Ep 080: Creating A Cozy Minimalist Home with Myquillyn Smith "The Nester"

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A book can teach you something new. It can inspire you to make positive changes in your life and can take you to a different level in your life. Reading is so important to me which is why I am excited for Allie Reads October here on the podcast! All month I am interviewing some amazing authors. We will talk about their books, life, and living a life of purpose and intention.

Myquillyn Smith is a blogger and an author. She's written The Nesting Place and her new book, Cozy Minimalist Home (which is right up my alley). Myquillyn and I talk about ways you can create a space that is both cozy and minimal in your home. She is really great at teaching her audience to create an atmosphere that allows them to live and focus on what really matters to them, and less about maintaining their stuff.

Use the hashtag #AllieReadsOctober to share with me this month. What are you reading? Did you get any of the books from the authors I’m talking to you about? Are you reading a different book? How are you taking this challenge to read more and putting it into action? I cannot wait to see what you share!

 
 

In This Episode Allie + Myquillyn Discuss:

  • Ways you can give cozy a purpose when it comes to creating a minimalist space in your home.

  • What it means to give your eyes a Sabbath on your home and why it is so powerful.

  • How you can bring your own sense of style into your home while still pursuing minimalism.  

  • The difference between a stuff manager and a home curator.

Mentioned in this Episode:


It’s giveaway time! Myquillyn’s book, The Cozy Minimalist Home, is incredible and I am SO excited to gift it to one of you. Head over to The Purpose Show Facebook Community for your chance to win! I cannot want to connect with you this month on all things book related. #AllieReadsOctober

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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 Purpose Show.

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Hey, sweet friends! I'm so happy that October is finally here! For months I have been planning and dreaming this up for you and I'm so happy to finally unveil what it is I've been working on!

This month, October, is all about reading. We're calling it “Allie Reads October,” and the purpose behind this is for me to inspire and encourage you to read more often. Reading is such a gift. We take it for granted way too often, myself included, but reading is powerful. You literally have a whole new life in your hands when you read a book.

A book can teach you something new. It can inspire you to make positive changes in your life and can take you to a different level in your life. Reading is so important. I read all the time and I wish that I would have started sooner and so I'm taking that passion of mine and turning it into Allie Reads October. Every October here on The Purpose Show, we are turning it into author central.

I'm interviewing some amazing authors this month and we're talking about their books and I want to see you use this Hashtag. I'm going to be checking it every single day on Facebook and Instagram and I want you to use it. #alliereadsoctober.

Share with me. What are you reading? Did you get any of the books from the authors I’m talking to you about? Are you reading a different book? How are you taking this challenge to read more and putting it into action?

Let's celebrate this month October! Allie Reads October. We're going to talk about authors and books and encourage each other to read more books.

I encourage you to get other people involved in this. Get your kids involved. Encourage them, read with them, next to them or to them, or have them read in their own quiet time. Share this with your friends. Let's encourage each other to get better equipped to live an intentional life by reading more.

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Hi, sweet friends! Welcome to The Purpose Show! I'm so honored that I get to be a part of your day today and that you're taking time out of your busy life to listen to my show. I'm also honored at the guest that I got to have on today and so excited that you get to listen in on our conversation.

Myquillyn Smith is a blogger and an author. She's written The Nesting Place and her new book, which just came out, is called Cozy Minimalist Home and it is just right up my alley. And if you're here and you love The Purpose Show, it's right up your alley too. We dive into talking practicality when it comes to your home and decorating and how to create a space that is both cozy and minimal and that serves you and works for you.

So, I'm so honored to welcome my guest, Myquillyn Smith. Here's our conversation.

ALLIE: Hi, Myquillyn! Welcome!

MYQUILLYN:  Hey Allie! Thanks for having me today.

ALLIE: Yeah, I'm so glad that you're here. You are one of our authors for our October book month. And your book Cozy Minimalist Home, is your second book, right?

MYQUILLYN: It is, yeah. My first book was called The Nesting Place. It was all about embracing imperfection. And so, this one is more hands-on, how-to approach decorating in your home like a cozy minimalist.

ALLIE: Yeah, I love it. So, one of the main reasons that I wanted to have you here is because, I mean, we do something pretty similar. I talk to moms about simplifying their space and in doing that you really simplify your life, and you create an atmosphere that allows you to live and focus on what really matters and the people and less about maintaining your stuff. So, when you came across my desk, I was like, “Oh my gosh! This is amazing!”

I love that you really talk about this from a decorating perspective because while I love to decorate, I actually studied interior design like you and then ended up not…I just didn't like doing it for other people.

MYQUILLYN : Yes, I get that.

ALLIE: Yeah, I love it. I just want it to be for me. I don't know how to describe and teach that. It's just not my gifting at all, but it is for sure yours. So, I feel like everyone's going to be really excited about this episode and you're kind of filling this gap I have. I feel like I know how to do it, but I don't know how to show you how to do it and you do that so well.

MYQUILLYN : Well, thank you. You know, I didn't want to go in people's homes. I'm such an introvert. And so, I did some design school and I was like, “This is the pits. I don't want to go in people's houses and move their recliner.” But there's something about the internet and encouraging women to do things themselves, I can do that.

It's been like 11 years now. I'm one of the grandmothers of the Internet when it comes to that. It has been so fun. People can actually change their homes, which really in turn helps us change the way we function, and changes our lives in many ways.

ALLIE: Yeah, absolutely. I love it. So, I just want to dive right into this book and what it's about and just pick your brain a little bit.

Basically, the whole thing is cozy becomes clutter when there's no purpose behind it and that we don't have to have cozy and minimalism opposite ends of the spectrum. They can actually live together, which I love.

I actually have a really modern style. I like clean lines. I like a lot of white. So I feel like I kind of fall a little bit stereotypical minimalist in some ways, but I never want my home to feel like you can't sit down and put your feet up on the coffee table. I let my kids jump on the couches. I want my house to feel warm and welcoming and you talk about that same thing so well. That you can have cozy and minimalism in the same space and, you should really, because it serves such a purpose. So, can you talk about how we can give cozy a purpose and what you mean by that?

MYQUILLYN: Absolutely. I love that question. You know, cozy, really the whole purpose, is to be comfortable and to let us let our guard down when we come in people's homes.

I think for a long time I thought that cozy was a style. So I thought, “Oh, I want my home to be cozy so I need to get more and more pillows from Target, and more and more throws, and more things on my coffee table,” but that is just filling a house up. When you kind of flip it and think of the purpose of cozy is to serve the people, then you have a starting point and you also have a finishing point.

And that's what I could never grasp in the early years of making home was I never knew when it was finished. I just kept feeling like I needed to add more stuff.

But when I thought about cozy as that tool that I can use, same with minimalism, thinking of it as a tool. So instead of two opposite extremes, they actually can be BFFs, that are tools that we use in our home. So, the cozy brings in that comfortable feeling and the minimalism brings in that peaceful feeling. And I know all of us want both of those things in our home.

It just made sense to me and it kind of helped me find my way because I really admire minimalism and minimalists. I love that. But I also love beautiful things in my home and want it to feel warm and welcoming. There are so many of us, that's really what everyone wants. No one wants a cluttered home when it comes down to it. We might not behave like that, but you know, on paper we would say we don't want that.

And the same with a super sparse, unwelcoming, cold home. Minimalists don't want that either. So, we're all somewhere in the middle of that. It just depends on where we fall and a lot of that has to do with our personal style. But a cozy minimalist at the heart, when it comes to home, she wants the most amount of style with the least amount of stuff.

ALLIE: Yeah, I love that. Your book is divided up. I really feel like you kind of get to the point. It's not a difficult read. It's not super thick and loaded with stories. In the beginning, you just kind of talk about how you got here and your journey with this and then you dive right into like practicalities, which I love.

But in the beginning, you kind of talk about how you realized that you were more of a stuff manager instead of a home curator. I love the way you phrase that. So, can you talk about that and kind of unpack that and what's the difference?

MYQUILLYN: Yeah, you know, I didn't realize I was this stuff manager at the time. It took us moving from a bigger house to a smaller house, which is a trigger for many of us. And I realized I had collected a lot of stuff. I think it started back when we had a younger family and we would move into a home and we needed a chair for a desk and a lamp to work next to. So, we actually needed things for our home and so I would go thrifting. I would find it at a great price and give myself a high five. Like, “look what I did!”

But I didn't have that feeling of enough. I never knew when to call it, when I hit that line of okay, I have enough lamps, I have enough chairs. I just knew like, oh, if one looks great, I guess 10 more chairs would look 10 times as great. And I found them for a great deal for $7.

So that got me in a little trouble. I didn't trust that if I was good enough at finding a deal in the first place that I would be able to find it in the future. I had a lot of fear about, you know, what if I need that later, what if I get rid of it now and I need it. So, I was holding onto things out of fear.

Then when we moved it was a huge burden. I realized that I was spending a lot of time moving stuff, organizing stuff, taking care of stuff, washing stuff, fussing about stuff, tripping over stuff. And I'm like, I am a freaking stuff manager. This is crazy town. This is not how I want to live my life.

I felt like my stuff was in charge of me instead of me being the boss of my stuff, kind of like a museum curator, of really being intentional, which I know you appreciate, about what comes in and also what goes out.

When it comes to design, I think something no one ever talks about is the fact that we always have to be on our toes editing. I think we all can agree in our life we need that margin and white space, but we also need that on our walls, on our mantle, in our kitchen and in our bedroom. It covers so many areas of our life and I was ignoring that for a long time.

ALLIE: Yeah, for sure. I think we get kind of caught up in what everyone else is doing or what typically is done. I always use the example for my own story of the kitchen. I don't like to cook. It's just not my favorite thing. I started to, six or seven years ago now, figure out like, oh, my life is ruled by the maintenance of my things. I started to clear that. I stopped putting every single thing on the countertop. Only my coffee maker and my Kitchen Aid were there. I put the toaster oven, the crock pot and things that I used, but not every second, underneath the countertop and it cleared my counterspace. It takes me, like what, two seconds to pull out the crockpot to use it.

But the ambiance in my kitchen is so much lighter, I actually started to enjoy being in there. I would make cooking this ritual where I pour half a glass of wine, put some worship music on, and just be in my kitchen. And I was enjoying that space instead of maintaining stuff, going into my cluttered kitchen and then doing my least favorite thing at the end of a long day.

And it's so funny how just clearing, and I’ll get into it in a second how you talk about quieting that room, lightened my load so much and actually made me enjoy something that I was dreading. I mean every day I cooked and I hated it. It sucked. It matters, you know?

MYQUILLYN: Yes. It's such a great example and I think again, like for the longest time I was really attracted to like what you just said, but I assumed that meant like every space in my house needed to be cleared off.

But what you said is the perfect example. If we can give ourselves the gift of maybe one cleared off space per room and not worry about the rest. That’s such a nice baby step. You kind of become addicted to it because it's so nice to come home to.

It doesn't mean that your kitchen island is empty 24 hours a day. What it means is it's empty and ready for you to mess it up and use it and have life there. And that's the beauty of having a few designated empty spaces or surfaces in your home. It’s so that you can use them to the fullest, live in your house and not have to move seven decorative things off just so that you could get to a space, which was the story of my life for a long time.

ALLIE: Yeah, absolutely. I love that. I think that's going to be the quotable that we use for this episode. It's so obvious, but it's a light bulb moment for so many of us because that's just how you do things. Especially in the Instagram sphere, everything's got to look perfect and there's three little things set by the sink just perfectly. And that's not practical. I always see people's homes like that and think like, is that always there? Because that sucks. Like it's in your way. You can’t even wash your hands without moving a little bird out of the way.

MYQUILLYN: That is so true.

ALLIE: So, can you, and you kind of did a little bit, but if there's anything left there, I really want everyone to leave this episode feeling equipped and like, okay, I've got it and they can go and take action. So, can you explain a little more the feeling of having how you talk about like “just enough” in your house? What does that look like?

MYQUILLYN: Whew, that is really good. Well first of all, you know, I think sometimes we can think like, oh well this is just for people that are super visual or this is just for people that are “designery” or are born with that gene and that's so untrue. I think most of us can attest to that.

There's even a study that shows that when women walk into their own cluttered home, their cortisol levels rise, which is so unhealthy for us. I do not need a person in a lab coat to tell me that. I have experienced that in and of myself. So just knowing that helps me to realize that I need to be able to draw the line. So where is that going to be?

And I think the grace in the cozy minimalist message and in the minimalist movement is that your line might be in a different place than mine. And that is okay. That's what I love. What you need in your life right now is different than what I need. If you have babies. I have three boys that are 21, 18 and 17, so for me in my family room, we have tennis shoes, backpacks and phone chargers. And I'm okay with that.

So, when it comes to thinking about enough, like if you think about furnishing a guest room. So, in my olden days I would say, “Oh, I get to furnish a guest room. I'm going to find every pillow that will work with my style, that I can afford, that I run into today.” And that would have been my cutoff. Whatever I can find that I can afford.

But now as a cozy minimalist who wants the most amount of style with the least amount of stuff, I will say, “What can I get the biggest impact from that will serve the person who needs to stay in the room?” So, if I'm a person in the room and I get up in the morning I want to put my feet down on a cozy rug. I need to have privacy so there needs to be something on the windows. I need a light to read by. I want them to have super cozy, the comfiest sheets in the world. The things that help the people, that is my line for coziness.

I can't go too over to the minimalism and have zero sheets on the bed. That is crazy. But also, I don't need 24 pillows on the bed. We get to decide that line based on how people are going to use it and how the stuff serves the people.

ALLIE: Yeah. I love that. You're perfectly leading into my next question. I hate when I'm going to do a podcast and they send me the questions beforehand because I'm like, “No, it's just going to feel forced.” People are going to think that I did that because you're leading me literally to the next question.

But I was going to ask you if you could talk about that shift between trying to make your home look better and making your home serve better. As somebody who appreciates a beautiful aesthetic and I really love design and style. I am with you where I tend to naturally be kind of like, well these throw pillows are all beautiful and on sale and they go perfectly in this room. They just look so great, but then it sucks to throw 58 throw pillows off the bed before I climb in. How do you kind of make that shift and maybe find the balance between those two things?

MYQUILLYN: I think a lot of us think like, okay, I want to approach my room. It needs a change. It needs to be freshened up. So, I guess I'm going to the furniture store. False! Stop! We never start in the furniture store.

One of the ways you always start is you think about how you need to use that room in the next year or two. So not how you used it in the past, not how you're going to need to use it when your parents move in in 10 years, but what season of life you're in right now and how you need that room to serve you.

Even if the builder said, well that's the dining room, it doesn't matter. You get to decide and be the boss of your room, how it's going to serve you. And when you start with that mindset, then you are able to step into that and allow your rooms to work for you.

So, then you'll say, “Oh, we're going to have family game nights? We need a surface big enough to play the games that we like to do together.” If you're going to eat pizza in your room, nothing wrong with that, but you probably don't want to get a silk sofa. You get to think about how you're going to use the room.

What that does is it helps with decision fatigue. Isn't that the scary part? It's making those decisions. That's all design is, is making smart decisions about your home based on what you like and how you're going to use it.

So, as you think about how you're going to use it, that really limits your decisions, which in this kind of world is actually a really good thing. I think it's so helpful to know this is exactly how we're going to use our room. It doesn't matter what my mother-in-law says or how the people who lived here before, this is how we need to use it now. And that's how you move forward in that.

ALLIE: Yeah, that's very, very simplified. I think that's where everyone gets held up. One time I did a Q & A for “what's troubling you with decorating” and everybody’s was this and I didn't know how to describe like, “Well, just do it. What do you need in the room? Like just do it.” It just comes naturally to me.

But that’s the answer to it. What are you using it for right now? Don't get overloaded with what it was supposed to be. Our dining room is our homeschool area because that's what we need. You can make it beautiful. You can make it cute and stuff, but it's got to be functional above all. I think you just hit it on the head. That's what's holding everybody back is that feeling of decision fatigue and like, “Is this what I’m supposed to do?” And it doesn't matter. What do you need? I love that.


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Most people know I'm a blogger and a podcaster, but that's really just where the inspiration happens. I can only scrape the surface of equipping you to bring positive change to your life here. That's why I create online courses on my Private Students-Only Platform.

I don't spend months creating courses for no reason. This is where the action is. My courses are for the serious doers out there. If you want to see focused, real change happen in your life - change that lasts - this is what my courses are for.

This is where I dive all the way into actually implementing minimalism in your home and simplification to the cluttered parts of your life as a mom. We get legit detailed in these courses. My students have incredible success rates that they share in our Private Students’ Community and you can see some of their testimonials on my website.

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For Purpose Show listeners only, you can take 10% off any course you choose with the code PURPOSESHOW.  Visit alliecasazza.com/nextlevel for the breakdown of all the different courses I have to offer, how they're different from each other and which one might be best for you.

I cannot wait to cheer you on and take you onward and upward. Motherhood is much too sweet a time to be spent in survival mode.

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ALLIE: So, you talk a little bit in the book about giving your eyes a Sabbath from your home. Can you elaborate on that and what did you mean by that?

MYQUILLYN: Well, what I meant by that is kind of what we touched on in the beginning is about having margin, and a period of rest in our life, which some of us do that on Sunday where we kind of set up our life to have that rhythm and routine of a built-in rest.

But for me, when it came to my walls, I would put something on my wall and be like, well that's too small, so let me add 20 other things. I felt like any empty space in my home was a problem that needed to be solved by filling it. And I didn't realize the gift of having some white space on my walls.

A practical step to learn to appreciate that is what I call “quieting the house.” I do it one room at a time even though I say house. But sometimes I'll do a major “quiet” if I'm going to attack the whole room. I'll take everything out except the big furniture. I'll take the artwork off the walls, the lamps out. It helps you to see your room with fresh eyes again.

But if you just need a little reset and if your room feels a little off, sometimes the simplest thing to do is just to take everything off the walls and tell yourself I'll put it back by 5:00 tonight or maybe you give yourself permission to live with it empty for 24, 48 hours. Something kind of magical happens when you do that. And every time, without question, I realized that I have too much stuff out.

A lot of us over time add to our home. We bring home a little trinket from Target or Home Goods or whatever and we are constantly adding. But unless we take the time to intentionally subtract, and I like to subtract kind of like all in one, and then I'll bring stuff back.

Allow yourself to like, “Okay, I'm gonna take out all the chotchkies, or I'm going to take out all the artwork, or I'm going to clear off every surface and let it breathe for a night. We're going to use this room tonight as a family without stuff on every surface.” Just wait and see how your family reacts. Even the dog notices. It is crazy.

ALLIE: Yeah. That's so funny. I love that. Would you say that that's maybe a good place to start or is there another way you would have people start implementing this whole idea?

MYQUILLYN: If you've never really attacked a room and focused on that one room, got it looking the way you've always hoped so that you can use it the way you've always dreamed, not so that you can show it off or have it in a magazine, but so you're comfortable using it, I have a whole step process that I go through in the book. It's not anything mind-boggling.

I mean, it's really just talking to your family and telling them. “I'm going to work on this living room for a while so it might look different. So just be prepared. It'll be okay.” If it's the room you usually watch TV, maybe set up another space. Also creating a pinboard. With that room in mind, you just pin with passion anything that for whatever reason you like. You don't have to explain it.

There's some back steps like that that are so simple and they're not intimidating. You're not going to a furniture store and dropping money on a new sofa. Nothing like that. Those simple ways to start, what they do is they give us some little wins and they make us excited about our home. Then we start thinking about how we're going to use it and what we need to set up for. Maybe your kids are going to do homework in there.

So then, and only then, do you start touching things in your room and quieting the room, taking things out. And then maybe a few days later you start moving your furniture around to make sure it's in the right place for your next season of life. You start with what you have. You shop your house. You may look around in other rooms. If you do need that homework table, maybe have a table in the garage or at your mom's.

So there's just really simple steps like that. You're looking for things that you like, that you can use. It's all fun and happy. I mean decorating is fun, but it's not always easy if you don't know where to start.

And so, we really walk through an order of things so that you're not painting your walls green and then you realize that the rug that you love isn't going to go with that. So that takes a lot of the fear out of it, just knowing what the next simple step is. You don't have a huge deadline. You can do this over time as you're working, as you're making dinner or whatever it is.

But it feels so good to have a room that you're proud of because I know when I hate my room I'm a lot less likely to volunteer to host the baby shower, or the community group or whatever it is. And then when I do host it, I'm distracted by how it looks. So, if I can just do a few simple things to get my house in a place where I'm not embarrassed of it or I love it, how about that? Then I am ready to use it the way I've felt called to use it all my life. And that's what I really want for women.

ALLIE: Yeah. I was just going to say before you starting saying that. I love that. It's kind of like when you feel more confident about yourself, maybe you got healthier, you got a new outfit and you just feel amazing, the first thing you want to do is go out on a date night with your husband or go out with your friends, like get out.

We have moved a lot and the first thing I always did was the main living room so that I can have people over. The thing with your home is when you feel confident about it and you love even just one main room, you immediately start serving people and loving people better with your home, which I think is such the point of what we're here to do.

I feel like a lot of people think that this kind of stuff is surface, or extra, or just “not right now,” but if you would just decorate your house better by subtracting from it and start to feel better, cozier, and more confident about your space, it affects your life. It affects how you feel about your family.

And I know what study you're talking about. The one that UCLA did where they did the saliva swabs on the women, and literally the more clutter, the higher the cortisol levels, and the less clutter the less cortisol. And that is a screaming fact. This matters. It's not surface. It's not about having a perfectly clean house and taking that amazing Instagram snap.

It's about having a space that you walk into and you feel like you can take a deep breath and invite your neighbor over who's having a bad day without feeling embarrassed. It's affecting the way we live our lives well and it's so important. I love what you do.

Okay, I feel like a lot of what I hear and what I do with these women is that they're afraid to declutter. It feels so final and abrupt like “officially I'm letting go of this,” whatever it is, even though they're pretty sure it's not serving them and they can live a full life without it. I think they're attaching themselves to their things and that’s super common. I used to struggle with the same thing.

In some circumstances I feel like it's beneficial to maybe temporarily remove something instead of forcing yourself to make that final cut. You talk about that. That's what the whole “quieting” your space is, just kind of temporarily removing something and see how you feel. So, have you done that with anything kind of big? Where you thought, “I'm going to temporarily remove this big thing that everyone else needs.” And then you saw that it was better without it or you kept it? Or anything that you can think of that was kind of like, “Wow, I can't believe I actually made this shift.”

MYQUILLYN: That's such a great question. Let me dwell on that as I respond in other ways of just sharing, because I love pretty things and you love pretty things too. I know it. I love beautiful things. I love having beautiful things in my house, but I don't love them more than having a home that works for me. And so, to always have that in my head helps me be able to part with things.

The beauty of working through our house one room at a time and then kind of being done...the goal is to kind of forget about your house so you can just invite people over and not have to think about the state of your house. Wouldn't that be ideal? That's the number one thing.

Once we work through our home and you feel confident about every room, you don't want to junk it up. You kind of want to get rid of it. And so, it kind of automatically happens where you're like, “Well I'm not gonna mess with that. I just spent a lot of time making sure that really works for our family, so I'm not going to keep extra stuff.”

My family has never guilted us about if they have given us something and we've gotten rid of it. I think that comes up a lot. And you know, I think part of that is just being an adult and saying we don't need it. And if you love it so much you are welcome to have it back or sell it. I hear that so much and it makes me sad. First of all, it's just an old sofa. Let them have it back if it's such a big deal.

So many of us are living with things we hate because someone was kind to us, but we are afraid to hurt their feelings, thinking they're going to be mad because we want the home that they decided they want. They didn't want that thing in their house anymore. But now you have to keep it? It's crazy.

