This is going to be an account of the absolutely incredible weekend I had. With one exception. My precious little Mac iBook that was oh so tired a few months back has been officially declared "dead" as of Friday by the tech department. *sigh* I was holding out hope for a while that some of the pictures I hadn't backed up would be retrieved, but alas that was not to be. I have grieved this loss. I have convinced myself that the memories are still there and there will be many more to come. It's ok. It's ok. Really, it is.
In other news...Friday morning began after a wonderful night's sleep in Kevin's old bed as his parent's house. (That mattress is seriously magical.) I went for a walk/run down the hilly-est road in the area :) and spent the morning getting clean, eating oatmeal, and finishing our laundry. Mom E, Grandma A, and I set off for Gull Lake at 10am. We made great time and stopped at a lovely little cafe nearby for a leisurely lunch. Three cheers for huge mugs of steamy whipped cream topped hot chocolate. We arrived at the Women's Retreat well in advance seeing as how my mom-in-law is Women's Ministry President and all. I was more than willing to help out where I could, and Grandma and I ended up nearly in charge of setting up for the silent auction. When the time came to check into our rooms, we found our accomodations absolutely beautiful.
There were two hours set aside for spa treatments and I excitedly participated. I had my hands pampered in parafin wax, learned more than I already knew about breast cancer and prevention (seeing as how my mom is a survivor I'm very in tune to this), and sat around laughing at a Mark Gunger dvd while massaging my feet with foot rollers. Sometime before dinner, Noni Ramundo (the Conference superintendent's wife and leader of worship for the retreat) chased me down. She said she heard I was a singer and asked if I'd be willing to be the 3rd vocalist on the worship team during the 3 main sessions. I more than willingly accepted. I'm getting used to be thrown into things and am so glad I joined the team! I felt so involved in the whole weekend and not just crowd participant. After the great evening session, I walked back to the fellowship hall for snacks and who did I happen to see....??? None another than a wonderful friend and housemate from SAU--BETSY! Earlier I ran into my friend Kristi's husband who pointed Kristi my direction and we had a wonderful little reunion. Then she passed the word to Betsy who was housekeeping for the weekend and Betsy was waiting for me outside on her cellphone trying to get a hold of me. We had an absolutely fabulous time of sharing for an hour or so. It was very refreshing and I think both of us were so thankful for the time together!
I was able to call my husband for a bit while curled up in a big comfy chair by the condo's fireplace and went on and on about all the blessings God had been pouring out on me. When Mom and Grandma got back we all crawled into bed and giggled for a bit before dozing for the night. I woke up at 6:45 and went for a dark yet refreshing jog and we all headed to a warm breakfast at 8:30. The rest of the day was spent going from main session to break out sessions (where I had fun in a marriage session and learned how to stamp 3 greeting cards) and back again. I couldn't possibly express all the details of the way God used people and words and circumstances to touch my heart, but trust me...HE DID.
Mostly I was so very thankful for all the connections I made with so many women from around the conference. I wasn't sure what they would all think of me...being so young and all...but I was embraced openly. I met some women closer to my age and/or in similar circumstances and they were able to offer me much wisdom and encouragement. The networks that I've been added to will be very helpful as I start out in ministry in the Free Methodist church.
Speaking of which...last night was my first official leading of the youth group! It went better than I could have imagined. There were definite attacks from Satan before the kids arrived trying to tell me I couldn't do it...I shouldn't do it...etc. But Kevin pulled me aside and pointed out those lies and spoke God's truth to me. Before you knew it, I was back on both feet standing strong and ready to use the gifts God has given me. The kids were very receptive and involved in the message I brought then and the Lord touched my tongue by bringing thoughts and questions easily from my mouth. I'm certain I could go on and on with the details, but just know we were blessed. Keep Kevin & I and more importantly those TEENS in your prayers!