Stop stressing & fighting about money.

Communication contract

Let’s talk about communication today.

A survey of 100 marriage counselors revealed that the #1 cause for divorce is poor communication. That’s not surprising to you, is it?

In fact, I’d venture to say your own relationship struggles also stem from poor communication, be it a spouse, a teenager or a coworker. Am I right?

So, if communication is such a problem, why don’t we tackle it head-on? Why don’t we be proactive with our communication?

The more you know, the better you’ll communicate. Do you know if you’re an over-communicator or an under-communicator? I learned about this from Alli Worthington’s book Breaking Busy.

YOU MIGHT BE AN OVERCOMMUNICATOR IF:

  • You’re always thinking of the next thing you’ll say in a conversation
  • If you say goodbye several times in a phone call
  • You’ve been accused of hijacking a conversation or meeting.
  • Sometimes talk a lot without saying anythings

YOU MIGHT BE AN UNDERCOMMUNICATOR IF:

  • You think people don’t follow your directions well
  • People often fail to live up to your expectations
  • You find yourself doing things you don’t want to do because you don’t want to speak up
  • Your spouse often complains, “I’m not a mind reader you know!”

Well, which one do you tend toward? Are there any small steps you can take to be a better communicator based on your tendencies?

Let’s keep learning. Have you heard of:

THE FOUR STAGES OF COMMUNICATION

Have you ever said something but it came out wrong? Or said something you didn’t mean? Maybe you’ve misinterpreted something someone else said? These problems are due to what we call the ladder of inference or the four stages of communication. They are:

  • What someone means to say
  • What someone says
  • What the other person hears
  • What they make it mean

Refer to my video here for more detailed explanation.

So, as you can imagine, we can easily mean to say something but the words don’t actually end up reflecting what we mean. Between the mind and the mouth, things get jumbled around or we’re in a hurry or distracted. Right? That’s just the beginning though.

Then, the person listening hears what you say, adds in their bias and your tone. Then once they think about it, they might make it mean something else. It’s like a game of telephone ON STEROIDS. Here’s an example:

Husband gets home early.

What I mean: Yay, he’s home!

What I say: I didn’t know you were getting off early!

What he hears: She doesn’t want me home early.

What he makes it mean: She doesn’t love me.

Sure that’s dramatic, but you get the point. What’s more is you are rarely aware of this entire process. Your brain and thoughts march along without your approval. If you were to stop and think about all of these things, you might come to a different conclusion.

I’ve created a communication contract for you for just that reason! This contract is so you and the person you’re having communication troubles with can actually DO THE WORK that it’s going to require to improve your communication. I promise you, it’s not going to fix itself.

I also advocate for marriage meetings and family meetings. This is time you and your family take to communicate on purpose. It’s time when you know you’ll be able to share and be heard as well as address things that might have come up during the week.

Since money stress is one of the leading causes of divorce, I specifically teach about BUDGET meetings and MONEY TALK in my membership community. For $20 a month, you can learn all about budgeting, communicating, eliminating debt and savings for emergencies along with so much more. You’ll even get individualized coaching plans for your financial situation along with two coaching calls a month where we answer questions and teach on topics. Sign up today, we close the doors tomorrow until next month!

Make it fun!

One of the first sounds of my day today was an excited screaming voice memo from a client who is now credit card debt free. I was as excited as she was and it made me pause and think…

Paying off debt isn’t fun for most people.

Yes. Paying off debt isn’t fun. Most people wouldn’t consider the run I went on this morning fun either.

But my rule is to make it fun! In my book, Put Your Big Girl Panties On, I specifically talk about this with your workout. The most important rule is that you enjoy it. If you don’t, you won’t stick to it and it can have negative effects for your fitness. I even talk about ways to make laundry fun. It’s just the way I think.

Deciding to have fun is a choice. It’s an action. You can make anything fun. Likewise, in your mind, you can decide you’re not going to have fun. And then you know what? You don’t have any fun.

If you can look at it through a different lens, you can purposefully turn up the fun. Many times we think that AFTER we finish something, that’s the time we can have fun. But you don’t have to wait. You don’t have to wait UNTIL you’re debt free to have fun. You don’t have to wait UNTIL you’ve lost weight to have fun. You don’t have to wait UNTIL your home is in order to have fun. You don’t have to wait UNTIL the semester is over to have fun.

