This year, Advent begins on Sunday, December 3. Advent is the season observed by many Christian churches during the weeks just prior to Christmas day.   In Latin, the word advent means “coming”, so Advent refers to the weeks of preparation for the coming of Jesus Christ into the world. (It’s Christmas, y’all.  Christ–mas, get it?)

advent house

As I’ve mentioned about myself before, 99% of the time, I prefer the journey over the destination. In other words, I love the preparation for Christmas WWWAAAAAAAYYYY more than Christmas day. I adore Advent and our family’s Advent traditions. I love the little wooden house that my kids search for candy in every day, and I love the advent wreath and candles that we light every night before dinner. And I love that my kids look forward to being Advent Angels.  (We draw names out of a box every Sunday night during Advent.  You must spend the week doing nice things for the person you pulled from the box.  The following Sunday, we each guess who our angel was.)  These traditions are little reminders to me and my family of what Christmas is really about. It’s a daily reminder that it’s not all about the gifts and decorations. It’s a smidge of a reminder that Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus.

advent wreath

But beyond the religious, to me Advent has another meaning. As we’ve already established advent is the preparation time for welcoming the birth of Christ, but at the same time, it is preparation time for the creation of the holy family. I love to focus on the family, my family, particularly at this season. It’s a little family renaissance, or refresh, if you will.

Family pic Thanksgiving 2017

Advent arrives just in the nick of time. If your family is like mine, you have just come off of the crazy, super hectic days of a new school year and fall sports and activities. Nights of eating fast food in the car, and carpools with no less than three other families involved. Fall commitments have dwindled down, the weather is becoming harsher, and it is time for a much needed physical and mental break.  Although the hustle and bustle of the holidays is no joke, Advent allows for a beautiful break from all of that.



My dream every Christmas is to be done with all of the decorating, shopping and wrapping by December 1st. My motto for years has been: “Done by December One”. My driver to do this is so I can spend the whole month of December enjoying the season and my family. That preparedness allows me the luxury to sit and watch the holiday movies and specials with my kids, play games, and just be available. We can all admit that just because we are physically in the house, doesn’t mean we are tuned in and engaged with those that live there. ‘Tis the season to make an effort to change that. Christmas has a way of bringing out the kid in all of us. I say exploit that, not to the point of irresponsibility, but let yourself relax and actually have some fun, or at least some peace, and reconnect with the younger members of your tribe.

white nativity

Personally, I think the greatest deficit in the American culture is the deterioration of the family. There are so many natural reasons for families to break apart (like illness for example), that we all have a responsibility to work to the best of our ability to keep our families strong and keep those man-made wedges in the family at bay. The stronger a family is, the stronger each individual member has the potential to be. And each member is important. Parents as teachers and mentors, but kids can play that role as well. My kids have taught me countless ways how to be … better.


Happy Family Standing On The Beach

So once your stockings are hung by the chimney with care, and you have sufficiently decked your halls, turn your attention to those that you love the most in this world. Don’t wait for an Ebenezer Scrooge moment to tell you what’s important in life. You already know. Start today. Start proactively checking off that Christmas list so that you can carve out time to just be together with your family and feel the spirit of the season like you’ve never felt it before. Because if there is joy in your home, there will be a lot more Joy to the World.


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Guest – Kathy G. Designs

Kathy G Designs 2016 Logo copy

Kathy Garcia and I had the distinct pleasure of being next door neighbors for many years. We moved into our homes, just weeks apart, when we were both in the early stages of growing our families. She has since moved to a new neighborhood, but we still remain great friends.

kg portrait 2

Kathy G. Designs provides custom, hand-made gifts for pretty much anybody. Originally her product line was geared mostly towards women favoring more feminine gifts like wreaths and stationary items made from the art of paper quilling.   (Paper quilling is an art form where strips of paper are curled or rolled and glued together to form decorative designs.)  Kathy has since added sports themed wreaths and string art with a cool rustic vibe that would also appeal to men. Kathy explains, “[Kathy G. Designs] started as the paper quilling greeting cards and gift bags, then it [evolved] to wreaths, gifts and Christmas panels. I think of new things every year.” As with a lot of companies, what gets you started in business is not always what keeps you in business, so there has been a natural slow-down to Kathy’s quilling products. Says Kathy, “[The quilling] takes more time and it [produces] such a little [piece], but I still love doing it when I have time.” But her wreaths have most definitely taken top billing, and during the holidays, the Christmas panels that she creates start to take over, so the quilling, sadly, is in the background now.

HTTR Wreath

Up until 2009 Kathy had been working in a director’s position for a big corporation. She found her work to be very stressful and not what she would consider rewarding. She goes on, “I liked the job, I was blessed to have it, [but I was] just not doing what I truly loved.” She was lucky to be in a situation where her husband had his own business and she was able to walk away from her career and be home with their three children. She shares, “That was another thing; not being there [with the kids], paying all of a paycheck to a daycare, basically, and seeing [the kids] for an hour a day before they all went off to bed. It was depressing. So I was able to leave the corporate world, be home, and then about 2-3 years later, as they were getting older, [being] off at school during the day, I [decided] I need to do something. You know? You know how it is. I needed to do something.”  (Yes.  I know exactly how it is.) Kathy explains that part of this need to “do something” was that creativity has always run on her mother’s side of the family. Growing up, she was always fidgeting with her fingers whenever she would watch TV.   A trait she has not outgrown. That was her push to start doing paper quilling. She reminisces, “I just happened to see [paper quilling] one day at A. C. Moore or something and I was like, I’m going to get all this stuff and just start creating.”

Kathy G xmas quilling

Kathy started the quilling part of her business back in 2012. Ironically, I was her first customer! My daughter was going to be the flower girl in a family wedding and I was scouring the internet for something unique for her hair. I found these super cute paper flower hair pins. I knew that Kathy had begun quilling, so I asked her if she thought she could make them (and I’d pay her, of course!). She turned out the cutest, most perfect little pins. Says Kathy, “What started as something just for fun, turned into a business because of you. Because you had said you really should sell these and do this as a business. So I was like, hmmm, that’s see what happens. I started the Facebook page and it just went from there, like real quick. I have you to thank for that.” (Oh my gosh! I truly had no idea!!)

