Real life. Unedited. Unstaged.

I unplugged last weekend.  Didn’t post, open my laptop or do anything for the blog. This was the first weekend since Christmas that no prep work went into The Wild Revival.  It was amazing,  time seemed to expand over those few days. I pulled out my “real” camera. Painted an outdoor table. My husband and I installed our first garden and filled the yard with all of our son’s toys for the summer months. It’s something I think I will be doing more of in the future.

I love our little spot on the internet. It’s my thing, between all of my must dos, I truly enjoy giving time to it and working with my friend. But, there are weeks that call for grace and this was one of them.

So, for the first time since we started last August, we don’t have a fresh new post for you ladies. I hope you are giving us a high-five from wherever you are, for choosing what matters most this past weekend. Please check back in next week!

Influence Conference | You are qualified

You know that moment when someone you know as an acquaintance shifts to a friend? That moment you or her just lay all your stuff out on the table? Like… “Here I am: my life is messy and over-complicated, but I just can’t have you ask me “how are you doing today?” one more time and not tell you the truth.

Well, I’m that girl. The girl that is tired of pretense or just had a hard day, and the over-sharing spills out like a broken dam. I’m always left with self-talk, saying “Wow, Amanda, you hold nothing back! and they’ve got to be feeling like you’re too much.” Okay, let’s just go ahead and call that self-talk what it is: insecurity, fear and anxiety that this person will bolt now that I’ve shown them my true self.

But when I’m the one witnessing a woman laying her true self, her joys, fears and frustrations out there, I don’t have those thoughts. It’s everything, I love when people get real. I see myself in her struggle. I care deeply for her in that moment.  I see and love her in that moment. I want to rally her on, celebrate or cry with her.

That’s what the Influence Conference was for me. Wave after wave of seeing and knowing these women. These days, we “know” so many people from the squares of Instagram or from across the park. We interpret the bits and pieces they share with us, not knowing the whole, real story. We create a separation between ourselves and the women we see in passing or online. The separation is the lie that these women are past the struggle & livin’ the dream.

Influence Conference
Each time a woman I thought I knew would walk on stage at the conference, she would tear down the walls of separation I had created in my mind. Each speaker would share her story, revealing that her relationship with Jesus was still evolving, that following her calling felt hopeless at times, that she stumbles, doubts and continues to fight desires of the ego, just like me.

They proved that not one of the ladies in the audience needed to have it all together to be qualified to share their faith or gifts and that they could have faith in the promise of our God, while still sorting out what it means to be a daughter of God. Within their stories, we found our stories.

Jess Connolly kicked the morning off by sharing what The Influence Network stood for. She left us with questions that broke past the pleasantries and forced attendees to get boldly honest about their influence and how they felt about their influence.

Jess asked:

 How have I discounted the way He made me?

How have I discounted the place He put me?

Who has God given you favor with?

Who wants to hear from you?

Who has He given you burden for?

What way have you been hurt that you hide?

What ways do you hurt? What is your daily sin?

What are your “Joseph” dreams?

I’ve been sitting with these for days. I have quick answers to these questions, long answers and complete silence for them. They are something I will continue to ask myself as life evolves and I take on new roles of influence.

In her opening talk, she also asked us why we were there.  I didn’t know or think about it until she asked the question. My ticket was a gift; an event like this is not something I feel super comfortable attending alone. Marrissa wasn’t able to come with me on this trip so I was completely solo.

When she asked, I immediately thought… “I was there to hear that God did not put the desire in my heart to create a business that supports women to torture me…”

Jess closed her opening talk with Luke 10: In my real sin, He is made strong.” Looking back, I feel that was the theme of the day. These amazing ladies shared their struggle with all different kinds of sin, and displayed God’s strength in every inch of their stories.

