Virtue: Honesty & Integrity

I got 5 minutes of their time today, after they rolled their eyes... grateful.

We looked up the definitions...

hon·es·ty [on-uh-stee] -- noun  1. the quality or fact of being honest; uprightness and fairness.  2. truthfulness, sincerity, or frankness.  3. freedom from deceit or fraud.

in·teg·ri·ty [in-teg-ri-tee] --noun  1. adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.  2.  the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished  3.  sound, unimpaired, or perfect condition.

We discussed what these words meant...the conversation went from:

"But mom, let's say, IF...IF I were to kill someone, not that I would, of course.  BUT, IF I did.  I wouldn't want to tell anyone about it cuz then I might got to prison."

-- to --

"It means, don't lie."

-- to --

"Tell someone the truth, be honest with them, tell them they are fat, even if it hurts their feelings?  It would be, being honest."

WOW!  We covered a lot of ground in those 5 short minutes, it was a great discussion.

The primary thing I wanted them to hear was; no matter what situation you're faced with in life, the best answer will always be to adhere to the Truth and to your moral principles -- do what's right even when what's wrong might seem like the easier path to take.

The prayer today is simple yet powerful, "Father, may integrity and honesty be their virtue and their protection. Amen"

I continue praying, "...may they seek righteousness, moral excellence, and goodness.  May their life and actions reflect kindness, purity, love, goodness.  May they find safety, shelter, and strength as they walk in honesty and live a life of integrity."


You've just read day 4 of  the series: 31 Biblical Virtues to Pray for Your Children.  Whether your children are young or old, whether you’re expecting or hope to be expecting, whether the children in your life are biologically yours, adopted, step, or they are just precious to you — you can join in and pray for them!!


Will YOU journey with me and watch how God shows up as we seek Him and believe in Him for our children?

IF so, simply fill out the form below with the date you want to start!  You will receive a FREE printable version of the graphic/poster + an email from me everyday for 31 Days to encourage you along the way with my daily virtue reflection.

--> To start at the beginning and see the initial invitation/announcement about this series, click HERE

Starving your Fears

“Feed your fears and your faith will starve. Feed your faith, and your fears will.” - Max Lucado

My 10-year-old son recently fasted from video games.

Now, he didn’t come up with this idea on his own… nor was I the one who suggested it. But at the urging of someone he trusted, Sam decided to fast from gaming for 4 full days.

Why? As an experiment.

For the past few weeks, he’d been having nightmares and feeling more anxious than usual. Tears and frustration were sitting right under the surface. He found himself scared to be in his room at night.

Sam was dealing with the spirit of FEAR.

And while it’s not a new struggle, it was getting out of hand. So the idea of fasting from video games was the perfect opportunity to see if they were the catalyst for Sam’s worries.

Knowing our son’s battle with fear, we are mindful in what he’s exposed to. His game time is strictly regulated and we have stringent standards for which video games he can play. Movies and television shows are closely monitored and we stay away from books that talk about monsters and evil.

But something was feeding that fearful spirit… and we needed to determine exactly what it was.

“Sam, if video games are somehow causing this fear and anxiety… then a fast from playing will starve them to death. The fear will simply go away.”

The landscape of those four days looked different.

We played Monopoly… a lot. He built countless Lego creations. We sat and talked as a family about what God was revealing to Sam through this time. The kids put on “shows” for me and my husband. Our basement got cleaned out.

But more importantly, we discovered that we did indeed starve that fear.

During the fast, he didn’t have any bad dreams. He was more courageous to stand up to his fearful thoughts and speak truth in response to the lies. Sam was calmer and not as close to tears.

The spirit of fear starved because we removed its food source.

What is causing fear in your life?
• Fear of saying “yes” to what God is asking?
• Fear of being abandoned in your relationships?
• Fear of walking away from that addiction?
• Fear of financial ruin because of mounting bills?

When you allow that fear to fester untouched, you are continuing to feed it.

When you feed it, you are permitting it to grow.

And when you let it grow, it begins to overtake your thoughts and actions.

That’s not God’s design.

“For God didn’t give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7

The spirit of fear isn’t from God. As a matter of fact, He gave us all we need to overcome it.

And part of that is the ability to starve it.

Sam still plays video games from time to time, but they’re not as important as they used to be. They’ve been exposed as a potential fear trigger. And at a moment’s notice, they will find themselves benched if need be.

What fears do you need to starve?

