Hey there, friend!
It’s been a while since I popped in on the blog. I’ve been so busy with #allthethings that quite honestly, it’s just taken a back seat. I will say, though, I’m SO happy to be back! Kinda like when you haven’t seen your best friend in what feels like forever and you’re finally sitting across the table from each other at that cute coffee shop downtown and you’re ready to share every detail you’ve been holding for this. very. moment. Kinda EXACTLY like that.
Earlier this month, I attended the Creative Founders Fall Conference. You may remember, I posted about my first experience at the Spring Conference previously on the blog and you can read about that here. For SCF Conference: Round Two, I not only attended, but also had the title of “Conference Encourager” (aka: Kristin’s Assistant, aka: Little Kristin) and I LOVED IT! I don’t know if I’ll ever truly have the words to express my gratitude at the opportunity to not only attend again, but to have a hand in creating an amazing experience for the 25 other women who attended alongside me. (Shameless plug: If you’re a woman creative entrepreneur, no matter what stage of business you’re in, I HIGHLY encourage you to consider attending! If you visit the Creative Founders site right now to find info, I won’t even be mad about it…just come back here and finish reading this because remember? I’m about to tell you all the things!)
Back to the story…
Our Fall Conference took place Thursday-Sunday. The first session with Erin Kendrick was titled “Finding Your Voice” and, to put it bluntly, it blew me out of the water. Let me pause and just say: Erin is an incredibly talented artist. She knows who she is, she knows her purpose, and she’s changing the world one painting at a time because of it. Not only is she gorgeous on the outside, her heart is, too. (Definitely check her out!)
Back to getting blown out of the water.
One of the exercises Erin led us through asked basic questions about our style. This is a flow-of-thought type exercise, where you don’t think too much about it, you just write the first thing that comes to mind. For example: “Describe the style of the clothes/accessories you own in one word.” or “In one word, describe the style of your favorite room in your home.” All of my answers looked like “cozy”, “simple”, “comfortable”, “casual”, or “farmhouse”. If you know me, in all of my t-shirt-and-blue-jeans-every-day glory, you’re probably nodding, laughing, and thinking “yep, that’s Kelli!” BUT…this is the exercise that blew me out of the water. Why? Because these words aren’t describing weddings or brides…like I’ve been working towards with Lettered Grace. (Insert mind-blown emoji here)
After this session, I felt completely lost. Not in that whole “what is my life?!” way, but just like, “Well, now what? What does this mean? What is MY voice?”
Over the next TWO DAYS, I talked it out with some of the other attendees. Six of us returned from the Spring Conference, my roomies (Katie, Alicia, and Laura), and Kristin – they all know me well enough that I knew I could chat with them and get honest feedback. Along with several of the attendees and my one-on-one with Valerie McKeehan (OMG, right?!) I shared my thoughts…everybody, okay? Basically, I talked to everybody about this. My notebook pages for the sessions in between this one with Erin and the last one with Kristin have very few scribbles. I took generic notes, but how do you write out a workflow when you don’t know what your work will be?? How do you work through pricing your services if you aren’t sure what they are?? Thankfully, (spoiler alert) revelation was coming.
Jump ahead to Saturday. Session with Kristin Wilson, Creative Founders owner/designer/conference ninja. Your Plan, Session 1. During this session, it’s all about your vision. Kristin leads us through an exercise where we close our eyes and imagine ourselves “80 years old, standing on a beach.” “Who is standing beside you? What have you accomplished? What regrets do you have?” I know for some, it may sound all woo-woo and meditative…but I can’t describe how heavy it is…
to close your eyes and truly reflect on the life you hope to live, imagining what people will say about you, what you’ve done, what’s important…at the very core of you, what really matters?
