I was on the road as the sun was clearing the horizon, and at a pit stop, I found my John Denver CD (the one that makes the teens roll their eyes) and played it, full blast, singing along to "Country Roads";my day away was off to a roaring start! I was greated in St Patrick's Church in Stoneham by two friends from CT; Robyn Lee and Lynn Wehner, and I knew that the conference was going to feel more like a reunion than a roomful of strangers.Soon Rachel Balducci came over to say hello, and I felt like I was at a family reunion.
I found a table near the sun-filled window in the most beautiful church auditorium I've even seen, with Palladium windows and vaulted, timbered ceilings, thinking it was as pretty as a church (that's only because I hadn't seen the church yet, it was breathtaking).
Though most of the women at my table were stranger from as far afield as Martha's Vineyard and Maine, thanks to plenty of breakout sharing sessions in the day, we shared from the heart about our stuggles to live as holy moms and wives. By the end of the day, we took a group photo and promised to look for each other next year.
When Pat Gohn began singing "Come Holy Ghost, Creator Blest" I knew this was going meet my high expectations. The Holy Spirit indeed was there, in the loving embraces of women who met online and were now meeting face to face, the fervent prayers during Benediction and the Scriptural Rosary in the gorgeous church, and the beauty of women's voices lifted together in traditional eucharistic hymns. There was a perfect blend of fellowship and sharing, quiet prayer and funny speakers, good food and perfect take home gifts (each attendee received a lovely chaplet from Melanie Gillespie from Trendy Traditions and her choice of Noah's Ark or Jesus and the disciples toy set from Bible Toys). Three women from my table won prizes, handmade necklaces, Mystic Monk coffee and lovely hand cream and goat's milk soaps. We felt pampered in body, mind and spirit.
I enjoyed the reminder from Danielle Bean that we can ask God for help in every minute of the day. She was in rare comedic form, explaining how a simple trip to the post office to mail a tricycle can lead to a lesson in learning to trust God in the little (or no so little) things. Rachel Balducci reminded us to offer God even our frustrated desire for prayer, as she described circling the parking lot of the adoration chapel unable to find a spot, while precious time to pray before the Eucharist ticked away. She gave us the takeaway line, "Love inspires more than the law requires", to remind us to give love the more difficult people in our lives without counting the cost, so that we too can be saints.
|Some of the bloggers at "Faith and Family Live" pose for a photo|
Pat Gohn said we should ask God to speak to us through the speakers of the day, and my message from Our Lord was to start the day with ten minutes for Him. I have been getting better at a daily rosary or Mass, but still, there are days when God gets my last ten minutes, as if He were on my to do list. We reminded each other in our sharing time at the table, that a day given to God is a day which has peace and order, and goes better than when we do it alone. If Jennifer Fulweiler can find time to pray the Divine Office with little babies, then certainly I can get up ten minutes early and give my day to God in a morning offering and short meditation.
Thank you Pat, Danielle and my new friends at my table (last photo) for a wonderful day which has me happy to serve God right where He has me; wife, mom,and a blogger.