She Let In

She Let In.

By Kate Kole

Inspiration: She Let Go by Safire Rose

She let in.

She let in a quiet acceptance for the body she had always harshly critiqued.

She let in emotion. Joy for the ordinary. Grief for her loss. Excitement for her accomplishments. Disappointment for the unattained things in which she had hoped.

She let in her feelings without the need to analyze, judge, deny, or defend them.

She let in appreciation for her past, contentment for her present, and faith for her future.

She let in the vulnerability to be seen and the strength to know her value. Continue reading

A Reminder For When You’re Feeling Lost

A Reminder For When You_re Feeling Lost

By Kate Kole

My first job out of college was working as a photographer assistant for a school portrait business. Our team of photographers and photographer assistants drove across our Iowa and Illinois region to take yearbook photos. In order to get to schools on the other side of the state before the day started, we regularly had to leave our office well before dawn. On one of our 3:30 a.m. wake-up call mornings, the photographer and I got lost. This was pre-cell phone apps and car GPS systems, so our earliest sign that we’d missed our exit wasn’t thanks to Alexa telling us to make our next legal U-turn, but instead was courtesy of a “Welcome to Missouri” billboard.

Luckily, the state trooper who pulled us over for driving well beyond the speed limit was kind enough to give us directions to where we were going (along with a hefty ticket). And miraculously, we weren’t far away. In our frazzled high-speed chase to capture middle school glamour shots, we’d simply overlooked our exit. Within minutes, we were back on the road and even made it to the school on time to take pictures. All’s well that ends well, I suppose. Continue reading

Embracing The Darkness That Leads To Light

Let Your Darkness Lead You To Your Light

By Kate Kole

The Target sale stickers get me every time. In my (failed) attempt to zoom past the rows of books on a recent outing, the 30% off tag on its cover caught my eye and propelled me to impulse buy a copy of the memoir, Present Over Perfect.

Upon flipping through the first couple chapters, the benefits of the insight offered in its pages outweighed its discount price. By the time I reached what I viewed to be the goldmine chapter, ‘Must Be Nice’, I could practically feel the truth of Neiquist’s written words running off the pages and through my veins. Continue reading

You Already Know

Memory Chest

By Kate Kole

Listen to your own voice, your own soul. Too many people listen to the noise of the world, instead of themselves. – Leon Brown

A few years ago, my mom created a memory chest for me. She filled it with high school yearbooks, significant newspaper clippings, cross country and soccer posters, report cards, and my favorite 101 Dalmatians hat that served as my primary wardrobe staple for the better part of early childhood. I have a slight suspicion that the chest came to be, in part, so I could have access to my most sentimental artifacts, and in (larger) part, so my parents could finally – and without guilt – say sayonara(!) to my shotty kindergarten “artwork”. Continue reading

The Gifts I Gained Through Minimizing

priscilla-du-preez-228220.jpg

By Kate Kole

I’ve experienced the craving to live with less for a while. Not to create scarcity or restriction in my life, but rather, to live simply and more intentionally. Put in the kitchiest of ways, to have a place for everything, everything in its place, and for all of those deliberately chosen and placed items to have a purpose.

So, room by room, closet by closet, and drawer by drawer, I set out to trash, recycle, and donate all the excess stuff I’ve managed to accumulate in the last 30 years. When I habitually found myself unable to sleep at 4 am, I rolled out of bed and began tackling one project at a time. Surprisingly, the sorting, decluttering, and tossing became therapeutic. It felt freeing to quite literally let shit go. Continue reading

Allow Your Purpose To Be Different Than You Planned

Purpose

By Kate Kole

At 14, I imagined that I’d someday be a sports reporter.

By 16, I dreamed I’d own a bakery.

And by 18, I decided I’d become a counselor.

At 30, I’m technically none of those things. That fact threw me off-kilter more than a few times over the last decade. I spent many restless moments struggling with the feeling that I hadn’t quite achieved what I once envisioned I would. Continue reading

Finding Purpose In Vulnerability

Vulnerability.jpg

By Jillian Leslie

Being vulnerable is not fun nor glamorous, because it requires a willingness to expose that which we would rather keep hidden. It leaves us at an increased risk for danger, disappointment and sometimes even regret. Rarely do we choose to succumb to vulnerability, but often we are forced into it through circumstance.

Why do we do it? Why do we put ourselves out there? Why bother? The answer is because vulnerability is crucial for personal growth and is key to living a purposeful life.

My first real experience being truly vulnerable came this year. Continue reading