You Don’t Have To Try So Hard: A Book Review and GIVEAWAY!

You Don’t Have To Try So Hard: A Book Review and GIVEAWAY!

The harder I try it seems

the more I fail. 

I will be the first to admit that it is

no fun,

this messed up cycle of

trying too hard

and failing.

Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory’s book,

You Don’t Have To Try So Hard:

Ditch Expectations and

Live Your Own Best Life, 

is a great encouragement to

this mom’s heart.

In fact this book helped me

give myself permission to take a

bath at 8:30 am

because I was so sore.

When you are trying hard –

a morning bath

makes zero sense.


It was what I needed.

I love that this book released me

from unnecessary pressure and at the same time

educated me on how to actually live in

a way that makes sense for me.

They reminded me that

I am made in a unique way

and they addressed how I

might then go about and

hustle less and

live more.

They use fun quizzes to help

you understand how you operate.

This book is all about standing up

to the bullies of

perfectionism, performancism,

people-pleasing, and procrastination.

They’ve got to go!

I feel more empowered to

pursue what is best for me

and my family without feeling

pressure to be something we aren’t.

What is the expectation you would like to

get rid of forever?

What expectation holds you back

instead of propelling you forward?

You Don’t Have To Try So Hard

because guess what?

You don’t.

Participate in the giveaway for this book on my Facebook page!


Share in the comments on this post on my Facebook page and tag a friend who needs permission to take a bath at 8:30 am and I will enter both of your names in the drawing for You Don’t Have To Try So Hard. I will draw a name on Tuesday, Oct 16. Winner will be announced on Wed, Oct 17. The book will be delivered to the winner and may take 3-4 weeks to arrive. 

There’s Something About A Great Pair of Earrings

There’s Something About A Great Pair of Earrings

I am new to wearing out-there earrings.

Statement earrings that say:

“Look at me!”

I had stuck with the same pair of earrings for years and years

due to sensitive ears.

At least that was my reasoning.

But now at 40 I can’t help but wonder

if it was more than that.

If there was a bit of hiding going on.

Please, don’t look at me.

I want to be seen…

but not fully.

And now?

I now own some bold earrings

and they each have a story.

Connection with others makes me brave

and that is what these earrings represent.

People, stories, and reminders.

When I wear these earrings I walk a little taller.

Fringe earrings are what started it all.

I got these on a birthday trip from my hubby

with three of my biggest encouragers.

These earrings remind me that its okay to be fierce.

One pair of earrings is from my husband

and one pair I made.

The hoops make me think of love and the

jade globes remind me to give voice to my creativity.

One pair reminds me of the shop owner who said,

“You are a great momma.”

The copper teardrop pair are from a friend who sees the best in me.

The macrame ones my sister also owns

because we both fell in love with them. #Sisters

I wear them and think of her and

remember to be authentically myself.

And to maybe give her a call.

It’s such a small thing.

But we all need reminders.

To be strong,

be brave

to be creative

and to be our most authentic selves.

Which earrings shall I wear today?

Which reminder do I need?

 Searching For Kindling.

What reminds you of who you truly are?

What helps you remember to be brave?

What are the stories that remind you to be authentic?

Share in the comments!

Go Ahead – Allow Your Heart To Feel It All.

Go Ahead – Allow Your Heart To Feel It All.

Go ahead and feel it all.

There’s a lot on your plate.

The world won’t come crashing down

if you go ahead and feel it.

I know it might seem like it might.

To allow yourself to sink into all that

is in your heart is

asking for an enormous wave to

crush you, flip you,

disorient and scare you.

How’s a heart supposed to hold it all?

The regular daily stuff, the big daily stuff,

a friend who is sick,

families torn apart by policy, by

systemic racism, by bitterness,

by trial after trial.

If you feel it all –

if you let the wave take you for a ride

you will feel unmoored,

undone and unsure.

That’s what waves do.

But they also move you.

Move you to where you are

supposed to be.

The wave will put you back on land

in a place that you probably will not recognize.

Your lungs will gasp for air.

Your legs will be tentative.

Your hands will reach for the

texture of solid ground.

Your heart will feel first

and will direct your steps.

What do you see first?

What are the needs?

Big waves have a way of

redirecting, re-centering,

a way of mooring us to what actually matters –

and what our part is in it.

