Hope Swells

September 02, 2016

  

Happy Labor Day Weekend! Here’s to one last summery playlist to keep you company on your long weekend adventures and through these warmer days, however long they may last. These songs have been my go-to’s over the last month or so.  

If you’re heading to the beach  to celebrate the Indian Summer, turn up the playlist and grab this Boho Bag – it’s the perfect beach accessory!

Just Keep Swimming,

Hayley

 

Hayley Catt is a graphic designer, advocator, PK, adventurer and pencil in the hand of the Author of life with a major case of wanderlust. As a lover of music and all things Solohope, she is delighted to share some of her favorite songs with you. Hayley currently works as a graphic designer for a non-profit in the Atlanta area. Follow her shenanigans on Instagram @hayleyacatt and Twitter @hayleycatt.

India {Part 2}

April 12, 2016

It was the last Sunday we were in Mumbai. The day I began to feel a connection to this place called India.

We had gone to church with one of the pastors who acted as our host. We felt lavished with love and kindness as the church members welcomed us with open arms to their family. Shortly after the service began, they took a moment to introduce us. In that moment, one of the women reached into a bag and pulled a beautiful shawl out for each of us and placed it on our shoulders. Another lady presented us each with flowers.

It took everything in me not to cry.

We were honored and loved in that place. I was again reminded as I had been so many times on that trip what a beautiful thing this Jesus family is. How it stretched across the earth. How regardless of language, we shared a common thread.

Our faith.

After church, we went to the home of one of the church members in the slum. (We may have sipped on some coconut water before we got there! ;)) Though small, it was a nice home and its doors were open to the community. Barely an inch of the tiled floor could be seen because neighborhood children were sitting everywhere in the home. They were singing songs with action motions and coloring story pages and hearing Bible stories and being presented with prizes. The place was buzzing with activity and excitement and it was a weekly occurrence.

Some of the children were dressed in beautiful dresses. Others in simple t-shirts and jeans. Caste and religion seemed to play no role in that setting (a refreshing reprieve.) They were just there to have fun!

At the end after the children had each received a snack and drink, they poured out the door to play more outside. That's when several ladies from the community began entering the home.

There weren't very many chairs so many simply sat on the floor while we were given the seats. No one seemed to mind but I always hate feeling elevated above someone.

The pastor who had brought us to this home looked at us and said you can talk to them. I was somewhat unsure where to start.

How do you explain that you are exploring the possibility of starting a project that will bring employment to them?

The best you can and with LOTS of questions. They didn't know us from Adam. We didn't share the same language or religion with these women but I was drawn to them and their willingness to hear us out.

As we talked and learned more about them, their backgrounds and their struggles, I began to feel connected to these women. And I could stand it no longer. I hated looking down to them from my seat so I dropped to the floor and sat on the same level as them. One young woman began to stand out to me. She and her friend did bead work and had brought samples for me to see. From what she shared, there was great struggle in her life but I saw something else too.

A determination. 

A resilience.

A desire for hope.

And that's when it happened. That's when I could hold my tears back no longer. That's when I knew I could go back to this place. That's when I felt a connection. That's when I knew there was a place for SoloHope. That's when I knew but I didn't know what that fully meant.

Not sure I still do but little by little He is teaching me the way.

And you'll just have to learn what that is in the next and final blog of this 3 part series called India. If you missed the first one, here's the link to it: India {Part 1}. Please feel free to share so others can come along for this India journey too.

Emilee

India {Part 1}

April 01, 2016

India.

The Incredible India.

That's what one of our local host called it. The Incredible India. And there's probably not a better description of it. Everything is incredible and amplified.

Sights.

Smells.

Tastes.

Sounds.

Everything. At times it was overwhelming. Ashley Stephen {photographer/creative} and myself {SoloHope founder} went to India after receiving an invitation from a couple pastors to see if we could possibly duplicate what we are doing in Honduras to offer empowerment and hope to women of India. Most of our time was spent in Mumbai.

I thought I had prepared myself for what we would encounter in Mumbai but honestly I'm not sure there is a way to fully prepare yourself for stepping into the culture and nuances of India.

I'm not sure there is a way to prepare yourself for a city of 20 million people. A constant hustle and bustle that never stopped even throughout the night. A sea of people adorned in every color imaginable with each sari I see becoming my new favorite. A skyline filled with high rises which housed people, not offices. A collision of the wealthiest and the poorest. A place where bells ring out in the morning to awake the gods. A mix of languages and cultures within itself. A home to stories of hopeful new beginnings and of tragic loss of innocence.

In one city.

It was the best of times and it was the worst of times. I could paint a beautiful poetic picture before you and pretend that I walked away saying "I can't wait to go back." But that's not the truth.

The truth is it was hard. It stretched me. And honestly left me with more questions than answers as we left.

Before going to India, I weighed the decision to go very heavily and I cannot deny that I felt the Lord order my steps to this new land. The decision to go felt like a commitment being made to the people I had yet to meet. 

And three weeks after arriving back in the States, I'm still exploring what that commitment means. I invite you to explore it with me in this 3-part SoloHope blog series simply but incredibly entitled India. ;)

Emilee

Hope Springs

March 30, 2016

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anais Nin

 

 

It is with blurred vision, sniffling and hefty coughing that I write to you on this picturesque spring day. I tried to run from it, but the season has caught up to me. I’ll be fine, though. As with many of you, this happens to me every year, and I know that the lovely blossoming trees and perfect temperatures will carry me through.

