So yeah…I forgot my bible. Like I was sharing yesterday, although I was one of the organizers of the Womens’ Retreat, God really didn’t need me to make the weekend so fabulous.With my car completely loaded down with all the food, drinks and craft supplies, my sweet vehicle had a hard time making it around this corner which had been washed away by recent rains and on a pretty steep incline. I, personally, thought it was funny watching the group of gals trying to figure out how we were going to make it up this mountain. Zina is here placing rocks under my tires hoping it would give my wheels something to grab onto. It was a good thought, but I only ended up burning a few layers off my tires as they spun and spun in place. In the end, we unloaded the heavy coolers and packs of water and put them on the side of the road, which helped make the car less bottom heavy. I rolled back a few feet, gave it a little gas and up I went. We worried about the others traveling behind us. Would they be able to get up the mountain? No need to worry, everyone made it up without a problem.What was the house going to be like? We originally had plans to stay at a home in Gatlinburg, TN, but tragically, it burned down in the wildfire they had up there last year. Amazingly, this home, the Sabbath House, was perfect. Not only were the accommodations clean, roomy and had every comfort we needed, it also had a covered porch, which ran the length of the house. The main building was situated in the center with two wings of rooms on either side. All bedroom doors opened to the outside. Friday night and Saturday morning it rained. We were so thankful for this covered porch, in which we not only were able to stay dry coming and going, but when the sun came out, we soaked up the warm sun sitting in the rocking chairs. In fact we brought a table outside to enjoy our lunch on that beautiful day.After the morning session, we had lunch and an afternoon break. Ladies could go for a hike or stay in the porch and be First Responders , in case anyone on the hike needed emergency help. Fortunately for us all, the porch sitters got rest and sunshine and the hikers got a bit of exercise.Many took a nap or worked on a jigsaw puzzle. It doesn’t look like much here, but these gals were able to finish this puzzle by the time we said good-bye on Sunday.When everyone woke from their naps and returned from hiking, I invited anyone who wanted to to paint a canvas. This was another concern of mine, I realize that not everyone is crafty or even wants to be crafty, so offering this painting project seemed risky. I didn’t want anyone to be thinking “Ugh. What a waste of my time.” I promised a “No Fail ” project that even those who claimed to not have a creative bone in their body could do. And again, my worries were for not. I don’t think anyone felt pressure to sit there. And I actually believe that those who hadn’t painted before gained some confidence in their creative abilities. With painters tape, paint, a good old black Sharpie….a few easy tricks to get the scripture onto the canvas…Everyone went home with a beautiful piece of artwork. It was late afternoon, so big pots of coffee were brewed,  the junk food laid out in the tables…and we let the games begin, dice games,card games,and THE MOST FUN OF ALL…Heads Up!This is where our true personalities shone. (Amber, there in the front, is a fish waiting to be fed.😜)It was fun to see how the players would interpret each clue.We did discover that Judy’s technique of getting right up into the clue-giver’s face wasn’t always helpful. I guess she hoped that since she couldn’t say anything, that by getting closer she could send the answer mentally. Wayyy too funny!After dinner, we settled down for our evening session. Amber led us through scripture, then we broke off into small groups to talk and answer questions that had us draw on the scripture Amber presented. When we were in the planning stage, the four organizers didn’t really know how we were going to put the ladies into groups. We wanted a mix of age, life stages and yet have the comfort of being open and vulnerable to share. Not everyone would know each other before this weekend, how was this going to work?Sissy, that sweet thing on the right, suggested the simple idea of just counting off. Sure enough, we counted off, 1,2,3,…on and on. All the fours came upstairs to the loft with me.As God had planned all along, the right people ended up grouped together. What seemed like random counting turned out perfectly where mom’s who have adopted were put together and another group was comprised of an almost engaged, newly married and one married over 30 years. My group was so tender, open and encouraging. Sunday morning came way to fast. After breakfast, Zina wrapped up our weekend by reminding us how much God loves us. We broke bread and served one another the Lord’s Supper. Holding hands with our sweet new sisters, we sang the Doxology. 

What started as a whisper from God, ended with hugs between new friends.  He chose the women who would attend. He filled that house with love, tears and laughter. He refreshed and filled our spirits. All glory for this weekend goes to Him.

The next time a weekend like this comes up, just say yes.

Thanks for dropping by!

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