In 2011 I heard about a women's conference being held in Sydney called 'Time Out For Women'. I didn't know very much about it, except that it was a church thing, but not officially run by our church but a company which is owned by the church (that all makes sense right?!) and that presenters come over from the USA for it.
My cousin Carli was helping out with it, so I figured if she had something to do with it, it would probably be good and decided to go along with Mum to it. It was in August and it was just a few months before Noah passed away. I remember feeling mentally and physically exhausted at the time, and I was so nervous about leaving Aaron at home with the boys for the weekend, but also so excited to have a break and some real 'time out'.
Mum and I had the best time and Time Out For Women was so much better than I imagined it would be. I expected it to be 'churchy' which it was, but it was so different than I imagined. The speakers were so engaging, and funny and interesting and the music was incredible. It ran the whole day and I thought it would go slowly, but it went way too fast. It was also awesome to catch up with different friends who were there from all around Australia.
While I was there I was taking photos, and a lady who was one of the organisers from the USA, came up to me and asked if I could email her some of the photos (because I had a 'good camera'). She wanted to use them on their website and promotional material. When I got home I emailed her the photos and mentioned that I did a blog post about it on my blog. She read my post and asked if she could share it on the TOFW website, because the Sydney event was the first international event they had really done.
A couple of months after the event in Sydney in 2011 Noah passed away, and then Aaron. Because TOFW had posted my blog, they had heard about what happened and had been in touch with me via Facebook and email. One of the presenters who I loved Laurel Day even wrote about what had happened on her own blog, and had posted a link to the fundraiser with my beautiful friend Naomi had started for us.
About five months after Aaron passed away TOFW asked me if I would do a guest post for them for their website. I was used to writing for my own blog, and found that writing was good therapy so I agreed to. It grew into something much bigger than I ever imagined and I ended up doing 23 posts for them over a period of time! It was great therapy, but also hard work trying to write a post that was good enough, as it was so different to just writing on my own blog where my writing is a lot more casual. You can read my posts for TOFW here.
I was so excited to hear that TOFW was coming back to Sydney in August 2013, and Mum and I booked to go again and it was so nice that my sister and sister in laws were also able to go to the second event. Mum, Nicki and I even became 'team members' which meant we helped out on the day with ushering, ticketing etc. We had a lovely weekend again and I was so excited this time to see some of the organisers and presenters, who I had become friends with through writing for them for so long.
Over the last couple of years I have gotten to know these ladies a lot
more and know about their personal lives, and their families. It's been fun to get to know each other and when Laurel made a comment
on Instagram a couple of months ago for me to email her as she wanted to
'chat' about something, I assumed she wanted me to do a blog post for
I just about fell off my chair when I got her email, and she asked if I was coming to TOFW this year as she said that this year they wanted to have a 'local presenter' and she wanted me to be it! I emailed her back with my heart racing (and not in a good way!) and was freaking out and had so many questions. Laurel is a busy girl (she is the VP of product at Deseret Book Company- they run TOFW) so she's hard to get hold of at times, so it took a couple of weeks to hear back from her.
We set up a date to Skype as I was anxious to hear more information about what she was hoping for. It was so fun to talk to her and she told me that there would be a local presenter in both Sydney and New Zealand this year. We are both giving a very short talk to go along with the topic for this year which is 'Living Proof' (of God's love in our lives etc).
I have been busy with my friend Alison who has put together a video introduction so I don't have to spend my time introducing my 'story'. She's done such a great job with it and although it's sad because our story is sad, I think it's also beautiful. I now have to take some time to sit down and write my talk. I'm actually finding it hard to write because I have so much that I could say, but not enough time. It's hard to work out what the most important things to say are. I don't think I'll have a decent nights sleep over the next four and a half weeks.
I'm feeling very overwhelmed and humbled that I would be ask to speak at such a huge event, and am so nervous about it, but I'm grateful that I can share some things that have happened over the last four years or so, because I'm always grateful to talk about my boys in Heaven, and I feel that although it's been the hardest thing we have ever been through, we have also received so many blessings.
Anyone wanting to register can click on the image below. There's some amazing presenters coming including David Achuleta (runner up on American Idol) who I'm very excited to hear.