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Tag Archive: A Peek Into Our Month

A Peek Into April at Our House

Every month in 2019, I’ll be sharing a photographic peek into the previous month. I thought this would be fun to give you a behind-the-scenes look at our month and recap some of the highs and lows and special memories of the month.

April started out with getting to have Audrey & Jeremy Roloff to our house to be on the podcast.

Then, I left on a school bus with a bunch of 7th and 8th graders to help with our church’s Middle School Camp.

I’m not part of student ministry at our church but my good friend Lauren (who is a leader in student ministry at our church) was telling me they were short on leaders who were available to go to the 7th-8th grade camp.

Well, I got one of my crazy enneagram 7wing ideas and said, “I’d be happy to go if they could use my help!”

It was the BEST weekend. And that’s kinda crazy for this introvert/Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) to say seeing as I stayed in a cabin with 20 girls/leaders!

In fact, I kept thinking all weekend, “Maybe I should do student ministry!!” But then I remembered that this is my season to be in women’s ministry and my plate is a little full right now between that and being a wife and mom and working full-time! 😉

But folks, I just LOVE middle schoolers! And I especially loved getting to hang out with my favorite middle schooler who was there (Kaitlynn).

We went deep and talked about what it means to live wholeheartedly. We worshipped together. And there were tears and lots of raw honesty and heartfelt conversations and prayer about very real and painful struggles.

There was also plenty of fun. Zip-lining (my happy place), trying to flip on the giant swing (I didn’t succeed!), cereal parties, awful and hilarious karaoke, dance parties, and so much laughter.

{Kaitlynn’s notes from one of the messages at camp.}

Oh and two hours to Kentucky and back with 34 very sugared-up middle schoolers that involved wasps on the bus, Gummi Bear throwing, singing, and heavy rain the leaked through the bus roof for at least an hour!

There wasn’t a dull moment and I’m so grateful for all of it — and to the amazing leaders who invest so much into these kids’ lives. I have a whole new level of respect for them!
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Also, I loved getting to serve alongside Lauren. She’s such a good friend and a gift in my life and getting to serve with your friends is one of the best ways to deepen your relationships. Zip-lining together doesn’t hurt, either (see last photo). ❤️

We also ate so many Homemade Energy Bites. I lost track of how many batches we made this past month!

My friend, Katherine, invited me to go with her to see John Crist at the Ryman. And then she totally surprised me when we got there by saying she had bought as front row seats! It was pretty cool to be up that close!

I am so grateful for the kind, gracious, and giving people God has put into my life like Katherine. She is always encouraging me and I love it when we get to hang out.

She came to me on Sunday morning in April and asked if we could both wear our matching “fancy” dresses and high heels to church (thank you, Amazon!)

I honestly was planning to wear a super casual outfit to church and there was part of me that wanted to come up with an excuse or reason to say no to the extra work it would require to get “gussied up”.

Plus, people don’t really dress up much at our church and I knew my shoes and dress would likely make me stand out.

But then it hit me: My 11-year-old daughter wants to *match* with me. This is a GIFT. Who cares if I stand out? Who cares if people wonder if I accidentally got my dates wrong and thought it was Easter?

Yes, it meant taking a little extra time but the smile on her face and the excitement when she saw me all dressed up was SO worth it!

Then, as we were walking into church, she reached for my hand to hold it. And I could see how crazy proud and happy she was to be matching her mom.

These days are fleeting. These moments are priceless. And this little choice I made to “say yes to the dress”, was 100% worth it.

April also included a LOT of flag football! Silas was chosen to be the quarterback and the rusher this season, so he had a lot of responsibility on his shoulders and he handled it so well. (Though I admit it’s stressful to be on the sidelines as mom!)

We finished out 9 months of the Discipleship Program by me leading a session on remembering, rejoicing, and re-telling what God has done.

We studied Joshua 24 and the stones of remembrance and then we all made our own stone.

Here was my stone — with the word Enough on it. A reminder to me that God is enough for me and that I am enough in Him, something that He has taught me over and over again this past year.

Jesse’s grandma, whom we all affectionately refer to as “Oma” had a health scare in April and had to be hospitalized and then have bypass surgery. Jesse got to go to Wichita to be with his family the week of the surgery and I was so grateful he was able to go. We got to see her the following week when we went down to Easter. She’s such a fighter and was already back home and determined to make a full recovery and be better than she was before!

I’ll admit, I kind of felt badly when I saw all of the cute dresses, adorable matching outfits, and beautiful family photos in my feed for Easter.

