Ep 042: The Importance of An Evening Routine

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What you do in the evening definitely affects how your morning goes. I'm telling you, it's not about you personality type. It's about setting yourself up for success, for joy. It’s about giving yourself the gift of a good solid start to the day, so you can handle what the rest of the day throws at you. So why wouldn't you want to set yourself up for success, right?

It's really important to make all your routines work for you and your life. What works for someone else may not work for you. I hope that through hearing what my (very flexible) evening routine looks like, you find what works for you!

 
 

In This Episode, Allie Discusses:

  • How an evening routine will help ease your morning routine.

  • The importance of making your routine work for you and your life. Don’t feel pressured to copy what works for someone else, because it may not work for you!

  • What a general evening routine looks like in the Casazza house.

  • Simple decisions you can make during your evening routine that will help relieve stress for the next day (What to wear, how to do your hair, when to work out, etc.)

  • How to create your own evening routine.

Mentioned in this Episode:

 

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WANT TO SET YOUR MORNING UP FOR SUCCESS?

What you do in the evening definitely affects how your morning goes. I'm telling you, it's not about you personality type. It's about setting yourself up for success, for joy. I created a FREE guide to help you figure out what you can get done during your evening routine so you can make the next day easier! And you know I am all about making my days easier! 


who doesn't love a GIVEAWAY?

Reviews are everything on iTunes! Would you take a minute and click here to leave a review? Email hello@alliecasazza.com with a screenshot of your review on iTunes. You'll be entered to win one of Allie's amazing courses for FREE!  

If you have a question, comment or a suggestion about today’s episode, or the podcast in general, send me an email at hello@alliecasazza.com or connect with me over on Facebook & Instagram


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Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to.  I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days.  I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it.  Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and i know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood.  I’m Allie Casazza and this is the The Purpose Show.

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Hey, beautiful! I am going to be talking about having an evening routine in this episode.

I personally think that the morning routine has the most impact. I guess I feel like it's the most important thing when it comes to your routines, because no matter what happens at night, you can always start over tomorrow. Also, for the current place I am in my life, a lot of the time evenings just don't go exactly as planned, and a lot of the time it’s because I'm exhausted. There was a lot going on. I'm running a company and homeschooling. I find that mornings are more in my control.

I've heard some people say the opposite and I used to feel the opposite, so I really think it's just about where you're at in your life. But what you do in the evening definitely affects how your morning goes. So why wouldn't you want to set yourself up for success, right?

It's not that I don't have an evening routine or anything; it's just that I'm really, really big and really rigid with my morning routine. My evening routine is becoming more rigid, but it's definitely something that will ebb and flow a little bit more than a morning routine.

But I've been asked about what our evening routine looks like a lot of times. We do have one, so I'm definitely going to open up and share what that will look like with you today. And then also I am going to get into a little bit at the end of what you can do to create your own evening routine.

This is one of those things where, depending on what type of learner you are, it really helps to look at this on paper and write it out for yourself. I put together a free download for you. You can fill it out on your computer or print it out, depending on your preference. It has a checklist of what an evening routine can do for you and also has some space with prompts to help you brainstorm out loud with yourself what your routine should be. Because everybody's life is different.

And that's the other thing I wanted to say before diving in. I think it's really important to make all your routines work for you and your life. You have a different schedule than I do. You have different things on your plate than I do. You're in a different season of life than I am most likely. But I think it can help to see what someone else is doing and then to copy some things and gain inspiration from other things. I always liked to learn this way, by hearing what someone else does, because it gets the wheels turning for me and helps me find a place, a jumping off point, of what to do for my own self.

Let's dive in. I am going to share what our families’ typical evening routine looks like.

Our evening routine starts after dinner. After we eat dinner - whether we got takeout, cooked a big meal from scratch, or we just ate leftovers, whatever it looks like - after we eat dinner, we start with meal cleanup and the evening routine keeps unfolding from there.

One thing that's important to note is that everybody in our family helps. When our kids were very, very small babies and really, really little toddlers it wasn't this way, but we also didn't really have a super rigid evening routine at that point. It was like survival mode. Now that we have a nine-year-old, a seven-year-old, a six-year-old and a three-year-old, things are different.

Our evening routine starts with cleanup. Everybody pitches in. Even Emmett, the youngest, helps pick things up. (For those of you with really little ones, it gets better and you're not always going to be the one doing everything.). So, like I said, we start with our meal cleanup - dishes (dishes are the kids’ job, I don’t do that anymore, which is amazing) or utensils or throwing away packages if we got takeout that night - whatever it is.

And then general pickup, wiping things down, going through the house and doing a general cleanup. I've shared before that we have a few different times in a day where we do a once-over of the house a 5/10-minute clean sweep because we're a home all the time.

Brian and I work from home and run the business from home. We have a home office. We even work out at home; we've got a gym in the garage. We homeschool the four kids. We're home all the time and there's a lot happening in our house.

For those of you who don't work at home, or homeschool, you don't realize how much mess and life is happening outside of your home when are doing the typical job and school thing. When everything is happening at home, it makes for a lot more mess, so we definitely have normal times of picking up throughout the day. I like to center those around meals, so pretty much every time we eat a meal or the kids will get a snack around 10:30 in the morning. Anytime there's food involved, we'll say, “Hey, I’m setting a timer for five minutes. Everybody pick up what you see,” and everyone picks up.

But at night it's a big, “Okay, let's get the house cleaned up for the next day.” It's mainly the kitchen, the floors, things that might have slipped under the couch, or been set down by Emmett that should have been put away, our entryway and our bathrooms.

It's not like we've got cleaning supplies out and we're wiping down the baseboards, detailing the bathrooms or anything. It's just a pick up. I'm straightening things up so that we're starting the next day with a clean slate. After the kitchen, the dishes are done, the kitchen is wiped down and general pickup is done, we also do the downstairs bathroom one more time.

That bathroom takes a hit, let me tell you. There's a man and three boys in this house and I'm singling them out because I don't care what you say, they are messier than girls. It's the main bathroom. It’s the only bathroom downstairs. If guests are over or if Emmett has to go potty, his little special potty seat that goes on top of the regular toilet seat is in there. There's a lot going on. I definitely, definitely give it a wipe down every time I'm in there because it's always taking a beating.

So, we give the downstairs bathroom a wipe down, switch out the hand towel with a fresh one, and give it another once over to make sure it looks good before we head upstairs.  

Once that's all done then we head upstairs and it's time to get the kids ready for bed with showers, baths, and brush their teeth. For showers and baths, Emmett in particular always needs a bath. He needs a bath every day. If we ever do skip it it’s because we were out and he fell asleep and it's past bedtime and he just goes in bed, but he pretty much needs a bath every single day. He's very dirty. He's just a really wild little guy. He's constantly climbing under things and getting into stuff and he's just a dirty little guy.

Usually, though, I have the older kids on an every other day rotation. Bella will shower while the younger two bathe. And then the next day, Leland will shower while Emmett bathes. Everyone's getting cleaned every other day and that works for us, for where we're at right now. We'll see what happens when they're teenagers and we’ve got all that going on.

The kids use my bathroom. Although we have two bathrooms upstairs, they use my bathroom because our tub is amazing and huge. I put them in there and then I can clean our bathroom. It doesn’t usually need it very much, but I'll run the Swiffer Vac and pick up any hairs that fall on the floor. That’s one of my pet peeves. It's super gross to me when there's hair on the bathroom floor. I'll wipe down the counters. Sometimes we'll get into the cabinets and do a little purge, make sure everything looks okay. It's something productive to do while the kids are getting clean.

If the bathroom is fine, I will fold that load of laundry that I started early that morning if I haven't gotten it done yet. Like I shared in the laundry episode (which I'll link to in the show notes) I start a load of laundry in the morning and then by the time I go to bed that night it is dried, folded and put away. That’s how I stay on top of the laundry.

After all the showering and bathing, laundry or bathroom cleanup is done, the kids get ready for bed. We do teeth and all that.

Then usually we choose tomorrow’s clothes so that it's one less decision in the morning. The kids like to get themselves dressed. I don't care if they match perfectly all the time unless we are going somewhere where it matters. I'll let them choose their outfits. Then we get ready to get tucked in. Story, prayers, conversation, catch up over the day.

Sometimes I'll feel like one kid in particular maybe had a rough day. Maybe they just couldn't get things right, were in trouble a lot, or felt a little disconnected. Then I'll go in there and specifically spend a few extra minutes with them and help get their hearts back where it belongs with me. Speak life over them, pray with them, and whatever's needed there.

Honestly a lot of the time this kind of gets skipped over. We always pray with them, but sometimes it's just been a day and I just need to be alone, so we'll skip the story and just pray together and talk about the day real quick. And then it's “good night” and lights out.

But usually we do spend time at bedtime and it's a really sweet time.

The younger kids go to bed at eight. The older kids go to bed at nine. We have that difference of time and usually though everyone's in their room. I'll say goodnight to the older two, even though they’re not going to sleep yet. They usually go together in Bella's room and read books, talk a little bit, or build Lego's quietly. They have this unwinding time for about 45 minutes to an hour before it's time for them to go to bed. Then Leland will go into the boys' room, with his brother already asleep, and climb up to the top bunk and go to bed at his bedtime and Bella will stay in her room and go to sleep at her bedtime too.

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Do you feel like you are barely getting through your days friend? Does motherhood feel more like a hurricane of chaos that you are just surviving rather than the awesome, joy-filled season that you want it to be?

Well, motherhood is hard. I am not going to lie to you about that. While it is servitude and giving to your family from yourself, it doesn’t have to be something that we are waiting to be over.  Something that we are counting down the minutes till naptime, or bedtime, or waiting for the next day to start. If you are wanting to sort through the clutter in your mind, your heart, your home, calendar, your health, routines, and relationships, I created Unburdened just for you!

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In Unburdened, I will walk you through how to stop over-complicating, procrastinating, and just start making positive changes now. How to declutter, just a little bit – not super deep into it, because you can’t handle that when you are this overwhelmed – but a surface declutter that will get you real results in your house so you can clean up less.

How to declutter toxic relationships in your life and set some good boundaries. How to simplify cleaning, get healthy and feel better – finally!

How to simplify your calendar. How to start owning your time and not just managing it as life happens to you.

How to stop just setting goals and letting them sit there. Start actually defining where you want to go and getting there through reverse engineering and goal-setting.

How to create a cleaning routine that works for you and your life.

This course is a mini-course. It is small. It is straightforward. But it is everything for the mom who feels like she needs a total overhaul, but is too overwhelmed to start.

It will help you simplify the things that have you stuck and leave survival mode behind for good.

Is this resonating with you? Sound like you? Does this sound like something that would really help you right now? Go to bit.ly/getunburdened.

I really poured my heart into this little course. I created it for the mom who is really wanting to simplify, declutter, and pursue a life of less, but she is so burdened and overwhelmed with the mess of life. It’s not just her house. She wants to simplify at the surface of all the different things in her life so she can focus on her family more. So then she can focus more on really, truly purging her entire house.

If this sounds like you, I encourage you to check it out. You are probably the person I created it for. I want you in there. I want it to help you.

Check it out.  bit.ly/getunburdened

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Once the kids are in bed, Brian and I will either finish anything that's lingering in the house if for some reason there's still something left over that needs to be done.

Every once in a while the workload will get really heavy, especially during launches. When there's a launch in our business, it means that we're releasing something new or something not new, but that's been closed. Some of my courses are not available all the time. Maybe they've been closed for months and then we'll reopen it. Different weeks like that in the business are a lot heavier workload. Sometimes the house just gets a little extra behind during those times because we're both working and balancing school, and things get behind for those 5-10 days, depending on the launch.

Sometimes we need to finish up some things in the house or the business. Sometimes we'll pull out our laptops and just sit on the couch together, have a glass of wine and talk, play music and wrap up any work.

But usually we're pretty done and all the stuff during the day has been done. Usually it's very rigid and the same, where we work in the morning and then we balance school. Brian does science, math and history, and I'll do language arts, reading and creative writing and all that with the kids in the afternoon.

Typically, we're all done with everything and we will sit and spend time together, watch Netflix. On Sunday nights, we have our weekly meeting where we go over everything together. So, it just depends on what night it is and what's going on in our lives during that month.

Before I go to bed I usually pick out what I'm going to wear the next day again, just because it's reducing morning decisions. I've shared before - and I feel like it always sounds a little dramatic, but I'm just being honest - I'm really, really an introvert. Dealing with decisions, people, and expelling energy, really has an effect on me. I have to be really, really careful with my energy levels and my emotional wellbeing. I've learned that I am kind of a sensitive person in that way. I have noticed since I turned 30 (I'm 31 now) I really started to just become “okay” with that about myself. I'm just careful with myself.

I try to make as many decisions as I can the night before, so that I start the morning out really well, not having to make a bunch of decisions and things like “What am I going to do with my hair? What am I going to wear? Am I going to work out this morning or not?”

They might seem trivial or like they don't matter, but they are decisions and those kinds of things just drain all my energy. The last thing I want is to make decisions, a bunch of decisions, in the morning and kind of dive into my day, and then before I even really start my work day, I'm already depleted. That's happened before and it's a bad feeling. So, I like to pick out what I'm going to wear the next day and sit it on top of my dresser.

I set my alarm. I make sure that my Bible, my journal, a pen and whatever book I'm currently reading is laid out for me downstairs in the area where I have my quiet time.

I also put my exercise clothes right by the toilet in my bathroom because when my alarm goes off I always get straight out of bed to avoid sleeping in. I go pee and then I will slip on my workout clothes before I head downstairs just because it helps wake me up a little bit more when I'm out of it.

Then I'm ready for Pilates later in the morning, which is a part of my morning ritual most days.

That's pretty much it. I usually go to bed around 10, but it just depends. This past week I have been extra tired. I don't know if you have your husband or kids around, so sorry if you do, but during PMS I am always really extra tired and I just listen to my body during those times. In the morning when I'm doing Pilates, I'll usually choose “stretch” workouts versus “feel the burn” workouts. I listen to my body and just stretch it out, do lots of breathing. It's definitely more like yoga than Pilates during that week. And then I'll go to bed really early.

Actually, as I'm recording this, last week was “that week” for me. I was really tired. I really listened to my body. I hydrated a ton. I didn't have a drink on date night. I'll usually have a drink on date night or a glass of wine here and there at home during the week. I didn't have anything extra. I loaded my body up with water and ate really healthy food choices, even though I wanted to eat junk because “PMS” and I just went to bed really early every night.

I was so tired. One night I went to bed at 7:30. I don't know what it was other than just that PMS time. I was just so exhausted. I've really learned to listen to my body. I'm definitely more of a night owl by nature. I've talked so much about that before. I still feel that tendency. To me, staying up till 10:00/10:30 when I get up so early, is staying up late. When I'm rhythmically getting up early, I can't stay up later than that. It's really hard for me. I don't enjoy it anymore.

I enjoy my quiet time when the kids are in bed. I still get that time with Brian. I can watch Netflix and be alone. If I want to get something done, I can. I can still get that time, but just every once in a while, I don't want it. I'm so tired and I just want to go to sleep.

So, that was last week for me. It just depends. I really believe in listening to your body if you can. If there's not stuff that you have to do, listen to what your body needs and just go to bed if you're tired.

But I will say my evening routine is huge for me because it helps me. It helps me want to wake up in the morning. That leads me into my next section of this episode, which is how you can create your evening routine.

I encourage you to get the free download that comes with this episode. It's Your Simplified Evening Routine. It's a free download. It's really straightforward and it's going to help spell this out for you so you can work through it on your own, instead of just listening to this.

But the biggest thing is to think about what's going to set you up for a successful morning. What do you need to get done before your day gets going? Is there anything that you could do at night instead of using your morning time for it?

I used to get up in the morning and find my workout clothes, get my workout shoes on, look for socks, put deodorant on, groggily go downstairs and then not really know where anything was. I didn't want to be fumbling through drawers trying to find my Bible or trying to find my headphones so I could listen to my audio book. I didn't want the kids to wake up. It made me not want to get out of bed.

To get out of bed at 5:00/5:45/6:00 in the morning, whatever time you wake up, it takes a lot. I do get up usually pretty early. I get up between 5:00-5:45 every morning, depending on the need, how much time I want in the morning and what time I go to bed. And that takes a lot.

And so, I need to want to get out of bed. What's going to do that for you? For me, waking up and making decisions, searching for things, scrambling, that's not going to make me want to get out of bed in the morning. I think that is the biggest misconception about waking up early, that people are not setting themselves up for a morning where they're excited to get up for what's going to get you up.

For me, it’s having that quiet time when the kids are asleep or at least they're upstairs, because we have that boundary set where they need to be in their room playing until it's time for breakfast. They don't decide when my day starts. I decide when my day starts. I decide when their breakfast is served too.

Having that parental boundary, I know that I'm going to get that quiet time. I know that I'm going to get to read. I'm going to be in the Word. I'm going to get time to pray. I'm going to be able to take a walk. I'm going to be able to read a book for 20 minutes uninterrupted. Are you kidding me? That's amazing. Of course, I'll get up for that.

So just write it all out. What would you love to do? What do you need to get done at night to give yourself that gift of a great morning? And again, like I said, what's going to help you look forward to the morning?

For me, another thing is knowing that I'm going to wake up to a clean house, an empty kitchen sink, a cozy space with a blanket, my books, and journal waiting for me to have alone time in the morning and that early morning “quiet” is huge. So, I set myself up for that.

I have a blanket that I got at Target, just like a throw blanket. It's my favorite blanket in the house. I have it slung over the arm of the couch downstairs in the front room where I sit and have my quiet time every morning. It's waiting for me.

I get my mug out and I set it next to my coffee machine. I put a fresh coffee pod in there as well. All I have to do is push the button in the morning. I lay out my workout clothes. I have the house picked up. The bathrooms are clean. Things are put away and picked up. The kitchen sink is empty. The kitchen is sparkling white, clean and ready for a fresh day.

There have definitely been times where I have skipped it and for some reason or another it didn't get done. Maybe people were sick or I was just too exhausted and I chose to go to bed and neglect that. Life happened. It really sucks and I totally, totally feel the difference in my entire day. It’s not just like, “Oh, what a bummer. I woke up to a dirty house.”

It's that my morning didn't get off to the right start and that affects my mood, my mentality and what I do in my morning time. It affects the whole day. It's like a domino effect.

This really matters. I'm telling you, it's not about being Type A because I am for sure Type B. It's about setting yourself up for success, for joy. It’s about giving yourself the gift of a good solid start to the day, so you can handle what the rest of the day throws at you.

If your kid throws up on the way to your doctor appointment. If a kid is playing baseball in the front yard and they break your window. If you get a call that changes everything. If you just end up having a crappy day and nothing really bad happens, at least you had a great morning.

At least you gave yourself that “center time.” And the evening is that catalyst for that great morning.

So, go to the show notes for this episode. It's alliecasaza.com/shownotes/42 and get yourself that free download.

Sit, knowing all of this, having listened to this episode and just work through that free download. Get your own simplified evening routine because it really does matter.

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This was an episode of The Purpose Show. Did you know there is an exclusive community created solely for the purpose of continuing discussions surrounding The Purpose Show episodes? And to get you to actually take action and make positive changes on the things that you learn here? Go be a part of it. To join go to facebook.com/groups/purposefulmamas.

Thank you so much for tuning in. If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, and get step-by-step help from me, head to alliecasazza.com. There are free downloads, courses, classes, and ways to learn more about what the next step might look like for you and to focus on whatever you might need help with in whatever season you are in right now.  

I am always rooting for you, friend!

See ya next time!

Hey mama! Just a quick note, this post may contain affiliate links.

 

Ep 041: 10 Things I've Done to Simplify My Life

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Life is crazy and chaotic. Sometimes you need to come back to what matters most, but you've got to know what those things are. And once you decide what is most important, you will naturally experience a more simplified life. What matters most? What can you remove from your plate? What is no longer serving you and your family well? These are all great questions that you can think through to help simplify your life. I am excited to share with you the 10 things I have done to simplify my life and how they have impacted me, my family, and my business.

 
 

In This Episode, Allie Discusses:

  • How prioritizing what is important to you brings simplicity to your life.

  • The power of saying “no” even when it is difficult.

  • How having boundaries in order is such an act of simplification.

  • Why alone time is healthy, no matter if you are extrovert or introvert.

  • The ways established routines encourage simplicity.

Mentioned in this Episode:

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WANT TO DECLUTTER YOUR HOME?

You buy stuff with your time, not just your money. Less clutter equals less stress and more time. It's as simple as that! Your Uncluttered Home is my most popular, globally-praised decluttering course, designed for moms who want to live their lives more than they clean up after it. It's truly the A-Z of minimalism - every room, every area of your house, totally uncluttered. This super extensive, extremely detailed course is literally everything you need to become a minimalist mama who's able to be a lot more present for what matters most. This truly is the ultimate when it comes to my philosophy and implementing it into your own life. 


who doesn't love a GIVEAWAY?

Reviews are everything on iTunes! Would you take a minute and click here to leave a review? Email hello@alliecasazza.com with a screenshot of your review on iTunes. You'll be entered to win one of Allie's amazing courses for FREE!  

If you have a question, comment or a suggestion about today’s episode, or the podcast in general, send me an email at hello@alliecasazza.com or connect with me over on Facebook & Instagram


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Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to.  I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days.  I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it.  Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and i know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood.  I’m Allie Casazza and this is the The Purpose Show.

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Hey, beautiful! Welcome to The Purpose Show.

I don't know if this is your first time listening or if you've been a faithful listener from the beginning, but either way I want to say that I'm really glad that you're here! I’m really glad you're listening and I believe you're listening for a reason. I'm happy to spend this time with you.

This episode is all about things that I've done to simplify my life. I sat down with the idea for this episode and I started to write what are some things that I've done, some things that I've put into practice that have simplified my life and really made a difference.

I'm all about asking the question: What can I remove from my plate in the different areas of my life? What has to be done by me? What do I want to be done by me? What's dragging me down? Is it necessary that it drags me down? Is it just a part of life?

Is there a way that I could learned to enjoy this more? Is there a way I could learn to do this more efficiently? Is this serving my family? Is this serving someone else in a positive way? What is going on with each area of my life?

I think that's how you really get intentional.

