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A Peek Into My Life This Past Week

Welcome to my weekly post where we take a break from money-related posts and I share about what I’m loving right now and give you a little peek into our life from the past week.

What’s Going On At Our House This Week

It was a summer of adventure for us. Filled with lots of spontaneity, memories, late nights, family togetherness, and a really, really relaxed routine.

It was good. So good. An amazing change of pace! And soul-filling for all of us.

But I’ll be the first to admit that my organized and structured personality is ready for a good schedule for everyone again! And I’m pretty sure the kids are, too.

So I was okay that this past week marked “Back to School Week” for us — even though there were a lot of mixed emotions along with it!

Kathrynne started 7th grade by heading to camp with all the 7-12th graders from her school (see below for more on that!), Kaitlynn started her homeschool year (Jesse’s homeschooling her in the morning and I’m homeschooling her in the afternoon), and Silas started 2nd grade.

I can already tell that this working full-time, homeschooling part-time, being a wife and mom and friend, and trying to get enough sleep + exercise + breathing room is going to be an interesting adventure! But this first week went really well!

I’m still tweaking our schedule somewhat and experimenting with a few things and I think it will be a few more weeks before I land on the right routine for this season, but I’m very hopeful based upon how this first week went that this year is going to be much smoother and less exhausting than I expected.

One of the biggest changes I’ve made is to get my focused work done from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. — I’m finding that’s when I’m freshest and most inspired and I get so much more done to work during my most ideal time versus waiting to start in on business work later in the day. Then, I’m focusing on homeschooling, time with the kids, and homemaking stuff in the afternoons. And then the evenings are reserved for chill time, hanging out as a family, exercise and reading.

What I Read Recently

I recently finished reading Ordering Your Private World (I savored a chapter every morning for the last few weeks. Highly recommended!) and A Long Way Home (fascinating story!)

{See my Reading Goals for 2017. Also, see the 60 books I’ve read so far in 2017 here.}

What’s Been Saving My Sanity

Systems are the key to a mom’s sanity! One of our systems: having the kids pack their lunches, pack their backpacks, and lay out their outfits (including shoes) for the next day — before dinner.

It makes mornings SO much easier and laid back. No scrambling to find missing shoes or clean uniforms and no stressing over discovering we’re out of sandwich ingredients.

Plus, having the kids do it themselves and me just checking on it gives them a sense of responsibility and ownership — and saves me time and effort! What are one of YOUR systems that save your sanity?

What I’m Pondering

Kathrynne went to camp for 4 days this past week (her school kicks off 7th-12th grades with 4 days at camp).

This is the first time she’s ever done something like this (we’ve never done sleepovers) and I found that I was constantly wondering about her… Is she sleeping okay? Is she doing okay? Is her introverted self feeling people-d out? And on and on it went.

The point of parenting is to raise adults to be sent out into the world to make a difference. But sometimes, I’m not so fond of thinking of that whole “sending out” thing. I want to keep my babes close to me forever!

But this slow letting go and letting them experience the world and learning how to function without my help for a few days is a good thing for both of us. And it reminds me that ultimately, I’m not in control of my kids’ lives and decisions.

I can do my best to make sure they are loved and cared for and nurtured, but I need to release them and their lives to God. My babes are His first, not mine.

There is so much more joy and less stress in parenting when I rest in that.

What I’ve Been Thinking About

“Crystal, I feel like you’re getting more done than you ever have before and yet you’re working less.” This remark from one of my employees last week caught me off guard.

I hadn’t really stopped to think about it, but after he said that, I mulled it over and realized it was true. The more I thought about it, the more I realized why I’m so much more productive these days than I ever used to be.

It’s two things, actually: 1) I stopped finding my worth in what I did and accomplished and checked off my list. 2) I’ve given myself permission to make REST a big priority in my life.

And by rest, I don’t just mean getting enough sleep. I also mean taking time to do things that restore, recharge, and refresh me. Not just once a week, but (usually) every single day!

