Two Weeks Notice

In the professional world, the “two week notice” is given as a courtesy by employees who are leaving a job in order to establish a plan of action to maintain the flow of business until the vacant position can be filled.

This year coming to a close and there are some things that I’m issuing a two week notice to and leave behind.  These are things that I have allowed to set up shop in my mind, body, and emotions to wreck and ruin my thought-life, my health and wellness, and most importantly my witness for Christ.

There are several particular areas that I feel the Lord has led me to focus on with this particular post as I approach the final weeks of 2015. Below are a few areas I’ve chosen to settle within myself:

  1.  Beauty is not dictated by your size, your shape, opinions of others, or any other tangible characteristic.

I’m about to lay in to this one…I’m a registered dietitian, so I should be thin, know everything about health, grow my own fruits and vegetables, and never eat pizza, burgers, or ice cream right? Wrong-ola! Are all bankers debt-free? Are all doctors in perfect health? Are all dentists cavity free?

No.

But for some reason, society in general has an expectation of RDs and nutritionists to fit the mold of being thin and “perfect” (whatever perfect is). Trust me, I’ve had my share of struggles with my weight and even when I have lost a lot of weight, I still just didn’t feel right or good enough about myself.  I’ve even had a guy tell me that I didn’t fit his ideal of beauty because of my height.

The problem is not on the scale or the stadiometer (that’s my $0.75 word of the day lol) but it’s in the thought process that says that my worth is somehow tied to my physical appearance. When I see that statement in black and white, I know it is a foolish notion to assume that I’m only as good as my reflection, but by not shutting down the initial thought when it first showed up, I chose to believe this stupid lie.

On the bright side, I praise God for growth, because in the past when I would encounter these thoughts, I would internalize and mull over them and in turn pick myself apart humming and hawing with things like:

“why am I not pretty enough?”

“what’s wrong with me? why doesn’t this guy like me?”

“my body is shaped wrong because these pants fit my thighs perfectly but are too loose at the waist”

Crazy, right?

That was then; the “now” is when these thoughts or words are spoken to me, I hold them up to the litmus test of the Word of God. You see, the Lord reinforces the fact that I am physically designed and fashioned for a purpose (Gen. 2:22 AMP); not by accident.

My height, my figure, everything about me is made for my God-given purpose.  So why hate on it? The Lord is not careless with His creation.  Everything has a purpose for why it is made the way it’s made.  He chooses us carefully for our assignment; He’s not like a kid absent-mindedly rifling around in a bag of M&Ms and hoping for the best.

I’m chosen for something great; so are you! It’s my responsibility to take care of my body with proper eating and physical activity habits not with the goal to be “skinny” or make others approve or accept me, but to glorify God and ensure that my health does not become a hindrance to my ability to do the work He’s called me to do.

Selah.

 

2. God wastes nothing. He uses the good, bad, and ugly to paint your life’s portrait.

I’ve seen the movie “The Pursuit of Happyness” several times. I know the plot, some of the lines by heart, and what happens at the end. Still, regardless of how many times I have seen it, the scene where Will Smith’s character spends the night in the train station always gets to me. I know what’s going to happen but I still can’t avoid that sinking “oh, I hate this part” feeling when his character is really struggling.

Some days I look at my life like a movie or a book. The Bible says:

“You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed” (Ps. 139:16, NLT)

The Lord has seen every day of my life. He is all knowing and not constrained by the limits of chronological time; He is eternal. He knows when my rough days are scheduled before they happen. He knows when the good will make me smile and when the bad can break my heart and I believe that He weaves all of it together for my good.

The upside of going through hurt and disappointment is that it spurs me to get closer to Him for comfort and to grow in wisdom. He gives me grace to lean on Him and cry my tears, but He helps me to not stay in a place of sadness and discontentment when life gets real. In essence, I have learned to not hit pause when I encounter my “train station” moments, in the end, all will be okay.

 

3. Welcome change—it is vital to your growth. Mental preparation can help you to avoid extremes and illustrate the importance of gradual, consistent steps.

I don’t want to be one of those folks signing up for Gold’s Gym, Google searching the latest weight loss fad, and ordering new workout clothes on January 1. For me, a drastic behavioral change carried out in my own strength usually runs out of gas in three or four months.  This season of being uncomfortable is not a bad thing; it’s forcing me to grow. The series of events that lead me to this point did not happen overnight. So I release myself from having to change them all by tomorrow morning.

