“I need to share something and it’s not good news. In fact, it’s really bad. And there is no easy way to say this but I was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer and it is ……”

My mind tuned out as soon as our therapist Megan* shared her news. My heart dropped and I felt sick for this woman who has led me through troubled waters. 

“It started in the colon and has gone to the liver and there are spots on the stomach lining…”

Ugh. I hate this. How could this even happen? My mind keeps wandering to the moments her wisdom carried us. This beautiful woman was an answer to prayers I offered as I navigated life with one of my children. Heaven brought her to me and I have learned so much sitting in her office. Feeling somewhat desperate and definitely frustrated/confused, I shared what was happening in our family and she immediately said, “Sounds like we need to build up some resilience.” In that moment, I felt hope because I suddenly had someone to help us in exactly the ways we needed right then. 

“Fortunately, the baby was born healthy and I am going to do everything I can to fight it. I want to walk into remission and live a long life and be there for my kids…my 3 children but also my other kids…like you.” 

Two weeks after delivering her newborn, Megan found out her body was covered in cancer. She presented our options and laid out what is going to happen as she fights for her life. She expressed her desire to keep working with us and that she planned to only keep four clients. She wanted to keep giving back to the world and not just be someone fighting cancer at home. Megan wanted to make a difference while she still could but also shared it may be hard to watch her health change as the chemo continues on. 

My heart broke as I watched my child process this and as I considered everything this means for Megan and her family. Three little kids, one of which is only a couple months old. One brilliant woman, fighting for her life. One husband, trying to find a miracle in a sea of brutal facts.

“How can this even be?” I find myself silently asking. “Be strong. Stay present. It’s not about you,” I remind myself.

And then I watch my teenager totally show up strong and vulnerable. I see him show up in love, focus in on her pain, and respond with the very things she has taught him to do. Resilience, faith, emotion come out. “We will pray for you, every single day. We will never stop and you will get better.” The tears flow for all of us. Megan instructs us to go home and talk about it – she doesn’t want us to feel obligated to come back if it is not right for us. My son immediately says he isn’t ready to be done and will walk this path for a while and will speak up if it gets too hard. We review her chemo schedule and talk about what the process will be like and then she says, “I don’t want my cancer to get in the way of what you need.” And my son says, “I don’t want what I need to get in the way of your cancer healing.”

Sheryl Sandburg wrote, “We plant the seeds of resilience in the ways we process negative events.” My heart swells with pride for both of them. They are both living and breathing resilience! How easy it would be for her to only focus on herself? And how easy it would be for my teenager to only think of his needs. In a time where so much selfishness exists in the world, we are practicing the skills of compassion, vulnerability, and resilience in this tiny office where healing takes place. This relationship has been miraculous. I could probably write a small book on what we have learned together sitting on her grey couch anchored on the floral rug that has never been centered quite right. Every single week I wanted to fix that rug and suddenly it doesn’t matter one bit.

We work through a couple of things and my son ends the session by saying, “I guess we will both be practicing resilience together this week.” To think that he is getting it! In the midst of his life lesson showing up in a way that breaks my heart, I feel so lucky and blessed and overwhelmed. This woman has helped my progress as a mother, provided key stability for our family,  and I can hardly process that now her own mothering future is in question. Her kids deserve to know how amazing she is. They deserve to know how she just understands teens and unites families. They should learn every tool she has to combat depression, anxiety, false thinking, self-confidence and more. My kid would not be able to respond to her unimaginable challenge if she hadn’t given of herself and invested in him. This isn’t fair. I know this may seem dramatic, but we had an immediate connection and Megan impacted our lives forever.

