Challenges & Growth

Physically Distant with a Strong Connection

 Jeff and Don explore what it means to deeply connect, even if you are physically apart. From being intentional about what you talk about (strengths, areas of improvement and worldview) to taking the conversation deeper to discuss the matters that are closest to your heart.

Transcription of the Podcast


But I also want to make it clear that I know there’s single dads, single moms out there, even married couples that are kind of, “Oh, the kids are all here. What are we going to do?” Well, we’ve got to adapt. We’ve got to adjust.


So welcome back to The Journey Podcast, where we really do care deeply about real and authentic relationships. This is Jeff and I’m sitting here today with Don.


Good morning, Jeff.


Good morning, Don. And we’re going to talk a little bit about connecting, about those relationships that really matter in life. And it’s a topic that is really important with all that is going on in the world, and we think it matters now as much as it ever has. So yeah, jump in and grab a cup of coffee wherever you’re at, and sit back and relax for a few minutes and we’ll chat. So a little background, and this just happened yesterday, in fact. I was at the grocery store. I probably spent 10, 15, 20 minutes at the grocery store, and I had three people just come up to me and start either talking or asking questions, and it was really cool. It was really neat because I mean how often have you gone down to a grocery store and have people come up to you and just start talking?


Well I can see why it would have been extremely rare to you because you’re always kind of about you don’t have a lot of friends. So when a lot of people started talking to you, you’re were happy.


I was like oh, a person.


I scare everybody, and they run away from me. A lady at the chiropractor’s office yesterday came around the corner, and she looked back at the secretary and said, “I don’t want to sit in there. I want to be further away from that guy.” And I’m like geez. I’m not that crepey looking. So yeah, I can really dig on how you’d like other people to start connecting with you because now you’ve got more friends, dude. But do you think maybe it’s because everybody’s in a little panic mode? There’s lot of stuff going on in the world right now.


Yeah, a lot of stuff going on.


A lot of scare, a lot of fear.




I even felt lost this weekend. I couldn’t go to church. Everything’s different there because of this thing, so I felt lost and lonely for a few days there, trying to figure out how to reconnect with the world.


Well we’re back here today, right. And it’s you and I.


Yeah, chatting it up.


Yeah. Now you’re not going to hear these girls on the podcast, but Jen is here sort of running all the equipment here. You can even say hi Jen, from a distance. Say hi.




See she’s there. And Annie is joining us by this thing that I think is called Zoom. Oh. So she’s nodding her head up and down. Yep, I’m there. But what’s cool, Annie has a little sniffle, a cold and she’s actually in another city about a hundred miles away, but she can join us by Zoom. And we’ve had a good conversation this morning for about gosh, 20, 30 minutes. And so three of us are in the room and another one of us is a hundred miles away on the computer. But hey, got to love technology, right.


Yeah, and it works. I mean you would think a country hillbilly like me wouldn’t know about Zoom, but I’m on them a couple times a week with some home based businesses that I do. And I think this is going to be a way for people to possibly connect, especially on this church side of thing. We just got a letter in an email yesterday that we will be live streaming until further notice because of the state laws and stuff. And I know I was watching some videos last night, some farmer friends of mine that’s all the way out in Ohio, from the Illinois [inaudible 00:00:03:45]. We all know that.


So yeah, I think this is going to be another way to also … I’m going to encourage people that do listens to us on Journey to share with their friends to come and connect with us on Journey and listen to what we’ve got to offer the next three or four weeks. We hope the contents going to be good. And you’re not going to be able to get it with your normal social groups, so come hang out with us for a while. We’re pretty funny.


So today we’re going to talk about how to do that, how to connect and how to keep those relationships going, and actually maybe to even build some new relationships that are even deeper than relationships that you’ve had in the past. So yeah. So we’ll just kind of jump in a little bit. I think let’s go back a little bit, and I just love hearing your story, Don, and just how you’ve gone from disconnection to connection over the last year or so. And for instance, we were talking to your brother here a few weeks ago, and just really cool there, how that’s gone deeper. But it seems like every time we talk about … when we’re just talking, you are giving me another story of just how you’ve just sat down with somebody, how maybe you’ve had a family meeting and you guys have gotten closer. And then what you were saying just here a few minutes ago of just how distant it seems right now, right. I mean we’re seeing firsthand just how, because of what’s going on, there’s just a lot of distance.


Well, there is, like I said, with the emails just put out that we are no longer going to be there. I’ve only been actively back involved in church for a little over a year and a half. And prior to that I sat in my little home/shed for two and a half years drunk every day. We’ve done other podcasts. I have severe history of alcoholism. So to walk out of that, get better, connect God, and get right with the coaches from Journey, that was one of the biggest blessings to me is to connect with two fellows that want to come up alongside you. Yeah, I’m a guy, I’m going to go ahead and say it. They loved on me, dude. They cared about me, and they want to help. So for a year and a half now, everything’s been rolling pretty smooth.


And we’ve talked about that before too. The whole idea of more than just that conversation about your favorite football team, right. More than that conversation about, “Hey, what’s that basketball team doing?” Or what kinds of things are going on at work?


All we talked about was the Cubbies. I’m like I’m sick of all this. I lived in Illinois for years, and Gary would laugh, and he just rubbed me with it every week about the Cubbies. So we had fun, like buddies. It wasn’t just a coaching thing. We became, still to this day, friends. But when you spin off of that, like we were talking earlier, so I’m a single guy, so I ask myself when I hear the news about not being able to attend my local church anymore, been on a really good groove here for a year and a half, okay. I’m a big strong boy. I can handle things emotionally, but maybe not so much. I see a counselor. I have anger issues. I have a tendency to fall back on alcoholism. So if I wanted to let my life spin out of control right now, and I think there’s so many people out there, guys, I really do that are going, “What do we do? What do we do?” Well, and I’m not saying this that people would feel sorry for me, but how do you suppose I feel?


Went from drunk for two and a half solid years, reconnect to the world, plug into a large church that I had known in the past briefly, get actively involved, and now, based on the chaos, or whatever you want to call it, going on in America and all over the world, I’m forcefully being shut off from the things that I like to do. So what am I going to do? Whether you’re Christian or not, matters not to me, but I’m going to hone in on reading my Bible, and I’m going to work extra hard at staying connected with Jesus because I don’t have places to go now. And here’s a little catch 29. What if I were to just be discontent and full of fear again? That could lead right back to drinking again.


So I’m doing double time here for myself, but I also want to make it clear that I know there’s single dads, single moms out there, even married couples that are kind of, “Oh, the kids are all here. What are we going to do?” Well we’ve got to adapt. We’ve got to adjust. And we have here, at Journey Coaching, we’re going to try to bring you good content every week, please listen and see if you can pick up some little rabbit runs to follow along with us so that we can help encourage you in these stressful times. I mean they are stressful for the average person.


Yep. And the times are typically … There’s stress anyway, right. I mean it’s just we have more things to sort of cushion us. We’ve got that next basketball game, that next tournament series, we’ve got that thing that sort of can distract us. So let’s face it, we’ve just got less distractions right now, and so what can we do? And so it’s more than the podcast. So here’s the thing. What can people do? Well, we can all have those intentional growing healthy relationships. Well, how do we do that? At Journey, we’ve invested the last … It’s over five years of really developing some good core content. And it’s so simple. It’s so simple. It’s seven sessions, and it’s just a guideline. It’s just a guideline to help people to really look at themself in the mirror, and look at their strengths, look at areas for improvement, look at their worldview, and to sit down with somebody and to share your story guy to guy, girl to girl, couple to couple, but a way to really just say, “Here’s my life ,and here are a few steps that I can take to get better.”


It’s interesting you say that because you know I’m coaching a 16-year-old boy.


Yeah, you just jumped right into it.


Every Sunday.


Yeah, you jumped right into that, didn’t you?


And it’s so amazing, over the last couple of weeks, Jeff, the things we were talking about, just simple day-to-day life things, but it always kind of keeps falling back on his faith level. And I just tell him all the time, even last Sunday, I said, “I’m envious of you because you were born and raised a Christian child. My silly hillbilly brain didn’t get it completely until he was 59 years old. Look how much catching up I got to do.” And he smiles and laughs at me. And then in the other hand he goes, “Don,” he said one day, he said, “Geez, I feel bad for you. I mean I would have hated to miss out on what I’ve already seen,” and he’s only 16 years old, you all, and I’m 61. And I’m like, “I’m jealous of you, dude. You got a advantage on me.” But as we sit and talk once a week in our little journey session, it’s just interesting to see what this boy, I got to be careful how I say this if we need adding [crosstalk 00:11:57].


The average 16-year-old that I run across or bump into, and I have a nephew that’s 17, and as I sit and talk, there is such a difference of mindset between two boys, similar age, but based on their background and their faith, unfortunately they’re as opposite as water and oil. And that intrigues me so much that when it comes to faith-based boy, born and raised, other boy, no, not at all, just kind of went through the motions because parents encouraged or maybe leaned on him to do that, but he never grasped any of it.


And that’s you, right? You’re talking about yourself there.


No, I’m talking about another boy equivalent to the same age as the one I’m-


Oh, okay. I got you. Oh, okay. I see what you’re saying. I got to what you’re saying. Yeah.


Yeah, two boys, same age, but the difference is water and oil. Raised, believes in Jesus, other one pushed into it against his will.


Right, I got you.


And doesn’t have any of it, doesn’t have any knowledge of it.


Okay, right.


So another reason to hopefully connect with us here at Journey because we’re-


Right. And the thing about Journey is it is regardless of where somebody’s starting at. So it could be somebody, it could be that person regardless of age, that’s really far from God and really doesn’t even know if they believe in this at all. Or it could be somebody that’s been around it all their life. It doesn’t matter. Again, it’s about those connections, and it’s about getting outside oneself.


I’m going to let you talk about connections. Forgive me for saying this Jeff, but we talk a lot, and you and I have had personal conversations about the term coaching, coaching, coaching, but right now, I don’t know, this thought just came to me, isn’t our main goal here at Journey Coaching … Due to the circumstances in our economy, don’t we want to just be your friend?


Yeah, [crosstalk 00:00:14:00].


We just want to make friends with you right now. You can just hang out with us, listen to our podcast, and just be our friends. And then later on, we all know that this too shall pass, they say, and this will settle down, but while we’re in these kind of dire conditions, why don’t we all … why don’t you all listen to our podcast, tell your friends, and let’s just make buddies here on podcasts. And when all this settles down, then we could go back to, “Hey, now we’d like to sit down and coach with you.” And you might know some people out there as listeners and go, “I think I’m pretty good, but so-and-so, Sally or Bob over there, I think they could use some journey coaching.” Good. Invite them to the podcast, let them listen to what we’re doing.


But what you say is interesting because that is typical where there’ll be a time where there’s some anxious, be like oh yeah, I should do this. I’ll wait until things settle down. I would suggest that how about when there is that time, when there’s that anx, jump in and do something about it. And that would be a great time right now to jump in, and here’s what you can do. Grab a friend. Grab a friend that’s a few steps ahead of you, and this can be somebody you trust, somebody you respect, and just say, “Hey, I’ve heard about this Journey Coaching thing. Let’s talk about that.” They can go to They can see what the whole idea’s about, not only a podcast but the actual seven sessions. And then you can just order those seven sessions, and sort of grab a friend, grab a couple of books, and get started. And you can get started over coffee.


And if you don’t even want to get together, like we’re doing again today here, I mean we’ve got Annie sitting on this Zoom thing, and she’s communicating. And so in fact I got to read her a question because I got to tell you how cool this is that this actually works. So as we’re talking, and again, she’s not in the room, I just want to again show this idea that you don’t have to be necessarily in the room, she says, “So how are podcasts a jumping board for connecting?” Well, the big thing that the podcasts do is they will sort of provide that fertile ground of what we’re talking about. They sort of encourage this idea of healthy conversations and what that’s about. So we’re just trying to sort of create an environment that just is good fertile ground for some relationships to start.


I think it’s key, those that we were saying a minute ago, I want to make sure that people are getting that right now, it’s just if you’ve been listening to any of our podcast, please, please invite a buddy, or a friend, or a neighbor, say, “Hey, I’m listening to this, and their content’s pretty good.”


Yeah, listen to it also, right. Yeah.


Yeah. “Hey, do you want to listen to this?” And tell your friend, neighbor, for some of you all, I’m going to go so far as to say you’re married, and invite your wife.


Oh, what a concept.


Sit on the couch.


Oh, hold it.




Hold it, I got to take a deep breath here. Wow.


Since NASCAR, it’s only going to be televised for the next two weeks. So yeah, there’s a lot of people that are going to have to sit at home with their wives and do something.


That’s right.


They should listen to Journey Coaching.


And unless you want to watch repeats of games from years past, actually yes, [crosstalk 00:17:33].


Hook up. Make a friend with your spouse.


What a concept, right.


I’m just being stupid.


Anyway. But yeah, so again, we just invite you to take that step. If you want to grow, we to help.




And what a great time to start doing that. So just to wrap up, let’s keep it really simple. Go to the website. On there you can find information on the actual seven session coaching process. The cost is very low. If you’re in a situation where basically you’re just buying the booklets, and just we can answer questions, through the journey website, you can ask us questions as you’re going through it. We have a audio three session training, a little program there where you can go through and get some input on how to … And you were even a part of that little training.


Yeah, all three of them. So Terry just gave us tips and helps on how to be a good coach. What are you looking for? So you’re a little well versed at it.


So this is not rocket science. Again, coaching, you’re not-


If it was, I wouldn’t be here.


You and me both, buddy. So this is not one person is the expert and you’ve got to take some big class or something, it’s just a matter of, again, developing those intentional relationships. So listen to some podcasts, order some of the material, and just grab a friend and give it a shot. And here’s the thing, personally, for me, if I’m sort of bothered, or I’m just into myself too much and worrying how’s this going to happen, or what’s happening, or what can I do, sometimes, or oftentimes, virtually all of the time, it helps to get outside myself to connect with somebody else. It’s just true for … We’re just wired like that. We’re wired for those relationships. And so this is a good way to just do that intentionally, and to do it through a little seven session way that is really designed over five plus years, a lot of people have been through this where it does just really help you to grow, and we do want to help. So thanks for listening. Any closing thoughts that you have, Don?


Just like I said, again, probably repeating myself here, but brother said it best, I think. Just dawned on me last week, Jeff, when he said, “I just wanted to be there and listen to what he had to say. I couldn’t fix him. But I wanted to listen.” So we’re in some stretchy, sketchy times right now. And if you need somebody to just listen to you, we’re here. Reach out to us.


Listen. And then get beyond just being sort of stuck in the times, and really use this to look at this as a huge, huge opportunity to invest in yourself, to invest in another person, and to do something different. This material is unique, it’s simple, but to do something different and to grow.


Exactly right.


Very cool. Well, thanks again for listening. This is been a great conversation with Don. Don, always enjoy chatting with you.


I love the invites.


I always enjoy it. So at Journey, we’re interested in the conversations that matter to you in your relationships. You want to grow. We want to help, not only with podcasts, but we encourage you to get into the one-on-one coaching relationships, and a good place to start is with that seven session coaching booklet. And you can find out more about that at Have a good day everybody. Thanks for listening.

Speaker 4:

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Relationship WorkShop: Disagreements

On this episode of the podcast, Jeff and Terry host a mini relationship workshop focusing on disagreements within our relationships. In this workshop, you will learn that you get to choose your response to a disagreement. They also offer insight on how to choose a response when all you want to do is react.

Transcription of the Podcast


Again, I’m looking out here at a beautiful blue sky. Now I can look at that blue sky and I can say a couple of things. I can say, “It is gorgeous out there, it’s a bright sunny day.” Or I can look at this flag waving in the background going, “Oh, I can tell by the direction that flag is waving, there is a cold north wind out there,” and I can pick, right? I can go, “Wow! I’m going to go outside and I’m going to freeze because it’s really cold out,” or I can go outside and go, “Wow! It’s a bright sunny day.”




Hey, welcome back to another Journey Podcast and we are excited to talk about relationships today. In fact, we’re going to do a little relationship workshop because relationships are important. My name is Jeff. I’ve got Terry here. Terry is a licensed full-time counselor-




And deals with… Tell us a little bit about the sort of what you do during… What is your day job? You’re dealing with a lot of people walking in and they have some really deep weeds, relational stuff going on, right?


Oh, yeah. I would say 90% of the time it’s a relationship workshop in my office.




We’re working on different kinds of relationship issues that show up. We may have other things we’re talking about like addictions and affairs and things like that, but ultimately, it’s about relationships. It’s about that sticky icky kind of stuff that happens between two or more people.


Well, and the thing is for you and other counselors, the thing that I always sort of find interesting sitting back on the sidelines is that, and tell me if I’m off base on this, but a lot of people really wait and really get into a lot of hurt and a lot of struggle and it’s like, “Oh, what is the very last thing I can do on the planet to do… Oh, okay, I’ll go to a counselor.” Right?


I had a couple come in one time years ago and one of them said… I asked what brought them here and they said, “Well, we sat down with a phone book,” how long has it been since we had phone books, right?




They sat down with a phone book and they had one page open to counselors and they had one page open to divorce lawyers and they were trying to decide which page to look at.


Wow! Wow!


It had gotten that far in their relationship. And so I think you’re right. I think in a lot of cases it gets to that point where we have tried everything we can possibly think of, nothing’s working, we either have to reach out for somebody or we have to break it off.


Right. Right. So the hope is here with the Journey, and there’s a lot of hopes that we have around Journey, but one of the hopes is that people will engage with these podcasts and that they can actually get some good counsel, although this isn’t counseling, this is coaching. But if we have people like you on the podcast, we can actually get some very good tips and some help to navigate some of these relational issues.


So yeah, let’s dive in here. And like I say, just sort of have this as a little mini relationship workshop here and talk to folks that hopefully aren’t in the deep weeds yet. So why don’t we start out, Terry, why really would we even want to address our relationships? Why would we want to be kind, gracious, to one another? After all, if I’m here and you’re there, why don’t we just go at each other and the last one standing wins?


Well, yeah, you could try that. How’s that working for you?


Not real good, right. So…


No, I think that’s the approach a lot of people have is they’re at such loggerheads by the time they walk in that there’s so much anger and there’s so much negativity and there’s so much… there’s just a lot of hurt underneath the anger. I tell people, I see anger as a secondary response, the secondary emotion. We don’t get angry usually unless we’re hurt and we feel somebody is responsible and those are the components that make us really, really angry.


And then anger is a defense mechanism. It’s something we try to do to regain some of the power we feel like we’ve lost by being hurt. And so we get angry and it’s kind of like… One example I’ve used a lot of times, it’s just using anger, especially in a marriage or in a tight relationship, a good relationship, or a relationship you’re trying to make healthy, it’s kind of like using a hammer as the only tool in your toolbox.




If you had to replace a light switch, would you grab the hammer?


Right, no.


Well, no. You [crosstalk 00:04:45]-


Well, that’s right. Because I’m so terrible with tools I wouldn’t even know what to do with… But, yeah, right. You want to start-


You want to start with a screwdriver-


Right, the right tool for that.


You want to find another tool. A lot of times by the time people come into counseling they don’t have any other tools, the only tool they have in their toolbox is hammer. And that’s just not working.


Right. Right. And so healthy relationships, and let me just underline this here. We could just land on this and then just hit the pause button. But really healthy relationships are so important. If you’re not in one now, if you can think back to when you were and just the joy that comes from that and the energy that’s gathered versus the bucket draining-ness of unhealthy relationships, this is really important.




Really important stuff.


Well, and I think what happens a lot of times when two people, whether it’s a man and wife or whether it’s a brother and sister, it’s a parent and a child, when two people come in to talk about their relationship, a lot of times what I see is a lot of finger pointing. If he would just change, if she would just do something different, if he would just stop doing something, then this would be okay. And a lot of times I feel like one person is dragging another one in and they’re saying, “Here, change her, change him.”


The reality is it takes two people to make this relationship work or not work. And it’s not just one thing or another, it really gets down to kind of what we’ve talked about is how do you talk to each other? Do you use that hammer of anger? Are you feeling justified in just being angry all the time? And how is that working for you? How’s that affecting the other person and how are you feeling? When you spend a lot of time being angry, I’ll just ask you back, “When you spend a lot of time angry, how do you feel? Energized or worn out?”


Right. Exactly. Well, and I think as you’re talking, it’s really easy and it always has been easy to avoid healthy relationships, right? It’s really, really easy to just be mad and move on kind of thing. And especially with social media, it’s made it a lot easier to just sort of get that jab out there.




And so it seems like, and this is just what I found in my own life, is I’ve got to really put that relational piece as a priority and say, “Yeah, it really is worth the energy that it’s going to take to do this, but it is going to take some energy and it’s going to take some time.”


Right. Well, you have to answer for yourself that question of, why do I even want to do that? Why not be angry? Why not be compassionate? At least I gain respect. If I’m angry, it feels like people are respecting me. But the reality is they’re not, they’re just avoiding you because you’re angry.


So what can you do if you’re angry, if someone’s angry consistently, but they don’t know how to change. That’s just their mindset, that’s just their life, right? They’re just an angry person. What are some tips there?


Well, I think it depends a lot. If somebody comes into my office and that’s the situation, I have to do a lot of assessments. So the counselor in me just kind of do a little alarm thing that says, “Hey, we’re not going to be able to solve that here.” If somebody is as angry as you’re talking about, I really suggest that they find somebody to meet with, find a licensed counselor, a therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, whoever you want, but really sit down and say, “Hey, I am angry all the time and I don’t know what to do about it.”


So really it’s that conversation before the conversation that you’ve talked about in the past, right? To really kind of come to a point where you can sit down with somebody else and to start having some healthy conversations.


Right. If somebody is just feeling angry a lot and it hasn’t gotten to that point, I guess my encouragement would be, do something about it now because it will get to that point. It becomes a habit and it becomes a way. Our brain has pathways to it and the more we do something, it’s like a muscle. If you exercise one arm and not the other, what would happen?


It’ll be a little lopsided-


You’d be lopsided. One arm would be a lot bigger and the other arm would get smaller. The brain neurons kind of work like muscles do too. You use them or you lose them.




And so the more angry we are, the more angry we become. And so I think it’s really, really important for people to take notice of that and say, “No, wait a minute. I’m finding a pattern here. I’m getting more and more angry when I watch TV or when I talk to this person or when I do that.” And, again, if anger is a secondary response, anger management really doesn’t work. You can sit there and say, “Okay, I’m not going to act out in my anger,” but ultimately the anger is just going to keep eating you up inside. You’ve got to find out what’s causing that anger.


Right. Now, I’m just going to go a little shallow dive here. Terry, takes a deeper dive. I’m going to go a little more shallow dive is, I would just point out from, again, a simple perspective, if you’re angry, if there are things bothering you, if you are always sort of looking at the bucket of being half empty, half full, half empty. Again, I’m looking out here at a beautiful blue sky. Now I can look at that blue sky and I can say a couple of things. I can say, “It is gorgeous out there, it’s a bright sunny day.” Or I can look at this flag waving in the background and going, “Oh, I can tell by the direction that flag is waving, there is a cold north wind out there.” And I can pick, right? I can go, “Wow! I’m going to go outside and I’m going to freeze because it’s really cold out,” or I can go outside and go, “Wow! It’s a bright sunny day.” And so that’s just something that I do because it’s like you can pick, right?


Right. And I think that’s a key point that you’ve said is you’re aware of your ability to choose. A lot of people aren’t. A lot of people don’t realize that. They just react to the anger. They just see it the one way and they don’t realize there are other ways to see it.


Right. Right. Well, and let’s hit that point and land on that for a minute. That people do have the ability to choose, right? You can pick that emotion.






And a lot of times people don’t understand that. Now, if the anger is coming from some deep hurts and there are some deep hurts out there, then I would encourage people to address those. We don’t want to. And I tell some of my clients, “Emotional hurts, emotional wounds feel the same way to our brain as physical ones.” And so when I’m asking somebody to kind of dive into that emotional hurt and figure out, “Why does that hurt me so much? Why is that bothering me?” In a sense, it’s kind of like if I told you to put your hand on the stove and then to keep it there, I know it hurts, but keep it there and try to figure out why it hurts.




You wouldn’t do that. That would be stupid. Please don’t do that. But if you think about it, as far as your brain is concerned, I’m asking you to do that with the emotional hurt. It’s like typically we have something that really, really hurts us. We’re bothered because somebody said something unkind or they didn’t say they loved you before they walked out, we’re really hurt by something. And instead of staying with that hurt and figuring out, “Why that bothers us so much,” we jump into anger and then we try to get them back or we try to do something to rectify the situation, but it’s not working.


Right. Right. So how does somebody choose? So we can choose, that’s an option, we can pick. How do we choose when we just don’t feel like it?


I think the first thing is to remind yourself there is a choice. I have chosen to be angry. Why did I choose to be angry? A lot of times we just feel like it’s we’re just reacting versus responding. I think that’s a really key point when we’re looking at things. When something happens, ask yourself, “Am I reacting or am I responding?” Responding takes a few minutes longer, a few seconds longer. A response is what I want to do, a reaction is what happens. Just kind of, it’s almost that animal instinct in us that comes out. A response is something we take a little bit of time for and we choose a decision, we choose a response, versus I just reacted angrily or a knee jerk kind of reaction.


So what if you’re in a conversation with somebody, and this could be about anything. It could be about politics. We had a podcast on politics here a while back. It could be about just something that’s going on in your life, whatever, but you’re responding with anger. What can you do?


So you’re feeling the anger inside.




You just had a conversation with somebody. Let’s say you’re talking with your husband or your wife or your somebody, your significant other, and this person has now said something that has offended you. A reaction would be maybe to kick them under the table. That’s not a good idea.


Bruised shins [crosstalk 00:00:13:57]-


Because you’re angry, you’re angry. A response would be to say, “Whoa!” Again, this is an internal dialogue and you’re saying, “Whoa, wait a minute. Man, I’m really getting angry about something that they said. Where is that coming from?” Well, again, it only takes a second or two to kind of do that internal processing, that internal dialogue. And then my response might be, “Oh yeah, when he said, or she said, this, I took offense at it because I felt like it was a slam. I felt like it was an insult to me.” So-


So slowing down, right? Because it’s almost like a tit-for-tat sometimes, and it’s just slowing down, a little breath, taking a few seconds. It could be uncomfortable because it hasn’t been done before, it’s not that tit-for-tat. It’s just going, “Okay, let me get a little perspective here, a little breathing room, a little sense of where to move on next.”


Right. Well, and then the reaction might be, “Okay, I don’t want to come across angry. That’s a decision I’ve made in my head. I want to come across as I’m curious.” So what I tell my clients is, it’s really, really hard to be angry and curious. Try it sometime. If you’re angry, it’s usually because you’ve come to a decision you’re not curious anymore. So it’s really hard to be angry and curious. So get curious and say, “I’m wondering why that affected me so badly. I’m wondering why he said it or she said it,” and then out of the curiosity then form your question and the question or the comment you might want to make back to that person is, “Wow! That really hurt. It sounds like you’re just really… that was quite the insult.”




You’re telling that person the stuff that’s underneath the anger, you’re telling that person, “This is what happened.” You’re not giving it to them out of anger, you’re giving it to them out of curiosity. “Hey, why didn’t you just say that? That really hurt.” What do you think your response would be if somebody said that to you?


Well, yeah, you’re going to be like, “Oh, okay. Well… ” I mean, there’s just more of that sort of a fertile ground to cultivate some discussion.


Right. Because then as a receiver on that end of it, you’re probably going to lean in and go, “Oh wow! I didn’t… ” Half the time it might be, “Why didn’t you?” “No, I never meant that. That was a slip of the tongue. I’m so sorry.” Or it might be a rare thing where you might say, “Yeah, I kind of did because I was angry about something else.” And then you get into this discussion about what’s really going on under the surface.


So a key word is curiosity, isn’t it?


Yeah. Because otherwise a reaction might be, I get angry and say something back to you and you get angry at me and now we’ve got our fight or flight syndrome going between the two of us and we’re going to get into a really good fight.


Right. So a little curiosity, a few deep breaths can do amazing things, right?


Absolutely. I think that works on a lot of different levels. We talked before on another podcast about politics and what happens, and I think this is one of those things, again, staying curious is one of the best ways to stay out of the anger zone.


Right. Right. And, yeah, and we don’t have as much as we think sometimes we have got the solution for the problem. There’s curiosity getting more input to be open. That really is a sign of maturity, right?


Oh, sure.


Higher emotional intelligence and maturity, and it seems like we would all like to be a little bit more mature and…


Well, it helps us to respond rather than react.


Right. Right. Well, thanks for joining us today on this podcast. Again, we want to talk about those topics that are really important to talk about and at the core of Journey are healthy relationships. At the core of Journey is that seven session coaching process where you can find someone, a guy to guy, girl to girl, couple to couple, and sit down and just start having some very good conversations to really focus on yourself as you look at yourself in the mirror and say, “Hey, how can I bring a better version of myself to the world?” And we will promise you, promise, promise, that if you do the work, it’s worth it. That your bucket will be filled, that you will be happier, healthier, find more peace, patience and joy and that the people around you will also find more peace, patience and joy.


Yeah, so plug in to Journey and it’s a start to start building those relationships. You can contact us in many different ways and just reach out to us through the website at, and we appreciate you listening. And Terry, thank you so much for coming out of the counseling office and sharing some insights that… Again, you’re seen every day, right?


Oh, yeah, and I love doing this. I love being able to kind of share some things with people on a broad scale so they can kind of work on their relationships. So I can only see one person at a time.


Yeah, that’s right. That’s right. So let’s do the coaching thing. Again, counseling is great, but a lot of us do the coaching thing so we might not have to necessarily go into the counseling office.


There you go-


All right.


Trying to put us out of business.


There you go. Thanks for listening.


Thank you for listening. Tune in next time and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at, and check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at




Have you stopped to think about the legacy you are creating? Part of the legacy that we are leaving is how we talk about God in the environments that we are in the most. Today on the podcast, Jeff, Don, Doug and Sarah offer encouragement to business leaders who want to share their faith at work but aren’t sure where to start.

Transcription of the Podcast


It’s not about that. And that’s the sad thing is that getting people to have this grand understanding that it’s not about what we have here today. It’s not about what we have five years from now. It’s about the legacy that you’re creating and where you are going to be when all of this is over with.

Speaker 2:

Your life, your journey starts now.


My name’s Doug Wagner, your guest host for this edition of the podcast, sitting with Jeff Carlson. Jeff, good afternoon.


Good afternoon.


Thanks for allowing me to take this chair.


Thank you for just jumping into that chair.


This is a wonderful idea. Don Evans along with us as well. One of the most fabulous voices I’ve ever heard. Don.


How you’re doing today, Doug?




Glad to be here, which I hope to learn some stuff.


Could you say the alphabet to me?


A, B, C, D, E, F, G.


And that’s the show, right there. That’s all it is. And Sarah Banowetz, whose studios we’re in, Banowetz Marketing and Communications. Thanks for freeing up your studios.


Thanks for being here.


Well, okay, it’s something, especially this time of year when we get toward the big game, you have national championship games. March Madness is right around the corner. You have lots of athletes. You’re going out there and these athletes at the end of the game, they say, “Well, first of all, I want to thank my Lord and savior, Jesus Christ for helping me become the person that I am today.” And you get a lot of people kind of look funny at them. They used to look more funny at them until Tim Tebow came along.




Saw somebody who is really kind of the real deal. The question that we’re dealing with in this podcast today is, what if you took that same passion for Christ and you transferred it into a boardroom or into a business setting? Now, we were talking before about being at a conference where you had a number of people up on stage talking about what makes their company special or different, things like that. And the one thing that didn’t come up, Jeff, was…


The whole spiritual part, because I was really looking forward to this. This was a conference. It was about a very short compressed like hour and a half.


Right, right.


It had all these-


Panel talk.


Yeah, panel talk. All of these successful business people and I’m like, “Oh, this’ll be great.” We get to the end and there’s like zero mention of anyone’s faith or their spiritual walk or anything like that. And I’m like, “Well, somebody’s got to have something there.”


Do you think it’s absent from what their life is or do you think it’s just something they may be scared of saying?


My sense is, it is something that people are just scared of. We don’t all have the spiritual gift of evangelism, like Sarah, so. But even beyond that, I think sometimes, there’s just so much noise out there on social media and people get attacked. And so, I think some of us, we just maybe get scared.




Could be some men kind of feel inferior over it and just don’t want to… It’s been rough for me being a roughneck to lean into that based on all the people that I grew up with and around. They’re like, “What do you mean, Don’s going all this Jesus thing now.” And I get that a lot and I’m like, “Yeah, well, it’s pretty cool. You ought to try it.”


Wait, what do you mean by inferior though?


Yeah, that’s what I was going to ask you. Explain what you mean.




They feel that you’re inferior?


