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EntreLeadership Recap


As I mentioned two weeks ago, my husband and I were blessed with the opportunity to take a business trip and attend Dave Ramsey's EntreLeadership Business Conference. We'd both been eyeing this for sometime and when the tickets were put on special for $99 each and we found a very smoking hot package deal which included airfare, hotel, and rental car incredibly inexpensively through a travel site online we jumped at the opportunity to invest some of our business earnings to attend this conference.

We were in no way disappointed! Not only was it really wonderful to get to have some quality couple time–something that with three little children and two businesses doesn't happen as often as we'd like for it to happen!–but it was also a very inspiring and motivating conference. We came home fired up, encouraged, and ready to hit the ground running again with more purpose and drive and vision.

Here's just a brief recap of a few of the things I took away from this conference:


1) Always be growing and learning.

Dave stressed the importance of constantly reading good books and surrounding yourselves with wise mentors. We can greatly hinder our effectiveness if we become stagnant.

While the focus of this conference was on running a business, I couldn't help but apply some of what was shared to my much more important job of wife, mother, and homemaker. I want to do the best job as I can do and that means continually seeking to learn and grow.

One practical way I am striving  to do this right now is by being mentored by more experienced moms. A few months ago, I joined a group of moms in our area who are committed to loving their husbands and training and nurturing their children. They meet twice a month for a teaching and sharing time and also have monthly required reading assignments. It's been so good to be motivated and encouraged by these wise women as well as to be reading articles and books which challenge me in my role of wife and mother.

I had set a goal at the beginning of this year to read 50 books–about one book each week. I've fallen quite a bit behind in this goal but EntreLeadership re-energized me to make this a greater priority in my life. So I'm going to make an effort to read at least four books per month for the next six months. Of those four books, I am aiming that one will be a business book, one will be a book on some aspect of homemaking/child-rearing, and one will be a book to encourage me in my Christian walk. While I might not get all three books in these genres finished in a single month's time, I'm hoping that just having the goal will propel me to be reading more and thus growing as a person in the various aspects of my life.


2) You are the problem and you are the solution.

In the very first session, Dave said a few really poignant words: "If your business or organization is messed up, YOU are the problem." He talked about how easy it is to lay blame on others when we're really the ones at fault.

"You are in charge. Fix it!" he said.

I think if we truly grasp this whole mindset of personal responsibility, it can transform our entire lives. It is so easy to make excuses, to transfer guilt, and to not own up to our own problems and mistakes.

Again, I thought of my own home. There's been more chaos and disorder in our home than usual and I realize that I am the primary one to blame. I've been lax in our daily schedule, staying up later than I should, and not being as disciplined in my own life as I should be. This lack of discipline has a trickle-down effect.

Instead of saying, "If only this or that…", I need to make the most of what I do have and get busy changing things. For me, that means making a concerted effort to go to bed early, being more disciplined about time spent on the computer, and sticking with our daily schedule. I need to stop making excuses, and by the grace of God, start implementing solutions.


3. Learn to be intentional in your time usage.

I would say that the most life-impacting thing Dave talked about was time management. He said that we often say we don't have enough time. Yet it's not that we don't have enough time, it's that we're choosing to use our time otherwise. Or maybe we are just letting time slip by without even realizing it.

He emphasized how vital it is to be intentional about using all of our resources–including our time. I appreciated his words on prioritization of your day and how to keep the unimportant from becoming urgent and needlessly steal a large portion of your day.

There are many hats I'm wearing right now: wife, mother, homemaker, homeschool teacher, friend, daughter, sister, blogger… and the only way I can accomplish what needs to be accomplished and have a fairly organized home and life is by being intentional in what I do and the daily decisions I make. I have to say "no" to things which are unimportant, delegate tasks, let some things go, and come up with creative systems which flow well for those things which must be . Otherwise, my life will easily revert to chaotic stress.


I so enjoyed the opportunity this trip gave us to spend one-on-one time with Silas. I'm loving this little guy to pieces and can't believe he's getting close to five months old!