I sat down and wanted to come up with the list of the things that I've done to bring in simplicity. I ended up coming up with 10 things, which is perfect because all the articles that you see floating around out there, especially the ones that go viral are “10 things to do this, 10 things I've done that did this,” and I always wonder, “Do they sit down until they came up with 10 things or what?”

I always feel I come up with awkward numbers (8 Times That I Was A Great Mom) but this time I really did come up with 10. Perfect. Let's dive in. The first thing that I would say came to my mind about things that I've done to simplify my life is I decided what's most important to me. I would encourage you to do this and to keep your list to 5 or less things.

Life is crazy and chaotic. Sometimes you need to come back to what matters most, but you've got to know what those things are. For me, my list is broken down into relationships because really that's what each area of life breaks down to is your relationship with your priorities.

It's my relationship with God, my relationship with myself, my relationship with my husband, Brian, my relationship with my children and my relationship with my business.

And frankly that's about the order that it's in. The reason that I have it in that order is, well, first of all, God. Not to be cliché, but really He is my most important relationship. And I'll be honest and say sometimes my actions may not reflect that. But in my heart of hearts, that's what's most important to me. That's the relationship that deserves the top priority. And if I feel like my actions are not aligned with that statement, I know that I need to make some changes and some shifts. And I will and I do. That's a constant fine-tuning of sorts.

Controversially, I put myself next instead of my relationship with my husband. I don't know if that's right or wrong, perfect or flawed, or what, but that decision came out of a lot of reflection and a lot of learning in my twenties. I just recently turned 31, so, I’m no  old sage or anything, thankfully.

But I will say that in my almost 11 years of being married to Brian, being a mother and “growing up,” I've learned that if I don't prioritize myself first, I'm kind of a terrible wife, mother, person, friend, sister and daughter, and all the roles that I fall into because I'm an introvert. The way the Lord made me is beautiful and incredible. But it's human. It's flawed. And if I don't prioritize myself and take care of myself at least a little bit, I don't perform well. I don't feel good. I'm snappy. I'm cranky. I'm short-tempered.

Of course, there are times where I feel like that and I've got to suck it up and be a decent person. Do my job. Get through my day. Be a nice wife. Say nice things. Hold back from saying something rude, unhelpful or cutting. But my point is, after my relationship with the Lord, my relationship with myself is important in that I need to make sure that I'm taking care of myself.

I put my husband first in a lot of ways. But all in all, I will say that I will make sure that I carve out a little bit of “me time” before I carve out a little bit of “marriage time,” if that is what it comes down to, it often does not.

I hope I'm getting my point across that I have to take care of myself so that I can be a better wife, a better mom, more available, more patient, kinder, able to respond and be mindfully present for my husband and for my children.

The order doesn't matter as much as you saying what your priorities are.

Friends and family are very important to me, but they're definitely on the outer rings of my life. Not the center ring. They don't come before that other list.

That doesn't mean that I'm selfish. That doesn’t mean that I’m money hungry because my business is on the other list first or anything like that. It just means my relationship with God first, and I've got to take care of myself. I have to make sure that I'm having some quiet time. That I feel OK. That I have taken a shower. That I take a second to myself. That I’m not feeling anxious or like I am lacking something. That I am just not doing good and not able to function. That my marriage is healthy. That my relationship with my kids is going well, or at least it's been taken care of and that I put time into.

My relationship with my business is so important because my business is not just a business. It's my passion. It’s really a ministry of sorts. It is so important and it is my family's livelihood.

When it comes down to it sometimes (a lot of the time actually) I do have to prioritize my business and my work above having coffee with a friend who's going through a hard time. Every once in a while it just comes down to it.

But usually - because I'm an entrepreneur, I work from home and I've got an amazing team behind me to carry the load of the day-to-day stuff - I can say, “You know what, I'm not going to work today. I'm going to finish up school with the kids and I'm going to go ahead and have lunch with my friend because she needs me.” I do that all the time.

But when I'm writing out my priorities, when I am writing out what really matters, that's kind of where my list is. I think it can be really daunting to come up with that list, but I think you should do it. And they think it's important.

If my feelings about a relationship with my main people and my business are suffering, something's going to have to give, because those are my priorities. So that's one thing that I have done to simplify my life is: I called out and said “what is most important to me?” And I made that decision prayerfully and thoughtfully over time.

I've got that list. I know I can come back to it if I'm feeling a little lost, overwhelmed or burdened by all the things. I can come back and look and say, “OK, what are my priorities? What needs to be top of the heap here in this situation?”

Although it can be daunting at first, once I did it, once I decided what's most important to me in my life, it simplified my life. It simplified my decisions. And it simplified a lot of things because my calendar reflects those priorities. My heart reflects those priorities and the way that I make decisions and say “yes” and “no” to things reflect those priorities. So, simplified my life a lot.

Another thing that I did to simplify my life is I learned to say “No.” Learning to say “no” can be so difficult for some people. It is not super difficult for me. It depends on the circumstance. There are some things that I feel like, “Oh, my heart goes out to the situation. I want to say yes, I want to be there to help.”

I am really passionate about giving. I'm getting a little personal here, but in the first year of my business our family was America's version of poverty. It was really, really, really bad. (If you want to hear our story, you can listen to episode six of this podcast.) We came around to the other side. Our business was thriving and went as a business from zero to seven figures in 18 months. It was so exciting and crazy. I have always been passionate about giving and helping others and my difficult financial experiences in my life with my husband definitely fueled that fire.

I became even more passionate about giving and wanting to do good things with this money. I got a little bit too gung-ho about giving and gave away too much to where it was like, “Oh crap, now we don't really have a safety net here.” We probably should have put a little bit more away because that’s what you want to do. I have a hard time saying “no” when it seems good, when something seems charitable, when it seems like it's going to help somebody else.

I definitely think that sometimes self care and prioritizing your own family can turn selfish. I think sometimes it could turn into you're not really “looking outside of your own bubble.” I never want to get to that point. It's such a hard balance. I really think it's got to be some kind of gut check that you have with your own self and a “heart thing” that you're watching and prayerfully keeping watch over I guess, and asking the Lord to point out to you if you've gone too far one way or the other.

In this case, with the money thing, I had gone too far. Too much charity, not enough being careful, wise and a good steward. I wanted to give back after I felt like we had had to take so much and we weren't able to help at all.

I've since learned to say “no” and to be wise. I'm not talking about just with money - that was just in one small example - but in little things like volunteering for something or having coffee with a friend, sometimes you just need to say “no.”

Sometimes it's not a good idea. It's not wise. It's not a moment to be giving. It's a moment to be wise is in the way of, “I know what my family needs today and this isn't gonna work for us.”

There's a lot of talk, from me as well, about self-care and having time away, taking care of yourself, having girls’ nights, going to get a Mani-Pedi every once- in-a-while. That's so great. But sometimes it's the opposite and while this girl's night that I just got invited to is so fun and a great idea, it's a really bad week for me to leave my family and do that. It's going to end up not serving me and actually stressing me out. You may need to say “no.”

I've got a blog post about saying “no” and I'll link to it in the show notes for you guys. It has really simplified my life to have that skill to know how to graciously say “No, I can't do that right now.”

Unapologetically having your boundaries in order is such an act of simplification and it's a habit that will serve you well.

The third thing that I have done to simplify my life is I turned off the things that distract me from my life. I'm talking about Facebook, phone notifications, all those types of things. There's recently been a podcast episode about that and I'll link to that in show notes for you guys as well. It's literally called “Phone Settings For A Present Life” and that is exactly what it is. How to physically set up your phone to stop beeping to you and distracting you from your actual life. It’s so funny, especially being a blogger, there's this pull and this almost expectation to share every moment and to not actually enjoy very many of them.

I feel like I have struck a really great balance of sharing plenty, sharing the fun stuff, the silly stuff, the serious stuff, the family moments, the business moments, the processes behind the scenes, but also really not feeling like I always have my phone. I found that balance I feel like. And I'm really happy with the balance I've struck. I want you to feel like that too. Turn off the things that distract you from your life.

I do not have the Facebook app on my phone. Facebook is on my computer and I can log in and do what I need to do there for work or pleasure or whatever. And then I'm done. It's not carried around with me all day long. I don't think it should be.

Your texts, your phone calls, your social media app alerts. All those things are only in the way how much you let them be in the way. I decided to prioritize (back to #1) and turn off the things that distract me from living my actual life, from being present for my God, myself, my husband, my children, my business, my friends, my family, and all these other things.

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When you buy something, you buy it with your time. With minutes from your life. Not just with your money. Studies show us that less clutter equals less stress and more time. It is really as simple as that.

This was the founding reason that I created Your Uncluttered Home. It has become my most popular, globally-praised, decluttering course that I designed for moms who want to live their lives more than they want to clean up after it.

It is truly the A-Z of minimalism. Every room. Every area. Every nook and cranny of your house totally uncluttered. This super extensive, extremely detailed course is literally everything you need to become a minimalist momma who is able to be a lot more present for what matters most.

To learn more about the course, go to alliecasazza.com/allcourses.

This really is the short-cut version. The exact journey that I took as a mom, 5-6 years ago, that got me to this point of an uncluttered, minimalistic motherhood where I am spending the least amount of time on my house every day.

Motherhood is just way too sweet a time to be spent struggling so hard and living in survival mode day in and day out. Our stuff is really the cause of that.

If you want to start this lifestyle, if you want to simplify your life… I believe that it all starts at home.

Simplify your life.  alliecasazza.com/allcourses.

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The next thing I did to simplify my life is I started spending time alone. This was another thing that totally came out of my 20’s, of me figuring myself out.

I say this a lot, but I'll say it again. Extrovert and introvert is not being hyper or super high energy, or loud versus quiet and shy. It's actually where you get your energy from. Extroverts get their energy from being around other people and introverts get their energy from being alone. There's people that are both, and that's called ambiverts. I don't know many of those but I know they're out there.

I am an introvert, and learning to give myself alone time, oh my gosh, it just restores me in such an amazing way. It's unbelievable what less than 10 minutes of being alone will do for me.

Even if you're an extrovert, being alone is so good for the soul. Just being quiet for a second. Get the kids in bed, check in with your hubby and make sure he's good, and go for a 20-minute drive. Get a Chai latte and go for a drive with the windows down. Don't even turn music on, just be by yourself. It’s so nice to see what good company you are and where your thoughts go. What worries, fears, dreams or joys come to mind?

Another thing I did to simplify my life was I simplified my home. You know, obviously this is what I'm really known for, but my gosh, I had a hard time not putting this first. I simplified my home. I got rid of the clutter. I let go of the drawerfuls of junk and crap that was taking up all the nooks and crannies in the closets, under the bed, wedged in between couch cushions, crammed into nightstand drawers and kitchen drawers. Multiple spatulas, spoons, and bowls that were mismatched. Magazines and random clutter.

I got rid of all of it and I've kept it all away by ruthlessly being the editor of my home over the last six years. It has transformed my entire life more than almost anything. It's been huge.

You probably already know this is what I do. This is what I'm known for. This is where my signature course, my ecourse, “Your Uncluttered Home” came from - this has been my process and my journey and let me teach you how to do it. Simplify your home. Watch your life transform. You wouldn’t even believe it if I told you all the different areas of my life that have changed just from simplifying my home. My marriage improved. Relationships improved with myself, with my kids. I was a lighter person, much happier, less stressed out. I found it so much easier to stop yelling and stop reacting to my life because I wasn't living in this place of constant stress. My life no longer reflected the way that my home was cluttered. It reflected the way my home was uncluttered.

Studies show that the way that we have our homes is a reflection of the way we have our lives. And I really believe that. It's been true for me and true for the thousands of students who have gone through “Your Uncluttered Home.” I definitely, definitely would say that one of the biggest things I did to simplify my entire life was clearing my home of clutter.

The next thing I would say is I established routines, specifically my morning routine. That's also a podcast episode. I am not sure what number it is, but I'll link to it in the show notes. My morning ritual is very important to me. I like to call it a ritual because that's really what it is. I don't like to think of it as a routine. I don't know, it just feels like the word “ritual” is so much richer, better, more spiritual, important and beautiful. And that's how I feel about my mornings.

I hate when something is going on that causes me to miss my morning ritual. That happens very rarely because my morning ritual begins pretty early in the morning. It's only when we're traveling and I have to get up early to leave for the airport for a trip or something like that that gets in the way. I feel the difference in my spirit. I really do.

My morning ritual has transformed my life so much. It has simplified so many aspects of my life.

Another thing that I did to simplify my life is I downsized. Back before all of this, before I decluttered, before this part of my story began, we lived in a pretty large house. It was definitely pretty large for our family size at the time. We only had two of our kids and it was a lot.

It was so much maintenance. It was so much cleaning and it wasn't really worth it at the time because I was so overwhelmed. I was fighting depression and we only had two of our kids. I was pregnant with our third, Hudson, and it was so much extra work. It was so not worth it. We couldn't even afford to furnish all of it. It just felt empty, dull and high maintenance. Oh my gosh. I mean it was awful.

We ended up downsizing and started to live in smaller houses. Nothing super tiny or anything but just pretty small. Small enough to where the potential landlord would say something like, “Are you sure this house is big enough for you guys?”

Friends and family would comment regularly on the fact that we were living pretty small. It didn't feel too small to us but small enough to where it got comments for sure. It was a little bit against the norm, even now when we have four kids. Actually, this is the first time that I'm saying this on my podcast now that it's out, but we know we're going to be adopting and so our family is going to grow even more.

Our house is about 2300 -2400ish square feet. And it's three bedrooms. We work from home, we’ve got an office that's an extension of the garage. So even now our house really isn't that big for a family my size. It's definitely the biggest house that we've had since our big downsize.

I think the original house that I was talking about before was over 3000 square feet and it was just a lot for me, especially at the time. And you know with more space comes more cleaning, more maintenance.

But it's OK; I can handle it now. I've got less stress. I'm not depressed. My kids are older; they help. My husband's here to help. I have a housekeeper that comes once or twice a month and helps. My season is different.

We still live a little smaller than most people with our family size. And it's great. I love a small house. I think there's something really beautiful and there's something to be said for small living. And I love when people message me and they say, “You know, I've got two kids and we live in a thousand square feet and we just love it. We're outside all the time.”

It's so true, you get out and you start to live. You enjoy the outdoors. You really make your little home count, you know? It matters to you more. It's more important to you. It's cozier. I love a small house.

Another thing that I did to simplify my life was I started walking. This might sound silly and you might wonder what that has to do with simplifying, but it really does. I started walking as a way to simplify my health. I think that the health and wellness industry is a money hungry industry of unnecessary advice. And I got sick of it. I just wanted to feel better. I wanted to lose weight. I wanted to feel like I had more energy.

I wanted to get moving, but I really don't like to exercise. I just started to walk. What I found was that, first of all, I love walking. I love taking walks, whether my kids come along or Brian's home and they stay with him and I go by myself. I love to walk. I started to let my thoughts wander. I started to get really grateful. Then I started to intentionally think of things that I was grateful for while I walked. I call those my “gratitude walks.”

Sometimes I do that. Sometimes I listen to a podcast or an audio book. Sometimes I listen to music. Sometimes I pray. Sometimes I have absolutely no agenda and I just go for a walk and see where the Lord takes me. But walking simplified my health. I lost weight. I feel better.

I do more than just walking now, but I still walk. It's a simple practice that I am really fond of that's really changed my life, that I really love.

The ninth thing that I've done that I would say simplified my life is I implemented a “nothing day.” It used to be once a week. Now I guess I still have a “nothing day” once a week, but really a very intentional, absolutely zero things on my calendar day, once a month for sure.

Sundays I like to turn off social media, at least for the most part. I don't look at my phone much. There's no work, unless I really want to. I love what I do. Sometimes I getting inspired and want to jot down a blog post or something. It's just rest, whatever rest looks like that day for me.

“Nothing day” is when you feel pulled really thin and you just need a break. “Nothing day” is no phone alerts, no phone at all, maybe. No capturing things for social media. I just unwind. Maybe my family will go and do something fun. Maybe we'll just hang out and do nothing at home. That's usually what it is, but it's just a day of “vegging out” and just “being.”

It's something that is so overlooked and not very often scheduled and it needs to be. It's so good for the soul. I implemented a “nothing day” once a week, about 1 ½ - 2 years ago and it was so good.

Now I'm in a season where I don't really need a “nothing day” every single week. We have very restful family days on Sundays, but it's not technically a “nothing day” now because we're going to church, Costco and stuff.

I have a “nothing day” on my schedule about once a month, sometimes more depending on my need. Let the day take you. If you want to leave and go do something, great! But, it's OK to stay in with no bra and no makeup and just hang out on the couch with your hubby and let the kids play games. Just veg. Just be. It's good. It's good for the soul.

Number ten is I simplified my eating. This goes back to the whole thing about the health and wellness industry. But you know, it's overwhelming. We eat at least three times a day and making food can be so complicated. It can really take over your day.

A friend of mine, Amanda Wilson (I'll link to her Instagram account) because she is an incredible Instagram-er for the health and wellness industry. She taught me about food prepping instead of meal prepping. Food prepping is when you prep basic foods so that you can put plates together for meals, instead of deciding what you're going to eat way ahead of time, making the meal, and putting it in the fridge.

Because what was happening for me was I eat by mood, so I would make a meal and put it aside and I wouldn't want that later. What if I didn’t want leftover spaghetti or whatever it is?

Instead, I started prepping basic foods that I know I eat all the time, like grilling up some potatoes, grilling some chicken and seasoning it lightly with salt and pepper, so it can be used for any recipe. Making some cauliflower rice and putting that in the fridge. Things like that. Things that could be made as part of a meal but aren't already a designated meal.

That really helped me. I simplified my meal plans. Maybe we'll do a separate episode on this, but I just simplified my eating. I cut the crap. I stopped trying to be all specific. “Oh, is this exactly Paleo?” I just said, “You know what? I want to eat clean. I want to eat well, but I also want to eat real and not have this takeover my entire life. I want to cook because I want to enjoy the atmosphere that I create my kitchen when I'm cooking, not because I have to.” I wanted to bring some joy into my eating and I really simplified our food in our house and it was so good.

I would encourage you to find a way that you need to simplify your eating, if that's feeling like a point of stress for you. I have a really good friend who just absolutely loves food. She loves everything to do with the creation of food. She would never want to simplify this area of her life. She loves cooking from scratch. She is amazing at it. But that is not me.

While I do enjoy cooking from scratch, I don't want to do that for every single meal. This is an area of my life that it served me greatly to simplify. I found a way that worked for me and our family. I would encourage you to do that if that’s hitting home for you.

And there you have it. 10 things that I've done to simplify my life. I hope that this was inspiring in a different way than my episodes usually are because I'm really just telling you something that I've done and not really telling you exactly how to do it. Which I think can make you be creative apply this to your own life in a different way than usual. So, I hope that inspired you guys.

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This was an episode of The Purpose Show. Did you know there is an exclusive community created solely for the purpose of continuing discussions surrounding The Purpose Show episodes? And to get you to actually take action and make positive changes on the things that you learn here? Go be a part of it. To join go to facebook.com/groups/purposefulmamas.

Thank you so much for tuning in. If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, and get step-by-step help from me, head to alliecasazza.com. There are free downloads, courses, classes, and ways to learn more about what the next step might look like for you and to focus on whatever you might need help with in whatever season you are in right now.  

I am always rooting for you, friend!

See ya next time!

Hey mama! Just a quick note, this post may contain affiliate links.

 

Ep 040: How to Stay Close with Your Spouse with Jennifer Smith (The Unveiled Wife)

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Staying close to your spouse is hard. Especially if you’re balancing work and a million kids. There is no sugar coating it! But when we know the purpose of our marriage, it becomes easier to make our marriage a priority. It is about communication, setting a vision, having those tough conversations, and creating time for intimacy. Sure, the arguments will happen! But it is how we respond in them that matters.

Jennifer Smith is a wife and mama to 3 little ones (and another on the way!). Alongside her husband, she provides tons of resources for married couples navigating hardships in their marriage. Jen and her husband are honest and open with the things they have been through and strive to provide hope for those walking in the same challenges.

 
 

In This Episode, Allie + Jennifer Discuss:

  • How knowing the purpose of your marriage makes it easier to stay close to your spouse in a full, busy life.

  • Having a vision for your marriage and the hope that it brings when you are going through hardships.

  • Thoughts on arguing with your spouse when kids are around.

  • Tips on openly communicating intimacy issues with your spouse.

  • Ways to express your feelings and communicate them in a way that won’t feel like an attack.

Mentioned in this Episode:

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Motherhood is hard. I am not going to lie to you about that. While it is servitude and giving to your family from yourself, it doesn’t have to be something that we are waiting to be over. Something that we are counting down the minutes till naptime, or bedtime, or waiting for the next day to start. If you are wanting to sort through the clutter in your mind, your heart, your home calendar, your health, routines, and relationships, I created Unburdened just for you!

It is a guide that will help you go from drowning in the sea of stress and overwhelm, to owning your time and living the best version of your motherhood. So you can live abundantly while intentionally focusing on those who matter most.


who doesn't love a GIVEAWAY?

Reviews are everything on iTunes! Would you take a minute and click here to leave a review? Email hello@alliecasazza.com with a screenshot of your review on iTunes. You'll be entered to win one of Allie's amazing courses for FREE!  

If you have a question, comment or a suggestion about today’s episode, or the podcast in general, send me an email at hello@alliecasazza.com or connect with me over on Facebook & Instagram


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Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to.  I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days.  I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it.  Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and i know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood.  I’m Allie Casazza and this is the The Purpose Show.

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Hey ladies! Welcome back to another episode of The Purpose Show!

I am so thrilled to do this one today. We have Jennifer Smith of The Unveiled Wife with us today.

We’re going to dive right in and try to keep this brief because we’ve got 7 ½ kids between us, so at any point somebody could interrupt or something could happen.

ALLIE: To start off, tell us a bit about your family. I wanted to give you space to share your marriage story because it’s the basis of everything that you do and it is really powerful. Can you give us a bit of background?

JEN: My husband and I have been married for 11 years and we have three children with one on the way. Elliot just turned five. Ollie is going to be 3 in about two months. Wyatt just turned one and the next one will be due in August.

We're really excited about our growing family and learning how to navigate all of that. It’s really exciting and fun.

