Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Edel is Like Fairy Dust and Other Revelations From the Weekend

After a long day of traveling home on Sunday from an incredible weekend away, nothing feels quite as good as being welcomed by six sets of squishy arms wrapped around my neck.  Except for maybe a nap.  I think a nap would feel about as good as squishy arms, but I can't say for certain since naps are still in the bucket list category of my life.
Things you don't see at the historic Francis Marion hotel. Playmobil guy chillin' on the Charmin.  I think one of my offspring was sent to time out in the bathroom while I was gone??

The return home - that's one of the unexpected gifts of Edel.  It restores your heart and mind in such a way that you're able to come home and see the precious in your precious ones a little more clearly. The sound of Mom!, Mom!, Mom!, Mom!, Mom! isn't so annoying after all. And, even the poopy diapers and football cleats don't smell quite as putrid as you remember them to be.

Edel is fairy dust sprinkled on your life. I love fairy dust.

My experience of last year's gathering is still pretty blurry.  I went with our son, Joseph, who was FOUR WEEKS new at the time, because, why??? Like I said, blurry. So, this year, I feel like I was actually able to relax and enjoy the journey a little bit.

The only real hiccup of the trip was, after a three hour layover in Atlanta, my dear friend, Kathryn, and I were finally able to board our flight to Charleston, but ended up being stuck there for another hour waiting for the "people in charge" to empty a bazillion pounds of fuel from the plane.

In the mean time, after my attempt at yelling for suggesting free beer for the hot and weary travelers failed, I dug into my bag for some elevation essential oil, hoping it would lift my spirits (hee hee) a bit (and also those around me).  Unfortunately the two big tatted dudes that I was squished in between weren't feeling the effects so much, so I resorted to tweeting about my break up with Delta.
Just outside of 82 Queen. Kathryn and I both woke up at 4:00 a.m. to make our flights, and it only took us 9.5 hours to get to the soup of my dreams.
From the little of it I saw, Charleston is a beautifully charming city, with the best she crab soup on the planet. Well, I had never actually eaten she crab soup until Friday's lunch at 82 Queen, but if there's a tastier she crab soup out there, I really don't want to know about it.  Because that's a one way ticket to gluttony.

Put the spoon down, Susan. Put. it. down.

My photo evidence of the weekend makes me sad, but that's what I get for refusing to drag the Nikon suitcase around Charleston. Edel had to be captured with the iPhonybaloney. There's some much better footage here, if you are so inclined.

I will sum up the rest of the trip in a list of personal favorites:
Favorite Talk: Rachel Balducci
Rachel's blog, Testosterhome, was the first blog I ever read, and still read today.  Like me, she is raising a tribe of boys, so I was ecstatic when I heard she was going to be one of the speakers at the gathering.  To those sitting behind me, I'm sure I looked like a bobblehead, nodding in agreement at every single hilarious story she shared about the craziness of raising boys. She is a kindred spirit, indeed.

Favorite Quote (from Kelly's talk):
“You have been chosen twice; first to be, then to know Jesus. What are you doing with that fantastic mission? You have been created by God and know Jesus for one reason; to witness to faith and hope and love before an unbelieving world. I don’t care if the world knows you, or no one knows you. Even if you influence only one person in your whole life, God does not look at numbers or quantities. He looks at souls and individuals. If you were able, by your example or by one of your acts to bring one person to heaven, it would mean more to Him than all the accomplishments on earth.” -Mother Angelica
That's Mary, singing "All About That Base" like a queen. Love her!

Favorite Inspiration: Meeting Mary Lenaburg.  I had read Mary's story about a year ago while up during the late nights of nursing Joseph.  Words cannot sum up the heart of this woman. Meeting her was an experience of Christ.  And, she let me drive her Mercedes rental to get Kathryn and myself to 82 Queen for our soup. That was the first sign of her awesomeness.
Post Mass joy with my newbie friends.  Kathryn was such a trooper the whole weekend.  She was asked approximately 472 times "Are you the one who broke your knee last week?"  And, graciously she answered them. Every time, so incredibly gracious.  I need to get me some of that southern sweetness.

Favorite Soul Food (besides the shrimp and grits): Eucharistic Adoration and Holy Mass at St. John the Baptist Cathedral.
Favorite Sip-Sip: Tarragon and lemon infused cocktail (made with gin, of course) at Magnolias.
Favorite "I Really Miss My Boys" Moment: Wishing I had some Napoleon Dynamite pants to stuff some of these Benny wafers into, because when I saw them I knew that they would make the perfect communion wafers for my little guys who love to pretend saying Mass at home.

