The Conlectio Newsletter
Before You Give Up on Community, Read This
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It's been a little over a week since Verity Conference 2022. The picture above is of our Intentional Coffee Hour Friday night. Over 250 women all talking and connecting at the same time!
When we were planning this part of the conference Mikayla (our community director) and I were a little hesitant. We knew it was a big ask. We structured the community time like an extended “church greeting time” which… is a nightmare for some people! But we did a few things differently:
  • We had each woman find someone they did not come to the conference with and this was their partner for the entire 45 minutes.
  • We started with lighter, small talk questions and these were cast on the screen. Things like, “Where are you from?” “What is your family life like?” “What do you do for work?” lay the foundation for deeper connection.
  • After about seven minutes, we had them transition to deeper questions (just as Mik and I do when we are connecting in real life with people!). “What is God teaching you lately?” “What spiritual disciplines are you practicing?” and things like that. These also were on the screen for reference.
  • As we prayed to conclude, we encouraged the women to connect on social media or make plans together at the conference.
Of all the keynotes and sessions at Verity 2022, this portion was by far the most talked-about, commended, and enjoyed. We were astonished! But we were also delighted, because the heart of Verity - and of Every Woman a Theologian - is a truly lived theology. It is Christianity embodied. It is faith, alive.
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What Verity Conference showed me is that women don't just care about theology and an authentic faith, they also care deeply about community. If you're craving community you're NOT alone. Which means there are more women out there desiring what you desire! And the beautiful thing about the Church (not just Verity) is that Jesus-people are everywhere. And God is the connection.
For years our community struggled to truly connect. We worked so hard hosting and inviting and trying to build relationships and at times encountered cliquey-ness, apathy, and lack of reciprocation. It wasn't just us; there were multiple women in our local churches who felt the same way. So we prayed. And we kept praying. And we kept inviting, even when it felt like nothing was really happening or we were doing all the work. And then one day… the floodgates opened. One day, the Lord supplied abundantly and the friendships blossomed beyond our wildest dreams.
I believe God answered those faithful, perseverant prayers. But I think He took some time to do it because He was training us to be consistent. He was training pivotal people in our city to open doors and hearts when it felt fruitless. When we were judged or just ignored. When we weren't in the “in crowd” but had to be the ones willing to include an in-crowd who had excluded themselves from everyone else. And maybe you're there right now. Maybe you're in that role - the includer who is never included. Can I encourage you? 
It will be worth it.
At Verity, we saw women walking out the kind of embodied faith that builds the Church for generations. And we rejoiced when it was all over knowing they will STILL do it when they go home.
Pray perseveringly and open your imperfect home. Learn to explain what you believe, become a woman of depth and abiding in Christ, turn your heart to the God who made you and let everyone around you be turned there, too. And in the dish-strewn counter of your kitchen, with the laundry basket on your coffee table, you'll find yourself - over the years - dealing in the most divine of conversations, because the greatest evangelism happens when people feel safe. When they can come… home.
Community is possible, but it takes time, and it begins with us and God. In the simple quiet space of our intimacy with Him, we become people who are self-aware; people who recognize our own weaknesses and allow Him to change and shape us. We become like Jesus, and as He sanctifies us we become more equipped for the community we desire. A healthy community, of course, can only exist if all the members are growing in health themselves. And the best way to do that is to walk by the Spirit and bear the fruit of His nature in our relationships to one another. We are all imperfectly on that journey. We will still hurt and offend one another at times. But community is truly possible, and it is God's desire for you to have it. It may take time and healing and your own growth to get there - but the day will come. And when it does, I hope you rejoice like we did to see 250 women loving each other through words, because it's a glimpse of heaven. It's just that good. And it is possible with God.

Winter Collection This Week
The last EWAT collection of the year launches this Thursday! If you are hoping to get presents for Christmas we encourage shopping during the launch, since many items sell out in the four days and we must ship by Dec. 1st to meet the Christmas deadline! Can't wait to shop with you!
On Social Media This Week
  • Instagram: @phyliciamasonheimer (also shared to FB)
    • Monday: Ask Anything on FB/IG
    • Tuesday: The Conlectio
    • Wednesday: New Episode of Verity
    • Thursday: Day in the Life and EWAT LAUNCH!
    • Friday: Book and product recs (IG)
What I'm Reading and Listening To
  • The Hobbit: Inspired by our Rings of Power and LOTR binge, I finished The Messiah Comes to Middle Earth and felt led to re-read The Hobbit. It's just so good. Such a comfort read! I am a huge proponent of following your passions with reading. It helps you be consistent!
  • In His Steps: This is a really old classic and I bought a vintage copy at a thrift store (I collect vintage books). My copy was given to someone in 1948 and - wow. It could be written to the church today. It's about living out your faith authentically and not just in words. It's an allegorical story, which makes it super readable.
  • How to Pray in Public: I bought this at a conference this summer and am just now getting to it!
  • A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare: Another book that sold me on the cover, but didn't quite deliver. I am almost halfway done and I just don't think I can finish it! However, I did enjoy the process. It really is a good book and rather interesting if you love literature/Shakespeare.
  • For more of what I've read this year, listen to this episode of the podcast!
Here is a little of what I've listened to this week:
  • At Home with the Beveres: I have been so blessed by the conversations about family discipleship on this podcast. There are only five episodes so far, but they are biblically grounded and very practical. I love hearing from parents of adult children, and this is special because Lisa and John are talking WITH their own adult children!
  • Raising Arrows on bedtime routines: This is a recent episode of the Raising Arrows podcast, a podcast for parents of large families. While I wouldn't call anything less than five kids “large”, families with a lot of kids often have great, practical advice for systems and routines. This podcast is great for that.
  • Simply Charlotte Mason: This podcast is generally helpful for both education and parenting.
  • Parenting with Ginger Hubbard: Her recent episode on “anger and parenting” is on my to-listen list. 
What I'm Loving
  • Living room redesign: I have been looking (slowly) on FB marketplace for some new furniture for our living room, since our couch is more than 6 years old and our armchairs were falling apart. I knew what I wanted but sadly, missed a couple great finds! After Verity Conference, I chose to list our current furniture and use the Verity set (two midcentury couches, a coffee table and chair) as our living room. It's a bit different style than our house, which is a cross between rustic/boho farmhouse. But… the living room has grown on me! I tweaked a few things to help the furniture cross to the rest of the house and I am really loving it so far!
  • Wintering: A few years ago I spent a season focused on embracing the winter season. It lasts six months here in NoMi (six months of snow on the ground, usually) so you either have to love it or you complain all season long. I was tired of complaining. Through that experiment I learned to truly enjoy winter - and I love it! A few things I do to enjoy the season:
    • Save my fiber arts hobby only for winter: embroidery, knitting, sewing.
    • Pick out favorite fiction reads and spend dark evenings reading on the couch.
    • Choose a winter show or theme for Josh and myself to watch all season.
    • Buy cozy outfits I love to wear - real wool sweaters, cute dresses, and jeans
    • Get really good winter gear. I buy North Face, Patagonia, and Sorel secondhand and they last for years - and I'm never cold!
    • Have people over often. Eat cookies in the living room. Stay up around the dining table with candles and decaf coffee. Watch cheesy Hallmark movies.
    • Host brunches once a month on Saturdays, open-house style. Everyone brings a dish to pass, it's ages 18 to 80, and you can come and go between 9 and noon.
    • Participate in winter sports. This is especially important with kids! We ski, skate, sled, fish, walk, hike, and more. Make the most of it!
    • Visit winter activities locally, especially during the holiday season - attend concerts, ballet, parades, and whatever else sounds fun!
On the Farm
  • We winterized the farm today - at last! It was a little late since we got a few inches of snow this weekend. There's something so final about putting the patio furniture away, cleaning up the yard, and putting in the water and light heaters for the animals. My favorite children's book about this is “Sleep Tight Farm”!
  • Conference week had us eating Jimmy Johns and pizza for days on end, so I'm excited to be back in the kitchen this week! I've been cooking recipes from Fallon's Kitchen “Batch” cookbook (a pro-metabolic cookbook), but I also heavily rotate my standby, Half Baked Harvest.
  • For a few recipes but also for with dinner, Carnivor Cabernet Sauvignon is a wine we've really enjoyed. (views of alcohol on the podcast)
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In Our Homeschool
  • It's Week 10 of Classical Conversations, so we are studying Russia and Russian history, our solar system, and working on math (catching up from two weeks off for Verity Conference). I snagged the Story of the World Vol. 2 activity book at a thrift store for THREE DOLLARS (it's worth $40) and we are using this to make Russian architectural eggs for study this week.
  • I hope to one day compile all my fave kid's books, but that's… a lot. So here are a few!
    • Brambly Hedge: This collection is so precious. The illustrations are beautiful!
    • Beatrix Potter Complete Collection: The classics, better with age.
    • Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: These chapter books are my girls' faves.
    • The Courageous Princess: Comic book for girls.
    • Bible Basics Series by Catechesis Books: For toddlers.
    • The Little Blue Truck Series: Ivan's favorite!
for the awakening, 

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