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I have tried for two days to figure out exactly how to recap all the greatness from the Arkansas Women Bloggers Unplugged conference this past weekend.  There is just so much information rolling around in my brain! I suppose I’ll have to break it into multiple posts.

First, let me tell you how I even found Arkansas Women Bloggers. A little over a year ago, as I would surf from blog to blog, I noticed many of my favorites were from Indiana, where we used to live! I saw that these bloggers were not just virtual friends but friends in real life as well.  I thought, “I wish there were some bloggers in ARKANSAS!” That day I did a search for Arkansas Women Bloggers not really expecting much. I thought I might hit on a couple of blogs where folks talked about Arkansas. I was pleasantly surprised to discover a whole network of women!

It was free, so I joined. I had just missed the group’s “Unplugged” conference in Mountain Home, AR. They were, however, going to have a blogger meet-up in Little Rock. I went to that and met some nice folks. I even blogged about it here.

Over the next year, I participated in link-up parties sponsored by ARWB as well as some of the blogging challenges. I was getting to know some of these ladies-virtually. This past weekend was the time to get to know them in real-life!

Pennant

I have to admit I was a bit nervous. I was going to a conference with 100 women and I knew zero. Once I arrived, I realized I did know some people after all. I saw some of my virtual friends and some of the ladies I had met at the Little Rock meet-up! They were all so nice and genuinely glad to see me. I even ran into some gals I had known for a minute in college as well as a lady from the church where I grew up.

Our conference was at the lovely Ferncliff Camp & Conference Center. Just being there with the trees and lake was calming in itself.

Ferncliff cross by the lake

The sessions were great. Our keynote speaker was Sophie Hudson from Boo Mama. She was a hoot! Thank you Petit Jean Meats for bringing her to the conference for us!

Boo Mama

There were lots of practical tips and advice on blogging. However, the overriding message was BE AUTHENTIC. “Don’t settle for being an imitation of someone else, ” Sophie told us.

Too often we compare our “insides” with the “outsides” of what we see on the internet.

I couldn’t help by think of a verse my friend Ginger W. had our Sunday School ladies’ group memorize more than 20 years ago.

2 Corinthians 10-12

I was very happy to get to know some of these ladies in real-life. This is truly an AUTHENTIC group of women. It starts with the leadership, though. Stephanie Buckley, the founder of ARWB, is the real deal.

Stephanie

Thank you Stephanie, and all her helpers, for a fantastic weekend.

Stay tuned for more posts about the conference.