No. I think we do. I think we are afraid. When I first started being very public about my Christianity, even as forward as I am, I struggled with it, Doug. I mean, I just like, yeah, I don’t want to tell everybody. I mean, it’s just going to shock the whole world. But once you do it for a little bit, it’s like anything. It’d be like we talked about this morning. Now, it’s just become a habit. So now, I’m codependent on Jesus. I think that’s pretty cool.


That’s not a bad spot to be.


Yeah, I think we’re good with that, right?


Exactly. Sarah, what are the two things that we’re taught not to talk about in polite company?


Politics and religion.


Okay. You think that might be part of it and it’s just being, that’s polite company at that point? Or is there, I mean, is there a place in the corporate environment for maybe evangelism or sharing one’s belief in Christ?


I think people might, business owners might be concerned that they will get sued too, in our day and age. I don’t think anyone really knows what the rules are. There is that talk about the separation of church and government, and we use that in schools. And how does that translate into the working world? I mean…






Legally, I mean, that’s a completely different proposition. It’s that whole concept of the first amendment as freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. I think so many people have interpreted it as it’s freedom from religion. So, they think everywhere they go, they could be free from somebody pushing it on them. But in a corporate environment, have you been around people who have said, “Hey, let’s take the opportunity to have a moment in prayer?” Or even something as benign as, “A moment of reflection so we can open up our minds and our hearts to what we’re doing today.” Have you ever been in a situation like that, Sarah?


I have done that at Banowetz Marketing.




I also know that… I’m part of EntreLeadership, which is Dave Ramsey’s business leadership program. And I know that at-


Never heard of him.


I know that-


He’s on your station, man.


I know that Dave Ramsey does that with his company.


Oh, that guy, he’s going places.


Yeah, right.


But otherwise, I don’t really have experience with that.


For you, Jeff, what about you? You can maybe… And I know where you stand personally, but have you been in environments where it’s available, it’s an opening?


Other than my own business that I’ve… This’ll be our 28th year. We’ve certainly incorporated, very intentionally, being open to God’s leading with the people that work there, and even some outreach things. In fact, a few years ago, I don’t know if you’re familiar with Andy Stanley, but he’s got some very good teaching. And we actually invited people in to listen to some of his little teaching segments, so. But no, other than the company I own and run, no, I haven’t.


Well, have you? I mean…






Oh, yes, definitely. There’s a couple of different areas, in fact. As a leader of a nonprofit housing agency, I was… One of the things we did is, we had that act of prayer. But in addition to that, go into places where people had moved out or people were going to move in, pray for the people who left, pray for the people who came in, and this was something that was very reflective. Don, wanted to come back to you real quick because this is something where I worked with what you called yourself. I worked with roughnecks when I worked at an affordable housing agency. It took a while of seeing that, but what your experience was in corporate farming, was that a place where it was welcome at all or-




It was not something-


When I was in corporate America, in the agriculture business, all through the ’80s, ’90s and even the 2. The last go around with that was in 2012. There was nothing involved with any prayer of any kind there, just excessive amounts of drinking after work. It was horrible. If you even mentioned the word Jesus around there, you got the deer in the headlights look.


Exactly. Well, the only way somebody would is that, “Oh, Jesus, I’ve got a headache.” And that’s when they came, from the hangover the next day. So, how do we do something about them? Is it something that we should be doing something about, is finding a way to bring spirituality into the boardroom, into the business environment? Or is it just a matter, Jeff, of saying, “I’m going to be an example for what Jesus can do in my life and by living that example, people can see it.”


Oh, yeah, that’s a great question. So, one of the things that I have drawn a line on is, we do not want to use Jesus to sell cars. I’m in the car business. Because I think too oftentimes then, in these kind of settings, we sort of put our faith out there and we wear it on our sleeve. And it’s like, “Well, gee, I am a good person. I’m a Christian. See? I’ve got my Jesus fish on the wall. Buy from me.” And I think that is, you really got to be careful there. For me, I’ve just drawn a line in the sand and I… In fact, people come in some time and they’ll say, “Well, Jeff, we’ve heard you run a Christian business.” And I go, “Oh, hang on here a second. If you hear that, still do your due diligence. Still walk in with eyes wide open because we don’t sell the perfect car. There isn’t that perfect car out there. You still need to do your due diligence, get it checked out,” so on and so forth.


So, I do think we have to be careful when and how, but I think we need to be open to those promptings. And for me, it’s after that sale’s been done or with employees and staff, to sort of sense, “Okay, what might be an opening here? And what opening might I actually walk through and be bold and clear?”


And I think one of the concerns that I have as I’m sitting here thinking about this is, we write the paychecks. So, how can we say, “Oh, you guys, it’s not mandatory, but we’re going to do a Bible study every Tuesday at lunchtime” or whatever. But then, I mean, you do realize that the employees are sitting there thinking, “Oh, well, that person writes my check.”


They sign the paycheck.


Yeah. And so, I don’t want to manipulate or force anyone to do something that they’re not comfortable with it.


Yeah. I think that’s some of actually, the court cases that have been in the past and they’ve had decisions one way and then they’ve had decisions another. What about, Sarah, just the whole concept of saying, “You know what? We are a Christian-based business.” Like Jeff said, “We don’t sell the biblically perfect car, but we’re going to do like every other failing Christian, which we all are. We’re going to do the best that we can to live within the rules set by the tenets of Christianity.” And regardless of the Bible study, is that fair game for employers? Is that fair game for small businesses?


What would that look in practical, in practice?


In practicality?




Okay. Walk into the office. Do you have a cross up? Do you have a religious or faith-based poster? Is it something where you do have a Bible on your desk and a Bible study that you do, whether it’s with other people in the office somewhere? Just, you do it, you example it, but you don’t make a big to-do about it.


Exactly. And that is what that is. I agree with that. I mean, we hit two years for Banowetz Marketing last week and we went out for-




Thank you, I appreciate that. We went out for brunch together. And I did, it was, I mean, the first two years of a business is incredibly difficult and I did feel compelled that we should pray over our meal. And so, I asked one of my employees to do that and she did. But even that felt like walking the line because you’re in a public place and everyone’s bowing their head and stuff and I don’t know what the beliefs are of all of my team members, nor do I ask them. But that felt like walking the line. But yeah, I mean, I have a Bible in my office and…


And Don, I mean, when we’re taking a look at something like this, when you look at the ability for it, people are individuals. You’re also a truck driver. You have a completely different atmosphere in which to do that as well. Because there are some long-haul truck drivers I know. They’re the most competent, faithful Christians I’ve ever met because they have a lot of study time on the road that they take advantage of. And how do you, I mean, how can you on the road, how can you be an example for other people? Maybe not in a corporate atmosphere, but say for example, if you’ve got a group of people that run roughly the same route, and you see them over and over again, can you figure out a way to work Jesus into the conversation, where you’re not beating them about the head and neck with the Bible?


Oh, yeah. It was pretty simple. I’d done it for years, even before I would be what I would consider myself now, a follower of Jesus Christ. And I mean, I’ve said it in podcasts before, Doug, I’m on the Jesus train. I hear people, farmers back in the day, before I’ve gotten this devoted to Christianity, and as recently as now in the last week when his name is used in vain, and we’re not going to say it, but we all know what it is, the listeners do too, is just say, “No, he didn’t. He walked on water.” And they’re just like, “What?” I’m like, “No, think about what you just said. You used his name in vain, but the man walked on water and he died on a cross for us. So, could we just kind of skip over that from now on?” And luckily enough, based on my body size and my voice, I have not got any pushback on that other than-




They just turn and walk by me and go, “Okay, whatever, boss.”


It’s definitely understandable. Definitely understandable. One of the things that you brought up, I think, that really sort of is, I guess, the concept, when you’re taking a look at people, the way that popular culture has denigrated, not just Christianity, but most other faiths too, in they’ve just completely diluted it down to something where people, if you say, “Well, Jesus Christ had walked on water,” “Well, that’s just because he didn’t know how to swim.” They tried to make him imperfect. With the point comes down it’s like, we’re imperfect beings as followers of Christ, and you admitted that. I admit that. But there’s an expectation, I think, of people who are Christians, who do believe that they live by the red letters. They’ve got to follow those red letters right down to the T and if you don’t, then you’re a hypocrite. What’s the difference between a hypocrite and a sinner? I mean, in reality, what is the difference between a hypocrite and a sinner?


Nothing, except for the fact that the hypocrite says that they’re not a sinner.


There you go.


Yeah. Because we’re all sinners. I mean, the whole world gets the fact that we’re a sinner. Our pastor at church, our interim pastor, everybody noticed it right away. He opens every sermon in prayer, Doug. And right in the very beginning of the prayer he said, “Lord, forgive me because I know that I too am a sinner and I just hope that you open up the hearts of everybody.” He admits it every single week, four times a weekend, that “I am a sinner.” And we all are. And going back to what you said about Tim Tebow, and take the Kurt Warners of the world-


Oh, yeah.


From Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I’ve watched Kurt, I’ve seen him in person. I shook his hand. So, what I would say and what I’ve been trying to do since October of last year, late teen, is be bold about it, and not be afraid of it. Because what do I got to lose? If there is no heaven and I’m walking around telling people about Jesus, then it doesn’t work out. At least I’ve had a lot of hope. And like Jeff says, about using Andy Stanley. I mean, I hope everybody in the world hears this. If a guy can predict his own death and resurrection in three days and pull it off, how are you going to deny that he’s not Jesus Christ, our Lord?




It just blows my mind.


Yeah. Well, let’s bring it back to the beginning here real quick. Talking with Don Evans, with Sarah Banowetz and Jeff Carlson, the original posit that we had out there was this concept that, why are businesses, why are business leaders maybe hesitant or reticent to address their spiritual relationship when they’re talking about the things that help them in their business, formulate what they do on a daily base, when you’re talking a best of kind of panel? I’m going to throw this out there and see what you think about it.


Every business leader is expected to be perfect within their business. You look at Boeing, the big mistakes that were made here over the past year with regard to the 737 Max and some other things. They’re expected to be absolutely bulletproof. Maybe the idea that by stating your Christian principles that you are not standing on your own, but you’re standing on the shoulders of a risen savior, that makes you a little bit weaker, like you were talking about. What do you think about that idea from the outside looking in? Could that be a possibility, of why individuals are not interested because they’re not taking responsibility for their own actions? They’re leading at the foot of the cross.




Well, let’s go a step further, Doug. Let’s be honest. Totally honest. I just had a meeting with a quote-unquote leader, not a church leader, but a leader in a church atmosphere.




We had this conversation and his comment to me was, “I don’t know that I’m based in the question you’re asking me, Don. I know I’m not really sure that I’m probably leading quite as well as I should be.” And I said, “I know.” Since I’ve been a young boy, I had been taught by old farmers. Some lead, some follow, and some just get the heck out of the way. And I just feel that leaders in corporate America don’t properly know how to lead. And they’re too afraid to step up and say, “No, this is what we’re going to do. This is the way it’s going to be. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. We’re going to lead this way. This is how I want my company to run.”


You’re doing it with your people, praying over lunch. And there’s a few athletes out there, they’re doing it. And I don’t know why everybody’s afraid to just say it. It’s just like it’s killing people to say, “Jesus Christ is my Lord and savior, and without him, we’re all dust.” You can’t work your show and do what you do without Christ. I know you can’t. I don’t even know if you’re a believer. I just met you today.


But here’s the thing. Some people, they don’t believe it. Or if they believe it, they just, it’s kind of in the periphery of what they do. It’s not the core of what they do. And I think that’s a big part of it.




They like to pick and choose what they want to follow.


You’re right. And we can’t stop them from doing that. That’s, I mean… So then, the question is, again, when you have individuals like that, is there something that we can do as individuals to help raise them up? Is there something we can do as individuals around them in order to empower them? Or is this just, you give them a direction, you pray, and then let Christ do what Christ does? Jeff?


Well, and I think a couple of things there, Doug. One is, to your point, as a first step to realize, none of us are perfect. So, if I’m a business leader and I’m out there giving a presentation on what has made me quote-unquote successful, I need to realize if I stand up and talk about my faith, I’m not perfect. There’s no perfect business person out there. So, I think just realizing that is helpful. And then the other thing is, just what Don talked about, the fear thing too, right? I mean, there’s just that fear of, okay, if I mention something spiritual, if I sort of blur the line of this separation, as much as that’s been mis-queued and mis-skewed, mis-talked about, separation of church and state.


But as long as I’m willing to step into that and blur that a little bit and say, “Well, this is a part of who I am, emotional, physical, and spiritual,” it’s all important. And if I’m willing to just step out there and in some appropriate way communicate that, I need to, “Okay, deep breath.” Yeah, might be a little scary. It might be. I don’t have the gift of evangelism, I just don’t do it naturally, but ought I not think about, “Yeah, I can do that. I can do that.” First couple of times, it might be a little scary.


Well, I think the piece that’s missing from this conversation is the why. Why would… Our business leaders doing it, why or why not? But the big why, which is, why would it even be needed that a business owner would need to say anything at all? And I had just gotten back from… Jeff made me… He is my father. So, although I’m in my late 30s, he still makes me do things.


It ain’t easy, though.


Here’s how I make Sarah do something. I say, “Sarah, don’t go do that.” “No, I’m going to help you.”


So, he sent me off to a leaders…


I have witnessed this happen.


Yeah, Don knows our relationship, Jeff and I, our relationship very well. So, Jeff sent me off to Chicago in December, this last month. And it was about city catalyst movements. Essentially, business leadership, and mixing business leadership and Christianity and impacting society as a result. And one of the speakers said that, and I did not know this, but when we’re talking about actual fishing, 90% of the world’s fish that we consume and use for products and stuff are caught in 10% of the world’s bodies of water.


So, let’s just say that again. 90% of the world’s fish that we use are caught in 10% of the world’s bodies of water. And so, what good fishermen know is that they go where the fish are at. So, they don’t fish where there’s not fish. And so, they were essentially saying that in today’s day and age, the fish, and this was two pastors. The speech was two pastors that I was just there at and they said that that’s where the… What would I say?


Go to where the fertile soil is.


Yeah, go where the fertile soil is. And they were just calling to action pastors and saying, “You really do need to pay attention to the businesses in your church body, because you get to talk with your congregation on Sunday morning. But the business leaders are leaving your congregation on Sunday morning. And they are the ones that are interacting with the community where the fish are at, where the fertile soil is, the rest of the week. And so, you really need to take those business leaders seriously.” As a result, the global leadership summit started years ago. How many years ago, Dad?


Oh, my golly, yeah, decades.


It started as a training to train up pastors, and what it has morphed into is training for business leaders and their teams. And so, this is a nice plug for the upcoming global leadership summit in August, where business leaders can bring their teams and hear Craig Groeschel, Lysa TerKeurst, just some big names in the secular world, and in the Christian world, to teach their leadership teams and just their staff on solid leadership principles.


Making faith a seven-day-a-week object and enterprise.


Yes. Yes.


I mean, really, that’s… I mean, I guess that’s really the big thing is pulling this from the middle of this conversation is taking faith out of just a one-day-a-week on Sunday or the two-day-a-week Sunday and Wednesday, and making it seven days a week, so that not only are you exampling but you’re also creating an environment in which it can grow.


And Doug, I’m going to throw a question back at you then.




Why is that important? Why is it important that we have human beings living out a Christian faith seven days a week?


Because you have examples everywhere you go.


But what does that do for humans?


What does it do for you? It gives them the ability… Well, it does a number that I could sit here. That’s a 30-minute program [crosstalk 00:23:21] itself.


That’s another podcast.


Yeah. That’s a whole nother [crosstalk 00:00:23:23].


No, but what that does is, it gives them the opportunity to not only learn but also become mentors, so that they can spread this and other people can learn. And you also can draw one another together in community because we are meant to be a people of community in Christ. That’s the whole point of it is that you can worship on your own. You ask any… John McCain, great example, that the folks who were in those cages in Vietnam, they worshiped on their own, figured out a way to worship in community by tapping out in Morse code Sunday services. And then pretty soon, it became more than Sunday services.


We need that kind of community. We need to be able to do that, as brother and sisterhood in Christ, because that brings us closer to our creator, closer to our maker. That brings us closer to the ideals that we want to example, not only for the people that we work with, but also for the people that we live with, walk down the street with, the people that I honked the horn at because they were stopped on a green arrow and they were driving through a red light.


Those people.


I am so sorry about that. I do feel bad, but it’s like I was like, “Man, I’m really going to do this right now, and I just did that.” So, yeah, I-


You never prayed they’d go to heaven, but real soon?


So, for me, that’s it. I don’t know if that was a right or wrong answer.


Well, no. And Don, the community that Doug was talking about, what has that meant to you?


The community?


The community.


The people around me?


Yeah, the community and people around you and living for Christ seven days a week.


Just the raining of blessings. That’s why I’m so on fire to share the word of Christ with everybody, because not just 14 or 15 months ago, you could have considered me a homeless person, and I was in solitude. Our current message up right now is loneliness that you and Terry and I did. I just listened to it for the first night since it’s been aired, but… And here’s something that I want to throw out, not to get any sympathy, and only Jeff and Sarah know this, Doug. I physically… Andy Stanley, we use him a lot and we’re going to, I think, in Journey. The coaches that coached me, Doug, go into the Mount Pleasant prison. I’ve got certified, I can go in there with them now. And we watch Andy Stanley messages. He talks about all the time that people that are young, getting out of college, “Oh, I’ve got to hurry up, I got to get married. I got to do this because time is not in my favor.”


And he said, “You’re wrong. Time is in your favor.” I’m circling back. So, bear with me. Okay, in my case, to be very candidly and not wanting sympathy from nobody, time is not in Don’s favor because of the way I’ve abused my health. It’s very, very poor. So, I share at meetings, recovery meetings, “Please, I beg of you, don’t wait so long to quit and break your addictions.” Because then I have to go contrary to what Andy Stanley says, and tell everybody that you don’t want to be me, that time is no longer in my favor. So, what time I have left, I want to utilize that to the best of my ability, and let anyone I can touch know that I’ve had blessings. I’ve reunited with my kids two weeks ago, 13-year gap. There’s just been all kinds of stuff to answer, why I want to tell everybody. Do I to need to say anymore? There’s so many things you can receive.


There is. Well, and if anyone-


And we get taught in church all the time, the more you sow, the more you reap. I’m a farmer. If we planted right, we got more bushels. The more people I touch with Jesus Christ, I just keep getting more blessings. So, let’s, it’s-


And there are lots of episodes of the Journey podcasts where… Go on the website, search for Don, and listen to several of the podcasts that he’s talked about. He dives into that deeper.


Now, mind you, and we’re going to wrap there. We’re not going to Wrap on a negative note, but we do have to say is that in all realism, is that, Don, it is a blessing what’s happened with you. But even if none of that happened and you still are a follower of Jesus, those blessings, the ultimate blessings are in the hereafter.




Where you know that you are going to be in the presence of and the glory of Jesus, right? And that’s the big one, is there are a lot of people who say, “Well, what about those Christians that don’t get those blessings? What about if I’m a business leader and I throw my whole lot in with Jesus Christ and my business goes belly up and I’m homeless and I lose my wife, my kids, and my cars, and their education, their whole future?” It’s not about that. And that’s the sad thing is that getting people to have this grand understanding that it’s not about what we have here today. It’s not about what we have five years from now. It’s about the legacy that you’re creating and where you are going to be when all of this is over with.


Well, we were never promised there weren’t going to be storms in our lives, and we’re supposed to learn from the storms and the trials that we go through.




And so, there’s a lot of ways to look at that.


So, Jeff, what’s the best way as business leaders, when you go back to a place like that and you have these business leaders sitting in front of you, what would you like to hear when they ask, best practices, within your life, within your companies?


Nothing pushed, nothing forced. Just open, honest, “Hey, here’s the spiritual part of my life.” Just incorporate it in. It doesn’t have to be a hundred percent of your talk, but at least have something there, if it’s there, and just share that clearly and boldly.


All right. If you’re listening, you’re getting a good coaching right here, because this is the kind of stuff that you’re probably looking for. Take this to heart. These are words that are just off the cuff. None of this stuff has been rehearsed. My name’s Doug Wagner. I’ve been sitting here with Sarah Banowetz, Jeff Carlson, and Don Evans. And thank you for inviting me on this edition of the journey. I really appreciate it.


Well, thank you so much.


Thank you, Doug. I appreciate you being here.


Thanks for being on.


You’ve listened to another episode of the Journey podcast. We’re glad that you are with us. Feel free to like and subscribe on your favorite channels. And we will talk to you later. Thank you.


Thank you for listening. Tune in next time and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at And check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at

Speaker 2:

Your life, your journey starts now.

Ian’s Journey To College

At one point or another, we all are faced with new stages in life. Fear of the unknown can feel paralyzing at times until another person shares their story. You quickly find out that you are not alone and that many others are facing the same fears and struggles as you are. Join Jeff and Ian today as they discuss Ian’s Journey to College.

Transcription of the Podcast


And you don’t really realize it until you start meeting people and they all have the same struggles as you. And you’re like, “Oh, I’m not alone. I’m not the only one feeling this way.”

Speaker 4:

You life, your journey starts now.


Hello everybody. We are here with Another Journey podcast. I’m sitting across from Ian Crumley. Hello, Ian.




I’m Jeff Carlson. We’re going to talk a little bit about sort of this navigating the stage of life called transition from high schooler to college dude. The last time I saw you and he was leaving the studio and he was kind of looking a little sheepish going to Iowa State and now he’s sitting high in the saddle.


Yes, sir.


First year freshmen looking good. So thinking back to my days in college as a guy going into college, I think the big questions were a number one, where are the women? And number two, where’s the beer? So I don’t know if this changed at all over the last number of years.


There’s definitely a big part. A pretty, I don’t know, a toxic part of a lot of people going into college.


Well, it’s that first step away right from home. And I think some people really just get out there and it’s party time and other people it’s kind of say, no, I’m going to be serious about this. Yeah.


Yeah. I think there’s been a more like radical shift towards the education part. There’s a lot of like student run groups and student run clubs that like promote like just leadership and education and studying habits and all that stuff. And even on my floor we have individual floor names for my dorm. I live in Joe Free hall and my dorm, we have a parliament and we have, I’m actually the education chair for my floor. So like I can print out posters to convince people to study more or print out fun facts about studying habits.


Ah, yeah.


It’s not as serious as some other stuff, but it’s still fun.


Yeah. Well, and you had mentioned before we started talking this morning just about all of the different things that are available, all the different activities and all the different social activities and that kind of thing too. So, I mean there’s just a lot hitting young people as they wander into college, right?


Yeah. Like I was saying earlier, you walk into the Memorial Union, which is the main building on campus and you could stay in there for about 30 minutes and find something to do every day for the rest of the week because there’s just so many opportunities and so many people looking for volunteers and so many people looking for members for their club that it’s almost like how can you not fill your time when you’re at college?


Right, right. So let me just, let’s take our listeners back here. So you’re literally driving, did you drive yourself or have like folks take you?


Yeah, my parents took me.


Okay. So let’s go back to that moment because you know, you are driving into Iowa State and you’re looking at this place, “Hey, this is different, right? We’re not at mom and dad’s house anymore here.”


No, we’re not.


So sort of take us through if you could those first hours, days of what it’s like to jump into that whole college experience if you’re willing to do that.


Yeah, so definitely I was extremely excited. So essentially the whole car ride just because I didn’t really know what to expect. But I’ve gone through a lot of change in my life, I’ve moved three times and so change really isn’t super horrible for me as is for some people, like my girlfriend kind of had a rougher time getting into the college transition because she’s stayed in the same home since she’s been born. She’s grown up in the same school district. She’s never moved obviously. And then just going from being super close with her parents to not having parental figures at all in college was a huge transition. For me, it wasn’t so much just because rather I-


Go with the flow.


Yeah, yeah, yeah.


And it’s an adventure. So it’s sort of that mindset of the person coming in. It’s like, is this an adventure or is this terrifying? Or somewhere in the middle. So with your girlfriend, kind of maybe looking at that in a little bit different way than you, did you kind of give her some, a little bit of coaching, a little informal coaching of how to kind of look at that?


Yeah, sort of. I mean, I wanted her to get involved and busy because when you’re involved and busy, you forget about all the bad things essentially.


Yeah. You’re focused on the good, the positive.


So there’s like Destination Iowa State, which was this freshman orientation program, which was interesting. Not super fun, but it kept us busy and so we did that and we went out to eat and stuff and just kept our mind off of things until it became normal almost. And so that allowed her specifically to like relax and get settled in and finally focus on what’s exciting about this whole process rather than what’s terrifying about this whole process.


Now, that’s interesting you say that because in Journey we talk about more of a kind of a intentional, either there’s even a booklet of seven sessions, but what you were doing there was just informal one-on-one coaching. You were a little bit farther ahead in terms of like, “Oh this is a good thing. This is going to be a positive.” And she was a little concerned and so it was just coming alongside her and saying, “Here, let’s move forward on this journey, this next step into college journey in a positive way.” So what I’m hearing then is mindset really matters then because two people going into the same situation. Your girlfriend was looking at it different than than you. And so that’s probably a big factor of the kids that are going into a situation like that.


So again, moving forward then, what are some of the things that you saw that you experienced that you saw people maybe getting stuck a little bit maybe that you were encountering as you were moving into those next days and weeks getting acclimated?


Definitely making friends was a boundary for everyone because, me included, actually. I consider myself rather social. I can make friends pretty easily, but I was still super nervous going in. That was the one thing I was most worried about for about two weeks. My first two weeks was just what friend group? Because what friend group am I going to have? What friends am I going to surround myself with? And so I was a little paranoid but.


And that’s huge, right? Because there are, let’s face it again, going back to the partying and stuff, there are the party folks, there’s a very serious folks. And then there’s a folks kind of in the middle. But that’s kind of interesting that you were really intentional. It seems like you were intentional anyway. Like looking at that going, I really need to make some good choices here going in, because that’s going to be important.


Yeah. And so that being a main concern, well this wasn’t the only reason I joined this, but I joined a fraternity Phi Kappa Psi and I’ve actually met basically my best friends through that. I have like three pretty main friends through Phi Psi and that’s been a huge part of my college is just like all of these super awesome guys and yeah.


So again going back to, you said there was some nervousness about making friends and knowing you, you are a very personable guy. I mean it’s probably easier for you, I would sense, if you took a scale of how easy is it to make friends you’d be on probably the easier to make friends scale than a lot of people. But even for that you are looking at it like, “Wow, this is a little bit daunting.” How did you kind of go about that? Maybe, how did you even think about like the whole fraternity thing? Was that something that you looked at before you actually got to school or was that something after you got to school, you looked at fraternities, even that piece of it a little bit maybe of how you went about it?


Yeah, so luckily I knew people from my old high school who are in the fraternity that I’m currently in. I know a lot of people who got to Iowa State and had no intention of being in a fraternity. But then on formal rush weekends, which are just recruitment weekends, they ended up actually joining one and being super happy about it. Other things I did to kind of push my making friends ability I guess was introducing myself to my neighbors, which is a pretty huge one because you live next to them all year and if there’s anything wrong or anything you need, you always have a friendly face to go to. So that was super nice.


So you took the initiative then in a lot of those cases to kind of step out and introduce you.


And also not only me, a lot of actually people on my floor came. I left my door open for the first few days while the classes didn’t go on because that’s a common thing I guess. And people just walked in, they’re like, “Hey, my name is this.” And I’m like, “Hi, my name is Ian, nice to meet you. I live here.” And so that was cool.


Well and that’s neat because you guys, and that’s a unique situation about that first step in the college. Everybody’s in that situation. Is your dorm more freshmen then?




Well there you go. So it’s the kind of thing where everybody’s put into that pool and everybody’s equally uncomfortable, which is pretty cool how they do that.


Yeah. And you don’t really realize it until you start meeting people and they all have the same struggles as you.




And you’re like, “Oh, I’m not alone. I’m not the only one feeling this way.”


If you could. And again, without breaking any confidences or whatever. What were some of the struggles? What are some of the things that people are talking about coming into their freshman year?


Definitely the study habits. Because study habits from high school that got you by do not work in college and that is a fact. It was very hard to discover because I got by pretty easily in high school. I would just take my time during class to do my homework because like here’s the thing, high school 8:30 to whenever, 3:30 I think, you have classes all throughout the day and it’s your school day, but even those classes are split up. A lot of them are even split up over the year. So you have all this time to learn this little content over a whole year. So you’ve got lot of time in the class to work on stuff. In college, it’s over four and a half months and you’re learning a lot more than you would have in high school in four and a half months. And there’s no time during class and you just have to find time outside of class and it sucks at first, but you get used to it.


So it’s a discipline thing, right?


It really is.


To say, and again it goes back to A, I can go party and have fun or B, I can study. I mean is it that simple?


And there’s a strong correlation between those you see like partying all the time and their grades. Because you can have fun with your friends on a weekend or something.




But if it’s Monday through Friday during the day or at night, school. And another thing, this is my education chair in Phi Kappa Psi said “Treat college like it’s your full time job”. So from 8:30 to five, your mind’s just there when you’re doing homework and you’re studying and you’re going to class and you just do whatever you have to do because it’s school and you’re paying for it and you don’t want to waste anything because why would you?


Well now that’s, but that’s a great comment though because again, I’m just looking at reality here. What percentage of the kids, and this is going to be hard for you to say because you’re right in it, but even at gut feeling what percentage of the kids going in and look at it that way. Because that’s a very conscientious way to, you’re paying for your parents, you’re going to take care of it. But then there are those folks that are like, “Hey, this is just a license to have fun.”


Yeah. There’s a higher percentage of people who think it’s a license to have fun than that treat it like it’s supposed to I guess.


Yeah. So we need to wrap this one up Ian and we’ll get you back for like part two of the step into college podcast here or dive into the deep end of college or you know, paddle around the shallow end of the pond depending on where people are at. But just kind of to close, I do think one of the things I see in you and that I sense is there is that level of discipline of just sort of integrity. When you walked into those college doors, it’s pretty clear that you are not just looking for the next party. Here’s the challenge with what we’re doing here. I would love if some of the kids out there that are more on that party track could just kind of take a heads up directional reboot here.


Because here’s the thing, if a person is going into this situation and if they do look at it as a party and if they do just kind of blow it off, it’s not just affecting the next week or two or the next four years even. I mean it’s affecting the trajectory of their life. And so if people can just say, Hey, you know, and it’s hard to do because it is, right, right. You’re young and it’s like, “Hey, I’ve got my whole life ahead of me.” But the choices that are made at your stage of the game really do affect the rest of your life. And so that’s something that if somebody is listening and they’re like, “You know, I think the partying is fun but I think it’s not going to end real well.” Take a step towards us and you know you can check out a few more of these podcasts and you can just jump in here.


I might go off of that real quick too. Because sometimes people find it hard to look in the long run.


Right. Because it’s easy to look at it in the next hour and the next day. Right.


But one thing in the short run that I’ve seen a lot and experienced actually because about halfway through the semester I started going on a little slope towards, I’m not going to study as much because things are going well, which then kind of kicked me and I went back up. But if you just take time to study, take time to go to class, to go to class.


That’s right.


Huge one.


Yeah. Be in the room.


Because no amount of notes can suffice not going to class. That’s one thing I’ve learned. It will not only make you less stressed out, but you actually end up working less because if you just take the little amount of work it is to go to class and to study, you make up for the huge amount of work it is to make up for the lost time, the lost knowledge you could have had by going to class and studying.




Because when test time comes and you’re stressing out and you want to pull your hair out and everything in the world is going horribly, that’s when you’ll wish that you went to class. So just do it in the first place, and you’ll never have to worry about that and then you’ll just be happy.


Right, right. Yeah. It’s a lot easier to move forward when you haven’t crashed and burned rather than having crashed and burned. So if we can help it all through Journey Coaching with that, just reach out. You can reach out to us in many different ways. And it’s as simple as just taking that step and finding out more of bringing some people alongside you. And you may have those, like you had said, Ian, you had those people, you reached out, but sometimes it just takes a little bit more intentional step. And so if we can help in any of those ways, let us know. Again, thanks for jumping in and taking out some your time on your time off here. So yeah, thanks for listening.


Thank you.

Speaker 2:

Thank you for listening. Tune in next time and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at and check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at

Speaker 4:

You life, your journey starts now.

Sarah’s Story of God’s Grace

From a monumental panic attack to knowing that God’s grace is sufficient, Sarah’s story is inspiring and encouraging. Join Jeff and Don as they interview Sarah on her story of God’s grace in her life.

Transcription of the Podcast

Don: In a very short sentence, sum up what you believe grace is.

Sarah: That’s a really good question. Because I keep saying, when I keep saying the definition, which is God’s unmerited favor for sinful mankind. But if I was going to make it personal, it’s God’s unearned love for me.

Sarah: (singing)

Jeff: Welcome to the Journey Podcast. This is Jeff Carlson. And today we’re going to talk about the grace of God. We’re going to talk about it with Sarah, and Sarah’s here. Hello Sarah.

