What is BlissDom?

Last year I made the trek to a blogging conference called BlissDom.  As I prepare to return to my community of fellow bloggers this week in Nashville, I thought it only fitting to write about this experience.

What is BlissDom?

If you are a blogger and visit other blogs regularly you might be seeing badges like this:
Join Me At Blissdom!I'm Going to Blissdom!Gonna Get My Bliss On at Blissdom!This is my Second Blissdom!

Or maybe you are seeing bloggers talk about BlissDom on Facebook or Twitter and you find yourself wondering, “What is this?”

Well, about a year and a half ago I was experiencing this.  Many of the blogs I read on a regular basis had these badges and so I clicked on one.  There was a video about the previous BlissDom conference, so I watched that.  Watching the video was all it took for me.  Whoever put the video together will be happy to know their work paid off.  I knew I wanted to attend after watching the video.  I talked about it with the hubster and he was in support of me going.  {Isn’t he awesome?}  It’s always held in Nashville at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel.  This year BlissDom is celebrating their 5 year anniversary.

I remember trying to explain to my family and friends what BlissDom was all about last year.  Most people had a question mark look on their face.  It’s okay.  The whole blogging conference is relatively new to most, but especially for people who don’t blog.  Because of the video & information BlissDom offered on their website and reading posts by other bloggers who had attended; I had a small inkling of what the conference would be like.

My purpose in going was:

1. I wanted to meet other people who have a passion for blogging.  In other words, I wanted to meet people who “get me.”  I didn’t know one single person who blogged on a regular basis in real life.  This would be the perfect place to make new friends who understand what I do.

2. I wanted to LEARN how to grow my blog.  Let me explain, up until the time of BlissDom I had maybe a handful of friends and family {THANK YOU!} who read my blog.  As my interest in blogging grew, I enjoyed making new friends online.  I realized that not only could I provide ideas &  information on things I love, including family, but also form sort of a community of friends.  I wanted to know how to do this.

3. I wanted to LEARN more about advertising.  I was very curious how bloggers incorporated advertising into their blog.  Why did they do this?  Do they make money doing it and if so, how much?  Does your blog become a business when you start advertising?  What are the legal & tax ramifications?

4. I wanted to LEARN more about HOW to do things.  Why did some blogs look more ‘professional’ than others?  I enjoy graphic design but don’t have any professional training.  How are bloggers able to make their site look the way that it does?  BlissDom had classes about this!

5. I wanted to meet the bloggers from blogs I regularly visited in real life.  In the blogging world they are pretty much celebrities!  Good thing is, they can go out in public and not have paparazzi after them! 😉 lol

6. I won’t lie, seeing that Harry Connick Jr. came to entertain the bloggers the previous year perked my interest in BlissDom as well.  I didn’t know if he would come again, but I knew there would be some sort of musical entertainer.  As a stay at home Mom, there aren’t many opportunities to go to concerts like when I was young and single.  BONUS!

Here is the BlissDom video from last year…the one I attended:

BlissDom ’11 from Blissful Media Group on Vimeo.

Watching this video brought back many memories and has increased my excitement ten fold. {Amy, I saw you in the video}  By the way, the flash mob was held in a session I did not attend. 🙁 Big Pouty Face because I would have been all over that!

Do you remember my post about Mat Kearney?  I couldn’t remember exactly what he said about being in a room filled with so many female social media enthusiasts.  Well, they showed that at the very beginning of the video…if you skipped watching you will have to watch it!  It’s pretty hilarious!

The clip with the man and woman on stage after Mat are the compassionate masterminds behind Love Drop.  Remember me writing about them?  You can read all posts I’ve written about BlissDom by clicking here.

So did I learn what I wanted to learn as stated in my purposes above?


I learned all I wanted and MORE!  There are many sessions you can choose to attend led by experienced and successful bloggers.

My blog today is living proof of that.

I am so grateful for BlissDom.  The conference is a safe haven for bloggers…a community of social networking divas.

A few weeks back participants received a Prep For Bliss package:

Includes: Name Badge, Luggage Tag, Business Card Holder, Post-It Notes, Jewel CD & Various Free Food Coupons


Also included in this package was a letter from the BlissDom founders.  I want to share a profound quote from them:

“You are the pioneers of a generation who are forging the way in this new digital world.  We are living through the equivalent of the Industrial Revolution and the trails we blaze and how we choose to behave as a community will set a tone for generations.”

I was a newbie at BlissDom last year.  Not only was it my first Blissdom to attend, it was my first blogging conference to attend period.  Turns out there are many different blogging conferences held through out the year.  However, at this point in my life, being the family gal that I am, one blogging conference a year has worked for us.  { Don’t worry Amy I am considering going to another with you 😉 }  Balance is important. 😉

First thing I noticed was how everyone talked about each other by their blog name.  Instead of saying Shan from Family Brings Joy, they would say, “Did you meet Family Brings Joy?”  It was a little weird at first.  It’s understandable, though, because as a blogger, unless you have talked to the blogger personally, you know them by what the name of their blog, not by their given name.  Fortunately, we all have name tags on.  Sometimes I would see people reading my name tag as I walked by.  You see, we all have bloggers we want to meet while we are there.  I didn’t take offense when they would go out of their way to stop me just to see who I was and then say, “No, you’re not her.”  Scratch that, it bothered me just a tad.  However, I did the same thing, just never physically stopped them to read their name tag.  I would just look at them as I walked by.  I understand completely.

Other fun stuff about Blissdom:

  • SWAG {Stuff We All Get, meaning free products from the sponsors or participating brands}
  • Meeting celebrities {like Michelle Branch, Mat Kearney}
  • Food galore…didn’t need to purchase one meal while I was there.
  • Free shoulder/back massage and manicure
  • Networking Parties
  • The Gaylord Opryland Hotel is gorgeous!

I believe BlissDom chose their name because when you are there you are following your bliss…following your dreams.

If you haven’t been on Family Brings Joy’s Facebook page lately {join us!} then you will not know that this year’s entertainers/special events include for BlissDom include:

  • Handmade Marketplace
  • Nathan Pacheco {Singer}
  • Lorax {Dr. Suess Movie} Party
  • Joe Jonas {Singer}
  • Chris Mann {Singer}
  • Rascall Flatts
  • screening of OWN’s Oprah’s Next Chapter episode with Oprah and her friends Gayle King & Paula Deen

Wowza!!  What a line up!  Funny side note, when I shared with my 8 year old Daughter about Joe Jonas coming, she exclaimed, “Take lots of photos and video for me, Mom!”  Here is a text snapshot of what my 16 year old Daughter, who is a devoted Jonas Brothers fanatic said, when I shared the news with her:

My Daughter said later, “Why would Joe would want to go sing for a bunch of old women?”  LOL

Hopefully this post helped you understand a little bit more about BlissDom.

I leave on Wednesday!  If you are attending BlissDom, I have a special gift for the first 10 Family Brings Joy readers/friends.  Come introduce yourself to me.  I want to meet you!  Time for laundry & packing!

P.S: Please pray that I don’t get sick like I did going to my half marathon.  I would like to be able to enjoy the conference.  I just recovered from that sickness.  I know when you fly on an airplane that it increases your chances of getting sick.  I was worried about my muscles before my race.  I didn’t really think about how a cold/sinus infection/ear infection could impact my trip…it did.  It was a miracle I was able to run that race as bad as I was feeling.  Anyway, I would very much appreciate any prayers you might offer on my behalf.

Follow Your Bliss,

Running Music for 40 Somethings

Training for a half marathon gives you time to think, ponder and reflect.

Last Saturday I ran 10 miles in preparation for my half marathon I’m running this Saturday.

Running for 2 hours requires your ipod/mp3 player to be full of good high energy music to keep you motivated!

