Influence Conference | You are qualified

You know that moment when someone you know as an acquaintance shifts to a friend? That moment you or her just lay all your stuff out on the table? Like… “Here I am: my life is messy and over-complicated, but I just can’t have you ask me “how are you doing today?” one more time and not tell you the truth.

Well, I’m that girl. The girl that is tired of pretense or just had a hard day, and the over-sharing spills out like a broken dam. I’m always left with self-talk, saying “Wow, Amanda, you hold nothing back! and they’ve got to be feeling like you’re too much.” Okay, let’s just go ahead and call that self-talk what it is: insecurity, fear and anxiety that this person will bolt now that I’ve shown them my true self.

But when I’m the one witnessing a woman laying her true self, her joys, fears and frustrations out there, I don’t have those thoughts. It’s everything, I love when people get real. I see myself in her struggle. I care deeply for her in that moment.  I see and love her in that moment. I want to rally her on, celebrate or cry with her.

That’s what the Influence Conference was for me. Wave after wave of seeing and knowing these women. These days, we “know” so many people from the squares of Instagram or from across the park. We interpret the bits and pieces they share with us, not knowing the whole, real story. We create a separation between ourselves and the women we see in passing or online. The separation is the lie that these women are past the struggle & livin’ the dream.

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Each time a woman I thought I knew would walk on stage at the conference, she would tear down the walls of separation I had created in my mind. Each speaker would share her story, revealing that her relationship with Jesus was still evolving, that following her calling felt hopeless at times, that she stumbles, doubts and continues to fight desires of the ego, just like me.

They proved that not one of the ladies in the audience needed to have it all together to be qualified to share their faith or gifts and that they could have faith in the promise of our God, while still sorting out what it means to be a daughter of God. Within their stories, we found our stories.

Jess Connolly kicked the morning off by sharing what The Influence Network stood for. She left us with questions that broke past the pleasantries and forced attendees to get boldly honest about their influence and how they felt about their influence.

Jess asked:

 How have I discounted the way He made me?

How have I discounted the place He put me?

Who has God given you favor with?

Who wants to hear from you?

Who has He given you burden for?

What way have you been hurt that you hide?

What ways do you hurt? What is your daily sin?

What are your “Joseph” dreams?

I’ve been sitting with these for days. I have quick answers to these questions, long answers and complete silence for them. They are something I will continue to ask myself as life evolves and I take on new roles of influence.

In her opening talk, she also asked us why we were there.  I didn’t know or think about it until she asked the question. My ticket was a gift; an event like this is not something I feel super comfortable attending alone. Marrissa wasn’t able to come with me on this trip so I was completely solo.

When she asked, I immediately thought… “I was there to hear that God did not put the desire in my heart to create a business that supports women to torture me…”

Jess closed her opening talk with Luke 10: In my real sin, He is made strong.” Looking back, I feel that was the theme of the day. These amazing ladies shared their struggle with all different kinds of sin, and displayed God’s strength in every inch of their stories.

Ashley Book _ Influence conference

A big bonus from attending was meeting some amazing ladies. I got to go to lunch with a few women and had the chance to get to know them better. You can check out Kimberly Keith’s recap here and Alicia Cardwell’s here. It was so neat to be sitting at a table with women who were sure of their faith and could speak openly about seeking wisdom from Him.

It’s not something I’m entrenched in in my day-to-day life, and have just recently become more open (on-line) about how I seek out + struggle with finding a relationship with The Lord. So, to be with so many women in the thick of their own walk was refreshing.

I had to leave a bit early to help a very pregnant friend, prepare for a sweet baby boy.  As I was walking out, I had a twinge of disappointment that I didn’t get to meet Jess and Hayley while at the event.

As you know, Marrissa and I are on the Wild and Free launch team. I was hoping for the opportunity to talk them into coming to visit us in WV, even though we are far from the 100 attendee requirement…

So with disappointment in hand, I jumped in the car and paused for a quick IG post before hitting the road.  As I was pulling out Jess commented on the photo I had just posted that she wanted to meet with us! (wait, WHAT?!)

Influence Conference

Well, that wall of separation came right up when I saw her message. I was pulling out of the parking lot, having an internal struggle and telling myself, “Oh they don’t want to meet, just keep driving.”  And I figured I would be a crazy groupie if I turned around and went back to meet these ladies whom I admire so much.

Well, right before I hit the interstate, I said what the heck, I’ll message her back… So I pulled off and messaged her I was leaving and told her they could meet in the parking lot. I hit send and told myself I’d give her a few minutes to respond. Well, within seconds she replied to me that they were coming outside.

