Mandie Sherman: Staying Strong through Terminal Illness

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

"It doesn't get easier, but it gets lighter.  It gets lighter because we get stronger . . . Your strength is going to help somebody else when they are weak."

When we are facing especially hard times, we've all heard people say that things will get easier.  Mandie Sherman disagrees.  She knows from her lifelong struggle with cystic fibrosis--a terminal disease--that it's not that things get easier, it's that we get stronger.  And with that strength, we are then obligated to help others where they are weak.

Mandie's strength is evident throughout this interview as she frankly shares about what life has been like with a disease that consumes much of her day with constant treatments and monitoring.  She is resilient--yes.  Realistic--yes.  But coupled with these qualities is an contagious optimism, a choice Mandie has made to face each day with strength AND softness.

Surrounding her is what Mandie calls her "army," people who love, support, and take care of her.  Mandie's hope is that we can learn more about cystic fibrosis and in turn join our own army of helping others make it through their own difficult time.


We recorded this interview a few months ago, and following that Mandie spent most of December in the hospital, including a surgery to help her breathing.  Please click on the links in the show notes to share some love with Mandie, get one of her shirts to join her "army," and donate to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

You can listen to this podcast below, or on iTunesSoundcloudStitcherPocketcastsGoogleplay, or search for "About Progress" wherever you get your podcasts.  If you like the show, please subscribe!!



Show Notes:
Mandie's Instagram, Blog, and Get the "Mandie Tee" (or sweatshirt) and join the Sherman Army!
Last week's episode on goals with Tiffany Webster
Monica's Facebook and Instagram
Monat Natural, Anti-Aging Hair Care: Contact Monica to learn more, OR research via her Monat Instagram and website
Related: Monica's views on Sponsorship and WHY she's partnering with Monat
Fabletics! Get 2 leggings for $24 when you become a VIP member (they're the besssssst!) (Affiliate link)
Free Audiobook through Audible(Affiliate link)
Contact Monica
More Podcasts from About Progress
Song Credit: "Sweet Promise" and "Tonight" by Nicolai Heidlas

How to Revolutionize Your Goals by Defining Your WHY || with Tiffany Webster

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

"When we attach anything to our goals--our happiness, worth, value, success--our goals are no longer out becoming . . .[they're] just about needing to achieve to feel something."

Sick of never meeting your goals?  Too overwhelmed to even make some in the first place?  It's not your method that needs some revamping; it's your motivation.

When you are a recovering perfectionist, you'll have a love-hate relationship with goals.  On one hand, you could have a past of going over-the-top, full throttle and letting your goals dictate every moment of your life, only to ALWAYS feel like a failure; on the other hand, you could be so over feeling like a failure that it's too overwhelming for you to even begin making goals at all.

Time to find some middle ground.  Want to know the secret behind revolutionizing your goals so they actually work?

You've got to define your "WHY" behind them.

Tiffany Webster joins me in a conversation on this topic today.  You can prop us both up as "failed perfectionists," and therefore experts on making the goals for the wrong reasons.  In this episode, Tiffany and I speak about how to better direct your motivation behind self-improvement, find the fine line between self-love and self-improvement, and how to shift your views of both yourself and your goals so you are better set up for success.

You can listen to this podcast below, or on iTunesSoundcloudStitcherPocketcastsGoogleplay, or search for "About Progress" wherever you get your podcasts.  If you like the show, please subscribe!!



Show Notes
Tiffany's BOOKwebsiteInstagram, and Facebook
Monica's Facebook and Instagram
Monat Natural, Anti-Aging Hair Care: Contact Monica to learn more, OR research via her Monat Instagram and website
Related: Monica's views on Sponsorship and WHY she's partnering with Monat
Fabletics! Get 2 leggings for $24 when you become a VIP member (they're the besssssst!) (Affiliate link)
Free Audiobook through Audible(Affiliate link)
Contact Monica
More Podcasts from About Progress
Song Credit: "Sweet Promise" and "Tonight" by Nicolai Heidlas


My Favorite {Affordable} Beauty Finds for 2017

Friday, December 29, 2017

I am hosting a giveaway this weekend on my Instagram account, sharing my very favorite beauty products I discovered in 2017, all of which can be purchased on Amazon without selling your prized possessions or children. 

