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Tag Archive: Peek Into Our Week

Mountain goats, baseball, slime, and an Escape Room!

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 of the highlights of Breckenridge was getting to see mountain goats out in the wild!

My niece, Emily, came up with a creative way to carry her dolly around while we were walking around in Colorado.

We climbed up this fairly big rocky hill… and then the girls had the idea for me to take pictures of them looking like they were falling off the side of the hill.

After I took pictures of them, they wanted me to get in on the fun. And this was one of the pictures Kaitlynn took.

Only problem was, after I laid down flat on my belly on the rock to take it… I couldn’t figure out how to get back up without actually sliding down the hill.

I finally did make it back up on my feet, but it took me a good long few minutes and I was inwardly thinking the whole time, “You’re going to be the news report about the blogger who fell down the rocky hill while trying to get a photo for Instagram!”

Lesson learned: before you decide to stage some crazy photo, be sure you know how you’re actually going to get up from said crazy position. 😉

Kaitlynn was trying to get a contemplative photo of me… but I kept laughing because I felt ridiculous trying to pose for her! 😉

We came home from Breckenridge on Tuesday and the kids went back to school and normal life on Wednesday (read about our Wednesday here). On Thursday evening, Kathrynne’s school had a Meet the Teachers night.

I didn’t know what to expect as she started at this school halfway through the year so we missed all the beginning of the year stuff including this night. I guess it’s a common thing at many schools, but in case you’ve not heard of it, it’s where you get to go through a Day in the Life of you student — the bell rings and you got to their first class with their first teacher for 10 minutes and they talk about what they are teaching, expectations, and just introduce themselves.

Then the bell rings and you move to their next class with their next teacher. And so on and so forth.

We loved getting to hear from all of her teachers and getting to sit in her classrooms and get a feel for what her everyday is like there. It helps us have so much more context for her life. And if your child’s school has this, I can’t recommend it highly enough!

Silas started baseball up again on a new team this year. Jesse is an assistant coach and one of his good friends is the coach. It will be fun to get to hang out with good friends at the baseball field every week for his games!

Kaitlynn had a new friend over this week and they made, you guessed it, homemade slime. Because, of course. Kaitlynn found out that this friend hadn’t made slime successfully before, so she had to remedy that! 🙂

On My Heart…

I’m learning one of the greatest gifts to open up communication with my kids is to be a good listener.

Instead of trying to fix or preach, I’m learning to practice the art of being a quiet listener.

I often ask them, “What was the highlight of your day? What was the hardest part of your day?”

Oftentimes, questions like these will open up a trickle of frustration. Sometimes, it’s more than a trickle… more like a torrent!

Their frustration used to scare me. I’d jump to worst case scenarios: “What if the teacher senses my child isn’t enjoying their class?” “What if my child can’t hold their frustration in and it all boils out in an ugly way when others are around?”

My fear was ultimately about what others would think. Fear of how my child and my parenting would be perceived.

This fear caused me to jump all over my my kids’ frustrations & preach a mini sermons & tell them why they needed to get over it & stop having a bad attitude.

This only served to shut down the communication lines with my child and make them feel like they couldn’t share their heart with me or open up in any way.

God has been doing a work in my heart, helping me to stop parenting out of fear or for behavioral modification.

I’m learning to see the heart of my kids, to truly listen to them, to be okay with letting them air their frustrations & struggles without feeling like I have to go into fixer mode.

The unexpected result is that my kids now often come to me first with their frustrations. I don’t even have to ask!

When they open up to me, I’m learning to listen, ask questions, listen some more, ask them if there’s anything else they are feeling, empathize with them, and ask if I can pray with them or just sit with them and let them know they are loved.

If they ask for counsel or input (or I feel it’s a case when it’s necessary), I will give it — but usually in the form of asking them more questions, processing with them, & sharing what I would probably do in their situation & encouraging them to seek God & think about how He wants them to respond.

It’s a beautiful journey and I’m grateful for how God is changing my heart as a parent.

We celebrated Jesse’s birthday by going to an Escape Room and out to dinner as a family. We thought we actually weren’t going to make it out of the room this time, but we did it — with only a tiny bit of time to spare!

