#384: Can Less Clutter Lead to Less Family Grumbling?

#384: Can Less Clutter Lead to Less Family Grumbling?

This week, Kathi chats with special guest and prolific author Tricia Goyer about Tricia’s new book, The Grumble-Free Year. We’ll learn how her family’s year-long experiment giving up grumbling had an impact on the whole family and the way they interacted with one another.

In this episode, you’ll also discover how our physical space can have an impact on our emotions. Clutter free really can work, even for a family of 11! You’ll find tips to help you:

  • reduce your tendency to grumble, even when times are hard
  • set a grumble-free tone for your whole family and get your kids on board with less grumbling
  • cultivate a greater sense of peace in your home

Click here to download Chapter One of Tricia’s book The Grumble-Free Year. If you like what you read, you can order your copy of The Grumble-Free Year on Amazon.

If you’re inspired to write a book of your own, check out Tricia’s Write That Book group for tips and coaching to make your dream a reality.

Giveaway

As a bonus for two lucky listeners, we are giving away two copies of Tricia’s book, The Grumble-Free Year! Enter below by commenting and letting us know:

What area causes you to grumble the most? What is one tip you’re going to use to try and combat that?

 

 

 

We would love to stay connected.

To share your thoughts:

Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.

Subscribe on iTunes or subscribe to our newsletter now.

Transcript

Read along with the podcast!

Clutter Free Academy Podcast #384

Can Less Clutter Lead to Less Family Grumbling?

Kathi – Well, hey friends. Welcome to Clutter Free Academy, where our goal is to help you take small do-able steps to live every day with less clutter and more life. Today we are really not on the ‘less’ part of it. We’re on the ‘super-sized’ part of life. I am here with my friend Tricia Goyer. How many books, Tricia?

Tricia: Seventy five? I think seventy five.

Kathi – People always are like, “I can’t believe how many books you’ve written, Kathi.” And I’m like, “Have you met my friend Tricia?” I am still in pre-school when it comes to that. You’re unusual in that you have succeeded in fiction, non-fiction. You’ve been all over the place. You’re one of the few people who have done it and done it well. I have been especially excited about your latest book, “The Grumble Free Year”. Tricia, welcome to Clutter Free Academy.

Tricia – Thank you so much. I always love chatting with you.

Kathi – We have so much fun. I get to be a part of what you’re doing in Write That Book. Give us two sentences about what Write That Book is. I’ll put that link in there, ‘cause we have lots of people who love to write who listen to this podcast.

Tricia – I get asked all the time by people, to mentor them on how to write a book; how to get started; how to talk to agents and I love helping people, but I cannot help people individually, so I started this subscription group and I have 3-5 experts a week come in for an hour and teach on a subject. How to Write a Book Proposal, How to Prepare for a Conference. It’s $29/month and I just feel like I want to give them a ton of help. They can ask question that we will answer in there. So, it’s great.

Kathi – It is! It’s so much fun to be in there. I love seeing everybody growing and doing. Today, ‘though, I want to talk about The Grumble Free Year. As we are approaching the holidays and we’re in the thick of it, it’s the time that we always talk about being the most grateful, but also I feel like it’s also the time where it’s the easiest to become dissatisfied. This was an experiment, not just for you, it was for your entire family. Can you just give us a snapshot of your family?

Tricia – Yeah! So, I’ve been married to John for twenty nine years. Before I met and married him, I was a teen mom. So, I had my son Cory, and I met and married John and we had two more kids, so that brings it up to three. Then we adopted seven kids, and my grandma, who’s 90, lives with us, too.

 

Kathi – Holy cow.

 

Tricia – So, some of the kids are out of the house. We have three out of the house. We have seven kids, and grandma and me and my husband and two dogs and a rabbit and hermit crabs still at our house.

Kathi – It’s so funny. People are like, “Well, the Clutter Free stuff won’t work for me because, Kathi, you don’t understand, I have three kids.” And I’m like, “Okay, first of all, let’s be clear, I had four kids, so I’m not a stranger to a large family.” But eleven people! I know they’re not all in house right now.

Tricia – When we wrote the book, there was eleven people in the house. My son actually has his own apartment, so there are only ten people in the house.

Kathi – Only ten.

Tricia – Only ten. But eleven of us decided to do the challenge without grumbling for a year.

Kathi – Okay, so here’s what I want to know. Tell me, how do you get eleven people to not grumble for a year? You said you’ve made some real changes in your life because of decluttering and stuff, so I want to hear about that, but how do you approach not grumbling for a year?

Tricia – Well, John and I knew that grumbling was a problem. Every time we’d tell someone to do their chores, to clean their room, anything. It was just grumbling, grumbling. With eleven people, that’s a lot of grumbling. So, we knew it would take a while, ‘cause it’s hard issues, it’s habits, it’s stuff we can’t just do in a week. And we knew there would have to be some kind of reward. So we told the kids, “We’ll go on a family trip. We’ll go on a cruise, or something fun, but everyone has to work on it.” So, that got them to buy in that we were going to do this. I started with a list of things to do; scripture verses to read; different activities to do to learn your grumbling styles; talk about heart issues. We read about the Israelites and the wilderness. We did a lot of stuff, but really, God brought surprising stuff, too. My grandma broke her back during that year and just seeing her praise God and not grumble in the middle of having a back brace and can’t get out of bed without help. We’re like, “Okay, this is so much more. This is not just memorizing verses.” God was like, “This is evidence, right here, of someone who was praising God in the middle of a very hard thing.” So, through the year, I recorded every month what we were doing. Some months it was, “Nothing is working.” Then the next month, I’m like, “Wow! I really see changes.” After the year, I can completely see changes in my family; how we talk to each other; how we communicate. Not that we never grumble, but I would say it’s about 80% less than it was before we started.

Kathi – Yes! There will always be grumbling, but there is also catching yourself and saying, “Okay.” And let’s just be clear. It was not just a year of you guys sitting around and singing Kumbaya to each other. I didn’t know about your grandmother. I just started the book, but what I did know, is that the ultimate test was thrown at you towards the end of this. The ultimate Build-a-Bear test. Tricia, tell us what happened with Build-a-Bear. I have to tell you, I was watching on social media, and I basically stopped my day to watch this unfold. Tell my listeners what was going on.

Tricia – Well, I thought it would be a really great idea to take eight kids to get a Build-a-Bear, because it was “Pay Your Age” day.

Kathi – You just didn’t take them on any day. You took them on the craziest day of the year.

Tricia – Yeah. I had no idea that many people would show up. $30 bears, my 6 year old could get it for $6. Everyone was there wanting a bear. So, at first, the line’s long, but I’m like, “This won’t take but a couple hours.” But we kept waiting and waiting and we’d move up kind of quickly, because I think a lot of people were leaving, but after five or six hours, I’m telling the kids, like, “I will go and buy you any bear you want at Wal-Mart. Let’s just leave.” No! They were in it. They wanted the Build-a-Bear. So, finally, nine hours later, we have bought all the mall food, they have eaten junk food all day. They’re filthy from sitting on the floor of the mall. We finally get to the threshold of being let in. They were only letting in fifteen people at a time. People are so excited. I see everyone talking to each other on walkie talkies, like the security guards, and I was like, “Oh no.”

Kathi – It’s like the president is there and all the security is like, “We’ve got an issue.”

Tricia – I could just tell. I was like, “Are we going to be able to get a bear?” The manager comes out and says, “Ma’am, there are still tons of people in line and the mall has to close. We have to close it.” I’m like, “Oh no. Oh no.”  We were the next ones in. He said, “Everyone is going to be able to come in. They can purchase a bear, but we can’t stuff them. You’re going to have to come back another time to get your bear stuffed.” And immediately, my kids are like, “What? Just let us in!” The next people are trying to compromise and the little one is like, “We’re not going to get a bear?!?” And at that moment, it popped in my mind, The Grumble Free Year. Of course! I said, “Guys! This is what we’ve been preparing for. We are tired. Things are not going as we expected. We are not getting our way. Remember not grumbling? How can we have gratitude?” So, I’m like, “We’re the first ones to get flat bears! We’ll show everyone our flat bears!” They pulled it together. They were like, “This is the best day ever!” I was like, “We got junk food. We got to spend the whole day together. We got to do Facebook Live.” Then I told them we’d go get a hamburger at MacDonald’s, ‘cause by this time, we’d already eaten two meals, but they’re starving. “We’re going to get to go to MacDonald’s!” So, by the time they go their bears, we did a video in the car, and they were like, “Best day ever!” They were showing off their bears, and it was like, “Wow. If we hadn’t been talking about it, and preparing all year long, it would have been a total meltdown.”

Kathi – A total meltdown! So, I’m going to extrapolate a couple things from this. First of all, the fact that your kids could be so excited over bear carcasses just makes me so happy I can’t stand it. Two things: One, I’ve always told Roger, I told him before we got married, “Don’t let me get too tired, too hot, or too hungry, and if all three happen at the same time, may God have mercy on your soul.” So, part of it, to keep from grumbling, is to taking good care of yourself, but also, it was your leadership that reframed it for your kids. That is huge. You kept them fed. I’m sure those $6 bears cost you $45 each, by the time you were done.

Tricia – I think I added up that I spent $150 in food that day.

Kathi – I have no problem believing that. Our family is looking to us to say, “How do I react to this?” and you were able to stand up and say, “Let me show you how we’re going to react to this.” You were able to reframe it, which I love. Let me ask you this: Because, you’ve said that, in your home, (and with eleven people, holy cow) decluttering has made a big impact on you and your family; even in connection to not grumbling. I want to hear about that. We have so many moms who are listening and desperate for peace in their home, through the stuff and through the attitude. I want to hear more about that.

