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2015RetreatFor the past 30 years or more, the month of October has been Retreat Season for me. Tops on my list is participating in the fall women’s retreat at my own church.

Fall Retreat - group shot

Aren’t they beautiful? Courtesy Mary Whitmer of Whitmer Photography

Last weekend, 79 women ranging in age from 19 to nearly 92 (yes, seriously!) gathered at beautiful Covenant Harbor in Lake Geneva to explore the ways that our individual stories are part of God’s story.

Sandy and Book

Our teacher was the amazingly gifted Dr. Sandra Richter, OT professor at Wheaton College and author of IVP’s Epic of Eden: A Christian Entry into the Old Testament. Honestly, if your church or small group is looking for a top-notch study resource, I can’t recommend this one more highly. You can order workbooks and access Sandy’s teaching via DVD through Seedbed Publishers.



Oct. 16-18, I have the delight of going home toMonadnock 2015 Monadnock Bible Conference in Jaffrey, NH, where I’ve had the privilege of teaching women’s retreats for over 20 years. I can’t wait to hug Nita, wolf down John’s incredible molasses bread and rock out in worship with the Trinity Chick Band.


And then? A Sisters Retreat with six of the women I admire most in all the world: Mike’s four sisters and the wives of both of his brothers. The 7 Rowe daughters and daughters-in-law are gathering in Orlando for a week of sibling revelry. Not a single one is high-maintenance (not even you, Christine!) but these are women who purely know how to laugh and do life together.


Change “My friends don’t” to “My family doesn’t” and this about says it.

Between full-time work, ministry, travel and teaching there aren’t many spare moments, but I don’t go anywhere without packing literary heat.

Lemony Snicket

What’s in my suitcase this month?

God & Churchill: a fascinating new spiritual biography of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill co-authored by his great-grandson Jonathan Sandys and former presidential speechwriter Wallace Henley. Churchill was far from the agnostic some historians paint him to be. In national interviews this week, Jonathan has spoken passionately of how studying his great-grandpapa’s legacy changed the trajectory of his own life. Churchill’s belief in divine destiny in times of crisis offers hope for our own troubled times.


And who wouldn’t want to pick up a book simply titled Happiness? I dove into an advance copy of Randy Alcorn’s new work this past summer on an evening when the national news was especially troubling (OK, when is it not?) I deeply respect the breadth and depth of Randy’s theology and admire him tremendously for his personal spiritual integrity. (His book Heaven has sold over a million copies!)


So that’s what I’m into this month. How about you?