Ep 056: Slowing Down with Nichole Nordeman

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Chaos is a normal part of life, especially as moms. And it is important that we remember to slow down in the chaos and not wish it all away. You know, those moments spent begging for your little one to walk or talk, to sleep through the night, to hurry up and do the next thing. Because there will come a day when your kids are grown up and you will wish for those moments again. The moments you won’t ever get back; the moments you tried so hard to rush through.

Nichole Nordeman is known for her music as a Christian artist but she is also a mother of 2 and author. Her book, Slow Down: Embracing the Everyday Moments of Motherhood, is such a calm and easy read. It's one of those books you’d want to have on your bookshelf to reference here and there when you need a reminder to really be present and just be with your kids. Her mantra is to lower the bar of expectations we place on our lives and to slow down, embracing the everyday moments of life.

*Note, if you aren’t a mom, this episode is still for you! There is SO much wisdom in this episode that we can all use when it comes to learning to slow down and enjoying the everyday moments of life.

 
 

In This Episode, Allie + Nichole Discuss:

  • Ways you can slow down and be present with your family in the midst of chaos.

  • The value of saying “I don't know” to life’s big questions, because there are a lot of question marks and we don’t have to know all the answers.

  • Practical things you can do to slow down and take time for yourself.

  • How lowering your expectations will free you to pause and slow down easier.

Mentioned in this Episode:

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The Supermom Vault is a library of inspiration that 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. If you are looking for more than just podcast episodes, this is definitely the place to go! 


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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 Purpose Show.

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ALLIE: Hey, beautiful friends! Okay. I'm stoked for this interview. Nichole Nordeman is joining me today.

She has been such a role model for me in my life. When I was growing up, I had such an interest in music. I love music. I still do. It's a huge part of my life. When my parents saw that, they really encouraged me to listen to positive music, lots of Christian music. I was one of those kids who just dove all the way into the Christian rock scene and lots of Jars Of Clay, DC Talk, Amy Grant, and Nichole Nordeman, of course. She was an integral part of my faith as I was growing up.

I forgot to mention this when we actually did our interview, but one of her songs, a single called “Holy,” a beautiful worship song, we actually played at mine and Brian's wedding. It's just been a really big part of my life.

My best friend in the whole wide world growing up. We loved her and all those female Christian artists. We just looked up to them so much. We listened to her nonstop. We just love her. I told my friend, Juliette, that I was having her on. She was freaking out and was so excited. It's just a big deal, so I'm kind of nerding out today. I feel like Nichole is just such a specific part of my life. It's just funny and it's weird to be talking with her. I'm so excited!

Nichole is a Christian music artist. She has been for so long. She's just an amazing singer. She's also an incredible person. She handles being in the spotlight with such grace and I really admire her for that. She's a mother of two and now she's an author.

I have read over the last few weeks her book, Slow Down: Embracing the Everyday Moments of Motherhood. It is such a sweet read. If you're wanting to get back into reading after a break, if you've never really been a reader or you want a break from hitting the ground hard with self-help books and bettering yourself and all of those types of things, this is just a really great calm read.

It's one of those books you'd want to have on your bookshelf for all time to reference here and there when you need a reminder to really be present and just be with your kids. Nichole speaks so much grace in this episode. I love how she answers each question. It is so laced with grace and wisdom and this very calming vibe, for lack of a better word. This interview was great.

Let's welcome Nicole.

ALLIE: How are you today?

NICHOLE: Great. How are you today?

ALLIE: I'm so good. I'm on my fourth cup of coffee.

NICHOLE: Wow, that's impressive. I'm impressed.

ALLIE: It is my last day of work until a four-week break.

NICHOLE: That's so nice.

ALLIE: Yeah. I'm just in that place where I'm just tense and it's just been long, like constantly producing content. I just need a break.

NICHOLE: You’re crawling across the finish line right now with your coffee.

ALLIE: I'm so excited to have you here. You don't even know. You have been such a huge part of my life. Okay. The album, I think it was your second one where it's like your face and the wind is blowing your hair back.

NICHOLE: Um, yes there were a couple of fan-blowing covers as I recall.

ALLIE: If someone were to make a collage of “Allie’s growing up process” that photo of that album would have been on there because it was such a big part of my faith as I was getting older and right next to The Newsboys, DC talk.

