inspiration

4 Words That Changed My Life - Day 14 #31DaysOfBlogging

I want to tell you about 4 words that changed my life.

They are not magical words, and you don’t need to jump on one foot and spin around while saying them. LOL. But, I do think the words have some sort of magic sprinkled within them.

Here’s the thing about these words. When I started saying them, they were not true.

They held no meaning. It almost felt like I was lying because I wanted them to be true. I actually desperately wanted them to be true, but when I first started saying them, they were not.

Flash forward about 19 months and I can say that they are ABSOLUTELY true and they’ve literally changed my life.

So you’re probably asking, “WHAT ARE THE WORDS, KATE??”

Have you seen people on Instagram put the caption “I love my life.” I swear I kept seeing it everywhere and each time I saw it I would roll my eyes. See, I was in a season where I was low. It was a year after being fired and my life felt like it was legitimately falling apart before my very eyes. Security felt like a pipe dream. I felt like I was losing everything…even my own voice.

I questioned my talent to sing and my ability to write. Blogging scared me. See, I had written a blog that felt like it had blown up my whole life. So anytime I went to write, the traumatic experience was triggered.

So there I was, minding my own business, silently judging people who posted that they loved their life. And I felt this inner struggle. This pull. I wanted to love my life. I had in the past and I wanted it back. I talk to God all the time. God is my higher power and it’s sort of something I do: talk to God.

I was talking to God about how I wanted to love my life, but I had a laundry list of things He needed to change for me in order for me to say that I loved my life. So, there I was, telling God what was up, and I felt like I heard God say (not out loud, but just in my spirit)…I felt like He was saying: “I want you to start saying that you love your life. Right now. Before anything changes.”

And I was like….whuuuuuuuut? Ummm no. It’s not true. I don’t love my life. Have you not heard my laundry list of requests? The things I need you to change? Once those things are in order….THEN, I can say I love my life. So, get to it God. Thanks yo.

And again, I felt it so strongly in my spirit. “I need you to start saying that you love your life…now….I need you to say it like you believe it. Like it’s true.“

I thought it was sort of ridiculous, but I decided to listen. The next morning, laying in my bed — before I checked my phone or did anything else — I looked at my ceiling fan spinning and said out loud:

“I LOVE MY LIFE. Thanks, God, for another day.”

You guys. These 4 words changed my life:

I LOVE MY LIFE.

I don’t even know how to explain it or quantify it for you…but things started to shift. Things I had wanted to see happen, suddenly started happening. Areas in my life that I felt were deserts all of sudden felt like there was water flowing.

I challenge you today, if you are needing a change…a boost, start your day by saying these four words: I LOVE MY LIFE. Say it in the face of what seems like untruth. Say it over and over again.

I still, to this day, say those words out loud at the beginning of each day. I am going to tell you more about the details of what transpired in a couple weeks…stay tuned to the blog…but I want you to know that sometimes you have to start speaking things out. Declare them. Use your words to shape your life. To transform your life.

Even if it’s not true right now, I get it. It wasn’t true for me either. But, I believe words have power and they can change things. Give it a try. You might just be surprised.
To hear more about this idea of these four words on our podcast, listen to this episode: Can 4 Words Change Your Life?

YOU can change your life. Start with your words.

LOVE YOU LIKE WOAH.

Kate

Dream Big and Find Fellow Dreamers - Day 9 #31DaysOfBlogging

Our friend Bob Goff is a force for good on so many levels. You may have heard him speak, maybe you’ve read one of his books, or perhaps you’ve heard about the amazing work he does with Love Does all over the world helping kids get educated in high conflict zones like Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and more.

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Bob is by far the most interesting friend we have ever had, and he is someone who keeps us going whenever we feel stuck. He has this way of encouraging people, near and far, to just DO THE NEXT THING you need to do in life.

In March, we were lucky enough to join Bob and his Dream Big crew in Nashville for a 2 day inspiring event where everyone’s sole purpose was to dig into a dream they’ve been wanting to chase.

Some people wanted to start businesses, write books, change careers, or travel somewhere they’ve never been before. It’s amazing what happens when you put a bunch of people in a room together to talk about their DREAMS. They start to become a reality.

