A journey to private practice

    As a child, even though I had low-esteem and little belief in myself, it never stopped me from dreaming. I remember fantasizing about being preaching or working in a hospital one day. As I matured, and after many days and hours in the school library, I decided I wanted to be a counselor. You can check out my story here http://www.ericamartino.com/2016/12/i-had-to-prove-i-was-not-the-dumb-girl-from-high-school-.html.

At a young age, I enjoyed hearing people’s stories and helping them move toward change. When I graduated high school I enrolled in a college and was planning to get my degree in counseling. Instead of getting my counseling degree at that time I chose to get married. 

                  After I got married, I begin working with my husband first at a church, then at couple different schools. We have always done well working together. One day an opportunity presented itself for me to open a fitness center for an investor in the town where we lived. After much contemplation, I decided to give it a try. The fitness center grew rapidly and soon I was running 7 different centers in 3 different states. My favorite part about my job was listening to all the members tell me their stories of pain, hope, and perseverance. After several years of running fitness centers, I decide to become a stay at home mom and take care of my sweet children but even while being at home, my passion for personal development never left me.

                  During my years at home, my husband was working hard providing for our family while attending graduate school. Since he was gone a lot, I decided to go back to school and get a degree in business. This worked out great because when he graduated he wanted to open a private practice and I knew just how to do it.  

                  We spent many hours planning, writing business plans and developing a social media plan before opening our doors in 2010. While Joe was busy seeing clients, I took care of the day to day operations of the business while I continued to finish my education and care for my children. Our practice started in a little two room suite on the East Beltline in Grand Rapids but our long term dream was never to stay small but to reach one person at time so we could change a community and eventually change the world which led us to expansion.

          In 2013, we moved our small, two-roomed office to East Paris Ave and rented an 11 room office. This was a big move for us that came with a lot of fear.

What if we could not afford the rent?

What if clients stopped coming?

What if, what if, what if……

                   We did not let our fears stop us, our mission was always bigger then our fears therefore in 2014 we opened an additional location in Lowell, MI and in 2015 we expanded to Grandville, MI. In addition to running 3 offices, Joe and I own Hopes and Dreams marriage conferences. For 7 years now, we have been traveling all around the state holding marriage conferences because we believe healthy marriages create healthy families. In addition to the marriage conferences, Joe is invited often to speak on the new stations, for the local hospitals and even the schools. Our dreams have not stopped with expanding our practices or hosting conferences. In addition to these things Joe is also working on writing a book and creating curriculum.

               It is our desire that couples all over the country can learn what it takes to make a marriage not just survive but thrive. While Joe invests his free time in writing and public speaking I work with businesses to help them grow.

                  I have been offering business consulting now for many years. I have a passion for helping small business because I believe small business help America be stronger while providing more jobs. Plus, I love showing others how they can take a dream and turn into a reality. It simply starts with a good road map.

    Are you wondering how Joe and I have time to run a private practice and do all this? The truth we have an amazing team of therapist and support staff.  Together we all strive to be the best in Grand Rapids. In order to the be the best we have learned a lot the hard way which has involved making a lot of mistakes but without mistakes it is impossible to learn.  The process to become the best has involved weeding out, adding, learning, growing and developing but it has all been necessary to achieve excellence.

    While I have been working beside my husband throughout this journey as his business developer, I have recently added more responsible and am now a therapist. I love being a therapist. There is no greater joy occupationally then journeying with someone toward healing. My journey started with a childhood dream that exploded into something bigger and I would not change any of it because this journey has brought me where I am today.

Why someone can’t make you do anything, leaving you one choice, your 100% responsible for you all the time.

Phrases  I often hear is:

“He made me yell at him.”

“We got into a fight because she made me mad."

My children will often say “I only hit her because she gave me a dirty look, if she would have been straight face then I would not have gotten so mad.”

“It's my teacher's fault I failed, if she would’ve told me about my missing assignments then I would not have failed.”

“It's America’s fault I am so angry and burning cars if they would’ve elected Hillary instead of Trump this would not be happening.”

“It's my employer's fault I am late to work; they should not expect me to be there so early.”

“It's my child’s fault he got his mouth smacked, with language like that he deserves it.”