I think bigger stuff is easier for me than the small things for some reason. I don't know why. I'll keep a little trinket for way too long. We've been through a couple of pianos because we used one for a while and then we didn't need it. No one guilt-tripped us and I'm so grateful for that. I want to keep that in mind with my own boys as they get older. I never want to guilt them with furniture gifts and the expectations that are tied to that.

ALLIE: Yeah, like what’s sentimental to me has to be sentimental to you. That whole thing. I see people do that a lot with their kids' toys, which is so funny because this is a place where I started. I don't know if you know my story at all, but I had this terrible life where I was burdened and overwhelmed. When I started to just purge it all out of my house, I started with the toys and it was so easy for me like, “Well this isn't my stuff. This is all pointless, loud, and they don’t even play with it.” But I see people doing this. “Well I had this when I was a kid.” Well, do they play with it? No. It’s as if your kids will have the value that you had. I think people are afraid to hurt people's feelings.

It kind of comes down to a boundary issue a lot of time. My great grandparents passed away and their home was beautiful, like 70’s legit furniture, and my mom and my aunt brought everything down from the Midwest out to California and gave me everything. It was like, “Well, I'm so glad and I will keep this lamp but I don't really want this.” And they were so offended but they didn't want it. I think letting go of like, “Well, I'm not obligated here.” Again, it's just a boundary issue.

I think that what you just said about that sets people free so much. You’re not obligated. There's no secret contract that you've got to hold onto this and value it for at least 10 years.

Okay. So Cozy Minimalist Home comes out this month and you can get it anywhere, right? Amazon? Barnes & Noble?

MYQUILLYN: Anywhere. You sure can.

ALLIE: Awesome. I'm so excited for you. I have your first book and I have this one too, obviously. It's such an easy read. Both books. Very simple. It doesn’t run on  unnecessarily. You make your point. You back it up with some examples and then that's it. You show us how to do it and I love that. For moms, especially, that's the kind of writing we need. What can I do though? Like help?

MYQUILLYN: Yes. I hope it's super applicable. That's my goal. Thank you for those words. Super encouraging.

ALLIE: Yeah, for sure. Well, thank you for being here with us. I'm so excited that you were here and that you're sharing this with these women. I think it's going to be just really practical and really helpful and we all need some more of that.

MYQUILLYN: I hope so. Thanks Allie.


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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 079: Essentialism: The Key To A Life Lived on Purpose with Greg McKeown

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A book can teach you something new. It can inspire you to make positive changes in your life and can take you to a different level in your life. Reading is so important to me which is why I am excited for Allie Reads October here on the podcast! All month I am interviewing some amazing authors. We will talk about their books, life, and living a life of purpose and intention.

Greg McKeown is the author of the book Essentialism (one of the most important books I have ever read!). He is really good at taking people through the areas that are consuming too much of their time and guides them back to what is essential. In this episode, Greg guides me through that journey in specific areas of my own life and I am excited for you guys to listen in!

Use the hashtag #AllieReadsOctober to share with me this month. What are you reading? Did you get any of the books from the authors I’m talking to you about? Are you reading a different book? How are you taking this challenge to read more and putting it into action? I cannot wait to see what you share!

 
 

In This Episode Allie + Greg Discuss:

  • What the paradox to success means and how essentialism is the antidote.

  • The power that nonessential things have and why we get sucked into them without really knowing it is happening.

  • Practical steps you can walk through to focus in on what is truly essential in your own life.

Mentioned in this Episode:


It’s giveaway time! Greg’s book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, is incredible and I am SO excited to gift it to one of you. Head over to The Purpose Show Facebook Community for your chance to win! I cannot want to connect with you this month on all things book related. #AllieReadsOctober

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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 Purpose Show.

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Hey, sweet friends! I'm so happy that October is finally here! For months I have been planning and dreaming this up for you and I'm so happy to finally unveil what it is I've been working on!

This month, October, is all about reading. We're calling it “Allie Reads October,” and the purpose behind this is for me to inspire and encourage you to read more often. Reading is such a gift. We take it for granted way too often, myself included, but reading is powerful. You literally have a whole new life in your hands when you read a book.

A book can teach you something new. It can inspire you to make positive changes in your life and can take you to a different level in your life. Reading is so important. I read all the time and I wish that I would have started sooner and so I'm taking that passion of mine and turning it into Allie Reads October. Every October here on The Purpose Show, we are turning it into author central.

I'm interviewing some amazing authors this month and we're talking about their books and I want to see you use this Hashtag. I'm going to be checking it every single day on Facebook and Instagram and I want you to use it. #alliereadsoctober.

Share with me. What are you reading? Did you get any of the books from the authors I’m talking to you about? Are you reading a different book? How are you taking this challenge to read more and putting it into action?

Let's celebrate this month October! Allie Reads October. We're going to talk about authors and books and encourage each other to read more books.

I encourage you to get other people involved in this. Get your kids involved. Encourage them, read with them, next to them or to them, or have them read in their own quiet time. Share this with your friends. Let's encourage each other to get better equipped to live an intentional life by reading more.

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Hey beauties! Welcome to another episode of The Purpose Show! Today's guest is just such a sweet, kind, esteemed person. I am so honored to even be recording this intro. I just wrapped up our interview and it was so good. I am so, so freaking excited for you guys to hear this interview.

Greg McKeown is so many things. He is one of the smartest guys I've ever had the opportunity to speak with. He's a gem and he is such a good man of faith. He's a family guy, he's an author. He's so accomplished. I just sat down with him and felt like being here with him was so, so good.

Greg is the author of the book Essentialism. I've written blog posts about this, shared it and talked about it a lot over the past two years or so. I think the first time I read it was about two years ago.

I wanted to have Greg on the show specifically for this month, where we're really talking about my favorite authors, diving into books and reading more. This book is so important. It's so important that you read it. It's actually a really great book for listening as well, so if you prefer audio books, this is one of those where you could totally listen to it and really still gain everything that you would gain if you are reading it in paper. I know sometimes you get an audio book and you listen to it and you're like, “Dang it, I really wish I had that in paper.”

I think it's a good one. You're going to want to maybe take some notes to reference later, but it's totally one you could listen to.

This interview with Greg was one of the most powerful interviews I've had so far in my career. It was practical. He takes me through essentialism in my own life right now, at the time of this recording. We opened my phone together and looked in settings and found that I was spending a lot of time texting and doing things on my phone that I didn't realize was still so bad. You guys know I talk about phone time and getting intentional with that all the time, but the phone is a part of my job and I have to talk to people in my business throughout the day. And just seeing that number, the amount of hours was such an awakening for me and so humbling.

There's always room to grow and improve and yes, there's basically no time spent on social media, but there's a lot of time spent texting and how can I improve that? Is that worth the time? He takes me through practically speaking, essentialism, and setting up a part of my life and what is essential.

It's so good. I can't wait for you to hear this. I'm so grateful to Greg for totally just taking over this interview and making it a practical life changer for you guys. I think hearing the examples that he walks me through is going to help you actually go and make changes in your life today. I am so, so excited. All of that to say let's dive in with Greg. This is so good.

ALLIE: Hi Greg. Welcome! Yeah, I'm excited. So we're just gonna dive right in. You are the author of Essentialism of course, and I love the story in the book about how you got into essentialism. Would you mind just kind of opening up by telling that story?

GREG: Well, there’s two parts to this story. The first is I was working with Silicon Valley companies and I noticed this pattern. The pattern was when people were focused on the right things, it led to success, which we had tons of opportunities which actually got in the way of continued success because it distracted them from the very focus that had led to success in the first place. I call this the paradox of success.

But simultaneously I also had an experience in my personal life that I realized this isn't just a business phenomenon and this is a human phenomenon. And I received an email from my boss at the time that said, “Friday between 1:00-2:00 would be a very bad time for your wife to have a baby.” (I mean she was expecting otherwise that's an even stranger email to receive.) And sure enough, we were in the hospital, our daughter is born in the middle of the night, Thursday night. We're in the hospital Friday morning and instead of being present, focused, invested in the singularly important moment, I was feeling torn, stretched and pulled in at least these two different directions.

How can I keep everybody happy? And to my shame, I went to the client meeting. And really I walked away from that, in hindsight, clear, as I'd made a fool's bargain. I violated something essential for something nonessential. And I learned from that a simple lesson which is if you don't prioritize your life, someone else will.

And really, that's me, but the people listening to this right now can ask themselves some litmus test questions. Have you ever found yourself being stretched too thin at work or at home (like I was)? Have you ever found yourself feeling busy but not productive (like I was)? Have you found your day being hijacked by other people's agenda and feeling that you don't have a choice, you just need to do it all? If the answers to any of those questions are “yes,” then this is what I wrote Essentialism for was to try and address people like me who find themselves saying “yes” to those kinds of questions.

ALLIE: Yeah, I love that. I think everybody can relate to that in some way, and I think especially in motherhood specifically, I mean now you have four kids, right?

GREG: That’s right. Four children.

ALLIE: You understand that things are popping up all the time and while some of it is a little outside of our control, there's a lot of things in just being a parent and being involved in school, sports and things, and things just kind of come up. A lot of the time it feels like, like you say in the book, how can I do all of this well? And that's not the question that we're supposed to ask.

So, having said that, can you talk to us about what essentialism is. I know you break it down to a few steps in your book.

GREG: Yes. So, the problem is this paradox of success is the undisciplined pursuit of more. This is the problem. Where you feel like you have to do everything for everybody and that your job is really to stuff everything in. Because if you can stuff it all in, then you can have it all. This is the illogic of nonessentialism. This is our problem. This is the challenge that we have to overcome.

And the antidote to that challenge is the disciplined pursuit of less, or essentialism. Essentialism, really, is this perpetual, continual, pursuit of (1) What is essential. (2) Elimination of what is nonessential. (3) The creation of a system that makes execution as easy as possible in supporting the things that you've identified as being most important. That’s what essentialism is.

ALLIE: Yeah. Okay. That makes sense. So how exactly do we begin to discern what is really important for us in our lives when it can all feel like, oh, I can see how this is important, I can see how this might be worthwhile. If it helps to answer it, how do you discern what's actually important for our lives?

GREG: So, Allie, are you up for a little experiment? Let’s take this conversation out of the philosophical and let’s make it sort of practical and apply it. As people are listening to this, they can do the same exercise themselves. Of course, their answers will be different.

The first thing to do is to think about importance continuum. So, think about the room that you're in, right? One side of the room is like 0-10% important. It’s one far side of the room. And on the other side of the room is the most important, the very most important things, maybe 90-100% important, or the essential things.

So, you've got this full continuum and everything that we do or could do can be placed somewhere on that continuum. Does that make sense first of all?

ALLIE: Yes.

GREG: So, Step 1 in essentialism is to explore what is essential, to create space to explore what is essential. And you’re doing that now, and I'm doing that now and everybody listening is doing that now. We are creating space to think about not just what’s good or important, but what is very important, the essential things, this 90-100% area.

Here's what I want you to do. The first question I have for you is what is something right now that you know to be very important, essential, that you are either not investing in or you feel that you are underinvesting in right now?

ALLIE: I would say revenue-producing tasks in my business keep getting pushed to the back burner.

GREG: Revenue producing tasks in your business. Tell me what that means just a little more concretely.

ALLIE:  Writing some emails that will take me a lot of time that I keep pushing off that will produce revenue that we're needing to meet our goals for September.

GREG: Right. So, you've got some emails that need to actually be created and sent out. That needs to be done. It's a job. You know it needs to be done. You’re pushing it off. There’s something about this that’s not pleasant. I'm sure a variety of things, but that’s the work. Why does it matter to you?

ALLIE: Because it’s my family's livelihood. It's our revenue, our money. We need it.

GREG: Okay. Give me one more level of why. Why does that matter to you? So you need it for your family. That's your revenue stream. Why does that matter? Give me one more level of why.

ALLIE: I don't know if this is right, but what comes to my mind is that I also can't get these women into the program that will change their lives if they don't buy it. And then also we can't do the things that we need to do as a family and as a business, if that money doesn't come in.

GREG: Okay. This is jugular. This means your double bottom line is affected. That's what you just said. It drives the mission. No margin, no mission. If you don't get the revenue, then you can continue to make the contribution you want to make professionally to all of these people and also within your own family. You want to be able to provide so that they can live, grow and succeed. This is why.

Okay, we have now identified what matters and why it matters. Now a little more just on Step 1, this exploring what’s essential is, what would success look like? Like how would you know that this work was taken care of? That it was completed?

ALLIE: Spending about two hours, really thinking through the wording and the copy that would go into the emails. Actually writing it, proofreading it, editing it, and sending it off to my business manager for execution. That is my part of finishing that.

GREG: Perfect. In total? You said two hours, but was that two hours the first part or was that total? What do you think?

ALLIE: Total task done.

GREG: Ok, total task, two hours. That’s Step 1 done.

Okay. Now we're going to move Step 2, which is the opposite side of this continuum. What we now are looking for is an activity that you know to be very unimportant, nonessential, that you're still spending more time in than you think it deserves. Give me something that you go, “You know, I wouldn't mind spending this much time, but I'm probably spending this much time.” Something that is still nonessential in your world.

ALLIE: I would say this week, kind of trivial, but time consuming, catching up on the laundry from a bunch of trips that we just took. I could easily give that to someone else.

GREG: Okay, so we've got laundry on there. How do you do on social media?

ALLIE: I delegate a lot of it, but I do spend quite a bit of time.

GREG: More than you wish you did? Would that also be on your list?

ALLIE: Yeah. I could cut that down for sure.

GREG: Okay, so I want to do this because I think this is a fun thing, and by the way you're being helpful and brave to even do this experiment right now.

Okay. So, do you have your phone with you?

ALLIE: I do.

GREG: Okay, so everybody listening to this do the same thing. Pick up your phone and don't get distracted by it. Look up, go to settings in your phone. Under settings, go to battery. Under battery is listed all the apps on your phone right now. It will be preset. There's a blue tag there we preset to one day. Next to that blue tag is seven days. Will you click seven days? And then next to that seven days there's a clock face and I want you to click that clock face as well. Okay?

Now what you can look at. Now, this is just one tiny but factual resource for how people are spending time. Underneath there now you will see how much time in minutes and hours you have spent on all of those different apps over the last seven days. Do you see that? Anything striking you?

ALLIE: I'm surprised by how much texting. 5 ½ hours texting? I feel like I don’t text that much, but this is humbling.

GREG: 5 ½ hours texting?

ALLIE: 5 ½ hours in Messenger; 7 minutes only is in the background.

GREG: You’re doing it. You can't believe that, can you? Because you're running lean in your life. You’re already applying these principles in your life. You’re already above average. But you could be above average in today's world and still, in fact everyone is, still sucked into nonessentialism. This is the power of nonessentialism. It's everywhere. And it’s not everywhere by default, it’s everywhere by design.

I think you said Messenger, but it could almost be any messaging app. How much money has been spent, how much effort has been spent building a system to make it effortless for you to be on Messenger. If it was neutral meaning if the world was not built nonessentialist right now, then we might say no money has been spent on it. You just live and you can choose to focus on one thing or another and it's just neutral.

But it's not neutral. Billions of dollars have been spent building the machine that you're using, the phone that you’re using to be on Messenger. Billions of dollars have been spent by the team at Facebook to make sure that Messenger is built a certain way. All of this should help us to see why, “My goodness, of course I'm doing this.”

Now just found yourself 5 ½ hours. Now I don't know how much of that for you is productive. I'm not saying every time you're using Messenger that is a waste of time. Can you tell me what you would like that to be?

ALLIE: I would like to cut it in half. I know a lot of the texts in this are business management texts that need to happen. For me, I’m thinking 5 ½ hours doing anything that isn't really money producing or intentional living is not okay with me no matter what I was doing.

GREG: Yeah. I remember the first time I ran this exercise with myself when I was first testing this and I was surprised too. I found an app, for me it was news. I was reading way more news in terms of hours per week than I realized and I thought, okay, that's got to change. That's not what I realized I was even doing. That's one of the reasons I like just running through this little exercise

So, let's say you said you cut it in half. That's what you wanted. Look at that. We just found you over two hours, which is exactly the amount of time you're looking for. And we didn't get too close off the goal. We didn't get too complicated about this. We didn't have to get into lots of jargon. We just identified the extremes.  

Now, that is not sufficient. That might be sufficient for you because you might be somebody who just has a high execution capability so you'll translate this. You'll make you make the decision and you'll go into operation.  

So, we've identified in Step 1, what's essential. We've identified Step 2, what's nonessential. And the trade-off is the inherent part of the essentialist strategy.

Essentialist strategy means trading these things off. It’s not just saying “yes” to something important. It's not just saying “no” to something not important. It's making the trade-off between the two so that you are now living a more essentialist life than before.

Once the decision is made, the tradeoff, we now move into the 3rd Step, which is execution. Execution has multiple parts to it. A nonessentialist approaches execution in a very forced way. At the last moment, I'll make this thing happen. You know, I'll stay up till midnight trying to get these emails done, let's say, at the last moment. This is one approach, but what I have found is that essentialists approach execution from how do we stack the deck in our favor?

That's what we're trying to do. That's what I want for you. I want us to right now build a system that means that it is more likely than not that you will do it, and even if you don't feel like it. So that while you do feel like it, right now in this conversation you feel like making the change, you're making the trade-off, you use that discipline to build a system that means you'll execute even when you don't feel like it.

So, it’s a different way of using your discipline currency. You're buying a system instead of trying to buy directly the execution. You want to build a system that encourages execution.

So let's do that. So, the first thing I want you to do is I want you to describe for me a graphical progress mechanism. Oh my goodness, that’s a lot of words. A chart of some kind that you use. Now I can give you options, but sometimes people have preference. They have some way that they like to do this.

Seinfeld uses a calendar and he makes a red cross over every day that he has sat down and written comedy, and if he doesn't do that he won’t do it because this is the hardest part of his work. And so, he has a visual representation and his goal is to have as many consecutive days in a row.

So, let me give you another alternative. A star chart. Literally a star chart, just like we would use with our children. We're all big children. We love star charts. You could have a stock chart, but I'm asking for a graphical representation of the work that needs to be done. What sounds right to you?

ALLIE: I have a big calendar on this wall in my office that's just for looks and I would just put a big x on each day that I did what I need to do so I can see it.

GREG: Okay, so let's break it down. Let's say that it's half an hour a day until you're done. Is that how you'd want to approach it? So every day you get half an hour done. Every day you have traded off, like I might even encourage you to have one red diagonal line for every day you spend half an hour writing these emails. The second line that makes the “X” for every day you've given up half an hour of time on Messenger, so you are actually keeping yourself honest for both elements of the trade-off.

Okay, now we have checklist, we have a graphical representation. Now we need a reward. This is an external carrot. This has nothing to do with the intrinsic benefits that you will gain, and of course, motivate you inherently to want to make these trade-offs in the first place. But I mean something very tangible that’s some reward for you. Every day would be ideal, so every day I do this, every day I get both “X’s” I get to…what? I get what benefit? What’s something for you?

ALLIE: Being able to read in the evening. I never do it because I'm catching up on things I didn't do during the day. I would love to be able to sit and read for a half hour before I go to bed instead of finishing up work things.

GREG: Super. So, you have a favorite book and you're going to get to read it. If you do this, you get to reward yourself by reading this. Okay, good.

Now we need to take away. We need something that if you don't do it, you don't get it. Not just that you don't get to read the book. Something that is, again, tangible, physical. I can give you examples from people that have done this before, but does anything come to mind for you? You want to examples?

Okay, so I have one person who has a hundred-dollar bill pinned up on the wall. On any day they do not do what they've identified, they have to rip up the $100 in multiple pieces, throw it away. It cost them $100 if they don't do it.

I have another person who has a favorite wine. Both his reward and take away is this. He gets to drink his glass of wine if he does what he's committed to, and he has to pour down that glass of wine, just pour it down the sink, if he doesn't.

Here are examples. I can give more but what do you think?

ALLIE: I liked the money one because it motivates me and because my task is directly related to creating revenue and so it really hits me because it's a physical, it's related and it's a big reminder.

GREG: It’s a physical, direct representation of exactly what you're trying to do. I like that too. So literally, your job is to get $100 bill and pin it up right next to that calendar, so it's there.

By the way, how do you feel about that? Like tell me about the emotion of it, the thought of taking that and ripping it up. How do you feel about that?

ALLIE: I feel incredibly stressed even just thinking about it. It's funny because in writing these emails, like I'll make much more than that. If I don't do it then I'm losing. Not only am I losing that money from not writing the emails, now I'm losing $100 that could be given away to somebody who needs it or used to pay a bill. It's so painful.

GREG: What it is, what the research shows, is that a takeaway is generally about six times more effective than a reward, which is just amazing. I almost wish it wasn't this way, but it seems to be. Certainly when I share these ideas with people it’s the part that gets people's attention. Everyone's listening to this part. Oh my goodness they think, “I have to throw that away. I have to give that thing up. I have to rip up $100.”

ALLIE: My palms are sweaty just thinking about it.

GREG: The goal isn't to stress you out, but it is to give teeth to this commitment. We say we're committed, but somehow we're more committed at the moment that we're willing to rip up $100 bill. Somehow that changes the emotional intensity behind what we're saying.

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Most people know I'm a blogger and a podcaster, but that's really just where the inspiration happens. I can only scrape the surface of equipping you to bring positive change to your life here. That's why I create online courses on my Private Students-Only Platform.

I don't spend months creating courses for no reason. This is where the action is. My courses are for the serious doers out there. If you want to see focused, real change happen in your life - change that lasts - this is what my courses are for.

This is where I dive all the way into actually implementing minimalism in your home and simplification to the cluttered parts of your life as a mom. We get legit detailed in these courses. My students have incredible success rates that they share in our Private Students’ Community and you can see some of their testimonials on my website.

I work really hard to keep my courses priced as low as I can, but you guys know I totally get being on a crazy tight budget, which is why I also have payment plans available

My courses are different from each other. They each serve different purposes and will take you to different places in your life. Don't overthink which one to start with. Just go to the website and pick one that's resonating with you and enroll.

For Purpose Show listeners only, you can take 10% off any course you choose with the code PURPOSESHOW.  Visit alliecasazza.com/nextlevel for the breakdown of all the different courses I have to offer, how they're different from each other and which one might be best for you.

I cannot wait to cheer you on and take you onward and upward. Motherhood is much too sweet a time to be spent in survival mode.

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GREG: There are many other things that we could do to aid in execution. I could go through them. I mean, you could take Messenger off your phone for this week. You can turn off your phone altogether for this hour a day. You can give your phone to somebody else. You can write out your email and not even be on technology. Just write it out on paper so that you don't have that distraction in place. One thing that I think we should still do is now building an accountability partner, right? So who is going to help you stay accountable to what we've just described? I want a name.

ALLIE: Hayley, my business manager, that’s her job so I would enlist her for that.

GREG: Okay. So let's do now this part of the exercise. There’s two better reasons to do it this way. One is to practice for this conversation with Hayley, but there's a second benefit to it and I'll get to that after we’ve done it.

I want you to tell me like as if I am Hayley. I want you to explain to me what we've just done just as if I am Hayley. Just tell me what we've just done and where you're looking for help.

ALLIE: Okay. So, I’ve decided that I need to write some email copy for 30 minutes every single day and I need you to hold me accountable to that. If I don't do it by 5 PM Pacific, then I have to rip up $100 and sweat. I would say, check in with me at 4:00 every day as a kind of you have one more hour to get this done if I haven't done it already.

GREG: Okay. I love that. I thought that was so clear. You gave structure to it. Because we'd used the systematic way of building this, you were able to express some of that.

Let me share something that I would encourage you to do and I actually want you to do it again now, based on this idea. And let me just say this is universally not done when people go through this exercise. Even though we just did it, they still miss it, and that's because…I don't know why really, but it's very inherently human, to not explain why.

