in no particular order,
are my favorite moments from Catalyst last week:
1. Backstage Access – There are few things I love more in life than being backstage. I’m not sure what that says about me, but I don’t care. Thanks to my host for the week, Tyler, I was able to get backstage during the conference. This led to lots of cool things: watching Tripp and Tyler work on final edits for their videos (Which I’ll be blogging once they’re available), seeing a 5-foot-nothing Mitch Albom one moment and walking by a 6-foot-and-change Rob Bell the next, seeing Andy Stanley get interviewed by Tripp moments after his closing message, eating pizza with some guys from Fee, not waiting in line for food, and meeting Carlos, Anne, Mike, and Brad.
2. Hanging with Jon Acuff. I was able to get into the arena before the crowds on thursday morning and save a great floor seat for Jon and myself. He’s such a good guy, and after getting to know him better I’m convinced that he is the perfect person to run the Stuff Christians Like enterprise. Few people would be able to handle the success it’s brought him as humbly as he has. We had a blast hanging out over the 2 days of the conference…I hope we can do it again. (and in a related story, look for my latest SCL guest post on Friday)
3. Chuck Swindoll rocked my world. When a 74-year old man takes the stage, you give him your respect. When he tells you he’s going to share 10 leadership lessons from 50 years of ministry, you give him your attention. When he proceeds to absolutely kill it with insight, humor, and truth, you give him a standing ovation. Unbelievable. (My other favorite speaker? Andy Stanley. He’s probably my favorite teaching speaker right now.
4. The Zany. Right after Tripp interviewed Jon (picture above), he asked Jon to do a 10 seconds of zany. What followed was the most amazing 10 seconds of my life. Ok, not really, but Jon started off going crazy by himself, and ended up bumping and grinding with an unsuspecting Tyler by the end of it. I pray that this video makes its way onto 10secondsofzany.com really soon. And if you’re wondering, my zany is on already there (and you can see the 22-second version of my zany over at Tyler’s blog today).
5. The Blogger Meetup. Thanks so much to Brad Ruggles for making this happen. There were 100 bloggers who converged on the Loafing Leprechaun on Wednesday night to put a handshake and a face together with a name and an avatar. Tyler and I attended, and I got to meet a whole bunch of cool folks for the first time. Brad even gave out a swag bag to everyone who signed up, which I promptly left at the bar. Thankfully, Jon picked it up for me and brought it to me the next day. Unthankfully, I left it at the arena on the first night and it never showed up in Lost and Found. I suck.
6. Tyler and his family. Tyler and I met for the first time in person on Wednesday, and for the next 24 hours we had to explain to everyone else that we were cyber-friends. (There’s really no cool way to explain that to people.) Once we hit 24 hours together, we graduated to real friends, and as far as I’m concerned he’s stuck with me as a friend for life (or until we get in a fight over some trivial misunderstanding). He and his wife Amy were so gracious to let me stay with them for a few days, and I had so much fun hanging out that I’m already looking for reasons to take Erica back with me next year. It was also great meeting Tripp as well, he and Tyler are so great at what they do that it’s inspiring for a creative person like myself. (I should have a picture of Tyler and I above this entry but I don’t think one was taken. Shameful oversight on our part.)
7. The Zondervan Dinner. Jon Acuff was scheduled to go to dinner with some of his Zondervan peeps on Thursday night (Zondervan is publishing his first book in March) and somehow I got invited to come along. The food was awful, it took forever to get to us, and because of that we missed Francis Chan close out the first day of the conference…but despite all that, it was such a cool opportunity for me to be able to sit there and dine with these folks. Mike (not pictured) and Tom (white shirt) from Zondervan were such good people…I was fascinated listening to them talk about marketing for their first-time author.
It was also cool when Jon’s editor, Angela, showed up and said she knew who I was when we were introduced. She remembered reading my proposal a couple years ago, which blew me away. I got a chance to talk to her after the dinner for a few minutes about my proposal, and she gave me a few thoughts on it, which was very kind of her. For an unpublished writer like me, it was a random encounter that gave me great encouragement. So thanks Jon and the Zondervan folks for letting me tag along!
Amazing time all around, so thankful I could be a part of an amazing conference experience.
If you’re looking for something to do next October, I encourage you to invest in yourself as a leader and check it out!
ps…If you’re wondering why I’m wearing a white choker necklace in that last pic, it was the lanyard for my Catalyst Pass. For some unknown reason, I was wearing it backwards.