Creating Intentional White-Space in a Black-Out Season

Is there an alternative to filling our calendars and emptying our wallets with endless activities and trips this Thanksgiving and Christmas?

This holiday season we can make proactive decisions that leave more margin for joy in our interactions with others.

Cheri and Amy give two word mash-ups that will help us identify what’s worth it and what’s not.

Click on the graphic below to listen, and don’t miss the great free downloads! (If you prefer reading to listening, you can download the transcript instead.)


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Holiday Expectations and Traditions: Keeping the Good and Letting the Ugly Go

In the first of the Holiday Break episodes, Cheri and Amy tease out the difficult issues of holiday expectations and traditions.

How do we decide what’s worth keeping and what needs to go?

They come up with key questions to ask and a permission slip to enable you to move away from holiday dread and move toward more delight.

Click the graphic below to listen, and don’t forget to print your permission slip for your fridge while you’re there. There’s an amazing pre-holiday expectation buster there too!

Note: Aren’t into listening to podcasts? That’s ok! We have a transcript of our conversation each week. Click here to access the transcript.


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Episode #17: Choosing to Be Human


Cheri and Amy process lessons learned from Lucille Zimmerman about play and grief.

There are choices to be made in both. Will we choose the bonding of play? Will we let time soften and redeem? Click on the graphic above to listen.

While you’re at Cheri’s site, please make sure to take a minute to complete the survey. We’d love to hear what you think and who you’d like to hear interviewed in the future!

Coming Next Week…


We’re taking a break October-December: a holiday break!

For the next ten episodes, we’ll be giving you permission to break holiday bad rules and offering you practical pointers to totally rock holiday delight.

We’ll keep things short, sweet, and a wee bit sassy—without a stitch of guilt.

Join us next week as we kick off the Grit ‘n’ Grace Holiday Break. And by all means, invite your friends.

It’s waaaay more fun breaking bad rules together!

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Episode #16 and Little Note

I know it’s hard to believe, but I’m out of words.


It’s been two years of writing, writing, writing– first my book and then lots and lots of extra writing to get the word out about the book. It may sound funny for an author to say, but the truth is that writing is super hard for me. I’m thankful, but I’m tired.

So I’m going to do what God often calls tired girls to do. I’m going to rest for a little while. I’m taking a rest from writing in October so that I can fill back up with God. The links for Grit ‘n’ Grace will still come to you, but my Monday posts will be missing for a few weeks.

I hope you’ll hang in there with me, because I hope to be recharged with some fresh words and new passion when I come back!

In the meantime, I invite you to take a rest with me if you need it. The world doesn’t make much room for rest, but it was one of God’s priorities from the very beginning. He rested on the seventh day of the very first week ever just to show us how it’s done.

Take a breath.


Soak up Jesus in the silence so that you’ll have more of Him to share.

I’ll look forward to coming back revived in November!


If you haven’t listened to Grit ‘n’ Grace yet, I’d love for you to give it a try this week and the rest of the post-less weeks. 🙂 Cheri and I can’t believe that we’ve already had over 10,000 downloads, and we’d love for YOU to join our little community.

Also, if you’ve been a listener, would you help us get the word out? Share with your friends, and if you’d take a minute to leave a review on iTunes, that would be fabulous!


We’ve pinned negative labels on some very human processes like play and grieving.

Play is often consider slacking and grief is sometimes seen as a pity party.

Lucille Zimmerman, author of Renewed, explains why both are essential to the full life and how they serve as powerful tools to creativity and healing. Click on the graphic above to listen to the podcast, download great freebies, and enter to win a copy of Lucille’s book.

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When Tangling Words Catch You Off Guard

You’re in for a treat this week, friends! My friend Carey Scott is our guest blogger today, and I love her immensely for many reasons. She’s always a breath of fresh air in my life with her honesty and wisdom, and Carey lives so authentically that she makes me feel brave enough to do the same.

I know you’re going to adore her, so welcome Carey!


“Are you saying no because of your weight?”

Those words caught me off guard and stung. I’m always amazed at the freedom some feel to say they words they do.

Rather than respond with a full-frontal attack, I used gentle words so I could hide the hurt. “No, I just don’t want ice cream right now. Thanks, though.”

