The Good Old Days

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

In today’s podcast, join Mary as she explores the idea that we all have a precious opportunity to see these current days and our current situations as the “Good Days.”Hey friend! I have a secret message for you, so pay attention!

These ARE the good old days!  Don’t miss them!

Joshua 4:21-22 “And he said to the people of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we passed over, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the LORD your God forever.”

It’s easy to look back at amazing things God has done, to reminisce of miracles and provision, but do you ever consider what the people were actually going through at the time?  What emotions they were experiencing?  What fears or logistical concerns they were faced with? How does that compare to your current situation?

In today’s podcast, I’m exploring the idea that we all have a precious opportunity to see these current days and our current situations as the “Good Days.”

Give a listen to see how you can approach these days from a most positive perspective without even trying hard.

Then, jump over to Facebook and join, “Moms in Control” where I have plenty of practical ways to navigate difficult times.

Peace of Mind

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Does peace feel elusive? I’ve got good news for you! In this episode we’ll cover 3 things that bring us back to peace of mind and it can happen in a moment.

Does peace feel elusive? Do you sometimes feel so disjointed that it seems like it would take an entire day or even a week to get back to feeling calm and happy? I’ve got good news for you!  It doesn’t have to take that long! In this episode we’ll cover 3 things that bring us back to peace of mind and it can happen in a moment.

A couple of helpful verses we’ll be discussing are:

Philippians 4:4-9

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 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. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me- practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

Colossians 3:14 And above all these, put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

This is a great time to go looking for that peace that God promises.  It’s there, already.

Lots of love!

PS- If you want more support, check out and sign up for a free coaching consultation.

Life Changing Peace

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Are you looking for life changing peace?  It just might be closer than you think. What if it’s all in your own mind?Are you looking for life changing peace?  It just might be closer than you think. What if it’s all in your own mind? In this episode, I’m sharing how a simple change in perspective changes how I feel and how I respond to the situations and circumstances around me.  Give a listen and then consider, what one thing can you do to shift your perspective today?

The Life Metaphors I mentioned:

Life is like a river. With all its bends and rapid falls, one must follow the right path or else you’ll lose your way to the sea.

Life is like a box of chocolates. You’ll never know what you’re going to get.

Life is like a bagel. It’s delicious when it’s fresh and warm, but often it’s just hard. The hole is the middle is its great mystery, and yet it wouldn’t be a bagel without it.

Life is like eating grapefruit. First you have to break through the skin; then it takes a couple of bites to get used to the taste, and just as you begin to enjoy it, it squirts you in the eye.

Life is like a banana. You start out green and get soft and mushy with age. Some people want to be one of the bunch while others want to be top banana. You have to take care not to slip on externals. And, finally, you have to strip off the outer coating to get at the meat.

Life is like a jigsaw puzzle, but you don’t have the picture on the front of the box to know what it’s supposed to look like. Sometimes, you’re not even sure if you’ve got all the pieces.

Life is like a maze in which you try to avoid the exit.

Life is like riding an elevator. It has a lot of ups and downs and someone is always pushing your buttons. Sometimes you get the shaft, but what really bothers you are the jerks.

Life is like money. You can spend it any way you wish, but you only spend it once.

Life is like a whisper. If you only try and stop wailing you’ll suddenly realize that it is there.

Life is like a pencil. You can be sharpened, you can correct mistakes, and you can leave a mark.

Life is like the journey of the children of Israel through the desert. It might be difficult, hot, and include lots of whining and complaining, but there is an end goal that is so glorious it’s worth the effort to get there.

Life is like water-skiing! I have the responsibility to be ready, with my skis on, life jacket fastened, and holding the rope- waiting.  But Jesus is the boat driver and he is the one who does all the pulling up out of the water.  He determines the speed and it’s his responsibility to be aware of what my skill level is and take me over only what he thinks I can handle.  My only job is to hang on, have some confidence that I can do it, and enjoy the ride.   The waves can be scary, just like life’s surprises, but if I have courage and go into it without fear, it can be exhilarating- an adventure.  Watching the boat keeps me more balanced than watching my feet.  If I fall down, the driver instantly circles around and picks me back up right where I left off.  There is no rejection, no quitting on me, just “let’s go again”. Then, at the end of a day of water skiing I’m tired, sore, and ready to flop into bed, but if the boat captain says, “Wanna go out again tomorrow?” I jump at the chance to go again.

The two days:

DAY #1

This morning I woke up feeling groggy. Remembering that I was way backed up on laundry I padded downstairs to the laundry to get some clean clothes only to find that the washing machine was broken- really broken.  One load had just been put in by my son and I’m not sure but I wouldn’t be surprised if he had something to do with it.  Sigh…all those clothes and now the machine is broken.  I begged Brandon to look at it and after several hours of meetings and finally getting around to it, he announced that we’d have to order a part and wait.  When do we ever have time to wait for laundry in this house?

Breakfast was tough.  I spent the time hording down bites in between answering questions, solving problems and keeping people on track to do what they were supposed to do.  Sometimes I feel as though I haven’t eaten when I finish.

School was difficult.  The kids couldn’t sit still. I mean, one of them kept trying to sit in the chair on his knees, bent over, with his bottom up in the air, and his head all the way down on the floor in front of him.  Who listens like that? I ended up giving some long lectures to kids who, I’m sure, weren’t really listening.

To make matters worse, my head wasn’t really in it.  My mother-in-law was at the doctor having some serious procedure and I was wondering how she was handling it.  And my own mother was having difficulties with my grandmother who forgets things, is having back problems, and can’t seem to get her bowels straightened out.

But we struggled through. At lunch I discovered that some kids didn’t want to eat what I prepared.  After that was over I went down the hill to deliver a message.  Errands seem to be my only escape from the cave these days.

I returned to a pile of dirty dishes and the familiar sound to the neighbor children playing in our yard, AGAIN, without having asked.  During this time the kids managed to get in a fight and that led to a major altercation with my oldest son.  Really, one of the dumbest arguments I can remember having recently.  I tell you, he’s becoming more and more like me every day and it’s such a tragedy!

No sooner had I settled that and turned back to the dishes than I heard a wail and in comes my daughter screaming.  I was trying to visit with my brother on the phone, but no- that buzzer goes off that warns the children of a phone call, telling them to come get mom quick!  She came in hollering at the top of her lungs and I told her to go sit on the couch until she could get over it.  After she just wouldn’t quit and I couldn’t hear any more, I reluctantly hung up and went to check on her.  Of course, she had managed to actually hurt herself.  Her finger was all bent over to one side, clearly I was going to have to take her to the doctor.

I sighed, knowing that I had just interrupted Brandon 3 times that afternoon and I was going to have to do it again.  I’m always having to interrupt him it seems. He was disappointed, as usual, to hear that I had to go ANYWHERE, much less the hospital. And of course it coincided with Perspectives, as most of my “interruptions” do.

I took her to the Dr. and discovered that the finger was broken.  Great. Cast. She won’t be able to dress herself, climb on the stool, go to the bathroom alone, it’s gonna hurt. I’m going to be up late. AND, 6 weeks! Means she will have it on while we go to the beach!!! UGH!

Somewhere in there I discovered that my mother was on the way to the hospital with my other grandma thinking that her kidneys were shut down.  That wasn’t at all distracting.

Due to stress, I ate too much for dinner, the kids got in bed late cause someone didn’t finish his chores and complete making beds, so I had to put the sheets on two beds, Justin got up 3 times and managed to have a dirty diaper at 10pm.  I had to put away all afternoon projects I was hoping to work on today that I didn’t get to, Jeff won’t stop picking at his ear and then when I’m most exhausted, I couldn’t sleep. I have prayed so many times, but stuff just keeps happening!

Sigh.  It’s been a long day.

END OF DAY #1- Do you feel like I do at the end of this? Overwhelmed? Busy and discouraged? Tired? Slightly crazy and with the thought of “don’t make me have to do this again?”  Well read on…

DAY #2

Today I woke up a little earlier than I usually do.  Had a chance to pray for God’s best to be done today.  When I got up, Brandon was making breakfast and I was able to concentrate on fixing something healthy for me.  What a treat.  Jonathon is finally getting the hang of his chicken chores and James had most of his stuff done this morning before I ever got out of bed!

School started on time today for the first time in weeks.  I even got my cup of coffee and enjoyed it during devotions.  We had a great devotional time, not only memorizing the verse we are working on, but also a discussion and silly practice time about how to make appeals instead of argue.  Justin behaved pretty well during the whole thing too.

We got in some good solid English, something that I’ve wanted to do for a while and I was able to spend some time individually with each kid to work on some of their weak points.  It was a nice day outside, so the little kids played sweetly in the sandbox during school, providing me with some uninterrupted instructional time.  Brandon came in and did math and while he was doing that, I got to visit with my sister, Amy on the phone and clean up several piles of “stuff” that have been around the dining room for a while.  Rachel was anxious to finish her chores during break time and I was so encouraged by her desire to get done, I helped her vacuum the playroom, so it got a little more thorough job than normal.

