Making Things Happen 2013: What I learned

Monday, April 15, 2013

Read about the beginning of my MTH journey.

Things I learned at Making Things Happen:

1. Encouragement holds GREAT Power! I guess prior to MTH I thought I might meet a few cool people and read their occasional facebook statuses and that would be the end... NOPE. I text with my incredible room mate, Meredith several times a week to keep track of the goals we are working on. Chaundra, an incredibly creative, stylish, educator sends bear hugs in the mail and encourages me with the details of her journey. Texts from Lara with encouragement sending virtual hugs from her and her precious baby, Grace. Chatting with Kristin...These little, small efforts have been huge in my life. It is an upcoming goal of mine to make encouragement a priority. I'm excited to share my plans for this!

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2. Talking about others in any capacity will leave you feeling empty. This is something I have such a desire to live out. We all know how easy it is to want to comment on what other people are doing in their lives, good or bad. Something I realized at MTH is that I'm great about not gossiping... until I feel like the person I'm talking to doesn't think I'm interesting or  we don't have anything else to say. Then, out of my own insecurity I bring up other people. That stops now, and I would encourage you to do so as well. Whatever stage of life you're at, it is NEVER fruitful to talk about others.

3. People that are different from you are awesome, and have things to teach you. I came in contact with so many incredible people at MTH. Some of which I related to so much, and others... well I just didn't. And I LOVED that. Michelle Edgemont, one of the guest speakers taught me that so well. Michelle is modern and edgy and everything I'm not, but she is so stinking real and true to herself that I became obsessed with her as she shared about her life and her business. I will never forget her talking about when she is styling for a couple that wants to use mason jars in their wedding. She asks them if they liked mason jars before they were engaged. She hits the nail on the head in knowing that when people are planning, they are influenced by so many outside sources.. but what really matters is planning a day that is representative of the couple. Michelle is hilarious and bold and great. I think that she would be happy to know that I learned from her how important it is to be true to yourself, yet to learn from others. (Michelle is pictured below in the green pants!)

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Image by Mackenzie Kern
4. I waste time on: facebook, pinterest, instagram, twitter, deleting emails I never even read.... etc.I've unfollwed, unsubscribed, and defriended A LOT recently. Why? Because when I do get on any of these social media networks, I want to be filled with news about people who encourage me, people I love, not people who I can then talk about or question or be discouraged by. I would really encourage you to do this. (On facebook, I've just been hiding people from my newsfeed. This has been GREAT, and no feelings are hurt. :) )

5. Authentic friendships start when you see people through a filter of value. Approach relationships with vulnerability about your struggles.

6. Focus on what Fires Me Up!! This deserves a post of it's own. Coming soon, friends!

7. Living out my "ideal morning" every day, regardless of my circumstances... life changing! I will never forget hearing Nancy Ray share about how the first thing she does every morning is light a candle, simply because she loves them. Something so simple can set the tone for the rest of your day. I also remember Lara saying that this is most important when she travels. I know for me, a weekend away from home means I don't have my morning quiet time. Hearing these ladies talk about how important this is to fight for... well that in itself fired me up!

My ideal day consists of: scripture, candles, journaling, a full glass of water, extra snuggles with the hubs, a healthy breakfast.

I have followed Nancy's blog for some time and loved reading about how grounded her life is. Some of my favorite posts by her can be found here, here, and here. Nancy was no different in real life than how I expected her to be. That's huge, I think.

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8. My obsession with stories continues. One of my favorite parts of MTH was hearing all of the speakers share both their personal and business story. Emily Ley started this off for us so well. What an incredible woman who I truly look up to. If you're reading this, and you're the praying kind, then pray a second for Mrs. Ley and her sweet fam. They have a lot going on right now, as shared on her blog. It's been on my heart to pray for her, even though she's such a role model to me. Everyone needs prayer, yall.

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9. Look at everyone you meet as a special and worthy person.

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I am obsessed with these joyful images of me with Lara. Trying to take a photo with a baby inspires big smiles and giggles.  It's hilarious that Grace is the only one not laughing. Too cute. I was BLOWN away by Lara. Someone who has so many things on her plate genuinely makes an effort to connect meaningfully with everyone she comes in contact with. She made every person feel remembered and special. I also noticed how her interactions with others truly lack preference. I often read James 2:1, "My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism." I am so guilty of this sin. I thought Lara was an incredible example as seeing all people as just who they are, a special creation of the Lord. 

10. It doesn't stop here. I think it has taken me so long to process all my thoughts from Making Things Happen, simply because everything that I learned is all about application. I heard so much during the two day intensive but the real lessons started at home when I was fighting those tired eyes to have great conversation with my husband or to have my ideal morning. I think about MTH every single day. I think about the incredible ladies I met and realize new things, based on the core truths that I learned at MTH. I am so thankful for the investment of Lara, Gina, and Emily, and all the other guest speakers. I learned so much from each of them. 

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Image by Caitlin Sullivan
The women who lead us through Making Things Happen were honest, open, and real with us. I aspire to be like that in daily life, and also continue to realize that God has placed in my heart a desire to tell stories.

