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I don't remember how I first heard about IF:Gathering. I know that I've watched bits and pieces of it from home for the past two years, with variable success - the first year my extremely sketchy internet connexion kept locking it up at inopportune moments, and last year an 18 month old and a newborn kept me busy/distracted.

But this year, our church hosted an IF:Local, and I was able to attend the Friday night session. I've never done anything like that before - Adam's mom took my sister-in-law and me on an overnight prayer retreat that their church did (several years ago, just after he and I got married), but it didn't really extend beyond the 30-or-so ladies in attendance. 

This was a whole new adventure. IF:Gathering is simulcast out of Austin, and thousands of women all over the world watched together - some there in Austin, many in small-to-large groups in their own homes and churches, and then lots just from wherever-they-were-at-the-time. It was definitely more impactful, for me at least, to be with a group - especially for the first session, which included confession and communion (two things that wouldn't have happened had I been watching from home).

photo cred to Melanie P (seeing as how I'm in the picture...)

This year's theme was "What If We Lived Like Jesus?" and it was also really nice to start off by discussing that with the other ladies at my table. (I may also have benefited from copying other's notes when the speaker got ahead of my ability to write...)

Saturday morning I convinced Brooklyn (who is averse to change - no idea where she got that from) that it would be fun to eat her breakfast at my desk, and we watched it together. She applauded adorably when the speakers entered and exited the stage, and was very excited about the "ladies talking about Jesus." Tobin's favorite part was the worship sessions, to which he danced and bounced and clapped.

They ended by asking everyone to create a "marker" - some piece of take-away action for living out what they learned.

There was so much good stuff it's going to take me a year to process, and as I copy my notes over to a tidier notebook, I'm enjoying rereading.

   Look in the mirror and see Whose you are.
   I have nothing to prove and nothing to protect - I have enough and I am enough, but only because Jesus is enough.
   If you think the grass looks greener on the other side, water the grass you're standing on.
   Fruit is a byproduct of being rooted well.
   Instead of seeking to be known, seek to make God known.
   When we love well, we love people as friends. Not as projects. Not out of pity. Not as photo ops.
   Don't spend more of your walk on earth trying to look like other Christians than trying to look like Christ.
   Do the obedient, brave thing - whatever that is.

Seriously. I'm glad I was able to join IF:Local, and then that I had stable internet and agreeable Littles in order to watch the rest at home - in this year of adventures, it was definitely an unequivocally good one.

2384. Successfully parallel parking (that gets filed under "adventure")
2385. Brooklyn calmly agreeing to eat her cookie in the car, since it was the lunch rush and they didn't have any seats
2386. Remembering that I needed to make muffins while I still had the energy to do it
2387. A fairly easy day, after a fairly sleepless night
2388. Brooklyn courageously overcoming her fear of Tobin's rolling/singing/ball-shooting fire truck so that they could play with it together
2389. Actually having an IF:Local to go to, and being able to go
2390. Brooklyn's applause and Tobin's dancing as we watched the conference at home
2391. Inspiration and conviction
2392. The IF team
2393. Leaving for church early because we were ready, then realizing I needed gas
2394. Good, hard discussion in Mobilize
2395. The ingredients for a batch of homemade cookies (not the chocolate chip ones someone posted a picture of that triggered the craving, but some very acceptable pecan meringue ones, instead)
2396. Finishing the last IF:Gathering session before they timed out
2397. Everything I needed for dinner on sale and at the same store
2398. Brooklyn's delight over getting her very own mail


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31 Days of Unraveling Designs

It's that time of year again... the 31 Days writing challenge starts today! Bloggers from all over will be writing every day of the month of October on the topic of their choosing. This will be my fourth year participating - the first year I did 7 for 31, and spent a month going through Jen Hatmaker's book 7. The second year I did 31 Days of Sustainable Dwelling, and wrote about local and fair trade living. Last year I was busy but still wanted to participate, so I went the easy route with 31 Days of Everyday Beautiful.

This year I'm diving into my greatest passion: knitting! I'll spend this month looking at past designs and talking about the inspiration behind them, so there will be plenty of regular life mixed in with the stitching - and there may be discount codes for the patterns that I write about. You'll just have to read and see!

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