Do Something

A lot of times, I wait to get inspired to make things or dabble in my creative outlets. Which is completely fine, but I’ve learned (am still learning) that a creative will simply create with no prompt. It’s just their nature to create. They become fulfilled as they put pen to paper, brush to paper, camera to eye, guitar to hand, voice to music, feet to floor, etc. And if you want to get good, you’ve just gotta commit to your craft and go for it.

But really, isn’t that a secret of life? To simply show up, commit, and do things with consistency? Whether it be in the arts, your work, or in relationships? chew on that.

It’s been a really busy season in my life, but over the past couple of weeks, I’ve committed to some time to sit down and practice lettering. The process would go something like this: I get home, drop off my work stuff in our music room, and debate on what I should do (ie. workout/run, watch Netflix, letter, nap, etc.), but in the end, think, okay. Let’s do this. I’m going to sit down and practice. Sometimes, I’d go to Pinterest for quote ideas or look through J.Crew/Anthropologie catalogs for inspiration. Sometimes, I’d draw a blank and begin lettering whatever pops into my head and go from there. And well, this is some of what came out from that time.

chase whitechase shadowchase black

take me whitetake me shadowtake me black

be brave wallpaper

psalms 37 wallpaper

Downloading directions: simply tap on the picture and save the image!

I just love the yellow color of the “light” wallpapers! And if you can’t tell, I had a hard time choosing which color I liked best for the lettering on those wallpapers. I think they all kinda look good haha. The “be brave” quote was one that I had pinned on my beautiful words board, and the Psalms 33 verses spoke to me a couple weeks ago when I was anxious about some life decisions I had to make, as well as some steps of faith. I love when God’s Word speaks directly to my situation! His Word ushers in peace and breathes life into my spirit. Lettering Bible verses is a no-brainer for me and is something that I try do often ’cause it’s a great way to let those words sink in even more than when I read them.

Despite my busy-ness, I did something by committing a small bit of my time to fulfill a desire, and in my case, that was to practice lettering. So no matter what it is that you’ve been dying to start, continue, or finish, I say: get on with it, sista/brotha! Make a move – any move – and get that much closer to where you wanna be!

P.S. my reasoning behind making these: I didn’t really want to share these lettered pieces on IG, so I made them into wallpapers. Hopefully, one or some of them resonate with you! If you happen to download a wallpaper, would you please leave a comment on here or on my IG so that I know which one you liked the most? I’d love to hear what you have to say (:

gracias + enjoy! 

– E

A Glimpse of 2015 – February + March

Hey, friend! Glad you’re stopping by. Here’s a little update on my February + March through pictures (:

FEBRUARY 

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  • Made some signs for a friend’s wedding
  • Wedding joys!!
  • Brooke Fraser concert
  • Dressed up as a dalmatian for our youth group’s talent show
  • First watercolor + brush lettering workshop with Tor
  • Impromptu photoshoot!
  • Freak snow day!

—–

MARCH

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  • Tor debuted her new paper line – The Daily Yay! – at the Dallas Flea!!
  • Mama’s Daughters’ Diner for the first time
  • Final leadership training meeting with the Neese’s
  • Seattle, Vancouver, and Portland trip!
  • Texas Style Council with mis amigas – Kelsey, Tor, Tiana, and Janie
  • Late night dinner at IHOP ’cause it’s the only thing open around here at 11pm
  • Keeping up with that active lifestyle (;
  • Shrimp & grits for the first time!!
  • Pentatonix concert!

—–

February and March were busy, busy months. And March was probably the most adventurous one out of the two!! Since coming back from my spring trip, I’ve been itching to explore and adventure and hike and do all that fun stuff in Dallas! Hoping that I can go hiking with some friends soon.

Until next time!

– E

hey, spring!

Shirt: Madewell (similar in black + gray) // Necklace: DIY (similar) // Jeans: BDG // Heels: DSW

PC: Kim Childress

*Necklace note: I made this necklace at TxSC, and I wanted to give a shoutout to my friend Tor for helping me finish making this necklace ’cause I was busy running around that evening. Love you, Tor!

– – – – –

Woohoo! Spring is finally here!!

