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Tag Archive: A Peek Into My Life This Week

Costco, Tough Mudders, Crockpots, and Camping

Welcome to my weekly post I share a peek into our lives, talk about things I’m loving, share links to interesting articles or helpful ideas I’ve collected throughout the past week, and just talk about whatever is on my heart! 🙂

I posted asking you all about whether you thought I should get a Costco membership and MAN, you all delivered! There were 100+ comments on the original posts + so many other comments I got on social media and emails you all sent in! Part of me just wants to try shopping at Costco for a few months, but the other part of me thinks that many of you are very right: I won’t be able to beat the prices I currently get.

Also, I found out that you can buy seaweed at Kroger (I had no idea since I’ve never purchased it before!) and you can usually get it for less than a $1 per package by pairing coupons with sales. I also heard that it’s even less expensive at Asian grocery stores. So I guess that 10 packages of seaweed for $8.99 at Costco wasn’t such an amazing deal after all!

I started the Eat at Home Challenge on Thursday and I am so enjoying getting on Facebook Live at 6:50 a.m. in the mornings to share what I’m cooking for dinner.

Plus, having dinner all made before our day starts makes the afternoons and evenings so much calmer! I’d love to have you join me live tomorrow morning, if you’re up at 6:50 a.m. CST!

I got this new book in the mail from my friend, Jennifer Dukes Lee. AND I got to interview her on my soon-to-be-released podcast! It officially launches next week and I am crazy excited about it and have been having so much fun learning a brand-new skillset! (Sign up here if you want to get to hear the very first episode before anyone else does!)

Jennifer sent me a copy of her book and these beautiful cards that made me smile! 🙂

On Friday, we left for a weekend camping trip with our Community Group. I brought my Instant Pot for the first time to use for dinner — and it worked like a charm!

Psst! Looking for some of my newbie camping advice? Check out my post from our last camping trip on How We Prepared for Our Very First Camping Trip.

After we got camp all set up and ate dinner, we began with a reading and prayer from our pastor.

(Kaitlynn took some amazing pictures of the lights.)

He was the only boy on the camping trip, but he did great at holding his own and having fun with all the girls!

One of the families brought their dog — and the kids enjoyed playing with him! (Not sure why Silas had one shoe on and one is missing! Who knows?!)

They made a bunch of mud creations with the clay in the lake. The girls then painted them and sold them to the parents. I thought it was quite creative entrepreneurship!

A good ‘ole fashioned game of “chicken”.

We rented a camper trailer this time around in order to try to help us sleep better, make the set up and tear down quicker (since we had the Tough Mudder on Sunday), and help our outdoor allergies not be so awful from camping like they were last time we went tent camping.

Well, it was the best thing ever! We rented it from an RV share site and got it for a day and a half for less than the price of a hotel room. And we absolutely loved it! I’ll probably be writing a complete post on our experience because so many people asked me to do so after I shared about it on Instagram Stories.

By the way, it only took us a few hours to get all packed up and out the door this time — as opposed to 10 hours last time. It helped tremendously that we already had most of the supplies in tubs and I had put together the Master Camping List last time around.

(You can read my post on the Master List of Things You Should Take Camping here.)

The four families who came (one family from our Community Group couldn’t make it, sadly!), all were each in charge of their own breakfasts and lunches, but we had Communal Dinners and everyone pitched in and brought stuff.

We did hot dogs and brats the first night (I brought all of the ones I’d gotten from various Kroger deals and markdowns the last two months — I had them in the freezer and it was plenty to feed all 20 of us!) and then we did a Taco/Fajita night the second night. This worked so well and made it so that no one had to do a lot of work.

Sunday morning, we got up bright and early for the Tough Mudder. It was our third time to participate in a Tough Mudder (see details on our first Tough Mudder here — look how tiny our kids were then!!)

I had been looking forward to the Tough Mudder so much because we had convinced some of our best friends to do it with us. It had been SO hot on Saturday, so we were worried it was going to be too hot today. But it was perfect. Warm, but cloudy and the perfect temperature.

We loved getting to hang out, walk 10 miles together, push and encourage each other on the obstacles, and challenge ourselves outside our comfort zones.

(We didn’t get any pictures on the actual course, but one of the volunteers at the finish line offered to take these pictures at the finish line and text them to us!)

I ended up only skipping one of the 23 obstacles this time — which I was super excited about since I had always bypassed three obstacles in the past. I wasn’t able to complete two of the obstacles that I tried out (both requiring upper arm strength — something I really need to improve in!), but the fact that I didn’t chicken out and went for it and tried it encouraged me.

