Before I go much further in describing the things that we did today, I have to say that this is a Girls Weekend unlike any in the past because of some difficult, as well as some wonderful circumstances that are currently present in Kathi's life. On the wonderful side, Kathi is in love with a man that God put in her life at a time when she, most certainly, needs someone who is there for her and loves her unconditionally. I have to say that I am truly amazed at God's grace and His timing at putting people in our lives who have gifts that we need at the absolute moment when we need them. This has certainly been the case in Kathi's situation. The difficult circumstances in Kathi's life right now revolve around her beautiful, spirited, talented and amazing daughter, Ridley. This truly amazing child has suffered and fought with depression for a number of years and this struggle culminated in a suicide attempt about three weeks ago. This, of course, caused Kathi great distress and heartbreak and she has been doing everything that she can in order to get Ridley the help that she needs to help her with this struggle. The psychiatrist who saw Ridley in the program into which she was placed after her suicide attempt, diagnosed Ridley with bi-polar disorder and put her on some medications to help her. Even with this medication on board, Ridley revealed to the counselors in this program that she still has thoughts of harming herself on a daily basis. Based upon this comment, it was decided that Ridley would best be served by spending some time in an in-patient program so that she could be observed while medications were added and adjusted, and so that she could participate in some intensive behavioral therapy, where she could learn some skills to help her cope with this disorder. Ridley, of course, did not like this decision and railed against being admitted with everything she has, which led to a heartbreaking scene of Ridley being handcuffed in order to be taken from the outpatient program she was attending to the hospital to be admitted. As a fellow parent, and loving Kathi like a sister and Ridley like a child of my own, I can barely even think about what kind of pain this caused Kathi. So, this Girls Weekend is colored by these events, and while there have been plenty of tears, there has also been much therapeutic laughter. I just ask that anyone who might be reading this, please say a prayer for both Kathi and Ridley in this great time of need and know that underlying all that we do here are thoughts of Ridley and prayers that God bring healing to her heart, mind, soul and body.
The only reason that I added any of this to the blog is that I want this to be "real", to exhibit ALL that goes into our lives and Girls Weekend.
(Ok, as I read the above to Kathi, to get her approval to post on the blog we are both sitting here crying like babies, so I am going to move on).
So, Kathi flew into Fayetteville airport about 3 hours before me and while waiting for me picked up the rental car, had a long conversation with Ridley's psychiatrist, then enjoyed a mocha and read a book.
Once I arrived, and after a big hug, we went to pick up my luggage, so that we can load up the car and make the 1 hour drive to Eureka Springs. Over the years, we have kind of fallen into a natural division of duties regarding Girls' Weekend. Once the state is determined, I usually am the one to do a bit of research and choose WHERE in the state we will be going. I thoroughly enjoy this part. Sometimes I have a place in mind, sometimes Kathi does, and we are always open to suggestions from friends and family. As I said in the first post about this particular Girls Weekend, my mom was the one who suggested Eureka Springs and after I took a look at some websites describing the down, I was charmed and intrigued, so decided this would be our destination. Having made that decision, I started looking for interesting, charming, unique, funky, yet affordable places to stay. I REALLY wanted to stay at the Crescent Hotel because it is old and haunted and I thought that would be fun, but it was a bit too pricey for the budget, so, instead, I found a charming little place with a small kitchenette that looked just perfect for us and was very reasonably priced. Thus we landed in Suite number 4 at the Oak Crest Cottages. I must share that the suite that we are staying here in Eureka Springs was used in a Billy Bob Thornton movie called "Chrystal". Haven't seen the movie, but it is kind of cool knowing that it was used as a movie site and they have a few pictures up in the room of Billy Bob in this very suite!
Kathi's role in Girls Weekend planning usually involves car rental and maps of the area. Kathi LOVES maps. She studies them and fawns over them as if they were precious artifacts, but, by golly, she pretty much always gets us where we want to go. So Kathi had Google mapped the route from the Fayetteville airport to Oak Crest cottages and printed out the directions. Well, my goodness, for a 60 mile, 1 hour drive, I must say that there were so many turns and unclear directions (i.e. Turn Right......no street name or anything, just, Turn Right), that I think it was a minor miracle that we arrived here at all!! Although, we did go a few miles past the place and had to turn around and try again. Our host, Don, greeted us, gave us his recommendations for places to eat in town and grabbed a few brochures for the places nearby that he feels are worth visiting, then shepherded us to our room. Once in the room, we immediately rearranged the furniture (which we often do) to suit our needs and unpacked our suitcases. We made a run to the local grocery store, then had a delicious Italian dinner at a little place in town called DeVito's (Kathi had trout coated with parmesan and pesto, while I opted for spaghetti and meatballs) peeked in a few shop windows, then headed back to our cozy suite to turn in for the night, with plans of returning to town the next day for a full day of shopping and exploring the town.