I'm loving... November

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Sharing what's bringing joy to my heart! This month it's...

Fresh flowers. Chris got me this bunch and another dear friend brought me more in the same color for my birthday. I'll tell you a secret – flowers are the way to my heart. I'm definitely a romantic. And Tom Thumb and Trader Joe's do it right. 

Standing in the presence of masterpieces. Also for my birthday, I asked Chris if we could go visit the Kimbell Art Museum over in Fort Worth since they're showing a special exhibit called "Faces of Impressionism." I took four years of Art History classes in college, and the Impressionist era was one of my favorite times to study. The actual Kimbell itself was also in my books and, even though I've lived close to it most of my life, I had never actually visited. I loved it. The exhibit was even better than I expected – the art was all on loan from a Musee in Paris (the Kimbell curator and the Musee d'Orsay curator are good friends) – and the portraits spanned so many areas of interest. Naturally, they highlighted portraits of "commonplace" events and people – which is one of the marks of the era that I love so much – but many of the portraits were portraits of other Impressionist painters. You could see how much they admired and treasured the friendship of one another through their pieces, and the self portraits lent an interesting view into the artist's perspective of themselves. They also painted art critics that they were grateful towards as gifts. It was such a moving collection and felt very intimate. 

Loving on our "village" – our friends. This month has been especially heartwarming for our friend group... we've had gatherings for my birthday and for Thanksgiving, and I'm really floored by the way God has filled my life with so many kind and generous people. On my run last weekend, a bed of dark, dead leaves with bright lime green stems stopped me in my tracks. In the darkness, there are so many bright lights shining if we only open our eyes to see them. I've spent a lot of my life feeling alone or feeling like I had just one person to lean on at a time (both were lies). Taking off my blinders and seeing all of the other bright lights shining around me has warmed my heart in a way I'll never be able to fully explain. It drives me to my knees in praise of our loving and merciful God. I'm so thankful He gives us each other.

And lastly, time with family. My parents live in the Metroplex, and for my birthday this year, I asked if my mom and I could spend a day together and if our whole family could go to church together. Both ended up working out and were such a blessing to me. My family has dealt with a lot over the years, and we've been so fortunate to see fruit come from that. I'm honored that we get to spend time together and grow and encourage one another. This week, we've rented a house to stay together on a little vacation and I'm truly treasuring the opportunity. It's important to remind the ones around you that you love them, even if they already know... it's so renewing to our souls to hear it and see it. 

Love you all, and hope you're having a wonderful holiday. 

Give... Creativity

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In honor of my birthday being this month, we've done something special each week via TPA. It's a call to gather together and share gratitude for the ways God has been so good to us throughout 2014 so far. We sent a pick-me-up. We encouraged. We drank a lot of coffee. It's warmed my heart to share these things with you. And since today is the last one of the month, it's a big one!

One of the things I'm grateful for is that God gave me a gift for creativity – and the nudge that, because He gave me that, I can and should use it to bring Him glory. I've had the opportunity to work on so many incredible projects this year (if you're curious, you can see some of them here), and I've really enjoyed opening up the TPA shop. It's created a more engaging side of TPA where you get to be part of the joy by making a purchase that positively impacts others. (Did you know the proceeds go to help the Farmer family in Japan?)

So, to finish out the birthday month fun, I'm offering to do one project for free. Looking for a custom Christmas or New Year's card? Need a new logo? Want a new header for your blog? Maybe you run a small business through a Facebook page... I can spruce that up for you, too. Want to give someone a special art print? Looking for a print you could mail to all of your friends? Maybe you want to make custom tags or stickers for your holiday gifts this year. I'd love to help you out!

This isn't a giveaway for a full brand overhaul or a full wedding invitation suite – the work required must estimate less than 10 hours of work, and final files will be delivered digitally (ready to send to the printer of your choosing). If you're interested in any of the above, you can head over to Instagram to enter! Just repost the giveaway image there and tag me in it (@thatsprettyace). I'll announce the winner on Friday, November 28!

It is my honor and joy to get to serve you in this way. I can't wait to get to work with you!

Happy Friday!

 

Thanks for joining in the java fun with me this week! It continues through the weekend, so feel free to grab a cup and/or reload the card over the next few days. It's been so much fun getting to share something so simple with each of you and be able to quietly treat one another. I just love y'all. 

