All posts in Weekly Word

  • The difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you do

    This week’s word is…Intention

    There are words that are essential to the Mothering Conversation. Words that represent qualities and behaviors for us to try on if we are to
    evolve the conversation of mothering. Each week on our blog, we feature one of these Words.

    Definition of Intention: determination to act in a certain way or bring about some action or result; a deliberate aim or purpose.

    14,245 Days. That’s how many days I lived before I got serious. Serious about my life…and about living each day with intention; what I refer to as Life by Design, rather than Life by Default.

    Living life-by-design begins with intentionality. Several months ago, my husband, kids, and I spent an evening creating a collage of all the qualities that we want to be intentional about in our family; the qualities that we want to bring to life in our home and in our relationships with each other. Here’s what our collage looks like:

    Our Family Collage

    Typically about once a week – usually on the day after a day of negativity, impatience, and mean-spirited words turning every conversation into an argument! – we gather around the collage and we each choose a word. We each choose the quality that we’d like to be mindful of and intentional about bringing to life in our family through our thoughts, words, & behavior.

    Sounds nice, right? So, how does this help with the regular everyday kinds of challenges we face as mothers? Here’s a story of just one instance where being intentional helped me and my daughter:

    My daughter, Abigail, had a tough school year in 5th grade. Math, in particular, was almost a daily tear-jerker. Abigail would lie in bed at night and tell me that she was worried about a particular class, a particular teacher, or afraid she would forget all the state capitals she’d just named earlier in the evening. Knowing what was happening in her heart and in her mind, I wanted for her to have more self-confidence; a stronger belief in herself and her capabilities. I also saw an opportunity for our home environment to be a place where we could provide more affirmation for one another.

    So I set intention with myself to bring these qualities to life through my thoughts, words, and actions: self-confidence, belief in oneself, trust in God to help us handle life’s challenges, and support/affirmation for one another.

    Each day, I let Abigail know that I believe in her and that I have confidence in her. I let her know this through my words and also by giving her greater responsibility in areas that she enjoys. And I was intentional about affirming her ability to do her best in handling the events of her day. And of course I prayed – a lot!

    This awareness and intention setting on my part helped her inner dialogue change from “I can’t,” I’m afraid,” “What if…” to something much more affirming and reassuring: “I can.” “I will.” “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Ref: Phil 4:13)

    That is the power of intention. And an example of what it is like to live by design, rather than be default. Default responses are typically focused on the challenge-of-the-moment (i.e.: getting through tonight’s math homework), and miss the bigger opportunity to move ourselves and others in a desired direction (i.e.: more self-confidence).

    In this week’s exercise, we’ll define our “desired direction.” We’ll point our compass in the direction we want ourselves and our families to go. If we’re going to move through our days with more intention, what do we want to be intentional about?

    EXERCISE: Intention Setting

    1. Grab your journal or notebook and a pen.
    2. Close your eyes and envision your home environment and family relationships. Spend a moment calling to mind what you love and appreciate about each member of your family. And about the way they interact with and care for one another.
    3. Next, envision what you want even more of in your family and your family relationships. More gratitude? Forgiveness? Joy? Write these down.  *consider also making this into a family activity and brainstorming together the qualities you want to demonstrate more of.
    4. Choose the quality that feels most important or most resonant for today (Mine is gratitude). Set an intention to bring this quality to life through your own thoughts, words, and actions today. Sometimes I like to say my intention as a prayer: “God, please help me to see all the many things, situations, & people that I am grateful for today. Please open my heart and mind and fill me with a deep sense of gratitude.”
    5. Write down your intention or prayer. Repeat it to yourself frequently throughout the day. Watch for moments when circumstances around you are calling for you to lean into your intention and put it into full practice!
    6. At the end of the day, take a moment to reflect on how you did with your intention. What worked well? What got in your way?
    7. Repeat process tomorrow 🙂

    Click on the picture below to download a 2″x3″ Intention Card for your mirror, refrigerator, computer monitor, etc.
    The difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you do

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  • optimism

    This week’s word is…Optimism

    There are words that are essential to the Mothering Conversation. Words that represent qualities and behaviors for us to try on if we are to
    evolve the conversation of mothering. Each week on our blog, we feature one of these Words.

