Surrendering this Dream

"Tomorrow's freedom is today's surrender."
It is extraordinarily hard to let a dream go. Particularly when it is teetering on the edge of being something bigger than yourself…. but you know you are being called to step away from what you've cultivated for so long. This is where Shine & Soar is at today.

We launched S&S a year and half ago, published five issues, built an incredible network of contributors, and watched as God used us to build a place for growth. This isn't a brand new dream anymore, some hustle has been put into it, and it is going place. However, there has been a lack of peace or clarity for the future. We had to sit down as a team and look at the cold hard facts of where we wanted our lives to be in the next couple of years -- and if Shine & Soar fit into that. Ultimately, it does not. And, that is okay, because THIS is the entrepreneurial life: trying things, doing the hard work, and seeing if they fly or fail. It’s the nature of the game! Risk.

Part of me still aches when I think about running a magazine - how it combines all my passions so effortlessly. But I'm believing that if I let it go and it is part of God's calling on my life, he is going to cultivate that desire I have somewhere else in life.

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
 This song has been on repeat for this whole process of praying and making decisions for the future of Shine & Soar. It reminds us all of what our core is all about: more faith and going deeper in this walk with Jesus. This is a step of faith to surrender this dream though part of our hearts are still kicking to hang on to it. There are still countless lessons we learned on this journey that I will be sharing in blog posts when my new site/brand launches soon.

 Here is the lowdown for what the next two weeks will be like: we will shut down all of our social media (minus Facebook) on Friday. We're leaving Facebook open for a just-in-case scenario or if we want to drop an update to you all. The website and all magazine issues will be kept online for the foreseeable future, we hope it continues to encourage you and other people for years to come.

Even though God is calling us to consolidate our lives and focus more intently, we still have the same heart. Mackenzie is still planning on blogging on life and inspiration posts here on her blog along with speaking and mentoring in the future. Sarah will be posting some mentorship details soon (hint hint: you don't have to live in Dallas for her to mentor you!), so stay tuned to her website for that. Ciera would love for you to message her with questions if you have any! And like I said earlier, when my new brand launches, I plan on posting some blog posts about entrepreneurship, life, and Jesus (and even have a few ideas up my sleeve that some of you might be interested in!). Also, all of our awesome contributors will still be post crazy inspiring content on their blogs and Instagrams!

We are resting in the fact that God will still fuel you with inspiration and strength through Himself and other amazing people in our industries.

If there is one thing that I hope you learn from us it's this: DARE. Try something, start something, put your whole heart and soul into it, and work hard at it. Fail hard and fail often friends…it's the only way to grow. Make life happen. Never be afraid to explore and pursue what God is calling your heart to.

We love you all so much & thanks for joining us in this adventure! It was a thrill.

xo, Bethany (and Ciera, Sarah, and Mackenzie as well)


Why am I doing this?

Do you ever just stop and ask yourself, "Why am I doing this?"

Why did we choose to pursue this entrepreneurial journey at such a young age in the first place? Was it built upon a deep, nurtured, and enriched calling upon your life? Did it begin with a fling & a zing that just seemed cool in the moment, but transformed into something so much more? Whatever your "it" reason is, as one young entrepreneur to another, let me encourage you in this.

- Remember your passion. Take time to step away from social media, marketing, web design, "manifesto making", and endless goal settings & R E M E M B E R  why you do what you do. Let the core of your passions drive your business and hold down your fort. I often find myself getting so caught up in the rig-a-ma-roar of "what's next" that I forget why I began. I'm so guilty of not taking the time to appreciate what I have now, where I've been, and where I am in this moment, these "memories" this "heritage" of yours is what ultimately will keep your fire burning. It does not matter how much you know, the places you go, or the work you show, if you refuse to hone in on that which propelled you forward in the beginning, you will hit a wall and you will be left empty once again -- wondering why.

- Take the time to stop. Breathe kid, you've got Jesus on your side, so take a chill pill. It does not matter what your doing or where you are/are going, because God is at work around you 24/7 & it is your GIFT to have the privilege to take part in His work. Don't lose sight of that, or take it for granted. You have the honor to jump in, humble your heart, and partake in a much greater work for the kingdom of God. Even if that is a "flipping burgers & filling fries at McDonalds" reality for you right now, just calm down. If it's His will, it will happen. If it's your will, well -- that's just too bad. The truth hurts sometimes, believe me - I get it.

- Don't mistake calm for lazy, keep pursue that calling, keep loving your Jesus, and keep serving Him. Even if you can't see the fruit, your heart & eyes should be so captivated that you find yourself with nothing to fear. You quite literally have the world at your finger tips, so soak it in, and breath in that air - let your heart set sail.

