When I was 18 years old and attending the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles, my high school English teacher, Mrs. Blackburn wrote me a letter. It was in response to a note I had sent her wondering if my decision to pursue acting was the right choice. She wrote:

“Acting is not impractical. Beauty serves mankind in moving us toward the abstract and the spiritual in a way the mundane can’t. It enables us to see ourselves when it is too painful to look inward. It makes us laugh and relax; good medicine. Never, Never think it is impractical. And for you the actor; what a sense of giving something to humanity that is worthwhile; what a sense of return on your investment. Go for the ‘dagger’ scene. I believe in you.”

BLACKBURN3

Brilliant words, right?

I was recently given a task by my good friend. She had selected several people to answer a question for her: “What defines you?” It seemed simple enough until I started to truly ponder the question. What defines me? Perhaps I didn’t know.

I consider myself a very passionate person. I always have. When I love something it courses through my veins and when I despise something it can deplete me. The mapping out of my adult life has been charted by that passion; sometimes I choose the right path and at times I am lead astray. That’s the thing about passion; you can’t control its direction.

When I look back on my life I see many defining moments. When I received my friend’s request, I immediately thought back to the letter I had received so many years ago from Mrs. Blackburn. “Go for the dagger scene” was always a thought I clung to from her words of encouragement. It has been a thought that has sustained me through many changes in my life.

My love of acting has never left my soul. I have never found anything in my life that can replace the feeling of being on a stage. At the Academy, I had a wild instructor named Harvey Solin. A method acting exercise we were asked to frequently participate in was called “To Be” and it required you to act on your impulses; say what you feel, do what you feel, BE IN THE MOMENT. It became my creative fuel as I pursed an acting career in Los Angeles. After stapling thousands of resumes to my head shots, paying for endless hours of bogus casting workshops in town, and sleeping in my periwinkle blue Saab on the streets of Studio City, that passion for acting had become tarnished. I was bartending and felt like a cliche.

My journey then took me back to the Midwest and I found I had a niche for revitalizing property. Taking something distressed and making it beautiful seemed fulfilling. I returned to Los Angeles and started working for an interior design firm. Design became my passion. That translated into my own business. Not wanting to be confined to interiors alone, I focus on Lifestyle Design and strive to have a voice in all things that pertain to how we live.

But does that define me?

I shelved the question to work on a project.

I was on my way to meet with someone who was interested in the work I was doing on my blog. She wanted to discuss a possible collaboration. I didn’t want to go empty handed so I put together a signature look.

I found some beautiful roses that looked amazing…

pink roses close up

And when I present someone with flowers I have but one rule: Don’t distract from nature’s beauty.

I wrap them in matte black paper so the flowers take center stage…

flowers2

One of my favorite “go to” supplies is black artist tape. With a quick piece of tape, the flowers are securely snug in their wrap…

black tape

black tape (2)

flowers and tape

Sometimes I add a subtle accent. In this case, I spray painted a faux mum black to act as a complimentary jewel on the face of the bouquet…

pink mum2

spray paint

mum2

A black butterfly applied to the inside is the final touch…

butterfly close up

flowers and butterfly

This can be a dramatic gesture that is perfectly suited for a birthday, host|hostess gift, holiday, or celebration…

flowers overview

Before I headed out the door, I took a look at my work. It put a smile on my face.

I know people might look at what I do and think it’s insignificant or even silly. It may not be profound; it’s not rocket science and it’s not a cure for cancer. However, it is what I do and what I love.

Maybe in the process of wrapping these flowers I had answered Lisa Moody’s question? I typed out a quick label to send her a photo.

WHAT DEFINES ME…

moody card4

Perhaps our collection of passions in life make us who we are. Maybe defining ourselves cannot be singled out by one event, one emotion, one dream. We all have this amazing potential to be incredibly significant.

Believe in yourself. Go for the “dagger scene”!

blackburn

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Scott Rager

Robert Scott Rager is a Nebraska native who returned home to start a boutique business called "County Seat Living". His personal goal for "County Seat" is to translate the lifestyle design he was creating in Los Angeles for the past twelve years and apply it to the sensibility of the Great Plains. Whether he's writing about decorating, homemade ice cream, floral creations, event planning or product design, he wants the personality and style of Nebraska to shine bright.

Lent For Kids: 40 Ways To Spend 40 Days

In: Featured, Kids
Cross with bird

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season leading to Easter. Our 3-year-old has been talking about the Easter bunny since January, when he finally understood that Christmas was over. While I’m happy he’s excited for the upcoming holiday, I really want to find some good, concrete ways to help him learn that this time of year is not only about bunnies and candy in eggs. So, I’ve decided to come up with 40 ways to spend the 40 days of Lent with kids. Some of these will work better with older children, while others are great for...

Keep Reading

Chocolate Pot de Crème

In: Featured, Kitchen

Chocolate and romance go hand in hand and with Valentine’s Day around the bend, why not have a beautifully simple and romantic dessert on the menu? With Valentine’s Day falling on a Saturday, it might be a little more difficult to get those reservations to go out to eat to celebrate. If you end up staying home, why not have an easy, romantic dessert to finish your meal? Made in a blender or food processor and refrigerated, this recipe is easy to make and the result can be a beautiful and elegant dessert that will put the perfect cap on...

