Saturday, July 28, 2012

Absurdly Unexplainable Peace

Feeling windblown and uprooted lately. It's to be expected. Anticipated even. But now that it's here, it's more shocking than I was imagining in my little mind. Oh the journey that lies ahead, may it be filled with peace that is absurdly unexplainable. ~

You too?

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone.qThe Lord is at hand; rdo not be anxious about anything, sbut in everything by prayer and supplication twith thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And uthe peace of God, vwhich surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and wreceived and heard and seen xin me—practice these things, andythe God of peace will be with you. -Philippians 4:4-10

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Sunset that Sang Me Home

Flying in a large metal tube, 30,000 feet in the air, at 500+ MPH, is one of the most thrilling and questionable things I believe we do as human beings. As I traveled across a dozen states last week to end up in Charlotte, North Carolina, I was amazed that in a matter of hours, I could be across the country. 

I've flown before. From 2006-2008 I flew a minimum of 4 times a year for school, sometimes more. But this last week I was struck with awe at the detailed beauty as I saw the sun set from the East to the West. 

It was like me and all those sleeping people were chasing it, begging it to come back. The faster we flew, the faster is escaped. It's colors went from jubilee oranges and reds to  slumbering shades of purples and blues. 

Goodnight, it sang. Tomorrow is a new day with new joys awaiting. 
Tomorrow is a new day with new problems to solve. 
Tomorrow, tomorrow may change and life may shift, but you and I will still celebrate the love and beauty of the one who create us both. 
Isn't that just lovely? 
That evening, that sunset was more alive to me than the snoring little man beside me or the crying baby in first class. And so I replied, with an inaudible whisper, Yes. That is more than lovely. 

"From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised!" -Psalm 113:3 (ESV)

*The photo above is the same one from this story. Isn't it lovely?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Creatives Fight War With Art

>>> Tyson Morlet is my adorable husband who is the most passionate man I know in every area of his life. He puts his heart and soul into everything he does because he believes in it. He believe in the Church, as a collective, and he believes that we are the perfect mobile by which Jesus planned His mission to go forth. You'll see. Please welcome him with some love, as he is the brave and only guy on this topic ;) ~ JM 

We’ve all heard that we are made in the image of God and he was creative, so we are creative. But have you heard this? 
God is so concerned with his people being a creative people and His worship being a creative worship, that in the Old Testament, only the artist and craftsmen were filled with the Spirit to build the house for God. Out of every other office in the Old Testament, it was the artists who were first filled with the Spirit. (Exodus 35:30-35)

Artists are God ordained warriors.

Now, there are no rules in creativity, however, as a Christian, there are things that Creativity IS and IS NOT. Let's talk about three of those. 

1. Creativity isn't just doing what God does. It isn’t something we walk in like a child walking in his father’s big open size eleven shoes. It is something that our Father has placed in us, is shaping us for and ultimately has filled us with His Spirit to do. With His Spirit, I can take my time, treasure and heart and turn it to Him in worship. We grow up to be mature in whatever area of creativity we are aspiring to, but it's God that sparks that process. 

2. Creativity isn’t for us. It is by us but for the greater good of mankind and the reflection of the ultimate Creator. Creativity is for the encouragement of the Church and for worship.  "Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. And be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Hebrews 10:24 & Ephesians 5:19-21)

3. Creativity is about doing something new and doing that something wellI think that the goal of every artist should be to, like God, look upon our creation and call it “good.” Chris Martin (Singer of Coldplay) said it this way, “the goal of our band is to write the perfect song.” We sing to Him, we draw for Him and paint for him until its as perfect as I can get it and then I wake up the next day and do it again, because He’s my God and He is worthy. I love Psalms 33:3, “Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.” 

All of these are lessons we can begin to implement in our creating, but will take a lifetime to master. And once we, as a collective, become okay with that reality, we can really start stepping into who God calls us to be as artists. 
Here’s where this is all going. Isaiah 65 says:
“For behold, I (God) create a new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy, and her people a gladness.” 
God created us and everything we see through Jesus
For in him (Jesus) all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. Colossians 1:16

I love what Jesus ascribed to Himself in Luke 4:18: 
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.” 
These new heavens and earth, He also creates through Jesus, but this time that creating process has included His Church! 

The new earth.

