it’s going to keep coming around. (I have proven that to be true.) I must have taken the: “Surrender is Better” course about 3,200,865 times this year and failed 3,200, 864 times. Praise Jesus I think I’m finally learning. (Watch, now he’s going to test me.)

Fighting God, authority placed in your life, circumstances . . . it’s a waste of time, people. Submit.

2. Health is Wealth 

You’ve heard this one before? So have I. Problem is, few of us act on this information. This year I have been proactive in taking care of my health.

I did my research and took $1,000 worth of supplements, for a dynamic, active, health-filled year. Compare that with 2014’s $5,000 in doctor bills, hundreds of pills, losing half my hair, and stress out the wazoo. Feeling healthy is awesome, AND it’s cheaper than being sick. Win win.

3. Just Say “No”

When you were 2 years old, it helped you develop when people told you “no.” Now, dear adult, it’s one of the best things you can tell yourself.

We only have so much time to devote to friendships, work, hobbies, and quality of life. I’m with you chronic “I-can-make-time-for-that” overcomitters, but it’s NOT best. Saying “no” actually gives you more opportunity! Let’s make the most of what we have instead of constantly dropping the ball.

Give a few things that matter your full effort instead of giving the world your minimal wasted attempts.

4. Failure is a Part of Life

So, we fail. At least I do. Honestly though, I don’t really care. The failures I made this year truly were lessons, and the takeaways I gained were invaluable. Deals fall through, relationships end, I say the wrong thing . . . guess what. So does everybody else. A million and a half cliche failure quotes are coming to mind right now, but I’ll leave you with my own:

Hmmm…

Ok. Here it is.

Often, our biggest moments of growth, come from our biggest moments of failure.

So, I thought I made that up, but apparently it’s a paraphrase from some random dude on Google. #Fail 

5. Be Careful Who You Let Influence You

I can find at least one person on this planet who will agree with me. My stupid ideas, my bright ideas–trust me, there’s someone out there. This year I discovered there are many well-meaning people out there who, like me, have an opinion about how life should be lived.

But before you take their advice (even if you love them to death) take a look at their life. Do you want to have their financial situation, their love-life, their relationship with Jesus, or whatever it may be in ten years?

No? Then maybe you should find someone else to listen to. At least, that’s what I needed to do this year.

6. Be Humble, Grateful and Flexible

This has become my mantra the last 6 months.

It’s way harder than it looks.

I guarantee we all can improve from a little more humility.

(because really, who we are is mainly the product of what we have been given. Yes, God is the one that gave you your good looks and big brains. Your parents are the ones that gave you the opportunity to take voice lessons. Your friends were patient as you discovered how to use your EQ . . . ).

An interesting  exercise is to think about who I/you would be if we were born into a lower social class, if we didn’t have the opportunities or positive input we’ve had, if we had a more difficult upbringing, etc. It’s sure to make us more grateful!

Flexibility is a big one too. Life isn’t a straight line from A to B. Our success in life is largely based on how we adapt and change and stretch to circumstances that are thrown at us.

7. Buy Shoes on Sale

It’s way cheaper.

8. If You’re the Child of an Entrepreneur, Good Luck Ever Being Satisfied With A Regular Job

If you’re born into a life of hard-work and time freedom, you’re addicted whether you know it yet or not. Even if you get a “regular” job, you will be one of those employees that thinks like an owner and measures monetary success on value provided not time served.

9. Social Media is A Silent Killer

It kills relationships. Creativity. Time. Happiness.

This was my first year on Facebook and Twitter. I am amazed at the way I have had such a quick, far-reaching impact with my nutritional business, cooking show, and blog. But it has come at a price.

I’m a believer in having my cake and eating it too, but this online beast is difficult to control. Don’t let it control you.

10. Read Physical Books

Social media gave me the feeling I was reading—after all, I was skipping from irrelevant blog post to irrelevant news—but it was not the reading that cleanses, that purifies, that edifies.

Pause from the blogs and high-paced internet sites for a minute and take time to read a physical book. There’s something about reading without the distraction of notifications, ads, and pop-ups that soothes the soul.

11. There’s More to Cooking Than Meets the Eye

Take away: Go thank your mom right now.