Ashley Book _ Influence conference

A big bonus from attending was meeting some amazing ladies. I got to go to lunch with a few women and had the chance to get to know them better. You can check out Kimberly Keith’s recap here and Alicia Cardwell’s here. It was so neat to be sitting at a table with women who were sure of their faith and could speak openly about seeking wisdom from Him.

It’s not something I’m entrenched in in my day-to-day life, and have just recently become more open (on-line) about how I seek out + struggle with finding a relationship with The Lord. So, to be with so many women in the thick of their own walk was refreshing.

I had to leave a bit early to help a very pregnant friend, prepare for a sweet baby boy.  As I was walking out, I had a twinge of disappointment that I didn’t get to meet Jess and Hayley while at the event.

As you know, Marrissa and I are on the Wild and Free launch team. I was hoping for the opportunity to talk them into coming to visit us in WV, even though we are far from the 100 attendee requirement…

So with disappointment in hand, I jumped in the car and paused for a quick IG post before hitting the road.  As I was pulling out Jess commented on the photo I had just posted that she wanted to meet with us! (wait, WHAT?!)

Influence Conference

Well, that wall of separation came right up when I saw her message. I was pulling out of the parking lot, having an internal struggle and telling myself, “Oh they don’t want to meet, just keep driving.”  And I figured I would be a crazy groupie if I turned around and went back to meet these ladies whom I admire so much.

Well, right before I hit the interstate, I said what the heck, I’ll message her back… So I pulled off and messaged her I was leaving and told her they could meet in the parking lot. I hit send and told myself I’d give her a few minutes to respond. Well, within seconds she replied to me that they were coming outside.

Influence Conference

I went back and met Hayley and Jess and told them how important  we felt it was for women in our area to see women being successful business owners, wives, moms, chasing Jesus and telling people about it. They were so kind and supportive of our hopes to have an event in West Virginia and could not have been any more normal during my complete awkwardness. 😉

So after this long-winded post, I hope you will let go of the walls you’ve built, find God’s Glory in your sin and lay it all out there– because life is to short to wait till you feel qualified to stand in your influence.

Are you wild & free?

We’ve got some big plans! Stick with us till the end of the post to find out what they are. We shared last week that we were two of the lucky ladies picked to be on the Wild and Free Book launch team. We are over the moon to have the opportunity to support + work with the lovely ladies, Jess Connolly & Hayley Morgan. They do so much to share The Word with women all over the world, encouraging and equipping them to have influence right where they are. To say we look up to these ladies would be an understatement.

The Wild Revival Instagram

Wild and Free is more than a book, it’s an anthem for our generation. This book was written for  women who feel like too much, and not enough. Women who are holding back, who have forgotten they were born Wild and Free in Christ. You can check out the book trailer here!

Wild and Free Book
We are only a few chapters in, but wanted to share a few of the words that are leaving us saying YES!

“You love and accept Christ, but you aren’t sure exactly  who you’re supposed to be as a daughter of God and what your part is in the Kingdom.”

“Our eyes dart from habitat to habitat, wondering what is wrong with us and looking for ways we can become more like the perfect woman, whoever she is.”

“He is the one who calls us to be wild- walking in who God created us to be. And he is the one who calls us to be free- resting in what Jesus has done for us.”

“His authoritative mission in our lives has never been to break our spirits; it’s geared to set them free to give Him as much glory as possible.”

“I see women waiting on others to intercede and teach them the Word rather than seeking first the kingdom themselves.”

“We’ve misplaced the truth that He loves us more than the lilies, which He clothes in splendor. His love and presence is no longer what spices our life and makes our world sweet. So we gather, we buy, we collect, we curate, we wish-list and we make Pinterest boards.”

So much truth in these first few pages. More to come as we dive in over the coming days and weeks! Make sure to follow our Instagram leading up to the May 3rd book release for more of our favorite quotes from Wild and Free.

Wild and Free Book

So, for our BIG plans! The coolest part about being on the Wild and Free launch team is that we get to bring some really great opportunities to you ladies! We have a few questions below to gauge interest and would love to hear your feedback.

