A Duchess’s Tale | Living A Life of Purpose

Here I am back from a long reprieve from writing. And now that I am back I’ve realized how much I missed it. On occasion a writer must go on the impulse of a thought. Thoughts are fleeting and so they might escape unless they be written down. So this is not what I usually write about, but I hope you’ll find it relevant nonetheless.

Late last week I was struck by the dedication of two women in history. Naturally, not being able to get it off the brain, I had to write about it. On a Friday evening I found myself watching The Duchess, staring Kiera Knightley. Instead of escaping into the great abyss that is the television, I found myself thinking about important issues. Great way to unwind on a Friday, huh?

The duchess is a true account (with some embellishments) of the life of the duchess of Devonshire, England. She marries at a very young age the duke of Devonshire; who, despite his great wealth and want of connection, seems to only care about securing his heir to the throne. After several failed attempts to have a boy, the duke begins to look elsewhere. He ends up marrying the duchess’s best friend and the three of them live together until her death.

It’s tempting for a girl alone and with a bottle of wine in hand to scream at the TV because of this nonsense. But my words would fall on deaf ears. There is no happy ending, no justice done. Times were different then. Women were utterly and completely dependent on men, and men could do whatever they wanted.

Now, is this some feminist rant? Hardly. What struck me was her determination and resilience despite the culture in which she lived. The duchess was smart, opinionated, she was a fashion icon, and she was involved in politics. I was also reminded of Jane Austen throughout this movie. She is not only one of the classics that inspired me to write, but she saw way beyond her time and became a woman’s rights activist in her own way.

Today, women don’t suffer as much from what I would call blatant discrimination. Although one could argue there’s discrimination against women in the workplace but that is not for me to discuss. No, we suffer more within. Insecurity, fear, and doubt are our vices. Even now as I write this, I realize I’ve gotten off the writing horse for a while and it’s hard to get back on again. Back to being vulnerable. But at the end of the day, I would rather be vulnerable than live in a safe bubble and never experience the world.

There’s a twinge of excitement within my bones when I realize my potential and that it’s within my grasp. The only person holding me back is myself. So whether you are man or woman, here’s to living a life of purpose.

– Adele

Simple Gift Wrapping & Afternoon Tea

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It’s that time of year again; time for family, shopping, busyness, and lots and lots of sweets! It’s a time of year that is indicative of happiness and merriment, but often times leaves people feeling conflicted. Some of us have lost loved ones, have family that is far away, or maybe there’s something that just makes Christmas too painful. Busyness, it seems, has become our answer for the loneliness. Maybe these are just words from a writer who likes to think (or who would prefer not to think), but Christmas makes me more contemplative than usual. Whatever it is this season, in the midst of all the busyness, don’t be afraid to take some time to be introspective and get with God.

Wrapping presents allows me to slow down and appreciate the last remaining days until Christmas. This time I paired it with a hot cup of black tea for a moment that was cozy and rustic. Although there’s nothing wrong with buying loud and shiny wrapping paper and bows from the store, it’s just not my style. I use brown craft paper with some twine or ribbon, then I stick in a piece of foraged greens and a tag to finish it off. It’s a simple look but it goes a long way – people who receive your gifts will appreciate the personalized touch. There’s no hard and fast rule to this; so feel free to play around with it and see what you like!

If you’re looking for ideas for gift tags, you could buy some from the store, but there are so many free printables available online! I used these black and gold tags and though I found them too late, I also like these handwritten tags. Simply click on the link to download, print out on card stock paper, and cut out using the outline.

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I encourage you to slow down when you wrap this year, if you can. Have a hot cup of tea or listen to Christmas music while you work. Lock the door to your bedroom if you need to shut the kids out. You’re going to have to take the time to wrap anyway, why not enjoy it? At the end of the day nothing else matters than the time we spend with friends and loved ones, and the birth of our savior. So I like to keep things simple – especially when it comes to gift wrapping. Whatever your style is, go for it and most importantly anticipate each day until Christmas!

Cheers!

Adele

How To Find Inspiration in Everyday Life

As a blogger, I feel my main job is to conjure up inspiration. Not only because it nourishes my soul, but because I know it’s beneficial to you all as well. Inspiration is sorely lacking in our culture due to its fast pace and cookie cutter routine. Occasionally we’ll catch glimpses of the sun and then it’s back into the clouds; work, emails, holidays, take the kids to school, etc. Needless to say, I find myself there sometimes – I’m there now. Being in the business of inspiration these days is hard. But I’m only human. Life isn’t one long Kinfolk magazine or Pinterest board, no matter how hard you try. Life gets real. If your tank runs on empty for a few days or a week, that’s okay. You’ll pick it up again soon enough. So how can you find daily inspiration in the midst of life’s chaos without going overboard?

