Monday, October 29, 2012

Things I Learned From The Allume Conference

 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 least not in my way, but in God's way and how he intended me to experience it.

 Expectation One: 

 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.

Expectation Two:

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 blogThis 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!

Expectation Three:  

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. 

Expectation 4:  

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.

Expectation 5: 

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.

Shine On! 



  1. Thanks for sharing this really good info! And (no, I'm not "just saying this") I think you're a natural writer, with a way of drawing a reader right into your world. I mean: I've never met you in person, I'm a generation older than you (GASP), and I love reading what you write!

    Your children are blessed to have this special ongoing record of THEIR lives!

  2. Beautifully written, Kathleen. You underestimate yourself. Learning about commas is as easy as reading the grammar lesson on them; writing as you do about faith is a true gift. So many do not understand that "catholic" means universal and that Roman Catholic just means the western (Roman) tradition of spreading the teachings of Christ. A christion is, after all, a person who follows the teachings of Christ. A Roman Catholic is one who follows the teachings of Christ according to the original western (Roman) tradition. The other christians follow those who altered the teachings of the Roman traditions. Methodists, for instance, followed John Wesely who was a Roman Catholic who thought that practicing certain "methods" would help people to better follow the teachings of Christ. He never meant to found a new religion. The same with the Lutherns, Quakers,etc. The problem is education, so that we understand our roots and why we believe what we do. Most don't look into the theology of their churches. I am glad that you enjoyed the weekend. Stay safe during Sandy! xo

  3. I'm glad you enjoyed it and I think your writing is fine! I wouldn't want to read a blog that was written in APA or too structured ! You write as if you are speaking to us, telling us the goings on of life . That's just my humble , non writer opinion !

    I never realized some people don't view Catholics as Christians . I never experienced that as a former Catholic who has been a member of another Christian Church for many years now. I think as long as people have the ultimate goal of growing in their faith and being closer to the Lord , that's what matters .

    I hope, overall, it was a great experience ! I look forward to reading your upcoming blogs and seeing pictures ! I am so proud of you for starting this . I remember when you mentioned starting it, and look how far you've come !!

    Love you !!

  4. I think commas are overrated and overused. LOL
    Thank you for sharing your experience. I know you write for your children but I get so much from what you write and each I time I stop to listen, I am happier. Sometimes, I even listen and don't that a blogger no-no?

  5. It sounds like you had a great experience and came away with a lot of new tools. Sounds like a very interesting conference! Can't wait to see how you use all you learned!

  6. HI Kathleen,
    I am so glad we were able to meet. And, I am sorry that we live so far away from one another. Thank you for your kind words in my prayer journal. I love your blog and your family is gorgeous. I hope we are able to stay in touch. Maybe there will be a PA girls weekend in the new year.

  7. Oh Kathleen! Your words are beautiful like you! I love this post and your reflections. I'm so glad I got to know you and I look forward to reading more of your posts and keeping in touch. Proud of you for being honest and vulnerable in this post and you need to keep it up! You're a good writer Kathleen, because it's about your family and your love for them. God will bless you, your family and your writing because of that!

  8. I am glad we got to meet each other at Allume! :) I hope we can stay in touch!