Anne Peterson

I write stories and goosebump poetry

How I Missed one of the Best Moments of Tribe Conference 2017

It was dark when we pulled into town. How in the world would we find the address? 

Just then our cell phone rang.

“Are you coming?” Pamela asked.

Pamela was one of the conference attendees. I had grabbed a few numbers before I left the house. Was that really seven hours ago?

Finally, I was talking on the phone with Pamela, my friend. A friend I would finally meet face to face. A friend who had attended the first ever Tribe Writer Course.

More importantly, a friend who would help us get un-lost. And so, we made plans to meet up at the Frothy Monkey. Trust me, everyone who goes to Tribe Conference knows the place.

Here we go

We walked into the Factory, the perfect place, for creative minds.

And one by one, people walked up to each other. There were handshakes, there were hugs. And every face had a smile, either genuine, or nervous. It’s hard to tell when you’re new.

A smiley person handed me a name tag. I was official. It was showtime.

Instead of giving you the play by play, I’d like to tell you 3 things I learned.

I learned a ton, but the truth is, I’m still processing and will be for a while.

We were given many nuggets as we sat there listening to one speaker after another. 

Be present, Be helpful, Be brave. I’m sure others will highlight that, but that is not the first thing I learned.

Someone mentioned the importance of community. Something I learned back in 2011 when I became a TribeWriter. Back then, we were encouraged to help each other. 
To cheer for each other, something that felt natural to me. After all, these were the people who not only read my first submissions, but gave me glowing critiques.

So for me, the first thing I learned is:

1) Community IS king

Yes, these were the people I had borne my soul to. The ones who heard all the raw pieces I could crank out. The bloody ones. Hemingway said to bleed, didn’t he?

And these are the very people who were there for me when I lost family members. They were there encouraging me, commiserating with me, praying for me. 

Yes, I learned community is king a while back, but it was confirmed. I saw it played out.

2) You can learn from anyone

We sat there day after day, absorbing the wisdom of those who have taken the journey of author, before us. 

Whether you’re talking about writers such as Pamela Slim, Jonathan Fields, or Jon Acuff. There were other big names on his list of speakers, but I found I related better to those on the journey.

People like Benjamin Hardy, someone I followed already on Medium, or Frank McKinley who leads Tribe Builders’ Network, a group, I’m part of. A group you can join too.

Or Natalie Brenner, who just released her first book while we were there at the conference. 

There were people like Marsha Shandur who kept us laughing by just telling us stories. I still laugh thinking about dork goblins and artificial plants she would water.

There was craziness like a dance party that broke out on a stage that had just held a speaker. Now overrun by those who unafraid to shake, shake, shake, their booties. 

Throw in a little boy who adored his dad and a toddler daughter who stole my heart.

I think I still hear the music.

3) We’ve only just begun

When you attend a conference, the real work begins afterwards. First we absorb like sponges, then later we process and apply what we’ve learned.

No matter where we are on our journeys, we’ve only just begun. 

The exciting thing is, we don’t take the journey alone. Looking to the left and right of us we see others, willing to ride along, willing to be the voice you need to hear. The one that says, “You can do this.”

The ones who will be there at the finish line with big grins and loud cheers. It’s what we all dream about.

Face to face

One of my biggest moments was meeting Jeff Goins in person. This one who took my dream of being a published author and showed me how to get there.

The very one who first told me to write what’s scary so I could take the terrifying moments of my life and put them in print.

So I’ve told you my takeaways. Actually, just 3 of them. Perhaps you’re wondering what my regret is. What one of the best moments, that I missed. 

After all, I did learn, didn’t I?

And there was fun, right? Wasn’t there popcorn, chocolate, and even dancing?

Yes, yes, yes, and yes. That, and a whole lot more.

My big regret

I had thought about it all year. From the time I saw Tribe Conference photos from before, I imagined what it would be like to stand with my fellow Tribe Writers with my book in hand. Except it wasn’t one book. It was fourteen books.

Finally, I would be in that picture. It would be captured on film forever.

Except that I wasn’t. I missed it. That moment slipped by and I wasn’t in it.

I heard that someone joked that I could be photoshopped in. But I wasn’t laughing.

