If you missed Part 1, be sure to read it here first. We left off in June — here’s a run-down of how the rest of the year went:
We began the month by heading back to Kansas to celebrate the fourth of July. It was good to go back, though Silas had a lot of asthma struggles when we were there, so we didn’t get much sleep at night as a result.
The following week, I flew to Chicago to give the keynote presentation at the Firefighter Wives’ Ball — which was my first time to ever attend, let alone speak at, a ball. It was quite the experience, as I wrote about here.
Jesse also started playing on our church’s softball team this month. I was so excited to see him taking initiative to do something fun and I felt like it helped him to start turning the corner in a small way. He also met with our campus pastor about possibly being apart of the men’s small group they were starting. Again, after weeks of him really struggling, for him to be taking strides to work on personal development and plant roots was huge to witness.
At the end of the month, we took a family trip to South Carolina to visit my sister and her family and for me to attend the She Speaks conference. We had a great trip and we realized how wonderful it was for us to be able to just pack up and go somewhere without having to plan months in advance due to Jesse’s full schedule.
August found us on the road as a family again, this time for an 11-day trip to Arkansas and Branson, MO. We spent the first part of the trip with my family at our annual extended family trip to Bull Shoals Lake. We then headed to Branson, MO, to meet up with Jesse’s family and got to Silver Dollar City.
While there, I also learned to knee board, which I was pretty stoked about!
I also started working on writing my next book in August. The first two weeks of the month, my ghost editor and I spent hashing out some of the bones of the book’s outline and then on August 15th, we jumped in full force.
On August 19, we re-launched Grocery University and you all blew us away by buying thousands and thousands more copies of the course than we ever dreamed. We’re learning never to underestimate you all. 🙂
Near the end of August, I flew to Las Vegas for Michele’s dad’s funeral. It was a bittersweet time — it was such a gift to get to be there to support Michele and to witness how much her dad meant to she and her family. But on the other hand, our hearts hurt so much for our friend and her loss.
The first week of September, Jesse began meeting with the men’s small group from our church — a group that has turned out to be such a gift and encouragement to him. Silas also started soccer this week and some local friends generously offered to come over and help me finally get some things hung on my wall. I was amazed at what a difference it made in our home to have wall-hangings up!
This month, my friend, Ginger, came to visit for a weekend. Her husband was deployed at the time and the days were getting long for her. So it was fun to plan an impromptu girl’s weekend at our house. We stayed up way too late talking, but it was oh so worth it! 🙂
We celebrated Jesse’s birthday this month really simply and just as he wanted — spending an evening hanging out in downtown Franklin and trying out a new-to-us restaurant that he’d been itching to go to. The kids all saved up their own money and I took them to dollar store (at their request!) to buy him gifts. I had so much fun watching them giggle and plan and wrap their gifts for him — and then he had so much fun opening up each one!
September was also the month where I realized that trying to homeschool, write a book, and run a blog all at the same time just wasn’t working. I was run down, exhausted, and felt like I wasn’t really doing a good job in any of the three areas.
So Jesse and I sat down and had a real heart-t0-heart talk about what our options were. I was feeling really at my wit’s end and unsure of what to do. Well, Jesse came up with an idea that I never saw coming and would have never even thought or considered to suggest myself… he said he’d like to take over homeschooling while I finished up my book.
He’d already been doing part of the homeschooling and I knew he’s such a great teacher, but it’s a big task and I didn’t want him to feel like he had to do it. As we talked more (and I sort of tried to talk him out of it!), I realized he really wanted to do this.
And so I handed homeschooling over to him for the next two months and I buckled down and got in full-on book writing mode.
This turned out to be a completely blessing in disguise as Jesse was still struggling and grappling through what his calling in life is and what he was supposed to be doing in this new season. He had made some good strides in the right direction, but taking over homeschooling gave him a new purpose and drive that I hadn’t seen before. He OWNED the homeschooling, and in doing so, I saw his spark really come back again.
It also helped him to solidify more long-term what he wanted to do and that he really wanted to make being involved in homeschooling an important priority.
My Mom & Dad came to TN for my birthday — which was so kind of them. My dad helped do a number of projects around the house, my mom and I got to spend quite a lot of time talking and hanging out together, and they also took the kids one evening so Jesse and I could have a date night!
