What Does Your Next Chapter Look Like? Change Ahead!

Have you ever had a plan that failed,
* a career that ended
* a school you weren’t accepted to
* a promotion that didn’t pan out
* a marriage that didn’t survive
* kids that got sidetracked
* and life looked pretty bleak?

Boy, that happened to me. I love to plan and dream about the future. In fact, on the ennegram personality test, I’m a 7, an Enthusiast – Spontaneous, Active, a Dreamer, who Loves Freedom and Versatility. A seven loves change, or at least the GOOD Kind.

So you can imagine how tough it was when, as an entrepreneur of a tech start up, my husband and I, who had the freedom to work from anywhere, lost one of our biggest clients, due to a downturn in the economy. We suddenly found ourselves in a perdicament. My husband had to take consulting gigs in other states and overseas. I was working part-time and raising 4 kids alone. Something had to change. We needed a Plan B, stat.

That Plan B turned into us homeschooling the kids for 3 years and traveling with John to 45 states and 9 countries. The transition wasn’t easy, but the change created a life with a bigger payoff. We became a tighter-knit family, seeing, touching and experiencing life on the front lines, together. And those life lessons are turning into a book.

If we allow it, Endings Can Create New Beginnings. Sometimes we have to let go of the story we thought our lives would look like, to clear a path for a new one.
Living Your Best Life: Letting Go of Self-Doubt, Fear & Other’s Expectations discusses the 12 lies we struggle with and steps needed to:
* Let go of self-doubt, to live freer
* Embrace the small wins 
* Create Breathing Room 
* Allow Endings to Become Beginnings
* Chase Your Dreams Write Your Story
* Find Your Tribe 
* Exchange guilt for grace, replace comparison for contentment         

Looking for the next step. Purchasing this book is your next step. Buy your book today: Here’s to Living Your Best Life. 

Let go of all the things you have no control over: another person’s health, their reactions, other’s expectations, the loss of a job, a break up, a move across country, an illness, your past, whether your child is accepted to a certain school.

Let go of it! It’s like trying to wrestle an F5 hurricane and steering it in a different direction.

No matter how much you love, prepare, fix and plan, some areas of life are not in your hands, no matter how tight the grip.

But what if I let go?
Does it mean I don’t care? No. This is not your wheel to steer.

If I let go, something bad will happen. I assure you, if you don’t let go, it will.

That’s why I tell you, do not worry about every day life – whether you have enough food or drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to Him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? Matthew 6 25-26.

Let go of all the things not in your control. Put away your fake magical powers and pray, and trust that God, the one who created the moon and the stars and YOU in such intricate detail, cares for you. It’s not the grip that makes us stronger, but the Letting Go! #powerofmoms #momstories #lettinggo

Exhausted, hurried, angry? Do these words best describe you? You’re moving at such a fast pace, you high-five yourself on the interstate. You’re behind the eight ball at every turn with no end in sight. You’re late to work, late to carpool and you remember in Costco that your kids had early release. Oh for the love. Anyone? No matter the pace, you’re never enough. You’ve said yes to every classroom party, PTA and work project, perhaps out of fear. Fear of missing out, fear of disappointing. Or we play the guilt game. That’s a fun one. Our days feel like a pressure cooker about to explode, where the only thing that will survive are the cockroaches. You are house poor, time poor, emotionally drained. 

Your life is so packed, pushed and condensed, you’ve become a prisoner to your own self. 

Sadly, you’re perfectly normal, but there’s hope. You can create breathing room, that small little glorious space between margin and maximum capacity. That little bubble of peace that gives you room for options, plans b’s, a place to inhale and exhale without rush. That space to sit in your happy place and notice the details of life, the brilliant colors, the light breeze, to actually listen without thinking of what you’ll say next. To feel the warmth of sunshine on your face, to peacefully walk with a friend, without feeling hurried. There are seasons of life that require you to gear up and run the race in a full sprint, like the holidays, graduations, taking care of parents, sending the kids off to college. But when you begin to string together all the events, that’s when the brakes start smoking and your red engine light turns on. If you don’t listen to the still small voice that tells you to slow down, your health will begin to suffer. You don’t want your overworked adrenal glands to be the only inertia that sputters you to the finish line. Let’s constitute guardrails that keep us from driving off the cliff of life.

