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!

Overcoming Vaginismus in a Catholic Marriage

Overcoming Vaginismus in a Catholic Marriage


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In this episode, I describe what vaginismus is, how I overcame it, and how it affected my marriage.

This was a tough episode to record. I stumbled a lot so I’m not going to put the transcript here. It’s private enough that if you really want to know about my experience, you can listen to the podcast. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me and I’d be happy to answer them!


Ecclesiastes Series

Ecclesiastes Series


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Hi and welcome to Coffee and Pearl’s, 15 minutes of wisdom for Catholic moms. I’m Sterling Jaquith and today I’m going to start a series about the book of Ecclesiastes. I don’t know how many parts there are going to be. I’m just going to let the Holy spirit dictate that. But this is part one where we’re talking about chapters one and two. The book of Ecclesiastes, this is like the book of Job where it’s written about troubling times, but at this point they did not yet have the good news about heaven and life forever with God because Christ died for our sins. So what we see this guy is puzzling out what’s the point of all of this? Why should I just sit around and eat pizza and watch Netflix? Right? Of course, he’s not saying that, but that’s his question.

He’s struggling with this and so I wanna read a couple verses that , stood out to me in these first two chapters and then we can talk about them. The first thing is that he basically says there’s nothing new under the sun. Right? He goes out and he tries to acquire wisdom. He works really hard. He has this beautiful poem in the beginning I almost thought about printing it up and putting it somewhere so the kids could read it through chapter one. Then he basically says there’s nothing new under the sun. That is so important for us to remember because but we tend to feel like whatever’s happening to us is so terrible. And like we’re the only ones, I’m part of a natural family planning Facebook group.

It’s called hyper fertility/rejects group. It’s basically for the people that really, really struggle with natural family planning because they’re hyper fertile or some other reason. I’m not joking, I just posted in that group saying, “Ugh, we are at 10 months abstinence, seven months postpartum. I thought this is going to be my first regular cycle and it’s just not, my stupid monitor showed me peak at day 10, which I don’t think is right. I had no stretchy mucus and it was just so disheartening because this whole time I really thought this was going to be the first one and you need three normal cycles really to begin having sex. We haven’t even had one. And so I was just so upset and I posted in the group, I just feel like I have no one to talk to.

I don’t really know a lot of people personally who struggle with huge bouts of abstinence or the ones that do don’t seem to be willing to open up and share about how difficult it is and how hard it is for their marriage and how difficult it is for their husbands and therefore them. Right. It’s, it’s difficult for me to just in a different way than it’s difficult for my husband. I feel like, Oh, this is so unfair and I should be able to have the technology to make this work. But as I was reading this this morning and there is nothing new under the sun and that is so true for all of us right now. Yours is not the first marriage to deal with whatever problem you’re dealing with, with the challenges you’re facing with your children, financial worries, even pandemics.

There is nothing new under the sun. Everything has happened before and God’s hand is in everything. And he has brought everyone through every single problem. He either brings you through to the other side of the problem or he calls you home. That’s it. Those are the only two things. So that was the first thing that jumped out at me. And then in verse 13, he says, it is an unhappy business that God has given to the sons of men to be busy, busy with. And he’s talking about going, having a mind to go out and search for wisdom for everything under the under heaven. So basically saying like, men, we have this desire to go out and find wisdom and seek all of the answers. But he says, really it’s an unhappy business and isn’t that true? Right? Wouldn’t it be lovely if we just woke up and toiled in our homes and toiled in the fields and ate food?

And we were just happy and content with that. And he says, that’s not really how God designed us and too bad. And first of all, I’m sure that is how God designed us in the garden of Eden. But it’s, it’s not how we are now. And then because of the fall and because our pride fullness, we want to know everything. We want to answer all of the questions and to solve all of our problems. And he says, what an unhappy business that is. And then he ends it by saying, all is vanity and a striving after the wind. We’re always striving for this thing that we can never capture. We’re trying to grasp water in our hands and it leaks out and it’s unsatisfying. And isn’t that true? I want you to think about something that you’re worried about right now. Why are you worried about it? What do you think you can do now? Putting your head in the sand and ignoring things isn’t great, but sometimes we ruminate on things and do you remember what the, the word rumination means? It comes from how cows eat their food, where they eat their food, they throw it up and then they eat it again because they have four stomachs. That is what we are doing when we worry and worry about things that we cannot control. All is vanity and a striving after wind.

Then later in verse 18 he says for in much wisdom is much vexation and he who increases knowledge, increases sorrow. And man, do I get this because I love learning new things. I took a personality [email protected] I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it here or not. I’ve mentioned it in the Catholic women shine group via and my second character strength is love of learning. I love to learn new things, but just like the author says here, much wisdom as much vexation because the more we know, the more frustrating it is that we see our own flaws or we see more clearly the flaws of others. , sometimes I wish I had never read anything about food because now I like, I think it’s so bad when I’m eating gluten. And then I’m like, how bad is the gluten? I don’t know how bad the gluten is, but I’ve read all these scientific books about how , we, we process it and it goes into the gut and it’s confusing. And, and I remember reading that, I don’t always remember exactly how it worked, but I remember reading that it was bad. And yet I watched these people with great peace, making your sourdough bread right now. And I’m like, Oh, I want to make some sourdough bread that looks awesome. And then I feel this conflict about my knowledge and my lack of knowledge because I’m not educated enough to really know if it’s important or not.

He who increases knowledge, increases sorrow. I forget who said this, maybe it was a Jordan Peterson thing was saying, it really is crummy to be on the outlier of IQ, which I am not. Let’s be clear about that. I’m very squarely in the middle, in the IQ front. But the, the people who have really high IQs tend to leave really unhappy lives because they just see things so clearly and other people around them don’t. And it’s just really frustrating. And then they tend to live very lonely lives because people don’t understand them. And they see in a way that perhaps naive people don’t, that the world in our life is just full of suffering and pain. We’re just going to live painful experiences for the rest of our lives. And so people with high IQs tend to see this a bit more clearly and so they’re unhappy. And I love that. We know that now. And yet this person who has never read a scientific study knows that intuitively God gives us the keys to know great truths with nothing with the Bible. And that’s what the Bible is so important because all you need is to know the Bible for in as much wisdom is much vexation and he who increases knowledge, increases sorrow. Also, I feel like I’m picturing lady Catherine de Berg saying that because of the word vexation, it is her greatly.

Next we’re going to go all the way to chapter two in verse 20 so he first he talks about how he goes out and he does all of this work. Then he seeks lots of pleasure. He’s basically just trying to do anything to feel satisfied and then he comes back and he says, so I turned about and I gave my heart up to despair over all the toil of my labors under the sun. See those God, I just worked so hard and now I feel like it was for nothing and he clarifies. He says, because sometimes a man who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave it all to be enjoyed by a man who did not toil for it. Oh, that hits home for me. It’s so frustrating to me when I work really, really hard.

And then money is just taken for me somehow, which supposes that it was mine and it’s not, it’s gods. But that’s, that’s my knee jerk reaction. Like, Oh, why did we lose that money? We’re in a lawsuit right now with one of our clients. We built an extremely expensive fence for an HOA. And it’s a long story, but they just didn’t want to pay for it. We did nothing wrong. And I’m just so upset about it because I know we did nothing wrong and they just don’t want to pay. And it turns out that a lot of times when when big hos or developers work with small contractors, they can just say, Oh, we’re not going to pay it. And the contractor is so small that they can’t afford to sue them so they walk away or they go under.

And man, it just, I’m so frustrated with this and I just, I have this when this happened and we’re still in the middle of it, but sometimes I give myself over to despair and I think it’s just not fair. My husband and I worked so stinking hard and we’re so honorable and why does this stuff happen? This happened to us when we sold our house in Portland. And we had a bad real estate agent who bought that house with us and I’m pretty sure that he had the inspector in his pocket. And so real estate agents want inspectors not to find things wrong with houses because then they’re to sell and they sell at a higher price point. And so it turns out the siding of our house was bad when we bought it. Our inspector did not tell us.

And so we paid more for the house than we should have. Then when we sold the house a better inspector set up the sightings that it’s going to be $20,000 less, I had to fix it. And so we basically renegotiated the price of the people and it felt like in that one day I lost $20,000, which was crazy. And again, I just gave myself over to this despair feeling like it’s just not fair, Lord, that some people are just lucky. Right? To me it just felt like, Oh, like those people were just lucky. We weren’t because we didn’t know that we had a bad real estate agent who, , had an a bad inspector. And so those people get to enjoy a discounted house or a discounted fence. But we did all of the work but he ends at like this. This also is vanity and a great evil. And man that hits me hard too because it’s absolutely true when we are stomping their feet and feeling like it is unfair that we worked so hard. But some person who doesn’t work hard has something great happened to them or who doesn’t work hard and gets to enjoy the hard work that we’ve done. Man, that feels really yucky.

But in Ecclesiastes he’s, he’s saying that his vanity and a great evil, let it go. Sterling was not your money and you don’t know what I’m doing with it. You don’t know what I’m doing with you. You don’t know what I’m doing with that person. Just be.

And then the last thing that I want to talk about is verse 24 through 26 just the very last paragraph, I put a huge circle around it. Have I told you I’m a messy Bible journaler it’s embarrassing, right? I don’t have any of those beautiful, beautiful Bibles with like colored pencils and things like that. No, just scribbles. I’m going to read it to you slowly cause it’s hard to hear the Bible read out loud and have your brain process it. There is nothing better for a man than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also I saw is from the hand of God for a part from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment for the man who pleases him. God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner, he gives the work of gathering and helping only to give to one who pleases God. This is also vanity and striving after wind. So he’s saying here like, Hey, you’re gonna be doing the work anyway. But the reward is that when we do it with wisdom and knowledge and joy, the fruits are wisdom and knowledge and joy. When we do it with God, we get the fruit just from doing it. It helps us to be mature and to feel closer to him.

But when we sin, when we do it with sinfulness, which to me Hargan to the previous paragraph, it says with bitterness or despair, grumpiness, and I’m the grumpiest you guys. So I know then not only have we still done the work, but we don’t, we don’t get that wisdom or that knowledge or that joy. And I think that this is really apt for right now because I think some of us feel like we’re just waiting and we don’t see the work that is to be done while we’re waiting.

But there’s so much work to be done in front of you just sweeping your floors, which drives me bananas because I sweep my floors and then two meals later they’re gross again. But that’s not the point. The point is to look up toward heaven and say, Jesus, thank you for these floors and for the children that make them messy. And then I have the time to clean them and for me personally, that I’m not stuck in bed and I can clean them. I think in this time we have to get a little more granular about the work that needs to be done. And I love the word toil because it has a negative connotation to me. Like, Oh, just the same thing over and over again, which is my whole life, right? I have three boys in diapers. The other day I changed nine poopy diapers and that is my toil and I need to do it with God. Thank you Lord, that this is my life, that I’m the one changing them.

That I have the freedom of time and health to do it. And I say that as a person who might just totally lose our livelihood, right? Our business could just close. We have one week of work. After that we could have none and then we would just close, which would be hard, not only for us but for the four people that work for us. And I could chew on that all day, every day. And I just don’t, I didn’t think about it until I started talking to you guys today. I woke up, I took care of the kids, we did breakfast, we did a workout, and then we did chores in school. That’s my morning and we did it a tiny bit more slowly than we do other days when we have to leave the house. But since we don’t have to leave the house, we took a little bit more time, a little more silliness. And that is the joy that I got to have because I did that work with God. It also helps that I read Ecclesiastes. So when you read the Bible in the morning and it says, Hey, be grateful. It helps to make you grateful. So pull your Bible out, leave it on the kitchen counter, let it get messy. Don’t have a Bible that nobody can touch or that you treat like porcelain.

