80 Degrees and Sunny? Yes, that is what U.S. G.I.R.L.S. and guests awoke to this morning as we prepared to travel to beautiful Kingsland, GA for our Christmas meeting hosted by Dianne to discuss Left To Tell by Immaculee Ilibagiza
Upon arrival to Dianne's community, we were greeted by lovely holiday decorations and a festive ambiance. As we entered her home, we were then greeted by her and her husband, Pastor Griffin who was preparing a scrumptious seafood fest (but we will get to that later!!)
The meeting space was simply lovely with the table adorned with a festive Christmas theme and condiments. There was also a decorative welcome banner on the television screen which made the space more inviting and intimate.
Dianne began the meeting, by welcoming everyone and expressing her appreciation for her membership acceptance into the ranks of U.S. G.I.R.L.S. last year. She also echoed a sentiment that we often hear about our book club's purpose and professionalism.
Our discussion opened with Dianne asking how many of us enjoyed the book...as everyone began expressing their opinions, it was clear that the messages of prayer, forgiveness and faith were the resounding themes of the book. Roz immediately expressed her enjoyment of the subject and commended Immaculee Ilibagiza on being such a vigilant prayer warrior when everything around her was falling apart.
Both Celeste and Kim mentioned the political climate in the U.S. during the time of the Rwandan Genocide and wondered why we did not hear more at the time. JayBee commented on how the media treated that "event" in comparison to the current "events" in Libya with regards to the sex/slave trade and human trafficking. Are current times really so different with regards to global civil unrest? We are now informed about events in Libya...what can we as a Country do to assist if our political leaders are unwilling to? Fortunately, we are in a very different "age of information" distribution, therefore, the events in Libya are beginning to receive more attention via social media outlets.
As our discussion gravitated to the levels and consistency of prayer, it was noted that Immaculee's power of prayer was what sustained her. But, the question of prayer combined with faith was "toggled" back and forth as Dianne moderated. Was her faith greater than the others?
Valerie expressed her appreciation for the message of Immaculee's (unyielding) parental support and love, as well as the family's overall desire to excel in all levels of education.
At this point, Pastor Griffin entered our meeting space with a aromatic Low Country Boil
fit for a "Queen". As he placed the platters on the table, it was quite evident that his execution of "plating" the platters was similar to that of a "Top Chef". As we ohhhh'd and ahhhh'd, he motioned for JayBee to capture a photo (smile).
After a Christmas blessing upon the food and the meeting, everyone was anxious to partake in the boil as Pastor Griffin began serving tea and side salads.
As the discussion progressed, there was some debate with regards of consistency and accuracy. JayBee expressed the challenges she had with what she termed as a "series of contradictions" and the "touting" of the Catholic faith in general. Val, also echoed similar sentiments with regards to the Rosary.
There was an extended discussion about Immaculee being a devout Catholic and how that seemed to be taken to an extreme in the book when meeting her future husband, Bryan and other situations.
As Pastor Griffin served dessert (yes, he prepared dessert, too), the meeting evoked many emotions from members and guests and it was emotional to hear individuals share some of their stories of prayer, faith and forgiveness.
Once the questions were completed, JayBee announced that Kim completed all of her requirements for entry into U.S. G.I.R.L.S. and presented her with the customary U.S. G.I.R.L.S. Tote and Coffee Cup. Celeste was then announced as the 1st member to publish her Amazon review and was awarded specialty coasters with the U.S. G.I.R.L.S. logo.
Next, the winner of "The Reading Situation" Challenge was announced. Drum roll, please... Below are the TOP 5!!
1. JayBee 42 Likes
2. Twilla 34 Likes
3. Val 33 Likes
5. Celeste 33 Likes
5. Roz 33 Likes
6. Karen 28 Likes
Since JayBee withdrew herself from the competition; Twilla was announced as the winner. Also, Val was acknowledged because she suggested the photo portrayal AND provided the "props" when they happen to be in the hair salon together (INGENIOUS!!)...
Thank you, Dianne, for introducing us to such a meaningful story for the Christmas holidays. Left To Tell is a story of the power of prayer and faith; a story that will stay with us for a lifetime.
We all thanked and applauded Dianne for an amazing meeting and her (and Pastor Griffin's) hospitality. It was a holiday treat being welcomed into her lovely home in beautiful, Kingland, GA. Now, we realize how Kingsland got its municipal tagline: