The most exciting thing that has ever happened to me as a blogger

I’ve been hinting around recently that I had some big news to share with you all. Truthfully, this is probably the most exciting thing that has ever happened to me as a blogger and I’ve been bursting at the seams to share this with you all, but I had to wait until a lot of different things were in place before I could make it public. Today, all the behind-the-scenes details are in place and I can finally share my big news with you!

But first, I need to give you some background story…

When Simon & Schuster contacted me out of the blue in late 2010 to offer me a book deal, I was really hesitant about taking it. The thought of being a published author was exciting, but I was scared. Scared of the work involved and the short time frame they were asking for it to be done in. Scared of the strain it might put on my health, my marriage, and our family.

But the biggest reason I was uncomfortable about the whole thing was the money issue. Simon & Schuster offered me a nice first-time author advance and I just didn’t want it. Sure, I could come up with some savings goals we could put it toward, but it just didn’t feel right–especially because we already have more than plenty.

I was washing dishes at the kitchen sink and contemplating and wrestling over what to do one day when it was as if God spoke in a still, small voice to me and said, “Give it all away, Crystal. Take the book deal, but give all your proceeds away.”

Without a doubt, I knew that that’s what I was supposed to do. And not only that, but I knew instinctively that I wanted to give the proceeds to Compassion International, an organization that exists as a Christian child advocacy ministry to some of the poorest of the poor.

For the first time since I’d gotten the book offer, I actually felt really stoked about the whole thing. This project was no longer about me. It was no longer just about writing a book. It was something much bigger–helping to meet the basic needs of those who were impoverished.

And so I accepted the offer and spent the first half of 2011 writing and editing my book, The Money Saving Mom®’s Budget. It was a lot of work, there were days when I wanted to throw in the towel, and I often had to ask the Lord to give me strength and wisdom beyond what I humanly possessed in order to do everything I needed to do to pull off this project.

But through it all, I felt such a sense of peace and purpose. I was excited to think that this book wasn’t just going to impact thousands of lives in America, it would hopefully also directly impact many lives through the money it raised for Compassion. That was such an exhilarating thought and it kept me going even when I was tired and drained.

After I finished the final draft and the manuscript went to the printers, we turned our attention to exploring what God was specifically calling us to do with the proceeds from the book. After discussions with Compassion, we really felt that we were to give the money to the Child Survival Program Fund.

On the phone, they off-handedly remarked that we could actually fund an entire Child Survival Program in one area, if that was something we were interested in. I asked them for more information and, after much thought and prayer, my husband and I knew that this was what we wanted to invest all of the proceeds from The Money Saving Mom®’s Budget into.

We chose a Child Survival Program in the Dominican Republic that was already established and needed a donor. This Child Survival Program offers life-saving health and medical care for over 80 at-risk expectant moms and young moms and over 80 at-risk babies and young children in the Dominican Republic.

It provides healthy deliveries in hospitals or clinics, immunizations, growth monitoring and development for the babies, and education for the mothers on how to care for and feed their children. In addition, one of the facets of the program is equipping mothers with income-generating skills so they can provide for their babies and young children.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your support of my book project. Thank you for buying the book and telling others about it.

I’m beyond thrilled to let you all know that–thanks to your amazing support–the money we’ve received from The Money Saving Mom®’s Budget so far was enough to completely fund an entire year of the Child Survival Program in the Dominican Republic. How amazing is it to think that your support of the book is directly helping to impact the lives of over 160 at-risk women and children?

Pictured above are a few of the women in “our” Dominican Republic Child Survival Program. Women and children who have proper nutrition, medical care, and hope, thanks to you.

Our family is committed to supporting “our” Child Survival Program in the DR for as long as it is in existence and we are looking forward to taking a trip to visit there in the not-too-distant future. We’ll take pictures and share with you all about the lives you are impacting! {And I have a feeling we’ll come home forever impacted ourselves, too.}

Again, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. I’m humbled, honored, and overcome with gratitude to be a part of all of this. And it never would have happened if it weren’t for you all. You all mean more to me than I can express. Just thank you.

Postscript: I’ve been planning to share this post today for a number of weeks. Little did I know that one of the women I appreciate most in all the world would also be writing a similar post today. You must go read Ann Voskamp’s post Because Saying Thank You Can Change The World.

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  1. Tami says

    yea!!!! love, love, love that we have a God who speaks!!!!!! (if any of you reading are wondering about this, I’m sure that Crystal would love to tell you about how you can have a real relationship with God–write to her!)

  2. says

    Congratulations on the official release of your book! I’m thrilled for you and even more blessed and challenged by your willingness to give it all away to those who have so much less than all of us. After marrying an M.K. who grew up seeing the poverty in Peru, and spending almost 5 years living overseas as a couple, I will never, ever again think of ourselves as “poor”. We are blessed beyond measure and we are to be the channels that God can use to bless others. Thanks for the encouragement, congratulations on the book, and blessings for the future as you move forward with your Compassion Project! May you be a shining light for Jesus wherever He takes you!

