#alliereadsoctober

Ep 123: Releasing the Other Version of Yourself

Facebook_EP_123.jpeg

This episode is going to be more serious. Recently as I was sitting still in meditation, I had a realization that was so powerful. It was almost in the form of a vision. If you sometimes worry about others’ expectations of you, or even high expectations you set for yourself, this could be really helpful for you. I want to share it because I believe that it can set someone else free, like it did for me.

 
 

In This Episode Allie Discusses:

  • How others sometimes have unrealistic expectations of her

  • A realization she had during a time of meditation

  • How others’ perspectives and expectations are not your responsibility

Mentioned in this Episode:


MLC-FB-3b.jpg

Are you sick of being stressed every year when the holidays roll around?

i created a short video course that will help you get intentional, simplify, and pursue LESS this Christmas!


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_.jpg

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.


Hi friends! I'm so excited to be sitting down and talking to you today! Taking a deep breath because this episode is going to be kind of intense. It's going to be a lot more serious, I guess.

I've actually been a little worried about feedback on this one, but you know, usually I have found that whenever I feel that way it more so means that it needs to be shared. Maybe it will roll off some people's backs, maybe they'll just scratch their heads and be like, “I didn't really vibe with that,” but maybe there are other people who really take to it and really need to hear it. So, I'm going to share it and I’m going to see how it goes.

I was talking about this episode with my husband, Brian, and telling him, “I think I'm going to need to make a joke before I record this that I'm not a psychedelic drug user,” because I'm going to be sharing something that came into my mind while I was having some quiet time and practicing meditation, which I've talked about a lot here on the show and I'm a firm believer in, but people get weird about that sometimes.

So anyway, I won't joke about that, but I've been practicing meditation for a while now, a couple of years now, and more recently in the last 6 - 12 months, I've been really practicing sitting in stillness with almost no agenda.

Sometimes, if I'm really burdened or feeling really heavy, I will have a little bit of an agenda like, “I want to think about this question that I'm struggling with the answer to or think about this problem that I'd really like to know what to do about,” and I'll go into meditation thinking on that a little bit.

But usually I go into meditation the same way every time - whether I'm by myself in my home or if I'm going to a class - I go in prayerfully asking God to sit with me, show up with me and show me whatever it is that He needs me to see because my life is very full, loud, busy and my kids are homeschooled, so they're here all the time and there's very little opportunity for quiet and for me to hear His voice.

And so, meditation is really a time where I quiet my mind intentionally and I quiet my life. I say, “I value my faith. I value stillness. I value what You would have to say to me, God, so I want to make time to hear you, to hear that, and to just let myself be still.”

I come into meditation also very ready to hear and ready to receive. I come in very open, because sometimes I'm coming into meditation time and I have expectations, which is very difficult not to do because we're humans. So, I try to come in open like, “Maybe I'm not going to get an answer to this question that I would love to figure out, but maybe I'm going to walk away feeling really peaceful.”

Sometimes I just walk away feeling so at peace and that is what I needed because that's what I got. Sometimes I do get a solution to a problem, or I'll have a really great idea, or a really powerful knowing that one of my kids needs something from me. It just depends, but there are so many benefits and so much power in creating times of stillness.

And moms of super little kids...this gets easier. It's okay if it's just not happening for you right now.

I have been practicing meditation more deliberately lately. Recently I was sitting still in meditation and I totally had this realization that was really, really powerful for me. It was almost in the form of a vision.

It was so powerful for me, I haven't been able to let it go. I came home right away and told my husband about it. It was just so powerful. I was crying and it really, really helped me. I've been telling friends about it and I just feel like I need to tell you guys about it. I want to share it because I believe that it can set someone else free, like it did for me, and be really helpful.

While I was in this particular time of meditation I was in the middle of an unguided meditation. For those of you who are unfamiliar, there's guided meditation and there's unguided meditation. Guided meditation is where if you were in a class you would have an instructor prompting you through things like, “focus on your breathing, now focus on the pressure of the ground underneath you, now continue to focus on your breathing or think about this.” They're guiding you and it can help when you're in the beginning of your practice and your mind tends to wander. That's natural. Your mind will completely go away from what you're there to do and begin to race with all these thoughts and things you need to remember to do and all of that.

Then there's unguided meditation where it's just silence. You're sitting in silence and you don't need anyone to prompt you. You can focus on your breathing and control your thoughts on your own.

That's what I was doing. I was doing unguided meditation. I think I was meditating for about 30 minutes that day, which is average for me. I was in about the middle of that time. It's always hard to know because in meditation you lose track of time.

But I saw myself. I didn't prompt this in any way. I was literally just focusing on my breathing and being really open to whatever God wanted to show me. I was feeling really heavy emotionally that day, actually that whole month. I was just really struggling. I was finding myself avoiding my job, avoiding showing up for people, avoiding Instagram, avoiding writing emails, just feeling really heavy and tense. I didn’t know why and I wasn't even there to do anything about it. I was just doing my morning quiet time.

While I was meditating at this time, I all-of-a-sudden got a flash of a vision in my head that I didn't put there. And this is why I preach meditation so much because it's so powerful. It doesn't always go like this, but it can, and without creating space for it you just won't have these realizations.

I saw myself in this vision. I saw this version of myself that a lot of people expect me to be. It's sort of like how they see me or how they want to see me. I'm going to talk about that version of myself a little bit so that you can really understand why this vision that I had was so powerful.

That version of myself looks like everything is perfect. This version of Allie always does her rhythms and routines perfectly without fail. She always has everything uncluttered all the time. Her bathroom sink is never cluttered. There's never anything extra. Her closets are always perfectly uncluttered and organized all the time. People dissect the way she lives because they either want to find flaws in it or they want to live that way too.

She always has everything perfectly together and everything is always working out for her. She makes no mistakes. There is never any clutter. There is never any excess. Everything is always perfect all the time.

And despite how often I share here on the podcast, on Instagram, and on my platforms, that that's just not the case…I'm very open and kind of funny about the realness of my life and my home. I'm transparent about my struggles, my weaknesses, my reality, but the things that I figured out and the help that I share has made things less stressful and just simpler for me...I still always feel this pressure and expectation from other people. That is the version that they see of me. And that's the version of myself that I saw in this vision.

That doesn't mean that I do all the things that I'm teaching. Just because I'm teaching them doesn't mean that I do those things every single moment of every single day.

I teach rhythms and simplicity. That doesn't mean that everything in my life is completely simplified all the time. That doesn't mean that I never miss my rhythms or I'm not doing something that I said that I do. That is really hard and really frustrating. Sometimes I'll mention something like, “Hey, if you're struggling with this, what I've really found to help is doing this and I've been doing this for a really long time and it's worked over and over for me and I want to help you by sharing that with you.”

And then because I say something like that, people just automatically assume that I'm always going to do that. It'll be a year or two later and they're seeing something that I showed on Instagram and they'll say something like, “But I thought that you did this in the mornings. You said in this episode you do this in the morning,” and it's like, “Whoa!”

I'm just here to share what I'm learning as I'm going. I am a human being. I am evolving all the time and changing things all the time. I don't hold myself to doing something that I learned is helpful constantly, but a lot of the people who follow me and even some of my friends and family in my real life talk to me in a way where I can see that that's how they view me…perfect.

Their expectations of me are perfection and they hold me to it. They treat me as if they think that I'm really like that. They respond to me as if that's how I am. As much as I work to stay grounded, be myself, and have healthy boundaries, it's hard not to attach yourself to that version of yourself, to those expectations, to that version of yourself that really doesn't exist.


Hey friend! I just want to talk to you real quick about the holidays because they're coming up on us! If you are sick of being super stressed out and dreading seeing certain people, going through certain traditions or dealing with the budget crisis of the holidays, I want you to know that there is a no-stress way to handle more stuff coming into your home, dealing with boundaries and relatives, dealing with traditions.

I want to help you craft this Christmas mission statement and not just for Christmas but for Thanksgiving and the holiday season in general. I want to help you decorate your home without making it feel super cluttered and too much, with things that are special and matter.

I want to help you transition your kids into a simpler Christmas and stop expecting so much stuff. I want to help you make new traditions and let go of the ones that are stressful and a burden that you're holding onto out of obligation that aren't serving your family anymore. I want to help you buy and receive Christmas presents with a simpler mindset. Plus, I want to help you know what to do when the holidays are over and starting out the New Year right.

We're going to talk about buying your kids' presents, dealing with relatives and their gift giving, preparing your house. What if your husband doesn't want a simple Christmas, but you do? Anything and everything you can think of!

It's all in my super short but powerful, powerful punch-packer, A Merry Little Christmas. It's a mini course. It's only $39. It's available now. It's DIY. You just get in there, login, take in the teaching and simplify your Christmas.

To snag this, go to alliecasazza.com/amerrylittlechristmas. $39 bucks for a simplified Christmas. Come on. Let's get in there. Let’s do this. Let's stop spending this precious time of the year feeling super, super stressed out.


So in this vision, going back to that, I saw myself standing and holding on to a bouquet of balloons and the balloons weren't regular balloons. They were made up of that other version of myself that people assume is the real me. I saw that version of me plastered all over the balloons I was holding.

I know it sounds really weird and that's why I was saying I should make a joke about psychedelic drugs, but it's a vision. It's a dream; it's not reality.

And so, I saw that version of me plastered all over the balloons I was holding and then I stood there for a while just looking at that and feeling the weight of what that version of me feels like. I saw the distance of myself. I noticed the distance between me and the balloons. I noticed the distance between the real me and that version of me and I realized that there was a distance and that wasn't really me.

Then I let the balloons go. I watched them float away for a good, long time and it felt so good. I could not stop smiling as I was watching this play out in my mind. It was amazing! I physically felt myself letting go of a very heavy weight that I didn't really know was there.

I played that in my head over and over again during that time until my little meditation app alarmed dinged. And I've played it over and over in my head a lot of times since then.

The reason that I'm sharing it with you is because I don't think this issue is limited to those of us in the public eye. I think a lot of us have a version of ourselves that come from other things, from other people, or a certain place that you are every now and then like maybe a version of yourself that you are at work or in certain relationships and friendships.

Or maybe the version of yourself comes from you. Maybe you put a version of yourself out there that's made up of expectations that you put on yourself and when you don't live up to them or the real you comes out, you feel like a failure. Maybe you do that in your role as a mom.

I want to invite you into this. I want to invite you to borrow the vision that I had that day and create that vision in your head on purpose. It happened to me, but you can create that on purpose and borrow the picture I painted for you. Let yourself really imagine the details of that other version of yourself and feel the weight of that. What are the specifics of that girl? How does it feel to carry the weight of trying to be her? How does it feel to be pressured to be that girl?

Let those details form the balloons in your mind and then feel the gap between the real you and those balloons. Picture yourself just a girl doing her best, trying to live her best life and show up for the people she loves. Let that girl, the real you, hold on to the other version in the balloons and then let them go. See them floating away. See how that feels. Let the emotion in that and the power in that wash over you in this moment of stillness you're creating for yourself.

Feel free, if you need to, borrow this vision of mine any time. Anytime you feel like you're not enough or you're heavy with what you're supposed to be. Just let it go. Feel yourself letting it go and feel that lightness come over you.