Have it out and then read it. I haven’t read a class Ecclesiastes in a long time, but I just flipped to that and I thought, well, that was fantastic. And then I thought, I’m going to share that with you guys. So I’ll keep reading and an underlining things and we’ll keep talking about it. All right ladies, I love you. You are amazing. Thank you for listening to coffee and pearls and have a blessed day.


Fun and Focus

Fun and Focus


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Hi and welcome to Coffee and Pearls, 15 minutes of wisdom for Catholic moms. I’m Sterling Jaquith and today I want to talk about having fun and being focused. Two totally separate things, but they both started with F so I thought I would throw them together in the same episode. So first up we have a got to have some fun right now. Okay. There is a weird energy everywhere and we’re all kind of staring into this black box of not knowing what’s coming. And it’s weird. It’s weird to be like, “Are we having a summer? What’s happening? Am I ever going to see anyone? It’s going to feel even more eerie when we don’t get together for Easter. I predict that a lot of us who are holding it together are not going to hold it together. That and not that I’m holding it together, I experience the full spectrum of my feelings every day.

So it just depends on which hour you catch me. But I just, it is so easy to go down the rabbit hole on this. You guys, what’s going to happen? Is my business going to survive? The kids are driving me nuts. I can’t stop staring at the news like a train wreck. So easy. And I really just want you to take a step back and think about some fun things that you can do with your family, whether you have, you know, it’s just you and your spouse and your kids are gone, whether you have little kids, big kids, and when we should be able to have fun and be silly and maybe silliness is really the word because even sometimes grown up grown ups will do, you know, air quotes, fun things that aren’t really silly and it won’t accomplish the same thing. We want to change things up, really disrupt our routines and do some silly things.

And I would encourage you to do, you know, just one silly thing a day or to have one really silly day a week. Just depends on what you’ve got going on for which one of those strategies would work. So I want to share a few strategies with you. And then I would love, I’m going to put a Facebook thread up and I would love to hear other people’s strategies for super fun things that they’re doing. So the first group of things I’m going to suggest are things related to school. A lot of you have suddenly found yourselves doing school at home and I just want to say welcome to the rebellion. I love homeschooling. I love getting to do what I want. And I just have to say for all of you who are doing public school or private school at home, you are not homeschooling because someone’s telling you what to do.

And you can’t not do it if you don’t feel like it. But I’m here to tell you that you can, you can just not do it. Here’s the thing. Everybody in the whole country is living a weird life right now. Every single child is going to get a hard reset at school in the fall, right? The kids who did absolutely nothing for this last six months are going to be sitting next to the kids whose moms like freaked out and hyper controlled every moment of their kid’s life to do all of the assignments other than high schoolers. Guys, you just don’t need to do it. You don’t. You can also just message your teacher and say, Hey, we’re going to do what we feel like doing, but it’s not going to be all this stuff and you’re going to tell the kids, Hey, this is a weird time and I want to spend it with you.

I don’t care what the grades are this year. We’re not even gonna look at them when they come out, okay? Now again, that’s totally up to you, but I just want you to know that it is possible and it’s not a bad thing, right? Your kids are going to look back and remember this time you get to decide what they remember, right? Are they gonna remember you losing it and freaking out and yelling at them to do their math worksheets? Or are they going to remember that you did some of the fun things that I’m talking about and you could have a little bit of both. You don’t have to, you know, go off the rails completely, but find a balance and put it all into perspective. I mean this just isn’t, the school stuff is just not, it’s a blip. This is not anything to do with who these kids are going to be when they grow up.

They are not going to get in trouble for doing none of this stuff. They really just aren’t. Okay. So take a deep breath and recognize that you have a lot of flexibility here and these kids are watching you to see how you’re responding. So these are some ideas that got posted in my homeschooling group around February. February is usually a homeschooling burnout month because the weather’s kind of crummy and we’re all still like in a holiday hangover. And so it’s hard to get everybody like excited and up for doing school. So here are just a couple ideas that got thrown around that group that I thought were really clever. One of them was to declare a challenge day. And so you kinda throw out whatever regular routine you have and you say, okay, I challenge you to complete as many lessons as possible and maybe you could have a couple of prizes and then you can sit them down on one of the, you know, learning apps that they have or I’m not sure what they’re sending you guys home with.

So I, I just know the learning apps, like math seeds or reading eggs or Khan Academy or I, there’s just so many out there and you just challenged them to do as many as they can and they can earn tickets or points and then they can use those to purchase a prize or a treat. I’ve seen the, the tickets are points thing in so many different strategies on Facebook and I think it’s so clever or monopoly money, like, Hey, when you do these things, you get monopoly money and then you can use the monopoly money to buy screen-time or snacks. Love that idea. So great. We’re not doing that, but I think it’s a great idea. But I guess we’re just kind of living our regular life night now to be honest. Next to have a drop date, right? Just like wake them up and be like, we’re not doing any school today.

Right. And again, your school is going to forgive you for that. It’s not going to be, there’s going to be no repercussions for that probably. I don’t want to say that for sure cause I don’t really know for sure, but I’m pretty competent that everybody’s just going to go to school at the next grade up starting in the fall. No matter what you do right now. Okay, so a drop day, no school, everyone can just read or listen to audio books. You can get a pizza. We can still do that, I think or make something fun. But here’s the trick. If there’s any fighting or complaining, those kids get to do school. Okay. Love that drop day. Just get to hang out and read and play games. I would add play games to that, but no fighting or complaining or you’re going to have to do school next game day.

Super awesome. Just do board games all day. Love it. Next one, I thought this was super cute. This mom puts a costume on and does school as like some sort of costumes person and she said she’s done it, you know which style, what was that great book where the substitute dresses up like a witch. But it’s really just, it’s really just a teacher. Gosh, I can picture it, but I can’t think of the name. You know what I’m talking about? Cause we all read it when we were growing up. So she said sometimes she does like a witch or Mary Poppins or just a fun character. I bet you could do like an Elsa thing and talk in a different voice. And I just think that’s so fun. Like just mom dressing up in a costume to do school. And again, we’re just trying to change things up a little bit and be present with the kids because if you did that, you’re just going to give yourself over to the silliness of it too.

And this is for your heart too, not just theirs. Okay, next one. Get a jar of candy. Like M and ms and tell them that at the end of the day the kids can split all of the M and M’s, but every time that someone is off track from doing their school or fighting, you go eat the candy. I think that’s amazing. I love when kids police themselves. I love, I mean I know how to say it like this and I love pitting them against each other and just like getting them to, to keep each other happy. We do that with potty training kind of in a positive way when more potty training someone, everyone gets an M and M when they go potty on the potty. And so they’re like his, when we did it last time, violet sisters were like, you can do it. Do you have to go potty? Let’s try all stand here with you.

Like it just felt like the whole family was potty training and it was amazing and I love it. So I could see, you know, doing that for school as well. Next one was to challenge the kids so that they’re working against you. So you say like, okay, I can do this. Let’s say like I’m going to try to fold the laundry faster than you can pick up all of the toys off the floor. Right. Or I can do the dishes faster than you can do your math worksheet, right. Just pick two things. Something you’re doing in something they’re doing and pit them against each other to think is just so clever. For those of you that don’t have school aged kids and you have toddlers do follow at busy toddler on Instagram, that lady is a genius. I love so many of her ideas and they’re just a lot of almost free or really cheap things that you have in your house that you then just give to your little kids to do something with it.

Some of them are not messy and some of them are messy. Like yesterday she posted painting trash so great and she just like pulled all this stuff out of the trash or the recycling put a huge drop cloth down. I love that she did it on the floor. These like three year olds and two year olds were just on the floor with paint and paint brushes and trash and they were just painting them and it didn’t look that crazy cause they were on a drop cloth. And so I think I might try that. She just gives me confidence to try things that I wouldn’t try normally. But she’s got a lot of things with stickers and tape that aren’t actually messy and that are fabulous. So at busy toddler I’ve been noticing the stained glass window thing go around Facebook a lot where you take blue painter’s tape and you tape it in some interesting geometric patterns with a cross in the middle on your window and then the kids paint in between the blue painter’s tape.

So cool. So easy and just a wonderful thing I think especially for Easter as people are walking around, I think we want to make it part of our Easter tradition every year. What else have I done? Seeing the, the money thing has been big. Like, Hey, if you do your schoolwork or your reading or your chores, you get this, you know, fake money and then you can spend it, you know, on snacks or screen time later. I, we’ve been playing a lot of board games with the kids. I’ve always wanted to be more of a board game family, but the, the truth is I mostly just play with my husband, but I’ve really been enjoying doing that with our kids. We made muffins the other day. Guys, let me be honest. I have never baked anything from scratch. Okay. I can cook a lot of things, but I’m not much of a Baker.

I don’t enjoy it. And I knew that you could take flour and stuff and make other stuff, but I just have never done it. I’ve always bought like a mix or a box and just added eggs or whatever they asked me to do. And so I actually Googled muffin recipe and made muffins from scratch for the first time ever with Greek yogurt. It was awesome. I did not do that with the kids less. Do you think that it was some sort of romantic family thing? It was not. I was like, you guys considered the table and watch me from six feet away. Well and make your muffins because it was already enough for me to do something new. I was not willing to do that with any number of my children who always make a mess on cooking with me. So there’s a balance to sanity and everything that we’re doing.

But it was fun. And then, you know, we just ate the muffins and read some poetry, do read out loud to them and sometimes that’s incredibly frustrating. That’s totally normal. Okay. Sometimes they sit down and everyone just talks and it drives me bananas. But I just keep reading cause if they’re not doing it and eventually they do settle down. So just push through. Unless it’s an 18 month old and he’s tired, then just put them in an app. That’s what we did the last time. All right, so that’s your fun stuff. Have fun with your kids. And now I want to just read something that was posted. It was so fantastic. This was from a psychologist in New York and he basically is saying like, as he’s giving all of this advice to all of his clients, he thought, you know, man, I should just type it up.

So we did. So I’m just going to give you a snapshot of the ideas. He wrote them out in paragraphs, but I’m not going to do that to you. But I think most of them are pretty obvious. Okay, number one. So this is ways to stay focused. You guys, and you can couple this with the fun stuff, but this is for your sanity, right? Your sanity stick to a routine. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time and write up schedule, even if it’s just blocks. Okay? Number two, dress for the social life you want. I love this. Get showered, dressed in comfortable clothes. Brush your teeth. Okay, put on some bright colors. I love this, you know, get out of those leggings and your sweatshirts. And I say that as I’m wearing leggings and a sweatshirt right now. True fact number three, get out at least one once a day for 30 minutes.