In that moment—at a dinner with old friends that should have been filled with joy and celebration—I found myself in a very tangling situation. I put on a brave face and pushed through. The last thing I wanted to do what ruin the evening for everyone else. But honestly, I’m so tired of just pushing through. Even more, I’m frustrated that I’m still so easily tangled.

Isn’t there a point in our lives when insecurity doesn’t knot us up anymore?

The shaming voice inside tells me I should be able to overcome it. And so often I agree. I’ve known Jesus for most of my life and have seen Him heal my heart more times than I can remember. I know what the Bible says about how much God loves me. I believe that He created me on purpose with purpose. I am a Biblical Life Coach, and speak and write about issues surrounding a woman’s self-esteem.

I know the worth I hold to my Creator, yet here I am again questioning my beauty. My value. My significance.

The struggle to see the truth of our worth isn’t new. Chances are you’re intimately aware of the places you don’t feel like you “measure up.” And dare I say it’s a battle we’ll most likely carry to the grave. Because part of the human condition is wondering if we’re good enough. Those insecurities cause us to take a sobering look at our life to see if we’ve been a success. We want to know we made a difference—our lives, our words, our actions—during our time here. We need to know we matter.

So we wonder… Am I raising my kids the right way? Have I been the kind of wife my husband needed? Am I doing enough to create healthy community and love on others well? Am I a good friend? Have I volunteered enough hours? Am I nurturing my relationship with Jesus enough? Do I handle our finances like I should? Am I as encouraging and affirming with my words as she is? Can I still pull off that little black dress even when things jiggle and wiggle a bit more? Do my opinions and ideas matter?

We want to know that we have contributed to the world in significant ways. We want to know that we are important. We want to know that we’re beautiful in our own way, and that others see it too. And we need to know that no matter what, we are valuable. So when a careless comment tightens a tangle that’s already been tightened around our heart—a tangle that makes us feel unlovable or unworthy—it can leave us feeling less than.

Here’s where it gets so frustrating. I had an expectation of growing out of those insecurities. I assumed that once I was well into my adult years, the need for worldly acceptance and approval would go away and I wouldn’t be so easily tangled by the same old people and the same stupid situations. And while some of my insecurities aren’t as easily triggered as before, words still hurt. So when she made the comment about my weight being what kept me from the ice cream desert, I felt those familiar less than lies flood back into my heart.

But here is the good news…God looks at us differently. He doesn’t measure our value by the way we look, what we’ve accomplished, the money we have made, the health of our body, or any other worldly measuring stick.  God values us simply because we’re His. Here’s proof: “You are the ones who make yourselves look right in other people’s sight, but God knows your hearts. For the things that are considered of great value by people are worth nothing in God’s sight.”  (Luke 16:15 GNT)

In other words, the world is wrong—plain and simple. And because of that, we can’t allow society’s standard of what is worthy of love and adoration be our truth. We just can’t listen to it anymore.

Sweet friend, here is my challenge to you:

… Ask the Lord to untangle the expectation that you must earn the love and approval of others.

… Let Him heal those places where words have hurt you by replacing them with His truth.

… Ask God to loosen the knots of insecurity that make you feel unimportant and insignificant.

… And live in the freedom that you were created on purpose and hold immeasurable value to your Heavenly Father.

Because when we do—when we truly untangle—words won’t hold the same power over us anymore. So when someone questions why we’re skipping desert (or we get triggered in some other way), we’ll remember that God sees the beauty and complexity of our heart… and delights in His creation!

careyCarey Scott is the author of Untangled, a book where she bravely shares her story of abuse, the insecurities birthed from it, and the freedom she now has through Jesus. She is also an international speaker who loves to have honest conversations about real life. She discusses the struggles women face the most, always reminding them of their immeasurable value. Carey lives in Northern Colorado with her family. Learn more by visiting CareyScottTalks. You can also connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.




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Episode #15: Finding the Beautiful in Messy Situations



Cheri and Amy process last week’s interview with Sheila Wray Gregoire through the lens of conflict and no-black-and-white circumstances.

It turns out that messy doesn’t mean ugly. There is redemption and positive personal change that happens when we face the natural complications of life instead of ducking them. Click on the graphic to listen.


