The Cinderella Story: The Power of Shoes a success!

Shoes & jewelry decoration on tables The Cinderella Story conference
Shoes & jewelry decoration on tables
The Cinderella Story conference

“God was there.”

“Excellent, loved it!”

“Content was amazing and just right amount, no overload!”

“Great vendors!”

“Food was delicious!”

“God’s anointing was on you, Beth!”

“I love this location. Had no idea it was so nice!”

“A fun event!”

This was some of the feedback from The Cinderella Story: The Power of Shoes women’s conference on Saturday, September 20, at The DoubleTree Hotel in Overland Park, Kansas. 

I was able to speak at a live event and share the message God put on my heart. We prayed and ministered to women there. God’s Holy Spirit was present. It was a  success! Thank you, Jesus!

A big thank you to my hard working husband Ray, our daughters Heather and Leah who helped me so much, Ruth my pastor and sound person at the event, our amazing vendors Shelby Guilford and Janean Lindner of Origami Owl custom jewelry and Carol Gometz of Thirty-One Gifts, and our wonderful sponsorsWithout all of you, I couldn’t have done this. Thank you SO much!

When I told my anointed jewelry artist friend Jennifer Whiddon about the idea for this Cinderella event, she was so excited and began brainstorming the idea for my speaking presentation title: The Cinderella Story: The Power of Shoes.

Together we decided the hook would be a funky dress and shoes, something unique and different ~ because Cinderella felt different from everyone else. She didn’t think she’d be able to go to the ball and have fun, like her stepmother and stepsisters were going to. Unloved, abused, and rejected by them, she always felt like she was on the outside looking in, the way I’ve always felt.

Yet God didn’t create us to fit in, but to stand out. To lead. To be women of influence and impact. As believers, we are a peculiar people – a light in a dark world. Cinderella was chosen to be the beautiful bride by the Prince, just as we are chosen by our Prince Jesus to be His beautiful bride.

I looked for weeks for a funky dress and wanted one that was assymetrical (also called a high-low dress). I found the perfect one at Joni’s Fashions in Harrisonville, MO; I love it! (My husband Ray did, too.)  I was drawn to it as soon as I saw it and then Joni went right to it, too, when I asked her about high-low dresses. Even better, it was on sale and the sheer, lacy black jacket that went over it. I love when God helps me get bargains like that!

Me in my funky, high-low Cinderella dress with my beautiful daughters Heather and Leah
Me in my funky, high-low Cinderella dress with my beautiful daughters Heather and Leah

All the women who registered came ~ including one woman from Texas, Deborah Lawrence! What an honor! She and I agreed to get together for lunch soon with her friend/attendee Simmie McMillan while Deborah is still here in Missouri. Deborah was also one of the winners of our generous sponsor give-aways, Harvest of Hope: Living Victoriously Through Adversity by author Dana Arcuri.

Me & attendee Deborah Lawrence Deborah won Dana Arcuri's book, Harvest of Hope
Me & attendee Deborah Lawrence
Deborah won Dana Arcuri’s book, Harvest of Hope

The conference happened to fall on my birthday. Deborah and Simmie really blessed me with these beautiful roses for my birthday at the event – what a delightful surprise!

beautiful roses Deborah & Simmie blessed me with for my birthday Saturday
beautiful roses Deborah & Simmie blessed me with for my birthday Saturday

 My pastor and friend Ruth Christian had everyone in the audience sing Happy Birthday to me, and my small group friends Penny Frisbie, Ruth, Anita Andreas (one of our book author vendors at the conference), and Liz Zacharias gave me a sweet card and a beautiful, silver bracelet with a cute flip flop charm on it – I love it! My fave shoes are boots and flip flops. 

flip flop bracelet
flip flop bracelet

We had AMAZING sponsors for this event, and I couldn’t have done it without them! God bless you, sponsors! God put it into my heart to have a random drawing for a “Cinderella princess pampering day,” which included these gifts:

Our winner for the grand prize winner Cinderella princess pampering day was Barbara Johnson. Congratulations, Barbara! I bought a toy princess tiara and she proudly wore it. She’s going to give it to her granddaughter and said she will love it, too. 

