Monday, April 9, 2012

Infinite Gifts

Two weekends ago, the Women's Ministry at our church held an In-House Retreat with guest speaker Ann Voskamp and worship leader Jenny Pruitt. There were hundreds of women coming from all across the country to join us in listening to Ann speak. They sold out the sanctuary and had a live-feed held in the gym (that's a lot of women)!!!

If you didn't already know, Ann Voskamp is the NY Times Best-selling author of "One Thousand Gifts", writer for Dayspring, and blogs at "A Holy Experience" daily. She is so sweet, soft spoken (she talked with such clarity and gentleness), and sincere!!

I had wanted to serve in our church in some way and some of my photos were going to be used for the Women's Ministry website (nature, sunsets, etc) and for the blog as well. One morning after Bible Study, Debi asked if I would be interested in taking photos for the upcoming event.....
(In my head)...."WHAT??!! Would I?! Me?! Are you kidding?! OF COURSE!!!"
(But I answered hopefully calmly)....."Yes, I'd love to! I already bought a ticket!" 
(Still I was thinking).... "Oh my goodness!!! WHAT??!! Ann Voskamp?! Take her picture?! I can't believe this!! I hope I do a good job!!! I need to learn how to shoot in manual better!"

Seriously, it was all I could do not to jump up and down!! HAHA!!! What a GIFT!!! But, I was way too nervous and I only told my mom, Matt, and Haley what I was going to do. I mean, I'm NOT a professional photographer!!!! It's just a hobby I enjoy/think I'm ok at......
Anyhow, that's not the purpose of my post. I just wanted to share some photos and quotes from the retreat with you :)

Friday Evening: March 23rd

The women started to line up outside a half hour before the doors would open and it started to wrap around the side of the church. Everyone was happy to be there and looking forward to a great night. Volunteer staff were around to help those who still needed to purchase tickets, get some refreshments, find a restroom, get to a seat, or purchase a book. 

Debi welcomed everyone for coming and started us off with prayer. Then, Jenny Pruitt and 3 girls helped lead the praise and worship. We sang a few hymns and a few contemporary songs. Hearing hundreds of voices singing in unison really gives a beautiful heavenly longing.

After watching a short video, Ann took to the stage.

This is where she talked about how Satan was against us using a pen. He hates any writing utensil. He doesn't want us to write down our gifts and be thankful or find joy. Which hit me on so many levels: I used to be an avid journaling gal (I still do occasionally), write down my prayers, and now with writing letters to my brother. 

"What if I opened the clenched hands wide to receive all that is? 
A life that receives all God in this moment? Sisters, will you?"

 This photo gives a glimpse at how dark it was in there.....
Definitely a good chance for me to work on my photography skills :)

Saturday Morning: March 24th

Opening up with talking about her fear of public speaking and Agoraphobia, which
had us all laughing, yet it was very open and honest.

"Do I trust the Bridge Builder?" 
Trust is the bridge from yesterday to tomorrow, built with planks of thanks." 

"Giving THANKS to God for what He has done 
because I know he holds me through the Cross of Christ"

"God is always good and I am always loved"

At the end, she shared with us her stories and involvement with Compassion Intl.

I gave the book "One Thousand Gifts" to my mom for her birthday last year and she loved it. So, I knew I had to get her a ticket and have a weekend with her! She drove down on Friday afternoon and we had lunch before arriving early at church. She was so excited just to have a reserved seat with her name on it! Ha! While I was running around taking photos, she met some ladies from out of state and enjoyed the retreat. After Saturday morning's events were over, we enjoyed a lunch at Five Loaves and discussed what Ann talked about. It was a very special weekend and even more blessed to spend it with my mom.

My mom talking to Ann

I just love this photo :)

And you have the chance to listen online to Ann's message!!! *it's not up yet
Since I was running all around and couldn't take notes, I know I will be listening again!!!! 



  1. Jamie, this is fabulous! Amazing photography with such limited lighting - what lens did you find most valuable for this event?

    1. thanks girl! most of my pictures i took up in the balcony with my 50-200mm lense. i was able to use stable objects since i didn't have a tripod so photos weren't so blurry because it was so dark in there.

  2. Love this. The pics look great! Very impressed. Still so jealous, but thankful for your texts during :) Looking forward to hearing it online. All is grace! Love you!


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