Friday, May 27, 2011

The Top Ten Most Awkard Moments at a Women's Retreat

I've mentioned Real Gil around here - he's the superhero in my nonfiction life.

But last week, I'm pretty sure he elevated himself to angelic, superhuman proportions, when he willingly shoved me out the door for a weekend retreat at a nearby conference center while he stayed home with The Littles.

Not only did I get a weekend away - that in and of itself would have been ideal.

I got a weekend away, with a group of my sisters in Christ. On a beach. With all of my meals prepared.

And - here's the best part - those women had to listen to me talk all weekend long. Oh yes, 'tis true. (Many of my readers are thinking, "Those women look like superheroes too.")

Could there be a better weekend for an extrovert like me? I'm still reliving my favorite moments.

But there are a few moments I'm still pondering - those inevitable, awkward moments which mark you as a women's retreat attendee.

So, here is my official top ten list: Awkward Moments at a Church Women's Retreat

10. The moment when the speaker strays from her notes: she gets this gleaming sparkle of unplanned, unprepared inspiration and suddenly, the entire audience is wishing their chairs had seat belts. Because surely, in that moment of complete vulnerability while standing in front of a room full of women is a better time to vocalize new ideas than in all of those endless hours of peaceful preparation. Surely, right then, when nerves and pride are waging war with normal digestive processes, surely that moment is a better time to do one last edit, to weave Crayola-colored rabbit trails all over that perfectly aligned outline. Yup. Awkward. (I don't know why this is in third person, except I might not be ready to admit my own awkwardness...)

9. Any moment when women come to the weekend speaker with permission to speak freely, often prefacing their words with gentle pleads that this loose cannon will not say anything about them from the podium. (Not unrelated to Number Ten). One dear friend even came to me to tell me that I had a tag sticking out of my blouse, and that I should cut that out, "but don't tell anyone I said to do it." Poor girl, she thought I'd blast her from the podium. Nah, I save that for the blog.

8. The moment when I somehow got mixed into the Grace Community Church Single's Ministry Retreat and was quickly identified as the wolf in sheep's clothing. "I think your group is in that line," one vibrant and well-rested college-age girl gently pointed to the other registration table. Talk about deflated. It was as bad as last week, when I bought wine at a grocery store and did NOT get carded.

7. The moment when one must decide how colorful to make the salad... and how well you know your roommate. I opted out of the black beans.

6. The moment I realized my hotel room guilt. There was a hike up a hill from our lakefront hotel room to Cabin #46. One step onto the sagging front porch had me silently grimacing at their misfortune. Amidst the charm of their woodsy, rustic cabin, there was duct tape holding a window pane together, bats - yes, bats - in the rafters, and one bathroom for eight people. (And I was afraid to eat beans with one roommate.) "Isn't this cute?" one of the cabin inhabitants said. And that was an awkward silence.

5. The moment my friends realized my hotel room guilt. A dear sister needed a quiet place to nap on Saturday afternoon - after a long wait in line for the one shower and a longer wait for sleep to come amidst the flurry of bats overhead - and our room fit the bill. I walked into the room and saw it with fresh eyes. "Oh, Sum. I'm sorry. I'm sorry this is so nice, and yours...isn't." Awkward.

4. The moment when I put my pajamas on and wondered to myself, "Bra or no bra?" What is more important - modesty or a good night's sleep? Two of the funniest women in the world chose that moment to come visit our room. I explained my dilemma to them, and one of them - an older, wiser woman in her early fifties - said, "Well, that's why I am wearing this bathrobe. All those young, strapping single boys with that college-age group." She added with a flourish. "I didn't want to cause any of them to lu-s-sst." Not so much awkward as just downright hilarious.

3. The rare moments when women all over camp resolved to stop talking and go to sleep. For every extrovert, this is awkward. And monumental.

2. The moment, during worship, when I realized everyone behind our front row had sat down and we were still standing, shaking our hips to the music. The only thing more awkward was that glance over my shoulder and the proceeding look of sheer horror at all the women behind me, staring at my Christian booty shake.

1. The moment prior to me approaching the podium to speak, when I was boisterously singing next to my dear friend, Queen K. She leaned over mid-song to carefully ask an awkward question, all for the sake of sparing me further embarrassment: "Is your wireless microphone off?"

Laughter - good for the soul. As was the retreat.

Resting Here,

Thursday, May 26, 2011

An Array, A Hodgepodge, A Potpourri

Why is there a "t" in potpourri anyways? I'm still bitter about losing that seventh grade spelling bee.

Anyways, here's a mishmash of articles...

