Friday, November 21, 2014

Simple Holiday Vignette | Thrift Store Challenge

Hey Guys! If you're hopping over from one of the lovely blog of all the amazing ladies participating in this Thrift Store Challenge, thanks so much for stopping by. Have you all been SO inspired by all the talent and creativity in this challenge? I sure have! Anyhow, when Alice of Thoughts from Alice asked me to join in on this I wasn't sure exactly what I would do. Our home is a bit intersting right now and we are still unpacking boxes from our move so decorating isn't exactly what I am doing weekly all know I love it. And, I could NOT pass up an opportunity to shop our local thrift stores and inspire each and very one of you to do the same this holiday season when considering decor for your home. 

We all know, it doesn't have to be expensive to be beautiful. This is what I loved about this challenge. We couldn't spend more than $25 and while we didn't have to use only thrifted in our vignettes, we did have to include a thrifted item in the display. 

So, without further ado, here's a bit of inspiration for you! 

Each part of this vignette was either purchased from a thrift of antique shop. Let's focus on the plates in this pic. If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I love, love, love my vintage and antique plates! I display them any chance I get and this opportunity was no different. 

The vintage leatherbound books I found at a local Goodwill as well as the vintage suitcase and the antlers are from my local favorite antique shop, Haystack Antiques. If you're in the Seattle area, it's a must visit. Seriously, you WILL NOT be disappointed! 

Of course, I took a step right outside our back patio to find all the cedar and berries. It's one of the things I absolutely love about living in the Northwest. 

And if you know me, you also know I don't hang a thing on the wall without including antlers. I won't say I am addicted to them or that I hoard them on the grounds that I may incriminate myself but...well, I do love them. 

These are some of favorite books and my go-to for vignettes when I need to add a little extra height. 

Total cost to put this fun little vignette together? Well, practically free since I went through my pile and pulled all of the my thrifted items for this. I did purchase one additional plate to add to my collection. That was 1.99. Crazy, I know. 

I sure hope you guys enjoyed that little treat! Join me in the next couple of weeks as we really deck the halls around here and have some fun spreading the Christmas cheer after Thanksgiving! 

Please be sure to hop around and be inspired by these other amazing gals! 

Happy Friday, friends!

Glam Christmas Throw Pillows by Thoughts from Alice

A Deerly Beloved Thrift Store Vignette by Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson

Christmas Cloche by Craftberry Bush

A Vintage Mantel for Winter by Finding Silver Pennies

Thrifty DIY Part One: Faux Fur Throw Rug by Creating Vintage Charm

DIY Holiday Walling Hanging by House of Hipsters

Christmas Decor from Thrifty Find by Town and Country Living

The Trellis Tree by Cozy Little House

DIY Centerpiece Tray by Cherished Bliss

Rustic Christmas Tree by Delineate Your Dwelling

DIY Crocks by So Much Better With Age

Thrift Store Christmas Decor Challenge by BrocanteuseRose

Go ahead and pin away!

And this one too! 


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

#rhithebeautyinside | Kayla's Story

There's a story about a girl who loved all things home...textiles, furnishings, paint, lighting, decor.  At a young age attending the Street of Dreams each year was a highlight.  At the age of 12, removing wallpaper during her summer break to paint and redecorate her bathroom...normal right?

That little girl grew up, went to college, got a degree in Interior Design and Fashion Merchandising, married her college sweetheart and continues to love design.

The desire to create has been in me since as long as I can remember.  God put this DESIRE deep in my heart.  I believe He has given each one of us desires and longings that we are able to use towards his kingdom.

My joy and purpose comes in creating a home that reflects those who live in it.  To use great design with comfort, style, and function.  This I believe God created me to do.  And through this gift I can share my love for Christ and speak into others lives.  This was my purpose and goal in starting my blog.

"Gods plan for us is usually where our passions,
our purpose, and our capabilities, intersect." 
Bob Goff

Doubt, Struggle, LIFE often gets in the way. 
My desire to design and create…to share that through my blog and inspire others
I believe that is from The Lord.

But God has called me to do something else.

To be a MOTHER

At 18 months my oldest child L changed.  She went from being and angel baby to a Toddler.  Toddler life with her has been exhausting!  She is extremely strong willed and determined.  Smart as a whip and trying to stay three steps ahead of her is a constant battle.  My desires, my wants for my life are no longer.  She takes and takes each and every ounce of energy from me.
Then came her little sister E...just six months ago.  The adjustment has been hard to say the least.  From a strong willed no napping toddler, to a baby crying, spitting up and now working on her 7th tooth!!  Yes she is only 6 months old!

The days are long, hard and exhausting.

But being their mom brings me so much JOY!  It's the hardest job I've ever had but the fact that I get to spend each day with them is so special to me.

This mom thing.  I got it...with my TRUST in God, I know I can get through those long days.

"You have the exact qualities God knew your kids would need in a mother.  So, each day, hold up your willingness and ask God to make you the best version of you that you can possibly be." Lysa Terkeurst
The first part of that quote..."You have the exact qualities God knew your kids would need to be their mother"... A dear friend of mine spoke similar words to me during a very difficult time with L.  Oh how the truth of those words punctured my heart.  Yes, God gave me these girls but He also equipped me with everything I need to raise them up!

My desire to design and create lies deep in the depths of my soul but so does being a mother.  I've battled with the ability to do both at this time in my life.  It's doable, with child care, working part time, but then a few more life circumstances fell upon me.

A physical ailment has taken over my body.  I haven't spoke much about what is going on with me and that's mostly because I don't really have answers.  I've been having issues with my hands and arms for a few months now.  I have spent weeks in hand therapy and have seen several doctors.  Then I started experiencing pains in my back, leg, and foot.  At this point I'm still seeking different doctor’s opinions.  You can imagine the daily struggle to take care of little ones when your body is physically not operating the way you would like.

"He alone has the amazing ability to turn the worst of circumstances into something beautiful and precious for his names sake." Wendy Horger Alsup 

And as they say, when it rains it pours...a sudden death in my family and a sick dog for over a month with no answers to his ailment.  Life these days is hard.  It's not the picture I dreamed of.  It's not the perfect styled photo you may see.

"Count it all joy, my brothers when you meet trials of various kinds" James 1:2

This is a tough season of life, we all go through them.   These life problems are small in comparison to so many others.  I share this with you all to bring you HOPE.

If you are struggling with your hearts to desires against your current season in life I PRAY you find PEACE in the place you are at.  I believe that God is using each season of our lives to bring out the best in each of us.  And with these trials I am facing now, I know God is using them to work in and through me.   One day, I will look back and see the seeds that were sewn, the things HE taught me.   But, only if I daily give it over to Him.  To "cast my cares on him" 1 Peter 5:7.  To daily get on my knees in prayer.

Today this is my calling...motherhood.  To hold my baby when she cries, kiss my toddlers knees when she falls.  Cook, clean, fold the laundry...and then do it all over the next day.  There is no time for me.  
Zero time for the desires God put on my heart and the calling He gave me.
The selfishness inside of me struggles with this reality.

A few days ago one of my favorite bloggers {Aedriel Moxley} posted this to her IG account:

"Everything right now is temporary-it's just and itty-bitty blip on the radar. But everything we do now is preparing us for what's to come next.  How exhilarating! We never know what 'next' will be but life with God is the closest thing we'll get to knowing the end of the story.  Once we choose Him we are never alone-ever again.  He wants what's best for His children.  Even in our trials He always has our hearts in mind.  With his warmth comes such HOPE, such security, such LOVE." Aedriel Moxley

I couldn't have said it better.  I pray you find HOPE in Him today.  That in light of eternity, this short season is temporary but it's allowing God to mold us into who and what He has CALLED us to be.

"You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.

    You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,

that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.

    O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!" Romans 30:11

What an absolutely beautiful story of trusting, believing and having faith in the plans God has laid our for our lives. Kayla, your story is truly beautiful. You're a wonderful mother and I cannot wait to see how God continues to show Himself in your life.