12. Have A Philippians Four Focus! 

Focusing on what is true, and good, and right, makes life so much better! I don’t know how I feel about never growing up, but Peter Pan had something right: think on happy thoughts and you’ll fly! Let’s not be weighed down by negativity.

There is no benefit. Seriously.

13. Being In Love Is The Best Feeling Ever

You may have learned this decades ago, or you still might be waiting for your true love. Whatever the case, here’s my amateur advice: Do what it takes to stay in love. I mean, why not? It’s a pretty darn good place to be.

14. Journal  

This. Is. Beautiful.

Looking back on the life lessons, emotional highs, and end-of-the-world lows, of my past years is an amazing journey. Meditate on God’s faithfulness. Laugh at yourself. And remember what life is all about. You’ll be surprised at all the moments you’ll think, “oh, I forgot about that!” as you go back.

15. Push Yourself

If we don’t push ourselves, how are we going to grow? And if we do the same thing every day how are we going to push ourselves?

I have pushed. And pushed. And pushed myself out of my comfort zone this year. (Often friends and family members did it for me.) 

As a result I get to look back at 2015 and say, I did grow, I did change, I did mature.

What you learned this year?

Scan 2

 

Don’t Leave your Love

Have you ever lost your passion to practicality?

Have you ever left your love for life?

As children, we are born with innate passion and drives. At eight years old, I discovered a love of transporting myself through fiction and was delighted to find I could create my own beginnings–my own endings–on paper.

Before long, I was passionate about the power of the pen.

At eleven, with the help of Microsoft, I became the woman I wanted to be, fell in love with tall, dark, and handsome, withstood torture for what I believed in, and became a spy that witnessed the scenes of prisons, shady characters, and dark alleys. I survived a wagon train exodus, escaped as a plantation slave, and shyly had my first kiss.

Through high school and college, I toggled between journaling my difficult moments and advice to my future-self as a parent of teenagers, to improving my skill through in-depth essays, autobiography, and fictional assignments. My love of writing became deeper and richer.

Then, I became busy.

Work, entertainment, new hobbies, relationships, coaching, school courses, more work . . . I didn’t have time.

Today I taught my first private English Class of the fall semester. As students slouched over their papers, brows furrowed and pencils scratching mindfully, I smiled as my own pen began to glide over my notebook. For the first time in months, my mind began to swim as I once again slid into a world of magic . . . a world where I could resolve conflict and drama.

Smiling and wide-eyed, my class listened as I read my brief yet thick description, and I discovered that I not only inspired them, I had inspired myself.

Writing is my gift. It is a passion that brings me joy and freedom, yet I denied myself that pleasure because I was busy.

I took away something that gave me life in pursuit of life.

Isn’t that ironic? In the business of searching for love, and joy, and happiness, we often leave behind the very things that bring us those moments of ecstasy.

I don’t know what your love is . . . but don’t forget. 

Is it a hobby? Do you no longer have time to pause and create?
Make time. We only have one life to live.

Is it a relationship? Are you no longer investing in the person you love because you’re in pursuit of something greater?
Let them know you care. Realize what you’re losing before it’s too late.

Is it a dream? Do you put off your goals for “someday?”
Do it. We only have so much time.

Just as God delights in us, his creation, he has given you and I beauty to delight in as well—-things to do, be, or have, that make us light up with pleasure.

Don’t leave passion for the old, the stale, the practical. Enjoy what makes you you . . . the unique individual with unique habits and talents.

God created us to live life to the fullest.

Don’t miss out because you were too busy.

Don’t miss out on what makes life brilliantly colorful.

Don’t leave your love.

The Kathryn Joy

 

What to do When Facebook Leaves you Hopeless: Call my Mom ;)

Jenise Johnson
This, is my Mother.

Twenty-five years later, her hair is a little less Farah Faucet, but everything else remains the same.

I want to mention her, because in this world a lot of darkness is going around. The human race has always struggled with discouragement, but in this day and age more and more Christians are battling the negativity of our government, our country, our world.

It’s hard to see our country spitting in Jesus’ face. It’s hard to see rights we once had floating away. It’s brutal to see standards and morals becoming nonexistent . . . to see society valuing sex more than life.

I admit, I have worried about someday bringing children into this confused and destroyed world. I’ve struggled focusing on the positive.

Other people must be feeling this way too, because for the past couple weeks, our phone has been ringing off the hook. Over and over I hear my Mother pick it up, and begin quoting scripture.

