Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Chocolate Moose Women's Retreat

See the moose up there?
Sherry (on the right) put the glasses on and waited for Heather (her son's sweetheart) to look at her. Heather jumped a foot!

My mom and I tried a "foot masque" for the first time.

View from the balcony looking down on the lodge's living room

Half of the ladies opted for bed over late-night pampering!

Me, My lovely mom, and my cute cousin, Val

Chocolate mousse in a chocolate bowl

My friend Jade and little Levi talk with the retreat speaker, Lori, who's from CO

Jade gave an awesome testimony!

Jessica's prize for winning the clothespin game

I can't believe I'm putting this pic on my blog!

Chocolate-dipped strawberries

Playing the wild clothespin game. You had to grab other people's clothespins without letting them grab the ones on your own back!

Here's the great teen gal who babysits our kids now and then for us. She's the life of the party! Someday she hopes to be a midwife!

Each lady got a bag of fun treats!

Mom and I's cute little room adjacent to Val's with a large bathroom that had an enormous tub!

Val and Mom

My mom invited me to her church's women's retreat and I wasn't sure about going because we had just been to family church camp the weekend before and I wasn't feeling "desperate for a break from the kids" (what a rarity--I attribute it to the dishwasher!) and the cost was high. My Dad chipped in some money for me for working on his website and my fun cousin Val decided to go so I decided rather last minute that I would go. I was so glad that I did! It was a lot of fun even if it was too short!

We had delicious food, fun fellowship, a great speaker who had tons of great wisdom to share and some Gospel-proclaiming testimonies. I never knew a group of older ladies could be so goofy and fun! And I had never tried chocolate-covered popcorn before or eaten a bowl made out of white chocolate!

It was so inspiring to talk with the faith-filled women there. At first glance, the nonbeliever might think we were a roomful of proper, holier-than-thou types with perfect, easy lives. But as we talked, listened, and shared a day together, it was apparent that all of us were the same and all of us are standing in need of the grace of Jesus. One woman there had recently lost her husband of 63 years. One woman who was there has a 12 year old son who was hit by a drunk driver on the 4th of July while lighting a firecracker in the street. He was drug under the vehicle for 40 feet and not only lived, praise God, but is thriving and back in school with no lasting major damage just 11 weeks later. In fact, he was antelope hunting with his dad while his mom was at the retreat! The prayers of the community held this family up and the mom talks continually about the sovereignty of God in their situation and how God carried her in that hospital room after she told a friend that she didn't think she had the faith to go through this.

Another mom shared how God stepped in when she experienced a medical emergency with her grown son. Another mom has a child with an incurable lung disease and another child being ostrasized in school. Other moms have unsaved children, or had alcoholic parents, or are living in a difficult marriage right now. A couple of us there were in the trenches of young motherhood, living through the physical exhaustion that comes from parenting tiny ones and there were also a handful of sweet teen gals there too! Quite a few of the women are married to artists and know the strain of tight finances. All of us could relate to the speaker as she shared so transparently her struggles with sin continually in day-to-day life whether with eating, gossiping, judging, etc.
It was so good to hear how God had worked in the lives of other women friends. I was so excited that my cousin got to go. She's about 12 years older than me and though I hardly saw her in my growing up years, she heard about my mom's summer Bible study through a facebook comment and began coming each week this summer even though she lives 30 miles away. We've continued the study bi-monthly into the fall. My aunt has been coming with my cousin many times too so it has been a wonderful experience to study the Word with my mom, aunt, and cousin along with a few other precious gals. I have literally seen God transform Val and I stand back amazed at what He has been doing in her life lately! It has renewed my own faith in the power of the Gospel (the Good News of salvation in Jesus Christ) and has given me much reason to praise Him.
I was a little nervous about leaving Justus for the first time and leaving King Jo for the first time with ALL THREE! But all of the kids survived and hardly seemed to notice I was gone and hubby said he had a wonderful time and wouldn't have minded even a little more time with them since it seemed to go so fast. In 24 hours he managed to take them to the park, the Blasdel twins' birthday party, a town 30 miles away to play at a park and visit 5 stores (quickly, looking for a bike chain), read them library books, to play Memory, and to deal with their incessant hunger and poopy bottoms. I'm so thankful for my wonderful guy!


Rachel said...

I pop into your blog from time to time and was surprised to find that your retreat speaker is someone we know...and her husband is my husband's mentor. They are wonderful folks.

Glad you had a chance to get away, grow and be refreshed. God bless you!

LS said...

That is awesome Rachel! Small world! We'll definitely have to meet each other next time I get to Denver.

Jenn @ Beautiful Calling said...

Wow, it looks and sounds like such a fun, refreshing and encouraging time. I love the homey look of the place you stayed at!

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