I have never been to a women's retreat before. I have either been at a church that didn't have one, or I was busy over the weekend it was scheduled, or I was too young to go. So I was very excited when I realized I would be able to attend Ecclesia's women's retreat.
It was also over my birthday weekend, so I was able to spend my birthday with my best friends here!
I was recruited to be a part of the Hospitality team, and that was a blessing from God, because I was able to become friends with an amazing group of women as a result! We got together the week before the retreat to assemble bracelets for all of the women at the retreat to have. The beads were made by women in Africa.
We had a fun night laughing and sharing together, and also serving the women of the retreat in a small way.
The retreat was outside of Goleta, California, which is about 2 hours west of LA. It is close to the coast, but about 7 miles on winding roads up the mountain. The hospitality team needed to arrive at the retreat a few hours early, so we carpooled together. I had to stop on the drive up the mountain to take a picture of the amazing view!
The crew that arrived early:
Our team was responsible for checking everyone in, and getting their name badges all sorted out. We started out outside, but quickly realized it was going to be WAAAY too cold to stay outside for several hours! We moved inside shortly after this photo was taken:
Jessie worked on making my nametag covered with green "It's My Birthday" words, so that everyone would know:
On my actual birthday, I was brought up in front of the whole crowd, and they sang to me, and gave me an Irish Princess crown, which I wore all day.
We had some free time in the afternoon, so I taught people how to play Wizard! We actually decided to have Wizard nights more regularly. Love it!
Anastasia and I were able to hang out a lot over the retreat. She is a special lady with an affinity for Disney songs, just like me! We went out on Saturday while it was raining, and did a hike. We didn't mind the rain--it was just so nice to be outdoors. Snapped this picture of her taking some quiet time:
It rained off and on all day on Saturday. Then on Sunday, it SNOWED. It was crazy! I was not a fan of the cold at all, but it was really fun to see the LA girls get so excited about the snow. Everyone went out and played in it--then quickly ran inside!
As if the snow wasn't enough, it started to HAIL. Seriously crazy, schizophrenic weather.
Here's how I felt about the whole snow/hail situation:
I needed to serve in the Sunday night service, so we left a little early and came back to the city. I love this picture of the ladies I was so blessed to spend the weekend with! (Marie, me, Anastasia, Jessie, Christy, and Dolores)