I am home from L.A. where I attended Rise 2018, a personal development conference.

Are you new to personal development? Do you practice personal development in your life? I have been on a personal development/self help journey for years. I believe it is good for everyone to invest in their own growth and development.

By reading “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron over twenty years ago I learned to “date” myself. In 1999 Sarah Ban Breathnach’s book, “Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy”, taught me to excavate the hidden gems inside myself. Let’s not forget the many lessons of “The Four Agreements” and of course, absolutely anything Brene Brown has written.

Sometimes It isn’t that these people are saying anything new. Perhaps it is that they are taking a principle and applying it to their life in a way that makes a connection with like minded people.

I see it kind of like going to a doctor. Doctor after doctor can tell you what is going on medically and what you need to do about the situation. But when that information comes from a doctor who has taken the time to connect with you and then relays that information to you in a way that you can receive it changes things. Do you see how that exchange can strengthen your participation in your healing?

That is what happened when I stumbled across Rachel Hollis in 2015. I haven’t felt an emotional connection with an author/speaker like I felt when I began tuning into Rachel. Hanging out with Rach (watching her videos on Youtube) while she sat in her craft closet talking about what coffee she was drinking or music she was listening to felt organic. It felt like we were hanging out in real life.

As I mentioned in my last blog post, you can read and get caught up here, Rachel was saying things that I say everyday and I eventually found out we had many other things in common. Personal growth being one of them. Sometimes I struggle finding a place to belong, not because I’m not accepted but because I often feel outside the circle. Rachel has reminded me that not only do I belong, but others need to hear my story.

Rachel’s latest book, “Girl, Wash Your Face”, speaks to women right where they are, in the middle of motherhood, career, marriage and well, life. It has been exciting to watch Rachel grow into her destiny. Rachel noticed there weren’t any personal development conferences (outside of the faith circle) for women, by women, so her journey led her to start her own personal development conference and RISE was born.

Unfortunately, I missed the first Rise Conference, Rise 2017, when it was in Austin. It was in June of last year and Michael had just finished radiation treatment for cancer so I just couldn’t.

The Garden Party

But, Hallelujah, this year, not only was I able to attend but I snagged a VIP ticket. My ticket included an invitation to a garden party at Rachel’s house the evening before the conference began. And…it was beautiful.

Everyone was radiant in their floral attire. Many of the speakers were there, mingling and talking. Not only did Jen Hatmaker sign my copy of her book, “Of Mess and Moxie”, but she doodled (that sounds weird) in the margins of my favorite chapter. There were photo booth kiosks and a donut wall! Seriously y’all, a donut wall.

jen signed my book

donut wall at Rachel"s house



While there I was able to reconnect with women I had met in January at Rachel’s book signing event in Dallas and I was able to meet and make new forever friends. After the garden party a group of us shared sushi while patio dining beside a stunning fountain. A dreamy L.A. experience, for sure.


Rise Roomies


To help offset costs I roomed with three other women. These women are lovely and strong and capable. They each bravely shared parts of their story with me throughout the weekend and I sincerely can’t wait to see where life will take them. Laughter is my love language and these ladies spoke it fluently.


Day One

On Friday morning with high energy and hearts that were open and ready over 700 women came together to RISE!

Rachel started it off with talking about our pasts and owning our stories. Then we did an exercise called “Standing up for your sister”. I feel like that will be a post by itself. It was powerful.

After lunch Jen Hatmaker reminded us to be dreamers and makers when we can and however we can. Elyse Snipes who produces and is the talent of Trailer Cast, a podcast recorded in a travel trailer, shared her story and encouraged us to stand on top of the very thing that is weighing us down. By standing on our story we have the ability to turn a fearful and fractured self into a free and whole self.

Rachel’s husband Dave spoke and the day ended with Rachel reading us a spectacular bedtime story and Arielle Estoria sharing a beautiful spoken word poem.

Day Two

I had two favorite parts on day two. The first was Toi Sweeney, the author and founder of The Well Dressed Brand. Toi reminded us to be on purpose and dress the way we want to be addressed. Yes, Queens, Yes! At the end of her session she also shared a video of a beautiful and moving speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. You can watch it here.

My second favorite moment of the day came with the afternoon panel. There were two women in particular on the panel that spoke to me, but Elizabeth Lascaze’s words shook me. Elizabeth said two major things. The first, “Start asking for what you need with a little less wishbone and a little more backbone” and “Lift while you rise”. Yes, Yes and Yes.

We should ask the universe and others for what we need with surety and confidence. Lifting others while we rise is so important.

I believe finding a mentor and being a mentor is crucial in building our self development, growing our community and keeping ourselves accountable.

Did someone say 90″s dance party?

90's dance party

The whole weekend ended with a 90’s themed dance party, complete with slap bands and fun dip. Everyone looked great in their 90’s hip hop outfits and we danced our asses off. My hair was dripping by the time we all said goodbye and goodnight.

My belief in self development is stronger than ever. I believe there is power in numbers. Couple that power with the power of intention and magic happens. I’ve seen it. I witnessed over 700 women rearrange their lives to fly and drive in from all over the world and stand shoulder to shoulder with like minded sisters. Once our vases had been refilled we left that place with a purpose of MORE and together we RISE!!!

Rise 2019 will happen in June 2019 in Minneapolis and tickets go on sale in January.

Sam and Rach

Be you. Be beautiful. Be imperfect.


2 Comments. Leave new

  • Avatar
    Jennifer Davis
    April 13, 2018 11:04 pm

    “Sometimes I struggle finding a place to belong, not because I’m not accepted but because I often feel outside the circle. “. So, so , so true for me.

  • I am constantly surprised when people enjoy my company. It amazes me that you want to be my friend and yet I know I’m funny and smart. Haha! We have to own it.


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