It’s the smatterings of ordinary, extraordinary life. Messy and beautiful.

What’s your creative outlet? Do you like to play the guitar, paint, write, scrapbook, create home crafts? I never really considered myself truly creative, but I believe we all have a spark, we might just have to dig deep to find it. Part of that challenge is freeing your mind to find your sweet spot in between day to day to do lists and responsibilities.  

I’ve learned a lot these past few years of adulthood and one theory springs to the forefront of my mind as I think about experimenting with your creative side. The first step is the toughest. Where do you start? How do you start? With what? When? Blah Blah Blah. I’m familiar with that song and dance. We can’t let the questions in our heads hold us back from pushing ourselves to new heights. We have to be okay with not have all the answers in the beginning. We have to be okay with feeling our way around clumsily. Eventually, we have to dive in. Head first.

A few months ago I discovered a website and blog by Ali Edwards. I find her work and her words inspiring. She mainly does scrapbooking, but I take from her motivating words and translate them to fit my creative interests. My favorite part is that there are no rigid rules. Take a look at five things you should know about the the way Ali approaches scrapbooking (although you can apply to your own creative path):

  1. I believe that there are an infinite number of ways to tell any story: 12×12, 8.5×11, 4×6, 2×2, paper, digital, layouts, minibooks, divided page protectors, etc. There is no right or wrong way to document our memories.
  2. I have no intention of “keeping up” with my scrapbooking. I tell stories as I feel moved to tell them and don’t feel bound to chronology. Some days I’m creating a layout that tells a story from 1980 and other days I’m focused on a story from today.
  3. I believe that telling the stories of our lives can actually change our lives for the better.
  4. My daily mantra in memory keeping & in life: don’t make things more complicated than they need to be.
  5. The best way to begin scrapbooking is to simply begin. Start writing. Start photographing. Start bringing them together on your computer or with paper and glue. There is no better time than right now.

I’m no master scrapbooker. I’ve completed three in the past five years and I’d say I’m set for a while. So for all the other non-scapbookers out there, find another way to document life. I feel a major obligation to somehow document the ride I’m on- which was my motivation to start this blog. But I wanted more personal documentation as well. Introducing one of my newest favorite products: The Smash Pad.

I love to reminisce. There are nights I just explore old boxes, emails, college papers, pictures. Anything I can get my hands on. It’s a new experience each time, bringing with it an outpouring of many emotions. I learn something new with each old discovery. I totally agree with Ali that there is power in telling the story of our own lives. When I tell my story- through words, photos or images it brings the important things into focus. It sifts through the bad and it helps me appreciate the good.

When I discovered the Smash Pad I just had to give it a test run. I have so enjoyed filling the pages with random thoughts, sweet cards from my Alabama friends, cool websites I find, styles I like, motivational quotes, articles, receipts from evenings out, restaurants to try and the list goes on. No rules.  

The point of this is to relish life. Relish snippets of your everyday. Document what makes you happy. And down the road… reminisce.

It’s the smatterings of ordinary, extraordinary life. Messy and beautiful.

 
 
Carpe Diem. She taught me this through her actions.

My mother, somehow, managed to do it all and do it all with style. As I reflect on my childhood and the lessons she taught me, my mind floods with memories.  One lesson stands above the others and I see now, more than ever, how it has become a way of life for me.

A little background- Mom was the principal of the public kindergarten in Ozark. Somehow she pulled off a full day of managing 300 five year old kids plus employees, and a hot dinner each night, not to mention killer birthday parties. Everything she did, and continues to do is above and beyond. If you’re wondering what the word “maximize” means… spend a day with Debby. She’ll show you ways to maximize an hour, a closet, a trip and a meal in ways you never thought possible. It’s really quite impressive.

Example of a 1950's double birthday party with Caroline Carroll Flowers:
It’s strange how I can hear her voice in my head when faced with a situation. If it’s a rough patch “this too shall pass,” if I feel as though I’ve been wronged “kill ‘em with kindness,” if I use a coupon “a penny saved is a penny earned,” and the list goes on.  The big lesson of living life to its fullest came from a bundle of other lessons and a childhood full of endless encouragement.

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The lessons she taught me began at an early age. I am going to attempt to share with you this “bundle” of lessons that have helped me to seize the day each day and lessons that are a part of my core being thanks to mommy dearest. 


Be positive- Your attitude affects your outcome.

