Finding joy in the journey

The theme for this year’s Jackson County Women’s Conference was “Finding joy in your journey.”

The event, which is organized by the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, is designed to connect and encourage women.

Held outdoors under a tent at Chateau de Pique Winery and Brewery in Seymour, the conference drew approximately 100 to 125 women. The event included guest speakers, shopping, brunch and a dessert bar catered by Pewter Hall, do-it-yourself floral arrangements with Jubilee Flowers and Gifts and a beautiful view at Chateau de Pique.

The morning started off with an opportunity to browse the booths of vendors and local businesses and do a little networking before Dan Robison, president of the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, stepped up to the podium to welcome attendees.

“COVID kind of changed our plans a little bit, and we were supposed to be at Pewter Hall in Brownstown today,” Robison said. “Instead, we’re bringing Pewter Hall to you, and they’ll be serving our brunch a little later this morning, and it’s going to be fantastic.”

Robison thanked Rhonda Frische and the rest of the staff at Chateau de Pique for doing a great job for the event. He also recognized Schneider Nursery for the flowers and greenery around the podium.

The emcee for the conference was Kelly Trask of The Buzz 99.3 WZZB, 92.7 Nash Icon WXKU and the newly created BK Media Solutions. She introduced each of the three guest speakers for the conference: Psychiatrist Dr. Joyce Spurgeon with Schneck Mental Health and Wellness, Gary Johansen with Cummins Inc. and JoDee Curtis with Purple Ink LLC.

Spurgeon started by asking the audience to answer what were some of the things that brought them joy. A few of the answers were pets, gratitude, potato salad and grandchildren.

She said 2020 has been a challenge for most people in one way or another, but she asked the audience to think of a time over the past year when they felt joy and how it made them feel.

“We don’t feel joy all of the time, but we’re lucky to have episodes where we feel those deep, contented moments of joy,” Spurgeon said. “We don’t have that feeling all the time, though, because things get in the way.”

Those things include work, life, phones, computer games and social media, just to name a few.

“What happens when we scroll down Facebook and read about the wonderful things happening to other people?” she said. “When we do that, it’s very easy to compare ourselves to others.”

She said our brains are listening all of the time, and we have automatic thoughts throughout the day, and what those thoughts are will be affected by our mood.

“Those thoughts oftentimes control how we feel, and we can’t control our feelings, but we can to try to reshape our thoughts so we’re not always coming from a negative standpoint,” Spurgeon said. “How do we set ourselves up to come from a place of positivity?”

Some audience members responded with their answers, which were devotions, prayers and positive affirmations.

She said there is so much noise in the world right now, and we’re defined by what’s going on around us.

“It’s hard to keep a sense of self, and if you want to know how to find joy, it really is having a foundation of self first,” Spurgeon said. “There’s never a time in life that we can’t make changes to who we see ourselves as.”

For anyone who is looking for joy on a daily basis, Spurgeon said the reality is to be willing to be present in the moment.

“One thing I challenge people with is gratitude,” she said. “I want you to write down three things, just three words, of what you’re grateful for every morning before you leave to start your day. It opens your brain up to look for things to be grateful for rather than things to be angry about.”

She said the joy is within us, we just have to look for it and be open for it.

After Spurgeon’s presentation was brunch and free time for attendees to walk around and stop by the vendors’ booths.

Kristina Charlton and Sasha Norman had their Sugar Coated Candy vending booth set up at the conference, selling keychain bracelets, necklaces and more.

Charlton said the two make everything in her basement, and they began their shop about nine years ago when their daughters were 1.

Charlotte Moss stopped by the Pampered Chef booth to talk to representative Karen Abbott.

“I enjoy coming to this event to hear the speakers and to be out and talking to people, which we don’t get to do much of these days,” Moss said.

Wednesday’s conference was the first Grace Otte had attended. Otte is going to be working at Blue and Co. soon, and her co-workers invited her to the event, she said.

Nancy Fleming said she was born and raised in Seymour and has attended the Women’s Conference before.

“I enjoy the speakers immensely, and this is a really nice event for ladies to come to,” she said.

Kelly Trask was the emcee at Wednesday’s Women’s Conference, organized by the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce.

Lori McDonald | The Tribune

Schuler Bauer had a table set up during the Women’s Conference on Wednesday in Seymour. A variety of vendors and businesses had booths at the event.

Lori McDonald | The Tribune

Dr. Joyce Spurgeon speaks during Wednesday’s Women’s Conference in Seymour.

Lori McDonald | The Tribune

Julie Wischmeier of Pewter Hall, left, talks to Pampered Chef representative Karen Abbott at the refreshment table at the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce’s Women’s Conference on Wednesday at Chateau de Pique Winery and Brewery in Seymour.

Lori McDonald | The Tribune

Attendees of the Women’s Conference on Wednesday got to try their hand at flower arranging, thanks to Jubilee Flowers and Gifts of Seymour.

Submitted photo

Kraig Klosterman, manager of Jubilee Flowers and Gifts in Seymour, led a do-it-yourself flower arranging segment during the Women’s Conference in Seymour on Wednesday.

Submitted photo

Flowers for the do-it-yourself flower arranging lesson at the Women’s Conference held at Chateau de Pique Winery and Brewery on Wednesday.

Submitted photo

Nancy Fleming, left, stops by the Sugar Coated Candy booth, manned by Kristina Charlton, during Wednesday’s Women’s Conference.

Lori McDonald | The Tribune

The Women’s Conference, organized by the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, was held outdoors in a tent at Chateau de Pique Winery and Brewery on Wednesday.

Lori McDonald | The Tribune