Thankful.

In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

As a cool breeze turns into cold air and golden leaves fall from their branches (or so I assume, considering I live in South Florida), Thanksgiving is the last real day of fall.

Of course not officially, but the day after Thanksgiving is the standard Christmas tree shopping day. It’s when we brave the Black Friday insanity and attempt to buy as many Christmas gifts as possible. It’s when we start blasting Michael Bublé’s festive hits, when we take down the fall wreath on our front door and replace it with string lights in the trees and an inflatable Santa on the lawn, when we replace all normal clothing for sweaters with light-up reindeer and elves on them, when we forget about the existence of apple cider and move on to hot cocoa.

Thanksgiving is really the last hurrah for those of us who can’t get enough of fall and it becomes socially acceptable for the rest of the world to jump head-first into their collectively insane Christmas mode. Though I’m not quite ready to say goodbye to this season (maybe I just didn’t drink enough Pumpkin Spice Lattes) I am waiting with bated breath for some colder weather to kick in so I can break out my beloved penguin sweater and actually remember what it feels like to shiver for a reason other than accidentally putting the AC on too high.

I love Thanksgiving, despite it’s obvious historical flaws, because it reminds everyone to take a step back and remember what you have instead of what you lack. It says, “shut up, be grateful, and eat a meal with the people you love.” We need that reminder every once in awhile. Actually we could probably use it every day, but that might be asking for too much.

I have compiled a list of some things in my life that I am appreciative of right now, which I hope will inspire you to do the same. You, me, and the rest of the blogging community should take a second to consider what we love about our lives. Think of this moment as all of us sitting together at a giant dinner table. There are dishes upon dishes of delicious steaming food lying front of you, you’re drooling, but I’m the mom of the group who makes everyone wait so we can “go around the table saying what we’re thankful for.” It’ll be fun.


 

Reasons why I’m joyful:

  • My family is close and I like that I like spending time with them. Also, my mom is my best friend. We have a pretty solid Rory/Lorelai thing going for us.
  • I stumbled upon a signed copy of John Green’s newest book in Barnes and Noble a couple weeks ago and I’m still not over it. There was a lot of squealing. I nearly knocked over a whole display with all my jumping.
  • In fact, I’m just grateful for Barnes and Noble, for all bookstores, for libraries, for books in general.
  • For the first time in my life I have a healthy social life, which sounds kind of sad, but I’m really happy that everything turned out the way it did because I appreciate my friends in a way I never could if making friends had always been an easy feat for me. I am happy that I don’t put myself into a box labeled “quiet” anymore, and as a result I have been able to discover that I am a lot more outspoken than I ever realized, which lead to realizing a whole lot more about myself like how independent I am and that I am capable of making my goals a reality.
  • My sister is making broccoli and cheese casserole for tonight, which is pretty much what I look forward to all year long. When the plumbing in our house stopped working and my mom said that we weren’t going to be able to cook this year, my sister and brother-in-law swept in like knights in shining armor to make us all dinner. If you’ve ever had broccoli and cheese casserole, you know how much of a blessing my sister is for saving the day.
  • My cat meows really loudly for me whenever I leave her. I mean the poor thing full-on panics, but hey I have a cat that is super attached to me and actually cares about my existence. Not many cat owners can say that. Also sometimes she likes to throw her arms around me like she’s giving me a hug. She is responsible for turning me into the crazy cat lady I am now.
  • I live by the beach, which is my perpetual happy place. I live near a lot of nature preserves and gardens and I am in constant amazement at how beautiful the place I have been lucky enough to grow up in is. I want to explore the rest of the world of course, but I can’t imagine a better place to call home, and I don’t really want to.
  • There is practically an endless supply of music to be discovered and nothing beats finding a song or a band that makes you really feel something. I discovered this band the other night called Hollow Coves and I listened to their song Coastline on repeat until I fell asleep. It made me cry a couple times because I instantly felt so connected to the song that I wanted to curl up and live in it forever. I love that people can create beautiful things that make us feel so strongly, whether that be in art or music or writing or whatever it is that they thought to make. Humans are pretty cool. We’re capable of some wonderful things.
  • Disney World exists. That’s really all I need to say about that. 
  • I mentioned this a couple posts back, but the creator of the entire freaking universe and everything in it is always readily available to have a conversation with you. He thinks about you. He came up with the idea of you and thought that the world needed one of you in it. I can barely wrap my head around it, but it’s amazing.

 


Of course there are countless more reasons to be grateful, but we don’t have all day. There’s turkey to eat and a parade to watch and people we love waiting to spend time with us, but these are a few things that make me happy. There’s always something to be appreciative of, despite whatever difficult situation you may possibly be in at the moment. There is beauty in life, in the everyday routine, in everything He has made.



What are some things you’re thankful for right now? It can be anything from “I’m currently drinking coffee out of my favorite mug” to “I finally paid off my car.” If it brings you joy, it’s important.

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Tulle: A Love Story

I have a theory that tulle was a gift from God Himself. I have no basis for this theory beyond the fact that I haven’t met a women yet who doesn’t thouroughly enjoy at least the idea of a skirt or dress with a little volume. A dress to go to a ball in (or, I guess prom since that’s probably the most formal event a lot of us will have or have already gone to). A skirt to twirl in.

There’s just something about a tasteful amount of tulle that is flat-out exciting.

In fact the first time I wore a dress that I realized had a layer of tulle inside, I felt like I’d found buried treasure, or maybe Atlantis. My point is I got unexplainably excited about a piece of fabric I didn’t know existed up to that point. I didn’t even know I could get excited about fabric until the moment I heard myself saying, “Wait, it’s a little…poofy? I like it.” But from then on, I decided I needed more tulle in my life. The bigger the better, I thought, so I wore a prom dress with about a two foot circumference in a club house not much larger than my living room (it was a homeschool prom…that’s a story for another day) and vowed to wear a full ballgown on my wedding day.

Maybe that’s a bit excessive. Maybe I still kind of want a ball gown.

Either way, I found this tulle skirt at T.J. Maxx around Christmas last year and I instantly knew we would be very good friends. It’s one of the few articles of clothing that has stuck with me through some pretty decent weight loss. All it needed was a pin on the side and my beloved skirt fit once more. Thus made a delighted Gabrielle.

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It’s a pretty fancy skirt, I’ll admit, so dressing it down had to be a bit strategic. I played it safe and went for a jean jacket (choosing a darker denim for some contrast of color). Nothing says casual, but not I-just-rolled-out-of-bed, like a jean jacket.

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I also wore my cross-body purse because, let’s face it, who’s ever heard of a fancy cross-body purse? (Okay I’m sure Givenchy or some brand of the like has accomplished a fancy cross-body purse, but for us common folk who’s closets are made up of hand-me-downs, thrift store finds, and clearance rack Target dresses, they don’t really exist).

I threw in some matching sandals and a tank top and this is about as casual as I could get it. If you look closely, you can even see that I left a neon hairband on my wrist. Though, granted, I’ll probably forget it’s there on my wedding day so this is nothing new. It’s kind of an extension of me at this point.

(This is the second time I’ve brought up my wedding day in one post. I swear, as a very single 20-year old, this isn’t a typical topic of conversation for me. My subconscious might be trying to tell me something. Let’s move on.)

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Thoughts? Comments? Do you share my obsession with tulle or was I wrong to throw all women in the tulle-loving category? If you hate tulle, what’s wrong with you? (Just kidding, that was too harsh. You’re entitled to your opinion…but really, what’s wrong with you?)

Choosing “Magic”

When you’re a kid, life has this almost surreal quality to it that tends to get lost somewhere along the path to adulthood. It’s more than simply allowing reality to set in, like the realization that money is really difficult to come by and relationships aren’t constant rainbows and butterflies. It’s the heightened emotions that made life a little more interesting. It’s going to Disney World and totally believing you’ve been transported to another planet. It’s scraping your knee on the sidewalk and convincing yourself that nothing could feel worse than what you feel in that moment, until your mom comes along and scoops you into her arms and you’re instantly reminded that that’s your favorite place to be. It’s black and white emotions running at a mile a minute.

Adulthood is more like thousands of shades of grey (insert inappropriate, overdone joke here). I struggled with accepting this fact, this lack of constant rollercoaster emotions and noticing the everyday minute details that make life extra special, because I was convinced I would never feel it again.

