I keep saying that Creative At Heart changed my life. And I apologize if that statement has already gotten old to some of you, but I just can’t stop saying it. I promise I won’t post every day about the heart-warming, challenging, inspiring and downright awesome experience it was … but I do need to tell you something today.
Creative At Heart was “supposed” to be a 10 women workshop in my living room. It was “supposed” to be me inviting creatives of all backgrounds into my home for chai tea, conversation and inspiration. But it wasn’t. It was bigger. And better. And so much MORE.
Would that 10 person workshop in my living room been awesome? I think so! But the Lord works in mysterious ways, and my dream manifested into something I can’t quite explain but I love so much!!
See, back in August I did a follow-up mentor session with Natalie Franke. That girl. Man, she is wise beyond her years and just the person to pick you up when you’re feeling down!! I told her about my hope for a “creative at heart”; I told her about my desire to see new small business owners accepting with open arms; about how much I so desperately wanted to hang out with other wedding planners over coffee and not feel afraid of rejection; I told her how sick and tired I was of feeling alone. Of feeling like I was the only boss lady in the world who got tired, who couldn’t do it all & who felt overwhelmed and stressed out.
And, friends, in that 60 minute chat with Natalie, Creative At Heart was born. I told her I wanted to do something to make a change. I told her I was tired of complaining about feeling alone, about a lack of community, and that I wanted to DO something about it. And you know what she said? “I think you should”. 4 simple words that gave me the affirmation and courage I needed.
I got off the call and skyped with Lauren, and texted Taylor non-stop. The very next day I sent Taylor an email that radically changed our lives… I asked her to do this with me. And God bless her, she said yes!! She said “yes” to my crazy dream and together we worked our little butts off bringing it to life!!!
We launched the website in October, opened registration in November and had the conference in January. It was a WHIRLWIND. We talked about the planning every.single.day. We shared tears and laughter and I can’t image doing it with anyone else!!!!
I won’t get into the details (my full recap post is here!), but the conference rocked our worlds. We both left changed. We both left on fire. And we both left with the Lord working so deeply in our hearts…
For me, it was the first time in my entire life I felt a “burning bush”. See, I’ve never been the type of person to hear God speak clearly. Or at least, I never THINK I do!! I have always been slightly jealous of Moses because, well, he saw burning bush from the Lord and very clearly knew which path to take!! Gosh, how amazing is that?! I would always hope & pray for “burning bushes” but they never really happened… Do I think He talks to me? Absolutely. But it’s hard for me to say “well, God told me to do it”… usually I just have a desire or see a need and start working toward it. I just start moving. He will open and shut doors and direct my path. But at Creative At Heart, for the first time in my life, I felt called. I felt God say “this is why I created you; this is what I want you to do”… and I was blown away. Of course I was terrified and felt so unprepared… but I was also on fire, y’all!! I was SO EXCITED to take this little dream I had and run with it… I am SO ready for Round 2 and 3 and 4 and 25…:) Until He moves me in a different direction, I know C@H is where I am meant to be.
Taylor felt a “burning bush”, too. Only she felt it in a different way. I honestly can’t say it any better than she can, so I’m going to share directly from her blog:
During the conference, while I was watching 84 people be inspired and fired up to do big things, and having huge revelations about their businesses, I felt so out of place. Because I wasn’t. I was desperately trying. But it wasn’t coming. So I prayed and prayed to God to show me what I was missing. And all of you, the speakers, and the attendees, you gave me the courage to do that.
I remember a moment a few months after the shooting. When I was with my amazing counselor. And she posed a question to me. She asked me, “Taylor, if it weren’t for the shooting, or your injuries, or about money, what would you want to do? What do you want to do?” And I said to her ‘”I want to be a counselor. I want to help people who’ve gone through what I went through. And I want to help others the way you’ve helped me” And as I remember that moment, tears streamed down my face. Because THAT’S what I always wanted to be. And that’s why I was always trying to make my business about people first.
As I spent hours and hours praying, and being so anxious I got stress-hives (because apparently that is a real thing) because I didn’t know what was going to happen, I just waited. I couldn’t eat for days, and I hardly slept at night. I even deleted all social media off my phone and stayed off for about 3 days because I just needed quiet, and I needed to listen to Jesus and seek him without the noise of the outside world. I was in in the midst of a spiritual and emotional battle, and I was exhausted. So I waited for God to point my feet and lead me by his hand. And he did.
