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.
To follow our adventures, I will still be on Instagram selectively (@katieoselvidge) so you can see what all we’re up to. There just might be a surprise here and there as well!
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!
Many years ago, I got into the habit of going on personal field trips. To me, personal field trips are little, local excursions where I go and do or see something by myself. Sometimes, I would go to a movie, a show, a museum, go to a coffee shop and just write whatever narrative came to my mind. The point is to go on these trips alone. My goal is to not have any outside influence on my opinion. I turn off all social media, beeps and sounds on my phone and just disappear for an hour or two.
The goal of these trips is to get reconnected with my inner artist. Every day, we (I) are bombarded by outside noise, opinions, unoriginal thoughts, etc. so going to experience something by yourself gives you incredible inspirational freedom. Some of the best art we create is derived when we put opinions, even our own, aside and just observe. My best writing and best ideas have come from me sitting in the park and just scribbling or drawing what comes to mind while watching the leaves move in the wind. In college, my best choreography came from just observing a couple arguing at a party – allowing myself to not make any opinions about them and just observe.
This little practice has not made its way into my calendar for quite some time. It wasn’t until this weekend that I remember how absolutely exhilarating it is and how much I miss it.
I was at Starbucks studying for a Pilates test when I noticed every time I looked up, so did the guy at the table near me. When I started googling anatomy terms, he would stay looking in my direction while scribbling in his little book. After a few times of this, he started to look at the couple at the table on the other side of me and do the same kind of scribbling. When he took a moment to sip his coffee, I glanced over my computer to see his book left open and there was my face covering half of a page – glasses and high bun with a focused look on my face. In that spilt second I got lost in that magical feeling that only art can bring. Part of me probably should have been upset that some random man with a sketch book was drawing me in the corner, but I knew what he was doing. I had done it before. He was on a personal field trip, just observing, gathering ideas and inspiration.
For the rest of our little glancing dance, I tried very hard to stay natural while I studied and try to ignore him as much as possible. I strongly dislike how round my face is and how my focused face looks a little intense, but as an artist, I know that beauty and inspiration can be found in anything, as long as it’s true. So I stayed true and tried my best to ignore him. I ignored him a little too much and got so wrapped up in my studying, I didn’t know he was leaving until he was halfway out the door. Part of me could kick myself for not saying hi, but then again, maybe it would have tainted an idea he created just rom observing the characters at Starbucks. Either way, that magic sparked my heart on fire.
Art fires me up. Artists, true artists, fire me up. Taking personal field trips lights my inner artist on fire, so I’m officially adding that to my weekly goals on my PowerSheets. I highly recommend you give it a try at least once this month. Just go somewhere, do something alone and without any media distraction and just observe. You’ll be amazed at what you’ll find. Happy Monday!
Love never fails. If Christina Leigh Events had a motto, that would be it. We believe in love, the whole-heartedly, unconditionally and head over heels kind. That is why we love our jobs so very much. When you purchase the latest issue of Southern Weddings magazine, not only will you sigh, “Oh my stars,” but you can’t help but feel the love from the front cover to the last page. Christina is genuinely a romantic of the purest kind and with the sweetest heart. Blair, one of the truest gentlemen I know, evidently falls for her every day – eager to support her through everything and lives to make her world better. That’s because their love is real. Their marriage is like a song, harmonizing through every up and down. My heart swells into firework explosions when I see this issue because Christina and Blair were able to be a part of it. I see their music, I see their precious hearts and the hard work behind CLE’s mission visually translated into these stunning images. My own Big Man and I are so blessed to have Christina and Blair in our life. I couldn’t be happier, more proud or more honored to show you, in my humble opinion, Southern Weddings’ best issue yet!
Y’all, God is so good. This week, I was on a roll of getting things done, prioritizing my life and fighting for what matters. That is, until I pulled out my planner. Type A Katie went crazy when she couldn’t plan the rest of her days through 2015 by the hour. The scribbling notes that ensued trying to figure everything out are quite embarrassing. I’m sure God was like, “Um, hello? You and Nate just prayed last night that you were going to trust in me for big picture planning and only work for one day at a time.” Oh, yeah, I forgot about that. Until, yesterday’s Holy Time.
