We were so blessed with yet another wonderful weekend! Our church sponsored a marriage retreat at The Retreat at Artesian Lakes. It was a really great weekend. The speaker gave some good lessons, and I really enjoyed getting to spend TIME with our friends and getting to know other people better. Our church is large, and life is so busy, that sometimes it seems like we don't get to know people very well and/or spend much quality time with those we do know fairly well. This weekend offered time, without children (except for 2 sweet, young babies a couple of families brought), to sit & talk....as well as be strengthened in our marriages!
Friday, January 22, 2010
Chris' parents were coming to watch the girls and arrived not long before we picked up the girls from school, so we just stayed to pick them up. We then left and entered Friday afternoon Houston traffic (yippee!) towards the retreat. Really, Houston traffic is so bad at times, but we pretty much use our brains and know where to go when and where not to go when, and Friday afternoon at 4 is not usually when we would choose to drive on the specific highways we had to drive on at that time, but that's okay. It really wasn't too bad.
A friend who was traveling at the same time called, and we decided to meet for dinner along the way. We chose to eat at Chuy's, and Kevin & Lisa soon joined us after we got there. We had never eaten there and had heard good things about it. It was really good. I think we would both get different things whenever we go back, but it is definitely worth trying again.
We arrived at Artesian Lakes around 7:40 and got checked in and found out what cabin we were in, went to look at it then went to our first session. There were 59 couples in attendance which was up quite a bit from last year. This is the 2nd year for the retreat. Our speaker, Randy Roper, gave a good lesson ("The Incredible Marriage") then we had an opportunity to hang out and snack & visit. There were a lot of people I didn't know, mostly the "young marrieds." I love the range of ages. During our first session, we sat next to one of the elders whose nametag showed that he & his wife had been married 60 years, then 1 couple we met later in the weekend had been married 7 months!
Our cabin was quite a bit away from where most everyone else from our group was staying. There was 1 cabin next to us where no one stayed then 1 other cabin where a group not from our church was staying. They were LOUD! I don't think they were necessarily being wild, but they were just so loud. Chris finally walked over there about 11:30 and asked if they could keep it down. One of the girls was very nice and apologized then they went inside and everything was fine. Of course, Saturday night it happened again (at 1:45 a.m.!) but I stuck in some earphones with music until they went back inside.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
When we left our cabin Saturday morning, a beautiful red cardinal landed in a tree right next to the deck. It was obviously used to being fed because it sat there for the longest time looking at me and chirping as if it expected something. Chris was able to go to the car to get the camera and come back to take quite a few good pictures of him. He even hopped closer to me. I love cardinals. They always make me think of Maw Maw, my Kentucky grandmother who passed away when I was pregnant with Katie. The red of this cardinal was so pretty against the gray of the tree and day (it was a gray kind of day weather wise.)
Artesian Lakes has a really good resturant, and breakfast & dinner Saturday and brunch on Sunday were included in the cost of the retreat, so we were able to enjoy a wonderful breakfast Saturday morning. We sat with our friends, Matt & Heather, who have 2 cute little children. Ellie & their little boy have quite the good time together, and Katie & their little girl enjoy playing together as well.
After breakfast, we went into the hospitality room where all of the sessions were taking place and found a place to sit and enjoyed (2?) more lessons before breaking for lunch. The committee planned to serve sandwich stuff for lunch or you could order a picnic lunch from the restaurant. We chose to just eat what the committee was serving. Everyone brought 'snacky' stuff too, so there were plenty of desserts to choose from at anytime, as well as cokes, etc. During some of the sessions, the restaurant also provided additional snacks and coffee, etc.
The afternoon was free time! We laughed & laughed when we somehow (not even sure how it came up) convinced David, our preaching minister, to race his wife. I'll be honest, I 100% expected her to win, but he beat her quite easily! (except for when she cheated!) It was one of the funniest things I have ever seen in my life....the look on his face while running was pure concentration! (Later, he admitted to being quite sore! LOL) My pictures don't even come close to doing it justice. They raced 3 times, then David & Chris raced as well which pretty much ended up as a tie.
After the races, Chris changed clothes and joined some guys (& girls) for a flag football game. Most of the guys were MUCH younger than he was!!!! It was funny to watch the competitiveness of all of them.
I left during the game to go to the "lake house" where some of the committee members were staying. Cindy was putting together a slide show of all the pictures she had been taking so she could show it that night. It was fun looking at all of them and just enjoying relaxing and visiting with people.
We had dinner at the restaurant that night which was very good! We sat with our friends, Kelley & Lisa, and their sweet baby who came along for the weekend since he's so young. We also enjoyed getting to visit with a couple who have recently placed membership, Daryl & Melissa.
After dinner, we had another good lesson then had a fun group activity. They split us up into groups and we were all supposed to tell "our story." I loved this! We were with Tom & Lori, whom I adore, and Morgan & Melanie who I know a little bit because their son is around Ellie's age, and then a couple I just met that night who have been married 7 months. I loved getting to talk & laugh in this small group and get to know the 2 couples better and get to even meet the 1 couple. I would have loved to have done this a few times, mixing up the groups each time!
After the activity, we watched the slideshow of pictures from both last year's retreat & this year's. We then broke up to visit, snack, whatever. If anyone wanted to, they could stay & watch a Tim Hawkins video. Oh my goodness! I'm not sure I have ever, ever laughed so hard for so long. We were in pain from laughing so much. I think the video was about an hour and a half long, and we laughed the whole time!!!!!
It was late when we left, and we went back to our cabin and were asleep before long (of course, I was woken up at 1:45 a.m. for a little bit, but oh well!)
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Worship was planned for 8:45 this morning, so we packed up and headed over for that. The singing was incredible! I think it was a small enough room with just enough people in it to make it really sound good. It was awesome! We had another good lesson from Randy. Here's part of it: 5-Serve. 4-Listen. 3-Commitment. 2-Keep the Peace. 1-Oneness. Those are key points to making your marriage work. Of course, he elaborated on those points.
After worship, we had brunch in the restaurant. We sat with Aaron & Cindy, good friends of ours, and Greg & Sandra. Greg is one of our elders. They are such a nice family and really welcomed us when we first attended at Memorial. She was one of the main organizers of Ellie's baby shower. We ate & visited and said good bye to some who were leaving. Craig & Susan came and sat and visited for awhile, too. I really enjoyed visiting with them because we never really have. I work with Craig some via email as he is one of our main song leaders, but I've never really talked to him 'socially.' He appreciated my love for Tony Bennett, so I thought that was cool! Susan cracked me up many times throughout the weekend.
We then walked out onto the deck where many people were standing, looking for the giant turtle down in the lake and the alligator (crocodile?) who was hanging around. Then, we headed back to Houston. Thankfully, we got back in plenty of time for me take a nap! :)
It was a wonderful weekend! The elders at our church have made helping our marriages be healthy a priority, and like Skip, one of the organizers said, it's good to see people "put their money where their mouth is." The elders have made it a commitment of theirs to make this retreat affordable and have carried the cost of much of it so that the cost to the couples isn't high. I also think some individuals have helped with that as well.
One thing I think is so neat, and really appreciate, is that at least 6 of the elders & their wives attended the retreat. I loved getting hugs from Danny just about every time I passed him and watching Frank & Jeanine crack up at something and eating with Greg & Sandra and watching Cecil so gently help Martha and visiting with Jeannie and listening to Bill tell her what notes to write down. I thought that was cute!
It was a really great weekend!