    Definition of Optimism: An inclination, outlook, perspective towards what’s positive, what’s working, what’s happy and hopeful.

    Optimism looks at what’s possible, what could be, and finds the good in what already is.  Practicing optimism is making a choice about what I will and will not allow my mind to focus on in any given moment or situation.  I love Tolkien’s line from the Hobbit, “There’s nothing like looking, if you want to find something.” You can prove that to be true in your own life:

    Look for what’s going wrong or for what’s not as you would prefer it to be, and surely you’ll find something wrong or something you’d like to be different. And what will that get you? Anxiety? Resentment, perhaps?

    Now try looking for what is working, what’s going well today, what you appreciate about your mate or your child, what you are grateful for in this moment. Most surely you’ll find something, if not a bunch of somethings! And what will that get you? Gratitude? Contentment, perhaps?

    Practicing optimism begins with managing our inner conversation: our thoughts, attitude, and perspective. Optimism means choosing to focus on the thoughts & beliefs that will lead you in a positive or forward-moving direction.  And to release any thoughts that lead you in a negative or unhelpful direction. With the Lord’s help, we can get quite good at this, even in the midst of challenging circumstances.

    The exercise below will get you started.

    EXERCISE: Optimism in Action

    1. Pray each day for an increased ability to focus your thoughts on what is good, pure, true, gracious, and worthy of praise. And to decrease your focus on any thoughts that takes you out of gratitude and hopefulness.
    2. Start each morning by naming 2 things that you appreciate or that make you happy. Challenge yourself to come up with 2 unique things each day (no repeats!)
    3. What is one limiting or “pessimistic” thought or belief that you told yourself today? (i.e.: I won’t be good at that; there’s no way I’m going to finish this today…)
    4. Write it down. Read it aloud. What’s true about it? What’s not true about it? Rewrite it. Experiment with an optimistic or possibility-oriented alternative. (i.e.: I am willing to stretch and try ____; I made decent progress today…

    Click on the picture below to download a 2″x3″ Optimism Card for your mirror, refrigerator, computer monitor, etc.
    Optimism card

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  • This week’s word is…Power

    There are words that are essential to the Mothering Conversation. Words that represent qualities and behaviors for us to try on if we are to
    evolve the conversation of mothering. Each week on our blog, we feature one of these Words.

    To evolve our mothering conversation we must get comfortable with our own power. Owning your power does not mean “having power over another.” True power is not about control or force. I believe it is about clarity. Clarity around who I am and why I am here, according to God. (I’ve written before about the Truth of who God says we are. Read about that here).

    As I gain Clarity, I cannot deny that I am powerful. Full of power. And, as a mother, I have the responsibility to stand solidly in my power, and to lead my flock from there.

    “Stand solidly in my power” – what does that mean? In my retreats and workshops, we engage in an experiential exercise to stand, both in our power and outside of our power. Visualize this:

    1. I lay a rope across the floor. Each end of the rope is a different representation of how we stand outside of our power.
    2. The left end of the rope represents “Victim-land.” In victim-land, we give our power away by believing that other people or circumstances have power over us. The vernacular of victim-land includes phrases such as: “She expects me to do everything myself!” “Why does this always happen to me!?” “It wasn’t my fault.” “I had no choice.”
    3. The right end of the rope represents “Hero-land.” Hero-land feels like a powerful place to be, but it is not authentic power. The power we experience here is inauthentic because we often assume our power by dis-empowering someone else. The vernacular of hero-land includes phrases such as: “I have to take care of that.” “I’ll get it done.” “Here, give it to me; I’ll finish it for you.”
    4. During the workshop, we move from end to end along the rope, exploring the energy or vibe in each area, taking on the body language of each land and playing around with the vernacular. And what we tend to notice is that both victim and hero have a similar dis-empowering feel about them. In victim, I dis-empower myself. I give my power away. I relinquish control AND responsibility over my own destiny. In hero, I dis-empower others through my “fix-it” and “rescue” behaviors. I also drive myself into the ground, taking on control and responsibility for that which is not mine to control or be responsible for. Sigh. I’m tired just writing all of this.
    5. When I am living from victim-land or hero-land, I am not standing in my power. And in either case, I am keeping myself small, living to far less than my potential and purpose as given me by God.