When lunch came, I had the plates all ready for the kids.  We had some healthy snacks that most of them ate a good portion of.  I’ve been really thankful for the chance to have good food to eat recently. After lunch, I had a chance to finish up some cleaning in the kitchen.  Pat came over and folded tons of clothes and read with the kids.  Such a blessing.

That afternoon, I prepped some sweet potatoes for dinner on Tuesday, which is always a busy day and boiled a couple of chickens to add to salads for lunches.  Also enjoyed getting out for a little exercise with a quick run around the property.  Later I had to take one of the children to a doctor visit and the battery to the car was dead.  But Brandon was home and he showed me how to use a battery pack we keep in the back of the car to jump it off.  It took less than five minutes and I was on my way.

Diane spontaneously called up and said she wanted to bring pizza over for dinner along with our original plan to have a haircut.  I certainly didn’t turn her down.  When she came, she had pizza, chips, chocolate milk, and ice cream sundaes.  The kids were thrilled.  We had a nice dinner while Brandon was away at a meeting, and then she stayed while I put the kids to bed.  I forgot that I had committed to cutting someone else’s hair that evening as well and so she graciously said we could do hers another time.

After she left and I cut hair, I had a nice visit with the guy and then spent a good amount of time talking to my sister Ruth on skype- something I don’t get to do very often.  Later in the evening, when Brandon still wasn’t home I spent some alone time praying and connecting with Jesus- also a rare opportunity.  Actually, now that I think of it, I spent numerous moments reconnecting with Jesus all day long.  By the end of the day, I had the makings of a great women’s meeting and sat down to write it all out.  One of the kids was having trouble sleeping, so while I was listening out for them, it gave me a chance to write out a lot of things that had been on my mind.

All in all, I don’t think I could have asked for a better day.

END OF DAY #2- At the end of this, while it’s no less busy, I come away encouraged that God met needs, it was fun, I can look forward to something like this again.  I could envision doing this another day and enjoying it.

The real key here is that:

THEY ARE THE SAME DAY!  And how I respond to the next thing in life is directly impacted by my attitude about what just happened!  I’m encouraged by the idea that I have the power to CHOOSE to look for the blessings and not leave them out.  Yes, the hard things came and I don’t have to ignore them, but I often do ignore the blessings that came alongside that made the difficulties bearable.

What is your current perspective?  How can you shift it even just a little bit?

Doing a Good Job

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Most Christians are trying to do a good job. I would say I am, and I would be willing to bet that you are trying to do a good job too!Romans 15:14 – I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another.

Most Christians are trying to do a good job.
I would say I am, and I would be willing to bet that you are trying to do a good job too!

We long to hear God say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Like the master declares to the servants in the parable in Matthew 25.

And yet, so often it is easy to wonder, to question, “Am I doing a good job?”

There are so many good options, how do I know which ones are the ones I’m supposed to be doing?

Today, let me give you three mile markers for doing a good job that you can use to evaluate your own actions as well as teach them to your kids and help them learn to evaluate their actions.

The Good Life

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Let’s dig in and discuss a perspective of the Fruit of the Holy Spirit, goodness, that is often misunderstood.  Are you living the good life right now?I’ve always wondered about this idea of being free in Christ.  Does the idea of having been a slave to sin and now alive to Christ seem confusing sometimes?  How is it that choosing to follow and obey Christ is freedom in spite of sometimes feeling like we just have a different set of rules we have to follow?

And how does this all fit into an idea that this IS the GOOD LIFE?

Why is this considered abundant?

And in today’s circumstances, how can any of this feel good considering the pain, suffering, and difficult situations so many people are facing today?

Well, let’s dig in and discuss a perspective of the Fruit of the Holy Spirit, goodness, that is often misunderstood.

Are you living the good life right now?
Do you see it as a good life?
If not, what part of your perspective needs to shift today?

By the way, during this difficult time, if you or someone you know could use some practical tips for how to deal with a variety of issues that come up as a result of quarantine, I recommend you check out “Moms in Control,” a free Facebook group designed specifically to help moms out during this season of huge transitions!  Please reach out to if I can help you further!

The Goodness of God

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Do you have that favorite recipe you can always count on to be delicious?  Everytime you make it? Mary does! Join Mary as she talks about tasting God's goodness!Psalm 34:8 – Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

Do you have that favorite recipe you can always count on to be delicious?  Everytime you make it? I have one. It’s Raspberry Cream Pie. Nilla wafer crust, perfectly cooked vanilla custard layer, and fresh homegrown raspberries cooked with sugar into a saucy, sugary goodness that gets spread on top.  Chilled in the fridge and then eaten cold.  It’s delicious – every time.

I think that’s one of the most lovely tastes in the whole world, and yet I think that God’s goodness tastes better than that.

However there are some differences to the taste of that pie and the goodness of God.

Today’s focus verses:

Psalm 145:9 – The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.

Psalm 23:6 – Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Romans 8:28 – And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Mary’s Raspberry Cream Pie
A homemade pie that requires patience and care, but it always pays off!


1 ⅓ cups vanilla wafer crumbs

2 Tablespoons sugar

5 Tablespoons butter, melted

½ teaspoon vanilla extract


⅓ cup sugar
4 ½ Tablespoons flour

Pinch of salt

1 ½ cups half n’ half

5 egg yolks, beaten

4 ½ Tablespoons butter

1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 ½ Tablespoon powdered sugar


4 cups fresh raspberries

⅔ cups sugar

1 Tablespoon cornstarch



Combine the first four ingredients; press into the bottom and sides of an ungreased 9 inch pie pan. Bake at 350’ for 8-10 minutes or until the crust just begins to brown. Cool.


In a saucepan, combine sugar, flour, and salt. Gradually whisk in cream; cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Gradually whisk half into egg yolks; return all to pan. Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in butter and vanilla until butter is melted. Cool 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour into crust; sprinkle with powdered sugar. Chill 30 minutes or until set.

Meanwhile, crush 2 cups of raspberries in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Boil 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Press berries through sieve; set aside 1 cup juice (add water if necessary). Discard pulp. In a saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch. Gradually stir in raspberry juice; bring to a boil. Boil 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; cool 15 minutes. Gently stir in remaining raspberries; carefully spoon over filling. Chill 3 hours or until set. Store in the refrigerator.

Makes 1 9 inch pie, or 8 servings.
(If you buy the smaller premade Nilla Wafer crusts, get two and add 1 more cup of fresh berries to the topping at the end. Split the filling and topping between the two.)

Patience is the Key

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

How important is patience, really?  Well, today we are going to find out!How important is patience, really?

Well, today we are going to find out!

When we choose to let fear control our actions instead of allowing patience to rule in our hearts, we tend to allow our Survival responses to kick in.

We might choose fight, flight, or freeze.

In today’s episode, we are going to see three different examples in the Bible of how men chose those different responses and the consequences of their actions.

Then we’ll discuss what that looks like for us in today’s situations and what we can do to choose patience instead. Even waiting often takes conscious action.

Additionally, if you are interested in taking these concepts to a deeper level, I urge you to check out our Fruit Pursuit 9 week Intensive, beginning in April!

Simply go to and when you fill out the information, comment “9 week intensive” in the comment box. We’ll do our best to reach out to you in the next 24 hours to let you know more about the program and whether it’s a good fit for you!

The Patience Game: Asking for Help

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

In our Mastermind this month, we are discussing creative ways to find support while we are waiting it out for various needs to be met. Remember that part of patience IS making requests.  Not only of God, but also of others.In our Mastermind this month, we are discussing creative ways to find support while we are waiting it out for various needs to be met.

Have you ever played a game that required waiting for a series of turns before you can actually make the moves you really want to make?  There is strategy involved in the waiting. Even a pattern to each turn we take so that all the bases are covered.  We use each turn as strategically as possible while we are waiting for that opportune moment.

Patience works the same way and in this episode we are going to discover the “pattern” to patience game that allows us to get through the waiting periods of our life successfully.

For a written list of the pattern, just check out Philippians 4:4-9, which says,

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 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 worth of praise, think about the things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me- practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” (ESV)

Here’s the pattern:

Rejoice! (Celebrate!)

Be reasonable. (Calm, patient, persevere.)

Make requests.

With Thanksgiving.
Feel God’s Peace (Which IS promised!)

Think about good things.
Practice! (Repeat!)

Remember that part of patience IS making requests.  Not only of God, but also of others.

If you want regular encouragement coming to an inbox near you, I urge you to sign up for the newsletter at the link below!




