speaker interview with carey bailey

Our friend and speaker, Carey Bailey is no stranger to most of you, but if you haven’t met her.. well, we just have to change that!  Carey is our Allume Creative Director, but before that she is a wife, mom, friend, and talented Life Coach.  Carey combines her expertise in life coaching with a passion for encouraging and inspiring women to live full lives to the glory of the Lord.  She is generous, kind, honest, and brings a real wisdom to Allume on how to make the most of this life that we are living!

Allume Family, enjoy getting to know Carey Bailey!

Carey Bailey - Allume 2014

1. What was your favorite food as a kid?

Melted cheese on a flour tortilla with a side of home cooked pinto beans in a tea cup with a dash of salt. Mmmmmm…the memories flooding me are so good right now.

2. What chore do you despise the most?

Laundry. I worked outside of the home till this last year and my sweet husband did the laundry for the first 7 years of our marriage. Now that I am working in the home I took on the laundry. IT.HAS.NO.END!!!!

3. If you could learn to do anything what would it be?

To play the drums. Like for real. Being a drummer in a cool chick rock band is on my dreams list.

 4. What do you do with 30 minutes of free time?

Really? 30 mins. What can you do in 30 minutes? I guess I would organize something. One of my priorities for the year is to have an organized life. I find if I give myself a small amount of time to tackle just one thing a week it pays off.

5. What would the dream birthday present be?

A trip. Give me an experience over a physical gift any day! Now what kind of trip is hard to say. I would take a week at Canyon Ranch Spa in Tucson, a cruise , a weekend of shows and sightseeing in NYC, or give me a staycation in Phoenix. It is all good!

 6. What is something new you learned last week?

I learned you can take the outside of a Clarisonic brush off and just use the inside to get into the hard to get a spots real good! I was excited!

7. What do you miss most about being a kid?

I miss doing Science Fair projects. I love the learning side of it but I mostly loved creating the presentation board and table. My favorite one was in the 4th grade when I figuring out why you are right side up on one side the spoon and upside down on the other side of a spoon. Do you know why?

8. What are your 5 favorite books?
Harry Potter Series (that counts as 1, right?)
True Faced – John Lynch
Dangerous Wonder – Mike Yaconelli
Revolutionary Parenting – George Barna
ANYTHING Henri Nouwen


Hop over and visit Carey at her Website /// Facebook /// Twitter /// Pinterest /// Instagram

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Creating Vi Bella: a Beautiful Life

Today I want to introduce you to Allume Sponsor, Vi Bella.


Vi Bella is more than just a jewelry company—it’s a transformative life cycle.


Vi Bella grew out of a trip to Haiti in June 2010. A severe earthquake had devastated Port-au-Prince just five months earlier. Vi Bella founder, Julie Hulstein, was overwhelmed by the desperate living conditions that thousands of Haitians were and are living in. The foreign aid Haiti received after the quake helped save some lives, but it did not address the causes underlying this heart-wrenching poverty. Haitians needed good jobs to empower them. To release themselves from the cycle of poverty.


As Julie and the mission team spent more time with their new Haitian brothers and sisters, they realized many Haitians had been living in extreme poverty for decades. Jobs were and still are scarce. Many Haitians could barely afford to feed their families let alone pay for school, clothing or housing.


Julie prayed God would provide a better life for her new friends through employment. In April 2011, God answered these prayers with Vi Bella. Vi Bella means Beautiful Life, and our team is helping to create beautiful lives by providing life-changing jobs for people in need.


Julie spent time researching and learning essential jewelry making skills to help make this business a reality. Through this research, we noticed that beautiful places like Haiti were littered with trash. By taking this trash and upcycling it into unique handmade jewelry, we can create beautiful lives for our artisans and beautiful environments for them to live in. Today, we have many skilled artisans in Haiti, Mexico and the US making beautiful jewelry for you.


