Hearts at Home conference: 2014

I’m still processing everything I learned and heard at the National Hearts at Home conference last weekend, and I can’t wait to read over my notes again and set some new plans and goals for the future.

Attending the conference was one of those almost-didn’t-do-it things that is now a definitely-every-year thing for me. I think some people were surprised I went by myself, but I’ve found that sometimes when you attend something with a group, you feel obligated to stay with the group and attend the same sessions as the group, and you end up missing out on things you really want to do because of that.

It really was a wonderful day, and I met up with my dear friend from college and her sister for lunch, so  I never felt alone or awkward at all. And it was a 12-hour break that allowed me to really step back and re-focus on my role as a mother and my purpose as both a mother and a person.

Far and away, my favorite time was the 10 minutes I got to spend talking with Crystal from MoneySavingMom at the end of the day. If you’ve read my blog before, you know that I am an avid follower, and I’ve written about her new (NYT best-selling!) book several times. I’ve been reading Crystal’s blog for about 6 years now, and she has had an incredible impact on me and the way I live.

I also attended one of Crystal’s break-out sessions, and overall she just blew me away…like I knew she would :)

I also attended a session about being a strong-willed wife by Dr. Debbie Cherry – and it brought a lot of things into perspective about how and where to channel my independence and passion! – and I was so moved by the messages of Dr. Kathy Koch about celebrating our kids and ourselves for who they are and who we are. I wished I could have sat with Dr. Kathy and chatted all day!

Seriously, I had tears running down my face throughout the entire opening main session…because I just felt like everything they said was what I needed to hear at that time and I was so thankful to God for leading me there.

The break-out session that probably impacted me the most was with Jill Savage, the founder of Hearts at Home. She focused on what a home should be – an emotional safe house, a rest area, etc. – and how to make it so. The session, like the rest of the day, didn’t leave me feeling guilty or overwhelmed with a huge to-do list…but rather left me with some points to reflect on, pray about and focus on in the future as my kids grow up.

Actually, conversely, Jill took a lot of pressure OFF of her audience by encouraging us to slow down and to let our kids be kids. She told us “just because there are ballet classes for 2-year-olds doesn’t mean that your 2-year-old needs to be in ballet class!”

And after her session, I got to chat with Jill and her daughter Anne for a minute, which was another highlight of my day.

Jill’s teenage son, Austin, said something first thing in the morning that was exactly what I needed to hear and is now etched in my mind. And I will now remind myself of this daily:

You are not a perfect mother. You are the perfect mother for your kids.

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