I have completed a 4 day scrapbook marathon this weekend ….and in some ways, I feel like I ran a “marathon”…(not that I ever have run a marathon but let me explain). In order to go to a scrapbooking retreat, one must prepare for the retreat to make it be productive…..you need to gather supplies, get your pictures printed out, have a plan of attack and get all your stuff and gear packed for the trip. In prepping for a marathon (or a long bike trip like I have done – 185 miles one way from the Twin Cities to Village Creek Bible Camp, Lansing, IA – see www.bike2camp.com for more details), one must train…stretch out your body, gather your supplies (water, shoes, iPod & helmet) start out with small training runs/or rides (7-12 miles biking for me) and then work up to long rides (25-40 miles in one day). The preparation can be grueling for both….especially when you work full time and need to finish your work prior to leaving town ….the proverbial work so you can leave the office for a couple days in order to return to an email box that is full. 🙂 Like any vacation—there is always prep work so that when you get to the vacation…you are really tired and need a rest. Once on a ‘vacation’ or a scrapbooking retreat in my case, you work your fingers off to complete the task ahead—finish that scrapbook project that you have on the table before you. You work into the wee hours of the morning and are tired the next day…yet you have a sense of accomplishment in the pages of the book that are filling up in front of you. At this particular scrapbook retreat since it is held at Village Creek, there is also a time of reflection of what God has done or is doing in your life and sharing that with the women at the retreat. So once I leave the retreat…..not only am I tired from being up late but I feel emotionally spent. The 4 days were a triumph over the hours spent on completing the task yet also the tears that were spent rejoicing and weeping with my sisters in Christ in how God has moved in the past 10 years this retreat has been going on wore me out. The verses that came to my mind over the weekend…..”But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:13,14). I needed to leave my work behind and complete my scrapbooking goal but God was also working on me to leave some personal things behind and press on to becoming more like Him. Through all the sweat, tears and lack of sleep…..I survived the scrapbook marathon.