Coffee & Pearls is a weekly podcast where I share wisdom to help Catholic Moms get a better handle on their lives. If you don’t want to listen to the podcast… no problem! The entire episode has a corresponding blog post that you can read instead!

Be not afraid.

Be not afraid.

 

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It was a rough year. Instead of heading into this year with bouncing enthusiasm, I find myself walking softly with quiet strength. I have emerged from these last four years…. strong. I am strong. I can do hard things. I will continue to do hard things. 

I spoke at an Advent retreat in Portland. There were two amazing nuns. They both talked about controlling our reactions, not our emotions, but the actions that follow our emotions. 

Then one of them said something striking. She said, “God tells us many times in the Bible, ‘Do not be afraid’ but He never says, “Do not feel afraid.” 

I’ve been praying about this lately. I’ve been trying to cultivate more joy and hope in my life and whenever I find myself spiraling into darkness or fear, then I immediately feel guilty about it. I’m not joking, I often sing Vacation Bible School songs to pull me out of it. 

My hope is in the Lord, I belong to Him, He will never let me go-oh-oh-ooooo

But when I heard the nun say, the Bible never says, “Do not feel afraid,” it gave me so much peace. Of course, it’s okay that I feel fear! Of course, it’s okay that anxiety bubbles up and I feel unsure about what I’m doing. 

The important part is that I don’t give into that fear and let it paralyze me. That I don’t become fear. That I don’t let my worries keep me from loving the people around me or from living my life.  

I will not BE afraid.

Have courage and do not fear the assaults of the Devil. Remember this forever; it is a healthy sign if the devil shouts and roars around your conscience, since this shows that he is not inside your will.
– St. Padre Pio

My patron saint for the year is Joan of Arc and I can already see how she’s setting up shop in my heart and asking me to be brave. It doesn’t look like swords, it looks like trust. I can see that God is asking me to trust Him. 

This year more than any other, I’m staring into a fuzzy grey box for the future. We might sell our business and take on a completely different lifestyle. I know a big change is coming but I have no idea what it is. I can’t plan for it, I can’t read about it, I can’t make a to-do list for it. And so my work this year is to step quietly into my domestic life and to serve my family. 

My theme this year, and I don’t usually pick a theme or a word to follow but this year I really felt like all of my goals were asking the same thing: consistency. After a few years of not having much control of my house, I feel so deeply blessed to be able to walk, to clean, to teach my children, and to simply manage my home. I want to do that this year consistently. 

I will be brave and I will put my head down and take care of my family not knowing what’s going to happen in American politics, what’s going to happen if an economic slowdown comes, what’s going to happen as the Catholic Church grapples with more struggles. I will love and work consistently and I will trust God. 

He sees the future and if all I can really plan is what I’m doing today, that is enough. For me, trust is the opposite of fear. I trust that I will be enough, that God is enough, that my little life is enough. 

My husband and I often chuckle that our 50’s will be our golden years. This is usually while multiple children are crying or have poop in their diapers. But I’ll be honest, I’ve met a lot of couples in their 50’s lately who tell me about the emotional stretching that’s required to raise teenagers and young adults… of the confusing role shift of caring for ailing parents… of the heartbreak of losing friends to cancer. I’m not sure our 50’s will be any less challenging than these years. 

And so lately I’ve been saying, Heaven will be worth it. As I feel nearly swallowed by the noise in my house, by the relentless task of parenting, by the confusing trials of marriage, I think… this is hard but Heaven will be worth it. 

God did not tell us not to feel afraid. He sees our fear and He wants to comfort us. He sees our worries and He wants to wipe them away. When you see the scary things in your future, even if they are just imagined, close your eyes, take a deep breath and picture yourself crawling into the lap of God the Father. He will hold you tight until you calm down. 

Do not be afraid, for I am with you. 

Thank you for listening to Coffee & Pearls and have a blessed day!

P.S. The Catholic Women Shine goals course closes on January 6th. Check it out here at www.catholicwomenshine.com

 

Why You Should Set Goals in December

Why You Should Set Goals in December

 

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Have you ever decided you’re going to start a diet on a Monday? What usually happens that weekend before? You eat all the bad food! You know the “good choices” you is coming so you decided to let “bad choices” you run wild for two more days. Most of us have done this. 

December is like the last weekend before we set big goals. We tend to go a bit crazy and eat too much, spend too much money, watch too much television and in general, do things that our best selves would not do. 

I want to challenge you to just… not do that this year. Just don’t do it. You don’t have to.

 

Here are the exercises I want you to go through: 

 

Review Last Year (This step is optional. In the podcast, I explain why I skipped this step.)

 

Coffee Shop Exercise

 

90-Day Goals

 

Role Play Obstacles

 

Name Your Alter-Ego

 

Trascript of Video

Hey everyone and welcome to coffee and Pearls, 15 minutes of wisdom for Catholic moms. I’m Sterling Jaquith and today I want to talk about goal setting, kind of a micro, “do this right now” type of goal setting. I’m filming this in December and it’s, it’s kind of like this. Have you ever decided that you were going to change the way that you eat? Right and maybe we’re going to cut out sugar or go gluten free or do a whole 30 and you’re going to do that on Monday and what do you do? Right? What do you do the weekend before that? Monday you eat everything, you go crazy, you eat all the ice cream with all the pizza. Almost all of us have done that, right? We know that our future self is going to make some really hard, rigid decisions and so we let our present self go crazy and do all of the fun, perhaps not good things for us because we know we’re going to be super good come Monday and I think the December, it’s like a whole month of that, right?

We know that January is coming and we’re like, okay, I’ll start that in January. Right? But we then kind of take off the wheels and go crazy in December. We tend to eat things we shouldn’t eat. We spend more money than we should spend. We tend to spend time doing things that are perhaps not really good for us and it’s just a little nuts. We tend to do a lot more screen time and I’m not talking about good quality you know, carefree timelessness with your family. I’m talking about coping with stress and doing too many things and things that don’t actually bring us joy. Things that we’re barely present for because we’re just so crazy trying to get through them to the next thing. That’s what a lot of us tend to live December. And so I just want to encourage you right now to just take like 20 minutes, 30 minutes and do some of the exercises I’m going to talk about today.

