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Office Essentials for Bloggers & Gals Who Work From Home

Before I took the leap to work from home and take my little blog to full-time business, I knew that I needed a few things to keep me productive in my day-to-day. If I’m not organized and equipped with what I need, I usually fail to complete tasks (or at least complete them well). So, as I prepared to start 2019 with a new job title and boss (myself) I knew that I needed to get a few things in order.

Today, I’m sharing all of the office essentials I use to stay productive and organized while working from home. Even if you haven’t quite reached the point of full-time blogging, you can still apply all of these to your current schedule. Even those of us that are up late blogging while the rest of the family sleeps need a certain amount of organization.

1. Space

I live in a small house, friend. As in, two bedrooms and one bath. We are in what you might call a starter home…because there would be no room for kiddos in this house that’s for sure. Even though our home is small, I could not see myself being productive from my dining room table. It didn’t work in high school, it didn’t work in my dorm, and I knew it wouldn’t work as I pursued full-time blogging.

So, I created a space that would be designated for my blog and nothing else. In our small spare room, which is basically just storage for all of the things we don’t have a place for, I cleared off one wall. This space is probably all of 6 feet wide, if that. But, I cleared it off and moved in a tiny desk facing the wall. I covered the wall in inspirational prints and photos. Even if I’m not looking out of a window or into a pretty room, I at least have something motivating in front of me while I’m working.

And this is my office. Six feet of wall and a tiny desk. But, it’s MY space to work and that is really all I needed. It isn’t where we eat dinner. Or fold laundry. Or sleep. It’s my place to be alone with my work and it helps me get into a business mind set as soon as I sit down.

So, I would suggest creating space where ever you can. Can you turn your vanity into a desk area? How about that dining room you only use on Thanksgiving? I even have a friend that turned her sun-room into her office because it was a space she never used otherwise. Where ever you can create space you can create a work space. Behind me still sits unpacked boxes, bags of seasonal clothing, and that pile of stuff for Goodwill that I still haven’t bothered to take. It’s not pretty except for the wall behind my desk. But, it WORKS.

2. A Planner for Actual Planning

I am totally the girl that just buys planners each year and lets them collect dust. Until I started blogging that is. If you think you can create good content and stay consistent without planning it all out then you are going to feel burnt out all the time, I promise.

So, before you even start writing your posts, I would suggest getting your hands on a good planner and start mapping out the first quarter of your posts for the year. This will help you stay consistent in your writing and help train your brain to live by a schedule so if you decide to blog full-time you will already have systems in place.

Your planner does not need to be expensive or overly complicated. You just need a planner that gives you monthly and weekly schedules with room to write in blog post ideas and social media post dates. I’ve listed some of the ones that I love below.

disclosure: I may receive a commission on products purchased through these links. This does not affect your price or experience but helps me keep this little corner of the internet up and running.

3. Basic Office Tools

You might be surprised how often you might need a file folder or a stapler. When you get deep into blogging there is so much to keep track of: monthly agendas, marketing strategy worksheets, financial records, blog post ideas, contacts. And it can all get messy and unorganized really quickly. Plus, nothing is more frustrating than being in the middle of a great idea and getting side-tracked by searching for a paper clip or pen.

So, I recommend stocking up on a few essentials that will make your desk/office space much more functional.

Pretty File Folders

I know you can get basic file folders for pennies but I am a sucker for anything that makes my work-space more beautiful.

Catch-All Tray

My desk would be a disaster without a simple tray to catch all of my roaming paper clips and hair ties.

Paper Clips & Binder Clips

You will need them at some point, I promise.

Pens & Mechanical Pencils

And they need to be of good quality. Nothing pushes my buttons more than a dried-up pen or a mechanical pencil that keeps breaking. Invest in good pens, keep them in one place, and I guarantee you’ll never buy them more than once a year.

You might also need:

  • a pencil cup
  • small filing cabinet
  • Post-it notes
  • Tape & dispenser
  • Stapler
  • Binders
  • Cork Board & Push Pins
  • Small Notebooks & Notepads

Just getting your hands on these basic things will make all the difference in your blogging pursuit. With the small and simple things taken care of you can focus more of your energy on the bigger projects you’ll need to tackle as you journey through this process. It’s an exciting ride, friend. And I hope my tips here help you feel a little more prepared to take the leap.

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10 Tips That Made All The Difference In My First Year Of Blogging

2018 was a big year for me. In February I launched my blog and by the end of November I was giving my notice at my full-time job. The amount of knowledge I have gained in the past year has been unbelievable — far outweighing what I learned over the course of 4 years in college.

And I’ve been totally shocked by how much I love the nitty-gritty parts of the blogging world. I started this journey with just two passions: writing & encouraging women. But, now? I’m passionate about so much more: marketing, social media strategy, website & graphic design, speaking, content creation, and supporting other entrepreneurs and bloggers through my platform.

So, I am super excited to recap the year with you and share the most valuable little knowledge nuggets I have gained that made all the difference in my blogging journey thus far.



1. Start With What You Have

The perfect time, day, or circumstance will never come. And you cannot wait until you have all of your ducks in a row before you start chasing what you want. In every small step of my journey, with every branch I have added to my brand/blog, I’ve just had to start with what I have.

My blogging journey began with a run-down laptop that could no longer hold a full charge thanks to all of my late nights of writing papers in college. I didn’t have any sort of money to invest, no camera or photography skills. I didn’t even know how to make a website — let alone manage media outlets, strategize email marketing, and pursue brand sponsorships. I had to start with the only skill I had: writing. And gain the rest along the way.

Don’t be afraid to jump in and get started just because you don’t have all of the tools and knowledge needed to succeed. We all must start somewhere. And if you have just one person reading your content every week then you have just as much opportunity to grow as the influencer who gets 10 million views a day.

2. Know Your Reader

We’ve heard this SO MUCH in the blogging world. But, why exactly does it matter? Well, to put it as simply as possible: you have a better shot of building a loyal and engaged audience if you target a small niche rather than try to attract every type of person roaming around the web.

