Happy Friday Friends!
It’s a brand new month and I’m excited to launch a new series here. As you know, one of my favorite things is hosting friends over for front porch or deck dates. Time to chat, sip a delicious drink, and just be together. I always am refreshed by hearing other’s stories and walk away encouraged at how God has worked in their life.
One Friday a month I’m going to have a little virtual deck date and introduce you to a new flourishing friend. My hope is that you are refreshed, encouraged, and walk away affirmed to keep walking where God has called you.
This month I’m so excited to introduce you to my IG friend and kindred spirit Natalie. I first encountered Natalie through reading an article she had written for Life: Beautiful magazine about vintage & modest fashion . I remember reading her words, seeing her colorful & spunky outfits, and immediately thinking “she is a kindred spirit”. And, she totally is. Her #caffinecrazy, vintage loving, adventure heart is so evident in her #happyprettymess life (more on that later!).
Natalie is a poet and author of several books including: Gifts in Jars, The Natural Cleaning Handbook, The Self Discipline Handbook, and my favorite Happy Pretty Messy. You can snag a copy of her books on her website nataliewise.com or online wherever books are sold.
Natalie’s copy of The Natural Cleaning Home just re-launched with an updated look on September 1st. In it you’ll find amazing recipes to combat flu/virus/back to school season and keep your home looking fresh! Click here to snag your copy! (*link is an affiliate with Amazon)
What I love most about Natalie is that she isn’t just all pretty coffee cups and vintage prints, she is vulnerable and honest with the hard stuff. Natalie has walked through some incredibly challenging seasons, and it’s been an encouragement to watch her grow.
So my friends, pour yourself a tall glass of cold brew and step out onto my back porch for my interview with Natalie.
Tell me a little about yourself?
My name is Natalie Wise and I’m the girl who is writing poetry half the time and cracking myself up with terrible jokes I’ve created the other half of the time. I’m 32 and I’ve been married to a pastor (so yes, I’m a “pastor’s wife”) for 2 years, and we live in Catskill, NY. I’m the author of 4 lifestyle books with a new one on natural cleaning coming out this fall. I call myself a “Modern Lifestyle Philosopher” but really all that means is I want people to realize that life isn’t perfect, can’t be perfect, won’t be perfect, and to embrace it wholeheartedly, with all of its happy-pretty-messy-ness. That’s my life motto #happyprettymessy (well, and #caffeinecrazy because it’s hard to do life in any form without caffeine!).
Let’s start with the most important question: If I invited you over for a porch date, what would your dream drink and snack pairing be?
Ooooo strawberry shortcake and something sparkling and refreshing to drink! Sparkling elderflower lemonade, perhaps? I’ll bring the gluten-free shortcakes and homemade whipped cream!
What does an ordinary, but beautiful, Tuesday look like for you?
This is such a good question! Tuesdays actually tend to be my “get through” days, with lots of MESSY for the happy pretty messy! I love Mondays, Wednesdays are great for getting things DONE, and we all love Friday, but Tuesday is just…there. Thursdays have actually always been my favorite day (yes, I have a favorite day. And favorite dates. And favorite times.). The best thing about Tuesday is Bible Study after work is done, which used to look like dinner with friends and a cozy indoor sharing session. Now it’s socially-distanced, wask-wearing outdoor Bible Study, but I’ll take it!
What nourishes your soul?
Jesus and caffeine! That’s about all I need, and I can do without the caffeine if I have to. Otherwise, snuggling our chocolate lab, writing letters, writing poetry, creating packages to mail to friends and family, doing little things to surprise people (acts of service or gifts, usually), time off to do ANYTHING with my super-busy husband, full-body yoga stretches, and donuts. Gluten-free donuts really help nourish the soul, did you know that?!
What season would you say you find yourself in? (student, single gal, dating/engaged, newlywed, married with kiddos or without, unexpected homeschool mamma, retired…)
Right now my season is fairly-newly-married-without-kids, but I feel added challenges of recent health issues I’m working through and being a fairly new pastor’s wife. I’m also in a season of really working on flourishing after some intense seasons of anxiety.
What is one unexpected joy about your current season?
The personal growth that marriage brings. It has been truly amazing to see God growing me as a person. I lived alone, in my comfort zone, for 12 years before I got married at 30, so I was used to doing things my own way. Let’s get really honest for a sec: The growth has mainly happened in my words and my patience. I used to be so careless with my spoken words, and now I take such great care to use my words to nourish my husband and uplift him, instead of to critique him, bother/nag him, or beg him for attention/time (I’ll admit it). And that patience thing goes right along with the ‘begging for attention/time’ because getting used to being a pastor’s wife, with a congregation of 150+ WONDERFUL members needing my husband too (and a love language of quality time) was hard. God has brought me into a deep place of companionship with Him, which allows me freedom to allow my husband serve God and others with a free and content heart. It was, and is, a growing place, to be sure.
What is one hard thing about your current season?
As I mentioned, I am still struggling with a health issue (I had a seizure last fall, so we are still working through that with medical help), and striving to flourish despite anxiety. I’ve come such a long way with my anxiety, but it still impacts my life in this season, which is frustrating. If you’re struggling with anxiety, don’t be afraid to get medical help, and to know that it is a long road but God is always with you and I’m here to cheer you on, too!
If you could share a piece of advice or encouraging word to others in your season, what would it be?
The early years of marriage go so fast, and they’re a really important proving ground for the rest of your marriage, so be very intentional with them. Do the hard work to look at yourself in this new role and to ask God to help you soothe your rough edges as you find them. They’ll show up, as relationships always have a way of bringing those to light! Pray for and minister to your husband daily, and lift him up in public and in private. There’s no need to complain to others about your husband or join in ‘girls chat’ about how difficult it can be to live with a man (any married woman knows that!). Don’t go to bed mad. Truly, I mean that, don’t go to bed mad. And if you change the living room furniture arrangement, clean the entire kitchen, re-do the bedroom decor, etc., text your husband to give him a heads up. I text my husband those things ahead of time and usually add, “So please take the time to properly admire it when you get home :)” because at the end of a long day, sometimes husbands just genuinely do not notice these things. And why let that be an issue when it is so easily avoided? Communication is key, and we are lucky that is so easy these days!
Anything else you like to share?
Life is tough and busy and we have to intentionally work to bring out the happy sometimes. It’s worth it. The small things actually matter more than the big ones in my mind. The big life things are going to happen anyway, but the little things are easy to let go. Why not light the good candle, put on a face mask (the self-care kind, not the currently-required kind), and take 5 minutes to lay on your back in the dark and talk to God? It can literally change your life. Then meet me on Instagram, because I’d love to be friends so we can encourage each other in all seasons of life! I’m @goodgirlstyle