    What’s in the middle?? I’m so glad you asked!

    Our authentic power – The Truth of Who We Are – lives in the middle.

    A year or so ago, I had the privilege of being on a call with leader and writer Margaret Wheatley, listening to her talk about her newest book titled “So Far From Home.” She spoke about a new role, which she called the “warrior for the human spirit.” When I heard her talk about this, I knew this as the middle ground. Here’s what she said:

    “The term “warrior” is used from the Tibetan tradition of “one who is brave,” brave enough to never use aggression, whose only “weapons” are compassion and insight. As warriors for the human spirit, we discover our right work, work that is ours to do no matter what. We engage wholeheartedly, embody values we cherish, let go of outcomes, and be vigilant with our relationships. We learn how to persevere, to remain focused and confident in service to the issues and people we care about, focused not so much on making a difference as on being a difference.”

    Mothering our children, and living our lives, as warriors for the human spirit, standing solidly “in the middle”, embracing our God-given purpose and potential – THAT IS TRUE POWER.

    With love & power,
    De

    Click on the picture below to download a 2″x3″ Power Card for your mirror, refrigerator, computer monitor, etc.
    Power Card

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  • This week’s word is…Wholeness

    There are words that are essential to the Mothering Conversation. Words that represent qualities and behaviors for us to try on if we are to evolve the conversation of mothering. Each week on our blog, we feature one of these Words.
    Wholeness Card

    Definition of Wholeness: the quality or state of being whole, complete, sound, without exception or qualification.

    You are whole. Period. Exactly as you are. Our wholeness – The TRUTH of who we are – is constant, never changing. In fact, our wholeness has nothing to do with us.  It has everything to do with God, and with Jesus. We are made new – new creations – through the merits of Jesus. Our wholeness:

    • Is not defined by how much (or how little) we accomplish today
    • Never diminished by a bad hair day, a less than eloquent mommy moment, or an indulgent chocolate dessert.
    • Never increased by finishing that degree, landing that job, winning the game, or having 500 Facebook friends.

    Our whole is perfectly aligned with who GOD says we are and what He says is true about us:

    • He made you in His image (Genesis 1:27).
    • He saw you and carefully formed you, before you were born (Psalms 139:13-16).
    • He thinks about you constantly (Psalm 139:17-18).
    • He pours out His love on you constantly (Deuteronomy 7:7).
    • He speaks of knowing you intimately: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.” (Jeremiah 1:5)
    • He chose you from the beginning (2 Thessalonians 2:13)

    And that’s barely scratching the surface. Your worth to God is spoken of in so many more places in His sacred scripture. No matter what life circumstances you may be living right now, your true nature is vitality, strength, creativity, and wholeness. How fully do you believe that? Are you still doubting that you are so special, so dear, and so important? Sometimes it’s hard for us to really receive these truths. To believe that the Truth of who God says we are in scripture, really applies to me, right here, right now. This week, our exercise is simply to sit with these TRUTHS. Try them on…

    EXERCISE: Exploring my Wholeness Life’s circumstances come and go. We will always get to choose how we will relate with the current circumstance. Use the suggestions below to pause and reconnect with your God-given nature.

