A Weekend Indulging With Life And Friendship

Indulging With Life And Friendship

When you are among true friends, you can totally be yourself…

Twelve friends and their families indulged on a weekend of sharing the realities of life at the scenic side of East Texas called Sam Rayburn. It was more than just a weekend getaway from the stressful, fast-paced demanding city lifestyle. It was a weekend of indulging in love, laughter, friendship, adventure, reality check and even the outpouring of emotion and tears as we shared our stories of life, struggles and the price of pursuing our dreams. It was a weekend of soul-searching and healing. It was a weekend of gaining back some of the happy and beautiful memories we had forgotten.

Being alone in darkness with everything around you just dead silent is a scary experience but when you’re among family and friends, you can face your fears with courage and bravery.

A few of our friends left Houston late Friday afternoon and arrived at the camp site around 10 p.m. freaking out after being lost for an hour without a phone signal on a dark, unpopulated dirt road. It was too remote for the cellphone to pick up any signal and the address can not be located via the car’s navigation system. We took a huge sigh of relief when we received a text that they finally arrived safely.

The other group including my family arrived Saturday afternoon. We were all excited and anxious to see the place. The countryside landscape was a refreshing vision of endless greens. After nibbling for some late lunch, we all headed to see the serene waters of Sam Rayburn dam. The kids were jumping and running all over the place. Their laughter filled the normally quiet surroundings. My son was so happy as he threw small rocks into the tranquil waters. He and the other kids were playing “who can throw the farthest rock.” Their faces glowed with joy and excitement. I was glowing myself just seeing how happy they were.

The sunset was unforgettable. The sky looked like it was on fire. It was amazing how it spread across the darkening skies just on top of the pines trees. From a distance, the trees looked like they were burning. The image reminded me of what love’s passion looks like when expressed deeply and sincerely. I bet all the couples and lovebirds were thinking the same thing as we watched the last hint of the Sun’s presence. I looked at my wife and smiled. I felt so blessed to have her by my side.

Fire across the Texan sky…

Everyone had a great time indulging on a wide choice of deliciously grilled food over a hot topic of  “what makes you happy?” As the wine starts working its wonders and the mask of inhibition fell off, the topic sizzled to “what excites you?” questions that led to a lot of funny and hilarious answers. Sometimes the answers were getting intensely emotional and I could feel my face burning. I was sure that it wasn’t from the heat coming from the fire place. But one thing beautiful when you’re among true friends is that you can simply be yourself. You can express anger, frustrations, fear, loneliness, of love and longings with total freedom and acceptance. Before we call it a night, a few already cried as they shared their stories of joy and pain. It was liberating to open up and release all that suppressed emotions and feelings that were building up throughout the years. That night, everyone went to bed knowing that they were not alone. They knew in their hearts that no matter what happens, they now have someone to face the battles and challenges of life. Such an amazing, priceless gift that friends can give to each other.

My wife woke me up around 08:00 A.M. I was still sleepy but everyone already woke up and were preparing for breakfast. As I opened the curtains, I was breathless of how beautiful the view was. I felt gratitude for having the chance to be in such a place among the company of people I cared about.

After breakfast we went to the lake park. It was a perfect day to enjoy nature and all that it has to offer. The weather was cool, the sun shining brightly and the laughter of friendship sounded so comforting. I heard my son calling me, “throw me the frisbee dad, throw me the frisbee.” I let go of the frisbee up towards the sky. I felt my heart leap as I watched my son and his friends ran towards it.

The hardest part after having a weekend of fun, happiness and great memories is going home. I told my friend on the way back to Houston, ” I kind of feel sad that all these has to end. It’s depressing.” My wife agreed and so did my friend. Two months from now, we are all planning to have another weekend of out-of-town as a group. Perhaps somewhere close to the beach. I can’t wait for our next adventure.

What is that one unforgettable weekend with your friends and family? What makes you happy? Whatever it is, I bet it makes you smile too every time you think about it. Have a beautiful day to all. Thank you for indulging with me. I hope you enjoyed my version of the Weekly Photo Challenge called “Indulge.”

