I lost a dream.

Have you seen it?

It was here 4 years ago.

Maybe it’s under that pile of hurt. Not chosen to write on that blog with all my friends.

Or that one. Not chosen to speak at that conference.

Possibly under that layer of jealousy. She did something I’ve been thinking of for years.

One sure thing.

God doesn’t forget. He gave me the dream of writing.

Not writing a book. Not writing magazine articles.

Just writing on my blog.

He reminded me last week at She Speaks — what my dream was.

I buried it under busyness and code.

Ignoring all of His promptings.

Now I must find it.

And know, just writing on my blog is enough when that’s what He’s called me to do.

Time flies when you’re busy

I looked at the calendar yesterday and realized I’ll be at She Speaks in 2 weeks. TWO WEEKS! Ack. Have not even started preparing the stuff I need to get ready by then. I promised some of the friends I met up with a few weeks ago that I would post some tips. This will be my 4th She Speaks and every year God does something different. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Here’s what I’ve written before…I hope it still helps you!

Written before the 2009 She Speaks conference:

Maybe you click …

Last year [2008] I sort of organized a lunch at Chili’s the day She Speaks started. I say sort of because evidently I didn’t make the right Chili’s known to everyone — half of us were at one, half at the other. God blessed me with meeting Robin at my Chili’s. Robin has a gift ya’ll. She’s outgoing and smart and witty. She can talk to anyone about anything and has such a warm Southern spirit. She makes you feel relaxed and before you know it, you’re telling her your life story. I don’t know of anyone that wouldn’t click with Robin — but that’s because of her, not me. I pray you’ll meet at least 3 people who you click with at the conference.

Maybe you don’t click …

Over the weekend I met many ladies. I dare say I never clicked with any of them like I did Robin, but I did click with some of them. Some of them I felt so awkward around! One, who I will not name (even though I’m pretty sure there’s no way she’d ever read my blog), just said “oh, I know who you are.” That was it. I went totally out of my comfort zone and introduced myself, and that was the line I got back. She walked off and continued clicking with the other ladies there. What I’ve come to realize is that it may not be me, so I shouldn’t take it personally.

Reasons we may not click …

I’ve learned a lot about myself at BlissDom back in February. Here are some reasons you and I may not click if we meet at She Speaks. Maybe it’ll help you to look at meeting people from the other side.

1. I am a Southerner. I not only talk slow. I listen slow. Seriously. If you come up to me, introduce yourself and you get a blank stare? I may just be processing what you said 2 sentences ago. Give my brain a few seconds to catch up. I’ve met some Northerners that I really have to focus and listen. My brain has to slow down what they are saying before I can even try to carry on a conversation. If you happen to be a fast talker? Try to slow it down a little when you meet me, ok? I’ll work on listening faster, promise.

2. I am an introvert. I don’t know exactly when it happened. Maybe I have always been one but when I was a teenager I wanted to be the life of the party. I get overwhelmed easily. I know this and I am going to work in some quiet time for me and God into this conference. Instead of feeling like I’m going to miss out on something, I’m going to sit quietly and regroup before going back around people. What this also means for you who meet me also goes along with #1 above — if you come up to me and start talking and you get the “deer in headlights” look, it’s me — again trying to process everything that’s going on. That might be a good time to ask me if I need some quiet time :)

3. I am different. Not that drastically different — we all are similar in many ways. But maybe we don’t have anything in common. It’s possible. You may be a city girl — I’m a country girl. You? beach. Me? Mountains. You? Pepsi (yuck!). Me? Coke. That doesn’t mean that we can’t talk, but we may not click like you’ll see others do. There are going to be roughly 550 – 600 women at She Speaks (1,500+ at BlogHer). You will see ladies clicking together and forming what will be very deep, life-long friendships. You may long for that. I know I do. But for whatever reason, you and I don’t click? Don’t take it personally. Be kind and courteous and just move along to the next person.

Back row Baptist …

In all of my examples above, it was you coming up to me — did you notice? :) I am very happily a back row Baptist. The kind who likes to hang out behind the scenes most of the time. I may be sitting in a corner or the back row of the conference room. Don’t let that stop you from saying hey — that’s hi for you Northerners and no, it’s not just for horses! ;) I’m going to do my best to force myself out of my comfort zone and make the first step. I’m also going to do my best to remember not to take it personally if I don’t click with someone. Maybe that person isn’t the one God wants me to develop a relationship with today. That’s ok.

One more thing …

Lots of ladies are worried about what to wear. Honestly I know She Speaks has said “no jeans” sort of thing, but I am not a fashion person at all. I am not going to remember what you wore to the conference. What I will remember is your smile. Is there hurt in your eyes or excitement? Did we click? What did we talk about? Those are much more important things that what you wore — to me anyway. I’m not concerned at all with outside appearances but with the heart of the matter. There will be tons more ladies there like me than you would think. So don’t stress it. Bring your best. God sees you. He loves you. He has big plans for you. Don’t worry about what you’re going to wear — I’m pretty sure that’s biblical ;)

Written before the 2009 conference:

Business cards

The subject of business cards for She Speaks came up on Twitter, and I was asked for my advice. Last year I printed mine out on my ink jet printer a day or two before I left for She Speaks. I’m thankful I did. At conferences most people will have business cards to exchange. This helps get your contact information out there to people and helps you remember who you met (hopefully!). I have to admit, I have gotten some business cards for ladies I met that I don’t remember meeting. I must have been that deer-in-headlights when I talked to them!

If you are just getting started, I think it’s perfectly fine to print out your own business cards. They may not look as professional as others, but if you’re just starting out — people understand. You can also get some good quality printed cards online for a reasonable amount of money — though some places will send you 500 as the smallest package. I didn’t give out that many at She Speaks last year but that may have been because I was fairly shy :) Even if you are “just a blogger” I think it’s good to have a business card for your blog. You do want people to go read it, don’t you?

Information to include on business cards

I would include at least your name, blog url, and email. I do not include my address or my phone number for a couple of reasons. These are personal reasons and you may feel different — that’s your perogative ;)

I don’t include my address because you most likely don’t need it for any reason. Seriously, all my work is done online and if you had to ship me something? I’d prefer you just shoot me an email to get my address. Kind of the same thing for my phone number. My preferred method of communication is email. I’m not saying I won’t talk to you on the phone, but if we need to talk about something that we can’t communicate through email, you can email me and we can exchange numbers. I prefer to setup a time to talk also, so the email gives us a chance to set that up. Not that I think you’d stalk me or anything, but I don’t just want my home phone floating out there — or my cell phone for that matter ;) Of course if you Twitter, you might want to include your Twitter id as well — although if you have that linked from your blog towards the top in a prominent place, you may decide to leave that off.

Take a break

If you are like me and get overwhelmed easily (by either the number of people around you or the information you are learning), remember to take a break. I think last year I was afraid I’d miss out on some big opportunity if I went away from the crowd for a minute or two. I stayed in a separate hotel last year and even though it was right down the street, I didn’t want to miss anything by getting in my car and driving there. Just don’t feel bad if you need to sneak up to your room for a few minutes of quiet time. You’d be amazed at how refreshed you’ll feel!

Remember to call home

This is a big one for me — as in, last time I forgot to do it enough. My Genius Better Half tends to let his imagination run a little wild when I’m out of town without him. He tends to think about things like me going off for dinner and being attacked. Pleasant stuff. So, I need to remember to call home and check in every now and then. It’s also good (if you have a worry-wort better half) to leave a schedule of the sessions. That way he will have an idea when you’ll be in between sessions and he can call you if you haven’t called him.

Drinks, snacks and such

As everyone knows, I am a Coke addict — I prefer it in the red-and-white can, but will take bottles happily. At the conference (with all the meals and such) you can get water, tea, and I think they even did coffee here and there. But if you need a little stronger pick-me-up in the middle of the day, there’s a little store in the lobby of the hotel where you can get important things like Coke and chocolate :) It was really late in the afternoon on Saturday when I found this little nugget out — I was going into serious withdrawals ya’ll!

Whatever happens … DO NOT MISS THE PRAYER ROOM! You can read about my 2009 experience here.

After the conference, you’ll probably feel a bit of a let down. Read what I mean here.

Make sure you follow me on Twitter, and give me a hug when you meet me — even if I have that deer in the headlights look 🙂

close my eyes

It started in the ’80s. Maybe the ’90s. My memory has left me to early in life. But you know what I’m talking about. The commercials. The ones showing kids in other countries with just skin on their bones. Oh, and the flies flying around their faces. You remember. Don’t you?

I grew to hate those commercials.

Every time one would come on, I’d close my eyes, stick my fingers in my ears and sing “la-la-la” as loud as I could. This was before the days of remote controls. Yes, I’m that old.

I’m a fixer. I want to fix things.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m a fixer or because my heart literally hurts when I see someone hurting, but those commercials broke my heart. I was overwhelmed. They’d throw out big numbers — so many children needing food and medical supplies. I never could fix it for all of them.

So I continued to close my eyes and change the channel.

At my first She Speaks 2 years ago, there was a Compassion booth setup. I refused to look at any of the pictures. I was not going to let my heart break or feel the pain of these children around the world that I couldn’t help. My buddy Robin heard Compassion was going to send some bloggers to India, and she wanted to go. Not me. I wouldn’t even walk at to the table with her to support her. I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

I have never in my life had a desire to go outside the country. Ok, maybe a few times in French class I’d dream of Paris, but really? I’m a good ol’ country girl who would rather go to vacation in the mountains here than across the ocean. But this wasn’t a vacation. This was a trip to see kids who are sponsored through Compassion, kids who aren’t sponsored and how Compassion works through the local people there to share Jesus.

Technically Robin didn’t make me do it, but inspired me to do it.

Around my birthday last year, after reading about Robin’s experiences in India, I decided to sponsor a child. I sort of peeked through one half-open eye. Fingers still in my ears. I figured I did my part. I’m sponsoring a child. But really? I didn’t want to get attached. I don’t want my heart broken. Pretty selfish huh?

Fast forward to this year’s She Speaks. Same Compassion table, just a few down from the She Seeks table where I sat with my buddies. Except this time, I didn’t really have a choice but to go by the table. Our She Seeks team met with Shawna and Laura and talked about how we could help inform others about Compassion. There were only 2 thoughts that crossed my mind — one, I did not want to admit that I had sponsored a child about a year and a half ago and never written her a letter. Two, I did not want to go on a trip.

This week one of my She Seeks buddies, Shannon, and Shawna are in Columbia. Please pray for them on their trip and also check out Shannon’s blog. She’s writing stories every day. But most importantly, pray about sponsoring a child. And if you do sponsor a child? Sit down and right them a letter — TODAY. I mailed mine Friday.