Plus, the entire Mudder as a whole just felt so much easier and fun than the two we had done in the past. I think that the more you do hard things, the less scary and daunting they become!

If you ever get a chance to do a Tough Mudder, I highly, highly recommend it.

By the way, the tickets are expensive, but you can sometimes find them discounted on Groupon (that’s where we got ours) or you can get in free or highly discounted if you volunteer at the event the day before.

2018 Goals Update

Personal Goals

1. Read 100 non-self-help books that will build me up/encourage me/inspire me/recharge me. (Fiction/story-driven/biographies/inspirational living books/devotionals.) See the list of 44 books I plan to read this year.

**Progress: 58 books read so far this year

2. Read through the entire Bible.

**Progress: I’m using the Robert Murray M’Cheyne plan and am all caught up— yay!

3. Write one handwritten note to someone every week.

**Progress: 34 notes written so far this year

4. Run 500 miles.

**Progress: 348 miles run so far

Marriage Goal

5. Go on an overnight trip with Jesse without the kids.Jesse and I went to NYC together in January.

Family Goals

6. Read 10 books aloud with the kids.

**Progress: We’ve finished three books so far.

7. Take the kids to South Africa. We took this trip in July. What a memorable experience!

8. Go on a family road trip.

**Progress: We’ve been researching some options for this and are planning to make this happen over Fall Break. Stay tuned!

Financial Goals

9. Save up to pay cash to finish off an office for me and workout room for Jesse and me in the basement in our new house.

**Progress: The workout room is DONE and the office is almost done!

10. Replenish our Emergency Fund (we dipped into it to replace my car when it got totaled because of the carpet beetle infestation.)

Business Goals

11. Increase our gross income from the business by 8%.

12. Launch 5 new courses.

**Progress: We launched 4 Weeks to a More Productive Life launched in January, Content Creation 101 in February, 4-Week Blog Coaching Program in March, Email List Setup 101 in March, Make Over Your Mornings LIVE in April, the Facebook Live Masterclass in May, and we launched Build Your List 101 in June!

A Peek Into Our Week (+ an update on my goals for 2018)

Welcome to my weekly post I share a peek into our lives, talk about things I’m loving, share links to interesting articles or helpful ideas I’ve collected throughout the past week, and just talk about whatever is on my heart! 🙂

I flew back from India on Monday evening/Tuesday (I’ll be sharing a few posts in a few weeks about my time there — once I finish sharing the posts from our South Africa trip!). Many of you asked me questions about the airplane bathrooms since I said that I wash my face/brush my teeth/take my contacts out, etc. on flights.

I try to choose a time when the lights are out and most people are sleeping so that I’m not “hogging” the bathroom when others might be waiting. And then I bring my bathroom bag in and my nose bottle and water bottle and do my nightly bathroom routine (wash face/take contacts out/brush teeth/do the sinus rinse) before getting ready to sleep and then my morning routine (wash face/put contacts in/brush teeth) when I wake up.

I then moisturize my face and put on my makeup when I’m back in my seat and we’re about an hour from landing. This helps me feel a little fresher when getting off a long 15+ hour flight! 🙂

After 25+ hours on flights and in airports, it was SO good to be home!

And we jumped right back into life because the kids had already started school when I got back!

Every year, we pray and talk and research and decide what schooling option is best for each individual child based upon their needs and where they are at both emotionally, spiritually, and academically.

Last year, we started the year with one being homeschooled and two in the same Classical school. For a variety of reasons, we ended the year with one in a new-to-us Classical school, another in another new-to-us Christian school, and one in the original Classical school.

Was it unconventional? Yes. But it ended up being exactly what each child needed and they were so happy we chose to go the routes we did.

This year, Kaitlynn and Silas are at the little Classical school that we fell so much in love with last year when Kaitlynn switched to it mid-year. Kathrynne is going to the same Christian school that she switched to mid-year last year. It has been such a good fit for her!

We’re excited to see what this year holds for each child and are so grateful for the teachers who come are walking alongside us in this journey and pouring into and investing in our kids.

Note: Kathrynne started this week with back-to-school camp, so she got to dress super casual, including sporting Jesse’s college sweatshirt! 😉

How I Stay More Organized as a Business Owner

One of the best ways I keep my life and blogging/business work organized is by writing a time-blocked to do list every night before bed.

Yes, this takes some thought and effort, but it means that I am 150% more productive, focused, and calm the next day.

I look at my Google calendar (aka my “brain”) to see what appointments and events and meetings are scheduled for the next day + what projects and tasks I’ve assigned to that day to complete or work on.

Then, I sit down and hand write out my schedule for the day. I always leave buffer time in the afternoons and evenings to just hang out and be with my kids/husband. But now that the kids are back in school, our morning routine and my work time (from 8 am to 4 pm every day) is pretty regimented.