NICHOLE: That's right. That's good company to keep.

ALLIE: Yeah. Oh my gosh. I just have to tell you this random story. (Daniel, if you want to edit this out, I won’t blame you.) Okay. So, when I was growing up, I really loved music and my parents really encouraged me to hear Christian music positives. And you were a huge part of that and, like I said, DC Talk. I started to want to go to concerts and my mom was like, “I'll take you,” but it was all like Jars Of Clay, and all of that.

And so, we went to this DC Talk concert and my mom is very extroverted, just the life of the party. She's a social butterfly. I’m like, “If I could just disappear...” That's why I like podcasting.

NICHOLE:  There's a nice little, safe, introvert buffer.

ALLIE:  Yes, exactly. And so, I'm there. I don't know how old I was, but I was young. Then all of a sudden three of the guys started to stage dive and go into the audience and I see Toby Mac coming up my aisle. I'm like, “No, I know what’s going to happen, no, no.” And my mom goes, “Oh my gosh, he’s coming. Touch him! Touch him!” We’re at a Christian concert. And she's like, “Touch him!” He comes up to the seat next to me and I'm just standing there and my mom shoves me over. I fall on the floor. And I remember looking up and Toby Mac just looking down at me and like “mouthing” because he didn't want his mic to pick up. {laughing} I just wanted to die! And that is the reason that I never saw you in concert because I did not want to go with my mom.

NICHOLE: Well and I don't do a lot of stage diving so that would not have been a problem for us. But that is such a great story and I hope you have the chance to tell him that story someday. That is amazing.

ALLIE: I hope so too. It was so embarrassing. So, I didn’t go to a lot of concerts after that with my mom.

NICHOLE: You’ll be talking about that in therapy for a while.

ALLIE: For sure! Oh my gosh. So, okay. So, you are a mom of two and you live in Tulsa, right?

NICHOLE: Yeah. I’m in Tulsa, Oklahoma as we speak.

ALLIE: We did a year of RV traveling with the kids and we got caught in the scariest storm.

NICHOLE: Storms do not play around in Oklahoma. It took me a little while to figure that out because I grew up in Colorado and I lived in Texas for a while and Nashville for a while, but nothing like… I've just never experienced insane weather like Oklahoma. It is not playing.

ALLIE: Yeah, it was scary. And being on the road and in the camper… But after the weather cleared, we liked it.

NICHOLE: Once things stop flying through the air, it's a nice place to live.

ALLIE: Totally. Okay. So, your book, which I have in front of me and have had in front of me recently because I read it… Slow Down. It's based on a song that you wrote while you were at your son’s elementary school?

NICHOLE: It was his 5th grade graduation. I offered to sing at this little graduation thing for his 5th grade class and then I sort of forgot about it - forgot that I'd offered. And so, the night before I was like, “Oh crap! I have to sing something in front of middle schoolers,” which is a fate worse than death already because that's terrifying.

I was just trying to figure out what to sing. And I ended up making the mistake of pulling out albums of when he was a baby and reminiscing, just a major meltdown, walk-through memory lane, and I just wrote this song. It literally just poured out of me the night before his little graduation. I thought that was going to be the whole life of the song right there, just for Charlie and his class and that would be the end of it. But it grew into something a little bit more.

ALLIE: Yeah, and so it went viral, which I feel like even viral is kind of an understatement. What, it had like 30 million views or just under that or something like that?

NICHOLE:  On Facebook it had 70 million views I think. It was crazy. You don't ever aim for something like that because you'll never hit it. It was just a freak thing. It was so fun because it made me feel like, “Yeah, this is such a universal thing that parents feel. This is all going too fast and I can't slow it down. How do I make the most of every tiny, tiny moment?”

ALLIE: Yeah, for sure. I'll put the link, for everyone listening, to the song, but it's rough.

It’s a tear jerker.

But your book is. I mean, I like it. It definitely is based on that but I love the action steps. We talked about that before we recorded. I’ll all about what are you going to do about this? How are you going to slow down and writing prompts, I guess, if you would describe it that way. So, I love it. It's so good.

But I wanted to ask you, how have you found ways to be “all there” and be present in the midst of the chaos?

NICHOLE: Yeah. And it doesn't stop being chaos. I remember a friend saying to me when I had little, little kids and they had older kids, I remember her saying, “You know, you end up trading physical exhaustion for emotional exhaustion.”

