Heather Rackham

Navigating Boundaries: Creating Healthy Relationships

By: Carisa Peters

Hey everyone, it’s Life Coach Carisa! Today, let’s dive into the powerful concept of boundaries.

What comes to mind when you think of boundaries? Does it tend to feel controlling and negative? I know it used to be that way for me. Like I have to protect myself from others.

Boundaries really should be looked at much more deeply than this. They are more than mere lines on a map; they’re essential for maintaining healthy relationships and self-respect. From personal space to emotional well-being, boundaries play a crucial role in our lives.

Picture boundaries as invisible lines we draw around ourselves, defining our space just like property boundaries. They’re not about controlling others but about taking responsibility for ourselves and building stronger connections.

Setting boundaries is crucial for emotional and mental well-being. Just as you have clear boundaries around your physical home, it’s essential to establish clear boundaries around your emotions and relationships.

Imagine your emotional space as your backyard. When someone crosses a boundary, it’s like they’ve stepped into your yard without permission.

But here’s the key: you only need to communicate your boundaries when they’re crossed. It’s about responding calmly and clearly, emphasizing self-care and respect for the relationship. Enforcing boundaries isn’t about control; it’s about protecting yourself and your needs. By upholding your boundaries, you create healthier dynamics in relationships.

To create boundaries in a healthy manner, each of us must take the responsibility to get clear on what it is we want and why? Not just I don’t want you to do this to me. It is much deeper. It is knowing yourself so well that you can come from a loving, emotionally secure place and communicate that in a healthy way.

A personal story I will share to illustrate this is close to my heart. During the last six years of my father’s life, our relationship had deteriorated from the less than ideal place it was and now had become virtually nonexistent. He would send me birthday texts, which left me feeling a mix of emotions—anger, sadness, and a sense of obligation to respond. I found myself overthinking these messages for days, grappling with their impact on me. Through introspection and self-love, I realized that I had the power to control my own feelings and reactions, regardless of my father’s actions. Taking ownership of my emotions, I responded to his messages with honesty and resilience, staying true to my authentic self.

It is a loving…’if you do this….I will do this’. It really felt good.

Remember, setting boundaries isn’t selfish; it’s an act of love, both for yourself and others. Start today and watch your relationships grow!

If you found this blog helpful, consider sharing it with other moms who might need to hear this message. And if you’d like to watch my video to go deeper on this topic you can find it here.

“You teach people how to treat you by what you allow, what you stop, and what you reinforce.” – Tony Gaskins

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Put Your Beliefs to the Test

By: Terri Hayes

As we navigate life, our brains form connections and solidify beliefs, rarely questioning them. But let’s have some fun and challenge ourselves. You’ve probably heard these phrases: “You’ll appreciate it more if you work for it,” “You get what you pay for,” “Money can’t buy happiness,” and the like. While they often hold weight, it can be enlightening to challenge their absolute truth. 

Start with a belief you’re not deeply attached to and ask, “How might this not be true?” 

I recently did this with the phrase “Many hands make light work.” While it’s true sometimes, consider situations like cleaning up after a meal, helping someone move, or baking cookies with a toddler. Chaos ensues more often than not when there are too many hands. 

In Neil Pasricha’s book “The Happiness Equation,” he highlights conflicting clichés, showing how common phrases contradict each other. For example: 

  • Defense wins championships versus The best defense is a good offense. 
  • Birds of a feather flock together versus Opposites attract. 
  • You’re never too old to learn versus You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. 
  • Clothes make the man versus You can’t judge a book by its cover. 
  • Absence makes the heart grow fonder versus Out of sight, out of mind. 
  • Nothing ventured, nothing gained versus Better safe than sorry. 
  • You get what you pay for versus The best things in life are free. 
  • Good things come to those who wait versus The early bird gets the worm. 
  • The pen is mightier than the sword versus Actions speak louder than words. 

Take it to the next level by questioning beliefs that you’ve held more tightly to. I’m not suggesting you abandon those beliefs, just question them. 

I once staunchly believed in “You’ll appreciate it more if you work for it.” But a purchase at a farmers’ market caused me to question this. The green beans from the market were just as satisfying as the ones I toiled over in my own garden. It challenged my belief, but the joy of three meals with green beans for $3 was worth it!  