There were so many amazing people in this room, you guys. We have no clue how we end up in these places with inspiring people, but we are INCREDIBLY grateful for it. It was in that DREAM BIG room that we met our new friend Ginna Claire Mason (ahem, GLINDA from the National Tour of Wicked who was also on our podcast this year,) and oh, no big deal, but we also met our childhood idol, Amy Grant. Yeah, she was there too. We fumbled around for words upon being introduced to her, but no doubt that was a highlight of our year.

Here’s the bottom line:

During this 2 day event, some of our dreams started to rise to the surface. We’ll tell you more about what they are as this month goes on, but we wanted to share something we learned with you from our experience at this event.

Take every opportunity to be around people who inspire you.

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You are the sum total of the people you surround yourself with. So be picky and choosy about who gets your time. Look for people that are encouraging you to chase your dreams, who listen to your ideas, who hold space for the times when you feel like you want to quit. If you’re reading this and feeling frustrated that you know none of these sorts of folks…we have THE solution. Start being that person. Be the person that encourages others to chase their dreams, listen to other people’s ideas, hold space for times when they want to quit. Be who you are looking for. 

When you’re invited somewhere, show up and believe that anything could happen. Find people who talk about their DREAMS. Share your dreams out loud with someone, or with lots of people. When you start to say it out loud, it becomes closer and closer to becoming REAL. Dreams are made to be chased. People are made to connect.When you’re invited somewhere, show up and believe that anything could happen. Find people who talk about their DREAMS. Share your dreams out loud with someone, or with lots of people. When you start to say it out loud, it becomes closer and closer to becoming REAL. Dreams are made to be chased. People are made to connect.

Life is made to be lived, and lived to the FULLEST.

Tomorrow we’re going to tell you about the idea that we can change the world in our sweatpants.

Much love!

J&K

Window or Aisle? - Day 5 #31DaysOfBlogging

Guys…

We have pretty much become the most loyal Southwest Airlines passengers anyone can find. We have added to our work bucket list to play one of their 35,000 feet concerts, and if we ever make it into the Southwest Magazine we might literally die, because OMG — we heart SWA so much.

We have gotten in DEEP y’all. DEEP.

We have the credit card, we are proud holders of drink coupons, and we JUST GOT THE COMPANION PASS. Can we get an Amen? (The companion pass is a loyalty program reward where you get to have someone fly FREE with you for an entire year. It’s like a 2 for 1 deal but on AIRLINE TICKETS. Is there anything better? Chelllllooooooo — NO.

See, on Southwest there are no assigned seats, which means that on a not-totally-full-flight you have the potential of having a seat empty next to you. Soooo…Jill and I have pretty much perfected the art of keeping the middle seat between us free.

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I, Kate am a LOYAL window seat person. (This is actually where I’m sitting right now as I type…it’s my favorite spot to write.)

I love me a good window seat. Jill is a loyal aisle type of girl. She likes her space. So, when we board a plane, I go for the window and Jill takes the aisle, and then we try and keep the middle seat empty.  

We have pretty much become experts on their boarding process and here are our two top techniques for keeping the middle seat empty:

  • Put food in the middle seat. The messier looking food the better. Open a to-go box full of greasy looking fries and a burger and noooooooo one is going to want to sit there. If you can be eating while passengers are boarding it works like a charm.

  • Leave a purse or bag in the seat and lean over it talking to each other. You sort of cover up the fact that there is even a middle seat to be taken. If you let out a good fake cough at this point that’s another sure thing to have people passing you by.

Please do the above at all times while avoiding eye contact with every single person.

If you’re tempted to see who else is walking down the aisle…don’t do it. Avert your eyes. Once people see your compassionate looking eyes while searching for a seatmate, you will be TOAST.

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I don’t know where we first heard this, because it definitely wasn’t our genius idea, but we heard someone once say that they got a fake book jacket cover that read “How to Share Your Faith On A plane” and held it up so people would see that and just pass him by. That’s some funny stuff right there.


But let us just be clear on why we have left all other airlines behind. You can change your flight 10 minutes before take-off without losing your money. Ummm helllooooo? For two traveling “walkabouters” this provides the perfect amount of flexibility for us. Plus, you always get 2 checked bags for FREE. That’s ZERO dolla dolla bills you guys. Say what? Plus they send you drink coupons for free drinks and what is better than a free cocktail or glass of wine while you are looking out of that window??

