AN INSPIRED SEASON | The Joy of Everyday Adventures

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Tuesday, July 21st. // Write about one of the best adventures you’ve had so far in this season.

I have a whole category about adventuring on the blog. I love it. And originally, when I thought about answering today’s prompt, I I thought I would talk about a recent adventure, something super current in this season of mine — or maybe one of the more exciting adventures I’ve lived like my trip to California, or doing my internship in New York City.

But then I was reminded of one day and one small adventure that just may have been the start of my love of everyday adventures, of exploring right where I am, and living in the present moment fully.

And that’s when I decided that’s the story I wanted to tell.

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This story takes us all the way back to my college days. I can’t even remember what day of the week it was, but I do remember my journalism assignment was to go check out an art show opening and write about it.

So, I hopped in my car with my MapQuest directions (hello, pre-GPS days…), and I drove to a small town about 45 minutes to an hour away from my university. Some of the details of the day are fuzzy, so forgive me if I mix up their order, but I do remember finding the art show, wandering around the opening, and loving every second. I pored over the artwork and the descriptions of each,  took lots of notes, gathered inspiration, and began working out sentences in my head for the article I would later write. I remember being filled with energy (perhaps that is also when my love for  discovering art began…)

Instead of leaving after covering the art opening, I decided to explore the town. I remember wandering up and down the main street, ducking into an antique shop or two, eating at a local restaurant, while going over story notes, and then I think I may have even sampled the town’s local coffee shop. (I can’t imagine I’d have skipped out on that.) In fact, that may have happened on the way TO the opening. Who can be sure… ;)

It’s funny, because I had this adventure pre-iPhone, so I don’t have Instagram shots to capture the day. I can’t remember the name of the coffee shop, or the restaurant, or the antique shop. I can’t even remember clearly the art I saw that day, or who had created it.

I do remember how much that day inspired me, though, how it made me want to create more, explore more, experience more. It made me want to tell the stories of those experiences and discoveries, too. I couldn’t wait to share the stories of those artists, what had moved them to create and what those creations were sharing with me and with the world.

It’s funny to think now how little pieces of the woman I am today were being formed on that seemingly normal day back in college.

Looking back, I can also see how God has only furthered developed each of those pieces, and it’s pretty spectacular to think about. They may seem like tiny, insignificant details, but in God’s hands, they’ve become meaningful moments in the greater story, stepping stones in a creative journey.

I wish I knew where that story was and what I had written…maybe I can find it in my portfolio someday and revisit everything in more detail.

But for now, it’s enough remembering — even if it’s all a little fuzzy.

Even though so much time has passed, I’m still grateful I didn’t just do my assignment as quickly as possible. I’m grateful I lingered and explored and learned more about that little town. More than anything, though, I’m grateful I realized that day what a joy everyday adventures can be and how much there is to discover and appreciate right where we are, right where God’s placed us.

Because the truth is, even the little moments are leading us somewhere good.

::art source::

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AN INSPIRED SEASON | AN INTRODUCTION

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So, here we go! Post #1 in my new An Inspired Season collaboration with Miss Bailey Jean of Brave Love Blog. This was a tough prompt for me, but as I sat in the sunshine at the pool this afternoon, outlining my life in bullet point form, I felt at least a little more ready to tackle this first step toward really praising God for who I am, all He’s already done in my life that’s brought me to this very season, and all that’s still ahead.
Today’s prompt:
Thursday, July 2nd. Introduce yourself by writing your biography as if being interviewed for The New York Times, sharing your history, accomplishments, and where you are right now. Complete it with what you would want it to say in the future (biggest dreams and goals included) in italics.
And now… on to the “interview”!
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She’s all bright colors and polka dots, when we meet at her favorite local coffee shop to talk.

We find a corner table in a spot of sunshine and begin with stories from her childhood. As she sips her creamy iced latte, she shares that she’s been curious for as long as she can remember.

“Growing up, I wanted to try everything — from rock collecting to playing basketball to cheerleading,” she says with a smile. “Learning and trying new things has always interested me.”

And then there were books, of course! So many books!

“I used to get ‘grounded’ from reading as a kid, because I’d get so lost in a book, I wouldn’t finish my chores.” She laughs and shakes her head. “I’m sure my parents were both thrilled and frustrated that I loved books and reading as much as I did.”

