Friday, June 9, 2017

June Goals



Wow. I am so glad that we are done with May. It was a crazy month, friends. So many birthdays and celebrations and graduations and such. I am so ready for the lazy days of summer. It is so wonderful to know that we don't have a ton going on in the next couple months, and I am really looking forward to a slower pace!

Here's what I was working on in May:

Monthly

expand/revise Already Chosen
read 31 Women of the Bible
host 2 oils events
wardrobe challenge
meal plan
blog plan
gluten/dairy/soy/sugar free

Weekly

plan Instagram posts
blog plan
work out 3x a week
listen to James
write someone a note

Daily

pray through Armor of God prayer strategy cards
read the Word
encourage Ror
encourage someone else



The Nitty Gritty

Whew! Looking back at that it kind of seems like a lot! And while it was a lot, it was good. May was jam-packed with celebration after celebration. Because of this, I wasn't able to finish reading 31 Women of the Bible, but there were lots of other great things that happened! This month I was able to meet a rank I've been working toward in Young Living for several months now, and that was super exciting and satisfying. Slowly but surely the Lord is providing people who are invested in the business, and our team is growing! You can see the Young Living income disclosure statement here. One sweet friend hosted a class at her apartment, and we had so much fun learning together!

I've also been working toward a gluten/dairy/sugar/soy free diet. Boy is it rough stuff sometimes. Most of the time, foods laden with these ingredients make me feel icky, but there are moments when I just want to scarf a cupcake. Just saying. The That Sounds Fun! podcast episode where Annie F. Downs interviewed Danielle Walker of Against All Grain was incredibly encouraging and convicting to me. I almost want to listen to it again to get all the goodness again. They discussed how the Lord can use food to heal our bodies, and it was such a paradigm shift for me. There might be more on that later. :)



What I Was Grateful for in May

May was so fun and so fast. I enjoyed so much of this special month. It is really sweet to me that Rory and I both were born in May, so that has taken on another level of fun. Now, I almost enjoy his birthday more than mine, which, if you know me personally, you know that's saying something. In May, I was grateful for a really special birthday. We went to Gibbs Gardens, had a fancy dinner, and enjoyed watching movies at our house. We also got to enjoy a visit from Rory's grandfather, with whom I may or may not be obsessed. During the week in between our birthdays, we traveled to Charleston, SC on a mini-birthday vacation, which was a blast. It was a tad nerdy because we did lots of touristy things, but it was honestly just really nice to be in another city, eat some great food, and explore. In May I also got a big dose of encouragement and momentum in my Young Living business, so that was exciting as well.

June Goals

Monthly

continue expanding and revising Already Chosen 
read three books 
-Healing Fibroids
-Cultivate
-The Turquoise Table
paint/project day at the house!

Weekly

work out 3x a week
call a friend
write someone a note
work on my book manuscript


Daily

pray through my prayer cards
read the word
encourage Ror
encourage someone else
preach to my own heart

What are you working toward this month, friends?



Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Currently: June



Friends, I am so glad to say that we made it through May! With birthday celebrations, vacations, and graduations, it was a whirlwind month. I am so excited and ready to embrace a slower pace in June. The past two summers we have been busy, with our first summer being 2015 when we got married, and last summer we had a few fun trips. This summer, we are trying to keep it simple (read: we are trying not to blow our budget) and just have one trip and hope to just enjoy a beautiful, slow summer in Athens. Here's what's going on currently:

planning:  We bought some paint at the Sherwin Williams paint sale a couple months ago and are planning a painting day in a few weeks! I am so excited to change up our living area and kitchen. I'll be sure to take pictures for before and after!
wishing: I am wishing and hoping for a summer that isn't excruciatingly hot! 
learning: A few months ago I shared about a diagnosis of uterine fibroids that I received from the doctor last year. I've been reading a new book and also trying a new diet and supplements and have been learning a ton about this condition that affects so many women. 
browsing: A couple weeks ago I treated myself to buying the latest issue of The Magnolia Journal, the magazine that Chip and Joanna Gaines of Fixer Upper publish quarterly. It is an incredibly uplifting publication, and I love it. Hoping to become a subscriber!
going: This month, we aren't going anywhere! I'm pretty pumped about that fact. :)

What are you up to these days, friends?

