Over the years I have drawn myself in so many different ways. Some may think it’s pride or self centeredness. I must have a big ego. And maybe those things are true (I am sure we all fall into the temptation of a big ego) but for me this is how I learn, discover who I truly am. A few years ago I learned that if you were to examine the DNA of a caterpillar not knowing what it was you would determine you were examining a butterfly. A caterpillar is metamorphosing into what it already is. Like a caterpillar, as I draw my reflection through the seasons, I am documenting my becoming. Scared, brave, beautiful, tired, humble, prideful, learner, leading, trusting, doubting, beloved, receiving, falling, failing, reaching out, asking questions, angry, hurt, resentful, grounded, empty, full, beautiful, joyful, creative, creating, peace, joy, love, patience. I am becoming. What better way to remind myself of my journey than to document it in the best way I know how. These are my reflections. Not one is complete, not one is final. This is how I honor my present self.

How do you document, remember and honor your self through the seasons?

designing my friends’ wedding invites

This summer I got to design my good friends’ wedding invites. I have never done something like this before to this scale so it was an amazing learning opportunity for me. We used Mailchimp to create an e-vite which was also a cool learning opportunity.

Below is a glimpse into my process and the work that was involved. First I met with my friend and she shared her vision, then we went to the internet to seek more inspo and discover the prime platform to use. Then I started making tons of different designs and design elements via Canva. They gave me feed back and I tweaked some things around and eventually we came to the perfect images and designs.

Love the colors and floral design elements.

Which of the designs above would you choose? What would you change?

Interested in getting some design work done for your special event? Don’t hesitate to reach out.

Working with Church Leaders

Some of you may already know this, but I have been working with an organization called Communitas International for the past 7 years. My husband and I were living abroad in Spain planting a church and we recently moved back to the US. I am still working part-time with Communitas in two main roles- Social Media and Communication leader for the North American team and with my passion project Bravery. These two roles are funded positions, which means that I have a beautiful team of people who financially support me each month.

However, once were stateside it was clear I needed to get a part-time job to help with my monthly income. But with covid and culture shock, finding a traditional job seemed a bit overwhelming. And over the past 7 years I have developed some unique skills. So I decided to start my very own side hustle. Kelsey the Creative.

You can read more about who I am and how I can help you here.

But I wanted specifically to highlight part of my job that I am loving. Working with church leaders. I was asked by a dear friend and pastor of a local church if I could come in and help them reevaluate their vision and values. Next thing I know I am telling another friend about this workshop and he invites me to do the same for his church. I am schedule to do a follow up session next month.

What does this workshop intel? Well I have curated an experience filled with spiritual practices, quiet discernment and reflection time, team building exercises and more. All depending on the clients exact needs. From my 6+ years teaming with church leadership in Spain, combined with training I received on coaching and leadership, plus resources I have discovered, mixed in with my unique gifts in creativity, communication and spiritual discernment I believe that these workshops are equally life giving to my clients as they are to myself.

After the first one I did, I went to lunch with some friends and said to them ” I can’t believe I got paid to do that!” I love working with adults who are eager to learn and walk alongside leaders as they discover new things. I especially love church leaders striving to improve and grow as a community. It is refreshing to see church leaders not claiming to have all the answers or have it all put together, rather having a posture of humility, learning and growth.

And I am discovering new things as well. What works, what doesn’t work so that each one of these workshops can be better than the last one.

If you are a church or community leader and you think that you and your team could benefit from a workshop like this, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

If you are not local to Memphis, I believe we could adapt this work to a virtual experience. Also if the price tag seems daunting to you, please don’t let that be the reason you don’t reach out. Ultimately I am passionate about helping you and your ministry and I am confident we can work out a financial plan that is best suitable for your budget.

When we come together to grow and learn, great things happen.

P.S. Huge shoutout to Neighborhood Church & Evergreen Pres for working with me.

A growing baby + changing body…. & life

Today I am 25 weeks pregnant, which means I have three more weeks in my second trimester. Which means I am that much closer to my life completely changing. This month has been a hard month for me in my body. Starting with me getting so sick and dehydrated, I ended up in the ER, where I discovered I had the flu and a UTI both of which are a bit more intense while pregnant. Don’t worry I am now back to myself and baby girl is healthy, strong and very wiggly.

But my body is changing, I am bigger, and not just in my belly, I am tired and sore and uncomfortable. No one really talks about how uncomfortable being pregnant actually is. I mean you are growing a human so I suppose you should expect it to be hard, but ladies, if you are planning to get pregnant in your life I am telling you now, that it is HARD.