If you want to really make a difference, really share your perspective (or skill or story or passion) then you have to know the audience you are aiming to attract. And you have to get specific. For many, this will be someone exactly like you. For others, it might be a younger version of yourself (this is the case for me — I want to speak to women who are walking through that which I have already journeyed). And for some it will be someone who is nothing like you at all.

For me, I wanted to speak to the girls who were walking through transitional seasons of life yet felt ill-equipped to do so. This opened my age and lifestyle niche up a little because I could speak to a newlywed and career woman as easily I could speak to a college freshman in her first serious relationship. What made my niche audience specific was that I wanted to draw in the girls who felt alone in their journey, the girls who needed to hear from someone that has walked down the road they are on and come out on the other side. I also wanted to speak to girls who were struggling in their faith walk — so, this could be new Christians, young women who were doubting their faith, or even just women who wanted to know more about what the life of a modern Christian woman looked like. So, if I were to explain my target audience in one statement it would go something like this:

Women in transitional stages of life who desire growth in their faith walk amidst struggle, difficult seasons, and the unexpected trials of life.

If you’re trying to narrow down your niche audience, notice I say niche AUDIENCE (this is because you can have a broad niche — like Fashion Blogger or Recipe Developer — with a very specific audience), try to just think about one single person who might be drawn to the brand you want to build.



Let’s say you are passionate about home decor as well as the struggles of motherhood. So, your target audience wouldn’t be ALL moms or ALL women who care about home decor. Your audience would be moms who need help understanding how they can have a beautiful home and still have a safe and playful place to raise their children. You could get even more specific and target moms of multiples who want to have beautiful homes and simple lifestyles while staying on a tight budget. And their you go — a broad niche with a super specific audience.

3. Trial & Error Is The Only Way To Learn

Unfortunately, no amount of education, research, or even prayer is going to give you the same type of preparation as good ole trial and error. In many cases, you are just going to have to test something out, get your feet wet, and see what happens. This is by far the best way to learn!

Trial and error is how you figure out what type of topics your audience enjoys reading. It’s how you determine what sort of social media posts gain the most engagement. It’s how you discover what you do or don’t enjoy writing about. Trial and error is just a necessary part of the journey but it is such a GOOD part! It gives you the freedom to pursue new branches of your brand or new website designs without feeling like you’re stuck with what you started with but also giving you the freedom to walk away from those topics or branding elements that you just didn’t love.

Learning through trial and error is how you develop something unique. No one will ever have the exact same experiences that you will. So, be willing to try new things and EXPERIENCE them. That is how you will build a brand that is set apart from the rest.

4. Authentic Engagement is Key

So, let’s say you have narrowed in on your audience and have found some methods that really work for you. Here is something you might be surprised to know: it isn’t enough.

It is not enough to know who your audience is. Because your audience doesn’t know who they are! Gone are the days of hitting publish and waiting for the internet surfers to flock. The blogging world is huge and saturated and it is so easy to get lost in the mix. That is why we have to put forth extra effort to make sure our audience knows who they are. We have to create a beacon that calls them to our tiny corner of the internet.

How do we do this?

By real, authentic engagement. Part of that is going out into the social media crowd and straight up talking to the audience you want. Serve them with likes and comments and by following (and not unfollowing!) the ones that you really resonate with. Let them know you’re here and you want to serve them — give them the invitation that others aren’t willing to give. And the second part is letting your audience take the stage. Ask them to play a part in your brand. Give them a voice. Invite them to share. Challenge them to tell their story or ask you questions. Get them talking — likes mean nothing if they don’t help your audience stay engaged for more than the time it takes to double-tap.



Authentic engagement has proven to be what creates true fans and followers and for those of us who run our brands as our business, it is also what creates customers or attracts brands for collaboration. Your engagement percentage is far more valuable to your bottom line and the eyes of brand publicists than your follower count ever will be. Focus on authentic engagement with followers that are showing up (or ones you really want to invite) more than just increasing the number next to your name. An auditorium full of people with headphones in will never be as powerful as a small classroom full of students taking notes and really listening.

5. Story Telling Is The Future

Most of us have started to back away from the profiles that are full of nothing but pretty pictures and witty captions. We are no longer interested in aesthetics and emojis. We want to know the TRUTH. We want to know what that fashion blogger looks like on her day off. We want to know that our fave fitness gal still eats cake on her birthday. We want to see our most admired Christian blogger be open and honest about her struggle with lust.

We have filled our feeds with perfection for so long that many of us are just begging for one person to show up while we are scrolling and tell a real story with raw honesty. We want more real and less highlight-reel.

That is how you will draw them in and keep them engaged: by telling your real story. I don’t mean the story that you spin to push a product. I mean the real stuff, the stuff that matters. The stuff that sometimes has nothing to do with the photo but everything to do with the heart of the person in the photo.

Every time I have told a part of my story, whether here in a blog post or over on my Instagram, I have been overwhelmed with how many people send me messages saying how much it spoke to them, how much they needed to hear it, or how they thought they were totally alone but now see that they aren’t. Story-telling is POWERFUL.

Just show up and tell your story — with less focus on the pretty and appropriate. And you will start to see the real, authentic engagement from your followers increase. Even better than that, they will start to invest a little piece of themselves into who you are. And THAT is how you make this brand journey so worth while.



6. The Power Of One

Let’s say you know your audience. You know how best to show up for them. You’re engaging authentically and telling your real story. Yet it seems like only a small percentage of your following is noticing and participating. Maybe your last blog post only received a couple of views.

Discouraging, right?

Well, think of it this way. That handful of people, or maybe even that ONE person, will prove to be the most valuable reader or follower you will ever have. Because they will be the true fans. The ones that check your feed when they realize they haven’t seen your face in a few days. They are the ones that will email you just to thank you for sharing your story. They are the ones that will purchase your first product or subscribe to your email list or just help you keep going on the days that are long and difficult.