+ some links for your weekend:

  • Made this for last night's Thanksgiving meal with our small group.... holy wow.
  • Also last night, for those that asked: Slice sweet potatoes into rounds. Place cut rounds into produce bag that you bought sweet potatoes in. Pour in olive oil. Generously add salt, pepper, chili powder, and garlic powder. Hold top of bag closed and shake. Pour onto foil lined baking sheet, trying not to overcrowd the rounds. Place in oven at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until soft on the inside :) 
  • Precious British idioms that I wish would get "itchy feet" and come across the pond.
  • I love reading people's recaps of their vacations (I must have itchy feet). This one in particular made me smile. 
  • Looking for a fun&pretty font? Looky here. Thanks, Molly Jacques! (PS – if you buy this and use it on something, make sure it's not anything for sale! Copyright laws and stuff.)
  • Want to do something sweet for the holidays? The Humane Society of North Texas is at capacity for felines at all of their locations (you all know how much I love my Phoebe). On Amazon, they currently have a wish list going with supplies they need – and if you order off of their wish list, you can get free shipping and have it sent straight to them. Not a cat person? There's a puppy wish list, too! 

Fix your eyes on Me.

 

"How are you?"

It's a loaded question. 

"Busy." 

I was telling two of my friends last night that I feel like that's America's answer anytime you ask. We glorify busy. We fill our schedules because we feel like we should – or simply because we can. It's a fact of life that we're constantly busy.

Last Sunday, I broke down in tears for the third time in two weeks. This isn't a red flag or a cry of help – it's just life. And I'm a crier. (Anyone else?) I feel overwhelmed. I told Chris that I had told a friend that I was overwhelmed, and her response was, "That's so reassuring. You do so much, and you do everything with a smile. I love that about you, but I've always wondered how you do it." In the moment, it felt like the room stopped for a minute. I responded honestly, "That is all God's doing. You are so sweet, and I'd really appreciate some prayers right now." As I relayed the story to Chris, I told him I hadn't realized how true that was. And that I had taken on too much, again. I looked at my planner and said, "There's no way. These are all good things... I can't quit them. But it's so much."

I told him how this summer, I had decided that I had been the "no" girl for too long. Always too busy to hang out, never wanting to drive to meet anyone, so selfish and protective of my time. My life was too precious to fill with spending so much of my time investing in others who, I was afraid, wouldn't really love me. So I started saying "yes" – to so many good things. I prayed. I listened. And God set people in my path, so many wonderful relationships. He watered and doctored relationships I've had for years, some for my whole life. He brought new people into the mix. He brought old friends back again. My life suddenly became about so many relationships and, even though I consider myself a serious introvert, I found my heart being strengthened and sustained by the warm bodies that were suddenly brought into my life. 

I had also spent the summer praying about whether or not I should pursue my freelance work more. Chris and I were a little tight on money, and were looking into a very uncertain future. I asked God if I needed to share more on social media – to really start to market myself. And before I could consider it further, I suddenly had several project requests in my inbox. Friends, family, and people who had found me online were reaching out and sharing their dreams with me. I was floored and honored. These last few months, I've seen very visibly that my freelance work is a mission field. I have the delight of serving these people each day, getting to know their hearts and dreams as we work intimately to create something that embodies who they are. God inserts Himself into these areas and reveals His truth about the people I'm in contact with. He's teaching me how to truly be a servant and to give generously and love graciously. My heart is so full.

But as I looked at my planner and at my Trello list, I saw so many projects... too many projects. I was afraid, and I let all my fear pour out like Niagra Falls from my eyes. 

Insert sweet Chris. Always my voice of reason.

He said, "I think you're Peter out on the water right now, and you're looking at the waves.

You've been hustling along, helping people with their dreams, forming relationships, mentoring, being mentored to, investing in people through friendship and through design work – and you're right, that it's all good things. God's been bringing these things to you for your good. But now you've taken a moment to look back at ALL you've been doing and then looking ahead at ALL that's to come, and you're afraid. 

I think Satan's trying to tell you to be selfish with your time. You didn't invent time, you can't claim it as yours... time belongs to God. He created it. And He's been so faithful in guiding you in what to do with your time. I've seen you grow and flourish over these last few months. Keep drawing near to God. Fix your eyes on Him. He'll give you your daily bread, and that's all you need."

