The last time I checked in, I was in the midst of a pre-Influence Conference Rush.
I’m happy to report that things came together rather smoothly and, before I knew it, I was experiencing 5 hours of blissful silence on my way to Indianapolis.
I happened to pass through Waterville, OH because I saw they had a Subway and I was hungryyyy. Turns out it was a little off the beaten path, but totally worth it because Waterville has an adorable little mainstreet! The picture does not capture just how cute and quaint this little street was, but I had to try anyway.
It was a double bonus because I drove right past a Kroger gas station (I don’t have one on my normal weekly circuit) where I saved $.40 per gallon of gas! Makes me think I ought to expand my normal weekly circuit to pass by a Kroger station more often!
I arrived at the hotel a little while after my roommates, and when I opened the door to our room, I was so excited to see all their pretty faces live and in person! They each brought roommate gifts which was incredibly thoughtful and over-achieving of them.
I didn’t bring gifts for everyone which made me feel a little, shall we say, AWFUL. But they were all super sweet about it, so I tried not to stress :)
We ended up being really compatible roommates which was great since we didn’t all know each other beforehand. We shared what we were learning throughout the weekend, gave advice on which shoes to wear with our outfits, and laughed until we peed about various hand gestures that may have been innocent, but came across pretty risque´!
It was me with the suspicious hand gestures….
Lesson learned: there is no hand gesture for granola bar!
But beyond the fun and laughs, the Influence Conference once again delivered fantastic teaching. I attended sessions by Jamie Ivey, Jessica Honneger of Noonday fame, Lara Casey who blew my heart wide open, Lisa Leonard, and Ellen Parker.
Each one of them had a personal message that they were passionate about sharing and each one had an impact on me and the story I’m living in my own life.
I also attended a smaller breakout session called, “Speaking 101: How to inspire Change” led by Heather Boersma. I was torn about whether or not to attend this session or go back to my hotel room to rest before dinner and boy am I glad I went! She greeted us by encouraging and affirming any little flame we have in our hearts about speaking and within the first 2 minutes of her session I had a lump in my throat and tears stinging my eyes.
I think I would like to speak in some capacity about the things God has done in my life. In the past 2 years I’ve experienced more of his goodness and mercy than all 32 before that and I’m forever changed because of it. He’s set me free and I cannot help but want to share some of my small story with other women in the hopes that God might use it to encourage them toward change and freedom.
I feel squirmy even typing that out. It feels so very “put me in the spotlight!” but after hearing Heather’s encouragement, I’ve decided not to squelch the little spark, but rather give it time to see whether it might grow into a bigger flame.
We’ll see what happens. I’m just so happy I attended that session and heard from Heather who was so down-to-earth and relatable. She allowed her heart to connect with us and I left feeling more joy than when I arrived which I say is always the sign of a special person :)
The Influence Network is a very cool little corner of the internet. It provides a way for women from coast to coast to connect with one another on common ground, be it Jesus, blogging, small business and/or a strong desire for community.
I met a bunch of fantastic women last year and I just loved being able to see and hug them in person!
Dorian and I just happened to meet briefly in the hallway last year and ended up developing a deeper friendship online after that. I may have my doubts about social media, but I credit Instagram and the good Lord for allowing me to get to know Dorian over the past year. She’s an absolute treasure of a woman and an encourager :)
I also got to reconnect with Ashleigh of Binti Designs. I fell in love with her and her mom last year and then and her gorgeous scarves (partial proceeds are donated to microfinance loans for women in Kenya). I even posted about the scarves last year before the holidays. If you haven’t had a chance to check them out, you should! I bought this one at the conference this year and I adore it. Almost everyday I feel like it could be added to my outfit…talk about versatile!
I ran into Christa of Ora Dale Handmade and she’s just as sweet as her smile would lead you to believe :) I also met her briefly last year in the hall with Dorian and I was thrilled to grab one of her mason jar cozies! I mean, a mason jar is adorable enough on it’s own, but you put it into a crocheted cozy and it’s a wonder it doesn’t explode from the cuteness!
There were countless other women that I was able to catch up with again and then a whole bunch of new ladies that I look forward to getting to know this year! I wish I had been better about snapping pictures with all of them. Boo!
But I did get this cute shot of my roomies all sporting their fashionable chambray :)
You may notice Allie’s cute scarf (beautiful brunette on the far right) and the adorable striped one I was wearing in the picture with Ashleigh…both of those are from Allie Mac. From the moment I met Allie I felt like I had known her forever. That worked out well since we met and shared a bed in the same day! Lol
But seriously, I love her heart for people, her craft, and the Lord. She’s just really special.
Now that the conference has come and gone, I’m feeling very peaceful. Last year I came home itching to make a million changes and I think that was probably good. It inspired a lot of writing and at that time I needed a nudge. This year I left feeling content. Grateful for where God has me, confident that he’ll continue to roll out his plan for me & I needn’t worry about missing it, and overall at rest.
If you’ve never been to the Influence Conference and it sounds intriguing, I totally encourage you to go. It’s not just for bloggers or small business owners. It’s for women who love God and other women.
I’d tell you I’ll see you there, but I have some Matron of Honor duties I’ll likely be fulfilling that weekend so be sure to take lots of pictures if you go! You know I’ll be stalking the conference on Instagram if nothing else :)