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A Peek Into Our Lives This Past Week (+ 2018 Goal Update #3)

Welcome to my weekly post I share a peek into our lives, talk about things I’m loving, share links to interesting articles or helpful ideas I’ve collected throughout the past week, and just talk about whatever is on my heart! 🙂 

This past week was full of unexpected changes of plans and learning to be flexible! The week began with the kids being off school for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Then, a snow and ice storm was predicted for Tuesday morning, so they were off school again on Tuesday and then again on Wednesday (because the snow and ice were still on the ground) and then one was off on Thursday, one had a late start, and one had a normal day.

We didn’t end up having a “normal day” until Friday. In addition, this meant that many other plans for the week were cancelled or changed, too. And that much of the week was pretty up-in-the-air while we waited for the roads to clear and the sun to come out and melt the snow.

I’m not the most flexible person and don’t usually do well when I don’t know what’s going to be happening or what the plan is. But I’m grateful that God has been teaching me and growing me in this area and, overall, I was able to have a really calm and cheerful attitude this past week — even though my neat little plan went out the window. 🙂

On Wednesday, my Offline Day, the kids were off school, too. So we got to have an incredibly relaxed day. See my post on that Slow Day here.

Speaking of my Slow Day, when I made the commitment to have Wednesday be my completely offline and unplugged day every week in 2018, I honestly didn’t know if I could do it.

I mean, hello, I run an internet-based company that is our family’s livelihood and the livelihood of my employees’ families.

What if me going dark in the middle of the week put too much strain on the business? What if it meant a nosedive in profits?

The first week, it was stressful leading up to Wednesday. I worked extra hours to get everything in place so I could go offline. I felt anxious about it.

And Jesse even looked at me Tuesday evening and said gently, “The whole point of you going offline is so you can slow down and have a sort of Sabbath in the middle of the week. If it’s going to cause you this much stress leading up to it every week, it’s probably not worth it.”

I responded, “I know I’m stressed about this, but I also know that it’s always hard to change habits and pave new paths. It might take me a few weeks, but let me stick with it long enough to know whether I’m making a big mistake or not. I don’t want to give this idea up too soon.”

He agreed and we went to bed that Tuesday night. And then my Wednesday offline day happened — and it was AMAZING! And I knew it was exactly what my soul needed to have more breathing room.

The second Wednesday, there wasn’t so much tension. I only had to work a little extra. And it was, again, an amazing thing to experience a middle of the week offline day.

This past week, there was zero stress leading up to Wednesday. Instead, there was sheer anticipation and, dare I say it, giddiness? Especially because it was a Snow Day, the kids were home from school, and almost everything was cancelled!

And it was another incredible offline day — I did very little other than sleep, hang out with my family, read, work on a few fun projects around the house, and go out with a friend.

On Wednesday night, as I was out with my friend, I found myself glowing and gushing and telling her, “I realize I’m so much happier and more excited about life because of this change! It was worth the struggle!”

The kids made a LOT of slime this week. Kaitlynn taught Silas how to make different kinds of slime and he was very proud of his creations!

I made one of our old stand-by recipes, 4-Ingredient Breakfast Casserole, for dinner on one of the snow days! Yum!

and I did an really honest unboxing of it. (Also, did you know you can try Stitch Fix for FREE right now? They are waiving the styling fee for your first box through the end of January! Sign up here.)

I told you that one of my goals this year was to stop waiting for community to show up at my door & to start being the invitation.

Many of you have expressed to me that this is your heart’s desire, too, but that you don’t know where to start.

I’m learning that it begins with a simple willingness to say yes & go first.

To be the one to get brave & say, “Hey, I don’t know you very well, but would you like to grab coffee with me?”

OR, “I know you don’t know me that well, but you just moved here and don’t have a lot of support. Can I babysit your kids so you could have a date night with your husband?”

OR, “My daughter is loving getting to know your daughter at school. Could I pick her up to come over to our house for the afternoon after school?”

