Finding Your Voice as a Coach’s Wife

I wanted to follow up on my podcast interview and offer a few ways you can begin the journey to find your voice as a coach's wife.

I had the privilege of chatting with Anne Marie Cross this past Sunday evening on her podcast The Christian Entrepreneurs Podcast.

We chatted briefly about my journey to finding my voice, and the process of learning pursue my passions. As you might imagine, it’s hard to concisely present a life journey and it’s something I continue to unpack every week. But today, I wanted to follow up on my podcast interview and offer a few ways you can begin the journey to find your voice as a coach’s wife.

Here are a few steps you can take to find your voice:

Accept Your Circumstances:

When I’m chatting with a coach’s wife there is one thing that sets an alarm off in my head without fail. It’s when that wife confesses that she feels trapped. Whether she feels this way because she can’t work in her preferred profession, or she can’t live near her support network, or her life stage is not where she wants to be, it all comes back to the same dangerous path because when we feel trapped we naturally look for a way out.

Here’s the thing, the journey to living your fullest life, within your calling begins with accepting your current life stage. God does not make mistakes and he is not waiting for you to achieve a specific life stage in order for you to be an effective light for him.

Focus on Self-Awareness:

Knowing who you are and why you respond the way you do it vital to living out your passions well. I believe this is best done by digging into who you are and how you are uniquely wired.

  • Love Languages
  • Enneagram
  • StrengthsFinder
  • Apology Languages
  • Spiritual Gifts
  • Meyers-Brigg
  • DISC

All of these tests will give you a window into how you perceive the world and what fills your love tank. For me, the Enneagram was the key that helped me to connect all the dots.

Be Realistic:

Once I had confirmed that I was doing things that were sucking the life out of me instead of filling me up I had to get realistic about what I needed to do to get where I wanted to go. I took a hard look at my calendar and commitments and came to the understanding that in order to do what I was passionate about well I was going to learn to say no.

I was so overcommitted that I was running myself ragged. Writing was the hobby that I rarely had time for, which is crazy because it is the thing that feeds my soul. I needed to feed myself so that I could begin to feed others better.

For some of you being realistic might mean that you have to accept that to do what you want to do you are going to need to go back to school and gain the right degree, or you are going to have to work remotely instead of having that corner office.

It might mean that you need to take a pay cut, or even volunteer for a while to build your resume. Sometimes being realistic means cutting through your pride and accepting life is going to move at a different pace than you prefer.

Tell Someone:

Once I had the ball rolling on a life path shift I needed to tell my husband what was going on because without his support I would likely run away when things got hard. More than that, I needed him to be in my corner cheering me on. Life is hard enough, there’s no reason to soldier alone.

Pray:

One thing that happens through this process is that once people determine where they are going to put prayer on the back burner. For some reason, we forget that God is always in pursuit of a deeper relationship with us. What better time to learn more about how you were uniquely created than when you are living your best life using the voice your Creator gave you?

Prayer will keep you on this path and will give you the strength and discernment to use your voice the way God has designed you to do so.

Well, I hope this short overview provides you with a few action steps you can take to begin to find your voice. Just remember friend, your husband’s calling is important, and so is yours.

Listen to the whole interview here.

 

A Year in the Book of Romans

A Year in the Book of Romans

I had the opportunity to participate in Bible Study Fellowship this year with about 300 other women in our current community. If you participated in BSF in past years you may be surprised to learn that the rules are loosening. No longer do we always answer every question and we have a lot more time to chat and get to know each other as a group.

I’ve loved my small group and have really enjoyed time with them both during small group and outside of Tuesday mornings. I’m so thankful for the friendships that have formed. I believe that studying Romans together has helped us drop the surface conversations quickly and deep dive into the important things.

It hasn’t been an easy book to study this year, but I can’t argue with the relevancy of the Bible when I read Romans. Paul could have been writing to the United States in 2017-2018, and in some ways, he was. At the same time, I think Romans is a book that many people skim through to avoid the “hard parts” which really aren’t as scary as others may lead you to believe.

Our group leader did an amazing job of encouraging us while also not letting us get away with short answers. She asked insightful questions and she was also willing to learn alongside us.

As I reflect on the key things I’ve taken away from a focused season of studying the Book of Romans I realize the list is shorter than I expected it would be. Paul lays out a clear understanding of the Gospel, and he makes a strong argument for “right living”. And maybe that’s why people have a hard time with Romans. While nuance is present in some sections, many are pretty clear. Do this, not that.

Here are a few examples:

Romans 13:7  Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”

Romans 13:13 “Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.”

Romans 14:3-4The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.”

While you may be tempted to say “Everything? that didn’t include foods we have now. If Paul knew about ____ he’d have written that differently.” Um NOPE! “Who are you to judge someone else’s servant?”

The Contrast is Clear

Ultimately, this season studying Romans put a giant spotlight on the division that currently dominates many news cycles. The church is deeply fractured and none of the issues we are facing now are new ones.

Through it all, God is still God.

The most important take away for me is that God is so much bigger than we allow him to be, and our calling has more to do with our relationship with God than any other aspect of our lives.

Remote Working Work/Life Balance Strategies

work life balance

One thing I’ve heard from bloggers and podcasters often is that we shouldn’t assume people tell their whole stories on social media especially if they present the illusion that they have their lives completely organized and running smoothly. Jamie Ivey often says when she’s home she is 100% home and when she travels she is 100% focused on work. While that is a great suggestion, when your family, home, and office all overlap 100% of the time it is necessary to develop different work/life balance strategies.

