After a short moment of fear over some tickets, we got into the arena and found out it was general admission for the daytime session. We found some seats (well, actually, we found the bathrooms first!) and got settled in to be blessed.
We heard from two speakers that morning. Sheila Walsh and Dr. Henry Cloud.
If you have never heard Sheila Walsh speak before, she is awesome. The mix of her Scottish accent, sense of humor and love for the Lord makes makes time fly by and not to mention the singing voice! Wow!
Then Dr. Cloud had his turn to speak. The fact that he was the only male speaker at this event should say something about how good he is. We actually own one of his books (Boundaries) and I was looking forward to hearing him speak.
He is a psychologist and he related research with God's word and made them work together. Many in the psychiatric field believe that you can either believe the Bible OR you can believe the research. Dr. Cloud pointed out how they can work together. He gave us a visual demonstration of the four "corners" we put ourselves in life. Isolation, bad habits that feel bad (abusive relationships), bad habits that are better than the others and may feel good (eating a pint of ice cream) and then the fourth corner was the cross. He did an excellent job talking about the internal dialogue we can have with oursleves (I would know nothing about that...)
What I found most interesting though, was he talked about studies that were conducted on monkeys in regards to their stress hormones. A monkey would be put in a cage and scary sights, sounds and lights would scare the monkey and a measure of stress hormones were taken. They then changed the environment for the monkey by just placing a monkey that monkey #1 was familiar with into the cage with it. The scary situation remained, but because there were two of them together, the stress hormones decreased by 50%. See, we really do need each other. For the rest of the weekend, we were each others monkey's. And you haven't realized it by now, you need a monkey too. Some one to go through life with (not with a fake smile, but in the real hard, scary times as well). Some one you can look in the eye and know she is feeling the same things as you, but it will be ok because you are not alone. I pray you all have "monkeys" in your life :-)
We took a lunch break and spent some time talking. Then it was time for the afternoon session.
We heard a little more from Sheila Walsh and they had a Q&A time with her and Dr. Cloud. Again, I laughed so hard during this time, but they also answered some good questions.
Then Mrs. Angie Smith talked with us for just a little while. We could all tell she was a little nervous, but she did great.
We heard another speaker or two and were dismissed to go out and get some food before the evening session started back up. Most of the group went to the Cheesecake Factory...YUM! I had never even heard of fried maccaroni before, but it was delicious!
Kelly was a little surprised at the size of her lettuce wraps! They were huge!
And Erin said the salad she had was good too!
Getting supper took a little longer than expected, so we had to head back to the arena, but don't worry, we didn't forget dessert!
That picture also reminds me...on the way back we were discussing the whole GPS thing. On one hand I am so thankful for this technology on the other...I'm hoping it doesn't get me lost...or worse! On the way up, I was in a tunnel just over the bridge going into Cinncinati and my GPS told me to "Turn left now". Of course I didn't. So then, "Re-routing". It kind of reminded us of that All.state comcercial with "Mayhem". You know the one I'm talking about...
We made it back to the arena and found our way to the seats on our tickets. Section 213. I must admit, at first the height of the section made me a little uncomfortable. It was high. And I was on row A, which meant on the edge. I did get used to it after a few minutes, but I did want to borrow this picture from Kelly, you can kind of see the edge right infront of Holly and I.
And here is Holly and sweet Lainey. Let me just say, Lainey was such a jewel the whole conference. She was passed around and we all held her and played with her and she was just so happy and laid back. I did hear her cry one time the whole weekend, but really didn't even know it was a cry! She is one precious girl!
What were we dancing to? Friday night wrapped up with a Mary Mary concert.
Kelly had offerred me a space at the hotel with the girls from her church, but the hotel had some overbooking issues and I was really concerned about driving alone in downtown Columbus after the whole "re-routing" incident in Cincy. So Erin invited me back to her house and I went there with her, Holly and Amber. I wish I had gotten to spend more time with Kelly and her group, but I am glad I made that decision.
Leaving the arena, Erin and I had a little encounter with "Mayhem". The GPS and her directions were conflicting a little, there was roadwork, I hate driving after dark anyway and we were downtown on a busy Friday night. We took a couple of wrong turns, but finally ended up being where we needed to be. I sighed a big sigh of relief knowing I would not have to do this alone the next night because I was going back to Erin's and going to leave my car there.
We got to Erin's, played with the puppies and her husband got to meet Lainey, but we didn't stay up too late. We were all tired and so we went to bed anxious for the next day!
(This post has become ridiculously long, so a separate post for Saturday it is!)