I’m not saying that God will not literally create a new earth someday, however, I am saying that this mission Christ has taken upon Himself, is the transformation of everything we know in this one. And the work is not yet finished
We are part of the solution. You are part of the solution. Your creativity is of great value because God gave it to you for a powerful purpose. 

God has made us a creative people to fight war with paint, heal pain with dancing, end tyranny with poetic speech, and free slaves with song. He has poured out His Spirit upon you artists to join with His Son in again making something new. 

Tyson Morlet has a heart to continue the mission of Christ as part of the Church, pushing forward the Gospel. His heart is to see people worship God fully, in both song and compassion. He is the Pastor of Worship and Media Arts at Antioch LA, in Santa Monica and the leader of Antioch Worship Band. Oh, and he's my stud of a husband. ~

Saturday, July 21, 2012

4 Valuable Truths for Creating Brand | Kathleen Shannon

> > > I just about peed my pants when Kathleen agreed to write on this week's topic of The Bad and Beautiful of Creativity. She is one of the most creative bloggers I've stayed updated with and her knack for creating new and fresh content and products has me mesmerized. Today she shares some super valuable truths on how to brand yourself and your creativity. Enjoy ~JM

Thanks, Julianna for having me over to contribute to your The Bad and The Beautiful of Creativity series. 

In my field I work with a lot of creative entrepreneurs who struggle with bringing their own personality into their professional brand, or on the flip side making their career personal. But when it comes to making a living being a creative, it can be really beneficial to blend the professional with the personal. A lot of artistpreneurs think this will make them unprofessional or not taken as seriously by their clients but here’s the deal: everyone wants to work with a real person. Genuine connections with your customer will earn you some serious trust - which in turn produces really great work and raving fans. 

So here are a few tips for marrying your personal brand with your professional brand: 

• If you’re a solo entrepreneur brand yourself with your own name. Here are a couple reasons for this. 1) Your name is classic. If you’re going to invest time, money and sweat equity into your brand it might as well last a lifetime. 2) Your interests may change but you won’t. If there is one thing I know about creative entrepreneurs it’s that they’re not at a lack of ideas. Today you may be a jewelry designer but tomorrow you may be passionate about eco-styling. If you’re branded under your own name you don’t have to create a whole new brand for each business venture you develop. 

• Pick the social media platform that is right for you. If you hate writing then maybe a traditional blog isn’t for you. Instead, you might like the constraints of 140 characters of Twitter. Or if you love taking pictures try Instagram. If you’re a tastemaker with a passion for curation Pinterest is right up your alley. The main thing is to pick a social media platform that you genuinely love then you’ll be more likely to engage in it. In return, you’ll quickly build a community of likeminded artistpreneurs and raving fans. 

• Write the way you speak. I’m not saying to drop the eff bomb every other sentence (though, if you can rock it - go for it!) but don’t get caught up on trying to sound like something you aren’t (whether that’s super professional or saccharine sweet). For example, I have a friend who is sarcastic and hilarious in real life but comes across sounding like a stepford blogger robot in her posts by using words like “lovelies” and “adore” - she never uses those words in real life! And on that note - if you’re just one person don’t use “we” to sound like a bigger company than you are. 

• You don’t have to be everything to everyone. This is probably the scariest but if you are your authentic self you will automatically attract more dream customers who don’t mind that you use the eff word in client meetings or decide to one day to style your hair in dreadlocks. Stop worrying about alienating the kind of clients you wouldn’t want to work with anyway.

>Talk to her on Twitter @braidcreative

Kathleen Shannon is an art director turned free-spirited champion for the small creative entrepreneur through her business Braid Creative & Consulting. Her don’t-just-dream-it-do-it style pervades everything from her clothes, to her home, to her food. She'll follow a whim from painting larger-than-life stripes in her living room hallway, to urban-cowgirl-outfitting her personal style for a summer, to trekking the foothills of Mount Everest – just to have a good story to tell. She blogs at and

**This post is part of July's Blog Series, The Bad and Beautiful of Creativity. Missed one? Catch up here.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Creative Resources We Love (and You Will Too!)

