Flourish

Flourishing Friday- October 16th

Nourish: Rhythms for Soul-Care

Fall is the most glorious time to get outside and soak up God’s Creation. I love taking a long hike outside to admire the changing leaves. The air is crisp and the sky a brilliant shade of blue or stormy gray, meant to be savored.

Taking a walk or hike is one of my favorite ways to practice a bit of soul-care in any season. Some days it’s a short 15 minute walk around the neighborhood or a post-work walk around the lake in my cute little town. However, my very favorite hiking destination is Nashotah Park.

I went there a few weeks ago on a chilly, but sunny Sunday, and took the loop around the lake and through the trails. Hiking through the majestic evergreens and changing leaves was just balm for my soul. And as a bonus I found a painted rock with the reminder to rejoice in each season.

Grow: Encouragement for your Heart

On days that are full to the brim, I’ll often talk myself out of what is good but doesn’t seem productive (my Enneagram 3 wing is coming in strong here!). In full seasons I tend to rush through my quiet times, walk quickly through the gardens noting what needs to be done and NOT enjoying the beauty. I’ll inhale lunch while checking e-mails and items off my to-do lists. You get the picture, as I’m sure you have days like this too. Days where you are living just to survive and forgetting to nourish your soul.

But, it’s in those full days, and seasons, that we need to fight hardest for margin.

Last week, I had one of those days and decided to take a few minutes to create something beautiful. A few minutes with my bible and watercolors reset my heart and reminded me that alone I can do nothing, but God’s grace is sufficient.

So friend, wherever you might be today I pray that God’s grace abounds in this season. Keep fighting for the space and make time for what brings your heart closer to Him.

Bloom: Beauty in the Everyday

I’ve always adored fresh flowers. I remember visiting Trader Joe’s in college and spending my hard earned $5.99 willingly on a bouquet of tulips. I never regretted those flowers, as they nourished my soul and brought beauty into my everyday.

Fast forward and now one of my greatest joys has been learning to grow lovely, hard to find, unique flowers in my home garden and at ZA. A few years ago I built two 4X8 garden beds at my home. I envisioned growing veggies, herbs, and maybe a few blooms for the table. But, as time went by I learned that while I love my mini cherry tomatoes…vibrant purple dahlias and blush pink zinnias make my heart soar.

This love of blooms has trickled over to my professional life as we have over 900+ square feet of “cut flower” beds at Zachariah’s Acres. I love making bouquets with our guests and showing them that they are creative.

Last week after going through Floret Farm’s Fall Mini Course, I took a HUGE leap of faith and signed up for her Cut Flower workshop. I simply adore Erin and so respect how she has grown her business over the years with intention and so much beauty. It is going to be a joy to learn from her. I am a bit nervous and a WHOLE lot excited to see what good things will grow in the years to come.

Flourish in All Seasons

Flourish in All Seasons – Kathryn Rash

Today I couldn’t be more delighted to introduce you to my friend Kate of Taproot Photography. Kate was one of my first friends when I lived in Indiana (since then…we have both moved on from the great state of IN to be closer to our families).

I met her for coffee and quickly learned we shared a love for being creative, gardening, and good wine. I would often spend my days off with her and her son sledding, making homemade pasta, creating projects, or just hanging out. Kate and her family were such gifts in that season of my life.

While I don’t get to see her as often as I like, it is such a joy to watch her step into her God-given gifts. Kate is one of those friends who really makes time for you, listens well, and is full of such grace. She continues to remind and encourage me personally to make time for rest, margin, and fight for what matters in your life.

Kate is a talented artist, photographer, and just launched a new adventure with Scout and Cellar selling organic, clean crafted wine (their “Scout Sampler” pack is my new favorite!). I’m excited to share her story with you.

You can learn more about Kate and follow her journey at:

www.taprootphotos.com @taprootphotography

Or order some delicious wine at www.scoutandcellar.com/katerash

Photo: @lauriecarrozzinophotography

Tell me a little about yourself?

I’m an artist who is passionate about living a creative life and being open to new ways to grow and learn. I think it’s important to give myself the freedom to try new things to see how they suit me. I started my storytelling family photography business 14 years ago. As a deep feeler, I do get emotionally wrapped up in my art and I have to say that the most emotionally and physically intense subject that I photograph is birth. In a matter of hours it takes your emotions on a wild and beautiful ride! It’s important to me to find meaning in my work and play! That’s really accomplished through connection with people. My main goal in life is simple… love people. 


