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Our Firesides

Our Firesides

By Preston & Kelsey Mercer

We believe sharing our stories is the foundation of communication, heart of learning, and art of meaningful conversation & connection. Kelsey & Preston vulnerably share their real life struggles & successes to ignite the fire of living a bold and bright life from an authentic space of being refined and defined by the challenges and celebrations of a well lived and love life. Together along with others who have inspired and pioneered transformational thought, we invite you to lean in and kindle your own fierce energy that keeps the spark of living a vibrant life alive!
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Unleashed...,Religion. Relationship. Church. Unchurched.

Our FiresidesSep 25, 2020

FUN Boys to FUNctional Young Men

FUN Boys to FUNctional Young Men

On this week's podcast we are joined by our 3 teenage boys to share some real life experiences during a recent adventure guiding coues deer hunts for 3 weeks in Mexico with their dad, Preston Mercer and guide, Jay Scott Outdoors.  They share some insight into what life looks and feels like as they learn to function as young men when put to a variety of tests in challenging situations.  They discuss real life scenarios and situations that reveal what and how life functions in the ordinary and extraordinary.  

Feb 18, 202140:57
What Are You Relying On And Reliable For?

What Are You Relying On And Reliable For?

Did you ever consider the very fact that our reliability on God for everything including our next breath proves EGO is bogus?

Have you ever thought about how God can rely on you- are you consistently reliable to replicate the same results of good or bad functioning in life, work, relationships?

How do people rely on your abilities to improve their life, function and prosperity? Who and what are YOU relying on?

If 2020 revealed the roots of our reliability we must ask what will the days of 2021 look like moment to moment… day to day? Are we going to rely on the government, people, ourselves or GOD to keep us healthy, happy and functioning at our best everyday?

All of life is training ground for what's ahead and 2020 was no different!  The difference is…. same training different results.  So, we must ask ourselves,  Does what I rely on today look different than yesterday? How can I be more reliable for the things that truly matter and make a difference in a well lived and loved life.

God formed us and brought us forth from our mothers womb completely reliant on Him and in truth not much changes to the day we die other than the temptation to falsely hope and rely on anything but God for the sustaining power and strength we need for this world!

Join us as we dig deeper into 3 areas of reliability in a well functioning and purposeful life.

Feb 11, 202132:55
What do we do with Regret and Guilt?

What do we do with Regret and Guilt?

The choice is ours… To stay in the shame of regret and guilt or ask for wisdom to design and define our life from the lessons learned.  The mindset that transforms regret and guilt into action and accountability comes from acknowledging where we are on the journey with a commitment to where we are going. In this podcast I share practical ways I’ve learned how to use regret as a reset to learn and grow from disappointment rather than allow the enemy to destroy future work.  When we understand the opportunity we have to redeem what was meant to be stolen in regret and guilt, we can gain deeper insight into the direction God has for us in restoration, reconciliation and renewal.

The sacred space of regret and or guilt can be a healing place of humility and malleability, where God refines and defines our purpose and His plan.

Jan 21, 202119:49
Are you Focusing on the Happy Life or Fulfilled Life?

Are you Focusing on the Happy Life or Fulfilled Life?

It’s January and the familiar, sometimes rote and most often times sincere wishes of a  “Happy New Year”  are exchanged.  Yet after our epic 2020, when we are honest many of us are wondering will it be a Happy or A Happy Crappy New Year?  Can I really feel happy?  If I felt “happy” would everything be better? 

Preston and I jump right in and share why we are convinced it is not just the “happy” we really want and long for, but the fulfilled life.  Happy is an emotional state of “high” that comes and goes, but a fulfilled life is the measure of it ALL taken into account.  It's the perspective of the ups and down, rather than the steady linear line that we think we want and need in order to experience the “good life” everyone else portrays to have, if I choose to see the down as an opportunity to move up and in the up I enjoy the moments of celebration and grace God has given,  then that is the fulfilled life I want. 

So though we know the new normal and uncomfortable state of reality does not quite feel like "happy" we move on with the passing smile or grin covering over the brokenness within, a time when the masks leave the unanswered questions ok.  

