December 22, 2012

Embrace His Season Women's Event

I think I've mentioned this on the blog before, but I am now coordinating the events for our Women's Ministry at church. We kind of have a team of people, and each of us have our responsibilities (Bible studies, events, etc.). Planning events seems to really suit me, and our Christmas event was my first to coordinate. We called it "Embrace His Season," and it was kind of a mini-conference format. The morning began with Mrs. Francis' homemade cinnamon rolls (she is a LEGEND in our church) and fellowship while we had Christmas music playing. We offered four different breakout sessions and each participant chose two to attend. The four breakouts were:

-Deck the Door (Holiday Wreaths): My friend Sarah led this and did an awesome job. She is known as the crafty person of our friend group, and she's always making a new wreath or craft for her [adorable] house. She demonstrated some ideas for making cute wreaths for your door.

-Creative Gift Wrapping: My friend Cathy presented AMAZING gift wrapping ideas! My sisters went to this one and they went on and on about it. Cathy isn't even on Pinterest (I KNOW), and she came up with tons of cute ideas to share!

-Hostessing to Honor Him: I asked my mom's friend Lisa to lead this breakout, because she is known in our church as such a gifted hostess. She's always doing theme dinners and really knows how to make the experience special. Unfortunately, she had already committed to run the St. Jude Marathon (I know, she's one of THOSE people - ha!), but it ended up working out perfectly because she asked her daughter Emily (a good friend of mine) to present her session for her. It was so neat because Lisa prepared her thoughts, but we got to hear Emily's perspective as her daughter. It was a great session!

-O Come Let Us Adore Him (Holiday Celebrations that Honor the Savior): Wini is our student pastor's wife and also a dear friend. She is one of those people that just has the light of Christ beaming out of her. She's also a VERY gifted teacher, and when she agreed to do this breakout, I was thrilled! She shared special Advent activities you can do, and other ways to be intentional about honoring the Lord during Christmas. It was a wonderful session and I loved being able to sit in and listen.

After the ladies returned from their two breakout choices, we gathered back in the Fellowship Hall for more food (Mrs. Beverlee, or Lady Beverlee as I call her, outdid herself!), and then I passed out door prizes (which were very popular!). I was then supposed to introduce our keynote speaker, which was my dad's sister, my aunt Karen. I had prepared myself for this and had exactly what I wanted to say written out for me to read. I had practiced and practiced because I didn't want to get emotional when I was introducing her. A little background: I am VERY close to my aunt, and she is a huge spiritual and life mentor/example for me. She also fought a very hard battle with breast cancer, and we were preparing to lose her at several times during that journey. To have her there speaking was extremely special, and when I started reading my introduction about her, all of those emotions flooded back and I got very emotional - as in, full-on crying. I'm sure people thought it was sweet, but what they didn't know was WHY I was so emotional (obviously they didn't know the history of her story and how it's a miracle she's even here). I HATE CRYING IN FRONT OF PEOPLE, and for some reason my church family has seen me cry way more than I care to admit. But they're "my people" and I knew they would understand. After I [barely] got through the introduction, my aunt went on to give an incredible talk about finding our "home" in Christ, and how He so wants to give us a full, warm, two-armed embrace. Her talk was so anointed and well-received. That afternoon, my dad said that he felt the Lord really directing him to let my aunt share in our Sunday morning services. He said he just felt impressed that our whole congregation should hear what she had to say. And how RIGHT he was! She expanded upon what she shared at our Women's event, and our entire church was abundantly blessed. At the end of this post, you'll find the video of that Sunday morning. I pray that you will take the time to watch and listen, and let the Lord speak to you through my aunt. She is incredibly humble and doesn't ever want attention on herself, but I think you'll agree that God speaks His truth through her.

Here are some scenes from the day of our event!

We used simple burlap table covers, candles from the Dollar Tree, and red accents.

We coordinated our decorations with the main tree in our church foyer.

This was my favorite thing that we did - we used small trees that the church already had and put them at different levels behind the podium, to act as a backdrop. It was so simple but turned out beautiful!

Janet, who coordinates our Bible studies, shared the upcoming opportunities for Bible studies this semester.

We had around 150 women attend!

This is my friend Sarah doing her "Deck the Door" breakout.

And this is Wini sharing in "O Come Let Us Adore Him."

My aunt Karen sharing her heart, which you can listen to below. :)

Thank you, Lord for an amazing weekend celebrating YOUR season!

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