Fall Women’s Banquet ’09

Saturday night was my church’s Women’s Banquet. This is one of the two major events we have each year (the other being our weekend retreat) and it is always such a fabulous time. One of the most fun things about our night is visiting all the great tables that the ‘hostesses’ create. Seriously, girls will go through a whole lot of trouble to throw themselves a good party.

Speaking of a good party, this year it was gooder than ever because our men rose to the challenge to both cook and serve the banquet for us.  The food was delicious.  I mean really delicious.  What’s cooler than that is I’m overhearing them brainstorming for next year on how to do things even more awesomely.  Next year – as in they are planning on doing it again!  Without me even asking!  We love you guys and you have no idea how you made this dinner even more special.  Your PW thanks you from the bottom of my heart! 

I was also so excited that Mary Snyder came to be our speaker. She delivered a relevant word in the midst of some serious belly laughs.  Darlin’ Nikki Murdock met up with us and to say my worlds seriously collided is an understatement. Turns out that Nikki had family in my teeny town! Buried in the local cemetery even! She belongs where I live more than I do. Who knew? Seriously though, it was so great to have these girls on my turf and have my bloggy friends and church friends converge in one place. My heart is full. Completely full.

Pics from the night:

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One of Karri’s over-the-top tables.  She and Holly were also responsible for the buffet and room decorations.  I’m hoping someone got more pictures than I did.   These girls worked their magic and our dinky fellowship hall was transformed.

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A random piece of cake.  It’s deliciousness required documentation. 

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Angie and Deenie.  Total sweethearts.

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Deedra’s table except Deedra couldn’t be there because her pregnancy blood pressure wasn’t cooperating.  And great news!  The baby was born Sunday night.  Mother and baby are well  but baby is a bit premature.  Y’all please keep the family in your prayers.

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Kim and Karri.  Kim has been my bestie for 20 + years.  Nothing like old friends.

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The Clements Women.  This is one godly heritage!

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Jenny.  I’m so incredibly mad at myself for not getting a picture of her with Victoria and Tonia who led our worship music.  I have one word for their harmony:  TIGHT.

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Vernie, Amy, Diane, and Gail.  Another precious group of girls.  I’m so completely in love with every last one of them!  Their Christmas table put me right in the mood for the holidays.

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Farrah, Tena, Anita, and Keena….I could cry looking at your sweet faces!

banquet8 Sisters Shannon, Wendy, and Holly.  We missed Sister #4, Mary Ann!

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Leslie and Tammy.  Leslie is a friend of Tammy’s who joined us for the night.  I love meeting my friend’s friends!

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Gaye, Cheryl (our beloved secretary), Diane, and Tania (my beloved hair stylist).   Their table was stunning and like a doofus I didn’t get a good picture of it. 

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Gail, Sarah, Kathryn, and Lois.  My Titus Two women!

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The Nikki-Mary pics.  Please note I was pattern-coordinated with my table.  Completely unplanned.

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What happens when you leave your camera unattended.

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What happens when you leave the communion wine unattended.   Oh, I kid.  We keep that stuff locked up.  Brooke brought her own.

 

I hope you ladies had as much fun as I did!   All of your friendships are a gift to me and it was incredible to spend this time together with you.

For the rest of you, I’d love to hear about your women’s ministry and what types of events you do for your ‘big’ things!

A Fab Weekend

***UPDATED TO ASK: In case you don’t make it to the end of this post, I’m dying to ask you about your own retreat experiences. Does your church do one, attend one, etc? Since we are continuously evaluating the format of our own, I’d love to hear the logistics of yours as in where you go, what you love, and what you don’t love. Attendees of ours are welcome to share the same! I won’t get upset if there’s something you don’t like – unless you say you can’t stand the teacher in which case I will cry.***

I want to thank all of you who prayed, sent emails, and Facebook messages to cover me during the retreat I taught in Pigeon Forge this past weekend.  God – as always – was faithful to work through His Word in spite of the girl He had deliver it. 

It was a treat being able to spend time with some of my most special  friends in this world as well as my MIL Frankie and SIL, Laura Beth.   Please keep Laura Beth and her husband TJ in your prayers.  They had to relocate their business which was totally destroyed in the flooding in North Georgia last week.  If there is anyone who needed time on a mountain, it was her!

Many of my worlds collided this weekend.  In addition to my family being there, Candice and Kelly who have been my best friends for over 20 years came along.  My MIL invited Jenny, a friend from our current church, to lead worship.  Debbie, Tara, and Cindy came from our last pastorate.  I couldn’t tell ANY of my good church stories.  Dern.

The weekend was great but I enjoyed the drive home almost as much. We drove through Wear’s Valley and stopped at the most fabulous pumpkin patch. I didn’t buy anything but now that I’ve touched mums and gourds, I’m officially in the fall spirit.

Here are a couple of pictures. There are lots more on the retreat recap on my ministry website. Y’all check it out!

