Monday, December 19, 2011

Inspire Smart Success

Two weeks ago I went to an event that changed my life & has forever changed my business.
The Inspire Smart Success Experience in Riviera Maya, Mexico.

Before going, I described it as a conference for wedding professionals.
Today I will describe it as a true EXPERIENCE for wedding professionals.
Their mission statement "Inspiring small business owners to think smart
on their journey to success" really sums it up beautifully.
I came home with a notebook FULL of motivational messages, practical business tips,
and inspiring ideas.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Be who you are.
• "Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." -Oscar Wilde
• Have a distinct style, find your niche, be a trend-setter.
Dream Big!
• You can be ANYTHING you want to be.
Never give up. Keep going.
• Try and try again!
• Be willing to work harder than you ever have before.
Educate yourself.
• Know EVERYTHING there is to know about your business.
• Set  S.M.A.R.T goals:
specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-based goals.
Get the right people to support you.
• "Letting go of negative people doesn't mean you hate them,
it just means that you love yourself."
• Be vulnerable, reach out to people.
Have faith.
• "A man's gift makes room for him" Proverbs 18:16
• Faith is the only thing that will get you through the tough times
and will show you your limitations.
Give back.
• "You have not lived today until you have done something for someone
who can never repay you." - John Bunyan

I will post more as I begin implementing some of the practical aspects.
In the mean time, check out this video from Epic Motion

Monday, November 7, 2011

His Will

Imagine a beautiful butterfly dipping down and landing on your hand.
You could grab it and hold it tight, but what good would that be?
How much better to open your hand and let it soar off.
When we say goodbye to our disappointments, we are opening our hands and
letting the disappointments go. We are letting God do His will in our lives.
~Jan & David Stoop "Saying Goodbye to Disappointments"

Monday, October 3, 2011

Todays Season

I love this photo. It’s probably one of my favorites to date.

That’s my Grandpap about five years ago on one of his many East Coast road trips.
Not long after this photo was taken, he passed away at 75 years young while riding
his Harley back home from a day out with friends. He thought that ride would
simply be his last of the season.

A few days ago, on the forth anniversary of his passing, I began to think about what
I may be like when I (God-willing) make it to 75 years old too. Will I have the body,
mind and spirit to still do the things that I love to do with those that I love?

I will be 30 (gulp) in less than two months and can’t believe where the years have
gone. And while I have accomplished a number of things that I am proud of, I want
more. Heck, doesn’t everyone?

I notice that I worry more now about my future than I ever have before.
As a planner, my instinct to well, plan and try and control as many variables as
possible. And as much as I know that ultimately I am not the one in control, I still
fight very hard to be at least a close second.

This photo reminds and inspires me to let go of my planner instincts and embrace
my sometimes hard to find carefree spirit. To open my arms to the wind, and let my
heart do the talking. To not take advantage of today and not get too wrapped up in
what ifs of tomorrow.

To enjoy my season until my riding days are done.

~ Anne Markey is owner of Favor Me Events, an event planning company
based in Charlotte, NC

Monday, September 26, 2011

What If Everyone

The vision of What If Everyone is to inspire people to serve humanity.
(I LOVE this powerful statement!)
The mission is to create opportunities for people to serve their community
in practical ways. 
The strategy is two fold:
1. To partner with organizations, non-profits and churches that want to impact their community & organize citywide serve days.
2. To be a resource for individuals who desire to serve their community.

We have participated in WIE for the past two years. 
These experiences have changed our perspectives, molded our hearts,
and have given us the desire to make a difference in our city.
The next What If Everyone serve day is SATURDAY, OCTOBER 8th. to sign up for a project today!
~ Brad & Stephanie

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Today, I was inspired by an amazing woman.  I was curled up in the sofa sipping hot tea with my mother-in-law, when I asked her what I thought was a relatively straightforward question. 