Photo by Colleen @ Inspired to Share
Things I Use/Look At Everyday
TeuxDeux - A list to help me organize my life. If you're an organized creative, please, email me. I need you. 
PicMonkey - This is what I use for quick editing photos! It works great and it can now make collages. Whoopy!
Pinterest - No explanation needed here. Unless you don't know what it is, then you need to click on it, sign up, and you can thank me later. (Or kill me. Definitely one of the two.)
Instagram - An un-intimidating way of taking pretty pictures of your everyday life. Do it. It will get your juices flowing. 
Crafting a Life - I read this girl everyday. She's a creative genius. And funny. You can get her delivered to your email inbox. 
My Smashbook - I've started putting my ideas and scrap papers and napkins ideas in this book. I have one at a time. Part of me wants to have one for every "segment" of my life, but that's just not realistic. So I have one, I put everything in it and I love it. LOVE it. 
- - - - -

Articles That Inspire Us
The Power of Word Weaving
Music to Motivate
Procrastinating and Distracting Ourselves
Borderless Thinking
Art Helps Us Deal with Suffering
On Writing, Creative Habit, and How Ideas Bloom
- - - - -

How-To's You Can Do NOW
- - - - - 

For the Creative Picture Takers
Max and Poppy - pretty to look at
The Daybook Blog - good style and concepts
10 Things Not to Do in Photography - awesome instruction
Unravelling (Photography E-Course) - good investment
- - - - -

For the Creative Writers
Jeff Goins - amazing world changer
Ommwriters - artsy fartsy tools
Word Count Tool - necessary and essential (for me)
Dafonts - free fonts
5 Questions to Ask Yourself before Writing a Book - insightful
Thesaurus - my preferred, thorough and fast one
Tools for Creating E-books - informative 
For the Bloggers - help with the technical side
- - - - -

For the Creative Foodies
Bakerella - pretty baked goods
Pioneer Woman - quirky style of food blogging
Butter Me Up Brooklyn - amazing inspiration
Joy the Baker - essential recipes (for me)
- - - - -

**Now go! Do something! And then take pictures and tell us what :) 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

How One Woman Stays Creative | Franchesca @ SmallBirdStudios

>>> I heard about Franchesca, initially from my cousin, and then through her online magazine STILL. She is a woman of such grace, compassion, and spiritedness. I feel like if we ever met in person, she'd have me smiling the whole time. She is a gem. ~JM

I am so excited to be sharing a little bit here on Julianna's beautiful blog! (thank you girl!)

The way I like to look at it, is the work I do is sort of a mess. It's a beautiful mess that I have the privilege of sharing with the world, and at the same time I get to share our story and how it all got started. Quite a few projects got started to honor my daughter's life after she left our world three years ago. Her life continues to inspire me in new ways to reach out and touch someone else's life. 

Needless to say, it's not finding the inspiration that is the hard part, for me it is staying inspired, and feeding that passion to stay and live CREATIVELY.

Being a stay-at-home/ work-at-home mom is a GIFT, but it is also a lot more than that. It is serious dedication, and draining (queue new pregnancy + potty training days here) at times. Sometimes I can feel the flame of passion for what I do burning out... easily. I get discouraged, wondering if there is something else I should be doing. Wondering if all the trouble is even worth it.

Times like this, I know it's time to break away from my routine.

For me that almost always means leaving the house. Taking a day trip to the beach or the museum district. Or even the farmer's market. Maybe even visiting friends.

Just somewhere that makes me happy. Something that can make me appreciate life in a new way, for even just a moment. Something that makes coming back home (and work) refreshed.

The truth is we all need a break. 
In the work world, you get breaks so why wouldn't you give yourself breaks in your own home? If you work from home, remember that working from home is not always as easy as it sounds. I think in some ways, it takes more self-discipline in certain areas. More than anything, you deserve these little moments away from the work that you do, regardless of how much you LOVE it, to be the best that you can be.

Breaking away will make you feel better about the work you do, make you more excited to come back, and in some cases inspire you in new ways.

xo fran

>Talk to her on Twitter @smallbirdstudio 

I am Franchesca... a Texas girl, with a love for instagram, chocolate and kisses from my two favorite people in the world. On my little blog, Small Bird Studios, I write about the life we now live after experiencing the loss of our first child, a little girl. You can read more about herhere. When she left us for Heaven, our world was rocked to the core and life has never been the same. It has become, with time, beautifully broken. A place where love lives, hope thrives, and healing is real.

