Sometimes, with good intentions, parents will send their children off to school with a statement like, “Have Fun!” There’s a problem with that statement however and in today’s video, Dr. Kathy Koch explains why and what to prepare the children for as they head back to school.

Who Inspires You?

Who Inspires You?


Who Inspires You?


Who has inspired you lately? Think about it for minute.

I was just inspired by Sandi, a friend I’m getting to know better. She played the piano in church on Sunday and yet only took three years of piano lessons when she was in junior high. She told me she considers yourself mostly self-taught. She’s probably very music smart.

I don’t know a lot of people who start from a somewhat meager beginning and work on something hard enough and long enough alone that blessing others with the skill becomes possible. Sandi did a great job on the prelude, offertory, and postlude and accompanying us as we sang hymns. I never would have guessed she only took lessons for three years.

Sandi’s daughter was a choir teacher. Sandi also worked to develop her skill so she could accompany the choir for her daughter. That takes real skill. She loved serving and helping her daughter.

I am inspired because too many people don’t serve because they assume they don’t have enough ability. My friend, Sandi, stretches herself. She wants to serve. Therefore, she works to develop talent. She inspires me.

Some parents tell me they’re afraid to give their children piano lessons, sign them up for drama, or enroll them on a sport’s team. They’re afraid their kids will want to do it forever and it will drain the family’s finances and be so time-consuming that there’s no time for anything else. Or, they’re afraid they’ll hate the lessons, whine a lot, and give up. But, …

Have we missed out? How many “Sandis” haven’t been discovered because we never got them started or because they quit when lessons were over?

Who can you inspire today? Don’t wait.

Which skill is within you that you could develop for God’s service? Don’t wait.

Who inspires you? Who is your Sandi? Thank him or her.

Hug More

Hug More


Hug More


“We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”  ~Virginia Satir

Have you read about all the things hugs can do for us? They help the immune system, decrease depression, reduce stress, and induce sleep. As Josh Richardson wrote in a post on, “[Hugging is] invigorating, rejuvenating and has no unpleasant side effects. It is all natural, organic, naturally sweet, no pesticides, no preservatives, no artificial ingredients and 100 percent wholesome. There are no batteries to wear out, no periodic check-ups, low energy consumption, high energy yield, inflation proof, nonfattening, no monthly payments, theft-proof, nontaxable, nonpolluting and, of course, fully returnable.”

Therefore, I’ve rediscovered the beauty of hugging. Not side-hugs. Real full-on embraces.

This past week, I’ve been with Nancy and her family in Lynden, WA. Nancy is our Project Manager. We’ve been working on various tasks and also enjoying ourselves. As a result, it’s been a good rest for me.

Nancy’s family hugs. All the time. It’s beautiful.

They hug when they say “good morning.” They hug when they say “good night.” They often kiss each other on the cheeks, too.

And you know what? They hug goodbye at the end of an evening of fellowship even when they have a plan to see each other the next day.

When I visit, I get all the hugs, too. Of course, I hug back. It’s easy. They’re warm, genuine, and easy-to-get-to-know and easy-to–be-with people.

Hugging is good self-care. Hugging is good group-care.

How emotionally healthy are you and your family? Being hugged reminds us we’re not alone. Hugging when love is barely felt can cause it to grow. Expressing love when it’s strong, like in Nancy’s family, keeps relationships healthy and deepens them.

Let’s hug more!

Do you send cards in the mail and/or enjoy receiving them? Dr. Kathy hopes the habit never dies even in the age of texting. She keeps many of the cards she receives and she’ll share about a special one from her parents in this video.

With God All Things Are Possible

With God All Things Are Possible

With God All Things Are Possible

During and after the effects of Harvey and Irma, people helped people and strangers became neighbors. Good people did good things. God’s people did good things. Of course, this doesn’t diminish the reality of definite heartache.

In addition to noticing the good that people did during hard times, let’s notice the good God did. Yes, there was a tragic loss of life and property. Yet, God is a miracle worker. He was there with people as they faced dire circumstances. He is still there.

As a believer in God and as a believer in the holy Word of God, I know God is good. I choose to believe what the Bible teaches. Even when storms surge, God is good. Still good. Always good.

What if we looked for His goodness more intentionally? Let’s talk about His protection, how much worse things could have been, and all that did not go wrong. Let’s testify that God is strong, wise, and omnipotent. He is almighty and infinite in power.

