Not only did I get to skip a weekend of iron infusions... I got to spent it worshiping our Savior with about 6,000 of my Sisters in Christ.
How do you not call that a wonderful weekend?
... & you know what happens with wonderful weekends - this is gonna be a long post #sorrynotsorry
but if you make it through, there's lots of good stuff from the weekend so hope you stick with me here.
Friday, I took off work & tried to sleep in some because I knew it was going to be a long day & a late night. Ernie says forget that & still wakes me up around 7 - because he's a good boy & looks out for his momma - or he's a spoiled little boy who just wants attention all the moments of the day. ... it's more that 2nd one.
But I needed to get up anyways because I hadnt even begun to pack or get anything together. I got up & made Ricky & I some breakfast - yeah, he was off work too because we had our house roof re-shingled & our garage was getting done on Friday. Ricky wanted to make sure the dogs were OK & not freaking out all day by themselves so he took off work. Plus, he had a doctor's appointment on Friday - so it just worked out well. Plus, I was glad to spend that time with him in the morning.
Chasity came & picked me up at noon & we were off.
First stop was a brunch at First Watch....
|Breakfast burriitos with mushrooms, spinach & eggs.|
& we were off.
Indianapolis always sounds like its so far, but its always a fast trip when you're in the car with girlfriends. The conversation was non stop & before we knew it, even with traffic & construction on the way, it felt like no time & we were at our hotel.
We unpacked & got the baby all fed up & cleaned up with a new outfit & we were ready to head to the Stadium. - Yeah, Chasity brought her new little man - he's not even 3 months old so he needed to be with momma - & really, why WOULDNT you bring a baby to an arena full of women? It's more of a "fight 'em off" thing in this instance. Who doesnt want to hold & rock & love on a smiley, happy baby?
We made our way to downtown Indy & man, I forgot how big Indy feels - especially compared to Downtown Louisville - which looks like a matchbox car next to a semi. Parking alone is a little bit of a crazy thing. After riding around blocks for awhile & seeing parking at $20.00 a pop, we found a MASSIVE mall that had parking cheaper - & it actually worked out great because one of the young ladies in our group, Jordan - her shoe had broken off the bottom somewhere from the walk to the car to the hotel room. So we ran off to find her a new pair of shoes in the mall.
... I think someone could get lost in this mall man - It's HUUUUGGGEEEE!!!!! It would be fun to go back & do a girl's shopping weekend there. I think its like 3 stories tall. I could be imaging things - we were in some many 'wards' of the mall & so many turns & twists & escalators & came out of so many different streets through doors of it - CRAZY... but we got shoes - mission accomplished.
We finally got in the arena & we were actually the first ones in our group to make it there so we got a good area that was near the bathrooms & gave Chasity room to walk with the baby.
I had actually gone with my "heart church" - the one that we went to for so many years. It was so super nice to see so many familiar faces & to meet so many new people that go to Greenville.
|You can see we took 3 rows up with this group! How cool is that - 28 women I believe went.|
She told us about the Olive (which was fascinating with Jesus time in the Garden of Gesthesame) & also talked about Salt (which was so cool to see a REAL salt block & to learn that the word SALVATION is also from the same Latin word that is used for Salt) - but the illustration that hit me the most was when she talked about grapes.
I am the vine. You are the branches. If you remain in me & I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing.
She talked how we usually focus on the "Attached" part of the vine - that's usually where everyone goes. But she talked about the way the vines are nutured, taken cared of, pruned, the long process it really takes for the best production of grapes... I can't even do it justice how she taught it....
But the part that stood out to me - she talked about the soil of the grapes. We think anything that grows from the ground needs to be lush & rich in soil. But the grape's & their vines? They need rocky soil. They NEED rocks & stones to FORCE their vines to go deep. To get ROOTED. It's the weight & roughness of the rocks that makes the vines stronger. .... whew - that just hit me in the heart something crazy!!!
Such good stuff....
|Click the book for the link if you're interested - just thought someone may be interested|
Oh my gosh y'all. SO GOOD. I have always liked Mercy Me - but since I've seen their movie I Can Only Imagine, I just have more of a love of them. & seeing them in person? EVEN BETTER. That voice .... it was just so effortless with so much power behind it.
Plus, their song "Even if" - it has basically been my life theme song for the past year & a half. Not even joking. This song just is my heart song... STILL.... I have YET to get through this song without tears falling down my face. I mean, big ugly tears. The day I can sing it & NOT cry, I may have to find a new heart song.
We ended up getting out of the stadium & then it took us about 15 minutes to FIND our car :) - at least it was beautiful night for downtown walking.
& then we all remembered we had not eaten dinner & was pretty hungry. After a little bit of a GPS search, the only thing open around midnight was good ole Taco Bell. I felt like a teenager out ordering in a Taco Bell drive thru this late.... plus, we were all giddy laughing at this point.
