The Pursuit 31 Conference! A Journey of Joy & Community {Winshape Retreat Center Photography}

Oh, friends!  You know when you have so much to share, but don’t know where to start?  That is how I feel right now.  But here it goes!

I returned last week from the Pursuit 31 Conference in Rome, Georgia; this is the second year I went.  You may remember my post from last year!  The way I describe how the conference feels is: imagine one person you know who works in the same industry.  Then imagine that person shares similar beliefs and values and fears and joys as you – and you can just talk and talk and talk.  Then multiply that person by 150 – and imagine being in a room with all of them!! That is how the Pursuit 31 community feels to me – like home.  There are so many women pursuing creativity and all to glorify the Lord.  It’s more than a privilege to spend time with them every year.  I always leave with the feeling, “How did I get invited to this party?!”  But then that feeling is overwhelmed with a surge of gratitude; and all I can whisper is “Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.”

The theme of this year’s conference was JOY.  A huge topic on my heart ever since reading my favorite book “1000 Gifts” by Ann Voskamp.  I fight for joy every day; and it was so refreshing to see women in the same fight.  Industry leaders admitting their disappointments and the lies that they believe.  Speakers who are so RAW they’re crying in front of us, yet encouraging us to press in and through and to choose to fight, choose to love, choose to hold joy. The creative journey is not easy; in fact, it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.  But the most rewarding.  And these women know what it’s like.

I can’t possibly describe how it felt to be with them except to say that it felt like heaven came down to earth on this hill in Georgia.  I didn’t want to leave; but I knew that we gather not to stay isolated; but we gather to equip and empower and go back to our homes and businesses stronger, with a greater focus on what really matters.  And WHO really matters.

Here are some snapshots of my time there!  The moments that created tears that ran deep and laughter that rang loud and gratitude that soaked into my soul.  And joy…joy that spilled from these hills into hearts that are now scattered across the country!

pursuit_31_conference_2014_winshape_retreat_center_rome_georgia_photographer_creative_conference_0001Isn’t our Winshape Retreat Center so beautiful?!  I feel peaceful just looking at it!

pursuit_31_conference_2014_winshape_retreat_center_rome_georgia_photographer_creative_conference_0002Right after I arrived I ran into these fabulous ladies – Hannah, Mary & Kristin!

pursuit_31_conference_2014_winshape_retreat_center_rome_georgia_photographer_creative_conference_0003My breakout sessions with Katelyn James and Tiffany Farley.  These ladies have beautiful hearts and amazing insight!

pursuit_31_conference_2014_winshape_retreat_center_rome_georgia_photographer_creative_conference_0004Bob Goff came back to teach us!  He’s the author of “Love Does” – this book!  Will change your life.  Then we heard from Benjamin, a man from Uganda who now runs an amazing ministry.  Let’s just say there were lots of tears.

pursuit_31_conference_2014_winshape_retreat_center_rome_georgia_photographer_creative_conference_0005

And on the last night, Bianca Olthoff from the A21 campaign just rocked our worlds!

pursuit_31_conference_2014_winshape_retreat_center_rome_georgia_photographer_creative_conference_0006Some of the ladies I was privileged to meet and spend time with during the conference!  Such a full heart…

pursuit_31_conference_2014_winshape_retreat_center_rome_georgia_photographer_creative_conference_0007I was so glad that Andy from Love Gives Way was able to come and show the ladies what they’re about!  You remember, the Love Gives Way that I partner with in my business?!  Their mission is SO awesome and I’m so proud to be one of their vendors.

pursuit_31_conference_2014_winshape_retreat_center_rome_georgia_photographer_creative_conference_0008Even photographers and creative girls need some photo booth action!  Love these girls!!

pursuit_31_conference_2014_winshape_retreat_center_rome_georgia_photographer_creative_conference_0010This!  My sweet roommate Carrie Grace and I doing one of her “classic” poses.  Being her roommate was such joy!

pursuit_31_conference_2014_winshape_retreat_center_rome_georgia_photographer_creative_conference_0011Love her!

pursuit_31_conference_2014_winshape_retreat_center_rome_georgia_photographer_creative_conference_0012And Hannah!  This girl’s words touch me to my core.  Love her!

