Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Edel: How Wonderful and Beautiful!

This past weekend I was blessed to attend the Edel Gathering. I still feel like I'm a stumbling ball of nerves even as I try to put together all that I experienced throughout the weekend. So, bear with me and know that this may get a little jumbled.
Let us throw ourselves into the ocean of His goodness, where every failing will be canceled and anxiety turned into love. 
-St. Paul of the Cross
You see, my incredibly amazing blessing of a husband surprised me with tickets to Edel. When I first heard about the conference, I made it a point to tell him about how much I would love to go, but a big part of me never really thought I would attend. Little old me? Baby blogger. Commenter to all the wonderful Rockstar bloggers that would make up the majority of this wonderful event? What was I thinking to begin with??!! Attend an event where I had yet to meet anyone in person? Haha. Silly, Amanda! Trying to play an extrovert when your little introvert heart would prefer to continue to share on your baby blog the tidbits of your life from the safety of your sweet home. But, at the end of it all, I'm so glad that His Will is so much greater than mine ever will be. This gathering truly was my ocean of goodness where all my anxieties were met with a beautiful love.

From the start, I was met with warm smiles and open hearts. The dancing, the drinks, the hugs, and all the fun on Friday were filled with a love that I could never have anticipated. A love that seamlessly continued throughout the weekend.
Everything comes from love,
all is ordained for the salvation of man,
God does nothing without this goal in mind. 
-St. Catherine of Siena
To start off our amazing time together, the incredibly sweet and wonderful Hallie said that when she prayed she felt God calling her to share: It is good you are here. Through her prayerful mama heart, God hugged and loved each one of us women there. He wanted to make sure that we knew that not only is it good that we were all at Edel, but that it is good that we are where we are in our vocation. How affirming, beautiful, and needed. Because, at the end of every day, it is so very good we are where we are! This phrase, I will now forever keep with me as a little prayer. When I feel overwhelmed or tired, cranky or happy: It is good that I am are here. Come Holy Spirit. Amen.  (Because we all know that if it's the tired and cranky me, that extra request for help from Our Advocate will be needed!).

Beautiful Marion continued the amazing tone of warmth and goodness when she shared a beautiful part of herself with all of us. In encouraging us to embrace the gift we have in His Truth and the amazing Freedom that comes with His Perfect Will for us and where we are in our vocation could not have spoken more to my little mama heart. It is good that I am me. Wife and mother to my little family. And, not only is this truth good, but that there are so many other wonderful Catholic women living out their vocation too. I am not alone. It's so easy to feel lost in today's culture, especially being a mama trying to build up our own little cathedrals in our domestic monastery.
We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop. 
-Blessed Mother Teresa
I thought of this quote during Marion's talk. Her message and this weekend truly brought together the hugest of huge messages that we are not alone. Not only are we not alone, but we are filled to the brim with the Body of Christ that is alive and well and oh-so-good! I love what Blessed Mother Teresa says above. She's so right! It is so easy to feel like just a drop in the ocean, but God knows that our work is good and matters so very much. And, the beauty of our faith is that we find Him on the Cross and we find Him in His Glory. In our struggle or in our joy, we have each other, we have Him who holds us, and the ocean would be less if any one of us were missing.

Then there was Haley. Amazing Haley! Let motherhood change me. Do not be afraid! Oh, goodness! How many times have I wondered where the me pre-marriage and baby has gone! Listening to her share how incredibly good it is that we are embracing our path to sanctity just filled me. It filled me with the peace that Yes, being a wife and mama has changed me and this is exactly what He wants for me. Which is not only good, but absolutely amazing! Because at the end of it, I am no longer a practicing therapist. Nor am I an interpreter. My licences have been put to rest because I felt a nudge from the Holy Spirit calling me to mother my family from home. These nudges are good. They are beautiful. And, they are guiding me in His Will for me. Do not be afraid.

