A few weeks ago we returned from the May 2012 retreat in Orlando, Florida. This was a special retreat for me because it was the first time I was able to invite a family I knew personally to come on a retreat & see them be cared for & enjoy a few days together outside of their normal routine fighting cancer. Amy & Adam Patwa, & their adorable daughter Charis, attended this retreat and blessed me & so many others with their transparency & hope in the midst of a life-threatening illness. Something really amazing happens on these retreats. Staff & volunteers love families. Families love each other. Everyone ends up serving each other in some way, shape, or form... maybe without even realizing their impact.
With 16 families eagerly and nervously getting ready to head to Orlando in the next day or so, much is being anticipated and much is unknown. This trip will changes lives, not only the lives of the families that are attending the retreat, but also the lives of volunteers and others who will encounter the families this weekend.
Today it is rainy outside. Here in North Carolina the pollen has finally subsided and the trees are full of green leaves. We are in the midst of spring. I was just sitting at my kitchen table with my young boys watching them eat their breakfast. They are ravenous as soon as they wake! My 3 year old asked me why it was raining. (He is in the "why" everything stage!) Over the past six months I have been reading a book that I cannot seem to put down. Clearly it is teaching me old truths with new perspective that are enticing. So trying to put together some logical answer for why indeed it was raining outside, while still trying to wake up at this early hour, all I could come up with was this: "honey, God lets it rain so that things around us can be more beautiful". You know what followed that... "but why mommy?" I smiled.
Why does it rain in our lives? Sometimes it just sprinkles. We find out news that could lead to worse news. Sometimes it pours. We feel like the whole world is beginning to fall apart around us. Sometimes it floods. We feel like we may drown in it all.
I've noticed something about myself over the past few years since I've become a mom. I view traditions in my family in many different ways than I used to, especially ones around holidays of special significance for us. It's like I view them through my kid's lens instead of my own now! When we got married we started decorating our house in little ways that signified our new family unit. We did things like decorate our mantle above the fireplace for Christmas. I bought a journal to record "firsts"... first 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, etc. We started forming our own traditions for what would soon become our growing family! A few weeks after our first son was born Easter arrived. I must admit, Easter is my favorite celebration of the calendar year! We live in North Carolina, so we are blessed with four very distinct seasons for the most part, this year being quite an exception. I love Easter because the leaves are growing back on the trees, the flowers are in full bloom, there is more daylight emerging everyday, birds chirp, bees buzz, & most of all I get to share my Hope with my kids as I share the story of Easter! It's a JOYOUS time for us, even in the midst of the unpredictabilities life brings. I am always reminded of the simple things, small & big, this time of year. I then grow very thankful.
What is your favorite holiday?
What comes to mind for you when you think of that time each year?
What traditions do you have as a family?
We are just a few days away from Valentine's Day, the holiday of LOVE. When I think of parents & kids... I think "Love is Listening". Many of you just returned home from the latest retreat in Orlando. Some of you have attended past retreats. Some are only passing through on the website & stumbled upon this post just now. Whatever category you fall into, you clicked on this most likely because you are home, back in the reality of your daily routines... & want to know how to live life fully in the midst of your circumstances & enjoy each moment. You want to know how to best love & care for your kids (and each other for that matter).
I live in Atlanta, Georgia. Home of the Braves, high temperatures, and southern hospitality.
I love hospitality! In fact, I think if you quiz my closest friends and relatives they would tell you that hospitality is in my blood. I enjoy having guests in my home for dinner or for weeklong visits. It is a joy to feed them a meal (or meals), take care of their needs, and make them feel very welcome in my home. It makes me smile just typing about it.
“We love because He first loved us.” – 1 John 4:19
Last month, I was honored to participate in the most recent Legacy Retreat held at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.Because my body was not strong enough