This week is just not starting off how I expected it to!
Without getting into it too much, I’ve overslept on my alarms, missed my scheduled study times, been a tag along for random errands and to-dos with Scott (having only one car problems) which all turns into an incredibly short workday as a result.
It really bothers me when I don’t get to post in the mornings. Or fit in my study time at night. Here’s hoping tomorrow is the start of getting back to a normal schedule again!
Anyways, the negativity stops there and that will be the end of my ranting because I have something very special to share with you today.
Thank you for being patient for this weekend recap I’ve been promising you!
Out of My Comfort Zone, Onto SMASH
Scott and I have been attending Kensington Church as much as we can since we’ve moved up here about a year and a half ago. We tried out a few churches and the different campuses of Kensington is where we have felt the most at home.
A couple of months ago, I saw a flyer for Smash 48, a women’s only weekend retreat in our service pamphlet. I thought something like that would be fun to do, but actually pursuing my thoughts on events like this rarely ever happens.
I can’t tell you how many times I have thought “it would be so great” for me to get involved in something and build a community with the people around me, then stopped there. Since moving up to Michigan and out of our comfort zones, Scott and I have made excuse after excuse on why we couldn’t participate in this or join that. We usually blame it in our inconsistent schedules (which is partly true), or something else that now sounds pretty lame.
I have to thank my best friend Alex for convincing me to finally put myself out there and sign up for something. I did it! I chose SMASH, and before I knew it, we were packed up and ready to make the 2.5 hour drive up north to SpringHill Camps for the weekend.
Smash 48 – 2014
Alex, Liz, and I arrived at the campgrounds around 6 p.m. on Friday, which was just enough time to check in, drop our stuff in our cabin, and eat dinner before our first group session in the auditorium.
During check-in, we were able to sign up for our desired activities and felt grateful for reserving spots in our top choices of horseback riding and zip lining. Fun right?
Happy with our decisions, we drove over to our cabin area and found our 48-hour home in The Hood.
That’s right. We be livin’ in The Hood, ya’ll.
Somehow, we got hooked up with the nicer of the cabin selections and found that out when we saw the personal shower stalls and bathrooms inside. I have to admit though, that I was also pretty excited about sleeping on the top of a bunk bed again.
I hadn’t done that since my girl scout days! Naturally, I was the one who brought an entire sheet and blanket set instead of just your standard one-step sleeping bag. I’m kind of embarrassing.
After quickly unpacking, we headed over to the dining area and were pleasantly surprised with some of the camp food dinner options.
We hurried over to the main auditorium for our first of four sessions. Each of them mirrored Kensington church services and included worship music, an inspirational speaker, and a message that makes you think.
Since the retreat was for women-only, we took advantage of it and had a blast with our camp emcee, Michelle, who taught us there’s nothing wrong with “shaking our rump shakers” for Jesus.
She also hosted a series of fun games and skits throughout the weekend, including this hilarious visual of the many hats women wear.
My personal favorites were the exercise queen who had to repeatedly say “I’m gonna look good!” then lick her finger and sizzle her booty, and the supermom who dressed in a batman mask and always conveniently always had time to play dress up with her kids.
After each session, we returned to our cabin to discuss the message in cabin huddles. The first one was held right outside the auditorium, where we found the rest of our group in The Hood.
To get to know each other, we gathered in a circle, grabbed four M&M’s and each had to answer questions if we had that specific color of prompting. It was a great icebreaker activity!
After the session, we went back to our cabin and spent the night broken up into groups to discuss embracing the here and now.
For only going into the weekend knowing two people, I felt unusually comfortable and open in our conversations. We had a great group of women in our living quarters, and I am excited to see where my friendships with them go in the future!
After a couple of hours of laughing, crying, and diving into cookies and milk, we wrapped our discussion up and turned in for a busy Saturday ahead.
Staying true to any camp environment, our day started at sunrise with numerous activities. Liz (pictured above right) chose to catch a 6:30 a.m. yoga class while Alex (pictured above center) and I went for a run around the campgrounds.
We only ended up running for a half an hour, in fear of getting lost and missing breakfast while having to wander around in the cold. In just that short amount of time, we saw a lot of beautiful scenery including a farm house, activity stations, and even other unique cabins like teepees!
In a rush, we hurried back to the cabin, showered, and made our way to breakfast before our second session.
Just like the first one, our time in the auditorium got me emotional.
All of the speakers were incredible and had such great – even if they were sad – stories to share. As we wrapped up our morning session, we got into another cabin huddle (which turned into another cry fest, obviously), and went onto our respective days of scheduled activities.