I don’t know about y’all, but when the sun rolled out and the temperatures started to rise this past week, my heart did a little skip + tap!  After such a long, drawn-out winter, the warm temps and sunshine have been so inviting. I’m actually kind of excited for the warmer months ahead (I never am haha)!

Looking back (and by that, I mean to the date of my last post), a lot has happened since the last time we met. And I promise, we’ll go over those details a bit more in the following days to come, definitely by the end of this week. I’m planning on doing another “A Glimpse of 2015” post for February + March since it’s been so long.

But I digress.

Y’know, I can’t remember if I’ve always felt this way, but this spring, I feel a huge pull towards this feeling of, LET’S SHIFT!! LET’S ADD MORE COLOR! MORE LIGHT! SHED OFF THE OLD + BRING IN THE NEW!”  

Maybe it’s because I’m entering into a new season in life – naturally (spring) and metaphorically (post-internship life) – but I am feeling different. A good kind of different. Like a, “I’m gonna step into life boldly!” kind of way.

And I wish I could write more about that feeling, about the expectations that are starting to rise in my heart, such excitement!! But I can’t right now. ooh, I’m such a tease, aren’t I? hahaha. But in all honesty, I need to process for myself. Life seems to have whizzed by these past couple of weeks, and I just need to tousle my hair back and reset + refocus a bit.

So for now, I leave you with these ’cause I feel like this outfit really embraced the joy and excitement I’ve been feeling! And before I really leave, I just wanna say this: Don’t let yourself get boxed in with rules and conventions about how you should dress or get boxed in by your feelings. Actually, in general, don’t get boxed in. Don’t limit yourself. Shed off the insecurities, the doubts, the lies you’ve been replaying in your mind. It’s a new day, and we’re all entering into a new season! Let’s embrace + celebrate this time of growth, renewal, and change and walk head-on into our tomorrows!!

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Until next time, have a great week!!

– E

A Glimpse of 2015 – January

As this is the last day of January (how?!), I wanted to share a glimpse of my start to 2015. This past month, I’ve been chewing on these two things: the word fearless and Lisa Bevere’s Lioness Arising.

Fearless is the word that the Lord gave to me to mark this year. Since I was a kid, I used to hide, no, practically live in the shadows of fear – fear of man and of failure. Fear was the driving force behind my decisions, my thoughts, and my words, and I would miss out on so many opportunities for relationships, adventure, fulfilling dreams, and for authentic living just to please others or because I didn’t want to fail at meeting certain expectations.

It was debilitating.

But in the past year, the Lord has really been pulling me out from the shadows of fear and has led me to a life of freedom – a life where I can be all that God’s called me to be and do. So liberating!

With “fearless” as my word this year, I am super expectant and ready to make this a year where I stay true to the Lord and to myself – that I won’t back down when doubt comes up against me, that I would boldly obey the Lord when He speaks and asks me to do some uncomfortable things. It doesn’t mean that I’ll be a complete daredevil or someone who simply does everything and anything that comes her way, devoid of fear. It’s going to be a learning process – a constant one.

And I think Lioness Arising is going to be a source of constant encouragement as I embark on this year of fearlessness. I mean, it already has been. I’ve had this book since this past summer, but I’m just now revisiting it because back then, I was a bit scared to read through it.

Lisa Bevere uncovers what it means to be a woman of God, a lioness standing next to her king, the lion. She is not timid and weak, but she is strong, fearless, passionate, and beautiful in everything that she does. And she dwells, thrives, cultivates, strengthens, and assists her community. When I began reading this in the summer, I was intimidated to read about what a strong woman of God looked like, mainly because I was scared of my potential – the fullness of woman in God’s image – of what I am capable of doing as God had created me to do.

Fear again.

But at the start of the year, I saw this book resting on my night stand, as if beckoning me to open up its pages, because now was the time. Now was the time for me to uncover who I am, how God created me to be, and learn the importance of being a woman in the world today and what my role is here on the earth and in the midst of my community.

This is the year of shedding the fear + uncertainty of being me, Esther – a daughter and woman of God.

And I’m ready. I’m so ready.

– E

One Day, No Phone – My 24 Hour #Phonefast

phone fast

24 hours. With no phone. You think I’m kidding, right?

Wrong.

