Leaving on a Jet Plane

So maybe it’s more like a crop duster than a jet but this morning, I’m flying out to Oklahoma to teach a retreat to a darlin’ bunch of girls from Grace Church of NW Arkansas. (They are on the border of Arkansas/Oklahoma hence all the state-hopping.)

I wanted to tell you more leading up but I’m just flat out of time so I’ll try to share some pics when I get back. I covet your prayers. First that the Lord would cleanse my heart and my prone-to-wander mouth. But mostly I pray for these girls. None of us ever goes on a journey such as this without expecting to hear a specific word from God. Satan has long tried to keep me focused on my own abilities (or lack thereof) guaranteeing a roller coaster of emotions on my part if I feel I didn’t say the right thing. (It normally comes in the form of calling myself all manner of idiot when I’m done.) BUT, God has done a hard-fought, transforming work to bring me to a place of full confidence in HIS ability to use stammering lips coupled with His Word to change hearts. So, if I ramble, may it be in scripture and not stupidity. And, Dear Jesus, above all may you be glorified and may we all be changed. (Hi Grace Girls! Aren’t you so glad you’ve asked me to come? :)

Okay, gotta run. Thank you so much for your encouragement and support. I love you all, Homies and Non-Homies alike. :)

Retreat Part Deux

Y’all.

I had this whole stinkin‘ post typed out and blogger ate it. I’m so upset right now but I’m going to soldier through it again. You can be thankful because I’ll most likely leave out at least half the words in my aggravation of having to do a repeat.

You’re welcome.

I think I began the other post by explaining how, after a weekend of teaching, I am so sick of my own voice that I try my best not to speak much for a couple of days. With that said, other than suggesting to the children they may want to keep the noise level to a healthy roar on teacher in service Monday, I’ve been relishing the quiet and enjoying all the not talking.

A few of you have asked questions about the logistics of our retreat. I’ll try to give you some info and finish a recap in a handy, dandy list format:

1. We began our retreats in our current church four years ago with less than twenty women attending. We rented a cabin at, where else, Eagles Ridge and conducted our Bible study in the great room. We cooked one common meal in the kitchen but mostly ate in restaurants together for the others.

This year we took close to 90 women which is huge for my teeny tiny town. I hear the size of our Exodus was a hot topic of conversation at the grocery store and gas station. Since our group has grown so, we are now renting 6 large cabins and have moved our Bible study to the facility club house. Because we obviously can’t eat out together, we decided to offer meals as part of the program. My wonderful mom-in-law Frankie, my precious friend Kaye, and my bff forever Kelly provided the catering. They not only agreed to do our event, but actually enjoy cooking. Can you even imagine? Thanks again to all three of you. Your joyful act of service took our fellowship to an entirely new level.

Don’t y’all love their matching aprons?

2. We have four study sessions beginning Friday night. We then meet Saturday morning, Saturday night, and Sunday morning. {Don’t start raggin‘ on me about the Sunday thing. I’m very conflicted about it but as it is, there is a two day weekend minimum stay and if we don’t use it we lose it. It being one day a year, the stewardship issue, and our own Sunday morning worship teamed with the blessing of the pastor dictate we stay until Sunday – at least for now.} We have our meal first, then worship in song, followed by the teaching segment.

Saturday is a free day between morning and night sessions in which most girls go shopping. I normally head towards Five Oaks Outlet Mall. However, this year the wonderful, darlin‘ girls in our group took up a love collection and gave Jenny (worship leader) and me a trip to Gatlinburg Day Spa. I’ve never been in my life until Valentine’s Day and now twice in two months! What?! It’s hard to say which spa I enjoyed more but let me tell you, the heated massage table at GDS is an extravagance I never dreamed existed. I didn’t think I would be able to drag myself off it.

I have to tell you I was incredibly overwhelmed while sitting in the quiet room overlooking the beautiful mountains. All I could think was, “Who am I that God would allow such a flaky, unqualified girl to first presume to teach His Word and then orchestrate a back rub afterward?” It was more than I could take in. We are some spoiled rotten women in the west and I never want to take such pampering for granted. I am humbled, I do not deserve this outlandish grace, but I gratefully receive it in the love it was given. Girls, thank you, thank you, thank you!

3. Saturday night’s session was followed by an after party in which we were entertained by the lyrical stylings of Brooke and Kim aka The Queens of Karaoke. I can’t even do it justice so you should really go here and check out the performance on your own.

4. I was so pumped that my sister, Christi, was able to come along with me. Her hubby just took his first pastorate so we are officially sister PW’s!

You have to know mine and Christi’s relationship to understand that we love each other through sarcasm, i.e., if she makes fun of me then I know that’s a compliment – I think. She told me something I said Sunday morning that is probably the most theologically thought-provoking thing I’ve ever uttered. She tells it better than I ever could here. By the way, y’all really have to read her blog, Just Curious. She is funnier on accident than I’ve ever hoped to be on purpose.

5. The Gang’s all here! Or most of it anyway. This picture makes me smile really, really big. There were women on the retreat ranging from ages 12 through 79. There is no other name but Jesus by which such a diverse group can have such commonality! I love each and every one of you and can not wait til next year!

P.S. I lied about the words.

P.S.S. Spectacular Sins will resume next Monday. Mine and Missy’s brains are fried.

Treat and ReTreat

Where do I even begin?

Our church has just concluded our annual retreat and I lack sufficient words to tell you the spiritual refreshment I feel in spite of my physical exhaustion. I feel a multi-post recap coming on so I’ll begin at the beginning.

We traveled to Pigeon Forge, TN and stayed at Eagles Ridge Resorts. Y’all, I have to take a moment to give a shout out to this place. Eagles Ridge is a cabin community located in the heart of everything fun you could possibly want to do during a getaway. We took almost 90 women so we rented multiple cabins and used the facility clubhouse for our meals and bible study sessions. I have stayed here many, many times for different retreats/family vacations, etc. and every experience has been fantastic. Josh is one of the managers and has taken excellent care of our group once again. I’m telling you, if you are looking for a retreat center in the Southeast, you would do well to inquire here. Tell Josh I sent you. :)

Anyway, we went to Pigeon Forge Thursday night and when we got up Friday decided to fore go shopping for something a little more memorable – snow tubing at Ober Gatlinburg!!

Oh my word, my tail still hurts!

You can see the slopes here. I currently only have one photo of the entire day (because I’m waiting to steal everyone else’s who watched and took our pictures) but maybe you can tell by the goofy look on my face that it was just a little bit exhilarating to fly down a huge slope with nothing but a piece of plastic between your rear end and certain doom. Even my hair had a great time.

Just a little word of caution from an anonymous source: If you are bladder challenged then extra protection may be in order.

My girls are hysterically, wonderfully full of awesomeness.

There’s more to say, more to tell, more things NOT to tell {Who am I kidding? I’m a blabber mouth!} but for now I am going to go play with my kiddos who are out of school today. I’ll be back when all the pictures start popping up online.

I mostly want to tell all you girls who attended how much I adored spending this time with you. I LOVE you all…no ‘buts’ about it. :)

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