I think it's one thing to have goals, to grow, to shift and evolve into a better version of yourself. I'm always trying to do that. But it's a totally other thing to feel the pressure of expectations of the person that you're “supposed” to be according to other people (or according to yourself, if you're hard on yourself) and to wear that as a mask so often that it's the only version of yourself you really know and you've lost the real you.

You lost the girl who likes to go out with her friends every now and then and take a break from her kids and her husband. You've lost the girl who would rather be in sweatpants with no bra watching reruns on Netflix than going out. The girl who loves to craft. The girl who loves her job. The girl you really are.

I don't want that to sound cheesy, but just sit with those words if they're resonating with you.

I know that as a part of my job and being in the public eye, in the small scale that I am, that people will build their expectations of me. It's just natural. They are going to put me on a pedestal, expect crazy things of me, and assume things about me that aren't true.

This happens a lot with my faith and people put me in a typical, conservative, Christian box that I just don't belong in, it happens with my marriage, and all different kinds of things. It's just part of my job. It's going to happen.

They will choose to not hear things that I'm saying that don't align with the version of me that they want me to be, that they've made up because it benefits them for me to be that girl. It benefits them and what they want to believe. For some reason they need me to be that version. Because maybe if I'm not, then maybe there's no hope for them. Or maybe they just don't want to see reality. They want to believe that there is a perfect, secret way of living, of doing motherhood. And if I'm real with them and honest about the fact that there are just simple shifts I've made to make things lighter but it's still imperfect, that's not what they want to hear.

Or they see me getting attention, having a platform, being on a stage and they get upset. They point their finger and blast the way I do my faith, the way I do relationships, the way I do parenting. So, they keep me in a box. They keep me in the box they made for me and they won't hear anything outside of that. Or they will hear it, but they're going to judge me like crazy for it.

Here's the key part that I want you to walk away with - that is not my responsibility. And whatever this other version of yourself is that’s coming from other people (or from you if you're hard on yourself) - that's not your responsibility.

For me, other people's perspective of what I do and their expectations of me, the things they're holding onto, the things that would be a huge letdown for them if they found out I wasn't that way - that is not my responsibility. That's not on me.

My responsibility is my life. The way I'm truly living. The way I share honestly about what I'm learning, how I'm growing, and how I'm messing up, just like I do here on the show with you guys.

My mission field is my responsibility. My message is my responsibility. My family, my marriage, my faith - that's my responsibility.

I am responsible for how honest I am.

And that's what I'm doing, but I can't make others see what they choose not to see.

I can't force them to not come up with their own version of me, what I do, and what I'm saying.

But I can certainly have a boundary for myself that I don't have to try to live up to that or take that on as a burden.

I hope this encourages somebody. I hope that this kind of mental practice that dropped into my head during this time of stillness in my life will be something that some of you can borrow and let yourself feel the weight coming off.

Practice this as often as you need to. I have honestly made this vision a morning practice, really, really often, almost every day for the last couple of months since the first time it happened.

It was just so powerful I had to share it and I hope that it can become a practice for some of you too, who really needed this.


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 122: #AllieReadsOctober "Stretched Too Thin" by Jessica Turner

Facebook_EP_122.jpg

Today I’m talking with Jessica Turner, author of Stretched Too Thin: How Working Moms Can Lose The Guilt, Work Smarter & Thrive. This book impacted me in such a deep way. It’s really practical and helped me feel like I’m not alone. 

We're going to talk about mom guilt of all kinds, so don't click away from this episode if you don't work because this will still set you free and really help you.

 
 

In This Episode Allie & Jessica Discuss:

  • What questions to ask yourself to determine if you should ditch the mom guilt

  • How mom guilt can sometimes be productive by prompting us to make needed changes

  • Why you shouldn’t feel guilty about loving your work

  • How traditional gender roles can be limiting to the person God created you to be

  • Practical self-care for busy moms

Mentioned in this Episode:


cirlces-FB3.jpg

Decluttering with kids doesn’t have to be a struggle. Let me help you.

We’ll shine a light on the things you need to know and teach you how to begin the process of minimalism with your kids (or succeed in it if you’ve tried before!). 

This amazing FREE web class happened yesterday, but the replay video is still available for a few more days!


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_.jpg

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.


Friends, it is that time of year again. It's October and we are doing Allie Reads October in my little corner of the Internet. It's so fun. This is our second time doing it. If you were around last year for Allie Reads October, you're going to notice it looks a little bit different this year. We’ve structured it differently to fit where I'm at in my personal life this year. The amount of time that I've had to read for pleasure is much less than it was the year before, so we adjusted as needed. It's a different set up today, or this month, this year, whatever. And I'm really excited about it.

Here's what Allie Reads is - basically it's intended to draw your attention to books and remind you to read more. Reading for women has always been a really important issue. There have been times where women in other cultures, countries and parts of the world were not allowed to read.

I'm really passionate about cultivating strength and community among women and raising a strong woman myself in my daughter, and being a strong woman, I'm very passionate about feminism and I just really want to be a part of drawing attention to the fact that women, especially moms with how busy we are and how much we're balancing, we need to read books.

Maya Angelou said, “know better, do better,” and I think one of the best possible ways that you can know better and then do better is by reading good books, so I want to draw attention every year to the type of books that I read that really made an impact on me, that they changed the way that I think about things. They really helped bring clarity to something that I was struggling with. They made me know better, do better. To draw attention to those books and to those authors. To have conversations with the people that wrote those books. To have conversations with you about the books without the author there. Really celebrate the fact that we have the freedom to read. That it's such an important thing. It's such a great way to grow. And as I said, as Maya Angelou said, “know better, do better.” So that's what Allie Reads is all about.

This year we have a couple of authors coming on the podcast, but the rest of Allie Reads October will be discussions about different books that shaped me as a person, as a parent, the books that I read this year, the books that have helped grow my business this year, the books that help my kids understand minimalism and that can help your kids understand minimalism. We're doing lots of different things like that and it's all happening at Alliereadsoctober.com. It's a landing page for all the things about this month. Take the opportunity, go dive in, and let me know what you think.

ALLIE: Hello beautiful friends! Welcome to the Purpose Show and another piece of Allie Reads October! Today we are speaking with an author. Her name is Jessica Turner, and you probably have seen Jessica's latest book floating around, especially on Instagram, or if you're a blog reader. Lots of people that I respect and admire have been talking about this book over the last few months.

Something that I'm really passionate about is not bringing on authors to talk about their books because their publisher reached out and wanted me to. I want to choose what I authentically believe is good and helpful and have real conversations with people that I've connected with separately, not like, “Hey, I just met you and here we are talking to my podcast.” It's super awkward.

And so, I feel a little late to the game bringing on Jessica to talk about this book, but it is so good and it really deeply impacted me. It's called Stretched Too Thin: How Working Moms Can Lose The Guilt, Work Smarter & Thrive. It impacted me in such a deep way and really helped me. It's very practical. It really helped me feel like I'm not alone in the mom guilt that we feel, that's honestly pretty ridiculous. I bought copies for everyone on team Allie, sent it to them and made them read it. It's so good.

You can get this book at Target, you can get it in the link to the show notes, at Amazon. It's everywhere. The paperback is everywhere.

We're gonna talk about this. We're going to talk about mom guilt of all kinds, specifically working mom guilt, but don't click away from this episode if you don't work because this will set you free and really help you.

Jessica gets really amped up, really passionate about this topic and you'll hear that in this episode. She really cares about helping women step in to their role confidently, whatever that looks like. And if you do work, especially if you work a lot, or if you work outside the home, not feeling guilty about that, not feeling like you owe your family an apology, and stepping confidently into where you're at in life, into your role, and using guilt as a catalyst to make any necessary changes, but also know when that guilt is just not productive guilt and you need to just let it go. And how do you let it go and getting over that.

So, we're talking about all of these things and this episode is really, really good.

I actually share things that I was taught growing up in a private Christian school that really affected me as I became a working mother. We get into a lot of serious stuff.

This episode is so good and I'm really excited to welcome Jessica, so please enjoy this conversation. Don't forget to tag us on Instagram and let us know what you think.

ALLIE: Hi Jessica, welcome!

JESSICA:  Hey! I'm glad to be here. Thanks for having me.

ALLIE: We're just going to dive right in. I know we were already getting into the conversation before we even hit record, talking about how women perceive that they work, and some women don't really perceive that they work or they don't, as you said, “call a spade a spade,” and I just love the conversations that have already come out of us sitting together here.

I love your book. We're going to talk about that. But I would love to first, before we dive back into what we had begun talking about before hitting record, and just hear from you a little bit about where you live, your family, what you do, how you spend your days, where do you work and just let us get to know you.

JESSICA: Yeah. So, my name is Jessica and I've got three kids who are 11, 8, and 4½.  I work full-time outside the home in corporate America for a large healthcare company in Nashville. My husband, Matthew Paul Turner, is a children's book writer. He's written a couple books that you might know, including When I Pray For You and When God Made You. And we also have a puppy named Zelda. She just turned 1, so I don't know if she's still a puppy. Is she a toddler? I don't know...We have a toddler dog as well, which adds to the crazy.

In addition to me working full-time outside the home, I have been a blogger since 2006 and started writing books in about 2014. I've written three books, The Fringe Hours: Making Time For You, which is all about self-care and the importance for women to make time for themselves, My Fringe Hours, which is a book really dedicated to people figuring out their own story and their own passions, and then my newest book, Stretched Too Thin: How Working Moms Can Lose The Guilt, Work Smarter, & Thrive, which just came out in hardback a year ago and in paperback late this summer.

ALLIE: I read this book because it was sent to me because of the podcast and it was so good that I sent it to everyone on my team because they're all working moms. Some of them have grown kids and some of them have really little kids. Some of them are currently having kids still.

I think it's an important message because it's so practical, but you also weave in some stories. There's one part in particular where you shared the raw vulnerability of you saying that you intentionally missed a soccer game, that you cried because you couldn't go somewhere that your kids were going, and the pumpkin patch story and missing out on these things, or working really hard so that you didn't miss out on it and just watching you kind of go through these things that, for me, I have struggled with thinking, “Is this normal? Is it normal to miss a baseball game? I don't really know.” I'm not really thinking, “What works for me right now?” I'm thinking about, “What is everyone else doing? Am I a worse mom than the other moms? Are they missing?” I don't know.

The silly ridiculous stories we tell ourselves, “We're not good if…(insert the thing).” I feel like even just in the parts that you're sharing about yourself in here in this book, when you say those things, even that brought me freedom, knowing, “Look! She's struggling. She cried over this silly little event that she totally could've skipped.” It messes with us and it makes us feel sad. I feel sad when I'm missing out on something because I need to get something done, but if I don't do it, then I'm going to be really stressed out because I didn't get that thing done. And then I'm not going to be a great mom to be around.

So, it was really neat to hear you or to read you, I guess, walking through these scenarios and sharing, “This really made me emotional,” or “I missed this and I didn't really care.” It just was nice to hear you talk about that, so thank you for putting that in here.

JESSICA: Oh, thank you for saying that. You’ve talked to a lot of authors, so you’ve probably heard that those authors tend to remember the negative reviews and none of the positive reviews. I remember one negative review that said, “She really cries a lot,” so I’m glad to hear that my crying stories resonate with some women even though it didn’t with that particular one.