Tricia – Absolutely. Well one thing that I realized with grumbling, is that the same negative thoughts keep going over and over. So, you have you have the same trouble spots. Like, “I really need to clean this out.” Or “This is really piling up.” Or “I hate all the schoolbooks.” My schoolbooks are in the hallway, so there are just piles of books, they don’t even fit on the shelf. I was actually talking to you, Kathi, and you were all “You don’t need to keep everything. If you’ve used it, get rid of it now.” I have a lot of author friends, and you said, “You can still love your friend and not keep their book.” And I was, like, “Oh my goodness, she’s so right!”

Kathi – Right? I’m sure you get more books than I do, and I probably get five books a week. I would have to build a wing to my house to store all the books from friends and random people I’ve never met. I think the best gift you can do is to get that book into the hands of somebody that will appreciate it.

Tricia – Yes. That helped me, too. It’s just sitting on my shelf, but someone could be out there. So, I took a ton to my teen moms support group, there are some girls who loved to read. Homeschool books? I had friends, and I’m like, “Do you need a whole year’s curriculum that I’ve used but don’t have that age anymore? Here is, for free, a whole year.” They were like, “Oh my goodness, thank you so much!” But I had thought, “Well, I spent money, and we might need it later.” I don’t know. You keep those things, but it was so freeing. I got rid of eleven boxes of books, just from my bedroom. Just from my bedroom. My husband was loving it, too.

Kathi – That’s the most important room to do it in. Whether you’re single or married, to have a clean space where your brain can go and relax at night. We won’t even talk about the intimacy part. Just a safe space for your brain to go and relax. You have people talking at you all day long. Even if you’re not the matriarch in the house of eleven, we’ve got voices coming at us all the time that we need to be able to manage. To be able to have a safe space in your house is amazing. I love that. Okay, so, I’ve got a mom at home. She’s got three kids and they are just killing her right now, Tricia. They are killing her. The whining? She doesn’t drink, but she may take it up as a hobby. So, what do you say? I would say, get all the mayhem out of your life. Get the clutter out of your life. I really do believe that. I know, the science says it raises your stress level. What, as a family, would you encourage that mom to do, right away?

Tricia – One thing that really made a huge difference, first of all, memorizing scripture verses. “Do everything without grumbling and complaining.” That really helps, but instead of just picking on them about grumbling, because that doesn’t work, start praising them when they make a good choice. So, if I say, “Go do this.” And they don’t grumble. Even if they don’t say anything, say, “Great job for not grumbling. I really appreciate your maturity.” All of a sudden, they were, like, “Wow!”

Kathi – “I’m mature!” Is there anything better that you can call one of your kids, than ‘mature’? They love it.

Tricia – I know. They love it. So, I would always get on my kids, because their chores were never like I wanted them to do. First of all, who wants to do chores, then your mom is going to just grumble at you the whole time, saying you’re not doing a good job? So, I’m like, “I really need to start praising them!” So, one of my daughters, the one that grumbled the most about doing her chores, was wiping up the counter. I was like, “You are doing a great job on that counter.” The rest of the kitchen is a total mess still, but I was like, “It is amazing how clean you’re getting the counter.” Then, all of a sudden, she was cleaning the other part of the counter and wiping down the stove. I kept saying, “I am so proud of you. You are really showing that you are maturing and you’re doing a good job cleaning.” She probably spent an hour cleaning the kitchen, and it just started with me praising her on the counter, instead of grumbling, saying “You left stuff over here. You didn’t do this.” Because they don’t want to hear my grumbles. Now, that child is the best at her kitchen chore. The kids rotate. I think, so many times, we’re grumbling at their grumbling and no one is happy. If we start catching and praising them, it makes a huge difference. Kids want that. We want that. We love when people say, “Great job!”

Kathi – What you’re describing now is the training program we’re going through with our puppy. You basically ignore all the bad behaving, because they’re puppies! They’re kids! Their brains are mush for the most part. But when you catch them doing something good? They really do have a desire, most kids and all puppies, to please the person they’re looking up to. For me, what I noticed when my kids got older, I would say things like, “You know what? When you live on your own, you are going to be so capable of taking care of yourself, because look at this kitchen. This is something that a lot of adults can’t do. I’m seeing into your future and it’s going to be great, because you’re learning skills now.” The pride that they have. I’ve seen you do this on Facebook Lives. I’ve seen you do this with your words to your kids. I love it, Tricia. This has been amazing. So, where did your family go on their trip?

Tricia – We went to Mexico on a little five day cruise. They had a blast. We did some water stuff, going through caves and this water thing. It was so fun. Really, we were crammed in. There were five people to our room. We had no space. We got the cheapest cruise ever, but it was so worth it. Everyone worked really hard that year and we saw a difference and I think we need to be rewarded when we’re doing things and really making a difference in our lives.

