April 9-11 is officially my favorite weekend of 2010...and if you decide to read the novel of a recap that I am about to write, then you'll know why.
Even though the weekend didn't officially start until Friday, I got some great news on Thursday that helped to make the weekend even better. On Thursday afternoon, my bestest friend called to tell me that she would be having her little girl on Friday. Oh, the joy. I was in Auburn when I heard the news and so I smiled and cried the whole way home. The day I had waited for for so long was almost here. I was a bit sad because I knew because of a prior commitment that I couldn't get out of I wouldn't be able to be there for the actual birth, but I was thrilled nonetheless.
Previous commitment? I bet you're wondering what in the world would keep me from being at that hospital when my sweet friend gave birth. Well, about a month ago, my mentor--who happens to be one of my favorite people in the world--called to ask if I could help her out. She had signed up to be a driver for some women that would be coming to her town for an Extraordinary Women' conference and realized that she wouldn't be able to do it. She went on to say that the women she had signed up to drive for were Lysa TerKeurst and Holly Good. For those of you that don't recognized their names...you are missing out...but, don't you worry, I'll tell you who they are. You see, Lysa is a writer whose books have literally changed my life, and is the President of one of my favorite ministries for women, Proverbs 31...and Holly is her assistant who does so much more than just assist. I had the opportunity to meet Lysa and Holly for the first time about a year and a half ago and ever since then I have been a groupie. No, but really, I stalk her speaking schedule and make it a point to see her speak whenever I c an. To say I jumped at the opportunity to be able to help them out by driving them around would be an understatement.
It was such a treat to be able to drive them around and help them out. I loved everything from helping with the table set-up to the drug store and coffee runs. It is such a blessing to be able to serve--especially those that have inspired and encouraged you so much.
An added treat was the all access pass that allowed me to get a great seat! That pass also gave me access to places like the green room. Do you know who else had that pass? All of the speakers. This particular conference had five speakers and two worship leaders. You may recognize some of their names...Karen Kingsbury, Chonda Pierce, Sheri Rose Shepherd, Angela Thomas, Jeremy Camp, Mandisa, and of course, Lysa TerKeurst.
Well, on Friday night before the conference began, I followed Lysa and Holly up to the green room to get something to eat for dinner and after we sat down, do you know who walked in? Karen Kingsbury. Yes. I was in the same room as the one who introduced the world to The Baxter Family! To top it all off, after she got her plate, she sat down at my table...and we TALKED to each other! On the inside, I was totally freaking out, but on the outside, I was doing my best to act calm, cool and collected. I was trying so hard to "act like I'd been there" that I forgot to ask her for a picture. But, I promise, friends. I saw her. I ate with her. I talked to her....and she was even more incredible than I imagined!
On to the conference. It was incredible. INCREDIBLE. If they are coming to a town near you, I highly encourage you to make plans to attend. All of you Alabama girls---they are coming to Birmingham in May...and I'm going back! I had never been to a conference like that before, so I don't have anything to compare it to...but what I really loved about this one was how assessable all of the speakers and musicians were. Yes, I had a pass...but even if I hadn't had one, it would have been very easy to carry on conversations with them.
By the end of Saturday, I decided that I should ask for some pictures. Here I am with Angela...and then with Lysa.
I stayed the weekend with my the person who made the weekend possible in the first place. I met Mrs. Teresa almost 15 years ago and have been immensely blessed by her love for the entire time. She and her husband lived close enough for me to be able to stay with them, so that made the weekend even better. I loved hanging out with her precious daughters...four precious girls that are growing up entirely too fast...and catching up on life. We stayed up entirely too late, but it was so worth it. Even as we chatted about the importance of young girls having someone they can look up to, I was reminded of just how thankful I am to have someone like Mrs. Teresa in my life. It's not just teenagers that need a mentor...we all do...and she has blessed me time and time again with her acceptance, advice and unconditional love.
Sunday brought more exciting things. First off, breakfast with Lysa and Holly before I dropped them off at the airport. The weekend provided me lots of opportunities to get to talk with them and get counsel from them on different things, but Sunday was so special. We actually got to the airport a little early, so much of our conversation was done sitting in that car. Those of you that know me well know that my favorite conversations are had in cars...and this one did not disappoint. They challenged me, encouraged me, loved on me and offered some wonderful words of wisdom. God was so sweet to allow our paths to cross at this particular time.
After a goodbye hug and a "see you in Birmingham in May" I was back in the car with one thing in mind---get to the hospital and hold my best friend's baby! As I drove, it was almost ironic how many songs I heard on the radio that talked about little girls and their daddies or children grown up. It made for lots of tears. Tears that continued when I got to the hospital. On Friday morning, Natalie texted me with the news of Baby Carrington's birth, and I had seen a few pictures, but nothing compared to seeing her in person. She was the softest and sweetest bundle of joy. I was amazed at how alert she was and for the most part she was happy and co
ntent...just didn't want to have her diaper changed. :) It was hard to give her back to her mommy, but I willingly did, knowing that I the days and years ahead would provide many more opportunities for holding, loving and playing.
My best friend, the mommy, with her beautiful baby girl
Feels so good to have a baby in my arms again!
So there you have it. The novel recap of the weekend. So many special moments. Thank you, Lord, for your goodness.