Keep Reading

Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup

In: Featured, Kitchen

Written By:  Rachel Gnagy @ Inscribed Photography & Design (recipe originally from here) One of my favorite ‘girly’ meals to make is soup served in bread bowls. I love getting the Broccoli Cheese soup at Quizno’s (it’s healthy because it has broccoli, right?) and Panera’s Cream of Chicken & Wild Rice soup. YUM. So when I saw a recipe on Pinterest for creamy chicken and rice soup, I thought I would give it a try! You will need: 1 Tablespoon of olive oil 2-3 carrots, sliced 2 cloves of garlic, minced 5 cups of chicken stock 1 cup of cooked chicken,...

Keep Reading

Chicken Cordon Bleu for Two

In: Featured, Kitchen

Written By:  Rachel @ Inscribed Photography (Recipe originally from here) Valentine’s Day is coming up and with that in mind I wanted to bring you an easy, delicious meal for you and your special man. This recipe is by far the easiest Chicken Cordon Bleu recipe and it is super yummy too! Pair it with some steamed veggies on the side and something chocolatey for dessert and you’re all set for a romantic dinner for two. For the chicken, you will need: 2 chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise 8 slices of deli ham 8 slices of Swiss cheese 1...

Keep Reading

Easy Weeknight Beef Stroganoff

In: Featured, Kitchen

We all have those heirloom recipes we grew up with, but when you get married you inherit a whole new set of recipes your spouse grew up with, too. This stroganoff recipe is one that my husband grew up eating and then cooked frequently for himself before I took over in the kitchen. (ha.) He made it for me once while we were dating, and I will admit – I was super skeptical. Generally, these sorts of humble dishes aren’t my cup of tea – the ones made with cream-of canned soups and noodles. However, I tried it and was...

Keep Reading

Hanging Onto Hope: The Dream That Saved My Baby Girl

In: Faith, Featured, Journal, Kids
Hanging Onto Hope: The Dream That Saved My Baby Girl www.herviewfromhome.com

Family and friends often assure pregnant women that their “maternal instincts” can be relied on to guide them into motherhood. This previously undiscovered gift will reveal itself the first time she holds her child. As a mother of four I believe in this instinct, but also recognize that experience and wisdom help. The birth of our fifth child, Kinsley, has introduced me to another source of guidance and strength that I never anticipated. Kinsley was born the day after Christmas. She was pink, beautiful and certified by the medical staff as being in perfect health. She was welcomed with unconditional...

Keep Reading

Bow Your Head and Vote, Yes the Outcome is Rigged

In: Featured
Bow Your Head and Vote, Yes the Outcome is Rigged www.herviewfromhome.com

“Keep in mind this is God’s plan! And who am I to dare question God’s plan!” I say it over and over as I watch this mess unfold before me. This mess, America is calling an election. I have never been impressed with the two-party system. It allows too much power to a select few and limits our freedoms. So, as I watch and listen and pray, as Trump and Clinton march to the White House, I only hope more Americans now see the disaster that is the two-party system. Two people that should be sitting in jail are now...

Keep Reading

This Kick-Ass Cancer Survivor Shares 20 Easy Ways To Make Your Life Healthier Today

In: Featured, Health, Healthy Living, Mental Health, Motherhood
This Kick-Ass Cancer Survivor Shares 20 Easy Ways To Make Your Life Healthier Today www.herviewfromhome.com

I recently went through quite an experience with my health. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in September of 2015. Following my diagnosis, I underwent a treatment regimen of chemotherapy, double mastectomy, and then, 28 rounds of radiation.  Before my diagnosis, I felt the healthiest I have probably, in my whole life. I was exercising regularly. Eating, conscious of my health. And after birthing three kids in 6 years, finding ways to focus on myself once again. And then — WHAM — cancer.  Excuuuuuuuuse me?!?! Cancer?!? I was, for all intents and purposes, a 33-year-old with great habits and a great...

Keep Reading

The Great Melt Down

In: Faith, Featured, Kids, Kitchen
The Great Melt Down www.herviewfromhome.com

When my brother Bobby and I were little kids, one of the great treats of summer was a journey to a neighboring town where my dad would buy each of us a hand-dipped ice cream cone. During the drive home, my mom would turn around from the front seat and point out drips that we back-seat-riders needed to lick up quick. I, the ever-eager pleaser, would anxiously eat my ice cream as quickly as possible, barely taking a breath between licks. Bobby, on the other hand, came up with the more reasonable response. He would grin at Mom and bite...

Keep Reading

The Best (and free) Drug Prevention Strategy

In: Featured, Health, Healthy Living, Kids, Relationships
The Best (and free) Drug Prevention Strategy www.herviewfromhome.com

A secret Facebook group has been uncovered by police that connects kids as young as 12 years-old to places where they can buy drugs. (see the link to the story at the end of this blog)  Shocking? Yes. Surprising? No. Kids find a way, don’t they? So what can we do? There are apps we can buy. There are rules we can make. There are punishments we can deliver.  Yet the best prevention of all is our relationship with our young people.  Time together, conversation, and honest sharing of our lives is the most effective way to influence our kids–even...

Keep Reading