speaker interview with saul robles

Saul Robles has been a friend of Allume since the days of its inception.  He is the Director of Marketing and Commerce for Dayspring, but anyone who knows him calls him Santa Saul.  Some say it’s because he often comes bearing fabulous Dayspring gifts, but we like to think it has more to do with the generous spirit he wears like a uniform.  Saul has been reading blogs for ages, and creates welcome wherever he goes.  It is our pleasure to have our friend Saul not just joining us at the conference this year, but sharing some of his wisdom, knowledge, and heart as well!



What chore do you despise the most?

I will never understand the lawn thing.

What sound do you love?

Despite living in small-town Arkansas, I’m a city boy at heart. I love the sounds of the hustle and bustle of a city.

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

Chase Fall… I have a theory that at any given time Fall is happening somewhere around the world and I have a dream of finding it and following it around for an entire year.

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

I can’t wait to learn to play the violin in heaven and jam with the heavenly choirs.

What would the dream birthday present be?

Email amnesty or email jubilee, or whatever the term would be to clear out my inbox(es)

What is something new you learned last week?

I’m painfully more aware that my high tolerance for chaos works against my heart’s desire for being present.

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

I received this gift a few years back and I’m looking forward to it… heaven!

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

We would definitely go out to eat… how about some Ozark plateau cuisine?


To learn more about Saul :: Twitter /// Facebook

Must Writers Read?

Welcome to Tyndale Publishers!

“Great writers are great readers”


I know what Stephen King and Jerry Jenkins would say, but what about you? Is reading one of your non-negotiables?

I don’t know if it marks the path to writing greatness, but I do believe reading is incredibly important. I’m a classic introvert – books have been my great escape since childhood. Even in the throes of grad school I still managed to have at least one book of choice in progress at all times. Thus my bucket stayed full.

Then came motherhood. In the craziness that is the transition of adding a new person to the family, I let reading slip by the wayside. My bucket was empty and I was not in a happy place. Granted, there are a lot of other things that slipped by the wayside, but reading was the first old friend I ran to in search of myself. Since then I’ve been diligent about carving out time, even if it’s just 5-10 minutes, to connect with a good book each day. It’s part of my self-care regimen right up there with exercise and teeth brushing. I must read.

Here are three reasons why my soul can’t go a day without reading:

• Space. Solitude is crucial to wellness for me. I need the space and the focus on a single stream of words that reading brings.

• Camaraderie. Words bring us together. But the beauty of it is we don’t always have to leave the comfort of our solitude to be together. A lot of my reading the past couple years has been books by moms about momming. They just get me. It’s good to be reminded we’re not alone in this world.

• Inspiration. It only takes a spark, right? When I read I’m inspired to write. Simple as that.

I have loved books from my very earliest days. There are stacks or shelves of books in every room of my house. I blame my dad. One of the things I clearly remember him saying when I was a kid is, “you can never have too many books”. I don’t remember the context anymore, but I’ve taken it as permission to collect. all. the. books. I’m definitely not a read-it-once-and-pass-it-on kind of person. Words are wonderful but we mustn’t forget about the spines! Sometimes I reorganize my books just to look at the beautiful spines and for a while. I might be ready to admit that working for a publisher could potentially lead to someday owning too many books. But I still can’t bring myself to part with any. And get out of the way if I catch wind of free books!

Tell me I’m not alone. Anyone?

Speaking of free books…

Come on over and check out TyndaleRewards.com. It’s as simple as signing up, telling us a bit about yourself, sharing about the program and picking out free books. We want to know our readers better and we want to give away books. Best. Job. Ever!

Consider this your personal invitation to join the Tyndale Rewards community. It’s free. We have books. We love bloggers (drop a line to editor at TyndaleRewards.com and introduce yourself, I love checking out new blogs).