I come home and just lay in my bed and cry tears for what might happen and what might not. I can’t imagine where we would be if our paths hadn’t crossed and I can’t help but think how I can help her right now. The tears come in waves and roll down my face. My sleeves aren’t enough to handle the accompanying snot and it doesn’t matter because sometimes ugly crying is part of real life. Justin comes in and starts the diffuser. He can’t make this hurt go away but he knows the oils will help me gather myself and bring some balance back in. I roll some Comforting Blend and Rose on my heart and wrists. These two essential oils have never smelled so good and within minutes I have stopped crying, feeling grateful in this moment for the simple way oils can help in these moments of grief and confusion. The hurt doesn’t go away but the hope has woken up to accompany me in this unexpected experience.

“Resilience comes from deep within us and from support outside us. It comes from gratitude for what’s good in our lives and from leaning in to the suck. It comes from analyzing how we process grief and from simply accepting that grief. Sometimes we have less control than we think. Other times we have more. I learned that when life pulls you under, you can kick against the bottom, break the surface, and breathe again.” 

Sheryl Sandberg, Option B

I start breathing again and realize that I am still here learning resilience while praying for a miracle. And while it hurts, and I wish I could make cancer go away, I can feel the gratitude and lean in, together, because that is what we have right now.  

I did it again. It always happens unintentionally. I’m moving with distinct vision and perfect clarity, keeping joy as a priority, when suddenly I realize I have gotten completely off track. I allow myself to get stuck in the busyness of life, I say “yes” to commitments when I should be saying “no,” I throw self care out the window, and I produce as much as I can for the outside world. I know better but I still fall into the trap of life. 

You see, I’ve learned this lesson before. I have learned that I do my best work when I prioritize joy. This is simply me scheduling time for fun, choosing into the spontaneity of fun instead of constantly choosing responsibility. Prioritizing joy means I whisper encouragement into my soul as I do things that just make me happy, because they make me happy. I allow joy to be the goal and the reason and remember I was created for joy.  I just came off a ten 10 business trip that was awesome and fabulous in so many ways. However, I tend to travel with a purpose and like to maximize my time while I am away. I found myself with a completely full schedule (which I like) and didn’t take time to explore the cities I visited. I stayed focused and engaged in my business appointments – and loved it! But my soul needs down time in order to thrive. When I am focused and producing in my business, I must also take time to increase my joy or else I end up burnt out! 

A few years ago my therapist gave me the assignment to practice joy every week. I became a student of joy, testing what actually made my heart sing and what I really didn’t enjoy doing. I marked “joy school” on my calendar so that I wouldn’t overbook myself and I took those appointments seriously. I tried new hobbies, experienced new things, returned to old playgrounds, and just made sure I was actually LIVING my life instead of just surviving it. I loved joy school because my eyes were opened, my heart expanded, and I received new ideas as I was out enjoying myself. As a result, my business and relationships thrived. Creating joy every day must be a priority in order to sustain growth and create happiness.

Your joy matters and if you don’t prioritize joy, it can disappear. Honor that little child inside that craves joy, that wants to  be carefree and engaged in fun. Serve her and she will serve you.

So how do you prioritize joy? 

  • Say yes to the things that don’t make sense but make you smile on the inside. 
  • Schedule “Joy school” and block time on your calendar and then protect that appointment. 
  • Try something new. 
  • Say no to something that you feel you “should” do that actually causes more stress than its worth. 
  • Evaluate your time and make sure your down time truly fills your joy cup back up. 

What brings you joy? Is it scheduled on your calendar? Do you do something joyful every week? Every day? What would it take for you to have a little bit more joy? Do that!

As for me, I am taking time to write. Taking time to be fully present with my kids. Meeting up with friends. Working on some passion projects. Going to yoga. Eating yummy food that I made in my kitchen. 

Remember, you are worthy and deserving of JOY! Prioritize it now and watch your life fall back into balance!

Hi, my name is Ashlee and I am a recovering perfectionist.  I thought I had healed this little flaw and found my way, but somehow perfectionism has crept back in.  A funny thing about healing perfectionism is the desire to do so perfectly.  🙂

I’m not sure exactly when perfectionism reared its ugly head again.  It happens subtly.  Things seem like they are going just fine and you haven’t changed a bit, but really vulnerability is gone and shame has come in.  Looking back, I can see the markers, but I didn’t realize what was happening.

