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A Peek Into My Life This Week

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 Celebrating

A year ago, this girl was incredibly socially awkward. And it broke my heart. She has such a beautiful heart to serve and pour into others and to see her be so anxious and clam up almost any time she was with kids her age just about did me in — especially because she was then the one who got picked on, overlooked, and/or made fun of.

We had many a long talk over her social anxiety and how she felt so lonely and left out. We tried putting her different social situations to give her opportunities to grow and learn to reach out and build genuine relationships, but each time, it ended in tears, stress, and fear over having to face kids her age again.

She began avoiding kids her age as much as she could. We saw her closing up more and more and felt at a loss to know how to help her break out of her fear and anxiety. We prayed. We encouraged her with new ideas. We kept trying new approaches.

Nothing worked.

One day, as I was crying out to God for wisdom, I felt this strong nudge that the best decision would be to put her in school instead of homeschooling. It felt like a crazy idea as I always assumed we would homeschool through high school.

I loved homeschooling and couldn’t really bear the thought of giving it up. But I told Jesse this “bizarre” idea and he looked at me and said, “I can’t believe it! I’ve been feeling the exact same way!!”

With much prayer, many tears, and much research, we made the decision to put her in a small Classical School. She was devastated when we broke the news to her. And my mama heart was torn up in pieces knowing how terrifying it was for her.

But she did it. She showed up scared. Knowing how intense her social anxiety was, I knew the insane amount of bravery it required.

And she kept showing up. On Friday, as we celebrated her birthday date together, she told me, “I can’t believe how much I’ve changed this year! I actually have friends. Real friends. And they are coming over to my house to hang out with me tomorrow! I can’t believe it! I had no idea that facing my fears & going to school would mean I would I gain so many friends!”

God is so good. So good. (Shared with Kathrynne’s permission.)

What I’m Watching

This week, I watched my friend Lisa-Jo’s Scream-Free Mornings video. There was a lot of great material packed into the short video. And the PDF download that came with it was GOLD. Go sign up for this free video and PDF here.

By the way, Lisa-Jo has a brand-new course coming out with tools and tactics for moms who struggle with their temper. I cannot WAIT to go through it because I always need wise advice and encouragement in this area. As I’ve told you before, I have struggled with yelling at my kids.

It’s something I wish I didn’t struggle with. I wish I could be the mom who could say, “I never yell at my kids!” But that’s not me. I’m the girl, instead, who has struggled with anger ever since I was a child.

It’s one of the things I wish I could hide and pretend didn’t exist. But it’s also something that has caused me to need Jesus so much, to have opportunities to humble myself and ask for forgiveness when I fail, and to look for resources to help me tame my temper.

Which is why I’m so thrilled that Lisa-Jo has put this video course together. I will be eating up her every word! (Sign up for the free video and you’ll be notified when her course is live in a few days!)

This week, we discovered the new show Hunted and we loved the first two episodes. It’s about 16 people who attempt to go off the grid while being hunted as “they attempt the nearly impossible task of disappearing in today’s vast digital world as highly skilled investigators combine state-of-the-art tracking methods with traditional tactics to pursue and catch them.”

Jesse and I watched the first episode and enjoyed it so much that we had the kids watch both episodes with us. So far, there has been very little language and it’s been a great show for us to watch together as a family.

{Note: This show might be really scary or inappropriate for some children, depending upon their personalities and sensitivities. As always, I encourage parents to watch shows first, if you have any doubt whether it’s something that would be appropriate for your own children as all children have different sensitivity levels. Our kids happen to love shows like this, so we’re hoping that the season continues to be family-friendly and appropriate!}

We also watched the newest episode of Timeless. I’ve surprised myself by really enjoying this show! Note: This show is definitely on the PG-13 level based upon the content and language.

Also, a note on Poldark: We decided not to continue watching it past Season 2, Episode 7 after some warnings from you all. We looked at the reviews and we don’t see that any sort of redemptive story came in Season 2, so it just didn’t seem worth continuing. I was so sad, because I loved the show. But it’s not worth watching if it’s just going to get darker and there’s no redemption.

