Every year I find myself looking forward to the Hearts at Home conference in our neighboring city. I remember the first year, not knowing what to expect, taking along a group of friends, all of us giddy with excitement just to be out of the house and away from our children and every day lives. We were off to Mom School! And schooled me it did.
It filled and still fills a space that I can't get filled anywhere else. It feeds my soul and my heart and my mind for a year. MOPS and women's Bible studies come close and offer a great pick me up, but Hearts at Home. It's a day of fun and release, of growing and relief.
This year was a little different. A different schedule and a change of plans. Instead of a van crowded with mamas from different parts of my life, I escaped with my best friend. We went out to dinner like adults, there were none of our kids to throw food or reprimand for manners and we ate sushi, and learned that we never knew the other liked sushi (we normally are bonding over pizza). Then we slept in a hotel, alone in our own beds, and finished conversations and talked about silly things.
The next day I knew what to expect. I knew to expect the unexpected. I never know where God is going to take my heart. Some years I am totally excited by the prospect of one speaker or topic and am blown out of the water by profound things in a sleeper topic I wasn't even sure I'd chosen. But God chose it. He knows what my heart needs to hear. He guides my paths and I tend to trust my instinct or if I feel led to a certain topic, just because I've learned my lesson.
You know it's going to be a good Hearts at Home day when you can't get through the opening main session without pulling out the pack of tissues. This year was no exception with Dr. Gary Chapman (of The Five Love Languages fame) speaking to us briefly about those five languages and giving us an overview. He has such a kind heart and spirit.
I'm not going to review everything in a typical way. That would require too much time, too much back story, and frankly what God is teaching me isn't done yet. I'm still processing and mulling, and figuring out where my heart lands. I bought a few books that I haven't read yet, I need to know more. But I'm pointed in a direction. I have my take aways that I'd like to put into action. Instead, I'd like to bring you my Top 5 quips, Bible passages, and book recommendations from my 2015 Hearts at Home.
1. Today this went up on my chalkboard wall in my living room. Each of us in the family walks by it a million times a day. I've already heard Max reading it to himself.
Proverbs 31 Ministries, its a dream of mine to attend a She Speaks conference) said it in her closing session on Friday afternoon. It struck me. I wrote it down right away, and I've been thinking over it, turning it around inside my brain, picking it apart and putting it back together. It's the main one I'm not sure what to do with yet. But I love it. God comes to us and waits for us. All we have to do it show up and be willing to do what He calls us to. Dang. That's good.
2.Rachael Carman spoke on having "that child" (if you don't know what I mean, then you probably don't have one). There were a number of things from her that changed my perspective, but oh man, this spoke directly to my soul: God made them strong willed because He needs them strong for a reason. The little change opened up a whole new world of possibilities for me, and softened my heart just a little bit more.
3. Dr. Kathy Koch always speaks words of wisdom with a sense of humor and love that not many can. Her reading Proverbs 14:23, All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty, while speaking about a child's motivation knocked my socks off. Trying to teach that to a child is hard. Luckily she's got a new books coming out this spring on it!
4. Courtney Joseph was super inspirational to me. She's someone I've followed on the internet for a while. She was so warm and encouraging in person, it's just always nice to see someone walk their talk! She's the founder of Women Living Well and Good Morning Girls. If you've ever wanted to read the Bible but thought that it was overwhelming or didn't know where to start, Courtney's webpages can help with that!
5. The ladies at Spiritual Circle Journal and Artful Story had a booth set up in the exhibit area. These ladies keep coming up on my radar time and time again, so it was great to see them in person and see their things in real life. In fact, as this is posting a dear friend will be walking us through a tiny bit of art journaling during our MOPS group. She is a fan of these ladies and has done a retreat with them.
So there you have it. A nice lengthy (maybe too long) but not in depth enough detail recount of my 2015 Hearts at Home conference. As I tell all the mamas I get the chance to, if you haven't gone, and you can, you should. Just once. And their big announcement that next year it will be in Peoria, makes it even a little easier for some of us. I have an extra bed at my place. Come along. It will be worth it.