We have 2 Focus Mindsets to choose: 

1) Disappointed it's not the "happy" life I imagined I would live.  Everything, everyone and everyday is a repeat of yesterday, just worse. 

2) Each day is a gift scattered with moments of happiness and disappointment.  I choose to maintain a position of hope that I can put my trust in God, learn more of who I am, whose I am, who He is and my purpose in this world.  This is the journey of the fulfilled life even when..... 

Jan 14, 202145:57
FOCUS | Priorities & Principles

FOCUS | Priorities & Principles

"The only real mistake is the one in which we learn nothing.

Peace with the past allows provision for your future.  Thank the teachers of your past no matter how hard the lessons were.

Benefits of Focus

Clarity- Filter for decisions- To have focus you must have discipline- dis. Is a verb because it leads you to do what you don’t feel like doing.
Flow state- increases feelings of satisfaction and success
Develop habits - Success is a few simple disciplines practiced every day while failure is simply a few errors in judgement repeated every day- Jim Rohn.

3 ways to find your focus for 2021

Accuracy, precision and concentration- shooting
Define and Align- saying Yes and No- the greater yes the better No.  You are not in control of the ocean but you are in command of your ship.
Schedules/ systems- not enough to prioritize your schedule but to schedule your priorities.

3 ways to lose your focus in 2021

Jan 07, 202159:34
2020 is Hindsight

2020 is Hindsight

What we’ve learned about ourselves, others, our world and LIFE in 2020

Ultimately the process is progress.

I really like being at home
Our life was covid 19 before it was
One day at a time- one step at a time
Control is an illusion. -The risk of losing it all is still ok - Daily bread is enough
Relationships are vital/communication is crucial-
Media is the monster
Death has always been certain - is it really that bad

At the end of our lives, we will all ask ourselves, Did I live, did I love, did I matter- Brendon Burchard

Preventive Health
False hope of Security for freedom

“Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.”- John Adams

Perspective is everything
Solitude is sacred loneliness is scary
Have a schedule before you need a schedule

“Without constant activity, the threats of life will soon overwhelm the values.”- Jim Rohn

WIFI is critical
Sheep or Sheep dogs

Most bad government is born out of too much government- Thomas Jefferson

People like to be told what to do.
Importance of adaptability
Cancel culture is real- real bad
This too shall pass- surrender
Dec 31, 202059:41
When life is measured in breaths

When life is measured in breaths

13 years later....

For years I couldn’t sleep without checking on our 3rd son Levi, to make sure he was still breathing and alive.  Hear the story of how when Levi at only 19 days old quit breathing multiple times, would fight for every breath and ultimately overcome RSV after a week in ICU at Phoenix Children's Hospital. How God had orchestrated every detail which made it possible for us to have a fighting chance for his life.  He is one of our Mercer Miracles and on December 20, 2020 we celebrate 13 years with him; a complete miracle! To God be the glory.  

Dec 23, 202031:26
Mercer Hunting Adventures 2020

Mercer Hunting Adventures 2020

Hunting with the Mercer clan isn’t your everyday adventure!  Preston and I discuss what is involved in the hunting logistics, the family dynamics and the formation of boys becoming men through challenge.

Hear the stories behind hunting, harvesting and helping get the job done with Preston Mercer.

Hunts mentioned

Corabelle Mercer- deer

Colden Mercer - deer and elk

Levi- deer

Garrett- deer and elk

Our homeschool curriculum:  Robinson Curriculum. A classical education based on the 3R’s- reading, writing and arithmetic. We do school by the book whenever we are not doing life in real time.

That means having the discipline to see experience and education serving in an “exchange” relationship.  If I do this- what I want to do, I need to make sure I make time for what I have to do…..

That is the journey of all of life…

We believe there is no separation between “life skills” and school and we decided long ago we would not allow “school” to get in the way of life.  The school of life we experience includes every skill you will need for a life well lived on the ground going not held to a chair behind walls.

Get outside.  Live your adventure.  Discover what you are made of and have the courage to stand out rather than fit into the “box” of comfort and safety! 

Dec 10, 202001:05:53
Retelling the stories of Vietnam with my Dad; my hero.

Retelling the stories of Vietnam with my Dad; my hero.

Growing up as an only daughter of a United States Marine offers its own unique opportunities for discipline, duty and determination. Growing up with a Vietnam Vet and the reality of PTSD offers another whole world that bounces between chaos, compassion and curiosity in seconds. Meet Jim Bennett; my dad, a United States Marine Corporal who at 18, was drafted to fight the Vietnam War . After 1 year of fighting on the front lines as machinist and interpreter for the Viet kong was brought back to the U.S. soil, a forever changed man! A shocking 60 lbs lighter and a heart heavier than the world for the lives of his friends who did not come home with him. Hear a few of many harrowing stories of defying all odds including death itself on multiple fronts from multiple directions and why when you come home from a mission like this you know your life mission ahead must be monumental in purpose.
Nov 12, 202001:00:32
Anxiety. Guided Meditation

Anxiety. Guided Meditation

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothes? Do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own- Matthew 6:25-34
Other Verses on Anxiety:
Cast all your Anxiety on Him because he cares for you. 1 Pet 5:7
Do not be Anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Phil 4:6
Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to you life? Matthew 6:27
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous . Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. - Joshua 1:9
Oct 26, 202007:44
A Day in the Life of Kelsey Mercer

A Day in the Life of Kelsey Mercer

Many of us spend most of our life trying to discover who we are,  no less defining who we are with a title.  One of the most challenging questions I have to answer is defining what I do.  Although I am a fitness instructor I find myself going against the grain of the industry's messaging and transforming what people believe.   Where traditional fitness focuses on weight/diet, hard workouts, heavy weights; I teach everything opposite of that! Fitness that transforms and becomes a lifestyle of results, is based on self love and positive body image,  DIET FREE, functional movements, light weights, small muscles and flexibility being as important as strength.  

Some call me Dr. Pilates, therapist, healer, coach, even NO Mercy Mercer (yes I can make you sweat and be sore too)!  With over 10,000 hours in the industry studying bodies, mechanics and movement,  I have had the very unique opportunity to be trusted with helping people lives and the journey to re-discovering their best pain- free, energy filled and empowered life.

 Our health is foundational to the enjoyment of our life.  When we have our health, we feel empowered, awakened and fully alive in our heart, mind, body and soul.  

"Definitely NOT just a pilates instructor! Your in depth knowledge & experience of the body, mechanics, posturing, usage, ability to identify & target deficits & imbalances is truly a gift and a recognition that deserves true respect and appreciation.

😘💗💕 I have such admiration for you & when I talk about you to others so many people say the same thing: "oh my gosh she is SO amazing" "she is a miracle worker" "oh I have heard she's incredible"...

I just wanted you to know how much I & others respect you & KNOW how you impact lives."- Michelle Boyer, Pain PA, Flagstaff AZ

Oct 16, 202059:10
Unleashed...,Religion. Relationship. Church. Unchurched.
Sep 25, 202050:17
A day in the life of a Wildland Firefighter.

A day in the life of a Wildland Firefighter.

With our world in a state of mass destruction and chaos, hear first hand what it's like to be on the line and in the mind of a Wildland Firefighter!

Meet, Preston Mercer,  a wildland firefighter for almost 25 years, from his first job in high school as a hot shot, to repelling into fires from a helicopter when we met and now in full operations and management,   he has truly lived life in the fire from the inside out with a tenacious fireman's heart.  

From being a hero for putting fires out, to being "hated" for lighting fires to manage (fire prevention), its all part of the job.  A job that requires facing the flames with more heart than the heat of the fire, more head than the hard hat you wear and more strength and resilience than any job with 2 feet on the ground.

The joke in our home is no matter where Preston finds himself he is always putting fires out!  The passion behind this mans heart for leading fireman, managing the land and providing for his family is nothing short of LEGENDARY!  The world needs more Heros like these!  

Sep 15, 202048:54
A telling conversation with my dad about mom; 25 years later....

A telling conversation with my dad about mom; 25 years later....

A powerful conversation through life and death from the eyes of a grandchild, daughter and spouse. It was only 25 years ago some days and a life time others, when Kelsey at a tender age of 16 had to decide with her father to pull the "life plug" and say good bye to her mom at only 37 years old. After a shocking struggle with chicken pox, turned pneumonia, the Good Lord called her home. 