    1. Choose one of the scripture passages I referenced above; the one that feels most resonant for you. Get out your bible and look up the whole passage. Read it aloud to yourself each day. Write it on index cards or sticky notes and post them in areas around your home or workspace where you will see them and be reminded of your truth and your wholeness.
    2. Each morning, tell yourself two things you appreciate about YOU. Say these aloud, using your own first name. For example, “De, I appreciate your sense of humor and your smile.” Or “De, I appreciate your patience with Adam yesterday.”   The purpose of doing this is to cultivate a practice of noticing your many strengths and gifts. And to intentionally affirm the many aspects of your wholeness.
    3. Sit quietly in prayer each day (even if only for one-minute…60 little seconds), asking the Lord to reveal HIS truths for you. Ask Him: “Lord, what do You want me to know about myself today? Show me Your truth so I will learn to see myself as You see me.”
    4. Keep a journal or notebook close at hand throughout the week. (I have a small one that I keep in my handbag so I’ll always have it with me). Write down any thoughts, reactions or sensations that surface in your body or mind, related to your truth and your wholeness.
    5. Also in your journal, keep a list of all the attributes or behaviors that you come up with in your daily appreciation exercise. Look at this list often, especially in moments of self-doubt or self-criticism.

    In my next post, we’ll look at the reality that at times we do feel divided, disconnected, and disbelieving of our wholeness. And, how to take the next step on our journey towards Wholeness. I will be giving a 1-day workshop on this topic in April at the Daylesford Abbey. Will you come? I’d be honored to have you there. More details here.

    Click on the picture below to download a 2″x3″ Wholeness Card for your mirror, refrigerator, computer monitor, etc. Wholeness Card

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  • This week’s word is…TRUTH

    There are words that are essential to the Mothering Conversation. Words that represent qualities and behaviors for us to try on if we are to
    evolve the conversation of mothering. Each week on our blog, we feature one of these Words.

    Truth-Card

    Definition of Truth: the real facts about something; the things that are true; the quality or state of being true.

    We live in a time and a culture where the LIE OF SCARCITY and LACK is wildly wreaking havoc on our families.

    The LIE tells us you should, you shouldn’t, you’re supposed to, you can’t, you won’t, on & on! With all of these judgments and negative messages swirling around our minds, we stay disconnected from our TRUTH: The real facts; what is real or true for me.

    Psalm 15 tells us that whoever “speaks the truth from their heart” will not be shaken.

    “The truth from your heart” in this moment might be, “I’m tired. I need to rest now.” Yet, the lie that can so automatically kick in is, “You can’t rest. You didn’t do x, y, and z yet.  And maybe there’s even a shame-based lie in there too, such as, “Stop being so lazy,” or “If you were a better mother/wife/co-worker/friend you wouldn’t be in this situation.”

    Giving into these automatic thoughts keeps us from honoring our truth: what we really feel and what we truly need or want. When we dishonor our own needs, wants, or feelings, we often end up experiencing resentment, burn out, depression, or isolation.

    EXERCISE: Truth-Listening

    This week, I invite you to be intentional about discovering your truth. Follow the steps below to listen within, uncover what you feel, what you need or want, and take a step towards meeting your own needs.

    1. Choose at least 2 times each day when you will listen for your truth (i.e.: when you wake up, at lunchtime, at 4pm, etc.). Set an alarm on your phone to remind you that it’s truth-listening time.
    2. Pause what you are doing. Place your hands on your heart.  Breathe. Quiet your mind.
    3. Tune into your physical body. What sensations do you notice? Any aches or pains anywhere? Listen and notice.
    4. Tune into your heart and your mind, reflecting on the day’s interactions and activities. What thoughts or feelings do you notice? Are you feeling productive, happy, anxious, grateful? Are you aware of concerns or curiosities you have? Listen and notice.
    5. Ask yourself, “{Insert your own first name}, what do you most need right now?” or “What do you most want in this situation?”
    6. Next put your feelings and needs together, saying aloud, “I feel ________ and I need __________. There is power and a sense of affirmation in articulating your truth aloud, clearly and succinctly. For example: I feel tired and I need rest. I feel excited and I want to tell someone about it. I feel concerned and I’m not sure what I need or want.
    7. Now, take a moment and think through how you can support yourself in getting your own needs met. Take an active step in support of yourself. That step might be giving yourself permission to take a 30-minute nap, calling your sister and asking her to listen to what you’re excited about, or praying and asking for guidance about your concerns.
    8. Bring a journal or notebook to your truth-listening sessions. Write down what you’re feeling, physically as well as in your heart & mind. Write down what you need or want as well as what you will do in support of yourself.
    9. Lastly, tell yourself aloud what you will do: “{Insert your own first name}, I will ____________ for you.” Or I will support you by _____________.”

