Contact Us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right. 

         

123 Street Avenue, City Town, 99999

(123) 555-6789

email@address.com

 

You can set your address, phone number, email and site description in the settings tab.
Link to read me page with more information.

Blog

A look back on 2018

Ally Carmichael

C8E08988-7680-4A8D-B016-CD94E88F2D8B.JPG

I have always loved the beginning of a new year. Everything seems fresh and brand new. I was reading my blog post from this time last year and unfortunately it sounds a lot like where I am at right now. I’m coming off of really busy season with my business and just life in general. A lot of things have been put to the side that shouldn’t of but it’s always this week between Christmas and New Year’s that I seem to regain my focus. The weird thing about a new year is you spend time reflecting on the previous year and the normal things that happened you tend to forget about and only the good and bad things stick. This year has been a heck of a year, everyone says you figure out who you are in your twenties and this is the first year where I feel that way. Here are some things I have learned in 2018,

  1. Confidence in yourself needs to come from God. I told myself at the beginning of last year that this was finally going to be the year where I stopped caring SO much about what everyone thought of me. I thought it would be simple to make the decision and live it out. Honestly that was not the case. I don’t in any way feel like I was perfect at this this year but I do feel like this is the most confident I have ever felt. That came from reminding myself every single morning who God says I am. Let him fill your head with who He says you are before walking into the world for the day and letting others decide. My small group decided to start doing self declartions in the morning and whenever a negative thought pops into your head in the morning you write a positive truth from God to battle it. We spent time writing ours out and made the commitment to speaking them over our lives every morning. It’s been life changing, seriously. I have added a lot but some of mine are

    • I am strong, disciplined, focused and driven.

    • I am creative because a creative God created me.

    • The enemy has no power over my thoughts.

    • I love people and believe the best about others. (this ones a tough one for me)

  2. Not being confident in yourself affects more than you think. Like any good lesson you start noticing something in people around you and then take a good hard look at yourself and realize you are doing the exact same thing. I realized that when I am not resting in who God says I am I become a very self consumed person. My husband would say this isn’t true but that’s because he’s Luke and truly believes the best about me. It is true, when I am stressed and focusing on what everyone is doing and what I am not doing and start to let myself believe I am failing I find myself building myself up. It’s a super odd thing but it’s like I don’t view myself as anything but I want other people to still find value in me so I talk about myself? It’s awkward and weird but it’s something I became VERY aware of this year.

  3. Saying no is not failing. I am a people pleaser to my core. I never want to say no to things and I take on much more than I can handle. This year I threw in the towel. At first it began as just taking a solid look at what someone is asking of me, asking myself if it’s a good fit and if not say no. The more I started saying no to things is when I realized that life went on. Nothing crazy happened, no one started to hate me and saying no became easier and easier. In fact I think people actually appreciated it because I was able to give more attention to the smaller amount of things I took on. I stepped back from things I’ve been doing for years and took on some new things and overall it’s been so good.

  4. People might not understand and that is OKAY. This year has just been crazy for both Luke and myself. We both took on too much work in our side businesses. Luke way more than me ;). We had a lot of conversations that ended with, “Why don’t people understand what our lives look like right now? “. Not in a selfish, why doesn’t everyone bow at our feet sort of way but more of a why don’t they understand and cut us some slack sort of way. I’ll speak for both of us when I say people won’t understand and that’s okay. They aren’t us and they don’t live with us so they don’t see all the behind the scenes. We both found ourselves talking about our businesses a lot in desperate attempt to make people understand. The whole time we were missing what other people might have been going through. A simple sinful thought can consume you so fast you may not even realize it’s happening. We both asked ourselves what the heck we were doing and came to the conclusion that everyone has their stuff and we can’t fully understand each others stuff because we aren’t there. Find your people that are walking through similar seasons and talk to them about instead of trying to make the whole world listen.

  5. I’ll end with this lesson, God is in control, God is in control and God is in control. Life threw some stuff at me this year that I may never understand this side of heaven. We decided to go see a new doctor with all our issues trying to get pregnant. We both got tested for different things and everything is fine. Which is great but also means there is literally nothing preventing it which is the most frustrating thing that has ever happened to me. Month after month it just gets harder and harder and I’m not sure it will ever get easier. Along with those feelings there are also decisions to make life fertility medication, more tests that may uncover new things and may not and just blah. Time and time again all I know is that God is in control, God is in control and oh yeah, God is in freaking control. Even when it’s hard, even when it hurts, always. I feel it in my bones that it’s going to happen for us and it’s going to be such a picture of God’s goodness.

2018, overall you were a year that I don’t think i’ll look back on much. You weren’t bad and you weren’t great you just happened. I’m anxious and ready for all that God has planned for 2019!

Happy New Year’s

Holiday Shopping Guide

Ally Carmichael

IMG_4751.JPG

Hey there!!!

You may have stumbled on this page thinking that it’s just a blog. That is not the case, at all. My name is Ally and I run The Ville Crochet. This blog is only a small part of a hand crocheted and knit wear small business I run. Being a small business owner every year when the holidays roll around I search for other small businesses that I can support.

When you shop small for the holidays you are not only giving quality, unique gifts but you are making a shop owner extremely happy. This year I decided to put together my own small business holiday shopping guide. Please check out all these shops and shop small this holiday season!

Home:

Comfortable in Silence

Ally Carmichael

I am all for technology don’t get me wrong but lately I have found myself thinking times were more simple without all the noise. My Pastor has said multiple times in different sermons he’s preached that we are the busiest generation. I know that I am pretty dang busy and I know most of the people around me are busy. This thought never used to bother me until recently.

A few weeks ago I was home alone, Luke was off with friends and I was preparing for a craft show that weekend. I watch T.V. while I crochet because it’s mindless. As usual I sat down, grabbed some coffee, got to work and flipped on a new show. About half way through the show it stopped working. The little loading circle just went around and around. Suddenly I was very aware of my thoughts and the world around me. The T.V. show had been flooding my house with noise and when it stopped everything got silent. I’ve talked before about my anxiety and how I have learned to live with it. Not just deal with it but I have been living a comfortable life with few visits from the anxiety fairy.

Well, when the noise of the T.V. stopped, my mind stared raging. I was having thoughts and feelings of being unsafe. That’s a feeling I haven’t had in a long time. My heart started pounding and my hands started shaking as I frantically tried to fix it. I restarted the wifi and restarted the T.V. but nothing was working. In between running from the room that holds our router and the living room I was also trying to get my security system to show me outside. We have a camera doorbell and you can pull up a live video outside. That wasn’t working either so the panic set in a little deeper. I kept thinking I was hearing things like car doors shutting and that meant someone was outside my house and that meant they were trying to get in. You might think I’m crazy at this point but to that I would say, you’ve never truly experienced anxiety. I tried everything until I was literally sitting on my guest room floor sobbing.

Luckily I have a superhero husband and brother in law, they left their dinner without me even asking and came to be by my side. Which don’t get me wrong I am super thankful for but do you think I want to be that person? Do you honestly think I want to be the one who people have to come save from their own thoughts? No, I absolutely don’t want to be that person. The first thing I said to Luke was, “I don’t want to be that girl that can never be home alone”. I don’t want to be the person that when wifi shuts down so does my life. (I know, I’m such a millennial)

This anxiety attack has had me thinking for weeks. After this night I couldn’t shake this feeling that if I was born in a different generation I would never have this problem. Back in the day there was no wifi, no t.v., no added noise. Silence wasn’t so scary because they were comfortable in silence.

I have zero statistics to prove this but I truly believe that anxiety is at an all time high with this generation. I know it’s talked about more and I think that’s great but I can’t stop wondering if in some cases we are creating anxiety for ourselves. We fill our minds with social media and see peoples lives who look perfect but only make us uncomfortable with our own. We watch T.V. shows that paint unrealistic expectations for our lives. We can’t go 10 minutes without checking our phones. Guys, I am not only talking to you because I do the same thing.

I’ll save us both and not continue to rant on this topic but all I am saying is how do we fix it? Well, since that night I have felt VERY convicted with how I am spending my time. What if I invited a friend over and talked to them instead of texting them telling them I am thinking about them? What if I didn’t have the T.V. or music playing on my days off just to fill the house with sound? What if instead of watching that show or looking at that feed I spent extra time reading a book where I will learn something or in scripture finding out what God says about me? I don’t know guys, I am interested to see just how different my life could be if I just got comfortable in silence.

Cozy Sweatshirt Roundup!

Ally Carmichael

Heyyyy!!!

Today I am doing a fun little blog on some of my favorite crew neck sweatshirts. Some of them I own and some of them I really want to own. My husband and I basically live in comfy sweatshirts in the fall and winter. I’ll start with the ones we own/love and then I’ll share some that are on my wish list.

1. W I L D H O N E Y

My all time favorite sweatshirt is my Wild Honey Sweatshirt from Indy Brand Clothing. It’s not only soft and comfy but it’s yellow!!! Like, who wouldn’t love that. Here’s a picture and link for reference. I actually got a large in this because I hate my clothes being too short. I washed it once and shrank it a bit and now it’s perfect. It’s a bit pricy but I think it’s worth it.

https://www.indybrandclothing.com/collections/sweatshirts/products/wild-honey-sweatshirt

Okay, I’m going to pick Luke’s for him based on what he wears the most.

2. O R I G I N A L U S E

Target has a new brand called Original Use. It’s basically a minimalist’s dream. Everything is pretty much plain colored and nice quality. Luke’s been living in his sweatshirt from them. I steal it some times as well ;). I’m not going to attach a picture of this one because it’s just a plain black crew neck. I will attach the link though. Decently priced but their clothes do run big. Luke sizes down a size for them to fit him.

https://www.target.com/p/men-s-lightweight-drop-shoulder-crew-neck-pullover-sweatshirt-original-use-153/-/A-53456500?preselect=53404458#lnk=sametab

3. A U T U M N

If you are on Instagram (I mean it is 2018, if you aren’t, what are you doing?) stop what you are doing right now and go follow Ozetta. She’s inspiring for fellow yarn makers but also her feed is on a whole new level of cozy. She came out with sweatshirts a few years back and just last year I snatched one. She was selling some at a discounted price because they were “imperfect” trust me I can’t tell. This sweatshirt is like your typical sweatshirt fit and thickness. It comes in a great burgundy color and it just says Autumn across the front. Here’s the link and picture! Side note: She also has a Winter one and a Cozy one and I may be snagging those as well.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/477956291/autumn-fall-lettering-maroon-crewneck?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=ozetta&ref=sr_gallery-1-6&organic_search_click=1&ep_click=1

il_570xN.1616178702_5fxd.jpg

4. H O M A G E

If you live in Ohio you’ve probably heard of Homage, unless you’ve been living under a rock. They sell a line of some of the softest shirts and sweatshirts you will ever get your hands on. Luke really likes the quality of their sweatshirts. They are most definitely the most expensive sweatshirt on this blog but they are super nice. They have a lot of state specific pieces but they also have a line of plain sweatshirts. Luke has their “Ohio” one that I will link below. The only downside to them is we have found that they shrink easily so go up a size or two and be extra careful when washing.

https://www.homage.com/products/script-ohio-crewneck

Script-Ohio-Crewneck-01150281101-grey-flat_2240x.png

Okay, that’s all for the ones that we own and love. Now I’ll show you 4 that I have my eyes on.

1. L A S T N I G H T W A S U P S I D E D O W N

If you are a fan of Stranger Things, this ones for you. This is another one from Indy Brand Clothing and when I saw it I fell in love. Last year they only had this in t-shirt version but they just recently released it in a sweatshirt. I am not usually one for t.v. show themed clothing but this one does it in a not so obvious way. It’s also black so I mean, yeah.

https://www.indybrandclothing.com/collections/last-night-was/products/upside-down-sweatshirt

UP1_2400x.png

2. T H A N K F U L

I’ve been following this chick on instagram for a while and I think she is the cutest. She has a product shop and also business advice and a mom podcast for any moms out there. I also find myself wanting one of everything she puts out. She released a “Thankful” sweatshirt and I love the color of it. The wording is nice and not so in your face. Check it out!

https://www.rachelallene.com/shop/thankful-sweatshirt

3. W H A T D O E S T H E F O X S A Y

If you know me at all you know why this ones on here. Im slightly obsessed with foxes and this sweatshirt is so dang cute, I need it. I’ve bought a dress from this shop before years ago and it’s still in mint condition. I can only imagine their sweatshirt being the same way.

https://jessakae.com/collections/tops/products/what-does-the-fox-say-sweatshirt?variant=13909885812778

R12_5255_1024x.jpg

4. E V E R L A N E

Since dipping my toes in the slow fashion world I have been dying to try anything from Everlane. Their stuff is simple, ethically made and sustainable. They have some plain sweatshirts that I would love to get my hands on this winter. Here’s the one I have my eyes on.

https://www.everlane.com/products/womens-ovrszd-midwt-fleece-sweatshirt-olive?collection=womens-sweaters

648e87da_039f.jpg

That’s all guys! You may have noticed there really isn’t like a $20 sweatshirt on my list. I go for quality not quantity when it comes to my wardrobe. Hope this inspires you to get out there and get cozy. Comment some of your favorite sweatshirts if you own any.

Ally

My Craft Show Setup- CoffeeFest

Ally Carmichael

Hello there!!

Today I’m coming to you with exactly how my craft show booth will be setup for CoffeeFest. I say exactly but I’m using my pictures from my trial run at home. I’ll be sharing what I’m taking and how I’m displaying it. 

Let’s get started

 

IMG_0182.JPG

I wanted my display items to be clean and neural this year. Black and white are among my color scheme for my brand so I stuck with that for my display and let my pieces have the color. I’m using this as my main this is how I’m setting up post because most of my shows are limited space and you only get your one table. My table will be a little bigger than my kitchen table it so I will have a check out area to the side that is not pictured. All that includes is bags I stamped with my logo, my square reader and business cards. Basically what you are seeing is the bulk of it. 

 

 

IMG_0181.JPG

Let’s start to the side.  

Hiding there is my fox business card holder that I’m in love with. He won’t be there he’s just chillin for now.  

Okay, the wood and metal holder I have my mugs and mug rugs on I got from target. It was $20 I believe. I love how simple yet modern it is. Obviously I’m bringing more mugs and mug rugs than shown but trying to have the cleanest space possible.

The fur cloth that they are sitting on I also got from target for $20. It just adds a little something. 

Beside that stand is Coffee Cozies.  

IMG_0187.JPEG

I just got a simple box from hobby lobby and stacked them in it. The box was like $2.

The signs I got for pricing are from DeBrosse and she has a link to the wood logs that she bought from Amazon. I went ahead and got them as well.  

Notice that my coffee cozies are wrapped. I just bought some plastic sleeves from hobby lobby and folded them and put a piece of washi tape on them. Makes for a cleaner and more professional look. 

 

IMG_0188.JPEG

Next up we have hats and headbands. Now notice how this show I’m bringing a lot of smaller items?

It is CoffeeFest so I wanted to have a lot of coffee themed items while introducing pieces from my fall line. I didn’t think Ohio was quite ready for heavy chunky knits yet.  

 

IMG_0177.JPG
IMG_0185.JPG

I didn’t blur out my prices on purpose it’s just a fancy lens. If you have questions on my prices shoot me a message on instagram @thevillecrochet.  

So headbands, super simple just laid them out. They usually sell the most so I like to have them front and center. 

I am super excited about this basket I got for my hats. I got it from... you guessed it TARGET. Its this woven basket and I love it. I just stacked my beanies in their and let their Pom Poms show. I will also have some hanging on the peg boards above them. 

 

Last on the table I have some pumpkins. The crate behind it will be replaced with a wooden crate so my mannequin head can sit on top of it and more pumpkins will fill the bottom. You can picture it right? I hope so. I tag everything while also putting the tags on my stands. You’d be amazed how many people miss those stands.   

Last on the table I have some pumpkins. The crate behind it will be replaced with a wooden crate so my mannequin head can sit on top of it and more pumpkins will fill the bottom. You can picture it right? I hope so. I tag everything while also putting the tags on my stands. You’d be amazed how many people miss those stands.

 

IMG_0183.JPG

My backdrop is just simple peg board. It’s a 2 x 4 piece from Home Depot and a drew my logo onto the middle. 

 

IMG_0186.JPEG

Then standing next to my display will be my cowls. The only scarf I’m bringing to this show. I will have more hanging on my roll around wardrobe that I got at Walmart for like $10. 

This will be my booth this weekend minus a few tweaks here and there.  

I hope you enjoyed this and I helps on your craft show journey

~Ally  

He’s in the Waiting

Ally Carmichael

IMG_0158.JPG

 

It has been so long since I’ve been on here and it feels great to be back. 

Life update, at the beginning on this year I wrote about finding my balance. I wanted this to be the year I stopped having really high highs and then really low lows. I wanted to hop off the roller coaster ride and become more steady. Honestly, I feel like it’s working. Through probably my lowest low I learned to stop placing my happiness in my circumstances. I’m learning a lot about being content and resting in the Lord. It’s been a solid probably 5 months that I’ve been steady as a rock. This is a whole other blog post in itself but I really wanted to update you all. Though I have seemed to find my steadiness it doesn’t always come easy. 

A few weeks ago the reality of how long Luke and I have been trying to have a baby really sunk in for some reason (a little over a year and a half). I’m assuming it’s because I push my feelings down and don’t think of them until I’m around a bunch of babies and go to a baby shower and then those feelings make their way to the surface. 