And I haven’t even mentioned the hormones. One time I cried after watching a Taekwondo performance and by cry I mean ball my eyes out. Another time John came home from the store and with out me asking him he bought me some gold fish. (which is one of my pregnancy survival snacks) And when I saw the bag I, again, balled my eyes out because of how kind John was.

But out of all the changes in my body and the hardships of carrying a growing baby the scariest thing is the future. Amazingly enough I am not afraid to give birth (I’m sure fear will creep in at some point) but I am actually quite excited about the experience and I have been doing so much to prepare my body and mind for labor. I am afraid of becoming a parent, of my life completely changing, of becoming responsible for another life. And the hardest thing about it- the risk. The risk of heart ache. This song that I love called Nothing I Hold Onto has been really powerful for me. Part of my job as parent is protect my child, but I can’t protect her from everything. I am learning to hand her over to God to let go of the idea that I can control everything. Grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not control. This is hard. There is risk in love. When you love someone so much you risk loss. There is a lyric in this song that says “I will climb this mountain with my hands wide open” and it reminds me of Abraham giving his one and only son up. Handing his life over to God. And God’s response is to hand his son back to him. God’s invitation is for us to hold onto to God and the triune God will hold onto everything else for us. On the one hand this sounds like bliss. But on the other, it is hard. And scary.

What are you holding onto that God might be asking you to let go of?

This journey to parenthood has been beautiful, scary, empowering, confusing, exciting, hard, tiring, life changing. And it is only just the beginning. So thankful for those of you who have come around us and have supported us in words of encouragement, gifts, prayers, food, generosity, conversations and so much more. And I am eternally thankful for my husband, he is already an amazing dad. Always talking to baby girl, giving me back rubs, buying me goldfish, protecting me and just supporting and loving me in new ways.

Although this post shares the heavy challenges and fear I am carrying, please hear and know that I am so good. I am in an amazing place of light and Love and only because I am in this space can I fully work through, process and share with you the hard things.

May you also be in a space of light and Love

P.S. If you like the illustration of me from up above and are interested in getting your own done, then you got to check out my friend Amanda! check out her Instagram here and here Etsy shop here.

culture SHOCK.

Well we have now been in Memphis four about 2 weeks and we quickly moved pass the honeymoon stage and into the frustration stage. Yup, I am talking about Culture Shock. Or in our case, reverse culture shock.

We left Spain in a bit of a long awaited whirlwind. most of you know that John and I waited for his visa to come in for nearly 2 years and once we got it we were ready to go. We got the visa just in time to be home for Christmas. Quickly bought tickets and backed up all our belongings. On the day we were going to say good bye to our community, John woke up with a fever, that afternoon he tested positive for Covid. We had to cancel our flights, isolate from each other in our apartment. I also started getting some covid symptoms and was advised to continue to self isolate. 2 weeks and a few days later we were back to ‘normal’ and received the all clear for travel. We left Spain quickly after that, eager to finally move on to the next chapter. We landed in California on December 31st and stayed with my family for nearly 2 months. When we landed in Cali, we still didn’t know if John had gotten the job and while we were waiting for the news he continued to look for work in LA as well as Memphis. In the end John got the job here in Memphis and we are so thankful for blessing. That being said leaving my family was hard. I had created this dream in my mind of the ideal life seeing my family weekly, started a business with my best friend. Etc. It was an idealic dream, that I need to say goodbye to. So we are here in Memphis and as you can from the chart above we moved quickly past the honeymoon stage and into the frustration phase.

Here is a short list of things that are frustrating me:

  1. Why are there so many pot holes here? It’s like playing some sort of weird live video game, an obstacle course from hell.
  2. Speaking of the roads, the drivers. Man oh man. Maybe it’s because everyone is trying to dodge the pot wholes, but I think Memphians think the lines are suggestions.
  3. We have now looked at around 12 different homes and still haven’t found the one.
  4. There are a lot of southern formalities that we aren’t use to, like using mr and mrs or yes ma’m etc.
  5. Everything is sooooo spread out. We are having to drive wide and far to get anywhere…

Ok that’s enough of venting… If you are from Memphis, I hope you don’t take my venting as sign that I don’t like it here or that I don’t like you, or that I am not thankful for being here. I am simply in the frustration stage. In this Medium article it describes this stage like this: “At this stage, the fatigue of not understanding gestures, signs and the language sets in and miscommunications may be happening frequently. Small things — losing keys, missing the bus or not being able easily order food in a restaurant — may trigger frustration. And while frustration comes and goes, it’s a natural reaction for people spending extended time in new countries.” Although we aren’t in a new country, the stages still apply when experiencing reverse culture shock.