Call me Ms. Upfront, but sugar coating our dreams and questions is not my specialty. Sometimes we have to read it like it is and digest it real good. Yes, I just said "real good". Let reality simmer over, let Jesus lead you on level ground and fight for a level head, then join in on the action. (It's happening all around you, you just have to look.)

Sarah Delanie


What is true greatness?

I've been pondering lately what greatness truly is. Not what the world thinks it is, not what we think it is, not what most Christians think it is, but what God says it is.

One of the underlying visions of starting Shine & Soar was to inspire our readers to soar above mediocrity. But what does that look like exactly? Is that simply being a young business owner? Making a great name for yourself? Or being a fantastic Christian? Is it about your public reputation or your character?

I feel that we're evaluating our greatness level simply in the amount of labels we apply to ourselves. Is your greatness all caught up in having the label "young entrepreneur" because that makes you one in a thousand? But how do you run your business? Do you pour into your clients lives and build deep relationships with them or do you do business with them and forget about them?

Greatness isn't always found in what we do, but how we do it.  I just watched The Iron Lady this past weekend and was smacked in the face by this quote:

"It used to be about trying to do something. Now it's about trying to be someone." // Margaret Thatcher

How true is that? We're caught up in the pursuit of having a great name...because we want influence. But do you know that fame is not the same as influence? But how about if building your influence meant listening to God's voice and not your friend's voices? Fame means being widely known, influence means being able to change the opinions and actions of others. You could do the latter with 20 Instagram followers. Kim Kardashian is widely famous but not as widely influential, and I'm sure most of our parents are more influential than they are famous.

But back to the quote by Margaret Thatcher:

Are you trying to be a great photographer or take photographs for people that will last lifetimes?
Are you leading because people will look up to you or because you’ve got changes that you know need to be made & you’ve got the vision for it? Are you trying to be an Instagram darling or a curator of beauty to brighten people's days?

Popularity vs Impact.

I don't want all of you to end reading this and believe that I think all of you are doing this for popularity and are shallow. No, no. I know many of us have mixed motives and just need a check up here and there. Well here is your checkup, and let me tell you that I need it just as much as you!

Back to defining what greatness is in God's eye. Here is what I've compiled on what I believe He says it is in scripture. Seek out these verses and put them at the forefront of your mind so you can be guided to intentionally pursuing these things.

-Having a deep intimate relationship with God (Luke 10:27)
-Doing what God calls you to do (Romans 12:4, 2 Peter 1:10)
-Serving others selflessly (Mark 10:44-45)
-Using your influence to bring glory to Him (Matthew 5:14-16)
-Having & building an excellent character (Galatians 5:22-23, 1 Timothy 4:12-13) 
-Going through trials with endurance & joy (James 1:12, James 1:2-3)

Greatness won't always be flashy, come with applause, or be guaranteed to be viewed as a worldly success. But it will be for you an eternal weight of glory.

"And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all." // Mark 9:35


Issue 4 launch | the winter edition

We are overjoyed and unbelievably giddy to announce the launch of issue four! Our team has been hard at work collaborating with our spectacular contributors to cultivate refreshing, dynamic content. In building this edition, our hearts felt so pulled towards the concept of weaving rest and assurance throughout the pages. Our hope and prayer is that this issue would strengthen you're heart, humble your spirit, and refresh your mind in this season.

Amanda Marie Lackey knocked our socks off with this stellar cover shoot; Gina Zeidler continually blows us away with her authenticity, and our interview with her is no exception; Zipporah Kapambwe has challenged our hearts through her article; Katie O'Keefe has given us a breath of fresh air through her heartfelt words; and our very own S&S editors, Sarah Delaine and Bethany Aleshire, have laid out the most restorative encouragement.
A HUGE thank you to all of our contributors above along with Alex Anne, Mackenzie Kern, Emily Hughes, and Janelle Putrich for their breathtaking images in this issue.


what lies ahead

Philippians 3:13 "But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead." 

Keep your eyes fixed on the vast unending mountains before you, for they are not yours to climb, Jesus will carry you, rest in his presence and let your eyes not be phased by the mist in your face. In our past we see rippled rocks and shifted sand that we had hoped to tip-toe peacefully through, but instead we bulldozed. We are creatures of control, we are hoarders of anxiety, but that simply must go, because we are called to strain towards the goals that we are called to in Jesus Christ. Say this word -> straining.

That means sweat, regret and upset. That means failure, falter, and frump. That means hard. That means everything that you are will steadily slip through the grit of your fighting fist.  

But that also means, redemption, relation, refreshed. That means a fullness that lies in Jesus alone, a tenderness only He can provide. That means vibrance. You will be upheld & carried. You have never & will never been alone. If you missed last weeks blog post take a peak and be -> REFRESHED.  Let go of your burdens and step into the freedom that has been graciously bestowed upon you.