I was surprised to see recently I had fallen into that old habit or trying to do things just right.  Perfectionism comes in silent but is like fast-growing cancer.  At first, I felt justified and believed I was holding back and procrastinating for good reasons. My desire to produce quality and creative work is important to me. I didn’t realize that perfectionism had crept in until I took an honest look at what is holding me back.

Perfectionism kills connection and fosters isolation.  Perfectionism smashes creativity and leaves daunting tasks in its wake.  Perfectionism rarely serves and often hurts.  Perfectionism is kind of like that friend in elementary school who was always on again-off again.  You never knew quite where you stood until you felt the familiar sting of shame.  You wonder why you thought you could trust her because you have already learned that when you play with fire, you definitely will get burned.  Yet, you keep hoping things will be different this time.

A few years ago, I worked with a therapist on several issues, including perfectionism.  I read “The Gifts of Imperfection” at the time and recognized my pattern of perfection was not helping me create a life I love. With practice and my therapist guiding me, I was able to create new patterns of thinking.  I embraced being messy, allowed myself to celebrate projects being done (not perfect), and experienced greater freedom, joy, and productivity as a result. 

Perfection tells us we can’t move forward until we have everything just right.  Perfection tells us we are foolish to try until we know everything.  The drive for perfection limits joy and contentment.  The funny thing is I KNOW I am not perfect.  I can point out very specific examples where I am consciously choosing NOT to be perfect.  My front living room has been completely empty with no furniture for nearly 1.5 years since we moved into this home. Visitors see a lone yoga mat in the corner and cheap curtains and ask what we plan to do with the room.  I am likely to be the one house on our street with weeds in the flower beds because I care more about picking mental weeds with my clients. I embrace quesadilla night and celebrate choosing to keep dinner simple rather than getting all fancy like I use to do. I just recently removed the spider web that has been hanging for 6 months.  My car looks like a battlefield complete with kid debris and dirty socks. I participate in flawed webinars where I wear the same pajamas 6 days in a row.  That’s right, I work in my pajamas! I let all kinds of things go because my therapist taught me how to do that.!  I learned to be perfectly comfortable choosing where I shine and making conscious choices to be imperfect regularly.  So I thought I had this perfection thing nailed!

And then the urge/prompting to grow my energy business came in.  I would tell my business friends about how committed I am to growing. I would carry on about my dreamy plans that really weren’t plans at all. As individuals contacted me over the last 6 months wanting to participate in my Purely Alive Mentorship, I would respond, “Oh yes!  I am absolutely relaunching soon!”  And yet, there was not a plan in place to make that happen.  I KNOW I need to do it.  I can feel the importance of sharing my knowledge and, yet, I’ve been stuck.  I could identify legit reasons I was stuck and worked on those, but I totally didn’t see that perfection was ruling me in my business.  I didn’t know I was stuck because I was hiding behind things like perfectly updating my materials and website.

I would lie to myself every single day.

“My website isn’t ready to support everything I am doing, so I am creating a new one.”

I will post once I have a photo and logo together….”

“I am mixing things up and making them better.”

“I need to build my following a bit more and then I will have enough people.”

Blah, blah, blah.  You get the idea!  When we constantly look for a legit reason to not move forward, we are guaranteed to find that reason and stay stagnant.  I felt justified in my procrastination.  I wanted to provide better customer experiences and I want to be at the top of my game.  Who doesn’t want to do their best? Plus I had firm reasons excuses of why it didn’t make sense to move forward until I fixed things.

This little website?  I hate it.  It really doesn’t reflect what I currently do or who I am. It’s clunky and even the colors bug me. In truth, I have multiple websites “under construction.” Under construction like an abandoned NASA project without direction or a solid plan to move forward.

All my headshots are 3 years old or more. How are people going to connect with me if my headshots are outdated?   I’m totally ready for new ones and will schedule them as soon as I drop a few pounds and find something I love to wear…or maybe it is that I am looking for just the right photographer.

