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Tag Archive: 5 Things I’m Loving This Week

5 Things I’m Loving This Week

5 Things I'm Loving

We were blessed to get to spend the last 6 days in Michigan at the Life Action Family Camp. Honestly, we came to camp this week knowing we were supposed to be there, but not really sure why.

We were tired and drained and thinking maybe it was a mistake to be headed to camp feeling so exhausted. But oh my goodness! I’m so glad we came!

The best part? All week long we had an amazing family assistant who was assigned solely to helping us/watching our kids/doing anything we need to do this entire week (I had heard that they assigned family assistants, but I had no idea that meant it’d be like a personal assistant/nanny!)

God knew what we needed and He clearly orchestrated us being here this past week. We left today feeling so refreshed, rested, and filled up!

Here are 5 things I’m loving this week:

5 Things I'm Loving

1. A Family Mud Run

We did the Jungle Mud Run at camp and what a blast it was. This picture doesn’t do it justice at all — because we got a lot muddier than we look and Silas really did have a fun time doing it.

(He was beyond DONE at this point. Camp was a little rough for this routine-minded little guy. But he hung in there.)

Kathrynne decided to start a new fashion trend by wearing her work boots with floral shorts. It cracks me up how little that girl cares about what she looks like or what other people think!

{See more pictures from the Mud Run over on my Instagram account.}

5 Things I'm Loving

2. A Date Night With Jesse

Can I just say that we are such nerds?? One night at camp, they have a Date Night where they plan activities for the kids and give the parents a night to do whatever they’d like.

What did we do? We drove to South Bend, IN (about 30 minutes from camp) and hung out at Barnes and Noble and looked at books on fitness and nutrition and reviewed our budget.

{By the way, Jesse is trying to turn me into a YouNeedABudget convert. I’m so not techie and kind of despise anything to do with money that does not come in green cash form, but I’m slowly seeing how this method of tracking our expenditures is a good fit for us.

Of course we still use cash for a lot of our budget categories, but if this makes budgeting more fun for Jesse, I’m all about it. Especially since I do not touch spreadsheets with a ten-foot pole and happily delegate all budgeting details to him to track.

I’m so glad that he finds joy in these types of things. Because if the tracking and spreadsheeting and charting and tallying were left to me, we’d be in a sorry financial mess.}

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

3. Anchored by Kayla Aimee

I loved finally getting to dive into the story of Kayla Aimee’s daughter being born as a micro-preemie and the pain and heartache and struggle that she walked through while fighting for her daughter’s life.

It’s funny AND heart-wrenching at the same time — which is a mark of a talented author, in my opinion. (I always say that I consider a highly talented author to be someone whose writing makes me laugh and tear up in the same page.)

After the first chapter, I found myself thinking, “I hope Kayla Aimee writes many more books because I want to read them all!” I love her down-to-earth funny and honest writing style.

{This book resonates with me at a very personal level because my husband was born at 27 weeks. His mom died when he was young and I never got the chance to meet her — which has always been hard for me because I wish so much that I could ask her all about what Jesse’s birth and long hospital stay was like for her. This book is giving me a glimpse into some of the emotions and heartache and fears Jesse’s mom must have experienced and it feels like such a gift to understand more of what that was like from her perspective.}

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

4. Swinging

One night, I spent some time swinging on the playground swing set at family camp. By myself. Don’t judge. 🙂

I love swinging. Always have, always will. Anyone else?

Just like coloring, there’s something incredibly cathartic about it for me. It makes me stop, breathe, quiet my heart, and just take in fresh air and the scenery from a different angle.

{Also, do you know how hard it is to get a selfie while swinging? Near impossible. I will spare you the multiple dork pictures I took while trying to get one that showed the swing, the sky, and part of my face.

I know I could have asked one of the adults watching their kids on the playground to take a picture of me, but, um, pretty sure they would have wondered about my sanity. I can just hear it now: “there was some grown woman swinging on the playground with abandon and, get this, she ASKED ME TO TAKE HER PICTURE while swinging. Like she’d just learned how to swing or something!”

Yeah. I figured the incognito selfies I shot while I was pretty sure no one was looking were the better option!}

 

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5. The Boomerang App for GMail

So my friend, Erin, told me that I must, must, must check out Boomerang.