Linking up with Anne and Erin today!

Monday, May 29, 2017

#sistersofinfluence: Allie Danae Walker

Today I am so very excited to introduce you to my sweet friend Allie. Allie and I met in college, where we were both involved in BCM (Baptist Collegiate Ministries). We have several mutual friends and lots of fun memories (mostly at football games) together. She's such a sweetheart, and is a complete and total boss babe! Allie runs her own business and blog and has such a kind, sweet, and hospitable spirit. You'll love getting to know her!







Tell us about yourself. Who are you?

Hi y'all, I'm AllieDanae Walker. I'm a southerner through & through who runs on Jesus and caffeine. A little over 2 years ago I ventured into the world of online business and then launched my company The Social Walker Agency just over a year ago. I've been blogging personally for a few years over at Southern Grits and Graces.


How did you come to know the Lord?

I grew up in a home where Christ was the center of lives, literally and figuratively. My parents had been one of the founding families of a local Christian school and we were very active in church. I remember the night so clearly when I asked my parents to help me become a Christian and then they told me the angels were having a party in heaven (clearly from an early age, I was all about parties!) so I ran outside to look up and was so disappointed I couldn't see them and they were having a party without me. For many years my faith grew and grew, but there came a point around my sophomore / junior year of high school that my relationship with Him became such a routine. Senior year and then on into college and post college, it has been a steady growing process and getting back to the point of joy from that first night. 

What do you think it means to be a woman of influence right where you are?

My parents have always told us that you never know who is watching. Younger cousins, younger students at the school, even people older than us are always aware of our actions. I think it is important to be looking for those watching you and to see how you can step into their lives. It's look different for me over the years. I've led a college freshman Bible study, coached middle and high school cheerleading, and am now leading a small group of ladies closer to my own age. For me, it is "doing life together" - the day in and day out, the fun and the messy, the laughter and the honesty. Although I work from home most days, there are still women (and guys) I can influence through my business, my Instagram, my blog. They are platforms that the Lord has given me to glorify His name and not mine. 

We have to keep our eyes open for daily opportunities to step into the lives of others just like He did with the disciples. He went right to their fishing boats and even after He called them to be fishers of men, there were plenty of times they were all back out on the boat. As John 1:14a says "The Word [Jesus] became flesh and made His dwelling among us." He moved into their lives permanently, and that's what we're called to do - at work, on social media, at the playground with our kids (well, not mine, I don't have them yet haha!), etc. 



How does the Lord allow you to shine His light through your business?

So this is a two-part answer..

The Social Walker Agency - I try to bring my Christian values into my business. It is always important for me to be honest with my clients about deadlines and mistakes and let them know what is really going on. Honesty in business will always set you apart. I'm always looking for ways to bring the Fruits of the Spirit into my words and calls with clients. If they have something going on in their personal lives, they know I'll be praying for them even if they aren't believers, and I don't think they mind the prayers at all. I also have started a Scripture series on IG every Sunday. If I lose followers, I don't stress over it. 

Southern Grits and Graces - When I started this blog many years ago (like 5 years before it was called SGG), I wanted to be a big time fashion blogger who got sent stuff in the mail or paid to shop and post about it. I didn't really know it was a thing but it's what I wanted it to be. It seemed folks loved my fashion posts but I knew nothing about reaching out to brands or SEO to get an even bigger audience (INSTAGRAM WASN'T EVEN AROUND WHEN I STARTED BLOGGING!!!) But what I have come to learn is that I love writing online just to write. To talk to my readers about what is going on in life and what the Lord is doing in my life. That has shifted the focus of my blog and why I changed the name and hid some of the really old posts. Every now and again I might still do some "here are amazing things you need from LOFT right now!" - like these 5 new T-shirts I have currently on repeat, but for now I want to use my influence to point to Him first and foremost.



What is one thing you want the women of our generation to remember?