7. Quality Over Quantity

In my first year of blogging I published less than 30 blog posts. LESS THAN 30. If you break that down that is even less than once a week. Yet, I found that my engagement, following, and readership continued to grow — even in the month of December when I didn’t publish a single post! In fact, the month of September was a month of record engagement for me — yet I only posted 3 blogs for that entire month.

Why? Because I learned early on that quality content is far more powerful than an overabundance of content.

People can only read one post at a time. And too often we sacrifice good writing so that we can stay consistent, post every day, or try to reinvent the wheel every single time we sit down to type. But, what I learned in my first year is that a handful of really powerful and well-thought out posts can generate just as much, if not more, traffic than publishing a post every week or even every day.

The key is to make sure you are getting your good quality posts out for the world to see….

8. Choose Marketing That Works

Marketing is one of the most intimidating elements of the blogger/brand life. There is so much to consider and so many routes to take. And we hear so many different theories. So, what the heck are we supposed to do?

My advice, and what I learned over the past year, is that you have to pick the handful of marketing techniques that work for you. THIS is how you will get all of those quality posts out there for the world to see. For me, I chose only 3 major marketing angles: Authentic Social Media Engagement (Instagram), Consistent Relevance Through SEO (Pinterest), and Specifically Targeted Campaigns (email list building & serving).

These three angles, I discovered through A LOT of trial and error, are what drive my page views every month — even on the months that I don’t produce brand new content.



Authentic Social Media Engagement: this is where I spend some serious TIME. I plan out and schedule Instagram posts, show up in my stories regularly, always keep it real and honest, and I consistently engage with my audience — every single day! This builds trust, friendships, relatability, and genuine fans. Which means when it’s time for me to share a post with my followers they are more than ready to click over.

Consistent Relevance Through SEO: Once I started to see Pinterest as a search engine rather than a social media outlet the game changed entirely for me. I schedule pins about a week ahead of time and I manually pin content from other websites every single day. This keeps me relevant and in front of eyes. Pinterest now drives more than 95% of my website traffic. This is where I pay close attention to key words, graphics, quality photos, and getting my website link shared as much as I possibly can.

Specifically Targeted Campaigns: Thankfully, I learned early on that my email list needed to be a priority. So, I invested a lot of time and energy into growing it. 20% of my followership also falls under the subscribed category — meaning they have opted in to hear from me regularly right in their inbox. Now that I have a hefty list, I make sure that I show up in that inbox at least once a week with encouragement, free content, and a lot of story-telling.

9. Serve More Than You Sell

Because no one wants to hear a sales pitch, or even someone begging you to read their latest post, every two seconds. I make it a point to only ask my audience to click over to my profile link no more than twice a week. I don’t even share new posts on Instagram until they become relevant to a conversation naturally. I prefer to show up and encourage on that platform. I spend my time there engaging with my followers, asking them questions, and trying to serve them as much as possible.

Why?? Because those two times a week I ask the to click over…or that one time a month I encourage them to try a product…goes over a lot smoother when I have spent 98% of my time serving them.

Want to know a harsh truth? I usually do not follow other bloggers who only post Instagram feed photos when they have a new blog post. Because in every single post on their feed they are asking me to click away from my favorite social media channel and jump on their website. Now, they may have every intention of serving me authentically. But, why on earth would I go out of my way to read what they wrote if they can’t even share some quality content with me right where I am….on Instagram!

10. Community Will Keep You Going

One of the most unexpected and wonderful things I have discovered in this journey is friendship.

Linking arms with other bloggers and brand gals has been such a blessing. On the discouraging days I have real people I can text or call who totally get the struggle of social media or writers block. When I can’t figure out the details about a service or tool I’m trying to utilize, I have women I can reach out to who have stood right where I’m standing. Community has changed the way I view being a blogger.

The other women that fill up my feed bring me so much joy. I love celebrating their victories and watching them thrive. I’ve grown to know and love their families. I’ve spent hours texting about life with these girls. They have been game-changers in this industry for me.

Friend, if you are serious about doing this you have to know the importance of community. Because there will be days that those friends will be the only ones keeping you from throwing in the towel. They will be the ones that gush to their own followers about the exciting things you’re doing.

Building community can seem really nerve-racking at first and downright awkward. But do you know what I did a year ago that truly made the difference? I started emailing other bloggers and telling them what I loved about their brand and that created a handful of special friendships. As it turns out, the girls I emailed were also in need of some community in this often isolating industry.

So, if you see someone who is doing something you admire and you feel like you could be besties….why not try?



I sincerely hope that my year of this crazy blogger life can speak into your own. There is so much to learn and so much potential growth. There is so much out there that we can accomplish. So, friend, it’s time to start right where you are, with what you have. Take the leap and learn as you go. Focus on what really matters and never forget the power of things like story-telling, quality content, and true community.

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How I Accomplished One Of My Biggest Health Goals

Well hey there, friend!

I know we are all still in goal-crushing mode for 2019 and we are hardly even through the month of January. But, I want to talk to you today about one goal that I set for myself last year and how I managed to accomplish it.

Last year, when I sat down to plan out my goals for 2018 I had 2 big ones. One was this blog. And since launching in February of last year I have just continued to set goals for this platform and attempt to accomplish them. But, that isn’t the goal I’m here to talk to you about today. I want to talk to you about my other major goal for 2018.

Going into 2018 I wanted to majorly clean up my health. I’m not talking about losing weight here or even being more active. My goal was to eliminate a lot of toxins from my life. And one of the biggest and most specific ways I wanted to do that was through my skin care routine. I wanted to get rid of anything that was causing my skin or body more harm than good. I wanted to toss and replace everything toxic with something organic, natural, and GOOD for my skin. But, I didn’t want to break the bank either. So, I’m sharing with you exactly how I cleaned up my ENTIRE skin care routine in a year’s time and how I’m kicking it up a notch in 2019 by expanding my routine altogether and adding in new things I didn’t even know my skin needed.