Honestly, I figured it wouldn’t work at all for me and almost didn’t bother, but I’m so glad that I did because it is changing my life.

I kid you not.

I get hundreds of emails every day — many that need to be responded to and some that need rather lengthy responses. Some I can delegate to my team, but many are ones that need a direct response from me.

I had been filing emails in my To Answer file that I didn’t have time to get to right away, but it was quickly becoming so stacked with emails needing answers — and long answers, at that — that it would just make me feel defeated and bog me down.

So I decided to just try Boomerang and see if it made any difference. To my surprise, I’m falling madly in love.

In just a few days, I’m back to Inbox Zero again, I’m being so much more productive on emails, and staying so much more caught up.

I love that I’m now able to control when the longer emails come in and have them land in my inbox on days and at times when I’ve got blocks scheduled for working on email. In addition, I can space them out so that there aren’t 25 emails coming into my inbox in one afternoon needing 20-minute responses but that I only get a few of those each day.

I’m really hopeful that this simple solution is going to continue to make such a difference!

What are YOU loving this week? Tell us in the comments!

5 Things I’m Loving This Week

5 Things I'm Loving This Week
{My apron from Fair Trade Friday.}

What have you been loving recently? Here are 5 things I’ve been loving:

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

1) FREE Custom Shampoo & Conditioner

Did you sign up for the FREE custom haircare samples I posted about last month? Mine showed up in the mail this week and I’ve been loving using them. And they smell so amazing!

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

2) An Inspiring Quote

I found this quote on Facebook and just absolutely loved it! So thought-provoking and wise.

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

3) Parenting the Wholehearted Child book

I’ve mentioned this book before, but I wanted to mention it again, because I’ve been reading 1-2 chapters every day this week and have been gleaning so, so much from it. It’s convicted, challenged, and encouraged me in my mothering and many of the truths in it will stay with me for years and years to come.

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

4) A Husband Who Spoils Me

My friend, Leigh Kramer, posted a picture of these yesterday and I was ruined. Because once you see this package, you can’t un-see it.

I was so ruined by the picture that I had to show Jesse. I mean, really, I couldn’t keep news of this marriage of Oreos and Reese’s to myself. That would just be selfish and unloving. 😉

I forgot, though, that Jesse was headed to out to run some errands. Which meant that he just couldn’t help himself. He had to stop by Kroger to see if they happened to possibly, just maybe, perhaps have these lovelies on their shelf.

And then he came home and came into my office with this mischievous smirk plastered on his face and I knew what he had gone and done. Because he’s way too predictable like that… and he loves to find ways to spoil me!

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

5) My Choose Joy T-shirt

Okay, so I know I shared about these shirts in my last 5 Things I’m Loving post, but since we launched them on Tuesday, you’ll just have to humor me and let me mention them again. Because I’m kind of in love with them. 🙂

Also, I needed this Choose Joy reminder this week. Again and again. You can read more why I did here.

What about YOU? What are you loving this week?

5 Things I’m Loving This Week

I usually post this on Saturday night, but we were traveling back from Kansas on Saturday, so I didn’t get this posted then. But I figured you wouldn’t mind if I shared it on a Tuesday night instead. 🙂

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

1. Fun Selfies With My Kids

We had so much fun taking the above picture and laughed so hard doing it. I mean, it’s a shame we have no personality at our house. None whatsoever.

{The short story behind the photo: Jesse encouraged me to start tracking my nutrition since I’ve been kind of dragging recently. By doing so, I realize I need to be eating more good carbs and protein, so I’m working on that.

Jesse suggested I try one of his shakes since “it’s loaded with good carbs,” he told me. It looked good when he gave it to me in the shaker bottle, I thought it was a chocolate shake, and I promptly took a big swig… And quickly discovered it tasted and smelled nothing like I expected. Blech! It smelled like garden veggies and tasted plain wrong!

He came into the room and saw me plugging my nose and trying to down it and just laughed. And then I about gagged when he told me it was a sweet potato shake. Excuse me? Sweet potatoes are what you eat with steak, they do NOT belong in a shake. Trust me on this.}

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

2. Josh Groban’s Album: Stages

It’s no secret that I’m a huge Groban fan. In fact, I may reach Groupie levels.