We need to celebrate each other and our differences because that's how the world moves forward. We all have been given different gifts, not to compete with each other but to compliment each other. We can't all be hostesses and have no food because we don't have someone who loves to cook. Or vice versa. Or singing. Gosh, you don't want me leading worship, so I'll stick to hosting folks and giving out hugs! 

What is your favorite verse or passage of Scripture?

Right now I'm sitting on Psalm 84:11 - "For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does He withhold from those whose walk is blameless." I recently lost my Momma to a heartattack and need to be constantly reminded that He is good and He doesn't withhold good things from us if we honor Him with our lives and our influence. 

What is one truth you want others to remember and cling to?

Daniel 3:17-18 - This sort of ties in with Psalm 84:11; There will be times when things don't go as we want them to or as we think God should do them, or on our timeline (why am I still single at 27?), but we have to remember that He is God, and He is good, and He is good at being God (I think Jennie Allen said this). Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego definitely wanted God to answer their prayers a certain way, but they knew "even if He does not" they would not turn from following after Him.


And last but not least: coffee or tea?


Coffee for sure!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Natural Life



It all started with a couple books. Right after Rory and I got married, I read two books that opened my eyes to the importance of knowing what we put into and on our bodies. The Unveiled Wife by Jennifer Smith and The Honest Life by Jessica Alba both began to shape my thinking about the products I chose to use each day.

There are so many chemicals and dangerous icky things in our food, products, and materials that we put on our bodies. And it just keeps getting worse. In the United States, there are all kinds of additives and chemicals used in our everyday products that are banned in other countries. It's said that the average woman applies over 300 chemicals a day to her body just through soaps, makeup, shampoos, and hair care products. Eighty of those products are applied every day before breakfast! Eeessh!

So what do we do? Well, once we (I) learned about all of this, I started reading labels. You can also download the Think Dirty app and scan the products in your home; it will tell you what level of toxicity it is, and you'll know whether or not you need to switch it out.

You may be reading this and thinking, "Hey, I eat organic food. I work out. What's the big deal about some chemicals? Can they really hurt me?"

And the answer, my friends, is that they are kind of a big deal, and yeah, they can hurt you. Many chemicals and additives that are in everyday products like dryer sheets, laundry detergent, and baby soap have been linked to cancer, infertility, disease. That's not a pretty picture, is it?

So why does all this matter? Why can't I just go eat some Cheetos, spray my perfume, and call it a day? Well, because my body is a temple. My health is a gift, and I have to treat my body well in order to be able to do all that God has called me to do. What I eat matters. What I drink matters. What I put into and onto my body matters.

As we began learning and delving more into a more natural way of living, lots of things began to change. It hasn't been an overnight process to say the least, but we are changing and enjoying how we've felt as a result. We've done a couple Whole 30 challenges, and I've discovered that I have a dairy sensitivity. Bye bye, cheese! (cue all the tears) But this isn't just about food. It's about wellness and understanding how to choose products that also support the whole body.



We were introduced to essential oils last summer, and in August, we began our oily journey. It has been an incredible journey of learning how to use these amazing gifts that God has given us in order to not only support our bodies, but help us clean our home naturally and enhance our wellness.

Young Living is an amazing company that I have learned so much about and genuinely trust. Their quality is unbeatable, their customer service is incredible, and they care about the people whom they serve.

The way we got started is the way I recommend anyone get started, because it's the best deal and helps you take baby steps to a more gentle and natural lifestyle. We purchased a Premium Starter Kit and now are able to get 24% for life as well. It's a steal, friends.

With the kit, you get:

11 of the everyday oils
learning literature
sample bottles
a roller fitment
sample packets of the antioxidant drink we all love
a diffuser of your choice
lots of great support from new friends!

You can get a starter kit from me HERE. (Be sure to choose wholesale so you get 24% off!)



Once you've done that, I am going to hook you up!

You'll get:

a fun welcome packet to walk you through your kit
guidance from our community and access to secret groups on Facebook
a $10 credit in your account to be applied to your next purchase
a surprise gift!

I have loved helping others begin their journey toward a more natural life, and it has been so fun to hear testimonials from friends and family members alike. We use these oils for just about everything in our home- aches and pains, hormonal support, emotional support, cleaning, and so much more. It's my passion to help you begin to make the swap from the harsh to the gentle life. Let's chat!


