My Blissdom Story

One of my favorite sessions at Blissdom this past weekend was taught by Lisa Leonard. It was entitled Telling Your Story: Authentically and Without Apology.


It was by far the most beneficial and applicable session I’ve been to because that’s what I’m attempting to do in this space…tell my story.

Her points were that every authentic story has a setting, REAL characters, conflict and YOU have a story to tell.

Using those elements I want to authentically share my Blissdom story with you today.


Blissdom moved from the Gaylord Opryland in Nasheville, TN to the Gaylord Texan in Dallas, TX this year. The Gaylord Texan was a beautiful hotel that wasn’t quite as overwhelming as the Opryland.

On the first day of the conference, I did a photo walk around the hotel with photographer Anna Epp.


It was wonderful to have such an amazing photographer right there to offer advice and tips on this photo walk.







I accomplished a huge goal of mine on this photo walk…I took every single one of my pictures on full manual and I’m mostly happy with them. Score for the amateur photographer!!!

Real Characters

The characters in this story are the amazing bloggers and speakers I spent time with over the weekend.

I had a blast meeting with my blogging friends and getting to know so many new (to me) bloggers!


Pictured above: Joy, Toni, Connie, Lynn, Amy, and Jenn


I loved getting to know my roommate, Debra. I stayed up way past my bedtime chatting with her every night, but I loved it!! Really getting to know other people and their stories is what thrills me. I do have to apologize to her for falling asleep while talking the last night…I was exhausted!

As always I wish I had taken more pictures of the amazing women I met.

All of the speakers were incredible again this year!


I am a huge Lisa Leonard fan. I love her jewlery, her craft, her style, and her heart.

While walking through the Handmade Market on Thursday evening (wearing my nametag) Lisa referred to me by name and I totally embarrassed myself for thinking if only for a moment that she actually knew me.

I really gleamed a lot and was encouraged by her session on telling your authentic story. By that time I was feeling lost and it was so applicable to what I do that it truly made me feel as if I truly belonged.

Thank you, Lisa, for being so gracious and real!


Jon Acuff was so motivating in both his session and in his closing Keynote address. He was also very generous and showed much love to Blissdom attendees by giving everyone an exclusive copy of his new book, Start, which isn’t even released yet.

I started reading it on the American Airlines flight home and it is really giving me a lot to process…you’ll be hearing more about my thoughts soon!


And now, for the hard part…conflict.

Conflict in our stories doesn’t always have to be dramatic and life changing.

It can be something small like slipping on water from melted ice that fell out of your freezer door and face planting on your kitchen floor (yes, I did that last night).

The conflict I experienced at Blissdom was not dramatic or life changing, but it was a heart conflict that I have struggled with for quite some time. I have to admit that this conflict has created some degree of hurt if I am to be authentic and honest with you.

For the first time in my three years attending Blissdom, I really and truly felt as if I didn’t belong and it hurt to feel this way about something that I have loved so much.

I have been blogging for over five years and have attended Blissdom three times within those five years.

I have written 1,769 posts and have received 8,447 comments on this blog.

I love blogging and the blogging community that I am a part of.

But over the years I have made the decision to remain a hobbyist blogger.

I have not turned my blog into a business…on purpose.

No, I don’t make money on this blog and I don’t have the desire to do so.

And, no, I don’t have three heads growing out of my neck. I just truly believe there is more in life to attain than the acumination of more and more money and material “stuff”.

This sets me apart from the majority of the bloggers in attendance at Blissdom. I know this and I have dealt with this every single year that I have attended Blissdom because I love blogging, the blogging community and the time away to learn more about those things that I love and do just for FUN.

This year I felt made fun of, ignored and dismissed in many instances.

On Friday morning, I decided that this would be my last time attending Blissdom. It was a sad realization that I just didn’t fit there anymore. I choked down tears as I chatted with my husband about this and he offered support and encouragement as he always does.

I didn’t let this decision cloud the remainder of my time at Blissdom, though.

I attended every session and got every single bit of encouragement, motivation and practical information I could out of them.

I met new and old friends.

I tried not to waste my time on the self-important people that I encountered, but I invested much time listening to and having deep conversations with many others.

