Grace Under Pressure Radio Best of 2015


Hi my friends, 

Thank you for listening to Grace Under Pressure Radio: Becoming a woman of courage, confidence, and candor in 2015. We’re taking a break this week to allow everyone to catch up on the past episodes and topics. What’s your favorite episode? I’d love to hear from you on that and on any shows/topics you’d like to hear in the future as well.

I’m finishing Taking the Plunge, the 3rd book in my Montana Beginnings series, and will be back next week with a new month’s series on Goals and Dreams for January 2016. In the meantime, here’s GUPR episodes on Confidence, Courage, Candor, Boundaries, and Graciousness. May you have a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year’s celebration.


PS I’ve shared the first episode in each monthly series to get you started…Just click on the link for part 1 of each topic. 







EP—21 Radiance or How to Handle Shame


Welcome to Grace Under Pressure Radio, episode 21, and #4 in our 4 part series on Graciousness. Today’s episode is about radiance and how shame and humility can be used to radiate graciousness to others. It’s all in our perspective. First, let me share a few Appreciation Moments: Thanks for spreading the word!

  • Janice Roberson (@Janice_mentor) for retweeting about my new audiobook, Eleven Pipers Piping.
  • Elizabeth Goddard@bethgoddard for retweeting about the Jadyn Fred Foundation and the ministry they have to children in Montana.
  • Janet Chester Bly @blybooks
  • Janet M. Nast @JanetMNast and TheWritingReader @WritingReader for sharing the last episode of Grace Under Pressure Radio on Graciousness.
  • @ChristyLaShea for sharing about the first book in the Montana Beginnings series, The Debutante Queen.

Radiance: “Those who look to the Lord are radiant. There faces are never covered with shame.” Psalm 34: 5

The shimmer of a sunstone.

The shimmer of a sunstone. Gems of Wisdom jewelry supports the Sanctuary of Hope orphan homes.

The sunstone’s foreign pieces of hematite reflect light so it appears to glow and shimmer as if the stars were splintered and tossed into the sunset. What should be transparent and colorless is transformed into a twinkling glitter embedded in browns, pinks, and reds when exposed to light. Ah, foreign particles turn into beams of radiance . . .

The note rang out loud and clear from the piano. An F. A clear middle tone F note on the ivories, lovely for an alto. The same note every week started the call for mercy from the Lord. And like a pure angelic theme, the phrases poured out right on key from the liturgist. “In peace, in peace let us pray to the Lord. . . .”

Except they were wrong. The wrong words to the wrong song that started on the same pure clear F. The wrong opening liturgy (the traditional worship pattern of a service) hung in the air as an offering during the first Sunday of Advent.

I’d ruined the beginning of the Christmas season. The song from two weeks ago instead of the correct Kyrie, and none of the other musicians could recover from the blunder to cover the mistake. Actually, um . . . my, um . . . mistake.

“Let’s try that again,” the pianist said.

“Sorry.” I smiled to the congregation and nodded. The congregation giggled and waited expectantly.


You don’t have to be perfect to serve, you just have to be willing. As many others were after that particular day 🙂

Angie as assisting minister

Angie as assisting minister (and they still let her sing after the Advent snafu of 2010…God works through our weakness.)

The clear F tone rang out and reverberated through the sanctuary. The liturgist’s mind—okay, my mind—whirled. I couldn’t settle on what was before me. Even though I doggone know how to sight-read, even though the liturgy changed almost every week, the only one in my head was the one from two weeks ago.

Look again, I told myself. Okay. Okay, I got it now. Or so I thought. “In peace, in peace let us pray to the Lord. . . .” Right about the second time I sang the words, I absolutely knew the tune, the Kyrie was again, sigh, wrong. I could not get it out of my head.

So Julie, sweet and kind and helpful, Julie, played the tone one more time as we all laughed. Everyone laughed with me because, well, I usually do it so well and so right. Right?

“In peace, in peace let us . . .” we stopped.

The senior pastor leaned over and tapped my book, “It’s only written once, not twice on this one.”

“I know. I can see it, but somehow my head doesn’t believe it.”

Julie spoke confidently into the microphone from behind the piano. “We’ll start again.”

I felt it. I felt the blood in my toes start on fire and move all the way through my legs, into my torso, and zing into my lips. I felt the flood in my cheeks and the warmth in my eyes. I was so embarrassed that even my eyeballs felt the flush. I don’t think I’ve ever been so ashamed in my life. I hadn’t even looked at the email telling me what the opening liturgy would be because I knew them all by heart. Uh-huh. My ego got in the way of my servant’s position. I knew them all. How humbling!

