2014

2014 has been incredible and full. Looking back at the past twelve months reminded me of the abundant blessings and grace that God has given me. Today began Lara Casey’s 2015 goal setting series, with step one being a reflection on the good that 2014 held. Here are some of the things I am celebrating today as I prepare for the year ahead:

God changed my heart and carried me through a life changing experience.

FebruarySurgeryKylaMary He provided me with community, especially through my small group, and surrounded me with loving friends.
SeptemberBibleStudyKylaMary
He brought me on lots of adventures, including a trip to ChicagoMayChicagoKylaMaryand exploring New England.MayBostonKylaMary

He healed my back and my heart. He introduced me to women who inspire my dreams and speak wisdom and purpose into them. He took me on a retreat, where I had the opportunity to lead a special group of middle schoolers and soak up His beauty in the nature there. He provided, time and time again. He shared the goodness of intentional mornings with me, and then taught me to give myself grace when schedules shift.FebruaryScriptureKylaMary
He saw me through a difficult season and taught me more about myself and His heart for me through it. He brought me on a special trip to the South with my mama, where I got to celebrate the company I most admire by attending the Southern Weddings V7 Launch party and hug a sweet friend who God has used in a big way in my life over the past year. happy-southern-weddings-greeters
(picture by Millie Holloman via Southern Weddings)

He has given me sweet moments with loved ones and a passion for weddings and the love that lasts far beyond them. Through His strength, I decided to go back to school and finished a degree. I served in my church’s student ministry and production. In November, I began interning with my church’s creative team. I joined Ruthie of Ruth Eileen Photography as her new part-time assistant. I kept designing, renamed my brand, and I guest-designed for a community of Christian women over the winter. Most recently, I began growing my blog and I have been putting pen to paper with some of the biggest goals on my heart. God has done tremendous things in my life during 2014 and I am excited to see what 2015 brings.

MaySunsetKylaMary

If I Could Hug Y’all In Person

December 30th. One year ago today I clicked ‘publish’ for the very first time. I was scared to put myself out there, but I had wanted to start my own blog for a while. I started to read more blogs each day and to leave comments on posts when I found something I really liked. There were patches of time this year where I doubted if I should continue blogging, and times when I wondered if there was some ‘commenting ettiquette’ that I needed to be aware of. There were months where I posted and interacted often and then months where I lacked consistency with it.
In November, in a hotel room in North Carolina, a switch flipped and I was spurred on toward making something of this blog, even if only for myself. Since then I have been posting more frequently and I just bought the domain and began hosting my site independently over the weekend. I am now working on updating the design and working with a web developer to create a space that suits me. It’s exciting and a huge learning experience for me and I’m enjoying it quite a bit!

If I have learned anything from my year of being interactive on the web, it has been that it doesn’t have to be distant and impersonal. Community can be found there. It is really fun for me to find content that encourages me and then to learn more about the heart behind it. People get vulnerable on the internet, sharing their stories, advice, struggles, and hopes. There is an endless supply of free inspiration and guidance online. It is really important to me to thank people for the work they do and the pieces of themselves that they are sharing. This year I took some time to reach out to bloggers and professionals whom I genuinely respect and admire. At first I felt hesitant, wondering if I would seem strange or it was appropriate to contact people directly. Then I put myself in their shoes and I decided that it meant a lot to me to let them know how they are making a positive impact in my life. Over the past year, God has introduced me to the hearts of these women and used them to help teach me, shape me, inspire me, and grow me. Through emails, love notes, and a few delightful in-person conversations, I feel like I have been able to treat some of my favorite bloggers and professionals the way I treat my in-person friends. It has been rewarding and a real blessing to me this year. As 2015 rapidly approaches, I want to share some of my favorites with you, too. If I could hug them all in person, I would. They have wonderful hearts, missions, words, and inspiration that have helped me immensely. Enjoy!

LaraLara Casey // this post, this series, her new bookthis podcast, this page, this company, and this opportunity

Jess

Jess Connolly // this class, this book, this, thisthis and this post

Nancy

Nancy Ray // this class, and this series

Gina

Gina Zeidler // this, this, this and this post, and this

Valerie

Valerie Woerner // this instagram post, this, this, and this post, and this product

EmilyT

Emily Thomas // this series, this post, this behind the scenes look, and this work

EmilyL

Emily Ley // this and this post

Amber

Amber Housley // this podcast, this beautiful Pinterest account

Rhiannon

Rhiannon Bosse // this story, this and this post

Hayley

Hayley Morgan // this post, this class and this class

Katie

Katie Hilbert // this and this post, this book

Photos: Lara, Jess, Nancy, Gina, ValerieEmilyEmilyHayleyKatie, Rhiannon, Amber