Saturday, September 27, 2014

Live bright, bold & beautiful

I want to share some stories with you. Stories of people I admire, who have made choices to love their lives big, bright, bold and beautiful.

Joy Pouty

via Joy Prouty
One that I've mentioned on my blog a lot lately is Joy Prouty. A well-established  professional photographer living in Southern California who made radical life changing choices in the spring of 2013. They were tired of the commercialism & materialism of their lifestyle, tired of being tired and busy all of the time. So they decided to make some major life changes. They sold their home, Joy's husband Donny sold his business, and they traveled around the Pacific coast for almost a year in a vintage trailer.
via Joy Prouty
They settled into a little house in Washington State where Joy continues to work as a professional photographer, she also teaches photography workshops and they continue their journey towards homesteading & self-sustainability. 
via Joy Prouty
via Joy Prouty
These photos are barely even the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the beautiful, inspirational images on Joy Prouty's blog. Under each one there is a link to a specific blog post that will just leave you swooning. I love the way that they have left the beaten trail, laid down their expectations and chose to dream big. The heart I see through Joy Prout'y blog & Instagram encourages me almost daily to not be afraid of being different, to not cave to trying to be who other people expect me to be and be willing to try something new.

It's tempting to see Joy's life as some kind of picturesque happily ever after but she is an ordinary person, with good days and bad days. She struggles with balancing family and work, the needs of her body and the demands of her children. She is an ordinary person choosing to live an extraordinary life, but she lives it day by day hour by hour up and down, in the middle of discouragement, loneliness and insecurity - just like me.

I want her to rub off on me. The guts to dream big, do something different and the willingness to do it, for the most part, in public. In full view of everyone who would be critical of their choices. The grace to keep going even when it gets hard.

Sara Janssen
Another family dreaming big and living boldly is the Janssen Family. I ran into Sara online back when our oldest girls were both still littles and they were about to embark on their Live Lightly Tour. They have been touring in an RV on and off since 2007. Here is the link to Sara's current blog.  She is such an inspiration living boldly, brightly and off the beaten path. Their family has been advocating alternative ways of living for as long as I've known about her. Buying local, using alternative fuel, choosing to live simply, they went vegan raw for almost a year, she grew dreadlocks, her home tours are simply fantastic. Now they are passionate about unschooling & essential oils. They are about to embark on another tour in their RV and I'm glad that I looked her up again and started following Sara on Instagram again.  

via Sara Janssen
via Sara Janssen
Jamie Laslo
Another one of my personal heroes is Jamie Laslo. I went to church with her briefly when Emma was a baby and connected with her immediately. She gave a talk about how a college trip to Uganda changed her life forever. She embraced her calling to support missions in Uganda and she has continued with this path despite personal tragedy, all of the ups and downs of ministry and the daily grind of life.  In some ways doing work that is even harder than if she had moved to Uganda, she works here in the States doing work that supports several programs in Uganda. She is someone living off of the beaten path. She is someone who has followed her big dreams

via Pearl Ministries

One more woman who's story I want to share is my best friend. Anjelica M. I showed up at her house for small group one night three years ago - with five kids and a broken heart. All I did was show up, week after week. She opened her home and her life to me and since then she has been the biggest influence and best friend. Encouraging me to keep on being the woman that God has made me to be and setting an amazing example for me. Letting me see that her amazing marriage is still full of ups and downs, fights and disappointments - and that her homeschooling days are still sometimes less than picture-perfect. Her life is very real. Her life might seem pretty ordinary to some people. She's a stay at home, homeschooling mom to four girls. She is active at my church, she sings, she leads & hosts small groups, she reaches out, she stays involved. But to me she is a tremendous example of someone who lives big, bright and beautiful right where she is.

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