The more terrible the storm, the more necessary the anchor.

William S. Plumer

The Joy of Life

When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Colossians 3:4

As followers of Christ, He is not just a part of our life or a nice guy that we segment off to Sunday mornings.  Christ is our life. He is in us, He lives through us. He gives us strength and wisdom for our journey. Most importantly He gives us the promise of eternal life. He is the one who makes us who we are. He is our life and without Him our lives would be incomplete and without purpose.           

This verse from Colossians is filled with great promise.  It not only reminds us that our life is abundantly fulfilled and enriched here on this earth through Christ, but we also have the beautiful promise that He is alive and we will be with Him in glory. What a beautiful future awaits us in our heavenly home! What joy for those in Christ who have gone before us! As we head toward Easter, let us celebrate the risen Christ who gives our life meaning as well as hope for eternity.  

Photo by todd kent on Unsplash

Celebrating a Life Lived with Purpose

This past week we celebrated the life and home-going of my dad, Garry D Kinder. I had the honor to speak at his funeral, and I want to share my tribute with you:

What a privilege and blessing it is to be Garry Kinder’s daughter.

What a kind, generous, positive, loving, loyal, honest, godly man and father he was!

  • Some of my earliest memories include dad pushing me on a swing at the city park in Pekin Ill.
  • I remember him pushing me as I learned to ride my bike on Thornhill Drive in Akron Ohio.
  • I remember dad pushing me on a sled, down giant snow-covered hills in Detroit Michigan.
  • I remember dad pushing me to go to every ..home… football game of the Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions and his beloved Dallas Cowboys.

But dad also gave us positive pushes –  mentally, emotional and spiritually.

Every January 1st, he gave us a big positive push to start off the new year with a motivational slogan. We woke up to his voice blasting over the intercom –

  • We’re going to do more in 74!… or
    • Let’s strive in 75!… or
    • It’s going to be great in 78!

And then there were those Kinderisms:

  • Everyday in Every way I’m getting better and better
    • If you are not 10 minutes early, you are late (I always struggled with that one)
    • Finish Strong! Finish Well!
    • Make a decision, then make it a right decision

He gave us a positive push of encouragement at our weekly family meetings.

He gave us a positive push every Sunday to get us to church on time… (and I mean every Sunday – even after staying out most of the night for homecoming or prom)

Dad gave us a positive push when mom died, as he showed us how to grieve and handle hard things.

He pushed us by his kind example of loving everyone and finding the best in them. He was generous and thoughtful, which has impacted and influenced me to this day. And I now see it so clearly in the lives of our daughters and nieces and grandkids – the legacy continues!

A few years ago the tables turned, and I ended up pushing dad to write a book with me called Positive Connectivity ( a future best-seller I’m sure). It was a great joy to draw out timeless principles and stories from his career. We shared many hours in his twilight years working on this legacy together.

One of the things I discovered is that every month dad wrote out his life mission, along with monthly goals and prayer requests. Here’s his life mission:

To help literally hundreds of millions of people to better lives:

more secure financially, more satisfying spiritually and more fulfilling emotionally

Certainly, he was successful in fulfilling his mission and many of you are recipients of his influence over the years, not only in business but in life. You know as well as I do, that he gave a positive push to countless people around the world.

Later when dad went to Tradition’s memory care, I pushed him in his wheelchair. He was peaceful and quiet.  I remember thinking one day as I was on my way to visit him, “Lord, why do you allow my dad to linger in this state?”  Of course, God was not obligated to answer me in any way, but that very day God gave me a precious glimpse that He was still using dad.

              As I pushed dad to his lunch table, there was a young care-giver feeding another patient. The care-giver said to me, “I love your dad. I read his books to him and I want you to know they are changing my life. My grandmother taught me about God when I was young, but I haven’t thought about God in a long time. But reading your dad’s books to him has made me start praying. In fact, I’ve started praying at every meal and before I go to bed.”   

