August 7th & 8th. Little did I know what I had in store for me...
It was a group of us that went, several ladies from church that we both knew from bible studies, a neighbor, and Karen's mom. It was a good group of ladies and we started off the Friday morning by meeting up together at the grocery store parking lot and praying together for a good weekend and then heading to Downtown Indianapolis to the Conseco Fieldhouse where the fun was to begin!
We got down there and began our day of listening to an awesome group of speakers that were funny, spoke from he heart, and just absolutely moving. Rei also did an AWESOME job and absolutely AMAZED me as took me up and down the arena steps as our seats were on the floor and we had a set of steps to travel for each break, meals, and to get to the restrooms which were all on the main concourse. There were over 12,000 women in attendance that weekend and WOW, it didn't phase her one bit and she didn't let ANYONE come between me and the person that she was following. It got to be quite comical as the weekend went on, we started to fall into a patter that Karen would lead, so Rei would follow her, and it carved the path for the rest of the group to come in behind, because Rei didn't hesitate to use her nose to let people know she was there and to MOVE IT! She was COMING THROUGH! LOL! :)
I took a receiving blanket and had a bag I carried all weekend with her water bowl, food, and so forth. I was glad I took the blanket, even though it wasn't a lot, as she was on the concrete floor the entire weekend. She was VERY, VERY good through all of the talks and the only time that anything even phased her, was when Sandy Patti hit her Opera high notes, of which Rei jumped up to her feet and looked at me like "What the France was THAT???" As the others in our group said- had there been glass there, it would have shattered, that it was such a high note!
So for our speakers, we had the following people:
Steven Curtis Chapman
It’s hard to believe that Steven has given us two decades of musical artistry—where did the time go?—but easy to understand why he’s won five Grammys and a record-breaking fifty-four Dove Awards. His wisdom and insight, paired with wonderful soaring melodies, touch us where we live.
Steven and wife Mary Beth have adopted three children from China, an experience that led them to establish Shaohannah’s Hope, a foundation to financially assist thousands of couples in bringing home orphans from many countries (including the US). The Chapmans also have three older children. They all make their home in Tennessee.
We wept with Steven and his family at the tragic news of the loss of their youngest daughter Maria in May of 2008. Having stood at the door of eternity, Steven presses on holding fast to the truth of the Gospel and his certainty he will dance with her again.
She’s living proof that you don’t have to win “American Idol” to be a winner. After traveling with Beth Moore’s praise team for 4 years, Mandisa leapt to national recognition in the final rounds of “American Idol’s” fifth season. But fame didn’t come without a price. Looking back on her sometimes-stormy experience, she muses, “My faith certainly went through some tests of fire, but it’s stronger because of that.” Mandisa has not been idle since her Idol days: her debut CD collected Grammy and Dove Award nominations, she joined music legend Gladys Knight on stage at Harlem’s historic Apollo Theater for a benefit, and signed on as a spokesmodel for Ashley Stewart Stores. All of which just goes to show, as Mandisa says, “The journey is difficult but the final destination is worth it.”
For nine years we followed her adventures as Blair Warner on NBC’s The Facts of Life but Lisa’s real life is just as interesting. After a successful acting career (she was a Mouseketeer for The New Mickey Mouse Club before Blair) Lisa married, had children, and began her greatest—and most challenging—role as a wife and mother. When she found herself feeling “isolated and alone” with three children in diapers, Lisa started MomTime Ministries with the goal of refreshing and equipping other mothers. She’s also the author of books on homeschooling, scrapbooking, parenting and more. Lisa’s family includes son Tucker, daughters Haven and Clancy, and husband Steve. They live in Texas.
As a child, Patsy wanted to be a cowgirl or a dancer but never imagined she’d wind up speaking to thousands of women each year (an idea that was really beyond her imagination during her years housebound with agoraphobia). These days she skips around the stage regaling audiences with her hilarious adventures and heart-tugging insights. Patsy lists her family as “husband Les, sons Marty and Jason, daughter-in-law Danya, grandsons Justin and Noah. Grand-dog, a Jack Russell Terrier, Cody (who jumps higher than I am tall).” They all live in Michigan except during the cold winter months when she and Les live in Texas, near most of her ‘porch pals’.
