Blissdom in Pictures and Snippets

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Thursday Blissdom 2012-0450

I partied and laughed and roomed and cuddled and ate with my beautiful #sisterchicks. (Although we MADLY missed our Atlanta contingent.)

Blissdom 2012 - Sisterchicks at GNO


I cuddled with this adorable guy (idreamofclean‘s 10-week-old) A LOT! As in “Gimme your baby and go have fun!” Isn’t he crazy cute?


I brainstormed. I talked about writing.


I roomed with Mary again, and also with Dawn Camp and QuatroMama.


I got to hear phenomenal speakers: Simple Mom, Michael Hyatt, Jon Acuff, Jeff Goins.

I was looking for a mini-vacation, and got that and more. I feel like my writing had been invigorated, my mind is renewed, I want to be a better parent and wife, and I am going to work on that life plan Michael Hyatt talked about.

Thanks, Blissdom!

Pictures were taken by: Dawn Camp, Domestic Chicky, Giving Up on Perfect, Heather Durdil, and Nancy Doud. Click on the individual pictures for sources.

Stuff Jessie Likes

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It was so awesome to get to hear Jon Acuff speak at Blissdom this morning. He is truly hilarious, and his talk about deep-vee-syndrome had everyone cracked up and Tweeting one-liners.

But the more serious and impassioned part of his talk was about his job-hopping because he thought the next job would be more fulfilling, they would appreciate him, or he would find what he loved. And of course, he knew what he loved – blogging, writing, traveling, being funny.

It’s difficult to throw yourself wholeheartedly into what you love. There’s always something else. Minutiae, family, details, work. Somewhere back there, though, we have a dream. Acuff called it the “but” phenomenon; everyone says, “I’m a ________, but I want to be a __________.”

Which is why it strikes me as so amazing that I can say I am exactly what I want to be. I’ve always wanted to be a writer and a mother. And how crazy blessed am I that those two things are what I do? I certainly don’t have everything figured out, and I always long for more. (Who doesn’t? Our hearts aren’t made for this world.) But on earth, I believe God has gifted me with the talent to write. I just need to figure out how to glorify Him using that talent.

And this blog, writing for magazines, working on a ministry newsletter – those things seem like the right place to start. Through the pain and confusion of the last three years, God has blessed me beyond belief in the area of my writing, opening doors without me trying to shove them open – and then figuring out that the sign said “pull.” Giving our future, our home, our kids to Him has enabled me to lift up my hands and say, “Hey, Lord, just do what You want with me. Cause You’re going to anyway, so it’s way better if I just give in.”

What is your “but”? What is it you really want to do? And what’s stopping you?


Third Time’s a Charm

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This is my Third Blissdom!There have been five Blissdom conferences, and this will be the third one I’ll be attending. (Four, if you count visiting last year’s with my eensy-weensy baby boy, but I didn’t actually go for more than a few hours!) This year’s 800 attendee hoopla with Rascal Flatts and Joe Jonas is a far cry from Blissom ’09, where I spent most of my time nursing a baby Libbie in the hallway and actually meeting a lot of bloggers who could qualify as famous nowadays.

I’m not really much of a conference girl, honestly. I doubt you’ll ever see me at BlogHer unless someone approaches me desperate to pay my way. I’m more about writing and less about building my blog; I have a freelance career and that is where I make money, not here.

But Blissdom has always been about relationship, and I couldn’t pass up a chance to see Mary, Jill, Tricia, Christine, Jen, Laura, and many others when the conference is a mere two-hour drive for me. I’m mostly considering it a well-earned vacation from mommyhood where I can sleep in a hotel room without being woken up four times a night, take a shower in peace, and feed myself without having to  get up to take care of little people every 30 seconds.

I’m not saying I don’t love and appreciate being a stay-at-home mom, but we all need a vacation very once in a while, don’t we? Whatever our job is?

I can’t think of a much better place to relax and learn than the gorgeous Opryland Hotel with 799 of my closest friends.

Here's a picture so you can find me.

If you’re going to Blissdom, I really want to meet you! Please leave me a comment so I can be sure to find you this weekend.

Bliss, Like a Dream

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Disclaimer: Amazon affiliate links included in this post. Although I paid my entire way to Blissdom (including the $58 parking), the conference did have wonderful sponsors and we received a lot of free gifts from them.

Why like a dream? Because I was a walking zombie for much of the weekend. I don’t survive well on very little sleep, but being with my roommates Hillary and Mary there was simply too much to talk about to sleep. (Like when I pounced on Mary’s bed and demanded we talk about Gilmore Girls Season 6 at 1 a.m.)

