Blissdom '09

For two days, I've been staring at a blank screen trying to put into words what I got out of Blissdom this past weekend.

The conference was amazing. The ladies that I met there were amazing. The beautiful hosts were amazing.

My favorite session of the weekend was Writing with Passion-Finding Your Voice. The speakers and moderator were four of my favorites in the blogosphere: Shannon, Stephanie, Arianne and Catherine. They were honest, loving and passionate about the one thing that brought me to blogging: writing. I've always loved to write and ultimately, this is why I blog.

Though I started to blog because of my love for writing, I found something quite unexpected once I was here. Community. I've connected with women all over the world and from every possible walk of life. I've offered and gained support from them. I've heard stories about their lives and watched their children grow. I've seen them go through the highest highs and the lowest lows and felt every single emotion with them as if I'd been friends with them forever.

I went into this weekend praying that I would leave with a direction for this blog. Let's face it, there's no shortage of options for a blogger these days. I found exactly what I was looking for. I was reminded time and again that I need to keep the main thing the main thing. I love to read blogs by people who love to write. Writing is what brought me here and will keep me here. All of the other things: social media, SEO, blah, blah, blah are great but it's not the main thing for me.

I have to tell you a few of the people that I met this weekend who just blew me away. I will shout from the rooftops for the rest of my days my love for Beth. She's one of the most amazing women I've ever met. She's real, funny and beautiful. She made me feel like I'd known her forever from the second we met. I spent the weekend in awe of her. She also introduced me to her girls: Arianne, Sarah and Stephanie. Oh, I love each one of them. They make me want to pack my bags and move north several hundred miles. LOVE.

If you have ever read a blog you know Shannon, the Nester, Emily and Annie. I only point them out because I've been reading them for so long and love their writing style. They are the real deal, y'all. I was like a thirteen year old at a Jonas Brothers concert when I met each one of them. They were gracious enough to hug my neck even as I babbled incoherently and drooled on their shoes.

I know this is getting long but I have to tell you the biggest thing that impressed me about Blissdom. There were around 250 women there and a handful of men. (Hang with me, that's not the impressive part.) When I called home on Friday night, Big Daddy asked me a question that shaped the way I viewed the rest of the weekend.

He said, "Do you feel like there is a spirit of competition there since all of you are in the same 'business' or is it friendly?" Let me tell you honestly how I answered. There wasn't one moment where I felt like I was being viewed as anyone's competition. I've heard Alli say before that there is no reason that we can't all be successful so there's no reason that we shouldn't help each other. (I'm paraphrasing, obviously. She's uses way cuter words than that!) That's what the weekend felt like. I could have worn my stretchy yoga pants and no makeup and I really feel like I would have still made a ton of new friends. I would have gotten hugs from the women listed above. I asked hard questions of some of the ladies there and they answered them honestly and offered more help than I ever expected. THIS is the community I speak of. This is what has made it so difficult to put the weekend into words. This is why my heart is still full two days later and I'm still processing all of what I experienced.

I know I don't usually post a lot of pictures here but I will be posting pictures as soon as I steal them from Beth because that girl takes some great pictures and I "forgot" my camera every time I was with her this weekend.

Also? If you have any questions about any of the sessions, please feel free to ask and I'll answer. You can also buy transcripts of all the sessions if you want.