Last weekend 25 artists (yes, Counseling students, you are artists too) assembled at the Grant ranch in South Texas for our inaugural retreat – “Granching” as Faith and Sarah termed it. Lauren and I went down a day early (Thursday) to make sure everything was working – thank goodness, because the propane gas tank was down to 14%! Our artists arrived safely in an extended caravan of seven vehicles the next evening, worn out from the nearly 7-hour drive from Dallas.
The weather was great – chilly enough for a fire, though overcast, so we will have to stargaze (which is truly spectacular on the ranch) next year. We sat around a campfire up at Luke’s cabin from around 7:30 p.m. until nearly 11:00 p.m. – talking, dreaming about what the Lord might have in store for each of us, asking one another questions, laughing, singing (a bit), making s’mores. Katie Fisher, Eikon’s president elect, shared her vision for Eikon for 2015-16. It will be a year of building on the solid foundation that Faith Tsai and Sarah Frase have worked so hard to establish. These women have done an outstanding job of organizing and inspiring our artists to participate and share their gifts with the whole DTS family, and beyond. Katie has some big shoes to fill, but she’s passionate and qualified to take Eikon to the next level.
John, scaling the Eastern – and only – face of Ros’s Ridge
One of the highlights for Lauren and me was the nature hike down to the river to see Treebeard, our great River Oak. We picnicked under his sprawling arms and participated in a group version of Lectio Divina. Then several of our artists drew or painted for awhile – until it was time to move on to the Ros’s Ridge (all the landmarks on the Ranch are named for our kids) – a great sandstone bluff with names carved into its face that stretch back to the 1800’s. All in all, we hiked a bit over 5 miles that day. Jake and Matt took a bit of a hike of their own and wound up rousting a sleeping, 8-point buck on the way back. Sarah fulfilled a bucket list item when she saw a massively ferocious armadillo. Sarah gave brave chase through the brush, but the beast eluded her grasp, despite her camo couture (see below).
Sarah and Kristin (our head chef) don forest garb
in an effort to “blend in.”
Jake decided early on to go minimalist with his bouquet for his sweetheart, Katie. Here he is standing with the rest of us in front of “The Lost Boys’ House” – one of several structures that populated the ranch back in the 1800’s.
Of course it wouldn’t have been complete without a stuck car! Jordan and Desiree’s car was up to the hubcaps in gray clay/mud on the rain-soaked Sunday morning of their departure. Jake and I pulled out the chains and hooked up my old ’76 Chevy and, with considerable oomph! from the other artists, set his vehicle free!
Never, in the 112-year history of the ranch, has a car
gotten stuck beside the ranch house – until now!
We forged memories. We strengthened friendships. We celebrated God’s wonderful creation. Lauren and I thank Sarah, Faith and the whole team for the tremendous job they did. They blessed our Ranch with their presence. And we thank our gracious Lord. He blessed us beyond measure.