When You Just Want a Little Beautiful Community :: (in)RL 2014


Three and a half years ago, we moved to the Rocky Mountain country of Colorado Springs. And just like every other place we’ve lived, finding community here has been part hair pulling frustrating and part mountain top glorious. 

Today, I’m celebrating just a couple of the beautiful stories, both {at least in part} due to a site I contribute to monthly called (in)courage.

About a year and a half ago, I was introduced to this wonderful woman, Angela Klocke, through our mutual friend Pattie.


Angela is a professional photographer based out of Woodland Park (but travels to Colorado Springs) and has taken our family’s pictures a couple of times, most recently before my husband’s retirement ceremony from the Air Force. Angela is a longtime reader of (in)courage, so she and I connected beautifully right from the start.


Listen, folks: her talent with the camera? Unbelievable. Not only will she take stunning family photos fit to hang above your fireplace, she possesses an uncanny ability to take pictures when you don’t realize she’s doing it. The results are photos with a natural, relaxed feel.

http://klockephotography.com/  http://klockephotography.com/

http://klockephotography.com/  strong-25

You can see more of her work at her own gorgeous website here. My kids love her too because – in their own words – she’s warm, fun, and not bossy with her camera (unlike their mama).  If you’re in the Colorado Springs area, I highly recommend Angela! Five exuberant stars.

My second community story centers around my darling next-door neighbor, Lauren.

Although I had chatted with Lauren and her husband on several occasions while watering plants or playing with the kids outside, I hadn’t really gotten to know them beyond easy small talk. So when I had the opportunity to host a special event last year, I knew I wanted Lauren to come, too.

So over the backyard fence, I asked if she’d like to join us. And join us she did.


And we all lived happily ever after.

Okay, maybe that’s a bit much, BUT that event broke the ice for us, and our families have continued to hang out and get to know each other better. We even spent Thanksgiving together this year!


So, do you want to know what this magical event was that turned neighbors into friends?

It’s called (in)RL, and it may well be the next best thing to having friends fall on your doorstep.


In short, (in)RL  is the (in)courage annual conference that takes place the last weekend in April. This conference is unique because rather than traveling to it, it comes to you. And in 2014, it will be the weekend of April 25th and 26th! There’s a webcast to tune in to and a day of real life meetups.  You can check out all the (in)RL details here.  Registration is FREE and you even get a goody or two when you sign up to attend one or host your own.

I enjoyed meeting so many wonderful folks last year, and I still enjoy seeing a neighbor become a friend.

Whether you attend and discover the beginning of lifelong friendships or just want to hang with local (in)courage readers, you won’t regret allowing your story to mingle with theirs. And speaking of *your* story, check out this year’s (in)RL trailer:


And Colorado Springs folks, you can sign up to attend my own meet-up here. I’m looking forward to it, and I hope you are, too.

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  1. says

    So excited to find you Kristen! And this post is just serendipity, or sovereignty, or both. I am a professional photographer as well, an (in)courage reader, blogger, and writer. I follow Emily Freeman and happened to see a link to here on her post today. Whats interesting is that my son is AF and was transferred to CO Springs last year. He and my sweet daughter in law love it there, but have yet to find a home church. I am so excited by the (in)RL meet up and a chance for her to maybe make some community. I will share the link and trailer today and hope she has the chance to join in! What great things happen through community. So blessed to find you~

    • says

      Oh please, please do share it, Pamela. I adore military wives and would relish the opportunity to hang with your DIL. Much love to you, sister. xo

  2. Beth Williams says


    I have a few friends at church and work, but no big community. Perhaps it is that I live out in the country far away from most housing developments. I love the serenity out here. I attended the In(RL) last year and got a lot of good information. You all have great speakers.
    I will be attending this year’s In(RL) also.

    I love reading In(Courage) and your blog post! God has truly gifted you as a writer. God Bless! :)