 

More importantly, this season brings an incredible sense of appreciation, renewal and promise. So let’s talk about what you’re really here for – The Solohope “Hope Springs” Soundtrack!

 

 

Full disclosure, I had to force myself to choose such a positive blog title. I toyed around with a few others that would have been just as accurate but noticeably less optimistic, such as: Spring is in the Air and in My Lungs; Spring: Look But Don’t Touch; and Thanks a lot Adam & Eve, I Bet Allergies Didn’t Exist in Eden.

 

Anyway, here’s hoping these songs inspire you to step outside and appreciate these beautiful days!

 

Happy Spring!

 

Hayley

 

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Hayley Catt is a graphic designer, advocator, PK, adventurer and pencil in the hand of the Author of life with a major case of wanderlust. She recently spent a year in South Africa loving on kids and going on safaris. As a lover of music and all things Solohope, she is delighted to share some of her favorite songs with you. Hayley currently works as a graphic designer for a non-profit in the Atlanta area. Follow her shenanigans on Instagram @hayleyacatt and Twitter @hayleycatt.

 

Leaves of Hope

October 21, 2015

“I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” - L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Tis the season for new beginnings all wrapped up in flannel and ­pumpkin spice everything.

If you’re like me and live in the south, you know there comes a point where you just have to dress for fall whether it feels like it or not. And SoloHope’s newest collection, Elements of Hope, has some beautiful plaid scarves for that very purpose.

These songs have been my go-tos as I attempt try to summon crispier weather.

 

 

Happy Fallidays!

Hayley

Hayley Catt is a servant of Jesus Christ, graphic designer, advocator, PK, adventurer and photographer with a major case of wanderlust. She recently spent a year in South Africa loving on kids and going on safaris. As a lover of music and all things Solohope, she is delighted to share some of her favorite jams with you. Hayley currently works as a graphic designer for a non-profit in the Atlanta area. Follow her shenanigans on Instagram @hayleyacatt and Twitter @hayleycatt

SUMMER SOUNDTRACK

July 09, 2015

I began this Solohope//SUMMER playlist by picturing myself sitting on a blanket in the grass, watching the sun go down as I waited for fireworks to start. So the first tracks that I added were the classics. (Think Springsteen and the Beach Boys.)

Then I tried to produce the perfect soundtrack for other summertime favorites – grilling out, watching fireflies, tossing corn hole bags, and jumping into bodies of water.

Finally, I topped it off by sprinkling in a few of my favorite blasts from the past. (What up DJ Jazzy Jeff!)

Here’s hoping these songs keep you cool in the swelter!

–Hayley 

Missions + Music

June 01, 2015

“To belong to Jesus is to embrace the nations with Him.” — John Piper

Short-term missions can be exhausting. You hit the ground running and you don’t really get a chance to stop. A demanding schedule + jet lag + an unfamiliar culture makes for a unique mix of emotions, thoughts and experiences that cannot easily be processed in the moment.

One of the best ways I’ve found to regroup amidst the whirlwind that is short-term missions is through music. Some of my most intimate moments with God involve Africa, a bus, headphones, and a timely worship song.

So if you’re heading on a mission trip, this playlist is for you. Wherever you go, the Lord has something He wants to teach you there. I hope these songs bring some clarity in the chaos. And, as always, let me know if you’ve got any recommendations!

Hayley

Hayley Catt is a servant of Jesus Christ, graphic designer, advocator, PK, adventurer and photographer with a major case of wanderlust. She recently spent a year in South Africa loving on kids and going on safaris. As a lover of music and all things Solohope, she is delighted to share some of her favorite jams with you. Hayley currently works as a graphic designer for a non-profit in the Atlanta area. Follow her shenanigans on Instagram @hayleyacatt and Twitter @hayleycatt

“Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.” — William Carey 

 

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SoloHope began out of a summer mission trip to Honduras. Mission trips can be a great launching board for more than we can ever imagine. So we want to hear from you! Where are your mission trips and travels taking you this summer? Tell us by posting a pic on Instagram of your mission trip travels. Tag @solohopeorg & #solohopeonmission. We'll pick some of our favorites to share and repost & enter everybody who participates into a drawing for $50 of SoloHope goodies {of your choosing}! BONUS entry if you wearing SoloHope in your pic! {Drawing held at end of June.}

Spring Fever

January 09, 2015

"Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime." - Martin Luther
The sun shines, the rain falls, the flowers bloom, and we soak in the deep breath of spring.
In honor of this lovely season, I’ve put together a playlist of songs that I haven’t been able to get enough of lately. Some of these songs are new, some are classics, and some I’ve stumbled across without even looking. 
Regardless, whether you’re rolling up your sleeves for a bit of spring cleaning or hopping in your car for an afternoon at the park, I hope this playlist makes a great companion for the sunny days ahead.

 

Hayley Catt is a servant of Jesus Christ, graphic designer, advocator, PK, adventurer and photographer with a major case of wanderlust. She recently spent a year in South Africa loving on kids and going on safaris. As a lover of music and all things Solohope, she is delighted to share some of her favorite jams with you. Hayley currently works as a graphic designer for a non-profit in the Atlanta area. Follow her shenanigans on Instagram @hayleyacatt and Twitter @hayleycatt