Sunday, May 14, 2017


When I was pregnant with my first child, I felt unsure how this motherhood thing would go. I was afraid that I would do the wrong thing and that I would mess up my kids. Then when my daughter was born and I held her in my arms and felt that connection that is so deep there are no words to describe, I realized that my world had completely changed and that no matter what happened next, I would be willing to do whatever it took to do my best for my children. 

What I could not foresee in that moment of newborn bliss was that in the coming months and years, I would be stretched beyond my capacity in meekness, love and temperance. Now that several years have passed and I have three incredible daughters, I would like to reflect on my journey so far in being a mother. 

I feel that there is so much pressure on women. Pressure to be perfect mothers, to have the perfect home, to look perfect in makeup and style, and to act perfectly but the reality is that we are not perfect! One of the biggest lies that keeps us stuck is that we are supposed to be perfect! This is simply not true. Our Creator made us imperfect, so we could learn, grow and become. It is in our imperfection that get stretched and become more of who we are meant to be. Children increase our capacity greater than anything else could. They have the ability to elicit such feelings of love that we can barely comprehend it. They also have the ability to push us to our edges and can bring feelings of frustration, anger, sadness and guilt to the surface. When we have children and are faced with lack of sleep, pushing boundaries, stress and worry over their wellbeing, our character gets stretched.

So given the reality that we are all stretched being parents, what determines if we will grow from the experience and become more of our potential or shrink? I believe that our ability to be empowered to become more of who our Creator wants us to be is determined by three things. The first is our faith in our Creator and His ability to use our experiences in this life to help us to become greater. The second is our ability to get back up when we make mistakes. We all make mistakes in this life. That is to be expected. When we are able to get back up and do the next right thing, that is what defines us. The third is our ability to forgive. Forgive ourselves, forgive others, and trust that our Creator forgives us. I know that having faith, getting back up from mistakes, and forgiveness unleashes our greatest capacity to love and care for our children in a way that empowers our best self. 

To all mothers, I hope that you know these simple but life changing truths. I hope you know there really is a Creator who loves you and is grateful for all you do in this divine role you hold as a mother. If you don’t know this, I encourage you to pray about it so you can know for yourself it is true. I hope you know that you don’t have to be perfect and that as long as you are striving to get back up when you make mistakes and take the lesson, you are doing amazing! I hope you know that the role of motherhood truly impacts the world greater than anything else we can do in this life. Mothers have brought into being every person who has ever lived or will live. Mothers have the greatest influence on children and who they will become. We have the capacity to teach our kids how to love, how to live, how to forgive, how to know their Creator, and how to reach their full potential. 

When life gets tough and you are in the trenches of dirty diapers, laundry mountains, fighting children, and messy houses, please know that you are enough. Although this work of raising children is divine, it is often messy, unpredictable and in the day to day can at times feel like the movie Ground Hog Day. However, each day builds upon one another and in the midst of imperfection, we teach our kids how to get back up when they mess up, how to love even when you don’t feel loving, and what it means to be a mother. 

I think about my own mother and all she has given to me. I feel like when I was a child, I couldn’t see the millions of things she did everyday for me. Now I am filled with gratitude and love for her and all the many sacrifices she has made for me. 

I know that motherhood is a divine role. I know it is supposed to be messy and that we are supposed to be imperfect. I know that as we get back up, have faith, and forgive,  that the Creator can help us become who we are meant to be. Mothers, you are amazing and you are making a greater difference in this life than you can imagine. 

Monday, February 6, 2017


Around January 1st we all have a drive within us that compels us to reflect on the year that has passed and re-evaluate what we want to do and who we want to become in the coming year. For most people however, the goals we set on January 1st usually are forgotten by January 15th. Why is that? Why would we have a desire to do something but have things get in our way and frustrate our efforts to create the changes we want? It’s not because we are lazy or unmotivated or fickle as a pickle. It is for a reason that is actually quite simple and quite solvable. 

You see, as we are moving towards our goals what happens is that a number of things tend to come up and can block us from achieving what we want. These blockers are; lack of faith in our ability to accomplish the goal, failure that we experience as we attempt to reach the goal, negative comments and beliefs from ourselves and friends and family, a feeling like we don’t have enough time and analysis paralysis. As we are stepping towards our goals, these blockers come up and if we don’t know how to jump over them and move past them, we can be stopped from accomplishing the goal. 

So how do we jump over these goal blockers? Notice that I said how do we get past them, not how do we avoid them? That is because everyone in the whole world experiences these goal blockers to one degree or another. It is natural that they come up and to some degree even helpful. You see when we understand that they are going to come up and we learn how to overcome them, we develop a strength of character that is much greater than if we could have just easily done what we sought out to do in the first place

So how we do we jump over these goal blockers?

To understand how we do this, we must first understand what a goal is and know how to set the goal in such a way that we are most likely to achieve it. There has been much said about goal setting and there is an acronym that is used frequently in goal setting. I love this acronym because there is a great deal of truth in it, however I have made one modification that is essential to really help us achieve our goals.

