I think often times we meet people who inspire us,
but the ones that mean the most are the ones who inspire us while honoring who we are.
I first met Nalin in the fall of 2012.
She came to Faulkner University as a freshman and quickly became a beloved classmate.
But it wasn’t until after I graduated and got married that I really struck up close friendship with Nalin.
She randomly invited herself, along with her now husband husband (then boyfriend) and a few other friends over for dinner,
at a time when I needed community desperately.
There’s just something incredible about a friend with a heart like that.
She swears she didn’t know, that she simply wanted to see where we lived, but I am almost certain that the Lord nudged her to do that simple act of kindness.
You see, my favorite thing about Nalin is that she doesn’t stray from being and doing EXACTLY what she loves.
I love her story.
Her story is pretty inspiring, but what I love most about it is that it is still being written.
There are so many blank pages left for Nalin to fill in with her art, her words, and her culture.
Nalin is a first generation American, the daughter of an incredible man who sacrificed everything to get to America.
She grew up in a Laotian home smack in the middle of one of THE MOST southern towns in the USA.
But, Nalin’s heart and perspective allows her to see beyond walls and boundaries in community with her friends and within her art.
She sees life through eyes that know how to be true to who you are and where you come from, all while honoring the people in her life so willingly and selflessly.
I went over to her apartment to hang out with her one afternoon last week and we chatted about her journey to simply figuring out what she wanted to do with her life.
“Well, I went to college for marriage counseling and quickly found out that was NOT what I wanted to do. But then Ben pushed me to pursue designing some greeting cards. In High School I would make these little cards for Ben, personalizing every single one of them with weird pictures and designs. So Ben pushed me. He pushed me to start making greeting cards for people. I think that’s kind of where it all started. That’s what eventually pushed me to pursue graphic design.”
Ben and Nalin recently got married.
The two were high school sweet hearts and I am pretty sure they were made for one another.
“Ben always encourages me, telling me that I am my own worst critic. I couldn’t do it without him. In fact, he works so hard so that I can pursue my art.”As I went through all of Nalin’s art work I noticed such variety.
She makes wedding invitations + programs.
She makes calendars.
She makes greeting cards.
She makes animated videos.
She does film photography (as pictured above).
She illustrates all the Children’s books I’ve written.
Of all the amazing things Nalin can create, I asked her what her goal was.
What is your vision for your art?
What do you want people to experience when they get work from you?
“I want people to feel encouraged. I want my work to be work that leaves people feeling happy. I know my style. It’s quirky, it’s bright, it’s me. I want people to feel like they have gained some sense of encouragement from working with me.”
Nalin loves to illustrate.
And dang, she’s good at it.
But I think my favorite thing about this incredibly powerful friend of mine is that she is good at being herself.
She is good at knowing what she loves, what she’s good at and chasing after it.
thank you for teaching the people around you how to be powerfully themselves by living out of a place of honor and grace for the world around you.
You teach more people than you know.In 30 Days of Wishful doing, I hope we can challenge ourselves to be who we were made to be.
May we be fearlessly ourselves.