Written from 38,000 feet above the Pacific Ocean last night… and this is me with my toes in the sweet Hawaiian sand this morning.
I love to write. And I’ve never really been at a loss for words when it comes to blogging… until now. For eleven days, I’ve been on the most unbelievable adventure with Lara Casey and Gina Zeidler as part of the Making Things Happen tour.
Let me begin by telling you a bit about my past. I’ve always lived a pretty safe life… until I started Emily Ley Paper in 2008, I stuck to what I knew and didnt push myself outside of my comfort zone very much. I had a safe little circle I carefully traveled in. I didnt even go away to college for fear of leaving my hometown. I stayed in Pensacola and attended the University of West Florida ten minutes from the home I grew up in. My childhood was amazing, but we didn’t travel much. Instead, my parents built us a wonderful life full of family and traditions right there in Pensacola. In 2008, when I moved to Tampa to be with my husband I felt a shift in my soul, I’d done something so outside of my comfort zone – something that scared the daylights out of me, but something I knew was so good for me… something that would allow me to grow in big ways.
This trip has done that same thing for me. Lara asked me to join the MTH tour in June… just hours before Bryan and I found out we were (are) expecting our first child. I had never traveled farther west than Louisiana. I immediately accepted the challenge and knew I would grow big time (literally and figuratively) when November came. And now, here we are – 35,000 feet above the Pacific Ocean headed to Maui. In the last eleven days, I’ve traveled from Tampa to Houston to Phoenix to San Francisco to Los Angeles… and now… Hawaii. I’ve pushed myself to be a better listener and encourager. I’ve launched, with Lara, a project that I’m amazingly excited about and can’t wait to invest myself fully in. I’ve seen mountains, a cactus and the lights of Los Angeles for the first time ever. I’ve done the unthinkable and donned a bikini at almost 7 months pregnant – 20 extra lbs and all. I didnt want to do it, but felt bold and strong when I did.
I’ve faced a few demons I didn’t even know were holding tight onto my heart. I’ve shared my not-so-perfect stories of triumphs, trials and tribulations with almost 50 brand new, amazing made-in-ten-hours friends. I’ve shed unexpected tears in every workshop. I’ve openly felt feelings of immense pride, deep-set fear and sincere excitement. I’ve seen Brady’s face as I tell him my story. I’ve thought long and hard about my marriage and how unbelievably lucky I am. I’ve named the people who are “my people” and have helped me get thus far in my journey. I’ve recognized strengths and weaknesses in myself that I’ve not realized before. I’ve strengthened two friendships with honest life-long friends. I’ve shared my faith with abandon and felt the love of a mother in a way that brought me to serious tears during an acoustic rendition of Amazing Grace yesterday. Amazing Grace…
Need I say more…
With four days to go in one of the most beautiful places on earth, I am already forever changed. I do not make that statement lightly. Forever changed. Thank you to my new MTH friends who’ve joined us thus far. Your stories, strength and boldness have inspired me. Your dedication to be your BEST you has inspired me to be my best me. Lara and Gina, I have no words. I did not realize how much I’d grow to love both of you as business women and sincere friends in just eleven short days. Because of all of you, I will be a better designer, a better wife, a better friend and a better mother.
With love and lots of excitement to sink my toes into the Hawaiian sand and witness God’s glory in a big, big way…
Emily & Bman