My email drip campaigns are a mess, but I’m totally rewriting everything and it will be awesome when it is done…soon.

And then we get into the other judgments.  These are the ones that really stopped me in my tracks.  “I majored in marketing – what is wrong with me and why can’t I figure this out! What will people think?  What if nobody comes? What if I bite off more than I can chew and fail?  Who am I to run a multi-million dollar direct sales team AND be an energy coach?  If everything is energy and I really have it all figured out, I shouldn’t struggle and the people around me shouldn’t either.”

I would go to bed praying about how to take the next step and then run into fear and perfection every single morning.  I was subconsciously comparing myself to every other educational experience or coach in my world. I could see so many ways I needed to improve in order to justify my offering. I took multiple marketing classes and connected with some of the best coaches, all with the intention to learn what I needed to know to have a solid business launch. I didn’t realize that I was filling my head with information which was pushing out my inspiration. You see if I get quiet, the one thing I know is that I was born to work in this space.  I was born to connect others with themselves.  I was born to be purely alive and help others become purely alive.  I am here to help others let go of the false beliefs that hold them back and empower them to be present and happy!

I keep having the thought, “I need to launch my program.”  And then I self-sabotage or get busy working on noncritical pieces.  In reality, I need to just do it.  I need to trust that the right people are ready.  I know they are.  I can’t even remember or count the people who have asked me to open the doors on this!  Inspiration tells me that people are looking for exactly what I offer.  Inspiration tells me to trust myself and move forward, even though.  Inspiration says the time is now and so with full trust in heaven and myself, I am launching.  I am ignoring the quest for perfection and moving forward because it is what I was born to do. I am officially I am opening the doors on enrollment for my Purely Alive Mentorship regardless of the marketing being ideal. The class materials are ready and are exactly what is needed in by so many people right now.

After more than ten years of working with clients,  I created the Purely Alive Mentorship as a 6 month course and offered it for the first time last year. As I prepared the material for our calls each week, I could feel heaven open and the material practically wrote itself.  I knew that I was being used by God to empower my students.  And guess what?  I didn’t hold back waiting for perfection – no, I simply leaned in and a beautiful offering beyond my own talents was created. I had so much fun helping my students discover who they really are, how to access and rely on their spiritual gifts, how to deepen their trust in and understanding of God, how to hold joy and peace, and how to help others with the blocks we all face.  The good work that happened wasn’t because of me, but I was able to tune in and bring something unique to the world.

More than perfection in the worldly sense, I want to be in perfect alignment with God’s will for me.  The “sweet spot” of being on His errand, while using my talents and gifts to help others, is the exact place I want to be working. Last year, I thrived working with my Mentorship students and I didn’t need a perfect website because I relied on Him.  Sure, I will keep moving forward to get my marketing in line with my vision, but in the meantime, there are people waiting and it is time. My top priority is not going to be setting up all the stuff to go make a difference to people.  I want to make a difference to people right now, with what I have today. Perfection isn’t me but leaning into faith is totally where I shine.

Here’s to letting perfection go (again).  Here’s to trusting God. Here’s to deciding enough is enough and done is better than perfect.  Here’s to making a difference despite our imperfections.  Here’s to growing and becoming.  Here’s to choosing in.  Here’s to bravery and joy.  Here’s to connection and creativity and living on purpose.  Here’s to being Purely Alive.

attracting an audience

 

Entrepreneurs have it made! Set your own hours! Be your own boss! Decide what you do and when you do it. It is awesome to be an entrepreneur until you don’t want to do what needs to be done. And if you are like most people, as soon as you fall into the funk of not wanting to do the tasks at hand, you engage in self sabotage.

Self sabotage is taking subtle actions that destroy your long term goals and take you off course.

