Dear Journal

Dear Journal

Fall 2019

I have a head cold. I’ll be honest I’m happy about it. I can cancel on obligations and stay home from church. I can let me husband take charge without feeling like I am leaving him to do all the heavy lifting. I can exhale. No guilt involved. I can stay in my pj’s and drink tea all day without feeling like I am being lazy. I instead can give myself the thoughts that I am giving myself the gift of health and recovery.

I am learning the art of “being”. As I work on this, I realize I have been in a season where it’s not ok to do this. That in our world, “being” is considered irresponsibility with one’s time. However, my body, mind, and emotions are screaming for nothingness. I have been in a season of serving. A season where if I sit I must also be doing. Example. I sit down on the couch. If I do this, I must be watching something, texting someone, listening to or encouraging of…  But guess what? It is O.K. to not. To be proactive and to be doing constantly is exhausting. Exhausting to a level you can’t describe. You only know you have it.

But the world says:

“Create the things you wish existed.”

“I’ve got a dream worth more than my sleep.”

“Success is not owned it’s rented and the rent is due everyday.”

My head was killing me yesterday and so I stood in the kitchen dazed. With an ache that went far beyond my head. And for 10 solid blissful minutes I sipped my tea and watched my kids play “puppies”. (This is where one child gets down on all fours and pretends to be the puppy, running around playing and throwing my fall pillows everywhere, while the other child play’s the role of owner, taking care of the puppy and telling the puppy “No, NO! and sit”.)

As I stood there. Just stood, I could feel myself becoming rejuvenated. It was utter delight. 10 mintues of NOTHING. No emails. No texting. No instagram scrolling. No list making or menu planning. When was the last time I did that? When in my life have I taken the time and just received it? Where I didn’t try and push back or fill the space with something.

I read a quote a few days ago that said, “Less Hustle, More Grace.”  – Hilary Rushford. It spoke to my core. I am choosing this. More reading, less technology. More home time, less child extra curricular. More cooking, less running. More puzzles, less productive projects. More being, less doing.

I have piles and piles of blogs and posts and writings on doing, productivity, time managment and going the distance. After all, I am a personal coach. My job is all about motivation! But so often we fail. I fail. We fail to see, that in a world that screams “Go! Go! Do! Do!” God has been wispering to our hearts “You just have to be. Be Grateful. Be kind. Be Mine!”

This fall I am focusing on less. Less mess, chaos, and deadlines. Less exhaustion. The interesting fact is, that as I do this I gain more. More rhythm, more peace, more inspiration, more energy, more authenticity, more joy.

What are you focusing on this Fall?

 

Family Fun

Family Fun

 

A yellow leaf all crunchy around the edges. Nutmeg on the counter. A cozy colorful afgan. An orange pair of overalls. Red wine and cheese. Fall has arrived. And with it pumkin spice and everything nice! For me it is a nice shift from the summer heat into  a routine full of energy and color.

Summer conjures up lazy days of nothingness. As it is my favorite season the whole notion of  “An Endless Summer” sounds completly divine. I could get use to beach and seafood all year but alas the days of reading by the pool are at an end. The shift in the calendar brings about excitment for school supplies and apple picking. The season of pumpkins brings on a freshness with breezier days. The color of the sky’s seem to speak of the brightness that the world can hold as it lights up with all the golds and reds it has been holding onto for just this time in the year. Every view seems to drip with more luxury when its in gold and red hues. Don’t you think?

I personally end up with feelings of proactiveness. What do we, as a family, want to create in our days and time as we head into the end of the year? What do we still want to accomplish, see, experience? In this culture, it is important to find things that get us out of the house and from behind our desks.

These ideas (below) are for me to help my family get away from all the electronic devices. It is help in removing everyone from the busy work week. Most especially these activities are to get us away from the hussle and bustle that so often encircles the season shift. Most importantly it is to help us all Create Joy! 

I hope these thoughts spark your imagination in this colorful season of fall! I want to be clear that this is not things you “have to do”! These are iteams that you want to do. So much of adult life is spent on what you “have to” accomplish. So if I can inspire one thing for you this season it would be to focus a little more on things that bring quality to your life. Things that bring you comfort, and color your life just as much as the leaves falling from the trees.

“Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree.” – Emily Bronte

Do you want to learn to make homeade pumpkin soup this year? Do you want to paint? Do you want to see a waterfall or go wine tasting? May this season be one that you create and do your “want to” list. Life is precious. Savor and soak it all in. Slow down and taste the flavors of the season.

  • Picnic in the park
  • Apple picking
  • Fall garden planting
  • An entire afternoon, reading on the back deck with ice tea and app’s
  • Concerts – at least two
  • A Camping trip
  • Hike two local trails
  • Pumpkin patch
  • Pizza and Puzzle night
  • Visit a Sunflower farm
  • Corn maze
  • Football party
  • Firepit night with s’mores and stories

 

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Seasonal Nourishment

Seasonal Nourishment

 

Summer life brings a freshness to it that makes my soul sing! But alas all good things must come to an end. School is back and football has started. Food shifts are one of the first things that start to show me that another season is approaching and another is ending. With the heat still very high in our southern state it can be hard to transition to fall menu’s and hearty meals. Most of us are still craving the taste’s of summer. Because of this I have compiled a list of some of our favorites for this in between time.

“Food matters because it’s one of the things that forces us to live in this world — this tactile, physical, messy, and beautiful world — no matter how hard we try to escape into our minds and our ideals. Food is a reminder of our humanity, our fragility, our createdness.”
Shauna Niequist, Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes

Breakfast idea:

Walnut Coffee Cake Quick Bread

This is a staple in our house. I can hardly keep it in stock when I make it. It is incredibly good with warm butter or with a cup of morning coffee. The original recipe is from Joanna Gaines but I have changed it bacuse personally it was just to many ingrediaents and steps.

*You need three bowls and a loaf pan. Cook for about 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

bowl one:

1/2 cup of light brown sugar

1 tablespoon all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon butter melted

1/4 cup of chopped walnuts. (I buy raw whole and crunch them with a fork)

Bowl two:

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

Bowl three:

2 cups of bread flour (I use Arnold brand)

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

a dash of salt

little bit over one cup of buttermilk

1 egg

1/4 cup oil (I use olive or avocado)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

about 3/4 cup of walnuts. (I chop these minimally)

drop half of bowl three in your laof pan and then sprinkle all of bowl two on top. swirl with a knife to make marble look. drop rest of bowl three on top of mixture and then sprinkle bowl one one top. bake and enjoy.

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Lunch Idea:

Chicken Corn Salad

two cups of canned organic sweet corn

one package of chicken (about two servings) grilled and cubbed

cilantro-avacodo- olive oil -baby tomato’s- pesto sauce

mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Add fresh mozzarella – shredded

Rosmary Potaoes and green beans

I originally did this for our easter dinner meal but we love to make this ahead of time and eat it hot or cold!

boil red proptaoes until to your likeing

in a pan saute green beans with onion, scallions, and your choice of mushrooms (we use bella mostly) in avocado oil.

add cooked potatoes.

add salt, pepper and fresh rosmary. top with lemon garlic salad dressing.

 

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Appezizer idea:

Jalepeno Stuffed Peppers

slice peppers in half and throw away seeds

cover the center of pepper with cream cheese. Just the trough part. (If you over fill it will leak out all over your pan in the oven.)

wrap  entire pepper in bacon

lay them all out on a pan and cook in oven till bacon is crispy

Dinner Idea:

Paella

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet or paella pan over medium heat. Stir in garlic, red pepper flakes, and cooked rice. Cook, stirring, to coat rice with oil, about 3 minutes. Stir in saffron oil, a bay leaf, parsley, a little chicken stock, and lemon zest. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a separate skillet over medium heat on the grill with marinated chicken and onion; cook 5 minutes. Stir in bell pepper and sausage; cook till tender. Stir in shrimp if desired; cook, turning the shrimp, until both sides are pink and all meat is done.

 

Spread rice mixture onto the grill safe serving tray. (We usually just use the same big stirfry pan that the meat is in on the grill) Top with desired srirachi sauce and optional cheese.