Sarah: Hello.

Jeff: And Don is here also. And Don will be asking Sarah a few questions. In an earlier podcast we talked to Don about this topic, and it was a great podcast. And Sarah just thought, “Hey,” she’d want to jump into this topic too. So, anyway, let’s just jump right in. And Don, do you want to just say a few words.

Don: Yeah. I want to say thanks, Jeff, first of all for introducing us. And I know that you’re getting better at that on a day-to-day basis.

Jeff: Hey, I’m trying man.

Don: We’re proud of you, your daughter’s sitting here looking at you-

Sarah: We’re getting a little better at this podcasting thing as we do it, right?

Don: Well yeah, we’re all just going to chill man, take a chill pill and get it on. Yeah, so I will jump right into this Sarah, because now it’s payback time.

Sarah: Thanks, Don.

Don: Yeah, you’re welcome. The last time we were talking, we finished up, you had asked me about kind of to summarize what I felt was the grace of God in my life because of my past. And for folks listening to the podcast, this will bait them to listen to another one if they’ll listen to that one first. So please keep listening.

Sarah: Yeah. Please listen to Don’s podcast first.

Don: Come on, listen to them all, not just mine, all of them. There’s so much here. And we’ll try to keep them in line. And that’s what we’re doing. So, with that being said, I gave you my spin on what grace means to me. And you’re not even about half my age, so can I hear what your definition of grace is?

Sarah: Well, yeah. So, I actually thought that grace was just a nice girl’s name. And I have an interesting story about God’s Grace. But before I get into that, I do just want to mention that, I do just want to mention that, if you listen to Don’s podcast you know that he struggled with alcoholism and he’s had a fairly rough life. That’s…

Don: That’s an understatement, it’s true, very true.

Sarah: … that’s of… yeah. And I’ve had a different story than Don’s story. So, I was actually raised by Jeff and Terry Carlson who are the creators of Journey. And I feel like Journey was really much… it came out of the way that I was raised. So, my mom, she was a nurse when I was young. And she went on to become a licensed counselor, and works as a Christian counselor. And Journey was written by her along with Pastor Mike. If you’re just listening you probably have a hard time understanding what I mean when I say that I was raised that way. But when you go through Journey I think that you’d look back at what I’m saying right now and be like, “Oh, that makes sense.” So the questions that are asked, the nurturing that is in Journey Coaching, that’s how I was raised. So meaning, when I had problems with my friends, and it was 9:30 p.m. on a school night, and I had a hard time falling asleep, my mom was there asking me these questions. Their similar questions in what Journey Coaching is all about. And so-

Don: So let me interrupt you there. You mean, so that the questions in Journey Coaching, then you feel are a lot like questions that you had the blessing and the grace to ask your parents?

Sarah: No, that they asked me, that my mom asked me.

Don: Okay, I got you.

Sarah: So, she took parenting and she wrote it down. I really kind of feel like Journey Coaching is kind of like parenting or nurturing for adults. I mean, kids could do it to. But it’s doing really good parenting and writing it down, and then helping us parent each other almost to an extent. Which is weird, and I’ve never really said it that way, but that’s when I went through the coaching. So, when you go through the coaching, and the questions that are asked, those were the things that my mom asked me. So, those were the things that she walked me through when I was growing up. Like, “What are your strengths, Sarah?” And helping lead me to finding my strengths, and dealing with weaknesses in a healthy way. And so that’s how I was raised. So I accepted Christ when I was eight years old. And then I was raised in a very healthy environment. I feel like, I mean, every family deals with their issues. Especially my dad and I, we have our-

Jeff: Oh, do we have any issues, Sarah? Come on. I think we’re enough alike where maybe there’s a few things. The sparks fly.

Sarah: I mean even this-

Don: You know, that father/daughter thing could probably get in the way every once in a while.

Sarah: Don even admonished us earlier today. He was like-

Don: I don’t even know what that word means folks.

Sarah: … oh good critique.

Don: I reprimanded them.

Sarah: Yeah. Just, enjoy your relationship and stuff, and don’t take it for granted. And Don told us that earlier. So, I was raised in a really healthy environment I feel like. And-

Jeff: Well, and can I just jump with just a thought with the environment and things?

Sarah: What’s that?

Jeff: So, you mentioned your mom’s grace, which I definitely agree with. And then there’s another thing that we talk about sometimes is truth. And the truth is, “Sarah, it’s 8:00 in the morning, the bus is coming, you really need to get on the bus today.” Now, there’s not a whole lot of grace there, it’s like, “Sarah, you need to get up and get on the bus,” right?

Sarah: Yeah. So what he’s saying is, that the grace came from my mom and that you know.

Jeff: Well, yeah, but yeah, it did-

Sarah: There was a lot of hard… I mean, I was held to a very high standard, especially since I was the oldest. And my parents owned a company, and I worked there. And my dad held me to a high standard. Which is funny now, when he tells me when I’m holding my own children to a high standard, and he’s like, “Can’t you just give them a little grace?” And I’m like-

Jeff: Drill sergeant Sarah.

Don: Isn’t it funny how we as parents kind of change our tune a little bit.

Sarah: Well, thinking because grandparents, grandparents not as hard as parents. I’m like, “Do you remember a similar situation?” I would not have gotten away with that. So, yeah.

Don: Yeah. But I think it’s really something that’s been hitting me lately, is this balance between grace and truth, and trying to get that… not that it’s going to be perfect, but get it well, so to balance those out, you know?

Sarah: I think they’re not opposite ends of the spectrum either. Because grace can be truthful too. But there’s… I don’t think God is an enabling God. He’s not going to enable you. So, let’s lead into this story. So, this is a story that I kept quiet. And you know what, Don? I’m going to let you decide if this is even… you guys are going to decide if this even something that we want to actually air.

Don: Okay.

Sarah: So, this is a story that I kept quiet for years. I did not tell people. Because I rightfully so would think that they thought I was crazy. So, this is my story with grace. I have always wanted to have children. I got married young, and we were married for three years when our oldest son was born. And I had my very first panic attack during my scheduled C-section with my oldest son. And I did not know what the panic attack was, I just felt like I was dying. And they even hooked me up to the heart monitor. So I really did think that there was a physical problem. And I had prayed and asked God to just let me live so that I could take care of my husband and my son.

Don: Amen.

Sarah: I was 21-years-old. And about seven months went by, and I really was convinced that I had almost died during my C-section. And about seven months went by, and I was actually at the movie theater watching a movie about firefighters. And it hit me again. And I had my second panic attack. And I went out to the lobby and that’s when I knew that, “Wait, this is a panic attack, because obviously I’m not in surgery at this moment,” and everything else was fine. And that was the start of a different kind of story about anxiety and panic attacks, and a long line of dealing with that. But what else was a catalyst at that moment was the fact that a month prior, I had actually found out I was pregnant a second time.

Sarah: So, having that second panic attack was actually a blessing, because I realized, “Wait a second, maybe I will survive a second child.” But a month prior to that second panic attack, I actually found out I was pregnant. I had a neighbor over at my house that night, and she had asked me, she said, “Sarah, when are you going to have another child?” And I looked at her and I said, I go, “Never.” And she’s like, “What?” Like, the look on her face was shocking, because you don’t usually have a 21-year-old with a baby say never. And I said, “Well maybe in five years I’ll adopt.” Because I was convinced that it was a death sentence if I got pregnant again. And she walked out. And it was about 9:00 p.m. that night. She walked out, I looked at my calendar, and I realized, I should probably check something. So I went into Hy-Vee and I got a test, and I came home and it turned positive instantly.

Don: Praise God.

Sarah: Well, that’s what-

Don: Not how you looked at it, was it?

Sarah: That is now how I looked at it. So I walked out of the bathroom, and my husband was just so excited, and he hugged me. And I said, “Don’t touch me, that’s how got into this problem in the first place.”

Don: There you go.

Sarah: And he knew well enough to just be like, “Okay,” he didn’t really say anything. And it was bedtime anyway. So he just want and laid down. And years later I found out he was actually awake this whole time. So this whole time that I thought my husband just went to sleep, he was awake and he was waiting for me. Because my personality is, when something’s bothering me I cannot fall asleep. I ruminate on it, and ruminate on it, and ruminate on it, and he knew that. And so he just left me alone. I wanted to call my aunt who I knew could possibly understand, but it was late and I didn’t want to bother her. So I called my parents, because I can always call my parents at any time. So I called my parents and my mom answered the phone. And I said, “Mom,” I was crying, and I said, “Mom, God has given me something that I cannot handle.” And she told me later that she thought that Matt or my son had died in a car accident.

Sarah: And she goes, “What is it, Sarah?” And I go, “I’m pregnant.” And she started laughing, because obviously that was a good thing instead of my spouse or my child dying in a car accident. And then I was like, “No, this is not…” like, I just couldn’t. And was like… then she’s compassionate, and she’s like, “Okay,” and she’s like, “Well, it’ll be okay.” And then my dad and my brother got on the phone. He was still a child and living at home, a teenager and living at home. And they got on the phone and they congratulated me, but that wasn’t helpful.

Jeff: You know, it was the… anything we can do to not help, just let us know.

Sarah: And so, granted it’s probably 10:00 at night on whatever day.

Don: So, can I interrupt you?

Sarah: Yeah.

Don: So, would it, from where I sit, double your age, would it be fair for me to say at that point in your life, one could say you didn’t have a whole lot of faith. When you said God gave you-

Sarah: I was, I-

Don: … something you couldn’t handle, I’m not sure that… and I’m not picking on you.

Sarah: No, don’t pick on me.

Don: I’m keeping you real [crosstalk 00:11:56]. So it’s very clear that you weren’t trusting God when you make a statement like that. And the reason I caught that, is because I’ve said it all my life, and I’ve always been told by what you call, really devout Christians, “Don Evans, God will never give you more than you can handle.” And my grandma told me something when I was a little boy, I was about six or seven years old. And I do, before I make this comment, I have big shoulders, I’m a big guy. And my grandma, I’ll never forget this quote, she goes, “Donnie, you got the biggest shoulders of any of the grandkids in the family,” and they had 12 kids, so there’s a lot of rugrats running around. And she said, “God’s got a plan for you,” at seven years old. But I didn’t know God. And at that point in your life, you weren’t trusting God.

Sarah: Well, and it’s amazing that you say that. Because here we’re doing a little Journey Coaching right here on this podcast.

Don: Yeah, man.

Sarah: Because, what is it that… there’s a bible verse that talks about, like without… what is it? Like, perfect, wait perfect love casts out fear. And something about a tie between faith and fear. And I can’t remember what that is. But there is a tie between faith and fear. And so what I will say is, my biggest struggle you just nailed on the head, is fear.

Don: Right, that’s, you know-

Sarah: So this lack of faith is coming from this immense fear. And I was very fearful.

Don: But you also know, and I’m going to plug Zach Williams a Christian singer. His song’s one of my favorites, we play it at church, Fear is a Liar. And it is. It’s a liar.

Sarah: Yeah. It is.

Don: And I believed that lie for 59 years.

Sarah: Yeah. No, it is.

Don: So I’m glad you’re opening up about it in your 30s.

Sarah: Well, and so what ended up happening was, talking about that lie is, that I got off the phone with my family, and I went into the other room where my son was sleeping. And he was, I don’t know, six, seven, eight months at that point. And he was sleeping in his crib. And I sat down on the floor. And this is why I haven’t told this story… that in the last eight years, the son that I was pregnant with is 14 now. So, I think about 10 years ago I started sharing it a little bit. And as time goes on I just don’t care anymore. So, I sat down on the floor and I cried. And I have been through some stuff in my life. And yet this was the… I call this day, it was February 7, 2005, I know the date, February 7, 2005 is the date that I call the worst day of my life and my best day of my life. It was the worst day of my life because it was so dark, it was so dark. I’d grown up in a pro-life family and I pride myself on being pro-life. But at that moment I could see it.

Don: You were asking some hard questions weren’t you?

Sarah: I was scared. I was very, very scared. And I looked at my son. I was dealing with a lot of baby blues and stuff too after he was born. And I looked at my son and I thought, “How can I take care of two babies when I don’t even feel like I can take care of one?” And let alone, how am I going to survive this. And I sat on the floor and I sobbed. And it was so dark, it was like a pitch black room in my mind, in my heart. I was sitting there sobbing. And all of a sudden, like a light switch, like when you flip a light switch and the room fills with bright light light, it was like a light switch switched. And I heard audibly, “My grace is sufficient.”

Don: Wow.

Sarah: And I heard Jesus’ voice. And there’s an Amy Grant song that talks about the peace the past is understanding. And I was filled with complete peace at that light switch, at that flip. “My grace is sufficient.” And I will tell you, that the words went straight to my brain. It was like they bypassed my ears, they were audible, they were like physically audible. But they went straight to my brain, they bypassed my ears. I know that if anyone else was in that room they would not have heard the voice, because it went straight to my brain. And it’s the hardest thing to describe. Also, I don’t remember any more, or remember what I thought. But I remember thinking that I’ll never hear that voice… the voice you don’t hear in a human’s voice, it had the strength of a man’s voice and the compassion of a female voice.

Sarah: And I’ve never heard any voice like that. And I will say that the first thing I thought was, like, I just thought, “What’s grace?” I was just like, “Grace is a female’s name.” But I was filled with so much peace, that I stood up, and I walked into my bedroom. I left my son’s bedroom and walked into my bedroom, and I literally fell asleep before my head hit the pillow. And Matt told me, I was telling this story to friends years ago-

Don: That’s not only grace, that’s peace, and peace.

Sarah: … yeah, that was grace. I was telling the story to some friends and Matt goes, he said something… and yeah, he had been awake the whole time. And he actually remembers me… he goes, “You were sobbing and you got up and I was waiting for you to start talking, and then I realized you were completely asleep.” And I was like, “Yeah.” So what ended up happening was, it took about three days, it kind of like Novocaine, it kind of wears off. Like, I was just filled with so much peace that it protected me, and it just slowly wore off. And then after about three days I had to start digging into scripture. Because the anxiety came back. And so one of the first things I did was to search out what grace was. Because, to me it was just a girl’s name. And so, I found out that grade is God’s unmerited or unearned favor for sinful mankind.

Sarah: And it is in 2 Corinthians 12, when Paul is boasting about the weaknesses that he has, because he says, “Jesus says my grace is sufficient for you. For my power is made perfect in weakness.” And the apostle Paul goes on to say, “Therefore I will boast all the more in my weaknesses and hardships and insults…” I’m not quoting it word for word, but… because God’s Grace is shown in all of those. So, in my weaknesses I did not think that I could… so here’s God’s Grace on my life, I did not think that I could take care of one child, and I now have six children. So we went on to have… God just showed me so much about his love and his mercy, and how much he adores children through in his care for me and our family. And we went on to have four biological children and two… we have legal guardianship of our fifth child, and we just legally adopted our sixth child. So that is my story-

Don: Wow. Yeah, that’s quite a story.

Sarah: Of God’s Grace.

Don: You know, for you to go back to the day we met, I’m looking at you and all those young ones, you know, I’m just a hillbilly, I couldn’t help [inaudible 00:19:19]. Okay, I’m looking at the one I’m going to coach, and looking at you, and looking at him. Okay, mathematically this aint working out, this aint right.

Sarah: What do you mean? Oh, the age!

Don: Yeah. Because he looks so much older than he really is, to me. I’m like, “Wait a minute, wait a minute.” But anyway, it was really funny, because I [crosstalk 00:19:36]

Sarah: Well, we also are different skin colors.

Don: Yeah, I know, right. I was looking at it, you know, I’m just a redneck and I’m going, “Wait a minute, where are they from?”

Sarah: Well, that’s funny. Because my oldest, who we just legally adopted, we have to wait until they’re… yeah, we just legally adopted our adult daughter, we’ve had her for many years though. But, she’s 20, she just turned 20 last week. And I’m 37, so you know, do the math there, but…

Don: So, back to you and the grace.

Sarah: Yes.

Don: Because I’m fixing to think you’re getting ready to close up here. I want you to do this for me, like we started out with. In a very short sentence, sum up what you believe grace is. In your own personal walk and spiritual…

Sarah: That’s a really good question. Because I keep saying, when I keep saying the definition which is God’s unmerited favor for sinful mankind. But if I was going to make it personal…

Don: Yeah, make it your story.

Sarah: … it’s God unearned love for me.

Don: Amen. That’s powerful. So glad you’re sharing that with me today.

Sarah: And for everyone.

Don: Yeah. They all get it, right?

Sarah: Thanks for interviewing me today, and sorry I just talked too much, oh my goodness.

Don: No, that’s why we get along so good, because neither one is going to shut up. Jeff’s over here looking at us like, “You know, I’m getting hungry over here”

Jeff: I always want to [crosstalk 00:21:00]

Sarah: I know, do you want to close this out?

Don: [crosstalk 00:21:01] Dad.

Jeff: Well…

Don: Come on Gilligan, close out this.

Jeff: Yeah. No, this has been really something to listen to, Sarah. As a father, it’s humbling. It’s very cool that your mom and I were just a part of your story, and that we’ve been a part, and hopefully will continue to be a part.

Don: You still are.

Jeff: Yeah.

Don: That’s what I envy in you, you still are. Some of us don’t have that luxury.

Jeff: Yeah. It’s very cool. And my hope, Don, is that the kiddos in your life understand what a really cool dad they have, because they do.

Don: Everything’s in God’s hand sir, and he’ll take care of it. Thank you for being concerned.

Jeff: And so, really I think in all this, as we’re relating it to Journey, one of the things that I think is important to say is, for a lot of people listening today, Sarah’s story is like, “What was she smoking?” You know? But guys, here’s the thing. Look at all the sort of things you hear every day and the way the world is. And just consider that maybe there is something to this. And maybe there is a God that loves us. And maybe there is a God that loves you, and how can you lean into that and move forward.

Don: they can start their journey right here with us.

Jeff: Just start the journey right here.

Don: That’s what this is all about.

Jeff: Exactly. So, reach out to us. There’s ways to do that, at, there’s Facebook, Instagram. But actually just reaching out and making those connections, and to help us to know where you’re at and how we can help you on your journey, we would love to do that.

Don: Leave a comment in the comment section on the website.

Jeff: Absolutely.

Don: Please do, leave us a comment, we’ll get back to you.

Sarah: Yeah, on social media.

Don: Wouldn’t you just love to have Don show up at your door.

Sarah: Yeah.

Don: Let me in, let me in.

Jeff: Thanks for listening today, and join us again,.

Sarah: Thank you.

Jeff: Take care.

Sarah: Bye.

Speaker 4: Thank you for listening. Tune in next time, and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at, and check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at

Speaker 4: (singing)

Gender Stereotypes Debunked.

Regardless of gender, we are all meant for connection. Is there something keeping you from building relationships? Whether it be pride, unrealistic expectations or even stereotypes – you were meant to connect.

Transcription of the Podcast

Don: I know, I’m just saying this for me, I’m always too prideful to let anybody not know that I wasn’t Mr. Popular and everything was going smooth when my whole world was crumbling down around me. I couldn’t connect with my kids for lots and lots of years. [inaudible 00:00:16] rebuilding something that I destroyed 13 years ago. It takes time, but it’s not something I was ever willing to share with anybody until I started on my Journey Venture last summer.

Don: (music).

Don: Hi, Jeff.

Jeff: Good afternoon, Don.

Don: [crosstalk 00:00:43] so I understand we’re going to talk about relationships today.

Jeff: Relationships, yes.

Don: Awesome.

Jeff: It is.

Don: Those could be, between you and I, what do we want to go with, probably work, family?

Jeff: Yeah, it all fits in, right? It all fits in, yeah.

Don: How relationships maybe struggle-

Jeff: How they struggle, and especially with guys, right?

Don: Because we like to talk about football, NASCAR.

Jeff: Packers, oh the Packers. Yeah.

Don: We don’t have [inaudible 00:01:13].

Jeff: Dale Earnhardt, he just … Is Dale Earnhardt even racing anymore? I don’t even know. That’s probably back from the ’80s. Anyway, so yeah, before we started today, off air we were talking a little bit, it seems like gals can open up a little bit more, talk a little bit more about things that matter. But, what were you saying? Something like, “Guys could meet each other three years later-“

Don: Oh yeah, I know, right. You just bump into a buddy you haven’t seen. I had a trucking buddy just call me a month ago, true story. I hadn’t heard from Jimmy forever, and he called, “Hey, buddy, what are you doing?” I’m like, “Man,” we haven’t seen each other in 10 years, but after we said, “Hey and what’s going on? I’m still trucking.” I’m like, “I’m home, not working.” So we’re all caught up, but women, on the other hand, you’re worried about people’s hair, another child, a lot of dialogue there. Guys, we’re in maybe 90 seconds, we’re caught up. See you in five years, we’re good.

Jeff: Exactly.

Don: With that being said, what we were talking about earlier, of course, I know for me, we don’t get into that relationship thing as much as women do. I mean, I think there’s science out there that verifies women’s brains and men’s brains work completely different, and thank God they do.

Jeff: Right, right. Yeah, what’s that book? Men Are Mars, Women Are From Venus or something like that.

Don: Mars, yeah, Mars and Venus. We’re just from two different kinds of [crosstalk 00:02:45].

Jeff: And we could learn something from women in this thing, because here, us guys, we go through life and it’s … Especially like this American dream thing, we’re living the American dream.

Don: What is that?

Jeff: Yeah, what is that? But, man, we’re all about that and we’re going to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, and when the going gets tough, man, we’re going to man up more. We’re going to man up and we’re just going to-

Don: Well, here again, don’t you think, Jeff, possibly that’s just the way we’ve been trained and brought up as our parents? You and I are basically the same age, 60ish. We’re just taught that men do this and women do that. I mean, this sounds cliché and old-fashioned, but it’s not that way anymore. All these women are working, they’ve got jobs, there’s some stay-at-home dads. But, when you mentioned to me, just before we started recording today, about relationships, it just made me think back to all the things that I missed out in life by letting money and jobs take over my life, that it very much did for so many years. From a young man to age 57, when I was forced to quit working because of my health and back and stuff like that. But, I didn’t realize until that point in my life, my gosh, if you were to say, “How was life for you, Don, with your family and kids?” To be real about it, it was all lost. I mean, I’ve had wives walk out of my life because, “He worked too much,” was the rumor that I heard. It’s not a joke.

Jeff: Well, that’s interesting that you say that.

Don: That’s what I was told.

Jeff: Yeah, and you didn’t say, “wife”, you said, “wives” so it’s more than one. So here’s the other thing I think, and this is … I don’t want to pick too much on guys here, because women … I think it all applies. But, isn’t it amazing sometimes as just human beings, how we’ll go a direction and we go, “Hmm, what could I have learned from that?” But, we keep going that same direction and it’s like … Which is what Journey … As people listen to this on the Journey site, or however they’re listening to it, if they’re Journey, that’s what we want to do is help people. If you’re heading south, that’s okay, right? We all head south at some point. But, lets re-calibrate and maybe we can’t turn true north, maybe we never get true north. Nobody’s perfect, right? But, at least lets re-calibrate and at least point more towards north.

Don: Well, we just got to find direction. Let’s pick that one apart [inaudible 00:05:29] would say. We’re going to unpack that.

Jeff: Unpack it.

Don: Direction. I was headed in a lot of directions in life. I’m a multi-tasker, if things we’re going on, I did farming at a young age, and all kinds of other sideline businesses, just again, thinking that I was being that good guy, that man that’s providing for the family. When I look back now, and even then, but couldn’t change directions, because in my 30s, so focused on … had a very good job at a management position, and it was a seven day week in the ag businesses. I didn’t realize all this stuff until just this last few years, “Wow, you sure missed out on a lot of stuff.” But, as a guy, here again, we just think that that’s what we’re designed to do. Boy, I’d hate to see … and that’s why we’re doing this today, I think, if I understand you right, is to let you guys out there know that there’s a whole lot more to life than working and money and the things that you have. Because, as Jeff mentioned the word journey, and that’s what we’re doing here, is the journey that I’ve been on for the last 14 months is the coolest journey I’ve ever been on, because it allows me to have time to pay attention to what’s going on in my life, which I always did in the working world, but I didn’t pay attention, obviously, to my relationships, because they all crumbled.

Don: Even with my children, those dissolved and still are just being rebuilt as we record this today. We’re still working on it. Things are going good, but I’m telling you, it’s been 13 years since the major break up with all three of my children, and we’re just repairing that now. I guess, my message to the guys is, slow down, take a look at your family, your wife, your kids. I mean, anything can be worked out, and Journey really helps us do that when we find another guy to mentor with and sit down and talk about stuff, because, let’s face it, Jeff, you don’t want to … You and I haven’t seen each other for six months, you don’t want to share your personal problems with me because you’re a guy. You don’t want me to see you sweating and struggling, do you, because that’s shameful.

Jeff: Yeah, let me … Let me run off on that a little bit. The way I was raised is, yeah, you just don’t divulge any of that stuff.

Don: Never let them see you sweat.

Jeff: Yeah, never let them … Exactly, never let them see you sweat. Now, that caused me a lot of internal angst and a lot of sweating over the years, some high anxiety times. I still … It’s hilarious, actually, that I’m involved in anything about coaching, because my kids will tell you that … Terry, my wife, has been the coach of the family. Here’s my idea of coaching, it’s like, “There’s the thing that needs to be done. Go do it. Don’t hurt yourself. Let me know if you need any help, but just go get it done.”

Don: Right.

Jeff: I’ve been really good over the years at keeping people at a distance. Yeah, before we started this podcast, Don and I, we had lunch, we talked for about half an hour, and that’s something that I just haven’t done a whole lot in my life. I don’t have 25 good friends in my life, so I look at this and I go, “Hmm, am I weird? Am I unique?” No, I mean, that’s kind of the common thing, right? I mean, we’ve got tons of maybe friends on Facebook, but how many real friends do we have that we can call up and just say, “Hey, this thing just happened in my life, this just sucks, and I just need somebody to talk about this thing.” Especially guys, right? I mean, we just don’t do that.

Don: Well, that’s why I think we just kind of spitball the idea of doing a little brief podcast on relationships, and you’re sharing now that you don’t have a lot of friends. I did not know that. This is why I think it’s important to say at this point, we didn’t even know that we were going to do this, but this is now meant so other men out there can hear that, “Here’s some guy that just admitted that he didn’t have a lot of friends when it comes to male friends.” I think all of us fit that mold of, here again, the man thing. I don’t want to beat this into the ground, but I know, I’m just saying this for me. I’m always too prideful to let anybody not know that I wasn’t Mr. Popular and everything was going smooth when my whole world was crumbling down around me. I couldn’t connect with my kids for lots and lots of years, as I said earlier, we’re just rebuilding something that I destroyed 13 years ago.

Don: It takes time, but it’s not something I was ever willing to share with anybody until I started on my Journey Venture last summer. So now I’ve been able to open up more about that and that’s why I think we’re laying this down and recording it, to let … We’ve done a lot of recordings. We’ve got women, Sarah, Terry, [inaudible 00:10:55] and stuff, but we really haven’t just heard a guy podcast, so we just kind of threw this together last minute, over a sandwich. We said, “Let’s just talk about some guy stuff.” So ladies, we love you, but you’re just not going to be here today.

Jeff: We need to wrap it up because I think it’s a good start, I think there’ll be some other good conversations along this line. But, the point being, “Hey, if you’re out there, you’re hearing this, and you’re sort of prompted, you’re sort of sensing, “You know what? I’m just tired of pulling myself up from my bootstraps. I’m tired of, well …” Well, Don’s got this term.

Don: I got the phrase. I mean, it’s so easy. Life is tough, right? I’m sure you want to get it right, don’t you, Jeff? You want more friends and good life, right?

Jeff: Yeah.

Don: Well, we at Journey want to help. We want to do that, and you and I will help the people. I’m going to start coaching next week, this coming Sunday I’ll start coaching for the first time, coming along side a 16-year-old boy.

Jeff: Yeah.

Don: Well, there’s a weird twist. A 61-year-old man coaching a 16-year-old boy, how much times have changed. But, based on my life, and the lack of good things and the relationships that were destroyed, I am just completely blessed that I’m going to get to work with a teenage young man that I’ve met and guide him in the direction where he doesn’t travel that path of no relationships like I did.

Jeff: Well, and that’s the other thing too. Let’s face it, and I’m not a counselor. I kid people, “My counselor wife, Terry, she swims in the deep end of the pool, I swim in the shallow end.” But, I do know that there’s a lot of people out there, 15, 16-year-olds, and their emotional maturity sometimes gets kind of stuck in that 15 or 16-year-old mindset. So there’s people out there listening today that are, yeah, 60, 70, 25, 30, whatever it is, you got to … It’s really important to look at yourself in the mirror and say, “How much deeper have I grown since I was a teenager, and would it be better if I grew emotionally in my emotional health, my physical health, and my spiritual health, and how do I do that?” Well, that’s where there’s some people around the table, there’s a great process, there’s a seven session coaching process. It has been really, really developed well by some really smarter people than I, over the last five plus years.

Don: It’s a great book.

Jeff: Yeah, 10 revisions on this little guide. It’s what? Probably 80 pages maybe?

Don: Yeah.

Jeff: Seven sessions. But, 10 revisions, coaching dozens of people, and it’s really good stuff. So I guess the call to action here is, first of all, thanks for listening, hopefully some people, some guys made it through the whole-

Don: Yeah, I hope so.

Jeff: [crosstalk 00:14:07], it’s like, “I don’t want to hear this. I just want to continue to be in my little bubble.” For those of you that are still listening that really want to find out more, just take a step, reach out to us, it’s There’s a phone number there, there’s ways to connect with us. It’s just, again, by connecting, you’re not making a commitment for a lifetime, you’re not making a commitment even for seven sessions. You’re just taking a step to just find out more and how it applies to your situation, and again, how we can help and come along side and-

Don: Just take a look.

Jeff: We all grow together.

Don: What I’ll close by saying is just take a really hard look at a journey that I jumped on not even a year ago, that I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again and it might become my trademark, “I hope this journey never stops.”

Jeff: Yeah, amen. All right.

Don: Thanks, Jeff.

Jeff: Thanks, Don.

Speaker 3: Thank you for listening. Tune in next time and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at, and check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at 3: (music).

Overcoming the Fear of Discouragement

From overcoming the fear of discouragement to tips and tricks on goal setting, join Sarah and Don as they interview special guest, JoJo.

Transcription of the Podcast

JoJo: I believe in miracles. I think Sarah does too, we’ve talked about that, but Sarah’s always had just a huge faith in something that she is pursuing for the right reason.

Don: Right.

JoJo: And I think that’s really what’s going to make goal setting, or success, or a great mentor, is someone who is seeking a goal that is a higher goal.

Sarah: Welcome back to The Journey Podcast. My name is Sarah Bandwits. Today I have two guests with me, Don Evans. How are you today?

JoJo: Good sir. How are you doing?

Sarah: I’m good. JoJo Hawks, how are you today?

JoJo: Above average, thank you.

Don: That a girl.

JoJo: Happy to be here.

Sarah: Thank you both for being on the podcast. Today we are talking about goal setting, which is great for the new year, and you two both are excellent with goal setting, so I’m really happy to interview both of you regarding that. JoJo, you’ve never been on the podcast before, so will you do a quick introduction of who you are?

JoJo: Absolutely. My name’s JoJo Hawks. I have three children. I’ve been going to school full time now for at least a year and a half. I’ve got a degree in journalism. I’ve been a computer programmer, software project manager and-

Sarah: Licensed massage therapist.

JoJo: Licensed massage therapists with hospice for the past 16 years, which is really what I love doing is working with people and helping people, which is why I’m going to nursing school now.

Sarah: Very excellent, but awesome.

Don: Good for you.

Sarah: Yeah, she’s amazing. And single mom too.

JoJo: Yes.

Sarah: Doing all that as a single mom.

Don: That’s going to be hard to follow when they ask what I do.

JoJo: Give it up Don.

Sarah: Yeah Don, give us a quick overview.

Don: Well, I’ve got a PhD and a bachelor’s degree in life, hard life and many others we won’t mention. But yeah, just been on fire for a year and a passion to help people in their spiritual walk a little prison ministry and I’ve been doing a few podcasts with the Journey Coaching thing and encouraging people to get involved with that a lot, which I’ve went through it. So that’s a little snapshot of me JoJo.

JoJo: Awesome.

Sarah: Oka, so when I think about both of you, and you guys have never met.

Don: No ma’am.

Sarah: Five minutes ago, you guys didn’t know who each other was.

JoJo: Yes.

Sarah: But I’ll say this, knowing both of you pretty well I think the one thing that I would say embodies each of you individually is that book, Who Moved my Cheese?

Don: Right. I haven’t read the book, but I’ve heard about it.

Sarah: You’ve heard about it?

