a higher purpose

My great grandmother was (and still is) my greatest hero of all time.
She was a selfless, caring, driven, musically inclined, woman of God.
She had a way of bringing peace into my chaos, and calm into the madness.

I remember the very last time we spoke.
She laid in the bed with her eyes closed.

" Mama porque usted tienes los ojos cerrado "
"Mama why do you have your eyes closed?"

"Porque he visto todo,  esto cansada de ver lo mismo, ya quiero irme al cielo." 
"Because I've seen it all, I'm tired of seeing the same things, I'm ready to go to heaven."

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Those piercing words somehow brought conviction to my heart.
Here's this 120 year old woman, telling me she's ready to die. 
She didn't have thousands of dollars stored up. She lived alone. She was a widow longer than she had been married. She outlived some of her children.
 Yet, she was content, and ready for the next stage, death.

As I continue to embrace this season of waiting, I’m reminded of mama. Mama didn’t rush through life, she embraced it with strength and dignity. She lived, so full that she died empty. 
With perseverance, passion, and purpose.

I too, want to live a life like her. 

When I started teaching calligraphy workshops I thought of my great grandmother.

I didn’t want to just “secure the bag.” 
Securing the bag, only meant that one day I’d run out. I wanted to secure my heart. I knew that there was a higher purpose to the passion unfolding before me, and I wanted to be sure that I was serving to my highest potential.

I dug deep. I remembered why I started in the first place.

I was in a dark place. Battling with depression, discouragement, and discomfort. So I journaled my prayers and incorporated lettering to it. It didn’t make my depression and anxiety go away, BUT, I found an outlet to release those worries.

And as I found freedom in my outlet I wanted to share this with everyone. So, I began teaching workshops. These workshops have been incredible to me. The lives that I’ve met through these gatherings have brought joy to my life, and the amazing cards that have been created during these classes have brought much encouragement to others.

This past year we’ve dedicated it to encouraging the children who are currently in foster care. As they received their cards written by former workshop attendees, I couldn’t help but think to myself:

What I’m doing right now serves, a higher purpose.

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photos taken by: Priscilla Argenta

 

 

 

Why I wear Black

For years I was okay with being in the background. I was okay with being silent.
I struggled to love myself because of the shame I saw on my skin, and the people whom touched it- without permission.
I lost myself when I was younger. 
The shame I felt about myself compelled me to go reckless until, I hit a wall.

Last year I walked through one of the hardest seasons of my life.
My husband and I lost our first baby.
As much as I hurt about the loss, I felt like it was something I deserved because of my choices earlier in life- Even the choices....that I didn't really have a choice for.

It wasn't until that growing season that I learned to own my truth and live it out in such a way that I became free from shame.


TODAY I CHOOSE TO WEAR BLACK :

because my worth is not determined by the hands that touched me without permission.

because my body is still beautifully made.

because God still sees me Holy and Righteous.

because my mistakes don't define me.

because my life matters.

because I'm unapologetically black.

because this part of my journey continues to feed my purpose.

because I'm saved by grace not by works.

because royalty shines from my within.

because other women need to know they aren't alone.

because my struggle is also my strength.

and because I have a story to tell.

 

 
 
I don’t want to cover up anymore. Not my face, not my mind, not my soul, not my thoughts, not my dreams, not my struggles, not my emotional growth. Nothing.
— Alicia Keys



 

Living with Intention

This past summer my husband and I led a trip with college students to Guatemala.
I didn't want to go. In fact, we had made the decision earlier in January that I wasn't going, because we had learned that our family was growing.

Sadly a couple weeks later, we lost our baby.
I was heartbroken, overwhelmed, upset, and not at all giving a thought to Guatemala. 

The trip was scheduled for July and around May, my husband encouraged me to go with him.
As exciting as it sounds to travel, my grieving heart had no strength to go.
But, I chose to honor my husband's wishes and serve with him.
I began selling personalized maps in order to support our trip.

