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A Peek Into My Life This Past Week

Welcome to my weekly 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 Reading

This past week, I finished reading The Broken WayDARE: The New Way to End Anxiety & Stop Panic Attacks, and More Than Just Making It.

The Broken Way really, really impacted me in a number of different ways. One of those was in the area of friendships. I wrote this as a result of how the book challenged me:

“We weren’t created to be loners; we were created for community.”

I’ve said this from stages and written it in posts. And yet, for years, I’ve worked incredibly hard to not inconvenience anyone around me, if I can dare help it.

I’ve gone way out of my way to avoid causing someone else to have to go out of their way.

I’ve struggled through many things privately and not shared them with those closest to me lest I add one more thing to their already-full plates.

I’ve put on a brave face and kept it together when I felt like my world was falling apart because the last thing I would want to do would be to be a burden to someone else.

But I’m slowly learning this is the road of loneliness and isolation.

If we want to develop authentic deep relationships, we have to spill out the vulnerable, broken parts of our soul and let other people in to the messy, hurting, raw spaces. And be a safe place for them to do the same.

It requires the willingness to inconvenience and be inconvenienced. It means we let others bear our burdens and we’re willing to bear theirs. It will result in disappointing others and in being disappointed ourselves.

But when we let others get close enough that our brokenness and messiness is on full display, they also get to see the most beautiful, intimate parts of our heart and soul, too.

And let me tell you, getting to experience that depth in relationship is so very worth being inconvenienced and inconveniencing others for.

Right now, I’m reading: A Secret Courage, Fragments That Remain, and Nothing to Prove.

{See my Reading Goals for 2017. Also, see the 45 books I’ve read so far in 2017 here.}

What I Reminded Myself Of This Week

This morning, I woke up before the rest of my family did and I immediately felt haunted by my inner critic.

“You haven’t made cookies with your kids in a long time!”
“You should make reading aloud with your kids more of a priority!”
“Your house isn’t as clean as it should be…”

And on and on it went. Until I said, “STOP! This is ridiculous!”

Sure, maybe I’m not doing what some other moms are doing. Maybe our house isn’t as clean as it could be. Maybe we’ve watched movies together instead of reading aloud the last few weeks. Maybe I’ve not prioritized cookie-baking.

Instead of letting my inner critic make me feel discouraged and defeated over what I’ve not done with my kids recently, I challenged myself to instead stop and celebrate the many, many beautiful moments and talks and adventures and laughs and fun we have had together recently.

And as I did that, I couldn’t believe how many I came up with! It made me smile and sigh a big sigh of relief to realize that while our lives might look different than others and I’m not prioritizing certain things right now, I AM prioritizing other things — like quality time with the kids, fun together, good conversations, and more time just hanging out and being together.

We can always find things to criticize about our life and our choices. And yes, there is always room for improvement. But beating ourselves up never accomplishes anything that ultimately helps anyone.

Let’s fire our inner critic and replace those thoughts with celebrating the good, the beautiful, and the memorable moments that are happening every day in our lives. Because they are there — if we will just stop to notice them!

(Family photo from Gallery By Laura)

We had a fun park date with friends one morning this past week where we explored, walk a trail, tried some geocaching, picnic lunch, and then went and got free Frosty’s at Wendy’s (the Preds scored 4 goals in their game this past week, so Wendy’s gave away Frosty’s in our area — no purchase required!)

And here’s a little peek into my never-dull life…

Some days, you just smile and hold on for dear life.

I was flat in bed sick as a dog on Wednesday. (Do dogs get sicker than humans? Is that why we say that?!? I don’t know. Regardless, I was sick as all get out and couldn’t keep anything down for hours! Yuck.)

We were supposed to leave to fly to Kansas for my brother’s graduation on Thursday morning. Only, I hadn’t moved from the bed for over 24 hours, so I told Jesse he was just going to have to go without me and maybe we could bump my flight to a day later since I was starting to feel human again.

So he showed up at the airport only to discover that the airline had only ticketed us for two of the five tickets we had bought. It actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise because it meant they were able to bump ALL of our flights to an afternoon flight without charging me for changing my flight.

But it also meant I had 2 1/2 hours to get out of bed, get presentable, get packed, get some must-do business projects done, and get to the airport on Thursday afternoon.

Jesse had taken an Uber to the airport since we now only have one car (that’s a long OTHER story involving carpet beetles & the insurance company!) and he offered to take an Uber back home so that I wouldn’t have to drive to the airport in my recovering-from-sickness state. I was all, “No, you stay put! I’ve got this!”

Of course, I then proceeded to take a wrong turn and get royally stuck in standstill construction traffic. Which meant that I made it through security and to our gate with literally 4 minutes to spare before the doors closed!! That was WAY too close for my comfort!

But I made it in time! And I had Jesse take this picture of me during our layover in Dallas on Thursday afternoon because:

a) I was excited that I wanted to drink tea after having zero appetite for almost two days

b) I love this new shirt & these shoes I got from Zulily

c) I knew I needed to share this story online. (I’m sure all the dozens of people walking by were wondering what this crazy woman was doing posing right outside of gate C11!!)

So there you have it. Another day in my never dull life! 😉

Psst! Something I’ve Been Loving

So, Allison who is the creator of Get Your Pretty On gave me access to her Summer Wardrobe Style Challenge after she saw that I talked about the Style Challenge that was available as part of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle.

You guys, I am 100% surprising myself by how much I am loving this. I thought it was a great idea, but I didn’t think it would work for me since I am picky about styles and colors and didn’t think that having someone else pick out outfits and give me outfit suggestions would really work.

But I’m finding it to be so inspiring — especially when you see the variations of the outfits that women are coming up with in the Facebook Group. I’ll likely be sharing more about this in the coming weeks once I’ve tried it more, but I just had to mention it here as something that I am loving this week.

Also, my outfit in the airport photo above was totally inspired by the style challenge. I think it’s going to help me feel so much more put-together and also challenge me outside of my usual wardrobe comfort zones. I will keep you posted!

{By the way, if you are interested in checking out the Summer Style Challenge, Allison gave me a coupon code for you all! Use coupon code MSM10 to get $10 off!}

The graduation was beautiful… unfortunately, I lost all of my photos that I took on my phone of it except this one that I had saved in a different place plus the one below of the kids. I was so sad as I had gotten some great photos. 🙁

We loved getting to be with family, to see friends from Kansas we’ve not seen in a long time, and to get to go to my brother’s graduation party, too.

What I’ve Been Pondering

This week, we got the call. The call that we’ve been anxiously waiting for for three weeks

We’d been praying about this so much and hoping for a certain answer.

It had looked like some things were lining up in such an amazing way and we were so excited for how this was all going to work out.

And then we got the call… and it was the exact opposite answer of everything we had hoped for.

The miracle we’d prayed for and hoped for didn’t happen.

The door was slammed shut — and I felt like I’d been punched hard in my gut.

What do you do when the thing you’d hoped and prayed for doesn’t happen? When the answer is no? When your hopes are dashed? When the door slams shut?

You can be angry and upset. Or, you can rest that God is working in this and His plan is different — and better! — than what you thought was the best plan.

We prayed for an answer and we got one. We prayed for clear direction and we got it.

So I will trust that the God who created the clouds and the sunsets, the God Who has been so faithful in the past, He is going before us in this.

His best is always THE best, even if it doesn’t make sense at the time. And I can trust that someday, I will look back and understand why. For now, I am choosing to rest in His goodness, trust His character, and choose hope!

What I’m Learning

One morning this past week, I was feeling really overwhelmed with this whole parenting job. One child in particular had been mouthing off and acting out and I just felt like nothing I was saying or doing was making an difference.

I texted a friend: “…Wondering if I’m just totally failing as a mom and wondering what on earth I am doing wrong and what do I need to change…”

This friend texted back: “…Both you and Jesse are perfectly made to be {this child’s} Mom and Dad. Let the love that God has given inside of you flow freely. Let {this child} see Jesus in your actions.”

It was such a simple encouragement: stop stressing over what I need to do or not do, what I need to change or not change. Stop beating myself up or fixating on how I may I have failed or worrying about whether this child’s heart is ever going to change.

Instead, camp on the truth that God has perfectly equipped me with everything I need to be the parent of the children He has given me and focus on loving my kids like Jesus loves them.

“Love them like Jesus loves them.” That became my mantra yesterday and it completely changed my attitude and approach.

I pulled this child aside and shared what God has been teaching about how much He loves me. I asked them how they feel loved and how I can make them feel more loved.

We sat and talked and shared our hearts. They shared how they felt hurt and misunderstood in certain situations and they felt like no one really got it. I was able to share situations in my life where I felt the same.

It was beautiful and it gave me a profound window into this child’s heart and soul. I would have missed this had I been fixated on just fixing the issue.

Jesus cares most about our hearts. He doesn’t care that we have all our ducks in a row, that we do all the right things, or that we get it all right.

He loves us in our brokenness. He died for us while we were yet sinners. He still loves us when we fail and make mistakes.

Lord, let me love my kids like You have loved me.

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  • Sharon says:

    Thank you for sharing your heart. Your weekly posts are so encouraging. I love how you share parts of your life and how you are growing as a person.

  • Marianne says:

    I’m loving the GYPO style challenges! If you had told me 6 months ago that I would be paying money for someone to tell me what to wear and posting daily selfies for strangers (or even friends!) to see, I would not have believed it. I got free access to a mini-capsule through Jen Hatmaker’s blog, and now I’m hooked! The Facebook group is so inspiring and encouraging that it really makes the challenge worthwhile. I’ve really gotten out out of my comfort zone and actually get complements on my clothing and outfits fairly regularly.

    • I’m almost thinking I might get brave enough to post daily selfies because the Facebook Group is inspiring me so much! I’m SO glad that you are loving the GYPO style challenges — yay!

  • Sarah says:

    “Sorry” about your news, but you are right — God can be trusted and He is working things out for the good of those who love Him.