 

“But my parents understood that the world that they made within the walls of our house was what constituted home. So I grew up in spaces framed by art and color, filled with candlelight, marked by beauty. I grew up within a rhythm of time made sacred by family devotions in the morning and long conversations in the evening. I grew up with the sense of our daily life as a feast and delight; a soup-and-bread dinner by the fire, Celtic music lilting in the shadows, and the laughter of my siblings gave me a sense of the blessedness of love, of God’s life made tangible in the food and touch and air of our home.
It was a fight for my parents, I know. Every day was a battle to bring order to mess, peace to stressful situations, beauty to the chaos wrought by four young children. But that’s the reality of incarnation as it invades a fallen world….What my parents-bless them-knew…is that to make a home right in the midst of the fallen world is to craft out a space of human flesh and existence in which eternity rises up in time, in which the kingdom comes, in which we may taste and see the goodness of God.”
Sally Clarkson, The Lifegiving Home: Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming

I hope these notes and recipes will inspire you to enjoy the season you are in and to slow down a little bit. May you go and create something nourishing for your family! May you celebrate where you are at and where you are going! But most of all, may you not forget to feed your soul this season. Bon appetit!

Summer Days

Summer Days

I don’t know about you but it is a breath of relief when summer rolls around.  No school, less traffic, weekends at the pool, 4th of July, summer vacations (BEACH), and long days of sunlight that extend evening socials.  Each season is unique and has something to offer but summer time… well… let’s just say I’m a little partial.

The question for me and for you is, HOW ARE YOU GOING TO SPEND IT.  Intentional time is something that Kate and I talk about alot between us and with other couples.  If you are not managing your schedule, your schedule will manage you.  This “intentionality” is key.  Whether that is directed at family time, career or personal growth, slowing down and relaxing, dating your spouse, exercise, or household projects.

But every single day there will be dozens of people, agendas, schedules, and requests that will compete for your time.  Maybe it’s healthy to shift the filter through which you are reacting to everything that is coming to you.  What is priority?  What is essential during this season of life?  Is that filter relationships, health, ministry, personal development, family, or liesure?

We feel like we just started our summer on Father’s Day weekend.  There was a lot going on with school finishing, hosting friends and family at our house, recitals, VBS camp, working on getting the final draft of our book to our editor and prepping for a speaking engagement at a marriage event.  We now have several weeks of downtime that we plan to fully maximize as a family and be extremely purposefuly with our time.  No matter what season you find yourself in right now, you can not only simplify but prioritize so you can achieve the maximum results.

If you find yourself in a season where margin is absent and “stress free” sounds like a fairy tale world, then try something.  Pick a day (we like Sundays), turn off your cell phone and devices, disconnect from social media and apps, and figure out what you want to get out of these summer days.  There is no perfect answer.  The answer should come from your soul.  What are you craving and not getting right now?  What do you need to feel alive and charged?  What is currently cheating you of that satisfaction?

Before you know it, school will be back in session (if that pertains to you), the sunshiny days that seem to have no end will end, the pools will close, the lake activity will settle, summer concerts completed, vacations will be sidelined, and schedules will pick up.  Don’t waste this opportunity to replenish, restore, and recharge your soul.  AND, take some time to prioritize how you want to tackle this amazing journey called life.  You won’t regret it.

SJD

 

10 Weeks of Summer and What You Should be Doing

10 Weeks of Summer and What You Should be Doing

Summer is only about 10 to 12 weeks here in the south. Before we can blink the lazy mornings and pool days turn into school shopping and cramming your reading list into the last two weeks before football season starts back up. So what should we be doing with this time? How do we maximize it with out it maximizing us? There have been many  a summer that I have gone back into fall with exhaustion and sunburn, wondering how I allowed my most precious and favorite time to be eaten up with things that just didn’t seem to fulfill my potential. This sunny joyous time is irreplaceable. To help us all out, I have decide to give you the questions that I use to help encourage growth. This is for focusing on what really matters during the beautiful summer months of iced tea and water life.