Making jewelry is a job our artisans can be proud of. Vi Bella artisans have a safe, encouraging work environment to develop their skill sets and to provide for their families. “I love Vi Bella! It has given me importance and skills I never knew I had,” says Maguy, one of our talented Haitian artisans.


Each day, in addition to making jewelry, artisans can choose to participate in a Bible study to support their spiritual needs. This positive environment has drawn the women closer together. Marie Therese, another Haitian artisan, shares, “At Vi Bella we live as sisters and share all things, including each others’ joys and burdens.”


Through their hard work, the artisans have put roofs over their heads, put food on their tables and have sent their children to school. They have restored their dignity and released themselves from poverty through their employment at Vi Bella.


We said “Yes!” to the inspiration, the dream, the mission of Vi Bella. You can join the cycle of transformation, too! Purchase Vi Bella jewelry, host a Beautiful Life Gathering, become a Beautiful Life Ambassador, share our story. Join us on this journey to create Vi Bella: Beautiful Life for people all over the world.


Today, we’d like to give away two sets from our new line of jewelry. The Reagan Necklace is a stunning statement piece featuring paper beads handmade by artisans in Mexico. Sarai (left), the Bible study leader in Mexico, is modeling the Reagan and the Crimson Earrings. The Sienna Necklace and Earrings, modeled by Maguy (right) from Haiti, are fun, trendy pieces for fall.



Enter to win free Vi Bella Jewelry by leaving a comment sharing WHO or WHAT has made your life beautiful. One winner will be selected at random to receive both the Sienna Necklace/Earrings set and the Reagan Necklace/Crimson Earrings set.

Fine Print

Please be sure to leave your email address so we have a way of contacting you if you win.

Giveaway ends Saturday at 11:59 EST.

Saying Yes to What is Best.. (And a BIG Announcement)

The Best Yes

A couple of days ago, I was super excited to receive in the mail an advanced reader’s copy of my friend Lysa Terkeurst’s new book, “The Best Yes.”  And while I can’t wait to finish the whole book, the title struck me immediately and I put a sticker from the box that says “Is this my best yes?” directly onto the back of my phone.  Because let’s be honest….if one of my babes is tugging at my shirt needing snuggles and some time with me, I often need to put the phone down with all of its apps and emails and social media pulls.  It is just not my best yes.

But it’s not only our phones that beg that question of us either.  It’s our time, our relationships, and our commitments that can force us into not being able to give our best yesses to the people or things that deserve them.  In her book, Lysa says “The decisions you make determine the schedule you keep.  The schedule you keep determines the life you live.  And how you live your life determines how you spend your soul.”  Annie Dillard puts it this way, “How we spend our days, is of course, how we spend our lives.”


I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live stressed and overwhelmed with an underwhelmed soul…and I don’t want the people I love to live like that either.  I want to spend my days in ways that testify to a life well lived.  But, if we can’t say the hard “no’s” sometimes, then we need to know that can also prevent us from the capacity to give our best yes.

So when my dear friend Ann Voskamp wrote me very recently and said that as much as she adores and cherishes Allume, for this time in their family, it just isn’t their best yes, I blessed her with all the blessings of our entire community and told her we need the examples of more women being willing to say the hard “No”, so that they can walk in the best “Yes”.  What this means for us is that we will sadly not have the pleasure of hosting sweet Ann for what would have been her 5th Allume.  But… what it means also is that we support one of our sisters in releasing her to being able to follow the Lord in obedience to say her best “Yes” in the place that needs it most.

And while no one would dare to say that any one of God’s children is replaceable (and certainly we all agree that Ann is one-of-a-kind), we do have the pleasure of bringing someone new into our community to keynote at Allume this fall.  Because don’t you know that the Lord loves to give his children good gifts, and those good gifts DO extend to the opportunities we have to hear his own speak and honor him?!