We often use clichés to bolster arguments, but let’s question every belief with intent. Share in the comments common phrases you’ve dissected and found liberating or any other thoughts that come to mind. 

High Five! 

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https://www.outofsmallthings.com

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The Truth About Dandelions

By: Meredith Gardner

How many hours have you spent ridding your lawn of dandelions?

Plucking them out by hand. Spraying them with weed killer. Cursing them for going to seed and blowing away in the wind before you could get to them.

Well. I recently learned the truth about dandelions.
They are Valuable, with a capital V!
They are completely edible, from the tops of their blooms to the bottom of their roots.
Years ago, I’d heard that the leaves could be used in salads, but the thought of it disgusted me. There’s even more that I didn’t know:

  • ●  They are packed with Vitamins A, C, and K. More than is in spinach and tomatoes. They also have high levels of calcium, potassium and iron. You can sauté them like spinach too.
  • ●  You can use the leaves to make a tea that acts as a diuretic.
  • ●  The root can be dried, ground and roasted for a caffeine-free drink that supports liverfunction.
  • ●  The roots can be eaten like any root vegetable is.
  • ●  Dandelions have been used for food and medicinal purposes for thousands of years. AFrench book on flowers from the 1500’s equated their beauty to that of a rose.
  • ●  The taproot can grow up to 15 feet long. It pulls nutrients from the soil and fertilizes theplants growing around it.
    So, who decided the dandelion was undesirable?History claims that Dandelions were brought to North America by the Europeans ON PURPOSE in the 1600’s as an edible and medicinal resource. Over time, the “lawn” became a symbol of wealth: the ability to have land that didn’t produce a profitable or usable cropDandelions tainted that image…and perfectly manicured lawn. Since this isn’t a gardening blog, I’ll get to the point:It’s fascinating to me that everything I believed about the “weed” I work to eradicate….is based on viewpoints made long ago and completely erases the plant’s value.The thing is, its value is still there, we just don’t acknowledge it – whether it’s because we don’t believe it or aren’t aware of it doesn’t matter.

Its Value remains.

It is harmful when the opinions of some take hold and then spread as Truth, covering up the items’ original value.

This is especially true about people. About you.

Your value is immeasurable and always has been. You are light, you are goodness, you are joy and love. You matter.

But somewhere, sometime, someone told you otherwise and you began to believe those opinions. Something happened that made you wonder if you were good enough. It’s part of the human experience.

Those self-doubts and opinions of others have veiled your original value. But it is still there my friends. You add to this World. You contribute. You bring energy that others need.

You get to decide how you view dandelions. I might even try them in a salad and let you know how it goes.

You also get to decide the truth about you. Perfection isn’t required before you can believe you’re good enough. That Truth has already been established, but if you’re really struggling to believe this, I’ve been there and I get it.

That’s why I coach on how to respond to your Inner Critic; that critical inner voice that works to keep you in the dark about your true value. Download 12 ways to respond HERE.

Because your value is stellar and if you really believed that, the Critic would be out of a job. You are bright and beautiful and your Critic is afraid of the risks you would take if you lived from that belief.

But when you know how to respond to that inner voice, you’re free to believe anything you want about yourself. And once you do, everything changes.

Xo, Meredith

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Understanding Your Context Filter

By: Jill Pack

One of the first things I work with my clients on is understanding the difference between thoughts and circumstances. This is one of the foundational concepts to understand if you want to create something different in your life. Understanding the difference between the two allows you the opportunity to act instead of being acted upon. 

For example, my husband is my circumstance, and I am his. The words we say are also circumstances. They aren’t necessarily good or bad. They just are. There isn’t a problem until we each have a thought about the other person and what they said. 

Now, does that mean we have to love what the other person says or does? No, of course not. But we empower ourselves to be our best selves when we realize that it is the way we are thinking about what they said or did that causes us to get upset, not the actual words or behaviors. Understanding this allows us to decide on purpose to act in a certain way instead of reacting to the situation. 

But there is another part to this. There is a space between the circumstance and a person’s thought. 

It is called the Context Filter. 

A context filter is like a pair of special glasses that everyone wears, but each person’s glasses are different because they are made up of their own stories, what they believe, what they think is important, and where they come from. These glasses help them see the world in their own special way. This means that when they look at a problem, a chance to do something, or when they are talking to someone else, their glasses make them see and think about these things in their own unique way. This is how they decide to handle different things that happen in life. 

