Girls’ Weekend Away

It’s no secret that Thing 2 adores a good helium balloon, and it’s also not a secret that Grammy keeps feeding his addiction with trips to the local dollar store for MORE balloons.  Now, knowing that as the back story, do you want to know what one of the most refreshing ways you can wake up in the middle of the night is?

It would be to the sound of your husband FIGHTING a Mylar balloon at 12:45 AM, with enough force to sound like forty-eleven elephant ninjas have stomped into your bedroom, with trunks a-trumpeting and feet a-crushing.  Apparently, Hubs opened his eyes at 12:45 this morning to see a helium balloon with a slow leak hovering three feet off the floor, RIGHT.  BESIDE.  HIM.  He said that it scared the snot out of him so badly, his adrenaline surged to KILL SOMEONE levels, and he fought that balloon to its death.  It was exactly as quiet as a full-on fireworks display, that took place while someone else was throwing fancy china plates against the wall and a third person was blasting his air horn.

And that is the very reason that I was awake from 12:45 to 4:00 this morning.  My own adrenaline surged to RUN, RUN, RUN levels, because WHO IS HAVING THE HUNGER GAMES SHAKE DOWN IN MY BEDROOM? and also… RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!!

I’d like to blame Hubs for the giant bags under my eyes today.

Anyway.

This weekend I escaped town with a lovely pack of girls, because Beth Moore was speaking at An Event.

(Do you know Beth?  She’s my BFF, regardless of the fact that we have never met in person, what with her being famous and me being UN-FAMOUS.  It’s exactly like I’m her stalker, following her around from Bible study to Bible study, as I read all of her books and attend her day-long siumulcasts.  I’m a FRIENDLY stalker, though, because ain’t nobody with a teenager and a toddler got time to dress up in a trenchcoat and dark glasses and follow someone around 24/7.)

We left town in a Suburban heavily loaded with girls on Friday afternoon, and I’m not sure we EVER quit laughing.  My face ended up aching with all the muscle cramps involved with spending an entire weekend with my head thrown back in hilarity.

When we checked into our hotel, our fan club greeted us outside.  They were hoping to have their pictures taken with us, and that we would have bread crusts to throw to them.

IMG_2861

I also may or may not have texted Katie C. to tell her that BETH MOORE WAS STAYING IN OUR HOTEL, IN THE ROOM RIGHT BETWEEN OURS, before she arrived in her car, which may or may not have caused her to nearly get a speeding ticket and run over a stop sign in her haste to get there, because BETH!!!!  BETH RIGHT NEXT DOOR TO US!!!

It wasn’t the truth, y’all.  Beth was NOT at our hotel.  Katie C. almost cried real tears of disappointment, but I think she and I are still fabulous friends, regardless of my cruelty.

At dinner on Friday night, as we sat together at a round table, so that we could all see everyone’s sweet faces clearly, we realized that between eight of us moms, we had left a total of twenty-five children behind with their daddies.  That could be the very reason that NO ONE said at dinner, “Sit up here and eat your broccoli right this second,” or “Put that down and quit playing with it at the table,” or “I said SIT DOWN AND EAT YOUR BROCCOLI!” or “I said NO TOYS AT THE TABLE!” or “Stop throwing your broccoli,” or “Quit texting during dinner!”  None of us leaned down to retrieve dropped spoons nineteen times… none of us had yogurt thrown on our sleeves… none of us found that we’d sat on a half-eaten fish stick when we got up for more napkins and that we were carrying it around, dangling from the backside of our “mom jeans.”

I also ordered a filet mignon, because WHY NOT?  It turned out to be the driest steak that I’ve ever experienced in my life, and it required an entire pitcher of water to get it down.  Halfway through my piece of shoe leather, Melanie, who knows cuts of meat like she knows brands of facial moisturizers, leaned over my plate and said, “I thought you were ordering the filet?  Why’d you get a sirloin instead?”

Yes.  That would be me.  When I ordered a filet and I was served a piece of sirloin right off the horse’s back, I had no idea.

(I’m sorry, Hubs.  I was too busy talking to take notice.)

After dinner, we rushed across town in major traffic, missed an exit, drove over a curb to get back to said exit, and finally made it to see Beth Moore, live and in person…

… along with 400,000 other women and six men.

(In fact, all of the men’s restrooms were converted to bathrooms for women, with enormous signs on them that said PLEASE, LADIES!  TINKLE IN HERE, TOO!, so I’m not sure WHERE those six men went for potty breaks.)

I just had the camera on my iPhone this weekend, and let me tell you what I love about my phone’s camera:

Nothing.

I love NOTHING about it.

This is the reason that all of my snapshots look like they were taken through a tunnel in the year of our Lord, eighteen hundred and twenty-nine, but I couldn’t NOT snap group shots of all of my precious friends on our Beth Adventure.

And LOOK!!  Our dear friend Katie flew in from STINKING ALASKA for the event, and had to be picked up at the airport!  Talk about a genuine friend and Jesus-lover, who came all the way from the land of igloos to Bigger Town, USA for a word from Beth.