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Let inspiration come to you

True inspiration presents itself when we least expect it (I feel like that must be a quote from somewhere). In other words, I think it should come about organically. It will come across authentic and true when it isn’t forced. You don’t want to get to the point where you are spinning your wheels, forcing you to throw in the towel. Unfortunately, inspiration doesn’t abide by your calendar and neither does life sometimes. I swear I made homemade pasta last night without a pasta roller and it was amazing but I was rushing to get it done and could not get pictures! Sometimes we just have to accept how things play out. (More on that homemade pasta later!) Appreciate those inspiring sunsets, baked goods, homemade pasta, and gathered friends for what they are. And appreciate those times when you feel no inspiration at all, because it’s perfectly normal. You’ll be happier and more content in the process.

Get to the heart of what inspires you

Why do you do what you do? For me, I post recipes and DIY tutorials because it represents a life of simplicity and of slowing down. If you are to be intentional about something, you must find the motivation behind why you’re doing it; it is the key driver to all that you do.

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Inspiration comes in big and small packages

There’s a common misconception that in order for something to be inspiring, it must be a burst of light, great epiphany type of moment. My favorite inspiring moments are the ones that are so small, only I can see it. Like it’s a well kept secret only I can understand. Just the other day as I was leaving work, in the hills behind the shop I saw an albino deer silhouetted against the dark green trees. It was a beautiful sight (and I would have captured it with my camera had it not been so far away!). Sometimes it’s not about trying to capture the moment but savoring the moment with awe and reverence (but that’s besides the point, had to say it though). I stood there, the cool, crisp air whispering through the trees and I relished the quiet of that moment, actually happy that I couldn’t document it.

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Inspiration is everywhere

If you live in say, Europe, New England, the Pacific Northwest, or Tennessee (to name a few) you most likely don’t suffer from a lack of inspiration where you live. But I live in Ohio. Lancaster, Ohio to be exact. Where’s that? Yeah, that’s usually what most people say. It’s right between Columbus and Athens. Columbus – Buckeye central also home of the Short North and the North Market. Athens – hippie central that is home to Donkey Coffee, Casa Nueva, and Ohio University (an incredibly beautiful campus) where I graduated from college.

But there’s not much I can say about Lancaster. We have a Chipotle, a Starbucks, and a nice bike path that people can get mugged on. But I’m learning to appreciate where I’m at. It’s true, I’d rather be in an idyllic location like Europe or Tennessee in the states tucked away in a cabin writing out the remainder of my days. But there is uniqueness waiting to be found around every corner, interpreted, and brought to life.

So how do you find inspiration in your everyday life? You let it come to you and you let life happen. Don’t think about it so much and it will come easy. Appreciate where you’re at in life and make the most of it. Document, create, bake, photograph, live.

The Pursuit of Simplicity

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I was reminded this morning of a quote by Yvon Chouinard.

“Going back to a simpler life is not a step backward.”

How often I have to remind myself of that, daily even. In our world of 9 to 5 desk jobs, stuffy board meetings, etc. it’s tempting to think that’s all there is. And if you encounter the corporate world, they will wonder why you are doing what you love to do and will persuade you in another direction – as if they own your life.

I’ll be honest, I have my doubts. The influence from corporate life is insurmountable. Going back to a simpler life feels like a step backward. But that’s how I know I’m doing the right thing. When you do something for yourself, you will doubt and you will receive push back. But that’s all the more reason to press on.

So no matter what your calling is (maybe it is the 9-5 desk job), here are some ways you can push through the criticisms and enjoy life as it’s meant to be lived.

Trust in the Lord with this new endeavor

This is a huge one, guys. Anything I do: cooking, my ability to write or style a table is because God has blessed me with these abilities. It’s not really about me at all, it’s about Him. Making sure my heart is in the right place and giving glory to Him is what’s most important. The bottom line: I would rather risk it all and have a deeper relationship with God in the process than be safe and be far away from Him.

Listen to your critics AND your fans

This reminds me of something Michael Scott said (he was a very influential thinker), “Don’t listen to your critics, listen to your fans.” I don’t think that’s entirely true because your critics shape you just as well as your fans. But I’ll tell you something, doing something you love and having people appreciate that is more reward than money. I have had too many interviews with no call backs, or no interviews at all after turning in an application that I thought was very well done. Hopes and dreams are crushed because a couple people make a decision about someone’s worth. Take that with a grain of salt, but move on and create your worth in this world.

Never give up

Okay, I know this is super cliché but it rings true! If Bill Gates or Steve Jobs would have given up on their dreams where would we be? (I wouldn’t be telling you this now that’s for sure, and a whole host of other things) Though I don’t intend to be the next Steve Jobs, no matter how big or small your dreams are, pursue them with everything you’ve got. Look guys, we’re only given one life. And that life is WAY too short to waste it away being somewhere you don’t want to be. (Of course there are obligations and seasons but that is a post for another time)

What are some of your dreams and how are you pursuing them? I would love to hear from you!