Selfies!!!

June 10, 2014 § 2 Comments

Y’all. Taking photos of yourself on a DSLR camera is HARD. You can’t really let it photograph on automatic, because it focuses on something else before you’re able to get in front of the camera. So you have to choose manual focus and just hope you’re focusing at the right distance for where you’ll be standing. {Yes… I know all of this would be resolved if I just had someone take the photos of me OR if I bought one of those remote controls, but I am cheap, stubborn and impatient!}

So I thought you might enjoy seeing the outtakes of my recent selfie adventure. Especially the progression of mascara versus no mascara – told you guys it was a huge difference. I have all the rest of my makeup on but that and lipstick in the early pictures, but it looks like I have nothing on. Freakin’ love mascara.

Anyway, lemme take a selfie…

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Well Hello There!

April 7, 2014 § 1 Comment

Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeyyy everyone! I have so. many. things to tell you. Life has been in-saaaaaane over the past few months and I’ve wanted to tell you everything, but so much of it required silence until the right moment. So instead of getting on here and not being able to talk about the things on my heart, I decided to just stay silent until I could really share. So here we go!

Right around Christmas 2012, I started thinking a lot about the fact that I didn’t really have dreams. As a person who likes to live my life with whimsy (hence the blog name), it just seemed odd that I didn’t have a big vision for my life other than becoming a grandmother. While I still feel that is the most exciting life accomplishment ever, I still have about 30 years in the meantime to do stuff. And when I thought about those 30 years potentially being spent in a corporate office day in and day out, it made me really sad. But, I didn’t have anything else identified to work on for those three decades. I knew motherhood was high on the list, Lord willing, but I also knew that I’d want to have other work that was mine to be doing.

So January 2013 began the journey of figuring out what my dreams were going to be. I prayed for the Lord to make it clear to me what his calling and purpose for my life was. I asked to know more about him and how I fit into his overall story. As I mentioned in my New Years post, be careful what you wish for. While I asked for what I should do first and then for me to know him better, I only felt like I knew what to do after he taught me some very difficult lessons about the type of person he wanted me to be. And after listening to this sermon, I realize that is probably the way he always works.

To my utter dismay, just as I embarked on this journey to discover my dreams, work only became more difficult – and not just because of my new revelation of potential 30-year corporate sadness, although that definitely contributed. I had been moved off of work and a team I loved and received an entirely new role that was not even remotely related to my skill set or background. And while on paper it should have been a good fit for me, I nearly fell apart every day coming to work. I learned that a lot of this had to do with my personality type {an ISFJ through and through}. Through learning more about how I function, I realized that being a “big ‘L’ leader” {I now hate this phrase} is not something that I desire or that will ever come natural to me. People with my personality type are much happier when working hard behind the scenes, creating beauty and helping others {several ISFJs become counselors, social workers, interior decorators and administrators} – and these were all callings that felt much more comfortable to me. This was the first step in learning where I needed to go.

At first, I thought that I really just needed to get back into my previous role that I loved. That way, at least working in a role I felt qualified to do, I could buy some time to figure out what I wanted to do long term. So after working up lots and lots of courage, I had a discussion with my then boss to figure out if we could make a transition. It didn’t go very well. I walked away from that discussion feeling discouraged and like God really wanted me to stay in this tough work for a while. So head down, I grinned and bore it for about six more months. In the meantime, I suppressed my dream journey, thinking I really just needed to go through this season of dissatisfaction at work because that’s what God wanted for me. I prayed through this time to find joy in my circumstances and for the Lord to make it clear to me when that time of pushing through could be over. But honestly, I never really felt like I heard from the Lord. He felt really distant to me, which only made things harder.

Well in September, I went to a ladies retreat where this counselor spoke about living life well. She talked about how as women, we often live lives full of worry and shame, but that isn’t God’s best for us. The words she spoke just shook something deep inside of me. Those dreams I had been striving to identify earlier in the year started whispering in my head again, saying “remember me! remember me!” I didn’t know what I was supposed to do yet, but I knew that what she was saying was meant for me and that I needed to really do some soul work with her. So I started seeing her monthly and just digging deep into what was happening. Why was I, a person normally filled with positivity and general excitement about everything, living this flat-lined life, numb to things going on around me, purely to try and keep myself from feeling this pain?

I realized a lot of things.

I first realized that I was ashamed to be so upset about work. It revealed idols in me. And I didn’t want to be a person who idolized work. So this shame had just been keeping me from really engaging with any of it.