I’m learning that when I start looking for opportunities to exercise hospitality, I begin to see them all around me.
This past week, hospitality looked like taking my daughter & her friend out on their day off from school, a few hours at Panera with another friend after dinner, inviting a new friend to start a weekly book study with me on Saturday mornings, & coordinating a birthday Girlfriend Get-Together on Friday night for my friend, Bekah.

That last idea was so simple, but it turned out to be a sort of magical night. I texted Bekah a few weeks ago & asked her to pick a date, a place, & send me a list of 5-10 friends she’d love to invite.

I didn’t know any of the women who came beforehand, but we all felt like close friends when we left. We laughed, we cried, we shared about how Bekah has impacted our lives, we told hilarious stories that shall not be put on the internet, we ate incredible food, & we all left feeling filled up.

You guys, I almost talked myself out of texting Bekah and asking. I usually come up with great ideas and then chicken out based upon past rejection and insecurities.

But we would have ALL missed out had I let my silly insecurities be the boss of me.

I’m so inspired to continue to say yes, to send that invite, to show up, to go first, & to just open my door…even though I know there will be many uncomfortable moments, you have to experience the awkward in order to experience the awesome.

It’s not the perfect parenting book. Or the right chore chart. Or whether we feed our kids enough organic food. Or if we homeschool. Or if we give our kids enough opportunities. Or if we protect them enough…

We can’t save our kids, bubble wrap our kids, fix our kids, or transform their hearts.

We can sure exhaust ourselves trying, though. We can stress and worry over them. We can feel frustrated and overwhelmed by their actions. We can live in fear over their futures.

But none of that accomplishes anything worthwhile.

There is one thing we CAN do and that is to pray. And I believe it’s one of the greatest things we can do on behalf of our kids

Because — as I am learning anew — prayer changes us. One thing I try to do almost every day is to I start my day on the treadmill running & praying over the day and praying for Jesse and each of my kids.

It’s an important piece of my day… to acknowledge my need for God’s help in my parenting, to pray for specific areas where my kids are struggling, to thank God for how He’s working in their hearts, to release my stresses and frustrations in parenting to God, and to ask Him to give me grace to love each of my kids in a way that makes them feel loved.

I’ve noticed that this time in prayer for my kids not only calms me and helps me to rest in Christ’s finished work on the Cross, it also changes my heart and attitude toward my kids, too. You see, I’m much more apt to respond to them in grace and love when I’ve just prayed that I can love them well and walk with them well! ?

2018 Goals Update

Personal Goals

1. Read 100 non-self-help books that will build me up/encourage me/inspire me/recharge me. (Fiction/story-driven/biographies/inspirational living books/devotionals.) See the list of 44 books I plan to read this year.

**Progress: 4 books read so far (look for a book update coming tomorrow)

2. Read through the entire Bible.

**Progress: I’m using the  and am on Day 21 — yay!

3. Write one handwritten note to someone every week.

**Progress: 4 notes written total this year so far

4. Run 500 miles.

**Progress: 29.5 miles run so far

Marriage Goal

5. Go on an overnight trip with Jesse without the kids.

Family Goals

6. Read 10 books aloud with the kids.

7. Take the kids to South Africa.

8. Go on a family road trip.

Financial Goals

9. Save up to pay cash to finish off an office for me and workout room for Jesse and me in the basement in our new house.

10. Replenish our Emergency Fund (we dipped into it to replace my car when it got totaled because of the carpet beetle infestation.)

Business Goals

11. Increase our gross income from the business by 8%.

12. Launch 5 new courses.

**Progress: 4 Weeks to a More Productive Life launched in January and we’re currently working on finishing Content Creation 101 — a new YourBloggingUniversity course!

Links You Should Check Out

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  • Dona (mom24boyz) says:

    Hi Crystal..I have known you for a long time in the blog world and I know you are naturally a frugal gal. So I wonder? Do you buy all your lovely books?? Do you get them used, amazon, are they offers for reviews, often used or purchased full price etc.? I love to read and I read a TON. I get some from the library, lots on my kindle, but rarely do I get nice new hardbacks due to the price…so I am wondering if you have some secret or is this simply your personal (and much deserved!) area of splurging :)?!?!?!

