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A Peek Into Our Life This Past 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! 🙂 

This week started with Jesse coming home from Peru (yay!!) but coming home incredibly sick with some sort of bacterial infection, high fever, and food poisoning. He was SO sick and we are grateful for modern medicine because he needed a lot of it! He finally began feeling more like himself around Wednesday afternoon and we are thankful he is okay and is now back to normal again!

I read this book this week and loved it — especially since the author spent 10 years in South Africa and you all know how much my heart loves that country! I’ll share more about how this book impacted me in me book post tomorrow.

I was honored to do a short interview for the Sorta Awesome podcast — one of my favorite podcasts. My interview is the last 12 minutes and I share some really honest thoughts about fear, lies, labels, and friendships. I also talk about my hospitality goals for this year and Discipleship Group.

Also, I am just LOVING leading a group of 220+ bloggers through a 4-Week Live Blog Coaching program. You can read a little bit of one topic we covered recently here.

Silas’ class presented in front of all of the school on Friday morning. They acted out details of the Punic Wars and then talked about how God has been so faithful in the lives of so many people throughout history. Silas chose to share on Noah and I loved getting to see him up on stage and how confident he is compared to the shy little boy he used to be a few years ago.

Two years ago, I was really struggling as a mom. I was often overwhelmed, frustrated, stressed, and scared about the future.

And it was because I was parenting out of a belief that it was my job to “fix” my kids — to be their Savior and Holy Spirit. In addition, I worried a lot about my reputation as a parent.

I wasn’t parenting to point my kids to Jesus; I was parenting to make myself feel better.

I didn’t recognize this, of course, and I wasn’t intentionally doing this. But it was the path I was on.

In essence, I cared more that my kids did the right thing, than that they were seeking a relationship with God. I wanted them to look good and be good in order to make me feel good.

So long as they made good choices, I felt happy and fulfilled. But when they made mistakes or struggled (which was much of the time, since they are kids and all!), I felt shame and guilt and discouragement.

On Wednesday this week, I stood up before a group of women in our church and got to share how God has transformed my heart as a parent these past two years. And it kind of blew me away to go back and remember the stress and frustration and shame and guilt I used to feel.

I’m so grateful for the transforming work of the Gospel… that it frees me up to stop striving and stressing. It frees me to wholeheartedly love my kids and patiently walk with my kids — through the beautiful days and the brutal days, without carrying the weight of shame & guilt anymore.

There is so much freedom and joy in this place, even on the hard days!

If you can relate to any of this or you struggle with Mommy Guilt and feel like you are always failing or are never doing enough or just can’t get it right as a mom, I highly recommend reading Mom Set Free.

This book is SO good. I slowly savored it — reading just a little bit every day — to make it last as long as I could and to really soak in the truths from it.

A few years ago, one of my friends announced her pregnancy. And I instantly felt all kinds of irritation toward her.

In fact, I didn’t want to see her or acknowledge her pregnancy. Why? Because she’d “effortlessly” had two babies in a short amount of time. All while I’d experienced disappointment month after month with secondary infertility.

I realized that my feelings toward her weren’t about her; they were about ME. I desperately wanted what she had… and I didn’t have it.

Here’s the thing I’ve learned from 8 years of secondary infertility: you can’t take the pain away. It’s always going to sting a little (or a LOT). And you will always feel that sadness and longing when you see a baby or a pregnant woman.

But being jealous of her or irritated at her won’t fix anything. It will only hurt you and prevent you from beautiful connections.

It’s the same in all areas of our life. And when I notice myself feeling frustrated or irritated at someone, I now stop to ask myself, “Am I in any way jealous of this person or something in their life?”

You guys! So much of the time, that question uncovers a lot of stuff in my heart that I need to process through… and when I’m finished processing, I realize I have no reason to be irritated or frustrated at them at all!

Let’s choose connection over criticism, joy over jealousy. We were created for community, not comparison!

Photo credit: @kellybeckleyshank

 

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: 17 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: 14 notes written so far this year

4. Run 500 miles.

**Progress: 106 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 nailed down dates for our trip!

8. Go on a family road trip.

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.

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: 4 Weeks to a More Productive Life launched in January and Content Creation 101 launched in February. We launched the 4-Week Blog Coaching Program in March and we’re launching a few YourBloggingUniversity.com course in a few days!

Links You Should Check Out:

Hospitality on a Budget — Is it possible to show hospitality when you’re on a tight budget? Well, judging by the emails and comments I’ve received on this topic in recent months, this is something that many of you are struggling with. (I did a live video on this topic here, too.)

Ice Cream Soaked French Toast — Yes, please! (And it’s freezer-friendly, too!)

How I’m Staying Fit in This Season of Life — People are always asking me about fitness. Here are lots of details on what I do, what I don’t do, and how I keep it simple. (I did a live video on this topic here.)

P.S. Need a laugh? This gave us WAY more entertainment than I should probably admit!

(Note: The links in this post are affiliate links, and we will be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking through our links. Read our disclosure policy here.)

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10 Comments

  1. Kristine says:

    I felt compelled to chime in about the pregnancy feelings and jealousy. I know and understand those so well. However, now I’m on another side of things and am really learning that we do not know what another person has walked through. Kind of like social media…we often are reacting to the outward “nice” thing (making us jealous) and don’t see the mess.

    I struggled with infertility and ended up needing fertility help. God blessed us with twins. I wanted another baby, but wasn’t like others who could just “get pregnant. ” Six years later we were blessed with a son. Now here I am another 6 years later learning that I’m pregnant again….It’s nothing short of a miracle. I’ve also experienced miscarriages in this time. To many, outwardly, I look like a fertile Mrytle and I know others may be in pain when I announce this new pregnancy. However, there have been years of struggle, heartache, failure mixed in with the miracles.

    I try to remind myself of these things when I feel jealous of others ‘ successes.

    Have a happy week!

    • Yes! That’s so true! And one thing this has helped me with is to be really careful what I say to others… because you never know the pain or hurt they might be feeling or going through or have gone through.

  2. Candice says:

    Do you have a comprehensive list of books you recommend anywhere on your site? You have read so many interesting things over the years, just thought I’d see if you have a master list.

  3. Denise H says:

    I have quite a few pregnant friends and /or friends with newborn babies. I don’t think jealous is the right word for me, but I do feel sad that after 7 years of marriage I don’t have one. But instead I try to snatch up time to hold their littles when I can. I got to snuggle one this morning while his parents preached and it was wonderful. It does my heart good to hold one even if just for a couple hours.

  4. Theresa says:

    I just watched your video about how you stay fit and it is so inspiring! I love your message of embracing who you are. My weight is a little more than I’d prefer and people have noticed my weight gain in the past year (2 coworkers asked me if I was pregnant within 3 weeks of each other!). I’m working hard on establishing healthy habits and focusing on my health, rather than my appearance. I know if I make my health a priority, the extra weight will come off.

  5. Maura says:

    Crystal,

    I really appreciate your transparency as you share your struggles as well as the places that you have grown.

    I initially started following your blog to try and find new ways to save money, but I appreciate so much more than your posts about finances. Thank you for sharing your heart and the things that you are learning. I enjoy many of your homemaking and encouragement posts as well. Your unique personality and giftings really shine through in your blog.

    We may never meet this side of Heaven, but I look forward to meeting you in person someday, Sister!

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