Speaking Engagements

Report Back: Waterford, California Conference

I had a super time last week sharing with the wonderful ladies of Waterford, California, at First Southern Baptist Church’s women’s conference.

This was my first time traveling to northern California, and I’m indebted to everyone who took the time to show me around and tell me all about the things that make this area of the country so special, especially Pastor Greg, and the delightful couple who hosted me in their home, Lisa and Curt.

The Waterford area is covered with almond and walnut groves. This is a picturesque almond grove across the street from Curt and Lisa’s house.

Another of Curt and Lisa’s neighbors has recently acquired a few llamas. Aren’t they cute! Don’t worry, we didn’t get close enough for them to spit on us. (When I posted one of these pictures on social media, several folks corrected me that these are alpacas, not llamas. I’m no expert, and that may very well be, but here’s what I read that led me to the llama label. If I’m wrong, I stand corrected! :0)

Curt is the head of South Blossom Designs. He crafts phenomenal cutting boards, chopping blocks, serving boards, and other specialty artisan wood items. Go get a jump on your Christmas shopping!

These are some of the awesome hostess gifts and snacks from the ladies of FSBC. Those walnuts are straight from a local grove and were so fresh! And, of course, Cheerwine is my favorite, and is hard to come by where I live.

Friday night of the conference kicked off with a delicious steak dinner grilled by the fantastic men of FSBC. I also want to put a word in for one of the drink options, which was a cocktail of cranberry juice, Hawaiian Punch, and Sprite. That was super good.

And check out these lovely decorations:

Next up was our first teaching session: The Authority, Sufficiency, and Necessity of Scripture. God’s Word is vital to our lives as Christian women, sufficient to instruct us in the ways of life and godliness, and we are beholden to Scripture as the ultimate authority over our lives.

Saturday morning, after the ladies were treated to breakfast, it was time to get down to business with session two of the conference: Discernment 101: Learn to Discern. How can we tell the difference between the biblical and the cheap, unbiblical knock off? We looked at some scriptural and practical ways.

Our final session was a stimulating Q&A with lots of insightful questions. These ladies know their stuff! Afterward, it was fun getting to chat with several of the attendees:


When I travel, instead of buying souvenirs, I like to try whatever food is iconic to that area (clam chowder in Cape Cod, Chicago-style pizza, etc.). California doesn’t really have a specific iconic food, but In-N-Out is pretty close for me because I always see people raving about it online, and we don’t have In-N-Out here in Louisiana. So, for a special post-conference treat, Lisa took me to In-N-Out so I could see what all the fuss was about.

My verdict (the short version): It was good, but 5 Guys (which we do have here) is just as good. (You can check out the slightly longer version here.)

I also got to try some northern California style Mexican food (which is different from the southern New Mexico style Mexican food I grew up on and the Tex-Mex Louisiana offers), which was excellent, and a delectable Latin dish called Chipotle Milanesa at Cafe Bravo in Oakdale.

All too soon, it was time to head back home. I even got a few good pictures from the plane:

Looks like some of the mountains already got a light dusting of snow.

Considering our flight plan, I’m almost sure this is part of the Grand Canyon. It’s kind of hard to tell from the pictures, I guess. And, I didn’t get a picture of it, but I saw a dam that sure looked like it was the Hoover Dam, which also would have been in keeping with our flight plan. Besides Tiger Stadium all lit up at night at LSU, those are the coolest things I’ve ever seen from a plane.

Nothing special, and the lighting is terrible, I just really like the geometric pattern of these circular, square and triangular fields.

Many thanks to Pastor Greg, Lisa, Curt, and all of the ladies and gentlemen of FSBC who worked so hard to put on a great conference and made me feel so at home. If you’re ever in the Waterford, California, area, be sure to stop by and visit First Southern Baptist Church of Waterford.


If your church or organization is ever in need of a speaker for a women’s event, I’d love to come share with your ladies as well. Click here for more information.


