It was chilly and rainy...a welcome change from the still-over-100-degree temperatures here in the desert.
And the company, as always, was incredibly inspiring. (Have I mentioned how much I love Time Out for Women?)
I didn't get a picture of the Friday night presenters, darn it, but they were SO good.
Then this was the majority of Saturday line-up:(Mariama is in another picture below.)
I'm so sad that we missed getting one of my favorite speakers in that picture: Merrilee Boyack.
She's the author of "The Parenting Breakthrough" that I keep on my nightstand and blab on and on to all my friends about.
I couldn't believe how lucky I was when I realized she was there! I wish I would have asked for her autograph :) But I just realized she will be in Richmond, VA with us next month though so maybe I can get it there...
Before the event began we had the chance to squeeze in a little dinner with a new friend: a girl who recently found out she has two children with the same syndrome that Lucy does.She's the one on the left.
It's actually quite a miracle how she found out. Click here for her story.
We look like we're all just pleased as punch in that picture, and we are...I mean, it's always great to meet new friends. But this is hard, tough stuff we were talking about over dinner. Things that change your life forever. Things that tear your heart in half.
My heart aches for my new friend and all the others I have come in contact with as they muddle and sift through the little information they can scavenger to help them make sense of their children when that ominous diagnosis first surfaces in some way or another.
I know because I was there almost three years ago. (Click here for our story.)
And my heart was breaking in two just like theirs are.
In fact, it still does. On a regular basis. When the vision teacher from school calls to tell me, in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the after-school rush, that Lucy's eyesight has become "significantly worse" over the summer. (I love her vision "helper" with all my heart by the way. She is so incredibly conscientious and helpful.) And when she can't squeeze into a size 8 dress when she's half that age. And when at almost five-years-old she still cannot dress herself.
How I hope my new friend and all of us parents can find the answers we are searching for in our own quests for knowledge for our individual children.
And how I hope she can feel the peace that will sift through at beautiful moments alongside the worry and anguish.
Back to the event...it was so nice to meet so many sweet, kind blog readers there.
I must mention how much their words of encouragement meant to me. They filled up my heart. Even the ones I only saw quickly in passing...those kind words buoyed me up and I appreciate them so very much.
I LOVE Mercy River (this music group who performed at the event). It's been so fun getting to know them the last two years. They have all three had babies in the last year and Whitney brought hers to Logan with her:
I liked snuggling with him for the few minutes I got to grab him.
Mariama was as great as ever. Her awe-inspiring story gets me every time.
One of my Young Women who graduated last year joined us for a bit. I wish I had a picture but rest assured she is darling and it was so great to see her.
My aunt came too. She's the one second to the left below:
She is an amazing lady who has "become" (that's the TOFW theme this year) quite the advocate for special needs children in the aftermath of raising a son with special needs of his own.
And last but not least, my sister Saren came too. How I love that older (and shorter) sister of mine.
Together we visited my dear Grandma and my other Aunt who both live in Logan on our way back to the airport.
Then I left to fly back to my sweet children and this awesome babysitter who took such great care of them while we were gone.
(Dave got to go on a trip at the same time with some good friends...I wish I had pictures of that one but suffice it to say he probably wouldn't let me post them anyway. He sure had a good time.)