I've been working from home today, hunkered down and snuggled up during Hurricane Sandy.
Our power has flickered on and off but it's on now and we have lights and electronics and the dishwasher and dryer are working dilligently to finish their jobs before the inevitable occurs.
I drove home from Allume the other night with tears in my eyes. Good, hot, salty slow moving tears. Tears of praise. My smile, the part of my brain that is used for small talk, and my feet were exhausted. But my heart was spilling over with encouragement, my mind was busy with ideas and a bunch of new checklists, and my purse was filled with business cards of nearly 100 ladies I met.
When I first arrived and walked into the ballroom for dinner on Thursday night, I was overwhelmed, not in a good way. I was intimidated that there were so many other ladies out there with blogs, doing what they believe what God has called them to do. I snuck in, made a quick friend, and tried not to drop any food in my lap as I ate, talked, and passed my business card around. I went to bed humbled. In a good way.
Friday was full of wisdom.
It started with Jessica Heights, who I think I may now be borderline stalking through her blog, Instagram and Twitter. Jessica is not a published author. (Yet. I have a good feeling about this one.) But she really, really wants to be. She shared her heart, "Just because you want something doesn't mean it will happen. It might not be in God's plan."
My heart sank.
I kept listening, though, soaking her talk in.
"There is enough room in God's kingdom for all of us to do something amazing."
I was encouraged, and really feeling that this is exactly where God has me.
I sat on the floor behind Darren Rowse (a.k.a. @Problogger, he's kind of a big deal, people) as he gave his "Advanced Blogging Tips" session. I took notes like I was going to have a final on this stuff the next day. He is a marketing ninja. And a passionate, all-around great guy.
Then I went to Trina Holden's session about being a smaller blogger. I'd soaked up all of Trina's words in her blog series about this even before Allume, so I knew I would love this.
Trina talked about battling pride as a blogger, and how important it is to "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God..." Matthew 6:33. She shared about going deep instead of wide. And I was reminded that being able to answer every e-mail, and read every comment, and pray for my readers by name is such a BLESSING. And that "success" is not measured by numbers, but by impact.
She had us do this exercise where I traced my hand, and I wrote a reader's name on each finger. I took it to the next step and also wrote the person's name that that reader is connected to, and I was FLOORED that I had five names come to me in five seconds.
And they aren't just names. Heather, Melanie, Gentrie, Melissa and Bethany are all real people that I've had the privilege of really connecting with. Some in real life, all via text message or phone call or private message. I love these women and pray for them and I know about their lives and they know about mine. We all have a husband/boyfriend/fiancee who is either a quadriplegic or a paraplegic. We are sisters.
That traced hand, right there, is what Love Like This Life is all about, people.
I want to love these ladies like I know I can, so that they can love their men the way they can. I want them to experience love like God can give them.
After Trina's session, I had the privilege of meeting her, and getting a hug and a quick pic. Trina has been the inspiration behind me putting together an e-book that you will SOON hear about!
Trina's wisdom: "Focus on depth over width, service over fame, to bless rather than impress, and seek kingdom impact over numbers. In God's kingdom, there are no smaller bloggers."
All of this does not even include Friday night's keynote, people. I'm telling you, I am maxed out with wisdom and enocuragement form this conference! More tomorrow.