Friday, February 6, 2015

Thoughts on the Spark Retreat

Winter in Colorado isn't my favorite time of the year. The brown and the brown and well... more brown is all around.  I miss flowers!  I miss color.  So, I try to keep myself immersed in color... color in the house, color in my wardrobe, wherever I can put color... I do.  I actually found these workout pants that have color AND flowers!!  Two of my favorite things!!
I was blessed to get to go on a short trip last week.  I went to Ojai, California for a writing retreat . Ojai was a beautiful place with gorgeous flowers and fruit trees!!! I so enjoyed getting to see such wonderful landscape.  

Early one morning, I went on a walk by myself.  My walk was filled with moments of reflection and prayer.  I spent time thinking about what I had been learning so far during the writing retreat I was attending.  I walked by houses with turquoise doors and cobblestone driveways, contemplating concepts and thoughts I was going to take home with me.
At the beginning of the retreat we were asked, "Why did you sign up for the retreat?".  My first thought was surprising to me, but I went with  it... "I came for my kids", I said.  And that is true. 
 I left home to attend a retreat with an unknown agenda, to stay with complete strangers, to participate in new activities.  Why?  To encourage myself to be brave.  To do something out-of-the ordinary.  To take a solo trip to California to see Ojai.  To discover something new about the art of writing.  All for the sole purpose of taking what I learned about myself back home.  To show my kids that you're never too old to do new things.  To demonstrate by my actions (not just by my instructions to them)  that courage is a valuable character trait.  To impart to them that they can manage without me being at home with them.  I tell my kids all the time that I want them to have courage, to be strong, to try new things.  However, I rarely do these things myself.  So that is why I traveled to Ojai for the "Spark" retreat.  
 On a couple of occasions, I sat by this pool with my journal, filling in blank pages with the specific writing activity given to us by our writing hosts (Kelle, Claire, and Annie).  It felt good to get different thoughts down on paper.  I enjoyed some new "how-tos" and "you should try this" methods.   I heard stories of challenges and difficulties from the other attendees.  Some stories were downright sad. Some stories were full of encouragement.  These women who started out as strangers became friends.
 We were nourished by delicious food and drink.  The chef that cooked for us had a soothing way about him that caused all of us to take part in our meals in a reverent manner. However, even more than the food that nourished, the Lord nourished me while I was there.  He spoke His love into my soul and comfort to my home-sick heart.   He reminded me that He was with me and that He was with my family back at home. Through every workshop and every encounter, I was grateful for the hope of Jesus in my life.  He alone is my friend, my Savior, my deliverer .  Hard things come into all of our lives and the truth is that He is right there with us, if we will let Him be.  I don't have to save myself or solve my own problems.  I must daily seek Him and rely on His strength. Then I must LIVE - Live   with God's power and truth, truth that propels me into greater adventures and more loving influence on others.