Here are 5 ways to identify your own self-sabotage:

1 – You are avoiding simple tasks or people that can help you. Procrastinating that one text or phone call is a sure sign that you are not doing the simple actions that create long term success. My favorite way to stop procrastinating is to ask myself, “What is the tiniest step I can do to move in the right direction on this project?” We can cover a lot of ground by taking small, tiny courageous steps. Moving forward with tiny steps is still moving forward.

2 – You are engaged in negative self talk. Negative self talk can be as simple as criticising the work you are getting done or completely bashing yourself about every aspect of your life. You are not the worst person ever or the messiest person alive! You may be someone that has gotten overwhelmed and discouraged but this doesn’t mean you are not amazing and destined for success. The fastest way I have found to change the habit of negative self talk is to utilize regular postitive affirmations. There are many ways to change your thinking but it always starts with choosing a new and better way.

3 – You become a very creative storyteller. My stories usually start like this…”They probably aren’t interested. I am probably bugging them. They would tell me if they wanted to come…they probably hate that I do oils…I am so annoying…she is probably mad at me because she didn’t like my post…” Blah, blah, blah! When we self-sabotage we create complete and often detailed stories about things that aren’t true. The interesting thing is that your brain can’t tell truth from fiction. You can actually trick your brain into believing other creative stories like, “She is probably just hoping I will reach out and call… she is probably too shy to tell me she is interested…” you get the idea. Be creative, but use your storytelling to create stories that empower you and drive you forward toward your goals.

4 – You eliminate your self-care. When you quit doing the basics – washing your face, taking your vitamins, getting out in the sunshine, eating meals at regular times, exercising – you are telling yourself that your health and wellness doesn’t matter. When I skip self care, I fall quickly into negative self-talk and keep up the self-sabotage madness. Choose simple self-care activities, create appointments with yourself or others to make sure you don’t ignore your number one asset, YOU!

5 – You focus on situations or activities that don’t really matter. I know it is time for self-evaluation when I start worrying about what others are doing. I know it is time to refocus my attention when I start checking Facebook every ten minutes instead of doing truly valuable income-producing activities. I know it is time to let go and release when I am rehashing a frustrating conversation in my head over and over. Stopping to ask myself, “Who am I? What do I really want?” can be a helpful reset when I am allowing my focus to drift. If I find I am really stuck in the self-sabotage cycle, talking with a friend or someone that inspires me reminds me that I really do have goals I want to achieve and that I CAN do it.

It is natural to fall into self-sabotage, the trick is having a plan for those moments so that you can end the cycle quickly and make the most of your work hours. Lately, I have found that I quit my own self sabotage and move forward when I break my tasks down into smaller parts and choose to give even just 5% more effort.

As an entrepeneur, you must develop the skills to put yourself back on track! You are bigger than the distractions. You are meant to grow and change. When you find yourself off course, you can always redirect your energy and move forward towards your goals. Don’t let self-sabotage rule your life. Take control and choose actions that lead to your ultimate desires. Think about it – What is you really want? Are you doing anything to self sabotage yourself? What is the smallest step you can take right now to grow your business and let go of the self sabotage cycle? I know you can do it and I can’t wait to see you grow!

Each morning, I wake up and do my morning ritual.  I stretch my body and connect to God.  I read the scriptures and I feed myself positive energy.  And then I step into the bathroom and see the scale in the corner.  I have stepped on that scale thousands of times.   You know how it goes, you have been there too.  I step on the scale, willing it to be nice. “Be nice! Please just be a number I can deal with.”  “Go down!” I plead, especially if I ate the “right ways” the day before.  “What?!!!  I only had green smoothies, a bit of grilled chicken, salad, and healthy stuff all day long!  I didn’t eat too much or not enough.  I was nearly perfect! I used my Slim and Sassy!  What is wrong with me? I hate the scale!”  And then sometimes I would step right back on the scale to see if it would now respond the way I expected and wanted it to.  But that darn scale has a mind of its own.  It doesn’t hear my pleadings and it certainly doesn’t obey my commands to please be nice! Do you realize that I have probably given myself negative chatter over the scale thousands of times? Thousands!

