Faithfulness of Others

Join Mary Aldrich as she tackles the subject of seeing faithfulness in others around us.How can we encourage those around us?
What if we can’t find anything at all they are doing well?

Is there a way to increase their consistency without fussing or nagging them to do things?

In today’s episode we’ll discuss ways to do all three.

We’ll talk about husbands, children, and friends/ coworkers.
Plus, I’ll give you a secret tool to help you know what to say next time you can’t come up with something positive to say.

We’ve discussed finding and feeling the Faithfulness of God. Last episode we discussed seeing our own growth in faithfulness and consistency.  Today we are tackling the subject of seeing faithfulness in others around us.

When I was a teen my mom was so frustrated with me.

We encourage those around us by taking time to tell them what we see that they are doing well.

People crave it.

I don’t care what your love language is, it feels good to hear that you are doing something right. (Well, unless you haven’t heard it for a long time and you’ve been busy telling yourself negative things.  Then, it feels uncomfortable first.)

But what if I can’t find anything good to say?

Look at their weakness and ask, what is the strength on the other side?
A weakness is a strength improperly applied.  If it was applied correctly, what would it look like?

“She takes forever to do that work.” (Thorough, detailed, calm, persevering)

He is always arguing. (Thoughtful, bold, integrity)

He always breaks my stuff. (Creative, experimental, innovative, focused)

Won’t shut up. (Friendly, conversationalist, cheerful, speaks loud enough to be heard)

Too rowdy. (High energy, vibrant, physical stamina)

A slob. (Flexible, overlooks faults in others, willing to let other things go, forgiving)

Expects me to do all the work while they lie around and rest? (Aware of the rest they need, take care of themselves well, content to let things be as they are)

How can we maximize the possibility that they will grow and change without nagging?
PRAISE! PRAISE! PRAISE!!!

The Secret tools:

  1. Prepare ahead of time. Create a list of 100 things you can praise that person for.
  2. Turn the weakness around. A weakness is simply a strength improperly applied.

Who can you bless today with your positivity and encouragement?

Faithfulness: How Not to Climb a Mountain

In this episode, we’ll discuss how to take problems, anxiety, and frustration and turn it into something that is going really well that you can get excited about!This is your chance to notice the faithfulness of God, and also your own consistency.

Philippians 4:8 (ESV) – Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

 

Choosing to climb a mountain with a pile of toddlers is no easy task.

Choosing to climb a mountain and never stopping to look at the progress you’ve made- that our family has made- is a miserable task.

But how do we stop to focus on what’s going well when we must be so busy carefully protecting our kiddos from themselves?

In this episode, we’ll discuss how to take problems, anxiety, and frustration and turn it into something that is going really well that you can get excited about!

For a great example of David’s focus on what is going well, check out Psalm 103:1-5 (ESV)

Bless the Lord, O my soul,

And all that is within me,

Bless his holy name!

Bless the Lord, O my soul,

And forget not all his benefits,

Who forgives all your iniquity,

Who heals all your diseases,

Who redeems your life from the pit,

Who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,

Who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

 

Want some areas to consider for what’s going well?

Here are a few:
What priorities are you keeping straight?

What are you trusting God about right now?

What are your children excelling at?

What progress have you made in the past three months? In the past year?

What wise financial choices have you made recently?

What random things have you been taking for granted lately?

What other things can you celebrate that is going well with you and your family?

Celebrate the faithfulness you are demonstrating in your own life!

 

Faithfulness: God’s Faithfulness & Feeling It!

Are you believing the truth about God’s Faithfulness? Are you setting up yourself for success to actually feel his faithfulness? Join Mary as she covers 2 aspects of faithfulness!God’s Faithfulness and Feeling it!

Are you believing the truth about God’s Faithfulness?
Are you setting up yourself for success to actually feel his faithfulness?

Today we are going to cover 2 aspects of faithfulness:
-The truth of God’s faithfulness to us

– Feeling his faithfulness to others.

The truth of God’s faithfulness:

Deuteronomy 7:9
God is faithful, and keeps his promises!
He keeps his love to us- to those who          love him and keep his commandments!