Cinderella princess pampering day grand prize winner Barbara Johnson and me
Cinderella princess pampering day grand prize winner Barbara Johnson and me

Joanie Qualls was the winner of a coaching package from Rochelle Valasek, valued at $250. Congrats, Joanie! I met Joanie at the marriage retreat in Branson, MO. Ray and I are getting together soon with Joanie and her husband. She and I instantly connected at the retreat, and I just love her! Joanie is Barbara’s sister. 

Joanie Qualls, winner of Rochelle Valasek's $250 coaching package, and me
Joanie Qualls, winner of Rochelle Valasek’s $250 coaching package, and me

Anita Andreas was one of our book author vendors and also the winner of these gifts from sponsor Susan Evans

  • Growing Up As A Missionary Kid Ebook
  • Relieving Stress and Tension
  • Don’t Fight Over Finances
Me & Anita Andreas, winner of Susan Evan's giveaways
Me & Anita Andreas, winner of Susan Evan’s giveaways

Our daughter Leah Jones was winner of a bottle of Young Living Essential Oil lavender oil, generously given by our sponsor Phyllis Miller. 

Me with my youngest daughter Leah Jones, winner of sponsor Phyllis Miller's Young Living lavender essential oil
Me with my youngest daughter Leah Jones, winner of sponsor Phyllis Miller’s Young Living lavender essential oil

 My friend and Sunday house church pastor Ruth Christian was the winner of my red DREAM BIG coffee cup and Wild Berry Zinger tea give-away. Ruth was also a great prayer support, encourager, and the sound person for worship and praise at this event – I think the hardest job (other than mine!). 

Ruth Christian, winner of red DREAM BIG coffee cup and Wild Berry Zinger tea, and me
Ruth Christian, winner of red DREAM BIG coffee cup and Wild Berry Zinger tea, and me

I bought this Marilyn Monroe, sterling silver shoe necklace to give away. I secretly coveted this. Inside the package, it reads, “It’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” I read it and everyone laughed.

I shared a quote by Marilyn during my speaking presentation: “With the right pair of shoes, a girl can conquer the world.” 

shoe necklace
shoe necklace

Our awesome Thirty-One Gifts vendor Carol Gometz was the winner of this necklace!

Thirty-One Gifts vendor Carol Gometz, winner of the sterling silver shoe necklace, and me
Thirty-One Gifts vendor Carol Gometz, winner of the sterling silver shoe necklace, and me

Our oldest daughter Heather was the winner of Carol’s free drawing – a cute makeup bag. Heather was also available as a vendor for Wild Tree healthy, organic products.

Our daughter Heather, winner of Carol Gometz's Thirty-One Gifts free drawing
Our daughter Heather, winner of Carol Gometz’s Thirty-One Gifts free drawing

Here I am giving my speaking presentation, The Cinderella Story: The Power of Shoes.

Beth Jones, International Speaker The Cinderella Story: The Power of Shoes
Beth Jones, International Speaker
The Cinderella Story: The Power of Shoes

I gave each attendee a journal with their handouts. I borrowed the journal idea from my Canadian friend Doreen Penner. During my speaking presentation, we did some writing exercises, which the attendees said they really enjoyed and gave them some new insights into themselves.

journals
journals

This was the center table up front near the speaking podium with my visual aids: a white pumpkin coach and white horse, a red shoe painting that Heather painted with her friends one night, the DREAM BIG red coffee cup, my “Wish upon a star” ceramic container, my new book Promises In The Dark, and Heather’s purple high heels. Heather also gave me the beautiful purple-pink orchids for the table and as a birthday gift. I also put the roses that Deborah and Simmie had given me on there.

Center table The Cinderella Story: The Power of Shoes
Center table
The Cinderella Story: The Power of Shoes

We had an awesome server Ali- who my friend Penny Frisbie found out was a single mom of a two year old child and a Christian! Ali had been up since 5 a.m. and had a wedding to serve at after our event. I believe single moms have the hardest job in the whole world! God, pour out your blessings on Ali! A shoutout to Ethan, our banquet manager.

I had the event at The DoubleTree Hotel in Overland Park, KS. It is beautiful and if I have more events, I’d LOVE to use this venue again. Tracey Grosdeck is the Senior Catering Manager -she was wonderful to work with!