Kathrynne had her first swim meet — something she’d been wanting to do for awhile but had been really fearful of. Watching her go out and face her fears with courage and bravery blessed my Mama heart more than words can say!
I feel like I spent almost every waking moment of October working on my book manuscript… I ate, drank, and slept (or more accurately didn’t sleep!) book-writing. The hard work paid off as I made a LOT of headway on it in October and had almost finished the rough draft by the end of the month!
The last week and a half of October were spent at the Allume conference and back in Kansas again. It was wonderful to get to spend some quality time with dear people — and so refreshing after it felt like I’d been completely holed up all month long!
The first bit of November was spent polishing up my manuscript in order to send it out to a few friends to critique.
Once that was done, I left for MN to go speak at the Hearts at Home conference and then meet up with Jesse in Colorado for the Platform Conference. I had really been looking forward to both conferences, but as it turned out, finding out that Michele’s cancer had come back made the week really, really hard for me.
A few days after we got back home, our dear friend and previous mother’s helper, Susanna, came to stay with us for a few days. I was completely physically and emotionally drained and God knew how much I needed her to be staying with us for a few days. She was like an angel in our home — loving on our kids, doing our laundry, doing some organizing and cleaning projects, and just all around blessing our family at a very deep level.
While she was here, Jesse and I drove up to Atlanta with some of my team for a meeting with the company who is designing and manufacturing our product line in 2015. We’re really excited about the possibilities and what the future holds there!
I made another quick trip to Colorado for a one-day filming project and then got home just in time to unload my suitcase, wash my clothes, and repack it to leave a few hours later to go back to Kansas for Thanksgiving.
The day after we got back home from Kansas, my sister, Olivia, flew in to stay with us for a few days while we had our end-of-year executive team meetings. I had been really nervous about these as we had some big decisions to make and had spent quite a bit of time worrying over them, planning for them, and praying about them.
Turns out, I should have skipped the worrying part, as the meetings went FAR better than what I could have ever imagined and we all came into the meetings with the same hopes and on the same page — without even knowing it!
We made some big decisions for 2015 that I’m really excited about — namely, to streamline some areas and pare down in some areas so we can prioritize better and have more breathing room in our lives. I’m stoked about this coming year and our mission to be even more focused and prioritized. I don’t regret 2014 in any way, but the pace of it was not a pace of life I aspire to continue at long-term!
The rest of December was incredibly laid back and peaceful — a much-needed respite after many, many full months. We hung out together as a family, we made special memories, we read together, we slept in, we watched movies, we went to a few fun outings, and Jesse surprised us with an overnight stay at the Gaylord Opryland. We’d heard it is beautiful this time of year and it truly was. It was a great way to close out the year!
Looking back on this past year, it kind of takes my breath away that we did as much as we did, traveled as much as we traveled, and accomplished as much as we accomplished! I truly feel like God’s hand was so faithful to carry us through over and over again when we were tired or fearful or overwhelmed. We got to see Him show up on our behalf and give us what we needed to do what He had called us to.
Our faith grew so much this year, our marriage grew so much, our relationships with our kids grew, and, probably the biggest blessing for me, Jesse had a major personal transformation this year. Honestly, while he was busy with law school and then different legal jobs and then running his own law firm, he never stopped long enough for me to realize how much he was struggling deep down — with fear, insecurity, and feeling like he wasn’t good enough.
As we processed these things together and I challenged him to replace his long-believed lies with truths (just as I had learned to do myself a few years ago), he slowly ever so slowly started changing from the inside out. It’s been a beautiful thing to witness!
He’s now so full of life and drive and ambition, but also just so happy. He loves overseeing/managing all the legal and financial aspects of our business, he loves managing our two rental houses, and he’s getting a lot of opportunities to do pro bono legal work — which he finds so much fulfillment in. Plus, he’s loving being in charge of our kids’ sports and extracurricular activities and helping with the homeschooling.
These struggles and the growth over the past year has only served to strengthen our marriage at a deep level. So looking back, I am incredibly grateful that we made the decision to move — even though it didn’t make sense to a lot of people and even though we weren’t even quite sure how it was all going to play out.
For the sake of our marriage, our spiritual growth, and our personal growth, it was every bit worth it — and we’re only six months into this adventure! We’re excited to see what 2015 holds!
Happy New Year!