Whooo hooo....last night Mary, Cindy, and I left Rock Mills at nearly 11:00 and drove to Duluth, Ga for the Women of Faith conference.(I included a link in case you want to check it out....or go to one of the other venues they have planned.) When we got there we had one queen bed and a fold out couch. I slept on the couch...without it being pulled out last night because Susan would not be there until Friday because she was babysitting for her grandson in Chattanooga in a hotel so her daughter, Jan and SIL, Keith could go see Straight No Chaser....their babysitter had bailed on them at the last minute. Susan arrived at the hotel about 8:00 and we all ate breakfast, then headed off to the conference. I was so excited. The lineup was phenomenal....my all time favorite.....Patsy Clairmont is a pint-sized dynamo with larger-than-life stories. I can testify from past experiences with her that women go home to regale their friends and family with the latest "Patsy story" and this weekend will be no different. Patsy has a poet's gift for making words dance as she shares her adventures and God's overwhelming love. Who'd have thought the teenage runaway who spent later years housebound with agoraphobia would grow into the gifted communicator and best-selling author you see and read today? (Certainly not Patsy herself!) A proud mama of two boys and "nana" to two more, Patsy and husband Les live Tennessee. What to know more about her check out her website.Website: http://patsyclairmont.com/ I promise you will love her and die laughing. Marilyn Meburg is a wise teacher and cherished friend(even though I have never met her) full of heart-felt humor At first glance, you might think Marilyn was a serious, wise, well-educated counselor. (And you'd be right!) But she's also prone to break into giggles at the slightest provocation and tell stories you'll still be laughing over years from now. With the weight of not one, but two Masters' degrees behind her, Marilyn tackles the most difficult subjects with aplomb. Her biblically-based brand of common sense and good humor is cherished by women across the continent. Marilyn claims California as home but has been on what she calls an "extended visit" to Texas since 2005. Mary Beth and Steven Curtis Chapman were also there and I love his music. They've survived every parent's worst nightmare—but while their faith in God may have been bruised, it wasn't broken. After youngest daughter Maria's tragic death in 2008, five-time GRAMMY Award-winner Steven Curtis Chapman wasn't sure he would ever write songs again. Mary Beth's gift of a journal helped him break the silence and find his voice, resulting in the powerful album Beauty Will Rise. Married in 1984, the couple founded Show Hope (formerly Shaohannah's Hope) in 2001 after bringing their first adopted daughter home and seeing the need for more children to find forever families. In celebration of Maria’s life, the Chapmans opened Maria's Big House of Hope in Luoyang, China to provide care for special needs orphans. They live in Tennessee. Want to know more about them then check out one of their two websites: http://www.stevencurtischapman.com or http://chapmanchannel.typepad.com/marybeth . And for those of you who know Christian music....yes, he sang Cinderella...and no, there was not a dry eye in the house. I cried from the minute I heard the intro music. Mandisa was one of the special singers/speakers and special she is....has that woman got a set of lungs on her. I could hardly wait for Saturday to hear her again. She is a GRAMMY-nominated American Idol finalist with a stunningly expressive voice. She's come a long way from singing like Whitney Houston in her bathroom with a curling iron "microphone"! The former American Idol finalist survived childhood abuse and an eating addiction to become one of the most promising new talents in the Christian music industry. She's been nominated for a Dove Award and TWO Grammy Awards (so far!)—and I promise you there will be many more to follow. These days she sings with a carefree confidence about feeling more alive than ever. Through good times and bad, Mandisa has learned that God "can bring us out of whatever we're going through and even use it for good, and for His glory." She lives in Tennessee. Check out her website too at: http://mandisa.sparrowrecords.com/. And my other favorite female singer, Sandi Patty was also there. She rocks....Did you know that she was the most-awarded female vocalist in contemporary Christian music history I hope you are familiar with her magnificent voice. Did you know she's a Gospel Music Hall of Fame inductee with 39 Dove Awards, five Grammy Awards, and an armload of platinum and gold albums. AND...... did you know she spent much of the last year performing with symphony orchestras across the country—when she wasn't at Women of Faith events, of course—including a concert at Carnegie Hall? I also found out that she's such a die-hard Indianapolis Colts fan she refuses to sing the National Anthem at their games? ("They lost every time I sang," Sandi mourns. "I love them too much to risk it again.") Sandi, her husband, Don, and their younger children (they have a total of eight) live in Oklahoma. Her Website is: http://www.sandipatty.com/. Now for the serious drama side....there was a wonderful young woman...who not only writes the stuff...but does it...who did a drama skit for us...and she was AWESOME! I can't remember her name...but she did a skit about labeling things....and how bad that is to do. I won't forget that object lesson too soon. Anita Renfroe was the female comedian in house...She's been a pastor's wife, YouTube "phe-mom-enon," and featured comedian on ABC's Good Morning America—and in all those roles, Anita delighted this audience with her unique outlook. She is an author, musician, comedian, wife, and mom and says, "All my stuff is about my life…" Well....let me tell you ....we all found her "stuff" was about our lives, too. I can't remember ever laughing so hard! Anita and husband, John, have three children and one "perfect" grandchild. They live in Georgia. BTW....She is the mom on You Tube who sings the song to her child...to the tune of the Lone Ranger...and it was priceless. She was a scream. Her website: http://www.anitarenfroe.com/ . The male comedian was Andy Andrews. I found him to be a masterful storyteller with an inspiring message. Andy is an internationally known speaker and novelist whose works have sold millions of copies worldwide. Andy lived a relatively normal life until the age of nineteen, when both his parents died—and he found himself literally homeless, sleeping under a pier or in someone's garage...That is until he met another homeless man who would change his life. He a question to the audience that could ultimately affect millions of people. "Is life just a lottery ticket, or are there choices one can make to direct his future?" Andy has spoken at the request of four different U.S. Presidents and works with people from all walks of life, including the military. He lives in Alabama, with his wife, Polly, and their two sons. He has a website too over at: http://www.andyandrews.com/ . There was a praise and worship team comprised of four girls and they were awesome. We went from 10 - 3:30....broke for supper fo 2 hours, we grabbed Italian at Johnny Carino's and then returned to start back and go until 10. After we finished we went to Applebees for a dessert and to talk about the day. Back to the room Susan and I took the mattress off the couch and put it on the floor...and slept pallet style. I can't wait for Saturday's session! I know it will be even better than the first one!
I am a woman who wears many hats and loves them all. I am a singer - I sing with the group Still Magnolias. I was part of the original First United Methodist Church Arbor Praise Team until we moved. After 24+ years of teaching English 11 and Spanish I - II at Benjamin Russell High School I decided to take a job closer to home. I now teach Spanish I & 2 at Randolph Co. High School and Wadley. I thought I was getting close to retirement and looking forward to it, but decided to move my cheese and try something different. I am a preacher's wife and a preacher myself. My husband Frank is the pastor at Rock Mills United Methodist Church and I am the pastor at Midway (Wedowee). It has made our conversations interesting, to say the least.