by | Jan 26, 2011 | Conferencing, General | 23 comments

Blissdom Conference ~ Nashville ~ January 26-28, 2010I am in Nashville!

I’m at Blissdom, ya’ll!!!

This trip to Nashville… to the Opryland Hotel kind-of brings about a full circle for me… if one looks at this from a reflective perspective.

Come. Reflect with me…

I have been to Nashville (Opryland, specifically) twice before. Both times to get training and inspiration as a MOPS leader. I was involved for 9 years… from attendee/new mom, to table leader, to craft leader to coordinator… to plum tuckered out!

I have wonderful MOPS convention memories. I grew, I learned, I connected. I stretched… I left my family (read: CHILDREN) for the longest time and longest geographical distance than I had ever had before.

And today, I head to another conference at the Opryland Hotel — Blissdom… With similar purposes – To learn. To grow. To connect. To stretch. Still with a focus on women, but it’s a bit different this time. I would have to say, the reason I am at Blissdom today is a direct result of the last time I was in Nashville.

I went to one of the personal sessions at my last MOPS convention. I walked into the session a pretty broken woman. Almost literally. Right before entering, I wept in the arms of a woman I had never met before. I was overwhelmed. I was tired. I was postpartum. I felt purposeless. I feet completely tapped. I was Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom… Which is great… and an HONOR, but also exhausting.

Who was I? What did I have to offer besides band-aids, mammary milk, and diaper changes? I walked into that session… red-faced from tears. I was hungry for hope.

I don’t remember the title of the session… it had something to do with existing as a person outside of the label “Mom”… something about it being OK to be “Mom” and “Jenny”.

I don’t remember anything from the session outside of this paraphrased quote, “If you wait 20 years to raise your kids and THEN start cultivating interests… pursing your passion… then in 20 years — you will be 20 years behind.”

*blink blink blink*

The speaker wasn’t demeaning the job of motherhood… she wasn’t encouraging us to go work full-time… or not… she wasn’t telling us to start filling our time up with our own interests. The heart shared was this: Don’t feel guilty for taking some time (an hour a week, 15 minutes during nap time, a daily commitment, etc…) to begin pursing your passion… your dream… your love.

I felt SO relieved. I was struggling. I felt guilty not using every moment in the act of mothering. I felt guilty for not keeping a perfect home. I felt guilty for not serving my MOPS group as I felt I could. I felt guilty for not having energy for marriage-stuffs. I felt guilty for not. Not. Not.

Guilt. Guilt. Guilt.


I left that room SO light. SO filled with hope. Encouraged. I could be Mom AND Jenny.

Yeah. For reals.

During that session… I knew what “it” was for me. My blog. I loved writing. There. I had no plan, but I just wanted to write… on my blog. I wanted to empty out my brain. Be silly, be real, be whatever. Share motherhood, womanhood, or my passion for coffee. I felt that was the space to explore my creativity, my voice, my passion.

Fast forward to today. Blissdom. I am joining Esther Brady (FaintStarLite and ShePosts) in leading the vlogging workshop. IN THE OPRYLAND HOTEL.

In the same halls a once very sad, guilty and creatively void woman walked.

On Thursday, I get to connect and facilitate those who choose to be in the Vlogging Tribe. On Saturday I get to lead a video walk. Danielle Smith was supposed to be leading these activities, but she was given an incredible opportunity she could not pass up (Yay, Danielle!!!) … so Danielle asked if I could take her place. And I am thrilled. Giddy, tickled, and a wee-bit nervous.

How did I get to grow to a place where I could share my voice… MY passion? How did I grow to a place where I belong… to be asked to be a part of these events? To be involved in something not directly related to my place in the tribe of Motherhood?

It was that one changing day back in 2006… or was it ’07. ’06? I don’t actually know. I was depressed, and I hadn’t discovered Facebook yet, so I can’t go look for pictures!  In any case… this visit to be a part of the Blissdom Conference is tangible evidence that a once very broken woman was able to allow herself to sluff-off enough guilt to make some room to develop a passion.


Now that my babies are kindergarten and up, I have more kid-free time to spend on this passion… which has also become a business. Which has benefitted my family financially.

But I still, I can only take moments. I am still mom and wife. And all of this is perfect. For me. Wife. Mom. Jenny.

I still struggle with guilt. But that is just my personality. God and I fight about it all the time. I am totally not kidding. He thinks I am too hard on myself. He’s probably right. But I am stubborn like that…

These last 5 or so years has taken me on a journey of hits and misses. Exploration.

“Blogging”… “Vlogging”… all still relatively new. God knew it was my season to hear that challenge THAT day… He knew my heart matched the opportunities that were emerging.

What if I hadn’t taken the charge of that speaker? What if I had waited 20 years? What if really doesn’t matter, now does it. NOW matters.

And I know I haven’t “nailed it”. Inexperience… Feelings of inadequacy… Misplaced understanding of the important things… Not using my time wisely (curse you Facebook!, but love you, Facebook!)…

Today is Wednesday. The start of Blissdom 2011. I will learn. I will connect. I will be inspired. I expect to leave here as the same woman, but also… a different woman.

Just as I did so many years ago.

The same. Still Jenny… but different. In a good way. I am certain of it.


Keep up on the ridiculous, the insightful, the always digressive…

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