What's Going On?

It's been a while, guys. A long while. We had great intentions with this website and life happened and we are so grateful.  Since the last time we entered anything on this website Kacey has grown and birthed a beautiful baby girl, we had our second women's conference, and our first gathering night #ForReal along with many other wonderful personal and conference-y (that's a word, right?) events. So, yes, we are still here typing away with kids in the background playing Hulk and Spider man (hi, it's Emily) and thinking of the ladies we will reach this year through the gift God has given us with the conference and Christian Life Church bringing us on board for their women's ministry. It's new, it's still taking shape, and we are all learning so much as we go through this journey to encourage you, to equip you, to gather the ladies in our community together, and to mobilize you to get out there and be His hands and feet. We are in the trenches with you and couldn't be more thankful for the support each of you have shown us as you share our Facebook page, tag friends to let them know about the conference, and volunteer your time so women can be filled to the brim and we can all pour out His great love all over our community.

Stick around, friends. We have another great year planned for you and will bring more information as we get it. 

2015 CALLED Women's Conference - Murfreesboro, TN

We are THRILLED to announce the 2nd Annual CALLED Women's Conference! Mark your calendars, and invite your friends & family! Head over to our new website for more details to come! 


Loved Perfectly

This first month of the new year is always some sort of a conundrum to me. On one hand I love the freshness that a NEW year brings - like somehow all that happened in the year before can get magically erased away, all the yuk anyways, let's keep the good. At the same time the newness offers some sort of relief, it can also bring with it this pressure to CHANGE or IMPROVE…and with that I sound a profound *SIGH* of dread. Don't get me wrong, motivation is good, making a positive change is great but as I stand in the grocery line magazine covers assault my very being. I mean, seriously, am I supposed to give up pizza, get in ridiculous shape by working out 5,026.25 minutes a week, completely organize my house, AND buy new linens all in the same month? Um, NO. Just NO. So I check my momentary panicked crazy while I check out with my groceries and start to thank God that he loves me perfectly in all of my very imperfectness. Whew. Meltdown averted.

With this fresh new year of 2015, I just want to encourage you a little. When you start to feel tempted to measure yourself against the trumped up version of what the world says is important during this month, or measure yourself against what someone else is doing, let's get a little perspective…God made you UNIQUELY you. You're not going to be in the same season as everyone around you all of the time and that's good. Although we won't always be in the same place as everyone around us, we do need to be honest with ourselves and assess where we are and where we are headed. Let's face it, no matter what happens today - time is going to pass. Each day is going to turn into the next until its 2016 - so we should make the most of the time we have and be intentional. We need to challenge one another, build each other up, but all in a positive way and ALL for God's glory - not out our own. And not only at the beginning of a new year but at the start of each new day. Do you need to make a change? Do you need to reassess your prayer life, your health, your finances, your time management? Maybe you do need to make some changes….but you know what? You won't know unless you get before The Lord, get HONEST and LISTEN.

So friends, seek Him first….

Image Credit: Elle & Co.

Remember where your citizenship is…

Remember why you're doing what you're doing…

By God's grace and mercy alone everything will fall into place as you keep your eyes fixed on the only One who truly matters. In this new year, my prayer is that you see yourself the way God sees you - not defined by your circumstance, your past, your mistakes - or even all of your achievements - but with a love that is immeasurable by our own human standards, and with a grace that drowns every earthly imperfection, and with a mercy that redeems and sets you free not with the start of each new year but with the start of each new second if that is where you are. Friend, you are loved perfectly by a God who knows nothing other than holy perfectness and you are HIS.


Someone You Should Know….

We wanted to take an opportunity to introduce you to our friend Evie. Not only is Evie an awesome photographer, but she has been so gracious by lending her talents to us in support of our blog and the Called Women's Conference. We appreciate Evie's talent so much and really value the ways she has helped and supported our mission - so, we figured we should share her with the rest of you…. Find out a little more about Evie, who is the woman behind Evie Lynn Photography, you won't be disappointed!

What do you enjoy most about photography?

I love meeting new people and I always find it so interesting on how I can already be connected with someone I haven’t met simply because we have a mutual friend or we figure out we know a lot of the same people! It really is a small world! I can get a real sense of a family dynamic just by watching them interact together and that’s probably my most enjoyable thing is to capture a connection or feeling in a moment.

Family photos require coordinating which stresses Moms out - any tips to make this easier?

It does require some coordination for sure but I’m always here to help make it less stressful! Pintrest can be a great inspiration for finding clothing options, clients can adapt what they find and like to include things they already have on hand. Family photography has changed and everyone doesn’t need to be matching! Choose a color scheme, go to the closets and coordinate colors! Accessorizing is a great way to throw in coordinating colors too!
One big thing is just to RELAX and be yourself!! If mom is stressed, the kids can usually sense that and be a little on edge too. I try to talk and get to know everyone a little before we start shooting to help ease those jitters. Kids will be silly and usually always unpredictable but thats what I love and the best images can come when they feel comfortable enough to be themselves in front of the camera.