Our awesome server at the DoubleTree Hotel, Ali
Our awesome server at the DoubleTree Hotel, Ali

The Greek salad for our lunch was delicious.

salad for our lunch
salad for our lunch

The main course was Chicken Florentine Roulade (spinach stuffed chicken breast served with pesto cream sauce and roasted red potatoes). I asked for feedback from the attendees on the event, including the lunch menu. This dish had mixed reviews. Some thought it was delicious. I personally didn’t care for it, but loved the salad and the strawberry cheesecake dessert!

Chicken Florentine Roulade
Chicken Florentine Roulade

Ray found creative, cute shoe cupcakes online, and Heather sponsored and ordered chocolate and vanilla shoe cupcakes at HyVee. The ladies took these home with their goodies bags. The cupcakes were delicious!

chocolate shoe cupcakes
chocolate shoe cupcakes
shoe cupcakes
shoe cupcakes

Each table had decorations of a glass mirror, my shoes and jewelry. I borrowed the idea from my friend Helen, who is an interior decorator and she did the tables for Doreen Penner’s retreat in Manitoba, Canada, when I spoke there several years ago.

table decorations -shoes and jewelry
table decorations -shoes and jewelry

My husband Ray gave me the idea to include combat military boots as one pair of shoes for the table decorations. There are times when God calls his women to war.

boots table decor
boots table decor

Our main vendors for this event were Shelby Guilford and Janean Lindner with Origami Owl custom jewelry. Janean shared her exciting story of how she won her dream car, a VW bug (also my dream car!) through this company. The women had fun shopping at the vendors at the event.

Origami Owl jewelry vendors Shelby Guilford and Janean Lindner
Origami Owl jewelry vendors Shelby Guilford and Janean Lindner

 Carol Gometz was the Thirty-One Gifts vendor. I was so excited she was there – I can’t wait to buy one of her purses!

Carol Gometz, event vendor Thirty-One Gifts
Carol Gometz, event vendor
Thirty-One Gifts

I received very positive comments on the feedback forms. The women were blessed. One attendee, Deborah Lawrence, said, “Beth, you have set a fire under me. Thank you for this.”

The Cinderella Story: The Power of Shoes attendees
The Cinderella Story: The Power of Shoes attendees

Women told me they thought it was amazing and they felt cherished and loved as God’s Cinderella princess daughter, they felt empowered to use their gifts for God and to pursue their purpose, and they felt encouraged to cultivate a daily deeper relationship with God. This fulfilled the purpose of the event, so I consider it a success!

The Cinderella Story: The Power of Shoes attendees
The Cinderella Story: The Power of Shoes attendees

Thanks to God, my hard working husband Ray, our daughters Heather and Leah who helped me so much, Ruth, my wonderful sponsors and vendors. Without all of you, this wouldn’t have been made possible.

The Cinderella Story: The Power of Shoes attendees
The Cinderella Story: The Power of Shoes attendees

Remember to walk in the unique, God-designed shoes (purpose and calling) God has for you. You don’t need to feel envious or jealous of anyone else, or compare yourself to other women. You weren’t made to fit in, but to stand out – as the Prince’s chosen, beautiful Bride. 

As Ruth, Leah and I were packing up and leaving the hotel, I noticed a photographer was taking pictures of a groom and his bride outside. I thought it confirmed God’s message to the women at this event and felt it was prophetic and significant.

wedding at The DoubleTree Hotel
wedding at The DoubleTree Hotel

“Good shoes take you good places.” ~ Seo Min Hum

my shoes
my shoes I wore to The Cinderella Story
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Planning a live event? Things I learned from planning, organizing, and hosting the conference

Planning a live event? Things I learned from planning, organizing, and hosting the conference
RELEASED Women's Conference attendees during worship
RELEASED Women’s Conference attendees during worship

A speaker/author friend of mine plans to write a book this year on event planning, and yesterday she asked if I’d be willing to contribute content to it since I just finished planning, organizing, and hosting the RELEASED! Women’s Conference in the Kansas City, MO, area, which 39 women attended.

This conference was my 3rd live event and the biggest one I’ve ever done, with hiring a worship leader, four speakers, a caterer, a florist, and doing radio and newspaper advertising.

As always, God teaches me new things when I do something for Him. He deals with my heart.

He also shows me areas where I lack knowledge or my mistakes and helps me to learn from them, to improve for next time (if there is a next time…right now, I just want to rest and relax after our move into a new rental home this week).