Kathi – Stretching to grow into great human beings? It’s worth going on a cheap Mexican cruise. Here’s the other thing, friends. You could just have that family trip planned and just say, “Here’s what we’re working for.” I love that. I’ll say this as well; I’ve mentioned this here on the podcast. When we had our best grumble free vacation is when we had the kids contribute to the vacation. We said, “Hey! You’ve invested a lot in this. Let’s all make it great together.” So, I see your kids are investing in each other and investing in what you’re doing. Tricia, it’s just so great. You guys, we have so much. First of all, we have a free download of the first chapter of The Grumble Free Year, so if you want to get started off in the right direction while you’re waiting for the book to come to your house (and of course, we’ll have a link so you can purchase the book) but if you want to start reading it right away, go get that first chapter. Then, we also are giving away a couple of copies of The Grumble Free Year. This is what I’d love for you guys to do on the podcast notes. I’d love for you to go in there and just tell me what area causes you to grumble the most. I would love to hear that. Bonus points if you can give us one little tip about how you’re going to combat that. Tricia, thank you so much or writing this book and thank you for sharing it here on Clutter Free Academy.

Tricia – Thank you, Kathi. Thank you for inspiring me. My husband thanks you, too, for me cleaning out the house.

Kathi – If I could have any small impact, if the Clutter Free community could have any small impact on a mom with eleven humans in her house? My work here is done. I feel that’s amazing. Tricia, thank you so much. Friends, thank you for being here. You’ve been listening to Clutter Free Academy. I’m Kathi Lipp. Now, go create the clutter free life you were always intended to live.

<<music>>

*see show notes in podcast post above for any mentioned items

Meet Our Guest

Tricia Goyer

Tricia Goyer

Tricia Goyer is a busy mom of ten, doting grandma, and wife to John. A USA Today bestselling author, Tricia has published seventy books and is a two-time Carol Award winner, as well as a Christy and ECPA Award Finalist. She won the Retailer Best Award in 2015 and has received starred reviews from Romantic Times and Publishers Weekly. She is also on the blogging team at TheBetterMom.com and other homeschooling and Christian sites. Tricia is the founder of Hope Pregnancy Ministries and currently leads a teen MOPS Group in Little Rock, Arkansas.

#378: Clutter and Money with Ron Deal of FamilyLife

#378: Clutter and Money with Ron Deal of FamilyLife

Have you ever noticed that money is a tender spot in a lot of relationships? Maybe it even causes tension for you. In this week’s podcast, Kathi chats with very special guest Ron Deal of FamilyLife about ways to successfully resolve some of the conflicts related to spending and have a stronger, more unified family.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Some key questions to ask when strong emotions come up related to money
  • Contributing factors that make merging finances particularly difficult for blended families
  • How a togetherness agreement can help you build a strong foundation financially and relationally

If you would like more information about how to merge finances well, check out Ron’s book, The Smart Stepfamily Guide to Financial Planning. You can order it on AMAZON now.

In case you missed the verse reference, Ron quoted Hebrews 13:5: “Keep your life free from the love of money and be content with what you have for He has said ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.'”

Giveaway

As a special treat we are giving away some copies of Ron’s book, The Smart Stepfamily Guide to Financial Planning: Money Management Before and After You Blend a Family! Enter below by commenting and letting us know:

What would it look like to start spending money with intention instead of emotion in your family? What impact would that have on your relationships?

 

 

We would love to stay connected.

To share your thoughts:

Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.

Subscribe on iTunes or subscribe to our newsletter now.

Transcript for Clutter Free Academy #378

Read along with the podcast!

Clutter Free Academy Podcast # 378

Clutter and Money with Ron Deal of Family Life

<<intro music>>

Kathi – Well, hey friends! Welcome to Clutter Free Academy, where goal is to help you take small, do-able steps to live every day with less clutter and more life. You know, around here, we talk a lot about the devastation of clutter, and the emotional impact. We talk about that almost on a weekly basis. We spend a lot less time on the financial consequences to us and our family. I’ve done something about that. I’ve got us an expert in here. I want to introduce you guys to the director of FamilyLife Blended and the author of the new book The Smart Step-Family Guide to Financial Planning: Money Management Before and After You Blend a Family.  Ron Deal, welcome to Clutter Free Academy.

Ron – Thank you, Kathi. It’s so good to be with you.

Kathi – You and I just recently had a little chat about some of the principles about step-family and clutter. It’s so interesting, because so many of the clutter principles are true for step-families and original families. Also, there are some big differences, and I think it’s the same thing with money, as well. Everybody is stressed about money. Here’s my first question: When it comes to blended families, what is most stressful? Is it the exes? Is it discipline of kids? Or is it money? I want to know your opinion. I have an opinion on this, but I would love to hear what you think.