Ever thought of starting a book club on your blog? Pick a book from our site, collect the points, tell your friends or readers to do the same. Bam! Free books all around. Every time one of your readers uses your referral code you get points. More free books! What could be better? It’s a great program and we’d love for you to join the community.

Read on, friends.
Rachel Lance
Editor, TyndaleRewards.com

speaker interview with annie downs

Annie Downs is incredibly delightful.  She is warm, authentic, hilarious and loves God.  She’s passionate about using her writing to highlight the everyday goodness of a real and present God to young women, college students and adults.  She writes so beautifully and with such a welcoming spirit.  Honestly, she is one of our favorite people on the planet.  We know that you are going to fall in love with her too… if you haven’t already and we are honored to introduce to you our friend, Annie Downs.



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

I would eat out every meal with a friend. For a whole year, that would be like 1000 meals that I would get to share with friends and family and eat at really fun restaurants. I would set a goal to not repeat a restaurant more than once a week and I would write some sort of blog or website about who I ate with and where we ate and rate the food.

(Uh oh, this just got really real and seems like a great idea. LOOK OUT 2015!)

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

I love learning new things. It is probably my favorite hobby. So I like to learn how to do things as much as possible. Today, I’ve been thinking that I would really like to learn how to use a sewing machine. My grandmother always sewed things for us, and I want to be able to do that for other people too.

What do you do with 30 minutes of free time?

I read. I always have a few books going at a time and even a few magazines strewn around the house that I wish I sat down and read more often. But when I do have a little 30 minute window, I grab something to read.

What do you miss most about being a kid?

Playing outside in the afternoon and reading as much as I want. I think I also miss what I didn’t know I had- the ability to lay my head down on my pillow and have zero concerns about the next day or the bills or how life was going to work out.

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

Scotland. I lived there for six months about three years ago and I am dying to get back and see my friends and the parts of the country I was never able to visit. I could happily get lost in those little villages down the east coast of the country. I would love to see the northern islands and the highlands areas. I love reading historical landmark signs, so I wouldn’t mind being driven around (this is all expenses paid, right?) and stopping every twenty minutes to see and read about the deep history of that beautiful place. (Now I’m homesick for Edinburgh… sigh…)

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

Ohhhh…. well. We wouldn’t just stay at my house, because my house is boring and the kitchen is broken. (Not really, but it makes me feel better to imagine that the reason the stove doesn’t turn on that much is because it doesn’t work, not because I don’t work.) We would walk across the street to a delicious restaurant called Copper Kettle where you can get the best coconut fried chicken in all of Nashville. I would let you pick which two vegetables you’d like, but I’d strongly encourage at least one of them to be the green bean casserole. Then we’d be almost as full as ticks, but we’d have enough space left to head next door to the homemade popsicle shop. Because I can’t eat dairy, I’d have a strawberry one, but I’d practically insist you have the cookies and cream popsicle because it is heavenly.

What are your 5 favorite books?

Christy by Catherine Marshall

Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

A Million Little Ways by Emily Freeman

Here’s To Hindsight by Tara Leigh Cobble


To learn more about Annie visit her here :: Website /// Twitter

Around the Table

Around the Table 1

A warm welcome to Mary & Martha.

Around the table. Three very powerful words.

Sometimes it is just easier to drive through and eat in front of the TV or just eat in the car. I get that. Boy, do I get that. This one has soccer, this one dance, this one piano, this one…

Just getting them to the right places at the right time is monumental. It’s a conundrum I know all too well. After having 4 children in 5 ½ years, I was a mom who acted more like cruise director.


Get them around that table!

The Table. Perhaps there is no more important place in our homes. No more important place for our families. Studies have shown that children who eat family meals (around the table) do better in school, are less likely to get depressed, less likely to use drugs or alcohol, and they are better socially prepared when they leave home.

So much of life happens around the table. Big announcements are celebrated! Family budget or vacation plans are discussed (these two are closely related in my home), funny stories or jokes are told, memories are made, and moments are shared. Tears & laughter are both equally welcome.