Photo Credits

Photo of chopping block courtesy of South Blossom Designs.

All photos and videos of Michelle by Lisa Cowan.

All other photos by Michelle Lesley.

Speaking Engagements

Report Back: Rooted in Christ Conference

What a pleasure it was to share with the wonderful ladies of Ekalaka Bible Church in beautiful Ekalaka, Montana, for the Rooted In Christ Conference.

I flew into Rapid City, South Dakota, which is just down the road from Mt. Rushmore. Since I had never been there before, Pastor Jon, his lovely wife Kati, and their super sweet kiddos, Liam and Evangeline, were kind enough to take me there for a quick tourist stop before we headed north for Ekalaka.

As if taking me to Mt. Rushmore weren’t gracious enough, they also drove me up into Black Hills National Forest where we saw Spearfish Canyon and Bridal Veil Falls. I was there a little too early in the year for the full fall color “leaf peeping” experience, but one species of tree (no idea which one) had already turned an eye-popping yellow, and those were absolutely exquisite.

As we headed up toward Ekalaka, we passed through Belle Fourche, South Dakota, where the geographic center of the United States is located, as well as Sturgis, South Dakota, home of the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Along the way, it was fun to see small herds of deer and antelope roaming the open fields. And have you ever seen such a beautiful sunset?

The natural beauty of Montana is stunning. Kati has quite a way with flowers. Look at these beauties at her house:

Saturday afternoon was day one of the conference, and the ladies of EBC had things looking spiffy. Check out these charming decorations:

Session one was Walking in Biblical Womanhood. We took a look – mostly from Genesis – at God’s perfect creative design for womanhood. After a delicious homemade lasagna supper, it was time for session two: Walking In Biblical Womanhood. God wants us to fill out Creation with godly womanhood, not buy into the feminist narrative that we have to be exactly like men to have any value.

Do I laugh at my own jokes? It’s a dirty job,
but somebody’s got to do it! :0)
Chatting after the conference

After a warm time of worship with the EBC branch of the family Sunday morning, it was time for day two of the conference that afternoon. Our first session was a stimulating Q&A with lots of insightful questions. Following another hearty supper of homemade soups and sandwiches, our final session was Discernment 101: Learn to Discern. How can we tell the difference between the biblical and the cheap, unbiblical knock off? We looked at some scriptural and practical ways.

Door prizes
My lovely hostess gifts from the ladies of EBC. The pendants each have a line from a hymn in them. Kati picked out this water bottle before she even knew I was going to be speaking on the Armor of God passage! Providence!

Bright and early (well, actually, it was really early so it wasn’t bright yet) Monday morning, I had to say goodbye to the delightful town of Ekalaka and wing my way back home. On my first flight I had the pleasure of sitting next to a very nice lady named Jodie. She and her husband were flying home from visiting some of the same sites I had seen in South Dakota, and she was kind enough to show me her pictures. Some of the pictures were of the crafts she creates and sells in her Etsy shop, and they were just so adorable and well crafted that I had to share them with you. Head on over and do some early Christmas shopping at Jodieshappyhill. (And I believe she might add some more items, so you may want to check back every now and then.)

Many thanks to Pastor Jon, Kati, the kind ladies I had lunch with on Saturday and Sunday, and all of the conference attendees and members of EBC for your warm hospitality and for making my trip so memorable. If you ever find yourself in rural southeastern Montana, I highly recommend you make it a point to visit with the fine brothers and sisters of Ekalaka Bible Church.


If your church or organization is ever in need of a speaker for a women’s event, I’d love to come share with your ladies as well. Click here for more information.


Photo Credits

Photos of Michelle speaking / chatting, conference dinner by Kati Champlin.

Sunset photo by Tina Brady.

All other photos by Michelle Lesley.