It’s a big world- Thinking big will lead you to incredible opportunities. Don’t settle.

Life’s more interesting if you never meet a stranger-  My mother NEVER meets a stranger. She’ll tell you to talk to people. You never know what you might learn.

Take pride in your work and prepare- Your work is a reflection of you.

You never know until you ask- what’s the worst that will happen if you do ask? Usually it’s not all that bad and worth the risk.

You can do anything you set your mind to- Have goals and create your path.

Don’t let fear slow you down- We all have doubts, but you can’t let them rule your life.

I can remember my mother by my side, teaching me these lessons through high school and college as the opportunity to share was presented. She knew that experience was the best teacher and encouraged me to take part in an array of activities and to seize each opportunity.  Some opportunities come to you. Others, you have to hunt down. Each one will add to your life, even the failures. Take from them, learn from them and keep the faith.  That is living.

When John and I were faced with the opportunity to turn our lives upside-down, move from Mobile, live homeless for three months unsure of what we would next call home, this mentality, like clockwork, sprang into action. The risk and the intense unknown could not hold down my desire to take on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I jumped on board with John, who happens to share this mentality.

Thanks to mom’s lessons, adapting to life as a Texan has been quite exciting. I’m not sure I knew how to handle all the opportunities that seemed to be at my fingertips, besides embracing them. Take a look-

1. ICE SKATING
About half a mile down the road is an ice skating rink. I checked it out online and found adult classes. I was immediately intrigued. For nine weeks John and I would attend our ice skating class. (He's quite the team player!) It was very challenging, but very fun! Watch out Kristi Yamaguchi.

2. THE ROCK WALL
I joined the most tremendous and amazing gym here in Sugar Land. Since they had a rock wall, I felt it was my duty to try it out.

3. TRAPEZ
I know this sounds like the most random thing ever. That's probably because it is... Austin is home to two Trapez facilities offering lessons to anyone who is interested and crazy enough to give it a try. I couldn't resist.

4. RODEO
John and I attended one of the largest Rodeo's in the world with our good friends the Pratkas. We were overly excited about this event since the second attraction was a concert by ALABAMA. (Our home's in Alabama!)

5. TOUGH COUNTRY OUTDOOR CONFERENCE
Tough Country is the company with the sawmill that makes the cutting boards and the machine shop that manufactures truck bumpers owned by our good friends the Pratkas. They host an outdoor conference each year inviting people to come and race their trucks in the mud. Since it flooded the day before, mud was in abundance! Each night featured a country band in the Saloon they built. It was amazing to see!

This is Kurt Pratka- cutting board maker. In the short time I've known them, they realized that I am sometimes a bit apprehensive to get dirty... against my own will I ended up with mud on my face!

6. TEXAS WINE COUNTRY
We are super excited to have some Auburn friends up the road in Austin- Chris and Haley Delvizis. Haley and I cheered together at Auburn University and stood by one another in our weddings. It's been great to reconnect, especially over great wine!
7. THE PECAN FESTIVAL
Tin Roof set up it's first booth at the Old Pecan Street Festival in Austin Texas a couple of weekends ago. It was a great experience and lots of work!
8. CHURCH
John and I have started attending the First Baptist Church of Houston on Sundays we are in town. Each time is an experience. Praise and worship with a room full of believers is just impossible for me to describe. I feel blessed to be able to attend!
9. BUBBA'S BURGER SHACK- HOME OF THE BUFFALO BURGER
Shack is no understatement. My first buffalo burger experience happened here and we've been back twice. It taste good and it's better for you. :)
10. TEXAS FASHION
The flowey arm shirts, belts, bedazzles, boots, and denim shorts are all new wardrobe items since living in Texas. Bloom where you're planted!
These are my cowgirl boots made of Python. Serious stuff!!
Bedazzled blue jeans are a must here. Did I miss this trend in Alabama or is it mainly a Texas thing?


All of this to say THANK YOU MOM!! Thanks for teaching me to roll with the punches and experience life for all the amazing things it has to offer. I am grateful to you for the endless amounts of support and encouragement along the way. You're an inspiration and I love you.
 
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    My husband and I are on a new journey spurred by the creation of two self-started businesses.  I am a proud Auburn University 
    graduate who loves the beach, boating, running, traveling, and a challenge. I am a God fearing woman and my Christian faith is a part of my daily life. I hope that you can find laughter and enjoyment with me as I share these business and personal adventures with you!

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