Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Influence Conference

a blog post written by an attender of the Influence Conference
linked-up for the Influence Conference community that is being built even now, weeks before the conference!

How do you really get to know someone? Do you know someone when you have been introduced to them and learned their name (whether you remember it later or not)? Is it when you know what "everyone else" says about them (whether their information is credible or not)? Maybe its when you make small talk with them every now and then because they are your bank teller, the cashier at your favorite store, or waiter/waitress at the cafe you frequent. Do you know someone when you know about their past, things like where they grew up and what their childhood was like? Or when you know what their dreams are and where they are headed with their life? Perhaps you know someone because somehow you ended up in the same place at the same time, went through the thick and the thin for a week or two and that created a bond of comradeship. Personally, I think you can only know someone, truly know them, when there is a deep level of trust shared between you, the kind of trust that allows you to be vulnerable with your struggles and pains and fears and hopes... When you don't have to be there for them but you choose to be so you are there when things are really hard and not at all pretty but you are also there in the times of rejoicing and celebration (and those times are all the sweeter for the endured trials)... When you know the quirks that make them unique, the influences that molded their tendencies and habits and way of thinking, the past experiences or present longings that make little things very special to them (while they remain superfluous to others)... When you appreciate how God created them inside -- their natural talents, and outside -- how she has a long neck that is perfect for wearing scarves and he has freckles splashed on his face, she has a dimple on one side of her face that appears whenever she smiles are crooked smile and he has peculiar toes that none but those closest to him have ever seen.
Some say that social media profiles and blogs give access to anyone in the world to know you personally, that "about me" sections reveal to others what ought only to be learned from personal acquaintance, but I disagree. You cannot ever know someone fully over the internet, just as you can never know someone fully that you haven't "done life" with. I have made many friends through blogging and social media connections, and I am glad to have the ability to do that, but I only know enough about them that I know I would like to know them better. So, you may know a bit about me, enough to know whether you would like to know me better or not, but you probably will never truly know me -- because few people are permitted that privilege. That being said, here are three things that will clue you in to who I am:
1) I love people. I am intrigued by their stories and am curious about what made them into the person they are. I treasure everyone differently, because everyone is different. I am as delighted by new friends as I am grateful for old friends. But of all the people that I cherish, and there are many, I believe that children hold the place nearest to my heart.
2) I am an analyzer, observer, avid-journaler, deep-thinker, lover of knowledge, treasurer of wisdom and one who gives plenty of time to processing. Perhaps you think that all of these are different and should be listed separately. Think that, if you wish. I shall leave them listed together just the same. :)
3) As you cannot hear my thoughts or know my heart, you will likely pick up on my gestures, appearance, posture, facial expressions, and other exterior things that serve to create a definition of "me", so it is only fair for me to warn you that you may learn very little about me through mere observation. I am a wall-flower, an introvert, very comfortable in silences that others may find awkward, not athletic or lively but quite strong-willed, creative and, while I appreciate the city as a marvelous place to people-watch, I am most at-home in the countryside. [In case you have not noticed by this point, while I am very quiet and generally say little, when I have something to say I am rather longwinded. Jane Austen and I might have been good friends.]

I am looking forward to the Influence Conference with great anticipation because 1) I will meet ladies from all over that I am sure to adore. While the idea of meeting a bunch of people scares the introvert inside of me, I love people too much not to get to know them if they are bound to be kindred spirits.
2) I will learn so many practical things and find rich inspiration from the lives and experiences of others.

As for the one thing I cannot leave home without it is a toss-up, either my iPhone or my Camelbak water bottle... I don't think I can choose between the two of them.

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I thrive in community but have a hard time breaking into/getting plugged in to it so I am so excited that I have a little community at Influence already built-in with roommates! Can't wait to meet these lovelies: Emily, Heather & Therese!


  1. Girl - you are just so amazing! I feel like we're kindred spirits :) I'm attending Influence as well, and look forward to meeting you in person. Am following you on GFC now, though, so I can get to know you beforehand through your posts!

    I am LOVING those photos on your left sidebar. And I would SO be friends with Jane Austen too :)
    I love your heart for missions - I share that heart. Looking forward to reading more of your wisdom and heart!



  2. I love the depth of your thoughts. Can't wait to meet you!

  3. Hello, fellow deep-thinker! Weekends like this can be challenging when others seem to warm up so much quicker and dive into new friendships almost instantly. But we can go at our own pace and still have a great time :) I look forward to meeting you!

  4. I think a lot of women at this conference are introverts! that excites me, because i think i felt i was going to be surrounded by a bunch of extroverts and be completely overwhelmed. but i don't think that'll be the case!

    i'm looking forward to meeting you!

  5. Girl, I think we will have tons in common! :) So excited to meet you!!!
    Noticed you are a GFA blogger, too! I had been but have not been doing very good the last few months. :( It's hard! I feel like I'm repeating myself all the time.
    See you in October!

  6. I don't go anywhere without my camelbak. It is like my third arm.

    Nice learning more about you here! Can't wait to meet in October!

  7. This was so beautifully written and so happy to have clicked on your linky! I'm looking forward to seeing and meeting you face to face!

  8. looking forward to meeting you in a few short weeks!

  9. i am so excited to meet you and that you are a big dreamer as well :) i would love to hear your story and exchange hopes and dreams! you are so sweet and i am happy you're coming and that we have the chance to meet face-to-face!