I did it! In a day and age where our phones are our sources of connection, information, and life (let’s be real – you know our lives are centered around it), I survived without a phone for 24 hours. And it was great.

During the first couple days of this month, I read this post by Melyssa on her blog, “The Nectar Collective,” where she talks about turning off her phone throughout the day so she can focus and get work done. I was intrigued and thought, That’s a nice idea. Maybe I’ll try it one day. And ironically enough, I did just the next week, and for a greater purpose than just productivity!

Trinity Church Dallas, my home church, does an annual corporate week-long fast at the beginning of the new year where we fast meals and/or anything else that distracts us from God to focus collectively on seeking Him for vision and direction for the new year, as well as setting our hearts rightly on God. This year, Pastor Joe decided to challenge the church in giving up their phones for 24 hours in order to connect with God and one another on a deeper level. And he asked us to do it on the weekend, from Friday night to Saturday night. In my head, it seemed impossible, but the whole experience was truly refreshing.

phone fast 2Here’s how it went down:

9:00 pm – surrendered my phone to Stuart + Ben. Felt a teeny bit anxious, but had some peace about leaving my phone with them at the same time. 

10:15 pm – got home. Reached for my phone so I could take it inside, but grabbed nothing. I was a little sad. 

10:15 – 10:30pm – greeted mom + brothers. Got ready for bed. Asked baby bro if I could borrow his phone for my alarm (this was slightly embarrassing). 

10:30 – 11:00pm – surfed Bloglovin a bit to catch up on posts from the week. 

11:30pm – 8:15am – slept.

8:15 – 9:15am – was woken by my brother’s phone alarm. I was a little upset that it wasn’t my phone, but got over it. Got ready for the day. I reached for my phone to check the weather on the Weather app, but once I realized (again) that it wasn’t there, I simply pulled out my laptop to check online. 

9:15 – 10:00am – drove to church for a service project. I couldn’t play Spotify, so I ended up turning on the radio. Not so bad. I had some down time to pray and think. 

10:00 – 11:30am – Trinity decided to partner up with Stop Hunger Now, an organization dedicated to feeding the hungry around the world. We packaged 10,000 meals for people in India, parts of Asia, and even Europe! During this time, I got to talk with friends and make new ones as we worked together. A couple of friends shared some awesome + encouraging words with me. I had completely forgotten about my phone not being on me or with me!

11:40am – 12:50pm – had lunch at Chipotle with Aileen, Stephen, and Noel. We talked about a lot of different things; we were so engaged in our conversation! This was when I started feeling a lot freer about not having my phone. I felt much more focused on who I was with and what was going on in my environment. Rather than checking my phone during a quick break within our conversation, I was tuned in and still listening. 

1:00 – 3:00pm – Aileen and I looked around for coffee shops to hang out at, and we ended up shopping a little bit, which was a bit spontaneous! As we were adventuring around, I really wished I had my phone to take pictures with. BUT, in retrospect, they would’ve just been pictures of pretty things we encountered. Which wouldn’t have been bad things to take pictures of, but pictures simply can’t capture the heartfelt + deep conversations we had and the moments that were shared. 

3:00 – 4:55pm – we finally found a coffee shop to work at (Union). Sadly, I didn’t get internet access to do stuff while I was there. It was so unexpected ’cause I usually get connected pretty quickly there, and the situation was totally ironic since it had to happen on a day when I didn’t have my phone! I really wished it so I could at least connect to the internet via data, but instead, I spent a lot of our time there catching up and sharing testimonies about what God was doing in our lives with Aileen. I also got some time to reflect and write in regard to 2014 and my expectancies for the new year. 

4:55 – 5:15pm – went to Central Market to get some soup for dinner. At this point, I forgot about my phone again. 

5:30 – 6:00pm – was a little anxious and wished I had my phone to tinker around with when I started eating my soup in the kitchen at church, but then Hope came to talk and eat with me. This was when I noticed how I usually depend on my phone to escape awkward social situations. 

6:00 – 9:30pm – last service of the fast. Rich time of worship + amaaazing testimonies of what God had done in the lives of my church family. I was super encouraged! At the end of the night, I was so engaged in the conversations I was having with friends and other church members that I forgot to get my phone!! How crazy is that?! Ben ended up bringing my phone to me. I felt so bad haha. But it really surprised me how immersed I was in the present and how I had completely forgotten about my phone. It was a pretty awesome feeling.

