freshman year :: vol. one

“How’s college?”

Amazing. I truly love it. It’s not perfect and I might have a few gray hairs from the stress. But life has been treating me well at Kansas State this first semester. The photo above is the most accurate representation of my life right now — I’m loving life at Kansas State while simultaneously much of my heart is with my boyfriend, Zach, who lives in Iowa! It is overwhelming to see how much my life has changed in such a short amount of time. It has been a fast and furious season — so I’m starting here, with gratitude. Here are a few highlights from some of the hardest, sweetest months of my life so far!

long, hard, fulfilling days and nights creating at the studio 

adventures with friends

studying so hard it hurts

my favorite thing… coffee dates

FaceTime is such a gift in the chaos of college

so many road-trips to be with the sweetest man I know

slices of sanity and worship

visiting with author Eric Metaxas

finally hugging author Jess Connolly

The natural and architectural beauty in this place, always beckoning my eyes to look up and thank Jesus for such a season as this

 

I look at those pictures and have one gut reaction: THANKS, GOD. He might feel far from you right now, but I’m here to tell you what my soul also needs to hear: His love for you will not run out and He delights in writing the wildest love stories over your life. Stay in your lane, stay content, and do the next best thing. He is with you.

It’s hard to believe, but I’ve already got 2 classes down and 3 to go! There will be many late nights, moments of freaking out, and cups of coffee in the next 7 days. But there will also be laughter, reflection, hugs, and counting fruit. Pray for me as I finish this semester strong and dive into this merry and bright season. See y’all on the other side.

love, 

your favorite wildcat

 

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dorm sweet dorm 

Since I pressed Publish last, my summer of life change, travels, and preparation flew right before my eyes and all of a sudden — I’m here! At the school I’ve been dreaming of! Running late to class with the best of them!

I moved in to the dorms a week and a half ago (it feels like approximately three months in mostly great ways) with my best friend. Dorms tend to have a cold, plain feel, and I am happy with how we spruced up our space.

OUR INSPO:

 

 

This “ABIDE” print comes from All Good Things Collective. When my roommate Rachael and I first started brainstorming about decorating our dorm room, we found this print on their website and from there we used it as our whole basis from the rug to our towels.

You can see the bulk of our inspiration at our Pinterest board: college.

MY FIRST LOOK ::

“Here it is. This is where you’re going to be thinking all those impressive thoughts. It’s just waiting for your decorative stamp! …And a little air freshener.”

– Lorelai Gilmore

 

 

 

 

 

Without further ado,

Welcome to one of my favorite places to hang my hat! Rach and I will be glad to host you any time. 🙂 

 

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LITTLE DETAILS ::

Iowa heart print from Etsy. Chalkboard was a gift. Curtain, Christmas lights, and globe (and so much more, if we’re honest) from Target. Entry poster and all prints above my desk are from the one and only All Good Things Collective. Coffee bar print from Rifle Paper Company. I literally can’t card from Lindsay Letters. Ann Voskamp quote canvas was created by yours truly! Isaiah 41:10 Print from Etch. 

LET’S BE REAL, THOUGH ::

I think our dorm room is cozy. I love inviting people over. I love hanging out here. I love the Scripture prints and the floral accents. But what makes a place a home are not the objects, but the heart.

“It’s not particularly beautiful. . . .I mean to say it’s not a museum piece. . . Take your furniture: it does not make one say, “What lovely things!” No. And yet this room has a soul.” –  Vercors, Silence of The Sea

I think our space is beautiful, but what I love most is that it is ours.

Thank-You, God, for a roommate that prays with me, goes deep with me, and makes me laugh so hard that my stomach hurts on the daily. Use this space for Your glory, not ours. Keep us expectant and obedient.

If you’re looking to make a space feel like home and to create a culture that furthers the kingdom of God, cultivate the hearts that live within those walls and watch God move. 