In one week I received separate messages from an old high school friend, Anna, who is a fabulously talented makeup artist in LA, and my dear friend and literary agent, Don Jacobson, both telling me that I just had to meet their friend Sarah Dubbeldam.  Don has known Sarah for years as a friend of his daughter, and Anna is the beauty editor for the stunningly gorgeous magazine that Sarah is the editor-in-chief of called Darling.  Sarah and I finally got to connect, and all the while I’ve continued praying that the Lord would make clear his plans for Allume this year.  After Sarah and I got off the phone, we both just knew that there was something special that the Lord was doing, but neither of us knew quite what it was.

So here we are now.  Our Ann gets to give her best yes to her family… paving the way for Sarah to give her best yes to us!

Friends, get super excited because you’re in for a treat this fall when we have the pleasure of presenting to you our friend, Sarah Dubbeldam.


Sarah Dubbeldam is the founder and Editor in Chief of Darling Magazine, an artistic quarterly publication that seeks to broaden the “ideals” of beauty in media and speak real, time-tested wisdom to women. Now recognized across the nation in over 100 retailers such as Whole Foods, Nordstrom and Anthropologie, the magazine is broadening into a social media movement with it’s “no Photoshop” policy and call for women to know their true worth. Sarah and her team are most excited about Darling’s recent partnership with International Justice Mission to help eradicate sex trafficking in South America. Sarah lives with her husband Steve, the CEO of Darling, in Los Angeles, California.

Connect with Sarah on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, and make sure too to check out Darling!  Get ready to swoon friends…it’s stunningly beautiful and fully encouraging!

*And while we’re talking about it, What do you need to say no to, in order to give your best yes? We’d love for you to share in the comments below.  (Make sure to check out Lysa’s book, “The Best Yes” available HERE! and enjoy “The Best Yes” blog tour coming soon too!)

We want YOU!

The first year I attended Allume, I knew NO. ONE. I walked into the ballroom filled with a couple hundred women on Thursday night and sat at dinner with 7 complete strangers. I was quickly put at ease and enjoyed getting to know the women around me, but I felt really nervous at first.

Fast forward to the next year. I knew a few more attendees and made arrangements to meet-up with some of them, but also realized that there were women volunteering during the conference too. I thought it would be neat to participate if I was able to attend the conference again. Those women seemed to be having so much fun.

Last year, in 2013, I DID get to attend Allume again. And this time, I volunteered to help stuff gift bags on Wednesday afternoon and with registration on Thursday. I. Had. A. Blast! It was so fun to be involved and get a chance to meet some new people. It’s amazing what being on a mission together can do for building relationships and setting people at ease.

And the truth is that we need your help. We have a fantastic Allume team, but with 450 in attendance at this conference, there is just no way that we can get everything done without some extra hands on deck.

So we are asking for your help. We need you, we want you, and we suspect you need each other too. It’s what being in a community is about…being on mission, loving, and serving together. And that’s what we are… a community of women on various missions all intersecting for the same ultimate purpose for a weekend.

So in case you need it, here are our top 4 reasons to volunteer at Allume this year:

  1. You get to meet people. Volunteering is a wonderful way to connect if you are attending the conference alone or if you’re just wanting to be a part of all the fun. And…if you are a bit of an introvert, it is a GREAT way to softly and carefully put “your toes in the water” without feeling like you are going to drown!
  1. There is a sense of ownership and belonging that comes with volunteering. You feel a “part” of the conference because you ARE! We may have a team putting things together throughout the year, but this is about all of us and what God can do through us, individually and together as a community.
  1. When we give of ourselves ,we are blessed…we are changed. We break down barriers and allow God’s grace to fill our lives.
  1. It’s really fun! For real…. We have a blast and know that you will too!

We need a lot of volunteers at Allume. Here are some of the spaces that we need your help:

  • Filling gift bags on Wednesday afternoon.
  • Unpack & set-up on Wednesday.
  • Welcome and Hospitality – the registration desk Thursday afternoon.
  • Assistance at the author book signing tables.
  • Merchandise tables (i.e. t-shirts, CDs, etc.) Also for our musical guests. (1 hour before and after the concert.)
  • Tear-down on Saturday.
  • Sponsor care and hospitality
  • Speaker & Sponsor registration.
  • Prayer Team and Encouragers. Be willing to pray with and encourage those that come to receive prayer in the Prayer Room.