If we are missing this critical piece, we can miss the mark on what we want to achieve in this life. It is something that most goal setting gurus don’t talk about or explain but is critical to achieving success in any area of life. It is the one thing that helps us leap over all the things that hold us back from reaching our goals and allows us to move past our self doubt, lack of time and fear of failure to step towards the life we desire. I learned about this missing link at an event called Master Your Power Within. I wish I could share with you all the things I learned about setting goals but this information was covered over the course of several days. I will however share with you this one critical piece because if you use it, it will be incredibly valuable in helping you achieve success. 

The missing link that rockets us forward towards our goals is applying a motivator to our small, consistent, daily steps towards our goals. This means that when we do our daily goal we get to do something we enjoy but if we don’t do our daily goal we miss out on something. This motivator must be powerful enough to drive us to take action.
Now that we understand how critical it is to have a motivator in place, what are all of the steps needed to set a clear goal that will help us to be successful in achieving it? It is to be smart about setting our goals. How do we be smart in goal setting? This is how…

Specific - We set a specific goal 
Motivation - We set a reward if we do it and a consequence if we don’t Acountable - We set up a system to be accountable to doing our goal
Realistic - We make sure it’s a measurable goal that we are likely able to achieve
Timely - We set a deadline to complete the goal

Here is an example of using S.M.A.R.T. goal setting. 

Specific  - I will workout every weekday for half an hour
Motivation - If I do it, I can check my e-mail
If I don’t do it, I can’t check my email
Accountable - I will tell my husband if I worked out or not
Realistic - I will run on Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday and life weights on Monday and Thursday
Timely - I will do this type of workout for the next 30 days

I was wanting to write a book but I had no time to actually sit down and write it. I am a busy mom with 2 toddlers, I own my own business and I work from home. I had intentions to write but never actually did it until I committed to writing my book for 15 minutes every morning at 6:30 am (see how I used SMART goals to set a consistent daily step towards my goals). Then I attached a motivator to it. If I wrote in my book for 15 minutes I could take a shower. If I did not write in my book for 15 minutes, I couldn't take a shower. I became more motivated than ever before to write in my book so I would avoid feeling gross! I remember one night at 10 pm frantically writing in my book for 15 minutes so I could finally have a shower! 

Now that we understand what goals are, what can get in our way, how to set clear and specific goals, and how to put motivators in place to actually accomplish them, we are good to go right? Well almost. Now it is time for a little less conversation, a little more action (as Elvis would put it). 

Specific  - What is one specific goal you have this week?
Motivation - What reward will you get if you do it? What consequence will you get if you don’t do it?
Accountable - What will you do to be accountable to this goal? 
Realistic - How is this goal realistic & measurable?
Timely - What specific time will you work on achieving this goal daily?

Now that you understand how to set and achieve goals, the ball is in your court. Either you can dismiss what I have said as something you have heard before, or you can take this message seriously and use this knowledge to propel you forward toward your dreams. It is within you to work towards and accomplish what you truly desire that is good and that you are willing to work for. So go ahead, take that first step. After all, that is how all things come to pass.  

I promise that as you do this, you will be lifted and strengthened. You will receive help from the Creator and you will be able to achieve things you did not think were possible. You see, when we are in momentum, doing our best, and committed to being our best, the Creator helps us move forward. 

Please comment below about the goals you have and your thoughts about this article. I would love to hear from you! What other topics would you like to know about that would help you to succeed in your goals? 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016


Want to feel bliss at Christmas time like my baby Isla?

I was talking to a friend yesterday who said "I just don't understand why I don't feel that peaceful feeling at Christmas. Instead I just feel stressed?" I know why! Because traditionally as women we do EVERYTHING to prepare for Christmas. We plan, buy and wrap the gifts, plan the dinners, buy the food for the dinners, prepare the dinners, clean the house, make special Christmas treats, plan and make gifts for neighbours, teachers, and write and send all the Christmas cards. If you are reading this and feeling tired should! It's exhausting! 

Is it a surprise that come Christmas morning we are exhausted? 

Add on this the extra stress of how we're going to pay for all of it, family dynamics, lack of sleep, and sugar crashing and we are on a train to Christmas contention. So now that I've reviewed all the tough stuff about Christmas. Are we doomed to a holiday season of stress and exhaustion or can Christmas really be blissful? 

I've got some good news and bad news for you. The good news is that it is possible to feel bliss this time of year and feel more connected with the people you love than ever before. The bad news is that it takes some work to do it and some letting go of the idea that Christmas needs to be perfect. What is Christmas can be perfectly imperfect? What if there can be moments of calm and peace amidst the chaos of holiday business around us? 

What are some of the ways I have found helpful to create Christmas bliss & avoid all the things that can steal our holidays? These are a couple of ways we have simplified the season in our family and it has made a big difference in helping us to enjoy the holidays more. These steps don't mean that everything is perfect but they do make the holiday season a lot more enjoyable, less stressful and more meaningful to our family. 

Here are the 5 steps to Christmas bliss that will get you there.



One of the the things we do is buy less gifts.  I know…sounds crazy right?  We have just found that when we stick to buying our kids 1-3 gifts for our kids, they enjoy them more. We also found that when we make sure the gifts fit into our budget, we can truly enjoy Christmas. One year I had an epifany when our kids drawers were so full that we could not close them while we were trying to jam in their new christmas clothes in. I realized that sometimes our kids are given second hand clothes and toys that look just like new. I also realized that when we buy a toy for them, they are not interested in the box and 50 billion twist ties holding the toy in place. 