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We tell you more about our tips and tricks of keeping the middle seat empty and about the SWA flight that took us to NYC to a fun party where we danced the night away with Cindy Crawford. Yeah, you read that correctlyyou can listen here.

Tomorrow we are going to tell you some of the behind the scenes moments from our biggest podcast guests of the season.

What did we buy before our interview with Lauren Graham? What did we bring to Ben Higgins for our interview? We dish on all of this and more tomorrow.

Xoxo Gossip Girl

(JUST KIDDING, had to.)

Some Questions We've Been Getting:

Why an eBook? 

You may be thinking to yourself why are Jill and Kate--the music duo--writing an eBook? That's a great question and we're happy you asked. One, we love writing. All forms--songsblogs, poetry, etc. We love words and the power they have to transform, to combat loneliness and bring hope, joy and togetherness. Two, we have met so many people along our journey that have asked us about staying inspired and how we pick ourselves up when we don't think we have the strength to. Because of this, we wanted to share with you what we've learned & tools that helped us get back to us again. 

Last year we had a rough year. It was a year that rocked us and we had to face some of the toughest questions we've ever had to face. We thought about quitting music. We thought about giving up. But, we didn't...we took small steps that ultimately led us to being re-inspired. And inspiration for life...in whatever field/career/stage of life you are in, will save you. 

You have all you need to get out of the rut inside yourself, you might just need help unlocking it. We made this guide specifically for you to take small steps, everyday to bring about change. Every single exercise or activity in the book that we recommend we have done or are still doing actually. 

Who is the book for? 

The book is for men & women who find themselves in a rut. If you just faced a major loss, or are facing a big transition: this book is for YOU. If you just had your heart-broken or are thinking about starting a business or being more creative with your kids or marriage or looking to be happier in general...the tools for change are inside this book (and really it's all inside of you.) Let us help you go from a RUT to REJUVENATED. Read more FAQ's here

Are you guys still writing music? 

YES! Oh my gosh, YES. Since taking this inspiration journey it has basically uncorked a deep well inside of us and we have been writing like crazy. Music has always been the core of Jill and Kate and it will always be. We have been co-writing with some other writers in town and that has been AMAZING. We can't wait to share this new material with you. We don't have a timeline yet..but when we do, obviously, you'll be the first to know. 

When will new merch be available? 

We LOVE that you guys are so anxious & excited for our new merch store to open! Next month. New items. We have never (EVER) worked this hard on creating items in our store that YOU WILL LOVE. Our email friends will be the first to know & have exclusive shopping time before the store even opens. Stay close. 

We love, love, love seeing so many of you sharing your inspiration journey with us (#inspirationadventures) as you go through the guide.

The book goes away on Nov 1 at 12am EST: GRAB YOUR COPY + start your way from a rut to REVIVED. 

Much love,

Jill and Kate

Our New eBook + A FREE Chapter

Hey guys! We are SO pumped that so many of you have downloaded our brand new eBook! If you are wondering what this book is all about, click here for a FREE chapter. We want you to get out of the rut of being uninspired or stuck and back to being inspired, energized and rejuvenated.  

The eBook is going away on Nov 1 so make sure you grab it for an introductory price of $7.99! 

Much love,

Jill and Kate

PS. Everyone who downloads the book will get admission to a FREE webinar with us where we will talk all things inspiration, you can ask questions and we can join together on this journey. Download your book now. xo

Inspire Nashville 2016

A couple nights ago we got to attend an event called Inspire Nashville 2016. It was an evening raising funds for Onsite Workshop's Possibilities Inc. & celebrating two honorees, Scott + Tracie Hamilton, for their humanitarian work in Nashville and around the world.  

We have so many things to say about the event that it's hard to even know where to begin.

Let's start with this. In promo for the event we heard things like, "You'll leave the event more inspired than when you came." We both thought, yeah...okay...sounds good. But, neither of us realized how DEAD ON that statement would be. We absolutely were blown away by the stories, the music and by learning from so many amazing friends in the room. 

It would be hard to find two better people to learn from than the award recipients, Scott + Tracie. Their humility and kindness literally radiates from their core. They are genuine in their love and that's something so rare to find. They've been examples for us...lights on the horizon to follow. They kept saying: "We're all in this together. We couldn't do it without you. It takes all of us to make a change. How can you make the world a better place?" Yes. We are all in this together. It takes ALL of us together. 

