Friends, hello! (Warning: you've got a novel coming your way.. sorry not sorry!) Happy Friday!! Anyone else doing a little happy dance with the weekend finally here?! We had a quite a week over here in the world of Twirl. It was my (Liz) first week being back from a week long vacation (you know how that goes.. always an adjustment getting back in the swing of reality.. even when you love your job) and Ty's sweet little girls started their first week of school, ahh! Clare, her oldest, started kindergarten (cue all the tears) and Audrey, her youngest, started preschool (again.. cue all the tears). So needless to say, it was a week full of all the emotions. Ty & I were talking earlier today about how this week felt crazy but we also had such peace in the midst of it. We had peace because we practiced living out our mission for a well cultivated life. A "cultivated life" is a life driven by deep purpose, living out of our "why", and making what matters happen while letting everything else wash away. This idea of a cultivated life is something that was seeded in us during our time at the Making Things Happen Conference back in March. Ever since we've come home, we've had a lot of people ask about our time at the conference and to be quite honest, we haven't really had words to articulate what we experienced. It's been a couple months now and we're really starting to see the fruit of the seeds that were planted in us those two very special days in Chapel Hill. We lived out our "cultivated life" this week and it triggered the thought to finally share with you all some of what God did in our hearts during our time at the MTH conference.
For starters, the MTH conference is hosted by Lara Casey, who is the founder of Southern Weddings Magazine and Cultivate What Matters. These are two brands/businesses that we adore, support, and believe in wholeheartedly. Lara has been someone that has been a beckon of truth & life to us through these brands for many years now. At the conference, Lara was accompanied by a team of incredible women that we adore who were our chief encouragers, leaders, and teachers during the conference (Emily Ley, Nancy Ray, Gina Zeidler, Rhiannon Bosse, Amber Housley, Katelyn James, Kristin Winchester, and several other powerhouse women who we couldn't love more). At first it was so surreal to be in the same room and conversations with these women we'd been encouraged and inspired by on social media for years but as our time there continued, these women lost their "celebrity glow" and became sisters & friends who laughed with us, cried with us, shared their hearts with us, and cheered us on as we defined what matters most in our lives. It was a beautiful thing to be surrounded by such down to earth women who understand where we are and want to spur us on towards a beautiful, cultivated life.
The MTH conference had been on my "dream list" for a couple years. "Dream list" meaning it would be a dream come true to experience it some day. I had mentioned it to Ty a while back and that sneaky little gal surprised me at Christmas by telling me she had signed us up to attend in March. It was the night of our Twirl Girl Christmas sleepover so I jumped up & down on the bed, cried into a pillow, and squealed like a kid being told they were going to Disney World. Yep. That happened. Ha! We also were able to convince our bestie, Kelsey Malicote, to join in on the fun and so a couple months later we packed ourselves up in the car and took a roadtrip to good ole North Carolina where our lives were changed for the better.
The conference is held at The Carolina Inn which is absolutely stunning. Getting to stay there was such a treat. I will forever drool over that black & white checked floor (insert a dozen heart eye emojis). We were greeted with hugs from the encouragement team that felt like we'd known them our whole lives. It was precious and certainly set the tone for what was in store for us. They took our cell phones during the day while everything was in session. At first I sadly felt a bit naked without it but by the end of our time there I felt a little hesistant to take it back because it'd been so nice to be off the radar for a little while. It's so rare to have the opportunity to totally unplug and take time to reset your heart and mind. What a gift they gave us in that.
Now I'm not going to share too much about the actual things that we did during our time at MTH because I want to preserve the magic of it all (it's kind of like Disney in that way). But I will happily share all the sweetness that happened in our hearts.
We were challenged in so many ways to dig deep and really figure out what sets our souls on fire, to name our fears, to speak truth about who we truly are, and to take steps of faith to make dreams realities. Living a purpose driven life is a choice we get to make for ourselves. Seeing change happen in our lives is completely possible. Leaning hard into TRUTH instead of letting lies make us sink IS POSSIBLE. We were set free in so many ways during those two days. Our comfort zones were tested but when we let our guards down, you could watch the fire in our hearts + souls spark again. We each spoke out loud things we had hid in the darkest parts of us and there really is something so profound that happens when we bring those things into the light. Their power diminishes and a renewed freedom is born within us.
