Monday, June 25, 2012

My First Blog Conference Experience (Heaven at Haven?)

I knew I'd probably start to get comments, emails, and messages about the Haven Conference {blog conference for DIY and home bloggers} in Atlanta last week. My trip had highs and lows, but the conference itself was flat-out amazing. I may do a conference recap another day, but I wanted to tell you about what inspired me from a first time blog conference attendee viewpoint.
(Clockwise from Top Left: Melissa from 320 Sycamore, Me, Kristin from Favorite Paint Colors...Me and Julia from Hooked on Houses...The Nester and Me...Me and Michelle from Ten June...Me, Cindy from Living on the Bliss, Marian from Miss Mustard Seed, and Kate from Centsational Girl)

So...was it Heaven at Haven? Read and see...

I should begin by saying that the only truly negative thing that happened to me was not at all related to Haven, but it overshadowed my first day. I spent most of Thursday on the phone with my husband, trying to find out if my oldest (Natalie) had appendicitis or not. By 9 pm, it was ruled out (the doc had been ready to operate!), and she was diagnosed with a very aggressive virus. 

It turned out that although I spent much of that first day at Haven wrapped in a cloak of worry, the situation was used to point me towards inspiration. All day long, bloggers approached me to get updates on Natalie, let me know they were praying for her, and to see how I was doing. They sent Tweets, left messages on my Facebook, gave me hugs, and let me know it was okay to shed a few tears at the lunch table. 

I was truly inspired by the kindness of women I had only ever met through reading their words on a computer screen. Ladies took time out of their conference experience to encourage me!

Knowing my daughter was fine by Friday morning freed my nerves enough to be able to enjoy the remainder of the conference. I was ready to learn and to be open to new kinds of inspiration.

I was inspired by the dedication and hard work of the women who planned, organized, and executed the conference. RhodaChrisKateBethSarahTraciKristi, MarianLayla, and Kristin, you did a wonderful job. It was such a pleasure to meet each of you! I am constantly in awe of your collective talent, and humbled that any of you would know who I am!

I was inspired by the friendliness and creativity of the other attendees. I was fully prepared to feel like a twelve year old on the first day of seventh grade, but friendly smiles and kind words put us all at ease. (If we took a pic together, please email me a copy!)

I was inspired by the knowledge of the speakers. My favorite sessions were "Photography and Styling" and "I Like Big Blogs." John and Sherry from Young House Love gave a keynote speech that was both hilarious and insightful. They were also very approachable...I got to meet John and Burger as I explored the vendor area.

In short, how could I be surrounded by such talent, creativity, and kindness, and not be inspired?

My most sincere thanks go out to all of you who took the time to ask how my girl at home was doing. Thank you for understanding, and for your encouragement. Your friendliness didn't make me feel as if I was depending on "the kindness of strangers."

I'm home in Virginia now with a bit of a brain overload. So many new things to think about and so many new friends to keep up with. And when I say "keep up with," I don't mean in competition. I came home from Haven with a desire to be a better wife, mother, homemaker, blogger...but not to worry about comparing with everyone else. 

I'm looking forward to a year of continued inspiration from these new friends. So when Haven 2013 rolls around, I'll be ready!

Linked to Southern Hospitality

42 comments:

  1. So glad you had a good time at Haven and also that Miss Natalie is better. You must have been worried to death being separated from her when she was so ill.

    Have a good week!

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  2. amanda - few things, I am sad I did not meet you and if I did, that I did not hug you and if I did.... that I don't remember..my brain is fried. I was so completely overwhelmed and I cannot imagine adding to that a sick child back at home (two of mine were in the room upstairs). I am so glad she is okay. and hey, I live in Virginia too!!!! and used to live in NYC and DO have plans to retire there...someday anyway...it is the carrot that dangles.....anyway...lets keep in touch. a few of us and you may have been in on this..... were talking about maybe doing a Virginia/Northern VA/Maryland mini get together , maybe meet at Lucketts or something for a weekend in the fall.....stay in otuch and thanks for your lovely recap.

    xolesli

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  3. I'm so sorry your daughter was sick, how upsetting! Glad she's doing better and that you were able to enjoy the last day of Haven. I'm also sorry we didn't get to meet, I'm not sure how that's possible! I thought Haven was the perfect place for us conference newbies because the atmosphere was so incredibly warm and welcoming. Let's be sure to meet up at Haven 2013!