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: 55 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: 335 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 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 past week, 10 goals for this week, + an update on my goals from last week

10 Goals For This Week
Happy Monday! I hope you had a great weekend!

Ours was quite full, but so good! Our friends, the Odoms, were driving through TN so we had them over for dinner on Friday night. And then Erin and I stole out to have coffee and great conversation afterward until late into the night.

Saturday, I had my usual early morning coffee accountability coffee date with my friend, Allison. Then, I shopped for supplies for our church’s cafe, did some blog work, and Silas had a baseball game.

10 Goals For This Past Week

That afternoon, it was “Operation Find Tam an Outfit to Wear at Her Upcoming Speaking Events”. 5 things you should know about this picture:

1) Angie (the gorgeous gal in the passenger seat) was the one who introduced Tam to me just a few days after we moved.

2) We will forever be grateful because Tam and her family (including Kass – the adorable girl next to me in the back seat) have become like family to us — some of the greatest gifts since our move to TN.

3) We quickly discovered while shopping that pretty much everything looks good on Tam. However, despite how crazy cute she is in everything, I will still be her friend… Because you just can’t not love her!

4) Dressing rooms were not made for 4 grown women to stand in and try to give input on someone’s clothes. But we improvised and made it work — while having a blast doing so!

5) The best line of the afternoon from Tam after trying on a shirt that was rather unique and drape-y: “you need Google maps to figure out how to put that thing on!”

On Sunday, we got up early to go to church and help out at our church’s cafe for both services. We met a new family this weekend who moved here recently and also started coming to our church, so we invited them to come over for dinner on Sunday evening.

So Jesse headed to take our girls to a birthday party and then he and Silas went Jesse’s softball game, while I came home and got food and the house ready for hosting our Community Group and having the family over for dinner afterward. It ended up being such a great afternoon and evening full of fellowship, great conversation, and new friendship.

Here’s an update on my goals from this past week:

Marriage/Mothering/Homemaking Goals

1. Take the kids on a field trip to the Nashville Zoo.
Freezer Cooking in an Hour

Freezer Cooking in an Hour

We had a lot of fun on our outing with friends to the zoo! It was a beautiful day and I was very impressed with the Nashville zoo.

2. Write a love note to Jesse.

3. Continue working on developing the habit of obedience in our home (I attended the Laying Down the Rails workshop at the recent homeschool conference and it’s really motivated and inspired us in our parenting. We’re choosing the habit of obedience to implement in our home for the next 6-8 weeks. Just a week of working on this and it’s already made a big difference. Watch this video here for a snippet of the workshop.)

Personal Goals

4. Exercise at least 5 times.

5. Finish at least two books.

6. Listen to at least two inspiring audios/podcasts while working/driving. (I’ve recently been challenged to do a better job of using those little cracks of time throughout the day to fill my mind up with good things and things that make me think and analyze life.)

10 Goals For This Week

Swoon. Got to hang out with adorable Ezra and the amazing Jessica Turner for a lunch date last week. I was so in love that I didn’t even know Jessica took the top picture. Be still my heart. He kept smiling and cooing at me… And I’m smitten. Also, I think his mama is just downright incredible. So fun to talk books, blogging, business, babies, and balancing with her over a yummy lunch.

Local Ministry/Hospitality/Friendship Goals

7. Have a lunch date with a friend.

8. Have friends from out of town over for dinner.

9. Finish reading a friend’s manuscript & writing an endorsement for it.

Business Goals

10. Outline/write 3 substantive blog posts for next week.

10 Goals For This Week

I did a little freezer cooking session last week: two pans of bacon, two loaves of Banana Bread, and some Trim Healthy Mama Pancakes. I’m so happy to be back into the swing of Freezer Cooking again… I have missed it and I’ve been reminded as to what a difference doing a little cooking ahead can make in our lives.

{More details and pictures and recipe links from my freezer cooking session coming tomorrow.}

This week’s goals:

Marriage/Mothering/Homemaking Goals

1. Finish buying all of our homeschool curriculum for next year.

2. Write a love note to Jesse.

3. Have a date night with Jesse.

4. Continue working on developing the habit of obedience in our home (I attended the Laying Down the Rails workshop at the recent homeschool conference and it’s really motivated and inspired us in our parenting. We’re choosing the habit of obedience to implement in our home for the next 6-8 weeks. Just a week of working on this and it’s already made a big difference. Watch this video here for a snippet of the workshop.)

