It's a five hour drive to the small town environs I love to visit. The rural drive, though long, is so beautiful. I chatted on the phone with a close friend on the drive down on Friday, and she was headed off to a retreat. In hearing her talk about what she hoped her weekend would be like, I thought to myself, I need to schedule a retreat. On the drive home on Monday, I realized that I had been on a retreat this weekend as well. Skeptical, are you? Let me explain.
I typically stay with Angie (whose blog you should follow here), her husband Kurt, and their three little ones. It was fortunate that we visited Sacred Grounds for coffee with our other good friend Rachael and her girls on Saturday morning. Our remaining plans for the weekend got derailed when Angie's two-year-old started throwing up. And kept throwing up. Frequently.
The poor girl had to have thrown up 14 or 16 times in less than 24 hours. She was so much more patient than I would have been in similar (miserable) circumstances. And so, no one (except the blissfully ignorant, adorable baby) got much sleep on Saturday night, and the weekend 'o fun was spent much more quietly.
blow eggs out with syringes and nostril suckers for the kiddos to decorate with their friends at "Gym and Art".
I also stayed Sunday night with my good friends Ken and Emily, who recently moved back to Wisconsin from the Twin Cities. I enjoyed the distinction of being among their first guests, although it was more fun to see the farm and simply catch up with them.
Visiting all of these friends was so life-giving, and we didn't really do anything special. Or do much at all. That's what made it the best weekend I've had (maybe with the exception of family hockey weekend in Sioux Falls last month) in a really long time. Driving home, I was as rejuvenated as I would have been if I would have attended a spiritual retreat. I don't mean that as a knock against spiritual retreats; I spend a significant part of my job explaining to Confirmation candidates why they are fantastic.
I just think we are blessed if we are given people to be the presence of God for us. That's what these friends are for me. I've heard people talk about "Thin Places", a place they've been where they are closer to God than anywhere else. For me, whenever I am in the company of these friends, I experience a "Thin Place". It's less tied to where I am than who I am with. And that's why this weekend was not just a vacation, but a true retreat.
I did get a little vacation-y on my way home, though. On an impulse, I decided to stop at one of the many Wisconsin cheese shops and bring home some treats:
I always think of Rachael when I see cheese curds because she taught me about "squeaky cheese". I gave up alcohol for Lent and am looking forward to enjoying a glass of wine on Easter; I thought I'd remember the people whose presence is a "Thin Place" for me by buying a bottle to open on Easter. The beer was an impulse buy at an impulse stop. Ken and Emily had Spotted Cow at their wedding reception, but I didn't like beer at the time. I think it's time to try it! Emily also sent me home with the venison sausage from their deer hunting season. Jealous? Invite me to a party before someone else does! Oh, and the seasoned cheese just looked tasty.
Week 4 Weigh-In Results
Last week's cumulative total: -10.5 lbs
This week's total: -2.0 lbs
Total weight loss: -12.5 lbs
Honestly, after last week, I was so worried about today's weigh-in and having to write about it, I was tempted to lie if I had stayed the same or gone up again. Don't worry, I wouldn't have. (At least, I don't think I would have...)
On the drive home from Wisconsin, I started to mentally tick through my "To Do List" and think about all that was left for me to do when I got home. In pondering all of this, I had a mini epiphany. (I'm quite certain you are wiser than me, and that this will seem quite self-explanatory to you.)
It's clear that I need to work on discipline in many (all) areas of my life - health, finances, time management, etc. Lately, I've been overwhelmed by all the faults I recognize in myself. Then, I began to think about how I tackle any other undertaking, whether it's my tasks at work, cleaning my house or getting ready to host one of my "epic events of mini proportions". Invariably, in these situations:
- I focus on one task or area at a time, unless it is necessary to shift my focus.
- If I run across something that is not a part of the current focus, I move it to a pile of related items or write it on a to do list for later, unless it is necessary to address it immediately.
- I don't worry if tasks or areas outside of my focus are untidy, as long as they are not in the way. I'll get to them soon enough.
- When I start trying to multi-task, I get overwhelmed and I freeze. Things grind to a halt until I regain focus on one area. So, I prioritize and start moving forward again.
The organization of my calendar and tasks is helping me to discern what commitments I need to give up, and I'm not sure I'm happy about what I'm starting to realize. There will likely be more about that in future posts. In the meantime, here is my nifty weight chart for the week. The line is moving back up!