Caroline's hair Cristina's wedding

The bulk of the business made a decided turn toward her wreaths about a year later. Ironically (again), I had a hand in that as well! Kathy says, “I don’t know if you remember, but I made you my first wreath.” (Let’s face it, this girl, and when I say “this girl” I mean me, knows a good thing when she sees it.) But let’s back up. The true reason Kathy got into wreath making was because she would go on Etsy and would find wreaths that she loved and would think, “There’s no reason they should be this expensive (she whispered). So I made one on my own and then you liked it. You were my first customer. You [said] you should make this part of your business.” (How ‘bout that!?! That very wreath lives on my front door in the summer and on my dining room mirror throughout the winter.)

C Wreath

One of my hang-ups with doing any kind of craft or product is that I’m fearful of getting bored making the same item repeatedly and committing my life to one thing that, oh my gosh, I don’t want to make any more.   I asked Kathy if that was ever a concern for her. Happily she reports, “I haven’t had that yet, knock on wood, especially with the wreaths. They are all so different. You’re not making the exact same thing over and over again.”

virginia string art

Inspiration comes from everywhere for Kathy. She explains, “I could walk around a Hobby Lobby or I could be walking in Home Goods and I’d see something and I’ll think, I can make something similar to that, you know, and then I do my spin on it. [Or] if somebody calls me and says I really want a mermaid wreath [for example], I’ll look on Pinterest to get ideas, but not copy. I want my own kind of flare to it.” Sometimes she’ll just be watching TV and an idea will come to her and she’ll need to write it down before she forgets.

Kathy G plaid xmas wreath

Kathy G. Designs didn’t start off as a dream. It started as just a little thing that she thought would be fun and she admits that she’s lucky enough that Kathy G. Designs is not her livelihood. Because her pricing is so reasonable, she doesn’t make a big profit from of her sales. What she does make in profit gets donated to Autism Awareness or The American Red Cross. (Amazing!)  But what surprised her was how big the business got, and quick! She attributes that rapid growth with the ability to brand and market through Facebook.  (Ah, the joys of social media.)

Kathy G neutral tree panel

She shares, “But for me, I think it’s more self serving as far as the calmness of it.” Kathy didn’t start Kathy G. Designs because she was bored, but more as a way to relax and de-stress. “Like people do yoga. This was my yoga. You know what I mean? It was calming. Yeah, a creative outlet, [but] it was a soothing thing for me,” says Kathy. She adds, “There are stressful times when it’s back and forth a dozen times [with a customer], but more than anything, I just like making pretty things and I don’t want to charge $250 for a wreath when it only costs me $25.”

Kathy G Believe wreath

Kathy’s long-term goal is just to be able to continue to be an option for people to get cool gifts for their friends and family. She shares, “I always had a dream of having, not like a full on shop, because you can’t really do that with this type of business, but to get together with [other vendors/crafters/makers] and open up a boutique.” She explains that she has store owners and restaurant owners in her family and she just doesn’t want to be away from her family and home as much as that type of work would require. Kathy goes on, “I don’t see [Kathy G. Designs] being a multimillion dollar type of thing. This is more of a “for fun”. I just want to make pretty things for people and make them happy.” So long-term dream aside, Kathy is content with where her business is today.

Kathy G Packers Wreath

The greatest gift that Kathy feels she has obtained from running her business is receiving validation for her creativity. Growing up she always thought she was creative. And although she had trouble accepting the positive feedback, she was always told by others that she was creative. She adds, “I guess just being known now as the one to go to for wreaths is quite an honor. And I love driving in neighborhoods [and seeing my wreaths on the doors and knowing], “That’s mine!” It just makes me happy.”

Kathy G xmas wreath

Kathy is very proud that her kids are ringside watching what she is doing. She loves that they see that you can start from something super tiny, and if you use your resources and your personality, you can become successful. She also likes that they know that she is not doing this for the money and that they see how she prioritize her family and community. She says, “I think setting the example for the kids is probably personally my pride.”

Kathy G blue and white xmas panel

Kathy is available to make pretty things for you.  She says, “Anything goes. Really. Any idea that you have… just give me one word of what you want and I’ll run with it.”

From now until December 8, take advantage of Kathy G. Designs’ Virtual Holiday Market by visiting her Facebook page at

See below for a full list of recipients of Kathy G. Designs profit contributions.  Please consider using the weblinks below to donate to Kathy’s charities of choice during this giving season.

Susan G. Komen
American Red Cross
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

Holiday Smellabration AND Jennifer the Beholder’s Holiday Gift Guide!

Happy Holidays!  I’m back with my same crew, Jackie, Jen and Meredith, to round out the year with our Holiday Smellabration. In our past reviews of Bath and Body Works‘ 3-Wick candles, we’ve each had our definite fragrance lanes that we prefer: I like musks and woodsy, masculine (but in a good way!) fragrances. Meredith prefers beachy and traditional seasonal smells. Jen loves the gourmand (fancy word for food) fragrances, especially leaning toward fruity elements and Jackie is our purest. She loves the essential oil infused candles and anything clean and authentic.



But this time of year you’ll find that our lanes most definitely crossed. So when you find a fragrance that more than one of us liked, chances are, it’s a winner! It’s going to be a scent that will appeal to several different tastes, which makes it a tremendous gift for someone you might not know very well. There’s no time to spare on our review and Holiday Smellabration. Black Friday is right around the corner y’all. We gotta move!



As I mentioned in our fall review, Jackie is due with her first baby in December, so she did early reconnaissance on her candle loves for this holiday season.  I’m not sure if the full compliment of fragrance offerings was available at the time that she went, but I think we covered the spectrum pretty well. Here’s how she weighed in:


fresh balsam

FRESH BALSAM – Jackie felt this was a good traditional balsam pine candle. This fragrance is made with pine, cedarwood and eucalyptus essential oils. This scent is available in the 3-Wick Candle with a variety of glass jar labels to choose from, Wallflowers Fragrance Refill, Concentrated Room Spray, Mini Candle and Fragrance Melt. (This is my second personal favorite that I will burn all January to keep that happy Christmas feeling flowing through my home just a little longer.)

winter candle pyramid

WINTER – Jackie found that Winter was also a fresh smelling fir needle scent that would play nice all winter. Winter contains the mixture of pine needles, sparking clementine, and spiced cloves. This fragrance is available in Wallflowers Fragrance Refill, 3-Wick Candle, Gentle Foaming Hand Soap, Mini Candles, and Fragrance Melt (This is my all-time personal favorite, especially for Christmas.)


frosted cranberry

FROSTED CRANBERRY – Jackie reported that Frosted Cranberry was very clean, tart smelling without being overly sweet. This scent profile consisted of frosted cranberry, red delicious apple, and blonde wood. It is available in Wallflowers Fragrance Refill, 3-Wick Candle in a variety of glass jar motifs, Gentle Foaming Hand Soap, Exfoliating Hand Soap, Mini Candles, Concentrated Room Spray, Fragrance Melts, Medium Candles and Scentportable Fragrance Refill.



HONORABLE MENTION – FLANNEL – Jackie admitted that she had a hard time not buying Flannel, which was unusual for her because she doesn’t usually gravitate to musk scents. She felt that Flannel had a cleaner musk fragrance. She attributed it to the use of the essential oils in the candle that kept it smelling so clean and real. This scent is a mixture of crisp autumn air, bergamot, heirloom mahogany, and soft musk. (Flannel is my go to in February. It just smells cozy.)

bath and body holiday 2017 candles

Jackie added, “I could have walked out with all of them and that never usually happens.”

Since Jackie went out early on her smellathon, and actually chose my top two fragrances of Fresh Balsam and Winter, I set out to try to find something new for myself. Although nothing to me is better than Winter (and I swear, if they ever stop making this one, I may never speak to them again) and Fresh Balsam, I was impressed with some new comers.

FRANKINCENSE (Essential oil candle) – I was surprised to find this offered! I really enjoyed the lighter hand this candle had in the spicy family. This fragrance is a mixture of cedarwood essential oil and notes of frankincense. You can purchase this scent in Wallflowers Fragrance Refill and the 3-Wick Candle.

frankincense and myrrh

MYRRH (Essential oil candle) – Let’s stay biblical, shall we? This was another shocker for me, having never smelled Myrrh before. I liked it! I love pine scented home fragrances and this one fit right into that category but with a decidedly gentler delivery. This contained a combination of myrrh and clove leaf essential oil. Who knew? This scent is only available in 3-Wick Candle form.


cinnamon & clove buds

HONORABLE MENTION – CIMMAMON & CLOVE BUDS – This candle had a very strong cinnamon calling card. Sure to fill even a large space with the spicy scent. One of the purest combos I found, this contains only cinnamon leaf and clove leaf essential oils. It is only available in the 3-Wick Candle and the Wallflowers 2-Pack Refill.

we whisk you a merry christmas

On to our Gourmand friend. Jen did not disappoint and stayed true to her favorite genre. Jen’s top pick for the season was WE WHISK YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS – This was actually the message on the front face of the glass container holding the actual scent called CINNAMON MAPLE PANCAKES – The scent profile combo for this treat is warm maple syrup, fluffy buttermilk pancakes and fresh ground cinnamon. Jen confirms that she can smell each element. Yum! I searched on the website, and did not find either of the afore mentioned fragrances. Having said that, I can only surmise that this is only offered in 3-Wick candles and only available in stores.

cinnamon caramel swirl

CINNAMON CARAMEL SWIRL: Jen’s next fav. This scent contains gooey caramel, grated cinnamon, and vanilla bean. Delish! You can purchase this fragrance in: Wallflowers Fragrance Refill, Gentle Foaming Hand Soap, 3-Wick Candle, Creamy Luxe Hand Soap, Scentportable Fragrance Refill, and Fragrance Melt.


vanilla bean noel

TRIED AND TRUE – VANILLA BEAN NOEL – As per the official Bath and Body online Gift Guide, Vanilla Bean Noel has been a holiday favorite for over 15 years! Although never experiencing this fragrance of fresh vanilla bean, warm caramel, sugar cookies, whipped cream and snow-kissed musk, this is Jen’s “all-time favorite” for body lotion. She wears it every November and December. (I must concur. I also layer Vanilla Bean Noel body products through the holidays.) This makes a safe gift to give to anyone. You can obtain this fragrance in the following products: Ultra Shea Body Cream (yes please!), Body Lotion, Wallflowers Fragrance Refill, Gentle Foaming Hand Soap, 3-Wick Candles, Creamy Luxe Hand Soap, Shower Gel, Scentportable Fragrance Refill, Fine Fragrance Mist, Fragrance Melt, Concentrated Room Spray, Travel Size Body Lotion, Lip Gloss (seriously?!), Creamy Body Scrub, Travel Size Body Butter, Diamond Shimmer Mist, Super Soft Body Butter, 2-in-1 Bubble Bath and Body Wash, and several gift sets. Come on! This is a no brainer. Winner! Oh, and most products are offered in a variety of packaging styles. Again, Winner.

So where does Meredith weigh in? She gravitates to the more traditional spicy scents of the season. Here’s where she landed.

tis the season

TIS THE SEASON – Mere’s new favorite. A great scent for the holidays and all winter long. The scent profile mixes red delicious apple, sweet cinnamon bark, and cedarwood. Bath and Body went all in on this new holiday staple. This scent is offered in Wallflowers Fragrance Refill, 3-Wick Candle in a variety of glass jar styles, Scentportable Fragrance Refill, and Concentrated Room Spray.


am I right

Her second choice, WINTER. (Yeah girl! My go to for years.) Meredith adds that the Winter fragrance gives her home a smell of a real Christmas tree versus her “no maintenance, I can’t kill it” artificial tree.

bath and body bag

I think we were all in agreement that Bath and Body Works hit a home run on the labeling and overall holiday theme this year.

The Holiday Smellabration is my candle super bowl. This is the time of year that we are all indoors more, so the smell of our homes can be even more impactful. I believe in the power of aromatherapy, ‘cause I know that I am ten times happier when I have my candles crankin’. I also love how a scent can draw you back to a memory almost instantly. One of my biggest “smell” thrills happened last year, when I lit my go-to holiday scented candle, Winter, for the first time of the season. My son came home from school and walked in the front door. I heard him gasp and say, “Oh it smells like Christmas.” I feel like even after my kids are out living on their own, that if they were to smell that Winter smell, it will bring them home to me in their minds; a happy memory of family Christmases when they were young. Love.

And if the Holiday Smellabration wasn’t enough to get you moving on your Christmas and Hanukkah shopping, you are in for a real treat. Below I have put together a list of great gift ideas from Jennifer the Beholder 2017 featured Guests. Happy Shopping and Merry Christmas!


As you all know, I like to make it my business of helping others with… business (see what I did there? Lol). My goal is to help promote local entrepreneurs, artists, and makers. BUT, I also want to help you.


christmas shopping list template

We all have a million and one people on our holiday shopping lists.  I have compiled some fantastic gift ideas for everyone on your list to help make this season’s shopping easier for you. From hostess gifts for holiday parties, to that impossible person to buy for, you’re sure to find something right here on the….drumroll please…. Jennifer the Beholder’s Holiday Gift Guide! (cue confetti cannon) Happy shopping everyone!



