A Newbie Reporting, Ma’am! Blissdom 2013

“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.”  Thoreau

My funny left me around about October 2012…when I hurt my backSuperstorm Sandy came to visit, and people I know and love started to sicken. And worse. I struggled to write, something, anything interesting. Or funny. But mostly I stewed.

Blissdom logo 2013I looked for an antidote, something or someone to help knock me back into alignment. I hung my hopes on BlissDom. At first I thought BlissDom might be a faith-based conference, and since I misplaced my faith a few years ago, I wasn’t sure that I’d fit in. But I signed up anyway, hopped a plane to Dallas, TX and arrived knowing no one. Sitting alone in the van that would take me to the Gaylord Texan, I opened my heart to new possibilities.

The hotel/conference center is a castle...and I filled it with new hopes and dreams...with a little help from my fellow bloggers.

The hotel/conference center is a castle…I filled it with new hopes and dreams…with some help from my fellow bloggers.

Now I can tell you that BlissDom is not overtly faith based, but the women (and few men) I met there, by and large, are people of faith; I don’t know what religions they are (hey, they could be Wiccan  Jewish, Catholic, Presbyterian …) because it never really came up in conversation and because they didn’t wear it on their sleeves. I can tell you that the people I met wear it in their hearts and minds, and their faith seems to be what sustains and encourages them.

Super Shuttle Dallas TXLucky me, I met Jennifer from Parenting with Passion & Purpose on the Super Shuttle ride to the hotel. Jennifer is a home schooling Mom of five who is as warm as the Tennessee sunshine on a summer day. We talked. And every time we met during the conference, we talked some more. I heard my name called in a place where I started out knowing no one. When I turned around it was Jennifer. She said she thought we were supposed to meet; that she met me because she was supposed to. All I can say is that her encouraging words, big smile and open heart started something inside me. I’m typing this and tears of joy are rolling down my cheeks. Jennifer gives me hope for our world.

Chris Mann at BlissDom 2013Another chance meeting, on one of the huge escalators, was when I said hello to Kacey of Well-Rounded Home. She has a smile that can light a room, and BlissDom knew what it was doing when it asked Kacey to be a Community Leader. Kacey and I socialized at the dinner and concert by Chris Mann and Amber Riley sponsored by Conagra for “Child Hunger Ends Here,” and again at Girls Night In featuring the Spin Cycle Relay and karaoke. I also spent time talking about the sessions we attended, sharing and comparing, and socializing with Denene Brox, a professional photographer. Quiet and sincere, Denene is visiting NY next month and I plan to meet her.

A “rookie blogger” (she says) named Michelle spun into my world with a quick smile and quicker wit. By the end of the weekend Michelle was pretty much convinced that she wants to return to nursing, her first love. Keynote speaker Jon Acuff and conversations with new friends helped Michelle see her path more clearly. I’m going to be part of Michelle’s cheering section as she re-ignites her passion. Another newbie blogger, and another Michelle, she of Fort Worth Mom sat with me at the Thursday newbie blogger meetup. Michelle seemed like an old friend from the start; she enveloped me, made me feel at home. I can’t wait to see how her blog develops.

I met Claire of Claire’s Healthy Home in a hallway between sessions, then at breakfast, lunch, and again at the Glass Cactus for the ConAgra event. Claire brings people together. She started a Facebook group for 40+ women bloggers; she encourage me to join, which I did. She introduced me to Tammy, a social media consultant who says what she means and means what she says; Tammy is one of the most out there women I’ve ever met. How many people do you know who would wear footed PJs to a party?

I was fortunate enough to sit next to Barb of Rural Mom at an on-our-own lunch on Saturday. To me, she’s like Hershey’s syrup on top of chocolate ice cream — she makes everything better. Barb is quiet, thoughtful and grounded. We talked about life, family, writing and more. Although our day-to-day lives can’t be more different we are similar people at our essence. Barb and I could have talked all night, the kinds of talks I have with my long-time friend Carole in Maine. Barb and I are friends. It’s that simple.

With 700-plus people in attendance at BlissDom I didn’t meet everyone, and I certainly haven’t given you a rundown of all the special people I met. But I wanted to give you a feeling of BlissDom, of its people, or at least the ones who I found.

And now for something a bit different. A Blog Hop with my Generation Fabulous Friends! Check it out:

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This entry was posted in Adventures of a Middle Age Mom, best friends, Blogs and Blogging, Conversation, Faith, Friends, NJ Blogger, Texas, What i Did, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to A Newbie Reporting, Ma’am! Blissdom 2013

  1. kim says:

    I have been eager to hear what you had to say about the conference. I have been reading such negative posts about the Blissdom. Lots of cliques and not so friendly people. Sounds like you met some nice, friendly people and had a good time. Would you go again to another conference?

    • Kim, I wrote my post without having seen any of the linkups on the BlissDom site. When I started to read them I was like “were these people at the same conference as me?” I am astonished! I went alone and put myself “out there.” I didn’t wait for people to approach me. Smiles were returned, hands were extended. I would definitely go again.

  2. We had similar experiences. I loved it!
    So glad to have met you and I wish we could have talked longer.

  3. Cynthia says:

    Darlene, with this conference and every other one I’ve been to it’s all about what you make it. I would go to Blissdom again.

  4. I met the girl in the footie pj’s on Saturday night!!!!
    Blissdom like any conference, is mostly what you make of it … meeting up with old friends had me miss Friday night altogether since we never made it out of a restaurant … but you know what – that was okay.
    Glad you enjoyed it … sad to read of those who did not 🙁

    • Tammy is a hoot and a half. And a very savvy person to boot!
      You so have the right idea…old friends were surely worth the miss!
      Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Hi! I just saw your post in 40+ Bloggers. I thought I’d say hi. My review was mixed — but that was more about me, and I had to kind of relax into the conference before I could appreciate it. Here is my link:

    http://rasjacobson.com/2013/03/26/5-things-i-learned-at-blissdom-2013/

    xo @rasjacobson

    • I read your post and I can understand where you were writing from. But I think your takeaway was like mine? Good.

      • Duh! I didn’t realize this was you until now! Jennifer could really work a conference! I guess you were the one hogging her! I kept trying to meet up with her and it never really happened! I’m glad we both ended up making a few good connections. And I’m thrilled to be able to stay in touch via Leigh’s FB page! I hope BlissDom helped you get your mojo back. 😉

  6. Beth Zimmerman says:

    I had a fabulous time and lots of great connections too! So thrilled to meet you and by extension Gen Fab! Looking forward to connecting further once I get home!

    • Oh Beth, I’m glad your experience paralleled mine; the women I met are genuine and supportive, just a really special group. I’m glad I got to meet you too.

  7. Barb W. says:

    Oh, Darlene, what lovely things for you to say about me. I am truly blessed to have the chance to get to know you, and it really is that simple- we are friends. The wonderful kind that feels like we’ve been friends forever 🙂 We really could have stayed up all night talking and I thoroughly enjoy our conversations. Looking forward to continuing our friendship!

  8. Denene says:

    Oh, Darlene, what a lovely recap and thank you for including me. I agree with all of your sentiments about BlissDom. It was a great event. I’m glad we connected and I really hope to see you in NYC next month!!

    • Denene, you are a gift, a calm, smooth sea of friendship. I am happy to have connected with you. I will meet you in NYC; I’ll get back to you re the dates very soon.

  9. I think we had similar experiences! I needed to desperately find my mojo and I think I did. I was definitely inspired!

  10. After beginning my own blog, I started to attend conferences alone and was really blessed by them as you were. Good for you to put yourself out there and I am so glad it was a great experience!! Come on over to my blog and say hello!!

    • Pam, thanks for stopping by. Were you at BlissDom?! I would have loved to meet you in person.
      I subscribe to your blog (read it every morning while I drink my tea); I love how you work thrifting into your fashion looks.

  11. I love when the universe opens up and gives us just what we need. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Darcy says:

    I had the pleasure of talking with you briefly during the Newcomer reception and was hoping you found some inspiration throughout the conference. I really admire you for going without knowing anyone and putting yourself out there!

    • Darcy! I’m so glad you stopped by. I definitely remember speaking with you (Baby Xander) at the Newbie Meetup. I came home from BlissDom with many good memories, some new friends and a list of ideas longer than my arm. I’m so glad I attended.

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