And that, my friends, concludes my 24 hour phone fast.

Not having a phone to turn to for an entire day was really weird, but really freeing. For the majority of the time, I didn’t mind too much, and towards the end, I forgot about not having it with me! There were obviously times when I wished badly that I had my phone (ex: in the morning for my alarm, when I wanted to take pictures, and to fill up awkward times), but those moments were few and far between.

After thinking back on this experience, here are my takeaways:

  • It is possible for us to be without our phones for the majority of the day. Not having your phone next to you forces you to be really present in the moment and be super focused.
  • Yes, I use my phone to connect with people, but I realized that I use my phone a lot more to take pictures. It’s portable and easy to use, and it’s really convenient too. I love that my phone is my little camera that can store awesome moments and beautiful things.
  • If you want to make plans with friends, you’ve got to make them in advance and stick to them. Nowadays, it seems so easy to text people you’ve made plans with and cancel on them or just be a flake (I do this too sometimes). But when you’re phoneless, you’ve gotta commit. You’ve gotta do what you say you were gonna do and meet where and when you said you were gonna. It makes me think that the generations who had limited to no access to technology are much more committed people than the individuals of this current generation.
  • If you’re stuck in an awkward situation and/or don’t like being alone, learn to be open to your environment and the people around you. Don’t be quick to let your phone be a safety net or  your hiding place. Turning to your phone might make you miss out on an opportunity to connect with someone. Allow yourself to engage with your surroundings.
  • Also, invest in an alarm clock ’cause you never know when your phone might suddenly die or disappear. You’ll be left alarm-less if you don’t!

I hope you enjoyed reading through my 24 hours without a phone. It really wasn’t that bad and was totally doable. If you feel inspired to do your own 24 hours fast, let me know in the comments below, and help me keep you accountable!

– E

JOHNNYSWIM + Dreams Coming True

I will never forget last Wednesday.

That evening, I got to see one of my favorite musical duos, JOHNNYSWIM, do their thang – provide listeners deep, lyrical soul and passion, engage the audience with music that reaches a multitude of hearts, exceptional musicality, and bathe the entire show with an underlying humility and carefreeness that was so refreshing to see and experience.

I was stoked to go to this particular show ’cause a) it was for the Christmas EP – “A Johnnyswim Christmas,” b) I knew it was going to be a sing-a-long (I LOVE SING-A-LONGS), and c) I had a little gift to give to Amanda, Abner, and Babyswim!

And this, my friends, is where it all starts.

On Monday, it dawned on me that I’d get another chance to see, and possibly talk to, Amanda and Abner (I’d gone to one of their previous concerts at the Kessler Theater with my friend, Kelsey and had a one-on-one meet and greet experience), and with the fresh announcement of their pregnancy, I really wanted to make something for them. All day Tuesday, while at work, I brainstormed ideas of what I could write, and even though I had a lot of ideas being filtered in and out, the one that stuck out was the phrase, “…made for such a time as this.” So, with a little doubt + fear, but a lot of excitement, I went to Michael’s to buy some packaging materials and went straight home to work on the print.

for BabyswimThe next day, concert day, D-DAY, I woke up with a dream – a dream that reflected my heart’s desire after A + A would receive the print – them sending me a video via IG. As I wiped away the slumber from my eyes and rose from the warm covers, this dream continued to replay over in my mind, so vibrant and vivid, lasting, leaving me hopeful that that could actually happen and feeling a little silly that I had even dreamed that dream.

Well, work flew by (I mean, I am singing and playing with kids all day!), and suddenly, it was time to get pretty and head over to the Granada with some of the best. The ride to Dallas was a little rainy, but still warm with heartfelt conversations with one of my friends, Lais. When we were united with our crew, we went to grab a quick dinner, and that was when I showed them the little gift I had waiting for A+A.

Y’all. I couldn’t even properly eat my dinner ’cause I started getting those dang butterflies in my stomach! hahaha. I was so ridiculous. And actually, to be quite honest, I was simply doin the most all night – actin a fool, crackin jokes, and getting way too excited to get to the concert. I’m like this quite frequently haha.

