Freedom in Being-Off-The-Grid

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Who says you can’t still climb trees and get scraped up knees, even a grown woman? WHO EVEN SAYS? I felt God implore me to take a risk, to do something a bit silly and child-like, to trust Him. Almost like Ryan Gosling in the movie The Notebook, urging Rachel McAdams’ character to “get her ass in the water”. She was scared, timid even, starting the jump, yet changing her mind and planting her feet firmly on dry land in a stubborn, sheepish way. But his love got her to take the risk. And it was worth it.

I channeled my inner Anne of Green Gables and checked the tree for bee-hives and wasp nests first, but it didn’t even cross mind to check for ants. At least they were the black ones–and not those spicy red ones that can literally destroy your life in two seconds. {p.s.-I was wearing a dress. My very most favorite dress from Anthropologie. That now has a gaping hole in it. But also, let’s collect more moments, and not things, amiright? And learn to sew.}

I probably broke all of the rules of the peaceful and serene property my dad and his girlfriend rented out for the holiday in a small town just 35 minutes north. #sorrynotsorry. Okay, maybe a little sorry. I still didn’t play music by the pool or swing from a vine like Jane in the Jungle into the mossy green moat like I wanted to.

 

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I did, however, plop down on my pull-out sofa bed in the perfect little carriage-house they rented, which was totally separate from the main house of the historic inn built circa 1907 by a local doctor who moved to the area for its healing mineral springs. I did eat all of the quiche {prepared by the french owner, also a fellow missionary} and soak up all of the sun in the sky {that’s saying a lot for my very pale self}, and I most certainly laid in a hammock beneath the pines for hours with my current read, “Own Your Life”. Speaking of The Notebook {Nicholas Sparks, just stop with all of the tears, okay?}, I took a very similar paddle boat ride {alone, not with Ryan, but I never liked that guy much anyway…}, and saw some huge fish, an old Ice-House from “back in the day” where the people used to keep their iced things and root vegetables under-ground, as I re-taught myself the art of using ors, of steering backward and hoping for the best.

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Have you ever done that? Felt like you were steering backward, rowing and rowing and hardly going? That’s what the last year has felt like to me. But I think I’m finally able to turn my head around and look in the direction I need to go. And have you even been up a creek without a paddle, figuratively…or even literally? Thankfully I had two paddles that were attached to the boat, otherwise we all know how this boat-ride would’ve ended: a very Anne of Green Gables situation indeed.

It was only 24 hours, but it was just the right amount of time, the perfect get-a-way where I had hardly any cell phone service–where I was forced to really hang out with my people, uninterrupted, to spend some quality time with my dad, to remember how he’s quite the grizzly bear {give the large Canadian man some smoked salmon and a pool of water and he is CONTENT.} And for the record, he had to help me out of the tree on his shoulders, because I couldn’t “bear” the jump. *wink*

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But of course, all-too-soon, I returned home to the typical chaos of the holiday. People running around preparing food, trying to figure out which fire-works display we would go see in the city, making sure the 4 year old niece got her afternoon nap in, all while the dog sheepishly hid beneath anything she could get under to avoid the loud “BOOM!”s coming from the sky.

But that is life. You have to take the chaos with the serene, the fast-paced with the stoic. I guess it’s all a balance, and I’m learning how to navigate that. Learning how to steer, to turn around in my boat and face what lies ahead.

Life is all about finding our freedom, and relishing in it. And while I’m so grateful for the beautiful freedoms of the country we are blessed to live in, and all of the people who have fought for our freedoms here, I can’t implore each of us enough to just get our ass in the river. Or in the tree.

Trust Him again. Or for the first time. He has good things in store for you, and freedom in Him is like nothing we’ve ever seen or known.

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{My dad and I before my departure. He loves ‘Merica…}

So what about you? What did you do this holiday weekend? Were popsicles involved? Sparklers, even? I can’t wait to hear stories and see photos!

{Coming Soon: My best packing tips + tricks for a long weekend get-a-way. And I promise you’ll be able to subscribe and receive automatic updates very soon, too. Praise God for technology that I’m still learning how to use.  *wink*}

A Recap: Bing’s #Awesome Event

 

© 2013 | Haley Sheffield | www.haleysheffield.com

© 2013 | Haley Sheffield | www.haleysheffield.com

{Some of the event attendees, including Rapha, rockin’ his amazing floral pants! Alison must’ve said something to make Blue Eyed Yonder and myself crack up.}

First thing’s first: confession time.

