Birthday Fun & the Abide Conference

February 26, 2024

 Who would have thought turning 38 would have been enjoyable. I told Jeremy last night that I feel like I'm finally over a hump. It's been a rough few years after Dad died and losing our 3rd baby, the last two birthdays weren't anything I was excited for. Finally this one felt happy again. Enough time has finally passed. 

Now for what birthday fun I've had, in backwards order. 

Instead of driving all the way to Dairy Queen I decided to make Harry and I an ice cream cake at home. This was a winner, and while my icing writing skills aren't bake shop standard... it was dang good. 

I don't have a photo of it, but I made sure I blew out trick candles just because the boys get such a kick out of them. 

Next year I might work on our writing, and the next time I make this I'll share the steps and what I am doing differently. 

On Friday I took the day off work and headed to the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary for the Abide conference. If you haven't been, you have to sign up and go. Of all the conferences and places I've been over the years, this is by far my favorite women's conference. The music and speaking are always incredible, and the break out sessions are top notch. 

I probably also love it because it is a large conference (1200 women) but still small enough that you run into many of your Louisiana Baptist friends when walking around. 

This year I went alone, my friend Stephanie will probably kick my butt for doing that, but when it came time to book I was still processing all the events of the winter and just couldn't reach out to anyone. It was easier to do the alone thing this year. Now I wanted to run into everyone on earth... but I couldn't reach out. Grief is weird. 

I wish I would have taken more photos, but I ran into Angelle on night one. We were psychology majors together and she knew Jeremy from the BCM. I ended up spending day two sitting with her and the Tech BCM girls. I also got to speak to her mother, who is a minister's wife, and we had such a great conversation during lunch. 

Now this is where the out of order really gets going. I kinda got myself 2 birthday dinners - when I got to NOLA I checked into my room and headed out to Poke Loa. I haven't had good poke since we left Birmingham and was dying to find some since I was in a larger city. Then when I got back into town Saturday night I got the boys to go to Pop's Poboys in downtown Lafaytte. 

Isn't the chapel at NOBTS just beautiful at night! 

Night 1: I snagged a floor seat next to some seminary students and had a great time. Tara Dew and Donna Gaines led the first two sessions (all 4 were focused on prayer and they all taught different parts of the Lord's Prayer). 

Day 2: I checked out of the hotel and headed to campus for coffee before walking through the shops they had set up before the doors opened. The girl who took my order was an Emily, and based on the Emily who taught a breakout session (her bio at least) it has continued to strengthen my theory of Emily's. I'll be publishing my dissertation soon. 😉

Tara and Jamie Dew opening the conference Saturday morning. Y'all the worship music, and all those women singing together was incredible. Meredith Andrews' voice was insane. Especially since on Friday night they were having tech issues and the whole service was very much unplugged. 

Now for the week before! 

Girl things are generally not on the docket for me with this house full of men. I really should have gotten a female dog when I had the chance. I need at least one person on my team. 

Anyway, I got to go to The English Tea Room with Christy and the girls in Covington. It was freezing, but we had the best time. All the fun antique shops were a great addition. 

If ever you were to ask why I love church, outside of Jesus, it's this. 

I met Christy and Emily a decade ago, when Emily and her brother were little kids the same age range as mine are now. We've been able to see them grow up and then get the privilege of coming back to church here and having them in our youth group. Now Emily is in college and her brother Peyton is in youth with us. 

Time flies, but watching kids grow in Christ is such a blessing.

I didn't take any pictures of Sunday morning. They caught me off guard. Emily and Zoey had decorated the youth room! Peyton won himself some major brownie points and came bearing an ice cream cake lol! 

Between the birthday cards, calls, and hugs, I really couldn't have wished for a better birthday.