As we go through life, we think we have a roadmap. First high school graduation, then that college degree, followed by the job of our dreams, then the picture-perfect wedding, a quaint starter house for the hubby and new dog, and then the adorable children who listen so well, sitting in my freshly-cleaned, neutral-colored living room giggling while playing Scrabble as the sunshine streams in the open window and I’m kicking my feet up while enjoying a coffee and rela…. who am I kidding?
Ah, yes. Our life’s goals.
It’s funny that we are asked so often as kids to construct this roadmap and answer the all-important question, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” Are anyone’s answers the same now as they were back then?
As an 8-year-old I really thought I wanted to be the next great baker... I would sit in my grandma's kitchen flipping through cookbook after cookbook picking out just the right recipe to try with her. I'd sit in front of the stove and watch the cupcakes start to rise out of the ice cream cones (Did anyone else ever do this... my masterpiece) Then at 18 I was on my way to Iowa State where I set myself up for a career in Fashion Design because after college I'd be moving to NYC to become the next hot clothing designer. As I made these choices, I was always dreaming big and felt like I truly could do whatever I set my heart to.
The years out of college led me through the corporate world of Target... my soul yearned for more challenges and creativity... which pulled me into a small home based home decor company, Julia Knight... where I was reminded of my love for creating, business and the world... then my life shifted to wife... then mom... And this is when those notions of “real jobs” felt entangling and constricting. My brain itched with the thought that there was something more out there. My fingers tingled with the need to be busy making something, anything from my own two hands, and my heart felt pulled into what I would have only years earlier thought of as a too-risky adventure. But I couldn’t not do it. My soul was on fire with a need to be creative and to spread inspiration and encouragement in this small pocket of the globe that I call home.
And so in this season of my life, Allison Marie Design was born. You can read about it in this post - 'Be Brave'. I was content, fulfilled, and in love with life, but still kept feeling itchy and fiery and sensed that I needed to do MORE. I couldn’t quite understand why, until a dear friend proposed something in 2017. A project that was equally as too-risky as starting AMD… curating and hosting a pop-up shop filled with creative female makers like us. You can read about how that all came about here - 'Dream Big'.
Again, I found that as much as I tried to convince myself that it wasn’t possible – that I didn’t have the time or the energy or the network to pull it off – I couldn’t not do it. This event needed to happen to empower women entrepreneurs and encourage their business ventures. And so, in the short span of two months, Rachel and I pulled together all the female makers we knew and begged them to join our cause. We rented a beautiful storefront in Downtown Lakeville, and we filled that space with gorgeous furniture and handmade goods and hope and love and compassion and support… and prayed that God would lead people to our humble little pop-up.
I recall the night before we opened, thinking to myself… "what if no one shows up?”
The next few days were a whirlwind. When we saw a line of women outside the door for our grand opening 15 minutes early I was humbled and overtaken with gratitude. I felt that helping these entrepreneurs and makers reach their audience was the most professionally empowering thing I had ever done, my soul was at peace and my heart was full. Rachel and I knew that this had to happen again, and almost as soon as the last ornament was down from the Christmas trees in our homes, we started lining up the Collective Grace Spring Pop-Up event.
This spring we have decided to follow God's prompt and walk by faith into a space that is twice the size in Prior Lake, MN. So with that we have had an amazing opportunity to not only fill it with more amazing goodness (which we are doing of course!) We will be using the space to permanently host local stylist Hazel & Blush, there will be a hand lettering workshop hosted by Lauren Ibach (click here to Register), Stamped by Jen will be hand stamping on site, we will have a succulent bar, area for your kiddos to hang out while you shop... and more ideas that are still in the work... It is going to be so much fun!
So…Back to life’s goals.
When I was younger, I didn’t even know that I already had in me all the qualities necessary for running my own business and managing all the hats one must wear to be self-employed. I didn’t know that I would feel a need to be a creator, an artist, a maker, and someone who felt called to do something bigger for the women surrounding her; I didn’t know that life was so gloriously complicated and fraught with major decisions, or that I would be the person who grew to be confident in her decisions and in LOVE with waking up each day for work. Life’s goals have a funny way of being too small when we are still small people.
What do I want to be when I grow up now, you ask?
Happy. Happy with all the gifts I’ve been given in this life.
Healthy. So that my children and husband and I can live a full life.
Graceful. Not in the coordinated sense (though that would be helpful), but in the fact that I am accepting of and humbled by all that God has given me and that I pass His love on to others.
My goals have changed over the years, and so have I, but in this season, my heart and soul are on fire with creating art and bringing together our second Collective Grace event for you.
What do you strive to be when you grow up?!