Below is my explanation of why I love each product, including a link (affiliate--not sponsored) where you can get your own little gifts for this coming year--even if they're just gifts for yourself (I don't judge!):

1) Nature Republic’s Cleansing Oil: Yes, I wash my face with oil.  This is according to the BeYOUty Bureau’s method, as seen here.  My face really cleared up this way, and my makeup comes off so much better.  I still wash my face after with a normal cleanser and exfoliating brush, but I do this first thing, in my nighttime skincare routine.  I believe it REALLY helped cut down on my breakouts.  Fight oil with oil!

2) Elume Makeup Remover Cloths (3 come in a pack): This is in conjunction with the oil.  I bought 3-4 of these packs, and use one side per night and wash them all with my towels.  They’re SO soft and make you feel like you’re doing a spa treatment—plus, they take that makeup right off.

3. Cosrx Acne Pimple Master Patches: Pregnancy has been better for me skin this go round (it’s different for me each time), but before was a disaster.   I used at least one of these patches every day.  They heal your skin and make your pimples life MUCH shorter.  Also found via Kayti, from the BeYOUty Bureau.

4. NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in a neutral pink ("Instanbul"): I have three of these and want them in every color.  Not super long-lasting, but easy to apply, matte, and don’t smear super easily.


5. Maybelline’s Brow Precise, tinted and fibered eyebrow mascara (in color of your choice): if I only have one minute, I apply this, concealer, and mascara.  Comes in five colors and emphasizes your brows perfectly and naturally, without making your feel like a clown.

6. Organize Castor Oil, to grow lashes and brows: THIS REALLY WORKS and it’s so cheap. My lashes are gorgeous, if I do say so myself.  Got to give it a solid month of using it most nights to see a difference, but your lashes (and brows, too) will look fantastic.

7. Cosmedica Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum, for extra moisturizing and plumping power: I use this after toner and before moisturizer.  It helps your lotion really sink in, and plumps and brightens your face.


Thank you for coming to this blog and listening to the podcast!  I am so grateful for what 2017 brought and am looking forward to 2018.

Dina Taylor: Persevering Your Own Way

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

 "If you set aside other people's expectations, set aside the need for permission and live your most authentic self, life is a lot more freeing and you're making better decisions."

Dina Taylor has faced many obstacles in her young life, but the two most recent--infertility and her 35-year-old husband's unexpected death--could have made her give up and give in.  Not so, for Dina.  Dina chose to persevere, and to do it her own way.

Listen in to hear how Dina and her late husband, Dan, faced major health problems, infertility, and then a very difficult pregnancy together, how she picked up the pieces of her life after his tragic death ten weeks before the birth of their son, Jack, and the unique ways she chose to face grief and carry on.  Dina also shares how she has found expanded love in her heart for a new life partner, Rick, and what has made all the difference for her the past 2 1/2 years.

While this could have been a very heavy episode, instead Dina empowers us all to better face the struggles we each have by staying true to what is within us, listening to our hearts, and holding strong to what we know will best help us create the lives we want.  Live driven not just in spite of our pasts but because of them.

Listen to this episode below, or on iTunesSoundcloudStitcherPocketcastsGoogleplay, or search for "About Progress" wherever you get your podcasts.  If you like the show, please subscribe!!