Lets Pray for Our Kids

A couple of years ago, a friend of mine presented me with a 2-sided, off-centered, black and white copy of a copy 8.5 x 11 piece of paper.  The top of one side read, 31 Biblical Virtues to pray for your kids.

Her and I talk frequently about parenting, how to be better moms, how to deal/cope/handle the different personalities of our precious-little-nuggets -- SO, of course the piece of paper looked to be something worth taking action on...praying specific Biblical virtues for our children.

Admittedly, I folded the piece of paper in half, tucked it into my Bible and didn't look at it again...

...UNTIL a week ago.

You see, my same sweet friend that gave me that piece of paper, last week shared with me that she had dusted off her piece of paper and stated to talk with her 3 kids {ages 3-7}, every morning at breakfast, about these virtues.

She told me that some of the virtues they don't really understand, but others they do -- she also shared that she's seeing fruit as a result of their daily discussions as they are interacting with others they come in contact with.

This encouraged me and fueled me to do something too!

Here’s what I did. I unpacked a “virtue” a day and discussed the daily virtue with my two little nuggets. I wrote about the life changing journey and share my reflection here, with you via email for 31 Days!

Do you want to JOIN me?

There is...P O W E prayer.

Let's pray these Biblical virtues, these scriptures, into the lives of our nuggets.  If it's appropriate and doable, lets create awareness in our children's lives by talking with them openly about these virtues.

I had my amazingly talented graphic designer Sue create this picture for us to make it easy to follow along...

Whether your children are young or old, whether you're expecting or hope to be expecting, whether the children in your life are biologically yours, adopted, step, or they are just precious to you -- you can join in and pray for them!!


Will YOU journey with me and watch how God shows up as we seek Him and believe in Him for our children?

IF so, simply fill out the form below with the date you want to start!  You will receive a FREE printable version of the graphic/poster + an email from me everyday for 31 Days to encourage you along the way with my daily virtue reflection.

"Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children." - Chuck Swindoll

* These 31 virtues were written by Bob Hostetler and published by NavPress to learn more about the author go to his website, follow him on twitter, or connect with him on facebook.  They also offer prayer cards to purchase, you can find them here.

Are You a Fan or a Follower?

In the few moments I had between Kid's Praise and busy kids, I heard an interview on Christian radio that really caught my attention.

Kyle Idleman, teaching minister at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky was being interviewed about the question: Are you a fan or a follower of Jesus Christ?

Maybe it's because "Tebow fever" is still in the air or maybe it's because we've just completed another Superbowl season, but...

...the question stuck with me.

I began to think about some of the differences between a fan and a follower:

  • A fan is a enthusiastic, jumping on the bandwagon and cheering when things are great. A follower doesn't waver. She sticks close, even when the outcome doesn't look favorable.
  • A fan knows about someone. A follower knows someone.
  • A fan loves the fun, but a follower is willing to work.

For a lot of people, it's easy to jump on the "Jesus bandwagon" -- to go to church and participate in events, to say the right things around the right people and act the part when others are looking, but when the rubber meets the road and life gets hard or popular opinion turns against us, do we stick with Him?

Idleman pointed out that a fan is close enough to be associated with Jesus, but not close enough that it requires something of me. Is this where so many of us hold back?

When it comes time to do something, to speak up or surrender or sacrifice, are we willing? Are we willing to quit sitting on the sidelines cheering and instead jump into the game, even if it means getting bloodied and bruised?

I have often been struck by Jesus' words in Matthew 7, a passage that Idleman also referenced. Upon first reading it, Jesus words seem harsh and rough, but isn't He here drawing that same distinction between fan and follower?

"Knowing the correct password--saying 'Master, Master,' for instance--isn't going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obedience--doing what my Father wills. I can see it now--at the Final Judgement thousands strutting up to me and saying, 'Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.' And do you know what I am going to say? 'You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don't impress me one bit. You're out of here.' - Matthew 7:21-23 (MSG)

The New International Version translates verse 23 as saying, "I never knew you!"

"True knowing comes down to the relationship where Jesus is what matters most" - Kyle Idleman

A fan knows about Jesus. A follower knows Him.

So how do you know if you are a fan or a follower? What is the litmus test to measure our role? We might feel like followers, but to what, or Whom, does the evidence of our lives point?

During the interview, Idleman shared three symptoms that might suggest I'm a fan rather than a follower.

  1. You might be a fan if you confuse your knowledge with intimacy. Just because you know about Jesus doesn't mean that you have a close relationship with Him.
  2. You might be a fan if you have a hard time identifying any sacrifices you've made for Jesus -- it's never really cost you anything.
  3. You might be a fan if you find that you're comfortable. We are called to carry a cross. Shouldering a cross should not be comfortable! There are times we have to step out of our comfort zones.

