Identity

Identity

Just a few short years ago I went through a massive personal crisis. I had given up my life career to take on another dream. Motherhood. I loved it. I had prayed for it. I was living it the absolute best way too. I mean, I knew my kids sleep schedules, I faithfully read to them, and created boundaries for proper development. I was loosing myself. But, as I said before, I loved it. After all, didn’t Christ say “to lose was to gain?”

What I didn’t expect was to meet someone a few years ahead of me and that to see her wondering around in her existence would rock me influentially. She had done something similar to her life as I had. Yet being a few year ahead of me, now that her children were in a different place and no longer needed her, she was “lost.”

What now?

For someone who loves this question (I am an excellence coach after all) the fear that gripped me was a new one! Instead of seeing her dilemma as an opportunity to grow, I saw her situation and panicked. Like a deer in headlights. Like a kid on halloween night. Like my toddler when he thought there was a real tooth fair and had a screaming meltdown that he didn’t want sissy to put her tooth under the pillow because no one should come sneaking in to his sisters room in the middle of the night! Not even fairies! That is the kind of panic I had.

I would question my value, and my identity for close to four straight months after this incident. What was I doing? What would I do?

Push forward to a new season and goal setting and I had absolutely no motivation. “My role could be replaced. My job, millions do. My value, only God knows.” I was not in a good spot, and my husband was worried. Right in the middle of this, someone else shared a story with me.

What they said at the end of their story brought me to a huge “aha moment” and as you plan out your 2020, I hope it can help you create magical moments for your self.

“My Identity had been centered on what I did, what I could create, make better, and do. The problem is that changes. What is my true value if I can shift it or not do it and it doesn’t matter? What I didn’t realize is that I needed to ground myself in what doesn’t change. My value doesn’t change just because my role does.”  — quote from anonymous friend

However so often this is what society tells us.

Example:

  • If your good at something, you get more notice and possibly more money. Therefore my value is worth more.

This is where my role shift started to create fear. I was not being noticed, I was not making more money, and my job would be nonexistent in a little over 13 years.

But wait…

“My value doesn’t change just because my role does.” 

Do not create your identity on things that can shift! Ok. So what doesn’t shift? I mean, the whole world shifts!

The son doesn’t….Wait I meant sun. But actually….The Son doesn’t!

If you are a believer than you know,

“…living life with Jesus makes you better at living life.”  – Andy Stanley

And this is probably the biggest reason it does. He grounds you. When the world is spinning, when the stock market goes up or down, or your phone need updates and crashes, and your roles shifts at home. You are still His!

Your are:

John 15: 15.      Christ’s friend.

Gal.4:  6-7.         An heir of God.

Col.3: 12.            Chosen of God, holy, and dearly beloved.

1Pet.2: 5.           One of God’s living stones and being built up, in Christ, as a spiritual house.

1Pet.2: 9-10.     A chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession

This does not change!

Goal setting and even the formation of certain lifestyles without knowing who you are creates a lack of motivation. Worse than that, it creates fear. One of the biggest enemies in life is fear and it is on the rise.

Anxiety is one of the leading diagnosis right now, and 95% of teens say they are worried every day.  Could it be we are struggling to see who we are? If you are struggling with motivation could it possibly be that you have stepped into the trap? The trap of believing you are what you achieve or do.

Once you know who you are, no matter what circumstance comes your way you can meet it with confidence and peace. Sure footed and grounded in the knowledge that you are loved, important, valued, and royal! That is a great place to start for creating the formations of ones life and the goals for ones year.

2 Thessalonians 3:16 

16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you his peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all.

Celebrate Now!

Celebrate Now!

Life can be so hard at times. Things can be thrown at you that you are unprepared for, and that knocks the wind right out of you. Things that despite your best efforts you have no control over.

I have a saying personally about this.

“We don’t get to write our stories. God does that. But it is what we do with our story that matters!”

I know from experience that it is said every third sentence is negative in some way. And as I become more and more aware of it I am in awe with how often people focus on what is missing versus what they have.

Examples:

  • Complains about wanting a new car, even though they have three.
  • So sad and focused on the fact that someone is missing a family gathering and not focusing on the people that did get to come.
  • Complaining about being sick in pregnancy, failing to see the beauty of growing life!
  • Saying that the next year they will have a lot to celebrate but have nothing to celebrate right now.
  • A lack of health is a hard one because someone was complaining about being sick the other day and I felt like maybe they had a “right” to be negative. And then I thought about the joy in my niece right now despite chemo therapy and being very sick. She loves life so much! Everything is an adventure in her eyes. She is doing hard things right now and still she smiles more than all the rest!

We get to choose our attitude and how we are going to walk out our stories in life. We can either be sad or we can be joyful in all circumstances. We can find things to complain about in almost every single thing in life. Or we can choose to see the silver lining in it and celebrate! Do not wait till it is perfect or till everyone can finally show up. Because it won’t happen and you will walk around waiting your entire life to celebrate!

We have a New Years party every year and whoever shows up, whoever joins in, we meet them right where we are and we celebrate! We eat pizza, we drink Champagne, and we laugh. We ring in the next season with joy of where we are and the possibilities of where we are going.

As you step into 2020, Are you going to choose to celebrate this season? Where you are right now! Can you see beauty in where you find yourself? Are you missing out on some of the wonderful things amidst the trials and struggles and hustle?

Life is so unbelievably beautiful. Sensing the beauty is the biggest healer of negativity. Let us all start appreciating the things which we find ourselves in, instead of crying over things which aren’t. START MEDITATING. START CELEBRATING! Bring in some “Happy Realizations.” Do not allow others negativity to start a running contest of who “has it worst.”

Brene Brown says it perfectly. “Don’y get me wrong — we all take turns being frustrated and exhausted. We’re human. Our motto is “you’re free to piss and moan — just do it with a little perspective.” Works like a charm!”

Romans 15: 13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Psalms 47:1 Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.

This New Years I am focusing on purging negativity in my life. Part of that is seeing the beauty in everything and experiencing joy in the ordinary. A normal life can be pretty extraordinary. Happy 2020!

 

No Longer Legal

No Longer Legal

On one particular “girl nights” this past summer I played one of those question games where you get to know people better. Things like, “If you were a unicorn what would you do?” or “If we were all in a fire who would be best equipped to handle the exit strategy?” All of these questions were really funny but the answers made them even funnier! This little game however led my husband and I to use one of the questions in a very different capacity.

As most of you know, we speak, write and encourage couples on relationship success, lifestyle, and high performance living.  One of the questions on that specific night loaned itself to some incredible insight.

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“If you could make one legal thing no longer legal what would it be?” 

The answers on the night of that ladies trip were broad and humorous. What was interesting was that this particular question sat in my mind for a while. It kept coming back up for me but in totally different ways. It caused me to think further and more profoundly on the matter of what we choose to allow to dictate space and ideas as ok in our lives.

The thought that I kept coming back to was, what we allow to be “legal” in our lives that shouldn’t be. Things we absorb and the things we deem ok. These ideas and concepts that  for whatever reason we just take as fact and acceptable. They are not good, right, or beneficial in any way. Things  and phrases like “marriage is hard,” verbal assault under the blanket of “constructive feedback,” violence in any form, hate, malnutrition. All of these things are things we should deem “No Longer Legal.”

When I rattle off this list most of us would say we would love to have all of those things eradicated from our lives.  Yet, personally we malnourish ourselves all the time, we hate any and every single opinion that is different from our own, and we orally assault ourselves with negativity that we would never ever let anyone else say.

So I ask again, What legal thing should you make no longer legal in your life? Not in any way should you accept this, not from others or from your self. Choose to say enough.

Things like:

  • verbal assault
  • hate
  • negative venting
  • gossip
  • malnutrition
  • substance medicating
  • rudeness
  • judgement
  • unhealthy thoughts that don’t serve you
  • negative feedback
  • arrogance

None of these things are loving. And like Carrie Underwood says: “We believe that in the end love wins!”

Creating Exceptional standards for what we are going to allow in our lives will help us to live more fully! So what standards are you making for yourself and for your relationships?

Galatians 5: 22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
+++ If you enjoy these concepts and would like to have Steve and Kate as special guests on a podcast, blog, or to speak at an event near you go checkout An Exceptional Romance for further information on how to engage with these authors!

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?

 

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?