RUN LIKE HELL.

I watched this John Krasinski interview a couple years ago and I distinctly remember him saying something about seeing life as a bridge that he was going to run through as hard as he could because when it gives out, he wants to know he went as far as he possibly could. Something to that effect.

I remember scribbling it down and thinking,
"Run hard, run far, yes, ok, got it."  

I'll be glad to meet 2017 when it shows up knocking in a few hours, but I'm not inviting it in with questions like,
"What do you have in store for me?"
or
"What are we going to do?"
because that's dumb. 
It can sit right down and review my playbook, not the other way around.

The overarching strategy is simple and hasn't changed just because the world lit some fireworks at the top of the hour.

We're going to run like hell and see how much of this bridge we can rip through.

IT'S THE RIDE THAT'S PULLED OVER.

The other day, I had such a strange, ultralight moment. 

I had gone down to the darkest glooms of my storage locker and in the cold din of cement was rummaging to find something. I pried open an old suitcase and there were stacks of journals that have gone with me to the far reaches of the world.

And it’s like time lurched to a full stop.

You see, I never felt like a writer, never considered myself one. 

For years, Dani Press was the end goal, the only thing in my sightline while I ran after it with horse blinders on. And it’s served me well, that singular focus, but a year ago, when a friend asked me if I’d ever thought about being a copywriter, I swear I heard an audible tectonic groan. Something had just pulled away.

I had no idea what the hell a copywriter did, but I immediately knew I wanted to be one. Suddenly the future’s horizon line was snipered off the water because something else was possible, something I had never thought of.

Circle back to my dungeon storage locker and, my word, you guys, my eyes could finally see it.

“You’ve always been a writer. It’s always been the way you thought, how you pounded and pulled apart the world.”

So that’s where I’m going. 
It’s the ride that’s pulled over to the shoulder and I’m jumping in.

With that, I can deliver the official news that Dani Press will be closing up shop. 

Nearly.

DP will continue solely with the chipboard line into 2017, while everything else is on sale online until inventory hits zero or the end of January, whichever comes first.

It’s been a trip and I’ve accomplished more than I ever thought. 
Debuting in Paris, showcasing in New York, shipping around the world, features in magazines, dozens and dozens and dozens of shops, the whole lot. I take a bow knowing that this is no end.

But to be true, to step into the rush of a new creative season, I am so full of desire to get in the car and go somewhere new.

Somewhere, I’m convinced, that’s always been on the road map.

-

If you have a story of how Dani Press has influenced your life, oh golly, I’d be so over the moon to feel them. The stories I’ve heard over the years have punctuated exactly why I do this work, so please DM me or e-mail dani.c.kreeft@gmail.com if you have anything to share.

All my love,
D. 

From the grey of ash.

Photo Cred: Unsplash.

Photo Cred: Unsplash.

Do not eyeball your future marriage, the God-fearing man you will build beside, convinced that those bricks or that guy are your security. They aren’t. 
Lean into marriage with that driving hope, that desperate hunger, something I didn’t design to carry it, and you’ll trip.

Do not maneuver and jockey for salary, for money. It’s age-old quicksand, the ultimate security bait and switch. It will never deliver what you’re really after.
Lean into money with that driving hope, that desperate hunger, something I didn’t design to carry it, and you’ll trip.

Do not package up your talents and nearly unhinge the back door in a sprint down the road. You’ll exhaust yourself as they get heavier and heavier without me to carry them. 
Lean into talent with that driving hope, that desperate hunger, something I didn’t design to carry it, and you’ll trip.

I am your security, in whole and in its entirety.
That security, your salvation, does not belong to another; it will not be lent out.
I am who I say I am, your Father who will wash you in the most gentle of waters, bathing you in perfect peace.

So lean into me with that driving hope, that desperate hunger, for I am the only one designed to carry it, and you will know freedom. 

My daughter, 
you will run with chains left rattling behind you, 
from the grey of ash into the arms of life.

Photo Cred: Unsplash.

Photo Cred: Unsplash.

The involuntary weather of crushes, I'm calling it.

You know what I'm talking about.
You're around someone you're keen on and this nervous smog rolls in heavy.
You could cut and quarter it with a butter knife for crying out loud.

In my mind, it's a canteen of cold water on the motherboard making everything spark and spit. My heart turns into a 20-pound, hot chunk of metal thumping in my chest, all my sweat glands start spewing and I'm suddenly wondering where to put my hands.

I'm an instant idiot.

Standing in it can be
disorientating,
dismantling,
debilitating,
GUH.

What's so darn fascinating, though, is you can't manufacture physical symptoms.
They're their own truthful corporation, an annoyingly betraying gauge.
They don't lie. Unlike the heart and mind, a pair you can try to pay off to feel otherwise, your physical self kicks in and you're just leaking.

I used to want to just immediately divorce myself from that nervous smog.
To loosen the weather from around my foot and run.

But what I never understood was that the nervous smog is some version of unknowable magic. It's something golden in the air we so often escort out the door because we can't explain it, can't come to a conclusion about it.

It's terrifying.

But this week, God looked up with a knowing grin coiling onto His face.

"Take notes, D. Why don't you try standing in it, instead of bolting, and taking some notes? There's something significant for you to glean if you can dial down your sprint-mode setting."

A notepad hit my face, flicked from across the desk.
"Here's some paper," He smiled.

There's no question

Perfect love drives out fear.
1 John 4:18

God is perfect love, so wherever He is, fear can't be. 
Which sounds nice, sounds great.

But the thing is fear, that dread and pain to know the future, to escape loss, to avoid relationship woes, doesn’t simply step aside in silence when God's around, waiting for its turn with the talking stick. They don’t coexist in the same room bidding for my attention. 

Just the scent of God as He walks through the front gate forces fear to scramble off the couch and toss its coffee cup in the kitchen sink in a wild panic before slithering under the back door. 

The authority of God is so clear, so complete. 
There’s no question whose home.

But what I was trying to do was hold both, listen to both, house both.
I thought it was just standard to give them both the talking stick and base my direction on this weird cocktail of my life’s anxieties and my Father’s character. 
Then I was surprised that I was conflicted, restless, uneasy

I can’t have both.
I can’t have both an adamant attachment to fear and the complete love of my Father. 

Fear can only reign in the portion of my life that I haven’t let experience the whole influence of His love. Fear can only reign in the ratio I want to keep hidden for myself. 
So, if I didn’t want the entire expanse of Him, I could settle for where I’m at right now. I could continue to tirelessly wrestle in this dynamic.

But fear has no home where God has declared peace,
where He has declared His presence.

And I am such a home. 

A daughter declared over.
A daughter not won with fear, but with perfect love.

10 WITH A 10: LAUREN MCPHILLIPS

10 with a 10:
I ask Q's of a 10, snap a Polaroid and share it with ya'll.
That's about it.

This week, let's hear it for Lauren of This Renegade Love
This girl is a ground-taking, bullseye-seeking woman. She's an entirely beautiful presence to be around because she leads so beautifully and so honestly that her strength is inspiring, not intimidating.
And that's the best kind of woman to be around in my books.

Read on...

1. What do you do and what does it give to people?
Well, I have a website called This Renegade Love that I launched last year, with content created around lifestyle pillars like career, travel, style, wellness and giving back.
I also do profiles on ‘renegades’ – people who have ditched the nine-to-five to follow their passion, whether that’s to start their own business, travel the world or launch a charity program in their community.
All of the content on my site is created around three values – inspire others, celebrate life and give back to those who need it most. I guess what I give to people (without sounding too wanky) is inspiration to build themselves a better life.

2. What's a piece of advice you consistently find yourself giving out but find hard to take yourself?
To be ‘off’ every now and then. To put my phone down, close the laptop and disconnect. I know it’s such an important part of living a balanced life, but holy crap is it tough. Especially when your business is to be online and to sustain and grow an online community. My boyfriend is good at bringing me back to reality, though, and reminding me that the world won’t end if I leave my phone at home for the day (though that thought still terrifies me haha).

3. How do you rely on others to make you better?
As much as I strongly believe that the greatest relationship you can have is the one you have with yourself, I also think it’s important to surround yourself with the people who make you a better version of yourself. The people that keep you grounded, know who you really are (and love you for it) and make your best qualities shine like a diamond rather than dull them out.  

4. Someone gives you 50 mill. What's the FIRST way your life changes?
The first thing I would do is take my family out to the top restaurant in Toronto and not give one single ounce of gaddamn about how much the bill is. Like, not even look at it. All the lobster, all the steak, all the champagne. I’ve never done that before!
Next would just be divvying up my winnings between savings, family and charity. And a hefty sum allotted to spending a year travelling the world and balling out. All the while still creating content for This Renegade Love – that’s my baby and my passion, so that would never change.

5. What has compelled you forward more than anything else?
Success for sure, but as I get older, it’s more of my own version of success than anyone else’s. When I started my career, I was definitely driven by what other people deemed to be successful – working my way up the corporate ladder, lush salary, job title, my circle of friends. Once I turned 30 and quit my full time job and ventured off on my own, I gave zero fucks about what anyone else thought of my life. I’m driven by what I deem to be successful, which is usually measured by the amazing relationships I cultivate in the community, the positive impact I can have on people through my writing, and building a brand that I can be proud of and that makes me happy.

6. Do you like when people ask you, "Where do you want to be in 5 years?"
I mean, I don’t hate it. 
On one hand it makes me really think about the impact I want to make in the world. But I prefer to think big picture about what I want in life (a steady freelance business, frequent travel, a house, etc.), and limit my goalsetting to the upcoming year. Because let me tell you, a helluva lot can change in five years time. Five years ago I thought I was going to be running my own PR firm and now I’d rather die than work in PR again (slightly dramatic, but roll with me here). I think that if you make goals for the year ahead, it’s way more manageable and you’re likely to stay on track.

7. If someone was handed a script of your inner dialogue this week, what would it say?
“Slow ride…… take it easy….”
I'm literally singing that in my head because miraculously, I have no events or meetings scheduled for this week, and it is GLORIOUS. A couple of workouts here and there, but apart from that, I’m spending this week tapped in to my creative soul, brainstorming on upcoming content and writing, writing, writing. As someone with a schedule that doesn’t resemble anything close to a routine, weeks like this are rare but always appreciated.

 8. Are you spontaneous?
Oh god no. And I so wish that I was. It’s actually one of the things I’m really trying to work on, and that goes back to the disconnecting from my phone and making more time to just unwind and relax. I usually have every day planned out way ahead of time, so when someone suggests something out of the blue, I’m likely to say no. Which is no way to live!

9. Are you failing differently each time?
Shit, girl - what a great question! I like to think so. I think that we’re so quick to judge our stumbles as failures rather than learning experiences and when you do that, you’re more likely to set yourself back from reaching your goals. If you take the time to look at each misstep as a learning point, you can move on and improve going forward.

10. Paul Newman or Robert Redford?
Paul Newman.
I’m a sucker for a man with kind eyes and an equally kind soul.

#10WITHA10

 

Be with me.

"That thing that you're feeling - that constant alarm clock in your spirit, this anxious never-fully-at-rest state - is because you're sweating it out to grow peace from the trees of your circumstances.

These trees are alluring and make it look like you have some sort of harvest, but none of these are me. None of these are reliable, even though they may look the part from time to time."

We kept walking down the beautifully green lines,
the grass short and swishing with our steps.

"Peace is something that grows out of being with me.
Circumstances will change, shift gears, tumble and crack. They're fickle and inconsistent. 
So, you can go up and down these rows as long as you want, day and night, but you'll never get what you're really after."

I stopped.
I had put so much into these trees.
"But, why?" I asked.

"Peace isn't a result of work.
Peace is a relational byproduct.
You can't get it on your own. 
It comes from me."

He put His arm around my shoulder.

"So be with me, D. 
Be with me."

We kept walking down the beautifully green lines,
the grass short and swishing with our steps.

RUN.

Photo Cred: Unsplash.

Photo Cred: Unsplash.

You know that part in Beauty & the Beast where the Beast takes the intel that Belle digs books and uses it to surprise her? He asks her to close her eyes as he walks her into that giant library and then when she opens her lids, she's surrounded by a zillion books, far more than she expected?

You all know what I'm talking about.

God flashed that scene across my mind this week when I asked Him why He had chosen me for something. It might sound super lame, but the Disney reference meant I instantly understood Him.

"That's you and me, kid," He said.

"I know what will speak to your truest heart, what you desperately hope for and have laid down. So just when you thought I would give you a bathtub or a kiddie pool or a lukewarm river bumbling over your feet, I asked you to crack open your eyes so you could see the scale to which I adore you."

My heart stopped at the sight of the entire ocean.

We both cried trying to figure out who was more delighted, He or I. We stared out at that thing as the wind swept up our hair and dried our eyes.

Then, like only my Father could, He motioned towards the long, sandy shoreline and whispered one, beautiful word,

"RUN!"

His pearl.

Photo Credit: James DeVries.

Photo Credit: James DeVries.

"How does it feel?” he asked.

She shook her head and held a long blink.
“It’s...” she paused, attempting to pin a few thoughts down.

“It feels like gold dust, like magic, like everything that’s ever been significantly great, ever felt the warm arms of the sun, has been poured out in one sentence that’s entirely mine, entirely devoted to me."

She struggled to give it words, give it definition.

“I’m not in His peripherals, in the rear view mirror, over His shoulder or off in the distance, you know?”

He nodded.

"I’m His bullseye, the apple of His eye,” she looked away.
"I am His most precious and beloved pearl.”

He jotted a few notes, the air sitting for a few long seconds.

"I don't know how else to say it, to explain it, but that’s the closest I can get all my words to go right now,” she said.

I attempted to write this candid play by play from the garden where Jesus was buried and miraculously resurrected, but for all the unbelievable, life-cracking truth in it all, I flicked the creative IV drip and it just wasn't happenin'. 

The prepared aloes and the scents of myrrh, the rock that rolled away, the strips of lonely linen, barren and forgotten after He rose.

All of the details are so beautiful, so attesting of His glory.

Jesus Christ was raised on earth, then lifted back into heaven and seated with honour in His rightful place at the right hand of God the Father. 

But what I actually never understood or truly took hold of about Easter, before this year really, was what we were given after His absence, the Holy Spirit.

I always thought He was this mysterious wind, this unknowable character that seemed super spooky. The words Holy Spirit would only rattle about in my head visuals of this distant, third place, dark corner deity who got the least amount of airtime.

But if I jogged a line from that moment in history to this one, to this day, it sparks with life because of His presence with us, in us.

In me. 

The story didn't end after death and three days and ascension, but God's presence remained on the earth through His Spirit.

He remained so that in this day, in this city, I could wake and walk in what Jesus gave us in the aftermath of the cross, the fury of breathe that is the Holy Spirit alive in me, abiding in me.

His presence working over my dry bones and sunken scar tissue, over walls of cracked cement and busted light fixtures, to turn it all back to Him.

He is the prodding and the pedal and the push that invigorates myself towards the Trinity.

He rummages for the salvageable and shows me where to shovel what's decomposing.

He keeps me company in the quiet, unbroken morning, reminding me of our rhythm. 

He uncovers, in the truest timing, knowledge and truth, the climbing holes for my hands.

He spills His anointing over my head, soaking me entirely.

I wouldn't have had Him if Golgotha hadn't had Jesus, if our sin wouldn't have been bore upon Him.

I wouldn't have this promise, "I am with you always, even to the end of the age." from Matthew 28:20, if death wasn't triumphed over.

So in the wake of weeping, we still have Him, His Spirit, in this life and for eternity.

Xo.

I stood silent at Golgatha, the Place of the Skull, dust engulfing my sandals, my feet slowly painted in silt. A mute darkness covered the land while throws of mangled wind yanked tears across my cheeks. 

I stood far. I stood away. My eardrums, cringed and cowering, still rang with the continuous cannon, "Crucify! Crucify!"

I had stood witness in the crowd, surrounded by thousands in this riot, this scene. They had lobbed their stained spit at him, threw words caked in blood, before cowardly retreating, before receding entirely. Now I alone remained, distant in front of the three.

A square sign knocked lonely and hollow at the top of the center cross. "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews"

I could barely read it. Stale sorrow swelled in my eyes.

"Jesus," I choked. The silence took it.

"Jesus!" I cried.

Nothing.

The violence of sacrifice hung in the air between He and I, the heavy quiet steeped in it. I lumbered forward, nauseous. 

The remains of this man slowly magnified in my vision, the stakes still firmly locking his hands, his feet, spiraled thorns still driven into His skull. The spear that had pierced His side lay idle while drops of water and blood still leaked, still dripped from Him. He was mangled, butchered. I could barely recognize His face.

My knees buckled in the proximity of punishment and I collapsed, pressing my forehead into the tired earth. The foot of the cross moaned with the weight of swords and spit, of shame and sweat. I wailed with grief. I wailed into all the darkness and dust. 

The bark reeked of our guilt, its smell suffocating.

I arched back and lifted my hands to cover my face, but with them came the weight and bulkiness of cloth. My fists slowly pulled forward and there in each palm were the bunched beginnings of the temple curtain.

I turned to my left, to my right. There behind me lay two long, exquisite trails of what once was, the sacred veil that had separated us, now torn in two. It drew itself over the rocks, into the sand, around the hyssop that had led me to the cross. It draped its way all the way back to the now vacant Holy of Holies, its purpose now limp and void.

The rhythm of my breath choked as I slowly turned my gaping face towards Jesus, sudden realization pouring over me. His submission to slaughter under the weight of the world's sin had ushered out the old, the division, and lifted my verdict.

It was the trade of all trades,

His life for mine, sacrifice for union.

His love for me so blindingly whole and rapturous that he yielded to a criminal death so that my sin wouldn't keep us from each other, so that I would be His.

"Adonai, I..." 

I thirsted for words like I thirsted for water and nothing collected, nothing assembled. I pulled the curtain over my damp eyes, across my dripping nose and burrowed my face into its purple silk.

When I lifted my head on the hill that day, it rose completely covered in the fresh blood of Jesus, entirely soaked in crimson forgiveness.

 

 

10 with a 10: Jillian Lockwood

IMG_7341-2.jpg

10 with a 10:
I ask Q's of a 10, snap a Polaroid and share it with ya'll.

This week, all rise for the formidable Jillian Lockwood! This beauty is such juicy company to be around - so open, so wise, so up front. We sipped coffee's at Sorry and I left hanging off her level of excellence in what she does and who she is. What a presence this one is.

Read on...

1. What do you do and what does it give to people?

I'm the PR Manager at a Toronto-based technology company that focuses on building products for creative professionals. Our primary offering is an online portfolio platform that's used by thousands of photographers, designers, illustrators and artists in over 190 countries.

I help market and spread awareness about our tools amongst artists and creatives in an effort to help them achieve success. It's rewarding to know my projects might give someone that extra little nudge towards pursuing their passion.

2. What's a piece of advice you consistently find yourself giving out but find hard to take yourself?

I'm a firm believer that establishing a personal brand can lead to unthinkable opportunities. To both fresh graduates and colleagues alike, I often express that there's no time like the present to share thoughts on a topic you're interested in or embody a cause you believe in. You can't just say you're into something anymore, you've got to show it.

That said, I've been delaying the launch a personal project—the culmination of my interests—largely due to my perfectionist nature. It's time to stomach some of my own advice and take action. 

3. How do you rely on others to make you better?

I'm a bit of an extremist, so I end up surrounding my all-or-nothing self with two kinds of people: ones that balance me and ones that energize me.

My parents are both very logical and help me navigate practicalities of my rollercoaster life, while my partner reminds me to take a deep breath and enjoy my surroundings.

My girlfriends, on the other hand, drive me to hustle harder. They're one of the most hungry, creative, passionate, convicted and down right cool groups of females I know. A future doctor slash fashion designer, a soon-to-be lawyer and already feminist, a marketer that dreams up inventions in her spare time... no destination is too far to reach and no task is unaccomplishable. I feel blessed to have found people that share the same nothing-is-impossible mentality. 

4. Someone gives you 50 mill. What's the FIRST way your life changes?

I'd love to dedicate a year to becoming more thoughtful—a more thoughtful friend, a more thoughtful collaborator, a more thoughtful businessperson and a more thoughtful citizen—something that can be a tough achieve amongst the busyness of our fast-paced modern world. To do so, I'd likely journey solo to places that challenge my current way of life and provide a beautiful backdrop for reflection, so I can make better decisions around investing the cash. 

5. What has compelled you forward more than anything else?
Finding purpose, more than anything. I have all this energy and all this opinion, and have been working on channeling that towards a place that is productive and purposeful and makes me happy. The more I try, the closer I get.

6. Do you like when people ask you, "Where do you want to be in 5 years?"

It's funny you ask that. Just last week, a friend of mine and I were talking about the importance of long-term goals, but each found ourselves without a concrete answer to above. What we did conclude is that we care about how we'll feel in 5 or 10 years, over where exactly we are or what exactly we're doing.

Personally, I'd love to feel accomplished and more connected to people, with today's same thirst for knowledge.

7. If someone was handed a script of your inner dialogue this week, what would it say?

I'm currently in the midst of moving, so a lot of my mental energy has been focused on that change.

Am I making the right choice?
Where am I going to find the time to pack?
How can I hold on to all these memories?
How have I accumulated so many things?
But I can't let go of the pink tutu...
Movers cost how much?!
Change is good. Letting go is good.
Where did I put my glass of wine down? Is the pizza almost here yet?

8. Are you spontaneous?

Calculated during the day, spontaneous at night.

9. Are you failing differently each time?

I think there's traits that we all have that we'd like to change, or at the very least, shape for the better—but aren't necessarily going go away; they're part of our DNA. So while I'd like to say, "yes, I'm not repeating a single mistake," I don't think that's completely truthful. I try to learn from all of my experiences and share those learnings with others, but sometimes doing better takes a few tries. 

10. Paul Newman or Robert Redford?

Robert Redford. I was had at 'ski resort founder'.

 

 

 

 

10 WITH A 10: JENNIFER

 

10 with a 10:
I ask Q's of a 10, snap a Polaroid and share it with ya'll.

This week, let's give it up for Jennifer Choy! Toronto-based wardrobe stylist and fashion/beauty writer, is doing what I love most right now - TRAVELING. This time to Southeast Asia, but really, this girl's always on the go.
Read on...

1. What do you do and what does it give to people?
I’m a freelance fashion stylist and writer. Honestly, I don’t think I give people anything substantial. HAHA! I’m not saving lives here, right?

I give people something beautiful to gaze at when it comes to my creative styling. I don’t do a lot of personal styling but I will on occasion and I love seeing people instantly gain this enormous boost of confidence when they see how great they look in something I’ve put together.

When it comes to my writing, I focus mainly on fashion and beauty because lets be honest, that’s really all I know. I love sharing fashion advice/tips and injecting a bit of my characteristic dry humor into it. I think the fact that I do what I do is a little bit out of the ordinary so when people tell me I inspire them (which is NOT often), that gives me a sense of satisfaction.

2. What's a piece of advice you consistently find yourself giving out but find hard to take yourself?
Don’t be so hard on yourself. Hands down.
I’ll throw that advice around left, right and centre but the minute I fail at something, I feel like someone should just let me rot. Dramatic, right?

And on that note, I will say that when I do give out that advice, I really mean it. I’m not just saying it to get you off my back. I just can’t apply it to my own existence.

3. How do you rely on others to make you better?
Even though I’m probably super jealous of people who have seemingly perfect lives, I use those same people to inspire me to work harder. I love meeting people who are better than me. The people who kick my ass in all aspects of life are the ones I want to be around because it makes me feel like a total loser and THAT, my friend, is what makes me want to get my shit together.

4. Someone gives you 50 mill. What's the FIRST way your life changes?
First, I would give a good chunk to my parents because I’ve terrorized them for so many years and they deserve it.
I would use the rest of the money to travel. I know that’s a bit of a cliché thing to do if you won a million dollars, but there is literally no better way to spend your money. Seeing the world is an incredible experience and I would hate to croak one day having only seen Boston, Massachusetts.

I’ve always had this ridiculous dream of opening an animal sanctuary, too. Maybe I’d throw that one in there.

5. What has compelled you forward more than anything else?
I think it’s a mix of ambition, success and money. I want money but I'm not motivated by the prospect of using hundred dollar bills to wipe my ass. I want to live comfortably and be able to support my parents one day.

I love creating things and I’ve seen a huge improvement in my work since I started several years ago. I think seeing myself get substantially better at my craft is motivation. You know when you start going to the gym again and you don’t see any results for two weeks and then all of a sudden, you’re like, "WOW! My arms are noticeably more toned and my stomach looks flatter." Seeing those results motivates you to continue. That’s how I feel about my work. Maybe that’s a dumb comparison but it’s true!

6. Do you like when people ask you,
"Where do you want to be in 5 years?"

Not really because I have no idea. I know I don’t want to be in the same place I am now because that means I’ve experienced zero growth.
I don’t have this clear, concise path I’ve outlined for myself. I love fashion so hopefully I’ll still be working in it to some degree but I don’t rule out any massive life changes.
I feel like opportunities always pop up that aren’t part of your original plan and somehow you end up doing something you never gave any thought to. I like that idea of just going where the wind takes you. I don’t like thinking about the distant future because you never know what’s around the corner. What if I run into some hot, Balinese man tomorrow and he tells me he wants me to move to Bali and run a yoga retreat with him? I’d be totally down!
STOP ASKING ME THAT QUESTION!

7. If someone was handed a script of your inner dialogue this week, what would it say?
I need a nap.
Holy shit, what am I doing with my life?
Hmmm, I want fried chicken for dinner.
I need to conquer the world today.
Wow, I love this new blush!
Awww, I love my friends.
My cat is SO cute I can’t even handle myself right now!
What can I do to change the world?
WHO KILLED THERESA HALBACH ON MAKING A MURDERER?

8. Are you spontaneous?
This is an interesting question because I’ve been known to do stupidly spontaneous things but never to the extent that I’m risking something major in my life. I’m spontaneous but not at the same time. I don’t even know how to answer this question.
I would say that I’m more spontaneous than my sister though…

9. Are you failing differently each time?
Yes! My take on it is if you fail at the same thing continuously, you’re not learning and you’re not getting better, AKA, you’re a goof.
It’s okay to fail and I would know. I’ve made so many mistakes over the years but I’ll be damned if I let the same mistake happen twice.

10. Paul Newman or Robert Redford?
Paul Newman! He’s a babe!

Before I knew Him and now...

Photo Cred: Unsplash

Photo Cred: Unsplash

I thought leading meant to be shoved into the spotlight.
It meant an exposing, fluorescent light, even an all too revealing black light. Something that instantly bared my stains, my scars, things I had long hustled to protect.

I thought leading meant to be a perfect example, an ideal version. Someone people were supposed to be like. But, the bar was too high, too stiff and I only felt the distance between where I was and wherever that was. I only felt this impossible gap.

I thought leading meant to be accountable. And who wants to be accountable!? 
It's the ultimate buzz kill. Who wants to invite a megaphone into their private moments and intimate thoughts?! Don't tell me there's things I can't do, don't tell me there's things I can't be. 

I thought leading meant to have the answers, the knowledge, the smarts for the questions that would inevitably come up my way. But, I flail and flounder and fall for a good portion of my waking hours. I argue and wrestle and bite my lip on my own questions, often without a whiff of an answer, so who am I to try and rustle up something for you?

I thought leading meant to be available all the time to everyone, an introvert's nightmare. What I have in my own silence, in my own solitude is my gold, is my survival. The thought of ladling myself out to the masses scared every urge to be open out of me. What will I have left of my insides if they belong to everyone else now?

I thought leading meant needing less of Christ because He would give me the thumbs up and pop my water wings before turning and tending to the needier. I didn't want to be the lifeguard, a leader over people, because I wanted to remain a beginner in the pool so I could secure His attention, be sure of His love. How would I get that if I wasn't drowning? If I led, I didn't have permission to struggle, to go under the water anymore. I was supposed to know how to swim. 

I thought leading meant being less of myself. Trading in my untamed personality for a more conditioned, groomed set of characteristics. To be maimed by boring, corporate insignia and get in line for the same lunch everyone else was eating. I felt like a wild horse being pulled and fitted for a giant saddle made of cement, something that would eventually crack my backbone and my spirit. My instinct was to kick. Hard. To pull away from the ropes, the rules, the right, and pin it for the hills where the wind would welcome me back.

I thought leading meant small parameters, suffocated limits, lines in the sand. But with only one life to live, why would I want to fence myself in? You tell me not to go past the driveway to play and you'll find me in the next neighbourhood. I was that kid. I'll show you I'll be fine and your rules don't need to be my rules.

I thought leading meant loneliness. The triangle of leadership goes up, it thins out. I wanted to be with the people at the party, not the NARC no one invites. I already experience loneliness to a wavering degree, so to compound that by going up a level, by graduating into something new, no thank you. That's the wrong direction. 

That is what I thought and am still tempted to believe leadership means, what I always felt it was. So I never pined for it, never attempted to really earn it. 
Please pool the spotlight on someone else, require more of another, let me scrap my knees on some dimly lit sidewalk a few more times.

But these attitudes and ideas about leadership were misguided. They were all just the monsters in the waiting room raising a ruckus, trying to take me down before God inevitably came around the corner, said my name and called me forward. 

I wanted to waste time with them, with cracked ideas and inaccurate theory, because I knew if I stood up and sought truth, if I really gave my ear to His calling, I would have to lead.
And nothing made me white knuckle my armrests more.

In the past year, He has called my name one too many times. His volume pulled at my heels, until finally, I got up. 
And without the clutter and noise of everything I thought I knew, we sat staring down the barrel of all of these self-stirred notions. To diagnose them, correct them, prune them, polish them. To trade them out for truth.

They were all smoked with my selfish intentions and fears and though it's taking a long time to wash that smell out, this is what I now know.

It has nothing to do with NARCS or introverts, drowning or megaphones.

My stains, my bullet wounds, my cracked bones bring glory to Him when they are seen, when they are shared. When I am the tour guide of my own mistakes and misgivings, God can use them to teach. Handing out veneered versions of myself holds no draw for me because there is nothing relatable or resonating about that. I am fallen and being straight up about it breathes freedom into others.

I am not expected to be perfect. And the distance between where I am and the perfection that is Christ will always be enormous, so I have all the more reason to speak of grace. Grace is what fills the canyon, the chasm, between He and I, between the example that He is and the example that I am. I am not crushed by perfection, but covered by immeasurable grace.

Accountability is trust, so no, God is not sitting in the corner wondering if I have a stash of cigarettes under my mattress or counting the minutes that I pray, and He's not waiting for me to admit those kinds of things to anyone. But He needs to trust me. So I am forthright with my quiet thoughts, my true motives, my cavernous heart because when He asks, "Can I trust you?" I want to say, "Yes."

I don't need to have all the answers. He will give me wisdom to answer well and when I can't, I am unafraid to say, "I don't know." and flip to the Word. The Holy Spirit will step in with the answers and hug me for asking. The words have always been His and I am simply the mouthpiece, the vessel.

If I am filled more and more with Him then ladling myself out becomes ladling Him out and that is never negative, never exhausting, never a reason to shut myself in. He will always fill me to then sow out. Our precious and protected hours together will always be golden, but I’m not in charge of what He needs me to give. He is.

He will pop my water wings because I am not a child anymore. Acting as a clanging cymbal of drama syphoning for reassurance is not the way to gauge God's love. He will not pander to it. It only wastes time. He doesn't need me to be a lifeguard, either. He needs me to grow up, build hearty limbs, dive into the ocean and pin it for open water. To swim sure of my secured value and worth.

Who I am is heightened and enhanced in His context. The one who knit me in the womb, who fervently designed every cell of who I would become, doesn't want to dislocate my gas pedal nature or confiscate my desire to gun it for the sharp turns. He's not asking to snuff out my wildness, but calling it out as a weapon. He said, "Dani, do not equate tame with leadership. You are called to crack the silence, you are called to lead." Only in Him, by being wholly who I am, can I do that.

If I focus solely on what's outside of the narrow path of my purpose and the intimacy I have with Him while I walk it, I am missing the plot entirely. God's way is freedom and any lines in the sand promote and testify to that freedom. If I want to rebelliously toss myself off the path just to see if I can, I've done it before and can do it again, no problem. But I'll knock myself right out of alignment from His will. And since His will is of greater value to me than knowing I still have options A, B, C, D and E open, I'm sticking right behind His shadow.

And as for loneliness, yeah, leadership does thin out, much like a peak on a mountain. The air gets a little tighter, but isn't the point to climb?
This life and our calling in it is an all hands on deck, bring out the special teams, line up the 1st string type of gig. SO I am are never climbing and fighting alone without His presence and am most certainly not fighting for one more yard, but for an entire Kingdom. So the fear of loneliness is only the enemy's strategy to keep me napping in my gear at base camp.

So there's a before and an after happening here. 
Before I knew Him and now, I am in love with Him.

If He's arising in the morning to tie His sandals, I'm lacing up mine.
If my Father, who sits atop the curve of the cosmos, is asking anything of me, I'm listening.
If He is calling me into the company of Kings, I'm running in.
If Jesus Christ is asking who will follow Him, with bullet resin in my nails and war soaked into my shirt, I am raising my hand.

Because I am not my own anymore.
I am His. 
I have been bought, signed for in blood.
I have been betrothed since birth as His daughter, His disciple.

So I will acknowledge,
I will recognize,
I will honour that price with my service.

With my leadership.

THE BRIEF: THAT MOODBOARDING

"With all this on the go, 12-hour days are the norm for Kreeft, but whether the time is spent producing content, taking meetings with editors or connecting with friends, creative output is her joie de vivre."

I've got 900 things I could be doing in a day, but a big swath of it is at home in my shoebox apartment where a lot of that output comes from.

It's what makes it so important to feel like I'm walking into my own brain with what I'm surrounded by. Ticket stubs, polaroids, Springsteen books, old cameras, stamps and pencils and maps, a gallon of seashells...
You might think it's a lot of random, but it's just a lot of ME.

Being in my little hood and flipping through Tumblr, snapping photos, skimming magazines, it all pumps the gas on my creativity. I can't really explain it, but it just does.

I also can't explain how extravagantly essential it is to be and stay inspired.
My home is a big part of me staying plugged into that.

Xo.

(For the full feature, you know where to go - http://bit.ly/1VzzPLQ)

THE BRIEF: THAT HOUR A DAY.

The majority of mornings, this is where you'll find me around 7 am. 

Roll out of bed, 
right into the shower, 
chuck myself onto the streets, 
climb into a chair with a coffee,
in front of something to scribble on and my Bible.

I've been in the habit for about a year and a half after getting so stupid tired of hearing myself whine about wanting to be closer to God and needing a new devotional and all this verbal fluff. I think He probably got tired of it, too.

