spread goodness and bloom, darling.

I adore this statement. It is so simple, but it rings so true to who I want to be, and what I want others to feel. For the last two summers now, I’ve had the amazing opportunity to attend the Yellow Conference. Yellow was started by Joanna Waterfall, and the conference she puts on each August absolutely blows me away. She is chasing after her dreams, and she is impacting so many women, encouraging them to each see their own worth, their own value, and the difference they can make in the world around them!

Yellow was inspired by bumblebees, incredible tiny creatures who make a huge impact. They do exactly what they were made to do, nothing more, nothing less, but the impact they make is so visible we often miss it. They make honey, they feed the flowers, and the world around us blooms because of them!

I fall into that category where I want to impact the lives of everyone around me in some small way. Being Jessie’s big sister can be intimidating at times, because I see how much she has changed the world, and is continuing to change the world. If I’m honest, sometimes I can feel very insignificant in the big picture of Jessie’s foundation. I’m still trying to find my voice, my role, and my sweet spot to use my talents for change. I’m sooooo proud to be Jessie’s big sister, please do not feel like I resent or have a hard time with this role. I absolutely love it. It just can be hard at times to just be known as “the NEGU girl” or “Jessie’s big sister” when I know there is so much more to me and what I bring to the table and this what I can struggle with.

This past year has been a huge season of growth, and I am finally coming to the point where I do not feel overlooked by being Jessie’s big sister, and I’m embracing it a whole lot more now! I’m making a difference, as I am, but under her umbrella and it is amazing. I’m taking on more roles with the foundation and really trying to step into the woman I am. It feels like I’m finally blooming.

This last Yellow Conference brought about floods of inspiration and encouragement to really step out into the passion projects I want to try. I want to push myself to see everything I can accomplish in my new and current roles. I can’t help but smile when I think of all the possibilities out there, and I know that nothing is easy, but the risks can be SOOO worth it.

Here are some snapshots of the wisdom I took away from a conference meant to encourage, and I cannot help but hope you find some encouragement in these words as well!!

“we’re all trying to become somebody, when we’re already somebody

Like AMEN SISTA. This one hit me. Because it is the definition of how I’ve been living for so long; seeking to become that “someone” I feel I need to be to finally arrive “somewhere”. To finally be cool enough, or important enough, or valued enough, like others seem to be. In reality though, stop! Stop trying to be someone else. I know I need to hear these words often. Another gem I heard was “You are on purpose, for a purpose” (from the wonderful Holley Murchison). YOU were made to be uniquely YOU so stop trying to change who that incredible gift is. You are perfect just the way you are and you are so worthy. See it inside yourself because I see it in you!

One of the speakers, the founder of Krochet Kids beanies, used this amazing word: unabashedly. He encouraged us to do what we are doing and to do it without shame. The world around us can make us feel shameful for so many different reasons, and we shouldn’t be. Shame is such a thief of living a joyful life because you never feel good enough or worthy. He also said, “The skill, gift, and thing you already know how to do can & will make a difference”. This really struck me because, like I was saying earlier, I at times can feel like what I do to help out here and there for the foundation, under Jessie’s umbrella, can seem so insignificant compared to what others are doing and what Jessie is continuing to do. It’s not though! Because the woman I am, and the talents and gifts I bring to the table are unique to me and nobody else has them, so they are 100% making a difference.

“Work harder on yourself than you do your job” | jim rohn

The theme for this year’s Yellow was “the present journey” and I really loved this idea of embracing and celebrating the present. SO often, I know I live constantly looking to the next thing or feeling like “when I get there, x, y and z will happen and things will be amazing, blah, blah, blah”. There is so much power in the present and a big part of being present is knowing who you are, and taking time to take care of that person. Lots of the speakers touched on this and I’m slowly learning how important it is. You cannot pour out of an empty cup, and be the person you want to be for others. You have to fill yourself up too!

“You’ll never be able to untangle the circumstances that have brought you to this place” | leonard cohen

I love the Leonard Cohen quote above. For everyone who knows me, you know my story has many, many ups and downs, hills and valleys. It is human nature to try and untangle it all, making meaning of things that at the end of the day, will never make sense to me because God’s plan is His plan, amazing and wonderful but sooo confusing at times. He sure is writing a story for me that I never expected to take the turns it has, but my story has brought me here, to this moment, writing for all of you. That is really beautiful and makes me feel so grateful. I never thought I would be here, I don’t know where God will lead me tomorrow, but the work being done is so much better than I ever imagined and I wouldn’t trade it.

“It’s not that the beauty isn’t there, it’s that you haven’t seen it yet” | arielle astoria

Lisa Gungor happens to be apart of one of my favorite worship bands, Gungor. She spoke beautifully about this idea of suffering and it really wasn’t what I thought it would be. She explained suffering to be wanting something different than the thing we have or are experiencing currently. It is being unhappy with what is in front of you, and the discomfort we experience because of that. I know I can feel this way All. The. Time. But why?? She challenged us to sit and be present with what you have, because there is so much more beyond what you are feeling, we just do not take the time to figure out why we are so unhappy with what we are currently given. I’m trying to embrace her thinking, and really apply it to my own life. I know I can quickly assume, label, or define a person, situation, or experience and decide that I want it all differently without even giving myself the chance to see beyond, to see the beauty there.

“Sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage for something amazing to happen” | We Bought A Zoo

This quote comes from the movie We Bought A Zoo, and Ashley from a company called the Shine Project left us with this at the end of her talk. Her story had everyone in tears and I could never do it justice by retelling it. The lesson she wanted us to take away is to stoop waiting for the “right time” to follow your dreams or step out in some way. Instead, take those 20 seconds of insane courage and do something, today. When I was telling my momma all about the conference, I told her this quote and I love how she is actually holding me accountable to it. I can question my decisions on things or if I should or shouldn’t do that, even just in the silly daily life things. Her reminder to take 20 seconds and just go for it is the best reminder to stay true to myself and not second-guess!!

Go out today, and use those 20 seconds. I promise you, it’ll be worth it.

X+O,

Shaya