  3. Lizzy says

    Crystal, I was already a daily-reading fan, hooked on your great ideas and wisdom. But when you first told us about this, about giving all your proceeds to Compassion, I became your life long cheerleader. So thankful for your heart, your ministry, your obedience to Him. Praying blessings on you for your faithfulness!

  4. says

    What a beautiful and inspiring story! My family is a big Compassion supporter too. We have four sweet sponsored children and while we are supposed to be helping to change their lives (with our money, letters, etc), I truly feel like they have changed us so much more. God is so good.

  5. says

    Those houses look so much like the houses where we took a missions trip to Mexico a few years ago. The missionary told us that those people do not have to be living in those conditions, but rather bring it upon themselves. Their money is wasted on a sinful lifestyle. The only thing that will change their situation is to know Jesus Christ and have a transformed life. Granted, they will still most likely be poor, but a spiritual change will automatically affect their physical realm. I pray that along with the meeting of the physical needs of those dear people in the Dominican Republic will come the greater meeting of their spiritual needs. I hope that many of those people who you’ve helped financially you will see in heaven one day!

  6. says

    Congratulations, Crystal! So excited for you, and I know you’ve been working hard in anticipation of today!

    I absolutely love the people of the Dominican Republic — I’ve been there twice and we have good family friends from the D.R. — and seeing this literally made me cry. What an incredible blessing for the women and children in that area!

    Thanks for being an inspiration!

  7. Jolanthe says

    Woohoo!! That just makes my heart so happy to hear. Thank you for being obedient to what God called you to do! :)

  8. Desiree says

    How exciting to make such a difference in the world. I read your blog all the time and I am not a religious person but a very spiritual person. Your spirit is amazing, inspiring, and I am glad that you found an outlet to share your gift (and hard work)! I think I am going to make a donation to your cause -especially since I did not buy your book – I am a firm believer in using the library as a place to read and then pass things on – but I will encourage others to read your book and let them know about how buying the book helps them out and an amazing cause. Great JOB!!!!!

  9. says


    It was a deary day over here in the SillySimple household until I read this post. Thanks for brightening my day, being a strong example and most of all for your generosity.


  10. Allison Pratt says


    When I saw the first picture in this post I thought, “I hope that is the DR,” and sure enough… I am so excited that this is the country that God led you to support. The Dominican Republic holds a very dear place in my heart. Almost two years ago I went on a mission trip there. It was only for a week but it changed my life. It was there that I surrendered to the calling to a life of missions and ministry. It was also there that my now husband fell in love with me. :) We had been friends for such a long time (and I loved him the whole time) and on that trip, he realized he wanted to pursue me for marriage. It was a beautiful week of providence and I will never forget the people there. I will always have love in my heart for the Dominican. We saw a baptism in a park that was once a dictator’s recreation area (that’s beautiful redemption!); we prayer walked and evangelized on a campus that we later realized held a student aresonal; we loved on sweet children in the ghettos. I was wonderful.

    I must be honest with you. I was not planning to purchase your book. Not because it doesn’t look extremely helpful, but because we are trying to be very tight with our budget. However, after learning where the money has gone, I would be delighted to be a part of such a wonderful and selfless act.

    Thank you Crystal. This is incredibly moving. I pray that the children touched in the DR through Compassion Internation will understand the Gospel and will come to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. And I pray that when you enter into glory, you will get to meet all the hundreds, maybe thousands, of souls that were touched by your decision to give it all away. You gave up temporal money and gained enternal rewards. Soli Deo Gloria.

  11. Nicci says


    Congratulations on your book release~I can’t wait to get it. Thank you for answering God’s call for your life and for leading by example! The lives you are touching each day are too numerous to count. You are truly an inspiration to us all!

    God Bless!

  12. says

    I had put your book on my 2012 reading list. But, I was in a pickle. We committed to not buy anything “new” in 2012 in order to give more. So, I was thinking I’d have to wait to borrow it. But, when I found out where the money was going I knew I could go ahead and purchase it. WOW!! God is using you in a powerful way.

  13. Diane says

    Wonderful! Thank you for listening to God’s voice and letting Him use you in this way although it was much work for you and your family.

  14. Andrea says

    Good for you! I just shared your post with my husband, who is doing something similar with his second book that is due to come out this year.

  15. Stephanie says

    I am so humbled from reading this post. God is so good! Thank you for sharing, you definately have inspired me.

  16. Lynn Oyama says

    Incredible Crystal! What a blessing this is to so many. I have ordered your book and am anxious to get it. I’m glad to know it is going to such a wonderful cause!

  17. Kayla Herrera says

    Thank you for giving us the opportunity to bless others. I know this book with be a blessing to me and my family as well. I am so excited to get my copy after reading the first several pages on amazon. :)

  18. Melissa says

    Wow, that’s such a wonderful thing to do. I was starting to get offended by how often you’ve promoted this book lately; thinking, “wow, all she cares about is selling her new book and making money”. Now I realize why it’s so important to you and I admire that. Thanks for sharing!