1. MAKE A PLAN

When I sat down and mapped out my 2018 goals, I wanted to be super intentional, even with something as simple as skin care. So, I made an actual plan.



I made a simple little chart that included every part of my skin care and beauty routine that needed to be cleaned up. I listed it all: lotions, foundation, mascara, shampoo, blush, soap, moisturizers, masks, toners. And everything else. And I created a simple little graph that allowed me to track each individual product that I was replacing.

This was nothing fancy, friend! It was just a list of everything I wanted to upgrade and clean up that accompanied a small, pencil-drawn chart that I would slowly fill in with color as I progressed through my list. I’m just a type-A kind of gal and I love anything color-coded. So, don’t feel like you even need to go to those lengths. A simple list of what items you want to clean up with a little box to check next to it will suffice. As long as it helps track your progress and keeps you motivated that’s all that really counts!

2. SLOW & STEADY

When I started looking at that graph and that looooong list of things I needed to replace I got a little overwhelmed. This was going to take so much time! Searching for and narrowing down brands that I liked and trying out products until I found a good fit for everything….that would take six months just to get started. And the thought of tossing everything out and starting over really made me anxious. Plus…this was going to be expensive if I replaced everything all at once. I just didn’t have the sort of budget to start my entire arsenal of products from scratch and rebuild just like that. One trip to Target obviously was not going to work (which is sort of the idea I had in my head when I first got started).

So, I decided to approach it a bit differently. Instead of replacing everything all at once, I simply replaced as needed. Once I started to get low on a particular product I would start researching organic or natural alternatives and by the time I needed more product I already had one or two new things I could try.

Doing it this way really made it feel like less of an investment. Instead of throwing out products that I had just paid for recently or was still getting use out of, I just replaced everything slowly — only purchasing new when I was about to run out of the old.

Before I knew it an entire year had almost passed and I was able to replace everything I used regularly without spending tons of money in one place or at one time. This kept me from taking the easy way out on products as well — I was able to really test out and try different brands and find a mix that works for me.

3. MAKE IT A TREAT

Because this goal involved buying new products, I was able to turn this into a really enjoyable process. Instead of being overwhelmed by it or worrying that I would spend money on something I didn’t like or something that didn’t work, I just tried to have fun.

I would get so excited to use new products — even the research process started to be fun for me! I loved discovering new brands and learning about what types of ingredients I needed to look out for.

So, every time I purchased a new product I made it super fun to try out. I would throw out the product I was replacing and then apply the new one to whatever part of my routine it fit best — morning makeup, weekend self-care, or my nightly shower & makeup removal. Usually, I was able to make it a luxurious experience or make it feel like something extra special. Something I didn’t expect was that I started to feel so much better about myself — knowing I was using products that did something good for my skin rather than just covered it up or removed unwanted lines or blemishes. I felt more comfortable with less makeup once I took care of my skin and gave it a little more attention (and much better products) in the first place.



So, what products did I replace and what did I replace my products with?

Looking back on last year and all of the products I replaced I found a few that really made the biggest difference. So, I want to tell you about the specific type of products I found made an impact on my routine and my health — and then I want to share a few recommendations I have for you!

Products I replaced:

  • Shampoo
  • Deodorant
  • Shower Gel / Soap
  • Body Lotion
  • Facial Cleansers
  • Moisturizers
  • Foundation
  • Concealer
  • Blush
  • Eye Shadow
  • Mascara
  • Chap Stick
  • Lip Gloss / Lip Stick

New products I discovered:

  • Toner
  • Sheet Mask
  • Clay Mask
  • Bronzer

The One Brand That Made The Biggest Difference

So, throughout my beauty detox journey I found a handful of brands that I really like for a lot of reasons. For some, it’s affordability. For others, it’s quality of product. And for some I just love the selection, branding, or environmental impact.

Brands I tried and loved include: Thayers (I cannot live without their witch hazel toner), Pacifica Beauty (I love their mascara & concealer), Arbonne (great option for masks & spa-like items), Love Beauty & Planet (their shampoo & deodorant are must-haves for me), and Burt’s Bees (basically all the natural lip products, makeup, and self-care items).

Searching through different companies can be overwhelming and really confusing. I mean, this was a YEAR LONG process for me. But, I finally discovered one brand in particular that is able to provide products for just about all of my beauty needs. I immediately fell in love with the blush & eye shadow palettes from Burt’s Bees and their facial moisturizers. So, I reached out to Burt’s Bees to see if they had any additional recommendations for products I was still trying to replace. And boy did they deliver!



I was able to find the EXACT kind of foundation I was looking for. And since lip products had been my hardest product to replace…I was thrilled with all of the options they have — from chap sticks and balms to lip shimmers and gorgeous glosses. So, if you want to save yourself a little trouble — start your beauty detox process with Burt’s Bees. Their simple, natural beauty products met every standard I had in my beauty and skin care detox.

Here are some of the Burt’s Bees products I will forever have in my beauty bag

The items in the list below are all the products that I use regularly from Burt’s. In particular, my faves are the brightening cleanser and the liquid makeup — I seriously cannot go without them!

Click through the links below to see all of the details and the percentage of natural ingredients in each product.

Disclosure: I might receive a commission of qualifying purchases through these links. This does not affect your purchase experience or price but helps me fund more content for you. Win, win!

They offer so many other products as well. Their masks, acne treatments, extensive line of lip care, and all of their facial scrubs are amazing. I especially love the Pet products — our 75 lb. Husky has never smelled better and they are the only products that don’t give him some sort of allergic reaction.

Friend, I am so glad I finally made the switch to cleaner, more natural beauty and skin care products. And I am never going back to my old ways! I actually get compliments on my skin now! From a girl who has always struggled with acne, dry skin, oily skin, sensitive skin, and allergic reactions…that means everything! And I feel so much more comfortable in my skin now that I KNOW I am treating it well.

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How to Have Patience in a Season of Waiting

Hey there, friend.

