Have you ever wondered who works to put on Paideia Northwest events, or where the idea came from in the first place? Amy Sloan from Homeschool Conversations with Humility and Doxology interviewed Paideia Northwest founder Melissa Cummings in 2021, and you can watch the vlog version right here if you want to know more about the background behind your favorite annual event.
There is a big part of me that wishes the conference were today. I long for fellowship and encouragement… I long for rest! Yet, there is much left to be done over these next seven weeks, so I will seek to work hard six days of each week and rest for the glory of God on the Sabbaths in the meantime.
Today an email will go out to all conference registrants, speakers, and vendors ~ everyone who needs to know the ins and outs of what is coming on Saturday, November 13th!
We are still gathering orders for the year’s Paideia Northwest Rest tees, but only for another five days. Hurry to order now!
I have some great action items to pursue once October gets here, like putting in the final order and payment for the catering; finalizing volunteer teams; visiting the location to walk through where we will put what. There are always little things to tweak even at the last minute, but planning well in advance makes the chaos of the event day much less, and increases the chance for it to be more restful when November 13th arrives. I am thrilled to nearly be ready to do the beautiful details of table settings, conference journals, and name badges ~ those are what busy my mind and hands in the three weeks prior to the actual event.
There are also some fun announcements coming up at the conference… something to put on your calendar and something to pop in your ear buds, as well as tidbits about the fifth annual conference which plans are underway for 2022!
If you aren’t connected with Paideia Northwest on Facebook or Instagram, you are missing out on daily quotes that are urging our minds and hearts to settle restfully on Christ: who He is, what He has done for our salvation, and how He equips us to walk by faith in our daily living.
Do you have thoughts or share, questions to ask, or ideas to propose? Send me (Melissa) an email, and let’s have a conversation! PaideiaNorthwest@gmail.com
In 2020, tickets for Disciplined were sold out in two weeks.
In 2021, tickets for Rest have now sold out in eleven days.
Wow! I am so humbled and overjoyed that the Lord continues to orchestrate and bless the work of Paideia Northwest.
I am curious about what else He has in store for us, and what new avenues He is paving for the blessing of Christian families here in the Northwest corner of our country.
Registration for the upcoming annual conference is now closed, but you can still support the work of Paideia Northwest by purchasing a tshirt here.
Another thing you can do to encourage and support the work of Paideia Northwest is by sending me an email at PaideiaNorthwest@gmail.com with ideas for events or information that you would find beneficial as a Christian family raising children for the kingdom of God.
I have done most of the work here over the last 3+ years on my own, and I would love to have input from those of you who know the vision and long to share in the endeavor! Please connect with me, and prayerfully consider how the Lord may be asking you to pursue assisting Paideia Northwest as we move forward.
Stand fast in the faith and rest in our sovereign Lord!
With the launching of Paideia Southeast yesterday, I had new opportunities to meet (ie interact digitally in one way or another) the rest of their team. What a blessing to see the unity those women share, and the workload they are splitting. They have said, more than once, how impressed they are by the work I have done on my own here at Paideia Northwest. But here’s the thing: I may not have the teamwork aspect going strong on some fronts here… I do the website, the social media, and most of the planning/prepping for the annual conference on my own… but I have a wonderful team of women who support and encourage the work of Paideia Northwest through prayer and the crucial act of being a soundboard. Since 2018 I have had Mystie, Kirsti, and Abby praying alongside me and available to me for feedback and insight and conversation ~ they are such a gift to me, and I am honored to call them my friends. Since 2019 I have had Jess and Ashley locally offering prayers and feedback and conversation as well. And in 2020 Shawna locally and Heather at a distance jumped in to offer prayer and encouragement.
That is the beauty of Christ’s body. We support and encourage and participate according to our gifts and callings, but that looks different person to person and situation to situation.
I have also had the blessing of volunteers helping at the events for the last few years, in increasing number each year. I am learning to delegate! 🙂 And women are stepping up to bless this effort of serving one another in person. The more we share that weight, the less each person has to carry. I am slowly recognizing the immense beauty of that, and trying to find ways to welcome more women into the work.