First, the BIG question! If Jess Connolly & Hayley Morgan would bring the Wild and Free book tour to North Central, WV would you attend the event? Campfire Commission Style ————> encouragement, praise + worship and fellowship led by these ladies. We must have 100 commitments + a venue to make this to happen.

What an amazing way to kick off our summer gatherings! We would love to bring something like this to our state, please participate in this survey. Make sure you share with friends, churches, small groups and anyone you feel would want to come! They don’t need to live in WV to attend. We will do our best to keep the cost to a minimum.  Let’s put WV on the list ladies!

 

Book Tour_ Wild and Free

 

Second- if we would hold a book club, sharing a few FREE copies of Wild and Free, would you join in on the fun? We can host the book club via periscope, locally in person or both! Either way we would give out a few free books to the first ladies to register.

 

Pre-order gifts

 

If you are interested in participating in the pre-launch, Jess + Haley have put together some really wonderful launch deals. Check them out here and let us know if you pre-order a copy in the comments below!

We are really excited and hope you join us on this Wild and Free ride! Don’t forget to take our Wild and Free survey. 

Building Lasting Friendships | Callie Burgard: Kómma Designs

Alright, I am going to start out brutal- but stick with me. Evaluate your current circle of friends. Do you feel genuinely loved? Supported? Do you feel like your friends are like-minded? Do you feel like they push you harder to obtain your goals? The moment I surrounded myself with like-minded friends, my world changed. For me, being a creative warrior who works a full-time career and owns a small business, finding friends who understood that Friday nights were late night blog writing, timeline creation and steaming linens for clients was difficult.  As awful as this may sound, surrounding yourself with people who are in line with your goals, your lifestyle and your career, will help you find common ground and support. Friendships are so much more than random texts and the occasional coffee date. Lasting friendships are genuine, loving, supportive and something worth celebrating.

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Meeting new friends can seem difficult, scary and just sometimes impossible. Never be afraid to reach out to other like-minded individuals, people you admire or people you want to be friends with. You would be surprised how supportive people are when you just reach out. Also, never be afraid to talk to strangers- yeah, I know. The world has told you your whole life that talking to strangers is a bad thing. Don’t hang out with me if you don’t want to talk to strangers. I am wildly known for approaching anyone for just about anything. Ok, obviously use your best judgment, I am not asking you to walk up to danger- but you should know the different between someone you admire, someone who you love their style or someone with great hair vs. someone dangerous looking.

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Listening is one of the most incredible qualities a human can have. People love to be heard, but in reality, we spend so much time wanting to just talk about ourselves. Take time to genuinely get to know people. Ask them small details about their life. Ask them how their day and week are going. Remember what they said to you, and always remember to follow up. If your friend mentions they are having a rough time, in a few days, don’t hesitate to reach out and check in.

Celebrating is so underrated. I believe in celebrating every aspect of life. Some of our favorite accomplishments are the littlest. Take the time to recognize these little victories in your friends. Did your friend recently get a new job? Finish a class they struggled with? Make an awesome root beer float? Get an award? Celebrate with them. Send them a card, take them balloons, invite them over. Celebrate things that are basically random. Celebrate the change in season, time change, their vacation- just sending them a reminder about how awesome it is going to impact their life. Little victories are still steps towards a greater goal, and deserve reward. Make it seem like a big deal, believe me, people are taken back by this, and love it. I know this all sounds crazy- and extreme, but I promise you, you will change the lives of your friends around you. When they flip through their mail, open their text, are embraced by a hug- their world will change a little bit for the better.

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Always be available to help your friends. As humans, we struggle. Help can come in so many different forms. In my industry, sometimes help is just a cup of coffee while I am working on a wedding layout, sometimes help is setting floral at a wedding, sometimes help is just advice on which photo to post on Instagram. Take the time to serve your friends. Helping them grow can be such an empowering, incredible feeling. It is a selfless task that can change their life, show your support and remind them how proud of them you are.

