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The Busy Bug + 4 Tips for Time Off

I want to challenge your perspective on something. You might not have time for rest. There are probably a million phone calls, a million emails, and a million projects you'll start when you get 10 free minutes. 

Think about it.

You get a text that says, "Can you shoot some last minute pictures of my kids?" or "Do you have time for lunch to talk about that picnic we need to plan?" 

Are any of those bad options? Should you say no to either if you happen to have an open hour and the ability to contribute? 

But on the inside you wilt just a little bit when someone has added what feels like another cinderblock to your load. If you cringed when you got that text, then it's time for you to set some boundaries. Not scary boundaries that make the people in your life feel afraid to ask you for a cup or sugar or a hug on a bad day, but the gentle kind of boundaries that let people know when you're at your max, or you've chosen to rest (even if you still have 3pm-4pm available). 

If you feel like the victim of people pulling on you, you need to get back into the driver's seat of your planner. Are any of us mad at the President for not joining us for coffee today? No. He's just got a job and he's doing it. If you're raising kids and straight up don't have time for that neighborhood garage sale, SAY SO. If you have photoshoots all week long and you're not sure you can squeeze one more in, SAY SO. 


 When is your next day of rest? If you can't answer that, then I am praying for your sanity because I know it's being stretched. 

  • How can you do your best work if you're not rested? 

  • How can you keep on being kind to people if your rest tank is on empty?

  • How are you the best you when you have barely had time to sit alone for a minute?

This is right where I've been, friends. I have not taken a break from work since May of 2014. And people say owning a business is easy (?!). 

Fun Announcement:

So here's where I'm at currently. I have been carefully planning a month of rest since October of 2015. It is now June of 2016 and my month of rest starts in just 3 days. 

Thankfully, I didn't just arrive at the end of my rope and slam doors in the faces of people I really care about. That is not a healthy way to go about it (unless slamming a door is really necessary for you, I suppose). I kept my schedule free of weddings in July. I handed all my work tasks over to the two lovely women who work with me and have prepared to run the show.

I am planning to deactivate my Facebook, sign out of Instagram, put up my email vacation responder, and say "See ya later!" to my desk. 

I am sharing all this with you because I hope you do the same. Sometimes I see friends in destructive patterns of busy-ness and I wonder what will happen if they ever (God forbid) break an arm. Would you say, "I don't have time for this bone to go to the hospital"?!

I just watched my sweet, beloved Papa go home to be with Jesus. At the end of his life he wasn't fretting about all the things he didn't get done. Actually, the most-talked-about things we all shared at the funeral were memories of him sitting in a lawn chair, talking with my little brother in the driveway, and walking around the house singing, and eating Ramen on his TV tray watching Price is Right. 

Y'all. Let's stop inflicting busy on ourselves. It's not that important. 

Grace for busy seasons. Grace for moms chasing 3 toddlers and asking how this applies. Grace for someone who just started a business and can't see a break. Grace for someone who lost a job recently and is struggling every day to find a new one. But if you are just in a cycle of crazy, there is a way out, but it's going to take some intentional effort on your part. 

So (I'm no expert, but) here are my 3 steps for how to rest.

1. Choose a time.

It can be a week, a day, a few hours, or from 2:00-2:10 in the closet every Wednesday. But you are going to have to hold back the people who will not know that's your rest time and will immediately start placing requests on that day/time. Do. Not. Compromise.

2. Tell your people.

They will both help carry your tasks, care for your kids, answer your phone, cook your food or water your plants because I PROMISE they want to see you rest too. They will help you defend that time.

3. Make a rest list.

When you get to your rest day/time, you will have a list of things you've been "wanting to do" if you get a minute. The beauty of rest time is you can CHOOSE whether you feel like painting that flower pot, and because it's a rest day, you have the freedom to say yes or no to that restful project. 

4. Stay off social media.

When was the last time you hopped off a 30 minute scroll through Facebook and said, "I feel so rested!" No, people.


Once you've gracefully drawn a box around that time for yourself, and that is respectable and healthy, your friends and family will definitely respect it. 

The Lord WILL speak to you if you slow down enough to listen. I love you, I am for you, and if your eyes have glanced over these words, then friend, you've already been prayed for by me. I hope you find a time to take a breath, and I can't wait to be back in the saddle in August. See you then!


Lauren Carnes Photography

Lauren Carnes Photography



Tallahassee on My Mind


To Tallahassee,

I cried on your campus of Florida State University when Cullen received a scholarship to attend grad school in the economics department. These were not happy tears. FSU was at the bottom of the list. When I say bottom... I mean it was not on my list. {Disclaimer: I thought I was just a Georgia, Carolina, Tennessee kinda gal.} I could not have had any worse of a reaction. (Shout out to my mother-in-law who was with us and probably felt very uncomfortable. You go, Momda.) 


