Survive 'N' Thrive

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Survive 'N' Thrive 2014

This event was a wonderful success.  Watch for details for Survive 'N' Thrive 2015 coming in November.

What single mom hasn’t fantasized about jetting off to a luxurious private weekend of restoration and renewal? Well, dream no more. The Survive ‘N’ Thrive conference offers every mother a sun-soaked slice of paradise, a time to unwind and enjoy endless miles of sandy encouragement and rejuvenation.

Leave the dirty clothes hamper behind and step into this weekend getaway of luscious speakers, tropical desserts, and messages of hope.

At Survive ‘N’ Thrive you’ll discover:

  • an escape route to keeping your sanity
  • other single moms who understand your plight
  • a host of breakout sessions for single mom enthusiasts
  • a God who cares

Conference Includes:

  • more than 20 breakout sessions
  • worship music led by recording artist Jami Smith
  • keynote presentations by national speaker Pam Kanaly and award-winning educator Shelley Pulliam
  • decadent dessert reception and catered lunch

Keynote Speakers

Pam Kanaly
Pam Kanaly, admired author and nominee for Oklahoma Mother of the Year 2010, remains one of America's leading advocates for single mothers.  Pam's a national speaker and former radio and television talk show co-host bringing new life, fresh faith, and revived hope to thousands of women. As President and co-founder of Arise Ministries, Pam encourages women in knowing their identity in Christ.

Pam's latest book for single mothers - The Single Mom and Her Rollercoaster Emotions - guides single mothers through the roller coaster of motherhood into emotional wholeness and full-powered joy.  It's well on its way to being a #1 best seller for 2014.

Shelley Pulliam
Shelley Pulliam’s expertise as an educator and her innovative teaching methods have been recognized with numerous awards including teacher of the year and national outstanding teacher in Holocaust education. A speaker and an author, she has partnered with LifeWay and The Navigators for regional conferences. As a single, never married, Shelley devotes her time to Arise Ministries, a nonprofit ministry she co-founded to educate and encourage women. She was honored as one of four finalists for Edmond Woman of the Year 2012.

Praise and Worship

Jami Smith

Jami Smith, singer and songwriter, is recognized as one of the premier worship leaders of our time, using a contemporary style with a timeless Christian message. She received her degree in music education from Oklahoma Baptist University, and has since traveled the world using her music to connect people to a loving and merciful God. With the upcoming release of her 14th album, Jami’s chart-topping songs are played on Christian radio and her song “Faith in You” is used in the St. Anthony yearly holiday ad.

Breakout Speakers

The Sinking Sand of an Unorganized Home

Speaker: Amber Austin

Life as a single mom can be a lot like building a sand castle. Just as you add the finishing detail, the waves crash in and wipe it all away. Many of the things we do as moms only last a few, short minutes. Cleaning the house, doing the laundry, or cooking meals, as soon as you finish you have to start all over again. Take a vacation from the chores at home and soak up some practical, budget-friendly insight on how you can have your home running smoothly in no time.

Amber Austin’s business was born out of a love for serving others and having a home that is based on Isaiah 32:18 - My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest. She loves encouraging other women by sharing what she has learned over the years as a busy stay at home mom and professional organizer. Amber enjoys speaking to local groups on the importance having a home and life that is organized. Amber and her family live in Edmond and are active at the OKC campus of

Keeping Kids Safe: What Every Mom Needs to Know About Sexual Abuse

Speaker: Shannon Davis

As parents, most of us do a good job of teaching our children about "stranger danger", but the fact is that more than 90% of sexual abusers are known and trusted by their victims and their victims' families. This session gives parents the tools and tips they need to talk to their children about this difficult topic and provide vital information on what they can do to keep their children safe.

Shannon Davis truly believes in God's amazing power to transform ugliness into beauty. Raised overseas by missionary parents, and having spent most of her career serving children and families in a variety of non-profit and ministry positions, Shannon has seen first-hand the way God can heal the deepest hurts and bring all kinds of families into loving, nurturing relationship with Him and each other. She currently serves as the Executive Director for the Mid-Del Public Schools Foundation and volunteers with Family Builders, an Oklahoma City non-profit dedicated to strengthening families to prevent abuse and family violence.


