Gentleness and Ditching the Cloth Diapers

Gentleness is allowing yourself the freedom to change immediately, to let go of the path you thought you were on and go a little different way. #parentingGentleness and Ditching the Cloth Diapers

Don’t miss the key point!

Staying focused on the “shoulds” distracts us from following the actual path we are called to walk.


How many of you have times in your life that you look back on and think, “Man, I was an uptight mess!” and yet you know in that same moment that you were doing the best you could and making the decisions you genuinely thought were the ones that needed making?




I think we all have those times where we look back now and realize that the intensity and priority we place on certain choices was a little over the top.


What is one of those moments for you?


Growing up as the oldest of 8 children, I was exposed to plenty of skills that are required for proper parenting.


I was sure parenting was going to be no big deal for me.



In truth, since I knew I was set, of course I felt like I “should” be an even better parent. And that’s where I began putting the pressure on. I didn’t know it at the time, but I can look back and see that the more I knew, the more I felt like I should do with perfection.


I should cloth diaper. What is it about those cotton things that makes people ooh and aah. I admit I was taken. And these required no pins. The easy velcro, the elastic seams, the soft cotton. The newborn ones were adorable- the softest terrycloth little packages of cloudlike heaven you could imagine on a baby’s bum. And there were printed covers that were so cute, liners, adorable diaper pails with all natural deodorizers, I was smitten. Any real mom worth her salt would cloth diaper, especially with these fancy pants.


And I did this in every area of preparing for my first baby.


All the shoulds in the world didn’t really take into account the reality and needs of everyday life. It didn’t really account for anything that didn’t look completely blissful in my minds eye.


Those cloth diapers lasted a little longer. 15 months after Jonathon was born, James came


along. 16 months later Jefferson was born. Suddenly, I had three little boys, all wearing cloth diapers, none tall enough to make potty train something that saved me time or helped me in any way. If you have never gotten backed up on scrubbing out poopy cloth diapers to the tune of

15-20 diapers stacked next to the toilet, then let me explain: It finally broke me and I caved and bought pampers.


And yet, I felt guilty. Have you ever gotten to the complete end of something, know your situation is ridiculous, and that you need to change, but because you’ve carried that choice as a banner for so long as a “should” you feel like it’s sin to put it down? Anyone?


This is why shoulds can be a great signal to pay attention to the judgments we have on ourselves and choose gentleness. Every should isn’t necessarily a wrong choice. “You should go to the bathroom before we get in the car and drive for three hours.”



It’s a great time to ask questions:

Who has placed this should pressure?

Do I have the same priority now that I did when I made this decision?

Am I feeling guilty for something and making a choice to avoid feeling like a failure? Is the “should” coming from pride or confidence that it’s the direction I want to go?


Shoulds simply reflect what we believe was the best practice with a limited amount of information and a specific priority. When we get more information or a new priority, the ideal choice can change.


And I’m not talking about clear moral decisions here. I’m talking about all those silly pressures we put on ourselves that are neither here nor there on the 10 commandments list:

  • My kids don’t play video
  • We don’t watch
  • I only
  • We are
  • Breast fed
  • Baby
  • Methods of
  • Food choices, exercise choices, clothing choices…


We make decisions, then notice ways our choice is good and validate our choice. Next, it’s easy to decide that it’s such a good choice, everyone should be making this choice. So we promote it! Our pride gets wrapped up in validating our own decisions.


But it’s safe to change our minds when we have new information, a new priority, or discover a new problem that needs to be addressed. It simply requires humility. The sooner we can


recognize the pride that’s keeping us in an unnecessary pressure, the sooner we can choose gentleness and have expectations that are realistic.


Another way to look at shoulds is recognizing how often we have a Prince Charming mentality about how our life is supposed to look.  I got this little nugget from a coach named Ennio Salucci, the founder of and in a conference he ran, he discussed how often we see others and situations in life as disappointments because we think it’s supposed to look like Prince Charming in order to be right. In our spouse, prince charming brain might look like shoulds such as: he’s handsome, works hard, plays with the kids, never touches a video game, brings me flowers and candy, but never when I’m dieting, works out, takes the kids and does the grocery shopping, comes up with surprise awesome dates, tells me how wonderful I am, and when my husband doesn’t meet those expectations or “shoulds” I’m disappointed. And we have an entire charming family.


Kid charming House charming

I should be mom charming Volunteer charming


That’s not reality. We are not a compilation of ideals. We are not God and sometimes being gentle to ourselves and others looks like releasing those “shoulds” from ourselves and others.


So what do we choose instead?

We choose the best choice in front of us today. Gentleness looks like choosing the best for this day.


Who I know I want to be today is… therefore I get to… What is that for you today?

Gentleness is allowing yourself the freedom to change immediately, to let go of the path you thought you were on and go a little different way. Ditch the shoulds, like those dirty cloth diapers, and choose what to do based on Truth with a capital T, but also on where your priorities are now.


Where is gentleness calling out to you to release your shoulds? What one next thing will you choose today?

Gentleness and Building Relationships

Are you gentle with yourself when it comes to making and keeping friends? Are you gentle with others? This podcast is all about gentleness and relationships.Recently I had the opportunity to interact with a group of women all committed to discussing the vision of building more authentic relationships.

How many of you feel like sometimes having real friends can be difficult? Maybe we think…

We don’t do enough with them. They didn’t ask how we were.

I never see them.

Their social media is so much cuter than mine.

I’ve been the needy person so many times, it can’t be my turn again.


I don’t really want to spend time with them. Our kids don’t get along.

They parent differently so we just have to keep some distance.

Building relationships can be pretty rough sometimes. We talk about it with our kids all the time- how to make friends, how to keep friends, what to do when someone isn’t nice to them, how to be kind, etc. Yet, how many of us wish we had a magic friend fairy that could help the relationships building go a little easier?

I know sometimes, I’d love to see that magic wand wave over a conversation and suddenly we just click and enjoy each other’s company. Suddenly, there we are talking about things that really matter.

Well, my friend, and sister in law, Lisa Turner, came up with 6 great questions for discussion around building and maintaining deep authentic relationships and I think they go right along with our gentleness theme for August.

Definition of Gentleness: the quality of being kind, tender, or mild-mannered. Are you gentle with yourself when it comes to making and keeping friends?

Are you gentle with others? To whom do you most often ascribe the responsibility? You or


Who is supposed to reach out? In what context?

Let’s go through these questions and talk about what the answers might be from a place of being gentle with ourselves and others in our relationships. Be thinking about which ones resonate with you the most.


  1. We put ourselves out there…we ask a couple out for lunch, we another mom to meet at a playground for a playdate, we try to get to know someone but keep getting a “no.” How do we deal with the rejection? How do we stay encouraged and keep trying?


Answer: Ask some key questions:

What is the story I am telling myself about these interactions? What do I really want here?

What do I have to believe in order to feel safe in this situation?

If I get to choose who I want to be regardless of how the other person shows up, who do I choose to be in this situation?


  1. How do we have joy for what God is doing in the life of our sister? Can you talk a little on how we rewire our minds to rejoice, even over the small things?


Answer: Be kind to your mind, your problem solving skills are a gift.

Look at it like we are going to create a new road, it’ll take time. It’s ok that it isn’t a super highway yet.


  1. How do we get over only relating to each other by commiserating?


Answer: Notice the desire to quickly connect with others through problems.

It doesn’t have be hard to celebrate with others, sometimes intentionally being silly and letting it be light hearted breaks the uncomfortable feeling of introducing a new conversation pattern.

What if it gets to be easy? Just own it that it’s new.


  1. Regarding the theme of knowing our sisters, and knowing them so well we know how to help and serve one another, do you have any advice on how we actually do this in our everyday life?


Answer:Don’t make it bigger than it has to be.

What if it gets to be easy? Something is better than nothing.

Set a reminder, who can I bless or encourage today?


  1. How have you encouraged your children on building relationships ?


Answer: LOTS of opportunities!

It’s not someone else’s job to help you feel like you belong, that’s your job.

Let it be ok that if feels uncomfortable. Breathe. Go serve someone else anyway.

Serve with someone- one of the easiest ways to get to know someone.


  1. How do you, mother of 7, owner of a business, just started at a new church church have time or energy to build relationships?



  • We make time for what’s
  • Honestly, I often thing I could be better at this, faster, more dedicated, but that’s a pattern of self
  • Showing up, with a gentleness of spirit, choosing to be curious with others, speak before spoken to, and intentionally putting myself in a place of having to meet others or grow our
  • Let it take


Finally, we all tend to be pretty hard on ourselves. Gentleness is: being kind, tender, or mild-mannered.

What one next thing are you going to choose to do in a spirit of gentleness today? Who comes to mind that you could calmly reach out to today?

I challenge you to consider one next step of action.

Gentleness: MVPs & Dragon Slayers

On this episode, Mary shares a few key ways she’s discovered to help tame that dragon inside of us. #podcast #gentlenessOnce upon a time, in a land not so far away lived a dragon who ruled over her kingdom. One day the dragon decided to survey her kingdom and determine if all was in order. As she looked over the kingdom, she discovered that it was NOT in order!

“Clean up this mess!” she roared! Quickly the little villagers scrambled to do her bidding. They knew that the town was a disaster, but the task to recover it looked so big! They began to feel discouraged, get distracted and play with toys…err…feed their chickens.

The dragon became so enraged that the villagers were not keeping the town in tip top shape, that she drew a deep breath and then blew fire across the whole land, burning it all to the ground.

After her nasty explosion, she retreated to her cave. When she came out the following day, she was determined to ask the villagers to work again, but as she surveyed the land, she suddenly realized there was nothing left. She had burned it all to the ground the day before.

Have you ever felt like that fire breathing dragon? Capable of breathing fire on everyone around you?

I have! In fact, I’ll let you in on a little secret- my kids used to think I really was a dragon!

In this episode I’ll share why we end up raging at others in spite of saying hundreds of times that we won’t. The honest truth is that the best intentions without a clear action plan will simply leave us frustrated and going right around the same circles over and over again. If we want something different, we must DO something different.

I’ll also share a few key ways I’ve discovered to help tame that dragon inside of us so we have far more margin for difficulties, unexpected outcomes, and surprise sidetracks.

Finally, I’ll give you a short question to use about the “MVP of the day” that will help you clearly see what things are getting in the way of maintaining gentleness as a priority. This one question will make it so much easier to pick and choose with confidence what goes into your day and what must be thrown out.

If you want regular accountability and support changing these and other habits you are ready to be rid of, simply go to and click “Get Started!” We can find a support solution that is perfect for you!

Gentleness & Late Night Picnics

Join me as I share one of my favorite stories of the late night antics from my children and how their huge blunder helped me learn how to have a more gentle approach. #parenting #christianparenting #fruitpursuitGentleness and Late Night Picnics

You’ve worked hard!  You’ve done your best all day.  You’ve given it everything you’ve got.  And now it’s time for those munchkins to go to bed!  Time to relax and rest…or so you think.

Join me as I share one of my favorite stories of the late night antics from my children and how their huge blunder helped me learn how to have a more gentle approach with myself when it comes to addressing imperfections, limitations, and skills that I haven’t quite developed yet.

Once upon a time we only had a couple of kids, but they were adventuresome!
Join me to hear the story of the boys and their crazy picnic!

Do you brainstorm all the things your kids do wrong in any given moment? Often we could address so many things at once.  What do you do? Will they hear it?  How do you choose?

I’ll share how I handled it and how it informed me in a new way of what I really needed to do with myself and my mistakes as well.


If you don’t take away anything else, how can this verse and promise bring your encouragement today?  What does it say about God and his care for you?  How does it inform who you can be today?


Isaiah 40:11

“He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom; and gently lead those that are with young.”


How can we be more gentle with ourselves in our various roles as spouse, parent, child, sibling, educator, co-worker, entrepreneur, Christian, etc.?

One way is to choose a WAY of BEING.

Many people choose a word for the year to focus on, but what if we chose a word for the day, the week, or the month?  How might this allow us to focus on cultivating a new habit well and streamline what things we are focused on?

In this episode I’ll give an example of how one word helps maintain focus of loving our families well and minimizing overwhelm.

How could one word help streamline bedtime routines for instance?

What about meal times, how can one word help you decide what to prioritize between nutritious, timely, on budget, something everyone likes, easy to prepare, and a variety of other factors?
Staying focused on one thing at a time allows us to learn that one thing really well.

What one thing are you going to focus on today? How will you streamline your focus and be gentle to yourself and those around you?

Listen to More Podcasts from Fruit Pursuit


Who Are You Listening To? Meet Mary Aldrich

Meet Mary Aldrich, the host of Fruit Pursuit Podcast! #podcast #christianity #christianpodcastWho are you listening to?  Meet Mary Aldrich

In this episode, discover a little about who I am, some about my family and our life.  Find out the purpose of this podcast and what this fruit is all about.

Galatians 5:22-23 Tells us the fruit of the spirit includes love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

How often do we long for these particular qualities to be more evident in our lives and in the lives of those we love?  Yet, how often do we truly spend cultivating these into our lives in practical ways?

This episode will explain a little about how my journey as an overwhelmed mom led to a desire to focus whole-heartedly on learning practical ways to cultivate these fruits into my own life and hopefully inspire you with new ways to cultivate them in your life as well.

Who am I?

I’m a multi talented person- which will become more relevant in a minute.

  • I can rock my life coaching job, paint, do construction, cake decorate, organize, delegate, teach, create art, repair a toilet, and a host of other things
  • My favorite hobby is learning new hobbies. I enjoy being relatable to others.
  • Weaknesses: food control, finances, technology

Why this podcast?

  • When my 5 kids were 6 and under, I was thoroughly overwhelmed.
  • I took multi-tasking to a whole new level!
  • Friend recommended a weekend conference by that changed the trajectory of my life forever
  • Gradually found margin to love my family well
  • Got clear what my purpose was
  • Realized I believed that if I was good at something therefore I SHOULD be doing it and began to realign my life according to my clearest purpose
  • As I find hope, I long for YOU to find hope and life as well.
  • It’s my intention to create a way for YOU that is as easy as possible.

Why fruit?

  • Galatians 5:22-23
  • First, I believe in the absolute truth of the whole Bible.
  • Second, It’s important that the mindset we practice and work so hard to improve aligns with the truth of the scripture.
  • The goal here is to find ways to build practical tools which develop these fruits of the spirit into your life.

Ultimate Intention

  • Be encouraged that love, joy, and peace really is possible.
  • Actually feeling this way is not just a twisted way of talking spiritual while feeling miserable.
  • I challenge you to take one step, one action to adjust the trajectory of your life 1% today and every day.

Looking forward to you hanging around! And hey, bring your friends!