“It may take place in a foreign land or it may take place in your backyard, but I believe that we were each created to change the world for someone. To serve someone. To love someone the way Christ first loved us, to spread His light. This is the dream, and it is possible.” - Katie Davis, Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption
Today, I am so happy to welcome back my friend Taylor. Taylor is seriously a ray of sunshine in my life. She is one of those people who leak Jesus and you just want to put in your pocket for constant joy and she’s tiny enough too! (Little ladies unite! – inside joke.) Her journey the past few years has been one of adventure and refinement. In my heart, I know God has refined her sweet spirit for something great and world-changing, even if that world is a small village in Kenya.
She is raising money to go back to serve and needs your help to raise money for her trip. Y’all she is really a woman on fire. Learn more and give here - https://fundly.com/kenya.
One of my sweet Pilates clients gave me a bag of Choffy for Christmas. Choffy is basically brewed cacao beans and is sugar free, gluten free, dairy free and full of antioxidants. It took me a few tries to get the brew just right, but oh my goodness, what a wonderful treat it was to sip on Christmas morning. It drink like coffee and tastes like an intense hot chocolate. Adding a little bit of frothed vanilla almond milk made it even more decadent. It’s a perfect treat for cold mornings when you want something a little more indulgent that coffee.
Last week’s love letter to Nate has had me dreaming. I’ve been dreaming of a snowy vow renewal. Not this year, but maybe for our five-year anniversary. Nothing is more romantic to me than a warm lodge on a snowy evening. It takes me back to those romantic novels I would steal from my Granny’s when I was a girl. She had a series by Jude Deveroux about the Montgomery family, and nearly every story involved being stuck in a cottage or lodge sometime during their love story – I may or may not still read them, haha. An intimate vow renewal in a lodge somewhere snowy with a fire, flowers and a handful of friends and family seems like a perfect way for us to renew our love. Nerves kept us from writing our own vows for the wedding, I’d love to wrote our own vows for a renewal. The ceremony was my favorite part of our wedding, I would love to re-live it. And instead of a big reception, a snow ball fight outside to follow. Haha, who thinks this would be a fun idea?!
Dear Big Man,
Can you believe it’s been three years since I met you in that little chapel? It was so cold and dark outside, but oh my heart was on fire like all of the candles that lined my walk to you. I’ll never forget that moment I saw your deep green eyes, it was like a dream – I didn’t even hear the music we had spent weeks deciding and choosing. All I heard was my heartbeat, all I felt were your eyes on me.
I’ll never forget that moment we left the church in your truck. My dress was wrapped up in a giant mound of tulle with me in the front seat, you looked so dashing in your tux. Remember when we grinned at each other saying we could skip the party and just drive straight to Mexico. If you had been serious, I would have said yes. I would have followed you anywhere.Instead, we danced, ate the best smoked dinner and escaped in a helicopter later that night.
That first year of marriage, I am so sorry, honey. It took me a while to adjust to Oklahoma. I missed my family. I missed being a ballerina. And instead of telling you these things, I sulked. You were so good to me. You encouraged me to see my family at least once a month and took my mind off not finding a job and missing dance with surprise trips to Eureka Springs and Dallas – trips we certainly couldn’t afford, but you were determined to help me adjust and be happy. You encouraged me to blog and write, and for that I am also so very thankful. I’m just so sorry I wasn’t selfless enough to love you liked you deserved that first year.
Thankfully, I grew up during our second year of marriage. We both did. We married young, but I think when we started getting very honest with each other, things took a turn for the best. Because we were honest, we could have more fun. We could love each other more, once we shared more of ourselves. And wow, how much do I love all of you from those green eyes to your darkest secrets and biggest dreams. I see so much more of you and I love it. Thank you for loving me, despite my darkest secrets and dreaming with me on my biggest, crazy dreams.
Last year, our best year yet, I can’t tell you how much my respect for you blew through the roof when you nearly yelled at me, “I’m tired of you talking about this, it’s about time you did something about it!” – I didn’t know whether to hit you or kiss you. Not only did you spur me towards my dream, but every single day you remind me that I am enough and are there to take action and help me make things happen, including my first big steps that you directly encouraged me into. You too, worked so hard last year. Sometimes, I don’t know how you work four 12-hour night shifts in a row and still have the energy to take me to a pumpkin patch so I can have ghost pumpkins in my office for Thanksgiving. Or how you had the patience to deal with long hours and work and come home to once again listen to my fears and point out how dumb they were.
This year we have some big adventures ahead of us. My heart jumps just thinking of them. But there is no one on this Earth I would rather take these jumps with than you. I love you more than you know. I love the person I am with you, just myself. You complete me like you finish eating my food. Yet you demand I be independent, you require a woman to be your wife as much as I require a man.
