The Influence Conference

by jenna on May 30, 2012

I’m excited to share something very special with you guys this morning and that is The Influence Conference!!!! I am so, so, SO excited for this event that I can hardly stand it.

A fabulous group of women saw a need for a faith-based blogging conference and then swooped in to meet that need. The Influence Conference is all about using the influence (duh) God has given you to do big things in your personal life, community, family and job. You definitely don’t have to have a blog to come to the conference, but if you do have a blog you’ll learn how to better use that social media influence to make much of Jesus.

More than anything, it’s just going to be an amazing girls weekend where we will eat (!!), share stories, be silly, find encouragement and laugh together. And since the hotel is conveniently connected to a mall with Anthropologie in it (heh heh), there might be some shopping, too. Feel free to bring a group of girlfriends or just come on your own…everyone is welcome and I promise no one will feel left out. I have joined the Influence team as a community leader and can’t wait to meet you there!

The Influence Conference will be in Indianapolis from October 11-13th—you can grab your early bird ticket here! <—just learned that early bird tickets are now sold out (woah!) but you can still get a ticket at the regular price!

P.S. In case money is an issue, Hayley just wrote a great post on how to go about finding sponsorship for the conference. We really want you to come, no matter what, so let’s make it happen!

P.P.S. There’s about a 98.56% I’ll be teaching some sort of yoga class at the conference. Come chaturanga with me!

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{ 72 comments… read them below or add one }

Molly @ RDexposed May 30, 2012 at 4:40 am

You are such a passionate person! I admire that!

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Kristen @ notsodomesticated May 30, 2012 at 4:40 am

Sounds like a really great idea!! Anything that brings glory to God is good in my book! :)

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lisa May 30, 2012 at 4:55 am

i would love to go to this! but will be so close to my due date, i shouldn’t stray too far from home :)

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Anne Wakefield May 30, 2012 at 5:08 am

This sounds Ahhh-maxing!!

I love this blog for so many reasons and your bold love for the Lord is one!! I joined the #shereadstruth community and I have been so blessed and encouraged. Seeing what He’s doing in all these women’s hearts is wonderful. How special to share such a special closeness and understanding with someone you’ve never met because you both belong to Christ!

Thank you for sharing this conference and shereadstruth with us. You’re the best :)

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Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat May 30, 2012 at 5:15 am

Aww I love this!! Sounds like a fantastic opportunity to connect with other like-minded women, and I bet it will be a blast. Prayer, yoga, and Anthropologie? How can you go wrong!?

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Ali @ Gimme Some Oven May 30, 2012 at 5:18 am

I’m totally going to check this out! Was just talking with a friend this week about weaving faith into food blogging. Excited to read more! :)

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Denise @ Creative Kitchen May 30, 2012 at 5:26 am

Wow Jenna….what a great idea! Sounds like an amazing conference!! Hopefully it will become an annual thing. :) Would love to be able to attend. Off to check out how to get sponsorship. Thanks!

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Rachel May 30, 2012 at 5:40 am

Sounds awesome and I happen to live about 10 minutes from the conference location!

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Sara May 30, 2012 at 6:00 am

That sounds amazing. I don’t have a blog, but love the idea of the Christ-centered community there. Are there scholarship opportunities for non-bloggers?

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Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef May 30, 2012 at 6:12 am

This sounds really cool. I live about an hour south of Indianapolis, and would love to make this work out!

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Emily @ Perfection Isn't Happy May 30, 2012 at 6:36 am

This makes me sooo excited! I live in Indianapolis, and blogger conferences never come here (until now, I guess) :)!

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Margarita May 30, 2012 at 6:58 am

I checked out their website and like the concept of this conference… It is going to be inspiring and uplifting. Wish I could go and learn good things and meet you and other amazing ladies, but it’s the beginning of the school year and always hectic for a teacher. :(

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Rebekah May 30, 2012 at 7:13 am

Living in Indiana, I thought there would be absolutely no way that this would be close enough to go to! But, wow, it’s in Indy! So exciting.

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Cait's Plate May 30, 2012 at 7:13 am

A wonderful, wonderful idea!