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P.S. Deck out your dorm with these awesome tips from All Good Things!!! (And if you haven’t noticed, I kind of like what they’ve got going on.)

the broken way: a playlist of hope & remembering

The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp has been a powerful catalyst in my life since I first opened one of my first launch team e-mails in September 2016 and started scrolling through chapter one, to highlighting on my Mac late into the night so that I could finish the book before I met Ann herself, to present day: rereading my physical copy as it is already showing signs of use and love. This book has shown me that I don’t have to afraid of my brokenness, because through my weakest places God can reveal His power to the world in a way that He couldn’t if I would live my days as a put-together-always-smiling-actress. That maybe the hurt I despise could lead to intimate communion. That I can give freely and confidently, because I am loved deeply. You can find my full review on the book here: daring to live the broken & cruciform way.  Visit TheBrokenWay.com for the moving trailer, free printables, all the best reviews, and a direct link to getting a copy all your own.

The hard truth? Sometimes I am so weak that I don’t feel like I could bear the weight of a page, my own or someone else’s. On other days, I am on the go either working at my computer or commuting several hours a day roundtrip. No matter where I find myself on that spectrum, I still always need to be reminding myself of the truth that Ann pens simply and poetically: “You’re guilty, but not condemned. You’re busted up, but believed in. You’re broken, but beloved.” That reminder could come in prayer, gift-blitzing, the ministry of presence, practically a thousand ways… but one way that I have found extremely healing for my soul is in music. Perhaps you need to remember the truth of who you are, too?

I am about to kick off The Broken Way study with over a dozen women in my community tomorrow night. I made a playlist brimmed full of melodies and lyrics that resound the message of The Broken Way for them, and for you. The lyrics hold stories of heartache and resurrection, redemption and true community from artists like Jason Gray, Kari Jobe, Lecrae, and Tenth Avenue North.

Take a scroll and listen while you kick off this brand new semester, do the dishes, drive to that presentation, or go pick up the kids from school. Exhale. Grab some hope and light. Bookmark it, tuck the words away in your heart, and save it for a rainy day. I’ll do the same.

 

intro to vision board-ing.

Making vision boards is something that I have only habitually done since this past Autumn, right before my school semester got cranked up and I needed some focus and direction as I looked into the days ahead. It has always been revitalizing for me to work with my hands. I love painting, knitting, and finding treasures hidden in common day magazines, but regardless of what I am making it is having the satisfaction of making something that can never be recreated precisely the same way that is so life-giving.

While I have made magazine art that doesn’t directly correlate with a season of my life, I have found it beneficial to create a piece that holds images and headlines that help me think of the next few months in a positive light and inspire me to be a real, tough goal digger.

My girl Hannah Brencher stated it this way and I couldn’t agree more: I’ve needed a hobby for a while and something about this has really fueled my heart to create more, dream more and expect more from God. In the midst of flight delays, I went to the store and got a sketch book for $5. Been using all my old magazines to dec these pages out with prayers and inspirational articles I find. Amazing outlet for anxiety. Beautiful way to cast vision but also get inspired by the visions of others.”

I keep my vision board as a desktop screensaver so that I catch glimpses of it every time I open my computer and in transition between projects. You can read all about my fall vision board HERE.

 

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GET STARTED

you will need the following:

  • A pile of old magazines that you won’t feel like reading in entirety again. I used a Lane Bryant catalog I got in the mail in December, an old fortune, Good Housekeeping (that Lauren Graham article though!), a Christian Bible Study flyer, and tons of Real Simple.
  • Stick glue.
  • Cardstock paper. I have used acrylic friendly as well as brown kraft, both work nicely! The important thing is just having enough thickness to the foundational page that won’t soften or bend the end result.
  • Scissors.
  • A safe space to spread out.
  • Coffee and Ed Sheeran optional, but highly recommended.