Some things that make up a personal context filter include: 

  • Past Experiences & Outcomes or Results in our life 
  • Culture (ethnic, religious, family, regional, etc.) 
  • True Self (divine self/spirit/soul, natural abilities, personality, genetics) 
  • Current Emotional State 
  • Core beliefs 
  • Values 

All of these things make up the lens through which we view life, so it makes sense that we think the thoughts we do. 

When I begin looking at what is part of my personal context filter, I can begin examining it and deciding what I want to keep or let go of. This really is a lot of what coaching or self-coaching is. It is taking a look at what is in our context filter, questioning it, and deciding on purpose what we want in there. 

Here is an example. 

Let’s say you grew up believing that getting a college degree was very important. You went to college and got your degree. You have a successful career and are able to provide for your family. You teach your children that education is important and you believe that attending college is just a given. You value learning and education. You believe that a college degree is key to living a fulfilling and productive life. Of course, college is the logical next step after high school. Then one of your children decides college is not for them and you can’t believe it. It doesn’t make sense to you. 

Can you see your personal context filter at play here? 

Viewing their decision, which is your circumstance, through this lens shapes your experience. You feel sad and disappointed because you are making it mean that everything has gone wrong and there is no way that their life can be as good as it could be if they were to go to college. It just feels so true. 

Yet, how do you show up in your relationship with your child when looking at the situation through this context filter? Are you behaving in a way that helps you be the parent you want to be? Do you feel more connected to your child? My guess is the answer is “no” to both of those questions. 

Again, it doesn’t mean you have to love their choice, but it doesn’t have to derail you either. 

This is when your emotions can be a clue that it is time to take a deeper look into your personal context filter. Examining those things that may not be serving you in your relationship with your child. Curiosity is key to shifting your lens. 

What if you are wrong? What if it is possible that your child might even be happier if they don’t pursue a college education? What if they are learning exactly what they need to learn by not going to college? What if whatever they decide to do, it will all be ok? What if your belief is just your opinion and it isn’t the same as your child? What if that is really ok? Of course, you might feel disappointed. It makes sense because of your filter. Let yourself feel that. But, what if you can still be the parent you want to be and have a very connected relationship with them whether they choose to go to college or not? 

Using your emotions as clues can help you use questions like these to help you shift your personal context filter. Then you can begin showing up in your life and in your relationships as the person you want to be. 

We don’t want to judge or be critical of our personal context filters. That isn’t the point. Objective self-examination or awareness opens the door to change. Of course, we view life through the lens we do. It makes total sense because of how we were raised, the experiences we have had, and the things we value. We can validate that and still decide to change our filter. 

The work I do, as a life coach, is to help people take a deeper look into what makes up their personal context filters, question them, and decide what they want to keep and what they want to let go of so that they can show up in their life and relationships as the person they want to be. The person they like being. When we take the time to really look at the lens through which we see life, we can begin to see how this filter affects what we make it all mean, the emotions we feel, our behaviors, and our overall experiences. 

Click HERE to listen to this week’s podcast episode to learn more! 

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Seasons of Parenthood: Embracing change & connection

By: Ali Ryan

Parenthood is a journey filled with ups and downs, joys and challenges. As our children grow, we find ourselves navigating different seasons of parenting, each with its own set of emotions and experiences.

From the early years of sleepless nights and endless diaper changes to the teenage years filled with new milestones and independence, every stage brings its own joys and complexities.

In this blog, we’ll explore the bittersweet reality of watching our children grow older, the challenges of connecting with older teens, and the importance of embracing change while finding connection amidst the ever-evolving landscape of parenthood.

When our children were little, we cherished every moment, even amidst the chaos and exhaustion. Yet, as they grow older, we may find ourselves longing for the simplicity of those early years. We catch ourselves reminiscing about the days of cuddles and bedtime stories, yearning for the innocence and sweetness of our little ones.

However, as our children enter adolescence, we’re faced with new challenges and uncertainties. We may struggle to connect with our older teens, grappling with the changes in their attitudes and interests. It’s a natural part of the parenting journey to feel a sense of nostalgia for the past while simultaneously navigating the present.

