influence re-cap

Dear Friends,

It's hard to believe it's been almost 2 weeks since Influence Conference and I'm just now sitting down to re-cap it. I think it has taken me this long to process the experience because it felt like one big whirlwind of goodness. My brain is still digesting some of things we learned and talked about, but I'm here and excited to share my favorite parts.

First of all, the ladies. The ladies at Influence were oh so wonderful. I felt nerves creeping in as I got ready for Influence...and while I knew that was semi-normal, it didn't stop me from worrying about things like, "What if I don't make one friend the entire weekend?!" or Β even worse, "What if my clothes aren't up to standard cuteness?!" You know, all the irrational things we tend to think before we do something a little out of our everyday comfort zone. BUT, as soon as I got there, there were smiling faces to chat with who 1.) Were more than happy to make new friends and 2.) Cared more about why I was there than my outfit. Praise the Lord!

This year I was so excited to participate in the Sashes Market, which was fun on about 100 different levels. It gave me a community of ladies from the very start who are in similar boats of life as me because they were all running handmade businesses. It was GREAT to be able to talk with so many smart, creative, loving business ladies and to admire all their beautiful work.

And then there were the speakers. The truth-spilling, Gospel-bringing, joy-bearing speakers who inspired us to dig deeper in life. We talked about not fearing our gifts and trusting God's plan to use them with Hayley Morgan. We talked about using our hearts and fullest potential to make things happen with Lara Casey. We talked being made for community and why writing/creating Β is important with Shauna Niequist. We talked about how and why God created women and what for with Jessi Connolly. We talked about how to pursue dreams given to us by God and what we can do to make more time for them with Jeff Goins. We talked about finding writing voices, sharing our stories and using social media with Kate Bryan. Each session was unique and poignant, and I'm sure many of the words spoken will stick with me for a long, long time.

Other favorite moments of the weekend include: getting to know some pretty big sweethearts over meals, soaking up business tips from the incredibly talented Rebecca Stewart of Better Life Bags during a Handmade Business Workshop, meeting with some of the fantastic organizers and writers of She Reads Truth and singing along all the other attendees as Reeve Coombs and Christopher Kincaid led us in an awesome worship session.

If I had to summarize the conference in one word, it would be "full." Full of Jesus. Full of encouraging women. Full of inspiration and challenges to take home and spur us on.

The influence we have on each other is real and beautiful. Let's use it to love and encourage each other.

xo, Caitlin