Influence Conference

I went back and met Hayley and Jess and told them how important  we felt it was for women in our area to see women being successful business owners, wives, moms, chasing Jesus and telling people about it. They were so kind and supportive of our hopes to have an event in West Virginia and could not have been any more normal during my complete awkwardness. 😉

So after this long-winded post, I hope you will let go of the walls you’ve built, find God’s Glory in your sin and lay it all out there– because life is to short to wait till you feel qualified to stand in your influence.

Building Lasting Friendships | Callie Burgard: Kómma Designs

Alright, I am going to start out brutal- but stick with me. Evaluate your current circle of friends. Do you feel genuinely loved? Supported? Do you feel like your friends are like-minded? Do you feel like they push you harder to obtain your goals? The moment I surrounded myself with like-minded friends, my world changed. For me, being a creative warrior who works a full-time career and owns a small business, finding friends who understood that Friday nights were late night blog writing, timeline creation and steaming linens for clients was difficult.  As awful as this may sound, surrounding yourself with people who are in line with your goals, your lifestyle and your career, will help you find common ground and support. Friendships are so much more than random texts and the occasional coffee date. Lasting friendships are genuine, loving, supportive and something worth celebrating.

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Meeting new friends can seem difficult, scary and just sometimes impossible. Never be afraid to reach out to other like-minded individuals, people you admire or people you want to be friends with. You would be surprised how supportive people are when you just reach out. Also, never be afraid to talk to strangers- yeah, I know. The world has told you your whole life that talking to strangers is a bad thing. Don’t hang out with me if you don’t want to talk to strangers. I am wildly known for approaching anyone for just about anything. Ok, obviously use your best judgment, I am not asking you to walk up to danger- but you should know the different between someone you admire, someone who you love their style or someone with great hair vs. someone dangerous looking.

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Listening is one of the most incredible qualities a human can have. People love to be heard, but in reality, we spend so much time wanting to just talk about ourselves. Take time to genuinely get to know people. Ask them small details about their life. Ask them how their day and week are going. Remember what they said to you, and always remember to follow up. If your friend mentions they are having a rough time, in a few days, don’t hesitate to reach out and check in.

Celebrating is so underrated. I believe in celebrating every aspect of life. Some of our favorite accomplishments are the littlest. Take the time to recognize these little victories in your friends. Did your friend recently get a new job? Finish a class they struggled with? Make an awesome root beer float? Get an award? Celebrate with them. Send them a card, take them balloons, invite them over. Celebrate things that are basically random. Celebrate the change in season, time change, their vacation- just sending them a reminder about how awesome it is going to impact their life. Little victories are still steps towards a greater goal, and deserve reward. Make it seem like a big deal, believe me, people are taken back by this, and love it. I know this all sounds crazy- and extreme, but I promise you, you will change the lives of your friends around you. When they flip through their mail, open their text, are embraced by a hug- their world will change a little bit for the better.

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Always be available to help your friends. As humans, we struggle. Help can come in so many different forms. In my industry, sometimes help is just a cup of coffee while I am working on a wedding layout, sometimes help is setting floral at a wedding, sometimes help is just advice on which photo to post on Instagram. Take the time to serve your friends. Helping them grow can be such an empowering, incredible feeling. It is a selfless task that can change their life, show your support and remind them how proud of them you are.

The simplest things can go so far. Wishing each of your friends a happy day via text can change their entire morning. Reaching out to your friends throughout the day to let them know your thinking about them. Also, in your own busy life, schedule time for friends. Stop turning down breakfast dates, dinner and late nights under the stars. No matter how busy you are, focus time on the friendships, it is good for both your soul and theirs.

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I know I am a little crazier than the rest of the world, but I take time to celebrate friendships and build relationships with my friends because at the end of the day, they are the ones who support me, love me, celebrate with me. They make me laugh, they build memories with me, they travel with me. They create with me. They help my career, the least I can do is remind them daily how much I love them, how proud I am, how happy I am to have them in my life.

Photo Credit:

Abigail Wellinghurst

Collaboration | Ashley Friend Photography

Ashley Friend

Hi! I’m Ashley Friend, a Wedding + Family photographer based in West Virginia. I’m thrilled to join the collaboration series here at The Wild Revival. My husband, Josh, and I have two little girls that bring so much fun and joy into our lives! It wasn’t until I became a mother that I truly began to understand God’s unconditional love for us!

Outside of photography, I have a heart for design. I believe in the beauty of simplicity, and that the soft glow of sunlight makes everything magical! Ever since I was young, I have had an interest in design! “What Not To Wear” and home makeover shows were always my favorites!