Yet, amidst the longing for days gone by, it’s essential to embrace the beauty of the present moment. Each stage of parenthood offers unique opportunities for growth, both for ourselves and our children. While we may feel uncertain about how to connect with our older teens, it’s important to remember that our love and support remain constant. Finding common ground and shared interests can help bridge the gap between generations, fostering deeper connections and understanding.

As parents, we’re tasked with navigating the ever-changing landscape of parenthood, from the early years of wonder and discovery to the teenage years filled with challenges and growth. While it’s natural to feel nostalgic for the past, it’s essential to embrace the present moment and find joy in the journey.

By fostering open communication, understanding, and connection with our children, we can navigate the seasons of parenthood with grace and resilience, cherishing each moment along the way.

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When to Pause a Religious Practice

By: Heidi Bradford

Yes, you read that right. There are times when pausing a religious practice will bring you closer to God than continuing that practice. Because religious practices are meant to be for our benefit, it’s good to recognize when they’re not serving the purpose they were meant to serve. One example of a good time to pause a religious practice is when we are sick. Outlined below are five questions to ask yourself when you are wondering if now might be a time that pausing a religious practice will keep you closer to God than continuing it.

Currently, I serve as an advisor to the youth at church. One Sunday, a few months ago, I had an interesting experience when we were reciting a common theme together. Part of the theme states, I cherish the gift of repentance and
seek to improve each day.” As soon as I said that part, my brain responded, “You do not seek to improve each day.”

In my head, I thought, “It’s true. I don’t.” A few years ago, this interaction with myself would leave me feeling bad about myself and I’d be uncomfortable when I heard that theme for a few months or possibly longer. Why? Because it caused me to think of myself as a hypocrite.

But I’ve come to recognize it differently. When a thought comes to my mind that is negative, I try to pause and question the thought. I even attempt to disprove it. In this case, I told myself something along these lines, “Interesting. I don’t feel like I am seeking to improve each day and maybe I’m not. Maybe that’s something I can work on. But maybe I am seeking to improve each day in seemingly insignificant ways. I try to be a good person every single day. And maybe just doing that every single day is actually a way of improvement.”

Let’s use this example of me feeling like a hypocrite while participating in class at church to apply five questions that can help us recognize when it may be a good time to pause a religious practice. (You can use one or more
questions at a time!)

Question one, “Am I feeling darker or more distant from God now than I was before?” I certainly was feeling darker when I thought, “I am not trying to improve each day.” It even led to the thought that I’m a hypocrite. Here I am saying one thing and doing another. But as you read above, I looked at the thought differently and questioned it and that led to the darkness being dispelled almost immediately. I needed a very short pause in that case.

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Action Unlocked: How to get things done

By: Carisa Peters

Hey everyone, it’s Life Coach Carisa here. Today, I want to talk about something important: taking action. I used to overthink a lot, always waiting for the perfect moment to start making progress. But I’ve learned that success comes from taking imperfect action consistently.

Let’s think about your to-do lists. Do you have them scattered around? How do you feel when you look at them? Probably not great, right? They can bring feelings of stress and overwhelm. But what if we could change our relationship with these lists? It’s like being negative towards a partner every day – it doesn’t help. We need to transform how we see our to-dos because they’re part of life.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, know that you’re not alone. As a mom and business owner, I’ve faced challenges too. I get it. But this isn’t about adding pressure. It’s about acknowledging where you are and taking small steps forward.

Why is taking action important? Well, if we never take action, we’ll never achieve our goals. But when we start taking small steps, even if they’re scary, we make progress.

So, how do we break free from overthinking? One strategy is to create small, repeatable habits. Instead of tackling big tasks, focus on small actions every day. These add up over time.

Taking action didn’t come naturally to me. For years, I struggled with fear of failure. But working with a coach helped me see that I was already taking action in many areas of my life. By celebrating small victories, I built confidence.

So, how can you start taking action? Start small, create a routine, stay accountable, and celebrate progress. It’s not easy, but it’s essential if we want to create the life we desire.

So, what action will you take today to move closer to your goals?

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I Would Not Say Such Things If I Were You  

By: Terri Hayes

There are some words that seem like they are important and motivating but often it’s a disguise. I avoid labeling things as good or bad in permanent terms. Despite the title I chose for this blog, I would not condemn the words we’ll talk about today as words we should never utter, rather these words can act as a signal, so to speak. They are awareness words that can cause us to pause and evaluate when we say them. 