I am confident in who I am and who I want to be as a blogger.

I am thankful to Blissdom for having encountered this conflict year after year.

I am thankful for the fun times that I have had at Blissdom both this year and in years past…for the laughter, for the conversations, and for the inspiration.


Thank you Alli, for this wonderful conference and the impact it has had in my life.

Thank you for the atmosphere you have strived to create to motivate women to do great things with their passions!


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    • 2


      Thank you, Anne. I had a good time because I was very intentional about it. I’m even super glad that I went. It just feels like my time for that is over.

      I wish I would have met you…would love to have that hug!

  1. 3


    Oh no – I aspire to one year get to Blissdom but if I do I won’t get to meet you!

    My blog certainly isn’t my business but I do get a wee bit if income from it, but so much more – creativity, a voice, friendship, community ….

    Thanks for keeping it real, hope you find a different blogging event that is more “you” – maybe it would be more “me” too so let me know!

    • 4


      I would love to one day meet you, too!!!

      I did meet two new friends that said they were readers and I loved getting to talk to them so much!

      I don’t think getting income from blogging is a bad thing at all….please don’t think that. :) I think it’s can be a great thing and have met some that really have needed it. It has been a blessing to their families and a way that God has provided for them. For some, though, it’s all they think or talk about. And as you said, blogging is so much more than that!

      I love seeing your updates and absolutely love that we’ve been able to connect through blogging!

  2. 6


    I am feeling the same way. Though I have never attended a blogging conference (though I wish i could) i was concerned about that. I meet so many people on a regular basis that think this way. I don’t blog for money nor do i wish to. They seem to think it is a waste if i don’t! Keep up the good work! I love reading your blog as i have for years!

  3. 7


    First of all, your photos are amazingly beautiful! I am so sorry your experience with Blissdom was mixed. I do not make money from my blog either and am not being intentional about doing so. If it happens, it happens. This is one thing that has held me back from attending a blog conference. I am really insecure about all of the bloggers who have hit the big time and make money with blogging. Oh insecure me!

  4. 8

    RachelM says

    Monica, I am thrilled that I got to meet you at BlissDom! I love your post and all the beautiful pictures that you posted. I have to say I’m truly sorry you felt made fun of, ignored and dismissed this year. What an awful experience. I only wish that I could had helped you in these situations at BlissDom. Always know I am thankful for your blog! Thanks again for all you do!

  5. 9


    It was such a wonderful experience to be your roomie this year…….and sorry for keeping you up way past your bedtime. :-)
    I have to admit that I really identify with what you are saying….that you don’t belong anymore….but for the opposite reason. Many times at conferences (though this was my first Blissdom), I have felt like I don’t belong because many don’t consider me a “real” writer, as I do post a lot of deals, coupons, etc. You can just tell when I give them the name of my blog. (Even though I freelance and occasionally write about heartfelt topics like grief, cancer, and losing my mom.) It’s hard sometimes.

  6. 10

    Jennifer Scruggs says

    Hey Friend!!! I haven’t been to the actual blog in awhile– just reading along on my e-mail. I LOVE the new look— your “about me” sidebar is SO CUTE! I was praying for you during Blissdom, and I am glad you choose to “dwell” on the bright spots of the experience! There are seasons for everything in life, and I am glad that you have peace about Blissdom’s place in your life. I am so proud of you for remaining true to YOU. At some point in every Christian’s walk, we face these feelings as we follow the individual call of God on our lives. Those who do not know Him, and even some of those that do, may never understand what it’s like to follow the leading of that still small voice, when it calls you “away” from “the norm”. Keep trusting His Call on your life!!! Your blog is a bright spot in my day— a place I am challenged, encouraged, admonished, amused, and refreshed. I am so, so grateful for Daily Dwelling, and for YOU!!! Love your guts!!! :) Jenn

  7. 11

    Lori says

    Monica you know I don’t blog and your blog is the only one I follow. I love following your blog . There is a season for all things. I am so glad you shared your heart and feelings. It is also a “bright spot” in my day. I have not connected with many people in my life but some how through your journey and sharing your family with us and the day to day of it all I find so much encouragement and its so real. I know an environment that isn’t real just isn’t you! I admire your courage to move on and let go! I can’t wait to see what happens next in your journey! I will be praying for you and your sweet family! I love your posts! You definitely are using your gifts and talents to glorify the Lord!