If I were to invite you to my porch, what would your dream drink and snack pairing be? 
I’d have to go with an assortment of cheeses! Definitely baked brie or something warm and gooey too. And of course wine.


What does an ordinary but beautiful Tuesday look like for you?

 No Tuesday is the same for me. But they tend to look a little like this… My husband, Seth usually takes care of the morning routine with our 13 year old son so I have some flexibility to lay in bed for a bit in the morning. I know, it’s really nice! I like being able to catch up on messages first thing and I often do that while I’m still cozy in bed. Then I’ll walk around my yard to see what has changed overnight in the garden. Seth and I may end up at the grocery store in the late morning. I drive since he’s unable to do so because of his eyesight and he shops which is so nice. If I have photo editing or office work I’ll do that or I’ll catch up on stitching. Last year I decided to branch out with my business and start making these fun custom stitched portraits of families, pets and homes! Seth and I play a game or two at the kitchen table if my work is slow that day and in the evenings we’ll all hang out as a family and watch a movie or something.

What nourishes your soul? 

Creating, being in nature (my garden), long baths and emotional connection to people. I’m really a miserable person when I’m not using my hands to create! It brings life to my soul. Both being in nature and quietly alone in the bath help clear my mind of clutter and encourage me to pray and to process what’s on my heart. And I thrive when I feel emotionally connected with people. I’m not talking about needing to have super deep conversations but about simply taking a moment to understand someone, to connect and be present with them.

Photo: @lauriecarrozzinophotography

What season would you say you find yourself in? 

My life always seems to be so much different than the life of other moms with kids my age. Seth and I have been married for 18 years and have a 13 year old but we have always said that we mesh best with either singles or retired people because we’ve created a lifestyle that allows us more freedom. It can be isolating at times though and I find myself wishing that the world around me wasn’t so busy.

What is one unexpected joy about your current season? 


Friendship! This year I decided to work harder on my friendships. Being in quarantine this year actually made it easier to connect with friends more often. I’ve enjoyed being able to focus on my friendships even if it has to be from afar.

Photo:lauriecarrozzinophotography


What is one hard thing about your current season? 

I’m now the mom of a teenager and I’m realizing that my relationship with my son needs to be constantly changing and adapting. It’s a hard balance of continuing to nurture his heart and mind while giving him the space to be his own person. There’s so much that we want to control as parents. I’m learning to let go of that control (aka “micro managing”) and to really focus on our relationship. 


If you could share a piece of advice or encouraging word to others in your season, what would it be? 

Reevaluate your life often and make sure that you’re living the life that you want to live. Make sure that you’re being the person who you want to be. If something doesn’t suit you then let it go. If you find yourself complaining about a certain situation in your life then take whatever action you can to improve it. Allow yourself to change and allow others to change as well. 

Faith

Open Hands and A Surrendered Heart

When I chose abundant for my word of 2020, I imagined grand adventures, bold steps of faith, and audacious goals. But instead, this year has been more about letting go than receiving abundance.

I’ve released and revised plans and expectations.

I’ve surrended dreams and desires…again and again.

I’ve mourned the hate and disunity that is tearing our world apart.

I’ve cried out in frustration asking for answers and affirmation of what I heard Him whisper in the earliest days of 2020.

But God, in his infinite wisdom and grace has shown me that true abundance begins with less. In seasons of pruning and stripping away, God is clearing the ground for new growth.

The literal translation of the word abundance to mean…”a very large quantity of something.” However, a deeper dive reveals another layer of the meaning, one that resonates more deeply in my heart. “plentifulness of the good things of life”.

Just typing that out brings a smile to my face. When I think ponder what a life of plentifulness of the good things of life I see…

a close knit, small community

actually knowing my neighbors

family that loves unconditionally

margin and space to dream and breathe

unhurried time with those I love

enjoyment of God’s creation…in every Season

slow and simple living

Back in March when COVID was just hitting the US, we were recommended to gather in groups of not more than 10 people. I was struck by a quote by Jennie Allen “It’s hard to be seen in a room of 100, but not in a room of 10”. Several months later that quote has stuck with me. Abundance isn’t always more, bigger, better. True abundance begins with a spacious place to be truly seen and known.

