How to start saying no


Rosie Zoo (3 of 17).jpg

So recently Jamey and I did something fun with Rosie that we had not done as a family, all three of us, in a while. It was simple, refreshing, and such a special afternoon, just the three of us. Want to guess what we did? Drumroll please....... We WENT TO THE ZOO! I know! Crazy, right?! Ok so maybe its not all that crazy that we spent the afternoon at the zoo, but I recognized something while we were there. That afternoon was not just a simple YES, but more importantly it was comprised of a lot of NO's in order to achieve the right YES. 

Now some people may go to the zoo 4 days a week with their family because they have a schedule that allows them to do so. Mine does not, so this was a meaningful afternoon. Maybe those people are itching to start a small business or serve with an organization, but feel as though they don't have the margin. I would propose that you in fact do have the margin, it is just a matter of figuring out what is essential and where certain trade-offs must occur. 

Jamey and I have been in a season of fighting to say no. Fighting sounds dramatic but its actually tough to do. Here's what I have realized about saying no. It is not always because of FOMO (fear of missing out), rather I've found that it is partially due to the fact that not everyone has the same values and not everyone values your time.

1. No one will value your time as much as you do - Subconsciously we are all designed to make sure our personal needs met. We are wired to think about what we would like, what we would need, and what we want, out of career, life or relationships. Myself included. That can often mean we selfishly ask things of other people in order to have that need met. It is well intentioned for the most part, and generally not meant to be selfish in nature. However, when someone asks something of you, they are not usually thinking that their simple coffee to "pick your brain" or short phone call, or one week night is all that much to ask. The point being that no one will value your time as much as you do. No one will protect your time, your family, your marriage, your ministry the way you do. Its not their job, its yours. You are the holder of the keys of your own time. I felt myself waiting for other people to see my time as valuable versus communicating that clearly with some well-thought-out, but gracious no's. Generally people do not mean harm with their requests, but it takes intentionality on our part to decipher each request carefully. If you are like me, your inner people pleaser is starting to feel anxious just reading these words.

"Say no???? But how?! What will people think of me if I tell them 'no' and don't have a good reason?!" 

2. Saying no means you might risk being misunderstood - Well here's where things get tricky. I have heard people teach on this topic and they share the benefits of saying no and how it actually can teach other people to do the same, and you can be an example of setting a healthy boundary. They will learn from you, implement the same tactics and respect you all the more for turning them down! They will thank you for saying no. This is good and sometimes true. But I will be brutally honest. I have found a lot of people feel the opposite. They get their feelings hurt, they think you are aloof, don't care, are lazy, less committed, entitled, "too busy" and I could go on and on. I have found that saying no also means risking being misunderstood. This goes to my second point. Not everyone has the same values. If people desire 'unquestioned and unconditional accessibility,' then maybe their expectation of you is that loyalty equals being available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Some people value work and it might translate into workaholism (which I will admit I am recovering from), so they want you to drop everything for a work-related project or meeting. They need you to have a "good reason" to say no. So not everyone will applaud your newfound boundaries, you will risk being misunderstood. However, I say the bigger risk is not protecting self-care, down time, or your most important relationships. 

So I am here to tell you that saying no will cost you something. Some will understand and others will not. However, if you just simply say yes to every request, every email, every Facebook message, every text, every invitation that comes your way, the cost will be so much more. Maybe the cost will be quality time with your kids, maybe the cost will be your marriage. It is so easy to put urgent requests over important values if we are not careful about what we say yes and no to. 

Here are some goals I have set in place. I say goals because I don't do them all, and I certainly don't do them perfectly, but I at least now have a benchmark of something I am working towards doing vs. just hoping more hours will appear in a day or that I'll have the gumption to say no when the time comes. Every YES means a NO somewhere else. If I say yes to you, then I am saying no to someone or something else. Maybe that someone is me

Delayed responses. - I have been asked to do things where I did not immediately say yes. I try to put some time between an ask and my response. That way it can be properly evaluated. Even if it just as simple as a coffee date. I have had speaking opportunities I was excited about, but did not give a very immediate yes. Because now I am choosing to look over my calendar, talk to my husband and even pray about if it is the right yes. Sometimes the delay means the opportunity is gone once you decide, which means it becomes a no and guess goes on. 

Texts - Simply because my phone notifies me of a text message, does not mean I am obligated to respond. I have the option to set aside a more proper time to respond if I so choose. This is usually because whatever I am doing is getting my full YES in that moment. If I am in a meeting or playing with my daughter I do not feel the need to read and answer any text that comes in. I am not that important and the world will go on without me. Also, if anyone sends me a work-related text I will ask them to email it to me so that I can answer it properly, within working hours, generally while I am sitting in my office in front of my lap top. That way it can be archived and addressed versus it falling to the bottom and being forgotten, or worse it interrupting time with my little one. 

My phone - I am trying to have a healthier relationship with my phone. I have removed certain social media apps from my phone so that I can only check them from a computer at assigned times. This one is difficult because my job and brand require an online presence but with every app is also another message, another request, another form of communication that I can't always keep up with. Also I do not give out my number and I ask others to not give out my number. (If you have my number and are reading this please don't give it out without my permission) I want to reserve my phone for family and friends as much as possible. I also do the same courtesy for others. **When someone asks me for another person's phone number, I give a delayed response. I say, "I don't feel comfortable giving their number out without their permission so let me ask them and I will get back to you." 

Let someone else decide - When asked to do something my emotions or people-pleasing can get the best of me, so I like to ask my closest people to help me decide if this is a good yes or something I should turn down. They can help me realisticlly break down if I have the capacity to say yes or even remind me of how it does/does not line up with my goals for work and family. 

Pre-determine your gracious no's - Don't figure out what to say in the moment. Decide ahead of time what requests you know you will probably need to say no to, write out a loving, gracious and honest response of why you're having to say no. This is a great blog/podcast on how to curate a good "no."

There is a great book out called Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, by Greg Mckeown where he goes into detail about this idea. In fact, lots of my virtual mentors have podcasts, written articles, and blogs surrounding this idea that has inspired me to take more steps to do fewer things with more purpose. Mckeown says,

"Essentialism is about finding the right food. More and more is valueless. Staying true to my purpose and being selective in what I take on results in a more meaningful, richer, and sweeter quality of life.”

The result of a couple of simple no's meant I got to take Rosie to the zoo and let her show off her animal sound skills as she chirped at the birds and roared at the lions on a Sunday afternoon. As a working mom who runs a non-profit and co-owns more than one business, it definitely took a few no's for the very best possible YES! 

 My hope is that you can start pursuing less to have greater purpose! I am just now learning and still have a ways to go, but join me on my journey and if you are like me don't let your inner people pleaser run your life! 

Rosie Zoo (8 of 17).jpg

a year of parenthood and saying no to comparison are worth celebrating

Confession: I wrote this blog in in its entirety back in January and failed to publish it because And in the spirit of not needing to over-work myself I decide I would press publish when I had time. So yikes, here I am 3 months later, but so thankful there's not a score-card on my blog because its just a fun outlet! 

I am still in awe and shock that 2016 is already over. What the heck?! It feels like New Years Eve 2015 was just yesterday. I remember it so vividly. Jamey and I came home from the hospital, Rosie wearing her Gap outfit I had picked out months in advance, that was way too big for her. We drove an entire 1.5 miles home from the hospital and it felt like the scariest thing on the planet with such precious cargo on board. I sat in the backseat with the baby to make sure she was breathing on the way home. Ha! Then we get home to a crying babe who seemed like she couldn't be consoled no matter what. And there we were sitting on the couch watching the ball drop with Ryan Seacrest, not wearing a fun little sequins dress with a glass of champagne like I normally would be. Instead I am leaking (TMI), and sore from surgery, and in a robe with a little human I am still trying to figure out. Talk about a wake up call to parenthood! 

Much like anything new in our lives it only gets easier with time and routine as you learn to adjust. We adjusted once we figured out a few things with nursing and I finally healed, and our little one became the best sleeper anyone could ask for. Then one day I wake up and I have a one-year-old! What the heck?! Where did the time go?

It has been a heck of a year but I am so grateful for all of it and I can't imagine life before or what I did with my free time, a luxury I no longer possess. Being a mom has been the coolest experience of my life. I was so terrified about becoming a mother because I was so worried I would do all the wrong things or not feel the right feelings or that somehow motherly instincts would skip past me on to the next mom and I would forever be at the hands of google-searching everything. Luckily, God in all his faithfulness didnt "skip me," but he gave me the strength I needed each and every day to be the very best mom I could possibly be. 

We threw Rosie a little 1st birthday party back in December that she will inevitably not remember, but it was more of a celebration that we kept this little nugget alive for a whole year and she is thriving! I know too much heart ache from moms who have experienced loss or friends who have not become a mom yet but desperately want to be. It is no doing of my own that I am lucky enough to be a mom to Rosie Pearl this first year of her life. This is not a promise, but rather a sweet gift of God. I want to worship the Giver of good gifts and not the gifts themselves. For this reason I wanted to celebrate the sweet gift of my baby girl! It was sort of a floral-ish theme party sprinkled with roses and rose petals for my Rosie girl. 

One side note I have to mention: I have noticed a lot of conversations surrounding simplifying and minimizing and being ok not being a "Pinterest mom," whatever that means. I could not agree more. Keeping life simple, staying in your lane, only saying yes within your limits and capacity is so needed to keep our sanity and priorities straight. (I have actually been practicing the art of saying no this last year and have made some improvements but still have a ways to go.) None of us should create undue pressure on ourselves especially if it involves things we do not enjoy doing, do not line up with our values or mission, or are outside of our gifting.

However, I do want to say that simple over complex, or minimal over superfluous is not always better than the contrary. Some people, or moms, enjoy the process of "tablescaping" or hosting, or DIY-ing crafts. Maybe that is what sabbath looks like for them. Making time for creativity. I am sometimes that mom, when time allows. The same way a run on the trail or a nice long bath is life-giving to some, I have an innate desire to dream, plan and create a curated atmosphere, however little or small, if I am able. Its just how I am wired. So I am always a fan shifting a conversation around a bit because God created everyone uniquely, there is no specific formula, hence my forever mama-mantra is.... "YOU DO YOU GiRLFRIEND!" Maybe whatever you resolved to stop doing or quit because it was sucking the life out of you, is energizing and life-giving to someone else. I love celebrating each person doing what works for them without demeaning the opposite but rather celebrating different strengths. Some people, or more specifically mom's enjoy design, esthetic, and creativity. Some moms thrive on meal planning or organizing, some moms I know do a killer job at homeschooling their kiddos. Each bent is worth celebrating as long as it gives you vitality and enforces the gifts that God has given you. My encouragement to all mamas is to celebrate one another, and never hold ourselves to an unrealistic standard based on an innate tendency to compare. It is already hard enough as it is, without feeling like you "caved to the pressure of Pinterest" simply because you put out some eucalyptus to jazz up a table setting. However, we spend our time and energy should be within our limits, and should bring us joy! Most likely that will look differently for everyone. So cheers to each tired mama out there doing the very best job she possibly can!! For me it was truly a joyous occasion to celebrate the success of our first year of parenthood as much as it was Rosie's 1st Birthday! One year down....a lifetime to go! 

Baby Rosie at 6 months old! 

Baby Rosie at 6 months old! 

Little Miss Rosie Pearl



Roosevelt has definitely changed our lives for the better. I love learning about her every day. As I write this she is 5 weeks and one day old. She is starting to sleep good stretches through the night which is nice. We are still trying to help her learn to nap during the day but overall we are thankful for her consistency at night. Right now she hates taking baths, unlike her mama who would take baths multiple times a day if I had the time. She still lives in her swaddle from the hospital because it's the only thing we can get tight enough around her strong little arms. We tried the pretty Muslin ones or the ever convenient velcro ones, but she breaks through them so easily. (She thinks she wants her arms free from the swaddle but she can't handle her them so they scare her. It's so cute to see her shoot her arms in the air and then stare at them like where the heck did that come from) She is a feisty little girl (wonder where she got that), and super strong. She's been holding her head up almost since birth and she can army crawl already. Even the pediatrician joked when she was getting her newborn testing at 2 weeks how she was crawling away from her on the table because she didnt want to be poked and prodded. (PS It was a tie on who cried more at that appointment ...her or me)

Rosie is super alert when she’s awake and smiles a lot when she's sleeping. We think she's dreaming about milk. She loves nuzzling herself close and snuggling with her mama. Despite the fact that some days I feel like a house slug since its where I have the last 6 weeks, I know these times where I have no obligations or tasks to accomplish but to love the heck out of this little girl will soon become a distant memory so I'm trying to soak it all in. I love you Rosie Pearl.

New Mom Observations

New Mom Observations


I won't pretend to know how to adequately describe in words the emotions I have been experiencing the last several weeks as a new mom. And actually I don't even have to because my good friend Maggie Philpot, fellow brand-new mom, already did so in her beautifully written post here.  However here are a few of my initial thoughts and observations of month one of being a mom.



1. The hospital is your friend. Due to having a cesarean we spent the first several days in the hospital. By the third night you start to kind of feel like you have a little bit of an idea of what you're doing, but only when you get home do you realize that you had round-the-clock nurses & lactation consultants taking care of you your husband and your baby at the touch of a button. Apparently it's not protocol for them to accompany you at your home to help you transition...who knew? The first night we were home was nothing short of an abrupt wake up call that my husband lovingly refers to as “hell” and I remember standing in the bathroom in tears thinking, where are the sweet nurses at the hospital when you need them most? Thankful that his mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23) and we lived to tell about the hardest New Years Eve of our lives.



2. Family is everything. We could not have survived without the help of our family. If your family offers to help say yes! Having someone offer to do a diaper change, take a night shift, let you take a nap is a treasured gift that should not be turned away. Jamey and I were so lucky to have help from our families and thanks to them I brushed my teeth and ate real meals. I am so incredibly grateful for their sacrifice to help us survive our first few weeks of being parents.



3. My husband is a rockstar. Literally. Not only can he rock on the guitar, he also rocks at being the best daddy in the world to our little girl. Due to recovering from my surgery he had to learn to do it ALL and learn he did. I am so thankful for how hands on he is and how much he loves our little girl. He can handle a ‘blowout’ with confidence and grace that can only come from God Almighty. When your hormones are out of control and you start to feel overwhelmed because of how much change has occurred in this short amount of time, you start to feel insecure and alone, or at least I did. However I feel like I have the perfect partner in this new venture of parenting and there’s no one else I’d want to do it with. He reminds me everyday that Im not alone and that we are in this together.

4. Time is a gift not to be wasted. Everyone says you have no idea what you used to do with all your extra time once its gone and its so true. I wonder all the time, “What did I used do with all my free time?” Now that I have a limited amount of time in each day (an understatement) I have learned to guard it ferociously. This has not come easily from someone who suffers from FOMO (fear of missing out) and who does not like to disappoint people. I have had to say no a lot. Even to people or things I love for the sake of protecting time currently designated to my two highest priorities right now: my sanity and my family. I wish I could say that each time I say no it gets a little easier, but it still has a little sting, especially if you dont like disappointing people or have a tendency to place your identity in what you do. However, the exercise of saying no is good because it is teaching me that behind a hundred no’s is always a very important yes. Right now that “yes” is a tiny human who needs me more than anyone or anything else does. Two humbling truths I’ve learned: the world will go on without me and people will recover from my no’s.


Roosevelt's Birth Story

HEART ONESIE - Baby Gap // BEAR FLAPPER HAT - Baby Gap (sold out similar here) // MATERNITY HOSPITAL GOWN (custom) - Etsy  // EYELASHES - Amazing Lash Studio 

I am learning quickly through motherhood that things most likely will never go as planned so prepare to be flexible and dont make anything too precious. Parenting is simply loving and protecting the precious gift of that child and doing whats best for mom and baby.

Plans are my jam. I love to make plans and know plans and make plans for my plans. God know this about me so my entire pregnancy and birth story is ironically refining. My scheduled csection was set for 8am December 29th. This in and of itself was not apart of the plan. I wanted a vaginal birth and been planning accordingly for 8 months when I found out my little stubborn girl was breech. Despite my efforts, and chiropractic appointments, and acupuncture and crazy exercises where I practically hang myself upside down off my couch while my husband holds a lit cigar next to my pinky toe (I’m dead serious - its an ancient chinese method called moxibustion ... google it) only to have her stay breech the rest of my pregnancy. However, I tried to stay positive and did so by counting the benefits of having a csection, namely not having to experience a painful labor, despite knowing I’d have a painful recovery.

The night before my scheduled csection Jamey and I were headed to bed at 10pm to get a good nights rest when we remembered I had to take off my rings for surgery. Until we discovered that they were literally stuck on my swollen sausage fingers. So for an hour we tried to get them off with a combination of soap, olive oil, coconut oil, lotion, name it we tried it! They wouldnt budge. This was also not a part of the plan.  Finally after an hour and a half we gave up and went to bed at 11:30PM resolving that getting 5 and a hlaf hours of sleep is better than none at all. At 1AM my water broke while I was in bed. This was also not a part of the plan. My midwife encouraged me to get a few more hours of rest before coming but I was so anxious and continually leaking (yikes...too much?) so I decided to instead shower and curl my hair. Nothing like a little hair therapy to get you through the contractions you werent supposed to be having. And if you are picturing someone in their bathroom at 2AM hot tools in hands, hairspray in another, hunkered over and breathing heavily through contractions, yes that was me! My midwife eventually had me come in around 4AM. The contractions got stronger and stronger until I got some pain meds but not an epidural so could still feel them pretty intensely. My fingers, if this is even possible, were more swollen than before and my wedding rings eventually had to be soldered off completely by an ER technician. Shortly after that they wheeled me in for my csection. I was so nervous and excited all at the same time. It all happened so fast, all I can remember is my sweet husband whispering prayers and encouragement in my ear as we listened to a worship birth playlist I had made and next thing I know she's here in all her chunky glory!

Looking back I guess God wanted the “planner” in me to lay my plans at the altar of his. Parenting this little one he’s entrusted to me will take a lot more than my silly planning, but rather a deep-rooted trust in her heavenly father who knows whats best for her and whats best for me.