If your schedule allows, consider arriving Wednesday evening or early on Thursday. It is an energized atmosphere as our space in the hotel is transformed to “our space!” And don’t forget that we have some special pre-conference workshops that you don’t want to miss either!

Would you consider volunteering at Allume this year? If so, please head over to this google form for me and register! It will only take a couple of minutes, I promise!

We hope that you will consider volunteering this year at Allume! Volunteers are early relationship builders for the conference and we think might even have the most fun! We are on a mission together to be ambassadors for “real light living!” Can’t wait to see you in October!



speaker interview with tami heim


We are thrilled to introduce you to Tami Heim today.  She is as humble as they come and has an incredible passion to serve those called into leadership.  Her desire is to encourage front line leaders that are weary and need refreshing splashes of grace and mercy. She carries such grace and wisdom and it’s a privilege to have her join us to impart some of what the Lord has taught her over the years.

Tami Heim

1. What was your favorite food as a kid?

Home-made pie crust scraps (What mom had left over when she made a pie – she baked them and sprinkled them with cinnamon sugar.

2. What chore do you despise the most?

I actually like them because I see progress! 

3. When was the last time you chatted with your neighbor?


4. What sound do you love?

Toss up between ocean waves and rain. 

5. If you could paint a picture of a place you have been what would it be?

Santorini, Greece 

6. If you could only do one thing for a whole year what would you want it to be?

Create something. 

7. If you could learn to do anything what would it be?


8. If you could pick anyone as a mentor who would you pick?

Jon Wallace – president of Azusa Pacific University 

9. What do you do with 30 minutes of free time?


10. What would the dream birthday present be?

Chocolate cake and ice cream 

11. What do you want to be when you grow up?


12. What is something new you learned last week?

How to embed audio of me speaking into my PowerPoint presentations – who knew it was so easy?

13. What do you miss most about being a kid?

Having mom and dad with me. 

14. If gifted an all expenses paid vacation to anywhere where would you pick?


15. If everything in your life aligned exactly as in your dreams, what would your life look like? Where would you live, what would you do?

Right where I am – doing what I am doing. 

16. If I was coming to your house for dinner, what would we have?

Something Italian. 

17. What’s in your purse?

Phone, small notebook, credit cards, cash, black comb, business cards, three pens, lipstick, blush, powder. 

18. What are your five favorite books?

The Message Bible – but it is in a zone all on its own.

  • Upended: How Following Jesus Remakes Your Words and World
  • The Cure: What if God isn’t who you think he is and neither are you?
  • One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World
  • Cazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
  • Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream

Want to know more about our friend Tami?  Visit her on Twitter /// Facebook /// Pinterest /// Instagram

3 ways to use google+ to boost your platform

g+, google+, google plus

Google+ is probably one of the most mis-understood and underused of the social media platforms. However, when you recognize that Google+ is an extension of the dominant (by far) search tool, then it suddenly becomes more important. Not to mention that YouTube, the #2 search engine, is owned by Google (more on the relevance of this in a minute). The bottom line is that if you’re not paying attention to Google+, then you’re missing some big opportunities for your platform.

When it launched, the perception was that it was Google’s version of Facebook. And while there’s an element of truth there, it’s also not true at all. In order to understand the role of Google+ in your social media toolkit, it helps to know the role of each of the major platforms.

In his book, What the Plus! Google+ for the Rest of Us, Guy Kawasaki identifies the roles of each platform as:

  • Twitter = Perceptions - Think news, events, trending topics.
  • Facebook = People - Friends and family, it’s where we connect.
  • Pinterest = Pictures - ‘Nuff said!
  • Google+ = Passions - Circles, communities, hashtags… all ways to connect on various topics.

