This week has been one full of thinking. Do you ever have one of those days when you lay down to go to sleep thinking.....”WOW I really said a lot of negative stuff today.” Or leave a conversation thinking "everything that came out of my mouth there was nasty?" What about when we are talking about co-workers, talking to friends, talking about our significant other, talking about our problems, talking about how we are so done with so and so....do we even realize how often negative thoughts turn into words and leave our lips? 

How often do you dwell on them? 

How often do you mention them? 

How many people do you tell?


Do we even realize that we speak more negativity than positivity into situations? I know I don't.

Did you know that it takes 4 positive comments about someone or something to one person before they think positively after you make ONE negative comment?

JUST THINK ABOUT THAT.

For instance, say that I tell you “I hate not having my own house." (Which I say far too often) It would take 4 positive comments about the same situation to get you to see that 1 issue in a positive light. So I would have to say.

“It saves us tons of money.”

“I know God has a plan.”

“I can only make sure I am a blessing while i am there.”

“I love having a roof over our head.”

just to get you to see that situation differently.


    What I am trying to say is, if it takes 4 positive comments to 1 negative one, to change someone’s view on something. IMAGINE what we do to our own mentality throughout the day. Thinking things like

I can't believe him

That was a stupid thing to say

I look so ugly today

I hate this place

I look bad in that photo

I can't take it anymore


We seem to just bash ourselves and those around us with destructive thoughts over and over. Try just for a day to pay attention to what you are thinking about what goes on around you. Just see how many positive things you think a day. Because usually we don't think the positive things, 

    The other day I found some negatives from photos my husband and I took on our honeymoon. When I pulled them out of the trunk and held them up to the light to see them better, a thought crossed my mind. When I am going through something I see as negative… I tend to make it my focal point. The funny thing is when you walk into people’s homes you don’t ever see the negatives of images hanging out on the walls for people to see. All you see the REAL pictures,because a negative image doesn’t share the real life details or colors with people around you. What you see is a direct opposite of reality. When you see the real image you see details a negative would never have given you.
    Sometimes negative things push us to be more than we knew we could be. If we hadn't come through some negative circumstances in our life we would not be able to accept some of the good that comes our way. For instance, If you lose your job, you may find one where you are needed more, where you might enjoy it more, or you might rediscover an old passion for something. You never would have done that if a "bad thing" hadn't pushed you out of your safe zone. There is always a way to look at what the rest of the world calls a bad thing, and see an open door for opportunity. 

Just like holding a negative up to a light makes it easier to see the details, taking our bad situation and changing how we view it can give us a new perception. Yet,even then the image is still not high quality. That is why we entrust into the developer the fact that we can’t see the whole picture until we let the image develop and be dipped into some harsh chemicals to do some processing. Once processed the image is clearer and more defined. 

When we find ourselves focusing on all of the negatives that life hands us, we have to remember that we can’t really see the whole picture. What we are looking at is only a small piece of the picture. It has to be processed, through trials and tribulations to result in a beautiful picture that our life can only be once we entrust it to God. A bad situation isn't anything that matters when the end comes to surface. Once we can remember to look at the whole picture we can see that there is more to that one negative circumstance than first meets the eye. When we are brought down into a negative state, we have the choice, (whether we realize we do or not) to either focus on the issue at hand in a negative way, or to hold that negative up to the light. We can turn it over to our developer,and hold it up to God’s word and see how small our point of view is. In the Bible it says specifically that his thoughts are higher than our own. And if we kidnap that mentality of not always knowing. Of not always seeing how it ends. The ability to see the positive in the issue of the negative becomes easier and easier. 

Isaiah 55:8-9

New International Version (NIV)

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Matthew 10:29-31
 
 New International Version (NIV)

29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? 
Yet not one of them will fall to the ground 
outside your Father’s care.[a] 
30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.



