I went to Waco, Texas a few weekends ago for a joint celebration to toast to the spring issues of Magnolia Journal and Darling Magazine, two female focused magazines with similar missions.  I honestly didn’t know much about the event, but I received an invitation to attend from the Magnolia team and as a huge fan of Chip and Joanna and everything they stand for – faith, family, gathering, home – I rsvp’d ‘yes!’ without much thought or planning.

I have been blogging for almost seven years now which means I have attended events like this for a long time.  So I didn’t know exactly what the weekend would entail, but based on experience, I had a pretty good idea – a room full of ‘influencers’ (some friends, some strangers), pretty flowers, good food and drinks and a lot of small talk.  But to my surprise, when I arrived at Magnolia Table (and was greeted by Joanna personally), I hadn’t spotted any of my usual crew.  I put on my big girl pants and started talking and introducing myself to the women in the room.  There were women from all over the country – Chicago, Los Angeles, Nashville, and the list goes on.  Not surprising considering the reach of Magnolia and Darling, but what I did find refreshing were these women’s resumes – motivational speaker, Christian author, philanthropist, friend. It suddenly became very clear that this was not a typical influencer event.  I was whipping out my phone to take notes with every conversation so I could remember to read that person’s books or research our conversations further when the night was over.

If interested, a few of my notes include Adam Grant’s The Originals (this book came up in two separate conversations, so clearly I am behind!), Bob Goff’s Love Does (his lovely wife and daughter were seated at my table), Christina Black Gifford’s Heart Made Whole (I sat next to Christina at dinner and was in awe of her passion and insight), and Heather Avis’ The Lucky Few (who I find incredibly inspiring!  She was in attendance, but we weren’t seated together.  More to come from Heather, soon!).

After a cocktail hour and some mingling, it was time to sit down for dinner.  Joanna got up to welcome everyone to the first gathering at Magnolia Table (the restaurant hadn’t officially opened and the kitchen wasn’t finished so the food was catered) and to share the message of the spring issue of Magnolia Journal: intentional living.   In case you haven’t read it, here is a blurb from Joanna’s Letter from the Editor.

“In this issue of the Magnolia Journal, we dive into this idea of living intentionally and celebrate those who do it well in unique or unexpected ways. Though intentional living is nothing new, my hope is that the stories in these pages will offer fresh clarity and perspective about how we might practice it anew – perhaps in ways that are healthier for both ourselves and our families.  We start by getting back to the basics.  Rather than broadening our scope, we want to focus our attention on the areas of our lives that are worth giving all we’ve got.”

This message comes at a time where this is weighing heavy on me personally, like so many of you.  I often feel pulled in a million different directions left feeling like I am doing so many things, but not doing any of them well – or with intention.  It suddenly felt like I was exactly where I needed to be to hear this message and meet and learn from such inspiring women.

I was awestruck by Joanna’s humility and authenticity, despite her rapid rise into fame.  From my brief interaction with her, meeting her team and the people she valued to celebrate with her that evening, to hearing the message she shared and based the spring issue of Magnolia Journal on, she had planted a seed in me.

The next morning, after another beautiful and insightful brunch hosted by the Darling team, I pulled out of Waco, Texas and started on my way down Highway 6 to Houston.  I felt renewed and refreshed, and my head was clear. I know what is important to me and I am inspired to scale down and focus my attention on the areas that are worth giving all I’ve got – my faith, our family, and this space I have created and worked so hard on over the last seven years.

But I also want to rethink this space a little and be even more intentional about what I share here.  HOUSE of HARPER has always been the place I share the things that inspire me – from home, fashion, beauty and family.  And it will always be an evolving version of that.  You have been so generous of your time and so loyal over the years as I shifted from a personal style blogger to more lifestyle-focused.  And now, I hope you will continue to grow with me as I approach this space with more intention and continue to share stories and topics that are inspiring or challenging me.

My current favorite series are our interview series: Mom Crush and Talk Shop.  I would love, with your help, to launch a new series where I can share inspiring stories or topics that focus on challenges women face and how we can better support each other.  If you have a story you want to share or know someone who does, please email us!  (Think infertility, miscarriage, suffering a loss, battling cancer, deciding what’s best for your child’s education, coping with depression or anxiety and so much more!)  We are excited to continue to grow our content to share what is important to us here at HOUSE of HARPER while getting to connect on a deeper level with each of you.

I would love to hear ways you strive to be more intentional with your time.

As always, thanks for being a part of this community!

xo, Caroline