Can we just talk honestly for a moment about seasons of waiting? They are not fun or graceful…at least not for me. I kick and scream the whole way through. I show little to no patience during those seasons…patience with myself, other people, and even God. Maybe it’s just being a part of this whole instant-gratification generation, but I am absolutely horrible at staying patient through waiting seasons.

So, why on earth do I think I can sit here and offer you a word of advice on how to have patience during seasons of waiting? Because when I sit down to write these posts I am often in just as much need of writing it as you may feel you are of reading it. I think it’s easy to picture the people on the other side of our screens as having it all together — I mean, they sit down and write this stuff so they must be doing well, right?

Nope. Definitely not.

Friend, I am a broken, messy, girl-in-need-of-grace-every-day person. And I have about .001% of my life together (and that .001% is only because I managed to sweep my floors at least once this week).

Just like you might be right now, I am facing a season of waiting. Waiting on God to answer prayers, fulfill a promise, and bring me to the next part of this chapter. The future is uncertain, my days are often chaotic, and sometimes I am just straight up tired of waiting. So, today’s post is just as much for me as it is for you. These are the ways that I’m attempting to have patience in a waiting season….



Focus on the Present

It may seem simple and impossible all at once, but the best way to attempt to remain patient and content in a season of waiting is to focus on all of the blessings in your present. Try to enjoy the season you’re in right now. Believe it or not, this may be one of those seasons you’re going to look back on with great joy some day.

The summer after I graduated college was one of my biggest seasons of waiting. I had no idea where my life was going and I was doing my best to wait on God to show me the way. I was often stressed, lonely, and overwhelmed. I was searching for my first career break, hoping to have my own place, and healing from a broken heart. But, I often look back on that summer as one of the most fun summers I can remember. It was my last summer of just being a carefree young woman. It was my last summer working part-time, spending my afternoons by the pool, and eating whatever I wanted because I was burning so many calories just by staying crazy busy. It was my last summer home with my parents: the last summer I spent staying up late with my mom, giggling and being silly and talking about life and love. It was a season of waiting for sure, but boy was it a joyful season and I wish I had savored it a little more in those moments.

So, I invite you to try to take inventory of THIS season instead of rushing on to the next one. What things are giving you joy right now? What moments could be fleeting? What experiences could you be having that you may not have again once this season is over? Hold on to those, friend.

Focus on the Lesson

Think about it — what could God be trying to show you or teach you while you’re waiting on Him to bring you to the next step? So often when we think it’s about the destination, it is actually about the journey. Every season of waiting that I have journeyed through has had some sort of major impact on my life, my perspective, or my character. There isn’t a single storm or season that we endure that isn’t meant to mold us, shape us, and make us stronger than we ever thought we could be. Seasons of waiting don’t mean that your hope or prayer or dream is being delayed….they mean that you’re being prepared for the hope, prayer, and dream ahead of you.



I know, I know…seeking the lesson during the waiting season is nearly impossible. It’s so much easier to see it from afar, when we have finally passed through it. But just think of how much less frustration you might have if you can just uncloud your vision for a moment to gain a different perspective of the situation.

Focus on the Relationship

Even if you can’t seem to get a grip on the lesson in front of you and focusing on the joys of the present just feels completely impossible, there is one thing that you can focus on that will make all the difference through your season of waiting: the relationship you share with Christ. No matter what type of season of waiting you’re walking through right now, you can always grow closer to Him. Even when the waiting is painful and unbelievably frustrating, you have a dear friend to talk to about it. Even when the next chapter seems thousands of miles away, you can know that you aren’t walking alone. In fact, the lesson that we usually find at the end of these seasons is quite simple: we need to prioritize our relationship with the One who waits for us every day.

I honestly believe that most of the waiting seasons we face are because we have become so focused on the light at the end of the tunnel that we forget about the one walking through the tunnel right next to us. How many seasons of waiting have we journeyed through because we just won’t make time for Jesus? How many times have we been so preoccupied with where we want to be that we completely miss the point of where we are: because that is exactly where He wants us.

I am guilty of being so caught up in my pursuits and passions and dreams that too often I forget the One who gave me all of those dreams and passions in the first place. I forget that He didn’t create me to just do and seek and chase…He created me to be in constant communication and relationship with Him. We can’t let our longing to get through these seasons of waiting get in the way of what matters right now.

 

Friend, if you are doing your best to just make it through this season, searching for any sign of an end in sight…may I just challenge you? Don’t worry, I’m challenging myself on this one too…

Let’s make a real effort to seek what really matters in this season. The waiting isn’t purposeless. We need to enjoy these moments, pursue our relationship with Jesus every single day, and attempt to see the message He might be trying to share through this time of what feels like endless waiting. We aren’t meant to just try to get through to the next step: we are meant to thrive and be joyful and point people back to the One who got us this far.

Through my own season of waiting, I’m learning to pray with a new perspective. I’m hearing God whisper to me that I can pray for the impossible because I serve a God for whom nothing is impossible. I’m learning to pray big and expect miracles and believe that seasons of waiting are meant to prepare us for something amazing. 

If you’re ready to start praying big for the miracles and dreams He may have you waiting for, click here to read how you can pray big even when you feel small.

He has unbelievable goodness stored up for our future, friend. We just have to be willing to be content with what He has given us right now, in these moments. This season will pass. Keep your eyes on Him. We’re gonna get there…

-S.

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4 Ways to Master Your Mission

Hey there friend,

I have an important question for you today — what is your mission?

I don’t mean your job, or your title, or the future that you visualize for yourself. I mean your MISSION – your purpose for being here. The call on your heart that screams out louder than anything else. The one thing that you can’t stop thinking about. If you are ready to tell that mission to anyone who would stop and listen then this post if for YOU.

Not sure what your mission is? That’s okay! I have two previous posts that I believe would help you determine what that mission is. I invite you to read both of them, really do some soul-searching, and then come back here to this post when you are ready to start mastering that mission.

