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  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  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


how great thou art

Happy Friday, Friends!

I'm kicking off the weekend with a big smile on my face because today I am SO excited to introduce you to a little something something new to the Lettered Life Shop!  My very first canvas print!

As pictured above, this canvas features lyrics from one of my favorite hymns, How Great Thou Art.  It's so simple and rings very true in my life----sometimes I just look at things and am amazed that God made it happen.  I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder, and all I can think is what a creative and loving God we have.  How awesome is He?!  How great Thou art!

For me, it's helpful to surround myself with things that inspire me and bring me closer to God.  That's why I wanted my first canvas to have the chorus of How Great Thou Art, because it's a reminder of how big God is.  And it gives me a chance to praise God each time I see it hanging in our living room.  And I thought maybe you might want a little reminder for your living room, too.  Or bedroom.  Or kitchen.  Or entry way or even you're bathroom---whatever spot calls your name.

So, pop on over to the shop.  You'll find the canvas also comes in peach and navy in addition to the chalkboard color, pictured above!!!  I love how those look as well!

Sending best weekend ever vibes your way.  And this little Carrie Underwood/Vince Gill version, which gives me goosebumps.

xo, Caitlin



why I run

Dear Friends,

Not sure how yesterday hit you, but for me, it was rough.  Watching the sadness that happened at the Boston Marathon broke my heart.  I hurt for so many people: the victims, the families of the victims, the Bostonians and especially the runners.

I'm obviously not a professional runner, but I do love to run.  I began running when I was 13 and just haven't stopped.  Running has been a very important part of my life, and I'm certain that it's played a huge role in shaping me because of the peace it brings each time I head out the door.  Some days are smoother and faster than others, but every mile logged has given me time to think outdoors that I wouldn't trade for the world.  As my body settles into a pace, my thoughts tend to do so as well---it's a rhythm I love and trust deeply.

People run for a hundred reasons.  They run to keep their body strong and healthy, to relieve stress or to prepare for a race.  They train in groups for a sense of community or alone for a feeling of closeness to God.  People run in honor of other people, for people that can't and for charities.  My reasons are a mix of those, combined with the fact that a lot of times, running just feels like the best prayer I can say.  I feel like I can show God how thankful I am for giving me a body that moves.  It gives me time to talk to Him about whatever is filling my brain.  I get to admire His creation and appreciate the flowers and the trees and every sweet downhill he plants along my route.  I give thanks for the amazing runners who have influence my life, like my grandpa, who loved telling people about how he won gold medals in his age brackets because he was only guy racing in his eighties.

I've run two marathons and several halves thus far.  I remember what it's like to see the 26 mile marker and the finish line a few feet in front of you.  Everything that hurts fades away and any not-so-positive thoughts transform into, "This is happening!  I am here!  This is the best day of my life!" Or it least, it went that way for me.  So when I watch the race unfold yesterday, I ached for all those runners because I didn't want them to miss their big moment, or for those who had already finished, to have that day scarred by such a terrible act.

But, the one thing that reassures me that it will be ok, is also the reason why I run.  Because I know that God is bigger.  And the same God who made it possible for us to run will help us to keep running.  The running community that I know will keep on keepin' on along the sidewalks, mountain trails, and country roads because it's what they do.  The things that call them out of their homes and onto the streets wearing running shoes and Nike shorts will continue to do so with hope and faith, myself included.

"But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:31

Lots of love, Caitlin


influential meetup

Hello hello! As I mentioned in this post, I attended Influence Conference last October and it was fabulous.  Lots of learning, lots of sweet people.  I am loving being a member of the Influence Network, and today there's a linkup to get to know all of the women who have joined the community!   Today we are sharing 3 things about us, 1 thing we have learned using the Network, and 1 photo of ourselves that we absolutely love.

So Influence Network ladies, here's a little about me!

Three Things About Caitlin

1.)  I love love love to read and am so thankful I only live a few miles from our local library!  One of my 2013 goals is to read 2 books a month, so if you have any suggestions, holla at me!  One of my favorite things to learn about people is their favorite book----so please share some of your faves and I'll put them on my list.

2.)  Beyonce is my favorite.  I listen to Beyonce most days.  If I've gone too many days without pumping some of her tunes, I'm a little off-balance.  I once listened to Love on Top about 800 times over the course of running a marathon, and she got me through.  (Chris Tomlin was mixed in there, too.)  She's definitely on my top 5 people I'd love to have over for dinner, so if you see her around, please let her know the invite stands!

3.) My family is the best.  I have a big huge family that I am crazy about.  I wish I could hang out with my siblings every single day and I have 25 best-friend type cousins that can always make me smile.  My parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles have all played huge roles in my life, and I"m really thankful for the influence they've had on me!

1 Thing Learned from the Network

How different we are, how similar we are.  I love seeing all of the different passions and skills in the community: writers, creators, thinkers, encouragers, teachers.  While everyone has a different story, the desire to follow God is the same, and I think that's a very beautiful thing.

A Photo That I Love

From our wedding in August!