So, you're in that stage where it's, I haven't showered and it's diapers or it's toddlers or whatever, and you just think, “There's no end to this. I can't wait until they're more independent and grown up.” Then they are grown up and more independent and it takes on a whole other kind of chaos - a little bit of emotional chaos. Are we talking about important issues? Am I doing the right amount of balance between exposing them to “real world” and also sheltering them from stuff they don't need to be exposed to?

It's ongoing. I mean, I just think the chaos of motherhood is at every stage and age. I think sometimes for me self-compassion is a huge part of slowing down because I am a “type A” person. I like things a certain way. I have an idea in my head about how a moment should appear, whether it's a big moment like Christmas or a little moment like dinner around the picnic table outside, and I think just letting go of the standard is really important for me. Like this moment might not be exactly or at all like you thought it was going to be, and don't miss the beauty of that unraveling. Don't miss the goal that's in there just because it's not unfolding the way that you wanted it to, or the way your mom would have, or any of that stuff. Just have some self-compassion. You know what? It's okay. It's okay. It does not have to be perfect.

ALLIE: Yeah. It seems simple but it's really powerful. My daughter is getting a little older. She's nine. She's my oldest and my only girl, and I struggle with feeling like this has to be good cause she's my only girl…

And so, she wanted to go to Olive Garden, which I can eat basically nothing there. But we went there and I was thinking in my head on the drive, “This is going to be so great. We're going to talk about things that I want to talk about.” I was building up this expectation. We get there and I'm thinking she's been inching towards just getting ready for “the talk” and just how it all works. And so, I'm just wanting to pour into her.

All she wanted to talk about was horses and ponies, and the birthing process of horses, and how do you clean a hoof? I don't know if she thinks I'm a rancher but I was so irritated. It was ruining it.

She had to go the bathroom, and I'm standing in there and the Lord totally came over me and was like, “This is good. You don't want to hurry these big conversations. She's still interested in horses and ponies. Just be here for this because it's never going to come back.”

NICHOLE: That's so wise to recognize that and just shift your expectations, shift your focus instead of forcing a thing that was your anticipated moment and it didn't go as planned. I love that you just stayed open enough to let it become something else.

ALLIE: Yeah, and I love that you talk about that in the book too, that you're always waiting for the next thing. When are you going to be out of diapers? When are you going to eat solid food? Oh my gosh. Like my nipples. Please just stop.

NICHOLE: And when are you going to talk? When are you going to walk?

ALLIE: Yeah. I want to have girl talk. But you miss “right now” and it's so easy to get into that place. And then you said, ‘You've got these moments of pain, sadness and even guilt looking at photos and stuff. It's all going so fast. Wait a second, but you are the one who wanted to go to the next level.

NICHOLE: That's right. Yeah. When I first started having babies, I think there was Facebook, probably Twitter was just happening, but there wasn't this constant voyeurism of our lives. There wasn't Instagram. There wasn't Pinterest. There wasn't any of that. And I am thankful for that because I would have easily fallen into… it's soul death, I think, when we spend our lives lining ourselves up, our parenting up, and our children up with other people around us.

Even if it's in a celebratory way. Sometimes I can just scroll through Instagram and feel so bad about myself without even realizing it. About my appearance, about my kids, about my house, about my bank account, whatever it is. I think that's been a huge part of slowing down for me too, is just shutting that stuff down.

There's so much talk about making sure our kids are handling social media responsibly and that we're policing that and no one's policing us. What about us? Someone needs to be shutting my phone off and my computer off because it is so damaging, I think, to how we're living our lives.

ALLIE: Yeah, for sure. And social media has been around for a while, but recently it's really become this outlet for advertisements and promotions. First of all, peeps be creeping on me because they know what I looked at my Amazon recently. But I've noticed that it's so fear based. What will happen when you retire? It's easy on my tv to just turn it off or whatever. But now, on social media, it's everything you scroll through. Are you being present with your kids? Get this APP. It’s a lot of negative. I mean, it's there so it works, but…

NICHOLE: Obviously it works. You're right because the advertisers have had to try to find different avenues to sell their stuff because people aren't watching tv live much anymore. So, yeah, they're just sneaking it in anywhere they can. They're incredibly creative and subtle.