Not a full, you know, review of the year and not your final 2020 goals, but just kinda quick versions of these things to anchor yourself against. Who you really want to be and then to try to hold onto that version of you as much as you can through December to kind of minimize the damage before heading into January. So I just did this and I’m going to share it with you and take you through my process. And then if you want to do this, you can go to Sterling, Jake with.com and click on coffee and pearls and find this episode and I’ll link the resources there. So first things first, you can review last year if you want to. I chose not to do this. You know, I got surprised pregnant at the beginning of the year after I wrote my goals. So 2019 was just me being pregnant and on bedrest.

I don’t need to review a lot of that. I will probably do that before January just because I like taking that really contemplative time to do that and to think about lessons that I learned, but broad strokes, I know what happened, I know what worked and what didn’t work. And I also know why I didn’t accomplish a lot of my goals because as got pregnant and was on bed rest. So that’s okay. I didn’t spend any time doing that. The exercise I dove straight into was what I call the coffee shop exercise, which is, you know, sitting down with yourself at a coffee shop at the end of the year, next year, right? A year from now, December, 2020. What would you love to hear that person say to you? And I think when we actually picture ourselves, you know, telling us this story, it really, it makes it feel a little more realistic.

So, you know, December, 2020 is not going to say, my marriage is fixed, my kids are perfect. I ran a marathon. You know, I did everything that I wanted to do. Sometimes one by one we can trick ourselves into thinking that all of those big, big things are possible. And now that I want to limit your success. But I actually think it’s better to, to ground ourselves in reality and think about, no really like what’s a reasonable amount that you know, 2020 Sterling can do that I would still feel really impressed with. Right. And so this is kind of what I wrote down. And I, I did actually go back and reread my coffee shop exercise from last year and I was surprised how much I accomplished even though I got pregnant and was on bedrest. And when I wrote mine this year, I thought, I want to write things down that if I literally get pregnant again for the fourth year in a row, which I really hope does not happen.

But if I do and I’m on bed rest or you know, to me that’s the equivalent of saying like maybe I get a cancer diagnosis or maybe my mom does. Like maybe some crazy thing is going to happen in 2020 that’s going to just fill my bucket with something to do. So there isn’t space for all these ideas that I have in my head right now. What I wanted to write down, a version of me that still dealt with all of that and came out strong, what would that look like? So here’s what I wrote. I want to feel more deeply rooted in Christ. So instead of saying, I want a Bible, read my Bible, or memorize scripture, or all the things we tell ourselves, I just want to feel more deeply rooted in Christ. And I know what that feels like. I know when a year has passed and I have like crushed my spiritual game.

Okay? You’ll notice this is also a space that’s not for smart goals, right? This is not measurable time constricted, things like that. It’s just feelings. And some of you may hate that based on your personality type. You can do it however you want. Do whatever you want. Minor, just kinda feeling face. So I feel more deeply rooted in Christ. He permeates every part of my life. He’s at the beginning, at the beginning of my work plans at the beginning of my homeschooling plans, at the beginning of my plans for our marriage. I feel a sense of peace walking with Jesus, right? Like he is just with me. He’s just with me, man, through all of my decisions. I really feel like that today. Today I’ve had a peaceful, busy but peaceful day where he’s just with me in moment to moment to moment. I’m making a decision that I think would make him proud of me.

Okay. there is a great peace in our home that can happen even in times of crisis. Okay. You can really work with your spouse and your children or yourself if you live alone to just have a peaceful home environment. Okay. I love where we live. So one of the things is our house is for sale right now and I really wanted to write down, “I love my new house”, but I realized I don’t even have control over that. We may not sell our house. What if it just sits on the market? We may be forced to move to a house that I don’t love that much, but I can love where I live. I can create a home and an environment that I love. I do have control over that. I wrote down, I’m proud of our daily routines. I went to some amazing conferences and had an awesome girl’s weekend with my friend Lisa.

She’s my best friend. We do stuff. That was true last year or this year, you know, I was pregnant on bedrest and I still went to a couple of conferences and I still spent a weekend with Lisa. We didn’t do anything great cause I couldn’t walk, but we hung out together and it was still awesome. So I know I can accomplish those things. And then Michael, my husband Michael and I feel comfortable around each other and we are better at resting in each other. So we’ve got some stuff to work out from our crazies. The last three years, we’re a little uncomfortable around each other. I don’t want to say all the time, but we’re, we’ve, we trigger each other a lot. And we just went from, you know, Michael really single parenting, the kids upstairs for almost six months and me living downstairs and now we’re just trying to adjust being together again.

And that’s really hard. For those of you who have spouses that have deployed for a long time, I imagine it’s the same way. Like you just have to learn how to live together again. And I think 2020 is going to be really, really big for us. Just learning how to be comfortable around each other. My husband and I are also pretty terrible at knowing how to rest in each other. Like if one of us is really, really spun up neither of us are very good at like soothing the other person. And part of that is because we didn’t have a lot of that in our, our childhood homes. And so we’re having to kind of learn how to do that. And I really want that to just be better, just be better. It’s not going to be fixed in a year.

I know that but I want to continue to, to just draw my attention to how can I learn how to do that? How can I communicate to him what I need so that we can rest in each other better than we are right now. I wrote down, I have a firm grasp of my fertility and my hormones. Okay. Last year I wrote I’m not going to get pregnant and then I got pregnant. Right. So this year I’m just going say I’m just really focusing on mastering the all the data that I can about my own fertility and my hormones. Because you can be really good at charting your, your mucus or some of those air temperature, some of that NFP stuff. But I’m, I may need to do some thyroid work or something like that. So that’s why I added hormones as well. I’d put out consistent work all year long.

