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From Dianne: 12 Winter Cleaning Ideas

February 3rd, 2017 | No Comments | Posted in From Dianne
winter_cleaningThings can somehow seem messier, dirtier and less organized during the winter months. Here’s how to tackle it in time to leave you feeling fresh for spring.

When I was a kid, the U.S. TV channels broadcast a much-parodied series of PSA ads that advised viewers, “Don’t wait till spring – do it now!” To this day, I’m not sure what the actual purpose was of this pithy advice; perhaps it was to drum up work for contractors or tax accountants. But it’s surprisingly good advice for tackling all those little (or not so little!) chores that somehow get away from us during the rest of the year. Here’s a list of ideas to get you started.


1 Go through all your closets and clothes and divide into keepers and giveaways. If you’re not sure, a good rule of thumb is: if you haven’t worn it in two years and/or it makes you feel guilty, it’s a giveaway. Of the keepers, wash, mend or send those that need it to the dry cleaners.

2 Pair up mitts and stack them neatly where they can be easily accessed without falling into a jumble again; singletons should be thrown out. (If you find the mate later, chalk it up to fate and discard it too.)

3 Clean boots thoroughly and spray with protectant; if they need new lifts or other repairs, take them to the shoe repair shop. Polish and clean shoes; many shoe repair shops sell polish in every colour of the rainbow for nicks and scratches.

4 A new year is a great time to create, or overhaul, your budget. Create a budget that has flexibility in it (the number-one reason budgets fail is that they are too strict, rather than not strict enough), and resolve to stick to it. There are many good budgeting programs to be found online, and most are free. Plus, being budget-minded will help you achieve more in the upcoming year.

5 Pull your taxes together; if you start now, there will be plenty of time to go after missing receipts and add up deductions. If you have all the slips you need, you can send your return to your accountant earlier, if you use one, and get your refund faster. If you need to wait for certain slips like a T4, at least you’ll be ready and avoid any last-minute roadblocks.

6 Schedule dental checkups and annual visits to the doctor and various specialists (eye doctor, gyno, orthodontist, chiropractor, etc.), if you don’t have an appointment already scheduled.

7 Make an appointment with your financial advisor or bank, to check the health of your RRSP and other investments and make any adjustments .

8 If your pots and pans tend to end up in a jumble, perhaps you have too many. Consider a more convenient storage system for frequently used pans, such as a hanging rack (or drawer) near where they’re used. Pans that are used less frequently can be stored further away or even in another room .

9 Go through your spices and throw away those that are expired or have just a teeny bit left in the bottom. (A friend of mine labels her spices with the date she bought them and discards them after six months, which is when most dried spices lose their oomph.) Return them to the rack in alphabetical order, making retrieval much easier .

10 Pull all those cans and boxes of food out of cupboards and reorganize them. (If you’re like me, some things get shoved to the back over time, and you end up with multiples. Who needs three cans of baby corncobs?) If it’s still good but you really are never going to eat it, toss or give to the food bank .

11 If you do a lot of work at home or make your living there (or even if you don’t), inevitably piles of papers, books and files grow like stalagmites during the year. Now is the time to go through them systematically. File what needs filing, and recycle what doesn’t. Again, if you’re not sure, ask yourself: Do I need it? Will I need it later? Is there a better place for it?

12 While you’re at it, do the same with your computer. Delete old files; empty the trash; store files you want to save on disks or a hard drive, or using one of the new Internet storage facilities such as or Cloud. Once that’s done, you can give your computer a new lease on life by re-installing the operating system, using the disks that came with the computer. (It will prompt you to either reload the OS while preserving existing files, or wipe the whole thing clean, files and all.)

Get a head start on spring-cleaning

  • Wash pillows, comforters and blankets, mattress covers, bedskirts.
  • Clean the insides of windows.
  • Deep clean the grout in kitchen and bathrooms by scrubbing with a toothbrush.
  • Consider upholstery cleaning.
  • Clean out the basement; if it’s semi-finished, get after cobwebs in rafters and dust in unused corners.

How to Intentionally Add Value to Others this Christmas

November 1st, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in From Dianne

Dianne’s Takeaway –“Brock Tozer, Dan Cole, Dan Adams & Dianne Van Der Putten at the 2016 Global Leadership Summit”


One of my Global Leadership Summit takeaways was from John C. Maxwell….how can I intentionally add value to someone’s life every day? Started using that tidbit of knowledge right away!The article below talks about adding value over the Christmas season, a time when we’re interacting with a lot of people. Take time before to pray through how you can intentionally add value every day. It can be as easy as opening doors for people throughout the day. Get creative & have fun!

I love Christmas because it’s a season for giving – so people tend to focus on others more at this time of year. Whether we’re shopping for gifts for loved ones, or looking for ways to give financially to people in need, many of us are seeking ways to add value to another person. This makes it a great season to practice intentionality, because intentional living is about having that mindset – of approaching each day with the goal of adding value to others to make a difference in their lives. And I believe intentional living is the best way to create a life of significance – at any time of the year.

In my book Intentional Living, I shared some specific ways to make sure you’re adding value to others every day. And I think they’ll be helpful to you as you go through your daily life. If you do so between now and Christmas, you can establish a habit that continues into the new year.

You can add value every day if you will…


You must begin with your perspective. A life of significance cannot be achieved if you think of other people as obstacles that must be overcome. This means valuing everyone – not just those close to us. How often do we look past others, without really getting to know them or appreciating them as individuals? Every person has value, and to make a difference this Christmas, we need to intentionally value others and express that value to them. It’s not optional if we desire to be significant.


