AN AFTERNOON OF INSPIRATION
I recently spent an afternoon in one of my favorite art districts, downtown Flagstaff. I stopped off there on my way to a women's retreat last month. I visited my favorite galleries and shops, walked the quaint old streets, enjoyed the eclectic-ness of the architecture, merchandise, and people. I soaked up the rich textures and creativity around me. I took several photos, but I am not able to post them now. Poor planning; I'm in the valley and forgot to bring with me my camera from which to extract them.
I went to a wonderful Women's Retreat about two weeks ago. It was held at Lost Canyon, a Young Life camp in Williams, AZ. I became a Christian through Young Life and it holds a special place in my heart. The camp is beautiful and definitely not rustic. Boy, camp was NOT like this when I was in high school! The speaker was Diane Andrews, a pastor's wife, women's ministries leader, and retreat organizer/speaker. It was VERY good. She spoke about four women of the Bible: The Samaritan Woman, The Hemorrhaging Woman, and Mary and Martha. All the messages were good. They were simple and direct; I took away one important thing from each one. Diane used a lot of visual aids, videos, and music to complement her messages. The most impacting message for me was on the Hemorrhaging Woman...about how she has been known to us - and probably in her community - simply as the Hemorrhaging Woman. In her culture, she was unclean and untouchable, an outcast...for 12 years. Imagine her loneliness. Imagine her sense of self worth. Twelve years. Not only did Jesus heal her physically, He gave her a new "name"; He called her Daughter. What healing that must have brought to her soul. Diane brought a powerful visual aid project to accompany this message. It was a really good weekend. It was great to get away, see friends, share in a small group of open, honest women, and be met by God over the lessons.
Every time I travel I-40 to Williams, I see the Deer Farm and wish I could stop. When I drove past it on my way to the retreat I decidedly declared to myself, "I'm going to the Deer Farm on Sunday afternoon." And I did. It was a lot of fun. I was disappointed in the aesthetics of the place; it was, well, OK, I'll just say it. It was downright ugly. No grass. Nothing but dirt, rocks, fencing, and enclosures. The center area was open and that's where all the deer were. Despite the ugliness of the place, the deer were awesome. As soon as I entered the gate, they saw me coming with my cup of food and started making their way toward me. Soon I was crowded around by small Fallow Deer. I loved it. I'll write more later when I can post photos.
I went directly from the women's retreat to the valley for a few days. I was busy helping my brother with my Mom's estate. He has all the responsibility but no time. Time I have. I'm going down to help get whatever done that I can. While there I ended up going to two of my 12 year old niece's volleyball games. It was fun watching her play well and seeing her team win. I also was pleased to fix my brother's family dinner one night. They are so gracious and giving when I come down and stay with them. They always feed me, let me do laundry, and make me feel welcome and at home. I was glad to give a little back by fixing them my chicken chili which they all seem to like so much. I also got a good start on what help I can be regarding Mom's stuff.
While I was there, I was really busy. when I got home I realized I could have been even busier had I remembered some things I had really wanted to do but thought I wouldn't be able to get to town for. One was a free Ravi Zacharias speaking engagement. Ravi Z. is a Christian apologist, one who intellectually "defends" the Bible and Christianity. He is a wonderful speaker and teacher. I would have loved to hear and see him. The other event was a reception for the release of the book, Bo's Cafe, written by three church friends/pastors, John Lynch, Bill Thrall, and Bruce McNicol of Leadership Catalyst/True Faced. The book was pre-read by Wm. Paul Young, the author of The Shack. As I understand it, he liked it so much he not only endorsed it with these words on the front cover, "Bo's Cafe is a treasure for all of us who harbor a longing to be authentic," he also wanted to publish it at Windblown Media. I would have loved to attend this reception, to encourage the trio of authors as well as get to meet Paul Young. (I'm not sure if he goes by William, Bill, or Paul, but I've heard him referred to recently as Paul, so that's what I'm going with.)
We got our first snow around the 27th-28th of October, while I was gone. I missed seeing it come down but seeing it on the sides of the highway on the way back up brought a smile to both my face and heart. Though I hate driving in it, I really do love snow.
A DAY OF MAD CLEANING
I got home Thursday night. The house was still rather cluttered because, no, we still haven't gotten all the boxes unpacked and removed. But we were expecting friends up for the weekend and that's the best motivation for cleaning the house. I got a ton done on Friday, mostly moving boxes from the middle of the living room downstairs to every nook and cranny of our loft upstairs. I even UNPACKED a couple boxes AND put the contents away! Woohoo! It felt so good to have at least a semblance of my house back. I must have gone up and down the stairs about 40 times. I was whupped, but felt good in all ways.
FRIENDS UP FOR THE WEEKEND
Some good friends came up Friday night. I was pleased to have the dining room table cleared out from under all the photography stuff (and more) that had commandeered it for so long. It felt good to put candles on the table and sit down for a meal. We had a really nice weekend with our friends. It was beautiful outside but we never really even went out. We spent all our time engaged in wonderful conversations about dreams, the Bible, churches, ministry and ministry dreams, country dreams, Alaska dreams. We are beginning to dream together about something on our land in Alaska. We enjoyed sitting in the dark watching the fire and continuing our conversations. Saturday night we watched a movie. Sunday they came with us to the church we've been steadily visiting and we went to Mexican food afterwards. Mexican food after church: they just go together. (And yes, we ran into people we know in the restaurant. I do like that about a small town; you can count on running into friends and acquaintances around town on Sundays after church.)
BACK IN THE VALLEY
I'm back down in the valley for a couple days to see what I can get done to help my brother. Poor guy only has one day off a week in which to run his own business and try to be the executor of Mom's estate, which it turns out is a lot of work. I hope to accomplish some organizing, some phone calls, and getting necessary info to various people.
I hope to get back to blogging more regularly. I miss it.