Creating Fertile Ground

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Every time I’ve written this in my head it’s been one of “those” posts. The history of wanting to go to Allume and finally getting to go. Praises of the conference, speakers, multitude of inspirational women there. Love for my fellow sweet bloggers.

Like Jennie Allen really wanted to preach something cute and easy on Friday night, I really want to write something sweet and charming and loving to everyone I met.

{My oldest blog friend, OhAmanda, with my baby boy. So much sweetness.}


But really? I want to tell you what shook me to the core, what gave me vision, the water Jesus brought me when I have been so very thirsty.

One of the most significant encounters I had at Allume was with Kimba, who used to blog at A Soft Place to Land. She was not there as a blogger, though, but as a vendor, representing her new endeavor Everyday Icing. Everyday Icing sells jewelry and accessories on Facebook, and 10% of all profits go to Compassion International.

Kimba told me how affected she was at the Relevant Conference a few years ago when Shaun Groves spoke about Compassion. She wanted to do more for them, and through Everyday Icing is able to donate more money than she’d ever thought possible.

At one point we talked about the vision I thought I’d been given for my site, and how scary it is for me to give up “Vanderbilt Wife” after so. many. years. And she told me that it was so scary for her, too. But that if God had to burn the ground of all her striving to make it fertile for what she was doing now, it was well worth it.

Oh how that image has stuck with me for the past few days. (Kimba, if you’re reading this, you’re one of my favorites.)


In Holley Gerth’s session on Friday morning, she talked about your brand. That sounds so business-y for me, but she urged us to think of how we want our readers to feel when they come to our site. Are you meeting at a coffee shop? In a church pew? Outside, under the stars?

I knew my answer, exactly.

Readers, I want to invite you into my living room. Onto my couch. The rest of the room is probably littered with toys, purses, diaper bags, craft supplies, an empty coffee mug or two, the throw pillows my children INSIST go on the floor, and cracker crumbs. But I can clean the couch off, and I can probably manage to get those pillows back on there.

I want you to sit with me and look me in the eye. I’m going to tell you about how I’m a mess. Not just literally, although that’s true, but inside. Some days I feel like I want to hide in bed rather than face mothering again. Some days I’d just like my body for myself instead of being nursed on and climbed on and pulled and pinched. Some days I want to give in to Satan’s lies that tell me these kids would be better off without me, my husband is going to run off on me because I’m such a disaster, and God must be ashamed of me.

I will probably cry, just so you know. But I’ll also feed you, because that’s what I do. I love to cook and I love to feed. I will make your Great-Aunt Hoopti’s recipe for Fish Egg Stew with Homemade Ketchup and Steak Tartare if it will make you happy and feel loved.

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My other main takeaway from Allume was just how much God is working. Does it seem silly to say that? I just NEEDED that affirmation. Hearing stories of vast amounts of money raised $20 at a time through blogs, helping spread justice and mercy in this hurting world. Simple things, like a woman asking God for direction as she drove around with bread in her van, and finding herself pulling into the driveway of a hurting person – and learning what they had in common. Seeing God speak to artists as they painted (and the beautiful stories like Amy’s about why she needed that exact painting!).

I didn’t know it, but I was desperate for confirmation that God was still active in the details today. And I got it. Everywhere I turned there was a story of His personal work in the details.

I think we will be able to spend all of eternity swapping stories of His goodness in our individual lives.


I could write for another 1,000 words, but I’ll spare you. Just know it’s possible I might be changing things up a little bit. I hope you’ll join me on my couch for a chat. I’d love to hear your story of God’s lavish love, grace, and mercy in your life.

7 thoughts on “Creating Fertile Ground

  1. Moving under my own name seemed so scary this year for me too. No more hiding. But really? It’s the best thing I ever did. I would never, ever go back now. Even though I lost all my Facebook followers and probably lost some RSS readers along the way. I’m looking forward to where you go. It’s just amazing how God moved in so many very different but detailed ways!

  2. OK…When i first saw the title of your blog, my first immediate thought was…ohhhh! she is pregnant again…(red faced and feeling little dumb right now) but then reading thru it…I LOVE YOUR WRITING by the way..I had tears in my eyes and I would LOVE to be on your couch..and hope you could listen to my tales of woe and inadequacy….so YOU keep it up Mrs V….we are ALL waiting on the couch for your next post….

  3. I knew my exact spot too in Holley’s session. It gave me so much clarity, especially when I added it to the words of Jen Schmidt, Ann, Melanie, Jeff, and the others. Some built a tank and others were the fuel to fill it. Good stuff here. Can’t wait to see what’s next!

  4. loved this. Can’t wait to hear more! And think about all the money you have been able to donate through your blog this year. SOOOO inspiring!

    And yes, a very powerful image about burning it down to make fertile ground. Wow.

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