About Island Traveler

A devoted husband and father who tries to make a positive difference in the lives of his family and friends. A person who finds inspiration and strength on those he loves and who loved him in all aspects of his life.
This entry was posted in Life, photography, Travels, Weekly Photo Challenge and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

107 Responses to A Weekend Indulging With Life And Friendship

  1. As a WordPress photographer, I love seeing posts like these! Great job!

    Like

    • I tried my best to capture the moment and the image of the place but in reality the true beauty was being there at the very moment of the event. I can’t even describe how amazing the colors of the sky was during the setting of the sun and how its reflection glittered on the still lake waters…I appreciate the encouraging words. Thank you.

      Like

  2. Your pictures are amazing. Such vivid colors. Sounds like the perfect weekend

    Like

  3. Frank Bishop says:

    Somebody is kicking up the photographs a few notches, mmhmmm.

    Also, the worst part of the weekend is Sunday night when you realize tomorrow is Monday, aahhh curses! Foiled again by the calendar!

    Like

    • That is right. What can be worse than realizing that the fun and relaxing time is over and we are back to the stress and demands of our job. Oh, well nothing last forever. The great news is, a few more days from now and it’s Friday all over again. Yipee!

      Like

  4. Freedomborn says:

    Thank you island traveler, beautiful Photography, I feel the beauty in those photos and appreciate your kindness in sharing them.

    Your Statement ….But one thing beautiful when you’re among true friends is that you can simply be yourself. You can express anger, frustrations, fear, loneliness, of love and longings with total freedom and acceptance.

    This is how we are to be in The Body of Christ, we are family we are one, to sum up we need to be real! our emotions are a gift from God how we express them may not always be but always we are to have Love and acceptance of others.

    Thank you again and Christian Love

    Like

    • Thank you my friend. Such Christian love flowing generously, sincerely. I appreciate the beautiful comment. It’s a wonderful thing to open you comment section and just read page after page of words that build faith, hope , love and inspiration. This is one reason that no matter how busy my days can get, I try to update my blog and respond to each blogger friend. God bless and your family.

      Like

  5. siggiofmaine says:

    WoW…gorgeous photos and dialogue. Thank you for sharing the weekend in photos and words.
    Peace,
    Siggi in Downeast Maine

    Like

    • Hi, Siggi. Thank you for sharing a positive comment. It was a weekend that all of us deserve to have every now and then. Friends and family are so important in our journey in life. Thank you. Stay blessed.

      Like

  6. likeitiz says:

    What a great way to get away, deconstruct, regroup, search your soul again, and then come out fresh and ready to go at it again! What a privilege! What a great indulgence. All of us should and need to do this every now and then, more often even. It’s food for the spirit! It enriches the soul.

    Like

    • I think we all should. We need a support group that helps us go back on our feet. We need an outlet to enrich our soul and the healing it badly needs. I told myself that weekend, I should have done this more often long time ago. Take care my friend and God bless….

      Like

  7. eof737 says:

    You definitely had an indulgent weekend and the photos are stunning… That Texan sky fire reminded me of an aurora borealis Awesome! :-)

    Like

  8. Judy says:

    What gorgeous photos! You were blessed to have such a glorious sunset for one night, weren’t you? I love those lake shots and the children! I treasure the time my whole family went to Florida last summer….we live all across the country and it was hard getting schedules to mesh…but to all be together made it the “perfect trip”. All we could talk about afterward was: when is our next trip. ;) Great post!

    Like

    • Thank you for sharing such a generous, fun, enjoyable comment. This made me smile, “but to all be together made it the “perfect trip”.We all have to face the travel challenges but in the end, being around our families and friends makes it all worth it.

      Like

  9. Sonel says:

    Oh wow! Awesome photo’s and I can see you all had an unforgettable weekend! Yes, it’s great to spend time like that with people you love and care about. Thank you for sharing your lovely thoughts and gorgeous captures with us. It feels as if I was there with you all. What a beautiful place that is. :)

    Like

    • It was beautiful place but because of the people I was with, it was even made more special. Thus the inspiration behind the event….I felt lucky just to be there and having to witness it all. There are things in this life that no money can’t buy and only can be filled with family and friends. Thank you …

      Like

  10. barb19 says:

    What a wonderfully indulgent weekend you all had. Your photos say it all – happy kids and beautiful places to enjoy with each other.