I’ve stopped waiting until I was exhausted to take time to rest and recharge. I’ve started making it a part of my regular lifestyle.

Yes, it takes time — time that I used to think I didn’t really have! But now I realize that taking time to rest and refuel is some of BEST spent time!

What I’m Learning

See those flowers? No, not the colorful roses. I’m talking about the white tissue paper flowers. They represent something really transformative in my heart.

You see, my Kaitlynn (10) painstakingly made them and splattered them with gold paint for an extra special touch. They are absolutely beautiful.

But for years, I didn’t see much beauty in her creations. I only saw the “messes” she made in her wake. (Which to creative hearts aren’t messes at all but spaces where beauty and life is being birthed!)

I missed out on so much beauty because I only saw the mess. I didn’t appreciate the way God had wired my daughter because I tried to stuff her into my neat and tidy box. All the while, I was inadvertently crushing her spirit.

Her soul needs to be creating. She can’t not create. It’s in her DNA. Just like I am fulfilled by crossing things off a to do list and by having my kitchen clean, she feels fulfilled from creating.

It’s so different than me, but instead of being frustrated by it like I was for so long, I’m slowly learning to really savor and embrace it.
God knew that I needed a jolt out of my utilitarian, minimalist, INTJ, Type 8 world, so He sent me Kaitlynn.

And the more I fully accept and embrace her for who she is and how she is wired, the more I realize how much she adds to our home and to my life.

I don’t want to try to stuff her into that little box anymore! I want our home to be a canvas for her soul to breathe. So I’m proudly displaying these tissue paper flowers crafted with joy and sprinkled with gold!

They serve as a reminder to me to embrace everyone in my life for exactly who they are, instead of trying to make them into who I think they should be.

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  • Diane says:

    I love your statement regarding your children, “….I need to release them and their lives to God. My babes are His first, not mine.” How true! That’s something I need to remember.

  • Luba @ Healthy with Luba says:

    Evening routines are our lifesavers! Especially Saturday night, I prepare my husband’s protein shake, our food for church, vitamins, clothes, Sunday offering, and much more. Our Sunday mornings go so smoothly when we do all this.

    Enjoy your children’s beautiful creations, Crystal. ☺

  • Cathy @ says:

    I really love how you embraced your child’s creativity.

    Sometimes we want to change people around us to fit into our “perfert world” but it’s us who really need to change towards others so that we fit into thier.

  • Barb says:

    Just a thought from one of those creative types. I always had a special corner where I could create and not have to pick up at the end of the day. It was not a big area. But on that table I could glue something, have an idea in bed and get up and create some more. As she gets older projects will get more creative, more complex and often not finish in a day. Of course in all fairness my brother had a corner table for his legos and hot wheels as well, lol.

  • Julie says:

    I just ordered the George McDonald book for my husband. Thanks so much for the recommendation!

    Sounds like you’re off to a good start with the school year. Blessings to you all!

  • Julie says:

    Thank you for what you said about letting your children go and that ultimately they are God’s children. I have worried and stressed so much lately about my children and your words really hit home. Exactly what I needed to hear! Thank you!

  • Employed Homeschool Mom says:

    Ordering Your Private World is an excellent read!

  • Clare C. says:

    This week’s post was so beautiful. I love that you are working so hard to be in tune with each child and what their individual needs are… Parenting this way can be exhausting at times but it is also so fulfilling. How great that you are allowing each child to pursue a different educational path as well. I am sure there will be lots of lovely art created during Kaitlynn’s school days at home. 🙂 May God richly bless you and your family this school year!

  • Guest says:

    You have never written a post that made me squirm as much as this one. I, too, have a creative 10 year old daughter. I’m not an INTJ, I’m an ENTJ. So I have all of your desire for structure and order but I’m probably way more verbal about it to her. 🙁

    It is so hard for me to know when to support/celebrate the “messes” and when to use it as a teaching opportunity to use some practicality. :-/

    Her flowers are beautiful. I’ve created a gallery wall where we have framed their favorite pieces of art so we can all enjoy them.

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