I'm back after a lovely weekend together with my family and friends. It was filled with funny and sweet episodes.
I arrived at the retreat at 7pm after a long but really easy drive. Wasn't half as bad as I'd expected, as Lars had found a very simple route for me to go (nothing but numbered roads - didn't have to remember a single street name, but just memories a list of numbers. THAT I can do ;) ), so I just plugged in my audiobook and headed off.
Once there the others were just finished eating, so I got myself settled and played with Isabella, Jordan and Anne while I waited. Anne is my 12-year-old cousin and she's just wonderful with the kids. She loves playing with them, and they absolutely adore her. Probably because she's young enough to play after their rules ;) It was great to see them together all weekend.
The retreat was a mixture of meditation, fun and relaxation which worked a lot better than I had feared. I love the idea of meditation in theory but in practise I just can't seem to understand how to go about it, so I had been a bit apprehensive about how it'd go. Fortunately the 'scheduled' meditation sessions were all relatively short, so even the ones (like me) who had no clue what they were doing didn't get too bored ;)
Friday we were introduced to each other and to the Saviour Reef which the retreat would focus on. After the evening devotional/meditation us four girls went to sit in Rebekka and Peter's room and just talked for hours. We so seldom have time for that kind of girl-bonding, so it was great to have the opportunity for it before we went to bed.
Saturday morning we started the day with another devotional before breakfast and after that Mum, Dad and I took Isabella and Jordan to the beach to play for awhile. The water was ICY cold, but the kids didn't seem to mind not going in for a swim and had lots of fun playing in the sand. Jordan was afraid of the waves and told me he needed Lars to protect him, but after awhile he got used to them and was almost as fearless as Isabella ;)
Lars arrived just before lunch and Christian just after, joining us for the prilgrim's walk in a nearby forest. I spent most of that walk helping Nina take care of the kids, but had time to enjoy the scenery as it was absolutely gorgeous. Jordan absolutely adores Lars and kept asking for him which was just sweet :)
Dinner that evening was the celebration of Morfar's birthday - great food and some really eloquent speeches, once again reminding me why I am so proud of my Morfar. He'll help anybody in need with no thought for any form of gain for himself. Among the guests were an ex-Buddist he'd met in India, a couple from church he'd been a big part of bringing to Christ and a lady from church he'd been showing a lot of support lately.
The evening devotional Saturday was probably the most powerful event of the entire weekend. At least it was the devotional I benefited the most from. Jordan and Miriam had been put to bed, but Isabella had been allowed to stay up until it finished. She immediately ran to Morfar (her great-grandfather) to sit on his lap. He ended up holding the entire devotional and meditation with her on his lap, and she never stirred or fidgeted. She just sat quietly with his arm around her, listening to what he had to say. She's only 4! I'm impressed.
For the meditation part of it Morfar asked Jakob to improvise something on the guitar to play. The theme was peace and carefreeness and the mixture of his playing and Isabella on Morfar's lap put me in the perfect mood for it. Absolutely amazing.
Isabella did NOT want to go to bed afterwards, but wanted to stay in church! I told her we'd be having another devotional the next morning, this time concentrating on the two love pearls. "This one is to remember that Jesus loves you, and that one is to remember the people you love. Who do you love, Isabella?" "Auntie Ma'ia" she answered. I just about melted ♥
I sat around talking a bit with Morten, Christian, Mum, Dad, Morfar, Michala and Norman (the ex-buddist) afterwards, but was pretty tired, so soon went to bed.
Sunday morning I woken up early and was lying listening to my audiobook when I received a text message from Nina asking me to come play with her and the kids. Don't have to twist my arm ;) Turned out she'd also woken Anne up by sending her a similar text, because immediately after Jordan woke up he'd asked "Play with Anne? Where's Anne? Play with Anne?" She didn't mind either ;)
The rest of the day was spent pretty much like Sunday with different devotionals and lots of good food. Isabella has cast all her love on Morfar and wanted to sit with him for lunch, and behaved exceptionally well :)
The weather was absolutely AMAZING (which was a good thing as we'd all have gone stir-crazy if it had rained) so a bunch of us just sat around on the deck and talked while Morfar read aloud to Isabella (one of the others took the sweetest photo of it. I'll have to get her to send it to me), the 'big boys' played soccer with Jordan and Norman treated me to a foot-rub :-D Doesn't get much better than that.
It had been a wonderfully relaxing weekend, so we were actually all rather reluctant to leave. Before they drove off, Isabella kept asking her mum when Uncle Lars and Auntie 'Ria would come visit and take them swimming (we've never done that before, so I don't know how she got that idea, but hey, whatever works ;) ), so I've taken a couple of days off work next month, and we've arranged to go there then. I'm looking forward to it already :)