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  4. It sounds like you had an amazing time and got to meet some amazing people! I'm thinking I need to put Haven 2013 on my list of things to do next year:)

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  5. Ah, great recap! I was so concerned for you that first day, and I'm sure everyone else who knew about it was concerned as well. As a mom I couldn't imagine how it must have felt to be at that amazing conference but have your heart and mind on worries back home. I'm so glad it all got resolved and Natalie is ok. I have a pic of us! I'll post it in your comments. Hopefully you don't have a spam filter for links. ;)

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  6. Love this recap, Amanda! It was so great to meet you. As a mom, I could totally empathize with what you were going through and I hated seeing you having to deal with that type of worry. I'm so glad your daughter ended up being ok and that you were able to enjoy the conference!

    -Erin @ DIY On the Cheap

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  7. Hi Amanda! I'm am so thrilled that Natalie is OK and that you were brave and stayed at the conference. You were almost the first blogger that I recognized just by your picture on your blog...we sat beside each other in the Ryobi tools class Thursday morning when you had just started getting word that your daughter was sick. I had a wonderful time too. I did not get to stay for the "wrap-up" session...did they say if there would be another "Haven"?

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  8. I am glad your daughter is doing better. I can't imagine what Thursday must have been like for you. I really do hope there is a Haven 2013. I would love to be able to attend and meet lots of other bloggers. I'm sure it's loads better than just reading their posts on the web.

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  9. SO glad she's doing okay! I hope she's on the mend and one hundred percent, soon! ;} It was so nice to meet you, if ever so briefly, Amanda!

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  10. It was so good to meet you Amanda and I'm so glad Natalie is ok :)

    Can't wait to keep in touch!

    I need to work on a recap post too. I totally realized that I took like no pictures :/ ahh! Hoping to grab some from the Flickr page :)

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  11. Glad you had a great time, and that your daughter is well!! Hope to hear more of a recap! :)

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  12. I am so glad your daughter was OK!! It was a treat to meet you and I hope to see you the next time. :)

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  13. I'm so glad she's ok! I didn't know that was going on or I would have said something! You're a trooper!

    The conference was amazing and I'm so glad to have met you! Hope she's feeling better!

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  14. Hello my friend, so so glad to hear Natalie is okay and so excited that you had such a positive experience. Let us go forth and DIY!
    xoxo
    Kate

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  15. How did we not get a picture together?!?! I swear we took one but I can't find any! Didn't we?? Maybe it's on my phone. Anyhoo... It was so fun hanging out with you and I'm so glad Natalie was alright. I said a prayer for her and for you during the conference. Hugs to you my friend!
    ~ KIM @ Sand & Sisal

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  16. I'm so glad I got to meet you in person at Haven! You are such a wonderful soul!! Can't wait to do it all over again at Haven 2013!! Oh, and I have some good photos of us coming up on my blog later this week!

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  17. Amanda, I was thrilled to meet you at the first night cocktail party! You are so lovely and sweet! I am certainly Haven blessed to have met so many smart, creative, inspiring women.

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  18. Amanda it was so great to meet you at Haven! I am so sorry that your daughter was not feeling well, but it sounds like she was in good hands and is on the upswing! Glad to hear she is getting better :)

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  19. It was great to meet you!! So glad you're daughter is doing better! I can't imagine how worried you were being away from her!

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  20. Beautifully written post, Amanda! It was so wonderful to meet you in person! Thanks for being so inpsiring to me! Hope you have a great week!