Having a time blocked to do list not only means that our mornings run much more smoothly, but it also means that I know exactly what I need to focus on in what order when I open up my computer for the day.

If you don’t have a plan, there’s a good chance you’ll spend most of the day going around in circles just putting out “fires”. And at the end of the day, you’ll probably not have a lot to show for it.

Whether you have 30 mins a day to devote to blogging or it’s your full-time gig, I encourage you to consider writing out a simple plan for how you’ll spend your blogging time. Put the most important priorities first on the list and the lesser pressing priorities at the bottom. That way, if you only get through half your list, you’ve at least spent your time tackling the projects that mattered most… and you didn’t just waste it scrolling through endless posts on social media!

From My Heart…

Earlier this week, one of the kids was struggling with their homework. I was working alongside them and they kept expressing their frustration, “I can’t do this! This is too hard! I’m going to fail all my projects!”

This is our perfectionist child and we’ve had to learn over the years that statements like, “Do your best! That’s all that matters!” don’t do anything but serve to further frustrate them.

In the past, I’ve even snapped at this child and said things like, “would you just stop being so frustrated?!? This is not that big of a deal.”

But in their world, it IS a big deal and they want to know that Mom cares and hears them and is there for them.

So instead of saying any of those things, I came up with a plan… because I’ve learned that a simple plan speaks this child’s language. I said, “This is a LOT that you’ve been assigned, but we have all evening to work on it. So let’s do this: We’re going to set a timer: 20 minutes to work on homework. 10 minutes to do something fun.” And back and forth between work and fun we went.

This made all the difference! This child went from feeling stressed to feeling motivated. We broke the projects down into small pieces and just focused on that one piece at a time. And then we took a break to have some fun. Then, we were back at it.

Within 2 hours, the projects were done and my child felt happy and satisfied. And I was so grateful… grateful that I didn’t just try to slap a platitude onto their frustration like I used to or, worse yet, shut them down by expressing frustration over their frustration.

This last year of changing how I parent and slowing down and really learning to listen to what my kids are actually communicating and then taking time to speak words of life to them has completely changed our home.

Often, our kids don’t need us to preach sermons at them; they need us to get down in the trenches with them, look into their eyes, let them know that they aren’t alone, that their frustration is heard, and then help them devise a plan of action to walk through the tough assignment.

2018 Goals Update

Personal Goals

1. Read 100 non-self-help books that will build me up/encourage me/inspire me/recharge me. (Fiction/story-driven/biographies/inspirational living books/devotionals.) See the list of 44 books I plan to read this year.

**Progress: 48 books read so far this year

2. Read through the entire Bible.

**Progress: I’m using the Robert Murray M’Cheyne plan and am all caught up— yay!

3. Write one handwritten note to someone every week.

**Progress: 33 notes written so far this year

4. Run 500 miles.

**Progress: 300 miles run so far

Marriage Goal

5. Go on an overnight trip with Jesse without the kids.Jesse and I went to NYC together in January.

Family Goals

6. Read 10 books aloud with the kids.

**Progress: I’ve finished two books so far and we’re working on a third right now.

7. Take the kids to South Africa. We took this trip in July. What a memorable experience!

8. Go on a family road trip.

**Progress: We’ve been researching some options for this and are hoping to make this happen over Fall Break. Stay tuned!

Financial Goals

9. Save up to pay cash to finish off an office for me and workout room for Jesse and me in the basement in our new house.

**Progress: The workout room is DONE and the office is getting close to being done!

10. Replenish our Emergency Fund (we dipped into it to replace my car when it got totaled because of the carpet beetle infestation.)

Business Goals

11. Increase our gross income from the business by 8%.

12. Launch 5 new courses.

**Progress: We launched 4 Weeks to a More Productive Life launched in January, Content Creation 101 in February, 4-Week Blog Coaching Program in March, Email List Setup 101 in March, Make Over Your Mornings LIVE in April, the Facebook Live Masterclass in May, and we launched Build Your List 101 in June!

A Peek Into Our Lives This Past Week (+ an update on my goals for 2018)

Welcome to my weekly post I share a peek into our lives, talk about things I’m loving, share links to interesting articles or helpful ideas I’ve collected throughout the past week, and just talk about whatever is on my heart! 🙂

This time last week, we were enjoying our last day in South Africa. We had such an amazing trip and I have at least 7 posts I’m planning to write in the next two weeks sharing about our time there! 

We miss our friends there, but are so grateful for the wonderful time we had and we are just incredibly thankful for the work they are doing there and the opportunity we have to be closely involved and support that work — even though we are halfway around the world!

