Finally the weekend came – it happened – all done and dusted: the first Mum Heart Conference in WA.
One of the very unique things for this conference was that the team who came together to organize it was spread from one end of the State to the next – from the far north to the rural south and the city in between. Though I knew two of my team members, one lady put her hand up to help, I had never met before our one and only face to face meet. How amazing that technology can help us do this – and that as Christians we can come together, regardless of our backgrounds, our specific beliefs or practices and bottom line – as Christians come together to bless others. That to me was a highlight.
Our theme was Simplicity: The call to our mother-heart to focus on what is important. Simplicity isn’t an end in and of itself – it is a process we go through so that we can focus on what is important. I presented two sessions on this idea – first, looking at what cluttered our life, distracting us from what is important and then secondly, what is the most important thing? Our children’s heart.
I was joined by three other main speakers:
- Charissa Scotford shared how she has homeschooled by focusing on the uniqueness of each of her children.
- Miriam Ullrich shared about how living books inspired learning in her family.
- Sarah Wieske shared about burnout and how we can recognise it, deal with it, and avoid it.
We also asked 5 women with different stories to share their story to encourage and inspire others:
- Renee Heiniger shared about how they simplified life and homeschooling by travelling around Australia so they could focus on being a family who loved God and loved people.
- Rowena Liebeck shared her amazing garden and the lessons their family have gleaned (along with some amazing vegetables!!)
- Kelly Garstone shared her story from the perspective of a distance ed, homeschooled and public schooled student. It is always encouraging to see the fruit in other families – we can be encouraged for our own.
- Julie Richards is a retired homeschool mum – her kids are all grown – and she is now teaching and she encouraged us all that we are doing enough – that we are doing a good job and we don’t have to be intimidated by the State curriculum
- Bonnie Walker shared her very personal story of family crisis – not only where we encouraged by her faith, and God’s faithfulness, but we learnt how to help families in our community who are in crisis
This is just a summary of the ‘content’ delivered from up front. The real work was done as the Holy Spirit prompted and encouraged the hearts of the 72 women who were there. It was as we shared with each other, as we made ourselves vulnerable, and available to each other that we were built up. Our desire for the weekend was that women would go home with the courage to focus on what was important, the courage to let go of things that distracted from that important thing.
As conference organizer I have two takeaways that are probably different than most who came
- The flowers and the chocolate set the stage, but the atmosphere is really set by the women who come with anticipation in their hearts.
- That there are people who I have met along the way in my journey who I connect with heart to heart. They are there for me and I am there for them – even though we live miles apart and rarely see each other. What an amazing blessing!
As a mum my heart was encouraged too:
- Though I prepared the talks on simplicity the message of ‘focusing on what is important’ rings true to my heart, and prompts me to lighten my expectations on myself so that my day really is filled with important things.
- And secondly, something Charissa said when we were talking about being in this transitional stage – homeschooling one teenager, who is an independent learner, feels like the job is done – but it isn’t. I am still parenting, still coaching, still launching, still encouraging my kids. I still need to be available to them – I’m not done yet!
If you were there – what was your takeaway?
Please leave your thoughts in the comments.