acteen winter retreat

it was a weekend that left everyone's hearts so full! it was three days worth of seed planting, cultivating and harvesting! 

our acteen group spent a weekend together in the mountains of north carolina. the main focus was discipleship through a bible study. 

i have been warned to "not discount fun." so between sessions there was a healthy mixture of fun, crafts, nature walks, snow tubing, and good food. even in the fun and games, spiritual talk was flowing!

 look at the craft regan planned! 

oh how i love that our acteen motto includes an arrow!
for our lesson on transformation, each girl was given ten minutes, a river rock, a tube of foil, and a few random craft supplies. there transformations were pretty impressive! 

the opening session was based on matthew 25:3 and the fact that so many people who "thought" they were christians would arrive at heaven's gates only to be turned away. what does it mean to really follow jesus.

 the perfect segway into a perfect weekend was with academy award winning acting from rob at the saluda mountain lodge. we had planned this in advance. 

our bus would pull in, the girls would pile out with pillows and luggage in hand and be turned away. 

i would claim to have reservations at the lodge. rob would  tell me that just because i thought i had reservations doesn't make it so. i would beg. he would refuse. and the girls would be in a state of panic. we would be allowed 5 minutes to soak in the glorious view! then he would escort us to the bus. 

our plan worked to perfection! not only had he studied our lesson, i learned that rob and his wife brenda formally owned a children's theater. they were amazing actors! he had the girls in a state of disbelief. 

we told the girls the truth and explained the illustration. then we gathered around their fire for our first session. 
"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! 

rob and his wife brenda shared their testimonies and talked with the girls. when i first talked with them, they were complete strangers. i am so grateful for their help.

the rest of the weekend flowed so naturally.  the girls got along beautifully and regan outdid herself planning the meals.  the conversations were deep and almost always lasted longer than planned. but we were doing everything at our own pace. it didn’t take us long to realize we wouldn't be sticking to a strict time schedule.  

saturday night was reserved for snow tubing. i am not sure what to say about this place. it was somewhere between a state fair and a nightmare ;) maybe a carnival bought off of craigslist? i will say, the black snow was the result of the summertime weather.

a parking lot full of church buses put our minds to ease. all that mattered was the girls had amazing time!  (and we were not kidnapped off of moonshine mountain) 

if you are wondering where this place is, regan said it best; "just hang a right at the giant pink elephant." 

i took a lot of pictures. when there's too many to post, a video is needed. 

praise God for an amazing weekend that left our hearts overflowing with gratitude! a great big thank yo to honey and papa gene for the gift of their mountain home!

everywhere i go!

Everywhere I go
On this road, high and low
Where I go, I go with You
So I won’t be afraid
This my hope, come what may
Where I go, I go with You

if a city could call you by name... this is most likely the city calling mine! i love this song because  it reminds me of the time spent in ecuador... and how much more time i would like to spend there!

our january trip to macahachi was just amazing. our group  (once again) was what i would consider a dream team. everyone with unique gifts that complimented each other s well. many of us have traveled together several times. we know each other's quirks. ronnie likes his coffee so black that it require a second pot for everyone else. maureen enjoys a little coffee with her creamer.  i need a diet drink by 8am. even if it means stocking up at the airport at $3 per 10 oz.  josh. this was my first trip with him. who knows when the man sleeps? no matter how early, he was already awake. his stories from the war were fascinating! let me just say, you want him on your side! :) 
so when i say that we worked together beautifully, i mean it!

this trip fell immediately after an insanely busy christmas season. while i have thousands (literally) of pictures from ecuador.... this blog post contains almost all of the pictures from this trip. other than drinking the water, picking up a camera was the last thing i wanted to do. 
i did, however take a lot of cell phone pictures. there are so many occasions that we meet people and want to remember them.  a cell phone seems always available. 

i knew that i would regret it if i came home imageless. on a couple of walks, i mustered some enthusasiam to take a few pictures. 

oh how i love this place! so here goes... 

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