Category Archives: Guest Speaker

A Sweet & Peaceful Retreat – Oasis Christian Center & Retreat

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Can I just say, “Wow?!” Have you ever been to the Oasis Christian Center and Retreat in Kentucky? I had not even heard of it until I was invited to join a Community Bible Study leadership retreat a few weeks ago.

I knew before I even left the center that I wanted to share this little place on earth with you, my faithful readers!

My sous-chef dish-washing mom and I traveled the 100 miles from our home in Middle Tennessee north on I- 65 to Kentucky. It was an easy drive; the sun was shining and the frigid temperatures of the previous days were a distant memory.  As we made the turn off Highway 100 onto an almost-two-lane road we were captivated by the serene country vistas.

Dormitory and Large Gathering Room

A few miles of curvy road later we saw the retreat center. Multiple buildings were neatly sitting on the top of a hill surrounded by pastures from the farm it used to be. Immediately my mom remarked, “It sure looks neat as a pin!”

For the next twenty-four hours, we were cocooned in a restful and peaceful retreat from our busy lives of the outside world. The center has twenty-four individual rooms that are incredibly clean, sweetly decorated and within an easy walk from the main event center, chapel, and dining room. Additionally, they have a large dormitory that sleeps forty-eight!

After meeting up with our group I was introduced to “Andy” who would be my technician for the two times I would be presenting during the retreat. Immediately I was drawn to Andy because he is very kind, high-energy, and full of techie-talk!

Andy quickly assured me he could handle my PowerPoint, the sound system and any special requests I may have. True to his word, he handled everything with expertise! During my first presentation that evening I neglected to advance my PowerPoint slide as I spoke – he caught it and had the slide up before I even realized I had made a mistake!

Andy and his dad, Robert, cooked our meals, set up the dining room, put together a lovely serving table and waited on us hand and foot. I felt totally at peace, cared for, and really spoiled!

Saturday morning I spent time walking around a lovely pond that was set up as a prayer walk. Cards containing a variety of scriptures were placed on the poles that decorated the path around the pond.  Even though the sky was threatening rain and the winds were picking up, it did not take away from the precious time I had reading scripture and being in prayer. It was awesome!  Even this dreary winter weather didn’t douse my enthusiasm for being at Oasis Christian Center.

This retreat center is family run. In 2001, God gave Robert and Janet McClung the vision to start a Christian retreat facility where churches could bring their people to connect and grow.  Five years later in 2006, God opened the door for the McClungs to buy 75 beautiful acres in Franklin, KY and start Oasis Christian Center and Retreat.  They sold both their businesses and “dream home” in Hendersonville, TN and started construction in 2007.

Today, son Andy and his wife Courtney live on site and love to welcome guests to this beautiful place.  Andy’s brother Chad, rounds out the management team. Chad calls himself the “outdoors guy” and loves building and maintaining the various structures at Oasis.  He keeps a sharp eye on grounds and wants them looking perfect for guests.

Oasis Christian Center & Retreat is easily accessible from many locations in Kentucky and Tennessee including Franklin, Scottsville, Bowling Green, Westmoreland, Nashville, Portland, Gallatin, White House.  While most of their retreat guests come from Kentucky and Tennessee, they aren’t just limited to those states.  They’ve had guests from all over the United States and from other countries as well!

As Andy and I were doing some blog-talk I learned that five years ago he started the blog and website Today, it is the #1 leader in camp and retreat planning resources. I have only scratched the surface of reading information from the site but I already have downloaded some free sources for game planning, themes, and retreat checklists. I can already see how this is going to help me in our family reunion planning for this summer!

When I told Andy and his father how much I loved the place, Robert said, “Oh you should be here in the spring, summer, and fall. It is stunning!”  I can only imagine that it is!

Blessings, Catherine

P.S.  I plan on sharing my recipe for Sticky Biscuits with Andy!  I think they would be an awesome addition to their breakfast buffet.

Breakfast featuring Sticky Biscuits

Taste and See In NYC

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Catherine Speaking2
A couple of times in the past 18 months I have told you about Hephzibah House in NYC.  In my blog post  Giving Glory to God I wrote about our friends Catherine and Russ and their journey to becoming Directors of Hephzibah House.

C & C Decorating the tree Last Thanksgiving my sous-chef dish washing mom, the Chief, and I traveled to Hephzibah House and spent 10 days doing a variety of tasks including painting their dining room, preparing and serving a full Thanksgiving meal for 75 international students and decorating the house for the ensuing Christmas season.

Vernon knows his way around a kitchen!
Vernon knows his way around a kitchen!

Two generations of “The Buck Family” from Franklin, Tennessee joined us and together our families served in a fun and unique way! Vernon is the family patriarch and has a heart for serving others which he and his wife Linda are passing on to his children and grandchildren!

This time I spent at Hephzibah House last fall was a spring-board for an opportunity to return for the annual women’s spring tea. I was honored to be the featured guest speaker.

So, this past week my sous chef dish-washing mom and I flew to NYC and spent a few days helping to prepare for this year’s spring tea.  Joining us were other friends of Hephzibah and from this picture you can get a sense for the fun time we had in fellowship and work.

Kristi laughingMy sweet mom is the busiest one of this bunch as she is preparing vegetables for the hors d’oeuvre tray.  Kelly (on my left) and Kristi (at the end of the table) and I are much more interested in a little laughter.

Sulima and Vivienne copySulima and Vivienne are on staff at Hephzibah House and are beautiful woman of God inside and out.  Sulima has been on staff there for 15 years as head housekeeper and she has a servant’s heart if I have ever seen one!  Vivienne is one of the woman who work at the front desk and she shared a devotional with me that touched my heart in a way that has left me anxious to write about it.

Alice and CatherineI presented a program titled “Taste and See”.  Through stories and scripture I encouraged the women to study Scripture and share The Word of God in their circles of influence and especially with their children and grand children.  We had lots of fun making a virtual Scripture Cake and speaking the Scripture that goes along with it. The house was filled with woman who love the Lord and each other.  What a blessing it was to be counted among them!

scripture cake closeupAt the close of the presentation I shared a bite of Scripture Cake which I had made for them.

Thank you Hephzibah House and the women who support it for opening your loving arms to my sous chef dish-washing mom and me.  I love you all!

~Blessings, Catherine




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