This marked the 4th Annual Ladies Retreat and just as in years past, this excited group make our way from different directions, from home, from work, from Dickson, from Nashville, from Clarksville......the direction we come from is not as important as the direction we are going because we have waited a year to come together again.
Laughter is on the menu as we gather around the table to share the evening meal. Soon the laughter turns to howls, leaving our faces sore and making it hard to maintain a proper posture while holding our sides. Updates on family and friends and the latest happenings in the world around us become standup comedy routines.
The regular routine of game night is replaced by the sharing of a simple story of a New Year's dream of restoring the love and passion for the things God has been so gracious with and seeing those dreams becoming a reality by His Grace. Sharing is what "sisters" do best, without judging and with confidence in the fact that what happens at Paris Landing stays at Paris Landing and in our hearts. From serious to hilarious, the bond between us is strengthen and with giggles and yawns, bedtime arrives well after midnight as the sound of the cool fall rain on the roof sings us to sleep.
Morning arrives on golden sunbeams streaming through the wall of windows that open to the deck. The air has taken on the freshness and crispness of fall after the rain of the night before. No one is in a hurry as we take turns with our morning routines, getting ready to meet the day. Breakfast is delayed as we wait for the arrival of one of our own who has had a minor travel setback. But soon she arrives with yummy bagels in tow and once again we gather around the table, feeling blessed by God's goodness that protects us and sustains us. The change in temperature has brought another change in the regular routine and the annual walk is set aside as we settle back and discover our true colors. It is amazing how discovering little things about yourself puts other things in prospective.
With new found aspects of our character, we pile in and head out for the shoe store!
Then it is on to the book store that has a sale just for us!......well, it might just be the sale is an annual event at the same time as our annual event, but it does make us feel special and we always take advantage of our special sale, each clutching our precious Bibles, books and gifts as we exit, followed by warm goodbys from the owner and staff, inviting us back again next year.
Finally arriving back at the Chalet, we now refer to as home, it's "shoes on the runway" as shoes are modeled and admired by all.
Dinner on our last night together consisted of a delicious and healthy salad bar and then we start digging into that pan of Chocolate Guilt. With every bite, the sound of pure pleasure can be heard and feeling guilty was not on anybody's mind. Maybe the guilt will surface next week when we have trouble with our clothes being a little snug, afterall, we did ditch the morning walk!!!
With the fireplace giving us a warm and cozy feeling and the temperture outside becoming chilled, we settle in for a relaxing evening where topics vary from present relatives that connects us to long ago discoveries on our family tree.
As the late night eventually turns into early morning, we rise and begin to pack for the trip back to our prespective homes. Sitting around the table once again for our final meal together, we each take turns with our own contribution to our devotion time. It is amazing how each of us can share something different and it all falls together like a puzzle to make an impression we can take home with us.
The clock has no mercy on us as we wanted to linger, so with our final goodbys, the weekend was over, leaving us to dream about 12 months in the future when we would do it all over again........
Thank you Lord for Friendship and Laughter