Very early after my arrival at Allume I realized this conference was made for me.
Like, I felt bad for the other 500 women there, that they weren’t going to get anything out of it because it was so for me that they could’ve called it “Dear Heather …” instead of Allume.
But then I realized other people were getting stuff out of it too just not the same stuff I was getting. So it was like the conference was just for them too, which is just … cool! Or, as my fifth grader would say “that’s boss!”
I asked people why they came to Allume and a lot of people came to meet up with a certain blogger or tweeter or to network.
That’s not why I was there.
I went to check it out and see what it was all about and see if there was anything in it for me, anything that anyone had to say that would speak to where I am in any sense of that place. And hopefully to learn something I could use or apply in some way, to writing or to life or, ideally, both.
It’s a conference for a pretty specific audience: women Christian bloggers and writers, of which I am all of those.
The “big picture” take away for me was that I was amongst kindred spirits, that is — other people like me. Other women, many of whom are also moms, who are living the Christian life (or trying to), and have within them words or stories and the desire and/or talent to write the words or stories they have.
I took a lot of notes, and I learned things about myself, God and writing that I can see applying to life in general and in writing.
Here’s a few small takeaways that meant something to me:
“It doesn’t matter if we have big blogs or little blogs, we’re all regular people and God uses regular people.” — Sara Mae
“At the end of our life God’s not going to say ‘well written’ or ‘well said’ but ‘well done.'” — Lisa Jo Baker
“We all want to count. When you live for an audience of one, you know you always count.” — Ann Voskamp
“We scroll and scroll looking for affirmation. Nobody on Twitter is going to engrave your name on their palm. If they do you need to get a restraining order.” — Melanie Shankle, aka Big Mama, referring to Isaiah 49:16 where God says “I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.”
Also from Shankle: God often teaches us the most important lessons in obscurity; It was in the pasture that David learned to be King, not on the throne.
One of the speakers talked about Jesus and this is what I wrote after her talk:
“The way she describes Jesus I picture his passion and ache for me, not someone passive that just takes it or leaves it but who is pursuing me. Who when I say no to what he has for me doesn’t shrug his shoulders and say “ok, do what you want” but who’s heart hurts that I don’t accept and embrace what he offers but settles for what I want when what He wants to do is so much better! God is *for* me, not against me so why do I resist what he’s trying to do? ‘He wants you turn in the thing that you love more than him,’ she said. ‘He is after you.'”
Other cool things …
The conference was held in downtown Greenville, S.C., which is definitely a place I’d like to visit again and take my kids. I had good local pizza and good local coffee and want to do the Mice on Main scavenger hunt, amongst other attractions.
The conference had a lot of cool service opportunities, two of which really pricked my heart. One is Sole Hope, which removes jiggers from the feet of children in Uganda and uses recycled denim and tires to make shoes so they don’t get jiggers again. I’ll be having a Sole Hope shoe cutting party in the near future where we can take old jeans and cut the pieces needed to send to Uganda for the shoe makers to make shoes.
The other ministry I worked with that was kinda different and unique was Help Portrait. We actually brought in a group of kids from a local after school program, had a local beauty school do their hair and make up, and several professional and amateur photographers volunteered to take professional photos. The idea is to take photos of people who may not have opportunity to have their photo taken and then give them their photos. I’d like to do a local version of this too, and am looking into it.
So, Allume ended up being pretty awesome.
Or as the fifth grader would say — pretty boss!