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? 


More To Do in 2022!

My dad’s voice still echoes from my childhood every January. It was his tradition to announce his yearly motto to our family on the first day of the year. If he were able to today, I’m sure he would be shouting something like, “There’s more to do in 2022!” Although this year started with the all-too-familiar covid shut downs, I believe we can still push forward with a purposeful and hope-filled vision. We may need to be a little more flexible and creative as we consider what we can do, but let’s move around the obstacles and consider what God wants to accomplish through us this year.

Whether you are a goal-setter or not, you can still create a plan to use your God-given gifts and talents in a positive and productive way. The turn of a new year gives you an opportunity to look for areas of growth, potential and improvement, as well as determining a few bad habits you need to ditch.  

I like to apply the 333 Principle to my planning for the year.

  • 3 Areas of Focus for the Year
  • 3 Accomplishments Each Month
  • 3 Priorities Each Day

Simply put, I prayerfully choose three areas of focus for the year. I thoughtfully consider where God wants me to devote my attention for the year and where I can best serve using the gifts He has given me. Then at the beginning of each month, I not only review my three “focus areas” for the year, but I also write out three goals I want to accomplish during that month. Finally, every night I make a plan for the next day, writing down my schedule and the three priorities for the coming day.

The 333 Principle keeps me moving forward in a positive and purposeful way. It’s a simple routine and easy to apply to my life without getting frustrated by failed goals or unmet resolutions. It also keeps me from needless distractions or saying “yes” to every fun-sounding idea.

What about you? How can you implement the 333 Principle into your personal and/or professional life this year?

If you are looking for a place to volunteer and serve in your community, please prayerfully consider joining our volunteer team at Engage Positive Parenting Initiative. Go to www.EngageParenting.com for more information.

Living Your Purpose


Could the word scattered define your life? Most of us feel as though we are pulled a gazillion different directions without a meaningful focus or a purposeful plan. How can we regroup and get back on the a road that leads us toward living out our purpose?  Let’s examine a few simple questions to help you develop a personal mission statement. Prayerfully ponder the following:

  • What gifts and talents has God given me? What fills my heart with joy?
  • Who are the people who can benefit or be blessed from my gifts?
  • How can I use my gifts to influence or affect the people around me?

Take some time to answer these questions and then begin to use the answers to create a mission statement.

The What – As you look at your gifts, talents and passions choose one or two verbs that describe what you do best. Think about the spiritual gifts God has given you (reflect on Romans 12) and consider what unique ways God has made you. You could use verbs such as: teach, inspire, help, serve, give, build, restore, share. For me, my verb is “encourage.” So my mission statement starts with:

My mission is to encourage…

The Who  –  Think about who you want to reach with your “What.” Could it be women across the nation? Could it be people who are caregivers? Or perhaps your desire is to help the hurting or the lost. Do you want to reach tens of thousands of people or do you want to touch a significant few? Examine your heart’s desire and add your descriptive “Who” phrase to the statement. For me, I wrote:

My mission is to encourage men and women around the world…

The How – Now it is time to consider the effect that you want to have on the people you reach. This may develop or change over time, but you can also paint a picture with some broad brush strokes of how you want to influence or help others. Maybe your How is: to strengthen people’s lives physically, to help people emotionally, to develop programs, to give financially, to encourage spiritual growth. Add this final piece to your mission statement. Here’s mine:

My mission is to encourage men and women around the world

to pursue their God-given passion

and use their gifts and talents in a positive and productive way.


Now take a moment to write your statement:


When we ponder our purpose, we live with a clearer direction of what to are able to do, as well as what we probably should not do. Without a focus, we tend to be distracted by every opportunity or activity that comes along our path. Ultimately, each of our greater purpose on this earth is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. My hope is that you will find your true joy and fulfillment in relationship with Him and following the direction He leads you.

Photo by José Martín Ramírez C on Unsplash

Make the Most of Each Day


Do distractions seem to keep you from accomplishing all that you want to do in a day? If you are like most people, you have great intentions each morning but by the end of the day, the “To Do” List could be renamed the “Most of This Didn’t Happen” List. How can we live each day more intentionally and experience a sense of satisfaction when we finally slip into bed each night? Here are a few ideas to help you make the most of each day:

  1. Start each day with prayer. Before you hit the ground running, hit the ground on your knees. Find a quiet place where you can be alone, even for a few minutes, to seek God’s direction and ask for His leading throughout the day. Always begin with adoration, praising God for who He is and thanking Him for all He has done. Bring your needs, cares and worries before Him. Confess your sins to Him. Ask His Spirit to guide you and help you discern what is worth doing and what is a waste of time.
  2. Set boundaries with your distractions. We all have different things that tug and pull us away from what we need to accomplish, so the first way to fight distractions is to identify them. What are yours? Is it a co-worker who always wants to talk or gossip? Is it Instagram or facebook? Perhaps notifications or emails? Write out your top five distractions, and then make a wise plan as to how you can set a boundary for each one. Perhaps it is closing your door during certain working hours or only allowing yourself to look at Instagram at lunch time or turning off notifications on your phone. Only you know the best solution to your distractions, so think deliberately about how to conquer each one.
  3. Plan your day the night before. At the end of each day, make a detailed plan for the next day. Write down activities such as Prayer Time, workout and meals. Create a schedule and a plan of action for the meetings, errands and work that needs to get done. Certainly we all need to be flexible as plans may change or things may take longer than you expect, but writing down your plan allows you to wake up each morning knowing what you need to do and ready to do it. It also helps you sleep better at night, since you are not worrying or trying to remember all that needs to be done.
  4. Choose three priorities for each day. As you look over your plan in the morning, choose three items that are essential or most important for the day. Circle them and concentrate on getting those three activities done by the end of the day. Typically, three daily priorities are doable and easy to remember. Plus, by the end of the day you will feel a sense of accomplishment that you checked off the most important things on your list. Whatever you didn’t do by the end of the day, can go on your plan for the next day but at least you know you covered your priorities.
  5. Set aside power halfhours. It’s amazing what you can accomplish in a half-hour if you set your mind to it. Use a timer. I typically use an old kitchen timer because the ticking helps me stay on target. I choose not to use my phone timer, since the phone itself is a huge distraction. If you need to get a task accomplished, set the timer for 30 minutes and plunge full-focused into your task. No distractions allowed. After your power half-hour, take a break, walk around, check to make sure you didn’t miss any important calls. Then schedule another power half-hour for the next priority task at hand.


Try these five simple tips. Make them into a new habit for the new year and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that you are seizing each day with intentionality and purpose.

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash