Failure, Gifts, Letters, & an Announcement

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of Godʼs grace in its various forms.” – 1 Peter 4:10

I love hand-lettering! I’ve enjoyed it for a long time – I remember lettering song lyrics freshman year of high school during my math class. I know it’s very trendy right now, but it’s something I really enjoy doing and that relaxes me. Tommy will sometimes notice that I’m trying to go go go all the time during the week, and he’ll tell me I need to find something to do that relaxes me. Well, I think I know what that thing is. And for about two and a half years now, since around September of 2014, I’ve had a strong desire to do something more with the artistic tendency God’s given me, and honor the time and desire He’s given me to cultivate it.

Before now, it wasn’t the right time to start something and I wasn’t ready (I'm still not sure if I am, but at some point you have to go for it). In September of 2014, I was settling into full-time work. I got engaged the summer after that, which was a wonderful and amazing thing, and planning and preparing for a wedding is a fun, beautiful, at times stressful, involved process. And, it takes a lot of time and effort! Our wedding day was the following summer and was joyful and beautiful and a bit of a whirlwind. Our honeymoon was amazing. After that we got to settle into our apartment and begin married life. And on and on. Now, I feel like I have a little more direction and have finally worked up the courage to start this thing!

So with that, I am (finally) going to start my own little business! I’m in the process of working on designs and products, and am working to set a launch date within the coming weeks and months. I'll probably start off with an Etsy and maybe a few products on this site. In the meantime, I’ve been working on rebranding my website – this includes a new (slightly different) name and logo! I’ve decided to call my business Emily Kate Design & Lettering. Here’s a look at my new logo and brand colors:

I’m excited, and also a little nervous. There’s a lot to learn and figure out! Keeping that in mind, I saw this quote a while back:

“If you aren’t failing sometimes, you aren’t taking enough risks.”

I’m not really sure where I saw it or who said it originally, but I think it brings up a great point and encourages introspection. If we see failure as something to be avoided at all costs, something that is embarrassing and difficult to overcome, it’s likely we won’t take many risks. But we don’t have to see it that way.

I spoke with a mentor, Debbie, back in November when I was starting to really decide to go for the small business idea. She offered so much encouragement and wisdom, and one of the things she shared with me and asked me was, “what is failure?” She noted that it looks different depending on the situation and who you are. And, failing isn't necessarily bad, because it produces fruit either way. For example: if I launch an Etsy shop and nothing really happens (quite possible), it’ll be a lesson in humility, perseverance, and patience, as well as a reminder that success isn’t the source of joy (I think I'll learn that lesson either way).

And along with that, success looks different for different people. I’m thinking about my goals and what I’d consider success to be, and am reminded of something else Debbie said: be mindful of where you get your strength – not from looking at the affirmation and cheers of others. Fellowship is good!! But, remember to look to Jesus first.

I’ll be honest – of course, if I’m starting a (small) business, I hope it will be successful. I also hope that I can keep what I said above in perspective, successful or not.

In November, I found myself thinking about the parable of the talents. We talked about it in church recently and it was always something that scared me a little bit. but here’s the thing: that’s what Jesus is getting at in this parable. You can’t live your life in fear; He calls us to a life of boldness, and even says in 2 Timothy 1:7 that “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”  With that, He has given us each unique talents, gifts and abilities and desires for us to use those talents to grow the kingdom of God. I’ve been thinking about what that would look like for me. I want to encourage other people. I need encouragement and I love to receive it in the form of artwork.

When I hand-letter a verse, it's often because I need the reminder or want to be an encouragement to others. I figure if I need a reminder, there’s a good chance others do too! I want to be conscious of choosing verses that express the truth and remind others of that, as well as encourage deeper thought. While every single thing may not be that way, I want to be mindful of what I’m creating. Some days I feel like I’m bursting with ideas and some days all I want to do is create them.

As I said before, I have a lot to learn and figure out, and my hope for this year is that it’ll be one of BOLDNESS (one of my words for 2017!) and growth.

I’m looking forward to all that's to come this year! If you want to join in, you can follow along on Instagram at @emilykateletters. Thanks for reading!

“Be who you were meant to be, and you will set the world on fire.” –St. Catherine of Siena