The Journey Continues
As Retreat in the Pines grows, I grow.
My passion in life has always been to make a difference in the world, specifically with women. I have overcome challenges over the years. I was a single mother who needed financial help for childcare so I could work. I was in relationships with an abusive partner. I have watched my adult children struggle with substance abuse. I have always been strong willed, but there are many times in my life I gave my power away and allowed myself to be treated poorly.
After deliberately choosing to create a women only retreat experience in 2008, I heard stories of strong women overcoming difficult situations. I was tremendously relieved when I realized I was not alone in my struggles.
I am grateful to be a part of my retreat guests journey. I am fortunate to welcome guests who return once a year or even every other month. When I see a guest make a breakthrough: decide to leave an unhealthy relationship, find a job with a less toxic environment or introduce healthy habits into her life, I know that the retreat experience provides so much more than a weekend of relaxation.
In my first year of business, there were only a few retreats on the calendar and my first retreat had only two guests! Now, many of our retreats sell out weeks or months before. The retreat center attracts women from Texas, as well as around the country, most fly into DFW or Love Field. Jill recently drove all the way from Minnesota! We’ve had women from NYC, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, New Orleans, Denver and all places in between. The more adventurous guests take Amtrak (and enjoy wine on the way!) to downtown Mineola and a staff member happily picks them up in town.
Cheryl, who traveled from Ohio for a Detox and Yoga Retreat e-mailed me shortly after her visit, she shared it was less expensive for her to fly to Dallas and rent a car to drive to the retreat center, than go to a retreat near her home in Ohio. “I think of the retreat daily. This could be a very long email if I wrote you everything that has changed for me since the retreat! It amazes me, and all I can reason is I was ready and open to implementing some real changes.”
Stories like Cheryl’s reaffirms I’m on the right path. Especially helpful when things are challenging.
The years after my divorce were particularly tough. I was making less than pennies per hour and I was working incredibly hard. Luckily my stubborn nature kicked in. I refused to give up on my dream. I worked three jobs to make ends meet.
Substitute teaching at my children’s high school. Teaching up to 15 fitness classes a week. And doing EVERYTHING at the retreat. I cooked and taught yoga and hosted guests. Then I did the cleaning when they left. Making up all of the bed (15 total) was probably the hardest part. I was overwhelmed by the size of the property (30 acres) and all that needed to be done.
I didn’t have the money in my budget to pay for help with the property upkeep and maintenance. I'd bring the lucky guy I was dating at the time out for a weekend of work and other things. Not ideal, but it worked!
Nina, my oldest daughter who worked for me for a while, told me I was smarter than that – true – but I wanted everything to be perfect. Plus I was a little bit of a control freak!
Gradually I realized I couldn no longer do it all and keep my sanity. First I hired someone to clean. Then I hired someone to cook. The rest is history. Now I'm grateful to have Kaycee as my property manager and her dad, Terry is my maintenance man. Morgan and Christina make delicious meals for guest to enjoy. Kristen handles our books - I'm not good at remembering to pay bills. Keitha promotes us through marketing and social media. Plus I have phenomenal women who lead retreats. Meet our team.
The day I realized I COULDN’T do it all is when things changed. When I released my grip on perfection and control, the business began to grow. Bringing in talented women who complemented what I do freed me up to do the things I love - teach yoga, lead workshops and (my favorite!) visit with guests. I love to create new retreats and interact with our community of inspirational women.
Looking to the future, we have over 40 retreats planned for 2020 with an amazing team of talented instructors. I plan to lead several retreats per year. I'm grateful for the challenges in my life and my persistence (some may say stubbornness) in not giving up.