You know, this feels harder. I’d been walking around the block one, it’s nice out, but I haven’t been getting in the car and going anywhere. So maybe this is for people who are stuck in an apartment. I don’t feel the need to do that as much. Number four, find some time to move each day. Ideally for at least 30 minutes. Absolutely. Dance, party, workout. Move your body number five, reached out to others again at least 30 minutes. Facetime, Skype, phone calls, texting. Just do it. The other day I was wondering about one of my friends and I thought, I dunno how she’s doing. I wonder why she’s not texting me. And then I was like, you goober. Why haven’t you texted her? Like, just do it. To just do it. Email people messaged them, they’re lonely and bored and then don’t just talk about virus stuff. Talk about other stuff. Number six, stay hydrated and eat well. Totally makes sense. Number seven, this is great. I mentioned doing this for people in chronic pain, but it’s great for right now. Develop a self care toolkit. Okay. Something that for each of the seven senses. And so maybe like a candle or a soft blanket or you know, essential oils, a diffuser. But one of them was bubbles or a journal gum,

All of these things so that you can kind of take it out and just calm yourself down or calm children down. And I just self care toolkit, love it, spend extra time playing with the kids. He says kids will rarely communicate how they are feeling, but they will often make a bid for attention and communication through play. So play with them. And it’s, it’s true. I think then you’ll find that that’s when they start mentioning, Oh, I really miss my grandma or it’s weird that I can’t see my friends. And so just give them that time. Next one, give everyone the benefit of the doubt and a wide berth. Totally. This is like what we said in one of the previous episodes where I said, you know, just apologize to your spouse for what you said while you were isolated. Okay, we’re all going a little bit crazy.

Apologize often and give people the benefit of the doubt. Number 10 find your own retreat space and make sure everybody has that. Maybe a four for the kids, a beanbag, you know, corner in a room or an office. Make sure that people have spaces to go to be alone. Number 11 expect behavioral issues in children and respond gently. Totally. You guys. Totally. I’ve had to explain that to my husband a few times like, Hey, we’re all being weird right now. Don’t expect the kids to be handling it better than we are. Okay. Number 12 focus on safety and attachment. Okay, so he says, right now we’re kind of going on with the work deadlines and the schooling stuff and we’re trying to figure it all out and keep the house kind of sterile and so we feel like we have to meet all of these expectations, but he says, Hey, you probably don’t like loosen that a little bit and focus on staying connected with those people instead. Okay. Maybe not instead, but just remember to focus on attachment instead of necessarily deadlines. Okay. Lower expectations. And practice. Radical self acceptance. Radical self acceptance is so important. So many books I read on happiness. Talk about loving ourselves. Okay. And just being so gentle with ourselves. So please do that. Number 14 limit social media and coven conversation, especially around children. So true. Stop scrolling. Stop complaining.

I dunno. I mean I think it’s important to share it. Like I have a friend who has a business like we do and we talk about our strategies for our business, but it feels really productive. It doesn’t feel panicky. Right? So we just say like, Hey, what are we doing right now? Have you talked to your CPA? What’s going on with your employees? Like that kind of stuff. And that feels really good to me cause it feels like I’m doing something. But what I don’t do is like break down and cry and say, I don’t know what’s going to happen over the summer, you know, because I, I just can’t, I can’t live like that. Number 15 notice the good in the world. The helpers. Totally. Thank you Mr. Rogers for this. And there are so many. Number 16 help others. We had set aside some money for lent and so we decided to give some cash anonymously to some people who had lost their jobs.

And so, you know, even small gift cards can make a huge difference to people that you know, that have lost their job. And of course you can’t financially support them. That’s not the point. The point is to say, I see you and I want to help you with something like gas or food so that you feel a little more calm pain. They just need to be seen. Number 17, I love this. Find something you can control and control the heck out of it. I love that he says, organize your bookshelf, purge your closet, you know, put some furniture together, whatever. Just find some order in the chaos. Number 18 find a longterm project to dive into. And he was talking about like a jigsaw puzzle or you know, a 15 hour game of risk. Oh my gosh, that would be terrible to me. But do that.

Or he says an eight season show, you know, Rubik’s cube, things like that. Crochet blanket number 19, engage in repetitive movements and right left movements. Research has shown that repetitive movements, especially right left movements can be effective. It’s self soothing. This is totally an EMDR thing. Which people use during trauma. So using your right hand, left hand, looking from right to left with your eyes. So he mentions drumming, skating, hopping, but also repetitive movement. Things like knitting, coloring, painting. He says jumper opening, but I can’t picture myself doing that right now. Number 20, find an expressive art and go for it. Totally. Number 21 find lightness and humor in each day. I think that speaks for itself. I will say I love the comedy standup on dry bar comedy. And if you just go to Facebook and look up dry bar comedy, you can see tons of the acts for free and they’re just basically clean comedians who don’t swear or talk about bad things and they’re just hilarious. Number 20, to reach out for help you have more people who love you than you think. Reach out for help.

We’re almost sending you guys number 23, chunk your corn team time. Okay. You don’t need to know what’s happening tomorrow or next week. None of us do. That’s totally fine. Just stare today’s, this is Saturday when I’m recording this. What a weird Saturday. We, my husband and I were like, I dunno, what do you want to do? So we did, we organized our vitamins and our medicines because we were still kind of doing that in our new house. But I think anyone can do that at any time. And then I’m doing a little bit of work and then I’m going to go for a walk and then he’s going to go for a walk. And so we, we created a little bit of structure for today, but it’s fine that we didn’t know that we were going to do that yesterday and I have no idea what we’re going to do for the next seven days.

24. Remind yourself daily that this is temporary. Okay. This is temporary. Don’t be the guy who was in the prisoner of war camp that said, you know, Hey, we’re going to get out by Christmas. We are in this for a long time, but we will get out, okay and we’re going to go back to being happy and hugging each other and going to mass together and all of those things. We’re not sure how long, but it will happen and this I promise you is going to make us stronger. Okay, so much fruit is going to come out of this. I see that. I see God’s fingerprints on so many different things. Number 25 find the lesson, okay?

I know that crisis crises can seem pointless and it’s often that we look at God and we see why God, why is this happening? Okay, but there is always something we can learn. Find your own agency in the situation. Agency means you know what you can control and you can control your attitude and looking for things to learn in this time. Write them down, okay, how is this going to make us a better country, community, world group of Catholics, moms, parents, spouses. Find lessons in all of this. Lastly, I wanted to mention, we totally hit our $2,400 goal for raising money for coffee and pearls. I will definitely be podcasting for one more year. Thank you. I’m also going to be working on putting together another Bible study series like James and Abola cause a lot of you have been asking me for that. What I’m not sure about is if I release it soon, how would we do it? You know, because I, I really created it to purposely get people together in their homes. So I’m just not sure how we would do it and maybe I’ll design it the same way, but we’ll come up with some clever strategies for doing it online or via zoom or what’s that app? I love Voxer. So I love you guys. We’re doing it. You’re going to be okay. Hug those kids, hug your husband, hug yourself, and tell you you’re a rock star. You are a rock star.

It’s going to be okay. Thank you so much for listening to coffee and pearls and have a blessed day.


Peace Series

Peace Series


The Key to Peace is Presence

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The Key to Peace is Presence Transcript

Hi and welcome to Coffee and Pearl’s 15 minutes of wisdom for Catholic moms. I’m Sterling Jaquith and today I want to talk about how the key to having peace is presence. Now a lot of stuff is going on right now. This is the middle of March. We’re kind of in the middle of what’s happening all over the country with the spread of this virus all over the world. And a lot of you are immediately coming to grips with the idea of having your kids home or your husband home or activities canceled. And so I wanted to come in and do a whole peace series. So I’m going to do a whole piece series and I’m going to talk about the things, really the tools that I use to maintain my peace. That is so important to me when I have lost my peace. I know I’m not walking with God and I have a lot of cues or red flags show me that I’ve lost my peace and I have a lot of tools to bring my peace back.

So today I want to talk about the first one, which is presence. And I’m going to combine presence with the idea of deep work as well. And for those of you who are familiar with Cal Newport’s work on deep work, he talks a lot about the importance of focusing on something deeply for 90 minutes. He does. So mostly in a work context, but I’m going to make that relevant for moms where we feel like there’s absolutely nothing we can do for 90 minutes without being distracted. So I will help us kind of puzzled through that. So first you know, my husband pretty much works from home most of the time he goes out to do fence bids. But he’s home a lot and I’ve homeschooled my kids for the most part for the last five years. And so our life is oddly enough, not going to change that much.

I think there’s probably one class we take outside of the home that we might not be able to take. But because of my bed rest and because we had so many kids in the last three years, you know, we largely stay home. So I just wanted to share with you what I’ve learned about fighting that and making it more difficult for myself and just embracing that and finding peace and easiness in the staying at home all the time. And really that boils down to presence. When I want to do what I want to do, whether it’s reading a book or looking at my phone or being on my computer or listening to a podcast or listening to music, if I want to listen to music that’s my music and not like toddler music. It is really frustrating for me that the kids then make lots of noise and talk to me, especially when I’m just like jammin’ right?

It’s like my favorite song is on and I am singing and I’m just like feeling joy and energy and it’s great and that feels like such a good thing. But then when my four year old is like, mom, I’m star bang. You know, it makes me angry, like anger flashes up in that moment. And that’s a horrible feeling. It’s a horrible feeling to look at your sweet child who needs something totally reasonable. Or even if it’s unreasonable and to just feel so frustrated that they’re just like ruining your flow. . And so I found that the more I tried to do those things, especially spontaneously, you know, music, looking at my phone, reading a book anything at my computer, talking on the phone, any of those things, then interruptions from the children tended to trigger anger in me. . Now it’s to feel anger, but we don’t want to act out of anger.

You know, we want to calm ourselves down and reply, you know, calmly and with peace and preferably joy into the children. And so for those of you that are suddenly like, have all these people in your space, I need you to immediately let go of this entitlement that you get to do any of those things if you want to have peace, ? If you want to keep doing those things and being interrupted and being frustrated and feeling irritable all day, totally fine. But if you got to the end of yesterday and you were like, wow, that was not an awesome day and I was not the best version of myself. This is one key area to look at. You know, when were you trying to do your things and when you got interrupted trying to do your things, what happened? How did you respond? Because we want to step in between the stimulus of being interrupted and an angry response.

We want to step in between stimulus and response and we want to take a hot minute, maybe breathe, maybe say a quick hail Mary. I, my personal favorite is just to throw up a quick Jesus, Mary Joseph, all the saints in my mind, I say that like, please just help me in this moment. And then to respond calmly, Hey, we need to be really present with what we’re doing. And if you have a lot of children home or little children or blessed them, a needy husband, then you need to let that stuff go your stuff. If you want to maintain your peace, , now it’s not going to be forever. And I’m going to talk about that in a minute. So what I do throughout my day is I try to have really clear blocks that I communicate overly. So to everyone, this came from one of my, I think a Dave Ramsey business book, either Dave Ramsey or Michael Hyatt, I don’t remember. And they were saying, you need to communicate the vision for your company until you’re blue in the face. Then you need to do it some more. You need to do it about 20 times more than what you think you need to do it. So for us to make that relevant as moms, as we’re trying to be the peace center of our homes and as we’re trying to, you know, just get us through these days,

It’s great to communicate to everyone what your goals are. And so for me, actually my goal is peace. I want to have a peaceful home. I want to have kind children and I want us to be praying and getting our work done and then having fun. Right? We’re definitely like work hard, play hard family. . And I communicate this to the kids. I’ll say at the beginning, Hey you guys, you know we’re going to do breakfast chores and then school and if we can work really hard to do those things, I will make a smoothie and we’ll take a walk. . And then I’ll say, what are we going to do? And they’ll say, breakfast chores, school. And then what are we going to get to do after that smoothie? And I’ll say, and a walk. , but, and you might need to say that four times and you think that’s ridiculous.

I shouldn’t have to tell them four times. But if Michael Hyatt has to tell his company as the CEO over and over and over again, how much more is it that we have to tell that to children who have a short attention span and are easily distracted by shiny things. ? So communicating what’s happening first and then really committing to be present for those things. . And so we are, we usually do chores before we do breakfast. The kids do the laundry and the dishes. While I’m doing breakfast, then we have breakfast. We might do a little bit more chores after that depending on what needs to be done. Then the little kids have to go into the playroom and the big kids are doing school and I am sitting with them and doing school. I’ll tell you one thing I’ve learned as a homeschooler it is not possible to multitask. It’s just not every time I tried to do the dishes or read a book or even work on my goals once I was like, I’m just going to sit with my notebook next to them and it’ll look like I’m doing my school and I’ll just write with a pencil and work on my goals. Nope, their productivity went way down. I literally just have to sit there with my two girls and be like, do you need any help?

Do you have any questions? And it drives me nuts. I mean it used to drive me nuts because I felt like I was just sitting there doing nothing. But we get through it so much faster and with happy hearts. Then when I tried to do literally anything else and it is annoying, so about once every two weeks, I’ll, I’ll think, I haven’t this yet, but I’d be like, maybe I could crochet, maybe I could crochet while I was sitting in there because it feels like a waste of time. But I, I promise it is not because one of my goals is to homeschool my children. Well

And that means I have to give up for this time what it is that I want to do. So I sit down with them, I’m completely present to both of them. The older your kids are, the better it is because they can read themselves. But, and I really mostly help them with math. I’m really, really this 100% present for math. Once we get our math done and that is the first thing that we do then they’re much more independent for their reading, writing history stuff. And so I don’t have to sit down next to them for that. But being present is really, really helpful and just don’t shortchange yourself. It will make your day go better. Cause it will all get done faster, then you can do something else. Right. So then after they get through their math, then I usually have a little bit of me time and I am so intentional about my me time. . I will tell the girls, you need to finish your writing and your reading. Come check in with me when you’re done with that. And I now know that I have probably 20 minutes at least to do something on my computer or my phone.

And so then I go do those things. The little kids are still downstairs, are not allowed to come up yet. And the big kids can interrupt me, but they won’t unless they really need something. And it’d be a question like, what does this word mean? You know, pretty simple. And so then I really, I sink myself into those things that I want to do and I relish them because I know that this is my time and my moment. And then I go back into, after we’re done with the school block then we either eat something or do some exercise. Now when I take them for a walk is when I pop in one ear phone and listen to a podcast or a book. And so we’re walking, I’ve got the little kids strapped in, a stroller, a the baby and an ergo. The other kids are on scooters, walking or bikes.

So they’re not talking to me. I do leave one ear out though in case they holler or they need something. But mostly I’m just walking around the block. This is weather permitting and listening to something and learning something. And I also tell myself, Oh, aren’t we just enjoying this me time? That’s me time. Even though the children are there, I’m leaning into that time. I’m really appreciating it because one of the things that’s going to drive you bananas is if you think that all day you don’t get any you time and you’re constantly being interrupted. So you have to tell yourself, Oh, this is it. I’m eating the chocolate cake. It’s not chocolate cake. But you have to celebrate that a little bit. You have to be present with yourself. So I try to be really present with the kids. But then I tried to be really present with myself and that is such a gift and it, it makes me so much less bitter and feeling like I’m taken advantage of or that I’m, I’ve given my whole life away. And serving people by the way, is not giving your life away to such a great gift, but I totally understand the sentiment of getting to the end of the day and, and feeling frustrated. So be really present with yourself.

Then set up at least one block of time where they can’t talk to you. So I usually do this when my 18 month old is sleeping cause he’s kind of 18 months is such a hard age and not much you can do about that. And so nap time for the young ones is when I will tell the other ones, you know, I’m going to be in this room. You cannot come in unless something is really wrong. And that’s usually where they’re listening to audio books or coloring, doing something quiet. Sometimes they play board games but they can’t interrupt me. So this is usually happening in the afternoons for us. And so, you know, we don’t do perfect 90 minute blocks and I don’t keep track of time in general. But I do try to group, we do a meal and some chores and like I said, sometimes it’s a sandwich, a little bit of chores and then a meal and then some chores or it’s one than the other or it’s flip flopped. But those two activities go together and then, then we’re doing like fun things, exercise things, school things. But we try to do things in, in about 90 minute blocks. Don’t do school for longer than 90 minutes. They can’t do that. We can’t do that as an adults. So 90 minutes should be the longest you’re doing it. And then they should have at least a 15 to 20 minute break doing something totally frivolous and fun.

Really be present with what you’re doing. Help them to be present with what they’re doing and then give yourself time that’s really time for you and lean into it and do whatever you think is best for you. Sometimes I love the social media scroll. Sometimes I need to read my Bible. Sometimes I almost every day now I’ve been taking a walk and listening to something and, and that has felt like such a gift and it helps. I do it when the 18 month old is up because he’s the hardest for me right now. He’s the one that cries the most and drives me the most bananas. But he’s happy as a clam and the stroller. I don’t let my two and a half year old walk. It’s not a choice. He either gets to ride in the stroller or he has to stay home with a sister.

Because if you try to walk with a two year old or two and a half year old, that will drive you nuts. I mean, first of all, he wants to wear his rain boots, then he falls because he’s wearing rain boots and he wants to hold the stroller, but then the wheels roll on his feet. Like it’s just terrible and it’s just not even a choice anymore. So in order for it to be my time, he has to be in the stroller too. But then the other kids are pretty good about walking. And so I want you to be a scientist this week. Ladies, I want you to just get to the end of the day with no judgment, no shame, no guilt, no exasperations and just say what worked and what didn’t work. And then I want you to, when you’re getting frustrated in the back of your mind, be like, Oh right.

Sterling told me that if I was going to try to listen to my favorite playlist and the kids talk to me, it was going to drive me bananas. And that’s why I feel so angry right now. Good to know some good data that proved correct. . Or your phone or your computer or your book. Create strong boundaries with your children, but give them all of you. When it’s their time, when it’s outside or book reading or school time, just be with them outside goes both ways. Sometimes the kids are outside without me and then that’s their time. But sometimes I go out with them and then I play with them. Which is annoying you guys. I’m not a playing mom. . I don’t like it, but I like having a happy home and I like not feeling guilty when I want to do things by myself.

And I’m telling you if you run around your backyard and tickle your kids for 15 minutes and play superhero or monster or crazy dog or whatever game you want to play with them and then you say, no one can come in my office for an hour, I’m going to be reading a book. You’re not going to feel bad. That’s, that’s what’s great about being really present with them and then saying, I need some time for myself. , so this is your first tool. Presence is the key to peace. . Now I just want to wrap it up with some of that deep work. How do I want to say it’s strategy that Cal Newport talks about? So he talks about it in terms of like shutting down your computer, turning off your wifi and like sitting down and writing your thesis paper or getting your board presentation done.

And that doesn’t make sense if your mom, because you know that you can’t sit down and get anything done for 90 minutes. But instead I like to think about it in terms of hats. What hat am I wearing and when I’m wearing the mom hat I am all in on that. I am looking at their sweet faces. I am just responding to what each one of them needs. I’m not even cleaning cause I’m not wearing the cleaning hat. Right? So when I’m wearing the meal making or cleaning hat, that’s different than, I’m not the mom hat. I’m not even as sweet then cause I tell the kids it’s working time, we’re all working right now and then we’re doing that and when one of them goes, mom look at my art. I go up now is not the time for that. I would love to look at that during school time. . You want to acknowledge them but they’re not going to derail the working time.

And in some ways, I mean bribe is the wrong word, but I do almost always say if we get our work done, well we’re going to do this and just for them to look forward to something. And I do that to myself. If you can get down and be a playing mom and read three more alphabet books to these kids, then you to get your own free time. Sterling. . Like we’re all playing that game. It’s not bad. So deep work means just being really present with what you’re doing. And then of course there’s going to be distractions. Like when I’m trying to read books to the girls in the 18 month old crawls up, that’s okay because it’s still within the mom realm. And so I’ll say, Oh girls, hold on, let’s get some blocks for Blaise and then we can keep reading.

Right. I’m, I’m still wearing the mom hat. That’s my deep work, but I’m not multitasking into a different thing. So we try to do deep work on meals and chores, deep work on school, deep work on quiet time. That’s a block. Quiet time is usually my time. And that’s when they’re reading or doing audio books or art. And then we try to do outside stuff all the time, every day. They may think that’s their time, but I’ve tricked them. It’s really my time. . But I’m there and we’re doing it and they’re having a great time. . So think about that instead of really flitting from one thing to the other and constantly cleaning, constantly cooking, constantly momming all of that throughout your whole day. Try to create some blocks. I know there’ve been a lot of funny names going around and they are funny about living in chaos and watching lots of television and all of that. And by all means, if that’s what you need to do, then do it. But if you get to the end of the day and you say that was the best thing that could’ve happened,

You need to be honest with yourself about whether that was true. Because I find that when I allow them to watch television, we all have a worst day. And what’s great about homeschooling is you get that data really quickly, right? So I have had more days to test out these things and go, Oh, is it better if I let them, you know, watch blue planet. Is it better if I try to put on, you know, my favorite songs while I’m cleaning? And the answer was no because then it drove me nuts when I was trying to sing my favorite song and they interrupted me. You know it may be different for you, but get to the end of the day and just say, when did I lose it today and why? And it may not have been one moment. It may have been a series of things that were building up to that one moment, but try to figure it out because you are the peace center of your home. We’re going to talk about that in a later peace episode and it is your job to figure it out. All right, I’m praying for you guys. I think it could be really cool for all of us to get to know our kids, get to know our homes, create new routines.

We’re doing some cool things in our house that are new. Even though we were homeschooling before, but it just kind of feels like a time of renewal and trying new things out. So I’ll be sharing more about that later. But I’m praying for all of you. I’m praying for everybody in the world. Really? Gosh, it feels like, Oh, a worldwide thing to pray for. And I just love you and you’re going to be and your kids love you. And more than anything, I’m just, I’m praying that you have peace in your heart and in this time where it would be so easy to grab onto chaos and chew on it all day long. I want you to grab on to peace and rest in it. All right ladies, thanks so much for listening to coffee and pearls and have a blessed day.


The Power of Gratitude

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The Power of Gratitude Transcript

Hi and welcome to Coffee and Pearls 15 minutes of wisdom for Catholic moms. I’m Sterling Jaquith and today we’re in the second of the peace series and we’re going to be talking about gratitude. Now, most of us know that it’s important to be grateful and some of us may think we were even doing a pretty good job or being grateful, high five. That’s awesome. But I want to share with you just some more reasons to be grateful or even more grateful than we’re being and ways to involve your children in that practice. So the first thing I want to talk about is, is why I chose gratitude as one of the tools for obtaining peace. And in Robert Emmons book, Gratitude Works, which is a fantastic book, he talks about all the things that we get from the practice of gratitude. And I’m going to explain what the practice of gratitude is in a little bit.