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Hey friend! It’s Allie! Have you heard of the Supermom Vault yet?

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.

The Supermom Vault is only $39.00 and is available at alliecasazza.com/allcourses.

Check it out! It’s a really good simple start.

Want more inspiration than just the podcast? Do you wish there were more episodes?  Want more details? Do you want videos? Do you want pdf’s? Do you want to download things and get your hands on something to really get you started when it comes to minimalism and simplifying your motherhood?

This is definitely the place to go!

Check it out!  Alliecasazza.com/allcourses.

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ALLIE: Okay. So, I wanted to ask you about one of my favorite things that you say in the book. I highlighted the crap out of it because it was amazing how you say it. Talk about saying “I don't know” in response to your kids. Can you talk about that?

NICHOLE: Yeah. You know, I think that because I grew up in the church and I grew up in a Christian home and I was always really involved in church life, Christian culture, (I went to a Christian school for all of my education) I didn't hear a lot of uncertainty from my parents, from my pastors or teachers. There was always this approach to teaching me, whether it was in my home, in school, or church, that was like, “This is how it is. This is what the Bible says.” If this is the question, this is the answer. It was just so linear and I really was drawn to that because I'm sort of a linear person. And then, like so many of us, I get launched out into the real world. For me that was college.

I was completely unprepared to have a real conversation with real people about faith or about anything really because I had a script and if you didn't follow my script then I didn't know how to engage you. So, I learned the hard way the value of saying “I don't know,” because there are a lot of question marks. There's a lot of “gray” and I know this is an uncomfortable place for people who are Christians.

But I have found that in having real conversations with my kids when they want to ask me something that I don't understand, instead of just knee-jerking and pointing to a scripture or distracting with an anecdote or whatever, the coping skills that we do, I have just found there's tremendous strength and just saying “I don't really know.”

You know, there's big questions about creation, heaven, death and sorrow. I've got a 14-year-old and we're having conversations about sexuality, and there's a lot there that sometimes I lead when I can and I'm concrete when I can be. And a lot of times I just say, “I'm not really sure. I'm still learning about that too. Let's find out together. Let's keep asking questions.” I think that creates a much safer space than “It is what it is” you know?

ALLIE: Yeah. And it's a good diffuser too, as an adult talking to other adults, especially with Christianity and all that's going on. Everyone freaking out about so many things. You know, we don't all have to claim that we know and point beautiful scripture at each other, like daggers.

It's so powerful to get into that practice. I really liked how you said that. I think I was thinking about it. Bella's nine, but my boys are still little, my youngest is three, and I think I was noticing that the lack of “I don't know” comes from the questions that the little ones are asking. How do these Lego’s connect together? How do they make Legos? Well, they have a mold and they make it out of plastic, and so you do kind of know everything. And so, it kind of feels weird. It really is kind of all of a sudden. I don't know. It feels really humbling to say that to them.

NICHOLE: Yes. But think about how much more your kids will feel such an open door with you as they grow older and they are coming home from school or having conversations with their peers or whatever. They are really looking for transparency and honesty from you instead of just a regurgitated thing that they probably have heard a million times. I think that creates a lot of room for growth and it says “you're safe here not knowing. We can not know together.”

ALLIE: Yeah, absolutely. It just cultivates so much honesty and realness. I love that.

Can I ask you, aside from motherhood, how do you slow down for your own self? Self-care is kind of overused, but have you found that you translated this over to your own self at all?

NICHOLE: I try. I'm a mom. I'm an artist. I run a business. I run a home. There are days when it's just a complete disaster. It's just all garbage. And I would say I have no balance whatsoever. There are those days for sure.

But I think for me it's tiny moments. It's not like, “You know what? I need to book a spa day.” Okay. That's just not happening. It's just not happening in my life. I'm not booking a spa day. That's not time for myself. It's more like “I need 10 minutes - 10 minutes to walk around the block and just find center again.” Find myself again, take a deep breath.

For me, reading is huge and has been replaced so often by Netflix and TV shows. I always default to that now, and I used to default to books all the time. I'm trying to gravitate more towards reading. I feel like that's really good for my psyche and my spirit. It's calming, quiet, and it's not information in my face.

ALLIE: Well, it’s productive too, relaxing. You just feel better.