    Scripture Verse:
    Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest…” 1 John 3:18-19

    Click on the picture below to download a 2″x3″ Truth Card for your mirror, refrigerator, computer monitor, etc.
    Truth Card

    All of our Weekly Word verse & quote cards are available for purchase in multi-packs.

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  • spread compassion

    Try a Different Pronoun

    Last week’s word was Compassion and this week’s word is Self-Compassion. In this week’s self-compassion exercise, we learned to begin our day by purposefully and lovingly connecting with YOURSELF.
    (Download our “Self-Compassion Conversation Starters” if you didn’t already).

    There is a subtle, yet important, assumption woven into the idea of self-compassion; that is, the assumption that we WANT to show ourselves compassion. Assuming that we believe ourselves to be worthy of self-compassion. And that we are willing to let go of self-criticism and self-judgment.

    There is another practice essential to this conversation of self-compassion.
    The practice of experiencing yourself as a “You” and not only as an “I.”

    Think about that. When we refer to ourselves, we pretty typically use the pronoun, “I.” I did this, or I said that. When others refer to us, they use the pronoun, “You.” You did this, or You said that. Each of us, in fact, is both “I” and “You.” Big deal, you may say. The big deal comes when we begin to see ourselves as “You,” rather than “I.” And when we treat ourselves as a person. As a YOU.

    Here’s what might shift in our relationship with ourselves, when we treat ourselves as a YOU, a human person:

    • I extend to YOU the same kindness I extend to other people.
    • I extend to YOU the same ‘benefit of the doubt’ I extend to other people.
    • I recognize that YOU need my compassion, just like other people do.
    • I extend to YOU my understanding, just like I would extend to anyone else.
    • I extend to YOU the same forgiveness I extend to other people.

    Re-read the above five statements. This time, say each one aloud to yourself, tweaking the words as necessary to feel more authentic for you. Even insert your own first name, such as: “De, I extend to you the same kindness that I show to others.”

    As you say each one aloud, some of the statements may feel very true and right. Others may feel less authentic or like a stretch for you to believe. This usually points to an underlying belief or assumption we are holding about ourselves that contradicts with the statement. For example, if saying, “I extend to you the same understanding I extend to others,” has you thinking, “Yeah, right. No way can I do that!” you may be holding a contradictory belief, such as:

    • It’s not ok for me to make a mistake.
    • It’s not ok for me to need help, let alone ask for help.
    • I should be able to get it all done.
    • I am a terrible mother.

    Surfacing the self-beliefs that hold us back or keep us disconnected from our Self (with a capital S) is a powerful exercise. I am creating an online course precisely on this topic, which will be available late this Spring. In the meantime…

    As you practice with our “Self-Compassion Conversation Starters”, here are two words to add into your self-dialogue:

    LET’S & WE

    “De, we can handle this.”
    “De, let’s look at the options here.”
    “Well, De, that didn’t go so well. What do we do now?”

    Let’s and We, simply put, are partnership words. Language that joins together and connects – me with me!

    As always, please share your comments below or on our Facebook page. We are all learning from each other and I so appreciate hearing about your experiences with the concepts and exercises I share.