“Amiji (Mother in Urdu), how old were you when your mother died?” I asked.
She stared into her mug thinking for a moment, and then said in her broken English, “After my first period, then she died.”  

Things started to make sense then.  Like a few days prior when I was filling out a job application for her and I asked her how old she was.  She shrugged her shoulders slightly while mumbling something about looking at her passport to find out.   Balques was born and raised as a Muslim in Lahore, Pakistan.  She had not been allowed to go to school because her family did not believe it was important for girls to receive an education.   So she begged her uncle to teach her to read and write. 

And here we were, sitting in my den enjoying our hot tea together as I began to have a glimpse of a little girl, born around the same time Pakistan became an independent country from British India. She was eager to learn, one of 5 kids growing up.  One day her mother went to the hospital for surgery, and she never came home.  A few weeks later her grandmother showed up from the village to teach Balques how to cook and clean and take care of the household.   Her father, a mechanic by trade, was a good man who loved his family, but he had to work hard to provide for them.  He never remarried.  When Balques was 18 (she only knew this, she told me, because that is what was written on her marriage license), she entered into an arranged marriage. 

The other day she said she wants to learn to read English better so she can read her grandson a bed time story.  Everything in her life is done for others – she is the epitome of sacrificial living.   The more time we spend together, the more I am burdened with a sadness of the heartache she has endured, losing her mother at a young age, the marriage that was not the romantic fairy tale of which so many girls dream.  Leaving everything she knew to move to a foreign country to be with her kids.  I wanted to delve in to her memories, to taste and smell the town she grew up in, to see her parents as she remembered them, to get a glimpse of the life of a young Pakistani girl who would come to influence my life in ways I never could have imagined.  I wanted to hold that small, lonely girl who had lost her mother, to hug her and give her a word of hope and encouragement. 

But now I just sit there, across from the women she became, strong, resilient, determined; sipping tea, asking a question here or there.  “What did you do while you lived with your husband’s family?”  “I took care of the house.  And I played.  I loved to jump rope,” she laughed, with a mischievous grin, probably imagining herself at 18, married, playing games and wondering when her husband would return from Kuwait.  “But once I was pregnant, my auntie told me I had to stop jumping rope.” 
That one comment made me realize that behind the broken English and the head covering was an amazing woman whose life reminds me to appreciate my own childhood, my loving parents, my education, my husband, kids, beautiful home, fulfilling ministry, freedom, and every little detail of life that I tend to take for granted.    

~Ashley Fazal
Ashley is the driving force behind What If Everyone.  The concept being: What If Everyone did something to help their community?  The next WIE is coming up on Saturday, OCTOBER 8th!  Go online to sign up for a project now.  (You won't be sorry, it's an incredible experience!!)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Savor: Delight in, Enjoy

To savor means to delight in, to enjoy.  I’ve been thinking about this word a lot lately.  When I first heard the word I immediately thought of the last scrumptious thing that hit my tongue, which is usually sushi or chocolate.  But can’t we savor more than food?  Don’t get me wrong.  I love a fantastic meal and a great glass of wine.  And I savor them both.  But, shouldn’t we savor more aspects of our complex lives?  For example, recently my heart was overcome with joy seeing a service dog in training.  There was something about that innocent pup learning to harness his future purpose that warmed my heart to its core.  I stopped and savored the moment watching the trainer and trainee walk together as one.  This morning I carved out 90 minutes to enjoy the crisp fall air.  Hot cup of tea in hand, a soft blanket and a new book I’ve been trying to start reading for the past 3 weeks; I got cozy.  For those of us who are married I also think it’s important to savor the good bye kiss we give our significant other when we part.  If you don’t do this, you should!  You never know when that kiss might be the last kiss you share.  Even in sadness, there are special moments to savor such as the expression of forgiveness and the end of pain.  Often I savor the memory I have of massaging my grandfather’s feet as he lay in his hospital bed the day before he died.  I was never closer to my grandfather than at that time.  Sarah Young wrote, “Fantasizing about future happiness will never bring fulfillment, because fantasy is unreality.”  What do you need to savor today?

