A Letter to my Clients and Students

As the 2018 Fall season of pony lessons has come to a (temporary) end, I have many mixed emotions weighing on my heart for this seasonal business venture at the Farmhouse.

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On one hand, I am grateful to have more time this winter that I need to reassess our business plan and prepare for our 2019 expansion of the program. I’m also grateful to give Sugarfoot a much needed mental rest for a few months (as well as pursue more training with her to help her become a more balanced lesson pony).

On the other hand, I have been completely overwhelmed with love for this profession and am incredibly sad to have to wait until next Spring to see all of my students and their parents again! I know a lot of you have reached out to me letting me know how much your children miss their weekly riding lessons. That warms my heart more than you realize.

As some of you may or may not be aware, June 2018 was the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey with the Little Legs, Big Start Pony Lessons for children at Farmhouse on Five Mile.  It is everything and nothing that I expected it would be all at once.  I started this business hoping and praying to build up an average of 10 students per week through the remainder of the year. I am excited to report that I ended the 2018 season with 16 total students per week (most being RETURN clients from summer!) with an even greater number of people on a waiting list. In fact, I now have 82 people and growing added to our Farmhouse Enrollment Email Subscription list.

82 PEOPLE!!!!

While we dealt with undesirable hot and cold temperatures, rain reschedules, muddy arena footing, and sometimes a stubborn little palomino pony 😉 … YOU showed up and have given this farmhouse so much love and support that I never knew existed for this little dream of mine. And for that, I cannot thank you and your Little Leg riders enough!!

We have SO many plans for 2019. We are well into the grind of getting the details all worked out. As of now, our plans are to build a brand new COVERED and footed arena (can I get a hallelujah?!)! We also plan to add a new lesson pony or horse to our herd to accommodate more students and offer paired lessons again. Be sure you are following Farmhouse on Five Mile on Instagram and Facebook  to see announcements and updates as they occur!

Our expected start next year will be April 2019 and we expect to extend the season to offer riding lessons through November 2019. That means a lot will be happening around here January through March!

As a sincere THANK YOU to all of my 2018 clients, you will be receiving a special gift from Sugarfoot in the mail in December…just in time for Christmas! Be on the lookout for a cute package in your mailbox very soon!

Thank You Clients

If you and your Little Leg Rider LOVED taking pony lessons with Sugarfoot at Farmhouse on Five Mile, please visit our Facebook page and leave us a review! Doing this helps others see the Farmhouse page and gives a great testimony for future clients who are interested in lessons. Your support for this small, local business means the WORLD to me!

My previous clients should already be on our Farmhouse Enrollment Email List. If you are reading this and you are not on the list – visit the contact tab on the website or click the link above to add your email. This is how sign ups occur for our riding lessons!

All Email Subscribers: Be sure to check out our Small Business Saturday Christmas Special …details coming to your inbox this week!!

I hope all of you have a Happy Thanksgiving, a Merry Christmas, and a very Happy New Year!

 

Saying Goodbye to Corporate Employment, Gardening, and Tuesday Tutorials.

Let’s talk being intentional and learning when to walk away.

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A LOT has been happening around here at Farmhouse on Five Mile. A lot of decisions have been made and a lot more to make still. I thought I’d jump on here to update you all thus far.

First, I want to talk about the doormat project that I was supposed to share about a month ago. I wanted to start using #TuesdayTutorials and share fun, simple, DIY projects on the blog. I even wanted to open up guest bloggers to share their projects here! While I am still open for guests to share their DIY tutorials, I had to reevaluate my own desire to pursue this idea. Do you ever question your motives from time to time? Do you ever pose yourself the question, “Am I pursuing this because it truly brings me joy, or because I think that’s what the world will think I’m supposed to do?” It sounds silly coming out like that but you should try it sometime. In fact, you should really start asking yourself this question in everything you do. Are you living the busy, hustle lifestyle because you truly thrive in that way of living or because that’s the world’s expectation that you have placed upon yourself? Do you really love doing DIY projects?? Or, are you like me, where you like the idea of them (and even love pinning them on your Pinterest board) but the thought of going the physical, mental and financial process is absolutely draining. Well, the latter is definitely where I’m at. I’ve realized that I only wanted to start DIY tutorial blog posts on here because I set an unrealistic and worldly expectation upon myself. I started a “Farmhouse Blog,” so that’s what I’m supposed to do….isn’t it? Follow in Joanna Gaines’ footsteps??  Isn’t that pretty much what everyone wants to read about?

