You can sign up for next year's conference here!

Driving away from a coffee date, which God planned at the end of May with a new friend, I felt distinctly and heard clearly that I was to attend this parenting conference for moms in Birmingham, AL. Thinking of our finances, I laughed at the crazy thought.  How in the world, LORD?  How would I pay for it? How will the logistics come together?

Well God made a way.  I don’t know why I was surprised.

He set up Divine appointments/ meetings just for me during this time I just spent in Birmingham–one upon the other.  I don’t know why that surprised me either.

In fact, each thought I had of someone I hoped to connect with, He made it happen. He even had some surprises in store! For I met a homeless man (Deborah, it’s the same one you met, I know….funny how God works!).  Also I met the twin sister of an old family friend, who also happened to be my dentist most of my life–this lady is Esther Burroughs, a wise and godly woman. Oh, I want to be just like her!  Finally I met a sweet lady, who treated me like royalty and met me at church–God turned my disappointment of having to go alone into God-appointment. In fact she just texted me to make sure I made it home safely.  I think that’s pretty awesome!!

I could name tens of others that He set up…from the cashier to the hotel maid to the two ladies at the car rental place to the college student, who knows and goes to school with my dear friend Carol’s son! God MET me there.  He saw me.  He saw where I am.  He challenged me.  He arrived and escorted me throughout the entire journey. He oversaw my family and my Chris, who had a very special meeting while I was gone.  Certainly, He drove me home last night for I was entirely spent!

Although I could go on and on about each session, each speaker, worship, times of fellowship, new friends made, old friends savored and conversations  that I shall never forget, I will not go in-depth.  For I am still “eating the Word” that God served up.  I am sure those life-lessons shall be reflected in my future articles here.  They would have to, for I have come home with a renewed sense of calling upon my life.

Instead, I shall share some gems from my notes.  The personal interactions were for me and those with whom I met. Those are deep treasured moments to me. Like Mary, I treasure them up and think about the goodness of God in setting up those times. Thank You, Lord!

So here are the gems I received from dotMOM:

