Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Magnolia Market + Silobration 2016, Part 1

Unless you've been living under a rock (or maybe in the North...) for the past three years, my guess is you've heard about a little show called Fixer Upper and its hosts Chip and Joanna Gaines. They have built quite the empire in Waco, Texas, the castle of the kingdom being The Silos which opened just over a year ago.

To celebrate the one year anniversary of its opening, Chip and Jo hosted an event called Silobration two weekends ago, and I had the JOY of attending with Rachel! It was the perfect getaway after some crazy weeks of school before my show opened, and we had a BLAST and a HALF!

Rachel made the journey down to my new town mid-week, then Friday she picked me up from school. She was in full-on Mom-mode in the pick up line complete with a snack and "How was school today?!" when I got in the car... it was great. The drive is only around an hour and a half, and we BOOKED it to Waco in hopes of snagging tickets.

It may or may not have been sold out already... but we prayed for ticket favor, and boy did Jesus wink our way! My old college roommate works for Magnolia, and luckily I spotted her at one of the tents when we first got there. She totally hooked us up!

Once inside, we were in heaven.  Heck, we were in heaven just standing OUTSIDE of the place! And the weather was perfect! It was chilly with a slight breeze, a much-needed break in the Texas heat we've been experiencing lately. We wandered the vendor market, painted part of the mural (pictured below), and enjoyed every nook and cranny of the place.

At one point we even laughed that even the trees had been Joanna-ized! Every tree was sporting pumpkins and apple crates around its trunk, perfectly festive for fall. I wanted to move right on in and never come home.

Side note: GUYS GUYS GUYS! Look how long my hair is?!?! It has taken me a year and a half to grow it back after chopping it all off for a play, and I'm just so HAPPY! I need to get the color spiffed up soon, but whatevs. Another time, another day.

Rachel and I were in a blogger's paradise. SO MANY INSTAGRAMMABLE THINGS! I feel so much less silly taking pictures of my feet or reaching out perilously over pumpkin patches (as Rachel so beautiful models above) with someone who gets it. ;) 

I have to admit it did feel a little silly playing tourist in my college town, but when I was at Baylor there was NOTHING like this in Waco. There might have been NOTHING period. It's always fun to see what's new whenever I return, and Magnolia Market is going to be a favorite for quite some time.

After wandering a while, we found a space on the lawn to relax and watch the opening show, complete with wood fired pizza from a cute little food truck, patiently awaiting the night's big moment: a Johnnyswim concert! I hadn't listened to much of their music before, but now they've been on repeat since we left. SO SO SO SO GOOD. The new album, Georgica Pond? SO GOOD!

The night held so many more wonderful moments, but you'll have to stay tuned for Part 2!

Have you been to Magnolia Market? 
Are you dreaming of your own fixer upper yet? 
I know I am!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Believe 2016: October Goals

Happy October, y'all! I'm pretty sure this happens every year... I complete The Blog-tember Challenge then POOF! I disappear for a week or two to recover... but here we are! It's a new month that is sure to be a whirlwind of its own, and here I am one week in, finally getting to my monthly goals.

A LOT has happened in the first week of October (including losing two out of six of the actors in my fall play with only a week before opening... not stressful at ALL...) AND Rachel came into town for SILOBRATION! You'll get a full recap of that later this week, but for now, let's see what I'm going to make happen this month!

[Pictured: The Illustrated Faith Daily Agenda by DaySpring! Find it HERE!]

First, a look back at September...

Making September Happen
Verse of the month: Isaiah 40:31
"But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired."

1. Host The Blog-tember Challenge! Check, check, check! The 3rd Annual Blog-tember Challenge was a SUCCESS! I only forgot to add the linky tool ONE DAY! Talk about a miracle! I had so much fun linking up with y'all, and I can't wait until next year!
2. Direct my first HS show! This one is on-going, but I directed the heck out of it last month. I also had to change shows in the middle of things so... that was a challenge. But IT'S THE WEEK OF THE SHOW! We open on Thursday! Ahhh!
3. Create a budgetI still spent more than I would have liked, but I did pretty well keeping track of where money went and getting what needed to be done, done. We'll see how things keep up this month. 
4. Break up with the snooze button. This worked for a while at least. There is definitely still progress to be made.
5. Finish unpacking and organizing. Done! I'm still finding what works best, but everything is pretty well organized. Rachel and I made a mad hunt for the waffle iron this weekend, so I now know where everything is in the kitchen, completing the process.
6. Read 5+ books. Well... I'm in the middle of at least five books still: The Circle MakerWithout RivalPresent Over PerfectUninvited, and Play with Fire.  I did complete Flawed and LOVED it!
7. Co-host the Daughters of Grace Study. I have to admit that I certainly fell off the side of the earth on this one. I loved the start of the Daughters of Grace study but I haven't held up my end of the bargain co-hosting. Your posts are all so encouraging though!
8. Ketogenic eating + yoga. Hahahahahah. Yeah nope.
9. Continue with my prayer & praise plannerI missed a couple weeks, but every time I jump back in I love it! My Illustrated Faith planner has been so encouraging, and I plan to use it more diligently in the future. 

Now onto THIS month...

Making October Happen
Verse of the month: Isaiah 51:3
"For the Lord comforts Zion; he comforts all her waste places and makes her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song."

1. Go to Silobration with Rachel! Guess what? I can actually already check this off my list! We went last Friday! We've had this girls' weekend on the calendar for quite some time and it was MUCH needed.
2. Survive These Shining Lives. Y'all. This show just might do me in. It takes two hands to count the set-backs at this point, but we're pushing forward. Opening night is Thursday. Wish me luck (and by luck I mean say, "Break a leg!").
3. Host my sister's wedding shower. My little sister is getting married in December, which means my maid of honor duties are in full swing. I'm co-hosting a shower for her this month back in my hometown, so I'll share pictures of that once it's happened!
4. Powersheets Goal Refresh. I actually did this last weekend, too! You'll be able to find my article on the Powersheets Community Site oh so soon!
5. Have a Sabbath weekend. I'm not good at prioritizing rest, particularly Christ-centered/seeking rest. I have ONE free weekend between now and Christmas, and I plan to unplug to recharge and dig in deep to some tough heart places.
6. Finish the 5+ books I've started. Yup. The following books are on my "to be finished" pile: The Circle MakerWithout RivalPresent Over PerfectUninvited, and Play with Fire.  
7. Set a post-show school routine. I As a high school theatre teacher, shows are my life. Six of these first seven weeks have been dedicated to our fall show, and when it comes to an end this weekend I want to find a system that really works for me.
8. Ketogenic eating + yoga. Let's try this again, shall we?
9. Continue with my prayer & praise planner. A full post with more Illustrated Faith planner details is coming soon!

So what are YOUR goals for the month?
What do you want to make happen this September?

...the text in this post is all kinds of crazy, I know. Random colors, sizes, etc. Oops.
*Also, this post contains affiliate links. They won't cost you a penny more, but they may help this first-year teacher buy some extra supplies for her classroom. Thanks and enjoy!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Blog-tember, Day 30: Parting Words


You made it! We made it! The 3rd Annual Blog-tember Challenge is COMPLETE! Thirty days of blogging, thirty days of connecting, and thirty days of crazy in my world come to an end today, and I have SO enjoyed being on this journey with you! From fall favorites to family recipes, we've shared everything under the sun this September, and I'm already brainstorming for next year! Will I see you there?!

Friday, Sept. 30: Picture this, you've been stopped on the street by the photographer of Humans of New York, and he asks, "What advice would you give to a large group of people?" Share a picture of yourself along with the advice.

I thought about this long and hard all month long, and in the end I'm going with a piece of advice that I need to take in my own life. Are you ready for it? Here we go:

Having the capability to do something does not mean you have the capacity to do it.

In other words, just because you could that doesn't mean you should.

If you are like me, you can have a hard time saying no to things. I volunteer, allow myself to be volunteered, and I pile my plate high with responsibilities. I pack my schedule with events and commitments, self-care falling to the wayside. For far too long my mindset has been that if I am physically able to take on a project, person, or position then I should. I've also long had the perspective that if I do not do it myself then it won't get done or be done well.

Y'all. These ideas are FALSE. Untrue. And often crippling.

In this season (and the last) I have been learning the hard way that saying "no" can be good. While it may be difficult, and it may momentarily disappoint someone, it can be the healthiest choice for my own heart and the most beneficial decision for whatever the project may be. I want to be through with stretching myself thin and pretending to be Superwoman. I want to take care of myself (physically, mentally, and spiritually) AND leave room for someone else to step into their calling or this/that opportunity.

It is also easy for me to get caught up in the "she does so I should!" fantasy/fiasco, especially when it comes to online endeavors. Just because she has an online shop of printables, doesn't mean that I should even if I could. Just because she signed up for this team or that review doesn't mean that I have to. Just because half of Instagram is selling this thing, doesn't mean that I have to sell to enjoy it or be cool.

The comparison game is strong, and the trap is easy to fall into. I, however, want to remain SECURE in my identity (which is in Jesus and NOT my follower count) and trust that HIS will for my season and my schedule is better than any that I could make up for myself. My own medicine is hard to take, but some tough decisions are being made in the upcoming weeks. I am going to have to say no more, and I may even have to bow out of previous commitments. Mind you, I am not encouraging irresponsibility but intentionality. And sometimes your best yes is a thoughtful no.

What advice would you give to a large group of people?
AND what was your favorite part about the challenge?!
Thanks again for joining us! It's been GRAND!


Thursday, September 29, 2016

Blog-tember, Day 29: Blogging Beauties

One day more, y'all! One day more! (Thank you, Les Mis, for being on repeat in my head today...) The 2016 Blog-tember Challenge is coming to a close tomorrow, and I couldn't think of a better way to end than by sharing our favorite reads with our new friends. I have been immensely blessed to have made SO many friends in the blogging world, and limiting this post to just five has been SO difficult. But for your sake and mine, five it is.

