When true love requires risk and a sacrifice that feels too hard

We finished watching The Longest Ride and it took everything in me to hold back the tears. It was my second time watching it and twice, I’d read the book; which says a lot. I never read books twice…

But it’s not just the sappy love story that gets me; [albeit that does do my mushy rom-com loving heart good] it’s the story of true love and faith that pulls so strongly at my heart strings.

Because true love requires risk and risk always requires faith…

Faith that what you’re risking is worth the potential of what lies ahead.


In the story, Sophia gives up her dream job at an art museum in New York City for the chance at love with Luke, a cowboy living in rural North Carolina on a ranch- a lifestyle she doesn’t know the first thingy about. Luke, a professional bull rider, now number one in the world, gives up his career for Sophie because of the danger it puts him in each day.

They gives up everything they know and everything they’ve worked their whole life to achieve, for the potential of a life of love.

Neither of them know what the future holds or how they’re going to make it work. And For Luke, the reality of loosing the family ranch is real with the loss of income from bull riding, but still he does it. 

Fate intervenes and through a series of happenstance, Luke finds himself at an art auction seeking Sophia and bids on a “worthless” painting that lands him the new owner of an entire prestigious art collection worth millions. Luke and Sophia end up using that money to create a life together- to save Luke’s family ranch and to open up an art museum for Sophia to run with pieces that have a story and meaning to her.

Neither of them could have imagined this life for themselves and it FAR surpasses the greatest one they could have built in their own strength!

To me, it could only be divinely orchestrated. 

Because that’s the thing with God: He calls us to lay our life down and surrender everything – our dreams, our work, our plans, our understanding- and instead lean on him. He invites us to trust him because his plans are for our good, always. He tells us that it is his desire to bless his children and to give us abundantly, far greater than we could ever ask or imagine! He promises to give us our hearts desire, if we will seek him first!

But we must be willing to hold nothing back, to trust, and to wait.

He begs us to reach out our palm wide,  holding everything in it – everything we hold dear – loosely; to be willing and ready at any moment to lay it down for love- his love- and to where his love will send us. We must have open and unclenched fists to be ready to receive what’s next.  

I can’t promise to know where he will send us – you or me- but I can promise this:

What’s waiting on the other side of our surrender will far, far outweigh the risk and the sacrifice of what we lay down. 

 Because sometimes when it looks like our world is falling apart, the pieces are just finally falling together. 

And when it feels like we’re giving up everything we have, everything and more is waiting on the other side. 

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His plans are always for good  – the best good – and so I cling to that as I close one chapter of my life and wait patiently for God to write the next.

As I finished my final wedding last night, the echoes of people’s remarks stirred inside me:

“It’s such a shame to see you stop doing this!”

“Why are you retiring? You’re so good at it!”

” Your were made to do this.”

“I don’t understand why you’d give this up, especially at the top of your game.”

K+C4_Nadia Hung PhotographySTUDIOjeanie_BridgetJeffWED_0328View More: http://mattkennedy.pass.us/nita-lake-vendorsView More: http://mattkennedy.pass.us/morganandamber

And it’s true. Logically and to the world it doesn’t make sense. In the natural, it doesn’t all together make sense to me either. I asked for confirmation, yet again, on the drive home. “God, affirm that I’m doing the right thing.” This movie was it. 

When I first felt God call me to lay it all down- to close my business- I thought I had heard wrong. It was everything I’d worked towards, more than I’d dreamed off achieving and the thing I’d given the best of me to for nearly a decade! My business was my baby. And I had just hit a point where I felt I could finally celebrate hitting “my pinnacle.” Couldn’t I coast for a time and ride the wave of my success for a while? 

