Saturday, August 15, 2009


The last two weeks have been wonderful, not just because they were fun and exciting and different, but because I was doing what I was created to do. There’s nothing quite as exciting and filling as taking small steps toward fulfilling God’s purpose in our lives.

Two weekends ago I joined my church’s young adult group on a retreat to the beach. This group has been my primary church family for over a year now. I was drawn to them because they are drawn to God. Unlike many youth groups that are focused on who’s going out with whom, or light games, this group is focused on God and on how we can support each other in our pursuit of Him. It’s a great mix of young adult ages, and meets less than five minutes from my house (when you live in the country, that’s pretty remarkable).

The retreat’s theme was glorifying God in our relationships, specifically relationships with our parents, significant others, peers, and God. After each sermon, we had a time in small groups to share what those truths meant personally. In between gatherings, we had time of fellowship, getting to know each other better and just having fun, surrounded by the sand, waves, and skies that delighted in showing off their Creator’s glory.

I had three days at home after the weekend retreat, resting, preparing to leave again, and continuing with my interpreting practice. On Thursday I flew to Detroit for the FaithWriters second writers conference. The flight there was a bit crazy, with several flight changes. I ended up having to fly all the way to Philadelphia and then back to Detroit, arriving about three hours later than planned. I was thankful I’d come in early, giving myself ample time to get there and to rest. I was glad, too, that I’d decided to buy a cane for the occasion. The flight and fatigue amplified my balance problems, so it was nice to have something to hang onto, plus it gave those around me a visual clue that I’m not quite as hardy as my age and appearance would indicate. Airline workers were quick to help with my bags and make sure there were electric carts to take me to my next location within the huge airports.

The conference itself was wonderful, of course. FaithWriters has been my second family for over four years now. The wonderful people there have come along side me through the message boards, instant messages, email, phone and texts, and now FaceBook, not only building my writing skills, but encouraging me physically and spiritually. It’s been an honor to be able to give a little back by helping coordinate the writing conferences every year.

It was great actually getting real hugs (rather than cyber hugs) from dear friends like Shari, Joanne, Laury, and Deb, and meeting many other friends like Josh and Vonnie for the first time. Though we didn’t get much sleep, it was fun to lay awake all night and chat in the dark with my roommate Karlene, getting to know her better. It was good to know Shari, one of my first FW friends, and I haven’t lost our connection. She might as well be a blood sister, the way we can finish each others sentences, and almost unfailingly answer the exact same things on games, or at least know for sure what the other one’s answer was!

There were a few writers there who are close to my age, too. Sara is so bouncy and bubbly and joyful, literally jumping up and down and clapping her hands half of the time. I just wanted to take her home with me. Leah, I actually could take home with me, almost! She also lives in Washington several hours north of me, and we determined that we’ll definitely not wait for the next conference before getting together again. It was sweet how many people would stop me and check to see how I was feeling, or be sure to make sure I had a chair--taking care of me without babying me. The workshops were full of great information, too, and I came home with many ideas for furthering my writing career. After the workshops, we played games late into the night, giving us a chance to get to know each other better. I got a little closer to a few people I hadn’t gotten a chance to know much, like Di, Peej, Allison, and Chely, and so many others. I arrived back home Sunday night, had a day of rest and then, with little time to miss my friends, jumped right into volunteering as a student interpreter for a drama group. On Wednesday I worked a full 8 hour day, and though I was very tired and in pain by the end of it, I made it through that and interpreting the next two half days. The drama was great fun, as that is one of my passions, and nice because it’s scripted and practiced, so easier to interpret (though I had a terrible time finding a teammate to help). I also interpreted for rehearsals and director’s instructions, and found that it wasn’t scary at all, especially in this low risk setting. In fact, I can do this, really do this! Of course I made plenty of mistakes, and learned a lot, but my clients were able to understand the information and interact with each other. It built my confidence a lot, and was a wonderful opportunity. I’ll hopefully get to work with this group again in the future.

I thank all of you who prayed and encouraged me through these busy weeks. It’s a testament to God that my body held up and I was able to accomplish everything. I had to be careful to rest as much as possible (and even skipped one of the writing workshops to lay down) but got through successfully and don’t seem to be crashing now too much. I know it helped that I’ve been able to rest and store up spoons earlier this summer.

Now things are quieter, and I suddenly have more time to miss my FaithWriter friends, and go back to the more boring interpreting homework assignments. At least I get to see my church friends tomorrow, and have plenty of writing projects to keep me busy, when I’m not resting or signing.


Karlene said...

You definitely had a full couple weeks. I'm glad I could be there to chauffeur you around and get to know you.

Catrina Bradley... said...

Thanks for posting your thoughts, Amy! I wish I'd had a chance to talk with you, but I did whisper a prayer when I'd see you, knowing how tired you must have been. Not that you showed it at ALL! You amaze me, and to be honest, intimidate me just a little. I've always admired you, and it was an honor to meet you in person.