I recently started sharing my home design adventures on Instagram! It’s so much fun bringing an old piece of furniture back to life or creating something new out of it. I also love sharing my personal style, my family, my love for photography, + DIY projects in our fixer upper!

Be sure to check back next week! I’ll be sharing a peek inside our happy home and tips for refreshing your style on a budget.You can visit me here + follow my day to day adventures on Instagram @alifewithfriends!

Handling Change with Grace | Dana Matonak

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Handling change:  we all must do it; I used to hate it. I had a way and a plan and for the most part I preferred when things went the way I anticipated.  Anytime my life plan got derailed, I had it out with God, the people around me, and myself.  “Why would God let this happen? Why are the people I love not seeing this the way I am?  Dana, why are you being so ridiculous? ”

Over the years I have had to face change in multiple areas of my life.  Some were big changes and some were small and my reaction to those changes was all over the place.  Emotions ran high and I was always leaping to the worst case scenario.  I’ve come to realize that the root of all of that emotion and negativity was fear. In the book Girl Meets Change by Kristen Strong she says, “change is not something to be feared but something to be received as a blessing from God who works through it, not in spite of it.”  Wow! I could read that one line over and over. Only with the help of Christ and my loving, patient husband, did I figure out how to take fear out the equation and replace it with a little something called grace.  That grace led me to realize how important the following 3 concepts are:

 

God is on the throne.  During times of change and uncertainty, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, resistant, and isolated.  In times like these, I would normally try to control everything I can to keep some normalcy in my life. Have you done this? I often forgot that God is still in control and knows the ultimate outcome.  I spent my time worrying, calculating, and reworking the “plans.” Despite all you feel you need to do, set that aside and immerse yourself in God’s word.  Read your Bible, post Bible verses everywhere you look journal your prayers and cry out to God.  Talk to Him.  Grow your relationship with Him.  Thank Him.  List everything you have to be thankful for, all that He has provided, and all the He promises.

Community is everything.  Don’t take your stress out on the people you love and don’t isolate yourself from them.  When your flesh takes over during times of change, it can be our instinct to run from the people that we need the most.  Your tribe, your people, you need them.  Dive into those relationships, dig deep, love hard.  In Girl Meets Change, Kristen also says, “Quite often, my ability to accept and thrive through change is directly proportional to the state of my near and dear friendships.”  I agree with this wholeheartedly.

Embrace the change. Whatever it may be. Resistance will be your biggest enemy. This is the area where I need grace the most.  It’s so easy to get a bad attitude when dealing with change because it’s difficult and messy and it turns your world upside-down. Thankfully, every day is a chance to start over.  In the trenches of change, the joy might not always come naturally, but if you seek it out, you will find it! Whether its your home, a friend, the sunshine, or a trip to Target– find something that brings you joy! Give yourself grace as you learn.

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Everything is constantly changing. It’s so easy to let my fear of change decide my actions. I feel that God gives us opportunities to learn from the big, scary, life-altering changes He often throws our way. When I get on the other side of that big change, I see why it happened and what God was trying to show me through it all. I can’t ask for much more than that.

Are there areas in your life where you could use a little more grace and a little less change. Girl, I get it! Amanda and Marrissa get it, too. I’m so glad to have been able to share a bit of my heart with you this month. Head over to my blog if you wanna read on…

With Love,
Dana

BIG NEWS! | Announcing Wholehearted

 
We are so excited to kick off the New Year with you! Keeping in line with our goal of connecting more with our readers, we’re so thrilled to share our newsletter, Wholehearted, with you. Our newsletter will be a little bit deeper than the blog, giving you first dibs on spots at our upcoming gatherings + some insider perks! We hope you enjoy this piece of our heart landing in your inbox throughout the year!
Our first year was full of trial and error, hustle and heart. We started building this blog last May and launched in August. It was wonderful to work with Aubrey Kinch on the design of our site. As we worked diligently to build relationships with our readers, we hosted 4 gatherings in 5 months. These were exhausting and so life-giving all at the same time. We loved hearing how much you ladies enjoyed a stress-free evening with girlfriends!
 
For years, we would read blogs and swoon over all the creative opportunities and community-building activities these ladies had influence over. It would be intimidating to see perfectly-curated lives fill the tiny squares of our Instagram feeds and read the words shared on their blog. We just never felt that our words could speak life into a community of women like theirs did… UNTIL… we put the “what if’s” aside and jumped in with both feet! It has felt so good to pursue this passion of ours. And we are here to tell you: you have more influence than you think and your words do matter. If you have a calling in your heart to share, encourage, or give… there is room for you, too!    
 