1 Timothy 2:13

God is faithful even when we aren’t!
He cannot quit his commitments to us!

1 Corinthians 10:13

God’s faithfulness provides a way of escape from any temptation!

He does not allow us to be tempted without an alternative he knows we can choose.
There are no special circumstances that exclude you from his love.

Romans 8:38-39

God is faithful in love and there is nothing that can separate us from it!

He covers all the possibilities; there are no loopholes.

 

God’s Ultimate Faithfulness to us:
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

He gives us the free gift of salvation through sending Jesus to die on the cross for our sins.  Ask forgiveness for your sin, acknowledge him as God and Lord of your life. Believe that he saves you and that you get to be in a personal relationship with him!

This is the TRUE faithfulness of God!

Now, what about feeling it?

Hebrews 11:6 says,
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

Key: HE does exist. He DOES reward!
All we must do is seek him!

Where can you find him showing up in your life today?

Consider how this is an opportunity for a great treasure hunt!
Can you find him in your car rides?

In Sunday services?

In nature?
In his provision?

In your children?
In your spouse’s story?
In journaling?

In music?

In something unexpected?

Where else can you find him?  He is there.  He is faithful. We only have to find where he is!

For more inspiration and working this into our life, consider our Fruit Pursuit Mastermind!
It’s open for enrollment for just a few more weeks!
We’d love to have you!

You can go to www.maryaldrichcoaching.com and click “Contact”
Let’s chat about how I can support you becoming the woman you long to be and loving it!

 

Kindness & Listening Skills

Today, we’re covering some key ways to up your listening skills in your family as a way to show kindness to others as well as yourself, by increasing your ability and frequency to have amiable conversations.Everyone should be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger. James 1:19

 

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to respond.” -Stephen Covey, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

 

“You are short on ears and long on mouth.” -John Wayne

 

Are you a good listener or are you a little long on mouth?

Today, we’re covering some key ways to up your listening skills in your family as a way to show kindness to others as well as yourself, by increasing your ability and frequency to have amiable conversations.

 

But what’s the purpose of listening anyway?

To learn what we do not know.

Understand the other person’s perspective.

 

What it isn’t:

An opportunity to check off all the things we know already.
Decide that we know why they did what they did and dig for evidence to support that assumption.

 

Three listening skills we’ll cover today include

  1. Create a safe space.
  2. Stay Curious
  3. Practice a listening lesson. (Surprise, you have homework!)

 

 

First, create a safe space. This is not a time to attack or defend. Stay curious and caring. Notice where your mind starts racing, creating judgment, or focusing on what you think you know already.  Finally, remind yourself and the person you are talking to that you are on the same team by sitting next to each other to discuss something rather than across from each other.  Just this physical change can go a long way to feeling more like comrades and less like enemies.

 

Second, stay curious- look for what’s underneath. Some phrases and questions you can use to explore what’s really going on for the other person include:

“Tell me more about that.”

“Why do you think that is?”

“How does that make you feel?”

“What are you really wanting more than anything?

Third, try this listening lesson.  When someone tells you what is wrong, attempt to repeat it word for word back to them and then ask if you heard correctly.  This not only forces you to listen all the way to the end, but it also allows the other person to clarify any misunderstandings immediately.

 

And don’t be afraid to practice this one.  Try it on something that isn’t super important first.  Have another person tell you a story and you periodically try to repeat exactly what they say.  Once you’ve taken turns doing that a couple of times, then try it during a more serious discussion.

 

Finally, when you think the conversation is over, ask,

“Is there anything else you want me to know about this right now?”

This allows the other person a chance to declare that they also think the conversation is over- or not, which helps you both end it well.

 

If you’d like more tools like this, we have over 40 other training’s presented in our Fruit Pursuit Mastermind Membership.  That membership is currently open for enrollment.  If you, however, listen to this and enrollment is not open, we are happy to add you to a waiting list where you can be notified of future times when it is open.

To get more information about how you can join our membership, send an email to mary@maryaldrichcoaching.com

 

PS- October is all about Faithfulness.  I look forward to sharing a new month of topics around faith, consistency, and fighting discouragement with you!  See you then!

