Thursday Thrills: You’re Right Where You’re Supposed to Be


In Monday’s blog post, I shared about a grace for our place, and I wanted to give you a graphic that shows you that God’s Word backs that idea.

Acts 17-26

You can download this picture and print it by clicking on the graphic above.

As an extra resource, I want to share a ministry that I love founded by a woman I adore. Amy Lively runs How to Love Your Neighbor ministries which is rich with resources about how to reach out to your neighbors.

Since we’ve been talking about both building community and serving, I wanted to give you a place where you can find tangible ways to live that way in your own neighborhood. Click here to visit How to Love Your Neighbor’s site.

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How to Deal with a Difficult Person

What do you do when someone’s perfectionism is driving you around the bend? When the relationship is about to end?

Valuing perfection over people shatters relationships. Join Amy and me as we tease out practical solutions for being on both the giving and receiving end of relationship-eroding perfection.

Click on the graphic above to listen. (And don’t miss the terrific FREE download “Curious Questions to Ask to Keep Perfectionism from Taking Control”.)

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Monday Moments: Grace for Where We’re Placed

The first day we visited a community with a literacy class I cried on the way home from our visit, and I cried as I talked to my roomie that night. My heart was broken, and I couldn’t muster up hope for the women I had met.

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Yes, there were glimpses of hope– a class where women were learning to read, to do simple math and to improve their way of life. Another woman who was tailoring with a sewing machine given as a wedding present, setting an example for other women in the community. There were also the irresistible, bright-eyed children that raised our spirits being brought up by their survivor-mamas.

But there was no doubt that for now, these women were trapped in the mire of poverty. In their desperation, they worked long hours and left tiny children home alone. They lived in homes where hygiene was an unknown luxury. They struggled with sickness and hunger and the pain of abuse.

Before we left the literacy class that that would culminate in two months, the women had asked the leaders with us, “What’s next?”

I wondered the same thing. What’s next for these women? To me it looked like nothing was next. It seemed like nothing would change. Poverty and despair would stretch on forever. I wanted to airlift these women OUT of their surroundings. OUT of poverty. OUT of a situation where they weren’t valued.

Josh and Jennifer, our hosts from Mission India, reminded me, “Amy, this is just the beginning. Change takes time. If you could come back here in five years, you’d see the change.”

Several days later when we visited Raju and his community, I realized that Josh and Jennifer weren’t just trying to make me feel better. It’s true! Change takes time, and God is faithful.

Once this realization sank in, I started to ask myself. What if I actually could have airlifted those women out of their situation? What would happen? I knew the answer wasn’t the pain-free solution that I sought for them.

They wouldn’t experience the joy of watching God at work in their circumstances.

They wouldn’t gain the confidence of being an agent of their own life-change.

They wouldn’t be able to bring the hope of Jesus and a new life into their own community, a place God had assigned them.

Isn’t it the same for us? We may not live in the depth of the worst poverty in the world, but we’re all experiencing the ravages of a fallen world in some way. We’re all suffering the imperfections of a fallen paradise. Maybe you are…

In the misery of an unraveling marriage.

In the fear of financial ruin.

In the pain of having a wandering child.

In the despair of infertility.

In the throes of unwanted singleness.

In the tension of living honestly in a corrupt work place.

In the midst of hurt with a friend.

Do you wish you could be airlifted out? Do you daydream about changing your location with the hope of changing it all? I know I’ve felt that way.

Instead of an air lift, I’m praying for a heart lift for us. Courage to stay and watch for God at work. Love for the hard-to-love around us. Patience to wait for incremental change to happen over time. Divine strength to bear the load.

I’m praying for grace to abound in the place God has ordained for us to become more like Himself and to make a difference in the lives of others. Just like Raju is transforming his God-given community… And the beautiful project manager in pink is changing the community where God has placed her… I’m praying that we thrive.

I’m praying for grace in our space.

