Handmade Crush: Life Lived Beautifully

I’m constantly inspired by the world of handmade, especially the fearlessness and creativity these designers have. Even though many of us have never met it’s so encouraging to hear their stories through their online platforms. I had some free time recently and found myself typing up an email to a few handmade shop owners, asking if I could feature a bit of their vision & work here on MWD. Let’s begin with Gretchen of Life Lived Beautifully

life lived beautifully maggie whitley

life lived beautifully maggie whitley

DSC_5528life lived beautifully maggie whitley

Hi! I am Gretchen Saffles, a follower of Jesus, wife to my sweet hubby Greg, and a lover of coffee, travel and all things beautiful! Each morning I start my day with a coffee cup in hand, big dreams in my head, and then run around getting things done and meeting with friends! I began Life Lived Beautifully in May 2013 from a passion to encourage women to embrace the Gospel in everyday living and make much of Jesus through what we say and do. I created the Give Me Jesus journal for women to use to spend daily time with Jesus, treasuring His Word and learning from Him. I could never find a journal I loved and that stirred my longing to sit and study the Bible. The Give Me Jesus Journal was intentionally put together to be a space for women to write, read, pray, cry, and spend time in the presence of Jesus.  This journal is my heartbeat and living life beautifully for the glory of God the reason I create.

First of all, you must know that if we were having coffee together, I would most likely be drinking some sort of creative latte that I have never tried before. I am a big fan of trying new things, going to new places, and walking on water with the Lord. There are so many things I wish I had learned at the beginning of my business adventure and I would love to share them with you. Grab your own cup of coffee and let’s dive in.

  • Focus on people, not numbers – This is my number one encouragement for you. Because if you become trapped by the numbers game early on your growth will be stunted and your authenticity will be hurt by trying to become what other people are. Numbers don’t equal success. Comparing followers and likes will only lead to discouragement. Whether you have 1 follower or 1,000 followers, each number represents a person. Use social media as a way to bless those who follow you, rather than being trapped by comparison and the endless want for more! People want to see someone who is genuine, even through a picture on Instagram. Don’t be afraid to share from your heart.
  • Stay in your lane at your pace – I recently ran a half marathon and was constantly reminded that in order for me to finish the race, I needed to stay at my pace instead of trying to keep up with other runners. Every runner is different, and so is every entrepreneur. Stay focused on your goals (I highly recommend using Lara Casey’s PowerSheets), and don’t try to run in someone else’s lane. Stay at your pace of growth, ideas, creating, and building a brand. Jon Acuff once said “Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.” I have gone back to these words so many times! If you try to keep up with others, you will become exhausted. And if you try to copy what others are doing, you aren’t creating from the depths of your heart. Focus on your passions and making them come to life!
  • Don’t be afraid of hard work - Owning a business, creating from the depths of your heart, and putting your life’s dreams online can be a scary and hard thing. Most people quit early on because of the hard work it takes to make a dream come to reality. Not only that, but owning a business is a vulnerable thing. You must see your product or service as valuable and worth the time, money, tears, and endurance that it will take to come to life! It is always worth it in the end. When the hard decisions come and with long work hours and little results, embrace them, because they are necessary steps toward achievement.
  • Be grateful for failure and keep walking – Failure will inevitably come in life, whether you are pursuing your dreams or in a regular day job. We have a choice to make when things don’t go our way. Learn, be grateful, and move forward. Or fear, be upset, and quit trying. C.S. Lewis wisely said that “Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement.” Failure is a part of success. Be grateful for it when it comes. Learn from it and then keep moving forward.

Pursuing your dreams, doing the hard things, living vulnerably for the glory of God is worth it, friends. If you are debating starting something, or in the middle of pursuing a dream and feel you lack direction, my encouragement to you would be to keep going and keep your eye on the end goal. Hard work, failure, and learning are necessary parts of the process. In the end, they will make your business, your dreams, and your goals stronger and reach the world with your passion that God has given you!

Connect with Gretchen: blog | shop | instagram

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I love the idea of journal prompts, especially because it can be hard to know where to begin with opening your Bible. Journaling also feels like a really easy way to help clear my mind. Write your heart thoughts down, pray over them, and then revisit the entries you’ve written. Do you agree? How do you relax/clear your mind? What helps you when you feel weighed down?

Hair color, learning how to thrive, and new bangs!

bangs apartment maggie whitley

My friend Allison (her husband and my husband are childhood BFFs) has awesome bangs — well, honestly her entire hairstyle is awesome (always), and yesterday morning I finally declared, It’s time for me to have bangs again! Allison and I have similar hair texture and color, and every time I see her or a photo of her I take one step closer to having bangs cut. So yesterday I snuck out in the afternoon and had them cut, and would you believe I love them? :) They’re so fun.

Last year around this time my hair was darker (not my natural color though) and I had bangs, although they were more of a blunt/straight across cut. Now my hair is more of an auburn/blonde/light brown mix to match my natural color — paired with side-swept chunky bangs. This time around my hair feels more natural and easier to style.

For months, and I really do mean months (since February) our family has been praying for Zack’s work schedule to lessen. It has been a really long year, but I’m seriously grateful to see our prayers being answered and his schedule slowing down. It can be so hard to be patient and wait, can’t it? And to be honest, I wasn’t always quietly waiting… There were many days since February where I cried and complained and questioned WHY we needed to wait. My guess is it wasn’t just about answering our prayers but having God work on our hearts, too.

And so during that time I clothed myself (in a sense) in maintenance mode. Knowing the days would be very long and sometimes lonely… Knowing I would have to balance taking care of Max and caring for our home and encouraging Zack, grocery shopping and play dates and bath time, walking Bauer multiple times a day and praying fervently and resting during naptime — these things consumed my time and mind, and auto-pilot kicked in.