We can stop being fans and become true followers, and we don't have to do it on our own! For so many of us, we try and try and try only to feel like we come up short and fail again. The blessed news is that we don't transition from fans to followers on our own or by our individual strength!

It is God's grace that invites us, and God's Spirit that gives us the strength to follow.

"We want to make it trying when it really is dying" - Idleman

Becoming a follower of Jesus Christ is not about working and trying harder. It's about surrendering each and every day, beginning each day on our knees with a spirit of humility. Sometimes it's not about doing; it's about being.

Abide in Him (John 15).

"These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on a solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit--but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock. But if you use my words in Bible studies and don't work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards." - Matthew 7:24-27 (MSG)

I don't want to just know about Jesus. I want to know Him.
How about you?


{Idleman has a lot more to say on the topic of fan versus follower. In fact, he's written a whole book on it -- Not A Fan. If you'd like to investigate this idea more deeply, check it out.}

Beautiful: The Mess We Are

"We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah."
- Amy Grant

Isn't it something to ponder; as Amy Grant so eloquently sings the lyrics above, that God really does want to hear all about our hurts, our sadness, our deepest darkest thoughts? We are relational beings, and the need to share our lives and connect with our hearts to other hearts is part of our experience as we walk through this life. It's normal to need to 'talk' issues out with those we love and trust. But have you ever had a hurt so deep that your need to 'process' and talk through it went beyond the 'expectation' of those you trusted to listen? Lets face it, sometimes we can tire each other out. So what then? Where do we turn?

"Come to me all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30

Jesus is where we turn. People my let us down...

...but God never will.

People may tire from our need to 'talk', but God will never tire of us. He loves us in a way that goes beyond our human understanding and experience. The truth is, we all grieve and process hurts and losses differently. There may be heart ache in your life that will take years to process and grieve, there is no shame in taking all the time you need to heal. I am not saying we should remain 'stuck' and wallow in our sadness. God's Words to us are many about the thoughts we think and how to heal...

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:2

But when we 'cast our cares upon Him' we have a loving Father who wants, really wants, our 'truth at the moment'. The lyrics in Amy Grants song really cut through and help us to see what an amazing and authentic Savior we have; and how He desires an intimate and authentic relationship with us.


God loves a lullaby
In a mothers tears in the dead of night
Better than a Hallelujah sometimes.
God loves the drunkards cry,
The soldiers plea not to let him die
Better than a Hallelujah sometimes.

We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah.

The woman holding on for life,
The dying man giving up the fight
Are better than a Hallelujah sometimes
The tears of shame for what's been done,
The silence when the words won't come
Are better than a Hallelujah sometimes.

We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah
Better than a church bell ringing,
Better than a choir singing out,singing out.

We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah

Better than a church bell ringing
better than a choir singin' loud
singin' loud


If you are hurting today, you have a safe place to run. God's arms are open wide and there is enough room for all of the hidden places in your heart. Pour it all to Him; 'The beautiful mess we are, the honest cries of breaking hearts are better than a Hallelujah' to Him.

Photo Credit: artchick2002

Because of people like you...

People leave "marks" in our lives.  This poem touched my heart as I reflected upon the special people I've been blessed to know, learn from, grow from.  Those who in big ways and in small ways have left me forever changed.  May these words mark your heart like they did mine.

Because of people like you… 

My circle of friends is broader, my faith is deeper,
my life is richer, and my journey of joy in life
continues to unfold before me.

I have witnessed sincerity, generosity,
and patience.
I have learned truth, grace, and perseverance.
I have been shown humility, gratitude, and love.
I now know the glory of
a much greater power—God in my heart.
I have purpose, fulfillment, and peace.
I have choices, family, and security.

Because of people like you…
I am blessed.
I see.
I believe.
I am taught.
I am grateful.

Thank you for loving me when I can’t love myself.
Thank you for teaching me even though
I am not always a good student.
Thank you for showing me even when my mind is closed.
Thank you for instilling in me the values of
a better life even when I resist.
Thank you for saving my life.
Thank you for being a reminder of
what is right when I want to do wrong.
Thank you for the gift of being the person you are.

