Home to the quietness of country. Home to my swing and purring cats. Home to my husband's arms quiet through the night, and home to the clamor of children excited about everything to do with my travels and my homecoming. Quite a difference from three rather dorm-reminiscent nights with eight crazy, beautiful, creative, God-seeking roommates (and one who didn't sleep there).

 The Pilot's Wife, Sara Sophia, Dear Abby Leigh, Ashleigh from Heart and Home,
myself, Gussy Sews, Elizabeth Esther, and Joy in This Journey

Our honorary roommate, Erika, is the blond to the left.

I meet amazing people who have inspired, this time in person. Bonnie Gray finds me in the first moments of the conference, and we hug hard and long. I feel honored by that hug.

Mama Hall in front of me
We sit in sessions and soak up words, words of advice, wisdom, experience, hope, love. Words of this wounded life we live for Christ. Women break open like ripe melons and spill guts and seeds and it is a mixed up revolution of tears, torment, and triumph.

Snow falls that last day, and in between checking the status of our flights home, we laugh and process, hidden in our room, hotel running on generator power. I am from Wisconsin, and I see my first snow in Pennsylvania, and laugh at the irony. We laugh so hard we hurt the next morning, sharing stories and ideas, birthing our own secrets hashtags for Twitter, and talking about a meet-up somewhere central next year. I marvel at how I thought one person was tall (she's short) and one was small (she's an inch taller than me). How you conjure up certain images of people based on their blogs. In real life, we're much messier and less polished, and yet beautiful and rich in 3 dimensions in ways words alone can never reveal.

I am invited on stage by the effervescent Christa Wells, and play tambourine to a beautiful new song of hers. I get to share Sara Groves' Different Kinds of Happy with the last lingerers after worshiping with Shaun Groves (no relation, by the way). It is a weekend full of opportunities, blessings, heartaches and tired bones.

On Monday, I wake up to my quiet country bedroom, looking out on lavendar grass and dry maroon oaks just rustling awake in the dawn. My mind is all befuddled, my house a mess, Halloween costumes yet to complete and a 12 hour shift looming tomorrow. Back in the reality of my life, Relevant seems like a distant and dreamy memory, and I reach through the fog of one night's sleep to catch the shirttails of connections fluttering there in the mist.