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:
J. Crew slim fit long sleeve shirts
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
Erika Slaughter says
I love a q and a so I’m IN for this series! Couldn’t we all have made those first years of marriage easier if we knew then what we know now?
Love this new series! Please keep them coming!
Dawn Timmons says
Great post! What a cute blog title!
What a fun series! Thanks for sharing! Can’t wait for more!
Beth Knecht says
Love this new series!
Such a cute title for it too!
Would love reading this once or twice a month!!
Rene’ Pingel says
Loved your first Random Grab Bag post. Will look forward to more. I would suggest you read Christian fiction author Charles Martin. Water from my Heart is WOW!
Erin smith says
Loved this post!
Kelly Sites says
LOVE it. Great idea. Looking forward to more. Thanks for sharing
Amy Grace Duncan says
I loved this post!! This is my favorite type of blog content. Keep this series going, it’s so fun!! Thanks for sharing.
Sheaffer Sims says
This is going to be a fun series! And those muffins look incredible.
Appreciate you adding this new series, thank you for answering all our questions! Loved your thoughts on finances and Christian books. Never even thought about you needing to read Christian vs non-Christian books… anyways, I recently discovered Sally Clarkson and about to read The Life Giving Home.
Kerrie Hofstad says
I love this, Shay! I’m super excited about these posts.
This is a great format! And yes, married 23 years this summer and things got MUCH easier in our marriage when I stopped trying to make my husband do things my way/my family’s way and worked with what his methods/strengths are (and he did the same!). And lo and behold, the dishes still get clean in the dishwasher even if they’re not loaded the way I would do it. ? I wish everyone could learn this stuff in year 1 instead of year 16 or so!
Ramona Puckett says
A great post, Shay!
Lisa D says
Fun and relevant “grab bag”! I relate to the questions and your answers. I’m in my 60’s with adult kids and grandkids. Your blog is fun for us older gals too! ?
Robin Lewis says
Loved that grab bag! And you always make me laugh, love your honesty. Happy Monday!
Lindsay D. says
Love your blog! ❤️
Jennifer Goodwin says
Thanks for sharing! I thought this was very interesting. Ha! I guess that makes me a nosy person, right? I’m smiling as I write this. I used to read Christian fiction only, and while some of those authors are still some of my all time favorites (hello, Robin Jones Gunn), excluding her, all the books started feeling the same. I think that for anyone who loves to read as much as we do, you really have to branch out. I’ll try just about anything and I read so much that there just aren’t that many of those types of books to keep me going all year. So, I branch out for that reason and also because life would be boring if I only read that one type. I’ve had people that were shocked to find out that I don’t read only Christian fiction…and then I was judged for that, so I get why you’d share this question. I’ve talked about this myself over on my own blog.
On another note, those Trader Joe’s muffins look amazing and now I’m hungry.
Have a great day!
This is an AWESOME idea! It’s kind a mystery type post, too as in you’ll never know what kind of question you’ll answer so it makes you want to dive in to see if any or all of it applies to you, too. Looking forward to seeing more of these!
Great post…thanks for putting yourself (and family) “out there” so we can be inspired and not feel so alone in our struggles.
JoAnne L says
Thumbs up on this new series, fun
Love the new series and all the q & a’s!! ? And such great marriage advice. We are in year 7 (8??) and still figuring it out!
Great idea! I never ask questions but often wonder the same things others ask. You are a good writer so it’s easy to follow along! Such a cute graphic, too!
Andrea Hooper says
I loved this!
I think I buy ALL my husband’s clothes! He’s exclusively Charhartt though so it’s nice and easy. My middle son is the hardest to buy clothes for though as he is over 6 feel tall and can’t weigh more than 100 lbs so length is always an issue.
This makes me so happy! I love this type of post. I definitely vote for more like this in the future! Happy Monday!
Susan S. says
I loved this post! Keep em coming. Thanks for being so real!
Love this!!! I’m excited about this series!
Kayla Bruce says
As a GF eater, Bob’s Red Mill Oatmeal is a great go-to breakfast. Could maybe be made ahead of time?
Mary Ellen Cook says
This was a great post!! Thank you for sharing!
Leslie S says
Such a fun idea – love it!
I love this post/series idea so much! This is a great new addition to the blog – can’t wait for more!! Also, this part- more people need this attitude towards one another in all aspects of 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”
Thank you for always speaking so honestly and from the heart. I have loved following you all of these years. 🙂
Love this idea!! Excited to see the different questions each post brings! And I feel you on the Christian fiction…so many great books in that genre, but there are so many great ones in other genres too! Happy new year!
Joan Walton says
Great post! A warm and generous look into you as a person. Keep it coming.
Fun post, Shay!
