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Sister Time at Ute Trail - Lisa Tyson

I almost did not go. The timing, in my mind, was not great. Between Christmas, two college tuition payments due in January, and a family vacation that had happened between Christmas and New Years—a girls trip to Sky Ranch Ute Trail the first weekend in January just did not seem like a good idea. When the text went out asking who wanted to come, I did not even talk to my husband about it. I just said, “No. It’s not a good time. I will catch the next one.” Until one of my “sisters” and her husband called and asked me to please reconsider. They even made it clear that they would do “whatever it takes” to make it happen. Now, I did not have a choice. I had to talk to my husband who, like he always does, said “Go!  Have a great time. You love these girls!” So…I bought a plane ticket not knowing that the girls who had already changed my life with their friendship, would change my life again.

When I was asked to write about the experience, it has taken several weeks to do it. I had the words in my heart, but it seemed like our experience together was just too “precious.” You know those experiences that you just cannot put into words? When I was asked about the trip, I said things like “So fun.” And, “I can’t wait to go back." Those words are true, but they don’t scratch the surface of what happened at Ute Trail the first weekend in January.

Thursday morning started in the garage at one of the girl’s houses. Seven women and their luggage with seven husbands staring at the pile of bags asking questions like, “How big is the rental car?” We were too excited to be remotely concerned and knew that we would figure it out when we got there. That’s what moms do, right? We were sitting in the same area on the plane so those around us were able to enjoy our fellowship. We arrived in Gunnison, Colorado, and got our rental. The first picture we sent home to our men was a picture of a very full minivan and seven smiling wives showing them that we did it!

I’m not sure that the restaurant in Gunnison knew what happened when we came in and sat down for lunch. The laughter was nonstop. This is where the giggling started about things that will laugh about until the day we die. We drove the 45 minutes to Ute Trail and got situated in The Lodge. It was like a college dorm all over again! Girls in pajama pants and fuzzy socks running up and down the halls.  My daughter said it sounds like we turn into teenagers when we are together.  We had an amazing dinner and sat around the table for hours before we took the long walk across the room to the couches by the fireplace where we sat again until we could not keep our eyes open.

On Friday morning, we actually ate breakfast. Real food—not an energy bar or shake. Then we walked down to the chapel. Seven women representing seven families. Seven women—mothers of 16 children walking this earth and others waiting for their moms in heaven.   Seven women sitting in seven different places inside a chapel pouring our hearts out in worship, laying our children before the Lord, weeping for the Lord’s Hand to cover our families.  Seven women lost in the presence of the Lord together.  We asked for the Lord to gather our tears and pour them over us as Healing rain from Heaven.  He had met each of us there.  What felt like five minutes was actually close to two hours.  We left it all at His feet and walked out of the chapel into the sun and the snow as women who had truly been with Jesus.

Then it was lunchtime. Real food again, eaten in chairs with actual silverware. Flatbread pizza and salad.,goodness. We spent the afternoon exploring the area and eating ice cream in town.  We left an impression everywhere we went. In town, we will always be known as the “women who thought their car was stuck but just did not know that the parking brake was on.” Flashbacks from trying to push the Hummer at Boot Camp came flooding back like a bad nightmare….We arrived back at camp and relaxed for a while until we ate a Fajita dinner. After dinner, we sat around the table talking about our families. It’s rare to have a group of women who represent almost 150 years of marriage. Oh…the stories that we can tell. We took the long walk to the fireplace couches again and laughed until we couldn’t keep our eyes open again.

Saturday morning—a sweet and savory crepe bar. We were truly spoiled. An added bonus, it was snowing!  It’s funny how snow in Colorado just “feels right.” Colorado cold feels good while Texas cold just feels cold. We laughed and visited by fire. We played games and read books. We were still in our pajamas when it was lunchtime. It is a proven fact that Tortilla Soup tastes better in Colorado when it's snowing and you are sitting in your pajamas with your 6 best girlfriends. After lunch, we put clothes on (at least put them on over our pj’s) and went sledding. It was one of the funniest experiences I believe I have ever had. As holy as our chapel time was the day before, this time was equally hysterical. We tried to race but mostly crashed into snowbanks. We took videos of each other that I have watched over and over because they just make me smile! Saturday night, we actually put real clothes on and went into town for dinner. We behaved in the restaurant although I am pretty sure that everyone in there wished they were at our table because we were having so much fun.

Sunday morning, we ate our last breakfast. To be honest, I don’t think I have eaten a “real” breakfast since that morning. We reluctantly packed our suitcases and loaded up the minivan. We were all a little disappointed each time the text notification that our flight was on time came through our phones. Not because we did not want to get back to our husbands and children—but because we did not want to leave each other. Like I said before, something happened there. Something precious.

 almost did not go. I was worried about things that did not matter and that almost kept me from the most incredible experience I have had with a group of women in my life. What started out as a fun getaway, turned into something none of us was expected but all of us needed. We needed to laugh until we cried as much as we needed to cry until we laughed. We needed to worship together by ourselves spread out in the chapel. We needed to eat a real breakfast together three whole days in a row. We needed to share pieces of our journey that could not be shared with life going on around us. We needed each other. We left pieces of ourselves at Ute Trail. But those pieces are not lost, Ute Trail is just taking care of them until we are able to go back together again. And to think, I almost did not go. 

~Lisa Tyson