Visit Mary at maryaldrichcoaching.com or find more episodes here.

Kindness vs. Pesky Sisters

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32 ESV

 

Sometimes we really get on each others nerves, don’t we?

 

Recently my daughters were having a conflict over the expected standards of cleanliness and organization in their room. Both are little neat freaks, but they have different expectations of what that looks like.

They wanted to focus on who had done more, who was right, and whose turn it was to put away stuff.

How do we get along in relationships when these types of conflicts arise?

Relationships aren’t 50%/50%.

Relationships are 100%/100%.

For a relationship to thrive, this needs to be our stance whether we think the other person is giving their whole 100 or not.  We simply assume they are and we focus on doing our part.

But what does giving 100% look like?
Someone gets hit last. Let it be you. This is what I tell my boys when they are fighting.  In any fight if the goal is to get along, someone must be willing to be hit last.  Let it be you.

  • Assume full responsibility. Assuming responsibility for everything breeds gratitude for anything others do to lift the load.
  • It’s always my job to say, “I’m sorry,” first. If the ultimate goal is to reconcile, then whoever notices first that an apology needs to be made is the one to get the ball rolling.

 

Kindness includes FORGIVENESS

            What is forgiveness? A practical definition is: accepting the pain and releasing the offender from the obligation to remove it.

 

This is what Jesus did for us.  He took on the pain and suffering of the cross and his forgiveness free us for any obligation to make that pain go away.

 

Besides, most of the time, there really isn’t anything the offender can do to take away the pain anyway.  They can apologize, which is helpful, but it doesn’t really take the pain away.

 

Kindness includes being TENDERHEARTED.

            Not everyone is in your place. What comes easy to you may not come easy to others.  Often people are also fighting a battle in their own mind of guilt, shame, embarrassment, or defeat worse than anything we can see on the outside.

 

A wise friend once suggested: God is working on everyone. If it doesn’t seem like he’s working on a particular area that frustrates you, that just means he’s working on something more important.  Extend grace.

 

Finally, I like to think of relationships like a figure 8, or an infinity symbol.

Each circle represents a pattern we can go around:

 

Cycle of togetherness

            This circle builds communication, community, connection, and love.

 

Cycle of aloneness

This circle builds resentment, victimhood, pride, and isolation.

 

As we go around these circles, we move through 4 processes:
Belief, Feelings, Actions, and Results

 

It looks like this:
I believe we are a team, I feel happy about working together, I help the other person be successful, we connect and rejoice over whatever we accomplished, which in turns confirms our belief that we are a team and continues the cycle.

 

Or

I believe that I’m the only one working on this relationship, so I feel alone, which causes me to act as if it’s all up to me in a resentful way, and I notice what I do, what they don’t, and what they should be doing, which leads me to believe that I’m the only one working on the relationship, which continues the cycle.

 

At any moment, in any one of the four processes we can jump on or off one of the cycles.
The challenge is to stay on the cycle of togetherness as an act of kindness to your relationship, even if the other person jumps off.

Whatever we are doing, we are always proving one or the other cycle true with our beliefs, feelings, actions, and results.

To recap:
Kindness looks like

Giving 100/100 all the time.

Choosing forgiveness.

Being tenderhearted.
Staying on the cycle of togetherness.

 

What is that one thing that hits home for you in your relationships with others?
Take one action today!

Kindness In Relationships

Let’s take a look at kindness as it takes place between people we love so much, as well as the ones we don’t always love so much.

Let’s take a look at kindness as it takes place between people we love so much, as well as the ones we don’t always love so much.

We’ll talk about:

– two cranky kids,

– a difficult, exhausting child,

– and an annoying spouse to round out our discussion.

 

Sounds fun right?

 

Well, I think you’ll enjoy it as well as discover some helpful tips along the way for how to practically apply kindness to each of these situations.

 

Don’t worry, it’s going to be easier than you think.

Situation #1:The two loud, rambunctious, ornery, grouchy whiny kids fighting with each other.

