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Welcome to my weekly Sunday 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 I’m Reading
Last week, I finished three books — making my total for 2017 at 6 books finished so far — yay! (I have no idea if I can keep up this reading pace this year, but I’m having so much fun getting back into reading more again!!!)
I finished reading Candles in the Dark — an old reprint by missionary Amy Carmichael. Her writings are some that I’ve loved since the time I was in my early teens. I’ve read this book before, but it was years ago, so it was so good to re-read it.
I also read Grace Not Perfection. In all honesty, I didn’t think I’d like this book. The pictures throughout it just looked so staged and perfect to me that I was all, “How is this a book on grace not perfection?”
Yes, I might have had a bad attitude. But I read it anyway (I’m not even sure why I decided to actually read it with that kind of bad attitude going into it!) and I really ended up liking it and finding a lot of helpful encouragement and practical advice in it.
The author might have beautiful pictures throughout the book, but she doesn’t at all make you feel like she has it all figured out. And there is a lot of wise inspiration in it, as well as heaps of grace!
Finally, I read The Giver for the first time. And you guys, I don’t quite know what to say about this book. At first, I was so frustrated by the ending. That’s it?!?! No! There has to be more!
And then I had to ponder and ponder over the book. I couldn’t get it out of my brain. What am I missing? Why is it haunting me?
The more I pondered, the more I really started to love the book and the powerful way it reminds us that without pain and suffering, we can’t experience emotional connection or truly feel at a deep level. If we took all of the pain away from the world, it would also take away so much depth and the ability to experience life in full color.
I wished I would have read this book with a book club. And I totally understand why some people love it and some people don’t like it at all. Have you read it? If so, I’d love hear your thoughts on it.
This week, since I finished books from my bookshelf from three different categories, I’m letting myself have the freedom until February to read other books that I recently got that were not in my original stack. Answers to Prayer (an old Christian reprint), A Trip Around the Sun (a spiritually encouraging book), Settle for More (a story-driven book), and Thirty Chic Days (a book on life improvement).
What I’m Listening To
This week, I was excited that MacKenzie had a new podcast episode and I loved the episode!
It’s on Cultivating Your Mother Culture — which is probably only a term you’ve heard of if you are familiar with Charlotte Mason and/or Karen Andreola.
You can read this post by Karen for more on what the term means. I especially loved this quote from her post: “Mothers should cultivate their souls so that in turn they may cultivate the souls of their children.”
And I loved what Brandy and MacKenzie talked about on the podcast: That as moms, we should be reading, studying, thinking, and learning so that we can always have interesting ideas to discuss with our kids.
That’s one reason I love to read. Not just for my own personal growth, but so that I have interesting ideas and questions to discuss with my kids, too!
What I’m Loving
This picture makes me all kinds of happy. He’s worked SO hard this year to master reading and his hard work is paying off!! He started the school year barely reading 3-letter words (despite multiple years and reading curriculums, it just wasn’t clicking) and read the entire Are You My Mother? book to me this week with almost zero help from me!!!
I love that he wants to read to me and he’s finding so much joy in it! (He was reading so intently that he didn’t even notice I was taking a picture. But I just couldn’t help myself.)
These are the moments we mamas treasure in our hearts. (I also love that he’s sporting dirt on his jeans, because, of course. ;))
I got this beauty out earlier this week… after months of keeping her in the closet. I’ve missed her so much and can’t believe I let her just sit there untouched for that long. And now I want to take up lessons again!!
The girls decided that they want to learn a song on their guitar and ukulele to play together with me. They’ve never acted interested in playing with me before, so suffice it to say that my week is MADE!
(For those who don’t know, I used to be a violin teacher and much of my teen years was spent practicing, teaching, and performing violin.)
One of my favorite things to get in the mail is notes from readers. This note came sharing how I inspired reader, Anna, to start her own business selling pure luxurious handmade soaps. She also generously sent me a bunch of handmade soaps from her brand-new Etsy shop. My kids were SO excited about their little mini soaps she sent and I’ve been loving using the soaps every day!
What I’m Watching
This week, I loved watching this first video in a 3-part video series from Style and Styleability on designing a wardrobe you love.
My husband and I also watched another episode of Poldark. We have four more episodes left in the season and we are trying to make them last as long as possible! 🙂
I also watched some football with Silas, the girls and I watched a Disney movie one night that turned out to be a total dud, and we watched Left Behind for our family movie night.
