We Are Dreaming For You (and Looking for New (in)couragers!)

This was posted on incourage.me on March 5, 2013*

You may not have known it, but we carried you with us.

When the Behind-The-Scenes team at (in)courage got together for the very first time (!!!) we took you with us to Arkansas.

What? You don’t remember the plane flights and hurt cheekbones that came from smiling too much? How strange…because we certainly carried you in our hearts, there to dream big dreams for YOU and all (in)courage is and can be.

We may have gathered to plan for (in)RL 2014 – and a few big surprises leading up to (in)RL! – but we did it all with you in mind.

In between all the dreaming and scheming planning, we ate too much chocolate, took way too many pictures, and laughed too much – if that’s even possible. We held new babies and celebrated our ever-fabulous Lisa-Jo becoming an American.

For a few days, we got to step out of the online world of Skype calls and emails and instead we did life together in person. You’ll have to forgive the blurry pictures because the few days we had together were full of joy and laughter straight from Him.

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We brought each other little surprises, and Arkansas greeted us with chocolate beauties formerly known as cupcakes.

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We had meetings. We ate food . We laughed. We presented to the DaySpring team. We ate food. We toured the DaySpring headquarters. We paused for lunch and snacks. We sat around planning (in)RL 2014. We ate chocolate. Are you sensing a pattern here? We like to eat. Particularly, we like chocolate  desserts. But instead of making us all hungry, how about a little tour of DaySpring headquarters?

Every office is decorated beautifully, there’s an entire DaySpring store set up inside, and the new card line is displayed in the main entrance.

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The very best thing about the building is that every office, every room, is built around one thing.

At the center of it all is the cross.

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What a reminder as we sat down to dream about the next year for (in)courage! It is humbling and exhilarating to have the honor of encouraging His girls, and we were all so thrilled to not only meet each other, but to share new ways we can love on you, right where you are.

These sheets of paper for (in)courage and (in)RL weren’t blank for long – in fact, they filled up with scribbles and God-sized dreams faster than you can say “pass the chocolate!”

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Now, it would ruin all the fun if we shared those dreams with you right away, but we promise big plans are in the works and soon (so soon!) you’ll begin to hear about them!

In the mean time, would you like to meet the Behind-The-Scenes team? These are the ladies that make (in)courage run from the background.

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Lisa-Jo, our fearless leader and new American (yippee!). Mary, an (in)courage contributor since the beginning, and the editorial wiz who makes sure the main page always has a beautiful new post in the morning. Robin, another (in)courage contributor who writes all the posts for our amazing Bloom Book Club. Crystal, who is also known as a #twitterninja, the community leader for our (in)couragers. Anna and Amy, who keep everything running smoothly for the (in)couragers groups. Sally and Mandy, two members of our team who run all things technical and Marketplace. Kaitlyn (yours truly), the (in)tern who does all things social media (think email, Instagram, Pinterest) and guest posts. Jen, Katie, and Katherine, the girls behind some soon-to-come (in)courage goodies. And we were so thrilled that Holley and Marina were able to join us for a little bit of the weekend!

Phew! What an incredible team!

The only thing missing is YOU.

Yep, that’s right. You can photoshop your face right in here, because as fabulous as this team is, we would be nothing without His call to encourage His girls. That means you, right where you are, writing term papers, changing dirty diapers, or inviting friends over for coffee.

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In between all the hugs, all the chocolate and all the laughter, we thought of you. There were so many conversations where we said, “Gosh, they would love this. You know, I was talking about something like this with Heather the other day, and Tonya said this sort of this would be awesome. We should do this!”

You were there.

In the laughter.

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In the goofy, “let’s play on the swings!”

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In all of it, you were there. We are beyond excited for what God is going to do in and through (in)courage. And let’s just go ahead and put it out there: (in)RL is going to be awesome.

Thank you for letting us dream for you. It is an honor, and we are blessed to take care of the behind-the-scenes so that God’s words can reach your computer screen and encourage you each morning.

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Speaking of sneak peeks, behind the scenes, and exciting times at (in)courage, we’d love to invite you to join us to (in)courage the women of (in)courage! We’ll bring the cupcakes and chocolate, all you need is a heart for serving your sisters in Christ. We’re looking for new (in)courager leaders and if you feel called to lead and pour into the lives of like-hearted women for our Fall Session (starting September 16th), you can apply by clicking here. Applications are due Monday, August 26th!

By Kaitlyn, the (in)courage (in)tern. For more photos from the trip that became a hashtag (#inDaySpring), you can visit this page. Bonus? She’s giving away a DaySpring Redeemed necklace (today!). Feel free to stop by for a visit.

You Make A Difference

This was posted on incourage.me on March 5, 2013*

In case you’ve wondered if you’re making a difference…

In case you’ve questioned whether you’re impacting anyone…

In case you’ve wondered if your prayers or giving changes anything…

The answer is yes.

A few weeks ago we began our Book Club study on Prayer by Richard Foster and we asked if you would come along side us and help a sister out. There were many who truly couldn’t afford the book but wanted to participate in the study – and you stepped in and filled the gap.

Forms were filled out, books were shipped, and the emails began to roll in. And since you prayed over these women, these books, and because many of you were in a position to buy a sponsored book, we want to share some of these “thank you’s” with you – we can’t keep this goodness to ourselves!

Thank you so very much!  I feel big things brewing in me and this is a major step in this process.

I so genuinely want to thank you for fulfilling this!  I am thrilled that I will be able to participate and am looking forward to the book and the group study!  I am thrilled!

Oh, my goodness!  THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!  I can’t wait!

I do not have words to express how grateful I am for the copy of the book.  Your kindness means so very much to me.

These women, they are just like you and me. They might be going through a tough time, but they want to dig in and learn more about Jesus and this life we’re called to live. Some of the women who emailed us shared a little of their own story…and since the power of Story is undeniable, we’re going to share a little of that with you, too.

Wahoo! Thank you so much!! This comes at a time where my husband and I are struggling on the home front, but looking fine on the outside…Really thankful and appreciative!

Thank you sooooo much! This means so much to me, especially now at this time while my husband is going through kidney failure, and I need this more than ever! God’s timing is always perfect.

Thank you so much!  I have been sick and in and out of the hospital since September and lost my job in October due to being gone.  It’s hard enough to try to pay my mortgage and bills.  I really appreciate it.

I am a stay a home Mom, and one income is at times a challenge and Mama’s are the first to be ok without the extras, I am truly touched that you all offer this to those who may not have the extra right at the right time to participate!  Thank you so much, I feel very blessed!

I wanted to say a huge THANK YOU for this amazing blessing!  I have been hearing about this book a lot lately from a lot of unrelated areas and felt like I should get it, but as a single mom I was not sure I would be able to get it.  I saw that it was offered as part of the Bloom book club and felt like trying.  I knew whatever God willed, would happen.  It was such an amazing exciting blessing when I received this email letting me know of this huge gift.

Does that not just blow your socks off?! 220 women received books and many of those came from you! Y’all stepped up and gave and prayed, not knowing the hands that would hold the book.

Whether you’re participating in the study or not, whether you were financially able to buy a sponsored book for an unknown sister-friend or not, let this be an encouragement to you: Women around the world are hungry for God’s truth. Life is hard, worries weigh down, and things get a little messy for us all, but we cannot forget thankfulness.

Your prayers made {are making!} a difference.

You are community…

…and we are thankful.

*You can view this post here. All words are my own. The photo can be found here, but I added the text.