31 Days of Surrender

31 DAYS of SURRENDER

It takes 28 days to create a new habit, so the saying goes. So 31 days of writing and I’ll be all set! ;) I’m excited to be joining The Nester on the Write31Days challenge, which encourages writers to pick one topic or theme and write daily for 31 days on it.

I kept asking The Lord what word or theme He wanted me to meditate on for the month and the word SURRENDER kept coming up. And then I chuckled…

This is a season of lots of change for me, and I find myself constantly having to relinquish any control I *think* I have over to The Lord.

All of these changes are new, different and exciting, but it doesn’t make them any less terrifying sometimes! I’m constantly having to surrender my thinking to renew my mind.

I’m sure that lots will emerge as I take the time to write over the next month, but here are a few (and some of them are RANDOM) things that have been mulling around in my head lately:

  • My idea of what success looks like is much different now even than 6 months ago.
  • Organization, and being neat, isn’t my strong suit but I’m really working on it.
  • How to use failure to fall forward.
  • I wanted to quit social media. And the internet. But then I changed my perspective. Stay tuned for that story…
  • Going through a divorce and being a single mother has wrecked me in the best way possible.
  • I think it’s safe to say I’ve learned more in the past 2 years than almost all of my life combined. It’s been Kristen Steele on steroids.
  • HOPE. This word has been my banner word for several years. I’m in a very hopeful season right now!
  • Learning how to love again has brought out all of my deep, dark fears.
  • Refusing to live in fear but walk in love is so much easier said than done, but it’s so worth it.
  • I’ve had to say goodbye to people I love way more than I like recently and that makes me sad.
  • Hearing a toddler laugh and squeal will make almost anything better.
  • A toddler biting you will make almost anything worse, haha.
  • Laughing, happy seasons of life are amazing.
  • Dieting and making the transition to clean eating isn’t easy, but I’m hoping it’s worth it… In the meantime, I miss ice cream.
  • Surrendering my ‘ideal weight’ and learning to be gracious with myself is very hard.
  • Dating again after almost 10 years is hilarious.

That about covers some of the main themes that I’ve been thinking about recently and I can’t wait to share more about what SURRENDER looks like for me in this season.

#InfluenceConf Meet Kristen Steele

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Next week I will be packing up my stuff and heading to the Influence Conference with 300 other bloggers, but in the meantime here’s a quick online introduction!

A Little About Me
I’m Kristen, a Spunky Southern girl and a native Nashvillian. I’m a single mama to the sweetest 15-month-old bumbling baby boy I lovingly call “Baby J.” I’m walking out of the hardest few years of my life after the crumbling of my marriage and a hard divorce. But right now, I’m in an amazing season of watching God REDEEM hard, messy things.

I’m what I like to call a multi-passionate creative entrepreneur! By day I’m the Digital Publicist at B&H Publishing and I absolutely love it. I get to oversee the social media and email marketing for our amazing books that we publish by some of your favorite authors like Angie Smith, Priscilla Shirer, Beth Moore and Candace Cameron Bure. I get to manage Selma Wilson’s blog, our awesome President. But the part that YOU will want to know about is I manage our BH Bloggers program. More about that below…

I also blog here on Graciously Authentic about faith, motherhood/co-parenting, technology and more! I’m the Co-Founder of Graciously Authentic Media, a Rodan+Fields skincare consultant and a photographer. I love all of my passions and they all (somehow!) mesh together in my head well! :)

I started blogging years ago, then I kept writing because it helped me journey through a really hard time, and now I’m in a new season of analyzing. I love writing, but now my motives are different. I’m excited to hear from the incredible speakers and know I’ll get some wisdom about what my next steps should be.

What am are you most excited about?
I’m most excited about manning the B&H Publishing booth and getting to meet all of YOU! I’ve been a member of the Influence network’s forums for a while now and cannot WAIT to get to hug all of you in person (I’m TOTALLY a hugger!!) and share about how through the BH Bloggers program you can get books for your blog to review and giveaway. (So awesome, right??)

I’m coming by myself and other than a couple of friends, I don’t know ANYONE. So don’t be a stranger – reach out. I absolutely love meeting new friends!

Nashville Meetup!
I love that as part of the conference they have included a time on Saturday for meetups with other bloggers from your area. I have organized an event for any Nashville/Middle TN area bloggers OR anyone who’s from an area that doesn’t have an organized meetup. Come join us!!

