That time Lara Casey convinced me to close my business | Creative at Heart Conference Round 7

This headline isn’t meant to be clickbait or #fakenews. It really happened. I have come close to sharing my recap of Creative at Heart Round 7 about a dozen times. Most of those times were before June died. Then again after, but I never knew exactly what to write. My intention was to share that I came back from C@H a changed woman...and a woman who decided to close her business. 

Let us back up to Day 1 at the Merrimon-Wynne in Raleigh, NC. Everyone was SO excited to be there, myself included. I had carefully selected photo worthy outfits for the 3 day experience. I had my favorite pens, coffee cup, and my snacks ready to go. As a surprise to us all, Lara Casey was the very first speaker! She came bowling through the back door and I burst into tears! She was not on the schedule and ended up being the BEST surprise of all. (Thanks, Kat!!!)

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Lara started off by telling us that someone (or ones) in the room would hear her talk and decide to quit. I laughed, silently, to myself, not quite ready to realize she was referring to me. She spoke about our arrow and where we aim it. Were we doing things for the right reasons? Would we look back on our life and have regrets about the things that truly mattered? The wheels in my head began to turn. Was I spending enough time with June? Were those 15 hour wedding days away from her really worth it in the long run? Was my arrow aimed at the thing on Earth that was most precious to me?

Now, I know moms who work. I know moms who own businesses. They hustle. There is nothing wrong with that! There was nothing wrong with me working my tail off and being the best I could be for my brides. But my unique situation with my very unique daughter called for me to rearrange things. June's life was expected to be short. Would we have 1 year? Three or five? Would we be blessed with TEN years? No one knew and the doctors would not risk guessing. So, I thought that 80 year old Sterling would want me to focus ANY time I had with June on June. That was where my arrow needed to point.

Lara Casey was right about one thing, somebody would leave that conference ready to hang it all up. I was that somebody. 

Since June's passing, I have thought a lot about Lara's words and where I need to point my arrow. There is no good reason for me to give up a business I worked so hard to build. It brings me joy, helping my brides. I have been so blessed that the right women have come my way. All of them have been kind, generous, loving. All of them.

What's my final decision? Well, I'm happy to say I am not going anywhere. I truly believe my decision to close shop was the right one at the time. Without June, I have my old life back. Granted, it's not a life I want anymore, but I will use this outcome to reenergize what I do, to fill my days with good things. Working in weddings is good for me. I am good at it. My brides deserve the attention I can now give them. If I could have her back today, I would gladly give up every single bit of it. 

Why did I share this if nothing is really changing? Out of every bad situation, good things can come. I have always been an open book with my readers. The main purpose of my blog isn't to boost my SEO, website rankings, or find that random girl who might be interested in hiring a wedding planner. I write for you, girl who has just been given terrible news. I write for you, friend who wants to desperately to take a big step and start that business. I write for you, young mom who might have forgotten what it's like to have your own dreams. Because when I so desperately needed to read something that would help get me to the next day, I had a hard time finding it. 

Photos: Holly Felts Photography

Sincerely Amy Designs Calligraphy Workshop

Ahhhh!!!! YOU GUYS! I have wanted to be a fancy calligrapher for pretty much my entire adult life. Like SO MUCH. I've always been a doodler (you should see my college notebooks!) and I have pretty good handwriting, but I have never taken the time to learn the art of calligraphy. And by art, I mean ART. THIS STUFF AIN'T KIDDING AROUND! You can't just pick up a pen, nib, and jar of ink and create Insta-worthy lettering.

A while back, I saw a post about a calligraphy workshop with Sincerely Amy Designs at The Water Table, hosted by As You Wish Events. I thought to myself, "Self, you should jump on this opportunity. It's something you've wanted to do for a long time." ...so I signed up and I'm so glad I did.

Sincerely Amy Designs Workshop

Amy's workshop was the perfect introductory lesson. Being that I'm usually super critical of my work, I was concerned I wouldn't be able to enjoy myself. Quite the contrary! I sat sandwiched between Katie Nesbit and Kimberly Denn. (A nice perk of any workshop: meeting the faces you know from social media.) I felt a strong spirit of camaraderie as we all celebrated our new found skills.

We started off with the basics. Amy taught us calligraphy vocabulary, explained our tools, and gave us good online resources for purchasing new materials. After a true test of my patience (!!!), Amy told us to pick up the pen, dip the nib in ink, and start writing. We practiced simple brush strokes and worked on holding the pen for the first few minutes. I learned that I have a heavy hand and don't need to press as hard. (Ink on my pink sweater is a great example of why you should do this in scrubby clothes.)

This is my practice sheet of lowercase letters. Not too bad!

This is my practice sheet of lowercase letters. Not too bad!

Using the guide lines, I was able to do this! I still don't feel that comfortable with uppercase letters. They are a bit more complicated.

Using the guide lines, I was able to do this! I still don't feel that comfortable with uppercase letters. They are a bit more complicated.

By the end, I was free handing my own letters. I felt pretty good about my progress, but know I have a looooong way to go if I want to use this in my professional arsenal. However, I did do a set of place cards for an upcoming rehearsal dinner. They look pretty good, if I may say so.

This is Julie, owner of As You Wish Events. She is a wonderful lady and great leader in our local wedding industry.

This is Julie, owner of As You Wish Events. She is a wonderful lady and great leader in our local wedding industry.

Amy and me!

Amy and me!

All the girls! Photo by one of the husbands ;)

All the girls! Photo by one of the husbands ;)

I loved this workshop, not just because it was calligraphy based, but because it was a WORKSHOP in HAMPTON ROADS! There are so many wonderful educational opportunities throughout Virginia, but I love that Julie and Brandi of As You Wish Events decided to host this sweet time of learning and fellowship right here at home. I hope this means there will be more to come!

ps- If you missed the latest workshop from Sincerely Amy Designs, follow her on Facebook to find out when she might have another! I would recommend it to ANYONE who wants to learn.