I’m starting a new series today!
Isn’t that what Mondays are for?
New things 🙂 .
Over the last few years, I’ve received SO MANY requests from you to answer certain topics/incorporate more content into my posts, and I’ve tried really hard to do just that (I’m talking to you holiday gift guides!). I’ve almost always created entire posts for these topics, but I this year, I decided it was time to take some of your great questions that don’t necessarily make one whole post (or I just don’t have the calendar space for it) and turn it into one post.
I call this series…
…because we all know how much I love a bag 🙂 .
I’ve screenshot approximately four billion of your random questions and from time to time, I’m going to pull a few from my grab bag and answer them in one post. Hopefully, this will help everyone get the content they’re looking for this 2022.
Happy inaugural Grab Bag day to YOU!!
Let’s start with…
My way isn’t the only way.
That took me a long time.
Want to know what took me even longer?
My family’s way is not the only way.
Andrew and I will celebrate 18 years of marriage in March, and once we realized that neither of us were “right” but instead we were both “different” and that’s perfectly OKAY and actually quite beneficial, things moved along much better. I would love to tell you that we learned this lesson easily the first year we were married, but nope. We are both Enneagram 8s, so basically, we learned it around year 17. Sigh. I really wish I would have gone into my marriage (at the ripe old age of 22) having a bigger desire to change as a couple and not try to change him into a Lowe. He will never be a Lowe. I will never really be a Shull (in the sense that I didn’t grow up in his house with his parents). We are both products of Jay and Sherry’s family and Steve and Cheryll’s..creating our own Andrew and Shay family. We both fought any sort of change for years (because we’re both highly opinionated!), but now I would say, we LOVE creating our own memories/traditions/ways of doing things as our own family unit. It took us some time (and work!), but we’re much better about this now. That being said, my way of doing the trash and his vary greatly, and we just had a little spat about that in the hallway, so clearly, we’re still a work in progress.
I asked and here are his answers:
And all of his suits, pants, and jackets are custom through Tom James.
For a size reference, Andrew is 6’5″. He’s super tall yet not super wide, so “slim fit” and things like that work much better than just sizing up to get the length. He started using Tom James years and years ago and loves them. They make all of his work clothes. I don’t know about your hubbies, but he somehow gets new clothes and gets himself dressed each day. I do not shop for him AT ALL. He buys and shops for all of his own clothing.
I’m going to assume this question is about how Andrew and I handle it. We’ve done the same thing since day one of our marriage. Unlike the proper way to take out the garbage, handling our finances in various stages of life has never been an issue. We just have a system and it works for us. Just as a personal note, over our almost 18 years of marriage, we’ve had many different financial situations including: at one point, I worked full-time and Andrew didn’t work, Andrew worked full-time and I worked part-time, we both worked full-time together opening our business (that was interesting!) and now, we both work full-time at our own jobs.
No matter how things line up, any money earned is put into one personal account (we don’t split up our finances). This is the money we use for paying bills, for saving, for donating to our favorite causes and charities, for investing, for spending…no matter who contributed what, it’s all “ours”. I have always paid our personal bills. Twice a month, I sit down and write out any checks, pay anyone that needs to be paid (like the pool company, yard people, gas bill, water bill, etc). When we were first married, I just started doing it and fast-forward 18 years, and that’s just still my thing (that being said, it’s SO MUCH EASIER now than in 2004 as most things are electronic and there is very little ‘bill paying’ to be done).
For our businesses, he has a business with a business checking account and I have a business with a business checking account. We each pay all of our business expenses, payroll, etc. Together with our CPA, our businesses each pay us a salary as well (that’s how it’s determined how much we’re putting into our shared personal account).
As for what we set aside, all of that fun stuff like money for taxes, our kids’ educational accounts, our retirement, money for future trips, for future home projects, etc. We tithe each time we earn money, we save and we donate monthly to our favorite charities.
When it comes to how we know what to budget for things (Christmas gifts, home projects, vacations, etc), we do the same thing we did 18 years ago, we talk about it and put money aside. We talk about the “thing” and decide how much we’ll save. Back in the day, we literally saved money in white envelopes where on the front we would write “Christmas money” or whatever. Now, anytime we want to save for something big (like that huge home renovation/office addition), we open a savings account just for that project and with each paycheck, put money aside. This makes is SUPER simple to see how much we have saved for each individual project, plus, we both find it rather motivating too!
Whew, so that’s how we do it!
It, of course, varies, but on a normal school day, it looks something like this:
Breakfast: She eats breakfast at school after athletics (which is from 6:30 to 8:30) and before her first class (which isn’t until 9:30). She typically takes something sweet (she’s my ‘sweets’ eater), so she’ll pack like a gluten-free muffin (she LOVES the ones from Trader Joe’s, I’ll put a pic below!), cereal, a protein bar, etc. At home, she’ll make those gluten-free pancakes from Trader Joe’s (that’s how she cut her finger and had to get stitches this fall…trying to separate her frozen pancakes…sigh…with a steak knife…sigh again).
Lunch: We laugh that Kensington always eats the best meals now that she’s g-free (compared to the rest of us)! For lunch, she always packs something from home like leftovers (super easy and we always give her first dibs to take them to school), we make her Caesar salads all the time (probably her #1 go-to) where we add lettuce, a protein (like chicken or turkey), Parm and then a side of Caesar dressing (along with some fruit and a bag of g-free chips) or sometimes we do PB&J or wraps with chicken or turkey (on g-free breads). It’s really all the simple stuff like that with some chips, popcorn and fruit thrown in. Sometimes, she’ll add a yogurt or something like that too.
Dinner: She eats whatever we have! All of the dinners I make for my family are now g-free. We all eat the very same thing at night.
Okay, this one is harder for me to answer because I just quite can’t put my finger on the answer. I went through a phase back when I didn’t have kids and when Kensington was a baby when I read primarily all Christian fiction. I read all the classics like Redeeming Love and the Mitford series. I loved them! As I became a mom, I started relying more on Christian books that helped moms like Sally Clarkson (her books are amazing!!!) to get me through my day. I still love these books and read them when I can (Melanie Shankle, Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, Annie Downs, etc) and find that these books speak way more to my soul than the fictional books considered to be “Christian”. Of course, the book I read each and every day that is Christian and always speaks to my soul is…the Bible 😉 .
I’ve been asked before (and perhaps this is a grab bag question) why I read books that “aren’t Christian” and I guess my answer to that is that Christians are made up of a bunch of flawed, sinful, selfish people and those are the characters I’m reading about in my books. We all need grace. We all need mercy. We all need Jesus. I don’t want to only read about characters living with “Christian” issues (I don’t even know exactly what that would be…we all struggle with the same issues, just some of us struggle with them with Jesus) because I don’t want to stick my head in the sand and not see the world around me. I personally feel that I can relate more to women and this community by sharing Jesus but also sharing other things/other books/other aspects of my life. I know many of you love the Lord, but I also know many of you don’t have a relationship with Him and still come by here to see what I’m up to. I’m honored to have each of you. Whether you agree with my relationship with the Lord or not, you know you where I stand and you also know that I love all of you regardless and am open to not just doing things like “only reading Christian fiction”. So…long answer and kind of rambling, but I hope it helps.
That’s it! My first Random Grab Bag post is done!
What do you think?
Does this work?
I don’t know when or how often I’ll do these, but I’m excited to share more content with you this year!
In the meantime, enjoy your Monday!!!! Don’t forget, I now have grocery lists on Meal Planning Monday, so check that out too! xx