Anyway, the entire show, from start to finish was so, sooo good. The Roosevelts, an Austin band, opened for JSWIM, and they tore it up! No matter that much of the room was mainly there to get good spots for JSWIM and didn’t care too much for the opener. The Roosevelts showed up and were unashamed to share their music with us, reeling the room in and hyping us up. And then came JOHNNYSWIM!! I hope you all get a chance to listen and to see them live at least once. They are incredible performers and are so down-to-earth. The sing-a-long sections were freakin amazing – the Granada sounded soo good that night. The energy in the room was absolutely electric. And it was so beautiful to see the room sing their songs, as well as Christmas classics.

ugh. Concerts give me the best feels.

Are you tired of reading yet? If you’ve gotten all the way here, I congratulate you! And to reward you, we’re gonna zoom through all the the exciting bits. Here we go!

After the show, Amanda and Abner had a mini meet and greet on the stage. People all over started to make their way to them, and as I stood there, I hesitated to go up – fear and doubt creeped in, telling me, “No, you’ll never make it up there. You wouldn’t be able to reach them at all. There are too many people around. You can always get it to them later.”

And as I turned around, telling my friends that I wasn’t going to go up there, they encouraged me with such ferocity, saying, “Esther!! You have to get up there! You can do it! Go, go, go!” I made my way slowly up, and when I turned around, I saw my friends, right there with me, supporting me down the way. So grateful for them.

Side note: You guys, please surround yourselves with people that will lift you up, push you to be better, and encourage you. They’re the ones that’ll help you become all that you need to be.

When I got down there, I pulled out the envelope, getting ready to hand it to Abner. I was so.nervous!

When I got to about here, Abner took some pictures with the girl in front of me. I thought to myself, “OMGOSH. IT’S ALMOST MY TURN!!!!” But then, he got up and looked as if he was going to leave! So, I shouted out his name and literally thrust the envelope at his face! And this is what happened next…

"Oh my gosh. That's amazing!" - Abner. eeeeeepp!!!

“Oh my gosh. That’s amazing!” – Abner. eeeeeepp!!!

*fist bump

*fist bump

I was so incredibly happy and grateful that I got it to Abner, ’cause that was the main point! And that may sound silly, but in the past, I’ve allowed fear and doubt to get in the way and hinder me from stepping out and doing things. Fear and doubt have been strongholds that suffocated my heart’s desires, but this time, they were crushed, and I did what I had set out to do! So liberating! And I have to give huge shout-outs to my friends – Aileen, Kim, Lais, and Meagan – for pushing me forward and helping me push past the whispers of fear and doubt creeping in.

But that’s not all.

We went out so that Kim could buy some merch, and when we got outside, I nonchalantly checked my phone, and saw this…

WAT WAT WAT WAT WAT. IT ACTUALLY HAPPENED.

MY DREAM ACTUALLY CAME TRUE!!!

Of course, I started freaking out!! My friends were bewildered and asked me what was going on, and I showed them the screen, and they freaked out too!!! We were running around and laughing and being hysterical! I’m sure people thought we were bona fide crazy. Still laughing from the craziness of the situation, we went back to Aileen’s car and sat quietly to listen in on what A + A had to say (all really kind things) and freaked out every now and then. haha.

After listening and watching the video two times, I was blown away by all that happened, absolutely speechless by God’s goodness. When I woke up that morning, with that dream playing in my head, I had no idea it would actually come true. Part of me dearly wished and desired for it to happen, but a part of me was skeptical. But it did happen. That dream really came true.

And again, my friends pulled through and played such a huge part in making this happen. Initially, the envelope I gave them didn’t have my IG handle on it. I had been wrestling with the idea all day and still hadn’t come to a conclusion at dinner ’cause I thought it was silly. But when I told my friends how I had been thinking about it, they said, “Just do it! You never know! And make sure to point it out somehow so they can see it (;” 

Serious kudos to my friends. Seriously.

Not only did I receive a video from them, but as we settled down and had an Instagram break before we left (hahaha. It’s real!), out of nowhere, Amanda showed up! Meagan pointed her out, and without any hesitation, I walked out and got to talk to Amanda!