I hate admitting this, but after a few months I began running off maintenance mode: not really thinking about what would make me happy, but instead putting my family first so that they were happy. What I missed out on was recognizing how important both of these things are! It’s not about putting myself first as though there’s greater importance to my needs, but rather knowing when I hold both my family and myself on the same level both areas thrive, together.

I want to remember these past eight months as encouragement for the future. I remember a few years ago, when we lived in Minneapolis, going through something similar: something in life caused me to put myself on pause while we worked through a hard season. There was much learned, but I don’t think I processed it the healthiest way.

And now our family is growing! In such a short amount of time I’ll be in a newborn haze, but I’m so looking forward to experiencing that once again. And this time I’ll have my chunky bangs to hang out with as we navigate another hard season… and also maybe a new stick of raspberry-colored lip stain ;)

37 weeks baby bump.

pregnancy maggie whitley

pregnancy maggie whitley

pregnancy maggie whitley

maxwell pregnancy maggie whitley

flowers los angeles maggie whitley

pregnancy maggie whitley

succulents los angeles maggie whitley

Happy 37 weeks to my baby bump!

And my goodness, is it getting cramped inside my tummy! ;) I’ve kinda resorted to picking things up with my toes, asking Max for help… or just leaving it until Zack gets home at night. We had an ultrasound the other day and the technician was able to record the baby’s weight. Would you believe they estimate our baby to currently weigh around 8 lbs? I do love a chubby baby, so I’m not complaining. (And to think I didn’t even buy newborn size diapers a few weeks ago, I skipped right to size 1. Mothers intuition, anyone?)

Zack had some additional time off work recently so we spent it finishing preparations for Baby #2 and just simply being together at home as a family. It was seriously one of the best weeks of my life. While Zack was home we cranked out a few projects — like painting a nightstand for the nursery, sewing a rocking chair cushion set, hanging extra towel bars in our bathroom for our family visiting, and installing the infant car seat. The whole time I was like, Yahooo! We’re checking off another “to do”, this is awesome! #dork

Even though I’m nervous about the birth and what our experience will end up being, I do have a lot of peace. I share with Zack pretty much weekly how grateful I am to not have the tension that comes with feeling like there’s too much to do each day but not knowing how to get it all done. Now, if I could only find the energy to stay awake once Max goes to bed so I can work on a few things just for me ;) I’m reminded this is a (short) season in my life and it reminds me of my childhood. So many memories of taking care of my dolls and hours of creative play come flooding back to me. I’m doing exactly what I always envisioned myself doing :)

By the way, I listened online to Angie Smith speak recently on how to be better at being present in the moment, and it was so refreshing. I’m not sure how long the videos will be up, so click over and watch as soon as you can.

Maxwell is noticing a bit more that things are starting to change within our family. Instead of only talking about the baby, the visual clues are appearing: we have a cradle for the baby to sleep in, a car seat for the baby to ride in, clothes for the baby to wear, little diapers tucked next to Max’s on the changing table. He’s noticing, and as much as we are keeping things as routine as possible, he’s having a hard time. And you know, I’m just so grateful that my only requirements each day is to be the mama God has created me to be. It’s easy for this to feel like too much, but it really is enough.

I’m reminded it’s OK for Max to struggle a little with the upcoming changes because I have the time each day to help him process them.

I feel encouraged, blissful, tired, excited and grateful. All good things! xoxo

October baby bundle giveaways: $880+ in prizes

October is a very special month! Not only does it signify a change in seasons but the 29th is our estimated due date for Baby #2, and I’m already sooooooooooooo excited! This past weekend we finished up some big projects around our apartment that will help us ease into a family of four. It’s a wonderful feeling :)

We also have TWO baby themed giveaway bundles for our Maggie Whitley Designs community, starting today, totaling over $880 in prizes. Our 16 sponsors have donated some fantastic items, sure to spoil two of you! See below for the bundles & entry details.

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BABY BUNDLE #1: 1. Baby Carrier We from BabyBjörn, $139.95 value // 2. Bow Tie Onsie from Pea Pods Boutique, $15 value // 3. Welcome Baby Banner from Hawthorne Ave Arts & Vintage, $30 value // 4. Lovey, Bib and Burpcloth Set from Delva B. Tree, $30 value // 5. Fabric Keychain from Studio Risa, $25 value // 6. 75 Thank You Cards with Envelopes from Small Moments, $75 value // 7. $25 gift card to Little Sapling Toys, $25 value // 8. Sweet Dreams Pillow from Drawstring Studio, $22 value // 9. Siblings Shirt from E & LuLu, $26.95 value // 10. Dear Baby Journal from Paper + Spark, $32 value. TOTAL BUNDLE VALUE: $421

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bundle1
BABY BUNDLE #2: 1. Hooded Baby Towel from Little Lily Bamboo, $38 value // 2. 10 Custom Bun in the Oven Announcements from Little Elephant Crafts, $70 value // 3. Bunny Blankie from Running Wild Designs, $26 value // 4. Baby Bib from Bella and Tate, $10 value // 5. Baltic Amber Teething Necklace from Spark of Amber, $21.99 value // 6. Purely Yours® Ultra Double Electric Breast Pump from Ameda, $299 value. TOTAL BUNDLE VALUE: $465

To enter the giveaway, please use the Rafflecopter entries below. None of the entry options are required so please keep an eye out for the entry options that don’t require social media, there are many :) One winner for each bundle will be selected at random and notified via email. Please note: both giveaways are open to US residents only. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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