Couple Talking

5 Ways Having A Coach Helped Me When My Husband Left The Church

Thought Tornadoes – I couldn’t stop the spiraling thoughts that usually ended with fearful questions like, “What’s going to happen to me now?” Getting coached and self-coaching taught me how to stop those fearful thoughts and replace them with other thoughts that I found gave me the power over my life. Agency – I have been taught the principle of agency my entire life, but I didn’t fully understand my ability to choose my own thoughts, feelings and actions until I learned the self-coaching model. I always believed that someone or something outside myself had more influence over me than I did. I thought I was at the mercy of others and that I was stuck. Now that I understand agency, I know I am the one with the power. Compassion – less judgment – I didn’t know how judgmental I was of myself and others until members of my family began leaving the church. I didn’t realize how painful the church could be for some members until I experienced some of that pain myself as I was grieving my leaving family members. Some of the things that we commonly talk about at church are painful for others who do not have the “ideal” family situation. I love having more compassion and less judgment for myself and for everyone else. Self-Care – I developed a self-care routine that supported me spiritually, emotionally and physically. Because I routinely take care of what I need, I am in a better place to take care of others, both members of my own family and any other person I encounter. Love – I’ve learned about love from my family outside of the church. They just love, they don’t qualify or expect their love to be earned by actions. This has been a great lesson for me.  Love has always felt hard to me, and now it’s so much easier. To say that coaching has changed my life for the better would be a vast understatement! I can coach you – and teach you how to coach yourself. I have two openings in August for “Will Life Coaching Work For Me?“. Is this the right time for you to learn how coaching can work for you?
Whiteboard

Dry-Erase Whiteboards Are The Answer To Marital Happiness!

I wanted to share one of the lesser known secrets for good marital (and family) communication.  My husband worked in the corporate world for over 40 years before retiring.  He often says he thinks best in spreadsheets and on whiteboards, and one of the best tools he ever brought into our home from work was the whiteboard.  Years ago, we installed a small whiteboard in our hallway to keep track of family activities like dentist appointments, primary programs, school events, love notes, chores and encouragement.  After our children grew and left home, we started using our hallway whiteboard as a thinking and planning tool. Standing in front of our whiteboard, with colored dry-erase pens in hand, we spent many hours discussing vacations, the pros and cons of purchases, thoughts and feelings we were having, to-do lists, etc.   My husband and I occasionally don’t see things quite the same. (Shocker!)  Once in a while, our discussions are not so “peaceful”, but we keep talking and writing and drawing on our whiteboard, and almost always we are able to reach decisions both of us can live with.    Today we have matching his and her 3’ x 4’ whiteboards in our office.  They are both typically filled with all sorts of thoughts and scribbles and plans.  We still stand in front of these boards and have “lively discussions” on a regular basis.   Years ago, we used my whiteboard to develop the first version of our LDS Mixed-Faith Lifestyle Review workbook.  Topics or behaviors listed in the workbook will provide many hours of discussion for couples or families moving into a mixed-faith lifestyle.  Without faith in the church, what behaviors will change?  What behaviors will remain the same?  Below is a sampling from the 60+ behaviors listed for discussion: Word of Wisdom:  Alcohol, Coffee, Tea, Tobacco, Drugs Temple:  Family history, Weddings, Temple work, wearing garments Church activities:  Sabbath day, baptisms, different churches, meetings Donations:  Tithing, missionary fund, humanitarian Miscellaneous:  Family prayer, scripture study, blessings, removing name I believe the whiteboard is a fantastic communication tool for couples and families.  I also believe this workbook is our best tool for identifying, discussing and preparing for behavior changes due to a faith transition – before they happen.  I invite you to see if it would work for you. Side note –  We have learned many things about the selection, care, feeding and cleaning of whiteboards and dry-erase markers. If you are curious, just click here to contact me. If you would like to try a discussion with dry-erase pens, but you don’t have a whiteboard, we have also used the bathroom mirror or large windows, and they work too.  Dry-erase markers are wonderful conversation aids! ALL my best! JennieB Coaching Your Life With Peace, Joy and Purpose
Father's Day