I am writing this hard reflection for two reasons. 1. to let you into my heart and current story. 2. for me to continue processing.

Although I am having feelings of frustration, loneliness, anxiousness and more. I also hold on to hope. When I look at the timeline above I see a light at the end of the tunnel, I look forward to adjusting and accepting and if I could add a fifth, I would say I look forward to celebrating. We chose Memphis for a reason, or better yet God brought us back for a reason. And I have been an obedient follower of God’s calling in my life since day one and each step I have taking thus far in my life I am so thankful for.

Speaking of gratitude, a few that are helping in this process are:

  1. finding safe spaces to vent.
  2. getting outside.
  3. and gratitude.

It is hard being here right now but it’s also been really fun and beautiful too. To name a few things that I am thankful for of my time so far.

  1. Going to our best friends house for brunch on our first day here.
  2. Playing fun games with our nephews.
  3. Drinking Margaritas with our family.
  4. Cuddling with “our” puppy (not actually ours, but we are living with him.)
  5. Eating Muddy’s cupcakes.

Anyway, that’s it for now. I hope next time you read something on here, its less frustrating and more up lifting. But this is where I am. I hope that if you are feeling frustrating in your context, or feeling anxious or lonely you also can find hope and support. You are not alone.

Come to me all who are weary and I will give them rest.

– Jesus

A Christmas Story

Use an imaginative story as a prayer tool to connect with Jesus

A few weeks ago I lead my organization in a unique spiritual practice to help us enter into this season of advent. Preparing our hearts for Jesus. This is a story that I wrote. The idea is for you to read it prayerfully and imagine that you, yourself are in the story. As you read the text try to use all your senses as you imagine yourself in this story. At the end of the story I will leave a few questions for you to think about, feel free to journal or what ever you do to help process and pray. Try to read the story prayerfully, slowly and mindfully. I pray that this exercises ministers to you in a unique way.

Begin by slowing down your breath so that you can quiet your mind and body. King of kings, Lord of lords help us to connect to You today as we enter into a time of imaginative prayer. May we come to understand more and more what Your hope and peace and joy and love mean to us and to the world around us today and everyday through advent and beyond. Help us to prepare a way for You to enter into our hearts again in this moment. Thank you for your gift of creativity and imagination that we can use to get to know you more.

Today is just like any other day for you. Except for this evening you have been invited to a Christmas Party. You haven’t been to a party for a while and are a bit nervous. You ask your loved one to help you pick out what to wear.  You have gotten dressed, you’ve had a snack and you brushed your teeth. You are ready to go. You grab your white cane and head out the door. As you are walking to the Christmas Party you are aware of the busy-ness of the holiday festivities happening all throughout the city. What sounds do you hear as you are walking outside? What can you smell? Are you warm or cold?  

You are having to walk a bit slower, paying attention to all of the sounds to help guide you through the neighborhood. 

You turn the corner and notice you are on a quieter street, thankful for the peacefulness you smile to yourself. But then just a few seconds later you hear a child whisper to their mother “look at that person’s eyes…” You hear the mother try to quiet her child but just a few seconds later you hear again the child giggle and say “and what is that stick for.” You’ve heard it all before and normally it doesn’t bother you this much, but because you are already feeling vulnerable by the idea of heading to this party, these words sting. 

As you turn the next corner you try to shake off this feeling of shame and you put on a smiling face as you reach your destination. 

You take the elevator up to your friends apartment and immediately your senses go wild. The apartment is so much warmer than it was outside, especially with all the people. You instantly smell christmas cookies mixed with the smell of mulled wine and a christmas tree. And of course you can hear Frank Sinatra singing Jingle Bells quietly in the background. You find a comfortable seat on the couch and your friend brings you a plate of cheese and crackers and mug of mulled wine. Your friend sits with you for a while and introduces you to a few of his friends but as the host, he gets up to make the rounds. 

As you sit there eating and drinking and listening to the people around you, time passes by and you start to realize how alone you feel. ‘Is this all there is’ you ask yourself. Another Christmas party where I just don’t belong. 

You decide to give it 5 more minutes and then you will just make up an excuse to leave. 

Right as you are about to get up, someone  sits next you and immediately wishes you a Merry Christmas. This man’s voice felt so calming to your ears. And although you have heard those two words now for a couple of weeks from many people, this was the first time you felt someone genuinely mean it. It felt like such a gift. 

You nearly spit out mulled wine when you hear the next thing he says to you is “Would you like to see?” 

‘Is this man mocking me?’ you immediately think.

But then He reaches his hands out to you and whispers to you. 

“You have been made new.” 

