(in)RL Conference Sign-Up

Girls, get your calenders out 🙂
Because I’m pretty sure you’re going to want to be part of Dayspring’s Incourage In-Real-Life ((in)RL) meet-ups! I co-lead one of inCourage’s groups for single ladies (we are starting up again in February, be on the lookout for more information), and I just love what they do to encourage community among women. This is one of their initiatives…they like to think of it as a “free girls’ weekend that doesn’t require a plane ticket.” 
 
Registration is FREE, and the weekend starts with a webcast on Friday, April 22nd, and moves on to small community-hosted groups all over the country on Saturday, April 23rd. This year’s theme is “Staying Rooted In Community Through Tough Times.” Doesn’t that sound like a fantastic time?
You can check it out and register HERE (and if you register today, you get a few extra perks!).
Hope you can find a community and join!

Take Heart

These days, it’s a daily struggle to keep all of my heart here. To keep it present. 
Half of it is still living a small-town-happy past life, and the other half is living a city-struggling-memories life.

 I have so much more empathy now for anyone who moves. The next time a new girl comes up to me, I will say, “I will be your friend! I will sit with you at the lunch table! I mean, get coffee with you!”  
{this section refuses to get on the ‘centered’ bandwagon tonight for some reason…}

Also, I have only unpacked about 20% of my closet, and I haven’t figured out this “why my hair looks so terrible here most days” thing yet, so I’m really limping along here with style posts. Good thing this blog isn’t just about fashion 🙂 
PS> I had to wear this leopard coat because it was snowing. Again.
Wait for the Lord! Be strong, and TAKE HEART, and wait for the Lord.
Psalm 27:14
Have a great week! 

Bittersweet

My dear church family threw me a party with the theme of Bittersweet. You know? The beautiful fall vine/berry that is red and orange? I’ve always loved it. 
Photo by Chelsea of Frolic Blog from Here
And of course a “Bittersweet” theme is just perfect for a farewell party this time of year. They had orange tablecloths, vases full of bittersweet, and the most beautifully decorated cake with Bittersweet piped on. So pretty! I was totally a crying mess.
Cake decorating skillz by one of my favorite people from church!

Hmmm…

My cousin had this darling polka-dot dress and I just had to ask her if she’d mind if I got one! Isn’t it the cutest!? 

Of course, I had to have the party earrings—the bling, if you will, to kick this outfit up a notch.
It’s hard to leave such precious friendship.
But everyone has really sent me off with a lot of love (and photographs, handmade presents, little travel things, chocolates, and more) to carry me forward.
Bittersweet, indeed.

Friendship

I’m feeling so happy and blessed today. It was a wonderful weekend–it was sweaty and hard work to throw a 2-day tag sale (alllllllllllll day both days), but such a blessing, too. I met some great people, had wonderful conversations, gathered so many ideas, drank a lot of coffee, enjoyed fellowship & company of friends, and was thrilled to make some gas money for my move.

I ended the weekend with a cookout and several toasted marshmallows, with more good friends!

This darling little dress? Well it is bound to become a great friend in my closet, too. I’ve worn it twice since I got it last week! 

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Friday morning, my french press broke. Not even the glass! I was washing it and the plunger just snapped off. Crazy. Anyway, one of my best friends is such a dear and she gifted me this HOT PINK french press. 
The best. 
Friendship is oh so dear. 
I’m already loath to leave, and start over on that front.
Enjoy your Monday! I hope you have the day off…but if not, put a smile on and enjoy the day anyway. Why not, right?
xo!

A Casual Outfit and a Story

This is a basic, everyday outfit. It’s my “go-to” sort of outfit when I have to rush out the door in a hurry. Jeans, cute tee/tank, cardi, and fun scarf. 

Cute studded sandals, good jeans from Anthro, cute polka dot tank top, J.Crew cardi with nice buttons, and funky scarf. So easy, and all thrifted/tag sale-d except the sandals, which are F21.

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Yesterday I was able to spend a leisurely evening with one of my best friends and her two little boys. I sure got a pretty good fill of little-boy hugs! Her oldest boy would just look at me adoringly, this little boy on the eve of his 3rd birthday. His eyes shone as he sat next to me, put his hand on my shoulder, then patted me on the knee. “I am so glad to be here with you,” he said and gave me another big hug.
Later, this sweet friend of mine and I sat on my living room floor, two bottle caps popped on the floor at random trajectories, two Apple-Ginger hard ciders propped on handmade coasters. I felt so happy in the cozy cocoon of my small apartment, made entirely Natalie-like over the past handful of years. Sharing it with a best friend and her two darling boys (asleep at this point) made my heart feel so full, you know? So full of love, of questions, and of the future..but mostly, it felt filled with the presence of the holy spirit in this quiet evening of sister-hood. Utterly blessed and grateful. We chatted in that tumbling-rambling way that happens when two best friends haven’t seen each other for months. One topic was topsy-turvy onto another topic, as we animatedly shared life in a way that can’t be replicated online. It was so wonderful to experience that blessing of friendship from God. It feels so rare these days.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Dig in to life! Send roots deep down, invest in friendships, and really connect in real life. 
Goodness if it isn’t soul-filling! 
xo!