travelogue :: Story 2011

Last week I had the opportunity to attend Story 2011 in Chicago. I was part of a panel, along with humanitarian photographer Esther Havens & 12-time Emmy award winning storyteller (and my friend!) Matt Knisley, to discuss story with some really wonderful people over lunch thanks to Fellowship One Technologies. Picture 14Heidi Burkey, Esther Havens, Matt Knisley & me

I owe a giant thank you to Matt & Fellowship One for inviting me up, the conversations & the conference were amazing and to my friends Colin & Jaime Faulkner, for letting me stay with them, I miss you guys.

There were more than a few highlights that really stood out to me - Ed Dobson's presentation on his battle with ALS and the screening of Consider the Birds one of the films from Ed's Story, Esther's talk about the power of empathy when telling stories overseas, the music of All Son's & Daughters, finally meeting Barton Damer offline... the list is long.

Picture 11from Ed's Story, Consider the Birds, produced by Flannel

However, one speaker shook me to the core; her name is Ann Voskamp, author of the New York Times best-selling One Thousand Gifts.

From the opening lines of her talk, describing the experience writing the book in a cabin her husband built on the edge of a corn field where she would "sit and listen to the corn tassels scratch the belly of the sky," I knew we were in for something special. I knew she would be speaking my language. And for 45 minutes, Ann's words massaged places in side me I didn't even realize were sore and neglected.

Picture 16

At the heart of her message were three habits that creative people cultivate: gazing, gratitude and giving glory.

Gaze because it's counter to this generation's habit of "taking all the moments & blurring them into one big smear." Gaze because it slows you down. Gaze because it's in the details you find poetry and poetry "sees the beautiful in the ugly; that sees what we all might become by grace."

Create in gratitude because your ability to create is a gift. Ann reminded me that "there is nothing covetous about creativity; God will take what you have to give and make it more than enough."

Give glory because it's our calling, to enjoy the God in whose image we've been created... "to take what seems like waste & plow it back to the honor, wisdom & strength of our God."

In that spirit, I'd like to share some of my instagrams from the trip; these are my attempts at gazing and lingering on the details and trying to see what we might become:

Chicago01 DFW gate A24 // AA flt. 2362  // seat 11B

Chicago08from the suburbs to the city


Chicago07the L


Chicago06"We are not our circumstance." - Esther Havens | "Art is not about applause; it's about an altar." - Ann Voskamp



If you were at Story 2011, I'd love to hear what really made an impression on you.