The requests are flying in for an Edel ’14 recap! I feel like I’ve got 10 posts worth of Edel chat and need a month to process this beautiful whirlwind of a weekend, but here I am starting a post at nap time because Carrots readers shouldn’t have to wait a month for me to process all the amazingness that was Edel. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, fear not. Edel is a gathering designed for Catholic women who needed a weekend away. It was mostly moms and it was founded by Catholic bloggin’ rock stars Jen Fulwiler and Hallie Lord and so, naturally, a lot of us gals from the Catholic blogosphere were dying to be there for it in Austin, Tx.)
If you want the short version it is this: every five minutes I pinched myself because I just couldn’t believe such an awesome thing was REALLY TRULY happening. You need more details? Very well. This is, after all, the part of the internet where I blather on so…you came to the right place.
12 Things I Loved About Edel
1. Getting to hug so many women who have become dear friends over the years through blogging. And now they aren’t just my friends who live in the computer. They are real flesh and blood friends. And we got to laugh and cry together and not just over the phone or a google hangout.
2. All the babies. There were so many babies. And they were so welcome there. You could hear the sweet baby noises during all the events and it was awesome. I love being Catholic. And there was probably more public nursing than the Omni hotel has seen in many moons. You go, mamas.
3. All the love. Especially during the Friday night cocktail party, a few of us more outgoing folk wanted to do our fellow extroverts proud and make sure nobody was slipping through the cracks. Because, let’s be real, most bloggers are introverts (of course not everyone there was a blogger, but there were a lot in attendance). But every time I tried to find someone who wasn’t paired up chatting with somebody else….I couldn’t find anybody. Everyone was talking. Everyone was welcoming. I’ve never attended an event like this one. It was beautiful.
4. Getting to meet you! I met so many readers whose names have been showing up in the comments or on FB for months or years. I just kept thinking…these women are so amazing…I can’t believe they actually read my blog. What a privilege, y’all. Seriously. I was blown away.
Book table buddies.
6. Picking out a saints medal as your conference pass. The little touches like that were so special. I got Our Lady Undoer of Knots.
7. Rooming with Miss Christy Isinger of Fountains of Home! OK, y’all. Christy was one of my first, if not the first close friend I made through blogging. I have always wished we were next door neighbors and when I pour my second cup of coffee in the morning I typically think something like, “If only I was having coffee with Christy.” So I was over the moon when she was able to make it to Edel and I begged her to be my roommate. Our husbands both pointed out that it was possible we might not get along at all in real life. But it was not possible. No sir. We were able to start talking like we’d been best friends for years. Also we wear the same lipstick color. And have the same phone case. And are basically twins except I thrive in 100 degree heat and Christy lives in Canada. A little too much fun was had.
8. Marion and Jen’s talks. Marion is just one of the loveliest women I’ve ever encountered. And from the tears in my eyes and the sounds of sniffling in the room…I think her words were just what we all needed to hear. It’s like the whole room gave a big sigh of relief at her amazing message. And then Jen’s talk…it is still with me. But I don’t think I can recap it. But afterwards, I think we all felt less alone, and inspired to keep moving forward, knowing there are other women like us out there.
9. Having the chance to speak. The words had been brewing for months. I spent so many hours turning them over in my mind and then stitching them together. I read them out loud. Changed them all around. And then changed them all again. After months of working on it, I was so excited to share this talk, but I have to tell you how terrified I was. When someone asked me about my talk about two hours before I was going to speak, I literally had to excuse myself to grab some water so I didn’t pass out. Never have I ever stood up before that many people and given a talk. I was convinced that Hallie and Jen had made a huge mistake to ask me. When Daniel asked, “what’s the worst that can happen?” I said, “Well….I faint and then everyone live tweets it? This place is FULL OF BLOGGERS!” But then about 20 minutes before it was time to go up there, I was just….ready. Thanks to those I snagged on Saturday morning and pleaded to pray for my nerves. Thank you, Holy Spirit. And then when I spoke, it was FUN. Y’all, I had a blast. I was so thrilled to be there, but I really didn’t expect to enjoy speaking as much as I did.
10. Staying up almost all night with women I met the day before. We were up past four in the morning. I don’t think any of us wanted it to end. And getting to chat with Jen and Hallie after all their hard work had turned into such an incredible gift to all of us. And laughing so hard that we were worried we would cause a disturbance and the hotel would kick us out.
11. Going to Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral. I was looking forward to being at Mass with these amazing women as soon as I heard about Edel. After grabbing breakfast tacos with some ladies and sitting for a good while talking about our faith, and Brideshead Revisited, and Kristin Lavransdatter, we packed up and walked over to Mass in one of the loveliest churches I’ve seen. And the beautiful experience of entering the church and participating in the Mass with these women–I don’t think I can describe it. One of the things I love about the Church is how it reaches across state lines, countries, and oceans and that when I go to Mass and am close to the Blessed Sacrament, I am close to my fellow Catholics. I often think about my friends in other parts of the world when I’m at Mass because we are in some sense all there together at every Mass. But having them sitting next to me….that was something. And I tried not to cry. But I was totally crying.
12. Feeling invigorated and refreshed to jump back in to messy life with the four people I love most in the world.
What a weekend. I will NEVER forget it. And now, it’s good to be home. With sweet faces like this one.
To everyone at Edel: what a joy to meet you! And to everyone who wished you could have made it, you were missed!
See you at Edel ’15. For reals.