In counseling sessions with my patients, we talk a lot about readiness to change. I believe outward change starts in the mind. If I take time to:

1) acquaint myself with the thought of meeting a goal

2) allow the Lord to reprogram my thoughts with the Word of God to successfully meet that goal

I will go a lot further in the process to see a sustainable change. I want to see the fruit! And it takes time!

I’m not saying these things to sound “super-spiritual” but I’ve come to a place in my relationship with the Lord that my response to Him is different. Granted, I’ve got a lot of room to grow, but my first response is to recognize Him as God when I have to make decisions (Prov. 3:5-6).   It starts with prayers that sound like: “Lord, I need your help with [], will you help me to understand what the Bible says about [] so that I can do things right?” Very simple, but He honors simple requests for wisdom expressed from an obedient, humble heart.

So, with that being said, I encourage you to take a look at your life right now. Ask the Lord if there are any areas in your life that you need to cut, quit, drop, or just fire. He will give you wisdom and discernment concerning every area of your life. Always remember, He has your back and is on your side. He has your best interest at heart.

~KP

Short and Sweet: Do Not Look Back

A brief post that I believe is going to help somebody today. 

Yesterday, while driving home from work I had a thought about  the phrase: “don’t look back”. Here is what I believe the Lord wants you and I to know.  

We’ve all done or said something stupid,  but once you acknowledge your error and ask the Lord to forgive you,  it’s gone.

The Lord literally forgets it; this is not a figurative saying,  it’s true. 

However, the temptation to listen to condemning thoughts that you haven’t been forgiven or that God is angry with you is very present because the enemy seeks to destroy your confidence before the Lord when you pray or study the Bible.  Honestly, it’s just the devil’s way of making noise.

The good news is that this noise is all behind you once you repent.  You have the choice to decide if you will turn around to look back at it. You have to decide how much attention and/or focus you give to the noise.

Don’t take your vision away from your destination. Do not spend another moment focusing on the noise behind you.  Don’t even turn around to look at it. Your focus determines your destination; keep pushing forward. 

~KP

Job Hunting Skills 101

If you Google “how to apply for a job” I’m almost certain that you will receive countless articles filled with suggestions ranging from how to write a resume, what to say/wear/do during an interview to how to negotiate a salary.  And while all of those things are important, I felt led to write this particular blog from an employer’s viewpoint to give insight on things that your application, resume, and interview style say about you as a job candidate.

Your  Application

Follow the Instructions. Nowadays, most job applications are electronic; however, if the job you are applying for requires completion of a paper application, please read the application in its entirety before you start.  If at all possible, you might want to have several blank applications if you make a mistake or need to start over.  Incomplete applications are a hallmark of carelessness and end up in my “no” pile.

Answer the Questions. If there is space to describe your work experience, describe it.  Do not simply write “please see resume”.  How you answer questions speaks volumes about your written communication style.  Are you thorough? Are your sentences/phrases grammatically correct and free of spelling errors?  Are you cutting and pasting from your resume verbatim?  There is no need to overuse “I” or “my” when you respond to questions, we know that you are referring to yourself and your experience.

Follow Up. A fair amount of follow-up is appropriate.  A phone call to make sure that your application is complete and that everything has been received is acceptable and shows that you have interest in your status as a potential candidate for an interview.  Many times, you may not speak directly with the manager who will interview you, but even if you only speak with an administrative employee, a phone call is a great way to introduce yourself and show yourself polite and professional.

Your Resume

Neatness Counts.  I’m no FBI agent, but I can tell a lot about someone just based on how neatly their paperwork is put together. The resume formatting possibilities are endless.  Clean, familiar, readable fonts (Times New Roman, Arial, Calibri) are easy to read and professional.  Please avoid “cute” fonts such as Comic Sans, Kristen ITC, and anything that is considered “script” or cursive; they distract from the text.  Try not to stray too far from 11 or 12 point font and keep your resume within one or two pages.  Carefully consider what to chop if you need to abbreviate your resume.

Unnecessary creases/wrinkles, smears, and scribble are sloppy and lead me to believe that if I hire you, I’m likely to find you on an unauthorized break with your feet propped on your desk, playing Candy Crush on your phone while you are still on the clock. Better safe than sorry; type everything if you can.

 Include an Objective. This is a gray area but I actually like a well-written, brief objective.  To me, it acts as a synopsis of your entire resume and brings certain skills/experience to the forefront.  If you have multiple resumes, be careful that your resume matches the job that you are applying for.  I once received a resume for a nutritionist position that included the following objective: “ to work for CitiBank”. You guessed it: “no” pile.