7 Ways to Create Margin:

1. Establish Boundaries

2. Learn to Say, No

3. Find a Rest Stop: Meditate

4. Prepare the Night Before

5. Schedule Extra Time

6. Save Extra Money

7. Organize, be Efficient

If you drove from the East Coast to the West Coast without a break, what would happen? You would be hungry, mad and out of fuel somewhere around Ohio. It’s time to find a rest stop and re-evaluate your life plan. Establish boundaries. What scenarios are you willing to negotiate and which ones are deal breakers? Learn to say no, it’s a complete sentence. Schedule extra time in your calendar for heavy traffic, a night away. Throw a few extra dollars toward an emergency fund or save a couple by not eating out one week. Make lunches and lay out clothes the night before. In doing so, you’re creating margin, peace instead of chaos for you and your family. Let’s turn those Costco runs into a peaceful trip with few surprises. You’ve lived the hurried life. Which scenario feels better? Tell us your story.

I don’t have time to hold your guinea pig. Are you ever in the middle of a text, a deadline, the end of a compelling movie or on the back deck eating the last chocolate cookie and here they come: Hey mom, what are you doing?

Check out my new skateboard trick outside.
Can you really dig to China from the back yard?
Can we buy a dog?
I didn’t want a brother, can we send baby Liam back?

On average, moms are asked approximately 300 questions a day by their young children. It’s madness.

Our brains are like rogue GPS systems that are constantly recalculating.

Instead of trucking down the highway to our destination, our GPS (kid’s questions) are recalculating us down bumpy dirt roads, weird side streets and behind an iffy 711. All these questions are enough to make a grown man cry, and yet here we are, standing in front of  humans under 3 ft 2 with endless energy and questions for days.

We can choose to swoosh them away, while reading a compelling news story, as they offer you the first guinea pig hug of the day. Instead, you never look up, just mumbling: uh huh, ok, see you later and then, just like that, they’re gone.

You just turned down the first guinea pig hug of the day. What’s wrong with you?
I get it. You need to work, cook dinner, do laundry, meet deadlines. Your list is long, as you try to out race the clock.

But what are your actions telling the kids? What or who is more important? The end of a movie, a funny meme to a friend?

That’s what the pause button on the remote is for. The social media story is not going anywhere and like death and taxes, dishes will be with you always. The kids will not. Let that sink in. The jelly print on the window will fade away, the need for Cheerios that seemed to fill every crevice in the mini van, gone. You won’t always be their go-to person, so embrace the moments.

3 Ways to Treasure the Now (WUG)

1. Write it Down
Document moments on the computer or in a journal. Record their little voices. Savor all the curious questions, the funny way they said certain words. Keep their hand written notes or at least scan them digitally for posterity’s sake. It’s said that we remember 20% of our stories. Memories create Legacy. Write it down, mama.

2. Unplug the Gadgets
Look into their little eyeballs and be attentive. Listen to their little voice. Embrace the inquisitiveness. Give Oreo, the Guinea Pig your attention. In doing so, you’re telling little Jack and Isabell they matter, they’re important, they’re priority.

3. Get Your Hands Dirty
Do all the things. Kids want to go biking, hiking, swinging, swimming, eating, talking. Jump in there and do the ING’s. Be active! These are the moments, the ooey gooey goodness of life. They’ll remember the time you spent with them. So get in there and get those hands dirty and make those memories.

Seize the moments, make the memories and do all the things. Life is fleeting. What examples can you share with us, that made an impact on how you dealt with Treasuring the Now?

I’m a destination addict. I love to experience adventure. The adrenal rush of new places, people, cultures, and ideas excites me. And boy, do I love change. Well at least the good kind. For three years we educated our four kids while we worked and traveled. Planes, trains, and Airbnbs, in 45 states and 9 countries. It had its ups and downs, but was fun and exhilarating. Every coffee shop, park bench, and Co-share facility became our temporary office. All we needed was a laptop and wifi, and we could submit projects and presentations five days a week.

