Blissdom Recap + Life Lessons from Brilliant People

So, I told y’all last week I was going to the blogging conference Blissdom. Well, it was incredible! Seriously. It blew away my expectations.

The speakers…awesome!

The tips and ideas I picked up about marketing, blogging, balancing blog/family, etc. were well worth the price of the ticket. But, don’t just take my word for it…

  • If you have to market anything–either personally or for business–I highly recommend you check out Scott Stratten and John Michael Morgan.
  • Need a general pick-me-up or encouragement as you follow your dreams? Read Jon Acuff.
  • Want first class writing advice? Jeff Goins is your man.
  • If you want to feel good about being an introvert. Watch Susan Cain.

The people…super friendly!

I’m an introvert and kinda shy. I hate networking-type events or going places where I don’t know a soul. I’m also not a fan of idle chatter. So, you can imagine me feelings about walking into a huge conference room filled with hundreds of people I don’t know, including numerous big-time bloggers and authors. Fortunately, my fears were baseless because I met some of the coolest ladies at Blissdom–people I genuinely want to keep up with.

The swag…fabulous!

Our conference bag was filled to the brim with goodies. Throughout the weekend we scored books written by a couple of the speakers, blinged out drinking cups, jewelry, snacks, candy, beach towels, children’s medicine, sleep masks, and so much more. Here’s me tossing pizza crust at the Sbarro booth.


The life lessons…brilliant.

I have to tell y’all. Don’t sleep on blogging and social media. There are people out there effecting incredible change through the online word. It’s mind boggling. That’s not to say in real life relationships are irrelevant–far from it. But bloggers are certainly a force to be reckoned with.

Since I know not everyone is into blogging, I thought I’d share some of the killer life advice I picked up from some of the speakers. some of the brilliant speakers at Blissodm that apply to anyone else who wants to do something brialliant.

You want to be successful? Work hard. Stop looking for shortcuts. -Scott Stratten

Your visibility gets you in the door. Your ability keeps you there. -John Michael Morgan

You want to be seen not as being better than your competition, but as being the only option. -John Michael Morgan

We need time alone to think and generate ideas. – Susan Cain

In order to do important work, you have to do irrelevant work first. – Jeff Goins

Do you want to chase your passions or a paycheck? – Jeff Goins

Being ready is a myth. You’ll never be enough of anything. You just have to start. – Jon Acuff

Punch fear in the face. – Jon Acuff

I really want to live by these mantras, so my goal is to turn a few of these into some cool printables. If you’re interested, I’ll be posting them to my Words to Live Pinterest board and sharing them with our newsletter subscribers.

When Marriage Gets Tough, What Are You Really Going To Do?

There’s a book by the name of To Walk or Stay: Trusting God Through Shattered Hopes and Suffocating Fears that’s making its way around the blogosphere. While I haven’t actually read it, the basis of the book intrigues me. It’s the real life account of a wife who chooses to stay in her marriage and make it work despite her husband’s betrayal and infidelity. I’m intrigued because I remember pontificating as a single woman about what I would or wouldn’t do if my husband cheated (among other scenarios)–but to actually be faced with that decision is an entirely different story.

What You Need to Know about Divorce

In the past couple of years, I’ve known women (and men) who’ve stayed with their spouses through infidelity and those who’ve walked away from their forever. What I’ve learned from watching these situations play out is unless it’s you in the middle, you don’t really know what you’d do in the case of infidelity or any other problem that could rear its head in your marriage.

The reality is marriage is hard. This I know for sure.

There have been a few times where emotionally,  my heart was out of the game. I didn’t feel in like or in love with my husband, and wanted nothing but to get out. The only thing is that spiritually, I kept being reminded of the covenant vow I’d made before God. Ten years later, the hubbie and I are still in this deal together. However, truth be told, my decision to weather the storms may or may not be right for you or someone else. While I certainly can’t decide the fate of anyone’s marriage, I can offer up some advice.

1. Don’t judge others.

When you see someone else going through rough patches in their marriage–be it infidelity, disagreements, addiction, abuse, or whatever–don’t make it about you. Don’t talk about what you would do in that situation or what you think they should have done. For one, as an outsider looking in, we can never really know the complete truth about one’s personal life. Two, you never know what difficulties your own marriage will face one day.

