Okay, last one, because this was now over a week ago and I have other things to share!
Laurie Smith: (from Trading Spaces) She told her story of how she came to Trading Spaces. She is quite dramatic and hilarious! She gave us three points that she uses for design, but can be used in your spiritual life as well. 1.) Evaluate Your Space; 2.) Determine Your Layout; and 3.) Find Your Inspiration. She reminded us that a Christ-centered home can only be as Christ-centered as its occupants.
Steven James: He is a great storyteller! I picked up a CD, but haven't really had time to listen yet. There isn't much I can say about him other than check out his website.
Julie Barnhill: I actually heard her twice. the first time she spoke at a General Session to all MOPS moms. She had three main points: 1.) YOU ARE A MESS! Just deal with it, it makes life much easier! 2.) Do not keep out the humor - humor helps maintain your sanity. She talked about playing with your kids, making fun of yourself, telling knock-knock jokes, and trying to embarrass your children (like implying that you actually sleep with your husband!). 3.) God wants to give you your desires in your scorched place. There's not enough room to explain all of this one except to say that YOU ARE A MESS and God wants to bless you where you are.
Then I went to her workshop titled "One Tough Mother". she started off by reminding us that when we get tired we start to give up our authority. You do NOT want to land on the front pages of USA Today as being a bad mother, so stick with it! Here are some keys to do that...
1.) Speak truth to your kids. Be consistent and firm and fair and say what you mean and mean what you say. Say this with your kids, "Who's the boss?'" Have them say, "You are". Then say, "Who's going to win?" And have them say, "You are". And remember the fun, light, Dora-inspired sing-songy voice.
2.) Delight in your perfectly ordinary child and ordinary life! It's okay to be average. The majority of us are not going to have olympic athletes or pulitzer prize winning authors!
3.) Stop tinkering with the inane. Look at the details, is it profound or really not important?
4.) Say NO like you mean it. Work on your tone and "the look". For those moms (quoting her) "that feel the need to validate your children", say, "I hear what you're saying and no" or "thank you for asking and no" or "Noah had a nickname and no" but just say NO!
5.) Get a hobby besides kids. (or scrapbooking about your kids)
6.) Love them like crazy! Establish family always. The Iverson family always...gives a little more than expected...looks for the one being left out and invites them to play...
7.) Remember it's all worth it!
8.) Leave nothing unspoken. Tell them, "I'm so glad I had you!" or "I will always be your mom no matter what!" or I'm praying for you whether you want me to or not!"
9.) Face your giants! Don't shrink away from the principal, or the doctor, or your mother! Face them for your children's sake!
10.) Never give up! You're only a failure if you quit forever!
Sara Groves: Sara is an amazing artist! Her music is beautiful, but her heart is even more beautiful. She talked about impacting our world and how her connections with International Justice have shown her how much difference one person can make in the lives of others. She encouraged us to not just be spiritual consumers, but to open our hearts and to pray about what God wants us to do. Each person can work with what God has given them. I loved the quote she used from Mother Teresa, "We can do no great things - only small things with great love!
Sara had her third child on July 13th, Ruby Cate. She is adorable. Sara had them bring her onto stage to introduce her and as if on cue, Ruby Cate burped a nice juicy burp...okay, really she puked all down the front of Sara at the exact moment that the camera zoomed in on her face. Perfect timing! All of us moms could totally sympathize!!!
But alas all good things must come to and end (until heaven!) and I needed to come home. Back to laundry and dishes and dirty diapers! That also meant a teary good-bye to Shannon. Thankfully it was early in the morning and there was a huge crowd of people waiting to get on the bus to the airport so our good-bye was short and sweet, but the tears did flow on the bus and on the plane! I miss you dearly, my friend! I did get to fly home with Elisa Morgan (CEO of MOPS International) who, I might add, was sitting in coach and friendly!