So why not set aside toys or clothes all year that look new and give them as Christmas gifts or buy gifts at a garage sale or from Craigslist? One year we bought a kids blowup waterslide that had been used once and was worth $600 new for $50 from a garage sale for our daughter's gift and it was the best gift everWe are being greener on our pocketbook and greener on the environment. Does that mean we never buy new gifts? No...there are some things that just need to be new but we are resourceful with the gifts we give. 

Another thing we do that might sound really insane so hold onto your Christmas cap is that we don't buy gifts for our partner.  I know that might sound grinchy but over the years we found that we just weren’t getting the joy we desired from opening sweaters and nick-nacs for each other.  So rather than buy each other gifts, my husband Andy and I have a "super Christmas date". What’s a super Christmas date you might be thinking.  Well it is something extra special that we decide on together to celebrate Christmas…over the years it has varied from going on a one night mini vacation, going shopping together after Christmas or going for an extra fancy dinner or a sleigh ride.  Anything that is really special that we would not normally do on a date night.  That way we have more bright futures…Christmas and our super Christmas date after Christmas.   


Another thing we do as a family is talk about what this holiday season truly means and plan how we can honor the true spirit of Christmas. Some ways we have done that is by collecting food for the food bank, talking about the gifts we can give to our Creator, planning exciting things to do as a family and searching for ways we can help the people around us. I know that each family is unique and what works for our family may not work for others so the important thing is to find what works best for you and your family. This year one of the things we are doing is an advent calendar that reminds of how we can follow Christ's example this holiday season and serve those around us.


Instead of having our focus on stuff at Christmas, we focus on things we can do together as a family. We have all sorts of awesome traditions that we do. Infact we have an advent calendar that is a large Christmas heard right...a Christmas moose with material pockets that we put ideas of all the fun things we can do and how we can serve others each day during the holdiays. These range from making cookies to bringing a neighbour a dinner. We also have some yearly traditions that we look forward to all year like our anual Christmas Scavenger Hunt. This is where we invite our friends anfamily to join us in a bunch of awesome activities as we race to see who can finish the hunt fastest. One of my favorite memories is of my mom sledding down a hill on a piece of cardboard during the scavenger hunt!

Let go of perfection! The holidays do not need to be perfect. All families have ups and downs and if you know that sometimes the holdays get messy and there will be times when everyone is not smiling in the Christmas photo, you will have a much better time of things!



State is everything. It is how we see the world and how we experience our family and events that happen. There are a couple things we can do that are pivitol in managing our state of mind. The first is that we need to get enough sleep. I know it can be particularly difficult during the holidays but if we are really going to enjoy them, we need sleep! There have been studies done that show if we are suffering from lack of sleep we have the same judgement as someone who is intoxicated


Another one that is critical is to have good nutrition. We don't need the sugar crashes robbing us of our happy holiday memories! 
So with all this delicious sugary temptations around how are we supposed to enjoy the holidays when we are so hopped up on sugar that our state of mind is constantly crashing?  What is the answer?  Is it to completely avoid sugar and when a friendly neighbor knocks on your door with a fresh batch of sugar cookies to slam the door and throw there cookies in their face?  Um no I’m not saying that at all…that wouldn’t be the spirit of Christmas now would it!  What I’m suggesting is to be aware of the sugar crash that happens after we gobble up those yummy holiday treats, find healthier alternatives (I have a healthy raw chocolate peppermint cookie recipe that is awesome) and if we do indulge on the sweet treats just eat them in moderation and if possible towards the end of the evening so kids and grown ups can be in bed drifting off to sleep during the crash rather than saying mean things to each other.  


It is critical for us to move our bodies to manage our state of mind. The cool thing about this is that we can do it in whatever way works best for us. Whether that means going for a walk, running, yoga...anything that gets your body moving! Let's offset some of those yummy and not so good for us treats we are going to induldge in by making in a priority to keep moving our bodies this holiday season. Most importantly though when we move our body we feel happier, it pumps in great feeling endorphins that make us love our family more! So take your kids for a walk or sledding or just do yoga in your living whatever it takes to move your body! 


There is something special about the holidays that help us to reach beyond ourselves and think of those who are struggling and who don't have the things they need. There is a spirit of community and coming together to serve those around us. I know that when I have focused on serving those around me, especially during this busy season, that it when I can experience true joy and the spirit of Christmas is tangible. Service can. be in so many different forms. It may be complimenting someone, or telling someone you love them, or going to visit a person who is sick. It is absolutely anything that uplifts another. There is a Quaker Proverb that says "Thee life me, I'll life thee, and we'll ascend together eternally." When we uplift another, we are also uplifted and strengthened and given the gift of peace. 


Okay so now you are armed with knowledge about the holiday stealers that are lurking about trying to take away your holiday fun and you know the 5 steps to Chistmas bliss. Now it's time to make a plan so that you can use this information to create the holdiay season that you want. It doesn't have to be perfect but I promise using these things will make it better than you can imagaine. It will take some work on your part though. Are you committed to creating a holiday season that is less stress and more fun? Are you willing to let go of some past expectations and beliefs that you have had about what the holdiays "should" be? Are you willing to do what it takes to put yourself first in a happy, healthy, productive way so you can be the person you want to be for those you love? If you answered yes to any of those questions then you are ready so let's begin! 
    1. So what is 1 thing you can do to simplify the season this year?
    2. What does Christmas mean to you and how can you make sure that meaning is central to your holidays? 
    3. What family traditions can you create this year that will create happy memories for your family?
    4. What is something you can do daily to take even better care of yourself by getting enough sleep, having great nutrition or getting exercise?   