Get ready for a one-of-a-kind adventure with the woman Max Lucado calls one of the "best Bible tour guides around." Lisa earned a Masters degree in Theological Studies from Covenant Seminary in St. Louis. Lisa also served as director of Focus on the Family’s national women’s ministry and as women's ministry director at a large Nashville church. She’s a popular columnist with Today's Christian Woman. Lisa is single, has a bevy of friends she considers ‘like family’ and lives in Tennessee.
We are all here today thanks to Steve Arterburn—he created Women of Faith in 1996. He’s also the founder and chairman of New Life Ministries (the nation’s largest faith-based broadcast, counseling and treatment ministry) and host of the nationally syndicated “New Life Live!” daily radio program. You may be familiar with Steve from Oprah, ABC World News Tonight, or countless other media appearances. A best-selling author and winner of three Gold Medallion and two Platinum Book Awards for writing excellence, Steve has written more than 60 books, including a fiction series (with Nancy Rue). He has been honored as Entrepreneur of the Year and inducted into the National Speakers Association Hall of Fame. Steve holds degrees from Baylor University and The University of North Texas. He and his family live in California.
If you had a particularly thorny problem, you’d want to talk it over with Marilyn. Partly because she’s a professional counselor (with two Master’s Degrees). Partly because she’d give you biblically sound, eminently practical advice...and partly because she’d make you laugh so hard you’d feel better almost immediately. Marilyn has been enlightening, encouraging, educating, and entertaining Women of Faith audiences since we began these events. But don’t worry—she still has plenty of wisdom and fresh insight to share! She’s the parent of two and proud grandmother of two more. Originally from the west coast, Marilyn now lives in Texas.
It’s not just the accent that sets her apart; Sheila is a unique combination of author, speaker, Grammy-nominated singer, television talk show host, and Bible teacher. She’s written multiple best-selling books, including children’s series for both girls and boys (Gigi, God’s Little Princess and Will, God’s Mighty Warrior). Gigi even made it to video—and received a 2008 Telly Award along the way. Before joining Women of Faith, Sheila co-hosted television’s The 700 Club and had her own talk show, Heart to Heart with Sheila Walsh on the Family Channel. She’s currently working toward an M. Div. in Women’s Ministry at Trinity Theological Seminary. Sheila and her family (husband Barry, son Christian, and Bichons Belle and Tink) live in Texas.
Prior to joining the Women of Faith team, Allison appeared in 650 performances of Grease on Broadway. She’s shared the stage with the likes of Brooke Shields, Jon Secada, Maureen McCormick, and Jordin Sparks. An Andrew Carnegie Scholar from Carnegie Mellon University, our multi-talented dramatist also acts as a media/acting coach to professional athletes, celebrities, and even the occasional Olympic Gold-medalist. Plus, she co-wrote the stage musical Magdalene. Allison and her family (pastor husband Jonathan “my best friend and a man I can actually wear high heels with,” son Levi “a living reminder to live in the moment” and 90 lb. hound Zeke) live in Tennessee.
Three decades into her career, Sandi is a Gospel Music Hall of Fame inductee with 39 Dove Awards, five Grammy Awards, and an armload of platinum and gold albums. During her time in the spotlight she’s seen professional peaks and personal valleys alike, all of them tempered by the grace of God. As Sandi wryly explains, “I have a lot of life experience.” (That’s a bit of an understatement.) These days she spends much of her life at Women of Faith events. “I love going out every weekend and sharing my story of how God has been faithful,” Sandi says. Sandi and husband Don have a yours-mine-and-ours brood of eight children—six currently in college! Their blended family (all of whom sing beautifully) can teach us all about mutual love, respect and family unity. Sandi, Don, and their youngest offspring recently relocated from Indiana to Oklahoma.
We had a break for dinner on Friday and then went to the hotel to check in. We came back for the evening session and mini concert with Steven Curtis Chapman too to end the night and head back to the hotel.
Saturday morning we got up and had breakfast at the hotel, got our stuff together and checked out to head downtown agan for a wonderful day of renewal of faith, discoveries of ourselves, and each other.
After the last session, we went to the Old Spagetti Factory for a yummy dinner where we re-capped on the weekend and poured out our hearts to each other on what we got out of the weekend.
More later on what the weekend meant to me, but I will say I'm anxiously awaiting the WOF follow up we have this coming friday with our small group, to reconvene and enjoy fellowship again as a group. :)