Have you struggled with the same thing as Kayla? Are you going through a season where you feel the very real struggle of learning how to balance your career with motherhood? It's not as easy as it may sound. I sure hope you've been encouraged by Kayla's story and know that, as she mentioned, you find hope in Him today and know that in what seems like the longest, darkest seasons sometimes, He is molding you into what He has called you to be. Well, said, Kayla. Well said.

You can read more about Kayla and follow along on her journey on Instagram or on her blog here.

Happiest of Wednesdays to you friends!

Monday, November 17, 2014

#rhithebeautyinside | Tara's Story

Saying YES to freedom. 

Maya Angelou said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.” I lived that agony for the first half of my life, and I can tell you that when you’ve spent your life hiding who you really are and where you’ve really been, it feels impossible to muster the courage to break the silence and tell the whole truth.  

No one ever told me to hide.  No one ever said that people wouldn’t accept the broken parts of me.  I just learned to cover up reality like it was my job, and I kept doing it year after year because the “me” that I presented to the world found belonging.  

I was twenty when I was asked by my campus pastor to share my story, and because I was a master people pleaser, I did it.  But, I only shared what I thought they could handle.  Through tears I shared that I grew up the child of an alcoholic, who felt responsible to make everything okay in my family.  

I had kept that secret my whole life, and I expected to feel relieved, but I didn’t.  I felt exposed.  The perfect life I had presented myself to live didn’t really exist and now a couple hundred people knew it. 

Unless you’ve also lived in the prison of worrying about your image and what people think of you, I doubt you’ll be able to fully comprehend the tension I felt in sharing a little piece of my story that night.  It makes sense that later that week I felt like the Lord finally gave me my life verse from 2 Corinthians 12:9, which says, “My grace is all you need.  My power works best in weakness. So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.”

It wasn’t exactly the life verse you’d ask for, right?  But, for someone who had spent twenty years hiding behind the mask of perfectionism, it was a well-received relief. His grace is all I need. His power works best in weakness.  

This promise means my story, in all its brokenness, matters.  It's not wasted. There's no greater hope for us. Without even fully realizing it, I started my journey to freedom that year.  I began the road to understanding that my story is more than the tragedies and hardships.  

Even still, I struggled for years to be authentic and vulnerable.  I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin, and I still wore the shame of a half-told story.  It wasn’t until I was thirty-seven and living in Orlando with our family that I began to unpack the rest of it.  

God does that.  He’s patient and long-suffering.  He let me continue to wrestle with control and live in the patterns and defense mechanisms that made me feel safe, until I couldn’t stand it any longer.  For me, it took moving us to a new state with a new job and all new people to wear me down and get me good and tired of the way things were.  I call all of it GRACE.

That year I started unpacking the sexual abuse by a neighbor that I had encountered as a child.  It was excruciatingly hard, but I couldn’t turn back.  None of my old ways of pushing it down worked anymore.  It was time to do more than unpack my baggage and take a good, long look at it before packing it back up just to keep trudging it around with me.  I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.  I felt like that part of my story owned me, and I had tasted enough of God's freedom through the years to know I was ready for all that He had for me, no matter how hard it might be to get there.

All I did was say "Yes" to God. To his work. His timing. His ways.
Don't be fooled. It wasn't pretty and wrapped in a bow.  It was hard and ugly and painful. A fight for sure.

My story had loaned me a few life-long questions, and I wrestled them to the ground like a heavy-weight champion. At my core, I doubted God's goodness when things were hard, and I wondered if he had taken a nap after he brought me into the world.

I let the waves do their work in me, and somewhere along the way, my story became less about me, less about the tragedies I had faced, less about the questions that had plagued me and more about Him. The patterns and defense mechanisms I had used to protect myself were one-by-one demolished.  The waves didn't sweep over me.  I didn't drown.  The "giving in" brought transformation.

Giving in is uncomfortable because it means that the facade is over and a few things have to fall apart.  The grace of it all is that God's presence is ushered into those places of heartache and loss, and we get to see who He is and how deeply and fully and wholly he loves us.  

No more untold or half-told stories. Our stories aren't really ours to hold onto anyway. They belong to God.  Every detail of them, especially the hardest parts, are connected to God's story through Jesus and His resurrection. The dead things in us can be raised to new life.  My story is living proof.