 

Perhaps they say things like, “I did not, you did too, well you did first, well you were just being mean, that’s because you were being a stupid head, well you just never want to me to win, well you just never want to play my way… “

 

Do you hear them accusing each other of unkind intentions?

 

Kindness Key #1: Declaring they were being mean is assigning motive.  Talk about what they did, not what you think they were thinking when they did it.

When our children accuse someone of being mean, we remind them to talk about facts and try again.

 

Situation 2: The kid you think is determined to make your life miserable.
When Jefferson was younger I wasn’t sure both of use were going to make it.
He was a disaster of a little one.

It was easy to think things like, “He’s determined to make my life miserable, just a trouble maker, he knows exactly what he’s doing and he’s deceitful, a liar, and undisciplined, he just like to tear things up.”

 

Others were quick to judge as well, “You obviously haven’t been strict enough with his discipline, he’s determined to destroy this place!”

Kindness Key #2: Believe the best of others. Get curious.  I wonder what he could be thinking about that causes him to decide this is a good idea.

What if he is trying his best?  I try my best and fail, make mistakes, hurt others.

What else could be the story here? I have good intentions sometimes and create a disaster.

Kindness is recognizing the difference between mischief and curiosity.  That doesn’t mean that he never had consequences, but it was easier to continue to want to let him try again when I choose to believe the best, instead of want to lock him in an indestructible cage forever.

 

Situation #3: The annoying spouse.

It’s easy to assuming judgment, especially when we feel like we are failing anyway:
“He is pointing out I stink at doing the laundry.” “He can’t just get up and eat, he’s got to make it really obvious that I haven’t cleaned up the kitchen yet.” “He isn’t responding, which means he doesn’t care about what I just said.”

The truth is that all of my accusations were based on judgements in my head that I had made up. I had assigned a negative motive and intention to the things I was accusing him of that wasn’t true.

Kindness Key #3: When in doubt, just ask.

 

“The story that I’m making up is: that you went to do the dishes to point out to me that I had been sitting around all morning allowing the house to turn into a disaster, is that true?

His response: “No, I just don’t want to make my breakfast in a filthy kitchen, so I’ll clean it up first.”

How often do we make up a story?

 

We have all this past evidence that it is true, (which are often just other times we’ve made up the same story in our minds), so therefore we are completely justified in assuming their motives this time. Nope.

When you notice yourself making up a story, even if you are fully convinced it’s true- it’s better to ask.  Then comes the hard part.  You have to believe their answer.

A final review of the three kindness keys we talked about today?

  1. Don’t say they were being mean, say what they did that was a problem.
  2. Believe the best of others.
  3. When in doubt about their motive, just ask.  The story I’m making up right now is…

 

So, which one resonates with you the most today?  What one thing will you take home and apply in your attempts to be kind and teach kindness to your family?

 

Kindness vs. Scared Crazy

Today we are covering two ways we scare ourselves to death and why it’s so unnecessary. #podcast #christianToday we are covering two ways we scare ourselves to death and why it’s so unnecessary.

Do you ever wonder why you find yourself wanting something different, longing for something new, and yet when it boils down to the moment- you freeze?

When I was a child I was so afraid of the dark, that I wanted to go get my parents in the night, but was too scared to get out of bed!

As adults, we sometimes still do the same thing, just a different scenario.

Have you ever been in a situation before where you knew that the only way you were going to succeed was to do something uncomfortable and so you squirrel around avoiding it?

Perhaps, hoping an easier path is going to come along?

Today I’m going to let you in on a couple secrets of how we scare ourselves crazy and an even bigger secret- how we do it on purpose.

One way we scare ourselves is:

  1. We take others random experiences and throw it into our future so we can trip over it.

THAT’S NOT KINDNESS!

If I had chosen to do that with my sister, Jane, when she was learning to ride a bike at three years old, I might have started her lesson off with how our brother, Frank once went over a little dirt hill on our lawn, landed on a garden rake, popped the tire, flew over the handlebars and gave himself a concussion.

I could have told her of disasters I had read about where people who enjoy biking and ride on the road have been killed tragically by vehicles not paying attention.

I could have told her of the many times I had fallen from my own bicycle and scraped knees and elbows and how much it hurt.

