“God gave you a gift of 86, 400 seconds today. Have you used one to say ‘Thank you’”? (William Ward ) Lord, every single gift comes from You…“Lift my gaze to see life from Your perspective. Help me to understand-and treasure-every good thing You send…”(From James 1:7) My running list of His One Thousand Gifts http://www.aholyexperience.com/ to me:
952. It is mind boggling to me that God arranged such a loving gift for us and that we were one of the 8 families selected for this all expenses paid retreat here on Oak Island, N.C. It’s a very beautiful place! The beach area reminds me very much of family vacations camping in Rhode Island as a kid. The Little Pink Houses of Hope organization also has other beach retreats for families and singles throughout the year in North and South Carolina and Delaware –amazing, amazing, AMAZING. There are all sorts of activites planned for any families wanting to do them–all totally optional–they said they want the vacation to be custom fit to whatever each family needs: for some it’ll be just to rest and relax on their own for those who want that, or lots of group fun for those like our family who are thrilled about all the options available and plan to join in lots of the planned activities.
Last night there was a delicious catered meal with a fabulous chef cooking up our meals right in front of us. We each chose from a large selection of a pasta bar, along with salad, and cookies for dessert, My pasta was sauteed with red peppers, onions, mushrooms, broccoli, peas, and topped with marinara sauce. Nicholas and John enjoyed the chicken and shrimp in their pasta dishes, Hannah got her favorite: plain pasta with lots of olives and Joy really enjoyed her chicken pasta alfredo.
This morning we have group games on the beach (egg tossing and shaving cream are mentioned–HA), lunch of pizza and salad at a volunteer’s house.The 4 BR/2 Ba beach house (which is a cheery sunshiny yellow with two big porches) that we are staying at this week is exremely comfortable and absolutely wonderful in every possible way . It is well stocked in snacks, treats, and breakfast items especially selected to match our preferences and outstanding LPHOH group lunches and dinners are all provided for. I have decided to officially be off my diet this week –guilt-free–and resume it Oct 1st :)! My goal is to be back to my ideal goal weight range by the end of the year after packing on the pounds during cancer treatment. I still have a ways to go but I am thankful for the progress I am making losing weight and on my way to getting trim and fit with God’s help. This week I am taking a break: relaxing and enjoying everything, including the food.
There is a date night at a nice restaurant on Wednesday for couples while the kids are involved in other fun activities at the Rec Center. Afternoons are free times for exploring, relaxing, whatever. I so love being at the ocean and hope to do lots of walking on the beach. Last night after the group get-together the girls and I had a rip roaring time laughing and playing table games while John watched a movie and Nicholas did one of his favorite things: catch up on politics on TV. Today there is a top Bravo chef cooking contest finanilist giving us a cooking lesson and then making us dinner at the Country Club, Another evening will be an aquarium visit with dinner right there with the fishes (we’ll take a ferry over and our group will be the only ones at the aquarium at that time). We have an opportunity to learn stand-up paddleboarding and surfing–can’t wait! This week is full of adventures! They also offer golfing, kayaking, and fishing on a boat which will all be a blast. I am loving every part of this week! There is a family session with a professional photographer and fitness classes I am planning on too which will help offset the splurges. 🙂 Can you tell I’m REALLY excited about this week?! Yippeeeeeeee and hoooray for all the fun we are having!
Anyway, “WOW God, I can hardly believe You, dear Lord, have blessed our family in this way is all I gotta say! I am so grateful to Him and all the folks with the Little Pink Houses of Hope organization. What giving, beautiful hearts all these folks have: the LPHOH founder and volunteers, all the home owners who have donated their lovely vacation homes for the week to us families, all the activities and food and gift bags, a beyond my hopes and dreams brand of good times! The verse I am thinking of is that God brings joy from mourning and exchanges beauty for ashes.The gift of this week surely is “good measure, pressed down, and overflowing” from God’s Hand..
It has been such a challenging and difficult time battling breast cancer and yet He has blessed our socks off with His grace and help and mercy and love throughout every detail, including during the toughest of times and has even had unexpected gifts and surprises along the way like this week. I am feeling strong and fit and healthy now and am cancer-free as far as I know and so very grateful to be here with my dear husband, precious children, and some new friends, making incredible memories we will treasure the rest of our lives. Thank You, Father!
Wow, are we ever having FUN!!!!!!!