We didn’t even get a family photo for Easter because we spent most of the day traveling back from our whirlwind weekend trip to Kansas.

As I was kind of feeling sad that I was maybe the one of the only people on the internet to not have an Easter family photo to share, I realized that it’s okay to march to the beat of a different drum.

I can appreciate and celebrate the cute kids and big smiles and pretty dresses and adorable coordinating outfits. I can celebrate my friends and online friends who are posting these.

But that doesn’t mean I’m less of a mom if I don’t have photographic proof of the Easter we had.

As the saying goes, “Her success is not my failure.”

Instead of a coordinating matching Easter outfits photo, I did get this photo the day before Easter — which makes me so happy because there were so many laughs involved in our quick stop to treat the kids to lunch at one of our favorite fast food restaurants in Kansas: Spangles!

Note: I made the mistake of saying on Instagram stories that I like Spangles better than Chick-fil-A. Let’s just say, the internet did not like that. At all! But hey, what was that I said about marching to the beat of a different drum?

Silas spent quite a bit of time in April working on his science fair project — which was a remake of Kathrynne’s: a tornado simulator.

Jesse and I went and looked at tile for our bathroom since we’re getting ready to remodel it. We had no idea what we were doing and I had to ask the lady, “Could you tell us what goes on the walls and what goes on the floors?”

We spent the last few days of April on a trip to Destin, FL. It was our first time to go and it every bit lived up to the hype people have given it!

I am so grateful for the gift of these friendships. And if there’s one thing I can encourage you to invest in and prioritize, it’s life-giving relationships.

People who believe in you, but who will also call you out when you need some hard truth.

People who will celebrate your success, but who ultimately love you for you — not how many followers you have or how much money you make.

People who will laugh with you and cry with you.

People who have seen you at your worst and still love you.

People who see the best in you and who bring it out of you.

People who give you the freedom to be 100% uniquely you, with all your quirks and baggage AND gifts and talents.

People who don’t make you feel like you need to be more or be less.

And when you find these people, prioritize the relationships, even when you are tired or stressed or have a lot on your plate. It’s so worth it!

Don’t have these kinds of relationships? My best advice is to start reaching out and being that kind of friend to someone else. ❤️

Yes, I’m in the above beach picture. Can you spot me in my accidental bearded disguise?? 😉

I cannot stop laughing at this photo from our beach trip.

We were trying to do one of those cute “everyone jump at the same time and look all happy and graceful and excited to be at the beach” photos.

Only, when I jumped up and excitedly flung my hands into the air, I smacked Jesse in the head really hard and then hollered out in shock from the pain in my arm and the concern that I had hurt him.

He was fine. I was fine. But we forever have this perfectly timed photo to remember the moment by.

Also, notice how completely opposite we are compared to our friends… who, as someone messaged me earlier, look like they are professional “photo jumpers.”

There’s a little peek into our April. How was YOUR April?

A Peek Into March at Our House

Every month in 2019, I’ll be sharing a photographic peek into the previous month. I thought this would be fun to give you a behind-the-scenes look at our month and recap some of the highs and lows and special memories of the month.

Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and we will be compensated if you click through and sign up. Read our disclosure policy here.

One of the highlights of March was getting to help lead the Discipleship Retreat for the women at our church who are currently going through the Discipleship Program.

This is my third year to be a part of of this Discipleship Retreat. And it’s such a special time where a lot of life change and heart stuff happens. 

During the retreat, all of the lessons and things we’ve been processing over the months prior in the Discipleship Program culminate and it’s very profound.

This photo is one I will treasure forever.

Kaitlynn had her Speech Meet Finals at school. It’s one of the biggest events of the school year and she’d been practicing for weeks.

She’s highly competitive and a perfectionist and she had practiced and practiced and practiced in hopes of presenting her poem 100% flawlessly.

She’s typically incredibly poised on stage, has recited her poem perfectly dozens of times, and she doesn’t usually get nervous in front of crowds (she actually is one of those people who does BETTER when in front of a crowd!)

But at the Speech Meet, she walked up to the microphone and completely blanked. She couldn’t remember the author of her poem at all. And she had to ask for a prompt from the judge.

She recovered and recited her poem flawlessly (which I was shocked by since I likely would have been a nervous wreck!)… but as soon as she walked off the stage, the tears started welling up.

After all the finalists presented, they had a short break so the judges could tally scores. And I took one look at Kaitlynn and knew she was devastated and embarrassed. None of the other finalists had asked for a word prompt or had blanked like her and I knew how hard she had worked to recite her piece perfectly.