This is where it started becoming clear for me. This exercise, much like that initial one with Erin, is flow-of-thought. Just write what comes to mind. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or detailed or perfect, just write whatever comes. Here’s where I’m gonna be REAL vulnerable with you, friend. I’m going to show you my answers. Be kind. This is my heart on a page:
solid family & memories together
love, encouragement, joy
home – safe place to be who we are
legacy of faith & love, inspiration
Jared – marriage, loyalty, faithfulness, encouragement
adventures, travel, memories of family trips
Cami, Cate, & Hank – good mom, encouraging, safe, loving, patient, godly, nurturing
laughter & happiness
a life of gratitude & contentment
create joy, love, happiness, laughter, peace
a life used for lasting legacy – for Christ, for family, for others
My initial thoughts: It feels good to see this on paper. These answers are truly my heart’s desire for my life. Also: convicting. I know that I need to make some changes to improve myself so that this is, in fact, what I am able to look back and reflect on when I’m, Lord willing, standing on a beach when I’m 80 years old.
On to the second portion of this Session…Your Business Vision. Same flow-of-thought premise, only this time we’re imagining what our business looks like. Kristin reminds us it doesn’t have to be perfect, just write. Whatever comes to mind, put it on your paper. Here we go. I’m not sure how this will work since I don’t know what I’m doing, right? I’ll give it a shot and just not think too much as I write. We’ll see what happens…
Lettered Grace: lettered designs, last legacy
I want my business to provide an opportunity for me to be creative, earn my own income, & provide opportunities for me to make memories
with my family.
I want to encourage other women/mamas to be confident in their roles in the home, in life, & in their communities.
I want to inspire & encourage, while using my lettering designs.
Home – kids, family, motherhood, friendships
I want to write a devotional/devotions for women/mamas in all seasons of life/motherhood.
Excuse me, wait, what? What was that last thing? I actually wrote I want to write and then stopped because my brain caught up with my hand. I can’t write that, can I? Where did this come from? I want to write? Really? I mean, maybe I could…but wait, what? The whole time, Kristin is quiet, letting us get our thoughts out on paper. Except when I stopped writing mid-statement on that final note.
I want to write...pause.
I hear Kristin’s voice from across the room, “If you think of something that is both terrifying and bigger than you, write it down. Because those things are God things.”
…a devotional/devotions for women/mamas in all seasons of life/motherhood.
Just like that. There it is – right there on my paper. A piece of my heart that I didn’t even know was there, but one that makes total sense in the most terrifying way. Definitely bigger than me. No doubt, a God thing.
Flashback to Erin’s session. She gave each of us a sticky note to write our artist statement on. What do you want to communicate with the art you put out in the world? Write it down and get it back to her before the end of the conference. I couldn’t write it on day one, but 72 hours later, I passed that note to her like I passed notes in high school. A teal blue, square note that read I create lettered designs to inspire and encourage women to live a life well-loved & leave a lasting legacy of faith, family, and friendship. As my girl Ashlyn Carter would say, BOOMTOWN. It was my mic-drop moment. For what felt like the first time, I wrote that statement with confidence and clarity and conviction. I don’t want to say it was easy, because it took a lot of work to get there, but it definitely just flowed out of me. Natural. Organic. Call it what you want…but, hands-down, that statement encompasses what I want Lettered Grace to be about.
So what does all of this mean?
This means a new season is coming for Lettered Grace. I started this business with the hope that someone might like what I did. I started with the idea that I could do lettering and make a few things, maybe sell a few things. In early 2017, I decided to step in to the wedding arena with so many incredibly amazing local vendors and venues that I know and love and I’ve had the incredible honor and privilege of serving bridal clients over the past 18 months or so. (I currently have a few bridal clients that I’m so thrilled to be working with for their upcoming weddings, as well – that’s not changing!) However, after November 2018, I will no longer be continually accepting new bridal clients. There may be seasons where I am able to take on a client here or there, but the plan is to transition the focus of Lettered Grace from that going forward. You have no idea how incredibly hard it is to type that out and make it “official.” From chalkboards to signage and invitations to envelope addressing – it has truly, truly been an honor to be trusted with the lettering details for your biggest day!
