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It’s been a while since I have done a personal post on the blog. My blog started about 10 years ago after I married my college sweetheart. I wanted a way to document our newlywed life and dabble a bit in showing my design work. Little did I know that people would actually start reading this blog of mine and that it would grow into a prospering business! Boy, do I feel blessed beyond belief. As the business grew, my time to dedicate to the blog grew smaller and smaller. Then along came Master Rhett! Life entered in a new level of fun and adventure, but the blog was definitely not at the top of the list any longer. Then came along Miss Lillian! Needless to say, it’s all I can do to keep my head above water nurturing a family, household, marriage, thriving business and a growing team. The blog? Well, it has become the project I think about daily, but no time to act on it. And that’s okay. My priorities are definitely in the right place but it doesn’t change the fact that I want to share my thoughts and creativeness to the world. I thrive on helping others, challenging us to spread joy and dedicating my life to creating beautiful things, inside and out. I know I was given the gift of creativity for a reason. And that reason is to inspire fellowship among others. I was having a conversation with my dad about the gifts I have been given. I struggled in determining how I was really using these gifts in the glory of God. I did know one thing, opening the Shoppe was something I was led to do. I prayed about this decision for a long time and seeked guidance from my husband, a few very close friends and my parents. Not friends that would tell me what I wanted to hear, but one in particular that would challenge me to find purpose in this decision. I was inviting a heavier workload with a new baby and I needed confirmation that this would pay off in the long run. Would it be hard now? Sure! Has it been hard? Sure! Do I regret it? Not one bit. This past year as confirmed that we made the right decision. Back to the conversation with my dad, he enlightened me with an angle that I had not occurred to me. He said, “Emily, you have a gift that encourages fellowship and joy.” Wow. This really hit home. This was exactly what I needed to hear. He went on to explain that the products we design, the invitations we create, the homes we help fill, those are all ways to encourage people to spend time together, creating joy in every day occasions. Big or small, every moment counts. Every moment deserves celebration. Celebration with JOY. Opening the Shoppe has allowed us to spread joy to every single person that walks in the door. Not only do we help them select the perfect gift to bring joy to someone’s day, but we help them find ways to celebrate life’s most important moments. There has been nothing more rewarding in my career than walking into the doors of the shoppe and looking at all of the possibilities we have ahead of us. The Shoppe is my pride and joy as a business woman, the pinnacle of my career to date. It holds all of my favorite things, that have also become the favorite things of all of our clients. It’s really hard to put into words the fulfillment this brings to my heart. In the long run, I pray this Shoppe becomes a well-oiled machine and allows me the chance to take the time I need for my family. In talking with a few mothers who owned businesses, they all had the same advice. They said, if you’re going to open a Shoppe one day (which was always my dream), then do it now. As crazy as it seems, it’s actually going to be easier to do it now, versus down the road when your children are in school. This was the opposite of what I thought. They said, you are actually needed by your kids more as they get older than right now. And you know what, they were right. By doing this now and getting the Shoppe and my team off the ground, I will be able to take the time I need to attend class events, after school activities, sports, etc when it’s time. Right now, my children are the happiest kids I know and are perfectly content spending time with their grandparents and their little schools. Patrick and I work so hard to provide for our family, it is something we have chosen to do intentionally and to show our children that anything is possible when you have the drive and encouragement to do so.

So this past year has been a whirlwind to say the least. We embarked on this huge business decision, grew our team from 2 to 9, and managed to still grow the business exponentially from years past. On the personal side, Patrick and I have grown as a couple to find more time for each other and spend valuable quality time with our children. This year, we made a promise to live more intentionally. To plan more trips, to make the most of our weekends as a family, to have more date nights and to grow in our relationship with God.

So where do we go from here?

From here, I am making a promise to contribute more to the blog this year. I truly need this for my heart. I need to share in this journey of life, just in case that you need a word of encouragement in your personal life or business – I want you to find it here. I also want to use this platform as a way to show you my convictions and what we stand for as a family. I’ve struggled over the past couple of weeks because I felt that I had this opportunity to share my beliefs to such a large amount of people, but I felt restricted to do so because of the ramifications of this instagram post. In what world can we not encourage love and joy without getting so many rebuttals? This truly bothered me and left me feeling very discouraged. I seeked guidance from a very close friend (who I refer to as my spiritual go-to pal!) and she asked me to pray for guidance on finding the right way to spread my message of love and pro-life. This journey is still in the works, but it is definitely weighing really heavily on my heart. So much so, that I know this stand is a part of me and will never change. And I don’t write this to receive any negative or combative comments. I’m not looking for a fight other than fighting for the rights of unborn children. Becoming a mother only strengthened this belief inside of me. Nothing anyone says can ever change my opinion. And the difference is that I fully respect that others have a different opinion than I do. And that’s okay. I don’t expect or demand that the entire world feels the exact same way that I do. We all come from different walks of life, all leading us to make different decisions and have opposing stands. That’s also okay and what makes us human. We can’t all lead different walks of life and expect the same results. I respect that others don’t agree with me and I think that has been what has bothered me most about the last few months. We have truly lost respect for one another. We need to respect our differences. We need to love each other no matter your beliefs or convictions. We are called to love unconditionally. Hate is the absence of love. Give more love. You can never love enough. Love the stranger next to you, love the friend that has completely attacked you for your beliefs. Because in the end, they just need love. We all need a little more of it in my opinion.

So how do you plan to love more this year?

How do you plan to challenge yourself this year?

How do you plan to live with more joy?

Ask yourself these questions and let me know what you decide, comment and tell the rest of us!

If you can’t pinpoint how to find your answers, let me know, I would truly love to help you.

Live joyfully,

Emily McCarthy