The Magnolia Journal

A YEAR OF IDENTITY: THROUGH THE LENS OF NATURE

(ART BY HILARY OSWALD & REBECCA WELLER)

SPRING

authenticity

Few things feel more like spring than blossoms. After months of barren landscapes, specks of color begin to appear, reminding us that beauty and light are never far from our reach. Like the buds that burst from their branches, who we are at our core is deep-rooted and waiting to be unearthed. Authenticity is a standing invitation to honor the truest, brightest, most beautiful you—the only one there was ever meant to be.

SUMMER

freedom

Summer grows like ivy; it calls us up and out, into the glorious reality of longer days, warmer seas, and an abundance of fruits. It offers us a chance to step out of our rhythms. But mostly, summer calls us to be free: to run or sit, to dance or stay still, to be loud or be quiet, to fail miserably or achieve gloriously. For 90 days, we chase the summer sun without pretense, a steady reminder that the breath in our lungs is the official declaration that we’ve got more growing to do. A whole world of untapped potential is buried within each of us, just hoping we’re willing to set it free.

As a magazine team, we began this year with open hands, expectant to discover and absorb as much as we could about what it means to live in the fullness of who we were made to be. Many of the ideas we landed on pointed to one overarching theme: identity. So we got curious about who it is we were made to be and the ways we might reconcile the messy, hard parts of our story with the good, redeeming parts. Those questions, among many others, manifested into four themes that defined each issue this year: authenticity, freedom, wholeness, and resolve.

Our team was reminded time and again that nature can be a wise teacher if we’re curious enough to watch and learn how it moves—why it blooms in spring, grows wildly during summer, and gets harvested each fall, only to lay bare come winter. This story that the seasons tell inspired us to illustrate how closely the journey to finding our identity mirrors the way the natural world transforms around us.

FALL

wholeness

A quiet confidence comes with a season that, year after year, makes good on the promises sown in spring. The turning leaves of fall remind us how much beauty wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the life and death of each season that came before. This lesson in wholeness entreats us to pursue the whole picture of who we were made to be, to live in the abundance of our own story, and to know that each piece—the broken, the sad, the hard, just as much as the fulfilled, the good, the happy—plays into reaping the harvest of who we are.

WINTER

resolve

As trees surrender their last leaves and winter wraps around us, we brace ourselves for the chill and we find resolve in who we are and what we know to be true. Because where there is grit, there is beauty to be found. So while we wait for the light to return and we wait to bloom again, we weave together the best of what makes us who we are and the promise of who we are still becoming.