late sunday night i returned from a 5 day trip to dallas. i attended hope spoken, a conference i have been anxiously waiting to go to for over a year. i have only been to one other women's conference that was related to blogging, but that one was geared almost completely towards blogging, while this one was just hosted by bloggers, so i wasn't sure what to expect.

but it turned out to be so so wonderful. i went in hoping to meet a few bloggers i had made friends with over the last year or two, but ended up making friends with people i couldn't have even dreamed of connecting with. i posted this on my instagram and i feel like it sums up the weekend pretty well:
as I'm sure most of you know, I love reading blogs. it's probably because I love stories. I love hearing what people have been through and where they have come from. I love hearing what they've conquered and what they've learned. mostly I just love seeing the story He's telling unfold in people's lives. so #hopespoken was kind of a dream for me. a weekend of hearing people's stories of love and life and joy and death and sorrow and redemption and hope. I made new friends, both with girls I was looking forward to meeting and with girls I didn't expect to connect with. it was a good weekend.
and really that is what it was. it was a weekend of stories speaking hope into other stories. it was a chance to be reminded that God is in the process of writing the most beautiful story of all time and we get the honor of playing a supporting role in the whole thing.

there were 11 different speakers, all of whom told their story. there was very little teaching and preaching and lots of just honest, "this is my life but look how good He is." i could honestly listen to people tell stories about their lives all day long, so i was a little bummed that the schedule was made so you had to choose 4 of the 8 breakout speakers. i really enjoyed the ones i went to, but heard really good things about the ones i missed.

i also was asked to lead a small group of 10 women for the weekend which was completely nervewracking. i made them goodie bags to win them over. including a mixed worship cd. they ended up being really sweet women who were completely capable of talking without my leading. i learned from them way more than i think they learned from me.

honestly, it was one of the most relaxing weekends i've had in a while. i went into thinking it was going to be challenging or hard, but really it just felt right and kind of like home. i could have stayed for another whole week and just hung out with all the women. i would also like to propose that next year we have a conference where you aren't allowed to wear hard pants (jeans). so basically that means everybody has to wear yoga pants or leggings with long shirts over them. doesn't that sound like a dream?!

i'm really proud of danielle and emily and casey for pulling this conference together. the food was fab, the decorations were incredible, the swag bags were amazing, the speakers had hearts of gold. i never felt like i was imposing if i went to talk to emily, danielle or casey. they were so sweet and so on the same level as everyone else. i loved that.

i highly encourage everyone to go next year. i already have my roommates for next year. i figure i'm just gonna buy a ticket and then if i can't go i'll sell it. wouldn't want to risk missing out!

here are one billion pictures from the weekend, all taken within 30 minutes, all of which look nothing like me.

ruth, lesley, anna, kimber, me, thuy, ashley
photo via thuy's instagram
if i could hang out with these 6 women for an extended amount of time, i would be so happy. they were all the sweetest, most precious people on the planet.

danielle // hannah
the hostess with the mostest and my sweet, sweet, generous friend hannah. love them to pieces and can't believe we finally got to meet in person.

wynne // leslie
these two were some of my surprise treasures from the weekend. i had heard their names in the blogging world before, but they weren't people i had kept up with. that will promptly change as i adore them and would like to immediately move into each of their houses. wynne is a gem and has the sweetest heart. leslie loves depressing music just like i do and we decided we're both melancholy. yes i had to look up what that means.

ashley // jess
picture on right from jess
i've been reading ashley's blog for over 2 years and i am so encouraged by her. she is such a cheerleader of others and inspires me to be an advocate for others. she is the craftiest person who was ever born and it turns out she is pretty funny too. i was so looking forward to finally seeing her in person. i've also been reading jess's blog for over 2 years. her session made me ugly cry and she even took time to talk with me saturday night. she is so sweet and i'm blown away by the strength that she carries.

kimber + anna // kimber
these sweet ladies were my other surprise treasures. (you too thuy!) anna texted me on my flight home asking if i wanted to room with them next year. i said yes as fast as i could! they are sweet texas mamas who i clicked with as soon as i met them. we didn't really get to talk until late saturday night, which was a crying shame, but i can't wait to hopefully room with them and their friend brit next year.

sarah + hannah // kara
i met sarah through the hope spoken link up and was totally confused about why we weren't already friends. she is a gem and has the cutest girls. kara i met on instagram when i stalkerishly told her i liked her sweater in one of hannah's pictures. the rest is history. i'm hoping to see her again early this summer.

shannan // my small group girls
emily and i picked shannan up from the airport on thursday to take her to the hotel. friday afternoon rolled around and i was standing with a group of people in the conference area. sweet shannan proceeded to introduce herself to everyone individually, including me. i, thinking she was just joking around, said, "my name is kimberly. i picked you up from the airport." she was so confused and asked if i was wearing a hat in the car. i wasn't. we both laughed and joked around about it all weekend. shannan actually lives 2 hours north of me. she is also a gem. and of course i had the best small group :)

stacey, me, lesley, emily, ashley, leslie, jami
photo via ashley's instagram
probably if you are't my mother than you stopped reading 8 pictures ago. thanks mom.

i can't wait to see what happens for next year. i've got my fingers crossed that i will be able to go.


  1. YEAH! I loved reading your thoughts on this amazing weekend. So glad you got your cup filled and refreshed. You rocked it as our small group leader...so amazed at your maturity and presence. God bless you in the months ahead in all your story adventures! - Kelli

  2. you're the bomb dot com. I'm so glad God brought you in my life! Praying that you WILL be back in 2015! And praying that you come by and see us on your roadtrip this summer! woohoo!

  3. i just have a couple thoughts:
    1.) take me next time and introduce me to all of these beautiful people [i am being 100% serious]
    2.) look at you leading a small group when you didn't even want to lead unit devos
    3.) you're my favorite.

    okay, that's all. =) love you!

  4. I read the whole thing. Duh.

  5. You are the sweetest, Kimberly. Thanks for your kind words. I am so glad our paths crossed at hope spoken...wish we could have talked longer! Come visit us on the farm, okay?

  6. Hi. You're cute and fun. And I'm glad you emailed me. Let's be friends.

  7. I have mad luv for you.
    I just told my IWU friend about you on Wednesday. True story.


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