“He has not given us the Spirit of fear, but of hope!”

“In God we are more than Conquerors.”

“Trust in the Lord and wait patiently for him.”

“It doesn’t matter what happens in this world. The righteous won’t be moved! God has a remnent and he will NOT forsake us!”

“We were born for such a time as this.”

“In HIS presence there is fullness of joy.”

This is truth. This is supernatural strength. We have a reason to hope: Jesus.

To those of us who struggle with the temptation of one-way tickets to Costa Rica, let’s remember, we have a Savior. He can and will save us from ourselves. He can and will save us from our thoughts. He can and will save us from our circumstances.

No matter how dark the world gets, we have hope.

Share that hope.

Thank you Mommy, for yet another lesson learned from your example.

The Kathryn Joy

 

Confidence: How to get it

Confident Parents

I’m a confident person. Oh, I come by it honestly . . . I’ve had my parents’ example and encouragement every step of the way. I mean, look at them. 

But I’m not here to talk about my experience. I’ve had a secure family, parents who love each other, siblings that encourage, and a network of supportive friends that is beyond compare. By God’s grace, I have been the recipient told many kind words I don’t deserve.

Yet I know most of the world is struggling with not feeling “good enough,” always feeling they need to measure up.

Maybe that has been your experience.

Maybe you feel like everyone’s better . . . maybe you see more failure on your horizon . . . maybe you’re scared of taking risks . . . maybe you don’t see your life as a success.

First of all, those are LIES. You ARE special and your life DOES have meaning. Jesus says he delights in you.

But confidence is a subtle feeling and if you don’t feel like you’re enough, you will never have confidence.

Here are three things I do to bring back my joy and give me confidence when my self-esteem begins to sink.

1. Remind Yourself: There will ALWAYS be someone “better”

Let’s get this straight right away. There will ALWAYS be someone prettier than you, more athletic than you, and smarter than you. There will always be a girl with nicer legs and there will always be a guy that seems to have it more together.

I think it’s crazy when I talk to girls who I think are gorgeous (like, perfect 10s) and they begin to tell me how insecure they are about their hair, their nose, etc. and how they just wish it was like so-and-so’s.  

My brain marveled when I heard one guy tell me how he felt so insecure around his friend who was a “total-I-got-it-all-together-stud” and the next week the “total-I-got-it-all-together-stud” told me how he wished he could be as cool as other guys.

People say we shouldn’t compare ourselves with others, but frankly, I think it happens no matter what. The difference is what we do after we compare. If you find out so-and-so couldn’t get fat if she tried, acknowledge that is cool, and move on.

No one is perfect. So find your special skill, strength, beauty, or uniqueness and find joy and healthy pride in that. Not everyone can make people feel as understood as you can, not everyone can sing like a lark-angel. 

Acknowledge that there will always be someone “better” (in your opinion) and be happy for them! Then. Be. You.

2. Speak Truth

There will always be people that want to tear us down. Maybe it’s a sibling, a back-stabbing “friend,” a teammate, even a parent. Maybe we tear down ourselves with negative self-talk.

People can have a massive effect on our self-esteem, and if we’re believing the negativity people are telling us, we need to fight back with TRUTH!!!

Read God’s words and enjoy who HE made you. In his eyes, you are precious. You are perfect. You bring him delight. He formed your body, your brain, your soul . . . it doesn’t matter what the world says, you’re perfect. I’m perfect.

But it does matter what the world says! You say.

No. It only matters when we let it affect us.

I know. It’s easy to be affected. That’s why we have to run to Jesus and remind ourselves of TRUTH! The more confident I am in who Christ made me, the more I find what other people think doesn’t matter.

BIG GOD. small people. small God, BIG PEOPLE.

3. Take Little Steps

Ok. So maybe you’ve experienced a lot of failure in your life. Maybe you don’t finish anything you start, maybe you’ve never achieved a goal you’ve set.

Accomplishing goals brings SO much confidence, but when we miss the mark we set for ourselves it can destroy our self-esteem.

The key? Start small. Very small. Very, very, small. 

If your confidence is at rock-bottom, you NEED to win. Set a goal you know you could make if you were blind, the apocalypse happened, and there was no food in the fridge. (You get my drift. No “maybies” when you start.)