“But as I look back at my life, 
it is easy to see that the times when my wisdom and understanding grew to new levels; 
those times when I approached becoming the person I long to be;
 it was always the times that followed negative circumstances.” 
— Vic Johnson 

“But those (negative) situations are often pregnant 
with useful life lessons and opportunities for growth.  
The most disastrous times have produced the greatest minds.  
The purest metal comes of the most ardent furnace; 
the most brilliant lightning comes of the darkest clouds.” 
-François-René Chateaubriand

Speak life sisters! 

- Jessica Smith Wallace
 
 
September may be gone and October underway but there are so many things I loved about it, I discovered new things that I have yet to share with you. SO here are my September favorites :) I hope you enjoy!
PictureImage from Artifact Uprising
Artifact Uprising has a new collection of soft cover designs for photo books that makes me want to scream "take my money!" This is going to become how we preserve our memories and share them with others. Books of pictures just seem to be the wisest way to go. Without having to go to the hassle of grabbing the laptop and waiting for all those pictures to load and skipping through the ones that don't really convey the emotion of the moment. This way you can select the ones you want and share it with those around you. Not only that but it will make your small moments in life much more appreciated. Absolutely one of my favorite finds for September. If soft cover books are not your favorite way to go, then they even offer hard cover books that look almost unreal. It is an affordable and adorable way to present memories as a gift or as a treasure in your home. 


PictureImage is my own
One of the things we do in our marriage is challenge one another to become better. We pick a challenge a week, like reading a new book, or creating a new habit. Once we complete the challenge we get a reward! (That is the best part in my opinion!) This month of september we conquered our goals to get the prize! My prize was to make an apple pie. Yes, i do realize that is a weird idea of a reward. But most people who know me know that I never allow myself to spend much on me. And I have been wanting pie since september started! So I started planning to bake an apple pie from scratch. WELL.....I was on pinterest one day and I found this recipe for apple pie cookies from Oh Bite It. Needless to say it is AMAZING!! I cooked them for 25 minutes and the house smelled like pie for hours. BEST AIR FRESHENER EVER. So easy and perfect for breakfast with coffee. I want to make a cherry rendition and maybe even try making smaller ones. I didn't have a cookie cutter so i used a good sized bar glass. Improvisation at its finest! Let me know what you think!


PictureImage from Darby Smart
For the ultimate DIY fanatic Darby Smart is the site for you! You can submit your own project designs. Or just purchase some and make them yourself! This is AWESOME! I want to buy all of them. BUT the block printing starter set is probably my favorite one out of all of them! Just see the potential! I love all the design photos and the ability to share your own after you finish it! The whole idea of the showroom is awesome, its so cool to see what all the buyers are doing with their kits. If the showroom doesn't make you want to purchase a kit I don't know what will.

 
 
Fall is here.  I could scream that sentence from the roof tops today. As I grabbed the cold cup and added the hot coffee and then poured in the flavored pumpkin spice creamer. I thought to myself this is the beginning of my favorite time of year. Time for grey skies, red and yellow leaves, cooler air,sweaters, and good hair days! Fall signifies change. Trees shed their leaves only to begin the cycle over again. This is the harvest. Reaping the fruits of our labor. Growing in small bits at a time. As I thought about this I realized change affects us all differently...

Change is a big indicator of our own personal issues in life. It determines whether we are open to new ideas or new ways of doing something. When we are pressed with change, how do we first react?

Maybe you act defensive like I do, insisting that you know the best way and there can’t be another one or else you would have done it like that from the beginning.  

Maybe you react out of fear, shying away from change because it means becoming uncomfortable with things. Perhaps you feel like it would just cause conflicts in areas you are happy with.

Maybe you want to command change, and if it doesn’t happen the way you expect it’s got to be wrong.

Maybe you think you are okay with change, But if you think back to when you made a huge decision and things didn’t work out exactly how you might have expected you may have had nervousness, stress, or anxiety. 

Change is something everything on earth experiences. 

The world was not the concrete jungle we live in today. 

