Saturday, October 4, 2008

California Dreaming

Hi Friends, thanks for praying for my recent retreat in California. The night before I left, the power went out in my neighborhood, from dinner until about one or two am. I had to pack by candlelight, worry that my alarm clock wouldn't work, and make peace with the fact that I couldn't go online to check-in for my early morning flight.

I made it to the airport and all my flights were smooth and on time. The weather there was absolutely gorgeous, and I was repeatedly told how rare it was for it to be so clear with such great visibility. And most importantly, the women came with hearts open to hear what God would say to them.

They took really great care of me too. My first day they took me sightseeing in San Francisco. We went down to the piers and took a boat tour of the bay and Alcatraz. Doyleyn and Peggy were fun to hang with. Then I needed to find an Internet connection to send out the next batch of P31 devotions and there was no wi-fi at the wharf, so we headed downtown in search of a Starbucks. :)

I stayed that evening at Doylelyn's house. My daughter would've loved to have been with me as Doyleyn has not one, not two, but three horses. The next morning Doyleyn took me sightseeing in Monterrey and Carmel by the Sea. This is a seriously beautiful section of the country! I went to the beach and stuck my toes in the Pacific - it was so cold compared to the Atlantic.

Next we drove Highway 1 up the coast to Big Sur where we lunched outdoors at a restaurant on the bluff overlooking the ocean. Stunning views. The southwest omelet and friendly conversation topped it all off perfectly. At this point I felt like I was on vacation, though I'd be "going to work" that evening.

That afternoon we headed to the retreat center in the Santa Cruz mountains. Only when we arrived, the electricity was out there too! I resigned myself to ignoring the chill in the air, and having to scrap my plans to use PowerPoint. I helped them unload everything and then I found a secluded spot and sat down with my notes and my Bible to pray.

Later I joined the gals chatting and playing Skip-Bo on the deck while waiting for everyone to arrive. Just before the evening's session, the power came back on. Hallelujah.

The weekend's theme was "What a Gal Wants." We looked at how our hearts' longings are rooted in, and fulfilled by, God. ... And I must say, God was supplying everything I could've asked for this trip.

A highlight for me came on Saturday after the morning session when the retreat center opened up their ropes course. I eagerly said, "Sign me up!" I love a challenge so I paid the $7, put on my jeans and Nike's, and headed up the the mountain side. The course was in the redwoods - have I mentioned how beautiful it was? Several teens, a former stunt woman, and myself set out to shimmy up the trees and walk across a rope, then a log, then a wire cable, and then ride a zip line back down. About half way through the challenging course I was thinking to myself, "Who signed me up for this?!" But the 40 ft. zip line made it all worth it.

I really enjoyed this group of gals. We played cards together, watched movies together, did crafts together and even dodged snakes together. Well, all of us but one dodged the snakes. This one woman likes snakes, and her son keeps them as pets. She found a baby snake outside her cabin that was either sick or injured. She decided it needed to be kept warm. So despite every one's looks of horror, she tucked it inside her bra in her shirt to keep it warm while we did crafts. Then, it died in there. Have mercy!! I don't think I'll ever forget that. (Despite this lapse in judgement, she was a fun gal.)

After the retreat on Sunday I went out to eat with Doyleyn's family at one of those Japanese style restaurants where they cook at your table. Then we walked the wharf in Monterrey as the sun set. It was a perfect end to a terrific weekend. Thank you Doyleyn, and all the girls at North Salinas Baptist!

And thank you bloggy friends, for covering this event in prayer.

My husband and children even had the laundry done and the house cleaned when I got back home. Now that's what a gal wants!


  1. You prepared THOROUGHLY, we prayed, you prayed and it all went well!

  2. Did you say that gal put a snake in her bra??!! That's gotta be an image that's hard to shake! :)

  3. Welcome Home! I agree with cheryl that would be a hard image to shake. I am in awe of your adventures in the Redwoods...Sounds like a great retreat...
    Be Blessed,
    In His Love,

  4. Sounds like a truly wonderful trip. Thanks for sharing the pictures. I loved the one of the waves. Beautiful.


  5. Nice to meet another writer and speaker. Beautiful pics of California.

  6. Wow...sounds like a great weekend retreat in all aspects! :) So glad to hear and see some details here. It was a blessing to be praying!

    I took a trip with some friends, almost 20 years ago, to all those places to mentioned in California. The coastline driving on Route 1 is gorgeous!

    And zip lines are always a thrill! You go, girl!

  7. sound like you had a great time, a mini vacation! loved the pictures.

    blessings ~

  8. I'm glad your trip was good and that you enjoyed it so much. You are a much stronger person than me. It would never try the things you do. I admire you for it. The snake, now, that's where I would have had to leave. Can't stand them. So glad everything turned out okay for your trip and retreat and to have your house cleaned when you returned - Wow - that was the icing on the cake.

  9. I'm glad your trip went well :)...a snake in the bra *shudders*


  10. Amen,Amen!! Sounded like so much fun. And the pictures are beautiful. I didn't expect to hear about you sliding back down.
    That sounded scarey but fun at the sametime.
    Now I am like the others about the snake~~~~~that's a bit strange for me.
    Glad you had a great time, and all went well... Hope you come to Florida oneday!
    And for your family,,,,thats just plan awesome!
    Have a terrific week, blessings to you and your family.

  11. As a California girl, I am glad you enjoyed your time in our state! You did see some amazing places! Our church women yearly retreat in the Santa Cruz mountains too. The redwoods make me feel like I am in the presence of God every time. They are so old, they have seen so much, but they all grew in a moment to God.

    Thank you for sharing and welcome home!

    - Karen

  12. Just wanted to say the snake was an
    opportunity to give comfort to one of God's creatures. I probably would not have put it in my bra but bless the lady who did.

    Welcome back Rachel. Sorry to say I envy your ministry. I spent 35 years writing, speaking and teaching in ministry but due to an attack by the enemy that all ended. I don't know how to get back into it. I was blackballed by my pastor who I have tried mightily to forgive. Pray for me please.


  13. What a wonderful devotion this morning. It really touched my heart and gave me plenty to ponder with for the day. I have a situation going on, and have been crying out to him and alot of prayers, By this Sunday I pray we will have our answer.

    Have a blessed day!


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