Provide References. Please, please, PLEASE do not type “references available upon request” anywhere on your resume.  Why? Because employers hate it! Well, let me rephrase: I hate it. Please, don’t do it.  I review job applications as my schedule allows and many times I do not have hours to spend pouring over applications and then backtrack to contact an applicant to request additional information.  Play it safe and include your references along with your application as a supporting document.  As a plus, it helps when you include your reference’s job title and/or their credentials along with his or her professional (work) contact information.   Always remember to ask your references for permission first before you include them on your resume.

The Interview

Be Punctual.  Time is a precious commodity for managers.  Punctuality shows respect for their time.  Things happen, tires go flat and cars can breakdown, but do everything in your power to plan for the unexpected.  If your interview is at a location that you have never been to, map it out and drive there a few days before your interview if you are concerned about getting lost.  Give yourself plenty of time to get up and get dressed the day of your interview so that you will not be rushed and flustered when you arrive.

Give a Firm Handshake. You’re not smashing metacarpals like The Hulk, but don’t give a handshake like a wet fish (my dad’s words, not mine).  A nice, firm handshake says that you are confident and professional.

Practice Your Body Language.  Eye contact, facial expression, and posture speak volumes about you.  I understand that there are cultural variations specific to what eye contact (or lack thereof) means however, no eye contact could be perceived as nervousness or dishonesty.  Too much eye contact is well, just awkward and a bit creepy.  Find a happy medium and if direct eye contact with a stranger makes you uncomfortable, look at the bridge of the other person’s nose. Avoid slouching; sitting up straight and smiling appropriately communicates interest and active engagement.

Read the Job Description. I can tell when you have not read the job description.  Learn the jargon of your field, I listen for certain keywords when I’m hiring.  Many of these keywords are tied in with the job description; whether it’s specific programs, job tasks, outcome measures, etc.—find them and tie them in with your materials…but….

Do Not Lie! Be honest.  Do not make up anything on your application.  Be honest about your skills, your employment dates, gaps between jobs, reasons for leaving, etc..  A lie is a lie whether it’s on paper or in person so be upfront with anything that you believe needs further explanation.

Ask Questions.  At the end of an interview, I like to invite the candidate to ask me questions.  When you ask relevant, genuine questions, it shows that you have given thought to what it would be like if you were the chosen candidate. It tells me that you are interested in the position and are actively engaged in the interview process.  Interviewing is a two-way street.  Take time to find out if the person who is interviewing you would be a good fit for you by asking appropriate questions about training for new hires or day-to-day activities and processes which may not be specified in the job description.

Send a Thank You Note.  A handwritten note goes a long way.  Extend a professional, well-written note of thanks to express your appreciation of your interviewer’s time.

I hope these tips are helpful, please comment below with any other advice that you have found useful when applying for jobs.

~KP

“How Do You Stay Filled with the Holy Spirit?”

Great article!

The Peaceful Wife

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A wife asked me this question. It is a very good one! He is our power source to be the godly women God commands us to be. This could be a book in and of itself. But, let’s talk about a few basics:

1. The Holy Spirit is a gift that is given to everyone who follows Christ as Savior and LORD. First I must have a relationship with Him. Jesus must be my God, my Savior and my LORD.

“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will bec in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come…

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Merry Christmas– I Really Mean it This Year

My word for today: choose to celebrate.  The operative word is “choose”.

Choosing to have a good attitude regardless of your circumstances does not negate your present state. I feel it nullifies the negative impact of any trouble you encounter. You do not have to let that bad break or unfortunate event get you down. Take a minute, pray, regroup, and “keep on keepin’ on” (thanks Gladys!) Life and vitality are beautiful gifts; do not squander another one of your days dwelling in a place of apathetic disregard for the opportunity to maximize each day.

To be brutally honest here (my blog, my rules) in the past, I’ve had a hard time with really having a Merry Christmas.  I would say it to others, wish it in songs, and write it in greeting cards, but never really could guarantee a Merry Christmas for myself to enjoy.  It was not about money or anything tangible, but it was about a deep longing for Christmas the way “it used to be”.

Growing up, Christmas used to be exciting! Lots of time off from school, the good food, the gifts, the time with my family, everyone was on the same page. We had a common ground. Everyone was so engaged in having a good time, it made it easy to enjoy such a wonderful holiday.  The sum of these variables made it easy to enjoy Christmas.  Over time, I realized something (and please do not misunderstand what I’m about to say), each of those things are important in their own regard, but their absence in whole or in part should not determine my mood or willingness to be joyful on December 25.

The truth is, things have changed and that’s okay. Change is a disruption of the norm. It can be sudden or gradual. But, change is not always a bad thing. You cannot grow if you do not change. Change yields an opportunity for a new start, new traditions, and a new outlook.