Our kids had such a fun time and I loved getting to watch them interact with so many different people from different backgrounds as we visited various centers and communities — and also enjoyed fun times with the team from Take Action Ministry, including a getaway at a bush lodge!

I have to say that I am also really missing Rooibos Cappuccinos and I am determined to figure out how to make them like they make them there! Because they are so good!

We flew home Sunday evening/Monday. We were on the plane for 19 hours because of some delays and even though I have done this (or a similar) flight 8 times in the last 4 years, this particular flight was especially hard for me and I was miserable and sick the first 6 hours.

Gratefully, they landed in West Africa to refuel and were on the ground for an hour and a half. My stomach quelled, the Dramamine finally started working, and I was able to get some rest once we took off again. And it was a good thing because we still had about 12 hours to go!

We flew in DC and stayed in DC for a day because it was cheaper to do it this way and because it meant we had a day to kind of chill out in a hotel room — which ended up making the transition back home much smoother!

We hit the ground running when we got home on Tuesday afternoon. I have a trip to Kansas this week, our family has a trip to Arkansas the following week, and then I leave for India right after we come home. So we had a lot of appointments and meetings and projects and to-do’s to pack into this week, including getting uniforms for the kids for school (they start school when I’m in India, so I’m trying to make sure everything is taken care of now!)

Fun surprise: I found out that my book, Money-Making Mom, got translated into Chinese!

On Thursday, we had a photo shoot for some various upcoming projects and launches — including my podcast that I’m launching in September!!

I have no idea what on earth I’m saying here!

My friend, Melissa, was the photographer and she took close to 700 pictures in the span of a few hours in multiple locations with multiple hair and clothing changes.

A big thank you to Melissa, Chrissy, Ryan, Jesse, Brian, and Lauren who all helped to pull off this photoshoot. It takes a village to do these kinds of things and I feel like I have just about the best village ever that I get to work with!

Another exciting thing that is happening at our house right now — my office in the basement is getting finished off! This is the room where we plan to record podcasts, shoot course videos, record audio and video for other projects, host online webinars and classes, have team meetings, and get lots of work and projects done. We’ve had fun envisioning a workspace that will bring me life and allow us to do all of those things well! I can’t wait to show you the finished product!

On Saturday evening, we celebrated Lauren’s birthday in downtown Nashville (our husbands came, too, but we didn’t ever get a group picture!). We ate at an amazing Indian restaurant and then went to this rooftop bar. It was a lot more loud and crowded than we had hoped, but we found a quieter spot to talk and be able to look out at the fantastic views of the city at night!

From My Heart…

For the longest time, the words that I believed about myself were, “Not enough.”

I had believed this lie long enough that it became my truth.

I believed I wasn’t good enough for friendship, so that’s why I didn’t have any close friends. I became a world class people pleaser — and I spent years agonizing over whether people approved of me and working hard to win and keep approval.

I believed I wasn’t good enough when it came to school, so I tried to prove myself by becoming a workaholic and building a successful business. I hoped this would show that I had worth and value. But I still felt like a big imposter.

I believed I wasn’t enough for my Heavenly Father so I worked hard to become the best Christian ever… and followed a strict set of rules for what I wore, what I did, what I didn’t do, what books I read, what kinds of movies I watched, who I associated with. I got up really early to read my Bible and pray every day. I made sure I was as different from “the world” as I could be. But all of this made me feel like I just needed to do better, try harder, strive more.

I was inwardly miserable, constantly stressed and anxious, regularly struggling with panic attacks, incredibly lonely, and often suicidal.

And then Jesus swooped in and, through His grace and kindness, He revealed to me the life-transforming power of the Gospel.

He died on the Cross so I can stop striving. When I put my faith in Him, I no longer have to try to be good enough. I am covered by the blood and when God looks at me He sees *Jesus*.

It took me a few years to believe this truth and let it soak in deep. But when I did, it set me FREE!

I am loved. I am accepted. I am pre-approved. I have incredible worth. In Him.

I know deep down to the tip of my toes that I am more than enough in Christ. And I can live out of this belief and stop trying to prove myself.

I am fully loved and chosen by the Creator of the Universe. And that is what defines me now.

2018 Goals Update

Personal Goals

1. Read 100 non-self-help books that will build me up/encourage me/inspire me/recharge me. (Fiction/story-driven/biographies/inspirational living books/devotionals.) See the list of 44 books I plan to read this year.