I held her and she sobbed in my arms. I told her that I loved her, that I was so proud of her, and that I could truly care less what place she got; I was just so impressed with her standing up there and confidently reciting her poem after such a rocky start.

Kathrynne came over and put her arms around her and spoke words of life to her. And then they sat together like this photo shows the entire break. (I snuck back and took a picture without them knowing!)

Y’all. THIS. This scene of seeing my two girls holding each other while they waited for the results… watching Kathrynne speak such encouragement to her sister…. seeing Kaitlynn soak up her older’s sister’s love… it melted my heart.

And it was such an example to me of how to love someone well who is struggling. It doesn’t mean we fix the issues or change the outcome, but we let them know that, no matter what, we are WITH them.

Some times, it’s hard to be a full-time working mom. You want to be there for all of your kids’ events and field trips and activities, but you just can’t — because there are meetings or commitments or important things you can’t miss.

Even though I’m self employed and am blessed to have more flexibility than most working moms, because of the season I’m in with work, I haven’t been able to go on any field trips with Silas or Kaitlynn this year.

I’ve struggled to not feel sadness and guilt over this. I want to always be there for everything that involves my kids.

But I’ve realized that I can choose to feel guilt and sadness or I can instead choose to be grateful for the times I do get to be with my kids and make the most of every opportunity I do get — and also be grateful that Jesse gets to be a lot more involved in the kids’ lives and activities because I work full-time.

One day in March, Silas came to me and asked, “Can you go on my field trip with me to the Parthenon in Nashville?”

While I was supposed to have a really full work day that day, I was able to move a number of things around and work extra hours yesterday to make it happen.

And we had the BEST time!! I loved getting to watch Silas passionately interact with his classmates about the things they’ve been studying about Greek mythology this past year. And I loved getting to watch his teacher instill such passion for learning in her students.

When Silas came home from school today, he hugged me tight and said, “Thank you so much for going with me on the field trip!”

I might not get to go on another field trip this year, but I’m so grateful for today. It was a gift and a special memory for Silas and me.

Also, a shout-out to all you mamas — whether you work full-time, part-time, or stay home. None of us are doing it perfectly, but we’re all doing the best we can! ❤️

“Dollar Tree is my happy place!” Kaitlynn enthusiastically proclaimed as we pulled into the parking lot one day in March.

We had just been perusing the aisles at Big Lots and she and I both kept looking at each other and saying, “This would be so much less expensive at Dollar Tree.”

Folks, I always say my greatest hope for my kids is that they love Jesus, love others, and love learning.

But hey, if they have a really strong affinity for Dollar Tree and Dave Ramsey and paying with cash, I’m not gonna lie: it will make my heart extra happy!

Note: See my 25 Favorite Things to Buy at Dollar Tree.

Silas had a friend over one day in March when they had the day off school and I loved watching him exercise hospitality. He planned the food they would eat and prepped it himself for he and his friend. And I just sat back and watched!

I posted this on my Instagram account and wanted to share it with you here:

Lean in close, sister. I want to say something to you: You matter. You have worth. You have significance beyond what you can even imagine.

And despite what someone may have told you, despite how someone may have made you feel, despite what has been done to you or said about you… YOU ARE VALUABLE.

Your worth is not dependent upon your work or your title or how much money you make or the number on the scale or the size of your jeans… YOU ARE VALUABLE just the way you are.

You are loved. You are seen. You are valuable. And even if no one else treats you like they believe it, even if you don’t believe it, I want you to know that I DO. It’s one of the reasons I spend so much of my work hours personally responding to comments and messages and emails.

Because I love you, I see you, I believe in you. And I just felt like you needed to hear that today.

Some days, I’m so on top of things. Other days, I realize that I have a podcast interview in exactly four minutes… while I’m in the shower washing my hair. So I throw on some clothes, put my sopping wet hair up in a towel, and run down to my office to do the interview.

Gratefully, it was only an audio interview! Oh and the interview was for a podcast that had asked me to come on and talk about living an intentional life.

I had such a fun weekend trip to NYC with my sisters! We used points for our flights and hotel, and then made it our goal to spend as little as we could while we were there.

Instead of expensive restaurant meals, we opted for bringing our own snacks and food for lunch, staying at a hotel that offered free breakfast and free tea and coffee all day, refilling our water bottles at the hotel (most hotels offer free filtered water at their fitness centers), and finding places where we could get dinner for less than $10 (Pret a Manger is one of my faves for healthy food on a budget.)