I hope you know He is good and He is with you. He is the God who sees you. No detail of your story is unusable. My prayer for you is that you will give in and allow the waves to do their thing.  Get ready to see new life.

Tara, your story of freedom is amazing. I am endlessly consumed, overwhelmed and eternally amazed by the love of God for each of us and how our lives are such a woven tapestry of his grace and mercy. 
To all who mourn in Israel, He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for His own glory. Isaiah 61:3

I see the manifestation of this scripture throughout Tara's story. It's one of struggle and pain but ultimately, in the end, it's one of victory and because of her bravery and courage not only to be free but to set others free, His love and presence is made known to those around her-for His glory. 

What a powerful love story. A story of redemption and reconcilation. A story of beauty and freedom. 

Come back on Wednesday for another amazing story from Kayla of KR Dixon Designs. 

To follow and see more from Tara of Between You and Me visit her here

Thanks to all of you for following along on this journey! I can't wait to see how it all continues to unfold and watch God do some amazing work in our hearts and our lives! 


Friday, November 14, 2014

#rhithebeautyinside | Jen's Story

Today, Jen of Migonis Home shares her story of how God continues to surprise her with His goodness! I
 sure hope you enjoy and take comfort in her story, but more importantly, the Creator and author of it all. 

Six months after Drew was born I left my job. I'd been in my current position as the event coordinator for my College's Development and Alumni Office for five years and was generally happy with it. I regularly felt challenged and it allowed me to be creative. I was trying to figure out if I wanted to stay on, somehow, part time when I was accused of trying to take the credit for an event I had very little to do with. It was incredibly bizarre and hurtful how it happened (when I definitely never took credit for anything more than what I had done) and for years after I had a bitter taste in my mouth for the College. I didn't donate to it and rarely went to the Alumni events I had been championing for those five years.

As I was still reeling from the hurt of giving so much to a job I became a full-time stay at home mom to Drew. That next year was such a challenge for me. It was the first time I didn't have a job since high school and I was learning how to navigate motherhood. Some people adapt so well and easily to it. I was not one of those people. Drew is almost four now and I find I still really struggle with the feelings of not having a regular paycheck.

It's been such a learning process for me to not measure my worth by a job and by how well I do at my job. With a 9ish to 5ish job it was fairly easy to put a measuring stick up to the job and myself and see if I was (or wasn't) doing good work... but this whole business about motherhood.... yikes. I don't think I ever felt like such a failure this regularly at any job or at any task I've taken on.

I started blogging regularly after staying home with Drew. I needed an outlet. I needed to feel like I was doing something that resembled my former life of event planning. Mostly I just needed something creative or else I felt liked I'd lose it. The more I blogged, photographed and Instagramed the more I've felt my old life of working full-time with no spouse and no children whittle way. I've found such freedom and joy through cultivating a beautiful and comfortable home for our family.

I'm doing a Bible Study by Ann Voskamp now and I just read a quote in it that said something along the lines of "there's a reason God, and not me, is the one who's planning out my life" and it's so true. Three and a half years after leaving the college where I worked I feel like I have closure on my time there. I've learned that my beauty doesn't come from having a successful job or a great title or bringing home a fabulous paycheck (although, trust me, I miss that last one even if it was never "fabulous" working at a non-profit :)). One of the things that I love about God is that he's a God of details and beauty. The very first thing we learn about God in the Bible is that he's a Creator. And then throughout Scripture we learn He's a nurturer. Those are two things I'm constantly learning and growing in me now. I'm in a place now where I'm usually okay being a full time stay at home mom who crazily works on projects for our family and clients during nap times and bedtimes. I'm forever grateful for my Savior who has shown me that beauty comes from hard situations, like leaving a job, even if it's in a sad way. I love that we serve a God who regularly teaches us new things about ourselves if we trust Him and  He is constantly teaching me how to be the best creator and nurturer that he's made me to be.

Friends, I sure hope you are encouraged by Jen's beautiful story of how she is allowing God to transform her life and heart through the gifts He has placed in her life. 

How are you? I mean, really, how are you? How have the stories here changed your perspective and thoughts on how you see yourself and your place in this season of life or even on this Earth? 