Our marriage story is interesting and full of the ups and downs that I'm sure every single marriage faces. I know people's stories differ from situation to situation, but the hardships are hardships and it's difficult sometimes to get through. Our hardships started off right away.

If I could be really blunt, it had to do with sexual intimacy and it being really painful for me. For the first 3 ½ years of our marriage, we were just devastated. We had saved ourselves for marriage. We had all these expectations about what marriage would be like. We were really disappointed. We felt like we were suffering in that area. Because intimacy is such a requirement for marriage, it amplified a lot of other areas for us, like finances and just our attitudes on a daily basis were pretty negative.

We struggled for about 3 ½ years with that. Then God walked us through a healing process of fixing a lot of those areas in our life, including intimacy. A really unique part of our discovery is that things that were my personal care products, which I was putting on my body every day, was hindering my body from functioning the way that it should be, specifically parabens. I don't know if anyone's familiar with that, but we see it a lot in the cosmetic industry. “This is paraben-free.” I feel like there's a lot more attention coming towards that now, but back then not a lot was being said about it, so it was hard to figure out. But, we finally figured it out and once I took all of that out of my system and I'd switched all my personal care products, things changed within a week. It was pretty amazing.

Then it was this healing process of my mind and being anxious to go into sexual intimacy because I didn't want it to hurt. That was another year of retraining my mind. But, we figured it out and then we wanted to share our story.

We started blogging and sharing the things that we were learning. I was learning about how to be a wife, what God was teaching me about living a healthy lifestyle. It started gaining momentum so quickly. We have so many followers that love what we're doing and we feel so supported by them. It's been an incredible journey. We've been doing it for seven years now, which is crazy to think about. I feel like time's just flown right by.

That's the summary in a nutshell of what we've been walking through. My husband and I still blog together. We write resources for married couples and try to give them the encouragement that we felt was so necessary when we were going through our hardships. I felt like if someone could just have that little bit of hope to get past that one day, it's enough to maybe change the rest of their future together.

ALLIE: Yeah, absolutely. And I think it's so random what was causing your problem. People don’t realize. You guys have done so much in redirecting marriages, wives, and husbands to the Lord and bringing Him to the center of their relationships again. It's easy to get self-centered and try to fix problems ourselves. You guys have done so much work to “rebirth” that idea the way that it's supposed to be.

But even setting that aside, just bringing light on the Parabin thing. It's so random. People would never think to look at that. I can't even imagine how many countless women you've helped realize, “I had this problem too. I didn't really know how to talk about it, or where to go, and this was totally it.”

I think everything about what you guys have done is so amazing, and that's why it's grown so big. That’s why people love you guys so much is because you're so honest. To me, that's what you guys are known for. Being super honest. “Here’s what we're struggling with. If it’s you too, here’s some help; if not, that’s OK.

There’s a lot of questions I get asked and I can answer and that’s fine, but I really wanted to bring you on to answer them yourself because marriage is sort of “your thing” and what you talk about and they think it's important to get other “takes” on things.

One thing that I always get asked a lot is, “How do you stay close and remain in that close space with your husband in the midst of three/four kids, a really busy life? You guys are like us where you both work together. You run a business together. You’re homeschooling, right? We have a very similar situation. It's so amazing to be able to work together, and this was our goal, but if anything, it's harder to intentionally connect on a personal level because there is work, kids, and homeschooling involved in our relationship now. It's easy to go out on date night and end up talking about those things. What would you say is a way that you and Aaron have remained close throughout all the business, all the kids, and all the things going on in your life?

JEN: I'm not gonna sugarcoat it. It’s hard. I feel like there's so many high priorities, especially in this early phase of young kids. Aaron and I do run our own business. There's a lot of high-priority things that require time and attention. It does get really difficult to make sure that we're coming together and being intimate even if it's just a conversation or letting each other know where our hearts are at.

But, I think when we know the purpose of our marriage, then it becomes really easy to make that a priority. Aaron and I always try and come back to the purpose of our marriage is oneness and we know that we can't do this individually.

We can't parent individually. We can't run our businesses individually. Everything is so tied together to the oneness of our team that we have to come together. Sometimes I do forget this and I do struggle. I'm exhausted. It's the end of the day. I've been through a lot. I just want to crash; I want to go to bed. Then he's sitting next to me sometimes scrolling through social media or whatever, and I just want to go to bed.

But I know that the priority of our purpose of “being one,” of being on a team, I have to communicate to him. I have to tell him where I'm at, if I'm struggling with something, if the kids had a hard day, or whatever the thing is that's on my heart. I need to tell him and if for whatever reason I fall asleep before that happens, I have to make time for it either the next day or whenever I get that chance.

My husband and I do carve out time to do this. We try and do a date night once a week. If, for whatever reason it doesn't happen, because our babysitter canceled or whatever, we just do it as a family. We let our kids play in the living room with blocks or something and we'll just talk right in front of them.

We love to go on drives. Our kids love drives. Sometimes we'll put a movie on long drives or just encourage them to talk to each other. That gives us a time to go over maybe some of our goals or what are we working on. That's some of the ways that we try and come together.

ALLIE: I love the drive thing. We do the same thing. The kids are contained and safe. We will turn on a movie or music and, “everyone relax and be quiet.” Then we can just hash things out.

Also, one funny thing that we used that for was when we were going through a really rough time in our marriage, probably two years ago now. That’s how we would “argue.” The kids were there so you can't get out of hand. They are contained and safe. We can sit and discuss like, “OK you go and then I'll go next.” It was always civil and calm because the kids were there, but it was a way to work things out. The kids are safe and busy. We're fine. We're going to work this out and we're not stopping driving until we're fixed. It’s a funny way to do it, but whatever works when you have little kids.

I love how open you've been about your guys’ intimacy issues in the past and that you guys are totally on the other side of that now. A lot of the messages that I'm sure you receive and that I receive, were things like “I just can't open up to him because we have issues and it's hard for me.” Do you have any tips for being communicative to your husband about intimacy issues? Typically, the man doesn’t really use sex to feel close and the woman needs to feel close before sex. I feel like I get a lot of messages with that theme. How would you encourage people to be communicative to their husbands about intimacy issues?

JEN: The first thing I always say is start with the spiritual side of things. It's really hard to go into conversations like that without God really prompting your heart and making sure that your attitude and everything is under control. I always want to encourage people to go to prayer first. Pray for your husband's heart. Pray for your heart. Pray that everything that you do communicate comes out right, and that God would help you navigate that conversation.

You have to make time to be able to talk to your husband about these things, because if you avoid it, then you're talking about years of accumulation of things that aren't being said. And that doesn't help anyone.

One thing that I wish I had learned earlier is that you have to practice communication.

So those first conversations are probably going to be kind of muddy and messy and, they may not unfold the way that you'd hoped. You and your spouse are basically training each other in how you respond to one another, how you get messages across, or how you let each other know where your hearts are.

It takes practice over time. Like I said, my husband and I have been married for 11 years now. We have put in the investment of communication. We've figured out how to best communicate and we still mess up. It's a matter of doing. By doing you gain experience and you start to understand that you can work through that.

ALLIE: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I love that answer.

Kind of on the same topic, do you have any more tactical tips for actually how to express things and communicate things in a way that doesn’t seem like an attack? It's hard not to go there when we're very emotional, they are hurting our feelings or whatever. What are some tactical, practical ways to bring things up, phrase things, to not make it sound like, “You suck. Everything sucks. I'm mad at you.”

JEN:  I think that understanding that God built our bodies with emotions is really important. But, we are still called to have self-control and we're responsible for how we communicate in those emotions. So, if you're really intense, if you have those really strong emotions, I would wait. I would push pause a little bit, just so that you can reign it in.

Then, when you go to talk to your husband, start with “I.” “I” feel like this is happening or “I” have been struggling because of this. Because when you start with “I”, they're focusing on you. Whereas, if you start out the conversation with, “I really feel like you are…,” you’re pointing the finger and starting with a complaint, and it's going to start the whole thing off on a negative foot.

When you start with what you're struggling with or maybe what you've realized over the last however long you've been struggling with an issue, I think it could soften things a little bit.

A long time ago somebody encouraged me to do “the Manwich,” which is complement, critique, complement. I don’t tactically use that, but you could. But, I just started with trying to compliment my husband and saying, “Hey, I really noticed you've been strong in these areas and if I could just encourage you in this other one…”

ALLIE:  Oh yeah. I love that. I think a lot of people’s main issue is communication. As far as Brian and I, he is very sweet and I'm very blunt. I have no problem saying, “I can't believe you did that that way. That was so dumb.” I have to tone it down and he's so sweet. But also we'll hold it in, so then it volcanoes out eventually. We had that going on for the first half chunk of our marriage. We had to really work on toning that down and smoothing it out. I hadn’t heard it called “the Manwich”, but someone told me about “the compliment sandwich kind of thing” and it really helped.

I didn’t want it to feel condescending. “You're so good at this. I just really wish that we could work on this.” I don't know, it felt weird. It felt a little bit unnatural, which is good. That's why it worked because it was my not my natural fleshly way of handling things and it really, really helped. I still try to do that when I'm focusing on being a good wife. It really, really helps. He always says, “I love talking with you because I want to grow and be a better husband. And I love it when you say it in that way.” It's not like, “this is another thing that's not going well.” It softens it.  

JEN: It softens your heart too. I think when you come at the situation with a compliment for your husband, your heart can't be in a negative place or you can't be gritting your teeth while you're complimenting them.

It really does soften the whole atmosphere. It brings a gentleness to the conversation that I think they appreciate.

ALLIE: Yeah, exactly. There's always something to be grateful for. There’s always some reason that you married him in the first place that’s good about him. Bringing up something that reminds you of that, especially if it's really an issue that you are hoping can be changed, it's hard to talk about those things.

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ALLIE:  Staying on communication, I don't even know a specific question but I just wanted to talk to you about arguing. Do you have any general tips for how to argue? The kids are there and if things get really heated, what are your tips for that kind of situation?

JEN: I have changed my viewpoint on this little bit. I used to think that arguing in front of the kids was a good thing because then they get to see you also make up and show apology, forgiveness and all of that. Because I believed that, I justified my intense behavior in front of my son. I remember, specifically, the moment that changed for us. My son was about 1 ½ maybe 2 years old and my husband and I were arguing in the kitchen. To us it didn't seem that intense, but we also had a problem with bickering at the time. Things were escalating.

Our son was standing between us in the kitchen; we didn't even recognize him. He was standing there crying as loud as he could, just adding to the chaos. We stopped immediately and realized that we were creating this atmosphere of intense chaos for our child and his little heart didn't need to participate in that. He didn't need it and we didn't need it. It wasn't a healthy way of communicating for us. That really opened up our eyes to what was going on.

Now there's times that things come up and we get a little heated in our conversations in front of the kids still. We recognize it a lot sooner, a lot quicker and we're quick to cut it off. We actually do practice apologizing to our children. “Mommy shouldn't have said that to daddy like that” or whatever.

I've learned there's other ways of showing the kids how to be in unity with my husband and showing that forgiveness and apology even if they don't see the arguing.

ALLIE: Do you guys go to another room and work it out?

JEN: Yeah. If we notice that things are escalating to where things are being said that we don't want the kids to hear, we'll save it for later and make sure that we go away or wait until they're sleeping or whatever. We do whatever we need to do to protect their hearts. We want them to see us as one unit. We want them to see us as a team. We are trying to cultivate that in their hearts so they know who we are and that they can trust us and feel secure around us.

ALLIE:  Yeah, absolutely. I've had a similar heart change with arguing in front of the kids. It’s really out there. I feel like that's more the common piece of advice is to go ahead and argue in front of the kids. It’s hard when we do that.

Like I said about the “car thing.” It makes you keep it in a conversation where you're just discussing it. I love that you had that change of heart after seeing, “this isn't really working for us” and making it work for your family.

JEN: To encourage those listening if there are continual heated arguments happening and the way that you guys are responding to each other and communicating is not healthy, that needs to be addressed.  

I think you guys can work together as a team to encourage one another to change and mature in that area. Because I think that even if we're doing it behind closed doors, it's still not a good thing. It's not healthy to be arguing with that kind of intensity, especially on a regular basis.

I encourage you to maybe evaluate that part of your marriage. If heightened, if it's intense, maybe work on that. Hopefully that encourages some people that are listening.

ALLIE: Yeah, absolutely. I love everything that you said. We’ve gone through such a hard time with that and I wish that I had found you sooner because it would have helped me so much. Knowing that it is OK to feel like this, but you just need to address it. Not feeling shame or feeling like, “Your marriage shouldn’t be like this. You’re not going to make it.”

I remember one time somebody handed me a book and it was basically a scientific study on how to know if your marriage is going to make it or not. It said, “I'm a 100% accurate,  if I see this then you're eventually going to get divorced.” And it made me feel like, “there's no hope here.”

Jesus can radically change anything. That’s what draws me to your guys’ messages. It’s a hope anthem. Any marriage is if those people are willing to change or even one person is willing to change and work on things. I love that about you guys.

My last question for you is what is one way that you would like to encourage our listeners to pursue purpose, just right where they're at. If you want to relate that to marriage or something more general. What is on your heart in terms of them pursuing purpose in their lives right now, wherever they're at.

JEN: I would say that vision is really important and it's a really great way to experience that unity and oneness with your husband. My husband and I pretty much started out on our journey with goal setting and we love this. We love to take a day or drive or whatever it is and lay out on the table what are some goals that we can work on together as a team.

Now that we have kids, we even add them into the mix and ask ourselves, “OK, what can we do for Elliot? What can we do for all of them? What are some things that we want to look forward to in the future that we can work on today?

This really helps put us back on the same page too, so that he's not out chasing his dreams and I'm not out chasing mine. It really helps us keep the focus on our unity and our oneness. It reminds us about our marriage, what we're striving for.

We do this often. We do it at the beginning of every year, but also throughout the year as we're hitting goals or if new ones come up.

I want to encourage everyone out there that if you don't have vision for your marriage, you are basically living a little hopelessly because you don't have anything to look forward to. Even if you're going through hardships, if you have something to look forward to, it really gets you through that next day.

That was true for us. I think that was one thing that really carried us through those hard times that we were having. Establish a vision for your marriage, - for your family, if you guys work together or whatever it is that you want to goal set for - paint this picture of your future of what you want it to look like.

Even if it's a month from now, start. Start small and then work your way up to years or whatever. I really feel that it will get you guys communicating because you have to talk about how to accomplish those goals and what strategies you're going to make. It'll help you move forward together as a team.

ALLIE: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And I think it's Proverbs 29:18, that says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” It’s so true, as a family, as a couple, anything. I have applied it to my business, my team, our family. It's such a team building thing for you and your husband to be on the same page.

And I've found Brian’s goals will maybe be a little bit different than mine, or I just don’t have those goals right now. We can still pull it together and make it work together to where we're helping each other. I love that you said that.

Thank you so much for being here and sharing your wisdom. I am so honored to have you.

Jen has written how many books now? 8 or 10?

You’re at Unveiled Wife, pretty much everywhere on social media, right? Where are you most active?

JEN: I am most responsive on Instagram? I'd say it's just quicker for me to shoot out a response there. And then second would be Facebook.

ALLIE: OK. So, we'll link to everything there in the show notes.

I have Wife After God. It’s an amazing book. I encourage you guys to get it.  

Jen has been blogging a year longer than I have, so there is a huge archive. You can get lost in there.

It’s unveiledwife.com. Go check it out.

But thank you so much, Jen. I'm so excited to have you here.

JEN: Thanks for having me. This is so awesome.

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This was an episode of The Purpose Show. Did you know there is an exclusive community created solely for the purpose of continuing discussions surrounding The Purpose Show episodes? And to get you to actually take action and make positive changes on the things that you learn here? Go be a part of it. To join go to facebook.com/groups/purposefulmamas.

Thank you so much for tuning in. If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, and get step-by-step help from me, head to alliecasazza.com. There are free downloads, courses, classes, and ways to learn more about what the next step might look like for you and to focus on whatever you might need help with in whatever season you are in right now.  

I am always rooting for you, friend!

See ya next time!

Hey mama! Just a quick note, this post may contain affiliate links.

 

Ep 039: 13 Ways to Bring Peace into Your Home

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Everybody wants a peaceful home. I don’t think anybody would say, “I don’t want a peaceful home.” There’s two different sides of a peaceful home. One is intentionally setting your home up to be peaceful. But then sometimes, there is just stress. How can you, in the middle of a stressful day or tense afternoon, create a peaceful atmosphere? In this episode we’re going to cover both types of bringing peace into your home. I have worked really hard to set up a home that feels peaceful. In the way that I decorate. The way it’s laid out. The way I act as a mom. I have also come up with a handful of in-the-middle-of-stress peacemakers. Take a step back and ask yourself, “How do you feel when you walk into your home?” Take note of it. What could you change? What is it that you don't like? You should like the way you feel when you walk in the house!

 
 

In This Episode, Allie Discusses:

  • The impact a peaceful home has on you and those who come into your home.

  • How to give your kids the gift of a home they can live in by finding a balance between a home that’s too kid-friendly and the mom hates it, or not kid-friendly at all and the kids hate it.

  • How to intentionally plan for peacefulness around usually stressful times.

  • Setting phone boundaries that create a peaceful home by fostering family time.

  • The tone that you, as the mom, can set in the middle of stressful situations.

  • Practical ways you can create a peaceful atmosphere in the middle of stressful situations.

Mentioned in this Episode:

 

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I put together a FREE checklist for you guys called “13 Ways To Bring Peace Into Your Home.”

It will help you find ways to set up a peaceful home as well as give you ideas when you are “in the middle of stress.". If you feel like your house is getting really tense and your family really needs some peace, look at your fridge, get this checklist! I know it will help bring peace to your home!  


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Reviews are everything on iTunes! Would you take a minute and click here to leave a review? Email hello@alliecasazza.com with a screenshot of your review on iTunes. You'll be entered to win one of Allie's amazing courses for FREE!  

If you have a question, comment or a suggestion about today’s episode, or the podcast in general, send me an email at hello@alliecasazza.com or connect with me over on Facebook & Instagram


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Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to.  I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days.  I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it.  Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and i know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood.  I’m Allie Casazza and this is the The Purpose Show.

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Hey friends! I wanted to say I had to do the beginning of this episode five times and that’s never happened before. I usually hit record and I’m good, but I don’t know. I feel like I sounded weird, overly annoyingly cheerful. And then I said “Hey guys” and I started rambling about nothing. It was weird. I’m off today. Anyway…

This episode is all about how to bring peace into your home and set up a peaceful home. I’m really looking forward to sharing this with you. I think everybody wants a peaceful home. I don’t think anybody would say, “I don’t want a peaceful home.” I think my care, my deliberate action to create a peaceful home came from a few years ago when I started to really work on not yelling, which is a constant struggle for me. Just to give you guys some hope, if you also struggle with yelling, it does get easier. But it’s still a struggle.

A few years ago, I challenged myself to not yell at all for 30 days. Of course, I messed up. I did yell and had to correct it. But the point is it brought awareness how I often I turned to yelling as a solution, which in fact, is not a solution at all. It actually makes things worse. I really dealt with the fact that I go there really quickly… a lot. I think one thing that I saw was that my yelling wrecked all the peace in our home. When I do stumble and fall back into that habit, I notice again now. It kills all peace in our home.

It makes the people in our home anxious. It makes me anxious. It makes the whole house feel tense like we are on eggshells and just… anxious. That is the opposite of peace.

I have worked hard to set up a home that feels peaceful. In the way that I decorate. The way it’s laid out. The way I act as a mom. I have also come up with a handful of in-the-middle-of-stress peacemakers.

There’s two different sides of a peaceful home. One is intentionally setting your home up to be peaceful. But then sometimes, there is just stress. How can you, in the middle of a stressful day or tense afternoon, create a peaceful atmosphere? We’re going to come at this from both sides.

There are things you can do to set up a peaceful home. But maybe you find yourself in the thick of a stressful afternoon or something in your home. It feels anything but peaceful, even though you’ve set it up that way and you need some in-the-moment tips for creating some peace in your house.

In this episode we’re going to cover both types of bringing peace into your home. We’re going to start with ways to intentionally set up a peaceful home originally.

Let’s say you’re listening to this episode. It’s not a stressful moment right now. When you finish listening, you want to set up your home to be more peaceful. These are those kind of things; not the in the middle of stress things yet.

First, use décor that makes you feel the most at home, relaxed, and happy to be there. I’ve said this before that when I walk into my home, even it it’s a really busy day and it’s not perfectly clean, I feel like it’s a breath of fresh air every time I walk in. I love every room. Even the rooms that aren’t quite finished yet in terms of decorating. I just love my home.

I have created a home that is perfect for me. It makes me happy and relaxed. It feels lived-in and functional, but still beautiful and stylish. It reflects my personality. I don’t really purchase things to decorate my home with, unless they are really amazing and “my favorite” and I love it that way. Everything in my home just makes me really happy. That is so important.

A lot of the time we just go off of like what was on sale, what was handed down to us and given to us, we don't want to waste and we'll just use it. Really though? Is it better to have things that are functional and don't actually make us really happy?

I think it would be better to go slowly and maybe not have a house as super decorated, but to slowly wait and as your budget allows purchase things that really make you light up. This doesn't have to be extravagant or expensive. Most of my stuff is from Ikea, Target, or World Market, which are all really cheap places to get house stuff. The fact is that I love all of those things. It can be slow and budget friendly, but don't just get something for the heck of it.

Even back when we really didn't have any money (Episode 6), I loved my home. I didn't love it as much as I love it now because money changes a lot of things and you can do more. But I did love it. I didn’t just get whatever the heck and not care.  

I carefully thrifted for pieces that I loved and I repurposed them to make them more beautiful and more modern to fit my taste. I waited and I saved and got bookshelves that I thought were really beautiful.

Take a step back and ask yourself, “How do you feel when you walk into your home?” Take note of it. What maybe could you change? What is it that you don't like? Do you not like the way it's decorated? Do you feel like you don't even know how to decorate? Educate yourself. Figure out a way to make it happen. You should like the way you feel when you walk in the house. I think decor is a big part of that because it's so visual.

