Have you ever heard of the Apologia Live conferences for homeschool mothers? They aren't blog conferences - they are more like RETREATS to encourage and fill a homeschool mom's heart and help her on her journey. I met with the Apologia team here in Austin for a pre-retreat luncheon about a month ago and was completely blown away by their program and ministry. I felt the presence of God when I was with those women, listening to them pour their hearts out about the vision they had of lifting up and ministering to homeschool mothers.
Apologia Live has conferences in four cities: Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, and Chicago. These are NOT curriculum fairs - for vendors - nor are they Apologia-pushing fairs (they don't care if you use their curriculum - they just want to fill you up full of hope and encouragement so you can stay the course). For conferences, the price is very reasonable. Anyone who has been to a women's retreat would agree. They charge $119 for a conference ticket, but they have a buy one, get one free policy for friends so that you can purchase two tickets for just $78 each. That, my friends, is a steal!
I was thrilled to find out that there's a Live conference near me. I plan on attending the conference this year and if you are in the Austin area, I hope you'll put it on your calendar. It will be at the Crowne Plaza Austin on October 21-22, 2011 (of course, the other cities are on different dates - so check the Apologia Live website for more details). Speaker line up includes: Rachael Carman, Zan Tyler, Elizabeth Smith, Debra Bell, Jeannie Fulbright, and special guest Heidi St. John! The conference has three tracks: elementary, junior high, and high school. If you register, the price covers the conference/retreat from 5:30pm Friday until 4:15 Saturday, and includes one meal: Saturday lunch. Rooms are a separate fee and the Austin rooms are at a discounted rate of 119$ if you book by September 29th. Be sure to visit the travel page link in this paragraph to find out details about booking before you call.
After meeting the women behind the Apologia Live ministry, I was invited to get to know Rachael Carman better by interviewing her for the Apologia Live Blog Hop. They sent me two of her books and allowed me to pick her brain a little. Here below are her answers to some of my questions - from one homeschool mom to another... and that's what homeschool moms really need - mentoring and encouragement from those who are further along on the path. I can't wait for you to meet Rachael if you don't already know her:
Rachael Carman... Q and A:
1. I loved the introduction and story you told in your book, "How to Have a H.E.A.R.T. For Your Kids". For the benefit of my readers, Tell me about yourself in a nutshell - the quick bio...
The quick bio-nothing too impressive here-after all we all have a story. Short bio, yikes-so, I had a happy childhood. I am the oldest of two children born to a preacher who moved around a bunch. I think we counted that I had close to 20 addresses before I got married.
Davis and I have been married since 1986 and we have been blessed with 7 children. This year Davis and I celebrated 25 years of marriage-it has been a wild ride!
I started speaking to women’s groups before I started home schooling. I really love to encourage moms! When we committed to home schooling for the long haul, I wanted to share my story and my passion with other moms so I started speaking and writing as a home school mom.
Along the way I have had the opportunity to write two books. The first was “Soundbites from Heaven: What God wants to say to you when you talk to your kids” with Focus on the Family. The second just came out this last March with Apologia, “How to Have a HEART for Your Kids”.
Since we purchased Apologia in 2008, I have taken on the new title of “President’s wife” a role I enjoy very much. Now we have the opportunity to travel across the country encouraging home school families together!
2. What led you to want to become a teacher? Do you miss the 'classroom' ideal?
Good question. I struggled in school. The moves we made as a family were probably to blame for some of my challenges, but I was also diagnoised with dyslexia in the 8th grade. My parents were able to get me into intense tutoring and I learned some techniques to help me in my studies, but it was not easy.
I also had a challenging high school experience, not at all fun. I was bullied and it was intense. I actually graduated high school a year early just to get out of the situation.
Anyway, I wanted to help those kids that people either just overlooked or the ones that people mistreated. I loved history and English, so teaching seemed like the perfect fit! God has an incredible sense of humor. I really loved teaching. I taught in TX and then when we moved to OH I did home bound instruction for two years. In OH I interviewed and was offered a grant position for ‘at risk’ kids which was my dream job. But by the time the offer came, God was already working on my heart and I couldn’t leave Charles at a daycare full-time. He was only a toddler then, but he had my heart and I had a great support system encouraging me to be a stay-at-home mom.
Just a few short years later God would give me a classroom again, in my own house, with my own kids. God always keeps His promises-He gave me the desire of my heart in my home. He is so good!