    Let’s close with a prayer.

    Heavenly Father, I pray that you will guide us as we journey along the pathway of self-compassion. Help us to grow in loving relationship with ourselves. Thank you, Lord, for all the ways you bless us, even the ways that don’t happen to feel like blessings in the moment. These “blessings in disguise” are perfect opportunities for us to partner with You in practicing self-compassion, self-acceptance, and self-gentleness. Thank you that you made us whole and in Your image. Please help us to see ourselves more clearly. To see ourselves as You see us, Lord; as we ARE.  Amen!

    With love,
    De

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  • self-compassion

    This week’s word is…SELF-COMPASSION

    There are words that are essential to the Mothering Conversation. Words that represent qualities and behaviors for us to try on if we are to
    evolve the conversation of mothering. Each week on our blog, we feature one of these Words.

    Definition of Self-Compassion:

    “Self-compassion is simply giving the same kindness to ourselves that we would give to others.” Christopher Germer from his book “The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion.

    “Thinking, feeling, and behaving with warmth, caring, and the desire to relieve suffering, towards YOURSELF.” De Yarrison, after reading about a hundred articles on self-compassion, by amazing authors including Dr. Kristen Neff, Barb Markway, Tara Brach, and Brene Brown.

    Self-Compassion is awareness and empathy for my own struggles, distress, and suffering. I extend self-compassion when I come alongside myself, providing support, comfort, and reassurance. Just as I would give to a good friend. Just as I would receive FROM a good friend. Self-compassion, simply put, is authentically befriending yourself.

    Examples:

    1. Instead of just ignoring your pain with a “stiff upper lip” mentality, you stop to tell yourself “this is really difficult right now,” and to think about how you might comfort and care for yourself in that moment.
    2. Instead of mercilessly judging or criticizing yourself for various inadequacies (which we all have by simple virtue of our humanity. i.e.: you’re normal), self-compassion is kind, gentle, and uplifting. “You are able and capable.” “You are worthy.”
    3. You befriend and support yourself when you encounter frustrations, loss, or disappointments. And when you make mistakes, miss a goal or deadline, and bump up against your limitations. “I see how hard you are working.” “You are handling this and all will be ok.” “You are showing up, and you are enough.”

    Here’s the awesome news about self-compassion: God’s Love is the SOURCE of self-compassion. His love is perfect & always available; we do not have to get there alone. In fact, we can’t get there alone!

    “Self-compassion allows us to access a safe space of love and belonging in the midst of our imperfection because it is sourced in a Love beyond ourselves.” Janet Davis in her lovely blog post about self-compassion.

    EXERCISE
    Each day this week, begin your day by purposefully and lovingly connecting with YOU.

    1. Each day as you’re going through your morning routine (time to make the coffee…), use our “Self-Compassion Conversation Starters” to engage in a self-compassionate dialogue with YOURSELF.
    2. Download and print out the Conversation Starters by clicking on the reminder card below. Post on your bathroom mirror, coffee pot, bible, anywhere that you will see it early in your day.
    3. As you ask yourself the questions on the card, take a moment to note your answers in a notebook or journal.
    4. At the end of each day, take a look at what you wrote that morning. And reflect on your self-relationship & self-dialogue of the day. How did you meet your self-compassion needs and requests from the morning? If you did NOT meet your self-compassion needs, what got in your way?

    Self-Compassion Conversation Starters

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  • This week’s word is…COMPASSION

    There are words that are essential to the Mothering Conversation. Words that represent qualities and behaviors for us to try on if we are to
    evolve the conversation of mothering. Each week on our blog, we feature one of these Words.

    Compassion-Card

    Definition of Compassion: Sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress coupled with a desire to relieve it.

    I think of compassion as empathy + efforts to help, guided by a desire to contribute to the greater good, one day at a time.

