New website summer theme: butterflies

Usually about once or twice a year (or more!), I start getting restless and bored with my website and business. It often results in me changing my website theme.

It helps inspire me. If you don’t like your website theme (or you’re getting bored with it), you won’t want to work there!

sunflowers
sunflowers

For summer, I wanted something that feels light and pretty, like fresh flowers. 

This new theme has butterflies and has what is called a slider at the top of the Home page, where you can see a slide of pictures. Some of the slides have pictures of my books, and when you click on the graphic, it takes you to the book on Amazon.

It took me awhile to find a theme I liked today. I’ve always loved butterflies. Have you ever seen a butterfly that is stressed out, depressed, or angry? No.

Butterflies are happy and free. I would like to become more like a butterfly, because I often stress out and freak out way too much. Can anyone say meltdown, like a chocolate bar in the sun? (Chocolate sounds good right now, but I digress!) I really want to become a more peaceful woman, who worries less and trusts God more. Free.

A butterfly was the symbol and logo for my women’s Released Conference several years ago.

RELEASED Women's Conference attendees during worship
RELEASED Women’s Conference attendees during worship

Our daughter Leah drew a beautiful yellow butterfly and flower for the conference, which I will always treasure. There’s such an  anointing on it.

Daffodil and butterfly, Copyright 2013 Leah Jones
Yellow daffodil and butterfly, Copyright 2013 Leah Jones

My husband Ray also bought me butterfly souvenirs when he traveled to Haiti on one of his five Haiti mission trips, training security guards and setting up a medical clinic in Port Au Prince after the 2010 earthquake. 

butterflies from Haiti
butterflies from Haiti

For me, butterflies are a symbol of the transformation we go through when we receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, and his refining work throughout our lives to make us more like Jesus. 

How to get around this website:

The navigation for my new website theme is pretty simple and easy. At the top of the page are my main page headings (and they are under the slider as well). Just click on them to go to that page. 

You can connect with me on other social media sites by clicking on the social media buttons at the top of the page on the right side. 

Social Media
Social Media

The opt-in box for you to sign up on my personal mailing list is on the right sidebar, with your name and email address. When you sign up, you’ll receive my free gift, a downloadable PDF–5 Time-Saving Hacks for a More Happy Life. 

You can find my newest blog posts by clicking on the “Blog” heading at the top of the page. 

Promises In The Dark: One Woman's Search for Authentic Love
Promises In The Dark: One Woman’s Search
for Authentic Love by Beth Jones

At the bottom of the page are my newest blog posts again for easy access, the link to my memoir (Promises In The Dark: One Woman’s Search for Authentic Love), and other places where you can connect with me online.

I’m still tweaking it, but wanted to give you a heads-up of the changes around here. I have to make sure it’s a responsive theme for smart phones and other devices.

What do you think of it? Leave your comments below.  

Here’s a beautiful graphic just for me and my website with hearts (another thing I love), flowers, and a butterfly that my friend Eren McKay created for me. I love it!

Beth-Butterflies-Flowers
Copyright 2013 Eren McKay Copyright 2013 Beth Jones www.BethJones.net

 

 

 

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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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The RELEASED Women’s Conference was amazing!

The RELEASED Women’s Conference was amazing!
Heather Denney laughing at RELEASED Women's Conference
Our daughter Heather Denney laughing at RELEASED! Women’s Conference

Has God ever told you to do something that you didn’t want to do?

In my experience, if I really don’t want to do something, it’s usually God.

That’s how I felt after I spoke at Doreen Penner’s retreat in Canada and she mentioned coming to visit me here in America and us having a retreat here.

I didn’t want to be rude. I love Doreen. She’s an awesome person. I wanted to see her again.

But as soon as she said it, I thought, “Oh, NO! God is going to make me do another women’s retreat!” I’d planned and hosted two before, and I knew they are:

  • a lot of hard work
  • a lot of stress
  • a lot of expense.

And guess who’d be doing the hard work? Me. And who’d probably be paying for most of it? Ray and me. I didn’t want to deal with the stress, either.

I balked. I resisted. I dug in my heels and wouldn’t even answer her the first two times she mentioned it.

The third time Doreen mentioned it, I knew I needed to answer her. I prayed to God and talked to Ray about it.  I hoped they’d both say no.

To my chagrin, God told me to do it and Ray said he thought I should do it.

SIGH.

I’m glad I did now. 🙂

team
RELEASED! Women’s Conference Team
Karen Wells, Doreen Penner, Naima Johnston-Bush, Helen Reimer
Front Row: Rochelle Valasek, Beth Jones

The powerful worship and the freedom of dance

The worship and praise was led by Dr. Naima Johnston-Bush. What a voice! I didn’t want her to stop singing.