Once we got past the fact that work was an idol for me, really brought it out into the open, it didn’t eliminate the fact that the work I was doing was sucking my soul out. Once I really started dealing with my thoughts, I realized I didn’t believe the work I was doing was important, and on top of that, I didn’t feel good at it or qualified to be making the decisions I was making. So you’d think that would be enough for any normal person to say, well this is obviously NOT a fit, so why don’t you just go get another job?

Well then we got to an even deeper heart thing – I have never known another career outside of this one. In fact, I had been basically groomed for this company since I was a wee one. This was my “destiny.” And the company is a fantastic one. They do incredible things, treat their employees beyond anything you can imagine and actually conduct business based on biblical principles. It’s a place people work their whole careers to get to. And I had gotten in straight out of school. Why would I ever want to leave? The voices in my head kept saying, “You can’t leave. You’re being naive. You’re being ungrateful. You will never have it better than this. You are stupid to think leaving will make you happier. The grass is always greener. God wants you here. You can’t leave.” And more than that, many people on the outside were saying the same thing. So it just reinforced the thoughts in my head that I must stay. It became this really beautiful glass prison. More than anything in the world, I wanted to leave. But I just kept reminding myself that was the absolute most foolish thing I could ever think. I had to stay. Once we got here and I said these things out loud – I knew it. They were lies. Not all of it – it really is a great company, people really do work their whole careers to get there, and leaving should not be taken lightly. But having to stay to be happy and successful wasn’t true for me. And God did not require me to stay to be doing good work. I could leave and still be working towards good things.

This was a massive breakthrough for me. Massive.

But it still wasn’t the end of my journey. Knowing I could and should leave was great. But what on earth was I going to leave for?

So I just started soaking up resources to help me unearth what would really bring me to life. I read everything I could on my personality type. I read Every Good Endeavor by Tim Keller – his new book on work. I soaked up podcast after podcast, and Ted Talk after Ted Talk. I scoured the entire Fast Company article set on work life happiness. I went through Storyline by Donald Miller with my dear friends. Storyline really helped me to see that corporate life was never going to be consistent with who I am as a person. I needed to be doing something that was more about the heart than the bottom line. We were getting warmer!

Then I got to design the rehearsal dinner invitation for my sister and brother-in-law’s wedding. And it was so fun. And people liked it. And it just got me thinking – I could do this. It’s what I did in my free time. For years, on my sick days at home, I have download fonts all day and made random things. I pin 10 prints to every one other type of pin on Pinterest. I get super excited about gorgeous hand-lettering. These are the things that get me excited.

I never heard a big voice from heaven calling out, or even giving me a small sign, that this was what I was supposed to do. But feeling like both options were good and could serve the Lord, I felt the freedom to just make a decision. So after some serious talks with Joel about finances and reality, we made the decision that I would quit my job this year and we would embark on this journey of creating my own business.

And the second we made that decision, the Lord just snow-balled everything. Connections came out of the wood works, resources laid themselves at my feet, and a job became available. One that would help me get out of the 9-5 grind and into a creative setting at fewer hours. One where I could be inspired and learn and come home and build this thing. We weren’t expecting it to happen so soon. But after some serious prayer, we realized that it was the right moment. Why not quit now {even without a single bit of the business started} and start building it? Even if we are poor for a little while, we decided better now than when we have kids and I have no time to build something new.

So at the end of February, I gave my notice and I was out the door by mid-March. Insane.

So now my days are spent going to my little part-time job, crafting all day, and then I come home and work on building my Etsy business. I don’t want to grow an empire, Lord willing, I just want to create a small business selling wedding invitations, save the dates, birth announcements, Christmas cards, and other life happening announcements. My big dream is to eventually start a non-profit where I {and hopefully other creatives} create prints with inspiring quotes and verses that we give away to women going through difficult times living in different types of institutions {think homeless shelters, nursing homes, prisons – is this even possible?!? I have no idea!}. If I am so encouraged by these words beautifully laid out as a reminder to my heart, maybe some of them will be too? And then I will hopefully be able to give back so that those women can receive counseling as well. So we’ll see what the Lord does with all that!

It’s been a crazy journey – but I have such peace that this is what the Lord was calling me towards. I had a lot to learn before it was time to venture out. Most importantly, I think the Lord taught us that we craved control too much. We have always had these plans about finances. We needed to do A in order to be ready for B and thennnnn we could achieve C. Because then we would never be in an uncomfortable situation. I think this is good to a certain extent. We should be wise and good stewards of the gifts we’ve been given. But as much as we wanted to be, we were not asking for the Lord to be in control totally. So I think that silence from the Lord I mentioned earlier was intentional. I wanted him to tell me what to do so that I could be 100% sure it was the right thing and know that he would take care of us, because that’s what he wanted for us. Instead, he stayed quiet and required me to just make a decision. A decision that may or may not be the right one. But that would require me to trust him. To trust that if it were the wrong thing, he would catch us and take us to where he wanted us. To have some faith. To be brave and know that he would be there for us.