~ Shayne Buchanan

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fast Forward…Rewind…Play!

Ever get the feeling life is whizzing by so fast you can hardly keep your head straight?  I mean I remember my 13th birthday and how I made plans to conquer the world by 25.  I remember being 25 thinking – “Wow 30 is just around the corner!” I remember my 35th birthday which was probably the year I decided to stop looking at age as a number and just enjoy the days I’ve been given and the people put in my path.

That being said – my life right now with a husband, a 4-year old and a 9-month old – could not be more frenetic.  Sometimes I have to force myself to sit and grab a few minutes of “me” time.  This is when I realize that now is the best part of my life and I get a renewed sense of gratitude to God for blessing me with the family I always wanted.It took a lot for me to get here.  Lots of hurdles, tragedies and drama from my past have molded and shaped me into the person I am today. I can now look back and say that I am thankful for each valley I had to struggle through to get to the top of the mountain. I am thankful for all the nurturing relationships in my life and most of all thankful to God for never forsaking me even when I was rebellious.

I love my life.  I love my family and friends. Most of all – I am so grateful for every day that I can share with them. No matter where your life is at right now, know that every situation happens as a learning tool. Once you’ve learned your lesson – then you will move along to the next chapter. Your life is like a book – enjoy the adventure!

~ Debi Adam is owner of SignPost, Inc.

If you need help developing your business with social media networking she is the lady to talk to!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Woman at the Well

She woke up in the late morning with stiff legs. Her body was too young for such aches. She examined the bruises and concluded that they felt worse than they looked.  She had become accustomed to avoiding others as diminutive village life was convenient for memorizing the comings and goings of the good, the holy, and the predictable.  However, children were far less predictable and quick to throw stones when opportunity – her presence – transpired.

A rumbling snore and then a sigh escaped the man laying next to her.  It was neither the worst nor the best arrangement she had ever compromised to live in. Nothing could rouse him after a long night of nursing wine. With the exception of bedding her, he was difficult to rouse in all manners of life which made him easy to live with.  She safely existed in the knowledge that his emotions towards her were superficial as the years had gently aged her.  Leather workers were all about what they could experience with their hands.

Daylight seeped through the shabby muslin curtains in the cool earth hut.  Gossiping voices, children playing, and footsteps moving quickly on packed dirt echoed from the narrow street.  A mere wall stood between her and them as provincial life hustled and bustled beyond. She justified keeping the wooden shutters closed in anticipation of the days rising heat swelling the air.

An unmarried woman who paid the rent with her body was not above female household duties.  Domesticity was a meal ticket. She pulled the brown stiff curtain that separated the bedroom from the kitchen in the modest one room house. Busying herself with preparing food, sweeping, and tidying could be accomplished in the morning; however, washing clothes and the remaining dishes would have to wait until the scorching midday sun pushed her neighbors back into their shady dwellings.

“How did I get here?” She seldom asked herself this. Such simple questions never hold simple answers.  Pain is an impossible emotion to feel when numbness consumes the body. Beyond questions, beyond anger, and far beyond the years that lead to this moment, she was a childless woman with five ex-husbands, a string of lovers, no religion, and little hope of salvation.

Finally, the world outside went quiet.  Wrapping the long scarf around her head, she picked up the clay water jug.  The street was abandoned when she shut the door behind. Her skin felt like it was baking underneath her clothes as beads of sweat dappled her hairline. Forlorn solitude was the only solace that her journey would be uneventful. Women did not like to share water with the unclean.

The hot blistering sun battered the earth making the air wave like water. The mirage made the well appear to be swaying in the distance as if to beckon her forward. With a parched throat and dry mouth, thirst consumed her every thought. A promise of a cool drink made the distance between her and the well seemed much further than it was.

Her eyes began to focus more clearly with each step drawing her closer to the well.  Her heart sank. She expected to be alone. There was a man.

