Last weekend I flew to southern California to lead worship for a District Ladies’ Retreat. I was thrilled to be part of those days with a dear friend, a few friends from the past and the new friends I made at retreat. The ladies who attended opened their hearts – and their arms – to me. I felt at home as soon as I arrived. The retreat was held in a lovely hotel that catered to our every need. The accommodations were wonderful and the staff was friendly and eager to care for us.
Retreat began on Friday evening and ended at noon on Sunday. The main speaker and the missionary speaker challenged us to walk close to God and reach out to others in need around the world. There were times of laugher and fun, prizes and gifts given, projects announced and explained and music. Music that drew us together and helped us celebrate our faith. And music that touched our hearts. We closed the retreat with a precious time of communion together.
During our free time on Saturday afternoon I finally had a chance to take my camera and wander a bit to enjoy our surroundings. There was so much I wanted to share with you but time went so quickly it just wasn’t possible to do more. Here is a brief look at the lovely place where we ‘retreated’ for a time – time to rest, reflect and be renewed before we returned home to face the joys and challenges of everyday life.
At the entrance – a familiar initial! Do you think it was there just for me? Or, perhaps for the name of the hotel that just happened to start with the same first letter as my name?
Near the main entrance -
Just off the main lobby – the gift shop!Throughout the hotel – in the hallways and in the nooks and crannies – beautiful antique pieces caught my eye. (There was no good way to get a great photo of this gorgeous piece. The lighting and angles were all wrong but I took a chance anyway!)
This darling piece was in the corner beside the first floor elevator – we were there several times a day and I admired it every time I saw it.
Near the front entrance -
On Saturday evening we had a fantastic dinner by the pool. The setting was perfect and the food was wonderful. The menu was carefully chosen for us: crisp, green salad; chicken cordon bleu; herbed mashed potatoes; roasted fresh vegetable mix followed by carrot cake! During the afternoon break I discovered that the tables were set and ready for our arrival. (See the gals at the rail above? They were retreat gals just outside our meeting room.)
Early each morning I enjoyed sitting in the courtyard just outside the lobby. The morning sun was perfect and it was the right place to sit to see the retreat gals as they walked through the courtyard for the breakfast buffet at the restaurant on the other side. It was also a great place to sit most any time of day – a good place to visit, play games, read or spend time in quiet study.
After dark it became an enchanted place to enjoy the cool of the evening.
And the pool was beautiful at night. What a transformation from earlier in the evening during dinner!
This was a lovely place to get away and retreat – a place where everything we needed was provided. No dishes, no laundry, no cooking, no housework. Just time with other ladies of like faith. To share, to encourage each other, to sing and learn and worship our God. The time we spent together is a precious memory – one that will stay in my heart forever. I will always hold dear the friendships renewed and the new friendships begun. It was what I needed – just what my Heavenly Father had planned for me. Even before I knew!