Branding Projects: Southern Glen

Where has the time gone? I can’t believe May is nearly over (which means Husband leaves in three months and four days)!

To say we’ve been busy would be an understatement – we’ve been slammed! But it’s been good because in the past few weeks, we’ve made progress on a home we’re attempting to sell and spent a lot of time with friends and family. And I’ve had the opportunity to work on several personal projects – which I have loved.

Back in March, an old friend of mine from high school (Chelsea Dickey) opened a boutique called Southern Glen  in our little downtown. I’ve had the privilege of helping her create a brand as well as design a logo. I don’t do a lot of branding, but when I do I absolutely love it!


This was particularly fun because her boutique features artisan goods from across the state (as well as around the world). Southern Glen is an eclectic mix of old and new, with ardent finds, handmade pottery, custom cards (by yours truly and other artists), jewelry, succulents and air plants, awesome {local} graphic tees, and handmade furniture. I just love it.


Chelsea was probably the easiest clients I’ve ever had and she knew exactly what she wanted. So we explored a few brand ideas and eventually settled on what I think is the PERFECT logo for her.


After the initial sketches, and a few more conversations about her brand vision, Chelsea settled on the first logo and decided on a simple, classy color palette.


Truly, this was such an easy process. And I’m absolutely in love with the final logo. The brand development has helped create an identity for Southern Glen that is attractive and unique – especially in our neck of the woods.



Loving Well

There is nothing quite so encouraging as fellowship with beloved sisters in Christ.

This weekend, for the first time in several years, I was able to attend our church’s annual Women’s Beach Retreat. And though I did not even realize it, I needed this time.


This year’s theme was Loving Well, a gentle reminder I so desperately needed to hear. This message of love touched the deepest part of me and brought to the surface the areas of my heart that have grown hard.

We’re called to love, but it is not an easy calling. It’s a lifelong struggle, but one truly deserving of our time and energy. Oftentimes, it is an act of will to love when we’d rather not. We even convince ourselves that others are not worthy of our love.

And that begins a downward spiral of chronic selfishness.

The word “love” is thrown around so casually that we’ve truly forgotten it’s meaning. “Love is all you need” may be the catch phrase of the day, but what does society really mean when it throws out “love” as the answer to a world steeped in chaos?

From the world’s perspective, Love is not patient, or kind, or free from envy, or humble, or respectful, or self-less. Love, to the world, is simply just a surface-level emotion that somehow (if we all embraced it) would be strong enough to end wars and conquer bigotry.

But it never truly penetrates the heart.

REAL Love is not an emotion – not the way God explains it. Because if it was, the world would be in even more calamity than it is now. It is only by God’s grace that we can ever hope to really Love. To love truly, is to die daily.

To love deeply is sacrifice.

lambofsacrificeLately I’ve been reminded of David’s words in 2 Samuel (when offered  free oxen and wood for a burnt offering). He said, “I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord, MY GOD, that cost me NOTHING.”

A sacrifice is supposed to cost us – sometimes dearly. And to Love truly, as Christ Loves the church, is sacrifice. Love hurts. There is no way around it. If it doesn’t hurt yet, it will. If you have not experienced the heartbreak of Love, you will. Not necessarily romantically, but as human beings we all eventually experience some form of unrequited Love: when we’re wronged, harmed, hurt, refused, rejected, and betrayed.

It is when the Love hurts the deepest that we realize the severity of our calling as Christians. Loving through pain is an arduous challenge. This is when our true colors are revealed. If we love as the world defines love, we will never know joy. The hurt is too deep. Humanity, too cruel. The tendency is to retreat and separate from a loveless world, OR float through life without ever digging in (why do you think we have a culture of hook-ups and one night stands?)

I think heartbreak is a blessing in disguise.

It is through heartbreak that we can recognize our own sinner’s hearts, on the run from an ever loving Savior. We Love and we’re hurt. In our flesh we play the victim, assume our tragedies are unique. But as sinners we do the very thing towards God that we despise in others. We reject Him when He offers a perfect Love, a Love we can never endeavor to deserve.

Apart from Him, we are wretched and unworthy, undeserving of grace, and yet He Loves. But we’re hell-bound, bent on our own destruction. Our prodigal hearts refuse His grace. We pursue the synthetic “love” of a fallen world instead of the beauty of Holiness.