What we want is a life where we have fun DURING THE JOURNEY. Everytime you pay off a little debt, do a little dance, make a little love and get down that night. Every workout, play your favorite music, dress in cute clothes and do an activity you love. Every meal you eat, have something that makes you smile for it’s natural goodness. Celebrate every shelf or drawer you organize and make pretty. Go to Starbucks or the beach to study, get pretty highlighters and notebooks. Do whatever you can do to make the JOURNEY fun.

It’s kind of like how I got a glass of wine on the airplane on the way to Las Vegas. This was going to be my first vacation with my husband alone since having kids. In fact, it was going to be my first vacation ever. And my first time in Vegas. I didn’t have to wait until I got there to have fun. NOPE. I settled in that seat, ordered the wine and had SO much fun for an hour.

It’s also the way I coach. We’re going to make this fun. Whatever it is, you’re going to enjoy it. You’re going to enjoy our time together and you’ll even enjoy the task at hand. Life is too short to not have fun!

So, here is your challenge:

I want you to think this thought & act out the answer today at least three times:

How can I make this more fun?

So, you’re doing laundry: How can I make this more fun?

You’re cooking dinner: How can I make this more fun?

You’re driving home from work: How can I make this more fun?

You’re doing taxes: How can I make this more fun?

I have a reminder set on my phone that asks this very question every morning at 10am. Here are some ways I make things more fun:

  • Friends
  • Sunshine
  • Get organized
  • Lists (I’m a nerd)
  • Racing/Challenging myself/others
  • Talk on the phone with a friend while __
  • Listen to a podcast
  • Countdown calendar/timer
  • Make it more beautiful
  • Dancing
  • Track progress
  • Celebrate success

How about you? What can you do to make things more fun today? Trust me, you deserve it!

Outside in or inside out ?

It occurred to me on my run this morning that so many of us are trying to cure things from the outside in rather than the inside out.

  • We’re trying to change what we eat. Outside in.
  • We’re trying to change what we spend money on. Outside in.
  • We’re trying to change a loved one’s behaviour. Outside in.
  • We’re trying to watch Netflix so we don’t have to feel the anxiety. Outside in.
  • We’re trying to run off the weekend’s calories (was that just me?). Outside in.

I was thinking about this because I realized earlier this morning that I’ve felt like I was inside a tornado for the last several months. While I’ve been reaching out to the things that usually sustain me, I feel that I’m not totally connected with them. This goes for my faith, my fitness and even my relationships. So, I told God all about it (as if he didn’t know) this morning and I’m ready to feel differently.

So, why is the inside out better? Because when we heal from the inside out, the external things become extraneous. They become byproducts.

  • Practice solitude, thinking about thoughts. Less anxiety, more peace. Inside out.
  • Practice gratitude, feel content, no need for binge spending. Inside out.
  • Do things that bring you joy, less desire to find it in food. Filled with joy, not with sugar. Inside out.
  • Practice self-love & focus on self-improvement. Increased compassion, less trying to control others. Inside out.

I mean, the truth is we can’t control the external things anyway. So, today, let’s make sure that our actions are helping us reach our goals from the inside out. Have a great week!

Why & How I wake up at 5am + my 3 secret weapons to do it!

I get a lot of comments about my 5am wake ups. Some are negative, some are positive. So, today let’s talk about the why & the how. And then I’ll tell you the 3 secret strategies I use to make it happen.

Okay, so why do I get up so early?

A long time ago I realized that while relaxing at night and staying up a little late made me FEEL like I was finally getting time to myself, it was actually sabotaging me. Staying up late meant I would wake up late or wake up early (kiddos!) and be cranky. Then I’d start a daily cycle of not-so-greatness. Which, of course, would require the desperate need to have that time at the end of the day.

So, what was I doing during that time? Probably watching shows, playing games. At best, taking a bath and reading. Definitely drinking some of that time and sometimes snacking.

When I decided to try and get up early, I realized I was trading my “me” time in for an upgraded version.

So, when I get up early it does require I go to bed earlier. However, when I get up, I start the day with me time. That proves to myself that I’m worth it. It also means I’m not starting the day reactive. My kids used to be my alarm clock. That made me cranky and even kind of resentful.

So, I start the day with some me time. That means that by the time the DAY requires me, I’ve done something nice for myself and the day is now on my terms.