And last, there was Jen. Wonderful, wonderful Jen! Not only are we not doing this alone, but we have the amazing Body of Christ well and alive ready to joyfully walk along with us. We are building small cathedrals in the quiet (or the crazy) of our little homes. But, the doors to our domestic monastery do not have to be closed. Edel, for many of us, is where the doors burst open. We, women and mothers, welcomed each other into our little spaces to say that we can do this together through sharing, fellowship, and prayers. And, I pray that I have the grace to share the amazing joy that I experienced this weekend enjoying, embracing, and partying along side the beautiful Body of Christ with women I know at home.

Now that I'm here. The Monday after this glorious conference. I can say, the ocean of goodness that I experienced this past weekend at the Edel Gathering truly did cancel so much anxiety and convert it to amazing love, peace, and goodness. Holy Spirit was truly kind and sweet, nourishing and loving little me the entire weekend through so many faithful and beautiful women. Beautiful women who met me with smiles and warm hearts. There was an openness here that I've never seen before. I met so many wonderful women, and I'm so very grateful for that. Not only am I grateful for meeting all of you, but I'm also grateful for the Fiat that you all had to say for this conference to truly transpire.

We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. 
-Romans 8:28 
Now, here's where I go off on a little tangent. While at Edel, I started thinking about sweet Sister Kathleen who I have mentioned time and time again on this blog. All I could think of was her beautiful presence and what made her so incredibly beautiful and Christ-like (which makes sense that I would start thinking of sweet Sister because there was such a presence of Christ throughout the conference.).The verse above is one that she would often bring me back to. Along with Romans 8:28, (which I had actually hashtaged on an instagram photo prior to seeing that Romans 8:28 was part of Mass Readings on Sunday! Hello, Holy Spirit! Again! Thank ya very much!), gratitude, wonder, and awe were always focused on during our time together.

While I was at Edel, gratitude, wonder, and awe were all permeating in the eyes, souls, and sweet smiles of all the wonderful women embracing each other in love all weekend. The gratitude we all were feeling gave way for Our Lord to allow the greatness of wonder and awe to work in us. The tears of someone opening their heart to listen to the Holy Spirit work through all the amazing speakers and encounters that we had with each other were just the beginning. All the tears, for me, represented the goodness of wonder and awe. But, not only wonder and awe for the event and all that transpired, but wonder and awe for the One who loves us more than we'll ever know. Wonder and awe for how He pursues us with such a strength! Us mothers. Us women. In our homes. In our families. In our work. And, in our play. How could we not cry in all those moments that He was seeking to love us? Through every talk, through every comfort, through every new friend, He was yelling from the rooftops that He loves us. And it was overwhelming in such a good and amazing way.

Continuing on my Sister Kathleen tangent, every time I went to meet with her for spiritual direction, wonder and awe, mixed with a lot of joyful gasps is usually whet I was met with. And, I'll always remember when I spoke to her of spiritual dryness or the distance I felt with my Lord. She responded with a *joyful gasp* and followed it with, "How wonderful it is to be loved by Him so much that he would give you the grace to see the distance!", and how in that mere grace, "You should behold how much he truly loves you and is fiercely pursuing you in your dryness. How wonderful and beautiful!"

Oh, sweet Sister. Only you would see the goodness of my dryness! But, I guess my point in sharing this is that in my attending Edel this past weekend, through the Holy Spirit working through so many amazing women open to His Goodness, I was able to see my God not only see little me, but also to see how incredibly true it is that He is always pursuing me with a love that I will only truly be able to fathom when in Heaven.

With that, I say, thank you. Thank you so very much, to all the women I met and did not meet (I really am much more shy and introverted than I realize! Ha.). Thank you to Jen and Hallie for your amazing courage and goodness! You said Yes to Him. And, even if it felt overwhelming. You said your Fiat in a way that built Edel on a foundation of amazing love! That foundation opened the doors for us all. So, thank you! And to all the women present (all who helped from behind the scenes, with emceeing, attended, and who did not attend but were with us in spirit), thank you for your openness to His love for you! Because of your courage to say Yes to Him and the Holy Spirit, I have been able to see my sweet Lord love little me in such a sweet way. A love that said He sees me still and that He will never stop pursuing little old me with a great great love. That it is wonderful that I am me. It is wonderful that I am here. In my vocation. In my motherhood. And, that I should not be afraid, but that I should continue to boldly walk where He takes me. Because where ever that will be, it will be good that I am there.