Do not fear change; instead, let it refine, polish, and sharpen you.

So, today, as I finish up this cup of coffee and start my day, please allow me to encourage you to remember the true meaning of this season and rejoice regardless of what the snapshot of your life looks like right now or how your temporary feelings are coloring your mood.  Will yourself to enjoy this day, choose to have a great week Make a choice to have a Merry Christmas.

Much love, KP

Keeping Your Vision in Front of You

What inspires you? What ignites your faith? What is in your line of vision everyday?

To natural man, your dreams may seem far-fetched, impossible, or unattainable.  However, we serve a supernatural God that is not limited by the hands of time, natural resources, or our human imagination.

Maybe you want a specific job title in your professional career, or you have a philanthropic heart to give, or you want to see your family members have a closer relationship with the Lord. Whatever that dream may be, keep a tangible representation of it nearby.

Write that job title/credential on a post-it note and put it on your bathroom mirror, write out the amount of money you want to give on a blank check, when you go to church imagine the three empty seats beside you are occupied by your family members.

Know this: God’s vision for your life is greater than your own.

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.

Eph. 3:20-21 MSG

If You’re Going To Be Dependent

Be dependent on the Lord. 

GM Monday, just posting a short and sweet to encourage you (and me; well, mostly if not all me) to depend on your Heavenly Father.

Truth is, He loves you and is here for you.  Whatever you need, He’ll supply it. You need a friend that understands exactly how you feel, a shoulder to cry on, a safe place to be vulnerable and rest? Seek the Presence of the Lord, put your shield down, and go on in. He is all of those things.

“How do I tap in to that place?”, you may ask. The answer is simple: believe. Believe that He is able to help you when you pray. More importantly, don’t cultivate a cold, complicated relationship with Him. He’s your Best Friend, the One that loves you the most! If there’s anyone that you can be yourself and kick your shoes off around (whether your toes are freshly polished or not), it should be Him. He cares. He cares about you.

Just talk, ask Him questions, He understands exactly what’s going on in your heart and what’s on your mind. Prayers that are simple and sweet delight His heart more than elaborate dissertations. They both have their place, just stay real with the Lord; honesty is refreshing.

He’s not looking for you to showcase your answer to the issue nor is He interested in how independent you are. Just need Him. Call Him; He’d love to hear your voice.

2 Corinthians 12:6-10 NLT

If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so, because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t do it, because I don’t want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message, even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

~KP

New Year, Really?

GM Monday.

Is 2013 timing up? Technically, yes. Usually at this time of year, we start taking inventory of ourselves and whip out the Steno pad to list what we resolve to do more or less of. have you ever wondered why we do this year after year? Is it fruitful? Does it really matter? “Is it working for you”? Hmm, let’s get into this. 

Where are You?

Social media is so prominent in our culture. When coupled with our willingness to literally share every thought, opinion, and preference, I’ll bet you could look back and find your posts and tweets from December 2012.
If you can, compare them to what you were about to jot down. Are you still on the hamster wheel of good intentions that vow to be healthier, more available, more generous/less stingy, etc? Do yourself a favor, dear ones, stop running in place and break out of the cycle that over promises and under delivers. Be cautious with what you vow to do.

Are You in the Same Place?

Take some time to locate yourself. I mean, really, really look. I’ll bet you have made progress in certain areas of your life. Progress is black and white–it’s either there or it’s not. Regardless of how much there is, praise God for that morsel of consistency that you didn’t have last year. Thank Him for helping you to maintain the deliverance you have freely received and the grace to continue to grow.

No Resolutions Now What?!

Okay, since I’ve jerked the security blanket of good intentions from you, allow me to replace it with the Comforter that can actually keep you warm. Don’t lose your vision to want to do better.  It’s good that you don’t want to stay where you are. However, why don’t we do something different? Let’s choose to look for the Lord’s guidance regarding the areas of our life that displease us and really believe that He will guide you clearly. More than likely, those particular areas displease Him too; let Him work on those areas. Let’s allow the Word of God to seep in to our spirit and change us from the inside out.

God doesn’t measure eternity in years; so with the new year coming up, keep moving forward. Time is not up yet, keep working on your test.