ALLIE: I resonated with that a lot because I am not a crier normally, but I will often get so emotional or flustered about this kind of stuff, this family stuff, and I'll cry to my husband, just like you cried to your husband.

JESSICA: Yeah, we just want to do it right. Whatever right is or means. I think those tears (I'm not a big crier either) but they come from a place of deep commitment and passion and there's nothing wrong with that.

And honestly, those tears can point you to changes you maybe need to make in your life, or conversations that you need to have, or things to think about. Or they might be pointing to that you just need to get a little more sleep and take better care of yourself.

ALLIE: Yeah. Yeah, I love that. You also put in the book, things like, “Okay, so here's the lesson. When you're upset, you're crying, or this is coming out of you, you need to pay attention. Maybe it's this; maybe it's that.” But you also put in little things like, “Fill this out. Is it that you need sleep? Is it that you need to do less? Is it that you need more time with your husband? Is it that you need more time with God?” You put in these little sections where you can fill things out and it's just so dang practical. I love it. I really, really love the way you laid this out.

JESSICA: Thank you. I am a big fan of practical. I'm a big fan of not wasting time and so as I looked in the marketplace for what are the great resources out there for working moms, I didn't find a lot. And so, I really hope that as much as women will feel supported, seen, and see their own stories in the pages that they'll also really be able to make it their own by answering those questions at the end of every chapter. That was something that was really important to me.

ALLIE: Yeah, totally. It shows. So, can we talk first about the thing that everyone always wants to know about and that is working mom guilt.

You had a story in here that was something about your daughter. I think she was really, really young. I want to say that she was 4 or 5. And you had said that she drew a picture and you weren't in it. It was a summary of her school year or something and it was her dad being there with her and you weren't there. You cried in front of her and feeling like you missed out and that guilt that creeps in.

I know that when Brian, my husband has missed something and something like that happens, he doesn't get upset. He doesn't feel like, “Why am I not in the picture? I should've been there.” It's a woman thing and I don't really know exactly why or where it comes from except that there's expectations on us, both from the world and from ourselves. So, could you talk about where working mom guilt comes from and whatever you feel like sharing about what you've seen, what you've heard from other women and what you've learned about that?

JESSICA: I think where the guilt comes from is different for different people. So I don't know that I can speak to that specifically, but what I can speak to is the fact that all moms deal with guilt and deal with the tension of wanting to be in more than one place, deal with the tension of maybe wanting things to look different than how they do. And somehow that translates to the emotion of guilt.

When people ask me, “How do you stop feeling guilty?” I say I think that guilt can either be two things. It can either be a lie that we're telling ourselves, which was true in that example of my daughter and drawing that picture at the end of kindergarten of her four favorite memories from the year and one was daddy. And to me that felt like, “Man, she's going to remember you at school (because my husband works from home and has the flexibility to go into her classroom often) and she's going to remember me in an office.”

And that was a lie.

My daughter is not going to look back on her childhood and think, “My mom wasn't present. My mom wasn't there for me.” That is just something that will never be true. I needed somebody else to tell me that because I couldn't see that for myself because in that moment all I felt was guilt for not being the one that she had drawn on that paper. Let's be honest, she was 5. Daddy had been there last week and I hadn't been there in a couple months, so he was the more recent memory for her to draw about. It had nothing to do with who I was as a mother or my presence in her life. My husband needed to say, “That is not true. Where are you getting this from?” And have a conversation with me to straighten me out, so to speak, and pull me out of that guilty, sad place.

Now other times, guilt can point us to changes that we want or need to make in our lives. A woman that I interviewed in the book, you might remember this, she worked on Thursday nights and her daughter was home on Thursday nights. On Friday nights her daughter was at band and the mom felt guilty that she was working on a night that she could be spending home with her teenage daughter who wasn't going to be home for very much longer. That guilt prompted her to talk to her boss and make a change in her schedule so that she could work on Friday nights, the same night that her daughter was out, and then they could be together on Thursdays. So sometimes guilt can be a prompt for change.

Are you feeling guilty about something because you want to make a change in your life or a change needs to happen? Or are you feeling guilty for something that isn't actually true? For personas that you have put on yourself because you've seen them on social media? What you think other people are doing, or judgment that you think people are having?

Listen, no one notices if you miss a soccer game every now and again; no one notices if you miss 50% of them. Nobody is sending out a newsletter about what parent was and wasn't at the soccer game. And so, if you're feeling guilty about that, that's on you. That's not actually a narrative that anyone else is caring about.

ALLIE: Yeah, absolutely. And I think also one thing that I've learned in this process of just becoming a working mom…it seems like you started out as a working mom, you became pregnant and you already were working.

JESSICA: That’s correct.

ALLIE: So, for me, I was stay-at-home deliberately for a long time and then made the transition to “I'm going to start this business.” And then my husband quit because he didn't need to work anymore. And now we're doing this together, but it's really me.

I went from the opposite to breadwinner, CEO, working full-time, all of it very quickly, so it kinda just shook me a little bit, which is understandable.

But I really carried guilt and these stories I told myself for too long. It stole my joy. It stole my focus. And then all of those feelings would turn into this general feeling of guilt, so I was very defensive all the time. I was resentful about my audience growing. I'm here to serve them, so that didn't translate very well when I was creating content.

Then when I was with my family, I felt so frigging tired, because I was carrying all of these heavy emotions. It makes you tired. That guilt wasn't serving anybody. It was made up in my head. It was making me not a great mom when I was with my kids, and not a great leader when I was in my business, so it just wasn't serving anyone at all.

One particular thing I had to let go of was…we homeschool right now, but our kids had gone to public school for a year, a couple of years back. And the whole invitation to be “room mom” thing came up and I said “no, but I could come sometimes,” because I had this picture in my head like you said, and it wasn't working. It was causing stress. I wasn't going. And one day I sent my husband in my place. He went and he loved it. It worked out great because he's more like a stay-at-home dad and has the flexibility to do that. And I did it the next time, and the next time, but I was still telling myself this story that “good moms go to the classroom.”

I wish this book would have come out earlier because I could have used it so much. My husband seems similar to yours in that he was like, “What if you just let go of this expectation? It seems like it's ruining your life. And it's kind of dumb because Hudson doesn't care, Bella doesn't care. They don't care. You care, but it's really not going to work for your schedule.” And so, I just let it go. I stopped trying to be the mom that goes to the classrooms.

Instead I would make sure that I was the mom that went to baseball practices. I made that switch and it totally freed me up. And so, I'm saying this so that if somebody is listening and there's something like that that you're holding on to and making yourself feel like “I'm not a good mom because I don't do this thing,” that version was coming from nothing. It wasn't productive guilt. It was weighing me down and ruining everything. When I let it go and decided I'm not going to go to the classroom ever, Brian will, it really, really helped a lot. It lightened my load. Then I was present when they got home, so win, win, win.

JESSICA: Right. There is no one way to be a good mom. There just isn't. There's a million different ways to do it. I think that we need to stop holding ourselves to this idea that isn't real. I once read that the “mommy war” is just made up and I wonder if that is in fact true because we all are just doing the best that we can and good enough really is good enough most of the time.


Hey girl! Quick interruption because I've got something new that's coming! It's totally free, it's going to be amazing and I want to make sure you know about it!

Do you feel like you are always picking up toys or nagging your kids to pick up? That they've got too much stuff? Do you feel like maybe your kids have a lot of toys, but all they want to do is play technology, video games, and all that stuff and you feel out of your depth with the limits on that? Do you feel like you've tried to declutter to the toys before but it just really didn't go very well? Maybe your kids' stuff has made its way into every part of your home. If you are struggling with any of these things and especially if you're struggling with all of it, you need to be at my next free workshop.

It's live and it's with Amy Tirpak, who is a part of Team Allie, and she is a Child Play Therapist. She has so much expertise to bring to the table. We are going to be talking about minimalism and kids and how you can take action and change these problems in your life.

I think the biggest thing I want you to understand is that as adults we can control how much stuff we have and what comes into our homes, but as long as you have kids at home, stuff will continue to pour in kind of without your control in terms of it initially coming into your house. Kids are constantly outgrowing clothes. They get new toys from other people and stuff seems to come in from school, Sunday School, birthday parties and presents from other people, school and art projects, birthday parties, holiday celebrations, generous giving relatives and all of these things, while at the same time studies show that too much stuff breeds some seriously bad stuff like materialism and ingratitude. It can hinder creativity and even their cognitive development.

This is where Amy Tirpak and I are coming together to step in and help you. This free live class is going to pack a punch. It's going to shine a light on the things that you need to know and teach you how to begin the process of minimalism with your kids or succeed in it if you've attempted before and feel like it was a big fail. And that's okay; you're doing great!

We're here to help you, encourage you, and lift you up!

This class already happened live last week, but the replay is still available and there's a few more days left to watch it and I don't want you to miss out, so go to allialliecasazza.com/kidsclass. Check it out. Watch it while it’s up.

Take this expertise, take this opportunity to learn from two experts who want to help lift you up, help you get clarity and raise grateful focused kids who know how to play, have a sense of self and know who they are because they weren't distracted by too much stuff.


ALLIE: So, off the top of your head, if somebody is listening to this, maybe they’re driving to work and feeling all the guilt, all the things and they live…I find that a lot of women live in that place. They have that mom guilt, especially working mom guilt and it lives there all the time but then it'll come up really heavy more times than others and it's just something that they live with.

So, if they're hearing this and they're like, “I can live without the mom guilt,” and you're saying you can kind of use it to be productive or just let it go cause it's not productive guilt. What are some of the steps they could take or questions they could prompt themselves with to actually…it's a great idea but actually taking the steps to, “Okay, is this guilt productive or is it not productive?” Do you have anything else? I know it's kind of a big question off the top of your head, but that they could actually do?

JESSICA: 70% of American moms of children under the age of 18 work. And that has been a powerful statistic for me to know because it reminds me, particularly I think in some circles where I feel like I'm the only working mom, that my situation is actually the norm for America, and that lots and lots of kids have the same story that my kids do, which is that their mom goes to work…or even if you don't go to work, if you work from home or you work from home part time…that part of my responsibility and role in our family is to provide for our family.

I think that oftentimes gratitude can really help turn our emotions of guilt on their head. And so, think about all of the benefits that your work brings to you personally, professionally, for your family, for your kids. We'll talk about it with my kids when they're like, “I don't want you to go to work.”

You know, it's challenging. I was very stretched too thin when I wrote Stretched Too Thin. I was working seven days a week. I had a full-time job, then was coming to work early in the morning to write, and I was working on weekends writing so, I was gone a lot. And I needed to communicate to my kids the bigger story that my writing was something that was personally gratifying for me. It was a gift that God had given me and a platform that I needed to steward well. It was helping provide for our family. We were able to go on vacation because of the income that we were bringing in from me having work to do. And that we were fortunate.

There are families who their parents aren't able to get work and because of that they maybe don't have enough food on the table. You know, just really practical. My kids are young, you know, but ways that they could understand that. I think once we start celebrating both the practical and the joy that can come from it…I know that I am a better mom when I'm away from my kids a little bit and I'm getting to lean into my giftings. I think that that brings about freedom from guilt.