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rachel May 30, 2012 at 7:15 am

love love love this idea! was just thinking about this concept after church this past Sunday…definitely a need to use talents and skills for the glory of God, but I think many people don’t know what that looks like (including me!). wish I could have a couple days off of my internship in October to attend the conference, but I will definitely be looking forward to a recap! :)

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Averie @ Averie Cooks May 30, 2012 at 8:22 am

I think it’s great that you’re following your heart and values and doing something that is calling to you and making something like this a reality instead of just talk. Good for you Jenna!

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Leslie Means @ Her View From Home May 30, 2012 at 8:41 am

OOOHH – excited! The co-founders of http://www.herviewfromhome.com might be going! ;) Have you heard of any other fantastic conferences?

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Therese May 30, 2012 at 8:44 am

FYI the first 50 early bird tickets were already sold out last week when I purchased mine. But looking forward to seeing you there!

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Natalie May 30, 2012 at 8:45 am

So excited you’ll be part of the event. YAY! I bought my ticket the day it went on sale and just keep getting more and more excited with the new things and people they are adding such as yourself!

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Clizia May 30, 2012 at 9:15 am

This sounds awesome – shame I live in the wrong side of the world! :( Any chance you will be replicating the Conference in Europe?!

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Stephie @ Eat Your Heart Out May 30, 2012 at 10:04 am

This sounds incredible! I now desperately want my best friend and I to go…

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Sarah May 30, 2012 at 10:11 am

I CAN’T WAIT.

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cat May 30, 2012 at 10:19 am

this sounds amazing!! i’d love to go, but unfortunately, have some major schedule conflicts. will this be an annual thing? :) thanks!

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Katina May 30, 2012 at 10:27 am

This is awesome!! Wish I could go, but I live overseas ;) So excited that you are doing this and praying that it will be blessed!

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AnneW May 30, 2012 at 10:54 am

I SO wish that I could join in on this! I’m already signed up for the Nike Women’s Half that weekend, so no conference for me, but it sounds AWESOME!!

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Tara May 30, 2012 at 11:31 am

I can’t be the only one to feel this way but I guess I’m the only one to say it. Jenna, I love your recipes and musings on food, CA, travel, etc. While it has popped up here and there before, your blog posts seem to mention God a lot lately. The religious stuff is extremely alienating to those of us who aren’t religious. Your beliefs are your own, and I have no problem with that. But I come here for food – not bible study.

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jenna May 30, 2012 at 11:42 am

hi tara! no problem—i totally get it! the thing is, i love to share my life with my readers…mainly that involves a lot of recipes and bits of travel, but if i’m going to be honest about my real life and be authentic with everyone on here, i am also going to share bits and pieces of my faith! it’s just a part of who i am and since this food blog has always been more than just recipes, i feel like i have the space to share a little about me. i’m sorry if that bothers or offends you because that’s not my intent…nor is it my intent to give you a “bible study”. my best advice to you is to read and enjoy the recipes and then skip over the rest if you like! there should hopefully be something for everyone here.

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Jessica Grady May 30, 2012 at 11:39 am

Sounds amazing. If you have never heard of Holy Yoga, you should google it. My friend is the founder and owner. I really think you would enjoy it and they have conferences/teacher training all over the country. This conference sounds amazing!

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Jessica Grady May 30, 2012 at 11:44 am

I am sorry, but I just have to counter the above message by Tara. There are plenty of websites and blogs that talk about food and nothing else. I don’t know Jenna personally, but I love all the things she brings to her blog. It is your choice to read the blog, and if you don’t like it, don’t read it, but it is HER blog, and if she has a passion for Christ, it is her choice to share it.

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April May 30, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Amen

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E May 30, 2012 at 4:15 pm

Well, I’m going to very respectfully disagree. I love Jenna’s blog-I always have. I love the changes she makes to her style, her food, her life-it’s a wonderful example of what living means. However, she’s made a very strong point to move to a food and recipe blog with *some* of her life mixed in. For a while now, it’s been 3 recipes a week, and 1 day of “her life” (yoga, her love of reading and traveling). Nowhere has it ever really been a spiritual blog. Of course, it’s been mentioned, and for those of us who have been reading this blog from the very beginning know this aspect of her life. But, there’s no denying the fact that religion is a *deeply* personal issue-whether you’re christian, atheist, or whatever. To come to her blog expecting a yummy recipe or awesome book recommendation, and find talk about someone’s very personal beliefs is off-putting-especially since it’s happened so suddenly. Perhaps not off-putting to you (perhaps-I’m not assuming anything) because you might share Jenna’s beliefs. But, there’s also no denying the fact that it strikes a cord when you see an entire post about religion–either of pure joy and happiness, or a little unsettling feeling because that’s not what you came here for. I’m not saying that Jenna should stop sharing this aspect of her life–it’s wonderful she has something to connect to and share it with her readers. However, if she wants to keep the brand of her blog that she’s worked SO hard to create and establish, it’s wise to maybe have a separate aspect of the blog dedicated to these “hot topic” issues to not turn-away her long and devoted readers (or, even new ones!)–just like blogs that have separated having a baby/being pregnant from their main content because many readers don’t want to read about giving birth while searching for a dinner recipe.
It’s just important to realize that, yes, she has this passion and she can choose to share it. But, it feels “strange” because that’s not what her blog is primarily, and to just say “go somewhere else and read something different” isn’t really an optimal solution for either Jenna’s readership or on a personal level (it’s like saying: well, we don’t care what you think, go somewhere else!). I hope this didn’t sound offensive in any way, I’m just sharing my opinion as well as I’m sure there are many on this specific topic

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Laine May 30, 2012 at 6:16 pm

You could just skip those posts. Like people might skip a book post if they aren’t interested, or a meat recipe if they are vegetarian.

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Erica May 30, 2012 at 7:28 pm

It is up to Jenna if she wants to take the attitude, “If you don’t like it, stop reading”. It is presumptuous for you to assume that she is so flippant toward her readership. I think it is thoughtful for her readers to calmly, respectfully, but honestly share their reaction.

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Erica May 30, 2012 at 7:37 pm

I will add, by the way, that this post does make me uncomfortable. I am religious (Jewish) but not a Christian. Christianity is a missionary religion, and many of us who do not share your faith have had many negative experiences with people trying to actively convert others. The recent deluge of religion-based posts already make me uneasy about reading a food blog. Specifically reading about using “social media influence” makes me want to back far, far away. Sharing your personal beliefs is one thing, trying to influence others is quite another. If you stand by this I will simply stop reading. But I care enough to let you know that you are alienating many readers.

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Alexia (Dimple Snatcher) May 30, 2012 at 9:32 pm

Having been raised in a ‘religious’ (a word I don’t even like because it’s incredibly misleading) family I’m still uncomfortable around people who are pushing their ‘religious’ or non-‘religious’ or political or whatever beliefs to me hardcore. It makes me uncomfortable and it can be presumptious, especially since I’m at a place (the age!) where I’m questioning everything. However, I’ve never felt uncomfortable reading Jenna’s blog when I do stop by, and I applaud her (as I would applaud anyone) for her sincerity. What bothers me more are a few of the comments on this post…it makes me sad that we as adults can’t even listen to personal stories different than out own. I read blogs because I love reading bits and pieces of people’s lives. Respect Jenna’s freedom to share hers–and if you’re so offended, I’d suggested reading elsewhere.

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Erica May 31, 2012 at 3:27 am

Thank you for your comment — I do get what you are saying. However, the issue is not whether or not I respect Jenna’s freedom to share her views. It is that Jenna has worked very hard, both in culinary school and as a blogger, to be able to do what she loves for a living. Religion and politics are very sensitive subjects, and I respect Jenna and her hard work enough to let her know that I (and many other readers) WILL leave and read elsewhere instead. It is up to Jenna if she wants to tell her readers that she doesn’t care if they leave. It’s really not up to her readers to assume that is her attitude.

Ashley May 31, 2012 at 9:05 am

Wow. I think if people are threatening to stop reading your blog because you shared about a conference that many of your readers are obviously attending or interested in, then they should go ahead and stop reading. To say they are open-minded and in the same breath prove they are closed minded to *you* sharing *your* faith on *your* blog is pretty hypocritical. I say you write about whatever you want, girl! If at the end of the day your brand is correlated with the name of Jesu,s for better or worse in this blog world, you’ve done it right. Love you.

Hannah June 7, 2012 at 9:37 am

Ditto the Amen!
Jenna is inspiring. I don’t think she’s preachy in any way. She shares what she feels, whatever it happens to be about.
I feel it is so refreshing for a blogger to feel like she has an audience where she CAN share the whole “who she is as a person” and not feel like she has to leave parts of herself out. Thanks for being brave , Jenna. I don’t know you personally, but you seem like a beautiful person-inside and out.

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Urban Wife {Live Faithfully} May 30, 2012 at 11:54 am

Jenna, I really admire you for being so outspoken and courageous about your beliefs! You are awesome.

I would love to be at the conference if my schedule permits…it sounds great!

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Maura @ My Healthy 'Ohana May 30, 2012 at 12:42 pm

I wish I could make it to this conference, but I will have just delivered a baby! Sounds like it will be an amazing experience!

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Christina May 30, 2012 at 1:39 pm

Awwwww, Amazon just sent me one of those “things you might like” emails and your book was on it. So excited for you! ;-)

Christina

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Cassie (Bake Your Day) May 30, 2012 at 2:27 pm

So glad to hear you’ll be there. I just heard about the conference last week and have been thinking about it ever since. It sounds wonderful, I need to make up my mind on whether I am going or not. Yoga sounds delightful as part of the conference too!

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Dani from Oz May 30, 2012 at 2:40 pm

Just wanted to say that I love your bravery in discussing your faith. People have such a strong reaction (both ways) to religion that I believe that it takes courage to voice your faith. This is something that I have to do more. I believe in God and His impact on my life but I am not vocal about it as I really don’t like, and am no good with, confrontation. So I just try to live my life faithfully and hope my actions speak for me.

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Sarah May 30, 2012 at 3:44 pm

This sounds incredible. I will be starting Grad school in August, but I want to go somehow!!

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Kacia May 30, 2012 at 4:29 pm

WOO HOOOOOO!!! I GET TO SMOOCH YOUR FACE IN REAL LIFESIES!! ;o]

xoxox

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Jenna May 30, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Hi Jenna, I just wanted to say I think it’s awesome you share your faith here. I don’t feel like you are over the top about it at all. I find it puzzling that many who claim to be so “open minded” are so intolerant. To expect bloggers to keep their blogs secular is a way of pushing a belief system on others “blog about your life as long as it doesn’t include your faith.”.

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Rachel May 30, 2012 at 5:41 pm

Oops I accidentally wrote your name instead of mine above. Mine is Rachel. I’m nursing a sick baby and typing this on my iPhone. Sorry !

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Laine May 30, 2012 at 6:14 pm

I think this is one of those times when people should take what they need and leave the rest!
I love to see people living their truth and being who they truly are, whatever that is. I think that is what makes the world great. I like seeing more of this, even if my religious beliefs are different.
And I think for every person who leaves, 5 more will come because you have created space for your right people.
And since anyone can make their own blog, they can create something that is their truth, too!

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Jessica Grady May 30, 2012 at 6:59 pm

E,

You very respectfully made your point without being offensive or mean….well said. However, I would argue that this is her blog, which SHE did brand and develop, just as she has developed over the years. She has taken various posts to discuss books, her favorite things, travel, yoga, her brother…..none of which had to do with food, but no one is complaining about those posts. She never used to be a yoga devotee and teacher, but now she is and she discusses it. That’s okay….it has to be about what she is passionate about, and unless you have or have written a blog, sometimes it is refreshing to talk about something else every once in a while, look at the most popular andd long standing blogs–they all do the same thing. At the end of the day though, it is hers, to do with what she wants. Keep reading if you like, or don’t…..but it is free entertainment and she is the one that works hard for it.

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jenna May 30, 2012 at 7:02 pm

Thanks for sharing! sounds like such a fun weekend! I’m sure your yoga class will be great!

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Casey May 30, 2012 at 7:07 pm

Hebrews 12: 1-3 from The Message
Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!

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amber May 31, 2012 at 1:36 am

Hey Jenna,
I actually think this is a really interesting, and maybe important discussion to open up – and also maybe useful/helpful for you to know sort of a wide range of people’s reactions – my vagueness and qualifications are obviously because I’m trying really hard not to alienate/offend anyone….

I think ‘E’ expressed herself very well & quite bravely though – and I am on the same bandwagon – this is while saying your blog is one of the first things i read every day (degree?! What degree….dissertation? Ha…) and that I think you’ve been incredibly skillful in weaving through life things & food things – that having been said, and obviously again its totally your choice, but then i think it should be a conscious one i.e. that you’re aware and comfortable with the affect – that if the ratio of religion/god related posts stays as it is of late, then for someone who isn’t religious , it has the feeling of a very enthusiastic coeterie, which I/other un religious (I’m a conscious agnostic, and not averse to religion in general) people then feel excluded from. Obviously, that isn’t your intention. And it makes sense to use your space to promote or celebrate what you believe in – but if it becomes part of your ‘hey guys’ address which has always felt incredibly personal, and warm, then I think you will loose readers, who feel like they’re not part of it. Respectfully, I think the idea of dividing things more is a good one, but I understand if you don’t. I think its important to recognise though, that the analogy of ‘just skip the meat recipe if your a vegan’ isn’t the same – and I would have thought is actually offensive to people who see Christ as central to their lives. Again, I wouldn’t say anything if I didn’t enjoy your blog so much. And now I really must do some work…xx

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Melissa @ Eat on the Run May 31, 2012 at 7:55 am

this looks like such a fun weekend but too bad that for the next year I can get limited time off (internship year!) hopefully it will continue and be offered in 2013!?

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LisaG May 31, 2012 at 9:27 am

Thanks for sharing; looks like fun! I like hearing about your life; in addition to cooking! I liked your fashion posts too.

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Laurie May 31, 2012 at 11:05 am

Hi,
I just wanted to weigh in on the issue of sharing your belief in God on your blog. I am with Amber and E above- I find it quite alienating as a non religious person to read these detailed posts about religion when I come here to read recipes, pursue my interest in food/fitness, and turn off. I think I would feel the same, if not more strongly, if I were religious but not Christian, particularly as E outlined above, Christianity has a history of being on a mission to convert. To be honest, even reading the comments of your readers above, who appear religious, strengthen my feeling of alienation. See Ashely’s comment:” If at the end of the day your brand is correlated with the name of Jesus for better or worse in this blog world, you’ve done it right”. This seems to suggest there is only one “right” religious belief. The post by Casey speaks for itself. I understand, and commend, that you speak up and share your beliefs and I totally get that; however, I agree with some of the readers above that if this blog is to be a corral for particular religious beliefs and people who follow them, rather than a focus on food/fashion/yoga, then I am less likely to check in as frequently. I love your recipes and what you do- you are one of my favourite blogging personalities by far. However, detailed posts about Christian rock, Christian yoga (it’s Hindu!!) and religious conventions really turn me off and appear to me as a means to subtly promote/impose your religious beliefs, rather than just sharing a certain aspect of your life which happens to involve a belief in God. There’s a difference. I understand it’s your blog, so you choose what to post, and I do see your point about keeping it authentic, but I am sharing with you my views and feelings, from the perspective of someone who is not religious but comes to the blog for your awesome recipes, banter, and originality. Thanks for listening!!

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Jenny May 31, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Very well said.

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Tara May 31, 2012 at 2:39 pm

I wholeheartedly agree. I wasn’t as diplomatic and respectful as I could have been when posted above (bad day all around) but Laurie hit the nail on the head with respect to how I feel.

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Madison @ Espresso and Cream May 31, 2012 at 11:21 am

I found the comments on this post really interesting to read. Although I have a blog much smaller than yours, Jenna, I have had a lot of thoughts about how much of my faith to share on my site since it’s primarily about food, fitness and snippets of my life through photos. Although I was nervous to blatantly share aspects of my faith at first, I felt a deep conviction that I shouldn’t be afraid to share what I believe in. I’m not sure if this holds true for you, but Christ is not just a part of my life, he is the center of it. To share parts of my life but leave the faith-based element out wouldn’t be honest or true to who I am. At the end of the day, a blog is really just an extension of the person who writes it. And just as people evolve, their blogs naturally evolve as well. I’ve seen your site grow and change over the years, and this seems like another natural progression. Kudos to you!

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Louise May 31, 2012 at 12:41 pm

I don’t mind the religion talk, although I escaped the Baptist church sixteen years ago and have never looked back. Politics is what bugs me. Your tweet about Rick Perry months ago kept me away from your blog for a while. Just being honest. I really like your blog, but Conservative politics make me crazy.

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Lisa May 31, 2012 at 3:06 pm

I have went back to this post over and over and have several times wanted to comment but haven’t until now decided what I really wanted to say… So for whatever its worth…as a loyal reader for what seems like forever…here it goes….
I believe Jenna has a very level head on her shoulders and knew that any post about her beliefs would create backlash. She still chose to post it, so that tells me it is very important to her life and not going to just go away just at the threat of losing readers. I must admit that it did bother me a little bit but really what bothered me more that her posts (which were just invitations to religious events) was the comments from some of the other readers. Wow! talking about standing on a soapbox and preaching. In light of that, Jenna’s post was mild! Jessica Grady pointed out that no one complains when Jenna posts about yoga, travel etc. Well, those are not hot button issues that is why. Religion and politics are and forever will be. People are just passionate about them and rightly so. So, no Jenna I wasn’t comfortable with the posts either but I love your blog and I did exactly what you had suggested…I skipped and hoped the next day would be filled with cupcakes. I will say kudos to you tho for having such classy readers. I have never seen a discussion on this topic before be so respectful yet passionate!! You set that atmosphere here on your blog and you should be proud!

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Danielle May 31, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Putting out my two cents and creating a category to represent my opinion.

#1 Not at all one bit religious.
#2 Not at all one bit offended or made uneasy by this post.
#3 I hope that you and everyone attending this event has a great time!
#4 I hope that you still feel comfortable enough to talk about the trip in October when you get back!

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Alexia (Dimple Snatcher) May 31, 2012 at 5:54 pm

Yes on #4!!! I’m still in shock that people find this post overwhelmingly religious. Like…I’m am perplexed

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Laurie May 31, 2012 at 6:36 pm

Alexia: Out of curiosity, when you said you are shocked to hear people find this post overwhelmingly religious, did you take a look at the conference website that Jenna is promoting? It says on its first page “If you’re a blogger or social media pro who wants to grow in her ability to leverage the internet to make much of Jesus–and help support your family’s ability to act and minister – Influence will be that conference. We’ll have professionals who make real and consistent money ready to teach you how to be all about the Gospel and support your family’s ability to spread it.”

I am only speaking for myself here, but as someone who is completely comfortable not following a religion and is accepting that everyone has a right to follow whatever religion they choose, I am wary of following a blog that markets itself as a food blog, yet whose secondary objective *may* be (I have no clue since Jenna hasn’t addressed this) to “spread” the word of God. If this is a goal of this blog, then I find it off putting, offensive to those with other beliefs, and do not want to support this (with my time/clicks).

If Jenna decides that this blog will start to center increasingly on a particular religion and spreading her religious beliefs (which is totally her choice), then I (and other readers) are letting her know we are uncomfortable with this direction, she is alienating some of her readers, and she may lose some followers. I am voicing my feelings because I love Jenna’s recipes and her blogging personality, and I feel she could benefit from hearing the perspectives of one of her loyal readers.

Echoing Danielle, I clearly DO hope she and everyone else attending the event has a great time as well! Her religious beliefs and being open about her beliefs is not an issue for me- I respect and admire people who voice their beliefs. Rather, the issue is the content she chooses to feature on her “food” blog.