  8. 12


    Oh, Monica! I am so sad that you felt that way! I am so sorry! I wish I had known so I could have given you an extra hug. You are such a precious friend. I was talking about you just today and about what you do here. I love your heart!

    • 13


      I am so very thankful for our friendship, Connie! I think you are an amazing person and I admire you so much! I love the way you can speak your mind and take stands and still be so real and humorous as you go about it.

  9. 14

    Jenn says

    Hi Monica, I have to say that one of the reasons I love your blog, your writing, and your photographs is because you are an authentic, down-to-earth blogger. I have stopped reading blogs where I felt discontent, jealousy, etc. after reading the latest entry. I am not a blogger, but enjoy reading other blogs for encouragement, friendship, and ideas. I hope you’ll continue your blogging hobby, as I enjoy checking in with you and your sweet family. We are also a homeschooling family. I have twin girls that turn 8 in May, and a miracle gift from God that is due to arrive in August. Blessings to you!!

  10. 15


    I’m sorry your experience wasn’t what you hoped. If it helps, I think you’re past the conference stage. You’ve been blogging long enough, sat through enough sessions that you know who you are and how to do the things you want to do. There’s no shame in that. Matter of fact, you’re right on trend. All the “cool kids” are now walking away from the big conferences to do more smaller, niche things. I think you’re totally wise to know when you’re done, to take what you can get out of it, and move on. Hated to miss a chance to hug you again!!

    • 16


      This is exactly the conclusion that I came to. I think you said it much better than I did.

      I also hated that I didn’t get to see you this year! :)

  11. 17


    Monica, great recap and amazing photos! Over the past 4years I’ve gone, I’ve come across more women who attend BlissDom but don’t monetize their blogs. They, too, share some of your same thoughts. LIke you, though, they realize these brands are the one who subsidize the conference and make it affordable. And while not all of us are looking for those relationship with brands, I think BlissDom does a very good job at providing content and brand relationships that are geared toward social good.

    Thank you for sharing about your experience.

    • 18


      I absolutely agree, Sara, Blissdom does an excellent job of providing brands and sponsors that are geared toward social good.

      I was so hesitant to write out my honest thoughts because I didn’t want it to be seen as completely negative. I had a wonderful time and I would recommend Blissdom to anyone looking for a fun blogging conference!

      I do realize that many bloggers are looking to build a business and I have spoken to many women for whom blogging has become necessary to sustain their families through job loss and difficult times. I think Blissdom does a great job of balancing both the business and the fun side of blogging. I think that I just felt like it may be time for me to take a break from the pressure (possibly even my own pressures) of standing out in the crowd.

      Thank you so much for your comment!

  12. 19


    Your conflict makes me sad. I too do my blog for a hobby. I don’t have sponsors and I don’t plan to. I don’t care about making money on it since I have a full time job. I do it as a keepsake. It is MY blog and I write about what I want to remember. I didn’t feel out of place at the conference and I’m so glad I met others who feel the same way I do. I’m so glad to hear you have had a good experience despite this. I hope you will continue to blog the way you want to blog! (Sounds like you have a wonderfully supportive husband too)!

  13. 20


    WHAAAAAAT? You aren’t coming back? :::Pouts:::

    I wish I had been able to sit with you longer than three seconds – I was on the job this time with a shot list a mile long, taking photos for the conference… and felt like I couldn’t take a break. I ate protein bars for most of my meals (well, when I wasn’t ordering bacon from room service – shhhh!). I will truly miss you if you don’t come back. We are two peas in a pod. I’m the introvert that enjoys taking peekshurs of all the fun. However, I understand sometimes feeling like you are on the outside looking in. I always attributed it to me just being a square peg because I don’t drink and party like a lot of other folks, though… and I’m OK with that. Just give me some good photos, some crispy bacon, and a friendly blogger (like you) to sit and chat with, and I’m good!