Speaking Engagements

Report Back: Nashville, Arkansas, Women’s Conference

It was such a joy to be with the ladies in the Nashville, Arkansas area again at Maranatha Baptist Church’s 2021 women’s conference.

When I first saw this sign, there was a beautiful herd of cows behind it, but by the time I had a chance to take pictures, they had moooved on to greener pastures!

Last year at MBC’s conference, I spoke on biblical womanhood. This year, we tackled the topic of discernment in session one: Discernment 101: Learn to Discern. How can we tell the difference between the biblical and the cheap, unbiblical knock off? We looked at some scriptural and practical ways. Modesty seems to be a current kerfuffle in evangelicalism, so dressing our bodies while addressing our hearts was the order of business for session two. Next was a delicious chicken salad lunch (with some out of this world cookies for dessert!). And, wow, did these ladies have some smart and insightful questions in our final Q&A session!

If you like, you can listen to the audio from these teaching sessions at MBC’s Sermon Audio page as soon as they’re posted. (The modesty session was a condensed version of the three part podcast series on modesty Amy and I recorded earlier this year on A Word Fitly Spoken.)

Hostess gifts

One of the things traveling for speaking engagements has taught me is a deeper appreciation and longing for graciousness, generosity, and hospitality, which all seem to flow so naturally from the many pastors and women’s ministry directors I’ve worked with. Those are not things at which I feel I excel, but I aspire for God to grow me in those areas. My hosts, Margaret and Tom, as well as Pastor Bruce, and everyone at MBC were so kind and treated me like a queen.

Benjamin keeping us on the road.

And last, but not least, see this guy? This is my second to youngest (19) son Benjamin. Some of you may have heard me mention on the podcast (A Word Fitly Spoken), that Benjamin is our producer, which he does out of the goodness of his heart and on top of a nearly full time job, plus church responsibilities and activities. This young man insisted on taking off work to spend two full days driving me to and from the conference and serving as my handler during the trip. I didn’t have to lift a finger for anything, and had everything I needed, thanks to him. I hope I’m not embarrassing him, but I’m just so grateful to God for blessing us with such a fine, godly young man for a son.

I had an awesome trip to Arkansas, and it was such an honor to teach the lovely ladies of Nashville. Many thanks to Margaret, Tom, Pastor Bruce, and all the hard-working men and women of Maranatha Baptist Church for your sweet hospitality and for putting on such a wonderful conference. I highly recommend this warm and welcoming church to anyone in southwest Arkansas who is looking for a doctrinally sound body of Believers to join.


If your church or organization is ever in need of a speaker for a women’s event, I’d love to come share with your ladies as well. Click here for more information.


Photo Credits

Photos of Michelle speaking by Benjamin Lesley.

All other photos by Michelle Lesley.

Speaking Engagements

Report Back: Staying on the Path Conference

I had such a wonderful time of fellowship and teaching recently with the ladies of Providence Baptist Church in Opelika, Alabama, and their guests from the surrounding area, at the Staying on the Path in a World of Compromise women’s conference.

PBC was the staging area for disaster relief operations following the devastating tornado in the area in March of 2019. A beautiful memorial to the victims has been erected on the church grounds.

Providence’s WOVEN (Women Of the Vine Encouraging and Nurturing) women’s ministry put on a fantastic conference.

Everything was so nice and no detail was left unattended…

Here are some of the charming ladies who attended the conference…

I had the pleasure of teaching three sessions, God’s Word, Our Foundation – on the necessity, authority, and sufficiency of Scripture, Discernment 101 – an introduction to discerning false doctrine and false teachers, and a great Q&A session where these ladies asked some really smart questions! (Sorry, no audio of the conference sessions at this time.)

Hostess bags are never necessary for a speaker, but I’m always so humbled and grateful to receive a special treat like this, especially after a long, tiring day of traveling. Although the contents are appreciated, the gesture of hospitality and caring is so precious and meaningful to me. I’m not especially gifted in that area, and I so admire sisters in Christ who are.