Energy at night is restorative. So, we definitely need to do something relaxing and restoring. Interestingly enough, most of our evening activities don’t fit that bill (we are just checking out most of the time). While we need the relaxing time at night, I find the morning time to be better for my soul and my overall mood. Morning energy is productive. That goes for you “non-morning-people” too.

Getting up early and doing what you want to do is being productive, intentional and owning your day. That’s opposed to being cranky, late and reactive. It’s like a present to yourself. The soft, quiet, still time in the morning is so amazing and contrasts our busy, hectic world beautifully.

Okay, so what are my secret weapons?

  1. The sun. When we lived in Alaska we had room darkening curtains. Nowadays I don’t use curtains at all in my bedroom (backed up to woods). The sun will wake you up (this requires a bit of habit building) naturally. This is what we refer to when we talk about the circadian rhythm. Your body is designed to rise with the sun. Unfortunately, the way we live now doesn’t allow for that as well. If you live in a place that isn’t ambushed by fake lights (street lights, night lights), try using the sun and moonlight to help you rise and shine. During the winter I had to struggle bus out of bed sometimes because I didn’t have the sun on my side. Nowadays, the sun is waking me (naturally and slowly) before 5 because we live so close to the EST timeline.
  2. The alarm clock. Okay, so I actually don’t use an alarm clock. I’ve always had this weird ability to tell myself when to wake up. And as long as I wasn’t hungover or sick, it worked. However, I do advise my clients to put their alarm clock across the room. Yes, that old trick that you have to get out of bed in order to turn it off. Well, you’re up, might as well stay up! Now, I have three caveats to that! First, I want you to have a mantra ready to say during that long trek from your bed to your dresser. Examples I use are “I am going to feel so great in an hour” “I won’t be so sleepy in ten minutes” “It’s totally worth it to stay up.” Whatever you think will work for you, practice it now. Then have it ready for repeat when the alarm goes off. My second caveat is that if you use your phone for an alarm, download an app that lets you record your own alarm sound. Then record your mantra a few times in a row and set it as your alarm sound. My last caveat–whatever you’re hoping to accomplish when you get up, make it super easy for when you do get up. My husband programs the coffee to be ready by the time he gets up so he can have it asap. My bible and journal are steps away from where I brush my teeth. My friends have their tennis shoes and clothes set out at the foot of the bed so they can roll right into them. Make it easy!
  3. Energize. This last one is kind of a cheat. Since moving to Virginia, sometimes I need a little boost in the morning. Now, I’ve never taken a pre-workout before. I’m naturally, annoyingly energetic. But the friends of mine who have tried it have told me they loved it and loved that it didn’t make them jittery at all. In fact, to me, it gives you a kind-of giddy motivation high. People are nice when they have energize-including me. So, if it’s rough day I do take energize before my workout and it really helps me out.

In case you’re wondering, my morning routine looks like this:

  • Read, journal & pray @ 5:15
  • Music / Meditation / Plan day @ 5:30
  • Workout @ 6

If you’d like any help, you know we can work together until you find your sweet spot! I’m here to help. Click that button, top right, work with me!

Why you shouldn’t pay all of your debt off at once

When a former fitness client of mine (and friend) signed up for financial coaching I was ECSTATIC! I love her, I’ve always loved working with her. I knew it was going to be great.

On our first session, she showed up and had some great news!

She’d put $50 extra on a credit card and $50 extra on student loans! She looked at me expectantly.

At first, on the inside, this was my reaction.

As a coach, though, I knew that this was super important! It showed how motivated she was, which is absolutely priceless.

BUT!

What I explained to her is that we want to always put extra on the smallest debt. Why? Because that allows us get the most bang for our buck (literally). You see, if we can knock out that first little debt, then we have more to put toward the next largest debt. And then the next one and the next one. That’s the snowball effect.

When we spread our money around, we make slow progress which is bound to cause us to fail. Why? Because we’re human! Seeing progress is what motivates us! When it’s a little here, a little there, you not only keep paying interest on each different type of debt, you never can throw larger sums at any one debt.

Becoming debt free is more about your behavior than your knowledge. It’s kind of like how you already know that you need to stop eating so much Chick Fil A. It’s kind of like you already know you should be exercising. It’s not about what you know, it’s about what you’re doing.