But something much deeper takes place right between the mashed potatoes and the roast beef: community evolves.

Real community. Care, commitment, and unity are birthed, grow and mature. That table with its four legs, flat surface and steady stance, takes away all the ‘me’ and replaces it with ‘we.’

Now I have seen my share of turmoil around our table.

The complaints (do they hate everything I cook?), shouting matches (why can’t we all be happy? We have food to eat and family to share it), and my personal favorite, dramatic departures (academy award winning performances).

But even the ugly contribute to community. Those are shared moments as well. After all, when it comes to emotion, there is usually passion at both ends of the continuum. I always figured if my kiddos had that much passion towards one another in anger, they would probably have that much passion in love for one another as well. Which – I am glad to report – really did prove to be true now that they are all adults.

And guess what? We still gather around that table at least once a week. Although the dramatic departures and shouting matches have disappeared, there is still the occasional complaint: “Really?! No homemade whipped cream?!” To which I reply, “Really!”

So whether you grab a drive-thru dinner, pick up a grocery store rotisserie chicken, or make a meal from scratch, bring them back to the table.

After all it’s the people who matter, not the food! So go ahead and eat a drive-thru cheeseburger on a real plate, use cloth napkins, or light some candles. They might wonder why the change… let them.

And one day they will sit at your table as adults and will have discovered that all those childhood moments around the table were all about community, not the food.

Kim Marquette, Director of Sales for Mary & Martha 


The Root Collective


Please welcome The Root Collective.

There’s many things in life we can’t control. Like the weather. Or traffic. Or bad hair days. In fact, there’s a lot in life that we can’t do much about and we have to let God take control.

But where we do have a say… is where we spend our money. In the power we have in the purchases we make. In helping to determine what kind of world we’d like to live in.

It’s easy to think of the check out as the first part of our purchases’ lives. Or the final stop of our money’s adventure. But the truth is, our products’ lives started long before the store shelves. And our money travels much farther than the register. Both have enormous power and both have beautiful stories to tell.


Often times, the birth of a product comes from the sheer desperation and thwarted opportunity of those living in poverty. The overwhelming majority of the “things” that take up space throughout our homes – cheaply bought and tossed aside – were created by the tired hands of employees working in deplorable conditions, barely making enough money to afford food and schooling for their children. And these events, which we find to be unimaginable, keep happening, day in and day out. We’d like for them not to happen and we wish there was another way, of course. But we feel hopeless to the big, giant monster that business can be. We think, “It’s just the way it is…”

But here’s the thing… That doesn’t have to be the way it is. With our dollars, we have the opportunity to make an incredible impact on the way the supply chain is run. With our dollars, we have power. We have control!

Imagine instead of that gorgeous pair of shoes coming from a factory housing underage children working exhausting hours on little pay… they came from a shoemaker in Guatemala who was paid a fair price for the handcrafted work he’s made. Imagine that the purchase of those shoes has helped him secure a loan to build a brand new workspace.

The fun part of that story is that you don’t have to imagine – it’s true! Otto is from La Limonada, Guatemala – the largest slum in Central America – and he’s been a master shoemaker for years. Once vulnerable to the influence of gangs (which, in La Limonada, gangs are numerous), Otto’s trade and partnership with The Root Collective has allowed him the opportunity for a career and financial security. It’s given him the opportunity to change his community and challenge the status quo of traditional fast fashion.


At The Root Collective, our mission is to partner with artisans to help give them access to a buying market to grow their business. They own their own businesses and set their own pricing. We also want to connect our customers with the people who are making our products, because we want you to know the impact that your money is having on the lives of other people. We want to remove the anonymity from fashion and replace that with the face and the name of the person who made that pair of shoes. Oh, and to make it even better, we donate 10% of our profits back to nonprofits who are working in the same communities that our partner artisans live. This is just one more way that we invest in the people of these communities, and we want you to be a part of that.