So here we go, trying to be wise and plan a little, but ultimately to trust him to provide. It’s going to be a crazy journey, I’m sure, but I’ve never felt more excited about what the Lord is going to do.

I plan to chronicle my journey through creating an Etsy business here so that any of you hoping to do the same thing in the future can use it as a resource. Others have been so gracious with sharing their time and experiences – I want to do the same. So please be sure to check back and go on this adventure with me!

Weekend Getaway

January 24, 2014 § Leave a comment

The Lord looks out for us, doesn’t he? I look back over my life and think of the decisions I have made. And I have a really bad track record. Like really bad.

Late in 2008, after a season of life filled with maybe more bad choices than ever, I went to a wedding with a 5-year-old as my date, determined that, for maybe the first time ever, I was not looking for any attention from any guys. And I did a really good job of not looking for attention from guys during the wedding.I spent dinner talking to adults instead of anyone my age and I danced for hours with Eli (my elementary school date) and got good and sweaty.

Welllll, it just so happens those adults I talked to at dinner were a couple with three eligible sons attending the wedding. And one of their sons happened to be good friends with my best guy friend from high school, who introduced us about three hours into the wedding.

After the couple left for their honeymoon, a group of us decided to go to a local spot and hang out for a few more hours. So I decided to invite this particular gentleman to tag along. We ended up talking for a couple of hours at the local spot and then walking for a few more hours after that. All of a sudden, I was failing at my job of not focusing on guys. But for once in my life, it felt so natural. The night ended with this particular guy dropping me off at my hotel room and saying he would like to “continue the conversation in Atlanta.” And a few days later, we did.

After that, we dated for eight months, got married four and a half months later. And then have been married for the last four years. And they have been the happiest years of my life.

I married the most amazing and selfless guy who loves me unconditionally.

We spent last weekend in the mountains of North Carolina celebrating all the Lord has done in our lives the last four years and it was lovely. We are really excited about our fifth year together and what all it may bring. I am so thankful.

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Looking Back at 2013 and on to 2014

January 9, 2014 § 1 Comment

Does anyone feel like 2013 was a tough year? It seems like most people I talk to give me a “yes” that comes from somewhere deep in their soul, like they’ve never felt like “yes” was a more appropriate answer to a question. While I am not a very superstitious person, I’m going to throw it out there that it was the 13th year. Thank goodness it only comes around once every century!

In all seriousness, 2013 was by far the hardest year I have experienced to date. I did not experience any extreme difficulties like a death of a loved one, loss of a job or a natural disaster, so I have much to be thankful for. My hardships were mostly internal. For most of the year I struggled with the loss of my identity, purpose in life and faith, at times. It was the first time in my life where I felt like I was really wandering and couldn’t find my footing. While normally being able to “figure things out” and “handle situations” through my type-A control freak personality, I really couldn’t control anything. Which just intensified the whole experience ten-fold.

Lewis

Instead of going into all of the reasons this happened, I will share some of the things the Lord has been teaching me through this desert season:

  • to be genuinely joyful for others’ accomplishments/good fortune/life events, even when things aren’t going well for me
  • to not think of myself as the center of the universe (very sad I’m just learning this at 27)
  • to wait (I still don’t have the patience and hopefulness parts down, but I am starting to realize that waiting is a very necessary and beneficial process)
  • that the Lord is with me, even when he seems silent
  • that I do have dreams and I was created with a purpose – but these things don’t happen overnight
  • that his will for me may be more about who I am than what I do – making decisions for myself is not only okay, but a reflection of the Lord and how he created us to function
  • that it is okay if I feel lightyears behind others spiritually speaking – this intense humility (I don’t say this in a “Oh, I’m so humble” way, but the real, “I feel embarrassed” kind of humility) recognizes my weakness and allows the Lord to show up big in my life

Did I want to learn any of these lessons last year? Were these my 2013 New Years resolutions? Absolutely not. And wow, it has been incredibly challenging to learn them. But I am so thankful that the Lord chose to overwrite my resolutions and teach me something of his own.

I remember sitting in church early in the year and praying during communion for the Lord to become real to me. They always say be careful what you ask for. I never would have admitted it as I was in the thick of these struggles because I really wanted to be a victim (truth hurts), but these lessons I was learning have taught me more about the character of God and what dying to self truly looks like than anything I could have read about.

