How to say “Yes and No” to Optimize Your Relationships

I am very good at saying the word “no”. I say that not to boast but because I have two friends that say it to me a lot. “Your very good at saying no.” These are loving people who think the best of me and mean well. They are giving me a compliment. Basically they are saying they admire my discipline to say “No” to things that are not going to benefit me and my family. Sometimes the no is for “not right now” and sometimes it is a no for forever. Saying NO is a very good skill to be able to have. It creates space in your life. It takes a ton of discipline to do well. There are so may wonderful things I’d love to do right now that I have had to say no to. All of them are wonderful things!

Here is the secret I use when it is so hard to say no. When you want to help the teacher out at school but you know you don’t have the bandwidth, or run the half marathon despite your knee is giving you issues and you have a nursing baby. What about when you want to go on a trip you can’t really afford. (All of these things have come up personally in the last month for me, besides a nursing baby 😉 ) There is a certain tool I use that helps do this the best. What is the the secret for when you want to learn french but also read piles of novels, be available for tennis lessons, yoga and a small group? The concept that changes everything is: Focus on saying “YES”.

It might sound counter productive but it is a perspective shift that will change your life. I don’t see myself as a “no” person. No is a catchy word that is really in right now. I mean it is as much a thing as productivity journals and pumpkin spice lattes. If you are anywhere near the self-help industry or a mom circle in any way you hear about this often. Personally, I believe the focus on this is overrated. My girlfriends say it is because I can say it that it isn’t really a big deal for me. I have another theory. When my friends seem overwhelmed or have said “Yes” to too much, they are talking to me about my ability to say no as a gift. I think they have it confused. No, is so you can say Yes!

I don’t focus on saying no. To me it has a negative view point. “No I can’t help.” “No, No, Don’t do that.” “No, we aren’t going out tonight, we already ate out this week.”  “No, you can’t do five sport activities this summer.” “No, I am not available.”

Instead I focus on what I am saying Yes to. “We are not going out tonight because we are gonna get to go to the beach next week and eat out everyday!!” “I can’t help with ______, because I am already helping with _____, and I am really passionate about ______.”  “I am not gonna do five extra curricular things this fall because instead we are going to go hiking, camping, pick apples, find a sunflower field and learn to bike ride!”

I tell my clients that if they can’t say no, the world will fill them up so much that they will never be able to say Yes to what they are meant for. Instead of focusing on all the “No’s” in your life – what you can’t do, say, be apart of, fix, or buy, let’s focus on your “Yes.”

  • What are you saying “yes” to?
  • What or who do you want to say yes to more?

But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’… Mathew 5:37

For me, My biggest Yes is always to my husband. Then my kids and so forth. What I mean is that if I can say Yes to them, I do. If I can’t it is my red flag I haven’t said No somewhere where I should have.

Example: Let’s say my husband says “Can we have sex tonight?”

If my answer is “No” to my husband, what have I said yes to that day that has helped create that answer? Did I say yes to too much tv and now it is too late? Did I say yes to giving too much attention to my crying toddler? (Who is perfectly capable of soothing himself.) Now I have no energy. Have I said yes to too much work and chores and not enough “yes” to a workout and me time and now I want to read in bed instead?

  • Who are the people you want to always say yes to? Ex: husband, family, sister, a certain friend
  • What are the top things in your life you never want to say No to? Ex: Exercise, healthy eating, a certain charity, a certain vacation every year.

“Life is about who is holding your hand and, I think, whose hand you commit to holding.”  ― Taylor Jenkins Reid


What’s Certain About Uncertainty

I read a great article the other day from the Atlanta Business Chronicle called “7 Habits of Amazing Successful Sales People (Terry Brock, Contributing Writer)”and one of the habits seemed to jump off the page at me: Hustle when others hunker down.  When uncertainty or tough times come about (and they always do) the winners and leaders take a different approach than the average person – they jump into hustle mode while others want to stay under the radar and not rock the boat.

We all like certainty and security.  It makes us feel good, relaxed, and less anxious.  Predictability is a good thing and the desire for comfort is fundamental to our human nature!  However, one of the only certain [assured/guaranteed/definite]things in this life is that uncertainty will always be present! The deal fell through, the boss you love has left, family relations took at drastic change, sickness struck without warning, a friend left you hanging, that promise was broken, the money didn’t come in, that trip didn’t happen, that dream won’t be fulfilled.  What do you do in this moment and how do you react when met with hardship and unexpected circumstances?  Do you retreat, let life beat you down, dwell on the negatives, assume the worst, abandon your dreams and aspirations?  Or do you get back on your feet, look at what you can control in your life (emotions, time, energy, thoughts), fight, work hard, keep the right attitude, and determine to move forward?  The latter find a way to use their challenges as a springboard to success. Don’t allow it to crush your spirit or discourage you from using your gifts and talents.  Success can mean a lot of different things to a lot of people – only you can determine what that looks like for you personally.