**Progress: 36 books read so far this year

2. Read through the entire Bible.

**Progress: I’m using the Robert Murray M’Cheyne plan and am all caught up— yay!

3. Write one handwritten note to someone every week.

**Progress: 29 notes written so far this year

4. Run 500 miles.

**Progress: 270 miles run so far

Marriage Goal

5. Go on an overnight trip with Jesse without the kids.Jesse and I went to NYC together in January.

Family Goals

6. Read 10 books aloud with the kids.

**Progress: I’ve finished one book so far and we’re over halfway through another book. (I have a plan for how we’re going to incorporate more reading into our schedule once school starts and we’re all driving in the car to school dropoffs every morning. For now, I’m just happy that we’re fitting in a little family reading a few times per week when we’re all in the car together driving to the pool or somewhere else. Something is better than nothing, right??)

7. Take the kids to South Africa. We took this trip in July. What a memorable experience!

8. Go on a family road trip.

**Progress: We’ve been researching some options for this. Stay tuned!

Financial Goals

9. Save up to pay cash to finish off an office for me and workout room for Jesse and me in the basement in our new house.

**Progress: The workout room is DONE and we’re starting on the office!

10. Replenish our Emergency Fund (we dipped into it to replace my car when it got totaled because of the carpet beetle infestation.)

Business Goals

11. Increase our gross income from the business by 8%.

12. Launch 5 new courses.

**Progress: We launched 4 Weeks to a More Productive Life launched in January, Content Creation 101 in February, 4-Week Blog Coaching Program in March, Email List Setup 101 in March, Make Over Your Mornings LIVE in April, the Facebook Live Masterclass in May, and we launched Build Your List 101 in June!

A Peek Into Our Week (+ an update on my goals for 2018)

Welcome to my weekly post I share a peek into our lives, talk about things I’m loving, share links to interesting articles or helpful ideas I’ve collected throughout the past week, and just talk about whatever is on my heart! 🙂

Kaitlynn and I got back our mugs that we painted for her birthday. It was so fun to challenge myself to do something new — especially something that I felt that I’m not gifted at. We had fun and I was really happy with how the finished product turned out!

We left yesterday on our much-anticipated 11-day trip to South Africa! I’ve been sharing a lot of the behind-the-scenes of our packing on Instagram Stories (you can access all of my travel-related videos by clicking on the little circle in my Instagram profile that says “Travel”).

I plan to share little peeks into our trip and what we’re doing and eating and experiencing in SA on Instagram Stories. (Follow me here, if you’re not already doing so. And then click on the circle with my photo in it on my profile to watch all my videos from the past 24 hours.)

(Oh and in case you’re wondering, I have some posts pre-scheduled to run here while I’m gone that I think you’ll love — including some about our packing, since so many people have been asking about that! And I’ll be popping on to check comments and social media at least once a day, provided I’m able to get access to internet on my computer. Depending on our schedule, I may wait to share more pictures and posts about our trip until after we get home. We’ll see!)

Quick travel tip that I shared on Instagram Stories and so many people loved it that I thought I’d share it here: When you’re staying at a hotel, refill your water bottles in the fitness room. Most hotels have fitness rooms and most fitness rooms offer a filtered water station. It’s cold filtered water — and you don’t have to pay for water bottles!

These two women have been such gifts to my life and have taught me so much about what true local friendship looks like and how amazing it can be.
Here are three lessons they have taught me:

1) Focus on loving others well. Stop worrying about whether you’re doing it right or wrong; just love others, really wholeheartedly love them.

2) Show up — even when it’s really inconvenient. Relationships will not fit into neat little boxes and they will require you to step out, step up, and be stretched far outside your comfort zone. Show up anyway.

3) Lean in — even when it’s awkward. Beautiful relationships never happen without awkward moments. Invite that person over, even if you don’t know what you’ll find to talk about for an hour. Volunteer to serve at church or go to that event, even if you don’t know anyone. It will be awkward. Expect it to be. But the more you lean in to people and relationships despite the awkwardness and show up anyway, the more chances there are that you are going to begin to develop deeper relationships.

Thank you, Jamie & Lauren, for loving me so well and teaching me so much about friendship. For believing the best about me. For pursuing me — even when I wanted to self-protect and had believed lies about how, “I’m not good at relationships.”

Thank you for letting me show up just as I am. For speaking the truth to me when I need to hear it. For making me laugh until I cry. For listening to me vent. For walking with me through heartbreak and devastating news. For constantly checking in on me and caring about me. And for helping me to begin to believe that I’m capable of being a really great friend.

Thank you for being the answer to many, many prayers I’ve had for real, authentic relationships.

If you’ve followed me online and seen a difference in my life this last year, these two played a big role in that and I wanted to publicly acknowledge them even though they are going to probably going to send me dagger eyes for sharing this picture of our waterfall hike yesterday! 😜

Note: There are a few others of you out there who deserve a similar post and have played just as big of a role on this journey. (You know who you are!)