Speaker: Teresa Davis

Boundaries are personal property lines that define who you are and who you are not, and they influence all areas of your life: physical, mental, and emotional. As women, we often focus so much on loving and giving, that we forget our own limits and limitations. In this breakout session you will be given biblically based answers to questions such as: Can I set limits and still be a loving person? How do I answer someone who wants my time, love, energy, or money? Why do I feel guilty when I consider setting boundaries? You will also learn what healthy boundaries look like and how to set them with others.

Dr. Teresa Davis is the Executive Director of Merry Heart Guidance Center. She works with single moms on a daily basis through counseling, anger management, and parenting groups. With a history of abuse and undiagnosed ADHD, Teresa understands hurt. Using personal examples from her own life she teaches practical applications of biblical principles to help others get healin, and strengthen their love and relationship with Christ.

I Need a Man and I Need Him Now...Or Do I?

Speaker: Peggy Duncan

Have you ever felt like you couldn’t go one more day without a man in your life? Or maybe you believe that a husband and an in-house father could be the answers to all your household dilemmas. Come and chat with Peggy and discover helpful tips and tools which both encourage and strengthen your ability to “keep on keepin’ on” with the Lord.

Peggy Duncan, through humor and poignancy, shares her story of grace, renewal and restoration. After experiencing a divorce and being a single mom for sixteen and half years, she knows firsthand it is when we are weakest that God is strongest. She has seen this over and over made evident not only in the life of her son. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the Choices Pregnancy Center in Poteau, OK, and lives with her husband in Spiro. 

Saving Money & Frugal Living

Speaker: Melissa Garcia

In today’s economy we could all learn to save a little more money. Come listen to the Consumer Queen share money-saving tips on couponing and frugal living. This is one session you won't want to miss.

Melissa Garcia is a mom of 2 and a savings specialist who enjoys getting a good deal. She uses her site as a ministry to help moms fight the rising costs of the economy by showing them ways to cut costs through couponing, shopping for sales and frugal tips. She believes that couponing is a privilege not a right, and works closely with manufacturers and retail stores to bring couponing to a level that is beneficial to both. Melissa grew up in a single-parent household and never really knew her real dad.

Riding the Waves... The Power of Choice for Single Moms

Speaker: Nicole Gates

Single Moms are women of possibilities, purpose and power. We are abundantly blessed to be our OWN brands and capable of living life in FULL expression. The Power of Choice for Single Moms encourages women to take charge of their lives, take steps toward building their legacy and embrace the opportunity to exercise choice in obtaining their wildest dreams. Participants will learn the anatomy of a habit, develop their passion and discover how to make choices that will take their lives to the next level. REAL CHANGE is an INSIDE JOB!

Nicole Gates, after 16 years of marriage, became a proud single mother Yolanda, Savanna, and twins Brooklyn & Bheanna. She’s described as driven, enthusiastic, and active in making her mark on her community. She’s the author of Success Over Statistics…I CHOOSE! and the soon to be released Growing to Greatness. She serves as Executive Director of Successful Single Moms Memphis, the CEO of The Epiphany Firm- a company that trains and employs single moms, and is Public Affairs Assistant for the Shelby County Mayor. Nicole is an award-winning community activist who has been honored by BET’s Black Girls Rock, Dress for Success Worldwide, MPACT Memphis, Tri-State Defender’s 50 Women of Excellence and Best in Black.

Parenting Strategies for Your Teen

Speaker: Amber Given

Sooner or later it happens. Our children grow up and the time approaches when they will be leaving home. Parents must learn to let go and accept their teenagers growing independence, while still providing guidance and support. Teens must learn self-discipline, responsibility and the skills they will need to live in the adult world. This breakout session will focus on why teenagers break rules and fail to carry out responsibilities, as well as, what tools parents can use to increase appropriate choices.

Amber Given

Amber Given has worked in the social services field since 1996 when she graduated from Kansas State University. In June of 1999, she earned her Master’s Degree in Community Counseling. While she has worked with a variety of populations, her heart has always led her to advocate for children in the foster care system. In 2009 she and her husband because foster parents to three teenage boys and eventually adopted an 11-year-old. Amber currently works as the Program Director for the Infant Parent Intervention Center.