3. How did you meet your husband?
Davis and I met when I was home for the summer between my sophmore and jr years in college. I only had a couple of weeks left at home before I was to return to college when a friend invited me to a single’s Bible study. I really didn’t want to go. I wasn’t interested in meeting anyone, I was heading back to school.
But as I sat in the parking lot seriously considering leaving, some really cute guy parked his red sports car and walked into the building where the group was supposed to meet. I didn’t know if we were going to the same place, but I was curious enough to get out of my car and follow him to find out. And there he sat, at the table, ready for the Bible study.
When that ended and I admit, I have no idea what we studied that night, we all headed to Chili’s. He showed up late, but I was glad he was there. We finally got to talk and accidentally sat beside each other in a movie. On the next Sunday that same group went for pizza after evening service. I normally wouldn’t have cared, but he had my interest, so I went. He gave me a ride home that night and asked me out on a date for that next week.
This story is about to be longer than our courtship-we went out, my Dad predicted that Davis was ‘the one’ and that we would be married before Christmas, we were engaged in August and married December 20 of the same year.
We are grateful for God’s grace and mercy in our relationship as we didn’t know each other very long before we were married. Our journey has been eventful and challenging, but God has held us together and taught us so much. We are thankful and humbled by His faithfulness.
4. How many kids did you want when you first got married? How many do you have now?
Ahh, the kid question. Davis came from a family with 4 children and I had only one brother. (My Dad is one of 6 and his mother is one of 9.) I think that we discussed a number in premarital counseling, but I don’t remember what we said-remember it was a whirlwind!
We were excited to welcome our first child, the first grandchild on both sides too. But after a stressful and painful delivery, I felt done. Labor and delivery were much harder than I had been prepared for and I saw no need to repeat. Our son Charles then showed signs of being strong-willed by the age of 18mos and then I knew for sure I was done. He was a real challenge and I couldn’t imagine having another. We were all three first borns, Davis, Charles and I, so I felt like we could get along fine-we could all have our space and we could understand each other. (all of that is code for just how selfish I was! I didn’t like the idea of this child or any other subsequent children interfering with what I wanted.)
Even though Charles was strong willed, I came to think that it was selfish of me to make him an only child, he needed a playmate. So we had Anderson. Now I was really done. I liked it when we were Davis, Rachael and the boys. I liked the idea of being the queen-this is bordering on being a little too honest, but it is the ugly truth! Anderson was a dear child, compliant and a great companion for Charles. They were like a couple of puppies!
During this time we moved three times in as many years-really challenging time. It was during this time that the idea of a daughter began to appeal to me. Now I knew there were no guarantees, but I was willing to take the risk. Davis too had come to the place where he was willing to risk having a daughter-he had been terrified up until this point and God had been working in his heart.
So we welcomed Savannah Anne into our family. She had a profoundly positive affect on Charles from the beginning. It would have been easy to argue that we shouldn’t have had any more because Charles was so demanding, so defiant, so difficult, but it really didn’t work that way. Having Anderson and then Savannah Anne served him better than any more one-on-one time with me would have. He needed to be the big brother. He needed to lead. He needed to have to share. He needed to witness their natural cooperation and obedience and work through his rebellion.
About this time, Davis was beginning to sense the prodding of the Holy Spirit to have more children but we didn’t know anyone with more than three. So we arranged to meet with a family who had 7 after church one Sunday. The best summary of that meeting would be-life changing and personally challenging. From then on we didn’t ‘plan’ or ‘try’ the rest of our family, we let God do it. As a result we welcomed Molly, Elizabeth, Joseph and Benjamin. I am so grateful to have each one. I am humbled and honored to be their mom. And I am so glad that God got a hold of our hearts to ‘welcome the little children’.
5. What would you say have been your most difficult moments as a homeschooling mother?
Most difficult moments as hs mom? My most difficult moments have come when I have compared myself to others or when I have tried to hold on to perfection or when I have wanted what I have wanted and not what God was directing.
First, when I start comparing our home school to others, things start to head south. When I look around at everything everyone else is doing, I feel discouraged and start to doubt not just by abilities, but God’s will and
faithfulness to meet our every need. I must remember that God has a unique plan for each of our kids and therefore a unique plan for our home school. It really shouldn’t matter to me what every one else is doing, but rather, what is it that God would have me do?
