This personal tradition began on my 35th birthday, when so many significant experiences happened leading up to that birthday. I needed to be still and quiet myself from all that was bombarding my mind, heart, and soul. Through the years, I’ve celebrated my birthday by going on a retreat. I’d find a place where I could spend time reflecting on all that’s happened since my last birthday.
Since my return to St. Louis in 2015, I started my consulting practice – JAMM ITech, LLC. And then, I wrote and was awarded my 1st Artist Support Grant from Regional Arts Commission. In January 2018, I planned and then traveled on my 1st European Solo Adventure, in June. The next month, I recorded and then released my Christmas CD – “Silver Bells – Songs of Christmas Joy” in December 2018. So many things happened that I’ve not planned a two-day retreat in four years. My mind, heart, and soul yearned to be still and be quiet. It was time for a birthday retreat.
A few weeks before my birthday, I started googling places I could go and I had a tentative place in mind. And then my dear friend Melanie invited me to go with her to her new Lake House. I mentioned that I was going on a retreat for my birthday that fell mid-week of Labor Day weekend. So we agreed to drive to her Lake House on my birthday. As the day drew closer, we decided to drive separately because she had business matters to resolve.
I packed my favorite music, bible (app), prayer journal, clothing, and shoes the night before. By mid-morning of my birthday, I packed food and beverages and loaded them into my car along with my get-away bags, and then I was on the road. It was an excellent travel day for a 3-hour drive.
Along the way I saw signs for wineries, vineyards, and chocolate! I thought – maybe I’ll pass by a few wineries on my way home. Once I passed the Osage Beach exit, I was feeling excited to reach the Lake House, which was only 25-minutes away. The last few miles is a driving adventure of narrow roads, winding cork screw, going up and down hills like a roller coaster. After getting a little lost amongst several narrow roads leading into the Lake House, I finally arrived!
Glistening in front of me was a little piece of paradise. My mind thought of nothing else but appreciate the beauty, tranquility, and serenity of the lake. After taking a deep breath, I sighed and thanked the Lord God Almighty for this gift. A place where I can be still and quiet before God reading my prayer journal and bible. Doing so would prepare me to reflect on the joys and challenges I went through and reminisce on the blessings and faithfulness of God in the last four years.
I was gifted with a little piece of paradise on Lake of the Ozarks, savoring my birthday with my Lord and Savior – Jesus Christ. He has been my provider, protector, and lover of my Soul throughout my entire singlehood. Click the video link below for more pictures.