John 4: 1-42

~ Elena Michel is the owner Second Eden Studio. They offer sustainable consultancy and design.

Monday, September 5, 2011


I have been racking my brain for a while to think of what in the whole world inspires me.  What is it, more than anything, that gets me going.  I thought through most every spectrum of my life to think of a common thread that ties the all together.  Finally I got it: potential.

By trade, I’m a wife, mother, crafter, runner, community organizer.  Throughout each of the things I’m involved with, something has to keep me going.  Because I don’t have a boss hanging over my head or a time clock to punch in to, the responsibility of staying inspired daily lies on my shoulders.  

My husband makes fun of me often, as a good husband should.  Just yesterday, he rolled his eyes and got borderline mad when I told him that yes, I did, in fact, want to keep the Trader Joe’s bags.  He let me keep 1, oh gracious soul that he is.  As I was driving around town Saturday, I passed, as we all do, a pile of supposed junk on the side of the road.  I stopped and found something I’d been looking for for a while: a low coffee table (though I was not necessarily looking for one covered in old wall paper and dirt).  At The Free Store, one of the most inspiring places I’ve been, I happened upon an old bulletin board and happily toted it home with me.  Nothing special about it, just thought it might be useful.

Are you following me here?  All these things are trash.  Seriously.  They are.  Things that people discard in some way or another.  What I love about these things, however, is that they hold such great potential.  The Trader Joe’s bag (notice it is singular) will become wrapping paper.  The old coffee table- a train table for my little guy.  The bulletin board- a colorful and exciting to-do list so I can keep myself organized and, well, inspired to keep going.

And as people, aren’t we all that way?  We often feel discarded.  We go through relationships and feel beaten down.  We throw things away and wait on the city to come pick them up.  It’s not until we change our perspective that suddenly even the most mundane situations/items/seasons of life can become beautiful again.  Marriage is challenging but is made beautiful by the potential of what could be.  Parenting is hard, but is made beautiful by the potential of who our children will become.  Running can indeed be boring until we realize how far we’ve come.  Thankfully, we have not been forgotten.  We have a God that senses that same potential in each of us.  My hope is to transfer that hope into something tangible, something hopeful, something to be a reminder of the good people are capable of.

~Liz Eagle

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Thoughts from a new mama...

When I first started thinking about what I would write for this blog I was so excited! This kind of thing is right up my alley. I had several "inspired" tidbits that I was eager to share with you faithful readers!  I was confident that something I wrote would be as inspiring to you as it was to me.

Fast forward several weeks and you'll find me a new mama to a sweet baby girl named Clara.  You'll also find me a little frumpy, a tad anxious, and a whole lot less inspired.  You see with the birth of a baby girl came the death of a rather selfish, worldly woman. As much as I love my Clara I am mourning the lady I once was.  

The old me would have written and told you all about some local eatery serving something delicious you should try.  I love restaurants, food, and all things culinary.  However, I can barely find time to make a sandwich let alone research the newest Charlotte hotspot.

The old me would have told you all about some fun fall fashion I saw in the recent InStyle.  I love clothes, fashion, and a good shopping spree.  However, I am behind the times and wear my pajamas a whole lot more than I'd like to admit.

The old me might have even told you about some incredible sermon that you should check out via podcast.  I love listening to pastors and learning about God's word.  However, right now, I'm talking to Jesus a whole lot more listening to things about Him.

You see the new me has a little girl.  A little girl that will one day grow up to be a woman.  When I get dressed, I think about her.  When I watch a movie, I think about her.  When I speak to my husband, I think about her.  While she may not be watching and listening now  she will be.  She will be a sponge soaking up my words, my decisions, my every move.  With that said I'm vowing today to live a life that will inspire my daughter, so that she, in turn will inspire the world. 