I thought life was never going to be as interesting as it used to be. In some ways, maybe I was right. I won’t feel the same glittery magical array of emotions that comes along with an endlessly imaginative childhood brain, but that doesn’t mean I have to turn into an unfeeling robot. My decisions now carry so much more weight than they used to. I get to have a say in the path I take in life. My emotions are, roughly, within my control and just like my decisions, they carry more weight than they used to. Maybe they aren’t as magical, but they’re bigger.

I’m never going to have Prince Charming sweep in on his white horse to save me, but I will probably have a caring partner who loves and supports me. I’m not going to go to Disney World and believe that Winnie the Pooh is not a guy in a costume (sorry), but I can go on vacation and make my own kind of fun that is catered to my personality.

However, there is a familiar feeling of dread that tends to creep up on me this time of year when the holiday season has begun and I think, “here’s another reminder that I’m not a kid again” because I built up the holidays so much back in the day. “Will all the days I used to spend months looking forward to feel like just another day of the week now?” the pessimistic part of me asks myself every year.

Until the light outside begins to change.

Considering the fact that I live in South Florida, the changes of season here are beyond subtle. So subtle in fact that most non-natives, and a lot of natives too actually, don’t notice the change from summer to fall. But I can tell the exact moment when everything is different. Summer consists of hot wind, harsh bright light, and a constant buzz of life and excitement. Then one day, usually sometime in September, our little corner of the world seems quieter, the light outside turns into a soft golden tint, and the air is at least not deathly suffocating. It’s my favorite day of the year and I never know exactly when it will happen, which makes it that much more exciting. I usually end up skipping around telling people, “It’s fall, it’s fall, it’s fall!” which typically elicits a response that insinuates I’m clinically insane considering they are still miserably sweating.

But it’s the beginning of something different, something beautiful and dare I say a little magical. I like beginnings. They’re happy. Middle’s are nice because they’re comfortable and you’re invested at that point, and endings are an important part of life, but nothing beats a good beginning. All the excitement is just irreplaceable.

So, soon enough other people start catching on to the change of seasons and we collectively start drinking Pumpkin Spice Lattes, attempt to recreate crafts we found on Pinterest, plan our Halloween costumes before we even know where we’ll wear them, all because it’s fun. Do we always need a good reason to do something beyond it simply being enjoyable? (Within reason…dear Lord, please don’t use this logic as an excuse to be lazy or do drugs or anything else really stupid.)

So maybe life as a whole doesn’t feel exactly the same way it did when we were kids, but it’s still special. When we were younger, we felt everything with little to no basis for feeling it, whereas now we have legitimate reasons to feel the way we do. You will still feel that “magic,” as long as you’re willing to feel it. You can watch a Hallmark movies and feel absolutely nothing and mock them for being unrealistic, or you can love them for what they are and love that they capture the holidays like your childhood-self felt them. You can get annoyed when kids knock on your door screaming “TRICK OR TREAT,” or you can be friendly and realize that they’ve been looking forward to this all month and there is nothing stopping you from getting in on the fun in your own way. You can be upset that you went to your mother’s house for Thanksgiving and she bought food instead of making her famous homemade casserole-of-some-variety, or you can revel in the fact that you get a day to spend with those you love. Even if they don’t make your favorite casserole.

My point is that life changes when you get older and you can roll with it, making the best of every stage, or you can get swept up in “…but,” and never be satisfied. Everything may not be exactly like it used to be, but isn’t that exciting in itself?

The older you get, the more you get the chance to appreciate the out-of-the-ordinary moments if you choose to make the most of them. To experience a little less grey every now and then. And the fact that these moments don’t happen everyday makes the magical moments ones you won’t soon forget.


 

On a sidenote, happy Halloween! I’m finding out that, as an adult, you get quite a few different opportunities to dress up, which I think is pretty unfair to the kids. They’re the ones that live for this kind of stuff. I’ve worn a pig costume in a preschooler’s play, a cowgirl costume to a party, and this Tardis inspired outfit at work today. I’m exhausted. I had a few other chances to dress up that I didn’t take as well. And yet, kid’s typically get just the one day. Young me would be pretty unhappy if she knew this information.

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If you dressed up this year, what did you wear? How did your view on the holiday season change from childhood to now?

Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment, contact me or check out my Instagram here.

Introduction

Hi! You may already know me as Gabrielle, but if you don’t it’s nice to meet you. Let’s be friends. Or, at least, we can mutually stalk one another’s blogs. That’s pretty much the same thing as friendship, right?