 

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GET THINKING

In my first session for this project, I started with a huge poster board. Eventually, I ditched the overwhelming bulk of it and moved to a smaller page. I love the idea of keeping a small sketchbook! It was more challenging to fit everything I wanted to include in the smaller piece, and I was sad to see the rose gold floral pictured above go, but it helped me to prioritize what was worth keeping for both looks and implications.

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GET MESSY

The great thing about making vision boards (or vision journals, as some people like to lovingly refer them), is that anyone can do it! It’s not something that requires three consecutive trips to Hobby Lobby. It won’t break the bank, and it will still get your creative juices flowing, as well as propelling you onto a better life even after you’ve finished. Most of us have scissors, glue, magazines we aren’t reading, and a few pieces of paper lying around! It is easy. While time consuming, I believe that even the least-creative of people can get into the puzzle of it all. As Hannah has said, it is amazing hands-on work for someone with anxiety. It feels good to dream, have control over design, put thoughts to paper, create something concrete and beautiful. Lastly, there are no rules! You don’t have to explain why the simple phrase “don’t be afraid to shift gears” or the image of the pencil with shavings laying all around awakened something inside you, if you don’t want to. This isn’t a project for school (most likely). It’s for you, so do whatever you want! Nothing has to match. If you like it, it goes! Rearrange. Allow for some craziness. Include everything you like, and then slowly design and make the final cuts. Get messy. (Most of our lives need to be pre-approved by someone, so it’s important to make art and cook dinner and remember who we are! Especially because so much of the rest of our lives are out of our control.)

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While there are no rules, when I am creating a board for the next season of my life, I try to create a section based on multiple areas or main events. This time around, I made a section on health, writing, my relationship with Jesus, other creative work, community life, a shout-out to coffee, learning, and graduation. The section on health was significantly larger than the others because a) my heart and body is craving whole wellness like never before! and b) the materials I was working with catered to the topic.

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GET CREATIVE. –> GET EFFECTIVE.

In the end, there will be things you want to change. You’ll want to add just one more word, move something that doesn’t sit the way you wanted it to, recreate a corner because it’s not as Instagram-worthy . Celebrate anyway! You got off your phone for a few hours, moved those fingers beyond a scroll, and thought your own thoughts. We live in a world of headlines that make us want to shut down and give up. The most important thing is making smiling, reviving headlines. 

Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. – Pablo Picasso

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the ultimate Christmas playlist

Are you bored of listening to the same old track again and again? (I love that new Maroon Five single, but WHEW it is time for a little variety). Do you need to get the Hamilton soundtrack out of your head for a hot minute? Do you need some background music for your holiday festivities? Whether you are wrapping presents at home or on a ride looking at Christmas lights around town, I have the perfect playlist for you!

I have compiled an ultimate playlist of all my holiday favorites and there is something for everyone! I’ve got theologically rich tracks for reflection and party jams for dancing. I’ve got songs for feels *insert Michael Buble* and songs for reflection, country albums from my childhood and jazzy albums I’ve discovered in recent years! You’ll find anything from the classics such as Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Dean Martin to recent picks such as Sam Smith, Mariah Carey, and Lauren Daigle!

IMPORTANT: you must must must MUST listen to Jason Gray’s Christmas album titled “Christmas Stories: Repeat The Sounding Joy” if you don’t listen to any other Christmas music this season. It is my favorite Christmas collection hands down. He writes a song for each person in the nativity story along with several of the classics, and it is nothing short of stunning. It is the first album in my ultimate playlist, so you can’t miss it!

Each song, however eclectic the collection, holds a sweet meaning or a Christmas memory for me. Without further ado, go get busy and listen to these festive tunes!

* emilee’s ultimate Christmas playlist *

 

What are your must-listens every December? Tell me what favorites I missed! 

currently :: vol. 5

For those of you reading this post soon after November 18th, welcome to the new and improved emileeclemons.com! It may seem like a trivial cosmetic change but who doesn’t love a fresh start? A chance to renew vision and passion? Everything has been tweaked, redesigned, and a few things have been completely rewritten so explore a bit and get reacquainted with my new little blog home!