Don: I’m ODC, I just don’t like my stuff moved, period. It just really bugs me. How about you?

JoJo: I’m trying to give up cheese.

Don: Are you? No, please don’t. That’s bad.

JoJo: That’s actually one of my goals.

Don: Right. Well set a new one please. Don’t worry about cheese, man.

Sarah: You’re going to have a really crabby 2020 then.

JoJo: No, one of my goals is vegetarian.

Sarah: Wow.

JoJo: Yeah.

Sarah: Okay, this is the big, how do you guys set goals? Wait, come up with goals, set them and then implement them? Because you both do that really, really well.

JoJo: I think a lot of what I’ve done over the years is try to be obedient to what God’s calling me to do, which is ultimately to be a good steward of the gifts and talents that he’s given me, and so like when it comes to vegetarianism, some of my numbers weren’t so great this year when I got my blood work back. And God gave me a body, so it seems like I should be a good steward of that body, even though sometimes when I’m studying I’m in denial and I like doughnuts, creamy bun buns to be specific, so I’m trying to work towards that.

JoJo: It’s hard, it’s a process and I also feel like God has a good way of convicting me to do certain things. And thankfully it’s not all at the same time. It has to deal with the situations that I go through where he opens my eyes. It’s kind of like taking the blinders off, or peeling back layers of an onion, not, “Hey look, this needs to change.” You know? So that’s one goal that I have. Going to school, becoming a massage therapist and going to nursing school, I feel like God’s kind of been knocking at that door, pounding on that door, bulldozing that door for a long time.

Sarah: How did you do that while being a single mom? Because accomplishing goals is really systematically small steps moving forward. How did you do that and still overcome hurdles, especially as a single mom? I’m sure that there were a lot of hurdles just like I think just being tired, probably a big one.

JoJo: Yeah. Honestly, I don’t get that tired, which at church right now, they’re doing a long series on joy and they talk about, joy comes from faith and I think that’s one of the reasons why I don’t get that tired is that I have a really strong faith and that keeps me motivated to go on and the hope for what’s beyond that. I think in goal setting, I call it creative creative financing when it comes to anything that takes money.

Sarah: What do you mean by that?

JoJo: Never say never, because there’s always a way to get things done, you might just have to be more creative. I have a marketing background too, so I don’t let money necessarily stand in my way. I look at what would God have for me and to try really to look fear in the face and say, “Yeah, but I don’t care.” Because-

Sarah: That’s a good point.

JoJo: I think fear is not of God, and so when you’re scared to do something, that might actually be a really healthy thing. And when you’re stepping out in faith, when you’re doing something that everyone else is going to think is crazy, you might have to just think, yeah, but there’s so many things that God and his apostles did that are seemingly crazy in today’s world, but yet I have faith that it’s all going to work out for the right reasons. It’s going to come to the best and that it can.

Sarah: JoJo, do you have any personal examples? Any stories about how you’ve overcome that fear or even discouragement as you’re reaching your goals?

JoJo: I think when I had a really challenging time with my divorce, kind of seeing the future was a huge goal for me. Like, what is this going to look like when you’re walking out into the, “I don’t know what’s going to happen.” And the more I started leaning into God, the more he just started providing the right things for me, the right people, the right scripture, the right Bible study, the right attorney, the right information that I needed, Christian people, mentors to give me hope. And against that I also got a lot of chances to really, he encouraged me by giving me feedback, whether that was through people or scripture or action, when things came back to me and I really felt like, wow, he’s encouraging me or reinforcing what I already thought was true by what he’s laying out in front of me, but it never happens according to my day planner. It’s always his schedule, which can be very frustrating.

Don: He’s kind of funny about that stuff, isn’t he? He wants us to hear a thing in his time, doesn’t he?

JoJo: Yeah, he’s got his own schedule.

Don: Finances had to be a concern for you, stepping out as a single mother though didn’t it?

JoJo: Yes.

Don: So if you’re a goal setter, what was your goal for finances? Thinking, “Okay now I’m a single mother.” Not unless your husband was rich and you’re got a lot of money, I don’t know.

JoJo: I have a lot of creative financing. I’m okay with that.

Sarah: She’s done amazing. I mean, because you got a house.

JoJo: Yes, I’ve purchased the house. I look at the big picture, like when I purchased my home I knew it was possible to buy a home with no money down, so I did that. I did a 100% financing so I had to do it on my own based on even though basically my credit got tanked out because he took all my credit when he closed all of our accounts without talking to me, because I had a great credit before I got married. I had no idea that this was coming so I didn’t have my own, credit card or whatever. So you know, I was starting over, but at the same time I’m like, “I’m going to do this. I need to do this.” And you know, obviously I made a budget. I’ve always been very budget conscious and looking at provision and trying really hard to just think, how did my kid’s life look before this and how do I want it to look like after this? And so I just worked really hard to make it look to the kids like it was seamless.

Sarah: Well and your house. Okay, story time. What happened with the paint on the stairs?

JoJo: My son like kicked a gallon of paint down the stairs on the carpet that I just had laid.

Sarah: And you had a neighbor. Okay. So you bought this house, which is super adorable.

JoJo: Thank you.

Sarah: And was in really good condition even before you bought it, but you’ve really made it your own. And the way that you’ve made it your own is doing a lot of things yourself and having friends and family do things, one being laying this carpet. No, but you paid someone to lay the carpet, right?

JoJo: Yes, I paid someone to lay the carpet. Yes.

Sarah: And then just knowing you, I’m sure that you turn that paint issue into something positive.

JoJo: Yeah, it was definitely a learning experience for all of us because I’m let “Oh no.” And I’m scrubbing and my son’s crying because he didn’t mean to do that. And we still laugh about how he did that and he managed to put a plastic tray to bake potatoes on in the oven.

Sarah: Oh that’s right.

JoJo: Super smart guy. Super smart. But he’s learning a lot. We’re all learning a lot. I think as a family, we look back at it and laugh and we were all scrubbing and soaking and things like that. One thing I attribute my kids too is that they’re great team members. I mean-

Sarah: Your family does work really good together as a team.

JoJo: So we just come together and just really try to lift each other up, or help with homework, or whatever we need to do to like get her done and move on, because that’s what we do is we support each other.

Don: So JoJo, after what you were just saying about all the things with the goals and how you’ve really had to dig in and do so many things in your life with your kids and stuff, do you feel like there was ever one single moment where you were just something was going on, whether it was a pain or the kid’s homework where you just really felt like God’s hand was there and you’re like, “Wow.” you just got this tingling feeling inside like “I just feel his presence here and this must be why this is happening.” Do you ever experience anything like that?

JoJo: Yeah, there’s a lot of different situations in my life when maybe something stopped that I expected was going to continue to keep going, but then God suddenly opened a door and I’m like, “Okay, this has to be God because I never saw this coming, and I never skipped a beat and it looks too good to be true.” Kind of a thing. There’s been a couple of different changes with part time jobs that I’ve taken on where I think a lot of people might be just, really like, “Oh this is so sad. I’m going to dwell on this for a really long time.” And instead I was like, “Okay God, you have a different plan for me and I’m just going to keep my eyes open and take a look at what you have for me and what blessings are going to come from this.”

JoJo: There’s a friend of mine I met through massage therapy, ironically she now goes to the same church that I do and she’ll call me and bless me to go see someone that we know, which is a huge blessing for me. Timing is everything and it always seems to work out so it’s a blessing for both of us. There’s been times, like when I was going through my divorce, when I was in a Bible study with a group of other mothers from our school and just reading the scripture and I think it was specifically how to hear God speaking to you and getting that reinforcement or confirmation from scripture or other people, and it had specific steps on how to do that. And it was like, systematically step by step, I was being confirmed in, “Yes, this is the right thing to do.” Whether it was scripture or God placing in front of me someone to talk to, to just get that Christian perspective again as a mentor of, “Hey, you know this is the right track you’re on. This is what you should really be looking or thinking about or reading about scripture.”

Don: I’m dying to ask a question over here, I really am.

JoJo: Sure.

Don: With all that being said, and I understand that so well, where in your schedule, I’m a single person, but I don’t have kids.

Sarah: Well, you have kids, they’re just older, they’re just adults.

Don: Right, but she’s-

Sarah: She’s in the thick of it.

Don: Bless her heart. She’s got little ones she’s raising up in Mao’s defeat and whatnot like that. But while I’m sitting over here listening to you and so inspired by what you’re saying, but my burning questions, I just can’t wait to ask, as you see, I just interrupted you. That’s what I do. Where do you find the time, and really think about this for a second, where do you find time to listen to what God has to say to you? Because you have already convinced me that where I come from, we would say, you’re just working your tail off with your kids. Scripture, people calling on you, you’re seeing people, you’re in Bible studies. Where do you carve out in a 24 hour period of time to go, “You know what God, it’s just you and me and I want to listen.” Because I’ve been working really hard at making my goal heavier in that area because I have this gift to can’t shut up and talk all the time, so I’m carving out. Where do you carve yours out of JoJo?

JoJo: Sometimes it’s in the minivan behind the wheel.

Don: That a girl. I’m a trucker, we like to look at concrete, listen to God.

JoJo: Sometimes it’s just on my way to get the kids, pick the kids up, go to work, whatever, go to school. I go to a Christian college right now, so I’ve literally sat at my professor’s desk, looked him in the eye and say, “Can you pray for me that my brain starts to understand chemistry.” And when I did my final, across one of the pages, I didn’t write scripture, but I said, “Dear Jesus, please bless me today.”

Don: Yeah. So you know, I’m not college kind of guy or stuff’s so I’m listening to you talk, I’m really curious as to all the people that you’ve talked about. Who do you kind of single out as mentors in your life that really inspired you to want to travel this path that seems, from where I’m sitting across the room from you, appears to be pretty hard, especially for a woman and I’m a guy. But I had mentors growing up, a couple, three farmers in my life from a little boy that really shaped me because unfortunately appearance didn’t. So I admired them and looked on and I can still call them till the day I die, my mentors. Can I ask who mentored you to get you to be so driven?

JoJo: Hmm, driven.

Sarah: You are very driven.

JoJo: Well Sarah, you have definitely mentored me.

Sarah: Okay.

Don: Don’t you all go getting emotional on me now.

JoJo: I know, I get weepy. I think just in the fact that I believe in miracles, I think Sarah does too. We’ve talked about that, but Sarah’s always had just a huge faith in something that she is pursuing for the right reason. And I think that’s really what’s going to make goal setting, or success, or great mentor is someone who is seeking a goal that is a higher goal.

Don: How do you go about when you set, because I’m curious, the way I do things, I set goals, I try to achieve them, but when I’m getting close to them being done, I can see it coming together, then my psychologist says, “You’re a really extreme forward thinker. You’re always looking for the next project.” I would think with your circumstances, with the little ones again and then working, school and all that and where do you find time to set new goals? Or you just got so many that you’re like, “Well, this bucket’s full and it’s going to take the next five years to get all these accomplished.”

Sarah: Well, and JoJo is very creative.

JoJo: Yes, and they explode. I mean, they just come to me. I’ve had several people tell me before that I am the idea person, that I see things come together in a different kind of way.

Sarah: So before we wrap up this podcast and in wrapping up this podcast, Journey Coaching, a lot of it is about working in your strengths and JoJo, I think that that’s one reason I’m excited to have you on the podcast today is because you very much, you embody someone who has a strong faith and who works in their strengths.

JoJo: Thank you.

Sarah: I don’t know if you even realize that that’s what you do, but you do. You lean on your strengths and you lean on God and then you work in those strengths and as a result you’re able to accomplish these amazing things in your life.

JoJo: God gives us gifts and he gives us deficits and so our job is to go find people who have the gifts we don’t.

Sarah: Yes.

JoJo: And you bring them to the table.

Sarah: Yeah, and you have a lot of people around you.

Don: Have you been through Journey Coaching already?

JoJo: I’m sorry?

Don: Have you been through Journey Coaching already?

JoJo: No.

Don: Okay, sounds like you have/

Sarah: I know, actually she’d be a great coach, but she doesn’t even know. We’ll have that conversation off.

JoJo: Well, when I was a manager, when I would fill my team, I was like, nobody brings everything to the table so you really need to look and handpick those people who are going to bring everything you need to the table and appreciate their uniqueness and that they’re going to bring something to the table and it’s a synergy of everybody working together. It’s like the community in Christ, we aren’t meant to be alone. Together we’re much stronger, much more powerful.

Sarah: And that community together, I mean people want to be around JoJo because of her positivity and because you can tell she genuinely cares about people and yeah.

Don: Yeah, she does. You can see in her eyes when you start pressing her about God, the eyes are getting watery. That’s why I said, just don’t get all teary up here. I’ve got shirt sleeves.

JoJo: I can’t help it.

Don: No ma’am. That a girl.

JoJo: It’s just how I roll.

Sarah: Well thanks for being on the Journey Podcast.

Don: You’re a good actor too. That was good. I like that. Amen sister.

JoJo: Nice to meet you Don.

Don: You too, it’s a pleasure.

JoJo: Yeah. Nice to-

Don: Next time warn me when you’re coming, just don’t show up.

JoJo: Okay, I will.

Sarah: If you guys want to learn more, go to and we will talk to you later. Bye.

Automated voice: Thank you for listening. Tune in next time and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at and check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at your journey starts now, but.

Loneliness Hurts

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode, Sarah, Terry and Don walk through loneliness during different seasons in life. They offer encouragement to those who are feeling lonely.

Transcription of the Podcast

Transcript of the Podcast:

Terry: You know, everybody goes through a period, a short period where you’re lonely. But chronic loneliness kind of makes us more susceptible to things like depression, even Alzheimer’s disease. It lowers our immune system, it stresses our cardiovascular system, and it can actually affect how long we live, because loneliness is not something to just ignore. If you’re feeling lonely right now, do something. Reach out, call somebody, call a hotline, find a counselor, a therapist, a psychiatrist, psychologist, somebody, and just say, hey, I’m really, really lonely. Can you help?

Sarah: Welcome back to The Journey podcast. I’m Sarah Banowetz, and today we are asking the question, how do you cope with loneliness during the holidays? In the studio with me is Don Evans. Welcome Don.

Don: Hi Sarah.

Sarah: Thanks for being here with us.

Don: You’re welcome. It’s my pleasure.

Sarah: And we have Terry Carlson.

Terry: Hi.

Sarah: As a mental health counselor, it is always good to have you here.

Terry: Thank you. I’m happy to be here.

Sarah: Thanks for coming. So, many of our listeners may say that they’re surrounded by too many friends and family during the holidays. How big of an issue is loneliness during this time of year?

Terry: Oh, I think, you’re right, a lot of people do have, we’re inundated with invitations, parties, events and so on. But the reality is that loneliness can show up either in the midst of those kinds of things. Have you ever been in a situation where you have been surrounded by people and yet still felt very, very lonely?

Sarah: Yeah.

Terry: And I think that the other possibility too is that there are people who just are plain lonely. They’ve lost family members, they’ve lost friends, other people have moved away, and they just find themselves at the holidays without someone to invite them anywhere.

Sarah: So I would like to hear Don’s input on this.

Don: Yeah, coincidentally I just been thinking about that the last couple of weeks or so. And with my background of, as we’ve recorded on podcasts before, for those that are listening, have heard it before, that created a lot of storms in my family based on my behavior, which led to a dissolving of families, children, relatives, and things of that nature.

Don: So I’m thinking about that a lot lately. And it is a struggle for people. I mean some are afraid to speak out and some are a little bit shy of maybe leaning into a conversation when in turn, I think … What I’ve been thinking about lately is just the peace that I have with my spirituality that has grown immensely over the last six or eight months and I just recommend to people to find peace in yourself, which in turn will help you on those days. When that happens, you really have to decide where your heart is and where you lie in life yourself.

Don: For me, I’ll say for me, before I start judging, say your relatives, an aunt or an uncle or any family members, even your own children for instance, it’s not really up to me to judge what they think, whoever this person may be. Maybe it’s a coworker that you struggle with at work that just doesn’t seem to be in the holiday spirit.

Don: Well, first I would recommend for me, and it’s been helping over the last month or two, is just to look in the mirror at myself and realize that I have to find peace in me, when I look and can recognize the messes with 40 years of experience of messing up your life. And I can see those. Then before I say anything or think anything, I realize, and mentally quietly tell myself, yeah Don, but you’re a mess too. And I’m finding that very helpful, Terry. I think that’s making a difference in the way I view what I think also.

Terry: Well, I think that’s really, really good to try to look inward and just say, what part of this am I playing in it myself?

Don: Yes.

Terry: I think it also happens sometimes. Sometimes we don’t realize it, but the very things that we’re doing can actually make the situation worse. You know, a lot of times when people are lonely, they may be really just trying to avoid rejection from other people. And so they kind of avoid going to parties, or they avoid going to family gatherings and stuff for fear that, well, I’m just going to be rejected and that hurts too much. So I avoid it. And that adds to the loneliness, because you’re right, while you may risk being rejected, there’s that feeling, you don’t get the opportunity to connect with people who might actually be positive.

Don: Well, I completely agree with you, Terry. And we’ve talked about that in various Bible studies and groups that I went to over the years. Then people will say that, gee Don, I wish I could be outspoken like you and really interact. And I take that as a compliment. It’s wonderful.

Don: But I just encourage those folks to just think about where you’re at internally and mentally and don’t back up. Lean in and then people will surround you too. And with those people, I want to convey to all of those, and I do it consistently, I’d love to be alongside of you and help you. When people tell you over and over all your life that we just like the way you act. Okay. That’s all right.

Don: But I also know Terry, there’s a tremendous amount of people that are what you just described. They just don’t know how to get in there and they maybe not go to that family event or something. So I just think that we should really just go with one thing in mind. I’m going to go and have a good time, and can we all just put aside our issues for the day not let them be stressful, and worry to the fact that we just don’t even want to partake in any family events anymore. Maybe just sometimes showing up and just giving it a go and see how it works.

Terry: Yeah, just reach out.

Don: And one other thing that I just thought about is as we look at those friends, relatives or coworkers, if we want to be honest with ourselves, we don’t know what they’re going through. So we have to give them a pass too. Because I know, like I said earlier, a few minutes ago, I’ve lived in a mess most of my life. It’s still not crystal clear, and it never will be, because we’re all sinners. We’re going to make mistakes. And that’s by the grace of God, we can have the peace and show up and not be so judgmental. And I’ve said for years in those situations with families, really, I’ve truly said this, can’t we all just get along today? Come on.

Terry: Well, and Don, you’re an outgoing person yourself. We’ve talked about that before.

Don: Seems to be, yeah.

Terry: But what kind of advice could you give to somebody who maybe isn’t so outgoing and they’re feeling kind of lonely this time of year?

Don: Well, I think again, it comes down to the person, Terry. I mean, are you willing to do the work? And we can spin this another way. As far as I’ve said since 2006, the hardest thing I’ve ever done is being a Christian. I have to work so hard at that based on my extroverted personality and forethinking and quick speaking, and then even coworkers coming up against you to be a Christian. It’s like yeah, that’s all humbug stuff. Well that’s your opinion, and I’m not going to judge you certainly because that’s just wrong of me to do that.

Don: So I think the advice for that person that’s struggling is just to watch some stuff, get involved with somebody that would guide you and have a friend, like I’ve developed in this journey thing, with the coaches and stuff. I have people to reach out. I talk to those coaches, yeah. We get together and have fun times and meals together. And then that gives you a person to go see and express your concerns about that family member or the holiday coming up in Christmas.

Don: It gets pretty complicated, I know. But the main thing that I read and see in my studying is it all starts with you. You’ve got to do something to make your situation go better. And you have to be able to … This is very important, I’m really going to stress on this. You have to listen to other people.

Terry: I think listening is a really good … You make a really good point there.

Sarah: Well, I was going to jump at that’s a great point too.

Don: Yeah, somebody knows your situation, and can tell you what you need to do. Because I’ve been there folks and I’ve done it and I did not listen and that was wrong. So reach out and talk to somebody that you feel close to and ask them what they could do, because they might be able to point you in the right direction. But be open about it. Be open minded.

Sarah: Well, and one thing, I’m an extrovert too, so you got to take what I suggest with a grain of salt. But one thing that I do as an extrovert for any kind of events like this too. So Don, you’re talking about, in general, building relationships and stuff. But as far as when you go to that party, one thing that I do is I look around the room and I find someone who is sitting by themselves.

Terry: That’s an excellent idea.

Sarah: And I go and sit down next to them, and I’ll ask questions. So that goes along with the listening, is I’ll ask questions. So instead of talking. And then it goes into a back and forth. And all of a sudden a half an hour has gone by and other people have joined you. And then if you feel like you don’t really fit in the conversation again, you get up to go get a slice of pie. And then you look around the room again and you find maybe two people are sitting next to each other and not really talking, and you sit down with them.

Sarah: I mean, again, I have a lot of introverts in my family and I know it’s hard when you sit down and no one else is talking. But the main tip is you ask questions.

Terry: Right. Well and I think developing a plan, you’re going to a party, especially if you’re an introvert, develop a plan and think, okay, I’m going to go in and I’m just going to say hi to three people. Or I’m going to ask them how their day is. You’re developing a plan. You’re saying, okay, this is what I’m going to do. So you actually count. Okay, I’ve talked to one, now I’m going to talk to another one. And just kind of do it as an experiment. What happens if I do that?

Sarah: And what if you came up with questions to ask too?

Terry: Sure.

Sarah: Just say, okay, so if it’s for Thanksgiving, Then you could ask them about what their Christmas plans are, or what they are planning on getting their children for Christmas or something like that. Or what their work projects are. But come up with questions ahead of time that you have in your back pocket essentially to ask, so that you don’t have to come up with it on the spot.

Terry: Sure. And I think also doing something good in the situation, volunteering, helping out. We tend to, even introverts tend to feel more competent and more comfortable if they have a role. So call the host ahead of time and say, hey, can I do something for you? Can I go around and refill glasses? That kind of thing. And when you do that, you have more of a role in the thing and you feel a little bit more connected.

Sarah: I naturally do that too. I get up and help when I’m feeling uncomfortable. Another thing is you smile. The biggest thing, even if you don’t talk very much, if you smile at people, they just think you’re the nicest person and they come and talk to you and stuff. I just let the world know, whoever’s listening to The Journey Podcast, that’s my secret of being an extrovert is I just smile. And people mentioned it all the time. They’re like, oh, you’re so nice, I love your smile. And it’s just you can be an introvert and just smile.

Terry: And somebody might even be curious about what you’re smiling about, and come over to find out.

Sarah: I mean, don’t just walk around totally smiling. But when you can’t make eye contact, give them a big smile.

Don: Yeah. But it’s just like Sarah says. It’s very evident that happy people, everybody wants to know what you’re happy about. And we can wear that same smile in Christianity. We can hear the best preachers, wherever you want to listen to them, talk about if you’re … It’ll radiate off of you. And Jeff and I had an instance here a week ago, where a lady just walked by and just overheard us talking. And that just led her to reach out. And it’s amazing how if you’re walking that walk, and talking the talk, and people can see that you’re, whatever it is that you’re on fire about, they want to know.

Don: And I tell people on a regular basis. They go, I don’t know about this church-going thing, Don. You’re inviting us, but I really don’t know about that. I just continue to invite them a couple times and then tell them, hey, come and sit with me. I’m not asking you to go.

Don: But then I leave it alone. I mean, folks, if you’re listening, this works. Try it. They’re going to watch what I do. I’m being watched at all times. And I’m not saying that to pat myself on the back, but people are watching Don, and they’re following. And it’s showing up here as we record this today. There’s people that are going to contact me this week because of what they’ve seen happen, and the happiness that I share wherever I go. They want, I want to know what he’s doing.

Terry: Well, and I think you make a good point here because I think it’s don’t be passive, be active. And if you’re passive, you can sit there and kind of wait for people to come up to you and be lonely or you can be active and look for somebody else who might be lonely like Sarah was saying.

Sarah: Exactly, because with me being an extrovert, I will say that if there are times when I just am not feeling well and I don’t want to be talking with people, I just do the opposite of what I just suggested. So I won’t make as much eye contact, I won’t smile as much, I’ll stay back a little bit further, and then I won’t have those conversations that I usually do as an extrovert.

Don: I got to one up you, because even when I don’t feel good, I’m smiling at people. How you doing? I’m just great man. I’m on my way to meet with Jesus tonight here at church. What are y’all up to?

Sarah: Maybe you’re more of an extrovert than me.

Don: Yeah, well that goes back to the last podcast. That word pretend-aholic. Well in that case, it’s good to be a pretend-aholic that night, because then everybody thinks you’re still happy.

Sarah: Okay. So I want to change the subject slightly. So Terry, with you being a counselor, maybe you can address this more heavy topic, which is for others who are missing loved ones who have passed away or moved away, and in those situations the holidays can be devastatingly lonely.

Terry: Oh absolutely.

Sarah: How do people deal with those kinds of situations?

Terry: I think a lot of what we’ve already talked here really applies, maybe with one additional one. Be really good to yourself. Remind yourself you’re not alone. There are other people who are also going through the same kind of thing. But again, develop a plan. Get out there, try not to be passive. Let people know, find close friends and just say, hey, I’m really struggling with this holiday.

Terry: I remember the year after my dad passed away. It had only been a few months before Christmas and I absolutely didn’t feel like putting up a Christmas tree. It was like, why bother? I just remember feeling like I didn’t even want to celebrate Christmas. And I mentioned that to one of our kids. And they came over and they put up the Christmas tree for us and they decorated. And it felt so good to just feel, to have somebody kind of come around us.

Terry: So if you know somebody who has lost someone right before this holiday or even anytime this year, maybe check with them, how can I bless you? Can I come over and help you with something? Can I bring you a meal? Just realize that they’re the ones who probably are going to have the toughest time this holiday.

Don: Well, and I’ll just add to that one last little thing there. Terry, I like what you said. But I’m going to just make this phrase right up front. Please don’t stay home alone. This alone thing is really bad, folks, because I know, I have traveled that path. And home alone, I’m being silly now, is not the way to go. You need to reach out and talk to anybody you can, just even a passerby friend. Start a conversation, and just make sure that you’re going to plug in somewhere and spend some time with somebody. But please don’t do the alone thing.

Terry: No, I think you make a really good point there. Don. And really what happens too, is everybody goes through a period, a short period where you’re lonely, but chronic loneliness makes us more susceptible to things like depression, even Alzheimer’s disease. It lowers our immune system, it stresses our cardiovascular system, and it can actually affect how long we live, because loneliness is not something to just ignore.

Terry: If you’re feeling lonely right now, do something. Reach out, call somebody, call a hotline, find a friend, find a loved one, find a pastor, find a counselor, a therapist, a psychiatrist, psychologist, somebody, and just say, hey, I’m really, really lonely. Can you help?

Don: Yeah. And just another side note to that loneliness. I can speak with this, with complete confidence. Based on my health in the last 40 years of my life, the loneliness and home alone thing, I can verify doesn’t work. And by making this one statement, it severely affected my health for the rest of my life, because it led to immense drinking. And there’s a lot of people that struggle with drugs and other things. Fortunately, I never did any drugs. But I want to just make this so clear that the alone stuff is just, it’s a Josh Turner song, it’s writing the long black train, and I’m not going to ride that train and I certainly don’t want any of you to.

Sarah: Yes, that’s a good point, Don. So thank you for joining us today as we discuss the impact of loneliness and how that affects us. And our hope is that in listening to this podcast, you feel encouraged, connected, and determined to develop your strengths and to live out your purpose.

Sarah: In concluding the podcast, I do want to leave you with a few questions in order to continue this important discussion. Our hope is that by asking these questions to a trusted friend or coach, you’re able to bridge the gap of loneliness to connection, fear to confidence, and worry to peace.

Sarah: And so the questions I have for you today are what are you going to do? What are your plans for this Thanksgiving and Christmas? What are you planning ahead of time right now so that you can help with connection and avoid loneliness? And then the second question is, what can you also do right now to be prepared for building those relationships during these events?

Sarah: And until next time, live the journey that awaits you. And thank you for listening to the journey podcast. We will see you later.

Terry: Bye.

Don: Bye.

Thank you for listening. Tune in next time and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at And check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at

Difficult to Healthy

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode, Jeff and Terry explain how to move from difficult relationships to healthy ones. 

Transcription of the Podcast

What happens through the conflict through the movie, the people develop, you see the characters more clearly, they may be grown, they change, they move, they evolve. There’s something that happens through the conflict that makes them better and stronger and movie more interesting.

So think of… A lot of people out there trying to run as fast and as far away from conflict in this kind of difficult relationships as possible. I’m suggesting you kind of dive into them a little bit. Don’t cause them necessarily, but dive into them and try to figure out how can I grow from this? How can our relationship grow from this conflict? 

Hey, hey, hey, we’re here for another Journey podcast, and we’re talking about really a core kind of a thing here. It’s something that’s very difficult. It’s something that a lot of people shy away from, and that is difficult conversations. I’m Jeff. I’m sitting here with Terry.


Hi Terry. So, yeah, difficult conversations. I mean they are kind of hanging out there consistently. How many times or how many instances are there when you go through a day, a week, a month where there’s actually not a difficult conversation that could be had? 

Not too many.

Not too many at all. 

And this is a followup to one that we did a little while ago on difficult conversations. We could call this number two. 

Yeah, number two, and there’s probably number five, 10, 40. I mean there’s a ton of these really to unpack. We had somebody ask specifically after hearing the first podcast we did about difficult conversations… A question came up, and so let’s just jump in and kind of try to tackle these, because, again, this is something that’s not really that easy to do, right? It’s a lot easier to talk about sports or what’s the latest movie, you know, that cool. 

Sometimes it even seems like as tough as politics is, it can be easier to talk about politics than those things that are really bothering us and deeply concerning us in terms of a relationship with another person.

So the question was say there’s someone… Say if I need to bring up an area in my life of hurt or frustration, there’s just some shortfall, you could even call it a sense of misunderstanding, something that’s really, really on my mind and my heart, and there’s this fear that the relationship really can’t handle that kind of a hard conversation. In fact, it might not even be the same relationship if I did bring it up, that the relationship might dissolve or become more distant. 

So what are some ideas of really navigating through something like that, of really getting into that kind of a conversation? 

Yeah, I think that’s… Definitely that’s one of the things that kind of brings fear and trembling to most people. When you think about it, really I think it depends a lot on the individual situation. When I work in my office… I’m a counselor and I deal with a lot of different things, and I don’t like to give advice until I hear the situation specifically, so this is kind of a tough one to give advice on.

Well, and can I just jump in too, because that was key, what you said. You never give advice until you hear what’s going on. How oftentimes in life do I or others may be that aren’t as attuned to… That has sort of that listening ear that you do, give advice?

And that’s kind of the first thing, right? We hear something, we jump right in, hey, here’s the solution. I got it. I got it figured out, and we don’t even have all the… We don’t have all the facts. We don’t even know what’s going on. 

Right. A lot of arguments happen that way. It’s like you hear just a little bit of what somebody is trying to say and you react to that little bit even before they’re done talking. I mean how many people out there have actually found themselves talking over somebody, jumping into the conversation-

What do you mean, like jumping over, like right now? I got that… Oh like that? Okay. I just wanted to show how that works. Go ahead, Terry. I’m listening. 

Well, and I think what happens is we hear a part of the conversation, we think we know what they’re going to say next… And this happens a lot with couples who have been married for a long time, in fact, the longer you’ve been married, the more likely you are to finish each other’s sentences. 

Anyway, when you think about it from that standpoint it’s like okay, I hear something and maybe it’s something at the dinner table or maybe it’s something… You know, you’ve got family coming over for Thanksgiving and uncle so-and-so says something and he starts going off on politics or religion or something like that, and people immediately roll their eyes and start jumping into the conversation, and before you know it uncle so-and-so is yelling and you’re yelling and the whole table is kind of getting ready to scramble and leave. Those are really, really tough kind of conversations.

Well, and it’s that sort of setting it up. It’s that environment, right? Because it sounds like it’s probably not a good idea to bring up those tough conversations just randomly at the Thanksgiving table and say, “Hey, Uncle Joe, who I had this thing I wanted to talk about for years, let’s just bring it up in front of everybody.” 

Yeah, that’s not… Timing is everything. Picking the right timing that says… Maybe take Uncle Joe aside at one point and talk to him and just say, “Hey, there’s something that I want to talk to you about and this has really been weighing on my heart,” and just kind of talk to Uncle Joe from your heart about what it’s like when these things happen.

Something that I have found helps is if I say to somebody, “Hey, there’s just a couple of things that I’ve kind of been thinking about actually kind of bother me a little bit here,” or whatever it might be… You know, just be honest and say, “Hey, something has been bothering me. Can we just grab a cup of coffee, and when would be a good time for you,” so put in… Again, trying to be very open to the person’s schedule and making it a very comfortable kind of a… As comfortable as possible situation.

