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!

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

 

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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Build Your Legacy

 

 

I was asked a few years ago by a dear friend to come along side her son while he came into the older elementary ages and into middle school. To just be another voice and another person he could talk to about anything and everything. Also just to have fun and be there for him. Doing life side by side with kids is one of the greatest privileges in this world. I was honored to take on the opportunity. What surprised me was how much I have learned from doing this!!

The next generation is truly amazing! They are doing more, juggling more, and being expected of more than any other generation behind them. They are incredible when you think about all that they are managing and fighting against. As an older sister to three brothers I was even more thrilled to get to do this. A few times a year I would get to be out of the pink tutu’s and ballet bars that my life revolved around. I didn’t have kids yet and having the opportunity to go to an arcade and to ride go carts was a no brainer! I was going to be there.

When I was young, I had three individuals in particular that came around me and encouraged me. They took me places, they showed up for me, and they took an interest in what was going on in my world. I knew first hand what that influence had in my life. It meant the world that I mattered to them and that they really wanted to see me succeed. They were “super cool”  and to know that they had my back really shaped me.

“Show me a successful individual and I’ll show you someone who had real positive influences in his or her life. I don’t care what you do for a living—if you do it well I’m sure there was someone cheering you on or showing the way. A mentor.” — Denzel Washington

Contribution has one of the largest upshot in all of life. It is when you are contributing to a greater cause or a greater idea that you are pouring out rather than taking. Consuming money, space, time, and negativity helps no one and lest of all you. When you are nervous to go for it, remember, contribute verses consume. Building your legacy is not about buildings, or money, or empires, or even influence. Its about people. So which one is it for you? Some of us think we are contributing but in actuality all we are doing is consuming.

Many of us can come up with incredible ideas but it takes a multitude of people to spread something exceptional. It takes a village to raise a child, it takes a mob to create a movement, and it takes a congregation to have a revival.

Look at the very gospel of Jesus as an example. Become part of something bigger than yourself. Go mentor, and go be mentored! Who do you need to come along side today?

Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. Romans 12: 6-8

 

SEXY

SEXY

We make this so much harder than it needs to be.  We silently suffer through things that could be cleared up very quickly with a few questions or explanations.  Instead we choose to stay silent around our significant other and our group of trusted peers.  Choosing to suffer, to stew, and to be secretive.  Let us not complicate this.  All we need is to ask the real questions on intimacy, even the hard ones.  Going to work at understanding the deeper more unique nature of each other will create the most incredible dynamic. It will give you freedom that you could only imagine about in your wildest dreams.

What I would tell my young married self:

  • You are responsible for you.  Your body is His and He is yours but you are responsible for communicating correctly about it and what you need from the other person.  If he needs something from you He is responsible to tell you.  Trying to anticipate and guess and be in front of it will only wear you both out and leave you unsatisfied.
  • Make your bedroom a haven. So often the bedroom is the last room we decorate, finish and use. It should be the opposite. This is the haven for your marriage. It is the place to escape chores, work, devices, and the outside world. For years, and I mean years, I would haul the laundry baskets into our bedroom. My mistake was realized only after running ragged one day and coming upstairs to rest. There on the bed sat three loads of unfolded laundry. I could not even lie down. I urge you to make this space work for you and your significant other. Let it be soothing, and romantic. There is nothing sexy about piles of laundry and stacks of clutter. I suddenly saw the problem and the solution that day with the laundry. Our room needed to be a place that spoke to us and that encouraged connection. almost over night, I realized our room was the tone for our romantic life. I changed everything. I wanted my husband and I to walk in to our bedroom for the space to breathe life into our relationship. No harsh colors, no clutter or distractions. Everything we had, we had to love. The bed sheets were upgraded, candles were bought, visual space was marked out and no devices became a mandatory rule. I still struggle with the habit of throwing all the clean laundry in the bedroom but I am doing better and it is doing wonders for our marriage and romance.
  • Choose to have a no shame and no blame policy.

    When someone is opening up to you on the topic of anything sexual you do not want to shame and blame them.  By all means we are called to hold each other accountable.  We are all better human beings when we rise up in all of life and we do this unwaveringly.  It just means no condemnation.  In shaming someone, It will create a closed off and painfully negative experience.  They will never approach you again about it, and silently struggle to a dangerous zone.  To be a safe place to land about this struggle is sexy in and of itself.

     

     

    Proverbers 5:19

    May your fountain be blessed,

        and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.

    A loving doe, a graceful deer—

        may her breasts satisfy you always,

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.

-SJD

http://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/how-to/marketing/2014/12/7-habits-of-amazingly-successful-salespeople.html

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“Remember who you are” –J. Mingee