It’s Wednesday night, and I feel like last weekend got over about 5 minutes ago. It was that good! For some reason, I don’t like the phrase “women’s retreat.” It sounds so old-fashioned and cheesy. But that’s what it was. I am convinced that it is pretty much summer-camp for grown up girls. We stayed up late talking and giggling and eating junk, made a bunch of new friends, and the last few days it’s been all we can talk about in person and on FB. Thanks for all your prayers, kind thoughts and especially kind words.

My main portion of speaking went well on Saturday night. I also was on a panel on Friday night and spoke for a few minutes on Sunday morning. I made some novice public speaking mistakes, like not numbering my pages of notes. I got flustered a few times when I couldn’t find where I was. One of those times, I was vamping for a couple sentences while locating my notes. I was on the topic of swords, so I said something about Legolas. First, a Lord of the Rings reference without explanation in a room full of women? Risky. Second, it was totally random, totally unplanned, and totally the WRONG CHARACTER from Lord of the Rings! I realized it about 5 seconds later, and SO wanted to correct myself, but I was already rolling back with my actual prepared message. All I kept thinking was that if Stephanie Marr was there, she would have been so disapopinted in me. 😉 For better or worse, I just let it slide and the other geeks in the room were gracious enough not to correct me in front of the whole group.

BUT, I was able to get through the 22 minutes without completely falling apart emotionally, so SCORE! I did share the hard story of my girls’ miscarriages during my pregnancy, and I did cry a little. Going on 6 years and I have never been able to tell (or think) of it without crying a little. But that’s OK. It’s part of our story, and it’s shaped us as friends and mothers. And here we go, I’m starting to cry again, so…

I also shared the story about Carson locking me out of the house in August. I hammed it up and got the laughs I was hoping for. I knew that story would come in handy eventually. I’ll blog about it soon since I’ve never really shared the details with you lovely readers.

But really, the best parts of my weekend had nothing to do with me being a speaker. Some other highlights included sharing the weekend with my mom, since her BFF’s didn’t get to come. She and my roomie Kellie got along with flying colors (it doesn’t hurt that Kellie is one of the funniest people I’ve ever met), and Mom fits right in with all my church girls. Another fun hightlight was developing relationships with a group of women that are about 10 years older than me, and another group of women about 10 years younger! It was just a reminder that we are cheating ourselves of God’s FAMILY when we surround ourselves only with people who are in the same season of life as we are. It made me want to spend more time with both groups. I especially was touched to meet in a small group with some younger mommies. Some doing OK with the whole parenting journey, some struggling a bit, and some were really struggling–including some single moms. WOW. The road they are walking is so, SO difficult. My heart just ached for their trials, their exhaustion, and their loneliness. But their determination and perseverance was completely inspirational. My prayer for them was that this weekend renewed them and gave them a couple days of rest for their bodies and souls.

I wouldn’t say it was restful weekend for me, but it was wonderful and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Everyone needs to be a camp “high” at least once a year, right? 🙂


  1. Ya, I meant to yell out in front of everyone that you totally got the LOTR reference wrong but I didn’t because, I had no idea! You were so great and funny and moving and inspiring. I loved your advice to twenty somethings on Sunday. I had a great time hanging with you and all the girls! Kinda felt like I knew a celebrity. 🙂 God is using you, Jen, and I am glad you are letting Him!

  2. I’m so happy God has blessed you with a wonderful church and dear friendships. I had a little student who on his way to school was counting all the churches and he turned to his mom and said ” God must be so happy cause He has alot of houses”. It’s good to know we are exactly were God placed us be.I’m also celebrating that God used you in all age groups. My best friend was my mother-in-law and she lived to 93. She made my life richer for sure.

  3. Okay, I’ve been staring at this “Leave your comment” box for at least 5 minutes trying to put into words what I felt about this weekend. Can’t quite say it all, so let me say that I am still your biggest fan, your friends blessed my socks off, God reminded me that He is good. All the time.
    Love, Mom

  4. Glad you had a great weekend. Loved reading everything you had to say, and related to your comments about single moms (I was one for years). Now, on to your LOTR assumption. I don’t even know what your gaffe was about, but I’ll bet you meant to say Aragorn instead of Legalos. So, I definitely would have been one of the women in the room who totally got your LOTR reference. Read the books 10 times when I was a kid and again as an adult and saw the movies about a dozen. In 1976 my best friend and I marched up and down our street with a Gandalf for president sign. My cat’s name was Pippin when I was 12. I wrote Frodo Lives on my notebooks in junior high school. The empty lot down the street from our house? We called it Hobbiton. Plus I own the deluxe DVD collection of movies now. And, if Viggo Mortensen walked into my house right now? Well, my husband IS away at work! (Just kidding…I think).

    Ah, releasing the inner geek just felt great!

    Now….where’s that post on Broadway musicals? LOL!

  5. Jen, I’m so glad it went well and I’d love to hear more details soon, in person.

    Love you and love to hear how God is using you. And now that you’re in the “speaking” circle… you’re going to be doing this again sometime.(: I can just sense it.

  6. You really did do a fantastic job! You had everyone’s attention (wrong character or not) and really spoke to all of us. I know that you touched the hearts of all the women at my table. It was neat to hear what everyone took away from your message. You looked so comfortable up there. You were real and allowed us to see “you” and let us hurt with you, and laugh with you. It really was great. I am so glad that you were one of the speakers because I don’t know if we would have really met each other otherwise! God definitely had a plan and knew what he was doing. Thank you for being such a willing and humble vessel for him to use!! 🙂 You are so creative and talented! I loved every minute of the 22 minutes that you spoke! 🙂

  7. Hee hee. I can’t decide if I’m super-cool or a super-nerd. Hmmm. Either way, yeah you for even making a LOTR reference!

    On another note, I wish I could have been there! I just know that you were great. You. Always. Are. You are blessed with the gift of communication (hahahaha – no but seriously) and emotional or not, you are always personal – always real. I’m so glad you did it and had a good time!

    love you!

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