The Art Prints You’ll Love + Memorial Day Weekend Deal

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It Is Well With My Soul | art print |

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Look For the Flowers | art print |

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Watercolor Palm Print | art print |

If you’ve seen Copper Paper Co.’s artwork, you know how amazing it is. If you haven’t, I’m so glad you’re here!

Copper Paper Co. will tell you that they’re all about sharing their art with light, purpose, and kindness, and let me say, those words are true! I can’t say enough good things about their beautiful work and meaningful messages depicted in their art. 

Among the creative and colorful products that Copper Paper Co. offers, you’ll find cards, art prints, and – wait for it – wrapping paper. Can you believe that?! Customized, uniquely crafted wrapping paper. Mind blown.

As y’all know, I’m a huge proponent of sending a handwritten letter. (I think that may be, in small part, why I ended up studying the eighteenth-century in grad school.) What I love about Copper Paper Co.’s cards is that the prints are super fun and colorful, and they’re great for any occasion. I don’t always need a birthday, thank you, or get well soon card; sometimes, I want to send an encouraging note or a “just because” card. Copper Paper Co.’s cards are perfect for those times!

You can search any of the products you see you pictured above right below the photo; I included the link in the description. Also, be sure to check out Copper Paper Co.’s beautiful Instagram by clicking here and, of course, their website to order some cards or prints here! Their new summer products are gorgeous. I can’t wait to get these prints up in my new house!

And, in honor of this Memorial Day weekend, every purchase will include a free 8 x 10 print! This offer ends Monday (5.29). Happy Memorial Day weekend everyone!

Darling Round-Up

You may have noticed on my Links page that Darling Magazine has given me the opportunity to write articles for their blog. Darling is a beautiful publication filled with inspiring stories, motivational articles, creative features, and informational pieces. You can search articles under eight personas: Intellectual, Hostess, Dreamer, Confidant, Stylist, Explorer, Beautician, and Achiever.

I decided to do a round-up of my recent articles so you could easily peruse through them in one spot. Below, there’s an excerpt of each article’s introduction, and you can click any of the “Keep reading…” links to head over to Darling for the whole piece. Send me a message to let me know what you think – and what you might want to see more of! I’d love to hear from you!

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“Are We Using Our Transparency as an Excuse for Complacency?”

Today’s society is highly in favor of being transparent, of showing every side of yourself to your audience. Social media, blogs and the online world allow for authenticity and support such transparency. Of course, transparency has its benefits, but it also has its drawbacks.

While connecting with each other is possible in more ways now than ever before, we must be careful about the true intent of our transparency. Transparency is not an excuse to look for acceptance in our faults, but it can be a tool we can use to better our weaknesses.

So, whether you are a beginner blogger, big-time writer or a social media guru, here are four ways to prevent transparency from leading to commiseration and complacency.

1. Know your values.

If someone asked you right this second to name your values, could you do it? Knowing your values deters you from letting your transparency about real life problems go no further than commiseration. Your values are your foundation; they are the standards to which you hold yourself. So be cautious in the values you choose to hold. Think long and hard about them. What’s most important to you? What do you know to be right? Defining your values makes becoming indifferent about them rather difficult. If you know something to be right, it’s hard to justify its opposite.

Without having a clear picture of the principles that define your life, you might find yourself stranded on the island of complacency, where the residents excuse their not-so-pleasant character traits by saying something to the effect of, “It’s just the way I am.” Is it though? Or rather, does it have to be? We are all prone to being selfish, ungrateful or careless at times, but making the choice to be the best version of our already present selves is possible, especially with strong, solid values. Keep reading…

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“How to Recognize Bad Advice”

Navigating day-to-day life requires making lots of relatively small decisions and some potentially life-changing ones as well, both of which can be somewhat daunting.

To help make these sometimes tough decisions, seeking advice is usually a smart idea. Yet not every time we ask for guidance are we going to receive sound advice. It’s definitely possible to see the red flags that come with bad advice, we just need to know how to recognize them.

Inexperience lacks wisdom.

Bad advice can take many different shapes. Unfortunately, sometimes people who believe themselves well-equipped to share advice may not be the best suited to do so. If the advice you are being given comes from someone who does not have any experience with your particular situation, then the likelihood of his or her advice being well-founded, and also valid, is not-so-great.

While your advisor may deem the advice helpful, it may not be appropriate for your particular situation. Would you seek advice about making a soufflé from someone who has never done so? Probably not. Similarly, if you are dealing with an issue at work, advice from the newest and least experienced co-worker would likely pale in comparison to the insight someone with experience might be able to provide.

Skewed perspectives make a realistic one near impossible.

On the opposite end of this totem pole is advice which is founded on much experience. Most of the time, advice coming from someone who has experience with your situation is solid because its foundation is based on tried and true knowledge; however, this isn’t always the case. First, consider someone who is a bit jaded. This person may have had a terrible experience with a situation similar to yours which makes it hard for him or her to remain unbiased. But just because his or her dating experience was bad does not mean yours will be, for example.

Similarly, someone who has experienced only favorable outcomes from a situation like yours will likely be biased in the opposite direction. Though his or her relationship has panned out, yours may not — and it may not need to. Both types of biased advice can be harmful because they may not be applicable to your circumstance. It’s important to keep in mind that every situation is unique and that your outcome could be very different. Considering both the good and bad in every situation is important. Realism is key. Click here to keep reading… (My last thought is my favorite!)

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“How to Ensure a Competitive Streak Won’t Bulldoze Other People”

We’ve probably all seen this happen before. Success in competition, if not handled properly, can lead to arrogance, to an inability to sympathize or to hard-heartedness. But overall, competition yields positive results; it helps us hone our skill set, build character and become a better version of ourselves.

Some of us are competitive by nature, but we don’t need to say this like it’s a bad thing. In fact, we can use this competitive streak to our advantage. Here are a few tips for doing so.

Evaluate your motives.

Before jumping at the chance to compete, ask yourself your reasons why. Are you vying for a position at work because you want to be acknowledged as the best? Arrogance is not the most becoming attribute. Do you plan to deceive a co-worker so that you receive recognition and he or she does not? Self-confidence isn’t gained by deception. Are you wanting to win just to watch others lose? In the long run, wishing failure on others won’t leave you feeling better about yourself.

In other words, don’t let your motives go bad. Instead, be motivated by the potential to reach personal goals, better yourself and fuel ambition.

Know your purpose.

It’s easy to get caught up in the heat of the competitive moment, but it’s important that you remember what drove you to that moment to begin with. Doing so will help you avoid being swept away by competition for competition’s sake alone. It can even help if you consider your purpose in life. What are you passionate about? What are the desires of your heart? What do you want to be remembered for?

Though these are heavy questions, the answers to them will illuminate your purpose for being competitive; they’ll remind you of your heart-driven reasons for competing in the first place (pun intended). There’s certainly nothing wrong with winning, but hopefully our desire to win goes a little deeper than simply wanting to win. Keep reading…

That’s it for this first round-up! You can check out Darling’s mission here and contact me here. Let’s talk soon!

The Magnificent Month of May

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I almost didn’t write this because I know I can’t do this subject justice. No words can explain. My parents are my heroes. I should just start with that. They’re my heroes for more reasons than I’ll ever be able to tell you in one post. Or ten posts. Or a hundred. But I’m going to attempt to skim a small part of the surface here.

The month of May is my mom’s favorite month, and it’s become mine, too. First, everything is green – trees, grass, fields, bushes – and it’s beautiful outside! I’m also not sneezing like I do in April, and my allergies have calmed down a good bit. Let’s not forget that school is getting out, and as a teacher, it’s pure joy. And there’s a lot to celebrate: my dad’s birthday, Mother’s Day, and my parents’ anniversary! So in the spirit of celebration, I want to talk about my parents. (They also have no clue I’m writing this, so, surprise!)

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My Mom

This Sunday, we’ll all celebrate Mother’s Day, and I am especially thankful to be celebrating my mom. My mom is one of those women who can go without make up and look gorgeous. Ironically though, she’s never been impressed by looks or the like. She’s always been way more focused on who people are on the inside, and she has an uncanny ability to see people’s hearts. Mom is just a gentle as she is fierce, and she’ll be either at the appropriate time. Much like her own mother (my sweet granny), mom is both strong and selfless. As her daughter, I’ve watched her demonstrate both of those qualities with grace, and I’m thankful to still be learning these traits simply by watching her. She’s also a great (and patient) listener, and if you know me, you know that’s a feat.

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My Dad

My dad’s birthday was this week, so we’re celebrating him this weekend, too! I followed in my dad’s footsteps in becoming a teacher, and I hope to be half as impactful to my students as he has been to his. I’ve witnessed students who had dad in middle school and are now adults stop him in a store to tell him the difference he’s made in their lives. He’s a true leader in every sense of the word, and his love and strength are evidence of that. Dad has always been at everything for my brother and I: practices, games, recitals, lessons, programs – you name it, he made it. I’m convinced, too, that my dad can fix anything; it’s astonishing honestly. My brother/sister-in-law and I just bought houses, so you can imagine how many calls he’s getting about this and that now.

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Mom and Dad

Together, my parents make one awe-inspiring couple. I didn’t know how grateful to be for them when I was growing up. It wasn’t until probably high school that I realized not every family has a meal together every night, not every parent comes to their kids’ extra curricular activities, and not every mom and dad teach their children about Jesus. And it wasn’t until still later (after being around more adults) that I really began to understand why mom and dad instilled certain values in Ryan and I and, moreover, how all the little lessons built those values.

My parents’ anniversary is at the end of the month, and their marriage is one of steadfast love. The stories they’ve told us from when they first got married will make you double over laughing; they’re hilarious! They have always enjoyed being around each other. Growing up, I saw my parents sitting on the front porch together in the mornings, running errands together on Saturdays, and cleaning house together on the weekends. I wouldn’t say they love cleaning house, but they do love talking, laughing, and being together – even in the not-so-fun tasks. And yes, I’ve seen behind the scenes. This is real life for them.

My parents are a true team. When Ryan and I got an answer of no from one parent, we knew we would get that same answer from the other. Of course, their teamship runs much deeper than this. They do life together. As a team, they help each other grow, they hold hands through thick and thin, and they fully support each other.

Most importantly, my parents did not just teach my brother and I about God or just take us to church. We’ve watched our mom and dad walk the walk of living the Christian life wholehearted. They were parents when being true parents was difficult and uncommon. They taught us truth in love. When Ryan or I was in the wrong, we knew it. And let me tell you, I needed this. I am beyond grateful to them for their actual parenting, and I know that any good in me is credit to them.  I’m still watching them to learn from them, more often than not, from all that they do behind-the-scenes. I also don’t know how to explain how it’s possible that my family all gets along and actually likes being around each other like we do. All I know is that somehow my parents made this happen.

As I said at the beginning, this is only a glimpse of these two. I’m very much a words person, but I’ll never be able to accurately describe how thankful I am for them, how much love I have for them, or how truly awesome they are.

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