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The Next Best Thing to Live and In-Person



Posted by on Sep 29, 2017 | 3 comments



In case you missed the Facebook Live about friendship complexities and the (in) Real Life: FRIENDED event I mentioned yesterday (because I am AWESOME at giving advance notice!), the magical wizards at Facebook make it possible to watch on replay. You probably need to watch just TO LEARN FROM MY EXPERIENCE that lumberjacks in your back yard (thanks to Irma) are distracting, and you can’t help but be who you are. I remember saying I hoped (in)courage/DaySpring/Lifeway wouldn’t fire me, but for the life of me now I can’t remember why….

I’m a little horrified to think about how many bunny trails I streaked.

Anyways…. Thanks to texts from Saynor, Paige, and Frank during the event (I saw ’em and tried to ignore ’em), and for prayer minions who made a difference. It is not your fault I SQUIRREL! at All The Things.

Last, remember two copies of A Moment to Breathe are up for grabs
(for commenters from the FB comment thread & my original post about the broadcast).

(Also? What’s up my expression on the freeze-frame? I AM NOT FORLORN!)


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Please Join Me October 14th in Nashville for (in)real life: FRIENDED #inrl



Posted by on Sep 13, 2017 | 3 comments


(l-r, top to bottom) Robin Dance, Holley Gerth, Kristen Strong, Alia Joy, Jen Schmidt, Aliza Latta, Jennifer Lee

I suppose you could say it’s been years in the making: a gathering of friends old and new within hugging distance.


(in)courage and Lifeway have teamed up to bring (in) real life: FRIENDED, “an event for women that unpacks what makes healthy friendships tick.” OF COURSE, our greatest hope is that you can come in person, but because we care so deeply about community, relationship, and the ways women need one another, event planners are offering a simulcast option. The upside? You can bring #inRL to your church, or, if you’re game for the coziest option of them all, from the comfort of your home! The downside? I won’t get to meet you face to face. Boo. Hiss.

Featured speakers include Lisa-Jo Baker, Chrystal Hurst, and Annie Downs; Meredith Andrews will lead worship; and Jamie Ivey, host of The Happy Hour podcast, will emcee. I’m thrilled to join a panel of real-life friends and fellow incourage writers (Holley Gerth, Jennifer Lee, Aliza Latta, Jen Schmidt, Kristen Strong, and Alia Joy Haganbach); we’ll all be sharing a message of hope and encouragement as it relates to friendship, practical calls to action, and personal testimonies about the beauty and brokenness we’ve all experienced with friends.

This is an event like no other, one that will have you looking inside and out, and most important of all, looking up to the One who designed us to be in community with one another.


It’s going to be special, y’all, and it’s very affordable as far as conferences go (in Nashville AND the simulcast). Please decide right now that you want to take part, whether in Nashville, at your church, or even from home with a few friends. Click the (in) real life: FRIENDED website to find out everything you need to know for each option (plus a bonus add-on for Friday night if you’re able to get to Nashville!).

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Uncensored: What I REALLY think about the sponsors at Blissdom…!



Posted by on Feb 15, 2011 | 6 comments

{Disclaimer:  Remember…I'm n e w to this whole vlogging deal and I still don't quite know how to edit.  I'm sure there's a way to make this shorter but I'll learn that for next time, k? 🙂 }



Kellogg's Share Your Breakfast

Unilever's Don't Fret the Sweat

Tide's Get Out Cafe featuring Stain Release 


{More links to come…I'm out of pocket at Extreme Makeover:  Home Edition's Greater Chattanooga build and it's kinda hard to track down all 42 sponsor links right now!!}


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A funny thing happened when I was leaving Blissdom…



Posted by on Feb 2, 2011 | 27 comments

This was too difficult to write (facial expressions capture it much better than words) and too funny a story not to tell, so I offer you my first On Purpose vlog (not to be confused with the accidental one).  


p.s.  I'm not really a vampire; the black under-eye circles rivaling raccoon eyes are from a cumulative 12 hours shuteye over four nights.  Blogging conferences are fantastic for most things but not for beauty sleep!!

p.p.s.  Constructive vlogging tips encouraged :).  Now that I've figured out the VERY basics I'd love to learn more.  