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Reminder and Assignments:

Don’t forget to join me tonight at 8:00 pm ET in our private FB group for Facebook Live. Carol will be with me tonight sharing about a list that IS giving her life. Don’t miss it! (If you can’t be there live, you can still watch and comment later.)

The reading assignment this week is Chapters 7,8 & 9. This is the last week of three assigned chapters, so don’t give up! We’re almost there, and here are some tips for keeping up:

  • Read with a pen or highlighter in your hand. Even if you only read and highlight, you will still feel up to speed with the group and able to participate.
  • Add on the other pieces only as time allows, but don’t feel badly if you can’t get to them.
  • If you’re behind already, don’t quit! Each chapter can stand alone. Start on chapter 7 knowing that you can go back, read the chapters you skipped later, and read all the comments on the FB page. It’s all good, so just hang with us. We’d miss you if you left now!
  • If you haven’t chimed in on the FB page yet, make that a goal this week. I’m loving the little community we’re building there, and I know you will too. 🙂
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Thursday Thrills: A Devotion to Share

Happy Thursday, friends!

In our Facebook group Monday night, Carol gave a challenge that I’d like to share with everyone:

Amy reminds us in chapter 3 that we are to have a servant-like mentality and put others ahead of ourselves. What can you do this week to help someone?

Have you done something you’d like to share here in the comments? Or you can write your goal in the comments to make it “in-writing official.”

For the free download today, I thought I’d include a printable devotion to keep for yourself or to share with a friend as encouragement. Passing it along could be the way to help someone this week. 🙂

Click here to download “Love Rest”, a free devotion.

Also, don’t miss this interview with Michele Cushatt, author of Undone: Making Peace with an Imperfect Life. Honestly, every word that came out of Michele’s mouth was profound and life-altering. I promise I’m not exaggerating. Click on the graphic below to listen, access a free download, and enter to win a copy of Michele’s amazing book.

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Monday Moments: Defining God and Ourselves

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This was one of my favorite pictures from my trip with Mission India. See the beautiful woman in pink on the right? She began as a teacher for one of the literacy classes like those that Lysa TerKeurst and Proverbs 31 Ministries are helping to sponsor, but she’s now the project manager who oversees several classes. She moved through the desperate poverty around her with such joy and grace. I was struck by the way the women she leads obviously love and respect her.

When we asked her why she’s embraced this work, she told us that she had seen many families come to know Jesus when she taught a class. Whole. Families. Jesus’ power in these families inspired her so much that she felt compelled to continue and expand the work of the literacy classes.

She’s a woman who has moved out of poverty and a religion of fear herself because of experiencing first-hand the difference Jesus makes. We reforming perfectionists have lived in a kind of poverty and religious fear of our own making because of pursuing the right things in the wrong ways. Let’s move into abundance and confidence as we watch Jesus make a difference in us!

Knowing Jesus makes a difference in how we see ourselves. Knowing Jesus makes a difference in how we love others.

Now, check out the bold little boy on the front row left. Isn’t he ADORABLE?! I couldn’t help but think that his mother’s increased confidence from learning to read in the literacy class had rubbed off on him. Instead of being broken by poverty, you can see his zest for life and his confidence. I remember him as a little super-hero, hands on hips, in the midst of dire need. Don’t you wonder how he’ll change his world? All because his mother has been touched by Jesus, Mission India, and literacy.

His mother has been set free from a religion that worships idols made my man’s hands. We’ve often poured our worship out on a god we’ve tried to define ourselves. Instead of resting in being created in God’s image, we’ve tried to make Him in our own. Through the study, we’re growing and learning and finding a better way to live our truest ourselves!

Only when we see God as He truly is do we truly become who we are created to be.

A Question for You: How did it go this week writing down the benefits and beautiful characteristics of God as you read scripture? I’d love for you to share some of what you’ve written down!

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Reminder and Assignments:

Don’t forget to join me tonight at 8:00 pm ET in our private FB group for Facebook Live. I have a special guest joining me tonight, so you don’t want to miss it! (If you can’t be there live, you can still watch and comment later.)