I smile when I think of the ridiculously small goals I’ve set for myself. I like to win, ya know? So why not have a goal of making your bed every day for a week? 😉

Start small and kill it. As your confidence increases, so will your goals!

Yeah, I have taken some big risks and fallen flat on my face. Embarrassingly flat. But I had such a big bank account of success, I was able to pick myself up and keep going.

The cool thing about goals, is that we get to set the rules. 🙂 Why not play the game in our favor? I totally do.

**Bonus**
Learn Who You Are

We can beat ourselves up year after year because we don’t understand ourselves . . . how we work, how we think. 

Maybe your dad wants you to be a dentist and you love working outdoors. Maybe your older sister/brother is organized and motivated, while you loose everything and jump from project to project.

Often parents or friends can make us feel badly about being different from them. A jovial 60-year-old woman I met confided in me that she was upset she could never do things right.

“I try to be organized but I just can’t.”

Truth is, like you, this woman had AMAZING strengths. When I met her, all I could see was a personality that warmed every room, a loving mom, and passionate business woman, but she only saw that she couldn’t do things her sister did easily.

“What’s wrong with me?” She asked.

Nothing’s wrong. You just work differently!! If everyone were an accountant, who would become fighter pilots and physical therapists? If everyone were organized and analytical, who would be the life of the party?

You aren’t your dad. You aren’t your cousin. You’re you!

If you don’t know who you are:

Take the “Strengths Finder 2.0”
Take the “Kolbe A Index” (It’s $50 you won’t regret)
Read “How Am I Smart
Read “I Am Special”

Yeah, I am lame (with a capital “L”) at a lot of stuff. The cool thing is, I don’t have to be good at everything!

You don’t have to be good at everything. Hallelujah, that’s freeing!

In short, if you don’t feel confident, it’s not because you don’t have reason to be. Nick Vujicic has no arms and no legs, for Pete’s sake, and he’s confident! (He also ended up with a babe of a wife, for the record.)

If you’re not confident, you have the power to change it. In fact, you are the only one who can change it.

Learn what makes you unique, remind yourself what Jesus thinks about you, set up the rules so you win, and get used to someone always being “better.” It doesn’t matter who they are.

Be the best you.

To all of you who are feeling insecure tonight, I wish I could give you a big hug. I wish I could show you the awesomeness you have hidden inside of you.

If you can’t think of anything wonderful about yourself, have a friend (or a couple friends) write down what’s wonderful about you. Read that list. Read truth.

I’m excited for you,

The Kathryn Joy

 

 

 

P.S. This post is in response to a challenge from Tony Conrad–blogger and fellow tweeter.

I totally do not have time for this, but challenges always have appealed to me so here’s day one of the “A-Picture-A-Day-For-Five-Days-Challenge” (my only regret is that the name isn’t longer).

The goal is straight forward enough: write about a picture a day for the next five days and tag a different blogger each day to offer them the challenge!

Might Elanee Smythe over at Elaneesendeavors.blogspot.com be interested? #Challenge

What I learned about Life from an Airplane

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As I crane my neck to see out of the cramped airplane window, I see my life—my vision for life—unveil before my eyes. My ultimate dreams and goals unfold like the fields, homes, and cities beneath me—each parcel representing one project completed—one project contributing to the bigger picture.

At 30, 000 feet I see a nation.

My building projects each sit on their little lots, some under construction, some benefiting those who care for them in their finished state. My degree, certifications, half-marathons, relationships, blogs, websites . . . each are represented.

A sewer plant of messes festers with trouble. Constantly, that water is processed and churned out as fresh, new, nourishing substance. More messes will keep the levels even as other problems are solved from the brown murky flow.

Fields of fresh ideas sprout green and hopeful in different patches. Yellow mustard, ripe wheat, and sturdy sprouts, are all in different stages of growth. These bright ideas give life and breath to the little community of Progress. Without the fields feeding the village . . . without the constant harvest of creativity . . . death would be inevitable. As it is, I continue to pound nails and set concrete, glancing over at my fields and deeply inhaling energy from the new. The unknown. My dreams.

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There, too, are forests of opportunity. Strong towering trees beckon me into their shade and promise a bigger future. Tall pines and knotty oaks offer endless reward if I can but capitalize on their value.