Show Notes:
Dina's Instagram
Monica's Facebook and Instagram
Monat Natural, Anti-Aging Hair Care: Contact Monica to learn more, OR research via her Monat Instagram and website
Related: Monica's views on Sponsorship and WHY she's partnering with Monat
Fabletics! Get 2 leggings for $24 when you become a VIP member (they're the besssssst!) (Affiliate link)
Free Audiobook through Audible(Affiliate link)
Contact Monica
More Podcasts from About Progress
Song Credit: "Sweet Promise" and "Tonight" by Nicolai Heidlas

Dina Alexander: How to Empower Kids to Use Technology for Good

Wednesday, December 20, 2017


“Just like you and I lived at the mall or lived at the football game on Friday night, a lot of our kids are living on social media . . . I want my kids to make their mistakes while still living with me.  You want to give them parameters but also you want to give them the opportunity to make choices.”

We all worry about the incessant draw that technology is having on our children these days.  You see the debates on Facebook and hear the tense conversations amongst parents: How much tech-use is appropriate?  How can we limit screen time?  When should children be allowed to use technology?

Before we can answer all that, however, we need to be asking the more appropriate question, as posed by Dina Alexander: "How can we empower our children to use technology responsibly and for good?"

Dina is the founder of the non-profit Educate and Empower Kids, which strives to help parents "parent in the digital age" by preparing their children, not scaring them.  She is an expert on so many hard topics we need to discuss with our children from technology, body image, to pornography.  Today, she shares her well-researched views on what we can do to help our children learn to make wise choices with technology by building an open communication with them, one based on openness and love, not shame.


Dina Alexander is the founder and president of Educate and Empower Kids (educateempowerkids.org), an organization determined to strengthen families by teaching digital citizenship, media literacy, and healthy sexuality education—including education about the dangers of online porn. She is the creator of Noah’s New Phone: A Story About Using Technology for Good, Messages About Me: A Journey to Healthy Body Image, How to Talk to Your Kids About Pornography and the 30 Days of Sex Talks and 30 Days to a Stronger Child programs. She received her master’s degree in recreation therapy from the University of Utah and her bachelors from Brigham Young University. She is an amazing mom and loves spending time with her husband and three kids. Together, they live in Texas.


Listen to this episode below, or on iTunesSoundcloudStitcherPocketcastsGoogleplay, or search for "About Progress" wherever you get your podcasts.  If you like the show, please subscribe!!




Show Notes
Educate and Empower Kids website, Facebook, and all their books
Educate and Empower Kids' books on body image, and book on technology 
Recent interview with Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife: "Get Over Yourself"
Jennifer Finlayson-Fife's website and Holiday DEAL!
Jennifer's past interviews with About Progress on perfectionism and goodness (doing things for the right reasons)
Monica's Facebook and Instagram
Monat Natural, Anti-Aging Hair Care: Contact Monica to learn more, OR research via her Monat Instagram and website
Related: Monica's views on Sponsorship and WHY she's partnering with Monat
Fabletics! Get 2 leggings for $24 when you become a VIP member (they're the besssssst!) (Affiliate link)
Free Audiobook through Audible(Affiliate link)
Contact Monica
More Podcasts from About Progress
Song Credit: "Sweet Promise" and "Tonight" by Nicolai Heidlas

Each of Us Is Extraordinary, All of Us Are Ordinary

Sunday, December 17, 2017


This podcast is in response to an email I received from a listener who was frustrated that all my guests on the show are too "extraordinary."  While thoughts swirled about me, I interviewed Melinda Peterson from Melinda Joy Writes to chat about how she has been writing a novel for ten years; but then we magically had a beautiful discussion on seeing the extraordinary within ourselves.

Listen in to hear our conversation on this topic, my own expanded thoughts, my response to this email, as well as a highlight from one my "extraordinary-ordinary" friends--Brittney Hanks from Homegrown Traditions--who has encountered some tough failures as she and her husband navigate running a small business together.

Excerpt from Melinda's email, following our interview (it's amazing!!):

Since our interview, I have thought a lot about our discussion regarding what it means to be extraordinary, and the difficulty we have seeing it in ourselves.

