Monday, July 15, 2013

Dream Unfurled

Two years ago, I was lonely. 

My feet were freshly planted in California sand, uprooted from the China life and community we knew.  I was new and unknown, living in the space between, hungry for connection. 

Then someone randomly posted a link on Facebook, and BAM!  There it was.  The connection I longed for.  Someone I didn’t know opened her heart and soul through a blog post.  Her words reached through the screen and wrapped themselves around my heart, and I knew I had found a kindred spirit. 

That was my portal into the blogosphere, my first step into a screen world where people share the beauty and brokenness of their lives.  No small talk necessary, no children hanging and interrupting.  Just the real, meaty, beautiful, hilarious, teary talk about what’s churning in our hearts. 

Click by click, I became connected to the lives of ladies whose words mentored and moved me.  And then, as you know, I began dabbling here in my own little Internet space, unearthing a part of me that had become buried; the me that was meant to write.

On this journey I also found sites that were devoted to online community for women (mainly and  Here I saw the beauty of women offering their vulnerable hearts, their deepest passions, and in return other women rallying around them, breathing hope and encouragement.  These places pulsated with life and richness.  A soul-bond lived amongst these sisters. 

And then God brought sweet memories to mind of another group of soul sisters, the ones I left behind in Asia, the ones I am returning to.  These ladies, like me, had left their American lives to live out a calling across the ocean.  We were separated by countless miles, but forever bonded by the shared path of life overseas. 

On the rare yearly occasion we’d see each other, we’d stay up late sitting in the hallways of Thai hotels while the babies slept.  Story after story would pour out as we laughed and cried, lapping up the community like parched puppies.  Then when we finally laid our heads down upon our rock-like beds, we’d breathe deep sighs of relief, reminded that we are not alone in this crazy life we lead.

After the week together that was never enough, we’d leave each other, hungry for more. We needed more time to share with these sisters who understand our pain and joy, because they live it too.  We needed the chance to sit with that woman who’d raised her thriving family in this life and ask her flat out, “How? How have you done it?”  But there was never enough time, never enough stories.  So much wisdom left unshared.

So when I saw these online communities, this dream lodged itself in my heart.  This.  This is what we need.  A place to connect across the miles.  A place to feed each other helpings of hope. 

Because, people, we have these INCREDIBLE opportunities outside our foreign doorsteps.  But what do you do when you’re too weak and lonely to even step out your door?  Some days you just need a hand (even a virtual hand) to pull you up and say, “I know, girl, I know.  But I am WITH you.  Now GO SEIZE THE DAY!”

So bit-by-bit, I’ve been sharing this dream over this last year with my real life friends and groups, and every time I do, people get excited about it.  And that’s when I know this whole thing didn’t come from my own tired Mommy brain.  It all feels very inspired and God-breathed. 

And that has been confirmed by the incredible ways in which a team has joined forces to make this happen.  We have a team of editors in place, we have ladies ready to write their hearts out, we have the expertise of a design team who is ready to create a beautiful, cutting-edge online space for us, and we have a name that I am in LOVE with. 

We are “” (More on the meaning later)

Everything is set. 

There’s just one last piece: the funds to make this happen.

So today, my people, I am asking YOU to make this dream a reality. 

Would you give so this can be real? 

$6,600 in four weeks and we can have a vibrant community launched THIS FALL to encourage the hearts of women serving overseas. 

You can give by going to our super spiffy site:

Or just click on the "Please Donate" button on the side menu -->

WHEW.  There you have it.  The dream unfurled.

Now be still my beating heart and wait….

Wait for God’s people to do their thing.

For more on this whole story see
Dreams Really Do Grow Real
Velvet Ashes Strikes a Chord
What's With All the Money {for Velvet Ashes}?


  1. This is so beautiful, Danielle. Way to be tuned in to the heart of Abba! Wish we had something like this when I was still in Beijing!

    1. Thanks, Lauren! Yes, we all needed this "back in the day" didn't we??

  2. Wow...Danielle, how amazing! Just having a conversation with my roommate about another sister serving overseas who is feeling the discouragement. Forwarded her your blog and the velvet ashes website! Thanks for taking the lead and combating those lies with truth and taking steps forward.

    1. That discouragement is such a common thread. Thanks for spreading the word!!

  3. Hi Danielle, Lisa-Jo Baker shared the Fundly link with me and I just had to find a way to get in touch with you. Had. too. Brief intro: Former missionary in West Africa with my hubs, now we live in the U.S. and support missionaries through training and technical (water and sanitation needs specifically) assistance and support. I have been praying that God would give me an open door to encourage women in service on the field. I know what it is like and I have so many friends in the same place struggling through the day to day in a foreign place where life can just be downright hard. I want to know what I can do to help. Honestly donating isn't possible right now, but I will do anything else to help/contribute. Check out my blow and email me at

  4. This is going to be amazing!! Just saw your link on Lisa Jo's site. I too know this life very well. I spent four years living in Austria....met my hubby there who is South African...moved home for a couple months to Seattle to plan the wedding...then moved to South Africa. Been here for nearly four years, our heart for Europe has never changed just been on hold. On our way to the Netherlands as missionaries in January 2014! What a wild adventure i could have never dreamed up....full of crazy challenges and many rocky and desert seasons. But have grown and learned so much! Excited for this community you're starting! Let me know if you need another contributer!