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By the time you read this I will be heading North

(or already there—Lord willing, of course),

For my annual retreat with feminine minds and motherly hearts,

To greener, cooler hills,

Covered in pines reaching to the sky,

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And zig-zagged with trails leading to nowhere in particular…

Where time moves slower,

And responsibilities are fewer (make that practically non-existent)…

For three days!

Count them: one… two… three…

At a girlfriends’ get-away in a cabin sleeping eight

(Not quite this small, but you get the idea).

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No cooking, no dishwashing, no cleaning (other than teeth and face),

No septic issues, or dashing in the car to appointments,

no lengthy To-Do lists—

Just a scant schedule

of when to show up for devotions and dining…

Where luxury is redefined in simplest terms:

Standing on a balcony with nothing to do

But look up—

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And watch conifer boughs sway in the breeze…

for who knows how long,

(while minutes tick in a far away place on someone else’s clock),

Listening only to the quiet stillness

Of pine needles falling from elevated branches and resting on the ground,

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With the gentlest whisper of the tiniest, carefulest plunk.

Where my hours of ministry are shortened to minutes

(for a quick signing in and maybe an impromptu heart-to-heart chat),

And I am on the receiving end,

accepting cheerful, tireless ministry of others,

with heartfelt gratitude

spoken in lots of Thank You’s to all who serve there.

Looking ahead to later on Saturday,

I know fully the hour I reach home

(in a race I’ve chosen and would choose again)

The race will once again be On.

But for now I will bask in the beauty and refreshment

Of having little to do but learn more of Him,

And strengthen this bond with my sisters,

Surrounded by time and space and opportunity for being still.

See ya later, alligator!

Adios!

Auf wiedersehen!

Ciao!

And Ta Ta For Now!

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