But would anyone do that with someone who was trying to learn how to ride a bike?  Of course not!  What would you do?
We would focus on how many other people ride bikes all the time, how others have learned and lived to tell about, how much fun it’s going to be- things like that.

This is kindness.

A definition of kindness: being friendly, generous, and considerate

But how do we apply this to our adult lives practically?

Stay off the news!

Quit listening to the police scanner.

Stop reading the details of every school shooting, or mass public atrocity.

Unless you have a clear purpose towards action- you are just spending your time scaring yourself to death in preparation for the next day!

Kindness is being friendly to your brain by choosing carefully what you dwell on.

If you want to believe good things can happen today, you need to build a pile of positive references to think about.

Those aren’t on the news- you’re going to have to find them somewhere else!

Podcasts, books, friends’ successes, the fact that you went to church, school, or the store safely for the past 10 years, there are places we can see positive track record to give us courage, but it aint on the TV.

Remember, kindness is being friendly, generous, and considerate with your own mind by refusing to dwell on the calamities and tragedies of others.

What one way can you take action in the area of kindness today?  What can you choose to watch or listen to that is friendly and generous to your own mind?

Another way we scare ourselves is:

2. We take our own past painful experiences and throw them into our future so we can trip over them.

If you listen to me long enough, you’re going to discover that I had a roller coaster life as a teenager.  In short, it’s important that you know that I ran away from home several times.  My poor parents.

As a parent myself now, I can’t imagine the stress I would be under if my kid starting running away from home at age7.  But that was me.

I can honestly say, and I think my mother would agree that we have a great relationship when we don’t have to live together, but we operated very differently and sharing the same space was extremely hard. I think there was relief for both of us when I got married. That’s my past exprience.

So, last year when we moved from New Hampshire and my parents offered their home as a transitional landing space for our family of 9- I didn’t want to go.  I was so scared.  Why?

Because I was taking my past experience and throwing it into the future so I could trip over it.

Immediately, I’d begin to feel the stress of feeling unsuccessful as a teen and imagine that it would be that way again.  Cold sweat, heart racing, almost panic at times of going back to my childhood home 24 years later.

But we are different people now.  We’ve learned how to have conversations, how to talk about what’s not working, how to give each other space and grace for their weirdness.

When I dwelt on it- the dwelling made it so much scarier and impossible to succeed.

And this was not that.

Where are you projecting your past into your future and scaring yourself silly?

Where can you say, “This is not that,” and then take a deep breath and let this incident play itself out all on it’s own?

Those are the two tips today of how to be kind to yourself:

1. Don’t take other people’s past experiences and throw them into your future so you can trip over them.  It’s not kindness!

2. Don’t take your own past experiences and throw them into your future so you can trip over them.  It’s not kindness.

Kindness is choosing to treat your own new steps, actions, and endeavours with friendliness, generosity, and consideration.

Now what one take away do you have from this episode?

What’s your one takeaway?

Gentleness & Decision Making

How confident and easy does it feel to you to make decisions?  Today: 3 ways to experience gentleness in decision making. #podcastHow confident and easy does it feel to you to make decisions? Does it feel like a gentle process in your life?

 

Today: 3 ways to experience gentleness in decision making.

 

Also stories about our huge school decisions, late night campfires, and a little about that insane hour that is just before dinner.

 

Bonus first thing: It’s important to ask the obvious questions first.

The beauty of obvious questions- if there’s a clear answer, you’re done!

 

What are the obvious questions?

They are related to who we’ve chosen to Be. Our identity. As believers, we’ve chosen to align our identity with Christ and follow him in obedience.

 

Obvious questions are things like:

Is this an issue of absolute truth, clear biblical morality, or clearly revealed will of God? Does the Bible clearly have a stance on this issue?

Am I open to his leading or am I resistant to being swayed in some way? Have I prayed about it?

Is there an obvious Biblical principle that applies here? Ex: love, honesty, stewardship Is your spouse extremely certain of the decision and you are just resisting?

 

Cue: embarrassing example of when I was praying about when to get married

 

But sometimes we go through the obvious questions, don’t see a clear line, and still feel stuck.

