Testimonials

Comments from our wonderful guests…
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Guests during the week-long Strawbale Construction Workshop

“This is our fourth stay at the hermitage and visit with you. Each time has been a time of renewal. This short visit is no exception. Our conversation, the simplicity of the hermitage, and the stark beauty of the farm and rolling hills blend together to help bring the peacefulness we need.” — Bill and Jeanne Finely, Silver Spring, Md. and Blacksburg, Va.

“This hermitage is a gracious space-as is the whole farm. I leave grateful for everything-deer and wasps, damp ‘possum and faithful dog; greedy goats and trumpeting guineas; laid-back alpacas and boisterous roosters. Sun, then storms; mild breezes and sleet. Happy fishing and beautiful lettuce and greens. Surprise wine and a week’s worth of soup. This place is much like home without the distractions and anxieties. I take from here the resolve to make home more like this week. Thank you Ann and Pat for providing this space, this beauty, this time of rest. May it continue to bless more and more people as you continue your Great Work of caring for Earth and all her inhabitants.” — Jane Balenger, OP, Heartland Farm, Pawnee Rock, KS

“‘O God What a Morning’ Deer grazing in the north field, a hawk soaring in the west, no doubt looking for breakfast, a full moon setting in a clear sky, and then a bit later-sunrise. What a show. Thanks God.” — Mary Lou B.

“What a wonderful weekend. I needed to get away from the big city life to think, pray, read, meditate. I found the right place for it. This place is good for my soul. I will most certainly return here. Warm blessings.” — Garrick Voth, Oklahoma City

Strawbale Hermitage must have been a long time dream which called for much hard work as it came to life. Thank you for your great effort. It is a most peace-filled, comfortable and charming place. I am grateful for these three days surrounded by the sounds of nature and covered over by a dome of blue with lazy clouds. God has blessed me here. May God bless you also. Thank you.” — Susan D.

“We enjoyed the pond and watching the stars and I liked catching grasshoppers, kayaking, listening to the sounds of nature.” Mason, Maranda, Bryce and Sherri

“Thank you so much or making me feel like family during my 2-week WWOOFing stay! I’m so glad I got to know you and learn from all the great projects y’all have going. I’ve met some incredible people and activists while here, which is a huge inspiration.”– Hannah

“Quiet, restful, beautiful sunset…I could go on and on. thank you for sharing this wonderful retreat with us! The beekeeping seminar was fun and educational too. Wish we could have stayed longer. Good friends, good food, good fellowship-what more could one ask for? Can’t wait to come back!” -Nancy and Steve”Awoke to a thin covering of snow and brisk cold north wind-the changing of the seasons. Thank you. Thank you for this place of respite, renewal, encouragement!.” –M.L. B

“Thank you for this in-between time, time to sink into solitude — accentuated by the drumbeats/heartbeats of our friends from the north who are here to practice saying no to violating the earth. I will leave with their music, and the soul-full music of this place, in my spirit…” Susan


“I like feeding the alpaca and playing in the sand.” — Cohen, age 6
“Thank you very much for showing us the farm and taking us on a hike. I really appreciate it.” — Eden, age 9
“This was a great place to stay. I’d give it a 10 out of 10. I learned a lot while having fun. Best Mor-Mor Camp ever!” — Colton, age 11
“Thank you for giving us your time and energy. You have made an investment in us! We certainly did “praise God under the open skies” in the labyrinth, the fields, the creeks, in our unstructured play and with each other. Hallelujah!” — Gala, age 67 (aka “Moder”)

“First glimmers of light.
The hoot of an owl.
The words of my teacher.
This house made of earth.
Many things made by loving hands.
I am encouraged
To put my hands to work
And to know the work as good,
As enough for today.
Small steps are still steps.
Hearing an owl in this moment,
Is a step, a connection.
Morning arrives and I am awake.
The farm offers its gift
And I am here
To receive it
With a grateful heart.

All blessings on your good life and work at Turtle Rock! ” — Pat Webb

“Awoke to a thin covering of snow and brisk cold north wind–the changing of the seasons. Thank you, thank you for this place of respite, renewal, encouragement!” — M.L. B.

“Unplugged. I wasn’t sure I could do it but I did. Enjoyed reading and working my puzzle. Maizey’s visits were a welcome surprise. The labyrinth was awesome! I’ll be back soon. Shalom.” – Sharon

“Thank you to all who have made this hermitage special. My soul has been refreshed on this prairie retreat. I have made new friends and hope to return someday. God bless everyone!” – Chelsea

“This is such a lovely place. It met my need to find silence and solitude. May God richly bless this place and you who give of yourselves to provide it for others. It is a wonderful gift!” – Beth

“Thank you for lessons in ‘Active Hope:’ moving from business-as-usual to unraveling to Great Turning; beyond hope to active hope. Yes – good lessons to learn and digest! Thank you hermitage with sunset, dusk, dark, moon-shine, moon-set to first light; sun rise to full light again. Thank you for the cycles of renewal. Peace.” – Mary Lou

“We were here a year ago and are so glad we could return. We deeply appreciate the hospitality you offer. We have loved seeing the sunrises, the cattle, the fields and the big skies. Most of all we are grateful for the conversations with you. This year we didn’t have the excitement of an earthquake – thankfully, that didn’t happen again. We look forward to another visit next fall. Blessings,” – Bill and Jeanne Finley, Blacksburg, VA.

 

“October Sabbath. Thank you hermitage, birds, colors, prairie, wind, labyrinth, caretakers, quiet, smells, food-wholesome…this must be a ‘thin place.’ Peace, Love, Joy, Beauty,” – Mary Lou B.

