At Unity Presbyterian Church in Charlotte
Doing the women's retreat at Crossgate in Seneca
Susan, Donna, and I hanging out on our free night
Sunset over the water at Susan and Myron's
Seldom do you get truly happy surprises. Even less do you get several of them in a row, and that was what happened on our lovely weekend in the Carolinas this past weekend.
On Friday, my scheduling coordinator, Donna, and I flew out to Charlotte, NC. We were so grateful that we were between weather – there was a pretty bad storm before we left and another while we were gone, but we got into Charlotte with no trouble. Donna came with me this weekend because my first show was very near a dear friend of hers, so we wanted to have them get to visit! One of the perks of the job. 🙂 It’s fun for me too to get to spend some time with Donna, we had a blast.
We got in, got thoroughly lost in all the new roads around the airport, and after not listening to the GPS and not listening to googlemaps for a bit, we finally found our way out and towards the church in Denver, NC up near Lake Norman. We got to spend a couple of hours with Donna’s friend, Susan, and her husband Myron, who I now claim as friends of my own too, so they were the first happy surprise.
Then we went to Unity Presbyterian for an evening women’s event. This is the first time I’ve been here and they were hoping for 100 women, but the second happy surprise was that they had over 200! We had a wonderful time together doing a concert and storytelling and then there was a beautiful catered reception afterward. This church was just marvelous to us and their team was so welcoming and friendly! We had to take off quickly, though, because we still needed to drive 3 hours to Seneca, SC that night for a very early morning and a one-day retreat.
Donna and I got on the road, but we were much later than we had hoped. We felt badly too because we were actually being hosted at someone’s home. I had felt rude enough telling them at the beginning that we would get there around 11:30, but now we knew we’d be well after midnight which felt terrible. We let them know and they were so kind, and then Donna spent 3 hours trying to keep me awake as I drove.
When we got to the homestay, we knew that they lived on a lake and that there was water off to our right, but it was so pitch black, we had no idea where. When we finally found the house number, we realized the driveway literally fell off the side of the road. The next morning in the light we saw it was really between 45 and 60 degrees – so steep that you could barely see the roof of the house from the road! In the darkness, it was truly terrifying. I couldn’t even see the road because the headlights were so far above it, and I didn’t know if I took the leap if we would drive right into the water or hit the house. I also knew there was no way I could back up once I got down there, and had no idea if I could turn around or not. So there we were, paralyzed at the top of the drive, totally slap happy after midnight and not wanting to call and wake them up to say, “Um, is there a house down there? Will we die if we drive on your driveway?” and giggling hysterically. We finally realized that Tom, our host, had seen our headlights for a long time, realized our dilemma, and came to our rescue yelling, “There really is a drive, trust me!” It scared me even in the daylight. We asked them what they did if there was ice and they said, “Well, you just plan to be home that day.” Lol. But happy surprise numbers three and four were that Tom and Linda were wonderful and fabulous and their house was beautiful with a gorgeous view of the lake!
The next morning, we went to Crossgate Church and had happy surprise number 5. I’d been to this church before and knew they had an amazing heart for missions – they really touched me here – but they are not a large church and were really hoping for 40-50 women. They had nearly 100! I was so happy for them. We had a marvelous time with the life of Esther and so many women said to me, “We even know this story, and you still have us on the edge of our seats – we can’t wait to hear what happens next!”
That night we had happy surprise number six when we got to have dinner with the entire women’s ministry team at Tom and Linda’s house, and we laughed so hard! It’s always a little picture of heaven when you realize that we all have the Lord in common, and someday we’ll have all of eternity to get to know all these awesome people who belong to the family of God.
The next morning I was back at Crossgate to do about a half an hour on their service. Their pastor, a different Tom, gave one of the best messages I’ve heard in a long time. They are so blessed in their leadership. Then Donna and I headed back to her friends’ house in Charlotte to spend a little time there and fly out in the morning.
While I was at Crossgate, one of my suitcases finally bit the dust. I carry all my merchandise in carry-on bags so I can roll them, and this suitcase had probably done 500 shows with me. It had been good and faithful, but it literally fell apart. Since we were flying the next day, I had no idea what to do, so on our way to Susan’s we finally found a K-mart and I went in to buy a new bag. After a crazy incident I won’t tell you about trying to just purchase a bag (this should not be this hard!!) I realized that a whole group of people in the front were staring at me. I was pretty confused, thinking, “I don’t think I lost my cool, I’ve been patient, just trying to buy this, etc…” and so I just went to walk out when one of them approached me and said, “would you sign this please?” What?! We realized they all thought I was Tina Fey. Ha!
Spent the evening with Susan and Myron and just loved getting to know them. It was a good thing too because there was a huge storm that night and we got stuck an extra day in Charlotte. This was our last happy surprise because it was just a God thing that we would have such a wonderful place to stay and couple to spend time with. We ended up shopping which I normally hate and bought clothes that I desperately needed (did I mention I hate shopping?) and it wasn’t even terrible because I had fun people to do it with. 🙂
Donna and I flew back out early the next morning with no problems, and just kept saying to each other what an amazing weekend we’d had. Thank you so much to everyone! You were a blessing to us.