Aside from the +1, which Google uses as a social signal to identify popular content for search results, there are a few features of Google+ you should be familiar with.

(1)  Set up Google Authorship with EVERYTHING you write

One way Google+ is working to gain acceptance is by targeting writers. With Google Authorship, you can link everything you write around the web to your Google+ profile. If everything is set up right, then it’ll even impact the search engine results page with a mention of your name in the description of the result.

google+, g+, google authorship

Setting it up is fairly simple, if you know what you’re looking for. Essentially, there are two elements to set up:

  1. A reference to your Google+ profile on post you’re writing (whether on your blog, or somewhere else). Some sites have plugins (like Jetpack) that manage this side of the connection, and you may see a place to link to your G+ profile in your profile on the blog. Otherwise, a simple link on your name in a bio at the end of the post pointing to your G+ profile will suffice (like this… Dan King). The key to linking your name is that it contains the addition of “?rel=author” at the end of it (see instructions).
  2. A reference to the site you are contributing to on your Google+ profile (in the “Contributor to” section of Links on your About page on G+). This will close the loop so that G+ knows which sites contain your writing (as opposed to someone just linking to your profile in a post).

If you want to make sure a post is set up right, then you can check the Google Structured Data Testing Tool with your link, and it’ll tell you if it’s set up right or not. It’ll report back a bunch of the code stuff, but what you’re looking for is the green or red bolded text telling you either everything is okay, or something isn’t set up right.

If you have questions, or want to keep up with the current conversations about Google Authorship, then you can also check out the G+ communities where people are talking about this subject. A couple I follow are:

Speaking of communities…

(2) Get involved in Communities

communitiesMy experience with this is anecdotal, but it seems to hold true to the idea that Google+ is about passions. Simply put, Google+ Communities seem to be where it’s at. There are two things that prompt me make a statement like this:

First, new followers seem to come at a faster rate when I’m active in communities. It’s like the difference between staying home and going to a party. You’ve got to go to where the people are. And the best part of it is that G+ makes it easy by listing all of the different parties going on so you can hang out in the right place.

If you have an interest, then there’s probably a community for it. But just like any party, you may show up and realize that all of the people there are whacked-out. If that happens, leave and find another one to participate in. And if you don’t like any of them, then start a new one. The bottom line is that being active in these places where people are talking about the same things you are will expose your stuff to a targeted audience with a like mind.

Second, +1′s, comments, and re-shares seem to happen more often when I post to communities. But that’s simple math. If I have 500 people in my circles (or who circle me), and I drop a link to a blog post, then some of those 500 will see my post. But If I share the link in a community with 5,000 people in it, then many more people will have the opportunity to see it.

However, keep an eye on the rules of engagement for each community. Some are more open with sharing links. Others can be a bit more strict. Many community managers do that in order to maintain a higher level of quality of content.

The secret here is simply to choose what feels right for you, and get engaged. You’ll find new readers, I promise.

(3) Three words: Hangouts On Air

Hangout-on-air-600x312Google+ Hangouts is a cool Skype-like tool that allows you to meet with multiple people in one online meeting room. Google+ Hangouts On Air is a way to broadcast those meetings so larger groups of people can watch live, and even catch a replay later via the (automatically) recorded YouTube video.

Believe it or not, the SEO impacts using a tools like this can be significant. Think about it, the videos you make are recorded onto YouTube (owned by Google, remember?). So if you have YouTube videos in your post, then it’s likely it’ll get a bit of a boost in the search engine value. Even more so if that video is loaded with keyword tags that align with the content in your blog post. Creating focused, relevant video content which gets posted on your blog is a good thing for your search engine value.

There are lots of ways you can use a tool like this, including, but not limited to:

  • Author interviews
  • Roundtable discussions
  • Video podcasts
  • Instructional videos
  • Conversation around a blog series

Hangouts On Air brings you another way to engage with your audience. If you’re not sure how to use this tool, then make a point to watch others to see how they’re using it. Then make plans to run one yourself and extend the conversations you covet in new ways.