And you know what, if you are feeling guilty still all of the time, maybe that is a prompt, that the work that you're doing maybe isn't the right fit for you or for your family. I'm not saying that you should walk into your boss’s office and quit tomorrow because it is very likely that you need to work and you're working because you need that for your family, but think about are there things that you could do differently? Or something else that you could pursue that would maybe bring about more joy or be a better fit for your family, your family's schedule, or your kids' needs and pursue that. There are options.

I think sometimes we feel so comfortable with whatever is kind of the status quo and that might even be the job that you're in, that looking for something different, it feels overwhelming.

ALLIE: That's a really good point. And also, I was thinking about the opposite. I've heard this in my own head and I've also had conversations with friends that own their own businesses or whatever and are aligned with their purpose and really finding a lot of fulfillment from their job, that some of us that feel mom guilt that we enjoy it. It’s like we can't win because you feel guilty that you're even working at all or you feel guilty because, like you just said, maybe you just really don't like being there and you know, “I could be doing something better,” or “I like this too much. I'm so fulfilled by this.”

JESSICA: You shouldn’t. Why do women feel guilty about that? I mean, it just boggles my mind. (I'm talking with my hands here, you guys, I'm really getting fired up.) It just blows my mind that you would feel guilty about doing something that you love. That does not make any sense. That is something that you have skills in, giftings, and passions and we would want our kids to lean into those. Why shouldn’t we also be leaning into those? We should be.

I just kind of want to smack women when they're saying they're feeling guilty about going into the office and that they enjoy doing it. That is awesome! I am a better mom and I am better for my kids because I am leaning into my giftings and I'm using those giftings to not only better myself, to better the work that I'm doing and help at the job that I've been called to do and I'm able to do, but also provide for my family. There is not really a downside to this, especially because now my kids are in school.

I feel like I often hear it more from moms with younger kids where they're having to put their kids into daycare and they feel like someone else is raising their kids or that sort of thing. Well, you know what? I think it's good for our kids to be around other kids. I think it's good for our kids to have multiple mentors. You shouldn't be the only person speaking into your kids' lives. That's what I would hope as my kids get older anyway. So, them having those experiences when they're younger is not a bad thing in my opinion. I'm sorry, I got a little soapboxy there.

ALLIE: You speak so much life over this topic. I've done episodes on this before, but I wanted you to come on and do what you just did because this is what the book feels like. You're passionate about it and you speak so much truth over this ridiculous lie that's so common.

I went to a private Christian school my entire life. Almost every single mom of the friends that I had worked. My mom worked. My parents owned, they still do own and run a business together, and mom worked full-time. That's why we went to school instead of homeschooling, because she wanted to do that but couldn't and she knew that and she sent us. But at that private Christian school, we were literally taught…the boys and girls would be split up for Bible and they would teach the boys life things like how to balance a checkbook and the girls were taught how to breastfeed instead of bottlefeed and stay up all night with the baby. We'd have to do these assignments where we called into the classroom and left a message to prove that we got up with the baby.

JESSICA: I can’t handle this right now.

ALLIE: I can’t either.

And look at who was in the classroom – I’m there getting this message - and look at what my life ended up being like. I told my mom that recently because she didn't know. I didn't say like, “Today I learned about breastfeeding.” I just went to school. And she said the “F” word. My mom never says that. She was like, “What?” She was so upset.

I think that is such an extreme example and I'm glad it happened to me so that I can draw attention. I think that's very extreme, but there is this message in the Christian circle of “women are the helpers and we do this and the men do this.” And it very much damaged me for what my life ended up being.

Then I'm sitting there, in the Midwest at the time starting this business, feeling like I was stepping into something that I needed to step into a long time ago, and feeling super passionate and right where I needed to be, but also kind of struggling subconsciously. “Why would You give me this idea and all of these passions if it's not right? Something feels not right.” And then you know, when you're on the internet people say anything they think of. I started getting comments about that like, “How are your kids doing now that you're working?” Things that they would never ask my husband.

I see where it comes from and it still pisses me off. I get where it comes from, specifically in the Christian circle. If you stay home you get comments. I've done both. I've lived both. When I stayed home, I got comments like, “Good for you, good choice. You're so blessed. Your kids are so blessed. So lucky.” And then now saying, “Do you work?” We were talking about this before we hit record. I started to say, “No, I stay home but I run a company.” Like, no, you don't stay home. You work at home. I just wouldn't call it what it was. I was afraid.

Then I stepped into ownership of that and started saying, “Yeah, I work. I own my own company. I employ 15 other women. Yeah, I work.” The response is, “Oh! Okay, okay.” It's not, “Oh good! Your family is so much better off!” I would literally get told I was basically, “Jesus.” And then over here on the working side, nope, no comments like that at all.

So, I see where it comes from. I understand why women feel this way. But it's still ridiculous and it makes me so mad how many people are missing out on joy. I was a worse mom when I stayed home. Now I have space and fulfillment and I'm more balanced. I'm happier and more patient. There is nothing worse from me doing this, you know?

JESSICA: Well, I'm really sorry that you've experienced that and that that has been part of your story. I was not raised in that home or culture. My husband was, though. He was raised in extreme fundamentalism. And so, I have learned a great deal about that, that whole world, and that space.

My husband and I are pretty well known in the progressive sphere, so those types of ideologies and theologies are just something that really riles me up. I just think that this is a narrative that I hope ends with this generation, that we are not continuing to perpetuate gender roles that are not healthy and are not even biblically based, honestly. I mean, if you look at the Proverbs 31 woman, guess what she was doing? She was working. She was hustling, right? She was working a lot.

I won't camp here, but I think that it is really important for working moms to be strong and confident in their role as a mom who works, be proud of that, teach our kids the benefits of that, and teach our kids the respect for that. That they can do anything they want -boy or girl - they can do anything they want, and that is not something that is hurting their family for them to do that. It is an incredible privilege to call myself a working mom.

ALLIE: Absolutely, it is! Absolutely. I just love that.

Okay, so just shifting gears a little bit (or a lot a bit because that was a lot and really good.)

JESSICA: I’m going to toss some tables here.

ALLIE:  Yeah, seriously. I know. Anytime I talk about that, even just saying it out loud, every time I tell the story I'm like, “What is going on?” I just can't believe that happened. That that was the message and I subconsciously was downloading that. I mean I really struggled when I started my business.

So anyway, I think it's good that it's just an extreme example because if anyone had a little bit, maybe a message downloaded to them by a grandparent or something growing up, and they were like, “Maybe that's be leading into some guilt,” that I’ve got a real extreme version of that and it's okay if that has contributed. Name it. Call it what it is - a lie. And I also want to help women step into their confidence as they work and do what they're doing. It's amazing.

I wanted to ask you about…I actually spent a few minutes looking for another word to call it because self-care is so overdone and over talked about. I feel that self-care has become this picture of the perfect bubble bath, candles, and all these nice things. That's great. But I feel like that feels unattainable for a lot of women, specifically women that have really little kids, or they work full time away from home and have to commute, and then there's homework, baseball practice and things like that.

I really liked your chapter about self-care and I would like it if you could maybe speak to the importance of it and maybe some ideas. I don’t know if you were aware because we just recently connected, but one thing that I talk about a lot is practical self-care, and I thought that you had things that were just different and unique. So, I'd love for you to speak about the importance of that if you would.

JESSICA: Yeah, it's interesting because my first book, The Fringe Hours: Making Time For You is all about self-care, it was a bit of a challenge for me to write it and Stretched Too Thin because I wanted to be sure that it was fresh. But it is a topic that I also am really passionate about. That's why I connected with you because I was like, “We're kindred spirits. How do we not really know each other?” So, I'm so glad that here we are finally chatting.

Self-care - I'm with you that I wish there was a different way of describing that - but it is about a lot more than bubble baths, manicures, and massages. It really is a holistic pouring into yourself so that you can take care of others, that oxygen mask philosophy that you've got to take care of yourself first. Put your own oxygen mask on before you can take care of everyone and everything else.

For me, part of that is bubble baths, honestly. My husband, when we're recording this now, is out of the country for three weeks and I am taking care of three kids in three different schools while working full time. Last night I took a 45-minute bubble bath and read a book. Even though there were a million other things that I could do, I knew that the best thing for me to be able to keep my head metaphorically above water during this season right now, these really hard couple of weeks, was to do something that was going to bring me joy, give me calm, peace, and rest at the end of the day by doing that.

So sometimes it is that, but it really is recognizing your passions and making time for those passions. It is taking care of your body. I think for so many women that I speak with around the country, that is a big area of neglect for us.

And I'm not talking about weight or food. I'm talking about healthcare. Have you gone to the dentist in the past six months? Are you making time for annual physicals and seeing your OB/GYN and all of those types of things?

I share a story that I won't go into a ton of detail on here just because of time, but last year I had something like six surgeries in eight months and a lot of that was due in part to ignoring my own health. So, here I am speaking on stages across the country, talking about self-care and I was ignoring my own needs. I was ignoring that I was hemorrhaging and really needed a hysterectomy, but I didn't have time for that. I didn't have time to be off of work and have a surgery that was going to put me out for six weeks. That just seemed like too much. And so, instead I lived in pain every single month dealing with these horrific menstrual cycles. When the surgeon went in there, I was in Stage 4 endometriosis. It had spread to my colon, and it was so much worse because I hadn't taken care of myself, right? That's an extreme example.

I think so often for us, we ignore ourselves for the “sake” of our families or for our kids or for our work even. And we've got to stop doing that. The only way that you are going to be able to be fully present and at your best potential is if you're taking care of yourself. It isn't selfish; it's actually selfless, honestly, to take care of yourself, take care of your body, to take care of the things that God has put inside of you that bring you joy and you're passionate about. Those things are really important.

And again, when we look at it through the lens of motherhood, we would never want that for our kids. I want to make space for my daughter to be creative, for her to enjoy playing soccer, for my son to be on the soccer field, and be building things, right? I want them to have those experiences because those are things that bring them joy. I also am sure to take them to the doctor, to pay attention when they say something hurts, right? Not just ignore it.

The same should be true for us and we also need to be modeling that for our kids so that our kids don't grow up in a home where they never saw their mom go to the doctor. They never saw their mom say, “You know what? I'm going to go take a bath and just do something just for me.” Right? They need to see that so they know that is healthy, normal, and appropriate.

Then one other thing I'll say and then I'll stop talking - that biblically, Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” And I think we so often get caught up in the “love your neighbor” part that we forget that the directive was “as yourself.” So, if you aren't taking care of yourself, that is really the level at which you're going to be able to take care of your neighbor, everyone around you. When you are really leaning into taking care of yourself, that is when you can love your neighbor to the fullness that you have the capacity of doing.

ALLIE: Yeah, absolutely. That’s exactly what I wanted you to talk about is the self-care aspect of literally just taking care of yourself. Going to the doctor, getting that weird tooth thing in the back of your mouth that you just kind of lived with fixed, but wrap it up with something else. Make the dentist appointment and pick up a latte on the way home, and take the long way home and just drive for a minute in silence. It can be so simple.

I just took a bubble bath the other night and it was amazing, but some women just don't have space for that all the time and that's okay. It doesn't have to be this big overdone, perfectionistic, Instagram-worthy event. It's just a moment to yourself. It's making sure that you're taken care of. If there's something bothering you, you go and you get an appointment and you get it fixed.

