Sunday, April 29, 2012

Girls, Girls, Girls!

Last week was all about the ladies.

It started with a Women's Retreat at Zephyr Point in Tahoe and ended with a girl's night in.
Lots of "single" girl time (that's married speak for "without kiddos").
Woo hoo!

Here are some pics of the 2 events!

I met some girlfriends from my Mom's group at church to carpool up to Tahoe.
Do we look a little giddy?

Say cheese freedom!

Here is a link to the promo for the weekend.
This was most of our experiences too:

Girls like to talk.
It's true.
We chatted the whole 1.5 hours to Lake Tahoe.
Stopping only for In and Out (naturally).

Once we arrived, we walked down to the lake.
It was stunning!
Sunny, perfect weather... but the mountains were still snow capped.
We were truly blessed!

More group pictures!
Get ready for some camera fun...


Tried to jump but... didn't make the shot.

"Woo Hoo!"

Working on our tans/burns 
Toes in the sand :)

The theme of the retreat was "What are Your Dreams and Desires?"
The weekend was filled with amazing worship (by an all girl band!), lots of food (more importantly, that we didn't have to cook), classes, small group time, free time, etc.

Here's a picture of my small group on a scavenger hunt. 
We won! The prize? Gift cards to Ulta.
Nice! :)

Small group discussion

I haven't been on a retreat since Mark and I lived in Boston... and still, that was a couple's retreat.
Before that, the last time was high school!

What I appreciated about this weekend was the warmth and vulnerability of the girls.
We were able to connect hearts without judgement. In fact, there was nothing but love.
In faith, we shared. In love, we listened and encouraged.
"The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love."
- Galations 5:6
That's the Body of Christ... getting stronger :)

The verse that suck out to me on this trip was the following,

"For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said, 'Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.'"
- Ephesians 5:8-14

So my confession for this weekend is that I didn't actually get to attend any of the classes (even though I wanted to!)... but the reason was because I had a deep, honest, and invaluable conversation with two other girlfriends. We talked for hours and, well, we talked straight through the time of the other classes. Whoops.

I know not all "Christians" are nonjudgmental and loving... but these girls were, so safe conversations took place that were fruitful and allowed light to shine on some very dark places in our lives (past and present). 

The world is an ugly, broken place... and sometimes, we get beat up along the way.
I truly don't understand why anyone should be made to feel shamed or badly for exposing "darkness"...
My heart totally goes out to celebrities who are exposed - but then judged - constantly!
Where's the grace in that?

Anyway, all to say... we connected hearts. And because we were able to share, we are now closer and strengthened because of that.
One point - healing, redemption and a stronger Body...
Set back - lies, shame, and ugliness.

Ohhhh darkness is trembling now! (Take that, sucka!)


I did manage to find some quiet time of my own.
Reading Ephesians in the sun, breathing in truth and crisp Tahoe air, periodically gazing out at God's glory... snow covered mountain tops perfectly mirrored by a crystal clear lake.

It was perfect.

It was where He wanted me... because I shared that same scripture in Ephesians with the group later to encourage others to keep "shining light"  on darkness. 
Sin loses it's power once exposed.

Here is the last set of group pics on the day we said good-bye.
(Lots of beautiful pregnant women attended!)

(Preggos got hops too!)

Now for the Clothing Exchange.
This was less deep, equally fun, and well... just an excuse to go shopping for free!

The idea:

Bring whatever clothes you are planning on giving to Goodwill (and something yummy to share ;) ).
Shop around for FREE. Take what you like. Whatever is left over goes to Twin Lakes Food Bank.
If you bring one shirt and leave with 20 things... it's all good! It was going to Goodwill anyway, right?

Here was the spread pre-shopping


Sip, munch, and chatter.

Dresses, bathing suits, etc.

It looked like someone's closet exploded!
I told my husband to close his eyes...

Tanks, shirts, sweaters...

To make it a bit more "fancy", I clipped tulips from our garden.
They grew from bulbs!!
I was pretty excited :)

It was a success!

Girls left happy, full, and stylish!

We did have left overs which went to Twin Lakes... so it was an all around success!

Must repeat soon :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Cuteness and Springtime

The weather's changing for the better... Spring is here!

That means spring cleaning, flowers, warmer weather, and more smiles from our little boy.

Here are some pictures of "cuteness" I've spotted around the house this Spring:

Mark is going to Mexico on a missions trip with the church.
Here are some pictures of Ethan drawing Daddy pictures to take with him.
Ethan and I are sending one picture/letter for each day Mark is gone.
Hope he feels loved!

Cutest Artest, Ethan Mark

(Notice the shiner on his left side! E fell face first on the bath tub. Ouch!)

And this is cuteness that my mom would call tacky.

No, really.

She would say, "You guys look like 'the oakie family'". 


We put our kid on the front lawn, in his baby swimming pool, and threw in a bunch of play toys so that we could have some uninterrupted cleaning time in the garage.

Possibly the "oakiest" part of the picture... 
the reused milk jug as his newest play toy.

Some say oakie... I say, up-cycle! :)

Super funny! I just looked up the phrase "Oakie" on
This is what it says,

The second to lowest possible social level for a white person. Second only to trailer trash. People who collects hub caps and hang them on their house or fence, tape their windows instead of replacing them, and have a large collection of random sh*t scattered in their yards, in a seemingly organized chaos. They are generally a bit more shifty and withdrawn.
Run and git that hub cap, son. We'll give it to that family up the crick. They's good people, just oakies.

In any case... he loved it!

Ooooh boy! This is not tacky at all... ;)

The flag has returned in anticipation of the 4th of July!

Cute man of mine cleaning out the garage

All my berries survived! 
They are green and ready to grow fruit!

Gardenia plant my Mom got us in memory of the sweet baby we lost.

The hydrangeas are coming back to life.
Tulips and spring flowers from my Aunties on Easter.

More Easter flowers or flowers given in memory.

I bought a fuchsia plant... they were one of my Grandma Wager's favorites.
I think they're stunning!

Look up! Helicopter!!

And now, for some manly/boyish cuteness...

Ethan helping Daddy build his tool bench.
"Man's work"

Perhaps the cutest part of that day...
Ethan gets his own tool bench,
just. like. Daddy.

(We bought this over a year ago at a consignment fair and we're just now bringing it out to use. Ethan loves his tools...)

That's it! More cuteness to come!
{   I'm not biased at all :)  }