Abundance is gathering with your people and saying the things that scare you. Abundance is stepping into the unknown with faith that God will direct your steps. Abundance is having the courage to say no and create space to do that hard work of healing. Abundance is creating space for good things to grow. Abundance means living out your day, week, year and life with open hands and a surrendered heart.

Your spacious place and list of “good things” might look completely different from mine, but I encourage you to take a few minutes today and reflect on where God is leading you today.

What would abundance look like in your current season? How is God working in your heart and live to create space for what matters?

Flourish, Goals

October Goals

Friends!

How is it already October? September is a month of abundance for me and every year I look forward to it with equal parts dread and anticipation. It’s a season of abundance in the gardens, long and good days of hard work, back to school rhythms, and just the adventures of life. It’s also one of the “last” months of Summer here in the Midwest, so I always try to soak up every single second of the gorgeous weather and store it up in my heart for the months to come.

This year, in midst of transition and turmoil in our world, there was something so comforting & renewing in the change of the season and a fresh start of Fall. The beauty of changing leaves have reminded daily that there is beauty in each season, we need eyes to see and time to savor. And that my friends, is exactly what my Fall Goals are all about, creating space in my life to enjoy the abundance and fruit of this season.

So today, I’m sharing my recap on how my good goals are growing and then below my October 2020 Goals. I do my goal planning using Cultivate What Matters Powersheets. I’ve used Powersheets for over seven years and they have been a powerful way for me to prioritize what matters in my life. Cultivate is launching their new collection this month, and I’m so excited to share that a portion of all proceeds benefit Zachariah’s Acres and our mission to connect kids with special needs to the miracles of nature, so they know their Creator.

If you are in need of the hope of a fresh start this Fall, head over to the Cultivate Shop and snag some goodies…the new collections launches October 14th, 2020!

Fall 2020 Goals – Update October 2nd, 2020

  1. Refresh my weekly rhythms (home & work) and complete “Weekly Routines Guide”
Re-Reading “The Best Yes” and working through Lysa’s best decision guide has given me some much needed clarity this month.
Friday mornings are for goal check-ins and making time for priorities. I’m excited for the “slower” season of Late Fall/Winter and time to dream and scheme up new plans!

2. Prioritize mental & physical health with 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week (hike, bike, yoga, swim) .

September is PRIME hiking weather in Wisconsin, I savored every second outside this month!
This reluctant Farm Girl got a LOT of daily movement cleaning up the garden and harvesting our abundance of produce this Fall! Also…worlds cutest pumpkin alert 😉

3. Prepare my home, gardens, & heart for Fall.

Savoring quiet moments with thoughtful reflections in this month’s Eden & Vine.
My porch with touches of Fall…I think I need to add some quirky pumpkins this weekend!

4. Restore a sense of wonder & adventure with local adventures and social distance deck dates.

Saying yes to kayak adventures with friends was such a JOY this month!
Deck dates come in all forms…sometimes it’s soaking up the quiet and painting leaves by the river!

October 2020 Goals

Monthly Action Items

  1. Make elderberry syrup.
  2. Create a “Koselig Cupboard”.
  3. Personal Prayer Retreat (October 23rd, 2020)
  4. Clean up my home gardens, yard, and porch

Weekly Action Items

  1. Fall hike and savor God’s Creation.
  2. Family meal.
  3. Yoga or swim at the YMCA.
  4. 1/2 day to “refresh” my home.

Daily Habits

Surrender

Savor

Simplify

Flourish

Nourish – Grow – Bloom

It has been such a joy sharing my heart here on my site and in real life. I’m continually encouraged to see how God uses my words to draw others closer to Him. One thing I’m continually asked about is the tag-line “Nourish. Grow. Bloom”.

You don’t have to know me long to see that I process life through lessons and seasons in my garden. The garden and God’s creation is a rich resource for inspiration, creativity, and beautiful lessons on what it looks like to live a flourishing life. One lesson I continually come back to is the cycle of planting seeds in my garden. It’s a rich metaphor for growing anything in our hearts or lives. And it’s my heart for each person reading that they would be nourished deeply, encouraged to grow, and bloom in their season.