The whole month of October was a complete whirlwind for me, and the past two weeks have been all about resettling into consistent work and school. But now I am officially on my Thanksgiving break! THANK GOODNESS & all the people said amen. Read all about what I’ve been up to lately –>

October in short summary.

14 States in 4 weeks. 2 Countries. I got a new car. Conquered my first college final. Enjoyed two separate college visits to Kansas State University. Dressed up for 2 fun sessions of senior pictures. I was invited to Ann Voskamp’s house and by multiple gracious miracles, I had coffee in her backyard and hugged her neck less than two weeks later. That afternoon, I participated in Ann’s #TheBrokenWay book launch party and met many new friends, including Ann’s family and reconnecting with the singer Jason Gray. We all celebrated the new book, shed a few tears, and praised the Lord together. I spent a total of two nights in Toronto, and flew straight to a missions conference in downtown Minneapolis the following day. The conference was four days long, and I had the great joy and privilege of meeting Pastor John Piper and thanking him for the ways his writing had influenced me! Next up — a wild weekend in Jackson, Mississippi including: 28 hours in the car roundtrip, meeting my pen pal and one of my best friends in person for the first time, and participating at Propel Women (where I got to worship with Kari Jobe, under teachers like Priscilla Shirer, and finally see Hannah Brencher speak in person). And somewhere in all of that, I did homework and loved on babies and threw a few parties. It was a blast, and it was a month I will never forget.

little joys.

Autumn and finally having cold weather!

Starbucks red cups.

The 1st birthday of one of my favorite boys in the world. Cue all the nostalgia and feels and happy tears.

bookworm.

I am currently reading Gone With The Wind for the first time and The Broken Way for the second time. I don’t reread books often, but my heart begged to go through The Broken Way slower than when I was reading it for reviewing purposes. Hopefully I make good strides with Gone With The Wind this week too!

music all day, everyday.

Frank Sinatra on vinyl.

Justin Timberlake.

The Weeknd.

Michael Buble’s new album Nobody But Me.

JBiebs Christmas, old school, and modern.

balance.

October had no balance. It was full on headaches and adrenaline. (Absolutely not complaining, just facts.) However, November is greeting me with earlier bedtimes. I am trying to learn how to enjoy my life before all my homework is done — this is key, especially with finals approaching!

netflix, yo.

I AM GETTING SO PUMPED FOR #AYearInTheLife GILMORE GIRLS REUNION. Who is with me??

But, until the PARTY PARTY, I have been watching Andy Griffith, the “new” Bewitched movie, all the old Gilmore Girls, and Grey’s Anatomy.

my thinking cap.

I am brainstorming for many blog posts in the near future! Stay tuned!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Hug your families tight, take countless naps, make a list of all the things you’re grateful for, prepare those Christmas playlists, and eat lots of turkey.

posts of the past :: blog-tember

Before today, I have had roughly 263 posts published.

I have been blogging for six years.

I have been published on five websites thus far.

Today, I am rounding up 10 of my all-time favorite posts from when I began through the end of last year! It was both sweet and cringe-worthy to see how far that I have come in my blogging journey. I love the heart behind each of my posts, but here are some of the ones that I felt earned their way into the classics.

Read along and see some of the transformation for yourself, and hopefully, you’ll be reminded and challenged in truth along the way.

On leadership, legacy, and womanhood:

On intimacy with Christ, thunder, song and dance:

On cancer, heartbreak, authenticity, and childlike faith: 

On international travel, surrender, beauty, and living simply: 

On new beginnings, my blog switch, and daily, godly life:

On dotted lines and destinations, friendships that end, longing, and better things:

On trust, contentment, and active faith:

On the way Jesus multiplies, especially when you’re standing defeated:

On rejection, getting out of your own way, the glory worth fighting for:

On being far from Eden, and how to start seeking revival in the modern world:

What a ride it has been!