But first I want you to know this is what we get out of practicing gratitude, increased feelings of energy, alertness, enthusiasm, and vigor. Woo, that sounds awesome. I need some of that success in achieving personal goals, better coping with stress. Think we could all use some of that. Bolstered feelings of self worth and self confidence, generosity and helpfulness. When we’re grateful, we go out and we help others improved cardiac, cardiac health through increases in vegal tone. Amazing. Okay, one more, more grateful. We move more, we’re healthier and then a greater sense of purpose and resilience and we see this in the Bible hundreds of times. Give thanks, give thanks. Even the word eucharisteo… Eucharisteo from which we get the word Eucharist giving thanks for any of you who’ve read Ann Voskamp’s book A Thousand Gifts, right? It’s just all about this practice of gratitude and if you think about it just in the terms of what takes up our mind space, if we’re filling up our mind space with thoughts of gratitude, then we don’t have time to fill up our mind with thoughts of fear and bitterness. This is what God wants from us. He wants us to look around and grateful. Even if we’re spending 40 years walking in the desert, this is what he is asking of us. He says, I’m giving you enough bread for today. I want you to look around and be grateful for what is in front of you.


No. Robert Emmons talks about kind of the better way to be grateful. He goes, look, you know, at a minimum once a day, just think about a couple things that you’re grateful for. But he says, you know, there’s much more that we can do and the more that we do, the more we get that stuff that I just listed. Okay? Of course the first tip is writing it down, right? Writing it down. Just blows it out of the water. Write it down and edit a minimum. If you can write a list, do that right? Kids, husband health, whether short and sweet, if that is your first baby step, do that. Do that every single day at the end of the day, at the beginning of the day, just write down three to five things that you’re grateful for,


He says, no, if you can, if you can bump that up. Whole sentences makes it even better. Lord, I’m so grateful that it is sunny enough that the kids and I can walk outside. That makes a huge difference. Let me says when it comes to gratitude, depth is better than breadth.


Now I do appreciate Ann Voskamp’s kind of be grateful all day. That’s kind of her thousand gifts idea. And so I think that’s can be very powerful too, right? If you’re, or if you’re meditating on that all day long and thinking about all the little things and you’re just listing them that even she would say, if you have the time, use some beautiful language to describe it cause that will be better.


Thing, a tip out of this book is he says include some surprises. And I loved that one. He said, you know what? Unexpressed unexpected blessings did you benefit from today and what were you dreading that didn’t happen? Love that. Moms are such worriers, we worry about so many things. Write down something you worried about that just didn’t happen. That happens to me all the time, especially with my 18 month old, the, Oh, you know, just yesterday he had to give him a bath and he hates bads. And so it was just dreading it. I was like, Oh, I don’t want to do it. It makes me sad when he cries, you know, and I put him in the bath and he just didn’t cry. He just didn’t. And we played with toys and the only time he cried was when I washed his hair at the end and we did it super fast and got out. And I was just so for that. So being grateful for surprises.

Another thing he says is to use the language of gifts. Think of the things that you received today as gifts. That was such a gift from God. And I even said that to my husband. I said, Oh God gave me such a gift and Blaise didn’t cry in the bathtub. And maybe it’s because gifts are my love language that I like to phrase it that way. But I thought, what a wonderful way to just look at the things that God gives us as gifts. Another recommendation he said is to think about it instead of taking things for granted. Think of them as being as granted. And I think in this time right now as we’re kind of all losing our minds in the world feels really weird and scary. Just say, just look around your room for a second. It’s, it’s utterly amazing that we have electricity, the internet, incredible science. I mean the last time, I mean, every time I read anything about, you know, the Spanish flu, which is so devastating, like they just, there was no way that they could mobilize the way that we’ve mobilized. What an amazing thing that has been granted to us.

We have so many modern marvels in our world right now. That’s a phrase Brian Johnson uses a lot. Modern marvels. I love, I love that word, Marvel. And just to be in awe of whatever room you’re in right now, just look around and just give thanks for this incredible time we live in.

And so I want you to make a practice of writing down some things that you are grateful for and even better if you can do it with your children. Do that. I was in target for the first time in a long time, I don’t know, a couple months ago and I was walking by that, I don’t know. There’s this section in the front where they have things that are not very expensive and one of them was a small gratitude journal. Actually I think it was a planner, like a daily planner, but it said something like give thanks or joy or something on the front. And I thought, you know what I want, I want to buy this. It was a dollar and I’m going to take it home with the kids and we’re going to write down together three things that we’re grateful for. And I thought the best time to do it would be when we pray our rosary at night right before, cause we talk about things we want to pray for. But I thought, let’s just tack that into that moment. Three things that we’re grateful and it is such an easy thing to do

And it’s so powerful and I want to teach them this skill of getting to the end of the day. No matter how yucky, no matter how many poopy diapers there were, no matter what went wrong. There is always something to be thankful for. I mean we could probably come up with 20 things everyday, but I think three is a good number for children. Show them that you are a woman of gratitude. Show your husband that you are a woman of gratitude when you are talking to your friends, if you are sharing something that is difficult, share it and then add something that you are grateful for. Right? I tried to do this when my friends say, you know, Hey, how are things going? I’ll be like, Ugh, it’s hard having three babies in diapers and especially because the boys, bless them, they like to hold to let out their poop in three rounds with like 40 minutes in between so then they’ll have three poopy diapers for what really is actually one poopy moment.

Right? But I have to do it three times, but I think praise God that I’m home with them, that I have the money for diapers, that we have a good diaper system and that actually pooped doesn’t bother me that much. That’s just like not one of my, one of the things that drives me nuts about kids and I’m so blessed that I’m their mom who loves to change their poopy diapers. I will. I take all the kids from my husband if they’re poopy, I say, Oh, let me do that. Whereas I’ll tell you on the flip side, when any of my infants spit up, it makes me want to throw up. I hate that so much. Okay. Like if he throws up on me, I’m just like, ah, I’m out. Spits up like just baby spit up. I just think is the grossest thing I’m all the time. So you know, just share something that’s difficult, but then also just share something you’ve learned throughout that time. An unexpected gift or something that’s going well. You know, when, when our basement flooded, we couldn’t be downstairs and it was just so gross and horrible. I was still so grateful that we were in a house and we were all living on one floor and Michael was home. Our business was closed in January, so he was home for that time. So grateful for that.

I want people to identify us as Catholics by seeing that we are full of joy and full of gratitude. Even when things are dark, we have to be the light in the darkness. We must look like we handling this situation differently than those who do not walk with the Lord. And the more gratitude you practice, the more peace you will have. That is what I want for you today. I want your day to be filled with peace. I want you to walk around feeling grounded, being really present with your shoulders back and your head held high and a small smile on your lips because God has given you a wonderful life and you are so pleased to be living it. And gratitude is a significant key to having that kind of life. All right, ladies, thank you so much for listening to Coffee and Pearls and have a blessed day.


Be The Peace Center Of Your Home

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The Power of Gratitude Transcript

Hi and welcome to coffee and Pearl’s 15 minutes of wisdom for Catholic moms. I’m Sterling Jaquith with and in this third part of our peace series. We are talking about being the peace center of your home and I am sure I have talked about this many times and may have even done an entire podcast on it, but it is time to talk about it again because we can never talk about the good things enough. Ladies, you are the peace center of your home. This is a phrase that first came to me when I was reading Spiritual Head, Spiritual Heart from the lovely Katie Warner and it has just become my job description ever since. Ever since I heard that, I was like, yes, yes, absolutely. That is my job. I am Sterling CEO of my house, center of peace of this home. That is my charter.

The kids will learn how to be peaceful by watching me. I have the ability to bring my husband into peace through practicing peace. Not a guarantee. He has free will, but it’s a lot easier to have a peaceful husband, when he’s looking at a peaceful wife. It is a lot easier to take care of children, when you’re not at the end of your rope and screaming and frustrated when you can learn to have peace in those moments, even the craziest, and we can, it makes the house run so much more smoothly.

You know, we have this funny thing in our society right now where we kind of want to glorify the hot mess mom, right? Oh, it’s so funny. I’m a hot mess. You know, I left the house in my sweatpants or the kids watched Netflix all day and we make these jokes and it’s okay, and I’m all about mercy and caring for people where they’re at. I’m not judging those choices, but I certainly will not celebrate them. I’m not going to lift up the hot mess mom and say, that’s great because it’s not great. It’s fine. Maybe that’s what she needs to be doing. Maybe I could help her. Maybe she needs some help, but it’s not what I want to look up to. I want to look up to moms who are peaceful, calm, and love the Lord and spend time with him.

And those two things usually go together. By the way, my all the moms who I know that are super peaceful, are the moms who go to adoration every day or daily mass all the time or you know, do the hours of the liturgy of the hours for an hour in the morning. There’s a strong correlation there. By the way, I’m not one of those moms yet. I want to look up to those moms and I want to be that kind of mom for my kids and show them this is how you have peace. In another part of the series I’m going to talk about how moms can be like Navy seals. It’s going to be super fun class. But it is possible. It is absolutely possible for us to have peace in the worst yuckiest most stressful moment. I’m not talking about happiness. You don’t have to be happy, but you can be calm. You can walk with the Lord and this is absolutely what he is calling us to do. Whether you are married, whether you have children, if you’re single and you live in an apartment with roommates, if you’re in your sixties and you live in, you know, an awesome nursing home and your own studio apartment, it doesn’t matter. He is always asking you to be the peace center of your home.

And that starts with having peace in our own minds, which is why even if you live alone, you need, it’s worth fighting for your own peace of mind and then cultivating an atmosphere in your P in your home and atmosphere piece. And we can do that through candles. Lighting candles is such a powerful tool that Catholics have used for centuries and it brings peace into the home playing beautiful music, classical music or Gregorian chant. And you have to do that all the time. You can rock your Taylor Swift too, but Taylor Swift doesn’t bring peace to the house, right?


Find music that brings real peace to your home and play it.

Lighting scented candles or burning something that smells really great on the stove. I love, you know, creating your own kind of homemade popery on the oven. Just throw some cinnamon sticks or cloves in there or lavender. You know what? I’m laughing right now because I guess all of you, a lot of you do that with essential oils. I just don’t do that yet. So what I really mean is for you to throw something in your diffuser to diffuse that. So I guess I’m doing it kind of the old school way where I just throw cinnamon sticks and oranges in a pot, but you know, diffusers and beautiful smells or baking things that smell wonderful. I want my children to remember how my home smelled wonderful and how it sounded beautiful. And the light of the candles flickering on the walls. That doesn’t have to be some, you know, Laura Ingall’s romantic pioneer life story. You tell yourself that, you know you can’t do, you can do it with little, you can do it for short bursts, you can begin to practice those and you don’t have to do it every day. Of course I don’t live like that every day, but I see when the energy in my house is getting weird and we need to bring it back.

And we often do that with candles or music or good smells or baking something, you know? Or even just, I’ll try to make string cheese and Apple sauce. Wonderful. I’ll be like, Oh your guys whispering helps. I’m not going to keep whispering cause it’s a podcast, but I pretend them whispering this in a lovely, lovely tongue. You guys. Let’s sit at the table and have a string cheese and an Apple sauce and I will read a couple books to you. And first of all, your older kids are gonna roll their eyes and be like, Oh that’s so lame. Okay, my children are not above that. Okay. I don’t have these lovely like Prairie children that don’t do that. Of course they do that and then I kind of look at them with my serious eyes. It means don’t ruin this for the little kids and we both know you’re going to like it, you know? And then they’re like, Oh right. And they sit at the table may to eat their string cheese and listen to, you know, wonderful. Read out loud blueberries for Sal or whatever it is that you’re doing.