There are approximately 4,219,082,531 ideas floating around in my head about what’s ahead for Lettered Grace! I literally have a notebook that I grab and scribble ideas in as they come…
Talking out ideas at Conference with my new friend, Val (as in, Valerie McKeehan – we’re totally besties now), I told her one of my number one goals when I got home was to prioritize time in the Word and in prayer – just strengthening my relationship with the Lord. She said, “Oh, I could totally see you having a blog where you just shared what you’re learning and what you’re reading!” and I couldn’t agree more! When I shared with my Spring Conference friends that crazy thing I wrote on my paper about wanting to write a devotion/devotional, my girl Amanda said without hesitation, “If you wrote a book in YOUR voice, I’d be the first in line to buy it!” Say whaaattt?! Lightbulb moments here – that when others talk to us and are genuinely themselves, we find comfort in that authenticity. When another woman is vulnerable and transparent about her struggles, her victories, her heart…we’re drawn to that and find comfort in knowing we’re not the only one who feels/thinks/lives that way. This is what I want to be for you. I don’t have it all together. I don’t know all the answers. I don’t always say the right things. But girl, we can talk it out. I can encourage you, make you laugh, and walk beside you as we figure it out together. This is the direction the Lettered Grace blog is headed. Expect encouragement, (eventually) weekly posts, freebies – like printables (recipes coming in November!), scripture reading guides so we can read together, and more. It’s all about OUR journey together to create a life well-loved. I also have big dreams of some very specific guest blog posts, as well. *wink, wink*
I love creating items that make me happy and serve as reminders that the things I do day-in and day-out matter. I also love creating products that I know will remind you that you’re an awesome gal. I love a comfy tee, good candles that make my home smell cozy, and pretty lettering with scriptures or quotes that I can strategically place in areas where I know I’ll need a pick-me-up…like the kitchen sink. or laundry room. Can you put a “you can do this” print on the tote with the toilet cleaning products? I always need encouragement during those moments! Can I get an amen?! My hope is that the Lettered Grace shop will soon be filled with beautiful items featuring lettered designs for your relationships, your heart, and your home. Items that help you create a lasting legacy of the good things in life…like nurturing friendships with a just-because note in the mail, surprising your mama with a special gift, or framing a print with your favorite scripture so you’re reminded of how incredibly amazing and loved you are. I’m excited to get the ball rolling on all this goodness…because I know the sooner it’s there, the sooner you’ll have that extra dose of encouragement in your corner of the world, too!
Not gonna lie… It feels so strange to write that out! I don’t want to say too much about this for a few reasons:
1) I know this will be a work of heart. This is something I can guarantee will be covered in prayer, in godly counsel from close friends, and plenty of revisions. Aka: it won’t happen overnight. I do promise to keep you updated, offer sneak peeks when I can, and definitely get your feedback on different ideas of what to include.
2) I have ideas about what this looks like and what I direction I want to go, but obviously, this is not my doing – it’s His. I want to stay open to the possibilities and directions that He may want to go. Ultimately, I want to be obedient in this journey!
3) I want you to be surprised! I can’t tell you EVERYTHING, you know!
If you’ve read all of these words – accept this imaginary certificate for best friend ever!
This has been my longest post to date, but I wanted to share my heart with you as I walk into this new season. I’m excited and terrified and humbled and anxious, but I’m also confident. Confident that this is the right direction for me. Confident that all of the steps on my walk so far have led me to this exact moment, this exact place. I think sometimes, you know you want to sing and you sing out of key for a while, finding your way. You try different songs, you learn different tunes, and then one day, with the help of so many others, you find your voice. It takes you by surprise, but it’s clear as the Georgia sky on a summer day, and you’re finally able to sing without hesitation, without doubt. You’re singing your own song, in your own voice, and it’s the most freeing feeling in the world.
You’re 80 years old, standing on a beach, and you’re smiling as you look back at your life…because the story is YOURS and you lived it well.
It all starts today. Won’t you come with me?