A few weeks ago, after returning from Utah, I was strongly thinking about what I needed to start the year off right. One of things that I really wanted to find was a) something that was Christ-focused; b) something that focused on the Bible; and c) something that was geared towards women. I didn’t know what that “something” was — was it a conference, a book, a book study or something completely different.
I was planning on asking some people for some recommendations when someone in a Facebook group I’m in posted about the IF:Gathering. I hadn’t heard of it before, but as soon as I looked at the website I knew was the “something” I had been needing.
The main IF:Gathering was held in Austin, Texas. In addition to the main gathering, there were IF:Local events held around the world, and the event was livestreamed. I wasn’t able to get in contact with the IF:Local person here in Clarksville, so I just watched some of the Livestream by myself — mostly at Panera. I’m not alone as the Livestreams have been watched by tens of thousands of people.
I wasn’t able to watch all the sessions. I basically watched 2.5 of them. There is a place you can order a digital download of the sessions, and I’m probably going to do that just because there are a few things I want to watch again (and, I would like to catch the ones I missed).
I was blown away by Christine Caine and some of the things she said — specifically about being a servant and not holding on to old fears.
One of my favorite quotes:
“You cannot take hold of the future if you’re holding on to the past. Leave your pain at the foot of the cross.”
I’m blown away.
The other person that really touched me was Ann Voskamp and in ways I can’t even put into words yet.
I’ve been posting some things over on Medium just to see how they do. Here are links to two posts I did last week:
I’m not sure why (definitely need to do a little more introspection and digging), but I seem to be struggling this week with wanting to attend lots of things that I don’t have the time or the money to attend.
This year, I’ve budgeted for two conferences that I’ll pay for out of pocket — MisfitCon in May (of course) and something in the fall.
But, there is so much more I want to do.
I want to go to RootsTech and hang out with the genealogy geeks.
I want to go to Podcast Movement.
I want to go to Dave Delaney’s podcast conference in Nashville later this month.
I want to attend the World Domination Summit.
There are probably 10 other conferences in the next 6-12 months that I have similar “wants”.
I’m hoping these feelings go away, and that I will get back to feeling okay with the awesome stuff I have planned for this year and not be so disappointed in what I can’t do.
I just spent an amazing three days in the Chicago area for the Storyline conference. I had heard it was a really awesome conference, but other than that I didn’t have a whole lot of expectations going into it. It was amazing in so many ways, most of which are going to take awhile to process.
Towards the end of the day yesterday, I had one of those moments when something became really clear about my story — specifically the story about the abuse I went through as a kid and where I am today. The following three points best summarize how I feel:
- I have an amazing story to tell that is unique and if told the right way could bring a lot of hope to a lot of people.
- There are people out there who need to hear the whole story.
- Now is not the season for me to tell that story.
That isn’t to say that I’m going to stop talking or writing completely about my experiences, but I think for the time being anything public about those experiences will be in very general terms.
Privately, I’m going to be starting to put together something more long form and see where that leads in the future.
And, I have couple of exciting things I’m working on for this blog and some other online venues.
Earlier this year, I spoke at WordCamp Nashville. I shared some examples about how nonprofits are using WordPress as their content management system.
After my session, I was able to sit down with Clark Buckner to talk about my work with nonprofits, WordPress, and other things going on in the space.
You can find a recap of the interview and a link to listen here.
About 6 weeks ago, I had an amazing conversation with Berni Xiong (She has an inspiring podcast here – The Shut Up Show). She’s a fellow misfit and totally awesome.
We were talking about my goals and where I’m trying to head with things. For the next couple of days after our conversation I realized something about what I want from life — I’m calling this my “ideal life”.
There are a couple of things that would be true in my “ideal life”:
1. I would be mostly mobile. I might have a “home base” somewhere, but I would be spending most of my travelling. I would be able to spend quality amounts of time in certain places — Utah, California, Oregon, Maine (in the non-winter months), Tennessee and wherever else people I love are living.
2. I would be splitting my time doing three things: helping people connect to their pasts through genealogy / family history; helping nonprofits with their online marketing and online fundraising; spreading a message of how people can overcome physical and other challenges and live a meaningful life.
I have some goals about what I need to do to get here:
a) I need to be debt free. That’s close. If I were to get really focused on it, I could do it in 6 months. It’s probably more like a year away because I choose to do other things than throw all my money at debt.
b) I want to finish my bachelor’s degree.
c) I potentially want to get certifications in both fundraising and genealogy.
d) I want to get healthier physically.
While I haven’t been blogging much lately, I have been reading a lot. I’ve been somewhat obsessed with dystopian science fiction and have thrown in some other books as well.
- Dear Nobody
- The Purge of Babylon Series (so far, there’s been four books)
- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
- Mayflower: The Voyage from Hell
- Harry Potter (All 7 books. This was a reread, but super worth it.)
- The Last Girl
- Plague Year
- Open Minds
- The Atlantis Gene
- Burial Rites: A Novel
- Red Rising
- The Wind Through the Keyhole: A Dark Tower Novel
- To the Last Man
- Oryx and Crake
- The Year of the Flood
I’ve been reading a book a week and sometimes more. It’s been pretty awesome.
Taking the summer off blogging wasn’t intentional … There were a whole bunch of things that attributed to my lack of blogging:
a) Work has been very busy. My main two clients have been keeping me on my toes, but we’ve been doing some awesome work.
b) I’ve been trying to figure out what I want to do with this blog, what I need to get out of it, and what I hope the people that read it get out of it (more to come on this in another post soon).
c) I’ve been committed to working out 3-5 time per week and most weeks have been hitting the 4 or 5 benchmark. This has been awesome, but it leaves me physically and mentally exhausted. It also means that I have a set time for when I have to finish work to get to the gym, and I’ve needed to spend what was my evening blogging time to finish that day’s work.
I have a bunch of “pending” posts on my “to do” list …
Last year, I left #MisfitCon with pages of detailed notes. This year, one of the most striking things about my notes is how scant they are. For many speakers, I just wrote down one or two thoughts. For some speakers, I didn’t write down anything at all.
Towards the end of Saturday, I was pondering why I wasn’t taking more notes and to be honest I think it’s because this year’s #MisfitCon was more about my heart than my brain.
One of the hardest parts about being a bit of an introvert is that I have a hard time creating connections with people I don’t know. I will often go in to social settings and sit in a corner and people watch vs. interact. One of the best parts about being a returnee to this year’s MisfitCon is that there were already so many people that I met last year or (even if I didn’t talk to them at all last year) interacted with on Facebook over the course of this past year and I felt immediately among friends.
I ate at Hotel Donaldson four nights in a row — each night with a different group of people. (A couple of those dinners I invited myself to, and I hope people didn’t mind.)
It’s interesting that I’ve come away from two conferences this year — the nonprofit technology conference a few months ago and now MisfitCon — where the interactions that I had with people had so much more of an impact than what happened “on stage”.
My big takeaways from this year’s MisfitCon are really similar to last year’s … with a few twists.
- I am important and unique. No one else can tell my story or add what I can creatively to the world. If I don’t do it, no one else will.
- Be bold. Take risks.
- Don’t wait for anyone to give you permission.
- Being uncomfortable is okay. Making other people uncomfortable is okay.
In a few hours, I will be leaving Fargo after an amazing #misfitcon weekend.
If you’re wondering, “why Fargo?”, go read this.
On Friday morning Jonathan Fields spoke about making sure all of our buckets were full. While my vitality bucket is a little low and will need replenishing over the next couple of weeks, my connection bucket is full and overflowing.
I feel as if I have been recharged and that I’m now ready to take on the next 360 or so days until next year’s MisfitCon.
It hasn’t been announced whether next year’s conference will be here in Fargo or some other awesomely quirky location, but I love the time I’ve spent in this town this year and last year.
If only the winters weren’t so cold and snowy …