Reflections On My Second BlissDom!!!!

I just got back from the best weekend. I am still exhausted and curled in the fetal position from all that socializing (which I learned was OK from Susan Cain, author of the New York Times Best Seller, Quiet) , but I had to recap my thoughts ASAP.

First off, BlissDom is a conference for women (a premier conference for women, according to the BlissDom website :) ) who choose to publish online. So, the majority of the conference helps women be the best blogger they can be. There are four tracks: Business, Writing, Photography, and Life Development.
I typically hang out in the Writing and Life Development tracks. I NEED the photography tracks because my photos suck (see below) LOL!, but it's not my passion so I have never attended a photo track...yet.

Annie Downs

BlissDom is the only social media conference I have ever attended, and this was just my second year, so I don't have a lot to compare it to, but overall, I think it is pure awesomeness!!!! It inspires, encourages and lifts me up. I am also very exhausted once it is over. This year it was held in Dallas, Texas at the Gaylord Texan ( a big BOO! for that since I live in middle Tennessee where the previous BlissDom's were held).
I have a group of friends that I generally hang with and make the weekend extra-spectacular. I truly believe going to BlissDom last year, was a gift from God. I have Ah-mazing women in my life now because of it. Most of those ladies were able to return to BlissDom this year, two of them actually speaking at the event. I really enjoyed hanging with my friend Tami, Sue, Michelle, and new friend Shannon. I briefly got to see Alli (one of the founders of BlissDom) and Dedra, who was part of our group last year, but she works the conference so we got to see her in-between her breaks, which were few and far between.

So, here are my top four take aways from a great conference.

1) The speakers. I heard Jon Acuff, Tami Heim, and Annie Downs. I heard a few others here and there but these are the three that stood out to me. I was challenged, inspired and moved by all three for three very different reasons. Jon kicked our butts into gear about getting things done (instead of wasting time). Tami taught us leadership skills and helped us find out what our inner strengths are. And Annie, Annie inspired me and pushed me to write with authenticity and realness. I like to do that anyway, but she really encouraged stepping out of your comfort zone and talk about the things you know you need to be writing about, and sometimes they might be the things you don't want to write about, but people need to hear.
My friend, Tami Heim speaking on leadership skills

Good stuff.

2) Community. Overall, everyone is super friendly at the conference. There are plenty of opportunities to meet and mingle, pass out business cards, talk about your blog, etc. There is just a fun spirit at BlissDom and plenty of opportunities to get to know other people without feeling like you are networking all the time.

3) The Free stuff . Each day of the conference there were kick-offs, happy hours, give aways at the sponsors and multiple vendors booths which were all centrally located. I still haven't gotten over the fact that I DIDN'T win the free mattress at the National Sleep Foundations room, but hey, I learned about how to get a good night's sleep and if I had gotten there early enough, I could have signed up for a free manicure.

4) FUN!!!!! We had Girls Night Out, Girls Night In, all paid for by sponsors. We had music, dancing and some had drinks. We were able to tweet to help fight child hunger in America while we were being serenaded by Chris Mann and we had yummy dinner and dessert given to us by Con-Agra foods.
Here is a picture of me with a minion. They were promoting the new Despicable Me 2 movie...

They even had free boxes and shipping for BlissDom participants to ship all their free swag home without having to go over the weight limit of their bag at the airport. SWEET!!!!!

So, next year when you hear me talking about Blissdom, and you are involved in social media, blogging, writing, etc. in any way, then you better get your ticket and be there.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it comes back to Tennessee where it belongs. Other than that, I hope Blissdom never changes.

The Three B's....

This week we are continuing our talk on self-care. As a mom, who works part time and is very involved in her church, I realize, just as you do how easy it is to become tired, drained and even depressed by all the responsibilities women have on them in this day and age. The past few weeks we have defined self-care. We have talked about setting healthy boundaries. Today, I want to share the truth about women and self-care.

The truth is that women know that self-care is important. That if they make time for themselves they will be happier, more rested and have happier family lives. In fact, I would imagine that if you asked any women about the benefits of self-care they would agree that it would be a great thing to do.

However, according to a study that the people at Suave did a few years ago, partnered with a sociology professor, Dr. Katherine Gerson from NYU, stated that 80% of moms did not spend any time on self-care, even though 93% of those moms reported that they felt better when they took the time to take care of themselves.


Even though 76% of women reported that felt happier and more attractive when they took care of themselves and 72 % felt more self confident the statistic shows that even though women KNOW that it is beneficial, 80% just. don't. do. it.


66% reported that GUILT is one of the primary barriers.