I think that is what's missed about self-care. It's become this weird super stereotype, blown-out-of-proportion thing. And it's just sometimes you just need to make a doctor appointment. Sometimes you need to go listen to a podcast while you drive for a minute, you know?

JESSICA: Here's the thing, you are always going to make time for what's important to you, and so if you make it a priority, you're going to have the time to do it. I don't even think saying, “I don't have the time for that,” is a great excuse. I think it's just an excuse. In both The Fringe Hours and Stretched Too Thin, I talk about the importance of time tracking for a week and that if you do that and see where all of your time is going, you can find those pockets of time, which are the fringe hours. Those minutes that often go underused or wasted and you can really leverage those to do something for yourself to practice some self-care.

My friend, Stacey, once said to me, “How you spend your 5-9 determines how you'll spend your 9-5.” I love that and that principle of pour into yourself first so that then you can pour out for that 9-5. I would encourage women that if you feel like, “Oh, I'm in a season where I can't take care of myself,” to really reevaluate what that looks like, where your time is going, and see if that really is true. Because my gut says that there probably is some time that you could be pouring into yourself that you maybe aren't using in that way.

ALLIE: Yeah, absolutely! Well, thank you so much. Can you point us in the right direction for those who just love you and want to connect with you now?

JESSICA: Yeah, so my favorite place to hang out is Instagram and I've got two Instagram accounts. My main one is @jessicanturner.

And then if you like to read…I am a huge reader. I especially love reading fiction and talking about books, so I actually started a separate book account called @booksnobbery and that is just book talk all the time, which is super fun and I love connecting with other readers on there.

You can find my site at themomcreative.com and you can get information on all my books and my speaking as well as my blog and lifestyle work on that site, so we'd love to connect with folks there as well.

ALLIE: Yeah, thank you so much! I'm really glad we finally got to talk! You've been around in the blogosphere and we know so many of the same people but we just never really got a chance to connect, so thank you for doing that here with me and for sharing and for your book. We'll link to everything in show notes and I just appreciate you so much.

JESSICA: Thanks Allie!


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 121: #AllieReadsOctober "Rise of the Truth Teller" by Ashley Abercrombie

Facebook_EP_121.jpg

I absolutely cannot wait for you to listen to this incredible, powerful conversation with Ashley Abercrombie. Ashley is a beautiful, amazing woman, and the author of the book, Rise Of the Truth Teller: Own your story, tell it like it is, and live with holy gumption.

Ashley's story is powerful, and is also really heavy. You'll hear a lot of it in the podcast episode, but I would not recommend this book if rape or abortion are triggers for you. I want to be honest about that up front so that you can be aware of that. 

Even if you haven't experienced trauma or you're not one of the many, many women who have been raped or had abortions, come into this conversation with headphones, first of all, for your little ones to not hear, and with an open heart because there's so much goodness in here. I'm really honored that I get to air this conversation on my podcast.

 
 

In This Episode Allie & Ashley Discuss:

  • Ashley’s story and how trauma has impacted her life

  • Ways that they manage the tendency to want to control

  • The importance of processing trauma so that digital media isn’t a constant trigger

  • Practical steps to move forward and deal with traumatic events

Mentioned in this Episode:


cirlces-FB3.jpg

Decluttering with kids doesn’t have to be a struggle. Let me help you.

I’m teaming up with a child play therapist to bring you a new FREE web class.

We’ll shine a light on the things you need to know and teach you how to begin the process of minimalism with your kids (or succeed in it if you’ve tried before!). 


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_.jpg

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.


Friends, it is that time of year again. It's October and we are doing Allie Reads October in my little corner of the Internet. It's so fun. This is our second time doing it. If you were around last year for Allie Reads October, you're going to notice it looks a little bit different this year. We’ve structured it differently to fit where I'm at in my personal life this year. The amount of time that I've had to read for pleasure is much less than it was the year before, so we adjusted as needed. It's a different set up today, or this month, this year, whatever. And I'm really excited about it.

Here's what Allie Reads is - basically it's intended to draw your attention to books and remind you to read more. Reading for women has always been a really important issue. There have been times where women in other cultures, countries and parts of the world were not allowed to read.

I'm really passionate about cultivating strength and community among women and raising a strong woman myself in my daughter, and being a strong woman, I'm very passionate about feminism and I just really want to be a part of drawing attention to the fact that women, especially moms with how busy we are and how much we're balancing, we need to read books.

Maya Angelou said, “know better, do better,” and I think one of the best possible ways that you can know better and then do better is by reading good books, so I want to draw attention every year to the type of books that I read that really made an impact on me, that they changed the way that I think about things. They really helped bring clarity to something that I was struggling with. They made me know better, do better. To draw attention to those books and to those authors. To have conversations with the people that wrote those books. To have conversations with you about the books without the author there. Really celebrate the fact that we have the freedom to read. That it's such an important thing. It's such a great way to grow. And as I said, as Maya Angelou said, “know better, do better.” So that's what Allie Reads is all about.

This year we have a couple of authors coming on the podcast, but the rest of Allie Reads October will be discussions about different books that shaped me as a person, as a parent, the books that I read this year, the books that have helped grow my business this year, the books that help my kids understand minimalism and that can help your kids understand minimalism. We're doing lots of different things like that and it's all happening at Alliereadsoctober.com. It's a landing page for all the things about this month. Take the opportunity, go dive in, and let me know what you think.

ALLIE: Friends, hello! I am going to dive right in because I absolutely cannot wait for you to finally listen to this incredible, powerful conversation with this beautiful, amazing woman who is my guest today.

But before I let you hear, there are some things that are really important that you hear me say to you, so don't skip ahead on this. I have a disclaimer and some warnings and I just want you to hear me.

Before I do that, I want to let you know that my guest today is Ashley Abercrombie. She lives with her husband and her two sons in Harlem. She is the author of the book, Rise Of the Truth Teller: Own your story, tell it like it is, and live with holy gumption. What I love about this conversation is that Ashley and I talked just like I normally do to you. I want everybody, no matter what your beliefs are, to be able to hear my podcast, take in my content, simplify your life, lighten your load, and live better whether or not you share my faith. This book is very faith-based. It's absolutely a Christian book, but the conversation here is for everybody.

I want to welcome you into this conversation and I would love to hear your thoughts on it. As always, please share and tag Instagram and social media for me.

The other thing I wanted to tell you is that Ashley's story is really a lot. It's really heavy. You'll hear a lot of it in the podcast episode, but I would not recommend this book if rape or abortion are triggers for you, unless you're ready for that to be triggered and you're ready to deal with it.

In the conversation here, she doesn't get into any details, so you're good to listen to this. But I am recommending this book and I don't want to do that without saying that there's a lot of heavy stuff in here. She paints pictures with her words of the things that she went through, things that happened to her, and the trauma she endured and I want to be honest that that could be very triggering for some of you. I want you to be aware of that and be honest about that upfront.

This is such an important conversation. I've had a lot on my heart for a long time about abortion and women who have had abortions. I want you to know that you are so, so loved and so welcome here and I know that you're about to listen to this conversation on purpose. I believe that with my whole heart. I'm so glad that you're here.

Even if you haven't experienced anything like that, if you haven't experienced trauma or you're not one of the many, many women who have been raped or had abortions, come into this conversation with headphones, first of all, for your little ones to not hear, and with an open heart because there's so much goodness in here. I'm really honored that I get to air this conversation on my podcast. This is such an honor. Having said that, let's welcome Ashley.

Hi Ashley!

ASHLEY:  Hi Allie! I'm so happy to be here with you.

ALLIE: Yeah, me too. I always feel so awkward when we do the fake “hello” after we’ve been talking but how else do you start?

ASHLEY: You have to do it. Hello!

ALLIE: Before we connected with you guys, Ashley and I got on the phone together and I told her about how I don't want it to feel podcasty, fake or weird. I want us to talk and be friends and just have a conversation together. But it's so funny because there are some parts of that you can't avoid. It’s so dumb.

ASHLEY: It’s so true. Yes, very awkward.

ALLIE: Oh my gosh. I saw this on the schedule…I don't know about you but I can only handle looking at the next day. I will kind of give my week an overview on Sunday night like, okay what's going on, but I don't really know what's happening until the night before. And so, I saw your name on my calendar and I got so happy because you are such a freaking light. You're one of those people where it's like, “How can I get more of this person in my life?”

I read this study something about our primal nature that it's a survival technique that you're drawn to people that you think, “This person can help me or this person's really awesome, I feel something about this person that would make me better.” And you're one of those people for me.

I think that you're magnetic, joyful and you've overcome so much. Your life story is almost the opposite of mine. And I think that's so interesting to me to hear you work through all these hard things at such a young age. I'm really excited to have that conversation with you today.

ASHLEY: Oh my gosh, Allie, thank you so much! That means the world to me. I feel like I have learned so much from you and Brian. I just last night was thinking of you as I was cleaning out my bathroom for the hundredth time in the last two years - Allie would be so proud! It’s a constant, ongoing journey, but you really are making the world a better place and I’m grateful for you.

ALLIE: Thank you!

I have to just say that this has kind of become a theme on the podcast lately where I feel I've been learning about this a lot lately, maybe in the last year in my life…I don't know if you know, but I was a stay-at-home mom and then I started my business and became not only a working mom but the CEO and the boss and having people working for me, just the opposite. I was pregnant all of my twenties, super stay-at-home mom, homeschooling, and now it's really the opposite. And so, one thing that I've been learning is taking ownership of the strength that God gave me, stepping into my role and becoming a confident working mom, and not apologetic that I work or anything like that.

So strong women has been something that I've been coming back to over and over again. I love…you are so raw in your book when you say…almost like a little jabs, you're not really talking about that but you'll throw it in, “also if you ever have felt this or you believe this, you're not my people and you're not going to like me very much.” And before we get into some of the deeper stuff, I just wanted to draw attention to one section where I highlighted the crap out of it.

ASHLEY: Oh! I love that so much.

ALLIE: And I wrote, “Yes! Let's talk about this!” You said something funny…it literally had almost nothing to do with the section…you were talking about when you met your husband, but you talked about the “Christian girl lists,” who you were going to marry and I was cracking up and also annoyed at everything and frustrated at the same time because I grew up in a really conservative Christian school and went to youth group and I did all of those things, so our teen years and our college years I feel like were opposite.

But I was in that circle where all of my friends were making these lists…so specific like, “he will have gray eyelashes and a hard butt.”

ASHLEY: Because that’s what you say when you’re 18, “he needs a hard butt.”

ALLIE: “He'll love Jesus so much and always put me first.” I remember partaking in that at one point, but feeling really weird. I remember telling my best friend, her name was Juliet and I was like, “Jules, if a guy is making this list about me, I'm gonna smack him so hard, and be like, ‘You're the worst!’”

ASHLEY: “And no, I will not go on a date with you! You’re awful!”

ALLIE: “No I'm not going to conform to your stupid list. Burn it!” I would have been so annoyed. I was cracking up because anyone listening that was in the Christian circle growing up knows what we're talking about and it's so dumb. I was laughing so hard!

And you said, “Oh, he didn't fit my future husband items,” but really, who does that?

