Career Feature on The Everygirl

www.nbarrettphotography.comI am so, so, so excited to share that I am featured on The Everygirl today! I am still pinching myself that this dream has become a reality. I read The Everygirl on a daily basis, so, without sounding like a total narcissist, it's unbelievably exciting to see myself on the home page. Most importantly, I'm thrilled that this post showcases Touch A Life, the amazing organization for which I serve as the Director of Project Development. I hope readers will be inspired by the story behind the foundation, and maybe even a few people will want to get involved! I am so totally overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support for this post - thank you to my amazing family and friends for cheering me on today! Thank you, too, to the incredibly awesome and talented Natalie Shelton for taking these special photos. And, of course, thank you to The Everygirl for being such a wonderful place where women can be encouraged and inspired every single day.

Head on over to The Everygirl to read the post and my interview, and check out some of Natalie's fabulous photos below!

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Swiss Avenue Historic District

Swiss Avenue I'm back from Nashville and I have so much goodness to share from my time in Tennessee! But first, it's back to the grind. Actually, I'm super excited to be back at work in Dallas because I'm enrolled in a really interesting grant writing workshop at the Center for Nonprofit Management. I'll share some of the input that I learned here on the blog next week!

The Center for Nonprofit Management is located in a sweet little oasis tucked away in Deep Ellum. Though this hip neighborhood is known to be more on the industrial, up-and-coming end of the neighborhood spectrum, the Center is located in a nook with a different vibe - on Swiss Avenue, a historically beautiful tree-lined street that is home to a host of gorgeously restored homes. The best part? Thanks to The Meadows Foundation, these beautifully maintained properties are now where many local non-profit organizations are based. Is that a sweet deal or what? Now I'm dreaming of Touch A Life having an office space in this pretty part of town...

Week & End

DSC_0219 Happy Friday! What are you up to this weekend? We are heading to James's family's ranch in Cross Plains, and, as always, I'm excited for fresh air, home cooking, and lots of relaxation. Also, word on the street is that the local rodeo will be in town...

Enjoy your days off as well as some fun links from around the world wide web!

I can't wait for Wit & Delight's party collection to debut at Target on Sunday! I am so excited to see what fun, decorative, and creative pieces that Kate Arends came up with for her personalized collection, Craft Social. I am not-so-secretly jealous of everyone who got to attend the Wit & Delight for Target launch party this week - it looked amazing (especially that pie bar, reminiscent of our wedding desserts!).

I finally took the plunge and purchased this lamp (in white/gold) from One Forty Three for my home office. I had seen it on my friend Natalie's blog nearly a year ago and had been waiting for just the right time to purchase it. I sold my previous office desk lamp at last week's garage sale (where we raised $5,238 to benefit Touch A Life's Fence Fundraiser campaign, exceeding our goal of $5,000 - so exciting!!), partially because I wanted to accumulate as many items as possible for the sale and also, subliminally, because I wanted an excuse to buy the One Forty Three lamp (if I don't have a desk lamp anymore then I have to buy a new one, right?). I also snagged two of these Ikea lamps (in white as well), after having observed them all over the blogosphere and admiring the minimalist style and cheap price tag. I got one to top the dresser in our master bedroom and one for my office at work. Let there be light!

So many good movies are coming out soon! After reading This Is Where I Leave You, I am stoked to see the movie, and I also am looking forward to seeing The Skeleton Twins. Kyla and I have plans to check it out the latter film on Monday - we'll let you know what we think! P.S. If you haven't seen Chef yet, you absolutely must - it may very well be my favorite movie of the year!

This really well-written article about the Ebola virus a bit of a somber link but it's a really important one. Reporting on the epidemic in West Africa has really lessened over the past few weeks, and in some ways, that's a good thing. But we can't lose sight of the fact that this is the worst Ebola outbreak in the history of the world (according to the article, "there has been more human-to-human transmission in the past four months than most likely occurred in the last 500 to 1,000 years") and we need to start being proactive instead of reactive. Some good food for thought.

Let's end on a positive note! Las week on A Cup of Jo, Joanna Goddard shared this post about the most brilliant Friday night tradition. I immediately e-mailed it to James with the subject "LIFE GOAL." I so want to replicate this at our house someday!

Five Years

rachelandjamesEP158 Five years ago today I piled up my car, said teary goodbyes to my best friends, and began the long road trip from Los Angeles to Dallas. I was moving to Texas for my job at Touch A Life and though I was totally daunted by the transition and anxious about what lay ahead (I had only been to Dallas a handful of times, and I knew hardly anyone besides my coworkers), I knew that taking this step would allow me to live out the plan that God had set out for my life. And now, looking back, I see how vivid and rich that plan was, and I truly can't imagine my life any other way. By moving to Dallas, I furthered my career, came into my own as a woman, and, most importantly, met my husband and made some of the very best friends in the world, establishing community that I truly could never live without, regardless of where I live.

Of course, I know that September 11th marks a very sad time in our country's history, and I've been thinking about and praying for those affected by the terrorist attacks continually throughout the day; nothing could ever change or trivialize what this day means to us as American citizens. But as far as my personal journey goes, September 11th has come to mean something else, something about trust and hope and promise. I'm reminded to live every day with intentionality, following in the path that God has laid out before me. I'm reminded to never take a single second of this sweet life for granted and to trust that everything, indeed, can be redeemed and made beautiful in His time.

Photo via Heather Hawkins from our engagement photo shoot last year - click on the link to check out more photos from that fun session!