Master Your Money Mindset: 6 Tips to Turn up the Volume on Your Bank Account

Speaker: Samantha Gregory

Samantha will walk you through 6 Tips to Turn up the Volume on Your Bank Account. Whether you want to stop stressing about your finances or generate wealth, you must first change your relationship with money. Master Your Money Mindset is about moving from money misery to money mastery in six steps. Having a game plan is crucial and necessary. After the session the attendee will know how to: 1. Let Go and Let Flow 2. Subtract to Multiply 3. Explore the Money Cycle 4. Recognize their Absolute Value 5. Embrace the Freedom of choice 6. Attract Wealth. Don’t miss this amazing session!

Samantha Gregory, former WIC, Section 8, minimum wage earner emerged into a corporate consultant and business owner. Her financial passion developed from being married and divorced after experiencing financial abuse and guilt in how she spent money, being strongly coerced to turn over her money, and after having money stolen. She’s a firm believer in acquiring knowledge around your finances in order to be well equipped. Samantha has authored two print books and eight e-books, all with the single mom in mind. She is also a lifestyle strategist for the 21st Century working woman.

A Father’s Love

Speaker: Matt Haviland

Based from Matt’s experience of growing up without a strong male role model, he will discuss the impact a father can have on his own children and why it’s important to be nurtured by single moms. The session will cover how our kids thrive when we are advocates for the other parent instead of adversaries, and how other strong Christian men can stand in the gap if Dad is not available. Most of all, we’ll examine how God steps in as the perfect Father. Even when it feels like we are out in the middle of an ocean of worry and despair, He is right there all along to guide and protect.

Matt Haviland is the founder and director of A Father’s Walk single dad ministry. He lives in his hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and is a single dad himself to a beautiful and amazing little girl. Matt is the author of A Father’s Walk: A Christian-Based Resource for Single Fathers, the co-author of The Daddy Gap, and the co-founder of the Grand Rapids Single Parenting Expo. For more information, please visit

The Intentional Family

Speaker: Kim Heinecke

Traditions are a treasured way to strengthen your family identity and create lasting memories. They hold a family together, providing a sense of security and comfort for kids of all ages. From birthdays to holidays to all the little things in between, learn how to establish family traditions that are simple, fun and grounded in the truth of God’s Word. Discover the secret of intentional families!

Kim Heinecke, a former single mother, uses her personal testimony of God’s provision, healing and restoration to encourage others in their journey of raising children alone. She is on staff with Arise Ministries and an active women’s leader at Having survived a difficult season of divorce, Kim is committed to inspiring women to develop a passionate faith in Christ. She and her husband live in Edmond where they are raising four sons to be followers of Christ.

The “Net Worth” of a Woman – Knowing Your True Value

Speaker: Esther Hunter

What should be used to measure your value or the significance you add to the lives of others? By identifying the core values built into a woman, Esther dissects the subject of “net-worth” and gives a unique and thought-provoking presentation of how to truly assign value to ‘YOU’. You matter! Come and find out how and why.

Esther Hunter is a dynamic author and speaker with over 10 years of experience hosting women's empowerment conferences, seminars and workshops. As a local church communicator, television and radio media guest, she specializes in shifting the lives of people from pain to progress, from shame to success, and from negative to positive outcomes. Esther has a Master of Business Administration degree from Cameron University and is currently pursuing her Masters in Christian Counseling (Marital and Family Therapy).

Love Junkies, 7 Steps for Breaking the Toxic Relationship Cycle

Speaker: Christy Johnson

If you've ever been stuck in a toxic love rut, it's time to ditch the drama! In Love Junkies you'll discover: • Love lies and false beliefs many women have about romance • Habits that make you vulnerable to unhealthy romantic relationships • Ways to strengthen your own soul health • Steps to break the toxic love rut Don’t miss this opportunity to be set free in the way you handle your relationships.