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  21. Oh my goodness! What a dream, it must have been SO fun & inspiring to be there (minus Natalie being sick) to be there! I love all the pics & can't wait to see the amazing posts that come from your new found inspiration. :-)

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  22. So glad Natalie didn't need an operation! I hope she's feeling better. And I'm glad you had a fun time at the conference. I've never been to one. Hope I get to meet you at Haven next year, because I want to go!

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  23. It was so nice meeting you at Haven. I didn't know your daughter was sick....but I'm happy all is well. I hope to see you again next year!

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  24. So nice meeting you, glad to har your daughter didn't need an operation!

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  25. What a bummer for her to be sick right then (and at all)! I hope she's feeling better. I looked for you at Haven but we didn't connect. Bummer! I wish it would've lasted a week so we could've had time to chat with and meet everyone!

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  26. I had so much fun meeting you, Amanda! You are such a sweetheart. (Dinner at Papasitos was a blast!). Haven was such a wonderful experience for me, too. So many terrific people. (So glad your little one is doing better.)

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  27. Oh, I'm so sorry you had to worry all day! I'm just glad she's ok! Disappointment #243 is that I didn't get to spend some time visiting with you! I hope you enjoyed Haven as much as we did, and I look forward to spending more time with you at the NEXT conference! :)

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  28. Oh my goodness, I had no idea about your daughter! So glad it worked out. I was so happy to meet you and feel the same way, overloaded with inspiration and exhausted at the same time. hahaha :)

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  29. You are so right. It was heaven at Haven. I remember seeing you, but I don't think we had an opportunity to meet. I am so glad your daughter is ok now. How difficult it must have been to be so far away from her.

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  30. You have such an amazing outlook, Amanda. It sounds like an amazing experience. I hope your little gal is doing well. How hard it must have been to be away. But, it sounds like you were able to get through it with the help of your friends.

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  31. Oh my, I didn't know your daughter was sick Amanda! I hope she's feeling better and I was so thrilled to finally meet you. :)

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  32. Amanda, I am so thankful that Natalie is okay - what a scare! I hope she's feeling better. It was lovely to finally meet you! So fun! :)

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  33. One of the highlights of the conference for me was getting to meet you in person, Amanda! Hope we can hang out again next year. :-)

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  34. First of all I am so happy that your daughter is okay. What a scary feeling to be out of town with all that going on.

    Secondly, thanks for sharing your Haven experiences. I would have loved to have been there so I appreciate getting to live vicariously!

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  35. Hey girl! I was completely cut off from the blogging world last week--I had scheduled a couple of posts in advance, but otherwise I was totally out of touch. I didn't know about Natalie's sickness! Man, that must have been scary for you. But how cool that the women at Haven surrounded you with love and support. I am so glad both that Natalie is okay and that you got the support you needed when you needed it.

    Your post certainly makes it sound as if your Haven experience was wonderful. I'd love to hear more about it.

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  36. Glad Natalie is better. Thought about you several times during Haven and am happy to hear she's better now.

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  37. So glad your daughter is doing well! I love the sense of community I get from blogging and am so bummed that I missed out this year, but I'll be at the next one for sure! :)

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  38. Oh boo! Glad to here Natalie is doing better! :) AND that you were so inspired! Such an awesome blogging community to support you during that stressful time!

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  39. Hi, Amanda. I didn't get to meet you at Haven but I enjoyed your recap. It was a good conference!
    Ann

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  40. So glad to hear your daughter is doing well again and very encouraged by the kindness and support you received from those around you at Haven.
    Thank you for sharing your experience there. Would love to hear more when you have a minute. I really want to go in 2013!
    Cheers to you and yours!

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  41. Love your Haven recap! It was so great meeting and hanging out with you in person! I'm glad your little one is doing better, and that it was only a virus. Can't wait for Haven 2013!

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