A Break Will Also Provide Plenty Of Time For All The Anxiety

About three years ago I flew out to San Antonio to meet Melanie at a Living Proof Live event at the Alamodome. The plan was that Melanie and I would blog about the event like we normally do (over at AllAccess), and then afterwards we were going to help out at a Q&A session featuring Beth Moore and her daughters. If memory serves, the idea was that Mel and I would be responsible for some “witty banter” with the women who were waiting to attend the Q&A. In retrospect I think we were probably supposed to be like those warm-up people at talk shows – the people who try to keep the audience from getting too bored while they’re waiting on the people they really want to see.

And let me just tell you: that day in San Antonio, there were a bunch of women who reallllly wanted to see Beth, Amanda and Melissa. Which is understandable because, well, they’re darlin’.

In the weeks prior to the Q&A, Melanie and I talked about some possibilities for our “witty banter.” We figured there would be about 200 people there (in a small-ish conference room of some sort), and of those 200, we sort of (naively) assumed that maybe half of them would have read our blogs because we’d met and hung out with several of the women who were going to the Q&A. So, since Mel and I both enjoy procrastination and since we both felt like everything would go pretty smoothly if we were “bantering” in a room among friends, we decided on a very general approach and figured we’d come up with some specifics once I arrived in San Antonio.

Oh, our plan was flawed.

Our plan was very, very flawed.

For so many, many reasons.

First of all, my flight from Houston to San Antonio was cancelled, so I ended up pulling up to our hotel on two wheels about 45 minutes before we had to be at the Alamodome on Friday night. We ended up going to a late supper after the event, and we rolled back into the hotel at approximately 12:00 in the AM. Which makes perfect sense when you consider that we needed to wake up at 6:00 the next morning and then be responsible for witty banter later in the day.

(I can’t quit using the phrase “witty banter.”)

(I recognize that it might be annoying.)

(But still: “WITTY BANTER.”)

And then, once we got settled in at the hotel, the insomnia hit. OH MY WORD DID IT EVER.

Melanie and I are both what you might call High-Maintenance Sleepers, and have mercy did our collective sleeping crazy ever kick in that night in San Antonio. Both of us enjoy a sound machine when we sleep, but unfortunately both of us had left our sound machines at home. As a result, our room was so quiet that we could hear EVERYTHING going on in the hallway of the hotel. At one point we got so desperate that we turned on the water in the bathroom sink to see if that would mimic a sound machine and therefore SOOTHE OUR INCREASINGLY FRAYED NERVES, but it didn’t work at all. I finally drifted off around 3, only to wake up at 5 and find a wide-eyed Melanie sitting on the bathroom floor with her laptop.

She was typing a blog post. I don’t know why this would surprise you.

All that to say: we were exhausted when we got back to the Alamodome Saturday morning. The looming banter took a backseat to the fact that we were both a little desperate for sleep. And then, before we were even remotely prepared, the event was over and it was time for us to take our witty banter in front of the 200 women. Only – TRUE STORY – there were actually about 1,000 women LINED UP ACROSS THE FLOOR OF THE ALAMODOME, and I would venture to say that approximately 993 of those women were wondering who in the world we were and WHY IN THE SAM HILL they were being forced to listen to us.

To their credit, nobody actually screamed “WHERE’S BETH?!?!” when we walked out to the middle of the floor, but I guarantee you that most of those women were thinking it.

There are so many things I could tell you about those fifteen minutes of my life – those fifteen minutes THAT STRETCHED OUT FOR ALL ETERNITY – but I really don’t think there’s anything I could say to make you understand just how deeply, completely, filled-to-overflowing-with-awkward it all was. I mean, I’ve watched TV shows where someone stepped up to a microphone and froze, but I’d never experienced it firsthand until that fateful August afternoon. Melanie and I just, I don’t know, STOOD THERE, and all those women just, I don’t know, STARED AT US, and Melanie and I kept looking at each other and then looking at the women and then looking at each other and then looking at the women and IT NEVER GOT ANY BETTER, OH NO, it just became increasingly more painful and cringe-worthy with every passing second.

