Happy 1st Birthday, jessicasheppard.com!


Insert streamers, jazz hands and all of the boomerangs, cause we’re celebrating jessicasheppard.com’s 1st birthday! Wow, what a whirlwind. Leading up to the New Year, I always love reviewing, remembering and recounting my steps. 2016 is especially significant since my baby blog is turning ONE. I don’t have giant gold foil balloons that spell the word “one,” but I do have one million steps and windblown hair, symbolizing my year (mmmkk), this Chicwish blazer and a $500 gift card (enter to win below).

Anyway, I was thinking no better time to take you back to my roots! Since you've only known me for one year (some of you less, some of you more?), I'm cliff-noting my 26 years with you, because we have a lot of catching up to do. Wearing my heart on my Chicwish sleeve in 3, 2, 1...

With each season of my life, I’ve seemed to discover new creative expressions and over time, I’ve developed a little collection…it’s like a jewelry box inside of me. It’s probably blush pink on the outside with a ballerina on the inside. She twirls as the tinker toy music plays in the background. It’s filled with the things I love doing and the ways I love expressing myself…the things that keep my ballerina spinning. Each piece of jewelry is an individual, unique expression of the multifaceted work I put my hands to…each one represents a different part of my personality, my abilities, my character…my flair. But cumulatively, that jewelry collection is the expression of my life. (Have I lost anyone yet?)

I tend to wonder, has each jewel always been there?...just hiding away waiting for the perfect moment to reveal itself? Or was I actually given one piece of jewelry to start with?...and the jewels somehow multiplied? That’s far too deep a subject for now, but it’s a wonder worth wondering, that’s for sure.

Anyway, to square one.

My dad has been in the Christian music industry for nearly 40 years now, so I grew up surrounded by music. I started traveling with my parents at six weeks old and grew up taking classical piano lessons. 5-year-old Jessica highly resisted practicing, while 26-year-old Jessica owes her parents her salary for not letting her quit.

Grandma Verna (Dad’s mom) was a cook, painter and seamstress. I seem to have her artistry in my blood (except I’m not too sure about the cooking part—time will tell). My parents used to have a trunk full of her fabric scraps upstairs in our loft. I would dig through the textures and patterns, safety pin, chip bag buckle, bow tie, knot and ultimately makeshift pieces of fabric together to create my look (I seriously need to find the pictures). I’d add glittery blue eyeshadow, shiny pink lipgloss and clear mascara for the full effect. Next, I’d line several beach towels out in a row at the bottom of our staircase to create a runway, get the boombox ready for action and head down the steps for the fashion show. (I guess you could say not much has changed since then.)

Fast forward to the teen years…I started playing piano at Gateway Church at age 14, developed an interest in photography through middle school, began shooting professionally in high school, graduated as a homeschooler (shout out to the cool kids club), attended Christ For The Nations Institute, discovered a love for designing jewelry (which turned into a fundraiser for a summer mission trip at CFNI), majored in art at Dallas Baptist University (which is where I discovered my love for drawing, painting and mixed media)—all the while continued to play piano at church, which is where I now serve full time as an Associate Worship Pastor at Gateway Church—the music director/pianist at our Southlake campus. I travel with various music artists, take lifestyle/portrait photographs (see a bit of my portfolio here), and when I’m not playing music or taking pictures, I’m pictured in front of the camera as a blogger (happy one year, blogosphere). So over time, my platform has grown through the variety of these creative expressions and my blog is where they all come together as one expression.

So as you can gather, faith is the foundation of my life, music is the rhythm, travel is the routine and fashion is the personality. Pictures are the gift by which I capture my life and the blog is the vehicle by which I share it.

Instead of living from a step-by-step life plan that I’ve tediously estimated and humanly calculated, I dream outlandish dreams, surrender my days to God and am obedient to what He’s asked me to do…that’s it. Everyone craves thrill and adventure, but many don’t seem to realize living a life for God is truly the riskiest life you could ever dare to live. I don’t know what the future holds, but I know today…and I do my best not to worry about tomorrow. God has always been faithful to me and I confidently stand on the fact that He’ll continue to do so. All I can do is be faithful in return with what’s in my hands…today.

With each decision I make to honor God, He seems to light up the next step at just the right time…never late, never early…one day at a time, one step at a time (I seriously wish sometimes He gave me more heads up). I picture the Dance Dance Revolution arcade game…my life is less like a dance floor and more like a path, but it looks like Dance Dance Revolution squares. A neon light illuminates the next square, and I step on it—and again—a neon light illuminates the next square, and I step on it.

This life is a story God is writing and this is where I open the pages of my God story…the blog. This is-out-of-control surrender. This is a risk worth taking. This is adventure at its finest. This is a fun chapter for us to enjoy together. And so we dance. This path is LIT.

Shop the Post:

Double Breasted Longline Blazer in Beige: c/o Chicwish (under $60) | Pants: Hudson Jeans | Booties: Sam Edelman (similar here) | Crossbody: Old Navy (similar here) | Hand Charm: Kendra Scott c/o Rocksbox (read more about Rocksbox here)

I love this blazer more than I ever would've imagined having seen it only online! Throw a black tee on, add blazer and GO! Perfect modern, minimalistic feel (complete with shoulder pads), but I added the floral chiffon underneath to keep the romantic eclectic vibe alive.

Happy 1st Birthday, jessicasheppard.com, and here's to many more. I'm excited as I continue taking the steps I know to take...one day at a time. Thanks for riding shotgun on this wild ride with me! I'm celebrating because of you. To show you my love, enter to win a $500 gift card to Lululemon! It'll be the best party favor ever to one special reader. :)

Now…it’s time for a fabulous giveaway! I’ve teamed up with an amazing group of bloggers to give YOU a chance to win: a $500 Lululemon Gift Card, just in time for the first of the year!

Simply enter below by completing the rafflecopter. You’ll receive one entry per completion. This giveaway is open internationally and runs until 12/28. Winner will be announced here. Good Luck!

$500 Lululemon Gift Card a Rafflecopter giveaway