|Holly, me, Laura, Sharita|
My car was filled with laughter before we got out of my driveway. I learned that I love being with these women. They are brilliant, quick witted, mission minded, beautiful and extremely funny! The three hour drive seemed like minutes as we flew over the turnpike.
We told stories, compared lives, ate Chocolate Chip Pumpkin cookies, (thanks, Holly) got lost, got found and arrived at the hotel after a brief short-cut over a curb, down a ditch, up a small incline, through a roped fence into the parking lot. (Why, oh why are hotels built with NO means of accessing the front entrance??)
The conference room was filled with ladies from several states and the Stonecorft Leadership from headquarters at Kansas City, MO.
We quickly learned that Stonecroft women come in all shapes, sizes, ages and stages of life. We sang, watched a skit, received door prizes, listened, ate, and did I mention LAUGHED alot! Leaders shared their lives and their passions. Geneva Vollrath, Lisa Heidrich, Cheryl Davis, Dorea Potter and MANY other Stonecroft staff ladies led the group. We learned about Cross-Cultural Ministry and the fabulous work being done with Military wives! Sharita sang Amazing Grace as the whole crowd silently voted for her to be the NEXT American Idol. Our Mom's panel inspired several to go back to their clubs to form their own!!! (I handed out free Zebra Striped Duct Tape to all mothers-in-law!)
PressPause was presented as an option to reach women in the marketplace and a panel of professional people silenced the room with their stories. A policeman told of rampant domestic abuse, the director of a crisis pregnancy center gave statistics, and a dietitian talked about eating disorders. A brave young woman told of her passion and experiences of befriending the ladies of the gentlemen's clubs and her desire to help them know a better way. Human Trafficking was discussed as eyes and hearts were opened to that atrocity that ravages our cities. We heard a Grandmothers true story of her grandaughter being attacked at gun point and of one Stonecroft woman actually BUYING the building of a strip club in order to shut it down! Whoo-Hoo, you go girl!
We learned that we love panel discussions!
Worlds collided. Young women complained about "old technology" and older women promised to learn how to do that "new thing" they called "TWEET!" Some gals were ready to "run" with new ideas as others were trying desperately to get their feet out of the concrete of "we've always done it this way."
Birthing new methods and ideas are painful, but as one woman realized, "when a mother is in labor, if the baby is NOT delivered, BOTH die." Oh, my!
New relationships were established and old ones celebrated. Lots of networking was going on, cards were exchanged and promises were made to connect and help each other with future projects.
It's quite a challenge to get a large group of women together to accomplish anything and keep everybody happy in the process. The planning committee worked hard and I thank them!!! I hope as they are resting and reflecting today they are encouraged!!!
There will be a lot activity in the months ahead.
All I know right now is this, I love my car-mates more than bacon!