And the negative chatter doesn’t just stop in my morning meeting with the scale.  It can show up anywhere.  Negative chatter can show up when I tell my children they can make their own yogurt parfaits or other food.  It shows up when I am working and things don’t go as I want them to go.  It can show up when I am serving others and thinking of other things.  Negative chatter is sneaky!  It shows up without warning in everything we do.

By nature, I am an optimistic positive person, yet I have negative chatter that shows up here and there and everywhere! Affirmations and positive energy have shifted my thoughts and created new brain pathways, but I have discovered that asking myself simple questions can instantly feed my soul.  Before I step on the scale,  I am asking myself, “Can I be nice to myself about this?”  If I can’t truthfully say yes, I have no business stepping on the scale.  You see, it wasn’t the scale that needed to be nice to me. It is my responsibility to be nice, kind and gentle to myself!

I get to choose in every moment how I will react. I am finding this tool works everywhere!  If I ask different questions, I get different answers.  I am shifting questions that cause me to feel bad to questions that empower me.  Here are some of my favorites:

  • How can I offer myself grace in this moment?  (I am doing quite well, given the circumstances. I am doing a beautiful job!)
  • What can I celebrate right now? (My children have the opportunity to be able to take care of themselves!  I am allowing my children to be empowered to take care of their own needs.  I am making progress!)
  • What is the most gentle thing I can tell myself right now? (I am enough.  This will all work out.  I am loved.)
  • What would I tell my sister if she were in these exact same circumstances? (You do not give yourself enough credit.  Don’t listen to the gremlins and negative chatter!  It is there to bring you down, but is not true!)
  • What would the Savior have me know about myself right now? (You are precious.  You are loved and cherished.  You are powerful beyond measure and I will see you through.  You can do more than you think you can.)

The truth is that we do want the scale and everything else in our world to be nice to us.  We like the feeling that comes when the scale reflects back our positive efforts are paying off.  But the feeling that comes from learning how to truly love ourselves through everything we experience, through all of our shortcomings, and through every challenge is even more powerful!  We are infinite creators and we do have the power to change what we are experiencing. You deserve to experience more positive energy.   I challenge you to try using these questions and see if it changes your life too!

Last week I found myself on planes from San Diego to Boston to Atlanta and Houston.  I drove throughout Texas and took the circuitous route to San Antonio.  By the end of the week, my jeans were feeling tight and, while my trip had been successful, I felt discouraged.  I just KNEW I had gained weight.  I could not gauge how much and so I decided it was probably 5 – 8 pounds.  I started thinking through how long it would take to come off and I thought of what I may have done different.  Sure I had found a drive thru or two, I may have ate pizza at a little hole in the wall near Harvard, and I am pretty sure I don’t regret that milkshake!  Ugh.

The funny thing is that I wasted so much time telling myself things that may or may not be true!  My thoughts became a run away train and I found myself entertaining thoughts like, “Next week I am eating only vegetables!”  (While a good idea, I know I am not going to do that which means the statement really just takes power away from me.)

When I finally decided to get on the scale, I discovered I only had gained 3 pounds. Three pounds.  Man, the mind is a tricky thing! I had myself convinced I would need larger jeans and that I would not be able to tackle this problem until my travels end later this summer.  I pictured myself throughout the summer feeling like a bloated beached whale! What a trip!  Pure guilt set in, self depreciating thoughts were making a mark, and I definitely was not owning my own power!

We MUST take control of our lives by taking control of our minds.  We must tell our minds the TRUTH!  It is time to stop letting the lies in your head determine your life experiences.  YOU were born for this time.  There are things that only YOU can do.  There are choice experiences all around us, but there is a distracting force that wants you to forget that you were indeed created for something more.  The opposition wants you to believe you are worthless, that your situation can not be salvaged, and that you are destined for a pitiful life.  This is simply not true!

Be bigger than me and do not let the fear of not being enough or gaining weight stop you in your tracks.  BE YOU!  Stand up, enjoy your personal progress, celebrate your commitment to yourself to live your best life!