Nourish:

When we plant a tiny seed or new seedling (basically just a tiny plant!) we need to take time and care with it. Tiny seedlings need good soil, water, sunlight, and a nourishing environment to grow. When I’m transitioning plants outside from their cozy greenhouse in March, I don’t stick the put them overnight right away. They would be shocked by the 45 degree weather and their growth would be stunted.

And just like those seeds, our hearts need time, space, and good things to grow. Self-care can be a tricky subject in our culture, we either feel guilty taking time for ourselves or spend to much time thinking about ourselves, that we miss the amazing world and mission right in front of us. I’m on a continual path of learning the right rhythm of soul-care/self-care, but one thing I’ve learned is that it is essential.

When we make time to care for ourselves emotionally, physically, and spiritually we fill up our buckets (or watering can…sorry, not sorry!). Self-care isn’t a “fix all” or “magic pill”. Instead, when we practice self-care, we create space to do the hard work.

Each time you go for a run, spend time in prayer, meet with a counselor, or do whatever fills you up, you are adding a drop (or sometimes a cup full) of nourishment to your heart. When hard days come, you are able to pour out that nourishment on the people around you.

Grow

Can you picture those tiny seedlings again? Good. Picture them nice and cozy in their little greenhouse, all warm, and snug in their little seed packs. After them we put them in our greenhouse they grow and grow and grow, sometimes it seems magically overnight. Eventually, their roots get all bound up and we need to transplant them into a bigger pot and then eventually outside so they can continue to grow. The seedlings need fresh air, sunshine (not artificial UV light), and a good breeze to help them grow strong and healthy roots.

If we stay cozy and in the “perfectly controlled” environment 24/7, just like those little plants, we will become stunted. To be honest, my heart is bent towards comfort and security. Yet, I’ve seen time and time again that good things grow out of discomfort. Good things grow when I step into the unknown with faith and grace. Brave leaps of obedience, challenging conversations, small acts of faith, and moments of vulnerability are what allow us to grow and step into the place God has for us.

Bloom

Friends, here is the most beautiful and hopeful part of it all. If we do the hard work of caring for our hearts & bodies. If we make space to grow and step into the unknown. It’s only a matter of time until beauty blooms around us.

But there is something I don’t want you to forget. We all bloom at different times and in different seasons. Daffodils and dahlias don’t bloom at the same time, but that doesn’t make one more beautiful than the other. In a culture that celebrates outward success and beauty, we can get caught up in comparing other’s highlight reel with our inward journey. Friend, give yourself space and grace to bloom in your own time.

The most beautiful things take time to bloom. One of my favorite flowers are dahlias. We transplant the tubers in our greenhouse in February, care for them diligently, and plant them outside at the end of May. Then it’s usually another solid month before the blooms show up. But, oh are they worth it. Stunning petals, vibrant colors, and gorgeous texture. My dream is to become the old and gray “Dahlia Lady”, sharing my love for these beautiful blooms with the world around me…I love them that much. Yet, they only last for a season. Once the first frost hits the garden, those dahlia’s are the first to show signs of damage. We dig them up, divide the tubers, and store them throughout the winter. And they sit patiently waiting for their time to bloom again.

And that is my heart for you friend, wherever you find yourself today, there is hope that your time to bloom will come, and your life will bring beauty to the world around you.

Uncategorized

Flourishing Friday – September 18th, 2020

Nourish: Rhythms for Soul-Care

One of my favorite soul-care rhythms is visiting our local salt room with a cup of hot tea and either an inspiring podcast or playlist of worship music. It’s my go-to way to relax & build immunity during cold and flu season or after a particularly stressful week. The first time I heard of a halotherapy, I was pretty skeptical. Then a persistent sinus infection and stressful week won out.

My mamma graciously treated me to my first salt session and I was hooked. The combination of a beautiful environment, zero gravity chair, essential oils, and salt-therapy refreshed my body and spirit. My local space for salt (and sauna) is Breathe. You can check out their website to find out more about halotherapy and the science behind it!

Grow: Encouragement for your Heart

Have you heard of Eden & Vine Magazine? I’ve been following Terrica for the past several years and am so encouraged by her passionate heart for the Lord, faith, simplicity, and love of all things vintage!