This time she played along with me, so I hit the right notes and couldn’t miss. The warmth didn’t leave my face through the entire opening worship.

I learned something that day.

  • Have you ever embarrassed yourself publicly?
  • Has someone else embarrassed you publicly?
  • How do you handle that kind of situation?

When I was younger, coping with all the embarrassing things my mother did and said was a constant. She’d tell me stories about people at work, the neighbors, and family members, and I never knew what was truth and what was not. As a result, I had difficulty trusting people. She kept letting me down as her stories were revealed as fabrications and I suffered discrimination because of her illness. She was either absolutely crazy or a liar—and no one wanted to believe she was crazy.

My mom’s mental illness made it impossible for her to keep a job. The ultimate behind-the-scenes moment happened in the kitchen on a dark night. She’d been fired again and stood sobbing at the sink. I think that’s what I remember most from my teens, the sound of sobbing. Mom believed the boss had a romantic interest in her. Several conversations happened that hadn’t really happened except in my mom’s mind, and she lost another job. My mother spent most of my high school years in bed fighting depression from losing several jobs and several imaginary lovers, while I worked.

Look at the surface. I was a junior in high school who twirled flags, sang in the choirs, and had earned a spot in the Highlights Jazz Ensemble. On top of that, I had a part in the school musical, wore decent clothes, and lived in a three-bedroom house. Who would think that girl needed help? I even had a cheerleading coach who told me no one in our school was so poor that they had to work to eat. Well, I didn’t think I was poor. I just had to work to eat. (I admit wishing I could go back and tell that coach a thing or two.) That’s the way it was for me. I knew other kids with jobs. It wasn’t abnormal for teens to work. When mom lost her jobs, I went to work. I created balance on that teeter-totter.

Since Heidi was my favorite childhood book, I loved bread and cheese. I romanticized the cheap food, pretending I ate it with Heidi and her grandfather high up in the Swiss Alps. No one knew that I ate cheese and bread at home almost every day. I loved it when a boy asked me out to dinner! I rarely refused. (Sorry, boys, but it’s the truth.)

No one knew how very little we had due to my mother’s condition. I kept my living situation very private; only my high school choir teacher knew my struggle for every dollar because each year’s choir participation required dresses and shoes. Even then, I kept what he knew to the minimum. He knew that my mom was troubled and had very little money. No one knew about the constant sobbing or the long line of lost paychecks or that the men she fancied didn’t fancy her back. It was all too embarrassing.

Sometimes, my end of the teeter-totter banged on the gravel. Sometimes I had to hang on tight for fear I’d go flying off at the top.

  • Do you keep things hidden?
  • Do you do things to balance the opposites?
  • What would happen if someone else knew?

How did it all work out?

Shame results from internalizing embarrassment. Embarrassment is often out of our control and public. Enter negative self-talk, especially if another person shows disapproval of a perceived failure. It’s easy to label and then dismiss that person.

When I failed three times in a row to sing the right liturgy, I embarrassed myself. It hurt! The gem of wisdom I learned was profound. When other people watch an “anointed one” perform, pedestals get built where they don’t belong.

When those pedestals topple, idolized people aren’t superhuman. I’m able to laugh at mistakes on stage or behind the altar because I realize that many people can do what I do. Anyone can choose to serve. Human beings serve God, and those humans are not gods.

Maybe they won’t sing, but it’s much more valid that fallible people serve rather than superman or superwoman. Too big of a gap makes it impossible to fill any job, volunteer or paid. It’s a bit too nerve-wracking if Superman’s been doing the job. God uses my brokenness as much as He uses my talents.

Public imperfection helps me model God using weakness for His glory. Trust me; I get to do a lot of imperfect modeling. That’s one of my not-so-hidden talents. Trained assistant ministers don’t fall dead of a heart attack because they start the service over again and again and again. Those errors became blessings.

Everyone in church noticed that I couldn’t get the song right. God knew what He would do with that fumble. He brought good out of it. Someone (or everyone) got the message loud and clear that Sunday from the perfect public example. And the great I AM uses weak people to create and implement His plan.

I learned something. Often what we see as our shame is not shame at all. Shift the paradigm to see the facts and not the emotion in the situation. It’s a great coping skill.

After the public snafu, the result was interesting:

I glanced around the people sitting in pews. Interesting. They all listened to the First Reading out of the Old Testament. No one was glaring at me. There were no accusatory stares. Not a single soul showed a minuscule trace of looking my way.