Building roads can be tiresome, but from this view I feel accomplishment as I see them snaking from project to project, making processes quicker, faster, and more efficient. A smile warms my face as I remember trying to climb to the top of a nearby mountain without a road. How foolish. Operation thwarted, I slid back down and began laying the rebar, the cement, the conversations, the studying, the painstaking implementation, the skills, the habits. Now I scale the mountain easily . . . sometimes you need the skills and tools to succeed before you can complete a task. You need a road before you reach your destination.

Rivers wind through my valley of progress, refreshing and renewing the fields and providing life-source to the community. The river banks eagerly collect raindrops of affirming words, and add them to the already brimming words of life from friends and family swirling in little eddies. Books of inspiration join the meandering current along with God’s Word and my quiet times with him . . . the true living Water. Some pastures die for lack of irrigation, but overall my valley is fertile, blossoming with revitalizing rivers of truth and love.

Dirt fields lay scattered throughout the valley. Dormant. Weedy. Dusty. My weaknesses sometimes scatter weeds and powdery dust on the bright meadows or freshly painted structures. If they largely impact my town of Progress I work to tear out the weeds of bad habits and character flaws and replant with a new crop. Some I leave. I’m in the process of leaving the bedrock of low follow-through and taproots of low-implementation, instead using my creativity to build a park above the surface.

Use your strengths to work around those unchangeable weaknesses.

Hot sun spurs me on with its competitive drive. I see brightness and I desire to grow brighter. I see massiveness and it spurs me on to grow larger. Great men and women, heros, role-models, inspiring books and quotes, shine down in warm rays. They make me sweat, but I thrive under heat . . . under pressure . . . under deadlines. Sometimes I’m burned, but more often, I grow.

I continue peering from 30, 000 feet but some clouds block my view. I won’t know until I get closer the details or the order of steps I need to take in some areas. True, I have a foggy idea of a plan for Lot A. I’d like to Coach Volleyball this season and add a nice little two-story apartment to my life story. But I don’t know the facts, the steps, the paint color, the potential building permits I’ll run into, or the tree that may be growing right where I want to build. Some things you just can’t see clearly from 30,000 feet.

Be aware of the clouds.

Winds of doubt, opposition, and tornados of emotional turmoil sometimes rip through Progress. Sometimes I have to set my tools aside and take a break, other times I work in the elements and the opposition matures me. Building goes slow, but it’s still moving ahead. At times the wind, hail, or elements batter my fields of dreams, but it’s better that way. I have a lot of fields. If it meant a lot to me, I’ll replant, but sometimes I leave the field dormant for awhile until a new seed strikes my fancy.

I like looking down from 30, 000 feet. It gives perspective of the bigger picture—my bigger vision. But if I stay up here for too long, nothing will move forward on the ground. So don’t take more that a couple hour ride. As soon as that plane lands, get to work. There’s a new goal that needs the foundation laid, a field to plant, or a road that needs to be built to get there.

You can build a nation.

Dreaming big with you,

The Kathryn Joy

Measuring Success

If you want to succeed in anything, there has to be a way to measure your success. To measure your success, you must track.

When I mentioned a few weeks ago, I was embarking on a journey to mature, I had no idea God was about to mature me in one of the hardest ways possible. That’s the adventure of following Jesus: we make plans, but we never know how God is going to act.

I’ll admit, right after I wrote that post, I lost ALL motivation to renew my health, and merely focused on riding out the gigantic waves created to mature me, in his way, at his time. As God gradually showed me my hope is in him alone, he gave me back my desire to accomplish and doubled the motivation to reach my goals.

Here’s a case study I’m doing on myself. I’ll show you the results I’ve tracked for the last two weeks, then we’ll discuss them. I’m getting all up close and personal here but you guys are my unprofessed accountability. Thanks!

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Overview

As you can see above, I have had 100% percent success in 2 out of the 5 areas I’m tracking (green) and have exceeded my goals 2x (yellow)! Yeah, there’s a lot of red BUT…

Progress NOT Perfection!

I cannot stress this enough.

Life is about making adjustments and adaptions gracefully. Sure, it’s helpful to have some hard and fast rules, but there are often exceptions. If you always need a perfect score, you’ll throw out the baby with the bathwater.

Good Morning Sunshine!

Goal: Regain my Morning power crunch time
Result: Totally nailed it!