  • Diane says:

    I just finished Daddy long legs early this morning (sinus infection was keeping me awake). I really liked it.

  • Caroline says:

    Crystal, I love your blog and I love reading about your life. I’ve been following you for many years. You’ve been kind enough to pray for me and respond to my occasional comments. Thank you for being so brave and honest with your readers. I don’t believe you would ever tell people your new schedule is for others. Instead, you are always respectful and careful to remind your readers that each of us have completely different lives and circumstances. You bless readers with your dedication to being genuine. Your posts about your new Wednesday sabbath have helped me to realize slowing to enjoy life and take a break as much as possible is extremely important. I’m sure you and your family have worked extremely hard day in and day out for many years and I’m happy for your success.

    • Jo says:

      Thank you so much for your kind encouragement! I know that what I’m doing won’t work for everyone and I definitely don’t share it because I think people need to do what I’m doing. But I hope it encourages people to consider ways that they, too, can make sure they take time slow down and savor life — even if it’s just in little pockets here and there!

      I’ve also found that in order to stay inspired to share so much content here and in live videos and in courses and on social media, it’s so important that I take time to refuel!

  • says:

    Crystal, yay for your Wednesdays. Isn’t it wonderful how God used your Wednesdays off to be able to spend time with your children?

    My “off” Wednesdays have not worked out 100% yet. This week it should, and I am so excited about it.

    I love your story of ladies gathering at Panera. Thank you for the inspiration. ?

  • Therese says:

    So glad to read your post about reaching out to people and building community! Yay! I hope you are encouraged and keep it up!

    Probably the most valuable thing I have learned about showing hospitality and building community is not to let the idea of having everything “perfect” stand in your way.

    An older gentleman from my church taught me this without intending to do so. He invited a group of really random folks to his house and put out a buffet of all his favorite store-bought prepared foods- frozen lasagna, potato salad, a bucket of chicken, some sushi, a bowl of corn, blue Kool-ade, cartons of ice cream and some grapes. The plates didn’t match. He had plastic cups and utensils. We sat in his living room which was decorated in vintage yard sale style- his coffee table was even made of old tires!

    We had a fantastic time talking, singing worship songs, praying, and enjoying each other’s company. I thanked him profusely for extending himself and teaching me that sometimes all you need is a willing heart and the time and space to allow fellowship to happen. It challenged me to invite others to my apartment even if it wasn’t a Better Homes and Gardens showroom with a gourmet meal on the table.

  • Robyn says:

    Hi crystal! Quick question…my kids are always wanting to make slime but I am always saying no because it just seems like an expensive hobby! I know you are frugal but you seem to allow it regularly. Any tips on how or where you get supplies or how you keep the cost down?

    • says:

      My own daughter is a big slime maker!! She buys the ingredients herself. A gallon jug of elmers glue is $10 at Wal-Mart and it lasts her awhile. My daughter is 11 and uses her christmas/birthday money for it ?

    • Jo says:

      Check Amazon and Dollar Tree. Kaitlynn gets most supplies at Dollar Tree and then occasionally gets a deal on glue on Amazon. She pays for most of her supplies herself, thanks to the great deals at Dollar Tree!

  • says:

    I love this!! And that blanket looks SO comfy and cozy! Posting your progress on your goals is always so inspiring for me. It encourages me and pushes me to be mindful of my goals as well. Thank you for sharing!

  • Chelsea says:

    I love having your weekly updates back and hearing about your hospitality! That friend party is such a neat idea, I’m glad to hear about the idea. I haven’t seen anything about Tam in awhile- I hope she and her family are doing well! I still remember the post you wrote on friendship (specifically regarding her) 2-3 years back. It’s so encouraging to me that I still go back and read it. ?

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