I'm back from the Women of Faith event and it was absolutely, fill you up, amazing!
I went once before (I think about 5 years ago). I was gifted the ticket then too. My amazing neighbor and some of her friends took me. I shared a bed with a nursing mother that I didn't know then, but now consider a good friend (No, not because I shared a bed with her and her infant!). (She was in a car accident this weekend and has a bleeding disorder so although she seems OK, she isn't feeling quite right and that could be seriously scary so prayers for her if you do that!).
This wasn't much like that event. For one thing the first one was in a hotel, and broke down into smaller sessions. Overall, while I'm sure there were thousands of women there, it felt very personal. It was the first time I prayed for salvation.
There were over 9,000 women at this event!!!!!! Did you see that number?!! Almost 10,000 women gathered together under one roof. It was amazing, but a little isolating too. You may not know this about me, but I'm a bit of an extrovert... OK, I'm a major extrovert. I love meeting new people and talking to everyone! I'm sure I was a bit annoying to Annie our group leader, and her friend who are most decidedly NOT extroverts.
During the first break, and at dinner the first night we had a good time and talked, and believe me I am NOT complaining, but during the seminar they spent most of the time on their phones - texting, tweeting, I'm not sure what. Annie's friend has 3 sons in high school so we had some things in common, but she'd never hear of RAD and doesn't blog (not that that makes her a bad person!!). I felt incredibly technologically backward (I don't text or tweet) and totally unloved (their phones were constantly buzzing, but no one called me all weekend - Oh wait! That's a lie! Tell you about that in a sec.).
Almost everyone came in a group, and we had assigned seats for a significant portion of the weekend, so there wasn't a lot of "networking." Before we had assigned seating, I did meet some nice women who worked at Adoption Angels, which is an infant adoption placement agency in San Antonio. They were very nice and we talked during the break. Of course we talked about adoption, and they'd even heard of RAD, but mostly that if a child had it you should run, not walk in the other direction!
I did get two calls during the seminar. One was from Janera over at My Garden Hat. We'd "met" when she found out I was going to WOF and we've been e-mailing since. She called me at the seminar so we could hook up and find each other (could never have done it without cell phones, and even then it was difficult!). She's cute as a button and you should check out her blog (she doesn't post very often, but maybe this would motivate her to write! *grin*). We didn't get to talk much, but I really enjoyed meeting her. I'm looking forward to getting to know her better through her blogs. It's so fun meeting people IRL.
The second person who called me was Laynie at MySweeterChaos. We have met before IRL and she was the person I gave my second ticket to. (I know I've said this before, but THANKS MAMA DRAMA TIMES TWO FOR GIVING ME THESE TICKETS!! YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT A DIFFERENT YOU MADE IN THE LIVES OF TWO WOMEN!! (Well, I'm assuming that this made a difference in Laynie's life. If she got out of it even half what I did).
I loved getting to spend some time with another mom who "gets it." I even got to sleep on Tinkerbell sheets and meet her adorable children again (I met them over a year ago, but they didn't remember me). Of course they were adorable with me (2 of the 3 have RAD), but I know Laynie enjoyed having someone around who understood when she refused to hug her RAD child. It's sooo great to have someone who knows and isn't secretly (or not so secretly) condemning you or judging you for what looks on the surface to be bad parenting.
We talked about our kids, of course, and it was soooo wonderful to have someone who "gets it" saying, "You're doing the right thing." That's what I needed the most from this weekend, so the seminar itself was just icing on the cake (but amazing, wonderful, gorgeous icing!!)
Anyway, I'll tell y'all more about what actually happened in the seminar in another post.
A few extra things they should have told us to bring:
- Walking shoes - this was in the Alamodome and I always ended up parking on the other side of the entrance. Since the railroad tracks run between the parking lots and the dome you could only cross over in the front and back and wwwaaaaaalllllkkk (unlike Annieology I'm NOT a runner - I'm a couch potato! In 3 inch heels!)
- Kleenex - OK, I cried pretty much the ENTIRE time. The hormones in the room were at an all time high!
- CHOCOLATE! Technically we couldn't bring it in because of the food restrictions, but I needed it!
- A small light. I did try to take notes a couple of times (last time I went, everyone took notes). I gave up though because it was fairly dark and I knew after awhile that I was going to purchase the DVD of the event. I'm sooo mad at myself though because there was one quote in one of the dramas that I absolutely loved, but didn't bother to write down... and now I know the dramas aren't on the DVD! *sigh* Going to have to keep looking for it. (Edited to add: “Give sorrow words. The grief that does not speak whispers the o'er-fraught heart, and bids it break.” Shakespeare, Macbeth 4:3 This quote and a journal was given to a women who'd borne a terrible sorrow in secret for years, and truly resonated with me.)
- Lots of money! You couldn't bring in outside food or drink and bottled water was $4! (It did recommend bringing an empty bottle to fill up, which I did, but tepid tap water is kind of yuck). There was tons of snack food, coffee and drinks if you had the money though. The boxed lunches were pretty good though. Of course the main reason you needed money was there were books, and CDs, and tote bags, and all sorts of shopping to be done and not much else to do if you weren't in a group. I did buy a DVD of the seminar and I plan to share it with as many people as I can - starting with Laynie because she had to miss quite a few of the sessions (but don't tell Mama Dramax2, because I intend to surprised them and send it there when we're finished as a thank you for the tickets!)
How to get out of volunteer work (according to Anita Renfroe, Purse-onality):
Simply state, "It's not my gift." Combined with, "Let me pray about that." and you're safe!
Saying "no" is not being negative. Negative is saying "yes" to things that are destroying you.