If you are interested in helping do any kind of assistance with Paideia Northwest efforts, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
I would love to find more ways to bless mamas in the Northwest region of the US who are seeking to raise, train, educate, and nurture the next generation of kids for Christ. Want to help with an event? Want to sponsor something? Want to write an article? Want to feature us on your podcast? I am eager to hear your ideas and pursue mutual blessing.
We can pool our passions and resources to pursue and perpetuate the paideia of the Lord in our homes, communities, churches, and regions.
Today was a big day in the Paideia community… in fact, it is the day that Paideia Northwest grew into more than just one isolated group and actually can legitimately claim to be part of a community!
Paideia Southeast, headquartered just north of Atlanta, GA, officially launched today! While this is not a direct ministry of Paideia Northwest, I would definitely say you should consider us like family members ~ sister communities. Founding team leader Heather Tully and I were connected in 2020 due to mutual friends (the Scholé Sisters), and we began to walk together-while-distant through FitBit challenges… and then about eight or nine months ago we started chatting regularly through the voicemail app Voxer. Heather asked if I could mentor her through the idea of starting a Paideia Northwest community in the Southeast! I really could not have been more delighted. While I have felt fairly isolated and like I’ve been shooting from the hip since 2018 when I began Paideia Northwest, it has been invigorating to walk through the process and share my experiences with Heather… and I am so looking forward to gleaning wisdom and artistry from her as time goes on. She is such a dear friend, and just a gift. In just the last two months, I have also been able to chat with Jenn Discher on Voxer as well—the three of us have been discussing educational philosophy, principles of Christian paideia, and reading a book together on Classical Christian education. What a treasure to have the blessing of community and camaraderie even across distance!
But it is face to face fellowship and personal connection that is our real passion—and that is why real life events with flesh and blood community is at the heart of our Paideia pursuits. Perhaps it is no wonder that Heather and I connected thanks to our friends at Scholé Sisters, now that I think about it… because the motto there is that homeschooling is a marathon we need not run alone—find your sisters. And Heather has been exactly that to me. A companion on the homeschooling journey this year, and particularly as we endeavor to lead mamas in our regions to raise their kids in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, cultivating homes and educations for them which point them continually back to Christ, while growing and learning alongside one another. That is our aim and our prayer.
On Thursday, September 2nd, Heather and I will be sharing a slightly more in-depth version of our back stories, current endeavors, and future goals for our Paideia communities on the Instagram Live platform. You can follow us at Instagram.com/PaideiaNorthwest and Instagram.com/PaideiaSE to check it out.
And please stay tuned for more information here on what Paideia Northwest hopes to bring to the broader Spokane area (Pacific Northwest/Inland Northwest), and follow PaideiaSoutheast.com for all the upcoming blessings for our sisters in the opposite corner of the country.
Pray for us ~ we are likewise praying for you!
Opening day of Early Bird registration this year saw over two hundred registrations. I was honestly not expecting that. But I think it bears testament to the fact that we are starving for fellowship and eager to receive encouragement for the work set before us.
If you began the registration process but did not finalize your Paypal payment, you are not actually registered. So please try again! If your payment did go through, your Paypal receipt should be in the inbox of the email address associated with your Paypal account. Usually, you are supposed to receive a confirmation email from me at Paideia Northwest. But my email marketing provider (Mailchimp) is not functioning this year as it has in the past. I’m sorry! If you are brand new to Paideia Northwest, you probably received a confirmation email. But if you have ever registered for a previous event, Mailchimp is recognizing you as a previous contact, and therefore is not sending out the automated confirmation email. This frustrates me (and perhaps it confuses you), and I am sorry!
Little hiccups happen as an event planner. I have been learning this over the last four years. I’m okay with it. So far, I have not yet encountered an insurmountable hiccup. The Lord is so kind and merciful with His provision! But please bear with me. You are always welcome to email me with questions, and I will always do my best to provide you with prompt and complete assistance. But I am only one person, and this is by no means my full-time gig, so your patience is deeply appreciated.
I have been seeing things on social media as well as in my email inbox, not to mention the sheer amount of registrations in a single day… which show me that I am not the only one who feels the need for fellowship. I need face to face conversations. I need to prioritize my own teacher-work-day or mama-fill-up day. Are you hungry for these things? Please join us for Rest!