      I know that doing these things has made a makes a huge difference in helping us love the holidays again. I know that as find ways to avoid the holiday stealers and find more ways to be even more present and create a simplified holiday season, you will feel more peace, joy and happiness this Christmas. I wish you and your family all the love and happiness that your heart can hold this holiday season.  

      Much love,

      Friday, November 18, 2016


      In my last post we explored what bonding is, what gets in the way of us feeling bonded and how we respond when we do not feel connected with the people we love most (HOW WE CONNECT WITH THE PEOPLE WE LOVE ). Now that we understand these things, we need to dive in a little deeper to discover what causes us to be disconnected with the people we love the most and what we can do to reconnect when this happens.


      A quick review of bonding is that we need to feel bonded to those closest to us, especially our partner. Research has shown that this bonding is critical to our emotional and physical health. Dr. Sue Johnson is a leading expert in attachment and she indicates that when we do not feel bonded to our partner, our brain physically responds with a flight or flight response and we experience a feeling of panic and fear that our partner will leave us or that they don’t have our back. This break in bonding happens when we have a bonding injury. A bonding injury is basically when an incident occurs in the relationship that causes us to feel disconnected or abandoned in the relationship and causes a feeling of panic. Bonding injuries can be caused by the intentional or unintentional actions of our partner. When a bonding injury happens, we respond in one of three ways:

      Anxious - looks for reassurance from their partner that the relationship is okay
      Avoidant - retreats from the danger by distancing themselves from the relationships
      Securely attached - feeling safe and secure in the relationship and knowing the other person has your back

      These ways of responding are patterns that we have developed in childhood and carry with us into our adult relationships. These patterns are not fixed though and we can change them if we have a partner that is attentive, responsive and engaged.

      Okay so now that we have refreshed our mind about the principles about bonding, lets dive in a deeper about how attachment injuries occur, how we can create them unintentionally, and how we recover from them.


      Our bonding style comes out when there is a bonding injury. A bonding injury happens when we say or do something that creates emotional distress with our partner. Often bonding injuries happen by accident when we say or do something that hits an emotional sore spot with the other person. An emotional sore spot happens when we have a painful experience caused from our partner or someone else that we are emotionally sensitive about. When our partner accidentally hits that emotional sore spot, we react automatically. It is not a logic response but it is experienced in a very real way.

      I remember one time Andy had committed to spending time with me but life got busy and he forgot about his commitment. I was finishing tidying up the kitchen and when I went to him to spend time together, he was asleep. I knew that he did not mean to fall asleep but that did not stop me from feeling frustrated and disappointed. When he woke up hours later I was angry with him and we had a fight. I had a sore spot from years ago when he would sometimes promise to spend time with me and then we would train kung fu instead. After realizing this was a raw spot for me and telling him about it, Andy told me that he didn’t mean to fall asleep and that he wished I would have woke him up because he was disappointed too that we did not get to spend time together. When I realized my raw spot and shared it with him, it helped both him and I to understand what was going on for me and why I was reacting in that way. I helped us to come closer together and become even more connected than before.


      The goal is for us to get and stay securely bonded with the person we love the most. This is critical because when we are securely bonded, we feel emotionally secure in our relationship, we feel less stress physically and we experience greater overall physical health. Securing bonding has even been associated with having fewer heart attacks and relapses of heart conditions.

      Dr. Sue Johnson shared in her book Hold Me Tight that “In Cleveland, researchers at Case Western Reserve University asked men with a history of angina and high blood pressure, “Does your wife show her love?” Those who answered “No” suffered almost twice as many angina episodes during the next five years as did those who replied “Yes.” Women’s hearts are affected, too. Women who view their marriages as strained and have regular hostile interactions with their partners are more likely to have significantly elevated blood pressure and higher levels of stress hormones compared with women in happy marriages. Yet another study found that women who had had a heart attack stood a threefold higher risk of having another if there was discord in their marriage. In men and women with congestive heart failure, the state of the patient’s marriage is as good a predictor of survival after four years as the severity of the symptoms and degree of impairment, concludes Jim Coyne, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania.”

      So being securely attached is good for our heart…literally! So if it is so important for this secure bonding to happen, how do we achieve it in our relationships? There are 3 steps to bonding that will not only help us get securely bonded but will help us to stay there even after a bonding injury.

      1. Lead with vulnerability
      2. Share what you are most afraid of
      3. Ask for what you need from your partner to feel safe & loved (be specific)

      Lead with vulnerability means that you share how you are feeling with your partner in an open and loving way. Share what you are most afraid of means to share how you are afraid of being left alone or your partner does not have your back. Ask for what you need from your partner to feel safe and loved means to ask for what you want your partner to do.