As you can see, I tend to be an extremist with my wake-up schedule, but if change isn’t drastic, it doesn’t appeal to me. When this schedule stops benefiting me, I’ll try a new one, but at this point it is amazing!

5 am allows me to hit the beginning of the week with a power that shocks me. Just adding three hours before breakfast has allowed me to be consistent with studying God’s word AND get those difficult projects out of the way before I have time to procrastinate. By the end of the week, I feel so accomplished, I celebrate with no-alarm weekends!

Hmmm…bedtime.

I’m a morning person that can’t go to sleep at night. Interesting…

As you can see, I have totally blown out my sleep schedule at nights–sometimes due to things I can’t control, like traveling, and sometimes, because my creativity goes gangbusters. I’ll get in bed at 10, but end up jumping out of bed 30 minutes later because I NEED to write down a good idea before I lose it.

Workout

So, last week was a fail. Haha! I spent most of the week sitting on my rear trying to make some tough deadlines. This week, however, I’m back on my game. Working out gives me so much energy and confidence.

Vitamins
I count this as a win. I finally have taken my vits consistently enough to notice a change in my energy when I take them!

Sugar Intake

Gotta admit, the Friday before I started this chart, I ate a massive slice of Chocolate cake. My excuses were:

~We were at someone’s house for dinner (I am such a sucker for social sugar)
~Costco Chocolate Cake is my absolute favorite dessert in the world!

I don’t regret eating it. Sometimes you gotta splurge.

The apple fritter I ate the next day, I do regret. For about 5 seconds.

Closing

Why do you share this? You ask.

1. Like I mentioned before, you are my accountability.

If you want to reach a goal, I highly suggest finding a friend that you want to see you at your best. (SUPER close friends like mothers, sisters, besties, and anyone else that sees you in your pajamas with 3-day hair and a cranky attitude probably won’t motivate you to step-up your game). 

2. I hope you guys will be encouraged, inspired, or benefited in some way by my self-study.

Best of luck tracking your own goals! 🙂

Scan 2

What’s Wrong with Rose-Colored Glasses?

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His eyes stared down in pity.

I shuddered as heaviness enshrouded me and settled on my shoulders while I was diagnosed with all the serious of a doctor telling sorrowful news.

Taller, older, wiser, the 40-year-old’s saddened eyes said it all. I was a helpless case. I was one of them. The naive. The ones who must be protected.

“I can’t believe it,” he sighed. “You see life through rose-colored glasses.”

I laughed it off, but the honest sympathy I received from this older man shook me. Was something really wrong? 

I took a close look at my glasses.

Those Wearing ROSE-COLORED GLASSES . . . 

Think Win-Win. 
Life is a positive place where you can succeed as well as others. Instead of pushing and shoving to the front of the line, these pink-shade-wearers realize that “You can have everything in life you want, if you help enough other people get what they want” Zig Ziglar. By thinking win-win, you can benefit others while reaching your goals. (a.k.a. You can be successful and sleep well at night.)

See Obstacles as Opportunities to Grow. 
We learn through successes but we learn more through failures. Hearing our 15-passenger van scrape the BMW in Ray’s parking lot made my stomach churn. Paying $1,200 dollars to fix the bumper felt worse. But the cautiousness and awareness that replaced my heady-confidence were nearly worth the mistake. It’s not that the rosy ones don’t make mistakes. It’s just that they realize everyone makes them!!! It’s what we do after the mistake that matters.

Believe It is Too Good to be True. 
Anything could happen. Don’t believe me? C.S. Lewis was rejected 800 times before he sold one piece of writing. The annual sale of his books is close to 2 million today. Disney was fired because,”he lacked imagination and had no original ideas.” You’ve probably heard of Disneyland and Cinderella. The Beatles were told by a recording studio, “They have no future in show business.” After having his legs severely crippled in a fire, Glenn Cunningham was told by doctors he would never walk again. He took 4th in the 1932 Summer Olympics and silver for the 1936 Summer Olympics.

If you want it bad enough, it can happen.

 Set High Expectations (and obtain them). 
Recently, the NPR ran a study that showed the power of high expectations. When teachers were told the students in their class were gifted, the teachers invested more time and energy, expecting success from their students. In contrast, teachers that were told their students were “slower” expected less from their students and (surprise!) had poor results.

The power of our thinking has widespread results, and it’s proven that if we expect more, we get more.