And what you’re doing needs to be strategic.

My client now has a strategic, month-by-month plan to be debt free by next September! That’s $12,710 in debt and she’s making just over double that. Yes, we have a plan! That’s what coaching can do for you.

I help you create a realistic budget (I know you’re still going to eat at chick fil a) and debt payoff plan. We look at the numbers together. Then, I help you until you are totally able and confident to do it on your own.

It’s that simple. Want to get started? Click up top right: work with me!

Outsmart your brain & Ask better questions

Your brain is super smart. Like really really smart. Your brain is capable of solving your problems. If you ask your brain a question or to solve your problem, it will do it! We just have to give it the time and space as well as the right questions.

We’re also going to practice the idea of curiosity over criticism. If you’re constantly criticizing yourself and asking bad questions, you’re keeping yourself in a negative loop that will not allow you to get the results you seek. You cannot get a positive result from a negative method. If your method is negative, you will continue to produce negative results in your life. If instead, you choose to be kind, curious and compassionate with yourself, you will give yourself the space you need to answer your questions and solve your problems. So, let’s look at a few more examples of questions.

Why is my house always a mess?

My brain would probably answer, “Because you’re lazy.” Is that what your brain said too? How is that helpful brain? Sheesh. You see, when we ask these types of questions we open the door for self-shaming, don’t we? What’s more, it’s just not true. I bet you’re go, go, going and do, do, doing. Lazy people don’t do that. You’re not lazy. You’re probably just busy and behind and you don’t have a system that is working, am I right?

  • How can I make chores easier?
  • How can I make things easier to put away?
  • What would it feel like to have a well-kept home?
  • What needs to happen for me to have a tidy home?
  • Who can help me get my home in order? (Shameless plug for me here, but also your family)

Why am I always out of money?

I think my brain would answer this like, “Because you spend it as soon as you get it, DUH!” Like, my brain would not be nice even though I’ve trained it better. Instead, I can carefully craft the question to prompt more helpful responses. These responses inspire action. They give you some ownership and call you to action, don’t they?

  • What am I spending my money on?
  • Where exactly is my money going each paycheck?
  • How can I increase my income?
  • How would more money help me?
  • Why do I need more money?

Why can’t I lose weight?

Even if you answer this question rationally and not in a critical way, it still doesn’t help. Watch: Because I eat too much and I don’t workout enough. Okay, great. That may be part of the problem, but there is no inherent solution. Our best questions provide solutions not shame or more problems.

  • What would need to happen for me to lose weight?
  • Why do I want to lose weight?
  • How can I make losing weight easy? Fun?
  • How can I be happy and lose weight?

Now, I want you to get out a piece of paper and think about what goal you’re working on right now, or even something that is bothering you. Write down some good questions you can ask. Then answer them if you can. But, if you can’t don’t worry. Your brain will work on it. Don’t be surprised if you have an epiphany while you’re at the store tomorrow or when you wake up this weekend. Your brain will be working on answering your questions and solving your problems.

If you’d like some help with these areas, click the work with me button top right and we can schedule a coaching session. You don’t have to walk through the battle alone, I’m here to guide, coach, listen and support! ❤

Lingering Laundry Syndrome (LLS)

My clients have major issues with laundry. My friends have major issues with laundry. Almost everyone I know except myself and my mom suffers from lingering laundry syndrome.

What is lingering laundry syndrome? LLS is a condition of perpetual laundry. It’s where laundry always lingers around. There is always some form of laundry task beckoning you.

Symptoms of lingering laundry syndrome might be clothes in the washer, clothes in the dryer, clothes in the laundry basket, clothes on the couch, clothes on the bed and/or clothes on the floor. Other symptoms include finding clean clothes not in your dresser or closet but in one of the aforementioned areas that laundry is lingering. You might also find yourself wondering why you own dressers or hangars. Some people have reported never having finished a single load of laundry.

That’s LLS. What is the prescription?

