Illume Retreat 2017 Recap: Day Three

June 7, 2017

Day Three of the Illume Retreat is always so bittersweet. It marks our last full day of sessions but it’s also filled with such heartfelt discoveries, actionable takeaways, and loving challenges to spur each attendee on towards greatness.

I kicked us off that morning chatting about how to create a brand that represents your heart and resonates with your ideal client. Our marketing genius Jenna Kutcher then led us through her go-to steps to inspiring a sense of community within your audience, turning passive followers into fully invested members of your tribe.

Sprinkled throughout the experience, we had some gorgeous and thoughtful items generously sponsored by a mix of talented creatives. Illume Retreat alum Ashley Takacs sent handmade necklaces to each attendee, while incredible vendors like Printed Mint, Raw Sugar Writes, HerbivoreFeast & Dwell, and Emma Brooke Fine Jewelry added their wares to our Day Three goodies. It was such a joy to place a copy of Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner on each attendee’s seat thanks to our friends at Zondervan. I immediately devoured my copy after the retreat wrapped up, and walked away from those words feeling so inspired and encouraged!

After another delicious lunch, we spent the entire afternoon exploring what life could really look like if we gave each ourselves permission to build the life of our dreams. How could our businesses fit into that vision? And what can we actionably do to make that happen?

We ended the afternoon with each attendee spending time in the “hot seat.” Our speaking team took this opportunity to pour into them, challenge them thoughtfully, and equip them to go home and take action. Each attendee’s time in the hot seat was recorded so they could return to these observations and ideas time and time again, and this was by far my favorite part of the retreat. Being able to really dig deep with each woman, listening to the insight each speaker had to share, and seeing how inspired and full of ideas each woman looked as they got up and walked back to their seats was nothing short of humbling.

After a break to recover from our intense afternoon session and to prep for dinner, we regrouped for one final, celebratory dinner thanks to MILO Local Provisions. Our kind friends at Speak Wines sent the most beautiful (and delicious!) bottles of wine for us to savor together, filling our cups and rejoicing in all the goodness that took place of the past few days.

We laughed, we continued to chat about what’s next, and we soaked up this sweet time of community under the stars together. We chatted long after dinner and late into the night, sometimes laughing so hard we cried and other times tearing up from such honest conversations. I couldn’t have envisioned a more perfect, more meaningful way to wrap up this time together.

Bristen, one of our beautiful attendees, summed up our experience together perfectly: “I imagine I’ll still be unpacking what I received from them for months and years to come. But what I can say is how I feel. I feel more at home in myself than I ever have in my entire life. I feel more certain of who I am and who I was created to be than I ever have before. I feel so deeply seen and known and validated and championed. My big-dreaming heart feels so refreshed and envisioned and connected to a life-giving network of women who remind me I’m not alone in this journey. There were lots of ugly cries, lots of vulnerable and brave conversations, lots of calling out the greatness in one another. There truly aren’t words.”

And can we just take a moment to talk about how radiant these women are? Oh, my heart. These women inspire me, encourage me, and challenge me to dream big. Ladies, I am so grateful you chose to join us for this retreat experience. I am forever cheering you on from Waco!

I’m already laying out plans for our 2018 Illume Retreat experience and I would love to have you as one of the eight women who will join us then!

Photography: Shalyn Nelson | Rentals: Birch + Brass | Florals: Lovely Leaves, Flower & Ink Designs | Wine: Speak Wines | Catering: MILO Local Provisions | Styling and Day-of Coordination: Kat Schmoyer | In-Kind Sponsors: Zondervan Publishing, A. Tak Crafts, Feast & Dwell, Raw Sugar Writes, Printed Mint, Herbivore, Emma Brooke Fine Jewelry 

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My name is Bonnie – I’m a brand designer, strategist, and writer which all adds up to one eclectic conglomeration of qualities that enables me to serve you well! Past clients have dubbed me "the Joanna Gaines of brand design," and I've had more than a few call me a dream maker, a game changer, and a design wizard (my Harry Potter-loving heart didn't hate that one, let me tell you!). At the end of the day, I'm a big-hearted creative who will get teary-eyed as you share the heart behind your business; who will lose sleep over the perfect font pairings and color selections to bring your brand to life visually; and who will work tirelessly to empower, encourage, and equip you to share your work with the world intentionally. 

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