Ocelot Brewing Co – Ocelot sells super cool 32 oz and 64 oz growlers. Drop by the brewery, order a flight and select your favorite beer to purchase to fill the growler. Makes a great gift for the craft beer lover on your list or a killer hostess gift. Visit Ocelot’s brewery to purchase at 23600 Overland Dr, #180, Dulles, VA 20166. (Obviously, must be 21 years or older to purchase.)

ocelot growler

Flight of Fancy LLC – Flight of Fancy has a great online store with a multitude of fun home furnishing and accessories.  For anyone who loves home interiors and fashion accessories or would make great teacher gifts!

flight of fancy fence slat skis

The Vintage Key – Super special handmade jewelry pieces. Excellent gifts for any of the ladies in your life and even the fellas. There are several choices of really cool cufflinks for the guys.

vintage key resin ring

Shop Swatch Box – For the knitter or crafter on your list. Outstanding products shipped directly for you.  She often has boxes for kids too!  Choose from “knitting” themed boxes  (pictured) or “stitch” themed boxes.  Great as a one time give, or a subscription with delivery throughout the year.

shop swatch box 2

Elizabeth Shaffner Design –  From stocking stuffers to a grand gift, Elizabeth offers her awesome magnets for stocking stuffers to full art pieces for a very special someone. Access her wares at

MD Blue Crabs 2017 Mixed graphic and traditional media

Pure Love Macaron – Custom gift boxes containing this very special confection. Makes an outstanding hostess gift or teacher gift.  Made with organic eggs, sugar and butter. Seasonal flavors like Peppermint Candy Cane, Egg Nog, Hot Chocolate and Pistachio are on the menu.  Available in Half dozens and Dozens.

pure love macaron holiday

Sweet Pea Studios –  Book a mini photo session! This is the ONLY time Sweet Pea Studios offers mini sessions for ALL OF 2018!  Mini sessions include a 30 minute session at the location of the photographer’s choice, an online gallery, and your choice of 10 hand edited high resolution images with a download code for personal use.  Visit the link below for more details.  (Link will go live on Wednesday, November 22.)

Black Friday Sale 2017

T’Kila Latin Kitchen and Bar – Gift cards are available for dining at this great neighborhood restaurant. An excellent gift for a family, teachers and coaches or the mailman! Drop by the restaurant to purchase: 42010 Village Center Plaza #170, Aldie, VA 20105

tekila logo

Beyond the Barn Doors – Although they don’t have an online store, you can shop their Holiday Show on December 1, 2 & 3 at The Vale School House located at 3124 Fox Mill Rd., Oakton, VA, for fantastic home accessories.  Great gifts for the home interiors enthusiast and teachers.  You’re also sure to find a terrific house warming gift for anyone celebrating their first Christmas in a new home.

holiday beyond the barn door

BT Graphics’ Christmas book, The Other Side of Christmas – This sweet book makes a great gift for children of any age. I purchased a copy for each of our Sunday School Teachers! Order at


**The next set of gift ideas are from Guests scheduled to post in late November and December. I don’t want you to miss out on these gift giving options.**

Kathy G Designs – Spectacular holiday home décor. Excellent gifts for anyone who loves to add holiday cheer to their home.   Also fantastic options for teacher gifts! Access her online Holiday Market from November 17 – December 8 at

kathy g wreath

Stylist Kristal Eastman – Have someone on your list who would love a fresh new do in the new year? Visit LifeTime Fitness at 5900 Trinity Pkwy, Centreville, VA 20120 to purchase a gift card in the Spa.


Catoctin Creek Distillery – Visit the distillery at 120 W Main St, Purcellville, VA 20132 to sample and purchase a super fine bottle of spirits made right here in Virginia. Or, visit their website at to see other locations where you can buy their outstanding whisky. Makes a perfect gift for the cocktail lover on your list. Also makes a superb hostess gift.

catoctin creek

Northern Virginia Style & Living Magazine – For the fashionista on your list or for someone who just loves Northern VA and it’s fantastic culture, dining and entertainment. Go to and order a subscription! First issue hits news stands January 1.

NVSL mag

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Guest – Justin Short – Licensed Acupuncturist and Chinese Herbalist

Justin Short is a Licensed Acupuncturist and Chinese Herbalist at the Wellness Connection in Aldie, VA. Acupuncture is a Chinese medical technique where the practitioner stimulates specific points on the body, traditionally, by inserting small, thin needles through the skin. I sought out Justin’s help when I was suffering from a long-term sports injury. I had gone through surgery and physical therapy, but was still in a lot of pain and just plain miserable. I was quickly approaching our international flight to England (back in June) when I reached the pinnacle of desperation. I didn’t know how I was going to make that long flight in the pain that I was poorly managing.

After enduring my injury pain for well over a year, I can finally say that I am pain free after just a few weeks of working with Justin. If you don’t believe in miracles, then you haven’t tried acupuncture.


Justin has been an acupuncture practitioner in Virginia for six years. Prior to returning to Virginia, he resided in Colorado for three years as a student. (Acupuncture training is a four year program, but can be completed in three.) He explains, “I got into acupuncture through martial arts. A big part of [martial arts] is moving toward being healthy and improving and strengthening yourself. Not just learning to fight.” Prior to beginning acupuncture school, Justin had graduated college with a degree in philosophy and psychology. Post graduation, he admits that he didn’t know what he wanted to do professionally. He says, “I stayed by my [martial arts] teacher training, and then doing whatever I could. Eventually I got tired of just doing whatever and wanted to start a family. I wanted to go into [one] of the healing fields, so I looked at different kinds of hands on stuff… massage, acupuncture, chiropractic care, and osteopathy. A lot of my teacher’s students had gone on to become osteopaths.” Justin’s teacher did a lot of hands on healing instruction with his students, but Justin knew that he didn’t want to follow what he calls “the Western model”. He explains, “[Western medicine is] more of that idea of fixing problems. That’s good if it’s a really serious problem, but when it comes to the rest of your life, it’s not as useful. So that led me away from [osteopathy]. I didn’t want to do chiropractic [care] because it was still more Western. I didn’t want to do massage because I wanted to be able to support a family and I didn’t want to be worn out by the time I was 35. So that led me to acupuncture. Acupuncture and martial arts share the same underlying theory, so it was a pretty easy jump for me to make.”