Personal Goals

5. Exercise at least 5 times.

6. Finish at least two books.

7. Listen to at least two inspiring audios/podcasts while working/driving. (I’ve recently been challenged to do a better job of using those little cracks of time throughout the day to fill my mind up with good things and things that make me think and analyze life.)

Local Ministry/Hospitality/Friendship Goals

8. Plan out summer drinks for our church’s cafe.

9. Finish reading a friend’s manuscript & writing an endorsement for it.

Business Goals

10.Finish the final edits for the course handbook for our new online course.

How did you do on last week’s goals? What are your goals for this week? I’d love to have you share your progress on last week’s goals and your goals for this coming week in the comments. Of, if you’ve blogged about it, leave your direct link below. Let’s cheer each other on to live purposeful and productive lives! You can download a free customizable weekly goal-planning sheet here.


A Peek Into Our Week: Turning our home into a film studio!

We had a full week last week and I finally have a chance to sit down and write a recap of it! Here are some peeks into our week to give you a behind-the-scenes look into our daily lives…

A Peek Into Our Week

After 5 years of training, I now have my own in-house breakfast chef. Fried eggs are his specialty and he can make them completely by himself now (I just oversee since it involves a stove!)

Moms of littles, it might feel like all you do is change diapers and clean up messes and cook food and wipe noses and fold yet another load of laundry and feel constantly pulled in 15 different directions. But hear me on this: someday soon, all that effort and training and work is going to pay off. And even though right now it might feel like that day will never come, it will. Don’t give up! It will be worth it!

A Peek Into Our Week

All on her own, Kathrynne decided she wanted to start helping Silas learn how to read. He’s been discouraged because blending and phonics don’t come easily to him (unlike math) and he really wants to learn how to read.

So Kathrynne asked me if while I continue to work with him on phonics and sounding out words, she could teach him some sight words so he could at least read more than the handful of words he knows now.

Seeing them work so hard together on this just touches me deeply and blesses this mama-heart in big ways! These are the mothering moments I will forever treasure!

A Peek Into Our Week

On Monday afternoon, I went to the coffee shop to soak in a little quiet before a busy week of filming began. It’s always good to get some writing and blogging work done and write love notes to some of my favorite people.

{One of my goals for 2015 was to write a love note to each of my kids every month. It’s a simple thing, but the act of stopping to reflect and express appreciation and admiration not only can deeply impact another life, but it’s also so good for your soul. If you are too busy to stop and say “thank you” and “I love you” — you are just plain too busy.}

A Peek Into Our Week

Tuesday, we spent the day prepping our house for the film shoot, spending hours meeting about the scripts for each of the videos– revising/rewriting/and editing, etc. — and then our team went out to dinner that night.

These two girls and all their hours and hours of behind-the-scenes work made the filming possible. I am incredibly grateful for all they invest in my life on a daily basis (Joy is one of my managers and Ashley is my brand-new, amazing executive assistant!)

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Wednesday, we filmed all day long. And I truly mean that. 🙂

We started at 8:30 a.m. and I got done around 9:30 p.m.We had a few short breaks, but we were mostly working every minute of that whole entire time. I will have a whole new appreciation for well-done videos and course and films in the future!

Whew! It was exhausting and it took me awhile to find my groove, but once I found it, things got easier and easier as we went along.

I learned so much from this film shoot — what works, what doesn’t work, and how I need to better prepare. Hopefully, the next time we attempt a project like this, it will go much smoother as a result of what we learned!

For those of you who are wondering: we filmed 14 “days” of videos on a subject I’m fiercely passionate about: using your mornings well to set your day up for success. It was a lot of work, but it was worth it because we truly believe the final product will be one that powerful impacts and inspires thousands of lives! I can’t wait to share it with you very soon!