  1. Have fewer clothes. Yes, fewer clothes mean less laundry. Simple math. Fewer clothes mean it’s easier for you to put clothes away. Fewer clothes mean smaller loads. Fewer clothes mean being able to find the right stuff. Fewer clothes mean less trying on and flinging perfectly good clothing only to never have it properly reinstated to it’s upright or putaway position.
  2. Don’t make it complicated. I don’t know if you’re like me, but I gave up sorting laundry when I left my mom’s house. (Sorry mom). I chose to not own white clothes. It was a lifestyle decision. And I love my non-white-clothes life. I wash whatever I want, however I want, whenever I want. You can choose to do the same! Then you’ll have fewer mini-steps in doing laundry and you’ll make it easier and more likely you’ll do it. 61758608_10157147314159223_4941302927076622336_n
  3. 5 minute rule. It only takes five minutes to do laundry. At a time. Dump a load = 5 minutes. Switch a load = 5 minutes. Fold and put away a load in supersonic speed so you can finish fast = 5 minutes. Yep, it’s true. Stop trying to do 3 loads at once. Keep up with the loads, one load at a time. It’s five minutes. In fact, you can pick a favorite song that’s five minutes, plug in the headphones and go, go, go! You MUST focus until you finish. That means phone down, tv off, no cooking, etc. Just devote the five minutes and you’re in & out.
  4. Make the kids help. Since it’s like a dump cake and it only takes five minutes, make your kids do their own laundry. If they’re, let’s say, 7 or older they can completely do laundry on their own if you invest time teaching them the first 2-3 times. If they’re older, you’ll still have to invest the first few times in teaching them. This is a serious investment. Like, teach, give all the information, the whys, the hows, the scenarios. It will be worth it in the future! If you don’t take the time now though, they’ll do it wrong and make more work for you. If they’re younger, you will have to help but not too much. If you have older and younger, you’re done son. My kids wash a load each on Sunday and that generally lasts them for the week. They are totally capable, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. The only thing it requires is your undivided discipline for the first few times and then you’re golden. I recommend you go in stages: first, let them bring it to the wash & start it. Next, bring, start & switch. Next bring, start & switch & put away. Finally, when they’re ready, bring, start, switch, FOLD and put away.img_1073

There you have it. What do you think? If you need a coach to help you pare down the wardrobe and help you walk through this process, I’m here. You might find it funny to think you need a laundry coach. It is kind of funny, I suppose. But then again, what else plagues you as much as laundry!? In all seriousness, I coach women how to be more productive and happier and this is just a small part of that. I’d love to help you. Click the work with me button above!

It’s Monday Again

I bet you read that headline like Eeyore:

Yeah, it’s Monday. Again.

But I wrote it like

Yay! It’s Monday again!!!

You see, I love Mondays. They’re a chance to reset. They’re a chance to get it right!

The weekends can sometimes mean doing things that weren’t on the plan we have to become the person we want to be. Maybe that means relationally, maybe that means nutritionally or maybe that means laundryally. Whatever it means for you, Monday is your chance!

You see, all it takes to be “back on track” is ONE day. All it takes to be the kind of person you want to be is ONE day. Do you want to be a healthy person? Make healthy choices today. Boom. You’re a healthy person.  Do you want to be the kind of person who doesn’t battle the lingering laundry monster? Finish that laundry today. Boom, you’re the kind of person who has clean clothes put away.

Yes, it only takes one day but Monday is special. That’s because it sets the tone of the week. If you make some great choices today, you’re setting up some positive momentum for the week. There is something very human about a starting and stopping point. Humans respond better to tasks and actions when they have a clear starting point and a clear ending point. The work week, for most of us, is just that. If we don’t start making these great decisions today, we’re much less likely to start on Tuesday.

The other reason Monday works so well is because you probably are at least partly refreshed and ready to tackle some of these decisions thanks to the weekend. I mean that both emotionally and physically. I am recharged after relaxing so getting to work it easy! I am carb-loaded because of pizza so running is easier. 😉

Okay, so how can you be back on track today? Is it in your finances? Is it in your home organization? Is it fitness? Nutrition? Mindset? Parenting?

Determine two things you’ll do today that will get you “back on track.” I believe in you. I believe you’re the kind of person you want to be. Now act like it! 😉

Happy Monday!

 

Which way are you heading?

I am so pumped! Today I purchased a ticket for a business conference I’ve been wanting to go to for some time now. I was so excited! It made me think back to the other times I’ve invested in ME.

Every. Single. Time. I’ve. Invested. In. Myself. It’s. Been. Worth. It.

Examples are a really healthy shake, high quality running shoes, coaching, a $500 running stroller, books, an expensive planner/journal, FPU, conferences, trainings and certifications.