And Otto’s story is only one of a thousand. His life and millions of others have been greatly affected by the choice to spend our money differently and consciously. To spend our money investing in the future success of others… and in return own amazing, one-of-a-kind pieces that are sure to strike up a conversation.

And that conversation will be the best step forward.


We are giving away a pair of ballet flats!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

speaker interview with jeremy courtney

Jeremy Courtney is a person you notice first in a room because he is a sharp dresser.  And when I (Logan) first met him at a BBQ a year ago, I wondered why on God’s green earth he was wearing a blazer in the Texas summer heat.  After talking to Jeremy and learning his God-sized story of challenge and hope and loving people, I didn’t care what he wore in the Texas heat.  All I could see was a big ol heart with a passion for loving a group of people that the world often calls “dangerous”.  Jeremy has a contagious smile, and a story that makes you evaluate your own to live braver and love bigger.  It is our absolute pleasure to welcome Jeremy Courtney to our Allume conference this year and know you will have as much fun getting to know him as we have!

Jeremy Courtney - Allume

What was your favorite food as a kid?

Mom’s spaghetti!

What chore do you despise the most?

Paying bills, which requires me to stand in line in offices across our city in Iraq

When was the last time you chatted with your neighbor?

Ha! Right after the city police here in Iraq broke into our house and stole our truck on a falsified
claim from an employee I’d fired that I had stolen the car from him. It was an inside job, so the
disgruntled employee was effective in stealing my truck. Now we walk everywhere we go and my neighbors
think I’m a car thief!

What sound do you love?

My kids giggling uncontrollably when I give them whisker kisses. A mom and dad doting on their child after heart surgery in Iraq


Jeremy’s book, Preemptive Love: Pursuing Peace One Heart at a Time, tells the harrowing, highly-acclaimed story of the only love big enough to change a nation—a love that strikes first.  Jeremy’s love for the people of Iraq is captivating. Please go learn more about Preemptive Love and Jeremy :: Website /// Twitter /// Facebook

So You Think You Can Write?


Please welcome DC Jacobson to the Allume blog.

My niece’s favorite show is “So You Think You Can Dance?” True confessions? Don’t judge me, but I watched it a couple of times with her—just two :-). And while I don’t think I’ll become a regular viewer, I had to admire the dancers with all their different backgrounds—ballet, hip-hop, ballroom and more—all learning new skills so they could dance in different ways.

When my colleague Jenni Burke and I spoke in a workshop last year at Allume, that’s the question we asked the bloggers gathered there. We asked, as they considered writing books, if they would be willing to exercise new writing muscles.  We suggested that just because you can write a blog doesn’t mean you can write a chapter and just because you can write a chapter doesn’t mean you can write a book. And even if you can, we suggested that “just because you could doesn’t mean you should”—writing a blog is a privilege just as writing a book is.

We were delighted to sign four authors to our agency who attended Allume last year. Three of them already have contracts with publishers—we think they’re delighted too! :)

So we’re coming back to Allume this year, hoping to meet some more wonderful writers. You kept us so busy last year that we’re bringing four agents this time! If you would like to meet with us to discuss a book project, please view our appointment schedule:

Appointment Schedule

You can check out our website at www.dcjacobson.com to review agent profiles to determine if there is a specific agent you would like to meet with (please choose only one). Jenni Burke, Heidi Mitchell, Tawny Johnson and I will be attending.

See you soon!


Don Jacobson, President – D.C. Jacobson & Associates


Buy An Ornament, Bless a Child


There are over 153 million orphans living in the world today, children vulnerable to neglect, exploitation, trafficking, slavery, hunger and emotional trauma. Orphans are not the only children at risk. Last year the world lost 6.6 million infants and toddlers. Half of these deaths were primarily due to malnutrition or preventable disease.