A few years ago she launched a new project, Eden & Vine magazine, and as their vision shares it’s “One part magazine, one part coffee table book, equal parts beauty and truth. Garden themed and faith based, it’s full to the brim of inspiration and hope, …”

Their Fall/Winter 2020 magazine just arrived in my mailbox and I’m currently soaking up the articles. This isn’t simply a magazine to flip through, rather one to savor with a cup of tea in hand 😉

Bloom: Beauty in the Everyday

September is the season of abundance in the garden. I’m currently up to my eyeballs in tomatoes. Speckled romas, heirloom, cherry tomatoes, slicing, and san marzano. A basket full of tomatoes mean one thing…time to put up some jars of sauce. It’s hard work, especially after a long day in the garden, but always worth it. When I crack open a jar of fresh tomato basil sauce on a cold day in February, I’m instantly transported back to the garden. If you have an abundance of tomatoes or are looking for a simple hearty sauce, I’m sharing my go-to below.

Em’s Simple Homemade Tomato Sauce

tomatoes, stems chopped off

salt

fresh herbs (basil, parsley, thyme, garlic…)

lemon juice

  • Gather as many tomatoes as can fit in your largest stainless steel pot. scrub your tomatoes & chop off the stems. 
  • Put your tomatoes in the pot, skin & seeds included (we are breaking all the rules, folks!) 
  • Put the stove on low, place the lid over your pot of tomatoes & allow your tomatoes to simmer for 8-12 hrs.  (you can also do this step overnight in the crock-pot)
  • Wake up in the morning, check the tomatoes, stir a bit & crack the lid on the pot. this will allow moisture to escape. 
  • Allow the tomatoes to cook until most of the moisture is gone – about 24 hours – & the tomatoes are a mushy consistency. Using your immersion blender or food processor, process your tomatoes to your desired consistency. Once a tomato sauce-like consistency is reached, add salt & dried herbs to taste.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to your pint size jars & 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to your quart size jars. The amount of jars you need is based on how many tomatoes you process.
  • Fill your jars with tomato sauce & process in the water bath canner.  (35 minutes for pint & 40 for quart jars). Visit Ball for canning 101 tips…
  • Label & store until winter.
Flourish

A Lesson in Pruning…

I spend a good amount of time and thought into planning my garden. I try and use the recommended spacing and carefully plot out what is going to grow and how many plants will fit into the space.  But then when planting time arrives, I start to doubt the space. The seedlings look so tiny, surely I can squeeze in just “one more” tomato plant or squeeze in another dahlia tuber. And then as things start to grow it becomes obvious that I’ve, once again, over planted my garden.

I confess, just like my garden, I just want to do it all and fit “one more thing in”.   It’s a motto I’ve lived by for the majority of my life, but one that hasn’t served me well.  Just like in gardening, when we have too much, nothing has room to grow and flourish.  Good things need time and space to flourish.

If we want good things to grow in our lives (and garden) a hardy pruning is necessary. It begins with evaluating what you have, pulling things, and cutting back what is already there; snipping the “sucker” plants from the tomatoes or cutting back the dead leaves on the cosmos.  It’s the pruning that creates health for a plant, removes disease, and gives plants the energy to thrive. Once you prune off those extra leaves, the plant has renewed energy to focus on blooming and thriving.

And just like there are seasons where I need to prune my tomatoes, my schedule and activities need pruning too. I’m continuing to learn that if I try to do it all and fit it all in I’ll end up as nutrient deprived as my sad little tomato plants.

Last Winter I was tired, weary, and worn out. I had been trying to do it all for far to long and my soul couldn’t keep up. So I got out my planner and pruned.  I made a list of all the activities I committed to (monthly, weekly, daily, etc.) and then got ruthless. 

And then COVID hit and the world turned upside. I had a natural opportunity to reset my schedule, evaluate my priorities, and take a breather. Everyone was staying home, and this people pleaser found a bit of relief in not having to turn down obligations or choose between amazing opportunities.

As the months of Safer@Home has continued, we are learning a new way of life. A life that looks like different, but continues to be increasingly busy. Zoom calls, virtual showers, social-distance fundraisers, online conferences, in person opportunities to serve, and small gatherings are all starting to overwhelm my schedule, and if I’m honest my soul too.

A woman who lives with the stress of an overwhelmed schedule will often ache with the sadness of an underwhelmed soul.”

It’s uncomfortable to make space in our schedules, to say no to good opportunities, and to keep margin on our schedule. Our world glorifies busy, even in this current climate.