ASHLEY: Literally who does that? Who makes a list on the front end for somebody to fail? Who does that?

ALLIE: And then it's like, what do you do? You meet somebody and you really feel connected to them, but you're like, “I really wanted brown eyes.” This isn’t a latte order that you send back.

I just had to point that out because I was laughing so hard and feeling like, “oh my gosh, I'm going to raise my daughter so much different, and my boys, if they ever make a list.” I get the idea of it was really important to me that this person is generous or something like that.

ASHLEY: Character, but not image and all the other things that we think.

ALLIE: Yeah, like he really needs to shop at Target. If he goes to Walmart, I just can’t do it.

ASHLEY:  I love it. Walmart's off the list, you know?

ALLIE: Oh my gosh. Okay. So, I would love for you as short or as long as you want, tell us about yourself. Your story is basically this entire book and I know you can't do that, but your story is so incredible. So, I'll let you dive into that and let these women hear about how incredible your story is.

ASHLEY: Thank you so much. I grew up in a really tiny little town in North Carolina, which I loved. I mean there were like 14,000 people in our whole town, so this is very, very little. And what's beautiful about that is that you kind of know everybody, but what's not beautiful about that is that you also know everybody without anybody really knowing who you are, so for me it became very easy to hide.

I was also a master performer. Captain of everything. President of everything.  I always had lots of achievements and saw my significance in a lot of the things that I do. And so, because of that, from a very young age, I feel like I had a PhD in pretending and performing. I knew how to put a mask on. Even if I was dying on the inside, I knew how to turn it on.

And then when I went off to college and left my little hometown, on my campus there were 28,000 students just on the campus, not even in the town, so to say I was overwhelmed is a complete understatement. I started that year with drugs, with alcohol, eating disorders. The eating disorder sometimes can be about image for people, but for me it was a lot about being able to continue hiding and controlling my life, and also finding a place where I could release pain and release emotion. That's what the eating disorder was about for me because I didn't know how to have reciprocal relationships. I knew how to be the one that people came to. I knew how to be the strong one, the one who had advice, the one who could be ready for friends, but I didn't know how to courageously let down my guard and say I also have needs and I'm also really struggling. And because of that, because I didn't have anywhere to push all that negativity out, then I began to self-harm.

Then my second year on campus I was sexually assaulted and raped by a guy on campus that I knew. I know that sounds really heavy even to hear it now. And at the same time, it doesn't have the same hold on me that it used to, so I don't share that in a way that is belittling the experience or skipping over the pain of it, but to say that it doesn't have the same hold over me.

I remember waking up the next morning and because I was such a master pretender, I literally went to work as if nothing had happened to me and I did not know another way to live. I thought that when bad things happen to you, you just stuff them somewhere where nobody can see them and you run. You keep running. You keep doing your life. You keep filling it with busyness. Keep filling it with achievements. Keep filling it with other things so you don't have to really dive down deep into stuff.

And so, for me it all came to a head when I made the decision to move to Los Angeles, which was 3000 miles away from North Carolina. Two days before I moved out, I discovered that I was pregnant and unfortunately made the decision that evening to have an abortion. I went out to LA with that weighing heavy on my soul and didn't know a person when I moved to LA, so I really, truly thought, “This is my opportunity to start all over. This is my opportunity to do something different with my life.” And I remember getting out there and for the first couple of months it really was like that. It was like no one knows me. I don't have to be anybody. I don't have to turn up as Ashley, this girl who does all these things. I can just be myself. I can let it be.

And then of course everywhere you go, there you are. So, I soon discovered that all my stuff had followed me. Lucky for me, I ended up meeting this wonderful group of people. I had actually grown up in church but left the church when I was 16. There was only women's quilting with the sweet, sweet older women in our church. They were beautiful and I loved them, but at 16 that was not a fun experience for me so I decided to leave. I met this wonderful group of Christians who went to this faith community. Actually, they never even invited me to church, they just started hanging out with me. You know, I would rage, party, do drugs, drink alcohol, do all this stuff, and they would just drink Diet Coke and sometimes drive me home and just were so kind.

I remember asking them like, “Why are you guys like this? I have never met Christians who are this kind. I've never met Christians who are this loving, who didn't call me names, who didn't treat me poorly. I want to know who this God is that you're serving.” Then I began to walk alongside them, journey in my faith and begin the recovery process, through a series of relationships.

I remember the climax moment for me of really deciding to admit my life was out of control, as I was driving around one evening (I used to smoke cigarettes) and I was smoking trying to release stress. I pulled over in a parking lot. It started dumping buckets of rain. I just remember shouting, “Where are you God? Where are you? If you exist, where are you?” And just feeling the heaviness and wanting it so badly to go away.

I remember immediately feeling the presence of God, feeling the lightness of God, and recognizing for the first time, “It's okay. My life is totally out of control.” And saying that out loud to myself and saying that to God brought a new little light of freedom into my heart, into my soul.

I wasn't brave enough yet to begin telling people my story, to begin telling people what was really going on with me, but at the same time, just having that moment with God and then alongside these people who were full of joy, full of life, and full of freedom made me think to myself, “Man, maybe we can be broken and still love each other. Maybe people can still know my story and not reject me, not abandon me, and not push me out.”

And I discovered that that was really true. That even though people knew my story, even though they knew the things that I had experienced, or even the bad decisions that I had made, the fact that they didn't walk away from me was revolutionary. I didn't even know that was a thing - that you could put stuff out in the light and it be okay. So yeah, that's the short version of my story.

ALLIE: Yeah. I think that what I connected to you in your story…because when I first…I knew what this book was about before because the publishers had reached out and I got the whole rundown and I remember thinking, “I don't know…” I would be listening and not really relate, which is fine.” And now that we were talking before we recorded, we both know that we're 8’s on the enneagram and I actually really related a lot to your need to control and your need to perform.

My parents actually never really did anything to make me feel like that, but it was like I translated a lot of things that they said and did as, “Oh, you do good then you are good.” And actually, my mom, we've talked about it and she is really not like that, but it was just my translation of things. I was the oldest of four. There was a lot going on. And so, I was like, “I need to show up and be helpful, and then I'm good.”

I'm curious to see, I don't know if you've ever even thought of this, but in your story when you were sharing that you needed to control things and that that's where the eating disorder came in for you, I read that and was super emotional because I was around the same age that you were when you were in college that I got married and my controlling came in my relationship.

I was really controlling and I would notice it and not want it, but I would just find myself going to controlling everything, almost manipulative control. And whenever I say that, I'm grateful for this, but people will say, “That doesn't seem like you at all and I can't believe that.” And I'm so, so glad. Please keep saying that because that was the worst. I was a very different person. I struggled in that same way with that control and it just came out different. And, you know, maybe that would've been your story too if you had had a relationship or been married or whatever.

But I think that what I took from that is that when we performers perform so much that we start to break down. There was no safe place for me, even in my friendships. My best friend growing up had a really hard life and my family life was really healthy. And so, I felt like I was always the rock. She was there for me, but I wouldn't let her be. My parents were there for me, but I wouldn't let them be. It was my bad. So, I think that control comes out of desperation, out of anger, and not having anywhere to vent. Even in my relationship with God, I performed. I don't know if you relate to that.

ASHLEY: Right. Oh, I relate to this. And control is a very real thing. I think sometimes…I talk about this a lot because I think it's important for us to recognize that things like control, pride, or anger are not a personality type. Sometimes I think you could assign those things to more dominant personalities. You could think to yourself, “Oh, Ashley's probably a person who struggles with pride or control or anger,” and you'd be right about that. I think the facts are that we all are very concerned about our image, whatever our personality looks like, image is a very real thing for us. We care about what people think. We care about the way we present ourselves. We care about what others are going to say about us. And I think because of that we all struggle with some level of control around our image and around the way we do lives.

And for me, control made me feel secure, so having control was actually the root of my security. It's like when I have control, I feel secure. I feel like no one can hurt me. I feel like if I could get my way, then I can establish my environment. And everything's going to be okay. And so for me, that's a lot of what control is about. And I think most of us can relate to that. Whatever our personality types are, we want to be able to cultivate an environment where we can’t be hurt, or an environment where things go according to plan, or an environment where we don't have to respond to something that is an uncontrollable variable. But that's just not actually life. There is no way for that to be our real life.

I think most of our journey is discovering how do I not live in perpetual disappointment because I was expecting perfection. How do I adjust my expectations? How do I adjust the way I do my life so that I can flow with the ease and grace that life really is and that God really created me to have?

ALLIE: Yeah. So, would you say that that control issue has resurfaced as you've done life and you did get married and you did have kids, is that still a core? You know, everyone kind of has their thing? My thing is control and then my other things come out of that.

I tend to yell. I was raised in a really loud house. I'm Cuban. I'm loud and out of my need to control comes yelling or being manipulative - accidentally, kind of not really accidentally - and then noticing and having to call it.

Since you're saying “yeah” you still struggle with that. What are the things that you do in the moment as a person who tends to get really controlling that stop that cycle? Because for me it just starts and it's like, “Shoot, I'm being controlling again.”

ASHLEY: For me, I have a couple of practices that I put into place. One is that I don't expect myself to be perfect anymore because when I expected myself to be perfect, then that meant every time I didn't do it right, I became even more controlling. I was like, “I'm going to control myself to control the environment to control everything that's happening.” For me it was about recognizing I wasn't created for perfection and nobody can live up to this impossible standard that's in my head.

But my husband and I, we both have been in recovery, and so we talk so often about the neurons in our brain pathways. My husband calls this “creating an exit ramp” because once you have an established pathway for which you respond to life, it creates this sort of rut or a divot in your brain and it's a well-worn path that you can easily travel on. I’ve heard it called “the crazy train.” You just jump on that thing and ride it. It happens without your permission even. And so, creating an exit ramp.

For me, I do a couple of things. One is I'll take a deep breath. I know that sounds very small, but for me it's very big for me to just stop in the moment. That's me creating an exit ramp - stop, take a breath. And when I exhale, then I think to myself, “What is the word that will help me get off this train?” For me, instead of control, I want to choose love, so I think of the word “love” literally, and it is like an exit sign for me. It's like a big green sign that says “love” and that puts me on a different ramp.

And as I think about love, then I think to myself, “What will happen in this situation? What's a better way to respond than me trying to control this moment?” Whether it's my kids and I want them to just put their shoes on because I'm impatient, I'm ready to go, even though we might have a little more time than I'm giving them. Creating that little big green sign of love helps me go, “You know what? I can sit down on the floor. I'll help you put your shoes on. I'll calm down.”

And then same thing in marriage. If I think to myself, okay, I'm trying to be controlling about our life, our schedule, our plans, or even the way you're driving right now. Just ridiculous things - there's no need to control that, but for some reason I think there is.

ALLIE: Sometimes it feels like there's a need when you miss the exit, even though I said it three times.

ASHLEY: That happens to us too, by the way.

But yeah, creating that little love ramp. When I see that word love in my mind, then I think to myself, “It would be better if I was just quiet right now. It's not necessary for me to speak, so I'm going to hold this. God help me hold it.” I think for me that's a very internal process.