Patience is A Virtue

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

In this podcast episode, I’ll give you some examples of the kinds of ways I attempt to escape the need for patience.Then, we’ll talk about how we can patiently wait with three different encouraging focuses, to help us hold steady.The practice of waiting often makes me want to strangle a person!  Do you ever feel that way?  I’ll be honest, this is not my best fruit of the Holy Spirit. In fact, it’s one that I prefer to squirm out of at every possible opportunity. There are plenty of ways I avoid having to wait. In this podcast episode, I’ll give you some examples of the kinds of ways I attempt to escape the need for patience. You can pick your favorite one from the list.

Then, we’ll talk about how we can patiently wait with three different encouraging focuses, to help us hold steady.

Verses I reference in this podcast include several verses from these chapters:
Romans 2

Psalm 50

If you want more support around practical ways to build your patience skills, I encourage you to sign up for our newsletter at:




Patience: Good Questions to Ask

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

In this podcast episode we’ll discuss three different ways we can employ the concept of good questions to help us display patience in our relationships.Ever find yourself most annoyed at the people you are supposed to love the most?  Those closest to us often have the highest capability to drive us crazy the fastest.

Relationships are like a long line of music, or a giant pyramid.  They aren’t easily built in a day and they don’t come apart or change quickly either.  They take time to build and time to adjust.  Asking good questions can help us adjust those relationships over a long period of time while still feeling like we are working towards positive results.

In this podcast episode we’ll discuss three different ways we can employ the concept of good questions to help us display patience in our relationships.

By the way, these concepts are just the tip of the iceberg for how you can change various aspects of your relationships- even when the other person is not on board or has no clue what to do differently.  In our Fruit Pursuit Mastermind, we do a deep dive into so many other ways we can take action to love God, love others, and enjoy it.  Please reach out if you think you’d like to take more intentional action to see your relationships grow in healthy ways, and enjoy loving others in your life. Simply apply to
Remember, it only takes one person to change the communication dance.
What one next thing will you take action on today?

Perfect Love Casts out Fear

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

In this podcast we will explore several different aspects of how to recognize perfect love in action versus when fear is in action.1 John 4:18a – “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.”

This is a familiar verse to most of us, I’m sure, but what does it actually mean when it comes right down to it?  How do we actually apply perfect love to a fearful situation?

In this podcast we will explore several different aspects of how to recognize perfect love in action versus when fear is in action.

First of all, love gets curious. WHen we are operating from a place of love, we have space to ask questions about what’s going on, and why someone perhaps sees something differently.

Fear on the other hand makes declarations.  It’s decisive from a place of survival- which might keep you from dying, but isn’t always laced with wisdom.

Secondly, love is patient.  We are about to talk a whole lot about patience during the month of March, but for now, let’s settle with the fact that when we come from a place of love, we can slow down, consider the entire scope, be consistent and thoughtful and make a choice that supports everyone more successfully.

Rushing through something is a product of fear, however and leads to mistakes, more pain, injury and poor results.  You can easily identify when fear is at play if you feel chaotic in you mind, in a haphazard hurry, or you are confused and therefore just quickly trying to make something work.

Love is able to surrender, relax, and trust that God is still on his throne and in control.  He loves our people far more than we do.

Fear grasps, holds on tightly, protects at all cost, and defends- even when defending isn’t really necessary.

The kicker is, BOTH ARE CONTAGIOUS!  So, what are you spreading?  What are you choosing to demonstrate to your family today?  Which do you want them to emulate?

I hope you’ll enjoy this episode of the podcast and get at least 1 thing you can try this week to practice coming from a place of perfect love instead of fear.


I Love My Husband

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

I love my husband and I know he loves me!  Today on the podcast, we’re talking about ways we sabotage meaningful relationships we say we want.I love my husband and I know he loves me, but sometimes in order for that whole lovey dovey deal to work out, sometimes I’ve got to get out of my own way.

Today on the podcast, we’re talking about ways we sabotage meaningful relationships we say we want.

To best help you understand this sabotage, I’ll illustrate this with a silly thing I used to do when my husband helped with things around the house.

How can you get mad about your husband volunteering to scrub out 20 dirty diapers?
How can you be angry when he folds piles of laundry?
What would cause someone to be furious over him washing the dishes?

Well, I managed to do all of those and I’ll tell you how.
It was my own thoughts that continually misinterpreted his intentions and drove a wedge between us.

That little old judgmental lady lives in my head…I don’t know who she is, but she’s bossy.

When shame and feelings of inadequacy would wash over me I assumed he was attacking me and my value.

Of course he thought I was nuts.

It’s so obvious on this side of things how much I let my own feelings of inadequacy get in the way of being grateful for his help.  It’s downright ridiculous, laughable even!  But at the time, it was not funny, and I could not see it for a long time.

How often do we get in the way and sabotage our help in this way?  Maybe it’s our own feelings of inadequacy, like I did, that drive a wedge.  Or perhaps it’s nitpicking the details they don’t get right.  Perhaps it’s expectations we have of what they should be doing to help and aren’t, that prevents us from seeing the contribution our loved ones make.  But I encourage you to consider are you sabotaging the very thing you long to have?

I desperately wanted help, needed team players, but I couldn’t get out of my own way to let them help me.  Can you? Loving other people well can involve letting them love us and then saying THANK YOU!

So here’s your one next step this week: Are there any areas of your relationship that you are sabotaging?  Is it possible that you are making up reasons for why someone is doing something, or not doing something that isn’t true?  I encourage you to just consider the possibility and begin to notice.

Of course we have all sorts of tools to help with this process and how to move past it in our mastermind, which you can apply for at

But while you are signing up consider what one way could you be tying your own hands.  How might you be interpreting someone’s generosity and love as an attack? What one next step will you take today to love that person well?

Hey, next week, we’ll discuss another aspect of loving well.  We’ll talk about two different aspects of curiosity and how they can light a fire in your relationship that helps it grow exponentially and how you can change the whole dynamic of everything between you and another person in just one sentence.

Until next time, take care and love God, love others, and enjoy it!


How to Love

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” - John 15:12  This seems like it is a pretty clear commandment from Jesus, however our current society seems to have a very different definition of what is required to love others well.“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” – John 15:12

This seems like it is a pretty clear commandment from Jesus, however our current society seems to have a very different definition of what is required to love others well.

Here’s some statements that perhaps you’ve heard,even in some Christian circles:

“If someone is draining your energy, walk away.”
“Avoid people who repeatedly do and say things that they know upset you.”
“Sometimes you just have to remove people without warning.”
“You don’t owe anyone anything except the same amount of respect they show you.”
“It’s so nice when toxic people stop talking to you, it’s like the trash took itself out.”
“There is nothing wrong with avoiding people who hurt you.”
“The best way to deal with a toxic person is not to deal with them at all.”

Wow.  Pretty clear message.  Anyone who is a wreck, isn’t worth your time and energy.


But does this line up with the command of Jesus to love others as he loved us?

I’m going to suggest no.

What is Love?

Love is: the commitment of my will and resources to another person’s best interest regardless of the cost to me.

Does this line up with how Jesus loves you?

If we agree that this definition is an accurate description of Jesus love for us, then we can use basic logic to determine that this is also the instruction and challenge he gives us when he says to love others the same way.

I’m not gonna lie, it’s a pretty tall order.

When people take advantage of me and I feel cheated- I want to say, “NO!” It’s my turn to have my best interests come first!

Listen, if loving others doesn’t feel painful sometimes, you probably aren’t doing it right.
It’s probably more about loving yourself than it is about loving them.

Loving people in such a way that it never stings, feels hard, or causes us any kind of suffering isn’t sacrificial.  Sure, there are many times love is mutual, we equally equally benefit, we both enjoy each other’s company, we each get something out of it.  That’s ok.

But we have only to look at the example of Jesus to know that sometimes love costs everything.  He was tired and went away from the crowds to be alone and rest.  They followed him and he had compassion on them and allowed it.

And of course, he loved us so much that even though he knew he was about to die one of the most brutal deaths on the cross- and it was stressful- we know it was because he was sweating blood! He decided that love was worth the cost, worth the cost of stress, of death, of being misunderstood, the cost of torture, the cost of agony, the cost of being completely alone. It cost him everything to love us.

Are we willing to let love cost everything?  It’s a little different perspective than “there’s nothing wrong with avoiding people who hurt you,” isn’t it?

Now, let’s also address the elephant in the room.

How do we know when to stop?  Is there a time it’s ok to say enough?  How do we determine when that time is?

First, when Jesus was under two year old and people were trying to kill him, he ran away to Egypt.

Second, when he was instructing his disciples to go preach in villages, he indicated that if the people there did not accept him, to leave, shake the dust from their sandals- Matthew 10:13-14; Mark 6:11; Luke 10:11; Acts 13:51

It can’t just be because they were getting insulted, or despised, or unwelcomed because there’s plenty of times when he instructs us to press on in those situations.

If it isn’t about the cost to me, what else can it be about?

Well, what if it’s about the other person’s best interest?

When Jesus fled to Egypt with his parents, it was in the whole world’s best interest for him to stay alive at that time.  When it was time for him to die on the cross, it was in the whole world’s best interest for him to surrender to that calling.

