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

Who I’d Invite to Coffee – Part 1

I really enjoy great conversation. I thrive in environments were I can enjoy sisterhood and mentorship with likeminded women who have hearts for the Lord. Some of my favorite moments have been shared over coffee with dear friends as we do life together. Here are some women who have taught me a thing or two about life and what matters most through their blogs. Their work and their hearts continue to inspire me. If I had the chance, I would love to sit with each of them and enjoy a warm cup of coffee or tea. Click on their beautiful faces to be inspired too (I borrowed each photo from their respective websites).

Lara Casey – She has taught me to set goals that are important, to work hard and make Jesus my core. She has inspired me to live a life full of what matters most. Her blog and work have had a profound impact on my year so far, and she has my dream job which makes her that much more awesome. I don’t think Lara takes coffee, but I would pour her a tall glass of sweet tea and ask her about Southern Weddings, her heirloom tomatoes, her sweet Grandma Bunny, her journey with Making Things Happen, and her precious daughter Grace.

Ashley Mills – The Handmade Home is the very first blog I ever read faithfully. I found miss Ashley in late 2011 and she has been inspiring me to create and build things ever since. She’s a rockstar mama of three who writes from her heart and always leaves mine filled to the brim with each post. The quilt on my bed is inspired by the very first post of hers that I ever read, and I found my favorite wood stain through her as well. I was blessed by the opportunity to chat with her on the phone a couple of years ago about design, and she has become a special across-the-country friend to me since then. If Ashley and I were able to share coffee, I would like to sit on her beautiful patio and listen to her wisdom about design and blogging and being a mom. I’d surely bring some pimento cheese as well because I have never tried it and I know she is fond of it!

Jessi Connolly – I was introduced to miss Jessi’s blog and shop during this past Christmas season when a dear friend gifted me one of the Naptime Diaries advent calendars and told me, ‘she makes prints just like you, I think you’ll love her’. I have been inspired by Jessi ever since. She has a big heart for the Lord, such a sweet spirit, a beautiful gift in teaching (I have taken a few classes from her through the Influence Network) and absolutely beautiful prints. She’s also a wild and free mama to four, and she and her husband recently planted a church in Charleston. If I could have coffee with her, I would give her a warm hug and thank her for the wisdom that she has poured into my life in these past few months through her online presence and her Influence Network classes. After pouring an extra tall cup for her for her I would ask her what it was like to write her book and to make her big dreamy ideas happen. I would ask about some of her favorite scriptures and speaking life and maybe for some tips for prints because I absolutely adore hers.

Nancy – I found miss Nancy Ray in early January through a link on the Southern Weddings website, as she photographs for them sometimes. I’ve been inspired by her ever since. She is a successful young photographer who has lovely wisdom to share with each of her blog posts. It doesn’t take long to see her heart for the Lord and her passion for life shining through her work and her writing. I feel like she would make the best big sister too. If I could enjoy coffee with her, I would ask her for some photography tips (check out her portfolio y’all), and her favorite books, and how she styles her hair to fall the way it does. I would tell her how graceful she seems, and how I admire the way that she shares her heart and practical ideas through her blog. She inspires me to grow in my faith and to follow God wherever He leads me.

Heather Burris – I discovered Heather’s blog three weeks ago and have been devouring it ever since. She has a gift for writing and her posts are very fun to read. She is a member of the Project Life creative team and her aesthetic with that is very similar to how I would like mine to look. If I had to sum up her blog in one word, it would be ‘lovely’ because every picture and post seems to leave me feeling pleasant and happy. I’d love to have a thrifting and crafting coffee date with her. I would ask her about her favorite books and what its like to be a young wife and where she draws inspiration from. Maybe we could work on our art journals too. I think that would be fun.

Since I have several blogs that I enjoy reading, this is only half of them. I will share the rest soon. I hope you have a lovely day and are able to be inspired by these lovely ladies!

Love,

Kyla