summer solstice // 2018

summer solstice // 2018

This life is not what
I imagined it would be,
but it’s beautiful
just the same.

I took these photographs last week on the golden afternoon of the Summer Solstice. The Solstice always holds such an important space in my heart. It is a day full of so much hope & light. Magical Midsummer, the longest day, when we get more sunlight than any other day of the entire year. There is so much promise in it–warm summer days stretched out before us, visits to the sea; to the lake; the lights & splendor of fireworks & carnivals; nights spent camping beneath the stars; fireflies dancing in the cool, sweet evening grass.

In less than a week, the halfway point of the year will be upon us. Now is the perfect time for us to look back at the intentions that we set at the start of the year. What progress have we made? Where have we fallen short? What will we do in the next six months of 2018 to create joy & abundance within us and around us.

As I do each year, I started my year with a word. This year my word is BUILD. Here is an excerpt from my new year post when I introduced my word for 2018.



My 2018 word for the year is BUILD. In 2015, my word was Survive and I survived. In 2016, my word was Bravery and I was brave. In 2017, my word was Strength, and I was strong. In 2018, my word will be Build, and I will build.

This year, I plan to watch so many of my dreams unfurl and I will put in the hard work to build strong foundations around them so that they can grow big, strong, and fruitful. I am going to build my home to be my sanctuary and haven. I am going to grow my businesses so that I may live out my passions and provide for myself and my family. I am going to build my health and my strength and my wellness so that I can be the very best version of myself — for me, for my children, and for the world. I am going build the experiences that I have long-dreamed for. I will build adventures and see the places and do the things that have been calling to my heart for so long.

I will talk about this year of building and how it has gone so far in a moment. But first I want to stop and speak about all of the words that I have chosen for myself over these last years: Survive; Bravery, Strength, Build. When I choose my words at the beginning of the year, I go through an intense meditation. I focus hard and listen to what God is whispering to me about my path. I take into account all of the things that I am going through at the time, but most importantly, I visualize where I want to be by the end of that year.

summer solstice // 2018

summer solstice // 2018

Choosing a word for each year has been incredibly successful for me. It serves as a talisman and a reminder. When I feel lost or unsure about what I should do, I think of my word. My words are a lighthouse shining a beacon through whatever darkness I find myself in. When I am lost, I come back to my word, and I remember exactly what I need to do and where I am going. With all of that said, something else happened that I did not expect. The effects of my words have been cumulative, meaning they do not disappear once the year is over, they stack up, one on top of another, inside of my soul and stay there forever.

I spent a year focusing on Surviving, and not only did I survive that year, but I became a survivor. I was permanently changed. I spent a year focusing on Bravery, and not only was I brave, but I became a brave woman. I was permanently changed. I spent a year focusing on Strength, and not only was I strong, but I became infinitely stronger. I was permanently changed. These words have become a part of my character, a part of who I am. This is the power of setting intentions, of deciding that we want something and committing ourselves to it so deeply, that we become it or we actually manifest it into reality.

To come back to my word for this year, Build, I am proud of the accomplishments that I have made thus far in the year. When I set out to build I had a couple of particular things in mind. First, I was talking about my home. I set out to make my home my sanctuary. I have achieved many of the things that I had hoped to, both inside & outside (a couple of favorites here & here) and I am still pressing forward with many more as I write this. One day, I hope that I will sit down and express just exactly how much my home means to me and why, but that is a story for another day.

summer solstice // 2018

summer solstice // 2018

The second thing that I had in mind with regard to building was this blog, Live, Love, Simple. Next month, I celebrate 9 years of blogging here. It’s been an incredible journey that has afforded me so much joy & opportunity. But this year, I really wanted to focus on taking it to the next level. Finally committing to a regular posting schedule; working hard to build relationships with partners that I love & am excited to promote; and making the kind of money that would allow me to continue pouring my heart into this space & creating content that my community finds both inspiring & useful. This has been an incredible journey. Last month I had my biggest month ever, both in terms of traffic & income. I know that I am on the right path and my hard work is beginning to pay off. I am not yet where I want to be, but I am close and I am so grateful that I have six more months to press forward, full steam ahead, with my desire to build in the front of my mind.

Building this space has been a journey, but it has also come with a lot of sacrifice. No matter how you look at it, blogging is a business. And even considering how much of my heart I pour into this space–and always will–it is also a brand. I spend hours creating content, taking photographs, editing, posting, communicating with readers and partners, and so on. I have had to give up a lot of other things in order to foster the success that I have seen here. Sometimes they have been easy sacrifices, and sometimes they have been more difficult. From practicing better time management to actually cutting people out of my life who could not respect my commitment to my work–it has really run the gamut for me this year.

summer solstice // 2018

summer solstice // 2018

But with all of that said, it has been so worthwhile. In terms of my home, my blog, and my life in general–I am exactly where I want to be. Coming to this point, laying down the block and building this life, has been the greatest labor of love & pain I could ever imagine; but I am here and I am so grateful. I have no plans to slow down, I am moving forward full force, and I am so excited to see what the rest of this year has in store for me.

To each one of my readers, I thank you from the depth of my heart. Every view that my site receives, every comment, every email, every social media follow–they all add up to fill me with a hope & gratitude that I could never put into words. I thank you and I love you.

summer solstice // 2018

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