 ……..God wanted me to hear that. I brought her a Bible and rejoiced that God used my dad to bring one more person to a deeper faith in Christ.

Whether he was impacting thousands or simply one care-giver at Tradition, dad made a positive difference. He saw the best in each person he met. And given a choice, he would say it was worth it to linger a few more years even for one person!!

If dad were standing here today he would say:

  • See the best in every person!
  • Give everyone you meet a positive push!
  • And most importantly, point them to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.

Now I have three in Heaven. I’m thankful for their legacy and their faith in Christ. I know they are having a wonderful time together. I hope that as a result of my dad’s service, you are inspired to look to Jesus and place your faith in Him.

Live on Purpose!

Hello and welcome to Positive Life Principles. I hope you find encouragement in this place. I’ve asked my friend Candace Gray to be our guest blogger for the month of January. Her insight and inspiration are sure to strengthen your heart. Find out more about Candace at the end of this post.

– For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,

which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

Are you clear on your purpose?  There have been many seasons when I struggled to clearly understand mine.  I thought defining your purpose was a one-and-done event and once you defined it, you never needed to question it again.  I expected to fulfill my purpose in a predictable, logical sequence of events.  When that didn’t happen, I felt confused, frustrated and stuck.   

It’s been said that defining your purpose is a matter of answering the question:  why do I exist?  But that’s a weighty question for a finite human being. The truth is that God does not reveal the entirety of His plans & purposes for us at any one point in time. God is multilayered and complex, and He design us that way as well.  To narrow purpose to our own understanding based on one point in time can be way too limiting.  Instead, the best way to understand purpose is in seasons.  I now have a simplified definition of purpose:  it’s how do I make life better for others.  While there are common threads throughout my life, my expressions of purpose have looked very different in various seasons and situations. 

You may be in a season where you work full-time on a lofty cause; or you may be dreaming about something you would like to do.  You may even be in a vocation that doesn’t seem meaningful or you may be in a season as a full-time parent or caregiver.  As long as you are serving others by applying your God-given, mix of gifts, skills and experiences to a situation, you are living purposefully and bringing glory to God.  As you simplify the concept of purpose you will be able to see the wide variety of ways God shows Himself to others through you.  

Live on purpose daily, but don’t overcomplicate the matter.  God has created you to do good works and He will continue to reveal the next chapter to you.  Identify how you can make a difference in the season you are in and leave the rest to God. 

Questions for Reflection

  • In what ways have you struggled to define your purpose?
  • What simple ways do you make life better for others? 


Master Your Mindset

Welcome to Positive Life Principles with Karol Ladd. I’m glad you are here. My desire is to encourage your heart and strengthen your faith through the truth found in the Bible. For the month of January, I have asked my friend Candace Gray to share her wisdom and insights on starting the year off in a positive direction. I know you will enjoy her blog. You’ll find more info about Candace at the end of the blog.

  • Numbers 13:33 “…We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.” 

Many success gurus talk about the importance of mindset. Mindset refers to strongly ingrained patterns of your thoughts, attitudes, assumptions and beliefs. You may have good days with a positive mindset and discouraging days when your mindset is negative. But, just like establishing healthy eating practices, the issue is not what you do for a day or two, but your prevailing habits over time.

Mindset is incredibly crucial because if you have a faith-filled mindset, it can propel you toward great achievements and give you the ability to persevere despite significant obstacles. Likewise, if your mindset is negative, it can derail you from accomplishing what you desire or it can prolong the time it takes you to get there. Some believe that mindset is simply what you believe about yourself, but what you believe about yourself is directly related to what you believe about God.     

As God was preparing the growing nation of Israel to take possession of the land He promised them, they had a pattern of negative thinking. They routinely looked at their circumstances and dismissed God. They consistently displayed a lack of faith in Him and belief in His promises.  The result of their stinking thinking was a grasshopper mentality. They viewed themselves as small and powerless in the face of their enemies. They felt they would be crushed if they attempted to take the opportunity that God wanted to give them.    

