This past weekend, I was blessed to attend Allume, a blogging conference for Christian women.  Yes, there is such a thing and yes, it was amazing.  So many beautiful women with stories to tell, speakers who poured out their hearts, sharing their wisdom and experiences . . . I came home spiritually and intellectually full.

While I’d love to share everything, here are some of my takeaways.

1. Be Real.  Your writing is only as credible as your life. (Ann Voskamp)

2.  Avoid Comparison.  You can’t live comparing yourself to your friend, co-worker, neighbor or even another blogger.  Use your voice to speak your message.

3.  Surrender and follow God’s leading.  Phil Vischer, creator of Veggie Tales, shared the tough journey of ending his company, Big Idea Productions.  It was heart wrenching, but a great lesson.  He since has begun What’s In The Bible & JellyTelly.  Did you know that a jellyfish has no true control over where it goes?  It can go up and down, but it must rely on the current to take it from side to side.  We need to surrender control and rely on God to move us to the place He intends us to be.

4.  Maintain balance in blogging and life.  This really could apply to any profession, hobby or distraction.  We only have so many years with our children.  They are our little deadlines (Tricia Goyer) and we should go after their precious hearts more than the masses (Sarah Mae).  Do your kids see you on the computer too much?  

5.  God DELIGHTS in blessing His children.  I can’t tell you how much I was blessed by the conference.  I felt so privileged to be there with my sisters in Christ.  But I have to say, I also felt the Lord’s personal delight while there.  On Friday, I asked the Lord to find me a Mastermind Group (a small group to encourage, support, pray for and grow with in the blogging world).  I have heard of them before but really didn’t know where to start in finding one.  In my hotel room, I flat out asked the Lord to find one for me.

At dinner that night, I sat next to someone who I immediately clicked with.  It turns out she is in a mastermind group and after talking about it, invited me to join.  Thank you, Lord!  It also so happened that she had just bought my ebook the week before. Too funny!

Another moment when I felt His delight was on the last evening of the conference.  Sometimes, it is just the smallest thing, but you know that you are receiving a special gift from the Lord.  I have been wanting a jewelry holder for quite awhile now.  The drawer of tangled necklaces is just getting a bit old. But because I haven’t been too sure of what I wanted, I’ve delayed getting one.  On the last night, I happened to win the centerpiece on the table.  Among the dried flowers, vintage books and branches was this stand . . . and it turns out that it is a jewelry tree.  How can it be that the Lord would delight in me?  Sometimes I wonder.  But I know He delights in blessing His children because I have experienced it.

Redeemed - Everything Beautiful Begins with God - Jewelry Tree
Jewelry Tree from DaySpring

6.  A call from God is about relationship.  Don’t neglect the “in real life” relationships God has blessed you with.  It was another good reminder for this “To Do List-Gal” to put people first.

7.  Know when to cut back.  This was a tough one.  Prior to the conference, I had been questioning if I should blog five times a week or cut back.  I have felt like a machine about it at times and am no longer ahead as I used to be.  After talking with Lisa Pulliam and Tsh Oxenreider, I’ve decided (for the time being) to only post Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  We’ll see how it goes.

Any thoughts?  As a reader, how many posts per week would you like to see?  If you’re a blogger, how often do you post?  Weigh in below.

8.  Drive or Plan on Empty Space in Your Suitcase.  The Allume gift bag and sponsor giveaways were unbelievable.  This picture doesn’t even show everything.  Boy, I have a lot of reading to do!

9.  The blogging advice would take more than ten of these lists.  I had the opportunity to hear great speakers such as Tricia Goyer, Darren RowseCrystal Paine, Stephanie Bryant, and Tsh Oxenreider. I learned so much!

10.  Not only do you learn a lot at Allume, you meet amazing bloggers.  The conference is great for networking.  I had the honor of meeting lots of great women, including these terrific ladies:  Melissa of Hive Resources, Tori of Fearless Heart Ministries, Andrea of Martha Street and Amy of A Nest For All Seasons.  Stop by and check out their blogs.

I would like to thank Sarah Mae & Jessica Heights for hosting such a wonderful event.  Please know that all your hard work blesses our socks off.  Thank you to the sponsors who were so generous and kind to us.  And thank you to the Hilton Harrisburg who provided wonderful hospitality.  Looking forward to next year!