Happy Friday Lovelies! Embrace this weekend to the fullest!



Two weeks into the new year. A list of twenty-six goals is sitting on your desk. One checked off.

Once we've passed through the Christmas coma, we come to the "how many plans can I make in one week" phase. We set unrealistic goals, we make goals of things that really shouldn't count as goals at all, and we make plans to plan (What? Yes, we all do it). Post-checklist week, we role into the new year. A time filled with stress about new semester and excitement over the fact that you've made it through one day of the thirty that you promised you would stay away from Starbucks. Initially, it's the little wins that fuel our drive to continue pursuing goals. And then, life gets hard. Holiday breaks end and those checklists get shoved in drawers. Instead of recreating the impossible goals we set, we throw them aside.

What this whole process lacks is intentionality.

We so desire instant gratification-an end result- in all of our lofty goals that, in our tunnel vision, we forget the power we have to restructure things! These lyrics by Gungor are so full of hope "You make me new, you are making me new". We easily lose site of the fact that being transformed means work is currently taking place. Right now, in these moments, He is purifying and challenging you. You are being made new! We have the hope of a fresh heart and mind every morning. That means our goals can and should shift and grow along with us! We can intentionally recreate our goals as the new year progresses without losing site of our initial intent.

 If you're coming to a frustrating place due to unmet goals and little headway, check your heart, dive into scripture, and breathe. Sometimes we need a refreshed and a renewed heart and checklist.

Although these checklists don't define you, they can be spectacular tools for cultivating a rich life, one that is purposeful and filled with promise. Find those crumpled pieces of paper, pray desperately over them, rewrite or throw some goals out, then work. It's a process, pray, write, work, repeat. Sometimes we need to cull through, trim the excess, and recreate our plans in order to get down to the relevant, refreshing change that needs to take place.



Saturday Morning Links // 3

Here's a round up of some of our favorite links of the week.
What are some of your favorite links that you've discovered this week? Spill them below!


Saturday Morning Links // 2

Happy first Saturday of 2014 y'all! Here's a round up of some of our favorite links of the week.
What are some of your favorite links that you've discovered this week? Spill them below!


2013 Review & 2014 Preview


Happy New Year lovelies!

We are so grateful for all the support you have given us this past year & we pray you have a blessed 2014! But before we delve into each of our own thoughts, we wanted to show how far we've come in this past year as a magazine. We are officially one year old as of yesterday and have put out four magazines in that year! How crazy is that?!

We've learned a lot of lessons through putting these four labors of love out...some hard, some fun...but all in all it's fulfilling to see our year of work right up there. We've revamped our logo, changed the Table of Contents page a gazillion times, and stayed up many late nights working on design & editing. Yet, we've done some fun stuff including our first official team photo shoot, flying to see each other a fair amount (though not as much as we'd like!), and building relationships with our interviewees, models, and contributors. But we wouldn't have been able to do all this without YOU reading our magazine...so thank you from the bottom of our hearts for doing so!

Now onto each of our own thoughts on 2013 + 2014!


Editor-in-Chief's note: I'm so proud of this girl & who she's become in the past year. A world-traveling photographer, relationship-builder, and intentional writer. She's blasted out a bunch of emails securing contributors for our issues and wrote many beautiful words for our blog. So thankful for her!

Favorite article/spread: Amanda Marie Lackey's Interview, love her work, words, and heart! Certainly was a joy having her featured!
Favorite moment of 2013 related to S&S: Our trip to Minneapolis! Having the whole team all together was incredible & oh so fun. Such sweet moments walking downtown, being shot by Gina, having articles flying everywhere & no sleep for the win! Love these girls to the core.
How did 2013 change & teach you? 2013 was a huge year of witnessing God's faithfulness through change. Lots of letting go & trusting, along with a handful of preparation for an upcoming crossroad in 2014. 2013 has taught me to not even begin to try to plan up a future of my own because my thoughts are not His thoughts & His ways are completely worth seeking out, because when we surrender it all He reveals great & unsearchable things.
Favorite book: Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud, Dr. John Townsend. A marvelous book to end the year & begin the next with.
Favorite obsession in 2013: Smart Barre! It is a combination of ballet, yoga, & pilates incorporated into an hour of kick booty class with women of all ages, shapes, and sizes. Not only has the exercise been refreshing, but meeting new people throughout my community has been way super fun. I won't lie though, there is a super amazing coffee shop right next door that keeps me motivated thorough out class… guilty as charged!

