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.