Comfy (but stylish) shoes...check!
Rolling cart...check!
Water bottle and snacks...check!
Notebook, pen, highlighter...check!
Registration forms and directions...check!
Amber necklace to prevent headaches...and Tylenol in case it doesn't work...check!
Willingness to be out of my comfort zone...check!

This past weekend, I went to my fourth homeschool convention. I had already been to one a few months back with my husband (we go annually, just the two of us, as an excuse to get away alone and as a way to take time to re-assess our path for our children's education) so this was a girls-only weekend.

I went with my two friends Barbara and Polly (names have been changed to protect their high-profile identities...*grin*) in a borrowed black Mercedes. It's been AGES since I've been on a road trip with just friends and well, it was awful! Just kidding...it was AWESOME!!!!!!!!

After spending 24/7/365 with my three perfect, cherubic children (Hm-mmmm), getting away with some of my girlfriends was like a pickle when you're pregnant! and yes, I will be using a LOT of exclamation points in this post...it was that fun!!!!!!!

Barbara (a homeschool newbie) booked a delightful little suite for us in a hotel situated at the side of  rushing river with rocky outcroppings and waterfalls, and right down the block from a quaint outdoor shopping mall that just happened to be having a street fair that night. (!!!!) Delightful!!!

Polly and I, being homeschool veterans (well, Polly more so than I) were anxious to make sure that Barbara's first homeschool convention was as, um, informative? as possible.  Between the walks to find yummy restaurants, phone calls from our husbands and children, unsuccessful efforts to find moist chocolate cake, and getting lost on the highway, we managed to exhaust poor Barbara's ears with endless prattle about this speaker and that, and all the wonderful curriculum we have used.

We also did actually ATTEND the convention, spent some money (ack!) and learned some things. God's timing is perfect and allowed Barbara to get some answers to some difficult questions she had about a child with a reading issue and to feel very encouraged and ready to press forward.  Polly was able to attend a session covering the topic of "motivating high-schoolers"... Mwa-HAHAHA! So glad I'm not there yet, but so glad she was there so she can tell me what to do when that day arrives!

As for me, well, let's just say that the Lord did not meet me at the convention itself.

He met me in the lounge area of our suite, in the form of Godly counsel from my friends.
He met me in the hallway of the convention center with the knowledge that NO, I didn't need to attend a particular session because what He was teaching me was far better and perfectly suited to my family.
He met me in the perfect, breezy weather...and in the beauty of the downtown architecture.
He met me in the delicious food, in the pleasant company, and in the respite from caring for others.
He showed up in the public restroom as I watched my friend Barbara ask the cleaning lady if her day was going well and she responded with a surprised smile on her face.
I saw His face in the faces of the children of large families taking care of one another in the rotunda while their parents attended conference sessions.
He whispered words of love and affirmation to my soul as I wandered around the vendor hall realizing (for the first time) that nothing I could buy there would make me a better parent or teacher.

He met me UNconventionally...at the convention.

{If you've never been to your local home educators convention, I would encourage you to try it out! Even if you are NOT a home educator, as long as you are an engaged parent,  you will benefit! There are so many parenting and discipling resources there, and just general support for your job raising up the next generation, it's worth a trip, at least once! And who knows...you may have an unCONVENTIONal meeting of your own!}