So let the wave of all that is in your heart move you,

its okay to be tentative, but be confident

in the knowledge that you were placed

exactly where you are –

on this shore, this exact span of sand,

to walk towards the needs of your world.

May your steps be propelled by love,

may your hands be open,

your passion burning

and your gifts and talents engaged.

You Need Small Things From Me, Baby Boy

You Need Small Things From Me, Baby Boy

Sometimes I don’t know what you need.

And even if I did know

I am not sure that I could be it.

You are tall and long

with big emotions

and you have a lot of words.

You push my buttons.

And I suppose I probably push yours.

And there are times that I wish

I could snuggle you and make it all okay

like I did when you were so much smaller.

It is harder to know

how to make it okay

and sometimes there isn’t really

a way to even do that.

Sometimes my heart is overwhelmed

with my love for you and my frustration with you

and how I want to be able to help you

and still be what you need

every now and then.

And then tonight happened.

You said,

“Come and lay down with me, Mommy”.

And my heart, mind and mouth said,


You lifted your spiderman blanket

so I could snuggle into

the little furnace you created.

We talked a little bit about your

test tomorrow and

I prayed for you.

Then you rolled to your tummy,

flung your arm over my tummy

and laid your head on my chest.

And then you fell asleep.

And in that moment my heart

was reminded that sometimes

you need small things from me

my patient presence,

my tickle monster,

my silly jokes,

my dance with me,

my arms to hold you while you sleep.

Thanks, baby boy for the reminder

that while I can’t be everything

you need (and I shouldn’t be)

there are some instances

where I am enough.


 Searching For Kindling

Name five small things that you do to love your children well. Think of some small moments with your kids that have filled your mama tank.

I am woman.

I am strong as steel.

I will surprise you.

I can make dinner, unload the dishwasher,

brainstorm for an article and help my child study for a test all at the same time.

I am a soft place to land.


I have stretch marks and an untoned tummy –

I am my own beautiful.

I am not wonder woman… I am me

and that is enough.

I will fight for those I love.

I am multidimensional.

I am a partner.

I am becoming.

I am passionate.

I am made in the image of God.

I will write my own story.

Women before me have led the way

to where we are now

and I join hands with those I walk with

today to make

tomorrow better

for our daughters and sons.

I am woman.

Truth on the Beach: Living Large Isn’t About Me.

Truth on the Beach: Living Large Isn’t About Me.

Sometimes I am surprised when God presents truth to me in ways I don’t expect. For example, last week at the beach my son drew a tennis court in the sand; I enjoyed watching him create his masterpiece but I didn’t expect it to be a carrier of truth. I just didn’t see it coming.

He loves tennis. I thought he was drawing a geometric pattern of some sort but my husband knew exactly what it was. The beach wasn’t busy which was good as the tennis court was large. He was so focused on his work and could not be distracted by the waves or by what his brother and sister were choosing to do. He drew the base and service lines. He drew a net and then started building it up a bit as well. As I watched him create I watched people walk around his court, taking a bit of a detour from the direction they were walking. No one was bothered that they had to walk a few steps out of their way as they saw a boy creating, working with his hands, his mind working and enjoying the beach and tennis at the same time. (He’s brilliant!) He was undeterred by the people walking by, he just kept doing what he was doing.

I took a few pictures of his sand court and as I did I heard, in my heart, “He’s not afraid to take up that big space. Why are you afraid to take up a big space?”

BAM. On the beach. Truth hitting so hard I about ate sand.

Bethany, why are you afraid to take up space? Why do you worry about what others will think about the stances you take? Why do you curb your creativity? Why do you try to live small so that things don’t get scary and big?

Bethany, why do you hesitate to fill in the frame God has given you?

I know why. Once I take my focus off of God, I start doubting. I start paying more attention to what people think, what if someone thinks I am in the way or saying more than I should? I start censoring – “That’s too strong” or “That’s being too much” and soon the excuses are piling up like the sand in the minivan. The truth is – living large isn’t about me, it is about fulfilling what God has purposed me to do. It is the living small that is all about me, safe, ruffling no feathers and comfy – and diametrically opposed to what God would want for me.

Where do I get permission to live large, unafraid of opinions or consequences? It’s me. I stand in my way. At the foundational level it is an issue of trust. Do I trust God enough to go ahead and be brave, make no apologies and live large? Do you?

Search for kindling: Is there an area of your life where you are making excuses so you can live small?