So Melanie decided to break the ice first, and here, HERE WAS HER OPENER:

“Hey. How’d y’all sleep last night?”

And then I looked at her and laughed nervously and launched into a seemingly endless description of our sound machine woes and how we turned on the water and then I found Melanie in the bathroom at 5 and OH MY LANDS IT’S LIKE I’M SPEAKING TO A FIELD OF CRICKETS AND BY THE WAY THE CRICKETS AREN’T EVEN SMILING.

After about five minutes we had the good sense to ask Travis to join us, and he totally saved the day (because, you see, the people there knew who he was, and they seemed to appreciate seeing a face that was infinitely more familiar to them than the faces of the two blogger people who couldn’t seem to do much more than stammer). Travis actually created some interaction and some fun (which, of course, was supposed to be our job, but we’d fired ourselves by that point), and somehow we made it to the end of our little segment.

I’ve never in my life been so happy for something to be over. And even though it was pretty epic in its terribleness (no kidding: I think the term “EPIC FAIL” was coined as a direct result of what happened on the floor of the Alamodome that afternoon), I like to think that the 993 women/crickets forgot all about Mel and me as soon as Beth and her girls came out on the floor for pictures and the Q&A.

Anyway, I’m sharing this NEVER ENDING TALE with y’all today because it adds an element of SWEET, SWEET IRONY to the fact that this weekend Melanie and I are the emcees for the .MOM Conference here in Birmingham. Once again Mel and I will be like the warm-up people on talk shows – only this time we are going to be PREPARED, yes ma’am we are. There are some real-live people who have worked like crazy to help us get ready for our emcee-related responsibilities, and we’re really excited about it. And also terrified. But still: really excited.

So, given all of that, I’m going to take a little bloggy break for the next few days. Tomorrow Melanie and I will hit the ground running just as soon as I pick her up from the airport, and you’d better believe we’ll be rehearsing for our emcee duties this time around. Several times, in fact.


I hope that some of y’all will be at .MOM, and I also hope that you’ll come say hey if you’re there. Mainly because Mel and I will probably need a hug. And a pep talk. And then another hug.

Hope y’all have a great rest of the week!

Remembering the Alamodome,

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  1. Where will this be? I live in Alabaster! :)
    And glad you’ll get some sleep this time!

  2. Flying by the seat of your pants didn’t work? Can’t believe it. ;)

    And can I just say that every time you typed Alamodome I read it as “ala mode” ome. I want some ice cream on some pie now.

  3. Here’s to a non-repeat of the Alamodome Debaucle! Have a great weekend!

  4. I’ll be at .Mom!!! Hugs awaiting should they be needed! We’re loading up tomorrow and heading that way!

  5. This is one of the funniest things I’ve ever read. You may not have thrilled the Alamodome, but you charmed the socks off me! :)

  6. Love this! Wish I knew about the upcoming conference, as I work with moms at my job. They need each other and boy do they need the Lord! Have a blast! You’ll do fine! I’ll be praying for you guys!!

  7. Well, your experience made for a crazy funny post! Some of life’s lessons are learned in the strangest ways, huh! Maybe an extra sound machine kept in the suitcase might be in order… Blessings for the next adventure~ Kathy

  8. I had planned to attend .MOM, but something called “life” got in the way. I am bummed that I can’t be there, but here’s hoping that there will be a .MOM 2 at some point. Good luck with the emcee duties!

  9. DON’T FORGET TO TAKE YOUR SOUND MACHINE!!! And break a leg! :-)

  10. Well, ya’ll GO GIRLS!!
    I know what it’s like to be in the hot seat! Thank goodness experience does mold us into what we need to be (when we may feel like a fish out of water)!!
    You’ve got this! Just shine bright for HIM!!
    Wish I was going to .mom! Praying for you guys and the event to bless the socks off of all the mama’s.

