New Year Normal

“If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done” 

~ Ecclesiastes 11:4 TLB

If I wait until it feels new, I will never get started. I’m starting now.

If I wait until I have it all figured out, it will never get finished. I’m starting now.

If I wait because I will be interrupted, I will never get going. I’m starting now.

What do you want to get done this year?

Let’s just start!

How Can We Really Help the Poor?

So all week long I’ve been trying to figure out how to express my thoughts about the angst that the political rhetoric of this presidential election is causing in my spirit. I have written and rejected more than one blog post because I couldn’t remove the negative emotions from it. The overwhelming negativity, political lies and confused cheerleaders are all strong magnets; I have to continually pray them out of my brain. Politicians would have you believe that their Robin Hood methods of providing more for the poor would actually help people, however it causes me to ask, how can we really help someone in need?

After lost sleep and many deleted words, I have chosen to simply write an appeal for an organization that I personally know is helping poor people, and whose vision and mission are aligned with what they actually do.

I prefer to hand my hard-earned resources over to someone I know will actually use the money or goods as they say they will. So there is no mistake, this post is not to ‘should’ on anyone or try to guilt anyone into giving anything – my intent is to reveal the needs of a small mission in the Appalachian mountains in Kentucky.

Jim and Rita Cmolik operate Hills and Hollers Ministries and their non-profit mission is about relationship “between our God, our neighbor and ourselves.” They are building those relationships with the people of Appalachia in McCreary County.

This is not a ministry that is about simply giving free stuff to poor people. Yet part of having a relationship with someone is helping them with tangible needs when they need it. The primary way they do that is through their Community Closets that provide clothing and household goods. Much of what they give away is second-hand clothing and they also provide new items when possible – especially after a fire has taken everything a family owns. And unfortunately, there are many fires, largely due to wood stoves and space heaters used as a primary heating source.

How can we help? We can go through our closets and give away clothing and coats. I also went through the linen closet and found sheets and blankets not being used. Shopping the “After Christmas sales” for new kids clothes and men’s t-shirts ended up being less expensive to drop-ship to them directly than if I had gone shopping and filled another box. Then the “white sales” came along and crib sheets were down to $4 each, less than I could purchase the material and sew them myself. And of course financial donations allow them to purchase other material goods or building materials that are needed and that are the tangible side of building relationships.

One reason that you will rarely (if ever) see Jim and Rita actually asking for clothing donations is that they have found over the years that many people will send items so filthy or torn that they have to pay for them to be hauled to the dump, which ultimately takes away from the ministry financial resources, becoming a hindrance rather than a help. So if you do give, to them or any other ministry, make sure it’s something worth giving.

Just to be clear, no one involved with the Hills and Hollers Ministries has asked that I write any kind of an appeal for their mission. I am only writing about them because we trust them and we have been blessed by sharing in their ministry and wanted to share this information with anyone looking for a way to truly support the poor.

So, if you are looking for someone to actually help, and that kind of ‘giving to the poor’ appeals to you, here is information on their mission and answers to questions you may have. Check out the Facebook page link and the Hills and Hollers Ministries website.

Here is how to reach them:

Contact Us…

If you’re interested in learning more about our ministry in the “hills and hollers” you can email us at jim@hillsandhollers.org or contact us via “snail mail” at:

Hills and Hollers Ministries
2281 Lick Creek Road
Whitley City, KY 42653

Hills and Hollers Ministries is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a tax-exempt non-profit 501C (3) organization.  Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.

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NOW is all there ever is.

People don’t realize that now is all there ever is; there is no past or future except as memory or anticipation in your mind.  ~ Eckhart Tolle

So, a friend of my sister’s has learned this week that he has the same type of pancreatic tumor that Steve Jobs did, and it’s terminal.

Wouldn’t it be better to actually know that you have only a couple of years to live? I imagined being in his situation and immediately began to think of things I would definitely do – bucket-list type things – and other things I would definitely stop doing! Or at least do less of!

Does it take a death sentence to make us change thinking and behavior?

NOW is all there ever is.

NOW is rapidly becoming my primary ‘one word’ for this new year.

Oh sure, I did my goals list. I chose my 3 words. I wrote the ‘story’ behind my goals. I did the drill. Push. (Myself). Connect. (with others). Grow. (myself, and my business).

But to succeed, I will need to focus on those words and goals within the framework of my one word. Now.

I will push myself now. Today. It is the end of my workday now and I have done just that. Pushed through a difficult project today.

I will connect every day with some people. I have done so today, both personal and business contacts. Many of them.

I will grow. Every day. Today has presented two new problems for which I need to find system solutions.