Ron – Okay, well, first of all, yes. You were on my podcast recently, FamilyLife Blended, is the podcast that we do specifically around blended families. Thank you for doing that. I think the answer to your question is: YES. There are things above the surface and things below the surface in our lives, right? You say so eloquently, above the surface is clutter, but below the surface is, “Why are you keeping it? What’s your fear? What’s your pain? What’s the concern? What’s the guilt?” The same thing happens to blended families around money; around relationships. Is it just about the former spouse, or is it about the pain that connects you to that former spouse? Is it about the pain you continue to see in your children’s eyes as a result of a broken relationship? Is it about the heartache, difficulty, or the guilt that you feel over you ending the previous relationship? All of those things below the surface are really, at the end of the day, driving what’s above the surface.

Kathi – It’s so interesting, isn’t it, how entangled all those different things are? I remember the first year we were doing Christmas as a blended family. My husband’s ex called and said, “Well, I need to know what you’re getting the kids for Christmas, so we can avoid getting them the same thing.” It wasn’t until years later, to figure out, “Oh, no no no, that’s a form of control. Why am I resisting this so much? Because I don’t like to be controlled.” It was money issues. It was control issues. It was kid and entitlement issues. All of that. So much of that is the common thread of money. I know that in an intact family, you’re dealing with some of those things, but it just feels like it gets folded out into a million different directions when it’s a blended family. 

Ron – Exactly. I’m thinking of a couple, for example, that I had a conversation with one day, and they were trying to figure out how many pots of money to have in their marriage. He had his kids and his money before they got married and she had hers. There’s a one-pot system, “We all put it in one pot.” There’s a two-pot system, “Yours and mine.” Three-pot, “Yours, mine, ours, but what about our investments?” Well, the conversation went like this. “Ron. We’re married now. We should all have one pot, but my wife is unwilling to put her money into one pot with me. I don’t like that.” So, we start chasing what’s underneath that. What’s that about? And the message to him was, “I must not be very important. She doesn’t value our us-ness; our one-ness the way I want her to; the way I do. So, I’m feeling fragile. I’m feeling vulnerable in this relationship.” Well, to some, that’s never good, but to someone like him, who had already been vulnerable in a previous relationship? He knows what can happen when it all falls apart. Now he has a super-high sensitivity to what this means for his family. It’s not just about money. It is about money, but it is also about everything underneath the money.

Kathi – Money brings out an anxiety and an insecurity. It’s all around that. When I think about clutter, I think, “What you’re buying is clutter. What I’m buying is necessary.” That’s how many people view it. I think that many of us, whether we’re in a marriage, or divorced, or single, or whatever, we’ve seen those past mistakes. We have evidence of those past mistakes all around us. So, here’s my question: When you begin to combine families, and you start to see all the stuff… It’s shocking when you start to bring those families together, and you’re like, “Oh my goodness. I didn’t know we had eight potato mashers.” You start to see some of the patterns. How do we start to have healthy conversations about recovering from those past clutter and financial mistakes?

Ron – One of the things to ask yourself is, when you notice, in yourself, or in your partner, “Wow! Whenever this subject comes up, so does anger, so does heavy emotions, so does a sense of desperation in me.” You’ve got to pause at that moment in time and ask yourself, “What’s going on with me? What is underneath all this?” It’s no longer about stuff. It’s about what it means to me and the implications it has to our family-ness, on our relationships, on our blending process. So, pausing at that point in time and going inside yourself and saying, “Lord, help me. Give me some insight into what this is about.” Throughout scripture, whenever God speaks to us about money, He always attaches a “for I am with you” because of that insecurity thing you were talking about a little while ago. Really, we think that money is what’s going to bring us stability in life, and it’s the calming piece of life, but God’s always saying, “No no no. That’s my job. I am with you. I am the one that provides. You’re going to be okay because of My presence in your life.” It we don’t go inside and ask ourselves, “What’s going on with me?” then we’ll just keep getting angry, and not have any reason or understanding why. 

Kathi – This is so good, Ron. I had never made the correlation between the verses about money, and God being with you. I feel like, except for if someone attacks my parenting, questioning how I spend money is my quickest line between peace and anxiety. Zero to sixty so much faster than anything else in my life. God knew, from the beginning of time, that we were going to struggle with money and stuff. The verses about “What are we investing in? What are we putting our time in? What are we putting our money in?” are just throughout the entire Word. So, to see the correlation, to say, “God knew this was going to be anxiety-producing. God knew that this was going to be a soft spot. Not just in marriages, but in parent-child relationships, in ex relationships, in all of those things.” This gives me such a different approach, Ron. I’m thinking in my own life. Roger and I have something we’ve set up. We call it “Money & Munchies Mondays”. We have to trick ourselves into doing finances. We have to give ourselves a reward. So, we order food in, we sit down, but I’m going to be honest, I had not thought about praying before talking about finances. When God says, “I am with you!” I need to invite him into that conversation. 