Yes, I could and the choice is mine. But God had made it clear: If I continued down this path, then I would be going it alone; doing it in my own strength. I would be settling for a life that I could build in my own efforts, without God. His anointing had been on my business for a time and he had blessed it immensely, but he was calling me else ware now; where, I had no idea and I still don’t quite know if I’m honest. But I do know this: 

The reward will far outweigh the risk and what’s waiting for me on the other side is SO much greater than anything I’ve even dared to dream before. And I want that… so much more than anything I could muster on my own. 



God, I’m trusting you. I want the story only you can write. I want what you’ve got in store, so I lay it all down. Lead me where my faith is without borders. 

Photo Credit: [Last set] Nadia Hung, Studio Jeanie, Matt Kennedy

My secret Weapon.

There comes those weeks when you feel the never ending weight of to-do’s. And while you move at lightening speed, placing every task to bed, the list seems never ending.  On those weeks, I want nothing more than to scream to the conductor,

“stop the carosoul and let me off!”   “Can I stop the world for even one day?!”  I beg. Please tell me you can relate!

I could blame the work load, my demanding projects, or simply complain about busyness, but reality is, no one but me can help myself. It’s in my hands to change my perspective and make my days count. And count they should!

After all, I’ve been blessed immeasurably so that I may be a blessing to others…. to you! 

And without fail, each and every time, like a defeated dog with my tail between my legs, I find a quiet corner to reflect, regroup and reignite.

Meet my secret weapon…..



While this beautiful image may be new, it’s principals are tried and true- the backbone to my rebirth with “Making Brands Happen.” I find, that when my weeks bare even the smallest resemblance to that above, I’ve slipped in one of these areas and lost focus on what really matters.

Anxiety. Comparison. Twitter (aka: my arch nemesis). Pinterest. TV. Long lists. Expectations.

________ Insert your energy sucker here. Because really, that’s what they are.

Rather than staying focused during the hours of “getting things done” you waiver, leaving the hours meant for “living,” a time for playing catch up. Meet the carousol!

So today, I encourage you: Get it out- Let it go-Focus- DO- and cut yourself some slack.

Do whatever you need to do, to be the best YOU, you can possibly be.
Because today is precious- it’s time to make it count!


Waiting. something we’ve come to despise and resent in today’s society. 

It holds us back.. it stunts our progress.. it’s inconvenience and it most certainly derails our plans.

We grow up believing life is in the big moments, the next chapter; and the time in between is nothing but an accumulation of waiting- time we’d rather forget about, unworthy of our attention.

We spend so much of those (in between) moments focusing on the future, that we miss the real beauty that arrives in waiting.

For in the still moments, the ones where we’re ready and able to be present, to fully absorb every. tiny. sensation. we discover a joy (perhaps even newness) in mundane, that sets our hearts on fire. And it’s in those moments we hear God speaking, in a soft whisper that echos through our souls.

In the period of “Making my Business Happen” I dedicated myself to waiting. It was five months of the most beautiful self discovery. Never before had I felt so present, content and connected to my God.

Don’t be fooled, they were also the HARDEST months of my life…

But it was because of that stillness and my commitment to embrace “waiting,” that I emerged from such a cocoon, as a beautiful butterfly ready to soar.

Almost a year later, I still reflect on that time in my life regularly. As beautiful as life’s big moments I, I now know its in the little moments that my soul is most content.

I have all I need, right now, in this very moment…quiet and still to hear the echos of my heart.

It takes courage, my love.

What does it take?

….to dream big and choose action over fear

… to work smarter and harder than you ever dreamt possible

… to have passion and never apologize for it

… to find balance when you’re riding the carosoul, afraid you’ll never catch up

…. to be authentic to your soul, your values and your beliefs

… to lend a hand, when it’s the last thing your capable of doing

… to reach out, when your prides too big seek it

… to be wife, mom, friend, family, employee, entrepreneur, disciple

… to hold on tighter, have faith and choose gratitude….always! 


All these things take courage, my love, but in Christ, all things are possible.

“When work, commitment, and pleasure all become one and you reach that deep well where passion lives, nothing is impossible.”  ~ Nancy Coey