Thursday, November 02, 2006

Friends are Friends Forever ... If The Lord's the Lord of Them...

"Friends are friends forever, if the Lord's the Lord of them; and a friend will not say "never," cause the welcome will not end ... Though it's hard to let you go, in the Father's hand we know ... That a lifetime's not too long to live as friends." Michael W. Smith

Yesterday, I tried sooo, so very hard to upload pictures, but as luck would have it, Blogger wouldn't cooperate, so I went another route, and made a little slide show for you. Let me know if you like it or not, as I may start doing them more often (depending on your feedback)!

This past weekend, a large group of blogging "friends" gathered together in Fort Worth, Texas. Of course, we were all friends through the blogoshpere prior to gathering, but not many of us had really MIRL'd ... that's "Met in Real Life!" Some were nervous, some excited, some filled with trepidation, and some got hit with the shy bug ... but I think we all came away from this weekend with a new appreciation and love for each other.

Unfortunately, the problem with large groups is that you don't get to meet and chat with everyone, but even though I was unable to get to know each women personally, I did get to know a small group of gals almost intimately, and I know that I have found friends for life ... but most importantly ... I know that they are God fearing women who love to have fun, laugh, talk, cry, celebrate, eat, drink coffee (some of them), and I KNOW that the Lord is Lord of them!

So as I highlight a few people in this post, I beg that you forgive me if I leave you out, keeping in mind that the weekend was such a whirlwind, and I really didn't get time to spend with each of you.

First, I need to take a moment to thank my wonderful, WONDERFUL sister-in-law Sunshine. She sacrificed her entire weekend to come with me to a strange town, to meet with strange people, and act in a professional "au-pair" capacity. I love her deeply (and really, in all fairness, I must stop and say that I have two wonderful sister-in-laws that I love deeply, and are great, and ironically ... have the same EXACT first name. How awesome is that?) And YES, I AM going to tattle on her a little bit ... as we were getting close to the hotel on Friday afternoon, she started touching up her make up ... I looked at her and asked her what she was doing, and she replied ... "I want you to be proud of me!" -- AS IF!! Of COURSE I'm proud of her! She's so cool, hip, and trendy, and I loves me some Sunshine (a modified quote from Terrel Owens for you Cowboy fans ... yeah "Cowboy fans" ... whatevah)!

So, we arrived at the hotel Friday afternoon after getting (ehem) lost a couple times. Well, we really didn't get lost ... we just started off in the wrong direction, turned around, then drove past our exit by ... oh, I don't know ... TEN EXITS. Hey! Who ever said I was good with directions? (Certainly NOT my husband!)

The first people to greet me were (if I remember correctly) HolyMama (Kelsey) and her beautiful son Seth, Lauren and her lovely daughter Chloe (did I spell that right?) and Faith ... I can't remember if Jeana was there, because frankly ... Hunter had a blow-out poopy diaper, and all I remember was rushing up to our room to give him a bath. Whew! It was nasty, y'all! It took TWO of us to get him cleaned up.

Anyway ... that evening, we went to the Blue Mesa restaurant (following HolyMama and Jeana, and I don't care WHAT they say about trips lasting longer when they are talking ... these two gals have LEAD FEET!). They got way ahead of us. And in turn, we got lost. But we found the restaurant, and all ended well. Some of us got yummy food, others didn't, but I dare say ... the company was wonderful!

I really got to know a handful of ladies a lot closer this weekend... but here's a recap of all the ones I can remember best... Again, if I leave anyone out, please forgive me!

Let me just say that Lauren is such a deeply feeling, open hearted, loving and kind woman. She is genuine, hilarious, and loves God with all her heart, which is evident in all she does. AND ... she's a people pleaser -- LIKE ME! I LOO-HUUV her!!! Chloe reminds me a lot of my niece, Sunshine's daughter. She is shy, quiet, reserved, smiles a lot, looks at you through big, beautiful eyes, and once she warms up to you ... she talks, laughs, and poses for pictures. She's quite a beauty.

And as if Lauren wasn't wonderful enough ... she made me a gorgeous headband as a little gift (see the pictures in the slide show, but please don't copy her design!). I know, I know ... y'all are jealous ... well, just remember that envy is not of the Lord! If you want one, I'm sure she'll make you one! (She's a crafty one, isn't she?) And it can serve double duty ... necklace OR headband ... you choose! (Poor Kelsey didn't know what to make of this, and when she saw me come into Lauren's room with it on, and heard me saying I was ready to go to dinner, I think she may have thought I was ... um ... serious... but don't tell Lauren I wasn't!)