Christy Johnson is a dynamic communicator, award-winning writer, popular conference speaker and the author of Love Junkies, 7 Steps for Breaking the Toxic Relationship Cycle. As a soul-health advocate, Christy’s messages focus on identifying roots of bitterness, maintaining joy in the midst of adversity and developing drama-free habits that improve relationships. Visit her at

Self + Car = Maintenance

Speaker: Karla Nelson

As single moms, we often find ourselves driving high mileage, less-than-reliable cars to provide transportation for all of our needs. Sound familiar? When you add Self + Car it equals…NEEDS MAINTENANCE!!! In this session, you will learn about simple, yet vital, car maintenance issues: battery, belts, filters, and fluids. You’ll even discover how to change a tire. Yet equally important and often neglected, is the challenge of self-maintenance. Come and let the Master Mechanic work on you, and your vehicle, too.

Karla Nelson has a story to tell that sometimes seems hard to believe, but it’s her journey and because of it, she has a love for Christ she wants to share with the world! After many years of being a single mom, she pursued an academic opportunity in Auto Mechanics School in order to maintain her own car while teaching others. Karla’s been given the opportunity to teach and speak on many levels - through keynote messages, women’s groups, prayer groups, and the Oklahoma City Public School System. Now, after many years of prayer, she is watching God renew, restore, and rebuild her home and marriage on His foundation. She lives in Oklahoma City with her husband and son.

The BIG "D" Word: Discipline

Speaker: Chiquita Nolan

Do you find it challenging to know how, when and what to do regarding disciplining your children? Have you ever felt overwhelmed at the thought of being the one responsible for correction in your home? Join Chiquita as she walks you through practical strategies to develop effective discipline for all ages. In this session she will share real life experiences that every single mom faces when it comes to shaping your child, from toddlers to teens and even young adults. Come and find out the creative ways you can bring out the BEST in your children and yet enjoy your role of motherhood.

Chiquita Nolan, a single mom, has raised three children with God at the helm ordering her every step. Licensed to ministry at the age of 17, Chiquita has served the body of Christ for years in various capacities including Certified Christian Counselor, Psalmist, Speaker and Christian Comedienne. This year Chiquita received her PhD in Social Work Services and serves as the director for iLife Enrichment Ministry at Integrity Voice of Victory Church in Oklahoma City. She’s the founder of God's Girl Ministries, an outreach ministry to support the development of the Body of Christ. Chiquita loves to write, sing and spend time with her children and her dog, Peanut. Visit

How to Breathe Happiness. Be Fulfilled. Live Empowered! Every Day

Speaker: Jessica Rector

Are you frustrated you don’t have support? Do you wish you could relax and enjoy life? Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed, stressed, or exhausted? You’re not alone. If you’re like most single moms, this describes you, EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. Jessica demonstrates her formula for creating a stress-free, fulfilled, and empowered life by tackling the “I'm Not Good Enough” Syndrome, conquering stress, and stomping out being overwhelmed. In this session, you’ll discover how to increase your confidence and support so you can do those things you think you can't, put fun back into your life, and live the life you love.

Jessica Rector didn’t find the resources, support, and information she needed to equip her as a single mom, so she created different programs to fit the needs of every single mom through her company The Single Mom Movement.™ This movement is changing the face of single moms while giving them a voice. With strategic private coaching, programs, events, and a school for single moms, individuals learn to use Jessica's proven strategies and best practices to create a life of confidence, worthiness, and acceptance. She is acutely aware of what it takes to change yourself, upgrade your mind, and be authentic. Jessica strives for every single mom to be happy, fulfilled, and empowered!

Legal Documents You Need, All in One Hour: Power of Attorney, Will, Trust for Your Kids

Speaker: Jonathan Reiff

Have you realized you need legal documents, but you can’t afford an attorney? Here’s your chance. This session will discuss pertinent paperwork needed by every parent. Each participant will receive a folder with two blank, one-page documents. As instructed and explained, attendees will complete their forms, sign it, witness their neighbors' forms, and Jon will notarize them as you exit. You’ll have legal documents in one hour.

Jonathan Reiff has been an estate planning and tax attorney in Oklahoma City and Edmond since 1981. He received a Master’s Degree in Taxation from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. His previous education includes a law degree from Wake Forest and undergraduate degree from Harvard. He attends Quail Springs Southern Baptist Church and lives in Edmond with his wife Roz, a former Baptist missionary to Japan and teacher of English as a Second Language, has two married daughters and five grandchildren, all in Edmond, and a foster daughter in Dallas.