Last thought…

The craft of blogging has changed substantially in several years. The tools are changing and offering new opportunity to reach new audience in new ways. If you are attempting to grow your platform, then you should give Google+ a serious look.

Want to Save Lives? Tell Better Stories.

With tensions rising in the Middle East, Preemptive Love needs our help now, more than ever. The violence across the country has made their work much more crucial. Below is a guest post by Preemptive Love founder, Jeremy Courtney (@jcourt). Please, please take a few minutes to read his words. 

Preemptive 1

When I moved to Iraq in the middle of the war, I spent all my energy and time thinking about “doing great things” for people in need. Changing the world had mostly to do with changing others.

But it didn’t take long to learn that the most significant changes often occur in the helpers and not just in the lives of those we seek to help.

Today, there is one task whose impact on the world surprises me as much as anything: storytelling.

At Preemptive Love Coalition, we live in Iraq eradicating a backlog of children who are waiting in line for lifesaving heart surgery. And so, I am constantly asked if I am a heart surgeon. It’s funny to see the disappointment in people’s faces as I let them down gently. Their expressions say what I believed going in to this whole thing: “Man! That would have been so cool to meet a heart surgeon living in Iraq… But this guy?!”

“Oh! That’s great! Yeah, you look a little young to be a heart surgeon!”

I get it. I wish I were a heart surgeon, too! But here’s what I’ve learned: the stories we tell are not neutral. They either cost lives or save lives.

preemptive 2

The last 5-10 years brought a huge resurgence in talk about “telling our stories”. But I want to explore how the stories we tell around the table, read in the headlines, and share across our blogs shape the way we think about others and, therefore, choose to respond.

There is a reason why #BringBackOurGirls and Nigeria trend on Twitter and similar kidnappings in the Middle East do not. It has to do with the stories we’ve been told about the people involved.

So how do stories save or cost lives?

1) They make us care because

2) They validate what we already believe or

3) They introduce us to a new way of seeing things.

We will get into this more deeply at Allume in October. But for now, suffice it to say that we’ve all been reared on a certain set of stories that influence (even determine) what we believe about the root causes of poverty, violence, and other social ills. Our beliefs about root causes determine what we imagine the solutions to be.

We love stories because they give us heroes on whom we hang our hopes and villains on whom we can cast our sins. While we do have stories that promote “complex” characters, we often prefer the stories with white hats and black hats—not because we are simpletons, but because simple moral frameworks actually help us work out the moral dilemmas in our all-too-complex lives.

The trouble comes when we transfer the black/white storytelling model into our technicolor world. There is very little good vs. evil in the real world. Everyone is a little bit grey. Sometimes the bad guys have legitimate grievances and the good guys are driven by something other than the code of honor.

My wife and I spend our lives trying to tell better stories better. Many of the stories being passed around (or avoided altogether) about Islam, Muslims, the Middle East, poverty, and violence—not to mention Christianity, the Bible, and politics—reflect our tribal tendency to stick together and never question our leaders.

For better or worse, my wife, Jessica, and I ask questions. Is this all there is to the story? Is there something behind the behavior that we’ve never explored? Is there money, power, or politics at play here? Could I respond any differently if I was in their shoes?

We sometimes find it necessary to challenge the party line when everyone else is cheering; or we defend the underdogs when others are calling them terrorists. We poke the dragon; but we also want to know the dragon’s history.

There are real monsters in the world, but all who are vilified are not vile. In short, we don’t only seek to “tell better stories”, but to tell stories better, with more nuance, more backstory, and more space for people to draw their own conclusions.

In America, we have certain stories about Nigeria, Uganda, and Rwanda; about the “war on the family” and the “war on Christians;” about Islam, terrorism, the intractable political problems of the Middle East. In fact, our stories have often led us to believe that political engagement itself is dirty and that the best we can hope for is the conversion of individual hearts.

