the email I never, ever saw coming

There are about 48 starting points for this story, stretching all the way back to when I was in sixth grade.

{Starting Point #1}

I was eleven years old and my best friend and I were attached at the hip. She went by Mandy and I went by Allie. Since then, we have both returned to the more mature, full versions of our names, but this was sixth grade and maturity has nothing to with it. She played the lead in our middle school musical The Little Match Girl, in which I played a singing stove (true story). Why we were performing a piece about a starving child’s dying hallucinations, I’m not sure, but we apparently bonded over the experience.

I spent practically every waking moment with Mandy for a couple of years, including going on vacation with her family. We drove, her parents, two sisters, younger brother, Mandy and I, to Utah to stay with some relatives there and take a tour of BYU. Her older sister was a perspective student.

Her older sister’s name is Natalie, and when I discovered a couple of years ago that she had a blog, reading it was like reuniting with family I hadn’t seen in years. Also, reading it was like eating a big bowl of cake batter ice cream with sprinkles on top because her writing is delicious and magical. Hers was really the first blog I followed regularly, and she inspired me to write more often about the everything of life in my own blog.

{Starting Point #2}

My mother-in-law is a mentor in a Moms of Preschoolers (MOPS) group, which I now attend. Before I joined (aka Before Baby Era), my sweet MIL must have bragged on my blog to some of the moms. I will always remember the first comment Kelly, whom I had never met, left on my blog after hearing about it from my MIL. It made me feel so warm and fuzzy inside that someone I had never met was actually reading the stuff I was putting out there for people I had never met to read. I immediately began following her blog, too and loved the ease and grace with which she wove matters of faith with matters of everyday life. It was a reminder to me that all things I do (even blogging, especially blogging) are for the glory of God.

Through the community on Kelly’s blog, I connected with Heather, another Minnesotan blogger with a gift for painting word pictures of seemingly mundane moments and weaving them with the divine. I was not only in love with her writing, I was instantly head over heals with her. We messaged a few times and I just could not get over how genuine she was. A few short weeks after “meeting” her, she announced that her brain child, Cupcake ’10 was in the works. I offered to help, because, hey. I love to help. The best part: she took me up on it! She had the vision for, you know, everything already, but I did manage to remind her that we should buy coffee. I was something short of indispensable, but she let me be a part of it anyway, and I was so grateful to have the opportunity.

{The Point of Intersection}

I was reading Nat the Fat Rat last week and she announced that she was speaking on faith and blogging at the Casual Bloggers Conference! It was not the first I had heard of the conference, but it certainly was the first time I heard the whisper in my heart that maybe I’d like to go. I could get Natalie’s autograph there, after all.

But it was in Utah. In May. I’m nursing. It sounded complicated. I filed it away with drinking mojitos while pregnant and sleeping more than 6 straight hours under ‘Things I Cannot Do Because I Am A Mom’.

Thursday I received an email with sweet Heather’s name in the subject line from an email address I didn’t recognize.

It started innocently, “Hi Allison.”

“Would you like to come to the Casual Blogger Conference?”

I pondered.

“Would you like to speak, maybe?”

I squealed.

“Perhaps with Heather and Natalie on the matter of faith in blogging?”


I did. I laid there on the area rug in our living room positively dead from excitement and ONoWhatWillIWear until my sweet baby crawled over to me and nuzzled me back to life. It was quite the afternoon, you see.

I called DanO and he said we would make it work with bringing OBaby and that I would be absolutely crazy not to accept.

And, so, ladies and gentleman (there’s at least one of you, right?) I would like to present to you the fancy “I’m Speaking!” button over there somewhere ———->

Isn’t the “!” so appropriate? I mean, if I could I would add about seven more so that it would read “I’m Speaking!!!!!!!!” which is much more accurate and reflective of how I say it in person. I can’t say it without smiling, I really can’t.

