September 19, 2014

Conference Plans & Must-Haves

How is it possible that, this time next week, I'll be attending my 3rd Annual Influence Conference? The inaugural conference feels like it took place months ago, and yet, 2 years have passed since I first arrived in Indy. I felt nervous and anxious to meet fellow blogging women and explore the notion of using my online voice to make much of Jesus. I worried myself over things like What to Wear. But, when I stepped foot through those hotel doors, the fears all melted away and I began to embrace my place in this online community of women who love Jesus and the internet.

At the time, my blog was titled, "Williams' In Love." It was a place where I documented life as a newlywed so that my family and friends could see what we were up to. 

But I had felt a stirring, in the months leading up to that first conference, to use my online influence for something more. I took mostly strategy classes during the conference weekend and learned to use my blog with intention. I changed the name to Life On a Mission and began to share more of what has become my battle cry: That we, as believers, are all called to LIVE our lives ON A MISSION.

The second year, I was in need of REST. I had literally just moved to another country and was exhausted.  I woke up early to start the day with Holy Yoga and stuck to mostly Life sessions throughout the conference. Dinners with friends and talks in the lobby were my jam that year.

This year, I'm coming with three-fold intentions. God has been increasing my desire for His word (which is a huge answer to a long-time prayer) and I am excited to be filled with the wisdom and knowledge of the session leaders on the Life Track. I'm also looking for a rejuvenation with my blog after a particularly busy season that left this space a little lack-luster. The Strategy Sessions will be just the boost I need. The third thing I look forward to experiencing is the blogging community. Many of my "core group" won't be attending this year and I'm anxious to embrace the opportunity to meet even more women in the network

I'm keeping it simple this year. With a few years of Influence Conference experience under my belt, these are the things I will be bringing along to ensure a fun, comfortable, and successful weekend.

I am so cold-natured, so this cozy kimono will be in my bag at all times, just in case! I want to get comfy and feel at home, so I'll be bringing along my favorite sandals as well. Easy to slip on (or off if  I'm feeling really crazy and want to sit cross-legged in my seat.)  And the red lipstick? It is a super simple way to take your look up a notch before heading out to dinner. 

As many times as I've read blog posts saying NOT to, I will most definitely be lugging my laptop around with me. I learn best by documenting information and am a much faster typer than I am a writer (not to mention the fact that I have horrible handwriting! Someone lead a workshop on cute lettering please?!) But watch out for my bag! It's gotta be big to carry all this stuff (+ my camera!) and I might accidentally knock you over. My apologies, in advance.

I'm in the middle of the She Reads Truth study, Open Your Bible -- get the printable workbook free! -- and have plans to find a comfy couch, just me, my study pack and my bible in the mornings in order to get myself focused on what God wants to speak to me each day. And, last but not least: Contact cards! I always love my collection of business cards I come home with at the end of the conference. I usually go through them during my layover on the way home and make sure to visit each and every site! Contact cards are a great way to make lasting connections.

Pro Tip: Bring a giant key ring and a hole punch to keep your card collection organized! Click here for an example!

Will you be at the conference? Let meet up!

September 17, 2014

Dia de Independencia

Happy (Belated) Dia de Independencia to all of my friends from Mexico! We had a wonderful afternoon with a little after-school celebration for the boys. You really can't go wrong with a mix of Mexican cokes, Manzanitas, and Joyas and a few slices of chili-covered watermelon.  Add in some Tamales for dinner and it's the perfect little fiesta. I hope you enjoy these pictures from our little party!

September 16, 2014

Influence Conference '14 Meet & Greet

Welcome to one of the craziest and most fun seasons of my life (which has semi-resulted in one of the quieter seasons on my blog.)  I'm Kerrie and my husband and I moved to the Mexico border just over a year ago. Why? Well, because we consistently found ourselves being tempted by the American dream, and then God would be like, I have so much more to offer! So, we followed His lead and it took us to the Mexican city where we first met 8 years ago.

Here we are a year later and all of the sudden our ministry has turned into a family of sorts in that we now have two boys from Mexico living with us on the state-side of the border while they attend school on a Student Visa. It's crazy and fun and was a heck of a journey getting here. You can read about that more on some recent blog posts I've shared.

I'm now gearing up to attend my 3rd Influence Conference and am so pumped to spend a weekend with "my people."

What Am I Looking Forward To? Going with the flow! But really, not having a plan and just finding a crew to go out with for dinner or coffee and unexpected lobby conversations turned out to be some of my favorite moments from the last two conferences. Also, being filled and taught. This has been a summer of pouring and I'm looking forward to doing a lot of sitting and listening and refreshing.

What Will I Not be Leaving Home Without? You can be sure I'll be walking around with my real camera, even though it's super heavy. I never regret the photos I come home with. I'll also be lugging around my laptop. (I know, I do the opposite of what everyone tells you to do!) I'm just not a pen and paper gal and I like to take a lot of notes in the sessions.

I can't wait to see your faces at the conference next week! Until then, here is a photo of me in Mexico. You know, just normal everyday holding-a-duck fun ;) I'll probably be a little more dressed up at the conference. *duck will not be attending. sad.

You can find me on instagram at @kerrielwilliams as well!

this post is part of a link up with the influence network. if you are attending the conference, i'd love to know!

September 10, 2014

Not Maybe. Yes.

As I last left it, we were feeling fairly doubtful about whether Cristian would be joining us this year. But there was one person who never wavered, even when the rest of us did: PeeWee.

I would say, "take this to your room."
And he would respond, "you mean mine and Cristian's room."
"Yes, maybe!" I'd reply, and silently pray that he wouldn't be disappointed if Cristian didn't come.
"Not maybe. Yes."  That was his reply each and every time when it came to Cristian, and I began to pray for his faith - the faith of a child.

Tuesday morning came. It was time for Cristian's final visa attempt. Wade left the house at 5am to pick him up in Mexico and travel an hour more to the consulate. I took PeeWee to school and we prayed that Cristian would be coming back to us tonight. He said he would have his class pray as well. He mentioned how he wished he could know but would have to wait for school to get out.

I got home at 8:30. Exactly the time of Cristian's scheduled appointment. I started my petitions for prayer on Facebook and Instagram and continued to beg God for a yes.  My phone rang at 8:35 and I saw Wade's phone number. Not unexpected. He would be waiting at least an hour in the car before he heard anything.

"Hey babe! How's it going?" I answered.
But it wasn't Wade's voice on the other end of the phone.  "Kerrie? Soy Cristian. Si!!"
In less than 5 minutes Cristian had been given a yes! He was finally going to get his visa after 4 appointments and a lot of tears and frustration.

Obviously, I cried! Finally! It was such a relief to know we wouldn't be continuing on with this adventure without him. 

I called the school and they allowed me to come up and tell PeeWee the good news (good thing, too, because I forgot to pack his lunch that morning!)  You can see his reaction here. It was perfect :)

After school we did homework, baked cookies, ordered pizza and invited over fellow missionaries who know and love Cristian so that we could welcome him with a big celebration. PeeWee was dying for them to arrive! He kept going to the window to look out and picking up my phone to call Wade or see if we had any new text messages from him. This may be my favorite photo EVER on the face of the planet.

He finally did arrive and now both boys are currently in class. I've been nervous all day but also so so thankful. I can't wait to hear about his day, hoping that he made some friends and had a good time.  But until then, I leave us with a photo of our first day all together in the states! As I said to my husband last night before bed, welcome to full time ministry!

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