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State of Bliss



Posted by on Jan 14, 2011 | 27 comments

Blissdom Badge for Speakers I am so ding-dang excited I'm having to restrain my fingers from typing THIS ENTIRE POST IN CAPS!  Out of the utmost concern and courtesy for those offended by screamy letters (and potentially excessive exclamation points), please consider…

My Top Five Reasons
I Can't Wait to Attend Blissdom 

[1]  Soul sistahs

One of my favorite unofficial events last year was our Blissdom prayer gathering.  Without any real plan but with the goal of tying our hearts together and encouraging one another by praying, it was a time of refreshment and remembering whose we are and who we are in Christ.  (It's all too easy to lose focus when you're at a blog conference; there are so many talented, "successful" bloggers, it's possible to feel defeated and "less than" and to believe a whole lot of lies).

Please make plans to join us this year and bring friends old and new!  We'll be praying from 7:00-7:30 am, so plan to come a little early and we'll have coffee and snacks waiting on you (thanks to Lindsey Nobles and her friends at Thomas Nelson). Heartfelt thanks to {in}courage for offering their Beach Party space for our use again!!

Since this isn't a Blissdom-sponsored event, will you help us out by doing two things?

  1. Enter your Twitter handle in the Linky below so we can get to know one another prior to the conference and prepare enough coffee and snacks; ~ and~
  2. Help us get the word out!  Post about the breakfast on your blog, Facebook or on Twitter (use the hashtag #BlissPrayer} and/or include a badge in your sidebar linking back to this post (you can select all from the box below and it'll provide the code).  

{Thanks to Dawn Camp for creating the darling buttons for our use; if you love the image as much as I do, it's from a gorgeous canvas available for purchase from DaySpring!}


[2]  Sharing the role of Lifestyle Community Leader with Sandy Coughlin

New this year, Blissdom organizers have created 20 Tribes/Niches with a host of Community Leaders to act as the go-to people within each group.  This is a brilliant and thoughtful addition to the conference, designed to encourage mentor relationships among bloggers before, during and after the conference.  Community Leaders are the point people to receive questions and offer advice, hugs…and chocolate when needed :).  
Immediately following the opening session, each tribe will meet at "their" table in the main ballroom (your niche table number will be projected on the screen);  this is when we'll meet one another, exchange business cards and Twitter handles, and have a quick Q & A if necessary.  
To say I'm thrilled to join Sandy as Lifestyle Community Leader is an understatement!  Blogging at The Reluctant Entertainer, Sandy is also the author of a gorgeous book that shares the same name.  If your blog is hard to define and you write a combination of lifestyle-related content– 
  • family
  • faith
  • marriage
  • parenting
  • entertaining and hospitality
  • personal interests (for me, in addition to the above, poetry, photography, friendship, important causes…)
  • stream of consciousness… 😉
…then we invite you to join our (almost non-) niche!  Though we wouldn't dare to say it's the best tribe, we think it's pretty doggone special!

[3]  The thrill and honor of leading a session
Along with presenter Hollee Temple and co-speakers Jennifer Doyle and Dawn Schnee, our official session title is:  "Longevity and Balance: The One Where the Old Timers Complain and Then Rally with a Vengeance; Disillusioned Newbies Welcome." 

After speaking with these ladies by conference call, I'm even more excited than EVAH.  We're four diverse personalities who'll explore some rarely discussed issues (balance, jealousy, success, addiction and competitiveness) doing our best to acknowledge those Big Elephants in the room.  
If you were even thinkin' about attending this session, let me give you a gentle push in our direction.  You'll definitely come away with newfound insights and inspiration.

* * * * * * * *
Whew!  This is getting long (imagine that!), so I'll continue with my next two points soon.  Stay tuned!  Remember to link your Twitter handle below if you're planning on coming to the Blissdom Prayer Coffee on Friday morning!!

(For the link URL be sure you use this format:

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“More questions than a five year-old in the backseat riding cross-country.”**



Posted by on Dec 7, 2010 | 7 comments

“Never have I felt less worthy and more privileged
to be a part of a group of people.”