When he pulled away from a crowd, he knew it was in their best interest that  he get some rest.  Have you ever needed rest and knew that it would be good for everyone if that was the priority- even if they weren’t happy about it?

When we attempt to share Jesus with others and they resist, often it IS in their best interest for us to walk away and allow the Holy Spirit to work on them how he will.

And I dare say that to allow others to continue in sin, whether that’s enabling them to remain an alcoholic or a hoarder, or continuing to allow them the opportunity to abuse another person- even if that person is YOU- is not in THEIR best interest.

Listen, you don’t have to take my word for it, but I encourage you to test this definition out.

Their best interest- it’s why I continue to sit in the passenger seat in spite of the certainty of death that I feel when my teenage boys are practicing their driving skills.

Now, you may make a decision and be wrong about it.  You may do the best you can and then discover that perhaps a different choice was in their best interest.  We aren’t God, so we don’t have the added advantage of being 100% right all the time.  But I can say this, that if we are called to love as Jesus loves, then this is a healthy stand to make decisions from on how to love others as Jesus loves us.

Don’t buy into the lie that you will be happier by cutting out everyone who offends you, takes more than they give sometimes, causes you to experience physical stress, or drains your energy.  That kind of life is not going to satisfy, because it’s not who God made us to be.

I hope you’ve found this podcast as thought provoking as I did when I put it together.  I encourage you to take one relationship and consider how you might apply this definition of love to it.  Test it out.

And I hope you are excited about this month focused all on the Fruit of the Holy Spirit: LOVE.
Next week I’m looking forward to sharing some fun stories about how I LOVE my husband, and how he loves me. If you are married, or planning to be- that’ll be an episode you don’t want to miss.  If you are neither, don’t worry- there are ways to apply what we’ll be discussing to even friendships in your life.

If you want more bite size strategies for how to love your people well, I encourage you to apply for our Fruit Pursuit Mastermind where we get specific. You can apply at:

Until next time, take care and love those people well!

Self Control: Activities for Children

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

If you need the short version of this podcast, it’s this: If you want your children to be successful in public, you gotta practice it at home. Do it.If you need the short version of this podcast, it’s this:
If you want your children to be successful in public, you gotta practice it at home.
Do it.

Let’s talk about several different areas where we wish our children would behave- where it matters to us.

1. Public Locations:
That’s all…just anywhere out THERE!
Grocery store, doctor’s office, restaurant, church, funeral, walking across the street, library, playmates, the toy isle of Wal-Mart…

Did I catch yours?
Or maybe yours is in my second category:

2. Public Locations:

Grandma’s house, for the sitter, that friend that volunteered to watch your kid at the playground so you can take the other one to the bathroom that’s across the street from the playground for the 10th time because they are bored with the swings and can’t come up with what else they want to do, but the last time you tried to prove they were faking you took them home with wet pants.  Or whomever else they are supposed to be impressing at the time- the pastor, the neighbor, the FedEx driver…

Listen, I get it…we aren’t supposed to want to make our kids little soldiers- but we do think it should be reasonable for them to act like humans, not wild animals.

So, first, let me encourage you…my kids have done their fair share of embarrassing me.
Listen, sometimes, our best efforts can’t contain such creativity. But there are so many other things that we can do something about if we just take some action ahead of time.

So today, I’m going to tell you some of my strategies that I’ve used over the years to help them learn to be still.

Ok, so strategies- the main idea is, if you want your little ones (or big ones) to show self control in more stressful situations, you’ve got to practice in non-stressful situations.

When my kids were little we had a lot of church services the had to sit still for. Somehow they had to learn to sit there quietly.  How?
By practicing at home.
Almost daily, for a while there, we’d pretend to have church.  They thought it was fun.  We’d sit on the couch, really still and look at books.  We later included one of my kids volunteering to preach or lead the music and the other kids and I would obediently open our Bibles or our Hymnals to the proper passage the three year old was babbling about and listen, sing, or participate. Three things happened during these times. First, they had fun- they didn’t know we were practicing self control.  They just thought it was pretend.  Second, they learned how to sit still and participate in an environment where they were praised for it and not scolded for misbehavior.  And third, they got the change to see from the speakers point of view what it feels like to have distracting little children misbehaving in their congregation.

You can practice all sorts of things…going through a grocery store, talking to a doctor, interacting with a neighbor…while I don’t normally spend tons of time playing pretend with my kids, these types of pretend times- where we were learning the skills of being polite, practicing self control, and pretending to be responsible- those I was down for.  And don’t think I did this every day…even a few times a month can make a huge impression.

Another trick is to learn ways to set them up for success.
When my kids were little I created a little bag of things to entertain them.  They never play with these things unless they are having to wait patiently somewhere- I had a little watercolor set, a felt book of stories, a deck of cards, some miniature animals, a couple fidget toys, and a few other things here and there. All the things I put in my bag were generally small- except for the felt books, quiet, and usually were things that more than one person could play with.  I needed an arsenal sometimes.

Do you set your kids up for success?  Are you creating a way for them to be successful while they wait?

And words…self control with words.  Let me tell you, it’s not enough just to say, “Don’t say that.”

Practice what to say.  We don’t say, shut your big yapper.  We say, “will you please lower your voice?” or “thank you for sharing.”

We don’t say, “You’re mean!” We say, “I’m having a hard time with what you just did. Or Please don’t do that.”

Are you practicing?

Finally, be aware of the influences that seem innocent that might be sending mixed messages to your children.

Want your children to have self control and not try every wild idea they come up with?

Put the Calvin and Hobbes books away for a while.

Want them to learn to be respectful to their father…stop reading Berenstain Bears to them.

Do they listen to music promoting rude independent attitudes, but then you want them to humble submit with obedience?

I’m not someone that says all these books, movies, shows, are bad.  But if you have a child that’s particularly struggling with something- look for what is influencing him on a regular basis and back off for a while until he can discern between funny and inappropriate, between a cool idea and dangerous, between silly and disruptive.

We want our kids to demonstrate self control, but are we acting like it?  Are we choosing things that support that desire at home, in their everyday environments? Or are we simply hoping that it will magically happen while we are out.

Self control takes practice.
And it’s practice for us as well…to be intentional. To make decisions about what they watch or listen to, to plan ahead for them, to role play at home so they are better prepared for outside interactions.

It won’t fix everything, but let me tell you…it will cut down on so much mischief!

So, what one thing stands out to you from this episode that you can implement this week?  Just one thing!  I challenge you to pick something and try it!

Thanks so much for joining me this month for the fruit of the Spirit: Self Control.  Come back next week as we begin a whole new focus on Love- how we can love others well!  See you then!

Self Control: Raising Teenagers

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

So, my second son, James, has been learning to drive.  He’s a good driver, but let me tell you…the urge to stomp on the passenger floor for the gas pedal is strong.  EVERY TIME I see the brake lights in front of us.  I’m continually telling James, it’s my problem, not yours.  You’re doing everything right…I just have control issues.

Are you aware of your self control issues? Those teenagers need some self control- that for sure!  

But how are we doing on our own battles of self control as we raise them?

With teens comes so many new things- sports, driving, college, life vision, goals, conflict, bossy behavior, testing limits like never before, tech issues, dating- or not dating…

There are aspects of bliss to our teenage years right now…they are hard workers, and make for great conversations.

Honestly, I love the teen years so far.  They have been kind to us.  But they can also be a challenge.  And they require a different level of self control as a parent to steward them well.

Today we’ll discuss two ways in which I, as a parent, am required to demonstrate self control so that my teens have the opportunity to grow up as wisely as possible.

*I’m not saying I get it all right. But these have been helpful concepts to build the framework around.


Self Control tip number one: Become a coach.

Why a coach?  Because a coach helps someone get clear on the vision they want, helps them figure out the path they want to take to get there, and then reflects back to them how the action they are taking either aligns or doesn’t align with the goals they set- ideally all through questions.  A coach is a space holder.

I want them to choose well, but honestly, insisting that they choose what I choose is not the way to get there.  That time has passed.  Now is the time to advise, let them choose, and then ask them how that choice either did or did not help them towards their goal or intention.

But is this any kind of training you received in how to be a parent? I learn how to discipline, how to be consistent, how to correct, make chore charts, dishes rotations, enforce school, crack down on tablet time…but what about the transitions? How do they go from Mom saying this is the law, to being their own person?

I’m telling you, that’s why I got into coaching. It offered me the skills I needed to help my children transition through the teenage years, maintaining a relationship where they feel safe to talk about things, but also releasing them gradually more and more to make mistakes.

If you want resources on how to do this well, I encourage you to apply for our Fruit Pursuit Mastermind.  You’ll begin to learn skills that you can implement with your kids right now and as they grow. If the program isn’t a good fit for you, then take the first step- learn how to be a great question asker. The self control required for this stage of the game is unbelievable, but oh so worth cultivating!