Each time I’ve done these things it’s been a wee bit like:

I don’t know. Do I really need it? Do I really want to spend the money?

There’s been trepidation. However, looking back I know it was 100% worth it each time. It was like telling myself:

Girl, you’re worth it. I believe in you and the reason you want to buy it. I know you can do it and I’m willing to BET MONEY on it.

I’m not saying I had that thought specifically, but I certainly felt that feeling. That feeling of showing up and believing in yourself. It doesn’t matter how much other people believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself, right?

Each of these things I’ve invested in was like a stepping stone to my best self.

I want you to imagine your best self. What’s she like? I bet she’s happy, glowing, carefree. She glows, she loves life. She wakes up excited and goes to bed satisfied. She has healthy, loving relationships and she has a daily routine that she enjoys. Her home is in order, her money is not stressing her out, she’s proud of her fitness and she’s healthy. You know that girl? She’s awesome.

The stepping stones to that girl are investments like the ones I mentioned above, though they’ll be unique to you.

Now, there’s also a shadow version of you. Your shadow self. She’s the person who, rather than investing in herself, keeps herself too busy and too numb to make any decisions that get her closer to ideal. She’s burdened with overwhelm, unhappiness, unrest. She eats, drinks, Facebooks and binge watches shows to keep hidden. While your best self is hopping up stones toward her best self, this is a downward journey.

So, which way are you headed?

I hope it’s up. I hope you’ll take a minute to answer this question:

What is the next best thing I need to do to get closer to my ideal self?

That’s a simple question. And notice next best = small. Don’t let overwhelm win. Maybe it’s a walk. Maybe it’s that book you’ve been eyeballing (Or my book, coming out next month ;)). Maybe it’s a decent workout outfit so you feel confident. Maybe it’s a healthy vitamin-filled Shake. MAYBE it’s coaching with me to help you figure it out.

Either way, onward and upward friend. Cheers!

 

House of Faith

This post will be a testimony. I want to share with you some stories about my God and my faith. First thing’s first. I read Circle Maker by Mark Batterson in 2017. It prompted me to really level-up my prayer life.

The situation was that we were moving in December. We’d moved before in December so we knew there were many challenges with it. We also had unique circumstances. First of all, we were concerned we might lose money on the house. Next, we were going to be putting the house on the market in October. Not only was that not optimal, if the buyer wasn’t willing to lease it back to us, we’d be “homeless” around Christmas.

So we were in a season of considering what needed to be done about this home sale. I found myself at the beach reading the aforementioned book.  Here’s some of Mark’s words I was reading that day:

God does not answer vague prayers…The more faith you have, the more specific your prayers will be. The more specific your prayers are, the more glory God receives.

I’ve had a few epiphanies like the one I was about to have in my life. One was in November 2014. At that point in time, I would be saying goodbye to my husband for a year in 2 months and I was 8 months pregnant with child #3. Up until that moment, I was very, very sad and very much believing our year would be awful. God made it known to me that he had more for me. That my family was not just to survive, but that we would thrive. And we did. It was a big epiphany. This was going to be one as well

So, I found myself reading the book at the beach. In this moment at the beach I went for it. I consulted with my husband about what his goals were. Then I decided what I would pray for and what I would praise God for in advance. I went very literal and very not literal. So I was praying and praising. I was also literally writing my prayers down and circling them. I was also walking around the house while praying each morning because:

No good thing does the Lord withhold from those who walk uprightly. Psalm 84:11

Listen, God made me silly so I know he appreciates it when I go all in like this. Either way, I prayed very specifically, very much leaning into my faith, every day. I circled it on paper and I walked around my house. What did I pray for?

Home 1

  • Make $X from the sale
    • I don’t want to get into that too much but once I realized that “not losing money” wasn’t a prayer that required much faith and I consulted with my husband, I settled on a number. This number would allow us to pay off our vehicles and be debt free!
  • Sell quickly
    • I know myself. I try to give it to God but I can be very anxious. So can my husband. I didn’t want the opportunity to be anxious. I asked God to have the sale go quickly.
  • Buyer lease back
    • I was hoping that the buyer would be able to lease our home back to us until we left in Virginia. In this way, we’d only have to move once, the kids would have less school transition, we wouldn’t have to find a place to rent, we would spend Christmas in our home. Etc.

