I returned last night from my first Hearts at Home national conference…and it was amazing. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this group, it’s a Christian organization that exists solely to encourage moms, through conferences, books, blogs, etc. It was founded by Jill Savage, a mom of 5 and wife of a pastor, who’s now the author of several books and is still the head of the organization.
So, I was supposed to spend the weekend with my friend Kelli, but her husband Joe’s emergency appendectomy kept her home…I definitely missed having her with me, but completely understood, of course, that she needed to be home taking care of him! So I looked at the weekend more as a retreat than a girls getaway, and I still had a great time. I stopped in to see my cousin Darren and his wife, Kim, and got to eat a carryout dinner of Flat Top Grill, one of my favorites! And I slept in a king-sized bed by myself. That was nice, too. And, thankfully, there were a couple of girls from my church there that I knew, and they made sure I had someone to sit with on the big sessions!
The big day of the conference is Saturday, where there’s an opening speaker and then four breakout sessions on a variety of topics. Many are parenting-focused, obviously, but some are just about taking care of mom, too (something I’ll be blogging about in a few days, as time permits), and then a closing speaker. The whole day was just so awesome and encouraging for moms who are in the thick of parenting kids of all ages. I chose to go to a couple of breakout sessions on discipline, one on birth order, and one of Jill Savage’s presentations called “My Heart’s at Home,” based on her book of the same title, which is about having a blueprint for your family. It was excellent. I’ve got to get the book now to fill in the details she didn’t have time for in an hour.
It was so much bigger than I was anticipating…it’s held on the ISU campus during spring break. There were over 4,600 women in attendance from 31 states! Those moms have a total of nearly 13,000 children…so when you think of the impact that a conference like this can have, helping moms refocus on their jobs and leave with tools to help make them better at what they do, it’s huge! Also really exciting to me was that H@H partners with Compassion International, and 85 children were sponsored by the moms in attendance at the conference (notice my new button in the sidebar for Compassion…if you’re thinking about sponsoring a child, click on the button…you won’t regret it).
I left a little early on Saturday evening to get back to my kiddos…Bennett had started running a fever on Saturday morning, and I wanted to be able to tuck him in. Jack Henry joined him today with a fever (he even fell asleep on the fireplace hearth – don’t worry, it’s covered with protective pads so it was apparently pretty comfy!), so we’re all trying to recover from our weekend. I’m so thankful that Matt is such a great dad, and was willing to give me this time away to recharge my batteries. It was just what I needed.
Reading back over this post sounds so blah, but there is no way to really do the conference justice by writing up a quick blog post…you need to experience it yourself, whether you stay at home, work outside the home, have 1 kid or 19 (one of the moms at the conference had 19 KIDS, I KID YOU NOT). Plan on going next year – it’s March 12 and 13, 2010!