Whew, life has been very busy this past month and the final event was our church Ladies Retreat this weekend. I have been on the board for some years now and really enjoy not only going to our retreat, but also helping to put it on. Our theme this year was simple pleasures and we went overboard treating the ladies to all kinds of wonderful simple pleasures.
We began with greeting the ladies in our bathrobes, which was great fun and inspired ladies to dress down and relax. Our speaker was wonderful - Mary Ann Zimmerman spoke to us about the Road Signs of Life, so we decorated the chapel with road signs on loan from the Dept of Transportation! The first night we made flip flop bags to put on the beds secretly while everyone was at chapel - notepads, erasers, key tags, all in the shap of flip-flops. Very fun! The second night we had silk rose petals strewn on our beds with a pampering bag of goodies to enjoy. Then, as the ladies left they were treated to goodie bags with avon products. I'm sure they all left refreshed and feeling very much cared about, which was our goal.
On to the main point of my story. At our retreat center there is a large gym with a climbing wall at the back of it. During free time in the afternoon on Saturday, they open this up for anyone who is brave enough to attempt to climb. This has been a very popular activity, usually a line of people waiting to try it, thinking of trying it, or just watching. Every year I say - next year maybe I will try that, it looks like fun - kind of! Several years ago I was inspired by an older member of our church who tried it. She said that as long as an activity was not against scripture, and it looked like fun, that she would try it.
This year my youngest daughter got to come for the first time and her next oldest sister came down from Portland to join us. I love spending time with my girls! Well, they both decided they wanted to climb the wall, and I said, well, maybe this year I will try it. By lunch time time they wore me down enough to say, I think I will try it. Right before they opened up the wall, there was a game started in the dining room, and I though, well, maybe I will just stay here, and not have to do this hard, scary thing after all (major cold feet!) It didn't work, they came in and grabbed me and in their sweet way, forced me to get in line to climb! I was hoping that time would run out, but eventually it was my turn to step into the harness - my hands were sweaty and knees shaking before I even stepped up to try!
I was hooked up to the line, then one step after another up I went. I gave myself permission to quit when it got too scary or I got too tired, but the cheers of my friends and my daughters below urged me on. I had to stop a couple of times to regroup. But up, up, up, I went until I was able to Ring the bell at the very top and was gently lowered down. What an experience! It made me feel very empowered, but most of all it made me realize how important it is to encourage others. If it wasn't for the encouragement I got, I would not have even tried. Or I would have tried, but quit partway up. And my gratitude for the man at the other end of the rope. He had a tight grip on me, and was not going to let me fall. When I was tired I was able to lean on the rope and rest. In my everyday life, God is the man on the other end of my rope. He is there to balance and support me. I feel like I have to climb the wall of life on my own power, but the truth is that He is there supporting me all the time. And He is also my encourager, whispering, go ahead, keep pushing, you can do this. And my friends, my family are all there, too, urging me on every step of the way. I can't express in mere words how this makes me feel - confident, less worried, more hopeful. Anyway, it was a great retreat, and just that afternoon makes it all worth while!
Not to mention the sale at the quilt shop we visited - 20 Fat Quarters for $20.00! That was a great bonus, and was another great highlight of my weekend!