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WHY WINSOME? ~ You!

Winsome founder and host, Kim Hyland, shares the heart behind Winsome!

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Why Winsome? That’s easy. You!

I created Winsome because I wanted you to have a beautiful, peaceful place to gather with women who find their unity not in their walks of life, their denomination, their age, or their social “status,” but in Christ.

My own relationship with women has often been complicated, and I used to think I was alone in that quandary. I know better now. Women are powerful, and most of us have known the blessing and the curse of that power. We know when we focus on our differences and "where we stand" in a group of women, the worst usually comes out. So in an effort to find a "safe" place, we tend to surround ourselves with women who are just like us.

But we've worked hard to make Winsome different. Women are encouraged to be their authentic selves, no masks allowed. We lean into our differences and experience both the stretching and enriching of being with a diverse group of women. We know it's safe to do this, because of the love of our Father.

One of the highest compliments I've ever received about Winsome came from a group of teenage girls who attended a few years back. They explained how when a woman walks into a group of women, we figure out within a minute if we belong or not. "Am I dressed right? Do I fit in here? Do they like me?" They went on to explain how when they looked around at the women at Winsome, there was such a diversity of age, ethnicity, style, etc. that they couldn't figure out what the "right" way to be was. The result was they felt freedom to be themselves.

Winsome is founded on Truth, the person. We believe that the truth of Christ and the love of our Father is more than enough to unify us, even amongst our diverse backgrounds. As we share His truth and love with each other, our perspectives are broadened, and we see more clearly.

This year our theme verse is Psalm 25:5:

Lead me in your truth and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all the day long.

I hope you'll join us this April 13-15 and be strengthened and encouraged by the Truth of your Father's love for you and the powerful love of His daughters.

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WHY WINSOME? ~ It's Better Together

For five years women have attended Winsome, deepening their faith both as individuals and as sisters in the body of Christ. Some of the sweetest stories have come from women who have brought their friends, sisters, daughters, and moms with them to Winsome.

Today we're sharing some of these stories to encourage you to share Winsome with your people. Because Winsome is better together!


Cuky Lynch has been with us at Winsome 2016 & 2017 and will be joining us again this year!

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This April will be my third year attending Winsome. It has become my sabbatical—the annual retreat place for me to recharge and be with God in Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit. The first year I attended, I was blessed to realize that although I chose to room alone, I did not want to be away from the ladies I had ridden there with and those I'd just met. There was an instant sisterhood that occurred. It was a joy! I returned home full and shared and shared Winsome. Last year I had the joy of bringing a new friend. We got to know each other better and are still close, and she is returning this year. Also, this year a dear friend that moved to Arizona is attending along with her cousin. Guess what? I am rooming with all three.

This year will be the fourth Winsome Marcy Bloom has attended with her daughters!

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Attending the Winsome retreat is a treat for me each year, and coming with my daughters is an added bonus! We don’t spend the weekend hanging with each other exclusively, but we look for what God has for us in the time away. Sometimes the ride home is full of chatter, and sometimes it is quiet as we reflect on where God has touched us. God has met each of us in different ways, and it has enriched our relationships with each other. One year we were even able to bring my mom with us shortly after my dad passed away, and we had three generations there together! I love coming together to see how God is going to encourage us together and as individuals.

Tina Rich has been with us at Winsome since 2015 and has brought friends with her every year since!

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I enjoy sharing Winsome with my friends, because it is a little bit like having heaven on earth—the warm and welcoming atmosphere, the truth that is shared from God's word, the stories and life experiences, and the opportunity to hear the perspectives of others from diverse backgrounds. Walking through the door on Friday night, we are given a warm and genuine welcome. Winsome's setting—the woods, the lodge, the accommodations, the meals—all leave me with a feeling like we are in cradled comfort. Kim and her team have carefully and prayerful created a program for the weekend that is flexible and has a gentle ebb and flow of activity, sharing, and quiet times.
When my friends and I leave, we feel like we have had a wonderful time to get away with each other, meet with God, and make new friends. Winsome is a little bit like what heaven will be like—a gathering of joy even in the midst of the heartaches of life here. Come and lay your burdens down for a weekend to embrace joy, friendship, and fellowship with a diverse and beautiful group of women. Allow yourself to experience a Winsome weekend and invite your friends and/or family to experience it as well. Be ministered to and embrace the gifts God has for you.