Timothy

All that being said, I am reeeeeeeeeeeally hoping that 2014 doesn’t have quite as many difficult lessons to teach me. Ha! A girl needs a break sometimes.

I’m still praying for the Lord to teach me things that matter. I don’t want to sacrifice meaningfulness for an easy time. But I do pray that there are a few more joys sprinkled throughout.

Just for fun, some of the things I’m really hoping to delve into this year are:

  • I want to learn calligraphy (Joel bought me a calligraphy set for Christmas and a gift certificate to take a class!)
  • I want to learn more about graphic design
  • I am going to practice taking better photos with my new Canon lens and learn to edit them
  • I want to watch what I’m eating, not diet per se, but just have a better knowledge of what I’m putting into my body and say no to things that aren’t really necessary
  • We want to complete P90X 3; it sounds like a New Years weight gain thing, but we really just go in cycles of working out and then dropping off the band wagon every few months… so we’re just back on again
  • I’d like to figure out how to volunteer in a way that is wise considering our busy schedules
  • We want to join the church we’ve been attending for a couple years now
  • Start a Bible study with some people from our church
  • Finish Storyline with my friends
  • And spend lots of time with my little niece Laney!

What were your joys and sorrows in 2013? Do you have any exciting plans for 2014?

Let’s Make Habits

October 3, 2013 § Leave a comment

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UPDATE & LEARNINGS ABOUT YOURSELF

Good news! While I fell off the blogging bandwagon for two (three?) weeks, I did not fall off the journaling bandwagon. Quite the contrary actually. In the intensity of my work life over the last several weeks, I felt myself needing to journal to deal with all of the stress and emotion I was feeling. And because I had set up the habit, it didn’t feel awkward or forced. It felt like exactly the avenue I needed to talk to God. If you know me, I can be a talker. But while I function as an extrovert to people I know well, I’m actually an introvert by definition. I need me time. And I feel more comfortable writing than talking (because I can take my time to say what I want, instead of being reactionary in conversation… don’t know if that makes sense). So journaling has been a much-needed sanctuary for me and has probably kept me from a few irrational behaviors I’ve felt tempted towards.

I’m so thankful for this journey. Having the accountability was critical in me getting to this point. I’m already thinking about what my next habit might be! Thank you to Jenny for getting us all started and congratulations on your pregnancy!!!

Let’s Make Habits

September 11, 2013 § Leave a comment

f98c6-habits_230x400_watecolorUPDATE

I love how the last sentence in my previous Let’s Make Habits post was: “This week, I’m traveling for work and should be able to stay more committed.” Ha! As you’ve seen in my last two posts, it’s been a little bit of an intense week. I’ve been able to journal about once and read my Bible a few times. Turns out that having people join me on my work visits has been incredible from a camaraderie and extra hands standpoint. But this also means much later evenings exploring cities and eating dinners together, etc. So I end up having to work for several hours in the hotel room and then typically have to make a decision to go to bed instead of getting to do any fun “me” stuff.

EVALUATING YOUR GOAL AND ADJUSTING

Unfortunately, I have a week and a half left of travel. So realistically, I’m not sure exactly what my commitment level is going to be able to be. I know this isn’t a normal schedule for me, so I’m trying to really think through how I need to adjust my goal.

As Jenny mentioned in her post, it is important to not just let yourself make excuses to get out of the hard work. But right now, there’s a certain level of guilt coming with my failure to perform all my commitments {i.e. basically anything that isn’t work – my relationships, friendships, blog, journaling}. And I’m not sure how healthy that is when it’s not realistic.

So I think I’m going to try and journal as much as it makes sense this week and next week. I’m at the point in the process where I’m really enjoying journaling when I have the chance. So I don’t think I’m going to skimp on it if I have some time to do it.

Then after my travels are finished, I’m going to go back to my original commitment because I think it is doable under normal circumstances.

Obviously, in the midst of all of this, I haven’t been able to read as much of everyone else’s updates as I would like. But I hope you’re all doing well on your journeys and I hope to rejoin the community more proactively in a week and a half!!

Still Alive

September 10, 2013 § 1 Comment

I promise I’m still alive and still more in love with blogging than ever. But unfortunately, this traveling roadshow has done a number on my free time. Just got done with the urgent emails {it’s 2:30 am}, and as much as I had wished and hoped that I could do a Makeup Monday post, I just don’t think it’s wise. So I’m going to go curl into bed and savor a few hours of sleep while I can.

I miss y’all.

Hope to be back real soon.

XOXO

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