No, I don’t have to do that.

In fact, that’s not what my Farmhouse blog is here for.

This is a Farmhouse, lifestyle, Christ-following, simplistic searching blog. This is where I share our adventures, our animals and our projects.  It doesn’t mean that I have to force myself to fall in love with “Doing It Myself” all the time. I do love simple projects and it doesn’t mean I won’t ever do a DIY again in my life, but I certainly don’t having a set expectation of what the end result should look like or the expectation I’ve placed on myself that all of my talent and energy has to go into doing projects in order to create something worthwhile in the blogging community. It’s simply not true. I should only pursue those things under the conditions of 1) I actually have the time for it and 2) the process truly brings me joy. Well, #2 is not necessarily true at the moment.

In this revelation, I’ve discovered what brings me even more joy than completing a DIY project: ordering said projects or items from local, small businesses and friends who are talented enough to create said them for me! There is a wonderful satisfaction that comes with supporting someone’s lively-hood and being able to appreciate their talents by purchasing from them. It gives me far more satisfaction through the fact that I can be intentional in supporting in that way instead of draining myself just to get a glimpse of sweat satisfaction. Being intentional in how you spend your time and money does not equate to draining yourself.  So, if something is draining you, whether physically or mentally, take the time to first recognize that it is. Second, evaluate why you’re doing it. Set aside what you think you should be doing and start pursuing tasks, hobbies, a career, and a general lifestyle that brings you joy and brings out the very best in you. That, to me, is being intentional. That’s a mindset worth pursuing.

With that said, we’ve also made the decision to discontinue our vegetable garden for the year. We barely even got it started to begin with. Not much planning and execution came with seed starting, planting or keeping weeds away. I had to take a day or so to apply the same concept of being intentional to our gardening. We have a Farmhouse…a farm even! We’re supposed to have a garden!!!! It’s a must!

No, it is not.

Not if you can’t even keep up with cutting your grass on time.

Not when your mind isn’t fully there to be focused on it.

So, we simply decided that this isn’t our year for a garden. My mind is running a million miles a minute in another direction and staying on top of gardening is only hindering and reminding me that I’m failing at it. I don’t need any added self-detrimental thoughts to weigh me down. Plus, there’s an upside to this decision. It’s farmer’s market season!!! I can enjoy fresh, local produce without having to sweat for it and while supporting neighbors in the process. That sounds pretty intentional to me! Now, all of this does not mean that we won’t ever pursue a garden again. I LOVE gardening and it does bring me true joy. But sometimes you need to take a break from even the things you love when your heart isn’t leaving enough room for it. Giving this up for now only means that gardening in the future will be that much more enjoyable and intentional with planning. I’ll be able to come at it with better ideas and better  execution.

One last update for you all if you’ve made it this far: I am leaving my corporate job. I’ve been working in Corporate America for the last seven years and I’m finally laying it to rest. I don’t have much to add to that other than this: it’s bittersweet, I will miss the people (maybe not the job itself but definitely will miss the relationships I’ve formed), and I am only looking ahead now. For now, I will try to focus on giving horse lessons and see where God leads me in my life. This is the most uncertain I’ve ever been when it comes to the direction I’m headed for and I am learning to lean heavily on Him.

I think that is definitely His…..intention.