I sat with someone a few weeks ago as she told me she didn’t have anything to offer. Her life was too messy, too broken, too in shambles.

What did she have to bring to the world? She felt like no one would want her brokenness. No one would want to hear from her or want her to be in their lives until she got her life in better order.

And that’s the lie that so many believe. That unless our lives are shiny and organized, we should just just sit down and shut up.

But as I told this woman: You will likely impact many more people by sharing your journey right now, right in the middle of the messy, than you ever will if you wait until you feel like you are put together enough.

None of us have cracked the code on perfection. All of us are cracked. And that’s how the light inside can shine out.

Don’t wait to be polished and put together to start reaching out, developing relationships, volunteering, serving, sharing your story, and loving people well.

You have a lot to bring to the world and to bring to relationships and to make an impact on others right as you are… bumps, bruises, scars, wounds, brokenness and all.

The world needs people who are willing to show up just as they are. Who will say, “I feel like I don’t have a lot to offer, but here’s what I have and I want to freely share it.”

2018 Goals Update

Personal Goals

1. Read 100 non-self-help books that will build me up/encourage me/inspire me/recharge me. (Fiction/story-driven/biographies/inspirational living books/devotionals.) See the list of 44 books I plan to read this year.

**Progress: 30 books read so far this year

2. Read through the entire Bible.

**Progress: I’m using the Robert Murray M’Cheyne plan and am all caught up— yay!

3. Write one handwritten note to someone every week.

**Progress: 28 notes written so far this year

4. Run 500 miles.

**Progress: 260 miles run so far

Marriage Goal

5. Go on an overnight trip with Jesse without the kids.Jesse and I went to NYC together in January.

Family Goals

6. Read 10 books aloud with the kids.

**Progress: I’ve finished one book so far and we’re over halfway through another book. (I have a plan for how we’re going to incorporate more reading into our schedule once school starts and we’re all driving in the car to school dropoffs every morning. For now, I’m just happy that we’re fitting in a little family reading a few times per week when we’re all in the car together driving to the pool or somewhere else. Something is better than nothing, right??)

7. Take the kids to South Africa.

**Progress: We just left yesterday on this trip!

8. Go on a family road trip.

**Progress: We’ve been researching some options for this. Stay tuned!

Financial Goals

9. Save up to pay cash to finish off an office for me and workout room for Jesse and me in the basement in our new house.

**Progress: The workout room is DONE and we’re starting on the office!

10. Replenish our Emergency Fund (we dipped into it to replace my car when it got totaled because of the carpet beetle infestation.)

Business Goals

11. Increase our gross income from the business by 8%.

12. Launch 5 new courses.

**Progress: We launched 4 Weeks to a More Productive Life launched in January, Content Creation 101 in February, 4-Week Blog Coaching Program in March, Email List Setup 101 in March, Make Over Your Mornings LIVE in April, the Facebook Live Masterclass in May, and we launched Build Your List 101 in June!

A Peek Into Our Week (+ an update on our goals for 2018)

Welcome to my weekly post I share a peek into our lives, talk about things I’m loving, share links to interesting articles or helpful ideas I’ve collected throughout the past week, and just talk about whatever is on my heart! 🙂

Kaitlynn has been hard at work perfecting her macaron recipe. This week, she made multiple batches and had one batch that was a WINNER! She’s excited at the progress she’s making here — and we are, too!

These two couples have been such a gift to Jesse and me. Our husbands went through Men’s Discipleship together and we women went through Discipleship Group together and were in the same small group.

Over the past year, our friendships have slowly developed and blossomed and has grown into something incredibly beautiful. They are the answer to many, many prayers we have prayed for close couple friends and we are so grateful. We have a standing couples’ night out every Tuesday night and we look forward to it all week long!

Of course this week was also full of lots of family games! Because that has become our thing this summer! 🙂

And I went back to Sprouts for the first time in a long time and was super impressed with the deals after being unimpressed when I checked them out a year ago. I think it’s safe to say that this store is going to be part of my weekly rotation!

Amazing strawberries for $0.98 per tub? Yes, please!

My parents came into town for one day and we enjoyed getting to have them here. My mom and I stole out for an hour to get pedis together.

The kids got to play games with Grandpa and we all enjoyed having dinner together and swimming at their hotel pool.

This girl turned 11 this past week!

It’s hard for me to believe she’s *only* 11 as her creativity and ability and the maturity of our conversations together make me feel like she is well beyond her years.

She brings so much to our lives… beauty, artistry, sarcasm, sass, fashion, great cooking/baking, an endless supply of creativity, and a confident, can-do attitude.