The next tip I have is to handle your entryway. Some homes have an “official entryway,” whether it’s a mudroom or whatever. My home does not have one of those, but I’ve created an entryway.  Whatever you are standing in when you first walk through your front door, set that up. It's the first thing you see when you walk in the door. Everything should have a place. It should be functional and work well for you, but also be pretty, well-lit, minimalistic, clean and clear of clutter so that you walk in and the first thing you see is good.

Now it's kind of tricky in my house because when you walk in the front door, if you're standing straight and looking straight ahead, you're staring down a hallway that shows you the entire front room and goes into the kitchen/family room area. It's a straight shot.

It's important to me that I keep that whole area clear of clutter. I'll post a picture in the show notes so you can see exactly what I'm talking about. I have this vintage mid-century modern console that I got for like $25 on Craigslist three and a half years ago. Super, super crazy find. It has a stamp underneath it from the furniture store that it was originally from and it says 1969 or something crazy old like that. It's amazing. We painted it a little bit and repurposed it.

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It’s a nine-drawer console on the left side (if you're standing in my front door looking down that front hallway) of the wall underneath my bicycle art. And that is a place where I can keep things that need to be downstairs in our main area, like sunglasses and keys. There’s a drawer for mail that we need to sift through and things like that. It's functional.

We keep Emmett's pull ups in there, because he wears a pull-up to nap and go to bed still, and things that we need to grab and put in the diaper bag. We have a diaper bag/ backpack/purse packing station there. It's a really great functional piece of furniture.

I would say about 60-70% of the drawers are empty because we don't need nine drawers, but I love that piece of furniture. I really wanted to have it in the front room so I could see it all the time. It works really, really well for us and helps keep that front area clear of clutter. There's really no reason for things to be sat on top of the ledge by the door or sat on top of the console. There's drawers and they each have a purpose. It helps us with functionality.

Figure out a way. Do you come in through the garage? Do you come in through the back door? Do you come in through the front door? What do you and your family use as your main door? Where were you coming in from running errands and setting your keys down? Make that section of your home really functional, pretty and clear of clutter for yourself, so the first thing you see when you walk in is clear. That's really going to help you set up a peaceful existence in your home.

Another thing is giving your kids the gift of a home that they can live in. I think there's these two big opposite ends of the spectrum that moms typically fall under. One end of the spectrum is a home feels way too kid friendly. There's kid stuff everywhere. There's really no décor. There’s just the kid’s stuff – the toy kitchen, toy bins, kids’ books, homeschool stuff. It takes over the house. It's very kid friendly, but the mom hates it. The mom feels like she's lost herself, she has no decorative style, and she doesn't really love being there.

Or on the other end of the spectrum, it's like a kid doesn't even live there. It's really stylish and perfectly clean. Everything is hidden away. It’s magazine status. It's beautiful, but it doesn't feel like you can cozy up with a book on the couch and enjoy it.

I think there's a balance between the two. This is one area where I feel, “OK, yes, I found it for myself,” so I love decorating. If I wasn't doing what I'm doing now, I think I would either own a flower shop or be doing something with decorating, because I love to decorate. My style is very important to me. It's important to me that I love my home when I walk in. But I don't want my house to feel so perfect and so beautiful that the kids are afraid to touch anything.

This is one reason that I don't buy high-end furniture. I'd rather have juice spilled on a $300 couch than an $1,800 one. I would rather feel, “It's OK; it's not the end of the world.” Even if it was an $1,800 one it still isn’t the end of the world, but you know what I'm saying. I have Ikea couches so that I can take the covers off and throw them in the washing machine, so spills and greasy fingers, stains and things like that just come right out.

I think there's a way to mix functionality with style and having a beautiful home that you love, that you're proud to show off, that you're proud to host things. Anytime I'm at church and an event comes up, I offer a host it. I love inviting friends over. I love my home. I love being here. I love hosting ladies’ nights and I love having other couples over for dinner. I love, love, love it because I feel confident about my home. It reflects my personality. I think it's one of the most beautiful places in the world and I did that. I styled that myself and I love it.

Decorating is one of my gifts and I love using it to create a beautiful home to where I can have people over. But, I don't want my kids to grow up remembering, “Mom wouldn't let us sit on the sofa in the front room. I wasn't allowed to do anything anywhere. My stuff always had to be put away upstairs.” I don't want them to feel like that.

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For example, (and I'll also share a picture of this to show you what I'm talking about) I have my kid’s toy kitchen. My kids used to have a toy kitchen way back before we moved across the country. When we were moving it was something we had gotten rid of. We really didn't bring anything when we moved to Arkansas. Now we are back in California, we're settled, our traveling spurt is done and we're here. My kids were saying that they would love to have a toy kitchen. And so, we got one for Christmas one year. Technically, it was for Emmett, but everybody plays with it.  

It was less than a hundred bucks. I found it on Amazon. It's white. It's cute and vintage, yet modern looking. I got it because it matches the house. I put it downstairs in the main room for two reasons. Number one, I like it when my kids are around me. I want there to be kid’s stuff in my house. That's why I incorporate my kids’ artwork with my décor. Because I want it to feel like kids live here. I like it when my kids are with me. They play in the toy kitchen while I'm in the real kitchen, making meals and stuff. I just think it's really fun and imaginative and I love that they wanted a toy kitchen back.

I put it in the main room. You can see it when you open the front door. It's one of the first things you see down that hallway. It's right in the middle of the family room and the kitchen. It’s in the main part of my house and I put a little collage of photos above it. Um, there's a big Fiddily Fig right next to it. I made it really cute. I incorporated functionality and kid stuff into my décor.

So instead of going and getting a toy kitchen that was cheap, but I thought was really ugly, I balanced it out. I got one that I thought was really cute that goes with my house décor and I put it in a main area. It's functional and the kids love it. They use it every single day. It doesn't look awful and it still ties in with my house.

That's a good example of how you can find a balance between this home that’s way too kid-friendly and the mom hates it, or not kid-friendly at all and the kids hate it.

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Do you feel like you are barely getting through your days friend? Does motherhood feel more like a hurricane of chaos that you are just surviving rather than the awesome, joy-filled season that you want it to be?

Well, motherhood is hard. I am not going to lie to you about that. While it is servitude and giving to your family from yourself, it doesn’t have to be something that we are waiting to be over.  Something that we are counting down the minutes till naptime, or bedtime, or waiting for the next day to start. If you are wanting to sort through the clutter in your mind, your heart, your home calendar, your health, routines, and relationships, I created Unburdened just for you!

It is a guide that will help you go from drowning in the sea of stress and overwhelm, to owning your time and living the best version of your motherhood. So you can live abundantly while intentionally focusing on those who matter most.

Unburdened is the overwhelmed beginner’s guide to a simpler motherhood.

In Unburdened, I will walk you through how to stop over-complicating, procrastinating, and just start making positive changes now. How to declutter, just a little bit – not super deep into it, because you can’t handle that when you are this overwhelmed – but a surface declutter that will get you real results in your house so you can clean up less.

How to declutter toxic relationships in your life and set some good boundaries. How to simplify cleaning, get healthy and feel better – finally!

How to simplify your calendar. How to start owning your time and not just managing it as life happens to you.

How to stop just setting goals and letting them sit there. Start actually defining where you want to go and getting there through reverse engineering and goal-setting.

How to create a cleaning routine that works for you and your life.

This course is a mini-course. It is small. It is straightforward. But it is everything for the mom who feels like she needs a total overhaul, but is too overwhelmed to start.

It will help you simplify the things that have you stuck and leave survival mode behind for good.

Is this resonating with you? Sound like you? Does this sound like something that would really help you right now? Go to bit.ly/getunburdened.

I really poured my heart into this little course. I created it for the mom who is really wanting to simplify, declutter, and pursue a life of less, but she is so burdened and overwhelmed with the mess of life. It’s not just her house. She wants to simplify at the surface of all the different things in her life so she can focus on her family more. So then she can focus more on really, truly purging her entire house.

If this sounds like you, I encourage you to check it out. You are probably the person I created it for. I want you in there. I want it to help you.

Check it out.  bit.ly/getunburdened

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Another great idea that I see all the time is putting a big whiteboard on the wall or painting a wall with chalkboard paint, so the kids can color. Plus, this is a great way to discourage super little ones from drawing on your walls. You can find ways to bring in kid functionality and the fun stuff that comes with having kids without sacrificing the home that you love.

Another way that you can bring peace into your home is find a solution to the things that are regularly stressing you out in your home. For example, we had lived in one-story houses for a long time and our current house now is two-stories. I noticed pretty quickly the whole debacle of “this is downstairs, but it belongs upstairs.” Am I seriously supposed to go all the way upstairs and put this away every single time I find something misplaced? That’s not going to work for me.

I tried it for a while, you know, “just get it done,” but, No, it's unrealistic. It doesn't work for me. I'm not doing that. It created a pile of things that belonged upstairs at the bottom of the stairs every day and it was really ugly. I found a regular dark wicker basket that goes with my décor. It’s a super simple, big, rectangle one that has a lid. I put it in the empty space on the wall by my stairs. That basket is for anything that is downstairs that belongs upstairs. Now at the end of every day we take the lid off, we carry the basket upstairs and everybody puts their things away. Super simple. It's a new rhythm that we have developed.

It took away the stress; it took away the mess. No matter how minimalistic you are, if there's people, human bodies living in your house, you're going to have stuff around. Sometimes something gets used downstairs that actually belongs upstairs and needs to be taken up. It's not a big deal. It doesn't mean you have a bunch of clutter you have to get rid of. It just means that you need a system. This gave us a simple system. The basket looks pretty and hides random things that need to be put away upstairs.

Now every night we take it up. It’s part of our nightly cleanup routine. We put things away, put the empty basket back downstairs for the next day. Little things like that.

Sometimes you don't think outside of your box and you don't realize there's such a simple solution that would help you so much. That would free up your time and make you like your house better. That basket, as simple as it was, really helped and brought some peace into our home in this one small area that was causing a lot of stress.

Another way to set up a peaceful home is flowers. I personally love to always have fresh flowers in my house. I have a couple of vases I love and I swap them out on my kitchen sink. I do not like to do the dishes and I don't particularly love cooking either, so one way that I helped myself is by making myself love my kitchen.

I take extra care. I put extra thought and budget into making my kitchen a place that I love. I have an amazing fridge that makes my life a lot easier. I bought my favorite color Kitchenaid. I bought a cute cookie jar and a cute little storage jar for my coffee beans and stuff on the counter. Everything that I have in there is my favorite. Another thing I do is keep fresh flowers in the vase by the sink. When I'm doing the dishes and prepping meals, I have fresh flowers because I love flowers. Every Sunday when we go to the store I stop at Trader Joe's and I grab a fresh bouquet of flowers.

Now if that's not in your budget, you could get fake flowers. I actually have always hated fake flowers because I feel like they always look fake. But lately I've noticed they're really upping their game. I was at Ikea and I found some beautiful fake Peonies. I bought a big bunch of them and a beautiful hand blown vase and I keep that in my bedroom. My bedroom doesn’t get a ton of light and flowers would die up there. But I like having them there when I'm getting ready in the morning. Now every morning I see a fresh bouquet of one of my favorite types of flowers. That’s actually what's on my arm, my half sleeve, is Peonies. I love them.

I see them every morning when I'm finding my outfit for the day, getting dressed and getting ready. They reflect off the mirror when I'm taking a shower so I can literally see them all the time. They're beautiful. They don't look super fake. They are there all the time and don't require a lot of care from me.

In some way, shape or form, flowers can really brighten up your home. And they do make for a more peaceful environment. It's a gift they do.

Another thing you can do is diffuse essential oils or light candles or something. I have a diffuser that I will link to. I got it off of Amazon and it was pretty cheap. I think it was like $25 or less. It's wooden and it totally goes with my mid-centuryish décor. I keep it on that console that I was telling you about earlier in the front hall of my house. Pretty much all day, every day I set it to “on”, to run until it runs out of water. I put distilled water in it, add some essential oil drops in there and I just diffuse all day.

It's in the main area of the house. You can smell it anywhere you are downstairs; sometimes even upstairs too. I really liked the Stress Away Oil from Young Living. Sometimes I'll diffuse Geranium oil or something that smells really springy and fresh. I'll do Wellness Oils if it's flu season or we're battling some sickness or something. I always have that going. Seeing the steam and smelling the oils, really does create a more peaceful atmosphere.

I know somebody too that has like oil diffuser. She has candles lit. She has incense burning all the time. That’s a little too much for my senses, personally, but it does create peace. There's all these different beautiful smells in her house. They all go really well together.

I also have a Sensi warmer. I'm not a huge fan of Sensi, but occasionally I will put a wax thing in there and let that go. It is a really overwhelming smell. If you want your house to smell really good, really quickly, that works great.

Intentionally planning for peacefulness around times that are usually stressful is huge. If you want to set your home up to be peaceful you have to think ahead. What are usually the most stressful times of day? Maybe it's when you're making dinner. Maybe it's when the kids first come home from school. Maybe it's the morning. Maybe it's the last hour that you have to get work done before you go and pick up the kids from school. Whatever it is. Whatever they are. It doesn't have to be one time; it could be all of those things. Intentionally look ahead and plan for peacefulness around those times.

Play worship music. Play instrumental music. Play acoustic music. Light candles during those times. Maybe take a minute and go in a closet or the bathroom or somewhere and just sit for a second and focus on your breathing. Consciously do a quick standing meditation for 5-10 minutes before those times. Get yourself in a place of peace because we reflect what we're feeling on our kids and our families and they tend to follow how we're feeling. I think there is something to be said about intentionally planning for peacefulness around those times that tend to be tense and stressful.

And then the last thing of ways to set up a peaceful home is to get your phone boundaries in place. Phone boundaries make for a peaceful home by fostering family time. There was a whole episode done on phone settings for a present life and I'll link to that in the show notes. I would encourage you to look at how much you're using your phone. It's going to create stress if your kids feel like you're always looking down at your phone.

If you're busy getting the kids ready to start doing homework while you start dinner before you go to baseball, and your phone is making sounds for text messages, that's going to add stress.

Put your phone in its place. It's on the back burner. It's not the main event, right? You can have your phone settings set up so your phone will ring for phone calls but not make other sounds. You can a have set time and place where you check your text messages and

Instagram. It is totally doable. If I can do it, you can do it.

A big part of my job is social media. I have set times of the day when I set my timer for 15 to 20 minutes and I answer Instagram comments, or look at text messages. When that timer goes off, it's done. I put it down until the next time of day. It's maybe 30 minutes a day for Instagram, because that's a big part of my job and I love connecting with you all. That's the only place in social media that I really give daily time. Facebook, text messages, and other stuff is less than that.

Putting it in its place will create such an atmosphere of peace because you're focused on your family. You're available to answer questions and talk to them about their day and be there without being distracted.

How many times have you been trying to finish a text message and your kid is talking to you? They're asking you questions, saying “Mom!” and you're like, “What? Hold on.” Did that really have that much of a higher priority than your kid? Probably not. I am guilty of the same thing.

When we put our phone in its place, it creates a more peaceful atmosphere by fostering families.

OK, let's focus on the “in the middle of stress” peacemaker ideas. This is a handful of ideas to help you when you're in the moment. You're in the middle of a tense, stressful situation in your home. Your home feels like, “Ah! I don't want my home to feel like this. What's going on?” Here are some things you can do in those moments when you maybe didn't set up your home to be peaceful before or maybe you did but sometimes you need more than that.

In the middle of stress I think it's important to realize that as the mom, you set the tone. If you have to “fake it till you make it or fake it till you feel it,” that works.

By the way, I'm reading Gretchen Rubin's A Happiness Project and there's a whole section of that in here. “Fake it till you feel it” works. How do you want to feel? Pretend you feel that way and you eventually will. It's amazing.

Or do something that can help you calm down quickly. Remember the standing meditation? Go in the closet, plug your ears, focus on your breathing for just a minute. Come out and feel lighter. Then start acting out of that calm and your family will follow your lead.

Play calming music. Maybe you didn't have it set up that way before, but just change it now. Turn on what does it for you. Classical worship, acoustic playlist on Spotify, whatever it is, just call a timeout. Turn on some calming music on your speaker in your house. If you don't have one, I would highly suggest you get one. I have Alexa; she's amazing. There's lots of different speakers that amplify the level of music in your house.

Music is used in therapy so much. There's a reason for that. It affects your mood. This isn't like a tip I added in here to fill this episode. This is legit and it totally changes things. Play calming music.

Another tip is to create a calm atmosphere. In that moment, what does that look like? Maybe you need to open the windows. Maybe you need to air the house out, diffuse those oils, light those candles, put that music on.

Maybe you need to open the front door and let the air in. Maybe you need say to everyone, “Let's just take a time out. Let’s do the dishes real quick, do a five-minute pickup and then come back to homework after this.”  Is it a mess, and you just are overwhelmed and you need to kind of clear some of that clutter so you can focus on the stressful task at hand? What is it going to take to create that calm atmosphere in the moment?

And speaking of that, that's the other tip: clear the surface clutter. It has a direct effect on your brain and everyone's mood. Here's my empty-hamper trick. Get an empty hamper and go through downstairs or wherever you guys are spending your time right now, and clear the surfaces. Get all the clutter off the countertops, tabletops, coffee table, side table, couch, and put it in that hamper. Roll it out of the room and put it away for later. You can go through it and put things away later that night. Clearing the surface clutter really changes your mood.

And I think the last thing I want to say is in the middle of stress, to create some peace, maybe consider if at all possible, taking a break from whatever is expected right now. For example, if your kids are doing homework and there is bickering, crying, overwhelm or tension in the household while that's going on, take a break from homework time. Even just two minutes. Have a dance party or let them go up to their room and have some alone time to unwind.

Don't let the day's time limits or stresses run your family. It can wait. You can be flexible at least a little bit.

There is a checklist that I've put together for you guys. I'm actually looking at it right now. It’s all the points that I covered written out for you to print out and put on your fridge. “13 Ways To Bring Peace Into Your Home.” What an amazing thing to have sitting on your fridge so you can look at it and be reminded all the time.

It's divided into two sections: ways to set up a peaceful home and then “in the middle of stress” peacemaker ideas. If you feel like your house is getting really tense and your family really needs some peace, look at your fridge, look at these ideas and do one of them or all of them.

You can download that in the show notes and that is alliecasazza.com/shownotes/39. You’ll find all of that there. You'll find the links to those pictures of my house. I told you about the link of a diffuser that I use and the link to download that free checklist.

I encourage you guys to not lose hope. Those certain times of day don't have to feel as stressful as they always do. You can create peace there for sure.

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This was an episode of The Purpose Show.  Thank you so much for tuning in.  If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, head to alliecasazza.com for free downloads, courses, classes and to learn more about what the next step might look like for you.  I am always rooting for you. See ya next time!

Hey mama! Just a quick note, this post may contain affiliate links.

 

Ep 038: Compassionate + Effective Parenting with Wendy Snyder

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Like adults, kids need to feel like they belong. They need to feel powerful. They need to feel loved unconditionally, and they need to feel like they're valued. Compassionate + Effective Parenting (or Positive Parenting) is a style of parenting that highlights our kids’ needs so that they feel powerful, loved, and valued.

This parenting style helps us understand that when kids’ needs aren't met, it comes out as misbehavior. Misbehavior equals communication. When our kids are misbehaving, they're not just out to get us. They're not trying to tick us off. They are not trying to be naughty. Is it a part of their development to push boundaries? Absolutely. However, when we see it as communication and we try to help them communicate that in a healthy way, parenthood becomes more joyful. It becomes more about connection over correction. It becomes more about relationships and strengthening our day-to-day interaction with our kids.

Wendy Snyder is a Positive Parenting Coach who dedicates her life to helping parents navigate parenting through compassion. Because it does beautiful things for families, and it does amazing things for kids too. She brings so much wisdom to the table in this episode! Enjoy!

 
 

In This Episode, Allie + Wendy Discuss:

  • What led Wendy to become interested in Positive Parenting.

  • How Positive Parenting correlates with communication.

  • The ways Positive Parenting can be effective from toddlers to teenagers.  

  • The power of Positive Parenting with a strong willed child.  

  • Ways you can prevent and handle those big toddler tantrums.

Mentioned in this Episode:

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The Supermom Vault is a library of inspiration I created for you. It holds replays of my very best online workshops that aren’t available anywhere else, tons of really actionable pdf’s that are downloadable with just one click, more than 20 audio and video trainings from me, and professionally designed printables for your home to keep you focused and inspired. Check it out! It’s a really good simple start. 


who doesn't love a GIVEAWAY?

Reviews are everything on iTunes! Would you take a minute and click here to leave a review? Email hello@alliecasazza.com with a screenshot of your review on iTunes. You'll be entered to win one of Allie's amazing courses for FREE!  

If you have a question, comment or a suggestion about today’s episode, or the podcast in general, send me an email at hello@alliecasazza.com or connect with me over on Facebook & Instagram


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Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to.  I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days.  I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it.  Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and i know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood.  I’m Allie Casazza and this is the The Purpose Show.

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Hey ladies! Welcome back to another episode of The Purpose Show! I am so looking forward to opening the floor and sharing today's guest with you guys!

Wendy Snyder is here and she is the founder of freshstartfamilyonline.com. Thank you so much for being here with us. I can't wait to dive in. I have so many things that I'm excited to hear from you and ask you. Thank you for taking time to be here with us.

WENDY: Yeah, thank you so much for having me, Allie. I really admire what you're doing and the community you're building, so I am grateful and humbled to be here.

ALLIE: I actually got a chance to meet Wendy on Saturday (at the time of this recording.) I don't know when this episode will air at the time right now.

We were together a few days ago and we went to the Macramé Making Class together and it was super fun and nice. Wendy lives near me and we were able to connect. She has the sweetest personality. She's a really warm, amazing person. You're one of those people that I want to have multiple coffee dates with and talk with you.

It was nice to hear your philosophy on parenting. We had talked about this at the class. It’s rare to find somebody that's in that place, especially as a Christian parent, where it's very much “spare the rod, spoil the child” and get to talk with you about compassionate parenting that works. It was so refreshing. I'm really excited to amplify your message by pulling you onto my platform and opening my listeners’ ears to all the good stuff that you have to share.

If you don't mind, I'll just let you dive right in and share your background and your story.