**This post is part of July's Blog Series, The Bad and Beautiful of Creativity. Missed one? Catch up here.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Creativity Versus Competitiveness | Katie McGihon

> > > Oh Katie. Where do I start with this girl? We met on Twitter, became instant friends because of our worship leading connections. She asked me to Flemings for champagne and calamari and I didn't have the guts to tell her I hated seafood, so I went. I LOVED the calamari and we've been friends ever since. She is a phenomenal photographer and has the sweetest spirit of inspiration. You'll love her. ~JM

“Stop looking at other photographers’ work.” 
Two years ago, a certain magazine editor said those six words that changed my life. It was as simple as that. She said it like it was the easiest, and most logical thing to do. 
But it shocked me. 
“Why should I do that? How would I know what everyone in my industry was doing? How would I know if my work was as good as-- or better-- than theirs? How would I know if they were copying my images?”
I was in a panic. I had to protect myself. I had to be educated and well informed. I had to know what everyone was doing, saying, and shooting at all times...or did I?
At the time, I was “making the rounds” with my morning coffee. Let me tell you, “making the rounds” is sick, unnecessary, and was basically eating me alive. As I sat down at my desk to begin my workday, one thing that was always on my to-do list was to check-in on everyone, and see their most recent work. At times, I was impressed. Occasionally, I laughed. More often than not, I felt violated. 
I felt like my work was being copied. I felt like the wording on my website was being stolen and even my music choices were being emulated. I wrestled with the desire to protect myself, and the fear of confrontation. That violation of my mind was exhausting. I was constantly consumed with the “what if’s”, “why’s” and the “it’s not fair’s”.
Eventually, it all came to a head during a workshop in Los Angeles, Calif., when a wise woman set me straight. 
That conversation in the fall of 2010 changed my life. I was sitting in a room with 20 strangers at a workshop, being guided and coached by some of the industry’s finest. I wrote feverishly, filling almost an entire notebook with thoughts, verses, and epiphanies; they have stayed with me over these past two years. The fact is, I don’t have to know what my peers are doing and what their work looks like. Even better was the realization that I don’t have to care, either.
Imagine waking up, and only worrying about yourself.
I remember the day I made the decision to only focus on myself, on my work. From that moment on, every phone call, email, blog post, styled portrait, engagement session and wedding was like an untarnished gift. They were my chance to be myself, let my creativity pour out, and to make a difference in my client’s lives. My words and actions became more intentional. My thoughts were more godly and I could finally breathe again. 
Why hadn’t I done this sooner? 
Are you currently torturing yourself by “making the rounds”? 
Comparison stifled my creativity. It caused me to shut down, to unnecessarily stress about upcoming shoots and to doubt myself. When we doubt ourselves and our God-given abilities, we are in essence doubting God...and that’s not something I want to be accused of doing.
Psalm 139:14 says, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well”.  God made only one of me. No one else can be me and no one else can take my place. He also made only one of you.
And oh how beautiful you are! 
You can choose to wake up every day and compare yourself to others. You can stifle your creativity and let doubt invade your soul, or you can choose to believe God’s promises for your one, beautiful life. But I choose to thrive, to grow, and to better myself without comparison.
What do you choose? 

>Talk to her on Twitter @maxandpoppy 

Katie McGihon is a wedding photographer, blogger and worship leader in Palm Springs, California. She holds herself to God’s standards, and is grateful to wake up every day and do what she loves. She is a wife to Scott, and Momma to Aden and Ava.

**This post is part of July's Blog Series, The Bad and Beautiful of Creativity. Missed one? Catch up here. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Bad & Beautiful of Creativity | Blog Series

Creativity is not optional for the human race. 
It is in the very makeup of our being to create. We were created in the image of our Creator God, and therefore, as His image bearers, we possess the attribute of creativity. 

But unless you are Picasso or Ansel Adams, the Pioneer Woman or Steve Jobs, you may have discovered, though creativity has the ability to be spontaneous, it rarely comes in such forms. By definition, creativity is: "the use of the imagination or original ideas, esp. in the production of an artistic work." Notice that last word = work. By definition, work is: "activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result." 

See where I'm going here?

Creativity is a production of work, byway of imagination, involving effort. 

It takes movement, in any direction really, and once you start, you won't be able to stop. You will feel empowered, exhilarated, energized by the very act of creating. And whatever comes out at the end will be beautiful, not because of what it is, but how it was made. There will be a story to your piece, your dance, your song. 