I also learned tons of tangible advice about the next steps I'm taking in my future career. What? I have a career. Well, I guess I don't yet.. I'm in my pajamas blogging. Not so much of a career woman right now. I continue to be so overwhelmed by the incredible changes that have taken place in my life during the past year. A year ago I was a college sorority girl who had no idea where she would live after college or when she would get married. Two years ago I was a single lady. Now I'm married, about to graduate from Texas A&M, and live in a beautiful and loving home that I pray warmly welcomes anyone who enters. I overflow with gratitude.

Making Things Happen 2013: Why?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Man oh man. I'm finally to a point where I feel like I can honestly and meaningfully reflect publicly on all that I learned at the Making Things Happen conference in Chapel Hill, NC. But, some background before I start...

For those of you who are like.. what is this thing she always talks about?
I'll just take some words from the MTH website for yall. Short and sweet before I get lengthy and detailed.

This two-day intensive was designed to fire you up and get you on a powerful path to making big things happen in life and in business. Just a few of the topics covered: conquering fear, discovering your strengths, eliminating distractions, making bold leaps in life and in turn in business, how your environment and the people around you affect you, living your ideal day, authenticity and action. Making Things Happen was founded on the idea that you have the choice to change your life. The Making Things Happen Intensive is about personal evolution.

Why did I attend Making Things Happen? During wedding planning, I became drawn to Southern Weddings magazine as (pretty much) my sole online source for inspiration. Coming from a British family and marrying into a very Southern one, I was obsessed with the infusion of a hospitable, family oriented, relaxed.. SOUTHERN lifestyle into our wedding. Hence our photos taken on a front porch. 

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Photo by Caroline Joy Photography (a MTH alum!)

I then began reading the blog of the editor of SW, Lara Casey. Her love for the Lord and desire to inspire and motivate others was drawing for me. I also had been a longtime fan of Emily Ley, an incredibly talented stationary designer, honest blogger, and fierce mama bear. Emily makes up another third of the MTH team. I read about the Making Things Happen Conference and thought it was incredible, yet felt so unworthy to be in the presence of the incredible women I imagined would attend.

On February 5, I read this blog post. When I read that Nancy Ray, of Nancy Ray photography, another blog that I read regularly, was going to be a guest speaker, I felt a huge stirring in my heart to actually attend this conference. For me, I connect through the written word. I feel most loved through sweet notes and thoughtful text messages. I gain from quiet times where I journal, and can reflect back on those words. I have learned so much through reading blogs, and I know that may seem silly to some people... but I adore seeing inspirational images and hearing people's stories and admiring their courage to share their hearts in hopes that they will reach someone, anyone.
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Lara Casey Media

So one month into marriage, Ben and I decided to go for it. I cannot stress to you how thankful I am for my supportive husband. He knew how much I wanted to hear from these ladies and even with our limited budget, he said I could go. Then a lot of different things set in... I constantly thought about what a sickeningly selfish wife I was, planning a trip for myself... committing to spend a pretty good chunk of our savings, which, if we are transparent here, are 99.9% from Ben's hard work and anticipation of me one day being his wife. (Gah, I could cry with gratitude even typing that. Love my man so much.) I thought about how nervous and shy I would feel in a large group. How could I share a hotel room for two days with a total stranger that I would meet at the conference? I remember telling Ben that as much as I knew I wouldn't want to go when the day came, I knew I was supposed to. I guess I meant that I would not want to be away from home, that I wouldn't want to put myself out there, that I would feel insufficient.

Then, as He does, God provided. I prayed that if I was supposed to attend, the guilt would vanish In the next few days the full cost of my MTH ticket was paid with several incredibly generous gifts. I have never been given to like that in my entire life and I was blown away, but I knew God was soothing my nervous and guilty heart and telling me it was okay. Then we realized we could pay for my flight with flyer miles we had already earned in our one month of finances. At this point I was already filled with joy and confidence that the Lord was clearly speaking, I was supposed to attend. My only other obstacle was a room mate. I was nervous and felt like I was so young and I was going to be surrounded by all these incredibly inspirational business women and that I was just a 22 year old student teacher who wanted to hear incredible speakers and hopefully feel inspired for the next step.

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Lara Casey Media

Then I got a facebook message from Meredith Teasley. (If you are in Nashville and need a photographer- it's her!) She said that she was going to MTH, and that she saw we had a mutual friend in common, she wanted to know how I knew Collin. Collin was Ben's roommate throughout college. I cannot even convey to you people how much we love this man. Not only has Collin been an incredibly faithful friend to Ben, but I can honestly say I have a close friendship with him as well. He was a groomsman in our wedding (above photo.. blonde hair, black glasses) and took care of us so well on our wedding day. It then unraveled that Meredith had previously worked for Centrikid, the Christian camp where Collin had worked throughout college. She had hired him and worked alongside him, he had stayed at her house with her and her husband.... long story short they legitimately knew each other and my fears about being stabbed in the night by my MTH room mate were erased. More about Meredith and her influence in this whole process later..

I couldn't have heard a more audible voice that I was called to be at MTH for whatever reason... So off I went.

More soon!

PS. I AM OFFICIALLY DONE WITH STUDENT TEACHING. As Lara would say, Halleluljah, Amen, Thank you Lord!

Our Wedding Video

Friday, April 5, 2013

I am so excited to finally be able to share our wedding video with the world.. I cannot express how I feel when I watch this. Our wedding was truly the best day. 

More soon! 

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