Gifts That Foster Connection

If you’re still on the lookout for some holiday gifts, here are some of my favorites that have the added benefit of enhancing your relationships. Please include your ideas in the comments as well!

For Kids

The Ungame – is great for for kids 6 years and older. The game includes great questions that give you a peek into your kiddos minds- and they get to do the same with you!

And Then, Story Starters – This is a great book that allows your child to let their imagination run wild. You’ll have so much fun hearing the stories they create and maybe get a little insight into problems they might be dealing with.

Video Game Console– Now, I understand this is incredibly controversial, but research has shown that kids who have parents that play video games with them, also see their parents as more of a resource for life in general. Obviously, if the game is only played by a child alone, it will not be a connecting opportunity. Yet, if it is used intentionally as a tool for teamwork, it can be a really fun way to build trust and a closer connection.

Lego Building– Or really any kind of building activity that will require your assistance. This goes along with the video gaming concept. It’s an activity that is meant to be done together to reach a common goal. My son and I were drooling over this set at the Lego Store today.

For Adults

Love Books– This is a really fun way to document a friendship or love relationship. They have tons of customizable options, including apology books (just sayin’). I’ll admit, I haven’t personally ordered one yet but they have great reviews. If you’ve ordered one, let me know what you think!

Hot Seat– This is a game best played with adult friends or family and it can get pretty wild!

Date Night Bucket List– One of my favorite sites to find unique and fun gifts is and that’s where I found this gem. You can use this “bucket” with date ideas as a challenge to get those date nights on the calendar! There’s also a “Family Fun” option as well.

I hope these ideas helped to spark some excitement and ideas of your own!

Happy Holidays everyone, I hope this season you choose to intentionally slow down and enjoy the greatest gifts you already have- your relationships.

Take Care,

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Let it Slow: A December to Remember

“We dare not get rid of our pain before we have learned what it has to teach us. Most of religion gives answers too quickly, dismisses pain too easily, and seeks to be distracted—to maintain some ideal order. So we must resist the instant fix and acknowledge ourselves as beginners to be open to true transformation. In the great spiritual traditions, the wounds to our ego are our teachers to be welcomed. They should be paid attention to, not litigated or even perfectly resolved.” Richard Rohr

There is a reason why the holiday season can bring out the absolute worst in us. The financial stress of spending. The social stress of time negotiation. The emotional stress of facing old and perhaps never healed wounds.

It’s no surprise that January is a peak month for psychotherapists! All that the year has buried becomes unearthed by the friction of holiday chaos.

Here’s the good news: you don’t have to wait until January to get your feet on solid ground. You can make the choice right now to intentionally live out the remainder of December. Notice, I didn’t say you will get through December unscathed. Pain is an inevitable part of life. As the Richard Rohr quote states above, let’s take this opportunity to learn from the pain.

We don’t need to be afraid of the uncomfortable feelings that may surface this season. We need to face them head on if we are to ever make peace. Putting it another way, Brene Brown, author of Rising Strong and more, says that to speak our shame is to remove its power.

So this season, I encourage you to find the time for daily self check-ins. If you can, jot down what you notice in a journal or share it with a friend. Now may be a good time to choose a trusted partner whom you can call when you start to feel stressed, sad, disappointed, angry, overwhelmed, etc. Remember, the idea is to “speak” the feelings in some way, bring them into the light. The goal is not to erase them or fix anything. Your partner’s job is simply to listen and validate your feelings. Finding such a partner is not always an easy task but you can vow to be this for each other and your commitment to this process is invaluable.

If you would like, here are some prompts to help guide your self-discovery:

1) I’m feeling something unpleasant. (Take a deep breath) I accept that what I’m feeling is valid. This feeling could be called: (sad, lonely, discouraged, etc.)
2) Where do I feel this feeling in my body? (Tightness in my chest, knot in my stomach, etc.)
3) Do I want to call and share or journal about this experience?

I think you’ll be surprised at just how powerful those three steps can be! Also, make sure to listen to my podcast Mountains are for Moving this week to hear some beautiful ideas about how to have a slow and intentional holiday. This episode goes live on Thursday, December 8th, 2016.

Wishing you peace and love this holiday,


Here are some free downloadable images to use as wallpaper for your smart phone or desktop as a reminder to slow down and stay connected to yourself and others this holiday.

Option 1:


Once you download this image to your phone, you can adjust the photo to look like this:


Option 2:


Once adjusted for your screen, it should look like this:


Help spread the spirit of slowness and share with your friends!

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Free Printable: Who Matters to You Most?


Can you believe it? The holiday season is fast approaching (in case the retail stores haven’t pounded that into your head yet) and that means it’s that time of year for busy-ness. Unfortunately, many of us feel like there is just too much to do and too many to please. We feel like we can never satisfy all the demands upon us.

Well guess what? This year, things are going to be different for us. It will be different because we will intentionally choose what our priorities will be before the season pulls the rug out from under us. This year, we will stand on solid ground.

If you haven’t yet grabbed a copy of Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist or The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown or A Mile Wide by Brandon Hatmaker– let me tell you, this would be a great month to pick-up these reads. There is one concept in each of these books that was incredibly centering for me: Know who your people are and focus on them. 

Let’s take this month to really hone-in on who “our people” are. I created a free printable that I hope will help us all to stay focused and centered on our most cherished ones. Sometimes, we get so caught-up in trying to please everyone that we disappoint those who matter to us the most. We know our immediate family will forgive us and still love us, they sort of have to, don’t they?? Sometimes we take advantage of the unconditional love so generously given. This isn’t how we really want to live though, is it?

In January, we will look back on this holiday season and we will be proud of the way that we prioritized and stayed grounded. Most importantly, we will feel more connected to those who we value the most. 

Take Care,


Here’s the link to your FREE Printable! Fill in the shapes with the names of “Your People” and you are one giant step closer to a more fulfilling holiday season. 


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