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Alexia (Dimple Snatcher) May 31, 2012 at 9:35 pm

Nah, not bothered. Since I started reading Jenna in college (2 years ago?!), I realized she identified with Christianity because it would come up but not in overt ways. I don’t think this is overbearing at all so I was surprised by your comment and the other opposing ones. But my experience might be different from other people: I live in NYC, so I’m use to people openly sharing beliefs and experiences that MAY be drastically different than mine. LOL, my facebook newsfeed reflects New York! I think everything sells their ideology, whether it’s religion or politics or veganism or whatever

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Laurie May 31, 2012 at 10:51 pm

Hi Alexia,
Yes, I suppose that indeed, our perspectives are shaped from living in very different environments- I (proudly) live in a place that is extremely open, diverse, and accepting in terms of people`s freedom of faith, sexuality, and ethnicity (and the laws reflect this.) I suppose this leads to a post-modern thinking where people here just expect and accept that their neighbours could have very different lifestyles and beliefs than their own, and these differences are so common that people don`t feel compelled to have grand discussions about these issues or to try to sway others into practicing a certain lifestyle (we hold this freedom very sacredly). It does indeed seem that the US has much more extreme viewpoints that people seem to push (no, I don`t consider Jenna to be in this camp), so perhaps you have developed thicker skin to any perceived attempt to impose a certain system of beliefs on you, having lived in such an environment.

Anyways, I think I`ve made my point that for some people, clearly not you, these types of posts are loaded with a religious slant that isolates those who come for the main purpose of the blog: food (although you do acknowledge a difference in this post versus others that simply touched on her faith). To reiterate, I fully respect, accept, and admire Jenna`s devotion to her God, and am totally aware that this blog is her creation alone. I am sharing one particular perspective, which others seem to share, on this recent trend taken on her blog.

Natalie May 31, 2012 at 7:19 pm

Yayyyyy I live in Indy!! Totally going to look into this!

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Jennifer P. June 2, 2012 at 8:13 am

I am a long-time reader (since the “beginning”, as many of you are saying), and while I do not choose to comment frequently, I felt I had to today. I feel sorry for those who choose to write their hateful opinions in the comments. Do you all really think Jenna is writing to please just you? It is amazing to me how selfish you adults can be. Life in general can be uncomfortable, get over it. And, seriously, leave if you don’t like it. Nobody forces you to visit her blog.

Jenna, I admire every aspect of your blog and I appreciate the hard work you put into it each day. Keep up the fantastic work! You rock! You are an inspiration to a lot of people out there. Screw the haters.

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Jen June 2, 2012 at 9:52 am

“hateful opinions.”

“Screw the haters” <— no, that's not hypocritical at all.

Funnily enough, the most respectful comments were from those who weren't comfortable with the religious and missionary aspects of this post. No one was rude to Jenna, or hateful, or said anything that could be construed as an attack. And yet, they get told to leave and not read the blog and basically that their opinions — even politely put forward — are not welcome. Seriously, Jennifer P, read your comment again and think about your hypocrisy.

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Erin W. June 4, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Hi Jenna, I’m excited by this conference and really excited to hopefully meet you & Mama Pea (2 of my favorite bloggers!). I absolutely hope to get to chaturanga with you! :)

What is your role as a Community Leader? Will you speak at the conference?

Also, I may not be able to attend all days. If I only attend Friday/Saturday would I miss meeting you?

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jenna June 4, 2012 at 2:16 pm

I’m not speaking at the conference—I’m there to assist the hosts (Jessi, Hayley and Casey) and help out with whatever is needed during the weekend. I’ll be there from Thursday to Sunday and can’t wait to meet you!

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Meghan June 11, 2012 at 10:15 am

I honestly think its shocking to hear people say that Jenna is pushing “religion”. Religion and faith are two things related but not the same. I understand that some people have a bad taste in their mouth from a past experience or haven’t had the opportunity to get to know what true faith really is but when you have a strong faith in any “God” it will (and should) come through in everything that you do which would include your work and daily life. I think it is great that Jenna shares events that mean a lot to her; whether that is about her faith or what she is wearing. I like to see that she is a real person and not just another site to get a recipe.

So, Jenna, good job and keep up the good work!

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Becky Henderson June 13, 2012 at 8:08 am

Oh. My. Gosh.

I just found out about this conference through a friend of mine. I had NO idea that you were in charge of it! I’m so excited! I will be so darn giddy if you do a yoga class.

I can’t wait till October now! :)

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