I feel like since I started this business ministry work that I do, I have not spent an entire year being consistent. So I have a lot of plans for how I’m going to do that in 2020. I just want to, you know, coffee shop me is going to say I put out consistent work all year long and I journaled every single day. I’ve never ever been able to cultivate the habit of journaling. And 2020 is going to be the year. And then at the end I wrote, I feel really content and I feel really proud. I want to feel those things at the end of the year. Contentment. And then the good kind of just like proud. I worked really hard. I did these things. I’m proud of what I did. Okay. So for me that was the coffee shop exercise. Next, I want you to do your 90 day goals and this brings me to my just absolute, absolute favorite thing about the Catholic Women Shine planner.

And I’ll show you, this is the planner I designed has no dates, has no dates in it. Okay. Cause one quarter last year I was just like, I’m out. I’m not gonna do it. I’m not going to do this. I mean I still took notes and did tasks and things, but I was in bed and I was just not really emotionally prepared to do this kind of work so I didn’t. So now I’m just going to do that quarter that’s empty in my planner and I just love that. I love that this planner allows for real life to happen, you know, and that you can buy it and it may take you two years to get through it and that’s totally fine. So I went and did my 90 day goals. I just skipped the annual goal part because I just want to focus on how I’m going to head into the new year and what’s going to happen.

I think we get a little bit too too focused on, on the dream of what we’re going to do in a year. For me, I prefer to say like, I want to be a Saint. That’s what I’m doing with my life. I want to help my, my husband and my kids to become saints. Right? That’s my life goal. What am I doing in the next 90 days? Okay. And then the coffee shop exercise to me is, is that overarching like, Hey, what do I think this year going to be like? But I’ve just learned that I have no idea what the year is going to feel like. I have a lot more control over the next 90 days, so I’m not going to go through all of my goals. I did three big goals and then three small goals. I don’t recommend ever doing more than three big goals because that’s already so much to focus on.

So the three small goals are more like just adding back in habits that I’ve already been successful at. So I’m going to go through that with my Catholic women shine course, people in more detail, but you don’t need to hear that right now, anyone to do it. So you can print these off for free and it walks you through how you’re going to go, how you’re going to do your 90 day goals. So the first one for me was around energy. I want to increase my energy and then I broke that out into fuel. What I’m putting in my body, sleep, getting enough sleep to have energy and then having an active lifestyle. We tend to think that, you know, if we work out that considered active, but you can actually have a really sedentary lifestyle. Even though you work out, right, she’s in CrossFit for half an hour a day and then sit at your office for the whole rest of the day.

And so I have a couple books on that that I want to read. I just want to really work on fighting that. I’m a really sedentary person because I love reading books and sitting down and it’s just my natural state. Right now and I don’t want it to be anymore. Right? So I even just said that and that was a limiting belief. It’s not my natural state. Humans have a natural state of moving. I have trained myself to have a natural state of sitting even after I work out. Right? So I want to work on that, just moving my body more every single hour and learning how to do that and learning to want to do that. So I, that might take more than a year, but that’s just an example. And then one of the things that the Catholic Women Shine goals planner does is it asks you to come up with specific tasks.

And then obstacles (more about obstacles in a second). Then a slogan. And so one of the slogans I wanted to share with you was the one around sugar. I would like to just do zero Ben on sugar, no sugar. So I have started thinking about sugar that the devil has assigned me a sugar demon, right? Like this little demon. And he just sits right here. And the devil said, you know what’s Sterling is very powerful. She loves God so much and she has the ability to bring other people closer to God and we don’t want her to do that. And so we’re, we know that she has a weakness for sugar and so we want to drag her down by making sure she has, you know, insulin spikes and crashes, doesn’t sleep well, doesn’t have a ton of energy, feels depressed and sluggish and isn’t able to do the work that God wants her to do with her, her home, her children and her ministry.

Right? How horrible does this sound when you, when you think about it, right? But what if that were true? What if, what if the devil has assigned a demon to do this to you? And so I picture him now this little sugar demon going, just eat, it’s fine. You deserved it. All this yucky language. And that has really helped me to just say no, right? The stronger we feel that the devil is trying to prevent us to do something, it’s easy when we visualize it that to lean in and go, you will not do that to me. Okay. So I wrote that down, not today. Sugar, demon. And then the other visual that I created and I just heard about this in a different way, but I put a sugar spin on it was it would be like if you bought a brand new car and then every day you went in and he poured sand into the engine.

Okay. And then, and you hear that and you’re like, Oh, that’s just terrible. I just, I can’t imagine that. I can’t imagine buying like a brand new, this is the life stage. I mean you guys, but minivan or 12 passenger van, like just the nicest schmancy. Just one, and then putting sand in the engine every day. And yet we do that to ourselves all the time and our engine breaks down and then we go, why? Why is this happening to me? You know, but we’re doing that to our own bodies. And so that is such a powerful image for me. And I like that sugar looks like sand. And so I’m just trying to reframe how I think about putting sugar in my mouth. Okay. That’s just one example. I could go through all of this, but I’m not going to right now.

So the next thing I want you to do is I want you to role play obstacles. Okay? I want you to think about the obstacles that you’re gonna encounter both in December, but then also, right for this 90 days that we’re planning the launch. You can think about the obstacles that are going to come up and visualize yourself role play them. How are you going to overcome that? When you go to a party and someone says, here’s a cupcake, right? That’s like my Achilles heel. I love cupcakes. Like, how are you going to say no to that? Or if you’re having a really bad day and you end up sitting in bed watching an hour of a show that makes you feel really bad about yourself and you know that you know that watching the show ends up making you feel bad about yourself. Yeah.

But you want to do it cause it’s soothing and you like it. You know, what are you gonna do instead? Picture yourself doing the thing instead and then also picture yourself feeling so awesome. The other day I was, we were having a crazy day and then my husband ended up staying out late doing work with our fencing team and I just had this moment where I just really wanted to order a pizza for everybody. I was like, that’ll be fun and yummy and easy. And, but then I just, I pictured my future self just being like, why did you do that? For lots of reasons. I don’t mean to have so many food examples, but you know, we’ve been through such a season of survival that we really let the food stuff go and we’re just, I’m really ready to bring it back for my family.

And so instead I took a deep breath, I cut up the stupid broccoli and I made Turkey Curry, a yellow Curry using Turkey from Thanksgiving. And it was wonderful and everyone liked it. And I had such a spring in my step after that because I made a really good choice, that very difficult for me to make. And it really just made me have so much more confidence that I can be that person. And so I want you to picture the obstacles that are kind of come your way. Picture where you’re going to do to saying no, I’m not going to give into that and then picture how you’re going to feel after doing that once or 10 or a hundred times. Okay, do that. The last thing I want you to do is I want you to give yourself an alter ego. You already have one, but I want you to picture your alter ego and I want you to name that person.

So an alter ego is kind of like the best version of yourself, your superhero self, the Saint that’s already within you, the person that God created that’s completely untarnished by the world, right? That’s, that’s your alter ego. You’re your super self. And I want you to name that person. So I named mine Stella, Maris after Mary. And so I asked myself, when something comes up, I just say like, what would Stella do? And I immediately know what that means. I know that that means like what would the best version of myself do? What would you know Sterling on a perfect day? Do? And we usually know the answer, right? We usually know, Oh, this is what she would do right now. This is the next best thing that she would put her focus on. And sometimes it’s to get something hard done. Sometimes it’s to slow down and be more present with someone.

There’s lots of things that come up when we asked that question, but it’s usually pretty clear. What’s the next thing? What would Stella do? So I want you to, to imagine that version of yourself and give that version of name and then ask yourself, you know, what would that person do in this situation? Okay. So I want you to do that. You guys, I want you to have an awesome December. I want to set yourself, set yourself up for success for January. You know, there’s no reason we need to put ourselves in a worse financial position and then decided to deal with that in January. Do it now. Mitigate that risk and and you’ll, you’ll feel so much more awesome about yourself. Come January. Okay, so I will, the worksheets for this are going to be on my website under this podcast.

You can also find them at www.catholicwomenshine.com at the very bottom of the page, you scroll all the way down or you know, control end. And there’s a peach colored bar that says, you know, free worksheets and you can just download. That’s the whole planner. You don’t need to do all of it. You can just go straight to the 90 day goals section. But all of that is there and it is free. So I’m wishing you wonderful holidays. We’re not quite there yet. But it feels like we are. And there’ll be a lot more for me come January with the goals program and the course that I’m going to put out. I think you could be doing some of that work right now, and I think you would feel really proud of yourself if you did. So, thank you so much for listening to coffee and pearls and have a blessed day.

The Profound Joy of Motherhood

The Profound Joy of Motherhood

 

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1. Always be learning. You don’t need to read an entire book or take a class on a topic. Sometimes a few short YouTube videos will teach you what you need to know. But don’t let your lack of knowledge keep you from growing.
 
2. Don’t be ashamed to tell other people you changed your mind.
 
Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradicts everything you said to-day.”
Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson
 
3. The danger of foolish consistency. A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” We’ve always done it this way. That’s just who I am.
 
4. Be open to the Holy Spirit. Sit in the classroom of silence.
 
5. Pray the Litany of Humility. It’s painful but it helps.

 

The Power of Changing Your Mind

The Power of Changing Your Mind

 

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1. Always be learning. You don’t need to read an entire book or take a class on a topic. Sometimes a few short YouTube videos will teach you what you need to know. But don’t let your lack of knowledge keep you from growing.
 
2. Don’t be ashamed to tell other people you changed your mind.
 
Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradicts everything you said to-day.”
Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson
 
3. The danger of foolish consistency. A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” We’ve always done it this way. That’s just who I am.
 
4. Be open to the Holy Spirit. Sit in the classroom of silence.
 
5. Pray the Litany of Humility. It’s painful but it helps.

 

Find a Hero and Marry Him

Find a Hero and Marry Him

 

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“Find a hero, marry him, and cheer him on every day.”

I’m kicking myself for not writing down where I read this. If anyone knows where this quote comes from, please let me know and I’ll add the credit to it. I do remember, however, how powerful it was when I read it.

It felt like angels singing but then also a punch in the stomach. I love the idea that we marry a hero. It brought back feelings of being so relieved when I finally met my husband. Here was a man who loved Jesus and wanted to raise a God-fearing, outdoor-loving, bunch of a homeschooled kids like I did. He was my hero.

He still is but I realized that I hadn’t been treating him like that. Certainly not to the extent of “cheer him on every day.” I immediately set out thinking about how I could be better in this area.  Here are five ways I’ve been trying to cheer on my hero of a husband.

1. 5 o 1 ratio. To be honest, I cringe a little when I hear the 5 to 1 ratio thing. You’re probably familiar with it. Say five nice/positive things for each critical/negative thing. This applies to our children as well. I’m not great about it with the children and downright awful at it for my husband. Especially these days when we’re passing ships in the night. We tend to be all business, business, business, a few critical things, then a kiss/prayer/goodnight routine that doesn’t always feel connective.

Still this is what we are called to do, to love our spouse and to lift them up. I need to be better about my ratio and deep down, that’s why I don’t like reading about to 5 to 1 ratio. It’s simple to understand but it’s hard to do. Just put a post-it note on your fridge that says 5 to 1 and get working on it!

2. What’s one small thing? Now this is an idea I do like to think about and every time I pick this habit back up, I’m glad that I did. Keep some post-it notes by your bed or in your bathroom. After you wake up in the morning, ask yourself, “What’s one small thing I can do to make my spouse’s life better today?” You could even ask him yourself to find out what he’d like. This is an easy and powerful way to simply shift your thinking. When we are spouse oriented out of love, it helps us to be less critical.

3. Beam him love. It’s easy to feel the heaviness of the day, the monotony of our busy lives, and the small annoying ways our spouses get in between us and our ideal plans. But the moment we slow down and think about the love that God has for our spouse, and then beam that love from our bodies to our husbands, it completely changes how we see them. This is another concept from Tools by Phil Stutz.

It’s the idea that we imagine a warm ray of sunshine coming out of us and beaming that warm love to someone else. It’s very hard to stay mad at someone when we are loving them in this way. And of course, this is how God views each person all the time so when we tap into God’s love for each soul, it helps us to be better people.