Ron – Absolutely. Hebrews 13:5 says it really well. “Keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have, for He has said, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” In other words, the reason we clutter our lives with stuff; the reason we use our money to buy other things; the reason we rely on money for security is kind of the same thing. The clutter, and the buying, and the purchasing, and the reason we work so hard in Blended Families, for example, to make our relationship work, is at the end of the day, we’re feeling like, “I can provide all of this for myself. I can be self-sufficient. The money empowers me to have what I want and it gets rid of my anxiety. It gets rid of my concern, or my fear, or my pain.” No, it really doesn’t. It’s a quick fix. It lasts as long as a Snickers. You’re going to get hungry again. What really lasts is leaning into God’s presence in our lives. I’m not saying we don’t have legitimate concerns about money. There’s good questions to ask, and wise decisions to make, absolutely. All of that above-the-surface stuff has to happen, too. But if we don’t go below the surface, and ask ourselves, “Why am I leaning in to this so much? What if I leaned in to God and His presence in my life a little more? How can I change my heart and my attitude about my money; about what I spend; about our relationship?

Kathi – Here’s what I think happened with me and Roger. Both of us will admit, we are not financial geniuses. We’re very fortunate. Roger has a Silicon Valley income, but we also have a Silicon Valley mortgage.

Ron – They cancel each other out.

Kathi – I think part of us were like, “We are spending so much time, and energy, and resources just keeping this family from killing each other. Money was just another stress that we could avoid for a while. So, how do we build in wisdom when it comes to money? There is going to be stuff coming into your house. There are purchases that need to be made. As a couple, we probably have a history of coming to those decisions in different ways. How do we build together, as a couple, in wisdom, so maybe money isn’t something we’re really excited about, but it’s not tearing a hole in our marriage every time we sit down to talk about it?

Ron – It starts with values. We’ve already moved in that direction. What I want to add there, is: “What does that thing mean? This purchase; this object; this decision, what does it mean to us in terms of our over-all life?” If I can be honest, a lot of times I buy things because it’s going to make me feel good. Or, I buy something because I think it’ll make me look good to others. What I’m really chasing here is other people’s approval of me. “Wow. So, maybe I don’t need that dress; that outfit; that suit; that whatever just to win other people’s approval. That seems like I’m worshiping the approval of men, not so much God’s approval.” So, my values need a course correction.

Kathi – Let me ask you: Do you think blended families work harder to look okay to the rest of the world? I feel like that’s what we did for a while.

Ron – I do think there is a pressure there, especially within the church community. That’s where we do so much of our work. Helping churches understand how they can be helpful. They don’t realize how much pressure they put on blended families to be like everyone else. It’s not intentional, but it happens. I do think there’s another dynamic in blended families around money, and that’s “I feel guilty around what’s happened in my kids’ lives; what I can’t change; what I can’t make right and somehow this is the quick fix that helps them feel better, and that helps me feel better.” 

Kathi – Here’s the other thing: When I married Roger, I went from two kids to four. That, financially, was a hard thing. The world is not built for families of six. When you want to go rent a car; when you go get a hotel room. It’s not just college times four, it’s shoes times four. It’s soccer times four. It’s all of those things.

Ron – And parents are diluting their money, too. You have another household you have to spend money on, child-support. Sometimes it’s coming in. Sometimes it’s going out. There are a number of factors that do add pressures to blended families that first families don’t experience. 

Kathi – Most of the people who are listening, we would love to have been those people who sat down before we got married and said, “Let’s have an honest conversation about money,” but 95% of us didn’t do that. We thought that once we got married and we love each other, everything will work out. I admit to being that couple. I love that we’ve outlined some of these things that we feel. It’s a lot like clutter, the fear, guilt, and shame. Fear, “What if I’m not doing a good job parenting?” Guilt for past mistakes we’ve made. Shame about not being that ideal family that many in the church still judge as a second-tier family. I love your idea of getting on the same page with your goals and what are your values. Do you suggest physically sitting down and writing those out? How’s the way to communicate those inside of a family?

Ron – So, the book actually guides people in creating what we call a Togetherness Agreement. The Smart Step-Family Guide to Financial Planning is, you start by sitting down and creating this Togetherness Agreement. Totally the opposite of what a pre-nup is all about. A pre-nup is all about “What happens if it all comes apart?” The Togetherness Agreement is all about “How are we going to bring it together? Not only our money issues, or matters, but our relationships.” So, it’s all tied together. We try to walk people through this process of looking at the different elements, the different pieces. How do you plan for the now? How do you plan for the future? Children? How do you care for one another? I got to tell you, I’m not a financial planner (I teamed up with two guys that do this kind of thing on a regular basis) I’m a marriage and family educator and therapist. So, I’m always looking at the relational components, but I learned a ton` doing the research for this book, around the different financial tools that are available out there, that I didn’t know anything about, that I think the average blended family couple knows nothing about as well. There are tools to help you plan your estate, to care for your kids, to care for your step-children, care for your spouse. What if you die and your spouse marries again? If you don’t provide, in writing, some of your assets can end up going, not just going with your former spouse, but their new spouse’s kids. 