And still He never lets go.

Still, He Loves.


It’s only through the revelation of our natures towards a Loving God that we’re able to Love others. We must first Love unconditionally. We must sacrifice our wills, our expectations, our assumptions that we’re worthy when others are not. If Christ can Love me, wretched as I am, how much more should I Love the very people who are also just like me?

“We Love because He first Loved us (1 John 4:19).”

It’s a risk. But life is a risk. We can attempt to avoid all vulnerability, or accept the beautiful reality that humanity is vulnerable.

God created us to Love deeply. It’s in our nature, interwoven in the fiber of our beings. Man is made in the image of God. God is Love. Therefore, we Love.

He wants ALL our hearts, you see. Every part of it. Not just bits and piece, but the whole thing. He cannot have it all if we’re protecting it – even from Him.

“There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.”  (C.S. Lewis)

I know this is long. And as I write this, I’m weeping. This has been a painful lesson. I feel broken over my own wretchedness. I’m acutely aware of my sin and how prone I am to wandering.

I don’t love well – at least not yet.

But I don’t want that to be my story. I don’t want to bind up my heart or fear the certainty of heartbreak.

I want to offer a sacrifice that costs me EVERYTHING because though I don’t know much, I know He is worth it.

Loving well is worth it.

The Bucket List


I may have gone a little overboard showing my support. But I was just so darn excited, I immediately ordered a Navy sweatshirt when Jordan told me the news! #proudNavywife

We have exactly four months, four weeks, and two days left together before Jordan leaves for bootcamp in Waukegan, Illinois. I know the remaining time down to the second because I actually downloaded a countdown app on my phone.

I have a feeling these four months, four weeks, and two days are going to fly by if we’re not careful.

Even though it has only been a week since Jordan swore in, I immediately felt that we needed to create a plan. I’ve said before that I’m not a natural planner and that remains an unfortunate reality. But maybe our future military life will help me out in that area. I don’t want to wake up four months, four weeks, and two days from now and wonder where the time went. I don’t want to squander these remaining months together.

I want to truly be all there.

Sunday evening, Jordan and I took a walk together. It was actually more like a slight jog as our dog (all 40 pounds of her) is incredibly strong and fast for her size. Anyway, we decided to make a bucket list. These next few months may be Jordan’s last in beautiful North Carolina for a while. We want to make the most of it.

Together, we wrote down some of the necessary things we need to work on before he can leave. For instance, I need to learn how to pay the mortgage and utilities, and how to mow the grass. We need to sell Jordan’s car. I need to remember to clean the lint from the dryer so the house doesn’t burn down. We need to figure out what to do with our house. We need to de-clutter and clean. And I need to learn how to shoot a gun (seriously, it’s a need).

We also created a bucket list of some of the top things we want to do: Go camping in the beautiful NC mountains (and hiking of course), visit the North Carolina Zoo (which we haven’t visited since we were dating), visit New York City (this doesn’t really count as we’ve already been planning a trip with Jordan’s family to NY. But it’s still something we’re looking forward to in May), tour Red Oak Brewery in Whitsett, go to a Durham Bulls game, visit Black Mountain, NC (hike, window shop and drink local coffee), go kayaking, drink a lot of coffee & study the Word together, eat at The Eddy at least one more time (our absolutely favorite restaurant), walk along the Haw River, explore more of Saxapahaw and the trails by Glencoe Mills, open our home to friends and family, have meaningful conversations, eat more dinners on the back porch, go on some evening runs together, and continue to be involved in our church (service & fellowship).


Jordan and I have had the luxury of growing up together. We’ve never truly been separated – at least not since we started dating. We really have no idea what a long distance relationship looks like or how to move forward exactly. Quite honestly, there are a lot of unknowns, which is equally scary and exhilarating.

But as I said in my last post, we find comfort in the knowledge that the Lord is directing our steps. We’ve also been so encouraged by the family and friends who have reached out to us this past week. Leaving this amazing hometown of ours is not going to be easy …

I’m hoping to use this blog to document our life, especially for the people who want to keep in touch. I want to share our stories. Mostly, I hope to glorify the Lord through blogging.

I hope I can be a blessing to anyone who visits and reads!