      So often we want our partner to change but we do not ask them specifically for what we want. How can they possibly know what to do when we are not specific about what we want them to do? I remember talking to this woman once who had been married for a long time. She was frustrated at her partner because he didn’t spend time with her and spent all his time on an activity that he enjoyed. When I asked her what she would like him to do she responded with “I don’t know”. How can he do what she wants him to do if she doesn’t know what she wants him to do and is not able to ask for it? 


      Here is an example of how the 3 steps of bonding works in real life. One time I was talking to Andy and his mom about the research surrounding a health risk I was concerned about. As I sited the research, Andy chimed in that the research was unreliable and that it wasn’t my fault that I didn’t know that, after all he had a masters degree and was not trained how to understand research. Now I know that my loving husband was not implying that I am stupid but he rubbed a sore spot of mine. I am sensitive about not having my masters degree and sometimes feel that he is more intelligent than I am because he remembers information that I don't remember. So when he made the comment, even though he didn’t mean it like this, what I heard is “it’s not your fault you’re stupid” and that created a bonding injury. I went off my to room feeling hurt. Andy came in after me and although he knew I was upset, he didn’t understand why. This caused him to be afraid of the disconnection between us so he began to reconnect with me using the 3 steps of bonding. He said that he could feel the disconnection and was worried that he had done something wrong to hurt me.

      Lead with vulnerability - He shared that he didn’t know what he did wrong but he was sorry for whatever it was.

      Share what you are most afraid of - He shared that the disconnection caused him to feel panic about our relationship and a fear of being not good enough.

      Ask for what he need - He asked for what he needed by saying that he needed me to tell him what he had done and how I was feeling.

      This reaching out by him caused my heart to soften and I reached back with the 3 steps to bonding.

      Lead with vulnerability - I told him that I was feeling hurt by his comment about me not understanding the research and that I was sensitive about it because I don’t have a masters degree.

      Share what you are most afraid of - I shared that I was afraid that he thought I was stupid because of that.

      Ask for what you need - I asked him for what I need by reassuring me that he respects me. He responded with my feelings in a loving way and held me.

      It doesn’t always happen that both partners use the 3 steps to bonding but in our case at that moment it worked for us both to use it. My heart was softened by Andy being vulnerable and that created space for me to use the 3 steps to bonding as well. After doing this, we were connected again and closer than we were before.


      Now that you understand the basics of bonding, know what can get in the way of us staying bonded with our partners, have an awareness of bonding injuries and sore spots and know the 3 steps of bonding, you are prepared to be even more connected with the people you love. This is a preparation that will require action on your part though. In this busy world of a million things to do and competing pulls for our attention at every turn, we as women need to commit to creating a connected and bonded relationship. I believe that women often lead the way in relationships and as they make changes and move forward, their partners see that change and are inspired to change in their own time. I see this so often as a Master Coach. So often women will come to a life changing Master Your Power Within event for the first time on their own. They express that they are concerned about coming to the event without their partner because they need things to improve in their relationship. So the women, out of a desire to do all it takes to change and filled with pure grit and courage, come to the event.

      Then they change.

      They create real results in their lives of feeling happier, more calm, more supportive of their partner and family and more able to create financial results and their partner sees it. Soon after, their partner notices the changes they are making and a desire to change within themselves grows.

      The question is will you be a leader in your own life?

      Will you be willing to search for and become aware when a bonding injury happen or will you just let it pass you by because it’s easier than rocking the boat of your relationship equilibrium?

      Will you settle for the status quo of dissatisfaction and frustration with your partner or will you create real bonding with sometimes tough and vulnerable conversations?

      You are reading this so I know you are determined to create real results in your life. I know that you are not willing to settle for the status quo of dissatisfaction and regret. I know that you are willing to fight for who you love.

      The time begins now.

      The step you will take is to implement what you have learned. To look for patterns of disconnection in your relationship, to gain an awareness of when there is a bonding break and your reaction to it and to use the 3 steps to get close again with the person you love the most. If you need some support in getting started click here for a free session with a Master Coach. We will do whatever it takes to support you in achieving greatness in your relationship.

      I promise you that as you do this you will feel more supported and loved by your partner. You will see them in a new light, a light of potential and hope. You will gain a deeper understanding of yourself and them and you will begin to fall in love with them all over again. I know that as you take these courageous steps you will be supported by your Creator and that you will receive inspiration about how to be even closer with your partner. You will receive an added measure of grace.

      I know these things are true and I am excited for you to embark on this journey of discovery and connection. The safest place to be in this world is in the loving open arms of the person we love most when we are truly connected.

      Thursday, November 10, 2016


      For years I could not understand why sometimes I felt so close and loved by my husband, while other times he could hurt me so deeply and send me into a frenzy of frustration and bitterness. What was the difference between those times? I have come to understand that the only difference between the times of feeling close with the people we love most or feeling distant is our level of bonding. I came to this conclusion through the incredible work of Dr. Sue Johnson in her books “Love Sense” and “Hold Me Tight” and I came to these truths through the exploration and discovery of my own life and relationships. 