As a side note, we also learned on our trip that we were in no way
created to live in a huge city. Kansas City seemed plenty big to us,
but Atlanta is HUGE. It's the biggest city I've ever been in
before and I think I spent half the time wide-eyed and incredulous at
how busy and populated it is. However, I just have to say that we found
the people of Atlanta to be very warm and friendly–not at all what I'd
expect for "big city folks". Southern hospitality and charm seem to be
alive and well, despite the massive population!

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  • Xtina Knndy says:

    i can’t wait to read this in detail when i get home from work tonight. 🙂
    & yes, atl IS big.

  • Saryn says:

    Thank you for this post today Crystal. It is exactly what I needed and I am now feeling energized and ready to sit down and plan out how I intend to refocus on my priorities for work and home life.

    I know that with a little bit of planning and alot of hard work I will reach my goals.


  • Honey says:

    Reading your last line : Atlanta is called the “Big Apple of the South” (and now you know why). So there is definitely lots to see and do, but it’s still a hospitable place. (I am a Tennesseean, but was born and spent some of my youth in Atlanta.)
    Sweet baby-I love that age!

  • Cathe says:

    Thanks for sharing this!!

  • Elizabeth says:

    Silas is adorable!!

  • Mary says:

    Silas is such a cutie, I can’t believe he’s that big already, it seems like yesterday that he was born!

    Glad you enjoyed your trip to Atlanta, y’all come back real soon, ok?!

  • Angie says:

    I love Dave Ramsey! I just love when he comes to Atlanta. Such a good guy.

  • Casey says:

    Will you share the titles of the books you are going to be reading. I’d be interested in some myself.


  • Amy Smith says:

    Silas is such a cutie. Thanks for giving us a peak into your beautiful family. My little Jesse is almost 5 months old (tomorrow). Thanks for all you do. You’ve helped me cut our spending tremendously over the past few months. You are such an inspiration in so many ways. Keep up the great work!

  • Sydney says:

    Wow, great info! Thanks for sharing with us!

  • Stacie says:

    Crystal, I am so happy you were able to go to this conference. I am hoping in the future I’ll be able to attend when Dave comes back to Atlanta. It’s only 4 hours away from us!

  • Michele says:

    Nice post. I grew up on the East Coast in Philadelphia to New Yorker parents, and now live in Washington, DC. I don’t know anything but large cities! And yes, people are just as nice in big cities as they are in small towns. Sounds like it was a very useful conference.

  • Jessica says:

    I found this so encouraging, thank you!

  • Roxanne says:

    I’m glad you had a great time!!

    One on one time with a child is such a precious thing. I think it’s one of the most sacrificial and meaningful gifts a mother can give a child. Good for you for making that a priority!

  • Delores says:

    Your thoughts brought to mind CS Lewis’ essay titled “First Things.” He talks about how if we neglect first things and put second things first, then not only do we not get first things but we don’t get second things as well. Of course, he is much better at explaining it and I would recommend you reading it. It is short and to the point and encouraging. Also, I needed to hear that I am the solution and be intentional about my time. We homeschool as well and I frequently semi-joke and say that if my kids were in public school I could get so much more done. Well, this isn’t really true and it really isn’t the point — they aren’t in public school and I just have to make it work. Thanks for all of your hard work!

  • Nancy Kaya says:

    I don’t often comment on posts, but I found this one particularly encouraging. Even though I am now a grandmother of two, I find the suggenstions still apply and appreciate the reminders. If you are interested, I have published two faith based books written by my mother (she recently passed away from Alzheimer’s). “Two Angel Wings” and “Miracle Cottage” by Arlene Webster. They both are short reads and are available on

  • Oh my goodness! How precious is that little boy of yours!

    Thanks for sharing. We’re Dave fans here. I hope one day we get a chance to attend one of his live events.

  • Betsy says:

    Hello from Atlanta (where the only time I ever think about the size is when I’m accidently stuck in rush hour traffic)! Great post.

  • Erin says:

    Thank you for being so transparent and sharing your weaknesses with us! I too struggle with many of the same issues. I would LOVE to also know the titles to the books you are reading and some you would recommend. Wouldn’t a book club be fun? Ok, you have enough on your plate already, but it’s a thought 🙂 Thank you for all you do.