A Mixed-Faith Family Father’s Day

If you are new to being in a mixed-faith family, seeing the differences between the believing members of the family and the non-believing members can be unexpected and painful. For example, next Sunday is Father’s Day, and you have always spent Father’s Day at church as a family, fulfilling callings and having the Young Women/Men distribute treats for Father’s Day.  But what if dad no longer participates in church?  That can feel quite different for all members of the family.  Especially if, rather than go to church, for his special day, Dad was hoping the family could go see the new Top Gun movie and then enjoy dinner at his favorite restaurant or a peaceful walk on the beach at sunset. How do you handle this seeming’ mismatch between the believers’ traditional Father’s Day and the non-believing father’s wishes for Father’s Day? It really doesn’t have to be a mismatch, there are many options for both believers and non-believers. With a little creativity, we can find choices and make decisions that don’t have to be all or nothing propositions, with “winners” and “losers”.  When a family wants to feel loved and connected, there are many ways to achieve this.  Perhaps you could sit down together before Father’s Day and work out what is important to your family. If dad no longer attends church, some family members may want to stay home with him, while others may want to attend Sacrament meeting and then go do things with dad as a family. Some may want to celebrate Father’s Day on Saturday so those who want to attend Sunday services can, while Dad does something he’s been wanting to do on his own.  For those new to being a mixed-faith family, I offer the following 4 suggestions: o Plan ahead o Decide what’s most important to each member of the family o Decide that there will be options where everyone “wins” o Put family connections ahead of being “right” You can use this formula for so many family situations, and every time you practice loving and connecting with each other as a family, decisions get easier.  For our family, there hasn’t been just one “right” way.  Some years we make plans to celebrate Father’s Day on the Saturday before.  Some years I have gone to Sacrament meeting and then come home early to spend the day doing what Lee (my husband) wants to do on his special day, which has occasionally included going out to dinner. For our family, eating out wasn’t a normal Sunday activity.  Now it happens occasionally, and I feel that this is a choice that is aligned with my priorities, and what is most important to me. Each year I take a solo retreat for a day or two, and I go over my values and priorities – because they change slightly from year to year. When I know that my relationship with God is my first priority, and that my relationship with my husband is my next priority, and my participation at church is down my list a little ways, I know what I value most and can evaluate nearly every choice almost instantly, so what I choose to do is inline with my values and top priorities.  Speaking of personal values, do you know what your values and priorities are?  Perhaps now is a good time to review them again?  I’ve been working on a worksheet that helps us identify values and priorities, and I would be happy to share it with you.  I hope this information is helpful to you.  If you have specific questions or thoughts that you would like to get feedback on, or if you would like a copy of my Values & Priorities worksheet, please feel free to contact me. 
Swirling Thought Tornado

Are You In A Swirling Thought Tornado?

Some of you reading this email may be in the middle of your spouse’s or child’s faith crisis or transition.  Something has caused them to have questions or doubts about LDS church doctrine, practices, history or perhaps even God.  They may have been struggling to find answers to their questions for a while –  even before they admitted these doubts to themselves.  Perhaps you are just now finding out about these issues your spouse or child has been wrestling with for months or even years?   You are trying to understand how this person you love is seriously doubting the gospel that you have such faith in? Your mind instantly goes to fear, panic and perhaps anger: How could this happen? WHY would they do this? How can I get them back to the truth? How could they do this to our eternal family?  What will others think about our family now? How will their questions affect my own faith and testimony? Most likely, during your spouse or child’s search for answers to their gospel related questions, they have found few if any people to actually speak with about their thoughts.   Now you are thrust into their faith journey.  How will you find answers to your fears and questions? Who can YOU talk with?  Who can relate to your swirl of thoughts?  Heavenly Father?  A friend at church?  Your brother or sister?  Your Bishop?  Your Ministering Brothers/Sisters?  If these resources are able to assist you, that is wonderful! I didn’t know who I could talk with nearly 6 years ago when my husband finally admitted to himself and to me that he had lost his faith in God.  After 8+ years of my husband struggling to find answers to his faith questions.  His faith was gone… Around the same time, but for different reasons, 2 of our daughters also stepped away from the church. I tried to speak with a few family members and friends to work through my thoughts.  Unfortunately, they could not really relate to what I was experiencing, and they had their own thoughts about my situation. They could not help me sort through what I have come to call my “thought tornado”. Thoughts swirling around and around. I have experienced all of these feelings as a believing spouse and mother, and I have spoken with numerous people about their experience with a spouse or child in faith transition – and beyond.  I would love to give you answers to all of your questions, and “make it all better”, but unfortunately no such formula exists. Each couple and family situation has characteristics that require different approaches.  There are similar issues, but personality, history, relationships, communication styles and timing all factor into choosing options for successfully moving through these emotion-filled situations. My goal as a life coach is to provide support for LDS women that want to remain faithful to the gospel of Jesus Christ, even when their husband or child loses faith and chooses to walk a different path.  If this is you, I would truly like to assist you in this journey. I wish I could drop by as a friend, so we could just talk, but since that is not really feasible, could I offer to meet with you face to face on Zoom?    I invite you to set up a FREE 30 minute appointment.  No obligation, No hard selling sales pitch.  This is simply a time for you to share whatever is on your mind with someone that understands.  If you find our time helpful, we can consider further discussions.
LDS Mixed-Faith Family Questions