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A Peek Into My Week
On Thursday, we shot hours of our every day home and lives in action. From our morning routine and making breakfast (in our PJs) to homeschooling to reading aloud to household chores and much more, we wanted to give you a really authentic look into how our mornings run.

It was another very long day, but it was fun and stretching — and such a blessing to get to do this as a family. Our kids learned so much about film and production today and were such troopers for all the takes and re-takes we did!

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On Friday, we had a pretty laid-back, family day. And then I took this beautiful girl to get her hair done all fancy for the Father-Daughter dance at church.

She had a BLAST — not only getting all fancy, but also getting to have a very special evening with her daddy! I failed to get pictures of she and Jesse when they were all dressed up, but they had professional pictures taken at the dance, so I can’t wait until we get those back!

A Peek Into Our Week

Saturday morning, I woke up at 3:40 a.m. to catch an early flight to Denver to go see some of my dearest friends: Michele Cushatt, Kathi Lipp, and Renee Swope. I was supposed to get into Denver at 11:30 a.m. However, it turned out to be a crazy morning of mishaps and airport fiascos and I didn’t even make it to Chicago until after 10:30 a.m. and then had to wait for the only available flight out to Denver from Chicago — 5 1/2 hours later.

But instead of feeling frustrated over things that were outside my control, I decided to choose gratitude and just enjoy the quiet and opportunity to read and write than an unexpected long layover at the airport afforded me!

The four of us have spent the last two days laughing, crying, talking, laughing, crying, and just soaking up the opportunity for all of us to be together. These girls are some of my dearest friends and we’ve been itching to get together — especially because we’ve been walking through Michele’s cancer and surgeries and chemo and radiation with her and it hurts our hearts so much that we all live in different states. Watching Michele suffer and struggle and go through so much has been incredibly hard for each of us these past few months, so to finally be together again has been very healing for all of us.

We are also excited to be here to celebrate the launch of Michele’s book (it officially releases today!). I’ll be sharing more about her book and how it’s impacted me later on this week. For now, I just want to encourage you to go check it out on Amazon. It is truly one of the most well-written books I’ve ever read.

If you (or someone you know) is going through a really difficult time right now, I cannot encourage you enough: go pick up a copy of Michele’s book. You will laugh, you will cry, and you will be so encouraged by her words and story.

How was YOUR week this past week? Tell us about it in the comments!

A Peek Into Our 12-Day Road Trip

Peek Into Week

It feels like we were on a road trip the whole month of August. Truthfully, it was only 12 days… but that’s a long time to be on the road! And it came right after a 5-day roadtrip to North Carolina and South Carolina, so that made it feel longer than it was, I think.

We’re not quite finished with road-tripping, because we’re headed back to South Carolina next week. I was planning to fly there for a few days to spend time with a few of my close friends, but as we looked at the map and realized it was well within an easy day’s driving distance, Jesse suggested we just drive and he’d take the kids sight-seeing during the days I was with my friends.

It’s weird because we used to not really be a road trip kind of family at all. But I think as our kiddos have gotten older and now that Jesse and I are both self-employed and can work anywhere, we’re probably going to become more and more of a road-tripping family.

Our kids love visiting new areas and studying the history, we can homeschool on the road (our core curriculum this year is the Monarch Online Homeschool Curriculum for the girls and LIFEPAC Kindergarten for Silas), and we’ve learned how to travel very inexpensively by using hotel points accrued through my business travel (we always sign up for the rewards programs for everywhere we stay and it’s amazing how quickly the points have built up this past year!), gift cards earned through Swagbucks (in big part to the many of you who have signed up through my referral link! Thank you!), and looking for the best deals in whatever area we’re going to be traveling to.

Peek Into Week

The first stop in our 12-day trip was to spend the week with my entire extended family on Bull Shoals Lake. This is a yearly tradition that we’ve had even before I was married.

Our kids had a blast being with all their cousins on my side of the family. It’s so fun to see them all growing up!

Peek Into Week

The highlight for me of our time at the lake was going jet-skiing with my husband. It’s been a big year for us as a family and there have been many hard moments in the midst of some pretty big life changes, and I’m so grateful that our marriage has stayed strong through it. Truly, I love my man so much more than I did than when I married him 11 years ago… and I didn’t think that was possible.

