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A Peek Into Our Lives This Past Week

Welcome to my weekly post where we take a break from money-related posts and I give you a little peek into our life from the past week and also share things I’m pondering/learning.

Happy Sunday from Quill, our pet hedgehog. 🙂

Family Fun at Top Golf

We celebrated my birthday this past week by going to TopGolf as a family — something we’ve been looking forward to ever since we discovered they were building a TopGolf here many months ago.

TopGolf isn’t a super inexpensive outing and here was a long wait, but we had a lot of fun and it was a special birthday memory!

Presentation Day at School

Silas finished up his first quarter at school with his quarter project and presentation. Their project was to create something from ancient Egypt (what they were studying the first quarter) and then present a 30-second speech in front of the whole school.

He chose to make a pyramid and pyramid walkway from clay. I so proud of how confident he has become up on stage speaking in front of a big crowd of people. It made him extremely nervous the first two times last year. This time around, I honestly don’t even think he was one bit nervous. And he looked so sharp in his suit! 🙂

Books I Finished This Past Week

1) The Rest of God — I really loved this book and slowly savored it over the past 5 weeks or so. So many thought-provoking sections that challenged me on what rest truly is and why it’s so important in the life of the Christian.

2) Braving the Wilderness — I’ve read all of Brene Brown’s books and every one has challenged, convicted, and changed me. This one was no different. While it has a lot of strong language and many things in it I don’t agree with (like all of Brene’s books), I think it’s so worth reading — especially in this day and age where we spend so much time on our screens and social media.

What Having Older Kids Looks Like

This is what having older kids looks like. And it’s basically the best thing ever.

I woke up craving whole wheat pancakes one morning this past week, so when Kaitlynn got up, I asked her if she wanted to make pancakes.

She said, “Oh! That sounds like a great idea!” 20 minutes later, she brought this steaming plate of pancakes to me.

Moms of littles, there are pancakes like this in your future! Don’t give up… all that teaching and training and nurturing and letting kids work alongside you will pay off one day soon! (Need some encouragement? Go read this post.)

How to Actually Find Time for YOU

I used to feel like it was selfish to take time for me. Like there was too much to do and it would be wrong for me to rest and recharge and refuel.

What did that result in? Burnout. Exhaustion. Stress. Irritability. Like these flowers, I constantly felt worn out, weary, and wilted. It hurt everyone and helped no one.

Learning I’m an introvert and a Highly Sensitive Person, has helped me to understand that I have to carefully guard against being stretched too thin. I stopped comparing my more-limited capacity to someone who has boundless energy, isn’t HSP, and is fueled by going and doing and being with people.

And I stopped feeling guilty for pacing myself, for saying no, and for allotting at least 2-3 hours of chill/slow/quiet time into my day almost every day.
For me, I’m a happier, healthier, more productive person when I make refueling and rest a priority. So it’s so worth it.

So how do I find time for me? Well, I make time. I ask for help. I plan in pockets of time every day and larger windows of time at least 1-2 days per week. I say no often. I don’t commit to something without careful thought. And I have accountability in place to make sure that I’m continuing to make refueling a priority.

Here’s what I’ve discovered: When you decide something is a priority, it gives you permission to make it a reality. (Looking for some practical ideas to find time for you? Read this post.)

A Lesson That Can Be Easy to Forget

It’s easy to look at pictures online and imagine perfect lives. You see smiles and amazing moments and curated photos… and you can forget that behind all that, there are likely a lot of things that aren’t being shared. Because maybe they can’t be.

This year, I’ve walked through some of the most heartbreaking moments I can ever remember. Some of my dreams and hopes for the future were shattered in a dozen little pieces.

There have been countless tears. There has been hurt so deep that my body felt like it couldn’t bear it. And it’s felt really lonely.

I’m grateful that I have a few real-life safe spaces where I can share the ugly and the messy. But sometimes, I feel like a hypocrite online because there are many things I can’t share.

It reminds me that everyone has struggles. Everyone is hurting. And everyone is carrying burdens and sadness that they probably can’t talk about.

