I went to a mom conference! (my new convictions on discipline, texting, and joy at home)

My cousin and I somehow escaped the madness love and community of our families to attend the Mom Heart Conference 2013: “I Take Hope: Moving from Desperate to Destiny” with Sally Clarkson. We both read Sally’s Mission of Motherhood, and really loved it. The conference was amazing. Close second was the breakfast buffet at the hotel.

Here we are at the conference:


A few general notes:

  1. I love that somehow I look as pregnant as Kelly does in this picture. (She is like 28 weeks).
  2. I did actually have on makeup at some point in this day, and it did actually look good.
  3. There were actually other people at this conference.

400 women, to be exact. All moms, some with little nursing babies, and also, in the same hotel, an “auto parts dealers conference.” It was an interesting dichotomy of attendants. Safe to say I don’t think anyone accidentally ended up in the wrong session for too long.

I learned so much, and am trying hard to avoid being the cliche “mountain-top experience” of people who go to conferences and are changed for about 3 1/2 days and then go back to being their same old mean-mom yelling selves. You know those types.

So, I wanted to try to verbalize what I learned. Once I put something on my blog, it’s like real-life, ya’ll. I never backslide. (Or something.)

The most powerful things I left with were stories, which is interesting because it was a story that brought me to the conference.

In Mission of Motherhood, Sally shared that her youngest daughter, Joy, had asthma. Joy would wake up violently coughing every night at two am, for months on end when she was about two. The only thing that helped was to put her in a steaming shower…So, Sally would sit there with her, and tell her stories. “Joy stories,” of crazy adventures the little girl would grow up to have. Her daughter told her once, “Mommy, when I was a little baby in your tummy, I wished and wished that I’d have a Mommy to tell me ‘Joy’ stories when I was sick.”

I cried because I love that picture of being a mom. I love how hard it is, and how scary, and how amazingly rewarding. And how her little heart was so happy with her mommy, like I know sometimes Sam is that I am his.

As I listened to her stories (her kids are now grown), I made a list of the things I wanted to change in my life. You know what’s funny? They were all things that I’ve kind of been thinking for a while I wanted to change. It’s odd…Almost as if God doesn’t need a mom conference to speak to you. Crazy.

Here are the things I become convinced of:

  • I think God is telling me to re-evalute my discipline policy. For one thing, my spanking policy. I’ve felt for a while that that is just not the most effective way to produce real change in Sam. I’m not saying I’m against spanking now or anything. But I don’t think it will/should be my primary go-to correction method. I don’t have points 1-10 of this lecture worked all out yet. It’s the beginning, but I know that I want less anger, more sympathy, and clearer expectations in the relationships we have with our children.
  • I need some specific “rules” in my life for technology. I want a break from the ties of texting and mindless internet browsing in my life. I do these things because I am bored, and fried. I want to substitute something else as my “go-to” so I can really, really be present, for long stretches of time, with my kids. I’m not sure yet how I will lock-and-key my iphone and computer for three hours at a time, or how people can really reach me if there is an emergency, or what else I will fill my time with when I am just needing a “decompress moment.” But I can tell you this. Today, I didn’t text much all day, and haven’t cracked the computer once. Can I even tell you how free I felt as a person? I felt like I enjoyed my moments. Of course, I had my husband home all day, and my bucket full from this nice little conference. I’m brainstorming how I’ll manage when my flesh is weak on a Thursday afternoon at 3:33pm. Suggestions welcome. But however it happens, I feel a new leaf is turned, and I am fervent in my desire to live a more undistracted life.
  • I want to teach Sam Bible verses. Little kids are just sponges at this age. I feel so guilty that he has so many useless books memorized and not enough Scripture. I’m not sure how exactly I will accomplish this. But again, it’s on the blog, so it’s good as fact now. 🙂
  • Finally, I want to strive to bring joy and beauty into my kids’ lives. Practical ways that this can happen, off the top of my head: pancake and donut parties. (Don’t we all need more of those?) More tickling. Put up more pictures. Play more music. Did I already say the one about pancakes? That was a good one. I’m praying that the Lord fills in the blanks here, but the vision is clear in my head.

Kelly, if you’re reading this, thank you for coming along with me! I would have never gone myself. And if I did, I would have gotten lost irreversibly on the streets of Durham, and have had much less fun.

In case you’re curious, Sally has a new book out called Desperate, Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe.

image from amazon.com

image from amazon.com

I love the idea of this book. I skimmed it at the conference, and actually feel like I prefer the one I read, Mission of Motherhood. Granted, I was skimming, but I am a good skimmer :). Either way, I absolutely recommend her writings. For a less expensive option, you can browse her blog, I Take Joy, here.




12 thoughts on “I went to a mom conference! (my new convictions on discipline, texting, and joy at home)

    • I thought of you, Helen, and your upcoming ladies weekend! Would love to go to that, too, although Todd might crack after all those weekends at home 😉

  1. Jessica,
    I went to one of Sally’s conferences when Sydney was about Sam’s age, and it was life changing! I loved how she encouraged us as moms to bring beauty into our homes. I look forward to hearing more about the fruit from this experience. Love your writing!!

    • Thanks, Ann! So fun that you went to that conference, too! Have you read her book on homeschool? Tons of moms raved about that at the conference!

      • Yes, I’ve got it. I might have all of her books. I think my favorite is The Mission of Motherhood. But I also love Seasons of a Mother’s Heart. We used to do family devotions with Our 24 Family Ways. And, believe it or not, I’m now reading Dancing with my Father. You could call me a “Sally junkie.”

  2. Hi Jessica! I think that I knew you a while back (at GCC?). I followed here to your blog from a friend I am getting to know, Gina Smith, who met you at the conference 🙂

    Anyway, neat to hear that you enjoyed Sally’s conference and what you are thinking about after coming home. Sally is such an encouragement to mommies! I love the art/beauty focus in their home life. I look forward to reading more here!

    • Hi Julie! I totally remember you from Grove City! So funny! I didn’t realize you lived in my area! Neat checking out your garden blog, too…Wow do I have a lot to learn from you there! 😉 Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Pingback: when the real world smacks you in the face (and a mom’s favorite verse) | Smartter Each Day

  4. Pingback: Reads & Recipes {February 2013}

  5. Just found this post from the link on the Humbled Homemaker… I have much in common with your goals. I try (TRY!) to have “tech free time” nearly daily with the whole family – generally from 4-6 pm or later if we can… which is the time hubby is home so… we can all be TOGETHER in the moments… It usually works pretty well as it’s a time of much family busy-ness so we don’t miss the computers.
    I still want LESS of the mindless phone and computer checking though – it gets to be too habit forming…
    Best to you in reaching your goals!

  6. Pingback: when the real world smacks you in the face (and a mom’s favorite verse!) | Smartter Each Day

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