Last weekend I attended the blogging/writing conference Allume, and each speaker there offered meaningful content in his or her own distinct voice. I brought home several take-aways from the sessions, but two in particular immediately propped their feet up in my heart and settled in more comfortably than the rest.
The first was offered by Sophie Hudson who gave a beautiful talk on hospitality in relationships and how all of us need a safe place with safe people. While stressing that believers belong to each other and have the responsibility to love each other well, she said,
“The spirit of God in me recognizes the spirit of God in someone else, and we need to tend to that.”
So when we are led to be someone’s safe place and they share something with us, we need to intentionally tend to their heart by using our words well.
Another significant take away was offered by Emily Freeman who gave a magnificent talk on how to write like a hostess. As she talked about hospitality in writing, she said this statement,
“When something that is most alive in me connects with something that is most alive in you, we have relational art.”
When you say or do something that strikes a harmonic chord in me, a connection is made. A new relationship is formed or an established one is strengthened. Either way, it’s a kind of relational art.
As I tossed Sophie and Emily’s words gently from one hand to the other, I couldn’t help but spin them both together into a single statement that answers why encouraging people matters:
When the spirit of God uses you to speak to me by awakening something in me, you deserve to know. You should know that what you bring to the table and offer to my heart is valuable because it made a difference in my life.
And this brings to mind my most favorite encouraging word. I love it because it is short and simple but it packs a double dose of encouragement. Even if encouragement is difficult for you, this one word is an easy way to give someone a good measure of happy.
The word? Bravo!
Yep, you tell someone bravo! and they immediately imagine you wildly applauding for them. Even if you are not prone to drastic displays of emotion, bravo! gives the imagery that you are drastically for that person.
I also like bravo because if the words brave and encouragement had a baby, they would name it bravo. This is why it’s a double dose of encouragement–because it recognizes the bold graciousness of someone sharing a part of herself and honors her for doing so.
As I move about my circle of influence–and especially inside my own home–I have the choice to build or break a soul, to help it fly or fail. Seeing bravo! displayed in my home helps me remember to use my words wisely so that they contribute to healthy relationships. That is why I danced when DaySpring sent me the word bravo spelled out with Letterpress Blocks to hang on my own wall. (Confession: I went back and ordered the exclamation mark for the end because my husband’s first thought at seeing plain bravo was ThreatCon level, not good job! Ha!)
The cool thing about these Letterpress Blocks is you can purchase a pre-made word *or* create any custom word you want. They even offer several symbols and extras like the ampersand and design swirlies. So fun! And now for the best news: If you leave a comment sharing your own significant word or phrase, you’ll be entered for a $50 giveaway for your own Letterpress Blocks. Also, follow Chasing Blue Skies on facebook for a second chance to enter–just leave a second comment saying you did follow me or already do (but only if that’s really actually true). Giveaway ends at midnight Nov. 3rd.
While DaySpring gifted me with these blocks, I would happily buy them if they hadn’t. I am wildly in love! So I guess that means there’s only one thing left to say:
My word would have to be “HOPE”. My sister lost a baby recently and this word just kept coming up over and over. It is what separates us from those who do not know Christ. We do not grieve as those who have no hope. I just love it.
Kristin Smith says
I would love the word WELCOME. After Allume, I want that to be a reflection of my home and my heart!
Haha – I like that about if brave and encouragement had a baby. 🙂
My word would probably be Compassion, because it reminds me to come alongside others, but also straightaway makes me think of my kids in the Philippines and Haiti.
I just checked because I couldn’t remember if I followed your page as well as being your friend on Fb, but yep, I definitely follow Chasing Blue Skies and love your writing. Bravo!
I think I’d choose the word “WRITE” for my office space 🙂
My favorite word…LOVE! But I really like the Bravo, too! Hmmmmmm
Also I’m a fan/follower/”stalker” of Chasing Blue Skies on Facebook
Kristin Hill Taylor says
These letterpress blocks are so lovely. Right now, my words would be PEACE & LIGHT. Peace, well, because I wrote an entire ebook about that theme through our journey through infertility and adoption and then God continued teaching me about it. And light has been my word for the year and God keeps on showing me truth about identity, what it means to bring things to light, how he lightens our load …
You’re such an encourager, sweet Kristen. That makes me want to say Bravo! in a whole new way.
Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God says
What great nuggets of wisdom you walked away with from the Allume conference. Coincidentally I was attending my 35th high school reunion with my husband (also a ’79 alum) that week or I would have been at the conference.
I love “Bravo!” With your military affiliation I do have to say that’s what I immediately thought of lol. But, what a great marriage of Brave and Encouragement! If I were to write and display my own word it would be “Redeemed”. I believe it IS the definition of what and who I am in Christ.
For now, I’ve ordered the “and” sign to hang between our wood-framed bathroom mirrors, reminding me of my joy in our new marriage 🙂
Thanks for a great post and hopefully next year I will get to the conference!!
Love and ((hugs)),
My word for this year is “desire.” That my heart will desire Him above all else!
I am already subscribed to Chasing Blue Skies and love reading your posts!
Rosie Williams says
KristinSo glad to have met you at Allume as I had been following your blog for awhile. I also just went on a search for those letters and couldn’t find them… Glad to know it’s Dayspring
My phrase is in honor of my veteran husband. Saved to Serve
Linda P. says
My latest phrase is “You Rock!”
Bravo is a great word, my personal favorite is AWESOME!!! I cannot write the word without the multiple exclamation points 🙂
Susan G. says
I love this! My ‘word’ for at least the past three years is: BELIEVE. I never get tired of seeing that word, as I read it on one of my wall plaques or on a piece of jewelry someone has gifted me. It means to me just… Believe God…Believe His Word…Believe “on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved”.
Linda P. says
I also follow you on Facebook!
Oh! I liked you on facebook!
Bethany M. says
Love this post, and those letters! What a neat decoration for your wall! My favorite word right now is: simplify. So often I get myself worked into a frenzy trying to do more, feel more, say more, when I just need to simplify things. Right now I am stressed out, and I need to let it go–simplify!
I am also a fan on facebook. 🙂
Tarissa Helms says
I never thought to use the word “Bravo!” but you’ve sold it to me completely! I’m looking forward to dishing out bravos generously and without hesitation. I adore the Letterpress Blocks, they are at the top of my Christmas wish list! My word would be REST. It’s my one word for this year and even though the year is drawing to a close, I don’t want to forget all the amazing lessons God has taught me about rest. Lastly, I was shocked to find that I didn’t already follow you on Facebook, so I liked your page (as my alter ego: Introverted Mama) and look forward to connecting with you there! 🙂
Peace…really 2 words…GOD’s Peace
I follow you on FB!
I would say my word this year has been “Brave”. And right along with “Brave” comes words like thankfulness and gratitude. Because there is no way I could be brave with my God holding my hand every step of the way~!
Charlotte Orth says
I love the sanskrit word, Namaste. It means the God in me recognizes the God in you!
I think the words “beauty” and “believe” are significant to me; beauty to help remind me what God thinks of me, and believe what God says and promises, that what He says will come to pass.
Hmm…the only word I can think of is “awesome”…lol. I tend to overuse that one. 🙂
Oh, and I follow you on FB. 🙂
By the way, I had to look on your Facebook page to see if I had liked and followed, but I hadn’t yet, so I clicked the like button, and now I’m following 🙂
I love the phrase, “well done.” When I’m told my project or my song or my blog post is “well done” I feel my efforts have been appreciated and honored. My husband uses the phrase a great deal and I’m trying to follow in his encouraging footsteps. I’ve begun to incorporate the phrase into my conversations as I strive to be more encouraging.
Also? I follow you on facebook 🙂
Leigh Ann says
I like Compassion too.
My word would be trust or no fear.
My word for the year is Wait! It would be awesome to have this in letterblock!
I also follow on Facebook!
Jess R says
My phrase is “Get Wisdom” 🙂
My word would be “cherish,” reminding me that all around me is a precious gift from God!
