My grandmother taught me some amazing lessons. Some of those lessons included developing a love for good Canadian Whiskey, swearing, and smoking. I never took up on the swearing. I'm such a damn liar. I don't smoke. Never have.
One the of most amazing lessons the matriarch of my family taught me is that we help others when we have the power to. Sometimes we help them even when we don't have the power, because we work hard to find it or we band together. She taught me "give it back". When someone has loved you well, when someone has invested to you... you give it back to someone else. This kind of fundamental good keeps the world balanced. This lesson took root in my heart and has been firmly planted. What has been beautiful is how I've been able to see the fruit of how other's have given to me blossom as other's give because they were given to.
When I met Stephanie Buckley I heard my grandmother's voice. Stephanie is the founder of Arkansas Women Bloggers
She is also a wrestler.
She is the kind of wrestler that grapples with her own preconceived notions, she fights down belief patterns and faces herself in order to wake up every day trying to believe the best about people... to see their goodness. I saw this in her the moment I met her and we connected. This is, in part, because of her faith but I also believe this is how Stephanie was designed. She is a rare soul. When I met Stephanie Buckley I heard my grandmother's voice. She uses the word darlin', just like my grandma did and has an affection for things other people sometimes find it hard to appreciate, antiques and unusual people. She is one of those "trash to treasure" gals and probably has a hard time throwing things away because she can always envision future usefulness. Stephanie embraced me from the moment she met me. It makes sense- I have tattered edges, but I am very valuable.
I attended Arkansas Women Bloggers Unplugged for the first time because I was given a scholarship. I was pregnant and had a great time being outlandish. I met Heidi who became one of my very best friends. I didn't learn a lot about blogging, but I did learn a lot about myself, which lead to better blogging. After that I knew I wanted to afford other women the same opportunity I was afforded. Last year I gave away a scholarship anonymously and was able to see how the women I gave it to grew and flourished. Because that is what people do who meet Stephanie- they grow and flourish. This year I am giving away two more scholarships. Arkansas Women Bloggers Unplugged style isn't for everyone, but Stephanie welcomes anyone. I hope that makes sense. Intentions matter.
On the less spiritual side, If you attend AWBU 13, you will learn about how to blog as a business, about social media engagement, and about how to work with brands. This is a conference that really supports beginners and intermediate bloggers and helps push their skills to the next level. AWBU has grown, improved, and has become competitive with many conferences on quality and best conference environment. It also happens to be filled with mostly excellent ( I am a realist, y'all) women. Make friends with them, listen and learn... you never know when you might leave with a business partner or best friend.
As for Stephanie Buckley? Give her a hug, let her smile at you and darlin' you all she wants. Drink in her kindness and be thankful that their are terribly brave and kind people like her in the world.