4 Ways to Chase Your Calling

How to Pursue Passion & Forget Fear 

If you DO know what your mission is then stick around — this is going to be a good one. I am taking you through 4 ways that you can dig in deep and give that call on your heart everything you have.

First, I want to share my heart with you about all of this…

So, when I started this blogging journey last September I had no idea just how much it would impact my heart. I knew it was what I was being called to do so it just made sense to go for it. Friend, I had no idea what I was about to receive by answering that call. This platform makes me happier than I ever imagined it would. As I was researching in preparation for my blog launch I kept getting the same impression from other bloggers: blogging is hard work.

And it is.

It drains me of energy. It can be emotionally taxing. It takes SO MUCH time. It means sacrificing experiences to dig in and do the work and it can sometimes mean a monetary investment.

But here’s what makes the difference for me. I KNOW it is what I’m meant to do and it brings me joy because I consistently receive feedback about the impact my words have on someone else.

That, my friend, is the recipe for a mission. Something that impacts the lives of others while adding purpose and joy to your own life. So when I use the term “master your mission” I am referring to reaching the point of knowing exactly what your mission is, doing everything you can to accomplish it, and finding purpose and joy within it all while making a real impact in others’ lives.



Here are the 4 ways you can master your mission.

  1. Invest with Intention

My own personal journey has required a lot of investing — time, money, energy, emotion, honesty…and so many other things. But, every time I have had to spend time learning something new to apply to my brand, pay for a domain name or scheduling service, or just block out time (within what little free time I have) I have done so with great intention. I knew going into this that it would take some major investing on my part — but I also knew that the purpose behind all of this was worth more than what I was investing.

I encourage you to invest with great intention. Don’t try to find the quick or cheap or free way into your mission. Give it the time and effort it deserves! Maybe that is school tuition or committing to spending your weekends working on that call of yours. If you’re anything like me, then it might mean investing a lot of your own emotions and story into your mission. Whatever that investment looks like for you, just do it! When you finally feel that wave of purpose in the center of your mission I promise that you will see a priceless return on that investment.

2. Prioritize Prayer

And by that I mean pray constantly. Every morning. Every night. Every time you sit down to work on your mission. Because the God that gave you this passion and calling will be faithful to bring it to fruition in your life. But you have to make it a priority to go to Him every day and seek His will in this calling. You have to hand it over to Him every day.

Pray specifically. Pray big prayers. Pray with abandon — knowing that His will is far greater than your own.

I actually have a notebook that I purchased a couple of days after deciding to pursue this passion and I started writing prayers in it every day. Now, I already had a prayer journal, but this was different. This one was specifically for what I felt God was calling me to. This was for me to pour out my heart and ask for God’s hand on my mission. I use it to write out scripture that encourages me. I use it to pen the thoughts, hopes, and fears I have about this pursuit.

So, make it an absolute priority to take your calling to the One who called you. Every day.

3. Be Generous & Gracious

When it comes to the people who could be impacted by what you’re doing or hope to do, be overly generous and gracious.

Give. Give. Give. And when it feels like it is finally your turn to take….give some more. Trust me, your heart will be filled so much more by giving than it ever could be by receiving.

And then be unbelievably thankful — even if you feel like you are the one who should be thanked. Remember: this is a MISSION. It isn’t just about you — it is about THEM. Your tribe. Your people. The ones you set out to impact in the first place. Express your gratitude to anyone and everyone that supports you plus give thanks to those who are benefiting from what you’re doing.

That seems backwards, right? Thanking the people who YOU are giving too. Well, friend, without that tribe then your call would have no purpose. Simply thank them for being there, for receiving what you have to offer, for being your tribe.

4. Release & Rest

Release all of it. The dream. The passion. The hours of prayer and work and stress and planning. Now, hear me out.

You are doing what you’ve been called to. You’re investing and praying and giving generously — but at the end of each day you must let all of that go. Just when you feel empty from all of the giving that you do, give one more time right before you go to sleep — give it up to God. Let Him have all of your hope, your work, your plans. You have done your part for the day, now let Him do His. Let Him use everything you have invested to do something amazing.

You know what you will finally receive in return?

REST.

When you give everything up to God — even the dreams you hold onto so tightly — you will be absolutely floored by the rest that He will give you. Because when you let it all go you realize that you never held any of it to begin with and that is an incredible blessing. It means that you are not responsible for the success of your passion: He is! I don’t know about you, friend, but I would much rather have the Creator in charge of what I’m doing than even consider attempting it on my own.

That’s it, fellow dreamer. That is all it takes to master your mission. It’s truly a shift in mindset when you really break it down.

I encourage you to apply these 4 tips to your pursuit every day and see if you feel a little more at ease, a lot more joyful, and rested in a way you never realized you could be.

We CAN do this, friend. We can do everything that has been purposed in our hearts. It just takes a little hard work and a lot of faith.

I believe in your mission. So, go prove me right.

-S.

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4 Ways to Chase Your Calling

Hello sweet friend,

Do you remember the most-asked question you received as a child — “what do you want to be when you grow up?” Do you remember your answer?

I remember mine.

“Writer.”

From the age of eight and well into college (even though that was not my major) I always chose the same answer. And it always encouraged more questions. People wanted to know did I want to write fiction novels? Journalism? Maybe children’s’ books? I never had an answer for that part of the question. I never fully knew what I wanted the word “writer” to mean for me. I think that was part of the reason I never chose to study writing academically. It seemed that I only knew a small detail about the calling I wanted to chase.

Until now.

Every week I get to sit down and type out these words and talk to YOU. It isn’t my full-time job. It doesn’t provide sustainable income for my family. It isn’t published. It isn’t the number one title I hold in this life. But this writing is one of the most important parts of my life. Why? Because it has impact — and THAT is exactly what I always wanted — it just took some time to figure that out.

When I think that the childhood dream I once had is currently providing purpose to my life and also providing encouragement to the lives of others….I can’t help but feel the tears well up. It’s an unbelievable blessing that I still get overwhelmed by every single day.

