Would it surprise you to know that we never run out of things to talk about? I think we could be happy sitting on blankets in a field just chatting away, but the nice hotels and restaurants that accompany these conferences are also appreciated.
One of the most meaningful speakers was Steven Curtis Chapman. You may know that he lost his young daughter in a tragic accident about 18 months ago. She was one of the inspirations for the song, "Cinderella" . The family is still working through the grief, but continue to move forward with hope for a reunion the other side of Heaven.
We were so glad to have met two new friends on this trip. Linda and Deb were in our old friends' church Life Group. They were responsible for getting our tickets and hotel rooms and they had never even met the Texas part of the group! Thanks ladies: we look forward to seeing you again over chips and salsa.
And the most wonderful surprise of all? Married Daughter surprised me and drove the four hours from her home to Tulsa so we could hug and talk and laugh for a few hours. We had a Sunday brunch that included all available children and husbands. And a good time was had by all.
We took the time to swing by Adrienne's daughter Elizabeth's second grade classroom and were blessed by all the innovative ideas we saw. Here she is showing us the interactive smart board in her classroom. I took lots of pictures and got many ideas for my first grade classroom. We're fortunate to have dedicated teachers like E raising up the next generation with academic excellence.
And last, but of course not least, Son-in-law with Married Daughter on a beautiful autumn Sunday morning in Oklahoma. (I provided the Texas t-shirt: he had come to attend the OSU-Texas game with his sister. Native Texans, they secretly cheer for the Longhorns and future Heismann Trophy quarterback Colt McCoy.)
Young Couple celebrated their second wedding anniversary a few days later with some Big News: They will be moving to Pennsylvania due to Son-in-law's promotion within his company.
Pennsylvania? A long way from my Texas home. But I fly to Missouri to see them, anyway. It may be a little longer flight, but still manageable. I keep a list of my visits with them, to help me remember I do see them as often as possible. We've been able to get together 13 times since the wedding, and I'm hoping to make it 14 at Christmas. Another plus to Pennsylvania? Their new home will be about an hour from D's brother and sister so I can keep up contact with them. (It is also near DC and NYC. Hey, high school friends: ROAD TRIP!)
And what did God speak to me during this conference? Most of all, I was able to pour out my heart to my friends, and have them hand me some of the missing pieces in this puzzle of grief. I know that it is time to be more gracious to myself: I'm doing the best I can with what I have in this journey. There is no perfect method for walking this path. But there is a perfect One who walks beside me and holds me near.
I think I caught the fringe of His garment.