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That inquisitive little girl grew up to study magazine journalism in college, where she learned all of the ins and outs of interviewing, fact-checking, and feature writing. What she grew to love most about journalism, though, she says, were the stories, and the way her words could bring them to life.

The summer before her senior year, she packed her bags and headed for New York City, where she spent three months working at a magazine, exploring the city, and wandering around The Strand bookstore.

“That summer was such an awesome adventure for me,” she says. “It challenged me in so many ways and gave me courage and confidence to take risks and pursue dreams, even when they feel completely big and out of reach. I think that summer was definitely foundational for me and helped me find my way in the world of words.”

Following her college graduation, she did exactly what she expected she would: she got a job at a magazine. As an editor at a scrapbooking magazine, she says she felt inspired daily by the stories the scrapbookers were capturing and her part in helping them share those stories with others.

“Being on staff at the magazine only further developed my love of storytelling,” she says, “and, I think, it also got me thinking about the small stories that make up each of our days. I started to develop an interest in telling those stories — and celebrating them in a beautiful and artful way.”

So, she took what she says felt like the next natural step in her creative journey and started a blog.

Her blog, A Place to Dwell, became a colorful Internet home for her own little stories as they unfolded, a place to capture and share about her experiences, her newfound faith, and the creative life she was learning to live.

It was around that time that she also took a collage class and fell in love with visual storytelling.

“Looking back, I can see that so much of who I am today was being formed and discovered in that season,” she says. “I was learning so much about who God had created me to be, and I was able to start really dreaming about where all of those things might take me.”

That season of learning and discovery eventually transitioned into another season of challenge and growth when a troubling economy led her to lose her job at the age of 24.

“I knew God was closing a door, and I felt peace about that, but I also felt a lot of uncertainty and apprehension about what door He would open next and how long it would take Him to open it.”

Even though it was an incredibly difficult time in her life, she says it was a season that truly deepened and refined her faith. And it was also a season of unexpected blessing.

“I got a lot of precious time with my family during that season,” she says, “especially with my grandmother, who passed away in April. I can see what a gift that was now.”

After months of dreaming and praying about  what she might do next and where God might be leading her, she discovered her current world of telling stories through greeting cards.

“I feel pretty lucky that I get to be a part of both the little and big moments in people’s lives, and that I get to help them celebrate those moments,” she says.

She’s also continued to blog, and she says her creative journey as a whole has led her to learn how much living a full and inspired life for God means to her.

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“When I put all of the pieces of my story together so far, I can see how much I value being inspired and inspiring others. I can see that I want  to live an inspiration-filled life, and that I want to help others do the same,” she says.

While she says she is still figuring out what that looks like, she did write an eBook last year all about living an inspired life (appropriately titled An Inspired Life: Living Fully & Creatively in Every Season).

“It had long been a dream of mine to write and publish a book, and so to have the opportunity to do that is an incredible blessing,” she says.

So, what’s next in her inspired life?

She smiles and pauses.

“I really have no idea,” she says, “and I think there’s a lot of beauty and hope and possibility in that. I have a lot of dreams and ideas, of course, but I’ve also learned that God does some of his best work in the unexpected seasons we find ourselves in. I’m going to keep writing, and I’m going to keep creating. And as long as I’m seeking to use the creative gifts God has given me to the very fullest, I think He’ll take care of each and every adventure ahead.”

* * *

Want to jump in and join the An Inspired Season party? Here’s a look at our upcoming prompts! (And you can read more about the collaboration on Bailey’s blog.)

Tuesday, July 7th. Describe your current season in pictures (make a mood board/art collage/whatever)!

Thursday, July 9th. Write a bucket list that’s FOR your current season (focusing on things you can do and want to do in the very near future, rather than dreams for what you hope is ahead).

Tuesday, July 14th. Pick a verse for your season and create something based on it (a blog post, a painting, a poem, anything you’re inspired to make)!

Thursday, July 16th. Take a look back at the past year. What are some highs and lows from this season? What were some surprises? What advice would you give yourself if starting this year/season anew? (Feel free to choose one, any, or all of these questions!)

Tuesday, July 21st. Write about one of the best adventures you’ve had so far in this season.

Thursday, July 23rd. Who are others you admire that are living/celebrating a similar season well? What resources/books/posts have encouraged you?

Tuesday, July 28th. What’s one thing you can do this week to celebrate your season? Set the intention (on Instagram or Facebook) and then do it! Write about the experience.

Thursday, July 30th. Write about something this season of life has taught you.

