Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Love, Save the Empty

This last week was a hard one. I witnessed close friends experiencing loss and multiple difficult life changes all at once. (Does anyone else feel like hard things often come to people in tidal waves?) Because of those events, I've been pondering the effect of change that removes things from your life. It's so difficult to adjust to sometimes and can often create a sense of isolation and emptiness.

I had a conversation with my sister just yesterday about changes like these. There will be some in the not too distant future for us, I'm sure. Friends part ways, people drift out of your life, family members move away. I often complain that nothing is changing in my life, but imagining those kinds of changes left me feeling like an empty shell. At the end of what was a rather despairing conversation, my sis made the statement that my imagination was leaving God out of the future. The moment she said that, I recognized that I hadn't mentioned God at all and how hopeless I felt without thinking of Him. Remembering Christ's presence immediately consoled me. "Oh, yes, I almost forgot...God will be there."

There's a Bible verse you will have heard, I'm sure. It's simply, "God is love." There's a pop song you might have heard called "Love, Save the Empty." This is not me equating a Bible verse to a pop song, and the title is the only thing I'm drawing from, but it came to mind because of those empty feelings. What could save an empty person more than love? And, while the pop song is referring to romantic love, powerful, life-altering, fear-defying, self-sacrificing love in all its forms comes from one source, and that source is what will fill the loneliest, emptiest moments of our lives...God.

M. Night Shyamalan wrote a very simple line of dialogue for his movie, The Village, that speaks to this profound truth for all of us, whether you're a Christian or not, "The world moves for love. It kneels before it in awe."

There is no denying that in every story, every movie, every song, love is exalted as the best thing in life and the only thing worth giving your life for. I'll say it again, "God is love." And He is what calms my fear of the future and gives me certainty that I will never truly be empty. He is the one person who will satisfy the world's desire for safety and fullness.

"...I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith -- that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God." - Ephesians 3:14-19

Just like my sister reminded me in a depressing moment, if you are looking for something to fill you and give you satisfying peace, look to Christ. Whether you're fearful of things to come or you're experiencing loss and emptiness right at this moment, He is love and that's what all of us really need.


Monday, September 1, 2014


I cannot tell you how difficult it is to take pictures of my cat. I've tried about four or five times since finishing my photography course, and he is a most unruly subject. First of all, he knows what I'm doing and thinks it's ridiculous. He's made that perfectly clear. Every time I've tried to get a few shots, he turns away and acts peeved. But, when I have caught him, he's making an annoyed face, which comes across pretty bad in photos (your own fault, Possum). Exhibit A:

Here's another one...The fact that it's out of focus is entirely my fault, but my stars, look at his little face! He's channeling Scar from the Lion King.

The other day, I managed to catch him by surprise and got a decent one.

Anyway, everyone meet Possum. He spells his name without the "o" at the beginning. Poor thing's been diabetic for the last couple years and has to take insulin twice a day. :( If you're wondering why we named him after a marsupial it's because he looked a lot like a baby opossum (much cuter, though) when we first found him. He's my family's last surviving pet, and while he'll probably never be real photogenic, we love him a lot.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Inspired...to be Authentic: Alisha of The Alisha Nicole

Today's guest is the last in August's Authenticity-themed Inspired series. Alisha runs the blog The Alisha Nicole in which she chronicles the events of her business and provides consultations for other bloggers/small businesses. Alisha's business is jewelry, and when I first discovered her blog,  her story and her very honest way of telling it, resonated with me. I'm so happy she agreed to participate in the series today! Here are her words about authenticity and the person who inspires her to be herself...

When I think of someone who inspires me daily to be authentic, the first person that comes to mind is my mother. She is not only someone that I look up to for pretty much everything but she has always raised me and my sister to embrace who we truly are. Growing up I never saw her change the way she was in fear of what others would think and she is known as the person who will always give it to you straight (without being rude of course).

Growing up I struggled with wanting to always fit in and often felt like I had to change myself or hide who I really was in order to make friends. It wasn’t until my mother began telling me stories about how she tried hard to be someone she wasn’t when she was younger and how it never worked out in her favor. I remember her telling me that we were all created with different gifts and that I was only hurting myself by trying to change who I was meant to be.

That is something that I’ve continued to hold onto well into my adult years. Authenticity has become so important to me because I want people to know the person behind the brand. When I started my blog I vowed to myself to stay unapologetically authentic. I wanted my readers to know that I’m a real person who goes through real life issues. Of course I’m not rude and some things I still keep private but for the most part I am an open book. I want my blog readers and clients to be able to connect with me on a personal level. That would be nearly impossible if I were too busy trying to be someone else. Unfortunately we live in a world where it is so easy for anyone to get online and just make up a new identity or personality.