pursuit_31_conference_2014_winshape_retreat_center_rome_georgia_photographer_creative_conference_0013Karen, the conference leader, put on “The Art of Community” celebration dinner.  One photographer at my table said “It’s like a wedding reception – just for us!”  We did feel so celebrated and valued.  It was just beautiful to sit on the hills for a styled dinner with these girls.  To all sit at the same long table – such a powerful thing.

pursuit_31_conference_2014_winshape_retreat_center_rome_georgia_photographer_creative_conference_0014pursuit_31_conference_2014_winshape_retreat_center_rome_georgia_photographer_creative_conference_0015I kept thinking of my mom when I saw these gold chargers!  So pretty! :)pursuit_31_conference_2014_winshape_retreat_center_rome_georgia_photographer_creative_conference_0016pursuit_31_conference_2014_winshape_retreat_center_rome_georgia_photographer_creative_conference_0017Loved this photo booth too!

pursuit_31_conference_2014_winshape_retreat_center_rome_georgia_photographer_creative_conference_0018On the last day of the conference Carrie and I did a little portrait session!   This pinwheel is “so her”…she’s that adorable.

pursuit_31_conference_2014_winshape_retreat_center_rome_georgia_photographer_creative_conference_0019Modeling my new Love Gives Way t-shirt – so fun to be able to wear this cause!

pursuit_31_conference_2014_winshape_retreat_center_rome_georgia_photographer_creative_conference_0020This is so us!  A special thank you to Faith Teasley for my portraits and ours – you’re awesome girl!

pursuit_31_conference_2014_winshape_retreat_center_rome_georgia_photographer_creative_conference_0021Carrie and Faith walking back to the conference!

pursuit_31_conference_2014_winshape_retreat_center_rome_georgia_photographer_creative_conference_0022pursuit_31_conference_2014_winshape_retreat_center_rome_georgia_photographer_creative_conference_0023

I’m so grateful to have been here and be a part of this incredible conference!  I feel so refreshed, inspired, challenged, and loved.

Thank you to every soul who made this happen, including:

Karen Stott (conference leader), Kristin Untereght and Kathleen Clipper (the dream team), the conference leaders and small group leaders.  Thank you to all the speakers – Katelyn James, Mary Marantz, Hannah Brencher, Tiffany Farley, Jane Johnson, Casey Wiegand, Bob Goff, Benjamin David, Bianca Olthoff – all of your words have touched me and others deeply.  Thank you to all the amazing sponsors.  Thank you to the Winshape staff.  There are so many more…I know it.

So for now, I’ll just say thank you.

The Organic Bloom | Stout Tent | Daylin Skye Designs | Intentional Home |Rachel Brenke: The Law Tog | Jordanne Marie Paper and Design BoutiquePuddleduck Paper Company | B is for Bonnie Designs | Carrie Grace Shop | Read Between the Lines | bPaperie | Thatch and Thistle Company |Aubabi78 | Kal Barteski | The Ruffled Stitch | Chasing Lockets | Black River Imaging | Epiphanie Bags | Bloom Theory Straps | Blogstomp | AlbumstompKelly Moore Bag | Fotostrap | Stampington and Company | Justin & Mary |Tiffany Farley | Hannah Brencher | Katelyn James | Bob Goff | Jane Johnson Creative | Casey Wiegand | Elle Danielle | Ike and Tash | Julie Story | H.H. Boogie | Artifact Uprising | Peach Linen | Amy Cornwell | Beba Photography | Life Lived Beautifully | Tieks | Grace and Salt | Whitney English – The Day Designer | Two Little Fish | Angelsea Urban | Kristin Ungerecht | Lily Jade | Lace and Loyalty | ShowIt | PASS | Love Gives WayDeeply Rooted Magazine | Shutterbag USA | Market Colors | Eye Heart World | Mercy Child Care Ministry

 

You can watch the INCREDIBLE video recap by Tre Creative here:

http://trecreative.com/blog/pursuit-conference-2014

 

If you’re interested in being a part of next year’s Pursuit Conference, go register NOW!

Hello Friends

A life filled with gratitude begins with finding thankfulness in the small moments

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