And if you (or someone you know) needs a scholarship ticket in order to attend this year’s event, please contact me. I have a couple more scholarships available as of today, and I simply ask for the Lord to direct the women to me who most need these. I love to meet needs. It is what I see in Scripture that Christ does. I want to follow Him. Won’t you help me?
As I prepare to open up Early Bird registration tomorrow 8/20/21, I just wanted to share a few things here for easy reference. In anticipation of FAQs, I suppose you could say.
Early Bird registration will be available only for a short window of time – August 20-31. On September 1st, I will have to switch it over to Regular registration, and then all registrations will close no later than October 15th. But I also only have 300 tickets… and last year they pretty much went like hotcakes, as they say. Perhaps this year people are not quite as desperate for in-person fellowship as they were last year… but then again, it is looking like perhaps we will be just as desperate once again. The Lord knows our need.
This is my fourth year planning, preparing, and hosting the Paideia Northwest annual conference for mamas raising their kids for the Lord. Some things, therefore, have gotten easier for me. I have figured out some ways to streamline some things, in order to not recreate the wheel every year. But on the other hand, some things don’t really lose their weight or complication even after repetition. Some things I am still figuring out. Some things need tweaked every single year.
And have you noticed that prices of pretty much everything have gone up in the last year? (Yeah, me too.) Some things in my budget lines have more than doubled in price. And while one of my main goals is to keep tickets below $50 (in order to make it what is considered a very affordable event), I also have to realize that I can not lose money on this endeavor every year. I have been able to budget well the last three years, and this year I am anticipating doing that as well… but it does mean that I have to pass along the cost increases to registrants. Charging $45 a ticket will allow me to break even. Praise the Lord! I love how He provides. And if there are still tickets left that sell during the Regular registration period, hopefully there will be a cushion left over… because next year will involve flying at least one speaker in. (Shhh! It’s a secret! But it’s an exciting one!)
Anyway. I know that money is tight. I know that raising a big family on a single income can be hard work. I know firsthand what it’s like to want to pinch every penny in order to provide as well as possible for my children. I want to spend every spare nickel and dime on more used books for my kids’ education and soul-fattening! I get it. But I have also been learning that it is okay to set aside some money in the budget to give myself teacher work days or mama refill days. The perspective and encouragement that I glean from listening to words from wise teachers and fellowshipping with godly women is honestly priceless. (Grace Agenda and Scholé Sisters are places where I find that myself… I do love the Paideia Northwest conferences, but they are exhausting work days for me on the heels of an incredible full week – so not exactly a mama refill event.) I would encourage you to find a way (or multiple ways) to prioritize these kinds of events in your life on a regular basis. Two to three times a year, I try to do this. There are many opportunities to glean wisdom and fellowship with sisters ~ choose wisely, but don’t starve yourself. You need to have opportunities to learn and grow, fellowship and feast.
I am delighted that Chris at Protect Young Eyes wants to help me make sure that anyone who finds $45 completely prohibitive can still come to Rest. I have already been able to commit a few scholarship tickets to some women who need that blessing. Rejoice with me over that gift!!
But could you also rejoice with me over the fact that I have been able to provide a lovely event on a budget for these last few years? I sincerely hope to be able to continue doing that. When I myself click on registration pages for events that are $100 or more per ticket, it feels kind of crushing. I can’t afford that. Especially if it also involves travel costs on top of just an event ticket! So trust me: I know. I try hard to find ways to make this an affordable, doable event for you. Because I’m in the same boat. I feel strongly about my family thriving on a single income, tithing faithfully, providing well for my kids, saving for the future, and not living in debt. I want to encourage you to pursue those same things for the glory of God.
And I still want you to be able to come to Rest! So register early for the cheaper price. I would be delighted to sell out before we even get to the “regular” price point!