 Photo taken by:  Carography Studios

Photo taken by: Carography Studios

Our family and friends were completely behind supporting our trip.
So much so, that a good portion of our trip was covered through these maps. 
I was certain that the success of the maps wasn't just because of the art, but because
I needed to be on this trip.

When we first arrived to Guatemala, grief was weighing heavily over me. I was distraught, and still trying to figure out why my body had deceived me. I still had no desire to be in Guatemala, but I was looking forward to seeing the beautiful kiddos that we were called to love on that week.

Our first full day we had kids from a private Christian school coming over to the place we were staying at. The organization that we came with (Redeemer's House) worked closely with the school, and even designed an after school program to help the kids expand on what they were learning.

As my husband and I sat down and waited for the children to arrive, I remember trying to suppress the anxiety and brokenness my heart felt.

Then came, Valentina and Renata, running from the gate straight into Jay and I's arms.

We didn't even know these girls, yet their hugs and excitement was a soothing balm to my broken heart. 
Throughout our entire stay in Guatemala, Jay and I would wake up super early and wait to see those toes under the gate. With excitement in our faces, we'd wait for our girls to run to us, and hug us ever so tightly. 
I needed that, and I cannot describe to you how healing it was for me, and for Jay.
Needless to say, on our last day, my heart was so broken to leave.
I wanted to stay with sweet Valentina and Renata. 
On our last day we also found out that these girls, were sisters and a big family of six kiddos.
(The father is active in the lives of the kids, but because of the large family, he works a ton.)

After arriving home, Jay shared the sweet experience with our church pastor, and they made the decision to take a vision trip to Guatemala in October. 
The plan was to go and see, how we, as a church family can serve the organization best.
But I, I went with some extra plans.
.
As a business owner, I've grown passionate about serving my community and loving people well. My desire was to figure out how Love Offering can serve Guatemala. And I knew that this second trip there, would reveal what that looked like.

 Photo taken by:  Carography Studios

Photo taken by: Carography Studios

When we arrived for the second time this year to Guatemala, we explored different areas of Guatemala in which the organization is currently working with.
We met at Guatemala City, went to a rural and very dangerous area there, and then stayed the night in beautiful Antigua.
The next day we drove a couple hours to Panajachel. I could barely keep it together, because I knew that I would be seeing my little girls.

Early in the morning we walked back to our place from eating breakfast at a local restaurant, and ran into Renata and Valentina's brother Job. We asked him if the girls were home, and he walked alongside of us, to get Jay and I to them.
But first, I made a stop at the place we stayed at and grabbed a bag of Reese's Cups, our favorite "American" candy. 

We arrived to their home, and quickly realized how little they had but how content they were. Their sweet mom made us some delicious coffee, and even offered us breakfast. We played with all the kids, and then I had a conversation with their mama. 
She had shared that three out of the six kids go to school. One being to young to attend school, but attends the after school program every now and then.
Their dad works really hard to provide for their family. They get no help from anyone, and work their booties off to make ends meet.
My heart was touched, because as I looked at these sweet girls, I saw myself.
A family with lots of kids, probably looked at as a middle class family, yet fighting to make ends meet and give all their kids the chance to dream.

Renata and Valentina weren't just sweet, they were smart, with the potential of becoming powerhouses. Through them I was not only comforted, but I was encouraged.
They made due with what they had, and lit up a dark room with their gorgeous smiles.

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In Guatemala, families with an abundance of children are encouraged to send the oldest child to school, and then have them teach the other siblings. They typically choose the boy in the family to go to school. Very rarely do they finish, in fact sometimes they stay until third-fourth grade and then start working.

Jay and I desire to not allow this to be Renata and Valentina's story. We've decided to not just verbally encourage them and love on them, but show them that we believe in them by donating funds to scholarship them to school. We believe that these girls can shift the culture of their country, and bring light and love into the world.

As we enter the holiday season, and my favorite, Philanthropy month I want to encourage you to do as our motto says,

Live with intention,
Love people,
Serve well.

