Reflecitons and HOPE archives

How I Found Encouragement from the Mountain Valley Writers Conference

I am sharing how I found encouragement at the Mountain Valley Writers conference. It turns out that when I chose to see and accept then I position myself to soar.

It starts with a seed.


For me, this conference started with a seed of inspiration and grew up into many firsts. It was my first conference to host. It was the first time I was away from my family for this long. It was the first time I completely trusted that others would follow through on what I asked (and stayed settled in that trust). It was the first time I shared a space with women I didn’t know. It was the first time I came home from a conference or event and immediately put to practice many of the things I had learned. These firsts were my seeds.

Trust was required, but I also had to be willing to be a little raw and exposed (for the record, it is impossible to “keep it all together” when you are in a small space with three other women for 72 hours). An open heart and an open mind open up a world of incredible.

I allowed myself to experience the conference – or really it was more of a reconference (a hybrid of conference and retreat) in a way that was more personal and engaged than I have ever been. I laughed. I cried. I became aware (of miss-directions and miss-steps as well as self-sabotage). It was raw and it was real and I am ready to do it again.

It was THAT good!

Denise challenged me with her words, “If you aren’t getting to where you want to be then there is something in YOU holding you back.”

I talk about how the only thing standing in my way is the person staring back at me from the mirror, but there was something in her words that pushed me to look deeper. Why haven’t I reached the weight and health place I desire? Why haven’t I reached the speaking success I strive for? Why haven’t I made the connections I hunger to have? Why haven’t more people connected with my words?

She pushed me – not in a harsh way, but in a gentle, loving spirit that urged me to see beyond and in that urging she helped me cut to the heart. I took the break away from my ordinary and expected to begin to realign my steps to my extraordinary.

Gene’s whole essence touches my heart – but he had me the moment he said, “don’t tell me what I don’t have. Tell me what I have.” I am all about seeing the possibilities in a situation but Gene dared me to see the possibilities beyond the moment. He reminded me that it was not all about me (I know, shhhhhh) and that a black cat scratching on a door is often a cry for help from the heart.

Natalie is my smile from the conference. She dared me to share the laughter in a way I had never dared to admit I wanted (between her and Denise they almost have me convinced). Her willingness to expose her heart made way for others – including myself. Her love for her family challenged me to love my own family more.

These were three moments in an event full of moments. It became a moment in time where the words mattered – not because we wanted to be writers or wanted to find ways to make money writing but because we were challenged to impact others with the words of our heart.

Words have power – and the power multiplies as the words are shared.

Thank you to everyone who inspired, motivated, encouraged, engaged, and shared. Your words – all of your words – impacted my life in a way that I know requires me to never be the same!

Be blessed,

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