REGISTER FOR THE MEETUP HERE

What wouldn’t you leave home without?
I wouldn’t leave home without my iPad with its keyboard. It’s so easy to bring around with me and I type so much faster than I write out in my notebook. But I sure do love my moleskine notebook too!

I also won’t leave home without my miracle-working eye cream. Traveling always takes a toll on you, and after that late night black + white party, I’ll need it! ;)

CONNECT WITH ME: InstagramFacebookTwitter • Pinterest

p.s. If you like Twitter lists, I’ve created one for the Influence Conference 2014. Subscribe to follow along with us easily. Tweet @me if you want to be added and you’re not on the list yet!

Doing Too Much and Sabbath Rest

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I have a confession.

I have a confession: I have a problem with doing TOO MUCH. My calendar these days has been filled to the brim with that cutie up there and so much more. Now granted, they are all good things, things I want to be doing. But I’ve hit my limit. It’s too much.

This Spring and Summer has been full of happiness. JOY is abundant in my life as I have gotten to soak up time with my guys, friends and family. I look around sometimes and my heart just bursts. When I see my little guy reaching for me because he wants me to hold him, or I walk hand in hand with my boyfriend… these are the moments that I have longed for, the moments that in my darkest times I wasn’t sure I’d see.

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10 Things I Learned from my 10 Year Reunion

This past weekend I went to my 10 year high school reunion and boy it was fun! A few of my closest girl friends and I helped plan the whole event, and from it I learned some valuable things.

10-Things-I Learned

What do I remember about life with these friends? Our class was small – I graduated with 99 people – most of whom I went to both middle school and high school with, so we all knew each other fairly well. The short version is that we grew up in a very wealthy community. A place where it was easy to hide behind stuff and ended up being very fake and surface-level. I remember never feeling like I fit in (story of all of our middle school/high school lives, right??). I was good at a lot of things but didn’t excel as a shooting star in just one. So that made me the honor student, swim captain who was in the plays and musicals, worked at Sonic as a carhop. I was all around great at being all around. :) So going back to see friends I hadn’t seen in forever, I was naturally a little nervous. A lot of these friends I hadn’t seen in a long time, and some of them I wasn’t even friends with in the first place. Turns out I had nothing to be anxious about!  (more…)

Recommended Reading for Journeying Through Hard Times

As y’all know, I LOVE to read. I’m usually reading no less than 5 or 6 different books at once. Heck, I work for a PUBLISHER for crying out loud! Many of you have reached out to me for book recommendations. I have emailed you or messaged you back individually, but this week alone I’ve had four different requests so that means it’s time for a blog post!

Introducing

The following is a comprehensive list of all the books that have meant a lot to me over the past few years of walking through the journey of hard marriage times, separation, divorce, loneliness and becoming a single mom. Some of them are specific to those subjects, and some of them are broader but have been inspirational and encouraging to me. If you’re overwhelmed by the breadth of this list here are the three I’d recommend you start with: (more…)

An Honest Review of ThredUp.com

Recently I’ve been on a cleaning spree – going through all of my stuff organizing and purging! My closet has taken the biggest hit, as it should have. I’ve been about 6 different sizes in the last two years and the sheer amount of clothing I have had reached a ridiculous level. But what to do with all of the clothes??

Sure, some I will take to Goodwill. But some of them are really nice clothes from GAP, Limited, LOFT, Banana Republic, etc. I knew I could consign and get some money for them, but I don’t have time to tag things or fool with it. Insert: ThredUp.com.

A friend of mine had posted how easy her experience was and I thought I’d give it a try! First, I bought a few things for Baby J in the kids shop and had a great experience – it was easy to find cute things for him and there’s free shipping.

Next, I decided that I would send in my clothing. The way it works is you order one of their polka dot clean out bags to send in your clothing. You can fit about a load of laundry worth of clothing, shoes or accessories into the bag. The great thing for me was they accept maternity and plus size clothing, so clothes that don’t fit anymore or that I knew I wouldn’t ever wear again, I sent in.

You can either drop off the bag at FedEx (which is the fast option) or leave it for the post man to get (which is the easier option). It was SO easy for me to load up my extra clothes into the bag and drop it at FedEx. It took them a few days to process the bag – they send you emails all along the way – and then voila! They let you know how much you earned:
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