As I continue through Exodus, I came to the part when the Israelites had been lead out of Egypt and started their complaining cycle. God would perform a miracle, once the wonder wore off, they would complain, they would freak out thinking God wouldn’t provide, God would give them a miracle and provide, they would rejoice and praise Him, then 10 seconds later find something else to be upset about and round and round they go for 40 years. Yesterday’s story they were complaining and afraid they were going to starve. So God decided to not just feed them, but literally send them bread from Heaven. How cool is that?
However, He commanded them to only gather as much bread as they needed for that day. If they took more it would go bad the next day. Only the day before the Sabbath could they gather more so that they could rest and enjoy the bread on the Sabbath. That stored bread would not spoil.
That’s when I remembered something I said at the MTH conference. Lara basically asked what would happen if we focused on what matters and how that would affect our big picture thinking. What if we lived each day doing all those wonderful, big, scary things – feeling the fear and doing it anyways. I spoke up and said, “The big picture wouldn’t matter. I wouldn’t need to know it.” She laughs without fear of the future – Proverbs 31
I realized that yes, planning is important. I need to be on top of my game and meaningful with each moment of every day. However, I have to let go of those plans just enough for God to be able to shake them up when He needs to. I need to keep time open for Him to use me to serve others. So moving forward, all I am concerned about is each day. I will set tentative long-term plans with more emphasis on the why and less emphasis on specificity. I will wake up concerned about today and not 3 months from now. I will make decisions today that will impact the future, not make decisions in the future.
I will only gather the bread I need for today – my daily bread.
My heart is so happy and content. This weekend was wonderful. I got to spend time with people I love, friends that mean the world and new friends who are so creatively talented it blows my mind. I was reminded that there are good, crazy talented people who are authentic and it made me want to do cartwheels. I heart creatives who focus first on the art, the story, the subject – not all the other silly stuff. I heart real artists. Another thing that made this weekend wonderful was that I got to check off something on my PowerSheets and life bucket list. I got hug a sheep. Two, actually! Hope you had a beautiful weekend and here’s to a productive new week and meaningful Monday!
My heart is exploding. Sitting down thinking about all of the things I could write about to be thankful for is making my head spin…where do I begin? Like the bright yellow, deep red and fiery orange leaves lining the streets, so is my heart set on fire for the things that matter most to me. I’m ready to stir things up like the leaves as I drive by, get things moving, make things exciting.
My goals this month are baby action steps, but my goodness they are purposeful. They are so intentional, that they are huge. Some of my goals are preparing me for something that I want to do when I’m 80 years old. I’ll explain more about that and “my vision” from Making Things Happen later, but for now, I’m focusing on the big picture. What do I really want to make happen? Excluding the projects and life goals, at the end of the day, what will fulfill my soul , who will I share love to and how will I feed my creative mind?
One of the craziest things happened when I was at MTH that I will share. At one point, Lara asked us to write down our top three big picture life goals – just jot them down really quick. I quickly wrote down what came to mind after a quick prayer. I read through them confidently. Then, I had to reread #2. What does that say? “Own chickens.” That’s all I wrote. Ha! What in the world? When we started filling out our “whys” it made total sense.
I have dug for earthworms since the day I could crawl outside while my mom planted flowers. At eight years old I was a Martha Stewart groupie and grew vegetables and flowers in my own tiny garden. Animals steal my heart. Any animal steals my heart, but farm animals really do the trick. Hugging a sheep is on my bucket list, y’all, I’m really serious about this. I have the grandest love affair with God’s creation and the miracle of growth. I want to celebrate, cultivate and harvest His beautiful work. I want to teach people, friends, my children, grandchildren, the reward of working hard and getting a little dirty. My heart is racing as I type this and envision the plot I’ve always dreamed of full of flowers and edibles, the warmth of the sun, coolness of early morning fog, sound of animals and smells, even the yucky ones make me excited.