{Note: That does not mean that there haven’t been many tense moments and harsh words and even all out arguments. Trust me, we’ve had more arguments and fights in the past three months than we’ve probably had in our whole married life, but we’re truly growing together instead of apart. And I’m so very grateful for that. Our commitment these five things have been key to helping our marriage stay strong in the middle of the storms of life these past few months.}

Peek Into Week

Another wonderful memory of the trip was when my older sister (Brigette), my younger sister (Gretchen), and I somehow managed to all fit on the tube at the same time for a wild tube ride courtesy of Dad, the boat driver. There was much laughter, squealing, and holding on for dear life, but we had a blast! 🙂

Peek Into Week

After our time at Bull Shoals Lake, we headed for a day and a half in Springfield, MO to take a breather. And trust me, when I say “breather”, I mean that quite literally.

We slept, we watched movies, I worked on my next book some, and we just totally took it easy for a day and a half. We’ve found our kids need some “down” days on longer vacations otherwise it’s just too tiring for them and then that turns into a cranky situation… for kids and parents alike. 😉

We then went and met up with Jesse’s extended family in Branson, MO. Growing up, we went to Silver Dollar City just about every single year from the time I was a toddler. We have so many, many wonderful memories there and we’ve tried to take our kids there every year to carry on the tradition of my childhood.

After going to Disney World for the first time earlier this year, I realized that, for me, Silver Dollar City is one of my “happiest places on earth.” {Yes, I know, sorry Disney. You don’t hold a candle to Silver Dollar City, in my humble opinion.}

Peek Into Week

Word to the wise: if a ride at Silver Dollar City warns you that you will get bathtub wet, they aren’t kidding. We had so much fun, so it was worth being sopping wet.

{I was so soaked, I went in the restroom, and wrung my clothes out. I probably wrung out at least a few cups of water. I kid you not.}

Peek Into Week

Our last stop in Missouri: Bass Pro Shops… One of the boys’ favorite stores in existence. I’m pretty sure they could spend hours in there and never run out of things to look at. 🙂

As for me, I chose to have a cheerful attitude and go along with it even though it’s one of my least favorite stores. And it ended up being a fun family outing!

Peek Into Week

And this is my favorite picture of the whole trip. Why? Because it represents me punching my fears and “I can’ts” right smack dab in face. And it gives me courage to continue to showing up and living with wholehearted courage. You can read the story behind this picture here, in case you missed it.

How have the past two weeks gone for you? Did anything interesting or exciting happen at your house?

Peek Into Our Week: FlameFest Ball, New Hairstyles, Growing My Nails Out, SheSpeaks Conference, Family Roadtrip, and Homemade Latte!

Peek Into the Week

It’s been a full two weeks and I’m finally getting a chance to do a recap post… and wow is there a lot to recap!

I went to IL to speak at a Firefighter Wives’ Event called Flamefest. It was held at the Hyatt Lodge at the McDonald’s Campus (the McD headquarters, I guess?) Guess what kind of coffee they served at the hotel? Cracked me up to drink McDonald’s coffee from a McDonald’s cup — at a HYATT no less! 🙂

Peek Into Week

I was the keynote speaker at the Flamefest Ball on Friday evening, so I had fun getting dressed up for the occasion. 🙂 And I also learned a really powerful lesson about courage that night. Read it here.

Peek Into Week

I flew home Saturday morning. I was supposed to get in before lunch, but after multiple flight delays, I ended up getting back into town about three hours later than planned. But that’s just life sometimes, isn’t it?! I’m learning to roll with the punches… or at least I’m trying to! 🙂

On Saturday evening, we went to hang out with our good friends and neighbors, the Hodges. We spent the evening talking, laughing, sharing, and eating delicious homemade salsa and fresh-baked cookies.

While we were there, other friends dropped by to bring us all boxes of cookies and stayed to regale us with hilarious stories. Have I mentioned how much we are loving and being blessed by the community here??

Peek Into Week

Kaitlynn found a tutorial on YouTube for making homemade lip gloss with crayons and coconut oil and just had to try it. She made it almost entirely by herself — and it turned out really well!