We have a wonderful city with gorgeous backdrops all over town which you take great advantage of. If you could shoot anywhere in the world where would it be? 

Oh gosh, I think I would have to say Hawaii!! There are many other places that come to mind but I have been there and seeing all the endless beauty it has to offer really left an impact on me! The beaches, mountains, jungles, cities and so much more certainly offers so many inspiring places for photo shoots! I don’t think I could ever get bored there!!

You know we are Southern gals, so you have to give us your favorite southern saying.

Well, there are many! As a northern girl (from Michigan), after moving to TN, I'd have to say “fix in to” has always made me giggle and I never thought I would EVER hear myself say it. Never say never! lol It’s been said!

We had a lot of fun shooting with Evie and she did a great job drawing the kids in, keeping things relaxed and capturing real life. I don't know about you, but for me, that's a pretty awesome combo. As a photographer myself, I (Kacey) really appreciate that Evie was able to capture us - not the super posed us, but the real us. I can look at these photos years from now and know that we had a good time that day. Find out how to book your session with Evie by visiting Evie Lynn Photography!

Here are a few from our session….



A CALLED Generation - Called Women's Conference 2014

Wow. Around this same time last year The Lord started working on Emily and I, both in different ways and we had NO IDEA. See, Emily and I only knew one another through social media and we had never met in person. Then one day I get an invite to a Noonday Collection Trunk Show at Emily's house. Fine, fine, I'll admit it - I was going to check out the jewelry, but also to check out sister's house in person. I knew she had great style so, I couldn't pass this sneak peek up. ;) We bonded over jewelry and quickly learned we both shared a love for community - locally and world wide, connecting with people, and shopping with companies who inspire and give back. Little did I know that what I thought was just a fun night with mutual friends would be the start of a new friendship between Emily & I. On our first lunch out, we decided to start our sweet girl Oh Magnolia AND start working on a women's conference we felt our community so badly needed. You know, because that is TOTALLY normal. The conversation went something like this:

Emily: "Nice to see you!"
Me: "You too."
Emily: "What are you planning on doing in 2014?"
Me: "I have no idea but….."
Emily: "But what?"
Me: "You're gonna look at me like I have three heads but The Lord has been giving me ideas for a women's conference."
Emily: "Well, you're gonna think I'm crazy too because I think we should start a blog and put on a women's conference."
Me: "OK, let's do it. Does this place have Pesto?"

The rest is history…

Fast forward a few months and we were in official planning stages of the first CALLED Women's Conference.

I think sometimes in our instant gratification culture, we fail to see the small things that lead up to the big things. Whatever is "big" in your story, whatever that means to you. It wasn't one BIG thing that happened to allow us to serve our community with a Women's Conference. It was a lot of little, teeny, tiny baby steps that led up to it finally coming to fruition. It took Emily & I saying "yes,"it took the support of our church Christian Life, it took rallying the support of local business owners, it took friends who were willing to volunteer. But you know what? The more we said "yes," the more God opened doors we didn't even expect until Saturday, September 27th arrived and that was that. The day we had been working toward was finally here.

Do you know what I loved most about that day? We had SO MANY different denominations represented in that room where approximately 350 women were. We laughed together, we may have shed a few tears together, and we laid down our hardships in front of the Cross together. How AMAZING would it be if every day, we as Believers, focused on the love we have for Jesus and the Kingdom instead of getting caught up in where we see things differently? How much more could we advance the Kingdom? If we all did our little part?

 *All photos courtesy of Evie Lynn Photography*

We are so grateful for everyone who supported this vision - The Christian Life Pastoral Team, our Speakers - Christy Sanford, Annie F. Downs, and Debi Russell. Our volunteers, community sponsors, vendors,  and every woman who came to spend a morning with us. Thank you. We could not have done it without you. Want to know a little secret? We are already planning for the conference next year! While we plan, we may even have a few more surprises for you…you'll just have to wait and see. ;)


"The Nesting Place" - my story of contentment

This Halloween will be the 10 year anniversary of my husband moving in to this wonderful place we call home. This September I will have lived in our fabulous home 8 years and when I stop to think of all the things that have changed - furniture and the furniture arrangements, paint colors (no more builder's beige!), the pictures on the walls, etc. - it's actually pretty darn accurate with the seasons of life that we have been through together. You see, we never planned on being here more than 3-5 years. This 2000 square foot house on an acre lot at the end of a cul de sac was a "starter home" in our eyes because at 23 and 25 when we got married and the real estate market was booming all we saw was bigger and better. Now, at 31 and 33 and with a 2 year old son, we see simple and together. But, to be honest, the last few weeks I have had some major issues with contentment and was reverting back to my "bigger and better" days. Days I don't particularly love to revisit.