People who live intentionally think on the front end about ways to add value. A quick look at your day’s calendar can give you ideas for adding value—you could bring donuts to a morning meeting, or decide to buy lunch for the friend you’re going to meet.

During a trip to Washington D.C., I challenged the two young children of one of my team members to think about how they could add value to people during the day. One of the kids decided he would open doors for people throughout the day. The other decided she would leave thank you notes for people to express her appreciation. Then, they went out and did it! At the end of the day, both children came back and shared with me how people positively responded to their intentional acts of kindness, all because they thought of ways to add value before launching into the day.


In addition to thinking ahead about ways to add value, people who live with intentionality are also on constant lookout for spontaneous ways to help others. They have an outward focus as they go through their lives, ready to do something that makes someone’s day. These actions don’t have to be big or expensive; small meaningful actions can make a big difference. The key is to open your eyes and be ready to seize opportunities as they present themselves.


As my mentor John Wooden often said, “Don’t tell me what you’re going to do—show me.” It’s great to think ahead and look around for ways to add value to others, but nothing beats actually doing something for another person. In public or in private, in small ways or large, taking action to add value to someone else is a wonderful expression of the Christmas spirit.

To keep myself accountable to this, at the end of each day, I ask myself one question: “Did I add value to people today?” That’s a great question to ask yourself – and intentional actions allow you to answer “Yes.”


Significance begins with you, but it’s meant to be shared. As you develop the daily habit of adding value to others, begin encouraging people close to you to do the same. You can begin a significance movement right in your own home or office or community. One that can last beyond the Christmas season and make a difference in 2016.

I believe so much in everyone’s potential to create a significance movement that I developed a resource called The 30 Day Journey. It offers specific, concrete daily actions that you can take to add value to the people in your life, for 30 days – long enough to make it a habit.

I hope you’ll use this season of giving to try to live intentionally and add value to other people every day. The needs are there; with the right focus, you’ll be able to see them – and take action to meet them in the lives of others.

Ottawa’s Pastor Joseph Kiirya Receives City Builder Award for Modeling Christ’s Love Among Immigrants

November 1st, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in From Dianne

Local Feature

Congratulations to Ottawa’s Pastor Joseph Kiirya of River Jordan Ministries who received the City Builder Award in September for his outstanding service to Ottawa’s immigrant population. We’re grateful for the way you represent Jesus to our city!! Thank you.

kiiryaAs an immigrant from Uganda, Joseph Kiirya remembers the challenges of settling into Canada. His empathy for newly arrived immigrants spurs him on in his role as Senior Pastor at River Jordan Ministries and it has not gone unnoticed. On September 14, 2016, Mayor Jim Watson awarded Kiirya the City Builder Award in recognition of his work over the past decade.

“Many people settle in and just forget the experience,” Kiirya explains, “but for you to remember the experience you went through and see how best you can help others going through it, I think that’s why [the city gave me] the recognition.”

Ward 9 City Councilor Keith Egli says Kiirya is “a mentor and a counselor to his community. He is engaging with the youth in the community and is a positive role model for them. I often describe his church as small, but mighty in taking on the positive, proactive role it does. Ward 9 is lucky to have him and his congregation.”

Mentoring Others

Kiirya is distressed by the number of young black men who find themselves in trouble with the law. He especially sees the vulnerability of youth and newcomers, and he refuses to opt for inaction.

“We can reach out to them, show them how the system works, and encourage them to live by the rules.”

Many of these youth come from single-parent households in low-income neighborhoods. Kiirya explains, “There are very few fathers available for these young people, [so] I try to be their father.”

Kiirya says just by being there for the young men, it turns “potential problems into potential promises.”

Fredrick Mubiru exemplifies the power of Kiirya’s transformative work.

As a newly-landed Ugandan immigrant, Mubiru had no family or network to help him adjust. He didn’t know where to start or who to turn to for help, but a friend introduced him to River Jordan Ministries. Kiirya took Mubiru under his wing and provided him with emotional, spiritual, and practical help.

“I am what I am today because of what Kiirya poured into my life.”

Kiirya became a father figure to him: teaching him to drive and paying for his driver’s test, referring him to school and work, connecting him to community networks, and counseling him on marriage and parenting.

“Personally I call him ‘Papa.’ He’s almost like my dad because when I do something that I shouldn’t do, he chastises me,” says Mubiru. “When I do something that is worthy of praise, he praises and encourages me.

“My integration into Canadian society was very quick. Within two years, I graduated high school, I knew how to speak English, got a job, and learned how to drive.”

Now a pastor at River Jordan Ministries, Mubiru gives back by mentoring other young men.

“I am what I am today because of what Joseph poured into my life.”

Supporting single mothers

Kiirya is also keen to assist immigrant single mothers.

“They’re in a new country, maybe they’re not working. Even if they are working, they’re in minimum-wage jobs. Maybe they have to do two jobs, just to make ends meet.”

Gang violence and crime compounds their hardship, as their children often get caught up in the wrong circles. The issue is very personal to Kiirya as he has presided over the funerals of young men whose lives were lost to gun violence.

“Because these mothers are in my church, they are in my sights directly,” he says. “I just do anything I can do to make sure these mothers are supported.”

Kiirya’s love for the people of this city is evident through his work.

When asked of the award’s impact, he says, “This recognition brings an encouragement to many people who are doing little things. It is huge for them to know that the city is watching and what they do matters and makes a difference.”