On Saturday MaryAlice and I attended the CHAPLET Homeschool Conference and had the privilege of meeting Danielle Bean!
Danielle flew in from New Hampshire to speak at the conference, and MaryAlice and I acted as her chauffeurs for the weekend. What a blessing to meet Danielle in person. In my earliest days of parenthood, I remember reading Danielle's first book, My Cup of Tea, and feeling very uplifted by her words and perspective. Unlike many other parenting books I had read, Danielle always seemed to focus on the positive side of things, drawing moral lessons from her personal parenting experiences, without being judgmental or preachy. I loved her approach to motherhood instantly, and I have followed her writing and her daily blog ever since.
Many of the builders see Danielle in a similar light, and, amongst ourselves, some of us jokingly call her "Queen Bean" ;-)
Danielle is truly a mother-encourager extraordinaire. Her talk, How to Handle Burnout, was full of humor, humility, and wisdom, as well as practical tips for excelling in my vocation as a mother, spouse, and friend. Since burnout is something that I have very recently struggled with (remember that awful 1st trimester!), the doubts I had about mothering a larger family AND homeschooling were still fresh in my mind. After hearing Danielle speak, and being around so many wonderful mothers, I left the conference with a renewed excitement about our plans for this fall.
And, as a funny aside...
I pulled into the parking lot of Danielle's hotel Saturday morning and I turned too sharply, scraping the side of my minivan into an unforgiving yellow pole. Danielle watched the entire scene unfold, and then helped me back out and avoid further damage to my car. I was quite embarrassed! Danielle is of course so gracious that she assured me of her own driving trials, which I'm sure were grossly exaggerated for my own benefit.