Hmmmm. Where to begin. This past week we began a road trip that ended in Rome, Georgia. “For what?” you may ask. Why, for the most fabulous marriage/photography retreat of ALL TIME….EVER! dot dot dot…..dot.
Zach and Jody Gray are to photography what milk is to a cookie. They make it better. And you know what else? They let you leave crumbs at the bottom of their glass (Dana might have to go on a tangent to explain her metaphor here but just take it for what it is). Anyway, we encourage you to get acquainted with these two because not only are they amazing photographers but they’re downright good people who love God and have a crazy amazing ministry for married couples that started this past year.
We are so thankful to receive the blessings of this ministry first hand at this retreat. It is honestly so hard to sum up in words what we learned and how we grew but we’d love to tell you about it. No, f’real. Let us take you out for coffee and we’ll talk about it. Dana loves coffee and Nik loves to talk and/or vice versa. Ha! We really didn’t know what to expect (and don’t think many others did either as this was the inaugural CONNECT event), but even if we had solid expectations, it’s safe to say they would’ve been blown away anyways.
We stayed at the amazing Winshape retreat centre and were amazed at the beauty of the setting AND the people serving us there. Southern hospitality at it’s finest! A French architecturally-inspired dairy farm turned retreat centre. Yikes. Heaven.
We also got to meet some of the industry’s best. And not only meet them but develop deep meaningful friendships with them. They encouraged us to be better people, be more loving, and to put God, our marriage and our families first. ABOVE business. We love what we do, don’t get us wrong, but priorities friends, priorities. There were amazing attendees that we can now call lifelong friends as well. So many thanks to Katelyn James and her hilario hubby Michael, Jeff and Julia Woods, and Mike and Rachel Larson for organizing, speaking, and sharing their hearts out. So many good things. If you are in need of something like this check it out for next year here.
You know how you meet a new family or couple and things just click? It was kind of like that with every couple at CONNECT but by a factor of about 5. When you start with what our friends here at home referred to as “the most oddly specific conference of all time,” that is, a retreat for Christian married photographers who work together, you tend to have a lot in common with the other attendees and fast friends are easy to find. Example: our small group had five couples, and among other commonalities we all had at least one two-year old back home!
Another great thing about the retreat and Winshape is that the guest rooms are so well-thought out, they DON’T include TV’s, phones or internet! We were encouraged to set aside our modern conveniences (aka vices) and really commit to learning more about our new friends and each other. You know we love us some social media, but a break from the newsfeeds and tweets was SO welcome and refreshing!
Also amazing was the fact that although there were 40-something couples who love photography, the cameras were also put away for the majority of the week, save for a couple brief sessions…
Soooo…some photos that we took (and others took of us) on the beautiful campus. Gah! Lurrrrrve.
(photo creditDave Tree Photography
And this is what happens when you have a big umbrella, a gust of wind, and a dramatic gal:
But it’s worth it
Be still my heart, this man is for me?
And our new friends: