All posts by Jamie Dahl

What the “Sabbath” Looks Like for our Family

When I hear the word “Sabbath” it sounds so formal and honestly, a little daunting. It has this hyper-religious ring to it that feels slightly impersonal and a bit stuffy for someone who doesn’t understand what it really means. This was me awhile ago. I didn’t “get” what it meant to observe the Sabbath, and it wasn’t until recently that our family began making the Sabbath something that we DO, and practice, as a family. 

First let’s dive into what the Sabbath is. The definition of Sabbath is “a day of religious observance and abstinence from work, kept by Jewish people from Friday evening to Saturday evening, and by most Christians on Sunday.” 

In Exodus 20:8-11, keeping the Sabbath is actually stated as one of the Ten Commandments. It’s obviously something that is important to God if He made it one of the Big Ten.

It states, “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neigher you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens, and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” 

I will be the first to admit that stopping and resting is not easy for me to do. I think as women, wives, and mothers, we super-ladies have constant pressure to get stuff done! Whether that’s in our profession or around the house. This makes intentionally turning off that switch and allowing ourselves to rest, WAY hard! But it’s not something that God simply suggests for us to do. No, it’s a straight-up command!

And why would God command you to do something that feels completely against the grain of your nature? Because He loves you. He knows that we need to rest and He wants us to love Him in the process. He also desires that time to be about worship. He wants us to engage in dedicated, uninterrupted time directing our gaze up on our Lord, Creator, and Friend. 

I know all of us could use a little more rest in our week, but I think the real issue with keeping the Sabbath is a trust issue. When our family first started being more intentional about this practice, I’ll be the first one to say that I struggled with trusting that everything would still get done. I mean seriously, between my day job and trying to keep the house picked up, laundry done, meals planned, etc. I couldn’t possibly afford to sit back and chill-ax while the To-Do list was screaming at me, right? 

Well, that’s exactly what God wants you to do. It’s about TRUST. Do you trust Him enough to let all that go and put Him and His commands first? The Israelites had the same problem. In Exodus Chapter 16 Moses had led the recently freed people into the desert and they were complaining about not having enough food to eat. So God sent quail in the evening and manna in the morning. He commanded them to gather only what they needed for each day except on the sixth day, they were told to gather twice as much so they would have enough for the Sabbath. The people that tried to gather the manna on the seventh day went out and found none. Zero, zip. Nada. 

This story really hit me because I often find myself not trusting that I can get everything done. But then I’m reminded that when I have this mindset I’m not having faith in what GOD can accomplish. I’m putting all my eggs in one basket, myself, and goodness knows my abilities are always lacking. So why put your faith in what only YOU can do instead of putting your faith in what the Creator of the Universe can do. I’m guessing He’s a little bit better at time management than we are. Just a hunch. 

So sure, this all seems great but what does it practically look like for us? Last I checked, we weren’t living in a tent in the Sahara with no wi-fi gathering the morning pancakes from the ground in the backyard. Our lives look WAY different than the Israelites’ so what does the Sabbath look like for me? I think it may look different for every family, but I can tell you what we do.

We have chosen Sundays to be our Sabbath day. Beginning Saturday night and extending through Sunday evening my husband and I start with enacting “Cell-Free Sunday”. This means putting our cell phones on their chargers in our bedroom closet and leaving them there. Granted, if we feel we need to take them with us for safety purposes we do, but we’re not posting to our Instagram stories or checking email. 

The second thing we do is worship. That’s either physically going to church or watching a service online. Even though we believe every day is the Lord’s day, being intentional about worshiping our amazing God, and filling our hearts with His word is SO important. Then we try to do something outside with our family. I am so grateful that my husband is an outdoorsy kinda guy. I love the outdoors too, but I can also be a homebody. He has been so good for me because he pushes us to get out and do fun activities together. Whether it’s hiking, biking, skiing, or just walking the dog, getting out into nature, being active, and connecting with God’s creation feels like worship to us. If getting outside isn’t an option, then board games, puzzles, or Legos are our go-to.  

The other parameter that we set for ourselves on this day is refraining from doing any work that is income producing. That means detaching from our jobs and really taking this time to rest our brains.

This whole concept may seem so foreign to you, and I get that. I often struggle with feeling guilty if I’m not “working” or at least doing something productive. If that’s you too, take yourself off the hook, sister! Have peace knowing that God commanded you to rest. He knows what’s best for your body, your mental state, and your family. If HE rested after creating our world then you know it’s important to Him. 

Practicing the Sabbath is exactly that for our family. It’s practice. I can’t say that we get it right every single week. It’s something we have to really work at. (Doesn’t that sound like an oxymoron!?) But it’s true. My flesh wants to be active and accomplish things, so I have to constantly be working on suppressing that urge. Some weeks we rock it! Others are epic fails. But I believe God honors our obedience and when we keep His day holy, He will more than make up for what we feel we “haven’t accomplished” in those 24 hours.  He will bless our work that we do during the week, and will do immeasurably more than all we could hope or imagine! 

So are you up for it?

Ready….set…..REST!

Solving Conflict with a Coin Flip

This simple concept has rocked my world as a parent. Before I dive into why this idea was a game changer for me, I’ll start with a little background. I’m an only-child who has been thrown into the crazy world of raising two daughters. This means that as it relates to sibling dynamics, I have NO. IDEA. WHAT. I’M. DOING. Many times, when the girls are going at it for whatever reason, I find myself desperately searching my husband’s face for some type of sign that this raucous behavior is somehow normal. I mean, he’s one of three boys so he’s kind of an expert in these things. The conversation usually goes something like this…

Me: “Babe. Are you seeing this? Is this normal? They are fighting over a stinking Lego and I think we just entered World War III! Do something! Should we do something? What do I do?” (insert panic face, and lots of waving arms)

My husband: “Oh yea. It’s no big deal. Totally normal. My brother threw a brick at my other brother’s head once. This is nothing.” 

What??! My only-child head literally explodes.

To be very transparent, it’s not uncommon for our kids to have disagreements where they are forced to solve some type of conflict. It happens pretty frequently. And this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I actually wrote a blog on the importance of kids learning how to talk through conflict and compromise. But there are days when the back and forth between them, as it relates to making a decision about something, can feel exhausting.

For example, I don’t know about you, but even the smallest decisions like who is going to use the bathroom first to brush their teeth, can turn into crazy “she said, she said” volley matches. For a while, I used to try to reason through who should win the argument and that almost always ended up taking too long, and leaving one of the affected parties in a sour mood, feeling completely cheated out of their “rights”. 

Then, someone introduced me to the simple concept of flipping a coin. I know. I know. You’re thinking, “Really? This never occurred to you?” No, people. No, it didn’t.

But not only did the coin toss method begin solving simple disagreements between the girls with NO arguments (this blew my mind), it’s also Biblical!! Say what? You heard me right. It’s in the Bible. 

In Biblical times it was referred to as casting lots. But it was essentially the same as flipping a coin. People cast lots to help them make difficult and/or important decisions, and when they did this they were essentially trusting God with the outcome. 

Proverbs 16:33 MSG says, “Make your motions and cast your votes, but God has the final say.”

Proverbs 18:18 MSG also says, “You may have to draw straws when faced with a tough decision.”

According to Biblestudy.org, “The primary reason for casting lots was to render an impartial, unbiased decision on important matters. Once the lot was cast, no one could argue that the decision was the result of human intervention like nepotism, politics, favoritism, and so on.”

So if God created this method for resolving disputes or making decisions, why shouldn’t we use it as parents with our children? I can’t tell you how helpful this has been in de-escalating arguments and the best part is, whoever “loses” the toss can’t be mad at ME! I am no longer the bearer of bad news. One point for mom! 

So seriously moms, if you don’t already use this method with your kids. I highly recommend it. As a way of solving conflict, it’s heads and tails above anything else I’ve tried thus far. 

Faith Over Fear

I feel like I hear this phrase all the time lately. And let’s be honest, it definitely has a nice ring to it. But what exactly does it mean? It seems so easy to say and “faith over fear” has become a bit of a mantra this past year, but how do you practically put it into action? Just like any mantra or word of wisdom, you can say it all you want, but if you don’t act on it, it rings hollow. 

Let’s start with breaking down the two main words in that phrase so we first understand what each of them means. I’m going to begin with the word fear. The Webster’s Dictionary definition of fear is, “an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by expectation or awareness of danger.” Another definition is, “concern about what may happen : WORRY.” I like to define it as an acronym, the (F)alse (E)xpectation of something (A)ppearing (R)eal. The common denominator of all of these definitions is the assumption that something bad is going to happen. A.K.A, worry. 

Okay, now let’s dive into the word, faith. If we call on our friend Webster again, faith is defined as “a firm belief even in the absence of proof : complete confidence.” It’s having confidence in the substance of things hoped for and the certainty of what we cannot see. 

Sure, this is great and all, but you may be asking, “How does “faith over fear” help me when it feels like my world is crashing and burning all around me? It’s quite simple actually. Finding peace through practicing faith over fear is a choice. I’ll say it again. It’s a choice. 

Every morning when you wake up and your feet hit the floor, you have a fresh opportunity to choose to live by either faith, or fear. It’s so easy to fall into the fear category. In this world, we are constantly being bombarded by fear tactics that get our hearts racing, and our minds spiraling into that rabbit hole of worry. But what does the Bible say about worry? Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation with prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. 

Instead of living in a constant state of fear, instead you can choose to have a mindset of courage and faith. You can believe and TRUST that God has plans to prosper you and not to harm you, and that He has plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11). I firmly believe that when I pray, seek God, and ask Him to cover me with His protection that nothing can come to me that doesn’t go through Him first. 

Does this mean that we will never have hardship or struggles? Nope. Being a breast cancer survivor I can tell you that’s definitely not the case. However, I also know that God can work beautiful miracles through those challenges if you’re willing to keep your eyes on Him through the storm. 

Living a life of faith over fear is incredibly freeing because it allows you to operate in a state of peace that protects your mind from the craziness around you. It keeps your feet grounded but your eyes upward and connected to the source that will guide you through all of life’s difficulties.  

Here is a great podcast about this topic.

Laying the Communication Foundation

Being a “girl mom” is awesome, and I couldn’t be more crazy about my daughters. I have enjoyed every stage of raising them. Some stages have been a little more challenging than others, (hello terrible 3’s!) but overall being the momma to these girls is the best. I also know that I have plenty ahead of me yet as a parent, and I will be learning and making lots of mistakes as they go into new phases of their lives. 

When I was first blessed with these two little girly peanuts, one of the things I knew I desperately wanted to do was cultivate healthy communication. I want my girls to know that they can come to us, as their parents, with any question or any concern that they may encounter in life. My husband and I decided early on that we wanted to be the first source of the knowledge for many of the important life topics they will come up against. We feel it is important for them to get their information from us first so they don’t get caught off guard and feel uninformed when they are exposed to certain things elsewhere. 

Because of this, we started having casual conversations about things whether it was drinking and drugs, dating, relationships, etc. at a pretty early age. Obviously, we kept everything age appropriate, but as we began doing this we could tell that not only did it lay a groundwork for having more relaxed and engaged conversations as time went on, but we could see that they felt empowered. This empowerment builds trust. 

The other thing that has been so helpful, is being receptive to those times when your child wants to talk. And they may not always be the most convenient times for you, but it’s so worth sucking it up, putting that phone down, and being present in that moment. 

One of my daughters loves to talk at night before bed. We have gotten in the routine of spending time together before prayers and turning off the light. This is the time that we often have great talks. It’s not necessarily every night, but even if I’m crazy tired and it feels like I’m about to fall over, I try my hardest to tune into if she has something she wants to say. And when I do this, I am never disappointed. It’s always the sweetest time, and I love it. 

I’ve also learned to hold my tongue when they are talking. My natural reaction, being an ex-teacher, only child, control-freak, is to jump in with a solution or what I think they should do. It’s SO hard to not do this, and I’ve learned my lesson when I’ve failed to keep my mouth shut. Instead, I’m learning to listen, and then listen some more. After they’re done sharing, I repeat back to them what I feel I’m hearing to make sure I understand what they’ve said. 

Lastly, I ask them if they WANT my advice. THIS IS THE KEY! There are times when they really don’t, (shocker parents!) and that’s okay! This may be one of those times when your child just needs a listening ear and someone to tell them that what they’re feeling is normal. 

Then there may be situations when they do want some advice. Yippee!! I love when that happens. But here’s another trick I’ve learned. Not only give them your thoughts on how to solve the problem, but share a story that you’ve experienced as a child that might relate. I can’t tell you how effective it has been when I share my past experiences with my girls. 

My prayer is that I will always have a great and open relationship with my daughters. I pray a section of Proverbs 31 every morning and decree that “my (her) children will rise and call her blessed…”. That is my heart. I’m sure that there will be struggles in our communication as they get older and go through their teen years, and please don’t get me wrong. I know I don’t have this whole thing figured out and will continue to make mistakes. But I’m hoping that by setting the standard for that open door policy now, it will help us navigate through the future more smoothly.

The Quest for a “Clean” Deodorant

Is trying to find a clean deodorant making you throw yourself a “pit-y” party? Sorry. I had to go there. This has been something I have struggled with for quite some time. Finding a deodorant that didn’t contain the potentially harmful ingredients REALLY became a priority after I was diagnosed with breast cancer. 

My work with Beautycounter has taught me a lot about what ingredients I should try to stay away from in my products. Two of those ingredients are aluminum and parabens, and these are two ingredients commonly found in deodorants and antiperspirants. Once I knew better I tried to do better, so both my husband and I began a quest to find a deodorant that not only works, but is safer for us. 

Research has been done specifically on parabens and the potential cancer contributing effects that they can have on breast tissue. Some scientists believe that parabens have the ability to change the way your body regulates and produces estrogen. Why does this matter? It matters because excess estrogen has a big part to play in the growth of cancer cells. 

It’s also known that your skin absorbs what is put on it so think about how many times you have swiped that deodorant stick across your armpits. Whatever is in that stick is potentially being absorbed into the breast tissue that sits close to your axilla. Yep, having gone through what I did with my cancer journey, I knew I wasn’t going to settle for using the run of the mill deodorant any more. 

Thankfully, Beautycounter has been working on creating a safer and effective deodorant called, “The Clean Deo”, for five years and they finally did it! It’s been a project that they have been very committed to and I’m excited that they have succeeded. 

Before you jump into switching to a non-toxic deodorant, I want to give you a few tips on how to “detox” your pits. (I know, sounds weird. Hang with me here.)

It’s going to take little time for your body to rid itself of the toxin build-up that months/years of your previous deodorant has done. So here are the steps to start that process. 

Wash with Charcoal Soap

First, begin washing your armpits with the Beautycounter Charcoal Soap. This soap brings out the impurities before your body starts sweating them out. Do this every day. 

Use a Charcoal Mask

Once a week use the Beautycounter Charcoal Mask to further remove those impurities. Sounds weird. I know. But it’s really pretty simple. If it’s in the morning, put a small layer of the mask under your arms and allow it to dry for about 5-10 minutes. You can brush your teeth or pick out your outfit for the day while you wait! Then jump in the shower and quick wash it off. Easy, peasy. 

Now remember, this is a DEODORANT. It’s not an antiperspirant. So you may experience a little wetness throughout the day when you first start, however, I have found that as my body detoxed I sweat less! True story. So give it a few weeks. 

In clinical studies, 100% of people polled said that our deodorant was non-irritating, 96% said it went on clear, 90% said it absorbed perspiration, and 85% said odor was absorbed all day long. 

Lastly, the other thing I love about our deodorant is that it’s refillable. That means less plastic waste in our landfills. Win, win!

Want to switch to safer? No sweat. I’ve got you covered. 

Overcoming the “Distraction Dragon”

What is the ultimate time sucker? Distraction! I am forever fighting this battle and honestly, somedays I win and others look like bloody battlefields of haphazardness. Being distracted is a condition that I think many of us face on a daily basis and one that not only drains our energy but makes our productivity almost non-existent. 

I have found that especially in these times when my favorite local coffee shops have thirty minute minimums on tables, and I’m forced to work and write from home, I struggle with keeping my eyes on the prize. Instead, my eyes are flitting all over the place noticing the mounds of laundry, the living room that looks like a “tween bomb” just exploded in it, and the dishes still sitting in the sink from breakfast. What I wish were moments of uninterrupted, focused bliss, I am conversely flying around getting everything half completed and nothing done very well. 

This year I am making it my focus to change that. Through trial and error, and prayer, I have found four simple steps that have helped me fight the distraction dragon. 

Give your phone a vacation.

We all know that for some of us our phone is our number distractor. Most times, if your phone is anywhere within reaching distance you will grab for it. Half the time, we never really have a reason to grab for it, but we just do. I am SO guilty of this. 

Give your phone a vacation. Here is what I mean by that. Simply put it in another room. While you are working in your office, send your phone to the lovely and tropical kitchen for a little R & R. Or maybe it would like some solitary spa time in your bathroom for a few hours. Get the phone away from where you’re working. Case in point, I just got some really cute blue light glasses, and I had the thought that I should share these on my Instagram stories. If my phone hadn’t been on “vacation” in the other room I probably would have picked it up, tried to take some semi-flattering picture of my glasses and then been sucked into the worm hole of Instagram. All writing productivity would have been flushed down the toilet for the next 20 minutes. 

Create time blocks.

Time blocking is huge and I highly recommend it. Carving out specific blocks of time to do certain work tasks or things around the house is incredibly helpful. I talk a lot about these and how effective they can be. When you block off time it gives you accountability to stay on task. It also gives you peace knowing that all of those other things on your to-do list are going to get addressed at some point during their allotted time frame. It helps to keep you from running around like a chicken with their head cut off. 

Identify a dedicated work space.

Whether you’re working from home or a stay-at-home momma/domestic engineer, having dedicated work space is important. For me, I only work on my Beautycounter business when I’m in my office. And when I’m writing, I sit in my favorite chair in the living room by the fireplace with my cup of tea or gigantic bottle of water. Each place has a different vibe and when I’m in those places my mindset shifts to the specific tasks that need to be done in that location. When I’m writing, I’m not thinking about Beautycounter. When I’m in my office connecting with my team, I’m not focused on what my next blog post is. 

This can be as simple as sticking to folding your laundry in the laundry room (if you have space), not on the kitchen table. Because what inevitably happens for me is if I’m folding laundry any place other than the laundry room, I begin to see the messy dog bowl area and I leave my laundry task half done to clean up the kibble. Have your work spaces identified and dedicated. It really helps a ton.

Pray for focus. 

Ya’ll. This is the secret sauce. Quick story. A while ago I was walking the dog and praying for God to help me in this area of fighting distraction. When I got back to the house I found a strange, but beautiful sight. One of my daughters was tying up my other daughter in a chair with a ball of yarn. (That was the strange part.) The beautiful part was that the daughter in the chair was reading out loud from her devotional book, You’re God’s Girl! By Wynter Pitts. She “happened” to be reading a chapter that spoke about distraction and she read the verse Proverbs 4:25. It says…

 “Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.” 

Boom. It hit me like a ton of bricks. Here was another sword in my arsenal that I could use to help me fight distraction. Now, everytime I sit down to a new task I pray out loud and ask God to keep me focused on that task. I say, “Lord, let my eyes look straight ahead and fix my gaze directly before me.” I believe this keeps me from letting my eyes veer off course and from looking at other things that could steal my focus on what is at hand. 

Distraction is what I like to call a “soft enemy”. It doesn’t seem particularly harmful compared to all of the other craziness going on around us in this world, however it’s still very real and very dangerous. Distraction keeps us from moving fully and effectively into our purpose and so much progress can be lost if we allow distraction to rule our lives. 

It’s a battle I know many of us continually have to fight, but making some easy adjustments in our routine and asking God to keep our eyes on our paths will help kick the distraction dragon to the curb. 

What is the Word for Your Year?

Last year at this time the world was anxiously anticipating the dawning of the year, 2020. Not only did it have a nice ring to it, but it just felt like the year that would bring new wonders and the promise of good things to come. In fact, many organizations developed marketing strategies around the numerical play on words, 20/20, creating slogans referring to the optical connotation of seeing things very clearly. The idea of casting vision about our future and making New Year’s resolutions along those lines was heard and seen frequently. And as much as I love a nice, shiny new start to each year, and I’m ALL for casting vision, I have found that beginning the year with a “filter” alongside that vision is so important. 

My husband and I have a tradition that every year in the month of December we begin praying and asking God to give us our “words” for the upcoming 12 months. These are literal words that we feel God impresses upon our hearts to act as filters that we look at our lives, and anything we put our hands to, that year. Last December, after praying and asking God for our word filters for 2020 one of the words we felt Him gently impress upon us was “RESET”. We wrote it down in our journals, and I posted it on the back door of our home so that we would see it and be reminded of it everyday as we left the house.  

At the time, I thought that this word was a prompting for us to take a look at things in our lives that perhaps needed to be done a little differently. I had no way of knowing that the entire world would be given a big, fat, RESET. I didn’t understand the enormity of that word and what it would mean last December, but now I see how God was giving it to us to use as a filter. A filter that we would eventually sift everything through. Having this filter gave us incredible peace and confidence as we began to walk out what this physical, emotional, and spiritual reset looked like in our own home. 

I can’t stress enough the importance of committing your New Year to the Lord, and asking Him for a filter in which you can look at your year through. This may be something you’ve never done before and that’s okay! This year would be a great time to start. It’s simple. It’s as easy as committing to spending regular quiet moments with God and asking Him to impress His truths upon your heart. It’s coupling that with consistent time, even five minutes, of reading the Bible and filling yourself with His wisdom and knowledge.

 James 1:5 (AMP) says “If any of you lacks wisdom [to guide him through a decision or circumstance], he is to ask of [our benevolent] God, who gives to everyone generously and without rebuke or blame, and it will be given to him. 

After you have spent time seeking this wisdom, then write down whatever you are feeling is being impressed on your heart. It could be one word or a phrase. 

The most fun part of this process is looking back on your “word” at the end of the year and seeing how so many things that happened fell into alignment with that filter. It’s incredibly beautiful how God loves us enough to go before us into the New Year. Instead of trying to white-knuckle through that list of New Year’s resolutions, as you binge eat leftover Christmas cookies and write out that unrealistic gym schedule fit for an Olympian, ask the Creator of the Universe to guide you this year. Add a filter to your vision and watch as what you “see” becomes more clear than ever before.

Create a Family Vision Statement

Businesses do it, non-profit organizations do it, universities do it, so why shouldn’t families do it?! I’m talking about creating a vision statement for your family! If this is something you haven’t done yet, I would highly encourage you to do so. Our family created our vision and mission statements, and our core values, and they have become something that filters both how we live as a family and how we parent our children.

We decided to do this years ago when our daughters were young. Some close friends shared with us how they created their family vision statement and the intentionality behind this really impressed us. The idea of living a more intentional life, built on firm foundations, and leading our family with conviction and not leaving it up to happenstance, was very appealing. 

We have always been a family that follows God and trusts in His plan for our lives, but up until this point we didn’t make a conscious effort to put the framework of that plan in writing.

Proverbs 16:9 says, “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.”

So yes, we know and believe that the Lord will always be the one that establishes the path for our lives, but we also feel that it’s our job to build a solid framework that becomes the scaffolding that God can build on. 

I’ll share with you how we created ours, but first let’s start with what a vision statement is. As it relates to a business, a vision statement gives the company it’s direction. It’s where that company would like to see itself in the future and what it aspires to be. The same thought process works for families. Your family vision statement should be a general statement that encompasses what your family is about and what motivates you to be better as a unit. 

After a vision statement typically comes a mission statement. This statement differs from the vision statement because it is more specific. A mission statement breaks down the company’s objectives and the approach it will take to reach those objectives. 

Lastly, are the core values. Core values are the beliefs of a person or an organization. These are essentially the nuts and bolts of how the organization is going to operate and determine what is right and wrong. 

All three of these aspects, the vision statement, mission statement, and core values should be considered and created when you’re doing this for your family. Each one provides more clarity and direction as it relates to having that “filter”, and I can tell you as a parent who is currently raising children through different phases of their life, this is so helpful. 

One of the things I loved about including our core values is they give us easy nuggets of truth that we can pull out whenever our girls need a little “behavior check”. For example, when they were still very young it was easy to remind them of one of our core values, “Be kind and love others”, when their actions were showing otherwise. Kids get that. Simple, but powerful. 

Creating your vision statement doesn’t have to be a daunting thing. When Andrew and I did it, we simply prayed and asked God to give us His wisdom. Then we got out a notebook and a pen and started jotting down favorite scriptures, and what we envisioned our family values to be. We started to see those values aligning with verses in the Bible so we starred the ones that began standing out to us. 

Then we organized them into the three categories of vision, mission, and core values. After a little more massaging and wordsmithing, we were left with what we felt really represented our goals, hopes, and desires for our family. 

At the time that we did this, our girls were too young to effectively participate in this process. However, if you have children that are old enough to give feedback and aid in the creation of your family’s core values, then by ALL MEANS include them! This will give them ownership in the process and in the final product. 

You may be thinking that this ship has sailed for your family, and that it’s too late to create something like this. Maybe your children are in high school already or even off to college. But, it’s never too late! Remember, establishing these values in writing now can be a legacy that you leave for your children’s children. It could be a family creed that gets passed down through generations. What an incredible gift you can give them!

Your family vision statement should be your own, but I will share ours with you. You are welcome to use whatever you would like if it fits the dreams and framework you would like your family to live by too. 

After we finalized each section I asked a graphic designer friend to create a piece that now hangs in our home at the base of our staircase. Every morning as we come downstairs to start our day, this is what we all see and are reminded of… 

The Dahl Family

OUR VISION

To be the family God desires us to be through faith and obedience. 

OUR MISSION STATEMENT

We are a family that intentionally utilizes our unique gifts to give God glory through hospitality, leadership, service and love. 

OUR CORE VALUES

Love Jesus with all our heart, soul and strength.

Live bravely.

Humbly serve. 

Be kind and love others.

Respect our differences and celebrate our strengths.

Get Out of Your Head!

How many times do we hold ourselves back because our “head” tells us we’re not smart enough, clever enough, pretty enough, or liked enough? Or maybe your head is on overdrive and you’re over-thinking a situation or making assumptions that aren’t really the case.

A few years ago my husband and I were traveling, and we stopped at a restaurant to have lunch. A large neon sign was affixed on the wall in front of our table and it said, “It’s All In Your Head”. The gravity of this message struck me instantly.

You may not realize this, but there is a battle raging for control of your mind. The enemy wants to have a foothold over your thoughts because he knows that when he can control your thoughts he can control you. 

It’s very similar to when a dog trainer uses a gentle leader leash on a dog. This type of harness fits around the animal’s muzzle so the trainer can control the dog’s head. When the head is turned in a certain direction, the animal will move in that direction. The same concept applies to us!

Think about those classic Looney Tune cartoons. If something delicious was baking nearby, the cartoon character’s head would turn toward the wafting smell and the whole body would lift off the ground and float toward in the direction of the aroma’s origin. The same goes for us, but instead of finding a tray of homemade cookies, our negative thoughts can lead us into despair and destruction. 

Here’s the good news. 

You can regain control of your thoughts and resist the enemy’s schemes. When you start hearing those lies begin creeping into your mind, fight back by swinging your sword. Your sword is the Word of God. Speak TRUTH over yourself, and I mean outloud! Jesus fought back the devil in the desert by speaking truth. We can do it too. Here are some examples of verses you can speak over yourself when you’re fighting the “mind battle.”

Lie: I am inadequate or ugly. 

Truth: Ephesians 2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

Decree (what you say out loud): “I am made in the image of God and I am beautiful! I am created for good works! God has prepared these works for me, and I WILL walk in His plan for my life! 

Lie: I am alone. No one loves me and I am unlovable. 

Truth: Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you to be a prophet to the nations.” 

Zephaniah 3:17 “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”

Decree (what you say out loud): God knew me before I was born and He is with me always. He loves me and delights in me just the way I am. He rejoices over me with singing day and night!

Lie: I am dumb. I will never amount to anything. 

Truth: Proverbs 2:6 “For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” 

1 Corinthians 2:16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”

Decree (what you say out loud): I am smart, and the Lord gives me wisdom, knowledge and understanding FREELY! I have the mind of Christ and He is renewing my mind!

Get out of your head and don’t let the enemy or YOURSELF be your biggest roadblock. Flip the script in your mind and believe that you are created for such a time as this! Go rock the life God has given you, and if you start sinking into the abyss of self-doubt, fight back the lies and SPEAK TRUTH!

Clean Those Makeup Brushes!

We clean our face morning and night, but do you think to clean your makeup brushes too? This is such an important step in every clean beauty routine for multiple reasons. It’s a simple thing to do and I will explain the quick step by step process, but first let’s chat about why you need to be adding this to your list of healthy habits. 

Most of us women use makeup brushes everyday to apply our foundations and powders, and over time those brushes can get thick with dust, excess makeup, oils, and dead skin cells from our faces. Gross, right?! I know, I’m not painting a very pretty picture of getting glammed up am I? But hang with me for a second. 

All of that ickiness I just mentioned is a breeding ground for bacteria, and that bacteria when mixed with those old oils and dead skin cells can clog pores and exacerbate acne issues. It can leave your skin looking dull and lifeless. And even if you have a fantastic skin care routine, if you don’t clean your brushes, that routine will feel like two steps forward and one step back. Any makeup artist will tell you that the best canvas for beautiful makeup is clear skin. So why not do everything you can to keep that canvas looking great! 

Brushes, when cleaned regularly, will also last longer and do their job better for you. Brushes are meant to blend the product into your skin evenly, but if they are caked with oils and old makeup they can’t do that effectively. You’re also not getting the benefits of the true color of the product because it’s being subtly mixed with all of the other colors you used in the past. 

Are you convinced yet? 

It’s easy to keep your brushes looking ship shape and here is a quick step-by-step process to get you started. This is what you will need:

  1. Warm water
  2. A gentle soap or shampoo (There are specific cleansers for brushes out there, but I use my Beautycounter Daily Shampoo)
  3. Clean towel

First begin by running your brush under warm water. Then gently massage the bristles with a little bit of gentle shampoo or soap. I like to put a dollop of shampoo in the palm of my hand and swirl the brush in my palm. Continue to massage the bristles and run them under the warm water to rinse out the product. This may need to be repeated a few times until you see your brush is completely clean.

Then, I lightly squeeze the excess water out of the brush with my hand and tap out any remaining water. 

This next step is very important. I have found that laying my brushes flat on a clean towel to dry is better than standing them upright in a cup. Certain brushes keep their bristles held into the handle with glue and letting water stand at this junction point weakens the glue and the bristles will potentially fall out over time. 

Lastly, once the brushes are completely dry, I fluff the bristles with my fingers and they are good as new! 

A good habit to get into is cleaning your brushes once a week. Set a day that is “brush cleaning day” and wash them quickly as you’re getting ready for bed. They will dry overnight and be ready for the next morning!

And a good makeup brush makes ALL the difference when applying your makeup. I love the Beautycounter brushes and didn’t realize how bad my old ones were until I tried these.