Faith (Faithful Mommy) is so sweet and yes, she is genuinely Suh-then, honey ... and she's the kind of lady you just want to take up into your arms and hug, and hug, and ... ehem ... sorry. Got carried away there! She loves her family so much, and we spent a little time talking about her hubby. He truly has a heart for Israel, y'all! He is taking Hebrew classes with Roseta Stone! AND ... he wants to learn Spanish, too! I am so impressed! Faithful Daddy -- here's some help in the Hebrew department: Alef, Bet/Vet, Gimel, Dalet, He, Vav, Zayin, Khet, Tet, Yod, Kaf/Khaf, Lamed, Mem, Nun, Samekh, Ayin, Pe/Fe, Tsadi, Kuf, Resh, Shin/Sin, Tav. That's the alphabet. Ehem ... let me know if you need anymore help!

Then there was Jenn (Reflecting Him). Jenn came with her husband Justin and her son Caleb, and let me just say that they are such a cute family! Jenn is just the sweetest, quietest person ... that's not to say she doesn't have anything to say, though ... because she does! And it would usually take me by surprise, because she'd be all quiet, and suddenly, she'd toss in something that was deep and smart! (and seriously ... she does Reflect Him!) Caleb has got the biggest bluest eyes I have ever seen. They look like lakes! And looooooong eyelashes! He and Hunter were adorable together, and OF COURSE, I (LOOSER) didn't get any pictures of them, so Jenn -- if you're reading this -- please email me some of the pics you got!!! (I'm shameless)

Chilihead (Don't Try This At Home) and Shannon (Rocks In My Dryer) are both so sweet! Chilihead is a lot of fun and she is very pretty, which you don't see through her glasses and mustache (I love her hair!), so you'll have to take my word on that! Shannon has a sweet, slow southern drawl ... the kind you just want to imitate, but can't, because it has to come natural or not at all! (DARN!) And, she is so soft spoken. I STILL say that, even though Everyday Mommy corrected me on that the last time I said that. Shannon and I clarified what soft-spoken means, though, because funny enough, she thought I was soft spoken too! I think she was expecting me to be a bit more loud and flashy, maybe? Anyway, she has a soft, sweet voice. I'm not saying she doesn't get loud ... 'cause she does ... and so do I ... I'm just saying she has a soft voice.

Ooooo -- my girl Shalee (Shalee's Diner) -- she is so loving and she just opened her arms up and gave me a big, BIG bear hug... which is quite a feat for such a petite little thing! She is hilarious also, and very open. I'm pretty sure she doesn't poses a shy bone in her body, which is a very, very good thing, because we were able to sit at dinner and chat away about ... oh ... everything. Just as if we had known each other for ever!

Oh, yes ... Jeana ... let me just say that she is very tall and funny -- and -- she has "material" -- seriously -- she said so! So, now, I'm just worried that I'll be part of her "new" material -- Jeana -- please be nice, 'kay? Seriously, though ... she kept me in stiches the whole weekend!

Ahhh -- Kelsey (HolyMama) and her beautiful son Seth -- Kelsey is so funny, and CREATIVE! She made us beautiful name tags ... each tag was done in a fashion that represented the people that were wearing them ... Mine was done in yellow and orange (colors of sunshine), and I had a bee on it! How thoughtful was THAT??!! They really were beautiful, and I appreciate the time she put into making them. I KNOW it took a long time! THANKS Kelsey! And that Seth is such a cutie pie and so well behaved!

Tina (Antique Mommy) -- what can I say? She is FEARLESS ... at least, that's the impression I got! After all, she opened her home to twenty-some strange women, and cooked dinner for us. Is that brave or what?! She has a very beautiful home, and she is so talented! She was so kind, so generous, and so welcoming to all of us. I really appreciate the time she took to cook dinner for us, and all the preparations she had to do to get ready for us to come and take over her home! Thank you, Tina!

Kelli ... I don't know Kelli very well, but she was a trooper, because she had to sit next to me at dinner on Friday night. She didn't even bat an eye at that, either! Actually, it was in between me and Lauren, and we chatted and had such a pleasant time ... then she came by Lauren's room later on and really opened up!

CMommy was very quiet and almost "shy-like" at first, in fact, she sat at the other end of the table from me, and I didn't really get to talk to her, but she did open up a bit later on in the evening.

Minnie is so photogenic!! She has beautiful eyes and smile, and a wickedly-awesome laugh! Very infectious, in fact ... ummm ... in a good way. And Minnie is stinking hilarious all the time! She is witty, adorable, and trendy (cool momma!) ... She made me smile when she laughed. AND -- girl's got game I mean -- killer shoes!

Toward the end of Friday evening's celebrations, Carol (She Lives) swept in ... and my goodness! She is tall, thin, and tan, and ... well, did I mention tall??? Very... I could go on, but why depress myself? Anyway ... She was committed up to her eyeballs this weekend with a women's retreat, so we didn't get to spend too much time with her... maybe next time???