Before we got outdoors, Liz and I attended a workshop indoors titled What I Learned in my Twenties. I couldn’t have agreed with what was discussed more, which included an overall notion that reliving the decade would not be anything close to ideal. Living in your twenties is supposed to be confusing!
The last thing we did indoors was huddle around the campfire for afternoon coffee and hot chocolate.
I really could spend hours doing something as simple as sitting in front of a fire with a warm beverage, and that’s not even an exaggeration.
Something about the fire crackles and ambiance of being inside a wood cabin is so calming!
We had a very busy rest of the afternoon that included anything but boring activities.
First up was horseback riding, which was the first time Liz had ever done it!
Alex had ridden before, and I won the experience award by having gone a handful of times. Even so, I was probably the most nervous. My experiences on a horse haven’t been the best, so I was just hoping for a slow, scenic ride around the campgrounds without any scares or hiccups.
I was assigned to a horse named Utah, who seemed to be calm and friendly towards the other horses.
Our ride was easy and turned out just as painless as I had hoped it to be!
Next on the agenda was an ever-thrilling flying through the sky activity, also known as zip lining. This one was a first for both Alex and Liz, and brought me back to the time I went with Scott on our honeymoon.
Even though I had been before, I was just as nervous as the other two. The beautiful sights from the top of the platform did a great job of calming us… for a minute.
This one, however, was a little scarier since we had to decide how we were going to jump off the top ourselves. All three of us just decided to run for it and jump off!
It was exhilarating!
After our activities, we had just enough time to wash up for dinner, then get to another session.
Once again, I was pleasantly surprised of the choices on our menu. This time around we found the gluten free options!
Session Three hit home for me and was all about embracing the role you never wanted. I was going to touch on some thoughts I brought home about each one, but I think I’ll save that for later and focus on those topics for specific posts down the road. Each one truly was powerful.
Once again, we left our session and went back to our cabins for a group huddle. This one was quick since we had a dance to get to!
Before getting to the camp, all we were told is that there was going to be a dance and to bring your old prom and bridesmaids dresses for it. Since I am pretty darn close to the girl who starred in 27 Dresses, I brought my full collection for girls to have their pick of dresses to chose from.
We didn’t, however, get the memo that this was going to be a tacky prom. Man! Had I have known, I would have made a trip to Salvation Army and come up with a smashing throwback outfit.
Lucky for us, our cabin mom, Pam, hooked us up with all the costume jewelery we could ever ask for!
We almost didn’t even go to Prom. The majority of us just wanted to stay in our sweats and talk the night away by the campfires. Looking back, I’m so, so glad we decided to just go for it.
We all looked ridiculous, and it was the most fabulous feeling ever.
The gymnasium was the epitome of a high school dance, decorated in balloons, set up with several photo-opp stations, and plenty of finger food snacks to go around.
We had an absolute blast making fools of ourselves dancing to the music, and I even ran into a friend of mine, Stephanie!
As if I didn’t feel dorky enough, I sent this photo to Scott and got the following response:
It’s funny because all I really did to it was put it in a ridiculously high pony to represent my favorite 80s hairstyle. The curls were already there, my friends.
We left the dance full of punch and giggles, and I’m sure we would have spent the next several hours having pow wows and girl talk if it weren’t for some tired, lights-out seeking cabin mates.
Sunday started early with breakfast and our final session. I have to admit that I was a little sad walking up to this one, knowing it would be the last.
This time, the discussion was led by the wife of our Senior Pastor, Anne, and she had us in tears within minutes. There’s just something about being in that kind of environment with a room full of women that sets off your emotions and fully consumes you. It’s almost impossible to explain.
Her sermon was about embracing your role as an influence and closed her stories with an amazing visual of light.
Each of us was given a lantern, which we went onto light and fill the room with fire. We sang songs together and were told to hold up our lanterns and be the light people need to receive in their lives.
It was all such a cool and wonderful experience.
As our fourth and final session came to a close, we took our final photos and exchanged contact information in order to keep in touch. For being around each other for just a short amount of time, we all formed such a close and personal bond in The Hood!
I wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to write this post, because looking back and thinking about everything I experienced over the weekend is almost overwhelming. But I say overwhelming in the best way possible.
I learned so much about myself and others, and know this is just the beginning of embarking of a new journey with the women of our church and community. I am so very thankful I attended the retreat and have to close this post by thanking each and every woman that made my weekend one I will never forget. You all know who you are!
As I sit here at home writing this, I feel more inspired, enlightened, and empowered than ever. I can’t wait to share more about the discussions with you, and I really hope you enjoy reading them when that time comes around.
Thank you for joining me in recapping such a wonderful experience. (And, I’m totally linking it up with Katie!)
See you all back in the morning!