So, what happened?

  • We made that amount plus a little. A few months before, we’d been concerned we would lose money. Now we were able to fully give God glory and tithe and give and pay off debt. Just wow.
  • Y’all. The home was on the market for 4 days. Only two families looked at it. The first family that looked at it made an offer and we accepted. Like, there was no market for our house except for the family that God delivered right on time and right in place.
  • Here’s the kicker. This family had a lease they were locked into until later the next year so each month we could rent the house back from them was a blessing to us and to them. ONLY GOD. 

Home #1 was an incredible faith journey and I just glowed in awe for my God who loves me and who is looking out for me. I was exhilarated, as I always am, to live in the lane of faith.

Fast forward 18 months and we are moving again! But, let me start at the beginning. My husband gets to retire from military service and we get to move on with our lives. Is that incredible or what? Right about when we finished up the above home sale was two years out from the retirement date. So, we began casually talking about this retirement plan.

I won’t take a long time to tell you his ideas for where to retire did not make my heart happy. That’s a nice way to put it. In fact, I was despairing a bit. I happened to be in an Elevation Church eGroup at the time and we all had to proclaim something that we were worried and anxious about that we could surrender to God.


*Side note: It’s hard to give these things away sometimes. It’s hard because we want to worry about them, we want to control them, we don’t want to lean on God for them. There are many reasons why, but those facts remain and they were true for me and for my girlfriends at the time.*


 

The only thing I could come up with, even though I didn’t want to, was to give up the retirement plan. I’d been pros and conning, having these rollercoaster conversations and rollercoaster emotions. I’d been mentioning it in every conversation, agonizing over all the choices (Wyoming and West Virginia for a few examples). I was really quite over it. What I realized is God had never failed me yet. Moreover, I came to the conclusion that I wouldn’t be able to change my husband’s mind anyway. At least not in a way that we both “won.” So, I gave it away. I surrendered it to God. I lifted it up each morning but mostly didn’t think about it. Really. It was quite weird that I was able to do that.

About two months after that decision, the unthinkable happened: My husband made the right decision. Okay, that was a joke. Please forgive me. Seriously though, one day he casually mentioned that “Maybe we should just move back to Florida.” I caught my breath. I could not believe he’d said that! Of course that was what I’d wanted but I never thought it was on the table. At all. Had I known, I might’ve campaigned for it! Visiting Florida was on my 2019 vision board! Well, moving there is way better!

In hindsight, it was kind of funny. When we left Florida I had a moment. A little fit. It really was little because right about the time we found out we’d be leaving, Elevation put out the song Do It Again. I decided that was my Virginia song. God had never failed me yet so this was going to be great too. I had to do some work to get my heart in alignment with that belief, but I did it. The joke is that God always knew he was going to bring me back. He always knew he had me covered. I didn’t know, but he did. So here I was worried about living in Wyoming and He knew the entire time he was sending me back to Florida. You’re so funny God. And, new meaning for Do It Again.

Okay, so that was hurdle one. Hurdle number one that I didn’t even know was there. It would be the set up for the rest of this story. Here were some more hurdles:

  • Finding the right house
  • Moving timeline
  • Husband’s future
  • Loan

When we began to look at real estate in Florida, my husband was disheartened. Nothing he saw inspired him and as this will likely be our last home, he wanted to do it as smartly as we could. However, because of that, we decided to go on a trip to Florida to hunt for our home. Remember my vision board? I’d put a trip to Florida on there. Now I got that trip and we were moving there.  Thanks God.

So, knowing how picky my husband was, how stressed out he was (career change, move, retirement, nbd) I knew I had to bring this one up to God. Hubs was due to arrive 1.5 days before me. I prayed that God would lead him to a home that felt perfect, that felt like a total win for him. That it was effortless and that me arriving would just entail signing paperwork and then going to the beach.

And so it was. Hubs called me while at this place. He mentioned some of the good things about it. His voice was optimistic (this is a lot for my “realist” husband). I was expecting it from God, but still shocked to hear from hubs. Can you relate? Anyway, he had to go because it just so happened that the builder showed up right then and was able to give hubs a personal tour and talk to him all about their company and so forth. Okay God, just showing off at this point.