As he takes his warm hands off of your eyes, all you can see at first is light. But then as you blink a few times things start to come into focus. What do you see as you  look around the room? 

As you look around the room you realize that what you thought before, when you couldn’t see was how you were missing out now you can truly see these people with their masks of christmas cheer. 

They are the ones missing something, they are the ones blind.

You turn to look at the man who had healed you and there he is sitting next to you with a big smile on his face. 

Pure joy. 

You can’t take your eyes off of him. He is warm, gentle, peaceful and so much more you can’t quite put it to words.

He reaches out his hands again this time cupping your face in his big hands and he says your name over and over again.

How does this feel being in His hands hearing him call your name? 

 As tears of joy run down his face he says “You are my beloved.”

He stands up 

Reaches out his hands 

And says 

Come, follow me. 

Reflection Questions: 

  1. What/How do you need to be made new today? What do you need healing from? 
  2. In this imaginative prayer once you are able to see, you see that people are missing something? How can you be present during this season so that you don’t miss out on Jesus? 
  3. Who in your life might feel like they don’t fit in? How can you be like Jesus in their lives? 
  4. What is Jesus inviting you into this month?

I hope this imaginative story helped connect you to Jesus in a unique and special way. I also wanted to say a disclaimer, although I hope this is obvious to you. I under know circumstance thing that being blind is something to be ashamed of or is something that needed healing from. There are many different abilities that although may make like challenging in unique ways doesn’t make a person less than other or make a person in more need than others. This story is simply meant to help us reflect on our own internal blindness and we might need healing within.

Merry Christmas everyone! May God bless and keep you and may He shine His face upon you.

Reflections on entering into advent

We have all lost so much this year. Individually and communally. When I take time to think of the loss it feels to heavy to even type it out. Like these words won’t even scratch the surface, of the loss, the pain, the trauma we have all experienced to some degree. As we enter into the time of advent, a lot of can get lost in the “Christmas Spirit.” We are all wanting, even maybe needing to have a Holly Jolly Christmas. We want to deck the halls, and eat all the Christmas treats and watch all the Holiday films. In some ways it feels like we need that Holiday Spirit to just survive.

But as I reflect on this weeks advent theme of hope I am realizing how much we are in need of true hope. If our lives we truly filled with that Sparkle of the “Christmas Spirit” hope wouldn’t be needed. But the reason we need hope is because our lives are broken. We are on an individual level dealing with grieving loved ones, living in broken homes, battling with addictions, suffering from mental or physical health issues and on a communal and global level we are living in a world filled with racism and violence and a earth that we are mistreating, we have created walls, wars and hatred.

We need hope.

We need something or someone that we can find rest in, that we can find hope in, that we can find transformed lives in.

There is a beautiful spoken word poem by Amena Brown and in it she says:

This Jesus is not just a baby.

He is the radical revolutionary who came to do the saving

Who spoke uncomfortable truth to the narrow minded religious

Who turned over tables for justice

Who used his voice to speak for children, orphans, widows

Who became freedom for the oppressed, yes

He wanted us to know peace so badly he sacrificed himself.

So we could realize we are not us vs. them

We are us with Him

With that, I want to leave you with a few reflective questions for you to ponder, as well as a few resources for you if you are interested in advent or specifically Hope.

Lo the Poet’s Hope

Biola’s advent project

What is advent?

Scott Erickson’s Honest Advent book

Unwrapping the Names on Jesus by Asheritah Ciuciu

Merry Christmas!

An Apology & A Call to Action

For multiple days now I have been praying, drawing, reading and repeat. I have been in tears crying out to God to show me what I need to do. I am so thankful for my art and being able to speak through my drawings. But it is not enough. I am so thankful that I can come to my Lord and plead for help. But it is not enough. I am so thankful for the internet that I have been able to read article after article to help educate myself. But it is not enough. I am part of the white privilege majority and with that comes responsibilities. I follow a God who is the Prince of Peace and with that comes responsibilities. There is so much that I want to say, that I NEED to say. But to be honest I am having a hard time putting my words together. There is so much sadness and sorrow. There is so much anger and pain. So for now I’ll start with this.

First of all I want to speak to my black brothers and sisters and say I am sorry. I am deeply sorry for the loss and pain you feel. I myself feel a deep sense of loss and pain, so I can only imagine the pain and anger and sadness and fear that you must be feeling. I wish I could wipe it away, but I can’t. And that brings me to my next apology. I am so sorry that our streets being stained with black blood has been your story since the beginning of our nation’s history. I am sorry for how slow it is taking us all to wake up, to speak up and actively seek change. I am sorry that we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. I am sorry for my ignorant silence for too long. I am sorry that I didn’t speak up sooner. I am sorry for the deaths, the wrongful accusations, the racist thoughts, words and actions that you receive on a daily basis. I am sorry for the fear that you face on a regular basis. I am sorry for the lack of resources you receive from our government. I’m sorry for the forced poverty you have been handed. I’m sorry for the injustice. I am so sorry for all of this and more.

