Okay, so I know there are a whole lot of really great recaps out there from Haven already – but I felt like I needed to put in my two cents as well!

Lots of the ladies write their posts so fast – I always “write” in my head for a bit first.

My hope is that after you read this you are not thinking “oh my goodness, thanks for showing me all the fun I didn’t have”.

My hope is that you don’t feel bad about not going but feel excited about the opportunity to go next year. And maybe I can share something that I learned that will be of value to you.

Haven Conference 2012

Okay – I am interrupting this post to tell that this is really going to be two posts! I just have too much to say!

I am starting with the honest truth stuff.

The two weeks leading up I was ready to cancel my trip and not go.

I had a lot of stuff come up in my personal life that made leaving really hard.

(My thanks to the ladies who put up with me crying at dinner as my daughter won her championship softball game and I was not there.)

My kids ended up getting out of school three days early and my husband ended up being out of the country – grandparents stepped in (thanks so much!) and I missed the first few days of summer break.

All of this lead to me being in my hotel room after checking in freaking out thinking “why the hell am I here?”

12 years of being a SAHM take the business experience of traveling all over the world right out of ya. I realized I had become a homebody!

I wanted to be in my safe little cocoon with my babies.

Sorry, being truthful here.

But after some prayers, I put my big girl pants on and went down stairs where I had seen a bunch of ladies gathering.

I immediately recognized Debbie from Refresh Restyle and she gave me a big ‘ol beautiful hug. She is the real deal – genuine lovely southern charm and someone I will call my friend.

In this picture is Shirley (such a sweet and wonderful lady!), Debbie, Trish and Bonnie.

She left shortly after my arrival and left me with two ladies.

I think God puts people in your path for a reason and there were so many reasons for these ladies.

Trish and Bonnie from Uncommon.

I can truly say that a friendship was born.

After reading about everyone’s else “blog friendships” over the years, I can say that several were born at Haven for me and for that I am so thankful.

It was so refreshing to be in a room full of people who knew what you were talking about.

There was also Deneen from Dreaming in Color (a fellow Jersey Girl with a lot of talent), Kristin from The Hunted Interior (she is uber talented and sweet to boot), Duane from Cottage in the Oaks (a former dancer with a great sense of humor and style) and Megan from Megan Brooke Homemade (a lovely young lady who is a Christian music girl by day and blogger by night!).

We joked that we were our own little posse and we kept bringing in anyone we found who seemed to be on their own.

However, keeping with the honesty stuff…as I read all the wrap-ups from other attendees I realize how many people I did not meet. I realize that being freaked out from not being at home kept me from really fully experiencing the conference and putting myself out there. I realize that as I have gotten older I am less likely to just go up to people like I used to. I also did not have my business cards for the first night and day (long story!) so I was reluctant to go up and introduce myself without one.

Look out if you go to Haven 2013 because I am thinking I might just walk around with Kerry from House Talkn and just jump into everyone’s arms as a greeting! What do you think?

My take away for next time is that I really need to mentally prepare myself for stepping away from my home life and jump right in. By the time I was getting into a groove – it was over. I arrived thinking I was going to barely make it through to the end and then I blinked I was home.

Next time, and yes Hubby, you were right, there will be a next time, I will be prepared to fully enjoy myself, meet more people and get the most out of all that was offered.

Now, all the being said – I got a TON out of it, I learned so much and it was worth everything to go – this more about interacting and meeting more of all of you! I will share all the other stuff in the next post.

I am linking up over at Rhoda’s – come on by!

June 27, 2012 — Laura Putnam