For some reason we assume people know our intent and it’s the cause of an enormous number of human relation challenges. We assume people know our intent and in fact, it is unknowable. Our intent is the most private part of us. It's like deep down in our secret part. A big improvement to becoming an essentialist is to express “why am I doing this” before asking people to do what.

You don't have to get through the whole thing again, because the structural part was really clear, but can you just express, as is if I'm Hayley, why do you want to make this change?

ALLIE: Okay, I want to write this email copy every day because this task keeps getting pushed away until the end of the month and then it becomes a point of stress. And without this done, we are not able to meet our revenue goals. We are not able to give to the charities we would like to give to in the amounts we'd like to give. And everything as whole in the business becomes very stressful, versus peaceful and well planned.

GREG: Yeah. And there was even a little more because... I loved what you said…but there was more. There was, “This is jugular to the business and to my family. This is personally important to me. This is personal for me to make this change because it provides for my family, it provides for our business. This matters to me.”

What everybody needs, who is listening to this, is to be as clear about what they're trying to do, what's really important, what's essential. As clear, and as many reasons as possible for why because that produces the emotional energy to be able to then make the trade-off. You need to have your “yes” be clear, poignant, visceral, strong, emotional, so that it gives you the energy to make the trade-off to build this system. That’s what pours energy into the process.

By the time you're done with the process, the process is feeding you, so that when the emotional strength isn't there, the system is there. You've now got an accountability partner. You've got a graphical representation. You've got a reward system for doing it and a takeaway for not doing it.

Now we have gone through the 3 Steps. That's one application of essentialism. What's essential? What’s nonessential that can be eliminated? And let's build a system to support it. How do you feel as we went through that process?

ALLIE: I feel so good. I feel inspired and encouraged, because life is just so loud. You get distracted by other things and you forget like, what are the things I actually need to do though that have to get done? I've been distracted by, you know, we just started our busy season as a family with sports and homeschool, extracurricular activities, and all these things and they're great. They're good. But they're distracting from the things that we won't be able to do those things if these three, four or five things don't happen.

And so those essential things are getting pushed because they're time consuming and it's such a reminder of that is not the order that is going to bring me a peaceful life at all. So I feel really smacked across the head and a good way.

GREG: {laughing} Well, I don’t know how I feel about having created a smacked across the head sensation for you, but I liked the idea that what I heard underneath of all that was a sort of wake up and an empowerment. A sense of first of all, I am not doing something that I clearly can do and now I’ve got a system that’s going to encourage me to do it.

What is your current confidence level in actually doing that within the next week?

ALLIE: I feel very confident actually. Writing emails and writing in general is what I feel I'm most good at and I like doing it. I don't know why it always gets pushed. It’s probably really just a time thing. I don't think there's much in-depth heart things that I am not dealing with about it because I like writing and I am confident about it. But just the reminder and like you said, the awakening of this matters more than you're treating it like it does. Let's set this up so you'll do it. I feel very, very confident that I'll do it and I would never rip up that $100 bill so I will do it.

GREG: Yeah. See, there's a few things you see. Something you just said I really liked was the idea that this exercise drew into contrast all these activities that were muddled in the middle that appeared to be all approximately the same level of importance. We've got the sports, we've got the extracurriculars, we've got curriculum that we've got to get through. We've got all these activities, we've got the emails to write, we've got Messaging, communication to have with other people. It sounded to me as if it was all melding into the sort of the middle area of that continuum. It's all pretty good and it all kind of has to be done.

ALLIE: Yes.

GREG: But when you try and stretch the continuum and be more precise, you find actually some things are hugely important. They’re way up one side and some things are way off down the other side. Of course, some things are in the middle. I mean that's the idea of a continuum. But by stretching the continuum, you start to see they aren’t all approximately the same level of importance.

Some are way more important. Some must be done first. They enable the other things in fact. Like the kingpin in bowling, you hit the one right thing and it will have a positive effect upon many other things. And that’s confirming that you've chosen something that isn’t essential.

But let me just go one step further with this. The continuum we’re describing isn't static. Meaning, if you take the whole continuum you just described, a year from now, five years from now, whenever, everything that you now think is 90-100% important, that could be stretched to be a whole new continuum.

I don't want people to get stressed out listening to this, but things that used to seem important can be eliminated altogether. When you say, you know what, I'm done, I'm done with television, you can be done with television. These are extreme things to say. They'll sound extreme.

I am done with Facebook. There's no need to be on Facebook. I can be on Facebook one minute a month, a year. I am just done with it. Suddenly the things that you used to go 90-100% become your whole life. You're spending all of your time on what you have identified previously as 90-100% important, so your whole life is now full of things that used to be just sort of a portion of your life.

And that process continues and continues so that in the new continuum, you keep looking for those items in your “new” 90-100%. This is the 90% rule. You keep on looking for 90 % and above. You keep trading off your 0-10. This is why it's a disciplined pursuit. It's an ongoing process so that eventually your life is fuller and fuller with more and more of the most important things.

So that's how essentialism is different than almost every other productivity and efficiency approach anywhere. This is about perpetual pursuit. It's not about doing more things, it's about doing more of the right things. And you keep on doing that and you keep on becoming more selective. Things that you would have said were 50% important last year, now are no longer even on your list. That's gone completely when you keep on becoming more and more selective.

And this way you become far more valuable. Your contribution goes up significantly. And over time your stress can also be decreased at the same time. That’s the value.

ALLIE: Yeah. That’s amazing. My mind is blown all over again just talking to you.

GREG: I'm pleased because essentialism for me continues to be a stretching, challenging model for me as well. I'm a struggler. I'm learning this and I continually try to apply these ideas. I have found that over time it's a richer journey than it was in the beginning. It gets richer and richer over time. It's not like an idea for me, like many of the ideas I’ve come to and even fallen in love with through my life to say, “Okay, that's done. I'm done with that. I'm moving onto the next thing.”

For me, it is something that the more I live it, the richer it becomes, the more and more selective I can be, the better the opportunities. I'm investing in the right thing, so that means you get more of the right things coming. Relationships are the most important. People get better and better.

You get to discern better. At first, someone might be saying, “Hey, I'm going to go on dates with my wife.” Then eventually someone says, “Well, hold on. I’ve been doing that every single week. I never not do that. I'm going to start designing and planning it at the beginning of the week, not just last moment. Start designing it.”

Over time you become more and more thoughtful, more and more selective as you take this very rich journey into essentialism. Because the beauty of life…and whether it's useful or not…the overwhelming reality is that almost everything is in fact noise, but a few things are so valuable, so important that they are incredibly useful to identify and pursue.

I'll give a business example of that from a quote I read years ago that has been helpfully haunting to me. And it’s this: “All you need is the one right idea to live like a king for the rest of your life.” The idea that I think is powerful in that is that it’s not about ideas; I can have a million ideas. But find the right one, the most important one, now it’s rich.

This is true, I think, in all of life. It's all about trying to pursue that trade-off with other things so that we can keep pursuing and discerning even more clarity within what we've identified as important.

ALLIE: Yeah, and I think even just the idea of what you're saying for so many people listening and for me, is just what would life even look like if the only things I spent time and energy on were things in the 90%. Things that really mattered, were so worth my time, that were essential, that have to happen. I would imagine you would have a lot of free time that would either end up being fun and play, which you also talked a ton about in the book and I love that chapter, or more time spent on those things.

GREG: Exactly. Something that has been profound to me is I read a graphical essay available online that’s called The Tail End, and in it the author is giving graphical representation of how much time we have remaining or how little. He shows, for example, the crescendo insight that he has is that he plots out all of the face-to-face time that he will have with his parents. And he crosses off all of the face-to-face time he has had so far. And he concludes that by the time he left home he had had, I think the number was 94% of the face time he'll ever have with his parents.

That's like a shocking insight. It’s a shocking thought to me, but totally real. I mean once you leave, you can talk on the phone, yes you can meet in person, but unless you will be incredibly deliberate, and even then, you have spent that face-to-face time. That is done. Of course, as a parent we can see that from a reverse point of view that “Okay, we are all in the tail end of our parenting. We are all in the tail end of our lives in a sense, so we have to use our time differently.

This is all to set into context. The idea that in the final analysis we have so little time remaining that if I don't spend it constantly searching for the 90% and above and pursuing those things, then I will be trading off those 90% and above for trivial things. I'll be making a trade-off. Now it might not be as dramatic or as foolish as the trade-off I made to go to this meeting instead of being focused on my wife and daughter on the day of her birth, but it will still appear a fool's bargain in hindsight.

I'll give you another positive because I know there's lots of negatives that have depressed us all, but I remember a positive for me, I went through a similar process like you and I just did and identified a top thing for me, an essential thing, would be speaking to my grandfather each week. I was probably at that time spending about 15 minutes a week on Facebook. Not a lot of time, but some time. It's still 15 minutes, right?

And so I stopped. I made that trade off. Almost every week for the rest of his life, which was a couple of years or something at that point, I spoke to him on the phone and that was my trade-off. Nobody hearing that story has ever said to me, I think you really should have spent that time on the Facebook. It’s obvious. In hindsight, it’s obvious.

People can make these trade-offs. You can live a life that really matters. You can make small adjustments. Don't get down about the times we get it wrong. Of course, we get it wrong, but keep coming back to what's essential.  

I’ll leave you on this. When you are on a flight from San Francisco to New York, the plane is off track 90% of the time. It gets to where it's supposed to get because it keeps coming back. It comes back to being on track. That's exactly how I feel about living essentialism.  

We’re going to be lost. We’re going to be nonessential. All of us will be off. How frequently can we come back to that primary question, what is essential? What do I need to be focused on next?

As we do that, the faster we come back, the less time we waste and we get to celebrate the wins that we're having and feel encouraged every time we get it right. Write it down. I do that in my journal. I write down every day the things that I felt grateful about, the essential things that did get done. It's a positive cycle and I don't have to feel discouraged about all the times I messed it up today. Keep coming back.

ALLIE: Yeah, just kind of constantly calling things under the light and looking at is this essential and do I want to keep going with this? I love that you say that. It's not about get it right and then live your life that way. It's about keep bringing it back underneath the light and looking at it and asking yourself and checking in. I love that.

GREG: That's exactly right and you said it perfectly.

ALLIE: This is amazing. Thank you so much for making this practical. It's so helpful, but it's overwhelming sometimes and I think that you made it practical and gave those examples with me and my stuff. It's so, so helpful. I just thank you so much for being here. This was so great.

GREG: Well, I very much appreciate it and best of luck to you and all your followers and listeners.

ALLIE: Thank you so much, Greg.


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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 078: Living Light in a World of Excess with Jen Hatmaker

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A book can teach you something new. It can inspire you to make positive changes in your life and can take you to a different level in your life. Reading is so important to me which is why I am excited for Allie Reads October here on the podcast! All month I am interviewing some amazing authors. We will talk about their books, life, and living a life of purpose and intention.

Jen Hatmaker is the author of 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess. 7 is a day-to-day journal that Jen kept of an experiment that she took herself through for seven months where she really severely limited herself in seven different areas of her life. Really, it's about perspective, getting honest with yourself, looking at how blessed you are, where you're wasting and getting back to grateful. It's just a really unique book. I absolutely loved reading it and know you will love it too!

Use the hashtag #AllieReadsOctober to share with me this month. What are you reading? Did you get any of the books from the authors I’m talking to you about? Are you reading a different book? How are you taking this challenge to read more and putting it into action? I cannot wait to see what you share!

 
 

In This Episode Allie + Jen Discuss:

  • Seven areas where there tends to be major excess and the experiment Jen did to change those areas in her life.

  • Why fighting excess can be challenging, yet humbling.

  • Ways the 7 experiment has shaped Jen’s life and ways she is implementing what she learned today, years later.

  • How you can start your own 7 experiment.

Mentioned in this Episode:


It’s giveaway time! Jen’s book, 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, is incredible and I am SO excited to gift it to one of you. Head over to The Purpose Show Facebook Community for your chance to win! I cannot want to connect with you this month on all things book related. #AllieReadsOctober

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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 Purpose Show.

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Hey, sweet friends! I'm so happy that October is finally here! For months I have been planning and dreaming this up for you and I'm so happy to finally unveil what it is I've been working on!

This month, October, is all about reading. We're calling it “Allie Reads October,” and the purpose behind this is for me to inspire and encourage you to read more often. Reading is such a gift. We take it for granted way too often, myself included, but reading is powerful. You literally have a whole new life in your hands when you read a book.

A book can teach you something new. It can inspire you to make positive changes in your life and can take you to a different level in your life. Reading is so important. I read all the time and I wish that I would have started sooner and so I'm taking that passion of mine and turning it into Allie Reads October. Every October here on The Purpose Show, we are turning it into author central.

I'm interviewing some amazing authors this month and we're talking about their books and I want to see you use this Hashtag. I'm going to be checking it every single day on Facebook and Instagram and I want you to use it. #alliereadsoctober.

Share with me. What are you reading? Did you get any of the books from the authors I’m talking to you about? Are you reading a different book? How are you taking this challenge to read more and putting it into action?

Let's celebrate this month October! Allie Reads October. We're going to talk about authors and books and encourage each other to read more books.

I encourage you to get other people involved in this. Get your kids involved. Encourage them, read with them, next to them or to them, or have them read in their own quiet time. Share this with your friends. Let's encourage each other to get better equipped to live an intentional life by reading more.

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Hi, beautiful! Welcome to The Purpose Show. Today's guest is someone who is really special to me. She's been a big part of my life over the last few years. I was honored that I got to sit down with her.

She's the author of about a million books…no, just 8, but that's a lot to me. I sat down and talked with her about one book in particular.

Jen Hatmaker is the author of 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess. 7 is basically a day-to-day journal that Jen kept of an experiment that she took herself through for seven months where she really severely limited herself in seven different areas of her life. Really, it's about perspective, getting honest with yourself, looking at how blessed you are, where you're wasting and getting back to grateful. It's just a really unique book. I absolutely loved reading it. It's right up our alley. It was just a perfect fit for this podcast.

So, I sat down with Jen and asked her some questions that I had after reading the book and we talked about all kinds of things. I'm so excited for you to hear this.

I also just got really honest with Jen and shared a struggle that I've had in the last couple of years. As you guys know, especially if you've listened to Episode 6 of my podcast, you know Brian and my story, the rags-to-riches story. We went from one extreme to the other, really being broke, broke as a joke, and then going to the other side of that and having the business explode. Having wealth, all of a sudden, it really does a number on you and makes you realize things. And I've found this need to pacify myself and remind myself that I'm not broke anymore. We have what we need.

It's made me a very, very generous person, but it's also brought up other more negative things in me as a person. And so, I got really honest with Jen about that and we talked about that. Her words of wisdom are just…she's such an amazing person. This interview is awesome. I can't wait for you to hear! So, let's dive in with Jen Hatmaker.

ALLIE: Hi, how are you?

JEN: Good morning!

ALLIE: Oh my gosh, there's so much that I want to talk to you about, but I have to stick to just one book I guess.  

So, there is so much that I wish I could talk to you about. Adoption. How you do so many speaking engagements in a row. I don't know if you're super extroverted or what, but I can't even. How you love the crap out of the LGBTQ community. I just love you. You're amazing. I'm so glad you're here.

JEN: That’s nice! Thank you.

ALLIE: But today I really want to talk to you about your book, 7. I just finished it. I actually can't believe I never read it. It's amazing and it's right up my alley. I love it.

So, you call 7 an experimental mutiny against excess. Can you tell us a little bit more about what the book is about, and how you came to write it?

JEN: Yeah. I wrote 7 several years ago. I had this sense, I don't know, I had this nagging sense that I couldn’t pinpoint exactly, but I just felt like, “Gosh, we have a lot. We have a lot. We spend a lot. We waste a lot. I don't really know what it is or where it's going, but it feels unregulated.”  

Honestly, it felt like our stuff owned us. That's really how it felt. And that we were locked into this unhealthy relationship of wanting more, spending more, appreciating less. This was for our family, just nothing I had really ever examined in earnest.  

I just do not know how to do anything halfhearted. I just really don't. I wish I did. I honestly wish I did. It would be easier if I could just do something medium. But I just don't have that gear.

Right around that time, my girlfriend, Susanna, was just in her own little life doing this little personal project that she called Pick 5. So for 40 days she picked 5 of the same foods and that’s all she ate for 40 days and journaled through it. And I was like, “You are crazy! Why?”

But, I could not shake it. I couldn’t shake the idea of it. It was kind of like in the spirit of a fast, where for a short amount of time, for a temporary amount of time, you go full restraint, whatever that looks like. Whether it's complete abstinence or less than or whatever.

And so, I was literally in the shower one day and the whole idea of 7 just downloaded into my brain in a second. It was sort of modeled off of Pick 5, but it wasn’t just food for me.

Over the course of a handful of weeks it developed into what it ended up being, which was we took seven areas in our life that felt extremely excessive, unchecked and out of control. And we were like, what if we boiled it down, our options to that category for seven things for a whole month. We picked food, clothes, spending, possessions, waste, media & technology, and stress (busyness). All of that felt out of control.

And so, we spent one month on each thing with seven choices. For example, we ate the same seven foods for a month. Then we wore the same seven pieces of clothes for a month. We gave away seven things a day that we owned for a month. We only spent money in seven places for a month. It was radical, obviously, and extreme, clearly, but it permanently changed our lives. And so that project, that experiment, became 7.

ALLIE: That's amazing. So, did you say that you gave away seven things you own every day?

JEN: Yes. And to be honest with you and you've read the book so you know, I was afraid that I was going to run out of stuff by the end of the month. I'm like, “who can give away seven things a day?” Just for your folks listening, I let you know in this book when I blew it, when I tried to cheat or did cheat, so this is not like some guilt trip book at all.  

But I pre-hoarded some things. I had cleaned out my kids’ closets a couple of months before and I thought, “I might need this. I might need these by the last week of the month and I'm just going to put these in a side drawer.” Terrible. And the truth was I didn't need it all. We gave away way more than whatever it was going to end up being, 210 things or whatever, because it turns out we had more than I thought and we weren't even using it.

ALLIE: It's crazy how much you don't realize. I mean that's kind of what I teach, really, your things not owning you; you owning your things. And it’s so hard. On a regular basis I'll be teaching a class or whatever and be like, “Okay, I'm taking you into my closet and there’s really not going to be much in there, but we'll just see what we can find and I'll show you how I make decisions.” Then I’m like this is literally a “10” on the awkward scale. I have three bags of stuff.

JEN: Totally. I remember at one point, especially during that month when I was frustrated with how many things we had stashed away in drawers, in closets, in nooks, in bins, under beds. And I was like, “Oh my, who bought all this?” And I was like, “Oh, I did. I bought it. I paid money for all of this.” It just sneaks up on you. It really can. If you are not keeping an eye on it, if you not paying attention, then all of a sudden you are owned by what you bought. And that's where we were at for sure.

ALLIE: Yeah. I think my favorite section in the book is the food one just because I love food so much. I'm not going to say I could never do it because I want to do it. I just finished the book, so I've been thinking like you’re right in a way that, like you said, it's not a guilt trip. But also, I'm super convicted in a good way and I feel like I can't just read this book and then move on.

This is kinda what sucks, and I know you know this about being a podcaster, is that you read these amazing books. And then, “Dang it! Now my life is changed and I have to change this area.” I remember it was chicken, avocado and spinach, was a few of the things that you were eating.

JEN: Those were three of them. Chicken, eggs, bread, avocados, spinach, apples.

ALLIE: And it was the section where I actually was laughing so hard that I stopped and read it to my husband and he was like, “What are you reading?” It was the part where you wrote a paragraph about how much you hate chicken breast. About how terrible it is and you wanted to die, and I was just dying. Because you couldn't use onions and things that basically chicken relies on for tasting good. It was hilarious, amazing and just so eye-opening. We have so much wealth here. It was really, really eye-opening, the way you spoke about it.

I wanted to know what do you think was the hardest thing to give up?

JEN: Funny. I thought it was going to be clothes. I thought going into it… “Gosh, the same seven pieces of clothes for a month.” Over the course of that month, I was traveling to speak, so I had to have something in there that was at least decent enough to be in front of people in, like on a stage. This is going to be terrible. Easiest one of the all.  

It wasn’t clothes. I actually loved the freedom of “this is what I have.” No decision making. Hardly any laundry. And you know what? Nobody cares. I assumed that I was going to be fielding questions every day. Why are you wearing that shirt again? Why am I seeing you in that shirt again? Nobody cares. Nobody is paying any attention to what we’re wearing. They don't care.

What was hardest, actually, was spending. I combed through all of our bank statements for a year just because I didn't even know where we spent money. I couldn't have even told you. We averaged – averaged – every month spending money in 66 different places. That's not even repeat expenditures. That's just 66 different places we spent money month every month. Different places. That for sure felt out of control

So for 7, for the project, we got to spend money in seven places for the month. We had to do some consolidating just because of bills, so we counted bills as one. But that month was hard. I had no awareness of just how casually and all the time I was spending money. This little thing, that little thing, none of it felt super substantial to me, although the number 66 tells me that it was.

Just having to essentially say “no” to almost everything. I mean, our 7 options really just gave us food and gas in our cars. We kept a lineup item open in case we had emergency medical, which we never used, so I didn't even get to use that one. There was nothing extra at all and it was hard. That one really pinched.

ALLIE: Was it just that that was the hardest or would you say that area or another area was maybe the most eye-opening and humbling for you? Or was there a specific thing in that area that was really eye-opening for you like, you know, when you get embarrassed in front of your own self?

JEN: For me I think there was this “dawning,” this sense of, “Oh if we really renovated this portion of our lives, how much money we spend, and where, it would mean a lifestyle change for us. It wasn't just a quick toggle. On my clothes, for example, I was wearing the same thing obviously virtually every day, but my life carried on. I still did what I was doing. Whatever my life was, was still my life.

But the spending piece was prohibitive. My friends were like, “Let's go to lunch,” and I'd be like, “I can’t.” Or, “I've got to bring my own lunch.” And I did that a couple of times. I brought a lunch to restaurants. “Let's grab a glass of wine.” Can’t do it.

So, I realized how much of my social world is predicated on spending money, as opposed to just quality time. So yeah, that one was really, really eye-opening because I'm like this isn't just what we're doing, it's how we're living. And so, we would have to make some monumental changes to curb that really crazy appetite.

ALLIE: There was one part in the book where you talked about you were adopting your kids in the process of this book, so you kind of had your mind on Ethiopia and the conditions there, especially the food conditions there. Can you tell the story that you say in the book about when you were doing 7 and eating your dry spinach and you made your kids the breaded fish and all that, and the trash can, can you tell that story because I just think it's so powerful.

JEN: Yeah. So, I'm thinking about my kids a lot, and my adopted kids, my youngest two are Ethiopian, so at the time they are in Ethiopia, across the world. We were not even matched with them yet. We didn’t even know who they were. We didn't know anything about them, but we had the promise of them.

By the way, our kids did all of 7 with us except for food and clothes. I can’t do everything; that’s just too much. And they would have been like, “When I was in fourth grade, my mom made me wear the same outfit for a month.” No thank you.

So, I had made my kids this separate dinner. It was not good food, it was just like fish filets. I put their plates out, went to the next room for like a minute to do something, come back in and I see (I can't remember if it was all of them or one of them now) but they were done. Two minutes.

And I was like, “Did you eat all your food in two minutes? And I think it was my son, Caleb, who just kind of gave me the look. And I go and I open the trash can and I look in and his plate is in there, absolutely full, hadn’t even taken a bite of anything I'd put on his plate. And I was like, “What in the world…” And he said, “Well, we didn't have any ketchup.”

And I’m like, “Okay.” So, I'm raising kids right now to have such little respect for what it means to not go hungry, to have food, that they'll literally throw away a full plate of food because it doesn't have the right condiment with it. That is how far away we are from gratitude. Then I've got my other kids in the back of my mind knowing for sure that they were probably going to bed hungry, and that food insecurity had been such a part of their childhood, which it was.

