This past Saturday I was privileged to attend, for the second year in a row, a blogging conference for Catholic women. When my husband asked how the conference went, I gave him three highlights: there were drinks (mimosas and sangria), Mary Lenaburg told us to go to Confession, and Kelly Mantoan jumped on the trampoline! But seriously, the weather was perfect, a miracle for late August in Virginia, and it was wonderful to connect with old and new friends. Some of my favorite ladies (who also blog) were there to speak and participate. Because the talks were so awesome, I’m just going to give a quick recap here, for my future reference.
First, Elizabeth Foss gave the keynote. She had many words of encouragement and advice, but here’s what struck me the most: be authentic and tell your own story, because you never know how God intends to use your words to reach other people. Even if I only write about little things in every day life, even if I seem very insignificant, my story, my witness, can bring others to Christ, although I probably won’t know it until Heaven.
Next up, Kelly Mantoan spoke about “finding your blogging
mojito mojo.” Decide why you are blogging, have a mission statement, and then be true to that. When you don’t want to write, or you’re no longer enjoying blogging, go back to that and decide if your why has changed, or if you have to get back to it. Kelly also mentioned an idea I was talking about during lunch, with our small group discussion. A lovely lady at our table, Carey, asked why we read certain blogs or posts. I responded that I find people whose stories I enjoy, and then read whatever they blog about. Kelly mentioned this also, that a “niche” is not as important as writing well and being authentic.
The final talk was “Choosing Joy,” brought to us by Mary Lenaburg. She offered five steps to choosing and living with joy, which were the most profound spiritual reflection I have heard in a long time. I intend to type these up and remind myself of them every day, as I needed to hear this so much.
1) Go to Confession.
2) Prayer/conversation with God.
3) Learn what redemptive suffering is, then offer up my own.
4) Stay in the present moment and wait with patience.
5) Jesus, I trust in You.
Living this takes a lifetime of practice, but oh, to radiate true joy! That would such a blessing!
Looking forward to next year!