Along the way, we lost – then found – our children on the Golden Gate Bridge, ran out of gas somewhere in South Dakota, took Spanish lessons in Barcelona (though no one can remember anything more than Hola!), and rode Segways through Europe (nearly losing one in a canal). We drove through Manhattan in a 36-ft. motor home during rush hour (I do not recommend this) and found out the hard way that propane tanks are not allowed in the Holland Tunnel. I bet we hold the record for the most horns blown in a 10-minute period while we made an 18-point turnaround.

Guess what? Despite all the adventure, change, and new destinations, we still had to pay bills, do laundry, take baths, cut our hair and fuel the car. Our family laughed, cried, . . . and fought. Remember the Holland Tunnel? When you think you’re going to die, all sorts of crazy flies out of your mouth. I was praying to Jesus, Joseph, and Mary, all the while hollering at my husband and threatening the kids to quit talking or this would surely be their last day.

Even though we loved our nomadic lifestyle, we still got mad at each other and still struggled with bouts of insecurity. Though we had strict rules for packing light, it became obvious that we each had brought along our usual heavy load of emotional baggage.

It’s tempting to think that traveling for pleasure or making a move across the country will clean the slate and rid us of the circumstances that hold us down. A new environment will save us, free us, relieve us from the pain, the grief, the suffering, the heartache we try to elude. Nope. You’re just giving those problems a new view. Giving them a new place to lay their weary head.

Baggage shows up as lies we tell ourselves:

  1. I don’t have what it takes to make it.
  2. If I can start a new job (move to a new state, find a new guy) I’ll be happy.
  3. I’ll enjoy life when we have more money.
  4. Others have it together more than I do.
  5. I’ll wait until my circumstances are perfect.
  6. Others don’t struggle in their marriage like I do.

Until our contentment meter is repaired, until the lies we tell ourselves are resolved, we will remain off kilter, no matter the new city, partner or job.

It’s time to let go of the labels and lies we tell ourselves. It’s time to drop the luggage and walk a lighter path. It’s time to live in the freedom God created for us. He’s a God of redemption and grace. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

As Susan Miller, author of After the Boxes are Unpacked says: “You can’t move forward if you’re always looking back.”

You can’t move forward if you’re always carrying luggage not meant for you to bear.

Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, we are not overwhelmed, devoured or monopolized. For His mercies never fail. They are new every morning. Great is God’s faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23 I love how God invests in our spirit. He cares about our emotional psyche. He created us to soar, to succeed.

Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, and admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think on such things. Philippians 4:8 He didn’t say to focus on whether your butt is too big or your house is too dirty. Stop. He said to focus on anything praiseworthy.

So how do we free ourselves of the lies? Read the Word.

The Word that goes out from My mouth, will not return to Me empty. But will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:11
Girl, God is for you and not against you. His Word does not go out and come back void. No ma’am. It goes out and does the work He has commanded it.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Romans 12:2 Transformed, revamped, reconstructed. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is. His good, pleasing, and perfect will.

Join the N.F.L.
3 Steps to Creating the New Perspective

1. Name all those lies and insecurities (expectations, loss, fear, your past) one by one and begin to pray the above scriptures over your life. Pray for a new mindset. Exchange guilt for grace, perfection for progress. Pray for God to change your heart and your perspective – exchanging the scratched lens for a clear one.

2. Find a picture of your younger self. Look at this little girl. Meditate on her sweet innocence before life had a chance to create the rough edges. Could you tell her that she doesn’t have what it takes to make it? Could you tell her that she’s ugly, undeserving, alone, won’t measure up? I don’t think so. Frame this picture. Encourage that little girl that she will make it. That she is everything God planned for her life. That she is redeemed, good, and deserving. That she is perfect and pleasing in His sight.

3. List what makes you happy. What gets you excited to wake up each morning? What are your hopes, talents, and dreams? What did you love doing as a kid? Perhaps it was climbing trees or swinging at the park. Go do it. Indulge yourself. You’re worth it.

Wherever your travels take you, don’t allow the unwanted baggage to hold you back, to weigh you down. It will cost you more than you’re willing to pay. God came to give you life and life more abundantly. Live in His fullness with a new you and a different view. Now go enjoy the journey.

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