I wanted to post this on Saturday evening. My arms ached from holding a fussy baby, my feet were on fire from standing all day, and I was about to pass out from exhaustion, but my heart was full to bursting with joy. I was dying to type it out. Alas, there were casseroles to be made for Sunday, so I cooked instead. Then last night I fell asleep putting the boys to bed and never really made it back to consciousness. Post I will tonight, however, come waking baby or dirty dishes. You WILL read about how wonderful this weekend was, because if there is any way you can get yourself some of that community goodness, I highly encourage you to do so.
Catholic Women Blogging Network California Conference 2015
A few months ago, a kernel of a nugget of an idea took hold, shaped by a simple question and a simple response:
Q: What are the good blogging conferences to attend?
A: I don’t know, but here’s what *I* would like a conference to be…
And I thought, “We could do that. If You will help, Lord, we could totally do that.” So I contacted the most hospitable person I know and asked her to give up her house for a weekend. Without missing a beat, she said yes. Then I contacted some of the local-ish movers and shakers in the Catholic blogging world and asked them to help (her, her, and her), and they said yes. Somehow, word got around and 25 other women from California, Arizona, and Oregon all said YES. Many of them left behind husbands who said yes, and children, who perhaps through a tear or two gave an emphatic no. (But they really meant yes.)
It’s quite simple, really. What happened this past weekend was simply an outpouring of grace from the Holy Spirit, and a group of people saying yes.
I am nothing if not humbled by it all.
But maybe you want more details and less about the state of my heart? Alright fine, you cold-hearted snake. (Uh oh.)
First of all, let me say that I took 3 whole pictures on Saturday morning, but then Jiza showed up with her mad skills and I retired my camera and sat back to watch the profesh do her thing. I’ll share some of my Instagram photos, but if you want to see more, check out the #cwbnca hashtag on Instagram. And if Jiza will consent to it, I’ll share some of her gorgeous photos when they’re ready.
A few of us went to see Little Boy, a movie produced by the husband of a good friend. (Hey, I live in California. It’s totally normal to know people in The Biz. In our homeschool group alone, there are 2. Not even exaggerating.)
Breakfast: Bagels, coffee, introductions and a rosary. Preeeeetty much the best way to start a Saturday.
Kendra shared her PicMonkey tricks. I have to say, I use PicMonkey fairly often and so I wasn’t expecting to learn anything, but Kendra gave us all a few game-changing tips.
Kristin gave us the low-down on podcasting. I am so interested in this medium, because I really enjoy listening to them. If only my recorded voice wasn’t the worst. The absolute worst. Perhaps if I find someone fun to chat with it would be a fun hobby.
Lunch: sandwiches and salad from Panera. Delivered and delicious. We also had a panel discussion on blogging. We answered questions about privacy, writing on controversial topics, and which platform we preferred, and a few more besides.
I gave a talk on my struggles with pride throughout my blogging days. It’s something that has been on my heart to share, so I hope to write it out soon.
We paused for a few moments to pray for Nepal after hearing of the earthquake. (We are all still praying.)
Jenna brought the house down with her social media wizardry. I think I must have said, “You just rocked my world,” three whole times during her presentation. Powerhouse, that girl.
And finally Andrea moved us with her reversion story and shared how a single Facebook post brought her back to the Church after 14 years away. (Andrea also created our totally awesome CWBN website. She has a really wonderful business called Shine Avenue Creative if you’re looking for WP help.)
We capped off the night with dinner at California Pizza Kitchen where we probably confused the heck out of the restaurant by vocally praying over our food one minute and laughing loudly and drinking beers the next.
Many of us brought our families and met for Mass at the San Fernando Mission. It’s a glorious church with the added bonus of having a fantastic courtyard if your toddler needs to blow off steam during the homily. Not that any of our kids would need that. Oh, no.
Brunch at the Tierneys’ home followed Mass. Bacon egg casserole, french toast casserole, apple puff pancake, along with regular pancakes made by 9 year old Bobby Tierney. Dads connected (in manly ways, of course) and I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Erica of Be a Heart.
The very final, and possibly most moving, moment came when Jenny Cook shared her conversion story. She thanked those who had been with her on her journey to Catholicism and encouraged us all. “You never know who might be reading your blog.”
As we said goodbye and cleaned up, there were many mentions of “next year.” While none of us can say for certain what tomorrow will look like, much less next year, I think as long as we keep listening to the Holy Spirit and saying yes to Him, we have a good chance of seeing each other again.