WENDY: Absolutely. Well, first of all, let me tell you a little bit about how I came to work and my backstory. I got super lucky and blessed young. I fell in love with my husband and my best friend, love of my life at 17.

We moved across country from Maryland to California. We set out to have careers in the surf industry. We set our goals. We felt like at that point in our life, if we set out to do something, we could accomplish it. We felt like a great team and life was going great. We were able to build really great careers that we were so grateful for.

And then we had kids and quickly realized that parenthood was definitely the hardest job that we had ever had in our entire lives. We were really surprised by how hard it was to influence little human souls to do what you want of them. And especially because we had been gifted and blessed with a really strong-spirited little girl.

When I decided to leave my career and stay home with my kids, I had been in the surf industry for a decade and really loved what I was doing.

And I thought leaving and coming home and being with my kids full time was going to be dreamy. We were going to be on the beach. It was going to be like, “Ahh!” I quickly realized that I was thrown into the day-to-day life of navigating toddlerhood and the many challenges that come along with that. I also had a colicky baby at the time and I was challenged to my core.

Every day was filled with time-outs and punishments and I just didn't know what to do to get this little girl to listen and behave. I thought at the time that I was supposed to get control of her. Thank God I found the work of Positive Parenting during that really dark valley of my parenting life where my days were really filled with depression and anxiety. I just could not believe that this is what parenthood had become.

I was exposed to Positive Parenting. I started taking a class called “Redirecting Children's Behavior,” which is one of the programs I'm now certified to teach. It brought the light back to my day. It enabled me to see my little girl in a whole new light and start to be able to seek to see the integrity in her.

Before long we started practicing the work in our home and she started to respond. You could just tell this little girl's spirit reacted so much better when we learned new ways of working with her that were respectful, kind and compassionate instead of focusing on how to force her to change or trickery about how to get her to do what we wanted.

It was solid work. I became so intrigued with it. I ended up taking this course seven times before I became a parent educator of it. It took me a while to become fluent in the language. I'm so happy that I hung in there. Seven years later, my daughter is 10 and my son is seven. Gosh, the seeds that this type of curriculum plants in families and it's planted in our lives are now, they've just blossomed.

For example, with my daughter, the relationship I have with her is rock solid. I look at her every day and thank God for her because it's just changed my whole perspective on humanity, let alone parenthood.

The work is incredible and I can't say enough nice things about it. I love teaching parents this work because, it does beautiful things for families and it does amazing things for kids to.

ALLIE: Thank you for sharing all of that. OK, I have so many questions!

Can you tell me a little bit more about what you called it, the work of positive parenting?

WENDY: Yeah. A backstory on the work. Positive parenting is really based on positive psychology. The “grandfather” of this work was derived from a child psychiatrist by the name of Dr. Rudolph Dreikurs, who is a renowned child psychologist from the 50’s who wrote a book called Children, The Challenge. He was ahead of his time with the way he saw children. He studied their development and helped parents to understand what's behind their misbehavior, which is all based on our needs.

Kids, just like adults, need to feel like they belong. They need to feel powerful. Feeling powerful is actually a really healthy need that we need people to be comfortable with and figuring out how to be strong leaders with integrity, right? They need to feel loved unconditionally, and they need to feel like they're valued.

Dr. Rudolph Dreikurs helps us to understand that when these kids’ needs aren't met, so to speak, it comes out as misbehavior. Parents are taught to become detectives and start to try to understand that misbehavior equals communication.

When our kids are misbehaving, they're not just out to get us. They're not trying to tick us off. They are not trying to be naughty. Is it a part of their development to push boundaries? Absolutely. However, when we see it as communication and we try to help them communicate that in a healthy way, parenthood becomes more joyful. It becomes more about connection over correction. It becomes more about relationships and strengthening our day-to-day interaction with our kids.

From his positive psychology, so many amazing programs have come about from his work. Redirecting Children's Behavior and The Joy of Parenting are the two programs that I'm a certified parent educator in. However, now there's Positive Discipline, there's Mindful Discipline, there is Jesus, The Gentle Parent. There’s so many programs out there now.

Parents really have a choice with how they work with their kids. There's so many ways to learn more about this work and that wasn't always the case. I love that parents can now go to the library or the bookstore and find just as many books that will teach them how to work with their kids using positive psychology, seeking the integrity in them, pointing out the good qualities about their kids, guiding them towards the light versus the other stuff.

ALLIE: Right. Yeah, absolutely. One thing that I wanted to ask you about, and we had discussed this on Saturday when we were together, was we're both Christians. Being “in the church,” I guess for lack of a better term, very much the prominent belief is you're kind of off on your own if you're not “a spanker,” if you're not that harsh. Like I said, “spare the Rod, spoil the child” belief. You approached me and when my assistant sent me over your stuff, I was just kinda like, “oh boy, parenting. Here we go.” Because it's so hard. It's hard in real life, let alone on a platform where people are already very judgmental and there's a shield there with a screen so they can say whatever they want.

I always shy away from talking about parenting because the way that we do things is very much, I loved how you said “connection over correction.” Of course, we correct our kids and we don't allow disrespect. Disrespect is a big hot button issue for me. Our kids respect us. They need to follow the way that things go in a house. But it's not this harsh discipline thing where we don't care about where their hearts are at. And that is where there's a difference in a lot of our friends, in ourselves, and in the community that we are raising our kids in.

I guess the fear that I see that I used to have and that I see in other friends and stuff as a parent is, “Well, if you're not doing it that way, the harsh way, then you're being friends instead of being parents. We're not supposed to be “friends” with our kids and have these amazing relationships with our kids. They need parents and they need structure. They need discipline and that's your job.” It's this idea that if you're not doing it that way, then you're being a bad parent because you're worried about being close with your kids and being friends. And I would just love to hear you shine the truth on that idea.

WENDY: Absolutely. One of my dear friends and incredible positive parenting advocate is Susie Walton. She is the founder of The Joy of Parenting Program. She wrote the book, Myths That Affect Family Lives. That's actually one of the myths that she writes about is that we're not supposed to be friends with our kids. Right? The problem is if you look up the definition of friendship, it actually is an advocate. It's having someone on your side. It's having someone believe in you. It's having someone support you and lift you up. Of course, that's what we want with our kids. It doesn't mean you have to be “Lindsay Lohan friends.” It's just not true. We want to be side by side with our kids.

We want our children to talk to us. And that's what happens when you take away the fear and the force elements from parenting as much as you can. I mean, we're all human, but when you take that away, you build true connection with your kids. When you build mutual respect in your home, your kids cooperate and listen to you because they want to, not because they have to.

I encourage parents who are maybe doing it a different way and have been taught that that is the only way, that kind of oppositional thing, the “other way.” What we call it in Positive Parenting, is there's three different styles, three main different styles of parenting. There's autocratic, permissive, and then right in the middle is what we shoot for, which is firm and kind. We want to be firm with our kids and we always want to be kind and compassionate.

Autocratic is that way of “my way or the highway.” You never question me. What I say goes no matter what. That’s the autocratic method that has to rely on a lot of fear and force, because otherwise it just won't work. What we find is parents have to keep upping their game. When you lay your head on your pillow at night, it's a hard way to parent your kids your whole life.

I love teaching parents that they do not have to do it that way. I like bringing my own personal testimony into it because I've walked the walk now for seven years. I've taken a little girl who a lot of people would have looked at as out of control, defiant, disobedient, that you have to “knock the will out of her” and have used this curriculum to help shape her, help her grow and mature.

She’s a normal kid. She still pushes back and she's still pushes buttons, but holy smokes, she's an incredible human being. I'm just so grateful that we got this message that we didn't have to “knock” it out of her. That we didn't have to be so heavy-handed. That we could actually grow alongside of her, because she has taught us and, God has taught us through her, so much about life. I can't imagine if I didn't get handed this strong-willed kid.

Then one more thing about that Allie and I just, I connected with you so much about it too, because I think those of us who have this approach with our kids it can be scary to think that people are going to judge you, or that they don't get it, or that anybody thinks one of us is doing it wrong.

I like to encourage families that no matter where you are, no matter where you stand -  whether you spank or you don't spank, or you are really autocratic, or maybe there's families that aren't even permissive, that are trying to figure out that middle ground -  we're all in this together. Parenthood takes a village and there should be no division here.

I love getting parents on board with this idea to reduce judgement, to eliminate judgment. Come to the table and have conversations. At the end of the day be OK trying to work towards influencing each other to see each other's perspective, having empathy for one another.

We all have our own backstory, right? You don't know what people are bringing to the table from their childhood. That's what I try to do. Right now, I'm creating a course called Jesus Guided Parenting. I'm trying to have that approach of helping everyone understand that we are on the same page. I am going to advocate that you really dive into the work of Positive Parenting. Get your tool belt filled up with choices, so you're at choice when you parent and that you feel confident pouring into empathy, respectful methods, compassion and building relationships and then that you stay in the work and you get to see success that way.

ALLIE: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. What you were saying is so true. All of it is so good. We're all going towards the same goal of trying to raise good people. Very rarely do people set out to raise awful people, raise kids who resent them and are in therapy. We're not all going towards that.

Accepting that and seeing that it may look a little bit different. A lot of this really stuck out when I was reading your stuff. But that is one thing that really resonated with me. Guys, when we have a guest on the podcast, we kind of grill them first. Ashley really asks some hard things. For example, what would you say to a parent who's currently doing things the opposite way that you teach? What would you say to a parent who's currently, and I gave examples like spanking or this or that?

Your answers were all so laced with grace and acceptance. You said, “I would definitely not say to stop doing everything, but here's what I would do. And you try that freely, and you see what works.” It's very much not “this is the right way to do it and you're doing it wrong.”

That is what so many parenting books and parenting experts are about – “this is the wrong way. Why would you do it this way? You're going to end up like this, or your kid's going to end up like that.” It's really fear-based and that's the opposite of what this type of parenting is all about. And it's the opposite of how this type of parenting is taught to the parents, which I love.

I appreciate that about you and your mission, the way that you speak in your course and in your website.

When you answered that questionnaire, it was very much “this is real.” This is very gracious. There's room for error because we're human. There’s room for growth and acceptance if you want to keep doing that and that works for you. Great. But here's other things that could help as you do that thing.

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ALLIE: OK. I want to just give space to the different kinds of like phases of parenting. Can you give us a few examples of how this type of compassionate parenting goes into the toddler years? You can just be general, whatever you want to do with that general question.

WENDY: The toddler years. Oh my goodness. Well first off, I always like to encourage parents who are in those toddler years that they are seen and they are admired for their hard work. Holy smokes, those are the years where you feel like you're never sitting down, your kids are always pushing back, especially if you got handed a strong, strong, spirited one. It so exhausting and it can feel like it's never ending.

But it does get better, you know? Knowing that you are seen and you are admired for the service that you are pouring into your kids, well you know, it will pay off. I promise you. I always say get everyone past the age of five and you'll actually be able to sit down and the fruits or the seeds that you plant will start to really create this beautiful fruit trees and flowers.

But you’ve got to hang in there. And you've got to have faith in this work. And you've got to have faith in your children.

Let me give you an example of some of the things that we teach, some of the tools. One of the biggest things that we really look at is modeling. We want to make sure that we're modeling what we want our kids to learn by what we’re doing. We always say kids often don't hear what we say, especially busy toddlers, but they always see what we do.

It really starts with us and it's a nice way just to look internally and say, “all right, what could I be doing differently tomorrow?”

For example, if you're trying to get your kids to stop screaming, but you're screaming at them consistently from the other room to come put their shoes on. You want to start with walking up to them, actually using kind, physical touch, looking in their eyes, and saying, “shoes.”

Toddlers really respond well to one word or no word. A lot of times we call it “less talking or no talking.”  A lot of times as moms we become exhausted because we're talking so much and maybe some of us, like I did, got into a pattern of nagging. I thought the more I nagged my kids, the more they would do what I say. And then at the end of the night I was annoyed because I “had to” nag them all day. They “make me” but really it's not true. It's a choice.

One of the tools we give you is, for kids who are nonverbal, you can take little pictures of a kid putting their shoes on, or a picture of Broccoli, or the carseat buckles, and put it on a little key chain, laminate them, walk up to them and show them the picture. Give yourself a break from all the nagging and the talking.

Kids will respond a lot better often to eye contact, physical touch, your hand on their shoulder looking right in their eyes.

Another good example would be asking for what you want instead of telling kids what you don't want. This is basic positive psychology of pointing kids in the right direction, redirecting them. This works really well and it’s one of the more easier tweaks of positive parenting. There's a lot of things that took a lot of practice. For example, yelling. That took me years. But challenge your brain, “how can I ask for what I want here?”

For example, instead of “Stop pulling the dog's tail,” you would say, “Please show me how you pet the dog gently.” Instead of, “Don't take that kid's toy.” You could ask for what you want and “Say, may I please have a turn when you're done.” That's one of my favorite ones with toddlers to teach kids to ask for what they want also.

Again, you're modeling what you want there. You ask your kids for what you want instead of telling them what you don't, and then your kids will follow suit. Then you'll see them at the park or in the church nursery saying, “May I please have a turn at that when you're done?”

I've found kids even in the two-year-old toddler room, they always say “yes” to that question because it's not a threatening forceful question. Toddlers are onto a new thing in two minutes and they put that little item down or they hand it to their friend.

Those are some examples: “No words, less words,” asking for what you want.  

With power kids especially, which is my favorite group because I have such a heart for them. I think they’re such a blessing to the world, but they're often seen in a really negative light. They are often their whole life told that they're wrong and that they need to change.

For “power kids,” some tools that they respond really well to is asking them questions instead of giving them compliance statements. Instead of “put your shoes on, brush your teeth, get in the car, eat your Bagel,” it’s “What do you need to put on your feet so we can go to the park? Can you be in charge of the seat belts? Let us know when we're thumbs up, ready to go. What do you need to do with your teeth, so you don't get fuzzy cavity teeth?

Those are questions for power kids. Power kids are kids that have a strong desire to lead. They have that need. If we don't fill it, they're going to go seek it inappropriately in the world. When we can fill that in the home, they act out a lot less than the world.

They know the answer. Our kids know what they need to get on their feet to get to go to the park. So, when you ask them, that need gets filled and they think, “shoes!”

ALLIE: Yeah. And I love also how you phrase that. I did an episode by myself where I opened up and shared my struggle with my son, Leland. He's my oldest son, but my second child. He was a very difficult toddler. I wish that I had found this sooner. I figured it out myself by stopping the yelling and the screaming. It was making him fight back and also breaking his spirit in a way. We came full circle and had some big realizations there. But it really bothered me when people would tell me, “oh, he is so strong-willed,” like it was bad. And I said, like in the other episode, that it really bothers me that people use that as so negative.

I hope that all of my children are strong willed. Why would you want that to be a bad thing? I hope they can be their own person, be confident, know what they want and tell people what they want, especially my daughter, as a woman in this world, but all of them. I want them to be strong willed.

You don't say “strong” or “leader” in a negative way. And again, in our community I feel it is like, “oh yeah, you got a strong-willed one” or as somebody once told me, “everybody always gets at least one strong-willed one.” Like it’s a curse; that’s how it is. There is so much negativity out there.

The power in the words that we say to our kids and about our kids and the way we describe them. It matters. It’s doing something to you. I notice that you’re very careful and positive in the way that you describe them. It's OK that it's a difficult child. It’s OK that it’s a difficult time while you’re raising them. The way you talk about it as so positive. I love that.  

WENDY: And that episode that you're talking about really blessed me. I loved that episode about Leland and it really engaged some critical thinking skills in myself on how I can talk truth over my kids more. That was wonderful.

And one more thing about that, Allie. One of my favorite authors in positive parenting, L.R. Knost, she's the author of five books. One of them is called Jesus the Gentle Parent Book. She really talks all about that. How some of the world's most incredible leaders have the same traits as our so called “strong-willed kids,” but when we describe the “strong-willed” kids it’s all negative words - disobedient, defiant, testing, out of control. But then the world leaders, and some of the greatest people have founded companies or incredible nations, they are described as persistent, perseverant, bold and tenacious.

I love challenging our brain to see it differently. It does take time; it does take practice.

ALLIE: Well, it's funny because it's like, what do we want?

I started a business and I shared on another episode of the trials that went into that and that was so hard. What do you think the traits are going to have to be for somebody to lead a country, to lead a nation? To start a huge business to lead a bunch of people, to be a missionary, to lead a family? Like what do we expect? Of course, these people, they need to be question-askers, button-pushers and envelope-pushers. They have to stretch everything thin and see how far they can go because that's what's going to make them amazing. It makes them hard to raise, sure, depending on how you're parenting, but it's worth it. It’s our job to raise them into who they're meant to be, not try to force them to comply to what is easy for us day-to-day.

WENDY: Absolutely. And empowering yourself with different ways to do that is just the way to go. There are so many things that work well with those kids, but they're often counter-cultural. The world wants us to never let those kids have an inch because you think they'll take a mile, when really they need it. They need a little wiggle room because they have incredible self-management skills. We just have to support and guide them.

ALLIE: Totally. Since we talked about toddler years, and I know that neither of us is there yet, but I do have some listeners who are, and I'm curious, how does this look in the teen years? Everyone has such a negative view, “Oh, well, wait till she's a teenager.” I hear it all the time. Because I have three boys, people tend to give comments about how they're all going to be super wild. They're all close in age so they're going to conspire against me together. Then I have a daughter, so I get the other end of the spectrum, “you better have a gun.” No, I'll just raise her to respect herself enough to make good choices.

But it's such a negative connotation with teen years. I would love to hear your take on what this sort of parenting translates into when the kids are almost adults. When they have all these opinions and they want to video chat with their friends, talk to boys and all these different things that come into play.

WENDY: Yeah. Gosh, I have a heart for teens also. My dear friend and good teacher who is the person who certified me in this work, Susie Walton. She found this work when she was a single mom and her four boys were teens. She used to joke that she would yell and yell and try to threaten them and they would all laugh at her because they're 6’4”.

And she was like, “Oh gosh, this is not working.” And that's when she found this work.

Those men are now full-grown men and are happily married. One of them is the coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. I mean, they're incredibly successful, good men and they were raised on this work.

She speaks a lot about the teen years and how what an incredible opportunity we have when we use parenting and focus on developing great relationships in a strong way to be our child's advocate and be a solid support system for them when they're teens.

Because once our kids are teens, they're no longer kids and using fear and force to drive and control them for most families doesn't work as well. It doesn't feel good. And teens have a tendency to revolt from that. It just doesn't make sense for them.

Using relationship-building things where they listen and respect you because they want to and not because they have to, provides this opportunity to be a real mentor for them. And that's our job when our kids are teens. We’re no longer “parenting” them; we are now “mentoring” them. They're young adults. They should be, by that point, prepared to make really strong decisions. And when you use Positive Parenting Curriculum, you are always helping to mold your kid’s critical thinking skills.

We teach our kids to check in with their own gut, their own heart, to create intrinsic control methods. Everything from discipline to communication. It's all about guiding them to develop their own voice that is respectful and kind, but also that they can communicate what they want, they can say what they believe in, and be able to say “no” to their friend when their friend wants to do whatever drug.

It’s beautiful work that builds kids up and builds self-esteem. You want to make sure you are using this work because it’s such a great opportunity to guide them.

There was a great study done here in San Diego, in La Jolla, California about a decade ago. In this study about one thousand teenagers were asked, “Who would you love to go to when you have a problem?” And almost all of them said, “my parents, I would love it if I could talk to my parents.” And then they asked them, “well, but who would you really go to when you have a problem?” And almost all of them said, “anybody but my parents because they'll either lecture me, punish me, stay up all night worrying or just nag me. I just feel like I can't talk to them.”

It was eye opening to realize that again, we're “at choice” and we want our kids to be able to come to us with challenges. We want to be the ones guiding them and mentoring them, not necessarily their buddies or others.

ALLIE: Exactly. In trying to control, we lose control. We lose that connection.  

WENDY: You do. I've seen it over and over again in families and it breaks my heart. It's really is a strong motivator for me as I'm teaching this work. I just want to bless families with strong relationships, so when their kids become teens, they can navigate the highs and lows of life.

There is a big misconception about this work. Well, I think two. One of them is that it's permissive work, which it absolutely is not. And the other one is that you have to be perfect and bubbly and your kids are going to be perfect. It actually does not create perfection. There is no perfection in parenting. It does put you at choice with how you handle your kid’s mistakes, how you handle their learning and how you teach them.

One of the biggest elements of this work is understanding this core concept that mistakes are actually a beautiful opportunity to learn. They're really a problem when you keep doing the same mistake over and over again. But when you have a strong relationship with your child, you can mentor and support them, and you have strong, effective and compassionate discipline, that really guides them to new behavior tomorrow, it's incredible the things it does.

We’ll see, right? I'm very open and honest with my own journey and you know, I'm praying that this holds true with my own kids. My daughter's 10 now and she's definitely a tween, but I feel confident in it. You want to be able to navigate those highs and lows with integrity. And if you practice this work, it allows you to do that.

There's going to be bad days. Our kids are going to make mistakes. There's going to be times when they get bad grades, make a bad decision or date a weird person. How we work with them is really our choice.

ALLIE: Absolutely. I would like to get practical on that. Let's say you’ve got a teenager and they're making a mistake that's freaking you out. Maybe they are getting involved with the wrong crowd or maybe they actually make a pretty large mistake. They start to sleep with someone. Maybe you find out that they were drinking at a party or something. Maybe they're making a mistake currently. One of the ones that you're like, “please no.” How does handling that look like within this type of parenting?

WENDY: Well, the first thing is that we want to make sure we have established a relationship built on trust. So, if our kids come to us and tell us the truth, which is what we want, right? Because, let's face it, there are going to be times when they make mistakes. We want them to be honest with us. And so, the first rule, if you want your kids to not lie to you at any age, especially when they're teenagers, is you've got to stop reaming them when they tell you the truth.

We teach something in Positive Parenting called “heart connector,” or a pause button where if a kid tells you some freaky information, like, “Mom, I did this, or I'm hanging out here. I went to this party, I got wasted.” Whatever it is, you put your hand on your heart. Your heart starts to beat (I call it the volcano effect) and you’re thinking, “what the heck were you thinking? Oh my gosh!” And you just want to blow up on them. But what that does is it shuts a kid down and you have eliminated or extremely diminished your chances of them coming to you again and being able to mentor them out of that situation.

So, the first thing you want to do is do that heart connector. Go take a walk, go take a bath, go pray, whatever you need to do to get yourself into a place of neutral emotion. And often that will look like silence.

Then you come back to the table, maybe later, once everyone's settled down and you say, “Thank you for telling me the truth. Thank you for telling me that you did that. That means the world to me. And now I want to talk to you about what's going on.

Why did you make that choice? What were you thinking? How did you feel? How did you feel when you knew you were wasted or you drove with somebody that was drunk?” And most likely you're going to be able to mentor them to understand that they felt scared, shameful, guilty and yucky.

Then you're going to say, “Well, how would you like to do it next time? Because I know you and that's not who you are. You are a strong decision maker and I know you care about your own life. You know I care about your life and we can't have you driving in the car with people who are drunk, honey. So, here's your options for next time and this is why you want to make a different decision next time. This is why you want to think about what you’re saying “yes” to when you say “no” to getting in a car with somebody who’s drunk. You're always saying “yes” to something when you're saying “no.” You're saying “yes” to your safety and tomorrow and not getting in trouble or whatever it is.

That's the type of conversation that we have with them in a calm time. That really lifts them up and out of a behavior instead of forcing them. “Well if you do that again, you're going to be grounded. Wait till your dad finds out.” My favorite these days is all about “screen time”, “I am going to take away your phone.”

That's really the compassionate and effective discipline that we do in this work. We guide and coach parents how to make what we call “the four R’s.” It has to teach responsibility, it has to be relative, and it has to be respectful, and I often forget the fourth one…

Using those together helps kids understand that if you are going to give a consequence that having it be relative has them actually learn from it instead of making it like, “Gosh, my mom's mean.”

ALLIE: “How many more days until I get my phone back?” That’s all they care about.  

WENDY: Yeah. And also you want to make sure you're pouring into that need that they belong, that they are valued, that their voices are heard, that they have a powerful part in the family because those needs that Dr. Rudolph Dreikurs taught, it's the same for toddlers as it is for teens. Figuring out how you pour into that in those teen years is big. We do have the ability to be strong influencers on them.

ALLIE: I know we're going long. I had a feeling this would happen with you because it’s such a good topic, but going back to toddlerhood and little years, how do you handle a kid that does big, big tantrums? What if people are listening to this and they have a kid that's doing that right now and they want to start this? How do you handle public, awful tantrums?

WENDY: Great question. All right, so backing up a little bit, this work will help you get out of it. There's a few things that tantrums usually come from when kids are toddlers. Some of the biggest ones are tiredness, hunger and thirst, and sickness.

So many times we find that with toddlers, those are behind the tantrum. So, that's where the responsibility from the parent really comes in. Us seeking to look internally. What can we change in our schedule? What can we change in our expectations? What grace can we give over these children to not set them up for failure? But the fourth element of tantrums is also powerlessness that you see a lot in kids. And again, feeding into how do you empower these little guys? One of the favorite and best ways to do that with toddlers is choices. A lot of parents are, “Yeah, we give choices,” but this really becomes a fluent language with your toddlers.

And I just worked with a dear friend on this a little bit ago with her toddler who was tantruming so much. He was two and she started to incorporate more choices and sure enough it worked. But that's just one element of preventing power struggles and then dissolving them with integrity once they arise. That's just one little element; we give parents so many.

But then another thing that I would speak to with the tantrums is, a big learning experience for me that changed a lot with my daughter when she was three, was this idea that I had to fix her. That she was broken and that it was my responsibility to make sure I got control of her. Because God forbid someone saw me in the grocery store with a wild, tantruming child.

I really did a lot of work around it and I'm also a life coach in training. The more I did work around it, the more I realized that it wasn't so much about her. It was more about me, what judgment I thought was coming down on me, and what I thought other people were thinking of me.

I had to clean that up a little bit and just trust that parents get it. 99% of the world gets it. And I know everywhere I go, I try to give a mom a smile or pat on the back, and say, “You’re doing an amazing job. Hang in there. Go get yourself a latte.”

Trusting that and being able to give compassion, kindness and empathy, you can do that better when you trust that humanity is behind you.

There is the 1% who will make those comments and you're just like, “Come on, please!” But I love this idea of not feeling like your kids are broken or that you have to get control and fix them.

Sometimes you just gotta scoop your little one up, leave the grocery store, put them in their car seat and go for a drive until they fall asleep. And that is OK. Tantrums are, like I said, most of the time about how to empower these little ones so they don't feel like they're powerless.

They are also about the hunger, thirst and the sickness. A lot of times when my kids have had the worst tantrum when they were little, the next day they came down with a cold or they got sick, and I was like, “That's why!”

ALLIE: Yes. Oh my gosh. I was going to add but I didn’t want to interrupt you. But I was going to say, do you know how many times a huge freak-out happened and I would go home? “What is wrong with my parenting? This was so awful!” And then the next morning they are throwing up.  Do you know how many times I had an abandoned cart at the grocery store that I had to say, “I'm so sorry I have to leave,” and I wouldn't get my groceries because we had to leave from a freak-out.

Everybody does get it. It's OK. It usually is a heart issue. You think, “They're just such a difficult kid. Oh my gosh, I need to really deal with this.” But then it’s usually that they feel really stuffed up and they have a cold coming on, or it's something simpler

WENDY: Or overstimulated or you just thought you could push them 10 minutes on their nap to get some groceries.

Yeah. I was just in the grocery store the other day actually. We talk a lot in this work. We do a lot of paradigm shifting and we give this example of Stephen Covey on the subway. But I actually had the same perspective shift that I was in the grocery store and I had three little girls with me who are friends of ours, they go to our elementary school and they just lost her mom to cancer. I had my little guy with me, so we I had four kids with me in the grocery store. I bow down to you; I don’t know how you go it. But we’re going through and I just wanted to get some frozen food for them so dad could empower them to make their own snacks.

And they're like, “Can we have ice cream?” And I'm just like, “Sure, sure.” And they're running around and they're wild and someone did do that look at me. And I just tried to reach in and have compassion for that person who I thought probably was judging me, and think to myself, “They have no idea what's actually going on in this situation.”

Everybody has their story, whether it's kids being wild or kids tantruming. You don't know what's going on with that mom or that kiddo.

One more quick story, Allie. Years ago, I was in a little café close to my house. I've had many moments where I'm not patient with my kids, but this particular day I was working to be patient with them. They were doing something annoying and I found the energy to be calm and patient with them.

And the young girl came up to me and said, “I just want to tell you that the way you talk to your kids, what you're doing with them is so inspirational. You don't hear a lot of people talk to their kids like that.” And literally I started crying because all these years of hard work of trying to find compassion and grace on how to work with these kids, especially in public, to have someone see it, admire it and acknowledge it; I was blown away by that.

So that's how I try to be nowadays for those moms who have those kids tantruming is just to acknowledge their hard work and say, “You are seen and admired. This stage will pass. They will get a little bit older and won’t do that.”  

ALLIE: Yeah, because it feels like it never will. And I know what you're referencing with the Stephen Covey, with the dad on the subway and it's so true. You just don't know. You don't know where they just came from. You don't know if this is her “off day” or she's just “done.” She's just received terrible news. It's almost cheesy because that example is out there for everything, but none of us are acting like we know that. We don't know where this person is coming from.

It’s funny that we care what people think of when we are out with our kids. We're all doing our best. We're trying to raise good kids. Your parenting. You're having a hard day. You do you. The last thing we need to be doing is worrying about what somebody else thinks. If we can all let go of that and those expectations we have of ourselves to meet other people's expectations when we're out in public and with tantrums and stuff, it would just be so much easier.

That's the best thing I think we can do for ourselves right now is just simplify and make things a little bit easier for ourselves.

I feel like we could talk for hours that we may have to have you on for another episode or something because this is just so good and so full of hope, and empowering. That's what moms need.

Thank you for taking so much time to be here with us. I so appreciate it.

And guys, we’ll link to everything, where you can find Wendy, it's freshstartfamilyonline.com.

She's got an amazing course that she gifted to me and I have been looking through. It's so good. If you think this interview is good, it’s a million times better.

And then you also have the Bonfire, right? Which I think is a monthly membership.

WENDY: Yes!

ALLIE:  So we'll link to everything. If you want more of Wendy or the amazing work that she's doing, we'll link to everything. I encourage you guys to go and check it out.

Thank you so much, Wendy!

WENDY: Thank you Allie! I’m glowing! What a great conversation. This was awesome. Thanks again.

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This was an episode of The Purpose Show.  Thank you so much for tuning in.  If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, head to alliecasazza.com for free downloads, courses, classes and to learn more about what the next step might look like for you.  I am always rooting for you. See ya next time!

Hey mama! Just a quick note, this post may contain affiliate links.

 

EP 037: Benefits of Minimalism for Mothers

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When people think of minimalism, I think most of them picture one couch in the living room, cold white walls, no TV, no toys, and plants hanging by the kitchen sink. That's not the point at all. Living with less doesn’t mean being deprived. It means looking at what is creating clutter and stress in your life.

Recently, Brian was away on a trip for a week. During that week, I was reminded how much I love the idea of minimalism and how much it has changed my life. It has given me the ability to take a deep breath and enjoy life more. And remember, minimalism is embracing the idea of less and questioning what you own and allow to take up your space and time. That is the key to changing your life.

 
 

In This Episode, Allie Discusses:

  • The importance of embracing the idea of less and questioning what we own and allow to take up our space and time.

  • How minimalism equals less cleaning (and everyone wants less cleaning!)

  • Minimalism gives us more time + more energy to focus on the things we want to focus on instead of the things that cause us stress.

  • When you remove the clutter from your home, you become a happier person for yourself, your husband, and your family.

Mentioned in this Episode:

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Minimalism is about creating breathing room in your home, your calendar, and your life so that you can be intentional with the people who matter most to you, and present to enjoy them fully. I created the Minimalism Starter Kit as a guide to making this change in your life! It is time to start living with intention and purpose, mama! 


who doesn't love a GIVEAWAY?

Reviews are everything on iTunes! Would you take a minute and click here to leave a review? Email hello@alliecasazza.com with a screenshot of your review on iTunes. You'll be entered to win one of Allie's amazing courses for FREE!  

If you have a question, comment or a suggestion about today’s episode, or the podcast in general, send me an email at hello@alliecasazza.com or connect with me over on Facebook & Instagram


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Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to.  I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days.  I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it.  Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and i know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood.  I’m Allie Casazza and this is the The Purpose Show.

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Hey beauties! Welcome back to another episode of The Purpose Show!

When people think of minimalism, I think most of them picture one IKEA couch in the living room, cold white walls, no TV, no toys, and plants hanging by the kitchen sink. That's not the point at all.

Three years ago, embracing minimalism changed my life and transformed my motherhood from angry, frustrated, and overwhelmed to happy, light, and free of stress. I fell in love with the way of less, and never looked back. My marriage improved drastically, my kids became less anxious around me because I wasn't a yelling basket case anymore, there was no longer clutter everywhere I looked, and I found myself doing things like sitting on the floor building train tracks with the boys, watching old James Bond movies with my husband, cooking more meals, and taking walks with my little girl. Suddenly, I was much less busy, and I was a better person in general. All because I got rid of the stuff I didn't need.

I could go on and on about how minimalism has impacted my motherhood, but instead I'm gonna break it down into a few main points, because I truly believe in two things: Jesus and minimalism. I know it's the answer to the epidemic of overwhelmed, tired, frustrated mamas.

LESS CLEANING.

Do I really need to go on here? LESS CLEANING! I have about two days a week where I do a couple loads of laundry, clean the bathrooms, run the vacuum and the Swiffer, and wipe down the walls and baseboards. That's it. I'm not pulling your leg, exaggerating, building up a false reality- this is my actual life. I have to do the dishes (much less than most people though), make the beds, and pick up shoes, coats, art supplies, and a few toys, but that's it day-to-day.

I don't think cleaning up and being frustrated and overwhelmed is a very good way to spend these precious, short years of raising kids. Minimalism has created an escape from that for me.

I'M ALWAYS READY TO HAVE SOMEONE OVER.

My house could be at it's very worst, and I would still feel okay having someone drop by. Why? Because there simply isn't enough stuff in our house to ever allow it to be that messy. It's so wonderfully liberating.

I HAVE MORE TIME.

We create the life we want, time is in our hands, and I decided to create more time for myself by eliminating the excess. I have so much more free time these days versus my pre-minimalism life. And I have two more kids since then and I work from home now, so really I should have much less time. Minimalism, you win again.

I ENJOY MY HOME MORE.

I don't like to cook, but I like being in my kitchen. I love putting on some music or a podcast and creating a delicious, simple meal for my family. I don't like doing laundry, but I love sitting in my living room while my kids play Legos on the coffee table and I fold their clothes. Minimalism has allowed me to actually love my home and love spending time in it without having to spend hours or days getting it perfectly clean (then having it last all of three seconds).

A BETTER MARRIAGE.

Maybe you don't see the connection between minimalism and marriage, and I never would have either, but it's there and it's really strong. Since becoming a minimalist, my brain is so uncluttered and clear, which made me a happier person, which has made me a more available wife. Brian can't believe how much more I laugh, how much kinder I am in general, how much more available I am to listen to him, be intimate with him, spend quality time with him. Our bond is stronger and our relationship has improved by leaps and bounds since we purged our stuff.

I'M ABLE TO BE A MOM WHO PLAYS.

I've already harped enough on how my mind is clearer and I am a happier, freer person, but it fits in again here. Because of minimalism I'm free to be the mom who plays with her kids instead of saying "go play". I spend a lot of my time in the yard kicking the soccer ball around, dancing to Taylor Swift in the living room, and playing with tiny toy unicorns. I run a business from home and it doesn't put a dent in the quality of my motherhood because I spend no extra time managing stuff.

I'M A HAPPIER PERSON.

I just have a lot of joy these days. I don't really know what else to say on this point, except, life is simple and sweet and good, even when we're going through something hard. Because it's intentionally focused on what matters most.

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This was an episode of The Purpose Show.  Thank you so much for tuning in.  If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, head to alliecasazza.com for free downloads, courses, classes and to learn more about what the next step might look like for you.  I am always rooting for you. See ya next time!

Hey mama! Just a quick note, this post may contain affiliate links.

 

EP 36: Why you are Always Enough and Never Too Much with Jess Connolly + Hayley Morgan

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Do you feel like you’re caught up in a war within your own self that you are never enough, yet too much when you are being your best self? I think we have all struggled with feeling that we’re not enough yet we are too much at the same time in many, many different areas of our life. Outside of this war within ourselves, there is also that same feeling from woman to woman. It’s like there’s a war amongst women of who’s better at this? Who’s good at that? I’m trying to be it all, do it all, and it’s exhausting, pointless and it’s not what we are called to.

Jess Connolly + Hayley Morgan join me in a raw + honest conversation around how we are always enough and never too much. How we are called to live from a place of confidence in who we are, while encouraging others to do the same.

Jess + Hayley are good friends who share a passion to lead other women in pursuing Christ and abundant life. They are mothers and business owners, and they co-authored the book Wild + Free, as well as their new book, Always Enough, Never Too Much.

 
 

In This Episode, Allie, Jess + Hayley Discuss:

  • The concept behind Jess + Hayley’s book, Always Enough, Never Too Much.

  • What it means to feel like you are never enough and/or always too much.

  • How we as women as called to empower one another to live as our true selves.

  • When you feel like you are not a good friend.

  • When you feel like your to-do list is never ending.

  • Personal moments when they felt like they were not enough or too much.

  • What “wild freedom” is and how it applies to living in the mindset of being always enough and never too much.

Mentioned in this Episode:

 

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Well, motherhood is hard. I am not going to lie to you about that. While it is servitude and giving to your family from yourself, it doesn’t have to be something that we are waiting to be over. Something that we are counting down the minutes till naptime, or bedtime, or waiting for the next day to start. If you are wanting to sort through the clutter in your mind, your heart, your home calendar, your health, routines, and relationships, I created Unburdened just for you!


who doesn't love a GIVEAWAY?

Reviews are everything on iTunes! Would you take a minute and click here to leave a review? Email hello@alliecasazza.com with a screenshot of your review on iTunes. You'll be entered to win one of Allie's amazing courses for FREE!  

If you have a question, comment or a suggestion about today’s episode, or the podcast in general, send me an email at hello@alliecasazza.com or connect with me over on Facebook & Instagram


I_ve_got_you_2.png

Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to.  I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days.  I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it.  Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and i know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood.  I’m Allie Casazza and this is the The Purpose Show.

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Hey beauties! Welcome back to another episode of The Purpose Show!

I have a very special episode for you girls today. I have Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan here. They are good friends who share a passion to lead other women in pursuing Jesus, abundant life, and stepping into who they were made to be, which I really love.

Jess & Hayley are both mothers and business owners. They co-authored the book Wild and Free. Their new book, which comes out April 24th is called Always Enough, Never Too Much.

ALLIE: Welcome ladies! Thank you for being here!

We are going to jump right in and get to it.

Always Enough, Never Too Much. I am halfway through and reading every single devotional. It is a devotional, although I feel like it has the cadence of a normal book. It is broken down in devotional format which is really unique and I really like it. The main thing I am taking from this is, and the title says it, that you’re answering the questions “Why don’t I ever feel like I’m enough” or “Why do I also feel like I’m too much when I let loose and let my guard down and be myself?” Can you explain a little bit more about that idea behind the book and how you came to write this?

HAYLEY: Yeah. I think that Jess and I, when we did Wild and Free, we realized that while we are similar in a lot of ways, we also approached the world really differently. We see the world differently and we experience it differently. When we looked at the feelings that we had when we interacted with each other, with other friends, with our families, it was this feeling of in the work that you’re doing and the way that you’re made that you can feel like you’re not enough or again, on the flipside, too much.

When we started, few felt like one of us would feel like they’re not enough, that one of us would feel like they’re too much. But as we uncovered the whole truth that we found God has for us in His Word, we struggled to feel both, no matter who you are. The idea of not feeling like you’re enough. I don’t think I need to explain that. I think we all have a visceral understanding of that. The same with feeling like you’re too much. It is the idea that if you show who your true self is that it might be too wild, too crazy. It might be something that you need to tone down. Jess and I experienced that differently. It plays out differently in our lives, but it’s something that we felt was pretty universal, especially with women.

I don’t know if this is the same thing for men, but I can definitely say that of all the women we’ve talked to throughout the country that they resonate with this feeling that we all have.

JESS: It was great with the devotional format for sure. The tagline of Wild and Free was for the woman who feels like she's too much and never enough, and so the great thing about the devotional was being able to hit those specific ways that women said. We encountered so many women after Wild and Free who said, “But what about this? What about when you do this? But what about when you're in this?”

Obviously, we couldn't have answered all those things in the book, but they were so cyclical and coming up in so many different ways, with so many different women, that we felt we had to write specifically to these scenarios. I think that's my favorite part about the book is that when you're feeling that specific way, there's a biblical answer for you.

ALLIE: Yeah, and I love too that as I'm reading these, that most of them, whichever of you is writing it, is relating to it from your personal life, but you're also not getting (I mean that would kind of be counterproductive to the book) down on yourself for whatever the thing is. For example, Haley, one of my favorite ones from you so far was when you feel like you're not a good friend because I totally relate to that. I have a lot of boundaries. I would say I'm probably high wall, high wall, like your husband, which you also talk about in the book. It kind of ends up feeling like, “Well I'm a freak and I'm not a good friend. I'm not easy to get to know.”

But you both come across it as here's maybe the reason that I'm like this and why it's amazing that God made me this way. And that it's OK to work on things and to grow and want to be better. You don't want to stay stagnant, but let's also stop for a second and praise that we are each fearfully and wonderfully made in the way that we are made as we are right now. That while it's good to have goals, be ambitious, want to change things, and always meeting new standards for yourself, let's not get down on ourselves with who we are right now. I really love that it’s a really, heavy theme throughout the whole book.  

JESS: I described it to somebody the other day when they were asking you about it and I said it's like sitting down with a friend who says “so what?” when you say I haven't been a good friend. A really good friend isn't going to be, “You're just always the best friend. You do everything right.” A really good friend would be like, so what? So what? So what if you weren’t a good friend?

Number one, let's look at the truth of God. What does He actually say about you? What's actually expected of you? And so what? So what if you didn't do it well? What's next? And to take every different scenario and say, so what? So what if you're too loud? So what if you're too weak? So what if you don't have enough money? Let's talk about it. So what?

ALLIE: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I love that.

HAYLEY: See this is why I'm glad that I get to have Jess as my actual friend because I'm like, I want you to now write a whole book about that. Just go for it

ALLIE: I mean, it's so empowering too. And what I got from this was just the thought of I wish that every woman would have this mindset about herself and about her friends.

You know, going back to the how I related to you Haley and with not feeling like you're a good enough friend or as good as other friends are to you. And I think Jess you even had something that you were not a good texter-backer. You were like, “Oh, I forgot to even respond and she sent me this.” That's me. This is awkward for everybody listening who's like, “Yeah, I've been waiting for a text since January, Allie.”

I wish that we could all take this book and take its mentality, for lack of a better word, and give it to our own selves. Then each give it to our other friends. Understand that yes, maybe I'm not a good texter-backer, but here's my other strengths. Here's what I'm great at, here's what you're great at. I wish we could not have those expectations on each other because it causes so much divide, especially among women.

HAYLEY: I think it's that love isn't easily offended. When you have a lot of kids, it's something that you have to preach to your kids all the time. “OK buddy, I know we're all in close quarters here. We're all rubbing up against each other. But is that really a thing to make a thing of?”

And since I preached that so much in my own house and in my own family, it has a way of making its way into your heart. I think the idea of not being easily offended, but then also the idea of calling each other up. We talked about that a lot in Wild and Free, as Jess was saying. So what? Maybe you're not awesome at this, but this is the way I see you growing. This is the way I see God made you. This is what I see in scripture that says Jesus will do in your life. And these are the ways that we can grow up into a more sanctified, more refined version of who we are, not a shinier version of who we wish we could be.

