How to Make the Most of Your 24-Hour Day: Part 2

How to Make the Most of Your 24-Hour Day

Last week, I was recording a podcast with Andy Andrews and he asked the million-dollar question, “How do you do it all?”

My response was simply this, “While I do juggle a number of balls, there are many more more balls I’ve chosen to drop or hand off to someone else.”

Re-read what I just wrote. Yes, I’ve selectively chosen to drop balls. And I’m okay with that.

I Tried to Do It All & Failed

However, for a long time, I wasn’t okay with that. I tried to do way too much. I said “yes” to many more opportunities than I had time or energy for.

I’m Type A and have a very high-driving personality. I’m the kind who doesn’t want to admit that I can’t do it all. So you can imagine that it’s hard for me to say “no.”

But when I hit rock bottom a few years ago and realized that my health, my marriage, my home, and my life as a whole was out of whack because of being overextended, I had to get radical and just start saying no to all non-necessities.

Stripping Out the Non-Necessities

As I chronicled in Say Goodbye to Survival Mode, once I stripped my life of all non-necessities, I then had enough breathing room in my life to determine what I call my Best Stuff List. This is a list of the very few things I want to wrap my time and energy around.

To come up with the Best Stuff List, I had to fast forward in my mind to 25 years from now and think what things would be a priority then. I want to live now thinking of finishing well. And when you consider what’s going to really matter in 25 years, it pares down your life to the true priorities.

My Best Stuff List

I now hold up everything in my life in light of my Best Stuff List and those few things I’ve determined are true priorities. Everything — from opportunities to commitments to everyday responsibilities — is compared against my Best Stuff List to see whether it’s in line with these priorities or not.

This might seem harsh or rigid, but in reality, it’s freeing for me. Because I don’t want to waste my days spinning my wheels on things that don’t really matter.

What is a priority for one person won’t necessarily be a priority for another. And what’s a priority for one season, won’t necessarily be a priority for another.

But stripping away all the fluff and getting to the heart of what is actually a priority for you at this season of life will change the way you live. And it will empower you to stop feeling obligated to say “yes” to things that aren’t important for you and will only crowd out the room for what is important.

How To Make the Most Of Your 24-Hour Day

What To Do About the Guilt

It’s not always easy to say “no.” I want to help everyone. I want to volunteer for a lot of things. I want to accept many different opportunities that come my way.

But I also want to take care of my health. I want to grow in my spiritual walk. I want to be a loyal friend. And I don’t want to give my family the leftovers of my time and energy.

So I have a choice: I can exhaust myself trying to do most everything. Or I can choose to say “no” to most things and only do a few things well.

Sometimes, It’s Hard to Say “No”

Just today, I had to say a hard “no” — and it hurt my heart. A dear woman asked if I would help her with her book project. She wanted someone to look over it and give her honest feedback.

I love to do this sort of thing as often as I’m able, but because my blogging/writing time is full right now between blogging and writing my own book, I knew that the time for helping her with her book could only come out of family time.

At a different season — when I’m not in the middle of my own book project — I could probably carve out time to help her. But right now, I have to look at my priorities and realize that I have to prioritize family time over other projects right now.

And so I wrote her and said no as graciously as I could and she was so understanding in her response to me — which I was grateful for. Even though my heart really wanted to help her, my heart knows my family has to come first in this situation.

What Matters Most

I only have one life to live. When I say “yes” to one thing, it means I must say “no” to something else.

At the end of the day, I don’t want to regret the things I’ve said “yes” to. If saying “no” to many great things allows me the space in my life to say “yes” the best things, it’s worth it.

…to be continued later this week.

Do you struggle to say “no” sometimes? What have you said “no” to in order to say “yes” to the best? I’d love to hear!

photo credit; photo credit


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DIY Project: Ferris Wheel Scarf (a simple, 3-step scarf!)


This is a guest post from Abigail who blogs at The Modern Prairie Girl

The Ferris Wheel Scarf was inspired by the simplicity and fun times spent at hometown fairs with family and best friends. Its simple design is fabulously straightforward.

If you’ve never sewn a stitch (or are known for messing up whatever you touch at the sewing machine!), you will find this scarf perfect for starters. This makes a perfect gift, too.


