My Head Hurts From Talking

Many months ago (before I knew I was moving and selling/buying a new house), I made a commitment to attend Allume.  I had heard about Allume for years, and decided it was probably time I go check it out – especially when I discovered it was an hour from my parents’ house.

Jeannie Cunnion and I have been talking each other “off the author ledge” for more than 1 year, and we have been introduced to other writers that also feel a little odd, weird, sad, embarrassed, excited, empowered, worried, confused – all in one day.

So, we thought,  “Wouldn’t it be cool if we got some of those ladies in person together and loved on them? Listened. Encouraged.”

So we did this past weekend. We gathered a small crew just after Allume ended.

With one minor detail. Jeannie couldn’t come. Family called.


Starting with Allume

The official Allume conference was fantastic! Congrats to Logan and her entire team for putting together a great event. I loved her talk and theme of “TOGETHER” encouraging us to make our worlds smaller and more together. Close the gap. Even if it’s awkward. Just make a serious effort to make an impact on this gap – whether race or politics or country or religion.


I turned to my precious friend Wynter and warned her I’d have some awkward questions coming. And she said, “Like right now?” I said, “NO! Like in Dallas, in the months ahead.”

This girl is precious to me already and a huge gift of my move to Texas.

Some favorites moments.

The Allume speakers and exhibitors were plenty, here were some of my favorites:

Chrystal Evans Hurst – Every single minute of her talk was hilarious and inspiring. The BEST. Worth listening to (all keynotes here)! Visit her website.


Melanie Dale


This is MY GIRL! I was so fired up to sit in there and cheer, but I absolutely needed to hear her breakout on “My Mix Tape.” How to bring all of you and your mixed passions to the table. She’s a mixed bag of funny poop stories and nerd movie quotes and Uganda – and she’s able to bring it together in her books and blog. It was so encouraging to be ME to do the same. Get to know Melanie.

Sarah Mae & Sara Hagerty


I could write a book on my love for Sarah Mae, but these two get the award for most authentic humans on the scene. I love approachable leaders. I love leaders that don’t think they are too cool. I love leaders that are teachable. And open.  They have Jesus flowing humbly through them. Real deal – the Sarahs. Sarah Mae and Sara Hagerty


Some friends.

It was just so fun to room with these friends at Allume – Allison Hendrix, Renee Robinson, Kari Kampakis and Annie Pacjic – and also hang with Hands-Free Mama, Rachel Stafford often. We loved the after-hours talks the best. Just catching up and giggling.

Seeing my sweet friend Caroline Simas again was a joy. Her art is breathtaking! And finally meeting Krista Gilbert in person. That girl is gold.


Running into Edie and Ruth and so many more! It’s like a reunion. Even the wonderful folks at Ever Thine Home were there. If you haven’t picked up your spool of gratitude called “Untie Your Story” … get some. They are genius.


These people become real life friends – not just online friends. They know so much about your journey and the struggles that are so odd, yet so real.


That’s why these conferences and meet ups are so fun because NOTHING beats face-to-face community. Praying with someone. Hugging them. Cheering them on literally as they are speaking. We are better together.

How do you know everyone in the world? People ask this often. I just introduce myself often and I am interested in people. More what I can FOR them vs getting something FROM them. People can sniff out motives quick.

The great sleepover.

After Allume, a group of us headed up to my parents’ house at the lake. And I was like a psycho camp counselor. We had roughly 24 hours to bond. We basically wore pajamas, ate dips and sat in a circle.


Please note the only showered human in this photo is Kampakis.

Each person had 30 minutes to share their entire life’s story. We had a chance to encourage and ask questions and give ideas. It’s so fun to have a group of women that truly cares most about God – then our families. We are so excited for each other and love to collaborate. There isn’t a single second of comparison and jealousy – just support. It felt real and safe. And so needed.


I took my girls with me and between my parents and IZZY – they were well cared for. I am a blessed woman for having these generous souls in my life. And they were a part of allowing God to show up at the lake and refresh and replenish some of his sweetest servants. These girls work so so hard and needed a minute to hear that it matters.


I’d love for you to check them out. And get to know my sweet crew.



This girl is compassion walking on the streets. You will read it in every word she writes. She’s a “there you are” kind of girl. She’s my Orlando buddy and when she writes a book – it’s going to have the same effect that Love Does did on our souls. You just wait. Until then, enjoy her blog.



Annie’s ministry is the JACKPOT of resources for young girls. She has a passion for bringing God’s word to life through art. And she was a professional ballerina – so I sat very close to her and stared. Check out Annie and Thou Art Exalted right here.



She’s my literary agent – so say a prayer for her. She needs a counseling degree. She’s a dear friend and brilliant. Get to know Blythe.

(Note: literary agent is a fancy word for… they work with publishers to get your book contracts – but basically they are counselors for frazzled people like me. You don’t have to have one – but I love it. Because I’d much rather someone go speak a language I do not understand. And feel I have someone on my team and behind my entire ministry and family goals.)



Author of 10 Ultimate Truths Girls Should Know and a mom of four girls! She has the cutest Alabama accent alive and the best furry vest. Check out Kari!



Author of Parenting the Wholehearted Child. She is a sorority sister of mine and will accept bribes for stories. Mom of three boys and fourth on the way. I call her almost daily. Get her awesome book and wisdom right over here.



She’s the mom to triplets which I believe trained her to be the agent to over 40 authors. I have no idea how she’s alive. Get to know Jessica.



Author of Women Are Scary. She wore her pj’s to present at Allume. She’s insanely funny and passionate about many things. I dig her. Laugh over here.



Author of Seeking Christmas … and has one of the best testimonies I’ve ever heard. She makes a mean shake each morning and she likes her sleep. Connect with Renee.



Here’s the gist. We need each other.

No matter the industry. Get face time with women in your line of work – whether it’s a desk job or stay at home mom. Ask them how they are REALLY doing. Ask them about their story. Ask them if they are OK. And listen. Set time aside to get in real life with people you love. And cheer each other on. Point them back to Jesus. It FILLS our soul SO MUCH because it’s how God designed us. To love one another just as He would.

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  1. I love this beautiful re-cap of the weekend & all the amazing women who touched your life during that time! I felt the same safety, encouragement, & peace when we gathered and shared our stories. It was such a blessing to meet you. What an instant warmth you have that just drew me in. Thank you for being YOU.

  2. What a wonderful weekend! I pray I will one day have friends like this! Where I can just be ME. Beautiful example of showing Jesus’s love.

  3. Oh my goodness. Just now reading this. Can we please go back? What a beautiful weekend of refreshment to my soul! Courtney, you have such an amazing way of creating environments and groups where everybody feels welcomed and loved just as they are. I know I sure did. A million thank you’s for your precious friendship.

  4. I know Blythe! My husband and I were in a small group with her & Art during the short time we lived in Colorado Springs. She is an amazing woman and I was so blessed by her friendship! So happy you have her on your side!

  5. Oh…. Courtney. This post reflects you in every way – always the cheerleader – the includer – the life of the party! You have beautiful gifts and you share them wherever you go – throwing them like confetti – so fun, so full of life. I’m so grateful that our paths crossed, and I am hopeful for the day that we can have more time to just sit and share our hearts together. You are special, Courtney DeFeo!

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