  11. Well. I was at The Alamodome, and I was in The Room, and it wasn’t as bad as you might think. And, however bad it was, I don’t think it was ya’ll’s fault. Somehow, people that didn’t even know that blogs exist (think Martha/Martie the first couple of years BooMama was up and going) were able to get tickets into that room, and, yes, they were there to see Beth, and, no, they had no idea who you or Big were. And they were probably a bit confused.

    BUT, there were a few of us, who blog, and enjoy the bloggy world, that were super excited to see your real life faces and hear your real life voices. It was a plesant surprise to see you and Big, because, none of us really knew what in the world was going to happen once we got in that room. We just wanted to be sure and get a reallygoodseat.

    I loved seeing y’all as much as I loved seeing Beth and her girls.

    • I agree. It was not all as bad as you remember. I was there and totally enjoyed everything. I remember when I finally got to meet the two of you. Travis, you and Mel were standing together in the middle of the room. We had just taken our many group pictures with Beth. I walked straight up to the three of you. Travis stepped forward to meet a fan. I was polite and said hello to him, but then I gushed all over the two of you. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. TTFN

  12. Oh, I SO wish I was going to be there. We’re having a Women’s Retreat at our church. But, I KNOW you both will do a great job …. at the very least it will be funny, right? Love you both! Praying for a great weekend!

  13. I so wish I could be there, but let’s face it, Birmingham is not all that terribly close to Virginia. I think a day trip might be a bit…taxing. However, if I could be there you can be sure I would have your backs. and also laugh in all the appropriate places.

    Instead I’ll be praying for ya! :)

  14. I’ll be there!! Can’t wait to see and hear all the prepardness!! Hopefully I’ll get a chance to see you in person and maybe snap a picture!

  15. Oh sweet mercy – it was not all that bad! I was there and so excited about the “Siesta Fiesta.” Now like Jenni above noted, there were some “posers” who got in there that most likely should not have…but we were nice, real nice to them. :) So our initimate 200 bloggers morphed into a room full! I’ll admit it was fun when Travis joined y’all – but my favorite memory of that is when Rich was riding on some rolling machine high above us taking “group pictures.” And little did I know that a short conversation with sweet Melissa Fitzpatrick in my picture group would turn into a friendship over here in Georgia which led to a wonderful friendship with sweet Beth Moore. So your prelude became a great blessing for me. I wish I could insert a picture here. As I was walking across the floor, I heard “Georgia Jan…” and it was Beth and Rich snapped a picture right at that moment and I love that picture. I had seen her at Deeper Still in Atlanta a few months before and ran by and squealed at her and she remembered. Ha – who wouldn’t – I was such a nut. 2008 was a good year – the best thing was that I had JUST BECOME Gran Jan the week before I flew to San Antonio…and I’m still smitten over that boy. Boy I’ve rambled…happy memories. Wish I could be there this weekend…too much going on. Besides it’s “Dot.Mom” not “Dot.GrandMom…” :)
    Love you girlie!

  16. Ha! Bless your heart! I wasn’t there, but I guarantee this cricket would have been smiling and laughing at you & Mel. I actually looked for y’all among the 13,000 women at the Memphis LPL last year, but alas, I never saw either of you. Hope you have a great time!

  17. This makes me think of morning news shows and how it makes me a little crazy when they interview just your regular joe type people who have nothing to say. They may have been the only eyewitness to the biggest news story since Sherman burned Atlanta, but they can’t seem to find any words to talk about it. I so want to jump in there and help them! Now, I know better than to think you two have nothing so say, so I’m sure you’ll be a big hit. Just pretend like it’s the next BigBoo cast — those always entertain me. I won’t be there but I’d love to hear it!

  18. Your description of awkward was palpable to me in a familiar kind of way, so I feel encouraged and challenged by your willingness to give things another go after such a rough first round.

    Mostly, I want to let you know that I’m a faithful, if silent, reader here. Your writing makes me happy, so thanks for doing it!

  19. Ha, I was there too and it wasn’t that bad. I am sure all the work you are doing to prepare will pay off and you and Melanie will be great!!!