I decided to share the tunes that keep me running in hopes to help others stay motivated. 😉



Tears For Fears

  • Shout
  • Head Over Heels
  • Mad World
  • Laid So Low (Tears Roll Down)
  • Mothers Talk
  • Change

Book of Love

  • I Touch Roses
  • Modigliani (Lost In Your Eyes)
  • Alice Everyday
  • Getting Faster
  • Pretty Boys & Pretty Girls
  • Tubular Bells
  • Counting The Rosaries

Depeche Mode

  • Just Can’t Get Enough
  • Everything Counts (Huntemann Remix)
  • Strangelove
  • Peace
  • Walking In My Shoes
  • Shake The Disease (Tiga Remix)

Various 80’s Songs

  • Music Box Dancer by Pepe
  • The Walk (Infusion Mix) by The Cure

Various 90’s Songs

  • Better Off Alone by Alice Deejay
  • Twilight Zone (Rave Version) by 2 Unlimited
  • Move Any Mountain by The Shamen
  • Popcorn by Crazy Frog
  • Get Ready For This by Crazy Frog
  • Blue by Eiffel 65

Various 2000’s

  • Hello by Martin Solveig
  • Hearing Damage by Thom Yorke
  • Let’s Get Lost by Beck
  • I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’ (Paper Factory Version) by Scissor Sisters
  • Heads Will Roll by Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  • One More Time by Daft Punk
  • Shake It by Metro Station
  • Atlas by Battles
  • Ambling Alp by Yeasayer
  • My Body by Young the Giant
  • Till The World Ends by Britney Spears
  • Forward Motion by Meese
  • Tell Me It’s Over by Meese
  • Love And Affection by Neon Trees
  • Girls And Boys in School by Neon Trees
  • Farther Down by Neon Trees
  • Running Up That Hill by Placebo
  • Amazing (Kaskade Remix) by Seal
  • Sunrise by Simply Red
  • Punching In A Dream by The Naked And Famous
  • Young Blood by The Naked And Famous

Owl City

  • Galaxies
  • Deer In the Headlights
  • The Real World
  • Angels
  • Honey and the Bee
  • Kamikaze
  • Alligator Sky

Mat Kearney

  • Ships In The Night
  • Count On Me
  • Sooner Or Later
  • Chasing The Light
  • Learning To Love Again
  • Down
  • She Got The Honey
  • Young Dumb And In Love
  • Hey Mama

Ellie Goulding

    • Run Into the Light (Whole Album)

This album has been a favorite of mine while training this time.  Ellie is a runner.  You can tell she remixed these songs for running!  It’s perfect for 3 miles.

Christian Running Music

  • Fields of Grace by Big Daddy Weave
  • In My Heart by Jump5
  • With All of My Heart by Zoe Girl
  • R U Sure About That? by Zoe Girl
  • Here and Now by Zoe Girl
  • Mega-Mix (from Shine) by Newsboys
  • 02 Avalon Remixed (whole album) by Avalon
  • Come Together by Third Day
  • Get On by Third Day
  • Revolutionary Love by David Crowder Band
  • No One Like You by David Crowder Band
  • Flood by Jars Of Clay
  • Get Back Up by Toby Mac

Fitness Mix Album by K2 Groove

  • Ride Like The Wind
  • I Ran
  • Chariots of Fire
  • All I Need Is A Miracle

Shan’s TIP: I highly recommend you DO NOT listen to your running music when you are NOT RUNNING.  This ensures you will not get tired/bored of the song while running.

Linking Up:
Tip Junkie handmade projects

Listen and Run,

What Music Are Your Kids Listening To?

Do you know what music your kids are listening to?  What is their favorite music group or artist?

My 16 year old Daughter is going to a concert tomorrow night and it got me thinking about these 2 questions.

I had a pretty good idea what my 2 girls liked to listen to but wasn’t sure about my boy.  It was time for a little Mom & Child Interview…

It’s funny, I guess I should interview them more often because each child was a little leery or hesitant when I asked them the second question above.  I figured they would be able to tell me right away.  It’s not that hard of a question, but they all had to think about it some.  Both of my daughters got out their ipods and looked at their top songs.

Youngest Daughter {8}

I interviewed her first.  She said Big Time Rush and Jonas Brothers after pondering a minute or two.  Then after looking at her ipod she quickly shouted, “David Archuleta!”  It made me giggle because I knew he would be on her list.  After him it was easy for her to list off Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift, Nick Jonas & The Administration and Justin Bieber.

  • David Archuleta
  • Jonas Brothers
  • Big Time Rush
  • Selena Gomez
  • Taylor Swift
  • Justin Bieber
  • Nick Jonas & The Administration

Son {13}

“I don’t think there is any good music out right now,” states my Son matter of factly.  I interrupted his Wii game to ask him who he was listening to right now. “I don’t really listen to music that much.”  I knew that already.  He and my husband are very similar in that they don’t need music in their lives.  Me, I can’t live without music!  Just another example of how opposite DH and I are.