Second, when I try to hold on to my perfectionistic tendencies, everyone loses. I have to remember that I am not perfect, nor does God require me to be. He desires for me to accept His perfect love and grace and walk in His peace. He asks me to trust Him and let all of my junk go. When I start valuing perfection I allow relationships to be neglected because I let stuff get in the way of people. I have to really stand guard on this one.
Finally, some times I still want what I want. I want the schedule to work perfectly, I want to stop having to tell everyone over and over to do the obvious, I want the house to stay clean, I want the kids to love the new
curriculum, or assignment sheets or whatever. I don’t want to be questioned, but obeyed. Now obviously being obeyed is an appropriate response from a child to a parent, which is not what I am talking about. I am talking aboutthose times when something is not working in our home school and choose to stay in denial rather than change because I liked the plan. That is the point when I have to step away and seek God. Usually the problem is that I didn’t seek Him to begin with, I just ran ahead of Him.
Homeschooling is a great adventure. There are portions of the journey that are relaxing and fun and enjoyable, times that are characterized by laughter, while others are characterized by tears. Some portions of the journey are relatively easy and flat with beautiful, breathtaking views, which should be soaked up for the road ahead. Other portions of the journey are much more rigorous and challenging, like trying to hike the Grand Canyon in a thick fog. It is important to stay on the course set out for us, keep Him and His will always in our sights and let everything else go! He will be there to greet us at the finish line-“Well done good and faithful servant!”
6. Has your husband ever wanted you to put the kids in school or try private schooling rather than continue to homeschool... or have you ever had any friction with family members - and if so, how did you handle it?
The whole issue of husband support and family support has been a split one for us. Davis has been whole heartedly supportive-it was actually his idea! But the extended family has been a challenge.
I realize that many couples struggle with this, but we have not. I recently joked that I have not considered putting the kids on the school bus, but I have considered escaping on one myself!! No, we pretty much drove a stake in the ground and decided several years ago that home schooling along with our Christian faith are two things that are going to define our family. Two things that we are not willing to negotiate or compromise.
Now extended family friction we have had. In fact, my parents were adamantly opposed for the first 8 years of our home school journey. They would quiz the kids, communicate their concerns about their acedemic progress and my health and shake their heads. We were encouraged to ‘think of the kids’ which was obviously exactly what we were doing. I had to come to realize that their concerns really weren’t not a judgement on me personally, they were actually based on their perspective, their experience. When my parents went to school the most concerning thing a student might do in class was chew gum. My parent’s schools had prayer, the pledge and the ten commandments. My parent’s schools were worlds apart from today’s.
Mom and Dad couldn’t imagine why I would not want my kids to have their experience and experience that isn’t available in today’s public schools. Over time we were able to discuss these disparities and ways they could support our home schooling. We sent them handwritten scripture verses, held end-of-the-year performances and recitals, and exhibited art work and science projects. Time was on our side. As Mom and Dad witnessed the changes in Davis and I and the growth of the kids both educationally and spiritually, they caught the vision too. They have been our best cheerleaders the last 7 years!
7. What led you to take on the ministry at Apologia? Can you tell my readers more about the Apologia Live Retreats and their mission?
What led to Apologia? Our journey to owing Apologia has been going on for years though we didn’t see it until 2006.
The mission of the Apologia Live Retreats is to affirm, encourage, challenge, inspire and celebrate the home school journey! We want to create a context in which home school moms can struggle well and finish strong. Home school moms often feel alone, discouraged and overwhelmed. It is our prayer that the moms who attend will return home renewed, rejuvenated, and refreshed.
At an Apologia Live Retreat we have six seasoned speakers woven together with worship and two sessions dedicated exclusively to prayer. Those seven women-6 speaker and 1 worship leader are all seasoned home school moms collectively representing over 100 years of home schooling. This year we have guest speakers Heidi St John and Pam Tebow joining us. We have expanded this year to four cities: Chicago and Austin in October and Baltimore and Atlanta in March. And to encourage moms to attend we are offering buy 2 registrations, get one free—go online to get the details!