NICHOLE: Yeah, it's just little things. I love cooking. I love trying new recipes. Being in my kitchen with a glass of wine and making something new out of a cookbook is probably my favorite place to be ever. So, it's little stuff. Sometimes I'm great at it and other times I'm terrible at it.

ALLIE: Yeah. That's the best answer. It's hard when I asked that question and somebody has this elaborate, amazing answer. It sounds amazing but…

It’s just something little like taking the kids for a drive and putting the music up so they can't talk. Having a second. Something like that. We can all fit that in.

So, back to your book as we just kind of wrap up. I didn't know that it had other people in it too. It was really cool to read. It was like getting mommy advice from Shauna Niequist, Jen Hatmaker, Patsy Clairmont, Amy Grant. It was so great to read. Then you've got from you, your different “Hey, remember to slow down moments” from your own motherhood.

So, who was your favorite to have in there?

NICHOLE: Those are all friends of mine who were in the book and they are all also moms that I really admire. All those ladies have kids, you know? Amy Grant’s got a 30-year-old, and Natalie Grant has a 5-year-old. Those are all mothers that I really admire and I've been on tour with most of them.

Sitting in a tour bus or backstage, that's always what we ended up talking about is our kids. I just feel like over the years I've gleaned so much wisdom from those gals. I think it was just really powerful for me to get to kind of pick the best little nuggets that I could find from all those conversations and share them in this book. And I was so incredibly grateful and humbled that they would take the time to share as well.  

ALLIE: Yeah. And they're short and pointed, but like, “wow, that was a little truth bomb” in each one.

NICHOLE: Yes. Great little truth bombs all over for sure.

ALLIE: Okay. So, for someone listening who has maybe not had this realization of slowing down or has had it but didn't know what to do with it, how can we start to press pause and slow down?

NICHOLE: My mantra has really been “lower the bar.” I'm so tired of self-improvement things, books, podcasts, blogs. I feel like everybody is out to make more organized, thinner, happier, and whatever the thing is. And there's a space for all of that and I think it's great. But for me, lowering the bar in all areas of my life has just been so liberating.

I'm just not going to stress if it's not homemade. I am all about store bought. I'm all about being in the moment and not presenting a moment for everyone else. I did that for so many years where I would get to the end of a birthday party or Christmas and be like, “Well, I think that was awesome for everyone except me,” because you're just so busy creating a moment for other people.

So, I think maybe something concrete would be to make a list of all the areas in which you feel like you are barely keeping your head above water and then lower it by about 10 percent. Just lower the standard. Lower the expectations. Nobody dies. Everybody's just fine.

ALLIE: Yeah. It's okay to say “no.” It's okay to change your mind.

NICHOLE: It's more than okay. It's so important. It's such good modeling for our kids, for our children to hear us say, “I'm so sorry. I don't have room on my plate for that. I wish I did, but “no” has to be my firm answer.” That is huge modeling for them to learn how not to model the frayed, frantic mom who's spread so thin, serving and giving and just does everything for everyone else.

I don't want to model that for my kids. I want them to be servants and have giving hearts without giving up boundaries. I never had that growing up. So, I say just lower the standards and enjoy your life a lot more.

NICHOLE: Yeah, absolutely. Oh, I love that. Okay, so we're going to leave you guys there with those action steps.

We will link to the video for Slow Down (and the link also to some Kleenex on Amazon) and Nicole's amazing book. Guys, it's so good. It was such a sweet, easy read and just, oh my gosh, every page I read I just wanted to put it down and go sit on the floor with my kids. It was so good. Mission accomplished with what you were trying to do here. It is so good.

NICHOLE: I appreciate that. That means a lot to me. Thank you.

ALLIE: Thank you so much for your time and this awesome interview. I hope I will talk to you again.

NICHOLE: I do too and enjoy your break. Oh my gosh. You are actually going to slow down. You're really doing it.

ALLIE: I read this book over the last three weeks in bits and pieces and it was just like, “oh my gosh.” But I knew it was coming already and I just had to plug through, you know? You know how that is. You can’t just say “I need a break” and walk away. You have to plan it.

So, I knew it was coming and I'm just like, “Oh my gosh, I am so excited to breathe and not do all the things.”

NICHOLE: Good for you, girl. I'm happy for you.

ALLIE: Yeah. All right. Thank you.


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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!

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Allie Casazza

Allie Casazza , Murrieta, CA