We heard our friend Bob share about needing friends and voices we trust in our lives. His joy and love will hit you smack in the face in the most lovely way and make you want to get right out of your seat to start making some change. We all need trusted voices in our lives. 

We heard so much GREAT music. Melinda Doolittle, Calvin Nowell, Emily West, Sheryl Crow. Goodness...the voices that filled the room took the event from one level to the next. It felt holy and spiritual...literally like God was in the room. We cried. Like, almost on the verge of ugly crying. 

It's a beautiful thing to see people come together with the main goal of going out afterwards and actively participating in making the world better for others. You don't need a title or a skill set to help those around you. If you hold your hand up to your chest and feel that thumping...that means that you've got what it takes to be a world changer. You're ready. You've got what it takes to make humanity better by showing up and saying "How can I help?" And what's awesome is that the people on the stage weren't doing it for the recognition or applause...they are doing things in secret, going unnoticed, in the background and on the sidelines...doing it quietly for the betterment of others. Bob said it best: "Humble voices carry the furthest."

After an event like that it makes us want to re-focus. It makes us want to slow the busy schedules and the meetings and look closely at ourselves and our business and say: How can we help make the world a better place? 

If you aren't familiar with Onsite, go check out what they do...we cannot say enough good things about them. And possibilities Inc helps people go to Onsite that wouldn't be able to afford it otherwise. 

Thank you Miles, Onsite Workshops + Possibilities Inc for the wonderful work you do. Thank you for gathering us all and pointing us in the right direction.

Oh and one more fun note. They had a fancy red carpet at the door which is usually reserved for VIP's and celebs but they wanted everyone to walk the red carpet and feel special and important. Isn't that fun? So we hammed it up and cheesed our way for the photographers like we knew what we were doing. Check out the pics below :)

Ok...we could probably write like 6 more pages about how amazing the evening was, but we'll just leave it here.

Hand to chest. Feel the beating. Go change the world...one person at a time.

Love you all!
j&k

Chicago & Stories (#31DaysofBlogging)

This blog is a part of a series #31DaysofBlogging … we are going through the year (2015) chronologically.

In November we had the opportunity to go to Chicago to attend a conference called Storyline. This conference is put on by Donald Miller and it has been going on for 6 or 7 years. We have always wanted to go, but have never been able to make it work. 

This year, we knew a bunch of our friends were going to be there and our calendar just happened to be open! :) Again, anytime our friends are going to be somewhere, it doesn't take much convincing to make a plan to be there!

So we hopped in the car and headed to Chicago. It's about an 8 hour drive and the weather was perfect. That almost never happens when driving to Chicago, so we knew this was bound to be a good couple of days. 

And that it was. 

This conference is 2.5 days filled to the brim with inspiring people, challenging ideas, and fun times. It came at the perfect time for us...we were mostly recovered from the hard-knocks that came earlier in the year and we were ready to be inspired and start planning for what was ahead. And it wasn't just planning. We were learning from some of the greatest thinkers/world impacters around. We were trying to absorb as much as possible so that we can become better writers/speakers/humans, etc. Sometimes you just need to step outside of your own world...out of your own head...and hear some fresh ideas and perspectives. We always want to be open to being taught. We are never done learning.

(We were so fortunate this year to have a few opportunities to do this---remember we got to hear Brene Brown speak a few weeks before? And we got to go to another conference with our friend Whitney and meet so many inspiring people there. All of these experiences refreshed us and got us excited to do new things in the world of J&K.)

Storyline is a place where creative people all get together and learn how to live a better story. Don took us through the art of story and it was fascinating. He taught us that great characters in stories TAKE ACTION. Yes. We love that. Guys, we all write so much of our own stories...but not all of it! There's so much out of our control. But at the same time, we have a lot of control in how we deal with the ups and downs of life. How we use the negative turns and make them positive.

There's a lot in life that we get to choose.

Remember "Choose Your Own Adventure" books from when we were kids? That's life sometimes. Especially in this country and in this day-in-age, we are free and able to do so many things! We can turn to pages that we pick...they aren't always picked for us. We don't have to be stuck. We can have dreams. And we can chase those dreams. And more importantly in all of this, we can choose our attitudes...how we approach this life that we get. Now, we don't know about you, but we think that's HUGE.:) 

While at Storyline we also got to play a few songs for the conference attendees. That was super awesome. We love playing wherever we can and it was cool to be in a room full of so many dreamers getting to play some of our songs for them.