Earlier this month I featured the pros and cons of working remotely. While nine months out of the year my days are divided into sections where my guys are at work and school and when they are home, summer is coming and that means football practices will begin and the kids will not have a regular weekly schedule. While there are times within each month that I find myself working to meet a deadline and ignoring other things that require attention, I have found that with a little preparation and a good amount of discipline work/life balance is achievable most days.

Here are my remote working work/life balance strategies:

Meal Planning and Prep

While summer is easier, most of the year dinner execution falls to me. Even if a meal is completed by someone else I’m still the one to make sure all the ingredients are available. You can read about my meal prep process once a menu is planned here. 

Notice that I have a list of things to keep on hand. With growing boys appetites vary. I build in 1-2 leftover days with each weekly menu, but sometimes it doesn’t work out that way. It’s easier to have some meals to quickly throw together than to have to run to the grocery store.

Every week I ask if there are meal requests and browse what we have in the house that will work together to create meals. I check the calendars I’ve built in Plan to Eat and compare my plan with previous weeks and then I write out the menu for everyone to see.

Plan to Eat is my go-to recipe database and meal planner. It stores all my recipes, syncs well with Pinterest and allows me to build menus as far out as I choose. There’s also a tab to help figure out what items I need to add to my grocery list. You can use my affiliate link if you are interested in Plan to Eat. Plans start at $4.95 for a month. My favorite part is that Plan to Eat allows you to “always export all of your recipes, even after your subscription has expired.”

My last meal strategy is to include my guys in the planning and cooking of meals. In the summer each guy has a night where they are in charge of the whole meal from planning to prep and clean up. Through the school year, I’ll often have them help me put together a side dish or make pancakes on the weekends.

I’m keeping meals healthy, reasonably priced and simple by:

  • Planning ahead
  • Prepping ahead on the weekend
  • Writing out the menu so everyone knows what to expect
  • Utilizing grocery services to stay on track with my list and budget
  • Including the whole family in the process.

Prioritizing Health

The best way I can keep work/life balance is by prioritizing my health. This includes regular exercise, eating healthy, making sure to limit caffeine and sweets, and incorporating vitamins and essential oils into my daily routine.

My strategy is to put my workout clothes on first thing. Whether that means I’m heading out to workout first thing in the morning or later in the afternoon I wear my workout clothes until I have completed exercise for the day. Sometimes this means I head out for a quick walk followed by some planks as the day gets away from me, but by having my clothes on I’m able to throw on my gym shoes and go whenever the time allows.

Cleaning Through the Week

I take advantage of the fact that I’m home and I take short breaks through the day to keep up on chores. This does make the weekdays a little fuller, but in reality, I’m spending less than 15 minutes most days cleaning while at the same time saving myself a few hours of time on the weekend.

Google Apps

Family Calendar

We have a shared Google Calendar for the family. This includes all activities going on including all practices, special events, doctor appointments and anything else that’s going on. Once a week when the boys bring home their school communications we make sure the calendar is up-to-date.

Google Keep

This app may be my favorite Google app. Shared lists allow for Ordell to add groceries to my running list without having to tell me. When he remembers he needs protein powder and I’m not around he can just add it to the list.

Google Keep allows for several lists to build at the same time and you can add alarm reminders as well. We have lists for library books and movies we want to see, doTerra oils we need to reorder, and tasks that need to be completed such as take the kids for haircuts. This app syncs with Google Drive, so you can access it even when your phone is in the other room.

Google Drive

We’ve finally found the perfect way to make sure all the papers and receipts and documents are not lost and aren’t stored in email boxes. Google Drive has become organized storage for tax documents, emails with information needed in the future, budget tracking, and photos. Using these steps I’ve been able to send emails and documents to Google Drive without having to print and store things. Since the drive folders are shared I also don’t have to remember where everything is!

Digital Intentionality

Laptop

The final work strategy I’ve adopted is the habit of closing my laptop and placing it across the room by a certain time each day. The time of day varies because I don’t work a steady 9-5, but each day once it’s closed I’m done for the day. If I remember there is something I need to do the next day I add it to my Google Keep list and deal with it the next day.

Phone

I’ve also set phone notifications for email and Slack to turn off at a certain point eliminating the temptation to answer the email that comes in late.

I’m a big fan of scheduling texts. When I remember at 6 am that I wanted to try to have lunch with a girlfriend this week I’ll schedule a text to go out later that morning. They will respond when they can, but I don’t need to continue to try to remember to send a text, and I don’t send something at a crazy time of the day.

Voxer is another app that helps me stay connected with both work and life. Sending a quick voice message helps me feel more connected to certain people.

Accountability

This year I’ve utilized Powersheets and it has been a great option to track short and long-term goals. The pages are well structured with check-in points and specific questions to think beyond the surface of life.

I also meet bi-weekly with a partner. We discuss where we are with goals and offer insights and encouragements to each other.

Embracing working from home has included accepting that my days still need to start at between  6-6:30 am through the week to make sure I have time to exercise and spend time with God, but without the strategies I’ve highlighted today I’d be starting at 5 am. I know because I’ve learned the need for strategies the hard way.

Ultimately, we all need to find the things that work for us. I’ve found that my family thrives on structure whether they realize it or not. Additionally, once something is implemented adjusting hasn’t been hard.