I just had one of the craziest and best weekends of my life! I was scheduled to speak at Westlake Bible Church in Austin, Texas to a great group of ladies. I knew little about Austin and have only been to Texas once on a quick 24 hour whirlwind trip to be on a cable TV show five years ago. A quick Internet search told me that Austin is home to many things including the O’Henry Pun Off World Championships, and the Spamarama Cook Off where–you guessed it–contestants enter various categories by cooking with Spam. There is even a Spam Cram where people compete for the title by cramming a 12 ounce can of the tasty treat into their mouths and down the hatch as fast as they can. The record? 6.6 seconds!! I also knew that they say everything is big in Texas and it is! The buildings, the roads, the jewlery but most of all, the women’s hearts.
I was all packed with notes in hand. My family was adequately set for 48 hours without mom–food in the fridge, clean clothes, brownies and peanut butter cookies cooling on the counter. (They just may eat better when I’m gone!) Kenzie was ready to drop me off at the airport at 6:30 a.m. Friday when the airline called to say my first flight to snow covered Chicago had been canceled and I’d need to take a later one. I freaked out and then emailed my prayer team and the other gals on the speaker team at Proverbs 31. (My usual pattern.) I instantly calmed down. I trusted that God would get me there in His way and in His time and tried not to think of the possibility that I wouldn’t make it there at all. (I live near a very small airport and there are only a few flights out each day to Detroit, Chicago and Cincinnati.)
Anyhow… the first flight was canceled to Chicago. The second flight was canceled to Chicago. There was only one more left. The agent didn’t seem too certain it would go out either due to weather. So I said, “Look, sir. I HAVE to get to Austin, Texas TODAY! Let’s just pretend I am your mother and have to get somewhere for life saving treatment and I have to arrive by midnight” (It was now early afternoon, not 6:30 am like when I was supposed to start my trip.)Then I added “How would you get me there in a way you would be most certain wouldn’t be delayed or canceled due to weather.” So he switched me from United to Delta so I wouldn’t have to go through Chicago and the snow and I ran to catch the plane that was soon to take off.
Well……. I flew from Lansing to Cincinnati to Atlanta to Austin and got in at nearly 9:00 p.m. that night instead of 12:45 in the afternoon as originally planned!!!! I prayed that God would give me confirmation that he wanted me on all those flights and in all those airports. I know for certain that he wanted me to sit by one grandma from Atlanta to Austin. She was going to visit her busy daughter who has a toddler and is giving birth to twins any day. I am going to send her a copy of my new book on organization for busy moms. We had a wonderful visit and the time seemed to pass much quicker than it had all day. It was certainly a God appointment. And……to top it all off, when I reached Atlanta….tired, cranky and hungry– with lots of Weight Watchers points left…. I walked off of the plane, turned right and there before me was……..A CHIC-FIL-A Restaurant !!!!!! We don’t have these in Michigan and the first time I had any of this heavenly food was at the Proverbs 31 She Speaks conference two years ago in North Carolina. I ordered a sandwich and called Kenzie to rub it in!
The retreat was fabulous. The women’s ministry director found my book by one of those Amazon “If you like this….then you may like this too….” ads. She had Keri Wyatt Kent’s book Oxygen on the screen (She was their Christmas event speaker.) And my Life that Says Welcome book popped up. She ordered it, opened it and read one sentence. It was almost verbatim the theme of their ladies retreat so she hopped on the Internet to find me.
Long story short….it was the most incredible event I have done!. All of the ladies including Marilyn, women’s ministry director, Christa, the event coordinator and helpers Margaret and Lupita were wonderful!!! They wrote and performed a skit based on hospitality and the theme of my book and also created a video showing four women in their church who are living lives that say welcome. (One segment featured a lady whose ‘hospitality on the road’ idea is to take a few other church women and give free manicures once a week at the nursing home nearby.) I stayed in the guest house of one of the church members. It was one a gorgeous estate and was like an Italian villa bed and breakfast. Yes, Miss LeAnne and Mr. Monty made me feel pampered. They and the steering team had stocked the pantry with all kinds of goodies from salmon to fruit to grilled chicken and artichoke pasta to dark raspberry chocolate–my favorite!!! God really moved in the hearts of the women. Especially after the talk where I bare my soul and tell some not so pretty stories about myself as I discuss envy and forgiveness. I had a lot of women say that God had been working in their hearts for a while on these issues, but they had been resisting Him until now. Needless to say, it was a great weekend.
Now here is the part where I’m supposed to post pictures of the event for you to see, but all did not go well once I left Texas. I got stuck in the Chicago airport for nearly 5 hours and none of the pictures the gals from the church sent me am I able to upload!!! Just a crazy ending to a crazy, but wonderful weekend!
Watch my blog for a fun giveaway later this week. I’ll be giving away two copies of Trish Berg’s new book Rattle; Surviving Your Babies First Year Without Losing Your Cool.