And even if you could just find a pocket, like a seven minute pocket to give them that, it just changes the energy. You have the control to change the energy of your home. And it’s not just the ability, it’s your charter. It is your charter to be the peace center of your home. And I want you to love that about yourself. I want you to feel like that is your super power. Instead of feeling dragged down by these things to do, I want you to realize that God gave you a home and a husband and children to take care of and to do this for.

And it’s beautiful and you don’t need to feel bad if you’re not doing it. But I want you to feel absolutely fantastic when you do, right? Give yourself a big inner high five. We are rocking motherhood today. I’ve just been complimenting myself. My husband’s terrible complimenting me. He doesn’t do it. And so I just realized that if I wanted to be complimented, I was going to have to do it myself. And it’s ridiculous. You guys. How good it makes me feel. Sometimes I just do it to myself. I’ll go shearling that was outstanding mothering that you did right then. Good job. Right? And it’s like, I feel a little tingle. I feel a real tingle even though I’m just complimenting myself. Or I’ll do it to my husband. He’ll come home and he’ll say something and you know, I’ll say, you know what?

I did some awesome things. These are some awesome things that I did for our kids today. He’s not going to see that I made sugar rock crystals and we’re growing them on the mantle and say, I can’t believe you took the time with six kids to make sugary syrup that made the kitchen messy so our children could experience some science and feel the joy of putting food dye in sugar water and watching it grow into crystals. He’s not going to say that. And it would be so easy to be bitter and think he doesn’t see any of the things that I do, which of course is not true. Of course he sees lots of things that I do, but if I want to be complimented on it, I’m just going to compliment myself and it works. I feel great.

God sees what I do and he knows when I do things, even though I don’t feel like it, and I’m literally just doing it for the good of the children or my husband, you know, and I give myself a little hug for that. Just a little. Just pretend like I’m hugging myself like rock on. You did great. That was a good choice. You’re such a good mom. Her kids are not really gonna say that. They may even think it or believe it. They may tell everyone that they know in their thirties that they had such a great mom, but right now if you need to hear that, I need you to tell yourself that I am such a great mom. I am the peace center of my home. I brought peace to those children today. I brought peace to my husband today. I showed them the love of God in our home today. Doesn’t that sound wonderful? Don’t you want to be that kind of mom and again, don’t go the other way. Don’t start saying, Oh, I never do that. I’m terrible. I’m broken. Just knock it off. We don’t even need to go down that way. We only go forward. We only stand still and say, I see what needs work. Or we go forward and we say, good job.

Love that baby step. That’s incredible. It is incredible to me. Every single time you have the opportunity to do something easy and self centered and instead you choose to do something a little bit harder for them. That is incredible to me. Every mom I meet is a hero because I know she does that all day long and that is amazing. Okay, so I want you to think about just simple things that you can do to be the peace center of your home and to increase the peacefulness. I mean, I would love for you to pray the rosary. We’ll talk about that in a different episode too. And how we do that as a family. But, you know, light a candle, play some Gregorian chants, throw on some classical music, bake something that smells good for no reason.

You know, just read some books to the kids. Create some moments of peace. That is what God is asking you to do. Especially right now. Your kids should feel like home is safe and lovely and calm. It doesn’t mean that there isn’t craziness in between. I’m not asking you to live, you know, like a monastery all day long. I’m just saying, find some pockets. Give the gift of peace to your children and to your family. All right ladies, thank you so much for listening to coffee and pearls and have a blessed day.


You’re Training for a Marathon

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You're Training for a Marathon Transcript

Hi, and welcome to Coffee and Pearls, 15 minutes of wisdom for Catholic moms. I’m Sterling Jaquith, and today in our peace series, we are talking about training for a marathon. Okay. Now we’re not actually training for a marathon. That would make me throw up right now if I thought I was doing that. What I mean is that we’re kind of training for two marathons right now. One is just the marathon of parenting, right? Of motherhood. This huge endeavor that we’ve undertaken, you know, 18 plus years per child. We’re staring down, you know, decades of parenting and I’m sure it never really ends. That’s one giant marathon that we’re training for. But the other marathon that a lot of us are training for right now is this kind of, “Hey, the world is in a super weird place right now. A lot of the kids are home.

All of a sudden life has changed drastically” marathon. The kids could be home for a very long time. Who knows? And if any of you are listening to this, you know, outside of this Coronavirus stuff, then maybe you’re just staring down like summer break and that feels the same and all the kids are home there too. So that’s the marathon I’m talking about maybe a difficult season, right? Any kind of difficult season and you know it’s going to be months and you’re trying to lean into it and suffer well. Right? Basically that’s what I’m saying. We’re trying to suffer well. So that’s the marathon that we are training for right now. We’re actually already running it but we’re trying to run it. Well I suppose the metaphor is breaking down but it’s okay. Hang with me.

I need you to step up and be an adult and take care of yourself right now. Okay. When you are training for a marathon or any great feat, you are eating well, you’re hydrating, your stretching, you’re learning about running. You usually have some sort of buddy that’s motivating you to stay strong. You have some sort of goal in mind. And for most of you who’ve ever trained for a marathon, you know you also have sleep goals on top of everything else because you couldn’t do all of that if you weren’t sleeping well. Okay. Whether you have chosen this or not, you are absolutely in the thick of a hard season and you need to take care of yourself. It’s, it’s going to be a harder season if you decide to just eat crap and drink a ton of alcohol and watch a ton of television and sit for most of the day, no judgment on that.

I think there’s, you know, we get confused about speaking the truth and then judging people for not doing that thing that we’re talking about. Right. And those can be two separate things, right? Like I guarantee lots of my friends are going to do some or all of those things and we won’t even talk about it. I don’t even care. They’ll just be like, Hey, have you watched this awesome show? Because I’ve been watching it for like four hours every day and I’m like, no, tell me about it. That show sounds hilarious. Right? That’s what being a friend is. But I’m not your friend right now. I’m here to speak the truth to you and to say that when we do hard things, we make them harder by not treating our bodies well in the process. Okay. I know how hard it is to have a difficult day of lots of poop and crying and arguments and sibling fights and just ridiculousness.

And then I feel like I don’t even breathe until eight o’clock so my littlest kids go to bed at seven 30 and then, um, my six year old goes to bed at eight. And so by eight it’s kind of like me and my husband. And then the nine year old who loves being alone, it’s like tucked away reading a book somewhere. So it’s by eight o’clock that I finally feel like, okay, it’s quiet. And that moment is when I want to medicate so badly. Right? So badly at eight o’clock I want to numb out. I want a little bit of me time. I just need something. Okay. That’s not totally true, but it feels very true. So I just want to, you know, common humanity stand right with you and say, yeah, that’s how we all feel. Okay. We get to the end of the day and we’re just like wrecked and we want some wine and chocolate at Netflix or something crunchy.

I like crunchy, salty things more than sweet things, but whatever. We’re just there and it feels like, like a desperate plea from our brain and our body saying give us something that only the adults can have. You know, like just something came. So one totally normal. Totally natural. Okay. But two pretty destructive. Okay. Whatever we choose to do in that time has the most profound effect on our ability to get a full night’s sleep. That I just, I, if I could just be the small whisper in the back of your brain that says, do you really want to do that or do you want to wake up better tomorrow? Right. Cause that’s the choice that we’re making when we eat late. Pretty much anytime after seven when we drink right before bed chocolate, right before bed, blue screens, television, something intense right before bed. It completely wrecks our ability to get a good night of sleep. And honey, you are running a marathon at six 30 tomorrow morning. You know what I mean? For most of us, that kid alarm goes off at like six 30 whether we like it or not and we are running and I don’t know about you, but I would like to be well rested for the marathon.

I’d like to be hydrated throughout the day. I would like to feed my body good food. And I think, you know, I’m by no means doing this perfectly. And so what I seek to do is to identify something bad that I’m doing, like, like something I know that’s not optimal and replacing it with a more optimal version of that. Right? So right now for breakfast, I needing straight up a protein bar from Costco, right? I’m not making eggs and spinach and whatever. I’d love to do that. But I am in grumpy breakfast eater. I’m not even hungry when I wake up. I do not like making things that are warm and eating them. I really like eating at 11 okay. But when I’m breastfeeding, I can’t wait until 11 to eat what I want to eat. So I just eat a protein bar is probably not even a great protein bar.

Right? Like the super crunchy people. It’d be like, look at that label. What are those three things? And be like, I don’t know man. I’m just eating. This is just what I’m eating. Okay. And so that’s not optimal and I know that. But I also know that it’s better than like donuts, right? Or something. Carby and sugary cause it’s neither of those things and it’s contained. So I can’t overeat it cause it’s just a bar. Um, and same thing at night. I, uh, if I really want a piece of chocolate, I try to do it at seven and I try to like leave the children like, Oh, I’m gonna, I have to leave for a little bit and just go sit in a room by myself for five minutes and enjoy that piece of chocolate and then just kind of transport myself to later in the evening. Right. I try to go, Oh, this is just, this is a wonderful chocolate. We’ve almost made it to the end of the day and what a special treat this is. And I just like really tried to lean into it and enjoy it and eat it slowly and feel that same like release or high five that that I want at eight or eight 30 right. Then [inaudible]

and then the other thing I do is I drink tea with some Stevia in it at eight and so all day long I’m, I kind of pep talk myself and I’ll say, Oh, but you know what, at eight o’clock you can make some lemon chiffon tea and it’s gonna be so good. Okay. Now when I’m drinking lemon chiffon tea, does it taste like wine and chocolate? No, it doesn’t. And it is not as good as wine and chocolate, but I’ve hyped it up. I really choose to savor it and I know that I’m going to sleep well because I’m running a marathon tomorrow. And until we see the wisdom in that, until we choose to be mature enough to pick the longterm gain over the short term burst, we are going to continue to run ragged on empty with no fuel.

And I’ve been kind of challenging my husband on this because you know, we tend to grow at different times. I’m sure there’s a wonderful godly reason for that. Uh, but it’s annoying too, because sometimes all want to grow and I’ll be like, come with me. And he’ll be like, no, I’m not ready for that. You know? And this is one of those where I’ve been kind of pushing for doing more mature things at the end of the day instead of the things that I know that hurt us. Okay. I’m not going to say that it’s bad for everyone, but probably for most of us, right? Like for most of us, it’s probably not great to eat bad food and drink and watch TV right before bedtime came. And again, I know when you’ve got little kids or a lot of kids, that just feels like the only time you have. And to that I would respond. Yeah maybe, but is it worth your sleep?

And you have to answer that for yourself. And when I blow it, cause sometimes I’ll just be like, no, there’s such a rebellious teenager in me. I’ll be like, Oh forget it. I’m not even aware of my blue light blocking glasses. I’m just going to watch three episodes of LARC Rowdy’s to Candlefield right now. You know? And then I have a horrible night’s sleep and I wake up and I’m like, yeah, I totally did that. I totally chose that. And I guess it is true that when I watched TV right before bed, I don’t sleep well. You know? And that’s fine. It’s good for us to do that every once in a while I think just to know like, yeah, okay, I guess my rules are there for a reason.


mama, you are running a marathon tomorrow and what you eat and what you do today is going to determine your night of sleep, which is going to determine your energy tomorrow. Stop short changing yourself. Okay.