I want YOU to have that feeling, friend. I want you to know that what you are doing matters. That it makes an impact. That it creates conversation and encourages those you feel called to encourage. So, today I want to start a new conversation with you. I want to explore a new, 2-part series that will equip you in chasing your calling and mastering your mission. First, I want to guide you through those first steps in answering your call and pursuing it with everything you have…

  1. Examine the Emptiness

One short year ago I was struggling in a way I never expected. I had everything I thought I needed to complete my life. I was still a newlywed, pursuing a career in the field I studied, enjoying the perks of finally being a homeowner, and genuinely enjoying the carefree life of a dog-mom. But, something was missing. It took months, but I finally started to examine this empty place inside I felt silently screaming at me every day.

Standing in my kitchen, my sweet husband holding me as I cried, I suddenly realized what the missing piece of the puzzle was: mission. I knew that there was a special purpose for me to pursue. I knew that I longed to encourage women. And I knew that though I felt the sting of emptiness in those moments, God would reveal that mission to me in time.

So, right now, before reading the next steps below, I want you to sit for just one moment and examine the emptiness you might be feeling. Maybe even acknowledge it for the very first time. And then ask yourself how that emptiness might somehow be related to the question you were so often asked as a child. What do you want to be when you grow up?

Typically, we connect the word calling with the word career and the truth is that for many of us those two words are not interchangeable. And that is okay! What truly matters is that we are actively pursuing whatever that calling is, even if it has nothing to do with our career. It is perfectly okay if your calling and your career are not the same thing.



Friend, if you are feeling like the calling part of your life is missing….if you are longing to make an impact…if you feel some sort of emptiness in the middle of all of your pursuits…I invite you to be honest with yourself. That is the first step to chasing your true calling.

2. Search Yourself & Seek Truth

Much like I did, you may find that determining how you will pursue your mission  is easier said than done. You might know without any doubt at all what your mission is meant to be but you may not know how you will start to pursue it. For many of us, the blogging route makes the most sense. But that does not have to be the case for you if writing and content creation are not your passions.

I encourage you to take a deeper look at all of the things you love. All of the things that make you want to jump right out of bed in the morning, no coffee needed (the things that come before morning coffee are very powerful if you ask me). Everything you are passionate about has been created within you for a reason — and that reason might just be the calling you hope to chase.

Make a list of what you love to do. Ask friends and family what they think of when they think of you. And then take some real, intentional time to sit and pray. What you’re looking for may be right under your nose so ask God to reveal it to you. I believe we miss out on so many blessings because we never ask the simple questions. So just ask Him. You may be pleasantly surprised by what His answer is.

3. Cut the Comparison

We hear it all. the. time.

“comparison is the thief of joy.”

While this is true, I believe that comparison is the thief of many things.

Success. Individuality. Authenticity. Confidence.

When you think of it that way it is easy to see that comparison is one of the most damaging things to your passion or calling. If you believe that you were created with a unique purpose, to accomplish a unique mission, then you must also believe that comparing yourself to others in your niche or field adds absolutely nothing to your pursuit.

So, cut the comparison. Stop lurking on Instagram and scrolling through profiles that make you feel less than. Stop getting trapped on others’ websites and believing the lie that you are not as important because your site feels simple or underwhelming. Stop telling yourself that the calling you are passionate about is not as important as the one that she is passionate about. Quit comparison, cold turkey. And live in the freedom that  your Creator (the same One who has called your to this mission in the first place) has given you to pursue the passion He has placed on your heart.

4.  Leap & Learn

Once I realized what I was missing and finally zoomed in on exactly how I wanted to fulfill that purpose, I took two major steps to make that happen. First, I took the leap. I was scared to death, fearful of embarrassment, and greatly doubted my ability to do half of the things I knew it would take. But I took the leap anyway.

What made that leap a little less scary? Preparing myself with as much education as I possibly could. I knew that I wanted to reach women through the blogging community so I took educational courses on ministry through blogging, I wrote everything down, and I continue to learn every single day through reading, listening to podcasts, and doing simple research.

In these beginning stages I insist that you seek education in any way you can. Depending on what that calling is and what chapter of life you are in I would encourage you to take courses, pursue certifications, read as much as you can, take an unbelievable amount of notes, and never lose the desire to learn. All of the information you gain will be absolutely priceless in the journey and pursuit you are leaping into.

So,…..what do you want to be when you grow up? I don’t know about you but my answer has changed a lot from what it was when I was eight years old. My response is no longer simply “writer.” Instead, I long to be many things. Compassionate. Generous. Encouraging. I want to make a real impact. I want to show up for other women.

So my goal? Use this passion I’ve been given to make the impact I feel called to make.

You have passions, friend. Things that you have held dear to your heart for a long time. Loves and interests that you can use to achieve your calling. Even if you don’t know quite what that calling is, you can take steps to figure it out. You can be everything that eight year old version of yourself would have been so proud to be.

Chasing your calling doesn’t have to be this grand, road to fame sort of pursuit. It can be a slow, quiet walk toward the purpose you have been created for. Next week I will be diving into the second part of this series, Mastering your Mission. Don’t miss this part, friend, it might just make all the difference in your pursuit.

Subscribe here to be notified when Mastering Your Mission is live.

-S.

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How To Pursue Passion & Forget Fear

Hi friend,

Ever had a dream you just couldn’t shake? A vision of what you were made to do that you feel like you are constantly thinking about? Do you get super pumped up about it and what the future could look like and then have a rush of dream-crushing fear and feel yourself sink back down? Yep…been there. Every. Single. Day.

But here’s the thing: you don’t have to let the fear win. And you don’t have to take the huge, life-changing, risky leap to make your dreams happen. The truth is that you can take small steps each day to pursue your passion and forget your fear.  That’s what I’m doing. It’s certainly not easy but boy does it feel good to lay down each night knowing that I took even the tiniest step to get me closer to that vision.