Moving on to Saturday, we had lunch (I didn't get any pictures of that) and then we all split up, got into smaller groups and went our separate ways. Lauren, Chloe, Jen, Sunshine, Hunter, Faith, and I all went to the Stockyards and had fun watching the longhorns being driven through the main drag. There were cowboys on horses, "women of the night" walking the streets, longhorns with saddles ready for photo-ops, covered wagons, tee-pees (did I spell that right?), and a ton of fun. We did a little bit of touring, some shopping, and then rushed back to the hotel room to go to Antique Mommy's house for dinner.

And, finally ... we all posed for a picture while we were standing on Tina's beautiful winding staircase in her gorgeous home. And again, please forgive me for leaving anyone out ... like Rachel Anne and Katherine who are sisters, but could have passed for twins, and Sarah, and Jan, and Megan, and anyone else I didn't mention. I know there are more people I spoke with, and you were all charming and sweet ... but I can't remember everything ... except for the scene of my son splatting on Tina's floor, and crying. And crying. Did I mention he was crying? Yeah ... that's when we did the cowboy shuffle on out of there and cowpoked our way back to the hotel to put him to bed... WHEW!


And in closing ... just to prove how funny Sunshine (my SIL) is ... Tuesday night, I emailed her and asked if she and her husband wanted to come up to our home (if they had time -- they are, after all ... newlyweds). Here's how she answered my email:

"Nope I'll be too busy being wonderfully funny, and beautifully stylish taking down the pumpkin patch. Oh for the love of everything ORANGE!!! But hey...Jesus did die for me so a little punkin patch ain't nutting! Kiss my boy for me."

OH MY ACHING SIDES!!!! How could you NOT love her?


"With the faith and love God's given, springing from the hope we know; and we will pray the joy you'll live in is the strength that now you show ... But we we'll keep you close as always, it won't even seem you've gone. 'Cause our hearts in big and small ways, will keep the love that keeps us strong. No a lifetime's not to long, to live as friends." Michael W. Smith

Corny. I know ... but oh, so true!


Tammy said...

Just wanted to say that I have been visiting all these sites of those of who blessed enough to be a part of that gathering...and I am loving it!
(Well, mostly, aside from the little green jealousy monster...I would have loved to be a part of such an awesome group of gals!)
But I guess everything- even blog reunions- are bigger and better in Texas! :)

Emily said...

Cute slidshow! I bet you all had fun!

Anonymous said...

You are an absolute darlin', GiBee. I adore you!

Jennifer said...

Ditto what Shannon said!

I loved the slideshow and your rendition of the happenings was GREAT!

I miss you already.

Susanne said...

I'm so glad you had such a wonderful time, GiBee! I wish I could have been there and I'm with Tammy fighting off that little green jealousy monster. First off, how cute is Hunter! My he's growing and all that hair compared to the picture I have. Adorable he is!

Loved the slide show and all your descriptions, too!

mamashine said...

I heart you, GiBee. :) And I love the slide show! You got some great pictures.

Carol said...

You post a picture of me with my mouth open?!?!?!

For that you get totally tagged!

Wish I could have hung out with y'all more. Got sick Saturday during the retreat-ish thing and am still not over it. Sounds like y'all had scads of fun anyway.

Anonymous said...

Wow, you went into such wonderful detail in your recap. I'm finding it hard to write about for some reason.

If you don't mind my saying so, your description of me needs one correction. Replace "Lauren" with "GiBee!" There, now your post is perfect. Love you!

Overwhelmed! said...

What a great re-cap of all those that got together! Thanks so much for sharing.

Oh, and I thought the slide show was perfect! Great idea. :)

Faith said...

What a great recap Gi!!! You are the moat awesome-est chick!!! I love you!

Shalee said...

Well, I feel as if we've known each other forever. Does that count?

You're review is perfect, but I would have to say that I didn't peg you as a soft-spoken girl either. I really thought you would be loud like me. Now when I read your blog, I'm hearing your sweet soft voice in my head. I love it!

I still say that it wasn't enough time. I can't wait until the Lord blesses us with another meeting.

Julie said...

Your slide show was so fun, I almost felt like I was there!

Theresa said...

Great slideshow...I felt like I was a.l.m.o.s.t. there! :) Nice re-cap too the only thing was missing was me? Oh, that's right I'm still trying to sell my house in AZ and I didn't make it! Darn, I'm green with envy!

Sounds like a blast!! Thanks for sharing the memories!

Stacey said...

I just got to see the slide show and I love it! Glad you had such a great time with the girls! I really wish I could have been there to meet everyone!

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful slide show!!