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We Stayed, Still | Life Lessons Learned from Branches, Quilts & Stillness

best day ever on oh golly holly
best day ever on oh golly holly

A few months ago, two new friends offered to take some photos of Kyle and me. We of course said yes. I had planned on a much more detailed narrative of our experience — because it ended up being much, much more than a photo shoot — but I’ll save that for another time. Days and days have passed since that afternoon spent building a fort of hanging blankets, quilts and branches, but the lessons I learned there linger. There were equal parts of words and silence between us there. Eyes open and closed. Things we hadn’t told each other in a while. Things I might not have thought about since I was fifteen and he was eighteen. Words we don’t say often and don’t say enough. There was also silence. And stillness. Weight and waiting with our eyes closed.

best day ever on oh golly holly
best day ever on oh golly holly
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With all our differences — and there are many — we share much of the same history. Combined, we missed more than 500 days of our senior years of high school due to health problems we still struggle with. I’ve known him since I was fourteen. My teenage self thought he was the only one who understood me. And in many ways he was. We spent our sick days — most of our days, I should say — texting one another from opposite sides of our shared suburb and sitting together at youth group or church on the Sundays we made it off the couch or out of bed. We weren’t high school sweethearts, but we were kindred spirits from the start, even though I didn’t quite figure that out until years down the road. Much of our relationship — our friendship and love alike — was cultivated in the stillness. Sometimes we were stuck staying still; sometimes we chose it; sometimes we just moved at a decidedly slower pace due to the weight of our unchecked baggage. We’ve trekked quite a long road together, separate, and for one another.

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best day ever on oh golly holly
best day ever on oh golly holly
best day ever on oh golly holly

Our history is a patchwork of time apart and time together; of shared struggles and silent ones. But somehow, through moments of stillness collected along the way, here we are. And here we’ve stayed. So it’s only fitting and a bit predictable that I find my strength in moments of quiet stillness — the strength I often get from him, even though he’d scoff at the idea.

Lately, we’ve both had a hard time staying still. His schedule is a mess; my sleep is limited; we work hard; we study hard; he snores; i toss and turn and sigh; the neighbor’s dog barks; the morning comes; it goes on and on. Life has been a whirlwind of the mundane. His health has been poor; my anxiety has been up; we’ve been working too hard. Things are in a constant state of “go, go, go.” I think it’s that way for most. But doesn’t it always feel like it’s just you? Or it’s just him? And that no one else gets it? Anyway, I don’t think I’ve stopped in more than three months. I don’t think he has either.

But then I just scrolled through our album of these photographs. And I was still. And he snored beside me. And I breathed. And my heartbeat slowed. I remembered the words we said and the silence we shared. And I closed my eyes. And I was still.

best day ever on oh golly holly
best day ever on oh golly holly
best day ever on oh golly holly
best day ever on oh golly holly

I often forget to learn from the stillness; from the quiet. I think we all do in this fast-paced, never-wavering world. But when I let myself stop and let myself remember these photos — the memories behind them and the memories before them, I can’t help but stop. I can’t help but be still. And then I breathe and remember that time we went to Ichthus together more than eight years ago. Or that time I first realized Kyle was looking at me from across the campfire when we were on our youth group retreat seven years ago. All of those times have brought us to right here, right now. I am still imperfect and so his he. Our lives still have a lot of growing to do. So do we. But that stillness — all those quiet moments — I think back and can’t help but remember the words from church services past ring in my ear, “…you need only be still…” And I know without a doubt that those words are true. Because they got me here and they got him here, too.

best day ever on oh golly holly
best day ever on oh golly holly

So let this be a reminder to me — and to any of you — that in the quietest of moments, we often learn…feel…know the most.

A Spring Dress & Snowflakes // A Belated Birthday Style File

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My birthday takes place on the cusp of Spring & on the tail end of Winter, so my birthday weather has always been bipolar at best here in the Midwest. Last year, Mother Nature gave me the gift of mid-60-degree weather, but she had vastly different plans for me this time around.
Even though it was bitter cold, windy and flurried throughout the day, I was bound and determined to rock a spring dress that day. Since Spring is my most favorite season to style, it’s no surprise I always insist upon dressing for the Spring on my birthday.
This, of course, meant layers upon layers for lunch and our family trip to the Cincinnati Art Museum. That didn’t stop me from donning my favorite Modcloth dress, some coral-colored tights and some combat boots with a ruffled, feminine detail. Top it off with a glittery gold belt, a fun necklace,a green cardigan and a bright canary-colored coat, and I was ready to brave the cold in my favorite Springtime attire.