The retreat itself is a spiritual, not particularly practical or ‘how-to’. So due to popular request we have added what we have named a ‘Nuts and Bolts’ pre-retreat program to run Friday morning 9-2:30. During this time we will be offering workshops led by the same speaker team for preschool, elementary, junior high and high school on a practical level. We want to reach out to the preschool moms who are already home schooling their kids and just don't know it yet... those who are interested in learning more about homeschooling... the moms who wouldn’t go to a home school conference but would come to this because it is smaller and less intimidating. This morning pre-retreat is only $25 and includes lunch and $10 at the Apologia book table. Now that is a deal!
After that program, we are excited to have a session featuring home school graduates who will give a brief presentation about their home school experience and then answer questions. At each of the retreats we will have home school graduates working and available to talk with you about your question and concerns. I could talk about this for a long time! All the specifics are at our website, apologialive.com. If you don’t find the answers to your questions there-you can email us at email@example.com or call our toll free number-888-524-4724.
8. What is your favorite part about homeschooling?
This is an easy one: getting to know my kids and getting to see God at work every day! I often think that if other moms and dads would just try it for a little while, they wouldn’t be able to stop. The problem is that I know it isn’t that easy. The deal is that to really get to know your kids and to really get to see God work, you have to die to yourself, and that’s hard. Not many people want to do that.
There are many people who want to know their kids on their terms; they want it to be fun and easy. And they want to see God work, as long as He works within their comfort zone. But I haven’t found either to work. Getting to know my kids has been hard work and it mostly started with me getting over me, with me dying to me, with me embracing Christ’s example of selflessness.
Similarly, I have not ever seen God do something amazing within my comfort zone-no He demands that I leave it and come on out –beyond myself. I have said that when I get out way beyond myself-like where I cannot see me from where I am standing- that is where I can start to see God. It is out in the wilderness-the place that is barren of ‘me’ that is His promise land; that is where He dwells, where He shows His might.
I have often settle for fireworks in the distance which appear faintly and are barely audible. He wants to give me a front row seat for the flashes of light that take my breath away and the sounds that thunder and shake my insides. I am so grateful for this journey into home schooling. When I think of the relationships I would have missed with my kids because of my selfish pursuits. When I think of all of the provisions and all of the miracles I have witnessed in their lives and mine as God has worked out His purpose in them, I am humbled. So grateful to be apart of what God is doing everyday-so blessed. Living life abundant!
9. What curriculums did you use and what are your favorite homeschooling support books for encouragement?
I tend to be an eclectic person. I do not do anything exclusively. I generally follow a curriculum adding and subtracting to fit our family needs. There is no way I could list everything, but here is a smathering:
In the preschool years I love Five in a Row. I am debating putting this up in the attic this year as we have outgrown it, but I can hardly stand the thought of not having those books on a shelf to remind me of the by-gone snuggling days! One of the most wonderful memories surrounding those books for me has been how the older children would remember the books and ask to read ‘this week’s’ Five in a Row book to their younger siblings. The titles bring back so many warm memories. I already look forward to reading them to my grandchildren. I have all three sets and am only missing a few titles, though I still shop on ebay to try and make my sets complete.
Next we used Beautiful Feet. Again, I loved the teacher’s guide and the simplicity of the layout. I know I can count on their titles for good reading material.
Sonlight is another favorite. Talk about a great reading list-it is still a go-to for me when I plan each year. I own a couple of key year ‘core’ manuals which I plan to keep over the long haul. (FWIW-I use a sharpie to mark all of the readers as to the curriculum and the year so that I can easily sort them when I need to do so.)
Not surprisingly we use Apologia for science. We used it before we bought the company or even knew it was for sale! Everyone we knew used it, so we tried it and loved it like so many others. In addition to Apologia science, we also use the worldview series “What We Believe”. This curriculum was one of the first things we wanted to develop when we purchased the company and we are encouraged to hear from so many families who are being blessed by it!
As to support books, many of my favorites are ones that Apologia now publishes...that has been one of the benefits of expanding the company to press books. Many of the authors have been my heroes for years and now they are also my friends! Some of them are on our speaker team for Live, so you can meet them and get to know them.
Home schooling is a journey-I think I have mentioned that before. We have had to make some changes and adjustments along the way, but God has been faithful to guide us each year. It has been amazing how much I have learned along side my children.
10. Can you tell us about your parental difficulties raising children who were 'like' you / 'strong willed'? I'd especially like to hear more about this one... even if it is a brief summary in a blog post!
