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079: Jessica Smartt

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Memory Making Mom

I’m super excited to have Jessica Smartt with me today on the Thriving Beyond Belief podcast!
Jessica Smartt is a former English teacher turned homeschooling mama of three. A week after her first baby was born, she began her motherhood blog, Smartter Each Day. Jessica and her husband live in beautiful North Carolina, where she loves hikes with kids(mostly), steaming coffee in the afternoon, family bike rides, and anything that’s ever been done to a potato.

I love Jessica’s heart behind this book and what came about for her to write it. She reminds us that celebrations are not man-created, but something the Lord created. We see biblically that there are festivals and events to remember what the Lord had done. We should do the same thing in our lives today, celebrating those moments that the Lord is faithful in our lives. Celebrations are a blessing from the Lord and something to embrace in our everyday lives!

Comparison and competitiveness are some other topics we discuss in the sense of motherhood. Our culture, with the influence of social media, has led to comparison in the circles of women and mothers. Jessica discusses how to make things special in your own home without the burden of trying to keep up with others. She beautifully reminds us of the point: that we are to do everything in our lives with our focus on the Lord. The point of these celebrations is not to make your calendars busier or more hectic, but for them to be a genuine time of enjoying your family and celebrating what the Lord has done in a special way.

Jessica will be the first one to tell you that her and her family’s life is anything but calm! In fact, all of what the Lord has laid on her heart about taking time to celebrate came from a season of busyness that left her family not seeing the Lord in the everyday moments. She felt the Lord telling her then and there to slow down and be able to see Him in the small moments of their lives. Jessica and her family still live in this fast-paced world like everyone else, and still have busy schedules. But they have taken on some traditions that are special to their family and have chosen to keep those sacred.

What’s the solution to gaining the balanced, meaningful life you desire with your family? Create traditions that bring joy and significance. Popular “Smartter Each Day” blogger and mom of three, Jessica Smartt explains in her book, Memory-Making Mom: Building Traditions That Breathe Life Into Your Home

She also offers practical encouragement to modern parents to keep on adventuring—even when they are fighting distractions, are on a budget, and exhausted.

I loved today’s episode because of the intentionality in which Jessica lives her life! I hope it inspires you to do the same in your own family!

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Highlights

  • Encourage families to make memories together
  • Building Traditions That Breathe Life Into Your Home
  • It’s never too late to become a memory-making mom

Related Links:


078: Melanie Dale

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Today I am thrilled to have Melanie Dale on the podcast with me today!

Melanie’s life has been anything but what she expected- leading her to a ministry opportunity she never would have imagined for herself. Thus, her first book and website are entitled “Unexpected”. Melanie pictured her life going as most of us do- getting married, having children, etc. But after a battle with infertility, Melanie realized the Lord had more in store for her life than she knew.

We discuss major issues today that are all separate but all connected at the same time- marriage, intimacy, infertility, and parenting to name a few. Melanie discusses how her new saying is sur-thriving. She believes that life is never going to get to a place where everything is perfect, so we need to learn to thrive while we survive!

We really tackle the difficult issue of not being able to bear children, and what avenues come from that in people’s lives. One of Melanie’s books was written intentionally in the midst of a storm in her life, so that she could claim the goodness of the Lord in the middle of the unknown. So often, we see people who discuss their issues after they have seen redemption in their lives. But we sometimes need to know what to do and what to pray in the middle of an issue where we do not know the outcome. Melanie’s sincerity, vibrancy, and authenticity are truly refreshing in a world that tries so much to cover up failures and hardships.

Melanie gives some great advice on intentionality in marriage, how to build authentic friendships with other women in a similar life stage, how to balance the many hats most of us are wearing, and how to do it all with originality and a little humor!

I am so thankful to have spent today’s episode of Thriving Beyond Belief with Melanie, and I hope you are able to face the unexpected with ferocity, vulnerability, and to be able to laugh as you go.

 

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Highlights:

  • Melanie’s life has been anything but what she expected.
  • We discuss major issues today that are all separate but all connected at the same time- marriage, intimacy, infertility, and parenting to name a few.
  • We really tackle the difficult issue of not being able to bear children.