    Like

    • Happy kids plus beautiful places equals a parent so joyful he had to hold back a tear….this are what priceless and treasured memories are made of. Thank you and have a wonderful day my friend.

      Like

  11. Jenny says:

    I love your perspective always in these photo challenges! And your photos!

    Like

    • Thank you. Just like you, I find happiness and meaning when I share the stories of my family. To me, an photo is just a door of a beautiful story ahead. The emotions and feelings that goes behind each story are the ones that captures our hearts…

      Like

  12. The Guat says:

    I LOVE the last picture…the one with the three boys running. Totally awesome, takes me back to indulging in childhood. Good photos ;)

    Like

    • I love the photo too. It reminded me of my two best friends in elementary and high school. I saw myself as a little boy with all the fun in the world through my son and his friends. I feel blessed that I have him in my life.Thank you.

      Like

  13. Looks like you had a well-deserved, spectacular breakaway IS!!!! You bought back beautiful photos!!! It is always special to be reminded of the friends you have who are there for you!!! Looking forward to your next story!!! :) **

    Like

    • Thank you. After hearing all their stories that night, I felt that I was no longer alone and that we all share a similar path….some are easier than others but nevertheless we all have to pass through it…I appreciate the comment a lot. Have a wonderful day.

      Like

    • Thank you. One of the blessings in life are friends that stick with you no matter what. This post is dedicated to them…

      Like

  14. Gilly Gee says:

    It seems very special you romantic soul :-)

    Like

  15. nelson RN says:

    Thanks for sharing this story of your weekend trip! So cool!
    And those pictures… perfect! The sky colors are amazing!

    Like

  16. fgassette says:

    What a beautiful way to indulge. Love the colors.

    BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!

    Like

  17. Great photos. Your indulgent weekend took me back to when we used to go camping frequently through the summer months…and often times with friends. Good times to cherish. ~~Bliss

    Like

    • Camping and other events with friends almost always bring good times to cherish. On a cold, lonely day, simply remembering those days brings out a smile in all of us…Thanks.

      Like

  18. munchow says:

    Seems like you and your friends had a very nice weekend. Sometimes we just need to have some time away from our usual business – even if it will eventually end, too. As always your photographs are beautiful. What would be an unforgettable weekend for me? Any activities I may do together with my friends and love ones.

    Like

    • I couldn’t agree more when you said, “What would be an unforgettable weekend for me? Any activities I may do together with my friends and love ones.” With them around, no matter how simple the place is or the event itself, it will always end up memorable with so much laughter and joy….love can can brighten any day. Thanks for sharing my friend…

      Like

  19. thirdhandart says:

    Great post! Relaxing with friends and family, while surrounded by the beauty of nature, is a wonderful thing to indulge in. Beautiful photos!

    Like

  20. Kate Kresse says:

    What a blessed, glorious, gorgeous, grace-filled weekend you all had. Your post made me smile and filled me with joy. Loved the gorgeous photos, too.

    Like

    • Thank you. It was a weekend of joy and inspiration…I guess it’s hard to hide a blessing and the happiness that we feel. I just wish to share them so others may find joy to. We are after all a community that seeks to nurture each other….

      Like

  21. wolke205 says:

    Wonderful post & photos! I adore your way of writing :) Take care, hugs.

    Like

  22. Northern Narratives says:

    Wonderful photos and great words. I don’t know why it is so much fun to throw rocks into the water, I still like to do that :)

    Like

    • It’s liberating event. For a moment we forget our adult worries and just focus in throwing a rock/pebble and sometimes we get lucky an it gets to bounce on the water surface before it plunges down the water. Have a great day.

      Like

  23. “Like” your post about indulgence? Are you kidding? This is the best post I’ve read in a very lng time. I loved it…I’m having a slumpy week so far and the photo of your Texas sunset is putting me in my place…life isn’t meant to be so difficult, eh? Keep up the wonderful work. I look forward to finding out what the new theme is on Friday, and what you will do with it!