4. Pray for him and then tell him you’ve been praying for him. Constantly be praying for your husband. Pray for him when you wake up, all throughout the day, and before you go to sleep. And then I’ve found that it’s really powerful to tell your husband you’ve been praying for him. I don’t tell him everything but often I’ll say something like, “I’m praying that your day goes smoothly,” or “I’m praying that God gives you the right words in that yucky meeting you’ll have today.” Sometimes I’ll share big things like, “I’m praying that God gives you guidance about whether or not we should homeschool the kids.” I love asking God to give my husband guidance to share with me and I think it makes my husband feel special knowing that I trust him in that way.

I’m sure there are hundreds of ways we can be better at loving our husbands and plenty of articles out there that talk about how. Google them, make a list, think of what’s worked in the past. Most of all, cheer your hero on every day. He won your heart in a world full of other men.

Find a hero, marry him, and cheer him on every day. This is the kind of wife God wants for your husband.

Getting Back On Track

Getting Back On Track

 

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Seasons change quickly. It’s back-to-school for a lot of you. For me, I’m having baby number six! Peter James will be joining us soon and I’m excited to be unpregnant! It’s been a long three years with three back-to-back pregnancies. I’m looking forward to jumping into the fantasy life that’s been living in my mind these last months of bedrest.

I’m sure it will be different than I imagine in both good and challenging ways. But as I stare down a new transition and getting back on track in nearly every area of my life, there are five tools I will use to set myself up for success!

  1. Just Resume

    A fabulous phrase I learned from Susan Thompson after watching an interview about the business she built. I haven’t read her book, Bright Line Eating, but she references this phrase when it comes to falling off the wagon of a strict diet.

  2. The 5 Second Rule

    A tip I’ve shared before from Mel Robins’s book The Five Second Rule. Don’t let your brain talk you out of doing what needs to be done. Give yourself a quick count off… 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and blast off. Get up and get your stuff done!

  3. Momentum of Wins

    Do a few easy and small things to put a spring back in your step. Maybe it’s a load of laundry or reading to your kids for 15 minutes. Cross of a few things to start building up a momentum of wins so you feel confident and energized to tackle the more difficult things!

  4. Do What Worked Before

    When I read Tools by Phil Stutz and Barry Michaels, they have a whole chapter dedicated to the idea that once we find things that really work for us, we eventually stop doing those things. It’s so true. We crave novelty so we enjoy reading new books and trying new tricks but the truth is, you probably have already learned and practiced something that really helped you to be your best. Don’t discount simply going back to that strategy even if it seems less shiny than trying something new! 

  5. To Live is to Change

    There’s no getting out of it. We will all change in big and small ways throughout the rest of our lives. We will never reach a finished state while we are alive. We will always be experience change and transition. By acknowledging and embracing this instead of acting surprised, we can save our energy to find tools that help us to move through the changes gracefully and spiritually.

To live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often.”

– Blessed John Henry Newman

Books Mentioned In This Episode

Screen Time in the Jaquith Household

Screen Time in the Jaquith Household

Here is the latest Coffee & Pearls:

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I’m still not up to typing these whole episodes up but here are some bullet points of what I say!

  • My kids only watch a movie on Sundays, no other shows/movies during the week. 
  • They get no iPad time. We allowed them to do education games for a year or two but then quickly realized that there wasn’t my education happening but rather, they are mostly just games.
  • My kids have an old iPhone and have access to Pandora to play a few music stations and Audible/Overdrive apps to listen to audio books.

5 Ways Screens Are Robbing You of Your Life

5 Ways Screens Are Robbing You of Your Life

Here is the latest Coffee & Pearls:

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I’m still not up to typing these whole episodes up but here are the five ways and some resources below! 

 

1. Increases Anxiety and Depression
2. Children Are Watching You
3. Hard to Hear God Through the Noise
4. Stealing Your Ability to Sleep and Recover

5. iPhone Effect

Less Stressful Summer Series

Less Stressful Summer Series

This is a four-part series but it will all be in this one post! Scroll down to find the particular thing you’re worried about for the upcoming summer!

Less Stressful Summer – Part One

SETTING BOUNDARIES

 

Play podcast episode here:

 

Here are some examples that I talk about:

  • Getting scolded for being a party pooper not wanting to be gone from the house all day events or camping
  • Balancing downtime/freetime/playtime/friend time
  • Balancing homeschooling with fun things like beach
  • Over schedule.
  • Planning the day, Not having a routine, Lack of structure
  • Not living up to kid expectations
  • Blowing budget on kids
  • Too many activities to choose from

If you are struggling with setting boundaries. Here is the process I recommend going through:

1. Create A Personal Philosophy

Spend some time in prayer, read your Bible, go to Adoration, and discover what you really value. Is it a slow and peaceful schedule? Do you want to give your kids experiences? Do you like being busy? Do you want a structured day? Are you being honest with yourself about your finances?

2. Outline a Schedule

Based on the philosophy you’ve created, decide what you’re going to spend your time, money, and energy on. 

3. Communicate Boundaries

Communicate your decisions to your family, friends, yourself, or whoever needs to know about what you’ve decided. You don’t need to explain your reasons why but if you feel comfortable doing so, it often helps people understand where you’re coming from. If you need to set strong boundaries with yourself, write yourself a phrase on a sticky note or a letter to read if your resolve weakens. 

 

Less Stressful Summer – Part Two

THINGS THAT ANNOY YOU

 

Play podcast episode here: 

 

Here are some examples that I talk about:

  • Bored kids.
  • Chaotic house. (Messy, noise)
  • Fighting Kids
  • Kids who don’t listen
  • Kids Make messes
  • Don’t want to entertain them all day
  • Sunscreen

If you are struggling with things that annoy you, here are the steps I recommend:

1. Decide if you’re being reasonable or not.

Is it reasonable for you to be annoyed or do you need to adjust your expectations?