…the Lord directs our steps

Today feels a little surreal. We are entering a new chapter of our marriage (though it’s NOT parenthood) and it officially started yesterday. It’s crazy how life as we know it can change in just a matter of moments. For us, it was a matter of two days. In two days, a few doors were officially closed. And one opened. All I can say is our God is good. And He truly does direct our steps.

navyYesterday, my husband, best friend, provider and protector, hero and leader, became the property of the United States. He is officially in the Navy and I could not be more proud of his decision. But it did not come without cost. As many know, Jordan has dreamed for years of becoming a Navy SEAL. And for the past year, we have felt the Lord leading us in this direction. I can even say he transformed my own heart from being totally against it to completely supportive, even looking forward to the challenges and opportunities it would bring. My husband is incredibly determined, honorable, strong and able-bodied. I have no doubt he would have made an excellent Navy SEAL.

For months we have prayed diligently, encouraged by family and friends who were also taking this to the Lord everyday. Jordan has been training, spending hours in the pool, studying in the evenings, listening to audio books, watching documentaries, talking with current SEALS and past SEALS. He even had lasik eye surgery in the fall and now has PERFECT vision. He was ready and eager. But for one small thing. He is color blind. And there is currently no corrective treatment available for color blindness.

Yesterday, Jordan learned that he is disqualified from the SEALS and a whole list of other available jobs – though he does qualify with his test scores and overall health. At first it felt like a blow. Very few men have a desire to pursue the SEALS, or possess the mental and physical ability necessary to be a SEAL. We believed for the past year that the Lord was preparing the both of us for this career. And yesterday, all our thoughts, plans and preparations came tumbling down.

But despite all of that, an opportunity did present itself and though it was not what we expected, it is clearly what God has planned.

“A man’s heart plans his way BUT THE LORD directs his steps (Proverbs 16:9).”

jordansarahSo yesterday, my husband became government property and is now a Navy man. We now have a set date for bootcamp and some idea of what the next year may look like. But there are still SO many unknowns and to be honest, that’s a little scary.

We asked God for direction and He made it so clear that His plans are different from our own. We can mourn the loss of a dream, or we can praise Him for His answer and provision of a new one. Though my initial reaction was disappointment, I awoke this morning refreshed with a different outlook. Imagine if Jordan had dozens of jobs to choose from. That would have been overwhelming. Instead, there was only one option. A clear path. An obvious choice.

“Waiting on God requires the willingness to bear uncertainty, to carry within oneself the unanswered question, lifting the heart to God about it whenever it intrudes upon one’s thoughts.” ~ Elisabeth Elliot 

The Lord has brought so many people into our lives who have been through this very thing. And I’m eager to learn from the wise women I know and will meet who can offer advice for what I’m about to encounter as a Navy wife.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11).”


Take a look at my Heart Shop

Be sure to visit my Etsy store: Southern Press



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Yoga pants & our calling to Purity

I’m a little hesitant to be one of the hundreds (possibly thousands) of bloggers who have devoted time, anger, frustration, profanity, wisdom and foolishness to a topic that has literally taken over the Internet in the past 25 days: yoga pants.

For those of you who haven’t stumbled upon this virtual controversy, it all started when blogger Veronica Partridge wrote a blog post about how she personally (personally being the key word here) — after talking with her husband — decided not to wear yoga pants in public anymore.

Interestingly, she clarified that this is a personal decision at the very beginning of her post. She was not attempting to sway an entire culture of public yoga pant wearers. Nor did she verbally berate or judge those who continue to do so. She made a very short, public declaration that she personally feels wearing yoga pants could potentially be a stumbling block to the other men around her. She is especially sensitive to this because she is married. Because of her personal conviction, she decided to do something about it. Since her blog is public and society can be very antagonistic, the post immediately garnered reactions from every perspective and opinion imaginable. But maybe that’s to be expected. Maybe she shouldn’t have posted such a private decision so publicly.

But let’s be honest, the Internet is full of crazy, opinionated people who blog about  much more offensive, crass, irrelevant, simply stupid and off-the-cuff topics than yoga pants.

Veronica’s blog post was neither offensive, unethical, immoral or even theologically inaccurate. Her post went viral and was the immediate target of mockery, cruelty, anger and hostility. The feminists came out to clamor that it is men who are responsible for lusting after women wearing tight yoga pants, and yet others pointed out that men are just as sexual but “you don’t hear us complaining about it, we just avert our eyes – why can’t you?”  At the same time, many were in favor or her post, rose to her defense, and lamented the rise of an immodest and seductive culture.