We get there, things are great. The house is great for so many reasons and I’m just so sure God picked it out for us. There’s a lot to unpack here, a lot God did, but we must move on!

One of the other things I’d been praying to God about was to help my husband with his career change. I know it is really hard for someone who has done something for 20 years to suddenly have freedom of choice. It’s harder than it sounds. So he was wrestling with what decisions to make: passion or paycheck, school or j-o-b, etc. I mentioned earlier the hurdles I didn’t even know about and this is another. We found out about this new program Career Skills Bridge. Long story short, it’s an internship program the Air Force allows their Active Duty to participate in. What did that mean for us?

We could move in August not December. The kids could start the school year where they’d end it. We’d be able to be home that much sooner. My husband could pursue passion while receiving a paycheck. Now, this program has been around for a few years but it is very hush hush. So, when we found out about it, it was all but impossible to take advantage of it. What would it require?

  • The house would have to be available FOUR months earlier. When we’d planned to move in December, we shopped for a house that would be ready in November. And we got it.
  • Hubs’ leadership would have to approve the program.
  • Our current landlords would have to let us out of the lease early.

All of these things are kind of huge and monumental. Dare I say impossible all at once. So, let’s check in with God.

Hey God, there is this wonderful opportunity that seems hand made for us. We’re so grateful but we have to send you in because this is literally impossible for us.

So what happened?

  • The first step was finding out about the home. You know construction almost always goes much slower than projected. This seemed like an impossible proposition. And yet, we went to God and to the builder asking for a timeline. After a week of suspense, they responded it would actually be ready early. Late July/early August as a matter of fact. JAW DROP.
  • Alrighty. My husband prepared this long speech about this apprenticeship for his leadership. They are all working very hard on specific stuff right now and letting him go is probably going to hurt. So, the speech and facts and numbers and whatever else were ready. So were my prayers. It’s almost laughable how the conversation went. Hubs didn’t get in five words before everyone was like 100% yes, do it, go for it. HAHA. God, you’re so good. And so funny.
  • Our lease was another story. It’s a weird situation that I won’t get into for privacy reasons. Long story short, we prayed and found a way to get out of it and everybody won. That’s great because that’s thousands of dollars we won’t have to pay in rent for a home we aren’t living in.

In the middle of all of this it, quite shockingly, became possible that my best friend might be able to move to the EXACT SAME TOWN as me. In military terms, this is unheard of and hilariously God. She and I got to praying and it’s happening! This was truly just God showing off. This was another hurdle I didn’t know about. We went from not even thinking it was possible (she was going to Germany, Japan or maybe DC?!) to now it’s happening!

God, you’re so good to me. How do you have time for anyone else?

The last and most recent issue was with our loan approval. The bible isn’t joking when it says

The borrower is slave to the lender. -Prov 22:7

Let’s make another really long story short. Dealing with lenders isn’t easy. I believe they’re nice, they mean well and so forth. It’s still awful. This is especially true with a VA Loan because there are many extra requirements. We did have an issue come up where we unexpectedly might not be able to qualify for this loan. That meant we’d either have to go through it all over again with another company or give the house up, both excruciating options from my perspective.

At first, for some reason, I tried to outsmart things. I got very nerdy, researchy, documenty and so forth. Although that probably didn’t hurt, the way it was leading clearly showed me that God was showing me I needed to rely on Him for this win as well. Everything lined up in such a way that I could only give credit to God (I did give our lender a well-deserved thank you). As you can imagine with all of this moving/planning/retiring/etc, I’ve been very stressed. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I had a really rough few days. After I saw the situation for what it was, one that I had to turn over to God, things improved. I prayed, I meditated, I praise music’d. I went all in. I turned it over and I got peace back.

Then, today, I woke up and knew I’d get a call from them this afternoon with the good news. I also knew I’d give God the glory.

So, when I saw that number on my phone, I got on my knees and thanked God for the good news first. I heard it with my faith first. Then I answered the call and heard it with my ears.

These two home stories are a few of my testimonies. God is so good. I love having a relationship with Him and, as counterintuitive as it may seem, I love relying on Him. There just is no better way to live fully in my opinion. These big moments have helped me rely on Him habitually in the small moments. This isn’t exactly a call to action type of message. I do hope that you get the joy and satisfaction of depending on God. Of praying and being changed inside out.

Happy Fierce Faith Friday!