Sew! What are you waiting for? Have fun and please share your success story with me on the Modern Prairie Sewing Facebook page or via my email abiamerican92 @


Ferris Wheel Scarf (A Simple 3-Step Scarf!)

Finished flat measurements: 19 ¼” x 7 ¼”

Required Supplies:

  • ½ yard fabric*
  • Matching or coordinating thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Sewing pins
  • Scissors

*Notes on fabric: Make your scarf fun and unique by using a wide variety of fabric types. I would suggest a cotton quilting weight just like I used on these shown samples. You could also make your scarf out of cotton rayon, cotton voile, cotton velveteen (absolutely the best for Christmas gift giving!), and home décor. Really, this scarf is so versatile and crazy, go all out and make a scarf from each suggested fabric weights, types and styles! Have fun!

Cut it Out: Cut your scarf fabric at 40” x 15 ½”


Let’s Make it!

1. Right sides together, sew long sides together. Press long seam open. Make this step easy on yourself, by rolling the seam to the middle of your scarf piece and then press it open.


2. Turn right side out.

3. Press one short end ½” inside, the wrong sides of your fabric will be touching. Tuck raw short end of scarf inside other short end. Pin and sew in place.


Your scarf is finished! Now wear it to your hometown fair!


This scarf was designed and made by Abigail A. Long, author of Modern Prairie Sewing: 20 Handmade Projects for You & Your Friends. Visit her blog, The Modern Prairie Girl, for more sewing inspiration.

Modern Prairie Sewing

Note from Crystal: If you love sewing, you’ll definitely want to check out Abigail’s book, Modern Prairie Sewing. She sent me a copy and I fell in love with it… and I don’t even really sew at all! But she made me want to learn how to sew well so I could make some of the beautiful projects in the book.

Modern Prairie Sewing

Modern Prairie Sewing is very well written, the instructions are detailed, and it’s full color. My favorite thing is that there are so many pictures and step-by-step instructions, making it seem doable for even a very novice seamstress like me! Find out more details on the book here.

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Single moms: I need your input & stories!

One of the areas I want to address in my upcoming book is how single moms can effectively start their own business or find ways to increase their income. I know that single moms have extra burdens on their plate and I’d love your help and input as I seek to address these struggles.

Help Me Out!

  1. If you are a single mom who has a successful business or has found ways to increase your income, would you leave a comment telling me a little about your story and how you’ve done so?
  2. I’d also love to hear your tips and suggestions for creative childcare options that won’t break the bank.

If you’d prefer, you can email me at crystal @

Note: I will be using some of your comments and emails in my book. If you’d prefer to remain anonymous or prefer I don’t use your comment, please say so. Thanks so much!

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48-Hour Giveaway: Dig In! Family Devotional (15 Winners)


Looking for a devotional to go through as a family? Dig In! Family Devotions to Feed Your Faith was written to encourage you to get into God’s Word with your kids and feed them the spiritual nutrients they need to live faith-filled lives.

These family devotions were written especially for 8- to 12-year-olds, but the insights into God’s Word are nutritious for all ages. In Dig In! Family Devotions to Feed Your Faith, author Linda Buxa teaches Bible concepts and God’s Word in terms that are not only easy to understand but as very engaging.

Use coupon code MONEYSAVINGMOM to get 20% off any products in the Time of Grace store, including Dig In! Family Devotions to Feed Your Faith.

For more information, you can check out the product page here or follow Time of Grace on Facebook.

Would you like to enter a copy of Dig In! Family Devotions to Feed Your Faith? Just click on the graphic below and type in your name and email address. 15 winners will be chosen and posted early next week. This giveaway ends Thursday, September 4, at 11:59 pm, CST.

Enter the Giveaway


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Peek Into Our Week: Trim Healthy Mama (I quit sugar!), my love of essential oils, sewing, homeschooling, and a trip to Las Vegas

Peek Into Week
Kaitlynn and I have been working on some sewing and handwork projects together — thanks to the supplies and book generously sent to us by Abigail from Marie-Madeline Studio. We’ll be sharing more pictures and details on our projects in a post in a few weeks.