Before I dive in, let’s just chat for a second. If you knew me as Gabrielle Gillispie then you probably know that my blog was formerly almost 100% poetry. I loved it and I got to interact with a lot of like-minded bloggers as a result, but I kept feeling pulled in a different direction. I need to give back in some way, do something that can hopefully help people, something to really base a career off of and dedicate my time to. Don’t get me wrong, poetry can do all of those things and more, and I tried, but I wasn’t always being the best version of myself and that is where I had an issue. You know when you have this gut feeling that something isn’t working out, maybe you even keep getting signs that it’s time to move on and it stops being enjoyable, but you’re just not ready to listen for one reason or another? Yep.

Life goes on though and it didn’t work out for good reason. I’ve been developing this idea for a lifestyle company (for a lack of a better term) called live3one for a while, and it’s finally turning into something attainable. Something real with the potential to grow over time. I’m so excited about this project and I hope you all like it too!

 

What is live3one?

I’ll be honest: I avoided reading Proverbs 31 for the longest time because all I knew was that it’s essentially an outline for what a woman should be and I assumed it would be rather misogynistic due to the culture at the time it was written, but this is the only time I will proudly say the words, “I was wrong!”

The (hypothetical) Proverbs 31 woman is empowering. She made me simultaneously want to become a better person and feel like I was made the way I am for a purpose. That’s why she is the center of this blog. She is admired for her wisdom and faith; she is a creative businesswoman; she is optimistic but realistic; she is dependable; she works so hard that her arms are strong and she remains emotionally strong as well; she always looks ahead and plans for the future; she gives to those less fortunate without batting an eye; she is respected, so those she surrounds herself with are also respected. So on and so forth.

I also like the dual-meaning of live3one in reference to the trinity. You know – the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit. Three in one. Yeah. I thought it was kind of clever.

In essence, I wanted to create a Christian-based community inspired by the ideals of the Proverbs 31 woman, but it is not exclusive to either Christians or women. It is exclusive to people who can read about her and think, “I want to be more like that.”

 

Community

The first time I sat down in a room of like-minded people and allowed myself to truly belong, I felt like I was letting out a breath of relief I didn’t realize I’d been holding all my life. Growing up, I wanted to belong but never felt like I knew how. Then suddenly I was (at least somewhat) grown-up and choosing to sit in a room with five strangers, all openly talking about our lives: the fun surface-level stuff like dying our hair, but also serious things I didn’t even know I believed until I heard myself saying everything aloud. As if spilling my deepest darkest secrets to a room of women I had just met was something I did all the time. It was so easy. After that night, I was finding myself weaving in and out of social situations with relative ease. l learned to have the mindset of “either I can give them something, or they can teach me something…maybe both.”

That’s what I want to recreate here: a sense of belonging. A sense of community. A place to talk about the lighthearted topics (like sharing recipes, outfit inspiration, and workout tips for example) and be able to dive a little deeper to talk about the bigger topics as well. Like sitting in a room of similar-minded people with whom you instantly know you can be completely honest with.

So the idea is for everyone to feel like they have a place, and can contribute in some way if you so choose. You can read blog posts and hopefully take something away from them, share your thoughts in the comments, join our (soon-to-be) Facebook group, submit designs to be sold on products in the online shop, tag live3one in relevant posts so I can share them, just be a part of the community. As someone who has struggled with shyness most of her life, I won’t say “Don’t be shy” like it’s easy. Instead, I’ll say “The door is open.”

 

Giving Back

An important part of being in a community is giving back to it. There is a greater community than this one which we all belong to, called humanity. (I know that was lame. I’ll see myself out.). Mimicking the ideal of giving to those less fortunate as the Proverbs 31 woman does, a percentage of the proceeds from my online shop will go to charities centered around helping people. And, while I plan on selling my own designs as well, I want the shop to be just as much a part of the community. I want to collaborate with people and give them a chance to showcase their work. If you have any designs, any ideas, don’t hesitate to contact me!

 

Of course getting everything up and running takes time, but I want to do it right. I want to share your thoughts alongside mine, share your designs, talk to you, build a place where you can meet like-minded people, and so on. Stick with me, and we’ll get there before you know it.

Have any suggestions? Thoughts? Ideas? Comment below and I’d love to know what you think!