Some goals for 2014 : Trusting, trusting, trusting my Savior. It's a simple goal, but still holds a lot of weight for 2014 & this next season of life for me personally.
Word for 2014: Fearless.
What are you ready for in 2014? Face plants! No but really, my family and I brought in the New Year in CB, Colorado & during our time here I attempted to take up snowboarding. This consisted of "snow face, face snow" we got real acquainted with each other…it was sweet preparation in the weirdest of ways, 2014 has already presented its fair share of crossroads & I would be lying if I said I didn't feel uneasy about it all. We learn by face planting, we learn my tumbling down hills, sometimes we have to break bones, other times the Lord is gracious enough to let it just be a pulled muscle. Regardless, failure & success shape, significance drives. Lots of change & lots of uncertainty, but my soul is at rest in the arms of my Savior.
What are you excited most about Issue 4? I think I most excited to see this year round out as a whole with each seasonal issue complete. This has been such a fun adventure & I am so grateful to have been apart of it all.


Editor-in-Chief's note: This bam-stinkin' girl has grown SO much in this past year. Nikon to Canon. Portraits to weddings. Starbucks to Caribou (just kidding!! Sorta. She did love Caribou when she was in MN). I know that this next year will only be one of more growth for her! Grateful to have her :)

Favorite article/spread: Like New York City in Issue 2
Favorite moment of 2013 related to S&S: Our shoot with Gina Zeidler! So much fun! 
How did 2013 change & teach you? I learned so much from photography to relationships to life. I feel like a completely different person than I was one year ago in a good way. Growing into adulthood has proven to be a time of learning lots of life lessons, sometimes the easy way sometimes the hard way. I'm so grateful for this time because I know it will mold and shape me into the person that I am. 
Favorite obsession in 2013: Listening to the All Sons and Daughters album everyday on the way to work

Some goals for 2014: Creating a better brand, writing more, building intentional relationships, quiet time.
Word for 2014: Intentionality. 
What are you ready for in 2014? Bethany's visit (eeeep!), turning 21, and shooting more weddings. 
What are you excited most about Issue 4? Completing our first four seasonal issues; spring, summer, fall, and winter! Such an accomplishment!


Editor-in-Chief's note: She's trusted God through moving to frigid Minnesota & spurs us all on to more Jesus, better style, and clearer words. I'm so excited for where this next year will take her & the character it will etch into her soul... a place where her trust will be without borders. Beyond thankful for her!!

Favorite article/spread: Pages 6-7 in Issue 3 with a quote from Hannah Brencher.
Favorite moment of 2013 related to S&S: Loved, loved our team, shoot in July with Gina Zeidler
How did 2013 change & teach you? Between a move half way across the country and flying everywhere imaginable, I can undoubtedly say this year has been filled with adventure. Serving stellar couples, traveling the world, sharing my story at the Making Things Happen conference, and cultivating deep relationships….. 2013 has left it's mark on me and it is a year for the books. My move to Minneapolis was absolutely the hardest change in 2013 but has offered so much growth and independence, and the chance to discover a new city. 
Favorite book: Currently reading and loving The Power of Starting Something Stupid by Richie (and Natalie) Norton
Favorite obsession in 2013: I'm currently loving and diving into product photography.

Some goals for 2014: More time in scripture, less on social media. Consistent blogging. 
Word for 2014: Assurance and Rest. 
What are you ready for in 2014? I'm ready for more big changes, travel & growth. 
What are you excited most about issue 4? I am so, so excited by the core of this next issue!


Favorite article/spread: Regretless by Mackenzie Kern in Issue 3
Favorite moment of 2013 related to S&S: The Minneapolis trip, by far. Staying up late talking, dreaming & planning in Kenzie's apartment is one of the highlights of that week.
How did 2013 change & teach you? 2013 was a bit of a hard year, but filled with God's goodness throughout. It taught me that even in the foggy, doubt-filled place that God is there & He is working in us even when we don't think He is. It was a season of being still, staying home (quite literally), and of my heart being broken for God to rebuild it.
Favorite book: The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin. This book stunned my socks off and it shaped the way I want to do business & life.
Favorite obsession in 2013: Having smoothies every morning!

Some goals for 2014: Write more, which might become a 500 words a day goal. I feel like writing will be the biggest area of emphasis in 2014 for me...not sure exactly why yet! Vlog every week. Launch a new website/brand. Exploring editorial & fashion photography. Finally get a mkiii :)
Word for 2014: Liberation.
What are you ready for in 2014? Change, action, travels, and living in God's freedom.
What are you excited most about Issue 4? The heart of it...when we decided on what it would be about I was fine with it, of course, but just in the past couple of days God has shown me how ____ was & wasn't in my life. And I'm so excited to write about it :)

All in all...it's crazy to see how far we've come in a year in these two pictures alone! And we're excited to see where God takes us, grows us, and leads us in 2014. Thank you again for being apart of Shine & Soar Magazine in 2013, we can't wait to continue to build some loveliness in 2014!

Much love from all of us to you!

What were your favorite spreads & articles from the past year? What do you believe God is leading you towards in 2014? Share in the comments section below!