As I scrolled aimlessly through the internet, an ad popped up. For a Master’s in Counseling Degree Program. The one I always wanted to apply to. The one I decided I could never apply to because that was pre-shooting Taylor’s dream. And boy, I sobbed. I sobbed hard. And my husband walked through the door and asked me what was wrong. And it all just came out “I want to be a counselor. I want to help people who’ve gone through what I’ve been through. That’s what I want to do. That’s what I NEED to be doing” And he said, in the sweetest way possible. “Well you can do that! Let’s do that!” And like that, God lifted a 10 ton weight off my shoulders. And in that moment, I felt that peace. That peace where you know that God is putting you right where you need to be. A peace that surpasses all understanding. Because deep deep down, my HUGE dream that I’m scared to talk about, is to set up a support network for victims of senseless violence, specifically school shootings. There’s NOTHING. Nada. I know because when I needed it, it didn’t exist. And it still doesn’t. And I still need it. I think it’s probably because people don’t want to start one because people just hope this stuff won’t keep happening. And then it does, again and again, and there’s no way for us to support each other. Which is about all I want to do when news of a shooting pops up on my newsfeed.
So then I reached out to my friend, sister in Christ, and partner in crime, Kat. And with a burdened and heavy heart I told her what God had been doing in my life. And guys, she supported me, and encouraged me and together we talked about what this would mean for Creative at Heart. There were lots of tears and laughter, but mostly joy. Because deep down we knew that THIS was why we formed Creative at Heart in the first place – to inspire people to dream big and be confident enough to pursue those dreams. And we knew that I just became living proof of that.
Because without this conference, without this friend, without the support of this COMMUNITY, I NEVER would have had the courage to step out and do this. I never ever would have been confident enough, or brave enough to tell myself that I deserve to be able to pursue MY dream. I lost that courage awhile ago. But I didn’t have to do it by myself. Because I had a community of 84 other people tell me that I was good enough. That I am good enough. And that I’m worthy of dreaming big dreams and doing big things. (read her full post here)
Friends. THIS. Her. I am speechless and so, so proud of her. I am SO honored to have walked through even just a little bit of life with this girl. She is truly the BRAVEST girl I know. She is FULL of courage, and she has so much faith… the kind of faith that moves mountains. She has been my rock, my source of sarcastic laughter and the only women in the world I would have wanted to start Creative At Heart with! I can’t tell you how grateful I am for all of her dedication the last few months, and for believing in me and chasing this crazy dream together.
She has so much heart. So much love. So much to give.I can’t tell you how excited I am to watch the Lord help her make these big dreams come true!
So what now? What about Creative? Gosh, friends, He really blessing that, too… Taylor and I have thought and prayed so much the last 2 weeks, and it is so clear that He is directing our path. While we do not promote this conference to be “faith-based”, because of our love & faith in Him, we do let Him guide & lead our steps. We are BLOWN AWAY at the direction He is taking C@H… and while change is always bittersweet, we feel so at peace, so joyful and we know this direction is the right one to take.
We are SO blessed to have an amazing team of ladies (who would have thought – a whole team!) who believe in this movement, who want to watch it succeed and who love it just as much as we do!!! I can’t wait to introduce you to the women who joined the C@H Team, and I’m so excited that for the time being, Taylor has taken over her new role of Web & Design Director! Friends… I’d say the updated website is pretty incredible!!! I am so happy that she will be working on all the gorgeous design pieces for March and keeping our web page fresh & new!
While this change is bittersweet, it is also SO GOOD, and so much bigger than we ever thought possible. I am blessed to call Taylor one of my very best friends, and can’t wait to see the AMAZING things she accomplishes this year (hello, grad school!)! I am eternally grateful that she believed in me enough to help get this movement off the ground, because it would not have been possible without her. I am humbled and excited by the direction we have taken, and know it’s going to keep growing and changing and moving into something incredible. This really is much, much bigger than Taylor and I… It’s about ALL of YOU. Every single one. And I can’t wait to see it continue…