At Ornaments4Orphans we believe that poverty is at the root of the global orphan crisis. Single mothers desperately want to keep their children, but they cannot afford the HIV medication which will sustain their lives. Relatives desire to take in orphans, but fear the expense of another mouth to feed. In the face of crippling unemployment, desperate widows turn to prostitution, depressed men abandon their families, and children grow up working in the fields rather than attending school.

Poverty is a complex issue, one that cannot be easily solved, but it is clear that poverty is much more than lack of possessions. It’s lack of opportunity. Without opportunity for regular, fair-waged work, cycles of poverty and broken families will continue.

At Ornaments4Orphans we strive to combat these big issues with small, unlikely things – Christmas ornaments! Ornaments4Orphans is an initiative designed to bless orphans AND bring economic opportunity to talented artisans in impoverished communities.

Ornaments4Orphans sells beautiful fair trade ornaments, nativities and other items handcrafted by talented artisans around the world. With their earned income, artisans are able to provide for their families. They put food on their tables, make rent, pay their children’s school fees and purchase the medicines that sustain their lives.

Ornaments4Orphans also gives back from our proceeds to help orphans in the communities where our artisans work and live. We partner with strategic ministries which invest in the care of orphaned children who are desperate for food, education and love.

The number of children and families now being blessed because of Christmas ornaments is astounding, and we have big hopes for the future! As Ornaments4Orphans grows, we dream of offering life-giving employment to hundreds more artisans and spreading hope to orphans everywhere.

You can help us increase the Ornaments4Orphans impact by becoming an O4O Coordinator! As a Coordinator you agree to host an Ornaments4Orphans tree at your church, school, workplace or home. We ship you a box of our ornaments along with all the literature and materials you need for your fundraiser. Sell the ornaments for $10 each and when you’re done simply return any unsold ornaments along with the proceeds you raise. It’s that simple.

Watch how it works. (Click here if reading in an email).

Your tree combined with other Ornaments4Orphans trees across the country helps men and women escape poverty and provide for vulnerable orphans who have no hope. The only cost is your time! Learn more about becoming an Ornaments4Orphans Coordinator at by visiting our website.

Also make plans to join us at our Opening Night Party at Allume! We’ll be decking the halls early and sharing our celebration with you!

Can’t wait until October?


We’re giving away a set of our Banana Fiber Angel Ornaments to one lucky winner via this blog post!


Visit our website here, then comment below with your name, email, and favorite Ornaments4Orphans product.

Giveaway ends Monday, October 6th at 11:59 EST.

What It Means to Be An Advocate

Scenic Garden Bridge at Sunset. Summer in the Garden.

Welcome Work of Worth to Allume!

Anyone with success has advocates. Think of your favorite pop-star – they are an advocate magnet. They have the quiet “behind the scenes” type, who help them recognize opportunities, and see those opportunities become realities. They also have the bolder “door-holder” kind of advocates, those who share with others about the greatness they recognize.

Those without success lack advocates. Everyone has skills and abilities to bring to the table, but the revelation of those gifts comes from opportunities and advocates that help us tap into what it is we have to offer. We have come to recognize that those that need the most advocacy are those that don’t know they’re worth fighting for.

Anyone with success has an audience. Success brings with it a platform from which you have the freedom to share your experience and expertise. With the achievement of success comes the responsibility to advocate for the success of others.

You are your own advocate. To truly capture your success you must also recognize your own worth. You have to own it. You must believe you have something to offer. Owning your own worth is not an overnight process, but is instead a journey, during which you need advocates to walk alongside you. Unlike patriarchy, the goal of advocacy is to instill dignity until he or she can advocate for their own success.

Recipients of advocacy can’t resist paying it forward, which is why advocacy has the longevity to impact generations. The responsibility to advocate has nothing to do with the size of your platform. Those facts are mutually exclusive. Consider the voice of advocacy in terms of the family: a parent’s voice of truth is of the same value to one precious child as it would be to 10 children. This is true for both the number she advocates for and the number she advocates to. Advocacy is about sharing truth with those you have been given influence over, whether that audience is 1 or 1000.

