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

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Inspire was born.

I had coffee with a friend the other day and she asked me about INSPIRE.  I starting telling her the story.  SCM Design started in 2005 as a freelance graphic design 'side job'.  At this time I was designing logos, brochures, really any random print designs that came my way.  Then one day a photographer asked if I could design an album for him.  My response was 'sure why not!?' - I LOVED designing that album.  Another photographer saw the design and asked if I could design all of their albums.  My response was an enthusiastic 'Yes!'.  The next step was invitation design. So over five years SCM evolved into an album and invitation design company.

This past May I went to The National Stationery Show in New York City.  It was invigorating, engaging, and inspiring.  I came home and said 'It is time to change the company name and re-brand'.  I had all of these ideas rushing through my head - I had to get them down on paper.  So I starting writing, didn't pick up the pen, just kept writing.  I wrote down dreams, things that I am passionate about, reasons why I love design, and the kind of business I wanted to create.  When I stepped back and read what I had written, two things jumped out - the word inspire, and God's handwriting.  Yes I was the one to use that pen, but He was the one that actually wrote it.

So INSPIRE was born.  Story to be continued...


Monday, August 1, 2011

Blown Away.

Let the blogging begin!  I intentionally wrote one blog post for the month of July.
If you missed it, here is the link:
Because this is a new blog, under a re-branded business, I wanted the purpose to be out there for awhile. The purpose being to INSPIRE EACH OTHER.

One thought was to have different people write for the blog once a week.  So I sent a facebook message to some friends, wedding professionals, family, church family, old neighbors (you get the point) and asked if anyone would be interested in sharing something that they found to be inspiring on the blog.  I was blown away by the response.  Within 30 minutes, the month of August was filled up.  Within an hour, I had weekly writers for the month of September.  So I thought, why not feature 'guest writers' twice a week!?
By the end of the weekend enough people signed up to fill August, September, and almost all of October!?!

The guest writer's submissions will be posted on Mondays and Wednesdays.
The first guest writer will be featured this Wednesday.  Trust me, you do not want to miss what this talented lady has written...

If you are interested in being a guest writer, please email me at :