  • Trixie says:

    I’m glad you guys had the opportunity to go to this conference. I love entreprenureship stuff like that. The part about problems with/in our businesses being OUR OWN fault is terrific. I too want to find some other thing/person to blame other than myself. When it really comes down to it; it’s me.

    Thanks for sharing a little about the conference with us!


  • Erin: If you follow me on Facebook, I post my current reads and want to reads there. It’s mostly for my own record-keeping and accountability!

  • Ruth says:

    My husband and I dropped off our son in Atlanta this fall for college and we also were a little shell-shocked. There are about 5 1/2 million people in the Atlanta metro area. We figured out how to get around fairly quickly, though. I think the people are very friendly and helpful. We are used to bad traffic in So Cal; I think it was all the rain that got us! Great informative post, and sweet baby boy.


  • mary bailey says:

    I’m glad that you and your husband got to do something you enjoyed and learned from together as a couple. After 15 years of marriage, I think my hubby and I have forgotten how to do that. We have a 10yo son and, though we know it shouldn’t be, our marriage is very much child-centered. Could you share some fun and frugal ways you and your husband make time for each other?

    Also, I’d love to know the books you are planning to read. That’s quite a goal you have! Will you include any fiction on your list?

    I read you every day but I think this may be my first comment. Blessings to you and happy birthday, too.

  • Marie Rempel says:

    What mom’s group is it that you joined? I’m looking for something like that and was just wondering about details. Thanks!

  • Michelle says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this. You outlined some important truths in this post that I would do well to remember and put into action. Thank you for being such an inspiration! What I wouldn’t give to have had half as clear and determined head as you do at your age…I’m a little behind but I keep on walking! God bless you!

  • Glad you enjoyed yourself in my wonderful state of GA. 🙂

  • Michelle says:

    Thanks for the post. I’m interested in knowing more about how you set up your daily schedule. As a fairly new stay-at-home mom (1st child is 7 months old and I quit work when she was born), I am trying to get into a daily routine and schedule to help me utilize her naps and accomplish a fair number of things. Any chance you could post your schedule or do a post about it? Thanks!

  • Janice says:

    How appropriate that your post popped up as I was fine-tuning my Dave Ramsey inspired October spending plan…there always seems to be something that pops up at the last minute to change my plan yet again!!

    Glad that you were treated well here in Atlanta! I just stay at home most of the time, so I don’t remember how big the city is…yes, I am a hermit!

    Thanks for your inspiring words!

  • Amy says:

    The tickets are not normally that cheap – are they? This is really something my husband and I could use for our business, but we always thought it was really expensive.
    Glad you got to go!

  • Angela says:

    There are some great thoughts in here that I really need to put into practice in my own life. Schedule is unheard of around here and I end up doing a lot of things that suck up my time because of it and feeling like I’ve accomplished nothing during my day. I am definitely going to meditate on this and see how I can use these ideas to better our lives.

  • What terrific point, Crystal! It sounds like an exceptional conference. The time management information must have been wonderful!

  • Rena says:

    I love how you applied those principles you learned about managing a business to managing your home. You said several things I needed to hear, particularly about using time wising and being more disciplined. Thanks for the encouragement.

  • Jane says:

    I am so glad you enjoyed your time here in Atlanta. I only wish I had known you were coming. My family would have loved to hosted your family for supper and show you around a bit.

    My DH and I attend the same conference and like you I am excited and filled up and ready to work harder and smarter. The other thing I got out of his talking was if we don’t take care of ourselves everything around us will fall apart. I can not tell you what Dave Ramsey and his program means to my family. We no longer live in financial fear. 2years debt free and we will own the house out right April 2011 if not sooner. I am so glad you had a good time. And thank you for all that you do on the site.