Meet the Minis! Thursday Thoughts

I wanted to take a brief moment to introduce you to the super-star lesson horses that your precious kiddos will be working with when you sign them up for our Little Legs, Big Start courses in 2018!
Meet Jewels and Lola: both are sister miniature horse mares. Miniature horses are often confused as, “ponies” but I can assure you, they are different! Ponies are larger and stockier in build than miniature horses but still smaller than full-sized horses, meaning they are under 14.2 hands high (hands high is a unit of measurement used to differentiate how tall a horse is from their withers). Miniature horses are even smaller than ponies but are still bred to resemble full-sized horses in that they are not stocky like their pony friends. Most miniature horses you see are trained to “drive” carts and some, like these two, are also trained to ride for small children.
It has been officially one year since we brought Jewels and Lola home to Farmhouse on Five Mile. They were adopted from my sister-in-law who was looking to find them a new, loving home. After having received my certification as a riding instructor through the Certified Horsemanship Association in November 2016, these girls were on my mind as future prospects to providing lessons for small children. And now…here we are!
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May 2017, when we first brought the girls home!
Since then, we’ve been working on a lot of grooming, hand-leading, and groundwork with my young nephews. These girls have been so patient and willing for us through our training to prepare for these lessons.
My objective for this program with your students is to provide essential safety skills and build confidence in your little riders. Often times, small children in this age range of 3-7 years are paired with ponies or full-sized horses that much larger than they are. While ponies and larger horses can be safe enough for small children (provided they have received proper training), they can often times seem intimidating to the eyes of small children by their mere larger size. By pairing small children with size-appropriate horses, they can build a foundation of trust and confidence that will lead to further success as they grow older and advance their skills and are able to ride ponies and full-sized horses

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My hope for 2018, with your support, is to expand our facility even greater and provide an additional full-sized lesson horse (or pony!) that can cater to children ages 8 and older as well as adults. By signing up for these courses, you are helping to make this hope a reality.
A big shout out and THANK YOU to everyone so far who has purchased horse lessons with their kids for the Early Summer course starting June 4th! I am excited to offer a unique program that caters to the young and brilliant minds of your little ones!
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If you are interested in signing your kiddos up for horse lessons, you can contact me here with your email to get on the Farmhouse VIP list! We will be opening up enrollment very soon for our Late Summer 6-week course with the Little Legs, Big Start program!

“All horses deserve, at least once in their life, to be loved by a child.” -Unknown

Thursday Thoughts: Blooms & Unknowns

Farm update: April showers (and apparently April snowfalls) bring May flowers…

Our strawberry patch is looking great and the berries are starting to come in nicely! Hopefully I can beat the birds to them when they’re ready to be picked. I’m thrilled that we succeeded in relocating this patch last October. They look and thrive much better in this spot, next to the old brick smokehouse!

Also in bloom is our Catalpa tree in the front yard. If you’ve read through all my blog posts (and why wouldn’t you?! 😉 ), you might remember me saying that we planted this tree together after our wedding, which was held from the front porch of our farmhouse. In lieu of a unity candle, we poured soil from our parents’ yards into the pot of this tree which is now located in this spot. It’s one of my favorite things to look at as I roll into the driveway. Inch by inch it is growing taller and it’s simply marvelous to witness.

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In other news, I have a lot of unknowns in my life at the moment. Unknowns with the security of my current part-time job, unknowns with what the launch of the Little Legs, Big Start Horse Lessons will look like and how I’ll manage this new schedule, unknowns on when projects will get started or completed….somehow I’ve managed to keep calm despite all the uncertainties. I’m battling self-doubt and momentary failures simply with trust in God’s plan for my path. I keep searching and praying for specific answers but at the end of the day I have to truly give my worries to God and rest my head on my pillow in peace, and I don’t even bat an eye with how cliche that might sound to some people. Doing this really helps my days get started with gratefulness and focus on my definite, known blessings: my husband, his jobs that provide for us, this farm, our health, our loved ones…I never want to waste a moment taking these things for granted because I spent too much time worrying about things that are mostly out of my control anyway. No matter what happens, staying positive and picking up the pieces after they fall- they will evidently fall one way or another- is much better than wallowing in a constant state of fear. I also think often about my services and how I can love others around me better when I remember on how much God has blessed me. We shouldn’t make it a law for ourselves but out of desire and intent we can and should be an encouragement to others- every day, every moment, every matter of conversation. I write often about the subject of driving ourselves out of self-doubt, circumstantial stresses, and remembering our blessings- it helps to keep reminding myself- but also because it’s never enough to for us all to keep reminding ourselves this….known…fact.