So nice to meet you---can't wait to read your posts!

xo, Caitlin

thoughts from 25

Hey friends,

The other night I was in the kitchen with my husband.  I was drying a piece of Pyrex, and he was putting away some Tupperware and whatever other dishes we had just washed.  We were talking about rent and money and anything else that was on our minds, when the whole context of the situation hit me.  I have a husband.  And we have real dishes and rent and other bills and even some Pyrex that we make dinners (and brownies) in.  And all of a sudden it seemed like I was an adult, and I quite wasn't sure how I got there.  Like all of a sudden five years went by and instead of thinking about whether I should do homework or go to the gym or just watch Oprah with my roommates, I was thinking about money and responsibilities and where on earth we got all that Tupperware.  And while I wouldn't trade one itty bitty little ounce of what my life is right now for time in the past, or for anything else for that matter, I just could not get over the fact that maybe I was growing up a little. Like life had been put on fast forward and in 10 minutes I went from running around God's country (Bloomington, Indiana) to being an adult with real-people chores and work and activities.  And the thought that ran through my head was, "When did this happen?"

And as I'm thinking about this, I'm realizing it wasn't just a few life-changing events that brought me to dish washing in the kitchen with my crazy-sweet husband.  Sure, moving across the country brings some life experiences, as does getting married and having a job.  I didn't really go from a college Caitlin to a semi-adult Caitlin in the blink of an eye, although sometimes it feels that way.  I am this Caitlin, who does what she does and thinks what she thinks, because of a million little happenings that accumulated and brought me to this very moment in time.  Seconds and minutes spent with different people in situations God wanted me to experience so I could become the person He wanted me to be.

I'm not sure if anyone else has these moments of "Oh my gosh, I think I might be an adult," but in case there's anyone else out there who maybe has these thoughts, I just wanted to say hi and don't worry, I do too....let's hang out.  And I think we might be ok, because maybe that's how life is supposed to happen. We get a little older and hopefully gain a little more insight with the days that pass.  We live a life that's full to the brim with more life, and it's hard to realize just how unique and amazing the moments are, until we take a step back and reflect, which we should do often so we're not caught off-guard in our kitchens on a random Friday evening.

So at 25, I'm taking a step back to say two things to both you and to God, who I know is reading this (Hiya!).  The first is, "This adult thing is so good," because I stand in awe of the life that's been given to me and the God/people who have brought me here, amidst the Pyrex and the craziness. The second is, "I'm so thankful," because there's no other way to to express that gratitude I have for being 25. Married, growing, creating, laughing. With a giant loving family and friends who are pure treasure. Memories behind and adventures ahead.  25 is great, no wait, it's the best and I'm so happy to be it right this very moment.

Peace and love,



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,




Dear Sisters,

This verse is one that I have been reciting again and again this week (go ahead, memorize it!  right now!), thanks to #SheReadsTruth.  #SheReadsTruth is a daily devotional for women that I learned about a few months ago at The Influence Conference.  We just finished a plan called "Fresh Start" for the new year, and it focused on how God redeemed all SORTS of people to put them on His path.  One day specifically showed how God used Moses to save the Israelites, which made me want to watch The Prince of Egypt like crazy!  (Our family was slightly obsessed with When You Believe growing up.)  "The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still"  is something Moses says to the terrified Israelites, who know the Egyptians are coming after them in Exodus 14.  I won't tell you what happens next if you're unfamiliar with the story, but know that this is where things get REALLY good and Moses's encouragement is proven to be true.

If you're looking for a devotional, I love a couple of things about #SheReadsTruth, the first being that it is available through the YouVersion app on my phone.  I know, I know, you don't need an iphone to do a devotional, BUT #SheReadsTruth encourages you to take a picture and instagram/tweet what you learned from the devotional and corresponding scripture, so makes it a visual AND an experience I can share with other people.  I think this is an awesome way to share the Word, so I'm all about it!  I also enjoy how the devotional are written in a down-to-earth style, and I like that I have it everywhere I take my phone...which is admittedly everywhere, so there's no reason not to check in with the daily reading!  While I don't instagram or tweet my daily thoughts often and need to work on being a little braver in this aspect, I have loved the themes of the last few plans including Advent and the Fresh Start I mentioned earlier.

So ladies of all ages, if you've been looking for a way to add a little more reflection to your day, check out #SheReadsTruth.  You do not have to have a smartphone to read the plan---you can visit the site daily to see what the readings are or sign up to have them delivered to your inbox.  A new plan called "Soul Detox" just started and it's never too late to join in.

xo, Caitlin

PS -  This print is available in the LetteredLifeShop!

small things

Dear Friends,

How sweet is this quote?  And how true.  Often, the smallest gestures done out of kindness for others can make a big impact.  One of my besties from home totally brought life to these words for me today!  She sent me  a "just thinking of you note" note in the mail, and reading her words brightened my day.  It was so sweet of her to think of me and do a little something special that I wasn't expecting.  Love her and the example she sets for me!

Let's all find one sweet, special thing to do today.  I'm going to pass on the note writing love and send one to my grandma.  Have any fun ideas?  I'd love to read them in the comments!

xo, Caitlin

words from ruth

Dear Little Sista,

Thank you for bringing this verse to my mind this week!  I loved reading this chapter from Ruth, who is such an awesome bff.  She demonstrates deep trust and commitment as she gives unwavering support to Naomi and serves as a great example of what it's like to love like God loves us.   I think she's also giving us an idea of how we should be close to God.  To go where he goes and stay where he stays?  Sounds like a good plan to me.

Thanks for the encouragement! xo, Caitlin