Do your smile muscles ever hurt?
You know, where you’ve been grinning from ear to ear so long that the rosy parts of your cheeks ache?
That’s what I experienced these past few days, ever since I’ve been home from the Haven Conference.
But my weekend didn’t start that way. In fact, it was the exact opposite.
Buckle your seatbelts, friends. This is a long post, full of ups and downs, but it’s well worth the ending! Here is how the Haven Conference changed me.
For those of you who aren’t in the know, the Haven Conference is the be-all-end-all for DIY/Home Decor bloggers. It’s a conference that I have wanted to attend for the past 5 years, but something always came up to make it an impossibility.
Each year it would come and go and I would battle massive FOMO for days.
Y’all – this was my year to finally go!
The weeks leading up to it, I shopped for new outfits not covered in paint, caulk or limewash. I wanted to look confident and feel confident.
We were set to leave early on Thursday and head straight to Romabio Paints. They so graciously sponsored a group of bloggers to go and rolled out the red carpet at their factory for us, complete with behind the scene tours, a delicious luncheon and gifts!
An uninvited guest showed up.
You know this party crasher. We’ve all had him show up one time or another.
Doubt. Insecurity. Feelings of worthlessness.
Once everyone started to arrive, I started to feel smaller and smaller. Like an afterthought.
My insignificance was being played on repeat in my mind. But I smiled and hid the crazy that was going on full blast in my brain.
We were sharing the table with massive influencers that were so nice and kind to me, but all I could think of was how to run out of the room or hide under the table.
The afternoon closed with a wonderful good-bye and we offered to drive some rockstar Instagrammers, Holly and Brad from Our Faux Farmhouse, to the hotel instead of them getting a Lyft.
They were so nice and not in a Bless Her Heart kind of way. Honestly, I have very little recollection of what I said.
I’m sure I rambled on and on, but all I remember is feeling that I shouldn’t be here. Even though it was my car, y’all!
So we get to the hotel and we get ready to check in.
But here’s where it began to change.
Trent and I were standing in line waiting for the desk clerk to call us next.
My poker face must have completely evaporated by that point because my friend Leslie from Deeply Southern Home changed my heart.
Now what you need to know about Leslie is that she is the epitome of class and poise. Refined and always looks like she’s ready for a photo shoot.
She came up and hugged me – leaving aside her perfectly reserved poise, and greeted me with such exuberance that tears came to my eyes.
I now know that it was the prompting on her heart to welcome me in.
But it wasn’t Leslie who welcomed me, friends.
He was there.
Right in that pivotal moment.
That moment began the change.
And the rest of the weekend opened up like a beautiful rose, each day revealing more of it’s beauty. More of Him.
After the first night’s Welcome Reception, we opted for a quiet night in to get ready for the next mornings launch.
The conference started with an opening from Egypt Sherrod. And it happened again.
Words from her mouth that felt like it was directed to me.
“Grow through what you go through.”
Oh, I heard that loud and clear.
So the sessions begin and friends, I’m surrounded by all the bloggers I’ve admired for so many years. Listening to sage words from these rockstars that wowed and inspired me.
Then I meet her. Enter Carmen stage right.
Carmen is this beautifully quirky-and-owning-it-like-a-boss blogger over at Living Letter Home. She gets me to a T! We were assigned to the same mentor group.
Our humor is the same and get this – her and her husband are musicians, too! It was so awesome getting to know this genuinely amazing couple.
And she was there to keep me centered and focused, always happening to show up right when those seeds of doubt tried to creep back in.
So an invitation for dinner is extended by her Friday night and we all go. It’s like I’m backstage at the Blogger Grammy Awards! I’m breaking bread, or cheese biscuits, with my core inspiration.
For real – I’m shocked that I didn’t fan girl over each and every one.
I was humbled and honored to be in their company, but I heard His sweet whispering again.
You deserve to be here.
And I rejoiced.
Saturday morning, I’m sharing a coffee with two other bloggers, and yes – another superstar in the midst.
I noticed a person standing on the outside waiting for our conversation to cadence. Huge brand logo prominently displayed on her shirt.
I start to step aside to watch the huge interaction between the brand and the superstar hoping to glean something from this.
Then I feel someone start to hug me.
She was waiting to talk to me! I find out that we had worked together earlier this year and she was hoping to meet me.
Me! The insignificant afterthought that I felt just hours before.
And I hear Him again softly encouraging me.
So as Saturday began to close, Lamps Plus hosted our luncheon which was emceed by the incomparable Karianne Wood from Thistlewood Farms. I’ve shared before her impact on my life. I was honored to promote her fabric line, and shout from the rooftops about her first book debut.
In fact, I met Karianne back in 2016 at the Country Living Fair at a time before I pursued blogging as a business and was about to give it all up.
That June day, she squared my shoulders and redirected my course to put me on the path I am taking now.
Cut to Saturday’s luncheon.
The first impactful thing she said is
“Never Apologize for Yourself.”
Isn’t that what I was doing just days before?
Feeling like a pitiful Eeyore in the way of everyone?
At this point, I’m reeling and buzzing all over, overwhelmed with the resounding message being repeated all weekend long.
I take a moment to thank Karianne for her impact on my life that June day and she poured into me again, topping off my cup to the point of overflowing.
But it’s not quite over.
We attend the closing session, hosted by the most talented Amy Howard.
It was church, y’all!
At least, that’s what I heard.
Just when I thought I couldn’t receive any more validation and encouragement, she says this:
“Let go of everything that could have been. Know that you have everything right now to be what you are created to be. Everything is preparing you for what is to come.”
I was broken.
My heart was so full.
So to put the cherry on top of this already amazingly awesome sundae, Haven throws the most epic dance party. And I’m greeted again with a new friend that I met that night, but you would have thought we had known each other our whole lives.
I had the most amazing time!
The Haven Conference logo says, “Transforms your heart” and this is oh so true.
I came to Haven as a caterpillar and left as a butterfly.
Completely difference from before.
And I’m better for it!
Do you have a verse? You know… your verse?
I wrote a reminder for myself many years ago on an old window.
The Lord your God is with youZeph. 3:17
and He is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you
and will quiet you with His Love.
He will rejoice over your with singing.
This is what I experienced this weekend.
Never would I imagine that I would attend a business conference and leave knowing with such clarity my worth.
He was with me this entire trip. And He quieted my ugly thoughts with His love. He took great delight in little ole me.
And He rejoiced over me with singing.
And I’m forever grateful how the Haven Conference changed me.
Here are some more pics for you to enjoy from our time at Haven!
Did I leave anything out? Are there any questions you have about the Haven Conference that I missed?
Leave a comment below wanting to know more details on certain topics. Or is you’re a blogger, I would love to hear how the Haven Conference impacted you this year!