So, today I’m sharing with you the 10 small ways that you can pursue passion and forget fear every day. Do these 10 things every day and you will be on your way to creating that dream, that vision you have for your life and your calling.

  1. Acknowledge Your Discontentment

It’s hard to be content. Yet we all tend to associate discontentment with unhappiness and that isn’t always the case. Discontentment can be an incredibly positive thing if we let it. The trick is acknowledging it and using it to your advantage. Being discontent does not have to mean that you are completely unhappy with your life. It can simply mean that you see a potential for growth in your life and you are longing to do something about it. Acknowledge that you feel discontent every day — let it drive you! When it comes to pursuing your passion, disconentment can be the motivation you need every day to KEEP GOING.

2. Seek Clarity

This time two years ago I was starting to get the itch to pursue more. It took over a year to get a clear vision of what MORE really was. Every day I could sense it but I just couldn’t quite grasp it. So, I prayed what seemed like forever to have clarity. It took time but it finally started to take shape in my mind. So, every day I’m stilling praying that the Lord will give me clarity about what this passion is and what it will be some day. I want that vision to get clearer every day as I inch closer to it. Not only that, but I want to see BEYOND it. I want to know what extends further than that vision. There may be something so much bigger planned for that small dream of yours — be open to it!

3. Write it All Down

For me, everything gets jumbled in my brain. So I write twice a day. Once in the morning, during my quiet time as I’m preparing for my day and praying. And then every night I try to write for at least a couple of minutes (sometimes this is just typing it all out in my phone or an email to myself). My morning writing is more heart-felt. I write prayers and I write in a more personal tone. I vent and try to make sense of my thoughts. My night writing is more like emptying my mind. I write down anything and everything I can think of when it comes to this passion of mine. I write lists and ideas and whatever comes to mind. I write my biggest dreams, fears, and hopes for the future. All of this writing helps me organize my thoughts, process all of the feelings, and release it all from my mind before I start my day or go to sleep.

4. Schedule EVERYTHING

I feel absolute panic if I don’t have a clear idea of how things are going to pan out for the week. So, I like to spend a little time on Sundays writing out my weekly schedule for the blog so I know okay, these are the things that I’m going to do this week that will get me closer to the call on my heart. It helps me feel far less overwhelmed and I know that I’m going into the week with a clear plan for everything.

5. Accept that you CANNOT do everything

You can try to do it all but let me just save you some time here…you can’t. You can’t work a full-time job, pursue a passionate side-hustle, keep your house clean, spend time with your husband, maintain a healthy diet, exercise every day, keep up with all of the extra events, get to the grocery store, remember to get an oil change…and on and on and on. It stresses me out just thinking about it! So, every day I have to accept that I cannot do everything and chances are that when I lay down at the end of the day there will still be something that I didn’t have time to get to. And that’s okay! Some of it really CAN wait until tomorrow.

6. Prioritize what matters

You want to know how to combat that guilty feeling at the end of the day when you know that you didn’t get it all done? PRIORITIZE. Figure out the things that truly cannot wait until tomorrow. Determine all of the details about this passion of yours that HAVE TO HAPPEN TODAY. Got them? Okay…now make room for them! Let go of the things that you can actually put off. Those dishes? They will still be there tomorrow.  As will all the other things that you allow to distract you from what you really want to be doing. And hey….maybe go back to number 4 and schedule in some time for those things. Trust me, it will give you so much breathing room!

7. Ask for help

This is probably the hardest one for me. I must be the biggest control freak in the world; seriously! But something I learned recently is that I do not have to be the only one doing the things I feel so strongly need to be done. Those dishes I mentioned? It is perfectly okay for you to allow someone else to do them. Let your husband help. Call a girlfriend. Let go of your pride and call your mom if you must. Whatever it is that you feel overwhelmed by, see if you can let someone else help you accomplish it. Even when it comes to the details about your passion – if you need help with something just ask for it. Find someone who has been there and ask for advice. It’s okay for you to let some of this go and accept help. Remember, you can’t do it all. And you certainly can’t do it alone.

8. Remember that fear is a liar

Because it is! I have to remind myself every day that this fear that keeps creeping in is not welcome in my life. I don’t need it! And neither do you. Call fear the liar he is, to his face, every day and then get out there and do what you are feeling called to do.

9. Don’t explain yourself

People are going to question you. They will wonder why you’re doing all of this. They will be intimidated, skeptical, judgmental, sincerely curious, confused……you name it. But do not feel like you need to explain yourself. Did you accept the call on your heart to do this? Then that’s the only explanation you need. Instead of trying to make someone understand why you started, take the opportunity to ask them about THEIR passion. Attempt to encourage them to pursue it and then move on.

10. Invest in the people

This is SO important. There are two groups of people you need to be investing in every single day to continue to pursue your passion and forget your fear. The first group of people is YOUR TRIBE. Your spouse, girlfriends, family, support system…whoever it is that is encouraging you and pushing you to keep going…invest in them! Give them your heart and your time. Let them in and let them be a part of this journey you’re on. The second group of people is YOUR FOLLOWERS. The people you DON’T KNOW who have opted to follow you through this journey are more than worth your time! Give them your mutual support. Speak into their lives. Give them a reason to CONTINUE to follow you. Pour into these two groups of people and you will feel successful no matter how this passionate pursuit turns out.

 

BONUS 11. Don’t ever forget that the One who not only CREATED you but also CALLED you to this passion is in complete control of this journey you’re on. And guess what, no one wants to see this dream come true for you more than He does. Rest in His peace, His direction, and His plan for you. There is nothing better you can do for your vision than to give it all up to God and be prepared for the amazing things He will do with it.

 

I want to know what your passion is, friend. Tell me in the comments or send me a personal message and tell me all about it. What’s your vision? Your fear? Whatever it is I want to hear all about it!

 

Keep pursuing your passion and forgetting your fear every day, friend. I’m on this journey with you. The struggle is very real but the hope we have is just as real. We can do this!

-S.