Shining at Foothills of Mollala

SHINE!  On rainy winter weekends, any women’s event with such a title is a must attend!   My sister-in-law and I decided to go the conference mostly because we love to hang out together and learn about how we can better navigate the life we were intended to live with abundance.  SHINE with presenters from JOY OF IT was especially appealing because of the low registration free (just $25 for a full day of learning plus lunch, snacks, breakfast plus coffee and tea) and presentations focused on purpose.

Getting There–According to the map app on my phone, Mollala is less than an hour from Portland.  I meandered through the countryside.  I saw wet llamas, hundreds of birds flying together like a cloud, and the tongue of a cow as it tried to reach what looked like a bird feeder in the front yard of a house.  The speed limit changed as houses got closer together and was proud of my attention to detail as I passed an officer of the law idling in a grange parking lot.  The ticket I got in 2018 HAS changed my behaviors!


As I neared my destination, I stopped by High School Pharmacy to pick up cough drops.  It was there I encountered the most friendly cashier I’ve ever met.  If Mollala’s small town charm is represented in this young lady, I want to move there.

The event was at Foothills Church.  The building itself remind me a bit of the church in Kate DiCamillo’s Because of Winn-Dixie. The space had been beautifully transformed from a strip mall into a welcoming event center with large and small meeting areas.  After my road trip, my first stop was the restroom and because it was a women’s conference, every available space was open.  If the elegantly minimalistic, hipster decor of the church’s entry delighted my heart, I was over the moon to visit my first ever pleasant smelling urinal room.  How do they do it?!?


While this church had exceptionally clean urinals, I imagine that it was thanks to the organizers of Shine 2019 since only the most organized women’s event planners pay attention to such details.

Speakers Joy Roberts, Ashley Bell, and Connie Armerding were exceptionally inspiring. A panel of women from Foothills synthesized their learning mid-day through a hosted discussion and it was amazing how the facilitator from Joy of It, brilliantly transferred ownership of the message of hope to women within the organization.  They built capacity as they shared their own connections to the teaching as it applied to their different walks of life.  Too often, guest speakers come and deliver powerful messages but the one and done style of presenting is short-lived.  Joy of It passed the baton to stakeholders in the community.  They planted seeds for a spring event too!

Overall, the day was just as I’d hoped.  The worship music and food were fabulous.  The seats were so comfortable that I was drifting off to sleep by mid-afternoon so my sister-in-law and I left a bit early to have coffee and talk before we ventured home.

Most importantly—Many examples of how we are called to reflect God’s love were shared throughout the day. If I were an artist, I would beautifully transform some of the quotes from the day into chalk signs to post around my house as reminders of what we are to do or what God has already done.

Champion each other.  Encourage each other.  Gird up your loins.  Prepare to take action.  Do the next right thing.  Never lose hope.  Isolation is dangerous.  Diverse perspectives make our lives abundantly better.  We were made for community.  Practice reconciliation.  Welcome people in.  Suspend judgement.  Jesus loves you.  The relentless love of Jesus is powerful.

stack of love wooden blocks
Photo by Ylanite Koppens on

#Shine19 was a great way to spend a Saturday.


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