Last week I got to go to Catalyst with my mom. I've always wanted to attend that conference and I was so excited that my mom was invited to speak at it. I was hesitant to leave my family again but Curt encouraged me to go. (I'm staying put for a while!) The conference was held in Atlanta, where my sister lives, and I couldn't wait to see her.
When we got to the event center we went to the green room for a little while. I got to meet several of my sister's Atlanta friends, including the beautiful Heather Whittaker and her fun family. I also met Brandi Wilson, Lori Wilhite, and Jessica Cornelius, who are all pastor's wives and have an online ministry called Leading and Loving it. They were such neat women. I saw one of these guys with a bowl cut and I had no idea it was to be funny. I was just thinking "What in the world is wrong with that guy?" Ha! I also got to see the lovely Lindsey Nobles, who is one of my buddies from the Guatemala trip. She was looking like a total hottie in her heels and cute hair cut. We laughed about how much better we looked than on our trip and agreed that this is what we really look like. Amen. Don't judge unless you've been in a developing country recently. It was great meeting Lindsey's friend and hotel roomie, Bianca Juarez. I've enjoyed getting to know her on Twitter and through her blog recently.
Mom's turn to speak came quickly. First, Kari Jobe led two songs - "Healer" and "Revelation Song." What a blessing it was to hear her sing. I recently went through a very difficult time and I could hardly reconcile all of that with the fact that I was now standing in that place with a sea of people worshipping God. It was overwhelming, but in a good way. I thought Mom did a great job speaking on insecurity in ministry. Melissa and I were so proud of her. Afterward I got to meet Jon Acuff very briefly and he chatted with Mom for a while. If you are not reading his blog yet (where have you been?), it's a lot of fun and you especially need to check out his Wednesday posts. They seriously preach.
We left a few minutes later and missed Francis Chan's talk, which I heard was amazing. In fact, I tried to download it a few days ago for $2.99 - and even linked to it on Twitter - and Curtis clued me in to the fact that it was the one from three years ago. Awesome! Only me! Well, it was still a great talk. Sorry if you're one of the ones I led astray.
I hope that Curtis and I will get to attend Catalyst together next year. I was only there for the tiniest bit of it but I would love to get the full experience sometime. We got to meet lots of attendees in the hotel (we even saw my aunt and uncle!) and everyone was so kind and gracious. It would have been neat to hear everyone's story. If I can be honest, I thought this conference would be way too cool. Everything I heard about it online made it seem that way. But I walked away feeling very blessed by the genuineness of the leaders and attendees I encountered.
(By the way, I heard about some guy getting shot out of a canon.?! What was that about? Maybe Travis would like to try that at the next Living Proof Live.)
Melissa took us to The Melting Pot for dinner and we celebrated our togetherness with fondue. After lots and lots and lots and lots of eating, we went back to the hotel and crashed. Melissa stayed in my room with me, so it was a slumber party. The next morning we drove to a part of town where you can walk around to all sorts of fun shops. Our first stop was a place called Belly that has homemade bagels. Praise the Lord. Apparently parts of the new Katherine Heigl movie were filmed there. It was super cute. Our friend Janet met up with us for lunch and shopping. Mom treated each of us to a few fun things. Melissa and Janet bought the same sweater, so they're going go to have to coordinate when they wear it!
They day flew by and soon we were in a taxi cab heading to the airport. I sat by a woman on the plane who ended up being my brother-in-law's co-worker. What a small world. I enjoyed visiting with her. She and the guy on the other side of me slept most of the way, which is good because I was reading the end of Radical and crying like a baby.
And that is a story for another day.
PS - Thank you to everyone who donated money for Aid Sudan's hand-held radios. Y'all are awesome!