My Shooting Star Experience TOO Good to Not Share!

My Shooting Star Experience TOO Good to Not Share!

I laid back on the blanket and focused my eyes on the star-filled sky above. “There! Did you see that?” my Mom exclaimed pointing above us to the left. My eyes re-focused, now on that patch of the night sky. “There’s another one!” My sister squealed pointing in an entirely different direction. Nope, I thought. I didn’t see either one or, the next half dozen they tried to point out. I laid there quietly, my eyes still fixed on the vast expanse above us. I so desperately wanted to see what they had. But then, after feeling left out, shooting star after shooting star, it happened. A magnificent brilliant light darted across the summer sky right in front of me, “there goes one!” I shrieked, claiming victory. I saw my first shooting star. As I remembered that sweet moment from my childhood, I thought of the expectation, the excitement, and the sense of wonder it left us with. It’s a life experience that seems to beg to be shared. This past week, I had a shooting star experience. It was fleeting brilliance that left me in wonder, impacted, and changed. It was the type of “moment” that I can’t help but share. Where did this happen you ask? At Carol Kent’s  Speak Up Conference  in Grand Rapids.  It’s an amazing, equipping conference for speakers and writers that has been one of the highlights of my summer for the past five years. If you were at Speak Up or not, I think you’ll appreciate my favorite takeaways: Failure is a powerful teacher. What do you do when you wake up in a rain-soaked tent,...

Hundreds of miles in just 3 easy steps: pray, trust, go.

Have you ever felt a nudge to step out of your comfort zone – to fully trust that the small quiet voice whispering “go!” is God? That’s exactly the prompting that compelled me to join the excitement at the Speak Up conference in Grand Rapids at the end of July. Undeniably, I’ve grown immeasurably as a result of both the writer’s and speaker’s tracks in the past, so returning was an easy decision, but… this year I felt God’s calling to step up and lead a breakout session as well as mentor new writers. Me? I asked. Would the tremendously experienced leaders who I have the utmost respect for find value in the contributions of a new comer? How would God develop the seed of an idea I had into a breakout session worthy of Speak Up? Though I initially had more questions than answers, I soon learned that despite the miles between home and the conference, my journey to Speak Up 2015 was a 3 step journey… pray, trust, and go! The result? What an amazing few days! Speak Up will definitely make the highlight reel for 2015! My 3 personal highlights of this year’s Speak Up Conference: Authentic and Genuine Leadership:  From heartfelt prayer over attendees, the venue, and event binders before anyone arrived, every aspect of Speak Up was prayed for and God led. Arriving the day before the conference began, I was blessed to see some of the behind the scenes preparations. The contagious enthusiasm, love for God, and desire to equip others to follow His call was very evident at the root of Speak Up....

Before your conference starts – What you need to know

Have you noticed that summer is a busy time for conferences? Whether you’re headed to an event this week or you have one planned for the future, these great tips will help you get the most out of your conference. 1. Select the best sessions – Review the entire conference’s offering as a whole enabling you to see the range of topics included. Pick sessions that help you to develop your skill set both in breadth and depth. If you have the opportunity to look through handouts of the slides in advance, take a minute to thumb through the slides to ensure the sessions are in line with what you anticipated. If you find a session isn’t what you thought, or you are in a session and realize it wasn’t the best choice for you, politely slip out of the session and join another that is more appropriate for you. 2. Flag your notes – Conferences provide a wealth of handouts capturing session notes with space to jot down your own thoughts or takeaways. As you listen to a speaker, use the margin to flag content that you’ll want to reference after you’re home. This will allow you to quickly locate aha’s after the event is over. Feel free to use these or use your own: AI – Action Item R – Resource or Reference Q – Quote W – Wisdom 3. Connect – One of the best parts of a conference is the opportunity for networking. Resist the urge to simply pass out a stack of business cards with brief to no real interaction. Instead opt to engage...

Why you should join me at Speak Up (blog hop & giveaway)

Have you ever heard the quote “God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called?” That quote pushed me to sign up for my first Speak Up conference in 2013. Overwhelmed by the nudge to write and speak, I had no idea where to start. Although one amazing door had already opened for me – my memoir A Search for Purple Cows was nearing its release date, I knew that I had much to learn! I hungered for the ability to speak confidently in front of audiences and desperately wanted to be prepared for the press tour and other activities surrounding my book launch. The impact of the Speak Up conferences I’ve attended have been nothing short of transforming! I gained the poise and confidence and have truly been equipped as a speaker. At my first conference I nervously participated in the peer review groups for speakers. My hands shook as I clenched my notes hoping no one would notice. That experience coupled with the feedback went a long way to develop me. Last year I added a pre-conference video taped session to take my speaking to the next level. Wow did that have an impact! Earlier this year when I took the stage to deliver a keynote address to a packed room, I did so confidently without notes because of the skills I acquired at Speak Up! This conference has equipped me to deliver engaging, inspirational, and impacting messages. It’s amazing how much attending this conference has changed me! But Speak Up hasn’t just helped my speaking; it’s helped develop me as a writer as well. One on ones with...