Meet: Christina Hoagland of The Ivy Nook
The Ivy Nook launched publicly in September 2017, but its foundations were rooted earlier. At a women's conference in March 2017, Christina was moved by women worshiping the Lord during the song "It Is Well." As she reflected on the experience, Christina was inspired to begin painting and doing calligraphy. Her first painting featured the words "It Is Well With Me."
Shortly after posting the painting to social media (something she would normally be reluctant to do), a woman thanked her for posting. It provided encouragement and hope during a season of grief. This greatly encouraged Christina to press on and expand her calligraphy with watercolors.
In July 2017, Christina and her hubby went on her dream trip to Ireland. While driving in the town of Roscrea, she saw this beautiful church with a little garden in the back. On a granite wall in the garden read "Ivy Nook." Immediately struck, she took a photo of the wall, and knew it was the name of her new business. "I do mostly plant images (wreaths, floral, greenery) and paint with a cozy home nook in mind - the name was just perfect!" she tells us.
Christina was always intrigued by art, but she never would have imagined she'd be doing The Ivy Nook. "I only took one art class in college, but I do remember calligraphy came first. Some of my relatives have beautiful handwriting. I remember beginning at 10 years old, over the course of 2 decades, desiring pretty penmanship. I started watching/observing folks who were into free-hand modern calligraphy, and decided I'd give it a shot."
After reading the book Outliers by Malcom Gladwell, Christina was moved to steward her gifts/talents on a new level. "We see people and automatically assume that they're just prodigies and they've been good at what they do since the beginning. But this is super rare. It takes 10,000+ hours to be an expert!" Reading this book gave her a much needed motivational boost. Christina also started to pray.
The Lord placed two things on my heart last year - first, to be bolder in the Truth and second, to meditate on who He is. God used The Ivy Nook to stir these things up in me. The Ivy Nook is my outlet of expression and worship, a quiet space where I can be creative in the presence of my Creator.
"The Ivy Nook is my outlet
of expression and worship,
a quiet space where I
can be creative in the
presence of my Creator."
Christina's an Enneagram Type 2 (known as The Helper). She wears her heart on her sleeve, and for her, relationship trumps everything.
"I started doing these paintings as a way to encourage and deepen relationships with others, and I knew moving toward making this into a business would be a huge step for me, a new kind of vulnerability never previously experienced.
And honestly, being a mom has been a bit more challenging this past year – as a deeply relational being, I don’t know quite how to hone the relationship with my kids in this current season, where we spend lots of time and energy on discipline and refinement. If I'm not careful it can result in withdrawal/isolation/an empty tank, where I'm slowly falling into a hole, not able to express myself."
"I really wrestled through starting The Ivy Nook, asking myself, what can I do to be filled up in a different way? What can I do that won't take me away from raising my kids but fuel me to be the best mother/wife I can be, you know?
And then I committed myself to just DO IT. The Lord gave me boldness and I’ve desired to be faithful. He’s come through along the way and given favor and opened doors, and I’m amazed. He works through the details, big and small. Just even talking about it now I am shocked how I did not have more anxiety as I began the process. I see the evidence of the Lord working in me – I see the confidence I have in Christ. I truly want this to glorify Him and benefit others."
"I see the evidence of
the Lord working in me -
I see the confidence
I have in Christ."
God is at work in Christina, and He is at work through The Ivy Nook. Since launching the business last fall, she tells us some incredible stories of reconciliation and re-connection.
A lot of her pieces are custom commissions, and so there are lots of stories behind these works of art. "I'm a collector of stories. Through these custom pieces I see God at work in others' lives. It is treasure to me."
"I’m collector of stories.
Through these custom
pieces I see God at
work in others' lives.
It is treasure to me."
Ya'll! Christina is a treasure to us. We ask the Refinery Co. community to join us in prayer for her and her business.