So when you see photos online and start to convince yourself that someone has an amazingly charmed life and you wish you could trade places with them, remind yourself that there’s likely a whole lot of stuff behind the screen that they are struggling with or hard things they are walking through. ❤️

By the way, in spite of the sadness and hard things, like I told some friends earlier this week, I have such peace in my heart. I’m just so grateful for the good and beautiful things in my life. Because when I stop to pay attention, there is SO much to be grateful for.

(Photo credit: @gallerybylauracharleston)

How My Parenting Has Changed This Past Year

So many of you have begged for me to share how my parenting has changed this past year as a result of me writing this post. Here are some things that have changed and made such a difference:

  • I began to parent from an understanding of the Gospel. That I can rest in Christ’s finished work on the Cross. Which means I can stop trying harder, or thinking that if I just did more, had a better schedule, was more organized, etc. that would make me a better mom.
  • I began parenting from an understanding of how much I am loved by God. Which allows me, in turn, to more wholeheartedly love my kids.
  • I stopped trying to parent for behavioral modification (“are they doing the right things?”) and outward performance (“what will other people think?”) and started parenting from a desire to point my kids to Jesus.
  • I stopped focusing on parenting the “right way” and started focusing on just wholeheartedly loving my kids and building relationships with them.
  • I stopped praying for my kids to change and started praying that I could love and walk with them right where they are at.
  • I cut back on my work hours to be more fully present with them in the little things and in the big things.
  • I stopped spending so much time correcting and started asking questions and listening.
  • I made a commitment to try to spend quality one-on-one time with each child every single day.
  • I started paying attention to what they are most interested in and what makes them feel loved and leaned into that/looked for ways to be a part of their world.

I’m a work in progress, but I’m here to tell you that I feel like I have completely brand-new relationships with and understanding of my kids as a result of these changes. And there’s a whole lot less frustration and a whole lot more joy in our lives as a result! 🌻

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15 Comments

  • Angela Kozlov says:

    I love your blog , it’s so inspiring! I love that you talk from you heart and your own experiences! I love that your changing your life for better and Inleatn so much from you! I am a mom of four and homeschooling! I try to slow down sometimes and enjoy the moment. Many Blessing to you and your family!

    In Christ,

    Angela K

  • Jess says:

    Crystal,
    I have followed your blog for at least 10 years, and I feel like I have grown and changed right alongside you. Thank you for being willing to humbly grow and change and be honest about it all! My personality type is right in line with yours, and understanding my strengths and weaknesses has revolutionized my parenting, marriage, and personal awareness. (Have you taken Gallup’s Strengths Finder?)
    I want to grow more, especially in the areas you listed for parenting in a less micro-managing way. I look forward to learning more from your journey. Praying for you today.

  • Laura says:

    Where do you live now? Top Flight just opened up in Fishers, IN. Looks like so much fun!

  • Julie says:

    Sending Hugs! I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with such deep heartache and loss this year. I don’t know what you’ve had to face, but when I experienced loss through miscarriage, someone told me during that very painful season, “God will redeem this. You may not see how right away, but He will.” You’re a blessing!

  • Danielle says:

    Would you recommend any books you’ve read or any other resources that have influenced your change in perspective on parenting? Thanks!

  • Bethany says:

    Would you mind sharing some of what you do in your quiet hours each day? Nap, read, worship, or other ? I have the time in my schedule (single and underemployed) but it’s hard to know exactly what will be refreshing and restful.

    • It really depends… I try to ask myself, “What does my soul need?” And then do that. Sometimes, it’s lying down and listening to a podcast. Sometimes it’s a nap. Sometimes, it’s going outside. Sometimes, it’s a cup of tea and conversation with a friend. Sometimes, it’s a movie with my kids.

  • Robyn says:

    Crystal, I just want to encourage you in your parenting and tell you that you will continue seeing the fruits of your labor as your kids keep growing. Everything you are pouring into them now will bear fruit. Not a moment of it is wasted. My oldest daughter is now over 1000 miles away from home at a Bible college and she is thriving. We homeschooled and much of our days were spent on life skills. She texted me just last night and thanked me for training her so well. She said she has come across people there who do not know how to use a hand mixer, run a vacuum, or cook even the most basic things. She thanked me for taking time to teach her because she is now teaching others. Sometimes the days of raising kids can get really long and really hard and we can question whether we are even “qualified” for the task. All I can say is prepare to be amazed. Your kids are going places, just like mine.

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