Doesn’t it always seem that, upon returning FROM a retreat weekend – one needs a retreat week to recover?
That is how I feel this week after returning Saturday night from a three day conference in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania on the beautiful mountainous campus of Baptist Bible College. The LYFE Conference is celebrating 30 years of women’s retreats that have raised thousands of dollars for scholarship aid assisting young women in their pursuit of Biblical studies for the purpose of ministerial careers. Click HERE to learn more!
Meanwhile – grab a cup of tea and I’ll tell you all about it. Today I think I’ll brew up some Raspberry herbal tea and serve it in my Aynsley demitasse teal blue cup and saucer with a spray of floral inside, and a sweet scrolly gold rimmed handle – so very dainty!
It matches perfectly with the conference colors of teal and deep red noted here on the conference program notebook.
This was my first LYFE – Live Your Faith Everyday – Conference with the theme: Impressions – A Flawed Woman Loved by a Flawless God.
I almost didn’t go. It was all a last minute gift from the Lord as a dear friend found she was unable to go and offered me her spot – all paid for.
Once again, overwhelmed by a generous gift, I wondered what the Lord had in store for me. I so wanted to go – and NEEDED to get away after such a turbulent year – but thought it impossible.
So, with my husband’s blessings and bags packed – we hit the road – a total of six of us from church – Adrienne – our Group Leader who has been going for a few years now, Beth, Denise, Cathy, and April. It would be a weekend jam packed with dynamic Bible teaching sessions and workshops.
I packed my special Retreat Journal – the one I reserve for retreats only – and a trifold wallet of scrapbooking supplies since I like to take my notes with a bit of color and flair. Perfect for ruminating upon over tea after the fact . . .
We stayed at the Nichol’s Village Hotel and Spa – and were given rooms two doors down from the Garden Spa!
My roomie, Denise, and I – made decisive plans on THAT score! Hotels are synonymous with hot tubs in my lexicon!
The conference is organized by the professorial and administrative staff of BBC – and they do a fantastic job! About 1000 women from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York – and other northeast states – gathered to praise the Lord and learn more of His marvelous ways! From beginning to end – details like the artistic stage settings that made me think of my Shabby Chic French Blogland friends . . .
To the scheduling details – this was a polished, professional production with all the bells and whistles!
But first, some laughter! Our opening session on Thursday evening was actually comedy entertainment with 321 IMPROV – a super talented trio of young men who had us all in stitches with hilarious charades and audience inspired improvisational routines.
They rounded out their performance with a signature praise, identifying themselves as “3 Christian guys brought 2-gether to give glory to the 1 who is King of kings and Lord of lords – Jesus Christ.”
Hotel, hot tub, and staying up with the girls til after 1:00am with junk food (of which I did NOT partake) and good conversation (of which I overdosed!). And, YES – a cup of camomile tea before retiring . . .
Morning breakfast – with 1000 women – challenging, to say the least. Delicious and strengthening for our opening session where we met keynote speaker, writer and historical fiction novelist, Liz Curtis Higgs.
OH! Love this lady! What a jolly bit of Jesus she shared with us in three sessions over the course of the weekend. Liz is best known for her bestseller, Bad Girls of the Bible, where she gives in-depth character studies of Biblical heroines.
I found her study of Leah – Jacob’s forlorn first wife – she who was unloved next to the more to be desired, Rachel – fascinating!
It was the study of Leah that inspired Liz to draft her four book epic historical fiction series beginning with Thorn in My Heart – which I read years ago. Set in the Scottish lowlands – of course I read it!!
I had to pick up her new travel-log of Scotland – vicariously taking the trip with Liz, enjoying her non-fiction detailed accounts of this beautiful and ancient country.
I also picked up her two part book series – newly released – where the story of Ruth is transplanted to 18th century Scotland. Love it! Please, do visit Liz online HERE to learn more about her well researched and affecting works – both fiction and non-fiction! AND – be sure to add her to your Blog List HERE!
All the workshop and session speakers were wonderful! I enjoyed Amy Hannah in the de-cluttering and priority organizing workshop.
Yes – I’ve been in a fuzz of late and needed the inspiration to get some re-organizing going on in heart and home! Amy suggested keeping track of how I spend my time on a chart marked off for every thirty minutes. I shall have to be sure to have a good balance of teatimes represented on this chart. Tea brings all things into balance – don’t you think?
The dramatic delivery of Joanna Arp and inductive study tips on the 23 Psalm by Peggy Walker were favorites – next to Sherry Holloway’s excellent teaching on Jesus’ healing of the blindman in John 9. Ironically, I found notetaking for a story about a blind man to be rather visual on paper . . .
Plenty of time for growing together and ministry within our tight group of six. The Lord really ministered to each of us and it was such a joy to share our lives and struggles together with love and encouragement.
The campus was beautiful – set in the scenic mountains – as the gals point out here . . .
The most notable building on campus was the very first building dating to the 1920’s. It was like stepping back in time walking into the great rotunda.
Beth stands amazed, gazing up at the high ceiling just outside the library doors.
Within the library, gasps were heard all around. How could my camera capture the grandeur of such a place! Feebly, I gave it the old college try . . .
Cathy got caught up in an oversized Bible on a stand just outside a small room boasting vintage photographs of former graduating classes from the early to mid 20th century.
This is where we came the second day to have our group photo taken – the one at the outset of the post with the picture frames. However, while waiting for our turn, we had a bit of candid camera fun, too!
Friday night was banquet night.
We dressed up for the occasion and had to drive about 30 minutes to the banquet hall where 1000 women were seated for a fanciful dinner.
The tables were preset with our salad – and dessert! Here’s one of the yummies . . .
But, I’m afraid my triple layer cake just couldn’t wait for the picture before being scarfed up!
Likewise, the delicious dinner of chicken piccata and sole florentine – barely paused long enough between bites to pose for this shot!
Hotel, hot tub, and bed this time – we were zonked! But, not too zonked that another nighty-night cup of camomile wouldn’t be amiss . . .
Saturday sessions and conversations allowed more molding of our hearts as the Holy Spirit ministered to each of us in a unique way. Then, it was time to say farewell until next year and begin our three hour drive back home.
To be sure, you can expect another post on the LYFE Conference next year around this time, as I hope to attend again – the Lord willing.
Too much joy and gladness to tuck away this week as I meditate on God in His Flawless Goodness – who loves such a flawed woman like me . . .
Tea and Meditations – a perfect combination – and a most generous gift from the Lord.
Sharing Tea and Meditations this week with: