The Be You, Bravely series took a break while I was making the big move, but today it is back in action! Below you will meet the sweet Victoria of Happily Ever Strader and get to know that heart of hers I'm blessed to call a sister-soul! Recently she and her hubby took a dream trip to Europe for three weeks, and the towering picture of Big Ben is triggering my wanderlust ;) Be sure to say hello to Victoria and bask in the prettiness below.
Who are you, my dear?
Hi! I'm Victoria Strader. I was born in Paris, France to British parents but somehow ended up living deep in the heart of Texas. I'm so thankful for the unique blend that builds my heritage. I love Kate Middleton and Southern Living magazine equally. :) I married my precious high school crush turned college sweetheart, Ben, in December 2012. He is a middle school coach and I'm a realtor. We are passionate about having a weekly date night and praying together at bedtime. Interior design is one of my favorite things, I'm passionate about loving people by having a clean, welcoming, and beautiful home. I live each day trying to serve and love Jesus and those around me, and to treat others with the grace I have received from Him. I blog at Happily Ever Strader and Instagram: @victoriastrader
What does it mean to be you, bravely?
Let me let you in on a little secret. I'm not brave. Not even a little bit. But when I look back on the past year or so of my life, I see a few things. I notice that I've broken out from the mold a bit on a few decisions. I see that I've tried some new things that have always terrified me. Little old me? HOW? As I gain more and more perspective on life (at my ripe young age of 23.. I know... HA!) I have learned to try and take myself less seriously. "Failure" doesn't mean the end.. and doesn't necessarily mean failure. I think that for a long time I have feared being "foolish" for one reason or another. A family member once heard that fear and encouraged me to look up what the bible says about being a fool. It's nothing to do with making a decision a little bit different than other people. That makes me a little bit brave. Knowing that the Lord created me with specific desires and passions makes me a little bit brave. The precious encouragement that I receive daily from my sweet husband makes me brave. (I'm telling you.. if I told him today I want to become a traveling circus clown he'd ask where we need to sign up to get me in clown classes. I married the best man!!!) I have come to believe that living life in a way that makes Jesus the main character, and not me.. makes me a little bit braver. And in the end, every day is a new day. Why not try something a little different or tell someone your convictions? If you believe it, live it. :)
If you could have a heart-to-heart with younger you, what would you say?
Oh lordy! I've spent so many years of my life in fear and guilt and worry. I have let the opinions of others control me so much more than is healthy. Young me needs to have a reminder that the cross covers up ever bit of guilt and shame and fear more than I can even fathom. I am not a slave to these things because of Jesus's death for me. Nothing defines me outside of that great love and my overwhelming gratitude to Him.
What is encouraging you this week?
Let's be silly here for a second.. our english bulldog, Matilda. I have never been a dog person but I am truly obsessed with our pup! I do the majority of my work out of our home, and this little girly keeps me company and always makes me feel loved. I never thought that a dog would bring me joy but I seriously love her so much. Her company and devotion encourages me on the simplest level!
Just for fun, what are 3 must have's?
My Swiffer Vaccum. If you have hardwood flooring, you need this little baby. It's basically replaced sweeping that seems constant in rooms without carpet. I love nothing more than a clean home and this product saves so much time and energy. It simplifies my cleaning routine and I will shout it on the rooftops.... I LOVE YOU SWIFFER VAC!
Revlon Balm Stains. In the past 6 months or so... I've thought a lot about the importance of femininity and feeling beautiful. There is probably a lot to discuss and work through there, but what I'm saying is. Every girl needs a lip color that makes you feel extra spiffy. For years and years I thought everything but chapstick was weird... but it's not. This stain goes on like a chapstick and stains so I can still kiss my husband without leaving behind a mark. ;) If you're feeling a bit more fancy, YSL lipsticks are also worth every penny.
Candles. I cannot get enough. It is amazing how much these small little things can make me so happy and relaxed. I love volupsa brand, illume, and bath and body works (never buy unless they are on sale 2 for $22!)