Wednesday: Arrival

Monday started as one of those days you mentally file under “precious moments.” I signed my seven-year-old Sebastian up for Taekwondo, and his face glowed with excitement throughout the first class. He doesn’t get this from me, but he runs as fast as a bullet and kicks as high as Billy Blanks. I will take credit for the Billy Blanks thing; I’ve done every home DVD workout, including “Yoga Booty Ballet.”

Then we went to Chili’s to celebrate his new extracurricular. Or at least that’s what I told him. In truth, I secretly wanted to eat the White Spinach Queso dip. 297 days ago, I would have also ordered the Chocolate Chip Cookie Skillet (duh), but since I gave up sugar, I settled for queso.

As we munched innocuously on tortilla chips, I explained to my kiddos that I would be leaving on Wednesday for four sleeps – the longest I had ever been away from them. To which my first-born turned to me and said, “Is that more important than being with your family?”

Deep breath. I proudly role modeled proper behavior by mentally counting to ten before the mommy guilt could completely drown me. I calmly informed Sebastian that it’s ok for Mommies and Daddies to take trips, that I would be inspired for my writing, and that Mommy always comes back. I looked at him expectantly, awaiting his judgment.

He said nothing. Nothing. He turned back to his corn on the cob, as if lightning hadn’t just zapped me. The moment was over. As he navigated eating the kernels with a loose front tooth, I had to put on my big girl pants and reassure myself that indeed, it was ok for me to attend the Rachel Hollis Rise Conference in Dallas.

While I know intellectually it’s ok for us to pursue our greatness and embrace our power, I won’t pretend that it’s without sacrifice and occasional mommy guilt. And that’s where we start our RISE coverage, friends.

Arrival – I arrived in Dallas at 6:15 tonight with the best sister-in-law ev-ah (this fact is indisputable), Nina. I gleefully checked out my rental car, giddy with excitement that I won’t have to listen to my two-year-old daughter, Julia’s, Finding Dory CD for the 87,000th time. Although, it is super cute when she laughs every time Ray says the word “squid.”

Tonight, Nina and I checked out the lay of the land (read: Target run and scoping out the conference parking situation) and will crash early in our hotel room. Before we close, let’s review how the Follow Your Spark coverage of RISE will go down.

The 411 – The Rise Conference is broken into two days: Friday’s topic is your past, and Saturday features the future. According to Rach (we got it like that), she noticed attendees needed a boost of body positivity, and wallah! Wellness day, or Owning Your Present, was born! That is tomorrow. The word on the street is that we will be dancing it out to Queen Bey and performing squats in our seats. I draw the line at burpees. I’m just putting that out there.

I will write an article sharing the buzz, highlights, and takeaways from each day, and they will be featured under the “Follow Your Spark Covers RISE” tab on my website. Since each conference day will be different, I will post an Instagram story announcing when the newest article is posted; IG handle is Follow Your Spark.

I will share the speaker lineup, the merchandise for sale, how often Dave says “Let’s Goooooo,” how often Rach says, “this is not an ad,” and if Noah makes an appearance. I got your back, friend.

What I hope to get out of the conference – 297 days ago I gave up added sugar. To say this was not easy is an understatement. I used to binge on Culver’s chocolate chip cookie dough Concrete Mixers, two-scoop hot fudge sundaes from Baskin Robbins (peanut butter chocolate flavor), and multiple Panera Kitchen Sink cookies. Not necessarily in that order. I consider this to be my biggest accomplishment in life (other than keeping my children alive) because of the personal growth journey it inspired.

Enter Rachel Hollis. I kept seeing the cover for Girl Wash Your Face on my Audible screen, and eventually gave it a try. I could listen to her reach that book all day long. And sometimes I did. I listened to it on the commute to work, during my lunch break, and on the commute going home. She has inspired me to write (I wrote a book on giving up sugar and am seeking agents) and not apologize for being ambitious. She was critical in my personal growth journey, and now it is my passion, too, to encourage women to Follow Their Spark, wherever it takes them.

I’m not going to pretend it’s easy. Entrepreneurship and stepping into our power are fraught with fear, insecurities, and doubts. Oh, the doubts. The doubts are endless. That’s how I developed my tagline: “Embrace the butterflies to unveil your dreams.” A year ago, I had NO CLUE that I would write a book, successfully abstain from sugar, begin a blog, and create a social media presence. I’m following my own spark.

The next few days I expect to be inspired by Rach all over again, but this time, in person. For the next three days, doubt is not welcome. It’s not allowed into the Curtis Culwell Center. I will be flying high, embracing my butterflies.

If you are reading this, perhaps you are unable to attend. I promise, friend, I will share the buzz, highlights, and takeaways so that you can learn, too. If you are reading this and you are at RISE, too, let’s do this!

Did today’s topic resonate? Are there certain topics you want me to focus on in nightly articles? Do you need help feeling inspired? Comment below!

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