Here is the truth, no one makes you do or say anything. I am going to say that again

No one makes you say or doing anything.

                  You are 100% responsible for yourself all the time. This is something I repeat to clients over and over again. Why do I pound this in people’s heads? Because change cannot happen as long as we believe someone is responsible for our happiness or actions.  We are all created with Will Power.

                                                    Will Power

                  What is Will Power? Will Power is the ability to resist temptation and control oneself. This is important because when a person realizes they possess the ability to control themselves it changes everything. Will Power empower you to make immediate decisions and control the consequences, this means that you have control of your actions all the time. What if you don’t have Will Power? The good news is it is a learned behavior. When you develop the ability to control your own actions it actually increases your self-esteem.

                                                Self Esteem

                  Who wants to think someone else has control over them? I certainly do not. Will Power means that you can stop:


You can stop being mean.

You can stop eating the food you don’t want to eat.

You can stop hurting other people.

You can stop smoking.

You can stop taking drugs.

You can stop being treated like a second class citizen.

You can stop blaming the Devil for your choices.

You can decide to….

To walk away.

To make a different choice.

To live a healthier lifestyle.

To be the bigger person in an argument.

To be a better person.

To love your spouse more than you love yourself.

To love your children more than you love your job or addiction.

To choice the higher road every time.

And when you realize no one can make you do anything, your self-esteem grows! A person has a healthy self-esteem when they feel good about themselves. People feel good about themselves when they realize others cannot make them say, feel or do anything. When you realize you control you, your marriage, life, and world will become more tolerable because even when you are invited to a fight, you have the power to walk away.

How to deal with emotional pain

It has been 16 years since I experienced some of the worst physical and emotional pain I have ever experienced. My husband Joe and I were newly married and lived 10 hours from family. Joe had accepted a job at a Christian school. During our time there I became pregnant which was not planned nor expected. None the less, Joe and I were very excited! We were new to this whole pregnancy stuff and was not sure what to expect. We found a doctor and arrived at our first sonogram, only to hear the most dreaded words “We cannot find a heartbeat.” They told me not to worry; I could be early, and the heartbeat could still come. Week after week I went back to the doctor hoping to hear a heartbeat. Soon I had to come to terms with the fact the baby was gone. I refused a DNC and lost the baby at home. That night was horrible; I lost so much blood I passed out, I was fatigued and suffering from a broken heart. The physical pain was bad but nothing in comparison to the emotional pain. I felt alone and broken. Over the next several months, I did everything I could to distract myself from the pain. I was tired of feeling those disturbing emotions that kept me a prisoner to my bed.

A couple of years went by, and I moved to a new town and new doctor and life continued. I felt so much hope because I was getting a new doctor and hoping she could finally give me some answers. I was excited to ask the doctor what I did wrong to have a miscarriage. When I asked the doctor what I did wrong, she replied

“I think you need to accept you did nothing wrong that sometimes bad things happen to good people.”

This was not the answer I wanted to hear but the answer I need to hear to start healing. We begin to heal from emotional pain when we do these things:

Choose to live in a relationship with others because we are not meant to suffer alone

To deal with grief, we must realize we cannot suffer alone. It is important to surround ourselves with others, rely on them and allow them to help carry your burden. Do not be a silent griever. Your friends are not mind readers; it is important that you share with others your needs so they can help you through your grief.

Acknowledge your emotions

Most people get tired of feeling, yet it is through feeling you find healing. If you are angry, sad, feeling lonely, hating life, depressed, whatever your emotion might be, you need to name it. “Today I am feeling angry because…….” Give yourself permission to grieve.

Visit your pain and name it

Regardless of when it was it is important to revisit the pain, experience the emotions, and be honest about what happened and how you felt. Set grieving goals Grief has no time limit however what you do with your grief does. If you have been struggling to get out of bed, sleeping all the time or unable to find purpose in life then you need to set goals. These goals can be simple and involve something like:

• Today I am going to get out of bed.

• Today I am going to call a friend.

• Today I am going to socialize.

• Today I am going to do something for myself.

Setting grieving goals helps us to realize we must go on.

Pour your life into someone else

Sometimes, to move past trauma, it is necessary to pour your time into someone else. This allows you to see others pain and often brings a new outlook to life.

Try viewing your situation through a different lens

When life is hard, often you become stuck. After I had lost my first baby, a couple of years later I lost two more. It sucked, and the losses continued to feed the narrative in my head that I must have done something to deserve this. It is when I looked at my situation from a different lens that I began to heal. Here is the different lens I looked through:

• What if I lost my babies because we live in a broken world and it was nothing that I did but instead the result of a fallen humanity?

• What if I lost my babies because even though my pain was unimaginable, it was meant to be used to help others one day.

• What if I lost my babies because I had to learn that life is hard.

Accepting life is hard because its suppose to be

Life is hard because it is meant to be. We were never promised an easy life however we were promised the tools to help us endure. When we realize we are strong, we can overcome, we can fight for a new day, and that are worst circumstances, if we allow them to, can bring healing for ourselves and others, life begins to be beautiful again because we have chosen to accept what is.

Accept your pain

When we realize, we cannot change our circumstances. We cannot make our pain go away. We cannot avoid it, it leaves us one choice and that is to sit in it. It has been 16 years, and I do not know why I lost my babies, but I have learned to accept it. I have learned to accept that pain is a part of my story however it does not have to define who I am. Through my hardship, I learned I am a fighter. I did not give up, and continue to be the best me I can be. I hope those babies know that their mom never gave up but instead fought to make life beautiful, that I chose to endure and provide a good life for their father and siblings. If you have experienced pain or currently experiencing pain, do not give up, acknowledge your pain, sit in your pain, surround yourself with people you love and keep going. Do not give up.

Parenting is not about quantity time but about quality time

         During my time in school, my mother would worry that I did not spend enough time with my children. She would note that I worked 56 hours a week at the office, attended school 8 to 12 hours a week and did homework 20 hours a weekend. How in the world did I get time with my children?

Parenting is not about quantity but about quality


One researcher suggests that small children only need 15 minutes of one on one time per day and another author suggests the more time a teen spends engaged with their mother, the fewer instances of delinquent behavior. And the more time teens spend with both their parents together in family time, such as during meals, the less likely they are to abuse drugs and alcohol and engage in other risky or illegal behavior. They also achieve higher math scores.

If you are like me and wonder if your children are getting enough of time and attention from you, don’t worry anymore. Here are 5 things you can do to spend quality time with them.


  1. Engage in an activity with them they enjoy

This maybe reading a book, playing with Legos, kicking a soccer ball around, wrestling, painting your fingernails, playing barbie dolls, shooting guns, I think you get the hint, whatever your child enjoys, find 15 minutes out of your day and engage in the activity with them.

  1. Sit down and converse

I am lucky, all my children love conversation so this is the easiest one for me to do and it usually happens while we are riding in the car. I let them talk to me about whatever they want and I engage and listen. They get undivided attention. I get my ear talked off and everyone is happy.

  1. Have meals together

I know life is extremely busy but family meal time should be the last activity dropped off your calendar. Plan at least 3 to 4 times a week to eat together and during this time put your devices away and enjoy each others company.

  1. Plan family date nights

This is the one night a week my husband and I valued while we both were in school. No matter what, Friday night was family- fun night. We took the kids to the park, Dave and Busters, bowling, to fairs, carnivals, out to eat, to the mall, wherever we could think to go we went.

  1. Do a project with them

Invite your child do help you do something. Make this time fun, engaging and full of conversation. You can paint the porch together, build a hunting blind (My husband did this with my children), put a pool in together (the girls and I did this). Oh, and my favorite memory, the girls and raked the driveway gravel together. Children enjoy stress-free, family time that is engaging even if it involves work.

Next time you start feeling guilty about the amount of time you don’t spend with your children, put away your guilt and engage in one of these simple activities. All it takes is about 15 minutes!

When a family member is hurting you do these things

I spent 2016 learning how to be a therapist. I sat with many people who were hurting. Most of them had something in common, they have been hurt by family. Someone somewhere caused pain that left them feeling hopeless, depressed, scared or alone. The holidays are over and a New Year is here. Here are some tips to dealing with the family members that are causing conflict or pain in your life.

  1. Be a good listener.

Find out what the person you are in conflict with wants and how they expect you to meet those expectations.

  1. Repeat back what you hear them saying to make sure the message you hear is accurate.

It is so easy to have a rebuttal in our heads going the whole time someone is talking instead of listening

  1. Decide if you can meet the expectations.

Sometimes you can and sometimes you cannot. Only you can decide.

  1. Express the feelings you experience as a result of the way you are being treated.

This is not easy and takes vulnerability. Vulnerability is difficult because it means you can get hurt. Call them on the phone and ask them to listen, write an email, letter, however, if you can get your feelings across, do it!

  1. Try to compromise. Compromising is a part of life. There is always a happy medium if two people are willing to find it.
  1. Draw boundaries when necessary.

Until I became a therapist I use to believe that no matter what it took family was family and you worked it out no matter. I have learned this last year that it takes two. Relationships are never one sided. It takes two people who want a better relationship to make it work. If you are the only one fighting for your relationship, then it is time to draw boundaries.

  1. Do not allow yourself to be treated poorly no matter how much you love the person.

Here are the ways to recognize if you are being poorly treated:

  • The person calls you names.
  • They blame you for the relationship break- down.
  • They manipulate you by withholding love from you. I see this lot. It is often done through silence. The person refuses to talk to you, answer calls or engage in an adult to adult conversation with you.
  • They punish you for not doing what they want.
  • The create unrealistic rules to follow.
  1. Be intentional without being controlled.

You can open the door for a better relationship to happen without being controlled or at someone else’s beckon call. Being intentional means I will not allow the person to control me or manipulate me but will be available when they want to talk.

  1. Have self-respect.

Self-respect says I will not allow someone to belittle me, blame me for problems or treat me poorly.

  1. Do not sweep problems under the rug.

Problems that are left undealt with only get worse. If you have a family member that ignores you for long periods of time and then pretends everything is ok is manipulating you. The only way to not keep repeating the same patterns over and over again is to talk about them. Do not allow anyone to treat you poorly and then pretend something never happened. Being an adult means you hold people accountable, help them grow and invite them to take ownership of their actions.

  1. Forgive over and over again.

Someone cannot keep paying for the same mistake. Offer forgiveness whether they ask for it or not. Forgiveness sets you free. The only person held captive by not forgiving is you. Forgiveness does not mean you invite someone back into your life to be hurt, it just means you are letting go of the hurt they have inflicted on you.

  1. Don’t be afraid to say goodbye

This is the hardest one for me to write but I truly believe, if someone is manipulating you, hurting you, abusing you or continuing to inflict emotional pain on you then you need to let this person go. It doesn’t have to be forever but you cannot allow yourself to be treated this way.

  1. Realize that life is short

Do not give up easy. Fight hard. Try to get along. Seek help from professionals. But if someone doesn’t want to change realize that life is too short to be treated “this way”. Do not succumb to emotional or physical abuse to mend a relationship. The opposite is also true, do not hold on to anger, pain, and hurt when you could just get along. Life is too short.

I had to prove I was not the dumb girl from high school

I often hear from people “Erica I do not know how you did it, how did you run a business, go to grad school and take care of four children? The answer is simple. I was out to prove something.

I grew up in Ohio and attended a Christian school my whole life. I struggled, really struggled. If you asked my teachers, no one would accuse me of being the sharpest knife in the drawer. Academics and learning did not come easy for me. In 5th grade, I had to attend tutoring the entire summer to move on to the 6th grade. My sophomore year of high school I failed Geometry. My teacher worked with me every study hall and he came to a conclusion “You are never going to get it, so I am going to pass you along.”

You are never going to get it were words that I heard from that point on every time I tried to do something.

I was super excited to graduate from high school and had no intention of EVER attending college, yet I did. I struggled through my first two years of college and was excited to meet my husband and get married. He saved me from what I perceived to be more failure. The next nine years, I worked hard but Joe and I continued to struggle financially. I watched my husband work 3-4 jobs while I took care of our children at home. While I cared for the girls, Joe was working and pursuing a master’s degree. He was working so hard for our family. One day, I received news that rocked my world and changed my life.

One spring day I heard that an elementary friend passed away in a sudden car accident leaving behind his wife and four children. His wife was like me and had no college education. I began to wonder

How is she going to do it?

How will she support her four children?

At this moment I began to analyze my life. I had dreams of what I wanted to be when I grew up yet I had no confidence in my ability to do them because I was not that smart. Heck, I was voted the second dumbest kid in my class during high school. I knew I could end up like my friend’s wife if I did not do something, so I decided to ask my husband about his thoughts of me trying college once more. He loved that idea and had honestly always seen something in me that I never saw in myself. In the fall of 2008, I enrolled at Strayer University to get my bachelors in business administration and continued from there to get a master’s degree in counseling that I just completed in December of 2016.

How did I do it?

I had something to prove. I had to prove to myself that I was smart, that I could make good grades and I could do this.

Quitting was not an option. No matter how hard it got, when I went back to school, I decided that giving up was not an option which taught me endurance.

I learned to endure. I learned that anything in life that was worth something was hard and was worth the fight. I wrote papers while caring for sick children. I studied, did projects, and read countless hours while running my kids to sporting events, helping them study and caring for them while they were sick. No matter what life threw at me, I stayed focused on what I wanted. I wanted to succeed therefore being stress was not an option.

I practiced self-care. My husband might argue with me on this one.:) I would not allow myself to get overly stressed out about school. I planned ahead and realized that stress was not my friend. Being anxious or worked up would not get my school work finished but only work against what I wanted. Instead of being stressed or anxious I asked for help.

I learned to rely on others. Anyone who knows me knows that I am independent and strong willed. I hate asking others for help. I realized during this season of my life, if I were going to accomplish goals, I would have to rely on others for help. Becoming humble taught me that I could accomplish more.

I had to swallow my fears and pride. To accomplish my goals, I had to put fear aside. Fear had become my best friend for many years but every time he showed up, I would tell myself I was not afraid, and I could do this.

I had to focus on what wanted not on the discomfort at the moment. During my 7-year journey through higher education, I endured pregnancy sickness, giving birth, shingles, the flu, the stomach virus and the death of a family member. No matter how painful or hard life was, I continued to focus on what I wanted not the discomfort at the moment which caused me to learn things about myself I never knew.

I learned my learning style which changed everything. In high school, everything was done through lecturing and reading. In grad school, I learned that I was a kinesthetic learning. Once I realized I learned best using my hands, it changed everything.

By concentrating on these things I have now learned:

I can make good grades. I finished my undergrad with a 3.6 and made the Deans list. I finished grad school with a 3.0. So the girl who got a 0.6 GPA in 8th grade could make good grades.

I am not dumb. Going back to school increased my self-esteem because I proved to myself I am smart.

Failure is not final. I failed many times through middle and high school, but that was not the end of my story. I was able to try again and succeed.

Hard work pays off. I realized that through enduring hard work does pay off. Don’t let who you were in high school be the narrative of your whole life.

If you have a desire or a dream, go for it! Find a support network, believe in yourself and create a new story moving forward. YOU CAN DO IT!

I need to change

At the beginning of the year I started Practicum class. Practicum is when, as a student, you begin seeing clients. During the first class Professor Bell handed us are syllabi and I glanced to the required reading and noticed a lot of books on self-care. To be honest I was not overly excited to read them but I did. I was not sure how a mom of 4, a student, counselor and business owner was going to engage in self-care but I figured I would at least toy with the idea.

            As soon as my eyes open in the morning my mind is going? I am thinking about all I need to accomplish in a day.  Who do I need to call? What crisis do I need to manage? How will I continue to grow our business? How can I help my clients? I am also checking my email, voicemail message, text messages and social media messages several times a day and usually respond immediately. My mind is constantly going.

            My husband swooped me away this summer to an island in the middle of Lake Erie. We rented a golf cart, set up camp and was looking forward to several days of relaxation. We were there about an hour and I begun to feel restless. I was constantly checking my messages, responding to my staff and just wondering what was going on at work, with my kids and with my clients. My husband says something to me along the lines of

 “Have you ever noticed that you have problems relaxing.”

Me? Have trouble relaxing? Why would he even think is? Does he not realize how important I am? I just can’t unplug and be disconnected from life.

I kept my thought to myself and went for a little walk. I kept replaying his words in my head and came to the conclusion that the idea of relaxing was a matter of opinion and some people just cannot do it. I was one of them! BAM! I solved that ridiculous, unhelpful chatter in my head. However, I decided while I was away with my husband I would try to relax, even though I was not sure what that meant.

            Fast forward to this month. My husband and I had the opportunity to attend a leadership conference. At the last session we attended on Friday my husband was poking me in the side, making noises and grinning ear to ear. What was the topic you asked?

How good leaders take time to relax, unplug and refill. The speaker even made a joke that he knew it was hard because as we were sitting there most of us are composing at least 6 emails. How did he know?  

I finally heard the message.

I need to change.

I need to learn to relax, have fun and recharge.

Parents often ask me in therapy “How many times do I have to tell my kids something before they get it?” To which I respond “The same amount of times you have to tell yourself before you change.” I had to hear this message three times before even considering beginning the process.

Change happens when:

  1. I realize there is a problem
  2. I create a plan to work on the problem
  3. I execute a solution.

I have a plan! I am currently on vacation and I am going to try really hard to relax, have fun and refill my energy bucket this week. I know this will involve constantly changing my thoughts, not responding to messages right away and most importantly constant self-talk but I want to be a great a leader so I am willing to begin the change process this week. I will let you know how I do!:)

100 reasons why I love my husband

My husband and I decided about 10 years ago that celebrating Valentines Day would no longer be feasible. You see, we now have three birthdays in the same week of February and our anniversary the week after. Since we have not found the money tree, something had to go.

Me and Joe

When we first met, Valentines Day was one of our favorite holidays. The holiday represents love and I was and still am, madly in love with this man. Since we cannot do anything wild and crazy on Valentines Day I thought I would tell you 100 reasons why I love my husband so much!

  1. He pursues my heart
  2. He loves me and the children with all his heart
  3. He gets such a kick out of himself and most days I find him pretty funny too   Hearts
  4. He is passionate about life
  5. He dreams big
  6. He enjoys a variety of food
  7. He is witty
  8. He is sarcastic
  9. He is strong
  10. He is king
  11. He loves people
  12. He is a hard worker
  13. He enjoys conversation
  14. He loves a good book
  15. He is a great conversationalist
  16. He knows me inside and out
  17. He gives the best hugs
  18. He challenges me to be a better person
  19. He dates my children
  20. He tells me all the time how much he loves me
  21. I can trust him with the deepest longings of my soul
  22. He is the cutest deer hunter I have ever seen
  23. He has this intimidating look to him that makes it hard for others to read
  24. He will randomly clean my kitchen for me without me asking him to
  25. He is extremely sexy holding an axe and chopping wood
  26. He is a passionate speaker
  27. He reads me
  28. I trust him with my emotions
  29. He will do randomly weird things with me like play and sing in the rain
  30. He plans romantic getaways for us
  31. He is touches me many times a day (this is not in a perverted way)
  32. He has a passion for orphans in other countries and financially supports them
  33. He is crazy about Nascar
  34. He is wise
  35. He loves knowledge and eats it up
  36. He purses godliness
  37. He says things like it is and pulls no punches
  38. If I need him. He is there. No questions asked.
  39. There is no one in this world I can laugh with and be silly with like my husband
  40. He is competitive
  41. He enjoys trying new restaurants
  42. He builds my daughters self-esteem
  43. He has taught me that loyalty is everything
  44. He is wild and crazy
  45. He will try anything because he will not let fear stop him
  46. He self evaluates constantly
  47. He spoils me
  48. He protects me
  49. He protects my kids
  50. He is incredibly good looking. I just love looking at him
  51. It is fun to watch his eyes dance when he thinks he can beat me at something
  52. He is a wild and crazy driver
  53. He wakes up early
  54. He can fall asleep at the drop of a hat
  55. He has a passion for music and loves listening to it
  56. I have hardly ever seen him wake up in a bad mood
  57. He loved his mom fiercely
  58. He treasures things and keep them safe
  59. He loves animals
  60. He enjoys nature
  61. He believes people can change
  62. He enjoys a good story
  63. He is a good actor
  64. He knows about every sport
  65. He will defend what he believes in
  66. He is a good leader
  67. He is an influencer
  68. He looks sexy in hats
  69. He has a diverse wardrobe
  70. He is wild at heart (Hence his motorcycle)
  71. He loves our son and plays with him
  72. He enjoys playing on the PlayStation and is so cute when he yells at it like it hears him
  73. He will put things together for me
  74. He loves nature and camping
  75. He has helped me not be so uptight
  76. He has believed in me like no one ever has
  77. He has sacrificed for our family so I could be a stay at home mom
  78. He has worked some of the worst jobs to support us
  79. He hardly ever complains about life
  80. His heart hurts when other hurt
  81. He loves his family
  82. He will reach out to people others would never dream to talk to
  83. He is sensitive
  84. He loves buying new clothes and I love watching him pick things out
  85. He likes country music and looks extremely sexy in a pair of cowboy boots
  86. He will do the driving on long trips just because I do not want to
  87. He loves to preach
  88. He loves Fords
  89. He can shoot a gun
  90. He defends his family
  91. He listens to me
  92. He helps me be a better person
  93. He is great at his job
  94. He would give you the shirt off his back if he thinks it would help you
  95. He dreams big
  96. He believes in happily ever after’s
  97. He has the most unbelievable eyes
  98. His eyes tell a story without him even opening his mouth
  99. He gets into weird things with me like oils and Himalaya lights
  100. He life vision is to change his community

The power of positive word


Have you ever noticed it is easier to tell someone what they are doing wrong or how they can change instead of telling them what they are doing well? I wonder why this is? Words are powerful!

When I was newly married I spent the majority of days telling my husband what he did wrong. One day I decided to try something new and affirm him and thank him. It was amazing how I got different results! I noticed he wanted to do things to make me happy and enjoyed hearing me tell him how much he means to me. It even works great with my children!

Before it worked I had to change my thinking from

“I don’t need to say thank you, after all he lives her too!”


“I appreciate you no matter what”


It did not happen over night, the change that is, it took time, but now it is habit.

My challenge for you this week is to tell the people in your lives thank you or I appreciate ______(this thing you did). Don’t bring up the negatives like “You always do this or never do that” just focus on positives for one week.

            Let me know what happens. Did you get different results? Send me an email or comment on this post.

Knock the confidence out of your kid

         I often hear from teachers and friends “Your children are so well-behaved and confident.” It is true, they are however it has not always been that way.

         I remember the nervous feeling that came over me dropping Kendra off to kindergarten. Joe and I had searched high and low for the perfect school for Kendra. We finally, decided on a Christian school. We were so excited to watch Kendra grow and learn! The opposite happened. The teacher did not like Kendra, at all! Everyday we picked her up and the teacher had a new grievance

“She talked out of turn”

“We met Mr. BORING today” when asked what that meant we were informed that Kendra told her, when asked if she liked an activity, that she thought it was boring.

“Your daughter started talking before I even said AMEN that is not acceptable!”

54ca7b129fc2e_-_kids-tools-10-1208-60579064Soon parent /teacher conferences came around and the teacher explained to us that our daughter was too confident and she was going to knock the confidence out of our kid. She saw it as her mission.

She succeeded that year. She knocked the confidence right out of her.

Joe and I had choices to make.

We could be angry

We could see the situation as hopeless

We could rebuild


We chose to rebuild.


How did we do that? How did we teach our daughter to be confident?

  1. We taught her that failure is not final.
  2. We taught her that people will hurt you but they do not define who you are.
  3. We taught her that when you get knocked down you get back up again.
  4. We told her everyday that she was beautiful, loved and nothing would change that love for her.
  5. We allowed her to ask questions and express frustration.
  6. We convinced her she had a voice and others needed to hear it.
  7. We taught her at very young age that she had a belief system and we let her form her own.

I will never forget the day my husband had her read a very controversial book. She came to me with all sorts of questions and stated she didn’t know what she believed anymore. I was panicky and called him to find out what she was reading.

He laughs and says “It is ok I purposely picked that book because I want her to start forming her own belief system.”

We allowed her to talk

We invited her to wrestle with life at 9 years’ old

Ultimately we have taught her to be her and our confident girl came back. She is now 13 still confident and beautiful. I am proud to be her mom. I hope she will never stop discovering who she is.