Many women said the worship and praise was one of the most powerful parts of the conference. Women laughed, cried, and danced.

Worship/praise leader Naima Johnston-Bush
Worship/praise leader Naima Johnston-Bush

When I saw my friend Suzy Bunton dancing out front and the young girls dancing in the back of the room, all I could do was smile. God’s presence was there. That’s all that mattered to me.

Suzy said that God told her to kick off her shoes, wave a banner, and dance. She’s been in pain in her hips lately, but as soon as she started dancing, the pain subsided. Dancing sets you free.

The anointed speakers – the rhema word

Each of the speakers shared a rhema, timely, anointed word that imparted truth and hope to the 39 women present.

Speaker Helen Reimer
Speaker Helen Reimer
  • Helen Reimer shared about her quadruplet sister dying in utero and one of her triplet sisters and her mother dying in a tragic car accident when Helen was only 4 years old. She was told they were “sleeping” at the funeral home and didn’t understand why they wouldn’t wake up. At the funeral service, she witnessed dirt being shoveled on top of the caskets and began screaming and crying because they were throwing dirt on top of her sister and her mother. She also shared about her numerous childhood sexual abuse incidents. Many women came up to Helen afterward to share with her that they, too, had been sexually abused in childhood. Helen shared the healing she’s experienced and the hope she has today through faith in Christ. Women cried during Helen’s presentation time. God’s presence in the room was strong as she shared her powerful story.

 

Speaker Rochelle Valasek
Speaker Rochelle Valasek
  • Shelley Valasek shared about her many medical problems and the nearly-fatal car wreck she had last year when she almost died. When she showed the power point picture of her car that was like a smashed can, the audience gasped. Shelley’s message is that God has a Divine Purpose for your life. You will not leave this earth until that purpose is established. Shelley’s presentation moved many women to tears, especially one young woman in the audience. Each time Shelley speaks, she gives away a little gift to an audience member whom God shows her during her speaking time. For this conference, she’d bought a beautiful, “bling” butterfly thumb ring and gave it away to a young woman who is recently widowed and a single mom, whom she knew nothing about – it was God! I talked with this woman during a break and she had tears of happiness in her eyes from this gift from Shelley. She had been deeply touched by Shelley’s presentation and this gift. God amazes me how He does things!
Speaker Doreen Penner
Speaker Doreen Penner
  •  Doreen Penner shared about the transformation of the caterpillar to the butterfly. When Doreen first mentioned having a conference here, she envisioned a yellow butterfly and felt the theme would be one of freedom and transformation. God gave me the word “released,” and our incredibly talented, artistic daughter Leah drew a yellow butterfly and a yellow daffodil with her graphic art tablet, that became our logo for the conference.
Daffodil-butterfly-copyright-2013-leah-jones
Daffodil-butterfly-copyright-2013-Leah-Jones

(I was so thankful that both our daughters, Heather and Leah, helped me so much to prepare for this conference and attended.)

Our daughter Leah
Our daughter Leah in the pretty green blouse and black pants she wore to the RELEASED Women’s Conference

Some of the highlights from Doreen’s presentation were that

(a) God has a dream for you (you’re meant to fly!);

(b) God needs to first prepare you for your calling (the caterpillar must grow to become the beautiful butterfly it was meant to be);

(c) Transformation involves FAITH, developing your character, and timing (the caterpillar can’t leave the cocoon early. God has the perfect timing for you to fly.);

(d) God wants you to be set free – free to BE, free to SERVE, and free to LOVE. Doreen is one of the most polished, professional speakers I’ve ever seen. She is filled with wisdom and exudes peace. She gave us the spiritual “meat” for this conference. I loved what Doreen said: “Spread your wings. You never know how far you will fly.” AMEN!

Karen Wells
Speaker Karen Wells

Karen Wells talked about the freedom of forgiveness. When we forgive, we are set free! A few of the ways we can identify that we are holding onto unforgiveness are:

  1. You feel emotional pain.
  2. You’re waiting for someone else to be sorry.
  3. You feel like it’s too hard.
  4. The person will only do it again.
  5. You’ve tried and it didn’t work.
  6. You don’t feel like forgiving.

Forgiveness is a decision, a choice. Jesus by choice died on the cross so you could be forgiven. He is our example. Forgiveness sets us, the prisoner, free!

One thing which Karen said which struck the women was that maybe the person we need to forgive is ourselves. Karen’s presentation and personality of joy and laughter truly blessed the women.

RELEASED! Women's Conference, Kansas City, MO area
RELEASED! Women’s Conference, Kansas City, MO area

The Italian catered lunch

With this event, I knew I’d have way too much to do to cook or even to delegate cooking, so I had the lunch catered by Perazelli’s Italian Restaurant. I never really got a chance to sample it other than a couple of bites, because I was so busy, but I heard it was delizioso: they served salad, meat lasagna, bread with garlic butter, and cheesecake for dessert.