April, WOVEN’s director, machine embroidered the bag (notice the monogram
on the bag is LSU purple and gold!) and the hand towel herself. So pretty!

Many, many thanks to the conference organizers, especially April and Lynda, for taking such good care of me and making me feel so at home. It was a pleasure fellowshipping with them and with the ladies who attended the conference.


If your church or organization is ever in need of a speaker for a women’s event, I’d love to come share with your ladies as well. Click here for more information.


Photo Credits

Photos by others credited in captions

Remaining photos by Michelle Lesley

Speaking Engagements

Report Back: Discernment with Michelle Lesley Conference

I had a great time of fellowship and teaching recently with the ladies of Cornerstone Church of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and Teton Valley Bible Church, of Driggs, Idaho, and their guests from the surrounding area. These sister churches, across the border and across the mountains from each other, come together each year to host a conference to build up the women of their churches and to reach out to the women of their communities. This year, the theme was discernment.

I taught on discernment in four different areas of our walk with the Lord: the authority and sufficiency of Scripture, living by Scripture instead of our emotions, false doctrine and false teachers, and women’s roles in the home and church. And we had a fun Q&A session over lunch, too!

Click here to listen to the conference audio!

I also had the privilege of recommending a few books for the book table. It was my pleasure to recommend to them (and to you!) God, Greed, and the Prosperity Gospel by Costi Hinn, Deceived No More by Doreen Virtue, and You’re Not Enough and That’s OK by Allie Beth Stuckey.

I had never been to Wyoming or Idaho before this trip. They are both so beautiful! I took about a million pictures, but I tried to pare it down for this article. (You can click on most of the pictures to enlarge them.)

Jackson Hole has several of these charming elk antler arches. When you get off the plane, you walk through one to get into the airport, and there’s one at each corner of the town square.

The hotel I stayed at in Jackson Hole had these adorable little critters everywhere!

When we crossed over the mountains into Driggs, I got to stay in this cozy little resort cabin. Too cute! It snowed the morning I flew out.

During some down time prior to the conference, one of the lovely sisters from Cornerstone graciously took time out of her schedule to drive me around to see the sights.

Here’s the National Elk Refuge. You can hardly see them, but there are swans and ducks in that little pond. We didn’t see any elk that day, but I did get to see some alongside the road another day.

There’s a significant Mormon population around Jackson Hole. Near the turn of the 19th century, the area pictured below was a community of 33 homesteads surrounding a “church” and a school. These are a few of the buildings still standing from that era, with the Grand Tetons in the background.

The Grand Tetons, and boy are they grand! A camera just can’t capture the beauty of God’s creation like the human eye can, but I tried. :0) (I did not add any filters. The sky is really just that radiant and gorgeous.)

These were taken at the area where Ansel Adams took his famous photo Tetons and the Snake River. Maybe the trees weren’t quite as tall back in 1942. :0)

After a fantastic morning of sightseeing, we headed back toward the town square for lunch where, as is my custom, I sampled a bit of the local fare. The restaurant that served elk burgers was closed, but we found the next best thing – a bison burger, which was delectable and has now spoiled me forever for regular hamburger.

I was enchanted by the rustic, “log cabin in the mountains” facade design of many of the buildings in Jackson Hole, even their Albertson’s and Target! I’m told the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar is “famous” and that they have saddles for bar stools.

Many, many thanks to the conference organizers and pastors of Cornerstone and TVBC for treating me like a queen and making a work trip seem more like a vacation. It was such a pleasure fellowshipping with them and with the ladies who attended the conference. If you’re ever in the Jackson Hole or Driggs area, and need a good church to join or visit, I can’t recommend these two churches highly enough.


If your church or organization is ever in need of a speaker for a women’s event, I’d love to come share with your ladies as well. Click here for more information.


Photo Credits

Photo of Michelle speaking by Anika (conference organizer)

All other photos by Michelle Lesley