Sometimes it’s hard to see God’s goodness in the midst of hard times.

Destruction. Fear. Danger.

Sometimes, we don’t take the time to notice. We’re not seeing what He’s doing. We might expect God to show up in one way. But when He doesn’t, we get disappointed and decide He wasn’t there for us. What if we had looked for other evidence?

God might prove His goodness in surprising ways. Listen to stories from friends and colleagues. Help them see God in their story. Enter into conversations with others trying to process all the damage. Let’s help them believe God was not surprised. He is still there.

The following story is one of my favorite examples of God being good in a surprising way that almost wasn’t recognized. There’s no evidence it’s true, but I could see how it could have been. I hope you enjoy it. I also hope it reminds you that God answers our prayers in His ways that are best. Let’s look for Him more in good times and bad. Then, let’s share what we see.

God Works In Mysterious Ways

During World War II, a US marine was separated from his unit on a Pacific island. The fighting had been intense, and in the smoke and the crossfire he had lost touch with his comrades.

Alone in the jungle, he could hear enemy soldiers coming in his direction.

Scrambling for cover, he found his way up a high ridge to several small caves in the rock. Quickly he crawled inside one of the caves. Although safe for the moment, he realized that once the enemy soldiers looking for him swept up the ridge, they would quickly search all the caves and he would be killed.

As he waited, he prayed, “Lord, if it be Your will, please protect me. Whatever Your will is, though, I love You and trust You. Amen.”

After praying, he lay quietly listening to the enemy begin to draw close. He thought, “Well, I guess the Lord isn’t going to help me out of this one.” Then he saw a spider begin to build a web over the front of his cave.

As he watched, listening to the enemy searching for him all the while, the spider layered strand after strand of web across the opening of the cave.

“Hah,” he thought. “What I need is a brick wall and what the Lord has sent me is a spider web. God does have a sense of humor.”

As the enemy drew closer he watched from the darkness of his hideout and could see them searching one cave after another. As they came to his, he got ready to make his last stand. To his amazement, however, after glancing in the direction of his cave, they moved on. Suddenly, he realized that with the spider web over the entrance, his cave looked as if no one had entered for quite a while.

“Lord, forgive me,” prayed the young man. “I had forgotten that in You a spider’s web is stronger than a brick wall.”

We All Forget At Times

We all face times of great trouble. When we do, it is so easy to forget what God can work in our lives, sometimes in the most surprising ways. And remember with God, a mere spider’s web becomes a brick wall of protection.

Help Them Control Their Behavior

Help Them Control Their Behavior

Help Them Control Their Behavior

All of us at Celebrate Kids are passionate that children know who they are. And, parents and educators need to know who they are. Identity controls behavior.

I’ve enjoyed writing this series on helping children develop a complete identity. A complete identity is important for many reasons I’ve included in the posts. Let me summarize it this way:

Children with a complete identity will be healthier. They’ll be more secure and confident. Why? If one part of their identity fails them, they’ll know more about themselves to rely upon. For instance, if children think they only have an intellectual identity and their grades begin to slip, they may panic. This won’t help their concentration and they may earn lower grades in the next week. But, when they know their character, they can rely on the choice to be diligent to raise their grades. When they know their social identity, they may think of someone to study with. Knowing their emotional identity can help them calm down. I trust this makes sense.

During the past 2 weeks, like me, have you paid more attention to the weather than normal? Have you been glued to the TV and watching reports about Harvey and Irma? Have you been on Facebook more than normal to check on your friends? Praying about protection more than usual?

Have you felt out of balance? Out of sorts? This is what might happen to children who all of a sudden rely on just one of their identities.

Let’s study our children and know all of who they are. Then let’s make sure we pass our observations onto them. It matters.



You can read the earlier blogs in this series here:

Introduction to blog series about a complete identity

Intellectual identity

Emotional identity

Social identity

Character quality identity

Physical identity

Spiritual identity

Do you like roses? Many people do and Dr. Kathy does, but perhaps for reasons that might be different from yours. When you watch, you’ll see her beautiful keepsake from one of her trips to Thailand.

Building Your Child’s Interest Into Their Strengths

Building Your Child's Interests Into Their Strengths

Building Your Child’s Interests Into Their Strengths

Talking with children and teens about their interests is one way to develop strengths. It may be one of the most important ways to encourage children.