We may wrestle with questions about God’s intentions toward us: Are His plans for me really good? Does He really care about the affairs of my life? Is He really at work in my life? Does He truly want to work through me to bless others? Does He truly have a purpose for me? Is my life going somewhere or is it just randomness and minutia? Is He willing to act powerfully on my behalf? Will He show up for me?

Don’t be afraid to take your questions to God. Hebrews 11:6 says, “He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” If you struggle with a grasshopper mentality, ask for His help.  He loves to strengthen our faith, since our faith is what pleases Him.  He will help you develop a faith-filled mindset that boldly pursues purpose throughout the year.

Questions for Reflection:

  • When have you viewed yourself as a grasshopper in your own eyes? 
  • How can you become more aware of the pattern of your thoughts?
  • How can you strengthen your faith in God?

About Candace: Candace Gray is a seasoned leader with a track record of living a life of purpose and helping others to do the same. She is a Senior Director for Buckner Children and Family Services and a longtime member of Concord Church in Dallas. 

If you’d like to follow her full 21-day devotional series, go to 

Photo by Diana Simumpande on Unsplash

Photo by Jonathan Leppan on Unsplash

Creating a Prayer Strategy

Welcome to Positive Life Principles with Karol Ladd. I’m so glad you have joined me here for a healthy dose of encouragement and wisdom. During the month of January, I’ve asked my friend Candace Gray to be my guest blogger and share her insights on starting the new year in a positive and productive way. Enjoy and be strengthened!

– Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

  Matthew 7:7

Do you have a strategic approach to your prayers? Being strategic is about being consistent and intentional. Making progress on meaningful goals can be a fight, so you need a battle strategy for the year.  Here are some things to consider:  how & when will you pray? What and who will you pray for? What are your go-to Scriptures that encourage you and remind you of truth? Who are the people who will encourage you, pray with you and challenge you?  Finally, does your prayer strategy include bold requests?  

There are many benefits and specific promises tied to prayer. James 5:16 tells us that the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.  Here are some suggestions for being strategic in prayer:

  1. Ask, Seek, Knock continuously.  Matthew 7:7-10. This passage is an encouragement to be persistent and consistent in prayer and you will be rewarded with a response. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. (7:7)” Furthermore, the passage explains the heart of God and His willingness to respond to  His children. “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for fish, will give Him a snake?  If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him. (7:9-10)”
  • Be bold. In Matthew 14:29, Peter asked Jesus to allow him to walk on water. Jesus’s response to him was, “Come.”  He allowed Peter to walk on water just because Peter was bold enough to ask.  Not one to waste an opportunity, Jesus used the experience to show His power and increase Peter’s faith.
  • Ask with confidence. 1 John 5:14-15 says, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God:  that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him.”  Don’t over-analyze your prayers and hold back in what you ask of God. If you pray for something that is not in alignment with God’s will, know that He is good and He will sort it out. He does not punish you for asking.  Instead, He teaches you so that you grow in understanding His will.  Therefore, present the desires of your heart to God and let Him guide you in His will. If I pray for something that’s not good for me and is not born out of the right motives, God, in His kindness, will help me to come to that realization. In His mercy, He will not give me something that He knows will be harmful to me.

In the spirit of confidence in God and pursuing a focused, purposeful and bold new year, pray and seek:

  • God’s vision for you for this year; 
  • Ability to do more than you think is possible this year;
  • Wisdom, creativity and practical ideas for accomplishing your goals this year. 

About Candace: Candace Gray is a seasoned leader with a track record of living a life of purpose and helping others to do the same. She is a Senior Director for Buckner Children and Family Services and a longtime member of Concord Church in Dallas. 

If you’d like to follow her full 21-day devotional series, go to 

Photo by Diana Simumpande on Unsplash