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{Debbie, Cindy, and Me. These two girls make me laugh harder than anyone I know.}

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{Kelly, Me, and Candice. My BFF’s forever. Girls, you are my constants.}

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{Jenny and me at the most awesome punkin’ patch ever.} 

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{Me sitting on what I thought was a very large pumpkin. Seems my backside is larger.}

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{Candice and Me at, you guessed it, The Pumpkin Patch.}

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{Me and Tara. Girl, I love your non-discerning self.}

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{Beth, a wonderful fellow PW, Ms. Ruth, and Ms. Ann. Y’all, I want to be all of these women when I grow up. Practically single-handed, Beth put together a wonderful bonafide Tea for her women a couple of months ago. I pray my church girls never catch wind of it. And then there’s Ruth and Ann who have the most fabulous accessorizing skillz you have EVER seen. I told Ms. Ruth (middle) that I wanted to be just like her one day and she said, “Well, I hope you can be. I hope you live as long as I have and that you have the wonderful life I’ve had.” To the law and to the testimony. I love this precious woman. And Ann? She spoke the most wonderful words of encouragement over me after the retreat that I will take to my grave. True southern belles in a world of ding dongs.}

Again, thank all of you for supporting me in every way. You have no idea how your prayers keep me from melting into a squalling heap of insecurity.

Love,

Lisa

“Hey Driver, That Was My Stop!”

As I previously told you, this past weekend I was given the supreme honor of teaching a retreat for the girls at Grace Church Northwest Arkansas. The flight out was pretty uneventful which is precisely how I like them.

When I arrived at XNA in Arkansas, I immediately recognized my ride when I saw a car full of adorable girls pulling up to the curb. Seriously. Could anything be more fun than being picked up by a vehicle full of smiling, waving, happy-to-see you people with great hair? I jumped in with no hesitation whatsoever. My introvert of a hubby thinks I am totally insane to enjoy such a thing so much. I truly look at a group of women I’ve never met as fresh meat who’ve not yet had the opportunity to grow sick of my talking, talking, talking. It doesn’t hurt my feelings one bit if you agree that I am best served up in small doses. I promise you I get on my own nerves way more than I could ever get on yours.

And at this point, you are probably thinking that’s debatable.

Okay, so let’s get to the point. We traveled to The New Life Ranch which is located in Colcord, Oklahoma. The Center was beautifully situated on a lake or river or something. I just know it was water and it was pretty. There was another women’s group there who were easy to spot since they were wearing princess crowns. They looked like they were having a ball. There was also a mother/daughter retreat taking place and can I just say those moms have lots more faith in their girls than I do mine? At one point they played a game of some sort where the moms wore blindfolds and the girls led them around. My Girl would have promptly pushed me in that pretty river/lake/creek. I know this because she has been well trained by the boy people in her life. Let’s just say I was completely happy to be a part of the non-crown-blindfold-wearing crowd.

This is where I get to brag on the entirety of the Grace Girl group. Y’all, I didn’t know a single one of these women going in except for Teresa from The Grace Incubator. (And even she was an Imaginary Friend I’d never met in real life.) Oh my goodness, these girls absolutely embraced me and treated me like a princess – crown or not. No wonder this is such an exciting time in the life of their church. If you girls love your newcomers like you loved this one, you’ll be packing out that new, big building in no time flat. And to all the Elder Wives, it was a delight to spend time with you and see the love you have for your people. I soaked in every second of it!

We had our first worship/teaching session Friday night and afterward were told that we could go on a hayride in a modified school bus. By modified, I mean that the cab of the bus was intact but the top had been cut away from the back, seats removed, and filled with hay. It was pretty chilly but I’m not a girl who likes to miss the fun, so I jumped in.

Let’s just say this wasn’t your typical meandering hayride.

Ours was more in the vein of this Nightmare on Elm Street bus scene from about minute 2:50 to 3:50. (There’s no cussin‘ or killin‘ in this clip, I promise.) I don’t even remember our “tour guide’s” name, but he’ll always be Freddy to me because, y’all, he never went below 35 miles an hour on a rutted, wooded road that was clearly not intended for such travel. I handled the speed thing pretty well. It was the 45 degree tilt that got me a little terrified. {I should clarify here. It was fun in a riding-a-rollercoaster-that-horrifies-you kind of way. I’ve never laughed so hard in my life. Laughing = Fun.}

Just as we were back to our cabins, just when I was prepared to jump out and kiss the sweet pavement beneath my feet, Freddy sped up and we went for round two – I believe at the suggestion of those crazy girls who are made of stronger stuff than I.

Round One was just a warm up.

We bounced and tilted and whirled and I begged Jesus, begged Him, to understand that it was not I who had tempted Him. That it was not I who had asked to try His ministering angels. I pleaded that for the sake of the husband and children, could he please, please, save them from having to declare on my headstone that I’d been killed in a chopped-off school bus on a backroad in Oklahoma. It’s just not the legacy I’d intended.

Here lies Lisa,
She loved Jesus,
but the school bus flipped,
and she rests in pieces.

Thankfully, that was not my fate and I’m now safely home. I’m not going to say that I would do the hayride from Hades again anytime soon any more than my chicken self is looking forward to riding the Superman at Six Flags, but it was definitely a memory-maker as was the rest of my time with Grace Church.

Girls, THANK YOU. What a gift to experience pure, authentic worship with you (You rocked, Jordan!). What a privilege to almost die with you? But most of all, I am grateful to now call you real life, real LIVE, friends. :)

With Much Love!

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