Camera Shy – a note from Allume Photographer, Kim DeLoach

I returned home from our beach vacation this year without a single family photo.  Immediately, I brushed aside my own disappointment and jumped back into work to tackle the mounds of images of other families that awaited my return. Piles of images from mini-sessions, weddings, and other summer activities nearly knocked me over for weeks.

When I finally had time to revisit my personal images from our trip, I merely glanced at them and walked away repeatedly for more than a week. Why hadn’t we taken any pictures together?

In my time with the Lord one morning, I struggled to make peace with the nagging guilt and sadness I felt that among the selection of images of our kids playing and beach landscapes, there was not even one shot of my family together? With all of my own body image junk in tow, I had silently boycotted having photos taken of myself.

Nobody even knew or protested that my own insecurity was at the heart of the issue.

As I stilled my spirit on the porch that morning, I heard the Lord whisper “You don’t believe who I say that you are.” I allowed my concern about the world’s standard to rob me of a treasure that my photographer’s heart holds in high esteem.

headshotallumecollage

It was my pleasure to meet so many gorgeous women last year at Allume, and I know my own story resonates with many of you.   We have  accepted “camera shy” as a noble, lady-like characteristic. We shake our heads in bewilderment at the “selfie” generation we are parenting. We may even equate selfie activity to narcissism, because sometimes it’s easier to judge things that are unlike us than to attempt to understand a different generation.

But that morning sitting in the unusual cool breeze of July, my eyes were opened to my own sin.  By refusing to be photographed I was being “self-loathing” and “self- protecting”, both of which are close cousins to “self-importance.”

And in an effort to embrace who God created us to be, I’m asking you to consider being photographed this year at Allume. Lots of you are happy to pose in fun groups as long as I shoot from above and you can hide behind the gal beside you.  (You know what I’m talking about… I’m not making this up!)  But, if you haven’t had a recent  photograph of just you, please consider it.

I have connected with many of you this year, and I am amazed by your blogs. The Lord ministers to your audience through the way you pen the depths of the stories He is writing in your life. You share your hearts and  break into strong-holds of isolation as your readers discover someone who understands.  You minister to them, and they want to see you.My favorite part of Allume last year was quieting the lies you brought to the front of my camera when you looked at the back of my camera.  “I AM beautiful!”  I heard it over and over.  And sisters, Yes we are! We are images bearers of a beautiful God.

This year at Allume, I am offering 10 minute headshot sessions throughout the conference. Please sign up HERE. The session fee is $40. You will receive 3-4 edited images a few weeks after the conference. (Additional editing will be available with an added fee. All images are copyrighted to  Kim DeLoach Photography and should not be edited by another party.)

I can’t wait to see YOU this year and to celebrate that we are who God says we are!

With love,

Kim

Dedra Herod

In the school of life, Dedra Herod has a Masters Degree in making ambitious plans, and a PhD in learning to laugh at them. The education continues as she gives up control and a comfortable faith, in exchange for the new mercies of God in her ever-changing surroundings. She owns her own consulting company and is serving as National Conference Event Planner for the Outcomes Conference in Dallas, TX, as well as the Event Planner for the 2014 Allume Conference in Greenville, SC. She’s also got a gig as a freelance writer for LifeWay’s Parenting Teen Magazine and sporadically is asked to sling some verbiage other places.

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Measuring Sticks, Insecurity, and Some Conference Advice

Size Platform Measure Worth 2

I begin in the west and fly halfway across the country before I finally arrive for the conference. The driver picks me up at the airport and I’m reunited with my online friend who started her journey this morning in the east.

We chat a mile a minute and look forward to seeing our “smaller” blogger friends and many of our “bigger” blogger friends too.

During the conference I meander through sessions with my “smaller” blogger friends, all the while casually noticing who’s interacting with whom. I watch the “bigger” bloggers interact with their own circles of friends, while I engage with mine—looking them in the eye, listening, and relating.

But I deceive myself, because while I think I’m fully present in each conversation, in reality I’m partly absent. And as the conference presses on, I realize I’m disappointed when my “bigger” blogger friends have not initiated a fuller connection with me.

And it’s the last day of the conference when God convicts me of a cold hard truth.