For every problem under the sun, there is a perfect solution that Heaven has already created and lined up.  No matter where we might find ourselves, a solution to our stress and woes will manifest itself.  Sometimes when we are in the thick of a situation it is challenging to see the ultimate outcome, and it can be hard to keep the faith and KNOW “it will all work out.”  I know I have been guilty of only accepting solutions that fit my stubborn point of view.  I wonder if we might struggle longer than necessary because we are not fully open to whatever answer Heavenly Father presents.

I am a mom that is adamant about 7 PM bedtime.  My children have gone to bed at 7 for years.  Over the last year, we have experienced a Boomerang problem. You know how that works, right?  We put the kids to bed, they bounce back out to tell us something, to use the facilities, to whatever. We had a problem, but the bedtime was a non-negotiable item for me.   I was not going to budge on the bedtime because I put in long days and I know children need adequate sleep in order to be their best selves.  I tried rewards, I tried bribes, I tried threats, yet I still had my little Boomerangs popping their heads out of their room.  If they did happen to stay in bed, a wrestling match might take place.  The noise would escaclate and I would still have to go be the parent.  One of the major points of an early bedtime is to allow me some time-off from my most important role!  Even though my kids were always in bed with the lights out by 7, more often than not they were either teasing each other or coming out to find me.  Clearly, we needed a new plan because the old one was not working.

Last week I found myself at home to do the bedtime routine without my husband’s help.  I was bone tired and had NO patience for the bedtime shenanigans. I told my young sons that if they would get ready for bed fast and not have any problems doing the routine, the next night I would leave the light on so they could read for ten minutes.  My bribe worked and has been the magic answer for the last week.  No more boomerang game, no more teasing, no more noise.  The solution was so simple and yet so perfect.  If I had simply been open to leaving the light on for them, I could have experienced peace in my home at night so much sooner!  Be open, listen to Heaven’s voice and find the solutions you need to bring peace to your life and home.  Always remember that He knew you would have a problem and He has already prepared the resources and answers you need to create the optimal resolutions.

Just because you have a bad day or just because your child had  record-breaking all around rotten day, you are not a failure.  One of the quickest ways to feel down about yourself is to concur with your adversary that you are failing in any one area of your life.  I have noticed that it is all too common for women to feel like they are failing at motherhood.  What a cruel joke.   Just because a day fails to please you and does not meet your own standard, does not mean that YOU are a failure.  Please stop giving in to the lies the adversary sends your way.

“Failure” does not exist unless you allow it to be part of your world.  Refuse to be defined by outcomes and momentary setbacks.  Recognize that you can take any moment and learn from it and then your previous “failures” will become something that provided knowledge that pushed you forward toward your goals.  It is good to discover the way not to do something and it is great that we get to try a new approach tomorrow.  Own your own power and feel gratitude that you can try again tomorrow.  As Johnny Cash said:

“You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.”

Out with failure and in with gratitude and positive thoughts!

I have been operating on an average of five (5!) hours of sleep for the last several months.  Despite every effort, our newest baby continues to wake up in the night.  I have changed my prayers from “please help her to sleep through the night” to “please help me to endure and still be a good mom with such little sleep.”  I am trying to surrender and just learn whatever I can while I am in this season.  That said, the lack of sleep does impact my physical energy, and, at times, my patience.  I also find it harder to be productive and to stay focused and on purpose.  It is challenging to be motivated to do everything when one is so tired!

Today I just wanted to stay in bed.  I could hardly force my eyes open but willed myself out of bed to go take care of my children.  They deserve my best and I want to give it to them.  However, by lunchtime I really just wanted to give in to my fatigue and call it a TV day.  I was tired, my house was a mess, I felt unproductive and Josie-grossie, and every noise made in my house sounded like the dreaded nails on a chalkboard.  My nerves were shot and I had fallen into a hole of negativity.

