7 Quick Takes that involve book nerdery, visions of nightmarish travel, conference jitters, and the video that made me sob for an hour

— 1 —

The Edel Gathering begins one week from today!

For those of you who don’t know the backstory, this conference came into being suddenly and unexpectedly. In November of last year, I wrote a post telling the story of how Hallie Lord and I took a risk and committed ourselves to this idea somewhat spontaneously. On paper, pretty much nothing about the two of us hosting a conference in this particular season of our lives made sense. Yet we couldn’t escape the sense that we were called to do it, and our husbands even agreed, so we took the first step and trusted that God would work out all the details as we went along.

A big part of me thought that this thing would never materialize. It seemed too crazy, too out of the blue. So it’s surreal when I re-read that post from last year, and consider that that event that seemed so impossible and so distant at the time is actually happening next week.

— 2 —

Here’s a tip for not feeling stressed when you’re trying to pull together a two-day conference that has people flying in from all over the country: Plan something 1,000 times more difficult for the week after your conference. It should be something that has the potential to ruin your life on a level previously unimaginable, so that your conference will seem simple in comparison.

I managed to hook myself up with such a situation: I’m flying with my 15-month-old and two of the other kids less than a week after Edel.

The trip itself will be nice. We’re going to North Carolina because I have two cousins getting married two weekends in a row in Raleigh (coincidentally, at the same venue). For the days in between the weddings, we’ll be staying with my aunt and uncle in Black Mountain, NC, which I hear is lovely.

The problem is getting there. When I tell you that this will be the worst experience of my life, I am being an optimist. If I were a pessimist (or even a realist), I would predict that I would not survive at all.

If you have plans to fly between Austin and Raleigh during the first part of August, cancel them. It’s not enough for me to give you my flight numbers so you can make sure you’re not on them — you should avoid any travel between those two cities during that time just in case our flights get changed. Trust me.

— 3 —

My 15-month-old is not terribly high maintenance in general. That is, of course, a relative statement. His three-year-old sister permanently changed my perspective of what we mean when we use the words “handful” and “strong willed” and “if this child kicks me on the forehead while giggling one more time I am going to lock myself in a closet and scream,” so maybe he’s a difficult baby and I just don’t see it.

There are, however, two types of occasions that lead him to have long, thrashing meltdowns that involve screaming that can only be analogized to a tornado siren:

  • If he’s not allowed to crawl around and explore his surroundings at will.
  • If he misses his nap or bed time because we’re out of the house.

Yes, I did say “crawl.” He’s not walking yet — our kids always walk late — yet hates to be confined to a stroller or be held for too long. This is kind of a problem when you’re in public places with filthy floors, and your baby wants nothing more than to get his hands all over them.

So yes, I am taking this child and two of his siblings from Austin to Raleigh to Black Mountain to Raleigh and back to Austin. There will be layovers at busy airports, elegant rehearsal dinners, weddings, and receptions.

Don’t even try to encourage me. This is going to be a hellish nightmare of unfathomable proportions, and we all know it.

— 4 —

As bad as the travel is going to be, I’m really looking forward to seeing my family, and of course to seeing my cousins get married. (Wait. That sounded weird. Please note that I previously established that we’re talking about two different weddings.)

I’m actually going to see some of those same family members at Edel! My aunt Lisa, aunt Claudia, uncle Kevin, and my mom are all coming as volunteers to help put on the event! They offered to pay their own way to come out here and work hard all weekend just to help us make sure it’s an awesome weekend. How sweet is that? Those of you attending, be sure to find them and say hello — you’ll love meeting them!

— 5 —

(Warning: Extreme book-nerdery in this take. If you are not a book nerd of the highest order, you will want to skip this one.)

I finally finished Shogun, which I began reading in January. In a wonderfully fortuitous turn of events, I just so happened to read The Remains of the Day recently as well.

These two books make a fascinating combination, since one is an Englishman writing about Japan, and the other is a Japanese man writing about England. The books could hardly be more different in terms of content (though I hear there was a cut scene in The Remains of the Day where Stevens orders the scullery maid to commit seppuku), yet they meditate on the same themes. Both stories ponder questions about the meaning of honor, the price of duty, and whether living in a society that asks great sacrifices of its members is ultimately good for the individual.

If I were part of a book club that was up for meeting once a week for the approximately nine years it would take us to get through both books, I would love to get together with folks and nerd out about all the overlapping thematic elements.

— 6 —

I’m putting together a playlist for our Friday night cocktail party at Edel. What are the must-have party songs that need to be on there? (The Humpty Dance, obviously, but what else?)

— 7 —

(Grab a Kleenex. Actually, just get the whole box.)

You know that amazing young man, Zach Sobiech, who found out that he was dying of cancer, and wrote that truly beautiful song, Clouds?

His mother, Laura Sobiech, has written a memoir called Fly a Little Higher: How God Answered a Mom’s Small Prayer in a Big Way. I was looking it up to give it a plug because I hear it’s great, and I stumbled across this video in the process. It’s 5,000 people gathering to remember Zach and sing his song.

I’ve posted a lot of videos on my blog over the years. But this one just might be my favorite.


7 quick takes sm1  7 Quick Takes that involve book nerdery, visions of nightmarish travel, conference jitters, and the video that made me sob for an hour

The ecstatic joy of knowing you have a soul (and why I loved The Fault in Our Stars)


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