#2. Mom, you gotta learn to keep your mouth shut.

When we tell our kids that we are releasing them to make a decision on their own, what we are actually saying is that we have decided that the lesson of “making your own choice” is a higher priority in this moment than “Making the right choice” is.

Listen, we aren’t creating robots.  Wisdom is learning to make decisions and then learning to navigate the consequences of those decisions.  Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen without making some dumb decisions- you’ve got to have the self control to let them.

Letting your child fail a class is hard to watch.
Watching them fight the battle of appropriate internet content is challenging.
Letting a teen squirrel around on responsibilities and then having to watch them not be able to participate in an anticipated event is painful.
We’d like to turn away, stick our head in the sand, to completely control or be uninvolved.

Self control…let them fail now.  It feels as though the stakes are so high…but compared to 10 years from now, they are nothing. If they can learn the lesson now…it’s a gift.  Even if they don’t learn the lesson now, it’s a gift that you gave them the opportunity to learn it early.

Our children become accountable to God all on their own.

What one thing will you choose to do today to have self control in how you respond to your children?

And if you’d like more tips, training, and accountability in this area, I encourage you to apply for our Fruit Pursuit Mastermind- just go to – fill out the form and I’ll be in touch to see if the group is a good fit for you.

Get started today learning techniques to maintain genuinely healthy relationships through the teen years, learn how to ask good questions to keep your children accountable, and practice the art of self control as you joyfully watch your child grow in wisdom.  All this and so much more is available in the mastermind. Parenting from a place of joy, peace, and confidence.  I invite you to join us.  Listen, I started learning these tools when my oldest was 10.  I wish I had started when he was 6! Don’t kick this down the road- the benefits of starting now are exponential!

Self Control: The Self Discipline of Spirit, Soul, and Body

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

1 Peter 5: 6-9

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.

Today I want to discuss and hopefully answer a hot question:

Is it better to be Sitting at the Feet of Jesus, simply depending on him?
Or, is it better to focus on serving others in a sacrificial way?

Or is it better to prioritize self care, self discipline, exercise, health, and bodily excellence?


These questions create quite a stir in the Christian world.

There are plenty who see value of sitting at the feet of Jesus and cry out for more dedication to that activity.

There are plenty of people who see the great needs of the world around us and cry out for people to serve, to lay down their lives for their neighbors.

There are plenty of people promoting the way to achieve peace in your life is to first prioritize your own health above all else.

And we see positive results from all of these in other people’s lives don’t we?  How about in your own life? Where do you see results from each of these pursuits?

One of my favorite times with Jesus I remember was on a rare trip to Hawaii- for an entire week!
It actually was a business trip, but I also spent numerous hours reading the Bible, praying, journalling, and listening.  My mind was freed from the daily distractions and I was able to sit and listen for God. Such a rich time. And he spoke to me in quiet ways and in exciting ways.
Sitting at the Feet of Jesus is a precious opportunity to acknowledge who he is and the power he has over all.


What about serving others?


I’ve had some of my favorite moments serving others.  At the Bible School, where we worked for years, I was frequently involved in food service. Quite often, I’d get a crazy idea to bless the people I was feeding with something decadent or beautiful- in spite of the current resources available.  There is no explaining the joy and fun of creating beauty, serving food to others, and watching them be delighted by it.

Some of my favorites were- almost yearly, I’d make a graduation cake for the students graduating.  Most were rather unreasonable in their construction. No cake from the grocery store. Nope, I did a mountain with a glowing cave of treasure, a path up to golden gates with trees lining the way and electric lights to guide the footsteps, a tilted cake with hand crafted edible orchids, iris, and daisies…and so many more.

Other times, our family had the opportunity to cater a meal for anywhere from 100-200 people after a funeral.  There is something so wholesomely satisfying about feeding grieving hearts, supporting families by minimizing their concerns around the meal. And nothing can beat the pleasure of watching my family all cook together in the kitchen- all the way down to the smallest in the family.  The joy over family teamwork is addictive.

I could list countless ways I’ve served over the years- meeting needs, spreading joy, loving others. It’s the Martha job.  It’s in a way, serving Jesus by serving others and it’s wonderful.

Then, of course, there is taking care of me.  My health, my sleep, my exercise, my food choices, my daily routines, my space.  All the things that when they are done, I find myself better able to respond to others. When I get 8 hours of sleep, it’s infinitely easier to control my temper than when I’ve only had 2.  Isn’t that important?  When I exercise and keep up my energy level, I’m much more willing to say yes to the active things my family wants to do together. When I am responsible to eat what nourishes my body best, I am primed with a clear mind and stable blood sugar to endure the length of the day. Isn’t this maintenance of priorities important?  The most crucial of self discipline?

I think we all have one of these categories that we gravitate towards first. The truth is though that they are all important and it is necessary to keep them in balance.  There are ditches to fall into with each one.

Self discipline is about staying on the road and out of the ditches, regardless of the road you are on.

Let’s look at how each of these has a ditch and then what we can do to avoid them.


The key here is MOTIVATION


What is your motivation behind WHY you are choosing one or the other.

When we are motivated by the choice to surrender to him and that draws us to focus on Jesus and his goodness- sitting at the feet of Jesus- and choosing to discipline ourselves towards spiritual health is profitable.

However, when we are motivated by fear of the unknown and uncontrollable to escape from action- then we can call it Sitting at the Feet of Jesus, but it’s actually resistance to stepping out in faith.

So, to check in on this discipline, ask yourself

Am I praying, connecting with Jesus in order to surrender my life to him and listen for his voice as to how I proceed next?

Or am I praying, connecting with Jesus in hopes that the problem will be solved without me needing to take uncomfortable steps?

Similarly, serving can have it’s own ditch.

When we are serving from a motivation of surrender to God’s call on our lives, even when it’s difficult, then service for God and choosing to discipline ourselves towards sacrifice is joyful and rewarding.


However when we are motivated by fear of the unknown and uncontrollable to escape from change- then while we may call it service, it’s actually resistance to change- even change that God may be calling for.

To check in on this discipline, ask yourself

Am I serving because God laid this on my heart?

Or am I serving because I’m afraid of what might happen if I don’t?

FInally, self care and prioritizing good health choices requires an equal amount of balance.

When we are taking care of our body, health, diet, exercise, time alone from a motivation of surrender to God and acknowledgement that he is on the throne, then our self care becomes an act of good stewardship of the resources God has given us.

However when we are motivated by pride and the idea that nothing can progress unless we are perfect first, then while we may call it self care, it’s actually pride, idolatry of man, and/ or fear of man that is at play.

You can check in with your motives by asking

Is my conscience clear before God about how I am stewarding my physical body and mind?

In the verse I read at the beginning, I find the instructions that Peter gives intriguing.

First, he urges believes to humble ourselves before God. This reminds me of the ultimate position of surrender- sitting at the feet of Jesus.  Honoring our dependence on him, acknowledging his power. Trusting his grace and wisdom, and listening to his commands.

Secondly, he encourages us to cast our anxieties on him.  How often is our service more from fear of what will happen to others, fear of how we’ll be thought of, or fear of letting go of a long standing commitment?  Cast all your anxieties on him!  Acknowledge his power over every situation and only fight the battles he calls us to fight.


And then in verse 8, he commands us to be sober minded, and watchful. Wen we aren’t the devil has an easy target.  To me, this includes care for the physical.  What helps you have the most clear mind on a daily basis? Healthy mind and body? Taking care and stewarding this life he has given you well?  I am much more equipped to resist the devil when I am going to bed on time and well rested instead of scrolling social media or binge watching movies. I make better decisions when my blood sugar is stable.  I have more energy to say yes to what God calls me to do when I am conditioning my muscles.

So, back to the original question, which by now you probably realize is a trick question:

Which is more important, sitting at the feet of Jesus, service and sacrifice, or self care?


The answer is they all are important when they come from a place of surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and in fact cause us to trust him both in word and in action.

Before we wrap this up, which one is your natural tendency?  Where are you most likely to get out of balance? Don’t focus on the one you have a tendency to do the best at. Stretch a little.

I know I tend to resist the sitting at Jesus feet.  I think, “Sigh…it doesn’t get anything DONE!”
So, that’s the one I’m zooming in on this month for self discipline. I, by faith, surrender all my plans to Him and gaze at his face and listen to his voice.

What one next thing are you called to work on this week?
You can always write and tell me at
Or Leave a comment directly on this podcast page. Simply visit and click the link for this episode, Self Control: The Self Discipline of Spirit, Soul, and Body

That’s all for this week, have a great day loving God, loving others, and enjoying it!


Self Control: New Year Re-calibration

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Self Control: New Year Re-calibration:  Start the year off right: With Jesus.

Do you know Him personally?


Read: Romans 10:9-10

“Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.


Be Reminded of our role with Jesus:

  1. Dependence – Isaiah 40:28-31

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.


It’s our job to glance at our problems and gaze at God.


