What I didn't expect is that the Allume Social Conference would exceed every one of those expectations.
"Let me 'splain... No, there is too much. Let me sum up." ~Inigo Montoya, from The Princess Bride
"Lay down your dreams- be willing to rest in Him alone- then you are ready to be used by Him!"
I stood in line to have Phil sign a postcard for my kids (did I mention that he is the creator of their favorite video series ever?!!)
I followed my daughter's instructions to tell this man that she watches his videos every Sunday morning. I also told him that my roommate in college used to sing "Oh, where is my hairbrush" and that was my first introduction to Veggie Tales.
It was a great way to start the weekend.
There were many different sessions to choose from. I found that I had a tendency to choose sessions on ministry, writing and family. And so when I saw a session called "Balancing Writing and Children" with Tricia Goyer, it was an easy decision.
I have 3 pages of notes from her session. She encouraged us to have a vision for our families and to have a writer vision. One of my favorite things that she said was this...
"Your writing teaches your kids that there is a world that God wants to impact."
I have felt this pressure to keep my writing separate from my family, forgetting that this writing calling that God has placed on my life is meant to teach my children AND to benefit them. I walked away with a new perspective.
I could share so many things that I learned from The Nester's session, but I must remember my purpose in this post- to sum up! She talked about the things that she learned from blogging by doing it all wrong. She challenged us to have a purpose. To use time wisely and to fiercely protect it. To create white space- to rest in the midst of the undone (boy, is that freeing or what?!!). And she talked about the secret art of saying no and embracing your yes. After this session, I could have walked away and felt FULL.
But there was so much more!
The next keynote speaker was Darren Rowse from Problogger.net. To be completely honest, I was not looking forward to this talk. He is a professional blogger and I didn't think that he would say anything relevant to me. I was so wrong!
The Australian accent definitely helped, but as he shared his story, I was struck by how important story is. Every person's story matters- whether they are a "big" blogger or a "small" one.
Under the title "Compare yourself to where you've come from" he shared these 4 points...
- We all start out small
- Celebrate the growth YOU have
- Be yourself
- Small may be big enough
This hit me hard. I will share in a later post exactly why this was the case, but suffice it say, it is what I needed to hear!
It seemed like an obvious decision to go to Logan Wolfram's session on "Using your Blog for Real Life Discipleship". What I didn't expect was that the incredibly funny Logan would move me to tears. She said beautifully challenging things like "the call of making disciples involves being real and authentic", "give generously for God's glory", and "be faithful and obedient to what the Lord has called you to do".
But my favorite thing that she shared was actually something that a friend had shared with her- "the call is to be fishers (of men), but the Lord will provide the catch". This left me with much to ponder!
My last session was with Kat Lee from The Inspired to Action Blog. Her subject was "Blogging as a Ministry" (are you surprised?!!) and she said one profound thing after another. She started with "God doesn't need our credentials- He has His own!" She asked us "what is the WHY that burns inside you?", because how doesn't matter without the why. She suggested that "Our why is to bring glory to God and others to Him" and my heart screamed within me, yes, yes, YES! And I know I'm supposed to be summing up, but this was just too good- "Impact is not dependent on the size of the blog, but the size of the heart of the Father." At the end of this session, I felt this huge sigh of relief. It was as if God had prepared this session just for me. And I know that many others felt the same, but what a GIFT to come away from a session feeling that way!
I don't know how to sum up the final keynote speaker's talk. I really don't! I have never heard anyone speak in the beautiful way that Ann Voskamp did- I wanted to write everything down. It was that beautiful. And that God-honoring.
So here are a few of my favorites...
"When you stop fearing failure, you start being an artist"
"Writing as a Christian is not about building a platform- it is about being real and raw and broken"
"When you can't hear your Father's voice, you've gone too far"
"Walk in your way, not her way!"
"The secret of good writing is living a good life in secret"
"Having Christian convictions never negates having Christ's compassion"
"The Christ followers are done with guilt by association and ready to live grace by association."
"If you want to make a difference in the world, it's not about being the best, it's about being breakable"
For all of the wonderful leaders who worked so hard to make Allume possible- thank you! My husband asked me upon my return if this is something that I would like to do every year. I had to say a resounding YES!
Looking forward to sharing with you about the friends that I met, the friendships that only deepened and the specific answers to prayer. But that will have to wait for another day!
Linking with the Allume blog today!
Linking with the Allume blog today!