Please be aware that the refund policy is different this year: due to multiple factors, I will no longer be processing refunds. I have to make payments for things in advance, and so by the time some people have asked for refunds in the past, I have already paid for things that can not be returned or reused. Since you get the audio and video recordings afterward, I think this is a fair arrangement (if that were to change, so again would my refund policy). Also, I am still able to do a ticket transfer… but only for a certain length of time… because I only do conference work in “free moments” – my fulltime gig is homeschooling my five kids, supporting my husband in running a Bible software business, and running a Classical Christian co op in my community… and I am tired of getting to conference week running on fumes and feeling like I’m forgetting things. So my deadlines and cutoffs are earlier now, in order to hedge my own time. I want to bring a conference that is a blessing. And if I come screeching into the finish line like a hot mess (and yes, I’ve done that before…), it’s much less of a blessing all around.
I am grateful to have people who want to volunteer on the day of the conference! Last year I had some people volunteer, but this year we need some more. 🙂 The more ladies who are willing to shoulder a coffee pot or a trash bag, the less burden an individual person needs to bear. Email me at PaideiaNorthwest@gmail.com if you would like to help on a coffee/snacks team or luncheon setup/cleanup team. As a thank you gift, I would be happy to provide you with a Rest tshirt – you’ll just have to let me know what size you’d like, and I will have it for you to pick up on November 13th at the event.
It really is a gift to my heart to anticipate Rest, to look forward to sharing a day of blessing with so many women again this year. I remember when I was first asking other women if they would find a way to bring some kind of motherhood/educational conference to the broader Spokane area… and how I just desperately longed for something like that in this area. And I had no inclination of heading it up myself! But when the Lord calls you to do something, He usually paves the way and makes it pretty obvious… and I also find that He pours on joy when we offer our work to Him faithfully. That’s certainly been true for me here. I find so much joy in the organization, planning, and curating. I wish it weren’t just once a year!
So registration opens tomorrow morning. And you will be able to find me via email or social media if you have any questions or troubles or speed bumps. Hopefully in the meantime, I have addressed some potential FAQs and shared a piece of my heart with you at the same time.
Peace be with you. Selah. Rest in our Lord who does all things well.
7…, 6…, 5…, 4…
Friends, I am delighted to be counting down the days until I can open registration for our upcoming Rest conference. This Friday, I will open the Early Bird rate of $45, and will be keeping that open through August 31st. On September 1st, we will move over to the Regular rate of $60 per ticket, and if we don’t sell out of reserved space, I will keep that open through October 15th. At that point, I will be closing registration for this year.
This is my fourth year of hosting this conference for Christian mamas raising their children in the paideia of the Lord, and while some things remain the same year by year, some things continually ebb. For instance, as with all things inflating over the last year or so, the costs which I incur for location, catering, speaker travel, and printing have increased – and therefore the Paideia Northwest ticket rate has had to increase as well. My vision is to make this annual event accessible for all mamas who feel the need for this kind of encouragement and exhortation. If you (or someone you know) needs a scholarship ticket, please contact me at email@example.com so we can make it happen! This year, Protect Young Eyes is helping me provide scholarships! (Check them out, and help me say thank you.) Also, if you are even considering attending the event, I would encourage you to buy an Early Bird ticket. You will receive the links after the event for the audio recordings as well as the video recordings (and the videographer did a fantastic job last year!), and $45 is actually a reasonable rate for even just a digital event. My friends at Scholé Sisters and Literary Life price digital events like that, for instance. But if you show up in person, you also get the swag bag, potential giveaway winnings, and all-day catering. I make an effort to provide snacks and drinks that will bless you throughout the morning, plus a catered lunch with plenty of options to fit your personal dietary preferences.
If you would like to pitch in and help at the event (I don’t know about you, but participating in the work gives me a deep sense of joy and ownership), please let me know. I need women to help with snacks/drinks as well as the luncheon setup. It would be a blessing to have multiple teams so that nobody is left bearing the brunt of the work all day long without the opportunity to sit and enjoy the sessions.
I am still open to more vendors, sponsors, and giveaway items… so if you have any interest in these options, please contact me.
I am praying for our speakers as we go through the summer months and head back into a school year. Each of our speakers are mamas of many, and we know that they need to have their rest in Christ just like we do. I know they rely on His strength just as I must! Join me in lifting Kristen, Katie, Mystie, and Rachel to our Heavenly Father. And please pray with me that the women who attend Rest on November 13th would be encouraged in their own walk with Christ, as they learn to rest in Him more and more, and that they would be simultaneously exhorted to continue in the good work of raising children in the paideia (the entire enculturation) of the Lord.