  19. Joanne says

    Hi Crystal. I read your blog, but I don’t think that I have commented yet. I was so moved by your post. We sponsor a Peruvian child through Compassion International. I wanted to read your book but wasn’t sure about buying it just yet. Your post has made me want to run out and buy the book today and knowing that the proceeds are going to the Child Survival Program in DR with a great organization makes for a feel good purchase. May God continue to bless you and your family. :)

  20. Terika says

    That is so great! I wanted to thank you for doing this. I took a look at the pictures before I read the article and I knew they had to be in the Dominican Republic. I use to live there and my husband is from there. He has only been here in the US for 3.5 years. We have family and friends there and it is such a wonderful country. The people are so inspirering and wonderful. Thanks again!

  21. says

    Compassion has always been close to my heart as well. They are based out of Colorado Springs and being from Southern Colorado I have always followed and supported what they were doing around the world.

    What a touching story!!!

  22. Susan says

    Crystal –
    Thank you so much for your example and inspiration. Thank you for talking about how God speaks to you, and how you seek His direction. It is something that I also believe in. It is nice to see someone always putting their belief in God out there for all to see. What an exciting thing to be part of in helping so many people to live a little better. After all isn’t that what our life here is all about, learning to love and help each other.
    Thank you!

  23. Melissa says

    I have followed your blog for a couple years and have been so thankful for the help in my journey to become more frugal. I was initially planning to wait to buy your book, but after reading this post I am excited to support you in your giving project. I am excited to help this project while learning more about frugality for my family! I am definitely spreading the word about your book.

  24. Terri says

    This is so wonderful. I can’t wait to get my copy. It is such a warm feeling knowing that I am helping out the children in the Dominican Republic just by purchasing your wonderful book which I had planned to do anyway. It is a win-win!

  25. Andrea Fuller says

    God gives amazing opportunities to those whom He knows will do amazing things with it. I’m so happy for you! You will reap more blessings back than you can imagine. This may open many doors for you. Enjoy the ride!!

  26. Louise says

    I pre-ordered your book as soon as you announced it was available on Amazon. I have been reading your blog daily for over a year and you have given me inspiration to change myself and my habits. We have several things in common but I can only hope that someday I can be the type of Christian who will let God lead her through such big things. God is soooooo AMAZING!!!

  27. Sarah says

    I have been a reader for a couple years now! I love your writing and your ability to make us, the readers, feel like we are talking and exchanging tips with an old friend! With that being said, I have simply fallen off my blog reading over the holidays and I am ashamed to say I missed your official release. Today, with a productive morning behind me, I found the time to return to the site I adore so much and catch up with you and your family! I was oh-so-pleased when the first thing I read was your book banner at the top of the page, then very quickly I read the article with what you intend to do with your proceeds. I could hardly get to the B &N site quick enough to purchase my copy! I am so proud of all that I have watched you accomplish and I value your honesty and humble nature, which is evident across your entire site. I would have purchased the book regardless, it is on my “top 10 books to read of 2012″ list, but to know I would help in some small way was a blessing. Thank you for finding ways to allow us to help in small ways!! And thank you for helping me become the working mother I want to be!! You and your family are incredible people! I look forward to seeing what gifts you guys will bring to the world over the next several years!

  28. says

    We support a child through Compassion and I thank you so much for donating your proceeds to this worthy cause. God sees your pure heart! Blessings. Sarah

  29. says

    You’re amazing and inspiring blogger and writer and glory to God in the highest for your calling and answer in obedience. You will be blessed while you are blessing the lives of others all over the world.

  30. Amy Snell says

    Mine just shipped, and I am so thankful, not only about the book itself, but to be participating in the Lord’s work in ways I didn’t even know I was doing. I echo someone else’s comment: To God be the glory!!

  31. Rachael says

    so exciting & amazing! God works in crazy & beautiful ways! Good job on all your hard work! this is such a win-win-win situation!! you have gained so much, your readers will gain so much & the mommies & babies in DR will gain SO much!! thanks for sharing! (:

  32. says

    What awesome news Crystal! That is such a great accomplishment and amazing that you are so kind to do such a wonderful thing to help others. I hope God continues to bless your book and it’s proceeds to further provide assistance to these mothers and children!

  33. Jen says

    Thank you for sharing what God’s done in your life & family and inspiring us to be wise stewards so that we can give lavishly!

  34. says

    You are such a wonderful person and inspiration! I’ve been reading the book and have been excited to share it on my blog this week, but now I’m even more excited to spread the word about your book and the amazing impact it will have on people in need! I’m inspired by your generosity!

  35. Rebecca says

    Absolutely amazing!!! I cannot wait to read your book and read all about “our” Child Survival Program in the Dominican Republic.

  36. says

    Hurray! I just left a comment on a different post asking about this…and now I read back further and found my own answer. How exciting! I’m more than pleased to be part of the “team” helping out the ladies and babes in the DR. Yay!

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