So the reality is, I did miss it. I was helping a friend, uncertain of when the picture would be taken. And if any reminders were given, well, I wasn’t plugged into technology there, so I didn’t know.

But missed opportunities can provide valuable lessons, if we let them. 

Would I allow that one part to color the whole conference? 
Would my disappointment be the one thing I’d remember, overshadowing all the other moments?

We all have choices like that—we always will.

I am so thankful I got to attend this conference. It was the answer to a 3 year prayer, and because of someone’s generosity, I got to go. It was a gift. And I felt it was straight from God.

Would I go again? Absolutely. The community, the great speakers, the feeling you get when you’re talking to others who really get you.

Yes, I’d love to be part of it again.

And you can bet I’ll be the first one ready for the author’s photo. I may just sleep overnight in that room, so I don’t miss it.

Should you attend a Tribe Conference?

Tribe Conference is for certain people:

Those who need motivation to pursue their dream of writing.
Those who need encouragement or inspiration.
Those who want to have fun.

Tribe Conference. You really won’t want to miss it.

Any of it.

About Anne Peterson

I write words you can feel, sometimes they rhyme. If I’m not writing, I’m telling stories from my head, to little ones who call me grandma.

20 Replies

  1. Anne, Tribe Conference was better this year because of you! You’re an awesome role model. Our time together (both in and out of the shower with our girlfriends) was the best! I admire you as an author, friend, and woman after my own heart. You’ve paved the way for me to continue writing. Great article!

    1. Judy with the glasses,
      How fun it was because of people like you. I especially enjoyed our walk together. I admire you too. And I love your heart for helping others experience freedom from the things that threaten to tie them down. I’m certain your writing will touch many because you write from your heart. Thanks for reading and for taking the time to comment. It means a lot.

  2. You have inspired me to try to be there next year. Sorry about the missed photo op, but I’ll bet there will be many more and you will be front and center.

    1. Linda,
      Thank you for your comment. I hope you do go. You’ll have a riot. And thanks for what you said about the photo op.

  3. Anne, I remember our conversation several months ago as you mentioned your desire to attend. I’m so happy that God worked out the details for you to attend, to meet your on-line friends and to soak in the encouragement that so many of us all need. Congratulations on 14 BOOKS!!!!

    1. Shirley, I had a great time and I got to share the experience with Jessie who also went. Yes, I’m thrilled that God worked it all out. I am excited for what God has in store for me even though I have no idea what that is yet. That’s okay. He knows what’s best. Thanks for taking the time to read and for your comment.

  4. Love this, Anne! So glad you made it. I’m seriously hoping to be there next year. 🙂

    1. Thanks Laura, I hope you do make it. It will be here before you know it. I hope I will be able to attend again.

  5. Anne – It was so nice to finally meet you face-to-face! You were one of the first names in TW I held on to . I’ve read some of your stuff along the way. As I mentioned before, your vibrancy really impressed me (since you write about many sad experiences – as well as the lessons learned, of course). I could see Jesus shining through! And…I’m so very sorry you missed that picture! I almost thought I had, too. And all those feelings you expressed went through me as well. But I’m glad you can take the disappointment and turn it into something good. God always provides us that silver lining. See you next year (I hope), Lord willing!

    1. Caroline, It was nice meeting you as well. It always adds such a deeper perspective when we can finally meet the ones we have partially met. Thank you for your encouraging words. Yes, I do write a lot of sad stories, because those are the ones I’ve lived. And yet, God is showing me such valuable lessons in those stories. The biggest of course is the fact we are never alone, he is always with us IN our situations. Glad you didn’t miss the picture. Also glad that we can still connect with those we met. So we don’t have to really say goodbye. More of, I’ll see you online.

  6. Anne, I loved reading this post so much I had to read it twice! I wish I had been able to make it and meet you in person. Hopefully, I can meet you next year friend. So glad you went to the conference and created memories to last a lifetime!

    The picture of you standing there with all your books and the one with you and Jeff is wonderful! So sorry that you missed the group picture! Happy that you won’t allow it to overshadow the experience. I like how you say “But missed opportunities can provide valuable lessons if we let them.”