Favorite Moment of Humility: Being asked by an attendee if I would refill her drink.  I think she may have thought I was part of the wait staff, which means my cocktail dress wasn't as dressy as I thought it was.  Sweet tea, no lemon, coming right up!
Favorite My-Face-Hurts-From-Laughing-So-Much Moment: Watching all of the ladies let their hair down for Karaoke and dancing after dinner Saturday night!  This pic is for all the teenagers out there who think their mom's idea of having fun is folding laundry while watching Netflix.

Favorite Takeaway:  Although Edel is not a bloggers hangout, there are a lot of Catholic bloggers who attended.  Since I'm a microscopic blogger no one recognized me, and I was thankful for that, because it gave me a chance to approach other women, strike up conversation, ask a lot of questions and listen, listen, listen.

I love hearing people's stories.  I love being inspired by the lives of women who feel as though they are leading ordinary lives, yet are so very far from it.  I love being reminded of God's goodness through the voices of those around me, because I can so very easily forget just how good He really is.

And, I love knowing that this longing that I have for community was not rejected but deeply affirmed by three hundred other incredible souls who are struggling and striving every single day to live their vocation faithfully, to be salt and light from behind a hot stove or beside a sick baby.

That kind of encouragement is not meant to be kept to ourselves.  We need to take Edel to others, YOU can be Edel to others, even if you've never been there! Reach out to another mom, go out of your way to say hello, go somewhere without your make-up on and smile like you know your a beautiful woman of God, invite another mom over for coffee even if your house is trashed, be a listener, laugh at yourself, help others laugh at themselves, too.

If you're thinking about going to Edel 17 (yes, they're taking a year off), think no longer.  Go.  Just go.  You will love it, I promise.


  1. Very clever idea to share a list of favorites. Awesome recap, especially those last paragraphs. It was great getting to know you better, even if you are going straight to hell for using doTerra oils. ;)

    ((In all seriousness, praying for your husband's health!))

    1. Lisa, I LOVED getting spend a little bit of time with you! I think we should meet in Kansas City sometime! I'll bring my favorite oils and you can try them. ;) Thank you for your prayers, they really do mean a lot to us!

  2. Hi Susan,

    Although we didn't formally meet at Edel, I do remember our paths crossing several times. I wish Edel lasted longer just to meet everyone and hear their stories. Like you, it was fun to meet new people and listen to where their paths in life have taken them individually and with their families. It sounds like your second Edel experience was a blast filled with wonderful memories! God bless!

    1. Hi Tracy! Thank you for taking the time to leave me a note! I too wish Edel could have lasted just little bit longer. Just when I'm getting "settled in" it seems like it's time to pack up and leave. Maybe we'll get to chat in 2017!

  3. LOVE the Napolean Dynamite reference!
    I think I would have fainted to get to meet Rachel Balducci. I really, really look up to her. And so I appreciate your picture. :)
    You and Kathryn are the best. FYI - *I* would have recognized you! Last year I was so nervous to meet you because I had long been intimidated by your wisdom, mad skillz, and hotness.

    1. Bonnie, you are crazy! I was nervous to meet you, and SOOOO sleep deprived that I couldn't put together a complete sentence, which wasn't humbling at all. Don't even go there with the skillz and hotness. I'm just glad we met, and I'm hoping and praying that I get to see you again this fall if you are able to swing through Kansas on your way to Colorado!

  4. It's been fun following you all having fun at Edel. Between the radio show, the instagram photos, and update posts, I almost feel like I was there. (Your shoes were awesome!) Charleston is a fantastic city. And she crab soup is one of my favorite things to eat.
    Maybe in 2017... :)

    1. Oh, Christine, I would LOVE it if you could come in 2017!!! I've been reading your blog forever, and would feel so blessed if we could meet!

  5. Love this recap - so clever to come up with your top favorites!!! I hope we get to meet each other soon :-)

    1. I'm still bummed that we didn't get to meet! 2017 I will come and find you!!

  6. Wonderful recap! Were you the Susan who was helping my friend and I with keeping tabs on the chocolate covered strawberries?! And you aren't microscopic at all! I love your blog! Anywho - I have a great recipe for benne wafers (I'm originally from Charleston). I'll find it and get it to you! They aren't terribly hard but they make about 12 dozen per batch... which could be problematic! (I'll admit, the ones I made were better than the Francis Marion too! ;) )

    1. How fun! I would love the Benne wafer recipe, and my boys could *help* me make them. Thank you, Caitlyn!

  7. You're not a microscopic blogger to me!! You're how I'm going to figure out how to raise my boys! Love the recap. Love the drink order. Love Kathryn. Love Napoleon dynamite reference!


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