The simplest things can go so far. Wishing each of your friends a happy day via text can change their entire morning. Reaching out to your friends throughout the day to let them know your thinking about them. Also, in your own busy life, schedule time for friends. Stop turning down breakfast dates, dinner and late nights under the stars. No matter how busy you are, focus time on the friendships, it is good for both your soul and theirs.

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I know I am a little crazier than the rest of the world, but I take time to celebrate friendships and build relationships with my friends because at the end of the day, they are the ones who support me, love me, celebrate with me. They make me laugh, they build memories with me, they travel with me. They create with me. They help my career, the least I can do is remind them daily how much I love them, how proud I am, how happy I am to have them in my life.

Photo Credit:

Abigail Wellinghurst

Collaboration | Callie Burgard: Kómma Designs

Kómma Designs

Hi! Happy Friday. I will be guest posting for The Wild Revival ladies next Wednesday, so I thought it would be fun to jump on and introduce myself. Some people call me crazy, but I prefer the term passionate. My name is Callie Burgard. I am a 24 year old, events and wedding stylist and coordinating warrior.  I currently reside in Reno, Nevada working as a full time People Person (Community Relations and Event Manager) for a Home Owners Association. I also am owner and creator of Kómma Designs, a wedding and event coordination and styling company.  I am lucky enough to have parents that have become my best friends. I am completely addicted to coffee, brunch and my cat, Winston. Don’t be shocked if you hear me singing completely off key to the wrong lyrics. I believe in supporting each other as humans; we are all in this together. I adore meeting new people, laughing and closet-eating cookies when I am “trying to lose weight”. Come visit next week for a look into why I feel building relationships are so important! You can follow my everyday @Callie.Kommadesigns on Instagram.

DIY Tassel Banner Tutorial

For the past few years, these DIY tissue paper tassle garlands have been floating around on Pinterest and I’ve been hooked on them ever since! They are so festive and easy to make. I make them for bridal + baby showers, birthday parties, and to string along my mantle for various occasions. I’ve had so many people ask me how to make them, and I thought it was about time that I showed you, so Amanda and I broke out the hot glue gun last week and got to work! Keep reading for a step-by-guide on how to make these adorable tassle banners!

 

Materials:

*hot glue gun

*twine

*scissors

*tissue paper (I usually use 3-4 colors; 1 piece of tissue paper will make 4 tassles)

 

DIY Banner

 

Now that you’ve got your supplies ready, it’s time to get this party started!

Step 1: Fold once length-wise.
DIY Banner

Step 2: Fold once width-wise.DIY Banner

DIY Banner

DIY Banner

DIY Banner

(you can fold again width-wise; I didn’t and my tassle so ends up a bit wider…either way works!)

Step 3: Start cutting 1 inch strips into the tissue paper– don’t stress about cutting them perfectly even or straight! Leave about 2 inches at the top uncut. DIY Banner

DIY Banner

Step 4: Unfold and cut in half. You will then cut each half in half again, leaving you with 4 pieces.DIY Banner

Step 5: Once you have everything unfolded, take one section at a time and twist the center, making sure the tassels don’t get twisted. Roll the entire section first before twisting it.

DIY Banner

DIY Banner

After you’ve rolled + twisted each section, put a drop or two of hot glue between the two pieces, leaving space for the twine to fit through. DIY Banner

I like to follow a pattern of colors and repeat until I get my banner the length I want it, which is usually 5-6 feet long.

DIY Banner

These colors are sooo Easter-y! After I made this one, I made another one the next day for my cousin’s bridal shower. I think they’re so fun and an expensive, DIY touch that adds a pop of color!

