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.


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…




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.


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 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.

Create, Flourish

Flourish Fridays

Several years ago I was on a plane heading to Boston I devoured Emily Ley’s book “Grace Not Perfection” . It was one part journal, one part stories, and featured beautiful lettering and images of what a grace-filled life looked like. It was the perfect book for me in that season.

In the first part of the book she spoke about boundaries, time, and creating an ideal week. Followed by a prompt asking what your ideal week would look like. Without a second thought, I began writing “Fridays are days to catch up on the week. No outside meetings. A day to work from home, wrap up projects, prepare for the week ahead, and flourish.”

It seemed like such a simple idea, but I knew that a big shift would have to happen to free up my Fridays.

And so, my Flourish Friday rhythm was born.  Being able to work from home and have a flexible schedule meant that I could implement this as soon as I got back from my trip.  The more challenging part was getting over my routines and 9-5 “box” and image in my head.  I remember the first time I said “no” to a meeting on Friday. I received an important e-mail with a few dates to schedule a meeting. The only date given that worked was a Friday.  I started typing a reply “Friday sounds great….”  And then I stopped. 

Hadn’t I just promised myself that Fridays would be a time to catch up on the week, not begin something new?  I deleted my first response and typed a simple “This week doesn’t work, how about early next week?”  It was incredibly freeing to prioritize my needs and to follow through with a little dream. 

For this recovering people-pleaser, it was a huge victory.  Now, over four years later, I still hold my Fridays as sacred. I’ve had to fight for this margin, working smarter the other days of the week, saying no, and letting go of pleasing people. It’s always worth it. 

Fridays have become one of my favorite days of the week.  A day that usually includes wrapping up my inbox & projects for work, swimming at my local YMCA, buying fresh flowers for my home (or picking a bouquet from my garden), meet up with family or friends for dinner, and cleaning up my office & tidying my home so I can truly rest and have adventures over the weekend. 

There are seasons (like the day before a big fundraising event, special work project, or conference that I have been waiting to attend) when I do have meetings or am onsite at ZA on a Friday.  Life is all about being flexible right?  But Fridays..Fridays are for flourishing.

And so friends, I want to share a bit of my Flourish Friday joy with you all. I’ll pop over here most Fridays with a few things to share that are pointing me towards a flourishing life. The list might include a link to an article that caused me to pause & think, an inspiring photo, current watercolor doodles, favorite worship songs or podcast episodes, a project or recipe I’m working on, books I’m reading, adventures I’m planning, or soul-care ideas for the weekend.

Think of it as your Friday reminder to cultivate a life you love & embrace the season you are in.

Flourish Friday – July 24th, 2020

1. Currently Loving

Summer in Wisconsin. Big straw hats, a cold beverage, jumping in the lake as much as possible, and sunshine days. Need I say more?

2. Currently Listening

Annie F. Downs “EnneaSummer” Podcast. I love learning not only more about how I was wired, but about the differences between each number and how we work together to make this world more beautiful!

This song by Elevation Worship has been on repeat this week…well really the past three months. Call it my Corona-anthym!

3. Currently Creating

All the skillet baked goods from Half Baked Harvest. This week we made her skillet peanut butter cookie and it was beyond amazing! Serve it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream…trust me, your tastebuds will be in heaven.

4. Currently Anticipating

My Carlson Crew trip to the New Life Lavender & Cherry Farm. It’s one of my favorite places; the kindest family who have a eye for beauty and have shifted their life to prioritize family and their faith. Here is a photo from earlier this Summer when I visited for the plant sale. I’ll be sure to share some photos of it in all it’s glorious BLOOM!

5. Currently Reading

A Holy Pursuit: How the Gospel Frees us to Follow and Lay Down our Dreams

A refreshing book about what happens when we lay down our dreams and embrace God’s call on our lives, even when it’s unexpected. This book is FULL of deep truth and theology. I’m pretty sure half the book has been underlined with “AMEN” in the margin.

Gracie’s Garden

Adorable illustrations, garden puns, and a reminder that good things take time. This is such a fun book to snag for the littles in your life. Just make sure you read it to them out in the garden.


Watercolor Blooms & Unexpected Dreams

You know all those things you’ve always wanted to do?  You should go do them.

Lara Casey

My powerful and dear friend Lara shared these words years ago and they have been such an encouragement to me.

A reminder that life is to precious to sit around and just dream. We need to get out there and DO the things we’ve always dreamed of.  It’s a motto I’ve always lived by. I’m typically a go-getter person who sees a pin on pinterest, new recipe, idea, or project and immediately goes out to tackle it. I love to take on new and challenging projects at work in the garden or learning to write a grant for the first time. 

I’ve also noticed that I tend to gravitate towards projects that I “know” I’ll succeed at:  making a home garden (check), baking a blueberry pie with lemon, rosemary crust (check), planning and hosting a Spring crafternoon (check, check, check). They are all items that I know I would have success in, well if you don’t count the incident with my pup and a lemon strawberry pie…that is a story for another day.

But, I began to notice that there were things that I have always wanted to do. Things that were hidden so deep in my heart due to unbelief in my abilities or failure to risk. 

And so, 2018 became the year of “Doing things I’m not great at!”  I made it a goal that year to try one thing a month that I believed I wasn’t good at (flipping pancakes, swimming butterfly, painting, writing, memorizing scripture…). To dare to try out a list of seemingly “mundane” things that I had written off as “not my skills” or “gifts”.  I am all for excelling in your gifts and not trying to do all the things perfectly, but I realized  so many of these things were what I once found SO MUCH joy in, but one comment, failure or like had me placing them back on the shelf of unanswered dreams.

Painting has always been a dream of mine. As a little girl, I loved going to the Chicago Art museum and would gaze in wonder at the color, texture, and shapes of each painting.  But ever since middle school art teacher gave me a “C” in Art class and called my drawing “horrific” I decided I was not an artist. Crafty, yes! Creative, of course! But an artist, NO WAY! 

I decided to begin painting.  I bought myself a simple watercolor paint set from Michaels and a pad of water color paper.  I found a simple “lavender pot” tutorial and spent a sunny afternoon on the back porch watching, painting, trying again, messing up, relearning, and trying again.  I took time to see how the paint moved and what colors looked best together. 

My first tiny little watercolor was imperfect, yet so beautiful.  It was a reminder that I could do hard things and that the dreams that I’ve always had, were worth chasing after. 

I’m still working on my painting. I wish it came naturally to me, but it’s been such a great lesson in grace. A lesson in trying new things, failing, learning, and growing.  There is strength when we let ourselves try those big scary goals and fail forward to flourishing.