Everything beautiful that was ever created in anytime or space, has a story and a creator. It has behind it, someone that moved in any direction, grasped for any ledge of rhythm and worked through the bumps and bruises just to experience something beautiful.

That, my friends, is creativity. It has it's ugly moments, but those just make the masterpiece that much more beautiful. 

This week, we will hear from 4 crazy creatives who are exposing to you their secrets, lessons, and stories of their journey with creativity:

  • Tuesday - Creativity Versus Competitiveness (Katie McGihon @ Max and Poppy) 
  • Wednesday - Photospiration 
  • Thursday - How One Woman Stays Creative (Franchesca @ Small Bird Studio)
  • Friday - Creative Resources We Love
  • Saturday - 4 Valuable Truths for Creating Your Brand (Kathleen Shannon @ Braid Creative)
  • Sunday - Let's Talk Creativity, Man to Man (Tyson Morlet @ Antioch Worship)

I've learned so much, just putting these posts together! You will adore these writers and their inspiration and authenticity leaps off the screen. There are a couple things we suggest doing to get the most of this week:

  • Take notes. Journal, notepad, computer, whatever, just write down all the things that stick out to you and go back to them later. 
  • Create something. It can be as simple as tonight's dinner or a Haiku. Make something this week with the tools you're going to learn. Anything!
  • Talk about it. Tell your mom, your friend, your barista, or US! Telling someone you're learning how move forward in creating writes that baby in pen! You can talk with us on Facebook or every author's Twitter Handle will be at the end of their post. Tell them if you love their encouragement!

Here we go friends. The world totally isn't ready for what you're about to be empowered to do ~

***The Bad and Beautiful of Creativity: Don't freak out if you miss one. You can catch up here.

Photo by Colleen @ Inspired to Share // Go see her!
Added caption by Julianna Morlet

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Behind the Music | Recording Studio Highlights

Studio days are long and exhilarating. It's like you are watching something so uniquely and intricately formed right before your eyes. 
From 7PM to Midnight, we tracked almost all the female vocals (leading and backgrounds), in a non-airconditioned room (because of the buzz it made), with one trip to Starbucks and another to In N Out. Girls' gotta eat. 

We are so humbled to be recording with such phenomenally talented people. ^^This is Chels, and she leads in Antioch Temecula. She has the pipes of a Diva Queen and the spirit of an angel. And the loudest laugh I've ever heard. Seriously. She wakes kids in other counties ;)

Tyson and our friend (and amazing bassist) are co-producing this first album. "Producing" sounds so authoritative but this project really has been a collaborative effort between all the musicians and vocalists and our engineer. We couldn't have asked for a better team.

The album should be ready for download August 15! But don't worry, I'll keep reminding you. 

Meanwhile, here's a little blooper from my session this week. I hit some sour notes so please feel free to judge. It happens. (And Ps. that's my favorite song on the album! Sung by Chelsea. Finally a fast song for girls! :) 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Weekend (Away) Links

I'll be at She Speaks this week! I'm gonna pee my pants. It's a speaker/writer conference put on by the Proverb's 31 Ministries. Are you going? Tell me and let's be friends. (SheSpeaks)

I use to be a frequent flyer back and forth for school, and I got a point where I could sleep before take off and not wake til we landed. Not sure if I can still do that, but I'm bringing Conversations With God and The Art of Mentoring just in case. (Amazon)

New packing methods? OK! (Apartment Therapy)

Dear Sarah, Nicki, and Sam, I need to go here when in NC! Like NEED! Yea?? (Ameli's French Bakery)

How many of us, when traveling, strive to be as comfy and appear as cute and put together as >thisBut we all know, we really end up looking like >this. (Pinterest)

- - - - -
On Monday, this month's series, The Bad & Beautiful of Creativity, will begin and we have some amazing creatives guest writing here! Eeeek! I'm so excited. 

The line up is: Kathleen Shannon from Braid Creative (!!), Franchesca from Small Bird Studios, Katie McGihon from Max & Poppy Photography, and stunning photos from Colleen @ Inspired to Share. Don't miss it~

And as always, I'm more random and conversational on Twitter and Facebook. Especially now that I have more hours in my days. That could be good or bad for you.

Have a safe and adventurous weekend!
^^^Opinions, two-cents, questions and ramblings are welcome. And go above. Go ahead. Try it.

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