I'd love to hear your thoughts below or even in conversation on Facebook or Instagram! 

I sure hope each and every one of you have been encouraged and built up this week and are preparing for a wonderful weekend! 

We'll be back on Monday with more of my story and some thoughts on how to begin seeing yourself just a little bit differently! 

Love each and every one of you beautiful ones! xo

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

#rhithebeautyinside | Anneke's Story

Today, we get to hear from my sweet friend, Anneke of This, That and Life. Enjoy, friends!

Even when things seem uncertain in our life, out of control, unknown, on hold, or so very good, I’ve learned that in every season, God is there, God is in control, and God is indeed good.  I may not have understood the circumstances at the time. I may not have realized what exactly I was learning and why.  In hindsight, I sit up straight and take a deep breath with my eyes closed, realizing that every step of the way has resulted in a deeper purpose, and strength, and clarity in my relationship with the God I love and serve.


I grew up within a great family, with typical conflicts and then some later difficult years of my brother fighting drug abuse.  My future husband, Michael, and I met when I was just 16 and he was 20.   It was a pretty big deal then, but thankfully 12 years of marriage later, not so much now!  We were married when I was 19, and our first several years of marriage were sooooo difficult.  Oh my gosh, I remember thinking, “This is NOT how it’s supposed to be!”  We were both so stubborn and so young. Oh my. Thank God, Jesus was the center or we very realistically and honestly would not be together today.


I graduated a few years later with a degree in Music Ministry and our first little baby girl on the way.  When she was about 4-5 months old, I began experiencing symptoms of swelling in my feet, which over the period of a month, slowly moved up my body to my chest while the doctors were trying to figure out what was going on with me.    I couldn’t take care of my daughter anymore.  Family members were helping me, and I honestly started to wonder if I was going to even live to see my daughter grow up.  I couldn’t bend my legs at my knees, I didn’t want to go anywhere, and here was my little baby girl growing up week by week without me fully present.

After a kidney biopsy, the diagnosis was a rare kidney disease called Minimal Change Disease.  It is a disease of the filtration system, and the treatment is a daily high dose of prednisone.  This disease resurfaced after each of our kids was born.  The first two times I was treated for 6 months, and the last time with my son for 1 year.  If you’ve ever been on prednisone, you immediately understand how the symptoms of this drug impact you.  If you haven’t, a quick list is drastic mood swings (like someone drops a pencil and you freak out), sleeplessness, weight gain, round face or moon face, constant hunger, etc.   I definitely still have my moments, but through that experience I learned to rely on the Holy Spirit as I’d never done before.  My mantra became, “I am not controlled by prednisone, I will rely on the Holy Spirit”, because that medicine, while good at what it does to attack the disease in my body, was becoming the root of so many problems in how I responded to my husband and kids.  It is one of the few main reasons that I have since become such an advocate for my own health and wellness, learning as much as I can about food, exercise, life balance, mental health, self-awareness, etc.  That was such a difficult time for our family and marriage.


Within a period of 7 years, I was basically either pregnant, nursing, or fighting this kidney disease.  We designed and built a home (good), my husband changed careers after four years of testing (good), we now had 3 children and a house twice as big but took a 33% pay cut (not good), people passed away (sad).

At this point in life, I was so beyond frustrated with my body and the strains of motherhood, especially when our kids were a newborn, one year old, and three years old. I had the desire to have a great marriage, but was so tired and out of balance.  Life in general seemed to be taking so much out of me all at once.  There was so much on our plate then, but I’m thankful that through it all, God was still there.  Through it all, in a time where I felt far from beautiful, God showed me true beauty, courage, and a relentless trust in Him.  I ponder where God has carried our family to now, what we’ve struggled through, learned, taken joy in, and conquered.  God is so very good.


