The only bad part about the weekend getaway was that we had to get up earlier than I would have liked. A dream weekend involves sleeping in. There was no sleeping in. We got up early, ate a quick breakfast in our room (the Hilton is a nice hotel but what they charge for a bowl of cereal is UNREAL...so glad I brought a granola bar!), then headed downstairs to start the morning session.
We had a worship time with Big Daddy Weave which was a treat. Then our first speaker was Anita Renfroe. She is the one who sings the "Momisms" to the William Tell Overture. It is a huge youtube hit. She started her time with that song. She also did a couple other songs and jokes that had me laughing in a way I hadn't laughed in some time. I have a good life, I am not complaining. But parenthood can be a bit challenging at times and recently more than usual. So the laughing was a much needed activity. Then, after laughing until my cheeks almost hurt, she shared another song/video based on the Taylor Swift song "Cinderella" (or whatever it is titled). Suddenly I was crying. So, I laughed. I cried. It was a good time. :)
The next speaker was the one I honestly had been dreading. Kay Arthur. Not that she is a poor speaker. I just had a feeling that her message would cut through to my soul. And while I knew it needed to, I didn't want it to happen. Sure enough, her message was about whether we are ready to meet our maker. It is easy to think, "Oh, sure, I believe in God. I know where I am going..." But what will my answer be when He asks me, "What have you done in the last few years to get closer to me?" I have gotten really bad about reading Bible verses, only reading a few here, a few there. I will admit, I don't make it the priority it should be in my life. And I have no excuse. Yes, I am tired much of the time. And it is rarely quiet in our house. But these are things I can control and must control to truly reach out to God. I did struggle to stay awake but it wasn't Kay's fault. It just happened to be a time my body needed a break and wanted a nap. :)
After the morning speakers, we headed across the street again to the Landing, an outdoors mall. We first headed over to Macaroni Grill for lunch. Thankfully it wasn't too full/crowded because I was one hungry lady! We enjoyed our lunch (I would have enjoyed the lobster ravioli much more than the scallops salad I think but oh, well, live and learn) while looking over the lake. During the meal, the strangest thing happened. It had been just beautiful, sun shining, warm but not hot. Suddenly we noticed leaves swirling through the air. The water started moving somewhat violently, and suddenly it was dark and raining very hard sideways. Then a few minutes later, it slowed down again, then it started raining sideways the OTHER way. Later that night, Steven Curtis Chapman commented on the weird weather saying he thought it was the second coming of Christ. :) It was very odd.
After lunch, Jenn and I did a little shopping. While my family goes to this mall almost every trip to Branson, I just want to say that shopping there with my sister is a totally different experience than shopping with my children, even though most of what I bought was FOR my children. :) We had periods of sunshine followed by periods of rain. Somehow we didn't get too wet and made it back to the hotel just in time to get ready for the concert.
The concert. I am not afraid to admit that it was the concert that drew me to the conference. Michael W. Smith and Steven Curtis Chapman. Even on their own, they are two of my favorite Christian contemporary/worship artists. Having them perform in the same night...well, what could be better?
The answer? Nothing.
They didn't actually perform together, but I didn't care. Steven Curtis went first. I have seen him in concert, both before and after his daughter Maria's untimely death. His concerts now are very different. You can tell that he feels the words he sings in a totally different way. There was one song that he sang that I wasn't sure he would be able to sing all the way through nor would I be able to listen all the way through. It was a tearjerker! However, no matter what the topic or what the message, it was a beautiful time of worship. Next came Mr. Michael W. Smith. I have no words to describe it, though you know I will try. It was just amazing. My only complaint? Too short. His music just touches my soul in a way that very few things can. My favorite part of a MWS concert is that he doesn't just sing to me. He encourages us to sing (and thankfully it is so loud you cannot hear me doing it :). Some of the songs I can sing every word to, they are so burnt into my mind and heart. Just amazing. The whole night was amazing.
'Nuff said for tonight...