Making Things Happen: June 2015 Goals

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Wowza, I’ve been away for a bit, haven’t I? I have a lot to figure out when it comes to this little space of mine, but I have some new dreams and ideas I’m excited to explore and share. :) More on that shortly! The reason I’ve been away for so long is it’s been a rough few months (I lost my grandmother in April), so I just haven’t been focusing much on creative pursuits outside of my day job. But I am happy to say that the creative ideas are flowing again, and even though I still miss my grandma every day, the encouragement, love, and support she blessed me with over the years stay right in my heart, bringing comfort, joy, and a beautiful sense of peace. I’ll be honest that I’ve been a bit half-hearted with my powersheets so far this year, but I have been wanting to start posting my goals here and doing a monthly recap to help with motivation and accountabiltity. So, that’s the plan for today’s post. Plus, I miss ya’ll and want to hear about your own goals and adventures and life happenings! :) (Leave me some comments and let’s catch up!) ;) All of that said, here are my June goals (posted just a little late):

MONTHLY GOALS

  • Start exploring, brainstorming, and getting the word out about my new creative venture of helping creative makers and doers tell the stories of their products and businesses (especially local creatives right here in Cleveland). I’m hoping to spread the word via social media and the blog in the next few weeks, as well as by touching base with local creatives at upcoming maker/artist events this summer. YAY! Time to get those business cards ready to pass out! ;) I’ll be putting together a page right here on the blog, too, in order to share more about what I hope to do and how you can work with me.
  • Closet-cleaning and Goodwill donating! Hoping to tackle clothes this month (and art supplies if I’m super ambitious). But that may show up on July’s goal sheet. ;)
  • Plant flowers and herbs with my mom and hang twinkle lights out on the porch. (This is actually already done! Haha Finished the goal before I had time to write this post.) :) It’s super colorful and cozy, and I love it!
  • Brainstorm a list of blog topics and get writing. It is my hope to start posting regularly again, but I want it to be quality content, so I’ll most likely be taking a slow blogging approach and posting about one longer, more in-depth post a week. In between posts, I am hoping to connect with all of my readers right in the comments (and on Instagram, of course!) But I’m looking forward to creating a good balance of living and telling the stories, which is one of my goals this year!
  • Financial – I have a few financial goals I am working toward and am excited to continue to grow as a good steward of the resources God gives.
  • Launch my new women’s Bible study group (we start next week!).

WEEKLY GOALS

  • Gym 2x a week (continue to do both weights and cardio). I can feel myself slowing getting stronger, and it is so encouraging! I have never stuck with a gym routine for more than a few months, so this is a challenge for me, but I am feeling good about the progress I’ve made so far and want to continue to take intentional steps toward being healthier and stronger!
  • Eat more fresh fruits and veggies (and less sugar and processed stuff); I want to cook at least one whole foods meal a week.

DAILY GOALS

  • Do each day’s reading and devotional for She Reads Truth Women in the Word study.
  • Complete my five-minute journal entry (more on that daily practice in an upcoming post).
  • Stick with a daily cleaning routine as much as possible, so my weekends aren’t filled with playing catch-up (15-minutes of cleaning each night does wonders!). ;)
  • Institute Internet/phone-free time after 8 p.m. on weeknights (and spend that time reading a book, doing yoga, or just spending some quiet time with God).
  • Spend 20 minutes in prayer each day.

So, there you have it! My goals for June. Have you set any goals for this month? If so, how’s it going?

I’m Back!

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Hello, friends!

Yay, yippeeeee, I’m back!

Cue the confetti cannons and all the silliness possible for this little blog intro!

Whew, why is the first post after a blogging break so difficult to write? ;)

Anyway, I’m excited to be making my way back into the blogging world after a few months’ break this summer.

I took the summer off, so I could focus on living the stories fully before telling them. I needed to make space for growth, space to really see all the shapes and colors of this season of my life.

I needed to appreciate where I was before I could get excited about where I’m heading next.

This summer has been SO FULL — packed to the brim with adventuring, sunscreen-smeared books, and summer celebrations of all sorts. It’s been full of abiding, and it’s been full of discovering.

I think it’s just what I needed.

God’s been doing some necessary work on my heart, too, growing me in new, important ways, stretching and redefining my trust in Him. I’m grateful for that.

It smells and feels like fall today, and maybe, because of that, it’s the perfect day for me to be writing this post, acknowledging that although summer is coming to a close, there are new days and new adventures ahead.

