A Thankful Heart

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well…
Matthew 6:33

We have just returned from our annual Fall spa week and we are all overflowing with thankfulness to God for His bountiful blessings to all who attended. Every October we meet at Round Top Retreat Center for a week of learning what it means to live a life of balance. This year’s theme was The Amazing Race and we had 36 who attended for the entire week and five weekend participants. Our participants came from 16 different states and four from Canada.

Our memory verse for the week was Hebrews 12:1, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

Our Bible study for the week came from the brand new Renewing Hope study that will be available December, 2007. This year we gave pedometers to all who attended and encouraged each participant to try to walk 10,000 steps each day during our week together. At least ten accomplished this goal while others participated in aerobics, Pilates, strength training and flexibility classes. This year we had bicycles to ride which we all enjoyed.

We met in small groups during our time together and our small groups participated in our own “Amazing Race” on Wednesday afternoon. Team members participated in events like jumping rope, kicking a soccer ball, bobbing for apples and unscrambling our memory verse.

Saturday morning was a time for excursions around the area. Some went to the annual Scarecrow Festival in Chappell Hill while others went to the Antique Rose Emporium or antiquing in Brenham.

On Saturday night we enjoyed a hamburger cookout in the barn. Sunday morning’s worship service was on the patio of the Inn House with beautiful praise and worship and a message from retreat owner, Nick Goad.

Round Top Retreat is a beautiful Christian retreat center nestled at the edge of the Texas hill country. The retreat is full of rose gardens and trails for walking. There are rocking chairs on all of the porches which invite participants to get to know each other.

We enjoyed the most beautiful, delicious meals with healthy desserts each day and at the end of the week our group had lost a total of 135 1/2 pounds.

We are most thankful that one of our ladies accepted Christ during our week together. I believe the most amazing part of the week was the fact that several of our participants had gone on the internet and “Googled” spa and our week came up. One lady had Googled “ Jesus help me” and our week came up. One lady from Iowa who attended has six children, ages 7 months to 12 years old. Her husband signed her up and took a week’s vacation to keep their children so she could come. Some attended not knowing anything about First Place, but each one left knowing that God had ordained the week for them. Isn’ t our God good?

If you begin saving $13 each week you can join us next year. Lives are changed forever during this week. You can check out the pictures at http://www.firstplacephotos.phanfare.com/.

Next year’ s spa week will be held October 9-16, 2008. If you come, you will be thankful you did.

Carole Lewis
First Place National Director

Carole was a member of the original First Place group that began in 1981, and became the national director of the program in 1987.

When Carole attended the First Place orientation in March of 1981, she eagerly anticipated what God might want to do in her life. She had recently seen an old friend that looked great and who reminded her that they were soon approaching 40 years old. Carole determined she did not want to be “fat and 40.” She joined First Place and soon lost 20 pounds. Learning how to bring balance to her life, she became a First Place leader to motivate others to achieve this goal.

Carole is a popular speaker and author of the books, Choosing to Change, First Place, Today Is the First Day, Back on Track and Begin Again. Carole regularly leads Conferences, FOCUS Weeks, Workshops and seminars across the country in the areas of personal balance, fitness, encouragement and temperament analysis. Her audiences know her as warm, honest and humorous.    

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