In life, you need to throw your weight behind what you say you want.
End of story.

So I've tried to, often a little bleary-eyed, but I show up.
While the city starts to stir, I give Him the sunrise, the first fruits of a clean day, so that we get to hang. He is my Father, the one I need to constantly tether myself to.

Every morning.
Again.
Again.
Again.

No matter how far the tide ripped me out the previous day, I know I'm always 24 hours away from sitting back down beside Him to hear Him out, to lean into His company, to understand the purpose and trajectory of my life in Him.

10 WITH A 10: CASie stewart

10 with a 10.
Every Monday, 10 questions with a 10 coming your way down the DP pipeline!

Next up, that there Casie Stewart!
Gosh, what a lively, colourful sprocket she is. She strategizes, she speaks, she socializes, she pops up in commercials, she struts the runway, she snaps photos alongside Willie Nelson + Richard Branson.

I'll let her fill you in on the rest.
Read on...

1. What do you do and what does it give to people?

I do a number of things and I like to think they give people motivation, encouragement, and make them smile. I’ve been writing my blog since 2005 and it’s a little slice of sunshine where I document my adventures. It’ll always put a smile on your face if you’re having a 'meh' day.  I’m also a professional speaker and my talks leave people feeling excited and ready to take on the world!

2. What's a piece of advice you consistently find yourself giving out but find hard to take yourself?

I need to not procrastinate. I often tell friends, "Don't put it off today. Do it now. Get things done!" yet I always seem to leave things to the last minute. Especially important creative things that have deadlines!

3. How do you rely on others to make you better?

I rely on my partner to comfort me when I get overwhelmed. My mum when something great happens, she’s the person I can call and go on about something without having to hold back any excitement. My friends to help me relax and vent, since I can be a little uptight sometimes! 

4. Someone gives you 50 mill. What's the FIRST way your life changes?

My first change would be to take my parents, sister and friends to New Zealand. I’ve grown up in Canada while almost all my family live there. I’d love to surprise everyone and show them the beauty of NZ that I’ve gotten in small doses my whole life. 

Then I’d buy a house in Toronto, which will take a couple mill. given the market!

5. What has compelled you forward more than anything else?

I’ve been compelled to move forward because I want to leave my mark on the world. I create things because I can’t stop, I’m addicted to documenting and keeping memories. I remember reading this Ben Franklin quote as a kid and thought, I’m going to write things worth reading and do things people write about. 

“If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write something worth reading or do things worth writing.”
Benjamin Franklin

6. Do you like when people ask you, "Where do you want to be in 5 years?"

No, I hate it.
I used to always say, “Famous".
It’s incredibly hard to predict how the world will change in 5 years. I work in social media and 5 years ago Instagram was just getting off the ground.  I think it’s important to follow your dreams and constantly be innovating yourself so you’re ready for change. 

7. If someone was handed a script of your inner dialogue this week, what would it say?

I’ve been all over the place the last week. I've had a photoshoot, hosted a fashion event, been in a music video, and tomorrow I fly out for a speaking gig. My inner dialogue is constantly reminding myself that I asked for this, I wanted this and I can do it. It’s hard work, but I always dreamed of this being my life.

8. Are you spontaneous?

When it comes to travel, fashion, and adventure, absolutely.
When it comes to food, I’m a little more cautious. 

9. Are you failing differently each time?

I’ve tried lots of different things, but try to fail fast, get back up and try again. I try not to make the same mistake twice and learn as I go along. 

10. Paul Newman or Robert Redford?

Robert Redford. He is a stone cold fox!
Love those old photos of him with a moustache. 

THE BRIEF: Meet Kit

PHOTO CRED: VIKTOR RADICS

PHOTO CRED: VIKTOR RADICS

As you might've seen, the West coast likes at Kit & Ace have featured yours truly as a Meet Kit in THE BRIEF!
They are an unreal, pace setting brand in the industry, so to say I was humbled and honoured, well, hey, who wouldn't be.

But one of the lessons for me here was and is not to be embarrassed by blessing. Stand strong and rooted in what you've been given and share it freely and openly, giving all due and deserved glory to God.

At the end of the day, it all points to Him.
And so it is that I get choked up and proud to be able to share what we've been up to together with you all.

This week, I'll be sharing each part of the featured day on my Instagram to share a few words more.

Stay tuned!

Xo.

THOSE #DPVDAY LOVE LETTERS: SAM PICKEN

I asked a few people in my life to share letters of love to those in their life.
To bleed out some love to anyone they felt moved to for Valentine's Day unhindered or limited to romantic love. I felt it would be important and significant and beautiful.

I hope it encourages you to write a letter or two.
To use Valentine's Day to show love, however you feel moved to.

Fifth up, our pastor, Sam Picken, in a letter to his wife, Jess.

Read on...

A small snippet:

One of the saddest thoughts I have is knowing that there are times where you don’t feel loved and appreciated by me.
I am the kind of guy that looks so far into purpose that I forget to acknowledge the beauty standing right next to me in that purpose. Then I attempt to put it into words and anything I think of seems to come up short of describing how much I love you...