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.




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.






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.




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.)


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.



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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your 365 step guide to a powerful new year

Glory, hallelujah for January 1! How does it feel to be settling into a new chapter?

We are reaching nine full days in 2017. I don’t know about you, but the first week of the new year I believe that almost anything is possible. I can write the book. I can shed the weight. I could fall in love. I can start brand new. 

I hope that I will serve you all better and love you well in 2017. There are literally thousands of internet homes you could be visiting instead, and I don’t take it lightly that for even a shred of time I hold a piece of your valuable time and your heart. I want to make this space inviting, beautiful, and challenging (in all the best ways) for you all year long. I might be more quiet some months more than others, because this year holds big changes for me as well as time dedicated to a few nameless-for-now-Kingdom-rooted goals. But, I promise, you never leave my mind and you are one of my favorite places to land, to reflect, to grow in Christ’s love and instruction.

This year, I didn’t hold back on my goals. Last year, I set some worthy ambitions but never broke them down into attainable, daily steps. The truth is this: you don’t get a renewed mind without being in the Presence of God, a new body without putting something different in your mouth, and you don’t get a cleaner house by googling “cleaning strategy”.  I looked into the face of the things I want in my own life that I have the power to control and said, “This. This is your year.” I threw my excuses in the garbage. I began. I’ve started a vision board. I’ve processed through the good, the bad, and the ugly of 2016. I’ve made a plan of how I want to steward my time. When I stumble on the way, I stop playing victim and continue chasing. But here is the thing: beginnings feel sexy. It is exciting to feel the burn after your first post-holiday workout. It is thrilling to see the first few pounds shed during your first week of clean eats. It doesn’t feel daunting to dig into a project, the study, the semester when you have a bright idea of how it will all turn out. We all know and have experienced that change doesn’t last all year long on adrenaline alone. I won’t succeed with my ambitions this year until they become actions in my daily routine. You don’t become an avid prayer warrior by talking about it, you don’t get the date without asking for it. You’re never truly loved until your heart is exposed. You don’t get vibrant, bigger faith by playing it safe.

Good intentions? Ideas? Pinterest boards? They are home base. They are wonderful tools to keep you going! We kickstart from those spaces, but we don’t succeed until we choose the same thing every day when we get up in the morning. Do you want to know how to get the year you really want? The one you start itching for the day after Christmas? Make a choice. Make another choice. And keep making those choices 365 times. 

This is my urge, my push, my call to you as we plunge wholeheartedly into the new year:

“…Fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” – 2 Timothy 1:6-7


You have a gift unlike any other. It won’t blossom by itself. Fan that baby into flame! Pray over it, exercise it, feed your heart with truth, weed through the lies, and repeat! Sure, this year won’t go like you plan. Life will throw you curveballs and you might wonder what is worth all the inconvenience. You’ll get discouraged. But you know what is bigger than our daily anguish and disappointments? God’s love and majesty, grace and joy. If we live like we believe in those things, He will readjust our hearts, shape our manmade goals into God dreams, and mold our year into something so beautiful only He could do it. 


I know the main way that people try to run out the back door on their new year resolutions on January 15th, April 2nd, July 4th is through fear. I’m not good enough, I don’t have time, why does it even matter? You have to believe that you’ll have the strength to not stay the person you were the year before. That means you’ll experience joy and discomfort, both of which can be terrifying. Don’t dwell in what didn’t get done in 2016. Push. Let go of the weight of your own expectations and let God use you. Run. You are worth it. You belong here. 


If we are in Christ, we have the power of the living God who rose Jesus Christ from the bloody grave by his mighty grace inside of us.

The real question is, church, what can’t we do if we are battling on the side of the Father? Running after God dreams? Fighting the good fight of faith? Becoming a better temple for His Spirit to dwell? Seeking to glorify Him in all things?


In our frailties and bitterness, the paradox of the human heart, God gives us the growth of lovingkindness. He gives us the love and we hand it right back to Him as a sacrifice when we reveal that kind of true love to the people under our roofs, in our circles, at our tables, across the street, and around the world. Because we have His power, we are able to minister His love with wider implications and a much deeper impact. What if love got a bigger name than chaos did in 2016? 


What do you need to say no to in order to say yes to the ministry God is awakening inside of you? A quiet, suffocating addiction? A relationship?  A responsibility that zaps life out of you? Brothers and sisters, He has given us the power to say no to things that don’t love us back, anything that keeps us from healthily furthering the gospel, and the love to make the tension of the decision worth it.

We’ve been commissioned to do shocking, tough, holy things. We weren’t given a spirit of laziness, of doubt, of unbelief. Power is yours. Love is yours. Self-control is yours.

What would you do if you were automatically promised a yes? Success? Being loved back? If you had never been burnt out? Start there and stay faithful.

In Jesus’ name, what will you accomplish?



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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Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

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!