Justin adds, “All medicine is going to have an aspect of science and art, but I think acupuncture is more art than most, and not in a bad way. There’s a lot more variety between practitioners in terms of skill level. The health and ability of the doctor doesn’t matter as much, if they’re just prescribing pills. But for things where it’s more hands on, then you still have more variety and variance in the skill level of the practitioner. So I think there’s a lot more of the art to [acupuncture].” He explains that the nice thing about acupuncture and martial arts as well is that they are life-long pursuits. He goes on, “I’ll never master martial arts. I’ll never master the medicine, but you get better and better. There’s always room to grow. It always keeps you pushing for [mastery] which ties into the art aspect of it. Like art, you never really master art, you just get better and better.” He adds, “A lot of the body work that I do works on [the patient], but it’s also training for me as well. I get to help people but I also get to work on myself when I’m working on people.”


Justin shares that when he was in college he was part of a Christian group who would say that individuals should feel called to preach. That’s essentially what it is with health for him. He shares, “I just feel called to help, but also to talk about how to be better, how we can all be better. And it also keeps me honest. [It] keeps me trying to be better too. Makes sure I don’t get complacent.”

Justin explains that our world is not getting easier to live in healthfully. He works to help push people along in a more healthy direction. He explains, “As our world changes a lot, the idea is that if we’re stronger than we’re better able to handle all of the changes. On a global scale, when we’re stronger, than we do better.”


Aside from just the mechanical side of acupuncture, Justin explains the treatment aspect of the medicine. The primary focus of acupuncture treatment is to make people feel better, but a large portion of the medicine is teaching people how to lead a better life. The focus is on teaching patients how to get healthy and stay healthy. Justin explains, “So we do the treatment to help them get healthy, but we also look at what kind of lifestyle changes they can make; you can do this more, stop eating this, add this, [do] this kind of exercise, so that they can make changes in their life to stay healthy. I want to try to get people out of the mindset of just coming in to fix problems. We want to get people more involved in their health.” For Justin, health is an active and ongoing practice. He says, “You’re not just healthy and you sit around and you stay healthy. You’ve got to work for it. There’s a lot coming at us that makes it really easy to just not be healthy and sit by and do nothing. A lot of our technology makes things really easy and so it’s really easy to just sit around and let things go.” Justin is motivated to get people more involved in staying healthy and taking more ownership of their health.

Acupuncture is just one aspect of Chinese Medicine. There’s treatment acupuncture, but there’s also the aspect of working out which is the martial art. There’s a dietary component and meditation. It’s really much broader than just the needles, so long-term, Justin would like to branch out into those areas of the medicine as well. He’d love to train people more in terms of a martial arts class. He adds, “Often times, with patients, I’ll tell them to do something like yoga, and yoga is good, [but on it’s own] it’s just not the best. But yoga is something that you can pick up pretty quickly. You can get more [from it] quicker than you can from internal martial arts or tae chi where it takes more [time in training] to get a lot of the benefits. It’s easier to pick up a [yoga] pose than it is to learn a whole [martial art] form.” He goes on to explain, “Yoga breaks down restrictions in the body, (which is good for flexibility), but it doesn’t build you up really. That’s where the internal martial arts comes in. It’s two parts, the breaking down and the building up. Yoga’s really good at breaking down. The [practice of] martial arts is best at building things up.” He explains another way to “build up” would be weight lifting, but shares that weight lifting builds up in a negative way where it creates a lot of restrictions in the body so you don’t move as well.   He adds that weight lifting contributes to less free range of motion, and balance in the body because you’re isolating a huge part of the body. He adds that weight lifting used as part of sports training could also be counter productive as the focus of the exercises may not be applicable to how you’re actually moving in the sport.


A dream of Justin’s would be to work in athletic and physical training. He explains that a lot of people just don’t train correctly, training in ways that actually hurt their bodies. Many of us are taught to train in ways that, long-term, hurts our bodies. (Don’t I know it?!)   He would love to be able to assist in training athletes in more meaningful ways, but laments the work is tough to break into. He explains, “Where’s the place most sports are played? It’s in high school and you can’t get in there unless you know someone.”

I asked Justin, outside of acupuncture, what was intriguing him or drawing his attention these days. As much as he likes being healthy, he is a self-proclaimed nerd of sorts. What’s really big right now, and growing, is competitive computer gaming or e-sports. Organizations are paying tens of millions of dollars to just apply to be in e-sport leagues. It’s something that Justin has watched grow from being a bunch of kids in some guy’s house, to renting out Madison Square Garden. He explains that there are international e-sports tournaments that have more people tuning in to watch than the numbers watching professional baseball. Internationally it’s getting huge. He shares, “One thing that I want to do there is be like a team doctor [in part to] get the medicine out there, more [in the] mainstream. I think it would be really cool for me to take care of these players in terms of their training. It’s not like traditional sports where a lot of the injuries are very acute, [for example] a pulled ankle or a shoulder. This is more of a wellness type thing for these guys where they’re playing computer games for 12 hours a day.” (That is not good for you!) He adds, “So you’ve got to look at your long-term health. A lot of these players get burned out after two or three years because it’s so rough. There isn’t really any health component to a lot of these organizations because they haven’t got the resources since it’s such a young industry.” A dream job for him would be getting into one of these organizations and setting up a whole regiment for them to get their players healthy. But again he stresses that he doesn’t just want to get them healthy, because again, fixing problems is good, but he wants to go beyond that, building them up as much as possible.   Justin shares, “It’s the biggest thing that nobody’s heard of. Advertisers love [e-sports] because it’s that 15 – 25 age group that they want to get in on. A lot of changes in the infrastructure of the league are happening now to where everything is going to get big real soon. It’s something I might try and do.” Justin adds that he wants to do something that he enjoys, but he also wants to help educate people in Chinese Medicine so that acupuncture is not seen as “such a weird thing”. He also wants to help the idea of healthy living permeate the national consciousness so that more people are aware that there are options besides taking pills for everything.


He wants people to feel empowered about their health and encourages everyone to take their health into their own hands to feel really good and have tons of energy. He shares, “I hear it all the time, “My knee hurts a little bit right now, I’m gonna have arthritis in some years.” And I’m like, “Well don’t just accept that. You can change that. Nothing is written in stone. You may have a little bit of scar tissue, but there’s nothing saying that you’re going to have arthritis. You can put it off, or you can make it be a lot less or you can get rid of it all together, without surgery, without pills”.” He explains that there are lifestyle things that we can all do to just be better. It was important to him to share that we don’t have to just accept that pills and surgery are the only options.

Says Justin, “You don’t have to settle for feeling rundown. If you have to have coffee everyday to pick yourself up in the morning, you don’t have to do that. You can do things in your life to help that. If there are things that you are required to do every day to feel just normal or to get through, figure out why is that? What could you be changing [so] you don’t have to do that? Often we [hold on to habits] because it’s the easiest thing to do. If you’re feeling tired, it’s easier to drink the coffee in the morning or all day to kind of pick you up than it is to change your whole lifestyle. But making those changes is going to mean longer life, happier life, healthier life.” The goal of Chinese medicine is to live your life in such a way (physically, mentally and spiritually) that you ultimately die happy, healthy and old.


Justin is quite passionate about the concept that everyone can feel better than they do now. He shares, “No matter how good you feel, you can be better. If you feel sick and you feel rundown, you can be better. It takes effort but you can be better. Even if you feel great, you can still be better. That’s the training in martial arts part. In acupuncture we can get you kind of back to normal a little bit, but with the training that’s where you can go more extraordinary. What I tell patients all the time is that fixing the problem is fine, that’s good, but we’re looking to be great.”

Justin is so proud that he actually gets to help people and not just fix problems, but help them want to be more proactive about being healthy. He understands that you can’t force people to want to be healthy and realizes that it’s tough for everyone. He says, “We’ve all got to work through this. You know, figure out what works for you. No one is perfect. Everyone has their things. You don’t have to be perfect. You just have to be trying to get better.”

To contact Justin, you can email him at:

Wellness Connection –

All photos obtained from Google Images.

The Nutcracker

I began this journey of blogging about six months ago. It was springtime here in Virginia and the whole DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) area was bursting with Cherry Blossoms. Because I was trying to stay aware of inspiring content around me, I was thinking hard about the influence of Cherry Blossom season to our area. (I even modeled my blog logo after cherry blossoms.)  I intend to share more about the actual “season” this coming spring, but one of the local “events” that has been influenced, making it very appropriate for this time of year, is The Washington Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker.


The Nutcracker ad

I remembered back to 2004 when I had the privilege of being in the audience to see the production of The Nutcracker that Christmas season. I know the year exactly because I was hugely pregnant with my second child. I remember the announcement prior to the show starting of how excited the company was to be “unveiling” their new, decidedly, Washington D.C. flavored performance including The Cherry Blossom Fairy in lieu of the traditional Sugarplum Fairy.



Because I always want to provide my readers with the most accurate information that I possibly can give, I decided to email The Washington Ballet to ask details of how those D.C.-centric changes came to fruition. My expectation was that I would either not get a response, or perhaps, if I was lucky, some intern or admin would shoot me back a quick reply.  I was pleasantly surprised to actually receive an email back. The note that came to me had no information in it about the changes made to the production. Instead, the email requested that I contact Septime Webre, as he would be the one to know the answer to my questions. So I sent a new email to Mr. Webre asking him my questions. He responded with a request that we have a phone interview. Oh, and by the way, did I tell you that Mr. Webre was the Artistic Director and Choreographer of The Washington Ballet in 2004?  Are you freaking kidding me?!?! I’m going to have a phone interview with the Artistic Director and Choreographer of The Washington Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker. NO.  WAY!


get out no way

I had not even launched yet and I was going to be doing a huge interview. My first interview….ever. I was terrified. I began studying and preparing my @$$ off so that I would sound legit and basically not waste the gentleman’s time. It was amazing. He was warm and approachable and FACINATING.



In 2004, The Washington Ballet was experiencing a regime change. Mr. Septime Webre had taken over as the new Artistic Director for the ballet company. It was within this role that Mr. Webre decided to put a new and true Washington D.C. stamp on the staging and production. Mr. Webre studied history at George Mason University and has a real affinity for American history. He knew instantly that he wanted to incorporate our rich local history into the staging of his version of The Nutcracker.


septime serious bw

Listening to him describe the thoughtful changes that he made, I learned that there are 100’s of little historic and D.C. focused “Easter Eggs” sprinkled throughout the production. Some of the obvious ones were the replacement of the Sugarplum Fairy with the Cherry Blossom Fairy, complete with a gorgeous backdrop of the Jefferson Memorial in full cherry splendor. The Nutcracker himself, is modeled after George Washington. The opening party scene is set in Georgetown.  One of the children in the party scene is holding a Harriet Tubman doll. (OK, well, he told me that one.)  The list goes on.


Nutcracker Slide

I joked with Mr. Webre (he made me feel that comfortable), that he should make a book to correspond with the production that aids the audience of where to search for all of the meaningful historic details that he has so carefully and beautifully added to make our local professional production of this cherished ballet so special.   The performance is already so engaging, but can you imagine having a guidebook to help you see and understand all of the surprises that were put there for our enjoyment? A totally new and interactive experience. In my thank you note to Mr. Webre, I requested that when he did make such a book, to reserve a copy (preferably signed) for me. But make no mistake, the next time that I get to see The Washington Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker, I will be paying closer attention to see if I can spot the “Easter Eggs” myself. My hope is that you are inspired to do the very same.


clara with nutcracker

Tickets for the show are currently on sale at:


nutcracker at the warner

As for Mr. Septime Webre, he has since moved on with his career and serves as Artistic Director at Halcyon House in Washington, D.C.. Be sure to check out for more information about their amazing productions and programs.



1 Pic from

2 Pic from, Photo:  The Washington ballet by media4artists, Theo Kossenas

3 Gif from

4 Pic from

5 Pic from

6 Pic from 2012 post by

7 Pic from  This pic was posted in 2013.

8 Pic from  This pic was posted in 2016.  Actual show dates are from November 25 – December 24, 2017.

9 Pic from

Guest – Beth Gully – BT Graphics – Author – The Other Side of Christmas – An Upside – Down Book

I met Beth Gully when I was a little girl. I practically grew up at her house as our parents were long time friends. I looked up to her and I followed her around everywhere. She was so cool and so pretty, and even at my young age, I could see that she was very talented. Our parents stayed in contact over the years, so I would periodically hear about Beth and what she was up to. A few years ago, my mother gave my kids the book, The Other Side of Christmas written and illustrated by Beth Gully. I was blown away by the way her mind could create the upside down images in the book, and the message of the book was extremely meaningful to me.

Beth gully book bio photo

Fast-forward to 2017 and I have an epiphany! I need to interview Beth Gully for the blog, not only to help her promote her book, but to share her one of a kind talent with you and to share the gift of her story and message as we head into the Christmas season. As we got several minutes into the interview, Beth asked, “Am I allowed to talk about my faith?” How could I say no? I’m so glad I didn’t, because that part of her story is very special. So consider this an early Christmas gift from me to you.


Beth Gully started BT Graphics in 1990, building her business on her core strength of logo design. After successfully running her business for 14 years, she noticed her business was beginning to decline. The September 11 tragedy started to impact the graphic design industry and two years later, after more than a handful of missed paychecks Beth says, “I dropped to my knees in complete submission to God. Business just got really bad and so I just had a moment of surrendering to God and [thought], if this isn’t where you want me, [then] this isn’t where I want to be. Believe me, it was through gritted teeth that I said that because I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.” She surrendered the business.

1st National new logo

God answered in a big way.  It was after her act of “surrender” that business began booming again.  New and old clients were coming in from everywhere creating some of BT Graphics’ most successful years.  AND…this was the year her book idea was born.  “I knew God was in charge and had a new direction for my life,” says Beth.  She continued designing logos during the day, and worked on the book in the evenings and on weekends.

She explains that she made a commitment to work on the book every day whether it was for 3 minutes or 3 hours. That way the “space” between her and the book wouldn’t get bigger and become a wall.  It took her seven years to finally get the book done. She then took another year to perfect it and make modifications. She did a test drive for that first Christmas and then made more modifications.  Beth adds, “I saw that God was really touching people with [the book] and it gave me an opportunity to share some of the other ambigrams that I’ve done.”

An ambigram is a word or art form whose elements retain meaning when viewed from different directions. I mentioned to her that I thought her ability to create images in this manner was incredibly rare. (I’ve never met anyone who can do it.) She replied, “Well, I kind of thought everyone could do it, so I didn’t know any different. Did I tell you how my first one happened?”   (No. I couldn’t wait to here this.)

Beth caveated her story by telling me that this experience happened before she “did” ambigrams. She begins, “I was working on my Christmas card that year and I like everything to have an “aha” factor to it. Nothing was really coming to me and I was really disappointed. I thought it’s my Christmas card. I have a deadline. So I thought, I’ll just write “happy holiday” real pretty and make it look like a snowflake. You know, I’m a graphic designer, I could probably do that.” (That alone impresses me as I am NOT a graphic designer and I wouldn’t even know where to start on this.) She goes on, “I wrote it out and when I came back to my desk after lunch, it had fallen on the floor. When I picked it up, I could see how the “y” in “happy” looked like the “h” for “holiday” in lower case. And so I worked on it for about a week and it kind of came together.” (We were talking through FaceTime, so she was drawing as she explained.) She asked if I could see the word “happy” (yes I could) and when she flipped it upside down it became “holiday”. This was Beth’s very first ambigram. It’s through this holiday design that she discovered what this type of art style was.

Happy Holiday

Since then she’s created about seven more. She describes, “The “worry” changing over to “prayer” [amibigram] is probably one of the most well received designs. When I give one [of the cards] to somebody, whether it’s in the grocery store, or on the street, or at the fast food line, they just start crying and they say, “You have no idea what I’m going through right now. My coworkers don’t even know, but this has really touched me.” Beth shares, “That’s why I feel like I’m supposed to be doing this. [The ambigrams] come to me, I can visualize them. I mean I’m as surprised when I do it as you are to see it, which is really fun because I only do it once, but I get to show it to a lot of people and watch their faces when they see it.”


When working at expo events, her biggest reward is when she notices that someone has fallen in love with her book and they start showing it to all of their friends. She says, “It just warms my heart. They’ve discovered this magical image and they want to show it to others so that they can be the one who delivers this cool awe-inspiring thing.” (Um, guilty! That’s why I did this interview. So I could be the one to share her awesome talent with you.)

Beth talked about a time when she had a huge faith step in her life. Her world had been turned upside down and she realized, as she put it, “Who’s I was on this earth”.  And that changed her perspective on everything. So this time when she started to work on her Christmas card, she actually prayed first. She reminisces, “It’s so funny, because almost instantaneously the idea came to do Santa one way [and] Jesus the other way. It wasn’t an audible voice; it wasn’t a picture. It was just a sense. All I kept thinking was, “Well that’ll never work ‘cause Santa has a beard.” So I drew a beard. And then I said, “Well that will never work ‘cause Santa has a hat.” And I’d flip it over and it sort of looked like a medallion. And then the last thing I did, is that I remembered that [in] pictures I’ve seen of Santa, he has this little mustache and his lip is underneath. You know, for some reason it just kind of dawned on me at that time.  I’m really not that visual to pay attention to Santa. Now I know why I was supposed to remember that and when I flipped it over, I remembered that every picture that I’ve ever seen of Jesus, his hair is parted down the middle. And then I sort of saw a halo over his head and that’s when I thought, ‘oh my gosh I think this can actually work’.” After finalizing the art, she turned it into her Christmas card that year.  (I need to get on her Christmas card list!)


Twelve years later, a friend of Beth’s came to her and said, “You know, I think you should do a children’s book.” Beth describes the same Doubting Thomas reaction happened again. She shares, “We were in a restaurant and I said, “Well, that will never work. How am I going to come up with that many pictures?” So I said, “Well, if we’re doing a book about Christmas, we’ve got to have Santa flying overhead.” So I sketched a picture of a horizon and I put an arc in the sky. That’s all I did. And I could see Santa flying overhead. And then when I flipped it over I could see Mary and Joseph traveling to Bethlehem. This is on a napkin in a restaurant, right? We’re like, “Oh my gosh that’s amazing!” And so it occurred to me, you can’t make a book out of one picture, so I grabbed another napkin. On that one I drew the iconic stockings hanging on the mantle and I just did like three stockings and a box. And I flipped it upside down and I could see the shepherds and the manger.”

8 sm sleigh copy

8 sm sleigh copy

After those first two drawings happened, she realized that if she could come up with two ambrigram drawings in under five minutes, then God had a book for her to make. She accepted. (I’m so glad she did.)


Beth says, “I remember when the book was still at the printer and I was waiting for the shipment to be delivered. I was with a prayer group and I had this overwhelming feeling that I needed to ask for prayer about it. Not if the book would be good, but I wanted to pray for humility. I was afraid that when [the book] was released, if it did really well, then [the success] could go to my head and then it wouldn’t serve God the way that it was intended to. I just felt so odd asking someone to pray that for me, because I didn’t even know [the person] that well. I thought, “Oh she’s going to think I’m conceited, ya know?””

