Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Conference I Almost Didn't Attend

*I actually wrote the majority of this post last week, and just never had the time to finish it so that I could get it posted. Our summer schedule has been super crazy! Better late than never!

Last Friday, I attended the Ya'll Connect social media and blogging conference in Birmingham, Alabama. I was so excited to learn more about blogging, meet other bloggers, and spend the day soaking in a lot of new information. I had been anticipating this conference for weeks, if not months. But, I almost didn't attend

You see, last week was one of those weeks that we all have where we wish we could snap our fingers and it would magically become the weekend, bypassing all of the stress and uncomfortable situations. On Monday of last week, my oldest daughter (who just turned nine) got braces. She had to have a lingual bar placed on her lower arch. I wore braces from eighth grade to the summer before my senior year of high school, so I am well aware of the soreness and pain that comes with it. We anticipated that, especially with her being so young. But, we didn't anticipate the amount of pain she would be in from that lingual bar. The last meal she ate was Monday morning before she had her braces on. By Wednesday, she still hadn't eaten, and had barely drank anything either. We coaxed and cajoled, trying to get her to eat anything. We tried ice cream and milkshakes. We tried jello and yogurt. She just wouldn't eat. It hurt for her to swallow and to talk. She had turned into a walking zombie. She was weak and really lethargic and was even getting sick to her stomach. I was starting to get really concerned because this seemed outside of the normal realm of pain from braces. Tuesday afternoon, we took her in to our regular dentist and turns out, her bar was sticking out on her left side an actually cutting into her tongue. I felt horrible for not doing something about it sooner! Long story short, we took her in to her orthodontist's office Wednesday morning and they removed the bar so she could heal. 

That is the short version of the story, but it was so hard to see her in so much pain. And on top of that, we had Vacation Bible School at church each night. Kat and I only made it to a couple of those nights and thankfully our sweet friends let Ash tag along so she didn't have to miss while I stayed home with Kat. 

So, Thursday came and Kat was feeling a little better and actually ate a small amount so I proceeded running errands and getting  everything packed so that I could go to the conference. Thursday night, I was up late packing and I ended up scrolling through Instagram and I saw some posts from the Ya'll Connect page. I thought that seemed strange because I thought that the VIP party was on Friday night and that the conference was on Saturday. Then, it hit me! I had the dates wrong! I went to the website to confirm and sure enough, I was supposed to have checked into my hotel room that afternoon because the conference was to start at 8am the next morning. 

By this time, it was almost midnight and I was in a panic. I called my husband at work and explained to him what happened. (I won't go into details, but let's just say that Thursday was a really long and tough day already and this was just the icing on the cake. By this point, I just had to laugh because I had already said, Hey, what else can go wrong?) My  husband got it worked out so he could leave work early so he could get home so that I could leave by 4:30am to make it to the conference on time. Then, I called the hotel to explain what happened and to see if I could transfer my reservation from that night to Friday night. They had no vacancies on Friday night, so I got charged for a night that I didn't even stay there. Then, I had to try to find another hotel. By the time I found one relatively close to the conference, it was 2:30am and I had to leave in two hours. No sleep for me! I finished packing and got ready to leave. 

I almost just stayed home. I was tired, frustrated, and this had all culminated at the end of a very draining week. But, I decided that I needed to go anyway, and I'm so glad I did. In spite of everything that happened last week and the whirlwind of action it took to get me there on time, it was a nice way to end a down week on an up note.

I pumped myself full of coffee, cranked my radio up loud, and sang at the top of my lungs to keep myself from getting sleepy. Around Montgomery, the sun peeked out over the horizon and I saw the first sunrise I've seen in a really long time. I don't know what it is about sunrises that seem so sacred and intimate. It's kind of like God giving me a hug and saying, I love you. Have a good day. Okay, God. Thanks. I will. I love You, too.


I arrived on time, albeit a little sleepy. I was one of the first to arrive. I grabbed some coffee at the breakfast buffet and proceeded to the large conference room. I ended up sitting at a table with a librarian from the Birmingham public library, two sweet gals who were in charge of social media at a local church, a marketing rep for a real estate company, and another sweet DIY blogger. There was a lot of diversity at our one table, but I was pleasantly surprised at how kind and welcoming everyone was. That helped ease the small amount of anxiety that I had about not knowing a single soul there. We all enjoyed the key not speaker, Stacey from Blogalicious, before going to breakout sessions of our choice throughout the day.

In the end, I'm really glad that I attended and pushed through being tired. I met some amazing people, friends that I am thankful to have had the opportunity to meet. I learned a lot, too! I realized that I haven't even scratched the surface and have a lot more to learn, but I'm headed in the right direction! The Ya'll Connect conference was worth no sleep! 

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