Mini Retreat on The Pioneer Woman’s Ranch

I’ve found in any conversation, there are at least three parties: you, the other person, and God.

Let me tell you more

Last weekend I was able to spend some one-on-one time with a beautiful group of ladies.

Rebecca, Wendy, Amy, Bridget, Robyn, me, and missing our sweet Georgia.

I’m not sure about the exact details of how it all came together, except I’m grateful that I said ‘yes’ to the invitation.

The invitation came from Ree, The Pioneer Woman, to come to her ranch in Oklahoma for the weekend, for “fellowship and a little cookin’.”

That’s it. Nothing more.

A girl’s weekend. A mini retreat. A time of togetherness.

Well, except for a little excitement rounding up the cattle.

Marlboro Man saddling up Georgia (photo by Ree)
Georgia, Amy, and Wendy
Me, Bridget, and Georgia (photo by Ree)
Beautiful Bridget
Heading back to the ranch
My pal, LB, who was very good to me.

What I didn’t know was that this weekend would be much more for me …

More than the food … or us. It had very little to do with us ladies or even our blogs.

It had more to do with ‘our conversation’ and being together.

With a few words, I’ll try to share the blessing of the time we had together…

Up at 5:30 am, just me and God.

One hour of quietness.

The sounds of nature, cows mooing, a slight breeze in the air, warm sun on the lodge.

Early morning fantastic breakfast, cooked by Meseidy. Yes, I enjoyed it in my bed (and love her!)

In this beautiful room.

Let. The. Day. Begin…

First, Charlie stole the show.


Amy gave him all the attention he was hoping for.

Cooking class was with Rebecca, Foodie with Family, who came from the Amish country. Rebecca homeschools 5 boys, comes up with the most fantastic recipes, bakes bread every day, even makes her own cheese. Oh, and raises chickens (I’m hoping she can help us get started out in Oregon.)

We made fresh mozzarella cheese.

What Rebecca doesn’t know–my first time meeting her–was how giddy I was to finally spend time with her. IRL!

I was blessed to already know Wendy, Amy, Robyn, and Georgia, who I met 2 years ago in San Francisco at BlogHer Food. :) (“In Real Life friends.”) Ree’s friends also came to the lodge for the day; Julie from Another Chance Ranch and Stephanie, and Shari from Really Most Sincerely and her aunt joined us. Awesome ladies!

Hi, Wendy!

Besides making cheese, we baked bread, canned tomato jam, and did lots of tasting and smelling. (A really easy recipe to come on RE, stay tuned.)

Back to “the table …”

For hours. Talking. Deep conversations.

Not about business or fluff or even others.

We each shared parts of our lives that, well, … brought laughter and tears.

We got to know each other more. The true beauty of hospitality.

It really made me think about our words. How we can build each other up by listening and encouraging.

I came home from this weekend inspired to be a better person and to work harder toward several goals. After all, isn’t that what mini retreats are all about? Inspiration!

Miz Ree, The Pioneer Woman, was so real, gracious, fun, beautiful in every way – and showed us the essence of hospitality. She knew how vital it was to consider people more important than plans. Her plans, busyness, our agendas. It’s easy to become frazzled and overly concerned with details, but I watched her graciously spend time with each of us, cook, help in the kitchen, set aside time for us to get out there on the horses. Her family members were just as hospitable, so awesome to see. We felt like family!

We had no set agenda, besides eating, cooking, and just enjoying each other’s company.

What I appreciated the most about these ladies was their authenticity; and their love.

So, saying our good-byes was not easy.

And also “bye-bye” to my sweet roomie, Bridget, who I’ve always dreamed of meeting.

I’m so proud of her. She has a book coming out this Fall. Yup, it’s all about what she’s good at (decorating cookies)!

Heading back to the city, leaving the ranch-life-beauty behind, Georgia and I stopped for our last photo.

And continued on for a few more hours in the car …

My only regret for the weekend? We did not sing more together. I just know we were capable of 3-4 part harmonies. Next time … :)

   

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27 Responses to “Mini Retreat on The Pioneer Woman’s Ranch”

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    1
    Aggie — July 31, 2012 @ 4:45 am

    Your photos are gorgeous Sandy and have really captured the beauty of the ranch and the beauty of the ladies at the ranch! What a fun weekend, so happy you got to experience it and that you came back refreshed and inspired. xo

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    Southern Gal — July 31, 2012 @ 5:49 am

    Sounds amazing.