And the dichotomy was so painful and so upsetting and it just broke my heart and I'm like, “This is the problem. This is the problem. We have too much. We're not even grateful for it and we are willing to waste it.” That solidified it for me, this is why we're doing this.

ALLIE: If I can ask, because I just was so curious about that story. What did you do? How do you change that? Because we live here, and this is the way that it is. Did you do anything to start to open their eyes? How did you handle that after that realization about your kids?

JEN: Oh yeah. Well first of all they got an earful on that. You can believe that.

It’s not a simple answer, like these are the things we started doing and now we have grateful kids. It’s not like that. It’s more that the things that we were paying attention to and sort of weaving into our lives became more like the air that we breathe. So, these are things that now we're talking about all the time. These are things we are paying attention to now. These are conversation points that we are engaging our kids with now.

So, it wasn't like we just started doing a thing, like a program, but more like, “Guys…gratitude. And stuff. All this has a lot of power over us.” 7 was obviously a short-term experiment. It was never meant to be permanent. No one was going to eat the same seven foods forever. It was meant to be short-term, but a lot of the effects of it were permanent for us, even some of the habits.  While the exact mechanics of the way we went about 7 obviously had an end date, the effects linger on. I see that now in my kids, that a lot of our life was shifting, tilting, and turning toward different conversations, different set of values, different habits, and those just stuck.

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Most people know I'm a blogger and a podcaster, but that's really just where the inspiration happens. I can only scrape the surface of equipping you to bring positive change to your life here. That's why I create online courses on my Private Students-Only Platform.

I don't spend months creating courses for no reason. This is where the action is. My courses are for the serious doers out there. If you want to see focused, real change happen in your life - change that lasts - this is what my courses are for.

This is where I dive all the way into actually implementing minimalism in your home and simplification to the cluttered parts of your life as a mom. We get legit detailed in these courses. My students have incredible success rates that they share in our Private Students’ Community and you can see some of their testimonials on my website.

I work really hard to keep my courses priced as low as I can, but you guys know I totally get being on a crazy tight budget, which is why I also have payment plans available

My courses are different from each other. They each serve different purposes and will take you to different places in your life. Don't overthink which one to start with. Just go to the website and pick one that's resonating with you and enroll.

For Purpose Show listeners only, you can take 10% off any course you choose with the code PURPOSESHOW.  Visit alliecasazza.com/nextlevel for the breakdown of all the different courses I have to offer, how they're different from each other and which one might be best for you.

I cannot wait to cheer you on and take you onward and upward. Motherhood is much too sweet a time to be spent in survival mode.

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ALLIE: I'm really curious about the things in the book that center around things like the shopping, clothing and possessions sections. I know how you limited yourself in those areas. I mean I know it's been years.

I think one thing that bothers me about what I do, what you do, is that people tend to think that if you ever wrote about something you do that all the time and that's how you are. It's kind of frustrating. Not meaning this to sound like that, but in those three areas – shopping, clothes and possessions - what has stuck with you? What has lasted in the way you live now?

JEN: Yeah, and a lot of it didn't. You know, a lot of it didn’t. We still will catch ourselves being out of control. It's just so easy because that's the norm around us.

During the course of 7, I gave away about 80% of my closet and I have really, to be honest, never really filled that thing back up again. Like I mentioned earlier, I discovered that’s not a value of mine. I thought it was. I thought it was going into it, but it turns out I it wasn’t. That one line item. Now I'm not saying all possessions, I'm just saying that one thing. While I'm on your podcast, I'm wearing a tee shirt. That’s not my thing. That for me, has stayed under restraint, but there are other areas that still just kind of slip out of my grasp, and all of a sudden I'm like, “What the heck? Why am I doing this?”

I don't mean this to sound inconsequential because it's not. Like I spend too much on books. For me, I've think this will probably just be forever, things that we kind of have to sit down with one another and be like, let's do temperature checks here.

For example, right now, this very second, I'm sitting in my office and directly behind my office is an industrial-sized dumpster, like the kind you would see at a work site. And my husband ordered it two weeks ago because he's like, “We’ve got too much. We're generating too much. We're wasting too much. We're buying too much.” It's literally behind me full. So that will tell you right now that we have to keep putting gas in this tank or the tail will start wagging the dog again.

ALLIE: I've been thinking about this a lot lately in my own personal life. Just to briefly give you a backstory, we used to be, I hate saying “poor” because it's very much America's version of what that looks like, but we were. And then the blog, my business, and my husband came home, and we run it together now, and we are very much on the opposite end of that now.

And I find myself pacifying with food. I used to have a cup of soup or whatever, but I can go and get Sushi, so I’m going to. I need to feel that in myself. And with things and clothes, I'll find myself filling that God-shaped hole with things and comforting myself. So, it was really perfect timing for me to read 7.

We're 3-4 years into this now, but it's just the remaining, almost like a PTSD of the past. I think it's so neat how you talk about these things, you're so honest. “I just went and I ate this food and I don't even care.” But I think like how you talk about that it keeps coming back in.

I think we all kind of do what Brian and I've been struggling with on a regular basis. Comforting ourselves or filling something in our lives with buying things. Even if it's not to that extent. But, why? Why do we have to go to Target and fill our cart with pointless things just because it's there? Is that what you mean when you're saying “temperature check,” that you have gotten to that point where you're just needlessly bringing things in and you have to get it back out?

JEN: Yeah, that's exactly what I mean. Just this morning, I was in the house and my husband and I sat down for probably an hour and went through, “Ok, what are we spending?” We sat this morning and he's going through it, line by line, and he's like, “What is this? What is this?”

Not like in a gotcha kind of way. He's talking about his expenditures. Frankly (and he would say this if he was in the room) but he’s the spender in our marriage. And he's like, “Okay, this is what it costs to live our life in a month.” I mean we just went through it again. He’s like, “so in these areas, we’re slipping. We need to tighten it up. We need to lock it down.” And so, I think it's just that sort of attention that we give it. Do not expect it to run on its own momentum forever. It won't. It just won't, because there's so much competing for our loyalties, too much competing for our headspace and definitely too much competing for our dollars.

I just feel like for us this is just work that we will have to just keep our foot on the gas with these sort of periodic dumpsters and spending renovations. A lot of this has to do with our kids too and what they feel entitled to.

We were a lot like you. We've been married for 25 years and it wasn't until probably the last seven years that I could fill my whole tank with gas and not be afraid that I didn't have enough money to do it. We really struggled financially for the majority of our adult life and marriage. I ran a student ministry at church. I was a teacher and then I had a bunch of kids so I stayed home. We just really scraped it together. So that sense of scarcity for us, still, is like a ghost that haunts us.

And to your point, we find sometimes just the ability to buy what we want to buy such a comfort. So we have to also pay attention to that. And I’m not one that says, “You can never have anything nice.” I'm not like that. I hope that those listening don’t think, “These two are a drag. I can never get some sushi?” Yes, you can. That's not my life philosophy. I'm not some, “you can never have anything fun or nice again.”

But we do pay attention to our motives behind it. Are we feeling grabby and desperate, or do I just want to have sushi with my friend? I suspect that we will probably never be fully on the other side of this.

ALLIE: Yeah, I love your honesty about that. So just curious, is there anything since 7 that you just can’t personally justify buying or do anymore?

JEN: I don't know if it's so much a brand issue like that. I think just because I came into this one at a zero, I mean I'm an absolute, “I've never even thought about this, much less practiced any of it,” that stuck the most was waste when it came down to the earth and how much we use. And that concept for me was pretty revolutionary.

So, it's funny now when I go back and read it, I'm like, “Come on Jen. I was real green there.” Pun intended. Now I read it and go, “That's not that special. Everybody else was already caring about the earth. You were just a dumb-dumb.” But at the time, to start from nothing. We took on seven habits for “a green life” in the project and it was real eye-opening for me. And so those things stuck for sure. Well, not all of them; we're not still collecting rain water, but we are careful. We're careful about that.

That is something now that my kids don't even know another way than this philosophy of earth-care and economy. We never went back to burning everything like we used to, just burning through it without a care in the world. We're really careful about what we buy, what we reuse, what we won’t purchase in like one-time use stuff. Big time recyclers. All of it.

ALLIE: This is embarrassing, but we just started recycling and you know why? Even my reason for doing it was vain. I was so tired of somebody coming over and being like, “Oh, do you recycle?” And me being like, “No.” It’s just unfortunately not something that's on our minds unless it was instilled in us as kids or something. So yeah, I love that. I love that it stuck with you guys.

So everyone listening is going to want to do this. So where can they go? How can they get 7? I know that you have a whole thing that goes with it now.  

JEN: It's really easy now. We've taken 7 and we've digitized it and now we have bundled it. Now we've got just the book. We've got a workbook if you want to go through it. Let me back up real quick and then I'll answer your question.

When I first did 7, I just wrote it and it never occurred to me one time that somebody would ever want to do it themselves. Not one time. I thought, “I'm not writing a prescription here, this is just some random story we're living.” And then when everybody started buying that book and were like, “We're going to do it in our neighborhood. We're going to do it in our family,” I'm like, “What? I cannot believe it.” I was shocked by that.

And so, my publishing team came back a few months later and they're like, “Everybody is wanting more instruction on doing it.” I'm like, “Well I didn't give any instruction. I wasn't thinking like that.” I went back six months later and wrote a workbook through it.

In the workbook, there's a ton of options. It’s not like this is how it has to be. It’s not really formulated. I never meant for it to be like that. It was more like Food: Here's 10 different things you might want to do. Do what makes sense for you.

And what I noticed is the outcome is the same. So, the mechanics may be different, but the ideas are the same. So, there's a workbook and there's videos. I filmed videos to go with every single chapter, all seven chapters. We've got an online Facebook group that's private and everybody's going through 7 right now.

You can get all that on my website. It's Jenhatmaker.com. If you click on the “store” tab, it'll take you to it.

I went through this with a bunch of girlfriends. I call them The Council. There were seven of us total. They did “versions” while I did it a specific way. Having them in the project with me, I just can't imagine not. And so, I think that 7 is best done in a small group or with your friends or with a couple of families. There’s a lot of powerful conversations that come out of it. There's a lot of discussions. To me, it’s better in communities.  

ALLIE: And you have given us a coupon code too. So, if you guys want to use the code PURPOSE, you get 15% off. It's awesome.

I'm trying to work on texting some of my friends. When you describe what 7 is, it's like,“Hey, do you want to, I dunno, come and basically be in a concentration camp with me for seven months? It'll be fine.”

JEN: Well you know what, a lot of people do it just a week. There's so many ways. There’s no one way to skin a cat. It's okay for you to be like, “this is a way that I think will still be impactful in my life, but not destroy my life.” There are versions of the project for sure.

ALLIE: Yeah. And I think the point is looking at how you're spending, what you're doing, like how I talked about pacifying myself with these things. The point is being aware, which is huge.

JEN: So, for sure, all of your listeners can get 15% off any package that you want with the coupon code, PURPOSE.  At checkout, you put it in PURPOSE and you're going to get 15% off.

ALLIE: For you guys that are listening, I'll link in the show notes so you're not searching everywhere for it.

Thank you so much!

JEN: I love talking about 7. It was such a monumental time in my life and paid such dividends forward. I feel like I'm the leader and the mom that I am right now, largely in part because of what I learned during the year of 7.

And so, thanks for being interested in it. Thanks for putting in front of your listeners. I love that. They can always find me online if they've got questions or want to talk about it. I'm all over social media.

ALLIE: Yeah. And guys follow Jen on Instagram because you share so much. I love watching a mom who's a couple seasons ahead of me and your daughter just went off to college and just seeing your thoughts and your tears and your honesty about everything. Even this morning you posted something hilarious about your kids going to school and all that. I just love you on Instagram.

JEN: It's so much fun, isn't it? It's my favorite of all the social medias, it feels like that's where we go to have a good time. All of the others are where we go to have some drama, but Instagram is fun.

ALLIE: Yeah, it's really easy to spend time there.

Okay. Well I will let you go. Thank you again so, so much and I can't wait for everyone to hear this.

That was such an incredible interview with Jen. Thank you guys so much for tuning in. It was an absolute pleasure to talk with her. She's amazing. All the things that Jen and I talked about, especially about you taking the next action step for yourselves and reading the book 7, maybe getting the workbook and putting it into action in your own life can be found in show notes. You can find that at alliecasazza.com/shownotes/078. Everything you need will be right there. The link to her shop, the coupon code that you can get 15% off of everything, all that good stuff. So head over there and take action because you know that's what I'm all about and that's what The Purpose Show is all about.


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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 077: Living Happy with Alli Worthington

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A book can teach you something new. It can inspire you to make positive changes in your life and can take you to a different level in your life. Reading is so important to me which is why I am excited for Allie Reads October here on the podcast! All month I am interviewing some amazing authors. We will talk about their books, life, and living a life of purpose and intention.

Alli Worthington is the founder of Blissdom, which is the largest international women's small business conference in the world and she just released her third book, The Year of Living Happy. She is driven to see conversations about happiness change from an external perspective to an internal one. Generally, unhappiness is caused by little things and if we just make little, small changes - changes to the way we think changes to our habits - it brings so much happiness into our lives.

Use the hashtag #AllieReadsOctober to share with me this month. What are you reading? Did you get any of the books from the authors I’m talking to you about? Are you reading a different book? How are you taking this challenge to read more and putting it into action? I cannot wait to see what you share!

 
 

In This Episode Allie + Alli Discuss:

  • What a holistic approach to happiness means and how it differs from what the world defines happiness as.

  • How to balance social media and happiness, especially since we live in a time where social media can be so damaging to our happiness.

  • The things that typically rob mothers of their happiness and how to overcome them.

  • Why it is important to escape the tyranny of urgency and how you can implement that escape in your life.

Mentioned in this Episode:


It’s giveaway time! Alli’s book, A Year of Happy Living, is incredible and I am SO excited to gift it to one of you. Head over to The Purpose Show Facebook Community for your chance to win! I cannot want to connect with you this month on all things book related. #AllieReadsOctober

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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 Purpose Show.

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Hey, sweet friends! I'm so happy that October is finally here! For months I have been planning and dreaming this up for you and I'm so happy to finally unveil what it is I've been working on!

This month, October, is all about reading. We're calling it “Allie Reads October,” and the purpose behind this is for me to inspire and encourage you to read more often. Reading is such a gift. We take it for granted way too often, myself included, but reading is powerful. You literally have a whole new life in your hands when you read a book.

A book can teach you something new. It can inspire you to make positive changes in your life and can take you to a different level in your life. Reading is so important. I read all the time and I wish that I would have started sooner and so I'm taking that passion of mine and turning it into Allie Reads October. Every October here on The Purpose Show, we are turning it into author central.

I'm interviewing some amazing authors this month and we're talking about their books and I want to see you use this Hashtag. I'm going to be checking it every single day on Facebook and Instagram and I want you to use it. #alliereadsoctober.

Share with me. What are you reading? Did you get any of the books from the authors I’m talking to you about? Are you reading a different book? How are you taking this challenge to read more and putting it into action?

Let's celebrate this month October! Allie Reads October. We're going to talk about authors and books and encourage each other to read more books.

I encourage you to get other people involved in this. Get your kids involved. Encourage them, read with them, next to them or to them, or have them read in their own quiet time. Share this with your friends. Let's encourage each other to get better equipped to live an intentional life by reading more.

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ALLIE: Hi, beautiful friend! Welcome to another episode of The Purpose Show. Today's guest is somebody who I have a lot in common with. We have the same name. We both love superhero movies. We both have a lot of boys. She actually has five boys. We both love Kombucha and dark chocolate and we're both passionate about business. We also both have a rags-to-riches kind of story that started with her husband's jobs is not working out.

Alli Worthington is joining us today. She is an author and she's the founder of Blissdom, which is the largest international women's small business conference in the world. So proud of her for that. That's amazing! Alli just released her third book, The Year of Living Happy. I've read it. It's absolutely incredible and I am so excited to welcome her to our show today. Alli, let's dive in.

Hi Alli! Welcome!

ALLI: Hi, I'm so excited to be here!

ALLIE: Yeah, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy day and talking with us. I think you can encourage my audience in a really fresh way and I'm really excited.

ALLI: I sure hope so!

ALLIE:  Okay, so maybe just start by, can you just tell us a little bit about who you are and your family and what you do?

ALLI: Sure. My husband and I live outside of Nashville. We have five boys. The baby is 10 even though I know a 10-year-old does it seem like a baby, but when you have five boys, he's always the baby. The oldest is 19, almost 20. He's a sophomore in college.

I have two careers which people always find really confusing. On the ministry side, I write books. I wrote a book called Breaking Busy about getting off that hamster wheel of busyness. I wrote Fierce Faith about overcoming fear and this new one is The Year Of Living Happy. So that's the ministry side. Really practical, but with a spiritual component. I'm also a speaker.

But then the other side of what I do is I am a business coach. People always find it a little confusing that I do all of those things, but it really comes down to my passion is helping women be all that they're called to be, whether that is on spiritual realm or business and I love doing it.

I am proud to say I've never worked an office job. One of my boys actually said to me the other day (my 11-year-old) he referred to me as a stay at home mom and I was like, “Buddy, mom travels a lot. I have a home office. I'm not sure I'm a stay at home mom. I used to be. I was a stay at home mom for 12 years.” He goes, “No, you're here. You're with us, so I'm calling you a stay at home mom.” And I was like, “That's pretty cool. I'll take it.” So, business owner, speaker and according to my kids, stay at home, mom.”

ALLIE: I love that. That would make me so happy if my kids described me as that because you do feel that pull, “Man, I’m really working extra this month” and then some months the balance kind of swings the other way. But yeah, you always are feeling that pull of mom/work, especially when your job involves travel. Mine does too and it's weird and sometimes I feel like “am I gone too much?”

Okay. So, you have authored I think three books, right? Yeah, Breaking Busy. I've read that one. Fierce Faith. And then your new one is The Year Of Living Happy. So, what is that book all about?

ALLI: Well, it's funny. When I was writing Fierce Faith, I wrote it from kind of a dark place. I wrote it all about overcoming fear while I was learning to overcome fear. My husband had developed a chronic illness and life was just throwing us around, but I knew that I was supposed to write on fear. And so, the way it works with me, with my books, is God will kind of give me a word that I'm supposed to write on next.

As soon as I finished the Fear book, He gave me happy. And I thought, “This is ridiculous. I don't know what to say about happiness.” But I went on this journey for a whole year to figure out what's true in scripture about happiness combined with what researchers are pulling from science to say makes us happy and what I love is so much of it is the exact same thing.

So, I wanted to create this book and have 100 entries that people could go to that's super practical and said, “here's exactly what we do to have a happier life,” both scripturally sound, but also backed up by research. And it just kills me that scientists will say, “sure enough, we found the secret to happiness and it's X, Y, and Z,” and we're like, “We know. That's been in the Bible all this time.” But I love to marry those two things together.

ALLIE: Yeah, I love that too. And I think when a lot of us think about happiness the first thing that comes to mind is sort of shallow and transient whereas you kind of talk about happiness in a way that’s so different and I think it's has such a stronger and deeper foundation.

I know this is hard but in a sentence or two, can you unpack your definition of happiness for us? I guess this would kind of be like a summary of what you've figured out.

ALLI:  Totally. Okay. This is fascinating. I can't do it in a sentence or two, but I think it'll be worth it. What I learned was in the original language of scripture, there's no differentiation between joy and happiness. And all throughout history, Christians have always used the word happiness. They never looked down on us. It wasn't thought as worldly. It was just a little over a year ago that a minister and an author decided that happiness was secular, worldly and fleeting and joy was holy. So now we've got a bunch of grumpy Christians saying “we're not happy; we're full of joy,” and people are looking for happiness out in the world. We can't find lasting happiness that way.

So, my passion and my hope with this is that we can change the conversation from happiness is out in the world and it's fleeting and it's external, but happiness is inside. We're commanded over and over again in scripture to be holy, but also to be happy because real lasting happiness is only through seeking God. If I could get up on the rooftops and shout that every day, that's what I’d do for the rest of my life.

I feel like it's such an important message because culturally we've bought this bill of goods that happiness is silly and superficial and it's not what we should strive for. I think that we are supposed to be happy and we are supposed to strive for it. But so much of our unhappiness is caused by little things and if we just make little, small changes - changes to the way we think about things or habits - it brings so much happiness into our lives.

ALLIE: I love that. I feel like your approach to practically living out happiness is really neat and kind of holistic and just like “how can I bring everything into this?” And I like how you really go all in and that's really how your book is laid out too, is it 12 sections? Yeah, I really liked that.

So, can you talk about the areas that contribute to our happiness? Because I feel like you've given us permission, like you said, like happiness is not shallow. Happiness is not different from joy and if you're of faith you should be focusing on joy. I actually like that your book has the word happy in it. So, if we know we should be happy, we should be striving for happiness, what areas contribute to us getting there?

ALLI: Our biggest area by far is our thoughts and our mindset. So, whether I am talking to a friend or I am talking to somebody for business coaching, I tell everyone 80% of our happiness, 80% of our success or failure in business, 80% of everything is internal. It is how we're thinking, how we're talking to ourselves, because most of us have on play this kind of negative loop of self-criticism. And I believe we have to practice self-compassion as opposed to self-criticism. Because if the one voice we hear more than anybody's voice in our heads all the time is our own and most of the time that is, “oh, I can't believe I made that mistake. I'm so dumb. Things will never work out’” all of those things, we rob us of our own happiness that we can have.

So many people think happiness is in the external; that would be the other 20 percent. But the 20 percent that's external would be our resources, our time, our community. But 80% of it, that's the internal game. Once we become aware of our thought life and we kind of bring it into balance, that's when we can find real happiness because sometimes unfortunately, because of lessons we've learned from other people, habits we've learned from our own families, we talk to ourselves in a way that we would never allow. I tell people, “Don't talk to yourself in a way that you wouldn't allow people to talk to your own children.” We would never let people talk to our kids the way we talk to ourselves.

ALLIE: Right. I love that. I've never heard anyone say that. That's an amazing rule of thumb. I love that.

You have this fantastic chapter in the book that kind of talks about social media and comparison and how that damages our happiness. That's another thing I love too, you talk a lot about what creates happiness and how we can seek it out, but also protecting ourselves from what is hurting our happiness.

In some ways our jobs are similar and they involve a lot of social media, being on the computer. I think when you're in the public eye in any way you just... I mean you can have people that help you manage all the comments and stuff, but you see hurtful things, you see negative things, feedback, book reviews and all that kind of hurtful stuff. How do you balance staying connected, showing up for what you do and showing up for the women that you serve, but also having boundaries in social media and feeding that happiness for yourself?

ALLI:  I have a rule that if I'm not emotionally healthy, I'm not going on social media. So, if I am depressed, if I'm sad, if I have PMS, if somebody’s hurt my feelings, if I need affirmation from outside, if I want to go on social media to post something so people will be like, “you're great” or “your hair looks cute,” I do not allow myself to even pick up the iphone because I'm not emotionally healthy enough for it.

And what I've found in research, the research started coming out a couple of years ago, but more and more coming out all the time, that the more time we spend on social media, the more depressed we are because subconsciously we can't help but compare our lives to everyone's highlight reel. It's brain science. We can't deny it anymore.

I wrote about this in Breaking Busy, you’ve probably heard this before, but the way we can use social media and not get depressed is use it and actually engage with people. So when we “like” things and we comment and we engage, it protects us from just passively scrolling. Passively scrolling is a recipe for depression on social. So that's what I do. If the dog is throwing up and I'm cleaning the carpet, I'm not allowed to go on Instagram and look at people's vacation photos. I'm just not in the right headspace, can't do it.

