Sunday, November 16, 2014

She's Like Texas

She’s as bright as the Dallas sky.
She always holds her head up high.
She loves the company of her family.
She has faith in God’s greater plan.
She trusts I’m a good man.
And that’s why I’ll always believe
She’s like Texas, and she likes me.

Last weekend, my community group, Adelphe X, headed to Austin for our second annual retreat! 

With each of us living a full life, it is rare to find a time outside of our usual Sunday night gatherings to just hang out, have fun, and relax.  We've been reading through Genesis together and were recently reminded of the importance of rest.  God built us to need it and to remind us that we NEED Him. With this in mind, the retreat came at the perfect time.  

When we went on our retreat last year, we had all just met several months prior, so we were still figuring out how to combine so many different personalities and unique girls into one cohesive group.  Our leaders wanted it to be special and filled our time together with activities.  It was great, but what was even greater was seeing how this year, we didn't need any of that.

We were able to just be together for the weekend, with very little on the agenda, and it was pretty much perfect.  Abby's dad was so kind to let us stay at his beautiful home for the weekend, where we were surrounded by nature and horses and the most perfect fall weather.  Abby's little brother also came down for the weekend, and we have him to thank for such gorgeous photos that we will treasure!

We "hiked" up Mt. Bonnell-- which really meant climbing up a few stairs ; )

We ate really well the whole weekend.  You can't really go wrong with bacon or queso or baked pear and turkey sandwiches or turkey chili from the slow cooker. And we ate every meal outside on the patio by this huge tree that looks like the one from Pocahontas.  Soaking up the sunshine and just talking with these girls was probably my favorite part of the weekend.

A little over a year ago, we did not know each other, and now, these are the girls that I do life with.   

Oh sure, we've been through plenty of ups and downs in the past year and a half.  We've experienced conflict and hurt feelings, losses and sorrows, burdens and letdowns.  But we've also shown one another grace and granted forgiveness, celebrated each other, and shared praises and joy-filled days. And we have all grown closer to Christ and helped bring each other a little deeper into relationship with Him.

Thanks for doing life with me, ladies!

Adelphe X forever

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Colorado Getaway

Back in September, Jon sent me an email with the subject line "Wanna Get Away?" that included a whole list of cities with airfare deals, asking me to choose one.

So, get away we did-- to Colorado for a fun long weekend!

A state I've never been to, with incredible scenery and gorgeous weather, with the man I'm head over heels for?  Don't have to ask me twice!

We left on Saturday afternoon when Jon finished class and came home late Tuesday night- just long enough to feel like a vacation before we had to return to our jobs, school for him, and the rest of our normal lives.

I probably drove Jon crazy with the number of times I said something along the lines of, "Look at the mountains! I love the mountains! The mountains are so pretty! Why don't we have those in Dallas?" The beach has always been my happy place, but I sure did enjoy visiting the mountains.

My favorite part of the trip, without a doubt, was hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park.  We hiked past three lakes, stopping at many points along the way to enjoy the gorgeous views (and also maybe because I'm out of shape and needed to catch my breath- I'll blame the thinner air!).

As we sat on a large boulder overlooking the expanse of forest, the clouds brushing over the tops of the mountains, the sky that stretched on forever, I breathed in that cool, fresh air and tried to soak up exactly what I was feeling at that moment.  Sitting there with someone I love, so content, being reminded of the beauty and grandeur of this world that God created- it was overwhelming and yet so peaceful at the same time.

While we were in Estes Park, we toured The Stanley Hotel, the inspiration behind Stephen King's The Shining.  I'm a fan of historical sites and also scary stories (a fun fact), so touring it was right up my alley.  Being the weekend before Halloween, there were quite a few Stephen King enthusiasts and some... interesting... hotel guests, but I enjoyed hearing the history behind the hotel's founders, the Stanley's (as in, Stanley Steamer), and checking out the supposedly "haunted" spaces- all in good fun, of course. 


We took a day trip to Vail, where we saw SNOW.  In October!! Jon has heard "remember when we saw snow?!" at least a dozen times already since then.  The drive from Broomfield, where we stayed, to Vail was just a couple hours and incredibly scenic. 

Side note: We stayed at the Omni Interlocken and had a great experience- we definitely recommend it.

Another side note: Waking up every morning and opening my curtains to views of the mountains was awesome.  My morning commute was seriously lacking in scenery the rest of the week!

We started seeing snow flurries as we got closer to Vail, and by the time we arrived, it was 26 degrees and we were thankful for the jackets and hats we'd packed! Since it was Vail's off-season we were among just a few tourists, and it was nice to wander through the almost deserted streets (which reminded me of somewhere in Europe) through the snow flurries, exploring the shops and enjoying a cozy lunch. 

On our last day, we checked out Red Rocks Park & Amphitheater.  It would be so cool to see a concert there! While walking through the visitor center, we listened to a sweet old lady who told us to check out the trail loop that was short and "barely up and down hill" and that she could totally handle it at her age. It turned out to be a lot of up and down and hotter than we'd expected, and we weren't dressed for it in our nice shoes and sweaters! Jon kept saying, "We're almost there babe, just around the corner," and at some point I stopped believing him! 72-year-old lady, consider yourself in better shape than we are. ; ) 

Thanks for a wonderful getaway, Jon! Now, where are we going next?!