I’m suggesting that we should not take these assumptions or the stories that shaped them for granted. There are still more stories out there that we need to hear; that we need to tell. And we need more braveheart bloggers who will dare to challenge systems and call us to more than individual action alone.

preemptive 3

The longer we assume that our stories are inerrant, the longer they undermine the very change we desire. But the better we become at drinking deeply from a wide array of stories,the more we will increase our capacity to love our neighbor—and yes, even our enemies—as ourselves and actually save lives.

If you want to change the world, taking action might be the last thing you should do. Start with better stories.

So what dragons could you be poking? What monsters might warrant a second look or a listening ear? There could be more to the story! Look for the bald-headed guy at Allume—I’d love to hear about it!!

Click here to learn more about how you can be part of this very important story.

-Jeremy Courtney, PreemptiveLove.org

speaker interview with darlene weir

Darlene Weir has been a member of the Allume community from the earliest days when Sarah Mae hosted the very first conference back in 2010.  She is an extraordinarily talented interior designer who sees the creativity of the Lord in every texture, color combination, and visually stunning display both inside the home and in the earth at large.  She brings an expert eye for design which translates into more than just how we arrange our furniture.  The same principles that apply to interior design, also apply to how we present ourselves and our online personas as we seek to create spaces that welcome.

Please meet Allume Speaker and friend, Darlene Weir

Darlene Weir

1. What chore do you despise the most?

Unloading the dishwasher. Because my favorite thing about cleaning is watching the clutter slowly but surely get hidden… and unloading the dishwasher feels like you are unearthing the already perfectly-hidden clutter!

2. What sound do you love?

 The sound of my loved ones laughing  - big belly laughs, of course. Currently, my daughter wins first place, because what is better than the giggles of a baby?

3. If you could learn to do anything what would it be?

I want to learn how to knock down a full grown man with a wheel kick – defensively, of course ;) . Oh, and speak Italian fluently. Possibly both at the same time.

4. If you could pick anyone as a mentor who would you pick?

Design mentor? Katie Ridder, because she is brilliant and her designs sing of pattern and richness and beauty. Life mentor, Sally Clarkson, because her books keep me sane and give me hope, and I wish she would come over for tea, already.

5. What would the dream birthday present be? 

A villa of my own in Italy, with a full time garden staff and masseuse. Of course.

6. What is something new you learned last week?

That the flagellum of a cell is so complex, it cannot be explained by science, points to our Creator, and behaves like the most finely tuned motor to ever exist.

7. What do you miss most about being a kid?

 Running around outside with my sisters in Wonder Woman underoos, and catching butterflies in the meadow.

8. What’s in your purse?

A lot of lipliner. And a lot of lipstick. An eyelash curler and mascara, for emergencies. And any other emergency item one might need. My phone. My crazy, obsessed collection of essential oils. My sunglasses. Ten pairs of earrings I can’t find anywhere.

Join me in finding out alot more about Darlene by running over to every site and following her madly! Website /// Twitter /// Facebook /// Pinterest /// Instagram

Finding Why You Write

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is begin. And the next hardest thing to do is begin again. I took three months off of blogging, and I had a lot of time to ponder reasons why I should start again or not.

Life makes it harder.

We get weary.
We get busy.
We get distracted.
We get discouraged.
We compare.
We believe lies.
We doubt ourselves.

I came up with a million excuses why I cannot, should not, or will not. Yet, I knew I was not supposed to quit. God made it clear, and it really was not open for discussion. I had to begin again.

Beginning again is hard when you think you have failed. It is hard when you do not think it is worth it, because you are not seeing the results you expected. It is hard when the results you get are not in proportion to the effort applied.

It costs too much to mean nothing.


Beginning again is hard when you do not really know why you are doing it to begin with. The reasons we begin are not always the same reasons we keep going. Sometimes our “why” gets redefined along the way.

It changes. We change.

We learn. We experience. We grow

What motivates us changes.