Take Your Baggage to the Cross (A journey of spiritual transformation)

Speaker: Rene’ Reilly

When we choose to say “YES” to Jesus, BIG things begin to happen and one of those miracles is change. God is inviting you to gain a fresh perspective on who you are and what change can look like in your life. He already knows the baggage that we carry. Now it’s time to put it down at the Cross and learn how to live freely and lightly! Come join Rene’ as she walks you through a time of self-examination into change that lasts!

Rene' Reilly met Jesus in a BIG way as a 29-year-old, single mom, who’s life circumstances forced her to realize that she desperately needed a Savior. Her life experiences, through the work of the Holy Spirit, allow her to relate to women of all walks of life. Her passion and excitement for the Good News of Jesus Christ is contagious as she encourages women to "Walk the Walk" and "Talk the Talk". Rene' has been a leader in Women's Ministry for over 15 years. She earned a Certificate in Women's Leadership from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and is serving as Director of ProvenWay Ministries in Austin, Texas.

Keeping It Positive!

Speaker: Alice Richardson

"A glad heart makes a happy face; a broken heart crushes the spirit." (Proverbs 15:13). "For the despondent, every day brings trouble; for the happy heart, life is a continual feast." (Proverbs 15:15) Smile! Laugh! LIVE! Get these two verses deep in your heart. They are God's personal invitation to you to enjoy life. There will always be tests; they are an intentional part of living...not dying. There are no tests for the dead, their tests are over. So, don't let tests bring you down. That's a test in itself, right? Life is good when life is God. Join me and let's see how God can turn your lemons into lemonade!

Alice Richardson, a graduate of Oklahoma Christian University and Trinity Biblical College, serves as the Assistant to the Pastor at Prospect Church. She was raised by a phenomenal single mother who convinced her three rambunctious girls that they were beautiful and full of potential. Alice has a passion for supporting single moms and their children through her volunteer service to help house, feed, and educate underprivileged youth. She travels nationally and internationally encouraging women to be transformed in their thinking and to live in the promises of God by faith.

Help in the Hammock

Speaker: Lyn Smith

The life of a single mom is go, go, go! The pressure to be everything and provide everything for your kids can be overwhelming. How can you spend time with God by refreshing your own soul when the waves just keep coming? Take a few moments to slip into the hammock of God's provision where you will discover an ocean of strength, peace, joy and power. Join Lyn as she shares practical ways to soak up the Son.

Lyn Smith, international speaker, Bible teacher, and Co-founder of Come Away Events, is passionate about God. A motivator and author, she brings the reality and power of God into daily living. Astounded that God uses her, she is currently working on a Master’s Degree, serving two international ministries, appearing weekly on Christian Discipleship TV, and enjoying the release of her most recent book Think 4:8 for teens. She lives in Piedmont with her husband and three children. For more information visit

Castles in the Sand: Letting Go of Your Dreams to Gain Something Better

Speaker: Dawn Walker

What do you do when your dreams are washed away? How do you move past the pain when the person you thought you'd grow old with is gone and you watch your kids struggle with the void of an absent father? Is there anything left to look forward to? This class will take a hard look at why God allows your dreams to die or why He asks you to let go of them while He desires to bring fresh promises to live. We'll identify the dream that was lost, understand why it's critical to grieve, and take the necessary steps to release it. Most importantly, we'll see how the death of your dream can be the launching pad for discovering God's bigger plan for your life.

Dawn Walker is a single mom and lives with her 10-year-old son Ethan in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In 2012 she left a 15 year career as a Sales Director with Mary Kay Cosmetics to found Single Parent Missions. Dawn loves to encourage single parents, and is passionate about helping the widows and fatherless of this generation discover the fullness of love, life and legacy that Jesus offers. Her other passion involves envisioning and equipping the Church for single-parent ministry. She recently authored her first book, The Daddy Gap, and her daily email devotionals Hope Notes for single parents has subscribers on five continents. For information visit