I've been meaning to post, and coupled with this new blogger set up (when did that change?) and the life of a mom of four kids, writing had been on the back burner. Yet for a brief interlude, everyone is occupied, and I have time to sit and reflect.
Last weekend I attended a women's retreat at Redwood Christian Park with my friend Heather and the church we've been attending for the children's program and family dinner. It almost didn't happen-but by grace, plans fell into place. My fee was paid for by someone-who I don't know-but I am grateful and feel blessed. Robert attended his Saturday college class, and I arranged for a babysitter both Friday afternoon after school, and on Saturday morning during his class. Cell phone reception was spotty (thankfully ;) ) but I was able to remain in contact with the family-who did just fine without me. Robert gained a new appreciation for all that I do around the house, and Rebecca managed without breastfeeding for the weekend (thanks to a manual pump, I was able to resume once I was home). We had one scary incident-Robert was panicky about us needing new brakes while I was gone-but I was unfazed-having the emergency fund in place-well, it was an inconvenience, not an emergency. I was well rested, well fed, and brought to peace with issues weighing on my mind and heart. I didn't really get all that until I saw the pictures I took below and saw how different I looked and felt after the weekend.
The workshop I attended, "Beautiful: Understanding and Appreciating Your Identity in God" resonated with me. It allowed me to reflect on the roles I have, how sometimes life gets overwhelming, but in the end, everything works out. It heightened my awareness to let issues go-for I don't want to be defined, nor should I allow myself to be, by how others see me. It calls for my to focus on Truth, making choices for my best interest, and being able to love without defensiveness. I cannot fully describe the impact it had, yet one of my friends, saw a difference in me once the workshop was complete.
I opened myself up to new experiences-and was honest with others around me. We talked about kids, husbands, the lives we had growing up, and what we we want for ourselves. We talked about past hurts, letting go, and finding peace so we can move forward and enjoy each day we have. There was a speaker, Judy Hampton-whose message about living a contented life-was moving and powerful. It was peaceful in the mountains, there were early morning walks with the crisp mountain air, and late night talks in the cabin after noshing on chocolate dipped strawberries in the dining hall. It was everything I didn't know a retreat could be, and more. I learned that a family camp is offered three times during the summer-and I'm going to see if we can pull it together for next year. It was amazing. Here are some pictures I took of the weekend, enjoy :)
Our view, everyday
The last day of the retreat
Heather and me
Mini and me-oh how I adore her-and what a wealth of wisdom on marriage and having a large family she was, so blessed to have met her (and have her in my community)
Heather, me, and Mini-completely relaxed and rejuvenated, so blessed to have each other as friends
this sums up our weekend-open space, open time, sunshine, relaxation
This song was played at Saturday night's worship-with the 340 women holding candles, beautiful and moving. It resonated with me, spiritually and emotionally. I found myself having the visual memory playing in my head during challenging times this week, and had inner peace, not so much the craziness I had felt in the weeks before. I am excited to make changes in my life, given all the reevaluation and perspective I gained from this retreat.