Love this new Monday idea!!
Elizabeth Feldpausch says
This might be my new favorite series!!!! I loved the real honest answers and a look into something we don’t normally get to see here!! I’m excited for the next one whenever it is!
Definitely looking forward to this series! I feel like I have learned so much from reading your blog over the last few years ?
Mary Uhl says
I enjoyed it! Thanks
Morie Smith says
Loved, loved, loved this!! And that was a GOOD WORD about marriage right off the top! Thanks for sharing!
Love the little nuggets of info!! Just ordered my 6’4 slim muscular build man-child the joggers. So hard to find things to fit him. Man-child = 19 year old son that looks like a man but does not yet support himself financially. 🙂
LOVE this kind of post. It’s always helpful to see how someone else does life. It also helps us know we’re not alone in our struggles, or that we are the ones doing something different.
Thank you for mentioning Tom Carter! I’ve already set up an appointment for my husband. He’s not tall like A but for some reason hard to fit. And he needs to wear suit clothes daily. Thank you!
Do you have favorite GF breads/wraps? My son is newly diagnosed celiac, trying to figure out which brands taste best!
Mix and Match Mama says
We almost exclusively use the g-free bread and wraps from Trader Joe’s!
Try to find a specialty bakery in your area that does Gluten Free items. Long Beach, CA has a great one. They make everything. We found it by following someone on Instagram who is Celiac. Try Instagram or Facebook.
I’m 99% sure the question about Andrew’s clothing was mine…so yay!! Thank you for answering that! (And thanks, Andrew for filling us in!) My hubby is tall, too, so I am always looking for clothing for him that’s longer. Thanks again!!
Sarah M. says
I can’t believe people give you a hard time for not reading “Christian” fiction exclusively. That sounds awfully judgmental, which doesn’t seem to fit with what a “good Christian” should do. Everyone needs to diversify their media (and admittedly I do too!).
I absolutely loved this post! Thank you for sharing these bits & pieces. And thank you for making me feel seen with the trash. Haha. That is a ridiculous but yet ongoing “issue” in our home.
YESSS love a random Q & A! Also LOVE that you read all type of books–it’s definitely a common thing to see the “head in the sand” as you mentioned. Having a wide range of what’s actually going on in the world and not just your inner circle is SO necessary!
love this concept! feels like a great way to get to you know better 🙂
Loved this post!! Will be married 40 years in May and still learning. ? I totally get your thoughts on Christian fiction; however, for those of us who primarily read that, it would make your book review post more exciting for us if there occasionally was a Christian fiction selection. One of my favorite authors is Irene Hannon. She does two books a year. One is a mystery/suspense and one an easy read beach type romance.
Oh I love this response! I read a ton of books every year and they are primarily Christian fiction. But I have read many of the books off your book reviews too. It would be so fun to see you occasionally review a Christian fiction because it is hard to find really good ones. I love the mitford books so much, and I’ve read them all several times. ha! Whatever you decide to do I will always enjoy your book review posts! Thanks!
Sugar Bostick says
LOVE this! Thanks for being so honest with your answers.
There is so much wisdom in this post. I love what you said on a variety of topics.
Amy R says
I enjoy it!
Very interesting post and I really look forward to the book reviews! I add, inviting criticism that if you read only Christian novels I wouldn’t be here. So thank you for diversity and honesty!
Kelly Webb says
Delightful! After 20 years of marriage, I echo your comments about different ways of completing tasks be it shopping, chores, or finances; that’s a work in progress as our lives continue to grow and change through the years. And with now two high school boys driving, cooking and doing their laundry (praises for this!), the “my way isn’t the only way” adage is really reinforced.
This is great! You always do a great job!
Great post today Shay!
Kristin Rabinowitz says
Great post! What I’ve been wanting to ask you for a long time – would you please do a post on how you store all your beauty products? I know you use a lot (because you’ve convinced me to use many of them too!), but somehow your bathroom counters look WAY better than mine! What’s your secret? I’m sure you must have a cool system – please share!
Monica Stoleson says
Yes this works!! I love all the random questions and as always I love your responses. Can’t wait for the next one! ?
Elizabeth L says
I loved this random grab bag post. So fun, and such a great idea! I think you should do these once a month or maybe even bi-weekly if you can fit that in your schedule? I’m sure it will depend on the amount of questions you get too.
I absolutely love those (or any of the) Gluten Free muffins from Trader Joe’s.
Such a fun series! I’m so glad you continue to blog when so many others have gone to only social media platforms. I get it, but I really love reading blogs over watching videos.
Kim N says
Happy New Year! Love a grab bag/Q&A series! And those muffins look amazing, and we are not even gluten-free.