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    Heather @ new house, new home, new life — July 31, 2012 @ 6:25 am

    Wow, wow, wow – you are truly blessed to have had such a wonderful weekend. I dream of one day meeting some of my blogging friends but am content for now to build these relationships through the internet. What a wonderful weekend, you must have come back inspired and motivated to conquer the world

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    Bev @ Bev Cooks — July 31, 2012 @ 6:41 am

    I’m not one to get super sappy but UUUUUGH, this put a lump in my throat. I know you had a wonderful time. I could almost FEEL it, just reading about it. <3

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    Cathy @ Noble Pig — July 31, 2012 @ 7:48 am

    How fun! Looks like a wonderful time and I agree with the building up of others. So many tear down and I just don’t get it. Love your pics and words.

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    carrian — July 31, 2012 @ 8:04 am

    What a lovely weekend. I love real moments, blogging aside, just real moments. Time to sit, talk, and truly get to know each other

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    Kaye @House on Oak Street — July 31, 2012 @ 8:05 am

    What a sweet blessing! Thanks for sharing your experience. We are really all alike aren’t we?

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    Marie at the Lazy W — July 31, 2012 @ 8:10 am

    How cool, Sandy. You and Ree are certainly a good match, with your warm, open hearts. I hope you enjoyed our great state and visit again!! xo And good luck with your chicken project!

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    veronica — July 31, 2012 @ 8:19 am

    Um, WOW! That is totally like my dream girls weekend! What an awesome opportunity!

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    Susan — July 31, 2012 @ 8:22 am

    Loved reading this post!!! I saw your facebook picture and was wondering when we were going to hear more about this incredible time. It looked lovely and even more so that you could share how genuine your experience. Chickens???? what would your neighbors think? :-)

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    teresa — July 31, 2012 @ 8:58 am

    What a lovely post Sandy.
    Actually brought a few tears to my eyes just thinking about you girls sitting and sharing in those beautiful surroundings.
    What a special weekend.
    Can’t wait to meet you one day!
    xo

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    Kirstin — July 31, 2012 @ 9:02 am

    what a great post and a beautiful opportunity! Thank you for sharing with us.

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    Kim in MD — July 31, 2012 @ 9:09 am

    This post made me tear up…so beautiful! :-)

  14. #
    14
    Cassie — July 31, 2012 @ 9:22 am

    I loved following along with this retreat Sandy, such great shots. And a great group of women!

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    Diane | An Extraordinary Day — July 31, 2012 @ 10:55 am

    What an amazing and blessed time away. It’s always the best when God meets with you and your spirit is filled and encouraged. Sounds like that invitation was a divine appointment.
    Hope your day is Extraordinary!!

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    Ivy Jane — July 31, 2012 @ 11:04 am

    How beautiful! That looks like a retreat worth repeating. I loved the pictures and was captivated with them as though I was reading a novel. Meeting the Lord in the silence of each morning is a treasure worth keeping. Have a lovely day Sandy~ Ivy Jane

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    bridget {bake at 350} — July 31, 2012 @ 1:46 pm

    Oh, Sandy. Your post made me all teary-eyed. You really captured the weekend so well. I came home feeling so blessed to have been a part of it. Every single one of these ladies is so, so special…I was a little in awe being surrounded by these amazing women.

    SUCH an absolute pleasure to meet you and I’ll see you SOON!!!

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    Rebecca — July 31, 2012 @ 4:28 pm

    Sandy, you nailed it. That weekend was so very special and I cannot even wait to see you again! Let’s warm up our voices. We SHALL sing next time!

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    Wenderly — July 31, 2012 @ 5:28 pm

    Love you girl…

    Miss you like the dickens and can’t wait to sing 3-4 part harmonies soon! xo

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    Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality — July 31, 2012 @ 6:23 pm

    Hey, Sandy, I know ya’ll had a fabulous time, fun to read your recap. You captured it in pics so well. Took me back 2 yrs. ago when I got to visit the ranch. My dream is to get an invitation back one day too. It’s such a wonderful place to visit. I would love to ride horses like you did! I can imagine how great it was with all you foodies and all the eating that ensued! xo

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    Richella at Imparting Grace — July 31, 2012 @ 6:33 pm

    Oh my goodness, Sandy. What an amazing time y’all must have had! How cool for you all to get to be together at Ree’s. Thank you for sharing it with us!

    By the way, I didn’t know you liked to sing. . . I knew we were kindred spirits!! :)

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    Brittany — July 31, 2012 @ 7:40 pm

    What a precious time together! And those views!

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    Dee S — July 31, 2012 @ 9:26 pm

    This was all such a glorious sensory experience that it made me misty. Odd, eh? What a wonderful weekend.

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    JulieD — July 31, 2012 @ 10:20 pm

    What beautiful pictures and what a great experience, Sandy. Thank you for sharing and thank you for always being so sweet and just you. I hope we get to just sit & chat the next time I see you! xo

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    Kathy — August 31, 2013 @ 9:19 am

    Looks like a perfect girls weekend away. A bit of adventure, cooking, good eats and conversation around the table.

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