Just in case you read that last paragraph and thought about what a selfish brat I am to even think of moving, let me explain. 2000 square feet for 3 people is not small and I know many of you dream about that size home. I will admit that moving into this house as a 23 year old newlywed was quite a bit for me to handle. I came from living paycheck to paycheck with not much budge room and as a very young bride who saw money and things everywhere I looked, I ended up putting very unrealistic expectations on myself and my husband of how I thought our home should look and how we should be living while we were here. I allowed this home and our things to define me...(that is not an easy sentence to type). And boy, did we pay for it. And while that is a whole other time and story that I am not going to go into detail about in this post, just know that, sadly, this is not my first time to deal with not being content.

My husband is a kick butt real estate agent and has been for over 12 years. He has a gift of helping others along with the confidence and knowledge to get the job done. I joined him and my father in law last year in the office 2 days a week to help and really enjoy watching him at work. But with this has also come the plethora of beautiful houses - huge bonus rooms with bathrooms upstairs, walk in pantries, kitchens that may make me want to cook every meal and can fit a beautiful farm table, and a blank slate of all.the.things. I could do to make this house a home that would make us oh so happy! (right? right?!). Before I knew it I began convincing myself that I have looked at these walls for too long, that I wanted a kitchen where I can fit my dream table, I wanted a bathroom upstairs so we can use it as a guest room and not a storage unit like it seems it is now, and well, maybe even a sunroom! I want, I want, I want. But my real issue? It's obvious that I was not content. And I was certainly not being a good steward of what I DO have. facepalm.

Last week when I finished the book The Nesting Place by The Nester my attitude was changed. The last chapter was titled "contentment" and couldn't have come at a better time. Funny thing is I started the book weeks ago and then put it down and started my most recent "not content/miserable in this house" journey only to pick it back up to this very chapter:

Well, shoot. If that didn't get me in the gut. Lord, you know just what I need and when I need it, don't you?

I can honestly say that with fresh eyes I looked at this last chapter and even went back to read some parts again. I was again reminded that life isn't going to be perfect when I move into a bigger or different home. The world won't be all sunshine and lollipops when I get to look out new windows every day, or open said windows to hear the birds chirping and nothing else. Moving to the country where it's quiet won't make me happy, moving into the city to be closer to all the fun kid things won't make me a better mama, moving into a different neighborhood won't solve my problems of not being social enough with others, and moving into a new home won't make me want to entertain more. I need to do these things now, where I am, with what I have. If I need to ask God to open doors and to make me brave to do the things I need to do, then so be it. I will do them with a joyful and thankful heart.
With the encouragement from these pages I stopped to take inventory of what things would honestly make the next couple of years that we have left in this house feel like a fresh slate. We are long overdue for a paint job - so we will paint. I may even go wild and add gold polka dots in the laundry room because, why not?! I rearranged the living room furniture and it now feels much cozier. I made a huge gallery wall above the couch where I will hang more family pictures and Finley's artwork because that is what I enjoy seeing each day. And no, there won't be a huge sunroom or a walk in pantry or a bathroom upstairs. But, I also won't be wasting my time wanting for more while my life is happening right in front of me. 

NOTE : I wrote this entry about a month or so ago and I hesitated for a long time to post it. Then THIS wonderful blog came out that I loved and can't help but share with you because I needed it oh so badly. It was so timely because a couple of weeks ago (at the last minute) I decided to open the doors of my home to women and their children to look at the wonderful Noonday collection for this fall and winter. Toys and kids were everywhere, food was plenty, women were gathering together, and we were in full blown community. And I loved every minute of it. I NEEDED it. To have the rooms filled with love while we supported women all over the world who worked so hard on the jewelry displayed and while I had the chance to support my friends who have taken bold steps to provide for their family through Matilda Jane and Noonday it was clear to me what my heart was missing along with my struggles above. And that was COMMUNITY. 

I still have plans to freshen up a few things (and say goodbye to things that we no longer find useful so that others can enjoy them) and then throw the doors back open for baby showers, birthday dinners, and playdates. I am doing my best to be intentional about having a thankful heart for the food in the fridge and cabinets, for the ability to have a home where we are all safe and can pray together each night to the God that gives us each other, and to remind myself daily that this home is our gift from Him to use for His glory. I will take my eyes off of what I don't have and put them back on what I do have and what HE has given me to help others. Because, that is where I will find contentment. 
**If you want more information about The Nesting Place book check out Myquilliyn's blog here. And remember her famous quote - "it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful!"

CALLED Women's Conference 2014 - Murfreesboro, TN

We are happy to announce the CALLED Women's Conference - a morning of celebrating women made for a purpose! This FREE women's event hosted by Oh Magnolia & Christian Life Church will feature Author of Let's All Be Brave, Annie F. Downs, Christy Sanford with Greenhouse Ministries, and Debi Russell with Branches Recovery Center. Our speakers will encourage and equip women to live out their God given callings bravely. From college students to grandmothers, this event is for all women!

***Registration is required, please click here to reserve your FREE spot!***

Follow along on our FACEBOOK page, too!

Feel free to email us with any questions! We can't wait to see you there!