  • I came to this conference to get refreshed not escape. Priscilla Shirer
  • Think of those old-time, story changers’ books–when we are lonely, we are most likely to choose the wrong ending or get stuck in a chapter. Constance Rhodes
  • We must choose excellence, not perfectionism.  Perfectionism is when doing things takes the place of relationship. Constance Rhodes
  • It’s a lie to believe that as we become more perfect, we will be more liked. Constance Rhodes
  • When I am on the phone and my child interrupts, they are drawn to my sweet voice that I am using with my friend.  I should use my sweet voice with them as well.  Value them.  They love their Mama’s voice! Angela Thomas
  • We need to be a light to ALL those in the house.  Angela Thomas
  • We teach our kids God’s Word the D6-7 Way (Deuteronomy 6:7). Any time of day is a good time to share God’s word with your children. Angela Cottrell
  • Listen to God’s voice. When the Holy Spirit speaks, we speak. Angela Cottrell
  • Be brave and silence the noise in your home. Angela Cottrell
  • We teach God’s word to our children line upon line and precept upon precept. Angela Cottrell
  • Our children’s questions for us are God-initiated. So when they ask questions, praise the LORD, and tell them this: We were slaves in Egypt, but God brought us out with a mighty hand. God has delivered us.  Angela Cottrell
  • Kids remember stories. We must share out God stories with our children.  Tell the next generation what He has done.  Angela Cottrell
  • Tie God’s stories into our everyday life. If God did this in the Bible, then God can do this!  Angela Cottrell
  • Always share a gem from the Word to hook them early in the morning.  For you never know what will happen or grow when scattering seeds.  Angela Cottrell
  • I tend to stay in the shallow, but it is in the deep where I see Jesus’ face. Angie Smith
  • Safe places are not for God’s glory.  Am I encouraging my children to swim out in the deep, to live radically for Christ? I must show them and not tell them.  Our highest calling is to glorify God and we do that through mothering. Angie Smith
  • When I speak of teaching diligently (from Deuteronomy 6:4-7), it means to whet, sharpen, to pierce, to be wounded–not for the wound, but for the glory that rises in redemption. We want our children to be pierced for a purpose.  Angie Smith
  • The Lord needs imperfect servants, not good little soldiers to carry out His purposes. Angie Smith
  • Ultimately we need to lead our children by example into the deep places following Jesus Christ wherever He takes us.  Angie Smith
  • Distractions means our attention is diverted from the word perispao, meaning to drag all around. We must take time to sit and listen to God. (She is observing a media fast, which is white noise and distraction to her.) We must learn to self monitor. Vicki Courtney.
  • From the Ladies Home Journal in 1894, resting before God leads to a more worthy life.  Sitting must always precede serving. Vicki Courtney
  • Aim for enough and not too much.  We over-organize everything, like a buffet, when a single serving would do. One thing is needed. Vicki Courtney
  • We are drowning in a sea of too many choices. Vicki Courtney
  • What is your primary affection? Are your actions saying something different?  If an idol controls me, I go after it without giving it a second thought. (referenced Tim Keller’s Counterfeit God)  Vicki Courtney
  • Our busy-ness is destroying our families.  We must take time with one another–family night, family alter (worship), one weekend a month where no one comes in and no one goes out (breathing time) Esther Burroughs
  • We leave a legacy of faithfulness when we tell His story over our story–“God did it!” Tell what God has done in your family. It is passing the baton to them.  Esther Burroughs
  • We must call out the giftedness in others. Write a note to them and tell them. Esther Burroughs
  • God created the family first, church came later. Esther Burroughs
  • Teach your children to pray and when God answers CELEBRATE it together!  Esther Burroughs
  • If you are still using your nursing bra and your child is now five, it’s time to get a fitting and pay for a new bra. Melanie~Big Mama
  • If you are wearing knit clothing, please invest in some Spanx for a nice line from the back,. Often we miss the whole effect by not looking in a full-length mirror at the front and back views. Melanie~Big Mama (This totally changed my going-home wardrobe)
  • Find yourself a great pair of jeans and buy a few of them.  Go to an expensive store and try them on.  Then take the brand name and go home to Ebay.  You can save a lot of money this way! Melanie~Big Mama
  •–helps you find a certain item from all the stores on the net.  Like black dress or green scarf…it will search and give you the store from which to purchase it. She had a lot of other websites.  I hope she will list them sometime on her blog. Melanie~Big Mama
  • Take a picture of yourself in outfits that you like, then when you have an event to dress for, you can remember some good choices. Melanie~Big Mama
  • When fishing is not yielding what we expect and becomes too hard, God comforts us in the midst of our hardship.  We can go encouraged, even if our circumstances do not change. For Jesus sees our disappointment in our boat.  He notices, cares and sympathizes with my weaknesses. Priscilla Shirer
  • When we must stop fishing and wash and mend our nets, God is there to help mend the fissures of our hearts–we can get refreshed, as he sends people along-side to help. Priscilla Shirer
  • We abandon the boat of our discouragement.  It is in this place, which becomes a natural pulpit, that Jesus steps in and teaches a clear message, which is emphasized by the locale. Priscilla Shirer
  • Jesus gives us insight in those places, which we otherwise would not have had.  He steps into those places, which become an instrument and tool from my life to teach others and teach me.  He takes me right back into the middle of it, but He comes with me!  Priscilla Shirer
Be blessed, friends!
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About Holly

Holly loves her job as wife to Chris and mom to Noah, Kylie, Tabor and Sydney. God has gifted Holly with a love of all things creative ~ from painting and wall papering to scrapbooking and design work. In addition to co-founding and managing A Martha Heart, she designs web pages ( and marketing pieces. She also authored a devotional blog, now closed, called Crown Laid Down. Holly and her family make their home within site of year 'round snow-capped mountains in Colorado. She can be reached by emailing Holly (AT) a martha heart (DOT) com or connect with her on Facebook:


  1. Oh HOlly!

    I will admit that I have pouted a bit about not being able to go last weekend. 🙂 However, I was praying. God had me awake EARLY Thursday, Friday and Saturday morning praying for the event. Thank you so much for sharing your gems. 🙂 SO many of those are very similar to things in my journal right now.

    Next year, I am there!!!


  2. Holly…wow those are some wonderful points… I loved hearing Angie Smith speak at a Women of Faith event. I am glad you got to hear her too. Actually it seems like you fit a whole lot in one weekend. So glad you were refreshed and God spoke to you.

    Blessings, Kim

  3. Sounds like you WERE refreshed! Can’t wait to read more!

  4. Girl — this is one GREAT recap! Love the nuggets of wisdom you shared. What a wonderful weekend — just wish we had some time to visit a little longer. Next time.

  5. Thank you for sharing these gems! I’m leaving this page open for awhile to back and re-read them. Hugs to you, Holly!

  6. It’s amazing how God uses the same person to reach and touch so many and in different ways. While I was in almost every one of these sessions you were (I was in the back of Fashions for Mom!), I came away with some of the same nuggets, but different ones too. I came needing to be refreshing and that is exactly what God did. I love how He had me waiting in the lobby when you walked by! And I must hear the story of the homeless man…where did you met him?

    Mary…I’m so glad I got to hug on you!!!

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