It wrecked me for a few days and since then it has become that all consuming feeling again. When you are trying to have a baby it’s nearly impossible to stop thinking about it. It consumes your thoughts. Even when you don’t think you are thinking about it it’s there, bubbling right under the surface. And in case no one has told you, that’s okay. I’ve spent a lot of time fighting those thoughts until I realized its natural. It’s something I care about and desperately want so of course I’m going to think about it. Also it’s something that takes place INSIDE your body so you can’t get those feelings out. 

For about 2 months Luke and I decided to try tracking. If you don’t know what that means I’m sorry I’m not going to go into all the details. Basically you pee on a stick everyday until it tells you you’re ovulating. Well that just was not for me, at all. It took that all consuming feeling to a whole new level. I personally couldn’t handle it. It was way too much and I found myself so impatient and frustrated and just flat out stressed. We decided that it wasn’t healthy to continue doing that and stopped.

Now for some people I know that to them this means we aren’t truly trying but this process is different for everyone. Let me say that again for the people in the back, my journey isn’t going to look like Susie’s journey or Becky’s journey it’s going to look like Luke and Ally’s journey. Everyone handles this in their own way and that’s totally fine. Everyone’s bodies are different so what worked for someone may not work for me and vice versa. 

I will tell you something else that will blow your mind. I’ve only been to the doctor once during this process. I probably wouldn’t even of told anyone that until lately because I now know it’s okay. I don’t feel ready to see a doctor and it sort of freaks me out a lot. I’m not ready to admit defeat which I know that’s not what it is but it sure feels like it. I’m not ready for them to tell me what could be the case. It could be something so simple but the fear that it’s something bigger is holding me back. I’m working on getting ready for that and I will go one day just not right now.

This struggle rising up again could easily knock me off my balance again but I’m not going to let it. My hope and trust is in Christ so I have no reason to worry no matter what my feelings may be telling me. I’m learning to rest I’m Him and His promises to me. I know that with or without a baby I’m still Ally, loved and valued by God. That’s enough for me and I know I’m enough for Him. So the roller coaster might be ready for me to hop back in but I think I’ll keep walking.  

 

- Ally  

 

5 Ways to Get Ready for Fall/Winter Markets

Ally Carmichael

Hey there! 

This post is mainly going to be for my fellow makers out there. I have actually been super hesitant to write this because to be honest I still feel like a complete amateur when it comes to this business. I don't like to give out too many details of what I am making and when not in fear that someone will copy me but because I am super anxious I am doing EVERYTHING wrong. This sounds crazy and I know that. I've recently came to the conclusion that it is likely I am doing at least some things right. Also who is to say what is right and what is wrong when it comes to running your own business. 

A few weeks ago it hit me that fall and winter are coming and they are coming fast. This is where I was afraid to share because I am just starting on fall/winter.  I like to think I have all this time to prepare myself for my shows, Etsy and shops that I am going need to fill. Truth is I don't have that much time, I need to get my stuff together. I started dreaming and planning what items I am going to make for each thing. Once you figure out what you want to make you hop on Pinterest or Instagram and see 100 other things that you could probably add to your list. Then you choose colors and that is a whole thing in itself. Once you think you have colors nailed down you go browse Joann's and see all sorts of pretty colors that weren't on your original plan but aren't too far away. You see how this gets out of control? Well that's sort of where I was finding myself. 

In the past I gave into all these ideas and I truly was left feeling too overwhelmed. Last year I kept telling myself that 2018 was going to be different. I was going to be more organized and more planned out. I will say that I have been better but in order to reach my goals I need to stay focused. I have a very specific idea in mind when it comes to my markets this year and the way my Etsy is going to look and be stocked with. With all that being said I have created a list. I've gathered all my knowledge from the last three years of doing markets, my trial and errors, successes and made a list of 5 things to do if you want to be more organized and stay on track! Make this year the year!! 

1. Create a Mood Board- Anyone else remember creating motivation boards growing up? You would clip pictures out of magazines and glue them to a piece of paper. They never really made much sense but you still loved doing it. Well they were cool then and they are cool now. They don't have to be anything fancy. I made mine out of things I had laying around the house and outside. I focused on what inspires me and what I want to inspire my fall and winter collection. It has color schemes, materials I would like to use in my booth and packaging, and it has my business name in the middle of it all. I hung mine in my craft room where I see it daily and when I lose sight of where I am going I can look at it to bring me back in. 

515509D6-5591-4776-A920-D50AA82013AD.JPG
8B2A3948-5D38-44C5-AD77-4B12F11CB480.JPG
3483EE0A-4650-4147-9A2F-D4C3A248EF57.JPG

2. Make Lists- I will never ever stop talking about the power of making lists. If you have a brain anything like mine then it is constantly turning. At work I am thinking of all the things I could be making. At home I am thinking of the hat I am going to make later on. The thinking never stops and ideas hit me at the worst moments. It becomes too much and I end up not doing half the things that come to my mind because I either forgot about them or didn't make the time for them. My advice is to carry around a notebook, jot down those ideas and add them to lists when necessary. I get so much more done when I have a hand written list that I can look at and check things off. When it comes to markets, shops, Etsy, etc. make lists of the things you want to make and stick with it. Try not to add too much to them without getting things done first. Try it and see if it works for you. 

3. Atmosphere is key- I struggle working a season ahead. It's very hard for me to focus on fall and winter when its 90 + degrees outside. This advice is going to sound super dumb but it works for me and maybe it will work for you. On my days off from my full time job where I have all day to make I set the atmosphere. I turn down the AC, nothing is worse than sweating while working with yarn, am I right? I put on some leggings, turn on music that makes me think of fall (Friday Night Lights soundtrack on repeat), gather all my candles and light the one that makes me think of the most wonderful time of the year. For me it's Eleventh Candle Company's Winter Scent. 

 

B222D5B5-F811-43E5-BAE9-F73F123AE4B0.JPG
61FFAFAB-591C-423E-BB2E-4732CEED0601.JPG
64FA1B48-7315-4E3C-946B-E5936B046D94.JPG

4. Create More, Consume Less - Start making, It's that simple. When you are feeling motivated and crazy creative take advantage of those moments. Make and make and draw your ideas from your lists and mood boards. On the days when you are feeling stuck you no longer have to look to social media and Pinterest for ideas. You can look directly to the tools you already have and made for yourself. Go to your mood board and work on something different like your labels, packaging or something else. Remember the things that got you motivated and keep creating more than what you are taking in. 

5. Have Your Best Year Yet- I feel successful when I have a tighter grasp on what I am doing. When I am scatter brained I feel overwhelmed and stressed. It's hard to run a business from that mind set. Every year I get more and more organized and likewise my business does better year after year. You can keep better track of what you are making and what sells. You can find out what kind of people are attracted to your style and who your ideal client is. You can let your creativity flow. A lot of these things I wish I would of started a long time ago but I am glad I had to live and learn through my mistakes. 

This year I am excited about the fall and winter seasons quickly approaching. I am excited to have a direction and be running after it. I hope these 5 things help you just like they are helping me! Feel free to share what gets you motivated and focused. 

- Ally 

Charleston, SC

Ally Carmichael

I just got back from visiting my cousin in South Carolina. She lives just outside of Charleston and this was my first time in that area. I grew up visiting Myrtle Beach every summer just about with my whole family and it was always a good time. I was excited to be visiting somewhere new this time and I must say Charleston topped Myrtle in my opinion. I love traveling and being in new areas so I thought I would recap my trip for you all in case you plan to visit someday. Lucky for me I had a local with me to show me some good spots ;) 


I will start with beaches, everyday we went to a new beach. Let me start by saying to me a beach is a beach, they all have the same sand and ocean to me. If you are picky about those things you may not want to take my opinion into consideration. My personal favorite beach was the one we visited the last day.

1. Folly Beach - I liked the town around the beach the most. There are tons of little beach shops and restaurants lining the streets. We went to the beach first and then walked around a little afterwards. The beach itself was great, not too crowded so we had plenty of room to ourselves. As far as we could see there was no place to rent chairs or umbrellas or anything but that was okay with us. We spent a pretty long time there and then like I said we walked around. We ended up grabbing smoothies from Black Magic Cafe and they were amazing. 

IMG_0113.JPG

2. Isle of Palms- We went to this beach the second day. This beach was most like the beaches I was used to growing up. It was probably the most crowded of the three but not over packed. We called and rented chairs and an umbrella and they brought it out and set it up for us. The only thing hindering my view of this beach was how windy it was the day we went.

3. Sullivan’s Island- This beach was the one we went to the first day. Definitely the least crowded of them all. It’s only at the bottom of my list because I really liked the other two. There’s not a ton to do around the beach but there are a lot of public access points to get in. 

Like I said beaches are beaches to me, I’m drawn to them based on the areas that surround them and just the atmosphere itself. Those are the three we went to in order of my favorite to my least favorite. It was super fun to get to try out a new one every day. 

Let’s move on to food because we ate a lot of good food. 

First night we ate at Local’s. They had all sorts of stuff like tacos, sushi, salads, etc. I got a Hibachi Taco and it was delicious. It was a taco filled with veggie fried rice, yum yum sauce, seasame seeds and I got shrimp. We also shared the trio dip appetizer and it was also really good. I highly recommend. 

FullSizeRender.jpg

Second night we ate at Lewis Barbecue. This place was amazing but I only recommend going if you are starving because it is a lot of food. Everything was sold separately so you could order your meat and then as many sides as you want. Meat you could get either 1/4 pound or 1/2 pound of pulled pork, brisket, turkey or spicy sausage. We tried a variety of sides like Mac and cheese, jalapeño corn bread, collard greens, coleslaw, and too many more for me to remember. Plus this place had amazing sweet tea, overall its worth a stop. 

IMAGE.JPG

We ate too much and then went to downtown Charleston. We decided to rent bikes at Holy Spokes and spent an hour riding around looking at all the amazing houses. Here’s a few shots from our ride.

After we successfully biked off our barbecue we stopped at Peace Pies and got these delicious things.

FullSizeRender.jpg

Basically they are ice cream sandwiches with sugar cookie outsides. I thought my birthday cake flavored one was fabulous ✌🏼.

The next morning we went to Page’s for breakfast. This place was super cute, we went early before it got crazy crowded. We went for breakfast but they are also open for lunch and dinner. Although I didn’t eat them I hear their crab cakes are amazing and so is just about anything there. Like I said it’s great when you vacation with someone who is living there so you aren’t taking any chances on food. 

Last place we went was the last evening for dinner we ate at Hanks. It’s a higher end seafood restaurant and worth every penny. Most fancier restaurants I’ve been to you pay more and get less food but that was not the case here. I got the fried shrimp platter and I’ll just show you. 

IMG_0115.JPG

I’d highly highly recommend but also make a reservation and get sweet tea because it’s really good.  

Well that’s all the food places and beaches we visited in the four days I was there. Definitely one of my favorite places I’ve visited. To wrap this up if you are a runner and like to run new places on vacation they have a really cool bridge with a running path on the side of it. It’s probably 6 miles if you do the whole thing, we ran almost 4 miles. It’s the bridge from Mount Pleasant to Charleston I believe. Here’s a look. 

 

IMAGE.JPG

Hope you enjoyed my first travel blog. Stay tuned for more  

 

-Ally  

Creating More Consuming Less

Ally Carmichael

Lately Luke has been listening to a minimalism podcast. I wouldn’t consider us minimalist but I would say we are on the way to being there. We are super interested in learning how to live a more simple life. It started with our stuff, we went through our house and got rid of a ton of stuff. Now we are adding it into our lifestyles here and there. Luke was talking to me the other day about this podcast he was listening to. They brought up this idea for creative minimalists to create more than you consume. 

 

Just like our houses get full of stuff the more and more we take in, so do our brains. I got to thinking about this in my own maker life. For those who don’t know I run The Ville Crochet where I hand knit and crochet hats, scarves, etc. I feel like majority of my time is spent on social media, Pinterest and YouTube. The more and more I thought about it the more it was bothering me. 

FullSizeRender.jpg

The time I should be spending creating new patterns, stocking up items, or making just to mask I spend soaking up too much information. I spend it comparing myself to other makers, trying to figure out what to make next and learning new tricks when really all I should be doing is creating. The more I let my brain get full of ideas and other peoples work it leaves no room for my own creativity.

 

I don’t want to speak for Luke here but I know he won’t mind. If you don’t know him he runs ALC Productions which is a wedding videography company we started years ago. 

 

Even though we are in completely different creative worlds the same road blocks apply. If he lets himself watch other people’s videos and start playing the comparison game the less motivation he has to work on his own. Consuming more leads to a lot of upsets, lack of motivation and self doubt.      We have been talking a little on how we can change this. I’ve personally been thinking a lot about what creative areas of my life I enjoy but don’t make time for. This blog being one and for Luke it’s a podcast. Basically we are hopping on to this challenge to create more than we consume and to hold each other accountable to stick with these things.      For me I’m going to be daily blogging. Yeah I know sounds crazy and yeah I may fail but I’m going to give it my best effort. It will be a mix of my life, making, slow fashion, minimalism and a lot of Jesus. For Luke he’s going to be creating a podcast designed around this consuming less and creating more. Help us stay accountable and join the challenge with us. Whether you are in a creative field or not it’s a good challenge for us all.            

Even though we are in completely different creative worlds the same road blocks apply. If he lets himself watch other people’s videos and start playing the comparison game the less motivation he has to work on his own. Consuming more leads to a lot of upsets, lack of motivation and self doubt. 

 

We have been talking a little on how we can change this. I’ve personally been thinking a lot about what creative areas of my life I enjoy but don’t make time for. This blog being one and for Luke it’s a podcast. Basically we are hopping on to this challenge to create more than we consume and to hold each other accountable to stick with these things. 

 

For me I’m going to be daily blogging. Yeah I know sounds crazy and yeah I may fail but I’m going to give it my best effort. It will be a mix of my life, making, slow fashion, minimalism and a lot of Jesus. For Luke he’s going to be creating a podcast designed around this consuming less and creating more. Help us stay accountable and join the challenge with us. Whether you are in a creative field or not it’s a good challenge for us all.  

 

 

 

IMG_0112.JPG

 

-Ally  

Advocator

Ally Carmichael

I’ve spent the last few days at CIY Move Camp with the students and other leaders at my church. Although it is a camp for students and messages aimed towards that audience it never fails that I leave with renewed vision and clarity as well. This year was no exception to that truth. I know I talk about anxiety and struggles a lot but I promise you this one is worth the read.


Ever since I started having a anxious brain I’ve always accepted that it wasn’t something I was going to ever defeat. That may sound silly but it’s the truth. When talking to others about anxiety they would encourage me saying it would get better. I’ve heard that I would learn my triggers, things that set anxiety spiraling and also the things that bring me peace. No one has ever said you can beat this or you have the strength to move on from this. If no one ever encourages you with those words of course you are going to believe that you probably will never defeat this. That’s exactly how I’ve been dealing with it. Not only has no one ever told me that this is something I could beat but I’ve never once thought to myself that I could. I’ve been living from one victory to the next with anxiety. Being thankful and proud when I have victory over thoughts and waiting for the next time they come along.


The last night at camp this week I was feeling anxious about a flight I was going on today. Planes have always been one of my triggers. Thinking of my flight it suddenly started to overcome my mind with nervousness. I was struggling to make it look like everything was okay when inside I knew it wasn’t. I knew it was just going to be another one of those times where I have to feel super anxious and scared until the situation is over. Once the situation is over I could be thankful that yet another victory is added to the charts. I sat down at worship fighting back tears asking God and mainly myself, “Why does it have to be like this? Why does my brain have to work like this? Why do you have to have an anxious mind?” For those with anxiety have you ever had those thoughts? Have you ever wondered if life was just going to go on this way forever? I sat there thinking about these things and fighting to hold myself together.


As the band starting playing and worship music filled my ears I heard the still small voice of God. Now don’t overlook what I just said because that’s huge. Hearing God among 1,000 middle and high school students is no easy task. It was super hard to hear at first but I kept hearing it again and again and all he said at first  was, “You don’t.” It was one of those moments when you look up at the sky and you are thinking What?!? What do you mean I don’t? Then as clear as day I could hear, “Ally you don’t have to live like this, can’t you see you are fighting a battle I’ve already won?” There was nothing I could do to hold myself together anymore.


The message that night was ironically but not so ironically about how we have an accuser and we have an advocator. Satan being the accuser wants me to believe that this is a struggle I will continue to deal with. He wants to tell me that I’m weak and my brain is something I will never control. He wants me right where I am not fully trusting that God has the power to take this away or the trust that He will. But and don’t miss this, you know who tells me otherwise? Jesus. He says my thoughts belong to him. He tells my accuser that I’m His and that he can’t get to me without first going through him. He tells me that I am strong and have the power to move on from this because He is living inside me. Guys I can’t even begin to tell you how freeing that is.


The tears couldn’t be held back any longer and tears were flooding my face as the words, “I’m no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God” flashed on the screen. Oh how true that line is if we choose it to be true.


I’m not saying that I’ll never be anxious or nervous again. What I do know is that Satan is going to have to work a little harder if he wants to get into my mind again. Satan tells me I’m weak but Jesus says I’m strong. Satan tells me that my thoughts are uncontrollable but Jesus tells me they are in his hands. Satan tells me I’ll never move on from this but Jesus says I’m already on the other side of this struggle, come join me.

Hosanna Revival

Ally Carmichael

helllo!

Todays post is a little different than most. I’m going to be sharing something that I recently got that I love and thought you all might love it as well. This isn’t some weird advertisement or anything, I just wanted to share more of the things that I’ve been loving lately so I am starting with this! 

 

For my birthday Luke got me a bible from Hosanna Revival. They are these beautiful hand painted bibles. Side note: Luke calls them Hosanna Rebibles and I find it hilarious. The founder Katie started painting bibles in 2015 and now has dozens of designs and even paints custom orders as well. Here is a photo from her page of some of the designs she offers: 

 

IMG_0047.JPG

AREN’T THEY BEAUTIFUL?!

I have had my eye on them for quite some time not only because of how gorgeous they are but I read her why statement. Every time I find a new product or company I look into why they do what they do. To me the reason why is more important than the product they are offering. I’m 100% more likely to buy something if I can resonate with the heart behind the company. Anyways, I read her about section on their website and one sentence really caught my attention, “We are convinced that a beautiful Bible can lead even the darkest heart to crack it open and consider the words inside of it.” 

IMG_0045.JPG

I mean it makes sense doesn’t it? What’s the first thing you do when you buy a new shirt? You put it on and wear it because you love it. When you buy a new coffee mug you don’t just sit it on a shelf and never use it, you go home and make coffee just so you can use it! It should work the same with a new and pretty Bible. I personally was struggling with only reading my Bible on my phone app. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with that but for me it was hard to focus when in one click I could be back on Instagram. I felt myself getting distracted more often and at the end not being able to recall what I had just read. It may sound crazy but having a Bible that I love has given me the motivation to read from it and study it and just spend time in it. 

IMG_0043.JPG
IMG_0039.JPG

Basically I love this thing. To close out I will share some details about it with you all.

 I got the Zion Bible. Luke picked it out and it’s perfect for me. it’s a beautiful purple color and has hand painted stars, trees and water on it. If you know me I love nature and feel closest to God when I am outside exploring his creations. The Bible’s are all ESV and have beautiful scripting on the side of them that reads “The Holy Bible”. The pages are great and have space on the sides to take notes or if you are in to bible journaling they are perfect. 

IMG_0040.JPG

Again this is not an AD, just a product I love and wanted to spread the word. I love finding new companies so when I stumble across one that’s new to me I’ll be sharing more with you. 

If you want to check these out for yourself head tho Hosannarevival.com/painted-bibles  

They also have notebooks, prints, stickers and more if you want to check that out as well!  

Thanks for reading, 

Ally//  

IMG_0038.JPG
IMG_0044.JPG

A year of trying, a year of hope

Ally Carmichael

I think when you say you are trying to have a baby it’s perfect because that’s exactly what that stage is, trying. Almost a year ago I wrote a blog post about Luke and I’s first heartbreak in trying to start a family. Well I didn’t write the blog post almost a year ago it happened almost a year ago. I really wanted to hop on here and update everyone on where we are at and what it’s been like because I know for 100% fact I’m not alone here.  

It has been a little over a year that we decided we wanted to start trying. We loved us and still love these days where it’s just me and Luke but we were and are ready to start and walk this journey to add one more person to our duo. This year hasn’t been easy in the slightest bit. I don’t write this post to gain any kind of sympathy, please do not think that. I write this because if you are reading this and you’re in the trying stage and you aren’t okay and you are trying very hard to pretend you’re okay I’m here to tell ya that I’m a hot mess and it actually is okay. 

Some months pass and it’s another, no and I’m okay. Like I’m truly okay, I accept it and move on. Some months pass and that no hits extremely hard. It knocks me down for a day and then I get back up and move forward. Those times of the month are not the only times this journey is hard. The waiting is hard, the trying not to let it consume your mind is hard, the fact that it’s always in the back of your head and you feel you could burst into tears at any slightly emotional topic is HARD. Okay, that last one might not be everyone but I know there’s some other highly emotional ladies out there. You try to tell yourself you aren’t thinking about it and for a moment maybe you aren’t but just the mention of the topic and you can feel tears welling up makes you know that it’s there. It’s all hard but I think for me the absolute hardest part is knowing you have all you could possibly need and are still wanting something so badly. 

This year has been hard, yes. But in many ways this year has been beautiful. God is showing himself to me in new ways daily. I have gained a whole new understanding of the word, hope. That’s all I’ve had to cling on to in these moments and they are truly what helps you keep on this journey. To know I serve a good God who cares for me and my heart and is working all things out for the good. That is hope. At times it’s easier to see that hope. There have been times this year I’ve cried out in frustration to God wondering if he’s listening to me. I’ve only been answered with love and confirmation that He is, He cares and He is not going anywhere. I love when a situation is used to reveal a side to God you may not have seen much of yet.

This season has been a lot of learning. The best lesson I’ve been learning is to make God my everything. To not only put him first but for there to be no second place. I am so far from perfect at this and find myself failing at it more than succeeding but I’m trying. With God being the only one you are looking at and looking to it makes everything fall into perspective. Not saying that these feelings and these troubles go away but it takes the pressure off yourself. I’ve had to understand that this whole thing is out of my control and I needed to stop grasping so tightly onto this circumstance when it’s not even mine to hold. Knowing that God is in control and that His timing is perfect has brought me peace in this storm. It’s not easy to let go of control but you holding onto control that’s not even yours to begin with is just standing in the way of God moving. It’s a hard one to learn but it’s worth it. 

This year has been all about that faith that God is in the works and hope that Luke and I will have a child someday. A lot of people think it’s hard to see other people getting pregnant and having babies but I would say it’s the complete opposite. It’s more proof that God is a miracle working God. He keeps his promises and He fills me with hope. 

To wrap this up, if you are in this trying stage know that it’s in God’s hands. Know that it’s okay to be sad and it’s okay if it hurts but don’t dwell too long on that sadness and hurt. God is working all things for the good and most importantly He is in the waiting.  

 

This is song has been just wrecking me lately but in the best way possible so I wanted to throw this up here: https://youtu.be/GAGqvq4N_zQ

 -Ally 

Contentment

Ally Carmichael

Hey! It has been a minute since I have been on here. I feel like I have started my last three blog posts saying that it's been awhile but you know, life. I'll try to get more consistent with my posts but no promises. 

 

PHEW!!! These last few months have been a whirlwind. I remember in my post about 2018 I wrote about how I wanted to find my balance this year. I did not know it then but that has quickly become the theme of this year. I am even a little scared to write that I feel more stable now than I have in a long time. There I said it.... if I just jinked myself I'll be back in a week telling you about how off balance I feel again. I'm kidding because that is not going to happen to me again and let me tell you why. 

I could be exaggerating when I say its been 3 years that I have been on this up and down roller coaster ride but that's how it feels so we are going to go with that. I believe everyone kind of has their own "patterns" in life. I know for sure I have patterns. Here's my pattern:

I will be perfectly happy where I am and with everything in my life for a while and then suddenly it feels like the walls start closing in again. What I mean is ill have a day sometimes a week and the longest has been weeks where I feel depressed. Now I have never been truly "in depression" so I can't speak on what that is like. For me I feel super unhappy with just about everything. I want to change careers and I want to change careers NOW. Joy used to be something that came so easily and then I struggle to find the smallest amount of it. The best way to describe it is un-content. Things that were normal a week ago are suddenly driving you crazy and you need them to change now. I get in a mood that can't be shaken by anything and I would come home from work and just cry. This seems crazy, trust me I know (try being married to me, Luke is a saint) but it's where I was crazy or not. I would feel this unhappiness for a while and then it would go away again. Nothing I could pinpoint and say every time I did "this" it went away. Sometimes it would be that I followed out these feelings. I felt like I  needed a new career and I would go get one and only be left feeling more empty. Maybe it would be doing something to my house and having that not fulfill me the way I wanted. I would do everything I possibly could and be left feeling blank, empty and hurting. These feelings would slowly go away but just like that they would be back again. 

About a month ago this all reached an all time low. In tears one night I was explaining to Luke all my frustrations. I told him how tired I was of going back into this place. I told him how exhausting it is to find yourself returning to this unhappy/ un-content place yet again. I told him how frustrating it is to be a girl who has everything she could possibly want and still feel so unhappy. 

SIDE NOTE: I don't want you to get me wrong because at this point I am making myself sound like a spoiled brat. The issue was never me wanting what I don't have or me just wanting more and more and more stuff. Okay back to my story. 

I told Luke I was done and that this was it. I pinpointed my job being the root of all this unhappiness. I decided I needed to find a way to not work anymore and figure out what I needed to do to be happy. If you are rolling your eyes at me at this point, I'm right there with you. I thought that I would stick it out at my job until I found a solution and then quit and everything would be sunshine and rainbows. WRONG, WRONG, SOOOOO WRONG. My unhappiness was shining through to everyone. I was in a horrible mood at work and everyone could see it. My motivation and desire for the things I was doing outside of work were non existent. This all exploded one day as the day I am labeling "The Worst Day of My Life." You think I am kidding and I am not I haven't been through much so this really was the worst day ever. I had blamed my job for making me so unhappy and I always thought if I could just not work there I would find joy again. At the same time I was battling crazy guilt. I work for my parents at a Flower Shop that has been in our family longer than I have been alive. Quitting my job wasn't just like quitting Bob Evans and I was racked with this guilt about it. Basically there was a lot going on inside my strange mind and it all exploded one day at work with my mom. We eventually decided that I was going to work through May and be done. I thought, "This is it, this is what I've been waiting for." NO. WRONG AGAIN ALLY. I left work after that conversation and I felt miserable. All night I was just sad and consumed by guilt.

I had a long talk with God that night, someone who has been missing in this story up until now but I bet you knew He was coming. I laid it all out to Him as if He were someone who didn't know my every thought. I started journaling and in my journal I like to write out exactly how I'm feeling at that moment in case I want to go back years later and read through it. I was in the middle of writing out how crappy of a person I had been and how guilty I felt for literally just quitting the flower shop for bad reasons. I just sat there in silence for a while and so clearly I heard, "You can sit there and be sad right now but just know when you are done there is so much grace waiting for you." That grace waiting for me was all I needed to pick myself back up and start figuring out what the real issue was. 

Trying to find out problems in your own life is hard because there were a lot of layers. 

- I'm not someone who wants to work forever and I don't believe I will but my timing to not work ever again is not now. 

- I can't get pregnant and there is nothing I can do about it and it hurts like hell. 

- I want my crochet business to be so successful and it's growing but it's not growing fast enough. 

- I once was on fire for groups I am a part of at church and now I am not. What can I do to reignite that flame. 

These are just a few on my list of many.

See when you are diving in head first to an issue there about 10 more issues lying underneath that need to be sorted through first. When I went on this small journey to sort through mine what I found was that separately these issues were not bringing me down. Together they all say one thing: un-content. I constantly want to be changing and growing and moving when maybe God is saying stay. Im always searching for what's next when I am missing what is and always has been right in front of me. Im trying to fill a void with new things and different things when all I need is Jesus. I need to always pull everything from Jesus. That joy I was missing and that unhappiness I was feeling all that could be solved with placing Jesus in the center of everything instead of just another check on my list. 

There have been few times when I have realized something and felt instantly better but this was one of those times. I felt this weight I had been carrying around immediately lift. I feel like once and for all I have kicked this struggle of mine. It might come back around but now I know I can look to the things I have, count my blessings and turn to Jesus first and find that contentment again. I feel like no longer will I wrestle with being un-content and man let me tell you it feels GOOD. I was able to take this "revelation" and apply it to all my underlying issues. 

- I may work forever and I may not but that's okay because my joy does not rest in my career. 

- I believe God is going to give Luke and I a baby and it will be in HIS time which is far better than it being in OUR time. If not I still believe God is a good good God. 

- My crochet business is exactly where it needs to be right now and if never grows again that's okay because again my joy is not found in what I do. 

- God is shaping me and growing me so that I can be a better leader to these groups. There may be seasons when I feel useless or unmotivated but God is still using me and using these groups in my life through the waiting. 

Thanks for reading everyone, I appreciate it more than you know! 

 

- Ally 

Why I’m thankful for anxiety

Ally Carmichael

IMG_0353.JPG

A while ago I wrote a blog about my personal struggle with anxiety and what it looks like in my life. Today I want to talk about anxiety again but in a whole new way. Let’s talk about the reasons why it doesn’t suck so much.  When I wrote my previous blog post about anxiety (if you didn’t catch that one I’d go find it and read it so we are all on the same page here) I was in a pretty good place. My anxiety hadn’t  really reached full on panic mode for a while except when I’m on a plane but that’s a whole different nightmare. I still today feel like I’m in a pretty good spot with it. I’ve learned my restrictions and triggers and do my best to avoid those things. For example one of my biggest fears in life is to get kidnapped and or raped and one day I found myself starting to watch the lifetime movie Cleveland Abduction..... I made it about 2 minutes in before asking luke to turn it off. So basically I’ve come to know where to push myself and where to lay off. That’s why I’m here today to lay out a few reason why I’m actually thankful for anxiety. 

 

Let me start by saying it’s taken me about 5 years to get to this point. I definitely didn’t start off this way. In fact I started pretty angry. To give you some background about 5 years ago is when I really started pursuing a relationship with Jesus. I have believed in Christ my whole life and “accepted” him when I was 8 years old but it wasn’t until about 5 or 6 years ago that I started learning how to have a relationship with Him. So I was pretty on fire at this point and things were going super great. That’s when anxiety hit and everything came to a screeching hault. I’m embarrassed to say that basically my first reaction was thinking if this is what getting closer to God brings then I’m not so sure this is for me. It was the typical I’m not cut out for this response. I couldn’t understand why the closer I got to Christ the more anxiety I felt bubbling up. I was basically angry, angry at anxiety and angry at God who I felt gave this to me. I felt like I was being punished for something but couldn’t figure out what. I’m happy to say that now my reaction to anxiety is not anger and questioning Christ, in fact sometimes it’s thankfulness. 

I realize that anxiety was and is a way of showing me just how much I need Christ. Without anxiety I would still be relying on myself and others instead of Christ. It is still humbling to check myself and not get an attitude of I’ve gotten this far so I can handle it from here. It’s daily surrendering to my flesh and recognizing my need for Him. It was and is still bringing me ways to connect with and help others. Some of my favorite coffee dates have been on this exact topic. Anxiety is still a way to show where my faith rests when things are out of my control. Another way to humble myself and see if I’m resting on this world or solely on Christ.  Lastly it is a way to show me just how incredibly faithful he is. 

By no means am I officially over my anxiety, I don’t think I ever will be. I am at a point where I can look back and see how God has worked through it and it blows my mind every time I reflect on that. Sometimes when a thought turns anxious and I can’t seem to stop the cycle it’s as easy as saying God I trust you and I’m not going to give this thought another second of my time. Other times it’s not that simple and I just have to ride it out until it passes. The perfect example of this was a recent flight I took to Chicago. I know myself and I know flying makes me naturally anxious so I try to prepare myself the best I can. The flight from Columbus to Chicago is 45 minutes from take off to landing so I was feeling pretty confident and the flight there was perfect. I turned Taylor Swift all the way up in my head phones to drown out all the unnatural sounds planes make, took out yarn and my knitting needles and the time passed quickly. At one point I had thoughts of the plane going down but told myself no I wasn’t going there, I trusted God and moved on from that thought cycle. Now on the flight back same scenario totally different outcome. Everything was the same T-Swift, knitting and telling myself not today but yet halfway through the flight I found myself of the verge of full on freak out mode. All I could do was burry my face in Luke’s hoodie and wait out the time. 

 

I couldn’t tell you why some days are easier than others. If I were to judge my progress day to day I would have no hope that I was getting better at handling it all. That’s why I choose to look back through the years and see how far I’ve come and how much my faith has been stretched and grown. That brings me an unbelievable amount of hope. I’m happy to report that through it all one thing has never changed and that’s God’s faithfulness. One of my favorite things to do when I’m feeling anxious is to recount all the times I have felt that exact same feeling and had the exact same thoughts and God brought me out of it. I think about every anxious moment and my thoughts are usually the same, I think something bad is going to happen to me or Luke and then that turns to anxiety and then I have that sinking feeling and then what do you know? That bad thing never actually happens and the feeling passes and yet another time I have to look back on and say see God was faithful there and he will be faithful here. If you feel deep in the midst of anxiety and think there is no light at the end of the tunnel I would tell you that it gets better. It doesn’t completely go away but it gets better. Though you feel all over the place with you thoughts and feelings, God hasn’t moved and He hasn’t changed. Rest in the fact that He is faithful. 

 

Bt you, O Lord are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faitfulness.” Psalm 86:15

 

-Ally

What “The Ville” Has Taught Me

Ally Carmichael

IMG_0349.JPG

The Ville if you are not familiar is the name of my crochet/ knit business. 2017 was my first full year of pursuing it full force. What I mean by first full year is that January 2017- December 2017 I actively focused on it and tried to see where it could go. It was very hard for me to think of The Ville as a serious business until this year when I put a lot of time and energy into it. It’s much easier to take something serious when you are trying really hard to make it good. With my first year came a lot of success and also a lot of failure, both lead to a TON of learning. I thought I would share some of what I learned this first year with you all. These tips below are for any small business owner so don’t feel like you have to be a crocheter or knitter to relate!

 

1.  SOCIAL MEDIA ISN’T EVERYTHING. 

I went into this year admiring a ton of Instagram accounts that had a ton of followers and somewhere down the line I started associating followers with a successful business. I poured a lot of thought and time into growing my social media. I started a Facebook page for The Ville, I started taking pictures ahead of time so I would have stock for Instagram, I found myself putting a lot of thought into captions and being intentional with who I conncected with. These are all good things don’t get me wrong and it actually brought me a lot of success. My Instagram grew from 200 followers to 2,500 followers in about 7 months. With the new followers came more messages with orders which are always exciting. I quickly learned that while followers and messages are good they can’t be everything. Followers can’t be what define your business. Followers can’t be what define YOU.  Which leads to lesson 2. 

 

2. HAVE A SUSTAINABLE PURPOSE.  

If your sole purpose for running your business is so you can have a following of people, I’m sorry but that’s not going to be enough to get you through the hard parts. Having a purpose that you can say, “Yeah running this business is hard but it’s worth it because.... fill in the blank.” For me this year was the year for finding my purpose. Taking a step back and really asking myself what I wanted this to become and why. At first I started selling my stuff to make some extra money but that got tough to hold onto when you realize that it actually cost a lot of money before you start making money so I needed something else. In my heart I always knew I would need something more and I knew what I wanted it to be. My purpose is now connected to an issue that is so near to my heart, human trafficking. I found that giving part of my profits so a greater cause is the thing that makes me push through when it gets overwhelming. 

 

3. IT’S NOT EASY 

In fact it’s really hard. I truly believe that anyone who runs a small business full time or on the side lives with a never ending to do list in the back of their minds. The list may shrink at times but it NEVER goes fully away. Just when you think you are catching up 5 more things will pop into your head of things you need to do, things you want to do, things you want to research more about and it just goes on and on. With the list of never ending things comes the actual running the business part. I have an entrepreneurial family it’s literally in my blood so I thought it would be a walk in the park. It’s been the scariest walk in any park I’ve ever been. The running a couple social media’s seems like nothing when you compare it to Etsy, applying for markets and shows, actually participating in the markets and shows, getting good pictures of your products, learning more about the skill, and finances. Finances alone make me want to rip my hair out. I’ve never been a finance person so this is still a learning process for me. I could keep going but I won’t, yeah I learned running a business is rough. 

 4. BE YOURSELF 

Yes, I aware of how cliche that sounds but it’s honestly probably the most important one on here. Something that is super scary when you are starting a small business is when you realize how many people are doing exactly what you are trying to do. It seems like the most overwhelming thing in the world. That’s why being yourself and finding your voice in whatever community you may be in is so important. Take something you love and make it your thing. I’m still learning this one as well, heck I’m still learning all of them. One of my favorite things to do in the world is connect with people. To relate to people on a personal level. I love meeting for coffee and being totally transparent with someone only to have them be totally transparent back. I know that in reality I can’t do that with everyone because some people live no where near me so I started doing that through social media. It’s been a scary thing for me to be transparent online but trusting God and following what He is telling me to share has been so rewarding. I’m not telling everyone to go spill your guts online but find your thing and make it fun. 

5. IT’S WORTH IT  

There were a few times this year when I was staring at my husband with tear filled eyes asking him but really asking myself if this was all worth it. You put a whole lot of time and a whole lot of heart into this and for me I needed it to be worth it. I kept telling myself that I needed to look back at the end of the year and believe that it was worth it and I can honestly say now that it was. All the mistakes I made were outweighed by the successes I had and goals I met. I’m excited to year 2 and now every time I mess up I have a whole year to look back on and can say, “Yeah you messed up a lot last year as well but you are learning and it will all be worth it.” And it will all be worth because you now know social media is just social media and your purpose is sustainable and true to who you are and while this business is not easy it’s fun and it’s worth pursuing. I think I got them all in there :) 

 

Like I said I’m excited for year 2 and to see where it leads. If you are running a small business I’d love to chat more and hear what your advice might be. Shoot me a message or leave a comment below.

 

-Ally

Turtles All The Way Down

Ally Carmichael

9EE21B3A-71BF-4AB6-AB2D-5065CC013158.JPG

I have learned through this whole blogging process that when inspiration hits, ya just go with it. Today I have been feeling unusually inspired. It could be just one of those days or it could be due to the fact that I have seen The Greatest Showman three times in a week. Now I am feeling ready to come alive and dream with my eyes wide open (if you have seen it, you get me). If you haven't seen it go ahead and stop reading and head to the nearest movie theater and get yourself a ticket. 

Anyways, today I have been feeling inspired and yeah it might be the movie or one of those days but I also think it's because I am walking through something. As my husband would say when my emotions are high that's when the magic blogging happens.

I have touched on this subject before but I think it's so important that I want to talk about it again. It's something that I constantly find myself struggling with. I want to talk about the idea of being so deeply confident in who you are in Christ that you can not and will not be shaken. 

There is a passage of scripture on this that I love: 

Jeremiah 17: 7-8

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,

whose confidence is in Him.

They will be like a tree planted by the water

that sends out it's roots by the stream.

It does not fear when heat comes;

its leaves are always green.

It has no worries in a year of drought

and never fails to bear fruit. 

Isn't that what we as Christ followers are after? I have always longed to be a much more confident version of myself and to have my roots planted in the right things. I think my roots are planted right but when it comes to my leaves not being shaken.... I think I am the type where the smallest breeze and those babies would fly right off. By that I mean I know who I am in Christ but I let things of this world bring me down. 

People have always told me that confidence will come with age. I heard that when I was in middle school and then I heard it again in high school and now here I am at 23 and people are still telling me it will come with age. I agree with that on a small scale. You get more used to your own skin and stop feeling so awkward all the time, sure. But the self esteem and how sensitive you are to peoples words, I think it comes not with age but with a knowledge of who God is. 

Having confidence itself is a hard thing to build up especially if it's being built on the wrong things. Even building it on Christ is tough we think it should be easy. We start our relationship by having this new found life and freedom and we walk around like no one can touch us. Then people come along and ruffle us up a bit. They want to point at who you were before and all your mistakes and it makes you want to crawl back into your own skin. For every single time we let someones words or actions get to us we are slowly taking our foundation off of Christ and putting it into people's opinions of us. Which is basically like taking our foundation off a rock and moving it to quicksand.

I am using people's opinions as an example today because it is what's true for me.  I am a sensitive person, I have admitted that and owned up to it because it's true and I don't think it's a bad thing in some ways. In some ways its a horrible thing like when I let peoples actions and words hurt me. Even the opposite when I let peoples actions and words build me up. It is so emotionally bad and it's all just one big roller coaster ride that I am so done riding.

Today I was just having an off day and this thought occured to me. I don't need to be torn down or validated with peoples words any longer. All I need to do is look to Christ and specifically to scripture and find out who it is God says I am. 

Yesterday at church Pastor Travis asked us as we were praying to remember why we fell in love with God. At the time my mind was drawing a blank because it was so long ago. I grew up in church and got baptized when I was 8 years old so I think the real reason I came to know Christ was because my brother did and I wanted to follow along.

 Today though in the midst of tears I remembered a huge reason why I fell in love with Him. It may not have been the initial reason but one that still speaks so much truth into my life. I fell in love with Him because of that fresh start He has given me. It's because He no longer looks down and sees who I once was, he doesn't see my flaws he sees me as his son, perfectly. His love for me and you is perfect. Nothing I could do could make him love me any less or any more. I long for that kind of love here on Earth and when people fall short and I fall short that's why it hurts. I fell in love with Him because he validates me and his validation speaks louder than any other validation here on Earth. 

Here's what we need to do with this truth, run with it. Stop surrounding yourself with crappy people who make you feel crappy about yourself. I know some circumstances can't be changed but if you can help it do it! Find a few people who value you, build you up and speak life to you. More importantly read God's word and realize how much he believes in you. He loves you and is tired of seeing you being so swayed by the worlds view of you. Lastly we need to start being more like the tree in Jeremiah. Plant your roots in Christ and don't let anyone move you. 

That is all for today folks! 

// Ally 

 

2018| Plans & Hopes

Ally Carmichael

IMG_6200.JPG

Hey everyone and Happy New Year. One of my goals for 2018 is to blog more often. That’s always been my plan but as most of you know I have a side hustle along with my full time job. I run a crochet and knit business (if it qualifies as a business). Anyways I was very unprepared for the busy season this year. I’ve had this side thing for almost 3 years on and off. At the beginning of 2017 I decided I wanted to pursue it full force. I dedicated a ton of time in growing my social media page, updating my Etsy shop, doing shows and a whole heck of a lot more. I was much more busy than I ever expected this year which has been such a blessing and also a huge lesson to START EARLIER this year. Instead of taking a break for a few months I’m just going to keep pushing. With all of that and my job picking up and the craziness the holidays bring in itself I was left with no time to blog or really do much that I actually find joy in.  

So if you were to ask me if I’m ready for the new year I would say HECK YES. I feel like I’ve been buried for months and I’m finally coming for a breath of fresh air. I am physically tired, I have stayed up passed 2 A.M. more times in the last 3 months than I probably have in my whole life. I was up late finishing crochet orders, wrapping gifts and just trying to get anything done.

More importantly though I feel spiritually and emotionally drained. The hard truth is I have spent little time with Christ in the passed few months. I would like to pretend that doesn’t effect me but I have noticed quite a change in my attitude. My attitude about life and towards others just hasn’t been where it should be and how could I expect it to when I have barely cracked open my Bible or spent intimate time speaking with the Lord?! 