I also want to say thank you to my husband. Through your desire to help me know the love of Christ and because of your obedience to the nudge you got from the Holy Spirit to purchase me a ticket to Edel, I was able to experience an overwhelming amount of love and goodness. My heart and soul were beautifully filled. Thank you for being such a vessel of His love for me. xoxo!

So with all of that, FORWARD and ONWARD to building our little cathedrals! And, again, Thank you for blessing me so abundantly and helping my Savior to let my little mama heart know that it is good that I am here. Here in my marriage. Here in my motherhood. Here in my vocation that He has called me to. It is good.
We should realize that those things which run counter to our own plans and likings are graces one and all. The Will of God permits them for us; they represent His persistent following of us. We should embrace them, make the most of them, pay the little price that they entail. His Will must always over-ride ours. Little sacrifices are all we are able to bear; let us be faithful in accepting them gladly with our Mother's help. We have only this life, and perhaps only a short one, in which to prove our love. If we make the effort, Jesus and Mary will help us to carry it through. If one saw things truly, how one should be grateful and rejoice at every physical weakness, tiredness... These are our slight share of Christ's sufferings and graces.
-Venerable Edel Quinn 

Venerable Edel Quinn, pray for us. 

(Also, seeing how I am not the extrovert I wish I could be in big crowds, I failed to take any selfies with any of the wonderful women I had never met before. I am now kicking myself for this! But, I guess this just means I have to make sure to attend Edel 15 so I can have a do-over in this little hiccup. *wink-wink*, husband. <3 i="">


  1. Beautiful! Great recap. You reminded me of things I had already forgotten. Thank you!

    1. Yay! So excited to have met you. You had such a joy and smile all weekend that made me always feel welcome and comfortable! Thank you!

  2. Beautiful, Amanda. So many great reminders to be open & ready for love here. Yes, #edel15 is awaiting all of us for more photographs together! XO

    1. Thank you, Nell! I have to say you were absolutely stunning all weekend with your sweet baby attached to you. I can't wait for #edel15 just so I can come a bolder/selfie-taking me that will help foster more fun, friendship, and conversations with the amazingness that will assuredly be present!

  3. "I'll always remember when I spoke to her of spiritual dryness or the distance I felt with my Lord. She would responded with a *joyful gasp* and followed it with, "How wonderful it is to be loved by Him so much that he would give you the grace to see the distance!", and how in that mere grace, "You should behold how much he truly loves you and is fiercely pursuing you in your dryness. How wonderful and beautiful!"

    How profound!!!! I had never thought of it this way bedore. Oh mt goodness. Savoring this quote. Thank you for this beautiful post, Amanda!

    1. Wendy, Sister was always profound in the smallest of small ways. It was such a gift to be able to know and meet with her for so long while I was in Houston! I'm glad this post forced me to write down some of the goodness she shared with me!

  4. This is a beautiful post Amanda! I absolutely love the quote from Edel Quinn, and it was just what I needed to read this morning. I also really love your story of Sister Kathleen. She sounds wonderful. I certainly hope we will get to meet at Edel '15.

    1. Amy, I loved looking up Venerable Edel Quinn while writing this post! And, Sister Kathleen was seriously a treasure that I can't believe God shared with me! Pray we do get to meet at Edel 15. Till then look forward to continuing to follow your blog :)

  5. This was an amazing, thoughtful and thought provoking reflection. I so enjoyed meeting you, but even more so, knowing you better by reading this.

    1. Ann-Marie! Thank you! I always remember seeing you at St. Mary's in CS so it was so nice for me to have met you at Edel! And, thank you for the sweet words! :) Look forward to getting to know you more through your blog!

  6. Amanda, I wish I would have gotten a picture with you but I'm so glad to have your blog now. I am so glad to have met you and you left quite an impression on me! God bless you and I hope we'll meet again!


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