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WHY WINSOME? ~ Doran Richards

As a midwife, Doran Richards has a unique appreciation and perspective on women and the wonder of our bodies. She also helped deliver Kim's first grandchild, Amelia, and therefore will always be treasured in her heart! This year at Winsome, Doran, a certified instructor with Holy Yoga, will lead us as we engage our bodies, minds, and spirits.

Tell us a little about you and your role at Winsome this year.

Hello! I am Doran, a wife for 24 years and mother of six. I have been called to wear many hats—including starting a ministry called Blessing God’s Way. I have been a midwife for over 10 years, supporting women in their childbearing years. Blessing God’s Way is a ministry for women, educating, supporting and celebrating womanhood from maidenhood to maternity to menopause. We provide resources that declare that our cycles and phases are actually blessings to us, God’s way. I have been in remission from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma for over a year. Before being diagnosed, I was introduced to Holy Yoga. Training and certification as a yoga instructor has changed my life and health and relationship with the Lord to a degree I never thought possible. I am currently taking the Master’s Holy Yoga training so I can support women in their health through the modality of yoga practice.
 

How did you hear about Winsome?

I heard about Winsome through mutual friends and being in the same homeschooling circles as the founder, Kim Hyland. I have also had the pleasure of serving her son and daughter-in-law for the birth of their first child (Kim’s grandchild). I have been leaning towards knowing more about their vision at Winsome, knowing that our ministries’ messages would be similar and beneficial. So, working together would be a dream.
 

Do the Winsome values of authenticity, diversity, and truth already play a role in your life, even if you use other names to describe them?

They do, because we all do the best we can with what we have. Our individual levels of understanding pertaining to beauty, worth, acceptance, etc., all stem from the One who created us. We need encouragement, as women, that our worth is in Him, as His daughters, and that we have two main focuses in this life—to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Vertical and horizontal. The one true source of all knowledge is the scripture, speaking to our very souls, daily.
 

Why did you want to speak and/or lead a workshop at Winsome?

To bring awareness to yet one more way to tap into the depth and height and width of God’s love for us. To love women where they are, to support them and to encourage them as they seek to do His will for them. I have worked with women of all ages for over 12 years, with ministry of Blessing God’s Way as well as through midwifery and now post-menopause (forced upon me by cancer).
 

What are you most looking forward to at Winsome 2017?

I look forward to the connection of women, sharing and loving one another where they are, and to the building of relationships. I look forward to seeing the Holy Spirit minister to women on a level that takes effort to get to and to feel the peace and renewing from it.

 

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WHY WINSOME? ~ Lisha Epperson

We're so happy to welcome Lisha Epperson to Winsome again this year! She will lead her Sacred Movement Workshop and explore "the healing and redemptive value of every gesture." She'll also be sharing in a breakout session. Lisha leads with grace and truth. Take a minute to get to know her!

 Lisha leads the Sacred Movement Workshop at Winsome 2016.

Lisha leads the Sacred Movement Workshop at Winsome 2016.

Tell us a little about you and your role at Winsome this year.

I’m Lisha Epperson, a wife and mother of five answering a call to ministry in midlife. I’m excited to share a little about how I mindfully manage that amongst the crazy of life in New York City. Specifically, I’ll share a message about living your dream. I’ll also get to share my love for dance ministry in a workshop centered on prayer and ritual.
 

How did you hear about Winsome?

I met Kim Hyland during my second year as a blogger. Her writing and ministry are inspirational because she truly embodies the heart of her vision. Dropped as it were into a community of Christian writers and artists that for many reasons is not diverse—I consider Kim’s authentic welcome a gift.
 

How have the Winsome values of authenticity, diversity, and truth enriched your life?