Here’s to Jesus multiplying even these posts for His glory.

Here’s to many more years to come.

Here’s to more progress and lessons in grace.

 


 

 


It has been a joy and a true challenge to join in the blog-tember challenge! Click the image above to get the scoop for yourself.

my fall vision board :: blog-tember

I took a webinar class from Hannah Brencher last month. It was on discipline, and the nitty-gritty of making big dreams small realities. One of her homework assignments was making a vision board, so later that week I spent one whole afternoon flipping through magazines clipping out what I found inspirational and challenging.

Every quote and picture and word spoke to my heart and pointed towards my goals, especially for this season of autumn. I have the board nearby, but I see it most as my laptop screensaver almost every day. I truly love the way it turned out and that so little pictures can represent so much of the person I want to become.

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This board inspires me to live like this and more:

being a happier person than the grump I was all summer.

looking and feeling more brave. regaining a sparkle in my eye. 

working towards a lighter weight and whole health. 

conquering loads of homework.

making tangible to-do lists that create more balance and less stress. 

rest in reading and netflix. drinking coffee. writing letters. 

praying about an upcoming trip.

being the best, truest friend that I can be. 

making my phone my least priority, especially when people are around. 

immersing myself in prayer. 

growing into the person that six-year-old Emilee dreamt of. 

being grateful to God. serving well and showing my thanks to those around me. 

of course, my personal quote addition that I love so much: writing like flannery. dancing like usher. studying like dietrich. loving like taylor. dressing like audrey. smiling like adam. 

living my movie! laughing and watching more jimmy fallon! 


It has been a healthy challenge to join in on the blog-tember challenge! Click the image above to read from many others joining in, creating, and learning together! 

 

 

 

currently :: vol. 4

FRIENDS,

I’ve been missing you lately, and I hope that you have missed me too. I started college classes this past week and so I’m getting into a brand new groove that includes sitting elbow to elbow with other kids, being called on in class, and getting up before the sun.

little joys.

Pete’s Dragon and hot chocolate and hip-hop songs.

Sitting in a row of strangers, all focused and caffeinated.

Finding one familiar person in a classroom that is unknown.

Anticipation of fall events – from burning candles and cardigans to weekend getaways.

Tiny gifts that show thoughtfulness.

A book that is worth staying up until 3AM for.

Baby snuggles.

Opening the Bible in community.

needing.

To write a few letters this week – I may be a slow texter, but I want to return handwritten words as soon as possible because it is good for me to stay connected that way, and there is nothing like receiving words that took time, effort, and love.

wishing. 

That I liked audio books, because I have massive amounts of time in the car over the next few months. But, alas, I haven’t found one that I could focus on without laughing out loud or just wanting to grip the words on the page and be able to underline them if they happened to strike me.

“Part of the danger in being an artist of whatever color is that you fall in love with your wrinkles. The danger is that if you fall in love with your wrinkles then you don’t want to get rid of them. You start to glorify them and perpetuate them. If you write about pain, you end up searching for more pain to write about, that kind of thing, that self-destructive route. We need to get away from that. We can write about pain and anger without having it consume us.” – Sherman Alexie

I loved this challenge to write about the grit of life without being obsessed with it. When a writer can convey a thought with brutal honesty, which builds up the reader and lets the writer come full circle with satisfaction – that is no small thing.

balance.

I am far from perfect in this area, but during the day I have been trying to stick with the some of the shorter social media outlets like Snapchat and Instagram, and saving Facebook and Twitter for evening. It keeps me in the loop without clouding my mind and productivity during the main work and study hours.

bookworm.

I’ll be posting August’s book review soon, but let me tell ya: my choices have been diverse lately, almost random, but so good. I am finally visiting a public library again, and that has added to some fun, worthwhile choices. I read most during the fall and winter, and I have a great list ahead!

netflix, yo. 