SO much love to you, my friends!

Monday, May 22, 2017

#sistersofinfluence: Robyn Field

Friends, today I get to tell you about my sweet friend Robyn. She's a writer and is working on a piece of fiction that I personally can't wait to read! She and I met via Instagram, but we know a lot of the same people because we both graduated from the University of Georgia and were involved in similar activities while we were there. She's witty and wonderful, and you'll love her. 



Tell us about yourself. Who are you?

My name is Robyn! I’m a twenty-something cat, chocolate, and book enthusiast, and it’s a good thing I’m married because if I wasn’t….I would totally be the crazy cat lady next door. But let’s be real. I’m still the crazy cat lady next door. Oh! And I write children’s books and I blog over at www.robynfieldwritinghomepage.wordpress.com .

How did you come to know the Lord?

I came to know Jesus when I was 12. It took me a few years after that to really follow Him instead of following “the crowd” (Hello, middle school. We love you.) And now I feel like He’s been slowly teaching me that He is better – always better – than trying to be perfect.

What do you think it means to be a woman of influence right where you are?

That’s a good question! For me, it means being brave enough to be content with the now. To be present. To finish work so I can make a yummy dinner for me and hubby, to go on walks with neighbors, to remember that my job is my job. My identity is daughter of the King, and that’s what will never change. 

How does the Lord allow you to shine His light through your writing?

I love inspiring kids to use their imaginations. God is super creative (look at giraffes! what?!) and so I love giving kids permission to tap into that part of themselves, their God-given creativity and playfulness, and use it and enjoy it. I hope that in using my own imagination without abandon, kids who read my books will be inspired to do the same – and hopefully experience God’s love.

What is the best piece of marriage advice you have been given?

Argue nicely. Because we WILL argue. So do it respectfully. (Does anyone want to text me this reminder on a daily basis? ;-)



What is one thing you want the women of our generation to remember?

You are valuable. You don’t need to try. You just are. Just ask God. He’ll tell you.

What is your favorite verse or passage of Scripture?

I feel like this changes with the season I’m in. Right now, I’m seriously rejoicing in the crazy amazing recovery my knee has been given after a two-and-a-half year journey. 

Psalm 30:2 – “Oh LORD my God, I cried to you for help, and you healed me.”

What is one truth you want others to remember and cling to?

Listen to the voice of the Shepherd. His voice is gentle, powerful, and loving. The voice of the accuser is angry and condemning. Learn and memorize the Good Shepherd’s voice.

And last but not least: coffee or tea?


Another fantastic question. Coffee + milk + half and half + flavored creamer = WABAAM! 

Friday, May 19, 2017

Fashion Friday: #maykeovermay Week 3

We're more than halfway through May, and it has been such a fun-filled month. We celebrated my birthday at Gibb's Gardens, a gorgeous property in North Georgia. Then this past week, we went on a little vacation to Charleston to celebrate both of our birthdays! We had so much fun and made lots of great memories together. And now, we get to continue the fun with a family birthday dinner for Ror tonight and an adventure day for his 31st tomorrow. Whew!

It's been consistently hot, friends. No more spring here, summer has moved in. Here's what I've been wearing!









Thursday, May 18, 2017

#sistersofinfluence: Taylor Oakland

Friends, today I get to introduce you to my sweet friend Taylor! She's an amazing calligrapher and I found her via Instagram! Her work is incredible! Be sure to follow her at @floralsandflourishes. You'll be encouraged by her words and her story! 

{True Grace Photography}


Tell us about yourself. Who are you?

I’m Taylor Oakland! I am above all else a woman who is loved by God. Followed closely by my bent toward being a feminist woman. Sarah Bessey is currently rocking my world with the idea of what it means to be a “Jesus Feminist” and live in the tension between these worlds. In my day to day life, I am a wife to the most wonderful, patient (and dare I say hot) man named Chris. I do some work as a calligrapher through my business Florals & Flourishes and when I am not doing that I am getting my masters in Counseling to become a school counselor. Something important to know about me is that I am passionate about the power of relationships and I am a person who is loyal (to a fault at times). I’m a 6 on the enneagram and that really could tell you all you need to know about me "The Loyalist”. 