And friend, I bet with back to school season you are feeling the need to do some pruning in your heart, schedule, and soul too. Below are a few tips that have helped me get all the things out of my head, reset my priorities and focus on what matters most.

Get it out of your head!

One of the most powerful exercises is to set a timer for 10 minutes and just write. Write your to-dos, obligations, commitments, lingering decisions you have to make,… We have so many thoughts swirling around in our heads, and when we don’t make time to process them out they take up much needed space and capacity.

List your non-negotiables.

Don’t you feel better already? Next up, make a list of the non-negotiables in your life. Do you have a 9-5 job? Write that down. Do you have kiddos at home or virtual school to navigate?

Think through your life on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis and make a list of the things that are non-negotiables.

This is NOT the place to write down all the other things. Believe it or not, you do NOT have to attend 3 bible studies, volunteer weekly, or be apart of 2 book clubs to have a amazing and fulfilled life (preaching to the choir here!)

Make a list of what fires you up and sparks joy in your days.

This is the best part! Make a list of what sparks joy in your heart. Do you love to bake? Are you a gifted singer? Does visiting with neighbors put a spark in your day? Maybe you love running or gardening or hiking. Write those things down and let’s make a pact to ensure we carve out TIME for the things that fire us up. A flourishing life doesn’t happen on accident. A flourishing life is built one small action at a time. Friend, we have to FIGHT for what fires us up and make room for what truly matters in our lifes.

Own your season and story.

Take a few minutes and get really honest with yourself. How are you doing emotionally, physically, and spiritually? Each of our seasons and stories have different weights on our schedule. A new mom is going to have different challenges (and joys) in her days compared to an empty-nester. Someone who is more extroverted may enjoy being apart of several clubs or volunteer obligations, while our introverted friends need extra space in their days and weeks. Your season is beautiful just as it is. Those dreams and desires you feel called to? God will provide time and space in His perfect timing.

Say no and let go.

Okay friend, so now we put it all together. Compare the list of current obligations with your list of non-negotiables and What Fires You Up. Take a hard look at what opportunities you have in this Season. If they are not something you have the capacity to do well, say no and let it go. Remember, when you say no to something you are actually opening the door for another person to say yes.

When we choose to prune and make room in our schedule and days, it opens up our eyes and hearts to not just notice but savor the life God has given us. And that my friends is worth everything.

Want to dive deeper?

The Next Right Thing Podcast by Emily P. Freeman

The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst

Essentialism by Gregg McKoewn

Powersheets Goal Planner

Create, Faith, Singleness

Thriving in Seasons of Change

Fall has unofficially arrived in Wisconsin.  The leaves are changing from various shades of green to brilliant orange and deep reds.  Summer’s warm days spent in the garden and evening cruises on my kayak are hard to let go of.  Yet, Fall holds a different kind of beauty and joy – everything pumpkin spice, football, sweater weather, a slower rhythm, and countless excuses to curl up with a good book and mug of tea.

This season shift has me reflecting on what it looks like to discover joy & find beauty in the current season that I’m in. Can I be really honest for a second friends?   80% of the time I’m joyfully content right where I am.  I love the freedom and flexibility of being single, grateful for darling & quirky old home, and am stretched in a job that is less 9-5 lifestyle and more courageous calling.

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven: a time to plant and a time to uproot….and HE has made everything beautiful in it’s time

Ecclesiastes 3:22

But then there are the other days.  You know, those days when Social Media shouts the highlight reel leaving me feeling not enough or another online dating experience leaves me frustrated more than hopeful.  It’s on those days that I look around and struggle to find the beauty in my current season.  

And then I read this verse from Ecclesiastes and it’s a gut check.  God’s way and timing is perfect.  And more than that he wants you to not just survive but thrive where you are.

In my journey to discovering joy there have been a few tough lessons that I’ve learned. I share them with you, not as a formula to make life perfect, but as a reminder that discovering joy in your season IS possible.

QUIT THE COMPARISON TRAP

Comparing your current season to someone else’s will only lead to frustration and discontentment.  YOU beloved were born with a unique set of gifts, talents and skills and where you are today is not an accident. You were made to shine God’s light into the world around you. 

When my heart is feeling particularly tender, I tend to stay off of Facebook and limit my Instagram scrolling time.

If that desire to compare still creeps up, I…

STOP.

PRAY.

GIVE THANKS. 