I think screwing up like that is a good thing. It shows other people you’re not perfect and that they shouldn’t idolize us. I think it helps the fearful realize they don’t have to be perfect either. Our mistakes work out for the best, especially when it keeps us humble and invites others to try a new possibility.

We accept embarrassment bestowed by others or imagined all on our own. It’s a feeling but not a fact. The facts exist on a completely different level. The way you feel about them is emotion. Emotion and fact have different definitions.


  • Fact: the circumstance of an event, motion, occurrence, or state of affairs that is not an interpretation of its significance. Think objective, something anyone can observe.
  • Emotion: a strong feeling about something, a perception or interpretation. Think subjectively; open yourself to individual interpretation.

The question isn’t how do you avoid mistakes? It’s how do you find the good outcome from a mistake and handle the emotion as your reaction to the matter?


  • Allow a short mourning period. Acknowledge that the situation isn’t what you wanted or expected. Keep that time very short, but allow it.
  • Find the humor in the situation. Some are very serious, but there is often humor lurking in any situation.
  • Talk it out with a trusted friend or counselor. Getting things out in the open really purges the replays.
  • Toss around ideas for positive outcomes. Follow those ideas through to the conclusion. Allow yourself to wonder if those positive possibilities will happen instead of the negative possibilities. This is a great spot to pop out those, “What if?” questions as long as they are only focused on the positive side. It takes mental discipline to knock out the negatives. It helps to verbally agree with a friend or relative to point out those nosedives.

The shimmer of a sunstone is like all the things that go wrong, all the things that embarrass us. Sometimes what appears dull will shimmer with light. Let’s practice looking for the ways things have worked out for the good and are better from what we’ve learned.

Would you like to catch the other episodes on Graciousness?

Episode 18 — Courtesy: How do we get courtesy back?

Episode 19 — The Common Sense of Consideration

Episode 20 — Emotional Filters


The Common Sense of Consideration (Graciousness, part 2 of 4)


Grace Under Pressure Radio Episode 19 — The Common Sense of Consideration

Consideration allows others to be who they are and make their own mistakes even when it makes no sense. Yes, we can argue logic but…arguing, confrontation, and logic don’t solve most problems…

Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out. —Proverbs 17: 14, NIV

Tip: Deflect and reflect.

It's cold in Montana winters!

It’s cold in Montana winters!


Cool kids still have to learn to make great choices!

The football game = natural consequences…it’s cold in the winter in Montana!

