I arrived in Atlanta on Saturday all hyped up on coffee and adrenaline. I didn't even need any alcohol on my flight, which is a pretty surprising thing right there, given my feelings about flying. ;-) I met up with my lovely roommate Sarah, and we dropped our stuff at the hotel before making a beeline for the Georgia International Convention Center, and the SQPN booth set up in the Exhibit Hall as part of the Eucharistic Congress taking place there this weekend as well:
|That would be Fr. Cory Sticha (@FrCorySticha), Fr. Darryl Millette (@frdarryl), and Sarah (@mssarahkp).|
From that point on, I took stock of my personality: reserved, quiet, can be kind of a dud. What I wanted from this weekend was: fun! frivolity! fantastic! So I made the decision to really push myself to be as social as possible. I wanted to meet people, and I wanted to enjoy their company. This means that I would have to TALK to them. That doesn't necessarily come naturally to me, so my social switch had to be set to: "MEGAWATT!" Annndddddd...I think it worked. :)
I met a LOT of people. Wonderful, funny, kind people. Saturday before dinner I hung out in the hotel bar and introduced myself to people. I forced them to take yet more choppy photos with me:
|Dee Fox from "Catholic Vitamins!" And Stephanie Zimmer (@angelsteph), and Marika (@oneeyedsmiley)|
|Over drinks, yay! with Allison Gingras (@reconciledtoyou)|
*gulp!* "You are crying?! NOW I AM CRYING! We are crying together!! Is this making you feel any better, I can't imagine that it would?! How do we stop now??"
So that happened. Twice. But it was a lovely night and I talked to a TON of great people. I was so tired by the end of the night (early flight + Megawatt Social Tiffany = exhaustion) I could hardly keep my eyes open. And then I didn't even sleep all that well, because I am freakish and never sleep well when I'm away from home. And hello, MASS AT 8 AM! How nice to see you. ;-) So I was tired the next day too.
However, it was so worth it. Mass, conference sessions, more socializing and networking. I taught Stephanie how to knit socks during lunch, because isn't that what everyone aspires to do, knit during conferences? If you don't, then you don't know what you're missing. ;-)
I learned some things about recording audio, and about writing, and about team building. Greg Willits made me cry again, and so did Lisa Hendey, and Fr. Roderick's video keynote speech.
|Two of the guilty tear-inducing parties featured in this hilarious photo|
Sunday evening I went to dinner with a bunch of my new friends. And then had drinks in the hotel bar with some others, one of whom is an absolute dear friend, Capt. Jeff:
...and he is also one of my *very* favorite SQPNer's, but SHHHH! Don't tell him. ;-)
By the end of the night, I was absolutely exhausted, but at the same time couldn't have been more content. Good things are coming from this, I just know it. And the friendships that were cultivated just make me smile every time I think back on our time together.
Whenever I come back from an event like this, I feel blue. I was so glad to get home to my family, but I miss the fellowship with my friends, and I don't know when I'll see them in person again. But I hold on to the warm feelings, and the prayers, and all of the support that I'll continue to get from them online, deep in my heart.
And so, this morning, I recorded this video. To say thank you. If you were there with me at the CNMC, I'm speaking directly to you. If you weren't, but read this blog, I'm speaking to you too. We are all a community in the Body of Christ, and you all matter to me. So much. I'm going to warn you that I cry in this video. Quite a bit. :0 So if emotional things like that bother you, skip this one. But I hope you'll watch it. Because we're all in this journey of life together, good times and bad, joy and sorrow. There's no sorrow coming out of this weekend, only joy, but sometimes joy causes tears too.
So. What did you think? Got any new ideas regarding ministry and evangelization, collaboration and creativity? I hope you'll write to me. *hug*