It's Okay to Grow Slow

It's okay to grow slow. - Lara Casey

Lara shared these wise words a while back - it was like she was in my head, she spoke right into my heart - "God's plan does not look like the rest of the world's success. The world says do more, grow fast, be big, use these tricks, do it like those people, get ahead. But, Jesus didn't have Instagram or a megaphone. He had two feet and truth, and He sat around dinner tables and talked one-one-one with people."

Many times, there's just so much on my heart that I want to share but I just don't have the eloquence to do so in a manner that won't offend people. But maybe offending is good sometimes to connect with those that may be struggling with the same things.

As far as lettering goes, it's a daily struggle for me to do things the world's way vs. God's way - it's so easy to get caught up in what's popular and trending versus doing what my heart is passionate for. I stray and do things the world (or just Instagram's algorithm) deems successful because I don't want to be left behind and forgotten. But soon, I realize I'm unhappy and so off-track to what my heart's original purpose was that I have to start all over again. So let this serve as a reminder to myself (and anyone else that needs to hear it):

It's okay if your lettering is not fancy and full of flourishes. It's okay if you only use black ink in your lettering. It's okay if you're not a watercolorist. It's okay if you're not posting daily process videos. It's okay if your photo is not meticulously styled all the time. It's okay if you don't have an Etsy shop (yet or ever).

In Lara's words - "Maybe less is okay. Maybe a slower pace will help your roots stretch deep and wide. It's okay to grow slow.

Giving Thanks

Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, His love endures forever.
— Psalm 107:1

I can hardly believe it's been almost three weeks since I landed back on US soil. It still feels like a dream that I was in Taiwan for a year, and it's even more surreal that I'm back in New York.

David and I are currently apartment hunting and living out of our suitcases so I feel a bit out of sorts. It's Thanksgiving, and I don't have access to my own kitchen or tools, which means no turkey thawing in the fridge or some baked good in the oven. We'll actually be going out to a restaurant to celebrate with family - something new and different. 

I'm not going to try and stuff this one post with everything that I'm grateful for - I pray that thankfulness is something that I can incorporate more into my daily life. But I will say that even though we don't have a place to call our own yet, I am thankful to have a roof over my head. I'm thankful for new friends and connections since I've been back - connections that I would not have made if I did not have my experience in Taiwan.  Friends. Family. You. Yes, you - the handful of you that take the time to read my ramblings. Thank you. 

Wishing you and yours a blessed Thanksgiving!

photo & calligraphy by lillianliming

Hustle and Grace

Grace can take you places hustling can’t.
— Elizabeth Gilbert

When the term, "hustle" started popping up everywhere a couple years ago, all I could do was roll my eyes. To me, the word has negative connotations - I mean, literally, the very meaning of the word includes "aggressive", "fraud", "coerce". So then why was it showing up on t-shirts, mugs, and tote bags? I get that there is an alternative or “urban” definition that means to work hard to achieve your goals - your dream, job, etc. I just don’t get why we have to use that word. What, you mean that “hard-worker” or “work hard everyday” isn't as catchy as “hustle on”, or “everyday I'm hustlin’"? Ok, fine.

It wasn’t until recently that I was able to finally grasp the concept of the word “hustle” for myself. It was this quote that put it into new perspective: 

A piece I lettered this summer

A piece I lettered this summer

Hustle is about focus, not frenzy. It’s not doing more, it’s doing less, so you can focus on what matters most.
— Jon Acuff

Frenzy is exactly what I’d thought hustling was about - doing whatever it takes, working endless hours, etc to reach your end goal. When I would hear someone say that they’re hustling, I pictured them running around like a chicken with their head cut off. I wouldn’t admire that person, I’d feel sorry for them. Yes, goals require hard work, long hours, and sacrifice. I’m just in the camp of “work smarter, not harder” and now I’m trying to incorporate Jon Acuff’s definition of hustle -- “doing less, not more” to focus on what matters most.

This summer, my hustle was to learn modern calligraphy, or hand lettering for the sake of learning a new skill (as prompted by Acuff's #DOsummer2015 challenge). Three months later, I have 67 posts on my lettering-focused Instagram account and I got my act together to publish this site. 

However, it's with God's grace that I was able to put so much time and effort into this hand lettering hustle. It’s by His grace that I was able to spend a year in Taiwan to focus on the important things like my marriage, family, and faith. This experience has not only changed my perspective on the meaning of one word, but so much more.