~Jennifer Patnode

Monday, August 29, 2011

Trust God

….Why do I always doubt, worry and panic when situations don’t go the way I planned? Why do I put myself down and doubt my decisions? Why do I always look to other people for answers and reassurance instead of God? Why do I fear that God won’t take care of me and my family?
I quit my full-time job as the cook at Gateway Academy. I had an opportunity to work with my dad three days a week. That was a hard decision for me to make. My dad and I have not had the best relationship. There were many factors putting a strain on our relationship over the years …step-mom, step-sister, drama, hurt… and holding on to anger and unforgiveness especially. But since I have been praying for God to mend our relationship for 4 ½ years, I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to be with my dad. It was a leap of faith. I felt like it was RIGHT, like God was answering my prayers. I gave my notice to my boss on July 7th. Then on Sunday July 10th, guest pastor Derek Turner spoke at Mosaic. He gave his powerful testimony which impacted me. Philippians 3:13 says “ No, dear brothers and sisters I have not achieved it, but I focus on this ONE THING: forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.” GOD MEANT FOR ME TO HEAR THIS!! I cried hard during that service, thanking God the whole time for giving me this scripture and giving me my dad. …forget the past…look forward to what lies ahead…perfect timing, 3 days after I made the decision to work with my dad!
Unfortunately, the 3 day job has not worked out yet. 22 days later and I am still waiting. I’ve worked a few days but not enough. So here comes my doubts and panic! I need income! I need to work! I thought this was the right thing to do! So then I watch a Joyce Meyer sermon and she said… to STOP DOUBTING YOUR DOUBT! Aww thanks Joyce! See, God keeps reassuring me that I will be ok by giving me scripture…actually…smacking me in the face with the scripture He wants me to hear.
Things keep working out…over and over again. During all my worrying about money, I got a surprise refund check in the mail last week. That money will more than pay for the work I’ve missed this month, and maybe even cover me until the end of September!
Another Gateway Academy needs my help this week because they don’t have a cook. I can cook lunch and maybe help train the new cook they hire. It just worked out perfect because I don’t have any work with my dad.
I get to help a good friend’s mom clean her house while she is going through chemo. She wants me to do it. She trusts me. ….and I get to spend time with her! I am very happy about that.
So the lesson I’ve learned in the past month is….we just have to TRUST GOD. Stop doubting. Stop worrying. Stop panicing. Stop looking for reassurance from other people - go to God. I believe GOD WILL TAKE CARE OF ME AND MY FAMILY!!!
~ Brianna McCarthy

