Friday's morning and afternoon sessions were rich. Andy Andrews (former homeless teen turned exceptional speaker and author) shared his insights into forgiveness in a powerful way. He has a gift for connection, and the audience was drinking in his wisdom.
Working the crowd...
Oh, how everybody loves Patsy Clairmont! If you need a good laugh, head on over to your Christian bookstore and simply read her book titles! She is an amazing communicator with an amazing story. Every sentence that flowed from her lips was like a valuable treasure that you only wish you could store in your mind!
Friday afternoon, the event coordinator hosted a forum with Andy and Patsy, answering questions from the audience. Very informative and interesting. Loved listening to their unscripted responses.
Although not scheduled to be on this tour, we were so happy to get to meet Lucy Swindoll! I overheard that she shows up at the Columbus event each year. Very cool!
And then there is Lisa Welchel, child TV star turned wife and stay-at-home mom. She still has her little girl TV voice, and we enjoyed her story and the transparency with which she shared.
This is Richard Stearns. He had an extremely successful career in business. By the mid-80's he was president of Parker Brothers. Later, he became vice-president of the Franklin Mint. Following his time there, he became the CEO of Lenox Collections. God began to do something in his heart when he received a call from World Vision. He was asked to become president of the organization, and was vehemently against the idea until God took him through a troubling period of introspection. The result is that he and his wife left their 10 bedroom historic home in N.Y., and he resigned from the large fine china and home furnishing company to follow God's leading and bring His light to impoverished children all over the world. This decision prompted his new book, titled "The Hole in our Gospel". The sobering questions he addresses are, "What does God expect of us?" and "Are you wiling to be open to God's will for your life?" These are questions that typically would be answered with a resounding "Yes!" by all who claim to be Christian, but do our lives reflect that "Yes!"?
Then a special treat. I heard a familiar voice singing my all-time favorite Disney songs, "When You Wish Upon A Star" and "A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes". Who couldn't sit and listen to that all day! Sandi Patty has become part of Women of Faith's "Porch", and she spoke about her experiences from her first unsuccessful audition at Disney, to teaching piano to pay her way through Anderson University (she just happened to have two little students whose parents were named Bill and Gloria), becoming a back-up vocalist for the Bill Gaither Trio, marriage and family, heartaches, struggles with weight, and stress induced health issues. Her story was one with which, in some small way, we could all relate. She ended her time with a song of encouragement, "I Am Enough", and then wowed us with her rendition of "We Shall Behold Him".
Signing "We Shall Behold Him" for the deaf. It was beautiful to watch the connection between she and them...they were truly able to worship with her!
This is what the high note looks like...lol.
A mini-dream come true...
Marilyn Meberg and Nicole Johnson leaving the auditorium (they apparently didn't recognize me...haha)...
Patsy Clairmont up close (sorry about the head chop, but she was moving quickly). The next time she came by we tried to stop her for a group pic, and she was plenty willing, but her personal security held tightly to her arm and kept her moving. She started to pull away, but he wasn't going to budge, so giving us her cute little pouty-lip, she apologized and kept going. I was just thrilled to get to be so close in an arena that big!
One of the best things about the weekend is that I was able to spend some quality time with my mom. I mean REAL quality time...the hotel was out of queen beds, so I slept with my mother for the very first time in a very long time...haha! We both love to shop, so even though we only had mere minutes in between sessions, we zipped out to Penneys outlet for a few minutes, swung by Lane Bryant to use a couple of free coupons on some Cacique...oh, yeah...and ate at a delicious little place called Boston's (not Boston Market). Definitely the best pasta I've ever eaten. Oh, and can't forget the late night Graeter's Ice Cream run. Nothin' like going to bed full of Buckeye Blitz in a waffle cone! Did I mention I have a weight problem? lol Thanks, mom, for inviting me along! It was a blast!
Steven Curtis Chapman
Mary Beth Chapman's first ever public speaking experience...excellent content, delivery will come with practice. Steven was thrilled that she was finally emerging to tell the story of their lives and the recent tragedy and loss of their little Maria.
Marilyn Meberg giving a closing challenge...
Sandi Patty, Mandisa, and Lucy singing Happy Birthday for a few in the audience who were celebrating that weekend...
These girls have too much fun!
One of the best things about the conference...an abundance of pink-not that lightish, whitish stuff-happy hot pink and purple!
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Women Of Faith 2010
God had a special surprise in store for me last weekend. He knew my physical strength was waning, and my emotional resources were running low, so He sent me a little gift...then again, it wasn't so little! My mom and I were able to attend Women of Faith's 2010 conference at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, OH. I have thought about doing a WOF weekend in year's past, but with 4 little ones and a M-F commitment, it just didn't seem like a possibility. This time God didn't give me too much time to think about all the reasons I shouldn't go, and things fell perfectly into place for a much needed break! There is no way I can describe this weekend in a blog post, so I'll just share photos. This event was truly...