I also had the chance to guest post on my friend Rachel Britton’s blog this week…


It was an epic story filled with conflict, mystery, and suspense, but it wasn’t a story just told for our entertainment. It was a true story– with God as the hero.

Our little band of women from Proverbs 31 Ministries sat in a small room in India filled with women who faithfully attended the literacy class led by Mission India. One after another, women in the class shared the stories of God’s presence in their lives.

Only months before, these same women didn’t know that God loved them. They didn’t realize that they were valuable and created in His image. They didn’t recognize the work that God was doing on their behalf.

Prayer was changing their lives and their perceptions.

Click here to read the rest.

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Letting Our Children Stumble (and Grow from It)


You all have been hearing from me a lot during the book study, and I wanted to give you a chance to hear some other voices from women who I both love and admire. They all have messages I know you’ll want to soak in deeply, so I’ll give them the spotlight through September.

You’ve heard her voice with me on Grit ‘n’ Grace, but I wanted to give you a written dose of my brilliant and fun friend, Cheri Gregory. Please welcome Cheri!


I swore I would never be an “After all I’ve done for you …” kind of mother who burdened her children with guilt.

I just wanted to be a loving mom who did nice things for her children.

Until I did nice things for them, and they failed to react with smiles of gratitude, that is. Or, worse yet, acted grumpy or upset, which was decidedly not in my plan.

I wanted to do nice things for my children so they would be happy … or at least that’s the story the People-Pleasing Bully told me. But with People-Pleasing running the show, it was impossible to tell truth from fiction.

It’s taken me years to realize that I didn’t care so much if my kids were happy. I did nice things for them mainly because I could not tolerate them being upset. I needed them to seem okay so I could feel okay.

When they weren’t happy, I didn’t want what was actually best for them. I wanted, and did, whatever would cause my own upset, triggered by their upset, to abate.

Thus, all the “favors” I did them. Thus, my resentment and bitterness. Thus, both my children floundering after they left home. All my “niceness” actually set them up for failure to launch.

I truly did not think of myself as a “helicopter parent” or “smother mother” or “stalker mom” during their high school years. But I was all of these. I jumped in to help too quickly. I didn’t let them fall flat on their faces. I didn’t let them pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and figure out what had happened let alone how to prevent it in the future.

Instead, I meddled, rushing in to cushion each fall.

My reasons were understandable: I had experienced inappropriate pain and disappointment as a child and a teenager, so I was determined to keep my children from suffering as I had. But in protecting them from the inappropriate pain and disappointment, I went overboard and tried to protect them from all pain and disappointment.

While my kids were in high school, I thought that my “involvement” would produce wonderfully high GPAs that would snag scholarships that would launch strong college careers.

I was wrong.

What happened is that both my kids snagged thousands of dollars worth of scholarships but lost them all during their first year. Both were kicked out of the Honors Program.


I’d created the nice illusion that all they had to do was show up, be their wonderful selves, and everything else would just happen. My daughter sank into a depression her freshman year when she discovered that, on her own, she could not figure out how to keep clean laundry in her drawers, let alone stay on top of homework, let alone keep the GPA to maintain her scholarships and remain in Honors. Jonathon, already an introvert, retreated into gaming for similar reasons.

I now wish they’d spent their final two years of high school as dorm students at the Christian boarding academy where I teach, instead of living at home. Getting away from me would have fostered greater independence. They would have learned many life skills and gained the maturity that comes from not having their own way all the time.

Yes, I would have missed them. But my job wasn’t to hold onto them as long as possible or keep them as comfortable as I could. My job was to facilitate their maturity and autonomy. Had I focused on that long-range goal, they would have been spared unnecessary pain and struggle their freshmen and sophomore years of college.

But People-Pleasing never let me think beyond the present. People-Pleasing kept me hyper-vigilantly alleviating the immediate discomfort of each moment. So when they struggled during their freshman year of college, I blamed them for wasting our money.

Because, of course, after all I’d done for them …

* * * * *

As God’s been leading me on this journey of breaking up with Perfect, I’ve found that Galatians 1:10 applies to all my relationships, including (and sometimes especially!) my relationships with my children:

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. 