What about that strong-willed child, the one just like me? My first son was my first strong-willed child. (I have another, but that is still a work in process!) You could say that I gave birth to the answer to my mother’s prayer that I would one day have a child just like me-check! Charles and I are so similar. God has done a great work in both of us and again, I am so grateful. Try as I might I wanted to blame all of the friction between us on him, but I was the adult, supposed to me the mature one.
In reality, God was pursuing my heart, my hard, stubborn, selfish heart, through my son. God knew that I loved Charles and God knew that I loved me. And God loved me enough to challenge me to let go of me and take hold of Him. Charles showed signs of this strong will at a very young age, throwing himself on the floor, yelling and screaming, arguing and insisting on his way. He could dig his heels in so fast. (See I would watch Charles throw a fit on the floor and be appalled at his behavior all the time though I was throwing a similar fit in my heart towards God. I thought I was concealing it, but God saw it.)
I was so naïve that I thought that we were just going to get the terrible two’s over with early, no, actually we had just started them earlier! Those were hard days, long days, trying days. I was sure I couldn’t do this. I was just not cut out for it. I read every book I could put my hands on, but nothing seemed to work. Truth was, I was focused on fixing the wrong person.
Silly me, it is funny to look back. I loved Charles, but I wasted a bunch of time longing for him to be old enough to go to school instead of enjoying the blessing God had sent to me. When he was only two, I took a part-time job and had him in daycare so I could have some me time. Even after his brother was born, I had Charles in daycare so I could maintain my sanity.
I was deceived into thinking-like many moms in our culture-that the only answer to our relationship issues was time away and space apart. Oh how many times have I had some one comment to me that they could never spend ‘that much time’ with their kids, because they would kill them. That is what the world says, the world says that if your kids are tough, if your kids are challenging, send them away from you and let someone else dial with it.
Well, I did that for about 4 years with Charles and then we were confronted with crossroads. The intersection occurred his kindergarten year when it became apparent that the public school we had chosen to put him in, the one that was supposed to be the best in the district wasn’t where God wanted our son.
I tell the whole story in the introduction of my book How to have a HEART for Your Kids. In short, God interceded to save my relationship with Charles and his with me. We didn’t know it at the time, but God was pursuing both of our hearts. In the end, the wisdom of the world was dead wrong. And I do mean dead wrong. Had we insisted on following the world’s wisdom and refused to respond to the Holy Spirit’s prompting and leading, our relationship with Charles would have probably died.
To God be the glory that His way, His will is perfect. He directed our path and put our feet on solid ground, leading us way outside out comfort zone, out where we didn’t know anyone, where the only one we had was Him. It was an amazing time of blessing to experience first hand His blessing and His faithfulness.
Home schooling Charles was intense. And he was not the only one I had enrolled in the Carman Family Home School. There were times-many times-when I wanted to give up and throw in the towel. But in my flesh weakness, God was my strength and by His grace alone we persevered.
Charles will be 21 in October. It seems impossible that either of us survived the rigorous obstacle course God put us through. But on this side of it all, I clearly see His hands helping us up, holding us and leading us through it all. I have told our story-me and Charles- many, many times. I wrote and article about it entitled-“Waiting and Resting” (Apologia e-newsletter November 2010). Before I sent in the article I sent it to Charles since it was about him too. His reply was, “Mom don’t stop telling our story. There are lots of little boys out their that need their mommies to not give up on them.”
Charles and I wrestled and didn’t let go until we received a blessing-and it has been well worth the fight!
11. Can you tell us a little about your kiddos?
Here’s a short bio on the Carman Kids:
Let’s start with the youngest and head up. Benjamin is 7 and he loves drawing. I cannot keep him in sketch pads and sharp pencils. He has a dear heart. Ben has challenged me to be anxious to heaven; he was to be alive when the trumpet sounds—talk about a life dream!
Joseph is 9 and all things boy especially legos and paper airplanes. He is full of the joy of life much like his older brother Charles. He does everything full-boar. He and Benjamin are best buddies.
Elizabeth or Lilly Belle, is simply a dear. She has a shy, but beautiful smile. Lilly is a diligent student who loves to write letters to her pen pals and organize her desk. She also loves to help in the kitchen.
Molly also known as Molly Molly is a natural leader. She exudes confidence and competence. Molly is excellent on stage and enjoys participating in performances.