In a world full of hardships and darkness, we must take action and be a light. And we choose to light up the worlds of Renata, Valentina, and their family as much as we can.
And we would love for you to share in this amazing opportunity with us.

From now on,  50% of the funds received from the personalized lettered maps will be donated towards Renata and Valentina's school funds. If you, purchase a map you will be taking part in lighting up the worlds of those beautiful girls.

I'd love for all of our friends to take in on this mission, but overall I desire to see love displayed in this world. I think that, a lot of times, we allow low funds to keep us from giving, without recognizing that love is free.
And we don't have to spend to show that, most times people desire time more than gifts. 

One of the biggest reasons we chose to gift this family schooling for two is because it'd take unnecessary stress of their plates, and they'd be able to see their papa at home.
I know that's one thing I'd wish I saw more of when I was little.

So here we are. With an opportunity to raise $600 to allow these beautiful girls to dream big, and make memories with their beautiful family.
Join us in making a difference.

To purchase a map, head on to our shop.  or order a personalized Map through our  Etsy shop.

Growing Pains

Have you ever been in that place? Where life seems to be spinning uncontrollably fast and you have no clue on how to stand straight? Or maybe you have little desire to even try?

Well as you can see, I have.
And to be quite honest I think that it comes in waves.

You're either preparing for a tough season, getting over it, or currently going through it.

Read More

Recipes for Productivity

It's been two months  since I've gone full time, and I will be the first to admit that this whole "being a full time small business owner" is no joke!
There have been many days in which I have questioned my decision of quitting my day job  and have found myself entertaining the thought of even going back to work.
And when I think about going back to work, I get all kinds of chills because I know that it's not for me.
 I will confess that most times in which I question and doubt my decision of quitting, is usually when I'm feeling uncomfortable and not really feeling my best.

But you and I know the saying,
Nothing good comes from your comfort zone.

Read More

February 23

Three years ago, today, my life changed.
My friend Lauryn and I had planned a girl's day. We started off sharing a Starbucks drink and ventured out to Honeymoon Island beach. As we strolled in my happy place (the beach) we saw so many sweet memories happening before our eyes.
A family taking photos, Some newlyweds walking the beach with a little crowd with them, a guy running with his doggie...... and then my best friend asked me to be his beloved wife.

Lauryn and I were sitting on that bench, and as we looked at the ocean, and I showed her pictures of my niece and nephew, this very familiar melody was lingering in the air. Before I had time to figure out what was going on our friend Matt comes out singing the song I once told Jay I'd love to walk down the aisle to. 
And then, there he was, walking from behind the bench; with a crisp cut and fresh white button up.
The Love of my life; telling me how much he loved and had prayed for a woman like me. 


February 23 holds a special place in my heart.
Not only because my best friend proposed, but because during that day unlocked the path of a new journey.
And as I look in three years later, today we share a new celebration! 
The launch of something so much bigger than I am.
A new adventure in which we seek to walk through the unknown while holding hands with other imperfect people.
A place where you see heart and creativity intertwined in one.
You're not just in for some lettering pictures and video friends, you are about to embrace some beautiful messes with me. And as we take this leap together, I want to encourage you to use your voice.
Your voice may not be in calligraphy,
it may not be in speaking,
you might even think "I'm just a mom, what can I bring to the table?"
But, 

YOU WERE MADE FOR MORE.

Whether it's one life, 10k followers, and simply those around you. 

Your life has a purpose.
Your story is important.
Your dreams count.
Your voice matters.
You were born to make an impact.


What does this have to do with Calligraphy and Lettering you may be thinking?
It has absolutely everything to do with it!
These words not only come from my heart, but they are the very same ones that I have held on to during the moments in which I felt inadequate for what I do. 
The times I felt discouraged, empty, and lonely. 

So as we embark this journey together, I want you to know that Calligraphy isn't all I do.
And that just like you, I am human too. I struggle, I fear, and sometimes I fail.
And that's okay as long as we don't stay there.

So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own - Matthew 6:34


Let's make today count, together.