Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Putting a Recap on It

So...I went to the Influence Blogging Conference last weekend. And I took NO pictures. Not one. I even carried my camera with me one day. But it just didn't happen.

Oh well, there are plenty of other pics from the conference floating out there in the blogosphere. Just not any that I took. And probably not many OF me. But, I'm okay with that.

Everyone keeps saying that they can't wait to hear what I learned. Well, I shared a bit about what I learned in yesterday's post (here).

I have to say that I came away changed-but not necessarily in a blogging sense.

I am overwhelmed, but not by what I now have to do to whip my blog into shape.

I totally didn't know what to expect, but God met me where I was at. And I came away refreshed.

I came away with a bunch of new friends. A whole bunch of my URLs were made into IRLs. (thanks, Babe).

And, I am different for having gone.

I found a community that I am looking forward to connecting with in a deeper way. That I am excited to see how God grows them, and us, in the next few months and years.

I got to hang with my three roomies, Jen, Natalie and Karina. We never met before this last week. Our relationship was purely twitter and blogs. We were all looking for room-mates for the conference and God hooked us up. I believe that. It was great to hear their voices, and their hearts.

I got to chauffeur Jen (another Jen), Virginia and Chrissy down to the conference and back. Our relationship was cemented over laughter, coffee, organic food discussions, and witnessing an accident. The great thing about these particular girls is that we all live within 45 minutes of each other. We maybe will even get to hang out more IRL. I think that would be phenomenal.

I got to meet Amanda, whose blog I am sponsoring this month. I love her online heart. And I am thrilled to find out that she is the real deal. She cares about people. She cares about writing. And I am blessed that we are now irl friends.

I got to chat with other home schoolers. I got to chat with many people who recognized me by my flippin' locks. I got to eat with a new group of sisters every meal. And sit with a different batch each session. I ran (literally) with another group. Which was awesome. Relationships were started, or grown. That was amazing!

Can't have a post without a pic of Meres.=) Noel, from Noel's Beautiful Life (side bar)
made this for Meres. The boys are calling it her "republican" headband.
Because of the elephants.I'm sure that wasn't the idea.
But, still pretty cool that they linked that symbol with her headband.

There were two session tracks-life and strategy. I thought, when I first signed up for the conference, that I would be doing the strategy stuff. I mean, how else am I going to get this show on the road?

Except, when I read the seminar descriptions and prayed over which to attend, I found that the life track was what was speaking to my heart.

I heard Emily Freeman, who has written a book called Grace for the Good Girl. I can't wait to read it. I felt God's peace trickle over my soul as I listened to her. The basis of her talk was that we all are artists. Which, if you have read me for any length of time, you know that I say on a regular basis that I am not an artist. Yet, Emily said that an artist is a person who is brave enough to move toward what makes her come alive. 

Isn't that beautiful?! "All things have artistic potential."

I am an artist. Furthermore, I am God's artwork. Ephesians 2:10-workmanship-poema. The same greek word that is used in Romans 1:20 to describe God's creation.

Emily encouraged us to use our influence in what makes us come alive. Our questions, our tears, our craziest ideas. To acknowledge what moves me, and why.

An unbelievable hour of blessing.

Anne Bogel was terrific too. I enjoyed the fact that she encouraged finding mentors. I have had mentors in my life since I was an early teen. I was also challenged to keep seeking out great God people. And follow them.

Nish knocked it out of the park with her talk on blogging dangerously. Which simply means to blog outside your comfort zone. It will bring readers to your site because your thoughts and your story matters. She had many good questions to ask yourself as you write posts. I will definitely refer to these notes over and over again as I write posts.

Jessi encouraged us to share where Jesus Christ meets us in our brokenness. To let God's voice be louder than mine. To glorify Jesus Christ in all I write.

Casey Leigh reminded us that our mess can be our ministry. I need to tell my story at the season I am in. She had great tips for growing your blog-from ads to keeping your social media presence consistent on all fronts.

Me and my girls (no flippin' locks) in our Noel headbands.

Anyway, I feel ready to go at this blogging thing again. I am encouraged and challenged. Especially to tell my story and to give God the glory.

Because that's the nutshell, isn't it.