I just got back from Texas, y’all. That’s the farthest west I have ever traveled. Several months ago, I was invited to be a special guest at the Homeschool Moms’ Winter Summit. Thinking a weekend in Texas in the middle of winter sounded like a fantastic idea, I readily agreed.
By the week before my trip, my introvert nature started kicking in and I did not want to go. Not only was I going to have to leave home and fly to Texas to a conference where I knew only one person, but they wanted me to participate in a skit. A skit, y’all. On stage. In front of people.
I actually prayed that if there was any way I could get out of going, God would make that happen. Yes, really.
But, the Sunday before I was to leave, He showed me that I needed to get over my whiny self and go – that maybe I wasn’t even going for me. I actually started to get excited about the trip again – and even agreed to do the skit.
On the condition that I could wear my yoga pants. Yes, really.
Y’all, I was so blessed by the Homeschool Moms’ Winter Summit. It was so much more than I expected. It’s not a homeschool convention, it’s a retreat for Christian homeschool moms.
If you are anywhere in the Norman, Oklahoma or San Marcos, Texas areas, you should make plans to be there next year. Or a bunch of us from the East Coast could load up for a road trip. You will not be disappointed if you go.
In two days at the Winter Summit, you can:
1. Find your tribe.
One reason I was a little apprehensive about going was because some of the women I’d seen in photos of the praise and worship times looked super-spiritual. I’m a Christian, but I’m kind of quiet in my worship and I not typically a fan of women’s conferences.
Y’all, let me reassure you – there are woman from all different denominations, all walks of life, and all sorts of backgrounds. There is something for everyone and I never felt uncomfortable or out of place.
The Skit (photo by Susan Seay)
Over dinner one night, one lady made reference to Chandler Bing. The following conversation ensued:
Me: You mean Chanandler Bong?
Her: Yes! Did you see the one –
Me (totally interrupting): Yes! (As in, whichever Friends episode you’re about to reference, I’ve seen it.)
I went knowing only one person who was going to be busy all weekend and couldn’t hold my introverted hand, but I was with homeschooling moms. I found my tribe.
2. Discover your reason.
I don’t think that anyone at Summit was there by accident. I’m not one to go around saying that God told me this or that, but Saturday night, He clearly showed me why I was there – to transform my marriage.
This point may very well get its own post sometime in the near future, but for now I’ll just say that my marriage isn’t bad, but it’s not what it could be. I realized that there are changes that I need to make to begin the renewal and refreshing.
Of course my amazing husband tried to argue with me (in a good way): You don’t need to do things to be a better wife. How can I be a better husband?
But God convicted me of things at Summit that I’d already been thinking about and ignoring. I came back excited, renewed, and ready to make the changes that I need to make begin transforming our marriage from good to amazing.
3. Be reminded that you’re not alone.
As moms, we need the reminder that we’re not alone – not just in homeschooling, but in parenting. When we go through difficult seasons – particularly when parenting teens and young adults, who can face serious issues – we can find ourselves thinking: If I were a better parent, a better Christian, a better homeschool teacher, this would not be happening to my kid. Where did I go wrong? Where did I fail?
It was such a blessing to be with moms who have been through particularly difficult seasons with their older kids and have made it through to see God’s beautifully redeeming work on the other side.
4. Renew your purpose.
It’s easy to get tired, to feel defeated, or to lose sight of your purpose in the day-to-day trenches of homeschooling. The Homeschool Moms’ Winter Summit will renew your sense of purpose.
I was surprised to find that only a couple of the Summit workshops were about homeschooling specifically. The rest were about family relationships. It can be easy to get so caught up in being the homeschool teacher that we forget that our kids need their mom and our husbands need their wives.
Sometimes we need to be reminded that relationships take precedence over academics.
5. Transform your home.
I loved hearing from women who attended the event in previous years. They shared their testimonies of how the experience transformed their marriages and their relationships with their children. It was clear that God has been using this venue to speak truth into the lives of wives and mothers.
More Summit buddies: Heather and Kyle
6. Take off your mask.
We’ve all got secrets that Satan shames us into thinking no one else could understand. The transparency of the speakers at Summit invites other women to take off those masks and be real with one another.
Summit offers two different prayer rooms. One for people like me, who prefer to pray quietly alone, and one for those who’d like someone to pray with them. Plus, there were cards in the main meeting room for written prayer requests.
There was plenty of time for laughter, too. There was the skit that I was in. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I really hope a video of that surfaces soon. I don’t know how funny I was, but the other ladies were hilarious!
There was also a mom’s night out with dancing, games, coffee, and snacks.
Is there any event involving a bunch of women in which there is no crying? I’ve never been to one. They were good tears, though. Healing tears.
9. Learn from the voices of experience.
There were four veteran homeschool moms who did a Q&A Saturday night. Each of them have graduated all of their children. It was so encouraging to hear their words of wisdom.
Y’all know that isn’t a much better treat for a mama than to stay in a hotel for a couple of days, sleeping in a bed you don’t have to make, using towels you don’t have to wash, and eating meals you don’t have to cook off of dishes you don’t have to wash.
Plus, the Embassy Suites where the Summit is held offers made-to-order omelets as part of their free breakfast bar. They’re delicious! There are also all kinds of other options like fruit, yogurt, cereal, pastries, eggs, pancakes, and more on the buffet.
I know this was a long blog post, but I had such a fantastic, restful, renewing, transforming time at the Summit. It was so much more than I expected. Maybe I’ll see you there next year!
Registration for 2017 is already open! The dates for 2017 are January 20-21 for Oklahoma and February 3-4 in Texas. You can register here. And, don’t wait to book your room. They sold out this year. There are overflow hotels available, but the suites at Embassy Suites are amazing!
And, I wasn’t the only one who loved it. Check out:
This post is linked to Top Ten Tuesday.