DIY Banner

Easy Homemade Banana Bread

Banana Bread Recipe
Ahhhh, homemade banana bread! I grew up eating it so I couldn’t help but feel nostalgic while making it this past weekend. I’ve tried several banana bread recipes and this one is definitely IT! And to be honest, it’s a bit of a combination of recipes. Other recipes I’ve tried come out dry, or gooey, but NOT this one! Isn’t it amazing how recipes change based on who is making them and their preferences? Adding a pinch more or less of this or that. There is so much history behind each recipe and I think that’s what makes them so special.

I went out of town last week and when I came back, my bananas were waaaay too ripe and looking sad, just sitting on my counter when I got back. I almost threw them away several times and then it hit me – BANANA BREAD! So I saved them until the weekend and then used them to whip up a few batches. They turned out so cute in mini loaf pans and were perfect to give away (don’t worry! I kept a few for myself, too! They freeze really well; just sit out on your counter a little before you’re ready to eat it!)

You probably already have most of these ingredients on hand already, so get to it! If you like bananas, you will love this recipe! I slice up a few pieces and eat it when I have my morning coffee. I’m almost embarrassed to admit how much of it I’ve eaten this week and it’s only Wednesday… 😉

Easy Homemade Banana Bread

Ingredients

  • 3 or 4 bananas (ripe – “the riper the better!” as my Mammaw says 🙂 )
  • ⅓ cup melted butter
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • 1½ cups of flour
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Use Crisco and flour to grease mini loaf pans.
  3. Peel + mash the bananas.
  4. Stir in melted butter, egg, sugar, vanilla, baking soda, and salt. Stir well.
  5. Add flour and stir well. Pour into loaf pans (about half full).
  6. Cook for 1 hour; make sure toothpick in center comes out clean.

Let cool for about 5 minutes and then remove banana bread loaves from pan and let cool on wire rack.
Next time I make this, I think I’m going to add some miniature chocolate chips, or maybe some finely chopped walnuts. You can also use a larger loaf pan if you’d like!

This would be great to make ahead and freeze, or even sweet little treat to gift someone – wrapped in cellophane bags and tied with ribbon! Let me know in the comments if you try this recipe for yourself!

Design On A Budget | Home Tour by Ashley Friend

Hello! I’m Ashley Friend! I was SO excited and humbled when the lovely ladies of The Wild Revival asked me if I would write a guest post about design on a budget, along with a tour of my home! Buying a fixer upper has come with its fair share of difficulties, but I love being able to watch something that has been neglected for so long shine with new life!

I am going share 5 tips on how to design on a budget that have really helped me!

Home Tour Home Tour

 

Home Tour

#1: think creatively with what you have

It is amazing how much a coat of paint or a new location can give new life to an old piece. So just try it. if you are not happy with something try moving it to a different location. Turn it around, flip it upside down, just experiment! You may be surprise with that you discover!

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Home Tour

#2: Thrift Thrift Thrift

Yard sales and thrift stores, even trading with friends have become my favorite ways to find new items. Have a list of what you’re looking for so you don’t just impulse buy, and realize that it may not be there that time but items are continually moving in and out of thrift stores so just keep checking in! Helpful hint: Mondays mornings/afternoons are usually a great time to thrift!

Home Tour

Home Tour

#3: Think BIG

 It is so easy to get distracted by all the tiny shiny items that glisten and glow in the isles of Target or Hobby lobby. But remember to think big with your purchases. Meaning, buy items that will make a statement, rather than just take up space. Wait and save up for more expensive items instead of buying that $5 knick knack that is “calling to you”

reading nook

 

Reading nook

#4: Find it a new home

Something that really helps with living and designing on a budget is selling items on places like Craigslist, local yard sales, even Facebook has yard sale sites where you can sell your items! So dig those items out of your “storage” closet and find them a new home! There is no better feeling then when someone take items out of your house that were just taking up space, and hands you cash!

little girls room

 

