October 13th was the very first conference hosted by Sufficient Grace Ministries. We traveled up to Northern Michigan and the conference was held in the Petoskey area, so pretty far up there!
Kelly, my cousin Jillian, and I left Thursday evening to travel up to a cabin my family co-owns near Gaylord, MI. We got there around 10 pm (maybe later?) and got everything unpacked. We stayed up for a little bit and then hit the sack to get some sleep after being in the car for over 5 hours (me longer since I had to drive up to NW Ohio to get the other gals).
Woke up in the morning to a beautiful view of Bluegill Lake. So much beauty in God’s creation!
After some yummy cinnamon rolls, we got ready and set off for Petoskey as we had a meeting with a hospital in the area to talk about the ministry. The unit was very busy and we ended up having to leave and come back but that was no big deal since we just went and ate some lunch at a small family restaurant with some good food! The meeting went very well with some of the nurses and the manager from the unit and we left some information and items with them from SGM.
The pics below are on the way to Petoskey (such colors!) and driving in Petoskey (you can see Lake Michigan).
On the way to and back from Petoskey we noticed this little shop called String of Pearls in Elmira, MI. We stopped by on the way back and took some pics of it and then popped in to see what it was but didn’t stay long since it was already past closing but we went back the next morning to browse some more. The name of the store reminded us of the organization String of Pearls, which helps families with fatal diagnoses in pregnancy. I ended up getting a really cool clock for my house and also got another for the new space for SGM. :)
On Friday evening (Oct 12th), we ate at a local restaurant in Gaylord, MI called Big Buck Brewery. They have really good food and beer too (so I hear lol). I always get their homemade root beer. It’s good stuff! Kelly and I got 64 oz of root beer each to take home with us!
On the way back to the cabin I stopped by a little area on the other side of Bluegill Lake so that Kelly could take some pictures. The sky at dusk was very pretty over the lake. By the time we got home Friday evening we were pretty tired! We just put on our pajamas and relaxed the rest of the night before turning in.
On Saturday morning (Oct 13th) we got up and had some more cinnamon rolls and took off to Walmart to grab some more last minute things for the conference before heading to Petoskey. (Oh yeah, and we stopped by the String of Pearls too before heading up.)
Once we got to where we needed to be we unloaded and started setting stuff up. The time went by really fast and it seemed 5 pm was right on us and we were still trying to get things the way we needed but we ended up making it. The most trouble we had was with the computer for the powerpoints (of course).
Kelly spoke first and shared about SGM and her family’s story, Jenny spoke second and shared about her story and what to say and what not to say to families who are grieving. Kelly also threw some giveaways in the mix.
After Jenny spoke, we had an intermission and went downstairs to eat some BBQ pork, chips, and cupcakes. Holy cow that BBQ pork that Kelly brought was DELICIOUS!! And the cupcakes were so yummy too! When our bellies were full enough we came back upstairs and some of those who were in attendance had to leave. Then it was my turn to speak! I spoke about how to incorporate your baby’s memory into your family’s everyday lives and in celebrations.
Next on the agenda was a sort of discussion on sibling grief. Kelly, Jenny, and I sat at the front and talked about the subject but we also talked about other things too and interacted with those who had attended. We also had more giveaways too! (Oh, and in case you didn’t notice Evanee came with me for the weekend trip!)
We had planned on doing a lantern release but it was raining the whole day and we weren’t able to. Instead we had a candle lighting ceremony and remembered our babies that way. As we lit our candles individually we spoke the names of our babies. Mine ended up blowing out prematurely since I was bouncing Evanee the hot wax spilled out and took out my candles and got all over my hand and over the floor. Nice! lol
Once our candles were out we all took some time to talk and even goof off a little. And take pictures!!!
By the time everyone left it was after 10 pm and we started packing up. It was I think after midnight when we got back to the cabin. (Amazing story to tell in a post coming soon about the drive home!) We were all really tired but stayed up a bit once we got there. I think I ate like 3 or 4 of the cupcakes that were leftover!
The next morning on Sunday Kelly and I left for Petoskey one more time to go to Jenny’s church to set up a table for SGM with our info. Once the service was over and everyone had pretty much gone we loaded up and went back to the cabin and packed up all our stuff there and loaded it. We made sure all was tidy and then we took off to head back to NW Ohio. We prolly got back in the area close to 10 pm. I definitely had enough driving once it was all over!!