The reading assignment this week is Chapters 4, 5 & 6. Now… I know that may have you freaking out, because it’s three chapters instead of two. I get it! But we can do it together, and here are some tips for keeping up:

  • Read with a pen or highlighter in your hand. Even if you only read and highlight, you will still feel up to speed with the group and able to participate.
  • Add on the other pieces only as time allows, but don’t feel badly if you can’t get to them.
  • If you’re behind already, don’t quit! Each chapter can stand alone. Start on chapter 4 knowing that you can go back, read the chapters you skipped later, and read all the comments on the FB page. It’s all good, so just hang with us. We’d miss you if you left now!
  • If you haven’t chimed in on the FB page yet, make that a goal this week. I’m loving the little community we’re building there, and I know you will too. 🙂

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The Winner:

The winner of a copy of Uninvited is Laurie (8.8.16 7:16 am). Congratulations, Laurie! I’ve sent you an email. 🙂

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A Video:

For a look into Mission India’s literacy classes, click here to watch a short video.

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Thrilling Thursday: Daily Reminder Download and Episode #09

I don’t know about you, but I need reminders that I’m breaking up with perfect. Often.

Below is a picture that you can download and use wallpaper on your computer screen as a daily reminder of the process. It comes in three sizes, so one should fit yours. Click on the size you need, save the image, install as your wallpaper and enjoy!

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Disclaimer: I  hope these free downloads are a treat, but I’m unable to provide technical help for installation. I always advise people to do what I do when I get stuck on my computer— ask a teen-ager! 🙂

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God works His good plan in the midst of very imperfect circumstances and in the lives of flawed people.

Amy and I discuss the struggle of embracing failure in the reality of our messiness.

Join with us and grab onto the hope of a Perfect God who redeems our failures! Click on the graphic above to go to Cheri’s page to listen. 

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God Uses Even Our Worst

Welcome! No matter the reason you came today– from the Encouragement for Today devotion, for the online book study of Breaking Up with Perfect, or as a faithful subscriber— I’m so glad you’re here.

Make sure to hang on to the end for a moving video, a great giveaway, and directions for those in the online study!

I’ve been like a little girl with a delicious secret since last April, just wriggling around with excitement to share our trip to India with you, and today’s devotion is the beginning of the big reveal through Proverbs 31. So glad you’re here for it!!

During our P31 International Initiative team’s trip to India, our hosts, Mission India, took us to visit many of their life-transforming literacy classes. We got to see lives changing right before our eyes as men and women learned to read and write, but the day we visited Raju’s community was the highlight of my time.

Let’s let the pictures tell the story.

It was a hot, Indian spring day.

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Our team left the city and drove to the rag-picker village where Raju and his community live, sifting through a nearby dump for recyclable materials to sell for about $1 a day.

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Our gracious host and leader of the community, Raju, invited us into his home which is also the church and school for a group of about 20 families.

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As I described in today’s devotion, Raju led us in prayer and worship, and I experienced God’s powerful presence as I have never experienced it before.

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Seeing how God’s Spirit is alive and active in Raju’s life has taught me a critical lesson. Even when we don’t have much, our desperation for God is enough.

The man Raju is today is a Spirit-filled, inspirational leader. It’s hard to imagine him being any different, but just like us, Raju has a past. Before he knew Jesus, he was passionate but angry. Hungry for justice but belligerent. Ready to fight for what was right… with his fists.

After Raju came to know Jesus, he started to live out the truth that has captured my heart. God is using the very flawed characteristics of the old Raju to gain true justice in the new Raju.

That passion for justice and what’s right that used to get Raju in trouble? Now it’s fueled him to get a well for his community…

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And food ration cards…

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And land rights…

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The good news is that we don’t have to despair over our flaws IF we’re submitting them to God to redeem them. They may be the very parts of our personalities that He wants to use. He can take what seems to be our worst traits and turn them around for good.