Then on the external end of things, I try to create opportunities for me to share and process what happened, so I need a few good friends. And none of mine live here unfortunately. I have some great friends in the city, but my closest, oldest friends that know my rhythms, know my habits, know my marriage, I'll reach out to them and just say, “You know what? I'm really struggling with control right now.”

And then I'll process with them what are the stressors that are creating my need to control. Am I over-scheduled? Do I need to look at my calendar and see am I too busy? Am I really missing some time to replenish myself? Oh yeah, I haven't had a moment to myself in three days. That's probably part of the problem here. Then creating room in my life for myself to be replenished because I need that.

I think everybody has to discover what are your things that you need but that's my internal process and then those are my external ways of doing things.

ALLIE: Yeah. I think that a lot of stuff like that, like even just as you were saying it, the common denominator in a lot of that is knowing yourself. I am preaching to the choir here, I need to do it myself, but self-care (and that word is so annoyingly overstated today) is not something that is frilly and extra. Just taking a freaking second to be still and just connect with yourself, when I do that I always have a takeaway. Something will just come up for me out of my own self even if I just sit for a moment.

I know my husband does this and I've called him on it and he's like “no, I'm just in there,” but he'll go in the bathroom for way longer than any human needs to. I totally know you’re doing self-care in there. Let’s call a spade a spade. Stop. Are you seriously ill or are you trying to sneak in a few extra minutes in there?

But sometimes I will take a cue from him and just sit in there for a moment and even turn the sink on for white noise for 30 seconds just standing in there and not letting myself think about anything. And something will come up like knowing, “You really haven't had any time to read and you love to read. You need to make time for that,” or “You really need to apologize for what you said to Bella earlier that day.” Something will come up that the thing that was making me feel like I needed that moment in the bathroom. So, I think that stillness is so important. If you're a Christian or not, if you pray or not, just be still.

ASHLEY: That's right.

ALLIE: It's everything.

ASHLEY:  It is. I also love something you just said about apologizing to Bella, your daughter, because I think that's another part of it, right? No one's expecting perfection from us, but being able to say “sorry” when we get it wrong is huge, because then we're teaching our kids that wasn't the right thing. Instead of control is a way of life, we're teaching them, “Oh I didn't do that right, and I want you to know that I didn't do it right and I'm sorry.” And I think that's a really important practice as well. It's huge.

ALLIE: Yeah, and I also have learned because saying “sorry,” which I'm sure you'll relate to this, but saying “sorry” has been a very long time coming for me. I absolutely would not do it before. I never did it. I would actually find ways out of saying “sorry,” only in my marriage; I didn't really do this anywhere else, “but actually it's your fault,” and things like that. That is a manipulative side where I am my least healthy self, when I'm the furthest from God. That's my personality.

I have learned to say “sorry” over the last maybe five years or so, and I will say the more you do it, the better you get at it, the more you notice that you need to say it and the easier it gets to say it.

ASHLEY: I wholeheartedly agree with you.


Hey girl! Quick interruption because I've got something new that's coming! It's totally free, it's going to be amazing and I want to make sure you know about it!

Do you feel like you are always picking up toys or nagging your kids to pick up? That they've got too much stuff? Do you feel like maybe your kids have a lot of toys, but all they want to do is play technology, video games, and all that stuff and you feel out of your depth with the limits on that? Do you feel like you've tried to declutter to the toys before but it just really didn't go very well? Maybe your kids' stuff has made its way into every part of your home. If you are struggling with any of these things and especially if you're struggling with all of it, you need to be at my next free workshop.

It's live and it's happening with Amy Tirpak, who is a part of Team Allie, and she is a Child Play Therapist. She has so much expertise to bring to the table. We are going to be talking about minimalism and kids and how you can take action and change these problems in your life.

I think the biggest thing I want you to understand is that as adults we can control how much stuff we have and what comes into our homes, but as long as you have kids at home, stuff will continue to pour in kind of without your control in terms of it initially coming into your house. Kids are constantly outgrowing clothes. They get new toys from other people and stuff seems to come in from school, Sunday School, birthday parties and presents from other people, school and art projects, birthday parties, holiday celebrations, generous giving relatives and all of these things, while at the same time studies show that too much stuff breeds some seriously bad stuff like materialism and ingratitude. It can hinder creativity and even their cognitive development.

This is where Amy Tirpak and I are coming together to step in and help you. This free live class is going to pack a punch. It's going to shine a light on the things that you need to know and teach you how to begin the process of minimalism with your kids or succeed in it if you've attempted before and feel like it was a big fail. And that's okay; you're doing great!

We're here to help you, encourage you, and lift you up!

To sign up for free, go to alliecasazza.com/kidsclass.

Live seats for this event are super limited, but there's going to be a replay and we're leaving it up for a good week so you will be able to watch this class. We're giving you plenty of time, but to get the information, the links, you've got to be signed up.

This is happening live October 8th! Again, it's totally free! I can't wait to help you with this.


ALLIE: Okay. I could talk about that for a long time, but I really want to hear from you about trauma because I told you before we hit record I've never really had somebody come on and speak really about trauma.

In today's world, and with everything going on, I feel like “trauma” is almost used for things that are not trauma; they were just hard for you. I say that so carefully, but like everything is offensive. Everyone is so sensitive and you can't say anything about anything. And really when you meet someone that has been raped, that has chosen abortion and dealt with the effects of that, that has had these serious things done to them that were traumatizing, I want to hear from you about that because I know out of the hundreds of thousands of women, amazing women that listen to this show, somebody has experienced real, awful trauma and stuffed it down and not really dealt with it well.

ASHLEY: I think that trauma is such a huge part of the reason we're seeing so much of what we're seeing in our world today is un-dealt-with trauma and we don't even realize it. I'm not a therapist. I'm not a psychologist. At the same time, I remember growing up we didn't have words like “trauma.” I don't know if you can relate to that, but we didn't just walk around talking about “this is trauma” or when we behave like this in our family or when the extended relatives do this, “this is trauma.” We didn't know that. You know?

I feel like it should be a class in school because we need it. Trauma and budgets should be required throughout the entire schooling, right? Because it’s two things we don't want to talk about but we need to.

I was reading this beautiful book because I'm trying to understand my children better. I am so out of my depth when it comes to parenting. I have a 2-year-old and a 5-year-old, so I'm learning, right? I don't know what I'm doing. I read an awesome book called The Whole Brain Child.

ALLIE: Yes! I have it right here on my desk!

ASHLEY: Oh my gosh. It's one of my favorite books and I love the integration of the different parts of the brain and just becoming a more holistic person. And it really helped me as a person grow. Well one of the practices in that book is called “name it to tame it.” The author is talking about how when something happens to our children, we need to teach them how to name it and how to tame it because once you can name something then you can tame something.

And for me, I didn't understand trauma. I couldn't name it. I didn't know what was happening to me. I was literally raped and then went to work the next day like nothing had happened. I mean that shows that there's been a series of trauma, a series of suppression, a series of shutting down of a person's whole self, and I really needed to deal with that.

I think for me that big step out was making the big decision to talk to people like I've already said, to begin to tame it, to begin to tell my story, to begin to own it, to begin to say, “These are the things that have happened to me.” And honestly that came out of a place of desperation where it was like, “I don't care anymore if you don't like me. I'm so broken. I'm so tired of hiding that I need to share this.” So, starting with the story and then getting into therapy, going to recovery groups, going to support groups, those were all huge things for me. And then I thought that the trauma would be over.

That's the interesting part of life is that we think that we're going to arrive at this beautiful place of euphoria where we have no issues, no problems, no pain. But even if you yourself are not personally experiencing trauma, you will know people in your lives who are and I think it's really important for us to understand these issues and to understand that they affect us.

And the reality is that one in every four women has been raped and that's only reported cases. One in every four women has had an abortion. That is a huge amount of the female population who is going through these things and maybe has no safe outlet to talk about them or no way of really going, “I made this decision or this happened to me,” and we need to create more spaces like that.

And we lose people. You know, we lose people to diseases, we lose people to different addictions. Things are happening all around us all the time. It is very traumatic and we have to learn to deal with it. We have to learn to process our pain in a really healthy way or it will deal with us. If you don't deal with trauma, trauma will deal with you.  

ALLIE: Can I interrupt really quick and ask a specific question? 

ASHLEY: Yes! Please!

ALLIE: We'll have to come back to trauma after, but…so I have never had an abortion, but I have known women who did and actively been trying to talk somebody out of it as it was happening and all of these things so I am aware of how common. It’s very common.  I didn't actually know that statistic, but it doesn't shock me at all.

With all the things that were going on in New York recently, with the laws about abortion, all of these things, everyone on the other side, you know, pro-life, starts to post things and comes out of the woodwork all of a sudden. And I always wanted to ask somebody who had experienced abortion themselves, “Do you feel like we need to shift the way that we're talking about being pro-life and coming up against abortion?” Because sometimes I see these posts and I feel like “My gosh, if I ever had had an abortion this post from a person that I respect would have just sent me…” Even if you're healed and you have taken the issue to the Lord and you worked through it, I mean it's just so hateful. And I knew it was so common. So, are all these women seeing us “Christians” posting about this and being so awful?

I guess my question for you is, I would love to hear your thoughts on that. How can we speak about this without having experienced it ourselves and not be so…It’s really condemning and really hurtful and I hate the “speak” in the pro-life circle.

ASHLEY: Yeah, I agree with you. And it was a very, very painful experience. I mean digital media is new so we are underestimating what it's doing to our brains and we are underestimating its impact. And while I love it, these are the times where I'm like, “Oh, this just breaks my heart.” And I was getting phone calls from women and text messages and direct messages like, “What do I do? I'm going crazy.” I'm like, “Just turn your phone off for a week. Don't go on social media. Don't even go look.” Because these are women who are trying to step out of shame and trying to step out of hiding and now it feels so condemning. It feels like God's never going to love me or these people are never going to welcome me in. And that's actually not…

ALLIE: They keep posting the facts like, “did you know a baby feels…”  But some people have had that done and regret it. I feel like it’s not productive on changing the people that are for abortion and it’s not productive at all in our neighbors, friends, and the women that follow us that are hiding this secret.

ASHLEY: That's right. It isn't productive. That's exactly what you said. And I think if we could be more loving, be more understanding, and be more gracious to value all life. So not only do we have to value life in the womb, but we have to value how our words are going to impact the life of the woman who has dealt with this trauma. And some people might even think to themselves, and I've heard this, people say, “Well, she deserves it if she made that choice,” which is a terrible thing to say because we all have things that we've done, we all have made mistakes and no person should be held to the worst decision they have ever made. No one would want to be held to that.

And I think because this is such a private issue that's become so very public, I think it's been a very difficult time. So yes, I affirm that that is not the best way to handle this, that there are other ways to talk about being a pro-life person that also value the women and the families who have made these decisions and are trying to overcome that hurdle.

ALLIE: Yeah. I don't even know. Again, we talked about this before we hit record but I'm going into action-taker mode and I'm like, “Let's start a movement. Let's start an Instagram page.” There needs to be somewhere safe for women to go when all those things happen and they are, “I’ve done that and it was the worst time ever.”

Everybody has something that they just wish no one would ever find out. And they can't believe that? What? That's not them anymore. That was so difficult. And then for that specific one to get thrown at you, maybe once a year, maybe whenever something happens, “Yeah, you are the worst and I can't believe you…” Or knowing what if it was a friend that you were getting to know and now you know that girl feels this way about something I did. I just only see it causing dissension and pain. I don't see it doing anything positive.

