Here We Go A-Conferencing

In the weeks before a blog conference, there are all the tweets, all the posts. The ones about the anticipation, the nervousness, the clothes, the sessions, the sponsors and those last ten pounds. The bloggers who are writing for fun wonder if they should go and if it’s all about the business, the ones who are making money wonder if they’ll be able to talk business.

But, to me, a conference isn’t any of that.

It’s the opportunity for so much more.

It’s the tangible, face to face, hug-your-neck-and-hear-your-voice reality of the thing that keeps us all opening this window, sharing our hearts, day after day, week after week, year after year.

It’s transitioning friendships, not just woman to woman, but family to family.

It’s a long day of driving and arriving to the laughter and open arms of friends you’ve never met.

It’s going to sessions, not necessarily because of what you’re going to learn, but because a friend is speaking.

It’s traipsing around town for meals, walking blocks and getting lost.

It’s being crazy. Just because you can. And because it’s fun.

It’s staying up all night like junior high girls.

It’s deep talks in the morning.

It’s messy rooms and clothes strewn about.

It’s sharing makeup and sweaters and jewelry.

But mostly sharing hearts.

It’s the shortening of the miles.

The words on the screen becoming faces, voices, hand gestures.

Pretending, for a few days, that we all really are neighbors.

This is the reason we converge.

This is why we fly from the four corners of the country and land in various cities,

groups of bloggers descending upon pretty hotels.

Because we’re friends. Soul sisters.

This is a conference.

Where have you found community?

~*~

The two winners of the necklace and bracelet sets from Bead for Life are:

Shannon

Ginger

The five winners of the copies of The Boy Who Changed the World are:

Jessica Lynette

Juliann

Laura K

Esther

Kristi

Congrats, everyone! I’ll be emailing all of you so we can get your prizes to you!

Thank you, so very much, to both Bead for Life and Tommy Nelson for sending me to Type A Mom. It was an amazing trip, all the way around.

You can view more pictures, bigger versions, and descriptions for those collage pictures, as well as the conference photo stream, on Flickr.

14 Responses to Here We Go A-Conferencing

  1. Donna October 7, 2010 at 6:33 pm #

    I went to Night of Joy at Disney with some single girls. We laughed at each others’ forgetfulness and lack of spacial orientation. We sat out in the rain together. We took turns running to get drinks or dinner. We worshiped together, singing the songs of Chris Tomlin or Mercy me and raising our hands at the parts that held special meaning to us. I’m like you, I enjoy trips for the people. They make memories to cherish.

  2. Jenny October 6, 2010 at 7:29 pm #

    LOOOOOVE that you are getting to enjoy this time friend!

    Was thinking about community earlier tonight. I believe, truly, that there are times when God brings together a group of people in this type of synchronistic “togetherness” that is radically transforming to each of them. I’ve had two small group experiences like that. I am so grateful for those times… and for the community that I have found in both…

  3. Jessica Bish October 6, 2010 at 7:44 am #

    I love my own little community. It’s lonely sometimes and a little sparse but i do love it. I hope to someday expand my community (only if it’s the Lords will). But for now… i will be content with what He has given me.

  4. Laura@life overseas October 5, 2010 at 1:15 am #

    Hi Ashleigh, just wanted to pop in and say hi. i noticed you are at a half a year mark, just like we are. i know we are on very different journeys, but i thought the timing of them both was interesting. so glad to have found you. :)

    take care,
    Laura

  5. To Think Is To Create October 3, 2010 at 4:29 pm #

    This post gives me chills…because really, it’s about sisterhood. The kind you CHOOSE. Which makes it epic. I love my bloggity family. <3

  6. Esther October 3, 2010 at 12:13 pm #

    oooo I won!! Thanks SO much Ashleigh! And it certainly looks like you had a blast at the conference!

  7. Heather of the EO October 2, 2010 at 8:53 pm #

    Oh wait. The inappropriate crying was just me…randomly. Because of your Beads and how badly I want to go to Africa. ahem.

  8. Heather of the EO October 2, 2010 at 8:52 pm #

    This is the most spot-on description of why I do the conference thing EVER. It’s perfect. Thank you for putting words to my heart. :)

    It was SO GOOD to sit with you and walk with you and eat with you and laugh with you and cry with you and talk with you…

    I can’t wait until we can do it again!

  9. lisa @thebeadgirl October 2, 2010 at 5:40 pm #

    beautifully written. just perfect!

  10. Ginger October 2, 2010 at 12:47 pm #

    If only you could see my smile. I am beyond excited, to many these beads are just pretty to look at. But to me they explain my heart.

    I must confess I did press my name to make sure indeed I was the Ginger who won before I ran down stairs to announce to the household I won the beads. (Hey, even a twenty three year old can be childish sometimes…)

    Thank you Ashleigh, I can’t wait for the day I can come over here and tell you to look on my blog to see pictures of my beautiful adpoted baby. :)

    Ginger~

  11. Gretchen October 2, 2010 at 11:05 am #

    Love it… The photos, especially being able to see them closer up with captions on Flickr… Next best thing to being there! One of these years, it’ll be OUR families enjoying before-blog-conference fellowship. Until then, I love hearing about the conferences you go to! :)

  12. Jessica Lynette October 2, 2010 at 9:28 am #

    Oh yay yay yay!! I won! :)
    Thanks so much!
    And I love this post – and yet it makes me sort of sad.

    I am suppose to go to the Relevant conference {and was so excited to meet you!} and this post just feeds that excitement – but after a good heart to heart with the husband last night I may have to let my ticket go.
    We’ll know for sure Monday or Tuesday.

    • Ashleigh October 2, 2010 at 9:43 am #

      I emailed you about the giveaway. :) I saw your Relevant button on your blog… I understand having plans change, but it would be such fun to meet you!!

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