Mattering in Madison while Family Matters in Scottsdale

Sometimes I get to leave the nest. It’s not often. But when I do, I sure feel the love. I also learn so much.

This time, I had the honor to attend the Distance Teaching and Learning Conference in Madison, WI to present my paper with my co-author’s Dr. Scott Greenberger and Morgan McNaughton. It was a 2-year endeavor, but we finally got it published in the
Active Learning in Higher Education Journal. So….I got to go; Thanks to my honey taking care of Tot and the Coopster and his loving encouragement.

One of the interesting things that Doug prayed for me is that I would make a difference or meet someone to help. I wasn’t looking to move mountains here or to puff myself up. I merely wanted to just show up, share, and learn. Done. I didn’t know what was in store.

I arrived on Tuesday night late, and what do you know….my view.

I was going to be staying near the capitol?

I would be staying right across the street!

What a blessing. I got to know my driver, a student from the University right next door too. I just listened and asked questions. This is one thing you do: Ask questions and care about the other person. He didn’t need to know about me.

Then, my room….so pretty! I found it funny that they cared about the remote. God knows that I clean it every time I stay somewhere because a study showed it was the dirtiest thing in a hotel. ( I know, I read these things). SO…..there it was. Clean for me. God was looking out for me.

I sent my loves a video hello and I got a cute pic back. My home loves were finding all the hidden notes I left. (Can you even stand this pic???!!!! STOP THE CUTENESS OVERLOAD!!!)

Hee hee. I loved making all these notes. I wanted them to know I love them so much. Tot and Doug. SO GRATEFUL FOR YOU! OH, COOPER TOOOOOO.

Ok, so I had a nice sleep and then the next morning, up and at ’em. Swam a good mile in the indoor pool, walked all over downtown, and I was ready to go.

On the way to my destination, I came upon this little guy. Tried my hand at using the portrait setting on my iPhone. Not bad. He was a reminder of the beauty of the Lord in my day. Be a vessel of hope, Stephanie.

It was funny….I wanted to try cheese curds, but I had no time to go to a shop. What do you know; right there in front of the convention center, God gave me another gift A Farmer’s Market and guess what they had? Cheese curds to sample. Glory be!! I got the full run down from Farmer Bill about how the curds turn into the delicious pepper jack which I had to try as well. Blessings.

When I got to the conference center, another present was present. This view.

I sat and just enjoyed it as I waited for my team.

Here they are!

We have been meeting for two years via ZOOM conference, so to see them face-to-face was a blessing. They invited me to lunch, and I was in. Plus, GCU was paying. Yahoo! Another gift.

Now I know why I came. Scott had gone through a divorce last year, and this answered many questions as to his lack of excitement in our process. He was a different man today. (He also was 1/2 the man as he seem to have lost 100 lbs!) He wanted to know the story of Doug and me. I shared our 4-year affair of friendship and love, and he was hooked. He then shared how he has been in a 7-month relationship. OK….now I get to love on Scott. My turn!

This girl he’s dating…she brought him to the Lord! He is now attending church. WOW! Ok, and what else? I encouraged him to be the MAN and grow HIS relationship with Jesus. That is what she would want. I also gave him some advice and ideas. He soaked it all in, and he thanked me profusely. He’s going to get her a promise ring now and finish out the year with her (date for four seasons). Wow. I felt so grateful I could be there for him. It made me realize why I was there: To be a vessel. I realized my experience with Doug and my relationship with Christ was a WITNESS! OH now I get it! You used me LORD!!!

Then we had our session. It was a roundtable discussion, and afterward, the gang decided to get together for more research. That means I get another opportunity to write with these two. The conversations were so fruitful. I kept thanking the Lord for using me and for humbling me to learn more.

After, I decided to enjoy the weather and sit outside to read.

In Scottsdale, you don’t sit outside to read, right? Unless its November-March.

As I reflect, I feel blessed. I feel honored. I feel so grateful that I can just be smiling, loving, and being. That is God working through me and being a witness; rising above the world’s ways and being a hope. HIS hope. That is what I want my life to be; I will choose to look for the God pokes and the blessings each day.

I’ll be home tomorrow, and as I reflect, I am a newer version of me. More grateful and more focused on the blessings. I love you Lord. I love you, my dear husband. I love you Tatum (My bumby!!!!) ! I love you Coopy!!!!. My cup overfloweth. (Oh, and mom, I love you. Thank you for being my mom and supporting me too).


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