Our Flaws + God’s Redemption = Our Usable Strengths

Reforming perfectionists, have you felt crushed by your natural wiring and hopeless that things can change? Submit those traits to God. Let Him turn them into the beautiful center-pieces of your soul. Your work ethic, the desire to do well, and your craving for love may have worked against you in the past, but God can use those very things for His glory. Change is possible.

Our surrender is all that’s required to experience God’s power.

Question for you: What personality trait that has been negative would you like to see God redeem? OR How have you already seen God do this work in your life?

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To watch a powerful video of our hero Raju telling his story, click here or watch below.

Make sure to visit Mission India’s website by clicking on the last slide of the video or by clicking here for more compelling stories of God’s power and to learn about getting involved in the amazing work of Mission India.

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Giveaway:

By leaving a comment today, you will be entered for a free copy of Lysa TerKeurst’s hot-off -the-press book, UninvitedIf you’re living life on the fly, simply say “I’m invited.”‘

Lysa is giving the profits of Uninvited to amazing non-profits including Mission Indiaso even if you’re the winner (and I hope you are!), make sure to buy a copy for a friend to support this life-changing cause.

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This Week’s Assignments/Activities for the Online Book Study Group:

  • Read the Chapters 2 & 3
  • Do as many of the extra activities for these chapters as will benefit you–Transformation Points (at the end of each chapter) & Going Deeper (at the end of the book). Both are in the Participant’s Guide.
  • Choose and complete at least one action step this week from 50 Ways to Leave Your Perfect which starts on p. 197. You can create your own activities too. 🙂

Reminder: Carol and I will be on Facebook Live tonight in our private Facebook group at 8:00 pm Eastern Time. Holly will be throwing out some great discussion questions for you, so we hope you’ll be there too!

We’re only a week into our study, and it’s not too late to join. Read about becoming part of our supportive community-of-transformation by clicking here.

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Episode #8: Making Failure Your Friend

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At best, failure is uncomfortable for us, and more often it’s excruciating.

Kathi Lipp shares how she’s learned to leverage failure and view it as a friend.

In our relationships, work, and ministry, we can start to use failure as a tool instead of as a weapon against ourselves.

Click on the graphic above to listen to the conversation, download a freebie, and enter to win a copy of Kathi & Cheri’s book The Cure for the Perfect Life.

We’d love for you to weigh in, too: What’s one step you can take to make failure your friend? 

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Thrilling Thursday: Gifts of Love from a Resource Junkie

Several years ago, the Proverbs 31 team all took the StrengthsFinder 2.o test to identify our areas of strength. One of my top five strengths is “Input”. That means that I’m a hoarder. My husband would tell you that I’m a declutter-er to the extreme with our material things (oh the sorrow over giving things away that my people considered treasures!), but I hoard ideas and information.

Hi. I’m Amy, and I’m a resource junkie.

One of the things I want to do as we go through Breaking Up with Perfect together is to share some resource love. On Thrilling Thursdays, I’ll have a free download each week here on the blog. On our private Facebook page, I’ll share a link to some nugget of information gold. We’ll keep it fun there– songs, quizzes, etc.

Here’s your first freebie. I hope you’ll click on the graphic below to access the download which you can print to help you jump-start those action steps.

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Don’t miss the 2nd resource on the FB page that I’ll pin at the top by 8:00 am ET, and get ready to share on the FB page tomorrow for our first Friday Forum and giveaway!

Note: If you’re new to the blog and are wondering what all this is about, click here to read about the online book study of Breaking Up with Perfect that is running from Aug. 1- Sept. 5. 🙂

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When God Shows Up (Breaking Up with Perfect Online Study Day 1)

Welcome to the first day of our Breaking Up with Perfect online study. I’m unbelievably excited to get started, and I’m so glad YOU’RE here!