I learned 14 things from this conference, and wanted to share a few of them with you for helpful tips, especially if you are planning your own live (or even virtual) event:

1. Sponsorship  and vendors are the key to covering event expenses.

Some of our sponsors' door prizes
Some of our sponsors’ door prizes

I’ve never had a sponsor before. I’d heard of popular bloggers on the web and other speakers who had sponsors, but wasn’t sure I’d be able to get one or even sure how to go about it. My Speaking business is not a 501c3 not-for-profit organization and I didn’t think I’d be able to get a sponsor.

I approached my Speaker/Author friend Tony Robinson of Well-Watered Woman Ministries who had gotten sponsors for the Women of Destiny conference where  I spoke on a cruise to the Bahamas. Her answer was, “You just ask!”

I did this for my conference and we winded up with 21 door prizes and items donated for the women’s goody bags! Over half the women at the conference received a door prize.

How did I get these incredible sponsors like Eden’s Touch Bread Company and Unwind Massage? I went to family and friends who I knew and told them about the conference, asking them if they had anything they’d like to donate as sponsors – books they’d written or ebooks, a downloadable mp3 audio, a Bible study guide, jewelry, a salon service, etc.

Trish Jones-Paul, one of our conference sponsors
Trish Jones-Paul, one of our conference sponsors

To my surprise and delight, everyone who I approached said YES! I even had other people ask me first if I’d like them to donate something for the conference! I felt the sponsors’ generosity was God’s way of confirming that this conference was HIS idea!

I was NOT able to get a big sponsor(s) for the conference for the major expenses, I believe primarily due to not being able to plan this conference way in advance. If you want the major expenses covered (such as the speakers’ fees) and not to come out of your personal finances  you’ll need a major sponsor or several big sponsors.

Sponsors are out there, eager to help you because it promotes their businesses! You can learn more about writing a sponsor letter by clicking here at Shannon Cherry’s blog.

If you think you’ll be able to cover expenses simply by charging a registration fee and through love offerings, I encourage you to have a Plan B! You may not have as many people as you think will attend and the offering may be less than you need.

This happened to a woman I know, who was depending on the registration fees and the offerings to cover her speakers’ expenses. She was extremely embarrassed when she couldn’t pay her speakers what she had promised because the offering amount was much less than she anticipated. 

Also, event expenses add up quickly, even when you’re doing your best to be frugal.

Sponsorship and vendors are THE key to paying for expenses for your live event!

2. No more than 2 (or 3 at the most) speakers for a one-day event.

RELEASED Women's Conference team
RELEASED Women’s Conference team

I had 4 amazing speakers at the RELEASED! Women’s Conference and each one of them spoke an anointed, rhema word straight to my heart, personally ministering to me. I  have no regret asking all of them to speak at the conference and am so HONORED they said yes!

But if I could do things differently, I would’ve spread out this event over 2 days or even over a weekend to give our worship/praise leader Naima Johnston-Bush more worship time, and for the attendees to talk with each other and get more personal prayer/ministry time.

Make sure when you choose your venue, that you will not have strict time restraints or it will add a lot of stress and pressure to your event!

Having 4 speakers for a one-day event was just too much due to our time restraints. Our schedule was packed with little breathing room. Be sure that when you plan your event, you leave plenty of time for the attendees to connect, network, and to receive prayer/ministry time.

3. Have a committed team of helpers.

Initially, after I spoke in Canada and Doreen Penner mentioned visiting me in America and us having a conference here, I resisted and didn’t want to do it!

I knew it’d be a lot of hard work, stress, and expense – and that I’d be the one doing most of the work and it’d likely come out of Ray’s and my pockets!

After God told me to do it and Ray encouraged me to, I became excited.  Yet I knew this was bigger than me. I am one woman. I was going to need help. I had to have a team!

