It Was a Touching Tribute

This past weekend I had the delight of teaching a retreat for the ridiculously adorable women of North Shelby Baptist.  Their fearless leader, Sonja, contacted me a few months back and among other things told me the event would be held at The Summit and wondered if by some chance I may have heard of it.  It just so happens The Summit is 20 minutes from my house so BOOM.  After praying for 4.7 seconds I said yes and hoped for the next several months they wouldn’t change their minds. About me, not the retreat.

And how do I properly recap the weekend considering this is the only photo I took the entire time?  I like to call this one, “Girl drives up to pretty gate and pushes lots of buttons hoping for some magic because UNSOPHISTICATED.


With an entrance like this you know there is nothing but awesomeness on the other side.  The Summit is an estate previously owned by Teddy Gentry of the country music group Alabama.  LifeShape (a ministry arm of Chic-Fil-A) purchased the property and has turned it into a leadership retreat center.  Every detail is luxurious and yet completely cozy, the chef-prepared food is decadent, and the surroundings serene.  The perfect setting for giggling with your favorite girlfriends and hearing that still small voice when all grows quiet.

Speaking of girlfriends, I am so happy to have so many new ones.  Each group I have the privilege of serving has something special that sticks out about them.  These girls excelled on many points.

First, Sonja.  It was apparent from day one she was seeking the Lord on behalf of her women and would settle for nothing less than a perfect weekend for them.  The details were spot on and that doesn’t happen accidentally.  Well done, friend. No wonder they love you so.

Secondly, door prizes.  Oh MY word.  I have never.  Every woman present went home with a gift and I don’t mean a bottle of lotion or a notepad.  Megan and Team completely outdid themselves in gathering the goods.  I am not exaggerating one bit when I say the crowd ooh’d and aah’d every single treasure.  I scored a lovely hand-painted canvas that is now proudly displayed in my family room.  Best door prize ever.

And music.  DeeJay Kelcei is my new favorite forever.  At the end of one of the worship videos an impromptu obituary photo flashed across the screen.  The room grew quiet and I got really uncomfortable for poor Kelcei. Was this her dad?  A beloved uncle?  Would she grow sad at the reminder of her loss?  Imagine the relief to learn the tribute was for Rich Mullins that was tacked on to the end of that particular YouTube video.  Rest in Peace, Rich.  We are grateful for your lyrical stylings and are so glad to now know what you look like.  And that you are not, in fact, Kelcei’s dad.

Girls, thank you so much for opening your hearts wide and welcoming me inside.  You are forever in mine!

Have I Mentioned Lately…

…that I love Jesus and can hardly get over that He didn’t just save me, but gave me a ministry that keeps on saving me? If He didn’t give me opportunity for working out my salvation, I would be a shriveled up wreck. Of course, I still am at times, but not one without hope or a confirmed direction when I need to get back on track. I’m horrified of less-traveled roads, but I’ve not walked one yet that didn’t thrill me. Who ever dreamed God could be so much fun with a side order of roller coaster terror? I can’t tell you the number of times lately I’ve screamed through a grin at the things He’s allowed me. Is there someone out there today that needs to know that God isn’t just flat out mad? That He laughs and will get one out of you eventually even if He has to scare you to death to get one?

I need to quit now before I have me a spell.

Before I got sidetracked, I meant to tell you how much fun I had this past Saturday. I had the joy of speaking at a women’s tea for New Liberty Baptist in Ringgold, GA. They did one of those fabulous luncheons where a woman hosts and decorates each table differently. Seriously. I don’t know how many different ways there can be to theme a table scape but it appears you wonderfully creative girls out there have no where near exhausted all the possibilities because every one was completely unique to any I have seen before. I could just kick myself for not having a camera.

Wanda, my precious new friend and contact for this event had the greatest idea. Her theme was, “Through the storms of life, with God, you can dance in the rain..” She had a darlin‘ rubber rain boot as her centerpiece with a spring arrangement and get this – the fabric from a hot pink disassembled umbrella as the foundation. Who would have ever thought of that? Certainly not this girl! I just couldn’t take my eyes off all the details.

I also can not overlook how cool God is in making connections. It turns out that the girl who was asked to introduce me is my second cousin! What?! I had no idea she went to church there and she had no idea it was me coming to speak until a couple days prior. Is that not a hoot? I loved seeing you, Jenny, and your beautiful, grown-up Kelly! I hope we see one another again outside of a funeral or reunion. :)

I can not even begin to communicate how much I enjoy these frou frou get-togethers. It still amazes me that a guy’s idea of a good time is offing Bambi, gutting her, and dragging her lifeless corpse to a grill to enjoy with his buddies. No, thank you. Chicken Salad and Quiche will serve us girls just fine. And I have to give a shout out to the men who served us. Y’all, they had on matching white aprons WITH THEIR NAMES EMBROIDERED ON THE BIB. I’ve never seen such awesomeness in my life. You guys have set the new high bar for every other group of church men out there. I need a picture of you to blow up as poster boys of servanthood. You were spectacular and I know we all appreciated your loving on us so extravagantly.

New Liberty: THANK YOU. It is humbling to me to know the amount of prayer that you put in to bringing in a teacher and that in some miraculous way, God gave you my name and you extended this invitation. I loved every minute with you and I pray God’s Word will be an abiding one to every single lady there. You can believe me when I say He road tested that message in every figurative and literal way. May it change us all.

Okay, so now I’m off to clean out my closet. I would show you a before and after, but you would judge me. Oh, you say you wouldn’t, but trust me. It’s just that bad. There are not two of my shoes within a foot of one another in the bottom of that thing and I’m certain I’ll find several Christmas presents hidden in the top that never made it to their intended recipient. Oh well. Maybe I’ll have a head start on this year.

Y’all have a wonderful Monday!


I do not have a set fee for speaking/teaching at your event.  I am very grateful for any sized love gift or honorarium.  My only request is that airfare/fuel/travel expenses and/or overnight accommodations be provided by the host church or organization.

Thank you!

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