All three of us, Ty, Kels, and myself, tried hard not to go into the conference with any sort of expectations but we'd be lying if we said we didn't expect the conference's content to tap into certain dreams of ours, especially when it came to our businesses. If we're honest, I think we all went into it looking for permission to take on new adventures that we'd dreamed about for our businesses and we were all seriously surprised when we talked after the first day and said, "I haven't even really thought about work/the business at all today. This is so much more about us & our stories/families/hearts."
We each had a light bulb moment after that first day. I think it had been truth we'd known all along but the content shared with us at MTH made it all rise to the surface in a way we'd never experienced before. The light bulb moment for us was that if we want to see our businesses flourish and grow, we have to be taking care of ourselves first. If we are run dry then so is our business. However, if we are living out of a place of purpose and cultivating a meaningful foundation for our lives, it is from that place of wellness that all other things in our lives will flourish, businesses included.
Over the course of those two days we were given permission to care about ourselves. I know that may sound silly but it was monumental for us. It gave us permission to say "no" to the right things so that we can "yes" to the right things too. It gave us permission to put our families first and not feel guilty about that. It gave us permission to choose a life that gave us freedom, healing, and JOY instead of one of overwhelm, disappointment, and fear.
And y'all, that has changed everything for us. I'm not saying that every day is sunshine and roses, that's not anyone's reality, but I am saying that now we are doing our best to live out our renewed + cultivated way of living and it has brought more joy and freedom than we've ever known before. For that, we are forever indebted + grateful for the heart of the Making Things Happen conference and the incredible team of women that are ministering to the hearts of the attendees by speaking powerful truth and freedom into our lives.
So what does a "cultivated life" look for us, you may ask? Great question! I think it can look different for every season of life but I'm happy to share with y'all what that looks like for us right where we are now.
Here's what Ty I had to say about her takeaways from MTH & what her "cultivated life" looks like: I took away that I don't have to believe the lie that I have to be a good mom/wife OR a successful business owner. That with the right planning and the right yes's and no's I can do both. However, I have to cultivate both and that takes work. But it will be worth it when I can look back at my life when I'm 80 and can say I lived a cultivated life. It doesn't just happen. A cultivated life is hard work but the hard work is absolutely worth it. Also, ALL women have big fears. We need to support each other because we're all just doing the best we can. I experienced this deeply from the time we got to share with others about where we are and it was so liberating to hear echoes of "me too" surround me. I'm not one for talking about my feelings so all of this was a huge step outside of my comfort zone but I'm SO glad I took that step!
For me (Liz) I think the biggest thing I took away from the conference was banishing the lie that "it is selfish to care about yourself." I listened to that lie for far too long and had completely exhausted myself in every way because of it. I lived out of a place of "serve others, put others above yourself, care for others & you'll be fine" which is all good and fine when it's done in a healthy way. We cannot love, serve, and care for others out of an empty well. I'd been told a million and two times by people who love me that my way of living wasn't healthy but I didn't know how to restructure my life in way that allowed me the freedom to flourish and rest. Something happened at MTH that flipped a switch within me and I have been doing my best ever since then to live a cultivated life that allows me the space and freedom to care for myself so that there is an overflow of joy and love in all that I do because my days of empty-well-living are over.
For Kelsey, her takeaway was honestly a beautiful combination of mine + Ty's. Leaning deeply into the truths about who she is as a wife, a momma, a business owner, a daughter, a friend, and a person that loves herself well too.
There is absolutely no denying that we walked away from MTH with a pep in our step, a breath of fresh air breathed into our lungs, and a fire set ablaze in our hearts.
We aren't promising that our experiences will be the same for everyone but we can almost guarantee you that if you let your guard down, allow vulnerability to be the way you interact with others, and open yourself up to do the hard work then you will leave the conference feeling differently than when you first arrived.
If you're interested in attending this amazing conference yourself, go on over to their website and explore around. There's more information and a way to register there! We understand that it is an investment but we would argue that it's one of the best investments you could make for yourself. So go on.. sign up, get your cute little self to Chapel Hill, make things happen, and thank us later. ;) Click here for website: MAKING THINGS HAPPEN CONFERENCE
ALL THE LOVELY PHOTOS ARE BY AMY NICOLE PHOTOGRAPHY
Here are some of our favorite highlights from MTH (photos from our personal Instagrams):
If you made it all the way to the end of this post, you're a rockstar! I hope it was an encouragement to you. If you have any other questions about our experience, the conference, or anything else feel free to email me. I'd love to chat with you: firstname.lastname@example.org :)
Cheers to the weekend, y'all! We plan on resting well, spending time with the people we love, and celebrating some sweet brides-to-be along the way. Xo!