the journey so far

start

Where do I even start? Well, first of all thank you for reading my first blog post. It's my first real go at it! There's just something about the written word that makes me nervous. It seems easier for me to sit and talk one on one, but I hope that with time I'll get the hang of it. So here we go...

Here's a brief history of me. I was born and raised Vietnam in a small district called Dinh Quan, of the Dong Nai Provence in south Vietnam. I lived there until I was 7, when my family immigrated straight to Bentonville, Arkansas! Talk about culture shock! When I was a child, my mom would always sketch little flowers on random pieces of paper and, as early as I can remember, I wanted to be able to do the same. I guess that might be where my love of art and flowers come from. 

Anyways, growing up in America, with a traditional Vietnamese upbringing, in many ways gave me a sense of awareness of the beauty and diversity of the people and world around me. It wasn't the easiest childhood, but I would definitely say it made for an interesting one.

This is me in Ho Chi Minh City in 2015. It was on my first visit back to Vietnam since moving in 1996. Charlie took this photo. 

This is me in Ho Chi Minh City in 2015. It was on my first visit back to Vietnam since moving in 1996. Charlie took this photo. 

Fast forward to 2011, when I graduated from Oklahoma Baptist University with a Fine Arts degree. After college I felt called to do mission work. I thought it would take me to India, where I had visited twice during my college years. But God had a different plan. I ended up working for a non-profit serving international students attending the University of Hawaii at Manoa. It was in Hawaii where I met my husband, Charlie. He was working on his Bachelors in Tropical Plant & Soil Science. He had previously been stationed out there during his time in the Navy and, as God would have it, it eventually led Charlie back to Hawaii. 

My time living in Hawaii was some of the most formative years of my life thus far. The community and culture there taught me a lot about myself and how to really serve and give. It was also during this time that I starting thinking and desiring to some day start my own business using my art after interning with an event planning company that focused not only on the planning and coordinating of events, but the designing and art within it.

When we were just dating. Such babies! From a random morning trip to the North Shore to watch surfers go against huge winter waves! 

When we were just dating. Such babies! From a random morning trip to the North Shore to watch surfers go against huge winter waves! 

After three years of living in Hawaii, Charlie and I got married and moved back to Arkansas for 6 months until we moved to Florida where Charlie interned at a non-profit that focuses on training development workers in agricultural methods and research. Charlie's internship was a 14 month commitment and once it was completed, we decided it was time to be closer to family. This decision led us back to Arkansas. 

After moving back, I finally felt I was in a good place to take a step forward and start my creative business. It's been over a year now since I've made that step. I'm learning more and more about what it takes to be an artist and to create a small business. I've experienced some tough moments and some amazing ones already. One of the things I'm most grateful for is supportive community I've had since starting. I know I've just pushed off of the starting line and I can't wait to see where this journey will take me. I'm grateful for you for following me in it!