My disappointment is a symptom of my illness—the virus of insecurity—hovering like a flu.

It has infected me. And I ache with its uncertainty while questions linger…

Do I matter?

Do I fit in?

Do “they” notice me or even want to be my real friend?

That last afternoon I leave the lunch table with my friend Alia, and make my way across the room toward our other roommate Amy—my in-real-life friend and newbie blogger—who has come with me to the conference.

And as we approach, she immediately turns to us, as if our timing is perfect.

“Hey guys! There’s someone I want you to meet.
This is Jennifer, another newbie.
And at lunch I asked her which of the “bigger” bloggers she most wanted to meet here.
And you know who she said?
Jacque Watkins and Alia Joy.
So I told her I could probably hook her up, since you guys are my roommates.”

I startle, like a deer caught in headlights.

Did she actually just say my name with the phrase “bigger” blogger?

Shocked on the inside, I greet Jennifer with a smile, flattered and completely stunned anyone would consider me a “bigger” blogger. She is sweet and gracious—a tea-drinking mama of four. And after our delightful interaction, I’m better for having met her.

As I fly home, reflecting on the conference, the Holy Spirit woos and convicts me again.

During the conference I wasted so much mental time, and internal dialogue, wondering if I’d get to build deeper relationships with  “bigger” bloggers.

While probably there were others there, who would’ve loved to build a deeper relationship with me.

And the recognition of this truth is like medicine for my ill and insecure heart.

Could it be possible everyone thinks of themselves as a “smaller blogger” and is waiting for that “bigger blogger” to initiate a connection?

Could it be that no matter who we are, there will always be someone “bigger”  to look to? That the one we see as a “bigger” blogger has an even “bigger-blogger” person they’d love to be pursued by too?

And could it be, that to someone, somewhere in the world, YOU are the “bigger blogger”?

That there is one someone scanning the room–looking for you—wishing they could meet YOU?

Hoping YOU’D go out of your way to pursue a connection with THEM?

No matter the size of our platform, we are all asking the same questions at our core:

Do I matter?

Do I fit in?

Would they really want to be my friend?

And the real truth is, our worth and purpose and significance is not dependent on whether a “bigger” blogger knows our name or pursues a friendship with us.

And we need the real truth to sink deep into the crevices of our hearts:

We all matter and fit in because we are His.

He chose us.

And He has great things planned for each of us to do.

So what if, instead of finding our validation from the “bigger bloggers” in our lives, we find our soul’s validation in our time spent with Jesus?

Allowing His Word to inform our starving souls of who He is,

And the truth of who we are because of Him…

Chosen.

Beloved.

Redeemed.

The child of God.

We are eternally valuable regardless of the size of our platform. 

And the size of our platform does not measure the worth of our soul. 

[Tweet that]

So when we set foot inside the walls of the Allume conference this October…

What if we become the initiators of connection because our security in Christ compels us to do so with whomever God places in our path?

What if we say hi first? Flash a smile first? Begin the conversation first, as a people who love in His name?

What if we stay fully present with whomever we’re with—refusing to allow our minds to be “noticing” the room?

And what if we make an effort, to not only hang out with our “people,” but to branch out to new circles of beautiful people? So that no one leaves feeling small and alone.

May we remember we are in this together…

Cheering for each other,

Fighting to believe who He says we are,

And really knowing we ARE already enough because of Him.

I can’t wait to see you at Allume!

Will you be there?

 

Jacque Watkins

Lover of heartfelt chats and chai tea lattes, Jacque can’t wait to connect with you. Over a decade ago, in the aftermath of an affair, Jacque was found by God’s mercy and changed by His grace. As a Labor & Delivery RN and mama to five, she's a mercy-lover, podcaster of Mud Stories, champion of second chances, and longs for you to know God loves you for you, and will leave nothing unredeemed in His time. You can connect with Jacque at her blog, or on TwitterFacebook, Pinterest, or Instagram.

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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!

 

 

Mary

Mary is a Midwestern girl transplanted to the northeast with an almost empty nest. Her heart is to encourage and minister to women however the Lord leads and tries to honor the Lord by taking care of her body through proper eating and exercise. She writes of faith, family, healthy living and her journey through life at http://www.marybonner.net/ You can find her on twitter @TheMaryBonner

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