Why No & Yes are BFFs


It was October 2014 when I requested my own intervention.

I was busy (the curse word kind where you feel like there’s no rest) distracted, and at the mercy of my own day and I needed help making it stop.

So Chad and I went to Emily & John’s house (my sister & her husband) and met my parents there and we mapped out a way for me to make it all slow down, have healthy boundaries and figure out what Yeses were most important and what Nos needed to happen.

The first step was for me to schedule a six week break from mid December through January. It took me 10 weeks to complete all of my prior commitments before the middle of December and a lot of strength to say No to some fun, interesting opportunities, but I fought for it and I was able stop and rest.

saying no

I still did work during my break, but the difference was that I didn’t HAVE to do any certain thing at any certain time for any certain person, I just let inspiration come to me and wrote and created whenever I felt like I couldn’t not. That happened surprisingly often and the joy of writing and creating crept back into my work.

During my break I read the book Essentialism–where all of these quotes are from…


It changed the way I went back to work.

I asked myself: what’s the easiest way to help people that makes sense with my personality?

In other words: how could this INTJ homebody who sees the world through house colored glasses and has a business encouraging women in their home make the best use of her time and gifts and personality to help others in the best possible way without making it too difficult?

I finally gave myself permission to cater to my gifts and my personality quirks and create something I’d always wondered about, and I asked the smartest tech guy I knew to help me make it happen. Together we created the Cozy Minimalist Online Program.

I didn’t know if it would be horrible or great, if I would love or hate doing it, or if it would be a major waste of my time. I just knew I had to try.

So that was my focus for the first half of 2015. It felt so good to focus on ONE thing–yes, I still did other things but the course was my focus, I wanted to encourage women in their homes in a way I had never tried before. And like any normal human that has a focus, I said lots and lots of NOs to lots of wonderful things, but because I knew what I needed to focus on, I was free to accept the fact that right now, those things were better suited for someone else.


Meanwhile, I’ve been reading Soul Keeping and like relationship between a good wine and that perfect cheese, Soul Keeping pairs beautifully with Essentialism.

So, now that my course it out and running and actually helping women love their home, I’m ready to focus on another new, risky, fun, thing…

This time, I teamed up with my sister, our dad and of course our favorite tech genius, Brian.

Here’s the thing, there are only a few things that I do well that I enjoy:

  • I’m a pretty good cook and I like being in the kitchen–the more people to feed the happier I am
  • I wrap gifts that look beautiful–put me up against anyone and I’ll out wrap them
  • I help women find contentment in their home because I know how that affects us all I truly believe that it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful
  • I want to be your No Whisperer I think lots of us have been saying Yes to the wrong things. It squelches our creativity, steals our joy, wastes our time and ultimately makes us feel helpless. I want you to see the value in making the time to do those things you are uniqely gifted to do, it makes me sad when we ignore this–because I’ve done that and it feels just awful. I’m not sure all the ways I can be a No Whisperer, but I do know one…

hope*writers logo

Maybe one of those things you’ve hoped to do is write.

Maybe you have a blog, or a book idea or a pile of journals or four published books.

If so, we started hope*writers for you.

At hope*writers we focus on writing, career, technical information (eg: growing your email list) but also pair that with the keeping of your soul–because if you can’t do that then none of this matters. And we have a great community where we can all hang out and ask questions and be encouraged.

To me hope*writers feels like the books Essentialism and Soul Keeping had a baby, and that baby happens to make a living as a writer and wants to tell you everything it’s learned.



We have all sorts of content including videos (like Emily’s daily writing routine) and interviews–one with Carolyn McCready, my editor from Zondervan where she demystifies what an editor does, and we’ve even got an interview with Ruth from Gracelaced all about instagram for writers coming out this week. We’ll be releasing dozens more interviews with writers you know and love over the coming months!!




This is your invitation to come learn more about hope*writers, and follow hope*writers on instagram.

But, whether you want to write or not, I hope you give yourself permission to say NO to lots of non-essential things, so that you can say YES to the most important things–the things you’ve been gifted to do, that allow you to focus on your highest contribution.

I HIGHLY recommend Essentialism to pretty much everyone I meet. It’s applicable whether you are running a fortune 500 company, a non-profit or carpool. Pair that with Soul Keeping and I’m pretty sure you’ll start changing the way you make decisions.

And to writers of all kinds; your writing helps people, we’re here to help you.


  1. Wow … are we on the same wavelength or what, Nester?

    A few days ago, I posted One Urgent Question You Must Ask Yourself Before This Holiday Season

    And our questions were exactly the same.

    What’s essential?

    I know no better question to ask ourselves right about now …


  2. Thank you so much for this post. It’s so incredibly timely for me, you have no idea.

  3. I whole-heartedly agree. Often, we’re afraid to say NO because we don’t want to miss out on all the nice things. But if we keep doing that, we’ll soon feel lost, deprived, and drained. The best way I’ve learned to combat this is to pause for a moment and think about the things I want most. I say NO to the chances I can afford to lose, or give to someone else. After all, we can’t serve two masters at once.

  4. AMEN! I needed this post right now…esp because it’s 10 pm on a Friday night and I’m still at my computer…thinking about tomorrow, holidays, cleaning and laundry….thank you for this and your honestly!

  5. Beth Williams says

    Last year I felt the angst of too much stress. I moved my aging father into assisted living. He had multiple medical issues-including 3-4 ER visits. Combine that with trying to work a medical job I dreaded and hubby about to lose his job. I was stressed to the max. I didn’t like myself or life in general. I cried out to God for some spiritual whitespace! I pleaded with him to allow me to be a local missionary & be more available for my dad. In his graciousness He allowed me to quit my job. I am so grateful Two weeks into my “semi-retirement” I had to put my dad on hospice. I have also used my time off to be more available for my church and local community! This was God’s way of blessing me and my way of repaying Him for All he’s done foe me!

    Blessings :)

  6. Thank you for this! At the end of this week I am planning to start a break of sorts. I have been working hard all year to revise my first novel and I also have a two year old and a one year old to take care of. I am exhausted! I am looking into the books your recommended. Blessings!

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  11. Thank you so much for this post. It’s so incredibly timely for me, you have no idea.

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