recently featured: irrelephant

about a month ago, i had the honor of collaborating with the wonderful joanna ballentine and molly stilley of irrelephant. they were creating a inspirational shoot for a non-traditional thanksgiving table and i was able to hand-letter a menu and placecards. the incredibly talented ginny au styled the shoot and the table was rustic, simple and a beautiful option for the holiday season.

below are a few images of both the place cards and menu, and a few shots from joanna of the day. head on over here to see the rest of the shoot for yourself. thanks so much to all the ladies for the chance to be involved in such a fun shoot!

recently featured: irrelephant recently featured: irrelephant

recently featured: irrelephant

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inspiration: thanksgiving favor idea

for me, the special moments of the holiday season are always captured in the smallest details. i styled a simple place setting consisting of copper, kraft, and cranberry. this look is simplistic but full of texture. a kraft paper roll (like the one below) could be woven through pumpkins or other decor to mark place cards for each guest.

this year, i was inspired to create individual favors for each guest to take home. mulled cider is a popular drink of choice during the holidays, and this favor idea has everything that they would need packed in a small muslin bag to make their own warm beverage this season.

to make your own mulling spices here’s what you’ll need:
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon allspice berries
1 teaspoon whole cloves
2 whole star anise (optional)
cardamom pods (optional)

to make cider, break up the larger spices, place them all in a cheesecloth pouch. pour 2 quarts of apple cider into a pot. add 4 strips of lemon or orange zest and the spice mixture and heat until warm enough to serve.

warmest wishes to your family this thanksgiving.

thanksgiving favor idea thanksgiving favor idea thanksgiving favor idea thanksgiving favor idea

out of desolation

out of desolation

some words seem to be magnified in different seasons. for me, in this season, the word that i seem to be circling back to is barrenness or desolation.

the Lord responds to barrenness. we see it with sarai in genesis 16, rachel, hannah and more throughout the old testament where the Lord chooses to open the barren womb of these women and allow them to conceive. not only does this word describe these women and their condition, but many times the word is also used to describe israel’s condition, especially in isaiah. in chapter 51, verse 3, it says, “the Lord will comfort Israel again and have pity on her ruins. Her desert will blossom like Eden, her barren wilderness like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found there. Songs of thanksgiving will fill the air.”

the unimaginable happens in this verse. the Lord sees the desolation and fruitlessness of the desert and barren places and desires to restore them back to beauty and life, not only that, but as one writer states, His intention is “to restore the waste places of Judea to more than their former beauty and prosperity.” only He could take what is considered to be lifeless and unable to reproduce, and bring more than even physically possible from the sterile ground.

desolation can lead to desperation in the heart of one who longs to see the newness of growth. it is in these times that we must, i must, choose to cling to the author of all our seasons. the ones where winter seems to stay and no budding of the trees seems present. desperation can birth trouble, as in the story of sarai. instead of trusting in the promise that she would give birth (even in her old age), she chose to take matters into her own hands. the result was ishmael and much bitterness towards the one who was able to do what she could not, hagar (genesis 16). the same can be said of rachel (genesis 30). both women, did conceive. in the time He chose was appropriate. His word came through, as it always has and always will.

may we learn something from these women. may we follow a path of choosing to trust in His words and character. may we instead allow our desperation to lead us to a place of submission, of our own will and desires, to the One who gave us the promise. may our choice be one of surrendering. foregoing our timeline and what we think should happen and instead trusting the times of desolation will result in beauty, joy and gladness, in the appropriate time. His time.

in isaiah 54:1, it says “Sing, O barren one, you who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who did not travail with child! For the children of the desolate one will be more than the children of the married wife, says the Lord.”

may we trust His words and plans for us, and that His care for our hearts is unlike any other. may we choose to wait and endure the barren times to see what beauty He will bring forth and restore unto us. for it will be more than we can even imagine.

the practice of recording blessings

this word, originally from the greek language, literally means, to give thanks. i didn’t know much about this word until a year or so ago when i picked up ann voskamp’s book, one thousand gifts. a book that i read with a group of dear women that i walked alongside for a season, this book and this one simple word, began to re-define so many of my thoughts on what being thankful looked like.

although it is a simple word, it is not an easy word. to give thanks in the midst of all circumstances does not always feel desirable or good at times, yet, in doing this, even in the midst of hardship, i’ve found will bring a constant awareness and a perspective that there are always things for which we can give our gratitude. it helps to re-shape our world again and realize that we are small, He is big and we are not powerful enough to do anything but yield to Him and let the truth that is in us, deep inside, rise up and agree with what He has spoken. it’s a practice of discipline, one that i feel ann describes as a treasure hunt. we can continually look through a lens each day of anticipation, waiting to collect treasures that He gives us.

this may not seem like it makes much sense, and at times, there really isn’t a logical reasoning to explain it. however, i know that in my practice of this, that in choosing to see that “all is grace,” it brings a reassurance in times where my heart begins to doubt and wonder. sure, there are things in my life that are not as i thought they would be. deep longings and desires that He hasn’t seen fit to meet yet. promises that have been spoken to my heart, but certain things have still not come to pass. this does not change the fact that my heart chooses to place trust in His character and His heart for me. the discipline is in the choice. the choice to believe that He is still good and is not holding out on me.

sitting in the midst of my circumstances and looking at everything around me that i don’t have or promises that have not been fulfilled will not do anything for my heart (and soul) but feed the doubt, worry and anxiety. when, in reality, i am not the one who can make any of those things happen on my own. i, instead, recognize who He says He is, and what He says about me, and from there, i can see what He has given to me, what abundance there is in my life. the practice of gratitude can then turn what we have into enough. i can begin to look for the sweet gifts that He will give to me through the day, things that will speak deep to my heart and the core of my being that He created and knows better than anyone else. He knows what will bring my deepest fulfillment and joy, so why would i want to look anywhere else? the butterfly that decides to land on a leaf and flutter its wings can speak to the place in me where i know He has spoken a specific promise a few years before. that His presence was near, that He saw me and my pain, and would not leave me alone. the gentle whispers that come through those small gifts can touch deep places if we stop and choose to recognize them.

so, on this day, where so many go through the “ritual” of giving thanks, may we also stop to recognize the blessings that He has given, but may it be a call to live a life in a recording of blessings. that in whatever we find ourselves in the middle of, abundance, barrenness, joy or sadness, may we still choose to give thanks to Him, the author of all good things, the one who delights over us and who quiets our hearts with His intimate and life-giving love.