2. Outline a Discipline Plan

If you want less of the annoying behavior, create systems to prevent it and a discipline plan with clear consequences. It’s also important to create an escalation plan (i.e. child asks you the same question more than once… gets a 2 minute timeout… if child whines about the timeout… spends 5 minutes in her room… if the child doesn’t go straight to her room… goes to bed 15 minutes early, etc.) 

3. Communicate Boundaries

Communicate your decisions to your family, friends, yourself, or whoever needs to know about what you’ve decided. You don’t need to explain your reasons why but if you feel comfortable doing so, it often helps people understand where you’re coming from. If you need to set strong boundaries with yourself, write yourself a phrase on a sticky note or a letter to read if your resolve weakens. 

 

Less Stressful Summer – Part Three

HARDSHIP & DISCOMFORT

 

Play podcast episode here:

 

Here are some examples that I talk about:

  • Working at home with mentally ill child
  • Husband’s allergies
  • Being a farmer – it’s breakneck do or die
  • Big life transitions
  • Not having AC
  • Having to find childcare
  • Having a newborn
  • Kids too little to do the things I want to do in summer like swimming
  • Being pregnant
  • Sunshine – makes my skin feel like it’s burning
  • Humidity
  • Sand
  • Heat
  • Gardening

If you are struggling with hardship or discomfort, here are the steps I recommend:

1. Troubleshoot/Problem Solve

This is not a step to be rushed! Create some space on your calendar to sit down and simply think about this problem. Ask yourself, “Have I done everything to solve this issue? Am I missing some resources or systems that could help me?” 

2. Acceptance

Once you think you have done everything you can in the way of research and understanding your problem, the next step is to simply accept your current situation. Accept that this is the cross God has given you embrace it. That doesn’t mean you have to stop problem solving but you should not be living in a constant state of guilt, fear, or feeling like you’ve screwed up. 

3. Mercy

Be gentle with yourself. Goodness know God is endlessly gentle with you. His mercy never dries up or goes away. 

4. Offer It Up

 

Less Stressful Summer – Part Four

DEALING WITH FEAR

 

Play podcast episode here:

 

Here are some examples that I talk about:

  • Ticks and Lyme, mosquitos

  • Drowning

  • Sunscreen, red dye, gluten, all the things

  • Spiders, Snakes, other vermin

  • Wearing shorts

If you are struggling with hardship or discomfort, here are the steps I recommend:

1. Deep Work

Set aside some time to really think about this issue. Is this a deep subconscious fear or is this more of an intellectual fear? Are you reacting in a proportionate way to the threat? Do whatever research is necessary for you to fully understand both your fear and potential tools you can help to prevent or mitigate the thing you’re scared of. 

2. Make A Plan

Now that you have done some soul searching and some research, make a plan. Do you need tools? Do you or your kids need training? Do you need counseling? Create a plan for dealing with your fear. 

3. Give It To God

Last, acknowledge that God is the only one who has control. There isn’t anything we can do to fully protect our children. Give your fear over to Him.  

Meal Planning Tips

Meal Planning Tips

 

Here is the latest Coffee & Pearls:

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  1. ABT! Always be thawing! It’s hard to make food when it’s frozen. Although, thanks to modern technology, the Instant Pot does help you overcome this if you still forget!
  2. Batch starches and veggies. Whether you eat rice, pasta, potatoes or whatever veggies, make huge batches and keep them in the fridge.
  3. Sauces are your friend! Find sauces you like and then keep them (or the ingredients to make them on hand.)
  4. Streamline whatever you can! That means eating the same thing for breakfast or the same thing every Monday. Routines are your friend!
  5. 30 Day Retrospective. Keep track of your meals for a month, then look back and use that as a guide to meal plan for the next month!
  6. Plan around leftover meat! We will cook an entire turkey and then for the whole week this is how we eat it: faux Thanksgiving, yellow turkey curry, and then turkey soup!
  7. Minimize new recipes! Avoid trying new recipes unless you really have the energy and enjoy it!
  8. No snacks for you! Don’t allow your kids to snack all day. Have 1-2 foods they always have access to that aren’t very exciting.
  9. Water for everyone! Seriously, this will make your life better.
  10. Plan for fun! Plan frozen food and eating out nights because you’re going to do them anyway!

Apple shallot pork chops – these are great. Sometimes if I feeling really nice to Michael… I leave out the shallots 😉 https://sarahfragoso.com/hog-heaven/

Meatballs – these are the ones I make like 300 of. I kind of wing the spices every time and I use 1/3 of the onions. https://sarahfragoso.com/magnificant-meatballs/

Peanut sauce chicken – We start with chicken and add whatever veggies. I only add the Sirachi sauce to mine and Michael’s: http://www.ambitiouskitchen.com/…/spicy-thai-peanut-chicke…/

Fish sticks – everyone loves these! https://elanaspantry.com/fish-sticks/

Chicken strips – everyone loves these… but I don’t like them as leftovers… because I’m a big baby: https://wellnessmama.com/8427/chicken-fingers/

Turkey Soup: We use leftover turkey to make this soup: http://www.primalpalate.com/paleo…/grandy-kyps-chicken-soup/

Honey Mustard Chicken (or ham) – I also make up the proportions for this every time but here’s something that looks similar to what I do: http://www.goodlifeeats.com/easy-honey-mustard-baked-chick…/

Salmon Cakes – I either use fresh salmon or canned salmon, add in eggs, some almond flour and Parmesan cheese and fry them up. They’re really yummy!

Pulled BBQ Pork: I also toss a tenderloin in the crock pot or the instant pot with half a bottle of BBQ sauce, 1-2 cups water and onions. It’s super easy. Don’t sweat the sauce in the beginning. Store bought with sugar is fine to start. When you feel up to it, then you can try your hand at making your own without sugar!

Yellow Curry with Chicken or Turkey. We use whatever meat or veggies we have on hand. We use this yellow curry paste. This is spicy so only use a little. You can add more sirachi sauce to spice up yours!