Thursday, Sept. 29: Your Fab Five. Share your favorite bloggers/besties and tell us what you love about them! Share a link and give a shout out.

Rachel is a blogging friend turned best friend, and I am forever grateful that our paths crossed a few years ago. Rachel reached out and asked if I would contribute to her series on singleness, and I happily said yes. When I moved to Oklahoma, we got together with a mutual friend for lunch, and the rest is history. I actually took the above picture at her house this past spring when I went for a visit! Rachel gets me, and Rachel tells me like it is. She writes with clarity and truth, conviction and heart, and I cannot WAIT for us to hang out next week!

Favorite blog posts by Rachel:

Yes, another awesome Rachel! RAD (yes, her initials are a perfect description of her) is phenomenal. Her heart is beautiful, her funniness fierce, her blog book-tastic, and her energy catching! I have yet to meet her in real life, but it will happen ONE DAY! I love getting a glimpse into her heart with every post and tweet she sends out into the world, and I KNOW the world is made better by it.

Favorite blog posts by Rachel:

Oooh, y'all. Victoria is a gem of a friend, and one of my first blogging gals that I met in real life. She is a true southern belle with beautiful British roots, and her baby Beau is just adorable! I love her style and her heart of Gospel-centered hospitality (it just radiates from her), and her summer travels are awe-and-wanderlust-inspiring. I'll also never forget sharing the quintessential blogger moment: I was at her house when her planner arrived in the mail and we squealed in delight as only bloggers could/would!

Favorite blog posts by Victoria:

Nicole is such a sweetheart, and she was a must-include on this blogging beauty round-up! I stumbled on her blog several years ago when she and her now-hubby were engaged and planning her wedding, and it is a joy and honor to follow and support their journey to starting a family. They are in the adoption process AND are expecting their first little girl oh so soon. Her heart for the Lord is encouraging and inspiring, and their video/photography company 314 Productions is ABSOLUTELY being hired for my wedding someday. Just saying ;)

Favorite blog posts by Nicole:

Michaela was one of the first blogs I started following consistently in college, and she is still one of my favorites. She lived in Seattle and shared so much about the city that by the time I got there I felt right at home! We've only met in passing (literally, I spotted her in the crowd of a Baylor Homecoming parade and waved as my ride kept driving!) but watching her story unfold these past few years has been such a delight (she got married a week ago and was a STUNNING bride)! Her design and style are as beautiful as her heart, and I'm constantly inspired by her.

Favorite blog posts by Michaela:

There you have it, friends! Just a few of my faves!
Now who are YOURS?!


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Blog-tember, Day 28: My Life in Five

This year has been a doozy, y'all. It's almost laughable. Actually, it is laughable. Thinking back to my goal planning at the end of 2015, I really had no clue what this year would hold, and so little of it turned out as planned. There have been high highs and low lows, but both are worth sharing today. The Blog-tember Challenge (and 2016) are coming to a close, so let's reflect!

By the way, choosing FIVE photos out of 11,000+ on my phone (yeah, yeah I know...) is TOUGH.

Wednesday, Sept. 28: The top five pictures that illustrate your year so far.

One. This year is the year I finished my graduate degree in theatre at Oklahoma State University. The two years spent at OSU were beautiful and difficult at the same time, but this year was positively brimming with blessings, sweet friends, and memorable shows. I can't believe my time there has already come and gone!

Two. Of course a selfie has to be included, just for grins! This year I've been learning a lot about myself, including more of the things that make me tick, the hard places in my heart, and just how deep the desires run for some of my biggest dreams. My hair is also FINALLY getting long again! I cut it all off in January of 2015 to have a 1920s bob for a play, and now it's nearly its previous length! Woohoo!

Three. I could probably --and should probably-- call 2016 the "Year of Books" because I have been reading, reading, reading. One of my goals was to read 52 books in 52 weeks, and yesterday I finished book #49! There are still three months left in the year, so we'll see how high this number gets by the end.

Four. Oh man. These three. I have been blessed with incredible friendships via the internet, but Dana, Annie, and Rachel have been the sweetest and most fierce encouragers this year! It was almost exactly one year ago that we took this picture the first night of the Influence Conference in Indianapolis, and we've been texting, Facetiming, and .gif sending ever since ;) These gals love Jesus SO much and they bless my socks off continually. This year would NOT have been the same without them.

Five. To be continued. 2016 is NOT finished, even though the end is on the horizon. I absolutely had to end this post with this picture for several reasons. First, it has been almost one year since I joined the Illustrated Faith Creative Team, and that decision has changed my life dramatically. Second, spending time creatively getting into the Word of God is such a big part of my life that I could not leave it out! Finally, I'm already enjoying looking back at the Bibles I've journaled this year to see what the Lord's been teaching and carrying me through. 2016 is one for the books, including the good, bad, and ugly. I want to savor every last second of it.

It's your turn! What has 2016 looked like for you?!


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