If you haven’t read my last blogpost titled, “The Language of Emotion,” it would serve you well to have that background before proceeding to this post. If you aren’t used to noticing how things make you feel when they are said, that blog post may be helpful. 

Just: I find I use this word a lot, in writing as well as verbally. My all-time cringe sentence I hear (and I’ve said it!) is, “I’m just a mom.” Just often downplays something. It can be condescending and lack compassion. In some instances, we are using it to justify something (I was just teasing). 

Should/shouldn’t, need to, have to, must. All of these can often feel like we have no choice in the matter or that our choice is tied to a moral right or wrong. Shame often accompanies should/shouldn’t. Noticed the resistance that may arise in your body when presented these words.  Let me ask you, when you or someone else says you should do something, how often do you want to do it? We often feel we are being forced, and even if we do it, there is often little “buy in” or enjoyment in the process. When these words are presented to me by others or myself, I like to make a slight adjustment. Replacing should with “could” brings up a whole different feeling in my body and I feel like I have a choice in the matter and that I’m not a “bad person” for whatever I decide to do. Let’s stop “should-ing” on ourselves. When confronted with need to, have to or must, simply take a moment and determine if we really do have to. We can then choose whether to leave it OR decide if we really want to do it? “I have to change the baby’s diaper.” Well, no, I technically don’t have to; I could just leave it. However, if I decide I don’t really want to leave it and want to have a happy baby, then I probably do want to change the diaper. Alternatives to these could be “want to,” “get to,” and “choose to.” 

Never and always. These are great words for black-and-white or all-or-none thinking. When you use these words, take a minute and consider if it might be an exaggeration. If you want to take it to the next level, try to find a few instances when you (or the “guilty party”) has or hasn’t said or done what you just accused them of always or never saying or doing. Most of us just let these words roll off our tongue without thinking about the truthfulness of their use. Many times it’s because we are frustrated to some extent, and we don’t want to admit that the always or never are, more often than not, an exaggeration. Other words that are good friends with never and always include everything, nothing, everyone, no one

The last words to reflect on are don’t (as in I don’t know) and can’t. When we think or say these words, it’s a signal to our brain that it doesn’t need to proceed in finding answers or solutions. It shuts the brain down. When I was in high school, my volleyball/basketball coach had us pay money every time we said the word, “can’t.” The money went towards our end of season banquet and many of us got proficient steering clear of the word… At least out loud 😉. Because of that, to this day the word, “can’t” makes me take pause, which indicates we can train ourselves to have awareness through these “trigger” words. 

What about you? What words have you tagged for bringing awareness to your thought processes? 

High Five!  

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Defintion of Success

By: Tami Conklin

Success.  

We choose our definition of it.  

No one else does.  

Our choice might be to decide to follow all the people around us and define success as working our way up the ladder, making all the money, acquiring all the things — but it doesn’t have to be that way. 

What if success meant so much more?  

Waking up and being excited for your day. Not worrying about money. Being truly present for your family. Living in the now. Taking care of your mind and body.  

What if the most humane definition of success is to actually take care of yourself and be human?  

Live. Play. Enjoy. 

My definition used to mean going 150% all the damn time. And then I got really sick.  

I’ve HAD to reinvent my view and it has transformed my life. 

Yes, I am saying this from a place of privilege and yet, growing up we were poor, on food stamps and I always wondered what utility was going to be turned off next. 

My definition of success arose from not wanting to live that way EVER again.  

And it is finally time to revise my definition to one that speaks to where I am in life.  

Now I look at how I am treating others. How is my nervous system? How am I processing my emotions? What am I letting bug the crap out of me?  

What is your definition of success? Did you decide for yourself or are you living what you think the world wants for you?  

What makes you feel fulfilled? Happy? Motivated? What makes you feel like you’ve achieved what you wanted?  

Key Takeaways:  

1. Revisit your definition of success. If you find it isn’t really yours, take the time to make it your own. 

2. Remind yourself how it feels in your body when you are living someone else’s definition of success rather than one you have intentionally created. 

A clear definition of what success means to you will be a compass leading you to make better decisions and create the life you truly want. Need help? Reach out and we can chat more — a life coach is the perfect individual to guide you towards cultivating a better life.  

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