Saturday, November 10, 2012

Perfectly Imperfect Women Retreat

Ah.....a couple of days just for ME -- and my friends -- and other women from throughout celebrate nothing more than being the very best imperfect women we can be......

I spent last evening and this morning at a retreat at the Spiritual Center of Maria Stein at a retreat titled "The Perfectly Imperfect Woman".....what a wonderful retreat!

I have always loved retreats -- you take a few things out of your life for a bit and focus on a few other key areas -- this weekend it was removing husbands and kids and replacing them (temporarily!) with prayer, reflection, and laughter!

I was asked a few months ago to be a speaker at this weekend's retreat.  I was thrilled!  I love to talk (lol) -- especially in front of groups -- I enjoy helping people find the best version of themselves! 

I have to admit that last night I was shaking in my shoes for a bit!  I was speaking directly (and I mean directly!) after my friend Kimi, and as she was speaking I was trying to figure out ways to get out of speaking.  I thought of holding up a sign and saying, "Keep going Kimi!" -- or leaving the room :) -- or any number of other ways I thought of to get out of speaking. 

Why did I want out?  Because as Kimi was speaking, I watched her shine shine shine -- she is such an eloquent speaker who was really getting her points across -- she knows the bible inside and out and was quoting scripture verse after scripture verse, reading from her very organized index cards (which were clipped together in I sat and held my few scraps of paper I had scribbled a few notes on.  The more she spoke -- I kept reorganizing my talk --- still trying to hatch my escape plan.

But -- I was foiled again -- because, before I could get the heck out of dodge, she introduced me and it was my time.  Yikes!  I was so worried I was going to fall flat on my face.  I even pointed out Kimi's beautiful note cards aside of my scraps of paper!   LOL

I love speaking at retreats, though, because women are there to listen -- to whatever you have to say.  They are eager to listen, and to learn, and to grow from their experience.  Might I even say they are hungry for their fairth -- and to nurture it.

So I didn't get booed out of the room and everyone seemed to enjoy it -- even the part where I told everyone about my sister-in-law taking my young children to their very first bar!

The other parts of the evening were just as wonderful -- with mass, celebrated by my friend, Rev. John Tonkin, always a beautiful way to celebrate any occasion - -but even more beautiful last night.  I had the gift of getting a "communion/sign of peace" hug from my friend, Mary, who had come in from Cleveland for the weekend -- and who brought me to tears by the sight of her.  Mary and I were Resident Assistants together at Ohio State, and then lived together for several years after college.  Since that time, our only really chances to be together are when we run into each other at the Ohio State Fair when our kids are competing, so we really only have a few minutes until one or the other needs to get to be with our kids.

I have said it before and I will say it again -- the true test of friendship is when you can be absent from one another for long periods of time and still pick up without missing a beat.  We were able to do that this weekend.  And we laughed.  Boy, did we laugh.  (I'm pretty sure the wine we were "tasting" helped out a bit, too!)  Our friend, Joyce, was there as well, and she had some fun memories to share, too!  I truly have not laughed that hard and that long for a long time......and it felt so good!

I told everyone during my talk that it occurred to me that Mary was one of those people I sought out at the beginning of one of my years at school to go to church with me -- I tell my kids, and also my CCD kids to do the same -- find other Catholic kids at the beginning of the year to go to church with you and "keep you honest" :) -- so it was an amazing thought to me to think how far we've come -- from going to church and breakfast during college, to celebrating this weekend.  What a wonderful gift!

I "roomed" with my friend Melissa, so we got to chat at other times.  I love sharing my faith with my friends -- it really brings your relationship to a whole other level.   She is such a gift in my life and I appreciate her so much!

When we finally rolled into bed (around 2 am, which is late for this girl!) -- we set our alarms for 7 am -- breakfast was at 8!  I wondered how this was going to work -- I'm not used to these hours!  But, I was on autopilot because it was a "special" time -- and hit the snooze once until Melissa yelled at me to get out of bed......and we were on our way!  Dressed and in search of coffee to start the day!

A couple of speakers in the am -- my friend Jamie Schmiesing, who has such a brilliant way of making her super busy family life seem so doable for anyone (I couldn't do it!) spent a few minutes reflecting on morning times at her home; and Joan Kiser, whom I have written of before -- she runs the Neurological Center in Fort Recovery -- brought her client, Rick, with her to share their story of how God sometimes has other plans for your life.

All in all, a super spectacular weekend celebrating with friends old a new.  I can't wait for November 1 & 2 next year, when we will do it all over again!  I hope that you will take time now to mark your calendar and join us!

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