Sunday, January 21, 2018

GFC Beautiful "Found" Women's Conference 2018

Well friends, the GFC Beautiful Conference has come and gone but not without having left its impact on my life and others. This year's theme was "Found" - how we found God in the darkest hours of our lives or how God found us in the darkest hours of our lives. #Perspective

This conference was different for me compared to last year's Fearless conference. That conference was, no way best for me to put it other than "raw". It was a real awakening for me and I really felt God was bringing forth my purpose, my story, that had been dormant in my life for so long. Life and the hurt that it brought in my teens and early 20's caused me to create this lock box of my emotions and stories that I did not want others to know because of the shame I felt. But leading up to the Fearless conference, I felt a stirring in me that I couldn't quite figure out why until that conference. I left that conference a hot mess but with a renewed sense of purpose. A purpose that I am still working towards. Undoing what shame had done for ten plus years is not going to get fixed overnight.

This year's conference I wasn't sure what God was going to do in me but I was excited. A couple weeks leading up to it, I was asked by the women's ministry director to be part of a panel discussion that they were going to have on Friday morning. When I first saw the email I thought to myself, "I think she sent this to me on accident". I even told my husband that. Again, the shame and lack of self-worth is still a real struggle for me. When she responded to my email that "Yes!" she did want me on that panel was another sign, to me, from God that my story is part of my ministry and is to be shared. It made me even more excited about the conference!

Okay, so that was a lot of deep talk there. Go ahead and get you a cup of coffee, cozy up on your couch and let's get to the conference recap!

Day 1: Thursday PM

Prior to the service, they fed our tummies with some good ol' BBQ food from 4 Rivers. I sure do love me some pulled pork and baked beans y'all. After devouring that meal (very quickly I might add because it was outdoors and it was cold) we went to the main sanctuary. The evening consisted of: the lovely ladies from The Pew, Paige and Ashley, kicking off the event, a musical performance and worship.

The keynote speaker for the evening sessions was author and speaker, Lisa Harper. During the summer, we did a short bible study using her book, Believing Jesus. It was the first time I'd heard of her and her story of adopting her precious little girl, Missy, from Haiti. You can hear that story here. Prior to each session, we would watch a video clip where she shared about the chapter we had just read. Now, I remember thinking "This lady is hilarious!" but wasn't sure if that was because it was more scripted since it was a video. I am here to tell you that she is just as hilarious in person! How this lady can go from saying something so profound and moving then quickly end the thought with something that made you bust out laughing is a true gift.

After the evening service, we went out to the lobby to enjoy some hot cocoa (so appropriate for the weather), churros and flavored popcorn. With that second wind of energy, thanks to the sweet treats, we made our way back to the sanctuary to dance the calories away in the after party. Listen, your girl thought she was JLo on that dance floor with churros in one hand and a mini donut, that I happened to come across, in the other hand. I really do pride myself in my skills of double fisting desserts wherever I go. I broke a sweat like no other and almost broke a hip with some of the dance moves. Had to remind myself that I am not in college anymore. But it was so much fun just dancing the night away with all the ladies there!

Day 2: Friday AM

I stopped by Starbucks to wake up and caffeinate before heading to church. They did offer coffee at church but after all the dancing from the night before, I needed the real deal, yo.

The Pew ladies kicked off the morning followed by worship. The keynote speaker for the AM session was Sharon Tubbs, who was actually the morning speaker for last year's conference. Her message about not being ashamed of your story really spoke to me. Your story is meant to be shared. The events that happen in our lives, both good and bad, is material that God is allowing to be added to our story. Not sharing our story is wasting what God has given us to minister to others and further elevate His kingdom. Seriously, it was as though God was speaking directly at me because, as I've alluded to above, this is something that God has been dealing with me over the past year. I get it God. Noted. 

After that session, it was time for the panel discussion that I was participating in. The host, Chrissy Mayer, had some questions for us to discuss about the conference and what "found" means to us. It was like having life group on stage except with hundreds of ladies in the audience listening, the brightest lights in your face and seeing yourself on the big screen. No big deal. It was a forty minute session and it felt like five minutes. It flew! I could have continued on for another couple hours, no lie. It felt so good and so right. There was so much more that I wanted to share! This was just the beginning in my opinion.

Look at your girl on the big screen!

When that was done, it was lunch time. I think they knew that a lot of us ladies were still trying to make new year's resolutions happen with good eating and provided salad for lunch. Confession. I had a slice of pizza that I found backstage before eating my salad. Papa Johns. I couldn't resist. 🙍

Break Out Sessions

With full stomachs, we headed to the break out sessions portion of the conference. We could choose two of twelve sessions ranging in topics from parenting, cleaning/organizing, body image, marriage to prayer, healing, and rewriting your story. Not an easy decision to make choosing just two!

For the first session, I attended my girl Sanjie's session "Be Transformed" which was about understanding the season you are in and finding your identity in Christ. This is a message that one needs to hear on the daily because it can be so easy to fall into the bad habit of trying to be someone according to what the world tells you or what you see on Instagram. Can I get an amen? We, as Christians and daughters of the King of Kings, need to look to our heavenly Father for our identity through reading the bible and seeking His presence in prayer. #preach

For the second session I chose to attend the "When God Gives You a Makeover" session by Rossaue Hosein. So, if I'm to be honest, this was not where I was originally planning on going to because my friends were going to another session. While the other session didn't necessarily appeal to me, I was going to go so I didn't have to go to another session by myself. #introvertproblems However, the room that the other session was in was FREEZING which forced me to go to another session. But I really think it was God pushing me to go to the other session because He knew what I needed to hear. 