Just say, “Hey, can we just grab a cup of coffee? When’s a good time that works for you,” so they have a little time… You might even say, “You know, we’ve been dealing with this thing about,” it might be a brother and sister. They say, “We’ve been talking about this situation about mom for a long time. Can we just sit down and you and I can just talk about that?”

Is that a good way to kind of just set up the conversation for success, because people both who are going into it kind of know what happens?

Yeah. You kind of give them a little bit of an idea of what your direction is that you’re kind of… What the agenda is, so to speak. 

Yeah. Yeah. This just seems so from what I’ve seen out there very unusual, because, again, it’s just easier to let things slide, but they don’t really slide, do they? I mean-

Not entirely. I think the other thing to kind of keep in mind does hone your listening skills as much as possible. That’s one of the things that we’ve kind of gotten away from doing. We do a lot of talking and not so much listening and realizing that everybody wants to be heard and they want to be understood, even Uncle Joe, even uncle so-and-so at the dinner table.

One of the reasons he’s bringing up the things is because he wants to be heard and understood, and if we jump in and jump over him and cut him down and shut him off, my guess is he’s only going to get louder and he’s only going to get more obnoxious because he has… Just like you and I, we all have a desperate need to be heard and understood.

So talk the time to listen to uncle so-and-so. Find out what it is… Okay, why is this so important to you that this person gets elected or that people understand this fact that you’re trying to impart. You don’t have to change your opinion, but I think listening and understanding where he’s coming from can help him feel heard and understood.

It’s funny when you’re saying that I think back to… And then you were in the room, Terry when this gal said this. But we were talking about a similar kind of topic and she said, “Well how can I love my neighbor when I don’t even like my neighbor?” 

Yeah, that’s a tough one. 

And sometimes I think ought we not just push through the well I really don’t… It’s hard to feel the love, but I can just… That person is important, I mean they’re an important human being. I may really disagree with them, but they’re still a person that I can care for, and to take that intentional, even though it might feel a little awkward kind of a step to say, “Can’t we just sit down and talk about this, because you’re important, this matter that we need to talk about is important.” 

Does that… I don’t know. Does it just seem like that is one of those kinds of intentional things to do that always doesn’t feel that natural maybe? 

No. For sure. But I think understanding people and where they come from and trying to hear their heart on an issue or on whatever is going on can help us to bridge that gap. I think part of the reason we may not like our neighbor is that we don’t really know them that well, or we know some things about them and we don’t like those things but we don’t… I think a lot of times we make a whole bunch of assumptions, that if I was in this situation I would do these things. Since they’re not doing those things, there must be something wrong with them. 

I think we just have to check to… Besides listening, I think checking your assumptions is really, really huge in working through difficult conversations. Check your assumptions, especially motives. If somebody does something that’s different than what you think they should check your assumptions of their motives. Why do I think they’re doing that? It may not be accurate.

All right. Right. Right. Well, yeah, so that’s kind of huge too, right? Because somebody doesn’t call me back multiple times and I assume they’re just blowing me off or… Again, it comes to the negative a lot of times, right? But until I really find out oh, they’ve been out of the country for a month, they couldn’t call me back, you know.

I mean this has happened a lot. I’ll talk to people in my office and they’ll say, “You know, I made a mistake the other day. I blew up somebody’s messages. I messaged them, they didn’t message me back, and so I assumed that they didn’t care anymore and so I just sent a whole bunch of really nasty messages.”

That doesn’t ever happen. 

Guess what happened to that relationship. 

Not good. 

No, it’s not… And I think it all fell down to the fact that she made an assumption or he made an assumption, whoever it was made an assumption that the other person was blowing them off, and in fact, they were sleeping or something, you know, less destructive than that. 

Right. So, Terry, anything else then that kind of relates to this that you’d like to put out there?

Yeah. I think it’s really important that we consider… I like to use the analogy of a pebble dropping in a pond. When you’re out in the woods or whatever and you see this nice little pond and you take a pebble and you toss it in, if you pay attention to it you see that this little ring of water, this little ripple just kind of starts where to pebble is and it goes out and then there’s more ripples and more ripples, and you see this really beautiful pattern of ripples all going from the center where the pebble is out to towards… It’ll go all the way to end of whatever pond you’ve got, it takes that much energy.

I think that’s a really neat analogy for relationships because if you think about everything that you say or do has that kind of pebble and ripple effect, if I say something kind to my neighbor hopefully the ripples that follow out, the way that they receive it is kindness.

If I get really, really short with my neighbor because they’ve put their trash and it’s fallen over into my yard, instead of going kindly and talk to them I just kind of get really snippy or snarky with them, that’s probably going to ripple out in a snarky sort of way.

Right. Right. It sounds like, using sort of a farming analogy, the farmer, he plants, he sows, and then there’s a harvest, there’s reaping. So it’s sort of along that line, isn’t it, which is actually in the Bible. I mean it talks about sowing and reaping.

If you plant seeds of corn you’re not going to harvest wheat. You’re going to harvest corn hopefully. 

Yeah. So if you really plant positive, affirming, those kinds of good things, ought there not to be more of that good that comes back to you? Not always, right, because there’s always going to be that… You know, this is not a perfect world, but odds are lots more goodput out there, a lot more good coming back. 

Right. And realizing you don’t have control over how it comes back. You can do what you can to control the message that you’re sending out, but once you send it out its kind of like that ripple. It just takes a life of its own. You may say something in a very kind way and uncle so-and-so takes offense at it and he comes back with it. A healthy relationship will be kind of well wait a minute, uncle, I didn’t mean it to offend you. How did you take what I just said and… Well, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you.

You may not be sorry for what you said, but you can definitely be sorry for the fact that it affected him the way it did. 

Uh-huh. So what do I do when somebody confronts me? I mean they say, “You know, you keep doing this thing to me,” or, “What about this that’s going on what you?” I mean what do I-

Yeah. If you’re uncle so-and-so?

Yeah. If I’m Uncle Joe. 

Well, I think if somebody confronts Uncle Jeff, then I think Uncle Jeff really needs to listen. I go back to that word of listening and just-

What’s that? Okay. 

There’s something underneath the confrontation. There’s something that’s at the heart of what it is. Try to hear what their heart is and try not to take offense. Put the offensiveness on hold.

Okay. Deep breath. Yes. Okay, because I want to get right back at it. I want to just respond. Okay. Okay, deep breath and listen. Got you.

If you can put the defensiveness on hold and try to listen with curiosity it’s almost impossible, if not impossible, to be curious and defensive.


If you can try to stay curious… Oh, wait a minute, I’m starting to feel a little bit defensive, but wait a minute, if I can stay curious and figure out why did that offend her, why does it offend people, then you might get to the heart of the issue a little bit easier and save that relationship. 

Right. Right. Yeah. It’s just stuff here that is just… I love talking about this because it’s not talked about a lot, right?


Don’s Story of God’s Grace

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode, special guest, Don shares his story of God’s grace. From self-medication with alcohol to relying on God’s grace to sustain him, Don’s story inspires us in the beauty of God’s grace.

Transcription of the Podcast

Don: Yeah. I’ve been blessed with a few people at my church that are going through Journey as we speak. They want to reevaluate their life and I say to enhance their spiritual growth and let’s face it, Sarah, I mean we can all enhance our spiritual growth. I mean, Jesus wants us to work every day to get… To build a relationship stronger with him. I mean that task and journey are never going to be over.

Sarah: Welcome back to the Journey podcast. I’m Sarah and today I have Don Evans in the studio with me. Hi Don.

Don: Hi Sarah.

Sarah: How are you?

Don: Good. Thanks for having me. I appreciate it a lot.

Sarah: Thanks for being on the podcast. So today we are talking-

Don: Why are you smiling? You’re so happy today.

Sarah: I don’t know, I just like to smile.

Don: You’re smiling because you’re going to ask me about my story right?

Sarah: I know, I got to make you…

Don: Let’s just keep this cool.

Sarah: I got to put you at ease.

Don: I’m at ease, you’re the one I’m concerned about. Let’s go.

Sarah: So today we’re going to talk about the grace of God. And I was wondering if you’d share a little bit of your story.

Don: Oh God, I would love to. Yeah. I don’t know. It’s a journey that started a very, very long time ago. I guess it would probably be… You caught me off guard with this today, which I enjoy because I don’t… And I want everybody to know that none of this is scripted. We’re just talking, aren’t we Sarah?

Sarah: Winging it.

Don: Yeah, and we’re just out there in left field, coming around. Yeah, I guess a history of alcoholism in my life. First got to know a lot about Christ in maybe 01 due to a crash of alcoholism and being in the hospital. Then there was a big gap in there more of that and then really got introduced more so to God when I got baptized in 2006 in a very large Christian Church. And-

Sarah: Don, so why did you end up getting baptized in 2006? What was the catalyst for that happening?

Don: Yeah, I started in 06, kind of leaning into the side of Christianity, watching people, what they were doing inspired me a little bit, I guess to see that their happiness, I guess I’d never experienced that. So I got started in 06 as I said, did pretty good for a while, but due to my lack of faith, I like to call it and my lack of devotion to God. I slid back into my old ways again and managed to stay there for a multitude of years. So we’ll leave out all the middle stuff. But as I said, 06 and I just got sober in October of 2018 so it’s just been a little over a year.

Don: But at that point when I was able to get out and about again about December, it took a couple of months to become human and even be visible in public again. Really plugged in this time, Sarah, and there was a lot of fun and I hope you’ll interrupt at certain points and ask me specific questions whenever you hear me say something that you want to know more about, you could just jump in there and go, wait a minute, what about that?

Don: But I’ll keep going.

Sarah: Well I do want to know about… Okay, so becoming sober in October of 2018 for anyone who’s listening, who may be struggling with that, what was it that caused you to want to go down that route?

Don: Well, what was causing me to stay on the drunk fest or what caused me to want to jump on the Jesus wagon?

Sarah: I almost want to ask both with.

Don: Okay. Big one. Let’s go with the drunk fest. All right. We were talking earlier today, just in an outside conversation about people being lonely. And we just briefly mentioned this morning in the lobby out there and that got me thinking and now you’re asking what created that? Well, it all comes from loneliness. Losing another wife, we won’t count the number of wives. That’s not important. Just was a tailspin in 2015. So from 15 to 18, three solid years, it was drunk every day of the week, seven days a week.

Sarah: And it was dealing with the loneliness?

Don: That, losing everything that I had, through the divorce. And I’m a man, I’ll man up if it was my fault and in this particular marriage it was not. And I’m not going to say any more about it, but I was not at fault and everybody knows that and they’re like, wow, we just can’t believe that she just left and took everything you had. I was on the road trucking at the time, on my own truck. then when the… I call it the resurrection in October, that was only because if I’m honest, which I am because I followed Jesus, like Andy Stanley, I’m a Jesus follower and I love it because I have severe cirrhosis of the liver and I almost died the end of October again and had to go to the hospital and do some procedures there.

Don: And At that point I think, I really think the day that my brother took me into the hospital, I just kind of… God got ahold of me that day and said, you’ve had been playing this game for 18 years of in the hospital, 40 years of drinking. And I just felt, any standard, we’ll call it a nudge, I felt like a thump in the back of the head. Okay, I need to get this and this possibly is my last opportunity. So that’s when I jumped on the Jesus’ bandwagon.

Sarah: What did jumping on the Jesus bandwagon look like, entail?

Don: It always inspired me. It really did. Even years back before I ever even attended church whatsoever. And I just want to know more about it.

Sarah: So what did you do? What steps did you take then? So you leave the hospital and then what was your first step after that?

Don: Go home and start reading the Bible a little bit, but I wasn’t really good at that and started going to church right before Christmas in 18 and since then I’ve stayed plugged in there.

Sarah: And how did you find a church?

Don: I had gone to this church prior years, in the past. Yeah. I actually went to this church, started there in 08, left there in 10 to move back to Illinois to accept a job. It was a job moving venture. And then when I came back in 15 I was too drunk to pay attention. So I didn’t show up at church until December of 18. And so then at that point, I really got plugged into the church and enjoyed doing volunteer work and helping with homeless and seeing their struggles just really led me to think, man, I was almost there, almost homeless person. So just the little bitty things you keep doing on a daily basis, monthly basis. I just really started enjoying it more and seeing how it was affecting me spiritually. And then I took kind of a Christian class that was really in-depth in regards to where our faith is and asking us questions in regards to how we feel about God and Jesus.

Sarah: And was that class through the church?

Don: Yes. Yeah. It was a 10-week class and it was phenomenal and I learned a lot from that. I think if I’m being honest with everybody, which I am, I don’t know why I even say that. I can tell you this, Sarah, that I’m convinced that I found my Holy Spirit in the eighth week. As we were going through the class, we spoke about, I believe it was the eighth week, and getting to know our Holy Spirit was the topic and I did not know my Holy Spirit. It was quite obvious. So I left that meeting that night and went home and I did a lot of praying about it. And it’s just different. I can’t put some sophisticated word on like, oh, it was a revelation or oh, I don’t know how to address a word to, but it was very moving for me.

Sarah: So if I’m hearing you right, the steps you took were reading your Bible, then getting into church, then getting connected in church and taking that class, which gave you a foundation and then just knowing you, it’s being continually connected.

Don: Yes, absolutely. And then I was fortunate and I call it blessed to be volunteering for the church at a Casting Crowns event. I got to be specific on that. And Zack Williams was playing and they just… There was a booth, it wasn’t our church but it was members of my church that invited me to help with the compassion booth and that was quite interesting to see all these people signing up, taking care of these kids in foreign countries and stuff. I was really inspired by that and that’s where I met your mother. She was one of the volunteers at the booth and we talked about this class at church and then she shared a little bit of journey coaching with me and introduced me to your dad, Jeff, and we became friends and connected and then built a relationship.

Don: And then I believe it was about May, after getting more information about what Journey had to offer and the ongoing relationship that I had with Jeff, decided to step into the Journey coaching thing, which was designed to be approximately seven weeks. And I ended up spending, with the coaches, 13 weeks and there they had put more emphasis on reading the Bible when you’re answering questions, and I think I said this in another podcast, that by their patients and grace, they inspired me to pick up that Bible and politely told me to be reading it every day.

Don: And it’s really been so great to do that but to be plugged into various, I guess you would call it, you’re a young person, the media network and the social media. I watch other ministry preachings and things. You’ll hear me refer to Andy Stanley, which I know there’s… He’s on some of the Journey websites I’ve seen as I cruised around and explained Journey coaching to people and send them there. I hear him say that, oh yeah, I see that they got Andy Stanley on their website and I’m like, yeah, he’s pretty cool. So that’s kind of how this all got to where it is today.

Sarah: Well, and I think one thing that’s interesting for our listeners to understand is that… So one of the core things that I took away from doing Journey coaching was working in your strengths. And so in the process of you working with the Journey coaches, you build a relationship with other believers and you looked at what your strengths are and what’s been really cool just in the last several months is that you’ve been working in your strengths and helping build up Journey coaching too.

Don: Yeah, I’ve enjoyed that because it’s just after going through it. Yeah, I have a huge passion for it because of how it affected me and I’m kind of a hard nut to crack. So yeah, I’ve been blessed with a few people at my church that are going through Journey as we speak. They want to reevaluate their life and their… And I say to enhance their spiritual growth and let’s face it, Sarah, you mean we can all enhance our spiritual growth. Do you know what I mean? Jesus wants us to work every day to build a relationship stronger with him. I mean that task and journey are never going to be over until…

Sarah: Well, and that’s the really cool thing about Journey coaching too, is anyone in there, whatever place they are in their walk, they can pick up Journey coaching and it can work for them with them. Because I did journey coaching and I’d been walking with Christ for 30 years when I went through Journey coaching too. I have my own struggles and stumbles and things like that. But it was impactful to me too. And we just came… We just started our coaching journey just in different places in our life. And yet it just works for so many people.

Don: It does. And I’m glad you got on board with it early. At your young age because that’s a regret. I’m not going to drag it around, but it’s just, I regret that I didn’t, what they would say, maybe see the light.

Sarah: But then again… Well, I’m going to interrupt you here because then the other thing I want our listeners to realize is that DOD is getting ready to start coaching himself. And even though you have those regrets, the thing is if you hadn’t, God works, what is it by mercy? He works mysteriously and he works all things for the good of those who love him, who are called according to his purpose. And the thing is that because of the story that you have, you’re able to show that grace of God to other people because he is a Redeemer and he is a savior and he is a protector and he can use you to help show the grace of God to other people who have had similar struggles. And if you hadn’t gone through that, then how would you minister to those people?

Don: Right. I know it’s just like he ministered to the 12. Look at those characters in the Bible.

Sarah: They were Don.

Don: They were Don and then a whole bunch of other people, they were Don’s and Sarah’s and everybody, every couple of life. But none of them were Christians per se. I mean, it was just… You can do anything you want. And I think what I really found out about this whole… And let me interrupt myself and say this because you were just getting ready to, I think. No, you don’t have to be a Christian to do Journey coaching.

Don: I want everybody that’s listening to be crystal clear on that. I’m not going to bang on your door or be your coach and go, if you don’t accept Christ, I’m not going to coach. No, that’s not what I’m saying. So yeah, this is for anybody. But I can tell you this, I’m just going to warn them. You’re not going to go through Journey coaching and not want to know more about Christianity. That is a given and you might as well be forewarned. And it’s fun. And when you go through this, if you are true with yourself and you’ve had these coaches as I did, I was blessed with two very great coaches that they’re coaching this guy that I brought through.

Don: You just have a sense of now I need to take the ball and run with it and go coach some people. You just mentioned that I’m going to start coaching and I am. You’ve even hung me out in a tree because I’m going to coach your son. So that’s a big challenge for Don and as a teenage kid and if you trust me with him, everybody listens to this butter too, huh?

Sarah: Well, and my son’s been through some things. So I actually asked you to coach him the day that I met you back at the beginning of August. You were sharing a little bit of your story during the leadership summit and my son was there attending the leadership summit and I just stopped you. I said… We had just met and I was like, wait for a second, I need you to stop talking right now and that you’re like, what? And I called my son over and I’m like, okay, you can start talking again now.

Don: Normally I don’t like getting interrupted but with you, I made an exception.

Sarah: But I needed you to stop talking so that I could go have you… I wanted you to finish your story in front of my son because my son is not my biological son and he’s got a story himself and I wanted him to hear your story too.

Don: He was really cool. I mean, we had a good conversation and we’ve talked to him, I’ve talked to him since then. He’s looking forward to it. So we’re just getting our timings all lined up and that’s going to take place. So I guess if we weren’t doing podcasts today, I could probably go coaching him. Right. Seriously, there’s a ton to my story and I don’t say that boastfully I’m just saying we can’t put it all on the air. It would take forever.

Sarah: No, we have… Yeah, we just have to have you keep on the… To keep coming on the podcast and for others to get to know you too. Okay. I want to end this podcast with one question for you. If there is anything that you would want to mention right now about the grace of God and you would want people to know about the grace of God, what would it be?

Don: There’s a lot of things I could say about that, but I will say this and you’ve again done your work and caught me off guard.

Sarah: Wait, I’m going to interrupt one thing and I’m going to mention to our listeners that the grace of God… Grace, because I have a story about the grace of God but I won’t share right now. But from that story, I know that grace means God’s unmerited or unearned favor for mankind.

Don: Yeah, that’s cool. I guess to summarize, God for me would be, he has given me more hope than I’ve ever had in my life and I’ll be 61 years old and I’ve never had this much hope nor faith or conviction of my own wrongdoings that I’m addressing on a daily basis.

Sarah: Well, let me jump in there. Conviction of your wrongdoings, but yet that sounds counterproductive. Like how can you have so much hope if you’re so convicted of your wrongdoings too?

Don: Because now I can admit all my faults instead of pretending that they didn’t exist. See, most of the things that went wrong in my life, in my marriages were Don’s fault. But Don was blaming other people. So when I used to be bad, I said that wrongful conviction. But it’s allowed me to have peace and get rid of it. I’m no longer carrying that stinky bag over my shoulder anymore because God’s given me the glorified grace. He’s forgiven all of us. You know that as well as I do. I’m preaching the choir, looking across the room talking to you, but we’re all forgiven. God has given us… We didn’t have to fight for the promised land. God has given us the promised land and we need to accept that and help lead other people into faith with Jesus Christ. I know that’s more than one sentence.

Sarah: I love it. I love it. So we’ve got to close out today, but I do want to just encourage everybody to keep listening to the Journey podcast because obviously Don has to continue being on the podcast with us.

Don: I look forward to it. I had a lot of fun with you, Sarah.

Sarah: Thank you for being on and we just hope that you feel encouraged and connected and determined to develop your strengths and live out your purpose and find us on and reach out to us on social media or email or we have a phone number on too, and keep listening, like and subscribe and we will talk to you later. Thank you very much. Bye.

Thank you for listening. Tune in next time and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at and check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at

Relating With People Who are different Than Us

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode, Jeff and Terry discuss how to effectively relate to people who are different than us. We want to encourage you that by practicing acceptance of another person’s perspective, you will be able to relate to those who are different than you.

Transcription of Podcast

Terry: You know, in the workbook, we talk about telling your story, we talk about your strengths, your weaknesses, your goals. How do you set a roadmap for your life and the future? Those sorts of things. What was missing was that piece about, how do I look at the world? We’re going to use the word worldview, but it really means, what’s my view of the world, and where does it come from? I think it really fits well into this concept because of the fact that nobody has the same worldview.

Jeff: Okay, today we’re going to talk about a challenging topic, and that’s how to have these conversations before the tough conversations, and why we really need to have the pre-conversation to the tough conversation. Which relates to, how do we relate to people that are different than us? So, relating to people that are different than us, that’s a key, key concept if we’re going to have those tough conversations.

Jeff: With us today, we’ve got Terry. She has had many tough conversations and many ways to relate to people that are different because she is a licensed, full-time counselor. So, you have lots of-

Terry: I do, yeah. Well, there are some, yes.

Jeff: Like, every day?

Terry: Every day, okay.

Jeff: Every hour.

Terry: Maybe every hour, not so much.

Jeff: I would assume that people coming into your office are not all the same as you, they’re not females that are … so on and so forth. They’re different-

Terry: Oh, yeah.

Jeff: Correct?

Terry: For sure.

Jeff: This is not just a conceptual topic, this is something that you have to deal with every day.

Terry: Yeah, yeah. We have some clientele that is similar to us, but, for the most part, people come in from all walks of life.

Jeff: Right.

Terry: They have all kinds of different issues, all kinds of different beliefs. It’s not my place, as a counselor, to change their beliefs, it’s my place to make sure that they’re aware of what those are, and how those affect them. Then, maybe, go from that point on to asking, is that something that you really want to hang onto?

Terry: No, there’s a lot of differences. As councilors, any other counselor that’s out there listening is going to understand this, that you have to know how to relate to people who are different than you.

Jeff: Right. For the other 99% of us in the world that are not councilors, we need to get a lot better at this. Let’s face it, there’s a lot of polarizing topics out there, there’s a lot of tension in the world over certain topics. Before we really can sit down with somebody and address those topics, we need to have the conversation before that tough conversation.

Jeff: So, let’s just jump right into it, with the first, really, focused point. How do we do that? How do we relate to people who are different than us?

Terry: Well, I think that’s a great question. I think, first of all, I think the very first thing we need to do is that there are people much like us, and look at the similarities versus the differences.

Jeff: Well, I just heard that the other day, that’s really a key point. So oftentimes, there’s this polarizing, pointing out differences, and that’s done a lot today. How is this person different? Pointing out those differences in a negative way. But, really a key point, isn’t it, of saying, okay, there are going to be differences? We are just made different. Isn’t that a huge starting point to say, well, what are the similarities?

Terry: Oh yeah, definitely. That’s why it’s so hard to do. Often, our differences are typically the things we focus on. We see skin color, hair, makeup, clothing styles, and so on. I think if you think back to someplace like middle school, or those years when-

Jeff: Oh, those dreaded middle school-

Terry: Yeah.

Jeff: Oh, no. Not that!

Terry: Well, I think that’s when we really start to notice the differences, and we’re affected by them. We start to be aware of what the norms are in our society. By society, I mean that society in middle school. The kids, the other kids, the ones that, if you wear the wrong kind of shoes or clothes, you get picked on. If you don’t have your hair exactly the same way as everybody else, you’re ostracized, basically, for not fitting in. I think that’s where the underlying message we get is that you have to fit in, or you won’t be accepted. In that way, comparing ourselves to others makes us weary of those things that are different, and it becomes an ingrained habit for us.

Jeff: Well, just going back to that whole middle school for a second. I mean, some things in life … For example, I’m looking out a window now. If I see a little bunny rabbit crossing a street that gets hit by a car, at my age I go, oh that was sad. The little bunny rabbit got hit by a car. It doesn’t really ingrain too deeply in me, right?

Jeff: But, take that back to junior high and middle school, and those kinds of times in our lives, and those things, and the way we see things, and the way that people respond … I mean, the bullying, for example, that goes on. It just really does get ingrained in our psyche, doesn’t it?


It really does. It gets even worse than just ingrained, I think it turns into a series of different kinds of fears. It’s not just from middle school, it can come from influences such as family members, friends, neighbors when we’re growing up. Whatever the source is, we start to feel comfortable and safe with those things, with others who are like us, and we start to become fearful of those who are not. I think that’s where the problem really turns into a deeper problem.

Terry: If we don’t recognize this, and intentionally do something to counteract it, we’re really destined to live a life of just being around people who fit a certain mold.

Jeff: Right, right. Again, going back to those growing up times, it is the … I think back to when I was in school, and it was always fitting in. You know, we want to fit in. At some level, we are all sheep, aren’t we? We’re just-

Terry: For sure.

Jeff: We’re just wandering around, and we want to fit in. We want to not stand out, in either a positive or a negative way. The tough part about that is that we, at the core, are made different, and really need to not blend in. We need to lean into our differences, but when we do that, oftentimes, these negative things can happen. It’s on social media, too, now, right? If something’s a negative, it’s like, oh boy, let’s really pounce on this person.

Terry: I think social media is really a key part of this, too, because as we’re talking about trying to embrace the differences in each other, that’s exactly the opposite of what social media does for us. It feeds us. It learns the things that we’re interested in by the things we click on to read or the people that we connect with. Then, it just automatically tries to send us things that interest us, that’s their whole point. In doing that, we miss out on the opposites.

Terry: If you want to take something like a political point of view, all we end up seeing is that particular political point of view, and we miss out on some of the good things that we may hear from the other side.

Jeff: Right.

Terry: If all we’re getting our news from is social media.

Jeff: Right, right. In social media, it is really about posting the picture of oneself, or with your family and friends, on top of the beautiful mountaintop in Colorado. Everybody is smiling, and it’s a bright, sunny day. So, on that shallow level, life is good. Then, when we do a deep dive, and we want to say, here’s how I really feel about the things that are going on in the world, and in my life. And, I want to come alongside others, and share what I feel with them, and have them share how they feel with me, that’s where those differences come out, and where we have lots of challenges.

Terry: For sure.

Jeff: Yeah. So, then the question becomes, what do we do? What are some ideas? Yeah, this really stinks, this is tough. How do we actually take some deep dives, and get alongside people and really have those deeper conversations? What do we do?

Terry: For sure. Well, I think the first thing we need to do if we’re looking at really wanting to change this is to start to become more accepting of other people’s, and other’s perspectives.

Terry: Going back to the Journey material that we have. We’ve got this wonderful workbook that was put together by some very smart people.

Jeff: Well, that’s a first. I’ve never known you to give yourself a little pat on the back, there. Terry did do a lot of the writing on this, although we had lots of people we took through the coaching end.

Terry: For sure, yes.

Jeff: What was it? Nine or 10 different revisions?

Terry: I think we were on revision 10 when we finally went ahead and had it published.

Jeff: Yeah, yeah. Anyway, it’s a lot of painstaking processes that went into the workbook. Anyway, that’s a topic for another day.

Terry: Well, when we were putting the workbook together, we started with a concept, we put it together, as you know. We went out and coached some people, and then we came back with their suggestions, and their perspectives. We made some tweaks to it, and we went back and coached some more people. We kept doing that, that’s why we had so many different versions of it.

Terry: At some point along the way, we realized there was something missing. That missing is this piece that we’re talking about today. How do we deal with … In the workbook, we talk about telling your story. We talk about your strengths, your weaknesses, your goals. How do you set a roadmap for your life and the future? Those sorts of things. What was missing was that piece about, how do I look at the world? What is my … We’re going to use the word worldview, but it really means, what’s my view of the world? Where does it come from? I think it really fits well, into this concept because of the fact that nobody has the same worldview.

Jeff: Well, worldview being a very specific example of one of those tough conversations, that needs to be had. It’s just like, okay, if we’re going to have a conversation with somebody else about their view of the world, again, how specifically can we do that?

Terry: Well, one good thing, and going back to the material … Session four of the Journey coaching workbook is really where we added that at a later date. We ended up moving some things around so we could put that in, and it’s all about worldview. The whole goal is to help you identify your worldview. Where does it come from? It’s a good way to gain insight into what you see as your perspective of the world. Until we look at this directly, we assume that everybody else has the same type of view of the world. If they just knew what we know, they’d feel the same way. Then, we get into arguments in that way.

Terry: I think the first thing is to understand, what’s my view of the world? Then, I can have a conversation with others about what their view of the world is. We can look at it from a curiosity standpoint, versus trying to talk each other out of their worldview.

Jeff: Well, the material was designed so that people could share their views of the world. So that the person coaching can, at some point, give a view of the perspective that the coach is going through. First of all, that person just has that freedom to say, hey, here’s what I see my view of the world is.

Jeff: In terms of that, what can we do kind of thing, doesn’t that apply, then, outside of the workbook, outside out Journey, as we have those conversations in life? It’s just asking those questions of people? Whatever it might be, whether it’s a worldview, or whatever, and just listening.

Terry: Yeah, absolutely. It’s really, really important that you ask that of yourself, first.

Jeff: Unpack that a little bit.

Terry: Well, that basically means, we’ve got to go back and look at our culture, and our worldview, and look at it from a lens that says, oh, I get it. I know why.

Terry: I was raised in the Upper Midwest. In our culture, if you want to call it that, it’s hard-working people, it’s mostly farmers that settled this area. There’s a lot of autonomy, there’s a lot of, you don’t ask for help until you absolutely need it, and you basically shoulder deep in mud. Then, you can call your neighbor.

Jeff: Pulling one’s self up by their bootstraps, right?

Terry: Yeah. That’s the kind of culture that my parents were raised in, and that’s the culture that they raised us in. One of the things I remember my dad saying, over and over again is … We went camping a lot. He would say, “You leave the place better than what you found it.” There were certain values and cultures that came from growing up. Not everybody had those, not everybody saw things from that perspective. They may have some of the same issues, but I think it really comes down to understanding, what is my culture?

Terry: By culture, I don’t just mean the American culture, I’m talking about micro-cultures. Every even home has its own little culture, its own outlooks, values, norms, goals, shared by the group of people.

Jeff: Let’s take a real simple dive down to what that looks like. For example, then, that person out of that environment most likely would say, if I have a place I’m supposed to be at nine o’clock, I’m going to be there at 8:55 AM, right?

Terry: Sure.

Jeff: But, let’s compare that to a different culture. For instance, our daughter has been over in Ethiopia many times. She really loves the Ethiopian culture. I think there, it says, if you have a nine o’clock, if you’re there by 9:15 AM, or maybe 9:30 AM because it’s all about that relational piece. Maybe that person isn’t necessarily … Again, it’s the relating part, it’s the understanding part.

Jeff: We may say, at the shallow pass, we may say, well, that person just doesn’t care, because they’re 20 minutes late to this important thing.

Terry: Right.

Jeff: But, the reality is, they’ve put such a high value on relationships, that they’re probably, in a relationship, connecting with somebody that causes them to be a little bit late. We need, again, to just take a deep breath, go okay.

Terry: Right.

Jeff: They’re not the nine o’clock person, they’re the 9:15 AM person. That’s okay.

Terry: Well, if somebody comes from a culture where being late is actually on time, then, they’re not going to understand our being-

Jeff: Yeah.

Terry: Come on, come on, it’s time.

Jeff: Those uptight people that have got to just be there.

Terry: Well, you can get into the conversation, and we’re not going to do it here, but you can get into a conversation about warm climate cultures, and cold climate cultures, and how they’re different, and how their approaches are different.

Terry: I think the main thing that I want to bring across today is just figuring out what it is that your beliefs, your worldview, your perspective is, helps you to, then, ask the right questions of the other person.

Jeff: Right, right. Again, it comes back to, just that understanding that let’s look at the similarities, rather than just the differences. Let’s take a deep breath, let’s ask some questions. Let’s listen. Then, at the core of all this, is really, love. All you need is love. Wasn’t that a Beatles song, or something? If you’re going to do this … It’s a lot easier not to do it, right? It’s a lot easier to just stay in our little bubbles and move forward. If we, again, take a deep breath, look beyond ourselves, love is important, love matters. Talk a little bit about that?