Just let me shoot it to you straight ladies. Guilt, when delivered to ourselves, is generally nothing but self-condemnation disguised as something that is beneficial. In other words we feel like we should feel guilty. We're mom's, right? Mom stands for "guilt". Leaving kids behind, going to work, dropping them off at the nursery, not knowing every discipline technique. Blah, Blah, blah. And it doesn't matter if you are a stay at home mom or a working mom, there is guilt. Am I spending too much time with my kids, are my kids getting enough socialization?? Blah, blah, blah. It is so easy to make yourself feel guilty, it is very easy to allow others to make you feel guilty. It is very easy take on guilt. It can become a part of you. You start apologizing frequently. You get in the habit of self-doubt. You don't know when to say yes to something or no. You are paralyzed in fear. That is what misguided guilt can do.

 We are wrongly judging ourselves. We are our own worst enemy. Guilt has it's place. We were born with a conscience, the ability to know right from wrong. When we do something wrong, we feel guilty. When you are a mom and you have to make a tough decision, it is natural to feel guilty. But if you find yourself continually beating yourself up over those decisions it has moved beyond guilt and into shame (self-condemnation). That is why I talked about how having good personal and professional boundaries are so important. Someone who is balanced with themselves and know how to balance themselves with others experience less self-condemnation.

So how do I get rid of the guilt and start doing the things I know that are good for me?

1. Boundaries. We have already covered this in a previous post, but it is so absolutely connected to laying guilt aside and being the confident woman that God has created you to be. It has amazingly, wonderful positive consequences when implemented.

2. Balance. Closely tied to boundaries, having a balanced life means understanding that you can't have it all and you just have to know when to let things go. Balance means having confidence in your decisions, even when it hurts. You may have to go to that meeting and miss a special family dinner. Or, you may be able to tell your boss that you must leave at 4:30 in order to make your daughters ballet performance. It means knowing when to say "no" to that extra responsibility at church. And generally being OK with the hard decisions you have to make. Trusting yourself when you make the hard decisions that you are being healthy, realistic and doing the best that you can.

3. Blend. As a therapist, one of the things I teach my clients is the power of being flexible and not being so black and white. Having more gray areas in their life. People who have the ability to see things from both sides without judgement have more positive thinking. People who see things very black and white tend to have more negative thinking. We call this "all or nothing thinking". And many of us (me included) make assumptions in our thinking instead of asking questions and using communication to clarify what they think they are seeing or feeling. Then, people take on those assumptions as truth. If a person does this enough, research shows us that we can actually get into the habit of thinking negatively and believing those thoughts as truth. The professional term for this is "stinkin thinkin". :-) The best solution to "all or nothing thinking" is to learn to ask questions and use positive self-talk instead of just automatically believing everything you think.

Ultimately, it is up to each of us to take responsibility for our feelings and how we process those feelings and thoughts about ourselves. I am hoping that by having this discussion and giving you a little insight into HOW to stop the guilt that you can take the steps in moving forward and stop the negative feelings and whatever else that is keeping you from being the best that you can be .

 Sometimes just starting with accepting ourselves, loving ourselves and reminding ourselves how much we are loved and why we are here will be the first and best step in making small, positive changes.

See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.
I John 3:1

Hmmm....maybe that is truly the first step in taking care of ourselves, believing that we are WORTH the TLC we deserve.

for more info on the Suave studay, this is the best one I could find in a pinch that explained best. ARTICLE

Christian Parenting Handbook Book Launch!

I am excited to share information about a new parenting book releasing in April. I will be sharing more information as the time draw nears but I wanted to share this promo video with you this week.

This book may be new, but Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller are hardly new on the parenting book scene. I am honored and proud to be a representative of the National Center for Biblical Parenting, which was started by Scott and Joanne. They present different parenting seminars, have written numerous books on parenting. Have a FABULOUS website, with so many different books, seminars, practical tips and simple solutions to common parenting issues. And you can access a lot of their tips, articles, etc. for free on their website,! A few years ago they started training representatives to help them spread the message on heart-based parenting. That's how I got to know them. In 2007 I was trained in their Parenting is Heart Work seminar. Since then I have spoken at churches, conferences and trainings representing NCBP. I am very thankful for this opportunity to be part of this new book launch.

Now, Scott and Joanne are coming out with a book with 50 strategies for every stage of your child's life entitled, Christian Parenting Handbook. And it is biblically based, like all of their other material.

Here is a short video clip telling you more. Something to whet your appetite, so to speak. Stay tuned! Click below.

For more information go to