Did I get you at “free”? As a mother of many, “free” gets me every time! But yes, this really is a free opportunity for you. It won’t be at a quiet retreat center, or a downtown convention center, or even a neighborhood parish, but in the beautiful messiness of your everyday family life!
From October 10-14, there is a free online Catholic conference for moms that is available just for you! And even though it won’t have all of the benefits of attending a conference or retreat away from your home, it does come with some of the most important elements.
First of all, you will be inspired and informed. As the producer of these presentations, I was surprised how often a speaker truly inspired me–me, a well-seasoned mom, who’s been to a million conferences and presentations, a “tell-me-something-new” kind of woman. Yet, I was surprised again and again. After every interview, I’d come out thinking—wow—that’s why he/she is the expert on this. They’ve done their research and have lived the ideas and thoughts they are proposing.
After Dr. John Acquiva’s talk on body image, I felt convicted on how often in my young daughter’s presence I complain about how my appearance. Do I really want my daughter to be obsessed with her weight and appearance? (Not that I consider myself obsessed, but in a young, impressionable daughter’s eyes, it may seem a little out of proportion how much I do mention it.) When talking with Steve Wood about pornography, I was expecting the typical, “Here are 5 things you can do to prevent your child from viewing porn …” but instead, I saw the fruits of his nineteen years of effort in helping others with this problem and his realistic suggestions that go beyond just “use filters.” HINT: It involves grace. Another example is Christine Martinello, who consciously set out every day to ‘bring joy to her family.” I can’t say that I make this my daily goal! I’m usually just thinking about getting out the door on time.
Al in all, it was the witness of these wonderful people that shook my world. What a blessing to be in their presence and have a glimpse of their efforts to live out their vocations to be holy families. And this is why I want to bring these conversations to as many moms as possible. It’s encouraging to see someone else who has the same struggles as you, who knows what problems your family has or may encounter, and to give some ideas, practical advice, and help, all from a spiritual perspective. Remember that all our problems– big and small, matter to God. He is ultimately where we go to receive our help.
But can we really have a Mom Conference Experience in our homes? Yes–but you have to put yourself in MOM CONFERENCE MODE. And the more you put yourself into this mode, the more of the mom conference experience you’ll get.
And here what I mean by that. For these days, Oct. 10-14, be more present and aware of how God wants you to serve and love your family. You are not able to physically go away on retreat or to a conference, but you are going to live the conference experience as much as you are able, right where you are. Right in your busy mess of life. This is how you will get the most out of it!
Every day, start and end with a prayer, and as often in between as possible. Ask God to guide you and give you inspiration from the presentations you watch or even those you don’t get a chance to watch! For each day of the conference, there will be 3 different presentations available. Pick the one that you feel most meets a need or concern that fits your family situation at this time. Start your day by watching the first 10 minutes, ideally after a morning offering or prayer time. For the rest of the day, find a way to listen to the rest of the presentation. It could be while you empty the dishwasher or fold the clothes (use your iPad, phone, or laptop). You could listen in your car.
This way, you are filling your whole day with the intention of attending a “Mom Conference” right in the midst of your busy day. When you are not able to listen to a presentation, for example because your son wants to tell you about a picture he made … then simply offer this prayer: “Dear God, help me to be a better mom!” and then listen to the lengthy explanation about the paint blobs. You will be blessed by this effort. Perhaps as the kids are settled in bed, instead of turning on Netflix, you could watch the end of one of the presentations—or start another to watch with your husband.
And just like attending a physical moms’ conference or retreat, know that you are in the company of other moms struggling through the same things and experiencing the same joys. Let’s all remember to pray for one another, too.
Whatever you put into it, you’ll get out. And remember, it is free. So sign up here, today!
There is nothing to lose. The conference is free because of the support of a handful of sponsors including CatholicMom.com, a minimal staff, and low overhead. To support this year’s conference beyond what sponsors have covered and to ensure improved, free conferences and other projects for women’s ministries in the future, this conference will be offered for sale afterwards. It will cost about as much as a book for an individual. For groups, it will cost slightly more but will include the option to download for group viewing and discussion guide. So if you’d like the opportunity to watch or listen to all of the presentations at your leisure, there is that option. Also, I think that many moms’ groups will find these presentations the perfect fit for their mom group meetings. I’m happy that everyone gets the free preview before having to purchase them.
But, the main reason why the conference is free is because not only is this a ministry to encourage those of us practicing the faith, it is also meant as an outreach. Our Catholic faith offers the best solutions and approaches to all of the many facets of motherhood. With a free conference like this, we are offering non-believers, non-Catholics, fallen away Catholics, a no-strings-attached look at the beauty and love of the Catholic faith manifested through the family. So please share this information on social media. You never know who may, just on a whim, sign up and begin their journey of faith.
Copyright 2017 Tami Kiser