Someone had an idea, a passion, a dream, a desire. Change was whispering in their ear...They followed it and it created a new surface to work from.  

As a result of this thing called change…roads began popping up as a way to get around. People were able to travel further see more of the world we live in and as a result more change occurred. People saw more, believed more, dreamed more, and now change is a part of all of us. Even our seasons change every year. Some summers are hotter than others, some winters it snows and others it’s warm enough to wear shorts to Christmas dinner. 

If change was not a part of our world. . . I could not be married to my husband today. Thankfully A man had a dream, and so did many other people. As a result of that change . . . couples all over the world can be embraced and not scorned.

Another thing I love about change is the fact that you can almost always sense it. You can practically taste it before it happens. That moment when I breathe and it’s there…on the horizon I welcome it.

It’s not until it's right up next to me that I tend to shift in my skin about whether or not its best. It’s like when you go to get a tattoo. I don’t know this from personal experience but everyone I have ever gone with has been so sure of what they want until they get there. They are a stick in the mud about what they want tattooed on them forever... Until they get there. When they get there they feel anticipation, combined with the intense fear that they might maybe be getting the wrong thing. It’s like a pit of your stomach fear. That scared feeling because you’ve never done this before. 

 I think of that feeling. And in the second that I am feeling it I know it’s a big choice I am about to make. I know that it will CHANGE everything. But I sit here knowing that many other people before me had to make that choice, had to make a change. Had to stick to their guns. Many people made decisions that have made our world better. Many people fought a long fight to make a difference to fix something that they saw as wrong.

 "For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: 'If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?' And whenever the answer has been 'No' for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something." Steve Jobs 
 
Steve Jobs knew something was wrong. When he went too many days in a row with the same mindset. He knew he had to change something or he would get stuck doing something he didn't believe in or feel passionate about. 



If you are in that instant.

If you are in this phase of change.

Of difficult decision making…

Know that there is a reason. Struggles are not always about what’s happening here and now in front of us. But more so about what our main purpose is in life. We can never know with one decision where it will take us but when we sit back in our 80’s and look at our life….we may see that welcoming some change in our life created more opportunity and a better life for others.

Without ideas there would be no progress, without instruments there would be no music… Without roads….there would be no road trips… without change. There would be no difference.



Speak Life Sisters
- Jessica Smith Wallace
 
 
Love is something we all misunderstand.

Something we don’t quite get.

But probably the most common misconception is that there is THE ONE out there waiting for you. In many ways we are led to believe or simply hold on to the fact that someone is holding out just for us. However.... love is not all butterflies and happy thoughts. And usually right when that shift from infatuation or "romantic love" moves into "seasoned love" the two people realize that the other person is not as terrific as they first might have thought. In fact most times, the eye opening quirks and habits turn us off from one another rather than on! How can we prepare our future generations for the shift in love? How can we let them know beforehand that love is a day to day decision. Not based on a feeling or how the other person handles themselves, but based solely on how we choose to handle the issues that come up. Love wont be the feeling 100% of the time, but every issue can be handled with love 100% of the time. 

Picture
Quote by Jessica Smith Wallace
The other day I was sitting and thinking about some helpful advice we have been giving to some of our friends who are in relationships. While I was thinking about that, the phrase that I think most of our parents have told us came to mind.

"One day you will meet someone who will love you for the great girl you are." 


Now this can apply to both men and women. But honestly just what were our parents preparing us for?? If we met and fell in love with someone and both of us just loved one another the way we were….we would never advance to a good committable future.

If I was the same person I was all those years ago….goodness me I would not be fit to be married. I feel like we encourage our children to enter relationships with the belief that they are perfect just the way they are. And while yes, conforming strictly because someone says you should is wrong….I believe we should encourage our youth to think for themselves but also to seek wise counsel.

For instance if I wanted good financial information I wouldn’t get it from all the people at Chili’s. That is just bad counsel. Those people are in the same boat as I am. I should seek financial information from someone I know who is doing significantly better in that area than I am. 