  • None

Oldest Daughter {16}

As usual, my beautiful teen Daughter gives me a weird look when I asked her.  She was on the phone with her bestie.  They were supposedly studying for chemistry together.  Her friend asks me, “why do you want to know this?”  I should have answered, “Mom’s don’t need a reason to find out stuff about their kids.”  K answered, “it’s for your blog, isn’t it?”  I guess my pen and notebook gave it away. {lol}  K’s bestie listed hers off pretty quickly: Taylor Swift, Allstar Weekend, Nick Jonas, Jonas Brothers, Jason Mraz, One Direction, Katy Perry and Ron Pope.  I have no idea who One Direction or Ron Pope is.  Both my daughters love music as much as I do and I enjoy sharing this passion with them.  K made me promise I will state that her list is in no particular order. {lol}

  • Allstar Weekend
  • Jonas Brothers
  • Taylor Swift
  • Selena Gomez
  • Nick Jonas & The Administration
  • Shane Harper

I’m going to have to listen to Shane Harper…haven’t heard of him.

So K and her bestie are seeing Allstar Weekend tomorrow.  The Jonas Brothers better get their new album out soon because Allstar Weekend has taken over in our house!  I like both the Jonas Brothers and Allstar Weekend.  There is one song of Allstar Weekend {which happens to be the name of their latest album} that I’m not thrilled with because of it’s heavy sexual connotation.  I remember when we first listened to this album together I mentioned to her I did not like that song. “Yeah, I skip that song.”  This is when I am screaming inside saying “YES!”  I am so grateful for her desire to listen to good music.  Moms cherish these moments…when we can see the fruits of our labor. 😉

Do you listen to the music your kids are listening to?

Personally, I believe it is very important to know what your kids are listening to.  If the lyrics have subject matter that conflicts with our values, I talk about it with my kids.  This is an excellent opportunity to have a good conversation with your children.  It’s also a prime opportunity to teach.  Music is a very powerful medium.  I like to think I am pretty hip when it comes to music for a Mom.  Since music means a lot to me, I like to be able to listen to music with my kids.  If only I could get me kids to not be embarrassed when I begin to dance around…I know, never going to happen.

Do you talk to your kids about the popular songs that are played on the radio?

Let me give you an example.  Katy Perry has some fun songs.  However, there are several songs of hers that are played regularly on the radio that I don’t want my kids listening to.  The lyrics are not in harmony with the values we teach and instill in our children.  “So if it’s popular and all the kids at school are listening to it, why can’t I,” is the silent question my kids are asking.  Depending on who is in the conversation about the song at the time will determine my answer.  Sometimes if my 8 year old is asking I might have to be somewhat vague {depending on the subject matter contained in the song} and say, “It doesn’t have appropriate lyrics for an 8 year old.”  On the other hand, if my Son and oldest Daughter are the only ones with me during the conversation I will be pretty specific to why I don’t like it and think it’s not right for them to listen to.  It is up to them to choose whether or not they will listen to the song on their own, but when I’m around they will definitely not be listening to it.  However, if you are aware of what albums are on your kids ipods then you will know if they are following through.  This is easily accomplished by looking at their itunes accounts or whatever software they use for their mp3 player.

I’d like to encourage you to take time to talk to your kids about the music they like.  It doesn’t have to be a formal sit down with a notebook.  It can be at the dinner table.  It can be in the car{where we have our discussions the most, captive audience.}  It can be when you are watching American Idol or some sort of music awards show…anytime really.

You just might learn something you need to know about your kids by what they are listening to.

Now, your turn, what are YOUR kids listening to?

Can’t wait to hear,

Family Time Capsule Video

You all know how much I adore family.

Not just MY family.

All families!

It makes me smile to see other families having joy.

This morning I did a little blog hopping and came across this wonderful video made by Amy Earle of SimplyB Photos.

I am seeing more and more of these… what I might consider “time capsule” videos capturing a day in the life of your family.