WhittyWife (Lindsay) says
I love this!! ❤
Robin Jones Gunn books are excellent!!! Everything chick-lit-y you could want but with the Gospel, nothing R rated, real issues. Kennsington could start reading them. And the perk is, there are so many!!! I read them as an adult and loved them and was glad I didn’t have to be embarrassed for anyone to read over my shoulder.
I agree that Robin Jones Gunn is an exceptionally talented author. I love all of her books. Someone I have recently discovered Rachel Hauck. Her books are also fun and chick-lit but definitely have a faith-based element as well. Robin and Rachel both have mastered weaving the gospel message in without being fake or preachy – they just show what a difference a true relationship with God makes in a person’s life.
I love this new series!!
I loved this segment! Keep it up!
Breanne Crawford says
Loved this new type of post!
Kelly Gruetzmacher says
Love this post!
Lindsay Miller says
The content 2022 needed! ???
Lindsey Stromberg says
This is a fun idea! Random question for you- do you store your children’s holiday bedding with the Christmas stuff of just with their other bedding?
Mix and Match Mama says
I store it all together in our linen closet in a bin! That’s a great question!
Leanne Gilchrist says
Shay~ Thanks for doing this! My husband is 6 foot 7 inches, and VERY slim, and I’m going to check out Tom James for him!
~~I LOVED your assessment of your marriage, and the fact that you realized that you and Andrew are different, that just hit me right between the eyes because I need to realize that, and we’re working on 29 years of marriage this year~~I think it helps me to realize that we’re never “there” where we no longer need to learn or ebb and flow with each other~
~~I LOVE the Mitford series! I reread them at least every year, and I keep a notebook next to me because the Lord has spoken to me every time I read them, very differently each time! Sally Clarkson is one of my favorites as well~~maybe you’d love Ruth Bell Graham? She’s much different than her famous husband, and I fell in love with her after discovering a devotion by her in Goodwill, of all places. I highly recommend her book “It’s My Turn”!
Again, thanks for this really down to earth post!
Kellie Stewart says
I’ve followed your blog for years and this post was one of my favorites. As an avid reader and aspiring writer 🙂 , I greatly appreciated how you explained why you’re open to reading all different genres and authors. I couldn’t agree more and the way you communicated your reasoning was so welcoming and loving and I genuinely appreciated it.
Loved this post. Great and encouraging information. I especially enjoyed the answer to the Christian fiction books. Although I read these genre, I read many other books that have been recommended by others. I enjoy the variety and learn something from each of them. Thanks so much for sharing. I always look forward to your posts.
Emily Hodgson says
Love this idea!! So fun!
This was really fun! I love Shay’s Grab Bag!
I really enjoyed reading your grab bag answers! Thank you!
You always seem to have it together! I wish I could be 1/2 as productive as you.
Mix and Match Mama says
Oh, I’m a hot mess many many many days!
Lisa Wargofchik says
Love your blog! Would love to know what you think of my first and probably only novel ! Hope you will make time to read it – I sent it back in Nov- Unexpected Choices.
I LOVED this post! Thank you for sharing! I am a Jewish (Boston-living, Nantucket-loving) Mom of 3 and have been reading your blog every single day since 2013 (and I read and LOVE all of Erika’s posts, too!)….and I love learning about your religion and your relationship with Jesus through your posts. I also love your book recs, and I am so happy that they don’t just fit into one religious “box”, no matter what that religion may be, because I too think we all sort of struggle with the same things and it is so nice to find that common ground. Anyways, I am so grateful for you in this space! 🙂
Mix and Match Mama says
This comment means the world to me! Thank YOU for being a sweet blog reader!!! Go Sox!!
What great advice & wisdom on the answer about marriage. 22 years of marriage here, and finding your family rhythm as a couple can be difficult, but very rewarding!
LOVE the Grab Bag!!! Please keep doing them.
Let’s be honest, Christian fiction is unreadable! Ha! I’m kidding….kind of. I am an avid reader who loves Jesus but I truly cannot read most of what is on offer in the Christian fiction world. It’s mind numbing.
I loved this post! I’d love to see more if this, if you have time. Your posts are always awesome and I’ve loved reading all of them, all the time!
Kinda had to laugh about the gluten free question. As someone who has been gluten free 10+ years, the substitution is second nature. Try taking out sugar and dairy. That’s way harder.
Valerie Stults says
Loved grab bag post!! Thanks for sharing!!!
On my, I love this new grab bag series!!!!
Loved the new series! It’s fun!
Edward Reeves says
Beautiful blog! Ever since I started working from home, Blogs and Christian books for men like the ones from Keion Henderson, https://www.keionhenderson.com/books/ were really my source of regular reading materials! It was just what I needed since it made me reflect on many things!