Yes, I’m the kind of fan that my husband knew even frugal me wouldn’t object to paying for VIP tickets to his concert… and then I felt all excited over the fact that when he came out into the audience, I was just about ten seats away from being able to shake his hand.

TEN SEATS, people. That’s basically like he and I are best buds.

I mean, really, what are a few chairs between us and the fact that he doesn’t know me from Adam and the fact that he’d be completely scared off by my inability to act like a normal non-stalker fan if I actually did, indeed, get close enough to say hello sometime??

Yes, we’re practically close friends. So, of course, I have to support my friends and spend my Swagbucks-earned credit on their albums. Because I don’t want my friends to be starving artists or anything.

Sarcasm aside, I adored almost every song on this album. And it’s been on repeat while I’ve been working online recently. You can listen to clips of all of the songs here.

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

3. Creativity

I love how Kaitlynn always sees possibility and potential everywhere she looks. She’s always creating. Whether it’s cards for other people, paintings to hang on the wall, loom band creations for a friend, or some kind of needlework, her hands are never still.

With her skillful eye for beauty, scraps of paper, bits of yarn, or broken crayons are not things to be discarded, but things to transform into art. She sees all of life as her “studio” for expressing new artistic ideas, experimenting with new art forms, and combining various YouTube tutorials into her own variations on a pattern. This week, one of her creations was this baby hat complete with pompom side decor.

Her fierce independence and strong personality has kept me on my knees many a time as a mom and there have been many days when I wanted to throw up my hands in despair, but more and more, I see how her tenacity is going to be one of her greatest gifts to the world. I’m excited to see what God has in store for her future!

She’s taught me so much about being brave and bold, about being true to yourself, and about always looking for the beauty in the middle of the brokenness. Because you might not see it at first, but it is there, just waiting for someone to notice and nurture it.

5 Things I'm Loving

4. Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock App

I feel as if I’m finally transitioning into the 21st century this past year because I’ve actually started using my phone for something other than talking on the phone, texting, and checking email.

Yes, I’ve discovered this new-fangled thing they call “apps”! And while I’m still only using a few of them, the few I use are actually really impacting my life in positive ways.

My recent new favorite app is the Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock App. This app tracks your sleep and wakes you at the most optimal time in your sleep pattern to be woken up.

Not only am I waking up feeling more rested, but I’m finding that the statistics on how well you slept and how long you slept are really enlightening — and they are encouraging me to figure out different things that really improve my quality of sleep.

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

5. Cute New Shirts from Cents of Style

Squee!! Our new t-shirt line with Cents of Style is finally here!

I walked down the stairs yesterday afternoon and asked Jesse if he could snap a few pictures of me modeling the shirts because I wanted to use the pics in a blog post.

Only problem was, I yelled into the kitchen as I was walking down the stairs: “Honey, can you take a picture of me since I have my shirt on!” And then I turned and saw that one of the older neighbor boys was standing right there off to the side of the bottom of the stairs.

I pretended like it was no big deal, but inside I was dying from embarrassment and laughter thinking what that request must have sounded like to him!!

And then of course, I didn’t know Jesse was actually taking pictures when I was trying to tell him to take a few shots just getting the text section of the shirt. This photo looked so ridiculous that I had to share.

{The shirts have some of my favorite phrases on them that have served to transform my perspective on life: Choose Love, Choose Gratitude, Choose Joy, and Choose Courage! You can get one for yourself for just $14.95 shipped this week only when you use coupon code CHOOSE at checkout. See all the designs here.}

What have you been loving recently? Tell us in the comments!

5 Things I’m Loving This Week

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

It’s been a packed-to-the-brim week — with 3 trips in less than 7 days (a trip to Atlanta for the Say Goodbye to Survival Mode event, a trip to NYC for my Fox Business interview, and a trip back to Atlanta to meet up with my sister and her family for a few days of fun!) + more.

Here are 5 things I’m loving this week:

1. Great Deals at Kohl’s

Kaitlynn and I went shopping for her birthday and she found some great deals at Kohl’s for some adorable clothes that she’s already worn multiple times this week. We found them on the clearance rack and they were just a few dollars per item!

I also bought some new shoes (a kind of rare occurrence for me!) and was excited to get a great deal on them! (See the shoes I bought in this picture here — I should have worn them for a few days before wearing them all over the streets of NYC because now I’m the proud owner of multiple blisters. It’s clear I don’t buy shoes often enough to know these types of things! :))

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

2. It’s My Pleasure*

I got to read a pre-release copy of this book and absolutely adored it! It’s short, but packed with inspiration for business owners, entrepreneurs, or anyone who would like to get a glimpse at the inner workings and core values of Chick-fil-A.

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

3. The Georgia Aquarium

When we went to Atlanta with my sister and her family, we debated whether or not to go to the aquarium. The tickets are expensive, but we are SO glad we splurged and bought them as we absolutely loved our time there.

It’s hard to say what our favorite parts of the visit were as it seemed like at every turn, we were all saying “woah” and “wow!” Some of my highlights were: the beluga whales, sea horses, whale sharks, albino alligators, weedy sea dragons (these are so cool!), and the shark eggs.

I also loved the exhibits where you could touch some of the creatures — including starfish, sea urchins, sea anemone, and the sea cucumber (my favorite). If I had to pick one favorite, it would have to be the Dolphin Show. It was hands down incredible. Seriously! We were in awe… And now Kathrynne is considering changing her career ambitions to dolphin trainer.

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

4. Coffee With Friends

My friend, Jennifer, and her husband were in the Nashville area this morning and we got to meet for a quick cup of coffee. Jennifer is the author of one of my Top 10 Books from 2014 and just such a sweet, sweet woman. She’s inspired me in so many ways and blessed my life.

I was also supposed to have coffee with my friend, Tam, this afternoon. But I was really tired after a long week so I texted to ask if I could have a rain check on coffee with her. Well, guess what she did, she went and got a coffee and dropped it off at my doorstep… because she’s such a dear person like that!

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

5. A Day At Home

After coffee with Jennifer this morning, I promptly came home and put on my Wonder Woman tee, hoodie, and comfy pants — one of my favorite “Lazy Day” outfits. (I had taken a shower and fixed my hair/makeup, so that I wouldn’t ruin my day!)

It was so nice to have a day to just rest, relax, and enjoy being with my people.

(Silas sat next to me for quite awhile today hard at work on his latest Loom Band* creation. He’s kind of obsessed with these right now and does a great job making them!

However, when I took this picture, he was concerned that if I posted a picture with the Loom Bands, someone might comment that “Loom Bands are for girls!!”

I told him not to worry about what other people think. If he likes creating with Loom Bands, then he should go for it, because I love to see him learning new things and trying his hand at new skills!)

What are YOU loving this week? Tell us in the comments!

*affiliate link

5 Things I’m Loving This Week

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

How was your week this week? Ours was full, but good. Here are 5 things I’m loving this week:

1. Getting To Go With Kaitlynn to the Symphony

As an early birthday present, we surprised Kaitlynn with tickets to see her beloved Jackie Evancho sing with the Nashville Symphony earlier this week. Kaitlynn was ecstatic and well, truth be told, I was quite giddy to get to see Jackie, too. ?

I may almost like her as much as I like Josh Groban. Not quite, but almost. Considering how much of a Groban Groupie I am, that’s saying a lot.

Also, It felt like it had been eons since I had gone to a symphony performance… And it’s weird to think I used to go to one at least once a month, if not more (my violin teachers both played in the symphony and often had access to multiple free tickets that they’d offer us!)

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

2. Yummy Food Imported from South Africa

We’re counting down the days until we go back to South Africa to visit. In the mean time, we’re grateful that our local Carnivore Market carries imports like these shown above. I have gotten my entire family hooked on Appletiser, South African chocolates, biltong, and boerewors.

By the way, the kids’ passports came in a few weeks ago and it made me thrilled to think what traveling adventures may be ahead of us. October cannot get here soon enough! I never expected I could be so smitten by another country, but clearly I am!

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

3. A Breakfast Date with My Man

Our 3 kids were at day camp at our church this week, so we enjoyed some fun things together — including a breakfast date at Merridee’s.

After 12 years of marriage, I’m so thankful that we are still best friends and love hanging out together. Now, trust me, there have certainly been days along the way that we’ve not felt lovey-dovey. But love isn’t always a feeling; it’s an intentional choice.