Me and Mary (Giving Up on Perfect), picture by Christine

My weekend started out in good Jessie fashion: I drove from Chattanooga in the dark and pouring rain; refused to spend money to valet park and thus drug my giant suitcase into the enormous Opryland Hotel; and then could not for the life of me find where anyone else was in the building. (Dear Opryland: Your maps are not good enough.)

I ended up in the Delta area by the riverboat dock with my gargantuan suitcase and near tears. Happily, Mary and Hillary came and found me and took me to our room. I didn’t get to see anyone else that night (Thursday) but it didn’t matter. I was with my Blissdom girls!

If I continue in this minute-by-minute fashion, this post is going to be 100 years long. So let’s just hit some highlights:

1. Meeting Mary for the first time in person. We’ve become great friends through blogging and it was incredible to get to see each other face-to-face and yak our heads off.

2. Getting to hold and snuggle Tessa (Tricia‘s daughter) for long periods of time. I love infant smell. She is adorable and I can’t wait to see pictures of her in all of Libbie’s hand-me-downs!


3. The opening session by Kevin Carroll. He was simply amazing, inspiring, and adorable. Thanks for coming and sharing with a big bunch of gals, Kevin! [You can buy his Red Rubber Ball book here–I’ll definitely at least be finding it in the library!]

4. Savvy Blogging on Friday night. I think I’m going to have to do a separate post on Savvy Blogging and its takeaways, but suffice to say I got to sit at a table and talk with Crystal from MoneySavingMom, one of the founders of The Blog Frog, and several other amazing bloggers for an hour or two. I got a veritable wealth of information–and a great stash of swag from Cracker Barrel, Born Free, RedPlum,, and lots of other places! Thanks, sponsors! [Here’s a picture of me at Savvy Blogging. I look slightly overwhelmed.]

So you know, the Savvy Blogging site and the Twitter hashtag #savvyblogging are still active and wonderful for asking questions about your blogging.

5. Dinner at Baja Burrito Saturday night. On, oh, Tuesday night, my roomies and I decided to throw together an impromptu Saturday night dinner at my very favorite place in Nashville. Although it was a little harried getting there, we had a great group of ladies, excellent food, and I so enjoyed talking to Cailie, Kim and Kris, Ashleigh, and Krista.

6. Eating at Pancake Pantry with Mary, Hillary, and Jo-Lynne. We were supposed to eat with Amanda and her sisterchicks, but someone’s roommates were a little slow getting ready (cough, cough, and I totally wasn’t still asleep at 8).

7. Stories. I love hearing people’s stories. Even though I was so tired of talking to people I thought I might die on Friday night (introvert much?), I loved talking to each and every one of them!

8. All of this:


Amy from The Finer Things in Life and OhAmanda


Me and Kate from Cooking During Stolen Moments


Hillary (The Other Mama) makes me laugh

Me and Laura from Hollywood Housewife, photo by Mary

I am sure I have 8,000 more things to say but … I am tired, I have the BlissSnot from shaking 400 ladies’ hands, and I need to watch The Office. Just keeping it real. 😉

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As you might be able to see, I’ve decided to go back to regular Blogger comments. The feedback I’ve received is that DISQUS is hard to sign into, although it’s great on the back end for responding to comments.

Unfortunately I think that means I’ve lost all the comments AND the ability to receive comments on my last 4 posts! Oh no! I’m so sorry. I appreciate your comments on the post about my grandmother so much.

What would be REALLY helpful though is going to your Blogger profile and changing it so your e-mail is shown and I can e-mail you back in response to your comments. No one who sees your comment will see your e-mail. Create one just for blog comments, if you want!

All you have to do is go to, click on “edit my profile,” and then check the box for “show my e-mail address.” PLEASE? Cause when you ask me questions I can’t respond to, I feel so awful! But if I don’t have your e-mail address and you don’t come back to look at my response in the comments here, there’s no way for me to find you!

I have lots of great feedback from Blissdom to share with you and I can’t wait to do that this week!


Picture of the lovely Jo-Lynne at Blissdom from Dawn at My Home Sweet Home

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A Letter from Libbie

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Dear Mom,

You didn’t just think I’d let you leave without pulling some tricks out of my onesie sleeve, did you? No way!

Tactic 1: Try to cut four teeth at once. Whine incessantly. Gnaw at everything within sight. Then start running a fever so you feel sorry for being annoyed with me.

Tactic 2: Sleep for 13 1/2 hours and coo happily to get you to come get me. Play contentedly and give you lots of hugs so you will be sure to love me too much to leave.

Tactic 3: Pull out EACH AND EVERY ONE of my toys so you will spend all your time frantically trying to pick them back up before Grandma gets here. I’m positive you will collapse in an exhausted heap on the couch and forget to leave.

Wait, Grandma is coming?? That means I’ll be held all the time, get to eat all the sugar I want, and never have to go to bed! Bye Mom!! Take your time! Have fun with the blogging ladies!


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