Our daughters Leah & Heather, part of my team
Our daughters Leah & Heather, part of my team

You want people who are committed and will show up. Life happens sometimes, so have a back-up plan for various roles. I recommend having the following teams for your live event:

  • First, a team of intercessors who will faithfully pray for you, your family, and this event from the moment you begin planning to after the conference. In December of 2012, God told me that I (and my business) would be going to a new level in 2013, and that I needed to have a team of intercessors covering me and my family. I now have a team of 7 intercessors praying faithfully for me, my family, and my business. They prayed the entire 6 months for this conference. The most important work of your event is PRAYER!
  • A team of people who will physically help you with setting up at the venue. My daughters Heather, Leah and I loaded two cars filled with items for set-up at the conference;
  • A team of people who will help you with the different roles – the registration table, serving drinks/food, making coffee and/or desserts for the afternoon, door prize give-aways, filling goody bags, photography/videography, an Emcee saying the welcome and introducing the worship leader/speakers, etc. I’m so thankful to all my friends who helped me and love you!
  • A decorating team. If you’re like me, you love decorating. It’s my favorite part when planning a party. But God has called and anointed me to speak, write, and travel for His glory. I can’t do everything myself and neither can you. Hire a decorating team to help you! You have to let Jesus take the wheel and let go of control! The decorating for this conference looked beautiful and exactly the way I wanted, and I was so thankful for Heather and Leah helping me so much. I couldn’t have done it without their hard work! But I should’ve let Heather, Leah and others do the decorating FOR me.
  • A final tip would be a finance team or a board of directors to make the major decisions. I didn’t have this for the conference. My husband Ray and I were the finance team, although I did seek input and suggestions from others about costs. But a finance team or a board can be a good idea for major events. One of my friends has a 501c3, not-for-profit ministry organization which offers hope for marriages and families. They only have 3 people on their board of directors, but that is sufficient. You don’t need or want 10 or 20 people on your board or you’ll never be able to move forward. This team needs to have unity.  Pray and ask God for liberal wisdom about who will be on the finance team or board of directors. You want people  on the team or board gifted in knowledge and wisdom to help you make sound (and quick!) decisions for the expenses, who have caught your vision. You definitely don’t want someone on this team or board who is controlling and stingy with money. Nor do you want someone who would give the farm away.

4. Study leadership, finances, the personalities, the spiritual gifts, event planning, and other self-improvement topics.

International Speaker Beth Jones
International Speaker Beth Jones

People need and want leadership. If they are being indecisive, you need to just make a decision and lead them so they will follow. I am called to be a leader of women. I need to study leadership more. It’s also a good idea to study other topics before planning your event such as finances, the different types of personalities, the spiritual gifts, event planning, etc.

In having a live event, you’re going to be working with people who have very different personalities from your own and you’ll need to walk in understanding. Two great books that I recommend on this are Personality Plus by Florence Littauer and Wired That Way by her daughter Marita Littauer. I also recommend signing up for John Maxwell’s leadership “A Minute with Maxwell” tips and to check into any resources by Zig Ziglar and Brian Tracy.

5. I am the one who needs to be transformed and to be freed like the butterfly.

The logo for the RELEASED! Women’s Conference was a yellow butterfly, drawn by our daughter Leah. It represented release from any limits and freedom – the transformation from the caterpillar in the confining cocoon to the beautiful butterfly, free to fly and to be what God made it to be.

As always when God tells me to do something and I step out in faith, God teaches me new things and deals with my own heart. Sometimes my friends think I’m being too hard on myself, but I know that I have a high calling from God and “to whom much is given, much is required.” (Luke 12:48)

Some people call God’s heart dealings “taking you to the woodshed.”  Whatever you call it, its purpose is to draw you nearer to God and to repentance. He is the Potter and I am the clay. (Jeremiah 18:1) There’s a difference between conviction and condemnation. God chastens those He loves ~ and He loves me A LOT!  🙂 Certain things happened with this conference that revealed my heart. Yes,  I’m the one who needs to be transformed and freed!

May we all experience transformation this year, to be formed into the image of Jesus Christ.

This was an AMAZING, POWERFUL conference – I LOVED it and we’ve had incredible, positive feedback from the attendees, one of them being, “When is your next one?!”

I’m so thankful to God, my husband Ray, our daughters Heather, Eden, and Leah, the conference team, my intercessor team and team of personal assistants, and the attendees for this wonderful time!!!

I’m also grateful that God opens my eyes, ears, and heart to teach me new things so I can improve. 🙂

Daffodil & Butterfly. Copyright 2013 Leah Jones
Daffodil & butterfly.
Copyright 2013 Leah Jones

I hope these were helpful tips for you. May you have a beautiful, empowering, anointed event that is greatly blessed by God. I’d love for you to write me and tell me about it by emailing me at elizabethdjones@gmail.com or leaving your comments below.

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