I had an awesome weekend. My family and I went to our state homeschool convention, and it was a lot of fun. I got to meet one of my childhood heroes, and I got to speak with some amazing speakers and authors who have impacted my faith and my family. I also got to rub shoulders with thousands of other homeschool parents, many of whom took the time to come to my workshops and/or stop by my booth to chat. Contrary to current popular opinion, there are a lot of pretty cool people in the state of Indiana.
Aside from hotel sleeping arrangements, which required way too many people trying to sleep in entirely too little space, everything was pretty much perfect. And, to be honest, if certain family members did not have colds that made them snore like grizzly bears, even that part probably would have been pretty wonderful. We swam in the hotel pool, watched fun family shows while snuggled up in the hotel beds and ate some interesting food at the hotel breakfast. (Okay, that part was actually kind of gross.)
I was thrilled to reunite with some college friends whom I have not seen in something like eighteen years. They are missionaries in Ivory Coast, and I was thankful to see them while they are stateside. They were reminders to me of a time in my life when I learned more than I ever thought I could possibly learn while making friends with some incredibly passionate and focused people. I am thankful for those years.
I also got to hug some of my high school youth sponsors, which was a tremendous delight! They are just two of the several couples who made a point of loving on me when I was not at my most lovable. Their investment in me had an impact that has lasted decades, and I am incredibly grateful for their faithful examples.
I taught two workshops over the course of two days, and most of the rest of my time was spent at my Eat Cheap! booth. It was a pleasure to have my family with me for this weekend, and I took great delight in watching my children interact with the thousands of folks milling about in the exhibit hall. My kiddos served the people around them with respect and kindness while limiting themselves to consuming (somewhat) reasonable amounts of the free candy that so many vendors offered.
I was struck by how thorough the convention committee had been in seeing to every detail of this massive gathering. They were like genies in a bottle; my wish (and the wishes of thousands of other folks) was pretty much their command. Aside from shoulder massages and foot rubs, they anticipated almost every one of my needs, and they happily served me in meeting them. As a first-time speaker at this venue, I felt their support and their commitment. It was incredibly encouraging.
Those two days have given me a new appreciation for authors and speakers who do this kind of thing for a living. It is mentally, emotionally and physically exhausting. There is something very humbling about taking the very best I currently have to offer and putting it on display for thousands of people to take or leave. There were investments that need recouped, displays that needed created and remarks that needed overlooked. There were people who bared their souls to me in passing and left their faces emblazoned on my heart; I am honored to pray for them. My feet still ache from standing, my heart still rejoices from the sharing and my mind still races with what I maybe should have said and didn’t–or should not have said and did.
All in all, it was a new experience–and a valuable one. Humbling, encouraging, stretching. I am so grateful for the grace that meets me in every new situation.