She talks about how stepping into the new world of being an author is “crazy”. She explains that when you’re an author, suddenly everyone thinks you’re this grandiose person. Says Beth, “I’m still the same person. I haven’t changed. I’m suddenly finding myself in shoes that I don’t feel comfortable walking in.” She shares a sweet story of a time at one of her book readings where a little boy came in wearing a sport coat and a vest. His mother explained that when she asked the boy before they left why he was so dressed up he said, “Because I’m going to meet an author!” Beth says, “I feel like I have to over-convey to people that I’m just another person. You can do this too. Let me show you how maybe you can figure out how to create images that God wants you to make. Or especially how to step out of your comfort zone and do things that God wants you to do that you may not feel that you’re good enough to do.”

That was her whole struggle while working on the book. It took Beth eight years to complete the book because the last five years she didn’t feel qualified to create the final illustrations for it. (Can you believe?) In truth, Beth wanted to hire an illustrator to do all of the art for the book using her sketches as the base. But, she explains, “God just over and over said, “No, you’re supposed do the art”.  That’s why I didn’t want to do it for five years. [She felt] I’m not good enough. I’m going to ruin a great concept.” She adds, “I guess I’m still trying to accept the fact that the art is good enough.” Beth continues, “I remember several Christian leaders reminding me after seeing my sketches, that whatever my style is, it’s what it’s supposed to be. I don’t have to worry about what all the other illustrated children’s books look like. God’s doing this one and God doesn’t fit into a mold.” Beth shared how powerful that was for her and how it helped her to find the courage to finish the book. “God can use us all whether we feel like we’re good enough or not. I think that’s a really important message, especially to pass along to children,” concluded Beth.

Inspiration for Beth comes when she doesn’t expect it. For example, her “worry / prayer” ambigram card came to her when she was sitting in church and the Pastor said, “Worry is prayer in reverse.” Says Beth, “Well I didn’t hear anything he said for the next ten minutes. At the time, that was the fastest one I had ever made. What I had found was, [inspiration] came when people would say words. [The words] would resonate with me and then I would start wanting to doodle with it. If I tried to force it, then it didn’t happen. I’ve learned to accept that. It’s almost like at some point between when the person says a word and I receive it, something happens. Like it creates a spark and then it becomes something that I can do something with.”

She shares another story, “Did you ever read the book The Shack? I went to hear [the author] speak and he was talking about how he had a very rough childhood. He said as an adult [he learned] that until he surrendered his fear, he couldn’t find love.” She was listening to the speech again on a cd while driving out of town and all of a sudden found herself doodling on a scrap of paper, on the steering wheel, the word “love” and the word “fear”. The concept that the author had shared, that ‘once he let go of fear then he could find love’, resonated with her. When she finally stopped driving, she worked on her idea a little more. She wrote the word “love” and that looked pretty good, but “fear” didn’t look right. She put it down and returned an hour or so later. She says, “It was sitting on the bed and bing! It just came right together. And that was it. That was [inspiration] that was spoken language that I had heard.”


Two more of her amibrams came while she was reading the book Fifty Days of Heaven, by Randy Alcorn. She explains, “When I put the book down, I prayed, ya know, a little quiet time. And all of a sudden I had the idea to do “eternal / glory” as an ambigram. First of all I’m thinking, ”No! I want to have quiet time!” [LOL.] But it just felt real strong, so I pulled out a piece of paper and I did “eternal / glory”. The next day when I was reading, I did “heaven / new earth”. And those were all inspired because I finished reading a chapter and closed the book and then I did it.” Of course her “Doubting Thomas” returned with her once again thinking, “Oh that will never work because “new earth” has more letters than “heaven”.” She adds, “I always have all of these reasons why it’s not going to work and I don’t know why, after I’ve seen God show up so many times, over and over, why I keep doubting. I guess it keeps me grounded to know that I may not be able to make this work, [but] God can. I just need to always know, “Ok Lord, what are you going to show me today?” Maybe that should be my new motto.”

eternal.glory earth

Throughout her logo design years, Beth has been chasing the coveted Gold ADDY, which is one of the highest advertising industry awards. Beth earned a silver “ADDY” 22 years ago (which she was thrilled about), but it’s not considered an ADDY unless it’s gold. She shares, “So I do this little book, I enter it in the competition, I get a Gold ADDY! The fact that it won that Gold ADDY just blew my mind. I mean the ADDY isn’t even a book competition, it’s a graphic design award.” I reminded her, “So you got what you asked for.” To which she replied, “Which is the way God works.”

Beth still has a passion for logo design.   She shares, “When I see the logos I’ve created all around town, it just lights me up. I never had children, so they’re kind of like my babies scattered around the place. I’ve got over 400 logo designs out around the Midwest. That just feels really good to take everything a company stands for and convey that in this small image. To convey their industry, their niche in the industry, and the personality of the owner, and put all that in one thing, I just love doing that. I think that’s why I’m good at creating ambigrams because with ambigrams, every line has to mean something. Nothing is random. Everything has a purpose, just like a logo design.”


A new exciting project for Beth is that American Heritage Girls reached out to her to create a patch for the members to earn. The girls will get to draw an ambigram, answer some questions, and will do different exercises about connecting the Santa-centric Christmas traditions with the story of the birth of Christ. Beth shows me the patch and says, “We’re designing it so that they can put [the patch] on a button if they want [so you can rotate the patch and see the design in both directions] or they can just sew it on as a regular patch. I think that will help the book get some national exposure. But I know that what I’m doing is kind of an organic thing and I just have to let it take it’s ebb and flow and go wherever God wants this to go. I’ve decided I’m not going to push it any more. It takes all the pressure off.”

patch final (1)

Beth is going into her fourth season with The Other Side of Christmas and is looking forward to booking events. She loves going into schools and drawing and inspiring the kids.  Her next major focus is her new Easter book scheduled to be released in the Fall of 2018. (She begins drawing again to show me the initial inspiration for the artwork.) Beth describes, “So you’ve got the Easter Bunny and the word Easter, (she flips the image over) and now you have the Ascension of Christ and it says, “Risen”.” (GASP! I’m talking a full on audible gasp from yours truly. That image has been imprinted on me in a very important way.) Beth’s parting words, “There’s always more than one way to look at something. You can do anything . . . not only what you think you can do, but anything you even don’t think you can do. You can actually do it. I think it’s just about accepting the gifts that you have and allowing them to take the course that they’re suppose to take.”

easter image

easter image

To learn more about The Other Side of Christmas – An Upside Down Book, go to

To learn more about BT Graphics and Beth’s Flip Over Designs, visit