Friday, August 26, 2011

What I want to be when I grow up

You wanna know a not-so-well-kept secret? I'm turning 30 tomorrow. General consensus is that thirty is a big deal. Personally, the number doesn't bother me at all. In fact, I can't understand people who get their britches all in a wad over getting older. In my opinion, getting older is far superior to the alternative. However, I will say that I don't feel thirty. Admittedly, I don't know what thirty is supposed to feel like. But I can say this for certain, my life is not what I imagined it would be like when I was a little girl daydreaming of being 'all grown up.' Or more accurately, I suppose, I am not the person I thought I would be at thirty.
So, what did I picture... In a nutshell: Independently wealthy (of course!), living in a big white house with a huge wrap-around porch on a large farm where I'd grow my own fruits and vegetables and raise cows, chickens, pigs and a house full of kids. I'd spend my days Martha Stewart-ing it up in a perfectly pressed, never messy, ruffled apron. I'd make all of our food from scratch, hand-sew my childrens' clothing, and no scrapbook, photo album or other memento would be left undone. There would be plenty of time for running and playing with my kids all afternoon and then rocking them to sleep at night because, in this fairy tale life, a maid takes care of the dishes, laundry and house cleaning. And on the weekends, my husband and I would go jet-setting to exotic, far off locations - kids in-tow.
As it turns out though, I am not Superwoman and Mother Earth incarnate rolled into one. In reality, my days are spent trying to keep mounds of dirty laundry from overtaking my house and devouring my children. I do dishes one-handed with my baby daughter on my hip, ripping out chunks of my hair and trying to take my ear off my head by force, while my 2 1/2 year old son literally crawls in to the dishwasher. In the midst of cooking and cleaning and caring for kids, I desperately try to squeeze in playdates to keep the kids from being socially stunted, learning activities to expand their little brains, and arts and crafts so they're well-rounded. This is all done on too little sleep and too much caffeine. In the evening, as soon as my husband gets home from work, I race out the door to go to work myself, exchanging getting to put the kids to bed at night for being home with them during the day and not having to put them in daycare. As for 'jet-setting,' our last trip was to Vermont to visit my husband's family. My husband and I bravely traversed the airport with our small children - him with bags and carseats strapped to his back as I tried to navigate the crowds with a cumbersome double stroller brimming over with diaper bags, stuffies and babies, leaving a trail of Cheerios in my wake.
I am not the person I imagined I would be all those years ago while daydreaming about "When I grow up..." Its easy for me to look at my life and myself and point out all of my shortfalls. But, when I look at my kids I try to see myself the way they see me. Their little smiles show that they love me unconditionally. In their eyes I may as well have hung the moon and stars. My son doesn't care that I didn't make him blueberry muffins from scratch for breakfast or that we're having peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch for the third time in one week. All he wants is for me to sit on the floor and play blocks with him or chase him around acting like the Tickle Monster. And my daughter doesn't care that she's wearing hand-me-downs rather than a dress hand-sewn by me. She just wants me to hold her, and hug her, and give her kisses.
While I was writing this I saw a quote (I stopped for a Pinterest break!) that said "People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be." Absolute truth! And I have every reason in the world to be happy... A good husband, happy and healthy children, a roof over my head and food on the table. As for all that other stuff, in the words of Tim McGraw, maybe in my next thirty years.
Bree Eastman, 30 (almost), wife, mother, amateur writer, aspiring entrepreneur, and domestic goddess at heart

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Unknown

The "unknown" is many things...hopeful, scary, exhilarating, empowering, daunting, etc.  As an entrepreneur, nothing inspires and excites me more than being around others that have the drive and faith to make things happen in their life.  I strongly believe in the bible verse "I can do all things through Christ, which strengthen me." Philippians 4:13.
With this at the forefront of my actions it allows me the courage to dream big, think big and do big.  Not everything has been a success or will be a success, but it starts with that infinite possibility of what can be.   
Live on the hopeful and exhilarating side of the "unknown"! It makes your accomplishments that much worthwhile. 

~ Carla Eustache

Carla is the owner of Style Perfect Weddings and Events

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

It's that time again...

It’s the middle of August and we all know what that means.  Whether you have kids or not, the signs are everywhere.

As a teacher, I’m relishing in these last few days of freedom, filling my time with sleeping in, my pajamas and doing anything I think of, just because I can.  Yet, while I lay on the couch with my coffee, watching the Kardashian marathon that I’ve already seen twice, the Back-to-School commercials do draw me in.  Target has the market cornered this year with the PE teacher who requires a jump drive for physical activity, the music teacher in love with his {likely stonewashed} denim and the second grade teacher who can’t wait to introduce her new friends, the fractions.  She’s my personal favorite although I can’t believe I wasn’t cast for the job.  {So much glitter!}

Going back to school gets me as excited as the children.  I love setting up my classroom and making changes to last year’s floor plan, optimizing space and getting more and more organized.  I’ve already spent multiple six-hour days standing in the middle of my classroom, anticipating what’s to come as I set up new learning areas and bring in new activities that I’ve worked on all summer.  It’s really all about optimizing what I have so when I meet my new little ones in a few days, I’ll be ready to give all that they need.  The potential of a new year and a new start overwhelms me with emotion as I’m thrilled for them to come while also nervous of making the same mistakes or not seeing these little people for who they truly are.

Then it hit me as if God himself had scrawled it on the board in bright red Crayola.