Honestly, I can understand the liberal rabble rousers taking cheap shots. That’s what they do. And of course liberals (and especially non-Christians) do no grasp the importance  of modesty in a world that’s becoming increasingly comfortable with all levels of immodesty (which goes far beyond wearing mere yoga pants). I’m also not surprised by the vocal feminists who want to assign all blame of lust to the men, and become more adamant than ever to continue wearing yoga pants “because it’s my right, by golly.” But sadly, I am surprised by the vociferous and even obnoxious opinions of Christian and conservative bloggers (mainly women) who have been so quick to discount this woman’s personal convictions because they themselves do not share them.

So I’m going to add my two cents (though Lord knows the universe doesn’t need yet another opinion about this).

The issue of modesty is a widely debated topic. I have my own personal opinions for sure. But I am not going to argue in favor for or against this particular form of athletic wear or any other piece of apparel for that matter. I think that would be an absurd waste of time and I don’t think that was ever the intention of Veronica when she broached the subject a few weeks ago.

As Christians, we are free from legalistic bondage in Christ. But despite that freedom, we are exhorted to be cautious as we are like sheep, easily swayed by popular opinion to the point of becoming hostile ourselves to the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

If Veronica is convicted, and her husband affirms, that her yoga pants are in fact a stumbling block then it would be a sin for her not to follow through on that conviction. We might not all share her conviction, but let us not become so caught up in our “rights as women,” our “rights to comfortable garb” and even “anger at lustful men” that we cannot appreciate, respect and support our sister in Christ for a conviction that is Biblically founded (a key point here).

Romans 14 says we ought to “be fully convinced in our own minds.”

And later in verse 10:

 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.”

Matthew Henry so wisely expounded on this verse and said, “The business of our lives is not to please ourselves, but to please God. That is true Christianity, which makes Christ all in all. Though Christians are of different strength, capacities, and practices in lesser things, yet they are all the Lord’s; all are looking and serving, and approving themselves to Christ. He is Lord of those that are living, to rule them; of those that are dead, to revive them, and raise them up. Christians should not judge or despise one another, because both the one and the other must shortly give an account.”

Why are Christians jumping on the bandwagon of ridicule and casting judgment towards a woman who has been convinced in her mind, according to scripture and with the support of her husband, that she ought to stop wearing yoga pants? It bears the question, are Christians mocking, ridiculing and reacting angrily to a woman who has given up yoga pants because they think her conviction is unfounded? Is she a heretic? Are her views dangerous and blasphemous? OR are they reacting antagonistically because they too are convicted about their own attire, habits and personal choices and are personally uncomfortable by Veronica’s unpopular stance?

If our Lord views sexual sin as drastically as He does (Matthew 5:28) and exhorts purity with such esteem (1 Corinthians 6:18, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5, Colossians 3:5, Psalm 119: 1-10), should we not also be at least willing to examine our own selves and determine if we are walking, dressing, speaking and living in purity? Isn’t that our calling as women?

Elisabeth Elliot said, “The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian makes me a different kind of woman.”

Oh that we would look different.

Our culture is increasingly, with each passing day, becoming more publicly lascivious. In fact it’s so common that often we don’t recognize how bad it is. We know we live in a world dominated by sin and as a result, we’ll never be rid of it. But we can still make an impact in a sex-crazed culture. It’s not something that will change overnight. It’s quite possibly something we’ll never see diminish in our lifetime. But how can we expect the culture to take a dramatic shift towards the moral high ground if we as Christians are not willing to do that ourselves? Yes, it’s just yoga pants. But for some Christians it’s also skimpy bathing suits, poor language, drunkenness, sex outside of marriage, divorce, rebellion, unloving and judgmental hearts, the list goes on. If we look no different to a world teeming with lust and depravity, how can we ever hope to combat it?

As Christian women, our measurement is holiness, something we can never perfectly achieve but must continue to strive for.

Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

It’s sad that so many Christians do not see the depth of this woman’s conviction. Only God knows the heart, but judging by her words she appears to genuinely desire to live above reproach. It’s a little thing, but it’s an area of her life she is willing to surrender, and even feels obligated to give it up. Mock and scoff all you want, but we are solely responsible for our own hearts. God cares not for the clothes we’re desperately convinced we ought to wear but rather the motives behind our convictions. Do we desire purity above all else? Or do we just want to fit in?

