This past week-end I attended NCHE, our state's homeschool conference. I love going to this conference. This was my 13th year going. I worked as a vendor for Five in a Row for 9 of those years. I miss doing that. I loved explaining FIAR to people - the beauty and simplicity of this way of learning. I loved seeing people "get it" and know that this was a special way to teach which would draw hearts together. I was blessed to find FIAR at the beginning of our homeschool journey and still love sharing it with others. I even ran into a gal from our new church (that recognized me and stopped to speak) who is new to homeschooling. I shared a bit about FIAR and am hoping we will be able to get together soon to talk more. I want to encourage her in her journey. I know we all need that.
One of the things that I love about the conference is the chance to make connections. Some were meetings that I anticipated and looked forward to. Others were unexpected, though also planned. I love seeing God's hand at work in both types of meetings.
It is always fun seeing friends from our local FIAR group. There was a good contingent from our group there and these are gals that I love hanging out with! I stayed with one of my dear friends Rebecca and a couple of our children (1 of hers and 2 of mine). I also was blessed to meet up with other FIAR frineds from around the state and a few from neighboring states. One is my dear friend Hollie.
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="641" caption="Rebecca, Leslie, Hollie"][/caption]
Hollie and I have been friends since 2003 when we were both pregnant with similar due dates. God began then to knit our hearts together - neither of us knowing that for each of us the future held challenges that would draw us closer to Him and also to each other.
We also met up with some other FIAR gals - unfortunately, this picture does not include everyone. We met up at Mellow Mushroom for dinner. It was a long wait- but a great time to chat. We ended up eating in the hotel lobby (take out) and enjoying a long time of conversation. What a fun night! I can't wait to do this again next year! (Next year we'll just plan to order take-out and go straight to the hotel. Hopefully this will help those with more limited time.)
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="641" caption="Lynn, Hollie, Rebecca, Adele, Leslie, Angela, Bo, Jackie"][/caption]
One of the meetings that I didn't anticipate was meeting another mom of a child with Type 1 (Diabetes). We talked for awhile after meeting in the elevator. (I noticed her JDRF bag.) I told her I had thought about trying to start a support group for families. (Thanks to a suggestion from another sweet friend - Tonya's mom Nicole.) She loved the idea and was eager for the support we could offer to each other. And guess what? She lives in the same city as me! Pretty cool, huh? This is an idea that has been rattling around for more than 6 months now. It looks like maybe it's time to get it going.
As if this weren't enough, I had another sweet connection. On the last day of the conference, Rebecca and I were making a last purchase. She found something she wanted and bought it and we looked over at the adjacent booth. We saw a large jar with a picture on it. We both recognized the preciou smiling face - Aaron - a child from Reece's Rainbow. Without a word, Rebecca immediately started walking over to the jar and put money in. I followed her example. I then spoke to one of the gals in the booth. I shared that we knew Aaron from Reece's Rainbow. She was so excited to meet someone that "knew" of Aaron. We hugged and she shared some of what God had done in their lives just this week! You'll want to visit Julia's blog to read it for yourself. He is good! It was sweet to talk with Julia. She gave me a picture of Aaron and I have it on my desk where I'll see it many times a day. Would you join me in praying for this precious boy? He has already been transferred the the mental institution. Please join me in praying for Aaron and for his family that they would be able to bring him home soon!
Thank you God for each one of these friends that you allowed me to connect with at the conference. There were many things that blessed me there and spending time with so many precious people was one of the highlights.