So, this month one of my goals is to meet a farmer. That’s all. But it is so very much. Meeting a farmer means I can learn. When I learn, I can do. When I do, I can teach others. Then, I will not only cultivating tomatoes, but love with others as well. That is how articulate my goals are this month. And I am so grateful. Grateful for what hasn’t even happened yet, but what has been promised in my heart. I think they call that hope.
Today is quit day, so I’m quitting a few things. I’m saying no to doubt, it’s a waste of my intelligence. I’m saying no to life suckers, whether it’s too much time on my phone or someone who isn’t authentic, I’m saying no to anything that sucks the life out of me. My life needs to be given to those who need love and my time. I’m saying no to making decisions based on my feelings. Feelings do matter, but they don’t get to decide what is right and wrong. I’m saying no to wasting time. No more “just checking” Instagram and then looking up and realizing I’ve lost 10 minutes of my life. No more will I overcommit. Oh this one will be hard. I want to be there for everyone for everything and I unfortunately do not have clones. I’m saying no to saying yes all the time. I’ll get the obvious out of the way, I’m saying no to fear. Fear is dumb. Plain and simple. I’m saying no to distractions, not just social media, but anything that takes me away from doing what needs to be done. That means, I may need to say “no” to this blog more. Candace from MTH (how did I not get to hug them?) floored me from her blog yesterday, “Instead of sharing everything I learned, I want to get to doing everything I learned. And I hope it reflects here and encourages all of you.” Can I get an aha-men? I need that printed and framed over my desk – yes ma’am! I’m saying no from sharing as much so that I can say yes to doing and allow my example speak for me. Mind blown. Now off to do some incredible things – especially this weekend – that I will show you later once I accomplish them instead of sharing now. Now, it’s your turn. Go make something important happen! Happy Thursday!
Happy Tuesday! Today is officially “yes” day. Today I’m focusing on the things I am saying yes to in my life. The first thing I’m saying yes to is owning up to who I really am. This follows yesterday’s post of “I am enough,” but I’m taking it one step further by owning up to who Katie really is. That means saying yes to my fired up list and living that list. I’m saying yes to trusting God. It’s so much easier to say than actually do, but I will say yes to God through my actions. I’m saying yes to praying for others. I want to pray for people who are in my heart and also the people who have hurt my heart. I am saying a big yes to making exciting things happen – one of which is happening this week, can’t wait to share more! And finally, but most importantly, I am saying yes to dance parties in the kitchen with Nate. Oh my heart, do I love that man. I want to say yes to Him everyday and do silly, sweet things with him, even if it’s a dance party in the kitchen or building a fort in the living room. I’m saying yes to what matters.
My experience at the Making Things Happen was more than I had expected. For nearly 5 years, I had watched the MTH community from the first meeting in Watercolor by way of Tumblr to my near-chance of attending last year. For five years, I had read the blog posts, completed The Challenge dozens of times and practically knew every MTH “catchphrase” by heart. I was so excited to finally hug the people who had inspired me, but also nervous – what could I really learn that I didn’t already know?
Day one was humbling. Strong, beautiful women who I admire stepped forward with some big fears. Their honesty inspired me, but the magnitude of their personal fears and struggles made mine seem silly and very selfish. So, I kept quiet, gave a lot of hugs and just listened trying to absorb as much I possibly could. That night, I took a hot shower and prayed so hard. I had big fears too – ones that weren’t silly or cliché, but scary and too real. Between tears and deep breaths, I knew that this was the time and place to face the scary demons and finally put my anxious heart at rest.
Day two I started with a lot of excitement, I thought I was done with fears and ready to go. The entire day I had to stifle my urges to shout “amens” and make myself stop grinning like an idiot. The last exercise we had to stand up and repeat something we had written in our books. We had to fill in the blank, “I am ____.” As a half joke, I wrote “I am Katie Selvidge,” but when my pen left the page I got a lump in my throat. This was the biggest scary fear I had been trying to avoid.
