Monday, October 29, 2012

Celebration & Women of Faith

We have a few celebratory items in this post. First up: 

The blog has over 10,000 page views! 

As I type, We're past 10,100 which is pretty exciting! This blog started when Nick and I got engaged (February 2009) - funny thing is that he started the blog. I didn't know much about it and it was really his idea as we started to plan our wedding. He wrote in it more than I did for a while - check out a few of his posts here, here, and here

Compared to some other blogs, that number may be not very big, but this is also a creative outlet for me and a place I can write my thoughts out and process through things. I like to blog about our life and look back on older posts to see how far we've come. The numbers aren't my goal, yet it's fun to know others enjoy it as well. Living away from home, it's a great way to keep everyone in the loop with the happenings of our life. 

Another celebratory item to share about was at the Women of Faith conference the weekend before last and the theme was Celebrate What Matters. Rachel made the trip from Des Moines and treated me so we could enjoy this getaway together and it was a much needed break from the norm. She's a busy mom of two little ones, and we just don't get to see enough of each other these days, so it was great to have her here and enjoy the weekend together! 

 Cece Winans was great and rocked the house Friday night! Her voice has the crispness and passion that really reminded me of Whitney Houston.

 Looking at this photo, I realized that Instagram photos have those black strips top and bottom since they are in a different size. Sorry about that:) I'm definitely still learning this new phone and experimenting with Instagram - but am loving it so far! 
 Max Lucado took the stage on Saturday- I have read his book, Traveling Light. I highly recommend that book and I really want to re-read it. It's great. 

We also got to hear Angie Smith, of Bring the Rain blog. Rachel has followed her blog since Angie lost her baby years ago (this was when the blog began), and I've followed off and on since then, always appreciating her writing from her heart. On stage, she shared about her battle with anxiety from the age of 4 and was even hospitalized for anxiety/worrying at that young age. She bravely told her story, as she does often now, and is such an inspiration for facing fears and overcoming battles that have come her way.

After hearing Angie spoke, they were playing a song, so Rachel and I snuck out to find where we could eat lunch. We walked by this pretty short line and I looked at the sign to realize this is the line to meet Angie! We looked at each other and quickly and excitedly made the decision to get in line and meet her. We anxiously waited in line, and I tried to think of what I would to say to her. 

She was SO sweet and looked me in the eye and smiled the warmest smile like she was thrilled to see me. I said something like "You are such an inspiration, thank you for sharing your story"... something I like that, trying to recite my rehearsed line to her. I didn't have anything else with me to have her sign other than my event ticket - so she signed it. I would love to have coffee with her and have a heart to heart. She is such a wise woman. She has written a few books now, one of which Rachel has been reading - What Women Fear. I want to read her books now:) 

After our lunch and after our nerves calmed down;) Justin Bieber's mom came in a surprise interview on stage and has a great story to share. She has overcome a lot as well and I was surprised by what she has endured and overcome.

Pat Smith, Emmitt Smith's wife, shared her story as well. There were so many great stories shared here - some of which I wasn't able to fit into this post, it was so much inspiration to soak up in one quick weekend. I took notes and hope I can dig back into these stories and soak them up a bit deeper too.

We also got to hear Selah perform - that's Angie Smith's husband, Todd, too by the way! These two are an incredible duo - you've got to check them out. I added a video of one of my favorite songs by them so far at the bottom of the post.

All in all, the conference was a breath of fresh air. We laughed (so hard that I got a good ab workout), cried (sobbed in one case. embarrassing.), worshipped, and learned. An arena full of women (even the men's restrooms were converted into women's ones!) walking together in this life, side by side, learning from each other and from teaching of the Bible as we go. 

Each story shared was deeply moving. Everyone had experiences that took them to a new low and brought them to their knees, where in most cases, is where they found the Lord or found Him again. It was truly inspirational and I am excited to read some of their books and learn from them even more. 

Here are videos I want to share:

Here's Angie's story as she shared it a few years ago:

One of the songs I really enjoy by Selah: 

The Righteous Ruth rap:
I didn't write about her up above, but Liz Curtis Higgs is a hilarious speaker, best selling author, and had a wild (really) story to share about her past and how she came to know the Lord. She did part of this rap and had the entire arena cracking up. 

Lastly, here's Today's Pinspiration:
This artistic writing of John 3:16 is so neat and very fitting to sum up the Women of Faith weekend.

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