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Which was really crazy, ’cause secretly, I had been hoping that, if there was an intimate meet and greet, I would get the chance to speak to Amanda and connect with her since I had a chance with Abner before. Because I’ve thought of them as my far-off brother and sister (have you ever felt like musicians and artists were like brothers or sisters to you? Is that just me?), I just really wanted to talk to her, like a sister would with another sister. And there it was. That moment, that opportunity appeared out of thin air. And it was sweet.

Every little detail, every little instance about this day was perfect. I mean, I couldn’t have planned for it to be any better. Everything was good. Actually, everything was the best. The way that night’s events unfolded were the best way they could’ve possibly happened. My dream literally came true; I got to have that special moment with Amanda; I pushed past fear and doubt; and my friends encouraged me from the start.

There is no way that I could receive any credit for what happened that night. The only things I actually did were: put brush on paper, package the print, open up + share with my friends, show up to the venue, and put one foot in front of the other. That’s it. Everything was else was God. God, God, God. HE takes all the credit for what happened that night. HE orchestrated every moment to the second. HE did it all. I have no doubt about it!

This night taught me some really important things about our spiritual walk (aside from the fact that God is super, ultra AWESOME) :

  • God cares about our smallest and (what seems to be) insignificant desires
  • He’s into the details
  • We simply need to be and do – be the best you can be and do what you do – the things you’re passionate about, the things you love
  • Be transparent with your friends – being open opens door
  • Show up; be expectant
  • Simply put one foot in front of the other and God’ll do the rest. He’s already paved the way before you
  • Have faith

Some of these things are lessons that I’ve learned in the past, but this night felt like a culmination of all of them that played out so naturally, so surprisingly, so beautifully. It was a night full of fun and excitement, but in the end, I was left in awe and wonder at how good God is. And how awesome the friends in my life are.

So, friends, wherever you are, dream dreams. Trust in God. Have faith in Him and His plans for you, even though you don’t know how things will turn out. Be expectant, always. God cares for us, even in the tiniest of things, even when it doesn’t feel like He would or does. He has the best intentions and purposes for us. With Him, there is life, joy, and adventure (and so much more)!

Hello!

It is no surprise that this week, we celebrate one of the most warming and lovely holidays around, Thanksgiving. I’m sure that this day hasn’t always been full of warmth or lots of love for some, but I pray that this year, it will be a day or two where you get to spend precious moments with your family and friends – the ones dear to your heart.

Lately, I’ve been reading Joyce Meyer’s “The Power of Being Thankful” plan on the YouVersion Bible app, and it’s been such a great reading plan, reminding me of how much having a thankful heart can change us and liberate us from the struggles of life. I decided to start this one because I had noticed how sour my attitude had become in the past couple of months. And right before I started, something inside me had changed a bit, and I saw that in my prayers, I began thanking God a lot more for the things going on in my life – down to the smallest things, like an umbrella on a rainy day. I realized that I had forgotten to thank God – for my life, for my family, for my friends, for my church, for work, etc. And as I’ve been participating and reading this plan, I’ve begun to see how much my perspective, complaining, and attitude has changed with the mere utterance of “Thank You, God..” My heart is so much more full, and I’m so much more content with life. Even though Thanksgiving is almost here, and you may not have a problem in giving thanks, you might want to check out this reading plan, because it’s never too late to start learning how to thank God in your prayers and there’s never enough encouragement to do so continually.

As I’ve been reading this plan, and as I’ve been meditating on thankfulness, I’ve been doodling and playing around with the idea of giving thanks and being thankful and grateful. Out of that, I came up with these two wallpaper ideas. I had a lot of fun making these, as I worked on incorporating brush lettering, watercolor, and some Photoshop brushes to make these.

thanksgiving freebie blogDownload // Download

As you can tell, both are very different styles, so choose whichever one you like most!

I’m intrigued as to what backgrounds you all downloaded, so if you do decide to use one of these, please let me know in the comments which one you chose! Ever since sharing the last wallpaper freebie, I’ve been curious to see which ones people have been going after. Don’t be afraid to click the comment button! (: I want to hear you!

Also, please share this with others so that they can get in on the goods too (;

Thanks for stopping by, reading, and using one (or both!) of these wallpapers. I’m truly grateful for your individual selves and your interest!

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