This past weekend, our women's ministry from church had a Time Out Retreat at the Holiday Inn Express in Wichita.
I love that it was simple. Not a lot of meetings or workshops to attend. Just a fun time to retreat and rest!
When my daughter and I arrived, we went to our room and lay on the beds and watched HGTV! Neither of us have cable and so watching "Love it or List it" was just relaxing!! And wondering why the people would choose to love their house rather than go for the incredible house with the stream running downhill beside their home!
At 5:15, we went down to the lobby to meet the group of us who were going to PFChangs for supper. Everyone was given a gift card to the restaurant of their choice - I believe there were 4 different restaurants we could pick from. We were paired up with my friend Debbe and her daughter, Beth.
We began with an appetizer - lettuce wraps. Everyone seemed to know about this DELICIOUS starter except me. Oh my!! I believe I need to make these at home! Click here for the recipe!
Here is another group from the retreat.
We saw a few other friends there, although not with us on retreat!
Nicki and Kari - 2 other adoptive mom friends
Debbie and Mike -
Debbie and Debbe are my 2 Debb(y, ie, e) friends I enjoy hanging around with!
Debb(y, ie, e) was a popular 1950's name.
A little rabbit trail here - I'm reading a book my great-grandfather wrote about our Swiss ancestors from back in the late 1800's. The girl names that were used over and over in many of the families were Verena, Magdalena, Anna, Elizabeth and Katharina.
Today, looking at names in our church directory, the popular girl names are Chloe, Emma, Ellie/Ella, Adylynn/Addison, Hannah and the various spellings of those names.
Since Beth and Debbe were ordering dessert, of course Jill and I HAD to!!
"You are NOT taking my picture with these desserts, are you???!!!"
Yes, I am, and they were most delicious!!! We won't feel guilty one bit!
We actually thought they would be little sample sizes, like in a little shooter, like at Applebee's. Not complaining...! Mmmmm!
We went back to the hotel for our evening session.
Why is it that no one likes to sit in the front row? Even at church, there are rare families who do that, right? Or at school? I have heard that those in the front row at school get the better grades. And probably those who sit in the front row at church may be less distracted too. But it is rather intimidating to do so I think, but not sure why.
Cheri, who is the chair of our women's ministry, opened us with a few announcements.
Paige led us in singing many beautiful worship songs; "Come as you are", "Forever Reign", "From the Inside Out" and many more. I love that last one especially!!
"Consume me from the inside out Lord!"
Bobbie was our speaker. She grew up in Guatemala and married a kid I knew who grew up in Japan. In fact, her sister-in-law and I were room-mates together for a semester in high school in Tokyo. Then Bobbie and Steve ended up as missionaries in Japan for many years before coming to our church to serve.
Bobbie is very visual, and I am too, so I loved all the props she brought to share her thoughts. Her topic was "Sorting Through the Lenses of my Life".
Ephesians 1:18: "....having the eyes of your heart enlightened..."
"Do you think you have a distorted view of God because of the lenses in your life?"
Here is a visual of a shoe box illustration from a dream she had. Would she stay in the middle ground-the neutral place, (the gap between the boxes) or be on the Lord's side, represented by the shoebox on the left, or on the evil one's side, represented by the one on the right. It's easy to not get too relational with either.
If you are totally honest, would you be
---hoping for a neutral place
---be firmly connected to God's kingdom
---be unconvinced of spiritual kingdoms (or worse, choose to be against God?)
How do you do relationship with God? Do you (I) want a relationship with Him? How do you (I) view Him?
We got into groups to discuss and share.
Some of us stayed up until midnight or later!!
Some went swimming.
And some went to sleep...zzzzzzzzz!
(blessed sleep for those who are usually woken up by crying babies or snoring husbands!)
We got to sleep in and have a relaxing morning. We could eat breakfast as late as 9:30 since the session didn't start until 9:45. The hotel offered a breakfast buffet.
Some of us chose to cross the street for a good cup of coffee!!
(don't you feel sorry for my daughter whose mom carries around this camera all the time??)
We had one last session with more singing and encouraging words.
Bobbie shared that the heart is a container and its contents are different for each of us. The nature of the heart is bent on badness, self-centered-ness. Hard things. But good things too. When we accept Christ, He gives us a new heart with His DNA. His Spirit is in me. It still contains "stuff", but now we can live in His Spirit, His power.
1 Peter 1:3 "...According to His great mercy, He [God] has caused us to be born again to a living hope..."
I loved the re-thinking of 1 Corinthians 13. Usually we put it in context of how we are to love others. But how about a new perspective of how He loves me? He is the essence of LOVE!
God IS love!
Yes, God does love me! and you!! He is patient, kind, is not easily angered at me nor keep a record of wrongs against me, He always hopes in me. His love never fails!
lots of chatter!! what a joy to share our hearts with others!
A few books that Bobbie shared for recommended reading were:
Living from the Heart Jesus Gave You, Shepherd's House, Inc.
Bold Love, Allender/Longman
The Fight, John White
Another book she referred to was Epic: The Story God is Telling by Eldredge. I like this one!
"Sure, good things happen, sometimes beautiful things. But tragic things happen too. What does it mean? We find ourselves in the middle of a story that is sometimes wonderful, sometimes awful, usually a confusing mixture of both, and we haven’t a clue how to make sense of it all. No wonder we keep losing heart. We need to know the rest of the story."
We dressed similarly. Do other families do that sometimes?
Here is a time all 3 of my girls dressed alike - not on purpose, mind you!
Look forward to next year and hope others can come too!!