 

Here’s 3 of my favorite Questions to try:

 

  1. How do I feel? What do I need?

Ok, that’s two, but they go together, so I’m counting it as 1.

 

Example: That couple hours of insanity in the late afternoon:

-Little kids are up from their nap,

-older kids are mostly done with school

-You are making dinner

 

-There’s a fight breaking out in the living room

-The phone is ringing

-Someone is crying

  • Dinner is burning
  • AND, Dad is either about to walk in the door, or he just texted to tell you he isn’t going to be home for another two

 

“What on earth do I do? I can’t be in all these places at once, fixing everything at once! This is insane!”

 

Enter: The question!

“How do you feel? What do you need?” Then, listen.

 

Often the answer is, “Woman, you’ve needed to go to the bathroom for the last two hours! Stop and go do that.”

 

When I do the thing I need, I can see more clearly how to prioritize everything else. Do you see how this decision isn’t really dictated scripturally?

How do you feel? What do you need? And listen. Easy. Gentle. And yet, it’ll blow your socks off how effective it can be.

 

  1. Which choice will I be glad I made in 10 years?

 

Example: Once upon a time I was staying at someone else’s house and we had enjoyed a bonfire that night. The fire was almost out, in a clearing, away from the house and close to water, but I was having trouble sleeping because it wasn’t out completely.

 

It was probably going to be fine- far away, only coals, even raining. Yet, I was nervous.

 

I felt silly that I was standing there waivering about it. “Oh Mary, you’re just being ridiculous- nothing is going to happen.”

 

Besides, it wasn’t my fire, or my house, or my land, I was a guest. If I went down there and put it out, I might cause us a conflict.

Was it really that important? Enter: Question 2:

Which choice will you be glad you made in 10 years?

 

Ah! Easy peasy! In 10 years I would never regret making sure that fire was thoroughly out.

 

Never.

 

So, out went the fire. And there was a little discussion and some hurt feelings, which we worked through, but no regrets.

 

What decision will you be glad you made 10 years from now?

 

  1. What does fear say? What does faith say?

 

Example: The decision to put everyone in school!

 

You see up until this year, we’ve homeschooled. But this summer has been different.

 

There has been a stirring in my heart. Perhaps we might choose something different. I was a little scared.

Too many transitions, surely we needed continuity somewhere…so I stalled.

 

I was scared

  • nervous about the conversation with Brandon
  • unsure what others would think about my coaching business that began as a homeschool specialist
  • And all the classics: Would my kids be on grade level? Would they be ok? Are they going to struggle? WIll I be one of THOSE parents?

Enter: Question 3 What does fear say?

Fear says, you are crazy and this is a terrible time to do this and you’re probably gonna pay

big time for this one.

 

But what does faith say?

 

Faith says, you’ve always made this decision together with Brandon and you’ve decided to be on the same page. You can at least talk to him about how you are feeling and go from there.

 

We did have that conversation. It went easier than ever because in 2 minutes we realized we were on the same page.

 

If there is a decision in your life where fear is shoving out the gentleness, I encourage you to consider,

What is fear saying? What does faith say? Allow your heart to settle and trust and decide from that place.

 

 

To recap:

How do I feel and what do I need?

What choice will I be glad I made in 10 years? What does fear say? What does faith say?

 

Two bonus encouragements:

We can Trust God’s sovereignty. His will is never defeated by your puny decisions.

 

WE can trust God’s kindness. The Bible says in Isaiah that he gently leads those that are with young. Y’all, he’s not up there hovered over his heavenly computer like a strategic video game waiting with anticipation to push the smite button on us. He loves us, cares for us, and gently leads us if we let him.

Speaking of God’s Kindness, that’s September’s theme! Join me! Tell your friends! Finally, what’s that one ah-ha you are taking away from today’s episode?

Take a minute to take action!

What one idea will help you make decisions more easily?

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?

 

Anyone?

 

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 https://reinventministries.org 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.

Or,

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

them?

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.

Questions

  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?

 

Answer:

  • 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 maryaldrichcoaching.com 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 www.reinventministries.org 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!