Tuesday, October 7, 2014

2014 Retreat Recap

My GPS reset four times and, after dumping me in the middle of a cow pasture, informed me that I’d arrived at my destination. Not unlike the preceding six hours, I couldn’t help but ask myself again, “WHAT are you doing?!”

An adoptive mama of nearly 14 years, I’d run the gamut of emotions, but I was two years into our most recent adoption and the words of the weekend were disillusion, despair, and depression. (Did ya see what I did there with the alliteration? Totally unplanned.) I was OVER adoption conferences, starry-eyed families in process and paper bead necklaces. I’d just found out my agency director was in jail for fraud and my possibly fraudulently adopted child still treated me like the scum on the bottom of her shoe. I did not want to talk nice about adoption issues. I wanted an empty hotel room and strong drink. 

But. God. He has a way of delivering us out of the pit, doesn’t He?

When, to my knowledge, there were no more spots available, my friend was asked to speak, given a room to divide as she saw fit, and somehow decided that I needed to be in it. She told me, “You’re going,” paid, and signed me up (then sent me a text that said, “By the way, you owe me money.” Love you, friend.).

As I write this, I find myself asking why the Joy in the Journey retreat was so important to me. What it is that I learned from the conference. Does anything stand out besides the fact that I find myself telling people, “You’re going,” and the fact that it isn’t even a question whether I’ll go back? 
Well, I have highlights:

* The ice breakers: Introverts’ nightmare. I survived, but barely. Might I suggest offering an introverts corner where we huddle and whisper how these things are soul killers?

* Staying connected with your spouse: Hilarious. I’m not sure I learned anything, but the belly laughter did my soul good. And now my husband and I take frequent, guilt free, thirty-minute Sonic dates.

* Worship: Oh my goodness. “Oceans” still brings me to tears.

* Cupcakes: Bring ‘em back!

* Vendors: Went hoping to snag some Adopt Shoppe goodies. Found myself considering, and then following through upon, becoming a Compassionate Entrepreneur with Trades of Hope. Keeping first families together when the only thing stopping it is poverty? Sign me up. PURPOSE.

* Length: too short

* Food: excellent

* Coffee: kept her coming!

* Friends: potential life-long

* After hours: the best

But my true take-away?  That 24 hours restored my faith in humanity. And it made me head home rejuvenated and ready to tackle whatever came my way. Which is a good thing because the circumstances at home hadn’t changed.  Only my outlook.
I can’t wait to go back.

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