How to Overcome the Roadblocks in Your Life

3 Keys to Unlocking Your True Potential

When we start pursuing our goals, we usually do so with great excitement and focus, but it doesn’t take long until we hit a roadblock or two. It’s easy to want to quit. I’ve been there. Instead of quitting, maybe we just need to take a different approach.

I’m in the middle of that right now. It’s November and instead of getting discouraged that I only have less than two months to finish hitting my weight loss goal, I’m changing things up and figuring out how to make it happen without some crazy diet plan.

Last month I was struggling with feelings of defeat and I was ready to quit. But I didn’t. And I’m not.

You’re not quitting either, my friend.

Believe Until You Become

How to Stop Dreaming and Start Becoming

In 2001, I packed my bags and moved 400 miles to the city I’d dreamed about for years. Since I was a little girl in the small town of Belle, Mo., I knew someday I’d either live in Hollywood and be an actress or move to Nashville and write songs so I could hear other people sing them on the radio. At 18 years old, I chose Nashville.

“I want to be a songwriter,” I told my family. They all thought I was crazy, but I went anyway. I pulled into “Music City” with my pickup truck and a suitcase full of dreams.

I wanted to be a songwriter but I didn’t have the first clue what I was doing. When people would ask me what I was doing there, as I waited tables at Shoney’s, I’d say, “I want to write songs.” I didn’t want to be a singer. I didn’t want to be in a band. I just wanted to write. Looking back on that time I realize there was a very important piece of the puzzle missing.

Jeff Goins writes in his new book, Real Artists Don’t Starve

Eventually, you have to decide who you are. You have to choose your role and own that identity. We don’t fake it till we make it. We believe it till we become it.

3 Ways to Face Confrontation with Courage

Why You Have to Speak Up

Others are often surprised to learn I’m not a fan of confrontation. Because I serve in different areas of leadership, it comes with an automatic assumption that calling people out, holding others accountable, and dealing with confrontation comes easy for me.

I can promise you that it doesn’t.

Confrontation is never easy for me, but I know it’s necessary. It’s necessary in all of our lives. Yours, mine, and the guy next door.

There usually isn’t a day that goes by I don’t have to muster up the courage to confront an issue, whether that’s talking through a hard topic with our Freedom Finders at Esther’s House, talking through something with a friend, etc.

Confronting hard situations takes courage. 

#coffeewithsj Episode 4: Calling People Up Instead of Out

You can’t have healthy friendships without accountability. But what if holding others accountable looks different than what we think it does?
 
Join us for #coffeewithsj Episode 4: Calling People Up Instead of Out
 
And we have some other exciting announcements, including Dutch Apple Praline pie.
 
To continue helping us offer hope to hurting women, you can donate at ehor.org/donate.

5 Question to Ask Yourself Before Posting on Facebook

How to Use Facebook the Right Way

How many times has your mouth gotten you into trouble? Or perhaps you’ve been deeply hurt by the words of others. I’ve been on both sides, unfortunately.

I remember when Facebook used to be fun. I could scroll through and see pictures of families I wanted to keep in touch with, connect with new online friends who shared the same interests, and enjoy kitten memes.

Now it seems my feed is full of online wars between one another versus actually dealing with the problem. We use it as a passive aggressive way of getting our point across to a specific person without saying name. We gossip. We slander. And we do it all behind a protective screen, convincing ourselves if we do it this way, it won’t really hurt anyone.

Reviving the Lost Art of Communication

One Simple Rule to Change Your Relationships

How many teens are at dinner with their family but are nose-down into their social media accounts? It’s kind of depressing.

By the way, I’ve learned from my friend Marcie, who’s one of the greatest servers I’ve ever known, that when you refuse to take your eyes off your phone long enough to look up and place your order, they would love to hit you upside the head with a menu.

Is this the way it’s destined to be from now on? It doesn’t have to be.

Uncovering The Most Important Thing In Life

The 7 Day Challenge You Don't Want To Miss

It seems like the majority of families that I encounter say that after faith, family is the most important thing in their lives. If that’s the case, then it makes sense that we would want to do everything in our power to intentionally develop our families into being, doing, and having our very best.

Although a lot of us are “doing ok” as a family —some better than others— I think if we’re honest, we all know deep down that we could do better, but it’s hard to know where to focus our attention to start.

That’s why I am so excited to share with you a great way to get your family focused on what really matters: the 7-Day Family Challenge from Ziglar Family!

Why You Can’t Wait Any Longer to Start Getting Healthy

Now is the time to take the next right step

Have you told yourself you’ll wait until next week to start losing weight? Or maybe you’ll start saving money when the next paycheck rolls around? Ya, I’ve been there too.

My best friend and I used to unknowingly sabotage each other. I would be ready to get healthy, start eating right and exercising, and we would commit to “starting our diet” on Monday. The beginning of the week would roll around and she wasn’t motivated. Well – since she wasn’t ready, I would feel defeated and decide I wasn’t either.

The same thing would happen to her. She’d be ready, I would lose my motivation, she would feel defeated and the cycle would continue.

