I recently attended Belle Park Baptist Church’s Ladies Camping Retreat as guest of my daughter, Carol Farley.  The church is located in Haughton, Louisiana and although small it is a very active church.  The retreat featured a tremendous speaker by the name of Julie Mills.  Over Friday and Saturday, she gave her testimony as a Christian and her missionary time in Russia teaching English.  Especially of interest was her story of her late in life happy marriage.  After 3 ½ years into their marriage her husband fell at work causing him to become a quadriplegia.  Her attitude was exceptionally positive and inspiring.  I as others was deeply touched.

Throughout the weekend, we all joined in singing, games and lots of laughter.  An outstanding  highlight was a homemade funny video shown to the group. It was taken during a trip that my Carol, Virginia Disotell and Ludy Martin had taken on a weekend trip to Dallas.  It was of Ludy on her cell phone trying to locate a place that sold ice cream.  She kept patiently trying to get an answer from the robotic voice but it only gave weird, unrelated answers.  I laughed until tears were rolling down my face.  It definitely should be sent to America’s Funniest Videos.

Each retreat member had been advised to bring a flower indicative of their personality.  Since I was originally from Texas, I brought a silk bluebonnet and yellow rose.  Then at the Saturday evening’s gathering each one gave their flower to the former pastor’s (Glen Alderman) widow, Robin.  It made a huge, beautiful bouquet.  Following the presentation, cake and punch was served.

Carol’s friend and church member, Ludy Martin was in charge of the food preparation along with her team.  All the food was wonderfully prepared.  The one meal that stood out to me was the Sunday morning breakfast.  Eggs and oatmeal were prepared the night before.  The eggs on time bake in the oven and the oatmeal cooked in a crock pot overnight.  I liked the oatmeal so much, I returned for two extra helpings.  Of course I had to ask Ludy for her KEEPER recipe.  She was kind enough to share it with me and the Minden Press-Herald.


2 apples, peeled, cored, cut into ½ pieces-2-3 cups chopped

1 ½ cups milk

1 ½ cups water

1 cup uncooked steel cut oats (Ludy used regular oats but not instant oats or minute oats)

2 Tbsp. brown sugar

1 ½ Tbsp. butter cut in 5-6 pieces

½ tsp. cinnamon

1 Tbsp. ground flax (Ludy omitted)

¼ tsp. salt

OPTIONAL ADDITIONS: Chopped nuts, cranberries, raisins, maple syrup, more milk, more butter and/or more brown sugar.

Coat inside of your crock pot with cooking spray add all ingredients to the crock pot.  Cook on low for approximately 7 hours.  To serve, spoon into individual bowls.

Each person had been presented with a pink tee shirt with a spark lee Christian logo on the front that was made by two of the lady church members.  We wore our shirts to the church’s Sunday morning service and filled in as the choir.

Thus ended a memorable Belle Park Ladies 2015 Spring Retreat.