Of course I have struggled with that too, and I’m sure most of us have. It's so easy to see what is working for others and try to change our ways to see if it will work for us as well. But I quickly learned that that’s not how it works. When I begin to struggle with staying true to myself, what helps me to stay focused is stepping away. I’ll stop whatever I am doing and ask myself “Am I doing this for me or am I doing this because of others?” Asking that one simple question always puts things into prospective for me and gets me back on track!

We are all here for a different purpose and trying to fit ourselves into what someone else is meant to do will never work. Why fit in when you were born to stand out?

Thank you so much for your words of wisdom, Alisha! Happy Belated Birthday, too, by the way! ;)

Next month in the Inspired series, we'll be hearing from four ladies about who inspires them to practice hospitality! Make sure you stop by!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Le Ballet

I was once a tiny dancer. :) My sister and I both took ballet when we were little girls and loved it a lot. Sadly, there were less than pleasant elements and pressures that accompanied dance as we got older, and we decided to stop. But, there is so much beauty to appreciate and at its core, dance is a form of praise. Sometimes, I wish I still danced in some capacity. Were you ever a tiny dancer and do you still make time to enjoy it? I started a pinterest board dedicated to beautiful ballet here

Friday, August 22, 2014

Box of Chocolates Friday 8.22.14

I woke up this morning, and saw my hair doing something similar to Ana's. Problem. I hope you all have a good weekend! I'll be hoping we get some warm weather sans the humidity in Ohio. It's brutal today.

-I had a moment this week when I wished I was anywhere else...this looks good:

-Really liked these tips from Betsy on building community through your blog.

-Is anyone else wondering how long it will take before the fire that is the ice bucket challenge dies out? Has this sort of thing ever happened before?

-This little blouse is from anthropologie and I just thought it was really pretty.

-It's now on my bucket list to visit this library in Missouri! Incredible!

-What clever mommies do when their kids draw on walls.

-A retirement community jams out to Pharrell's Happy.

-Be yourself.

-This is great...


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Back Up...20 Answers

My title today has dual meanings:

  • My Inspired guest poster for today had a rough week, and this is the backup plan. 
  • I often feel like I haven't fully introduced myself on my blog, and I should go back and do a little intro.

Therefore, I'm going to tell you a little bit more about myself in list format (this feels weird, but I know I really enjoy it when other bloggers share facts about themselves, so here goes):
  1. I live in Ohio, but I'm originally from Alabama. I've also lived in Texas and South Carolina. I love where I am now!
  2. Before this year, my job was teaching ESL to South Korean students online for 5 years. (that means, I'm pale)
  3. I don't remember when I was converted to Christianity. It feels like I've been a Christian all my life.
  4. Lord of the Rings was my teenage obsession. (that means, I'm a nerd)
  5. The farthest away from home I've been is Europe: Belgium, The Netherlands, France, and Luxembourg
  6. I'd love to go back!
  7. Good books are as chocolate to me. I love chocolate.
  8. I don't drink coffee regularly, it gives me heart palpitation things. 
  9. I drink black tea instead.
  10. I share my parents' basement apartment with my older and only sister. 
  11. Warm weather is the best kind. I get really restless in long winters. 
  12. I watch the Rocky movies when I get sick. Getting strong now!
  13. My jewelry business is my pride. I never imagined it would be so satisfying to create something out of nothing like this. It holds me accountable in a lot of ways. I'm very thankful!
  14. There are few music genres I don't appreciate. My favorites are soft rock, pop, folk rock, alternative, rock, classical, country, jazz, bluegrass and stuff from musicals.
  15. I'm single cause the Lord hasn't brought the right man around yet. I often feel like just yelling, "Get here, already!!!" (that means, I'm impatient)
  16. My first concert was James Taylor in Albuquerque in 2000.
  17. If I weren't living in Ohio, I'd love to live in California.
  18. I have a bachelor's in English.
  19. Gene Kelly is my favorite. 
  20. One of my favorite vacation spots is Montreat, North Carolina.
Thanks for reading! Tune in next Wednesday for the rest of the Inspired to be Authentic series! :)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Local Love: Wisp

Today, I'm sharing a haunt of mine. :) Wisp is a small yarn and knitting shop not too far from where I live in mid-Ohio. The owner is Anne-Sara. She's originally from the UK and has an incredible gift for design! Her adorable shop is filled with colorful, quality yarns, knitting patterns, ribbon, knitting needles, crochet hooks, blankets, and handmade knit items. The shop is full of light and just has an incredibly lovely feel. If you're anywhere near Granville, Ohio, you should really stop by! Wisp is right across from the side entrance to the library downtown. Last week, I drove out and took some shots of all the pretty things...

Wisp will soon be launching a website, so those of you who just fell in love with this little shop will be able to purchase gorgeous, quality yarn for your knitting projects even if you're not in mid-Ohio. I'll let you know as soon as it goes live! In the meantime, follow along on Wisp's facebook page.

Anne-Sara politely requested to not be in any photos, but she did say "yes" when I asked if I could get a shot of her cool sneakers. :)