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You might be asking yourself, What kind of serious, committed writer would attend the She Speaks Conference — a weekend dedicated to learning and growing her writing career — and then blog about the inspiration of the experience, only to follow that up with zero blog posts in eight days? Hmmm. That is a great question. For which I have only one answer: Grace.

I’ve learned a lot about grace in the past eight days. After the conference, I had a beyond-hectic week of preparation and work before I took a much-anticipated full week off for vacation. Going away is a great thing, but sometimes the days leading up to it are complete torture. I was putting in my time (plus some) at work to get all my tasks done, and then kept busy planning, packing, preparing for the trip. I was exhausted.

I realized, somewhere between trying to fit it all in, that I simply can’t. I can’t do it all. And last week, blogging was simply not a possibility. At first I beat myself up for it, per usual. I got mad at myself for not meeting my self-imposed quota of posts per week. But after a few days and very few hours of sleep, I decided to extend myself a little grace.

And it felt so good.

But I guess I didn’t realize just how much grace I’d actually need.

The night before I was going to fly out of town, I was hit with a bad case of food poisoning. I’d spare you the gory details, but I lost the ability to decipher that line of discretion way back when I blogged about my colonoscopy. Short version, in a 24-hour period, I vomited in all of the following places: 1) my apartment; 2) a taxi cab; 3) an airplane; 4) an airport bathroom; 5) another airplane; 6) outside an airport; 7) a rental car; and 8) at a family member’s house. I think more strangers saw me vomit in that one day than over my entire life span. Just keepin’ it classy.

Embarrassment was the least of my worries. My appearance? Not a concern. Blogging? Not even on my radar. The pain, the headache, the lack of control over my body — getting rid of those were my new highest priority. Through the help of my parents — whom I’d met on the second leg of my flight — and God himself, I somehow made it into a bed at a family member’s home. The next thing I remember, it was 16 hours later and I woke up, feeling faint but better. The worst had passed.

Grace. Take a moment to soak it in.

And in the aftermath, I find myself smack dab in the middle of a family reunion in beautiful British Columbia. Dozens of relatives, daily activities and meals — our schedule is full. And this blog — as always — has been in the back of my mind all day.

I need to blog.

Oh, geez. It’s now been eight days.

My readers must think I’ve fallen off the face of the earth.

I need to think of something to write.

Ruth! You need to write!

But grace forgives. Grace understands. Grace gets it. I had a busy week. I was very sick. I am now on a trip I’ve planned for and dreamed of for one-and-a-half years, and I find myself trying to squeeze every ounce of every moment in with the family and friends that surround me.

And it’s okay.

I’m sending this out to the blogosphere before I hit the sack. Tomorrow morning I’m meeting the family for some Tim Horton’s coffee (next best thing to Dunkin’ Donuts), and then heading out for a winery tour and picnic lunch. (My family’s cool like that.) I will enjoy myself. I will think of you all. And — as difficult as it is for this Type-A, perfectionist to do — I will extend myself grace.

And I pray we can all do the same for each other.