You are loved and you have a purpose and you can thrive and rejoice in that. And when you cup overflows, you can pour it into others.

So do that. Thrive, rejoice, and pour.

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalms 23: 1-6

 

 

Thursday Thoughts: Launching Horse Lessons, Tuesday Tutorial Update, and Goats!

First, I want to briefly update on Tuesday Tutorials:

It is looking like I will be posting these DIY project posts on a monthly basis rather than weekly (unless I have guest bloggers that are being featured)! I have a full list of exciting projects to work on and share with you all. However, I am still working on finding a good routine in my week. It’s a process! I love it but it does take some getting used to as a beginner blogger. I am feeling good about not getting discouraged like I used to with starting something new. Every venture or idea I pursue, whether it be deemed a success or failure, is just one step closer to finding my niche. I know I’m supposed to be here…I know I’m supposed to blog. Figuring out how I want to fill these pages has been a challenge but I’m embracing it all to get there.

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Weeds can be beautiful too 🙂

Next, I’d like to introduce Thursday Thoughts….yet another idea that came to me for the blog. These Thursday Thoughts are going to be simple farm updates, where we’re headed next, what Jesus is teaching me and other things that come to mind.

Thursday Thoughts for today:

I’ve set an OFFICIAL start date of June 4th, 2018 for the Little Legs, Big Start horse lessons at the farmhouse! I couldn’t be happier to have made that decision. While I have much to do over the next month to be fully prepared, I have found a new drive to embrace this new small business venture for what it is, with what I have for now. You have to start somewhere, right?!  I’ve already had Farmhouse VIP members signing up and it’s only been 3 days since enrollment opened up! (Hint: If you want to be included as a Farmhouse VIP member: contact me here with your email and you’ll be added to the list!). Farmhouse VIP members get the first opportunity for reserving lessons as there are limited spots for every six week course. I am BEYOND excited that people are already signing up! Even if the enrollment number stays small for this launch, I am truly grateful for the interest I’ve been receiving. Everyone I know has been so supportive of this venture in one way or another and it doesn’t go unnoticed.  Thank you, all!

 

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I thought I would also include a little update on our two Nigerian Dwarf goats. They are now one year in age and we are nearing our one year anniversary since bringing them home. They’ve grown so much since they were 12-week old kids but they’re still dwarf and cute as ever. Chomper has a heck of a voice and Ducky is just a sweet, precious follower. People ask me all the time what I plan to do with them. I’d love to breed Ducky over the next year or two and add another doe and a buck to the herd. I’ll know when the time is right for that. For now they just make excellent companions.

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Chomper found a good patch of clover!
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Sometimes I let them out of their pen to follow me around as I do farm chores. They love participating in farm activities!

I hope you enjoyed the first edition of Thursday Thoughts! Looking forward to many more!

-Kelsey

 

 

Tuesday Tutorials: No-Sew Curtains

It’s time for Tuesday Tutorials, y’all!

So, I’m going to make this a thing. Like a real thing.

No, seriously.

I know it’s unheard of for me. I’ll be the first to admit that I have commitment issues.

Every Tuesday? That sounds super professional of me. Maybe I’ll surprise us all and stick to that. Disclosure: no promises are being made on this.

I’ll be forming posts like these that show a step-by-step tutorial of projects for the home. It’ll save you time, hopefully money, and might even provide you some laughter with all my “blonde” moments of figuring stuff out in unconventional and completely illogical ways.

If you read my Instagram and Facebook post from last Tuesday (4/3/18), you’ll remember that I mentioned featuring guest posts for these #tuesdaytutorials on my website and social media accounts. If you have a DIY project of your own that you’d love to share,  contact me with your ideas and you can have your projects and stories featured here for others to see! All you need are some words explaining the process (humor encouraged), pictures and/or videos, links to supplies for the readers and any information about yourself that you’d like to include (name, website, story…as little or as much about yourself as you want can be included). I’m SO excited for this and I hope you are too. This is a chance for anyone and everyone to dig into their creative side and share it with others. So, get with me!

