The Conference Comedy

conference-comedyFor those of you who were praying for my homeschool conference workshops last weekend, thank you. They went incredibly well. Once again, it seemed like the night before, there were several catastrophes. At least I wasn’t sick this time. Even my cough went away. But my husband was stuck at work until 1 a.m. the night before the conference, because the entire computer system went down. His boss and the one person above him were both out of town, so the entire (small) company depended on my husband to get the computer system up and running again. On the phone, he said to me with hopelessness, “I have no idea how to fix this. I don’t know if I’ll be coming home at all tonight.”

I said, “No matter what, God knows the answer. And God lives inside of you, so the answer is inside of you. So many times you’ve solved impossible situations. Just lean on God. The situation is not hopeless.” He felt slightly better, and we hung up the phone.

The other problem I was having the night before the conference is that I was trying to burn the DVD’s of my best-seller, “Organizing for a Fun Homeschool.” I’ve been selling it on my website for a year now, but I’ve never made any hard copies. Now that I’m on the conference circuit, I have to turn my products from digital to physical products. My husband had barely finished the master copy from the original (since it was a DVD, we wanted it to be a higher resolution). I was supposed to be burning copies of it while my husband was at work, but every other one showed an error. I had trashed 7 DVD’s before calling my husband. Of course, my husband was like a chicken with the head cut off at work, and I didn’t want to bother him, but our livelihood depended on it. My husband walked me through some simple steps on the computer, and nothing worked. I trashed two more DVD’s. “Just wait ’til I get home,” he said, but I knew he wasn’t coming home. I got on my face before God and said, “Why is it always this way?!” I called my best friend, and we prayed for my husband.

The next day was conference day. My husband had come home in the wee hours of the morning and was terribly fatigued. We figured out how to cut the DVD’s. We were cutting the DVD’s and printing the labels straight up to the last minute, when we needed to leave to set up our vendor table. My husband looked at me brashly and said, “Talk about running a business on a wing and a prayer!”

My husband still needed to print more price labels. Meanwhile I was gathering my costumes and props for my workshops. My husband loaded up the car, I said good-bye to my mother, and off we went. As I started to set up the vendor table, I soon realized what a horrible mistake we had made to not get a professional sign made. There was nothing to draw attention to our table.

My first workshop was “Integrating Art into History.” It was a full multimedia presentation, with powerpoint, speakers connected to the laptop, props, and a five-minute video clip, which was going to be my grand finale. Before the workshop, when my husband was hooking up my cordless mic, he said he had nowhere to clip the box. My medieval costume had no belt. I told him to clip it to my underwear, but to be quick about it. Needless to say, he was NOT quick about it, and enjoyed fishing the wire up my dress. I panicked as I looked at the door, but thankfully, no one came early.

Later when my husband left to get something else, I needed to go to the bathroom. It was very difficult to keep the cordless mic box from splashing into the toilet.

I have to say that it was the most fun workshop I’ve ever taught in my life. I had my audience laughing on and off the entire time, while covering an incredible amount of information. The video clip was so hilarious that people were doubled over in their chairs. They almost fell on the floor; they were laughing so hard. It was hands-on learning at its best, unedited, even with me screaming at my kids. I left it in because it was so funny. For some bizzare reason, I looked at the clock and still had 15 minutes left. So I took questions. I loved their questions, and I answered them all authoritatively. Even with the question and answer section, I had people laughing at my blunt answers.

People came by my vendor table and said they deeply regretted not coming to my workshop; that they had heard about it from other people. I told them it would be for sale in video form on my website hopefully within a month for only $10.

My second workshop was the next day. I was so, so sleepy. My energy dips in the afternoon, and I felt like it was the middle of the night. I said to my husband, “Quick! I need a jolt!” He gave me a 5-hour power drink. This was around 12 noon, and by 3 (the time for my class), he gave me another one. Okay, just so you know, I never drink power drinks. I felt so weird, like I had drunk way too much coffee. I felt like that cartoon squirrel in that movie, where he moved so fast while everything else was going in slow motion.

My workshop title was “Using Journals to Teach Writing.” I had chosen a dress with autumn leaves on it, with a pretty hat that looked artistic. My husband handed me my outfit, and I ran to the bathroom to put it on. It wasn’t until I looked down that I realized that I had forgotten to shave my legs. Oh, no! The slit on the side definitely showed my leg. There’s no way I could get away with this. I ran out of the bathroom and across the vendor hall, hoping my legs were too blurry for people to notice. I climbed up on a chair and yanked down my medieval costume. (I had decorated the empty space with costumes just to draw attention.) I sprinted to the bathroom, trying not to knock over the homeschool shoppers.

After switching costumes and putting on my own mic, I cried out to God. I threw myself upon God. I took a deep breath.

I began the class. Using the powerpoint, I showed many different ways to use journals. Not only was I articulate, but I added spiritual truth to what I was saying. I had not been planning to talk about spiritual things, but since I had come to the end of myself, I felt fully yielded to the Spirit of God. This was not a funny workshop. It was an information-packed, sometimes poignant workshop. At the end, everyone burst into applause. People who knew me before (but never heard me speak) looked at me with awe, like I was in a different league than they had thought.

I was so exhausted, but there was only half an hour left for the vendor hall to be open. I literally ran to my table. My table was crowded. One woman monopolized my attention for so long that everybody else left before I had a chance to speak to them. My kindness hurt my sales, and the woman didn’t even buy anything. I just wanted to cry. Those other women would have probably bought something if I hadn’t ignored them for so long.

Finally we packed up and went home. As soon as I walked through the door, I went straight to my bed and collapsed. I did not get up for a long time.

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4 Responses to “The Conference Comedy”

  1. You amaze me! I’m so glad your sessions went well. I’m just trying to get through my last three tutoring sessions for our community. Next year we’re staying home. I don’t like that homeschooling has not been my own this year, even though I’ll miss teaching my little class.

  2. Christina says:

    Susan,
    You did an amazing job. This was my first homeschool conference, and the two talks that I was looking forward to most were yours! I got so much valuable information out of them. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
    ~For an inexpensive “professional sign” I’ve always had good dealings with http://www.halfpricebanners.com, they have good prices and a quick turnaround time.
    Thank you for all of your valuable time and information!

  3. Julie says:

    Susan: You are such an inspiration to me!! I’m so glad we got to “meet”…I’m inspired to get myself in gear and work on my business! Sometimes I feel like I’m just running in circles, unsure of what to do next.

    I KNOW that you touched and blessed everyone that heard your class. I’m so glad that it went so well…despite the “funny” moments. The un-shaved legs thing cracked me up…been there and done that!

    God bless you – Julie

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