Let me paint a quick picture.

When I was a young girl, maybe ten or eleven, my sweet grandmother sent me a bunch of cassette tapes of church music by a specific group that has long since fallen out of people's memories.  Included in that set of tapes was a recording of a church fireside put on by a man named Don Black entitled "There Are No Nobodies." It was a great talk.  It was full of great stories, it made me laugh, and it taught me some really great principles.  The truth is, I would listen to it every single night for the better part of a year before I fell asleep.  I desperately clung to the message that there truly were no nobodies because if there was anyone who felt absolutely worthless and unnoticed and insignificant, it was me.  Don Black taught me that God did not see me as insignificant or worthless.  God saw me as His child, extremely ordinary, but worth something, and capable of greatness. 

I believe that God spent quality time creating each one of us, and that He does bury treasures inside of us.  But the quality of our treasures cannot be measured by social media. The treasures within us are small and simple and grand in their ordinariness.  Is writing a book or starting a business extraordinary?  Perhaps. But I can tell you for certain that those things are not the most extraordinary things that I do.  In fact, they pale in comparison. Do you want the real list? The list that is really making a difference?

Every morning I get up and spend time with God.  I let Him know I am His for the day and He quietly and gently wraps me in the arms of His love and goodness and grace. From there, the day gets really exciting. It starts with a request for chocolate milk from my two year old and a nursing session with my one year old. It quickly escalates to wiping bottoms, making lunches, preparing breakfast, finding clothes and shoes, getting backpacks ready, scripture study, family prayer and a reminder of our values. As the kids get on the bus, I remind them to be honorable.  They listen.  From there, it's reading books, and playing with toys, doing dishes, and sweeping floors, raking leaves, and more bum wiping -- always so much bum wiping. Soon the kids are home from school and it's after school snacks, homework, chores, piano and playing with the neighborhood kids.  It's making dinner, witching hour activities, and welcoming my husband home from work. Finally, it's family time. We eat and talk and laugh and then it's time for baths and clean up and sweeping floors again.  It's music and dancing and holding kids accountable.  Then there are the books.  So many books.  But also the kisses and hugs and so many "I love you's" and "thank you's" and "I'm so glad you're mine's."  I fall to my knees absolutely exhausted, often overwhelmed, but always so, so grateful.  Always grateful.

We don't really have what one would call an Instagram-worthy life.  Our couch is thirty years old, my husband and I haven't been on a fancy getaway since our honeymoon, and all that we own is mismatched and worn. We use pliers to turn the knob of our dryer, and a baby blanket for the curtain in our master bedroom. Each month we barely scrape by, but we live in great abundance.  We have everything we need and so much more.

If you visit my Instagram accounts, you will see that my following is small and seemingly insignificant.  I go days without posting, and will never stay on top of the almighty algorithm.  Instagram is not my extraordinary, and neither is my manuscript.

My extraordinary is calling my grandparents whenever I think of it, visiting with a friend on bedrest, and watching how high my son can climb his tree.  It is making recipes out of the Harry Potter cookbook with my nine year old, and singing Silent Night to my two year old every night of the year.  It's holding my baby before his chub melts into toddlerhood, and holding my husband's hand as I fall asleep.  It is texting with my best friends and cheering them on in their victories and crying with them in their losses.  It is remembering names and the things people tell me and forgiving people who have hurt me. It is my mom and dad, my brothers and sisters, my nieces and nephews.  It is the people.  It is always the people.

There is a reason why it has taken me ten years to write a novel.  Perhaps the bravest thing I am doing right now in this season of little fingers and toes is putting other's needs before my own dreams and raising children in a world that is screaming that our worth is defined by our appearances and accomplishments.

I am all for dreaming and accomplishing.  I am inspired and blessed by so many people who put themselves out there all while doing the things that I described above.  There are some truly extraordinary things being done by people who are in the thick of life. I am grateful for them - for their words and their art, their music and their products, their posts and their expertise. I cheer them on.