I remember this pivotal moment I had with God when I had been through three treatments of this kidney disease, and even though I had completed my treatment quite some time ago, I finally realized my fear of it…….like this feeling that it was just waiting there to get me again.  You would think that that would be motivating to live life to your fullest and not take a moment for granted, but IT WASN’T!   It felt like a prison.  I felt like a slave to it.  But God showed me how to trust in Him once again for ALL things, and that freedom found in Him is what brings true life.  I felt like He breathed new life into me that day.  That the chains of that disease and the fear around it were broken from my life.  He has made me whole again in my body.  I am healthy, with 100% kidney function and completely “normal”.  But God made me whole again in ways I never even knew I needed it.  When I look back at the timing of my life, our marriage, and my family, I could not have planned it better, and it gives me more confidence to put my trust in God and His timing even when it doesn’t make sense to me.

“Through it all. Through it all.
My eyes are on You.
Through it all. Through it all, it is well.
And through it all. Through it all.
My eyes are on You.
And it is well….with me……
So let go, my soul, and Trust in Him.
The waves and wind still know His name.
So let go, my soul, and Trust in Him.
The waves and wind still know His name……”

Friday, November 7, 2014

NATURAL FALL TABLESCAPE INSPIRATION | A Week of Thanksgiving with Rooms for Rent

Hey guys! Happy Friday! Hopefully you're hopping over from Rooms for Rent or some of my other blog friends participating in this amazing hop. At the end of this post, you'll find links to other bloggers participating but, of course, you will have to wait to see those! 

First things first today, I am so excited to share a bit of Thanksgiving Table inspiration with ya'll and hope that, while you will probably not implement each and every element from the images below, you'll find something to inspire you this season. 

It will be so fun to see what you guys do if you are inspired by tagging me with #inspiremediy in your posts on Twitter or Instagram or even Facebook

Okay, so are you ready? I have to forewarn you...I took a TON of photos so this post is a bit image heavy. Here we go! 

I started with this. 

A dough bowl that my girl Jen from Space Number Sixteen brought back for me from the Uber Chic sale. It was my inspiration. I decided it took up too much space for this shoot on our table but I cannot wait to find some other fun ways to use it in our place. 

As you can see, I did have fun styling it and snapping a few shots. But soon, it was time to get down to business. I wasn't really sure which direction I wanted to go with the table or what I would use for the table setting until I was at our local market one evening and saw Magnolia leaves for sale. It hit me. Naturally, since I am a Bama girl, these leaves are a bit nostalgic for me and I've surely taken them for granted since moving to Seattle a few years back. 

I just love them though, and this is why...

Not only are they hearty but they kind of give you two leaves in one. They sport a velvety rich, rusty brown side and a glossy green side. I decided to use them as the runner and somewhat of a focal point for the table. 

I added a few other pieces in the middle for centerpieces including my favorite ironstone pitcher perched atop another fave, my ironstone platter with wheat and Indian Corn.

I went back and forth on the actual settings and landed on some pre-printed "thankful" cards that I thought would be great to actually use for our family during our Thanksgiving meal. I can't remember the company they are distributed by but they come with some cute little envelopes as well. 


This is called "Strawberry Corn". They are teeny tiny and I thought the wine color and texture were the perfect accents for the neutral table setting. 

Each plate was flanked by wood and brass flatware that I picked up last year at a garage sale for...yep, $15.00. I know. Unreal. I am pretty sure I will use them for EVERYTHING this season. 

Toward the end of the shoot, I decided to throw in a few pumpkins since I had them laying around from a project a couple weeks back. They add more depth and personality to the table. I kinda like that! 

Okay, friends! I hope you have enjoyed and were inspired to do something a little different than normal this year for your own tables! I sure had fun putting this one together. 
Thanks so much, Bre, for having me join in on this! 

If you've been following along for #rhithebeautyinside you can scroll down to the previous post or click here to read Annetta Bosakava's story today and be inspired for your life! 

And, here is a full list of more inspiration for Thanksgiving for you!

Restoration House Interiors

Happy Friday, peeps! 

xo ,

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#rhithebeautyinside | Annetta's Story

In the short time I have known her (though I have yet to meet her in person) Annetta's talents and life continue to inspire and bring out the best in me. The story she tells today is no different. It is one of triumph and victory and rings with shouts of freedom and redemption. 

I won't waste time here introducing her...I'll let Annetta's wonderful life tell it's story...