  • Sometimes folks need to learn because of their experience. Don’t rob them of that! A quick story about my youngest son and my exchange son…and their choice that taught a lesson no words could have about wearing the proper winter garb to a 10 degree football game…
  • What happens when saying it nicely doesn’t work?
  • What does it take to get the point across?
  • Is it really necessary to win the argument?
  • What if most arguments camouflage the need to be right?
  • I’m right, and you’re wrong. This stiff-necked or rebellious attitude doesn’t solve any problem. It doesn’t move a stubborn Alzheimer’s patient into a different frame of mind or a rebellious teen any closer to what’s “good for them.” Black and white legalistic logic doesn’t make a schizophrenic suddenly believe your reality over what’s in his or her head. The right/wrong stance creates opponents, not team players. So why play tug of war just to be right? Pulling the other party into the mud puddle just leaves them covered in mud.
  • Love and Logic is a parenting program that teaches excellent skills. Often people repeat the same mistake until a memorable lesson sinks in. Master the art or affordability. An affordable mistake allows natural consequences to curb the desire. Similar to the boys’ experience at the football game, affordable consequences that have a little healthy pain teach good life lessons versus being life threatening or causing irreparable damage. The early affordable lesson prevents the likelihood of an expensive lesson later.
  • An expensive mistake is one that could cost life, limb, or irreplaceable damage. One example from Love and Logic is a child running out in front of a car. That’s not an affordable error. It would cause irreparable harm. You must intervene to avoid irreversible results.
  • The surprise is that this concept can work for adult decisions. Who said that all wisdom should be directed at childrearing? Ask yourself:
  • Is it an affordable mistake?
  • Is it at the expense of someone or something else?
  • Expensive or expense of?
  • Sometimes an expensive mistake is worth a later result. Think of a rough situation. Say that a young man chooses to hurt a girl’s feelings. The girl decides to break up with him but keeps the ring and other gifts he’s given her.
  • Hurting his girlfriend’s feelings is expensive, but to make that mistake with a wife could be even more expensive. Weigh the lesson you learn now against the cost of learning it later, which may have a higher price.
  • Think about expensive versus expense of. Sometimes it is a good idea for a boy to learn that mistreatment of women causes loss of relationship. What if that same young man had learned earlier in life that speaking disrespectfully to women resulted in being shunned from family activities? It would be tough on a little boy, sure, but which is a harder lesson to learn: the loss of family time or the loss of a girlfriend? Which would be even more expensive, the loss of family time, the loss of the girlfriend, or the loss of a wife?
  • Project the needed lesson into the future and acknowledge the degree of difficulty. Things get harder and consequences become more dear as you mature, not the other way around.
  • When you begin to teach affordable versus expensive natural consequences, logic floats to the surface sooner. What happens when the other person isn’t logical? When mental illness or long years of habit or rebellion block logical response to obvious consequences?
  • The alexandrite changes colors in different lighting, indoor and outdoor. Much like the precious gem there are different ways to look at the situation; but it’s very hard to nearly impossible to fabricate something as good as the natural result of a poor decision.
  • What is important — the satisfied feeling of being right or solving the problem?
  • What good does it do to argue logic against the illogical? You just get frustrated.
  • Does saying “You should” make any difference?
  • Don’t accept counsel or be a person who counsels with “you should.” Don’t accept counsel from angry people or politically correct mantras. The focus becomes appeasing their anger rather than solving the dilemma. Remember to apply this to your children, too. Do you really want them to appease your anger or to learn how to solve problems as they mature?
  • Don’t try to argue or use anger to solve a problem. It will really trip you up to argue with patients with dementia or mental illness. Logic isn’t in their realm. Why get all out of kilter right along with them? Think about it: That’s buying into the illness or rebellion rather than creative problem solving. If the only thing that matters is being correct or correcting, let it go. Save the argument for some time when it really matters.
  • Do get counseling for yourself. You have to deal with feelings and issues that exist, otherwise the lack of trust, as well as unforgiveness and anger, will overcome you.
  • Do find others who have been through a similar situation or are further ahead on the journey, and have come out the other side. They think a little more clearly and can sometimes help you get rid of the unreasonable fears and recognize problems in your logic too. The closer we are to a situation, the easier it is to blur it.
  • Admit that there are unreal and real fears and that both feel legit. Cope by getting educated. Learn as much as possible about the situation or fear.
  • Be proactive rather than reactive.
  • Pray and make intelligent decisions rather than being paralyzed and making emotional decisions.
  • Act to the best of your ability with the tools you have been given throughout your life. Work with what you know, and ask others what they know. These are excellent starting points.
  • Add to your toolbox each time. Every experience will add another tool, even if it is uncomfortable and it hurts. Learn from those, and let others learn too.
  • Use your new questions: Is it an affordable mistake? Is it too expensive? What would be the higher experience expense: pay now or pay later? What’s the worst that could happen? Can I live with that? When the worst that could happen is mere discomfort, can discomfort be the lesson?
Light purple alexandrite

   Light purple alexandrite

      • Scientists tried to create alexandrite in the lab. They found out that the cost was too high when compared with mining the real stone. But they wouldn’t have known without trying, and they learned some valuable lessons.
      • Our boys wear warm clothing to cold football games because they learned it on their own. Our experience with teens helped us to look for more creative ways to solve repetitive mistakes. If there’s a pattern, it will happen again. Plan, and then wait until it happens again to try something new.
      • Wrapping it up: I will practice putting my attention on the problem and not getting distracted by arguing logic or political correctness or semantics. I will allow others to voice their beliefs, communicating that I accept it’s not my right to force a change. It’s also my right not to be forced to change. The issue is solving the problem, not being right.
      • Appreciation Moments: I wish I could say more, but with limited time I want to at least say thank you to as many as I can for sharing Grace Under Pressure Radio and helping to promote the books I write. I’m so appreciative that you’d take your time to support me!

Janet Hewitt @yell_oohhCarol McClain @carol_mcclainKaren Whiting author @KarenHWhiting

and Sherri WilsonJohnson @swj_thewriter 

      • Thank you also to folks on Facebook for sharing the new releases on Kindle and Audible of The Debutante Queen and Eleven Pipers Piping… Sheila Traczuk, Tina Wilson, and Tristan Leder (who happened to voice the audiobooks). But also a big thank you to folks that are first reviewers like Harry Wegley and his wife who gave The Debutante Queen 5 stars after listening to the story in the car on a long drive. Thank you all!

Did you miss any of the previous shows? Here’s the first in each series…