Proverbs 8:8-36 NLT

My advice is wholesome. There is nothing devious or crooked in it. My words are plain to anyone with understanding, clear to those with knowledge. Choose my instruction rather than silver, and knowledge rather than pure gold. For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies. Nothing you desire can compare with it. “I, Wisdom, live together with good judgment. I know where to discover knowledge and discernment. All who fear the L ord will hate evil. Therefore, I hate pride and arrogance, corruption and perverse speech. Common sense and success belong to me. Insight and strength are mine. Because of me, kings reign, and rulers make just decrees. Rulers lead with my help, and nobles make righteous judgments. “I love all who love me. Those who search will surely find me. I have riches and honor, as well as enduring wealth and justice. My gifts are better than gold, even the purest gold, my wages better than sterling silver! I walk in righteousness, in paths of justice. Those who love me inherit wealth. I will fill their treasuries. “The L ord formed me from the beginning, before he created anything else. I was appointed in ages past, at the very first, before the earth began. I was born before the oceans were created, before the springs bubbled forth their waters. Before the mountains were formed, before the hills, I was born— before he had made the earth and fields and the first handfuls of soil. I was there when he established the heavens, when he drew the horizon on the oceans. I was there when he set the clouds above, when he established springs deep in the earth. I was there when he set the limits of the seas, so they would not spread beyond their boundaries. And when he marked off the earth’s foundations, I was the architect at his side. I was his constant delight, rejoicing always in his presence. And how happy I was with the world he created; how I rejoiced with the human family! “And so, my children, listen to me, for all who follow my ways are joyful. Listen to my instruction and be wise. Don’t ignore it. Joyful are those who listen to me, watching for me daily at my gates, waiting for me outside my home! For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the L ord . But those who miss me injure themselves. All who hate me love death.”

~KP

It’s Christmas

Merry Christmas good people! This is my favorite time of year! Christmas time is the best time, hands down. This time last year, I was preparing to take the GRE and finishing up my application for my internship (which I am ace-ing  btw, praise the Lord!).  Also, I was terribly sick and let me tell you, taking a computer-based standardized test with a head cold is no bowl of grapes.

Anyway, enough about that; let’s get into the nitty-gritty of this post.  Get ready to smile.

This Year and Beyond…

I can say with confident faith that I am working out the plan that the Lord has given to me.  Honestly, it feels great to say that. I am moving forward in the process of perfection and that’s a good thing.  Please don’t misunderstand– I don’t intend to sound arrogant or prideful, but you need to know that your words either carry faith or fear.  You must learn to confidently speak faith statements with boldness regardless of your current perception of yourself, your ability (or lack thereof), or past mistakes.  You have to speak your destination before you get there.  The choice is yours.  Furthermore, learn how to celebrate yourself.  When others around you (especially those who you consider closest to you) refuse to give you that well-deserved pat on the back; give it to yourself.  Or, better yet, believe the Lord to surround you with people who will give you that pat on the back when you need it.  Trust and believe, He will do just that; He’s done it for me.

I suppose it’s the sense of completion that accompanies the end of the year which causes us to take an inventory of ourselves.  To do so is perfectly fine and good; however, don’t paint yourself into the proverbial corner with a brush dipped in comparison.  As long as your rubric of success and value is drafted according to your perception of those around you, you will always be disappointed, sad, and even discouraged.

Believe it or not, we all decide what we want others to see.  I don’t know anyone that excitedly runs to the phone to call 50 people to yak about their latest epic failure nor can I think of anyone who chooses to fill their twitter feed or Facebook profile with tweets and posts about their deepest fears and shortcomings.  We each have our own brag box filled with successes and triumphs.  Usually, that is what we willingly share with others.  I can almost guarantee you that for every 10 brag boxes on the living room coffee table, there is at least one old, busted, dilapidated, shoebox shoved in the back of a closet somewhere filled with our past heartaches and disappointments and most of the time, we avoid showcasing it when company stops by.

Moving Forward

With all of that being said, this Christmas, let us take time to enjoy this holiday for what it really is; a celebration of the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ.  Take time to refocus and clear your vision for the budding new year.  Start some new traditions! Whether you are by yourself or with family, remember you are never alone.

Get excited about your future, it looks awesome! I love you all; Merry Christmas!

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A Short and Sweet About Communication

GM Thursday, a few weeks ago, I shared an excerpt from the book “Ministering to Your Family” written by Kenneth E. Hagin and Kenneth Hagin, Jr. (see: On the Matter of A Mate fantastic read and great words of godly wisdom) and wanted to share a short and sweet reminder with you regarding communication.

If you are trusting the Lord to be your guide, keep the lines of communication OPEN. Primarily between you and the Lord, second between you and your family, and third between you and your fellow man.

Stay out of strife and unforgiveness. Do not let circumstances yield negative thoughts. Everything starts with a thought, so keep your heart right. You can hear the guidance of the Lord best when you maintain the garden of your heart.

Have a great day today.

~KP