My life is a beautiful one. It’s full, blessed, and God is the center of it. But with all of that, right when I think I’ve gone through no hardships, I am reminded of the moments where the pain cut so deep that it was better to ignore it. I would like to thank Kennesha for inviting me here to share my story with you. She is doing a beautiful work that God has places upon her heart.

The day I was born was a nightmare and a joy all at once for my mother. She didn’t see me for a week as the both of us healed through the trauma. From the time I was 5 years old until I was 15 years old, I was sexually abused. I lost my sister-in-law and my two nephews in 2006, and in 2010 I almost lost my own life giving birth to my precious and (at the moment) my only son. These are some of the most significant details of my story. But when I look at the whole of my story, those moments slip away as I see past them and look to Christ.

So, my life wasn’t easy, but instead of getting into the details of the broken pieces of my story, I’d like to talk about how it made me focus on beauty, and gave me the desire to capture it and the heart to inspire others.

Ever since I could remember, I wanted to be creative! I wanted to paint, draw, dance, sing, photograph, stitch, design, and more. I had a heart to create, but my reality was I wasn’t creative. I tried it all! I danced, but didn’t have it. I sang and goodness I’m sure only Jesus loved my singing. I drew and nothing worked out for me in that department. I didn’t dare to touch photography because it was way above me. I did try cross stitching, and boy did I fail miserably! The worst part was that it only made my yearning to be creative grow more. Why did I have this urge to create when I didn’t have what it takes? I’d cry at night in my teens and would ask my mom questions only God knew the answers to, answers I could only see now.

After couple years of fearing to pickup photography, my junior year I was encouraged by a counselor, and inspired by my nephew who was just a baby at the time, to take my first photography class. To my surprise I didn’t fail. I succeeded and even took another class my senior year. I had finally found SOMETHING creative I was good at. After high school I went on to photograph weddings, friends and events in film and then went digital once that hit. It was a beautiful thing to finally do something I’ve longed for and not suck at it. Then my world was turned upside down in 2006 when I lost my two nephews.

I remember shortly after the tragic loss, I photographed a wedding that was to be my last. I came home and shed many tears on the staircase as my mom held me. It was to be my last and final time I used my camera - or so I thought. I hid my camera and it stayed hidden until my own son was 4 months old and I stumbled upon it one day. Once again a little baby boy gave me the courage to pick up something I was afraid of for many years, my camera.

Taking pictures of my son, my family and capturing our shared memories slowly helped me see more of the beauty around me. I started taking clients thinking I would pickup right where I left off, but instead I was left frustrated. It wasn’t where my heart felt creative. Instead it was in the pictures I was taking for myself, pictures of the things that I saw beauty in, that my dream started to come alive. Four years later I am here today with a heart to focus on beauty, the desire to capture it and a dream to inspire others.

With all that I’ve been through in my 30 years of life, I cannot afford to focus on the ugly. I choose see my life through God’s beauty. I capture that beauty because the beauty that God has blessed us with heals the brokenness in this world, it brings His peace and His presence. I dream to inspire others because not only is it my calling, but through that inspiration people come to know Him.

The answer I didn’t have in my teens and now finally have is that I needed the time to grow into my dream. My dream required maturity that I did not possess at the time it was conceived in my heart. When God hands us our dream it usually is too big and doesn’t fit us properly - or at least not yet. With our dreams, He also hands us circumstances that will grow us if we allow them to, so that we can fit into our dreams. When I first wanted to be creative, I had the dream but it didn’t fit. Through the whole of my life, the happy, the sad, the broken, the blessed, I’ve matured, grew, deepened my relationship with my Heavenly Father and now, I can see that I am slowly growing into my dream.

Don’t give up when you feel like you aren’t where you want to be, where you see your dreams. Give yourself time to grow - so that when its time, you will be ready!  

Wasn't that absolutely beautiful? I love how God continues to use Annetta for His glory and inspire and bring out the best in each of us through her amazing life and gifts.

You can follow Annetta and be inspired daily on Instagram here or contact her at Her imagery and photography skills will literally blow you away as you've gotten a taste of that (just a smidgen) here today.

Thank you, Annetta, for showing us what your freedom "sounds" like and being a light in what can be such a dark world. xo