I truly believe that we all have so many gifts and that we are meant to use them to add meaning and beauty and goodness to the world. But I also believe that small and simple and seemingly insignificant is also just as powerful and needed as noticeable and grand.  So, if there were one more thing that I could tell your listeners, it would be that sometimes the bravest things we do are the things that go unnoticed.  Let your extraordinary be small and simple and seemingly insignificant.  Because there are no nobodies.  Because we all matter. Because we all have gifts. All of our gifts and all of us matter.  If we could all just see that -- if we could all just see each other's stories and everybody's potential, and truly be glad for it -- if we could cheer each other on and build each other up, it would make a profound difference in the world.

Embrace your goodness and your gifts, and go out and do small and simple and extraordinary things with them.  Because we all need your gifts, your small and simple, your you -- your extraordinary.
Melinda!

Hanks Family
Listen to this episode below, or on iTunesSoundcloudStitcherPocketcastsGoogleplay, or search for "About Progress" wherever you get your podcasts.  If you like the show, please subscribe!!


Show Notes
Melinda's website, Instagram, and children-centered Instagram
Homegrown Traditions website and Instagram
Recent interview with Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife: "Get Over Yourself"
Jennifer Finlayson-Fife's website and Holiday DEAL!
Jennifer's past interviews with About Progress on perfectionism and goodness (doing things for the right reasons)
Monica's Facebook and Instagram
Monat Natural, Anti-Aging Hair Care: Contact Monica to learn more, OR research via her Monat Instagram and website
Related: Monica's views on Sponsorship and WHY she's partnering with Monat
Fabletics! Get 2 leggings for $24 when you become a VIP member (they're the besssssst!) (Affiliate link)
Free Audiobook through Audible(Affiliate link)
Contact Monica
More Podcasts from About Progress
Song Credit: "Sweet Promise" and "Tonight" by Nicolai Heidlas

Tiffany Webster: Discovering Greater Strength by Embracing the Broken

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

“It is that moment of complete 100% surrender that we step into that power we never had before.”

Tiffany Webster knows a thing or two about surrender.  As a lifelong perfectionist, life had a way of showing up and forcing her to slow down, and slow down hard: infertility, chronic illness, brain surgery, and poor mental health.  That's just some of what Tiffany faced that helped her see she had to learn how to give in, look outward, and reach up--and in the process of doing that, she found greater strength than she ever knew possible.

You might recognize Tiffany from her viral talk on perfectionism given at the Hope Works conference: "The Perfect Lie."  Tiffany has recently released the most beautiful book--Embracing the Broken--that goes into great depth with what brought her to her lowest lows, the lessons she learned about the lies of perfectionism, and how we can rise above it.

In this interview, we talk about this as well as how Tiffany deals with the messiness of progress, how we can stop wearing masks with each other, and what's on the other side of embracing the broken in your own life.


You can listen to this podcast below, or on iTunesSoundcloudStitcherPocketcastsGoogleplay, or search for "About Progress" wherever you get your podcasts.  If you like the show, please subscribe!!



Show Notes
Tiffany's BOOK, website, Instagram, and Facebook
Recent interview with Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife: "Get Over Yourself"
Jennifer Finlayson-Fife's website and Holiday DEAL!
Jennifer's past interviews with About Progress on perfectionism and goodness (doing things for the right reasons)
Monica's Facebook and Instagram
Monat Natural, Anti-Aging Hair Care: Contact Monica to learn more, OR research via her Monat Instagram and website
Related: Monica's views on Sponsorship and WHY she's partnering with Monat
Fabletics! Get 2 leggings for $24 when you become a VIP member (they're the besssssst!) (Affiliate link)
Free Audiobook through Audible(Affiliate link)
Contact Monica
More Podcasts from About Progress
Song Credit: "Sweet Promise" and "Tonight" by Nicolai Heidlas

 
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