BUT…I am exhausted and weary…

2 Corinthians 12:9

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
Our weakness= perfect conditions to work with God. Get busy!


  1. Acknowledge – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”


Get in the habit of noticing his goodness, so when it comes along, YOU’LL NOTICE!


BUT…I can’t imagine that he wants me to rejoice about THIS!

James 1:2

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.


  1. Trust – Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.


Don’t simply rely on what you think you know.  Ask him for direction. Believe that he is powerful enough to direct you wisely.


BUT… I’m doing the best I can and it doesn’t seem like things are working out!

Romans 8:28

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

  1. Listen – Luke 5:5-6

And when [Jesus] had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word, I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking.


BUT…what if it still is showing nothing? What if I didn’t hear right?

Story of Balaam. (Numbers 22-24)
Worst Case Scenario- He told you. You heard and DIDN”T LIKE what he said, so you ask again.

HE brought a talking donkey!

Do you need a talking donkey? He knows how to get your attention!


Listen and ACT!  Not sure if you are acting in the right direction? Make your best guess. He’ll let you know.


Link to printable version of these notes and the Goal Setting Worksheet

Click Here

Happy Living

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

How would you like some happy in your life? I think we could all use a little more happy.  Listen to today's podcast for more about this!Episode 22 – Happy Living

Joy isn’t just a happy thought, it’s deeper than that.

Haven’t we heard that? It’s not about being happy, it’s a set of soul.

Yet, I want to challenge you that we can cultivate a lot more every day joy into our lives and it looks very similar to happiness when it’s in action.

How would you like some happy in your life?
I think we could all use a little more happy.

So, the good news is that everyday joy is a skill your brain can learn.  A habit you can cultivate. A practice.

Our brains work in patterns and your brain has patterns around all sorts of things. You can conjure up feelings of joy immediately when you consider certain events, and then you can be reduced to tears by other circumstances.

We each have patterns of thought and feeling that we circle around.  Choosing joy is a way to begin creating a new habit in our life.  At first, it will feel fake, uncomfortable, odd.  But as we continue to practice over and over, choosing joy becomes something that we do without thinking about it.

Here are three ways you can practice the skill of joy:

1. Think big picture.

When we zoom out and look at things from God’s perspective- eternity, the main themes of love, truth, mercy, and grace- it is much easier to rejoice even in the midst of a difficult moment.

Take some time to consider your life from God’s point of view today.

2. Think on “these things”. Philippians 4:8 is our instruction manual for cultivating happiness into our everyday life.
“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 worth of praise, think about these things.”

If you were to chart your thought life, how would you rank it? Higher on the “whatsoevers” or higher on the worries?  It’s not a big deal, it’s just a skill you can practice. Start where you are and move towards joyful thoughts today!

  1. Celebrate with your physical body.
    It seems that we have specific moments when we are allowed to celebrate with our emotions and our bodies. When our team wins the super bowl or the World Series- that’s a time we are allowed to celebrate. When you win on a game show, get an awesome birthday present, or win an award of some sort- it’s ok to jump up and down and scream for joy. And some people choose to do a fair amount of celebrating during worship time at church.
    Why must our celebrating be limited to these culturally accepted events?  Why not throw your hands out in delight when you see the beautiful snow?  What if you danced around the kitchen just because you were enjoying the connection with your children.  How about we scream like we won the winning point when our child does chores without being asked?

    There are so many times we can celebrate the goodness of God- and actually feel it.

Open your arms wide.


Lift up your eyes and delight in the Creator of the Universe for no apparent reason.

So what if someone looks at you like you’re crazy!  Would you rather look sane and feel discouraged, or nuts and feel elated at the blessings of Almighty God?

Today is the day to get started on this skill.
What one next step will your take towards joy today?

One action you can take is to sign up for a Joy and Peace Makeover Call with me.
Simply go to  and fill out the application.

This is a FREE one hour call to help YOU

– Create a sense of clarity about the Joy and Peace you really want to have in 2020.

– Discover the #1 thing stopping you from having the happiness you long for

– Complete the call with the excitement of knowing EXACTLY what to do next to create the happy and content family life you truly want.

Apply today! Spots are limited!

The #1 Joy Sapper – and How To Stop It

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

This week on Fruit Pursuit Podcast: The #1 Joy Sapper and how to Stop it.The #1 Joy Sapper – and How To Stop It:  Perhaps you long for joy but it still seems to elude you.  If you listened to my last podcast, A Secret to Easy Joy, and you’re taking action, then you’re already on a great start to making space for joy to flow in.

Today, though, I want to address something we do all the time that prevents us from accessing that joy as it comes in.  In fact, it could be there right now, but you’ve got the door bolted shut so it can’t get in.


That #1 joy sapper is living in survival mode.


What are the defining characteristics of survival mode?

-Thinking about myself.

– Focusing on what I lack.

The dryer is weird, the van is about to go, the gutters are clogged, no matter how hard I work on this house, it still has so far to go.

The kids are failing 7 classes, sick, so I can’t even get them to school…I can’t even help with the work that needs to be done.

– Tallying the expectations that haven’t happened yet.
I thought I’d be further along in my business, weigh less, be stronger, my kids be further in their studies, have a better consistency in posting, like eating salad even when I’m cold…

– Trying to logic my way out of this feeling by analyzing what isn’t working.

– Believing that there are no other options available to you other than the one bottle you cast out to sea.
As soon as I connect with this person, as soon as the holidays get here, as soon as the holidays are over, as soon as we pay off that bill, as soon as we get out of the terrible twos, as soon as we get out of the terrible 12’s, as soon as we get past this busy season, as soon as our kids are old enough to babysit themselves, as soon as…


When you are in survival mode we forget:

  • God is in control and responsible for the results.
  • We have been given everything we need and many things we want.
  • He is still in the business of answering prayer and just because one isn’t turning out like I anticipate doesn’t mean he’s not on the job.
  • Bringing God glory and being a witness to others is why we are still on this planet- it’s in our DNA to connect with Him and his people. If we aren’t feeling great, it’s because we lost our sense of purpose.


Additionally, if you live in this mode for very long, it can become a habit and as a result it can feel scary, unsafe, or unusual when we step out of this mode and into service and joy.


But there is joy and life when we lift our eyes up and out.

Whom can I serve today?

(Story of cranky family, choice to make dinner for another family.)

Whom can I love?

(WHo else out there feels like an outsider?)

How can I help?

(By going to bed? By taking care of me? By washing dishes? By being the example to others in my family of consistency?)


Where do I see God at work and how can I contribute?

Who has been served by me in the past?

WHere is evidence that love is present?

(I long to feel valuable, he sends me someone who needs help.)

Where has God answered before?

(Story of prayer for financial assistance? Answer of speaking topic- vision)

Where is evidence of his love?

Where is he showing up in my life?

It really only takes one action to get the ball rolling!  And don’t spend too long figuring out which one you’ll do.  Then do another, and another.  Pretty soon, you’ll be rolling in that satisfying joy you long for!

What one action will you take today?


Did you enjoy this episode of “The #1 Joy Sapper”?  Listen to more episodes here!

A Secret To Easy Joy

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Do you ever long to experience joy but feel like it takes too much work to make it happen?  In today’s episode, I reveal one of the keys to clearing the space for joy to come in!Do you ever long to experience joy but feel like it takes too much work to make it happen?

In today’s episode, I reveal one of the keys to clearing the space for joy to come in!

Just like cleaning out a cabinet before we organize things inside it, it is necessary to clear out the junk in our head before we can allow something else in.

What junk is that?

Great question!  It’s your own thoughts and never ending loop of what you should be doing that you haven’t already.

In short, when we don’t keep our promises and commitment to ourselves, to God and to others, we allow a sort of distracting white noise to take over inside.  In fact, it can become so loud that it completely blocks our joy receptors!

Here are a couple of areas where you can clean that up and make way for joy:

1. Keep your promises to yourself.

Self care- what areas have you decided need attention that you are continuing to ignore?

Convictions- where in your life do you hear a nudge to change every single time you open that game, flip that phone, watch that show?

Often we think there is wisdom in putting these things off- we’re busy with something else, there are good reasons to keep the thing, I might wish I did it differently later…

But if the nudge to take action is there, you’re clogging up your ability to absorb joy while you beat yourself up about what you aren’t doing.

2. Keep your commitments to others.

Just do it- when you make a commitment and follow through, it frees your mind to consider other things and people around you.  Joy becomes easier because you are distracted trying to avoid or procrastinate the thing.


Re-negotiate- some days, we simply have to be honest and realize we bit off more than we can chew.  In those moments the best thing is to figure out how to renegotiate the commitment.  When we go ahead and get that potentially uncomfortable conversation handled, it frees us up to enjoy the relationships, the events, and the beauty around us because we aren’t spending all that time and energy on resentment, frustration, or procrastination!

Three verses I appreciate about this topic are:

Romans 14:5

Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.