ALLIE: I just love that. What would you say, maybe breaking it down into a clear sentence. Why does this devotional differ from other ones that are also geared towards women? I was reading recently in Gretchen Rubin's, A Happiness Project, and she describes happiness as a kind of fog that you can see from a distance, but when you try to zoom in on it and really dissect it, it disappears. I really feel like this book was like that in the way where this is so different. It’s like the fog; when I try to zoom in on it, and ask, “Why is it so different,” it disappears. It's so beautiful.

What would you say how it differs from other devotionals geared towards women and encouraging women?

JESS: I think the biggest way that it's different is because it's so topical and it's very honest. I actually meant to pull up the different chapter headings, but we just said these themes - things like when you make mistakes, when you don't have enough energy, when you don't feel like a church girl, when you don't feel beautiful, when you need affirmation, when you need some privacy, when you're not that smart.

I don't know any devotional that’s ever said here's what the Bible says when you don't feel smart enough.

This is me being very honest right now. This is a very raw insecurity that I walk around with a ton, that I'm not smart enough. I have never found any Christian woman's book that says, here's what you do if you don't feel smart. I've never heard anyone say here's where the Gospel meets you. Here's where Jesus meets you if you don't feel smart. Even when you're sick, even when you've never led anyone to Christ. Then on the too much side, even when you're gifted. Even when you begged God for help. Even when you're a mess. Even when you feel like a tornado. Even when you cry easily. Even when you have no filter. Even when you're fired up about justice.

These super real, raw, honest, topical things that actual women are actually struggling with and that we are scared to even bring to our closest friends. When we're even scared to say I need you to know I don’t feel smart. I mean it took me until about a year ago to finally out that with someone and to say, “I really struggle with thinking I'm unintelligent.” And I write books and teach for a living. That's problematic. You know?

So that's what feels different about it to me is that it's not like a high lofty idea. We always talk about meeting people where they're at but this genuinely meets people exactly where they are at, exactly in what they're feeling.

ALLIE: There's a lot of them that jumped out at me as, “oh my gosh, my good friend.” I had to screenshot it and send it to her. It's not even just for your own self. I think we can all relate to most of them, at least a little bit or maybe in a specific relationship, but if not, it's to encourage somebody else. And also to come to a deeper understanding of somebody in our life. As a person raising a daughter that's huge there, too. For friendships, for my own mother.

I mean, there's so many things that just jump out as this is so real. And nobody is really saying it as it is what it is. I don't feel very smart. I don't really feel like a churchy-enough girl. Those awkward kind of things that we think in the inner deepest parts of ourselves that we’re maybe afraid to put into one sentence like that.

HAYLEY: I totally agree. We came up with a lot of ideas based on things that we had heard from women after Wild and Free. We made a huge excel spreadsheet and started whittling it down. Are these too similar? Are these saying the same thing? Is this too niche? Or is this something that a lot of women feel? And then we split them up based on that.

There are definitely some that I got where I was like, “OK, how do I write this from a place of maybe that's not how I was feeling that day? But a lot of times when I went to write it I realized, “Oh gosh, that is in there. Those fears, or that lack or that “too muchness” or whatever. I need to come up with a good word for that.

Two more things that make it unique is that both of us wrote it. It isn’t very often that you get two perspectives. A lot of times it's either, “Oh, that book is for me, or that book isn't for me” and that can be great in a lot of ways, but it's really nice to have a ping pong kind of conversation.

And thirdly, I am one of those people who I will get a bee in my bonnet and I will be, “I'm going to change the world.” And then at the end of the day I have 18 new journals for devotionals, three new study bibles and I'm signed up to take Greek and Hebrew somewhere. That's just the way my brain works. You know, that doesn't work really in real life and I'm learning that about myself so I do it less and less as I get older.

But I'm the person who will start a devotional, get four days into it and then I'll be, “Yeah, this happened” or my mindset changed and I'm not really there anymore. Or I don't want to be X, Y, and Z, whatever that thing was that I was thinking about that day.

What I love about this one is that although there are 100 devotionals, it doesn't have to be 100 straight days. It doesn't have to be 10 straight days. It's all titled very obviously and it can be the thing you pull out when you're like and, “Ooh, I feel like I am in a funk. I don't know what the deal is in my heart.” And you can scan it and I think something will jump out at you. It's very bite size in a lot of different ways.

I appreciate that. This is not a sit down and study the word for 45 minutes kind of devotional. This is what Jess and I would say to you based on a lot of our 45 minutes of studying the Word times. It's what we would say if we were sitting across the table from you and we could look you in the face and say these things. This is what we would say.

I saw a quote the other day and I (a) don't know who it was about, and (b), don't know who it's attributed to, so that could take some sleuthing. It was a pastor who could write a sermon in a short amount of time, but it was based on 30 years of his walk with the Lord. The result isn't this deep study of scripture. It's born out of the truth that we've found over a long period of time that is 100% rooted in scripture. And it was very important to us

that it wasn't loosely based on scripture.

ALLIE:  When I'm skimming it and reading a section of it, I think, “What could they have to say about this one [verses]?” And then you say your thing and it's like, “I never would have gleaned that from that.” I liked that you said that the titles of each devotional are very obvious, because the titles are saying about yourself what you are too burdened by the emotions of feeling that way to describe about yourself that you're feeling that way. So many of them jumped out at me: feeling like you're not a good friend, what to do when your to do list is never ending.

If you're overwhelmed you can grab this book. Sometimes to be honest, the Bible is overwhelming for me to open up. God always has a way of bringing me to the right place. Sometimes I'm struggling with an emotion and I don't know what exactly is going on because my emotions are very 100% and I get overwhelmed by that.

For this to say “Your to do list is never ending; here’s a cup of water, and the scripture you know you need” because this jumped out to you. It's almost like you broke down the scripture into a little bit more of “Here, skim until you find one that jumps out at you. Here's some scripture that will refresh you today.” It's really clear and helpful.

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Do you feel like you are barely getting through your days friend? Does motherhood feel more like a hurricane of chaos that you are just surviving rather than the awesome, joy-filled season that you want it to be?

Well, motherhood is hard. I am not going to lie to you about that. While it is servitude and giving to your family from yourself, it doesn’t have to be something that we are waiting to be over. Something that we are counting down the minutes till naptime, or bedtime, or waiting for the next day to start. If you are wanting to sort through the clutter in your mind, your heart, your home calendar, your health, routines, and relationships, I created Unburdened just for you!

It is a guide that will help you go from drowning in the sea of stress and overwhelm, to owning your time and living the best version of your motherhood. So you can live abundantly while intentionally focusing on those who matter most.

Unburdened is the overwhelmed beginner’s guide to a simpler motherhood.

In Unburdened, I will walk you through how to stop over-complicating, procrastinating, and just start making positive changes now. How to declutter, just a little bit – not super deep into it, because you can’t handle that when you are this overwhelmed – but a surface declutter that will get you real results in your house so you can clean up less.

How to declutter toxic relationships in your life and set some good boundaries. How to simplify cleaning, get healthy and feel better – finally!

How to simplify your calendar. How to start owning your time and not just managing it as life happens to you.

How to stop just setting goals and letting them sit there. Start actually defining where you want to go and getting there through reverse engineering and goal-setting.

How to create a cleaning routine that works for you and your life.

This course is a mini-course. It is small. It is straightforward. But it is everything for the mom who feels like she needs a total overhaul, but is too overwhelmed to start.

It will help you simplify the things that have you stuck and leave survival mode behind for good.

Is this resonating with you? Sound like you? Does this sound like something that would really help you right now? Go to bit.ly/getunburdened.

I really poured my heart into this little course. I created it for the mom who is really wanting to simplify, declutter, and pursue a life of less, but she is so burdened and overwhelmed with the mess of life. It’s not just her house. She wants to simplify at the surface of all the different things in her life so she can focus on her family more. So then she can focus more on really, truly purging her entire house.

If this sounds like you, I encourage you to check it out. You are probably the person I created it for. I want you in there. I want it to help you.

Check it out.

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ALLIE: The book is flipped; Always Enough and then Never Too Much on the other side. And then even further inside, it is upside down when you get to the middle. It's like two different books. So how did you guys come up with that? Why did you guys decide to go ahead and do this? Because it's really neat.

JESS: Tell me if I'm wrong Hayley but, I don't think we came up with it. We loved writing Wild and Free together. It was amazing to publish. It was so good, but we didn't have plans to write another book together.  We were definitely left with a lot of these questions. What if I fail too much? What if I don't have enough? Definitely wanting to answer those. Actually our publisher came to us with this idea. They said “flip book” the very first time, and we were picturing a flip book. They won us over and we said, OK. We have a great publisher. That’s not always how it is. Usually you have to push them to be a bit more creative, more risk-taking. They said, “We want it to be a beautiful cover. We want it to be a flip book.” And we said, “OK, that sounds so fun.”

We love that it is different covers because I mean, it's different. It's loud and then gentle and says, “This is who women are.” We're not easily encompassed in a single thing. I've literally noticed since I've gotten my copy that some days (I keep it on my coffee table) I will turn it over on the blue side, and sometimes on the white side. Do I want it to be little quiet and peaceful in here or do I want it to be like a little splash of wild in here today? We were pretty creative gals, but that was not our idea.

ALLIE: I love it. It makes it more approachable somehow. It’s fun. Super cute.

HAYLEY: These are the kinds of books that booksellers hope you pick up for your friend, your mom, or your sister. Anything that we can do to make it more appealing, more attractive, more exciting to pick up, I think is even better. I am not a huge devotional reader to be honest. I love them, but it's not something that I normally pick up. I was really excited that they had something innovative and something that makes it feel like a gift. It feels like something really pretty that you want to have out. I think half the time that's the battle. It’s why I leave my Bible in my backpack that they carry everywhere or it's on my kitchen counter because I want it to be easily accessible and I want to have it out.

That felt important, I think with the book, to make it something that people would want to have around.

ALLIE: Yeah, for sure. I'm curious, is there a reason that you chose 100 devotionals instead of like a year-long or, or just a random number? Did it just work out that way?

HAYLEY: Well, I think for me personally, it was important not to have a lot of duplicated content from Wild and Free. While sure, we'll have a lot of readers that never read Wild and Free, but once they did, they're like our soul sisters. They're like our friends that we've been with forever and we wanted this to be a gift for them too.

It's a huge undertaking to write a year. I mean as somebody who writes and who does podcasts and things, it's a huge undertaking to do 365 entries. I think it was an approachable place for us to start as writers. For me personally, being a somewhat public person, I feel like we're leading the younger generation in how to do this creative life, it was important to me to not over leverage myself really, and to have it be approachable from a creation standpoint, because it’s a good example to set, how it can still be really impactful.

I think realistically for somebody to sit with my voice for 365 days or a 180; I think that’s a lot. I think 50 will do.

JESS: I read the audio book and my favorite was reading Haley's devotionals because we're such different writers. Nothing makes me happier than when someone comes up to me and says, “I read Wild and Free; I didn't really like your writing.” But Haley is such a phenomenal writer. I am a communicator. I am a talker. I would have to Google a lot of words. I think I texted her one day and said, “Do you remember what the word “indefatigable” means?  It’s such a good word; it means you can’t be too fatigued. which is a great, beautiful way to say that.

Hayley was actually the one who told me while we were writing Wild and Free. She said, “most people only read 40% of a book.” That changed the way we wrote Wild and Free. As an author, you really want to take people on a journey that they want to complete. You don’t want to lose them 40% of the way in. I would just say, as the three of us right here, we’re quick, smart, hip, millennial women and we got to move on sometimes.

There's a lot of times that I read a book and I hit three chapters and I'm like, “I get it.”

But that's the other reason why I don't want it to be a year-long devotional because I don't women to be thinking about this for a whole year. I want them to feel so empowered, equipped and changed in a hundred days and feel, “I'm ready. I'm giving it to a friend.” What's next? You know?

Of course, there's going to be things that we struggled with, that we come back to, that we revisit.

HAYLEY:  Writing this devotional was just as much preaching to myself as it was telling everybody else. I have really realized that it takes not just learning, not just knowing, but it takes obeying. I don't want you to be just reading for the whole time. I want you out there practicing it in your day-to-day life, moving it from knowing to understanding. Something that's actually in your spiritual DNA.

ALLIE: My gosh, I love that. You were saying this is more in-depth examples of the feeling that you got from Wild and Free, so can you describe for somebody who hasn't read the other book, what is that idea of “wild freedom” in your own words?

JESS: I would say it is believing the kind of audacious truth that the Bible puts forth - we are made good in God's image and made free by the power of Christ. Those are things we say – “God made us” and “We’re free,” right? Yes, we're free, but why?

The message of Wild and Free is saying, “OK, let's take it past “nodding” at that and let’s step into some agreement about what it would look like to agree with our whole lives. That we are made good. That when He created us that He did not make mistakes. That He didn't make us in fear of what we would turn into. The freedom that Jesus purchased for us on the cross is real, active, alive and working in our lives.

HAYLEY: I think “wild” is walking in how God made you and “free” is resting in what Jesus has done for you. I think I had to learn the “rest piece” really early on because it was the lesson that God had for me to learn when I was probably 18 and 19. I find it very easy to find my words in what I do, what I could do for people, and what I can accomplish. My husband (he wasn’t my husband at the time) saw that in me and he saw that it was a wall that I put up, that I wouldn't let him know me. And for some reason I had to learn that early on.

But this “wild” situation has been a journey and it is hard for me to learn. Every “layer of the onion” that I pull back I see more of myself. I know more of myself because I know more of the Lord. I know how He is and I can see more of how I am. Also, God is wild. And that means I am wild. That's a little stressful for somebody who likes to be appropriate and likes to have the right answer for things.

Something that Jess has said that has been so helpful for me, and she says a lot, is “taking it too far.” What would it look like if you took it too far? Because I'm a person who would take it as far as is appropriate and then I’ll stop. There’s so much freedom for me in that insight. It’s saying, “So what? So what if you take it a step over the line there?” If we're doing things in freedom in the way that God has made us, and the way that He has redeemed our lives, if we take it too far, that's a good thing. Just rub that in.

ALLIE: I love that. If you guys wouldn't mind, could you share a recent personal example in your life or maybe just a piece from the book? Whatever you want of a time where you recently felt like you were either “not enough” or “too much” to give a taste of what is in the book and how you approach this for listeners?

JESS: I actually texted Haley a little bit about this this week. On Sunday night I was standing in the kitchen and my kids just came back from spring break. I had a great spring break with my kids. We had gone to church, gotten groceries, gotten ready for the week, but I was in that post spring break. There's a lot on my plate. We have a book launch in two weeks. I am taking some deep breaths. And in one minute I got three text messages from women in my church all saying, “Do you have time to hang out this week?” I knew I didn't have time to breathe this week. I know I don't really have time to shower this week and I knew I had to say “no.”

I just opened up a dialogue with my husband. My husband’s a pastor at a church we started. This is a common, never-ending struggle for me. We are the leaders. We always say, “Beth Moore apparently is not going to show up. I keep waiting for her to come and lead us and she's not. So it's just us.” That’s a normal, every Sunday occurrence.

It opened up this whole conversation with my husband again about to be a healthy person, I have to disappoint people. To be a healthy person, I have to have healthy boundaries. I have to say no. Saying “no” is genuinely so unsexy. For the millionth time I am asking my husband, “You mean you want me to say no? Physical “no?” And he said, “I mean I want you to say “no.” What's more, I don't want you to say “maybe next week” because you can't next week either. I want you to say, “I have four kids and two businesses and this is not the best season for me. Can I connect you with someone else?”

And I said, “I know you. I know we've said this so many times. I want you to know how uncomfortable it makes my soul to just say “no” from the get to.  

Going back to “OK to be a normal human, to be a healthy human, to do what God is asking you to do, I'm going to have to say “no” to people I really love, really care about and want to support.” I know they may be disappointed, frustrated and may not understand. I can't control it. This is in the devotional. I constantly go back to the idea that Jesus disappointed people and that he was still Holy. We read stories in the Bible about Him pulling away from shore and there's hundreds of people waiting for Him to heal them and he's like, “Bye. I need a nap. I am a human. I need a nap.” That is so comforting for me. That was a big “not enough for me” that happened in the last 48 hours. One of the girls is still mad at me and hasn’t texted me back.

HAYLEY: I think that's the thing. These are our in-process experiences with this. I truly think that in Wild and Free we just put new, fresh words to ancient truths that have been true from the beginning of time, from when Jesus walked on the earth. This is not stuff like, “Oh great, I'm going to be a good listener. And then I'll have the 10 bullet points and I'll be able to just use those 10 bullet points. And I'll know now.”

This is a daily obedience sort of thing. And I think that it speaks so much to identity and so much to obedience that they're not things that we're going to just learn and move on from. I think that we will move on from them more quickly, we’ll obey more quickly and we'll be more rooted in our identity, but they will continue.

I think God just has a way of continuing to invite us deeper in by giving us more chances to obey. And so it's just a deepening understanding of it. I think that's maybe been one of my frustrations is this feeling of, “why can I not just be done with this lesson? Why can I not have learned this and be done?”

I think I'm the person who wants to eventually not need the gospel. I would like to be able to one day study enough to score 100 percent so I can go onto Gospel 201, thank you very much. I mean that says so much about my personality. I don't like to be weak. I don't like to not know things. I don't like to appear as though I don't have it together. And in this season of my life, it has been the Lord inviting me to not have it together.

It's actually a way that I felt like I was “too much.” I'm going to the Festival of Faith in Writing in Grand Rapids on a last minute decision trip and all of the hotels are booked up. But it's close enough for me to drive, so I'm going to go. We can make it work with our family. It's good to do. I need some refreshment creatively. This is good. My husband can make it work, which is doubly “OK great, we'll do that.” But there's nowhere to stay. I could stay further out of the city. We could pay more money to do it, but it's not wise for us right now.

Mike (my husband) said, “Hey babe, we can make this work for you to go, but I want you to put yourself out there. I want to be honest with five friends that you know are going to be there. Say you need a place to stay. Can you split the cost with them and sleep on the floor?” Everything in me was saying, “No! They are responsible humans. They have planned this trip out for months. It's been two years since you could buy your tickets for this thing. Who am I to decide to come the day before? Who am I to say “Hey! Can I sleep in your room that you responsibly booked however long ago? And he said, “Listen, we all have needs. Make your needs known. Be needy. Be too much. Be a real person.” And everything in myself was saying, “No.”

Just like you were saying how deeply uncomfortable that made you, I felt the same pushback, that same resistance. “No this is just not who I am. I do not do this.” I would rather hide, go make an expensive hotel reservation 45 minutes away and drive in an hour and a half round trip everyday than ask a friend to put herself out. I mean this is the kind of thing that I deal with. It is an actual obedience issue for me when I'm presented with that to do it anyway. I about want to cry just talking about it because it feels so visceral and so real.

I know you were saying the same thing in texts, Jess. This is never ending. It continues to come up. But it's a comfort to know that when it continues to come up, that’s where there is solidarity. We’re all doing this together and Christ is in this. He goes before us. He comes behind us. We're surrounded with heavenly hosts, all the things. We don't have to do it in our own power. That's even the better part.

JESS: I love you said that too. It’s not too much. It's not too much that you would want to stay in somebody’s room. I mean, whoever it is will probably be thrilled to have you. It's not inadequate of me that I don't have time to hang out. I think it's when we show up and keep being obedient that we even changed the language, so that one day 10 years from now, they’ll start calling that too much.  

HAYLEY: And we get that understanding in ourselves. I can know that that's not too much. I can know that I would be blessed if somebody asked me to serve them. But I don't understand that deep in myself. I don't understand it because, for whatever reason, I have not obeyed enough times to where it I just get it. I don't know. God shows up enough. I've learned something. I think that's the beauty of it is that some lessons in life you get really fast and it just comes together and you understand. There have been those things in my life where it was like CS Lewis says, “I wasn't a believer and then I rode my motorcycle to the zoo, and then when I got there, I was.”

To me there's been those things in my life where I didn't understand it, and then all of a sudden I did and it was like a light bulb. Then there's these things that you go on a journey with the Lord on, and for me it has been identity and obedience. It’s been those two things. That's why I feel like Wild and Free is really foundational. It’s not new. It's not whatever. This is age-old stuff.

I wish I could tell you that I sit here and have it all figured out, but I'm still working through it. Honestly, it’s been an honor to continue to walk through it with other women because if I felt I had just finished that and worked it out, why keep talking about it? Why keep going out there and telling other people about it?

ALLIE: Another thing branching off of what you just shared is that this book is something you can reference again and again. It's not a one and done. It’s not “a 10-step formula to never be too much” It’s chronic.

I was in a conversation recently where this woman was telling me how disorganized another woman that we both knew was. She was going on and on, “It's just so frustrating. I get it. She has more kids than me, but it's just so frustrating.” And in myself, I was panicking. I have four kids like this woman and I had this feeling of sadness over how we judge each other, bring each other down, and that this has probably been spoken about me who knows how many times. And it was almost this surreal moment of panic that this is a war zone. Why does it have to be that way? It absolutely does not. And that is not what we're called to.

I ended up sort of exiting the conversation with, “Well I'm not going to lie. I've definitely been way more disorganized.” But it really hit me. This book was so well timed that week for me because that is what it is. It is a war zone out there and these women are comparing and slinging things at each other. We all guilty of it at some point.

But really what would happen if we stopped and we said “This is the way that I am. These are my strengths and these are things that are not-so-much my strengths. These are the things that I fear and that I'm embarrassed about. And we can all encourage each other?”

Everything would change. It would all be lifted. Haley, I relate to you so much in that need to be on top of it all. Your story about the hotel, I was crawling inside, “Don't do it! Don't ask to stay with them!” It’s so silly!

You've got four boys, right? Yeah, I have four kids. There are so many things that absolutely must slip through the cracks. Why is that not OK? It doesn't make sense. It's all in our flesh and it's all a lie that we don't have to live by it anymore.

I love your message. I love what you are doing. It's so beautiful and so needed. It's amazing.

Always Enough, Never Too Much came out April 24th. I will link to all of that for you guys listening.  

For those who maybe want to just connect with you guys and watch you a little bit more personally like Jess, I know you're like me and an Instagram girl, I'll link to all that.

Is there anywhere else you want to lead people where ladies go to follow you and connect with you?