I’ve featured Stephanie Nielson’s family videos in the past and gushed.  However, she is somewhat famous now and has her own personal photographer/videographer who does her shoots.

Amy is also a videographer and here she does an amazing job of capturing their family’s life in their home with their 4 kids.

I am so impressed that I am featuring it here today.  It is WORTH your time to watch and will brighten your day, I promise. 😀

Good Life from Amy Earle on Vimeo.

THIS is the kind of video you would pull out and watch on special occasions like holidays or when the oldest child goes to college.  Really anytime, but when the kids have all moved out of the house, as a Mom, it would be great to pull out, watch and remember the good life.

Well done, Amy!  {Now can you come & do one for me, please?}

Disclaimer: No compensation was given by Amy.  She was completely surprised to find this today. 😀


Hug your family today,

Special Time in Marriage Brings Joy

Caution: The subject matter in this post is for parents. {To my kids, if by chance you actually wanted to read my blog, you might not want to read this post}  I like to keep Family Brings Joy rated G to PG.  I would rate this one PG.  If for some reason you left this page on your computer and your kids saw it, I don’t think they would completely understand {it’s pretty ambiguous} and in return might ask questions.  Overall, I think parents will understand more so than kids.

I hope you and your spouse are spending special time together.  Special time brings closeness and unity to the marriage and ultimately the family.  The husband and wife, as a couple, are the barometer of the family.  In my last post I showed you a wooden cut out that says “HappyWifeHappyLife.”  Studies have shown husbands are usually happy if their wives are happy.  I think the same is true for the children.  If the kids see a Mom and Dad who love each other, they feel safe and secure.  {Doesn’t mean they still won’t behave like children}

Needless to say, a happy and healthy marriage takes effort.  If we all went back to the first year of our marriage we would never foresee a time where we didn’t make time {special time} for one another.  However, as life unfolds and children are added, sometimes it happens.

Here are a few tips:

  • Schedule special times.  I know it sounds super romantic, NOT, but let’s face it, if you don’t; the perfect time may never come.
  • Be spontaneous.  If your parents or someone offers to take your kids to the movie or watch them, let them.  Ta da, this is your time, sieze the moment.  Stay home and share special time together.
  • Put the kids to bed early.  This is where a lot of parents could use some coaching.  1.) KIDS NEED LOTS OF SLEEP!  2.) PARENTS NEED TIME TOGETHER WITHOUT THE KIDS EACH DAY       3.) Lock your bedroom door 😉
  • Bring on the MUSIC.  Burn you a mix/playlist of “special music for special times.”  Certain music can help set the mood and be your own soundtrack for wonderful memories.

The music part is what I want to emphasize in this post.  If you don’t have a CD player or iPod player in your bedroom, invest in one.  I am going to share with you some albums I believe are very appropriate for playing during these special times with your spouse.  Now, I need to mention, this is not the kind of music you would want your children listening to.  Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t have explicit language.  You will realize what I am referring to when you listen to it.  Some of it is played on the radio or used to be played on the radio.  The lyrics lend itself to being what special time is all about.  I say this and laugh because I guess most secular music played on the radio can be perceived in this manner.  I need to stop trying to explain it and let you listen and hear for your self.  If you don’t like it, no worries…find something you both like and use it.  I can testify that it will bring romance and deepen your special times with one another.

I recommend the following:



Some posts are worth re-posting.  This post was originally posted on August 19, 2011.  I had wonderful feedback from many {not necessarily here on my blog} that it was helpful.  Sometimes we need reminders.

Make your marriage a priority,

My Top Eleven Favorite Christmas Albums

There is nothing like a good Christmas Album to bring about cheer during the holidays!  Honestly, the music is what I LOVE best, besides being with family.

Here are my top ten eleven favorite Christmas albums in no particular order:

1. John Denver & The Muppets: A Christmas Together
It’s not Christmas without listening to this album.  I have fond childhood memories of Christmases past while listening.  What I like best about this album are it’s original Christmas songs.  This means I never grow tired of hearing songs like The Peace Carol, The Christmas Wish and my most favorite Medley: Alfie, The Christmas Tree/Carol For A Christmas Tree/ It’s In Everyone Of Us.  This is a sure winner for any family.