A lot of times when I feel like something is taking my attention or focus away from God I immediately want to get rid of it. Even if it’s something that could be so good I just take it as a bad thing and throw it away. I’ve actually done this with this exact business before. A few years ago it became too much and I shut it down but the passion for it never went away. So instead of tossing it in the trash I’m realizing that maybe the problem isn’t the things taking my attention, maybe it’s the person giving all her attention to one thing, maybe it’s me. 

This year if I had to say what I think 2018 will be about I would say balance. I’ve never been good at balancing anything. Literally, during workouts when you have to stand on one foot I’ve always been the one to fall over before the time was up. The business of the season finally caught up to me and hit me like a bus. I started to realize what a poor job I was doing at balancing all the things in my life. I do think maybe I have too much going on but I do truly believe that The Ville Crochet is not done yet. 

Ive learned that when things are out of control and you feel like it’s all crashing down, that’s when God is desperately needing you to turn around and see that he is there and he’s never left. Even in my wandering when I have felt far away I know that he’s right there. He’s eagerly waiting for me to take my focus and attention off of what I’m doing and look at Him. When something is taking my focus away and I take matters into my own hands maybe it’s not time to shut it down but time to learn the value of self discipline and priorities.

So this year will be about balance. Keeping good things in my life but not letting them take over. Keeping my eyes focused on Christ and allowing his ways to guide the year. That’s the plan but ultimately whatever God’s plans are I want those so much more. 

One HOPE I have for the new year is to dive head first into the movement of abolishing slavery. I’ve been dipping my toes in the water but I’m ready to take the dive this year and allow my actions to speak louder than my words. I’ve talked about my passion for it and the calling to it God laid on me many years ago and I feel like it’s now or never. A portion of my business goes to She Has a Name and I was really excited for that step but I am so ready for more. 

I have plans and hopes for the new year and I’m so excited to see how they turn out. I have always thought of this blog as more of a conversation so please comment or message me and let’s talk YOUR plans and hopes. I’d love to hear them 🖤 

 

-Ally

 

Under Pressure

Ally Carmichael

IMG_5607.JPG

Hey guys, it's been a while!  

October has felt like a huge blur. I'm finally back to a semi normal schedule and I've actually had a ton on my brain that I have wanted to talk about. I like that I treat this as a conversation but that's really what I want it to be. I want you guys to relate and let me know that I'm not totally nuts. Every single message I've gotten since starting this blog has meant the world to me so from the very bottom of my heart thank you! 

Today I kind of want to talk about a topic that is always in the back of my mind. 

Its the pressure to be perfect.  

I do not consider myself in any way to be a perfectionist. I feel like in most areas of like I'm right in the middle of go with the flow and full on perfectionist. My house isn't always clean, my dog ruins stuff all the time, I have a planner but it's a hot mess and I'm not good at writing things in it. That list could go on and on. When I say I desire perfection I don't mean in the everyday parts of life. My desire for perfection comes in the relational part of my life and from me being a total people pleaser. 

My biggest fear in life is failing and letting people down. You are probably thinking, "Failing is just a part of life, it happens everyday." Just because something is an everyday part of life doesn't mean that it can't be a huge fear as well. More than failing I would say my biggest fear is people seeing me fail.  

Guys, I set myself up for this failure every day. I take on too many things and end up not being able to juggle it all. This results in me having to admit my defeat right? Wrong. I don't admit my defeat. I push myself even harder. 

Behind all these positions I try to juggle is my underlying need to please everyone. I rarely turn down anything because im afraid if I say no I'll be letting someone down. I rarely skip things because in the back of my head I'm constantly hearing the disapproval of others. Is this voice truthful? Absolutely not. Let me make sure to say that again. The fact that I think people are disapproving and judging me when I say no is in no way true nor has anyone given me a reason to believe that. It's just me being me and living in my own head. 

There is a massive, huge, GINORMOUS problem with my fear of failure and fear of letting people down. I put so so much pressure on myself to be perfect. Pressure to do everything and never let it show that im struggling. Pressure to be everything everyone wants me to be and not stopping to ask God who he wants me to be. It's been recently said to me (I'm looking at you Corey Thomas) that just because something is a good thing and because it is glorifying to God doesn't mean it has to be a good fit for me. Guys, the heavens opened and angels sang when I heard this. Such an easy truth that I have missed all my life. BUT, back on track the problem with me putting so much pressure on myself to be perfect is that there was only and will only ever be one perfect person to walk this Earth, Jesus! 

I read a book not long ago titled, Nothing to Prove. The whole idea was that we have nothing to prove BECAUSE of Jesus. I'm walking around afraid to fail when there is someone who came to this Earth and walked it perfectly so that I don't have to, so that WE don't have to. I don't have to measure up because Jesus measured up on my behalf. How amazing is that?! Let me break this down for you. 

You don't have to juggle all those titles you are juggling. You don't have to be afraid to admit you are struggling. It's okay to take a break. You don't have to be perfect. And it's all because of Jesus. There is such an amazing freedom that comes in accepting and following Christ, we just have to choose to walk in it. 

This freedom has been brought back to my attention this week while I have been feeling overwhelmed. God has been really just laying it hard on my heart. The truth is that I've been spending far too much time worrying about all of this. Worrying about a battle that's already been won. It's time to accept that freedom, walk in it and switch our focus to how we can expand and bring glory to the kingdom. I'm speaking to myself mainly but believe there's a few out there reading that will know I'm speaking to you as well. :) 

 

"Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."  

// 2 Corinthians 5:20-21

 

- Ally

Bleck.

Ally Carmichael

FullSizeRender.jpg

I was going to title this post a lot of things, late night thoughts, holy thoughts, the list goes on but nothing really describes where I’ve been lately better than bleck. 

This week has been good, I feel like I’m finally starting to get back on the right track again.

Let me back up... I go through crappy times in life and I like to call them ruts. Putting a fun name on them makes me feel better. During these ruts, I feel stuck. I feel like my life has been moving fast and then all of sudden screeches to a hault. For approximately one minute I’m okay with life slowing down. Then I start to immediately question what’s next? I go through my checklist. 

- I was born, check.

-I made it through awkward teenage years, check.

- I got married, check.

- We bought a house, check.

- We got a dog, check.

What is next? Naturally people will say kids but see my last blog post and see where I am in that area. I’m scared.

I’m scared my wanting a kid is only coming from me wanting the next thing. When I search deep and ask myself, “Are you ready for kids?” I think the almost programmed answer would be of course I’m ready! I have the husband, I have the house, how could I not be ready? The true and honest answer is no. Maybe it’s selfishness and maybe it’s just I’m not ready to share Luke with anyone quite yet.

My fear is to dive head deep into something just because it’s the next move. I’ve done this before.. recently. I dove head deep into something and now I’m thinking it wasn’t the right move. I’m sure you all know what I’m talking about. If you know me, you know what I’m saying and honestly I am not ready to admit that mistake just yet. Hope that’s okay. I’ll get there don’t worry. 

Here is the worst part of these ruts and the root cause of them. When I’m so busy thinking, planning, dreaming about the next thing I take God completely out of it. Life has been great and everything is working out and then one day I forget to read scripture. That one day turns into a week and then a month and then I’m sitting there like, “Wow, I wonder why I feel so crappy and nothing in my life makes sense?” HELLO!! You can’t even remember the last time you had real intimate time with your creator. You have totally taken God out of your plans. You are busy figuring out how you are going to conquer the world but are forgetting the one who is going to give you the power to do it!

Usually when these ruts take place I seek out wisdom. From family, friends, Pastor friends, my husband, my small group, etc. It usually works. They give me advice, I follow it for a bit, start to feel better and then life screeches to a hault again and in comes another rut. I’m really specifically talking about this year. It’s happened a lot this year. 

This month I started feeling this way again but this time it’s been different. Instead of rushing for help and advice from the nearest person who will listen I’m learning to take it to Christ first. I’ve actually  been avoiding people knowing I’ll unleash everything onto them and I’m not ready for that yet. Suuuper healthy I know, hiding from people but I have got to create a habit of taking it up with Christ before anyone else. I‘m really trying and I’m learning. I’m learning to be real and honest about my lack of desire to read scripture and where my hearts been lately. Speaking these feelings to the one who already knows them has been so freeing.

As I look back at some decisions I’ve made in life I know that I took some steps because they have just been the next step. I knew they are what people wanted me to do and expected me to do so I did them. Most of the time is has worked in my favor but has only left me wondering what’s next?

This time I’m waiting. I’m listening. I’m listening to that still small voice in the back of my mind. I’ll move when it’s time but for now I’m excited to be here, at a hault. Learning more daily about who Christ is and what HIS desires are for me. Letting him shape and mold me through the process. Ahh that would of been a good title, The Process. Oh well :) 

Peace ✌🏼

-Ally

“And he said, "Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord." And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.”

‭‭1 Kings‬ ‭19:11-12‬ ‭ESV‬‬