She constantly pushes herself to do more than I might believe she is capable of — and she usually manages to pull it off with ease and success. I’ve learned that when she’s made her mind up that she is capable of something, it’s best for me to step out of her way and cheer her from the sidelines.

She’s a whirlwind of wit and spunk and fresh ideas. She’s always working on learning something new — whether it’s a new skill, a new baking technique, a new recipe, a new hairstyle, a new craft idea… she never lacks for new ideas she wants to experiment with.

And after years of so.many.messes and me having to learn to love and embrace that as part of what makes her heart sing, I am thrilled to report that she is learning to clean up after herself! I’m so grateful I didn’t hold her back — because now it means that I have an in-house hairstylist, manicurist, makeup artist, go-to fashion expert, macaron maker, bread baker, home decorator, and organizer.

She got hurt and rejected in some big ways a little over a year ago. It about wrecked her. And we walked through a dark season with her that we didn’t know if she would recover from. But changing her environment, showering her with love, and finding a great counselor and a few true friends who have loved her well, has changed her life.

We love you, amazing girl! We are so proud of you for being so courageous and such a fighter… and for coming through a dark time so much stronger and healthier. You inspire us daily! ❤️

She and I went on our mother-daughter birthday date to a local ceramic studio (my first time!) to paint ceramics.

I was all, “Why don’t you just create one and I’ll watch you?” And she was all, “Oh no, Mom, you are totally painting one, too!”

She constantly pushes me to be more creative and to challenge myself to do things I don’t feel like I can do or am good at. And I’m so grateful she does, because it’s good for me to not hold myself back saying, “I’m not creative and artistic.”

We had so much fun together on our date — and I even think I’d like to go back and do it again sometime!

I can’t wait to see what these look like after they are glazed and fired and we get to pick them up at the end of this week.

We went to the pool with friends again this week and then invited them over for Breakfast for Dinner. All the kids came back and took showers and put on their jammies and we parents whipped up the pancakes, eggs, and bacon.

This is such an easy idea for hospitality that requires almost zero prep. Plus, who doesn’t love Breakfast for Dinner?

Kaitlynn invited her best friend for a fun birthday outing — including shopping at the mall!

They are both fashionistas and I had fun watching them find so much joy in shopping!

I spontaneously took the girls to Goodwill on Sunday after church.

They had all orange tags for $0.99 so we dug through racks and racks of dresses and found four dresses with orange tags that fit us — two for Kathrynne, one for me, and one for Kaitlynn. Our total was less than $4 for 4 dresses!!!

It was kind of like a treasure hunt and I loved getting to hang out with the girls and have so much fun shopping and laughing and trying on things together! I think we’ll likely do it again soon!

2018 Goals Update

Personal Goals

1. Read 100 non-self-help books that will build me up/encourage me/inspire me/recharge me. (Fiction/story-driven/biographies/inspirational living books/devotionals.) See the list of 44 books I plan to read this year.

**Progress: 26 books read so far this year

2. Read through the entire Bible.

**Progress: I’m using the Robert Murray M’Cheyne plan and am all caught up— yay!

3. Write one handwritten note to someone every week.

**Progress: 28 notes written so far this year

4. Run 500 miles.

**Progress: 236 miles run so far

Marriage Goal

5. Go on an overnight trip with Jesse without the kids.Jesse and I went to NYC together in January.

Family Goals

6. Read 10 books aloud with the kids.

**Progress: I’ve finished one book so far and we’re halfway through another book. (I have a plan for how we’re going to incorporate more reading into our schedule once school starts and we’re all driving in the car to school dropoffs every morning. For now, I’m just happy that we’re fitting in a little family reading a few times per week when we’re all in the car together driving to the pool or somewhere else. Something is better than nothing, right??)

7. Take the kids to South Africa.

**Progress: I can’t believe this trip is almost here! We’ll be gone July 7-17.

8. Go on a family road trip.

**Progress: We’ve been researching some options for this. Stay tuned!

Financial Goals

9. Save up to pay cash to finish off an office for me and workout room for Jesse and me in the basement in our new house.

**Progress: The workout room is almost done and we’re starting on the office!

10. Replenish our Emergency Fund (we dipped into it to replace my car when it got totaled because of the carpet beetle infestation.)

Business Goals

11. Increase our gross income from the business by 8%.

12. Launch 5 new courses.

**Progress: We launched 4 Weeks to a More Productive Life launched in January, Content Creation 101 in February, 4-Week Blog Coaching Program in March, Email List Setup 101 in March, Make Over Your Mornings LIVE in April, the Facebook Live Masterclass in May, and we’re launching Build Your List 101 this week!

