Blogging + Love: My First Conference.

Danielle Smith interviewing Susan Cain.

I did it. I put myself out there and attended Blissdom, my first blogging conference. And I didn’t die, so we are going to put this one in the “Win” column. However, my travels were not without strife…

You know I was feeling a bit trepidatious about the entire experience anyway, but let me tell you – I was ready to turn around and go back home when I arrived at DFW and my bag did not. It deflated my Balloon of Hope & Optimism faster than a professional Hope & Optimism Balloon deflater with lots of experience. Up to that point, I was all repeating mantras in my head and telling myself it was good for my girls to be without me for a few days and had made plans to ride to the hotel with people I didn’t even know and was just really working hard to make this an incredible experience.

And then? NO BAG. (<insert sound of air quickly escaping a balloon here>)

And this is pretty much my worst fear every time I travel. But at the risk of ruining a perfectly good disaster tale, I must. My bag showed up an hour later on the next flight from Houston. They had no explanation as to why it failed to make it on a plane carrying 20 people for a 45 minute flight. But by that time I had told the other Blissdom gals to go on without me and just planned to find the Super Shuttle, which I did. And on the ride to the hotel I met my Official Blissdom Buddy of 2013, so it was meant to be.

The math is a little rough here, but about 99.8% of those I met at Blissdom said things like, “I would never do that!” when I told them I had come to the conference by myself without knowing anyone. The other .2% were in my same boat, so I wasn’t completely alone. (No, I don’t know how many people equal .2% of the conference population. They say 85% of statistics are made up anyway.) So these statements just reinforced my nervousness, which I unfortunately held on to most of the time.

I’m not a huge fan of social situations that include lots of people I don’t know, so the time spent outside of the sessions was very difficult for me. I wasn’t quite sure what I should be doing. I felt the way my cats must feel when they are in a big, empty space — I really wanted to run and hide behind something. Occasionally I found food or drink to hide behind entertain me, but I think the non-free time was easier for me to deal with.

The speakers were very good. And most of the sessions I attended really spoke to me and gave me lots of practice writing with a good old fashioned pen and paper. I left with notes and goals and inspiration and met a good handful of wonderful people.

But now that I’ve been home for a few days I can say for certain that BlissDom was a very jarring experience for me. At first I couldn’t figure out why I had that unsettled, uncomfortable feeling but today I figured it out: The entire time I was at the conference, I was thinking about me.


What do I want to do? What do I want to write about? What’s my story? What do I want to do with my blog? What do I want to eat? Why can’t I find the coffee?

If you have ever been a stay at home mom, you might understand why this point of view is so foreign and uncomfortable for me. I’m not trying to play the Mother Martyr here, this is just how life naturally unfolds when you are in the position I’m in. But it is definitely time for that to change.

One of the best speakers of the conference was Jon Acuff, and at the closing keynote he reminded us that “being a mom is enough” because raising humans is kind of a big deal. And he is absolutely right. But for me the seasons are changing. My girls aren’t babies any more (*sniff*) and the time has come for me to be a big girl and really follow my heart. Well, the other part of my heart. I would not be doing my job as a mother if I didn’t pursue the thing that I can’t not do. If I don’t follow my dreams, how can I expect my children to follow theirs?

And this, my friends, is how I discovered that Alli Worthington was absolutely right about what she said when she opened the conference: BlissDom is about blogging AND love.

I just did not expect that love to be for myself.


  1. Yeah, I have had to do the same “all by myself thing” too. Kinda weird at first but usually mellows

  2. Beautiful! Great insight, I felt a lot like you did.

  3. I would have felt exactly the same way. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Great post! And I have those same “lost bag” travel fears too! I’m glad we were able to meet, even if it was only on our shuttle ride to the airport 🙂

  5. I love it!! Totally reminds me of an inspiration card I bought at the LoveFeast table in the marketplace that reads: “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” For you, friend, it’s a writer. I’m so glad you had some “me” time! And seriously, next year, we need to smuggle in coffee like we might alcohol – where was it all hiding??

  6. You’re very brave to branch out on your own FOR YOUR FIRST CONFERENCE, even.

    At least your bag showed up. One of my biggest fears as well (that has been realized more than once). Hope you enjoyed the conference as much as I did!