Well, this is the year. A couple of my gals and I finally decided to make it happen. We had a few hiccups in the planning process. Tried to get a big group to go and it is a difficult thing to coordinate with so many people. We ended up with a split group and our part dwindled down to four, which is a good number to travel with anyway. It all worked out... but I think we have decided to keep it simple next time. ;-)
Road Trippin' - Friday afternoon Sarah, Lehi, Mia and I set out from Central Indiana for Normal, Illinois, where the National Hearts at Home conference is held every year. We are all busy moms (are they any "not" busy moms?) and very excited to get a chance to have some grown up girl time! We all chatted together on the road, but after awhile Mia plugged in her Korean music (which I like to tease her about) and took a nap since she'd been up all night with a sit kiddo, and I broke out my half finished copy of The Lucky One and nearly finished it on the drive up. We did a bedbug check at our less than five star Super 8 hotel rooms and were relieved that there were none to be found. ;-) You can't be too careful!
Mom's Night Out - Friday evening was the Mom's Night Out event which included worship by Abide and entertainment by 321Improv. Those three guys were hilarious! We were laughing so hard our cheeks hurt! It was insane! Who would have thought they would have ended up doing skits about going on vacation to prison in the North Pole with a skunk breeder, Dora and a Barbie holding a dirty cloth diaper... or something like that. I guess you would have had to been there. ;-)
The next morning started off great thanks to a few of our girlfriends saving us some awesome seats in what was a very packed auditorium! The first main session kicked the day off with Michelle Duggar (of the TLC show 19 Kids and Counting) as the keynote speaker. I have watched their show a few times before and know a bit about them but still learned some things I didn't know about their journey. She and JimBob shared their testimonies and how they got together, and how they came to have 19kids and a "reality" show. They seem like such a sweet couple. It is great to see the way that the Lord is ministering to people through their unique family. In their workshop they shared some parenting tips that they have used over the years.
I opted for a short lunch and four workshops. There were so many good ones it was so hard to choose! In addition to the Duggar's Practical Parenting workshop (which it seemed nearly everyone attended) I ended up attending Julie Barnhill's Confessions of an Imperfect Mom. She is so great! She shared candid stories of her child-rearing years and the mistakes she has made. She spoke biblical truths, helped us realize we are not alone in our struggles as moms and also made us laugh at ourselves.
Then I went to Marianne Miller's Growing Grateful Kids in a Culture of Consumerism. She shared a lot about how our culture is all about more, more, more, and gave us tips on how to focus on teaching our kids what “enough” is. She shared humorous anecdotes about her four boys and practical ideas encourage us toward equipping our own kids to be grateful for what God has provided and find contentment in a world of excess.
My final workshop was the only one that I could have done without. Marla Cilley, a.k.a. The Fly Lady's workshop: If Momma Ain't Happy was a little lacking. I have been on her website before and I really like her tips for decluttering and creating good house cleaning routines but she was clearly not a professional speaker. She was disorganized and distracted most of the session.
The conference ended with the afternoon main session with Juli Slattery sharing about the importance of seeking wisdom.
Good times... We had unseasonably warm weather which was good. But the lack of air-conditioning was back once you had over 3000+ women crammed into an auditorium. But the weekend was very uplifting and encouraging. It was refreshing to share openly about struggles that we often try to sweep under the rug and convince ourselves that we're the only one who feels that way, or does that thing. We are not alone. Us moms need to stick together, show our true selves so that we can support one another throughout this very challenging journey that we are on!
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:25
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