This girl constantly impresses and inspires me… and I’m so grateful for the beauty and creativity she adds to our home and life!

Peek Into Week

Move over, Starbucks! I am so excited that I finally learned how to make her own DIY Breve Latte — without a Latte Machine. And it is delicious!! Get the recipe here.

Peek Into Week

It was cloudy and overcast one day… Perfect for snuggling up on the bed and reading chapter after chapter aloud together while the kids created with Legos. I love quiet, at-home days!

Peek Into Week

You know what warms my heart so much? It’s amazing young people like Kass Hodge who love on our kids.

We had another fun neighborhood get together at the Hodges house and while we were at their house, Kass gave Kaitlynn a makeover. You can imagine little fashionista Kaitlynn thought was the best thing ever!

I hope both of my daughters grow up to be as generous, kind, and warm as Kass is!

Peek Into Week

I began last week feeling a wee bit overwhelmed with everything that needed to be done, so I took a deep breath, made some Good Girl Moonshine and painted my now-growing-out nails.

It might seem weird to stop and do something like that when I had a long to-do list to tackle, but I’ve found that sometimes, when you feel like there’s too much to do, making yourself stop and breathe for 20 minutes is the best thing you can do. At least it’s definitely much better than hyperventilating! 🙂

{Also? I think I’ve discovered the secret to growing my nails out!! Not only does it involve keeping them painted in cute colors, but it also involves publicly blogging about your nail-biting habit. Somehow, going public with it, has made me much more disciplined about actually letting them grow out. And every time I look down at my longish nails, it makes me so very happy! So anyway, thank you all!}

Peek Into Week

We left six hours earlier than planned on Wednesday morning to head to North Carolina for me to attend the SheSpeaks Conference. There were storm clouds and rain much of the drive — which is my favorite weather to drive in!

I spent the drive wrapped up in this favorite blanket of mine, reading a good book, having discussions as a family, and getting in some blogging work since I was able to get good wi-fi in the car through my phone’s hotspot.

Peek Into Week

It’s really impossible for me to put into words just how blessed, refreshed, and filled up I was by being at SheSpeaks.

Spending time with these two women was one of the biggest highlights. Not only did we have deep conversations about heart things and struggles, but we also did a whole lot of laughing since both Edie and Ruth are hilarious — especially when you get them both together!

I think I’m sore from all the laughing we did, but it was so very worth it! We only wished that Edie could have stayed longer than just one day!

Peek Into Week

Lookee whose book just came out in paperback?!?! I’m so stinkin’ proud of my girl, Ruth Soukup, and all the amazing things she’s doing!!

Her book, How to Blog for Profit Without Selling Your Soul, is truly the BEST blogging book I’ve ever read.

It’s available as an ebook on Amazon or the new and expanded paperback version should be available on Amazon next week.

Peek Into Week

It was so fun to get to spend a little time with the amazing A.J. Gregory! She ghost-edited my last book, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode, and I’m so honored to be working with her again for my next book.

We’ve been mulling over the next book’s concept for months and are so excited to finally be ready to jump in and start the intensive writing process together. I think you’re going to LOVE the topic — or at least *I’m* super stoked about it! 🙂

Our plan is to have the manuscript finished by December 1 of this year and, if all goes according to plan, it should be in bookstores by the beginning of November 2015!

Peek Into Week

Listening to Michele is always a huge inspiration to me. I love her to pieces! If you’ve not had the chance to listen to her speak before, you are majorly missing out!

Peek Into Week

I won’t lie: the reason I went to SheSpeaks was because Ruth was speaking. So yes, I may have been having trouble containing my pride and excitement while she was up on the stage.

A few months ago, Ruth and I were talking on the phone. I was celebrating with her that she was going to be speaking at the SheSpeaks conference — a real honor to be asked to be apart of, but one Ruth was wholly deserving of.

Then she said something that I totally hadn’t considered, “You should come, too.”

Since I try to limit my traveling to only a few speaking/business trips per month, I didn’t think it would work out. However, my husband knows just how much Ruth’s friendship means to me and he concocted a plan to make it work, because he’s amazing like that. Truly.