I still wholeheartedly love Poldark Season 1 and would recommend it. Note: This is not a show we’ve let our kids watch because of some of the content and topics.

What I’m Listening To

I loved the Sorta Awesome Show with guest host Meredith Schwartz of Penelope Loves Lists. Even though I’m not a total Penelope as she described on the show, more and more I’ve come to realize that I’m someone who tends to be naturally organized.

I don’t have to work really hard to set up systems to keep my home organized or clutter-free or to keep my work and life organized. It’s honestly something that I just do because, well, I’ve always just thought, “Isn’t it just easier to be organized?”

Over the years, I’ve come to learn that not everyone is the same way. Not everyone sees the messes or the clutter like I do and some people have to work at it a lot harder.

Understanding the way that I’m wired and the way that others are wired helps me to have more grace for myself (Telling myself things like, “It’s okay to let the dishes sit in the sink every once in awhile! You’re not failing when you do that!”) and more grace for others (Telling myself things like, “They aren’t trying to be difficult or lazy. They just have a different personality and different priorities than you! And there’s a lot you can learn from them!”)

I really enjoyed this episode of the Sorta Awesome show because I resonated with so much of it and I realized that I’m more relaxed about being organized than some people are and I can celebrate exactly how God has made me, but I can also work on those parts of my personality that need some fine-tuning! 🙂

What I’m Reading

I finished Megyn Kelly’s book, Settle for More, this past week and really, really enjoyed it. There is quite a bit of strong language in it and there were parts I didn’t agree with, but I thought it was well-written and very thought-provoking.

I know that this is a year when people are very divided politically and I’m almost scared to even admit I loved this book — lest someone assume I’m siding with a particular person or party by saying that. Please know that that’s not what this book was about.

If you haven’t read it and you’re at all interested in politics or journalism or how a woman in a high profile position is balancing work and family or topics related to feminism and women’s rights, I think that you’ll find this book interesting and insightful — even if you heartily disagree with it.

I’m of the opinion that we should read things from differing viewpoints to help sharpen our beliefs, expand our thinking, and know what people who are very different than us believe. This is one reason why I’ve chosen that one of my main news sources for right now is actually from a much different side of the aisle than I would typically be on — because I don’t want to just listen to people who think like me tell me their opinion or viewpoint about current events and issues.

I want to know what people who come from very different backgrounds and belief systems think, too, and how they came to those beliefs. Not so I can bash them, but so I can seek to understand.

Anyway, all that to say, while I think Megyn Kelly and I would probably land very differently on many issues, I really was inspired by reading this book and hearing more about her life and her core values and principles.

I also read Everyday Wellness by Nina Nelson (it looks like it’s no longer available anywhere online — I got the download as part of one of the Ultimate Bundles – this book looks like it’s similar to the ebook, but it’s no longer in print) and Chaos to Clutter-Free.

How I’m Getting in More Reading Time

I’ve been upping my running time in the past two weeks, which means I can get in some reading while running on the treadmill! I’m thrilled about that because it means I can start going through all these ebooks I’ve gotten as part of the Ultimate Bundles!

This week, I’m planning to read some of the Conquer Your Clutter Bundle ebooks:

Have you gotten your Conquer Your Clutter bundle yet? If not, go check it out here. It’s on available through January 30, 2017 and it’s packed with lots of great resources to help you get your home and life in order.

This week, I’m reading: Answers to Prayer (an old Christian reprint), Be Real (a spiritually encouraging book), Hope in Front of Me (a story-driven book), and Thirty Chic Days (a book on life improvement).

I’m hoping to finish Hope in Front of MeBe Real, and Thirty Chic Days this week plus the ebooks listed above. I’ll let you know how that goes next week! {See my Reading Goals for 2017. Also, see the 11 books I’ve read so far in 2017 here.}

What I’m Thinking About

You know what I recently realized? I rarely accept compliments. I almost always make some excuse or give some explanation as to why I’m not really worthy of receiving that compliment.

