A piece of my heart & candy-colored bracelets

When I was five, I received the most glorious gift: a candy-colored bead set. (And y’all, it even had a monogrammed case.  My mama knew how to do Christmas right.) I will forever remember that as the moment I fell in love with creating.  I can’t even begin to tell you how many obnoxious stretchy-banded bracelets I made, but what I can tell you is that my sweet mama wore every one of them with a smile. Bless her heart - I was so proud.

The funny thing about creating anything, whether it’s making jewelry, painting or writing a blog, there’s an element of vulnerability that accompanies sharing your creation with the world.  Maybe it’s just me, but I feel as though a tiny piece of me is exposed with each of my creations – a piece of my heart on my sleeve for all to see. It’s a beautiful thing to share ourselves with others - but friends, vulnerability is never easy.

As children, we are blissfully unaware of our vulnerability.  If anything, we bask in it. As an infant, we like being held, we need comfort (any other colicky babies out there?) and we rely on those around us for our very existence.  As a toddler, we start to develop our independence, but we are still unaware of how vulnerable we are to the dangers that surround us. We develop our own opinions; we pull the spoon away from mom and want to do it ourselves.  We run toward the street with no abandon and we wear our princess gown to the grocery store because our other outfits are “itchy.”  We eat with our fingers. We make candy-colored bracelets and we are proud of what we have made.

Hopefully, we have people in our lives that wrangle us in a bit and teach us to be ladies and gentlemen.  These are the people that teach us the dangers of moving cars, of strangers and of eating 57 oreos at one time. As we get older, they teach us that our clothes should match, princess outfits are for Halloween or dress up parties and it’s not polite to eat with our fingers anymore. They teach us right from wrong and how to act - they teach us how to function as little members of society.  They teach us to be self-aware.

I’m not exactly sure when the shift occurs, but as we enter adolescence, that self-awareness redefines itself as self-consciousness.  Suddenly, vulnerability equals weakness.  Instead of fearlessly sporting our princess dress as we peruse the cookie aisle, we want to look like, talk like and be like everyone else. This slowly begins to camouflage pieces of ourselves that were once vibrant during our childhood. (Now, don’t get me wrong, I am beyond thankful that my parent’s lovingly taught me to be self-aware; however, I am saddened that society taught me to be self-conscious.)  I spent many precious years of my life trying to live as if I were someone I was not created to be.

As an adult, sometimes I still struggle with the idea that I am who God created me to be – in His image. The Creator of the universe, created me. He lovingly created me and He lovingly created you. I am far from perfect, but I am loved. You are far from perfect, but you are loved.  He loves the you He created, so stop trying to be the someone you were not created to be. Stop being the one the society tells you that you should be. God exposed part of His image when He created you – you’re a piece of God’s heart – for all the world to see.  Oh, how He wants you to recognize your worth, your value, your beauty!  I challenge you to rediscover your heart – the piece of you that’s been hidden because of the fear of vulnerability.  The most precious gift you can give the world is living your life as your authentic self – vulnerabilities and all.

Thankfully my materials of choice have received quite an upgrade, but I still love creating.  Every time a new creation leaves my workshop, I catch myself scrutinizing every detail, and without fail, I always have a twinge of fear – self-consciousness, a fear of exposing a piece of me to the world. Then my heart quiets my mind and reminds me, that I should be proud – just as proud as I was of those candy-colored bracelets.

So consider this your invitation to come along on this journey with me as I share pieces of my heart with you. This blog is as much of a unique creation as each piece of jewelry I make.  I can’t promise perfection – but I can promise authenticity.  So here’s to leaving self-awareness intact, but throwing self-consciousness out the window and embracing vulnerability not weakness.

From recipes to DIY projects, devotions, and everything in between every post will reveal another piece of my heart, and hopefully, in turn, it will bless yours.  And yes, sometimes when we Southerners say, “bless your heart,” we really do mean it. So, bless your heart -- I can’t wait to share more with you.