Sunday, November 8, 2009
Hearts at Home
Ah, a weekend away with girlfriends. What could be better? Maybe a weekend away with girlfriends at a conference designed to encourage stay at home moms! For more years than any of us care to admit we have been meeting up in Rochester for the annual Hearts at Home conference. The conference is Friday night and Saturday but we try to sneak in extra by heading out early Friday morning and staying an extra night. Some years we have other friends and some years it is just us. It is fun to introduce new friends to Hearts at Home but it is special when it is just us. Unfortunately one of our usual group had to cancel at the last minute so our group of 5 turned into a little group of 4 for the weekend. And unfortunately, between me being sick all week and going to the doctor Friday morning to be told I had strep and the other two having kids home from school, we didn't leave very early Friday morning or even early Friday afternoon. We got into town with just enough time to meet up with our 4th Nebraska friend, check into our hotel and have dinner before we had to race over to the conference.
Friday night is always a concert often with a big name Christian artist. Go Fish was the musical entertainment this year. Now I realize I have a 4 year old but apparently I missed something in the gap between Jake and Isabelle. I had loved the group years ago and saw them in concert at the state fair when Jake was a pre-teen. Then I was vaguely aware they had done a kids album and then they disappeared, I thought, off the face of the earth. Nope, it turns out they were so successful with the kids album they turned into a kids group! They have been busy making several kids albums and it was fun to hear them sing. I have been wanting to know what new music was out there for Isabelle and the answer was right in front of me. I bought 2 of their albums. Wishing I bought more already!
Every year the conference is great, I go to 3 or 4 classes and then they have a big name key note speaker Saturday afternoon. This year was Dr. Kevin Leman, writer of the Birth Order Book among others, speaking on his book, "Have a new kid by Friday". He was hilarious and real.
Most years I find myself feeling a little "full" about half way through the day. So much new information that I need to immediately stop and get home to implement or at least digest. But I keep going and they stuff me to the top the rest of the day and then roll me home. This is another reason that second night stay with the girlfriends is helpful. Processing. This year I didn't get that full feeling. I didn't walk out of any of my classes with some inspirational nugget I couldn't wait to get home and use. Not that my classes were bad, they were good. I liked the speakers and agreed with everything they were saying, as a matter of fact I wrote a blog post recently on almost the same subject the morning keynote speaker addressed. She said what I would have written if I was going to write a 30 minute talk and speak from much more experience than I actually have.
I was feeling a little disappointed as I chatted with my girlfriends who all did have some nugget of inspiration to keep them going on their motherhood journey but, as we talked I realized that my big take away from the conference wasn't necessarily a nugget but I was feeling very validated. Like I really am walking down the right path, making good choices and being the wife and mother God wants me to be at this stage of my life. Not perfect but moving in the right direction. It feels good. Of course next year I could be having a crisis about something and really need that encouragement in some area of my life but this year things are going smoothly and that pat on the back was exactly what I needed to keep me going.
2 years ago when we were at the conference (OK we skipped last year) I go downstairs on Sunday morning for my leisurely continental breakfast at the hotel and find 2 of my girlfriends sitting with Jill Savage! Jill is the founder of the Hearts at Home conference, Saturday mornings key note and has written several books. We were all pretty excited and a little star struck. She was great, we chatted away like we had been friends for years. Well the outgoing one in our group, Kimberlee, emailed her a picture we had taken and they kept in contact for the past 2 years and made plans for us all to meet up again this year for breakfast. So this morning we had a chance to once again share a meal with our "good friend" Jill and chat about life.
Among our group a little joke has developed out of this breakfast. That first Christmas after we met Jill, Kimberlee bought us all frame ornaments for Christmas and put a picture of her and Jill in it. We all laughed and added it to our tree. The following year Heidi went on a cruise with the hearts at home team and got a picture with Jill which she surprised us by also framing and giving to us. So after breakfast I told Jill it was my turn and we had to have a picture together so we could add it to all our trees. She laughed about it and posed with me. Our families are a little confused by who this woman is taking over our Christmas trees but we all smile each time we see it.
Now back home, back to dishes, laundry, dirty bathrooms and a whiny pre-schooler along with the many, many, many other responsibilities you have as a stay at home mom I am feeling great. I am excited for Monday to come, excited to take pride in what I do and do it the best I know how. I love being at mom!