This weekend was my much anticipated woman's weekend away with my sister. We attended the Women of Joy conference in Branson.
I am going to back up a little. Like a year. A year ago, a friend of mine called and told me that pre-registration had started for this year's Women of Joy conference. I had attended a couple of years prior to that but since then, the weekend had fallen on Joshua's birthday. So I told her I probably couldn't go this year. She then informed me that it was actually going to be a week later this year AND that Michael W. Smith and Steven Curtis Chapman were going to be in concert on Saturday night. Quickly I contacted my sister, we made plans to attend together, and we registered as quickly as we could. Thankfully we got in (they fill up quickly). We also made reservations for the hotel where the conference is held. It was a bit pricey but in the end, we decided it was going to be much easier for us (parking wise). So the plans were made.
So for a year or so I have been anticipating, eagerly, the weekend. It is what kept me going some days. :)
Finally, it was here.
I did have a little scare. Friday morning we had our school talent show. Hunter and Lauren were both participating, so I decided to go to school in the morning then head to Branson with my sister (who had driven in the night before) that afternoon (taking a half day personal day). My mom and my sister came to watch the kids, but they had to leave when my sister suddenly felt well. My heart just dropped. I had worried all week that something was going to change our plans. So for a while, I was walking in limbo.
I came home to eat lunch then hesitantly called my sister to check on her. Thankfully she was feeling better. So I packed my bags, and we headed out.
Bear with the details. I need to remember certain things. I certainly cannot trust my memory to do that!
When we arrived at the hotel/convention center in Branson, it was a very busy time. A LOT of people were checking in. I had my sister drop me off so I could get us checked in. Thankfully that was fairly quick, though there was a little mix up; they had me associated with more than one room. But thankfully that was easily resolved. My favorite part was when the clerk asked me if we needed two queen beds. I said we would prefer that. She then told me if we got a room with a king size bed, the price of the room dropped...fifty dollars. I told her that for two nights and a hundred dollar price drop (total), I could live with it. I had to give God a thanks shout out for that one!
We got parked, checked into the convention, then headed to our room to settle in for a bit. Finally, feeling settled and very hungry, we headed across the street to an outdoor mall called The Landing. It is on a lake. We decided to try a Mexican food restaurant that a friend had suggested. Two words for you. Yum, yum. I had shrimp flautas. Again. Yum, yum. I asked if I could have some chopped avocado to go with it; I have been on an avocado kick recently. They brought me a sliced avocado...the whole thing. Again, yum, yum. It was all delicious.
Quick funny. When my sister and I were headed upstairs, we rode on the elevator with this guy who looked like a "rocker dude". I just happened to glance at this chain he had on his belt loop that said "Worldvision". Later my sister asked me if I thought he was involved in the conference (we saw very few men all weekend). I told her I wondered too. I knew that Worldvision was a ministry
After dinner, we headed back to the hotel to find seats for the conference. Oh, my, what a lot of women! I think there were around 4000 women in all. All sizes, all shapes, from all over. Women, women, everywhere.
So we first walked into this large convention room. There were booths for each speaker and musician, plus some general ones, set up all around the room. We decided to do a little window shopping before the evening officially started. We looked over at one booth for a singing duo named Chris and Conrad. When we saw the life size poster of the two men, we started laughing. Our elevator mystery guy's name is Conrad. And yes, he is associated with the conference. :)
Finally the conference began. I think almost every seat was filled. Even then, we saw some people hanging out wherever they could by the wall. The now famous (to us) Chris and Conrad came out to sing a few songs. We really enjoyed them. Then we had a worship time with Big Daddy Weave who looked nothing like I had pictured in my mind. Again, it was just a good time of worship. Our first speaker was Candace Cameron Bure. I had heard her before, and most of what she presented was her testimony which I had heard the last time I attended a conference. Still, she is an enjoyable speaker. While she has grown and changed so much from her "DJ Tanner" days, she still looks young and peppy. I laughed, I cried, I pondered a lot as she shared her testimony.
Finally the evening came to a close. We headed upstairs for a little t.v. and sister talk.
And then we rested.