God made Ecclesiastes 3:11 come alive when I met you. I learned grace from you our first year of marriage – amazing grace. I understood love in 2012 when we embraced each other completely, flaws and all. Last year we became a strong man and woman, working together in that grace and love. This year is certainly going to be our year of magic.
Yep, I will probably get on to you about leaving your muddy hunting clothes in the hallway and you’ll probably have to tell me to clean the dishes better before putting them in the dishwasher. You will probably want to pull your hair when I tell you how much my next project will cost and I will probably test your patience when I go on an hour-long tangent about artists. You will get annoyed when I ask you to not wear gym shorts out to dinner and I will get frustrated when one game of Call of Duty becomes three.
But at the end of the day, when you’re holding me close and we pray together, my words will be of nothing but thanks for you and our marriage. That is love. And to me, darling, our love is magic.
It is very easy to lie to yourself. It’s easier to lie to yourself than it is to others. Being true to yourself is a necessary character quality in order to live a successful and happy life. One of the biggest ways we lie to ourselves, is by following the crowd.
I get it. You see someone thrive on their success of doing something, creating something or starting a trend and the first thing you want to do is jump on that train and try it too, thinking it will bring you the same success and happiness. Don’t do it. Then ask yourself, why do you want to ride on the shirttails or someone else idea? Why do you want to me a rendition of someone or something else?
Many of us live in fear of lack. We fear that there is only so much success, only so much love, only so much happiness, only so many great and creative ideas available, we have to settle for less and ride off of someone else’s. You settle for conformity when you do this. We settle for the idea that there is a shortage of love, beauty or success in the world. Not so, and this idea could not be farther from the truth. There is an abundance of ideas, knowledge and beauty that has not even been tapped into that is available for the world.
Look at people. Does God create one person a complete replica as another? Perhaps you could argue twins, but even then, there is always something distinct that differentiates one from the other. God does not suddenly start making babies look alike because He has come to a sort of creative shortage and has to start replicated people’s image. No, there is not shortage of creativity and uniqueness in people – everyone is created differently and looks differently.
We were created in the image of God. He created us with creative minds, to create and to work with inspiration. Therefore, we have a unique opinion of this life. Each of us has different thoughts and views of the world. Some of us may agree with others on many things, but non of us see things exactly alike.
Let’s go back to my first point. Why do you think you have to follow someone else’s good idea or follow a trend to be happy and successful? Why do you think you need to do that when we just acknowledged that each of us has a unique opinion and view? Therefore we have unique ways of creating, so again, we do we follow the crowd? Why are we allowing ourselves to replicas of other people, businesses or artists? Why are you being lazy and following others when you have a perfectly good and creative brain to use and communicate your own thoughts and ideas to the world?
Can you tell I’m passionate about this? But I am serious, the easiest way to be true to yourself is to listen to your own opinions look at the world from your own perspective. Appreciate and embrace the ideas of others, but note your own. Follow your own. That is the beginning of honesty. And the beginning of creativity. This is when you start making magic.
With a new year, I recently purchased a new planner. Maybe I shouldn’t own three planners at once, but I do. What I love about my new planner is that it is a blank canvas for me to scribble all over. The Seize the Day planner from Mochi Things is a bit more serious than my other planners which I need for planning and documenting some big things that need several lists and boxes for to-do’s and ideas. The grid pages for each day allows my creative mind to draw and sketch with plenty of room and keep lists of appointments and things to make happen. The binding of the book is very sturdy and survives any bottomless bag or backseat which I need for last-minute trips to OKC for Cafe Evoke espresso and conversation. Happy Friday!
Hello, friends and Happy New Year!
For me, I have declared 2014 the year of magic. Faith has always been the virtue I have struggled the most with in my life. Jumping off cliffs and taking leaps seem exciting and daring, but they also take a lot of faith. To be perfectly honest, I have allowed my adrenaline to take these jumps with very little faith. With no faith, no vision, there is nothing to achieve, no one to serve, nothing meaningful to accomplish.
You see, for the month of December while I was taking a break from the blog, I made it my mission to seek and understand faith. My whole life I knew the verse, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen,” blah blah blah. I never understood how that worked in a real, tangible way. I looked at faith as a synonym to hope or wishing, which I now know it is far from it.
Faith is not just “believing” that what has been promised will happen, but whole-heartedly knowing. Living as if, the promise is not just coming, but it is here today. Living in the promise, instead of waiting on the promise. Living in the promise gives you the freedom to do, make things happen and serve others TODAY. It does not allow procrastination or worse, the development of fear because the promise is already here, there is nothing to fear. That is faith.
