I am home from spending a few days at the Allume Conference. I am past all the fears I had previously about what to wear, who will I talk to, and is it worth my time to be away this long from my family. After all, blogging for me isn't about being a writer. I am the farthest thing from a writer. However, I do blog for a reason and now I know that reason is good enough.
I'd like to lay out for you the expectations I had and how they weren't met....at least not in my way, but in God's way and how he intended me to experience it.
Learn how to increase my blog's pageviews and followers.I did not learn the answer to this, but I did learn it is NOT important. Trina Holden spoke about identifying the "why" of my blog. Why am I doing this? What I had to do was ask myself why I started blogging and if I am doing what I set out to do.
She mentioned that success is about impact, not numbers. She asked us to trace our hand and write on each finger those followers who read your blog. That is who I should be speaking to. In my case, the fingers went to my five children. My joyful mysteries....the reason for my blogging.
Learn how to layout my homepage and grab the attention of strangers who happen upon my blog.I still have no clue on how to do this and this blog may be in this plain, free background format forever. But if I ever do figure it out, I learned tools from Tsh Oxenreider to help me know just what I want it to look like. In her session Building A Successful Platform she spoke about having a Purpose Statement; something that will help readers identify what I believe. She asked us to write three words or sentences to describe the purpose of our blog. This is something that could be recorded in our "About" page. (I need to get me one of those.)
She asked what we can do to make our blog better. In my case, I can learn how to use my camera. I know for myself and the blogs I read, pictures really grab me and keep me interested. Sometimes I feel like my pictures are so poorly done, even my own children don't look cute to me!
Learn how to write more like a writer.There was no class on this. You either have that gift or you don't. I'm one of the latter and that is okay. Many of the speakers spoke of the importance of being yourself, sounding like yourself, being honest, write about what you're "jazzed" about, and most importantly, to pray to have the wisdom to write what God is calling you to write, no matter what that is.
But I still wish there was a session on the right times to use commas.
Learn how to take better pictures.I did walk out of that session knowing more, but I have a long way to go. Darcy Milder gave us some simple instructions to get us started and made the task seem a little less daunting. My take away from that was there is a plethora of good information in my camera manual and practice will go a long way. I will also be checking out her series 31 Days To A Better Photo.
Connect with other Catholic Moms.This did not happen. And that's okay. I did meet many women who I enjoyed speaking with and getting to know, to the extent that it makes me sad we live far away from each other and our paths will probably only pass in the blogging world.
For me, learning from others is easy. I enjoy people. It can shed light on a lot, whether it was something I've been in the dark about, or making stronger something I already knew.
For instance, I did not know that many people do not consider Catholics as Christians. Say what? I've never heard that before. I suppose I have lived in my Catholic bubble since I was a baby. So that was an eye opening and somewhat hurtful revelation for me.
On the flip side of that, I felt that there was something lacking while I was there. Don't get me wrong on this. Those that organized this event spent countless hours to bring the light of Christ to so many and they succeeded. I am only talking about myself here. Many times I felt that I was on a retreat, but for me, a cradle Catholic, so much seemed missing.
As Catholics, we have this gift called Sacraments. As a child I learned that a sacrament is "an outward sign, instituted by Christ, to give grace."
Grace. A common theme I heard throughout the weekend.
As a Catholic, I have a deep source of grace at my fingertips with the sacraments.
I have the saints who teach me how to live a life worthy of God.
I have the Blessed Mother, who intercedes on my behalf. No one loves her more than her Son, so it's okay for me to love her too.
And most of all, I have the Eucharist.
I found myself yearning for all that I know; for my comfort zone. The conference was great however, and only after a few days of processing can I see all the merits it provided. Much like life, we have to give up preconceived notions sometimes to truly see what the Lord wants us to learn.
I learned a lot and am truly grateful to those who gave us such an inspiring weekend.