Oh hello. I didn’t forsake you. Promise. Hope you didn’t give up on me! The reason I didn’t keep up with my attempt to post daily these past two days has to do with one word of many meanings: retreat.
Our family retreated this weekend. By retreated I mean we joined a fantastic group of people and hung out in a lovely place to gather and get away from daily life. We retreated to commune and to dig in to spiritual life a bit deeper. We retreated from daily life, distractions and habits. We retreated to a place of relaxation and acceptance. It was quite refreshing for me. (Unfortunately not quite so refreshing for my SIL and BIL who invited us, they have a one year old teething baby. They retreated from the retreat to relax at home and finally sleep. Solidarity SIL)
The church we went away with is not our own church family whom we gather with, but our aforementioned SIL & BIL’s. I was a bit concerned about not fitting into the flow this weekend. We have attended this church’s events before but not too often and it is always a bit intimidating to join a group of people you feel new to. However all of my insecurities were completely unfounded. We arrived and I felt welcomed and comfortable almost immediately. This little church plant is small, but full of some beautiful people, a wonderful age range of believers at different maturitirs in their faith and walk. I had many meaningful conversations and many hilarious ones. This is the first time (especially growing up Pentecostal) that I have ever gone away on a church retreat and brought wine. It was fabulous!
I have to be honest and say I DID NOT behave myself in my dietary habits this weekend! I ate cheese, carbs, sugar, and corn. I drank wine, and barely walked or exercised! I feel full, still. It was worth it. The food was wonderful, the fellowship even better.
Now, you can tell I enjoyed our time because I have no pictures of the actual retreat, except the above. I was enjoying our time together, and with our family, so much that my phone lay forgotten most hours of the day. I know that means it was good. We played games, chatted, prepared and ate food together, drank together, and sang together. We worshipped and meditated on God’s word. We napped. It was wonderful.
The video sermons we watched from the Meeting House in Toronto met me exactly where I’m at. They were titled”Maxed Out”. The first one dealt with how our society often feels maxed out on time. How “busy” seems to equate success or something important, but often means we are looking in all the wrong places for true fulfillment (holla). My BIL spoke at our second meeting about finding our place in God’s plan. It was a great way to tie everything together. The second video sermon spoke about being maxed out with money and material things. How we are so easily caught up in the haves and have nots. The stresses of money or not having it. Again: holla. Thanks God for hitting me where it hurts, and I mean it in the best way. The thing I really walked away with is that I know I’m not giving God my best. I’m not aiming for the best either. I’m just struggling to “get by” or get “good enough”. If I gave God the first and the best of me I wouldn’t have to worry about the rest. I would still need to be mindful, sure, but I wouldn’t have to be anxious.
I’ve written about how I felt led to begin tithing last month. That’s giving my first ten percent to God. Right off the top of what I receive I give God the ten percent. Then I budget and pay bills, save, and see what is remaining. After this weekend I feel I also need to do that with my day. Be intentional. The first bit (10 minutes, an hour, a little longer) needs to be His. My time to give to Him. Instead of trying to “work Him in”, I want to make God first in my day, and last. Alpha and Omega you know? 😉 I want to slowly shift priorities to be more spiritually focused and intentional.
Even if you don’t identify with a faith I think this principle can yield great results. Set aside your first 10% monetarily for charity or giving and see how it changes your view of finances. Set aside the first ten minutes of your day for meditation or reflection and see how it effects the rest of your day. I issue a challenge to you my readers: of faith (any faith) or not, set aside some time for reflection, prayer, or meditation. If you feel up to the added challenge try setting that first % (could be 1,2 or 10, even 20) to give. Give to God, humanity, the earth, just give. See what happens with a bit of intention and purpose. I am ready to try. Let’s see how it goes!
On the zero waste front: I packed all our food for the week in reusable containers and tried to bring less packaged options but still ended up with packaged popcorn and pasta. I’m working on it.
Heads up to all male readers: tmi about monthly cycles and such coming up! I had this funny thought as I ran out the door Friday night, heading to the retreat, it was”Full moon last night. Bring your diva cup!” Thank God for that little voice! For some reason my cycle seems to have synched up with the full moon. It’s good because I now can track it easier, but also, FULL F#CKING MOON! Gah. I got to the retreat and “whoop there it is”. In goes the diva cup. I love that little silicone conicle cup. I’ve never used it while away all weekend before. This was a first for dealing with it in a public surrounding for longer than a day. We had a co-ed bathroom so that got a bit tricky. There was one private one so that helped. I made it the whole weekend. I did use panty liners as well. I need to buy some thinx so that I don’t use all the waste from panty liners, plus no chaffing or sticky underwear. That was probably my largest zero waste victory. Oh, Boy#1 did say that he shouldn’t have used his allowance to buy a Froster because of our challenge, so VICTORY!
Anywho, I am bushed from this wonderful weekend and am headed to read some of my study book and then off to Dreamland. Hoping to get active tomorrow!