  20. Sophie, I remember it well, since I was one of the 993 crickets. I don’t remember the silence as you do, since I was not on stage…but I do remember the story about the insomnia…ha! We were in the same hotel, and I had it too…used cushions from the chairs to make another bed … away from the others since I snore…funny. Have fun this weekend and just be yourself, cause we all love her!

  21. Oh girl. You can write. The ability to take me with you back to the Alamodome/ house of Pain and make me sweat and feel anxious for you is a testament to your writing ability. Plus, you are the funniest person in the world!

  22. Kimberly/OKC says:

    I thought Melanie had a “White Noise” app on her iphone? Don’t tell me ya’ll forgot about that…probably it didn’t work. I have once made a 12:30am trip to the Walmarts for a sound machine when I forgot mine. A fan works decent. I now have a backup sound machine in my bedroom in case my old one ever fails. Also I am sooo paranoid about forgetting my sound machine that I usually put it on top of my suitcase plugged in and running so I don’t forget it the next am for a trip. Sorry so lengthy…woes of a 25 year love of a sound machine (of some sort,,,since they didn’t make sound machines in 1985. :)))

  23. I’ll be there this weekend!! Can’t wait!

  24. Wish I could be there! Y’all are gonna rock their socks off!

  25. So here’s the thing. I’m going to be at dotmom. And there is a huge possiblity that I will tackle you in a bear hug when I see you. And then I will introduce myself. And then you will call security. Because, hello (?!?), crazy.
    The end.

  26. Found your blog a few months ago, and just love it. I had to comment on this one because, oh my goodness, this is my favorite post ever! I think that might be because awkward silences are one of my greatest fears (almost a dowright phobia) in the world. The way you wrote this I FEEL the silence right there with ya!! CRINGE!!! I hope this weekend is total redemption from the awkward.

  27. I second Jessie G’s comments. I feel like I may get to meet the President this weekend. I keep thinking “If I see Sophie or Melanie, what will I say?” Something stupid, I’m sure, but I’m looking forward to the weekend!

  28. Is it mean that I was happy to read that even you can have a brain freeze moment? Thanks for boosting my self-esteem, since I know that is why you wrote this post. Also, I’ve been WAY over-using the phrase “woefully lacking.” You should try it. As in, this comment is WOEFULLY LACKING in relevance. See? It’s a phrase that fits so many situations…

  29. I’d pay money to see you any time! :-)

  30. I SO wish that I was coming to enjoy you and Melanie and all of your witty banter. Love your blog…always makes me smile. See, I would even be a smiling cricket. :)

  31. I so wish I could come this year. Hoping this happens again next year so I can do it. If I had been in the audience, I would have totally been excited. Good luck and I know you are going to do great!!!

  32. You’re going to be great! I know it! Praying for all of you!

  33. Girl, I have no doubt that you two will buh-raing it. And here’s my tip for making terrifying public appearances less terrifying: Develop a character for your performance. You know, pretend like you’re some awesome talk show host or soap opera star who is taking advantage of a seasonal hiatus to do some personal appearances to boost ratings. Trust me, your confidence will shine through!

  34. Hey! I just had to comment after reading…

    I was at the “Siesta Fiesta!” I was in one of those groups sitting on the floor waiting to take a picture with Beth! I had no idea who y’all were, but I enjoyed the witty banter! I don’t think you looked silly AT ALL. After the event, I started reading a bunch of blogs and then eventually started mine. It was funny to read parts of your post b/c I remember y’all saying that Melanie was blogging at 5 am!

  35. I will be attending the .MOM conference this weekend and can’t wait!! Satan has done everything he can to keep me from getting there so I know it’s going to be great!

  36. Best wishes at the conference. Sounds like the Alamodome was good prep for two bloggers who I’m sure are fast learners and are naturally very funny and entertaining. In terms of public speaking, I have just enough self-confidence to have so-been-there-done-that in terms of greatly overestimating my abilities. You go and think the words will flow like honey, but then you get thrown even one small curve ball, and it all goes downhill with wild abandon and suddenly you’re the woman with sweaty pits and palms, blathering about nothing. I bet many of those serious faces at the Alamodome were just women recalling their own public speaking experiences where they were caught off guard.