Picture
My wedding vows.
I feel like what we really should have been told was.....

"One day you will meet someone who will challenge every thought you ever had, and point out that you need to change in all the areas you thought were just fine.”

Because if you get into a relationship and expect to stay the same person, that’s a flawed belief. We get into relationships and then proceed to grow one another and help one another reach our fullest potential. And that is the greatest gift a great relationship or marriage can give you. Loving someone is helping to challenge them and being there for them when the rough times come, agreeing to solve conflict and hold standards for yourselves in dating, marriage, and in your commitment. 

There will be days that suck. You will shed tears, you will have difficulty holding hands, or sometimes even sharing a bed. Through all of those things, never let go. Always choose to love one another. Remember that love can be the way we handle our problems. But loving someone doesn't protect you from having them. Making sure that your actions are not affected by the difficult times that come along, is definitely of massive importance. Don't sleep separately even when you think there is a reason. Don't refuse to kiss them before they leave or hold their hand.

Last but not least.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (ESV)


4 Love is patient and kind; 
love does not envy or boast; 
it is not arrogant 5 or rude. 
It does not insist on its own way; 
it is not irritable or resentful; 
6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 
7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Speak life sisters
    
      -Jessica Smith Wallace



More love links

 
 
    “Is this where all the cool kids sit?” Shauna Haider asked as she sat down next to me. I nodded & moved some of my things so she could sit on the couch. “This is just like an episode of friends.” Gala Darling said as she lounged in a chair across from us, Kat Williams sitting next to her. It was the end of the first day of The Blogcademy in Austin Texas. Held at Vuka, I was thrilled to be there, winning the scholarship has been the greatest achievement of my life so far.
     After class we lounged about for an hour discussing anything & everything. We discussed testing our friendships with the directions of conversation, & talked about Ed & his experience with reading Auras.  As we all divulged our plans for the rest of the night, I came to feel comfortable with the women in chairs around me. I learned that when you see someone on the internet they determine how well you get to know them, I realized that there are still things that are important to keep private, like pieces of family life. 
   

    I also learned that the World Wide Web has a way of creating & starting long term friendships. Kat, Gala, & Shauna have a connection that works together like a finely tuned orchestra. They all know what one another’s strengths are & they work together perfectly to create the symphony that is The Blogcademy. 
    With so much going on in the room, it was hard to focus on anything for too long.. But when the Headmistresses would stop for breaks, I surprisingly found myself stuck to my seat., Hungering not for the cookies but for more information. Anything these three successful women have to say about blogging is worth writing down & memorizing. I got a great many quotes from the weekend. Some were quite hilarious, & were shared on twitter. Others, I kept mostly for self-observation. Catching quotes from others seems to be a skill I have been refining since childhood. I am constantly writing quips & sayings down in artistic format & I thought The Blogcademy would be an excellent time to focus on this, I was proven right. (more on this in a following post) I want to share some of them with you here.
“Even if you feel like no one’s reading that’s totally normal.” 

- Gala Darling


“It has to be done” 

- Kat Williams


“If you think it’s annoying other people probably think it’s annoying.”


- Kat Williams


“People often say things because they want to be heard.”

- Gala Darling
    I think The Blogcademy is a great melting pot of different cultures, beliefs, & life experiences. It is always great to get some time outside of your comfort zone & be in the middle of a group of women who truly believe in one another. It isn't often that you see such a diverse group of ladies that are bent on inspiring each other to see what they can accomplish. 


   My drive & passion are finally on the same track & I feel a surge of excitement that was brought on at The Blogcademy, by learning how to fulfill the passion & purpose I have for life. That moment when Gala said, “This is just like an episode of friends.” I knew that this weekend was meant to be. It was my destiny to be among these fabulous women of passionate purpose. 

    I met so many wonderful women that weekend. Women who started their own business & love it, women who are just starting out like me, & women who are looking to see what treasures the blogging world will bring to their lives.