This is what He wants for me every day.

This is what He wants for us every day.  Each day is a new beginning where we can forget yesterday’s mistakes and misspoken words, stop dwelling on the failures we blame ourselves for and move forward, head held high with the anticipation of what’s to come.  Going back to school already fills me with hope and a sense of invincibility that I can do anything, teach anything and love these precious lives into the beginnings of great people.  Allowing myself to feel the same fresh start with each new morning takes a mind adjustment but once you’re able to see yourself through God’s loving eyes of forgiveness each and every day…man, is it freeing.

With that, I’m off to the classroom to soak in my space and see if I can’t make some of that newness stick around longer with pink glitter glue.  Then again, it is only 9:30 so I suppose I could work on my blog and scour Pinterest for things to imitate.  But after that I’ll go.  I can DVR the Kardashians anyway.

~ Kristin Young
Kindergarten teacher at Mountain Island Elementary

Monday, August 15, 2011

Birds, Birds, Birds

6:45 am - My peaceful sleep crashes into the reality of life as the alarm clock goes off and instantly I begin going through the day in my mind…

“What will I make for  lunch today?”

“Did we pay the water bill yesterday?”

“What am I going to wear?”

“What time is the meeting with the sales rep tomorrow?”

“What am I going to write for this blog post?”

“Why… What…..When……..How…?”

Then I hear those little creatures outside my bedroom window chirping away not a care in the world. 

I love birds always have and probably always will. Fat ones tiny ones, blue and brown ones, I love them all! Our house (and yard) is littered with bird houses and figurines. 
I love to watch them hop, play and cheep at each other.  I know that birds have become a current fad, but for me they remind me of how vast God’s love is for us.

“Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God.  And you count far more to him than birds.” Matthew 6:26 (The Message)

We all face many obstacles every day and “Casting our cares upon Him” can be challenging as we fight for control.  But doesn’t it feel amazing when you are “carefree in the care of God?”  Things don’t seem quite as difficult when our focus is on Him.   Can you imagine if all those little birds were worrying about where their next meal was coming from or how they were going to make rent on their birdhouse?  But they don’t have to and neither do we.  We have the freedom to let God take care of us.  “…but your heavenly father knows all that you need.” (Matthew 6:32 NLT)

So the next time you admire a feathered friend at your birdfeeder remember how incredibly loved you are and let go of the worries of this life. 

Let’s fly away!

~Jennifer Cashel

Friday, August 12, 2011

What inspired us this week.

There are so many talented people involved in this next post... I just love it!!

Back in February I was having coffee with Critsey Rowe and she mentioned Ceci New York, a design studio in Manhattan. Ceci's work is beyond incredible, unique, and simply stunning! They publish a weekly online magazine called Ceci Style.
You can subscribe for free HERE!

Well a couple of my favorite Charlotte vendors were featured in Ceci Style this week!
Click here for the full feature

Ivy Robinson styled this breathtaking beach table scape.
Lucy Parker Photography took these gorgeous images.

I still can not get over how much I love this color palette.
Blue skies, tan beaches, mahogany table, in contrast with the bright pink
and lime green.... L.O.V.E.

Lucy Parker Photography

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My Dirty Thirty List

So a year ago, I was turning 30 and for a lot of people that is an age of crossing over into full adulthood. Many people feel the need to have accomplished something by this age, whether it be getting married, having babies, buying a house, finally finding their life-long career, etc. Even though I had not accomplished any of these things, I was okay with it. But I did want to shake up things in my routine life and decided I needed to do something big to celebrate. I always hear people saying things that they want to do one day like go sky diving, but they hardly ever do it. Then the idea popped into my brain: What better way to feel fully alive than to create a bucket list of 30 things and, here’s the kicker, only give myself one year to accomplish the whole list?