His idea: we turned the trip into a family roadtrip/visit with my sister and her family who live nearby in South Carolina. While I was at the conference, he did fun activities with the kids and spent time with my sister’s husband and her kids.

Peek Into Week

These are some of the beautiful ladies I had the chance to get to know better at SheSpeaks. Courtney (who created the adorable Scripture cards above) is just a doll. Ruth and I instantly loved her! {Photo credit: Courtney}

{And notice my Cents of Style tee in the picture? I bought it during the last sale they ran on their t-shirt line and I absolutely adore it!}

Peek Into Week

One of the highlights of the conference was getting to see my dear friend, Renee, kill it in her morning keynote. I can’t tell you how blessed I am to know this woman in real-life.

This was my first opportunity to hear her speak in front of an audience, so I had to try to keep it together so I didn’t bust out with loud proclamations like, “Isn’t she AMAZING?!?!?” 🙂

Peek Into Week

I just LOVE these girls! Each one is a true gift in my life! Oh the laughter, memories, stories, deep conversations, love, heart-to-heart talks, cups of coffee, and experiences we shared at SheSpeaks! We may not have gotten much sleep, but it was so very worth it!!

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We capped off the conference with a late night (and into the wee hours of the early morning) PJ party in a hotel suite most of us had shared together during the conference. It was a blast.

The above picture makes my heart feel like it just might burst. These women are some of the dearest women I know and we are committed to walking alongside one another in this journey and adventure of life. Their friendship is a true gift.

Peek Into Week

My family re-joined me at the hotel on Sunday and we spent the day sleeping and taking it easy before we drove over to meet up with my sister and her family.

All the cousins had a fantastic time being together. They are old enough now where they mostly play together really well and it’s so fun to observe them!

The dads took all the kids on Monday evening and Brigette and I went out shopping with a few gift cards we had. We tried to see how much we could get without spending any money out of pocket. We got some great deals, had a lot of fun, and only went a few dollars over the gift card amount at one store. Score!

Afterwards, we came back to their house, put all the kids to bed, made snacks, and then stayed up way too late watching a movie. I knew we could all sleep in in the morning, so it was worth the late night. 🙂

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We got up late this morning, took our time getting around, and left for home around noon.

It was a mostly uneventful and relaxing 8-hour drive home: rocking my first messy bun (thanks, YouTube!), enjoying some yummy and fairly healthful snacks (who says the gas station only sells candy bars and soda pop??), listening to my favorite playlist on repeat, knocking out some blog projects thanks to more good wi-fi in the car, and soaking up the beautiful scenery.

All in all, was a great trip, but it’s also so good to be HOME!

We’re happy to be back for the rest of this week so we can spend time with friends here and catch up on laundry and sleep before we leave again for a trip to Arkansas and Missouri next week. 🙂

How was YOUR last week (or two!)? Anything interesting or exciting happen at your house?

Peek Into Last Week: A birthday date, new hairstyles, freezer cooking, watching the World Cup without cable TV, and a trip to Dallas!

A Peek Into My Week

This past week was a full week, but it was packed full of wonderful times with dear people, special memories, and many blessings!

We have a tradition at our house where the birthday child gets to go on an outing of their choice with both Dad and Mom separately. Kaitlynn went out with Jesse to Cracker Barrel last Saturday her birthday date with dad.

For her birthday date with mom, she chose to go to the mall — which I was not in the least surprised about since she is becoming quite the little fashionista. She asked specifically to go to Forever 21, Aeropostle, Bath & Body Works, and Pottery Barn.

Not sure where she got the fashionista/decorating gene from, but it clearly wasn’t me. She did, however, get some of my frugal gene because she chose fragrance that was 75% off at Bath & Body Works and a shirt that was 20% off at Forever 21. Total spent = $18 out of pocket. Memories made together = priceless.

Also, I totally cracked up at her comment when we were walking around Pottery Barn. She said, “It’s too expensive to actually buy anything here, but I love to look around the store for ideas.” That’s my girl. 😉

Peek Into Our Week

Silas is quite the little sports fanatic, so he’s been closely following the World Cup scores and games. Only, we don’t have cable, so the guys have had to get creative in finding ways to watch the games. The above was how I found them on Sunday — all cozied up watching together on the iPad — whooping and hollering their hearts out.