“Ask A Coach” – Responses To LDS Mixed-Faith Family Questions

I am excited to announce that the first 2 episodes of “Ask A Coach” have been posted on my YouTube channel!   My goal is to provide some solutions to questions that often come up in LDS mixed-faith families.  Episode 1 Questions: 1. “Are you okay if Dad and I still talk about our church experiences around you?” 2. “Will they turn away from the health habits they’ve followed their entire lives?” 3. “My husband just told me that he doesn’t believe the church is true and he wants to tell me all the reasons. What do I do?” Episode 2 Questions: 1. “How are we going to tell our children that my spouse is leaving the church?” 2. “The language we use to describe each other as “believers” or “non-believers” is important.” I plan to address a few questions in video format every couple of weeks.  I will let you know when the episodes are posted and the questions I address. If you are in a mixed-faith family – I NEED YOUR HELP! I know what my mixed-faith family questions were and are, but I would like to address YOUR questions.  Could you take a moment and send me an email with a few of the questions YOU are looking for answers to? My goal as a life coach is to provide support for LDS women that want to remain faithful to the gospel of Jesus Christ, even when their children or husband lose faith and choose different paths.  If this is you, I would truly like to assist you in this journey.  Thanks!
All Things New

Rethinking Sin, Salvation and Everything In Between

Recently I’ve been reading the book titled “All Things New, Rethinking Sin, Salvation and Everything In Between” by Fiona and Terryl Givens. Reading this book has changed the way I think about several gospel concepts, and I am very excited to share what I am learning.  Several of my Instagram friends started talking about this book “All Things New”, and I resisted getting on the bandwagon until one day Fiona Givens spoke to the LDS Life Coaches group I below to. I was so excited by what she had to say that I bought the audio book and listened to it.  Then I wanted to be able to underline phrases and concepts, so I bought the paperback book too!  The book is now underlined in many colors and dogeared.  The book is divided into two parts. The first part is a history of Christianity with a focus on the nature of God. The Givens write about how the view of Christianity changed from the early church through the teachings of Luther, Calvin and Augustine, and how the modern restoration fits in. They discuss how the way we view God, has changed over time, from a loving God to an angry, punitive God, and how these views damage our relationship with Him. The second part of the book looks at our language and how the distortions that have crept in over time have damaged our language and understanding of basic gospel concepts. Because I have understood several concepts so differently, I’ve returned again and again to read the chapters on Sin, Repentance, Forgiveness, Salvation and Obedience. I’ve also researched these 5 words in the Gospel Library app, looking in the gospel topics section, topical guide, and the Bible dictionary.  I’ve even read recent General Conference talks with this book playing in the back of my mind. I love finding teachings in General Conference talks that support these thoughts. In Elder Christofferson’s talk, “Our Relationship with God”, he said that repentance, obedience, and sacrifice matter because “they are the means by which we collaborate with Him in our own transformation from natural [wo]man to saint.” I love the idea of collaborating with Christ to become a saint. One of the things that I found so interesting was reframing the concept of “Sin”. When I grew up, I thought sin was terrible and felt I had to be perfect all the time. I didn’t want to do anything that might create sin, and when I did sin, I couldn’t face my own weaknesses or shortcomings. In reality, I was trying to be “my own Savior” by being “good” all the time.  I was also rationalizing things that I did as not really sinful, because sin was horrifying. This way of thinking caused pressure on me all the time to always do things the “right” way. It didn’t really bring me closer to Christ, it actually kept me away from Him.  The example the Given’s used to reframe the concept of “sin” was from the new world as Christ did ministering and healing, not preaching, rebuking or judging. They suggest looking at “sin” as being wounded, and wounded so deeply that we are separated from God and that we need to be “healed” of our “wounds” to return to God. I started asking myself how I had been wounded this week or how I might have been the one to wound others. At church, I approach Sacrament time by thinking about wounds and how God was able to help me heal from my wounds and minister to others that are wounded. I really resonated with this teaching and I found that thinking this way helped me be more willing to see my own hurts and how I hurt others. I really felt changed and I saw myself having more love and compassion for myself and for others. I am seeing things in a more optimistic way and I am more willing to change myself rather than hide away from sin. So I offer an enthusiastic two thumbs up for this book. I think that it is especially appropriate for mixed-faith families, as I have witnessed people who I love that have been wounded by their association with the church. Seeing them as wounded changes how I view them and our relationship. Now I just want to be better at loving them. If you read this book, I would love to hear how you felt about the concepts. I would also be interested in hearing about any of your favorite books that have helped you with your mixed-faith family.