15 Ways to Be Ready for Company (any time of the year)

CA-guests.jpgDoes your heart rate increase when company is coming? Here is a list of 15 ways you can keep your home–and yourself–ready for company no matter whether a holiday is coming or not!

1. Keep non-perishable snacks on hand (such as cheese sticks, 100-calorie cookies, etc.) and put them out in an attractive bowl or basket.

2. Always have some type of commonly liked beverage on hand such as soda or coffee.

3. Have at least one package of brownie mix or some other dessert mix in case you want to provide a quick dessert. Particularly quick are the refrigerator cookies or cinnamon rolls that are easy to pull out and bake.

4. Keep easy meals available, especially if kids or teens tend to come over regularly. These include frozen pizza, mac & cheese, sandwich meat and  fresh bread.

5. Keep popcorn available to make up a big batch for a spontaneous movie night.

6. Keep the “guest triangle” areas of your home clean. This usually includes the bathroom most likely to be used by guests and the kitchen.

7. Keep your main entry area picked up as it is the first thing you and guests will see.

8. Keep doors closed on rooms that are not as likely to be “company presentable.” This usually includes bedrooms and perhaps bonus rooms. Unless you are giving a tour, you don’t need to open these rooms.

9. Keep sanitary wipes available for quick wipe downs of counters and sinks just before guests come over. Even small children can help with this.

10. Purchase a “quick vac” tool to do quick vacuuming of high traffic areas without pulling out a major vacuum cleaner.

11. Keep candles and/or fresh scent products on hand to have lit or going when a guest is coming by.

12. Keep board games accessible and possibly visible so that you can encourage guests to enjoy a game with you.

13. Consider purchasing battery operated candles with timers. This can assure that a “candle” is safely lit at a certain time every evening. Bonus: they turn off automatically. (Tip: purchase rechargeable batteries as dailyuse of these candles will use up batteries ever 4-6 weeks.)

14; If you have a guest room, always wash sheets and re-make bed soon after a guest has left. That way the room is ready for the next guest.

15. Keep a basket of travel size items in the guest room if you have frequent overnight guests.Also, treat yourself like a guest. You and your family are the ones who live in the house. At least on occasion, bake something just for your spouse and kids, not only when company is coming. Keep the house picked up so YOU can enjoy it, not just to “perform” for company!

Coffee Break Bible Study: Revelation 2-6 #bgbg2

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Read Revelation 2.

What was a concern about the church in Ephesus, and what does that reveal to us?

 

How does the messenger encourage the church at Smyrna?

Read Revelation 3.

 

The church at Sardis is told to “wake up!” In what area of your life do you need to “wake up” and pay more attention to?

 

What is the church of Philadephia told?

 

Read Revelation 4.

Use some of the praise words in this chapter to inspire your own time of praise.

 

What are some elements in this chapter that pique your senses?

 

Read Revelation 5.

 

Who is the only one worthy of praise?

 

Imagine a time when all the world–every creature–will praise God.

 

Read Revelation 6.

What are some of the things that touch you about the opening of the seven seals?

 

What characteristics of God are revealed in this chapter?

 

Setting Goals with Your Team

The end of the year seems to light a bit of a fire in me for looking into the new one and refreshing my goals and thoughts for the future. But goal setting doesn’t have to be confined to the December/January transition. From time to time, it is wise to sit down with your team throughout the year and ask, “Where do we want to go from here?” This can relate to new or existing projects, initiatives that need to be changed, or dreaming for the future. Here are a few tips for making goal-setting as a team effective and fun!

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Dream big, but be reasonable. Let your team brainstorm crazy ideas and after they are all on the table, then begin to select a goal that is reasonable. For example, if they want to have a big appreciation event for your clients, let them brainstorm big, then design and edit as needed to fit budget and business culture.

Merge individual and team goals. Encourage your team members to set individual goals as well as name what they would like to see the team do as a whole. For example, perhaps a team member would like to learn a certain software program in more depth. Let them be the ones to use that program to track details for a project the entire team will be involved in. Or maybe a few of your employees have fitness goals. Tie these in with a group registration for run/walk benefiting a local charity.

Rotate leadership. Short term initiatives are a great way to hone the leadership skills of individual team members. Allow those interested (and encourage those who are not) to take the helm for a particular project, while staying accessible for guidance and mentoring.

Measure and celebrate. Most goal setting experts will tell you that goals should be measurable and that when they are reached, should be celebrated. Keep the team informed of progress, keep one another accountable, and plan small celebrations for milestones achieved along the way (and perhaps a big one when the entire project is complete!)

Be flexible. Goals are great as a map, but you must be willing to adjust expectations in light of economic concerns, illness, staff turnover, etc. Don’t make the goal so lofty or rigid that you can’t celebrate a partial accomplishment.

Have fun with goal setting! While it’s likely your plans won’t go perfectly, it’s better to have a plan than to wander haphazardly through work and life!

Question: How do you set goals with your team?

Coffee Break Bible Study: 1 John 5; 2 John; 3 John; Jude; Revelation 1 #bgbg2

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Read 1 John 5.

How do we know that we truly love God?

 

What touches you about the conclusion of this letter?

 

Read 2 John.

Who do you think John is writing to?

 

What is meaningful about verse 4? Your situation may or may not reflect this. Spend some time in prayer for your children or a child you love in either case.

 

Read 3 John3 John.

What blesses you about this letter to a friend?

 

What do we learn about Diotrephes? What warning does this give us?

 

Read Jude.

 

Why must we be careful of false teaching?

 

How do verses 20-22 inspire you?

 

Read Revelation 1.

Who will John be writing to?

 

See if your Bible provides a summary and information about this book, and read through it.

