Saturday, November 20, 2010

I'm Back....Did You Miss Me??

I hope you missed me.  I know I missed all of you.  I can't believe I got to stay in the swankiest hotel in all of Little Rock, and they didn't have Wi-Fi Internet in the room...sheesh.

Denise Brennan-Nelson and I before
 the luncheon
So, I'm back from my two day adventure.  It was such a great time.  I got to listen to amazing speakers, meet one of my favorite children's authors, and bask in the freedom of being away from the normal hustle and bustle of life.

I'm not going to bore you with a recap of the whole conference, and the extra-curricular activities that happened while I was away...but I am going to share the experience of meeting one of my favorite authors, listening to her wonderfully powerful and motivational speeches, and the insights that I bring home thanks to her.

Who is this author, you ask?  Well, her name is Denise Brennan-Nelson.  She's the author of several children's books such as Buzzy the Bumblebee, Someday is Not a Day of the Week, and Willow.  She's won tons of awards, and Williow is on Oprah's childrens book list.  Despite all of that, she is the most energetic, humble, friendly, and down-to-earth "celebrity" I've ever met. 

The fantastic lunch I had during the luncheon
I got to meet Denise on Thursday when she was hosting a luncheon for 75 student teachers.  I was lucky enough to have snagged a ticket for that, and I was so excited about it.  When I got there, she came over to our table and introduced herself.  She was so friendly - talking to us like she'd known us forever.  I was lucky enough to get a photo with her.  I loved listening to her talk so much that I decided to go to the break-out session she was hosting yesterday.  The session was about her book Someday is Not a Day of the Week.  What a powerful message she gave in that session.

Denise touched on the importance of living life in the now, not putting off the important things in life, setting goals and doing everything possible to reach them, and the most important part of her message: taking care of ourselves.  By the time the talk was over, I felt uplifted, ready to take on new challenges, finish the challenges I've been struggling with - and taking care of myself in the process.

Denise Brennan-Nelson speaking
 Denise signed two books of hers that I had picked up while at the conference.  I felt like a little teenager meeting their favorite teen idol for the first time.  I've read her books, I've used her books in the classroom - to hear her story now adds new meaning each time I pick up one of her great books. 

Meeting Denise was the highlight of the entire trip.  Don't get me wrong, I listened to other great speakers, learned a lot, gained some valuable resources, and had a FANTABULOUS time with my gal-pals.  It was three days in which "The Unit" didn't matter, other homework didn't matter...OK, so they mattered - we basically remained on constant "hunt" mode to find resources and ideas for the unit - but none of it stressed us out.  In the evenings we relaxed, we enjoyed each other's company, we laughed...just what I needed.

Things are different for me.  My stress level is now basically back to normal.  I feel clear-headed, refreshed, ready to tackle the world...and my first goal on my agenda?  Spend the entire day with my kids.  I've missed them - and they deserve some "mommy time".  That's what they're going to get...which I'm going to start...NOW!

My wonderful gal-pals and I our first day

"Moral is like a bank account.  If you keep giving it out and making withdrawals and never taking time to make some deposits, you will eventually become overdrawn and bankrupt"
                                                                                                                 Denise Brennan-Nelson

Till next time.  ;)

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