    Like

    • I couldn’t agree more when your wrote, “life isn’t meant to be so difficult, eh? ” Life can be fun, simple, happy, even blissful if we allow it to be. We just tend to complicate with things that we don’t really. A lot of times the answers to happiness is right before our eyes. As for the Texan sunset…never fails to amaze me. Thank you.

      Like

  24. Here are some other Texas artists for you to be in good company with…take care, Kate

    http://attendanceplease.wordpress.com/2012/02/06/surviving-desolation-two-artists/

    Like

    • Thank you Kate. I appreciate the generous and thoughtful gesture. I’m a proud and honored to be a part of Texas where the skies seems to be brilliant and beautiful, even dramatic for most of the times.

      Like

  25. What a wonderful place and what a wonderful experience you shared with your dear friends. I do believe the saying that our friends are the family that we choose :)

    Like

    • I believe this too, “I do believe the saying that our friends are the family that we choose.” Friends fills in the love and void when our family is too far from reach. They keep us smiling even through the darkest storm. Thank you.

      Like

  26. Special moments like these are treasures you store in your memory
    bank for when there are hard times. You pull them out and know that
    life can be beautiful perhaps not at that moment but soon enough.
    You are truly blessed to have those who care about you ever present
    to create those memories.
    Lovely photo’s of a special moment in your life.
    Blessings,
    Isadora
    http://insidethemindofisadora.wordpress.com/2012/02/28/wordpress-challenge-indulge/

    Like

    • Thank you my friend. Sometimes I can’t help but be thankful of the people in my life. I may not be materially rich but I’m rich with family and friends…in the end , that’s all that matters.Take care my friend.

      Like

  27. What a fantastic experience for you to be safe in a circle of family and friends, especially in a natural setting. Those are the best times, when we’re all connected to the natural world. Those are the times that have meant the most to me and my family, too. Your pictures are divine – such a wonderful place to gather!

    Like

    • As I get older, I become more appreciative of the value of friends and family. Without them, I would have long broke into pieces or at least my heart during my times of trials. Thanks for sharing. I wish you all the best.

      Like

  28. cocomino says:

    How fascinating and relaxing weekends. I’m completely indulged your happy days. Have a great day.

    Like

  29. Fergiemoto says:

    Looks like a beautiful place to indulge! People need relaxing getaways like this to recharge.

    Like

  30. Elyse says:

    Beautiful, as always, IT. Just beautiful.

    Like

  31. You sound just like me,; I never want to go back home when I spend time with family and friends, lol!

    Like

  32. jeanne says:

    Our family has enjoyed many wonderful days on Lake Sam Rayburn…so glad you discovered another great Texas treasure!

    Like

    • If not for my friend’s birthday celebration and her insistence to visit the place, I wouldn’t have known this treasure of a place. It’s a bit far from my place but it’s all worth it….Texas’ landscape never fails to impress and surprise me. Always amazing. Thank you and wishing you all the best. Have you been to the Rodeo yet? I’m thinking of going next week. We’ve been going there for the past 3 years. My son loves it!

      Like

      • jeanne says:

        Not sure if we will make it this year. My husbands arm is going to be in a brace for a couple of months and that’s alot of people to be around… But I do always enjoy going to the livestock show. The art exhibit and the fancy rabbits are my favorite. Be Blessed!

        Like

      • Sorry to hear about your husband . I pray for his speedy and smooth recovery. I love the rabbits too and the hatching eggs. God bless you and your family.

        Like

  33. ristinw says:

    Beautiful photos as always! Love family gathering, too. @u@ Let the love flows throughout eternity.

    Like

  34. Cafe23 says:

    Your words and photos are beautiful as always. I’m so happy for you and your family that you got to have this opportunity to see your loved ones. It must have been really hard coming back, but it looks like you will always have these fond memories to hold on to and cherish :)
    Family makes me happy too. After all of our differences and struggles, we are just happy being in each other’s company now and i love that feeling of peace and of being “at home.”

