#mancrushmonday #musicmondays

Check out these good lookin’ fellows. New song, Downtown Tonight.

xoxo

April Walker

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You were born to be real, not perfect

Little voices fill our thoughts with the many things we lack. We are a pinteresting, dieting, comparing, self-help book reading society. The constant need to reach the next phase of our perfect self surrounds us.

I appreciate becoming ‘the best version of you’. If we settle for where we are than we could miss out on some of the amazing opportunities God has planned for us. We should seek improvement in our lives to find the highest potential for joy that the world was created for. I love discovering new ways to style my hair or how to be a fun mom. The climb is literally a joy filled adventure for me. I like to look at something and say “Yay, I did it!” Everyone loves to see hard work pay off, right?

but..

Sometimes there isn’t enough time in a day to accomplish all that we want to. Sometimes life places us in circumstances that prevent us from reaching goals. Sometimes God’s plan for us isn’t that thing, that job, that house, that baby, that man, and we don’t get what we want. No matter how cute our hair is, our latest craft project, that yummy cobbler, and our well-mannered kids are we just can’t control everything.

It’s important to face a reality of “imperfection is who we are.” We are beautifully imperfect. The faults in our lives make our successes what they are. Without the failures and the need for joy we can’t appreciate the full meaning of Christ. His perfection is the only perfect thing within our reach.

Don’t feel the need to fake it for the opinions of others. Who cares what they think? Who cares what I think? We are all just trying our best and sometimes we will come up short. If you show people in a humble, honest way who you are, you are showing them what God wanted them to see. When you fake it you are hiding a Van Gogh behind a knock off.

Don’t hide an original “insert your name here” for the sake of posing as “insert who you wish you were’s name here”. It depreciates your value and steals all potential of God working in your life.

Bottom line is, be real. Be the awkward, clumsy, frizzy haired, big butt, horrible cook that God intended you to be.

PS. I don’t like my arms, I can’t sing, I use spell-check more than necessary, and I sometimes talk too much. #BEREAL

xoxo
April Walker

Yep. As far as I'm concerned, MY grass is greenest. Makes for a content life, and I like it that way! No keeping up with the Joneses' allowed in my house!

Give Your Marriage Grace

When Rhett and I got married we were forced to learn quickly how to make it work. We had exactly 9 months to get our act together so we could then begin learning how to be parents. This boot camp marriage scenario isn’t ideal but with 10 years under our belt we can testify that it is possible to have a great marriage regardless of your circumstances. There was a lot of trial and error, and more errors… But the fruits from our labor have been well worth it.

I know marriage is hard. I can honestly say that the fighting sucks, learning to live with someone with different opinions sucks, and humbling yourself to admit when you are wrong sucks…..

We had and have our share of “passionate” discussions.

I think that was one of the biggest obstacles for us. Realizing that fights are going to happen and that the fights lead to growth, gave our marriage a chance to breathe.

After the many romance comedy’s I watched I was under the impression that true love doesn’t fight. That if we fought we were doing it wrong.  We had 3 strikes and your out mentality. So each fight built up more tension because we began fighting about the fact we were fighting.

If someone with a marriage I deemed as “true love” and “they are meant for each other” status would have told me they still fight, the pressure of a perfect marriage would have been replaced with grace. I couldn’t give my spouse grace because in my mind I was fighting for our marriage. I was right regardless because I was making our marriage work and become “better”. But the fights were soooooooo stupid. They were created from petty, selfish insecurities and ideas formed from the “how it’s supposed to be” mindset.

Let me take the opportunity to tell you that Rhett and I fight. He drives me insane and I do the same to him. But now that we realize we are allowed to not agree, allowed to be different, and allowed to do things separately, we don’t fight as hard. We accept the differences. And even learn to love them the most.

I love my husband and I know he loves me. I like my husband and being around him as much as possible. But we are different people and we will disagree at times. Once you give your marriage the grace it needs, it is so much easier to give your spouse the same grace.

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xoxo
April Walker

I’m Carrying Your Love With Me

Distance isn’t for the fearful;
It is for the bold;
It is for those who are willing
To spend a lot of time alone
In exchange for a little time with the one they love;
It is for those who know a good thing when they see it,
Even if they don’t see it nearly enough

-author unknown

Currently, the Mr. is in a big city somewhere. I honestly can’t keep up so I’d have to look it up to tell you exactly. He left last Wednesday. I know a week and 1/2 might not seem that bad to be away from someone. In all honesty, it isn’t compared to the 4-8 week tours.

But it is still time apart. 

It is amazing how much happens in a week without him. Jett lost a tooth. Riles lost a tooth. I potty trained Autumn. Jett got a haircut. I designed 2 invitations, 2 websites, 1 poster, 1 set of thank you stickers, and a brochure. We had 8 school days, 10 family dinners with the head of the table empty, 2 play dates and 3 get-togethers I attended solo. I can’t even count the intense conversations that come with raising kids that I had to attempt alone.

His side is no different. Business decisions, career highlights/downfalls, meetings, car problems, sightseeing, etc. all take place even though we are separated.