Peek Into Week

My first attempt at making Trim Healthy Mama Pancakes. These are not your typical pancakes — they have oats, cottage cheese, and egg whites as the base.

I had read rave reviews of them so I was so sad that my attempt was an epic fail. Leave it to me to somehow ruin a recipe with five ingredients!

Peek Into Week

But I’m not a quitter, so I tried again the next day. And it was a success!!

{I kept the batter in the fridge overnight and used the griddle instead of the stove top. Both things seemed to make a big difference.}

I topped these with a little Greek yogurt and berries and they are delicious!! I’m going to try making a batch for the freezer as I’ve heard that they are freezer-friendly, too!

Speaking of Trim Healthy Mama, some of you may have picked up on the fact that I’ve radically changed my eating over the last few months. After rave reviews from my sister and another friend, I decided to take the plunge and just experiment with eating according to the Trim Healthy Mama guidelines.

Truthfully, I figured I’d feel miserable and would hate eating this week. But I completely surprised myself when I actually felt great and found that I loved eating this way.

I held off on mentioning much online because I didn’t know whether I’d actually stick with it (going almost entirely gluten-free and sugar-free is a pretty MASSIVE thing for this former carb-loving, homemade-brownie-loving girl).

But I’m going on my third month of eating this way and I’ve (mostly) stopped craving carbs and sweets — except for those on the Trim Healthy Mama plan — so I’d say it’s safe to say that there’s a good chance this is going to be a lifestyle change. Which is something I truly could have never believed was possible.

Y’all, if I can quit sugar, anyone can. {It feels so empowering to be able to say that!}

Peek Into Week

It’s hard for me to believe that my baby is in Kindergarten!! He’s loving school and just eating it up! {Excuse the mis-matched outfit… I think we need to have a week of classes on How to Match Clothes! :)}

Peek Into Week

These new essential oils that just came in the mail from Plant Therapy last week and we are loving them! I especially like that these are formulated specifically for kids and have directions on each bottle on how to properly dilute them for use. Look for a giveaway and review soon!

I’ve become a huge essential oil fan over the past year (my poor friends have been so patient with me as I’m often whipping out my traveling oil bag and saying, “I have an oil for that! Here just try this!” ;)), but I’m not partial to any brand specific brand. That said, I’ve found that Plant Therapy has a great selection of oils, the quality is good from what I’ve experienced and researched, and their prices are some of the best I’ve found anywhere.

{I just realized that I am sounding like a total crunchy weirdo talking about quitting sugar and essential oils in the same post. I’m afraid I am becoming that person I never thought I’d be… I promise I will draw the line at switching to cloth toilet paper, though. I have committed to my husband that I will never be that crunchy. Ever. Kudos to those of you who are, but a girl’s gotta draw the line somewhere! :)}

Peek Into Week

Last week, we had been planning for months to travel to North Carolina for me to hang out with a few of my dear friends (Kathi Lipp, Renee Swope, and Michele Cushatt) for a few days. But Michele’s dad passed away and instead the three of us were able to switch travel plans and go to Las Vegas instead for Michele’s dad’s memorial.

I was grateful for some unexpected quiet on a flight that turned out to be much longer than expected this morning. I savored a Club Soda (one of my current “guilty pleasures”) and read the entire pre-release copy of The Fringe Hours.

Peek Into Week

It’s hard to describe in words how powerfully impacted I was by the memorial service for Michele’s dad. It was the most moving memorial service I’ve ever attended!

From both of his children giving dynamic messages and tributes to their dad, the worship time, Michele singing and playing, four men leading us in a time of prayer… To see the legacy of a life well lived left me inspired and changed to go home and pour into my family.
Peek Into Week

These four women are some of the very dearest women I know. We flew in from four different time zones to love on Michele and celebrate the legacy of her dad. After the memorial service, Michele’s family invited us over to celebrate this wonderful man.

We laughed, we teased, we shared our heart, and we cried buckets of tears. And it was beautiful.

We ended the day with Dilly Bars — Michele’s dad’s favorite. It was so very worth breaking my no-sugar commitment for one day in his honor. :)

So that was a peek into the last two weeks of my life. How has life been at your house? Tell us what’s been going on in your home recently!

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