I–Michael–attended my first women’s conference this past weekend, the Hearts at Home annual conference in Normal, IL. As detailed on their web site, Hearts at Home
…believes that motherhood is a valid profession. From beginning to end, our events professionalize the career of motherhood. We want to make it worth your time, because for most moms, spending a full day away from home isn’t always easy. Our speakers, workshops, and exhibitors are all selected for their high quality and pertinent information.
I didn’t attend as a participant but rather as a photographer. Suzanne has been attending for the last several years and, by coincidence or providence, we happened to cross paths with Mark and Jill Savage at a marriage retreat last fall. Jill is the CEO of Hearts at Home. Over the past several weeks, we’ve been conversing with Jill and some other staff members at Hearts about assisting in various ways with the event. One thing led to another and Suzanne found herself on stage speaking to 4,500 women on Friday (I’ll let Suz tell her side of the story) and I was photographing the event on Saturday. You’ll find a brief post and some photos over at my photography site.
What was remarkable to me about the event was a) how well organized it was and b) how moving it proved to be. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised at the organization of the day; after all, they’ve been doing this for well over a decade. But it’s an event that’s run almost entirely with volunteers and what they do is truly impressive. I’ve attended some other conferences (that, by the way, cost significantly more than the registration fee for this event) that did not run nearly as smoothly as the Hearts at Home conference. Kudos to Jill and her staff and volunteers.
I was also unprepared for the emotional impact the event would have on me. I alluded to this on my photography site. As I was making photographs during the worship segments led by Christy Nockels, I wanted to join in with the singing. As I
listened to the speakers made photographs during the workshops, I wanted to take notes. Later in the day, I told Jeanie Fields, the marketing director for Hearts, that I couldn’t imagine a husband not wanting his wife to attend this event. It’s that good.
We’re grateful for the good work God is doing through Hearts at Home and would encourage all wives and moms to attend this terrific event. To get a look at what took place on Saturday, here’s a brief slideshow for you (if it doesn’t show up, just refresh the page).