For instance, someone will say, “I love your hair today!” And I’ll respond, “Oh this look? Ha! I need to wash my hair so badly! I just threw it into this real quick today because I was frustrated with it!”

Or, someone will say, “I love your outfit!” And I’ll say something like, “Really?? Um, I was rushing out the door and just grabbed something! I don’t really like it!” Or a thousand other similar variations.

You want to know the person I’m the worst at this with? My husband. I pretty much always excuse or invalidate his compliment by my response. It’s sad, but true.

Why do I do this? Why do I try to convince people by my responses that their kind compliment wasn’t valid? Why do I try to explain away or justify or excuse or put down myself?

If someone were to give me a gift, I wouldn’t try to explain to them why it was a bad gift or not appropriate for me. That would be rude! But yet, when you think of it, a compliment is a gift, too.

So I’m committed to stop excusing and invalidating others’ kind words and instead start responding with a simple, “Thank you!” When someone is kind enough to give me a compliment, I want to be genuinely grateful for their graciousness. Especially when it’s a compliment from my husband!

Have you ever done this before? Do you have any insight as to why I might do this? I’m still processing it myself and would love your input if this is something you struggle with, too. (The inspiration for this came from the book, The Year of Yes.)

In Case You Missed It (my posts from this past week):

What are YOU celebrating, reading, listening to, watching, or thinking about? I’d love to hear!

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

5 Ways We Save on Propane

Guest post from Ruth:

I live in Michigan and heating is our biggest utility expense… particularly because we live in the country and use propane. Our stove, furnace, and hot water heater all run off of propane, and as you can imagine, refilling our 500 gallon tank is pricey!

Our propane bill has been very stressful for us over the years –our propane provider has a minimum fill requirement of 250 gallons, the prices weren’t always good, so we tried to wait as long as we possibly could to fill our tank, and we still ended up spending serious money for each fill.

Now, thanks to some modifications, we not only save money on propane, but we don’t stress over paying the large bill.

Here’s some of the modifications that we made:

1. We now have a written budget every month.

We have two savings accounts, one is designated as our Emergency Fund and one is our Irregular Expense Fund. Each month, a designated contribution is put into our Irregular Expense Fund. By looking at propane usage from prior years, we are able to make an educated guess on an appropriate monthly amount to save.

Now when we need to fill up the propane tank, we just do it and don’t need to worry about how to pay for it. We transfer the money from our Irregular Savings Fund to our checking account and use our debit card for the fill.

2. We switched propane companies.

Not all propane companies are equal… and after one particularly cold winter, we chose a new company that better met our needs.

Our new company offers a price protection plan called a “Price Cap” program. We pay $50 to be enrolled for this program, and we then have a written guarantee that our price will not exceed a certain point. If the actual price per gallon is below our capped price, we pay the actual price.

Our capped price is a little over $1.50 per gallon this season, but I just filled up and paid only $1.40 per gallon.

Their price protection secret was that they bought large amounts of propane inexpensively during the off season and stored it for later use in off site storage.

We’ve found that picking a company with simple common sense ways of controlling the price saves our money and lowers our stress level greatly.

3. We watch prices.

We try to fill up when the prices are good, rather than when we need propane. Pricing is best in the summer, and this past summer, prices got down around $1 per gallon. We went ahead and filled up then, which lasted for several months.

4. We seal up air leaks, when we can.

We noticed cold air was leaking through the front door, so we purchased cheap weather stripping and were able to drastically decrease the cold air coming in. It might not sound like much, but it can add up to big savings.

5. We use a programmable thermostat.

The temperature automatically lowers when we leave the house and while we’re sleeping — saving a significant amount of propane (and money!)

Heating is a large expense for those of us who live in the Northern part of the country. But thankfully, there are ways to make it more manageable.

Ruth is a homeschooling mom of 3 kids, ages 10, 7, and 4.

photo source