And then also I limit the public's access to me really carefully. I have a Facebook group that I run kind of “my” people and I'm there all the time, whether I'm in a good mood or not. But I'm not doing Instagram TV and having comments from all over the world coming in because it is hurtful and it is weird. So, could I gain more followers and build my business even bigger if I lived on social media all the time? Yeah. But for me it's not a healthy way to live and it's not a healthy way for me to live as a wife or a mom.

ALLIE: Yeah. It's not worth it. So, I'd love to know from you, for mothers specifically, what are some of the major things that rob mothers specifically of happiness?

ALLI: Oh, such a good question. The biggest thing is this idea that our mothering is supposed to look a certain way. I remember when all my kids were little, I said to my mother-in-law, we were at her house, she was making breakfast and she was in a good mood and I said, “I wanted to be the kind of mother that was really happy and I made big breakfast and everything was great.” And I said, “But everything's really hard and when I'm cooking and all the kids are fighting or under my feet or they're spilling milk all over the place, I'm just not as happy as you are. And I watch you being happy and cooking and being calm, and I wish I had that.” And she said. “I didn't have that when all the kids were little. I have that because you're visiting.” And I was like, “Oh!”

She said, “I was just like you when I was in the throes of it.” I don't know how I didn't put 2 and 2 together, but it was such an eye-opening moment for me because I realized, “Oh, I'm in a hard season and it's supposed to be hard. When you have a bunch of little kids, it's just difficult. That’s just life. But when we can learn to give ourselves grace and go, “You know what? I'm not supposed to be Mary Poppins today. I'm just supposed to be keeping the kids alive because they want to jump off the roof. This is the season that I'm in. Things don't have to be perfect. Things are okay.” My role was always if my made my boys feel loved, if they were able to give and receive love to each other and they had the beginnings of taking personal responsibility for themselves, everything else was gravy.

It didn't matter if when I went to bed that the dishes were in the sink or the toys were all over the floor. That doesn't matter when they're grown men. It doesn't matter when they're 15-years-old. What matters is they know how to give and receive love. They know how to begin to take care of themselves and take responsibility for themselves. If I did those things, I was winning it as a mom.

So luckily when my kids were little, there wasn't Pinterest. And to be quite honest, there wasn't Instagram because if I had all of that, I would have been the most depressed mom ever because I would have been comparing myself to the pictures we see. Not knocking it, but looking good for photos that can be posted on Instagram or Pinterest is a whole business model. So, when we see a woman and her house is pristine and it's professionally decorated, her kids look amazing and her hair's done, there's probably 10 people in the background that get done. That's nobody's real life. I'm just glad that when my kids were little I didn't raise them with me feeling that extra pressure on myself.

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Most people know I'm a blogger and a podcaster, but that's really just where the inspiration happens. I can only scrape the surface of equipping you to bring positive change to your life here. That's why I create online courses on my Private Students-Only Platform.

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For Purpose Show listeners only, you can take 10% off any course you choose with the code PURPOSESHOW.  Visit alliecasazza.com/nextlevel for the breakdown of all the different courses I have to offer, how they're different from each other and which one might be best for you.

I cannot wait to cheer you on and take you onward and upward. Motherhood is much too sweet a time to be spent in survival mode.

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ALLIE: So, you talk about how we can choose to be happy. I think that is very liberating because I feel like sometimes I've been in conversations or heard somebody talking about a book that talks about this and they kind of come at it like, “Well that's easier said than done,” but to me I think that saying you can choose to be happy is really liberating because you're in control. You can make that choice. But I would love to hear how you would, maybe some practical suggestions on like how to do that. Let's say a mom is listening and she's got little kids and it's a difficult time. Her husband's working. She's at home doing the whole mom thing and she's just feeling done. In a mundane life like that, how do you choose happiness and create that.

ALLI:  Okay, this is gonna sound really dark and this is going to be crazy. I didn't even put this in the book, so this is bonus because this is too dark for the book. I read this book once from this big researcher and her point was if we are unable to feel gratitude for the day we are in that we need to think, “What is the worst thing that can happen? What happens if we lose our family? What happens if something terrible happens? And how grateful would we be if we just had today back?”

It's so dark. But when you allow yourself to go there and go “Look at all of the blessing that I have, with the kid that's spilling Fruit Loops all over the kitchen or the house that we live in.” One thing I say all the time is we have to stop and give thanks for the things that we once desperately prayed for. All of the details, the mess of the day. Things are never going to get done. They're never going to get done when your kids are older either. I mean that's just life.

But if we can focus in and go, “What are the big things that I used to just dream about and pray so desperately for that I have now,” that can refocus our mind into gratitude and gratitude, both biblically and from a research perspective is the key to happiness. If we can focus ourselves on not these 10 things that aren't perfect, but these 2 or 3 things that are perfect, it can resettle us to decide to be happy about it. Because we can tell ourselves, “Oh, I'm so happy about this in my life.” Or we can tell ourselves, “The garbage disposal is broken again. Everything stinks. I can't enjoy my day until the repairman comes.”

We have that power to control our own energy. We have that power to control our own thoughts. It's just we have to get in the habit of doing it and give ourselves permission to do it. For most of us, as women, we keep waiting for permission to be happy. We keep waiting for permission to be told that we're good enough. We keep waiting for permission to go after our dreams. We don't need it. We have it and we've had it all along. We just have to be reminded of it.

ALLIE: Wow. I love that. You kind of answered my next question a little bit, but you kind of weigh out scientific research and what Jesus says about what happiness is and kind of align the two and show they are the same. Would you say gratitude kind of all comes down to being grateful

ALLI: Two things that's both biblically sound and researched-backed: gratitude and the quality of our relationships. In fact, one study that I found said that a healthy, quality relationship brings as much happiness as a $133,000 raise every year. People have studied it. When you make more money, you're really happy in the beginning. Or when you win the lottery you're really happy at the beginning. But then within a very short amount of time, your happiness evens out to the same level as it was before, like we kind of run at a set point. But the thing that will continually make us happy and keep us happy is really a discipline of gratitude. Practicing the discipline of gratitude because it doesn't come naturally. We're not naturally grateful people, you know? The discipline of gratitude and investing in our relationships, whether it's with our spouse, our kids or friends in the community, those are the things that make a happy life.

When people are interviewed at the end of their lives, the big regret that people have is that they didn't invest in relationships like they wanted to.

ALLIE: Yeah, for sure. I think that it's funny because, at least for me, that's the first thing to go when things get really busy, is extra relationships and friendships, coffee with my best friend and you know, “Can’t make it this week. It's really crazy.” And what would happen if we turned it around and in the busiest times we prioritized it? I wonder how much different we would act from that, from creating that happiness during stressful times?

ALLI: That's always my default too. And one way I fixed it this year just on a really practical level is I've joined a small group of women through the church and we essentially promised each other that we show up every week for each other. Because if I don't have an outside obligation, I'm probably gonna get tired and go, “You know, I just want to hang out on the couch and watch TV with the kids tonight.”

But because it's an outside obligation and I know they're expecting me to show up, I'm actually going to show up and put those relationships first and it's made me so happy this year. I never imagined being part of a small group would do that to me, but it did. But now I'm realizing probably any goal I want to reach, I'm going to have to put outside measures on it. Like I can't force myself to exercise. I just can't. But maybe if I sign up to an exercise class, I will. So that's my next plan. We'll see. Maybe the next book will be about actually trying to get healthy. We'll see.

ALLIE: I hope it is. I would love that!

ALLI: It’ll be a challenge because if I do a pushup, I'll feel like a 90-year-old granny.

ALLIE: I feel like if you say that, then God's like, “Oh, okay, that's your next book. Please focus on that.”

ALLI: Please no! Nobody wants to read that.

ALLIE: I think my favorite chapter in the book was escaping The Tyranny of the Urgent. I mean we do, we daily face like so many little mini crises and it's crazy. I mean I think in different seasons they appear in different ways. But right now, for me, I was just talking to my husband about this after I read that, like that is exactly what this is. Our life right now is just crisis, one after the other, little mini things that right now needs to be fixed. So, having said that, could you share how you even begin to make the escape from that?

ALLI: Totally, totally. And the Tyranny of the Urgent basically says that the things that are urgent will take up all the importance in our lives if we let it. So, we'll focus on what's important, basically what's on fire, instead of what's really important. What's urgent instead of important.

And so, what we want to do is go, “okay, the urgent things that have to be taken care of. Yes, we'll do it, but we won't forget the big things that will take us where we want to go in life.” And so, I think it's kind of like a game of Whack-A-Mole where you know, at the circus you hit one mole and five others pop up? That's basically living in that cycle.

So, one thing that I do is at the end of every day I write down the three things that were really successful for me that day and I'm grateful for them. Maybe it's I had a great moment with one of my kids, or I helped a client, or whatever it is that I did.

But then I think what are my three big goals for tomorrow? Because I used to do the three big goals in the morning, but in the morning the kids need food, everyone’s a little bit crazy. I can't wake up before them because they wake up at five. Some of my kids are just early birds and they talk the whole time. So, I don't have quiet time in the morning like that. So, at the end of the day, three things that are really great that I did that day because here's the thing, as women, also we don't give ourselves permission to celebrate our wins. And if we can go, “here's three things I did really successful today,” it's going to change your life. So, three things from today that were good.

But then the three big goals or the three big things that are really important for tomorrow. Write those out and then when the fires start popping up and when we get distracted, we can look (I just do it on a post-it note) I can look at it and be like, “Oh, here are my big three today. This is all I'm going to try to get done.” That is so simple, but it works. And the thing with trying to change our lives, develop a new habit or try to be happier… sometimes we think that it's going to require so much work, when it's just the little, tiny, small things that'll have the biggest changes.

ALLIE:  And that also is empowering to just keep it simple, and it's that little bits of progress that end up making that new habit or changing everything. I'd love to ask you about mindfulness. I think that that is something that we hear a lot about today and actually this part of your book came at a perfect time for me because I've personally been on a journey of just really researching, looking in the Word, and researching the overlap of kind of (I think it kind of comes from like a new age) mindfulness, meditation, and I'm so drawn to it. I love just getting still. It’s so powerful for me, but just really looking at like, okay, what is that version of this? Where is the overlap here? What does God say about this? And so I'd love to hear you talk about, you've sort of coined this term, I think of Godly mindfulness. What's the difference and how do we cultivate that? What does that look like.

ALLI:  The world will say we just need to empty ourselves out, practice a chant or whatever it is. There's even research that shows how beneficial it is, but it's beneficial because we're getting quiet, we're getting focused, we're breathing deeply and we’re calming our mind. So that's where that benefit comes from. But with Godly mindfulness we want to do the same things where we relax, because chilling out is so important for our happiness.

We relax, we take deep breaths and we're filling ourselves with God. We're focusing on the things that will actually bring us peace, and bring us happiness in life. That is the secret to calming so much of the anxiety we have on a day-to-day basis. Getting quiet. Getting focused. Filling ourselves with Him. Focusing on Him.

For me, just on a kind of a rabbit trail, worship music is my jam. There's no way I can drive from here to Target and be in a bad mood if worship music is on. That's just kind of part of our lives. It's how we fight all the things that come at us on a day-to-day basis because if we're not filling ourselves up with the only thing that's going to bring true happiness then we don't have the weapons to fight against it.

Oh, one other thing I want to tell you that's really fascinating, that goes hand-in-hand with mindfulness. The one thing that research shows will calm anxiety and make people happier is breathing. It's so crazy. Even the Navy Seals, they get trained in this breathing technique, which is called “box breathing.” You can google it. Basically, you're breathing in, holding it, breathing out. That is the one thing that the Navy Seals learn how to do to chill out, to calm their anxiety, to be happier and I'm like, every mom should know how to do this.

ALLIE: That should come in your hospital pack, when you leave.

ALLI:  Yeah. If it's good enough for the Navy Seals, it's good enough for mom. We need this technique. Sometimes just practicing, getting quiet, practicing mindfulness and breathing is going to make us so happy, but also practicing mindfulness as we go about our day. Here's where I am in life, here's what's going on. I'm so thankful for my kids. I'm so thankful that the car runs and I get to Target and praise the Lord, Target has that Dollar Section in the front. That's the stuff. It seems silly, but just being aware and being grateful as we go through our day, it does make us so happy.

ALLIE: Yeah, and like you said, the act of getting still for moms is huge. It's so the opposite of how the rest of our day is going to go. So for me, when I just sit and I'm just quiet for a second and I focus on my breathing…Stuff will come up; I'll notice I feel really anxious. And instead of just emptying myself of that, giving that over to the Lord and just fill me, what is the opposite of anxiety? Peace. Fill me with peace and just being intentional in that stillness. It's huge, even just five minutes. It's huge.

ALLI: And there's so much guilt about screen time. Now as a woman who has raised children who are grown, I'm just going to say don't fear screen time. If you need to put your kids in front of a good cartoon, as long as it's a good show, put them in front of the show and go chill out because you're going to feel so much better after and you're going to be a better mom for the rest of the day. My oldest son never watched TV, Baby Mozart, I did everything right. Bless him. He's just like his mama. He's not the sharpest knife in the drawer sometimes and he'd say that. Second son I just gave up and let them watch all the TV they wanted because I was like, “I guess you guys are going to watch cartoons today.” Nobody’s going to be Valedictorian this year.

I don't know if that helps moms out there, but we are not in control of how our kids turn out, exactly. They are just them. We can help, but there's a whole industry in making women feel bad because you let your kids watch some cartoons every day. Don't feel bad about it. Take care of yourself if you need to.

ALLIE: For sure. That’s something that I talk about a lot. What's the reasoning? Do you need a break? It's a babysitter built into your TV. Take a break here. If you're struggling and your using it to get your kids away from you instead of maybe you could do something else and go outside and connect with them, but it depends on what's going on. What's the reasoning and the intention behind it. It can be such a help. There is no way that I could homeschool my kids and run this business without Netflix.

ALLI: We hold ourselves up to this crazy image of perfection and what a mom should do, which nobody is doing that behind the scenes. We hold ourselves to that image of perfection. We make ourselves miserable. I used to become this mom that kind of gritted her teeth and you know, made myself do everything that I was supposed to do, but I was miserable at it, instead of giving myself grace and just focusing honestly on loving the boys and having a great time.

ALLIE: I love that. I'd love to wrap up by asking you a final question about balance. There's constant pressure on women to find balance, and especially work/life balance, and I would love to hear your take on that. I just think you breathe life over everything that has to do with being a woman and living a good life.

Is this balance even possible? Is it something that you've attained or are aiming to attain? Like what's your thought on that? Finding that perfect work/life balance that everyone talks about.

ALLI: I think I have found the balance and it's not what everyone thinks because the balance looks different in every season. I just came out of summer season. I only traveled once all summer long. I would work during the day, as soon as work is over at 4:00 PM, close my computer, walk 10 feet down the hall and it's family time. Summer balance was pretty much all family, all the time.

Now fall has started up and I'm in speaking season which means every weekend or every other weekend I leave on Friday morning and get back Saturday night because I'm doing a women's event. So, balance in this season for the next three months looks like a lot of travel and a lot of work, but I don't feel guilty about it because the last season was summer and it was all family.

For me I think balance looks like going, “okay, what season am I in right now? What do I need to focus on right now?” The other things are still there. We're not dropping the balls, but it's just that's not where all of our focus is and to give ourselves permission in different seasons of life to focus in on other things. Because as women, if we are working on balance and that is our goal, we're not the kind of women that are going to just neglect something.

We're the kind of women and that are too hard on ourselves. So, we need to give ourselves tons of grace and go, “This is what I'm focusing in. These other things aren't taking as much of my time. They're just as important, but this is what I need to focus on right now.”

ALLIE: I love that. Well said. Thank you so much for this amazing interview. I feel like this is the type of interview that they're going to listen to and just take their headphones out and feel a breath of fresh air, just encouraged. And I really appreciate that.

Okay, so as you guys are listening to this, The Year Of Living Happy is out and you can get it. You get it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, everywhere you can get books. We'll link to it for the show notes for you guys.

But thank you Alli so much!

ALLIE: Thank you! It's been great to be on the show.


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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 073: Slowing Down In A World Of "Hurry Up" with Lara Casey

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We live in a world of right now, hurry up, and instant gratification. A world that tells us to stay busy and fill our calendars, to meet our goals instantly, and rush the seasons. But we don’t have to! We can go against the grain and slow down. We don’t have to set goals that need to be met in an unrealistic time frame. Instead, we can grow slow, be intentional with our time, and just breathe. As Lara Casey says, “it is always worth it to take the five minutes. Yes, it will add up over time. No, you will not see the fruit as fast but the fruit will be sweeter in the end.”

Lara Casey is the founder of Cultivate What Matters as well as Laracasey.com. She's such a light and is so good at challenging others to redirect their focus and minds to right where they need to be for the day.

 
 

In This Episode Allie + Lara Discuss:

  • What growing slow means, especially in a world of right now and instant gratification.

  • How you can determine the goals you need to move forward with or move away from by evaluating their value in your life.

  • Ways you can overcome challenges with your calendar and the value of getting intentional with it.

  • What PowerSheets are and how they can help you reset your focus.

Mentioned in this Episode:


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.

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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 Purpose Show.

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Hey friends! Welcome to another episode of The Purpose Show. I'm so honored to show you the conversation that I got to have with our beautiful guest today. Lara Casey is the founder of Cultivate What Matters as well as Laracasey.com. She's such a light. She's just a gem. We've sat down and talked before and I always just feel the joy through the screen when I get to spend a little time with her.

This episode was hard to title because we talked about all kinds of things from homeschooling to goal setting, just random. I feel like it was really, really good. We talked about your calendar, just being intentional in different areas of life, and it's just a gem of an episode. So, join me in welcoming Lara Casey.

ALLIE: Hi Lara. Welcome!

LARA: Thank you! So glad to be here!

ALLIE: Awesome! I'm so glad we could finally connect. You guys, we had to reschedule and try again a hundred times to get here today because that's what happens when you’re business-owning, homeschooling moms of little children. I just want to dive right in.

I was saying before we hit record, but your blog is really one of the only ones that I read regularly. I love it. You are so light and you get my brain redirected right where it needs to be for the day. I love your blog posts. I love your emails and look for your name. You're just an amazing writer.

LARA: That’s so encouraging to hear! You know, I feel like it's easy to get lost in the does anybody actually read this? I'm not sure. So thank you. That's very kind.

ALLIE: Of course! So on your blog, it wasn't too recently, but maybe a few months ago you said something that I love that I really wanted my listeners to hear. It was about setting goals midyear. You've talked about that a little bit before and because of you, I will kind of do a mid-year check-in with the intentions that I had set in January instead of just dropping them in whenever and forgetting about them. I really loved it. I love talking about that and kind of helping people break free out of that like fresh start syndrome trap.

So what you said was you make a move forward list. Can you share about that idea? I just think it's so helpful and interesting.

LARA: At the beginning of the year, of course most people are in the mind frame of what can I do that's new? How can I work on what didn't work last year? And so we make goals or whatever you call them. And we get to kind of a midway point where things start to feel a little tense. Maybe there are goals that we haven't made progress on. Maybe we've changed a lot in the first six months of the year and so I think we kind of get stuck. “Well, we set those goals at the beginning of the year. I can't change them. That’s my theme for the year. That's my word for the year.”

But we grow and change just like the flowers in my garden do. They grow and change over time and we do too. And so I think there's a really wonderful opportunity, not just, you know, halfway through the year, but every few months to stop, reevaluate, and say, “Is this thing that I've been spending my time on, this currency of my heart on, is it really worth it? Am I doing it well? Am I getting sidetracked by something?

So, I feel like there is an opportunity to move forward either on the things that are worth our time or to move forward and just move away from the things that are not worth our time. So halfway through the year, and really a lot of times throughout the year, I ask myself that question. Where do I need to move forward? What do I need to let go of? What do I need to be pressing into? It’s a good opportunity to change and shift.

ALLIE: So have you done the enneagram?

LARA: Yes, I'm a one. I'm definitely a one.

ALLIE: I'm an eight and so I find myself really… If there's instructions set for something and I know it works, I have a really hard time thinking, “Oh you could go off of that though. Like it's okay to go off of that.” I just, I don't know, I'm kind of logical. It works, so why would I… I don’t even have that thought. And so, I beat myself up though. I'm an oldest child and so I kind of have to do the perfect thing. And those together, it's like “but this is what I set.” And I just think that the way you speak about that, it has brought me so much freedom and just, “but what's working right now?” I was a different person in January. It's crazy to think that way.

LARA: Yeah. And our kids, they change too. For me, a lot of it is how am I shifting to meet the needs of my family? And it's not just me changing but one child has a specific need in one season, or we're dealing with specific emotions. I think we can get (and I know I can get this way) so set on the checklist. This is the plan. This is what we're supposed to be doing right now. Instead of just looking at the needs that are in front of you and looking at the opportunities that are right in front of you.

I'm all for intentional forethought and really sticking to something that really matters to you and pushing through the hard stuff, but there are some times you just need to redirect.

ALLIE: So you talk a lot about growing slow and letting things take time. And comparing that to your gardening, which I love. I think that goes so hard against today's culture of right now and instant gratification and all that. Tell us about that and what exactly does that mean “growing slow.” Maybe an example of how you're doing that right now so we can kind of understand.

LARA: Yeah. There was a season where we had two tiny babies at once. So I had given birth to my son Joshua, and then six months later we adopted our youngest, Sarah. I mean if you even have one child… it’s not just about having two kids, but any season like that can be tumultuous. And I just remember feeling so much defeat in that season. I mean it can really break you down as a mom to be trying to balance a business and two really young kids with really strong needs. And then I had a 4 ½-year-old at the time who was going through a lot of big emotions with that transition.

And so, I just found myself in despair a lot and just thinking, “I am really just trying to survive right now.” I feel like there are these wonderful things that I want to do with our family and these qualities I want to grow in our children and I feel like I'm just complaining all of the time.

And so, this thought came to me that I don't really have a choice to grow overnight. I can't. I don't have the time for it right now. It sounds funny to say. I know it's kind of a trite thing to say, but even I can't get in the shower most days, you know? It's true. And I started to practice, truly practice out of necessity, this idea of little-by-little progress adding up. I just thought if I could just sit with Grace, our oldest, for five minutes on the floor without the other two attached to me for a few minutes, maybe that would add up.

And it takes a lot of trust. It takes a lot of faith to believe in the little-by-little progress adding up versus the overnight because overnight is easier to see. It's easier to see a result when you (this is the weirdest example, but I'm such a homeschool mom in this way) when you do the flower dyeing experiment, where you take a white flower and you stick it in the flower dye, you know? It's really easy to see a flower that goes from white to pink the next day. But the little-by-little over time is harder to notice.

And so for me, that's the practical that I learned in that season that it's always worth it to take the five minutes. Yes, it will add up over time. No, you will not see the fruit of that as fast but the fruit will be sweeter in the end.

ALLIE: What comes to mind when you're talking about that is that I know obviously you're a business owner. I know you're a working mom. For me my journey with being a working mom was very sudden, like, bam! Change! You’re not stay-at-home anymore. And it's all good. I love my business. I love what I do and I'm passionate about my mission, but a lot of the times (I'm working through this right now) I find myself feeling guilty for having that passion.

You're just so good. I know that was a total shift from what I just asked you, but it just came to mind because you're so good at being okay with things being the way that they are right now. And I think you've even talked about being a working mom and like it's okay if your schedule is full of work, you're doing something good.

And I think I'm so in need of that water on me right now and I know there's so many moms listening, but it's just a constant thing…work/life balance. I was traveling for work the other weekend and I got asked at least twice that I can think of, “Who's with your kids, though?” When my husband is traveling, nobody asks him that.

And so, it's just that kind of expected guilt (we're doing something else?) and I would just love your thoughts on being a working mom and having a calendar. Right now, my calendar is full of guest interviews, writing, and planning and there's not a lot of family stuff on there this month. There was last month. How do you deal with all of that?