Those of us who have faith in Christ Jesus know that His ways are above our ways and that we should count it all joy when we fall into various trials.  This doesn’t mean that we should be happy about the hardship… it means that we can get excited about what the trials will produce in us ifwe allow God to work through us.  Just as you go to a gym to workout and literally tear your muscles in order to get stronger, so God allows/uses the trials and uncertainties of this life to build character, perseverance, and spiritual faith.  When we are weak, He will be strong in us.

Don’t take your foot off the accelerator, don’t hunker down, don’t look for an easy way out, don’t get discouraged, don’t give up, and don’t throw away your dream.  Uncertainty is certain, but what you do during those uncertain times will greatly alter the outcome of your life and those around you.



“Remember who you are” –J. Mingee


Holding Your Breath

Two weeks before Christmas, My husband came home with out a job and having internal stomach issues. The health scare quickly vanished after doctor consultations and being on the phone with numerious nurses. The job loss however, stayed with us. This has caused us to suck in wind and blink a few extra times. But besides the little blip  of “holy smokes, oh snap” it hasn’t moved us beyond that. We still had Christmas. We are still going on our family trips. We are still taking our kids to the museum. How you say? Why aren’t you freaking out? You have two little kids and a mortgage…and NO job!

Two things.

  1. Living below your means
  2. Creating an emergency fund!                                                                        Bonus: I also believe in being a good steward of what God has given you and using the brain God gave you. That means save, people!                            “Give, Save, and then live on the rest.” – Andy Stanley

I’m not saying that praying is not vital. Trusting in God’s provision is something I believe in and practice! I’m just saying, be wise. Do your part.

Our civilization has enough issues and fears to fight against. Don’t make it harder on yourselves by adding to it things you can avoid or at least help soften the blow. You can’t avoid everything but you can make wise choices and in that create breathing room even in the “emergency”.

The template that my family runs on is this:

give 10% minimum away. save 10%-20% out of every pay check. Build your budget around the rest. Try to always have 4-6 months living expenses.

Most people would say “If I did that I couldn’t live”. If this is your response I would say that your probably living at a level you shouldn’t be living anyway.

I am all for fun. I love vacations! I love nice things and even designer watches and handbags. My closet is full of shoes! I am not a minimalist. BUT I DO NOT live above the sound advice of what scripture teaches and wise people say when it comes to $$. It’s just not worth it.

Were still looking for the next job and next adventure but we are being smart about it. We’re choosing to trust God and to be cheerful with where we are and where He is taking us. Are you?

Work hard and cheerfully at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Colossians 3:23

Happy Life

My pastor is doing a sermon series on being “Happy”. I have gotten a lot out of the series. Maybe not what the pastor’s initial focus for the series was, but I am being spoken too.

On top of this, my husband just came back from a mini conference where the speaker talked on similar topics. What it really means to engage in life. He talked about “quitting” and the art of not doing. All for the sake of greater relationships and focus on what really matters to you.

So today, I am posting a template for what I am choosing to go after and in that I have also chosen what I am not going after. I encourage you to do the same. If we aren’t careful the world will choose for us and we will finish our life and wonder “what happened, I didn’t do what I wanted”. Don’t let busyness or things that don’t fully matter to you get in the way of creating your dreams!!! Often we find that there are things that keep us preoccupied that dont really matter. What are you doing to eliminate these?

+Feel free to use this template as a starting place (I used others to help create mine)


In order to have productivity and achievement in life I must be a happy person, generally speaking. In order to be a happy person I must be a healthy person in all areas. Ultimate goal and purpose in life: to have a temple that reflects Christ in every form, physical, psychological, spiritual, and emotional. I surrender my all to Him! I promise to strive to be my best!
I, Kate, am ready to work hard and to keep at it when circumstances work against me. I will take control and focus on optimal living and a healthy lifestyle. By signing this contract, I am making an unconditional commitment, to those who love and care about me, to myself, and to God. I will give my best every day.

From now on, I will be truthful even when it hurts. I will stop buying my old excuses – they will no longer hold me back from being the person I want to be. I will also be forgiving of my past. I accept that I have been slacking in some areas but I am done living with disappointment. I am ready to be totally committed to creating the life I want and God has for me no matter what curve balls life throws my way. In order to do this forever, I will take responsibility in my continued growth. I will be interested in the areas I am working on and will try to love every aspect of it. I will refuse to allow none topics/issues to get in the way/bother me from what I am working on!

I accept that this is going to be difficult some days and that at times I will be frustrated and uncomfortable. However, I also know doing anything great and worth while requires patience, perseverance, and endurance. This is also what makes us “great”! By living according to this agreement I will put an end to the old me. I have a new mind in Christ! With God’s help and my unconditional commitment, I am ready to be done with fighting myself/this war. I completely and enthusiastically surrender my all to God’s best.