Terry: Well, what I’d like to do is I’d like to put that onto the next podcast if I can. I think we’ve covered quite a bit today. What I’d like to do is, let’s send people to another podcast. We’re going to have one talk where we discuss, how do we handle heavy topics? I think that might be a good thing to put in there, that unconditional love piece, and unconditional acceptance. I think that’s going to make it really important.

Jeff: This is like a little teaser to actually listen for the next podcast.

Terry: Ah, there you go.

Jeff: Oh! All right. Well, any other summary thoughts, then, before we end this one?

Terry: Not that I … Get involved in coaching! Come on, there’s a good workbook, here. If you give us a call, email, text message somehow-

Jeff: Yeah, just reach out.

Terry: We’re on social media. Just give us a call, connect with us, and we will try to help you find a way to do that.

Jeff: Right, exactly. The coaching is just, again, those one-on-one discussions that focus on relationships, which, again, focus on looking at the things we have in common, rather than the differences. Asking questions, listening, all important things that are just core to what we can, as just human beings, to connect with each other and grow.

Jeff: Anyway, Terry, thanks for coming in, for coming out of the councilor’s office, and talking to the rest of us. Thanks for being here.

Terry: It was good to be here, thank you.

Jeff: See you next time.

Thank you for listening. Tune in next time, and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at, and check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at


Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode, special guest, Shelby, returns to the podcast. Shelby shares her eye-opening story on how moving from Iowa to Bolivia changed her perspective from what was once critical to acceptance and excitement in combining 2 different cultures.

Transcription of the Podcast

Shelby: If you’re listening to this and you think like, “Well, I’m not going to go to a different country and definitely not right now,” you don’t have to go to a different country to challenge some of your perspectives on your own culture. Have conversations with people that are different than you. And like I said at the beginning, have those conversations and let them be influential.

Terry: Today, we’re going to talk again with Shelby. We talked to her once before. Shelby did something really interesting. She left our beautiful state and she went to Bolivia. And when you talk about getting to know a whole other culture, that’s a giant leap. So I want to introduce Shelby, let her introduce herself and then we’ll go on from there.

Shelby: Hi, I’m Shelby. I’m so happy to talk about cultures today. I’m no expert, I will say that, but I have I guess a different experience than maybe some living here in Iowa. So my husband is from South America. We have children who are being raised in a bi-cultural, bilingual family. We continue to travel to South America and it’s just interesting to see them growing up in a family that is back and forth between countries and that, that will be a part of their story. Very different from mine because I grew up in farm country here in Iowa and I was surrounded by my own culture. I didn’t have very much diversity in that growing up.

Terry: Can you paint a little picture of what that was like for you to grow up in Iowa?

Shelby: Yeah. So I have family on one side. We have generations from Czechoslovakia, on the other side, from Germany. And we took a lot of pride in that growing up that our grandparents spoke different languages and that they had immigrated here and I knew that was part of our story, but I think even more so, we were like a farm family, grandpa farmed our uncle’s farm. We grew up in the country. I grew up in a small town school and so I think that was important. We took pride in that and loved that, but I didn’t realize how everyone else around me also grew up the exact same way. And so I didn’t get to hear very many perspectives and I didn’t realize that.

Terry: So growing up you didn’t have people from other cultures that kind of showed up at your school or anything like that? It was pretty similar.

Shelby: I would say here and there, and I think a lot of people would probably say, “Yeah, growing up, I came in contact with other cultures,” but not with very heavyweight, like those people from other cultures or different life experiences and perspectives, didn’t have a very big sway, influence or say in my life. So I felt like I could check off that I know a lot of people from other cultures, but they didn’t really have very much influence on me.

Terry: Sure.

Shelby: So.

Terry: So what gave you the idea to leave the farm community of Iowa and go to Bolivia?

Shelby: Well, I think God had that idea.

Terry: Okay

Shelby: Because it was not part of my plan. I didn’t have a specific country in mind. I just wanted to have a gap year before I started school before I started paying my own bills and kind of I got settled into the routine adult life in America. And I thought this is a perfect time, in between high school and adult life to travel. And with me, I thought, I’m going to use that traveling to volunteer and to do some mission work. And so I just started researching mission organizations that would have bases elsewhere. I wasn’t set that I needed to get out of the country, but there was this opening for someone that needed to fill a role at a children’s center in Bolivia. So it was not in my plan ever, but obviously, it was in God’s. So.

Terry: Had you taken Spanish in school at that point?

Shelby: I took Spanish in high school and I really enjoyed it. I was decent at it, but high school Spanish is pretty minimal, but that was all the Spanish I knew. And I’m like, “Yeah, man, it’ll totally be fine.” And then I got there and I think it is definitely the best way to learn a language to be totally submerged, but I was submerged. There was maybe one other person that I knew in that country that could help me with English. And otherwise, it was like, you’re on your own.

Terry: What was it like to just get off the plane that very first day?

Shelby: It was scary and it was so much culture shock. Looking back, I think everything was just like, “Oh my goodness, what?” And now, I get off those same planes years later and I’ve done it several times and it’s like, “Ah, I’m home.” But the first time I got off that plane, I was like, “Why are they driving like that? And why is that tree there? And why is that person talking like that?” Everything was just so foreign and strange. But it’s just crazy how my heart has changed by having different perspectives in my life that now, it’s like, “That’s not strange. That’s normal. That someone else is normal.”

Terry: Right. Did it seem strange because it wasn’t Iowa?

Shelby: Yes. Yes. And I look back on my thoughts when I got off the plane the first time and I’m a little bit embarrassed. I’m like, “Why was I so judgmental?”

Terry: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Shelby: But I was coming from this place of never being exposed to anything else. And so my first thoughts to anything that was different than my norm was judgment. And now, I’m exposed to those exact same things, exact same scenario, get off that plane, see the same stuff, and it’s like, “It’s totally fine. Why was I so judgmental about that?”

Terry: I think that’s a huge point. Did you know or did you realize at the time that you were feeling judgmental or did that just kind of come with experience?

Shelby: I think I did know I was being judgmental, but it was almost like I was justified in being judgmental, like I had a right to complain about the way people drive in another country because, well, my culture drives better. But now that my husband lives here with Iowan drivers, he’s like, “Uh, not necessarily.”

Terry: Because he had the culture shock coming back the other direction.

Shelby: Yeah. Yeah. And he went through the same things of being very judgmental about things that were new to him and strange at that point and now he’s come to terms with. They’re just different.

Terry: Yeah.

Shelby: So.

Terry: That’s awesome. When you think about that first few days or weeks when you were there, were you getting lost a lot? Was there some, I mean, how did you navigate those first few weeks?

Shelby: I have a really good sense of direction so I won’t lie and say I got lost a whole lot but I remember just feeling so fatigued. My body was tired because my mind had been thinking so much.

Terry: Sure.

Shelby: And I was just, didn’t have any emotional capacity to be friendly to people because all of my energy is going into figuring out the word for a four-way stop, just really simple things that were just draining me.

Terry: Sure.

Shelby: And I saw that in my husband too when he came here just like he had just reached his limit in his mind, and you could see it in your body that culture adjustment is, it’s huge. It takes a toll on everything, not just your mind but your emotions and your physical health.

Terry: When you’re trying to translate in your brain the language, when you hear somebody talking and that sort of thing and you’re still thinking in English and guessing and trying to translate that into Spanish, but we know that only about, I’m going to say, an estimate of about 20% of what we communicate is actually verbal, the rest of it is nonverbal. And I would assume that some of their non-verbals would be different than what you might have here and just, how did that all fit in as far as trying to communicate with people?

Shelby: Totally. I think I was probably over-sensitive because I took everything personal instead of just taking it as, it’s a different form of communication, the same tone of voice or the same facial expression might be offensive in American culture, but it’s totally normal in Bolivian culture. And I remember just down to the most simple things, like what movie do you want to watch tonight? And me saying, “I don’t care,” and it being very offensive in the way I said it in Spanish but I’m like, I’m just trying to be like flow… go with the flow. I’m like, “I don’t care.”

Terry: You were trying to be considerate of their feelings and you ended up offending them?

Shelby: Right. And it just kind of was a light bulb to how often within cultures being in relationship with each other does this happen, where it’s just no one’s trying to do something wrong and we get offended easily, be sensitive Sally like me, or we get hurt or we say something we didn’t mean to and it just takes a lot of grace, a lot of grace to combine cultures I think.

Terry: Sure. Well, and as you stayed there, because you were there for a year, and as you went there and interacting with people, tell me about that, what was that like to… because it seems like there’d be some growth that would take place during all of that.

Shelby: Yeah. I think it was really humbling when I went into it and I will venture to say, the way a lot of Americans go into mission work, it was with a savior complex that Jesus is the savior but he’s using me to save, and that’s just not true at all.

Terry: Here I come to save the day.

Shelby: Yes, yes. And of course, I would say, “No, that’s not what I think.” But that is because of our worldview and that is what I thought is that I have been given so much monetarily or physically and there are physical needs, of course, I can help. But it was a humbling process to just see that the need is always Jesus. Yes, there may be physical needs, but someone in a different country is in no more need of Jesus saving their soul than I am of Jesus saving my soul. And that was so humbling and good to be put on an equal level. I think that’s really key for any kind of mission work, whether it’s you being intentional to love on your neighbors or you going across the country, or you going across the world, you have to first come to terms with that even playing field that we are both centers in need of a savior and I’m no better than you. So.

Terry: That’s really good. Anything else you can think of that our listeners might be interested in about your trip to Bolivia?

Shelby: I think that it is interesting to hear and know just how long it takes to build relationships, but how important those are in mission work. So I think a lot of people would like to just go in and do a good deed than dip out of the situation. It’s hard to sit in the hurt with people and to sometimes not have a resolution, but just as important. So I worked with a children’s center for underprivileged children, providing them tutoring, snacks after school, just like organized games and sometimes, a little medical care here, like dental training and just teaching them how to brush their teeth or to clean to avoid infections and that kind of thing. But there wasn’t always a resolution to some of those problems. They’re just living in poverty. Their lives were very difficult. And my job, our team’s job was not to solve it, it was to walk through it with them.

Shelby: And I think that is impactful and that can be applied when you go overseas, that can be applied when you are in your neighborhood. That’s not like a big huge idea, it’s very simple that there sometimes isn’t a resolution to people’s problems. That’s not your job to resolve it, that’s under the control of God. But your job is to walk alongside people, and that can be more impactful. I’m a big believer in just relationships and it takes time and it’s hard, but it is so worth it to build into people.

Terry: Well, and you saw some extreme poverty. Did you see some ways that they were richer than us or things we could learn from them?

Shelby: Yeah. Beautiful, beautiful character. I really admire so many things about Bolivian culture. My husband is from there and his family lives there and I just admire how families function and come together. So I think there’s a lot of countries that have similar cultures, but where grandma, mom, grandkids, even great-grandkids will all be living together and bearing each other’s burdens. Whereas I think in American culture, we outsource a lot of that care, care for grandma or care for childcare instead of being a family unit that kind of pushes in and makes their own community within each other. So I admire that and I admire the work ethic and just the joy that they can have in having little. I think it’s a culture shock for a lot of Americans to go to countries where they don’t have very many things and they’re not very comfortable in American terms, but they’re totally okay. They’re happy and can find joy in that. And it’s really inspiring and encouraging to me.

Terry: That’s really cool. So now you’re back here, your husband is here, you’ve got these three little littles, and tell me about what you’re doing to help them to kind of grow up in a multicultural home.

Shelby: Yeah. I think just letting them know that they have been blessed and not making them feel bad that they’ve been blessed, but knowing that American culture isn’t the norm for everyone in the world and that having all of these things isn’t the end-all. So we’ve been able to do that by going back to my husband’s home country and just living life there and them being exposed to having a bouncy ball and that is enough for the entire day. That’s okay. But also, just having a heart of generosity, whether we’re here or whether we’re there, that things are not our own. Whatever God has given us, it’s to steward well within our family or to give and be generous with. So we’re really trying to build a generous heart. I think that’s something that my husband has because of his culture that he grew up in. They’re very generous. And we just want that to apply wherever we are, whether it’s here or there or another country that can transcend all lines.

Terry: It’s fascinating, and especially when you think about someone from a culture like that where they have a really generous heart and here, we have so much and sometimes, we don’t.

Shelby: Yeah. It’s really crazy. And sometimes, I feel like those are just, those moments that are kind of a gut punch, like, “Why is it that I’m so selfish when I have so much?” And so even in just having my husband and me with our different worldviews or different perspectives or different cultures in the same house, we’ve really challenged each other in some of the behaviors that we have. Like, “Why do you act that way? Is it because of the culture you grew up in or can you see benefits of the other person’s culture that you could put into your life or characteristics that you could take on from each other?”

Terry: Sure. Well, and I think the other question I have for you is, what’s in the future? Do you have any plans to do any more mission work?

Shelby: Oh, this is quite the question. I don’t know. Missions are definitely not off the table. I’m a social worker, so it’s just kind of ingrained in my mind to see needs and that’s a blessing and a curse because I know that God’s the main provider so it means I have to always bring it to him. But I always feel that heart of like, “Okay, we should go, we should serve.” When we’ve talked about, should we live there, should we live here? And the cool thing about our marriage and our family is that nothing is set in stone. When we got married, it was this contract that we might live who knows where and that’s okay. So it’s been kind of peaceful to know that it’s up in the air and that’s how God wants it. So, I don’t know, there may be mission work in the future. We’ve talked about moving back to Bolivia at some point, just that our kids can even grow up in both countries. But only God knows really what will come next.

Terry: Well, and it’s neat that you feel like Bolivia is home too.

Shelby: Yeah.

Terry: I think that makes a huge difference too. If you end up living in Bolivia for a while, it feels like home.

Shelby: Yeah. I think that’s been the work of God, to humble me and to remind me that our allegiance is to God and that we’re both and we’re all in every country, we’re all looking forward to eternity and heaven together, but because we have that firm foundation, then we can look at each other’s countries as a place of home while we’re here on earth.

Terry: Awesome. Anything, any last words or anything that you want to leave people with today that might be helpful for them?

Shelby: If you’re listening to this and you think like, “Well, I’m not going to go to a different country, and definitely not right now,” you don’t have to go to a different country to challenge some of your perspectives on your own culture. Have conversations with people that are different than you and like I said at the beginning, have those conversations and let them be influential. Don’t let them just be a small voice in your head, but really take people’s perspective and give them a little bit of weight that their perspective matters and it’s important and it’s just equally as important as yours.

Terry: Awesome. Very, very good. I love that. Well, I think we’re going to wrap this up today. Thank you for joining us today and I just really appreciate, and everybody who’s out there listening, we really appreciate Shelby coming and sharing with her, her life story. I think one of the first things we do with journey coaching, with the process, is we talk about our stories. The coach first gives their story to the person who they’re coaching and then the other person comes back the next week and shares their story, and it’s through our stories that we identify things like our strengths, our weaknesses, and we identify what’s our worldview, what view of the world do we have, where did it come from? And then we start working on, where do I want to go from here and how do I want to get there?

Terry: And so if you have any interest in getting involved with journey coaching, let us know. Definitely listen to some more of the podcasts if you get a chance to, and we will see you again in another session.

Thank you for listening. Tune in next time, and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at and check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at

Freedom Through Honesty

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode, we had our special guest, Shelby on the podcast. Shelby shares her personal story on how the dark period of her life becomes the manifestation of God’s love and how she handles the vulnerability of being transparent and authentic.

Transcription of the Podcast

Shelby: Then I think there’s someone else out there who needs to know that not everything is sunshine and rainbows, but it is still working together for the good.

Terry: Have you seen some of the positives that come out of your being transparent and authentic?

Shelby: Yeah, definitely. I think authenticity breeds authenticity. So, the more vulnerable you are, though it may be difficult, allows people to have space where they can be honest maybe for the first time, maybe sometimes even with themselves. I just think a lot of people, I don’t know if it’s American culture or Bolivian culture, just culture in general, that we like to live kind of hidden lives. We just don’t want to go deep. We don’t want to open up.

Your life, your journey, starts now.

Terry: Well, thank you for joining us today on this episode of The Journey podcast. Today we’re going to talk with Shelby, and Shelby has a really interesting story, I think, that the listeners will really want to hear. I’m just going to open it up to Shelby. Why don’t you tell me a little bit about yourself?

Shelby: Hi, I’m Shelby. I am wife to Jorge and mom to three kids under five. We have Susanna Hope, Alejandra, and Javier. Currently, I stay at home. I am a social worker at heart, but I’m staying home with them while they’re little. We’re part of a bi-cultural, bilingual family if you can’t tell by all of our names. My husband is from South America and Bolivia, and we speak Spanish and English in the home. It’s just kind of a beautiful little dance that we do every day. We love to travel. We travel down to see family in Bolivia as often as possible. We like to try new foods. Just adventure. But also we like to just find the magical and the little normal, simple things of our family at home. But yeah, I am enjoying this season of life, of being home with littles and what that brings.

Terry: Awesome. Being part of a multicultural family. That’s really interesting. And I’m sure a lot of our readers would love to know a little bit more about that.

Shelby: Yeah. So, it has been really eye-opening how ingrained your country’s culture is in you and how ingrained your family’s culture is. I think when anyone gets married, they realize like, “Wow, you grew up in a very different family than I did.” But added to that we have, “Oh, you grew up in a completely different culture, in a different country, in a different government, a different dynamic with when you eat, how you eat.” I mean, just everything is so different. So, that took a lot of getting used to, but it’s also so freeing to see that my way isn’t the only way. And that like there’s just so many perspectives out there and different norms and that’s okay. And it was definitely a challenge at first to realize like, “Oh, we can’t live this perfect Shelby decides how things are going to be life.” And that’s been beautiful to be challenged in that way.

Terry: Sure. It’s interesting for your children to be raised in this environment, have you considered what that looks like for them to not have to make that… They’re just learning this multicultural environment from the beginning.

Shelby: Yeah, it’s been exciting. I mean, some things have been like, “Oh, what are we going to do about this? Which way are we going to go? Or are we just going to make up our own family culture almost?” But our oldest is in kindergarten and we’ve seen that her being more adaptable and understanding to kids in her school that their cultures are different, their home lives are different, and she doesn’t really have a status quo that she thinks everyone needs to lead up to because she’s seen that everyone’s norm is very different. And it’s been cool for us to see her almost be more empathetic just because she’s being raised in a house that’s used to that.

Terry: That’s really awesome. In The Journey coaching material, we spend a session working on worldview, which is really kind of getting into the culture and trying to identify… Even different homes have kind of micro-cultures. And so when we look at this is a macro-culture sort of adjustment, and that’s really cool. You’ve kind of told us a little bit about your story and I’m really fascinated by a part of it where you mentioned something about a pivotal point in your life. Can you talk a little bit more about that here?

Shelby: Yeah, so I think how our family came to be was very pivotal. When I was 18, instead of taking the traditional route of going to college, I took a gap year and I moved to Bolivia in South America to do missions work and just volunteer working with underprivileged children. And in that year in my life, I came to know a relationship with Jesus in a more personal way. I was out on my own for the first time. I was living in a foreign country that I wasn’t comfortable with. I was kind of discovering myself and I met my husband there, my now-husband, and I had lived there for a year. When I came back I was 20 weeks pregnant with our child. We were unmarried, he was still there and I was moving back to the States.

Shelby: And I tell people this story all the time. I mean, you’re just talking to the hairdresser, chatting in the grocery line, and people are like, “Oh my gosh, you were a pregnant missionary.” Like everyone knows. Wow, that’s bad. They don’t even want to say it, but wow. And so it became really shameful. I mean-

Terry: So, that was a really dark period in your story then?

Shelby: Very dark. As much as I’d like to just put a bow on it and say, “It all turned out.” Like it was dark, it was hard because I think sin affects everyone, for sure, in a negative way. There are consequences to sin. But this was really unique because it was physical and it was transforming my life and it was like… I remember feeling I was wearing the Scarlet Letter because I couldn’t hide the sin. It was something I had to deal with. I wanted to just push it to the back of my head.

Shelby: It was like this is going to change your life and everyone’s going to know about it. And I now can thank God for that. But at that time I felt so ashamed, just full of guilt and shame and just desperately looking for somewhere to hide. But I couldn’t. So, definitely a valley. It was a long period. I mean, I think God planned nine months of pregnancy for the perfect reason. He knew we needed nine months to go through all of the almost stages of grief, of just dealing with what is this going to look like for my life? So, yeah. I was 19 I was pregnant and our family came to be essentially from that decision moving on. But then we went into like immigration, getting my husband here, he came on a Fiance Visa. Immigration was really difficult. It took months and months and months just to get him to be able to come to visit, let alone move here.

Shelby: So, I had our first daughter alone here in the States. He wasn’t able to make it. But at that time I could see God’s hand at work. I could see his grace. And it reminded me so much of the story in the Bible of the Israelites, God pursued them with his love. And even if that meant like painful times when they would mess up and bear the consequences of their decisions, it was all because he was like, “I love you so much, I want you and I want to be in a relationship with you and I want to care for you.” And I remember just that feeling of wanting to run and hide and he was like, “No. Stop hiding. I will do whatever it takes for you to know that you’re loved by me.” Even if that was that dark period of my life.

Terry: So, how did that become the pivot for you? Because clearly that’s a dark period. How did you kind of pivot out of that or how did that change your life?

Shelby: I think… Yeah. Well, it changed the logistics of my life for sure because I have no idea where my life would have gone had he not kind of grabbed me with that love. I probably would’ve gone down an even darker path and into a darker valley. But in that difficult, shameful period, he also gave me hope, our daughter Hope. Yeah. So…

Terry: Were there people around you, people who God used to kind of show you love?

Shelby: Yeah, absolutely. I was able to see, in the most real way, the church and someone who has Jesus in their heart, what their actions truly look like. Because I saw so many people who were just outrageously loving and generous, and “What can we do for you? If we can’t do anything, let’s just be next to you. I’m going to sit with you.”

Terry: So, even though you felt shameful about what you were going through, there were these people that just surrounded you and said, “No, how can we love on you?”

Shelby: Yeah. And they didn’t water down the reality that this is hard, and even like the hairdresser can say, “This is kind of a bad situation.” They didn’t water it down, but they said, “It’s okay. Love covers a multitude of sins and we love you and Jesus loves you and we’re going to show you on our actions.” So, I saw the church in action really well in small things like giving me hand me down clothes and big things like saying, “We’re going to celebrate this child and we’re going to throw a party when she’s born.” And so really like action, love, and action. It wasn’t just words. Saw a great response of love pouring out from people’s hearts.

Terry: That’s awesome.

Shelby: Yeah.

Terry: And then when your husband was able to join you, so your fiance at that point. But when he was able to join you here, how was his reception?

Shelby: It was good, from the same people who had loved us well, they really loved him and accepted him. But it was almost on a macro level, people adjusting to a different culture. Because I mean we’re here in Iowa and everyone’s Iowa nice. But then you have someone that doesn’t look like you and doesn’t act like you. And yeah, it was an adjustment, I think for everyone to get used to “Okay, this is how you live with someone with a different culture and a different upbringing and a different experience.” Even just hearing an immigrant story in real life and not just on the news. It was cool to see that almost as a collective, people going through that.

Terry: Well, and I would guess it’d be a huge culture shock for him.

Shelby: Yeah. He got here in, I want to say March, and he got out of the plane and he was like, “It’s white and it’s flat. Is this all there is?” I’m like, “Yeah, aren’t you excited?” So, it was definitely a culture shock.

Terry: Never seen snow?

Shelby: Nope. He had never seen snow before.

Terry: Wow. Okay. First impressions of snow.

Shelby: The excitement lasts for about two minutes and then you’re like, “Okay, done with that.” And I’m like, “Yeah, we’re on month five here in Iowa. We’re done with the winter too.” It was definitely a culture shock for him. I mean, he’s been here now five and a half years and there are still some things that it’s was just like, “I can’t get used to that about this culture.” But yeah, it was quite the brave, loving thing for him to come here too

Terry: Yeah. You mentioned God, and you mentioned how that helped you. How did your relationship with God help you with the transition, to trans… Kind of that story of redemption.

Shelby: Yeah, I guess I saw… My whole life I had grown in a Christian home, so I knew the foundational truths of the Bible and I knew all the right answers and I knew all the right things to do. But that was the first time that I saw God personally. I saw him as not this distant being, but as a father who loved me and was compassionate towards me and who wants good things for me, even in the little moment when it feels like this is the end of the world. He’s actually bringing good out of that.

Shelby: And yeah, he brought redemption to our story that I could have just spiraled, but he instead gave us such blessings and such undeserved love at that time. And just his character was more visibly seen because of my experience, and it was no longer just I know the right answers and I know the textbook stories, but I know this in my life, I know this to be a reality. And I just wish so often that everyone could experience not just knowing the word of God, but knowing that it applies to your everyday situations.

Terry: That’s beautiful. You talk about being authentic, and you really are. I mean, you’re sitting here and you’re opening up about your shame and about the things that you went through the darker times. How have you been able to be transparent with people and not just kind of cover that up and hide it?

Shelby: Like when I said how when I was pregnant, I couldn’t hide that I was pregnant. It’s continued. I mean, people always ask like, “Oh, your daughter. And how did you guys meet?” And so it comes up and I have that choice, almost every single day, to just rush by the story and kind of put a bow on it. Or to just be real and honest and say, “You know what? It wasn’t this fairy tale kind of story of how we came to be. It was really hard and that is why it is so precious and so beautiful and we’re so thankful for the family that we have.” So, we’ve been able to tell that story every day and be authentic and it’s a choice every day though. And some days I honestly am like I don’t really want to be open about everything. But then I think there’s someone else out there who needs to know that not everything is sunshine and rainbows, but it is still working together for the good.

Terry: Have you seen some of the positives that come out of your being transparent and authentic?

Shelby: Yeah, definitely. I think authenticity breeds authenticity. So, the more vulnerable you are, though it may be difficult, allows people to have space where they can be honest maybe for the first time, maybe sometimes even with themselves. I just think a lot of people, I don’t know if it’s American culture or Bolivian culture, or just culture in general, that we like to live kind of hidden lives. We just don’t want to go deep. We don’t want to open up. And there can be like years and years of not just being real about stuff. And so I have seen the fruit in other people’s lives of just being able to live in more freedom of being honest with other people, being honest with themselves and being honest with God.

Terry: Have there been some fear of being honest and open with people? Have you noticed any fear that… Fear of reprisal, fear of people not understanding, looking at you differently? Because I think that’s what people out there are thinking, “Oh my gosh, I can’t be transparent about this because…”

Shelby: Yeah, I think the biggest fear that I have in being transparent about my story is that it’s not done yet, and sometimes I’m afraid that people are going to want it to be wrapped up. They want it to be okay, well everything’s perfect now. And no, it’s not. When I honest, I have to be honest with today, too. I have to say, “Well, today is also a struggle.” Or, “Yesterday was a valley.” Or, “There’s been highs and lows this month.” Instead of just, “This was all in my past.” I think that’s been the fear of opening up and continuing to be honest about your story.

Terry: That sounds good. I think there’s a lot of people, and I know there are because I’ve talked with different people who they kind of go to church, they go to work, they go someplace and they wear this little mask and it’s got a smile on it. And it’s the I’m all put together mask, and we don’t tell others that we’re hurting and we don’t let people know sometimes that we’re going through something really tough. What advice would you give to somebody out there who’s doing that right now that might help them to kind of let down their mask and be authentic with somebody?

Shelby: I would say that I understand. I understand that fear. I understand it’s just easier for the time being, but in the long run, it’s not. It’s not going to do you any good to hide and put on a good face. That there is a real reward and there’s real freedom in being vulnerable. I think there’s wisdom in who to confide in and who to find community in. But I think that that is wired in our DNA to be in community. We are relational people and that it’s so good for you to speak up, speak with someone, be open. Because though it may feel good today to put on that mask, it’s going to catch up to you. And it’s in our DNA that we have to be in a relationship and talk about stuff.

Terry: I think that’s awesome. Just kind of, in summary, anything specific that you wished that people would walk away with from your message and your story today?

Shelby: I think it’s important to know that whether you are in a valley or you’re in a high or you’re putting on that face for now, that as it matters. Every little turn of every little day matters to God and he has a purpose behind it. Sometimes I like to think about a big beautiful tapestry and it’s got all these ornament details. And then you look on the back and it’s all the threads and it’s confusing, and sometimes we’re looking at the threads and we’re confused and we’re hurt. And that’s okay to be hurt and that’s okay to have all those emotions, but to always remember that on the other side God is putting something beautiful together with your story.

Terry: Yeah. I love that and I love that analogy.

Shelby: Yeah, it’s a good reminder for me every day.

Terry: Okay, well, thank you, Shelby. Until next time. I’ll close this now and thank you again for listening and we hope that you tune back in for another podcast of Journey coaching.

Thank you for listening. Tune in next time and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at and check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at

Your life, your journey, starts now.


Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode, we’re talking about helpful tips in navigating through family tension especially during the holidays.

Transcription of the Podcast coming

Terry: Focus on the supporting family members that you do have. If we just focus on the maybe the toxic person in your relationship, then it seems like everything is a waste. But if you realize, no, this other aunt has been amazingly supportive. My grandmother, I have no idea how long she’s going to be here. Let’s focus on her and honor her for this time.

Jeff: (singing).

Jeff: Welcome to The Journey podcast. This is Jeff and today we’re going to ask the question, how do you survive and believe it or not even thrive during the holidays when there’s family tension? Not that there’s ever a family tension. And you got to go to these family gatherings and you just dread going, what do you do?

Terry: I think that’s a great, great topic for today.

Jeff: So in the studio with me is Terry. Hello.

Terry: Hello.

Jeff: And as a mental health counselor, it’s always good to have you here and to toss out a few specific ideas. And this is something that’s on a lot of people’s minds this time of the year. So, yeah. Welcome

Terry: Well, thank you. I am happy to be able to talk to you today.

Jeff: Why does it seem like there are so many relationship problems during the holidays? You would think with all the falala and all the good tidings and all that that everybody would be happy and getting along.

Terry: You’d think so wouldn’t you? There are actually though, there are a lot of people who dread family get-togethers for various reasons. I remember growing up, it kind of gets to the reason why we get together with family at the holidays, somebody requests it, usually, it’s grandma or grandpa or the matriarch, the patriarch, and somebody says, “Oh, we’ve got to get everybody together.”

Jeff: Yes. I remember those days in Tulsa having to drive back on the ice.

Terry: Having to drive back on the ice to get home for Christmas.

Jeff: Yes, I remember that.

Terry: Because if we didn’t, people would be unhappy.

Jeff: The world would end.

Terry: A lot of times those are happy times and I remember coming back from Tulsa and meeting with family and stuff and then it was hard to leave and go back to school and work and stuff.

Jeff: We probably should point out that we are married. Because they’ll be like, “Why are these two people going back and forth to Tulsa together?”

Terry: This is true.

Jeff: So anyway, yes we did that together during the holidays.

Terry: I also remember going when we were kids and having to go over to aunts and uncles homes where most people got along but there was always somebody who had opinions about something political or something religious. And then it would just seem to become an undertone under the whole thing. And you learn to kind of avoid that aunt or uncle. Not in mine, my family was perfect.

Jeff: Yeah right. Well, can you give us just a sort of a rapid-fire, some things that we can do here to address this?

Terry: Well I think the first thing before the events ever happen, I think the first thing you really want to try to do is to anticipate possible triggers or stressors or situations and develop a plan. In some cases, your plan might be setting some boundaries. I’m just not going to talk about politics-

Jeff: Politics, right.

Terry: … With that uncle or that aunt. I’m going to maybe formulate some answers ahead of time to what I might want to say, even rehearse it if possible. If you know that every time you get together, this relative is always challenging you on your beliefs or your politics, think through, “How do I want to react?” Because what happens is when at the moment, if we don’t have a plan, then at the moment, our emotions may go rampant and then the plan goes out the window and we end up just spouting off or saying something that we later on regret.

Jeff: Yeah. And that can be a simple thing, right? It’s like, “Yeah, the politics thing. Yeah, that gets a little dicey. Let’s just table that for another time, right?” I mean, it can be something really simple.

Terry: Well and have a backup plan. If something does go haywire, what do you do? I think also check your expectations, what expectations are you having of the event? A lot of times people, get a fancy new dress or they’re doing something and they are expecting that “When I get there, everybody’s going to go ooh.” And when they get there, it’s easy to have hurt feelings because well nobody noticed your new dress or your new hairdo or your-

Jeff: Your whatever, yeah.

Terry: … Yeah, whatever that is. So check your expectations.

Jeff: Well, and going back real quick to things to discuss. A lot of our family are involved in business together, so that’s one of the things that we say going in, “Hey, we’re not going to talk about business during the family get together.”