This reminds me that when I am fully convinced, that is the time I am most likely to take action.  If I’m not fully convinced it’s either time to put it down, or do what’s necessary to get to a place where I’m clear about what I’m choosing.  That brings joy.

Proverbs 15:23

A person finds joy in giving an apt reply and how good is a timely word.

I’m encouraged to have difficult conversations because of this verse.  There is a sweet relief that happens when we finally acknowledge elephants in the room.  Once we’ve admitted it’s there, we can focus on other things, which almost always include joy!

2 Corinthians 9:7

Each of you should give what you have decided in you to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

One of my favorite verses here, but in this context it’s a reminder that every promise and commitment is a choice that we made. No one forced them on us, we give them.  They are a gift. And as we remember that our commitments are gifts we give to others, we can be inspired to continue giving and fulfilling those promises with joy and gladness!

Now, what one next step will you take towards joy today?

Love is Speaking Up

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Last week, we discussed how love is about listening.  This week, we’re covering the opposite side of the spectrum: speaking up! Today we’ll get really clear about three different areas where speaking up is crucial.

Last week, we discussed how love is about listening.  This week, we’re covering the opposite side of the spectrum: speaking up.

Today we’ll get really clear about three different areas where speaking up is crucial.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but these three are some of the most important times, in my book, to open our mouths!

1. Love means speaking up when it’s the gospel that did the work, or is the remedy.

Romans 1:16: For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew and also to the Greek.

The gospel has power. It is the remedy!

When we know that the joy of the Lord is our strength, but we don’t proclaim that remedy to others, it’s like knowing someone is ill and having the medicine for them, but walking away.

Additionally, when we are focused on giving God glory, it helps us stay zoned into the heart issue and not whatever outward actions rub us the wrong way or are different from how we’d do things.

2. Love means speaking up when others have requested accountability from us.

Galatians 6:1: Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.

There is a default accountability agreement that we become a part of when we are part of the church of Christ. Speaking up to hold others accountable is part of our job.  Gentleness, kindness and humility is required, but accountability is a necessary component to growing as believers.

Additionally, sometimes people ask us to hold them accountable.  While their response is not always guaranteed to be pleasant when we do it. If we agree to speak up when we see something that needs improvement, but don’t, it isn’t love.

3. Love means speaking up against false teaching.

Ephesians 5:11: Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.

When we keep silent, we allow, by default, others to speak lies to those we love.  When people are desperate for answers, they are equally susceptible to any concepts that sound good and hopeful.

Two examples of false teaching in the coaching world include:

The importance of FORGIVING YOURSELF

Nowhere in the Bible will you find any scripture indicating that forgiving yourself is something you need to do.  Scripture talks about forgiving others, asking forgiveness of God, asking forgiveness of others. We don’t owe ourselves a debt. That’s a position that belongs to God and forgiving ourselves is a slick way to leave the real solution- true repentance and acknowledgement of our need for a Savior – out of the equation. It’s the world’s way of taking God’s idea and attempting to solve a problem without Him. Sure sounds good though.

I am enough.

This one is also a false teaching that is sweeping the world by storm and it is love to share with others the lack of hope and truth in this statement.

What is true?
We are valuable- priceless, actually. We are loved enough for Jesus to die to save us.

What is true?
We don’t need to be anything more than what we are for him to love us. And in that context we are “enough”. However, that version of “enough” is simply that God takes us as we are. We aren’t enough to save ourselves.

And are we enough for anything else? Is who we are sufficient to any task? No! The Bible says that in our weakness, he is made strong.  That he enables us to will and to do what he calls us too.  That indicates that we very much are NOT enough, but HE is!

God is enough.  Regardless of where we start, how weak or strong we are, God is enough to get us through, help us fulfill his purpose.

Again, this is a slick deflection the world uses to gently slide us towards elevating ourselves and eliminating our need for God.

But the truth is, HE is enough.  Because he works in us and through us, we become enough.

So, where have you experienced false teaching and choose to sit on it?  Love those around you well.  Speak up! Expose the lies. There is life in the TRUTH!

What one action will you take today in order to love God, love others, and enjoy it?

Love is Listening

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Today we are going to discuss some situations where listening might seem like the last thing you’d want to do, and yet, it’s a great opportunity to show love to others!Today we are going to discuss some situations where listening might seem like the last thing you’d want to do, and yet, it’s a great opportunity to show love to others.

However, we’ve discussed listening skills before.  If you want some practical tips, check out Episode 10: Kindness & Listening Skills

When I think of the type of listening I’m talking about today, I’m reminded of God listening to the children of Israel while they were still slaves in Egypt.

Exodus 2:24-25 says, “And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.  God saw the people of Israel – and God knew.”

He heard, remembered, saw, and knew.
Notice there is no talking involved on his part here,no getting defensive, no explaining why he did it that way. He listened.  He listened to their complaints, their grief, their frustrations, their groanings.  ANn he remembered his promise.  He saw their pain.  He was able to feel their situation clearly.

That’s love in listening.
And we are called to do the same for others.

John 15: 12-13 instructs us, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”

How often do we have the chance to simply lay down our life for others, literally?

In this country? Not very often.
But how often do we have the opportunity to lay down our defensiveness, our determination to be proved right, our desire to justify our actions, our reputation, or our perceived status in society?
Every single day, right?

This is love.  We can listen and I’m about to show you several areas where this applies, and some practical ways you can look at the situation so it becomes easier.


These are my favorite four letters when it comes to times I am called to listen and keep my mouth shut!

It’s Not About You.”

This is my slogan. SOmetimes I put it on a piece of paper when I’m coaching online. Sometimes I write it on my hand so I see it in conversation.  Other times, I’ve set it as a reminder to pop up on my phone.  WHen I present to an audience and I’m nervous about how it’s all going to come out, if I’ll be heard, if I’ll use the word “really” far too much- I tape it to my notes so I am reminded that my entire purpose is not about me.  It’s about others.  It is love.

Here’s some other situations where this reminder comes in handy:
– when your parents or in-laws are telling you how to parent.

It’s not about you. THey have ideas and how they did it. It feels good to help, and they also have an opportunity to validate their own decisions in their parenting styles. None of that is about you, how you parent, whether your choices are best, etc.  It’s about them. Lovingly listen.

– When your relatives or friends make insensitive comments:
To the single person, they might say, “You might just have to stop being so picky.”
To the grieving parent after a death of a child or major illness, you’d hear, “So, what is God trying to teach you through this?”
To the pregnant woman, “Whoa! You got twins in there?”
To the mom of many kids, “Don’t you know what causes that?”

All of these can obviously feel insensitive, but none of them are about you.  Often they are more about the other person trying to either figure out what to say, how to come to terms with a difficult situation, figure out how to make up for the obvious elephant in the room, or they are putting themselves in your position and have no idea how they would handle it or feel and are taking a stab. All of that is about THEM. It’s Not About You.

When we realize the comments aren’t really about us, it’s easier to listen, and let them fall off like they are no big deal.

Another area we can apply this is with our spouse and kids.

Let’s take the spouse first.

We simultaneously want our husbands to be authentic, vulnerable, and honest while also being our protector, steady support, and tolerant of our wishy washy emotions sometimes.

For some, it’s the other way around- the wife is the steady and the husband is the wishy washy one.  But in most relationships, there’s a combination of the two somewhere and to some degree it goes both ways.

When a spouse comes to us with genuine concerns, do we immediately assume they are blaming us, take it personally, get mad and defensive?

Or do you hold space for them to share their feelings, remember that their experience is not about you and listen with love?

It’s not always easy.  Especially if what their concerned about is also a perfect match for something we feel like we fail at regularly.  However, it’s still a good opportunity to show love and listen without becoming defensive.  Because their sharing is about them.  It’s Not About You.

SImilarly, with children.  WHen our children come to us with complaints, it can be easy to feel underappreciated, attacked, personally offended, etc.  But we have the opportunity to hear them and their difficulties from the stand point of being a safe place for them to say how they really feel.  Isn’t that what God does with us?  He listens- however it comes out, doesn’t take offense at us, and then does exactly what needs doing. He loves us by listening.

One practical way you can do this with your family, is to have a specific time where all of you get together and then take turns going around the room giving opportunity to each person to share what’s working and not working lately in their life. Write the things down, so you can remember and discuss them later.

You can take it one step further and pass out index cards for them to write anything down that feels too embarrassing to share.  Then at the end, collect them and address those privately.

This is not a time to explain why you do what you do, why their request isn’t possible, or how ridiculous they are being.  This is an opportunity to show love by listening.

When we have done this as a family, I am always blown away by some of the little things that feel so big to my children that they are carrying around. It will soften your hearts towards them.  You will hear them, and be able to feel their pain.

You may think you are already a family that communicates well. I think we are. It was still worth trying.

In conclusion,
Love is listening.
It’s not about you.