We rode the subway, walked for miles to see all the free sites, and rode the free Staten Island Ferry (such amazing views!).

Our big splurge was a Broadway show!

We researched different options for getting the best deal and ended up finding a good deal from TodayTix.com. In my research, I discovered so many other amazing options for saving big on Broadway tickets, including Rush tickets, student Rush tickets, ticket lotteries (where you can win tickets for as low as $10 per person per show!!), and more.

(Read my followup post on How to Get Cheap Broadway Tickets.)

It was such a fun and memorable weekend and I’m so grateful to have sisters who are adventuresome and don’t think I’m crazy for always looking for creative ways to spend the least amount of money.

Aunt Lisa made Silas this adorable dinosaur and he sleeps with it every night. I feel like he is rarely a “little kid” anymore (he turns 10 in May), so it’s fun to see him still enjoy things like stuffed animals — especially really special ones that were handmade for him!

I’m doing the Get Your Pretty On Spring Style Challenge this month and having so much fun with it!

By the way, I’m wearing this tee again today! I love that it’s longer, so it’s great to wear with leggings (what I’m wearing today). Or, you can tie it for a more fitted look. (I’m wearing a size small above.)

Silas started Flag Football in March and has been having a lot of fun with it — especially because he’s gotten to play the quarterback position multiple times!

A Peek Into the Month of January at Our House (photo overload!)

Every month in 2019, I’ll be sharing a photographic peek into the previous month. I thought this would be fun to give you a behind-the-scenes look at our month and recap some of the highs and lows and special memories of the month.

Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and we will be compensated if you click through and sign up. Read our disclosure policy here.

I started January 1, 2019 with my commitment this year to begin every day with 30 minutes of time in God’s Word (I’m reading through the New Testament using the She Reads Truth Bible plans at the beginning of each book of the Bible.)

We then hosted friends for New Year’s Day Brunch and games. The guys made breakfast for us while the moms sat and drank tea and coffee. It was the best!

After Brunch, we spent the rest of the day hanging out and playing games — including learning how to play Unstable Unicorns.

I’ve been loving using the Organize in 5 system for doing different organizational projects this year — including cleaning out my cookbooks.

I love tea and in January, I shared some of my very favorite teas.

This checklist system has been working SO well for me and is really helping to keep me on track with my daily habits!

We spent a lot of time in the bleachers at Kathrynne’s basketball games this past month. It was so fun to see the progress her team made and how well they did. And we often stayed and cheered on her friends in their games, too. (And I loved seeing Kaitlynn and Silas hang out with her and her friends while we cheered on the other teams from her school!)

(On the other hand, I’ll admit that it’s going to be nice that her season is over in a week so that we can have more dinners at home and evenings where we’re not out late!)

I read Deep Work as the first book I read in 2019. It was a fantastic read and I’ll be sharing more about it in my book update post in the next few days.

I wrote a post in January sharing the Top 4 Books I Read in 2018. In case you missed it, you can read it here.

I bought these NYX Lip Glosses in January and love them!

I heard from so many of you who say that you love this brand, too.

Well, after 5 weeks of pain after my car accident, many chiropractic visits, many x-rays, and an MRI, we finally found at that my hand/wrist was indeed fractured.

While I wasn’t excited that meant I’d need to wear a cast for 4 weeks, I was so grateful for a diagnosis that explained all the pain! A big thank you to my chiropractor who pushed me to go to the specialist and was sure that there was something fractured that all the x-rays weren’t showing.

Y’all, I have such new compassion for people who deal with chronic pain! I honestly cannot imagine what it would be like to deal with incessant pain like this for years and years — as I know many people do.

Also, I am grateful for modern technology and cool FastForm casts that are waterproof and can be taken off so I can wash my hair. How times have changed since I broke my wrist as a young girl!

In other happy news, we also bought a new-to-use car to replace the car that was totaled in the accident. We were so grateful to get everything taken care of with the insurance!

The car accident was about three seconds total, but those three seconds have meant hours and hours and hours of doctor’s visits and insurance phone calls and research and car shopping, incessant and sometimes excruciating pain, sleepless nights, working through a lot of anxiety that resurfaced as a result of this accident, and juggling one car for the past few weeks.

And yet, I keep thinking how much I have to be thankful for. How much worse it could have been. How so many of these things are just a small inconvenience compared to what so many others are going through.

This has been such a good opportunity for me to practice what I preach — that you can’t always choose your circumstances, but you can always choose your attitude!

