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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

Right now, I’m reading: A Secret Courage, Fragments That Remain, Cleaning House, and God’s Whispers in a Mother’s Chaos.

I’m also reading The Upstairs Room aloud to the kids at night and we’re really enjoying it.

This past week I finished reading Nothing to Prove and found it really encouraging, inspiring, and freeing. I especially enjoyed the first few chapters of the book.

{See my Reading Goals for 2017. Also, see the 46 books I’ve read so far in 2017 here.}

What We’ve Been Up To

This girl has been cooking and baking up a storm recently. Almost every day, she tries a new recipe and she needs very little help from me.

I love being able to say, “Hey! Can you make bread?” Or, “Want to try this muffin recipe?” and then having it just get baked and done — without much oversight or input from me at all!

{Recipe shown: Pork & Miso Ramen with Asparagus & Marinated Cucumber.}

He went to Camp in the City at our church all this week — by himself! It was his first time to do anything like this without his sisters and I was a little worried how he’d do.

I thought about him all day long the first day and wondered how he was doing. When he got home, after his usual loud proclamations of, “I’m HOME!!!”, I asked how it had gone and if he missed us.

He looked at me kind of surprised and said, “Actually, I was so busy, I never thought of you once!”

My mama heart felt all bittersweet about that! Happy that he’s becoming independent. Sad that he’s becoming so independent.

What I Am Learning

The first few days of this past week, I was just plain tired. Three weeks of back-to-back traveling, walking through an emotionally draining season, + the stomach bug had taken its toll on me.

To make matters worse, I was frustrated at myself for being tired. Frustrated that I had so many things I wanted to do  and needed to do and I felt like I was just hanging on and trying to keep my eyes open.

I realized that I was starting to take out some of my frustration on my family, too. And they weren’t doing anything annoying; I was just plain annoyed.

I saw the warning signs and — as I am learning to do — I stopped and paid attention.

I realized that I hadn’t given myself any quiet and white space after our trip to Kansas. Instead, I had come back home and jumped straight back into life — at full speed.

I also realized that I hadn’t been tracking my water intake ever since getting the stomach bug so there was a good chance I was dehydrated — which also makes me tired.

I wished I could take the afternoon off at that point, but I had multiple deadlines and things that had to be done. So instead, I gave myself permission to take an hour off.

I took a short nap. I went for a quick run. I drank lemon water. I made myself a strawberry smoothie. And, for one hour, I didn’t worry about my to do list.

Giving myself permission to have a Grace Break was just what I needed — and I ended up feeling so much better and energetic the rest of the day!

Oftentimes, when it feels like life is spinning out of control, we can’t take a week-long vacation — like we might feel like we need!

But we can stop and say, “What’s wrong? Why am I feeling this way? What can I do about it right now?”

Those simple questions can make a world of difference!

What I’m Grateful For

We met when I was 9. He captured my heart when I was just 14 years old.

He was my best friend from the time I was 15. He asked for my hand in marriage when I was 20.

15 years later… 6 houses, 5 businesses, 4 cities, 3 kids, 2 states, and still the same one heartbeat: to make an impact in this world together.

None of our life panned out like our big grandiose (and naive!) visions when we said, “I do.” But God had better plans for us than what we could plan ourselves.

He still makes my heart flutter. He’s still picking me up and freaking me out that he’s actually going to throw me into the water (because he has before!!). And he still makes me laugh until I cry.

Jesse, thanks for sticking with me through the good times and the really rough times. And thanks for not throwing me into the ocean this time! 😉

I love you always and ever and I’d marry you all over again! Happy Father’s Day!

What I’m Pondering

Hello, my name is Crystal and I struggle with Mom Guilt.

A lot. I mean, I even sometimes feel guilt over the fact that I have mom guilt.

Many nights, I go to bed feeling like I didn’t do enough with the kids. I probably should have played with them more. I probably should have asked more questions. We should have done more fun things. I probably didn’t listen as much as I should have. And oh! Did they eat enough healthy foods? Are they brushing their teeth enough? I should check to see if they’ve been drinking enough water… and on and on it can go.

I know that I shouldn’t have all this guilt. I know I need to give myself grace. I know I’m too hard on myself… I know all these things, but what if my kids get cavities because I haven’t had them brush their teeth enough or I’ve fed them the wrong foods?!?!

Do you see my problem? It’s ultimately that I want to control everything. I think if I do enough of the right things, I can keep my kids’ world safe and organized and neat and tidy.

But, as I’m slowly learning, I can’t bubble-wrap my kids or completely isolate them from pain and struggles and hard things and discomfort — no matter how much they brush their teeth or how many vegetables they eat!

And that’s why there is Jesus. He’s asking me to let go. To stop stressing over doing everything perfect. To stop believing that I’m the one who can control my kids or prevent them from difficulties or heartache.

He’s not asking me to aim to be a perfect mom, to check all the boxes, to make all the right choices. He’s asking me to rest and rely and fully lean upon Him. To look to Him for wisdom. To trust Him with my kids. And to leave my guilt at the foot of the Cross.

I don’t have to carry around the weight of feeling like I’m not doing enough, because He is Enough.

I want to rest in His Enough-ness. There’s no guilt there, only freedom… to love my kids well, do the next right thing, & leave the results in God’s hands.

The Carpet Beetle Update

So, remember that we had an infestation of carpet beetles in our car??

Many of you asked for an update, and I finally have one for you: after many weeks of getting it looked at by the car dealership, paperwork, and phone calls, our insurance TOTALED our car!

Yes, for real.

All the vacuuming, spraying, cleaning, and diatomaceous earth treatments did nothing because the larvae had burrowed into all of the flooring underneath the carpet and into the upholstery and laid their eggs. GROSS!!!

The final verdict: they said the entire car would have to be gutted inside and everything would need to be replaced in order to completely fix the issue. The cost for this: $30,000!!!

Obviously, the car was not worth anything close to that amount, so instead, they totaled the car.

However, they said that the car was otherwise in immaculate condition, so they ended up giving us $3k more than what we thought was the top dollar we could get if we were to sell or trade-in the car — without carpet beetles!

I just have to say a HUGE thank you to the internet for all your advice through this crazy saga. If it weren’t for some of your suggestions, we never would have thought to call our insurance and open a claim.

So, the power of the internet saves the day — and saves us (likely) thousands of dollars!

And we’re once again a one-car family while we take our time to look for a good deal on a used replacement vehicle!

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  • Laura says:

    I totally hear you on the Mom-guilt. With kids in their late teens, I have realized that I am at the end of the “teaching” stage of my mothering career. We are moving on to “mentor.” I have moments of panic sometimes, because there is still lots to learn and teach. Mostly though, I am learning trusting God at a deeper level. This season with teens is one of asking open-ended questions and listening. I’m much better at lecturing, telling them exactly what they need to know, and demanding immediate obedience, but we are past that point. The best thing I can do now is pray, give advice when asked, let them fail, and be available to talk and pray as they pick up the pieces of life’s latest disaster. My motto lately is “Failure is an option.” Sounds strange, but it has helped me let go. They are growing in responsibility. They aren’t going to do everything perfectly. My kids may fail in the little things in life, but I trust that I have helped them seek God for their future. I cannot be everything to them; He has to be. It is hard, but good. I am convinced that having kids is God’s way of keeping us close to Him in prayer.

    May God bless you and your precious family, Crystal!

  • Didn’t know about the severity of carpet beetle. Glad all is well at the end.

  • Adrienne says:

    I love the pic of you and your hubby! Sorry about your car!

  • Shu-Hsin Bredthauer says:

    OH MY… Carpet beetle so gross… So glad that it resolved for you guys!

  • Keelie says:

    Ummm…wow about the bugs in your car. I had no idea that is even a thing that could have a car totaled! Actually, I didn’t even know it was a thing. What in the world?

    Hope you feel better in the coming weeks friend!

    • Rosie says:

      I, too, didn’t even know this was a thing that could happen. Wow. Seems you learn something (or several somethings) new everyday.

    • We’d never heard of them before either! And now I know quite a lot about them… something I never really thought I’d be able to say! 🙂

      • Tiffany says:

        We have them in our van (which we need) and our insurance said they will not cover it. I am so angry. We have a vehicle that we owe money on but can’t drive and I had to grow the seats and carpet out because of this.

      • Samantha says:

        We found carpet beetles in our van a fee weeks ago. Only reason I knew what they were is from your blog about having them. Still in the process of trying to kill them. Praying ours arent as infested. It has been awful.

  • Joy in Alabama says:

    Thank you for posting all that. Especially the Mom guilt. I have 9 kids, from 14 to 35, and have Huge, Enormous Mom Guilt all the time – over anything at all. Lol I never thought about control, but I’m going to pray about that.

    I have never heard of carpet beetles. Who knew? I guess they can get in the house. You didn’t transfer them into your house, did you???? How horrible!

    I’m sorry about the stres you’ve had lately. Hope your summer gets better and better!

  • Super cute pictures of your family! 🙂

    I’ve been curious about your carpet beetle situation. How insane is that?! Thanks for the update!

  • Janet says:

    Subaru Forester Great Car For Families !

    Did I just type that out loud !

    There I go again…..

  • Becky Matthews says:

    Crystal, I’ve followed you for a while, and it’s easy for me to tell you that you have nothing to have mom guilt over! The hard part is for you to tell yourself that. We put so much stress on ourselves as women to be perfect, raise perfect children, set the perfect table, serve the perfect meal–but how much of that really matters? If you can lay down your head at night knowing that your children and Jesse know you love them, and they love you and the Lord, there is no guilt to be had. Easier said than done, but I believe this is where the key to happiness lies. You are a phenomenal mom and woman. Live life and love big like there is no tomorrow, and include yourself in that love.

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