Let them tell their story,  ask questions, comment about what is interesting, consider why certain things make them feel certain ways.  Ask them why, how, if they could… Love them by listening.

What one action will you take today to show love to others?

Love: The Unconditional Kind

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

I believe that our love for God is reflected in how we love others. If that’s the case for you, what deal have you made about how that looks?I’ve always been an all or nothing kind of gal.

I’m like a steep roller coaster!
Loving God has been quite the journey for me.

I gave my heart to Christ when I was 5 or 6- I remember them explaining how Jesus died for my sins and that I could ask for forgiveness, and ask him to be the Lord of my life and thank him for saving me and that I would be saved.

I remember being so clear that I was saved and that I needed to obey Jesus and follow his will for my life.

Unfortunately, I felt very unsuccessful doing that.

I knew God loved me, but I acted like love was earned. Combine that with my extreme personality and if I couldn’t get it right 100% of the time, then why bother trying to get it right any of the time?

So, I would resort to selfishness, stubbornness, and frustration.

I believe that our love for God is reflected in how we love others. If that’s the case for you, what deal have you made about how that looks?

Here’s some of the deals I made:
First, Unconditional love means you have to live up to your end of the bargain loving me and all my mess regardless of how I show up, but I should be able to show love to you on a sliding scale of how much I feel like it on any given day and base my attention on that.

How’s that show up in your relationships? Huh?  That one doesn’t turn out so well.

Second, I really thought unconditional love meant that there was a basic love level and if I got on their good side by doing what they liked, then they’d like me more if I acted more like them.

But that really wasn’t love at all. It was a craving for attention.

When love is steady regardless of how I showed up if feels unconditional.

While it may seem odd at first if grand gestures are a way you show love when someone is making you happy, but you act mad when they disappoint you, then it isn’t steady.

Does this ever show up in your relationships with others?  In either your attempts to love other people- and your emotions get in the way, or in your reception of love from others.  Have you ever considered that an over the top response and attention to someone’s gift could actually be reinforcing a false pattern of belief about the love of God?

In order to truly love God, you must love others.

In order to truly love others, you must love God.

What does truly loving God look like?

Love rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth.

It bears all things.

It believes all things.

It hopes all things.

It endures all things.

Love never fails.

What one next step will you take today to love someone unconditionally?

Love: Extended Family & Expectations

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

We’ve all been there: the family gathering that everyone expects you to be at, but most don’t love and everyone spends feeling awkward. How do we handle them?We’ve all been there: the family gathering that everyone expects you to be at, but most don’t love and everyone spends feeling awkward. How do we handle them?

To say we’ll never go again seems harsh and unloving.  To insist on our own way seems selfish.
And what about the kids- they are so bored every time.  Never enough to do, or getting into trouble, or the feeling that I have to watch them so closely, I visit with no one, so…why did I come to this?

And there’s the food we don’t like, the people that are awkward or ask uncomfortable questions, or the family drama that we wish we weren’t a part of but somehow can’t seem to ever avoid.

What’s a mom to do?

Today, I’ll talk about a couple ways we have saved our sanity over the years that you can apply to any situation you have going on this holiday season


How we can show love to others by doing one simple thing before going to any event.


  1. Prepare your family to thrive.  Set them up for success.  Bring the things. Get clear on when you need to arrive and when you need to leave, talk about it, and then stick to it.


  1. Talk to your spouse and kids and get their feedback.  Do they love or hate this event.  Who is the person in the family that most wants to be there?  Who wants to be there the least?  What’s hardest about it?  What’s the easiest or most fun? Is there a key part where breakdown occurs?


How to show love to others:

Choose a way of being before you go. Have a physical reminder with you to help you remember during the event.

This helps by: Keeping Kindness in the forefront of your mind.

Reminds you of who you want to be.

Allows you to be an example to others.


What events have you got coming up where you can show love like you mean it?




Faithfulness vs. Discouragement

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

How do we actually break free from a cycle of discouragement? Why do we let it go on so long? Today we’ll discuss three keys about discouragement and 4 ways to make it go away!How do we actually break free from a cycle of discouragement?
Why do we let it go on so long?
Today we’ll discuss three keys about discouragement and 4 ways to make it go away!

Be aware that when one thing isn’t working, we tend to gather all the things together that aren’t working like a little collection.

Why are we so quick to gather those things together?
What if, instead, we gather together all the possibilities?

Be aware that discouragement is more than just a feeling.

Discouragement can be a habit.

A pattern of worry, control, or analyzing.

Remember: The past is not evidence of all that is possible for the future.
Discouragement can come from a worry over time.

Thoughts like, “Not enough time before…x,y,z.”

Or, “Too much time has passed…I should be further along by now.”

Remember: If your big investment hasn’t paid off yet, the story isn’t over.

Discouragement comes from focusing on the negative what ifs.

Questions such as:

What if it doesn’t work out?

What if I don’t get there in time?

What if I run out of money?

What if they don’t figure it out?

Remember: It is possible to choose to focus on positive what-ifs instead.

Be aware of shame shutting you down! Shame pops in and causes us to shut down from sharing.  It causes us to believe or at least pay attention to lies. It prohibits us from reaching out.

So, what are you focused on?
How can we overcome discouragement?

Feel free to journal about all the things you are anxious about, worried about, scared of, fearful about, frustrated with. AND THEN…

Slow down



Look for the positive what ifs.

We find joy in life by looking for the joy in life today!

Give no attention to the possibilities of failure. You can find excitement and possibility if you look for it. What do you look for most?

4 Ways to Overcome Discouragement:

1. Choose something else.

Choose to make a list of things that work.

A list of what-if’s that are exciting and possibilities.

(The more often we choose what is supportive, the easier it will get to choose it.)

Philippians 4:19

God’s abundance is always available and doesn’t disappear with a change in my circumstance.


2. Turn the lies around to truth.
We are so willing to put lies on a loop in our head.
Can we be just as willing to loop the truth?


3. Take the opportunity to focus on God’s goodness completely!

Movement- changes my physical body

critical to boosting dopamine! Take a walk, jumping jacks, dancing,

Laughter- don’t take yourself so seriously!

Also increases feel happy chemicals

Music changes my emotions

Do you have a playlist of music that elevates your spirit?

Gratitude Changes my mind

Celebrate your little wins. Remember the progress you are making.


4. Be aware of resistance.

What are you getting from staying discouraged?

What benefit are you receiving?

Recognize the rewards of discouragement, and ask yourself if this is the reward you want.

Choose to give no place to doubt and fear.

No place to what if it doesn’t work, the times I’ve blown it.

The past is not evidence for what is possible in the future.

God always works things together for my good.
I can trust him.

Stay focused on him.

He is faithful. We can be faithful. We can testify to his faithfulness at work in us!

What one next step will you take in faithfulness today?



Faithfulness: To Volunteer or Not to Volunteer

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Today we'll discuss great reasons to volunteer and perhaps some red flags to be aware of.Today we’ll discuss great reasons to volunteer and perhaps some red flags to be aware of.

Let’s go into our potential commitments with both eyes open.

When we choose to volunteer it’s important to maintain






Luke 6:38 (ESV)
Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.


We are always free to do whatever we want to do.  Just be clear this is in alignment with who you truly want to be and what you truly want to do in your life.


Good reasons to volunteer: Or, proceed with caution

1. You are needed AND it aligns with your purpose or calling

As believers, we are called to serve others, to share the gospel and the love of Jesus.

The question is “Where can you get involved, not IF you get involved.


  1. Build closer relationships with others

One of the best ways to get to know people deeply and quickly is to work on a project together.  This creates a natural point of mutual interest.


  1. Generosity

Have you ever been in the situation where it was way more fun to give a gift than it was to get one?
Serving others actually has a blessing for YOU!

Generosity helps us focus on the incredible abundance all around us.


BUT FIRST, Consider a couple things you need to know before you begin:


What do you hope to gain?

Praise? Power? Experience? The other person to change? Pride? Confidence?


How long are we committing for?

Indefinite time commitments don’t really serve anyone well.
Get clear on the expectations and communicate with others.


Reasons NOT to volunteer: Or, Proceed with caution.


In order to cut corners financially, proper care and safety is not a priority to the organization

This can include child care, construction, old/ outdated methods and products that are dangerous.



 Maybe it’s supposed to fail.

Because you stopped for two seconds and you are watching others squirm, and you feel guilty, so you go right back.
Because you stopped for two seconds and you don’t know what to do with yourself yet, so you go right back.

You keeping it limping along might be the biggest hindrance to the next beautiful, more effective thing coming



Few repeat volunteers?

Volunteers well cared for?


Survival mode- do they overwhelm their help?


What one way can you uplevel your consistency in your service to others today?


Faithfulness of Others

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

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?

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

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

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!

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

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 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

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

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


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 or find more episodes here.

Kindness vs. Pesky Sisters

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

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.



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

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

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

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

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.


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

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

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.




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

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

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

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

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

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

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

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

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

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

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!