It has been really difficult to articulate exactly what took place during the retreat. Sure, I can write down the events, but God sent such a strong undercurrent that was both sweet and unexplainable. It was one of those things that you just had to be there to experience. Following is my feeble attempt at a recap:

Day #1:
The ladies started arriving Thursday afternoon & there was a sense of expectancy in the air. That evening, we all met in my Villa for desserts, fellowship and the Covenant of Sisterhood Workshop that I facilitated. The ladies were engaged and had a lot to say about their friendships with their sister-friends. We closed out with an opportunity to affirm one another. I believe the big "take-away" was our beginning to understand the value of healthy, productive friendships and everyone left with some food for thought.

Day #2:
We started off early the next morning with Praise n' Purpose led by Ms. LuJuana Daniels and a welcome from me. I talked with the ladies about the process of "birthing" this retreat and all of the "travail" that took place. Next, Sha-Rhonda Davis talked to us about operating in emotional authority and being a Chief Emotional Officer. She gave us tips on how to alleviate stressors and the importance of adding "application" to our "supplication."

Afterwards, I led the ladies in an exercise to help them empty their hearts of hurt and unforgiveness so that they could increase their capacity to receive more.

With watery eyes and tissues in hand, we attempted to regroup as Rhonda Irby talked to us about being a wife of purpose. Everyone was completely enthralled by the way that she gracefully admonished us to have our husband's back & keep the "intruders" out of our marriage. One sistah got a revelation that "she" was actually the intruder in her own marriage. Wow!

Next, Ms. Yolanda Dupree led us into visual imagery of visualizing our "pathway" to our purpose. We were all surprised that our pathways looked similar. Yolanda talked to us about Five Components to Finding Your Purpose and we all left determined to "take no prisoners!" (You had to be there) ;-)

After a lunch break we started back with the talk show, “Matters of the Heart with Inspired Sistah.” The topic was centered around the importance of having purposeful relationships. The guests on the show were Ms. Tabitha Jones, author of “Everything but the Ring.” She talked to us about the importance of having a healthy relationship with yourself. Ms. Linda Jones talked with us about "Purposed Pursuit," her forthcoming book about how when you're in pursuit of your significant other, you're actually in pursuit of yourself. Also, Ms. Yolanda Dupree, an Intimacy Coach, talked about how intimacy is much more than sex and is actually based in communication. We took a short break & Ms. Gabbie McGee blessed us with the title song from her latest CD, Mississippi's Daughter. She then shared her mantra with us: Marriage, Motherhood & Music and how she keeps her priorities in check.

Afterwards, we did our "Inspired Sistahs ROCK" photo shoot with the pink guitar. It was so HOT! We adjorned for the afternoom. Some of the ladies got some R&R in & some other ladies joined us for a good, ol' spaghetti dinner in my Villa and more fun, fellowship and bonding.

Did I mention the hula hoop contest? Oh, yeah! Ms. China Reed took it to the hoop on Ms. Seante King. LOL! (Another "had to be there moment")

Day #3:
When the ladies walked into the room, you could feel the excitement in the air. Everyone walked in with the spirit of expectancy. LuJuana opened us up with Praise n’ Purpose and the atmosphere lit up! I was up first with my Pretty Power Workshop. The big “take away?” Learn how to possess your power with grace. Sharon followed me with "Heart Care for the Purpose Driven Woman." Her big "take away" was, “ Will it really matter in 7 seconds, 7 minutes, 7 months or even 7 years from now?” Hmmm...

The atmosphere was so heavy with God's presence that I asked Gabbie McGee to lead us into worship. 'Nuff said...

I wanted the ladies to understand that our coming together was way more than having a good time and wearing cute t-shirts. God was there and ready to meet our every need! Whew! A powerful testimony came out of that experience.

Okay, so after we somewhat recovered, we attempted to go to lunch...

After lunch, it was Wii Fit Hula Hoop time. Ms. Kenyatta Roberson & Ms. Angel Hardy showed us what they were working wit'! LOL! Afterwards, Ms. Erica Brooks talked to us about being "Fe-nomenal, Female & Fiscally Fit." We felt encouraged to handle our finances more responsibly so that we can continue on our pathway to purpose. To close us out, Dr. Theresa Harris blessed us with a few natural remedies to help us stay healthy while pursuing our purpose. Can you say, The “Bomb???” (Had to be there) We also had a brief presentation from Ms. Lakisha Matthews, of Beauty Renewed Inside Out (B.R.I.O.), who sponsored facials and make up application to help the ladies get ready for their Red Carpet debut.

That evening, it was time for the 1st Annual Living on Purpose Awards Ceremony. The guests arrived and took pictures on the Red Carpet. Everyone looked so beautiful and debonair. The atmosphere was set by my hubby, Jessie Henry, playing the keyboard. We opened up with the beautiful Gabbie McGee, singing "Summertime" accompanied by my husband. We honored our first two awardees, Yolanda Dupree (The Life Giver Award) and Sha-Rhonda Davis (The Shot-Caller Award). Gabbie returned with her rendition of "Lovely Day" and her own, "Sunshine." Around that time, the sound system went crazy and the microphones went out! Were we fazed? Nope! We kept it moving like only Inspired Sistahs can. We went on to honor two more sistahs, Brandi Starr (The Momentum Builder Award) and Cheryl Wood (The Seed Harvester Award). We rounded out the awards with a very special award given to little, Miss Gabrielle Perkins, daughter of Brigitte Perkins. At 11 years old, she received the Dream Builder Award because of her tireless commitment to not only dreaming, but dreaming big! We should all take a lesson from Ms. Gabby. Take the limits off! Next, I had to take some time to honor my covenant sistahs, the "Original" Inspired Sistahs: Tammie Neal, Seante King, Linda Jones, and Brigitte Perkins. I can't believe it, but I actually pulled it off and surprised them. We cried and hugged and were lead into the finale by LuJuana Daniels singing the Inspired Sistah theme song, "Inspired."

Day #4:
We started the next day in my Villa with Worship n' Purpose led by LuJuana. There was such a sweet spirit of fellowship in the room. It was so tangible; you could cut it with a knife. We jumped right into the workshop, “Your Talent, Your Time, Your Purpose.” Before we could finish, though, the ladies surprised me with a beautiful bouquet of red & white roses with a symbolic "Happy Birthday" card stating, "...For through your obedience you are continuously experiencing a rebirth as God manifests His purpose through you and uses your light to birth purpose in others!" It was signed by all of the ladies. I was completely overwhelmed! I do what I do out of pure love, joy and passion and to have that recognized was overwhelming.

We closed out in prayer and vowed to stay connected and accountable to one another.

It is really difficult to describe the bonds that we formed during the retreat. I know it may sound cliché, but I witnessed awesome transformation and healing throughout the retreat and days later, most of us are still buzzing.

There were many days where I thought that I was completely over my head and I had many meltdowns in the shower. I would tell, no one in particular, that I'm never doing it again and in the midst of all of that, God dropped the name of the next retreat in my spirit. (He really does have a sense of humor!) But seeing the impact this event made in the lives of the ladies who attended, there is no way that I could turn back now. One of the many lessons I have learned as a Water Walker is that, if the dream doesn't sound a little bit crazy and seem a little bit impossible, it's probably not God. ;-)

With that being said, stay tuned for info regarding next year's retreat themed “The Courageous Woman” Retreat.

Be Inspired,