Lean into the hard

Let’s flashback to November 2015. I was 8 months pregnant. I knew my husband was leaving for a year in two months. I’d accepted my fate, in my mind, with a sort of honorable stoicism.

Imagine my surprise when I was in church for a sermon called “Surviving vs. Thriving.” The remember the graphic from the series well. It was a tree that had two sides. On one side, the tree was dead. It had no leaves, showed no signs of life. On the other, the tree was thirving. It was growing, vibrant with new leaves.

That tree hit home. You see, I’d given up on the next year already. I figured we’d claw through, the three kids and I, but it wouldn’t be anything special. It would be a dead season. This sermon reminded me that I’m only promised a few years, and precious fewer with my kids at home. At that moment, I made up my mind that we would grow and thrive just like the right side of that tree.

Fast forward a month and I had a new baby. My parents had to rush over after my Grandma’s round of chemo ended to be with me since my husband was out of town. Then they left to go help another one of my grandparents whose health was failing.

Fast forward another month and my husband was gone, I had three kiddos (one brand new) and I’d lost one grandparent. I looked around and realized that it was up to me. For the first time, I realized I was truly on my own. I’ve been clinically diagnosed with depression and anxiety so I knew if I gave into despair it wouldn’t end well.

This was the moment. The moment I really decided to put my big girl panties on. I decided the hard work that lay in front of me was mine and mine alone. I was going to have to tackle each hurdle. I could no longer look the other way or hope something would change or that some day I’d feel motivated.

I decided to live on a budget and cut my credit cards up. I decided to finally lose the weight. I decided to try a brand new approach for my threenager so I could be the parent I wanted to be, not the yelling, frustrated mess I was. I decided to get my home in complete order. I decided to reset my relationship boundaries.

So many things. I decided. They were all hard. They were all separate battles I took head on. With each little win, I did develop confidence for the next one. I did figure out I could solve my own problems and I could overcome.

I leaned into the hard. I decided to stop pushing away discomfort or pain. Eventually I realized those things would lead me to great reward and great growth. It’s kind of like a workout. During the workout, it’s a lot of work, a lot of energy expended. But the result is totally worth it, both immediate and long term. It did take a lot of work and a lot of mental change, but the process made me a better person daily and when I got “final” results.

After I went through those battles, I decided to start helping other women do the same. I realized that the same problems I’d had was what they were facing too. I realized that we all needed a healthy dose of Put Your Big Girl Panties On. It didn’t matter the woman, the circumstances, the lifestyle, the income…we’re all fighting the same battles. So, I wrote a book about them.

If you’re interested, please head on over to Amazon to purchase a copy. I’ve walked step by step through these different areas and how to Put Your Big Girl Panties On.

A fun little goal exercise

Today let’s do a fun little goal exercise. I’m not sure about you, but my art skills are about on par with my first grader, so don’t judge me. This exercise will take you about five minutes. Grab a piece of paper and a pen.

1a. First, I want you to draw you on the left side of the paper. This is you right now. Think about where you stand right now in terms of ONE area in life. Draw yourself accordingly. So, if you’re thinking about you as a mom, you might draw yourself in yoga pants with a worried wrinkle on your forehead. If you’re overweight, you might draw yourself with a cupcake. I mean, have a little fun with it. Where do you stand right now?

1b. Right underneath of your beautiful self-portrait, draw 3 to 5 bullet points. Write out where you stand (for clarity, I know your art says it all). For your weight, it might say no energy, overweight, clothes don’t fit. For finances it might say in debt, paycheck to paycheck and worried about Christmas. For parenting maybe she’s yelling at the kids, always late and doesn’t feel like she gets in quality time. You get the point.

2a. Next, I want you to take your pen to the right side of the page. Think about where you want to be in this area of your life. How do you want to feel, be, look, act? What is the goal? What’s the ideal you look like in this area of your life? Maybe her smile is bigger and her worry wrinkle is gone. Maybe she has muscles, maybe she has a full heart.

2b. Just like you did with current you, future you needs 3 to 5 bullet points. Get really specific on what future you has, is, does, feels with your bullet points. Back to our earlier example, maybe she is at an ideal weight, everything in her closet fits and she has more energy these days. For finances, maybe she is on a budget, saving money and has a plan for Christmas. For parenting, maybe she’s speaking positivity, she’s got a schedule written out and she has a playdate with her kids once a week where they play games and eat popcorn.

3. The final part is that empty space in the middle. Draw a big box and again, give yourself 3 to 5 bullet points. Here, you can take the time to identify what is stopping you RIGHT now from getting to that ideal self, that version of you who is and feels and does things the way you desire. Your big box will show you exactly what’s standing in your way. For example, it might be eating out, not exercising and drinking too much wine. Or it might be not having a budget or shopping because you’re sad. In parenting example, maybe it’s because she is overbooked or she doesn’t have a routine. Maybe she doesn’t even know how to enjoy time with her kids because other things are stressing her out.

Self-awareness is the biggest and most important step to achieving the life we want and the goals we desire. So, first you have to get clear on where you are now. Own it. Don’t run away from it. Be present with your feelings and your thoughts. Next, you need to get really clear on what exactly you want. If you don’t it’s like hopping in a taxi and not telling them where you want to go. You’re just driving around wasting time and energy. Once you do know exactly what you want, it gets really exciting. Vision and progress and goals are human happiness factors.

But you also have to get super clear on what’s blocking you. That box in the middle is like the things they break through in football to run out on the field. It’s like a hurdle you have to jump over to get to what you want. It’s like a wall you have to climb over. Again, identifying it and being aware of what’s blocking us is a crucial step in actually achieving our desires.

Once you’re aware of all these things, you can journal about it. You can let your brain begin to solve those problems. This is the beginning and it’s a really fun little exercise. It’s also just where the work begins.

If you need help with this, with breaking through your box, I’m here for you. Schedule a session with me now!

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Bills

Wake up, wake up it’s the first of the month…

Well, it’s the 2nd actually. And I don’t listen to Bone Thugs & Harmony much these days. But many people are paying bills today which prompted me to share this part of my book:

Joint bills account.


Early in our marriage we came up with the idea for Joint Bill Pay. When we got married, we both worked full time, had our own income, bills and debt. Combining all of that and regular newlywed issues took a hot minute.

Eventually, once we came up with our combined budget, we set up an allotment (or automatic transfer) to go to a separate bills-only checking account. The amount of that allotment was equal to the total bills amount with a little buffer. Then, we set up automatic bill pay for each bill that would allow it (you can actually get discounts sometimes for doing it that way). Then, we just reviewed it each month to make sure everything came out, no weird charges were made and we weren’t underfunded.

This saved us from having to waste time each month remembering passwords (the worst) and paying bills manually. It also saved both of us from worrying if we had enough money in our accounts because we forgot a bill. And, hello, it made sure all the bills got paid.