How to Raise a Teenager

Everything You Need to Know About Acne, Hormones, and Smelly Feet

I met him on February 20, 2001. It was a Tuesday. When his mom called to say she was in labor I flipped backwards in my chair and was at her house before she had the phone hung up. We still had landlines then.

I was 17 years old and didn’t know what love was. It was just a word to me at that point, not an experience. But then… then I met him, wrapped tightly in a blanket, snuggled in my arms.

I finally knew love. I knew I would love him for the rest of my life. I knew I would give my life for him if I had to. I knew he would change the world, and he was only five minutes old.

I don’t have a clue what I’m doing. 

I googled it once. “How to raise a teenager.” Turns out there isn’t a manual for it. He hadn’t lived with me since he was around seven years old. In those days there wasn’t acne, back talk, hormones, or the feet smell. Oh… the feet smell. No, in those days there were still sweet kisses, bedtime stories, and an odor-free bedroom. Have I mentioned the feet smell?

He moved in this summer. His first night asleep, I stood in the doorway of his bedroom and watched his blonde hair move back and forth on the pillows as he tried to get his six-foot, teenage frame comfortable. Tears streamed down my eyes as a million thoughts ran through my head.

How in the world am I going to do this? How can I possibly raise a teenager? What if I screw this up? What if he hates my cooking? Will he be okay? How can I be responsible for another human life when I’m still trying to keep myself alive? How in the world am I going to do this? 

I googled “How to raise a teenager” again. Nothing new had popped up since the last time.

Love is bigger. 

Bob Goff says in his book, Love Does, “You don’t need a plan; you just need to be present.” I didn’t have a plan. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. But I knew love was bigger than my fears. 

The love I experienced the day he came into this world was the love that would get us through this new season of life together, no matter how hard.

I still don’t have a clue what I’m doing most days, but I’ve stopped going to Google for advice, so I guess that’s progress. I’ll probably never know what I’m doing, but what I have learned in these last several months has changed my life.

Life isn’t always about you. I realize how selfish I can be. I’m 33 years old and single, and I’ve gotten pretty set in my ways. Life isn’t just about me anymore. It’s not just about my needs. I don’t get to just go do whatever I want whenever I want anymore. My decisions affect him. I’ve learned to be more conscious about what I do and say. I have accountability around every corner. He’s like a ninja who silently sneaks up on me when I’m about to stuff my face with something inappropriate. “I thought you were eating healthier.” Most days I’m grateful for that. Most days…

There is a sock thief in my house. Seriously.. how does this happen? Laundry. All. The. Time. And I swear there’s a little green monster that lives in the dryer who seeks to steal only Caleb’s socks. Being single I enjoyed living out of my laundry basket. Why fold clothes when I’m just going to wear them again? I haven’t perfected this yet. The clothes tend to stay in the dryer for a day or two, but hey.. I’m getting there. He better hope he never needs anything ironed because we’re both in trouble.

I often question my reality. Sometimes at the end of the day, I lie in bed and think to myself, there is another human being upstairs. A living, breathing, human who I’m not supposed to let die. Did I feed him today? Check. Did I sign that paper I was supposed to sign for school? Check. Where did those stupid socks go? Yay.. we survived this day and did it with a smile. But seriously.. the socks?? Remind me to tell you about the day I drove off and left him on accident.

Love is bigger than anything. Raising a teenager is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I feel ill-equipped for it everyday. Somedays I wonder if I’m making a difference in his life at all. 1 Peter 4:8 says, “Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.” The truth is, I’m going to fail daily. Probably multiple times a day. And so is he. We’re in this together and we’re still both learning how to do it as a team.

But no matter what happens in each day, love is bigger, and there’s not a day goes by I don’t say “I love you” as he kisses my cheek before bed. (Don’t tell him I told you that. He likes to pretend he’s tough.) We may want to slap each other in the midst of a struggle, but he knows he is loved, even when I’m mad. Despite all my failures in this gift of loving him through life, love covers all of those failures. 

What a beautiful gift.

I’m not his mom, nor will I ever be. He has one and she has gifted him with a new opportunity at life. I’m honored to play a part in offering that gift to him, and grateful she has trusted this 33 year-old, Smurfs t-shirt wearing, overgrown child, to provide a home for him.

Today, that sweet blue-eyed boy turns 16. And I fall in love all over again, just like the day I did when he was born. I fall in love with the man of God he is becoming. The gentle heart he wears on his sleeve when he sees others hurting. The joy he shares when others celebrate and the pain he feels when others hurt. The man who opens doors for the elderly woman at church. The man who prays for the homeless. The man who buys a kid a pair of shoes because he doesn’t want his feet to get cold.

Life changes quickly and sometimes you don’t have time to prepare for it. Some days I wake up completely unprepared to walk through life with him. Other days I rock it like a champ. I’ll never get it 100% right and I’m learning to be okay with that. Because love. Love does. 

Thank you, Caleb, for teaching me what it means to love. My life is better because you’re in it.

Now I’m going to go Google “How to raise a teenager who drives.” Wish me luck.