X_Kate Dahlin__Date:_September 3rd, 2015____


I wanted to scream. It was just one of those days. You know the ones; the very bad, no good day. Kids were screaming, daughter had already drawn maker all over the table and now I couldn’t get into my blog site because the server has been down and this was day two of all this!!! I had found out my mother’s friend passed away and a another friend’s cancer treatments weren’t going well. A best friend was moving and my two-year old had been having night terrors so I was sleep deprived and worn down. Just a bad day.

There are days you can bounce back and then there are days that seem like you can’t. How do move forward and recover after day two? When the next day after the bad day is another bad day what are your options? What if its been a bad week, month or year?
This is where I was at and I had to get myself out of the funk or risk spiraling downward mentally and emotionally for a very long time.

If you are like me and have had one of these days recently or are feeling a day like this is soon approaching here are my personal coaching tips for getting up after striking out.

Step one: What can I do?

I can wash the maker stains out with magic dry erasers (those things are amazing). I can cuddle with the crying child and I can look at moving to another server for my blog site. I can pray for my mom and her time of grieving. I can send over the extra chocolate cake to my friend who is going through cancer. This is reality. Swallow. Breath. Move on.


Step two: What I can’t do (and letting it go)
I can’t recover my previous blog posts!!! I can’t drive down to florida for my mom at this exact moment. I can’t wave a wand and make my friend ok. I can’t make my child stop crying if she doesn’t want to. I can’t “zone out”! This is reality.
I like to be in control and to fix things, somethings you just can’t. Letting the simple fact settle in that you can’t change something can be the hardest part, but also the most important step to moving forward.

Step three: Commit to looking through “rose colored glasses”

You have to choose to just be positive. My husband and I were characterized as people who see through rose-colored lenses when it comes our marriage – meaning we like the fairy tale and sometimes don’t “live in reality”. For me, I have decided to try to look at everything else in life this way. Looking at things through pink clouds and the best possible outcome can have a positive effect on your attitude and your outlook. I’m not saying to deny your circumstances. Life can be hard. It can throw you a curve ball that makes you feel like your out of the game. Maybe you soon will be. However, how does being a “downer” help? The worst thing could happen. The diagnosis is real. The end of the world could be tomorrow…why does dwelling, standing in fear, or reading all about it help? Thinking on the positive is sometimes the only way to get yourself out of the fix you feel you are in.

We do what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then is not an act, but a habit. – Aristotle

I hope that wherever you are and however hard it may seem right now that you can pull back and do these simple steps to creating a better day, a better impact, and a better version of yourself.
Exodus 13:21
The Lord went before them, in a pillar of cloud during the day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire during the night to give them light. So they could travel…


I typed a letter to my mom a while ago. I think it deserves a repeat showing here. It really portrays how I am feeling at the moment. Life has been an interesting, joyful but also very challenging time with a toddler and a baby.

Title: Love Letter
Dear Mom,
How do you do all that you do? They say when you have your first kid you really start to appreciate all that your mother did for you, you “get it”. Well they were right. It sounds so cliché but it’s so true! Your eyes are finally opened to what it really took to take care of and love someone to their best potential.
I know we didn’t see eye to eye most of the time and we see things in very different ways now. But I can appreciate this aspect of our relationship in the season of life I find myself in. I can also see how very much I am like you. And how I want to be like you.
You gave into you family more than I can even try to explain on paper. It’s just not possible. You are a living example of self-sacrifice and the love of Jesus.
We have no better person to look at than Christ. His whole life on earth was about others. He truly saw people and genuinely cared about their story. His very life was about serving and being there for others and saving them from the selfish life of sin.
Lets look at The book of Matthew. It says that Christ had great compassion (Matt 9:36) and that he blessed children (Matt 19:13). We also know that he listened to the woman at well and saw her for who she really was.(John 4:7-29) He also looked at the rich young ruler and loved him (Mark 10:21). If anyone could spend true authentic time with people and truly care and see them for who they were it was Christ.  It was personalized. It was individualized. What amazes me is that He saw us for who we were…sinners and still loved us! The authenticity and true care and service toward others is mind-boggling in a world and society that claims “me first, I’m worth it”. It is refreshing and raw in a way we very rarely get a glimpse of. But here is the kicker….

John 13:35
35 Your strong love for each other will prove to the world that you are my disciples.
“WE are to do this too…and even more so.
John 14:12
12 I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, if anyone steadfastly believes in Me, he will himself be able to do the things that I do; and he will do even greater things than these, because I go to the Father.

Mom, you loved us even when we weren’t lovable. You gave even when you had nothing left. You still do. You continue to love and give and pour out blessing on our lives. Praying and interceding for us daily.
I hope I can show Christ to my children. I hope they see Jesus in me. I hope they learn to be an example to the world as well. But if they don’t, I still will love them, I still will intercede for them in my prayers. Because that is what you did for me and that is what Christ did for us all!
Thank you Mom!
Your Loving Daughter