Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Refresh Retreat

Dear friends,

Nearly two weeks ago, I had the immense privilege of attending a Refresh Retreat hosted by my friend Sandy Traugott.  I'd like to share it with you through pictures and captions.  It's funny that "Refresh" was my "one word" for 2013, and I still need it now more than ever.

Sandy is a veteran home school mom
whose children are all grown.
She is a seasoned saint,
well-acquainted with the trials of life,
but filled with a flourishing love of Jesus.

She inspires me.

Drop your cell phones here!
This is a day to get away 

without distraction.
(But it's there if you need it.)

A time to breathe and stretch,
in a posture of devotion and worship.
It's called DoxaSoma, an integration
of Christian prayer and movement.
Pray and praise 
with body and soul.
I loved it.  Sandy brought the mats.

After a time of listening 
to worship music,
we each sat with our own 

Bibles and journals,
turned to Colossians,
and asked God to speak 

into our hearts
as we reflected on his Word.
This was not a lecture and workshop retreat.
It was mainly a silent retreat.

Communion was available
to take in solitude as we wished.

Plenty of healthy snacks - strawberries,
hummus and gluten-free crackers,
lemon water, a variety of teas...

We also brought our own lunches.

Only six ladies come to each retreat.
One of my fellow participants
is my son-in-law's sweet grandmother.
Chatting on the porch with her,
I find that she hosted dozens of ladies' retreats
at her mountain cabin in North Carolina.
Between that and visiting missionaries,
2,000 people from 20 nations 

stayed overnight at Higher Ground
which is now available for week-long rentals.
She is also active in homeless ministry,
as are most of the others who came that day.
Shirley's hospitality and grace astound me.
I am so grateful for the 

family legacy she lives
for my soon-to-be born grandson Lucas.

Art time with lots of supplies -
a way to creatively express 

who we are in Christ,
and who we want to become in him.

Everyone else made 
collages from magazines.
I had already decided,
after pondering on Colossians,
to sketch my version 

of a kaleidoscope image,
inscribing Scripture 
of grace and truth
onto the broken pieces my life, 
reflecting radiant beauty in the 
light of God's glory.
You can see and read about 

my finished piece here:

Kaleidoscope (Big Words)

We ended our day with a brief time 
of sharing what we had learned,
encouraging and praying for one another.

Our view out the window
of the condo clubhouse...
I went outside later
to take pictures by the lake.
You can see them here
in this related hymn post:
What a Friend We Have in Jesus.

What a refreshing day! 

If you live in the Orlando area, and would like to attend one of Sandy's free day long (9 AM - 4 PM) retreats, please visit her web site here:  Refresh Retreat.

Note on February 10: I finally finished journaling through Colossians 4.  Here are my Good Words!

Grace and peace,
Virginia Knowles

P.S. Please enjoy one of the songs of worship from the retreat... "I Need You Now" by Matt Redman.  I downloaded it for my iPod, of course.


  1. Beautiful! I have never heard that song by Matt Redman. Retreats like the one you shared restore us in so many different ways. They are quieter & we need those times. Thank you for sharing your experience. Have a blessed Sunday!


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