Monday, April 8, 2013

Fort Rock Marriage Retreat

A few weeks ago, Jake and I were able to attend a marriage retreat. I have been trying to get caught up with everything blogging so this is behind, better late than never!

Last fall, we attended a Maxwell conference with our good friends the Witchers. (It was not the first one we had attended with them, in fact we met their family for the first time at a Maxwell conference in September of 2009. Back when we just had 3 kiddos and they only had 5, before we needed 12 passenger vans!) At the conference last fall, we were blessed to meet another new family, the Tims. Candyce sent me a sweet card a few months later letting me know she wanted to keep in touch. We had exchanged info but she had misplaced it and googled us! I'm doing good to remember my own name, let alone someone else's! She later sent a package in the mail for Arynn and I finally got around to calling her back. I do have good intentions, but I just can't seem to get it all done!
Stacy and Liberty, Candyce and Clara, Jess and Arynn
We kept in touch and she told me about a marriage retreat coming up in the spring. I told Jake about the retreat and passed the info along to Stacy. Jake begged for me to go, but I wouldn't commit because the retreat was too close to delivery day, especially since our babies like to come late. Then Stacy told me they were definitely going and Candyce was too, I couldn't miss out on a chance to hang out with these wonderful ladies, so we signed up! We prayed for an easy recovery and we ended up going with our 3 week old baby girl! No regrets we had a wonderful time!
Kent, Jake and Don
Jake and I were looking forward to spending the weekend together, but we were both more excited about spending time with our wonderful friends. We enjoy visiting and letting our kids play together, but sometimes it is difficult to carry on a conversation while keeping up with our little ones. We knew this would be one of the few times we would have the luxury of uninterrupted adult conversation!

A group shot 

Fort Rock is a family camp set up like a fort/town from the 1800s. They offer family camps (Lord willing, we will be attending in the summer) and marriage retreats. The speakers for this retreat were Dr. S. M. Davis and THE DUGGARS! I had purchased a DVD from the Maxwell conference from Dr. Davis on reverence, which I highly recommend and I was excited to be able to hear him in person. There were so many key points we wanted to remember, so during our retreat, we bought a collection of 150 of his messages. Jake has been enjoying listening to them on the commute to work and I have been listening to them at night before bed. There were multiple things he talked about that really hit home. Sometimes it's easy to get discouraged but we felt so uplifted after leaving this retreat. Not only is it helping our marriage, but a stronger marriage benefits our children.

Jake being the guinea pig.
There were lots of activities including a zip line, archery, tomahawks, rifle range and horseback riding. I used the "only 3 weeks postpartum" excuse for the zip line. But honestly I would not have attempted anyway! Jake was the first in our group to do the zip line, Kent and Stacy followed. Jake liked it so much he did it a second time. I feel like if the weather would have been better he would not have ever gotten tired of it!
My brave husband!

Arriving safely on the other side.
Couples were a team for some activities and they kept score at the rifle range, archery and tomahawks. The prize was a gift card to Olive Garden. Needless to say we didn't get a gift card. : -(   Jake says I have to put in a lot of practice before we go back in July!
Kent and Jake practicing.
Don and Candyce (she looked like a pro)

Jake getting some tips on how to throw the tomahawks. It is much harder than it looks!
Not sure how Jake managed this one.

The girls

The guys
Jake signed up to ride horses without me, but didn't get to go. At the end of the day, they asked if he wanted to help take the horses back to the barn. I got brave and decided to go with him. Stacy and Candyce were going to watch Arynn. I was on my horse for literally 1 minute and it did not want to listen very well. Jake told them if there was any question on whether or not I could control it, I needed to get a different horse. I decided I would rather stay and not get a new horse! When they returned, Jake said I made a good decision because I wouldn't have liked it.
Kent and Jake taking the horses back home.
Saturday evening Jim Bob and Michelle arrived. Before their speaking session we played a few games. I'm pretty sure Jake and I could have won the "newlywed game" if we were called. It was fun to watch the other couples' anwers. We also played a game where everyone stood up and as they called certain situations out, you would sit down if it applied to you. The last couple standing won the prize. Jake and I were pretty close to winning that one but he had to sit down on "if you have ever painted your wife's toenails!" I can't believe he admitted to doing it but he has done that for me almost every pregnancy! He's such a wonderful husband!
Michelle and Jim Bob playing the "newlywed game."
Our last pic before going home.
Thanks to Jamie for taking this picture!
We ended the night with a visit with the Duggars. They truly are precious people. I am working on speaking to my children in my "Michelle voice" but I need lots of practice. I admire their dedication to their family and God. It is refreshing to be able to speak to someone who knows what you are experiencing and has not only survived but their family has thrived. I pray God will grant us mercy and grace as He has for their sweet family. We ended up leaving that night and didn't get to finish out the last session on Sunday morning. We heard it was just as great as the others. The whole experience was wonderful and Jake and I feel so blessed to have been able to attend. You might also want to read about Stacy's and Candyce's experiences at Fort Rock.

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