Just look. Listen. What do they like doing? What do they talk about? Pay attention – what obviously gives them joy? Enter into conversations. Watch what happens.

I recently spent some time with Lauren, the 11-year-old who took these pictures, and her five siblings and parents. Lauren and her siblings obviously like nature. The children enjoyed pointing out the bunnies in their backyard and telling me stories about their imagined adventures.

After just a few minutes, Lauren asked her mom if she could use her camera. Because her mom quickly said “yes” it indicated to me that it’s a common request. As I watched Lauren, her picture-smart skills became obvious. Because she liked being able to see things more clearly through the camera’s lens and capture what she enjoyed in pictures.

I loved her mom’s support of her interest and budding talent. Lauren was careful with the camera as she spent time in the backyard and front. She showed us her pictures. As I commented on the details, she stood taller and ran to take more pictures.

She came back often to show us more. It’s not hard to encourage children. It’s easy! Because intelligence can become strengths when interests are acknowledged, that’s what we need to do. When Lauren’s mom and I talked with her about specifics we noticed in her pictures, Lauren was encouraged.

She loved being reminded that she’s nature smart and picture smart. I’m grateful her parents affirm her and her siblings with the “smart” language. This encourages children’s interests and strengths.

A Few Of Lauren’s Photos

Lauren didn’t center the pink flower and she focused on it, leaving the background a bit fuzzy. I never would have thought to do that.

She captured raindrops on the daisy.

Lauren patiently waited for the bunny to get into position for the picture she wanted to take.

The detail of the dandelion impresses me.

Lauren is 11!

Children are talented. They are smart! Try spending quality time with children you know and be fully present and focused so you can talk about what interests them. Watch as they respond to your interest. Before you know it, interests will develop into strengths.

To God be the glory!


God Intervenes – True Hope For Texas

God Intervenes - True Hope For Texas

God Intervenes

True Hope For Texas

It’s hard to watch TV coverage of the devastating hurricane and rain damage in the Houston, TX, area. It’s hard not to watch. But, it’s hard to watch. Hard not to watch. Hard to watch. …

Interspersed with that coverage, there’s news about this and that. And “this” and “that” aren’t good.

Tragedy here. More tragedy there. Tragedy everywhere. This is how it seems sometimes.

While, in the old days, you could decide not to turn on the television and you could probably avoid the news. That’s not the case anymore. There are headlines here, there, and everywhere. There are TVs everywhere. Email blasts. Text alerts. Facebook posts. Tweets.

Discouragement can set in. Children who are also aware can be scared.

As a believer in the God of the Bible and His Son, Jesus Christ, I don’t want to be discouraged. I don’t want you to be either.

I believe what God’s Holy Word declares about Him. He is on the throne. He is omnipotent – He has unlimited authority and power. Nothing surprises Him. He intervenes when He wants to. While I admit I can get concerned and I wonder why God allows some things to occur. I also remember God is God. He gets to decide. God is interested in the big picture I can’t see.

Scripture encourages me. Because Scripture reminds me that God intervenes. I need to remember this today, and tomorrow and the day after that. He is active and aware and not wringing His hands worried about what His people are or aren’t doing.

The book of Esther has some of my favorite truths about God intervening.

In Esther 2:1-9 we learn that Esther was “lovely in form and features.” God intervened because only beautiful women could be in the harem from which the new queen would be chosen. God also intervened because Esther won Hegai’s favor. He was the king’s eunuch in charge of the women.

In 2:17 we learn Esther was chosen to be the queen. And this changed everything. Any number of women could have been chosen. God intervened.

Another evidence of God intervening is found in chapter 2:21-23. Esther’s cousin, Mordecai, who raised her when she was orphaned, “just happened” to be in the right place at the right time to learn that some men were plotting to kill the king. As a result, he was able to save the king’s life. This, too, changed everything.

If you’re not familiar with the fascinating story of Esther and Mordecai, I encourage you to read the short Old Testament book of Esther. You’ll find other evidence that God intervenes.

So allow God’s Word to encourage you. Know that God is active and involved. Talk with your children about this so their faith in God is strengthened during challenging times.

Also, allow your past to encourage you. Remember times when God showed up and made a positive difference. When did He last intervene for you?

God intervenes. Pray expectantly! Watch optimistically! Finally, let’s not be discouraged.