It was such a wonderful weekend, I hardly know where to begin. Aunt Katy took Christopher and Sarah, so Craig and I had two nights of uninterrupted sleep. Sheer grace.
The women of St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Greenville, MI -- led by Christina Velie -- did an amazing job. Fresh flowers everywhere. Beautiful music. Hands-down, the nicest hotel room I've ever stayed in (jacuzzi AND fireplace). A refrigerator stocked with Diet Coke (and anyone who knows me understands how important that is). Dinner at the Winter Inn with my husband, where a group of four girls in prom dresses were having dinner. We sent over dessert anonymously, just to hear the squeals of enjoyment (goes to show there is more than one way to enjoy chocolate mousse cake). I just wanted to affirm for them that they didn't need dates to have unexpected fun!
The best part of the conference was the women. I got to meet Kathryn Mulderink, and spend time with Cheryl Dickow. I got to meet another extraordinary sister in Christ, Sister Sarah Doser, director of the Franciscan Life Process Center in Lowell, MI. But it was the kindness and the sincere devotion of the women that inspired me most.
I'll never forget it ... and I'll treasure always a gift from one of the participants: a rosary ring that fit my fat little finger perfectly. ("It's a mother's ring," my new friend told me shyly.) Just before my talk, I mentioned to Father that I often feel as though I haven't found the right balance between taking care of my family and taking care of everything and everyone else. "Tell Mary about it," he advised me. Rightly so. And so I did ... and was amazed at the results.
I so hope I get an invite for next year's conference...!