Keep going. Keep running your race. In a world that glorifies busy for busy's sake, we can turn our busy into a life of purpose. Let's be wrung out at the end of our days. Let's get up early and spend time with the Lord. Listening. Talking. More listening. Let's drive home from work tired because we put our best effort forward during the day. Let's pull up to our homes and pray to God that He would give us strength to go love on our husbands, our roommates, our friends we're meeting up with. Let's shift our hearts to listen and really hear the person across from us at the table. Let's encourage and lift up one another. Let's go to bed worn out because our days and our hearts are full. 

This is how we're intended to live. God made us to be workers, to be helpers, to be doers. We do our best to carve out a window of time to sit down with His word, and sometimes that requires literally getting away for a day or two. But more often that not, the way we are "recharging" for our work is by simply walking with God. Talking to Him in the car. Praying in our cubicles. Silently asking Him to give us words to share when our friend asks for advice. He stands beside us, He's all around us. He's closer than you think.

PS – I know this does might not apply to you in the season of life you're in right now. As my sweet friend Lindsay reminded me in the comments, now might be the time for you to be changing your "yes" into "no". Our God wants us to be near to Him and to walk with Him. Sometimes that means walking out on the water, and sometimes that means sitting at His feet and listening. Each day is a balance, and it will never be perfect, and it will be messy. My prayer for all of us is just that we would keep our eyes focused on Him, and that our posture would always be to bring Him the glory, forever and ever, Amen. 

Give... Coffee

Coffee! | That's Pretty Ace

Hi loves! Today is the day!!! In honor of my birthday being this month, we've done something special each week via TPA. It's a call to gather together and share gratitude for the ways God has been so good to us throughout 2014 so far. One of the things I'm grateful for is coffee (you, too?). Coffee has become something of an environment for me – in the mornings, it sets my mind in a time to be quiet and listen to the Lord. In the afternoons and evenings, it becomes the foundation for great conversations with friends, new and old. It's become an "excuse" of sorts to meet up and chat. It wraps me up in a warm hug and is a reminder of our Savior's warmth towards us. So this week, on my real birthday day, we're doing something extra fun... 

Do you see that image above? It'll get you some coffee of your own! You can SCAN IT THIS WEEK at your nearest Starbucks. I put a little money on it, and you can use it to buy yourself a drink! All I ask is that you "reload" the card to keep the fun going :) You could put $1 on it, you could put $20 on it, or whatever amount you want – the sky's the limit! The more you put on, the more people you're treating today. Just tell the barista when you order that you'd like to put money on that card. I would especially love it if you would share about this little birthday gift; let's keep the party going! Post anywhere on social media (tag me in it because I'd love to see! @thatsprettyace) and say what you got. 

 

- HOW TO GET YOUR COFFEE -

  1. Pull up this post or save the above image on your phone.
  2. Go to Starbucks.
  3. Order a drink.
  4. Hold the picture of the barcode in front of the barcode scanner.
  5. If there is enough money on my card, the POS will beep and your coffee will be paid for!
  6. If you'd like to reload the card, just let the barista know and how much, then scan the barcode once more.

If you don't get a chance to go to Starbucks, you can still participate by reloading the card! To do that, visit starbucks.com/card, click on Reload A Card (bottom center), and then follow the payment instructions (you'll have to log in to your Starbucks account or create an account). You can also reload it by using the Starbucks app on your phone.

If you get an error when clicking the link above, you can try these step-by-step instructions:

  1. Visit starbucks.com/card
  2. Scroll down to "Check Balance"
  3. Enter this card number: 6096230037122757 and this security number: 35671577
  4. Click "Reload This Card"
  5. Sign in to your account or create a Starbucks account (just name, email, password)
  6. Choose a reload amount
  7. Choose a payment method
  8. Click the Continue button
  9. Then you're done! 

I will be closing the card next Monday morning (November 24) at 9:00 AM CST – in the past, people have had ongoing pay-it-forward cards that have had some fraudulent things occur with them. I wish it could go on forever, but it will only be for one week, so make sure you pop in and get your coffee! Thank you so much for making my birthday special by sharing the joy :) Hope you love your cup of joe! 

For the record, myself and TPA are not affiliated with Starbucks. This should works in all U.S. Starbucks retail locations.