I already follow you on Facebook!
Lauren F. says
Encouraging others isn’t my strong suit, I really admire those with that gift. I would pick Grace or Faith for our wall, either word resonates with our family. We have had ebbs and flows in our walk with the Lord. As a family we continue to hold on to our Faith and love our faith.
Grow is the word that most impacts me, as it encourages me to… well.. grow in every area of my life. And I already like your Facebook page. 🙂
Beth Williams says
Love these comments: “The spirit of God in me recognizes the spirit of God in someone else, and we need to tend to that.” I am a natural born encourager. I love sending cards, E-cards and just telling people that what you do/did really means the world to me!
So when we are led to be someone’s safe place and they share something with us, we need to intentionally tend to their heart by using our words well. Yes! We need to be careful what we say while encouraging people!!
I whole heartedly agree with this statement: When the spirit of God uses you to speak to me by awakening something in me, you deserve to know. You should know that what you bring to the table and offer to my heart is valuable because it made a difference in my life. Amen!!!
I believe in letting people know just what they mean to you! The smallest act of kindness or nice words spoken mean everything to me and I want you to know!!
Marian Frizzell says
Hmm…so many options. I really would have trouble deciding. This year has been about “peace” and “courage” but I think if I had to pick, I’d go with “abundant” right now. Loved this, Kristen. Bravo! 🙂
Catherine S says
My word would be PERSEVERE.
Thank you! This was a word that I needed to hear tonight.
Beth Werner Lee says
I like this post!
If I were to get a word, it would be love, and I would want a heart that ended in a quote swirl like Annie Downs’s Speak Love hearts.
Love would be dual too, right?
It would remind me that I am loved (by God and others) and it would remind me of 2010 when God sort of said to me, “I’m at work cleansing you, now you go and love others.”
I imagine the dialog: “what do you do?”
Nonplussed person stares at me.
Or there’s my word for 2014, grace.
Beth Werner Lee says
I did start following you on Facebook, too. I’m glad to!
Christy C. says
My word is Overcomer. Thank you for making a difference in my life. I always look forward to your blog posts in my email. So encouraging!
Oh yes! I love ‘Overcomer’! I was in a group called Overcomers for several years and really grew in God during that time.
Christy C. says
I am now following you on Facebook.
My word would be Eucharisteo. It means thanksgiving. And I would put my word on the fireplace mantle for all to see when they walk in our home. Daily I want to remind myself how blessed I truly am.
“If bravery and encouragement had a baby…” I love that! What a word to speak over our kids, too. BRAVO.
IT’S ALL GOOD! – When things don’t go the way I plan or if things don’t turn out the way I image – my reply is “IT’S ALL GOOD!’
The Bible says it like this: “All things work together for the good of them who love God”……
Irene Talaasen says
Your Blog posts are a breath of fresh air!! I love this Bravo one and would love that letterpress sign or one that says Trust which is my word for the year. I want to Trust the one who is trustworthy!
Cindy in PA says
Thanks Kristen for sharing your takeaways from Allume.
My One Word for this year was “trust.” I am planning on carrying it through 2015 too. I need to practice trusting in the Lord for another year.
Thank you for the opportunity to win the Letterpress Blocks and good luck everyone!
Amy Tilson says
It’s always a treat to see you, even if we didn’t get 3 words together. I love the word Bravo. It always brings a smile and saus so much in 5 letters!
Amy Tilson says
Of course, I follow you on Facebook. 🙂
I love your word of choice! My father-in-law says that to my kiddos all the time. Choosing one word is so hard! But, I think in this season of life I would choose Bless. God has been teaching me what it means to truly bless the Lord and bless others, and I need the reminder daily to put others before myself.
Also, I follow you on Facebook (and IG, but that’s not an entry, I just wanted you to know I enjoy your words and your pictures!)
Denise Grace says
My words would have to be “Wait & Hope” they are tied to so many key promises I have been given over the years.
Katie Matzenbacher says
I love all the reasons behind your chosen word!!