      Why is it important to be bonded to the people we love the most? A great deal of research has been done about the link between the level of bonding in relationships and our mental and physical health. In one study, University of California "analyzed data on 1500 middle class folks who were born around 1910 in California. the voluminous records traced their lives over eight decades until their deaths, detailing their experiences and habits through prosperity, the Great Depression, and two world wars. The notations included everything from the happiness of their parents' marriage to their career choice to the "number or books they had in their home. Physiologist Howard Friedman concluded that medical advances play a minor role in extending life span. Most people who live to old age do not do so because they have beaten cancer, heart disease, depression, or diabetes," he says. "Instead, the long-lived avoid serious ailments altogether through a series of steps that rely on long-lasting, meaningful connections with others. In other words, you can "eat special organic and gluten free foods, gulp down multivitamins, get yourself to the gym, and meditate into a stress-free zone, but the best tonic for staying healthy and happy into old age is probably toning up your relationship." Sue Johnson

      Now that we understand that it is critical for us to have a bonded connection with the people we love the most, we need to understand how we get disconnected so we know how to get connected again. You see, there is one common thing that happens in all relationships at some point. We mess up. We say the wrong thing, or look at the person in the wrong way and as a result the other person reacts and distance comes between us. So what happens in those moments? As Dr. Johnson describes, a bonding (attachment) injury occurs. A bonding injury is basically when we intentionally or unintentionally do something that causes one partner to feel betrayed or abandoned and creates a feeling of panic in that person and feeling of emotional disconnection in the relationship.  It is part of the human condition that this will happen with the people we love the most and the good news is that it is not permanent.

      When a bonding injury happens, we have to understand that it creates a physical feeling that we are unsafe. Research has shown that when we a bonding injury happens in our relationships, it affects our brain in the same way as if we were being chased by a tiger. When there is a bonding injury in the relationship we emotionally feel unsafe and our brains responds as if we are in mortal danger. It is critical that we understand this because it is not a logical thing. When we are disconnected from those we love, we feel fear and panic that we will be left alone or that they do not have our back.

      If we are to know what do to to heal a bonding injury and regain the closeness we once had or create the connection we desire, we first must understand how we respond when a bonding injury happens. There are three main ways that we deal with bonding injuries. We tend to gravitate towards one of these bonding styles.

      We all have a bonding style that we naturally gravitate towards. Our style of bonding is created in childhood with the people we were closest to, such as our parents. If we had a parent that was unpredictable or uncertain we could have responded with an anxious bonding style by checking to know if they will be there & if they love us. Or we could have responded to the same situation by retreating by going to our bedroom when there was fighting to avoid conflict. The bonding style we developed as children are not good or bad. They simply were the ways that we coped with the people we most loved and how we maintained emotional safety. In fact, these styles are a form of resilience.

      Styles of Bonding

      Anxious - looks for reassurance from their partner that the relationship is okay
      Avoidant - retreats from the danger by withdrawing or distancing themselves from the relationships
      Securely attached - feels safe and secure in the relationship and knows the other person has their back

      The challenge happens when we continue to use our same default bonding style in our adult relationships with our partner. Let me give you an example. As a child I felt that I was sometimes unseen and unheard. I was an emotional child with parents who (although I love and respect very much) did not always know what to do with my emotions and would withdraw from me when I was “too emotional.” So I learned to deal with the situation using an anxious bonding style. I would protest their withdrawals with angry outbursts that were really asking “will you be there for me?” The challenge came in my marriage with Andy when I continued the same pattern of bonding with him. When he would withdraw from me, I would respond by reaching out in a protest or criticism and blame seeking a reaction by saying something like “what are you doing?” in a critical tone. What I really wanted to know was “are you there for me?” As you can imagine, reaching out to him in a critical way did not bring us closer together and did not get my needs met.

      The good news is that although we gravitate towards one bonding style, we can change this pattern by creating new ways of interacting within our current relationships. We can start out as being anxiously attached or avoidant but with a loving, connected partner we can change to become securely attached. We might slip back to some of our old habits of bonding occasionally when crisis hits but that’s normal. The goal here is not to be perfect but it is rather to know there will be bonding injuries and to gain the skills and knowledge needed to build a securely attached relationship.

      Principles in Action

      So how does this play out in real relationships? Let me tell you a story. I recall a time when I was upset about the loss of my grandmother. I was sitting on the floor crying and Andy walked into the room. He had his earphones in and he was on a mission to find something so he did not see my on the floor crying. He walked right past me. Even though I knew that he likely did not see me upset and I knew that he loves me very much and that if he did see me upset he would’ve stopped to comfort me, all this logic did not sink into how I felt. I was hurt. I started having thoughts about “why could he be so thoughtless and he doesn’t care about me”. Rather than tell him how I was feeling and ask him for what I needed, I criticized him. I walked into the kitchen and noticing he had not cleaned it like he said he would, I began an argument about the untidy kitchen. I was reaching out in an ineffective and confrontational way. In terms of bonding, I was anxiously attached and saying “if you loved me you would have cleaned the kitchen” even though what I really was feeling was “If you loved me you would hold me right now because I’m feeling sad.” As my protest was critical in nature, Andy reacted by becoming defensive and shutting down. A cool feeling came into our kitchen as he began to clean the kitchen angrily and became inaccessible by putting his ear phones in to listen to a book. He was dealing with the our disconnection by being avoidant and distancing himself from the conflict. I felt shut out.