LARA: Yeah, I feel like it's a complex answer. I don't really have a formula to offer people per se because I really feel like it's wherever the Lord has you in that season, that's where He's got you. I feel like for me personally, I just had this realization last week, I'm going to be in a perpetual season of saying “no” for a long time. And what do I mean by that? I mean that for many years I worked at the detriment of my family. Even before we had kids I worked 24/7 because I equated my work with my worth. And then when I had kids I was so entrenched in my work that it was very difficult for me to let go of that.

God has just been constantly teaching me that letting go is where He needs me. I could go into a whole other story about that, but for one I have full-time childcare right now, so I'm not doing this by myself. And I do believe that us as parents, we have the utmost responsibility and calling of pouring God's light and love into our children more than anybody else. But there are also opportunities for other people to be in their lives that also enrich them deeply. And so, we consider our caregiver part of our family. So there's that.

But the other thing is I really do feel like, for me personally, I just can't do it all and do it well. I have to disappoint friends when they want to get together because I'd rather just sit on the floor with my kids and play Legos. I can't go to social things all the time. We have to sometimes split even going to church family group because somebody has to be here while the kids are sleeping, you know? And so, wherever anybody is that’s listening to this, it's just the act of learning that saying “no” to one thing means you're saying “yes” to something else.

And it's a constant balance because I feel like the needs are constantly changing, not because there's some static ideal that I feel like every woman should reach. It's just again, for me personally, I feel like it's wherever God wants you to be in that season. And for me right now, the work/life balance, the motherhood, the way I get the guilt out of the way is by being obedient and sometimes that means disappointing a lot of people. Sometimes that means even saying “no” to a work project or I could go on, but it means that you're not going to be in a position of ease, but it will be worth it.

ALLIE: Yeah. For sure. And you gave me so much freedom in something you said recently where you talked about that if your calendar is full of work stuff right now, that's okay because you're doing something big. You're providing for your family. You're doing a different part of your mission. It's not supposed to all be one thing in your life all of the time.

LARA: Most definitely. And I have not just single mom friends, but working mom friends who are married, all kinds of different people in different life places who God has put them in a place where either they need to provide for their family or they've been given a calling in something that is for the Kingdom or whatever it is.

Or it could be, you know, I don't know... not to say that being a mail carrier is not something for the Kingdom, but just the first example that came to my mind. It's still for the Kingdom. If you are working to provide for your family, then there's no greater value than that. Even if it's something that's not creative or fun or whatever. Like the verse says “work hardly for the Lord no matter what you do.” (That was paraphrased.)

Again, it's hard for me to give a formula or a blanket answer, but if you're feeling the guilt, I think there's an opportunity to be curious about that. Just to say, “Lord, am I feeling guilt about this because… (like you experienced, there was a cultural pressure that pushed in on you) am I feeling this because I actually do need to spend more time with my kids or I actually do need to say “no” more? Or am I feeling this because…” I don't know, it could be a million reasons.

I think it's not just a one size fits all, like you ask that question once at the beginning of a season and then you figure out this perfect schedule and then you're done. For me it's a constant. It's like an every day, like, all right, I'm going to spend four hours with Grace doing homeschool today while our caregiver is taking the kids to the park or whatever, and then I know I'm going to spend time with them when they get back. It's just a constant balance.

ALLIE: Can I ask a practical question? How often do you usually spend on school? What's your guys' homeschool schedule like with everything else you have?

LARA: So I essentially work part-time if we're being technical. This is my first year, but we do school two long mornings a week and then Grace goes to a homeschool school for History and Social Studies two other long mornings a week, something like 9:00-1:00 or 9:00-2:00. And then Friday is a free day. So that's the way we're doing it for Kindergarten/1st grade. It may increase as we get, you know, further along. But yeah, that's how we do it. And then the other two are just about to start preschool so they’ll be in preschool two mornings a week as well. And it's during those time blocks that I'm usually going to have meetings or longer periods of work.

ALLIE: Yeah. I just like hearing how other people make it happen. I'm a really relaxed homeschooler or like very Charlotte Mason, like read a lot, talk a lot. This year my daughter's going into fourth grade and so it's starting to get a little more… legit is the wrong word. It matters more, it feels like. And you have to know all these things that are not exciting and are not going to get accomplished by reading a book. My husband and I share the load and so we just went over like, “there's like little pieces of Algebra in the book this year. How are we going to do this? How are we going to schedule and make sure we actually…?” I feel like this just now (she’s 9) is the first year where it's actually like, “okay, we need to make sure we're doing Math every day.” It's kind of refreshing though because sometimes being super free is difficult.

LARA: I totally understand that. Yes. I feel the same way.

ALLIE: It's a journey for sure. Okay. So, I'd love to talk to you about getting intentional with our calendars. And you had recently, I think really recently, you did a workshop about calendars and all that, which was amazing. By the way, is that something that people can watch still?

LARA: Yes. It’s free. It's called How To Cultivate Your Calendar.

ALLIE: So what do you think, what would you say are the major challenges that women and mothers specifically are facing when it comes to putting things on their schedules?

LARA: I think we just kind of go through the motions with it. And that's a hard thing to say because when I say “go through the motions” many times we look at our to-do list or the things that are on our calendars and we do not ever consider that they could change. We think, “Nope, I've committed to this. This is just the way it is. This is the way everybody does it. There's no way to fix this. There's no way to make this better.” And I've had that feeling and that thought probably 99% of the time, but then there's the 1% that's changed my life, which is actually maybe you could do it differently. Maybe a little intentional forethought really goes a long way.

And so rather than letting your calendar and your schedule get filled up, being proactive and looking at a year period ahead of time, like say next week you decide to look ahead at the first quarter of 2019. I just did this this weekend. I just looked ahead of the rest of year. I just literally went day-by-day and I thought to myself, “okay, I need to buy a birthday card for this, and I’m going to need to get a babysitter for this” and I just went through and cultivated the calendar.

So, cultivate means to prepare for growth and to till up the soil for good things to grow and to cultivate our calendar means to be prepared. It doesn't mean that you have to have a perfect birthday celebration plan for someone or something elaborate. It's just the act of having forethought so that you're not coming up to (and I'm speaking from personal experience here) coming up to friends’ birthdays or friends’ anniversaries and you're like, “oh my goodness, I completely forgot” or “I have no time and now I have to spend X amount of dollars to buy this last-minute gift to overnight to them” or whatever it is.

I think being prepared, and when I say prepared, I mean just slightly prepared for these things, having a little forethought helps us to feel confident about loving other people well. So, to answer your question again, biggest mistake I think people make is thinking that they have no control over their schedules. Yes, there are certain things that are set like a 9-5 work schedule or a childcare schedule or whatever it is, there are things that are there. But all the things around it or the way you even prepare for that period of time, planning lunches, I could go on.

ALLIE: For us in our family, we go into different “batch” seasons of rest and fullness (I won’t say busyness). We just came out of this really relaxed season of rest. We took a lot of fun day trips and ended up driving to San Diego and then staying in a hotel for a couple nights unplanned and just being at the beach with the kids. Now school is starting and we go thru a charter school so they kind of help us organize (you should probably start school now) and softball, baseball, piano, horseback, all the electives. We've been really careful with what we say “yes” to and what we're like, “Yeah, I know you're interested in that, but it's just not this year,” but it's busy.

It's full. It helps me, at least. I'm super introverted and so going to all these different things just exhausts me. It sounds so “Madonna” or whatever, but knowing that we just had such a restful season and I'm preparing, like you said. I have cultivated our calendar and our schedule where I know we're going into this and I can kind of gear up and then I know it's going to end. And then it's going to be the holidays and it's time to be with family again.

I think if you're not constantly busying yourself and saying “yes” to everything out of guilt or obligation or whatever it is, that having those periods of rest makes the periods of fullness so much more joy filled.

LARA: Yup. Yup. I agree. We were created for seasons. We were created for these ebbs and flows, not just in the literal seasons like fall and winter, but we were created to have a rhythm of rest and work. And I feel like work gets a really bad rap, but we literally were created to work in whatever capacity that means, whether it's raising children and being a love at home mom or it's doing that plus doing whatever part-time job you have from home or whatever it is. We were created to work, but in that we have to have the combination of rest. I mean not to just keep using that biblical example of God rested one day a week for the sabbath and so if He did that… That was really just an example for us. It's not like God needed to rest. He needed to give us that example.

I think that that's a main component of cultivating your calendar is looking ahead and saying, I know I'm going to have this season of pushing really hard or traveling or like you said, having a very full season. What can I do to combat that or prepare for that? How can I lay low after that so my batteries can recharge. And that's really loving yourself and your people well, you know? It's not being self-indulgent to say, “I'm not going to work on those Fridays after that,” or whatever. Yeah, I think it's proactive. It's great.

ALLIE: I love that.

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ALLIE: So I'm just wondering, practically speaking, paper planners, planning things out on paper versus digital, how do you handle that? Do you do one or the other or how do you do that?

LARA:  In our office we use ical, just the regular apple calendar program because it syncs with everybody's phones and their desktops and stuff. Then for our family day-to-day things, not for necessarily like planning on the calendar, but day-to-day they have music class at 2:00 or whatever it is, we use a paper calendar and that just stays down in the kitchen all the time. That's more to look at what are the needs for this specific day. And then I use my Powersheets, the goal planner that we created from Cultivate to inform my calendars. And so that's really where I have my list, if you will, of all of my priorities and I transfer action steps from that into both the digital and paper things.

ALLIE: I love them. I use them. I have mine right here. It's in my desk. All the time.

LARA: That's awesome. I love it!

ALLIE: First of all, the work that you have us do in the beginning, before the year, is so deep and amazing. You ask questions and I'm like, “I never would've thought of that” and it matters so much. I noticed a lot of changes in this year’s from the one before and you're always making them better somehow. But you leave a lot of space, too, for it's almost like encouraging notes for myself when things might get a little hard. Sometimes you’re looking ahead. What's going on this month? What do you have going on this month or whatever. What are your goals? And sometimes I get overwhelmed beyond all belief and you give us permission to slash and say, “Nevermind. Actually, I can't do that. I'm not God. I can't do that.” And to write encouraging notes for myself like, “This is going to make your stomach turn. This is a big interview or this is a big thing. It's okay. You got this. Remember to breathe.” Just little things that seem silly. Just having that in front of me on my desk all the time is, it's really a gift I love your Powersheets.

LARA: I'm so encouraged to hear that. That's awesome. I think it's just easy to get lost in the woods, you know, and feel like you don't have reminders of where you're going. So whether it's Powersheets or a note you put on your desk or a post-it note on your refrigerator or whatever it is. I have my Bible here on my desk, or a note written in the margin of your Bible. Having a reminder of where you're going and what's most important. That is the key to cultivating your calendar and doing all the work/life balance.

If your “yes” is not super clear then it's going to be very difficult to say “no” to things that are going to get in the way of that. But when you're “yes” is super clear, it is very easy to say “no.” So yeah, it's a good reminder of where you're going and what your real priority is.

ALLIE: Yeah. So, kind of jumping back to homeschooling real quick, (I just thought of something) I feel like in the homeschool world there is so many things that claim to be “the thing” you need to do or to have in order to succeed and it is scary and no matter how confident you are or what you believe, there are times where it is scary to be educating your kids. It’s a big load. And so, I feel like sometimes homeschooling feels like an area where I'm not doing enough or it could be better. Is this the best thing for them? And that's exhausting. And also homeschool progress is slow progress. It’s such a life lesson. It's reflective of a lot of things, but homeschooling is just really slow. There’s frustrations and they're not sitting still.

We were doing a doing Joan of Arc the other day. First of all, I didn't know all this stuff about Joan of Arc. The lesson that I learned was very watered down. She was amazing. I've got three boys and a girl and my boys were like obsessed that she got burned at the stake. They're fixated on this. How did they do that? And I'm like, okay, can we focus on the part of her faith please? It's just frustrating to teach little kids.

So anyway, all that to say, and this is really general, so take this wherever you want, but how have you gotten intentional in your homeschool and how are you patient with Grace and how have you gotten intentional with what you say “yes” and “no” to? How do you kind of guide yourself in that?

LARA:  I feel like I'm so new to this and so green to it that I am learning all the things that you're describing right now, but I don't know if I could say this really well, but homeschooling is essentially like constant parenting. I mean it's like a concentrated form of having to deal with all of your own insecurities, your own challenges, your own patience and also your child’s in a big melting pot. So, if you just amplify all the hard things about parenting, they all kind of surface the moment homeschool starts.

So, I think the one thing that I have to do, and I know this sounds general, but I have to pray because I feel like if I go into a homeschool day with my brain elsewhere or with my brain on here's all the things we're going to check off our list today, I miss so much good stuff.

Like today, we have this great book we use that’s a hymn study book and it's a pretty academic book. It basically tells the stories of the different hymns. Then you get to go through the hymn. We were reading about Joy To The World and if I were following a (yes we follow some sort of checklist) really hard-line checklist, I would have missed the amazing conversation that we had today about different translations of the Bible within that whole thing. And we read my grandfather's obituary and talked about family history because it all related to the story of the song.

So, all that to say I feel like the days where I really pray and let go and I realize that it's not about what Grace learns in her brain, but how I am cultivating her heart, then I get more okay with a little-by-little learning. And, like you said, I feel it's the biggest lesson I've ever experienced with not seeing progress and feeling like, “Is this actually working? Are you retaining anything that I'm teaching you?” We've gotten through four pages of this book in a month. But then out of the blue kids will surprise you and I'll be like, “You really listened to that? You remember that from that day?”

ALLIE: You learned more than being burned at the stake?

LARA: There's so many things I could say. One is just to trust that our kids are probably smarter than we think they are. And to trust that your little-by-little effort will add up even though they are whining and complaining and all the stuff in between. This is not a statement about home school versus public school or any other school, but for me homeschool is the best opportunity I have for sanctification with Grace right now. It refines my heart. It challenges my faith and I think it's opening her eyes in that way too. So, I just can't imagine a better opportunity for that. I mean you don't learn a whole lot through easy things. You'll learn a whole lot through hard things and it's through the hard stuff that good things come. That was a long answer to your question, but the answer is I'm learning.

ALLIE: Recently this year I learned that I don't have to be the best. The best option. Everything I choose is the best. Yes, this is it. Actually stopping that thought and instead I'm showing up. I'm showing up and this looks great. It feels right. I feel peace about this choice for this curriculum or this book or whatever. We're going to go with it and just letting go of that need to be better than school. It's not a competition.

LARA: It’s not. No. And I think our kids feel that when I feel that way. I know Grace feels that when I think, “Oh, she's behind in reading” and I'm operating from that place, she doesn't learn, you know? But operating from a place of hope, trust and belief and seeing the good in all the hard stuff too. It makes it so much more fun.

ALLIE: This episode is going to be difficult to title because we're talking about so many amazing things.

LARA:  It’s a hodgepodge of topics.

ALLIE: I'm obviously fangirling because I know all the things that you do, but I would love to ask you about your Write The Word Journals. Is that something that you did in yourself and then those came out of it, like how did you come to create those? I love them.

LARA: So the answer is yes. I have a, I don't know another way to say this, but I have a difficult attention span, I guess. I guess you could call it a creative attention span where I'm a visual learner. I have a really hard time sitting down with a big chunk of text. I feel like I have to hear it or I have to see it or I have to do something with it for it to come alive. And so, I remember just praying one morning and thinking like, “Lord, I really want to connect with your Word and I really want to make it real in my life. I want to plant it in my heart.” And this idea came to me of writing the scriptures. I thought, well, my intention can't go anywhere if I'm writing it out and I feel like I will meditate on it more if I'm literally using my messy handwriting to write out Bible verses.

And so, I started doing that for myself. I now, many years later after having created the first Write The Word Journals, which is basically a blank journal that has a preselected portion of scripture based on whatever the theme of that journal is that just leads you into scripture and obviously the journals tell you to read it in context. It's just a great way to get directly into scripture, but then also to slow your brain down. Not just quickly digest it but really let it sink in.

But here I am now on the other side of this realizing there's so much research and science behind writing the Word, whether you get The Word Journal or not. Just pick a verse and find a scrap piece of paper and you will see this fact come to life. There was a study done where they took a group of students and the students that took notes on a laptop or an electronic device did not retain even half of the information that the students that hand wrote their notes out did. I don't know if you're like me, like I remember loving writing notes in college or in various classes or even sermon notes, but I hardly ever go back to them, but there's something about the act of writing them that solidifies the information in our brains and so it's the same with Writing The Word.

ALLIE: I love that. We have the Write The Word For Kids Journal. I just have to tell you. Your team sent it to me and I was so excited and I gave it to Bella, she's 9, and I just kind of left it. I didn't say anything to her. Her light was on at like 10:00 p.m. the other night, so I just went in to turn it off and she was awake. She's so dang creative. She’s got that down. So her brain was just going and she's like, “I'm having a hard time falling asleep so I'm using this.” And it was your Write The Word Journal. And it was halfway full. She was using it and going to her Bible and just doing it.

Then yesterday we got back from a trip and we have one of those letter boards downstairs and it was knocked over. All the letters were off. And I was like, “I think we should put a new message on here from a new season. She was like, “I have one about the Lord that I want to do.” I’m like, “That’s fine. Here's all the letters.” And half an hour later I come in and she wrote her own little version of some scripture that had meant a lot to her. I asked her about it and she said she had gotten it from the Write The Word Journal. She put “rise upon the lord and your spirit will not get tired.”

It was so cute. I know what verse she was thinking of and she put it in her own way. Honestly it was like, “What an amazing version! We're going to have to come out with a new Bible version.” It was just really, really neat to see. You’re creating things that are so impactful, that matter so much, that are guiding people and little kids and doing something that really matters. So, I just think that's so “me” and I had to tell you that story. It happened yesterday.

LARA: That is really awesome to hear. The Write The Word For Kids I think has been my favorite thing we've ever created. Probably because I have a daughter who's going to be 7 soon and it's right up her alley, but I mean just the idea of planting The Word in kids' hearts and letting them have fun with it. Yeah. Thanks for sharing that story. That’s so cool.

ALLIE: Okay, so where can people find more of you if somehow they have never heard of Lara Casey and Cultivate What Matters, where do you want to send people to kind of read more and find more about you?

Yes. You can find me at LaraCasey.com and at Cultivatewhatmatters.com.

ALLIE: Yes. Okay. Thank you so much for being here. It was really an honor to talk to you. I just love you and everything you do.

LARA: You know this was such a joy. Thank you so much for having me.

Hey friends. I'm so glad you were here to listen to this episode with Lara. If you want the link to anything that we talked about including her calendar Webinar where she teaches about having an intentional calendar and how to plan your schedule out (it's so, so good) go to alliecasazza.com/shownotes/073 and you can get all that stuff. We linked it all up for you, so head over there to get anything that we've talked about today.

Hey friend, thank you so much for listening to this episode of The Purpose Show. If you loved what Lara and I talked about and you want to find anything that she mentioned or I mentioned that we linked to, you can find everything you're looking for at alliecasazza.com/shownotes/073.



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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 071: Simplifying Your Budget with Sami Womack

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Budgeting, debt, and all the other financial-terms can make you shrink back and bring up a swell of negative, overwhelming emotions. Let me encourage you, it doesn’t have to be that way! We have the power to take control of our finances and our mindset towards it. Sami Womack is really great at taking the concept of living really well, living fully, and living abundantly and applying that to finances. She has this very realistic approach to budgeting, being a good steward of your money, and getting out of debt. Her family has an amazing story that I am really excited for you to hear!

 
 

In This Episode Allie + Sami Discuss:

  • How changing your mindset about your worth can change your finances.

  • Simple tips for starting a budget and examples of a budget for the average family.  

  • The most common misconceptions that (mothers in particular) have about money and budgeting.

  • Ways you can approach budgeting positively and deal with all those heavy overwhelming emotions that come with finances.

Mentioned in this Episode:


 

 

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 it's a really good, simple place to start.

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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 Purpose Show.

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Hey ladies! Welcome to another episode of The Purpose Show. I'm here with my friend, Sami Womack. I'm really excited that she's here.

Sami does a lot of bouncing off of the idea of living really well, living fully, and living abundantly, but definitely more geared towards the financial aspect of what that would look like.

She has this very realistic approach to budgeting, for lack of a better word, (I really don't like the word budget, but it is what it is) and just kind of I guess being a good steward of your money and getting out of debt. Her family has an amazing story. So, we're just going to dive in.

ALLIE: So Sami, tell us about your family before we get into the finance stuff.

SAMI: Okay. So, me and my husband, Daniel, have been married almost 10 years and we have three daughters. Our oldest is 7. We have a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old. All girls. We are also a homeschooling family and we are from East Texas. My husband has an offshore job, so he's gone for three weeks at a time and then he's home for three weeks at a time. So, it's amazing with homeschooling and living so minimally we have so much free time and we can really use all of that time when he's home.

ALLIE:  Yeah, that's awesome. I understand that too because for us, when we put the kids in school temporarily, we had worked so hard to get out of the typical 9-5, everyone vacations at the same time schedule, and school puts you right back in that. So, I can imagine if he was gone and then he comes home and you're like, “Okay, girls, bye!” That's awesome.

Okay. So, I want to get in with you to how and why did you start sharing about money and budgeting and kind of start spreading this message. You really reach everybody. You're not really specifically women. How did you get into that?

SAMI: Well, I do kind of focus a little more towards women and a little more towards families. I do have a lot of women who are readers and even students who are single or married with no kids, which I think that's still a family, whatever you consider your family.

I do everything kind of family-based and usually for the women who take care of the money in that part of the household chores, because I think it's just another part of your household duties really.

We started getting out of debt about four years ago now and then I've been blogging and coaching for almost two years now. And really why I started doing it was because I just wanted to share, you know? I just wanted to spread this message. This had literally saved my life, saved my marriage. It saved my motherhood and it saved me. It brought me closer to God. It brought me closer to myself, like literally every single aspect.

And so, I was just like, more people need to know about this, you know? I don't see a lot of young women, young family type people, talking about this. Everybody knows Dave Ramsey and I love Dave Ramsey. A lot of his teaching is kind of where I started because I didn't know anybody else. There wasn't really anybody else.

But you know, he's an older man. And I was like, “I kind of want to hear it from a fellow mom, you know? I want that mom perspective. I want somebody who understands what it's like to budget in formula, and two kids in diapers. My youngest two are 20 months apart. They literally were both in diapers while we were paying off debt.

ALLIE: I had three in diapers at once and for a period of time. It was crazy and it was so expensive. And I think too, not just your season of life as a mother and with young kids, but just your season of life from your age is so different. He’s amazing. I love Dave Ramsey and he can speak to that, but there is something about hearing it from somebody really in it right now. And I love that you're a woman. I love that you have young girls. I love that you've gone through what you've gone through. And you’re right. A lot of our age bracket or even “millennial” women are not thinking about money because we're not at the point where it's like, “Oh, you have to start thinking about retirement” or it's kind of forced because of your age. You talk about getting there now, dealing with that now, getting financially secure now. And I really liked that.

SAMI: Yeah. And it's a lot of the same things you teach about being intentional with your family and being intentional in your motherhood. We say “budgeting” for kind of lack of a better word, but it's really just intentionality with your money. It's being intentional.

And I throw in a lot of positive thinking. I'm a Christian so I throw in prayer and a lot of  different things. So, it's not just strictly budgeting and money mindset and all of that kind of stuff because I think it's also important.

One of the things that I really speak to a lot of my ladies about is that worthiness and we feel like we're so young, we feel like, “Oh, I'm just a mom. Who am I to have aspirations to be a millionaire? I'm just a regular person.” So, I kind of try to break that and speak to those women about their worthiness, their mindset and all of those kinds of things.

ALLIE: And so much of anything that we want to do or anyone we want to become is a mindset issue, so I think it's really good that you don't ignore that or just “I guess they can figure that out for themselves.” You really equip people. I've seen your affirmations and all of that and you know I'm big into all that.

