So the response to this conference…wow. Our inboxes and comboxes and social media feeds have exploded — I mean, EXPLODED — with questions and encouragement and offers of support, many of the responses involving lots of exclamation points. It actually brought tears to my eyes when I realized that so many people agree that so many of us so desperately need an event like this. Ladies, we are going to have a blast!
Who is the patron saint against ice ruining a perfectly awesome day when you live in the type of climate that makes ice ruining things a grave, grave injustice given what you put up with all summer? I need his or her prayers, because I am supposed to have the best lunch ever with Lisa-Jo Baker today before going to the IF Gathering with her, and if bad weather delays her flight and/or this lovely conference, I am not going to handle it well. You will either want to follow me or block me on Twitter, because I could be doing some TWEETS-ON-A-PLANE-level venting if this goes awry.
Lisa-Jo and I have memoirs coming out within weeks of one another. Both are our first books, and both of the titles are based on C.S. Lewis quotes. Her book, Surprised by Motherhood, is a truly beautiful and soul-stirring read, and I have a million questions I was dying to ask her over queso at Guero’s (which, as you’ll see when you read my book, is a restaurant that is featured heavily in the story).
Texas weather, do not ruin this for me!!!
At the risk of making it sound like my life is nothing but planning fabulous conferences and hanging out with fabulous authors, I must tell you that I went to Tsh Oxenreider‘s book release party last night.
Back at home I ended up serving one of the kids butter as a side dish because I was so sucked in to chapter one of Notes from a Blue Bike that I couldn’t put it down to focus on dinner. Congratulations to Tsh on her new book’s debut!
It’s risky that I’m doing so much socializing, because every hour that I spend outside of my living room drastically increases the odds that I will experience what Joe calls a “Jen Moment.” A Jen Moment is a faux pas that either involves large groups of people or esteemed VIPs, and is particularly known for the acute discomfort it causes to anyone nearby.
Joe coined the term way back in 2001, when we were first dating. This was when he was climbing the corporate ladder at tech startups, and he invited me, his new girlfriend who was not even a year out of college, to go to an exclusive party where a bunch of big-hitters would be in attendance. We were lucky enough to get the chance to speak with a a well-known CEO who was an industry titan.
We talked to this executive in a small group of people where everyone was acting deferential in the presence of such a luminary. After a while he announced that he had to leave, and — for the life of me, I do not know how this happened — somehow my arm was extended in the direction he was heading. I have replayed this a thousand times in my mind and cannot figure out what my arm was doing out there. Maybe I was pointing at something? Anyway, the CEO basically walked into my arm.
Now, obviously, the right decision here would have been to say, “Excuse me, sir, ” and step aside to let him get on to his private jet or wherever he was going. Instead, I made the horrendous mistake of trying to play it smooth, and I wrapped my arm around him to give him a hug. I immediately realized the unfathomable awkwardness of what I had done, but I decided to go big or go home, so I said “it was just REALLY nice to meet you” as I hugged him. If I had a thousand words, I could not describe to you the look of confusion and discomfort that froze on this gentleman’s face, and then on the faces of everyone in the group.
That hug marked the beginning of the phrase, Having a Jen Moment.
Lest you think this kind of thing no longer happens to me:
I had the pleasure of seeing Patrick Madrid speak when he was in Austin a few months ago. He gave a stirring keynote speech that had the audience riveted, and during the standing ovation I ducked out to the restroom. When I came back in, everyone was seated, but I spotted Mr. Madrid at the bar. I’ve had the fortune of getting to know him over the past few years, so I thought I’d swing by to say hello.
I saw that he had asked for a glass of wine, so I said, “Please, it’s on me — as a thank-you for that amazing speech.” I nodded to the bartender to insist that I was paying, and asked for a glass for myself too. The timing, the delivery, everything came off perfectly. I felt like one of the glamorous women from movies like Casablanca.
And then I realized that I didn’t have enough money on me to cover it.
After a long, painful moment of me fumbling through my purse while muttering about needing to get cash more often, Patrick graciously paid for both of our drinks.
I think I might have found the perfect litmus test for finding your charism (i.e. a gift from God that gives you energy when you use it):
At 10:00 PM, everyone else in the house was in bed. For reasons that are too ridiculous to go into, this never happens anymore. Between 8 AM and midnight, there is always a kid awake in this house, therefore I never have true quite time where I can think without being distracted by noise or questions.
So when I found myself with complete free time this evening, it was thrilling. It will probably be weeks, not days, before I’m in this situation again. Then I realized that I needed to write my 7 Quick Takes post, which would take up all my time before I needed to go to bed. I wouldn’t be able to do anything else with this super-rare couple of hours.
My reaction? I was delighted. Because there is nothing else I would rather do with my free time than update my blog.
There are resources like the spiritual gifts inventory and the Called and Gifted CD set, which I highly recommend. But if you want a quick-and-dirty way to get started, ask yourself what you would like to do to share something with other people that you would find fulfilling enough to do if you had only rare moments of down time.
It seems like the biggest buzz related the Edel Gathering is the Friday night Cocktails and Crazy Shoes party we’re hosting. Evidently a lot of people have heard that there will be a prize for the person with the most insane shoes, and they perceive that they will win.
Allow me to set your expectations properly here:
All my adult life, I have suffered from wearing a size 12 shoe. Shoes that look cute in size 5 look like circus props when I order them. Store employees have hushed conversations where they have to convince their managers that their client is indeed a woman. When I am actually able to find feminine items in my size, they are at the kind of stores that offer feather boas and Lady Gaga CDs with purchase.
Let me put it bluntly: Thus far, it has been a cross for me that I have to buy overpriced shoes at stores that cater mostly to drag queens. But now that there is a Crazy Shoe Party on the table, THIS IS MY MOMENT. I know where to get the six-inch platform shoes that have flashing lights and space for a live goldfish in the heel. I have free shipping with a place that claims to make special-order footwear made of bacon.
I know that it would be weird for an event organizer to win her own contest, but that may just be how it needs to be. Because you guys will have to bring some serious A-game to compete with me and my size-12 awesomeness.