We got back to the hotel & ate in our bed & I think everyone knocked out really fast.
Everyone but me... I just tossed & turned & had the worst night sleep of my life. MAYBE 2.5 hours. If that... I just couldnt get comfortable. I was so hot, I kept feeling like Ernie was jumping on the bed which shook me up & I am just one of those people who try to sleep & instead, every problem & worry of the world decides then to go through my mind. YAWN....
5:30 am came really early....
At least I got to start off my morning so wonderfully because Chasity, Jordan & Sha ran down to get some breakfast in the hotel & fix me a plate - BECAUSE WE MUST AVOID THE C WORD... & my sweet friends know this about me - so they brought me up something to eat - & I volunteered to keep the baby while they went down to load up plates.
if someone MUST sacrifice, I'll do it LOL
Saturday, we had more of our bearings to us & it wasn't so "Downtown" crazy at 7:30 AM so we got in & got a parking spot & was back at the arena bright & early.... ready for day 2.
We started off with Jeanie Allen who was just precious - I hadn't seen her before - & then it was time for Karen Kingsbury. She's a popular author if you're not familiar. Her talk was on "Making your life a Best Seller"...
& before I jump into her message - I have to rewind to the night before.
Chasity & I were sitting there at one of the breaks & we were just talking about how crazy life moves on. She just came really feeling the presence of her mother in law, Stephanie - who was my best friend - who had passed away 12 years ago this past May. Chasity was saying that she just really feels like Women of Faith makes her miss Steph even more & she has memories of me & Steph at all the events.
I told Chasity that I can specifically remember the Women of Faith that we went to about 14 years ago ... It was right after Stephanie had been diagnosed with liver cancer... & Patsy Clairmont was on stage & she was talking about finding joy & said, "Did you know that laughter is good for the liver?" ... in that moment, Stephanie grabbed me & hugged me & said, "That's why God made you my friend!! You always make me laugh - God knew I needed you".... we both laughed & cried together at that. It's a memory that is so VIVID in my mind - even now....
|This is from that conference|
It was so funny too because Chasity was sitting behind us - just a Senior in high school & Steph had even talked then about that young lady marrying her son one day.... isn't that funny?
|This is the picture I was telling Chasity about... that's her .. a baby|
|Here's Chasity on that weekend at dinner in the blue|
All that was the night before....
|Now the two of us all these years later... after we had that discussion|
WHAT? WHAT???? ... as soon as she said it, me & Chasity just jerked our head so fast to one another & just was dumb founded. WHAT???? Then we both just started crying. Because we knew Steph was near us. Just HAD to be. Chasity said, "You know Stephanie is laughing right now at that" - to which I said, "& we totally know her liver is totally healed too"... & we both cried more.
BUT WHAT ARE THOSE ODDS!!!!!
We finished up the conference with one of my favorite speakers / teachers of all time - Angela Thomas Parr... her & her southern accent just makes me laugh & teaches my soul. She can bring the Scripture to life - the power of it... she really touched on how we need to dig those roots into the TRUTH of God's Word - nothing else maters. She sent us home with such an inspired & motivating message.
... & then it was over. Just like that.
... but it's NOT really over... because we're walking out to the car to pack up & meet up with everyone for lunch & head home.
We get out to Chasity's car & pop the trunk to put things in the back & I look over & just had to laugh... truly... I said, 'Um, can someone come look at this?'....
Sha came over & just stared at it & was like, "WHATTTT????" & Chasity was putting the baby in the car & asked what was happening & Sha said, "You just have to come look"....
& right there... my dad's name.
We just came out of this feeling of having a touch of heaven from Steph... & then see this. I could do nothing else but laugh.
Apparently there's a Tom Wood who is a car salesman in Indiana.... but HELLO - what are these odds that coming out of this message & feeling the emotions of the weekend, THIS is the car next to us?
Thank you God - I needed these little touches of knowing Heaven is near....
SO yeah, to say it was a good Women of Joy is an understatement.
Of course, the ride home was even more full of discussion about the weekend & it was like BLINK -
we were home.... back to life. Back to laundry & cleaning & dog feeding & horse poop sweeping ... but also back to dog hugs & hubby love & home sweet home. It's always so good to get those breaks away to get that soul refreshed. I really have come home with a new passion & craving to get my own roots planted deeper - to keep all the other things that dont matter & the things that distract me from my relationship with God - to only focus on the MAIN THING THAT MATTERS.
It was really nice to take that FIRE & go worship with my HSM gang on Sunday ...but after that, man, its hit me. I'm tired.
I had picked up some lunch for Ricky & I & then headed home to just relax a bit ... still got a lot to do around the house & go take care of the horses & just all the fun adult stuff that comes with life... but I'm still on that spirit high right now....
Hoping it lasts through the week.