One thing we really hope to do is give women with this same dream in their hearts a platform to share + get their start. We were so thrilled bring Allison Marie on as our beauty contributor in 2015. We are always looking for people with something to share! So if its DIY, motherhood, style, faith or something else– we would love to hear from you! 
 
We look forward to continuing to bring you ladies conversations centered around subjects you wanna hear about. Below you will find links to our top viewed posts of 2015. We would love for you to share with us what you want more (or less) of in 2016!? Chat with us on IG, Facebook, and on the blog! 
 
The Wild Revival’s top posts of 2015:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
With so much gratitude in our heart!
 
Amanda + Marrissa 


Subscribe to our Wholehearted Newsletter

 

‘Hosting with Heart’ | eBook

 

We are SO excited to release our very first e-Book entitled Hosting with Heart, and it’s coming to you TODAY — just in time for the holidays! This sweet and simple guide will encourage you to focus on what matters most when gathering people around a table.


For us, gatherings are the heart and soul behind The Wild Revival. The sense of community and unity we feel when we bring people together has been so life-giving for us, and it has been so worth our time. Hosting is about so much more than just the food + decor. It’s about creating a space where the walls can come down and people can be heard. 


We hope to point you towards creating a relaxed atmosphere centered around connection and heritage rather than perfection and stress. We have truly shared a big piece of our hearts with you in Hosting with Heart and we envision you printing it out and fumbling through the pages as you stand in your kitchen preparing for you next dinner party or get-together.


Hosting with Heart also includes a delicious recipe we’ve made and served to our guests at our gatherings. And don’t even get us started on how beautiful the photos are in the eBook! Go see for yourself! This labor of love means so much to us and we hope it inspires you this holiday season. Follow this link to download your FREE copy today!

Festive December | Preview

 

Festive December





Hey, tribe! The holidays are upon us and we’re feeling festive! We are so pumped for December because we have a month FULL of exciting activities, posts, contests, and a gathering lined up for YOU, our readers!


Starting on December 1st, we will be sharing our hearts as we work through Naptime Diaries’ “Make Room” Advent study. Every morning, we will be posting a recap of the daily devotional on our Instagram (@thewildrevival) We would LOVE for you to follow along + join in! You can buy your copy HERE for $22. We pre-ordered ours and it came in the mail this week and WOW!…it is so nice! Make sure to use #TWRAdvent when you share your advent study, photos + thoughts. Join us as we make room for Jesus this Christmas season.

Festive December


We will be sharing our holiday gift guide during the first week of December. We spent a morning at Target finding great gift ideas, and the best part is — they’re all under $30! 


Contests are so fun, right?!  Be sure to follow The Wild Revival’s social media pages to get in on the goodies we will be giving away in December! 


Our beauty contributor, Allison, will be sharing holiday makeup tutorials to help get you ready for holiday parties and get-togethers. We encourage you to try out her looks and make them your own using #TWRHolidayGlam. Doing that just might enter you into a contest to win some free makeup! 😉 but we can’t give away all of our secrets just yet!


The most exciting announcement of all is… The Wild Revival’s Holiday Gathering! After a month off from hosting, we’re so ready to bring you all together for a little bit of creativity + connection. We’re looking forward to gathering together with our favorite ladies in a cozy, laid-back atmosphere full of festive touches. We’ll be making DIY Christmas ornaments while
enjoying live music, complete with a hot chocolate bar + sweets. 


You can get your tickets HERE. A portion of each ticket sold will be given to our local Salvation Army Angel Tree program to help provide Christmas presents to
children in need this season. 
Once you register + pay, we’ll send you an e-mail with details and directions to our event location.


This is going to be a lot of fun! Bring yourself (and a friend!) and join us for our holiday gathering! We want to get more women involved in our gatherings. 

Follow Friday

It’s Follow Friday! We are excited to share these wonderful ladies with you + hope you go and follow their journey. 
@valmariepaper is such a calming spirit, we love her dedication to simple living + her love of the Lord. She just wrote her first book, ‘The Finishing School’ & it’s sure to be a must read! 
@_Hot_tomolly_ is a firecracker! We are obsessed with her bright + happy feed. Not running for a donut after she posts one is a daily challenge. 
@yohanawilliams is a great representation of the talent in our home state of WV! She has great style and is a star in the wedding industry and loves bringing people together. 
@ashleeproffitt: her heart + authenticity is so life-giving. She shares an honest look at the trials + triumphs creatives face everyday. Her new fall line is sweet, delicate and oh so pretty!

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