We left after those couple days in Chicago and drove back home with full hearts and full minds. We were full of new ideas and renewed dreams. 

Tomorrow we'll tell you about how/find/who/what/where and when we decided to record LULLABIES.

Until tomorrow...

xo

J&K

 

Strangers We Love #2 {Jen Senecal, Christa Black Gifford, Alexis Jones}

Hi friends...

So we do a few ongoing series here on our blog (You Oughta Know, 31 Days of Blogging, Songs on the 17th, etc) and one of them involves introducing you to Strangers We Love.  Or SWL if you're cool like that. That's right, whoever said that "stranger danger" is a thing was WRONG. Well, maybe not…but we love how the internet and social media can connect you to different awesome people that you've never met. 

We're just like you. We start following someone and before you know it, we know everything about them and think they're just the coolest. So, here are 3 badass women (sorry mom) that we love and that are strangers to us. We think these women are amazing and you should follow them and learn from them. Because we are ALL better when we are learning from each other. Awwww yeah! Here we go: 

Jen Senecal

This woman is a boss. We found her on Instagram and have loved following her on her journey. She's a mom of 3 girls, a New England sports enthusiast (woop woop..go RED SOX!) and what you will quickly notice about her is that she is in KILLER shape. Like, she's got abs that will make you cry with jealousy. Haha, just kidding. (But not really kidding at all.) She and her friend Kelly have created a website/blog called TheFWordBlog.com and they post workouts, great recipes, workout tips, fashion trends, family fun ideas, etc. We adore it. Here's why we love Jen so much: Jen is a REAL woman that displays balance and grace in the midst of everyday life. She is obviously very committed and focused to workouts/eating well which is her passion, but you can also tell that she has FUN in it all. She lives. She has balance in it all. You see her killing it on a 4 mile run or some insane lifting routine, but you'll also see her enjoys cocktails with her girlfriends. It's so refreshing to follow along and be inspired by her story.  Y'all should check her and her blog out. She's a great example to follow. 

Christa Black Gifford

Full disclosure…Kate has actually briefly met Christa recently…so she's not a total stranger but still. You get the point ;) We heard about Christa through mutual friends on Instagram. This is a woman you will want to know. Go to her Instagram feed and scroll wayyyyyy back and just read the story over the past year and a half. She's a wife, mother, author, songwriter, speaker--she's kind of super-human! We heard about her as people were asking for prayer for her new daughter (Birdie) that was born prematurely. Come to find out, just over a year prior she gave birth to a little girl (Luca Gold) that only lived for about 40 minutes outside the womb. The more we read her blogs and follow her story, we realize that this woman is the real freaking deal. She has lived with immense loss and has shared every vulnerable step throughout the journey. What we've noticed as we follow along is that she keeps using the hashtag #expectmiracles. We know hashtags can be funny or trite, (#hashtagtrendy) but this one has had a HUGE impact on us. She kept praying and saying #expectmiracles under each post on Instagram about her daughter's story. This woman's faith in God to expect miracles was so inspiring. It has literally changed us. Talk about telling your story IN it and not THROUGH it. Go follow and learn from this woman. It will be a reminder that you can make it through whatever you're facing. 

Alexis Jones

Again, we found this gem on Instagram. It seems that's the place we find lots of of our favorite strangers! Anywho…Alexis is the founder of I AM THAT GIRL and we LOVE, love, love this movement. They inspire girls and women "to love, express and be exactly who they are." It may sound simple, but as girls, we know that it is actually not simple at all and these are things that we are so passionate about. Alexis also wrote the book on it. No really, she wrote the book "I Am That Girl." She is full of encouraging words, positivity and authenticity…and you guys…it's contagious. Did we also mention that she is producing a movie called "A Brave Heart. The Lizzie Velasquez Story" that releases this fall? And that she just got married to the love of her life? She chronicled it all on Instagram and it made us so hopeful and happy. People living their lives in their most authentic sense of self is more of what we need in the world. She reminds us to be our most genuine selves everyday. Go take a look at her Instagram and her blogs...we dare you not to be inspired! 

Ok, that's all for this edition of Strangers We Love! Who are strangers you love? Leave a comment! We'd love to read about people we should know. 

Much love,

j&k