I am tired. I am overwhelmed. We have had information and ideas flowing at us with rapid speed over the past two days. As I sit here, I can’t even form the words. In some ways, I feel like there is a cork holding it all in and it’s all about to spew. Ray and I had a 6 hour drive home last night to talk about some of the ideas that came up. While that was great, it is going to take a long time to process all we saw and heard this weekend.

Tonight, I want to share with you some of the people that we met. I never got up the gumption to speak with Tom Davis, but he was the opening key note speaker. I think I’ve read all of his books. We sponsor a child through his organization, Children’s Hope Chest. We were there a little early. I saw him come into the church. My eyes were big huge. I smacked Ray and was pointed and gesturing… look. My husband, who never tweets anything suddenly decides that moment was the time. His tweet said, “B just saw Tom Davis and she’s starstruck. So proud. She’s come a long way since Marky Mark.” His speech set the tone for the rest of our weekend. It also set the tone with Ray trying to introduce me to anyone that had the potential of making my face three shades of red. The one big regret I have is that we didn’t get to Tom Davis’ question and answer workshop.

We also met Moody and Emily Alexander.  I’ve read their blog off and on for the last couple of years. I have no idea how I stumbled upon it. I’ve prayed for their son, Abe. I remember when I read about Abe’s diagnosis. I remember praying for peace for that family. We walked into a workshop and they came in and sat in front of us. It’s hard to be starstruck in their presence. They immediately, grab you, hug you and pour love out on you. They are sweet, kind, compassionate people. They are doing big things and call it all God’s story. I want to urge you to go to their website. Read Abe’s story. See what happened on their trips back to Ethiopia. If you don’t do anything else, watch Abe’s video. This boy touched my heart before I ever met them. Now, I feel my heart bursting for this family and what they are doing after spending literally moments with them this weekend. Moody and Emily have partnered with an organization called Glimmer of Hope. I know there are a few people who have a big heart for Ethiopia who read our blog. Check out their site. Glimmer is working in Ethiopia and plans to singlehandedly wipe out poverty there one village at a time.

I blurk around many blogs. Kristen Welch has one that I stalk regularly. She’s funny. She’s witty. She’s moving heaven and earth for teenage mothers in Kenya. Kristen is a mom who started a blog for moms called We Are That Family. Go there and check out her non profit, Mercy House. I’m getting sleepy. I can’t do Mercy House justice on my own. I will tell you that I met Kristen at a Taco Bueno. In fact, I met her because Ray was looking for her the entire time hoping to shove me into her so that he could embarrass me I could meet her. It almost worked. I finally worked up the courage to introduce myself before Ray could really do any damage. I’m hoping she knows I’m not an ax murderer. She’s really doing big stuff.

Finally, we were in a workshop with the Mooneys. They have a nonprofit called 99 balloons. Another interesting story… a few years ago that feels like an eternity now, I sent their video to our preacher to use in a service. I asked for warning before he showed it. I didn’t get it. I can tear up now thinking about all that they went through and the strength that they must have had to get through it. Matt and Ginny now have a new blog called The Atypical Life. They are the real deal. They have big ideas for us to share with our church here. We can’t wait to get started. I hope before the navy asks us to move on, Memphis will have it’s very own Recess program.

These were just a few of the kind people we met and got to know a little this weekend. Here’s the thing, as we walked into !dea Camp/Orphan I knew who they were. I respected them from afar. I couldn’t imagine how they were managing to do what they are doing. We were constantly told, there are no egos here. They certainly weren’t displaying egos. In my mind I saw Super Christians if you will. They are all making extraordinary things happen. I was having a hard time wrapping my mind around it. Questions like “How could I ever?” and “Where do you even start?” swirled through my mind as I listened to story after story.

I want to share with you the commonality that I noticed… they have all been refined by God’s fire. They’ve walked through it… the death of a beloved child, a devastating diagnosis, witnesses to the horrors of human trafficking and being totally wrecked by mission trips. These aren’t things any of these people asked for. They all walked through it. Their trials developed such strength and tenacity of spirit. They are ordinary people who came out the other side of a tragedy and did big things because of it. Each of us have our own trials and our own fires. We’ve walked through a couple ourselves. I’ve come to the realization that it doesn’t matter if the tragedy is yours or you are a witness, it’s what you do on the other side that really matters.

Something that I heard that is really sticking with me is, “If God’s gift of Grace is rushing like a river through you heart, you need to share that gift with others or you will risk it becoming stagnant.” I don’t want to be stagnant.

I am finding that I could go on and on… I won’t. Posts like this with ideas and advocacy may keep coming this week and we try to work through what we’ve learned. If you have thoughts and ideas, we would love to hear them. I don’t want to scare you, but I haven’t even gotten my notes out yet.

Happy Monday!