  • Memorial Day is upon us this Monday. I appreciated this article, which encourages us to not change our plans for the day, but to go into the day thinking through the freedoms we have at each corner, at each hour of the day. Gratefulness, not sober ceremony, is perhaps what these fallen heroes would want?...
  • I have no idea how this girl can weave God's existence, farts, and the love of a mother for her mentally challenged daughter all into one article, but she does it superbly. Read it and you're sure to giggle and nod in agreement.
  • A great article from a liberated Christ-follower, on technology... Amen, sister.
  • Talk about generosity - panhandling and giving it all away. I would gladly do it in Santa Barbara or San Diego, but cold, windy Chicago? Suddenly, I'm not sure I have the gift of generosity.
  • I am not crafty enough to know what to do with these cute little free downloads, but some of you are. So, I'll gladly take your ideas and steal them as my own. Heck, that's what I do to Cathe Holden at least once a month!
  • Check out what these volunteers did to the church nursery!
  • If I had a little motivation...and someone crafty to hold my hand, I would make me one of these. I could make one of these. But I don't have anyone crafty to hold my hand. And whatever you do, don't volunteer or I won't have a valid excuse any longer.

  • Sacred Sandwich always has me laughing. It's good for the soul, I say. This one had to be shared here.
  • This - a great video for the hopeless romantic... Can I dream of having a son-in-law like this someday?

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Overflow

Many, many blessings to list, many I've forgotten that should be here, many that should be repeated every week.

92. Squeals in the grass, and cheap plastic eggs full of candy
93. A voice that held out, and the prayers that
94. piles of books - adventures, travels, nature at our hands, even spelling and language, all awaiting us
95. butterfly cupcakes and the eager lips that were covered in frosting
96. tandem bikes
97. the open road
98. pregnancy stories - all so vastly different and yet, there seemed to be no 'homebirth' or 'epidural' lines to be drawn. What freedom among these sisters!
99. laughter until my jaw hurts!
100. a lakefront weekend that took my breath away - so safe, so "tucked in," and so fun too.
101. this husband of mine that managed kids - perhaps he ended the weekend breathless too?
102. Monday morning - with the gift of established works to be done, all to Him.
103. dress-up clothes and little girls who still imagine
104. creamer, flavored coffee, and goodies all thoughtfully prepared
105. Living from His overflow - perfect rest.

Resting Here,

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Many But Not Complete Confessions of a Mediocre Motorhome Owner

What do you get when you combine

1 motorhome
2 parents
3 kids
4 helpful grandparents (2 who came in their own trailer and 2 who watched our dog)
5 bottles of sunscreen
6 cases of water
7 tickets to Disneyland
8 bicycles and scooters
9 hours on the road,
10 loads of laundry?

The simple answer: you get ten loads of laundry.
The more complex answer: you get three happy kids, two frazzled parents, and two delightful and delighted grandparents.
The sentimental answer: you get priceless memories.
The logical answer: you get one family vacation.
The homeschooler's answer: you get many new experiences and perspectives. And now you're going to win a spelling bee.
The mother's answer: you get ten loads of laundry, and every one of them was worth it.

The father's answer: you get time off of work, long bike rides with your kids, and one great baseball game as a finale.

In a nutshell, we had a great trip. It was a hyper hiatus, but we are home and the last load of laundry has been burned folded and put away.

I am now perfectly qualified to write a book titled "The Many But Not Complete Confessions of a Mediocre Motorhome Owner." It would include honest confessions like "I threw away a perfectly good tupperware because it was easier than cleaning out the leftovers into the trash can." Or this one: "I watched my son pull his pants down and pee on the asphalt...all while an old lady scooped up her terrier's do-do in the neatly fenced 'doggy' area. My dilemma was - do I stop my son mid-stream or do I instruct him to go in the grassy area where the dogs do their business?" Also, I would have to include one confession that distinguishes the Upper Crust motorhome owners from the Mediocre motorhome owners - bungee cords. If you have them just to look prepared, you're Upper Crust. If you have them because it's what's keeping your tenement on wheels together, you are mediocre, but you are tenacious, humble, and good at jerry-rigging. Other confessions? I'd have to admit that I stole condiment packets and one loaf of sourdough bread from a Princess Lunch at Disneyland.

Also, I forgot to empty the lint screen after doing my laundry in the RV laundry room. And we completely failed the motorhome flag test. If you are retired, you hang an American flag outside your motorhome. If you are young and mediocre, you wish you had an American flag to hang but you're too busy hanging beach towels to remember where you put it. If you are an organized and meticulous motorhome owner, you use the outdoor shower to wash off beach sand before you enter your motorhome. If you are a mediocre motorhome owner, you strip your toddler naked, scrub him good, and call it a legitimate bath.

The trip was anything but mediocre, even if we annoyed everyone in the motorhome park with our antics. But whew! It was fun.

After reviewing our pictures, I couldn't resist sharing the best string of photos ever, the ones that had me laughing in bed last night, thanks to our seven-year old Punkin who snatched my iphone and intrigued one curious orangutan at the zoo.

He was definitely interested in Punkin, who even moved away about fifteen feet to give other children a chance to see the orangutan. He followed her across the glass wall.

Then, he stared at her for a while... (Wait for it, wait for it....)

Then, he did this!

And that pretty much sums up our vacation. Goofy smiles all around!