Category Archives: Living Intentionally

Progress- Not Perfection

I love them! Those AHA moments!  Today I woke to an AHA!

Last fall, as I was regrouping after the weddings of our two beautiful girls, and as I was helping to prepare for the wedding of my dear friend,  I did some goal setting for 2014.  (I’m not good at new years resolutions so this works better.)

I usually start by writing down a long list of things I might like to do- then I sort those into NOW list and a BUCKET list.
Then I prioritize the NOW list and then choose the 3 priorities that I believe will have the greatest influence.

For 2014, my top 3 were:

  • My marriage- thriving in being two again
  • My business- completing the Business Plan Competition in March and bringing Linda Dillow & Dr Juli Slattery, of Authentic Intimacy to Northwest Ohio and the surrounding areas.
  • My health- finding strength and wellness to increase stamina and enjoyment in life.

This morning, Coach, Author, Speaker and my virtual friend (we’ve never met face to face) Carrie Wilkerson, challenged me to consider whether I was making progress toward my goals- or waiting for perfection.

Often I have- and do – wait until I have all the pieces in the right place, know exactly how I will present it or what needs to happen for it to make the biggest impact.  In other words, my project sits on my to do list until I get tired of seeing it and either do something or just eliminate it.

progressBut as I listened to Carrie this morning AHA!  I AM MAKING PROGRESS!

Ren and I aren’t where we want to be – but we are having a great time getting there!  It’s thrilling to begin dreaming dreams together again and finding new ways to love each other.  I wouldn’t trade this time for anything.

I’ve completed the Business Plan- got 2nd in the competition.  What’s more- it’s a business plan I refer back to often.  It’s working for Kathy Burrus, Green Hope Coaching.

I’m especially excited that Linda & Juli and their team will be in Lima on October 3 & 4!   The Lima team is growing,- connecting
women to the message God is giving through Authentic Intimacy!  Twenty years ago I put this on my DREAM list- to bring Linda Dillow to my world.  Now is the time!  Now there is progress!

As for my health, thanks to the research and persistent efforts of a faithful friend and chiropractor, Dr John Needler, I’m finding renewed strength.  I’m up much more than I am down- and I’m doing things I haven’t done in a long time.  Will I ever be ‘healed’ completely?  That remains to be seen.  But I feel LIFE in a way I only DREAMED about for the last 12 years.

PROGRESS- forward or onward movement toward a destination!

It’s not perfect!  Sometimes it’s even messy!  But I’m on my way!

How about you?

Did you set New Year’s Resolutions?  Have they gone by the way as so many do? Do you realize that if you start NOW- you may be able to make some significant PROGRESS or even complete them by New Years 2014!

What are you waiting for?  Let’s make PROGRESS together!

Dancing for the long haul!

R&K2  June 9 79

Thirty-five years ago, Ren and I started this dance.  We dated 5 years before that, but on June 9, 1979 we said “I do” to things we only thought we understood. We’ve spent everyday since then figuring out the steps.

We danced our way through Bible College & Seminary, trying to find a rhythm between jobs, classes, music recitals, and the studying that had to happen in between.

We excitedly danced through the birth of our first daughter Caitlin and a move to Pennsylvania where Ren had his first job as a pastor.

Then with joy we upped the tempo of the dance as Brielle & Leisha were born and then we made a move to Ohio.  The sign at the Ohio state line as we drove in said “The Heart of It All”.  In many ways it has been!

Over the years since then, Ren & I have learned:
the slow dance, square dance, line dance,
the jig, the bunny hop, the boogie woogie, the cha cha, the chicken
and even some break dancing.

Oh, you wouldn’t know it to see us on the dance floor, because they were not the actually dance moves.  Just ways we learned to deal with life and live together. Not bad for a preacher’s daughter that ‘didn’t dance’.

Rennie & Kathy dancingLast year, we danced again, this time at the wedding of both of our daughters.  What an amazing time to see them begin their own dances with terrific dance partners.  As we pondered the places and emotions of our dance, we imagined so much of what is ahead for them- the good, the really good, the not-so-much! Even the dances that might try to ‘break’ them.

There were times when one or the other of us wondered if our marriage could survive. Even if you have committed to stay married, sometimes the thought crosses your mind that it would be easier to not be married.  But I’m grateful to say when that happened, the other partner was willing to do what needed to be done to fight for it.

But what would have happened if we had not prepared ourselves for the tough times; if we had not built our vision for our relationship so we knew how we wanted to respond when we felt like throwing in the towel.

We’re going to see what we can learn on the dance floor at CELEBRATE THE DANCE, next Sunday, June 8th
at 3:00pm at Tanya’s School of Dance, Lima.

Some of what we are going to talk about is:

Why did you get married?

Why do you stay married?

What does a vision for your marriage look like?

How do you even do that with all the variable life throws at you?

What does looking ahead do for us if we are struggling in our dance?

These are some of the questions we will be discussing at CELEBRATE THE DANCE! Join us won’t you?  (Click here for more details.)

We’re celebrating 35 years!  We would love for you to join us. Bring your sweetheart and invest in the relationship of a lifetime!