You see, when I was eight years old I had the choice to buy a kids magazine or Martha Stewart Magazine. I chose Martha Stewart. And instead of reading the magazine, I got out my markers and “edited” it. I redesigned a home because I didn’t like the courtyard, added more flowers to a garden, changed article titles and drew over a dress I thought was too flashy. Or I would circle things that I liked. I learned that Martha had a certain persona or reputation of perfection, and I loved it. When I would see something I liked, I would say, “oh that’s so Martha,” like we were friends or something – at eight years old!
When I was ten, I was on the cover of Dance Magazine and the lead character Marie at Miami City Ballet’s The Nutcracker. For week’s my name had been associated with this title and without arrogance, I enjoyed the responsibility of entertaining thousands of people each night. People left the theater smiling and it made my world to know that I had helped them have a magical night at the ballet. For the first time in my short life, I felt like I was exactly where I belonged. After my last show my mom asked how I felt. I said, “I don’t know. Now, I’m nobody. What do I do?”
Through high school all the way into college, these types of scenarios played out in my life – this love for perfection and this idea that I needed to be someone else to feel like I belonged or could make an impact on others whether through entertainment or writing. Being Katie was not enough. I had to have a particular role in ballet or make a name for myself like Martha Stewart. With every win I felt unworthy and with every failure it was like a reminder that I was just Katie from Alabama playing Cinderella in the living room, who was I kidding?
Fast-forward to college where I was trying to triple major perfectly and figure out how I could do it all, be it all. One exhausted night, I found Lara Casey in a particular Google search I’ll explain more about later. There were so many things I loved about her, one of which was that she was so authentic which was so rare, but instead of seeing her as a mentor or encourager, I added her right next to Martha Stewart on my list of people I needed to be more like and less like myself.
Later that year I met my husband and he changed everything. My dating life had been more about status than love, or how is this going to be mutually beneficial for what I need to accomplish before I’m 25? Ha, I was so silly! Anyways, I’ll never forget our kiss because to me, it was my first real kiss. I say my first real kiss, because that moment was wrapped up in unconditional love. Nate didn’t care what my goals were, who I wanted to be or my past. He just loved the girl he was sitting next to – all of me and just me. I had never felt that. Without a title, talent or accomplishment, I belonged and was completely enough for the first time.
So, last week, when I wrote down “I am Katie Selvidge” and got choked up, it was because for years, that was never enough. Just being Katie was never enough. So when I stood up and started speaking, my words didn’t work and I just lost it. Then, Lara asked me to look at her and say that I am enough. I had to look at the woman that I had put somewhere between Martha Stewart and Anna Wintour (I know, it’s a very odd list), one of the women I wanted to be more like and less like myself – I had to tell her that I was enough. I don’t know if all of the words came out or not, but I do know a flood of painful years came rushing from my heart and into my eyes at that moment. Of course, this exercise was at the end of day two after everyone else had gotten their tears out of the way, so my ugly cry was especially ugly and embarrassing, but oh so needed.
I am enough. Through Christ, I can do all things. He created me exactly how I am for a reason. He completes me. Because of Him, I am enough. With Him, I am capable. I am Katie Selvidge, and it is wonderful because I am wonderfully made. I am good because my heart’s desire is to serve others and glorify God. Love matters most to me. He has made me for great things. I will no longer consider myself lacking. I will stop comparing. I will stop seeking perfection and validation. I am ready to answer His call. I am enough.
My heart is just so grateful for so much at MTH, but allowing my heart to let go of all of those years of expectations and deep self-inflicted pain that I will one day be able to share more about was the roadblock to the rest of my life. Every single hug meant the world to me last week – whether people realized it or not, each of their hugs were like a bandaid to my wounds. Still, my heart just feels like it encompasses my entire chest – full of all of the love and grace from everyone there.
I know there are many others who had similar experiences and there were hundreds of other “aha” moments I had, but all in all realizing for real that I was enough was the biggest. Registration for March is already open, and I highly recommend you attend, wherever you are in life. If you have any questions at all about the conference please e-mail me. It has changed everything for me, and I want everyone to feel this freedom.