I became clouded with self ambition. My desires had to be refined, yet my purpose remained the same. The purpose is the same for those who call themselves followers of Christ

If we strip the “why” down to the simplest form, its simplest is its most powerful…

“He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us.” (2 Corinthians 19-20 NIV)

God has a message He wants to get to those who are His, and those who are yet to be. He has put His message inside of you, and how you bring it as unique as every fingerprint.

We are all different, yet we have a common thread in all our tapestries.

“We are stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.” 1 Corinthians 4:1-2 NKJV

How might you be found faithful? Obey.

How might those mysteries be revealed through your words? Many ways.

They may come from you in a way that makes us laugh, or be contemplative and introspective. They may help us organize our lives, or help find our purpose. Your words may causes us to think or expand our thinking. Or they may challenges us, and aid us in being better selves — to love well, to serve more, to be who we were created to be.

Your stories and imagery may stir our imagination, and help us see grace and beauty in places we might not have looked. Or perhaps break our hearts open wide in conviction for our sin or compassion for those in need. You may write truth that brings freedom, opens blind eyes, and helps us live our lives as praise to God.

No matter what form it comes, the reason we write is the same — to make God’s love known.

“His love has the first and last word in everything we do…Our firm decision is to work from this focused center: One man died for everyone. That puts everyone in the same boat. He included everyone in His death so that everyone could also be included in His life, a resurrection life, a far better life than people ever lived on their own.” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15 MSG)

It is why we write. It is why Christ died. It is why we live.


Marketing Your Message Like Wildfire – Rob Eagar and Allume Partner Up For YOU!

You’re a writer,  and you have a story to tell.  And chances are that you’re reading here because you either resonate with the messages we share, or you are hoping to learn how to share your message more effectively.  Maybe it’s both. Whether your reach is large and wide, or small and deep, you have something to say. You’re passionate and you have a calling; to share your heart and story.

What if you had the opportunity to learn how to market that message, to spread it like wildfire?

Well, folks, you do!

This year at the Allume Conference we’ll be partnering with Rob Eagar to bring you a special offering workshop (You  absolutely must squeal because this is a B-I-G deal!).




You see, Rob is a pretty cool guy with some solid knowledge that can help take you and your message to the next level.  He’s the founder of Wildfire Marketing, a consulting firm that helps authors and publishers sell books like wildfire. He’s worked with New York Times bestsellers like Dr. Gary Chapman, Lysa Tyrkurst and Wanda Brunstetter. Rob has trained over 400 authors in the ways of marketing, and he’s also the author of Sell Your Books Like Wildfire, which is considered the bible of marketing.  Basically, he’s a marketing guru…and we have managed to snag him for a few days to share with you!

And  guess what?…Allume attendees have the opportunity of a lifetime to learn from Rob! This year at Allume, Rob will be hosting a special seminar geared to help authors and bloggers market their message like wildfire.

For only $99 (which you should know is a ridiculous steal), you can attend a 3 part seminar by Rob.

The workshop fee includes the following 3 sessions (which will take place in addition to the Allume conference agenda):


Session 1 – Marketing for the Promotionally-Challenged Author/Blogger on Thursday, October 23rd from 2-4pm (pre-conference)

Session 2 – How to Use the Power of Email to Grow Your Product Sales on Friday, October 24th from 4-5pm

Session 3 – How to Create an Effective Author/Blogger Marketing Plan, Saturday, October 25th from 4:30-5:30pm


And y’all, we cannot emphasize how awesome of a deal you’re getting here! Like… a really, really big deal! SO…you don’t want to miss this!

AND to sweeten the pot even more, the first 2o people to sign up will receive the most amazing opportunity ever–to work with Rob in a one-on-one session for 2o minutes! In other words…you get help from him on YOUR message in a brainstorming session 1 on 1! AMAZING!

So how do you get access to this amazing seminar with Rob Eagar? First, you must have a conference pass. SO… get that here if you haven’t already.

And second, sign up for the seminar with Rob, here.

Any questions? Leave a comment below or e-mail us at info@allume.com.