    Another great story about parenting and getting to their hearts and truly understanding them…I believe you will reap tremendous rewards one day when they are grown and you get to have adult relationships with them.

    Just out of curiosity, have you learned what each of your love languages are, including those of the kids?

  • Mireille says:

    Thank you for sharing!!

  • Bobbie says:

    Thank you So much for sharing about how you handled your disappointing news….i know this isn’t related at all, but I recently got a promotion and have been struggling with whether or not taking it has been the right choice for my family- lots of guilt about not being able to stay home with my kids. But I’m trying to trust that God has lead me to this opportunity for a reason. Seeing what you wrote made me feel a bit better about my choice. So thanks 🙂

  • Love your peek into the week posts. Raising kids is a hard work. Mine are still in infant and toddler phases. Even though I love them to the moon and back, some days I can’t help feeling overwhelmed.

  • Wendy Briscoe says:

    Our weeks are almost identical minus the illness part. I am so sorry that happened to you. 🙁 I got turned down for a job of which I thought I was perfect for and had 6 years experience in the field, and they sent me that e mail that said “Thank you for your interest but….” 🙁 Really frustrating but just like a father to a child when we tell our children “NO” it’s for a good reason. We know what is best for them in most cases and we say “NO” because we know something is coming along that’s better for them. God told me “NO” in this instance and just like a child, I was angry and hurt and confused. Then God reminded me of all the things he has already given me. It is not in my time, but his. There is another job with my name on it out there and right now I need to be OK with the part time job he’s already blessed me with. I hope this next week is a much better week for you and me! Wendy

  • Sophie says:

    Hugs! I’m so sorry you were so sick and about the news you got. It’s so obvious that holly spirit is active in you! Your words of wisdom pointed to Jesus and seriously encouraged me despite your rough week.
    Also you looked super adorable even after being sick. Love your new top!

  • Beth Lastine says:

    Beautiful picture of your family. Your words are so encouraging too. Thanks for showing us your heart and being so authentic.

  • Caroline says:

    What did you think about the book on Anxiety? Was it helpful?

    • I think that there were some good things in it, but there was a lot that wasn’t super helpful and I felt like a lot of it was repetitive. I think that the first few chapters were helpful to me, but I didn’t get much out of it beyond that. Also, it’s not written from a Christian perspective at all.

      • MB says:

        Would you have any recommendations for books related to anxiety written from a Christian perspective? Struggling with that 🙁

        • One of the best ones I read was Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow. It’s been a long time since I read it, but I know that it does deal with anxiety some from a Christian perspective.

  • Carrie says:

    Thanks, I love these weekly posts the best! I just finished reading the The Broken Way as well and could have wrote the same things as you as well as just seeing how easy it is touch people’s lives for good in simple ways (i too often think only the hard or expensive things matter). Love your airport look too! Glad you are feeling better and got to be with your family and extended family for this special time. Thanks for sharing what you are learning and how God is growing you!

  • Linda Ziulkowski says:

    Thanks for sharing the Gallery by Laura link, because you know me ~~ I was thrilled to ‘see’ all the family. Love you all so much. And Crystal, you are providing so many women at your stage of life’s chapters such valuable insights with the thoughts you share here. Keep it up. There are things even women in my chapter find valuable here as well. I especially enjoy the freebies, be they samples, e-books, . . . .

  • Carmella D says:

    Such an inspiration when I feel like I have nothing left to give at the end of a rough week! Also, can you share any details on your shirt in the airport photo?

  • Amy F;) says:

    Thank-you for sharing!
    What a blessing to read:)

  • I love reading these weekly recap posts, and I love how honest you are!

    I remember you talking awhile ago, about finding maggots in your car, and then today you mentioned carpet beetles. I don’t know the whole story, but if you’re dealing with carpet beetles (and their larvae) in your car, I feel your pain.

    We dealt with that for a few years (only in the summer, when the weather was hot), and it was the grossest thing I’ve ever had to deal with. I had no idea it was even something that could happen, but now I’ve heard of several people who have had the same issue.

    Thankfully, we haven’t found any in our vehicle for over a year, but when we were dealing with it, it was so overwhelming. I hope your situation works out well for you.

    • We thought it was maggots, but discovered that they were the larvae of carpet beetles. By the time we discovered that, it had been a few weeks and it was b-a-d because the infestation was underneath the carpet and throughout our entire car. Nothing we tried worked and it got worse and worse.

      We ended up opening a claim with our insurance and it was so bad that after consulting with different car places, they ended up deciding it would cost more to fix than the car was worth so they totaled our car (!!!!!) and gave us a very generous payout because the car was otherwise in really great condition.

      So now we are in the market for a vehicle — not what we expected, but we are grateful to have it resolved and to no longer be worried that we were going to transfer the beetles to our house or to someone else.

      I’m SO grateful that you were able to get rid of yours in your car. They are nasty and gross!!!

  • I agree! These weekly recaps are some of my favorite posts. They are always so encouraging. Our inner critic is always the worst one out there, isn’t it? I’ve learned that God’s ways are much simpler than I seem to always make them. Thank you for sharing!

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