And I’m also kind of saying this because I think for the people that listen to coffee and pearls, you guys are self-helpy kind of people, right? You’re the ones that are like have those moments where you’re like, Oh, I should be better at this. And then you want to pop up and hear something like this. I think there are a lot of you that a lot of women out there that’s not their cup of tea and they’re like, I would hate this podcast. I’m like, totally, you would totally hate this podcast. And go listen to a different one. Like um, abiding together. Love that podcast. So beautiful. That is like a cup of tea and a hug, right? Those ladies are just like cup of tea and a hug. You know, mine is a little bit more like a kick in the pants. This is like a Holy kick in the pants podcast. That’s what it is. But I know that you want to be the best version of yourself and I know you want more energy.


And I know you don’t want to feel like you’re drowning and if you can control nothing else in your life, you can control what you put in your mouth and what you choose to watch. And when you go to bed,

I want you to be filled with peace and it is really hard to be filled with peace when you’re tired. I had one horrible night of sleep. I was like, we can half ago, four hours, and I was like Gollum the next day. I mean it was just, it was like that. It was like, you know, dr Jekyll, Mr. Hyde. Like I was a totally different person that day and it was so hard for me to do all of these things and I was like, we should order a pizza because when you don’t get enough sleep, your body goes, please give us easy carbs and sugar for more energy. You know, like I just broke down and, and it was good. It was so great for me to see one that I could be grateful for. How many nights of good sleep that I had had that that was unusual and hadn’t happened to me in so long. I was so grateful for that. Um, and then I was just grateful for everything that I’ve read and learned and that I work so hard to sleep well so that I can run this marathon every day and take care of these six kids. And those three, you know, boys under three and I’m doing it. You guys. I’m doing it.

And most of the time I have peaceful. I’m doing it. And I know that’s why it’s possible for you, no matter what the circumstances are. All right ladies, thank you so much for listening to Coffee and Pearls. I’m praying for peace for all of you. Have a blessed day.


An Exercise for Saturday and Sunday

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An Exercise for Saturday and Sunday Transcript

Hi and welcome to Coffee and Pearl’s 15 minutes of wisdom for Catholic moms. I’m Sterling Jaquith and as we continue this peace series, I want to offer up two exercises that I think you should go through, one for Saturdays and one for Sundays. And I’m going to describe both of them in detail. And then at the very end of the podcast I’m going to go over them again. So if you’re driving or folding laundry while you’re listening to this, don’t worry about having to remember it because you can come back, load up the episode, skip to the end, and then back up just a little bit to catch those questions. So the first one is an exercise that I think you should do on Saturdays. And I’m calling this the love yourself exercise. Here’s what I want you to do.

I want you to sit down in a quiet place. I want you to close your eyes and I want to, I want you to picture yourself as a little girl, maybe seven and nine years old. Usually an age will resonate with you. A little girl and she’s sitting on the couch and her knees are tucked up underneath her arms and she looks worried. And this little girl is yourself and you’re going to sit down next to that little girl and you’re just going to listen to what she has to say as if you are an adult. And I want you to kind of put on your mothering hat for a moment because while we made you a really good job of emotionally supporting our kids, we do a pretty crummy job of emotionally supporting ourselves. And so a lot of you have gotten to the end of the week and gotten to this Saturday and you think, man, I really, I bungled it.

I really screwed up. I really lost it on my kids. I really lost on my husband. I’m a wreck. I ate five pints of ice cream. I didn’t change out of my jammies for three days. I don’t even know what day it is, right? You’re just, you’re telling yourself this story and you’re laying on the guilt and the shame to yourself. And that’s what we’re hoping to combat. So instead I want you to picture yourself as a little girl. Sit next to this little girl. She just look at her for a moment. She looks scared, she looks maybe anxious, maybe she’s worried you’re about to lecture her. Maybe she looks a little scared of you. And I just want you to talk to her when she say, hi honey, how are you doing? And she’ll probably go fine, but you know she’s not fine. And you say, you know what, honey? It’s okay if you’re not fine. This was a crazy week. A lot has happened. It’s okay if you’re feeling really worried or nervous.

And then I want you to ask her about the week, what happened this week. And she’ll tell you, she’ll say, Oh gosh, I was just, I was so nervous on Thursday, you know? And I just, I was scrolling on my phone and it made me crazy. And then I snapped at one of the kids and I just feel awful. I’m so scared. And you say, yeah, I totally understand that. That is a completely normal reaction to what’s happening right now. I totally get how you could have acted in that way when I’m scared. I do that too. That’s exactly what I do. And I want you to just continue having a conversation with a younger version of you and I want you to come for her like you would comfort a child

Because children make mistakes all the time. Some I caught my nine year old being really rude the other day and instead of freaking out and being like, why did you do that? That’s terrible, right? I waited until she was alone and I just said, you know, I could tell that you are really frustrated and you know what? When I get scared or frustrated, I tend to be rude to sometimes and you know, it’s not okay to do that, but I totally understand where you’re coming from. And usually when I’m scared, I just want someone to understand me. But when I’m snarky and rude, that doesn’t happen.

Right? And so you can see how as a parent, we tend to explain things with love and grace and mercy because we’re training them. But somehow along the way we turn into adults. And then we think we should just know how to do everything. And of course we don’t. No one has experienced what we’re experiencing right now. There’s no book for how you should survive quarantine week with a potential worldwide pandemic that we don’t know or understand very well. It’s okay that you had a wonky week. I’d be surprised if you didn’t. And so I want you to stop beating yourself up. I want you to just get quiet, sit with that little girl version and just hug her. Just love her. Tell her it’s okay. Tell her that you’re going to love her no matter how she reacts and you’re always there for her and she’s a good mom. Okay? She’s a good girl.

And if you do it right, this isn’t a requirement. But if you do it right, most of the time you’ll end up crying, okay? Because you’ll realize just how mean you’ve been to yourself all week. And I want you to just release a lot of that and just let it go. Okay? Whatever you did this week, it’s fine. It’s what you needed to do to get through. Now, that doesn’t mean it was the best version of you. It doesn’t mean that that’s the kind of week you have to have next week, but whatever is done is done and there is no point in chewing on that and beating yourself up about it. Okay? So I want you to do the love yourself exercise on Saturday. Then on Sunday, I want you to do a peace exercise with your spouse. Okay? let’s call it something different. Husbands are probably not going to like that.

Let’s call it the check-in exercise. Okay? We’re going to call it the check in exercise. So you’re going to check in with your spouse. You’re going to say, Hey honey, I need you for 15 minutes. It won’t be longer than that. Just a quick check in about the week and what’s happening next week. My husband likes it when I sound kind of businessy. It doesn’t scare him as much as let’s talk about our feelings, right? And so I want you to sit down and the first thing I want you to say is, this has been a crazy week and I’m really sorry for the things I said when I was tired and scared. That’s it. You don’t even have to go into more details. Sometimes I like to go into more detail and I’ll say like on Thursday when you were trying to be really helpful, but I snapped at you. I wasn’t about you. I was just really anxious that day. I’m worried about the kids. I’m worried about you. Whatever. We’re worried about something, just say what it is and just say, I’m sorry.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say 100% of you need to apologize to your husband for freaking out a little bit this week or saying something not nice to him while you were tired or scared. If you didn’t rock on high five, you should teach the rest of us how to hold it together a little bit better. Okay? Start off by apologizing. Don’t expect an apology from him. That’s not the point of the exercise. That’s not important. Okay. So just apologize. And then I want you to say, you know what, we’re trying to find our new normal in this situation. And I just want to know from you what you think went well this week and what you think didn’t go optimally this week. Okay, no blaming. It doesn’t have to be a big deal, but we’re going to head into the next week tomorrow and I think we should have a game plan.

And so I just want to say like what did we learn this week, right? So the three questions are what went well? What needs work, what are we going to do differently this week? Tan. Because I really want you to come together and feel like a team. And I think starting by acknowledging that it is a stressful and a time of tension is really good. Because when we pretend that it’s not, we don’t have the same amount of mercy and grace for our coping behaviors. And some of us cope with just lashing out in anger. Some of us are coping with, you know, whatever we cope with, television, alcohol, food, online gambling. Don’t do that. I don’t know anybody who does that, but maybe some of you do. And I want you to really feel connected with your husband right now. Now I will say, and most of you know my marriage, still not in a great place, right?

We’re still not a great place, but we can still do this because it feels business-y and safe. And we just kind of say like, Hey, I want to be on your team. How can we, how can we make sure the week goes smoothly? What can I do for you? What do I need? But really we’re just going to ask the three questions, right? What worked, what needs work? What are we going to do differently this week? Okay. And so I think those two exercises are going to be really powerful, really simple and hopefully really helpful for you to go into the week feeling a little bit more merciful and kind to yourself and a little bit more unified with your husband having a plan for your family. Okay. So for most of us, we’re heading into week two of a completely new life. And remember it takes at least two weeks to get adjusted to something.

So this next week isn’t going to be like the easy week. Hopefully it’s easier than last week, but it’s still going to be a puzzle. Every day is going to feel like, Hmm, that didn’t quite go the way that I wanted, or here’s a new variable that I wasn’t planning on and we’re just going to ask ourselves every day. At the end of the day, what went well? What needs work? What am I going to do differently with no expectation of it going smoothly or having totally figured out. None of us have this figured out right now. We have no idea what we’re dealing with and that’s okay. All you need to do is have somewhat of an idea of what you’re going to do in the morning. But even the best planners, like they say in the military, Oh, what’s the phrase? Something about how the best laid plans work really well until they meet with the enemy, right?

And so you can plan as much as you want, but as soon as you get onto the field of combat, the plans usually go out the window, right? Cause you have no idea what to expect. You can have some guesses, but we don’t really know. And your goal should not be to have a perfectly planned out day that goes according to plan. It’s that you have enough tools in place, you’re feeling resilient enough and you’re being loving enough to and to everyone in your family for what’s going on. My kids are still pretty young, so I don’t see a lot of weirdness in them. But I can imagine that if you have an 11 year old or a 15 year old, that they’ve gotta be acting pretty weird. And I’m sure it’s subconscious, right? They don’t know, but they’re just kind of weird and off.

And I bet that could look like misbehaving or disrespect. And so recognize that they’re going through something weird to you may, you may sit down with them on Sunday and do the same exercise. Hey, it’s a little crazy right now. What worked for you last week? And on what was challenging for you last week. See if you can work with them and say, you know what, would it be more helpful for you this next week? And that’s all we have to do. We have no idea what next month is going to look like. We can’t even really know what the week is going to look like, but we can make an educated guess and come up with a plan and then we can already have mercy with ourselves that it probably won’t go according to plan. All right, so those are the two exercises. The first one is the love yourself exercise where you’re going to get really quiet and sit down with a young version of yourself, maybe seven to nine and you’re going to ask her how she’s doing and you’re just going to tell her that you love her no matter what and that

She’s going to be okay and that you’re there for her and that all of her reactions are normal. All of our reactions to unusual fear situations are just perfectly fine. We’re working in and out came. And then the second exercise is going to be the check in with your spouse exercise. You’re going to sit down and the first thing you’re going to do is you’re going to say, I’m sorry for the things I said when I was tired or scared. And then you’re going to ask three questions. Question number one, what went well this week? Question number two, what still needs work? Question number three, what are we going to do differently this week? All right, ladies, I’m praying for you and your families. I hope you’re enjoying this peace series and hang in there. We’re all doing this together. All right, I love you. Have a blessed day.