Control their Thoughts.
Feed Cat. Irritating salesman. I look fat. 

Thousands of thoughts race in and out of brains every moment and controlling them is easier said than done. Negative thoughts and anticipated failure just clutter the brain and take our focus of what’s important. When we think “I’m about to be mugged”  every thought vanishes from the brain but, run, run, run! (disclaimer**At least that’s what my brain would think.)

Similarly, when I think, “I am going to fail this test” my brain jumps to thoughts of worry, anxiousness, and self-doubt . . . (notice they’re all self-centered thoughts). Someone who wears rosy lenses focuses on a Philippians Four and frees up their brain to think constructively.

Trust. 
Like it or not, every positive relationship requires trust. Those who see life through rose-colored glasses tend to have more positive relationships because they trust. They see the good in each person. They expect the best. . . even though they might get burned. (This is a lot easier when we trust God.) 

I’m not saying our glasses won’t get cracked.

People mess up. Appointments are missed. The car won’t start. Both of Grandpa’s snowmobiles get wrecked. Dog’s die. You fail. Updates don’t work. And Vinegar chips aren’t always in the pantry.

That’s LIFE! 

But just because we know problems will happen, doesn’t mean we should go around around distrustful, skeptical, and expecting the worst. It doesn’t make life any better to complain about failing people in a failing world.

People do it.

But we can make the choice to be happy and positive, expecting the best and discovering creative ways to fix the mistake or learn from the problem.

I’m not naive, burying my head in the sand and disbelieving taxes went up and hopes are never dashed. I know those things happen. I accept the cracks in my lenses.

The difference is, I choose not to dwell on them.

What glasses are you wearing? 

The good news is, you can always get a new pair.

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P.S. I wrote this in November 2014, but it’s still as true as ever. 

Miss P31

pinkpikFor most God-fearing, God-honoring girls, Mrs. P31 is someone we look up to (or should). After all, she’s the clearest picture in scripture of a virtuous woman! She’s smart, good with finances, beautiful, hard-working, selfless, and…married.

This woman has a  husband that’s well respected, children that behave in public, and a solid understanding of the world around her.

But…guess what? I’m NOT a mom! I have no husband, no kids, no household to run. So, I read through this chapter saying “yeah, that’s what I’m gonna be” and then move on. #stupid

I would argue that when Miss P became Mrs. P, virtue, strength, and good habits didn’t just drop on her head.

So, what are we doing as single women that is going to affect our futures??? What does MISS P31 do with her time–her life? 

Let’s take a look.

Vs. 11 “The heart of her [Father] safely trusts her.”

Yeah, I know it says “husband” but we don’t have husbands, remember? If our fathers don’t trust us with:

~Money

~Time

~Decision Making

How are our husbands going to do this?

I know what you’re thinking.

Fathers can be overprotective, or uninvolved, or unworthy of respect. They’re HUMAN. And, just a side note, your husband will be too. Only he’ll be younger, and less experienced, and probably less mature…so…

In a nutshell. Miss P31 builds trust. 

Vs. 13 “She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.”

In common English, Miss P seeks out work. She doesn’t hide in the corner and hope it won’t find her. If there’s no project in sight, she goes and finds one. Then, she attacks the project willingly. Not dragging her feet, not moping.

All that overachiever wife and mother stuff doesn’t just happen overnight. (I know, I was disappointed too.)

What are we pursing: Work? School? Ministry? Let’s not dabble. Immerse!

Vs. 14 “She is like the merchant ships: she bringeth her food from afar.” 

I don’t think this means she weighs as much as a lead balloon. Missy looks for good deals and she’s willing to go out of her way to get ’em. She wants the best and the lowest cost.

How do we spend our money? Foolishly? Do we have an instant gratification mindset?

What about health? Do we stop at the closest Micky D’s, or take the extra time to pack a lunch? I’m guilty when it comes to buying whatever’s closest when it comes to food (exception: McDonalds. That’s not even food.)

Vs. 15 “She riseth also when it is yet night…” 

Hard to swallow version: she gets up before everyone else. Blast!

My bed is sooo cozy in the morning! 

Are you going to be Miss P or aren’t you? Get out of that bed! (I will too. Deal?)

She probably goes to bed at a decent time because she knows she has commitments the next day. Burning the candle at both ends made me lose my hair (literally), so don’t overdo it. But sleeping-in when there’s stuff to do (and trust me, if we’re looking there’s always stuff to do) is no bueno.

Vs. 16 “She buyeth [a field]…and planteth a vineyard.”

This woman knew business and we should too! 

She invests.

What are we investing money in? Make-up? Shoes? (Guilty on the shoes.)

Let’s pay attention when businesspeople talk so we can know how to make wise monetary decisions and invest!

Vs. 17 “She strengtheneth her arms.” 

A.k.a. she works out. If we can’t find time to work-out and take care of our bodies now, how are we going to find time to exercise when babies are crying, we’re planting vineyards, supporting our husbands, and making our own clothes from WHEAT! Not gonna happen. Period. 

Vs. 18 “Her candle goeth not out by night.”

No, this doesn’t mean Miss P parties hard. Sleep is super important to living a full, quality, life so don’t go all literal on me.

Seeing my mother get up with crying babies, hurling kids, and ear aches, gives me an idea of what this means as a mom.

As a single woman, I believe this has the same message.

We need to lay beauty sleep aside and DO what needs to be done WHEN it needs to be done. Again, for some reason I don’t think partying all night is what God was talking about here.

Vs. 20 “She reacheth forth her hands to the needy.” 

This is not limited to the poor. Maybe a friend needs an encouraging note. Maybe our co-worker needs help with a looming deadline. Maybe our neighbor is in need of a break from their kids.

Needs are all around us in thousands of different forms.

Let’s have servant’s hearts and give of ourselves.

Vs. 21 “She is not afraid of the snow.” 

This woman is prepared and plans ahead! She has an extra change of clothes, some spare cash, and a flashlight in the dash (or a “flashlight app” on her iPhone). 

Later, this might translate to snacks in the diaper bag, and a spare pair in case toddler-in-training can’t find the toilet. But regardless of what stage we’re in, expect the unexpected. Plan ahead, and be ready if the snowstorm strikes out of the blue.

Whatever happens…don’t be afraid. ‘Cause we can trust in Jesus.

Vs. 22 “Her clothing is silk and purple.” 

I’m sure Mrs. P31 didn’t dress like a rag-bag through her teen years and end up a stunning, classy, tasteful wife. I mean, people change, but…there’s limits.

I’ve totally worn mismatched socks, greasy hair, and nail-polish half-scratched off (at the same time). But…that’s not who I want to be. If we can’t take care of ourselves now, we will definitely be the bedraggled, unkempt moms no one WANTS to be.

We don’t want to draw attention to ourselves by dressing provocatively–the bible warns against over-doing-it. But we also don’t want to hide the glory of Christ in a sagging pile of poor taste.

Again–balance. That’s life.

Vs. 23 “Her husband is known in the gates.” 

So, for those of us not well-versed in “bible language,” sitting in the gates is a big deal. That’s where the leaders, innovators, and honored wise-ones sat. 

“So what?” You ask. “I don’t have a husband.”

Just like girls don’t turn into virtuous women overnight, losers don’t turn into leaders the moment they’re married.

Is your boyfriend “gate-sitter” material? With your support, encouragement, and love, will he sit in the gates or on the couch?

Just like we need to be hard-working, servant-hearted, and well-dressed now, the guy we date needs to be a leading, learning, and God-fearing NOW.

Of course, people mature and grow. (At least, I hope so, because I have a loooonnnnggg way to go).

But the raw qualities need to be there.

I gottcha. He’s hot, funny, and clever. But is he a leader amongst his peers? Is he respected? What do his friends/family say? Is he drawing you up to his level or pulling you down?

Miss P31’s need to aline their lives with future “gate-sitters” if they want to become Mrs. Proverbs 31.

Mrs. Proverbs is already WAY too busy leading her family and fulfilling her tasks to have to struggle with a dead-weight husband. She can’t juggle her responsibilities along with the role of being provider, protector, and priest of their home.

If we want to be Proverbs 31 Women, we have to start TODAY! Our future success rests heavily on the decisions, actions, and relationships we are involved in right now!

There’s still eight verses left to go, but I’m going to marinade on this for awhile. The chapter is so rich, I had to limit myself to a few nuggets that jumped out at me.

What are some things you’ve learned from Mrs. Proverbs 31?

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