You're dealing with the “root” important things and the surface things like “Yeah, you're in debt. You have a credit card problem. You have a shopping problem. You have an income problem. But those all came from somewhere, so let's get to the root and fix what's going to make this last.”

I know that your family has pulled out of how much debt in how much time?

SAMI: $490,000 in about 3 - 3½ years.

ALLIE: And I'm sure that you are aware that mindset is such a big part of that because you went through that and that is what really led to you falling all the way through and creating that lasting change.

SAMI: Yeah. One of the things that I always like to share is that my husband has had the same job for 11 years. He's had this job longer than we've been married. We've been together the whole time, but he has only gotten gradual little tiny raises. He basically is making the same amount of money that he was making 11 years ago. So it’s just like when we had no kids, we weren't married, we were renting a little apartment. The job didn't change. What changed? It was our mindset, it was our spending habits, that we weren't being able to make it with basically the same income. Now we're able to be out of debt and keep three kids fed. It was all our habits, our spending habits and our mindset because the income wasn't the issue, which it is for some people, but it's not always the issue.

ALLIE: Right. And that's the thing that everyone always says too. You think, “Oh, if I just had $500 more a month, then we could make this work.” Then you get that, and it's not enough. You increase as your money increases. So no matter if you have a six-figure income a month or way, way, way less than that, almost at poverty level, you have to make it work with what you have. It's always never going to be really enough if you choose to have that mindset and you can change that.

So, what would you say is maybe one of the biggest or most common misconceptions that mothers in particular have about money and budgeting?

SAMI: I think that they feel the guilt and they feel like they're going to be depriving their kids. “I can't not let them do that extracurricular or I can't send them to school without Nike's.” They don't want to put them in a little house. They want the best for their kids. As a mother, I feel that way too, and I've totally dealt with all of that guilt and that kind of “show” and that “materialism” kind of thing. But you know, as a mother that is so important and you want the best for your kids, but the real question is, “Is that really the best for your kids?” Or is showing up and actually being able to be there for them, have more quality family time, rather than parents who are working, working, working (which if you're in debt you're going to have to kind of hustle) but do you want to live in that hustle forever?

Focusing on the quality time - that's way more important. Saving for them to go to college one day or getting your money right, so parents aren't fighting in front of them about money. They're not getting divorced over money. I think that is ultimately the most important thing.

ALLIE: Right. And when you look back, your kids are not going to care that you didn't give them designer shoes and send them to school in that. They’re going to remember that you always argued about money.

I know that you're a fan of Jen Sincero’s books and a lot of what she says is that you want to deal with your money mindset issues. Think back to when you were a kid. What was going on about money? You got to deal with the root stuff. And we're forming that for them whether we realize it or not.

It's so much more important to give them that stability, live a good life, debt free or close to debt free, and un-tense life financially, than to “buy” them love. And I think especially if people come from poverty, that might be a big trigger for them and they feel lead to just kind of “buy” their love, buy their contentment I guess. And I love that you talked about that. I think it's really common.

SAMI: That’s kind of a lot of how we got ourselves into debt. Neither one of us came from money. My husband has a pretty good job. And so he was like, oh well that means we've made it. So now we have to have the big house to show for it. We have to have the nice vehicles and the nice clothes. We have to go out to eat to show that we're successful. And that's actually what ended up getting us into debt.

Now we're in a tiny two-bedroom rental house and we're much happier. We don't really care what anybody thinks now because we know what our savings account looks like. Back then it was “fake rich” and now it's like actually growing wealth, not all materialism. And what are we showing our kids? We’re showing them that how you look on the outside to society is the most important thing or what you're actually doing inside and at home is really what's more important?

ALLIE: Yeah, absolutely. And you're living within your means. It's fine to have a bigger house and the nice things if you can do that and have both. But you realize status is nothing. It's not something that we're going to care about anymore. So, here's what's within our means. Would we rather have more of this or more of this? And you made that choice. I love that.

SAMI: It's also an abundant mindset kind of thing. We're still on this journey. We're still working on it. We're working to get away from that “scarcity” mindset. We are being really intentional with our money and we don't want to have to be forever. We're helping our kids and we're helping ourselves realize there's so much more. And so, we're working on that abundance mindset with them as well. It's not like, oh, we're stuck in this little house and we're going to be stuck here forever. Get into that more abundant mindset.

ALLIE: Yeah, absolutely. I just wanted to ask you, because I've experienced this so many times and I was just curious, maybe Texas is different, but when you guys were moving out of your big house and into this tiny rental with three kids, did the people renting it say “Why do you want to live here?”

SAMI: The current landlord that we have didn't, but we did go and do a walk-through with a house that’s almost twice as big as this one. It was actually a three-bedroom house that was quite a bit bigger. The guy found out that we had three kids and he was like, “Oh well you don't want this house.” They almost wouldn't even show it to us.

ALLIE: I know! You know we have four kids and our house is three bedrooms, then we turned the garage into an office and gym. And the guy was like, “why?” And every single time before our houses have always been even smaller. This one at least has two levels. Our houses are always so small and they just didn't understand it. We would get turned down because it was small for us, they were deciding it was too small. It was just funny.

SAMI: Those people basically pushed us out. We did go walk through it but they didn't want to rent to us. But the guy we actually ended up renting this from, he was like, “Yeah, I raised my three kids here until they were teenagers. We bought a bigger house because they couldn't all share room anymore.”

ALLIE: That’s awesome. There’s a funny quirk about being minimal and living simply.

SAMI: We’re fine. We're so comfortable in this tiny house. We're totally good.

ALLIE: People don't understand - the bigger the house, the more stress. We're at a point where Bella is 9 now and we're probably going to grow our family this year, and we do need a little more space. It’s good. We need it. And I kept it as small as I possibly could, but it's more. It’s more work. It’s more stress. It just is. So if you can get around it until you feel like you can’t or until you feel like it’s not worth it anymore, do it.

SAMI: And it was so cheap. We were like, “Yes! This is so cheap!”

ALLIE: You can go and do things. Or pour money into making the house decorated where you really love being there.

SAMI: And then you have a lot more wiggle room.

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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!  allialliecasazza.com/allcourses.

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ALLIE: I don't know if this is something you can pull off the top of your head, but what is a sample budget for an average family? Maybe if you could give some percentages? How much of a percent is a good starting point for things that they can have control over, like rent and car payments? I feel like you're kind of set for awhile there, maybe you can have a long-term goal of changing those things, but right now like with groceries, what kind of a percentage of income should be spent on things that you can control?

SAMI: Well, I try not to put exact percentages on people because I feel like it really goes a lot with your priorities. It goes a lot with what is important to you with your house, what is important to you in your diet. A lot of people's groceries are gonna look a lot different. Deciding on what size house you want is going to look a lot different. The part of the country you live in can be way different.

So, I try to get away from that because I try to really tell people it's your budget and it should really reflect your priorities. Like for example, this  whole debt free journey we went without satellite TV to save the money. But yet we never took our daughter out of dance class and most people would be like that would be the first thing to go, but for us it was a priority, so we could make it work. It slowed us down $50 a month on getting debt free, but that was our priority.

I think it's really about laying out your budget and looking at does this really reflect our priorities? Is our priority eating out $800 a month? Probably not. Are we spending too much on our house? Which is kind of where we were in our big house. It was too much. I really feel like it's kind of a personal thing. I try not to do too much percentages.

One of the best outlines that I do is I tell everyone to start with your bills. You have to make sure your bills are paid. Then go into what should your spending money be second. Because you can always scrimp on groceries, get a cheaper brand or have a meatless dinner or do something a little bit cheaper.

And then what is leftover? Whatever's leftover is what you apply to your debt or you save depending on where your priorities are. If there's no money leftover, if you're negative, work backwards. Reprioritize. “Yeah we do need to get rid of the satellite TV” or “Yeah, our house is too expensive” or “Yeah, we are spending too much on groceries.”

So, I do bills, spending and then savings. I keep those all three in separate bank accounts which is so, so helpful. We have a debit card for our bills account and we have a debit card for spending. We keep them separate so you never accidentally spend the rent money on groceries, that kind of thing. Or the electric bill is still pending and you go to Target and you think you have that much money and you really don't. That keeps it separate. And your spending money, that’s what you're allowed to spend until payday and when it's gone, it's gone.

ALLIE: And it's very simplified, which is what you need when you're overwhelmed.

I'm speaking personally (if you guys have listened to episode six of the podcast, you know, Brian and mine’s money and business story), but how do you handle if you have a client or if you yourself have really heavy emotional attachment to money issues? We just recently worked through this. I'd love to even do a second episode or something with you about this, because I think it could be a whole half-hour on its own. But we hired CFO’s because we were very overwhelmed by dealing with our money and that was something we just chose to delegate to bring yourselves more peace. And they were like, “Okay, so let's go over your personal budget.” Even just the word made me go back to the past (I’m poor!), almost like PTSD.

So how can somebody who doesn't have CFO’s, who doesn't have all that, just a normal person with a budget kind of approach it? What I'm saying is I think you want to avoid when you're scared, when you're scarred, when you've been through something or even if you haven't, just avoidance is such a cop-out for just not dealing with it. And then when it comes down to like, okay we have 200 bucks left and we're not getting paid till Friday. How can we make this work? And that's a bad cycle.

So how can somebody approach budgeting positively and deal with all those heavy overwhelming emotions?

SAMI: Yeah. That is the root of what I do and why I do it. I say that a lot (PTSD); I say that all the time. Our debit card got scammed a couple of months ago and it was just that PTSD of like, oh my gosh, we don't have any money, I can't use my debit card. And then I'm like okay, you have another account. It's okay. But it really is like that - PTSD.

Honestly the way you work through that is just the way you work through any other traumatic experience. It's going to take time. I think it's a lot of really diving in and dealing with the heart issue behind it, dealing with the guilt or the PTSD-like stress from it.

That's why I try to infuse a lot of motivation into what I do and a lot of mindset into what I do, because it's so much more than just the numbers. It's so much more. And then the spouses are getting back at each other – he spent this, so I’m going to go spend that. That root where you’ve hurt each other with money before. Or you've lied to yourself and you can't forgive yourself.

That's how I was. I had told myself, “Okay, I'm going to get serious, I'm going to budget, I'm going to do this.” And then I just kind of taper off. Like a workout program that you’re going to do, then three months later – what workout program?  

I would do the same thing with budgeting and I lied to myself so many times. It's just like dealing with any other heart issue. I suggest affirmations and journaling through that and looking for what are your triggers. Noticing, “Okay, I can’t grocery shop at Target because I can't trust myself. I'm going to go in there and come out with new shoes. I'm supposed to go in for groceries.” If that is a trigger for you, then don't grocery shop at Target.

There are people who tell me, “I can't even trust myself with a debit card. I've got to go all cash.” Do what you’ve got to do. You've got to pay attention.

And it's not going to be the same for every single person. It's not cookie cutter. Every person's story is different. Every person's money situation is different. Everybody's childhood has been different, their marriage is different. So, you've really got to dig in.

If you're married you’ve got to just rip that Band-aid off and have that really painful first conversation. Somebody's got to get the ball rolling. If you can just take a deep breath, jump in and just be like, “Hey, I think we need to sit down and talk.” One of the best things that we did was we sat down when the kids were in bed already. It was a late night, kind of like a date night kind of thing at home. A “dream” date is what I call it. We sat down and we shared our dreams and we ended up writing it down. That became our first goals list.

The thing is when you're in survival mode and you're just like payday, payday, payday, and that tunnel vision, oftentimes you haven't talked about your dreams in a long time. You've talked about there's not enough money for groceries, you're arguing and you're stressed. When was the last time you sat down and got excited about life together and dreamt about the future together?

That is a great first step if you're married. Get excited about life. Dream. Write some things down. Then say, “Hey, if we want to accomplish these dreams, we're going to have to work together.”

ALLIE: Focus on the positive goals, not the punishing budget.

SAMI: Exactly. And if you're single, then get your best girlfriend, your sister, whoever you know is going to be a positive reinforcement for you, and do that with whoever that trusted person is in your life.

Definitely notice those triggers. Journal. Do all of those mindset things that you have to do to grow.

ALLIE: Yeah. For sure. Okay. If somebody is listening to this and they want to find more of your resources…I feel like you have a lot of really great free resources just from what I've seen pop up from following you. Give us your website. I know you also have a budget course and some other things going on, so share where they can find you.

SAMI: Okay, so my website is asunnysideuplife.com. I'm on Instagram with the same name and Facebook. I have a really great Facebook group. It's growing and growing. A Sunny Side Up Life Community is a private group for women only, so it's a safe environment where you can share your wins, your struggles, all that kind of stuff.

And yeah, I do have a lot of free content.

I'm on Pinterest. I'm on Youtube. Every Monday I do a motivational Monday video, so it's basically 10 or 15 minutes of here's your little pep talk for the week, here's your little dose of motivation. Those are a lot of fun.

I blog. I have a free email course which is five days. It’s Take Control of Your Spending and it's very, very basic of getting your feet wet with budgeting. It's not overwhelming, it's just one simple email a day for five days. You start tracking your spending, figuring out where your money's going and all that to kind of just get your feet wet because it is a little scary at first, but you don't have to be overwhelmed by it.

Then I have my full budgeting course. It's called Your Sunny Money Method and it is 30 lessons. It's 10 lessons on the “why” where we walk through the mindset behind it. All those questions like, What if your husband's not on board? What do you do with your kids? How do you talk to your friends and family? All that stuff. Then 20 lessons on the “how.” It is so simple that we literally have one lesson on what to do before payday for your bills. One lesson on what to do on payday, one lesson for what to do after payday. So it's very, very broken down, very simple, very beginner-friendly. You can just do one lesson at a time. You don't have to get overwhelmed. You're not going to leave crying “oh there's one more chore.”

I'm really proud of it and we've had a lot of success with our students. All the ladies are doing amazing things. We also have a lot of bonuses. We do a live monthly group coaching, which is so great. We do it on zoom so everybody can come in with their little videos and we're all just hanging out. You can ask questions. That's included in the course. It’s worth the price of the course just to get that community and that access to me.

ALLIE: That kind of brings peace to talking about money and I love that you bring community into it because it would be very easy for you to not do that because talking about money is kind of taboo and it's really not done. People just have such high emotions attached to money. They just don't want to talk about it, especially with other people. So, I think it's really neat that you do that and I think that is incredibly valuable. And how much inspiration would you get from going to something like that, you know, spending 30 minutes talking to other women about what they're doing too.

SAMI: Yeah. And I just try to be really open, really honest and share “Guys, I've screwed up. I'm just a normal mom. I have three crazy kids. My house is loud. I spend money on diapers. I'm a normal mom like you.” I try to share where I've screwed up and that if you screwed up too, it's okay. We all make mistakes and we can all still grow.

ALLIE: Yes. I love that. Well, we'll link to all that for you guys in the show notes, Sammie's website and her courses, her free course and all of that.  I have your paid course and I have gotten your free course and it's all very DIY. It's very, very, very, very DIY. The format that your stuff is in, video and audio, and just the way that you talk about it… you give examples and you're really good at talking through it to where I feel very intimidated by money and I feel like, oh well that is easy. Then I can do this. And it's like I can do it myself. But you walked me through it to the point where it's like I feel unintimidated and really capable. You definitely have a gift for what you do.

SAMI: That's why I have a couple of intro videos and the first 10 lessons are just my face, just video talking and it's kind of like, “Hey, it's okay. We're just friends. I'm going to get you through this.” Then by the time we get to the last 20 lessons where we're actually setting up your budget, it’s slides and everything, but by then you're like, “Hey girl we’re just hanging out. We're good. It's not scary, I promise.”

ALLIE: I love that. Okay. Well thank you so much. This was really empowering. It's hard. People don't want to talk about money, so I'm going to encourage everyone. Click this episode even though the word “money” is going to be in the title. Just dive in and get to a point where you feel capable, enabled and empowered to handle this important area of your life. Avoiding it just really doesn't serve you at all. So thank you so much.

Okay guys. Once again, we'll link to everything in show notes for this episode and we'll catch you next time.


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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 070: 6 Things I No Longer Purchase Since Becoming A Minimalist

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As you know, I am all about simplifying things and making things better and lighter, making things work better for me and the season that I'm in right now. And through that, I have been getting really intentional with the things that I'm buying. Really questioning what's coming into my home and (like Nate Berkus says) “becoming a ruthless editor” of what I allow to take up space in the space that I live in. That matters and that's something to guard!

My goal is just to encourage you and show you that there's so much out there we don't really need to be buying. To encourage you to question why am I getting this or why am I buying anything not just things on this list. I really hope this episode will inspire you and make you think a little bit!

 
 

In This Episode Allie Discusses:

  • The value in changing your perspective from filling everything in your life “for now” to waiting until it's the right time with the right item.

  • Why you should walk away from purchasing those items you want to use, but never actually end up using.

  • How to avoid buying things you like but don’t serve a purpose in her home (you know those things that suck you in at Target!).  

  • Why it is better to purchase things that cost more and are better quality instead of items that are cheaper and don’t last a long time.

Mentioned in this Episode:

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Minimalism does not have to be this stereotype thing where you basically own nothing. You count how many jeans you have. You don't get to shop.

It's not this joy-sucking horror show. It's life-giving. It's joyful. It's about having what you love, what you really need and creating space for you to live a full, abundant, intentional life focused on your family. 

The Minimalism Starter Kit will walk you through what minimalism actually is. A healthy, happy, realistic version of it for moms, written by me, 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


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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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Hi beautiful!  Welcome to another episode of The Purpose Show!

This episode is kind of fun. I'm going to tell you a few things I don't buy any more since I became a minimalist.

I have been really detaching from the label minimalist lately. I just feel like people assume so much when you call yourself that or when you say that something is the minimalist way of doing things. I don't know. It just seems like so… maybe it's just me but it's been feeling really perfectionistic and bare minimum and I'm just really not about that and I never have been.

I just am more about simplifying things and making things better and lighter, making things work better for me and the season that I'm in right now.

But I don't really know what else to call this episode so I'm regretfully using the word minimalist for lack of a better one. I have just been getting really intentional with the things that I'm buying. Really questioning what's coming into my home and becoming like Nate Berkus says, “becoming a ruthless editor” of what I allow to take up space in the space that I live in. That matters and that's something to guard.

There are definitely a few things… there's a lot of things but I tried to choose things that I think a lot of other people buy that I don't anymore, just because I've been more intentional in this area.

So, this episode is just fun, kind of light. Maybe it will just inspire you and make you think a little bit. And if you are spending money on these things maybe it will help you be encouraged, “Oh, I can do without that.” Or maybe not and you'll think that that's ridiculous and you want to buy these things, and you do you. But my goal in this episode is just to encourage and kind of show that there's so much out there that we don't really need to be buying. To encourage you to question why am I getting this or why am I buying anything not just things on this list.

So, the first thing that I no longer purchase since becoming a minimalist is my kid's school and sports photos.

So, we're homeschooling right now, but my kids have been in school before, and we definitely are an athletic family. At this point, all three older kids are in sports and when you do that there's always picture day and you can buy all different sizes and amounts of those sports photos. You can get “buddy pictures” if you have siblings that play on a team or you’re friends with another kid on the team. They're really expensive too. It's pretty crazy.

I actually have my kids partake in the photo just for the team photo, so that anyone else and the coach who wants to buy the photos… my kids are on the team so they are in the photo. To me it's just like part of the whole team spirit thing, but I actually don't even fill out the form for those.

I don't purchase them ever anymore. The reason is they're not necessary. They're not my style. I don't need to have those posed, super professional images of my kids holding their bat like that. It’s not even theirs; it’s just there for a photo prop with their hat propped too high on their heads so you can see their face. It's not them. It's not them playing baseball or soccer or whatever it is. It's just not real. It's not my style and it's not worth it to me.

I take so many great photos of my kids actually playing their sport. Bella's in softball right now. And Leo (Leland, we call him Leo) and Hudson are on the same baseball team and they have played baseball for three seasons now. Actually, I think 4, so you know at this point we're kind of a baseball family.

I've got so many great photos of them sliding into home, them hitting their first ball, videos and photos of them squeezing each other with their little baseball bag slung over their shoulders, smiling super huge after a good game with their little snack bags in their hands. I've got so many great photos. If you follow me on Instagram, you've seen them. I don't need those super posed professional photos. They’re just clutter to me.

I don’t like them. I don't frame them. They never look like my style. I don't want them in my house because they're a bunch of other kids and them too, and they're just fake. Honestly, those pictures of my kids by themselves and their solo professional photos, they just feel fake to me and unauthentic. And I've got so many other great photos, so I would rather spend my time being intentional to snap a few great pics each season than get one of those fake photos because I feel like I'm missing out on something if I don't. I'm not missing out on anything except for clutter. So to me, that's one of those things that’s just really become not a priority at all.

The second thing that I no longer purchase since becoming a minimalist is things that are  cheap junk that doesn't last, like crappy shoes and clothing. That's been a really big journey of mine over the last year or so. It's pretty rare now. I used to put my outfits together and tag everything from Target. And now, occasionally, sure I'll get something from Target but it's way rarer now. It's actually pretty friggin’ rare now.

I've been shopping at places like Z Supply and Madewell instead, not just because my budget is bigger now than it used to be, but because I want things to last a little bit longer.

I've got a pair of Lucky Jeans that I've had now for five years. I have even gotten them tailored when I lost weight and they fit great. They are very flattering. I love them. My Madewell jeans are my favorite ones too. I love those.

I’ve just been getting things that are a little bit better quality. I still shop at H & M. It's one of my favorite stores. I like them because of the styles, and for super basic things that I can just get dressed for the day and do housework, run errands or go out to dinner. It can be dressed up or down and it's just really functional. That's not really my point. But just really, really, crappy shoes and clothing. Like going to Target and getting tennis shoes is not my game anymore. I will invest in a good pair of Nike's.

And kind of underneath that same topic, things that are like “for now.” I used to always say, “I’ll just get this one for now.” Like a piece of furniture that I don't really love, but I really want to fill that empty space that’s bothering me. I won't do that anymore. I'll wait until I find the right piece and I have the money in my budget to spend, get it, and bring it into my home.

I stopped filling everything in my life “for now” and I wait until the it's the right time with the right item, whether it's a piece of clothing or like I've actually been needing a really great classic coat for a long time. And I live in California where it's not really like, “Oh! I need to get a coat. It's winter.” You know I have jackets and stuff that work fine, but I've been wanting a really great camel coat to have, especially for travel.

I've been traveling a lot more lately because of my career. And sometimes I know I'm going to travel in the winter to places that actually have winter, and I'd love to have a beautiful neutral camel coat that I can wear. (If you don't know what a camel coat is, you can google it. They're amazing.) I've seen so many but it just hasn't been the right time. I want to try it on. I don't want to get it online. It's just been something that I've been thinking about and I didn't just go and get it because I thought of it and winter's coming and I need to get it. I've been waiting for two years and just not getting one because I haven't been in person and found the perfect one. That’s something that matters to me and those are expensive. Those are expensive it's going to be an investment. So just things like that. I hope that example helps you see what I mean.

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Hey girl, real quick! Let me tell you about something that I've created that is totally

free and amazing and that I am so excited to have you get your hands on! It is called my Minimalism Starter Kit.

Maybe you've been just feeling really overwhelmed, not knowing where to start. Maybe you've been listening to the show for a while and you always hear me talk about simplifying your home and letting things go that you don't really need.

Maybe you’re simplifying your lifestyle, but you haven't really done much. Or you've tried to start, but life got in the way and it just didn't go well. Whatever the reason may be that you're feeling a little cluttered, a little overwhelmed, that there's just always too much. Maybe you're constantly cleaning and you just feel like the house is actually never clean.

