Thursday, May 31, 2012


I hosted a retreat for ministers' wives/women in ministry at our campground, Camp Jackson.  Since it was Mother's Day weekend (that was the only date available at the camp before summer camp starts), a lot of people were unable to come.  But, it was either have it then or not have one at all, so I decided to go ahead with it.  And I am SO glad I did.  It was a great weekend! 

We started out the first night with me sharing my testimony.  We all have a story, and I think it is so important to be transparent with one another.  We can all be encouraged by hearing each others struggles and ultimate victories.  Sometimes it is a hard thing to do when when there are painful things that you must "re-live" and it really a vulnerable place to be.  But, it is also so freeing and rewarding when someone tells you later how much they were helped by what you shared. 

After the first service, we had food, food, food!  Terry's former secretary, Shannon Brown, is now full-time at Camp Jackson working alongside Chris, her husband.  They are doing a fantastic job at the camp.  She and Melissa Tvedt (who so graciously volunteered to help her in the kitchen) prepared all the food, and did they ever spoil us! 

She made several kinds of cupcakes.  My favorite was one that was filled with a pineapple filling with cream cheese icing.  I lost count on how many I ate over the weekend!

Our new women leaders, Lori Hawkins and Tammy Waycaster, were scheduled to speak on Friday during the day.  Lori became sick and Tammy had a death in her church family, so neither were able to attend.  Aren't you thankful that nothing takes God by surprise?  I had asked Kay Enfinger to share on Friday night.  So, when I found out on Thursday Lori nor Tammy could come, I "frantically" called Kay.  She told me that she had just told her husband that morning that she didn't know how she was going to be able to share all God had given her in just one session, and she graciously agreed to speak another session.  God knew what was going to happen and had already provided!!

Jackie Drane led worship for us which was absolutely wonderful.  She has such a gentle sweet spirit, and it comes through in her singing.

Kay spoke on Friday morning as well as Friday night.  She talked about prayer.  It has totally changed my way of praying for people.  She talked about praying and speak blessings on the ones we are praying for rather than just asking God to do this or that for them.  God already knows what they need, anyway.  I have started doing that when praying for others and have already seen results in a short period of time!  She recommended a book called Blessing Your Spirit, authors Sylvia Gunter and Arthur Burke.  I plan to get the book for sure.  Thank you, Kay, for a great word from God.

After the morning session, we went outside for craft time.  Rachel, my daughter, came for the day.  We are both serious DIY'ers (do-it-yourselfers), so we had a little "DIY show".  We brought things we had made, did tutorials on how to make a few, and gave them all away as prizes afterwards.

I showed them a couple of vases I had made:

 And then everybody got to make their own.  I found that we have some other DIYer's in the making!!  They are very talented and serious about their work!!

Basically, all you do is take any kind of glass vase you want (the ones the ladies used I got at thrift stores.  They are just the kind the florist makes arrangements in).  Then, you pick what colors you want to use, usually two or three colors.  You put some of your main base color in the bottom of the vase, then add a few drops of another color and start slowly turning the vase.  As you go, keep adding color as you need to.  You have to be patient, because it takes a good while to can't rush it.  There's really no certain way to do it, just turn and twist it to make it look like you want it to.  After it's done, turn it upside down on newspaper for a few minutes to let the excess paint drain out, and then lay it on its side to completely dry.  Super easy and very pretty.

I also showed them this vase I made:

And Sonya and Rachel made their own twine vase:

For that vase, all you do is put some glue (we used Elmer's) on a portion of the vase (start at the bottom), let it get a little tacky and start wrapping your twine around it.  Keep adding glue as you go up the vase.  If you put too much on at a time, it will dry before you get to it. 

We had a great lunch of chicken salad on croissants that Shannon and Melissa made, fresh fruit, chips and all of the goodies we wanted from the snack tables (which were there all the time any time we wanted it, by the way!).

After lunch, we had a fashion show.  Our models were Rachel (my daughter), Annie (our girl's ministry director) and her friend, Kami.  They showed us how to change an outfit entirely using just one accessory, then they gave the accessories as prizes.

Sonya Wiley was the MC for the fashion show and did a great job!! 

After the fashion show, Annie and Rachel (both are hair stylists) did three makeovers.  Jackie, Melissa and Loni all volunteered, and they did an awesome job!!  They are both so talented and in my opinion the best hair stylists in the state of Tennessee!  This is the before picture of the ladies:

And the girls doing their "magic".

And, drum roll, the reveals!!

After the fashion show and makeovers, I talked a little bit about beauty.  We as women love beauty.  It is the way God designed us.  There's nothing wrong with wanting to be beautiful and doing everything we can to achieve that.  In fact, I think we should look our best because we represent Christ.  If I can cover it, camaflouge, color it, hide it, etc., I am ALL about it!  However, having said that, I also believe that at some point we have to accept ourselves the way God made us.  We are all fearfully and wonderfully made.  And the fact is that the only real beauty in any of us is what God makes in us.  Have you ever met someone and you thought they were so pretty, and then after you got to know them you didn't think they were attractive at all?  Or, have you met someone who actually might not be what we would call beautiful, but when you get to know them you you see them differently and they are beautiful?  That's because true beauty starts on the inside and emanates outward.  I think we have to find a balance in this area in our lives.  God made us all, and we are beautiful in His eyes!!

We had a banquet that night, and once again Shannon and Melissa wowed us with a great meal!

After our banquet, we had an evening service where Jackie led in worship and Kay spoke again.  The presence of God was so real, and we spent time praying with one another.  The Word says we are to "bear one another's burdens".  We were all blessed, but several people received a special touch from God.  It was one of my favorite times during the entire retreat.  There's nothing like the presence of God!!

Oh, I almost forgot.  We had the ladies bring jewelry and accessories they no longer used and had what we called the "Once Loved Boutique".  We even had some really cute clothes and some household items as well.  It was a big hit!  Nothing was over $5.00, and most things were $1.00 or $2.00.  We had announced in advance that all of the proceeds would go to a widow of one of our ministers.  We chose to bless Sis. Kelley since Bro. Kelley passed away most recently.  We were able to give her almost $150.00, but we didn't do it for the money...we just wanted her to know that she is not forgotten and is still just as much a part of us as she ever has been.    She and Bro. Kelley served in the ministry for many, many years.  Bro. Kelley was Terry's pastor when he gave his heart to the Lord when he was six years old.

On Saturday morning after breakfast, we had a question and answer time.  Kay Enfinger, Loni Dobbins and me were on the panel.  We had a basket that the ladies had put their questions in all weekend.  It actually was a great time of sharing for all of us.  We can all learn from other's experiences and ideas.  Some of the questions were quite challenging.  Sometimes there is no easy answer, and we can only rely on God to help us make the right decisions and choices.  We talked about issues that are pretty much exclusively what pastors and pastors' wives face, and I think it was reassuring to some to find out that others share the same challenges and that we are not alone in some of the things we face.

Unfortunately, some people had already left before we took this picture. 

I am so happy for all those who came.  It was a fun-filled weekend where we worshipped, ate, talked (a lot!) and got to know one another better. 

I also want to thank the many people who helped me put together the retreat...I could not have done it without them.  It was definitely a group effort.  I am so glad God has surrounded me with friends who are so eager to help me in any way.  Thank you all so much!!