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How do you rock Spring dresses during the transitional time between Old Man Winter and sunny Spring? What are your favorite trends in transition right now? Let’s share style tips!

A Place Where Dreamers Go to Wait

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This man of mine dreams big dreams. And so do I. They keep growing and growing and growing. They continue to grow even though it doesn’t feel like we feed them very well right now. We talk late night talks about the future while our minds are full of the mundane and of schoolwork. We feed them with our little talks, our penny pinching and our vague plans, but for now we cannot feed them with much else.

So here we are: the place where dreamers and their dreams go to wait: the “in between” I talked about when I began to dream the dream that eventually became this blog. This is our “in between.” I refuse to refer to the two of us as “stuck.” We are just waiting. We are just dreaming. Eventually we will stop waiting. Eventually the waiting will become doing. But not right now. Not quite yet. We will hurry up and wait.

Sometimes I feel like my dreams aren’t really dreams at all. Just feelings. Just flashes of what I hope is the future.

I see our life as a creative one. A bright one. A warm one. A busy one rich with laughter and vibrance and smiles. A life where breathing and creating come naturally. Kyle wants to roam around national parks for a living; he wants to be a ranger; he wants to work with his hands and feet and mind all at once. And so do I. I want to have a life rich with artistry, Maybe with my words. Maybe with my photographs. Maybe with the way I document and raise our future children and animals.

We want to raise chickens and live in the sunshine. We want to hike and build a home. I want to create beautiful things and curate a life full of them. But this is the in between. So we wait for these things. We watch our bank accounts and dwell in my parents’ house. We go to school and study and our dreams feel cramped.

I read about the lives of women I admire. I interview them from time to time, too. He looks at photos and imagines himself in the wilderness. I pretend to feel the warmth of a different sun on my face. We listen to audio tracks of the ocean’s waves at night. We wait for a time where our dreams can run wild. Most of the time I can’t even put a finger on where that place is or when it is or what it will look like. But right now, here we are, in love in a place where dreamers go to wait. In love in the in between with the highest hopes and best intentions for a dreamlike future.

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Was there a time in your life where you felt stuck in the “in between” phases? How did you navigate them? What is the best advice you have or have been given about future plans? What are some of your hopes and dreams for the future? Let me know! Let’s navigate this in between together. Any and all advice is welcome. Ps: Find us on the Sunday Style linkup at Plane Pretty!

STYLE FILE: the final hours of 21

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So I’ve been meaning to starting doing some style posts for a while now. I like the idea of capturing my everyday style — I will never again be in my twenties; I won’t work in and style for a retail store forever (I hope), and after college, I may not get to style outfits ever again besides my own…which would be very sad. I really enjoy the styling I do for my current job. I work in a women’s resale shop at the moment, so I get to buy and sell name brand clothes that I normally would not be able to afford as a broke college student. I do a lot of styling for them, too; it’s surprising how much I enjoy it. I am a certified buyer there, which means I get to pick and choose what our inventory needs to be on a daily basis. I love my job even though it’s not journalism-related at all. But it is style related…admittedly, I am obsessed with style. Not necessarily fashion, though I do love fashion, but the individual styling of a person. Their fashion sense. Their sense of style. Each and every person has their own unique style. I think that is just so fun. There’s something so free spirited about style; I think that’s why I love styling so much! Anyway, what better time in my life to showcase my own personal style than now?! I also have just teamed up with Modcloth…something I am beyond thrilled about! So here we go…a few snapshots of the outfit I wore today, during my final hours of being 21! My birthday is tomorrow, so check back for a (hopefully) very fun birthday outfit! Here’s what I wore today. The details will be listed at the end of the post. More to come!

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Also, say hello to some of my pets! Our Golden Retriever is named Violet, the white, fully bichon is Gigi and the black cat is Gatsby! I think they make great accessories!

Cardigan: J.Crew
Top: Loft
Pants: Madewell
Necklace: Forever 21
Shoes: Toms
Lipstick: Covergirl, Flame

I’m currently obsessed with bright colors — especially on rainy days like today was. Red lipstick is sort of a staple for me…it perks up even the most tired of faces and is such a classic look. What do you love to wear right now? Do you have any favorite trends or looks you can’t live without? Any trends I should try? Let me know in the comments section below!