A Winsome Giveaway




Each morning when I drive through these ancient hills on my way to work, the sun is higher in the sky. I wander out into a wide awake world and daylight becomes the early bird. Time has a slippery way about it, and these days, I notice how quickly the seasons come and go. So when I get the chance to slow down—to change the scenery and open eyes wide to each moment, it feels like a celebration. That’s what the Winsome Retreat did for me last weekend—spoke kairos time into my chronos. I met so many amazing sisters, made new friends and caught up with old. I wanted to share a few of my new friends with you so you might celebrate with me also.

Jenn Hand is the executive director of Coming Alive Ministries and she is amazing. Jenn is a missionary with a heart for all God’s children. Did I mention she is hilarious? We laughed so hard when she gave her talk that my cheeks hurt after. And she is just the same at the dinner table as she is behind the podium. A genuine, generous, all-in-for-Jesus kind of gal. She tells the best stories and they always lead her listeners back to the heart of God.

Emily Dean is the founder/director of Varity Vareé, a multi-media business that takes everyday women and tells their story in a beautiful and new way. Each woman they feature participates in two photoshoots and an extensive interview. I asked Emily what gave her the idea for such a unique business. “I was doing a lot of modeling, “she said, “and I realized that when I did that work I felt like a canvas for the beauty other people wanted to project.” She wondered what would happen if every woman was given that opportunity to be in the spotlight. Varity Vareé was born out of her ability to see the beauty in every woman. She wanted to share those stories and lift them up as beautiful.  Our conversation got interrupted by Emily’s wee one—the tiny eight-week old infant she had with her at the retreat. She also sang with the worship team all weekend. A woman of many talents and much beauty.

Hilary Hyland is a photographer, artist, singer, and musician. She designed the Enough print that retreat attendees were gifted with. When I told Hilary how much her voice captivated me, she smiled and told me she had been hoarse the past few days! She said God was really using that to stretch her. But believe me, God made it work. Her earnest vocals pulled us right into the holy. Check out some of Hilary’s photography work here.


Kim Hyland, founder of Winsome (mother to Emily and mother-in-law to Hilary) gave the opening keynote Friday night and she talked about how, as the body of Christ, we need each other and the unique gifts we all bring into this world. Winsome was a living, breathing example of that—each person there made the weekend lovelier and lovelier.

I’m still processing all the sweetness of the kairos time we had together. Because joy multiplies when shared, I want to give away a little bundle of books to one reader. Included: A signed copy of Jenn Hand’s 31 Days to Coming Alive and a copy of Deidra Riggs’s Every Little Thing (plus a couple extras). Deidra gave the keynote Saturday night and her message was Spirit-led and beautiful (just like her).


Leave a comment by Thursday 4/21 for a chance to win. I’ll announce the winner next Friday.


  1. Lynn D. Morrissey says

    I loved reading your beautiful description of an exquisite morning and weekend retreat. Only you would make a give-away poetic! 🙂 What a perfect way to slow slippery time, no?…to grasp the rich silk of it in relationship. Ah, Winsome Women. It strikes a nostalgic note for me for something beautiful once upon a time that almost was. I was to be a speaker for it some time ago and had, of all things, shingles and had to cancel. Yikes! Sooo painful. So that was not in God’s plans (the retreat I mean. :-)) Well, hopefully the shingles weren’t either! 🙂 Anyway….I’m so glad that you got to get away with such precious women and that you met new friends, too. I just visited Verity Varee, and it’s one of the most unique ventures I’ve ever seen. Exquisite!

  2. gretchen c says

    Was looking for wellspring as it has been some time and found your newer site…. Playdates with God did happen! So glad to see that.

    • says

      Gretchen! So nice to see you here. I have missed you, friend! Yes, too long. I was wondering about you just the other day. Please catch me up on you when you have time :). (happy dance). xo~ L

  3. Paula Gamble says

    I love how you shared this, Laura! So many beautiful, inspiring women! I loved hanging out with you, sweet friend! And your talk filled me with hope and courage! I love you!

  4. says

    Your retreat sounds wonderful! The ladies in my small group are planning a mini-retreat with time set aside for no talking, just being quiet before our God. Can’t wait!

    • says

      Nancy, you won! Send me your snail address to laraj@suddenlink.net, or message me on Facebook if you like and i”ll get the books out to you ASAP! Your retreat sounds lovely. I’ve been on a couple silent retreats before and they are very special times. May God bless your heart as you listen in the quiet.


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