    If you love to write, & have been thinking about starting a blog I definitely recommend reading all they have to say about blogging on each of their sites. Or signing up for one of their 2014 classes when they announce them.. You would be surprised what you will learn just through the internet itself! I will say that the secret forum for The Blogcademy is one of the best parts of the entire experience, being able to stay in touch with the entire class at one time is amazing! Not to mention the help of the headmistresses whenever you need it.
   
    Remember to speak life into the people around you, & be open to things that are outside of your comfort zone. Those things are usually the things that bring us the most joy & memorable experiences.

Speak Life Sisters!
   - Jessica Smith Wallace

 
 
I clocked out of my waitressing job today with one thought. "I don't have to wait tables forever if I don't want to." Then I realized that for the first time in 5 years I have a chance to put myself in a different occupation. One I would choose for myself if I had the opportunity.  I have been given that opportunity and I've been blessed with the chance to go to The Blogcademy this Friday. The closer it gets the more I realize how truly unprepared I am for this. I have no business cards. I have no pro-skills, and I don't know blog jargon. I feel like I'm stepping into a truly Alice in Wonderland moment. I'm taking a step towards something that can change the course of my life forever. Now is when my dedication to myself and my dream is most important.
Picture
The Blogcademy Texas Poster designed by Nubby Twiglet
Picture
my own version of wonderland
Tomorrow I am going to be packing and planning for my journey. My nerves are a mess and I hardly think I will sleep a wink tonight not to mention tomorrow night. I'm spending tonight with dear friends and my loved ones as I contemplate my future and where I'm heading. what is my passion. how am I fueling it. and where do I want to go from here?  I have until Tuesday morning to answer some critical questions. After that who knows what will happenremember you will always regret the things you didn't do
 
 
I know I haven’t been writing a whole heck of a lot, to be honest I have been so preoccupied with making sure the bills get paid in time for my trip to Austin in 2 weeks that I haven’t been doing much of anything besides WORK. UGH.

I learned a LOT about character this week. The Husband and I have been working on settling some inner grudges we have been holding against people for years. I realized that your dominate thoughts about a person, situation, or thing…. Demonstrate your character when it comes to that specific item.

So the person, (who shall remain nameless since I know they might read this) and I have not been on good terms in my head. In fact I think I am the only person holding the relationship at arm’s length (more like a ten foot pole). If I had never let the anger fester in my heart to begin with things would never have gotten this bad.

 I started thinking about it last week,And the evidence that it was something I needed to seriously approach in myself, became evident when my Husband brought it to me, and asked for my opinion on his resolving his long held grudge with another person. I realized the fact we were both seeking ways to resolve a long held issue at the same time, and it could not be a coincidence.

 I knew it meant that this was a serious issue I needed to really take time to get sorted out.  When we discussed it we realized the reason we were having such a hard time letting go, was because we felt the other person deserved it. 

They deserved our anger, our silence, and separation. They had hurt us so why would we try and form a relationship? If we forgave them then no one would be left to stand up for us and our feelings. No one could be angry at them anymore. If I forgave them  I could not be angry anymore. I needed to forgive, and forget. I needed to mold my character.

If my dominate thoughts about a person are negative or judgmental….how can I say I have good character?

If my dominate thoughts about work are never passionate, how can I say I have good character?

If my dominate thoughts about my living situation are never uplifting and hopeful, how can I say that I am a person who can mentor and give great advice to others?

If I am holding this grudge against said person, how can I encourage others to heal relationships in their own lives….when I hardly want to work on my own?

The truth is …. I can’t

I cannot honestly expect anyone to look up to me and see me as this great example to follow unless I am daily working towards becoming a better person.

I think that God is calling my family to work on our character, and I think its going to be so difficult….but so worth it in the long run.