If you’re bored, I mean, just for funsies, would you maybe go read my official speaker bio (which, by way of my mature full name, is FIRST alphabetically on the entire page of speakers, goodness gracious me)? Yes, I make a prude joke in the first sentence of it. What was I supposed to do? I do not have nearly enough impressive material about my accomplishments to fill 150 words. Plus my ridiculously awesome copy editor, Mandy of Harper’s Happenings (not the same Mandy from 6th grade), to whom I sent the bio for moral support and because she is hilarious and I was secretly hoping some of it would transfer via osmosis into my writing, said it was ok.

Well, I did push a human being out of my body with nary an ounce of chemical assistance one time, but I hardly think that the speaker page of the Casual Blogger Conference is the place for a story about my talented birth canal, you know?

27 Responses to “the email I never, ever saw coming”

  1. Gina

    My you have a beautiful button :) Congratulations!!! What an exciting opportunity that I know you will fulfill just awesomely (yeah, I said it).

  2. Kelly @ Love Well

    I. Am. So. EXCITED! For. You. I could squeal right here in the comments if I was offered a sound effect button.

    (P.S. Your bio is perfect. Warm and witty and real.)

  3. Mandy

    Congratulations!! What a wonderful opportunity! I think they are very lucky to have you as well, your writing is wonderful and inspiring, I imagine you speaking is even better.

  4. Jenn

    Yay! Wish I was near Utah…ever… You think you could tape it for me? That’d be great, thanks.

    Ok…I’ll let you off the hook. But only if you promise to keep us updated on your speaking circuits so I can hear you speak before I die. K, thanks.

    One more for the road…Yay! :)

  5. Mrs. Cline

    Oh my gosh, you are so darling. I loved your bio and I HOPE HOPE HOPE that I get to meet you at Relevant10 and that OBaby will, by this time, be able to teach Bebe Cline how to sleep through the night. :)

  6. Amanda

    Well OF COURSE you are!! You are amazing! And intelligent and talented and you have a great message and I just wish I could come and see it!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE that they picked you and think you are going to be a fantastic addition! I cant wait to get your autograph!

    Be blessed Miss Speaker!

  7. Heather of the EO

    OMYALLIE, I had no idea. I LOVE THIS. I LOVE that I had no idea you had this background and connection to CBC and the people therein. Seriously. This rocks.

    I recommended you because you’re very good at this and I love you to pieces and I knew you’d serve the panel well. I love that there’s icing on the cake because of your back story. I love it.

  8. Liberty

    I love the bio and the photo! You look astonishing :) If you for some reason feel like coming to CA on your westward journey, I have a home (and a pack-n-play) waiting for all three of you! Miss you and love you.

  9. Sarah

    *Excited squeal* I so wish I could hear you!! Is there going to be a way we who can’t be there can still see/read what goes on?? I just read your bio and, to use the words of another, its supercalafragilisticexpealidous(as is your button). :)

    ps. Can you use your blog speaker powers to get a blogging conference started out east somewhere? ;)

  10. Jess

    This is ummm, pretty much totally unrelated to your post, but I had no idea you were located in the MN. Obviously I’m not sure exactly where you’re located, but I’m in Minneapolis and will be having my first baby in June. FYI, I may have a TON of questions for you about where to find mommy groups, what to join in on, which parks have the nicest public restrooms, etc.

    ANYWAY, congrats on the speaking engagement. That is so awesome!!

  11. abby

    How exciting!! Wish I could come to the conference! How fun for you!! Do you know what your topic will be yet? (other than faith blogging?) Your bio is great! Perfectly “you”.

  12. CBC

    How wonderful to hear about all the back story connections. God is a wonderful God, isn’t He?

    I know you are going to inspire us all on the Faith Panel. I think of all the panels that we have, this is one of the ones I’m super excited about! The conference is going to ROCK!

    I can’t wait to meet you and see how your amazing voice sounds in real life.

    Oh, and Sarah? Hopefully next year CBC will be out East. Aren’t YOU a lucky girl?!! {your wish is our command!}

  13. Hyacynth

    I’m am squeeeing for you on the inside (because I have not voice currently), and when I get my voice back, I’ll be squeeing for you on the outside!!! This is so wonderful.


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