JESS:  I am on jessconnolly.com and yes, always on Instagram. Just can't get enough of it and that's about the only places you'll find me these days.

HAYLEY: I'm hayleymorgan.com and I am on Instagram some.

For me, I am starting to wonder what’s next? Where are we going with this? I am always thinking where our attention is going to next? Where are the younger women going to be placing their attention? So, I'm going to be experimenting a lot in this coming year and seeing what fits with the rhythms in my life and the rhythms of what other people are listening to online.

I'm sure that there will be 10 different things that I try and maybe one that works in the coming months.

ALLIE: Perfect. We'll link to all of that so you guys can connect with Jess & Haley.

I’m so excited for this book to get into the hands of so many women. I'm proud of you guys for first of all, busting stuff out like psychos. Jess, you've done Dance, Stand, Run. Wild and Free was recent.

JESS: Hayley just finished her book. It comes out in the fall.

ALLIE: Yeah, you guys are awesome. I'm so inspired by you and this is great. Thank you so much for your time.  

I will link to everything in the show notes and I'll talk to you next time!

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This was an episode of The Purpose Show.  Thank you so much for tuning in.  If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, head to alliecasazza.com for free downloads, courses, classes and to learn more about what the next step might look like for you.  I am always rooting for you. See ya next time!

Hey mama! Just a quick note, this post may contain affiliate links.

 

Ep 035: Coffee + Questions with Allie

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I love doing these monthly Q+A’s for you guys! I get a lot of questions and when I notice the same questions coming in, I really enjoy answering them. One of the most common questions I get asked is why we decided to homeschool, how it has made our lives simpler/harder, and how it helps our family mission. I also share the items that make my life easier (especially as a mama!) and my tips on decision making. Grab some coffee and enjoy this month’s Q+A!

 
 

In This Episode, Allie Discusses:

  • Several items that make her life easier, especially as a mom.

  • The reason she decided to homeschool her kids and how it makes it simpler, harder or helps her family mission.

  • The benefits she sees from making the commitment to homeschool.

  • Tips on decision making.

Mentioned in this Episode:

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Tell every hour where to go before it happens, so you can rock yo #momlife.

  • Discover how much time you need, how much you have, and how you can get sh*t done with this digital download.
  • Figure out the best time for you to start your day.
  • Get an aerial view of your week so you can see more clearly where there is margin. 

who doesn't love a GIVEAWAY?

Reviews are everything on iTunes! Would you take a minute and click here to leave a review? Email hello@alliecasazza.com with a screenshot of your review on iTunes. You'll be entered to win one of Allie's amazing courses for FREE!  

If you have a question, comment or a suggestion about today’s episode, or the podcast in general, send me an email at hello@alliecasazza.com or connect with me over on Facebook & Instagram


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Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to.  I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days.  I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it.  Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and i know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood.  I’m Allie Casazza and this is the The Purpose Show.

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Hey friends! Welcome to another coffee and questions episode. In case you don't know, this is a monthly episode that I put out and it's really fun! I feel like it's a good opportunity for me to address some of the common questions that I get sent. It’s usually via Instagram messenger, or my assistant gives them to me from getting them in my email.

When we get something multiple times, I like to address it and I want to be helpful. I can't answer every single message in question that I get in real time, but I can do this. So, let's dive back into another coffee and questions episode.

I make it a tradition to actually have coffee with me when I do this because, I wish that I could have a cup of coffee and sit and have a casual chat with each and every one of you on a regular basis. It literally would be my dream. I would love that. And it's not possible.

I like to really calm down, just take a deep breath and make these episodes really casual, like Chit Chat. So, I do have a cup of Starbucks right now because I am out of coffee in my house.

I'm excited to dive in, sit and relax with you guys, and answer a few of your recent questions. Let's dive in.

QUESTION #1: What are some of the top physical items or material items that you'd say have made your life easier, in particular your mom life?

My mom life is my mom life, but I get what you're saying. This is a great question. I really thought about this and I came up with four things.

The first one would be my Samsung Robo Vac. These things have been around for years and I always was skeptical. It seems like super excess and a little unnecessary. But I got one. When we moved into our new house we had to go get a new refrigerator. They had this Black Friday week special going on where if you a big appliance over a certain amount you get the Robovac for free. We just got it because of that deal. I thought, “Well, I guess that’s cool.” It has been so amazing. It has totally changed my life. Honestly, I'm so glad that I got that little vacuum for free. Now knowing how helpful it is, I absolutely would have paid over full price for it. It's been amazing.

It's really cut down on my time. I never, never, never, seriously never, pull out the vacuum for downstairs anymore. In my house we have hardwood floors on the lower level of the house and then there's carpet upstairs and tile in the bathrooms. Downstairs the little vacuum sits tucked away behind the dining room table area against the wall. You can't really see it unless you're going to sit down on that side of the table. I can push the remote and tell him where to go and he will do his thing. He picks up all the cereal pieces and crumbs. He picks up so much.

It's a He. Of course, I call it a “he”. He picks up so much that I didn't see. We have a little broom and dustpan downstairs that we use for quick cleanups, if someone spills something or whatever. We'll go through just out of habit and sweep up.

But then if I run the Robovac later, he gets full again of stuff that I didn't see. He'll go over the rug; he'll go over everything. He doesn't stop just because there's a rug, he'll totally go over. He goes under all the furniture, underneath the TV console, underneath the sofas, underneath a table, all the chairs, everything. He's amazing.

He goes underneath the cabinetry all the way to the baseboards underneath the kitchen cabinets. He's great. It's so helpful. He really cuts down on my time. I run him once a day. It’s a habit. If I'm leaving in the evening, I turn him on while we're out of the house. It's great. This has really, really changed my life.

I think they're all just as good. I've talked to a lot of people and I specifically asked a friend of mine, who I know has a different brand than I do. I have a Samsung, I don't know exactly what it's called. I will link to it in the show notes, but it's a Samsung one. It's not even the Roomba.

I know the Roomba was great too, but it's just the Samsung brand of whatever the Roomba is. I'll link to the one that I have specifically, but it has been great. Totally worth the money. Of course, I didn't spend the money but I would have if I had known how amazing it was.

That has really cut down on my time, really simplified my life. You guys know that I am really big on delegating and honestly that is a form of delegation for sure. And I think it's worth every penny to delegate running the vacuum on your lower level or whatever.

This is a silly one, but the other thing that I would say has made my life a lot better is a great pair of tennis shoes. Again, this might sound silly, but I dress pretty simply. I really like to get dressed and I like to feel put together. Even if I'm just running errands or hanging out, I don't feel good unless I'm somewhat put together.

I have a couple pairs of tennis shoes that have really been game changers for me. Two of them are Nike, and one of them is Adidas. Super cute, trendy, sporty tennis shoes that can transition from being worn with activewear or even jeans and a tee shirt. I wear these tennis shoes all the time in rotation. They go with almost every outfit. They're just really comfortable. I can wear them to Disneyland or Legoland, now that we have Legoland passes, instead. I can wear them when I'm running errands or when I'm just cleaning up around the house.

I have gone out with them. They look cute in any setting and they're super comfortable. They are not too pricey, but definitely worth a little bit more of an investment than say going to Target and grabbing a pair of $25 shoes that are going to be uncomfortable and they're not even a good a brand and they were out super quick.

One of them is the Nike Tanjuns. They are the black ones with the white bottoms that I wear all the time and I get asked about all the time. Then I'll link to the other two.

I like to have a couple of different pairs, just kind of in rotation, that look good with different outfits and I wear those pretty much every single day. Those have made my life a lot easier.

I just feel put together. I feel cute, sporty and trendy. I can wear them with skinny jeans, workout pants or my leggings. They just work all the time and they make my life super easy. They transition well from run errands to the baseball field for practice at night, or whatever it is I'm doing.

That might seem like an insignificant one, but seriously, I think about it all the time. I recently wore out my original pair of Nike Tanjuns and I went right back and bought another pair of the exact same ones.

I like to switch things up, but if I buy something again, it's really, really good. I will link to my favorite pairs of tennies and you guys can pick whatever you want if you want to get something.

But that has been a real style staple for me and really made my life easier in that way.

I would say another one has to do with the kids and that is our trampoline. We got the kids a 12-foot trampoline for Christmas. It was their family gift and it has been so amazing. They are seriously out there on that thing all the time.

They have a bunch of games they made up that they play on the trampoline. They use it to pretend they're exploring, pretend they're in the circus. They bring it into all the stories and games they make up together. They use that thing all the time. It's awesome. It gets them outside. Often, they'll go out there to play on the trampoline and they'll end up staying out there longer and playing something else.

It's been really, really great for homeschooling, especially if the kids are getting antsy, can't seem to focus, and I'm getting frustrated because it's just been a day. I'll say, “OK guys, five-minute trampoline break.” I'll set the timer and they'll go and jump their little hearts out, get all their energy out. They'll come back in and totally be calmer and ready to keep going with school.

It has been amazing. Brian and I love having a trampoline so I'll link to the trampoline that we have as well.

Then the last thing is I would say is I got a large capacity washer and dryer when we moved into the new house. There was already a washer and dryer here, but they were terrible. The guy said, “I'm just going to leave those there. You can keep them.”

And yeah, no, they were awful. The dryer was a piece of junk and was frying the clothes. It just was awful. I decided, you know what, I've paid my dues. I've had a lot of crappy machines. I do laundry every day. I have a lot of people in my house. I've got a lot of laundry to wash, as minimal as I am. If you have a lot of people in your house, you have a lot of laundry to wash. So, I'm going to invest in a good washer and dryer.

I got mine at Best Buy and they are Samsung as well. I'll link to them. I love them. I think they have them in black and white, which is awesome. I found that they had these. I didn't even know they had these, because I've just always had secondhand stuff.

I have a large capacity washer and dryer, so the barrel on the inside is huge and can handle two or three hampers’ worth of stuff. It actually gets the whole load clean even if you fill it. It's amazing.

I went ahead and invested in the large capacity washer and dryers and it has been so great. On “linens day,” when I've got to wash all the bed sheets, the quilts. Every once in a while (this is rare) I'll do all the curtains in the house. Bella and Leland both have weird allergies where they get sniffly if there's too much dust, so I will wash all the curtains just to make sure. I'm actually really grateful for that because it keeps me like super clean. I don't know a lot of people who wash their curtains, but because they are like that, I kind of have to do it. It makes everything super clean and I'm grateful for that.

If somebody gets sick and we've got a bunch of linens to wash, or we have to do all the bed sheets, or maybe I fell out of my rhythms for the weekend and I’m behind on the laundry, I can do a giant load, that's really three loads at one time. It doesn't make the washer weird or get bumpy and crazy. It's awesome.

The dryer is also large capacity. I can do the big load in the washer and then the dryer can handle that same load. I love, love, love my washer and dryer.

I feel like one thing that I've really learned recently is if you can afford it, invest your money in the things that you use all the time.

We have an amazing refrigerator. We have an amazing washer and dryer. I've got my go-to tennies that are Nike and Adidas name brands that I invested in and that I love. Invest in the things that you really use a lot.

I have a great Curling Iron too. I can link to that for you guys too. That's not something that necessarily makes my life easier, but things that I use all the time.

I like to have as good as I can afford because it's an investment. I am using my washer and dryer every single day. It's been amazing. It really helps.

I'll link to that for those who want to know and of course, everybody has a different budget and there's different seasons of life. If you guys listened to episode six, you know that I understand not even being able to wrap your head around what I'm saying right now because you're just trying to get through to tomorrow, but you're asking me what physical items make my life easier. Those are the four that immediately came to mind.

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Hey friends! Have you gotten the Time-Blocking Mom Workbook yet? If not, you need to check this out!

It is a workbook that I put together myself. It is all about time blocking, which I am big on. I help you navigate this in a flexible way, so you are not stuck to this unrealistic, rigid schedule.

Basically, think of this as a budget for your time. You are telling every hour of your day where to go before it comes. Because the fact is, we all have the same amount of hours in the day. We can complain that there is not enough time in the day and we can never get our stuff done, but the fact is we have the responsibility on our own selves to be intentional with our days and with our time and with what we are doing with that time.

So, you might as well own up to the fact that you have the same amount of hours in the day that everyone else has, and tell each hour where to go instead of playing the victim and complaining about the fact that there is just not enough time to do everything you need to do, right?

It is only $9.00. Go get it. The Time-Blocking Mom Workbook is very in-depth and is an easy download. You can do it on the computer and fill it out. Or print it out if you are a pen and paper kind of girl. For $9.00 you can take control of your time and your day.

Go check it out! Go to Alliecasazza.com/timeblocking  for more information about the workbook and to download for just $9.00.

Check it out. Let me help you get more intentional with your days.

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QUESTION 2: Why did you decide to homeschool? How does it make life simpler or harder or help your family mission? I'm wondering what your motivation was and the benefits that you see from making the commitment to homeschool your kids.

This is another great question. Honestly, I never really decided ahead of time that I would homeschool. It's sort of something that I fell into as a parent once I started being a mother. If you guys have followed me for any length of time, you'll know that we've put our kids in school. We've had them home. We've done charter school, homeschooling, public school. We homeschool right now because it works out really well for our lifestyle, practically speaking. Brian and I worked really hard together to get out of the typical nine to five job schedule.

When our kids were in school, it really sucked because the school system is on a normal schedule, so we put us back into the “OK, we can take vacations when everybody else is taking vacations again,” even though we had worked so hard to get out of that normal schedule where we're waiting for the weekend to do fun stuff, and we can't just leave on a Wednesday and go do something fun together. We had worked so hard and gotten out of that.

We put our kids in school because the business was a little too overwhelming. We needed to take a break from homeschooling and running the business at the same time. It was hard because we were back in that “normal, everybody else” schedule. One of the bigger reasons that we homeschool is not what everyone else usually homeschools for.

We don't hate the public school system. We don't want to protect our kids from everything and keep them home and sheltered with us. We're not, I guess, the “typical homeschoolers” in that way.

One of the bigger reasons that we homeschool is because it works really well for our family. It helps us to stay flexible. We’re together all the time. We can do whatever we want, whenever we want. We can take a vacation in the middle of the week, in the middle of the winter if we want to. While everyone else is still at school, we can leave for two months at a time and it's totally fine. We can work from wherever. We can do school from wherever. We can take breaks and not work and not do school whenever and it works really, really well for us. We like that freedom, we like to be more in control of our scheduling and our life, and homeschooling lines right up with that. That's probably the biggest reason.

And then, of course, there is the more “purpose driven” reason to where it's where the peace is right now. I wrote a blog post a couple years back that talked about how I don't know exactly what we're going to do in the future. I don't claim that we're always going to homeschool.

If everything went perfectly well, nothing dramatic happened, nothing that I can't even imagine took place, and everything went ideally - yeah, we would homeschool all the way through until the kids are not in school anymore.

But I don't know if that's going to happen. I may burn out or there may be something crazy that happens in our life that just causes us to press pause. I mean, that happened even last year.

We just couldn't do both (homeschooling and the business) anymore. We had to take a break so we could hire some people and delegate some of our role in the business. It was way too much.

We definitely do see a purpose in having our kids with us most of the time and being the ones to teach them, train them and pour into them during the day. I love that my kids are together a lot and that they have a lot of play time. They're not in school for seven, eight hours a day. It's just a couple of hours. It's split up however they need it to be, and it's very tailored to them. I see a lot of benefits in their education from being homeschooled versus going to public school, especially since I did experience what public school is like.

I definitely have those reasons, but they're very, very small in comparison. It works really well for our family right now. It always has, except for that small season last year with the business, which we solved that problem by hiring and getting some things off of our plate.

Hope that answers your question. Then the part about does it make it simpler or harder? It definitely simplifies it from not having to drop off and pick up, and run our lives by someone else's schedule, by the school system schedule.

It makes their life simpler in the ways that I listed, like being able to take vacations and go to Legoland when it's empty. Being able to run errands with our kids and go to doctor's appointments without having to sign somebody out, go pick them up and ask for permission. It makes my life a lot simpler in terms of paperwork because I can't believe the amount of paperwork that came home from the kid's school with them every day.

The way it makes it harder… I used to think that homeschooling made life a little bit harder in terms of you have the weight of your kid's education on you. But you know why I really don't think that anymore? Honestly, at this point, I really think that homeschooling has made my life simpler.

It is harder to do the whole drop off/pick up and then help them with homework. To only get a few hours in the evening with them while you're trying to race home to do homework and then race to baseball practice and get dinner on the table. It was just so hurried and so rushed. In my opinion and for our family, there really isn't anything that homeschooling could do to me that would make that harder than when the kids were in public school.

QUESTION 3: This might sound weird, but I would love tips on making decisions. You obviously live a very full life and you must be good at figuring out “yes or no and why or why not” pretty easily. I often find myself agonizing over decisions- sometimes big ones, sometimes small ones. I would love to hear your advice and thoughts on this.

Thank you for your question, whoever sent this. I don't have names, but yeah, that's a great question.

I think one of the biggest things for me is giving myself space to decide.

You guys might know that on Fridays I have meetings pretty much the whole first half of the day. Every Friday morning till the afternoon is full of meetings. That's when I handle any kind of meetings that I need to have. It's on Fridays so that I can batch my schedule and know “OK Fridays I'm getting in meeting mode.”

One of those meetings that I have every week is with Ashley, who handles press for me. A lot of the time she will have a list of things for me that have come in that week, like opportunities, and she'll ask me, “Hey, this person reached out. They want to do this with you. Do you want to do this? Yes or no?” A lot of the time I'll get like a gut feeling. I'll just know, “yeah, that's a no.” But also sometimes I tell her, “You know what, let's just be quiet for one second and let me think about it” and I'll literally take a minute and say, “OK, no, we're not going to do that.” I just need to think about it for a second right then and there. But also sometimes I'll say, “You know what, let me just think about that” and I'll take the rest of the day or even that weekend and get back to her the following week.

Give yourself permission to have space to make a decision. I think we often think a decision needs to be made right here, right now. Especially if somebody is asking us on a phone call or in person, or even in text. There's like an unspoken pressure to answer right then and right now. And, of course, it's not that Ashley was pressuring me or anything. We're just having a meeting and trying to knock out tasks and go through things. I think get out of that mindset of having to know right now and just give yourself permission to take a beat and take some time to decide.

Because what that does is let the idea sift around in your subconscious a little bit. You get a gut feeling, “You know what, I really do want to do that. I'm going to say yes to that,” or the opposite, “You know, I really just don't feel like that fits my life and I'm not going to do that.”

By giving yourself some space, you give yourself a chance to think about it, let it settle and really get a gut reaction to making a decision about something. I definitely think that's pretty powerful for me in terms of making big decisions.

And then, of course, for me prayer is a big part of that too. Talking it out with God and letting Him know how I feel, what I'm worried about. What I would like about this decision and what I would not like. What I'm concerned about. Then just letting him bring me peace and I just follow the peace in my life.

If I feel peaceful about saying “no” to something, I will say no. If I feel peaceful about saying “yes” to something, I will say yes.

Then also I think, just weighing it out and asking yourself, (If the decision is some kind of extracurricular activity for your kids) “Why would I say yes to this? Is it because I want to say yes to my kid. I want to make them happy? Or is it out of obligation? Is it out of fear? Where is this coming from? Is this going to serve my family? Is it going to serve our calendar? Is it going to serve me? Is it going to serve my child in a way that’s worth all this time? How much time is this going to require of us? How much free time do I feel we really have? Should I wait until baseball is over until we joined this thing? Can we handle it right now? How much money is it going to cost? Is this worth the investment?”

Weighing out your options and really looking at it. I think we often overestimate how much time we really have in a given week, month or even day. Take a step back and look at it.

Sometimes you willingly step into a busier season. For example, personally, I know that towards the end of this year we're going to be heading into a very relaxed, home-all-the-time, saying-no-to-a-lot-of-things season of our life. I know that some things are going to be happening in our family that we're going to take a beat, take a breath. Work less. Say “yes” less. Out of the house less. We're probably going to take a break from baseball, sports, horseback lessons and things like that towards the end of this year, late fall and holidays.

I know that we're in a busier season right now and I'm OK with that because they know that things are going to ebb and flow and we're not going to stay here.

Right now, both of the boys are in baseball. They're on the same team, so we've got a practice and a game every week and every once in a while they throw in two games a week. So, that’s two to three nights a week for baseball or Saturday morning, depending.

Bella's horseback riding lessons once a week.

The kids wanted to do this Minecraft- themed engineering class. That's only a four- week segment, but you know, that's once a week right now. We just actually finished the last one today.

Then Leland has guitar lessons twice a week as part of his homeschool.

There's a lot going on.

And we work, we run the business. We are doing homeschooling four days a week. We have church on Sundays. Like it's a lot. Every day, there’s something, we're leaving the house for something.

But you know, it's good. It's wholesome for us right now. It's serving us right now. The boys are doing great in baseball. They love being on the same team. We make it a family affair. We all go together. We watch them. We cheer for them. And the other two kids play near the baseball field while the boys are doing their games and practices.

Bella is loving being back with horses. That's her passion.

Leland is just doing amazing in guitar. He's learning so much and he's super passionate about music. That's great. It's a part of our homeschool day so it's not like in the evening like everything else is.

It's been really good. Yeah, we're busier and it's tiring. We hit our pillows at the end of every night exhausted but in a good way. And it's just a season.

We had a very slow winter season before this started. We willingly went into this knowing, “OK, this is going to be something just about every day, but we're good with that.” We just make sure we have one day a week. It's carved out purely for rest, getting restored. That's good. It's just a season.

I think you have to weigh out a lot of stuff.  “Is this going to be good for us right now? Is this too much?”

It's OK for you to change. You can't know, “OK, one activity per kid all the time for forever.” You have to wait and go season by season.

What if you have another baby next year? You’re probably not going to be OK doing everything that you're doing now when your youngest is five years old, or whatever your situation is. You have to kind of let life happen and go accordingly, if that makes sense.

So that was good! Good questions, guys! I hope that was helpful and encouraging for you all. I love these episodes. I can't wait for the next one!

Thanks for listening and I'll talk to you guys next time.

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This was an episode of The Purpose Show.  Thank you so much for tuning in.  If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, head to alliecasazza.com for free downloads, courses, classes and to learn more about what the next step might look like for you.  I am always rooting for you. See ya next time!

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