On Friday night I posted some snapshots from Edel, but now I'll share a bit more about this AWESOME weekend at the Edel Gathering!
The Beautiful Omni Hotel
I was so excited when I found out that some of my favorite bloggers were coordinating a Catholic mom's weekend this summer and that it would be in AUSTIN! The travel time is about four hours each way from here in south Texas, but it was still so much closer and cheaper than for those who made great sacrifices to come from all across the country! I was grateful to be able to room with my sweet friend Andrea, a taste of the real life friendship we will get to enjoy when I move back "home" in a couple months.
fuzzy lens, but sweet baby resting in our room
I am pretty much a total extrovert with a capital E, so I didn't have many worries about meeting new people or feeling out of place since I happened to know a couple dozen of these ladies already, either from college, from homeschooling circles, or from blogging. So I was totally in my element all weekend, meeting new friends, chatting with old friends, eating that fantabulous hotel breakfast (breakfast buffets are my fav!), and dancing into the night. (I've been feeling so bummed that we haven't attended weddings in the past few years, because I miss the DANCING!) It was really special to meet a few ladies who have actually read on this little blog here, and nice to know that some of my posts, especially those about my c-sections, have been encouraging to them. It was physically and emotionally challenging to experience this weekend with a five month-old baby strapped to my chest, or fussing in the back seat, but it was so very worth it.
more of Friday night Cocktails and Crazy Shoes, from my real camera
It's hard to put into words what the talks and the whole experience meant to me. I have felt so ISOLATED the past few years living in a city where I feel like no one understands me, and we have missed out on a lot of the activities that my kids and I enjoy. It's been like a three year retreat, from which I'm about to emerge, and this was a little taste of what I'm about to experience with my local friends again in that COMMUNITY that I'm missing! I was thinking about how most conferences and retreats are scheduled to the minute with morning prayer and mass, talks every hour, sometimes even silent dinners. This was the exact OPPOSITE of those experiences, and just what my soul needed. There was hardly any structured time, just a few talks, with most of our time spent socializing...my favorite! Usually when I go to conferences I spend most of the time talking with people rather than listening to the talks. It's truly what my heart enjoys. Plus add in music and dancing, and my heart was very, very happy :)
Also Friday night
Words that spoke to me over the weekend...
Hallie Lord: "It is good that you are here." Marion Fernandez-Cueto: "Will this choice enable me to go further in love?" Haley Stewart: (about the test for her unexpected pregnancy) "I've never wanted anything more in my whole life." Jennifer Fulwiler: (on finding the patron saint for the event, Venerable Edel Quinn) "Female saint who likes to party."
Katie and Birdie Saturday morning
Today when I was thinking about how to express the message of this gathering, I was pondering those thoughts that were shared by Jen about the way we are Building Cathedrals. The builders of so many of the great cathedrals never got to see the fruits of their labor. Their work may have seemed insignificant, but all those little bricks and mosaics turned out something brilliant for God. We hope that each little daily action of changing a diaper, wiping a nose, making another lunch quesadilla, done over and over again, though it feels so monotonous, is truly helping to build up some beautiful souls for Heaven.
from the roof...
and from the elevator...
My 3yr old Thomas came up to me a few minutes ago and started a poignant conversation:
Tommy: What do you want to be when you grow up?
Me: A Mommy, of course!
Tommy: No, what CHARACTER do you want to be?
Me: What do you mean?
Tommy: I know what you want to be: You're gonna be a BUILDER, Mommy!
(I think he was referring to Bob the Builder, but still)
Ballroom decked out for dinner and dancing
So, yes I am a builder. I am a builder of cathedrals. I am a builder of these little souls that God has entrusted to us. Many days my life seems monotonous, I feel isolated, and I'm frustrated by the little daily battles that happen when homeschooling a brood of children. But I am not alone. These other builder-moms are on this journey with me. I am blessed with real and online friends who encourage me in this journey, and I'm grateful for weekends like this when we can just BE together and be reminded that we are not just moms, we are still women who enjoy dressing up and having a good time. It was truly refreshing for my soul, and I hope that I can make Edel 2015!
And a few more iPhone snapshots...
with my Momtographer friends, Colleen, Diana and Lauren
Crazy fun in the elevator!
And an elevator selfie decked out on Saturday night!
A big shout out to Steven and to all the dads who held down the fort so the moms could enjoy this special time together! Steven even joined in the live Twitter stream that was projected on a screen in the ballroom. He was out of town all week, and then came home late Thursday only to be forced into a miserable weekend of a three day swim meet. Superdad, THANK YOU!
Venerable Edel Quinn, pray for us!