Hey there,

As I mentioned in this post about #SheReadsTruth, I had the amazing opportunity to attend the Influence Conference back in October.  And if it's ok with you, I think it's about time for me to share the details behind this weekend, when the forward motion for this blog began.  Influence Conference was a 3-day workshop where 200+ women gathered to learn about using their influence to share God's word through social media and in our face-to-face relationships.  In a nutshell, it was an awesome weekend packed with sessions focusing on either life (your personal spiritual growth) or strategy (how you can actually apply your influence to make things happen online!).  There was a lot of learning, praying, and hashtagging....and it was so good.  I mean, you know it's going to be a good techie time when your nametag lists your name, twitter handle and blog, just so people can meet your in real life...and then meet you virtually.

Signing up to go was a bit bold for me because I knew I wouldn't know a SOUL upon arrival, but trusting that I'd be surrounded by faith-driven women who wouldn't make me sit by myself in a corner, I decided go for it .  The conference was happening in Indy of all places, and I told myself this was a sign I was meant to go.  People were flying in from around the country to attend---surely I could drive to Keystone to be there.  As it turns out, everyone was super sweet and encouraging from the moment I arrived.  I'll never forget the sweet girls who saw me awkwardly walking around after I checked-in and asked if I wanted some company.   I responded with an enthusiastic, "YES! I'm Caitlin and I don't know what I'm doing!" and they took me in, praise the Lord.  From then on, I was good to go, and introduced myself to tons of sweet ladies as the weekend went on.

 I super-enjoyed the sessions because they were easy to relate to and full of useful info about social media/blogging/sharing faith.  Feeling like I was in college again was also fun as I took notes and tried to sit close to the front of each session.  One of my favvvvorite parts of the weekend was a meet-up for people with online shops to talk about strategy and give advice.  While I did not have an Etsy shop at that point, I was excited to hear what others had to say about it.  I was blown away by the camaraderie between shop owners and there helpfulness giving tips to the newbies.  So many talented ladies doing super-creative things with such compassionate business models....I was so inspired! 

So inspired, in fact, that I felt that the experience I was having at the conference was the little push I needed to realize that God was giving me the voice and desire to share my words and creativity with others.  The idea had been floating around in my head for a while, but I clearly felt the pull to get this thing going by the time the weekend was over.  I realized I could start a blog and stationery business and give Him the glory, and have fun doing it.

So here I am.  Bloggin' and makin' and sharin' because it's my way of sharing my story and recognizing the influence we have.  If there's anything I can pass along from Influence, it's just that.  You have it.  In your home, at work, at school, on the bus, in line at the grocery store, on Instagram and everywhere you go.  You can use it to share the Word, tell your story, and pass along some joy, even in the smallest ways.  You got that?  You have influence, and it's a really beautiful thing.

Lots of love,