  • Oh, what a weekend of refreshment, encouragement, and much needed reminders. I needed that today. 🙂

  • Rosanne says:

    I am glad you found inspiration and motivation. Its always great to get a little kick in the butt. That’s why I invite people over for dinner every couple weeks. Then I HAVE to clean! But I have say that for a young woman who has accomplished so much so far, and a happy well adjusted family to boot, its OK to stay up late once in a while. You must do it because you enjoy it or find it relaxing. Or maybe thats when you and hubby engage in small talk or watch embarrassingly stupid TV shows together. It s great to prioritize and spend most of your time productively and efficiently. And we should always strive to be a better version of ourselves. But I sensed a slight tone- dont beat yourself up even a tiny bit. Youre doing great. Maybe since adorable Silas is here, with your commitments and responsibilities growing, your body and mind needs a bit more goof off time once in a while.

  • P Jo says:

    Besides this blog, what other business are you running?


  • Liz Dorsey says:

    I’m reading, Seth Godin’s “Tribes” book, I think you would find it interesting if you haven’t already read it. He seems pretty anti-religious, but still has some good points when you ignore that. (He has a broad definition of “religion”, too complicated for one comment to address.)

  • Julie says:

    I am printing out this post and saving it…. I need to be reminded of these truths often. Time is so short.. I desire to use it wisely!

  • Meghan says:

    I agree with Rosanne’s comment above–every minute of every day doesn’t have to be “productive”. There’s a great book entitled, “The Art of Doing Nothing”, which is often a very hard concept for Americans (in particular) to appreciate. I’m a stay at home mom…I used to use every moment of every nap to clean, cook, do laundry, and do “productive” things, but I’ve started allowing myself to sometimes use my sons’ naptime to watch a movie, read a magazine, read blogs I enjoy, etc. It’s not “productive”, but it gives me a break and lets me relax, and that helps make me more productive at other times during the day….plus it makes me a less stressed, nicer mom and person. The laundry and dusty piano can occasionally wait until tomorrow!

  • Camille Craw says:

    You are truly an inspiration and I was excited to find out that we live in the same city! When you posted about paying cash for your house, my husband and I commented that you must live in the midwest! I appreciate all your postings! Do you do local grocery store matchups or do you have a favorite blog that you use to help you save on groceries here (apart from the drugstores etc?). Camille

    Money Saving Mom here: We don’t live in Atlanta, we just flew there for the business conference because we were able to get an exceptional deal. 🙂

  • Lorie says:

    Not only is Atlanta big but, I think, it’s poorly laid out. The couple of times I’ve been there I’ve had a very hard time getting around. If you ever get a chance to visit Nashville I think you would find it quite different. Still very friendly, but easier to get around.

  • I really appreciate you sharing these principles with us. I am grappling with many of the same issues as well. In fact, I’d best be off to bed soon!

  • Jen says:

    Thanks for taking the time to share what you learned as I found it to be such an encouragement. I have so felt the need to use my time more wisely and this was another inspiration in that direction!

  • Melody says:

    Thank you so much for sharing! We have been doing our Total Money Makeover for about two years now and it has been a complete life-changing event. I have found that we do get stagnant from time to time and start making financial decisions that hurt our goals, saying things like “It’s not that big of a deal” or “We deserve it”. I have read and reread the TMM book a few times just to get myself reenergized. Now as a SAHM, it is more important than ever to stay on course, not just for our financial future, but for our family’s well-being. Even this small blog post is enough to make me want to kick a little life into our plan. Thanks again for sharing and getting me a little more excited about what we are doing!

    P.S. Your son is a dollface!

  • Joy says:

    Thank you for inspiring me in my desire to be an all-around better individual, wife and mother. I follow several similar blogs, but yours stands out because of the regular reminder of priorities and your spiritual encouragement.

  • Kristen says:

    I would love to know more about your mom’s group. It is exactly what I am looking for, and I live in the kc area.

  • Katie says:

    Hi Crystal,

    Really liked the post. I’ve often wondered why I never have any time but now I realise it is because I do the second things first. Often I feel I’m failing on all fronts rather than making headway. I have learnt this year that our family budget is all down to my organisation skills and planning but one bout of sleepless nights down to nursing a teething baby blows it out of the water (well not quite).

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