Related Links:

077: Toni J. Collier

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Toni Collier is a communicator, host and consultant at North Point Ministries (founded by Andy Stanley), on-camera personality at The reThink Group, Fellowship of Christian Athletes public school speaker and co-founder of The Resource Group: A faith based consulting firm.

With a degree in business logistics and entrepreneurship she has used her talents to grow churches, ministries & businesses in the areas of; student ministry, creative marketing, leadership, innovation and strategic planning.

Toni is known for her vibrant personality, charisma and all around welcoming spirit. You will frequently hear her shout the sentence; “Broken crayons still color!” as she has a passion to help women and teens believe in the idea that no matter their difficult story or walls of weakness, God still has an incredible plan to go along with the purpose He’s placed in their life. “Broken cryaons still color”…. a life mantra. A reminder that our past doesn’t have to define us. an interactive experience. a message of hope.

Toni is “Texas proud” of her Houston, TX roots, but currently resides in Atlanta, GA and loves spending time with her incredible husband and family!

In an interview with Toni, she was asked:

What is a good article or book you have read recently?

So Long Insecurity, by Beth Moore. Literally a game changer for women. READ IT!

Any motivational anecdotes to share?

COUNSELING. I can shout this from the rooftops! Counseling has totally changed my life. I’ve processed through trauma, insecurities, past relationships and so much more. It’s made me a better mom, wife, friend, Jesus-follower, and friend! So, go to counseling.

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Highlights:

  • Huge topic for women: “I am unworthy”….which then points to insecurity—-core lie
  • God wants us to THRIVE — we enter this space where we feel we are not deserving the best that God has for us! This leads to us not believing we can live above and beyond and not just exist! Its a balance between humility and confidence! He wants our lives to thrive.
  • She lived a life unprotected and not safe. Had huge responsibilities as a child so she tried to stay ahead of fear…making her being scared of fear! Being afraid is a journey and God will carry you!
  • Tough thing for Toni, being vulnerable and learning how to do that.

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076: Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith

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Today’s podcast may be about rest, but the last thing it will do is put you to sleep!

Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith brings such an insightful perspective on what rest truly is. Rest can lead to thriving, restoration, and a greater view of the Lord in your life! A wife, mother, physician, author, and speaker, Saundra knows a thing or two about how to balance your life in a way that is healthy.

I personally learned so much from this week’s episode. It may be one that I revisit over and over, because the themes we discuss today are so opposite of what success looks like in today’s culture. Today, our world is driven by busyness, the “hustle”, fitting too much on our plates, and overbooked calendars. So Dr. Dalton-Smith helps us understand the importance of physical, emotional, and social rest. She reiterates the importance of actual sleep in our lives, and even debunks what true rest is (hint: it’s not actually binging 4 hours of Netflix!).

The balance in these types of rest lead to authenticity in our lives, the power of presence with others, and restoration. She emphasizes that any rest should lead to restoration- that is the point if it. So we should be asking ourselves: what in our lives restores us? What is bringing healing and positivity to our lives?

We then discuss spiritual, sensory, and creative rest. These are ones that I feel are deprived from each us the most. Saundra beautifully describes what spiritual rest is for her and how the time she rests in the Lord leads to a more profound understanding of her relationship with Him. That’s what we all should be experiencing when we rest in who God is!

You do not want to miss this episode. There is so much to learn and understand more about yourself, your Creator, and what you were created to do. To understand more about rest and what area of rest you are most deprived of, please take Dr. Dalton-Smith’s quiz at restquiz.com and let me know what you learned most from this week!

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SOCIAL MEDIA AND INFO FOR SAUNDRA DALTON-SMITH

Twitter Handle: @DrDaltonSmith

Facebook Page: Dr. Saundra Dalton – Smith

Instagram: @DrDaltonSmith

Pinterest: @DrDaltonSmith

Website: http://ichoosemybestlife.com/

075: Debra Fileta

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I welcome Debra Fileta to this week’s episode of Thriving Beyond Belief!

Debra is a wife, mother of three, and a licensed professional counselor, specifically dealing with relationship-focused issues. She also has written two books, Choosing Marriage, and True Love Dates!

Debra has such insight on working on relationships in a healthy and balanced way. There are so many issues that we discuss in relationships, specifically within the Christian culture. Just because you are a believer in Jesus doesn’t mean you will naturally be good at certain relationships. Just like anything in life, we need to put in time and effort and practice to make any relationship work.

For Debra’s definition of thriving in relationships, she says that “relationships don’t exist for us to just get through them. We are meant to thrive in all of our relationships and let them be testimonies in our lives.”
She speaks with such wisdom about what the goal of relationships are. The end goal is not happiness, and Debra dives into this to explain what our focus in relationships should be. We talk about the fact that healthy relationships are made up of healthy individuals and discuss the steps to take for yourself that will in turn help improve your relationships.

Debra brings up an amazing point: we see that Jesus had to go through the lowest of the low to get to the point of resurrection. We need to know that we may have to go through the dark season of exposing all of our issues in a relationship to get to where Jesus can resurrect it. Counseling is such a tool in this area. There is such an importance in counseling and learning to fight the stigma that counseling is for issues that have already arisen. But our culture needs to let counseling be something that helps us maintain health in our lives, whether in relationships or not.

Let’s not believe that passivity and selflessness are the same thing. Let conflict be a place to learn and discuss and be vulnerable. Discussing hard things isn’t just saying what you think. It is about digging deeper and wondering what the root of the conflict is. That is what leads to true healing.

All of Debra’s links

I can’t wait for you to tune in and listen today!

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074: Kaitlin Wernet

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Kaitlin Wernet joins me today on Thriving Beyond Belief and has such an amazing word for us today.

Kaitlin is a storyteller surrendered to hope. Forever passionate about holding the tension of darkness and light, she is grateful for the good news that acknowledges and redeems both. Kaitlin is the co-author of The Book of Comforts, and she spends her days writing everything from marketing strategies to creative essays. Living in Nashville, Tennessee, by way of Asheville, North Carolina, she’s always planning her next big travel adventure but vows to only plant roots in cities that rhyme.

Kaitlin moved to Nashville to work For she reads truth; she is now a writer and working in marketing and online marketing. She has written a book called “The Book of Comforts” that comes out this month.

This book came out of a time that was most devastating for Kaitlin. In a time where she felt she lost herself, her job at She Reads Truth led her to read the bible everyday, which was no accident for her. It really helped her stay anchored in her faith. She learned that the Christian community doesn’t really open up a lot about pain and Kaitlin discusses finding those people in the faith that could help her walk through the hard season. The need for this book became apparent to her when searching for a book that would help her in her time of sorrow. This book is a beautiful metaphor of her experiences and sees grief as a ground where redemption will bloom.

She also discovered truly seeing God for who He is in a time that made her question all that she had believed growing up.

She has refreshing insight on encouraging those walking through hard seasons to bring pain to the forefront. The enemy wants us to feel isolated in our pain and not think anyone has gone through what we are walking through. He wants us to believe that even Christ cannot empathize with us. Pain and loss can also feel like weakness. Fear makes us think we can never show any weakness or low days, especially as believers. It makes us think that we aren’t trusting God enough if we are sad. But the truth is that hardship is promised to us, and He has a purpose in EVERY season.

Kaitlin speaks on the balance of having grief in her life. She talks about always carrying the tension of light and dark. But seeing her worst fear come true, she saw that God is still good and is daily learning to release control of her life.

We think we can shield and things from happening if we worry about them. Fear is a liar. It makes us think we can’t come back from a painful experience. But we actually get to the other side of grief and see that God is with us in every step. He’s there on the other side too. The more we seek God, the less we need to know all of the answers.

We end with Kaitlin speaking on some helpful advice for those who are walking with someone going through grief and some practical steps to make sure those people never feel alone. I hope this episode brings healing, community, and a deeper hope in who God is in each of your lives.

 

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Social Media Links

Instagram: @kaitlinwernet

Website: http://kaitlinwernet.com/

Book: Book of Comforts

10 things I Wish My Friends Knew About Grief

 

 

 

073: Valorie Burton

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Welcome with me today Valorie Burton on this week’s episode of Thriving Beyond Belief!

Valorie is a wife, mother, and writer. She became a writer out of a prayer for true purpose. Her mission is inspiring women through writing and speaking and now being a life coach.

We get to discuss Valorie’s new book “It’s About Time”, which is coming out April 30th. Her book encompasses subjects such as not wearing “busy” as a badge of honor on our lives but taking time to say no, and to only do the imperative. Valorie gives her testimony and how she has learned so much about the Lord through time. She speaks on how time issues were at the core of hardships in her life. Even now, we talk about creating margin and leaving space between obligations.

“God created us to be here for a purpose.” We are given unique, divine assignments based on the purpose He has given us individually. We can’t hear what that purpose is and implement it well if we are filling every minute of our time with noise. We speak on the fact that being present takes more effort, but it is far more fulfilling. We feel more relaxed and filled up, and that is where we will be able to meet God.

Some factors that have really ramped up in our culture today are pace, competition, and comparison. Instead of wanting to keep up with the other moms or coworkers, we need to ask ourselves what would be the more meaningful choice. Would you want to look back on time with your children and see yourself always on your phone? Or would you want to fill your time with things that aren’t directed towards the purpose God has placed on your life? We need to learn to let time go slowly sometimes. We need to get in a place where we are “okay with being a little bored”.

Valorie lays out some core vulnerabilities that keep us from making the wise decision in the heat of the moment. She speaks on approval addiction, perfectionism, and unrealistic optimism. But she also talks about grace for yourself and your loved ones. She gives personal testament about making peace with lost time. It begins with forgiveness and acceptance, which leads to gratitude towards future time. We may have not taken full advantage of today, but that doesn’t mean we can’t tomorrow.

This is such a timely episode and I hope you enjoy!

 

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Social Media Links

Instagram:@valorieburton

Website: www.valorieburton.com

Facebook: @valorieburton

 

 

 

072: Marriage Episode: Jeff & Cheryl Scruggs with Gerard & Jeannie Long

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We don’t get to do this very often on Thriving Beyond Belief, but when we do it’s one of my absolute favorite things! COUPLES INTERVIEW!! Today, we bring back Gerard and Jeannie Long to the podcast, along with my husband Jeff, to specifically talk about thriving in marriage. It is an episode you absolutely do not want to miss.

The amazing thing about talking with Gerard and Judy about marriage is that they have walked through some of the lowest valleys in life. Jeff and I’s story also takes us through some valleys, so it is wonderful to talk with a couple who can truly say that the Lord saved their marriage. And not only did the marriage survive- He has made it THRIVE. It is a testament to the Lord that the four of us could discuss what we have gone through, only to see victory on the other side because of who Jesus is. He is an advocate for marriage and wants our marriages to be walking testaments of His presence in our lives.

I had each person answer the question of what it means to thrive in marriage, and the responses are so beautiful. I love how Jeff shares the difference between our first marriage and our second and the secret to what has truly made our marriage thrive. Gerard talks about the purpose of marriage and that is is for others to see the Lord through our union. By having a God-centered marriage, the world can see how life is done differently in Christ.

We touch heavily on the subject of forgiveness. For both of our stories, there has been a lot of hurt and a long season of healing. The four of us dive in to what that forgiveness can look like for our spouses, what it truly means for a man to lead out in the marriage, and how we are called to forgive because the Lord first forgave us. This discussion is so beautifully interwoven with Scripture and reminders of being Christ-like in the toughest of times.

I love how Gerard and Jeannie answer some questions on what the toughest aspect of being a husband or wife is for them, how culture has warped what true, biblical masculinity and femininity are, and how our examples of Christ-like marriages can break those lies down.

What a refreshing time it was with this beautiful couple, using their voices for good and bringing us back to the center of what we are called to in every aspect of our lives: bringing glory to our God in heaven.

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Social Media Links

Instagram: @awakeningtogod

Websitewww.awakeningtogod.org

Facebook: @awakeningtogod

Twitter: @atg_ministries

 

 

 

 

Ellie Holcombe

071: Ellie Holcomb

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Today I have a lovely friend of mine on Thriving Beyond Belief: Ellie Holcomb! Living in sweet Nashville, Tennessee, Ellie is a musician, wife of a musician, mother, author, and devoted follower of Jesus.