In the meantime, I’m excited to soak up every last bit of summer — and to start telling some stories.

P.S. The image in this post is the cover of an Instagram album I’m in the process of making. I wanted to make something tangible that celebrated my inspired life and all God’s been doing and teaching. I’m excited to share more about that sometime soon.

Weekending: Crafty Mart’s Mom & Pop Shoppe

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Despite the unpredictable (and mostly windy/overcast weather), I spent my Saturday surrounded by color and inspiration — eating good food, drinking hot coffee, and wandering around Crafty Mart’s Spring Mom & Pop Shoppe.

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As I mentioned in my previous post, I love the Crafty Mart events, because they bring together a unique group of local artists right in the heart of Akron. It’s such a joy to celebrate talent and creativity and support people’s passions.

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This is Ashley, the owner and creator of Truckshop. I fell in love with her creatively curated mobile fashion boutique (check out all of the bright color, sparkle, and polka dots!!). She was so much fun to meet and talk with, too. I loved hearing her business story, and talking with her further confirmed my dream to work with creators, makers, and dreamers to help them live and tell their inspired stories.

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So sad she didn’t have the polka-dotted number in my size. I was smitten!

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I did snag these sparkly earrings and fun black-and-white chevron scarf, though.

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Also, did I mention there were mini donuts?!

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I’m still regretting the fact that I passed up sampling some of these sweet treats from DonutLab. They smelled incredible! (And what’s a better pairing than coffee and donuts, I ask you!) ;)

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I also came home with this darling piece of art by Ivy Axe. It’s the perfect addition to my little gallery wall of art. Filling my home and life with beautiful art makes my heart very, very happy.

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It was a great day, and I think it was just what I needed. I feel refreshed and ready to tackle some new creative projects of my own!

Adventures in Art: Akron’s Crafty Mart

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I went to my first Crafty Mart show (and the very first Crafty Mart event!) about 4 and a half years ago, shortly after moving back to the Akron/Cleveland area. It was the start of a new season in my life, and I loved connecting with and supporting other local artists. It was a chance to rediscover the area, as well as explore a new dream of mine — selling my art locally.

Crafty Mart  offered me that opportunity, and since attending that first show, I’ve sold my collage art at three of their events.

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While I’ve since taken a little break from participating in craft shows, I’ve continued to be a regular at the Crafty Mart events, and I’m excited to announce that the next Crafty Mart is this weekend (Saturday, May 3 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.!).

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If you’ve never been, I recommend making an afternoon of it. Grab lunch at Urban Eats — and a coffee for dessert — (I love the caramel soy latte!), and take your time exploring the more than 50 vendors being showcased. Crafty Mart takes place at Musica, an awesome venue in the heart of Akron, and the urban atmosphere really adds to the event.

Oh, and don’t forget to snap a few photos in the photo booth — silliness is encouraged! :)

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Curious about the back story? Crafty Mart was established in 2009 (that first show I attended!) to feature uncommon, quality-made, local arts and crafts. In 2013, it was voted one of the “Best in the City” by Akron Magazine. (Yay, Crafty Mart!)

And bonus: This Saturday’s Mom and Pop Shoppe will also have two mobile fashion boutiques — a new addition to the event!

How cute does this boutique look?! I am in love with all of the colors and patterns. In fact, I’ve already spotted a polka-dot dress I can’t wait to get my hands on! (No pun intended!) ;)

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If you love to support local artisans and are looking for a colorful, inspiration-packed afternoon, this is an event you won’t want to miss. I hope to see you Saturday! :)

5 Ways to Live More Creatively

1. Discover

Discovering new things — artists, writers, musicians, restaurants, farmers markets, shops, boutiques, etc. — is something that makes my life feel full and vibrant. To bring a sense of discovery to your everyday life, consider trying one of the following: Make a list of restaurants you’d like to try in your city, shops you’d like to visit, etc. Switch up your normal grocery shopping routine and try a specialty market, local shop, or farmers market instead. (I love to shop local, because it gives me a chance to make healthier choices and also meet the people who have grown and tended my food. It’s a pretty cool, inspiring experience.)

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2. Learn

I love to challenge myself to learn new things. (Right now, I’m learning all about hand lettering, and I’m excited to immerse myself in this new art form.) Is there something that’s piqued your curiosity? Check out your local library to see what books you can find on the subject. You can also find a lot of affordable classes online. Skillshare is a great resource on a vast array of creative topics, for example.