    Like

    • I agree 100% when you said, “Family makes me happy too. After all of our differences and struggles, we are just happy being in each other’s company now and i love that feeling of peace and of being “at home.” Nothing can replace the home we grew up with and the memories of growing up in love and support for each other. In a way, I’m hoping to recreate that similar home with my own family now so that one day, my son would have a similar joyful memories and events like his old dad….Thank you and take care…

      Like

  35. mj monaghan says:

    I could just look at your pics for hours. They are gorgeous. And then you top them off with such great writing as well. Nicely done, my friend.

    Like

  36. dadirri7 says:

    this looks like the most amazing rewarding and nurturing weekend, thanks for sharing!!

    Like

    • It was. We all needed it. It’s never easy to live your homeland and everyone you are familiar with. It’s also never easy to follow the so called American Dream. The material blessing can never compensate for the loneliness and isolation. We were still lucky that somehow, we found each other in Houston. A sense of community and friendship is very important. Once we have it, we should try our best to nurture that friendship. family and friends are vital to our happiness…Thank you for sharing….

      Like

  37. Sony Fugaban says:

    You’re one fast photographer for catching the frisbee in the air at perfect time …

    The post made me feel depressed, bro. Don’t get me wrong — the way you delivered the this post will sure feel the same especially for someone like me whose long time friends are kind of disconnected for quite a time already. It’s been seven or eight years since I and my “high school” friends were reunited. I can so relate to that feeling of being completely who you are with real friends — which is no different from being with my wife. I know how talkative I am when I’m interacting with them but that’s far from the truth when I’m with my officemates and college friends. I can be loud but not as loud as when I’m with the people whom I’ve known since high school. We just can get along so well. Add to that this somewhat unfair, for lack of a better term, treatment to my other friends. These real friends are the only ones who can make me drink.

    See, that’s how intense the friendship is. I miss them now badly. I wish I could pick each of them later to satisfy this longing … That means, getting to the Middle East, USA and Canada. How’s that possible. I’m just happy like to the highest degree when I’m with them, like when I’m with my wife for a weekend getaway.

    It’s funny how the people who can make us most happy are also the ones who can make us feel worst — like this depression you just injected to me now. Bro, that’s a compliment because through your heartfelt words written beautifully. I wouldn’t have seized the tone of this post if you didn’t do best in delivering it.

    God bless you and your family.

    Like

    • I was throwing the frisbee in one hand and clicking the iPhone camera on the other….I was lucky that it captured the moment….plus I have a very optimistic , happy group of subjects….ha ha, ha…

      Like

  38. Sony Fugaban says:

    You’re one fast photographer for catching the frisbee in the air at perfect time …

    The post made me feel depressed, bro. Don’t get me wrong — the way you delivered the this post will sure feel the same especially for someone like me whose long time friends are kind of disconnected for quite a time already. It’s been seven or eight years since I and my “high school” friends were reunited. I can so relate to that feeling of being completely who you are with real friends — which is no different from being with my wife. I know how talkative I am when I’m interacting with them but that’s far from the truth when I’m with my officemates and college friends. I can be loud but not as loud as when I’m with the people whom I’ve known since high school. We just can get along so well. Add to that this somewhat unfair, for lack of a better term, treatment to my other friends. These real friends are the only ones who can make me drink.

    See, that’s how intense the friendship is. I miss them now badly. I wish I could pick each of them later to satisfy this longing … That means, getting to the Middle East, USA and Canada. How’s that possible? I’m just happy like to the highest degree when I’m with them, like when I’m with my wife for a weekend getaway.

    It’s funny how the people who can make us most happy are also the ones who can make us feel worst — like this depression you just injected to me now. Bro, that’s a compliment because through your heartfelt words written beautifully, I wouldn’t have seized the point of this post. You did best at delivering it.

    God bless you and your family.