ASHLEY: I wholeheartedly agree with you.

ALLIE: I’m glad we talked about this. Somebody is listening…I can feel it even though they're not listening. They're going to find freedom in that.

ASHLEY: And hope and the comfort of knowing that they're not alone.

ALLIE: Yeah. It’s okay to turn your phone off when things are happening.

ASHLEY: Yes! And unfollow people, do whatever you need to do.

ALLIE: Okay. So thank you.

And then getting back into your story about trauma…I would love to hear since you've worked through your stuff, you've gone to therapy, you’ve done classes, you did Recovery, what are your biggest takeaways for somebody? I would really like to focus on the person listening who has experienced trauma and never talks about it. It's kind of like that dark closet door that you shut.

I'm specifically thinking about my mother because I know that she's experienced so much trauma and she does go to therapy, but it just is always coming up. So, the woman who has experienced something has shoved it down and needs freedom. What does she do? It seems silly to ask a practical step about something so heavy, but what did you learn? What are your takeaways and what could you offer her now?

ASHLEY: Well I think that you know, the practical stuff is actually the real stuff and it isn't silly at all and even though this feels very heavy, I think that we really need ways out. We actually need tangible ways forward when we are dealing with something this traumatic. I would say the first step is stepping out of denial.

You know, it's the #1 step in the 12 Steps Of Recovery is coming out of denial and recognizing this is what happened to me, or this is what I did, these are my decisions and these are the things that have been done to me. And just laying it out on the table and really looking at it.

One of my dear friends and a mentor said to me once, “What is the worst that could happen if you do that? What is the worst that could happen if you lay it all out and look at it?” And I shared with her what I thought would happen. She said, “Could you survive that?” And I said, “Yes I could.” And that's guided me through the process of opening up. It's like, “I'm going to lay this all on the table and if I get rejected, if I get abandoned, can I survive that? Yes, I can.”

ALLIE: That's the process too, of working through anxiety, like exposure therapy, and I think it’s so interesting that it's both, you know? It’s kind of like the “salve” or the “how to” of those two problems.

ASHLEY: Yes. That's exactly right. And they go hand-in-hand, trauma and anxiety, right? Because when you've had things that happen to you, it's coupled with “what could happen now?” So, you're constantly thinking about the past as you move forward. But that's a big part of it is recognizing that. And then I think another practical step is discovering at least one safe person in your life, even if it does have to be a therapist in the beginning. But I encourage you, whether it's a person at the park, like a mom at the park, that you regularly see someone at school that you're regularly connecting with, a person that's in your life on a more consistent basis and taking a brave step forward. Just like, “Can we grab a cup of coffee? Can we go to dinner? I just want to talk.” And maybe start to unpack a few things in your story with a safe person because really that is the process.

Our faith is communal. The faith that I have is communal. And even if you don't have the same faith that I do, we all have this deep desire and this deep ability and capacity to live in relationship with others. We are created for community. And without that we can never really experience the fullness of life. And so, I think it's really important that we work at building that.

And I do know that some seasons change. You know, my community has changed so much in the last 16 years of my recovery journey. It's changed a lot. I've lost a lot of friends. I've gained some new ones. And so, I think it's really important to, at every season of life, do I have people that I'm opening up with? Do I have people that I'm sharing my life with?

And then on a deeper step, I have this great list of accountability questions that I could give you to put in the show notes. They're so great. I do it with a group of three girls. We did this on a weekly basis. They don't live in the same city as me, so we do a lot of this over Marco Polo, just to get very practical with you guys. If you have friends who are out of the city or out of the country, we do a lot of this over Marco Polo. But it's a great list of questions.

There are questions like do you like the person that you're becoming? Is your heart for God growing or shrinking? Is the pace of your life sustainable? Are you giving your family your emotional scraps? Have you compromised in your financial integrity?  It asks these really awesome questions that we get to answer in the center of relationships, so it's not just like we don't know each other, we love each other, so whatever comes out, we're not going to be judged. We're going to be loved. And so, we have this great list of accountable accountability questions that we walk through. 

That helps me experience safety and love in the context of reciprocal relationship. Then I'm more prepared to handle the stuff that life throws at me. Because I know it’s going to. I know things are going to happen. I know things are going to get hard. And because of that, I have a safe group that I can return to. I think that's sort of the process of stepping out of denial, entering into safe relationships, going deeper in your relationships.

Then the final thing I would say is to start serving somewhere. Honestly, serving has been such a catalyst to my healing. I don't even know how to tell you. I mean, it's changed my life to be able to give back.

I remember even doing this before I was fully healed, finding a place where I could serve, beginning to lead small groups of women where people could unpack their life and not feel like they were going to be judged for it. We had a safe space where we could suspend judgment and offer empathy to people. I've led groups in the past for women who are going through abortion recovery. I've led grief recovery groups. I've gone through many different ways that I could serve others. I've been a Chaplain in the jail. I think it's really important to find what is the outlet that you can serve somebody.

In some seasons maybe you have little kids and you're like, “Look, I'm serving no one.” But you are serving your children, you're serving your family. And that's okay. That is enough. You don't even have to find something big out there. But a way that helps me give back because that keeps me outside of my own head, it keeps my life from being insular, from the whole focus being on me.

It helps me go, “You know what? This world is larger than I am and I take great comfort in that, and Lord, while my inclination is to hold on, to take, and to critique, I'm going to open my hands in generosity and love. I'm going to participate instead of constantly being a spectator, you know? So, I think serving as the final key and catalyst to finding healing and breakthrough.

ALLIE: Yeah, absolutely. One thing that I really wanted to ask you…I know we're kind of going back and forth all over the place, but that's what a conversation is…I really had it on my heart to speak about this for the women that are listening who have had abortions, because I know they're there. I love them so much and I want to speak life over them.

But one thing that I learned from knowing someone who had multiple abortions is that after it's done and you realize that it was the wrong choice, but you feel glad that you don't have that child still, that you didn't have to deal with that side of things. Then the guilt that hits you that you're kind of glad. That is hard to hear, hard to say, but that's the real emotion. I was wondering if you would speak to them and speak to that about what you learned and anything that you went through if you experienced that. I want to give them something here to work through those emotions and then encourage them to go and really fully process everything that happened. 

ASHLEY: Yes. This is huge because I think it's such a process. I don't think it's something that can be done in a moment. I think it's something that's done over time, over a long period of time. And yes, I did experience many of those things, just like many other women who make the decision to maybe not be in an abusive relationship or not want to put their child through the hell that they might be facing in their current life. I mean there's many, many reasons why women make these decisions and I definitely can relate to that.

And, in fact, having the abortion was the only time in my life that I would go to bed at night and pray I would never wake up. I mean I just did not even want to wake up. The decision was so devastating to me that I was unclear on how to even move forward in my life.

I felt so depressed, so down, so lonely, so isolated, and I just didn't even know who would accept me now that I've made that decision. And so, if you're out there and that's you and you're just like, “I don't know if anyone will ever accept the fact that I've done this. I don't know if anyone can love me on the other side of this,” I want to tell you that yes they can.

There are people who will care for you. I mean even the gentle way that you hear Allie speaking about you and to you right now, that is how so many women feel. There are arms open to you. There are so many women who have not only gone through what you've gone through but are on the other side of it. And experiencing great freedom in their lives. And so, it is possible for you too.

As silly as this is, Daniel Tiger Song, right? There's a great song where he talks about ‘sometimes you feel two feelings at the same time and that's okay.” I think it's important,  as silly as it is, that's something that is real in our lives where we experience great sorrow and great pain and at the same time, great relief, even though the decision may not have been the best one. And so, I think that it's okay to be where you are. You don't have to push yourself out of feeling what you feel because that's not actually going to help you heal.

You have to acknowledge what you're feeling. You have to acknowledge what you're going through because that's the only way forward. When you deal in reality, then you know that you can deal in the future, you know, because it's important. If we face reality, then we can find our way forward. But if we don't, we won't.

ALLIE: Yeah. There's an expression in the world of meditating, manifesting, goal setting, all that, that “what you focus on grows.” So, if you focus on wealth and you really focus on abundance, that creates more of that. And I do believe that that is very true.

I wrote this in my journal, maybe six months ago, and I looked at it a lot since, that's not always true. Sometimes what you ignore actually grows. It's like that with anxiety too. If you ignore…“I'm not anxious, I'm fine.” If you ignore it, it gets bigger and bigger until you look it in the face, call it what it is, and say, “I'm feeling really anxious right now.” Then it's almost like you shed the flood light on it and then it kind of grows. So, in that sense, what you focus on grows. But I think that we ignore things that need to be looked at and because we're not looking at them, they're actually growing, getting bigger, darker, scarier and worse.

ASHLEY: That's exactly right. We have a saying in the recovery world, “secrets make you sick.” It's really important to recognize that the things that we hide and that we're the most afraid of are the things that are making us sick and it's important that we look at them.

ALLIE: Yeah, I love that. Okay. Well the last thing I wanted to ask you about, since we're over time, is I love that you took all of this and I know that there's so much in the book about how hard it was and what you went through to begin telling your story, but if there is someone listening who has something that's happened, a life story that they've lived and they're not telling it because they're afraid, worried, or whatever, how do you begin to take an action step to sharing your story? I love what you said about the mom at the park and just sharing it in your life, but is there anything you would add to that before we close up?

ASHLEY: It's just doing things afraid. I mean this life, whatever it is, you have to do it scared. You're never going to not feel afraid. It's never going to not feel scary. And so, you just have to do it. You have to make the choice no matter what's on the other side of it. You have to just do it afraid. And that's true whether you want to talk about your own personal story that you're trying to own and whether you really want to tell it like it is. And it's true. If you're trying to build a dream or a business or you're trying to build a nonprofit, whatever it might be, you have to do so many things afraid.

I think if you wait to feel good about doing it, you'll never do it. It just has to be a bold step that you take and it will help you live your life with grace and gumption. You just freaking do it scared.

ALLIE: Yep. Absolutely. I wholeheartedly agree. That's how I started my business and that's what I keep doing to make it what it is today. And that's what you've done. The proof is in the pudding, you know? That's how action-takers get to the other side of hard things.

ASHLEY: That's exactly right.

 

Well, I just love you so much. I’m so glad we talked. It seems like you like Instagram? Is that right?

ASHLEY: I love Instagram.

ALLIE: OK, what’s your name there so we can find you?

ASHLEY:  @ashabercrombie, just like the store.

ALLIE: I'll link to it in the show notes.

We have your book, we're linking to it in the show notes, but also what is your website? Anywhere else you want to just direct people? Is there a specific page where there's something helpful or anything that comes to mind or just your website?

ASHLEY: My website has many things you can download. Bible studies on there if you like those from YouVersion. You can check out all the info about my book, watch my trailer.

And it's just ashabercrombie.org.

ALLIE: Perfect. Thank you so, so much! This was amazing! I really just want to hug you in real life and I hate that you're literally on the other side of the country. Thank you for being here in this space and for sharing hard things with us.

ASHLEY: Yeah, it's my pleasure and my honor, truly.


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.