Work of Worth is about bridging the gap for those who need an advocate. We can’t wait to meet each of you and to celebrate our voices together! Consider this your formal invitation to the movement of advocating for dignity.

-Kristy Griem

Dear Weary Mom,

Weary Mom

Dear Weary Mom,

I’m posting this around 7:00 in the morning, and if you’re reading this you’re already tired. Come to think of it, whatever time of day it is where you are, you’re tired.

You may have woken up this morning and before your feet ever hit the ground thought, “Man…I’m tired.” You might be sipping your fourth cup of coffee in less than an hour and find yourself thinking, “Man…I’m tired.” Or you might be headed to bed after a long day with a sigh on your lips and in your heart as the realization that another day exactly like the one that just ended begins in fewer hours than it really takes your body to get rested.

Man…you’re tired. 

I know this because I’m one of you. A weary mom dug down deep in the trenches of raising the two people I’m blessed to call mine. Just last night my littlest boy arrived in my bed around 2:00 a.m. trembling from a bad dream and spent most of the night pressed up against me, kicking me in the back.

It all sounds sweet except I didn’t sleep a wink. And now I’m—you guessed it—tired. I’ve found, though, that the weariness of motherhood is about much more than just a lack of sleep. It’s a weariness that’s kind of like holding a mirror up in front of all my ugly. Some days, motherhood brings out the worst in me. But I’m learning that’s okay.

Surprise, surprise.

Motherhood kind of took me by surprise. You too? Yeah, I hear that from a lot of moms I know who thought they had it all figured out before their own kids came. When my first son was born I had a terrible time nursing him, and it turned into the first of many, many things that just didn’t come easily to me as a mom. I remember being so angry with God because He wouldn’t change my situation and make things easier.


An ugly word, isn’t it? But I found it in my heart, and as we all know, what’s in the heart comes out of the mouth (Matthew 12:34). Oh, weary mama, I’m honestly a bit ashamed of how many times I’ve been angry over the last seven years of my life. On the outside, I’m a grown woman who has her life together. I have a nice house, a hunky husband, and two seriously beautiful, talented little boys. But on the inside, I’m a two-year-old stamping her foot and screaming because she can’t get her own way.

All I want is for my boys to obey me. And to be quiet. And to stop wrestling all. the. time. And to put their toys away. And to stop goofing off at the table. And to stop spilling their drinks. And to stop wrinkling their noses at the dinners I work hard to fix for them. And to focus on their schoolwork. And to stop fighting with each other. And to be quiet (did I already say that??).

Do you find yourself nodding your head? Sighing deeply because you kinda know what I mean?

Yep, weary mama, motherhood brings out the very worst in me. But after seven years of battling, I’ve finally come to this:

I’m glad.

Lord, have mercy…what if all that junk had stayed inside of me all those years? What if my inner two-year-old with cute pigtails that bounce when she stamps her foot had been allowed to grow up into an intolerable woman with frizzy hair that didn’t look cute anymore?

Gives me the shivers.

I’ve known one too many women who were never called out on their inner two-year-old. It isn’t pretty, so yeah, weary mama, I’m saying it loud today…I’m GLAD my kids bring out all my ugly. I’m GLAD they keep me on my knees in prayer, asking, begging God to make me more like Him so I can be the kind of mom they really need.

So bring it, whiney two-year-old me. I know your game. And sooner or later you’re going to run out of steam, because I’ve got all the power of heaven on my side, and I’m determined to lay you down over and over and over again until you’re gone once and for all.

So there (sticks out tongue).

Now, where’s my coffee…


Coauthor of Hope for the Weary Mom
Coming from Harvest House Publishers February 2015

P.S. In just two months, Brooke McGlothlin and Stacey Thacker will be launching their #ChooseHope campaign. To learn more, and enter to a beautiful cuff bracelet like this one, click here.”

Choose Hope