During the past few weeks when I can’t sleep or need a twenty-minute break, I’ve been watching The Andy Griffith Show or New Girl, but I don’t have a new series going at the moment.

Suggestions?

music all day, everyday.

SO MUCH COLDPLAY. 

Chris Brown.

Treat You Better by Shawn Mendes.

Jason Derulo.

Hillsong United.

my thinking cap. 

I have been thinking a lot about the early church lately, and it’s drawing me to the book of Acts. Although I am studying several other passages right now, I have been contemplating how Jesus ate with prostitutes, tax collectors, and that it was through the breaking of bread together that the message of the gospel spread widely.

Before you go. . . .

How can I pray for you? Type me an e-mail at emyclemons@yahoo.com.

I’ll be back soon. In the meantime, don’t be a stranger.

currently :: vol. 3

Greetings from the first few days of my summer! Summer and I are still giddy. The relief and anticipation of the season still has me dancing around the kitchen and in my car. I have lost count of how many times I have flipped through the High School Musical 2 soundtrack at this point. 

And now, for the main event, I am changing up this month’s currently list. I hope that’s cool, lovelies. 

little joys. 

A new journal.

Men’s sweatpants.

The smell of rain.

FaceTime calls.

Tears on the highway, a strange mingling of joy and fear.

Hard laughter.

my thinking cap. 

Today I’ve been thinking a lot about college and the vague unknown. About packing light. About staying. About community. About the power that is ours in Christ.

“You are not alone. Nobody should be alone. So. I write.” -Shonda Rhimes

I don’t know if anyone has noticed, but as of late I’ve been majorly discouraged when it comes to my writing. It just seems to be one of those dry spells that all writers experience. But, I think the fog is beginning to lift and my brain is starting to turn about how I can better serve you in the near future. I’ll keep writing down the ideas as they come and do my best to press publish when I feel called. I’m not sure what all this looks like yet, so stay tuned.

balance.

I desperately need to sit down with a planner and get my vague dreams and set-in-stone responsibilities over the next few months on paper. There is something about drawing boundaries, prioritizing, and making sure you have a healthy balance of work, play, and rest.

bookworm.

I just finished up Wild and Free by Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan. If you’re a woman who has ever felt like too much or not enough: read it. As always, the full review will be coming soon.

Seven Women by Eric Metaxas. Yes, this has been on my list for awhile — but I’ve only got a chapter left! Wahoo! I’ve already bought it as a gift for one of my dearest friends.

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.

No Baggage by Clara Benson.

Although I have many more awaiting me on my shelf, I’m going to try to dedicate myself to these before moving on.

netflix, yo. 

I recently watched Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants for the first time. I really enjoyed it, and I think it will become a new favorite of mine, but it was much more emotional than I thought it would be.

I watched the Grey’s Anatomy Season Finale tonight. I won’t give any spoilers, but MAN. Shonda never disappoints in making a season finale dramatic, does she?

music all day, everyday.

I cannot get enough of Charlie Puth right now.

I just listened to JT‘s new single, Can’t Stop The Feeling, yesterday and I am already a huge fan. JT is underrated, and he will be a major part of my summer playlist.

As mentioned, the HSM 2 soundtrack. It’s a classic.

Justin Beiber‘s Christmas album.

remembering. 

Last May when I had mono and the May before that when I was prepping for surgery. Crossing my fingers that I stay mostly-healthy for the remainder of this month!

#feels. 

I have held two newborn babes this week, as well as watching the little man I watch everyday turn six months old. Every one of them have melted my heart in unique ways.

Before you go. . . .

What subject would you like to hear more of on the blog? What is on your summer bucket list? Have a question, sassy or serious? Add a comment here or shoot me an e-mail at emyclemons@yahoo.com. I’d love to hear from you!