After the official post, I have a little FAQ just in case you’ve got some questions. If I don’t answer your question, please leave it as a comment, and I’ll answer it quickly. I want everyone to feel comfortable, and I know we perfectionist types get squirmy if we have unanswered questions. In fact, if you’re consumed by questions, scroll down, read the FAQs first, and then scroll back up to start. 🙂


It’s easy to say, “This is just the way I am” and move on down the road. It’s painful and hard to change.

After a series of friendships imploded in my life about a decade ago, I looked at the wreckage from those relationships and realized there was a disturbing common-denominator. ME. That was the heart-breaking season when I realized change was needed.

Over time, my pursuit of perfection had chipped away at my relationships. My friends didn’t feel safe confiding their struggles to me, because I seemed like I had it all together. My husband wouldn’t say it (he’s way nicer than I am!), but he felt constantly critiqued. My kids were starting to show signs that performance was a problem.

The saddest thing about my problem was that my relationships were the reason I tried so hard to be perfect.

I’m a deeply flawed woman, but just like you, I do have some redeeming qualities. One of them is how deeply I love. God has given me the gift of glass-half-full, and I especially believe that for you. My family is my most precious treasure, and my friends are the joy of my life. When I faced the fact that I was the one who was hurting the people I love, I was devastated.

Maybe you’re starting Breaking Up with Perfect in the same state. Probably one or more of these apply to you:

You’re exhausted from trying to be everything for everyone. It’s always seemed like the way to show your love, but now you’re starting to wonder.

You feel distant from God, and you’re not sure He’s pleased with you.

Friendships feel shaky, and people keep their distance.

All the stuff you’ve surrounded yourself with doesn’t feel fulfilling or like enough anymore.

The calendar you’ve kept is over-full but your soul is achingly hollow.

Even your service feels off. Lately it’s become more of a burden than a blessing.

If you identify with any of these, can I encourage you? You’re in good company here! Like me, you’re ready for change.

But how does change really happen? We need God, our gentle transformer, to show up!

In April, I took my third trip to India to build a partnership between Proverbs 31 Ministries and Mission India. The persecution of Christians in India, a predominately Hindu country, is significant, so there’s very little “cultural Christianity.” Jesus-followers there are passionate and on-fire. I’m challenged and convicted by Indian believers every time I visit, and I learn big lessons. Each week during our study, I’m going to share one that ties in with what we’re learning.

The most impactful lesson I learned this time came from hearing stories from the women in Hope Cells formed in Mission India’s literacy classes.

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Hope Cells are small groups formed from within the larger class within weeks of the start of the class. These women who don’t yet know the One True God are taught to pray and ask God for what they need.

Their needs are overwhelming.

They pray for enough food for their children, against false accusations that could land them in jail, and that their husband would stop spending every dime he makes on alcohol.

They pray for wounds to heal, for friends to come out of comas, and for a loved one who is sleeping on the street again tonight.

They pray. God answers.

Our team heard story after story of women who prayed and watched our good God show up. This is how they come to know Him. To believe in Him. To trust Him.

I’ve never thought of prayer as evangelism before, and the lesson my head knew but my heart needed to learn is that God shows up and answers prayers of desperate faith.

In the middle of the night during our trip, I laid awake with God speaking to me. Urging me. Pushing me. Whispering to me, “Amy, pray some prayers of faith.”

I realized that even after experiencing salvation at 10, falling passionately in love with Jesus at 16, and years of watching Him at work, my faith had grown weak. He wanted me to pray big prayers and watch Him go to work. He wanted me to know Him better. Believe in Him more. Trust Him completely.

That’s exactly how I want us to start our study. Let’s stop right now and pray a big prayer of faith together:

Lord, I want to be free from perfectionism. Not partly free. Completely free. I want to be free to know You in the deepest way possible. I want to be awash with Your love for me. I want to love with abandon the people  you’ve put into my life . I want to become the woman you dreamed of when you created me– my truest, wholly authentic, most glorious self. God, in our group and in this study, I ask You to set me free. Because I know You, I believe You can and will do it. I trust You! Amen.