The simple act of listing 3-5 things I’m grateful for right now is enough to bring me back to a perspective of abundance and allowing me to praise God through it all.

Like the familiar hymn reminds us…

This is my story

This is my song

Praising my Savior, all the day long.

For you, quitting the comparison trap might mean staying off Pinterest and reading a book or turning of HGTV and going for a run. The important thing is to discover the trigger of your discontentment and replace it with something that is life-giving.

FIND YOUR PEOPLE

Who do you call when you life get tough?  Who do celebrate good news with? Friends, we were not meant to do life alone.  God formed and created us with each other in mind.

I think we sometimes have this vision of what perfect community looks like.  You know, a perfectly suited, like-minded group of friends who hang out 24/7, are well-dressed, agree on everything and laugh A LOT.

In real life community is messy and imperfect, but oh so worth it.  Community means loving each other in the mess of daily life. Community means committing to each other even when it’s inconvenient.

Just last week I was having a particularly rough day.  Out of the blue I got a Marco Polo message just to talk and say hi.  She asked how she could pray for me and I could just feel the weight of the day lifting off my weary shoulders.

I want to encourage you to go out and find some people (or even one person) that share your season of life.

Don’t loose heart friend, keep stepping out in faith and investing in relationships. They are what make life worth living.

BE HONEST

Be honest with yourself, your people and your God. 

This is NOT easy for this recovering people pleaser and perfectionist.   I’ve learned that embracing your season with joy starts by being honest about those other feelings.  When we take the time to figure out what is at the heart of our struggle, we can then begin replacing it with truth!

When the emotions are running high, I know I need time to process and just let it all out. I set a timer for 10 minutes, get out my journal and just write.  When the timer goes off, I look back over what I wrote and see if what I’m feeling or thinking lines up with scripture.  If not, I find a bible verse that contradicts the lie or negative thought pattern I’ve been having and write it on an index card and stick it someplace where I can see & read daily. 

Sometimes you might need a trusted friend, mentor or counselor to process things with.  Remember friend, we are not meant to do life alone.

This season as a 30-something single woman is full, abundant and so different than I could ever imagine.  I’ve learned that just because everyone else seems to be on the same path, that doesn’t make yours any less valid.  I want to encourage you that wherever you are today, there is beauty waiting to be discovered.

Flourish in All Seasons

Flourishing in All Seasons – Natalie Wise

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)

Happy Pretty Messy is one of my very favorite reads, appropriate for this Season!

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 

Flourish

September – Goals

Happy September!

I can’t believe September is already here. Fall is my absolute favorite season with crisp weather, football, bonfires, crunchy leaves, and cozy scarves!

The fresh hope of a new month and season is here and I’m feeling the push to start fresh, begin anew, and hope that the best is yet to come. There is something about this start to the school year that has me longing for a clean slate.

I’m taking some time this month to look at my rhythms and routines, using my “Weekly Routine” guide from my friend Diana Kerr and Powersheets Goal planner to help me prioritize what matters most in my life.

I don’t know about you, but with all the changes, rescheduling, and uncertainties there are so many days I forget what day (or even year) it is. It’s already an abundant time of year with events at work, soaking up every last drop of Summer weather in the Midwest, garden harvest, and so much more. I feel like my days have gone from a solid 35 mph pace to 90 mph overnight. The life and times of a #reluctantfarmgirl

For me, that is a bit hint I need to pull out my trusty rhythms and give them a refresh. In the sake of accountability and honesty, I’m sharing my refreshed Fall 2020 Goals and September 2020 tending list.

Fall 2020 Goals

  1. Refresh my weekly rhythms (home & work) and complete “Weekly Routines Guide”

2. Prioritize mental & physical health with 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week (hike, bike, yoga, swim) .

3. Prepare my home, gardens, & heart for Fall.

4. Restore a sense of wonder & adventure with local adventures and social distance deck dates.

September 2020:

Monthly Action Items:

  1. Preserve the Harvest: pesto, apple sauce, tomato sauce…

2. Read: One: Unity in a divided World by Diedra Riggs

3. Schedule a Fall Retreat

4. Prayerfully consider how to serve at my local church.

Weekly Action Items:

  1. Regular blog posts & hope*writer day
  2. Family Meal
  3. Local Adventure
  4. Bike Ride

Daily Action Items

Move

Pray

Savor