    How do we mothers contribute to the greater good, one day at a time? Sometimes showing compassion and contributing to the greater good looks like helping those less fortunate or reaching out to a friend in need. We mothers also have the opportunity to bring more compassion into the world by being a source of compassion in our own homes. Here’s a simple, everyday example:

    I’m helping my 6th grader with her math (fractions, ugh!). We’re going over the same concept for what seems like the 100th time. She’s frustrated. I’m frustrated. She’s not getting it and appears to be on the verge of tears.

    Compassion is taking a breath, looking at her, and asking myself the following questions.

    What do I see as I look at her?

    • I see a little girl who is feeling down about herself and her mathematical abilities and who, frankly, wants to be curled up with her novel right now.

    What does she need from me in this moment?

    • Encouragement that she can do this.
    • To know that I believe in her.
    • For me to be her ally, not her enemy.

    What does she definitely NOT need from me in this moment?

    • My judgment or criticism
    • My impatience
    • My inadvertent shaming by saying things like, “[big sigh] We’ve gone over this so many times!” Or “No, not like that! I already showed you this…”

    Cultivating Compassion for ourselves and others is an essential part of living a life of love and meaningful connection. In this week’s exercise, we’ll use the “Questions of Compassion” and practice seeing others through the eyes of our heart. Looking and seeing others through the lens of compassion fosters gentleness within ourselves, which then comes through in our words and actions.

    Next week’s word is Self-Compassion and we will explore how and why to foster a compassionate relationship with ourselves.

    EXERCISE: Questions of Compassion

    Core Questions of Compassion:

    1. What do I see as I look at him/her?
    2. What might this experience be like from his/her perspective?
    3. What does he/she need or want?
    4. What does he/she need or want from me?
    5. How can I best support him/her right now?

    Additional questions to think about in situations where you feel that you’ve been wronged:

    1. What meaning have I given to this situation (i.e.: He is being inconsiderate; She isn’t listening to me; etc)?
    2. How can I check out my meaning/assumptions with the other person?
    3. How else can I think about this?
    4. What do I need or want?
    5. What request will I make?

    Click here to download a Questions of Compassion reminder card. Print multiple copies. Put them where they are readily accessible. Give them to your family members and support each other in bringing more compassion into your interactions with one another.

    Scripture Verse:
    “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved,  compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another” Colossians 3:12-13

    Click on the picture below to download a 2″x3″ Compassion Card for your mirror, refrigerator, computer monitor, etc.
    Compassion Card

    All of our Weekly Word scripture verse cards are also available for purchase in multi-packs.

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  • This week’s word is…VALIDATION

    There are words that are essential to the Mothering Conversation. Words that represent qualities and behaviors for us to try on if we are to
    evolve the conversation of mothering. Each week on our blog, we feature one of these Words.

    Validation-large
    Definition of Validation: Finding the truth of something; authenticating something or someone; acknowledgment, recognition and acceptance of another person’s internal experience.

    Validation is that warm feeling of being understood and accepted. Our children desperately need our validation. They need to know that who they are is ok (even when what they’re doing may not be ok).

    We are living within a dangerous paradigm which I call the Lie of Scarcity. The lie of “I am not enough” – not smart enough, good enough, pretty enough, thin enough, strong enough… – has led to a culture of shame and fear. (To hear ALL ABOUT scarcity, and it’s anticdote sufficiency, be sure to come to one of our retreats). I believe that through a genuine practice of validating our children, we will shift this paradigm into the future.

    To be clear, validation is not agreement. When I validate someone, it does not mean I am agreeing with what he or she did or said. I am validating the person, not the content of the conversation or situation. Literally saying, “I hear you.” or “I’m listening. Is there more?” sends a powerful message and lets them know that he or she matters to you, that you’re paying attention and that you care about their experience of the situation. And we can do this, even when we DON’T agree with the person’s viewpoint or behavior. Receiving our validation has greater impact on our children and our relationship with them than getting our agreement.