Terry: And the last family gets together we had, oh my gosh, I think we said that we reminded everybody of that, what, 15 times?

Jeff: Well you did anyway. We just kind of kept to it. So we didn’t do really good at that boundary. But we’ll get better.

Terry: No. And when you’ve got two businesses and a ministry in between five people, it really can be hard to not talk about business.

Jeff: Right. Right. So again, it’s not perfect, but we try. But yeah, it is good to try to set those expectations, and at least to let people have an out and say, “Hey, yeah, let’s just table this for another day.” So what are some other things?

Terry: Well, I think if you’re going to a big family event or a work party or something where you’re feeling uncomfortable already, maybe find a buffer, take a friend, a partner, a family member, somebody who can, if things get tight, you can just turn and focus on that person or they can be a buffer between you aunt so-and-so. I think it’s also important to remember don’t use the holidays, and I’m going to emphasize this again, don’t use the holidays to bring up old grudges, old grievances with family members or people there. This isn’t the time or the place. It’s not going to have a good positive outcome and other people are just going to have hurt feelings. Use other times to address those things with people one-on-one. But don’t use holiday gatherings for that.

Jeff: Right, good point.

Terry: I think some other things you might do too, is to consider strategies to cope with unexpected things that come up as well. Your best-laid plans are going to have… they’re going to fall flat sometimes. You’re going to avoid aunt so-and-so until she finally tracks you down and challenges you about the fact that you’re either not married or you’re married or she’s just going to have some kind of a thing. Consider a strategy to cope with those kinds of issues. Sometimes it’s just taking some time away, getting away from there, taking some deep breaths, going out for a walk and just challenging that person who’s trying to pull you into a fight even and just say, “No, I’m not going to fight today. This is Thanksgiving. We’re here to celebrate, give thanks and celebrate family and we’re not going to fight today. Call me up tomorrow.”

Jeff: Right, right. And what are a few other things then that we can do?

Terry: I think first of all, or fifth of all maybe, to stay positive, focus on the supporting family members that you do have. If we just focus on the maybe the toxic person in your relationship, then it seems like everything is a waste. But if you realize, no, this other aunt has been amazingly supportive. My grandmother, I have no idea how long she’s going to be here. Let’s focus on her and honor her for this time. Who can I help? Sometimes you can avoid a conversation in the living room by getting up, picking up dishes and going in and starting to help wash dishes.

Jeff: Right. Right. Yeah. Which no shortage of dishes and during those holidays sometimes.

Terry: Exactly.

Jeff: And finally, anything you can leave us with then?

Terry: Well, I think it really goes back to something we said at another podcast, remember the reason for the gathering that we’re doing, if you’re getting together for a party to celebrate somebody’s shower, remember that that person is the person you’re honoring. It’s not about you, it’s about them. And what can you do to help honor that person? And the same thing at Christmas time and at Thanksgiving, realize there’s a reason why we’re getting together and try to stay focused on that.

Jeff: Right. Right. Yeah. The reason behind Thanksgiving is to give thanks, Christmas, the whole birth of Christ and a lot of people may be questioning that or trying to figure that out, but it’s still important to get back to those core things because it simplifies things. Well, thanks again for being with us and sharing some good thoughts.

Terry: Thank you.

Jeff: And yeah, so to everyone out there, Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and I appreciate you listening. Tune in again.

Terry: Bye

Jeff: Bye

Thank you for listening. Tune in next time and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at and check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at (singing)

Thriving Through Holiday Stress

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode, Jeff and Terry offer solutions to help you thrive during this holiday season.

Transcription of Podcast


I’m trying to figure out why am I getting stressed out? Well, maybe it’s because I’m expecting too much of what I’m doing or too much of what other people are doing. You’re hosting a dinner party. Does everything have to be perfect?

Jeff: Welcome to the Journey podcast. This is Jeff. And today we’re going to ask the question, how can we survive holiday stress? In the studio with me this time is Terry. Hi, Terry.

Terry: Hi.

Jeff: She is a mental health counselor and I’m really glad that you’re here because holidays can be stressing. They can be fun, but they can also have a lot going on and really stress us out, so we could use a few good ideas on this topic.

Terry: Sure. Thank you. I’m excited to be able to be here today.

Jeff: So tell me about this a little bit. I mean, the holidays, when we think of holidays a lot of times they’re filled with happiness, good tidings, and joy, right?

Terry: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jeff: So families are getting together. Lots of good food and decorations. What’s this thing about stress and all that?

Terry: Well, you’d think it’d be all fun and joy. I mean, at least that’s what Norman Rockwell and Hallmark Channel want to make you think, is that everything’s all wrapped up neatly and tightly into a small little package.

Jeff: Well, and you talk about the Hallmark Channel and stuff. My background is in advertising and let’s face it, there’s a ton of time, money, and energy put out there, whether it’s the Hallmark Channel or whatever it might be. I mean, there’s a lot of time, money, and energy put out there to produce stuff, to sell stuff, and it’s just kind of overwhelming at times.

Terry: Right. Well, that’s one of the stresses and I think we’ll kind of talk about that today. There are other other issues, and we’ll have a couple of other podcasts coming up that talk about some of the family relationships. Family dynamics, loneliness and things like that. Definitely. I mean, the reality is that some of the people listening today may have no family at the holidays, or they’re part of a family that doesn’t get along very well. Even some toxic relationships.

Jeff: Yeah, that’s really rough, right? I mean-

Terry: Right. And so we’ll talk about those at some point too, because I think this is a bigger issue than just one podcast. But today what I’d like to talk about is, really the dealing with stress, the personal stress that goes along with the holidays. I think there’s a level where we kind of get into almost a chronic level of stress, starting about before Thanksgiving and then through the 1st of January and stuff. And I think that doesn’t necessarily have to be there.

Jeff: Right, right. Well, and I think even change of seasons to kind of combine this. I mean, we have less daylight. I mean, there’s just lots of … it gets colder in a lot of parts of the country. I mean, there’s just a lot of changes going on this time of the year. A lot of things going on.

Terry: And for those people who’ve lost somebody or they’re separated from someone that they love, holidays can be especially brutal. But apart from that, we also notice there’s a lot more personal stress. Fatigue, sadness, irritability, all increase over the winter months. Like you said, the winter season itself can be kind of stressful. You’ve got the extra cold and other things, especially you live in our part of the world.

Jeff: Right, right. Yeah, I think it was five degrees today. [crosstalk 00:03:33] drive it in so …

Terry: Yeah, exactly. And a lot of extra stress comes from the financial strain. Holidays are not cheap.

Jeff: So what can we do about it? What are some of the things that we can do to address this and to address it head on?

Terry: Well, I think one of the things to look at is kind of more from a general vantage point. We could look at each one of those different issues and really focus on any one of those and do them well. But I think for the purpose of today, let’s look at it from more of a general vantage point. If someone is having a particularly tough time with any of the issues discussed or if the sadness that they’re feeling, and this is the point I really want to point out, if the sadness you’re feeling interferes with your normal routine, has lasted more than a few days, I really encourage you to find some kind of professional help. Get a hold of a counselor or a therapist, a psychologist, a psychiatrist, somebody in your area, and let them know that you’re really struggling. Because that’s more than the usual stress for the holidays.

Jeff: Right, right. And you probably see, in your practice this time of the year, more people that are coming in with these kinds of concerns or just these kinds of things that are bothering them.

Terry: Yeah. Before the holidays we see people coming in saying, “I don’t know how I’m going to survive the holidays.” Afterwards we get people who have been stressed out so much that we’re dealing with some of the post stress.

Jeff: Right, right. Well, I think about, as we’re talking here on a little bit of a lighter note, the movie Vacation, the Chevy Chase Vacation movie.

Terry: Christmas Vacation.

Jeff: Christmas Vacation, yeah. And you’ve got all this stuff going on, and in a lighthearted way, I mean, it really does show all the mess that can can happen at the holiday. Again, what are some of those things, sort of those warning signs or those, even yellow light kinds of things flashing that say, “Hey, I might be stressing out over this stuff.”

Terry: Yeah, I think that’s a really good question. I think the first thing is just to really … I encourage people to really listen to what their body is telling them. That sounds kind of strange to somebody who’s not used to doing that. But knots in your stomach, chest, tension in your neck and shoulders. Those are all ways that our body is trying to get our attention. Some people, they get so many knots in their stomach they can’t eat, or they feel like they’re going to throw up. And those are all signs of tension. And there’s a lot of other things, headaches, just other kind of fatigue, irritability. Pay attention to those things. Our body’s trying to get our attention and saying, “Hey, wait a minute. This isn’t healthy.”

Jeff:Right, right.

Terry: I think, also, be aware of your own self-talk. Be aware of what’s going on. We all talk to ourselves on a regular basis. Our thoughts are going round and round about different things. Be aware of your own self-talk. First of all, examine your expectations. What am I expecting? Okay, I know I’m getting stressed out. I’m trying to figure out why am I getting stressed out? Well, maybe it’s because I’m expecting too much of what I’m doing or too much of what other people are doing. You’re hosting a dinner party. Does everything have to be perfect? What happens if somebody doesn’t have … you don’t have an equal number of pumpkin pie slices or something like that?

Jeff: Oh dear, not that.

Terry: Is that going to ruin the whole party? Just be realistic with your expectations. I think another thing to look at too is why am I doing what I’m doing? Am I trying to keep up with others? Do I have to have my house have at least two more strands of lights than the neighbor’s lights?

Jeff: Right. Right, exactly.

Terry: Just realizing, “I don’t have to keep up with others.” I think it helps to anticipate some of the other stressors that you might have coming up. What might some of the stressors be? If I’m having a family dinner and I know uncle Jeff is going to be there …

Jeff: Not uncle Jeff. No, no.

Terry: … and he sometimes causes a great deal of stress, anticipate that-

Jeff: Oh, no. That would never happen. Not anybody named Jeff, right?Never would happen.

Terry: … and then develop a plan. How am I going to deal with a stress? I know stress is inevitable. There are times when we have to have some … stress will happen. So what do you do with that? Come up with a plan on how I’m going to either distress or minimize the stress.

Jeff: Which would be how? I mean, what are a couple of examples?

Terry: Well, I think one of the ways to minimize the stress would be to stick to a budget, for instance. Financial stress can be really, really overwhelming at Christmas time. If you decide, I don’t want to spend more than X number of dollars on Christmas this year, and then divide out by how many people you have to buy for. And say, “You know what? Guess what? This is what we’re spending.” It kind of goes along with keeping up with others. Can you live with the fact that you only buy a $25 present and somebody gives you a $50 present? Does that cause stress?

Jeff: Well, the whole concept, January does come after December and credit card bills do come in January. So that will happen.

Terry: Well, and I think, like I said before, de-stressing is really, really important. What that means is after you’ve had a stressful event or you’ve had a stressful day or week, do something to distress. Usually that’s through some kind of relaxation, deep breathing exercises, meditation. It can also be through, go take a warm bubble bath if you’re that type of person. Or exercise. Burning off the stress can help a lot.

Jeff: Right. Right. Yeah. Just going a little deeper there. I mean, stress really is a thing, right? I mean, there’s some sort of science. I should mention, Terry’s background, besides being a counselor, is a RN, a registered nurse, so she’s got a little bit of sort of that medical background to some of this stuff too.

Terry: Well, yeah. I remember when I worked in the hospital that it seemed to me that a lot of people were there for preventable causes, and a lot of the prevention is dealing with stress. Stress causes us to wear out body parts. I think in some ways … I mean, I know there’s a genetic pattern to things like heart disease and stuff, but constant chronic stress can bring something like that on a lot faster.

Jeff: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Terry: Think of your body as a stress bank, I guess is a good way to look at it. When we’re under stress, our body secretes hormones as a way of helping us cope. But if we don’t give ourselves time to distress or empty the stress bank, it will continue to fill, fill, fill, fill, and eventually the results of chronic overstress will become evident.

Jeff: Yeah. Huh. Interesting. What are some of the ways that stress kind of shows up? I mean, what …

Terry: Stress can actually feel good at first. We feel competent. We feel valued. We feel like we’re really accomplishing a lot of stuff, and in some ways we feel like we’re more important in some ways because we have a lot to do. But pretty soon we can start to feel some resentment towards people around us, especially if they’re a lot more relaxed than we are at the holidays. We may start to feel like, “If you’d just start picking up some of the slack I wouldn’t be so stressed and then I could be relaxed with you.” We start to blame them for some of our stress.

Jeff: Terry, what’s something then that we can do about this then?

Terry: Well, I think one of the first things you might want to do is find a friend. Get ahold of somebody. Find a coach, talk to a counselor, a therapist. It might be a good idea to just even kind of look into sharing some of these things that are stressing you out with someone else and get their perspective. Maybe they could give you some coach tips of, “Here’s some things I did over the holidays to make myself less stressed.”

Jeff: Right. Well, and we’ve said this before, and I say it tongue in cheek, that at Journey we’d love to put counselors out of business. And what that means is, not that counselors would ever go out of business, because there are times, like you said, when counseling is really, really good. But how many people could stay out of that counselor’s office if they had those intentional relationships. If they had those friends and just cultivated those friendships. I mean, how important is it that?

Terry: Right. Well, I wish I could give you an answer for that, I really don’t. I know that there are oftentimes situations that somebody will come in and they’ll say, “Well, I was really stressed out over such and such a time, but I handled it well. I talked to one of my friends.” Did they need to come into a counselor’s office over that? Probably not.

Jeff: Right, right. And so, friends matter. Another thing that we can do is to look at simplifying. So for instance, Thanksgiving. We talk about Thanksgiving, and the word that is front and center there is thanks. So what can help sometimes, and really at core of what Thanksgiving is about, is to give-

Terry: Thanks.

Jeff: Yeah, that’s right. Same with Christmas. I mean, we hear about Christmas and think, “Oh my gosh, Christmas is coming up.” We have these ideas like we had talked about. All these parties and all this, giving gifts and all these things happening. But if you look at the word Christmas. Christ, the birth of Christ. It’s easy to overlook that sometimes.

Jeff: And sometimes people think, “Well, yeah, but I don’t even really know if I believe this stuff about a little baby being born and Jesus and all this stuff.” But we kind of need to think, “Well, if there’s this holiday that is pegged into our calendar that’s about this event, that is Christ mass, aught we maybe spend some time around Christmas looking at that core event and saying, ‘Hey. How might this actually have happened and how can it be just a meaningful thing in my life?'”

Terry: Well, I’d like to go back to what you just said because I think what’s really important is, if you stop and look at what the real reason is, it can … Because the way you said it, it sounds a little bit like you’re adding stress to what people are doing. And I think what your real intention was, is to help them to de-stress by looking at the actual reason for what they’re getting … the purpose of the holiday and try to focus on that. And if you do that then you might not get as involved in as many of the decorations or lights or … your focus is going to be different and hopefully less stressful.

Jeff: Yeah. Right. Focus on the meaning behind Thanksgiving and behind Christmas.

Terry: Right. And the reason you’re there as opposed to …

Jeff: Yeah.

Terry: Okay.

Jeff: That sounds good. Cool. Well-

Terry: Actually, we’ve got another podcast kind of coming down the road here and we’re going to talk more about the specifics of dealing with either loneliness at the holidays or dealing with relationships that are actually adding more stress. And so, let’s kind of wrap this up today and then we will deal with those at another time.

Jeff: Right. And just say Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas to everyone. Right? Alrighty. Thanks for listening. Tune in next time.


Thank you for listening. Tune in next time. And make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at and check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at

Coaching Made Personal

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode, we had the pleasure of having special guest, Don on the podcast. Don shares his journey to being an overcomer in a real and authentic way. From the purpose he found to the peace he is experiencing on this journey, their is encouragement for all.

Transcription of the Podcast

Don: I hope this journey never ends. I do not want this journey to end, and that’s one reason again that when you asked me to come and sit with you today and speak that I said, “Yeah, I would love to.” Because I want people to know what’s going on in the world and what they easily have access to with your podcast.

Your life, your journey, starts now.

Jeff: Hello everybody, this is Jeff. We’re here with another Journey Podcast and have a new good friend called Don and Don is here, Don Evans. And just glad to have him aboard. So welcome aboard to the podcast.

Don: Thank you Jeff. I appreciate the emphasis on good friend, because that means a lot to me personally because in my past I’ve not had a lot of good friends.

Jeff: Well it’s fun as Don and I have connected, I mean there’s some maybe personality traits or some wiring that maybe is close enough where I think we have had some good conversations and have connected and it’s been fun. Gosh, I think I met you what, about six months or so ago?

Don: Yeah.

Jeff: Something like that.

Don: Something like that.

Jeff: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, and one of the things, and we’re just going to do one of the things-

Don: Well it’s going to be laid back too, right?

Jeff: It will be laid back and sort of the one of the things that is really cool about Don podcast, so one of the things that’s really cool is just his openness, his realness and just combined with overcoming some stuff in his life. So I guess you really can’t unpack real, but you can unpack the overcomer part. So maybe talk about that a little bit. Kind of, what’s been happening in your life.

Don: Yeah, I would love to do that. But for your listeners, I just want to say this, we’re going to get something cleared up right away. Jeff uses the term unpack a lot. So right now we’re going to unpack a lot of stuff, because to be perfectly honest with everybody listening, when Jeff first met me, it was about a month or two later, he thought that I was something that I wasn’t, because of the way I carried myself and the way I spoke in public and acted. But truth be known, I have a good heart and I’m a good person, but I was a really odd person that nowadays by a lot of people is called a pretend-aholic.

Jeff: Well, can I just interrupt you one-

Don: Sure.

Jeff: … second here, because yeah, my first impression of Don was, well now you can tell by his voice, the deep voice and very, very authoritative-

Don: You have to work on it a little bit buddy.

Jeff: But I talked to him for five minutes. I’m like, “Wow, this guy’s like, maybe he could be a million … He could be like a multimillionaire. He just controls the room in the way he presents himself.” So, anyway.

Don: Oh, I appreciate that. But yeah, it’s just funny how we got started and my first impression to you was something that I wasn’t. I’ve struggled all my life with a lot of alcohol addictions and depression from that, just had a rough childhood. I don’t harbor any things like that. I don’t carry that with me. But see, there again, that’s where that word comes in, pretend-aholic. Because it really does bother even a rough guy like me. Bounced in bars. I’ve sang music in country bars. I’ve even danced on bars before. And no, I don’t know if the crowd thought I did pretty well, but that didn’t matter. It’s pointless. I just say that to be somewhat humorous because-

Jeff: I’ve now got that movie Coyote Ugly in my head.

Don: Yeah right. Well it was close to that. Some people said it was ugly, but the pictures I think were destroyed. But I just, I want to be honest with you Jeff, and let your listeners know that a rough character like me, and honestly I was, and I still am to a degree. I’m a big guy. I’m six foot, 250 pounds and God blessed me with this some sort of weird voice that everybody seems to like. So when I say that only to enhance the fact that please listen to what I have to say for the sole purpose of, if this thing can change me. This coaching thing has done so much for me that I just literally Jeff, I want the whole world to know about it. And I just, it so dramatically changes how I have viewed things on a day-to-day basis now.

Don: It’s just overwhelming to me that now I have a sense of more purpose and reasoning to just let people know that no matter where you’re at in life, I told you I was an alcoholic, but maybe you struggle with other issues, whoever you are that’s listing. And you don’t have to have problems to do this. I just simply want to clarify the fact that somebody that’s been through as much stuff as I have to come out on the other side and know that there’s hope for a better life, and I don’t have to keep spinning the little hamster wheel anymore.

Jeff: Well, that’s a good point because you have had life experience, been around the block a few times.

Don: Oh yeah.

Jeff: Been through some different connection points or programs or whatever it might be. What was the thing, if you had to core it down to like that one thing, what was the thing about coaching, about Journey Coaching that really was helpful?

Don: Oh that’s a really easy one now that you jogged my memory on that one. It was the day that I was going through my journaling that I’d written down the questions that I’d answered for that Wednesday meeting. We met every Wednesday, I don’t remember the other questions. There were boxes to check and there was only one empty box that I could not check to be honest. And that question I’ll never forget. It was, do you spend time daily reading and studying your Bible? And I was unable to check that box, even though I was always kind of a heathen, I’m at least honest about stuff like that.

Don: And I went into to this coaching thing to be honest and get my life straightened out and my coach immediately said, “We’d have to do something about that.” And we did. And that was just back in June Jeff, that was in the middle of June. And so my coach asked me very politely when I came back the following Wednesday, he said, “I want to know what chapter, what book you read in the Bible, and how much you read of it. And I’m going to encourage you that you do that starting today, every single day of your life.”

Don: And you know, I’m not a good reader, so I have a little audio that I follow along with my Bible, but anybody that does know things about the Bible, oh man, I’m telling you what. Once I cruised through the gospels as the truckers, I’ll say it for y’all truckers listing out there, I’m hammered down now, I’m just hammered down. So yeah, it’s been fun to dive into stuff like that and learn things that I just put aside.

Jeff: Right, right. Well, and I just want to throw it out there too. When you talk about reading your Bible, a lot of people listening may not have ever picked up a Bible before. And I think part of the coaching process, that’s good. I mean, if you just pick up a … I encourage everybody, pick up a Bible if you’ve never looked at one before. But it’s really helpful to have somebody alongside you that can help guide you through and like where to start.

Don: Absolutely.

Jeff: And you can bounce different ideas back and forth and that can be a really, really helpful thing is just not only have the Bible but that person that you can have alongside you through that whole thing, so.

Don: And that’s what my coach did for me. He was there, he knew the Bible very well and he was a reader of the Bible every day and still is. So he was able to share some things with me and places to start. And his theory was, just start with the gospels. Start with Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. A lot of information there because they not only were followers of Jesus but let’s … Now that I know this, that I can speak in this with authority, they hung out with Jesus. They followed him around. They did not only hear it, they saw it to validate it and once I got, even Luke was my most interesting chapter because this guy was like an Einstein back in ancient times. He was that brilliant of a man, but he just, he made all these scriptures and wrote all this stuff down and I’m just now a guy that’s on fire for knowledge and I don’t spend any time on Netflix or television or anything.

Don: I may be honest with people are going to laugh at me out there. You know, this guy’s addicted to YouTube. Now he was an alcoholic, but now he’s on YouTube all the time. Yes sir. Yes ma’am, I am. Because you know what, there’s a lot of knowledge there and there’s a lot of very smart people on there. If you want to move your life forward you doesn’t need to hook up with Don, I’ll tell you which places to go and what you need to listen to that will change your life. In a matter of a day you’ll go, “Wow, I’m inspired and I want to do something.” So please pay attention because the questions are going to get easier, I promise.

Jeff: Well, in that whole overcomer piece, and just as we’re wrapping this up, along with the Bible, along with … And you want to talk about your Bible, Matthew, Mark and so forth and hanging out with Jesus, that’s original coaching there, right?

Don: Yeah it is.

Jeff: The one on one, they were there. So it’s sort of that original coaching.

Don: Yeah, I call them my guys, Gary and Tom were there, and they would tell you about it.

Jeff: Yeah. Yeah. So it’s taking that same concept and having people in your life, real one on one opening up and that’s a game changer.

Don: Well, it is. And see, I’m envious now of my coaches for what they did for me. I envy those two gentlemen that took, we actually spent 13 weeks doing it. And I can tell you this honestly Jeff, maybe I haven’t, that about week five we weren’t getting anyways close to getting to the end of the book. We were about the third chapter still. And I questioned them. I’m like, “Guys, I know you’re donating your time,” because that’s the way the program works. And I said, “I just feel guilty that I’m not going fast enough.” And you know, it’s really rewarding when two guys in their 70s, I don’t know their age, I shouldn’t be telling it, y’all ain’t going to know them anyway.

Jeff: They’re actually 40 years old, but they look that old. Just kidding.

Don: I’ve got them hid in a closet, they’re mine. But when they said to me Jeff, this is really, really sunk deep into me that day. When those two simultaneously looked at each other and then looked back to me, they said, “Don, we have learned as much from you in three weeks, probably more than you’ve learned from us. We don’t care if it takes 90 days to do this because you inspire us to make us want to continue to do this.”

Don: And that really took me back. I’m like, “These two old guys are so much more lifestyle improved than I am.” So see, I was judging myself when in turn they’re there, learning from me. So that’s why, when you asked me if I’d want to come and sit and visit with you a little bit on this thing today, I’m like, “Yeah, absolutely. Because it needs to be heard what things are available to people.”

Jeff: Yeah, and you hit on a key point about the whole concept of coaching. I mean, it’s not one person’s like the mentor expert-

Don: No.

Jeff: … and the other person’s the person that doesn’t know anything. I mean, it’s equal. We’re all on this life’s journey together and if we can come alongside each other and help each other and grow together, how sweet is that? So …

Don: Right man, I’ll tell you if candidly, this just entered my little pointed brain. I hope this journey never ends. I do not want this journey to end. And that’s one reason again, that when you asked me to come and sit with you today and speak, that I said, “Yeah, I would love to.” Because I want people to know what’s going on in the world and what they easily have access to with your podcast. You can go to these and listen to these and then make your own informed decision. If you think that’s something that’s going to fit in your life, it doesn’t take very much time, you know?

Jeff: Yeah, yeah. No, that’s very cool. Well, thanks for listening. We’ll I’m sure here more of a Don in coming podcasts. See, he can talk a lot clearer than I can.

Don: You need not worry about that, see. You just think about yourself, then you get overwhelmed. Let me close by saying that also. Let me add just a little more to that. Again, I mentioned that a little bit earlier, but for your listeners out there, it’s immaterial to any of us what you think you are in public. It’s what you think about yourself and how much self-motivation you want to allow yourself to have to make life better and easier so that … And you know, we hear about peace in the Bible a lot. For the first time of my life since I got out of this in July and we’re just here in the first part of the middle of September.

Don: My life is 180 degrees different than it was. So anybody that thinks, “Not really sure what I heard here today. I don’t know if I want to listen to that again.” God bless you man. But there’s plenty more to come and make your own informed decision and I just hope that you reach out and at least listen to some more of what they offer to you, because it’s good stuff. Thank you so much for having me here today, Jeff.

Jeff: You bet ye, you bet ye, very fine. So yeah, just on your own journey. You’re certainly welcome to listen to more of these podcasts, but at some point just take a step, a small step and reach out, There’s ways to connect with not only the sort of the material we have, the Seven Session Coaching Process, but also to help you find a coach that can just get you started to move forward. And so yeah, glad to everybody with us today and till next time. Thanks for listening.

Thank you for listening. Tune in next time and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at and check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at

Your life, your journey, starts now.

Encouragement from a Busy Mom of 9

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode, we had the pleasure of having special guest, Karlee on the podcast. Karlee shares her personal story with us on how she navigates a busy life from learning through trial and error to how she builds in margin time.

Transcription of the Podcast

Karlee: There are going to be things that don’t seem like they should have as much priority, but they are important.

Jeff: Okay, we’re back for another Journey podcast. This is Jeff, and I’m glad to be here with everybody today for another Journey podcast, and let’s jump right in.

Jeff: Not that this topic is at all relatable or identifiable with anybody, but the whole idea of busy. I mean, there’s a lot of busy out there in the world today. And so we have got Karlee here with us, and Karlee has maybe a few things to keep her busy. In fact, I’m looking at three busy kiddos out in the other room. So anyway, do you want to introduce yourself a little bit? And just, yeah.

Karlee: Yeah. I’m Karlee. I’ve been married 11 years. My husband Garrett and I have eight children, and one on the way.

Jeff: Congratulations.

Karlee: Thank you. Thank you. I stay at home with our three little boys currently, and our other five children are in elementary school.

Jeff: Wow. So just started school then, huh?

Karlee: Yes. Yep.

Jeff: So, that’s probably a little bit of that, “Whew,” after the summer, right?

Karlee: Yeah.

Jeff: Well, that’s exciting. And when your kiddos was came in, they’re just so sweet. I mean, just so sweet. But obviously high energy too, right?

Karlee: Very high energy. They are not shy little people, neither are any of our other children. They they love to be around just people in general, and they are not shy. None of them are.

Jeff: Before we started the podcast, I was saying to Karlee, it’s just interesting about how oftentimes busy takes over our lives, and that can be the case for even single people. A single person can go, “Well, I just have all these things competing for my time and there’s just so much going on.”

Jeff: We don’t like to really use the word expert when we’re doing the podcast, because we’re all on this journey together. We’re all really kind of taking a step at a time. But I do want to sort of position you a bit of an expert because you got a lot going on. There’re some of us that can make up excuses of busy, but you live in a a world of busy.

Jeff: So, we’re going to talk about being intentional to create some margin in our lives. I guess the first question is, so how have you found this whole act of balancing your to-do list, and the large family and the priorities and trying to navigate through all that?

Karlee: Through a lot of trial and error, and honestly, there have been plenty of times where I have failed, and I’m still definitely learning through just it all and the different seasons of life that we come into all the time. I used to be a … Well, I still am a list person, but my lists used to be a mile long, and I used to gauge the success of my day based on how much I could get done.

Jeff: So, you almost had to carve out some time for list making then?

Karlee: Yes, yes. Yeah. I realized that I was spending so much time doing all this other stuff, that while it was important, it wasn’t as important as what I was making it. So, just learning to really just step back and say what is actually important, and how do I go about that within my list to get it accomplished?

Jeff: Right. Right. So, it sounds like just, yeah, it’s trying some things and then just, what do they say? Sort of establishing a difference or deciding what’s urgent and what’s important kind of a thing. I mean, that’s got to be just that intentional step there to just go, “Yeah, these things are maybe something on my list that could wait or whatever,” but there’s just that prioritizing really seems to be key, I would guess.

Karlee: Yes. Definitely prioritizing, and also just talking to my husband about kind of our long term goals for our family. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up the short term stuff that needs to be done and realize they aren’t actually as important as the long term things that we need to be doing.

Jeff: Well, and those things can be really distracting, right?Just this last week we were planting some little bushes on the side of our house, and all of a sudden that became kind of a big project because we had to do the one call thing where you call and you find the buried cables and stuff and all this. It’s something that I thought would be probably about a two minute a kind of a thing, and it ended up to be a lot more than a two minute kind of a thing.

Jeff: Okay, so let’s move on into sort of, do you allow for margin time then? Because you’re taking care of all these people, you have to take care of you, right? So, do you have some margin time in your day, then? Some quiet time? Some time for you?

Karlee: Yes, I do. I try to always build it in. So today for example, knowing that I had to come here, and just knowing the outlook of our week and what I needed to get done today. And Mondays typically are more busy home days just because our kids are home during the weekend, and we try not to spend all of our time just cleaning the house and doing laundry and whatnot. So, I got up probably an hour earlier than normal just so I could have some time to myself and make sure that I got that done, because I knew it was important. It’s also important for just our family as a whole that they have a calmer mother.

Jeff: Right, right. So okay, so specifically, what does that look like? What’s the normal time to get up, and what’s an hour earlier then?

Karlee: During the school year I usually get up by 6:00, 6:30 and have my quiet time. So today, I got up at 5:30 and just went on a walk by myself.

Jeff: Wow.

Karlee: It was very foggy out.

Jeff: You just wander. Where am I at?

Karlee: Which I was not expecting. But yeah, just I spent some time in prayer during my walk, which was a wonderful way to start my day.

Jeff: Right. Yeah, well that’s cool. Yeah, and to reflect and just to really get centered, right?

Karlee: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jeff: And balanced. This is kind of an offsite or off … Are you naturally a morning person? Is it easy for you to get up at five, six o’clock in the morning kind of a thing?

Karlee: I’m a morning person, but not that early.

Jeff: That’s really morning, right? That’s hardcore morning.

Karlee: Yes. I would say since having kids I haven’t been able to, even if I tried, sleep past 7:00, but I’d say like 6:30 is pretty normal. So 5:30 though, feels early.

Jeff: Right. So anything else in terms of your margin time, that quiet time? So, today you said you went for a walk, you were praying. Anything else that … I’m just trying to unpack a little bit what a typical kind of quiet time looks like for you.

Karlee: So, usually my quiet time, if I’m not going for a walk, I just get my cup of coffee and turn on a light and read my Bible and spend time in God’s Word, and then praying through what I’ve read or people that I know who I need to be praying for.

Jeff: Right.

Karlee: And really taking that quiet time to focus my mind, instead of thinking that I’ll do it throughout the day. Which it’s possible, but I’m less focused and more easily distracted. And usually by the end of the day I’m like, “Did I really, really pray for that person? Or did I really understand what I read?”

Jeff: Right.

Karlee: Yeah, different things like that.

Jeff: And thinking here of people that may not even have a Bible, or they’re saying, “Well, geez, she sounds like a Christian. Oh, wow. Good for her, but I don’t even have a Bible. And pray, I don’t even know how to do that.” I just want to encourage people to start simple. God help me, right? You know?

Karlee: Yeah.