All month, I played with this idea. I made a few faith declarations, some very small and some very large. We had a surprise expense that set us back a bit, so I declared that God was going to take care of us and balance this out in some way we could not imagine. I had faith that God was going to provide, we should not worry and I lived the rest of my day as if that expense was taken care of. The next day I asked Nate to go get the mail, joking that there was a check for us on its way. Of course he said I was crazy, and I half agreed with him, but I wanted to have faith in something small and silly and impossible, even if it didn’t happen, I wanted to show God that no matter how big or small or crazy, I believed he was constantly providing for us. Nate came back with the mail, opened another bill and inside was not a bill, but a check. Of course, he thought I knew about this, but I didn’t. Our bank sent us a check saying, they wanted to share their wealth from the past year. Seriously? Yes!
Y’all, I don’t suggest “having faith” that $1 million is on its way to your mailbox right now, but I do suggest in believing in the reality of faith. If you declare the promises God has put in your heart whether that is the success (defined as serving others) of your business, the joy in your marriage or the healing of a broken heart or body and 100% believe like a child believes in Santa Claus, answers will come. Sometimes the answered prayer or declaration isn’t in the form of money or even what you requested, but more than likely the answer is better and more than you could have imagined. Even if the answer is no or not yet, if you have asked with a pure heart, there is an answer wrapped in love on its way. The point is to have faith, real faith.
So there you have it. I have declared 2014 the year of magic for me. It doesn’t mean it will be without hard work or challenges, but it means that all the hard work and challenges will be met with faith and complete intention and expectation that magic will follow. Life is too short, folks. Don’t live in fear. Faith is the best sucker punch to fear. So knock that fear off its feet before it even has a chance. Throughout the year, I’ll be sharing my own faith journey on social media with the tag #yearofmagic, so feel free to join me and share your own faith “aha” moments – I’d love to share in your excitement!
Have a magical year!
The most wonderful time of the year is finally here! My heart is bursting with gratitude for what God has done this year and it’s not even over yet. Every time this year I thought, “aha, I get it,” God opens my eyes yet again to the wonders of His divine and perfect plan – teaching me that the goal isn’t to “get it,” but to follow in patience and love. Every year, I truly think that my heart has grown in its capacity to love Big Man, and yet, 2013 has brought our marriage into a completely new chapter. I didn’t think it possible, but I love him even more than that freezing January night when I met him at a little candlelit chapel to promise forever and always with him.
Boy, have I learned so much this year. Some of the hardest challenges and biggest letdowns have been victories in disguise as God’s hand showing me that integrity matters most. And sometimes making things happen doesn’t look like glitter-covered photo shoots (although super fun!), but making tough decisions. So thankful for friends like Christina who demonstrates so gracefully – both the glitter and the tough decisions aspect – of making things happen.
Sometimes, you have to put away the PowerSheets and just share your heart with a kindred spirit miles away on a Skype chat, e-mail, phone call or down the street over sushi. Seriously, I have signed off or drove home with tears in my eyes just from gratitude for good people. I treasure these people so very much. “Wherever your treasure is there your heart will be also.” – Matthew 6:21
My heart bursts for good people. Good stories fire me up. Creatives who see themselves as artists first make me so happy I could do a dance. People who understand the importance of being honest and just play make me want to sing their praises to the rooftops. Hearts that beat faster for good fellowship, loving extravagantly and living simply echo my heart and life’s desire. “Make it your ambition to lead a simple life.” – I Thessalonians 4:11
So, for the next month, I’m not going to be busy. I’m boycotting busy and embracing people. I’m taking a break from the blog and hugging a farmer, or a goat…whichever I find first. Social media will be limited, some may even be permanently deleted (yes, you read right), and replaced with snuggles by the fire with Big Man. My December goals look nothing like the past 11 months – no to-do’s, only adventures. No urgent e-mails allowed, just a bit of fun business and handwritten notes. Worry and doubt will be traded for long phone calls to my Granny and other faraway family.
Y’all, I’m excited. Big Man is excited. We’re so excited to spend the entire final month of the year devoting out time to celebrating each other, loving others and going on adventures. Life is too short. Also, I honestly cannot think of a better way to prepare for an amazing 2014 than to spend this month living as much as we possibly can.
Here’s wishing you all the happiest of holidays from my heart!
In my book, I have two rules that keep me grounded when life gets crazy, I get overwhelmed or things just get too darn confusing to figure out – be honest and keep playing. The moment you lose your honesty, authenticity or true self, you lose everything. Then, instead of hustling into the grind, just play. Just enjoy doing the work you love to do. Have fun with it. Plain and simple. At least that’s the way I see it. Happy Friday!