And now for the curtains…

I have never had a project feel TOO easy before this one. I can assure you that if I can do this (or any project for that matter), you most certainly can as well. It was inexpensive and fairly easy to put together. And it involved zero skills in sewing. I don’t have anything against sewing, but I don’t have one easily accessible, so I’ll leave sewing projects out of these tutorials for now. I’m sure they’ll pop up in the future somehow.

Pictured below is the “before” setting of a corner in our living room. Last Fall, we repainted the living area from a dark brown (yuck) to this brighter grey color (love!).

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BEFORE

I sold the pillows even though I loved them because I knew they wouldn’t match and later regretted this decision after realizing I could have just bought cute, burlap pillow covers to zip over them. *Sigh*….this was my first mistake, but fortunately I had another realization that I had 039482039482 pillows in 15 different colors that we have somehow managed to adopt over the years. At some point I will actually go upstairs and get them so I can put pillow covers on them. No one really sits in this chair anyway so I’ll probably get to it in another 5 years or so.

Do you know how hard it is to take quality photos when you constantly have pets in the way? I even vacuumed for this shot and everything. Sheesh.

OKAY. Here is a list of supplies you need and where to get them:

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  1.  Canvas Painter’s Drop Cloth: I got mine at Menards Home Improvement store, but it was simply because I was there already getting other things. You can easily find this on –>  Amazon
  2.  Curtain Clips: Again, Amazon . Hint: Click on these links to view the individual items. I am not being sponsored by Amazon and I feel like I’m supposed to say that. I’ll let you know if that ever becomes a thing. Anyway, there are white curtain clips in Amazon land with which I thought was good to know. Also, it is well worth getting the 42-pack of the curtain clips if you plan on putting up similar curtains throughout your home.
  3. Scissors: You can probably find a pair of these in your kid’s crayon box or in the junk drawer you never open.
  4. Dryer: found near the washer in either a dungeon-like basement or a mystical space called, “The Laundry Room.”

 

Oh, and one more thing to add: you probably want to have measuring tape too. I wanted to make these curtains longer than the old ones because I love the way curtains look when they touch the floor. I was lazy and couldn’t find our measuring tape so I just thought I could line up the drop cloth next to my old curtains, estimate the amount of length needed to add and simply cut. In doing that I found out that the second half of the drop cloth I cut off wasn’t going to be long enough for my window to add a second panel. So now I have to buy an additional drop cloth piece to add my second panel. However, I was still able to use the remaining drop cloth from this pack for another window, so it ended up working out for me fortunately.

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This is me not using measuring tape like normal people do.

You can see the folded edge at the top on the drop cloth in the photo above. I wanted to have a a top layer of this drop cloth folded down as such to create a cozy look. AKA: It’s a trend I saw on Pinterest and I never would have thought to do that by myself.

 

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Lesson learned here: use wrinkle release setting on dryer before cutting materials with scissors.

After the dilemma of no measuring tape, I realized that my drop cloths were super wrinkly (see unevenness and wrinkles in photo below. Yikes!). So the dryer came into play here (above) as I tossed it in and turned on the wrinkle release setting for a few minutes. This works perfect….except for the fact that I probably should have done this before cutting it into two separate panels as both came out with some slight frays on the ends. Oops….oh well. I’m probably the only one who would ever notice that anyway. I don’t think anyone visiting our home is going to judge me for slightly frayed ends (I hope?).

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Wrinkles….oh my!

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You can see here in the above photo that my unit of measurement is my hand length for folding the top of the drop cloth. I ended up doubling this and making it two hand-lengths folded over before placing the curtain clips on.

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How many curtain clips to add?? I had the same question. Answer is: doesn’t really matter- just estimate an even amount of length in between each clip and add at least five per panel to make it look decent. I actually added a total of nine curtain clips for one panel but I may or may not need to subtract some when I eventually add on my second curtain panel. Whatever looks best to you is going to be what you should go with.

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TA-DA!! The Red Pillow is not staying, it just found its way there somehow. The cat is also not staying there. I might start spraying him with a water bottle so he stops freeloading 24/7.

BAM. Curtains are finished!! Not touching the floor like I wanted but there are no wrinkles and you can’t even notice the frays. I do somewhat wish that these were white drop cloths rather than that tan/burlap color….but then again, it’s growing on me. If I ever change this (likely) I will have to do another post on that. My goal for our home is to “simplify” the decor. I loved the old curtains but they were honestly just too “noisy” with all the intricate design. At least, they were too much for me.

Y’ALL, I HOPE YOU ENJOYED THIS POST AS MUCH AS I LOVED CREATING IT! 

I have absolutely no idea why it took me so long to publish because this post took approximately 40ish minutes to type up. I hope it was helpful or that you at least found some humor along the way!

Do you have a fun, DIY project you want to feature on my blog?! Please get with me and let’s collaborate!

Comment, share, like, send some love… 😉

Yours Truly,

Kelsey

Choosing My Hard

Choosing My Hard

Trusting and waiting is hard.

Staying focused and motivated is hard.

Choosing joy is so hard sometimes.

Maybe it’s a woman thing. Maybe it’s what happens when you find yourself staring up the mountain of purpose and see your dreams looming down at you, seemingly impossible to reach.

But you know what else is hard?

Killing your heart with self-doubt.

Forgetting God’s promises for you.

Destroying your worth and purpose with fear.

They might be easy to do but they sure are hard on the heart.

I’ve been unexpectedly vacant from my farmhouse social media which is a big, “no-no” when you’re trying to operate social media as a business. Every blog or business development workshop you attend will tell you that consistency is key. People won’t know you exist if you don’t give them something to look at, after all.

But then there’s strategies on specifics: specific times of the day to post, how many times in a day or week to post, posting on your stories, using your business stats, the list goes on and on…..

It overwhelms me.

I want this to be an honest place for myself and for my followers. Here’s the honest truth about the reasons why you haven’t really heard from me lately:

  • There is life to be lived and I need to enjoy the moment entirely by putting down my phone. I’m just not good at being intentional and telling my followers what is happening.
  • I start to post something and then delete it because I don’t want to fall victim to vanity by seeing how many “likes” and follows it will give me.
  • My heart is in this entirely, but sometimes it takes more effort than I feel like I can handle to pursue even the things I am very passionate about.

I want substance. I want quality. I want honesty. I want vulnerability in everything I put out here for you guys.

The problem comes when I fill my mind with fear and doubt and guilt. When this happens, I tend to isolate myself. This makes it hard for even the most enthusiastic person to stay focused and motivated on the tasks I need and want to accomplish.

To top it off, it feels like it has been impossible to find someone to relate to.

I’m not a mom so it feels like I can’t relate to any of my friends at the moment because they keep their timeline busy being a mother. My husband’s career is busy and booming and while that makes my heart so happy for him, he also doesn’t quite understand what this feels like either. So it’s really easy to feel alone with these thoughts.

After a much needed phone conversation with one of my closest friends, she reminded me of a simple truth that I continually forget:

I’m not alone.

Jesus is with me every day, even on the days that I choose to ignore him. I am loved. I am understood. I am blessed. I am here in this waiting season for a reason. Nothing is meaningless. Nothing is circumstantial. It is all to bring me closer to Him.

I have come to realize that I have a choice to make on how I want to set my mindset for the day, the week, the year and for the rest of my life.

That might be the biggest sigh of relief: I get to choose.

So, it’s time. It’s time to choose which hard is worth fighting for today.

I no longer choose doubt and guilt and fear. I am choosing joy, hope and determination. It’s going to be hard every day to remember that I can make that choice, but that is far better than the alternative hard.

The following is a quote I read yesterday in a Desiring God article that really helped me. I invite you to read the article for yourself as well. It’s called, “When God Calls You Out.”

“This is the truth that resounds in the depths to which God calls us. He invites us to step out and follow him. To dream. To plan. To build. He invites us to put our hands to work for his name’s sake, not based upon our expertise or know-how or giftedness. He invites us here based upon who he is himself.” -Jonathan Parnell.

-Kelsey