I'm sitting at my desk, wrapped in a sparkling red blanket and covered in my old York College sweatshirt. A too-weak cup of chai is cooling off next to me and I am struggling with what to write.
Today was my hubby's day off. I enjoyed the afternoon, reading excerpts from books to eachother, we hit the movies and watched Pirates of the Caribbean, Dead Man's Chest for 50 cents a ticket and then hit Barnes and Noble for some more book reading. We're peas in a pod. (I did however, sneak away to Hobby Lobby to pick up that embossing heat gun I had coveted for far too long.)
I have just come off of an incredibly busy week. Some time ago, in a ladies class, it was brought up that the ladies desperately wanted another Ladies Retreat. Most of the ladies who had hosted and put on the last one had since left the church (ugh, huge issue - can't be addressed here - perhaps another time), and there was a gap between wanting and having.
I stood in the gap. Why? Who knows?
By the way... I have opened this blog window and written in this space several times in the past months only to close it up unsaved. I think I'll post this one... see where it takes me. ("Girlfriend has commitment issues!")
I spoke at this retreat... twice. I was sort of the emcee, but was also one of the session leaders and the featured speaker last night.
Mmmm last night was nice. We had ladies church down at a local private park (owned by friends of mine). They built a huge bonfire and made hot apple cider for all of us. The ladies showed up in their warmest attire, and wrapped in blankets sat on the enormous logs as we worshipped together. Sadly, I only spent an hour preparing my lesson... but it was delivered with much passion... and I pray that the ladies were blessed by it.
I spoke on embracing God, doubt, faith and grace. I emphasized that we are not enough. We were created to be incomplete without him - and to feel like we are falling short is how it's supposed to be... until we take our first step of faith. Then, much like our first step on an escalator - God takes us from there. I hoped that every woman in the audience had experienced God's grace and that it wouldn't stop there - that women would share it with other women and shine forever like stars in the universe.
Anyway... between the smoke and the hot chocolate and s'mores and the shaky start to my lesson... I think it was all good. But I am tired.
You know... Yesterday - I went with a friend to pick up a table she bought at an antique store down the street from my house. While I was browsing, I found an old tiara. Simple, tarnished and beautiful. A large star was placed on top of two little "hills" - between them. And, that was it! I asked the clerk how much it was (the tag was blank) - she figured it to be $2. I took it. I bought it impulsive and placed it on my head on the way out the door. I didn't want to place it in my purse, lest it break - so the natural place to "hold" it seemed to be my head. And then I promptly forgot about it.
My friend and my sister and I went to Sam's Club to seek out the perfect wedding gift for the shower that afternoon. I shopped for an hour and folks seemed to look at me a little longer and smile. I smiled back. I thought "Jeez, I must look good!". Or... maybe people were just extra friendly at the beginning of the holiday season. In any event, we purchased our fantastic gifts and drove on to the church. I dropped my gifts off there and printed of the scriptures I would use at the campfire that night. My sweet hubby brought some tennis shoes and my old sweatshirt to me - and I snagged them in my rush out the door.
It wasn't until I hopped in the church van and pulled on my sweatshirt that I realized I was still wearing my new old tiara! No one, not my sister, friend, Sams' Club shoppers, church friends, not even my daughter made mention of my tiara! The ladies in the van were tickled... we drove on out to the bonfire together... but I kept the tiara on. I didn't want to lose it in the van.
When I arrived at the bonfire, it was roaring! Old leaves seemed to make the fire rage... if only for a moment. And, as I was speaking - and as some of the ladies were getting chilly - someone would throw a leafy branch on the fire. And, all of the ladies would bask in it's temporary rage of fire. But, the leaves would burn out and then the ash would float way up in the air and still glowing, land all around us.
As I was speaking someone shouted out..."Jen! You have fire on your head!" I brushed my hair out quickly, bumping my once again forgotten tiara. I didn't want to have a Michael Jackson moment right there in front of everyone! Then there was a murmur. Some of the women had imagined it to be fire, but it was my tiara sparkling - reflecting the fire on my head. They said it looked like a sort of anointing. We all laughed together.
After the session, singing, and prayer we all sang silly songs together around the campfire and the little girls took turns wearing my tiara. What joy that little $2 trinket brought to folks that day.
I have so much going on in my life, in my heart... and I really do want to share it all. But, I don't know where or with whom to start!
I do want to say this...
I have been getting closer to God. He has reassured me of his forgiveness and unconditional love. Though, he has also been reminding me that while his love is unconditional, his promises are not. Mmm... and that is where I need to grow.
I'm sorry for my absence... not only in writing or not writing... but my emotional absence as I write.
I want to get real again.