Looking Back at W3

I noticed recently that I was writing W3 in some of my notes as shorthand for Wonder, Wisdom, Worship… and since I’ve had friends attend a conference called G3 (standing for Gospel, Grace, and Glory), I guess I’ll allow myself to use the nickname now and then. 🙂 At any rate, it’s hard to believe that it has already been three weeks since the Paideia Northwest conference, and yet here I am just now getting the recordings uploaded and shared, and tomorrow I plan to actually go into the basement to reorganize and store all of the conference supplies. There are some pretty wilted mums, sunflowers, and roses down there somewhere. Ha!

This is on the heels of Thanksgiving and on the cusp of Advent, as well as in the midst of a couple family birthdays (two have already passed, with one more coming on Monday). It’s a busy, festive time! And I am so grateful for the recurring opportunities to put my hands to use for His Kingdom. Children to educate, people to feed & clothe, a home to clean & keep, errands to run, hospitality to pursue, worship to prioritize, co op to direct, gifts to buy & wrap & send, a husband to love. There really are wonders all around. I really do fall on my knees begging the Lord to increase my knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. I really can’t help but worship the King who created and maintains all these things.

I’d love to know what stood out to you from the sessions at Wonder, Wisdom, Worship. What things have you been mulling over since that weekend? What snippets pop into your head and make you smile? What new practices have you tried that were inspired by Pam, Heather, or Mystie? What were your favorite vendors, and did you bring home anything particularly special?

I’ll pop some pictures in here of some of my favorite moments from that day. Including, perhaps, one that Heather took of me in the pitch darkness of our AirBnb that morning when we were trying to figure out what to do without power, thanks to the storm in the wee hours. Smiling mamas and passionate speakers, festive decorations and cheerful vendors… hugging more ladies than I can count, and gratefully watching volunteers serve and work. For the fifth year in a row, I’m just humbled. By what God does. How He does it. That He lets me participate in it. That I get to enjoy the fruit of it.

If you are interested in finding a way to jump into the work with me next year, feel free to send me an email at [email protected] because I am always looking for ways to encourage and uplift other mamas… and some of you, like me, may feel most encouraged and blessed when you are elbow-deep in the work. Or if you just want to give some feedback or suggest vendors or whatnot… you know where to find me.

In the meantime, peace be with you.


I love giving away functional and beautiful things. I love sharing companies that I value, that are local or small or Christian-based or mama-run. I love reading off numbers from blue construction paper tickets and waiting for acknowledgement from a conference attendee that she has won a book, or jewelry, or artwork, or magazines, or apparel, or coffee mugs. I finally understand Oprah, just a wee little bit. There’s just something sweet and marvelous, twinkly to the point of nearly magical, about surprising dozens of ladies with something special. For the first few years of conferences, I purchased all the giveaway items personally, not knowing that I could make cold calls or send similarly cold emails, to ask authors or artists, companies or creators, to donate things for giveaways. That certainly does help! And I love the anticipation of waiting for the mail deliveries of all these fun things. It’s a unique small networking, and I love it. And while I don’t get to keep any of the things that are donated, it sure is fun to handle and photograph and show off the items before actually giving them away to the winning women.

Take a peek at what some of these amazing sponsoring companies have provided!

It’s officially “busy week”

I have realized by now, five years into hosting conferences for mamas raising and educating their kids for Christ, that it isn’t until the Sunday before the conference that my brain switches officially into “busy week.” Once it is “this week” instead of “next week” or “next month” or in November. It’s comically similar to the switch my brain would go through once labor kicked in at the end of a pregnancy. No going back now, it’s go time! 🙂

As of right now, there will be no pauses or breaks. Tomorrow I will be gone for eleven hours as per our normal Wednesday routine with co op and music lessons and errands. Then Thursday begins the heavy work. Organizing all of the bags and boxes and purchases into properly labeled plastic bins, and then hauling all of the big weighty bins out of my basement and into a couple of large vehicles. By Thursday afternoon I will be driving to an AirBnb to stock the kitchen and prepare to dig in. Airport runs and some final errands will finish out Thursday. And finally hugging my long-distance friend Heather. About two years in the waiting for that! And really grateful for how God provides.

Friday will involve four to five hours of unloading and setting up at Valley Real Life, organizing and reorganizing, decorating and fine tuning. That afternoon will involve preparing 450 swag bags (and praying it’s enough!) followed by a quick dinner with speakers and Paideia Northwest personnel, then hosting this year’s bonus family event, our Evening Of Poetry. I can hardly wait to sit nearby Kristen Kill as she talks about the spirit of poetry, billowing from her passionate love for the use of poetry not only in beauty but in motherhood and education and worship. I am excited to read poems to the crowd from some of my favorite living poets, and then to hear some of them read their own poetry aloud. I will probably close my eyes to listen. And try not to grin too ridiculously.

It will be hard to sleep on Friday night, but hopefully it will happen. Saturday morning will come, and I already know what clothes I will put on, but who knows what my hair will decide to do. Red hair isn’t always predictable… just like the redhead temperament, apparently. (As one of seven redheads living in our home, I can say that with a mix of comedy and confidence.) I will aim to begin opening and final preparations at the location at 7am. It won’t be long until others join me. Friends, family, volunteers.

That’s when the real fun begins!

But in the meantime, I print papers smeared with spotty black ink from my failing printer, and wrap conference swag in brown tissue paper. I cook meals for my family and plan high school literature class for our co op. I read picture books and fold towering piles of laundry. I take pictures of beautiful things I get to give away at the conference, and share them on social media with a giddy chatter that isn’t exactly natural to me, and yet the delight of giving away functional and fanciful things does almost make me giddy. So it works out.

And I pray over the six pages of attendees’ names. I don’t know what these women are currently suffering, enduring, working through, working on, rejoicing over, praying for… but I have their names. And I carry them to Christ. He gives them to the Father. And it’s like this little privilege of holding hands with the Savior, and reaching out to hundreds of sisters… all going together by name to our Father. It’s a community feeling before I am even in the midst of these 450 women.

People ask me about being a business owner. But if nothing else tells you that this is a ministry, not a business, hopefully it is this blog post. I won’t cut myself a paycheck, but I will feel incredibly rich in spirit by the time I get home on Sunday. I won’t make money but I will make friendships. I will laugh and cry and ponder with countless women this weekend – women just like me. Women who long to raise their children with joy and virtue for the sake of Christ. Women who don’t want to raise their voices or lose their patience. Women who know we can’t do it all, know we aren’t enough, but cling to the One who is enough and through whom all things are possible.

This is the busiest week of my year. And far & away one of my favorites.