    1. Cori, Thank you for reading and for taking the time to comment. I also wish we would have met you in person. Jess and I both said that a couple of times this weekend. It was a great temptation to let one part color the rest. But, I fought that. I think too much of my life I’ve done just that. It’s not necessary. Time to turn those moments into teaching times.

  7. Anne, I’m so glad you got to go. It was a pleasure to meet you and give you a hug! Thanks for telling me stories, asking me questions, and sharing the Tribe Builder’s Network with the world.

    By the way, I love that author picture at the end of this post. 14 books is quite an accomplishment!

    1. Frank, you were one of the people I was really looking forward to meeting at the conference. I appreciate your heart for wanting to help others share their work with the world. The first time I saw my books all on the table, it was overwhelming. That God would help me to put my thoughts down on paper that others could read. The picture at the end was hard to take. But, I wanted to fight the temptation of believing without being in the group picture it didn’t count. It counts. All of it counts.

  8. Anne, I loved spending time with you and meeting you in person. You are such a beautiful person. Your story-telling ability allows me to feel your pain. And, I can almost hear your recital voice and your stage performance of the reading. You are a treasure! So glad there’s a picture of you with those books!

    1. Nicole,
      We were the luckiest to be in that wonderful cottage. To share laughs, tears, and fears alike. To just be ourselves knowing it was enough. Thank you again for the gift. I appreciate your tender heart. And while I am glad that I took a picture of me and my books, it was hard to do on the wake of missing the group shot. But that’s okay. Sometimes the hard things are the biggest lessons.

  9. Oh, Anne; I’m so glad you got to the conference but so sorry that you missed the photo. I really struggle when things that are supposed to be so perfect end up not being so perfect – so I really appreciate your example of turning it into something positive. Good for you! I hope you get to go again – and maybe me, too. The timing has not been right for me yet but maybe soon.

    1. Kaye, I’m glad I got to go too. I think we all struggle with disappointments. It’s part of life. I love how my son asked me if I was going to let something that took up such a small part of the conference color the whole thing. I do hope to go again. And if I do, I hope to meet you. Going this year was the result of a three-year prayer. Thanks for reading my post and for taking the time to comment.

  10. Carolyn Uzelac

    Hi Anne, I stumbled across your writing while doing a Google search for ‘God is good’ (and He is!). God bless you for being honest in your writing. Your comment about one moment of missing out threatening to ruin your enjoyment of or memory of an experience has also happened to me many times! “If only I…”, “But if I had just…”. God is in control of every moment. He knows what we need in our life so we’re able to glorify Him. Does your specialness come from your appearance in a photo? Would that somehow make it ‘official’ that you’re now a writer? I can see you shaking your head- of course not! In eternity you can stand before the King of Kings! Don’t let Satan rob you of your joy (or trick you into forgetting that your worth or importance comes from anywhere but Christ alone.) Being cleansed by His blood and sustained in His strength, you are a beloved child of God! And Jesus never takes a group photo without you in it! All the best, Carolyn

    1. Carolyn,
      I just wanted to thank you for not only taking the time to read my post but taking additional time to comment. I totally agree with what you have written. It’s ironic because I used to speak to women’s groups and special events and one of my topics was the very one you mentioned. That God is good, no matter what. I wrote about this event again in an article on and I have to say that missing that picture is not something I have held onto. I did love all the questions you had, like, “Does your specialness come from your appearance in a photo? Would that somehow make it ‘official’ that you’re a writer?”

      As I said, I totally agree with what you brought up and I especially love that you wanted to assure me that I am a beloved child of God. Carolyn, I have seen God’s faithfulness through many significant losses in my life. My mother, my father, my sister’s murder, two of my three brothers, miscarriages, and the loss of my precious 14-month old granddaughter March 2016. Through each and every loss God has been there comforting me, assuring me that he was close to me. I have been a Christ-follower since September 1971. I’m afraid in telling one story, much was missed. And yet, I still was touched that you took the time to remind me of great truths. Please know how much I appreciate that. Believe me, I look forward to the day I will finally see the one face to face who loved me more than anyone else ever could. Looking forward to someday being in THAT group picture. The one where we will truly have the biggest smiles. Thank you for your caring heart.

Leave a Reply to Caroline DePalatis Cancel reply