Life happens for both of us while we are apart. We both continue to grow and age. It would be so easy for us to end up on separate paths. To drift in different directions…

We consciously avoid that with the help of technology and a lot of effort. We share selfies daily. There is something about feeling connected and when you see the person everyday, you have a visual to hang on to. We text random texts throughout the day keeping one another updated. I record videos and pics of the kids while we do things so he gets to feel like he was there. He sends me pics of the venues, tourist attractions, and current situations he finds himself in. We talk every night at the same time we normally would if he was home. (after the kids are in bed)

MOST IMPORTANTLY…

We also keep in mind our purpose as a team, to succeed in providing for our family while doing what we feel called to do. I might not be the one out there on the road but without me it wouldn’t happen. I keep our home from falling apart while he is gone. I keep the kids healthy, happy, and developing. And obviously it wouldn’t happen without him. The sacrifices he makes to fulfill our dream are endless. He has to blindly enter situations that are intimidating to most people, myself included. His comfort levels are constantly tested with adjustments of a new place everyday. Our desire to homeschool our kids is possible because of his sacrifices. 

When you have a common goal or reason you will always feel connected and invested in one another. Even when we are miles away, our roles bring us together. I am supporting his part and he is supporting mine. We are a team. We are best friends. When you are vulnerable enough to depend on someone you connect in a way that is not broken by miles apart.

He will return to us in a few days and I am so thankful. I love having him home but I am thankful to have the opportunities we have also. Distance makes it harder if you let it but true love can handle it. It’s a choice to make it the best possible.

separated

xoxo

April Walker

My Story as a Self Taught Graphic/Web Designer

how, why, and more on my journey as a graphic designer.

I am self taught in graphic and web design with about 10 years of experience. When I first started to seriously pursue it, it was to help my husband with his various band needs and our hometown church. But it was obvious before then that I loved designing…

My dad was always geeky with his many computers and that influenced me to show interest as well. I was inspired with his drawings he created in the original paint program and the way he networked computers together for gaming. Computers were new to the family home and I was raised with accessible computers to experiment on.

My mother was always very crafty since she was a preschool teacher. She had the most amazing bulletin boards and art projects. I remember my science projects were to a level of perfection that never even existed. This showed me how to have an eye for making things look good.

AIM was probably my first hands-on introduction to graphic design. I fell in love with making my AIM profile flawless (Yes, I was that girl.). This then led to a Tripod, Angelfire, and Geocity website that had them little doll clipart jpgs in their various categories based on their appearances. Most of you probably don’t know the dolls I am talking about but they were awesome! lol

I followed up those amazingly purposeful websites, with one for my pet turtle. Yes, I am a dork. I know.

Fast forward some and I am a teenage wife and stay at home mother. I had a desire to help my husband provide financially but it made more sense to stay home with our firstborn. My husband was trying to start a band and I volunteered to do anything, that involved media, marketing, and even recording their very first music video. (Which I still have and could seriously use it for blackmail.) That experience made me good enough to work (getting paid!) for our church doing their marketing, media, and website from home.

My journey led me to grow through trial and error. I watched online tutorials and experimented daily. I loved it. I actually got good. I learned Photoshop inside and out. I studied and memorized HTML & CSS. And I enjoyed it. I really loved the challenge of designing and coding a website from start to finish.

I then started freelance work and designed for many that heard about me by word of mouth. My husband’s career began to take off which led to many musician friends in need of album art, websites, posters, branding, and more. I was becoming pretty busy and it was often taking me away from my family more than I had set out to do. Once we decided to homeschool I knew I needed to cut back for awhile. Luckily, I have still continued to design while homeschooling, just not nearly as much as I was.

I love designing and I am pretty sure I will always find an outlet for that creativity. I encourage anyone interested in learning something to constantly challenge yourself. If you are dedicated then it could become your profession. I am thankful for the opportunity to do something I love, from home as a job.

I taught myself by just trying over and over. Constantly improving, project after project

Fun Stuff! Share your work or story in the comment section!

xoxo

April Walker

Never stop being your husband’s girlfriend.

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Rhett and I have a great relationship. Many can say they have a great marriage because they function well with their spouse. Meaning they know their role and they each perform it well. But, not many can say they have a relationship at all with their spouse. They live life together but do not share a life together.

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My husband and I value our time together so much that if our night, from the time the kid’s are asleep until our bedtime, is interrupted, we miss it. We love hanging out every night. We love and respect each other dearly.

I’m going to share with you how we have developed this amazing relationship. It’s so simple but many couples lose this perspective.

I allow him to be himself and I allow myself to be me.

We are different in so many ways. Differences that often could lead to confrontation. If I have a mindset that we should be the same then I will constantly correct him, argue my side, and try to change him. I love him. Period. If I am in awareness, that he will not make the same decisions I make, have the same opinions, or do things like me because he is a man of his own identity that makes up that person I love then I will find understanding, peace, acceptance, love, and joy for these differences.

I will not try to change him. I offer advice and my opinions but I trust his intelligence enough to allow him the freedom of what to do with it. So many times couples fight over things they both are right on, they just need to find a compromise. It’s difficult to make two different thoughts come together to make one. But respecting your spouse for being who they are is a great start.

In allowing him to be him I don’t make everything about me. If he wants to do something or says something, it can just be what it is. His… I don’t have to be involved.

I also allow myself to be me. This means I don’t revolve my world around him. I used to stress so much about my role as a wife. I would always try to wear makeup around him, jump when he says jump, ask before making decisions, and worry about what he thinks of me. A healthy dose of all of this is good but to stress to the point you lose your own thoughts, opinions, and interests is not healthy. You need to know who you are as a woman and love it if you expect him to love you for the same thing. If I’m constantly consumed in his identity for me I’m just fake. Creating a fake relationship.

If you don’t know what makes you happy, then how is he supposed to know? If you don’t know your opinion or feelings how is he supposed to respect them?

Know yourself. Take time to dream, make friends, work, invest in yourself, and learn what makes you who you are. Once you respect and love yourself it is much easier to love others for who they are as well.

xoxo

April Walker