(The kids had never seen Left Behind before, so it definitely opened up the door for lots of questions, thoughts, and discussions on different viewpoints Christians have on the End Times. We like to present viewpoints we don’t necessarily agree with to our kids and let them ask questions, think for themselves, discuss it with us, and come to their own conclusions.)
What I’m Changing
After a long time of having a pattern in what posted on Instagram (quote, b&w photo, color photo), I decided to buck my system and go back to just posting whatever strikes my fancy again.
I made this decision for a few reasons:
1) I was feeling a little constrained by the system I had created.
2) I wasn’t posting as often as a result — because I didn’t always have a good picture for whatever photo was supposed to come next, so I’d just wait to post until I found the right picture.
3) I wasn’t loving how it was looking in my feed — it just felt a little too dreary and cluttered for where I am right now and felt it was a poor representation of the joy and renewed clarity in my heart and life.
So, since I get to be the boss of my own Instagram, I’m going back to eclectic posting. 😉 And it feels good! (If you’re not following me on Instagram, you can follow me here.)
In Case You Missed It
YouTube Videos I Posted This Week:
- 2 Books I Read Last Week + 4 Books I Plan to Read This Week
- My New Daily Routine for 2017
- My #1 Tip for Finding Frugal Friends
Posts I Wrote This Week:
- 2 Proven Systems to Track How Much You’re Spending on Groceries
- How Much Should You Spend on Groceries?
- 5 Days to a Better Grocery Budget
- All The Details on How I Made a Full-Time Income Blogging in November
- Our Week at an Extended Stay America (my completely honest review)
What are you loving, reading, watching, listening to, or changing this week? I’d love to hear!
Guest post from Ashli from The Million Dollar Mama
I have a lot of friends who are talented photographers and I know that for many of my photographer friends, there are periods of feast and periods of famine. This got me to thinking – how can photographers make extra money?
After doing some brainstorming, I’ve come up with 10 ways to make extra cash if you’re good at photography, beyond your standard session fee.
1. Sell Stock Photos
Selling stock photos could be a great way to make some passive income from your photography. Once you’ve taken some great photos, you can upload them to a site like Shutterstock or iStockPhoto and make money every time someone downloads your photograph.
2. Teach Photography
There are many people interested in learning more about photography from a talented photographer. You could teach classes at your local community center, or even create your own online course and upload it to Udemy.
3. Social Media Photography
For social media sites like Instagram, having great images is absolutely essential. You could work with businesses taking photos specifically for their Instagram feed, or you could specialize in flat-lays, a trend that’s super popular on Instagram right now.
4. Take Pictures at Local Events
Local events such as county fairs, spartan races, 5k’s, etc could be a great way to make some extra money. Get in contact with the organizers and see if they’d be interested in hiring you to take photos for the event, which people can download and purchase. You could also sell pictures to local newspapers.
5. Make Greeting Cards
Another way to make extra money from your photography is to start making your own greeting cards, featuring your unique, beautiful pictures. You can upload and sell these on a site like Etsy.
6. Start a Photography Blog
If you’re also talented at writing, you could start your own photography blog featuring product reviews, recommendations, tutorials, photography tips – the possibilities are endless!
7. Take Real Estate Photos
Great photographs are an essential part of successfully marketing a house, but if you’ve looked on Zillow recently, you might have noticed that a lot of realtors are sorely lacking in this area. Do some research on local realtors in your area, and offer to take professional photos of their listings.
8. Make a Calendar Featuring Local Businesses
Each month you can feature one of your photographs, and a local business can offer a special deal or coupon. You could charge businesses for advertising space, or you could offer free advertising in return for local businesses selling your calendar in their store.
9. Sell Products Featuring Your Photography
Graphic t-shirts, mugs, pillows, baby onesies, baseball caps – there are endless possibilities when it comes to products you could sell featuring your photography, and sites like CafePress make it super easy to set something like this up.
10. Enter Photography Competitions
An often-overlooked way to make some extra money is by entering photography competitions. A local Tennessee magazine that I receive in the mail every month regularly holds photography competitions that offer cash prizes! I’m sure most states have something similar, not to mention the many online photography competitions.
Do you have any other ways you make extra money from your photography?
Ashli Sweat is a freelance writer, blogger, wife to an active duty soldier, and mama to a sweet little boy named Sean. She loves finding ways to save money, make money, and live life to the fullest. She currently lives in Tennessee, but home is wherever the Army sends her (next up is North Carolina!)