Storage

#5: Don’t compare

It is SO easy to get wrapped up in comparison especially the world of Social media. Things may not come together right away. And your Kitchen may still have painted laminate counters, with ugly yellow spots (me! haha) but remember what matters most in life. Try to create a safe, peaceful place for you and your family, whatever that may look like!

kids room

 

Rustic dresser

I hope you enjoyed this tour! Most of the furniture in my home is thrifted, from yard sales, or Ikea! Hobby Lobby, Target Clearance, and Michaels Craft Store are some of my favorite places to find great decor!

guest room
Guest room

Fixer upper Kitchen

Kitchen

Kitchen

If you’d like to see more details on our home projects and about our life, you can follow me on Instagram at alifewithfriends. Or check out my photography website… I hope to see you there! 🙂

Collaboration | Ashley Friend Photography

Ashley Friend

Hi! I’m Ashley Friend, a Wedding + Family photographer based in West Virginia. I’m thrilled to join the collaboration series here at The Wild Revival. My husband, Josh, and I have two little girls that bring so much fun and joy into our lives! It wasn’t until I became a mother that I truly began to understand God’s unconditional love for us!

Outside of photography, I have a heart for design. I believe in the beauty of simplicity, and that the soft glow of sunlight makes everything magical! Ever since I was young, I have had an interest in design! “What Not To Wear” and home makeover shows were always my favorites!

I recently started sharing my home design adventures on Instagram! It’s so much fun bringing an old piece of furniture back to life or creating something new out of it. I also love sharing my personal style, my family, my love for photography, + DIY projects in our fixer upper!

Be sure to check back next week! I’ll be sharing a peek inside our happy home and tips for refreshing your style on a budget.You can visit me here + follow my day to day adventures on Instagram @alifewithfriends!

Fresh Starts + Old Traditions

Victor Hugo

Spring is right around the corner and I could not be more excited! January 1st is inspiring, and the New Year pushes me to set goals and dream about what the new year will bring. But spring is when all that contemplating + trying turns into living. The warmer weather and longer days seem to get everything in life moving again. Life feels better, the days seem easier to get through and tomorrow is filled with a little more hope than usual.

Some of my favorite things to do in the spring are freshen up my look, move my morning quiet time outside and my own tradition of delivering Easter Bread and tulips to friends and family.

March and April are going to be really busy with my friend Emily’s baby shower and upcoming road trip to Charlotte, NC for the Influence Conference. Knowing I wasn’t going to have much time in the coming months, I changed my hair up a little early this year. I haven’t had blonde hair since before I had my son and I missed how fresh and bright I felt… so I took a leap and went for it in one fell swoop. Ashley from MCN Salon in Pittsburgh, PA did a great job. She was edgy and pushed me to go for it! I’m really happy with the change.

Spring Hair Style

Moving my quiet time outside is such a treat. I love crisp mornings on the deck with a big blanket, my Bible and a light breakfast. Time seems to stand still and the sound of an early spring morning is heaven on earth. Recently, I’ve been studying Acts. I’m following Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds. I also found Val Marie Paper on Periscope and loved hearing how to she studies The Bible — so helpful! So many times I’ve found myself lost when I would try to read The Bible without a “study” to accompany my readings. The tips in these two resources have made my time in The Word a lot less frustrating. I also can’t say enough about the ESV Study Bible; I might be gifting a few to girlfriends this Easter. 😉

Spring morning
For the past five years I have been delivering Easter bread and tulips just before Easter Sunday. It’s a day I look forward to every year. For those of you who may not know, Easter bread is an Italian tradition, one both Marrissa and I grew up eating and helping our grandmothers make… it’s amazing drizzled with local honey + hot tea in the morning!

easter traditions

Traditions are so important to me and I look forward to each holiday and season. They help us build relationships with others, creating a history and dependability between the people that share them. So many of my best memories are centered around tradition.

What are you looking forward to most about the upcoming season? Do you have any traditions that hold a special place in your heart? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below or on our social media.

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