    Like

    • Bro, I was lucky enough to meet a few classmates and schoolmates in Houston and after that we make it a point to find time to reconnect but a lot of my others good friends are also somewhere in the U.S., Europe , the Philippines and the Middle East. It is sad in a way because we were given an opportunity to bond with them, share unforgettable happy events only to separate because of the dream for a better life. A life which is not all roses by the way. I remember a reunion in CHicago of my nursing buddies several years ago, it was one of my happiest memories here in the U.S. For a few days, I felt I was home, among the company of friends that you could laugh in all abandonment. It was a priceless event that I will never forget. Perhaps one day, we can all be reunited with our true friends…there’s always hope of better days to come. God bless you Bro and your beautiful family…

      Like

  39. My Last Pen says:

    Oh my GOD!…,
    My exaggerated reaction…
    Those photos made me remember my youthful days…
    Great post…

    https://mylastpen.wordpress.com

    Like

    • The youth that we had once is always a beautiful, comforting past that brings a sense of being home , of being just happy without the worries in the world. Somehow in our adult years, we try to reconnect to that past…and I believe we need to. Getting old and facing life’s real hardships can wear us down…going back to this memories keeps us smiling and hopeful. Thank you.

      Like

  40. jhirzel88 says:

    In the summer of 2005, I went to a campsite in southern Ohio, and I met this neighbor next to our tent that my parents became good friends with. They invited us to come visit with them on the way back home. They lived somewhere in between my house and the camp, and since it was convenient, we stopped by. I met a new friend to hang out with, and we even played UNO together while we were at the camp.

    There was lots of swimming, mini-karts, and other activities to do at the camp. We had lots of fun! Really!

    Like

    • That is such a wonderful story. Some real friend we met by chance through our trip and travels.I’m happy for you. Life does have a lot of beautiful surprises. Thank you.

      Like

  41. Gracie says:

    Beautiful images, so full of life. Enjoyed them all. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

  42. Freedomborn says:

    Beautiful Photography island traveler, I feel the beauty in those photos and appreciate your kindness in sharing them, thank you.

    Your Statement ….But one thing beautiful when you’re among true friends is that you can simply be yourself. You can express anger, frustrations, fear, loneliness, of love and longings with total freedom and acceptance.

    This is how we are to be in The Body of Christ, we are family we are one, to sum up we need to be real! our emotions are a gift from God how we express them may not always be but always we are to have Love and acceptance of others.

    Thank you again and Christian Love Anne and Ron sends his blessings

    Like

  43. Tammy says:

    What a fun weekend for you and your family and your friends. Cherish the memories – they are gifts from God.

    Like

  44. Pingback: Sunday Post: Landscape | this man's journey

  45. onchieonch says:

    The place was perfect for photography especially the shots near the waters. I consider these shots as a proof that if we put our heart to taking pictures, the results can express a thousand emotions just by looking at it. Thanks for making me realize that it is never too late to share moments with my family. :)

    Like

    • Thanks for sharing and yes, it’s never too late to catch up and make amazing memories with your family. I just use my iPhone and my camera plus application. Not even high tech but I think when we’re around people we care about, the event is always beautiful and the camera only captures what it sees through the eyes of the photographer.I wish I can freeze , rewind and watch this moments all over again in my mind.

      Like

  46. pix & kardz says:

    This sounds like a very wonderful getaway. What a glorious sunset you encountered!
     
    I enjoy travel and yet the best part of travel is spending time with family and/or friends. The scenery is but a bonus. It looks like you encountered something similar. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

    • Your comment made me smile. It feels good to share a similar thnking with someone. As you said, the presence of our love ones makes the moment special, even unforgettable, and the landscape, a bonus to a beautiful event. Thanks you.

      Like

  47. Sunshine says:

    Happy to be included in your indulgent weekend . . . beautiful images with perfect words. Thank you again.

    Like

  48. dearrosie says:

    Your weekend sounds marvelous.
    I love the lines
    <i." that night, everyone went to bed knowing that they were not alone…"

    Your photos of the sunsets are spectacular.

    Like

  49. orples says:

    These photos are awesome. I loved the one with the disk in the sky and the suns rays chiming in,over the trees. And of course, the pink and orange skies serving as a background for the silhouetted trees are breathtaking. I imagine actually having been there, to capture the shots, really was a phenomenal experience. Nice share! :)

    Like

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