I’ll continue counting down! See you at Registration on Friday! …in just 4 more days!
I have always loved the word paradox. Admittedly, part of my childhood joy in the word was because my dad would make jokes about “a pair of docks” and such. My dad has always been a bringer-of-joy, so that’s no surprise. But simply the idea of a paradox has intrigued me for decades. A self-contradictory statement? What fun to play around with and try to untangle or decipher! Logic puzzles delight me.
So the idea of pursuing rest, or (further) working hard at resting is a bit paradoxical in my mind. But I love it. Of course, when I say that I am spending my summer pursuing rest and working hard at it, I really do mean the Paideia Northwest 2021 conference. But I am also trying to practice this principle myself. To find my rest in the Lord. To seek His peace. To prioritize Sabbath. To raise and educate my children without frenzy or anxiety. To labor hard, knowing that rest does not equal ease but it does involve trusting Someone outside of myself.
That said, the work of conference preparation this year is continuing forward with joy and clarity. I am so grateful. The way it gets a little more straightforward each year is a blessing. I am building upon what I did before, and it is a gift to know that what I work toward this year will also be built upon further next year. The Lord is so kind to provide for us in this way! To so often use our labors in a progressive fashion.
I have a hotel block worked out with Best Western in Liberty Lake. I have the luncheon catering contracted with Panera Bread. I have purchased table décor for the luncheon (because I actually get to set up the luncheon how I want to this year, instead of relinquishing that to the reality of having women sit anywhere and everywhere they so felt called to gather). I have giveaway items arriving in the mail. I even have a sponsor for scholarship tickets. Now I am working on accommodations for speakers, swag bag items, and morning snacks.
Registration will open two weeks from today, Lord willing, and I really couldn’t be more delighted. We sold three hundred tickets last year in a matter of two weeks. I don’t know if we will sell out again this year, or if last year was an anomaly. (Then again, I thought a great many things were an anomaly unique to 2020, and have seen that proven wrong… so you never know!) I do know, however, that the event is going to be a blessing.
Do you know what else is really fun for me this year?? There are two other locations in the US that have reached out to me, desiring to learn how to do what I do. Other women who want to bring this kind of gift to their communities. And I am so humbled. I am not particularly special, but I am resourceful and organized, and I love to share the blessings God has given me. So if you are reading this, please pray that I would communicate well with these other groups, and many new ways to bless the name of the Lord through mentoring other women who long for this kind of gathering.
That said… onward I plod. In faith. With joy. Because Rest is what I am working hard on right now! And the Lord is active, so I labor on for His Kingdom. Please join me.
Matthew 11:28 “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
After quite the year… and then some… I don’t think I am the only one feeling like I need more rest in my life than ever. And the temptation is to look just about everywhere for a variety of solutions. Coffee? Sleep? Date night with the hubby? More reading aloud on the couch with the kids? Simpler meal plans? Staying more organized? Hiring a housekeeper? Canceling anything extracurricular?
There is nothing wrong with these things, and in fact, they could be necessary adjustments aligned with great wisdom depending on the circumstances. But as Christian mothers, I think it is safe to say that what we really need is rest for our souls. We need more of the Word made flesh. We need more of the Word! We need more communing with God through prayer. We need to remember the Sabbath, and why God created it.
So as I have prayed and pondered what to prepare for regional Christian mamas in 2021, the Lord pressed upon me a vision of rest. Why we need it, where to find it, how to use it wisely. I have gathered four lovely women to speak to us on November 13th on these very things, and it is my prayer that we would all go home that evening prepared to rest deeply on November 14th (it will be the day of rest, Sunday, after all!) and to continue forward after that finding our truest strength, our renewed vigor, and our deepest rest in no other place than Christ our Lord.
I have some lovely things in the works for this event, and sincerely can hardly wait to welcome you to this day of rest & encouragement! May the Lord bless this work for His glory, and give us rest in the meanwhile as we raise our children for Him – His yoke is easy, His burden is light.