Organizational Charts: Thinking Outside the Boxes and Arrows

CA-org chart

Many businesses and non-profit organizations have an organizational chart of some type, which can be a good idea. Clearly defined responsibilities can really help team members know what they are responsible for and who to go to when they need information or approval for a project. However, organizational charts can cause problems too. Let’s consider some pros and cons.

Pros:

It helps define the chain of command.

It gives appropriate boundaries to each team member.

It provides a visual, “bird’s eye” view of how the organization is running and where gaps may exist.

Cons:

It can cause power-hungry people to bask in authority, or fight for new positions.

It may not be relevant to how the company actually operates.

It can make some team members feel less valuable due to its “top down” design.

It may not effectively show interconnectedness between departments.

It may be held to religiously by some personalities while ignored or minimized by others. (i.e. the “by the book person” vs. the “big picture” person.)

When thinking about having an organizational chart for your team, ask yourself the following:

  • Why do we need an org chart? (Is lack of clarity a problem on your team?
  • Can we design the chart to look more like a team plan rather than a hierarchy?
  • How would this org chart help us be “servant leaders” to each other?
  • Will we hold to this rigidly as a staff, or would we consider it a guideline?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you can begin to form a chart that fits your group. Consider thinking outside the boxes and arrows as you do this…make it fit your team and unique dynamic. Remember, an org chart should help your team, not hamper them.

Question: Does your workplace use an organizational chart? Is it effective?

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Coffee Break Bible Study: 2 Peter 3; 1 John 1-4 #bgbg2

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Read 2 Peter 3.

What are some things that will happen in the last days?

How does verse 9 inspire you to patiently pray for those who do not yet know God?

 

Read 1 John 1.

What do you learn about God and Christ in this chapter?

 

How can we reflect Christ?

 

Read 1 John 2.

Who is our Advocate? How does that make you feel?

 

How can you more effectively abide in God today?

 

Read 1 John 3.

Write out verse 1 and rejoice over it!

What are some practical ways you can show God’s love to others?

 

Read 1 John 4.

Why should we “test the spirits?”

 

“Ok Google” Commands

Google now infographic

It’s becoming more and more common to own a smart phone (I’ll leave it to you to decide if it’s something you need) so I thought I’d share an infographic for my Android-owning friends that summarizes many of the “OK Google” commands you can ask your phone. Sorry iPhone friends…but here’s a link to some Siri commands should you need them!
Credit to: Google Now voice commands by trendblog.net

Coffee Break Bible Study: 1 Peter 3-5; 2 Peter 1-2 #bgbg2

2 Peter 1-3

Read 1 Peter 3.

What verses in this chapter most speak to your family situation?

 

Is there someone you are having trouble living in harmony with? Pray for that person today, and do something to serve them.

 

Read  1 Peter 4.

What does it mean to be “clear-minded?”

 

Should we expect to suffer as Christians?

 

Read 1 Peter 5.

What does Peter tell the elders?

 

Take a moment to ponder verse 7. Write on a piece of paper something that is worrying you (use code if you have to.) Then crumple it up and throw it away, symbolizing “casting your care.”

 

Read 2 Peter 1.

Where do we get everything that we truly need?

 

What do you learn about Scripture in this chapter?

 

Read 2 Peter 2.

 

What warnings does Peter give here?

 

Think about your relationships. Are there any that are unhealthy or destructive? How is God leading you to deal with them?

 

 

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How to Reassign–or Revamp–a Project Graciously

CA-project

Brad assigned Susan the project of overhauling the supply room. Susan always seemed interested in organization, so Brad thought she would be a great candidate for the job.

Several weeks went by, and Brad only saw small progress in the room. While he was glad to see some action, he could tell that Susan wasn’t handling the task with the enthusiasm he had hoped. A quality inspection team was coming in one month and Brad needed to do something. Here’s what he did:

He talked to Susan privately.  There was no need to embarrass Susan in front of the rest of the team. She was a good worker…just not making progress on this project.

He asked questions. Brad called Susan in, and instead of making an critical statements, asked her questions such as, “Are you enjoying the project?” “What is your plan for completion?” “Is there anything you need?”

He listened. Susan shared how overwhelmed she felt by being in charge of the entire room. She knew staff members had preferences about how things were kept and didn’t feel it was right that she would be in charge of her peers in this area.

He considered Susan’s personality. Susan loved to work in the background and was usually good at doing her work. In this case though, Brad had put her in an awkward position of having to be create solutions when she would have done better with executing someone else’s creative direction.

He made modifications, with Susan’s help. Brad called the team together and presented a new direction, mentioning Susan’s suggestions that a leader type create the solution, and she and a few others would come in on a Saturday and knock the entire project out in one day. Sally, a natural leader, volunteered to come up with a new layout for the furniture and equipment in the room, and create a list of organizational supplies. Susan and some coworkers would then do the rearranging, sorting and stocking.

As a leader, Brad learned from this experience and became better at matching his team members to tasks they would love to do. Is there something you are asking a team member to do that won’t draw on his or her best strengths?

[Tweet “Sometimes a person we think would be great for the job…isn’t.”]

Coffee Break Bible Study: 2 Peter 3; 1 John 1-4 #bgbg2

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Read 2 Peter 3.

Why did Peter write his letters?

 

Ponder verse 8 in light of something you are waiting for.

 

Read 1 John 1.

What symbol/analogy about God is used here?

 

Write out verse 7.

 

Read 1 John 2.

What admonishments from this chapter stand out to you or convict you personally?

 

What does it mean to love the world?

 

Read 1 John 3.

Take a moment to praise God for His great love for you.

 

Think of someone in your life that is unlovable. How can you reach out to him or her today?

 

Read 1 John 4.

Why is it important to “test the spirit” and not just accept everything you are told?

 

Again, there is a focus on love. What about this passage stands out to you?