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3. Create

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Spending time dreaming and creating is super important to me. Think about what inspires you… Is it drawing? Painting? Gardening? Knitting? Writing? Cooking? Finding time for the things that make your heart happy is an important component of living creatively. And remember, you don’t need an entire day to devote to creating. Look for small ways to create every day. If cooking is your thing, can you try a new recipe? If you love writing, can you spend a few moments each morning or evening penning a few thoughts in your journal?

4. Add color

I am a big fan of living with LOTS of color. I find that when I surround myself with color and art and pattern, I feel happy, inspired, and creative. Even just wearing a colorful outfit can change and brighten my mood.

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5. Connect & Share

Life is so much sweeter when we share it, yes?  I love to plan adventuring dates with friends and loved ones — and sometimes just with the Lord — so we can share the experience of discovering fresh new joys together. Being in community and sharing our stories, our art, and our lives with people we appreciate and connect with on a deeper level is such a HUGE part of living fully and creatively.

:: I hope this post gets you thinking about some new ways you can bring joy, creativity, color, and inspiration to your everyday life. If you enjoyed reading about this topic, you can find more in my book An Inspired Life: Living Fully & Creatively in Every Season. ::

Happy Weekend!

A Very Crafty Afternoon

Last Saturday, I headed down to Akron with my mom to enjoy an afternoon of browsing at the 5th annual Crafty Mart.

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We lunched at Urban Eats Cafe, which is attached to the Crafty Mart venue at Musica. (I ate probably the best sandwich of my life: a pumpkin waffle panini! It was topped with thin apple slices, honey, fresh sage, bacon, and spinach leaves. Oh.My.Goodness. Seriously, SO GOOD!

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Don’t you just love all the festive twinkly lights in this cafe? I could have stayed in this cozy space for hours with my journal, a few good books, and a very  large cup of coffee! ;)

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I came home with a blue spruce candle from Burning River Candle company and spent quite a bit of time swooning over the beautiful twig earrings made by Liza Michelle Jewelry. On my wish list for sure! My candle came in an upcycled glass bottle, too. How fun is that?!

I love supporting local artists and events like this. No matter where you live, there’s bound to be a few local gems to frequent. So, plan a Saturday date to explore! I fall in love with my city and the surrounding areas a little more after each adventure.

And speaking of adventures, I need to head out for a little coffee shop adventuring this afternoon. I’ve got a freelance project to begin and a whole stack of Lara Casey PowerSheets that are calling my name.

Happy Saturday and Happy Adventuring, friends! :)

the entirely imperfect right now

“Let’s not waste our lives searching for perfection tied up with a fairy tale bow. Let’s choose, right now, to grab hold of our real lives, our true selves and embrace every second of this challenging, gritty, beautiful, messy reality that we have instead.”Mary Carver

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Sometimes, Saturdays are for finding a sunny corner of a local coffee shop and just being present in our right now, forgetting the stuff that’s weighing us down and choosing to be, as Shauna Niequist wrote, “deeply present in the present, in the mess, in the waiting, in the entirely imperfect right now.”

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So, on Saturday, that’s exactly what I chose to do.

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I was present in the sunshine, in the laughter, and in the sampling of creamy soy lattes, buttery breakfast sandwiches, and maybe even a fudgy vegan chocolate crinkle cookie (because, really, how can you fully experience a new coffee shop without sampling the pastries?!). ;)

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Right now, this is life, my friends, this is the entirely imperfect right now, and I don’t want to miss a moment of it.

Influence Conference Meet-and-Greet Link-Up

Hi, all! I’m excited to be participating in this Influence Conference link-up.

If you haven’t visited my blog before, let me introduce myself.

I’m Katie. I write, create, and wear a lot of polka dots. I also wrote a few thoughts about the upcoming conference, here.

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Now onto the link-up questions…

Two things I will be sure to have packed in my bag:

1. Some colorful pens and my new notebook! (Technically more than one item, eh?)

2. My camera to capture memories and moments.

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Two things I’m looking forward to about the conference:

1. GROWTH: Stepping out of my comfort zone and going FURTHER in my faith, writing, and art.

2. INSPIRATION: I can’t wait to meet all of the lovely and inspiring ladies I’ve been getting to know over this past year! I look forward to many hugs, honest conversations, prayers, and encouragement.

See you all soon!

xo,

Katie