2006 RBF Women's Retreat
This weekend I attended my church's annual women's retreat. I missed last year's because Maggie was born that same weekend. So it was great fun to be back at Jan-Kay Ranch out past Paris, TX, for a beautiful fall weekend with the girls. A few highlights:
Valerie made an extraordinary effort to attend. She has not been on retreat since she was diagnosed with brain cancer over 6 years ago. Her very presence was an inspiration to us all. Her humor was entertaining, especially to Jeni and Ann.
Jackie Roese, the pastor to women at Irving Bible Church, spoke to us from the lives of several women in the Old Testament. Rahab taught us that no one is beyond God's reach. Abigail showed us how to be a woman of good judgment. And Hannah revealed that we can indeed do heart business with God--that he desires our gut-wrenching honesty in the midst of suffering.
While we were retreating, certain college football teams were playing their annual rivalries. My friend Jeni (see the first picture, with hands over her mouth) is a die-hard Alabama fan, while I of course am a rabid LSU Tiger fan. Our teams were playing each other Saturday night. Friday night, Jeni serruptitiously placed her "silly slammer" Al the Elephant mascot on the water cooler, a centerpiece in the main gathering room. Then she made sure I noticed it. Later, I had it kidnapped, and the next morning "Al" appeared in dire straits. Under the watchful eye of the tiger (pillow), Al was strung up for all to see.
Fortunately for me, LSU did indeed win the game as expected. No surprise humilation for me... :)
To top off the fun, our old friend (and former RBF member) Erin Teske flew in from Maryland (for the second year) to hang with us. IM and email are wonderful tools for keeping in touch almost in "real time" but there is nothing like face-to-face time with a friend. I last saw her in the hospital last year, as she came to meet newborn Maggie and hug my neck. Maybe next summer my family can make the trip out to MD for a visit with her family. Here we are--Erin, Jeni, and me--trying not to say goodbye at the end of the retreat.
I really hate goodbyes. Thankfully, heaven won't have any. Until then, however, we must trust in our God who loves to give us good things...like plane tickets, weekends away, friends who endure.