I have known Brooke Bandstra for many, many years. We met as teenagers at youth group and I had the pleasure of watching her grow and flourish into the woman she is today.

Brooke is the owner and creator of Ink and Grace Paper Co., which is a beautiful and creative modern take on calligraphy.  She curates beautiful pieces and offers them for sale and many of us in the Bulkley Valley (and beyond) have enjoyed the stunning simplicity of her designs.

As she shares in her interview, Brooke is a wife and mother, as well as small business owner. I love that she’s up-front about not desiring to balance all the things, all the time. I think she has a good grasp on how to make things work, although I’m sure she’s had some moments of stress here and there- it’s almost impossible not to.

I know on a personal level that Brooke and her family have endured many hard things, but I also know they rise with grace.  Like many of us who have struggled through difficulties, it’s those things that make us, and shape us.  Brooke has lived her life in an authentic and genuine way – and her creative outlet turned business gives us a glimpse into her beautiful life.

Welcome to the table, Brooke!

How long have you called the Bulkley Valley home? 

For most of my life! Minus the 7 years here and there where I lived in Victoria BC. I am so proud to call this place home. When I moved away after high school (like so many do), I didn’t value or appreciate the things that I love so much about this small town. The mountains, the generosity of others, and the random grocery store/Main Street visits. 

What is one thing you’ve learned about friendship (or community)? 

Friendship and Community are a two-way street and when you put in time, effort, extend love, learn to forgive easily and listen first — beautiful things can come out of that.

What is one area you are growing in?

The overmarketed term called “balance” doesn’t exist for me. I am a full-time stay at home mom and part time small business owner. Do the math and there aren’t enough hours in a day. I am learning that I cannot be thriving in all areas of life at a time. Sometimes my house is messy but I am caught up in my business and other times my business suffers because my kids need me. I am learning that it’s ok and to provide myself with grace in those times. Most success stories you hear are how someone grew their business exponentially in a year or in a month. That’s not my story. Success and growth for me is first healthy, love-filled children, a business that can grow as I have more time, and an outlet where I get to use my creative gifts and get to make the best friends through that! 

What is one thing you would say to your younger self?

Your life will be beautiful so stop trying to hurry everything up! 

Who inspires you and why?

My family. My mom; she has this endless tank of giving so much of her time to others. She is a strong beautiful woman of God. My parents; watching them lose my brother, Brant, and being vulnerable through their grief and yet this tower of strength for their kids. My dad; for his family leadership. My husband; for being my biggest supporter, leading our family well, and the hardest working provider, and for meeting me where I am at. 

What do you know is true, and how do you carry that day to day? 

My time is not my own. Time is such a beautiful gift from God. These days most of us thrive in the busier the better and more successful. That truth will never fulfil.  “For where my treasure lies, my heart will lie also.” My heart is filled by others, not by my own selfish ways. Obviously, I am not perfect. It needs constant daily, hourly reminders. My mission today mostly looks like doing laundry, caring for four children, dirty diapers, and being a shuttle. But being intentional about every moment even in what looks like the mundane unimportant is where I need to be right now. If I don’t lead my children well and serve others well — I am showing them the world fulfils when it never will.  Giving my time to others using the gifts God has given me is a great reward. It fills me more than anything else could.