Question for You: My greatest problem with perfection was how it damaged my relationships. What’s your greatest problem with perfection? Where do you need the freedom that we just prayed for?

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This Week’s Assignments/Activities:

  • Read the Introduction & Chapter 1
  • Do as many of the extra activities for these chapters as will benefit you–Transformation Points (at the end of each chapter) & Going Deeper (at the end of the book). Both are in the Participant’s Guide.
  • Choose and complete at least one action step this week from 50 Ways to Leave Your Perfect which starts on p. 197.
  • Don’t forget to join the group tonight for Monday Moments in our private Facebook group at 8:00 pm Eastern Time. I know we’re in lots of different time zones, so set a reminder on your phone to join us. If you can’t join us live, you can visit any time to watch the video and add your comments. We’ve got several friends in Africa joining us, so I’ll be rushing to my computer to read your comments the next morning!
  • Leave a comment on the Friday Forum in our private FB group to enter for the giveaway.

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FAQs

What if I’m a blog subscriber but not participating in the study?

That’s just fine! You’ll get the same number of blog posts from me in your email during the study, but Thursday will include a fun, free download. Enjoy the extra goodies!

What if I haven’t received my book yet?

While you’re waiting for the book to arrive from your chosen retailer, you can read the introduction online for free. Click here for the book excerpt.

How do I get the free Participant’s Guide?

Send a copy/picture of your receipt or of you with your book/ebook to breakingupwithperfect1@gmail.com for a free download of the Participant’s Guide.

How in the world am I going to do all the activities?

The beauty of an online study is that you can do as much or as little as is beneficial for you. The book and Participant’s Guide has a lot of extra material for you– Transformation Points at the end of the chapters, Going Deeper Bible study at the end of the book for each chapter & 50 Ways to Leave Your Perfect (starting on p. 197) with fun and transformational action steps.

We’re going through the book pretty fast as a group, but the blog posts will remain. Go through the book only as fast as you can absorb it, and do only as many activities as make sense for you. You can always go back and do the ones you missed later!

How will the group interact together?

Here on the blog, we’ll interact through the comments. Primarily we’ll use the private Facebook group to get to know each other and share our thoughts. Click here to join. I can’t wait to connect with you there!

What will we do in the private Facebook group?

Mondays– At 8:00 pm Eastern Time (check your time zone!), we’ll have Monday Moments. For the first 15 minutes, I’ll teach on the page via Facebook Live (all you have to do is be on the page) and answer your questions. I’ll be sure to give you directions on how to use FB Live in case you aren’t sure.

The last 15 minutes, one of the other group leaders (Carol Byrd & Holly Ladner) will lead the group through questions where you can answer and interact.

It’s going to be face-paced and fun!

Thursdays– On the blog there will be a free download, and on the private page there will be a great free resource to fuel your week. Freebies make for Thrilling Thursdays!

Fridays– At the end of the week, we’ll have a chance for you to weigh in about your biggest “a-ha!” from the week. Your comment there will enter you in a great giveaway every week. Wait until you see what we’ve got for you!

I think that’s it for details. Let me know if you have any questions left. 🙂

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Grace, Grit and Giggles

Wooohooo! There are only 4 days remaining until our Breaking Up with Perfect Online Study, and I’m over-the-top excited about the plans we have for you!! If you haven’t joined yet, click here to find out all the details about the study which starts Monday, August 1.

I want to apologize to you subscribers for sending out a non-valid link last week for the podcast. We’re back for real this week, and we process what went wrong. Perfectionist fail for both Cheri and me. Please don’t give up on us!

This week…

In this impromptu episode, Amy and Cheri process a week of FOMO, failure, and flashes of insight.

We’d love for you to weigh in, too: What’s your definition of “grit”? (Leave your comment on the link below to enter to win a copy of Breaking Up with Perfect.)

Click on the graphic below to listen.

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