 

  • What 3 goals do you want to achieve within the next 3 months?
  • If anything was possible what would you wish for?
  • What have been your 3 greatest successes to date? 
  • Are there people that you’d love to spend more time with? If so whom and why?
  • Is there a hobby you’ve wanted to spend more time on? If so what?
  • Is there a class or workshop you’ve been meaning to take?
  • What else have you always wanted to do?
  • What are you struggling with right now?
  • What makes you feel tired?
  • What is one thing you can do today to move you forward?
  • Who are most important to you in your life – what do they provide you with?
  • On a scale of 1 -10 how happy are you with your life right now? What are the things that make you happy?
  • On a scale of 1-10 how motivated are you in your work/personal life? What motivates you?
  • On a scale of 1 -10 how stressed do you feel right now – what are your key stressors? List 5 things that you feel you are ‘putting up with’ right now? 
  • In a weekly report write out how you did with Chill Time, Sleep, Exercise, Drinking Water, Reading, and Focusing on personal development.
  • What skill do you need to personally develop over the next three months?
  • What are the top 10-15 goals and tasks you are going to focus on for the next 10 weeks?

Time Away

Time Away

When’s the last time you truly got away… and I don’t just mean heading out for a weekend trip (although those quick getaways are sometimes just what the doctor ordered)…

I’m talking about phone silence, email abstinence, abstaining from chores, relishing in late breakfasts over mimosas, long quiet walks, getting lost in a good book, doing a unique family activity, getting lost gazing into a fire, spending too much time in a hottub, cooking a massive meal with plenty of leftovers, star gazing late at night once the kids are asleep, or cuddle under a blanket with the person of your dreams.

Are you building this into your schedule?  Are you making time for what’s truly important in life?  I’d be able to retire in my 30’s If only I had a dollar for every time someone says how fast the “time flies by”.  Time is precious and we can’t control the amount of it that we’ll be given.  Carpe Diem (seize the day) is one of my favorite slogans from Robin William’s “Dead Poet’s Society” film… seize every moment my friends – don’t let a minute go by without thoughtfully planning how to maximize it to the fullest!

Summertime is the perfect time to take that much needed time away.  Spend the money, you won’t regret it.  And if your boss is not “cool” with you leaving your laptop at the house so you can enjoy some much needed time off… well, maybe it’s time to start looking elsewhere.  I recognize that limited communication/monitoring of the business might be needed if you are an executive or CEO… but come on people, you know you’ll be refreshed, energized, and ready to tackle challenges after a time of isolation.  I guarantee that if you compromise this area of your life, you will suffer dearly in all other areas – albeit emotional, relational, physical, spiritual, etc.

My job requires me to interface with counterparts around the world… I’m always jealous when I receive out of office messages from my colleagues in India, Europe, etc.  Many of them taking a solid 4 weeks off to recharge with friend and loved ones.

So… what are you going to do in your current situation?  My advice (whether merited or not)… turn the phone off, shut the laptop down, put in the vacation days, pull some extra cash out of the bank that you’ve worked hard for, and grab the hand of the person you love most and go off the grid… disappear for awhile… live life to the the fullest.  I promise you’ll never regret that decision.

SJD

Bride and Groomed

Bride and Groomed

 

 

 

Staying healthy helps to keep us in a positive mindset. Good health starts with a healthy diet, physical activity, and getting enough sleep. With the summer months now officially here it is acommon thread to slow down and focus abit more on health and personal development.

Why is this so important for us as relationship coaches? We personal have to model the behavior that we want to see in others. Our heart is to witness that our clients see that they too can meet their goals. Staying healthy is a big piece to achieving all other goals.

How is your self-care when it comes to your physical health? Are there things you can do to improve? Odds are, you can. None of us take perfect care of ourselves. But today we wanted to focus on the things that we feel can significan;t help and impact you for the better and boost you in your relationships. 

Successful people with incredible relationships have self-confidence and are generally happy with who they are, but that’s not to say that we shouldn’t try to look our best and keep working on these areas. This is a big idea; especially for those of us who have gotten to a certain level of comfort in our relationships and in our lives.

