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Christians Writers Conference

She Spoke at She Speaks

 

Luckily, I didn’t faint when I gave my 5 minute speech at the She Speaks Conference this past weekend.

Think I’m kidding?

Think again.

There was REAL concern…

Although this was like… the nicest writers conference I have ever been to, it was by far the most exhausting.   I dern near withered and floated away from complete, adulterated FEAR from the very idea of standing in front of an audience of 500 – ok so really it was only about 8 ladies but still, it felt like 500 – and spill my innards. Ironically enough, my speech was on – you guessed it ….FEAR!!  I racked my brain on what to write and changed my subject 4 different times.  I even emailed the speaking coach and asked could I simply observe and come back next year for my speech.  Her answer?

No observing…

Finally, the moment of doom ascended upon me.  I talked too fast.  I forgot key points.  I gulped on my own spit at least 3 times – which I’m sure was very distracting not to mention quite gross.

But……………….. I did it!

Just off the top of my head this is what I learned at the She Speaks Conference:

  • You ( meaning me) are good to be out-of-town for 5 days. Don’t think you are being smart by packing 3 separate trips in 10 days. Come home. Rest and recharge. You almost ruined your very expensive writer’s conference experience due to the fact that you SUFFER from terrible homesickitis. It’s just who you are and you must never forget: you are no more than a coupon – One that expires in five days after start date.
  • Liz Curtis Higgs is the bomb. Study her. She is fabulous.
  • You really can’t serve two masters. The grief you put into trying to decide whether or not to bring your self help memoir book proposal to the conference was wasted. You are happiest when you are writing and living in Bella Blue’s world. And that is ok. Even pitching your memoir to the girl sitting next to you at dinner took you back to a very insecure place that you are not ready to share.  It’s ok to stick with your happy place.
  • For the second time now, somebody has pointed out that while sharing your story, they laughed at your jokes and self-deprecation but when you slipped up and actually let them peek into your private world, that was the ‘meat’ that reached out and grabbed them – it was just a sentence here, an emotion there – THE REAL YOU IS WHAT THEY WANTED. Ugg.
  • If asked to make a speech, make sure you talk with the decision maker to know their specific needs.  Write it.  Practice it.  And then, put it down.  There was absolutely no need to rework, revise and rewrite the crazy thing 5 times.  You agonized over this thing for at least 2 weeks.  FYI: Your  family will appreciate it next time they are mercilessly trapped with you and your whimpering in a very small condo while in Hilton Head Island….
  • When signing up for a writers conference take note to the advice: Rooms are chilly. Bring a sweater. Thinking that your very cute sleeveless Lily Pulitzer dress will miraculously grow inside heaters; thus keeping you warm….well…it ain’t gonna happen.
  • Pay attention to your ‘used to.’ “I used to dance. I used to exercise……”
  • Let HIS light burn, but pay attention so you won’t burn out!
  • Whatever you do, don’t lie when telling your story.
  • Show. Don’t tell. Example: His hands were trembling, the papers in his hand quivered. Instead of: He was scared as crap.
  • Edit. Edit. Edit
  • The highlight of the message is not about you – until you love your people and your story more than yourself, you are not ready.  It’s ok to not be ready.
  • Enjoy Jesus. Give the Lord your first moments of your day. It is a gift you are giving yourself.

MONUMENTAL: Luke 6:45 For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

Lastly, I learned that when you rush home to see your sweet children with the utmost, highest hopes of a warm, delicious meal waiting on you – on a crisp clean dining room table in a cozy and very clean home… don’t be surprised and alarmed to find this instead…

IMG_3372.JPG

 

The Long and Winding Road

Planning a trip on the spur of the moment with two kids sometimes turns out to be….nothing short than a spur in the rump. I’m usually a planner. Being disorganized makes me nervous.  On Sunday night, I found out about a Christian writers conference that was being held in Black Mountain. I printed out the brochure…all 52 pages. (Adious ink cartridges.)

The peeps and I talked about it and they agreed to do their summer work, bring video games and books while I was in class and then when my classes were over, I would take them through downtown shopping, sight-seeing, climbing mountains …whatever floats their boats.

The next morning, I woke the peeps up, packed our bags and waited till 8:30 when I knew for sure they still had room at the conference. Just in case, I threw our stuff in the car and hoped for the best.

The best was yet to come.  As we ran through the house like our fannies  were on fire, the one whose fanny really is on fire thought that he might be going on this trip as well:

Bear.  The dog.  The very big dog with the even bigger tumor on his rump. The rump bump has been quite a spur for Bear…and us.  After his first surgery, he ripped all his stitches out which sent him packing to the dog hospital. 9 days later, he returned.  13 days after that, Bear’s rump bump is reappearing and that’s when we received the sad news that it was cancer.  One MORE surgery later, Bear and his bump act like nothing whatsoever is wrong. So when we are packing the car, Bear naturally thinks he and his cone are going too.

Wrong.

When Bear and his rump bump get excited, there can be real trouble around our house.  He starts acting like a maniac fool; using his cone as a demolition device. Bear and his cone charge past us, jumping and kicking, racing from one side of the house to the next.  It is in a word: infuriating.  Pictures are being literally knocked off the walls, his side swiper of a tail is crashing across the table surfaces; it is a mess. Imagine a black Tasmanian devil wearing a green cone.  It aint purty.

On the drive, we fought over the radio channels, who was gonna ride in the front seat and just exactly whose responsibility it was to take over pooper scooper duty during the summer months.  listened to quiet soothing classical Mozart. We got lost three different times due to a faulty GPS and took turns calling each other idiots because not one of us can read a real map. to the mountains safe and sound.

We arrive at the conference center and immediately Jake detects trouble:

 

Is there something else that’s supposed to be sitting here??????????

I look around to make sure my eyes aren’t fooling me and…

Yep. Two kids in a hotel room for four days and there’s no television set….

Uggggg.  It’s gonna be a long week.