The Word of our 20’s

As a kid/teenager, I never really realized how much of my life was mapped out for me. I didn’t realize there would come a time where me and my friends had to choose our own paths and make decisions only we could make. Coming to college and into adulthood has introduced a new word to my life: should. It’s my least favorite word. It is often full of anxiety and shame and all the wrong reasons. I use this word when I feel in adequate or confused- when I’m comparing my path to those of the people around me. Becoming an adult has meant making my own decisions, living my own life and having to accept the fact that my everyday will look different than those to the left and right of me.

I chronically suffer with doubting I’m doing it right. If I see success or goodness on someone else’s path, I often think I must need that to find my own success as well- completely ignoring God’s own unique plan for just me, and believing there is simply one or two ‘right’ ways. In my doubt I begin to think..

“I should do more”

“I should clean my house more”

“Why am I not doing that too?”

“I should I should I should”

Maybe the word makes you cringe like it does for me too. Whenever I hear a friend utter that word, more often than not I tell them, “should is a bad word”. I looked up the definition of this word I’m writing about, and it only reinforces what I’ve found to be true in my own life:

should
verb
  1. used to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness, typically when criticizing someone’s actions

I wonder why we often let obligation and “correctness” be our guide– shaming us into inadequacy. It is truly a word of comparison. So instead of nagging myself with “I should really go to the gym” I want to reframe my thoughts to be more loving and gentle:  “I want to go to the gym to take care of the body I have been given”.

In creativity there is no room for this shaming comparison, yet I often find myself thinking “I should practice more so I can make work like that”. Instead, the thing that will truly bring me into my own best work is working from a place of rest, knowing I don’t need to catch up, or be the same. We each have our own paths, our own best next step forward. ‘Should’ simply has no place as we navigate our own unique and completely personally-written paths.

Thanks for reading this, I hope some of it made sense and you step back and think the next time you hear should come into the conversation.

Inspirations : March ’18

  1. These Pantone colors I found on Pinterest, originally from here. / 2. The Creative Pep Talk Podcast is my consistent go-to. It is solely hosted by illustrator Andy J. Miller. I mostly love his fun and simple approach to making a living as an artist. I could go on about how much I love it, if you’re a creative human you should give it a listen / 3. I found this on Pinterest with no link, I’m just getting really into typography & I love this whimsical but sophisticated look / 4. Damien Florebert Cuypers – an illustrator who has completely charmed me with his quick, and decisive fashion sketches. It may look like scribbles to someone who doesn’t draw, but in reality, it takes skill to make something good out of such few pencil strokes./ 5. I’ve just gotten really into vintage stamps..as if I wasn’t an old lady already. I just love how they vary and what they say about where they’re from.  / 6. This American Life: a pretty well known podcast, I binge listen to this in my studio classes- they’re just random collections of stories, really good stories & ideas & sometimes it just perfect nonsense. / 7. I’m doing a project on Victorian-Age advertising and typography and I am completely in awe of the things they did by hand and the fact that all advertisements we this detailed. It has inspired me to practice doing more detailed and decorative illustration, because I think it’s cool to see all the effort come out in the end result. / 8.  OOOOH, I love Vance Joy’s new album, Nation of Two  – my current favorite is Saturday Sun / 9. This book. Good God. I read it every few months, it’s a tiny little 3 chapters packed with truth that makes me remember what it feels like to live for selflessly and joyfully, 100% recommend.

Wednesday PostJune 7- June 14first week in Austria

Here are some photos from our first week in Austria. Please enjoy these photos, I’ve been so overwhelmed by the beauty and peace of nature lately. While these photos may capture some real beauty, we’re walking through a valley in life right now. The days are hard and these are photos of the good times, we are holding tight to the good times. I’m learning how important it is to enjoy rest and joy amidst trial and heart ache. God is meeting me right where I am right now. He is literally leading me to green pastures and still waters.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake

PSALM 23:1-3

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Jägersee: we walked the loop around the lake and had dinner. When we walked up to the lake, it was so quiet and there were literal SWANS on the water, it felt like paradise. Perfection doesn’t exist on this planet but God is good to show us glimmers of Heaven.emilylouise-1286emilylouise-1291emilylouise-1300emily louise livingston 2emilylouise-1310

One more stop on our way to Oberndorf- Rossbrand Mountain, my mom said it’s possibly the best view of Austria she’s ever seen. It’s kind of wild how quiet it is when you’re so high on a mountain. We enjoyed the sunshine and sat in the grass while equally knowing this is what the calm before the storm feels like. God is with me on the mountaintop and in the valley.

Before the mountains were brought forth,
or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

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Mountain cows are the best cows.

My family at my uncle’s 60th birthday party, missing dad and Grace.

The oldest coffee house in Salzburg – where Mozart took his coffee.

Life is hard and beautiful and God is with us and He is good.

California Trip 2017

In March my sister, mom and I got to spend a few days traveling around California. My favorite moments in California are always always driving along the coast. It was a simple trip, we stayed with friends, we drove around, mom told us about the glory days of how she rode her bike to her University and how she worked a full time job and yada yada (honestly my mom was such a badass and I love her California stories).

I took as many photos as I could until my mom and grace were rolling their eyes at me (my general photo parameters when photographing my loved ones).

California, I love your lack of humidity, your flora, your sunshine and your coastlines.






Austria – December 2015

This is my home and my heart. It is constant and seems to be unchanging. It was an amazing trip, and it was so cool to be able to bring Matthew along with us and show us a piece of who we all are.

Home is where I was born

Home is where I’ve only been once

Home is where I go every summer

and once every 2 years

Home is where my bed is

Home is where my bed isn’t

Home is where I will never stop returning to

Home is a delicate, aged pair of hands holding mine

Home isn’t one place or even two

Home is the places I leave pieces of myself

Like breadcrumbs

I’ll find myself coming back home

Home is sometimes a plane ride away

Home can be out a door

Home is here

Home is way over there too

Home is that worn out cliche

Home is where my heart is