Since we had not been on a retreat for a few years, we were excitedly anticipating our trip to the Arbuckle Mountains and Echo Canyon Spa and Resort in Sulphur. We gathered at the church building prior to the scheduled departure time and what to our wondering eyes did appear, but Phyllis on time! We did NOT hold our applause. After a prayer led by a TBF elder, I took the lead like Rudolph in my red Tahoe and we made it all the way from Camelback to Plato before our first stop at “Roy’s.”
We were a bit early for our lunch reservation, so we ventured downtown and yes, found shopping. The Mix Mercantile was one store in particular which captivated our attention, as we boosted Sulphur’s economy. We arrived at Marsala’s Italian Restaurant where we had reserved a banquet room. By that time, we were all starving, wound up, and Jean was uncontrollably giddy. The service and abundant food was great with most ladies leaving with “to go” boxes.
We still had time to kill before check in, so we went to the Nature Center located at the Chickasaw National Recreation Area, formerly Platt National Park, where we watched a short film about the history of the park and looked at the exhibits on display. I again took the position as the lead vehicle, exiting the parking lot the wrong way in front of a park ranger. Of course, the others followed my lead. Pam must have been praying hard about that time because he did not pull us over despite meeting him as he legally exited the center’s parking lot.
Upon arriving at the resort, we were greeted by a young lady and given a tour of the houses, rooms and various amenities. Each room was as beautiful as the next, as we crowded in to ooh and ah over each of them. We had made plans to hike, shop or this and that, but after our tour-forget about it. We stayed and enjoyed our paradise-like surroundings.
Evening fast approached as we headed to the park for our cookout. Julie Miller made fire and we roasted hot dogs and introduced Jan Palovik to her very first s’more-hard to believe, but true.
Afterwards, we returned to the resort where some of us waited for the dinner guests to leave the dining room before heading to the great room in our pajamas, although some did not. We then played Julie Demerson’s version of “to tell the truth.” For your information, some things that happen on retreat, stay on retreat. One by one, and slowly fading, we each headed to our sleeping quarters.
Morning came and so did the delicious aroma from the downstairs kitchen. Our hosts reserved a portion of the dining room for us to eat and have church services, where we enjoyed breakfast of Blackberry Coffee Cake or Whole Grain Waffle, fruit, Scrambled Eggs or Frittata, turkey bacon, a biscuit and gravy, juices and coffee.
We next proceeded with prayer, songs of praise and our special guest speaker, (who doesn’t think she is a great speaker, but she is) Mimi Roberson. She addressed each woman individually telling them of their gifts, talents and attributes, some of which were unknown to them. On Saturday night, everyone was given a passage from the book of Luke to reflect upon and speak about Sunday morning. Even though they were given out randomly, some passages were particularly close to events and situations going on in some of their lives. The Spirit led message concluded and we proceeded to prayer and sharing time. Each woman offered their #1 personal prayer request which was closest to their heart. This is one of those “you would have to be there” moments and indescribable by words.
We then scattered like the wind with Amanda S. and Jean being taken to the hiking trail and left; some ladies returning home early; one taking a long nap anticipating returning to her three active children; and several heading back downtown to shop. Sadly, most stores were closed despite promising us they would be open on Sunday, but we found food (AGAIN) at the Artesian where we dined on chicken salad sandwiches and pie. I went and found Jean and Amanda where I left them; Julie Demerson paid us out; we vowed to the owner we would be back next year; gathered up the remaining chicks; said our goodbyes to the dogs who reside at the resort; and reluctantly headed back to Duncan and reality. 🙂
The Lord blessed us this trip in many ways with our trip being funded; watched over us as we traveled; those who went were supposed to be there; and our sweet time together. Later that week, He answered an important prayer request prayed for that beautiful Sunday morning.
1) We had so much fun being together, not one of us used the spa services.
2) A rock does not a white cat make, or does it Jean?