This indeed is something we should all ponder…

“If your goal is purity of heart, be prepared to be thought very odd (Elisabeth Elliot).”

A month without bread – what I’ve learned

Nearly a month ago, after barely surviving a sugar-filled, and casserole-laden Christmas season, I realized some practical moderation in the area of food consumption would most likely be in my best interest.

The funny thing with food is that you don’t realize it’s become a problem until it’s already a problem. I thought I was doing well. I work at a food co-op for goodness sakes! I ran a half marathon one time…months ago. I never go to McDonald’s and I can’t remember the last time I drank a soda. Plus, I work out A LOT!

But something wasn’t right. And I don’t just mean I had a few pounds to lose. I was tired all the time. Waking up was challenging, falling asleep was challenging, staying awake throughout the day was challenging!

Enter Paleo (recently popularized), and known as the ancient diet of our “caveman ancestors.” Which literally means we can eat whatever the cavemen could successfully forage in the wilderness. Apparently cavemen didn’t have access to cows, or wheat or beans…who knew?

Some people call this the bacon diet, because bacon is allowed. But I would gladly offer up all the bacon in the universe if I could just have my delicious bread and pasta back.

Let me tell you, it’s been rough. 

I had a breakdown Friday when, hungry and bored with salad, I nearly burst into tears. I went home and ate a sweet potato. And that has basically been my life for the past 26 days.

“Hello, my name is Sarah and I haven’t had bread in 26 days…”

But I digress… this post is not just one of thousands of blog posts out there talking about the pros and cons of Paleo.

Whether or not I continue with Paleo isn’t really the issue. It’s not really that important. I’m not writing this to reveal before and after pictures or to gain sympathy from my readers who are currently sinking their teeth in a giant cinnamon roll (my food of choice).

Rather, I’m realizing that though this bread-free diet is a small thing, it’s still a hard thing. 


A couple of years ago, several teens and young adults in our church started going through the book “Do Hard Things” by Brett and Alex Harris. The book is a charge to youth (especially) to oppose a culture of laziness by purposefully seeking out the more difficult and challenging things in life. This could be as simple as putting down a video game to help your mom with the dishes. Or taking the time to say “hello” to a stranger. Or looking for ways to serve your church. Or leaving the comfort of home to go on short-term missions trips. Or giving your Christmas money to a person in need. The possibilities are endless. The charge is serious. Do hard things. Start small. Make it a lifelong goal.

So I spent a day complaining inwardly about something that is actually good for me spiritually (funny how that works). How can I be faithful to fast (for instance), if I can’t even give up bread? How can I be faithful to pray for others, if I don’t even make personal time with the Lord? How can I faithfully serve the church if I’m barely even in the church?

There’s a lot to ponder here.

My mom always said (especially on days when I didn’t do my chores), that “he who is faithful in the small things will be faithful in the big things.”

field2How can I be a faithful and effective witness for the Gospel if I can’t even be faithful in my own home with my day-to-day responsibilities? How can I learn to truly desire God if I never dig deep?

How will we learn to eat if we are NEVER hungry?

I have wasted time thinking about my physical hunger, and failed to realize my spiritual hunger. I am hungry! But I’m hungry for so much more than bread, and cheese and cinnamon rolls. I’m hungry for truth and I’m desperate to be used for His glory, to do hard things, to look for opportunities, to be a blessing.

SO completely by accident, my 26 days of going without has brought me back to the theme that has encompassed my life for the past few years, inspired by Elisabeth Elliot, and reinforced by the things the Lord has brought me through and the lessons He has taught me:

“We need to learn to live by the supernatural. Ordinary fare will not fill the emptiness in our hearts…How else will we learn to eat it, if we are never hungry? How educate our tastes for heavenly things if we are surfeited with earthly?”

So rather than dwell on whatever hard things I may be enduring and treating them as obstacles, I want to view every single hard thing (minor and big) as opportunities to be “discontent with ordinary fare.” I want to truly learn how to hunger for the Supernatural, so much more than how I hunger for earthly bread and cheese.

I want to be spiritually hungry so that I can learn to spiritually eat.