~ Lindsey Nobles

“I’d been looking forward to this past weekend for as long as I can remember and I came home feeling humbled, amazed, grateful, inspired, and exhausted…. To be among people who took time out of their daily lives to write words that have ultimately led to impacting 5,000 lives. It’s humbling and it makes me want to do more and to live a life with purpose.”
~ Melanie aka Big Mama


I still have his message saved from January 26, 2009, Shaun’s initial call to me about traveling with Compassion International as a Compassion Blogger.  I couldn’t believe it then, and I think I can’t bring myself to erase it now because that keeps it real. And maybe that’s creepy, but really, is it any creepier than sleeping with people I met on the internet?!?!

The thing is, this is my normal.  This is a lot of people’s normal. And it makes me oh-so-happy that Al Gore invented the internet bless his self-delusional little heart.

Deeper_Still_2011_button My initial reason for traveling to Birmingham was a Compassion Blogger’s reunion planned for Saturday night.  But then Amanda put on her thinking-and-doing cap and arranged for all of us to attend Deeper Still, a conference led by her mom, Beth Moore, and Kay Arthur and Priscilla Shirer.  Oh, my…I’ll try to put that into words soon but many thanks are in order to Amanda, Lifeway and DaySpring for treating us so well.

After dinner, Steve Jones (the guy who used to be Shaun’s boss with Compassion) let us know 5,000 children had been sponsored through the six blogging trips that began in Uganda and continued to the Dominican Republic, India, El Salvador, Kenya and most recently Guatemala.  Joining the 37 bloggers who’ve traveled are 1,100 others who lend their words for the benefit of children, to release them from poverty in Jesus’ name

A few other highlights in addition to seeing and/or meeting every stinkin’ person in the picture above–truly, really, they ALL have inspired me, even if I’m not callin’ ’em out here~

  • Shaun Groves’ hair–it’s a conversation piece.  Don’t miss his recap post–he took the time to identify everyone in the picture above and introduce readers to ’em…and it’s where I stole what inspired my post title.
  • Compassion CalendarA gift from Compassion, a calendar masterpiece featuring the artful photography of the amazingly talented Keely Scott.  I wish I could give one to every person I know.  It’s gorgeous.
  • Meeting Dan Woolley, a stranger and Compassion staffer I prayed for following Haiti’s devastating earthquake.  How odd it must be for him to hear over and over “I prayed for you!” by people he didn’t know existed.  A few minutes’ conversation made me realize God trusted him with this story for a reason.
  • Getting to know Molly Piper.  Most of the women I hung out with I already knew–extended time with Molly was unexpected.  Over late night conversation and breakfast before departure, I got to know her well enough to miss her, daggum it!
  • Meeting the DaySpring staff.  Everyone had encouraging words to share about (in)courage and it’s obvious they read and support the site.  I was impressed with their kindness, generosity, attention to detail, professionalism and joyful countenance from their president James Barnett to sweet Katie I-don’t-know-her-last-name, a wonderful navigator!
  • Seeing Patricia (my India roomie) and Steve Jones again and especially meeting their daughter Isabel.  Her sweet spirit floated all around her 🙂
  • Seeing Shannon-who-used-to-blog, one of my oldest stalkees, and one of my wisest online friends.  I just didn’t get enough of her!
  • Café Dupont.  Good gracious, our dinner was fabulous!  I hear rumors their cornbread–served only at lunch–is to die for.
  • And I sat across the table from Beth Moore while she noshed on Pumpkin Pie cheesecake.  But I don’t wanna say too much about that because a) gratuitous name dropping much? and b) that whole puttin’ people on a pedestal thing. But people–BETH!  MOORE!!  I met her unexpectedly when she and her daughter Amanda walked off their plane, and I’m pretty sure between then and dessert Saturday I tangled my words and said things like, “I know you don’t know me, but you’ve been my BFF for years…” and other such things I’d much rather forget…!


Compassion Bloggers Reunion/Deeper Still conference, Part two.

Part One, “It was like a high school sleepover, only we’re our mother’s age, plus there was some snoring going on.


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