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I'm an Indiana girl who started a small Etsy shop side hustle in college and grew it into a nationally recognized personal brand. I love writing, educating, and raising chickens with my husband. I'm here to help other multi-passionate, ambitious women (like you!) own their everyday and reach their potential, too!

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Everyday

Everyday

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Is it just me or do you ever feel like you’re spinning 18 million plates trying to keep up with all the demands of work and family and friends?

GIRL. The struggle is real.

Lately, Matt and I have been implementing Sunday rhythms and it’s been so lifegiving.

We keep our phones off all day until after dinner, and spend the afternoon napping, walking, and reading by our wood-burning stove.

It’s not something we share or post on social. It’s just our time – for us. It helps us reset before the coming week and give our souls a break from the hustle in both our work and personal lives.

I get a lot of questions regarding “how I get it all done” and my response to that is… “I get it all done by not doing it all!”

It may sound counterintuitive but it’s true. I’ve found the less I push myself to constantly be on and achieving without any breaks, the more productive I actually am in the blocks I designate to knock out my top goals. Crazy, huh?

So, I want to give you some tips to creating rhythms in your life, too.

Just like I mentioned the weekly Sunday rhythm we have, developing monthly rhythms can be helpful, too! 

These are five steps you can do at the beginning of each month to start and stay organized in your work and personal life. 

At the beginning of each month, take a day or two (ideally on the weekends) to:

1. Schedule Your Appointments 

That eye doctor appointment you’ve been forgetting to make isn’t going to schedule itself! Take a few minutes at the beginning of every month to schedule hair, nails, medical, etc. appointments. Make it happen or it won’t happen! 

2. Deep Clean Your Home 

Take an afternoon to mop your kitchen floor, dust, and clean bathrooms. Starting each month with a clean home can be such a game changer for your mental clarity and productivity!

3. Choose One Book to Start and Complete

If you’re like me, you might read three books at a time. Nothing wrong with that but if you’re always starting new books, it can be tough to finish them! Keep your mind focused on one book at a time – and make it your mission to finish it! 

Reading like this is a way to keep your mind stimulated outside of work and actually completing a leisure activity like this not only helps you learn something new but can also lead to more productivity as you train your brain to remain focused on one thing to completion. 

4. Make plans with family and friends 

I’m all about spontaneity but with a busy work and travel schedule, I’ve found I feel WAY less stressed when I get a few dinner dates with friends or family activities on the calendar ahead of time. 

This allows me to build my work schedule around my life schedule rather than trying to squeeze in time for my people around an already full workload. Make this a habit that you do at the beginning of every month so you can build your work around your life, not your life around your work. 

5. Pick One New (Simple) Thing to commit to 

The Sunday afternoon rhythm I mentioned is a great example of this. We committed to phone free Sundays. We usually shut them off Saturday evening and don’t turn them back on until Sunday evening, well after dinner. 

This gives us a full 24 hours every week unplugged and it not only helps us connect and rest in our personal lives but also re-energizes us when it comes to work. By the time Monday morning rolls around, we’re rested, re-inspired, and ready to hit the ground running!

Building simple systems like this into your life and doing them regularly can be so helpful in being more organized and more productive in both life and work. 

If you’re interested in learning even more about my weekly block scheduling system that helps me maximize productivity without constantly hustling (and without being distracted), check out The Own Your Everyday System! 

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5 Ways to Stay Organized in Your Personal and Professional Life

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Everyday

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I don’t know about you but I’m a people person. I love visiting with family members during holiday gatherings and even meeting new people at events.

While it can be great to catch up with those we haven’t seen in awhile, I know that sometimes, that can be a little bit awkward when someone brings up those questions that make us feel totally judged or uncomfortable.

Questions like,

“So, have you moved out of your mom and dad’s house yet?”

Or, “Have you found a job or are you still nannying?”

Or, “When are you having kids?”

Let’s be honest. These questions are usually well meaning, in that people are probably not trying to offend us or make us uncomfortable but it CAN put us on defense a bit – especially if we don’t feel like we have an acceptable or impressive answer to respond with.

So, what should you do? How do you deal with questions that feel like they impose unwanted opinions on you? How do you respond confidently, respectfully, and kindly?

I have three tips for you when you are faced with a situation like this so you can respond effectively rather than react emotionally:

Tip 1. Reverse the Conversation to be About Them

If they say something like, “You should be moved out of your parents by now, don’t you think? When do you plan to move out?”

You can respond with a light-hearted chuckle and say, “Don’t worry, I don’t plan on staying forever.” 

Then, you can reverse the conversation to be about them in a creative way.

You could add and change the focus of the conversation by saying something like, “Hey, speaking of living situations, I heard you just moved. How’s that going? How do you like the area?”

People love to talk about themselves. Asking about them takes the focus off of what they’re highlighting in your life that you don’t feel comfortable discussing (or just don’t have an answer to) and makes them the center of the conversation. 

Tip 2. Don’t Over-Explain It but Own It

When people randomly ask why I haven’t had kids yet, sometimes I’m tempted to go into all the details as to why my cycle has been wonky due to all our travel and so we haven’t been ablet o really try for that up until very recently and these things take time and it’s not like I can just wish upon a star and boom be preggo. 

I could tell them why it’s hurtful for them to ask that way because it subtly insinuates that I don’t want children or am actively avoiding them when that’s not the case at all.

I could explain that we’re still so young and though we’re open to children, we’re trying not to feel the pressure or to force it, either.

But most of the time I don’t feel like discussing the personal biological details of my life with someone who only intends to make small talk over the dinner table sooo I usually say something lighthearted like, “Well, whenever God decides it’s time! We’re open and excited for that day but in the meantime, we’re really remembering to cherish this time in our lives together.” 

If something like this happens to you, you can smile and say, it’s a long story but this is really just what’s best for me right now. Or, “to be honest? I’m not sure, but I’m really happy and thriving where I am. Appreciate you asking!” Or, Thanks for asking, “it’s just a transitional season. I’m sure you know what that’s like!”

You can be casual about this. You don’t owe anyone an explanation, especially those you don’t know very well. 

Tip 3. Try Not to Be Offended

As uncomfortable, or even rude, as some of these types of questions or comments that basically highlight someone’s unwanted opinion are, the best thing I can say is try not to be offended

MOST people are not trying to offend you, sis. That doesn’t make their seemingly nosiness or prying totally okay BUT give them some grace and try not to let it get to you.

They don’t know your life, they don’t know the details, and if you know them well enough or they’re a good friend, they either do know or they’re asking because they genuinely care. If you don’t know them well enough and they’re just making comments or trying to make small talk, they’re probably simply trying to connect, or they just don’t have the best people skills. 

And that’s okay. No one is perfect. You don’t owe anyone an explanation but you also don’t need to immediately become offended.

Take a breath. Remember the bigger picture. And decide how much weight someone’s opinion – welcomed or not – should have over your life.

My guess? Unless it’s a spouse, really close relative like your mom, or your best friend, I’d say not very much. 

Let that one roll off your shoulders, enjoy your holiday season, and remember that whatever you’re going through and regardless of what people think you should do… you’re in the place you are for a purpose. And your job is not to explain it. Your job is to show up and own it.

Now, I want to hear from you! 

How do YOU respond to questions or comments like this? Tell me in the comments below!


PS. DID YOU SNAG THE HOLIDAY SPECIAL?

If you buy a copy of Own Your Everyday, between now and December 31, I’m giving you free access to my new Own Your Everyday Mini Course. In less than an hour, you can learn and implement manageable, practical beautiful weekly calendar structure!

Here’s how it works: After purchasing your copy, upload a photo of your receipt to this page, and you’ll get instant access to the OYE system for FREE. But hurry! The deal ends December 31!

Positive Ways to Deal with Negative or Unwanted Opinions

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Everyday

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The holidays are here and this is the season so many of us busy, hardworking women begin to feel the stress of burn out as we work to close out the year and prepare for all of the festivities. 

Not only are we trying to wrap up our workload but we’re preparing for the new year and also trying to find time to spend with our families.

It seems like there’s always so much to do with so little time and we don’t know how to prioritize ourselves when we get to the burnout period. 

So, before we even dove into the whole “building our dreams” part of the conversation, I asked Liv to give us some steps we can take when we begin to feel overwhelmed by all that’s already on our plate.

WHEN YOU FEEL LIKE YOUR HOUSE IS BURNING DOWN

In this episode, I brought on a mental health counselor, Liv Mercer, to talk about the importance of figuring out why we feel the way we do instead of just trying to solve the problem. 

Liv says that she often works with people who come to her saying “I don’t know what’s wrong but everything is terrible.” 

In other words, it feels like their house is on fire. 

Liv explained that it’s so important to give ourselves space to unapologetically get it all out and once we do, to go back and find out WHY. 

Why did that fire start, or where did that feeling originate, and what can I change to feel better?

KEY CONSIDERATIONS 

As we chatted, Liv highlighted 3 questions to ask ourselves when we feel stuck, or like we’re not making forward progress in the direction of our dreams:

What do I need?

What do I value?

What am I doing to pursue that?

She also emphasized the importance of identifying what we value, and helped us understand the difference between a value and a goal so that we can set goals that align with what we actually value. 

For example, a value is, “Education.” 

A goal is “Get my Masters degree.”

See the difference? 

I’d never heard someone explain it that way before and I found it to be so helpful in setting goals that are aligned with our values.

WHEN YOU HAVE A BIG DREAM THAT SEEMS OUT OF REACH

How often do you feel like “I wish I were so much further along than I am already…” or “Why is she crushing it and I’m not…”? 

Too often right? 

This episode is a kick-in-the-pants reminder that nobody got to where they are overnight, believe me. 

Still, the feeling (and frustration) is real.

Liv’s advice?

Even if you can’t go all in on your dream, perhaps because your plate is already full or your current season of life just doesn’t allow it, consider what you can do today to move the needle just 1% closer to where you want to go.

Liv gave the example of wanting to be a writer. She’s currently a mental health counselor but has always dreamed of being a writer.

She’s not in a season where she can just drop her career as a counselor but she realized she could do one small thing to steward that passion of hers to write by creating a piece of mental health content on her Instagram account every week.

This would allow her to write, and to share her expertise, in a way that fits her current season. 

1% is better than nothing, and my dare is for you to consider what this might look like in your life. 

What would building your dream 1% at a time, in incremental and practical ways, look like for you?

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How to Build Your Dream One Step at a Time

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Everyday

Dreaming of traveling to the most magical place this holiday season but don’t want to get stuck in tourist traps or lost in a snowstorm?

Don’t worry girl, I got you! 

New York during the holiday’s is an absolute dream. Matt and I visited in the middle of November because I was speaking at Penguin Random House’s Holiday House Event (my publisher) and had some business meetings.

Although we were there for work, we had some time to explore and I took notes on a few can’t miss spots.

Whether you go with your girlfriends, family, husband, or even alone, this will be a trip you won’t forget!  

WHERE TO STAY

There are plenty of great hotels but this year we stayed in the Warwick New York – a luxury hotel in Midtown Manhattan.

Last year, we stayed at the Ibero Star. It was also nice but the rooms and hallways were really small and it felt kind of crammed.

We loved that the Warwick had much more spacious rooms. Plus, it’s in a great location, has a delicious restaurant on site, spacious bedrooms, and a stunning view. 

Photos via WarwickHotel.com

COFFEE + BREAKFAST

If you’re not in the mood for room service (which we really enjoyed) you can head over to Joe & the Juice or grab coffee at Tisserie, both are our favorites! 

LUNCH

We have our go to spots in the city so when your stomach is ready for a midday snack here are some options! Angelo’s Coal Oven Pizzeria,

I think it’s obvious what to get from here but I also highly recommend the cannoli. If you’re not feeling Italian you can head to Markato for a gyro to go or some pita bread with hummus.

And if you really need some diversity just go to Bryant Park Urban Market, it’s full of options so this is great if you’re visiting with a large group.

DINNER + DRINKS

On your last night in the city you should spoil yourself a bit and grab dinner at the Hunt and Fish Club, yes it’s a splurge but it’s definitely worth it!

If you need another option you can also grab a bite at Jam’s. You’ll want to stick around for dessert (it’s SO good) and I really don’t think that will be a problem because the atmosphere makes you want to stay for hours!

WHERE TO PLAY

If you want to truly feel the magic of the season, grab a hot chocolate and head over to Bryant Park Ice Rink. 

Looking to do some shopping after? Head to the brand new Nordstrom on 5th avenue… it’s SEVEN stories. I got lost in there!

That said, I highly recommend setting aside a couple of hours for this one! 

Oh, and make sure you go see the tree at Rockefeller Center! It wasn’t even lit when we were there and it was still so beautiful!

Alright now it’s your turn!

Pack your bags (and a big winter coat) and head to the Big Apple. Tag me in your adventures and let me know if you have any questions. 😉

New York City Holiday Travel Guide

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Everyday

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Okay y’all. Is it just me, or does it ever feel like we live in a world where we all hashtag “#goals” on Instagram but then have a hard time actually setting and achieving realistic goals to improve our lives?

We talk about goals and have these ideas of what we want to do… but sometimes it can be frustrating when we realize we haven’t achieved those goals in the timeline we would like, right?

So why are goals so important and how can we make it easier to make the ACTUALLY happen?

I had to bring on the goal expert, Lara Casey, to answer that one for me! 

Lara is a mom of three, wife, believer in the impossible, two time author, and founder and CEO of Cultivate What Matters. Needless to say, she’s got her hands full yet she still manages to keep all her plants alive in her house.

Why is this significant?

As a busy woman myself, I have a hard time tending to plants. My plate is so full, I hardly have time to think about the wilted plant in the corner! And, as a result, I end up forgetting about it until someone points out that there’s a dead plant sitting on my foyer table or in the corner of my office.

Ugh.

I unintentionally kill every plant I’ve ever bought or been given… so much so that I’ve practically given up on the idea.

But plants – specifically, keeping them alive – are a significant part of Lara’s story because she, too, used to be a Plant Killer. Now, with a few tweaks to her perspective and lifestyle, she’s practically become the queen of keeping them alive.

And this practice is pivotal in how she goes about achieving goals in her business and life, which she explains in detail in this episode.

I thought this would be the perfect time for you to learn from her because as the year comes to an end we can get caught up in the hustle and bustle but really we should be winding down and appreciating everything the year has brought us. 

Every year we change and become who we are meant to be more and more.

In other words, with every positive change or sprout of growth in our life, typically comes a little struggle and mess.

Maybe this past year has been a bit of struggle. Maybe you feel buried by the mess and chaos in your life. Maybe you feel completely unqualified for any kind of success going forward.

I’ve been there. But I love how Lara says, “Flowers grow through dirt, and so do we.”

Lara told me about how we were created for 90 day windows. Our brains actually only focus on one project for 90 days, before we need to rest.

Interesting, right? 

It’s so common to plan for the entire year ahead, but the reality is, planning in quarters is much more realistic and makes what we’re hoping to do feel a little bit more in our reach.

We change more often than we seem to believe so this is huge!

When short term goals are set they seem more achievable therefore making us want to actually work harder on them! So check in every 90 days, and allow yourself to shed that skin to grow onto the next phase. 

The best part of talking with Lara?

We discussed how when it feels uncomfortable, that’s when we should just celebrate. Why? Because being uncomfortable means you are growing, and there’s no better time in life to feel blessed than then. 

Tune in now to listen to her goal setting tips and why they’re so crucial to a happy, faithful, loving life! 

Find Lara at @laracasey and visit cultivatewhatmatters.com.

PS. Take advantage of the Own Your Everyday Holiday Special HERE!


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Creative Ways to Cultivate What Matters

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Everyday

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I know, with the holidays just around the corner, the sight of mistletoe or sound of another Christmas love song can be enough to make a single girl cringe. 

Although I’ve been married several years now, I believe this is important to discuss. And regardless of your current relationship status – single, dating, engaged, or somewhere in between – I want you to thrive!

So, I called in the expert and a dear friend of mine, Stephanie May Wilson, to teach us how we can learn to love the season of life we’re in – even if we’re single but wanting to be married, or married but wanting to be a mom. 

CONFLICTING MESSAGES

In this episode, we dove into the topic of singleness and modern dating, as well as tackled the reality that there tends to be two conflicting messages when it comes to the desire for marriage.

One of those messages is essentially that marriage is everything. When you finally meet your person, you will have made it in life. 

This pressure often comes from questions like, “Have you met a nice guy yet?” and “Are you ever going to get married?” … especially around the holidays when Great Aunt Mildred comes around.

The other message is essentially the polar opposite: marriage is silly, and a strong, independent woman shouldn’t even worry about or desire it. This can leave gal who does desire to get married feeling ashamed of her own desires. 

In this episode, Steph and I dove into a healthier approach, and provided simple ways on how to embrace that desire without shame while also enjoying your single/dating life without guilt.

It’s crucial to change our mindset from constantly wondering when you’ll get married, or the converse – avoiding marriage like the plague – to embracing the season you’re in without being afraid of future possibilities. 

She reminded me that being married and wishing you weren’t is always worse than being single and wishing you weren’t. 

Just noodle on that one for a second! 

HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS

You might be thinking, “J, I’m not single. Should I even bother listening to this episode?”

Here’s the deal. Anytime I’m preparing to speak or trying to tackle a big project, no matter how perfect the logistics are, if I am in a conflict with someone close to me or experiencing relationship struggles, I feel completely thrown off. 

It’s as if my life has been knocked off balance and I can’t find the missing step until I mend that relationship. It’s hard to show up as yourself when your relationships are falling apart. 

That said, this episode isn’t only for those in a season of singleness, it’s meant to help you understand how to develop a healthy relationship with yourself, God, and those around you…and why doing so will get you where you want to be and do what you’re made to do. 

PS. Interested in Steph’s journal? Grab it here!


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How to Love Your Single (or Dating) Life

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Everyday

Calling all entrepreneurs, hustlers, and hard workers! 

If you’re anything like me, you know how much effort it takes to be intentional with nutrition and health in a busy season, which sometimes is every season. I mean, does the idea of meal prepping/planning stress you out? 

Ever just find that you work through lunch and by 3:00 in the afternoon, you’re reaching for those cookies or chips in the back of your pantry because you’re just RAVENOUS and don’t feel like spending 30 minutes preparing a nutritious meal… or because your fridge is empty since you haven’t been to the store in two weeks?

Yeah, same. 

I started to notice that the busier I got with book writing, business, etc… the less margin I seemed to have when it came to taking care of my health. 

It got really bad in the summer of 2018. I was pulled in about 18 million directions, or so it seemed, and fueling my body (and stocking my fridge) kind of seemed like the last priority. 

Until I burned out. I took the majority month of September off of social media, simplified my weeks, and really treated it as an opportunity to reset some things.

And that’s when I created a nutrition system that works for me and can be easily implemented into your routine too!

I chose to dedicate one hour every Sunday afternoon to be a Planning Power Hour. In that hour, I lay out my calendar for the week, plan dinners, and prep any social media content that has yet to be written. 

I wanted to make meal planning effortless and fun because I’m no nutritionist, nor am I much of a chef, so coming up with daily dishes out of thin air just isn’t something that works for me.

However, I also found that I was wasting a lot of money (and food) when I didn’t have meals I was specifically shopping for at the grocery store because I’d just throw whatever looked good into the cart without much planning for the week… and then life would happen or we’d end up going out to eat one night or something wouldn’t get used and end up going to waste. 

Womp womp.

So, I decided I needed to find a way to be a better steward of my resources so I didn’t waste money on food that wouldn’t be used — and more importantly, so that I didn’t waste food! 

This is where I came up with the Pinterest plan.

I mean, who doesn’t love Pinterest?

Here’s how it works:

1. I create a secret Pinterest board for the upcoming work week (Monday through Friday)

2. I search for healthy recipes and pin about 5 to that secret board (usually enough for a dinner each day, a snack of the week, and lunches we can make or eat a few days in row).

3. Then I select one pin at a time and visit the link to see the ingredients/recipe.

4. I copy and paste the ingredients into a notes section on my phone.

5. I repeat this process for each of the recipes on that week’s board and then, depending on the amount of time I have, either go to the store and use that note as my grocery guide OR order those groceries online using Amazon Prime.

It’s really that simple! Especially when I choose to order online, the process to prepping for healthy eating all week takes me no more than 30 minutes on a Sunday afternoon! It’s fun, simple, and completely pinnable 😉

Alright, I’m done being a cheeseball -even though that sounds delicious right now-.  

If you want to learn about even more of the systems I use to create structure, order, and routine as a busy, working woman, check out Own Your Everyday micro course here.

How I Plan Weekly Meals and Shop for Groceries with a Busy Lifestyle

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Personal

I’m just going to put this out there. Routine is really hard when your life is anything but consistent. 

Over the last year, I’ve been on more planes than I can count. 

Whether it was for a speaking gig, our business mastermind, book tour, or media… it has been an endless year of airport security, tiny airplane bathrooms, hotel beds, and living out of suitcases. 

Is it fun? Yes. 

Is it exhausting? Also yes. 

Due to my travel-heavy lifestyle in recent years, most don’t realize I’m actually quite the home body. 

Growing up, I always wanted friends to come to MY house to hang out. Having to get ready and go somewhere just wasn’t my cup of tea. 

I’m serious, I don’t even like going to the movies as an adult. I mean, why so much effort when we can watch movies from home in our PJ’s? 

I don’t know, maybe it’s because I’m very goal oriented and when I’m on the go, it sometimes feels hard to focus on and make any kind of progress on my goals. 

But this year has left me no choice. And I’ve had to learn how to make it work. We’re improving… slowly. 

That said, I’m often asked how I maintain routines and keep my faith a priority when I’m seemingly ALWAYS on the go. 

My answer? It’s not easy. 

But I’ve also had to take my control-freak nature out of the picture for a hot second and think about ‘routines’ differently. 

Routines aren’t limiting or only for seasons of life when everything happens to be consistent and controllable. 

In fact, rhythms and routines are practices designed to bring consistency to our chaos…

And what’s more chaotic than sleeping in different beds and living out of suitcases every week? 

While it’s a challenge to have perfectly consistent bed times and daily workout times when every day seems to be spent in different time zones, I’ve found a few ways to keep first things first and build in routines even in the life of a traveler. 

Because at the end of the day, it all comes down to choice. 

So, that said, the first thing I had to do was establish 1-3 daily non-negotiables. 

I chose two. 

  1. Quiet time with God every morning
  2. Prayer with my husband every night before bed 

These are two simple things I can do consistently, neither of which take very long. 

I’d love to tell you I workout every single day on the road at the exact same time and never miss a meal or any of that. But that’d  be a lie and just not realistic. 

So, I picked two things I want to make sure I do consistently every single morning and evening regardless of where I am or which time zone I’m in. 

Every morning, whether I wake up in California, New York, or at home, I can spend the first 10-20 minutes in silence, over coffee or tea, with God.

Sometimes that looks like reading the Bible or a devotional. Other times that looks like just sitting on a hotel patio and being still — in prayer or thought — observing what’s happening in the moment. 

The coffee/tea piece may seem unnecessary but having a warm drink in my hand is something that creates consistency. It’s part of a rhythm, it’s physical, and simple enough to stick to wherever I am. 

This is something my friend, Jeff Bethke, talks about in his new book, To Hell with the Hustle (which I highly recommend) and that my friend, Rebekah Lyons, also dives into in her book, Rhythms of Renewal (also incredible).

Regarding prayer with my husband: This is a discipline we both committed to do every night before bed regardless of whether we’re in our own bed or not, together or apart. 

If we’re apart, we call and pray over the phone. 

It’s usually no more than 2-3 minutes. We’re not fancy prayers. But we pray rougher. And it’s a rhythm we can do wherever we are. 

The bottom line here is that routines look different in different seasons. Sometimes we can eat and workout and go to bed at the same time every single day and sometimes that’s just not all that realistic. 

But there are things we can do to keep our priorities (such as our relationships or our faith) a priority regardless of where we are or how crazy life feels. 

Why? Because routines — even little ones — are designed to bring rhythm and consistency into our chaos. 

And when we choose to stick to them daily, our chaos is begins to feel less like stress and more like a blessing. 

Tell me in the comments below: how do you “own your everyday”? 

Ps. For more on making the most of everyday in the mundane and when life feels chaotic and insane, check out my book, Own Your Everyday.


CREATE A WEEKLY ROUTINE OF YOUR OWN AND GRAB THE BOOK CLUB STUDY HERE HERE: Own Your Everyday Study Guide

CREATE A WEEKLY ROUTINE OF YOUR OWN AND GRAB THE BOOK CLUB STUDY HERE HERE: Own Your Everyday Study Guide

How I Keep My Quiet Time Routine When I Travel

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SHE Podcast

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How many times have you been told “just do it anyway,” but it doesn’t seem as simple as it sounds?! Isn’t it funny how from the outside sometimes everything seems so easy, but internally it feels like you can’t take that leap? 

There have been points in my life where I felt scared of the unknown, such as right before my book was published. I thought, “What if nobody connects with it enough? What if they don’t like it?”

Heading into my book tour I wondered, “What would happen if no one shows up?” 

Truth is, everyone has a different unknown, and for Emily Norton, author of The Seven Longest Yards, the unknown was quite different than most. 

Emily and I sat down to talk about how she met her husband in college after he suffered a spinal cord injury while playing football, leaving him with less than a 3% chance of moving anything beneath the neck ever again. 

She was drawn to him quickly after they met, the way he looked at life in a positive light after such a traumatic injury, how he chose to not let the circumstances of life let him down, and in the meantime find ways to impact others lives, drew her in. They have been married for a little over a year now and have fostered 17 kids and adopted five. 

WOW… I can’t even imagine this many little ones running around our home all at once! 

BUT IT WASN’T ALWAYS A DREAM COME TRUE…

First, I want to say I am so thankful that Emily was willing to open up with me so much and be vulnerable while sharing her story about how God helped her get through the darkest part of her life. 

So I began by asking Emily the obvious question: when did you really realize it’s going to be hard? 

She told me that it truly hit her when they began to consider marriage. That’s when she realized he most of the physical work would be on her when it came to raising a family.

For example, Chris wouldn’t physically be able to help change a baby’s diaper in the middle of the night or run to the grocery store for groceries.

Emily sharing her viewpoint on this unique experience really makes for a perspective shift – and her honesty, vulnerability, and positive overall outlook and gratitude is not only inspiring but also so hopeful and challenging to those of us who may feel like the weight of the world is on our shoulders in our own way, too.

AND THEN CAME THE HARD PART… ⁣⁣

Emily mentioned how she would often compare her relationship to others, thinking about all the things they couldn’t do, that many other couples could do easily, such as hiking or traveling. 

After college graduation Emily explained that she fell into an extreme depression. She felt like life had been sucked out of her and anger was the only emotion she could feel. 


Listen closely in this episode to hear how she overcame this, as well as to learn about the realities of life that’s not “typical” and the beauty of appreciating what you do have instead of dwelling on what you don’t. 

A BEACON OF HOPE FOR MILLIONS

In spite of the challenges, Emily and Chis became a beacon of hope to millions when the video of their wedding walk (yes, I said walk) down the aisle together after saying their vows went viral. 

The two worked for months for Chris to be able to take one baby step, then another, and another, and eventually, enough to be able to stand up from his wheelchair and walk side by side with his bride.

Although the moment was shared by People Magazine, and is a powerful example of what’s possible with perseverance and trust in God, Emily shares the behind the scenes details of all the work that when into that epic moment they shared on their wedding day.

The big win the internet celebrated wasn’t experienced without a long uphill battle beforehand, and today, you get to hear all about it.  

I am so amazed at the bravery of both Emily and Chris, how beautiful of a life they’ve built while supporting one another. I believe their life is a true testimony for perseverance, and a beacon of hope for anyone looking to take the first steps to getting unstuck.

Regardless of whatever circumstances you may feel stuck in or held back by, whether it’s a physical ailment or financial struggles, mental health battles or deep insecurity, this story won’t just reignite hope in your heart. It’ll also give you tangible advice to walk away with.

 Instead of spoiling all the details here, tune into this episode to hear all the behind the scenes details that led up to that legendary wedding day walk, and to learn the first tiny steps you can begin to take when you feel stuck.

This one will give you goosebumps, it will show you how pain and suffering can lead to unlikely impact, and that what’s worth having often doesn’t nothing comes easy — but that it’s always worth the work.


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The First Steps to Take When You Feel Stuck In Your Circumstances

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SHE Podcast

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Ever felt like you’ve been chasing your dreams forever? Like no matter how hard you work you make hardly any progress? Or like the journey has been more non-linear than clear?

In this episode, I had the privilege of sitting down and chatting with Jodi King of Love and the Outcome on how to find balance in a busy, on-the-go-lifestyle.

Additionally, we offer steps on how to be unashamed of your ambition but also faithful in the mundane, unglamorous moments of life. Tune in to learn why the long road isn’t necessarily the wrong road, what “healthy hustle” means, and why some investments that don’t appear to have a financial payoff are the ones worth making.

Follow Jodi here: instagram.com/loveandtheoutcome

How To Hustle In A Healthy Way

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I'm Jordan Lee Dooley. I'm just a simple Indiana girl, writing, speaking, and handing out free hugs left and right. In college, I started a blog called SoulScripts, just for fun, and to speak life and truth into any peers that might have stumbled upon it. I never imagined it'd end up reaching hundreds of thousands, turn into books, speaking, and more. But hey, it's true: when you just say yes to God right where you are, He does more than you could ever ask or imagine. Let's help you find your yes and start walk in your gifting, too. Sound good?