Speak Life Sisters!
-Jessica Smith Wallace
 
 
I turned 24! I took a day to have a birthday celebration with family and friends . We went downtown to the Spanish flower, one of my favorite places in Houston. I absolutely LOVE their homemade tortillas. Like seriously, as if I need more bread. Even worse my husband made me French toast for breakfast….so I decided to have a day to eat whatever I wanted instead of sticking to my semi- strict eating habits.I had a GREAT day with some friends and immediate family.

Where we ate: Downtown at The Spanish Flower

What I ate: Chips and salsa, Queso….which was DELISH, A Ribeye Steak and one Cheese Enchilada, and WAY TOO MANY FRESH TORTILLAS. Yeah I was a fatty for my 24th ha ha NOT to mention our stop for dessert on the way home. First to try the Peanut Butter Molten at Chilis! :) 


I feel so blessed with good friends, good food, and amazing family. 

 
 
 
 
Picture
Some sketching from my journal that's blogcademy themed :) drawn specifically for this post :)
It all started one day when I shared a dream with my husband… I wanted to attend Blogcademy.   
I had wanted to attend it from the second it was announced on Gala Darlings blog page.

                    I wanted this more than a five year old wants Disney Land.

I saw the extravagant ears and bright colored dresses worn by the headmistresses.  Then i began to desire their confidence and demeanor in myself. There was a problem however . . .I was afraid I would never be so lucky….No one ever said I would fail …..No one but me. 

    I was learning that your own voice is sometimes the loudest of them all.

 I allowed that small inward voice to control my decisions and I decided I would never amount to much as a professional lifestyle blogger. So I shoved my dreams of glitter and kitty cat ears aside for smaller more achievable things.

So when I heard that blogcademy was coming to Austin I told my husband about it with disdain and sadness in my voice. I quietly explained the scholarship option to him and he asked why I wasn't working on that. I admitted to him that I was nothing special and how much of a chance would I have at winning something like that. Gala, Shauna, And Kat shone like blogging  angels above me and I was a mere mortal. He looked at me and said with a firm voice…You will never know unless you try. I pushed his encouraging words aside as I let my fear and disbelief flood my heart and mind. I completely gave up in that instant.

About one week before the Austin scholarship entries needed to be sent in, I was in the shower. I had just finished listening to a talk about how letting fear control your thoughts will eventually end in it controlling your actions.  And  I started thinking….What do I have to lose by trying my hardest to win? Yeah so I only have a week to create something amazing….Sometimes in one moment your entire mindset can change….Like that moment with shampoo in my hair and hope in my heart. I am not my fear. And I can grow past this. 

This post is my entry for the Blogcademy scholarship for Austin Texas.



             Imagine IF I went to blogcademy.

What could the possibilities be? What potential does winning this scholarship have for me? 

Imagine If I  go and become so passionate about encouraging women that I challenge myself to grow so I learn more to help women as they travel on their own journey of self-discovery.

Imagine If I go and get so inspired that it lights a fire in my heart that reminds me consistently that I faced my fear of stepping out and I AM BIGGER THAN MY FEAR.

Imagine If I go and come back completely changed and take on my blog with a purpose and plan.

Imagine if I  met women who can encourage and remind me that I DON’T SUCK when I feel my lowest.

Imagine if I go to Austin and find a different, stronger, more confident me.

JUST

Imagine ….


If I finally get the whole blog design thing down pat.

If from this I get the bravery it takes to go back to college

If from this I eventually collaborate with another woman equally excited about design and changing lives

If one day I can pursue my dream of designing furniture.

If I come out of my shell and feel comfortable in my skin.

If I encourage one woman to see herself as beautiful when she feels all alone,

If I remind someone that FEAR does not have to rule your life if you just STEP UP and try.

IMAGINE….IF I WIN the scholarship….to Blogcademy Austin.

I can only imagine it for now….I hope that in the end It is reality.

You can either live your life in fear, 
and stay there. 
Or you can stand up and challenge all you believe about yourself. 

-Speak Life Sisters

Jessica Smith Wallace