    You’ll do great!!

  37. don’t remind Mel that her daughter will be holding onto a pole, in a helicopter with a loaded gun. I am certain that P will not shoot her and donate her to the homeless shelter.

  38. Sallie Baker says:

    I was actually in the Alamodome at the Siesta Fiesta gathering and it was from that ” witty banter” that I started following your blogs!! Didn’t you say something about bringing her a purse, or she brought you a purse…?
    See now that i KNOW ya’ll…..I would have been so engaged in your banter….not just waiting for a pic with Beth! ha!

    Ya’ll will do great this weekend!

  39. three words: sound machine app.

    you’ll do great! i love ya both!

  40. Oh my Heavens above….I laughed so hard. I actually felt awkward and embarrassed for you two, just READING about it. How I wish we could see it in video. ;)

    hysterical writing. :D

  41. You gals will be awesome and I wish I could be there to hear you! I would so cheer for you! Have a great weekend! And I hope you remember your sound machine!

  42. Hi Sophie!
    I was there and to tell you the truth, I was so excited that maybe, just maybe, I might get to meet you! I have read your blog forever and when Phil (husband) got to meet and work with you in Africa on the Compassion trip, I was mighty jealous. So, I did enjoy Beth, but the highlight of the weekend for me was meeting you!

  43. Bless your heart. I bet it wasn’t nearly as bad as you thought. We’re always extra hard on ourselves. But I do hope that you leave this weekend feeling like you were a vessel being used as a blessing. (Because I’m sure you will be.)

  44. Oh wow, this is hilarious! Hope y’all have a fun time this weekend and that you hear no crickets. :)

  45. Honestly! I was at the Alamodome, and I don’t remember it that way at all. I totally remember (now that you mention it) the no sleep and blogging in the bathroom story. You two were quite entertaining, a nice distraction from the waiting, and just exactly what you were supposed to be. Don’t prepare too hard for Birmingham – you still want to have a good story after, don’t you?

  46. Two things I love: “witty banter” and my sound machine.

  47. You need the restful sounds APP on your phone! It’s a sound machine for your phone and I’d bet she could have d/l’d it for the laptop too!

    Bless ya’lls hearts. *hugs*

  48. I really need to remember to read your blog anytime I’m feeling a little over the edge. Which since we’ve started homeschooling is approximately seven days a week. See you tomorrow.

  49. Don’t envy you ONE. BIT. If I had to do it I’d freeze up like Cindy Brady did when the red light on the video camera came on.

  50. Betty Bussey says:

    It was great to meet you! The Alamodome experience has payed off in spades girl! You two were great! I almost wet my pants when the video was shown on the first day! Oh, how do I love to cry with a good movie!ha Anyway, and to Big Mama, sorry I missed the fashion breakout and I haven’t fried up bacon in a pan since it has been available in the microwave version!ha

  51. Sophie, you both redeemed yourselves at .Mom!!! You and Melanie both did great as emcees! Laughed so hard sometimes I think I might have snorted…might have…just saying! What an awesome weekend! Already registered for next year! Can’t wait!

  52. jessica denard says:

    GIRL, you are a HOOT!!!!!
    I am so,so blessed that I got to come and be a part of dot mom. WOW, my brain is still in overload mode.
    I am the one that kept coming up to you and Melanie, and i told you that I have been creeping on your blogs for like 4 or 5 years.
    hate that i didnt get a pic with you two funny girls.
    The intro with the van was over-the-top.
    love you girl!!!!

  53. You were wonderful this weekend!!!!! You rock!

  54. You did GREAT, Sophie! Is there any way you could post the awesome intro video of you and Melanie wheeling into the conference center here? It was so funny!


  1. […] (In case you have no idea what I’m talking about, Sophie and I are emceeing the dotMom conference this weekend in Birmingham. And I’m teaching a breakout session on fashion. And Sophie wrote a hilarious background post about the whole thing that you can read right here.) […]