I was hoping to get a post in last week, but my schedule was just too tight. I’ve spent the last two weekends at conferences and I’ve really felt the crunch of no weekends. Let’s dive into the conference talk.
November 1st & 2nd were spent up in the Kenmore/Bothell area. On Friday, I left at 6:00am (which means I was up at 4:45 the day after Fall Fest and my big MOPS Bake Sale) to attend a team day for the Network of Women Ministers. This was my first time meeting with the team. I was intimidated to join a new group. It’s hard to be the newbie. My experience ended up being so positive. We had Donna Barrett for the weekend as our speaker – she is the General Secretary of the Assemblies of God. She is a national leader in our movement and the first women to hold one of the executive offices at the national level. It was powerful to sit down with her and learn from her leadership. Another woman on the team has published a book with another book at the publisher right now. I connected with her about getting a book to the publishing stage. It was a super helpful conversation. I also met another woman who is trying to get published as well. It was fabulous to make connections with women who are working towards a similar dream. The one-day conference was on Saturday and it was called Elevate. The conference was for women in ministry leadership. It offered plenty of practical and tangible tools to use in everyday leadership. It was odd for me to attend a conference without my husband. I’m used to tagging along with him. The conference itself was empowering to women, the connections I made about publishing were helpful and I felt energized in my own ministry leadership. It felt good to discover a piece of me that fell outside of the realm of wife and mother. Of course, I do ministry within the context of being a wife and mother, but the true purpose was grow my ministry leadership and I felt like that was accomplished!
I came back home from the conference ready to tackle my Monday night steering team meeting for MOPS & MOMSnext. October was a big month of our group. I was tired after all that we fit into this one month span of time. Everything went well in October, but because I felt the weight of it all on my shoulders, I felt discouraged. I went into the conference weekend ready to hash out ways to make October different next year. I came away with a clear vision to celebrate my team more. So what if nothing was record breaking last month?!?! We still had a good month! Life doesn’t always have to be a game of one upping the year before. My perspective changed. If I want my team to stay engaged, I need a fresh vision and a new perspective. I feel like I got that over the weekend and I am excited as I implement new ideas.
Last week was fall conferences at school (the conference theme continues). Owen got out of school early the whole week. On Tuesday, I volunteered in his classroom and then took Owen home an hour early. Turns out that means he got his first tardy on his attendance record, but oh well, it was going to happen eventually and Owen loved the special treat! Of course, I cleared it with the teacher the week before so despite the tardy, I was still very responsible. Tuesday evening we had a sit down conference with Owen’s teacher. Owen is scoring great in all areas. He just started AR books and his teacher is moving him to a harder homework packet because he is breezing through his current homework. She doesn’t want to make school too hard so that it is no longer is fun, but she sees the potential to challenge Owen and we agree. I am so thrilled to see the person that Owen is growing into. I love that he is smart and good at school, but mostly I love his heart. He is a helper and he cares for others. He loves to learn and grow. He is becoming more and more amazing everyday. We celebrated the positive report with ice cream after the conference.
Thursday through Saturday were spent out of town at another conference in Yakima (the Palm Springs of WA or so the sign says). This conference was for children’s leaders. This was the first time for both Jeremy and I to be away during the school year. Packing homework and making sure lunches and drop offs and pick ups were taken care of – it’s a whole new level of planning to be away. The conference really focused on the personal health of leaders and staying connected to God and each other. So often children’s leaders are down the hall in a classroom. They aren’t able to participate in the gatherings that might feed them and grow their faith. I appreciated the focus on spiritual health. Some of the highlights of the conference were getting to do an escape room with our team, watching Jeremy ride a mechanical bull, and shopping at Hobby Lobby and Target. I get that none of those things are spiritual, but they are fun and that is equally important for a thriving leader.
While in the stores over the weekend, I saw that Christmas items are coming out in full force. I started to shop for my MOPS & MOMSnext secret sister. I got the family matching Christmas pajama pants and we found Toy Story Christmas ornaments to go on the boys’ trees. On Sunday, we let the boys decorate their mini trees that go up in their bedrooms. We aren’t quite ready to have the big tree up in the living space, but the little trees seemed like a good compromise since the boys were begging to decorate. It was fun to be home and to start doing holiday activities with my kiddos. Owen had a class project to decorate a naked turkey with his family. Owen looked through my craft paper and was inspired to do a sweet themed turkey. This coming week we have a Friendsgiving planned with our growth group, so the thanksgiving foods are already making it on to my grocery shopping list. And we have to shop for our Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. So much good, seasonal fun!
Can I just tell you – I am so excited to be home this weekend! Praise the Lord. Conferences are good. I’ve now had three conferences in the span of a month and while I valued each one I attended, I am over conference settings for a while. I am ready to settle into the magic of the holiday season! There is so much to be thankful for!