A Peek Into Our Life This Past Week (+ an update on my goals for 2018)

Welcome to my weekly post I share a peek into our lives, talk about things I’m loving, share links to interesting articles or helpful ideas I’ve collected throughout the past week, and just talk about whatever is on my heart! 🙂

One night this week, we had a Clean Out the Fridge sort of dinner. The kids asked if we could eat in our formal dinner room and when I said yes, they set the table, turned down the lights, and added candles.

It felt all fancy, despite the fact that we were mostly eating leftovers! We’re definitely going to be doing this more often — especially since it maybe requires one extra minute to pull off!

(Step 1. Set the table in the formal dining room instead of the breakfast nook. Step 2. Turn down the lights. Step 3. Add candles. And you have yourself a “fancy dinner” in one extra minute! 😉)

We played so many rounds of Dutch Blitz this week. And we invited some friends over for Breakfast for Dinner and taught them how to play, too.

I know I keep posting pictures of us playing this game — but I guess it’s become our summer thing. It’s rare that a day goes by that we aren’t spending at least some time playing it!

This boy got his very own library card this week! He was so excited! And I love that he is slowly starting to fall in love with reading.

If you’ve been around here for awhile, you probably know that it’s been a long and frustrating and discouraging road and he’s worked so hard to get here and it makes me so happy to find him reading multiple times per week — without me even encouraging it!

Kaitlynn’s school held a Yard Sale on Saturday morning and we enjoyed getting to help price stuff on Friday evening and help with the sale on Saturday morning.

I’m not sure what Kathrynne is doing here! 😉

One of the moms made Yard Sale signs based upon an idea she found on Pinterest. I thought these were the BEST!

Kaitlynn has been working on perfecting the art of making macarons and was so excited when she had a batch turn out almost perfectly this week! We had friends over on Saturday evening who had just returned from France and we spent a few hours getting to see all of the pictures of their trip. Her macarons were the perfect accompaniment to our evening!

“You should smile more in your pictures and videos…” “You always look sad and insecure…”

I got many comments like this for many years as a blogger. They were often sandwiched in the middle of a lot of other negative words and it would be easy to write it off as just being a negative critic I shouldn’t pay attention to.

But remember how I said that my approach is always to check critical comments to see if there’s any truth in them? Well, there was definitely some truth here and I knew it.

I had to do some deep heart work. I had to face a lot of fears. I had to take risks and unearth insecurities and cry a bucket of tears and work through old wounds and stop stuffing down all sorts of things and learn how to find my worth in Christ instead of in my work.

I had to believe that I was enough and stop living under the lie that I was broken and unworthy and not chosen.

Y’all… it’s been a journey. A long journey. But it was worth the fight. It was worth the pain. It was worth the tears. It was worth digging up stuff that I’d rather keep buried. It was worth feeling terrified as I faced fears.

It was all worth it. Because see that girl there? See the smile on her face? That’s genuine and real. She fought hard for the deep joy and wholeness.

And she’s grateful for truth from those critics and negative commentors that inspired her on this journey to joy. ❤️

Links You Should Check Out:

2018 Goals Update

Personal Goals

1. Read 100 non-self-help books that will build me up/encourage me/inspire me/recharge me. (Fiction/story-driven/biographies/inspirational living books/devotionals.) See the list of 44 books I plan to read this year.

**Progress: 25 books read so far this year

2. Read through the entire Bible.

**Progress: I’m using the Robert Murray M’Cheyne plan and am all caught up— yay!

3. Write one handwritten note to someone every week.

**Progress: 28 notes written so far this year

4. Run 500 miles.

**Progress: 225 miles run so far

Marriage Goal

5. Go on an overnight trip with Jesse without the kids.Jesse and I went to NYC together in January.

Family Goals

6. Read 10 books aloud with the kids.

**Progress: I’ve finished one book so far.

7. Take the kids to South Africa.

**Progress: We bought our tickets & are planning our trip in July!

8. Go on a family road trip.

**Progress: We’ve been researching some options for this. Stay tuned!

Financial Goals

9. Save up to pay cash to finish off an office for me and workout room for Jesse and me in the basement in our new house.

**Progress: The workout room is almost done!

10. Replenish our Emergency Fund (we dipped into it to replace my car when it got totaled because of the carpet beetle infestation.)

Business Goals

11. Increase our gross income from the business by 8%.

12. Launch 5 new courses.

**Progress: We launched 4 Weeks to a More Productive Life launched in January, Content Creation 101 in February, 4-Week Blog Coaching Program in March, Email List Setup 101 in March, and Make Over Your Mornings LIVE in April.