I am forever changed.
Because of people like you…

- Kate Kriha -

Breakthrough Ministries

We are thrilled to introduce to you our very first “KIP Pik.”  This organization is a perfect example, to us, of what we envisioned when we wrote our overview of How We Are, “Keeping it Personal and sharing your passion could be the start of an organization to help a family in need or a homeless/runaway on the street.”

We are proud to share with you, Breakthrough Ministries, Inc. Teri and I had a chance to visit with the men behind this ministry, and are excited to share with you their story!

Dave Engman had a vision in July of 2009 and launched Breakthrough Ministries in August 2009. This organization is based in Minnesota and exists to end homelessness, while helping people discover the destiny God has for their life. Their mission statement is simple, yet profound, “Leading the lost home,” in spirit and in flesh. They are introducing the homeless to unconditional love and acceptance, and meeting them where they are at, both physically and in the spiritual sense.  In this short period of time, Breakthrough Ministries has opened 3 homes, and are providing housing to 10 men and women who previously did not have a place to call home.

Breakthrough Ministries seeks to serve the Twin Cities homeless. That number is staggering. Research indicates that there are well over 10,000 homeless people in Minnesota. Of that, over 2,000 are sleeping in places that are considered uninhabitable. Places like under bridges, abandoned buildings, cars, etc.

The problems causing homelessness are not always the same. They range from loss of work, family issues, mental illness, loneliness, hopelessness, lack of self worth, rape, incest, neglect, abuse, hurt, etc.  This is the mission field. And it is right here in the Twin Cities and Breakthrough Ministries, Inc. is on a mission!

We had the privilege to talk to two of Breakthrough Ministies residents, Ken and Nick, who after a series of unfortunate life circumstances and illnesses, found themselves living under a bridge and in tents. Amazing men, with amazing hearts, who are overwhelmed with the love that has been poured over them. For the physical roof over their heads. For their safety. For food. For prayers.

Nick said something to us that I will never forget. “Who would walk up to, and want to talk to someone like me, living under a bridge?” Simply answered, Jesus would. And so would the men working at Breakthrough Ministries. You see, they continually are reminded of Matthew 25 verse 40. “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

If you’ve got a couple of minutes PLEASE watch this video documentary ~ Breakthrough Ministries Documentary

Keeping it Personal is offering a dollar for dollar match on any donation made to Breakthrough Ministries from now until May 31.  Follow this link to their website and click on the DONATE button ~ simply type the words “Keeping it Personal”  on the second page in the online donation process under Add Special Instructions to the Seller.  Or if you would prefer, checks can be mailed to PO Box 931 – Burnsville, MN 55337 – please write “Keeping it Personal” in the memo.  Even $5.00 would be a significant blessing.   We are excited to be a part of this ministry and walk along beside them as they move forward in their vision and passion, and continue to bless the lives of others.

If you want to learn more about Breakthrough Ministries and/or how you can get involved connect with them by going to their website and become a Fan on Facebook.

Who we are...

Keeping it Personal: not as in keeping it to yourself. It’s not, NOT sharing with others or being in your own private thoughts and keeping "it" -- what ever "it" may be to yourself.  Not ‘keeping it personal’ in the selfish sense of the phrase similar to a child who wants this to be “mine, mine, mine” or an adult who doesn’t want to share a good idea, thought, or compliment.

We’re keeping it personal – we’re about the relationship, sharing what’s real on a personal level. We’re taking the “impersonal” out of what society has made impersonal to speed up the process, to get going with the next thing. We want to inspire you to keep it personal in your daily interactions. Inspire you to look for the moments where you can impact the lives of others around you by sharing your experiences and your story. By freely giving compliments and encouraging words to others. We want to motivate you to reach out to others by keeping it personal, by using your special gifts and talents; by being real, honest, kind, genuine. We want to educate you and provide you with ideas that will impact your life, which in turn, you can share to impact the lives of others.

Keeping it personal is what customer service lacks. Keeping it Personal is what can turn an acquaintance into a life long friend. Keeping it Personal is what can give someone hope who is hopeless- because you were transparent and shared a story they could relate to. Keeping it Personal and sharing your passion could be the start of an organization to help a family in need or a homeless/runaway on the street. Keeping it Personal is dropping that personal handwritten card in the mail. Taking action with those lingering thoughts; NOT ignoring them. Keeping it Personal is taking the time to make a phone call to the person who’s been on your mind. The personal touch may be just what one person needs on a particular day to bring joy to their world.

Our mission is to be a daily reminder for people to keep it real by keeping it personal. Through sharing experiences + stories online, we hope to inspire you to keep it personal as you connect with your community and others around you.