Ellie brings such a fresh perspective of thriving, and how she learned to thrive by experiencing years of practicing the opposite. After seeking to be what others thought she should be and coming up lost, Ellie finally gave up that mentality to truly just be who the Lord created her to be. She talks about becoming “unburied” from the expectations of the world. As a woman in her mid-thirties, she speaks to fighting those whispers from the world more than ever, and feeling more free than ever from the lies.

We discuss what is truly the Gospel versus what we have set it up to be in our minds. She discusses her journey to discovering the beauty of counseling in her life and the healing it brought to her life. We are truly kindred spirits with similarities in our stories and seasons, and it was wonderful to dive in to how the Lord has used our journeys.

We speak on some fun things, like how Ellie became a musician and how she has been able to use music to connect people and their stories. We also talked about the children’s book, Who Sang The First Song, Ellie published last year, and how the idea of the book came to be. It was so fun to discuss the beauty of having intentional conversations with our children, seeing where our children are truly gifted by the Lord, and guidance we can have with our little ones. We are made stewards over our children, and we discuss what the full potential of that can be. So many of us parents get caught in the mundane tasks of everyday and forget to see the eternal purpose in what we are doing in parenting.

Celebrating others to foster community, learning to dream at any age, self care, and our roles as women are some topics we get to discuss together. Ellie and I also tackle what some of the difficult aspects of who we are can be. We learn to turn to Scripture and cling to His promises to then lay down what isn’t ours to carry.

Tune in to hear more about Ellie’s heart, what brings her joy, and her reason for doing yoga. 🙂 I hope you are inspired and encouraged by this sweet time with Ellie Holcomb!

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Social Media Links

Instagram: @ellieholcomb

Website: www.ellieholcomb.com

Facebook: @ellieholcombmusic

Twitter: @ellieholcomb

 

 

 

070: Judy Pogue

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I am thrilled to have Judy Pogue on this week’s episode of Thriving Beyond Belief! From thriving at any age to princesses, to world missions, we discuss a gamut of amazing topics today.

Judy Pogue is a wife, mother, international missionary, and now an author. She has such a deep love for the Lord and amazing wisdom to share. She presses deep into who God has created her to be and feels blessed to be in the season she is in. I love the way Judy describes thriving: she says it is “running with arms open to the future”. I think this perfectly encompasses Psalm 31 when the psalmist describes a Godly woman as someone “who laughs at the fear of the future”.

Thriving is running wildly toward the future because you know it is in the Lord’s hands. And the Lord wants us to thrive at every stage of our lives. He is not surprised by the season we are in, whether that is motherhood, singleness, a job that seems so difficult, the loss of a parent, etc. Because He is not surprised by our season, He has fully equipped us and is walking with us through those seasons. Judy speaks on a young woman who feels called to being missional, but is in the middle of raising young children. Judy reminded and encouraged this woman that she IS being missional! She is right where the Lord wants her and is being missional in her home with her children. She referred to Scripture that states we go in and out of seasons, and this woman’s time of being missional outside of her home will come. But we are to see where we are at as our mission.

We speak for a while on the importance of mentorship and how different generations help others walk along life. This is what community is. Those that are older have such an opportunity to meet with the younger to let them know they are not alone in what they are walking through. And the younger generation has an opportunity to see what a Godly woman looks like as she walks through certain stages of life. I am so thrilled that we were able to discuss Judy’s book, Awaken Sleeping Beauty. I could not love this book more and what it entails. Judy expands on her inspiration for this book, who she hopes to reach with its message, and all of the different angles this story takes. Judy has such wisdom on discussing what all the Lord has taught her through marriage and motherhood. She discusses real issues that happen in marriage and learning to find value in the titles “wife” and “mother” in a world telling us those titles are not enough. We discuss believing in who your spouse is. Lay the groundwork of prayer in the difficult years that will yield fruit in the good years. This is an episode you won’t want to miss. So grab a comfy chair or put in your earbuds on a walk and enjoy this week of Thriving Beyond Belief!

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Social Media Links

Instagram: @AwakenWithJudyPogue

Website: www.judypogue.com

Facebook: Awaken with Judy Pogue

Awakening Conference Feb 22, 2019 Dallas: http://www.judypogue.com/index.php

Twitter: @AwakenwithJudyP

Book: Awaken Sleeping Beauty

 

 

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