Join Kelsey along with her father and 3 youngest children for a stroll down memory lane to hear some of the stories of how they met, what it was like in their early days and what being married right after coming home from Vietnam war looked liked in the 70's.  You will hear stories of Lori's fight for life as a child and all the way till the bitter end,  questions from the eyes of a child and answers from the heart of a grandpa and mother who lived through it all and still feel the pain and power in the story 25 years later! 

Aug 31, 202059:29
Earning your PHD on life Part IV.  The "S" ..... Scars and Trophies

Earning your PHD on life Part IV. The "S" ..... Scars and Trophies

Along the journey of this beautiful life, the reality is, scars often teach us more than trophies, however each serves its purpose in the ultimate plan when we understand our purpose in the process. We discuss how in the process we discover who we are and what we are made of in both the trials and trophies, although each teacher is unique in how we move from the internal and external challenges of a scar or trophy mindset. We share the times when we grew in the tests of abuse, abandonment, image and identity complexes, reveled in the beauty of shining moments receiving our trophies and the dulling dangers of remaining in either the “scars or trophy” mindset.  In whatever space or season you are in, our desire is you find HOPE and believe in your miracle, find moments of clarity through conversation and feel the connection that comes through compassion and empathy for yourself and others around you.  When we understand that life happens FOR us and not to us, we can believe God works all things for HIS purpose and we move from the pain in the process to the purpose in the plan.



 Compare & Critique     Ego   Hero


 Victim  Echo  Healing

Psalm 22:9-10

Jul 20, 202056:44
Earning the "D" in our PHD's. along the journey to deliverance in relationships and real life.

Earning the "D" in our PHD's. along the journey to deliverance in relationships and real life.

On this Father Day,  we share a deep discussion about the journey we have with our fathers, as a father and the relationship men and women share with their earthly father and heavenly father. 

Along the journey of earning our PHD of life, one of the most important aspects is our relationships with others; our family, friends, and co-workers. In our discussion we highlight the D in PHD as it relates to real life and relationships.  Let’s be clear about something- the “big D” in our journey is the dEVIL; the original deceiver.  The little “d’s” we will discuss are the devil’s devices to delay and defeat us on the journey especially when it comes to our relationships with other. These include:


doubt & discouragement








done Day

dad’s day

defining day


Jun 21, 202057:00
The H of PHD'S. Hide it. Hard it. Hope it.

The H of PHD'S. Hide it. Hard it. Hope it.

Preston and I open the vaults of our hearts to expose times when we have experienced great challenges and even loss in the journey of processing  pain in order to find the greater purpose in the plan.  

The real temptation in life's lessons are to run and hide, face the hard or become "hard" or find peace in the promise of hope.  In every big and even little test we can ask ourselves are we hiding, harding or hoping to not just get through but come through with a new layer of self discovery and strength.

Jun 14, 202049:04
Wellness Wednesday Q & A. Weight Loss

Wellness Wednesday Q & A. Weight Loss

Does Pilates help with weight loss?  Short answer - Yes, Long Answer- Yes, Life Answer- Yes

Learn why and how "weight loss" is about a Mindset of not "loosing" but gaining your life back.  It's not just about exercise and eating; its about enjoying a vibrant, healthy and energetic life.  Nothing tastes as good as feeling good! 

No one wants to be a "looser", we are here to overcome and experience an abundant and fulfilled life. 

When you understand the root of your goal, every decision you make will help you achieve your goals and more!

Make sure to email us at with your questions, thoughts and comments!  We appreciate you subscribing as well as your 5 star review; if not tell us why, we want to hear from you because we are here for you!

Jun 11, 202008:24
Earning your PHD on life. Part 1

Earning your PHD on life. Part 1

We learn. we teach.....we love. we live.  And the cycle repeats.  In our journey through life there is a process we follow from point A to B.  Every experience is not the same and every process is unique in it's purpose.  While some life lessons can be life long, others can be short lived.  Every encounter offers an opportunity to grow, learn and change from the inside out.