If you were to ask me my humble and honest opinion about whether or not I love Atlanta, my answer would be a resounding “NO.” I’ve told God over and over again that I don’t think this city is the one for me {namely the traffic and humidity}, and if He could kindly remove me and implant mountains back in my life, that’d be swell.

But iiiiffff I were to stay for a bit longer, I’d like to be connected with some great people, creatives who support one another in their trades, ones who inspire and encourage me, the type who help others network by initiating, inviting, and introducing.

I’m blessed to say so far, I’ve received the latter part of my prayer, and I’ll take it with gratitude, because things are unfolding slowly and steadily, and the people I’ve had a chance to meet have been utterly lovely.

Like those I met at Bing‘s Search For Your Awesome event near, you guessed it, downtown Atlanta! 

© 2013 | Haley Sheffield | www.haleysheffield.com

© 2013 | Haley Sheffield | www.haleysheffield.com

Cue sweet Anna, a bright and energetic wife and mama of three who I’ve had the absolute pleasure of working for these past few months. She’s all about creativity, and she’s given me a lot of freedom to help out in her new business, The Brand Market, where I coordinate many details for her one day workshops all over the country. She has a lot of influence in the blogging world, and moreover, a heart of gold, so when she invited me to be a part of Bing’s event, co-hosted by the warm and hilarious Alison Faulkner of The Alison Show, I immediately cancelled other {unimportant} plans to make sure I didn’t miss it. {And just to be real about Alison for a sec: she practically bulldozed tables and chairs and flung her whole self across the room to be the first to welcome me to the party, and she exuded so much joy and love and positivity the entire night, even after traveling to + hosting these events for weeks on end; she’s definitely the kind of person you’d want in your circle on any day, good or bad.}

© 2013 | Haley Sheffield | www.haleysheffield.com

© 2013 | Haley Sheffield | www.haleysheffield.com

And you know how sometimes, all of your worlds seem to collide, and you feel like you’re only separated by a few degrees from almost everyone? Well, enter the sweet and talented Jamie Jimenez, who I’ve also had the pleasure of working with on social media + blogging for her line of hand-lettered + illustrated goods at Yours is the Earth. She and her husband, an incredible chef, also run Homespun Atlanta, and they catered the entire event with a tropical island-themed menu. Everything was delicious, so I obviously went back for seconds and thirds, and loved watching Jamie co-host to teach about food pairings, herbs, and even edible flowers. Yum!

Bottled drinks were provided by Onli Beverages, and that’s me up there, working on my own table-scape with new acquaintances!

 

© 2013 | Haley Sheffield | www.haleysheffield.com

© 2013 | Haley Sheffield | www.haleysheffield.com

I had the chance to meet handfuls of other talented folk, too, like the sweet and southern Blue Eyed Yonder, who provided most of the amazing furniture to stage the space for guests to sit at and utilize. I absolutely love what she and her husband create!

Speaking of space, the whole studio and all florals were provided by Amy Osaba Events; to say I was swooning over both the whole night would be an understatement.

King of Pops provided some cold, sweet popsicle treats!

All in all, the night was nothing short of magical, and I’m honored to have been a part of it.  I even chose my seat wisely and sat next to sweet Megan, who has worked for Alton Brown of The Food Network for the past 6 years. {Now, I just need my own cooking-show, and life will be in full-swing!}

Some of my biggest take-aways were these words of solid advice:
+ Use what you have
+ If you want different results, do things differently
+ Invest in people who invest in you
+ Give thanks, give love, give your gift
+ Not to mention, Bing generously gave us all $50 worth of advertising + 1,000 Bing Points to take home and use. Did you know you can get paid in FREE gift cards to use their search engine, as well as pin photos straight to your Pinterest board?! Google needs to step-it-up! 😉 

To all involved, and to Anna for kindly extending the invite, I’m grateful. #ThanksBing! And if you want to really feel the vibe of the night, check out the video below. Cheers to being awesome! 

*All photos by the talented Haley Sheffield, unless otherwise stated. Stay tuned for another recap of my time at Plywood Presents in Atlanta last week, coming Monday!