(Also?  I can’t take credit for this blurry picture.  Katie C. [We have TWO Katies in our group] snapped this of Katie H. as she got off the plane, and I think Katie C. was so excited to see Katie H. [Can I just refer to them as H and C from here on out?!], that her hand was shaking from LOOK!  SHE’S HERE!!!  SHE’S HERRRRRREEEEE!!!!)

IMG_2860H had her neck hugged no fewer than seventeen thousand times this weekend, because WELCOME BACK and DID YOU PACK ENOUGH CLOTHES TO LIVE HERE AGAIN FOREVER?

IMG_2862IMG_2863And then we got after it, with some phenomenal praise music and a word straight from Jesus, through Beth Moore herself.

IMG_2866Afterward, we went back to our hotel room, where we laughed and talked and didn’t sleep.

THAT may be due to the small fact that I am a… How do I say this in English?… high maintenance sleeper.  I require a nest built out of certain pillows every single night and a ceiling fan and the perfect temperature.  If any of those things are off… if even one pillow is missing from the edges of my nest, I will feel it as surely as I would feel a single pea beneath a stack of mattresses, and sleep will elude me.

On Saturday morning, we all met downstairs for COFFEE, COFFEE, COFFEE and our continental breakfast, and we realized that only LIBBY really slept, because Libby can apparently sleep anywhere, including in mattress stores when she lies down to try one out.

And then we went back across town in major traffic and DID NOT miss our exit, because we were experienced by then, so that we could finish up the conference…

… and take more group shots of each other.

IMG_2868 IMG_2876 IMG_2875 IMG_2878 IMG_2879And I’ll be the first to say it.

My hair wasn’t GOOD HAIR on Saturday.  It was second-day hair, which got scraped back into a messy bun, that turned out to be nine parts JUST HORRID and one part THIS WILL DO.  It wasn’t the hair I wanted to show off at a Beth Event, but Jesus decided that the stronghold called PRIDE OF A FANTASTIC HAIR DAY was going to be broken down for me.

I’m just relieved that I was the only one suffering from UGLY HAIR SYNDROME, and that all of my precious friends received an abundance of volume and cuteness this weekend.

And… listen.

Beth spoke all weekend long on BLESSINGS.  Only, she’s from Texas, so she adds an extra syllable, so she actually spoke on BUH-LESS-INGS.

Buh-less her heart.

The crazy thing is (which probably isn’t all THAT crazy, if you know Jesus’ personality at all) is that I have been praying about blessings for my boys for the past month.  I’ve been specifically praying that Jesus would give them blessings, much like the patriarchs gave blessings to their sons in the Old Testament, straight from God Himself, so… when Beth opened up her Bible on Friday night and said, “We’ll be talking this entire weekend about blessings,” my jaw sort of dropped open, and I said, “Really, Jesus?”  And then I sat up and listened.

The CliffsNotes version of the weekend is that all of our words have power, and we should use our words to speak blessings over EVERYONE, instead of speaking negativeness over them.

I took eighty-six pages of notes, because I’m pretty sure the message was aimed straight at me.

It was a precious time, y’all.

After Beth wrapped up the conference, our pack of girls went en masse to do some shopping.  Bigger Town, USA had no idea what had been turned loose on it.  We shopped until the physical exhaustion set in.  We laughed until we had cramps.  We hugged one another, we cried with one another, and we hugged some more.

We also tried to keep up with Melanie, who is a Professional Shopper.  She makes all of our THOUGHT WE WERE PROFESSIONAL SHOPPERS OURSELVES look like we’re nothing but contestant on Amateur Night.  All I can say is that when Melanie is in your group, you need to wear comfortable shoes, because she knows what she is looking for.  Hubs would be so dadgum proud of her, because she has a game plan for every store that she enters, and she doesn’t participate in the man-killing part called I’M WANDERING IN A STORE AND JUST LOOKING.

(She can also tell the difference between filets and sirloins.  Clearly, she should be nominated for our country’s president.  She can see problems and take charge, and she has great hair every single day of her life.)

And then, in the very dark part of the night, we drove back home.  Our Suburban looked like Santa’s sleigh, and we talked nonstop during the two-hour car ride, while we all passed around Sister’s bag of organic granola and Melanie’s bag of brown-rice chips for A LATE DINNER IN THE CAR.

And then I got a migraine, exactly twenty miles from home.  It struck like a midnight Mylar balloon attack, and made me, at one point, shout out, “I NEED OUT TO PUKE!!!!”

But… regardless of the migraine grand finale, I wouldn’t have changed a single thing about this weekend!  It was really and truly the best kind of fun I’ve had with the girls in ages!  And, after I had slept off my major headache and realized with ENORMOUS SADNESS that I had left my own favorite and expensive down-filled pillow in the hotel room (the very pillow that is the CORNERSTONE of my nightly pillow nest!), I greeted my little family with a rejuvenated spirit.

And you can bet that I’m going to be speaking BUH-LESS-INGS over all of their precious little selves.

So… to Sister and Katie H. (all the way from Alaska!!) and Katie C. and Libby and Melanie and Abbey and Jamie and Christa and Ellen and Angela and Amber and Heidi and Regan and Veronica… AND BETH MOORE… thank you for one fantastic weekend away.

And, rest assured, the hotel is mailing my beloved pillow back to me.

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