This series focus's on the pathway and process we discover in our lives based on the principles of God's word and ways that align with His purpose.  Although everyone's journey is unique, we believe the "PHD" process will resonate with you, as we discuss the "journey" individually, in marriage, parenting, family relationships, work and our world.  

Jun 07, 202035:39
How to communicate with a Visionary or Pragmatist

How to communicate with a Visionary or Pragmatist

Learning to communicate with your spouse, boss, children, friends and family can be challenging enough,  but when you see life not only through your unique style but with a different lens it makes it that much more interesting and sometimes downright discouraging.   In this episode we discuss 3 practical ways to live with and  understand a visionary and or pragmatist. Communicating with a visionary from a pragmatic point of view (POV) requires  1) a mindset of optimism or at least a willingness to be optimistic when all you see is what you hear; which a lot of times is risk, $$, time and lots of hard work, 2) ability to see from big to small, elephant to bite size, and 3) the ability to structure a timeline from A to Z systematically without jumping from A to Z when that's what the visionary wants.

Communicating with a pragmatist from a visionaries POV requires 1) LOTS OF PATIENCE (LOL)!  2) Share the vision gently; temper passion with probability of execution from the get-go.   2) Value the person who is a part of the execution rather than just seeing the person as a means to the end result. 3) Embrace the process and the person not the product!

Scripture reference. Ps 90:17

May 30, 202042:51
Control vs. Connection

Control vs. Connection

Are you a goal setter, dreamer, driver and doer?  Perhaps you're like us and COVID-19 gave you a quick face to face with the stark and shocking reality of our fragile relationship with control.  While we seek the security we think control brings, when it's gone we realize how safe we never really were in the masquerade of "control". More than ever we are reminded of the only thing we can control; our attitude and the lack of control of anything, anyone or any place other than our own internal connection to self and how we relate to our world.  

We discuss three areas that present some of the greatest areas of challenge when it comes to understanding control and how to let go of control and lean into connection.  These areas include: 1) Goal Setting, 2) Faith 3) Adapting.  You will be challenged to not only look at the external landscape of circumstances beyond control, but the greater internal landscape which connects us to our soul and allows us to move forward with renewed passion and purpose even when things aren't as you planned or pictured it.  

Resources & Quotes:

"  You don't need to feel it - you need to faith it"- Amie Dockery, UNFOLLOW YOUR HEART.

May 16, 202059:24
Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes

Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes

When you feel like the entire world is not only crashing down on you but falling out from underneath you what do you do?

Preston and Kelsey share the unique journey of life traveled on a Mercer Mile in March 2020.  From multiple health crisis, to financial distress, business collapse and everything in between you will hear the hearts of warriors on the battlefield.  From struggle to strength they share the stories that have taught them how and when to cling to each other when everything else is being ripped apart.  

May 01, 202034:57
Constitution, Solutions & Slavery

Constitution, Solutions & Slavery

The threats we are experiencing as a country go much deeper than a virus.  The threat of government control and regulation in the name of "protection" is exactly what our forefathers fought England to be freed from.  History not known, will be history that repeats itself.  

First Amendment:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

Galations 5:1  Christ has set us free to live a free life.  So take your stand never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.

Governor of NJ  Phil Murphy- "Bill of Rights above his pay grade"


Apr 25, 202028:25


Thank you for joining us on today’s OUR FIRESIDES podcast.  As we continue to strive to bring you relevant content feel free to communicate with us with any, questions, comments or thoughts.  Any resources or helpful tips will be included in our show notes.  We look forward to hearing from you, and until next time keep the fire burning!

Our Firesides is about real conversation that connects and challenges all of us to live life with a deeper awareness of our intentions and actions.  As we lean into learning through listening, the heart and soul of men and women alike will be awakened to live life with adventure, authenticity and an attitude of grit and grace.  Determined and dedicated to deeper discoveries of purpose and passion in life we share our stories of struggle and strength while walking through transforming fires so that you can be inspired to walk through your own.  We all have a story to share, may we learn from each other rather than compete for another's story.  Every story and purpose is unique, let's celebrate learning and living this journey together!

Apr 13, 202004:34