At 12 noon, they brought the food that had warmers underneath, set it down on the table, and the women dug in. Easy – love it! I also loved the cute purple and yellow butterfly paper plates, cups, and napkins I found online. Catering was DEFINITELY the right decision!

Catered Italian lunch
Catered Italian lunch

My friend Ruth Christian also made chocolate brownies for the afternoon snack, which were EXTRA delicious!

My wonderful helpers!

I’m so thankful to:

  • God for His wonderful, loving presence at the conference;
  • My hard-working, devoted husband Ray Jones for being a work horse the last 6 months to help (financially) make this conference happen;
  • My team of intercessors who faithfully prayed the last 6 months for me, my family, and this conference;
  • My amazing team of personal assistants who unselfishly said yes to God, encouraged me, and worked so hard to help make this wonderful event happen;
  • Our incredibly generous sponsors who donated 21 (yes, twenty-one!) door prizes and contributed to the women’s goody bags. Sponsors, YOU MADE AN INCREDIBLE DIFFERENCE IN WOMEN’S LIVES!
Some of the sponsors' doorprizes
Some of the sponsors’ doorprizes

Words aren’t enough to thank you all! I couldn’t have done this without all of you!

Attendees Lindsey Dawson, Heather Denney, Simmie McMillan, and Sandy Cunningham
Attendees Lindsey Dawson, Heather Denney, Simmie McMillan, and Sandy Cunningham

What women said about this conference

“I just wanted to say thank you for hosting and sponsoring this special day. Each of the women who spoke had such powerful messages and I took something away from each of them. Even though I was raised in church, I am still young in my Christianity and am looking to women like these to learn from… Today was awesome and I’m truly looking forward to your next women’s faith event. In Christ, Lindsey Dawson.”

“Thoroughly enjoyed conference. Loved the theme. The worship music and prayer was powerful.The speakers were incredible. Food and snacks delicious and perfect. So well organized and could not miss that seeing/sensing the heart of God for all involved was a key ingredient in the preparation and activities. The seven hours just flew by.”- Carol Nyhan

“Beth did a super job with intro’s and pulling all this together. Naima was very awesome. Helen did so good sharing her testimony and I was very touched. Rochelle shared about “empathy,” which brought understanding. Doreen’s presentation was clear and concise. I appreciated being encouraged that caterpillars change from the inside out. Karen was phenomenal, very well done, relatable, fun, and a great blessing.”

“The music was very anointed. I got free from some weights during praise.”

“Overall, the whole experience was wonderful.”

“The speaking time, the experiences shared, the continuing growth, and the wisdom shared was invaluable.”

“Beth Jones’ Released Conference 2013 was a joy and a privilege to be a part of. With amazing attention to detail, spiritual discernment and great wisdom, Beth crafted a conference that was truly anointed. The presence of the Lord was greatly felt as she served as first a prayer warrior for all in attendance and then as a gifted hostess for the event. Beth truly hears from the Lord, adjusting as needed, serving willingly and putting together an event that truly released many women from bondage, fear and personal struggles. As the Worship Leader for this event, Beth’s planning and prayer set the atmosphere for me to minister in freedom! I would be honored to attend or serve at another event hosted by Beth Jones. She is truly equipping women to use their gifts for God!” – Dr. Naima Johnston Bush, Broken Box Ministries

The highlight for this conference was meeting my precious friend Rochelle Valasek from the Nashville, TN, area for the first time in person. “Shelley” and I have been online friends for about a year now and have talked a lot about getting together. I am so happy and excited that I finally got to HUG my dear, sweet friend. Shelley is one of the most loving, giving people I’ve ever met. She’s even more wonderful in person! I already miss her SO much!

Me and my precious friend Shelley Valasek, at the fountains by Crowne Center, Kansas City, MO
Me and my precious friend Shelley Valasek, at the fountains by Crowne Center, Kansas City, MO

This weekend was one of joy, freedom, and transformation through the power of God.

I learned many new things which I’ll be sharing in the weeks ahead. One is which I am the one who deeply needs to be transformed.

Me in my olive green dress, little black jacket, and tall black boots, the night before the conference when our team went out to dinner
Me in my olive green dress, little black jacket, and tall black boots, the night before the conference when our team went out to dinner

This conference was amazing. To Jesus Christ be all the praise and the honor and the glory, forever and ever, amen!

Our cross centerpiece. During the "Butterfly Exercise," we wrote down what we needed to release to God to be free on paper butterflies and laid them down at the foot of the cross.
Our cross centerpiece. During the “Butterfly Exercise,” we wrote down what we needed to release to God to be free on paper butterflies and laid them down at the foot of the cross.
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