2. Know your why.

All bloggers, whether they have 5 readers or 5 million, reach a point where they consider giving up blogging. Like me, they may question whether it’s worth it. If what they’re doing matters. Those who manage to keep at it, do so because they finally remember their why. They realize it isn’t the numbers or the accolades that drive them, but rather a deeper purpose and meaning  that compels them to write. Marriage is the same. Unless you know why you want your marriage to work, when questions about whether all the work and effort is worth it begin to arise, you may be very well tempted to walk.

3. Talk to someone.

In looking at some Google search stats, I found that there are nearly 7.5 million searches a month asking the question, how do I divorce? And yet, the biggest trick the devil uses when we’re going through problems is isolation. We often feel like we’re in it all alone or that we’re the only marriage having difficulties. Don’t believe the lie. You’re not alone. If you’re like me, trying to maintain a facade of happiness and perfection when trouble is bubbling all around will weigh you down. Talk things over with a wise, older person who can be trusted to maintain your confidence and provide objective advice.

4. Get counseling.

When conversations with your spouse cease from being constructive and you all can’t see past all the offenses, misdeeds or biases, bringing in an objective third-party–preferably a couple or older person of faith trained in marital counseling can do some good. I even think counseling or marriage training on an ongoing basis even when there’s nothing wrong with your marriage can help ensure it stays that way.

5. Pray.

At some point, you have to turn over the issues that are troubling your marriage to God and earnestly seek his direction, wisdom and guidance. Be open to what He may direct you to do as you could find He wants to do some work in and through you first.

6. Pray with your spouse.

There’s something about praying together as a couple that dissolves tension and strife in a marriage. Instead of arguing about something, pray about it together and try to make daily prayer with your spouse a routine.

So, will you walk or stay when your marriage gets rough? Even if you think you know the answer, only God knows for sure. I do know that when guarded, protected and nurtured, marriage is a beautiful thing. A united couple in love is a force to be reckoned with, so my prayer is that my marriage and yours will be examples of healthy marriage that our society so desperately needs to see.

Music Monday: Jesus at the Center by Israel & New Breed

I’m back with another Music Monday(ish) post. (Have you figured out I’m a night owl by now?). Today’s music selection is a bit different because it’s not just one song, it’s an entire CD (or rather double-CD). Actually, that’s not quite true either. It’s not even just a CD, it’s a DVD as well. Jesus at the Center is one of the latest songs from Israel and New Breed and also the title of their entire new CD and worship DVD. To say, Israel Houghton (worship leader at Lakewood Church in Houston and mastermind behind some of contemporary worship’s most popular songs) and musical group New Breed have strung together a collection of songs that my entire family enjoys, is an understatement. The boys usually request one of two songs from the CD as soon as we get in the car (Te Amo or Rez Power).

Jesus at the center of it all
From beginning to the end
It will always be, it’s always been You, Jesus

Nothing else matters, nothing in this world will do
Jesus You’re the center, and everything revolves around You

Let’s be real. When you have kids, a job, side hobbies, a husband, workout commitments, sports games and practices, play dates, friends, church, and everything else that competes for your time, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s really important. I know it was for me. That’s why I fell hard for this CD because it redirected my focus and reminded me that without Jesus at the center of it all, everything else is meaningless.

If you listen to this CD, you will no doubt be blessed; but let me challenge you to take it a step further by watching the worship DVD. It’s a-ma-zing. If you want to see what “radical worship” looks and feels like, watch this. If lifeless, stale worship is more your style, do NOT watch this DVD and certainly do not search YouTube for clips like this.

It’s likely this DVD will be like nothing you’ve ever seen in a church setting–flashing lights, a huge band, people dancing and raising their hands in the air, etc.–but when you see the passion and excitement in the singers and really take in the lyrics, you can’t help but understand the pure abandonment to worship.

Seriously, after watching this DVD, the way I worship has changed. It’s a little less refined and restrictive. More heartfelt and reflective on what it means to be a child of God. Jesus at the Center has become my mantra for the year, and I imagine it will for you.