2. Mindy Gledhill: Winter Moon (Songs For Christmas)
My newest favorite Christmas album.  If you are a regular reader, it won’t surprise you I have Mindy Gledhill in this list.  I absolutely adore Mindy’s style of singing.  She has brilliantly remastered some of your favorite Christmas songs with the soothing sounds of her ukulele and guitar.  My favorite song on the album is Little Soldier.  I wish she would do a music video for it.  Winter Moon, the title track, is a fun original song.  The video for the song is on my sidebar.  On the album you can hear the version without the puppets.  I look forward to listening to this album for many Christmases to come.  This is THE gift I am giving for Christmas to many people this year.

3. The Carpenters: Christmas Portrait
I have mentioned before of my love of Karen Carpenter’s voice.  This is a wonderful album filled with many of your favorites including songs from The Nutcracker.  My favorite songs on this album are Merry Christmas Darling and Little Altar Boy.

4. Enya: And Winter Came
I was listening to this album yesterday and my 16 year old daughter asks, “who is Enya?”  The question kind of surprised me.  Enya is like a staple in my music collection.  Guess I haven’t played her while she’s been around.  Enya’s music is so relaxing.  This album has some wonderful original Christmas songs.

5. Restoration Hardware: Quithmuth (Kid’s Christmas)
Boy am I glad I bought this album!  We picked this beauty up back in 2001 at Restoration Hardware for maybe $10.  It is my kid’s favorite Christmas album.  I was surprised to find it being sold on Amazon, but for a whopping $49!  It has some oldies but goodies including I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas, I Tan’t Wait Till Qithmuth Day & Monster’s Holiday.

6. Vince Guaraldi: A Charlie Brown Christmas
Soothing and relaxing piano everyone in the family enjoys.

7. Avalon: Joy (A Christmas Collection)
This contemporary Christian group is a favorite of mine.  6 out of 10 songs are original Christmas songs.  Many of their upbeat songs will brighten up any Christmas Party.  My absolute favorite songs are Joy, Don’t Save It All For Christmas Day, Light A Candle, and We Are The Reason.  Really I like them all!  We Are The Reason will make you cry. {a good kind, though 😉 }

8. Hilary Weeks: Christmas Once Again
It was fun to discover Hilary’s most recent Christmas album in my Christmas music collection this month {I forgot I bought it last year.}  I listened to it many times last year so it shouldn’t have surprised me so much.  Hilary’s smooth and gorgeous voice makes your most beloved Christmas songs better.  However, I love her original Christmas Once Again and Ring The Bells.  She is such a talented writer and singer.

9. Amy Grant: The Christmas Collection
I do not have this exact album, but I have every other Christmas album Amy has done.  I love every single song!  I am reminded of my Husband & my first Christmas together {1993}.  We listened to Amy’s version of Breath Of Heaven (Mary’s Song) as we traveled to meet his parents for the first time.  My Grandpa always said Amy Grant had a nasally voice.  Whether she does or not, I have always felt The Spirit so strong as I listen to her music.

10. Michael W. Smith: The Ultimate Christmas Collection
Just like Amy Grant, I do not have this Ultimate Christmas Collection. {I have his first Christmas album from 1989}  However, whenever I have listened to his other Christmas albums on Rhapsody my ears are carried away into bliss.  If you are a fan of Michael W. Smith, then you will adore it.  I appreciate his original Christmas masterpieces as well.  He is a genius on the piano.  My most favorite of his Christmas songs has to be Welcome To Our World.

11. Michael McLean: The Forgotten Carols
You may not have heard of this album, but it is one of my very favorites.  It tells the story of a nurse whose empty life is changed by her patient, John, who expands her understanding of Christmas. “The Forgotten Carols” are original songs from the perspective of characters such as the innkeeper who turned the young couple away or the shepherd who slept through the angel’s announcement. Their personal accounts, until now, have been overlooked or ignored. Together, John and Constance discover what the world has forgotten about Christmas.  Songs lyrics like, “we are not homeless like the Christ child was” and “I was not his Father, he was mine” say it all.  “Three kings found the Lord and so can we.”

Now it’s your turn.

Tell me, what are some of your favorite Christmas albums?

I miss hearing from you.

Linking Up:
Top Ten {Tuesday}

Merry Christmas,