Once again here is my favorite quote from Chris Brogan, the originator of the ‘3 Word Exercise’

Everything you will do in this year will come from what you do every day. Your year is made up of days.”

What do you think?

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Five Minute Friday: Notice

Notice. You have to stand still or stop to really notice. Does it all just fly by? Does it seem like it’s going too quickly?

When my son was little I remember treasuring each stage and every new growth spurt. I might not have loved every one of those stages, but I knew they would end and quickly and I loved him no matter what. Still do.

Now that we are all adults, it seems that life is simply a series of stages and seasons and it’s up to me to intentionally notice and treasure what is good, whether it’s a rough season or a great one.

There is always something to learn if I just notice.

There is a blessing in every stage, in every day. Especially when it’s feeling tough.

This rocked my morning when I read it… some words of wisdom from a former pastor of mine:

There are no “coincidences”, only divine appointments cloaked to look like mere fate. There is no karma, luck, happenstance or chance in the way God has ordained His universe and, by extension, our lives. Things may appear haphazard, but they aren’t. So, God actually has a deliberate plan for all of us today. We can either do His will — or ours. We can either run His pattern — or ours. We can either live for time — or eternity. So, watch out! There will be more than one opportunity for us to do something that will change the course of history before nightfall. Look for it carefully, for it will likely come disguised as an interruption, a problem, or a seemingly unimportant person. Remember: Nothing trivial will happen today. It all matters.

~ R. Steven Warner

What do you notice in this day of your current season?

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Kate Motaung is the amazing host of the Five-Minute Friday community.

Join us here for the #FMFparty where we write without editing for 5 minutes.

Five Minute Friday: STILL

Being okay with change is one thing. Finding your new normal in that change is yet another. I am still getting used to the new normal that happened with the last big changes in my life, and here comes another one.

“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)

I will. I have to or I don’t survive. Sometimes it feels like we’re holding on for dear life with the pace of change in this world. So the question is, what I am I holding onto? I choose to hold on to the Almighty God and His promises to take care of me and love me. Period. That’s really all that matters. The rest of the stuff in life still happens, but when my focus is on Him and what He is doing with my life, I don’t have to stress or worry about things.

“Be still and know that I am God”, He reminds me again. And again.

He is God and I am not. I remind myself of that often, especially when my troubleshooting, problem-solving brain can’t get it solved. I am so thankful that He loves me and knows what is ahead. He knows, He’s got it, and I will be still and seek Him.

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Kate Motaung is the amazing host of the Five-Minute Friday community.

Join us here for the #FMFparty where we write without editing for 5 minutes.

Five-Minute Friday: Whisper

I don’t want to whisper today. I want to scream. There is no one here to hear me either way, so it wouldn’t really matter. But the person I talk to on these quiet alone days is God, and I could calmly and sweetly whisper my prayer, but I don’t want to. I want to scream it!

Hello God… 

Are you up there?

Are you listening?

Why aren’t you helping me?

Why are all these problems still unsolved?

Why, why, why.

 

Maybe if I would be quiet, I would hear Him whisper… maybe something like this.

 

Yes, Shari, I’m here.

Yes, I’m listening.

I really am helping you even if you don’t see it yet.

Unsolved? Maybe they’re not going to be solved. Anytime soon anyway.

Maybe those problems are to get you to turn to me because you know in your heart and soul that I’ve got it, and that I’ll solve them all in my time. You know I could do it now, in a heartbeat, if that’s how I had it planned.

You won’t know all the whys until we meet face to face.

And even as I write that, I know I don’t need to stress. I know that I am just to show up and do what He’s given me to do every day. And He will handle the rest.

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Kate Motaung is the amazing host of the Five-Minute Friday community.

Join us here for the #FMFparty

 

Five Minute Friday: Change

The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating.
The paths are not to be found, but made, and the activity of making them
changes both the maker and the destinations.

~ John Schaar

 

I tend to collect quotes on the subject of change. One of my favorite books is Change Agent by Os Hillman. I studied Organizational Development. I love change. OK, I really don’t like to experience change that I did not choose, but I am good at walking through the change process, always with hope that the new destination, or new process, or new anything will be an improvement over the old.

 

The greener grass theory? Maybe in some ways. Eternal optimist? Probably. After relocating so many times in my life, I learned early on that I would find both joy and loss in change. A second chance. A new landscape, be it house, or school or job.

 

Early on I was surprised when the same problems or the same problem people showed up in that new world. Because the destination may have changed, but I had not.

 

The future is definitely something we have the ability to create and when we forge through and make a new path, the process changes us.

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Kate Motaung is the amazing host of the Five-Minute Friday community.

Join us here for the #FMFparty