      A few minutes of anger and frustration passed until we both realized what we were doing. He stopped what he was doing, turned to me and with a softness in his voice said “I love you and I just want to be close to you.” I could feel the anger that was around my heart start to dissipate and I broke down crying saying “I’m just hurt. I was sad about my grandma and was in the other room crying when you walked right by me and didn’t notice me.” He looked at me concerned and responded “I didn’t see you there. I’m so sorry. What do you need? Do you want a hug?” With that invitation, I leaned towards him and melted in his arms. All the hurt and frustration melted away and we were bonded again.

      Digging Deep

      Now that you understand bonding and what gets in the way of us feeling close with the people you love, how are these patterns affecting your life. One of the best ways you can take this information and apply it into your life is through exploration. If you desire more connection in your life, I encourage you to ask the following questions.

      Which bonding style do you gravitate towards?
      How is the way you are reacting in your relationships impacting you?
      Do you want more out of the relationships in your life and to feel more connection and love?

      Of all the things we can devote our time to learning about and improving, we need to make our relationship happiness our highest priority. After all, societies succeed and fail based on relationships. Families are healed and broken by relationships. Our hearts soar and shatter because of relationships. Our connections with the people we love the most are the foundation of our happiness, our sense of security and love in this world.

      So you are at a turning point right here and right now. Your destiny is in front of you. Will you fight for your relationships? Will you be willing to learn about your patterns in relationships and seek to change them to more loving patterns? Will you improve your relationships, heal past patterns that hurt the people you love, and create a future of love with the ones you hold most dear?

      I promise you that as you do this, you will be lifted and guided. I know that relationships are not only important to you but important to our Creator. As you seek His guidance and take steps forward to improve your relationships, he will life and strengthen you and give you inspiration about what to do. As we work on and strengthen our relationships with the people closest to us, we not only strengthen our family but we strengthen future generations, our community, and the world.

      I look forward to continuing this journey with you as next time we will dive into the specific steps we can take to become bonded even after feeling disconnected. I know that as we understand bonding and know what to do to be connected with the people we love the most, we can experience a joy that is beyond anything else in this life. There is no safer place in the world that in the arms of the one who loves you most when you are securely bonded. My goal is to help you get there.

      Tuesday, October 18, 2016


      If you are a living, breathing human being…which I can safely bet you are if you are reading this, then you sometimes procrastinate. It is something that we all do. In fact it is in our very nature to push anything unpleasant to the future. If it is in our very nature to do this, then what’s the big deal right? We’ll do it someday. Sounds like reasonable logic, however most often someday never comes. I have never seen a day in the week, month or year marked someday. As Marvin Ashton put it, "procrastination is an unwholesome blend of doubt and delay.” So guess the real question we need to ask ourselves so that we understand the impact of such delay is to take a look at what procrastination is exactly and what in fact we are delaying.

      The oxford dictionary defines Procrastination as “The action of delaying or postponing something.” So what exactly are we delaying? We are putting off our goals and dreams for a later time that may never come. The things we want most in this life but are afraid of trying to achieve. So what do we lose when we procrastinate? We can run out of time, lose blessings that we would have had, lose opportunities and lose direction from our Creator. To illustrate how this works, let me tell you a story.

      Principles in Action
      I recall reading about a man, let’s call him Dan who struggled with addiction. He was an upstanding member of the community with a wife and children. As he gave into his addiction, he began to lose that which mattered most to him. His wife left him, he couldn’t visit with his children, he lost his job and eventually he became homeless. Now that is not the end of this man’s story. Eventually he realized all that he was losing in his life and turned it all around. He sought help for his addiction and went into recovery, obtained a job again and returned to actively being involved in his children’s lives and the community.

      He was speaking one day in front of a group of youth and the person introducing asked the audience to look at the man I described above. They were asked if they could tell that the successful, contributing member of the community standing in front of them was once homeless and lost. The person introducing him went on to describe that because of the Creator and his hard work, the man standing in from of them was a changed person and that through these things he moved on from his mistakes to become the successful person he is today. Following the meeting, Dan pulled aside the person who introduced him in private. Dan spoke to him in a soft but stern voice. He said "I wish you would have told them one more thing". The man looked at Dan with a questioning look as Dan described “you told them that  once I turned to my Creator and worked hard to get my life back, things worked out of me. However what you didn’t tell them is that no matter how hard I worked and how much I pleaded with my Creator, I could not get back the things I loved most which I had lost. You see, I turned my life around but my I still did not have my wife and children living with me. The Creator could not restore the blessings I could have had if I had turned my life around earlier.”

      I tell you that story because it is true with all of us. When we procrastinate we lose blessings that we could have had. So if procrastination is such a dangerous thing, why on earth would we put ourselves through it? Well there is a mindset that goes a long with procrastination that lulls us into believing it is the best option. This mindset is empowered by a serious of thoughts that our logical mind can hold onto and justify delay. If we are not aware of this procrastination thinking, we will fall prey to it. So let’s look at what are the thoughts that empower procrastination.

      The thoughts that empower procrastination are:
          •    It’s too hard
          •    It’s too late
          •    I have no need to...
          •    The task appears impossible
          •    I doubt my worthiness
          •    I’ll wait for roadblocks to be removed
          •    I’ll wait for the problem to go away
          •    I don’t have enough…time, money, ability

      As you read that list, did you notice any of the procrastination thinking that you listen to? How are they holding you back from your goals?