Savannah Anne is our oldest daughter and she fills the role nicely. She will be a sophomore this year. Savannah Anne enjoys ‘thinking hard and thinking well’ (taken from the Worldview Academy). She is an avid reader who seeks to honor God in all things. (Having never had a sister it is beautiful to see these sisters interact in the kitchen cooking and in the bathroom fixing each other’s hair.)
Anderson graduated this last May. He was raised outside of the box and is insisting on staying outside the box by taking a starkly non-traditional approach to his post-high school education. He has been gifted with unique talents for animation. His dream job is to work for Pixar as an animator. This fall Anderson will begin an 18 month online certificate program through Animation Mentor. While studying and living at home he will continue working at Chick-fil-a and Apologia.
Charles is 20 living in NYC and attending the King’s College. He is studying politics, philosophy, and economics. Charles is a member of the King’s debate team where he puts his natural love of logic and argument to good use. His favorite things to do outside of hang out with his family-his words-is to read and study.
All of my kids are a blessing to me and have taught me so much. Their achievements are a direct result of God’s grace in their lives-praise His name!
12. What do you like to do for fun - just for Rachael? What are your hobbies?
Just the thought of fun and relaxation is refreshing. I love to garden-I especially love to weed. There is something therapeutic. There are so many weeds in my life. I pray while I weed. It is generally a lonely job, not many people share my passion for it! So it is a great time of introspection for me.
I also enjoy reading a good book-there are so many to choose from that are inspirational and challenging. Lamplighter has some of my favorites but I also like anything by John Piper or John Mac Author, or Anne Graham Lotts and several others.
I enjoy writing. I do a fair amount of journaling about miscellaneous things. I love the challenge of tackling a new question or topic for an article.
Exercising is another thing that I do for fun. I would like to become a runner, just a 5k, no aspiration of a marathon here. I do a great deal of power walking, aerobics and weight training. It is a stress reliever for me; I have always liked to sweat and work hard.
I enjoy hosting parties at our home-we had three in June: Apologia company picnic, Anderson’s graduation and our 25th anniversary. I was just telling Davis that we need to get another party date on our calendar!!
I enjoy cooking, watching movies with the kids, sitting on the beach, slowly eating dark chocolate kisses, taking long hot bubble baths, listening to the birds in the morning and the cicadas at night, lunch with a friend, and a date with my man. These are a few of my favorite things!!
I hope you enjoyed getting to know Rachael as much as I have. I also hope that you win this Apologia Live ticket - or a copy of her book "How to Have a H.E.A.R.T. For Your Kids". I'm giving away a ticket to any of the four Live conferences of your choice - and two of Rachael's books - for a total of 3 winners.
If you've been good enough to read through this post (probably my longest post ever), you can enter here for a chance to win a ticket (valued at $119) to your choice of Apologia Live Conferences - or a copy of Rachael's book (2 total copies given to two different winners)!
Here's how to win:
1. Leave a comment telling me about your favorite women's retreat and what was your favorite thing you did/learned/were encouraged by there. If you haven't been to one, then tell about what you hope to be encouraged on at the Live Retreat if you should be picked for the ticket.
2. You can get an extra entry each for following Apologia World on Facebook... or following Apologia Live on twitter. You can also get an extra entry for following me on twitter or subbing to my email feed. Each follow/sub is worth ONE extra entry if you include it in a separate comment below (one comment per entry - total of 4 entries per person).
You can go to www.apologialive.com for more information and to register for the retreats. If you register and then win this give away, they will refund you your ticket purchase price.
GIVE AWAY ENDS September 9th at midnight. Winners chosen by Random.org and notified by email (leave a valid email address or you will be disqualified). If the winner does not respond to claim the ticket/book in 1 week after being notified, I will re-draw.
Visit: Jenn at Daze of Adventure for another chance to win this week! Be on the lookout for more homeschool bloggers over the coming weeks to be offering ticket give-aways, too! Apologia Live is generously offering 8 different bloggers tickets to give away.
I can't wait to meet you in Austin this October! I hope you'll be there!
Disclaimer: The info here was not financially compensated for. I have gotten 2 books by Rachael Carman to review and will be getting a ticket to the Live conference in Austin in October. All opinions expressed herein are mine. Don't take my word for it - hop over to their site and register - attend a retreat for yourself to find out how wonderful they are!