Taking care of things that make us look and feel better is a great characteristic to model to future generations and to the world. Enjoy your summer! 

Tip Number One: Get a makeover

I choose to get a makeover periodically. A makeover can include new makeup techniques, skin care regime, and or a new hairstyle. It sometimes involves getting an updated wardrobe and for me almost always it involes a new pair of killer shoes! I have even colored my hair champane pink before. 

To do a makeover well, Both men and women need to look in their closets and get rid of shoes and clothing that are woefully out of style, uncomfortable, or no longer fits. Enlist a friend or family member to help you shop for what looks and feels great. Stop saving the clothes that are two sizes smaller just because you might loose the weight in a year. By the time you get there, (and you will) it will be outdated. 

Creating the best “you” possible will make you feel more confident, interesting, and maybe even sexy. If you haven’t evaluated your look in the last five years, it’s probably time to do so.

Tip Number Two: Invest in a Manicure and Pedicure

This is not just for women! The mani/pedi is a relaxing way to make your hands and feet look and feel terrific. My personal favoite about getting this done is the massage chair! I’ll often pay the exrta couple dollars to get a foot and leg massage as part of the process, which helps me personally relieve stress.

 

Tip Number Three: Get a Massage

As a fomer althete and dancer I learned that physical therapy was crucial to taking care of my skin and body. Early on in my career I was using foam rollers and fascia stretching. Outside of a day in the sunshine, a massage is my favorite way to boost my mood.  From a psychological standpoint, being touched is impactful in so many ways! It would take three blog posts just to name all the benfits! For example, it has been recommended that people get at least one hug every day due to the knowlege of how touch affects us. 

 

Tip Number four: Unplug from Elecrtonics for 24 hours

I love technology and all it has to offer. Summer time, eluads to more tv time and audio books and swiping through feeds of pictures while laying by the pool. The Opportunity for it to take over can be strong. A reboot for your mind and your soul is healthy. I usally need just a bit of time off. A couple hours or an afternoon free from my phone. That means everything. I have never taken a Insta gram subatocal, or delted my facebook account for a month or wiped out my apps for lent. However, I ahve never felt I needed too because I take the 24 hour unplug rule to heart. Every once in a while I go longer. 24 hours off of all devices. Not just one app or one progarm or one netflix show, I put it all away and silence all devices, including my fitbit tracker and my alarm. Thsi time frame is not too long that I will miss the important email or that our extended loved ones will be worried. It does however, free meand my relationship from devices 100% for an enttire day. It is one of the most amazing things to do for your health and your romance. 

Tip Number Five: Get A Coach

 

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Top 5 reasons why it is so important!

5. Your coach just might show up with wine and a cheese board to cheer your relationship on and encourage you in your goals! 

4. Lots of fun, laughs, and growth! 

3. No children screaming, “Mooooommmmyyyyy” are allowed during coaching sessions!

2. You will learn something new that will impact you for the rest of your life. 

And the Number One reason you should get a Coach:

I think you’re great and you deserve a little focused attention on personal and relational development! So may of us just need a cheerleader and a mentor to make us go from creating great to Creating Exceptional! A coach can do this!

 

Tip Number Six: Dressing for Success In Your Relationship

Once people get married we have noticed a trend for fashion to decline. Some of this is good. It means you are comfortable. This can be freeing. However, the statement about dressing for success at work is true for your marriage too! We have a dear friend that talks about himself in the “2.0 version” because he had a complete wardrobe shift about five years into their relationship. All of a sudden his spouse had the hots for him in a totally different way. I am not saying you need to go out and buy an entirely different wardrobe and I am not encouraging fast fashion, but if your partner only sees the weekend sweatpants, are you truly showing up for your marriage? Are you showing up more for work than you are for your romance? We have a couple that we love to mimic in this. They are both entrepreneurs and work from home but oh my do they know how to turn heads and to step it up in their game when they need too. They don’t just do it for work but for each other. They are beautiful and fun on the hiking trail in their t-shirts and on date night they can make everyone wish they aged like them. No insta filters needed! Make sure you are dressing for sucess not just at work but also in your romance! 

 

Cheers to your health and relationship!