Jeff: Any books of the Bible, any parts of the Bible that somebody could pick up that maybe doesn’t even necessarily hasn’t crossed the line of faith, but just some real practical stuff that you’ve found? Because you know, like Proverbs and there’re some books in the Bible that can be really helpful even for people that are still kind of saying, “Is this for me?”, and it could be helpful. So, any thoughts there of just things that might be helpful to somebody that’s not only crossed the line of faith, but somebody that might be seeking it a bit?

Karlee: That is a … I would say for sure, Proverbs has just a lot of practical application.

Jeff: Yeah, there’s a lot of practical stuff, right?

Karlee: Yeah, for sure. And then what comes to mind is also Ecclesiastes. Just knowing that kind of what is important, and the things that we think are important aren’t usually as important as they are.

Jeff: Right. Yeah, so going back-

Karlee: If that makes sense.

Jeff: Well, it does. Because going back to planting those bushes last week, I could get really, really caught up in that, but at the end of the day there’s some bushes along the side of the house and I can only spend so much time on that. I can’t spend hours and hours and hours, so yeah.

Karlee: Yeah. But one book of the Bible that I tell people to read if they’re not a believer yet or have a lot of questions, is to read John.

Jeff: Oh, interesting. Okay.

Karlee: Just because I feel like it’s so … And read about who John was, too.

Jeff: Okay.

Karlee: So that you can really get a sense of the whole of that book.

Jeff: Yeah. Right. That’s cool.

Karlee: Yeah.

Jeff: Yeah. And it’s a matter of just, yeah, picking up a Bible and going to the front of it. So when we say John or Ecclesiastes or whatever, you just go to the front and you say, “Oh yeah, there’s the kind of the different books,” and you find them and you move forward. So, yeah. No, that’s very cool. That’s very cool.

Jeff: Any tips that you would give people who are struggling to make quiet time a priority? Because let’s face it, it’s a lot easier to not carve out some time than it is. It would have been a lot easier today if you did not get up an hour earlier, but any tips that you can give listeners who are kind of struggling to build that in?

Karlee: Definitely I would make a list of all the things that you do in a day. Like, pretty much everything. Even making the bed, showering, and then decide what has to be done. So if you go to work, probably taking a shower is very important.

Jeff: It could be.

Karlee: Yeah. But just those things, and know that those things do take up time.

Jeff: Right.

Karlee: And then also, just start numbering things. Like, what really has to be done? If I don’t do a load of laundry today, how will that really impact the rest of the week? So think bigger than just like today, too. What can be moved, what can’t? Because some days, laundry is very important. Like for me, laundry is very important.

Jeff: You’ve got to do the laundry.

Karlee: Yeah. I can’t always just put it off, and there are going to be things that don’t seem like they should have as much priority, but they are important, and to acknowledge that. And then also, just ask for, if you’re married, ask your spouse to help. If you have kids, they can help, too.

Jeff: Right.

Karlee: And let them all know, communicate with your family and say this is an important time for me to fill me up so I can pour it out. I do have some single friends who making quiet time is a priority. They talk about it as like setting a date with themselves, and just protecting that time, and being willing to say no to just like invitations to go out and do things because they’re setting that time aside.

Jeff: Right. Yeah, and this I would guess is not you Karlee, but there’s a lot of people out there, and I’m just being blunt and maybe this sounds a little judgmental, but it’s like how much binge watching of Netflix can we do? So again, not to be real judgemental, but I’m just saying you can maybe dial that back a little bit. Netflix is great, but maybe watch the first episode and then just not watch the other three that same day, or whatever.

Karlee: Well, even with I feel like smartphones, one thing my husband told me to start doing was just like looking at my … At the end of the week, my iPhone gives me a screen report and it tells me how many times I’ve touched my phone, picked it up, what apps I’ve opened, and how long I’ve spent with those apps.

Jeff: Yeah. That could be a surprising number maybe.

Karlee: Yes. The first time I looked at it I was like, “I don’t touch my phone that much.” And then once I realized, I was like, yeah, it was just a lot of mindless time that was not a good use and was definitely for entertainment, and did not do anything for me at all.

Jeff: Yeah, right. So finally as we’re wrapping up here, is there someone in your life, we use the word accountable sometimes, and that’s such a strong word. But is there someone in your life that sort of comes alongside you and just says, “Hey, how are you doing in this?” Because that’s what coaching is about. When we’re talking about Journey coaching, it really is a person coming alongside another person, a couple coming alongside another couple. Again, we’re all on the same journey of life together. It’s not that one person is better than the other, it’s not the one person is the expert, but it’s just another human being who can kind of come alongside you and say, “Hey, how’s that going for you?”

Jeff: Is there something in your life, when it comes down to this margin time or quiet time in your life, that is kind of alongside you?

Karlee: Besides my husband, who I will say does a fantastic job of just caring for me and caring for my soul, I would say one of my new friends, Erica and Theresa, they definitely keep me accountable. And Erica even will get up and go on walks with me, which has been-

Jeff: Wow, that early, huh?

Karlee: Yeah.

Jeff: Oh man, that’s a-

Karlee: Sometimes we’re both like, “Oh, this is so early,” but we always end and we’re like, “That was really good.”

Jeff: Yeah.

Karlee: But yeah, so just I’d say my friend Erica and Theresa, and if I share anything with them, what areas which I am struggling, they are the ones who speak into my life for those things.

Jeff: Right. Wow, that was cool. That is cool. Yeah, that’s what Journey is all about, is just having those relationships.

Jeff: Let me just unpack this real quick before we close. A couple of things that hit me there is, I mean it sounds like … I’m guessing you don’t have the perfect marriage, but you have a good marriage it sounds like.

Karlee: Yes. Yeah.

Jeff: And that’s huge because, in fact, I just talked to someone today who’s marriage is really going off the rails, and there’s a lot of that. I mean, a lot of folks in life just have those marriage relationships that are not healthy. So I mean, yay that yours is good. But even if yours is good, which it is, to have those people then outside and to have those friends that you can come alongside and just bounce things off of and to just do life with together. I mean, that’s got to be really a huge thing for everybody, right? I mean, you’re speaking into their life too, right?

Karlee: Yeah. Yeah.

Jeff: Yeah.

Karlee: Yeah, it is so important to have someone outside your spouse or significant other or whoever to be speaking into your life, just because they come from a different point of view and really can offer words of wisdom about a situation. Because even though me and my husband have a great relationship, there are still times where he frustrates me and I frustrate him, you know?

Jeff: Right.

Karlee: And I just need to ask advice about how to go about dealing with those frustrations, or to even just be told it wasn’t a big deal. You’re overreacting. Sometimes we all just need to hear that.

Jeff: Not as human beings we ever overreact, right?

Karlee: Oh no, never.

Jeff: Not that that ever happens.

Jeff: No, that’s very cool, very cool. So again, I’ve got to wrap my head around this one more time. So, how many kiddos are we talking about here?

Karlee: Once this baby is born we’ll have nine.

Jeff: Nine. Okay. So you know, I think Karlee, we’ve got to say that if you can do it, the rest of us can do it, right?

Jeff: So, just a couple of questions for people that are listening. First of all, do you allow margin time, personal, quiet time? And second of all, do you have someone in your life who can help to come alongside you? And if not, we encourage you to do that. And any way that we can help, we would love to at You can get in contact with us through the website, and we would love to help you connect with others, and to grow.

Jeff: So, thanks for listening. Thanks for being here.

Karlee: Thank you.

Jeff: Take care.

Thank you for listening. Tune in next time, and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at, and check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at

Handling Difficult Conversations

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode Terry and Jeff discuss how to handle difficult conversations. From learning how to approach the difficult conversation to what to say in the middle of the conversation, there is something for everyone to learn.

Transcription of the Podcast

Terry: This world would be a much better place if everyone offered and received unconditional love and acceptance. Unconditional, think of that word. It means there are no conditions where our love or acceptance would stop.


Jeff: We are back today with a another podcast talking with Terry. Hello Terry.

Terry: Hi.

Jeff: Terry is a licensed counselor. She talks with people all day about tough, heavy topics. I can only imagine, person after person, heavy topic after heavy topic. I mean it’s got to get a little heavy doesn’t it?

Terry: It can sometimes.

Jeff: But you have to know how to come alongside people and work through those heavy topics.

Terry: Yeah and I think the conversation today I was hoping is that it’s not just for counselors to have to deal with heavy topics. Everybody seems to. A lot of what I see sometimes, I see in the office is people will come in and say, “We’ve got to go to Christmas and Uncle Joe is going to be there and he is going to talk about, I just know he’s going to talk about it and then everybody’s going to be angry,” and so these things happen. I mean, as we go into the holidays, this is going to be on the minds of a lot of people.

Jeff: So yeah, it’s great to actually have you in here, Terry and get you out of the counseling office because there’s so many of us that need to just relate to these heavy topics and how to handle those.

Terry: Sure.

Jeff: So, yeah. So why is it so difficult to talk about things like politics and these kinds of subjects that are just tough with people that hold a different view than we hold?

Terry: Well, I think part of it is that whatever perspective we hold on a topic or issue, we’ve usually gotten from some specific vantage point. And we come to a conclusion in our own mind about whether something is right, wrong, good, bad and what should be done about it. At this point, once we’ve made that conclusion, we’ve kind of locked it in. What we what we have come to makes sense to us and from our worldview and how the world works.

Terry: When we meet someone with an opposite perspective, we’re left with some choices. Depending on the importance of the issue and how strongly we take a stand, we can listen to their rationale and maybe possibly accept their perspective as being right. We can agree to disagree and say, “No, this is my opinion. This is your position. I accept, kind of respectfully disagree,” or we can attempt to change their perspective to match our own by firing out all of our own rationale at us, which tends to be the perspective that, the direction most people go.

Jeff: Kind of like machine gun arguing right? It’s like shoot off these topics, shoot out these comments, shoot them out as fast as you can. If you shoot out with enough ideas fast enough, maybe you’ll win.

Terry: Well, I think it’s, yeah, it’s that feeling that “I have come to the most important decision on this and if everybody else knew the rationale that I came to, they would believe the same way I believe.” I think that’s the mindset that a lot of … At the heart of this. It’s also what leads to those toxic family feuds around the holidays.

Jeff: We did a podcast earlier that talked about just understanding that people are going to be different. We’re all different, we’re all made differently. But to look at those things that we have in common, those similarities, and that that really helps kick off these conversations, doesn’t it?

Terry: Well, I think it’s important to go back if you haven’t listened to the last podcast that we did on relating to people who are different from us. I think there’s a lot of good points in there that I don’t want to bring up here again, so if you get a chance to go back and listen to that one.

Jeff: So what can we do that will make it easier to relate to others who do hold different positions and values? Because that’s going to be a lot of people. We’re not all clones of each other. So when we decide, “Hey, it’s important to have a conversation,” which is probably a good point to decide, not at the holiday dinner with everybody around the table maybe to start that. So maybe you want to have coffee with the person and say, “Hey, let’s talk about this and such.” How do we do that then?

Terry: Well I think first of all we have to realize that we want to do it in such a way that we’re not setting off the danger signals in their heads. And when somebody comes at me or comes at you and says, “You’re wrong about this subject,” or at least has that, they may not say those actual words, but their mannerisms and their perspective, it’s like, “You need to look at this.” Anytime somebody uses the word need, you need to do something, we’re basically saying that they’re wrong. And that’s really likely to set off alarm signals in someone’s head because-

Jeff: So need. The word need you want to get out of the vocabulary for this kind of discussion.

Terry: Yeah. Because if you come up to somebody and say, “Hey, you need to look at it this way,” you’re going to set off their alarm signals. When those danger signals are activated, becoming defensive is an immediate response. It’s not something they necessarily feel like they choose. It just happens.

Jeff: Right, right. What else then is sort of a thing that is a … Because you’ve got to have this mindset. You’ve got to have this roadmap when you’re going into these conversations, right? So what’s the next thing that’s important?

Terry: I still want to go back to that part about the defensiveness because what happens when we get somebody defensive, when we say or do something that the other person is defensive about is logic and reasoning skills go out the window and our emotion’s running the show. Emotion is really the motion set of our brain is now responding to those those warning signals. At that point, the smartest next step is to just stop talking. Just to let that subject rest at that point until everybody is calmer and then come back to it if you feel like it’s safe. And then from that point on, I would say first of all, don’t argue. Arguing just sets off those alarm signals.

Jeff: Right. And that may involve just taking a pause. Hitting that pause button, stepping away from the conversation, is that correct?

Terry: Absolutely.

Jeff: Because you don’t have to solve the world’s problems in one luncheon.

Terry: Right. Then when you come back together again, the first thing I would say is listen. And I guess when I-

Jeff: What did you say?

Terry: What did I say? Did you hear me? I said, “Listen.”

Jeff: Oh, listen. I gotcha.

Terry: And what I mean is really listen with curiosity and openness to try to understand what the other person is coming from. You want to really listen to their perspective. You want to listen to their heart. And that’s a really hard thing to do. If we’re busy in our own head thinking of the next thing we want to say or the next argument we want to say. It’s really, really important to try to listen without focusing because our brains can only do one thing at a time. They can either listen or they can focus on what’s in your head that you want to say next. They can’t do both.

Jeff: Well and it’s really easy for people like me who have a little bit of that high energy perspective who have some specific thoughts in their head to say, “Oh, I just really want to get this out. I really want to get this out.” And it’s hard. I mean it really is that, “Okay, take a breath and just understand that that other person has some thoughts they want to get out too.” And it really is some intentional discipline. I mean it’s almost a like athletics in a way. I mean, if you’re going to run a race, you don’t just absolutely run the race. You have to do some training. So this is really maybe a bit of a listening training in a way?

Terry: Absolutely. The more you can do to train yourself to listen the better. Even when you’re watching TV, if you’re all alone and you’re watching TV, just focus on your listening skills. What are they really saying? A lot of times we’re watching TV and we’re multitasking at the same time, but really listen to and try to hear the heart of the speaker if you can.

Jeff: So a question then, and again, not to pull this into the counseling office too much because we would love to with Journey, and I say this kiddingly but close down counseling offices. Because people are so healthy and the communication is so good, they don’t even need counselors.

Terry: Yeah, careful with that.

Jeff: I know. There’s other issues in people’s lives. We love counselors. But yeah, it’s just to do this in a way that is healthy and sort of consistent. There’s just really, again, it just goes back to being intentional about it, doesn’t it?

Terry: It really does. And I think what’s happening in our society is we’re losing our ability to listen with our hearts. We have so much noise out there. We have information available in so many different directions. Not even at our fingertips. We don’t even have to type any more to get information off the internet. All we have to do is say, “Hey, Siri or Alexa,” and we’re linked into this virtual world of so much information.

Jeff: So just real quick, of the people that come into your office, what percentage would you say are really listening to each other? They’re really sitting down. They’ve had good conversations. They’re walking in and they are good listeners.

Terry: Yeah, that would be pretty low. Of course, I think what it is is when I get couples who come in, by the time they make it to a counseling office, typically they have had years of arguing, yelling back and forth. And when you get into that pattern of talking over each other, yelling over each other what’s happening is neither one of you is listening and both of you are just trying really hard to be heard and understood and yet the other person’s not listening.

Terry: And so one of the first things I really do is I listen to people. I try to understand their perspective and their heart in the matter. And then I make sure the other person’s heard that. It makes a difference when you hear the heart of the other person instead of now arguing over the little things. I mean you can have people who come in and argue over who squeezes the toothpaste tube in the middle, who leaves their dirty socks on the floor, those kind of things. It’s really not about those things. It’s about what does that mean about them, and to them, and how does that make them feel?

Jeff: And it’s so important. I had a really, it was a tough conversation. I mean on the level of tough, I don’t think it was a 10 but it was probably a seven of a heavy sort of topic of conversation with somebody last week. And after we got done, their response that I got was, “Hey, just thanks for listening and hearing what I had to say.” And it was a two hour deal. I thought it’d be 20 minutes. We talked for two hours. So kind of moving along. So you said don’t argue, listen. Anything else there in terms of what we need to do then?

Terry: Yeah. I think the third thing would be to apologize. And that’s a hard thing to do in our society. People feel like apologizing is weak. If I apologize, that means I’ve done something wrong. Well, yeah, you have, sorry. Own your own mistakes. Recognize your view of the subject may not cover all possibilities and own your things. And if maybe you don’t feel like you … Maybe you had a right to be angry, apologize for the way you treated the other person when you were angry and just say, “I was angry but I shouldn’t have said these things or done these things.” Own your pieces of whatever it is.

Jeff: Right. Right. Well, and I think there, and then tell me if this is close. It seems like a lot of times apologizing is hard because it’s like, well, we don’t think … It’s like we ran the car into the garage door kind of level of a hurt. I mean, it could be simply, “Hey, I was watching the game. I was really focused. It was the last quarter. I was really focused on this and I just didn’t, I ignored my spouse,” or whatever it might be. The person thinks, “Hey, that’s just a little, little tiny thing, but-“

Terry: Are you talking from experience?

Jeff: But the thing is, it’s still important to apologize because that other person, even though it seemed like a little thing to the one person, it could have been a bigger thing to another person. So apologies don’t have to be for running cars into garages. It can be for little things but a true apology too. Right?

Terry: Sure. Well, and when we do those things and we also look back at what we talked about before about the worldviews and accepting things that are different from us, we can become better at showing unconditional love and acceptance. And I think those are key. That’s a key thing right there. Unconditional love and acceptance is something you don’t hear a lot about.

Jeff: Right. Right, exactly. And that’s really undergirding this whole thing. I mean that’s really at the core of all this. It’s like why do we even want to bother? Because this is tough. It’s a lot easier to stay different, to not handle the heavy topics. It’s just a lot easier to keep things shallow. So this really goes to the point of why would we want to do these kinds of things? And it’s really all about …

Terry: Well, I think it comes back to the fact that when you think about something like unconditional love and acceptance, those words, love and even acceptance, are both feeling words but they’re also action words. And so I think what happens a lot of times is we may love our spouse and we may have that kind of a feeling from, but are we showing love? Are we doing something to show that love to the other person? Unconditional love and acceptance starts from the mindset that the person you meet has intrinsic value and worth. By intrinsic, I mean just that there’s nothing they can do or say that will either make you love them or take that away. They’re person, the value.

Jeff: Right. But why is it so hard? You know, what gets in the way of just showing this unconditional love to people?

Terry: Well, I think one of the things that gets in the way, probably mostly is fears. We have fear of the unknown, fear of being seen as condoning what we have identified as being bad or wrong and work to get rid of in our own lives. Also a fear that maybe something that they’re doing or their lifestyle would rub off on us a little bit. Or on our kids.

Jeff: Right. Again, it’s that differences, it’s like “Ooh, they’re different.” Or they’re coming at this subject from a different perspective and yeah, so the fear thing. It seems like fear is one of those things that just kind of permeates a lot of what we do, isn’t it?

Terry: Oh, I think so. And a lot of people are … Fear is one of those words that not only affects us in a lot of different ways, but we deny it, we turn it away because we think of fear as weak and we don’t want to be weak. Fear can cause us to look at the other person in a certain way. And then we don’t want to feel weak, so we do something to compensate for it.

Jeff: Yeah. Well, and when you talked about apologizing, I think sometimes for me it’s always been like, “Well, if I apologize, yeah, I’m going to kind of be like, come across as weak or it’s just not going to be really that cool of a thing.” So yeah, I think again, it’s one of those things where just stepping back and going, “You know what? Yeah, I can see this wasn’t quite on track. I just need to say I’m sorry,” and just pressing through that fear, that concern like, “Oh, I’m going to seem like a dweeb because I messed up.”

Terry: Yeah. I think being aware that being honest about your, not weaknesses, being honest about your mistakes and being honest about who you are, what your growth areas are. I like that word better. But being honest about those things makes us human not weak.

Jeff: Right.

Terry: And I think that being human like that makes us more approachable by other people or to other people. So in effect, I think what’s happening is by allowing ourselves to be human makes it easier for others to relate to us.

Jeff: So to wrap this up, why is all this important? Why is this stuff important?

Terry: Well, I think the short answer is because this world would be a much better place if everyone offered and received unconditional love and acceptance. Unconditional, think of that word. It means there are no conditions where our love or acceptance would stop. So for an example, I have three kids. They are not perfect. They have made mistakes. But there is nothing I could imagine them doing where I would no longer love them or accept them as my own child.

Terry: Longer answer, because when we’re coaching others, and if you go back to the coaching process, and this is one of the things that we talk about in the training for the coaches, when we’re coaching others, it’s important to see them as worthy of the same kind of unconditional regard. Let me try that sentence again.

Jeff: Take two. Hey, we can just do this.

Terry: When we’re coaching others, it’s important to see them as being worthy of the same kind of uncondition …

Jeff: See, it’s a tough word. It’s a tough word.

Terry: Sorry. I just got chocked up here. Try again. Take three. When we’re coaching others it’s important to see them as being worthy of the same kind of unconditional regard as we would want to be treated.

Jeff: Right. Right. Yeah, it is. This is just so important and so yeah, to wrap it up, this is what really coaching is about, and it’s one of those things where you just don’t hear this podcast and all of a sudden go out and go, “Okay, got it. I’m going to show unconditional love to people. I’m going to have those tough conversations. I’m going to listen better. I’m going to ask questions better. You know, I’m really going to learn how to apologize and boy, it’s just going to be like microwave instant kind of a thing.” That is not the case, correct? I mean, this takes practice.

Terry: It takes a lot of practice. And it means we’re not perfect. Practice means we’re not perfect. We’re not. The expectation is that as we practice, we’ll get better at this.

Jeff: So get out there folks, try this, understand that this is a marathon, not a sprint. That you will move forward. You’ll reach out to people. That you will feel like you’re getting stepped on, but that’s okay. Again, we love others, we move forward, we care for them. It’s not always easy. The coaching piece, Journey Coaching can help. We’re here to provide some supports and framework and you can find out more about all those kinds of things on the Journey website, And again, just resources to help as we all move through life and as we all step out of our comfort zones and to try to love others and to help those conversations that will really help us to grow deeper. And yeah, it’s just some cool stuff. So thanks for being here Terry.

Terry: Well, thank you for asking me.

Jeff: Take care.

Terry: Bye.

Jeff: Bye.

Thank you for listening. Tune in next time and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at and check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at


How Do You Handle Busyness?

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode, Travis, Jody, Terry and Sarah discuss how to effectively handle busyness. They also talk about what would happen if you built margin time into your life?

Transcription of Podcast

Terry: Welcome to The Journey Podcast. Today, the voices that I want to introduce are we’ve got Sarah coming back today.

Sarah: Hello.

Terry: And we’ve got Travis.

Travis: Hi, everybody.

Terry: And we have Jody.

Jody: Hey there.

Terry: And this is Terry. I guess I should have introduced myself to begin with.

Sarah: Hi Terry.

Terry: Hello.

Sarah: It’s weird to call you that, she’s my mom so…

Terry: Yeah well, that’s okay. One of the topics that we kind of decided on that we wanted to talk about today that seems really relevant for a lot of people is the topic of busyness. As I don’t suppose anyone of you guys have difficulty with that.

Travis: I have no problems with busyness whatsoever.

Sarah: No, not at all.

Travis: No.

Terry: You’re very happy being very busy?

Travis: No. No. No. Maybe where we start is we drop all of our reasons why we’re so incredibly busy. So I’ll just start. And so I work a full-time job which is a thing and then I also, we plant house churches on the side which is another thing, and then I have a wife and four kids and an adoptive daughter and so there is no end to business in that mix, most of the time. Okay. So now somebody else’s turn. Sarah, why are you so busy?

Sarah: Well, I have six kids, so let’s start right there. And a husband and two dogs and a business and friends, who I love. And family, who I love. So that’s why I’m busy. And I try to get to Ethiopia. So I’ve been four times and I’m waiting, it’s been a while. That’s actually a pretty big deal too so that’s all my busyness, yeah.

Travis: Yeah.

Jody: For me, we actually, my husband, Dan, and I have just one daughter so it’s kind of nice actually, to have a very a variation here among the three of us. So we have a daughter, her name is Tara and she’s 14 years old. Which, high school-

Travis: Oh my god, yeah.

Jody: … is an interesting thing but I think one of the elements that’s very real for us is that yeah, we only have four years, less than now, that we have with her, likely under our roof.

Terry: It goes by so fast.

Jody: Yeah. And I think that’s a perspective shifter too when it comes to this topic of business.

Terry: It seems like there’s a lot of urgency when you say that four years. It seems like such a lot of urgency in that we need to kind of make the most of those four years. And urgency can be a big time consumer. It’s like, “We’ve got this urgency and that’s one of the reasons why we keep busy because we’ve got to keep moving.”

Jody: Right. Yeah. And we don’t want to miss anything. That’s really important for me. That’s my whole life. I just don’t want to miss out on anything and so we feel we need to seize every and any opportunity that comes our way out of the risk of missing out on something. I’m also in full-time ministry so I’m a pastor in a church that’s got a lot going on. A fairly large church with lots of ministries and lots of things happening, there’s never a dull moment and so just that whole mix of whether it’s family or work, we just bring different things to this topic of busyness.

Terry: Well, and I think there’s a lot of upside to busyness, we get a lot done. We can accomplish a lot of the things we want to. What are some of the downsides of busyness?

Sarah: Stress and the effect it has on your body.

Terry: Sure.

Travis: Right. Yeah. I just got done with a really large project, a two year project at work and, I mean, on top of everything else, we were working extra hours and burning the candle at both ends and getting less sleep and eating less healthy and all of the… You don’t realize how much rest and not being busy has efficiency built into it. And so, as you become busier, you actually become, at least I noticed, I became less efficient in the process. I was getting less done even though I was trying to do more. And that was kind of hard to recognize, in multiple areas of my life.

Sarah: Yeah. Exactly. Actually I was with a bunch of business owners yesterday and one of them is a physical therapist and he was actually talking about that. He mentioned resiliency. Resiliency? Am I saying that correctly?

Travis: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yep. Yep.

Sarah: And I asked him, I said, “Well, what does that have to do with physical therapy and your health?” And he went off on that about how adrenaline and he talked about… He talked a lot about adrenaline, it’s made for a purpose but if we keep running on adrenaline, it lowers our immune system and we actually end up having issues with our body as a result. One being, there’s a lot of effects with pain and illness and stuff that runs when you’re running on adrenaline for too long.

Travis: Right.

Terry: I think another casualty of business is relationships. Sometimes it’s hard to have… We have important relationships but we can’t really get to them.

Jody: Yeah. We don’t invest in them in a important sort of intentional way and that can really take a toll over the long haul, right?

Terry: Absolutely.

Travis: I find too that when you’re busy, you don’t get to step back and make sure that you’re focusing on the most important things. So typically, when I get busy, one of the things that helps snap me out of it is realizing, okay, I’ve actually mis-prioritized a bunch of different thing sin my life because I’ve been focusing on keeping, to use the analogy we used in of the other podcasts, keep this one plate spinning. And I’m letting all these other plates that are spinning kind of wobble out of control. And so frequently mis-prioritizing things happens.

Terry: It seems like a lot of times we’re letting the urgent things crowd out the important things.

Travis: Exactly.

Terry: Some things are urgent but they’re not necessarily as important as some of the other things and yet, the things that are very important and not so urgent kind of get lost.

Sarah: I struggle with this with… So Ethiopian culture or African culture in general is very focused on relationships. And so I’ve studied a lot and have a lot of friends, both in… So there’s this warm climate culture and cold climate cultures. And cold climate cultures tend to be more focused on business and working and that’s how you support your family. Where as in warm climate culture tend to be more focused on relationships and that’s how you survive, is on the relationships that you have with everybody else.

Sarah: And so we live in Iowa which is a cold climate culture and I spend a significant amount of my time, energy and relationships in Ethiopia culture which is a warm climate culture and this is incredibly hard balance. Because right now I’m so busy with my business which is definitely cold climate culture focus and priorities, yet my warm climate culture relationships are actually suffering.

Sarah: I have African friends, not just Ethiopian but Congolese but Burundi friends who live in the Easter Iowa area and I know that my relationships with them are suffering and it would almost be like if you were doing a bad job at work, in our cold climate culture. We literally are doing something wrong if we’re doing a poor job at work. I’m literally doing something by having this poor relationship just because I’m so busy and it’s just really, it’s stress. It stresses me out because relationships are really important and there is this balance that you need to find between the relationships that you have and…

Sarah: I know that’s opening a whole other door about different cultures and stuff too.

Jody: I think another dynamic is that sometimes we lose track of what’s even happening in our own lives and it is a really great segway to journey coaching to have another person come alongside you or a couple other people come alongside you, weekly even, is possible or every other week, something like that, to hear what’s really going on and offer and outside perspective. Because sometimes things are just too close to us and maybe lament. We see, we hear, we feel the pain of something that needs our attention and we just can’t get to it.

Jody: But somebody, sometimes outside of us can say, “Well, have you thought about this?” Or they can ask some questions that help us get after how we need to evaluate that. Maybe even sometimes just an incremental shift in the way we spend our mornings that can open something up.

Terry: And what would happen if you built margin time into your life? And margin time, we haven’t really discussed that much but margin time is where you really put some time in and you don’t have… It’s a place on your calendar with, there’s nothing during your day or during your week. And what would that look like if you had margin time? The next time a friend ends up in the hospital and you are too busy to go up and see them, that margin time would make that possible.

Jody: Yeah. Absolutely.

Sarah: I think The Journey helps with that in terms of the fact that you can go off either extreme. In terms of time management and your relationships and what you take and what your priorities and everything like that. So what I like about Journey is that it helps create time for those relationships which in, quite frankly in… I was born and raised here so I don’t know much but from I am understanding about Eastern Iowa culture, because I’m so immersed in it is that we don’t focus on our… We’re so independent. We’re a farming a community. Even if we’re living in the city.

Sarah: Our ancestors, the traditions that were passed down to us, as people who are born and raised in Eastern Iowa is we’re very independent. We don’t need other people. We don’t need to sit down and spend time with a friend. But we do. But that’s the thing is, we don’t think we do but we do. And Journey opens the door for creating opportunities to have those relationships because we need to learn from other cultures. Like warm climate cultures. People who are very relational based. We can learn from that and fulfill our human needs for companionship and relationship and Godly ways, so.

Terry: So I guess, to summarize. What can, and again this is a Journey podcast so how can Journey help us with the idea of busyness?

Travis: Well, I think one of the things that’s really helpful is just to step back and look at what you’re giving your time and energy to because I think, we don’t talk about the end of the journey process, but one of the most helpful chapters, I think, for me, was how am I aligning my time with the things that I’m strongest in, probably the things that most of us around the table would say we’re called to, and give ourselves to? And I think that was, for me, what was one of the most important things, is okay, how can I weed out the things that maybe aren’t so crucial to life but I’ve kind of just let them…

Travis: It’s like a garden that you’ve let kind of overcrowd with weeds. It’s kind of sapping the life out of the soil. How can I weed some of those things out so that the things that I really want to grow in this garden, called my life actually, grow and flourish?

Terry: That’s a great way to say it.

Sarah: Yeah. And doing that in both… It’s twofold because in both taking the time to have that relationship with your coach to go through the journey participant guide together and having that time set aside where you’re meeting for coffee, or lunch or breakfast or whatever it is, you’re creating time there and then building that relationship. But then, in the process of what you’re actually looking at, while you’re doing it, while you’re actually going through the journey workbook, you’re talking about, like what Travis is talking about, your strengths and helping to…

Sarah: I heard a quote and I don’t know who it was but something about… As soon as I say this someone’s going to be to tell me who said this. But successful people say no and highly successful say no often. Or most of the time.

Travis: I’ve heard the quote. I can’t tell you who says it but I’ve heard it.

Sarah: So whoever’s listening to this can Google it and figure out who it was that said that but that’s the thing is-

Travis: Some really smart said…

Sarah: Someone really smart says that. And I think that going through the coaching process, you’re helping… It’s looking at who you are and what you’re gifted at, what your priorities are, what’s going on in your life and helping to make decisions based off of that. So I’d say twofold.

Jody: Yeah. And almost a flip, what you just said, in a cool way, probably successful, healthy, well-balanced people who are helping people know Jesus are people who say yes often.

Sarah: Yes.

Jody: What is it? And say yes a lot. Or how is it?

Sarah: Well, oh, yeah. Say yes-

Jody: But to the right things.

Sarah: Yeah to the right things. Yeah, that’s the other thing because when you’re saying yes to something, you’re saying no to something else and so going through the journey process, it helps you know what to say yes to and what to say not to so that you can really say yes to the things you really want to say.

Terry: That’s perfect. I think this is a good place for us to wrap it up for now. But that was a really good way of describing it. Thank you very much being here.

Sarah: Thank you for listening, you guys.

Travis: Yes.

Jody: Thank you.

Sarah: Tune in next time and we’ll see you soon. Bye.

Narrator: Thank you for listening. Tune in next time, and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at and check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at