I spent the weekend in Bend, Oregon. Sigh. Bend is one of my favorite places in all the world.

{This was the view from my window on Sunday morning.}

{This was the view from my window on Sunday morning.}

And located right there on the south end of town, is New Hope Church. Another place I really really like. I was the speaker at their Women’s Conference on Saturday. And I absolutely MUST tell you about it.

First of all, Kitty, their Women’s Ministry Director, is ah-maz-ing. Truly. She can somehow create a spectacular day–from the setting to the program to the sweet girls at your table, Kitty has a vision for all of it. This year’s theme was “In the Beauty of Holiness.” Kitty did everything with yellow and gray and silver. From the minute you walk through the door, she and her team make everything special. Seriously. I absolutely adore how she uses the room–even the ladies’–to communicate value to each of her guests…because that’s really how I feel when I’m at her events: like her guest. Here’s what the tables looked like…

the table

place settingShe’s been getting these rocks for a few years now. I LOVE them. I have one (or two) of each: blessings, prayer, and holiness. I think they’re perfect on a dresser or vanity or in the bottom of a glass vase or…you name it!

This was the centerpiece. If you “pinterest,” I’m sure you’ll recognize them. The sugared lemons are gorgeous, aren’t they?!?

CenterpieceDon’t you just love the every-little-detail she thought of? Here is the publicity poster. I don’t know if you can see it but the paper surround has silver glitter in it. Seriously. Silver glitter.


And because it was a ladies event, even the ladies room was decorated. I arrived on Friday to deliver their print materials (!) so I got to see it early. So here’s Friday…

daffs in the ladies room

But check out how glorious they were on Saturday, just like Kitty said they would be.

Saturday daffodilsAnd that lemon soap (pretty sure it’s from Bath and Body) was lovely. We kept joking about the women going to wash their hands just so they could smell it.

I didn’t get a picture of it but there was a verse wall in the lobby…cutie yellow gingham ribbons with verse cards for the taking. She put the extra verse cards on the memo board in the “lounge” area of the restroom.

"the lounge"


Each card reversed to a word to help the ladies categorize them. Words like grace and holiness and repentance. I turned one around for the picture so you could see.

Kitty’s team was remarkable and created such a great event. More than just a fantastic environment, although I don’t like my use of the word “just” there. Rhonda Funk led the music. She has such a warm and companionable style. She seems like she’d be your best friend. And, you know, she can sing a little bit too. JoJo and Tricia took care of every detail in the sound booth–didn’t have to wonder if mics would work or slides or videos would play. Love that.

And of course, the ladies. Ah, the ladies. It really is such a rich experience for me. I feel truly and deeply loved there. A little like being in your home town, which of course, is kind of true. We did life deeply and we did life in community while we were there and it’s like a big deep breath to be back with them. Kitty picked an impossibly hard topic: holiness. And I learned a ton. And the ladies were generous and kind as I told them about my own odd foibles and learning and acted like I had any kind of knowledge or expertise. Remarkable.

I am happily home in Portland now. And that’s a pretty amazing thing to say in itself. Each trip over the mountain has marked some kind of growth or healing for me somehow and now I find it mostly sweet and barely bitter which is pretty much the polar opposite of my experience a year ago.

It helped my “re-entry” that it was gorgeous out on my way home (so hard to come home to endless drizzle!) so I’ll end with one last photo. (Also because I took this out the window of my car, while I was driving. Don’t tell. Glenn called it “Nancy almost crashing the car.” I promise it wasn’t scary at all.) There was a big snow storm just after I drove through on Friday that was all cleaned up by the time I was headed back home. Except for the trees. They were still dusted in that fairy-tale way.

trees and snow

And so I came home feeling nourished.


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