      Cycle to Creating Results
      So now that we really understand the impact of these thoughts, we need to understand how change occurs. Our thoughts not only impact our ability to create change in our lives, it is critical. There is Cycle to Creating Results that exists. If we are not aware of this cycle will will not understand how to create real change in our lives. We will run the risk of missing an essential step towards change and feel frustrated and confused as to why we are not able to effectively reach our goals.

      Desire - How it works is that in order for us to change anything in our lives, we must first have a desire to change. For example, we are not going to run a marathon if we have no desire to go running!

      Thoughts - Then our thoughts need to support the change we want to make. If we are constantly telling ourselves that we cannot do it, that will become true.

      Plan - Next we need to plan how we are going to make the change we want. I remember one time I was training to run a half marathon and I thought I was right on track with my goals, until I looked at the distance I was actually running and compared it with the distance I would need to run to complete the race. They were two very different numbers and it took planning to reach my goal.

      Action - The next step is to take action! We will not make change simply by thinking about it or planning it. This seems pretty basic but I can’t tell you how many entrepreneurs I have met over the course of my work as a trainer that have spend years just planning to start their business but not actually starting it!

      Be Valiant - The next step is being valiant. That means when we fall down, or forget, or procrastinate (which we will at times), we just get back up and try again.

      The most incredible thing about this cycle is that it aligns with the law of momentum. What I mean by that is that more we go through this cycle on a particular goal we have, the more momentum we have towards reaching that goal. Our desires increased as we take action, we realize that we actually can do it and it becomes easier for us to do it!

      Straightway to Action

      So in order for us to avoid the destruction that is caused by procrastination and move towards the goals and dreams we have, we must take straightway action. Marvin Ashton defines straightway as “straightway is an action word, it means immediately, without delay or hesitation." There is a 5 step process that I have found that is bullet proof when taking straightway action. It is one that will help to move us forward predictably even when the task at hand is one that we are afraid of, don’t want to do or just feel like we don’t have enough resources for. If we follow these steps we will be able to move closer towards what we want to accomplish.

      5 Steps to Straightway Action
          1.    Alignment - We need to be following the true principles of our Creator that we know about. This allows us to receive spiritual help in our endeavors. For example if we know that we need to thank the Creator everyday, we better be doing that!
          2.    Self Discipline - Do the small, consistent, daily tasks necessary to accomplish your goal
          3.    Accept Responsibility - Know that it is your responsibility to accomplish what you desire in this life and take the steps necessary to do it!
          4.    Faith - Ask the Creator for help in accomplishing your task & have trust that He can help you
          5.    Be Valiant - Be willing to get back up and try again

      When we take straightway action and take small, consistent steps towards our goals we receive a great deal of blessings from the Creator. We are given an added measure of strength, courage, wisdom, help from above, joy and the ability to create lasting and meaningful change. Will will be able to achieve things that we didn’t know were possible as we are lifted and strengthened by our Creator.

      Principles in Action
      One time I received a tax form that I needed to fill out. I really don’t like filling out tax forms. I don’t know what it is about tax forms but they kind of freak me out. I worry that I will fill them out wrong or that I will need a ton of information to dig up that I either don’t have or don’t know where to find and so I procrastinate filling it out. I put off filling out this form for months. I even printed it out several times and after carefully shuffling it from place to place to avoid actually completing it, I lost it and needed to reprint it.

      Finally the deadline for completing the form was upon me and so I grabbed the paper and reluctantly began filling in the blanks of the form. I picked a time to work on the form everyday until I was completed and followed through on working on it every day. I was surprised to find that once I actually put pen to paper I filled out the form in 5 minutes. That’s right, I sheepishly admit that it literally took me 5 minutes to fill out the form after months of procrastination.

      Digging Deep
      Where are you procrastinating in your own life? We all have a decision to make when it comes to taking action on the things we want to accomplish in this life. Time will pass in our lives whether we take action on our dreams or not. I remember when Andy was contemplating completing his Masters Degree and although he could have easily procrastinated on this and said he will do it on a “someday” that will never come or he could do it now. He taught me a true principle about procrastination when he said to me “4 years are going to pass whether I work on my masters degree or not”.

      So what do you want to accomplish in this life?

      What are you willing to do to accomplish it?

      Will you let the minutia of life get in the way of your dreams or will you fight everyday for what you most want?

      Will you do the disciplined, difficult daily decisions to achieve your dreams? Will you follow through when it’s raining, when you feel like crap, when you just don’t want to?

      Will you be valiant? Will you get back up and try again when you don’t have enough…time, money, patience, faith.

      Will your life pass before your eyes and allow your dreams to go with it or will you be a warrior and fight for your dreams?

      I promise that if you make the decision now to begin to take straightway action towards your goals, you will receive help from above. You will be lifted, strengthened, inspired about the next step to take. You have been put at this place, in this life for a reason. The Creator is aware of you and wants to help you achieve your full potential. You have important to do in this life. Take a step in the direction towards worthy goals and you will be able to achieve more than you thought possible. Take a step towards your potential, your goals and your dreams.

      The decision is yours and only yours to make. The time is right now, today, straightway.