For Thursday’s game, they figured out a way to hook up the iPad to the TV so they could watch it on a larger screen. When there’s a will, there’s usually a way. 🙂

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Kaitlynn has been attempting to learn how to do a beachy waves look on my hair using a new curling wand I got from a sale & credit on Zulily.

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This is another look Kaitlynn did on my hair this week. She’s also been practicing on my make up, learning how to do smoky eyes looks and more.

At the rate this girl is learning (thanks to YouTube and Bethany Mota), I will soon have my own live-in cosmetologist, hair stylist, and personal shopper!

Peek Into Our Week

This is my new dear friend and neighbor, Tam. I wish you all could meet her. She and her family have been direct gifts from God to our family as we settle in TN.

They’ve loved on us, brought us food, watched our kids, made us cookies, listened to us, made us salsa, laughed with us, prayed for us, introduced us to many of their friends, and been the hands and feet of Jesus in this big transition.

We had fun going to get manicures on Monday with a gift card I had! It’s amazing how close you can feel to someone you just met last month!

Peek Into the Week

On Tuesday, I did a little No-Oven Freezer Cooking and made Energy Bites and Healthy Protein Peppermint Fudge while Jesse made pancakes. I love getting to work in the kitchen with my best friend!

And I was SO happy because the fudge was a HUGE success. More details on my freezer cooking session and the recipes I used coming tomorrow or Wednesday.

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Kaitlynn is always creating beauty and art wherever she goes. On Wednesday, we made snowflakes (her idea — who says you can’t make snowflakes in June??) and then she used them as a stencil for painting watercolor pictures. It was a fun indoor project on a hot summer day.

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Thursday, I flew to Dallas to speak at a conference there on Friday and Saturday. If you go on business trips regularly, you’ll want to check out my post I wrote on 4 ways I save hundreds of dollars each year on business trips.

Peek Into WeekThe conference on Friday was such a blessing. I started the day rather out-of-sorts and ask some close friends to pray for me as I just felt so inadequate to be there speaking. Well, God answered their prayers and gave me so much energy for the conference, but also brought a number of unexpected blessings my way, too.

A dear mom of four adorable kids and longtime blog reader made me an organic salad and homemade salad dressing (her delicious recipe is here) and brought it to me at the conference… Because she knows I love salad so much and try to eat a salad everyday. She even wrote down all the ingredients so I’d know exactly what was in the salad and dressing! I was blown away by her thoughtfulness and kindness!!

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It was so fun to get to spend time with my dear friend, Rachel, at the conference as she and her family live near Dallas. We have so many wonderful memories of time spent together in our teens… Just wish we didn’t live miles & miles apart now!

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After a busy, tiring, but oh-so-blessed two days speaking in Dallas, I was thankful for a few minutes at the airport to put my feet up and read this book I’ve been loving on finding margin and breathing room in your life.

Also, notice my shoes? We had to run out and buy those at Kohl’s on Friday night because the Aerosole sandals — one of my beloved pairs of speaking shoes that I was planning to wear on Saturday — broke beyond repair on Friday. I was just grateful we were able to find a replacement Aerosole shoes that I love and that I had a Kohl’s gift card with me that covered the unexpected purchase!

You just never quite know what will happen when you’re on the road. I’m just grateful it wasn’t a run-in with the escalator this time! 🙂

Peek Into WeekWe had a quiet Sunday & Monday — which was a blessing after a busy week. Lots of hanging out together as a family, cooking together, cleaning together, playing games together, watching movies together, and just being together. It was bliss!

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Kathrynne had me teach her how to make Homemade Energy Bites tonight so that she could make them every week instead of me (we’ve been going through a batch per week recently!) I was so impressed with how well her batch turned out, but most of all, I loved her willing initiative and desire to save me time and effort!

I’m working myself out of job — and it’s a bittersweet thing.

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And I’ll close out this long post with my favorite picture from this week: Not much in the world can rival this. So blessed that this boy still loves his nightly Mama Snuggles! I’m soaking them up!

How was YOUR week last week? I’d love to hear!