Using the list as an incentive made me do many things that I had been putting off and helped me discover new talents and hobbies. For instance, I now call myself a knitter, I donate blood, and I mentor a child. Lack of funds also made me more creative which led to ideas such as drinking peanuts in coca- cola, being blond for a day, or sending a message in a bottle. And now that I am 31, I find myself still adding to the list. Just last month I took a martial arts class, attended a lock and key dating party, and attempted to sell my crafts at the NODA art crawl. Once you turn your brain on to pay attention to all the possibilities around you, it is hard to turn it off. The next time someone suggests a new experience, instead of immediately thinking of all the excuses and obstacles, say with a shrug, “Well, why not?” I’d venture to say that you’ll be pleasantly surprised where this attitude will lead you.

I encourage everyone to try their own list and you’ll be amazed how much fun you have. Life is full of so many adventures and opportunities, that it is just a matter getting motivated! Give yourself something new to look forward to each month, each week, or even each day. What are some of your ideas for your list?

Side note: If you are looking for inspiration in finding joy in the simple things of life, check out this colorful and creative blog that I came across…

~ Julie Glaser

Monday, August 8, 2011

Charlotte Bridal Showcase

Thank you Carolina Weddings & Events for another AMAZING Bridal Showcase!!!  
This was the first show we've done since the launch of Inspire.
It was so much fun to create a booth design that reflected our new look!

We enjoyed seeing some of our favorite wedding vendors at the show:
Thank you for the white linens Connie Duglin!

Below are a few photos from the show.  What do you think!?

Friday, August 5, 2011

What Inspired Us This Week

I have to tell you about my new obsession.
Have you heard about this amazing website?  If not, you must check it out.

So what is Pinterest?  It is a Virtual Pinboard.

(Here is the website description)
Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes. Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.

This website is wonderful, you must go to it right now, but I warn you... it is highly addictive. 

Here are a few boards and pins:  

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


That’s my word for this season of life.

Because while I give my best effort each day to have a clean house, offer healthy
meals, provide moral instruction, look sharp, be smart, and meet the needs of everyone
around me….it will never be enough. Ever.

And that needs to be Okay.

If you’re like me, you may suffer from the occasional sickness of “Comparison-itis”. It’s a
contact virus, just like the flu. You get it when you walk into your friend’s home and
think, “Wow her house is cleaner / prettier / more organized than mine…” Or when
you’re around that female who is ALWAYS put together and has the most stylish
clothes / jewelry / shoes / makeup / hair. Or you talk to that fellow Mom who is so
knowledgable about homeschooling / cloth diapering / organic gardening / couponing /
missional living / etc. and you feel your stomach flood with the sickening feeling that you
aren’t doing enough. You should do more. You should know more. You should BE

Well I have a confession to make…I struggle with being imperfect on a daily basis.
Okay, sometimes it’s hourly.

So my take-away from this realization is this: There will always be someone in your life
who is prettier / smarter / skinnier / more stylish / has more money / insert-other-
accomplishment-that-drives-you-nuts here. ALWAYS. And that’s okay because the world
doesn’t need TWO of those people! It needs YOU for who YOU are, imperfections and
all. It needs you to find your calling in life and operate to the max in your sweet spot. It
needs YOU to be the WORLD CHANGER you were created to be.

So rather than beat yourself up for being imperfect, which, by the way, is the how the
good Lord made us (ALL of us)...Go ahead and be perfect. Yes, you read it right.


Or rather, be perfectly amazing….at something. Don’t do yourself the injustice of trying
to be the best at EVERYTHING. Find your strength, master it, and then offer it to the

Today stop dwelling on your imperfections! Instead, think about how awesome it is that
YOU are an expert when it comes to ______________. And then offer that strength and
expertise to everyone you meet.

Hi, my name is Carrie. I’m imperfect…and I’m okay with that.

Now it’s your turn.

Carrie Jacobs Davis is a freelance artist, photographer, and writer. She and her husband Nate live with their three children in Charleston, SC where they are pursuing a new ministry in sustainable organic farming. You can read more about their adventures at and