I've been thinking a lot about this thought over the last week. So many conversations with others brings me to the conclusion that we spend a lot of time thinking about what others opinions of us are; we repeatedly do things in order to gain attention or acceptance from people, when in reality, their thoughts and opinions of you aren't worth the striving. 

“When you are living the best version of yourself, 
you inspire others to live the best versions of themselves.”
 --Steve Maraboli

Have you been around someone who is true to themselves, unafraid to be who they've been created to be? They seem to be so confident, courageous and beautiful. There's something so pure and intriguing about their spirit, and it's inviting and inspiring to be around. These are the kinds of people who make you want to become a better person, a better version of you. 

For too long many of us have tried to become a second-rate version of someone else, comparing and worrying about how we look, what we do, and if others will approve of us, when in reality, we should live the life God has for us, and not wait for the accolades of society. Like the quote at the beginning of this post, we should live with greatness, go forward and do things now, being truly you, and soon others will begin to take notice because it is counter-culture. For it is in discovering and living as individuals who are happy with who they are, that we allow others to begin becoming the people they've been meant to be. 

"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." 
Ephesians 2:10

Let's live greatness, walk in the life we've been designed for, and inspire others to do so as well. Accomplishing this is truly living. 

Oh Happy Day!

I'm so thrilled to be celebrating this pretty girl's graduation! 
You're so blessed, talented, fun-loving, beautiful, and God truly has great plans for
your life. It's a blessing to know you & to be your sister. 

Numbers 6:24-26-- 
"The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace."


Love Letters to the Sea

I'll often joke that I'm a mermaid at heart, but I do have to say that my love of the ocean has been a part of who I am for a very long time. There's something so beautifully wild, soothing and majestic about the sea; it's power amazes us, it's unhindered beauty leaves us in awe, and it's seemingly mysterious ways are somehow both intriguing and humbling at the same time. God's beauty truly radiates through the crashing waves, the sunset's reflection upon the water, and the draw of it's calming presence. For me, the beach has almost always been a place of solace; it's a place to think, relax and enjoy, but it's also a place of celebration for graduations, birthdays and just joy-filled days. You can't go to the beach without experiencing it's loveliness on many levels, the smell of the salty air, the sound of breakers and the sight of the sea kissing the sand.. Whether I'm on vacation, or just taking a quick trip to the island, I can't help but crave a day by the water. I think I'll always have a special place in my heart for time spent enjoying the wildness of the ocean. How about you? 

Forever Faithful

Forever faithful. Hm, I thought about that concept for awhile...what does it mean to be faithful?

The dictionary defines Faithful as,

"being steadfast in affection or allegiance, loyal, firm in adherence to promises or in observance of duty, conscientious, given with strong assurance, binding, true to the facts, to a standard, or to an original"

Joyce Meyer, one of my favorite spiritual inspirations, says, “Faithfulness is not doing something right once but doing something right over and over and over and over.”

Faithfulness is a continual process, a reoccurrence of loyalty, and a repetition of promises. This got me thinking how am I being faithful in all areas of my life? Whether it's work, with family & friends, at school, in I doing all that I can to continuously do the right thing, or to strive for excellence in all of those areas? To be honest, sometimes that can get really overwhelming. We might slip up in one area and the temptation to just give up can be strong, but faithfulness means standing strong, being steadfast and not giving up, even when things get tough or we make mistakes.

Even as we continually learn and grow through the process of defining faithfulness in our own lives, God has already defined what it means to be forever faithful. He won't pick a day or time and say, 'well, you've had your chances, you've messed up, so I'm done with you now'. He's is always there, always loves, always loyal and full of grace. Maybe you've had an unexpected situation come up in your life, or you're asking for wisdom and clarity and things just don't seem to be working the way you want, I implore you to be faithful. Don't give up now, for you can have hope because God is forever faithful, and he's at work in the midst of your life and the circumstances you find yourself in.

Psalm 33:4 says, "For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does."

While we may not be forever faithful because we are imperfect people, we can trust in a God who is forever faithful, follow his example, and grow to become more like him...being faithful in all that we do!


Pancakes & Sidewalk Chalk

This past weekend I spent a few hours helping to serve breakfast to families and play with kids who come from some challenging life situations. It was so easy to do, and really required nothing but some sidewalk chalk, imagination, hugs and bunches of sticky, syrup-covered pancakes. I made a bunch of new little friends, got covered in chalk dust and discussed homework & favorite colors. 
It got me thinking, how often do we get so wrapped up in our own schedules, to-do lists and even "ministry work" that we forget to take time to really serve & love on those in our own community?! Yikes. I know I've been pretty guilty of that. Serving others doesn't mean you have to fly to some foreign country to become a missionary, although, for some it may...but we can easily do something to help a family in need, going out of your way to contact a friend you haven't caught up with in awhile, or even making an effort to say hello to the neighbors. 
While you're doing something to bless someone else, you'll actually receive such a blessing yourself; it always amazes me to see that principle in action. John 12:26 says, "If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him." I don't know about you, but I want to be honored/remembered for being a servant, someone who goes out of their way and puts aside time to serve others. There is such joy in doing something that seemingly lacks personal benefit, but in the end reaps such blessing in both your life and the other person's. Challenge yourself to serve someone this week, whether you volunteer somewhere, do something for another, or make a phone call to encourage and uplift a person that needs it...I promise you'll be blessed because of it. 



Seaside Dinner Party

So I realized that I never posted photos of the party I hosted on the beach some time ago, and today is as good as any to chat about it. We celebrated graduation with a dinner party on the beach, in time to watch the sunset. While I must admit we got some rather strange looks while carrying out a full-on table and chair set out there, it definitely became the perfect setting to watch a summer storm come in and leave with a rainbow and gorgeous sunset in it's departure. We enjoyed a simple summer salad, a tossed vegetable pasta and a prize-winning white chocolate lime cake from The Short Giraffe. Sparkling, French pink lemonade was sipped from champagne flutes by the shoreline and we toasted to degree completion, accomplishments & many more sweet, summer evenings.

(all photos by Alyssa Shrock Photography)

Weekend Wanderings

Happy Weekend, everyone!

I don't know about you, but this week has been exceptionally busy. Midweek I was desperately craving a weekend spent by the ocean or a good pool day. While I don't see a whole lot of time to fit that in this weekend, I am planning to enjoy some time spent in the company of friends who are celebrating their completion of hard-earned degrees (can't believe it's already been a year since my grad, what?!) as well as doing some styling for girls getting ready for prom! Things are happy here :) I so hope you have a wonderful, restful weekend and I'll see you back here on Monday! Enjoy!


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