Your great marriage starts with you!

Kathy & Rennie

Too many hats to juggle…!!!

So is that true of you?

juggling hatsYou have too many hats to wear- you feel like you are always wearing the wrong hat for that important occasion?

You have too many balls juggling in the air at the same time- you look away for a second and one drops, then another.  You feel like once again you let someone down.  You dropped the ball.

You wonder if you are really making a difference in the lives of the people that really matter to you- even though it feels like you are always sacrificing what you want to do for their needs.  It just feels like blowing dandelions into the wind and ‘hoping‘ for the best.


I’ve heard those statements a lot lately- and it’s almost summer time! That means that whatever our schedule was- it will most likely change in the summer.  Either the kids are home from school- or we are doing more stuff outside- or …it just feels like we should be taking it ‘easier’ somehow.

What if we took a few minutes to consider WHAT was most important to us?

What if we identified WHO we wanted to influence the most and what kind of memories we wanted to make with them?

What if we went through our closet of hats and donated a few to a worthy cause.  As we do we eliminate the busyness and attend to the business of being who we really want to be!

Join me for a GREEN HOPE INTENSIVE: Juggling the hats
Tuesday, May 20th from 9:30am to 12:30pm

This will be held at my home-
6442 Putnam Road R, Columbus Grove, OH 45830

Click the button to register!

Space is limited so register early.

Here’s to you!  And the hats you CHOOSE to wear!

Celebrating Heritage!

How long has it been since you considered the richness of your heritage? Her-it-age : Noun

  1. Property that is or may be inherited, an inheritance.
  1. Something transmitted or acquired from a predecessor: Legacy, inheritance, tradition
  1. Something possessed as a result of one’s natural situation or birth: birthright

This past week, I gathered with my parents and Mom’s family in celebration of birthdays, Mine, and my aunt I share the 20th of April with, as well as my daughter’s, my dad’s, my sister’s, Another aunts, and 3 of my cousins. (April is a big month for us!)

If truth be told, this is actually a gathering that my mom and her siblings and their spouses started 12 years ago. Gradually, nieces and nephews have joined them- this year being the largest gathering of the extended Thiessen family in several years even though we weren’t all there.

As I watched the interaction of the generations, I pondered the beauty that had become ordinary to me.

There was the sharing of memories and pictures of the love story of the couple who started this family- my grandparents who left this legacy.  And there were pictures of the generation before them that we sorted through waiting for the ‘siblings’ to decipher who it was a picture of so we could write names on the back.  It was sad to me that I can’t tell you the names of my great grandparents.  I could look it up, but even though they are part of my story- they are not part of my life.

The original ‘siblings’ of two sisters and a brother  were still grieving the elder sister who died 5 years ago, her husband shortly after.  Even as adults, my 3 cousins suddenly felt as ‘orphans’ and in many ways isolated. They  were the first of my generation to reach out to their mom’s siblings and asked to crash this special gathering. We were remembering with cousins the few but cherished times growing up playing games and celebrating family times of long ago.

One cousin drove 8 hours one way to get to spend only 24 hours with the family.  We stayed up into the wee hours of the morning to catch up on all the stories of life- feeling the effects of weariness but not being able to stop the dialog.

We laughed as the uncle’s  were incredibly ornery as we spent hours scheming, screaming, and cajoling in a long term game of Texican Train dominos.

I sat in awe as I watched faces change from great joy to deep concern. From contrite honesty to silly grins.
From gut wrenching laughter to free flowing tears.

We shared wonderful conversations over breakfast and dinner. Out bursts of laughter Quiet shared moments with tears Conversations that lasted long into the night. Devotions shared each morning – first morning led by my mom, the next day by my uncle, then by my mom’s younger sister.

We heard stories of God’s work in their lives, Scriptures that have spoken through the years Songs that have touch the heart And had the opportunity to blend our voices together as we sang some of them.

I listened as the older generation asked us to pray that they ‘age well.” More specifically that they “end well”. Hearts sharing our concerns and a commitment to pray for each other through the year.

As I watched and listened, I thanked the Lord for the heritage I had been given by being born into this family. It is a legacy of faithfulness, of hard work, of gratitude,  of family.   I may not be remembered by my grand-children’s children but just as my great grand-parents began a legacy that I felt strongly this week, I choose to leave a legacy of HOPE for those special people to come behind me!

What legacy are you leaving for those following your footsteps?  Now is the time to intentionally design hope for the heritage you want to leave. We can work on that together!

Jeanette passing on U George's painting A Arlene playing train the orignal sibs the whole gang2 studying the old pics Dad playing Mex Train

Why ask WHY?

For the past 3 months, I have taken part in my biggest challenge of the new year: writing my business plan for Green Hope Coaching. That was only intensified because it was part of the Ropp Triplett Business Plan Competition put on by the Bluffton Center for Entrepreneurs.  I am delighted to share that I placed 2nd in the competition.  First place went to my new son-in-law’s sister, Rachel Davis & Studio Silhouette.  So she’s nearly family.  I am thrilled.

