I’ve started this post a few times over the past few weeks. I’m not very good at sitting down and focusing when there are big thoughts on my brain. I type a phrase, perhaps a sentence, and then- delete. It’s hard to slow down, settle in, and really hash out what is on my heart.
So many of my posts have been heavy-hearted recently, or at least personal. This one may top them all. I hesitate even publishing it- but I strive to be both authentic and transparent with Ashton Events, and I don’t want my fears to get in the way of that. I know not everyone will care or agree with what I am sharing- and I completely respect that. But I also know how much I have gained from walking through life alongside others- and perhaps part of my journey will reach one of you.
We all go through seasons of life- bends in the road, unexpected turns, roadblocks even. To be perfectly frank, the past few months have been tough. There are lots of layers that pile into that- and I don’t think that the internet is the best place to splash them. But if you’d like to have a cup of coffee, I’m happy to share more. The basic rundown? Scary medical appointments, hard business decisions, steep learning curves, and also a large dose of brokenness.
I don’t spout that list for pity, but rather to put a mark on the journey I am on. I am a large believer in the way the Lord uses mountain peaks and valleys alike to draw us closer to Him. 2012 was practically a year-long mountain peak- and I am ever so grateful for all it entailed. I never thought I would be where I am at today- never dreamt this would be the journey He would have me on. So far, 2013 has been more of a valley for me personally. I know He is drawing me closer to Himself, pushing me further than I would ever choose to go, and that tug-of-war can be exhaustive.
I read this quote the other day in my She Reads Truth devotion- “In other words, the mystery is the surprising and glorious unfolding of the gospel in redemptive history.” This year has been a mystery to me. There are so many things I don’t understand and so many parts of life that I would far rather control than choose to hand over their reigns. And yet- I see the potential of the gospel story in the here and now. Time and history are reminders of the way He works. I see that there has to be a surrender. I can’t do this on my own- and that’s the admittance I need to readily give.
Because then that’s when He steps in. And his glory & grace are revealed through my shortcomings. The more I see my own need and weakness, the more I see of Him. The more I admit that, the more others see of Him. I’ve been listening to “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” a lot these days. These verses have been balm to my soul. My focus cannot be on the valley, the troubles or the pain. Instead, when I look to Him, I’m reminded of His promise, His love, and His grace.
O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
O’er us sin no more hath dominion—
For more than conqu’rors we are!
His Word shall not fail you—He promised;
Believe Him, and all will be well:
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!
Happy Friday, everyone. There is so much to be grateful for! Enjoy your weekend and be refreshed!
A little back story:
Jordan and I met for coffee after she sent me a text about doing a “Tangled” bridal portrait shoot with a parachute one of her friend’s had thrifted. Heavens knows Laura Helm can’t just take a simple concept and follow orders. Over the course of the next hour, we dreamed up an entire elopement shoot. We had a pasture, a parachute, and a whole lot of ideas. My kind of inspiration. :)
I really wanted to push myself creatively, and Jordan was on board with every crazy idea and detail. I loved, no- I absolutely adored the end result. Be sure to check out the full post for all of the amazing detail shots! Here are some glimpses at the inspiration board I put together for the shoot:
Are you familiar with the phrase “it takes a village?” I have always been a believer in it- but man, this shoot took my understanding to a whole new level. Would you believe that the day of the shoot we were avoiding bulls (who were protecting calves and their mamas!), dealing with wiley horses, not-so-successfully avoiding rainstorms, and stamping out small fires (those dang wish lanterns). Every single person (vendor, helper, innocent bystander) lent a hand to pull this off both safely and beautifully.
I am so grateful for this industry- and this shoot played a large role in giving me confidence to go after my dreams and do what I absolutely love. I was just starting my branding process when this shoot took place, and I am overjoyed with where that journey has brought me. It’s so worth it. Especially for moments like this:
Many thanks to:
Photography: Jordan Weiland | Flowers/Furniture Rental: FH Weddings | Cake: Sweetcakes Bakery | Hair Stylist: Mary Galletta | MUA: Sarah Phillips Makeup Artistry | Models: Taylor Montague + Corey Brinckerhoff | Linen: Nuage Design | Second Shooter: Leah Langley | Belt: Hattie’s Branches | Custom Decor/Print Materials/Styling: Ashton Events
I hope you all have a splendid weekend!
Welcome. It’s Thursday- and hopefully you’re looking forward to a rest-filled Easter weekend.
Feel free to stay as long, or as little, as you’d like. But I’d love to share what’s been on my heart the past few weeks, and the intent behind a few changes I made over here at Ashton Events.
Last week, I boarded a plane to Chicago with an almost-dead cell phone, and even more dead computer. I had a lot on my mind but wanted to do anything else but think. I had Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts in my bag, and opted to grab that first. I read through her words- amazed at the way they gripped my heart. She spoke of rest and slowing down time. She spoke of the difference between wanting more time and just wanting enough time.
There. I felt the nudge there.
In my previous post about inspiration, I mentioned that rest is a huge part of my ability to be creative. As much as I might want to run full-steam ahead, 100% of the time, I can’t. As Ann says, “I have to slow the torrent with the weight of me being all here.” I have to pause, sink into the moment, and breathe. I have to recognize the gift of that time instead of rushing through it. That is where I find the most inspiration. The most delight. The most joy.
Have you ever stumbled across someone who is so good at slowing down? I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by them this year. Lara and Emily talk about it all the time: stopping the glorification of busy. My best friend was forced to slow down when she and her hubby sold their second car. She described her newly curbed speed- and I simply couldn’t fathom the change and pondered for days how doing that would alter my life. The kicker? She was learning to be grateful to be able to commit to less.
And my current favorite: watching my nephew slow down time for my brother and sister-in-law. They are eager to love and raise him well. They study him to know his needs. My sister can tune out any environment and zero in on his cry. On the other hand, hearing his laughter bubble over can equally stop her in her tracks and erase the commotion. Not every moment is perfect- but there is a fullness of life. “Life is not an emergency,” Ann writes, “but life is too brief to hurry. Don’t wolf it down.”
And so, where does that leave me? I’ve always been a busybody. I love challenges, new adventures, next steps, and grand ideas. There isn’t much you can ask me to try that I won’t at least consider. But that earnestness can get me into trouble. I can work at such a high speed, tackling many projects, and not truly live through any of them. The more I think about this, the more times exhaustion washes over my body- the more I am hungry for enough time.
For Ashton Events, this means a few things:
- My office hours are from 8-5pm, Tuesday through Friday. Since I often am working on Saturdays, I save Mondays for either a day off or for a design day, depending on what my weekend looks like. I do my best design work when I’m uninterrupted, and starting my week off with design items is such a treat!
- I work hard to respond to emails, and my goal is to return them within 24 hours, during my office hours. By working hard, and working ahead, I’m better able to avoid the panicked, last minute emails that would require an after-hours response. I’ve found that by setting better boundaries, and gradually working ahead, I’m gaining time back for my clients.
- Pairing down my commitments. That launch party I spoke of last week? I hit the pause button. I want to be able to enjoy the celebration, and the rush to get it done wasn’t allowing me to do it justice. It can wait. The more Ashton Events grows, the more opportunities there will be- and I need to be selective.
- I value being present with my family, my friends, and my clients. By setting adequate time aside for everyone, I can fully enjoy the time that I spend with them. This often means being more selective with my schedule. I save a late night every two weeks for evening appointments.
It’s hard to right this post, and know that there will be some people that simply don’t understand. But I am committed to resting more, being more present, and allowing what matters to count. I want to set a groundwork of intentionality, effective communication, and consistency.