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A Peek Into Last Week

If I had looked ahead a few years ago and seen my life right now I probably would have felt pretty overwhelmed by everything I would have seen on my plate: 3 older kids with lots of activities and who love to hang out and talk (which I LOVE!), launching a book, working full time, two babies — one with some extra medical needs, navigating foster care and lots of therapies and appointments, serving in the youth ministry at church, opening up our home for hospitality weekly…

Here’s the thing I’ve seen so clearly: God doesn’t give us grace to carry our future callings. Instead, He gives us grace for today. And that is enough.

My hands are probably the fullest they’ve ever been (both literally and figuratively!). But I can tell you that God has been so incredibly faithful.

Every single day, He shows up and shows Himself strong. He provides energy when I feel weary. He provides encouragement when I feel down. He provides practical help when I can’t figure out how to juggle all the pieces. He multiplies my time when my days are full.

Every day, every hour, I get to see Him working on my behalf. I cannot do this life in my own strength. I would be a frazzled, stressed, disorganized, overworked hot mess. But God… in His strength, I can do all things that He has called me to.

His grace has been abundantly sufficient these past six months. And I can trust and rest that it will continue to be in the future — whatever that holds!

I used the Eat at Home Menu Plan service for our recipes this past week. We’ve used this over the years during busy seasons and it can be a lifesaver… especially if the thought of planning a menu and writing a grocery list is overwhelming! Best of all, the recipes are simple, inexpensive, and almost everything can be purchased at ALDI!

Oh and it’s on sale this week for the lowest price of the year when you use coupon code EASY at checkout. That makes it as low as $1.13/week to have someone do all the leg work for you!

(That’s the best deal that they offer and the coupon code locks in the rate for the life of your subscription!!! See some sample menu plans here.)

Find out more here.

I made all of our dinners on live video this past week. See everything I cooked here.

I’ve been sharing lots of creative ways to save money on groceries on the blog and on Instagram this week. Lots of you have been messaging me and sharing what has been working for you, too!

You all are AMAZING!!! Thank you for donating to babies and toddlers in foster care in TN through the Amazon Baby Drive I did with Tennessee Alliance for Kids!

They sent me this picture of everything they had gotten in so far and my jaw just dropped!!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!! From the bottom of my heart!

There are a few more items left on the list, so if you haven’t gotten to contribute yet and you wanted to, here’s the Amazon wishlist.

Be still my heart. I just love these two more than words can express.

Someone asked this past week if I sometimes wished we just had one baby so we could give them more one-on-one attention and love. Honestly, while it is louder, requires more creativity, and I usually have at least one baby in my arms, I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

We know beyond any shadow of a doubt that we were supposed to say yes to Champ. And even on the hard and exhausting days, we have zero regrets. He has brought so much joy to our home and our lives and we can’t imagine the last six months without his smile and coos and sweet personality in our home.

Seeing these two together just makes my heart want to burst!

Champ usually sits on Jesse’s lap while we record the podcast each week — and he loves to put on the headphones and talk into the microphone!

Silas had three baseball games this past week — and he got to be the starting pitcher for one of the games, which he was so excited about!!

Kaitlynn had some friends over to make a cell cake for a school project.

I shared this on Instagram and wanted to share it here, too:

Any time I share about our grocery budget and shopping trips, I get messages and comments from people explaining why they can’t save money on groceries and/or why what I’m doing would never work for them.

Some have even expressed pretty strong frustration over the fact that I’m shopping at Kroger and they don’t have a Kroger.

I’ve also heard things like, “I can’t do that because we eat all organic, we live out in the country, we don’t eat meat, we’re gluten-free, we have 5 teenage boys, we have little kids, I’m a single mom, we live in a different country, we only shop at Costco…” and on and on the messages and comments go.

I don’t think most of these people are in anyway trying to be critical, but I feel like it’s important for me to remind people that this is just me chronicling what I’m experimenting with and what’s working for our family. This is not me saying, “You should do this, too!” Or “This is the only way to shop!” Or, “Anyone who doesn’t shop like this is dumb!”

I totally believe what works for me won’t work for everyone, but my hope is that by sharing what is working for us, I’ll inspire *everyone* to think outside the box.

It’s often our tendency to make excuses as to why something won’t work, but excuses won’t get us anywhere.

Instead of saying, “That won’t work because of XYZ,” I gently challenge you to you ask yourself, “Is there something I *could* do or *could* try that might work well?”

If you want to lower your grocery bill or get out of debt or earn more income or change your life in any way, the best thing you can do is to stop making excuses and start looking for ways to take tiny baby steps in the direction you want to go! I’m cheering for you!

Hand lettering by @sweetpreciousletters

Live Shows This Past Week

In case you missed any of my daily live shows on Instagram, you can watch the replays from this past week at the links below:

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7 Comments

  • Emily says:

    Kaitlynn’s cake made me smile! We used to make cell cakes in biology club in high school. Thanks for that trip down memory lane!

  • Patti Smith says:

    Love, love, love the updates. As far as the groceries…I really enjoy the posts even though I live in an extremely rural area and we don’t have a Kroger, Aldi’s, or anything similar. It is your shopping style that needs to be emulated, not the specific stores. Buying what is on sale, using what is on hand, planning out your meals (with flexibility and grace, of course), thinking outside the box, making or substituting for what ingredient you don’t have…all good reminders:). Keep up the great work and LOVE all the pictures of that beautiful family:)

  • Sarah says:

    Hey Crystal, I appreciate you acknowledging that most of the commenters probably are meaning to come across as critical. I wonder if most of them simply want to participate in the conversation by sharing their experiences.

    I know I have had times when I tried to explain something, simply as a matter of having a conversation or so someone would understand what I was facing, and they took it as making up excuses. That is hard on my personality because part of my love language is the need to feel heard and understood.

    Anyway, we can all do what we can, with what we have, where we are. Probably most of your readers are doing that, despite how they come across (sometimes frustrated).

    P.S. Pictures are adorable, as always!

  • Mary says:

    What a nice post.

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