In the span of just over a week, I stood on stage with a microphone twice and spoke to a grand total of about 5,000 people. I brushed elbows with speakers, authors, musicians, and other such VIPs.
It was freaking awesome.
Here's how it all went down.
My friend Marnia is pretty much the coolest person I know. As in, she can break her foot, give birth, host a dinner party and hold a garage sale all in the same week. Honestly, I've never seen anything like this chick. We were walking together to a meeting one morning when she decided to let me know that the committee for our upcoming women's conference had decided that I was going to emcee the event with her. Surprise!
So Marnia and I launched into planning mode, which drove her absolutely nuts. I wanted to write everything out first and do on-stage rehearsals of our openers, holding drum sticks as our microphones so I could get used to talking with one hand occupied. She humored me, bless her heart, knowing full well that I was going to have to roll with it when it all changed at the last minute.
I arrived at about 6:15 am on the day of the conference and the first words I heard were, "Did you check your email? EVERYTHING changed."
So basically, I grabbed that microphone and rolled with it. With just shy of 2,000 women watching.
I love how this photo gives you a glimpse into one of the biggest differences between Marnia and I. You can just tell how much more uptight I am than her. There I am in my skinny jeans and leopard flats and she's up there in pink tights and slippers. Basically, she can host an event for a couple thousand women in her pajamas like it ain't no thang.
My other gig at this conference was to be the social media stalker so I got to run all over the place with my face buried in my phone. This allowed me access to people and places I might not otherwise have been able to get at.
Oh hey, Annie. I know you're just chilling in the speaker lounge with Heather Kopp, but remember how you tweeted me at like 11;00 last night? That was awesome. Can I take your photo?
Can I just say something about Annie for a second? She is absolutely, 100% the REAL DEAL. Annie barely even made it to Wisconsin thanks to some Nashville weather that can only be interpreted as a sign of the apocalypse, but despite multiple cancelled flights and her books being MIA, she was all smiles and glitter the second she arrived. She had to step on our stage immediately after Janet Pope had recited the entire book of 1 Peter by memory (Yeah. I know, RIGHT??!!) and believe you me, that is a tough act to follow. She had my heart the second she admitted that she didn't have any books of the Bible memorized, but she did know the entire plot of Gilmore Girls. All seven seasons.
Oh hey, new BFF.
At one point, I was chatting with Annie while we walked to the speaker lounge and my phone made that dopamine-inducing sound to alert me that someone had retweeted me. Y'all, Annie was retweeting me at the same time we were walking next to one another and having a conversation.
This is what I like to call speaking my love language.
Of course I had to take a selfie with my new best friend before she left us. And of course our photographer had to take a photo of us taking a selfie so I can see exactly how ridiculous I look while taking a selfie.
Apparently these things happen when you're kind of a big deal.
(Seriously, where is that sarcasm font when I need it?)
Then I helped Annie tear the ever loving heck out of her banner carrying bag and then wrap it up with duct tape because we are both super classy like that.
Now, here's a really fun little tangent.
When I first introduced myself to Annie in the morning, I made sure to point out that we had a mutual friend in Jessica Turner, blogger at The Mom Creative and author of The Fringe Hours.
Only a few days later, Jessica herself was in town visiting family and promoting her book so she sent me a text and asked if I might be interested in meeting for lunch.
I've known Jessica for a while through the magic of the Internet, but we had never actually met in the flesh. So I'm sitting there at Noodles and in walks this woman I have admired for several years. Right next to her is her daughter, who I have watched grow up through my computer screen since she was still in her mama's belly. (Adeline, that constant vomiting she endured was a little excessive, my dear.) We talked about blogging, our Stitch Fix stylists, her beautiful newborn baby, and what it's like to parent a "threenager."
I kicked myself for not bringing my copy of The Fringe Hours for her to sign! And Jessica, if you read this, I want to say thank you again for taking time out of your crazy busy schedule to be intentional and genuine with me. And next time, I'll crouch so you don't have to go up on your tip-toes.
Make friends with a superstar author and speaker? Check.
Meet your blogger mentor and brand new almost NYT best selling author? Check.
May as well round it out with a super famous rock band from your childhood.
I don't know that I've ever sent my mother-in-law into a frenzy faster than when I told her that I was going to get to introduce the Newsboys on stage at their concert that night.
This is my excited face.
While we waited backstage, there were guys running all over the place doing any number of last minute jobs before show time. At one point, a guy smiled at me and walked on stage. Pastor Tom (who was going to be doing the intro with me) asked me, "Is he with one of the bands?"
"Of course," I replied, "He's wearing black skinny jeans."
This is the shot I took right after I walked on stage to a crowd of 3,000 strong after showing the opening act guy (John Tibbs) where to find the bathroom and turned around and walked right by Michael Tait in all his black skinny jeans and red jacket splendor.
That glowing blob is me telling the buzzing crowd where to find the bathrooms because apparently I'm really good at that.
And that was it. I went to my seat and enjoyed the show, relishing my 45 seconds on stage telling the folks where to tinkle before Pastor Tom led us in prayer.
But Michael and I will always have that moment backstage where I walked by him and nearly swallowed my tongue.
And that's the story of the time I was kind of a big deal. To my mom. For like, five seconds.
P.S. Remember that book that Jessica wrote? You can buy it here. It's really REALLY good and I know you'll love it! (affiliate link used)
P.P.S. Annie wrote some pretty stinkin' good books too and you can find those here:
(affiliate link used)