You Don’t Have To Do Anything

You Don’t Have To Do Anything

Here is the latest Coffee & Pearls:

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I’m not quite up to typing these all out yet! My first trimester “everything makes me want to throw up” feelings are gone – praise God! I feel amazing except that this last few days I’ve been sleeping funny and getting tension headaches. I’m trying to puzzle that out but in general I’m thrilled to still be walking and feeling so strong. Thank you for your prayers!

Bringing Scents into Your Prayer Life

Bringing Scents into Your Prayer Life

Here is the latest Coffee & Pearls:

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I threw out some big news on the last Coffee & Pearls. We’re pregnant with baby number six whose due date is seven days after the last baby was born. That’s right, these kiddos will be almost exactly twelve months apart. To be honest, I’m still digesting it. I’m still breathing through this news. I’m probably 30% in denial and then 70% already so tired and irpy that I’m not thinking about anything.

But I am happy to share that my husband and I out of desperation, have started praying the rosary every night. I mentioned this in the last seven quick takes Friday. We’ve been doing it at 7 p.m. after the three little kids go to bed. Sometimes the older two join us and sometimes they don’t.

Even last night I was smiling as my 8-year-old sat next to my husband with her own rosary. It felt so peaceful. It felt so right. I rubbed my belly and thanked this baby for this gift. Even if this baby doesn’t get to stay on Earth with us, I will remember this gift that he gave our family.

I’ve written about the great power of the rosary a few times. Here are some of those articles:

Praying The Rosary Like Never Before

My Weapon of Choice

Spiritual Warfare

Now most of you know I’m a minimalist so I generally turn down review opportunities because, to be honest, I don’t feel that it’s right to review something I wouldn’t buy or keep. When I saw an opportunity to review the Aroma Rosary for catholicmom.com, I jumped at the opportunity because I felt the time had come for me to dip my toes back into the world of essential oils.

I guess you could say I’m kind of a crunchy mom. We don’t do much gluten, dairy, or sugar in our house. I make a homemade clear that the kids use. I did make my own laundry detergent once and it was easy but I think I’ve had five kids since then… so it hasn’t made the cut!

When I received some essential oils as a gift many years ago, I was excited. Essential oils seem to be a cornerstone in the crunchy mom community. I was a few months postpartum at the time and had been experiencing some postpartum depression. This was after Poppy, my second, was born. I wanted to lay down and rest a little, this was in the middle of the day and my husband was home so it was probably a Saturday.

I used the roller and rubbed some under my nose, on my wrists, and on my ankles. Almost immediately, I got a migraine headache. I started seeing black spots. I yelled for my husband to grab me a bowl and promptly threw up all the contents of my stomach. I then had to lay with a cold towel on my head in a completely dark room for three hours until that awful headache went away.

To say it was a scary experience would be a huge understatement. I’ve been kind of terrified of essential oils ever since then even though I know full well, it was probably not diluted enough or I used too much. I have always been very sensitive, I can barely tolerate caffeine.

So I’ve been wanting to give essential oils another chance since they seem to be the bee’s knees but I wasn’t sure how. Then up pops this Aroma Rosary kit and it felt like perfect timing! I didn’t choose which one they sent me but the one they sent is probably the one I would have chosen! It’s an all black rosary from their Victory line which references Our Lady of Victory from the battle of Lapanto. The beads are hematite and the mysteries are lava rock.

The kit comes with four essential oils, one for each mystery. I genuinely like the smell of each one. I kind of assumed that if I didn’t like one, I’d use them based on my mood but since I actually enjoy all of them, I do use the one that’s associated with each mystery based on the mystery I’m praying.

You simply put 1-2 drops of the essential oil on the rosary and it adds a wonderful element to this beautiful prayer. The Catholic Church often uses candles and scents to deepen our experience of the Liturgy. We love lighting candles and now, adding these beautiful scents to our prayer feels so right. The kids love it, of course, because kids love novelty and anything they can do.

The bottles themselves are a little tricky to open but I actually like that because there’s no way my little kids could open them.

The only drawback is the price. It’s steep. Full-sized rosaries are $79-120 and for some of you, that’s just not even an option. But for those of you who have parents, grandparents, or friends that are very hard to buy for, I think this would be a wonderful gift. It’s thoughtful, unique, and beautiful.

I love the idea of incorporating scents into our family prayer time. I’m sure there are many ways you could do this, even with simple candles. I would encourage you to pray the rosary with your husband at the very least and with your family if you feel up to it. Even if you simply did this on Fridays, to honor the Lord’s great sacrifice, it’d be a wonderful start and I promise, you’ll see the fruits of this in your family!

Go check out www.aromarosary.com!

How To Get More Done In Less Time

How To Get More Done In Less Time

 

Here is the latest Coffee & Pearls:

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I was putting together a webinar for my Marian Mastermind group about how Catholic women who do business online can get more stuff done in less time when I realized… most all of it applied to moms even if they don’t have businesses! I pulled all the relevant parts and put it in this week’s episode of Coffee & Pearls!

Do you wish you could get more done in less time?

Do you want to know how moms can get things done even with little kids around?

Do you wish you could stop wasting so much time on your phone or online?

This is the Coffee & Pearls episode for you!

And in this episode, I also explain that even though all the business books say NOT to let people into your course after you’ve closed it, I got so many emails and Facebook messages saying people were out of town and missed out on signing up for Catholic Women Shine and guys, it crushed me. I felt so bad. Then I decided, who cares what the man says? I’m my own boss and I say I can reopen it!

So, I SUPER DUER MEAN IT THIS TIME! Catholic Women Shine is open until midnight PST January 8th. You have to sign up by Tuesday night and then it closes FOREVER. Or at least for many, many months. 

I hope you love this episode of Coffee & Pearls. If you have any other “getting stuff done” challenge that you want help solving, reply to this email and I’ll make an episode about it or answer it in a Seven Quick Takes!

Blessings, 

Sterling

P.S. I’m not sure if you should bother since I plan on winning the whole thing but if you were interested, you can join me for the www.fitandholychallenge.com that starts January 16th. 

P.P.S. If you happen to be a Catholic mom who wants to do business online (or already does), then sign up for this Catholic Women Crush It webinar!

