Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Be You, Bravely | Melissa of Simply Sweet Melissa

Hello, hello everyone! I am delighted that today marks the return of the Be You, Bravely series! I started this series last summer as a way to feature women from all walks of life who are living bravely by embracing their unique seasons and talents as they move through life. Today I am happy to introduce Melissa of Simply Sweet Melissa. She is such a gem and a dear friend! Her heart is sweeter than tea (and her engagement pics are to DIE for). I hope you enjoy getting to know her as much as I have!
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Who are you, my dear?
Why hello! I'm Melissa and I blog over at Simply Sweet Melissa. Telling someone else about yourself can be kind of tricky especially if you feel like you are still trying to figure out all of the pieces that make you YOU. But I can tell you this: I'm a newly engaged gal living in the Queen City (also known as Charlotte, NC) with my future husband-to-be Will and our furbaby Miller. My love language is Acts of Service and in my free time you can catch me scrapbooking, scrolling through ETSY or cuddled up in my Snuggie on the couch watching the Hallmark channel. But above all, I'm just an ordinary girl, who knows God is in control and believes wholeheartedly that kindness is always fashionable.

What does it mean to be you, bravely?
Sheesh! Being brave to me can mean something as little as not running in the opposite direction out of fear when I see a spider or something as large as being able to ask for forgiveness when I know I'm in the wrong. But being ME bravely goes much deeper then those two examples. Being brave to me means letting go of trying to control your own life and letting God take the lead. It means worrying less and doing more. Being brave to me means being okay with who you are and accepting the fact that you will never be perfect. Bravery is a hard thing to master but with baby steps you can be you, bravely anytime you want to be! Even a quick search on Pinterest tells you to be brave ;-)



If you could have a heart-to-heart with younger you, what would you say?
I would first offer her a large glass of sweet tea to lighten the mood and then we would have a long conversation going over all of the times she didn't pay attention to those little "red flags". Younger me was oblivious to all sorts of things and when I look back over the year, I can't help but shake my head in disbelief that I didn't' see all the warning signs that eventually left me lost down the wrong road. My faith was weak, and my prayer life was usually nonexistent. I depended on others for love when I didn't even love myself.

It took a handful of years for me to finally understand the importance of self-love, and that if and only when I give everything over to God will I ever be truly happy. Sure, when you do that you might expect great things to happen and THEY WILL! However, we live in a imperfect world so don't go thinking that everything will be perfect or go as planned 100% of the time. To this day I struggle with this but have to remind myself daily that all things work on for God's glory not ours.




What is encouraging you this week?
Quality time spent with my fiance! Our work/life balance has been out of whack for some time now and with all of this wedding planning going on we have not had has much time to just rest and relax together. It's in those everyday moments that I am encouraged by Will and his love for me.

Just for fun, what are 3 must have's?
This is an easy question to answer! I can't go anywhere without ChapStick and currently I've been using the 'Classic Medicated' king. Works wonders on my dry lips and the smell reminds me of Rice Krispy Treats...ha! The second thing I must always have with me is my agenda/planner! I loved using the Simplified Planner by Emily Ley but I recently got the Lilly Pulitzer Medium Agenda because it easily fits in my purse and it's hard not to love all the colorful pages inside! And to be honest, I don't have just ONE planner/agenda that I use! Lastly, I can't leave the house without a set of pearl earrings. Whether i'm wearing them, have them stashed away in my handbag, or left in my car, I almost always have a pair with me!

I had a blast being a part of the Be You, Bravely series and am wishing upon a star for the day that I get to meet the sweet ole' Bailey Jean! I just love and adore the girl so much and am blessed to have her as a blogging friend!

Isn't Melissa great? Simply Sweet is a perfect fit for this gal! I can only hope to meet her in real life and hug her dear neck. Thanks for sharing, girl! And y'all have a happy Wednesday :)

Monday, October 27, 2014

An Inspired Life Giveaway!

It is my joy and privilege to host today's giveaway! When I started the Savor Your Season series as part of the #write31days challenge, Katie of A Place to Dwell reached out to me, offering to let me read the e-book she wrote about what it means to live An Inspired Life.  Her heart on this subject has been so encouraging, spot on in the direction I was hoping to take my series, and full of wisdom/insight everyone could benefit from. When she offered to giveaway her e-book to one luck reader I was over the moon!

From the back of the book: 
"In every season of our lives, we can trust the One who's scripting the story. 
We can embrace each and every day with passion and purpose, with hope, 
and with open hearts and open hands. We can live inspired lives that glorify 
Him --lives full of joy, possibility, and creativity."

To enter the giveaway:
1. Follow @baileyjeanrobert and @aplacetodwell on Instagram.
2. Repost the above image on Instagram and tag the image with #bravelovegiveaway.
3. Tag two friends you think would be interested in the e-book in the caption of your image.

The giveaway runs through Sunday, November 2 at noon and a winner will be announced on Monday, November 3. You can enter once per day through Sunday. For extra entries, tweet about the giveaway with a link to this post, tagging @baileyjrobert and @aplacetodwell and #bravelovegiveaway.