Kim’s authentic welcome into a community of Christian writers and artists is a gift. As one of a handful of women of color in this community, I’ve appreciated her invitation to share my experience and story. Kim’s passion and commitment to diversity encourage me to keep believing for the dream of a beloved community.
 

What experiences, stories, phrases or moments have stuck in your memory since you last attended Winsome? How have they affected you?

I remember sitting with Brandee Shafer late one afternoon. We talked well past some of the sessions we might have attended, but—knowing God was in the middle of our conversation—settled into our divine appointment.

The phrase “come away” has stuck with me. I hear it in my heart when I get tired and know it as Holy Spirit direction.
 

Why did you want to speak and lead a workshop at Winsome?

This has been a hard year online. I’m just coming back to my blog from a much-needed break. Post-election trauma is real. The fallout online was painful to experience—both personally and communally as people of faith. It was ugly and so hard. Backing away from it was necessary, and I think we all did to some extent.

I’m excited to reconnect in person—after the pause. I’m excited to see how God will work among us. I want to be part of whatever God does in this challenging season.
 

What advice or reassurance would you give a first-timer about Winsome?

Let God direct your participation in the sessions. You don’t have to be anywhere but where you are—mine those fields for the goodness of God.

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WHY WINSOME? ~ Ann Kroeker

This year we are thrilled to have Ann Kroeker with us at Winsome! You can read all about her here and register for her Next Level Writers Workshop here. But what neither of those will tell you is that Ann is Winsome founder Kim Hyland's fairy godmother (aka writing coach) and has played an integral role in Kim's upcoming book An Imperfect Woman: Letting Go of the Need to Have It All Together (Baker Books, Spring 2018).

Today Ann shares about her connection with Winsome and what she's looking forward to!

Tell us a little about you and your role at Winsome this year.

I’m thrilled to lead a workshop for people who are interested in growing as a writer and looking for ways to send their work out into the world—possibly for the first time ever. In our Next-Level Writer Workshop, we’ll learn how to take our ideas and stories from private to public venues. My role as the workshop leader is to help attendees see they can take either baby steps or giant leaps into the world—however God leads. They’ll grow as a person and a writer, leveraging existing skills and building new ones. By the end our time together, they can see how with courage and creativity they can begin to impact people right away.

 
How did you hear about Winsome?

I know about Winsome from two places: from Kim Hyland herself, as we’ve gotten to know each other in the past year, and from social media, as attendees processed their time at Winsome. Clearly, it's making an impact on women’s lives.

 
Do the Winsome values of authenticity, diversity, and truth already play a role in your life, even if you use other names to describe them?


Yes, absolutely. One of the most powerful tools we have as writers is to write with authenticity to convey truth. I think we can all point to writing that conveys truth without being authentic, and we can also identify a writer who has an authentic voice but lacks truth. Ideally, those go together: an authentic writing voice—steeped in truth—sharing authentically about her life. As a coach, I try to help writers of faith pull that together.
 
And though we writers must narrow our target audience—often thinking in terms of demographics—I hope we learn to write in a way connects with a wide range of people from all walks of life. Writing and sharing ideas and stories is a natural way for us to know people and be known. As a writer, I can share my perspective and life experience; as a reader, I can turn to the work of diverse writers whose perspective and life experience are different than mine. In this way, we can understand one another more intimately, which can initiate and strengthen relationships.

 
Why did you want to lead a workshop at Winsome?

I love encouraging people who are interested in writing but aren’t sure what to do with their words and ideas. I hoped I could come to Winsome Retreat as a presenter and be a voice assuring women, “Your message—your story—matters.” Not only that, I wanted to show them how they can express themselves effectively and, if they want to, begin to send that message or story out into the world.
 

What are you most looking forward to at Winsome 2017?

I can’t wait to meet the people signed up for the Next-Level Writer Workshop! The setting sounds wonderful, too.

 

There's still time to register for Ann's workshop! The deadline has been extended to March 31, but space is limited. Go here to register!
 

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