Years of intentionally choosing love and choosing to believe the best and choosing to sacrifice for each other have resulted in a much stronger bond and deeper love than we knew was possible on our wedding day. 3 kids, 6 moves, 9 jobs, 4 businesses, and 12 years later, we feel like we’re just beginning to scratch the surface on how beautiful and wonderful love and marriage really are.

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

4. The Brand-New Make Over Your Mornings Weekly Email Newsletter

I’ve been wanting to start a weekly email newsletter for a very long time and I’m so excited to have launched the first Make Over Your Mornings Email Newsletter this week. This is a newsy email from me with helpful links, tips, suggestions, and other fun encouragement to help you live with more organization and intention in your every day lives.

If you purchased the Make Over Your Mornings course before today, you should have received a copy in your inbox. And if you haven’t purchased the course yet, you can do so here and we’ll add you to the weekly list!

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

5. An Encouraging Say Goodbye to Survival Mode Event in Atlanta Tonight

I was so blessed to get to spend the evening in Atlanta with some of you tonight! Thank you to everyone who came — you were such a blessing to me!

I was so excited I got to bring Kathrynne with me on this quick trip and she was quite smitten with the amazing array of treats and snacks they have set out for us in the “Green Room” (see above).

The church in Atlanta truly rolled out the red carpet for us and made us feel so loved and welcome! We drove there and back today and got back home close to 1 a.m. this morning, so now I’m headed to bed and looking forward to being encouraged at church and a day to celebrate fathers — well, after I get some sleep right now, that is!

See previous 5 Things I’m Loving This Week Posts here.

What about YOU? What 5 things are YOU loving this week? Tell us in the comments.

5 Things I’m Loving This Week

It was another full week, but such a good week! Here are 5 things I’m loving this week:

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

1. Getting To Meet My Readers & Hear Their Stories

I spoke at a homeschool conference in Virginia yesterday and was so, so blessed to get to meet so many wonderful readers! Thank you to those of you who came to my sessions and came up to meet me afterward. Your kind comments and words of encouragement truly uplifted me.

The woman on the left in the picture above came up to me with tears in her eyes and told me that she’d met me at a conference a few years ago, bought my book, and 4 days later, their house burned to the ground. The only books that survived the fire? Their wedding album and my book! She wanted me to sign the somewhat charred copy… How cool is that?

The little girl on the right was utterly precious and came up to me after a talk (where I shared about teaching our kids to be givers) and said she was going to give all the money in her piggy bank away to people who need it!

Both of these stories were incredibly touching to me! Being away from my family at least a few days each month for speaking is always hard, but it’s oh so worth it for the chance to get to meet amazing readers and hear their stories!

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

2. Comfy Pants

I flew home from Virginia this morning and the above picture is what my afternoon looked like. The first thing I did after hugs and kisses? Change into my comfy pants. I would likely live in these all the time if I could! 🙂

3. Baked Oatmeal

Jesse made Baked Oatmeal while I was gone and brought me a bowl of it warmed up and topped with berries and whipped. Pure deliciousness! That man knows how to woo his woman!

{No, my suitcase was not unpacked yet in the picture above… Curling up with a good book took precedence this afternoon.}

4. Heart-to-Heart Talks With Our Kids

Recently, we’ve been having such good conversations with our kids. Oftentimes, they are the result of hard issues and situations — all part of the growing up process.

I’m grateful to have the opportunity to teach, nurture, train, and pour into them. To have these heart-to-heart talks and discussions. Being a part is a big job and sometimes it feels exhausting and overwhelming, but when you get to have deep and meaningful conversations and see your kids soak it up, it makes all the effort worth it.

5. Friends Who Allow Me to Be 100% Honest

This week, I had a conversation with a good friend that was really hard. I’d honestly been dreading it for days. I knew I needed to address a situation and bring up a tough subject and I was almost sick to my stomach about it (I avoid confrontation if at all possible!)

I’m so humbly grateful that this friend received my words with grace, listened and accepted the honesty and heard my heart behind it. And it opened up the door for a restored relationship as well as a deepening of our honesty in our friendship.

What about YOU? What 5 things are YOU loving this week? Tell us in the comments.