Finding God in Shrimp & Grits: an Edel Recap

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When I first broke my knee, my most pressing question was: “Can I still attend the Edel Gathering in Charleston?”

Thankfully, both my ER doc and orthopedic surgeon said yes. Armed with pain pills, crutches, money for hard liquor and a healthy dose of humor, I headed out for the weekend to the land of shrimp and grits. It’s equally awesome when the hotel staff takes pity on you and sends strawberries and water to your room.

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Not all my sweet readers are Catholic and I always hate reading those “Hey, I went to this cool kids conference and I want you to read about how awesome it was.” So, in the spirit of not being *that* blogger, may I share my most important lesson from the Edel Gathering?

Love the season you’re in.

Rachel Balducci, blogger at Testosterhome and one cool mom of six

That applies to so many things in life. To be honest, I flew to Charleston to hug some beautiful necks of people I love and to hear Rachel speak. I’ve been reading her blog for years. In fact, it was the first one I ever clicked on in cyberspace. With every post, I find myself nodding, saying: Yes. YES! That is my life. To hear her in person and meet her just affirmed how fabulously the Holy Spirit works through Rachel. She is the quintessential southern lady.

For everything there is a season: motherhood, our faith lives, the state of our home, our friendships, our marriages, our crosses and our joys. The weekend affirmed many things I knew, but needed to be reminded of, especially in my current hopalong state.

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While in Charleston, I wasn’t able to stroll the historic streets, take a quick walk through the Farmer’s Market or work the ballroom like a boss. Nope, my usual extroverted self spent most of the time by the ballroom door, foot propped on a chair, drinking a sweet tea. And that was okay. It was my season. That broken knee cap afforded me the pleasure of having real, meaningful, thought-provoking, inspiring visits with some fabulous women and lots of gals who don’t blog but hold a special place in my heart. While limping to the bathroom, I met Carmela (waving!) from New York and her words really touched my heart. The beauty at Edel radiated everywhere. Hallie (9 months pregnant) and me with my broken knee were quite the pair.

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Words matter.

People matter.

Adoration was the perfect balm to my anxious heart. That quiet spot allowed me to sit. And be still. And not whack anyone with my crutches. Although, the gal on the elevator who wouldn’t let me on (until my bouncer Susan told her otherwise) almost got a whack to the shin. Praying for some mighty big crosses people are carrying was my honor. Truly. And you know who you are {wink wink}. Mass at the Cathedral was packed and quite hilarious when we overheard one of the ushers say, “Where did all these babies come from?” HA. Clearly not the baby church in Charleston. I did want to hug the row of older folks sitting behind us. As I hobbled my way to the communion line, one man winked and said, “Honey, take your time. We’re slower than you!” Solidarity on crutches, y’all. Oh, and did I mention the elevator broke right before Mass and I had to climb those 25 stairs, twice? So many opportunities for Satan to ruin the weekend, and instead I punched him in the face with that joy. Lisa and I at the final night’s event.

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I would be remiss without mentioning two particularly beautiful moments from the weekend. Susan and I shared many a cocktail, meal and laugh session. To think we met on the internet, in real life just one year ago, and yet I count her as one of my dearest friends. I did the ugly cry as I left Charleston and walked down that airport runway. She and I are kindred spirits. Both moms to six. Both married to amazing men of God. Both lovers of cold beer and good food. While the miles separate us, the internet keeps us connected. We’re already figuring out when we can meet next. Susan, you are my people.

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There’s something about Mary. You know, the wallflower. HA! There are just some people you immediately connect with and she was one of those people. If ever your heart needs to know true, unconditional, life-affirming love, stop by Mary’s blog. Her story will change you. It will rock your world. Seeing Mary affect so many people this weekend reminded me to stop worrying about the little stuff. Or, in her words, “My give a damn button is broken.” And, she had a sah-weet Mercedes Benz ride that carted Susan and I around town. Friends with benefits.

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There was the crazy Uber driver we met, the “what happens in Charleston stays in Charleston” moment, the Russian bartender I ticked off, the laughs at the Swamp Fox that were worth a million bucks and the many, MANY heartwarming visits I had with so many women. It was all a fantastic way to fill my cup to overflowing before the pain of my knee surgery on Monday.


Jen and Hallie, thank you for the many sacrifices you made to make the weekend possible. They did not go unnoticed. And, as Kelly reminded us, don’t wait until the next Edel to find your reprieve. Look for the ordinary days, the smallest moments and the best of girlfriends to lift you up while you’re in the trenches.

To everything, there is a season.

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  1. Verdina on July 15, 2015 at 9:55 am

    I’ll say it again — you are amazing! You never stopped smiling that beautiful God-filled smile even through your pain! You are such an inspiration to so many. Sounds like that conference was just what the doctor ordered before your surgery. And that sweet poster from Anna-Laura!

    I’m praying for an uneventful, mostly=pain free (good drugs) recovery!

    God bless you!

  2. Amanda on July 15, 2015 at 10:43 am

    I love how much fun you had in spite of the pain and the crutches! You and Hallie are impressive 🙂 Praying your recovery from the surgery goes well and they’re able to get your pain under control!

  3. Lisa Schmidt on July 15, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    Such a lovely recap, K! Thank you for including that photo of us here. It’s a good one! 🙂 (Psst, I would love to have a copy!). It was so great to connect with you, once again. I’m thankful for you and our friendship.

  4. Mary on July 15, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    I love you friend. I just do. Now and always. I got your back. <3

  5. Susan on July 15, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    You’re my kind of people, too. I’m feeling a little lost without you these past couple of days….
    Praying we really can make it to Austin in January. <3

  6. Tracy Bua Smith on July 15, 2015 at 8:52 pm

    Hi Kathryn,

    So nice to meet you at Edel15! Every time I saw you walking on your crutches you seemed to be going with the flow with a smile on your face! I pray you have a quick healing and recovery from surgery! God bless!

  7. Christy on July 15, 2015 at 10:15 pm

    So glad you could make it Katherine! You were pretty amazing, best wishes for the best recovery possible.

  8. My Edel Recap on July 17, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    […] Kathryn Whitaker […]

  9. Gretchen on July 31, 2015 at 9:43 am

    You looked as though you had a fun time at Edel. I didn’t have the opportunity to speak with you, saw you from a distance and marveled at your courage. Jetting around while injured is no fun, I did that last year with a broken wrist in New Orleans . Keep up the good words, you’re an inspiration. I’m still praying for you.

    • Kathryn on July 31, 2015 at 9:45 am

      Oh, I’m sorry we missed one another!

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