June 2016: We now refer to you as our beloved Tallahassee. Cullen and I scooted around ya yesterday. 


Did I just say the word beloved? Ahem. 


Your massive oaks draped with Spanish moss make us drool.



Frequent thrifting at Good Finds reminds me of our former hometown. 

And hey, there's only one little cubby of dolls in the whole place. 



You never let us down on being

1. the capital

2. part of the sunshine state.


Nor do I ever get tired of your landscape.






Thanks for welcoming us with open arms.

Love, from a little less close-minded girl,

Kaley Wallace





The Last Plate in the Cabinet + Some Good News

Last night I reached into the cabinet to grab a plate to catch the hot fudgy brownie being lifted from the pan while a group of precious, adorable, chatty ladies sat in my living room.


Zach and I decided on this cozy townhouse one year ago because we were about to get married. We chose Augusta because we sensed the Lord calling us here. It's about 2 hours from both families and we thought there was a great job opportunity for Zach here, but needed to make a house decision before there was any final news on the job. 


Well. He didn't get the job. 


So here I am, 1 month married with a small business and a husband fresh out of grad school with...a less than exciting year ahead of him, career-wise. 


I griped, I cried, I scratched my head. If teaching wasn't in the cards this year, I would have to haul some serious business freight. PLEASE DON'T MAKE ME PUT ON BIG GIRL PANTIES, I said to the Lord.


The one-sentence version of this year: God provided every growth opportunity Laurel Ave needed through precious clients and fantastic community here in Augusta, and Zach faithfully sold tea, sorted towels, and scrubbed toilets to help get us through. 

The Details.


As we started to see God providing financially, I found other things to be afraid over and complain about. As usual.


"I don't know why, but I just can't seem to make friends," I told my mom our second month here. 


It was a very vulnerable year for us, no "steady" job and no connections to begin with. I found myself feeling very unsure of WHY a lot of days. God taught us to ask "what" instead of "why", and that helped us keep on putting one foot in front of the other, and like a kid that gets dropped off at childcare, I slowly started to warm up to the things available to us here, and then I started to actually LIKE it. 

Then we found Stevens Creek Church. Then we found Tuesdays Together. Then we found small groups. Then we found Tyler and Leah's weekly dinners. 


Then teacher application season came back around. 


I put on a brave face around Zach, but surely he knows those mornings in my office (the spare bedroom) I was griping and pleading and praying and scratching my head and googling teaching openings. Where are the jobs? Where do I even want to live? Where can my business grow? Where can Zach have a fulfilling job with a good salary??

Yesterday was June 7th.

Still no news on a job. 

Lease ends in 23 days. 


I have asked the Lord plenty of times what this year in Augusta was about. I've sat quietly (and not so quietly) waiting for answers about when Zach will have work. 


I'm at Target getting brownie mix and my phone rings: it's Zach.


Later that night I told my small group: HE GOT THE JOB!!! But...it's in Milledgeville. So much encouragement and a few tears for leaving friends behind.  


After the small group left, I reached into the cabinet to get one more plate for a late night snack for myself. I jumped when I saw which plate I was reaching for because it's a plate I haven't seen since we moved in. It's our one-of-a-kind fancy plate, and when I put it in the cabinet last June I thought to myself,

"I am never going to get through this giant stack of plates all the way down to this one. We would have to have a ton of people over, or at least 15 dirty plates (which would be a lot in a household of 2). Neither of those things are going to happen. Why do we even HAVE so many plates?!"

I did that thing - that only girls do - where you stand in your kitchen and cry over the sentiment of a plate. 


We have been abundantly, ridiculously blessed and cared for here in this weird town where we had no work and no friends at first. 


The Lord carried us to groups, communities, clients, part time jobs, friends, late night laughs, long walks and a whole city full of affectionate memories. 


As we make the move BACK to middle Georgia where we both spent 5+ years in school, it feels a little like we had a Boomerang year where the Lord said, "let me teach you a few things and then I'll lead you back". 


Worth it? I mean, I ate off my last plate...







What will he be teaching? 9th Grade Civics and 10th Grade History

What will happen to Laurel Ave? Nothing. Augusta/Athens/Atlanta...etc... clients will have my full heart and attention and presence. Augusta vendors have my heart and I will still travel to be friends with the amazing community there. And Central Georgia will get a little extra LA presence (Macon's Tuesday's Together, I'm comin' for ya). 

How are you going to live in a town without a Target and a Costco and a Panera? Valid. But Zach refers to Milledgeville as "the town where we fell in love" so I guess we'll get by.