How did you come to know the Lord?

I came to know the Lord through a long and messy process tethered by my involvement with Young Life and most importantly through a relationship with my Young Life leader who is my best friend to this day. And I mean seriously my best friend, we go on vacations together with our husbands who are also best friends! Young Life is a thread that has always run through my story and what God has used most powerfully to bring me to relationship with himself through what I can only describe as a two steps forward, one step back process from 7th grade until I truly surrendered my life to Him before my senior year of high school. I went on to become a leader and then on full time staff with Young Life. I whole heartedly love that organization and have seen the powerful way God uses it to draw people to himself. 

What do you think it means to be a woman of influence right where you are?

I believe so strongly in the power of showing up for your people. See above to be reminded of my fierce loyalty. To me, God uses our relationships with people who have earned the place in our life to speak his truth into us or to just show up and say “I’m with you”. I love to be this person for the people in my life. This could mean showing up to a coffee date with a friend or flying across the country to celebrate or grieve with a friend. The "ministry of presence" as Henri Nouwen puts it, is the most powerful thing I have to offer this world and is what makes me feel most alive. 

How does the Lord allow you to shine His light through your art?

Through my work with Young Life and my masters program, I have grown a deep understanding that people have never been and will never be a finished product type work. Walking along side people is a long, messy and beautiful process but in terms of work for a type A person like myself, there is never anything to check off the to do list when it comes to people. That’s where my love for calligraphy comes in perfectly. Calligraphy offers me the opportunity to take an idea and bring it to completion. I love to collaborate with my clients and take their vision for a project and come alongside them to create the final product. Few things brings me as much joy as a client who is perfectly pleased with the work I have created for them. 



What is the best piece of marriage advice you've been given?

The best piece of marriage advice I have received is to remember that outside of God, your spouse comes above anyone else in your life, yes even your children. I don’t have kids yet and so I know this is easier said by the newlywed gal. I know this doesn’t come effortlessly but I want to put my relationship with Chris above all other earthly relationships to be a strong foundation for our future family. Since we started dating we have prioritized a weekly date night and three and half years later, it is the best thing we could have done for our relationship. We cherish those times which have helped us remain connected to each other. Date night for us sometimes means watching Parenthood or This Is Us and cooking at home and sometimes it means going on an outing to ice skate and grab a drink at a fancy restaurant downtown Chicago. Both are just as valuable in connecting us with one another. 

What is one thing you want the women of our generation to remember?

You are enough. Exactly as you are in the way God made you. 

What is your favorite verse or passage of Scripture?

"Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

I have a strong tendency toward fear and anxiety so this scripture is so grounding for me. This boils it down with simplicity. To reset my heart with this scripture, all I need is to know I only need to be still and that my God is powerful to handle whatever I feel stuck in the middle of worrying. 

What is one truth you want others to remember and cling to?

A friend who is going through an unimaginable tragedy had these wise words to say: The faith that we have is not enough, it is the object of our faith, the beautiful person in Jesus Christ, that anchors us in life’s troubles. Faith alone is not enough, it is important to anchor your faith to the giver of life and know that He is trustworthy and eternal. 

And last but not least: coffee or tea?


Coffee, always coffee and specifically always an almond milk latte!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Fashion Friday: #maykeovermay Weeks 1-2

Well friends, I decided I like these little wardrobe challenges I've been doing. The goal is to minimize shopping and work with the clothes I already have in my closet. One little cheat is that this is my birthday month, so I did get a new pair of sandals and a new shirt, plus I sure can receive from others! But the real point is that I have plenty of clothes in my closet and can dress myself for days, weeks, and months without a "need" for anything new.

The weather here has been quite interesting for May, so you'll see that my outfits are quite varied-sweaters in some and short-sleeved in others! Have you ever done a wardrobe challenge? I bet you'd find that you actually have more to work with than you realize. :) If you want to follow along (almost) daily, I'm posting each outfit on Instagram at @jessicanmathisen. :)










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