Pleasing God means breaking my snowplow parent habits of clearing the path in front of my kids. It means learning to let them experience necessary growing pains rather than protecting them, and myself, from discomfort. It means that I no longer work so hard to avoid disappointment but trust God to carry my children—and me—through through it.

And it means trading my “After all I’ve done for you…” martyr attitude for an intentional focus on all He’s done for us and is still doing in us.

Cheri Gregory Head ShotCheri Gregory is a teacher, speaker, author, and Certified Personality Trainer. She speaks and writes from the conviction that “how-to” works best in partnership with “heart, too.” Her goal is to equip women to relate and create with less drama, more delight.

Cheri is the co-author ofThe Cure for the “Perfect” Life: 12 Ways to Stop Trying Harder and Start Living Braver and the upcoming Overwhelmed: How to Quiet the Chaos and Restore Your Sanity.

Cheri blogs about breaking free from perfectionism and people-pleasing, and being an HSP* at She also co-hosts a podcast called Grit ’n’ Grace: Good Girls Breaking Bad Rules with Amy Carroll.  (*Highly Sensitive Person) Leave a comment today to win Cheri’s great giveaway set: A copy of The Cure for a Perfect Life,  Braver Living Bible verse set image, “Brave” necklace image. 

Brave NecklaceCPL 3D SquareBraver Living Bible verse cards

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Episodes #13 and #14

While I was out of town, two new episodes of Grit ‘n’ Grace aired. You won’t want to miss these, so click the graphics below to listen to the show, access great free downloads, and enter the giveaway. 🙂

Episode #13:


Cheri and Amy discuss the hard but important work of developing new ways to develop greater happiness.

As they examine their own happiness habits (and their opposites!), gratitude, hope, and choosing the positive emerge as ways to break out of the rut of our default to unhappy.

Episode #14:



For most reforming perfectionists, peace seems like the ultimate goal no matter how it’s attained.

Sheila Wray Gregoire shares that true peace is often attained through painful conflict. She helps us to understand the difference between conflict and fighting.

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Monday Moments on Tuesday: Some Final Thoughts

Today is the very last day of our online book study of Breaking Up with Perfect, and I really can’t believe it’s over! When I started dreaming about this project months ago, I was completely overwhelmed thinking about the amount of work and hours it would take to put it together.

Can I tell you the truth on the other side?

Every hour I invested… all the brain cells I’ve strained… each and every one of the words I’ve typed…

The joy you’ve given me as you’ve joined me in breaking up with perfect has exceeded any investment I’ve made on my end! It’s TRUE!

That’s the way it always works in God’s Kingdom because we can never out-give God. Whatever we invest is multiplied.

I ended my book with the picture from Revelations 7 of every nation, tribe and tongue gathered around God’s throne. What a thought! For those of us who have followed Jesus, we’ll be in that throng. I can’t wait for that day because in that throng will also be my friends from my trip in India.

As our last challenge, I want to leave you with a little video I made. It’s a new snapshot (the first one is in Breaking Up with Perfect) of four spiritual generations.

Your challenge is to start today dreaming of your own spiritual generations. Break up with perfect, and open your life. Start with one woman. Invest your all in her and teach her to do the same. And then let’s all plan to meet–to pick a spot to get together– in the throng in front of Jesus, the Savior who has given us all so that our investment is eternal!

(Or click here to watch.)


Today is the last day of my online study, but another one is starting even as we end. UninvitedLysa TerKeurst’s newest book, is the next Proverbs 31 Ministries Online Bible Study. I’m excited about this study for lots of reasons:

  • It’s a life-changing book for those of us who have wrestled with rejection–and who hasn’t?!
  • Lysa and our OBS team are some of my favorite people in the whole wide world.
  • The trip to India was Lysa’s vision, and she has invested to fund 300 of next year’s literacy students for Mission India. Do you see the man directly to my right in the video? He is actually the project manager for one of Lysa’s projects. How about that wonderfulness!
  • Last but not least… I got to be part of one of the OBS videos for this study! I’m thrilled, and I can’t wait for you to see it. It’s a special project that you’re going to want to be part of– an investment that multiplies.

Don’t miss out! Click here to sign up for the Uninvited OBS today.

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