INTENTIONALLY thinking through what GHC needed to be about became powerful.  (I wrote more about that on March 22-just-one-more-p-u-s-h )   I wrote a plan 3 years ago when I started GHC, but it did very little more than help me start dreaming. Valuable in and of itself to get me started, but that’s where it stopped.  But my new plan- only a beginning to laying a groundwork for the future of GHC- has already been a great help in the determining next steps.


 Part of the value was coming to terms with what I wanted GHC to be and do.  One of the questions that prompted deep soul searching was “What is your internal reason for starting your own business?” 

What is my WHY?

Of course, in part it is to generate income for my family.  But there is so much more WHY beyond that.

1.  My husband and I have spent 25 years of our married life in pastoral ministry. When we resigned from the pastorate in 2005, I began to research what I could do using my love for people and their stories as well as my desire to come alongside them during times of crisis and joy.

Through the Strengths Finder Inventory developed by Marcus Buckingham & Donald Clifton, I have identified my strengths as:

  •  MAXIMIZER: Focus on strengths as a way to stimulate personal and group excellence.
  • DEVELOPER: Recognize and cultivate the potential in others.
  • INDIVIDUALIZER: Intrigued by unique qualities of each person.
  • WOO: Love the challenge of meeting new people and winning them.
  • STRATEGIST: Create alternative ways to proceed.

I begin to research coaching and recognized WHY it was a good fit for who I am.

2.  Our family experienced several years of family counseling in an effort to restore our own ability to function well as a family.  At the end of our time in counseling- dealing with healing our past hurts, I sensed a need for additional help with our next steps.  I found some people who were very good at asking me the right questions to move me to the place I wanted to be.

I understood WHY I needed and benefited from coaching in my own life.

3.  In August of 2006, our youngest daughter, Leisha, was killed in a car/ pedestrian accident. In our journey to find hope in a very dark time, we were reminded often of her words not long before her death. I was teasing her that she was so anxious to get her driver’s permit because she wanted power.  She thoughtfully replied,  “Mom, I don’t need power.  I want to influence.  I want to say to people, I’m going, come with me! ”

I knew that I couldn’t be part of helping others if I stayed stuck in my own grief.  Part of my WHY is that I too wanted to say “I’m going, come with me!”

4.  As I’ve pondered her words over the past 8 years, I realized another reason those words struck a huge chord in my own heart was  because years before- when I was about her age,  I wrote very similar words in my own diary.  “Lord, I want to influence.   I want to go M.A.D- make a difference in the lives of people. “

I knew WHY I needed a platform- a place to speak my message- that allowed me to influence others to be intentional.

Kathy Burrus, Green Hope Coaching was founded 5 years later in 2011.

5. However, I sensed I was creating a lot of ‘activity’ but not having the level of transformation in my clients I had hoped to achieve.  I was also giving away more than I was taking in.   I spent most of my life as a pastor’s wife giving my ‘coaching’ away.  I knew I had to address the ceiling my own thought processes created and generate income with my skills.

In 2012, I chose to ‘close shop’ for the year as I helped both my daughters prepare for their weddings. During that year,

  • I observed the relationships of the soon to be newlyweds,
  • I recalled the dreams and expectations my husband and I had early in our marriage.
  • I watched and listened as our parents and our family and friends spoke of ‘the way it was’ and ‘how did we get here.’

As I listened, I began to narrow down what I want to be about.

  •  I know that my heart is deeply concerned for the today’s families, but most specifically for the marriages that head up those families. Hence, I knew the love aspect would focus on marriage.
  • I know that the aspect of loss will be part of the coaching I do, because it is such an integral part of my own story. Most often, clients do have to deal with the loss of something – dream, relationship, job, etc. before they are able to move forward in their story.
  • I know that life coaching is very broad – but it leaves the door open for the client to identify what specific area they want to work on. The primary topics here will be related to connecting with values, accomplishing a personal or professional goal, and identifying obstacles that are keeping goals from being reached.

 Working through this one question on my business plan, “WHAT is your WHY?”  helped me to understand the past 3 years of GHC were more about my journey to  be influenced to intentionally design hope for my life, love & loss, than about my business. I am in a new place now- personally and professionally. 

I am Kathy Burrus, Green Hope Coaching!  I exist to influence others to intentionally design hope in their life, love and loss.

What is your WHY?

In business? At home?  In your relationships?

If your answer is ‘money’ to any or all of these questions:  Ask WHY again. 

Why do you want to make money?

  • To get more stuff
  • To build a bigger house
  • To pay bills
  • To get out of debt
  • To help my kids in school
  • To take my family on a great vacation
  • To give more generously to my church and community
  • To live more freely
  • To ________

What is your WHY?

What does it tell you about you? About your priorities? About what you value most?

We would all benefit from the process of writing a ‘plan’ for our life?  But maybe we need to start with this one question.

 WHY do you exist?  God had a very special purpose that he planted deep within you.   What is your WHY? 

(By the way, I’m a life coach!  I get to help people answer questions just like that one.  Shoot me an email if partnering together would help you find your WHY?)