This Week in Review: 2 Olive Garden entrees for $12.99, 3 ModWrap Bracelets for $12.95, plus more (and why I’ve been a little quiet around here)

This Week in Review(I came home from vacation to this book waiting for me — cannot *wait* to read it!)

We’re finally back into the swing of things after a 12-day roadtrip with both of our extended families. I’ll share more pictures and details next week.

I know I’ve personally been kind of quiet on the blog here the past two weeks. I gave myself the month of August “off” just because I knew we were going to be gone for so much of the month. Thanks for your patience as I’ve not been posting goals, weekly check-ins, freezer cooking, grocery shopping trips, reading goals, or weekly menu plans.

Truthfully, while it was good to get away and I soaked up the sun, the water, and the quiet, my heart has been heavy. And that’s made it hard for me to be inspired to write here — especially as I try to keep things upbeat. And well, I’ve not felt all that upbeat.

It seems almost all of my dear friends are going through heart-breaking things — one friend is in midst of a divorce, one friend is really struggling with some hard burdens, one friend just got some devastating news, one friend’s husband is deployed and she’s carrying a lot of extra stress as a result, one friend is watching her dad lose his battle with cancer… it just hurts my heart.

I’ve been praying a lot. Hurting a lot for these dear people in my life. And just wishing I could take away all these hard things for all these people I love so much.

What do you do when you feel like your heart just hurts so much for other people? And you feel so powerless to help them? You do what you can do, but it just feels like such a drop in the bucket.

I also have gotten off-kilter when it comes to sleep… going to bed too late and then getting up too late. That’s okay for when you’re on vacation, but it definitely needs to be nipped in the bud right here and now. Because our fall school/work schedule starts Monday. Ready or not, it’s back to real-life.

I’m so glad that I committed to blog through the Rise & Shine Challenge. Because I need it pretty downright desperately.

And that’s enough from me… hopefully you’re having a better week. Here’s to a restful Sunday for all of us!

ModWrap BraceletsIn case you missed them, here are some of the best deals, freebies, and most popular posts from this past week that are still available:

3 ModWrap Bracelets for $12.95 Shipped

Enter to Win the Perfect Cupcake Set From Craftsy

Get a Striped Maxi Dress for just $9.99 Shipped!

Walmart: Suave Kid’s Shampoo—$0.50 after coupon (reset)

Free entrance to National Parks on August 25, 2014

This Week in Review

Olive Garden: Two entrees + a Redbox rental for $12.99

How to Make 10 Freezer Meals in One Hour

Free download: The Ultimate Planner for Homeschooling Moms (this weekend only!)

Free download of the 2014-2015 Homeschool Schoolhouse Planner

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Free printable Frozen-inspired Lunchbox Notes

The best freebies from this past week

Free Midwest Living Magazine Subscription

This Week in Review

Why I’m SO Glad I Stopped Saying “I Can’t”

When you feel like you’re stuck in a deep black hole

Sign up for the FREE 10-Day Rise & Shine Challenge

We Paid Cash: A Fixer-Upper Home

Man Leaves Job & City Behind & Lives Out of His Van

This Week in Review

Get a behind-the-scenes look at my blogging processes

We Paid Cash: A Cross-Country Move

PSST!! Sign up to earn money promoting our Crazy, Can’t Miss Sale next week!

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Comments

  1. Kimber says

    Although I’ve never met you, Crystal, I’ve been following your blog for years, and I can truly say that I know that your “drops in the bucket” are much more meaningful than you think. I’ve recently been on both sides of this table – my heart has ached for others, and I’ve been through the most challenging trials of my life. And if I may share one personal example, one afternoon I was kneeling by the side of my bed, praying and pleading to my Heavenly Father to help me know that I was not alone, I was not forgotten, that someone cared about me during this heartbreaking time. Not one minute later, I had a text from a new friend from church (someone who had just moved in) asking me if she could bring me dinner that night. Months later we talked, and she shared her side of the story. She had been preparing dinner when she had the feeling that she needed to bring me some. She almost ignored it, thinking I would think she was kind of crazy (remember, we hardly knew each other). But the prompting grew so strong, she knew she wouldn’t be able to sleep that night. She swallowed her fear and texted me. And that day, she was my angel. I will never forget that. So Crystal, keep doing what you’re doing. As an introvert, you might struggle a bit with just showing up on someone’s doorstep. But just keep loving and supporting and being unafraid to show up with dinner, with muffins, with cookies, with a hug. You are just what your friends need. You will be an answer to their prayers.

  2. Jen says

    I can’t speak for your friends, but I’m sure your efforts feel like more to them than a “drop in the bucket”. I have been going through a difficult time myself recently; my divorce became finalized, I am trying to redefine my life now that my biggest role of wife is gone, I’ve moved to another state, and I’ve been dealing with a lot of curveballs life has thrown at me since I’ve moved. When someone tells me they’ve been praying for me, or perform a kind gesture such as bringing me food, telling jokes to make me laugh, listen to me vent, hug me, cry with me, send an uplifting card in the mail, or call me out of the blue to talk, it means the world to me. It is my nature to close myself off from everyone when going through difficulties, and these friends remind me that the world isn’t such a cold place and that there are hope and better times ahead. I’m sure your efforts at helping your friends are much noticed and appreciated!