Kathi – I’ve seen that happen.

Ron – You can prevent all that. That’s the beautiful thing. It does take some time. It takes some effort. Sometimes people will go beyond the book and decide to consult with a financial planner who can actually make something legal; who can put it in official document form. All of that is really helpful, because at the end of the day, you have more confidence in how you love one another. You have more stability, in the sense of, “Yes, we have taken steps to provide, should the worst thing happen. The kids are provided for. We don’t have to live with this sense of, ‘oh, this will all work out’.” The laws in America, because of how they’re written around parent-child relationships, tend to work against step-families, in court. If you ever have a state-thing go to court, it tends to work against what you really want to have happen. But, if you put it in writing, it’s all cared for. Confidence goes up. Stability comes together.

Kathi – If feels like everybody is on the same page. 

Ron – Which is the relational confidence peace you want.

Kathi – Ron, I love this so much. I think that, for any of us that have complicated family situations, the tools that are provided in this book are excellent. I’m really going to encourage you, whether you’re a blended family, or you know a blended family. Trust me. If you’re not sure whether this is an issue in your friend’s blended family? I promise you, it is. To give somebody the resources is so amazing. We’ve got a couple of books to give away. I’m really excited. So guys, here’s what I want to hear from you. I want to hear from you, in the comments on the podcast page, what would it look like to start spending money with intention, instead of emotion, in your family? What impact would that have on your relationships? Okay, you guys, I’m so excited about this book. The Smart Step-Family Guide to Financial Planning: Money Management Before and After You Blend A Family.  Ron, thank you so much for being on Clutter Free Academy.

Ron – Thanks, Kathi. It’s an honor to be with you.

Kathi – And friends, thank you for joining us. You make this my favorite part of our ministry, being able to talk with you on Clutter Free Academy.  Please join us next week. I’m Kathi Lipp. Now, go create the Clutter Free life you were always intended to live.

<<music>>

*see show notes in podcast post above for any mentioned items

Meet Our Guest

Ron Deal

Ron Deal

Ron Deal is husband to Nan (since 1986) and proud father of Braden, Connor, and Brennan. Everything else is just details.

Ron L. Deal is a bestselling author, licensed marriage & family therapist, podcaster, and popular conference speaker who conducts “laugh and learn” marriage and family seminars and professional training around the country. He specializes in both marriage enrichment and stepfamily education. Frequently featured in the national media, Ron is a leading national expert and the most widely read and viewed author on blended families in the country. He serves as President of Smart Stepfamilies™ and Director of FamilyLife Blended®, a division of FamilyLife®.

Learn more at www.familylife.com.

 

#369: Decluttering Your Way to a Better Marriage (Really!)

#369: Decluttering Your Way to a Better Marriage (Really!)

This week, Kathi returns to her first love: helping you have a happier, better marriage. Kathi is joined by frequent guest and host of Clutter Free Academy online, Tonya Kubo, to discuss several ways that decluttering can help you build a better marriage. 

One of the most frequent questions Kathi is asked is, “What do I do about my husband’s stuff?” in this episode, you’ll learn more about her top three answers for that question:

  • Deal with your own stuff before you deal with your spouse’s stuff.
  • Don’t argue about stuff. Agree on space.
  • Discuss the reasons behind wanting to live a more clutter free life.

You’ll also learn how decluttering makes a better marriage by:

  • Reducing conflict
  • Giving you the opportunity to focus on ways to bless your spouse
  • Helping you see your spouse’s strengths
  • Even upping the level of romance in your relationship (really)!

To read more practical ways to build a better marriage, check out Kathi’s book, The Husband Project.

Learn more about Kathi and Roger’s favorite show to binge watch at the Red House, American Pickers.

We would love to stay connected. 

To share your thoughts:

Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.

Subscribe on iTunes or subscribe to our newsletter now.

Meet Our Guest

Tonya Kubo

Tonya Kubo

Tonya Kubo is the illustrious, fearless leader of Kathi Lipp’s Clutter-Free Academy Facebook group. A speaker and writer, Tonya makes her home in the heart of California with her husband, Brian, their two spirited daughters and one very tolerant cat. Visit her at www.TonyaKubo.com and www.GreatMoms.org.

Fun Ways to Pep Up Your Marriage with Focus on the Family

Fun Ways to Pep Up Your Marriage with Focus on the Family

We love buying farm fresh produce, but let’s be real, Roger and I are both busy, and another thing… we don’t live on a farm. So, we decided to grow a few things in our own garden, well, actually it is a planter on the back patio, but for us, we felt like urban farmers.

Every day we went out to check on our little garden. As the leaves grew and little buds formed we enjoyed the daily routine of caring for our thriving plants and looked forward to the day when we could enjoy the fruit of our labor, literally.

It was a wonderful day in the Lipp Household when we plucked our first tomato off the vine.

How funny that we can get so intent on growing a vegetable, and yet how easy it is to get distracted from growing something much more valuable, our marriage.

BE INTENTIONAL

It is so easy to focus on the mountain of little things that feel urgent on a day to day basis, but make it a priority to balance them out with what is truly important.

HAVE FUN

Busy happens, we need to recapture some of the fun things that drew us to our spouse. Whether it is a date-night, a simple gesture of kindness, or spending time with other couples, shake up the routine.

TAKE TIME

Just like our tomato took time and patience, we need to nurture a healthy relationship with our spouse. We didn’t flood our little “garden” once and walk away, hoping it would fend for itself. We made it a daily routine to make sure it was thriving.

There are seasons in life, but whether you have been married for a few years or a few decades, we can all benefit from savoring simple moments with the one we vowed to love, honor, and cherish.

How about you? Maybe you could use some fun and fresh ideas to nurture your relationship?

Join me as I visit with Focus on the Family on how to add some pep into your marriage.

http://www.focusonthefamily.com/media/daily-broadcast/fun-ways-to-pep-up-your-marriage

Eps. #318: How to Stop People Pleasing (from two former addicts…)

Eps. #318: How to Stop People Pleasing (from two former addicts…)

People-pleasing is exhausting. Like Kathi says, it reminds her of Christmastime when “We’re baking cookies that nobody asked for.” Kathi’s friend, Cheri Gregory and co-author of “You Don’t Have to Try So Hard,” sit down to discuss why saying “sorry” is something women tend to do too much of.

“When you come to realize that you are suppressing your own emotions so that somebody else will not experience negative emotions, that’s not okay,” says Kathi.

In Today’s Episode, You Will:

  • Find out why you are apologizing when you don’t have to.
  • Why letting yourself off the hook opens yourself up to the necessary apologies you need to make.
  • Learn how to say “Thank You” instead of “I’m Sorry”.
  • Know how to find out if you are in fact, a people-pleaser.

Grab a copy of You Don’t Have to Try So Hard-

Releases September 4, 2018

Ditch your feelings of inadequacy and finally came face-to-face with the bold, balanced woman God created you to be. Grab your copy from your favorite retailer and join our book club in September. All the details can be found here.

 

WIN A COPY OF YOU DON’T HAVE TO TRY SO HARD!

Enter to win a You Don’t Have to Try So Hard gift pack from Harvest House by commenting below: What is one way can you put up a healthy boundary into your life this week?

Downloads from this episode

3 Ways to Know if You’re a People Pleaser (or if you’re dealing with one)

The 3 Most Important Things to Know if You are a People Pleaser

Thanks for Listening!

To share your thoughts:
• Leave a note in the comment section below.
• Share this show on TwitterFacebook, or Pinterest.

To help out the show:
• Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.
• Subscribe on iTunes or subscribe now.

Special thanks to Cheri for joining me this week! Join us next week where we’ll be talking about why we over-perform when we’re feeling like we’re not enough.

 

Meet Our Guest

Cheri Gregory

Cheri Gregory

Cheri Gregory is a teacher, speaker, author, and Certified Personality Trainer. Her passion is helping women break free from destructive expectations. She writes and speaks from the conviction that “how to” works best in partnership with “heart, too.” Cheri is the co-author, with Kathi Lipp, of The Cure for the “Perfect” Life and Overwhelmed.
Cheri has been “wife of my youth” to Daniel, her opposite personality, for twenty-eight years and is “Mom” to Annemarie (25) and Jonathon (23), also opposite personalities.
Cheri blogs about perfectionism, people-pleasing, highly sensitive people, and hope at www.cherigregory.com.

#314 Learning to Make a Difference – One Simple Step at a Time

#314 Learning to Make a Difference – One Simple Step at a Time

What would you do if you received a hand-written letter in the mail telling you how amazing you are? In today’s podcast you will find out just how much one person’s heart-felt idea helped make a difference in other people’s lives. Hannah Brencher, author of “Come Matter Here: An Invitation to Be Here In a Getting There World, ” and Kathi, sit down to talk about Hannah’s love letter movement.

In this inspiring interview, you will learn how to:

  • Make a difference one simple step at a time.
  • Be encouraged to show up.
  • Be ready to learn in whatever situation you find yourself in.

I’m thrilled to have Hannah on the show!

Listen to today’s podcast to find out how you can learn to make a difference one simple step at a time.


Thanks to Our Sponsor: Duck Pack and Track


Thanks for Listening!

To help out the show:

  • Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.
  • Subscribe on iTunes or subscribe now .

To share your thoughts:

  • Share this show on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest.

 

Meet Our Guest

Hannah Brencher is an author, blogger, TED speaker, and entrepreneur. She founded The World Needs More Love Letters, a global community dedicated to sending letter bundles to those who need encouragement. Named as one of the White House’s “Women Working to Do Good” and a spokesperson for the United States Postal Service, Hannah has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Oprah, Glamour, USATODAY.com, The Chicago Tribune, and more. Find Hannah at hannahbrencher.com.