Sometime during 2011 I received an email/link/announcement, or something of the sort, about a blogging event in February 2012. I clicked over to the website for Blissdom, signed up for the newsletter then quickly forgot about it. Later on I received notice about ticket sales and thought, why not? Hey, it’s going to be at the Gaylord Opryland and who, in their right mind, doesn’t want to stay there, plus I can see what they have to say about this thing I sometimes do called blogging.
So, I placed my order, made reservations, then proceeded to forget about it, once again. As conference time approached there were more newsletters about speakers, schedules, classes, sponsors and events. I nonchalantly glanced through them, then once again forgot about it. I know you see a theme here and it’s not that I didn’t take it seriously, I just didn’t know what it was all about.
February 23 approached and I was excited to finally see what I had gotten myself into. Plus my sweet husband would be joining me for the weekend as well. Conference, husband, Opryland Hotel, delicious food, beautiful surroundings, education opportunity, etc. Nice way to spend a few days. don’t you think?
I arrived before my sweet husband to attend the Newcomer’s Meetup and Handmade Marketplace. The only word I have to describe this meetup was overwhelming. I don’t mean this negatively toward the Blissdom folks, it’s just that the room was packed full, I was at the back and didn’t know a soul (just like the majority of the room). As everyone was saying their howdies, I just stood there, smiled at few folks then had a couple of ladies turn and introduced themselves. One of the first few questions they asked, while looking at my name badge, was, “So what do you blog about?” Huh? What do I blog about? Ummmm, I don’t know. Stuff. Nothing in particular. I don’t know. Oh my gosh, am I suppose to know that? Am I suppose to blog about something in particular? I glanced at other name badges and noticed that under their blog website was a description. Holy cow! I didn’t have a description. And on top of that, I didn’t know what I blogged about. Boy, was I in for it. I felt like that one person in the middle of the Occupy Movement who didn’t know what the Occupy Movement was all about.
So I did the only thing I knew to do. I fled. I ran. I got outta Dodge real quick. I went back to my room, sent texts out to my daughters, then proceeded to go through my piled-high-with-goodies tote bag (compliments of the wonderful Blissdom sponsors). Wow! What a goodie bag! Inside this mound of awesomeness what a little box from Lisa Leonard. Lisa designs beautiful, handcrafted jewelry, of which I am the proud owner of a little piece. Her exclusive design for Blissdom ‘12 is fabulous and I immediately put it on.
After some quiet time I headed to the reception and opening keynote address. Oh my golly, are you kidding me? I saw tables. Tables for 4. What’s wrong with that? I didn’t know anyone and I was going to sit at a table with ladies who probably knew each other or worse, I would be sitting alone. And worse that all of that, I would have to answer that horrid question, “So, what do you blog about?” I just sort of froze, sent a panic-filled text to daughter #2 and thought about fleeing, once again.
As I was holding up the railing, that was holding me up, I saw a person approach me. Oh gosh, here it comes. “Hi. Hi. I’m Sara. I’m Donna. What do you blog about?” Heart sinks. Sara calls person #2 over. Hi, I’m Robyn (Robyn is part of a great new blog about fundraising made easy). And ‘round we go again. But you know what? They stuck with me. They said, “Hey, we just met and we’re roomies. Come sit with us. You are okay.” So, maybe not those exact words, but they made me feel that, yeah, I was okay. I was going to be okay. We sat, we ate, we got to know each other a little bit and best of all, we exchanged cell phone numbers and said we would keep in touch via text while we were at the conference. And, I knew we would and we did. Throughout the 3 days we met up for breakfast, lunch, breaks and a night of Rascal Flatts music. Sara and Robyn listened, encouraged, laughed with me, offered suggestions and most importantly, became wonderful new friends.
In addition to meeting these lovely ladies, here are other highlights for me:
*Opening and Closing Keynote Speakers: Jon Acuff, Rufus Griscom (co-founder of Babble, who filled in for his wife), and Catherine Connors (whose blog I follow). All three were inspiring and empowering!
*Awesome sponsors with lots of freebies!
*Delicious breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack foods furnished by Gaylord Opryland, along with their thoughtful and courteous staff.
*Photography Sessions with: Me Ra Koh (one word – amazing), Diane Ch (inspiring), Kristin Luna (motivating, love her work), Ryan Marshall and Jason Hudson (Instagram aficionados and totally awesome photographers) and Aimee Giese (informative).
*Blissdom Team: Allison Worthington, Paula Bruno and Barbara Jones (talented and caring ladies who worked tirelessly to make this event a huge success)
*Meeting other bloggers/photographers and exchanging business cards
*Meeting Michelle, who was sweet and lovely to talk to and has so much information to share on her blog – Thanks Michelle!
*Two yummilicious, cozy dinner with my sweet husband (okay, not conference related)
*Eating and visiting with Catherine and Trone (love the soon-to-be-new-house)
*Time spent walking through Opryland Hotel with beautiful light streaming in and nourishing all the green plants
By the end of the conference I felt new direction, inspiration and most important, I didn’t really dread that question anymore. In fact I even developed a response.
So, what do I blog about?
Life. My life.