I can totally help you! And it can be simple to get started! I have put together the Minimalism Starter Kit to basically build some serious momentum for you. To help just launch you forward into momentum and success in your minimalist journey.

And remember, minimalism does not have to be this stereotype thing where you basically own nothing. You count how many jeans you have. You don't get to shop. It's not this joy-sucking horror show.

It's life-giving. It's joyful. It's about having what you love, what you really need and creating space for you to live a full, abundant, intentional life focused on your family. Because that's what really matters, right?

The Minimalism Starter Kit will basically walk you through what minimalism actually is. A healthy, happy, realistic version of it for moms, written by me, for you.

It goes through why would you want to do this? What's it gonna do for you? Where's it going to take you?

It helps you find your “why” and has you answer some questions for yourself. It's fillable on the computer or you could fill it in like a journal, with a pen, old-school style.

It will walk you through decluttering your laundry and dishes. The two biggest time suckers for moms, right? It will also give you a list of 15-minute, quick and easy decluttering projects for the busy mom who doesn't know where to start. It also includes a list of 20 things that you can get rid of right now.

This is a serious momentum builder. It's about getting started in just making decisions and just letting go of stuff right now. It empowers you and will help you keep going.

It also includes a 10-minute declutter challenge. And it will help you keep going after you're done with the Minimalism Starter Kit. It has resources and some just really punchy words in there, from me to you, that will help you keep going.

It's got resources like my top blog posts and other things that I have put together that are totally free for you to keep going, so go check it out. alliecasazza.com/starterkit.

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The third thing would be things that feel like I'm capturing a memory, but I'm really not. And one great example of that is tourist items from gift shops when you're on a trip.

I was in San Diego recently. I live about an hour outside of San Diego. And I go there often to catch up on work and get a little break. Whenever I'm in charge of where something is, like for my team or I have to fly somebody out for a meeting or something, I'll always try to get it to be in San Diego because I love it there. There's this great little place called Seaport Village right next to the hotel that I always stay at. And they've got this “swag shop” and it's really just full of sweatshirts, t-shirts, mugs, magnets, keychains, things like that that are basically just San Diego swag just to say that you were somewhere.

Why do we always feel that pull to get something like that or bring something back for somebody like that when you can get so many great photos of the trip and have the memories that way where it actually matters instead of bringing clutter into your home just to show or remind you that you went somewhere that you know that you went. So that's one little thing that I just feel like everybody always gets suckered into, that I haven’t bought.

I think the last thing I bought like that was…Brian really likes…(and this is so funny because it's very unminimalistic and he's actually stricter than I am with keeping things simplified) but he really likes those travel mugs from Starbucks. When you're in a new city and you go to the Starbucks there they'll have Oklahoma or Texas or Los Angeles mugs for wherever you are.

And he really likes getting those in all the places that we've been together, even if the mug is ugly, which is not my favorite thing about him. But I was in San Diego and I realized we actually don't have the San Diego one. San Diego has been a really special part of our story and we’ve had some really great memories there, really big business things happen there, and they came out with a new San Diego one. And so I picked that up for him. I was shocked at myself. I never get stuff like that.

So it's not like, “Oh, I never get these things now. I'm a minimalist.” I didn't even want to use the word minimalist. I don't want to seem annoying. It's just that typically those swag shops, it's just pointless clutter and you feel like you're capturing a memory by buying something from there but you're really not. Photos do it justice way better than that.

The fourth thing that I no longer buy is DVDs. I always think who buys DVDs anymore? But apparently people do because they're still all over the stores and I see some of them gone off the shelf like somebody bought this.

We use something called Vudu (not like the witchcraft). It's an app on your TV and you can create an account and then you can buy movies on there. And they have pretty much anything. We haven't found anything that we wanted to buy that they didn't have.

So if something is not on Netflix and it's a new movie that we really wanted to watch the kids, we really wanted to see it as a family, or we really loved it in the theater and we wanted to have it in our home, we'll get it on Vudu. It's really just like a digital DVD holder, which is awesome.

And then of course we love Hulu and Netflix, so we have accounts to both those things, but no DVDs. It just kind of feels pointless.

The fifth thing is things that I like at the store but have no place or purpose for. So I’ve really learned the art of being in the store (let's use Target as an example because everything at Target is amazing) and seeing something that I just think is the cutest thing I've ever seen (Oh my gosh I love it so much!) and then thinking, “What's the purpose of this? Where would I put this? Why would I get this?” And if I can't come up with anything, I don't get it. I just appreciate how cute it is. Maybe it's something that reminds me of a friend so I'll take a picture and send it to her and be like, “Oh my gosh look what I found at Target. Thinking of you. Love you,” but I won't buy it.

Maybe it's something really cute that’s meant to go in an office. If I can't think, “Oh that's perfect to fill that spot that I have on my gallery wall in my office I'm going to buy this and then my gallery will be finished.” If that doesn't happen I won't get it.

So I've really learned the art of appreciating the beauty of something that's been created and not having to buy it just because I loved it and it felt like it was made for me. Sometimes I'll see something that’s the shape of a cat or the shape of a cactus. And I love those two things so much. But just because something is like, “Oh look, this reminds me of me! I love this,” it doesn't mean I have to buy it.

And the sixth thing that I no longer purchase are things that I want to use but never actually do use. And one funny example for me is hair clips.

I used to constantly buy cute little hair clips. You know that section at Target? They have barrettes, ponytail holders, bobby pins, and then they've got a section of cuter things like headbands, clips with a flower on the back, barrettes with pretty designs so that when you clip your hair into it you see the pretty design? I used to get those kinds of things all the time and I never, ever used them. I wanted to use them. I wanted to be the type of person that would clip my hair back and put a cute barrette in it. But I just never did. I don’t know what it is, but I just never do it.

So, I went through a round of decluttering in my bathroom recently and I got rid of all those things. I have one that I kept that I actually really liked and I have only used it once in all these years.

Things like that. What I mean by that specific example is not like, “Oh, don't buy hair clips; hair clips are pointless,” but they're pointless for me because I've proven time and time again that I'm not the type of person that pins my hair back with a really cute clip. Whenever I do pin my hair back I just use a bobby pin and hide it underneath my hair so it looks like nothing is holding my hair back. I never use barrettes or pretty things like that. I appreciate them and admire them and I always think they look so cute on other people but I just never tend to grab for them. I don't know why. So I don't get those things anymore.

Another example would be like certain styles of clothing that I really love and admire, but then when I buy them I never end up actually grabbing them, wearing them and putting an outfit together with them. They just kind of sit there.

This happens a lot in boutiques. I'm a normal person. I shop at H&M, and Target and stuff, but I do really like supporting small businesses and I make a point to do that. First, whenever I'm looking for a specific item, I'll go to small shops in my area or the area that I'm staying in if I'm not by my house. I look there first. There's a couple of boutiques, especially in downtown in Oceanside and San Diego area near where I live, that I really love and I will browse whenever I'm out there.

Sometimes the things are just so unique, beautiful and I really appreciate them. It's a small shop so I feel like I'm supporting them and I'll get something that I really liked. But it ends up never, ever getting worn. I've really stopped doing that because, again, just like the hair clips, it's like I'm purchasing something that is somebody that I want to be or that I admire. Like, “Oh I like that they put a little barrette in their hair instead of just leaving it plain with a bobby pin. That's really cute.” But I never actually do that. Or, “I really like that this person dresses that style. I really like the idea of being a person who would wear that sweater.” But I never actually grab for the sweater. So it's not serving me. It's pointless and it was a waste of money.

Another example of this is homeschool stuff. Homeschool supplies and curricula - Oh my gosh, it's so easy to get sucked into the warp, the vortex and feel like you need something or you're doing your kids a disservice by not having a certain type of something and want to get it. “This is the answer for my home school organization! This is why I haven't been able to explain fractions to Hudson. I'm going to get this program!”

And sometimes those things are really helpful but I've really learned to think it through and wait and ask myself, “Am I trying to solve a problem the fast way? Is this really going to serve me? Am I really going to use this? Am I really going to wear his hair clip?

So basically things that I want to use or would like to be the type of person who uses them, but I never actually do use. Things that are quick fixes, like the homeschool supply example, things like that. I've just really learned to say “No.”

There's been maybe once or twice in the last year that I have said “no” to something at boutique or something and then left the store, gone back to my house, thought about it and wish I really had bought that. And what you can do is you can go back or get it online. Or ask yourself why do I feel like I really want that?

And then think, “Well it's because I need a black blouse, but that black blouse just felt a little bit too eccentric. I wouldn't actually wear it.” OK. Go find a plainer black blouse that you think you'll actually wear.

So just checking in with yourself. I really think it comes down to mindfulness about the things that we buy. And that's the whole point is just being intentional and being mindful about the purpose behind your purchases.


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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.

Bonus 004: How I Planned + Organized Our Homeschool This Year

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Our homeschool year has officially started! Since it is the beginning of the school year, I wanted to share this bonus episode to help any of your homeschoolers who are trying to figure it out. Maybe this is your first year; maybe it's not, and this will still help you. But I have been really wanting to share a couple of things about how I'm organizing our homeschool year this year because a couple of the things are new and they seem to be really helping me so far.

Over the last few months, I have been figuring out how to make my homeschool work better and more streamlined, more fun, and more enjoyable. I am excited to share all kinds of things with you in this episode! From the homeschool schedule we built to the curriculum we are using, and tips on how to make your homeschool schedule feel lighter so you and your kids can breathe a bit. I'm really excited about what our homeschool year looks like this year and really hope this helps you get excited about yours too!

 
 

In This Episode Allie Discusses:

  • Why she is trying year-round schooling and how she hopes it will help her overall family schedule.

  • The platforms and curriculum she uses to plan out and facilitate homeschool.

  • What a typical homeschool day looks like for her kids.

  • How rotating a few subjects each day creates breathing room in the school load and routine.

Mentioned in this Episode:

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If you feel like your house is just always out of control, it's totally crazy and you'd love to take some of the advice I give here on The Purpose Show, and my blog, but you just kind of feel like you're so frozen and overwhelmed, you can't even. I created a new challenge. It's called the 10:10 challenge. It's super, super simplified (and totally FREE by the way!). 

This is designed for the really overwhelmed mom who wants to kickstart her house and build some momentum, because as I always talk about - momentum is where it's at to making progress, actually taking action, and having that longevity of action that's going to change your life in the long run.

So the 10:10 challenge. This whole thing is 10 minutes a day every day for 10 days. It’s going to build a happier mom and a happier home for your family! 


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


Don't have time to listen_.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 Purpose Show.

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Hey friend! Oh my gosh, I am so drained. It's 9:00 at night right now. I did a webinar today. We had a full day of homeschooling. I recorded three other podcast episodes today. I'm super tapped out. Brian is too. The kids are in bed but they're not all asleep yet and Brian's like, “I'm just going to put my headphones in and listen to a podcast because I'm so done.” He's inside folding a load of laundry for me and we're both just super tapped out.

But I'm out here in my office/studio recording this little bonus episode for you because I've just really wanted to share this with you since it’s the beginning of the school year and get this out to you to help any of you homeschoolers who are trying to figure it out

Maybe this is your first year; maybe it's not, and this will still help you. But I have been really wanting to share a couple of things about how I'm organizing our homeschool year this year because a couple of the things are new and they seem to be really helping me so far. I'm really excited about them

I think the podcast, in this way, is a lot like a blog and I like to share whatever I'm learning, whatever I'm doing right now. That will change and evolve as I do and as life goes on. Right now, I'm figuring out how to make my homeschool work better and be more streamlined, more fun and enjoyable, and I think I've made a couple of changes this year versus last year that are going to accomplish that. So, I'm going to share them with you

I'm going to go over all kinds of things. I'm going to go over the homeschool schedule we're on this year, which is different than usual. I'm going to share a couple of changes that I've made to the way we're formatting our year.

I'm going to show you a picture of the online program that I use to organize our homeschool, and kind of use it as our homeschool schedule. It's called Trello and it's a free platform. I've talked about it quite a bit. I also have a blog post and a video tutorial where I show you how to use it to organize your life and I can link to that in the show notes of this episode for you.

I'm gonna show you a picture of our homeschool board and kind of talk you through it. And then I'm going to talk about the curricula that we're using and share our schedule, kind of like a typical homeschool day for us this new year.

We have already started our year. We pulled out a couple of things a little bit early because it was like 120 degrees here in southern California in the summer and the kids were just getting super antsy. Too much technology. They weren't able to play outside. And so, we pulled out some things and created a little bit of routine and order early. So, our new school year has officially started for us.

We actually homeschool through a charter school and they don't start quite yet. They have another week, but we have started officially. We've been going strong and doing good so I'm ready to share what we're doing.

One new thing that we're trying this year is hopefully going to help us with our year- round scheduling. So far, we've really been fans of the year-round school schedule. Year-round schooling can look a lot of different ways. But basically, you don't start and end when everyone else does. This year we are starting when most schools do. But we're going to school through the summer and we'll be wrapping up our last semester when everyone else is on summer break just because we keep finding that we want to do school in the summer at least a little bit.

So, if we're wrapping up a couple of the core subjects and we could have a little bit of a lighter schedule in July, I think it will actually really help my kids because like I said, it's really hot. They can't really go outside. They can't swim all day, every day. When they play games and we let them have a video game summer, it’s all fine until it's been too much and they're freaking out and their moods are terrible.

So I think that having some time in the summer to do a little bit of school will be really helpful for everybody and keep us structured. I can honestly say that parts of the summer were pretty miserable because we lacked routine completely. So, I'm definitely wanting to really follow the year round schedule this year. We kind of did last year but it was just really lax and we didn't totally do school over the summer even though we probably should have. So this year I'm planning to really stick with it.

We're trying a schedule that I actually saw online on a different blog. I think it's pretty common. It's six weeks on with school and then one week off and you stay in that pattern. I actually found it last year before we started last year, but I just wasn't sure. I didn't commit and I didn't do it.

I'm going to do it this year because I noticed that we seem to desire a lot of breaks. As a family, we travel a lot. That's one of the biggest perks for us of homeschooling and owning our own business, that we can do things, have family trips, and take breaks whenever we want, not when we're told to. And I think that six weeks on/one week off will also help with the burnout that typically comes around the month of February. I think that would help to have a lot of breaks coming up, knowing we've always got a break around the corner, and we can plan little family vacations, trips, and things like that.

We've got friends and family sprinkled all over the country and we would love to go and visit them and six weeks on/one week off gives us plenty of opportunities to do that. So I'm really excited to try that schedule out this year.

I don't remember exactly how it breaks down, but basically instead of our school year ending in May or June, it would end in July. And then we'd be ready to start up again in September. You can do whatever you want. A lot of people their new school year starts in January and it goes until December and they have a lot of breaks within that. You can make it work however you want.

But for us, we’re starting our year at the same time as everyone else does and we're just not really taking the full summer off because it doesn't seem to serve our kids very well. I hope that makes sense. So, six weeks of school and then one week off.

And then we're also doing the same thing that we did last year, which is four school days per week instead of five. Monday through Thursday is our normal full school days and then Friday is a really light day for reviewing anything that was difficult for anyone that week. And also to give us a little wiggle room to catch up. So if we maybe didn't get to finish all of our history that week, we can finish it on Friday. It's just nice to have some cushion.

That's also what I like about the six weeks on/one week off schedule is that it ends up giving you a decent cushion. So if you guys get sick or you just need to have a big break that was unplanned, you have the wiggle room to do that. And I feel like the four school days per week schedule gives us that wiggle room as well.

Friday mornings are the mornings that I always have all my team meetings. So I'm usually in meetings from about 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 or 11:00 a.m. So Brian can go over and review anything that the kids need to be reviewed or catch up on anything that didn't get finished. I can come in if he needs me to and help after my meetings. But pretty much the rest of Friday after my meetings are done are open and we can do whatever we want to do and our weekend starts early, which is great.

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If you feel like your house is just always out of control, it's totally crazy and you'd love to take some of the advice I give here on The Purpose Show, and my blog, but you just kind of feel like you're so frozen and overwhelmed, you can't even. I created a new challenge. It's called the 10:10 challenge. It's super, super simplified.

It's email based so you can open the emails and take it at your own pace. And even the emails are a few sentences. It's really, really simplified.

This is designed for the really overwhelmed mom who wants to kickstart her house and build some momentum, because as I always talk about - momentum is where it's at to making progress, actually taking action, and having that longevity of action that's going to change your life in the long run.

So the 10:10 challenge. This whole thing is 10 minutes a day every day for 10 days.

It’s going to build a happier mom and a happier home for your family.

To take this challenge, (it's totally free by the way) go to alliecasazza.com/1010.

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Another thing that we're trying is we're rotating History and Science to create more breathing room in each school day. We find that it's really hard to get everything done each day without school taking forever. And Science and History are two things that are time consuming for the curricula that we use, which I'll share in a second.

History takes about 90 minutes most days, sometimes just an hour. And then Science is pretty much the same. There's a lot of hands-on stuff, a lot of experiments and really taking time to explain everything to the kids and answer their questions. And when we're doing that every day for both subjects, or even just a couple times a week for both subjects, it just becomes too much. And then the kids get antsy and the day is too long.  It's just not how we roll. So, we're rotating History and Science.

So, what that means is instead of doing History a couple times a week and Science a couple times a week and trying to squeeze those both in, or I think it ended up being a few times a week that it was needed. So, at some point they both landed on the same day and that day was always really stressful. So instead we're doing a few rounds of the six weeks on/one week off school schedule and we're just focusing on History and just busting out that curriculum. Getting through the whole year's worth curriculum because we're doing it all four school days.

And then when we're done and we go into the second round of six weeks on/one week off, we're gonna focus on Science and do Science four school days a week and then be totally done with Science. So, we're going to try that out. I'm not sure if we'll like it or not, but I'll keep you posted and we'll see how that goes. I know quite a few people who do that and they've said good things about it. So, we'll see.

So basically, we're working on every core subject, every full school day of the week. And the kids have signed up for a couple of elective classes through the homeschool campus that we have, so they actually go to a homeschool campus in our town. And actually, it's perfect. I didn't even do this on purpose. It just worked out that way. I wish I was this savvy. Hudson goes to piano, the same location, the same day and the same time as Bella and Leland go to Spanish. So, on Mondays at 1:00 we will just all go to the homeschool campus. Emmett can run around and play at the park. For an hour Hudson's in piano and the older two kids are taking Spanish. That's something that they're learning that we're not having to teach them. It kind of breaks up the week and it's electives that I feel are going to be really, really good for them.

I'll show you a picture of our homeschool board. I use a platform called Trello. Trello is free and it's an online platform. It's also an APP. We use it in my business, my team and I use it for communication to keep up on different projects. You can share Trello boards with different team members. So, the homeschool schedule board is shared between Brian and I.

TRELLO.png

I'll link to the video tutorial I've made for this and the blog posts that I wrote about how I use Trello for everything and all that good stuff. But basically, if you go to the show notes for this episode, which I will link to (alliecasazza.com/shownotes/bonus04) you'll be able to see a screenshot of my homeschool Trello board with our schedule on it.

Basically, what I've done is I've decided to ditch the paper homeschool planner. I just found it really irritating, and time consuming too, to have to fill out each student's name, the subject, what we're going to be doing that week over and over again every single week, for every kid. It was just really time consuming. It didn't seem worth it to me.

So with Trello and the way I've laid out our schedule to where we're doing all the core subjects every school day, it's pretty cut and dry. It really, really simplified me looking at like, “Okay, what are we supposed to do today?” Now we do all the core subjects every day and I just look at the Trello board and see like what are we supposed to do next?

Instead of spending time organizing on paper what everyone's doing every week, I spent time really, really thinking through what is going to be the best format for our day. Now we've been homeschooling for a while, and last year we did it. The kids are a little older so I was able to get familiar with what's working and what's not working and I noticed if we started with something that's really interactive and makes everybody feel positively or there's really no wrong answers and everyone can just kind of talk and be involved, then that would be really good.

So, we do our Bible lesson while we have breakfast. Then everybody cleans up and does their chores and gets ready for the day. So chores are out of the way. The house is clean. Everybody's ready, everyone's fed. We started with Bible which puts everybody in a good mood. Then school starts around 9:00 and then we go into History, which is similar to Bible in the way that it's really like a conversation. They call it a “couch subject.” So everybody does History together at the same time. There's no grade differences for History with our curriculum, and again, I'll share all that with you in a second. So we all sit on the couch and just go through our History lesson. Then the kids go to the table and they do any of the worksheets that go with the lesson for that day and it's just a really good start to our day.

And then we do a split-up time and that's with Math and Reading. So, what that means is Bella and Leland are actually doing the same math even though they are two years apart. Bellah is in fourth grade and she's actually doing third grade Math because that's just where she's at. And Leland is doing a year ahead. He's advanced in Math. So that worked out to where they're doing the same Math and it's much simpler.

So, Bella and Leland do Math together and Hudson sits and has this quiet reading time for 30 minutes. And then we switch. The older kids go and they have their reading time and I sit and do Math with Hudson. Then we do read aloud time. Then we have lunch, clean up, and then we do another split up session with Language Arts and Handwriting.

So same thing. I do Language Arts with Hudson; Bella and Leland work on their Handwriting books, and then we switch. Hudson does Handwriting and I do Language Arts with Bella and Leland. Bella and Leland are in different Language Arts, but they are more independent workers so I can help and oversee them both at the same time. Bella's doing her fourth grade one and Leland's doing his second grade one.

Next, we do Vocabulary. I just help Hudson. The older kids don't really need help with that. And then at the end of the day, if we have time and everything's going well, we'll do Music and Art practice.

The boys are musical and Bella's artistic, so Bella will do an Art lesson or just have free draw time, free painting, whatever, and the boys will practice piano and guitar. Sometimes we don't do that though, and that's okay. I don't require them to do it every single day, but usually they do it.

That's Monday through Thursday. Friday is a lighter day and we'll just have review in the morning or catch up on anything that we didn't get done in the morning. And then they're done and our weekend feels like three days, which is awesome.

And then I've also used the labels that come with Trello to mark, like what's a core subject, what's a group subject that we can all do together, what needs to be done individually, what are their electives to keep everything really organized. It's really, really helpful to have a clean, simplified area where I can see this all in one place. I love Trello for that. And because I do use it for my business, I'm really used to it.

And then what I do is I use Trello in place of a paper planner for what everyone is doing every day. I just put a post-it note on the lesson that we're on in their curriculum books. I open it up to that day and we do the next lesson. And when we're done I write in a normal, basic journal that I got from Target, and every day I would put the date at the top and then I put Bella, LA for Language Arts, Lesson 31, and just keep track of what we did get done.

That helps me with the school records and it just helps me know what are we behind on and what we need to do still. And also in the thick of it, in that day, sometimes I'll forget what we actually did and what we still have left to do, so I can look at that and know.

But it's better and less time consuming than me sitting down once a week and planning ahead and going over every day - “Okay, this Tuesday we're going to do Lesson 29…” Then what if something changes? What if we don't do it? Then I have to erase and the whole plan is shot, so I find that this just works better for me.

The curriculum that we're using is called The Good and the Beautiful. We used it last year. So far it is the only homeschool curriculum that we have reused. I've always wanted to try something else after I have purchased something but not with this. It's beautiful. Very, very image heavy, which my kids really love. I absolutely love it.

It's definitely a Christian curriculum so if that doesn't float your boat this won't be for you. But it’s not in an annoying way and I mean that in the best way possible. I just really, really like it.

And then for Math we're actually using Saxon this year and so far I like it.

So yeah, that's pretty much it. That's how I've organized our homeschool year this year. If you're not a homeschooler, I don't even know why you listened because it's a super snooze fest and it's kinda boring anyway, so thanks for listening if you got to this point.

Again, if you want the links to anything that I shared and all the Trello stuff, just go to alliecasazza.com/shownotes/bonus04 and you'll get it all there.


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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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