I had so much fun shopping and getting great deals in January!

I wore this outfit so many times in January. I just love it!

I bought a Fitbit for myself for Christmas and I absolutely love how it is motivating me to move more and take better care of myself!

I shared this on Instagram in January:

Instead of trying to squeeze in and fit in, let’s build new tables in 2019… where we welcome those who are lonely and hurting and misunderstood. Those who might be sort of on the outside, the fringes. Those who might not be seen as the “cool kids”. But those who just may be desperately longing for friendship and might be some of the best community we’ve ever experienced.

Thank you for sharing this #truthbomb from Dana Vivian White, @momadvice!

I’ve been waking up earlier in the mornings to read my Bible and write and it’s been so beautiful to get to watch the sun rise!

I hosted another very successful Eat at Home Challenge again in January where I make our dinner in the crockpot on live video every morning for a week.

If you missed out on the fun, you can sign up here and I’ll send you grocery list, a quick and easy crockpot recipe every day, plus lots of money-saving and time-saving tips. Go sign up here.

I loved this jewelry that I am borrowing for free from Rocksbox! It was PERFECT to go with my dress for a Ball we attended in January. (Find out how to get your free month of Rocksbox here.)

Our friends invited us to go with them to a Ball in January. It was so fun to get all dressed up! My dress was this one from Amazon.

I shared how Silas fell in love with reading this month. If you missed this post, be sure to read it here.

I’ve been sharing my salads every week day on Instagram to inspire you. It’s inspired me to get a little more creative and to make my salads a little prettier.

Silas’ class performed Black Ships Before Troy this month… which was so fun to get to watch!

This girl. Man how we love her!! And it’s hard to believe she turns 14 this week!

She has the most caring, compassionate heart. She’s deeply loyal. She has such a heart for Jesus and others and she’s always looking out for the underdog.

She’s also full of spunk and life and sarcasm… and if you need a meme or gif to make you laugh, she’s your girl!

She’s grown up so much the last two years — both literally and figuratively — and yet, she still thinks I’m cool (except when I wear those one shoes) and loves to hang out and talk with me!
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Also, she’s a girl after my own heart — all on her own, she decided to sign up for a bunch of birthday freebies that different stores and restaurants offer. We ALL got to benefit when one of those freebies was a coupon for a completely free dozen doughnuts from Krispy Kreme.

I love our movie nights and late-night talks (even if it means I don’t get as much sleep these days!) and one of my favorite parts of the week is our Sunday morning coffee dates.

I don’t know what the future holds for this girl, but I can’t wait to keep standing on the sidelines and cheering her on… and I might wear those ugly shoes, just to embarrass her!

Kathrynne celebrated her birthday by a little family birthday party, lunch out with Jesse, and going to a movie with me. She also had a fun night with a few close friends. I love this picture that I got of them all making themselves at home in our house. It makes me so happy when people are comfortable enough at our house to just climb up and sit on our countertops!

One of Kaitlynn’s school projects this month was to create a diorama of a dream world. This was part of it in the making. I didn’t get a picture of the finished project but it was so adorable!

I finally went through my books and picked out the 40 books I plan to read in 2019.

I also organized underneath the bathroom sink and my purse. And I’m happy to tell you that I have kept them organized for 5 days!

One of my favorite Instagram posts from January:

Last night, she asked me who my best friends were. I listed off a few and then she said, “What about me? Am I one of your best friends? Because you are totally one of my best friends.”

Y’all. THIS. This is what it’s all about.

I know some parenting experts would say you shouldn’t be friends with your child. And my kids aren’t grown and gone so I still have plenty of parenting to do and things to learn and ways I’ll fail — and you probably should listen to the experts and not to me.

BUT, after years of changing diapers and midnight nursing and waking up every two hours and potty training and cleaning up spills and working on teaching the same thing over and over again, I can tell you that it’s pretty downright amazing to now have kids who love to hang out with me, who need very little help from me, and who ask for my counsel and advice (they don’t always follow it, but they do ask for it!)

Oh yes, we have rough days and hormones are a real beast at times, but we have so many beautiful, hilarious, and ridiculous moments and memories to make up for it.

Also, my kids love to take selfies with me where I’m being a dork. They laugh and laugh and I’m happy to oblige.

All you mamas of littles: your day with backseat corny selfies and laughing with your very self-sufficient older kids is coming. And it’s AMAZING!

What were some of YOUR highlights from January? I’d love to hear!

P.S. In case you missed it, How I Did On My Goals in January.