Rossaue shared her testimony of being healed of food allergies after having dealt with it for five years. She expressed how she, being a prayer warrior and believing for healing and miracles in others' lives, failed to believe that healing could happen in her own life. She came to the conclusion that she would always have these allergies but God proved her wrong. That resonated with me so much because I, myself, have fallen into that rut with my diabetes. I've stopped believing and claiming that healing in my own body. Her testimony inspired me and gave me a renewed hope to continue praying for my own healing.

Once the sessions were done, we went back to the sanctuary for a fun segment with the The Pew ladies including live band TrevLove and the Froots (get it???), giveaways, a schooling on organization, and a surprise 40th birthday celebration for Paige. 

After The Pew, it was dinner time and our last meal together with Carrabba's Chicken Marsala, Pasta, Ceasar Salad and Bread.

Friday PM Service

The final service kicked off with amazing worship and another musical performance. Then Lisa spoke sharing a personal story and the story of Job about how God is there with us even in our darkest hour when we think we are alone. Because of the words of others, those who we call friends/family, have made us feel shame and alone. He is there and He hears us.

The service ended off with women gathering together in prayer. Powerful.

Such a great experience and perfect way to start the new year. As a small token of this conference, we each received this bar necklace with the word "found" inscribed on it. Serve as a sweet reminder of this conference and that we are found in Christ.


Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Our weekend was uneventful as the Mr. had to do some work stuff so I had to make my own entertainment. Well, fortunately for me, Amazon Prime was offering the first season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel for free this weekend. If you don't know what that show is, here is a trailer for your viewing.

Warning: There are curse words in this trailer!

I've been told by several people that I would love this show. It was written and directed by Amy Sherman-Palladino, who also wrote and directed Gilmore Girls. If this is the first time you come across my blog, here is a little fun fact about yours truly, I LOVE Gilmore Girls. I've started a shrine in my playroom of all things Gilmore Girls and that is no lie.

So a couple thoughts about the show...

As I watched the first episode I couldn't help but think that Amy Sherman-Palladino has a "type" when it comes to the actresses she chooses for her characters. Brown hair, blue eyes.
Am I right or am I right? Like, I could totally see Alexis Bledel playing the part of Midge (have you seen her in Mad Men?) except for the occasional boob scenes.

Next, the language of the show. Good lawd. The f bombs were flying in every episode! I am not a big user of curse words and really don't care to hear them said every other word in a sentence, but it kinda made the show funnier.

Abe "papa" was probably my fave in that show.

Finally, let's talk about the costumes. I have never considered myself a fan of the 50's fashion but I was totally loving Midge's outfits. The dresses, hats and accessories were so pretty! It's funny. I have a director who has a very cute vintage style that I admire. She pulls it off so well! I recall her saying one time that 50's fashion was her fave and I totally see why now!

Have you seen it? What are your thoughts?


Friday, January 12, 2018

Friday Five | No. 23

Hello friends and happy Friday to you all! I'm just going to say it, today's Friday Five is going to be full of videos and really all over the place.

ONE | Times Up and Oprah

So this one is a little two fold. At the beginning of the year, I saw this influx of Times Up posts in social media from celebrity ladies that I follow on Instagram. If you haven't heard of it, Times Up Now is a movement against assault, sexual harassment or other form of mistreatment in the workplace. During the Golden Globes this year, celebrities wore all black as a sign of solidarity for this movement and Oprah, while receiving the Cecil B. de Mille Award, spoke to this movement in her acceptance speech in such an eloquent and profound way that if you haven't watched it, watch it now!

TWO | An Acquired Taste Podcast

A friend of mine recommended that I listen to An Acquired Taste podcast, which is a few gals who just talk about anything and everything. I listened to it for the first time this week (Episode One-Hundo) on my way to work and it was hilarious! Really made the drive in to work not so bad. I've already listened to several other episodes since then. If you enjoy listening to podcasts and want to hear something fun and lighthearted, I totally recommend!

THREE | Princess Charlotte first day of daycare

(Kensington Palace)
Again. How adorable are these royal babies?! Princess Charlotte is like a little doll going to preschool. Which btw, how is she already old enough to go to preschool?! Wasn't she born like yesterday?!

FOUR | This Is Me video

Okay, I have confessed my love of the movie, The Greatest Showman, before and how emotional it made me when I watched it. The MUSIC is just 💗😍. During the movie, when the song This is Me came on, FOR. GET. IT. I had the frog-in-my-throat-ugly-cry happening. I don't know. I guess it spoke to hurt feelings that I have experienced in the past of shame and not good enough and brought them out??? I don't know. But when I saw this video while doing my usual Facebook wandering, I got the goosebumps all over again. Seriously, if this video doesn't give you some type of feels, then I don't know what will.

FIVE | End Game music video

T. Swift came out with another music video at midnight. I watched it this morning and while I like the song, not sure I'm feeling the video. Thoughts??