Now to my white privilege community I am speaking directly to you. 

It is not ok to sit silently. It is not enough to simply pray. It is not enough to repost photos a few times for just one week. Unfortunately George’s story will eventually fade away. But deaths like his will continue to happen every day. Unless you and I do something about it. Black people are equal to us and therefore should be treated as so. They should not be wrongfully accused, they should not be dying by racist police or civilians, they should not have to leave their house in fear, they should not have less access to financial aid and health care, they should not receive less education. They should not get second glances when they walk into shops. They should not be treated as less than. They should not have their right to breathe taken away from them.

My friend Sara said something on her Insta stories that I want to share with you: Imagine waking up every morning and seeing on the news another person that looked like you being killed for the color of their skin. How would that make you feel? So if you are wondering what you should be doing right now and always until we see real change, the answer is simple. Speak up and continue to speak up. Yes it will be uncomfortable, you may even lose friends. But that discomfort is nothing compared to what our black brothers and sisters feel everyday. I’m not saying stop praying. Yes, please continue to pray. But when Jesus saw the temple being made as a market, He didn’t just bow his head in prayer he flipped over the tables and made a whip. He showed his anger and demanded change immediately. You might even say his anger was violent. 

So please continue to pray, but also speak up. Speak up on your social platforms. Speak up in person when you see or hear injustice. Speak up in your workplaces, social circles and especially in your churches. And stand up and show up. Show up to protests, vigils, stand-ins, council meetings. Show up to the small businesses that are run by black people and POC and show your support. If you are able to, make donations to the organizations that are on the ground doing the hard work. Educate yourself. Listen to the black community, read articles and books and stories that highlight the black story. Learn how to change and how to make change. And lastly please vote! When it comes time to vote for our leaders please show up and vote from your heart. It doesn’t matter how financially better off we become, if we keep seeing dead bodies in the news. I’d rather be a poor country that loves all, than a rich country with hatred written in blood on the statue of liberty. I do not want leaders that are racists, I do not want leaders that threaten the lives of the marginalized. I do not want leaders that lead from selfishness and racism.  I want leaders that love their neighbor as themselves. 

Thank you for taking time to read this. Below you’ll find a list of link to different resources, articles and prayers to help all of during this time. Please click on these links and give financial donations, or learn something new or make change in a new way. And lastly, if you are part of the black community I’d love to hear from you and learn from you. Please, if there is something I said that doesn’t sit right with you, please let me know. I am learning and wanting to continue to learn. Also if there are other resources you would suggest leave in the comments down below.

Black Lives Matter

The art of keeping a sketch.


Sketchbooks, the struggle is real. Am I right? I mean its hard to finish one with out starting another one, it’s hard to not buy more, its hard to keep them organize, its hard to store them once you are done. Maybe I need a support group? ha. But really how many of you feel the same way? Over the past year I have been working hard to finish my stack of unfinished books and organize the ones I’m still currently using. It’s been hard for me because I am very disorganized, but after wrapping ups some old books and researching organizational tips I finally have a system that works for me! yay!

So I currently have three sketchbooks. My first book is an art journal, I use this book in community with a group of women here in my neighborhood, we get together once a week, read a passage from the bible, or read a prompting question to reflect on and then we create beautiful pages of our spiritual reflections, this book is small and cheap but full of lessons and beauty and inspirations. My second book is my every day sketch book, here I draw and paint for practice, inspiration, challenges or planning for a bigger project. And my last book is for learning, anytime a take a digital creative course, my learning is inputted into this book, also a cheap book but I think that is ok since it is for my own learning and discovery.


Do you have a system for your sketchbooks? Any recommendations for me? I’d love to hear them! Also if you are interested in getting organized yourself or just need a little inspo here are some helping links.

Minnie Small on Youtube has some great videos on sketchbook tips and tours. She is by far my favorite go to artist for helpful tips, tricks and sketchbook inspo.

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Some 5 helpful sources:

12 tips for organizing your sketchbooks

tips for sketchbook storage

the best sketchbooks around

make your one sketchbook! 

don’t know what to draw?



Thanks for stopping by. Leave a comment below with your questions, more helpful tips, or just to say hello. I’d love to hear from you! Happy Monday everyone I hope you have a great week.