  3. says

    I’m sorry to hear things have been heavy for you lately Crystal! I’m also incredibly sorry to hear that so many of your friends are dealing with such hard things!

    I’ve given myself a break from a lot of things lately…and not all of them good things to take a break from…but we’re house hunting, dealing with counter offers, and all the stresses involved with hopefully getting a mortgage soon.

    I appreciate you letting us know things have been rough lately. I’m sure a lot of us feel the same way. I’ll try to remember to pray for you and your friends (I say try because I don’t want to promise and forget when life gets crazy busy…but I am going to say a prayer for you all right now!)

  4. Martina says

    To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; …

    I think that many times, when we think, we do nothing other than just offering up prayers for others people behalf, we forget that this might just might be the “season” for us to intercede at the throne of God, as the people that are going thru the difficulty/hardships sometimes do not have to strength to pray.

    • KT says

      I agree. Right now, I’m watching a lot of friends and family struggling with some pretty awful things as well, and it’s so hard. I am a normally cheerful, optimistic person, but the weight of the struggles my loved ones are bearing is almost just too much to bear. But I will keep loving on them and interceding to my Father God for them, because this is where I’m needed right now, helping to shoulder their burdens and struggles. :)

  5. Megan says

    Hi Crystal,

    I like your blog a lot even though I am not religious. I think all of that information can be overwhelming especially if you have so much going on with many that you care about. I always find it helpful to think of the needs of others and any practical ways that I can help, and doing something concrete helps me feel better too. I can guarantee that those things are not just a “drop in the bucket”. Or maybe they are, but these are the important drops! And everyone’s “drops”, put together, would make a powerful river…

  6. Charity says

    http://youtu.be/DMVZ9jfDv50

    This song has always been an encouragement to me when I was struggling with something. Maybe it would be an encouragement to your friends. I could always think of at least one person who was praying for me, but even if I couldn’t, the Bible says that Jesus intercedes for us. (Romans 8:34)

  7. says

    Crystal,

    My heart aches to know you are hurting for your friends. Though it may seem like a drop in the bucket to you, I am certain it means the world to them. They are so fortunate to have your support, love, and prayers. God bless each of them with strength to face their challenges.

    My extended family is going through a difficult time as we watch my dear sister-in-law face treatment for cancer. It is very aggressive and she has many side effects. I pray for her and my brother and niece every morning, evening, and throughout the day when I think of them. Cancer has affected every aspect of their lives. She was very unexpectedly diagnosed exactly a month after my cancer surgery.

    It is rather odd to say it, but I am feeling guilty because I have been so very blessed with needing only a few sessions of cancer prevention treatment. I am also making a great amount of progress in my health and weight loss goals. I feel bad about feeling happy for myself when I know she is struggling. Like you, I wish I could take their pain away and make this all go away. Since I can’t, I do the most powerful thing we can do for each other…Pray.

    Sending you a big hug, my dear Crystal. I will say a prayer for you and your friends. God bless!

  8. says

    Crystal,

    I’ve been a follower for several years but have never left a comment. I read this post yesterday and this morning in my devotional book I read:

    Anticipate coming face-to-face with impossibilities: situations totally beyond your ability to handle. This awareness of your inadequacy is not something you should try to evade. It is precisely where I want you- the best place to encounter Me in My Glory and Power. When you see armies of problems marching toward you, cry out to Me! Allow Me to fight for you. Watch Me working on your behalf, as you rest in the shadow of My Almighty Presence.
    Revelation 19:1: Psalm 01:1 (Jesus Calling, Sarah Young)

    I know no one likes going through difficult times but if you look at it through the right “lens” everything can be praiseworthy. Think about difficult times you have walked through. Looking back they never seem nearly as difficult as the journey though it.

    Continue to travel through the storms with your friends and remember your priorities. You have been such a help to so many and your life is such an inspiration. The only reason I’m even awake this morning before my three kids is because of your online encouragement and tips through the years. I hope Gods word is a help to you today. You’re doing great girl!

  9. says

    I am sorry for the burdens your friends are dealing with, and for the pain it is causing you. Clearly you are a wonderful friend!

    I will pray for your friends. Sometimes, especially when we feel helpless, all we can do is pray and trust in the Lord. He has every one of your friends (and you) in His hands, and will see everyone through. God ways certainly not our ways, for sure.

    God bless.

  10. says

    I understand exactly what you are saying Crystal. For me, I have friends confide in me with their issues, starting new jobs, relationships and marriages ending, and hardships at home, and as much as I want to help them, take away their pain, I cannot do anything for them, aside from listening, hoping, and praying for them. What’s worse for me is that as of right now in my life, I want to confide in these same friends, but everyone who was formerly in my closet circles live four states away, are burdened themselves with the issues I mentioned above, and I desperately want to confide in them as well. I would love to share with them my feeling of inadequacy over TTC, my issues with having to relocate my Grandmother to another relatives home due to her battle with dementia, and how despite loving my husband greatly, sometimes he cannot take the place of a girlfriend, per se. So, lately I take solace in prayer, light candles, delve deeper into projects with work, my book reviews, and gardening. If it means anything, I empathize with you, and your friends, and you are all in my thoughts. Sometimes we are all in the sisterhood of helplessness!