I knew I could just let my children watch TV all afternoon and get a bit of rest.  I knew they would be occupied and safe and I was tempted to give in to the urge.  However, I don’t want my kids to be couch potatoes.  I don’t want them to remember mom just laying in bed.  I want to teach them to work and play.  I want to be in their midst showing them how to love life, how to treat one another, and how to be happy.  I can’t do those things if I am in bed!  And don’t get me wrong, there are times where the best decision for the entire family is for momma to get some sleep! But today, I decided to just try.  I determined to give myself fifteen minutes.  I decided I am the one that calls the shots around here.  I decide if each day is good or bad, and I have the power to impact the success of my day.  I can have a less than desirable morning and still save the day by making conscious choices to participate in our family life in positive ways!  I can choose to smile through it and focus on gratitude instead of wallowing in my fatigue.  So with fifteen minutes on the clock, I left my bedroom to face the music.  I asked my children to help me and we picked up the messes.  We cleaned the kitchen and the family room and started a load of laundry.  I cut some fruit up to serve as a snack and I began doing energy work to shift my attitude and chase out the effects of sleepless nights.  And you know what?  Fifteen minutes was enough to change my bad day into a good day.  I was able to reengage in my life.  It was a simple choice and resulted in simple actions, but it was enough!

Getting busy for fifteen minutes may not be the answer every time, but it made all the difference for today’s set of problems.  I didn’t climb any mountains or set any records, but I did enough of what needed to be done.  I was able to be pleasant with my children and accomplish a few tasks that help keep our home happy.  And for today, that is enough.  Should you find yourself wanting to quit midway through a bad day, give yourself fifteen minutes and see if the landscape does not change!   Whatever it takes, you deserve a great day and you have the power to make it so.

If you believed that you could do anything, what would it be? I love the phrase, “She believed that she could and so she did.” Half of accomplishing anything in this life seems to be just in believing that we can do great things.

I have been putting my positive thinking towards preparing for the upcoming birth of our newest family member. My top goal is a healthy baby and happy mom, but my ideal is to have a natural painless, medication-free birth experience.

The sick-filled days of the past 7 weeks required me to dig deeper to stay positive, grateful, and focused. I learned several things during that time – one of which is empathy for those dealing with either chronic illnesses or depression. As days turned into weeks, it was a bigger stretch for me to be happy and think the right way. I was reminded that the days where I consciously choose my attitude are so much easier. “She believed she could, so she did,” ran through my head over and over.

Too often in calls with my clients and friends, I hear things like “I just can’t do it,” “I can’t keep going,” or “I am done…I can’t do it.” I have had those thoughts too, and find that once I start down that path, it is too easy to go all the way. How quickly negative thinking turns our world upside down! These lies are indeed lies! We are the only ones who determine when we CAN’T do something and when we CAN. Sure, there are those days that really knock us over, but usually just believing in ourselves makes enough of a difference that we CAN do the thing we previously believed impossible.

One of my biggest times of vulnerability is in the five o’clock hour when I already have put in a full day mothering, dinner needs to be created, and nerves (mine and the boys!) are hanging by a thread. I start to think, “I am done…I can’t do anymore…It is not in me to make dinner…I can’t keep the house clean..I am out of patience…” This thought pattern is a bit like stepping on a never-ending merry-go-round that is not any fun and only makes one dizzy.

I have been trying to spot the times that I let negative thinking dictate my outcomes. In general, I am an optimistic person and easily lift myself up out of the funks. Answered prayers always play a role, but it is always key to first start thinking up. Thinking up means I look towards heaven for help, I replace my negative thoughts with positive truths, and I start finding the silver linings in my situations. It never fails that once I start thinking I can do something, that the power and resources to actually do it appear!

Try it this week…when you face the mountain you think you can’t climb or the situation that has enough trouble in it to make you quit, change your thinking! Repeat to yourself, “She believed that she could, so she did.” I also then tell myself, “I can and I already am.” You were born to do great things, life was meant to be enjoyed, and you do have what it takes to master your challenges!

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