Silly Small Goals

 

Here is the latest Coffee & Pearls:

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It’s time to start building trust with yourself.

 

We’ve gotten really good at lying to ourselves. We do it without anyone knowing. It’s a toxic cycle that swirls in our minds and no one can see it. We wake up and we tell ourselves about all the things we’re going to do today.

 

“I’m going to be a great mom. I won’t lose my temper.”

“I’m going to go for a run.”

“I won’t spend too much time on my phone.”

“I’m going to make a fabulous dinner for my family.”

“I won’t look at houses on Zillow today.”

 

Whether big or small, we tell ourselves these lies. We set ourselves up for failure. We pin our hopes on things that we already know won’t come true.

 

We break trust with ourselves. Then we stop liking ourselves… for who can like someone they don’t trust?

 

Well, it is certainly a Christian trait that we can love those who don’t deserve it but the truth is, we rarely bestow this gift on ourselves.

 

We begin to resent ourselves, to feel bitter towards ourselves. And then worse of all, we begin to stop planning, to stop hoping. Whether because of the world or because of our own choices, we have failed so often to achieve our dream or even our small daily aspirations, that we feel there is no purpose in planning anymore.

My thirties have not been flirty, fabulous, and fun. I expected that I would have more poise… more control somehow. I do have a great deal more wisdom but in a way, that wisdom has taught me to desire simpler things. It’s not that I don’t dream big, but the big dreams are not the important ones. I have a few smashingly good dreams that would be amazing to realize someday but my top dreams are small and quiet.

Ultimately all my important dreams involve slipping quietly from this life into the next with great peace… and then leading my family to the same place.

So today on this New Year, I want to challenge you to do two things.

First, stop breaking trust with yourself. You deserve this. You deserve honesty. You deserve having someone in this world that you can rely on and it must begin with you.

Don’t set giant goals. Don’t set goals you’ve failed ten times before. Instead, set some really silly small goals. Goals that are so small, you will absolutely keep them.

  • Read two Bible verses per day.
  • Do five minutes of exercise and don’t even make yourself shower afterward.
  • Give your husband one kiss when he comes home from work.
  • Read one short book to your children.

When you begin to keep your own promises, you will feel a light grow inside of you. You will feel a calm strength that comes from knowing that when you say you’re going to do something, you mean it, you know you’ll do it. We have got to be women of integrity and to know deep down in our bones that we are, we have to begin treating ourselves with dignity and respect. We must keep our word. We must be honest about what we are capable of and what is good for us. And deep down, we know these truths. Spend some quiet time today asking yourself, “What do I really need?” And then create some silly small goals to build momentum toward this goal.

Second, dream some small dreams. These dreams are about love. Love is God and God is Heaven. It’s all mixed together. Fix your eyes on the beautiful end of this life and know that nothing in between is really that important. Love God and love every single person he puts in your path. Give them your presence. Give Him your presence. If you live a very simple and small life but one that is filled with love and on the path to Heaven, you will have more joy than if you achieve a big, loud dream that everyone else can see. I think big dreams are good too but they are not the most important.

Today is the last day to register for the Catholic Women Shine goals course. Remember, the worksheets (HERE) are free. This course is for women who want a sounding board, who want accountability, and who want the support other women who are struggling to figure out how to balance our faith with the swirling life right in front of us.

God gives each one of us sufficient grace to know His holy will, and to do it fully.
– St. Ignatius of Loyola

Forgiveness in Advent

Note: For some reason I couldn’t get my image to post so there’s no image today!

 

Here is the latest Coffee & Pearls:

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Advent is here. And while I wasn’t going to write an Advent-specific post, I feel compelled to. I had the pleasure of attending Mass at a small country parish for the first Sunday of Advent and the priest was delightful. He said two things that were so important, I really wanted to share them with you.

Begin Advent With Forgiveness

He urged all families to begin the Advent season with forgiveness. Although I always go to confession during Advent, he was advocating for forgiveness within the family. He suggested that we all get together and one-by-one say to each other, “I’m sorry for all the ways I’ve hurt you, will you please forgive me?” Such a simple sentence and yet such a powerful one at the same time.

I admit that as I pictured myself saying this to my family, starting with the little kids and working my way up to the oldest and then to my husband, I found myself tearing up at the thought of this exercise. Looking at my almost 8-year-old and telling her I was sorry for all the times I’ve hurt her… whew, it was an emotional idea!

And then my husband! I can’t remember the last time I asked for blanket forgiveness. I think it’s a great idea and one that every family should do this Advent season. We’re going to do ours this Friday.

Season of Preparation

The second point this priest made, quite strongly, was that Advent is a season of preparation. It’s not a season of partying. It’s not a season of desserts. He said, we must save the party for Christmas and I agree. The other thing I like about thinking of this as a season of preparation is that we can decorate and get ready.

We like to put out white lights as a guide to Mary. I once heard someone say they leave a candle burning in their front window as a sign to Joseph and Mary that they are welcome at their house and I’ve always loved that imagery. Ha, I’m sure it was a fake candle but the idea is still lovely. So we put up white lights all over our house with the same idea in mind.

As we get closer to Christmas, we’ll get a tree. Last, we’ll decorate the tree and prepare the house for Christmas. Then we party hard from Christmas to Epiphany.

We turn down all invitations to parties except one on Gaudette Sunday when our friends have an annual potluck. We make an exception for this… to be honest… for no real reason other than it’s what we’ve always done.

I’m not trying to be a scrouge on your December but please, keep in mind, this is a season of waiting. Throughout history, December was not a time for parties and cookies, it was a time of anticipation, of waiting, and of preparation. Try hard to create this feeling in your home even if we can’t hold back the wave of American Christmas that begins right after Thanksgiving. Tell your children why we are different. Tell them we are waiting to celebrate the day that God sent His son to Earth and what a glorious event it was.

If you’re already feeling frazzled, let me remind you, no one can make you attend an event. No one can make you spend money. No one can make you eat cookies. You have the choice and the power to create the kind of Advent season that you want.

Be brave. Be holy. Choose Christ.