    Here’s an interesting idea to close with: YOU desperately need YOUR validation too. Try action item #1 below. Self-Validation is an important habit to cultivate, and directly correlates to our capacity to validate others.

    Validation in Action:

    1. Each day this week, give yourself the gift of validation. When you’re feeling frustrated, happy, disappointed, sad, etc., validate your experience. Tell yourself, “I hear you, De [insert your own first name]. I hear that you are ___________[insert feeling].” Resist all urge to fix anything. Whatever you are experiencing is true for you in that moment. Simply be there for yourself and offer your validation.
    2. Choose at least one conversation each day, with your child or significant other. Practice your presence and validation. Say, “I hear you. Tell me more.” Reflect what you see in them, “You sound excited!” “I sense some frustration. Am I hearing you accurately?”
    3. Most importantly breathe, slow down, focus fully on the person (yourself included), and listen.

    Scripture Verse:

    “Dear brothers, don’t ever forget that it is best to listen much, speak little…” James 1:19

    Click on the picture below to download a 2″x3″ Reminder Card for your mirror, refrigerator, computer monitor, etc.
    Validation Card
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  • This week’s word is…LOVE

    There are words that are essential to the Mothering Conversation. Words that represent qualities and behaviors for us to try on if we are to
    evolve the conversation of mothering. Each week on our blog, we feature one of these Words.

    Definition of Love:
    Noun: Unselfish, loyal, and benevolent concern for the good of another.
    Verb: To feel affection and tenderness for another.

    If your life experience is anything like mine, I’ll venture a guess that there are times when showing love to your mate or child don’t come so easy. Even when we aren’t feeling the love (verb), we are still called to give the love (noun). This can be difficult!

    The Love Challenge

    Here’s a love challenge for you to consider. The purpose of the love challenge is to think about love in the way God thinks about love. And to help us practice love (noun) even when we don’t feel love (verb).

    The challenge is based on this description of love, given to us by Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7…

    “Love is patient, love is kind. Love is never jealous or envious, never boastful, nor proud, nor rude; never selfish, not quick to take offense.
    Love does not demand its own way. Love keeps no score of wrongs; does not gloat over another’s sins, but delights in truth.
    There is nothing love cannot face. Love always protects, always trusts. Love hopes all things. Love endures all things.”

    In the love challenge, we replace the word “love” with the pronoun “I”…

    “I am patient, I am kind. I am never jealous or envious, never boastful, nor proud, nor rude; never selfish, not quick to take offense.
    I do not demand my own way. I keep no score of wrongs; do not gloat over another’s sins, but delight in truth.
    There is nothing I cannot face. I always protect, always trust. I hope all things. I endure all things.”

    Read the above aloud to yourself, using the word “I”.

    Certainly gives me plenty to strive for in the way I am loving. Others as well as myself!

    Take The Love Challenge!

    1. Choose one phrase or sentence from the verses above to pour your love energy into today. Perhaps it will be “I am not envious” or “I am not quick to take offense” or “I endure all things.”
    2. Write this phrase or sentence on an index card to carry with you all day. Read it to yourself often throughout the day. Allow this particular way of showing love to guide your interactions and your mothering today.
    3. At the end of the day, check-in with yourself:
      • What was it like to show love to others in this way today?
      • What impact did you notice, if any, on your relationships?
      • How do you feel in this moment?
    4. Choose a phrase each day! It can be the same one or a different one. I sometimes have to work with the same one for a while before that way of loving flows more naturally for me 🙂

    A Closing Prayer:
    Heavenly Father, help me to love as you love! Open the eyes of my heart so I may see myself more clearly. Please reveal the truth of my own heart to me. Show me where I hold onto selfishness or pride, where YOU wish for me to only Love. Thank You for how You love me with all constancy and mercy. Teach me to do the same. In Jesus name, Amen!

    “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” – 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

    Click on the picture below to download a 2″x3″ Reminder Card for your mirror, refrigerator, computer monitor, etc.
    Love-Card

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