Sunday, January 24, 2010

no. 14: family retreat

we haven't forgotten about you, we promise. in many ways, this past week was sort of a blur. we started classes & it has been a bit of a struggle to get used to our new schedules. i know we will adapt, though. we always do. but before classes & luckily for us, we spent our last two days of break nestled in a cabin with luke's family... a sort of family tradition & my first time to attend...

it is such a joy to be a part of luke's family. their traditions are so special & i hope we adopt some of the same traditions into our own family. during our two days, we played games, we discussed the past year, we set a few goals for 2010, & we simply enjoyed eachother's company.

we also made a friend, "sandy" whom david proudly named.

most of all, we were reminded to be thankful for days like those that remind us of the truth & beauty in living.


The Freeman family retreat has been an annual tradition for quite a while now. It serves as a time for my family to take the time to talk about what has happened in the past year and set goals for the coming. I remember how it felt like torture having to sit still in a room with my siblings and talk about our goals for the new year. I couldn't wait until we'd take a break and play games together. But I've learned to really appreciate that time of intentional reflection and goal-setting.

This year was Natalie's first year to be a part of the Freeman family retreat. I think it's been my favorite year yet. We stayed in a roomy cabin outside Lebanon, Mo. with a warm fireplace and a view of a foggy river. Natalie and I woke up early one morning to explore the land around the cabin and take photos. It was beautiful. When we woke, the land was shrouded in a thick fog. And as the sun rose, it illuminated the morning fog, turning the landscape golden.

We played board games with my family, watched Food Inc. followed by a breakfast discussion, played capture the flag until it got too dark to see, took personality inventories, shared memories of the past year, talked about what is coming up in 2010, and ate great food. We had a blast. It was so good to be with my family again.

I remember last years' family retreat and how I told my family that I was planning on proposing to Natalie. We even went shopping for engagement rings in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. It's incredible that she's a part of the family now--and it feels so natural. My parents and siblings have done a great job of opening their arms to Natalie.

Being intentional about reflection and goal-setting is definitely something I want to carry on in the family Natalie and I are creating. It is so easy for the years to run together, for life to go on without it feeling like it is going anywhere. But by taking the time to talk about the past year and share memories, I realized how much happened and how many goals we actually accomplished in the past year. It helps to divide life into smaller, more digestible chunks, each with their own memories and aspirations.

- Luke


  1. OMG, my future husband. Those photos of David are adorable. Also, the mistiness of the entire set is beautiful.

  2. Also, "Food Inc." is really great.

  3. I LOVE the first one of David! So amazing. He is looking older & more like Luke! : )

    so glad you guys got to spend this beautiful time with the freemans, freemans! <3

  4. what a good looking family! no wonder Natalie fits right in. ; )
    I love the third to last photo - beautiful!
    sounds like a really lovely family tradition.