Best of luck to you, dears!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Settling into This Season

You could say it was a bit ambitious to sign up for a second month-long blog challenge while in the middle of another. You could also say I should have known better than to trust my judgement when I was down for the count with a respiratory infection. What sounded like a good idea at 11:00pm on cold meds was probably not in fact the wisest choice. But I jumped in anyways. Eight days in and I floundered. The #write31days was right up my alley, and the topic of "Savoring Your Season" was one I have been eager to dive into. But somewhere along the way I had to sink into my own season. 


Four words why: grad school is hard.
Is that a given? Yes. 
Should I have been prepared for that? Yes.
Did it knock my feet out from under me? Yes.

My days are full to the brim, and I have been treading water trying to juggle too many balls. How did I do it in undergrad? Classes from 9-2, work from 2-5, church events from 6-9, rehearsal 10-midnight. Who? What? Why? HOW?! I can no longer keep the same schedule healthily, and two weeks ago everything came skidding to a halt. Anxiety weighed on my heart and sent it fluttering restlessly. Lightheaded and overwhelmed, I had to take a good look at my days and how I should be --or shouldn't be-- spending them.

The blog went on pause. I know, I'm being a little dramatic because it was only a week and a half, but after the momentum from the Blog-tember Challenge I wanted to keep things running and running fast. However, I couldn't keep up.

The topic that had been stirring on my heart and in my prayer life was now becoming a packaged product I was trying to toss out the door on time instead of letting it steep in my soul. This community, which is one of the most refreshing and life-giving parts of my week, cannot be carried out of a place of striving. I need rest. Badly. And I need grace. Oh Lord, let it be and amen!

You know, I don't know where this post is going, but I needed to put fingers to keys and try to sort out the mess in my head and in my heart. I love blogging and I love you all dearly; you don't know just how much you mean to me and how this community brightens my week. But something has to give in this season and for now it's my blog.

I still plan to write as often as possible, but it might be once a week. It could be five times a week, once a month, Sunday evenings, but who knows? It all depends. And that's okay. I am so thankful for the friendships that have been born out of this corner of the internet and I hope to continue to connect with you all as best I can! Instagram seems to be the easiest place these days. Follow me here: baileyjeanrobert.

So why share all this? I'm asking for prayer. I would love for you to partner with me in praying for my graduate program, that the atmosphere that weighs heavily on me during the day would be brightened and lightened with Christ's love, and that I could break old habits in order to seek spiritual and physical health. And let's pray for this community, that God would continue to be glorified as women (and men) encourage one another and support each other's stories/journeys as we share them.

Have a blessed day, y'all!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Introducing the Merry & Bright Gift Swap

Today we are taking a leap forward to celebrate an upcoming season. I've got the rest of this series in the works for next week, but today I wanted to introduce you to a project I've had under wraps for quite some time. 


It's time to announce the first annual Merry & Bright Gift Swap!

The holidays are a time especially set aside to rejoice together and to bless others, and I cannot think of a better place to launch this than in the growing blogging community. You ladies consistently knock my socks off with your beautiful hearts and how you encourage one another. Let's spread Christmas cheer together, shall we?

Really my heart behind this is to connect ladies (or anyone) who may or may not know one another so we can get into each other's worlds and send thoughtful gifts during the holiday craze. Who knows what sort of friendships may spark from this? I, for one, am excited to find out!

In the coming weeks, be on the lookout for an e-mail from me with your partner's contact info and fun facts. Everyone will be paired by November 22. Once you have your partner, take some time to get to know them! Swap e-mails, check out their photos, likes, dislikes, etc. so these gifts can be spot on and super thoughtful! The price range is $10-15, and you are welcome to spend more, but we ask that you do not spend less the minimum.

I am working on a button you can share on your blogs and social media to let your friends, family, readers, etc. know and welcome them into the exchange. The more we can bless the merrier! If anyone is spiffy in the button-making area and wants to help come up with it, that would be welcomed I've added the button slow and on my sidebar! ;) If you want to share about the gift swap, use the tag #merryandbrightGS on social media, and the quick-link to the form is http://tinyurl.com/merryandbrightGS.

Important dates to remember:
November 15: Submissions closed.
November 22: All partners assigned + notified.
December 15: Gifts in the mail.

>>>>>>>  SIGN UP HERE  <<<<<<<

I'm so looking forward to this! Let's make the first annual Merry & Bright Gift Swap one to remember! If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask either in the comments or shoot me an e-mail to braveloveblog@gmail.com.


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Friday, October 10, 2014

A Brief Pause


If you haven't noticed, I may have skipped a day or two in the #write31days challenge. It looks like I'm taking my own medicine and getting a prayer answered in a way I didn't expect. When I started this, I asked for opportunities to savor my season, practical steps to take to be fully present and sink into where I'm at.

This week that has meant grad school comes first. It means taking care of myself physically, mentally, and spiritually, and stepping back from the blog. I still plan to write through this topic, and I hope to contribute to the challenge a little each week, but for now I need to take a brief pause.

Thanks for understanding, y'all. Check back in next week ;)