Don’t be An Optimist

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Don't Be an Optimist Transcript

Hi and welcome to Coffee and Pearls, 15 minutes of wisdom for Catholic moms, I’m Sterling Jaquith and today I want to talk about the danger of optimism and that might sound silly, but as someone who is pretty optimistic, well, I want to say it’s funny, I’m, I’m both hand a lot of times, I’m definitely the optimist, right? Even in our marriage I’m like, “Oh, it’s going to be great!” And I can just see all these amazing possibilities and I have so much joy. But at the same time I’m also kind of the melancholic depressive one where I think, Oh, it’s terrible. It’s never going to get better. And so it’s funny, I wear both of those hats in our marriage. But in general I would say I’m a pretty optimistic person. And yet it was a couple of years ago, maybe more than that, that I heard this story about James Stockdale.

So James Stockdale was a veteran who survived almost eight years as a prisoner of war. So he was in a prisoner of war camp for almost eight years. And somebody asked him, they said, you know, thinking about all of the people that you were with, you know, for the people who didn’t make it, what do you think they had in common? And he said this, he said, Oh, that’s easy. The optimists, Oh, they were the ones who said, we’re going to be out by Christmas. And Christmas would come and Christmas would go. And then they’d say, we’re going to be out by Easter. And then Easter would come and Easter would go, and then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again. And they died of a broken heart. And this is a very important lesson because you must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end, which you can never afford to lose with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they may be.

End quote. And I remember reading that and it was the first time that I saw my optimism as a weakness, which, you know, most people don’t consider it a weakness, but it was such an important lesson and one that I continued to learn, especially when my optimism creeps in and pushes out reality that it’s important that we have faith, we have faith that we are going to prevail in the end we are going to be okay and I think to front right now we need to have faith that we’re going to be in heaven, right? That that’s our goal and that’s what we’re striving for. But also faith that we’re going to be okay. No matter how big this pandemic thing is going to be. In my opinion, the sickness stuff is going to be at least three months. I think it’s going to take at least three months to run its course.

I’m totally making that up. I’m not a doctor or anything, but that’s just kinda my gut feeling. I do not think kids are going to go back to school. I think, you know, we’re going to be mostly staying at home for about three months and then I think the economic and financial impacts are going to be probably 18 months to two years with a little bit of an echo for five years. Right. I think this is going to be a big, big deal and not in a scary way, you know, it feels scary maybe because we’ve had it so easy for the last, you know, 50, 60 years in a lot of ways. I don’t mean to minimize the struggles that we’ve gone through personally or you know, as Americans or in the world, but in general, this is kind of a big, huge deal and something we haven’t had to deal with in a long time. And despite it being big and maybe scary, I think we’re going to be just fine as we have been throughout all of time because I believe in God and his goodness and his ability to carry us through. I also believe in his Supreme power, right? And so I’m not going to stand and say, God, why are you doing this? Well, I’m sure he has a good reason for doing it. My prayers instead, or God, give me grace to make it through while practicing the 10 commandments and being virtuous, being kind and loving.

And I’m trying to be realistic about how long it’s gonna take. So I think if you’re going into this and you’re like, okay, it’s, you know, it’s going to be a rough two weeks or her rough two months, you know, I don’t want you to die of a broken heart. Now obviously we’re not in such extreme situations as being, you know, a prisoner of war. But for a lot of us, this feels extremely painful, extremely confusing. And so I want to give you the gift of perspective, right? And so let me read the last sentence of that quote again. He says, you must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end, which you can never afford to lose with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality. Okay. So we want to stare what we’re facing down in the face head on and say, you know what?

Like we were talking about before, this is a marathon, but I’m here. I’m going to do it. I’m going to have a good attitude while I’m doing it and I’m not going to lose faith. I’m going to be okay. Right? If you are one of those families who lost your job immediately overnight, I want you to try to hold onto the idea that you’re gonna be okay. You’re going to make it through this. You may have less money, less comfort, but you’re going to make it. And that’s obviously the pep talk. I’m having to give myself rights to the small business owners. A lot of us are really going to be quite expendable and we’re just going to close and it would be so easy for me to think like this was it. It’s going to just eat up everything that we have and maybe we’ll lose the house and I don’t know.

I could go down that rabbit hole over and over again, but instead I’m telling myself, yeah, this is going to be a rough go. It’s going to be, you know, the, the short term rough girl was all being in the house and not getting to see our friends and not getting to go out. But then, you know, longterm I think there’s going to be a ton of economic impacts that are going to be difficult for all of us as a country and we’re going to be okay with that too. And I want that to be a message of hope. So let us be filled with faith and not necessarily optimism. I like to say that I’m an optimal list. Now an optimal list is someone who’s always improving their life, looking for ways to be strong and kind of how we talked about in the last episode, what’s working, what needs work.

And then also makes me think about the time that I was on bed rest. And you know, it was a difficult time. It was a dark time. But I also remember a lot of good things that came out of that. You know, when I look back I don’t think, Oh, the whole thing was terrible. I see the gifts that were there, the lessons that I learned, the ways that it made me stronger, that it made my marriage stronger. Even just the two girls last year who helped take care of my kids, you know, we, we now almost consider them part of our family. It was such a gift that I wouldn’t have had if I hadn’t gone through that. And it’s a little early to tell for all of us, but I was just noticing from my friend Kimberly that she is finishing her book.

She’s been writing a book and and she wrote today, you know, that she had been praying that God would give her more time to finish the book, but she never expected it would come like this. And so she’s, you know, fortunate to already see kind of the good that is coming of this in a big way. You know, maybe some of us have seen it in small ways, getting to spend more time with our kids or reading a book that we’ve intended to read or you know, pulling out grandma’s cookbook and baking some new things that are going be so many gifts that we’re going to receive in this time. It is going to make us strong. I already see the amazing way that communities are pulling together. It’s so beautiful. And while nobody wishes for tough times, tough times are what make us strong and able to enjoy the golden times that come after.

And so begin to look this week for those gifts and imagine yourself, you know, in your sixties with your grandchildren and they’ll say, Oh, tell us about the twenties assuming this ends up being a big thing. And it’s written about in the history books and they want to know, remember the good things that came out of it, the sweet stories. I love the pictures of children putting art in their windows so that the other children walking by can see them. That is just such a beautiful thing and we’re going to remember those beautiful things, so I want you to pick your head up this week and look for those. Look for the sweet stories that you’re going to share and it’s not that we’re not going to share that. It was tough, but it’s funny when we describe things that are tough, we tend to sum them up quickly, like like my bed resting. I’ll be like, Oh yeah, it was really hard to be in bed that long, but I immediately will say, Oh, but this is what also happened, and I’ll explain that in more detail because it feels like that’s more powerful to share and more important.

We’re going to get there, have faith that we will prevail. In the end, we’re going to come out the other end of this stronger, hopefully with stronger, more close knit communities and hopefully with a tremendous number of people who strengthened their faith in God or who came to form a relationship with God. What an amazing gift that could come out of this time. And we can be part of that. We can bring people closer to Christ by being calm and having gratitude and sharing the beautiful stories and lifting each other up. And that is my prayer for my family and for all of you. All right, so this week, let’s try to be optimal lists instead of optimists, and let’s shine the light of Christ into the world. Thank you so much for listening to Coffee and Pearls and have a blessed day.

Painful Marriage and Valentine’s Day

Painful Marriage and Valentine’s Day


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Note: Fit and Holy Challenge information at the bottom!

The internet will no doubt be covered by hearts, candy, balloons, and more today. Once again a Catholic holiday (holy-day) has been co-opted by our secular culture. I don’t mind the pictures, actually. We have a lovely book about St. Valentine and I think he would be proud that people stop and do nice things for their loved ones today. 

Where we get in trouble is when we believe that the absence of candy and balloons means an absence of love… or that love means warm and romantic feelings at all. 

I looked up the definition of romantic/romance and it was funny. A lot of it talked about books, movies where characters fall in love. Even the verb definition said, “to invent or relate romances; indulge in fanciful or extravagant stories or daydreams.” The definitions all seemed to be circular… romantic referenced romance which referenced romantically which then referenced romance. 

If the dictionary is a bit confused about romance, it’s no wonder we are with all the characters that surround us, both real and cultivated online. 

It’s no secret that my marriage is going through a rough patch. Can we still say patch if it’s been three years? Maybe we’re in a rough orchard. On the outside, I’m sure we look okay. We function extremely well as partners taking care of our home, our business, and our kids. We even do a good job taking care of each other, doing nice things for the other person. 

It’s the feelings that are missing, the warmth. And that’s not surprising with 8+ months of abstinence… again. But since today seems to be about celebrating feelings, it’s okay if you feel crummy. It’s okay if your marriage is strained and the site of all the heart garlands and frosted cookies makes you feel a little bitter. 

Let those feelings bubble up. Notice them. Name them if you can. 

“I thought there’d be more sacramental grace. What does grace feel like?”

“How can this be the person God meant me to be with?”

“I love my family so much but I also feel trapped.”

“I’m so lonely.”


I’ve felt all manner of things these last three years and here’s what I do. First, I share those feelings with God. He’s my best friend. He wants to hear everything about my day and all my hopes and fears. I simply tell Him. 

Next, I remind myself that love is about sacrifice. True love always has deep sacrifice. I think that’s one of the reasons Frozen is so popular. It’s one of the only movies that shows true sacrifice simply for the love of another. We’re so drawn to stories about real sacrifice for love. 

And last, I serve. I get up and clean the dishes. I make sure the towels are the way he likes them even if my heart feels cold. I remind him of an appointment even if I don’t remember what flirting is like. I hold his hand every night when we pray because we serve God first and foremost. 

I love my husband a great deal and he loves me. We don’t know how to navigate romance in a world of abstinence, six babies, entrepreneurship, and our current major house projects but we know how to love each other. We serve each other when the feelings aren’t there. That’s real sacrifice and it’s real love. 

I have no idea if we’ll figure out the feelings but I know we are honoring what God asked of us. My deepest desire is for Heaven and for sainthood and so I hope this is at least on the narrow road in that direction. 

I’m praying for all of you who may be feeling left out or hurt this Valentine’s Day. I feel you.  Remember St. Valentine and his bravery. He fought hard for marriage and we certainly need more of that attitude in the world these days. 

On a TOTALLY unrelated note… maybe slightly related since taking care of our bodies and our souls is a great way to honor our marriage… the Fit and Holy Challenge is back and this year it’s happening over Lent! 

It’s a six week challenge that encourages you to pray, drink water, exercise, and connect with the Lord. Plus there’s a sweet points tracker and who doesn’t love a points tracker! There are awesome Catholic prizes each week although I’ve never won one and I still think this challenge is awesome! 

 I love this challenge and this year I super duper promise to not get pregnant so I’m going to work really hard to beat my personal record from past challenges!

If you want to join me, visit and sign up. Registration closes at midnight on Feb. 27th. 

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


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 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 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


Here is the latest Coffee & Pearls:

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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


Here is the latest Coffee & Pearls:

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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

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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

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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



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



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



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



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:

Scroll down to read it as a blog post!


  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 😉

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.

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

Fish sticks – everyone loves these!

Chicken strips – everyone loves these… but I don’t like them as leftovers… because I’m a big baby:

Turkey Soup: We use leftover turkey to make this soup:…/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:…/

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!