“The peaceful tranquility soothes and inspires” – M. D.

“What a respite! After selling my home, moving across country, throwing my lot in with another-meeting with many communities-you’ve given me a home…a place of Sabbath, rest, re-creation, peace. With deep gratitude,” -Mary Moloney

“Thank you so much for the wonderful experiences that Audrey and I had at Turtle Rock Farm. We had so much fun creating stories and acting them out and using our creativity in other ways during a cool retreat from the outdoor heat. I don’t know if Audrey (8 1/2 years old) preferred swimming in the pond or feeding the animals, but she couldn’t get enough of either. I also, of course, especially love the visual feast and hearing the birds; seeing the bunnies. It’s a very special thing, to linger in a sacred space, made so by years of loving energies intersecting, and to appreciate that our actions ripple outward. Lovingly,” -Diana and Audrey

 

“What a joy! To exchange a day and night in the city for a rejuvenating night’s stay at Turtle Rock. An evening on the front porch of the hermitage called up sights and sounds remembered from years ago: a field of yellow wildflowers that stretched as far as the road; the bellowing of a lone cow somewhere behind the grove of cedars; the constant cadence of locusts finally giving way to the sounds of cardinals and other songbirds; and, the cries of coyotes in the distance just as dusk settled on this gorgeous prairie land. Life is good! Time at Turtle Rock is good! And the Lord is good!” — Jane and Sam

“Such a restful night and peaceful start for a busy day. Hoping to return soon! Thanks for the gift of this place.” — Ruth and David

“Thanks for inviting me to be a part of your high tunnel workshop. I enjoyed my stay in the straw bale hermitage. Waking to the sound of birdsong was a blessing. May God continue to bless your ministry of Turtle Rock Farm.” — Steve, Ardmore

“What an amazing retreat. With gratitude I thank you for what you have created.
What a peaceful and relaxing experience!” — Bob


“In deep appreciation for the Sacred and Magical Circle of Life that expresses as Turtle Rock Farm and to all those-seen and unseen-that so generously give unconditionally to allow it to be so. There is indeed Great Love here. Namaste.” — Cindy


“I feel so much lighter after my first visit to Turtle Rock Farm. What a little peace, sunshine and nature will do for a weary soul! I was delighted to be TRF’s first tipi guest. I’m sure I smiled in my sleep-so content in the shelter, yet still close to nature. Thank you for this beautiful retreat.” — Tricia, Oklahoma City

“The moment that I walked in here it felt warm and safe. I was able to do such needed work in the quiet and safe place. The labyrinth was wonderful. I will never forget this place. For the first time in 40 years, I talked to God, and he spoke to me. Thank you a million times.”– J.

“On a cold and windy winter night in February on the prairie, I nestled secure and warm and slept within the walls of glass, mud, dreams, sweat and energy of the strawbale vision come to life as the Sallie McFague Hermitage-dreaming of what can be and is! Thank you! (Sallie would love it here!) — Elizabeth

“‘Live Simply so others may simply live.’ Enough said, I think. Praise be to God for retreats, workshops, time away…encouragement in sustainability. Thanks!”
— Mary Lou Bender, Caldwell, KS

“It was a pleasure staying out here and reconnecting with the wild. I enjoyed your variety of animals and I am glad the alpacas did not get upset to spit. I will always keep this place in mind for another get-away.” — Amanda

“Thank you for everything. From the moment I arrived here under the star-lit sky, to the moment of my departure, it has been a restorative experience. It was just what I wanted and needed for this Thanksgiving weekend. I especially enjoyed observing the wildlife and absorbing the fabulous sunrises and sunsets. Your care with the many details such as providing a crockpot and stocking teas and honey in the cabinet were much appreciated. I will treasure the guinea fowl feathers and the time spent in the barn with the animals. (I like it that you have so many varied species who all seem to get along so well toether-a nice microcosm of peace on the planet!) My best wishes to you and all of Turtle Rock Farm.” — Janece, Tulsa

“So many wonders of coyotes, hawks, crows, geese, rabbit, full moon, Joe and Maizey, afternoon doze in the straw, Enrique’s muy sabrosa comida, caring Vicky for healing massage, morning frosted fields; Pat and David conversations, wondering where peace is created, my insistent mind waning a break! Breathing deeply the contemplated air, and wishing to come back to a place which is another home, here.” — Lawrence Krizan, Houston TX


“We’ve enjoyed the peace and spaciousness that Turtle Rock Farm offers. Thanks so much for your hospitality. What a blessing it has been to find kindred spirits who care so deeply about God’s creation!” — Bill and Jeanne Finley, Blacksburg, VA

“So incredible to see this place finished. I’ll never forget all of the bales that were stacked and cob that was stomped. It was worth it, because this dwelling is a vehicle for absolute bliss. I’ll remember it, and its creators, dearly. We’ll be back.”– Steven Wooley

“This place is so beautiful and peaceful. It felt like home the second we walked in. Thank you so much for your hospitality. We have plans to visit again next year.” — Shauna

“Thank you, thank you, thank you for seeing the gifts in this place and sharing them so generously. The hermitage is lovely and the weather has been amazing but your hospitality has made it great. I greatly appreciate your sharing your farm fresh eggs and other items with me, and thank you for allowing me to help with the animals. As a city girl, my experience with farms is minimal to say the least, but you both made me welcome from the very start. As a Deaconess sister and fellow Christian on the journey, blessings to you and on this place; that it will thrive and continue to impact many lives with its offerings of peace, spiritual renewal and connections with God’s creation.”– Deaconess Mandy Caruso, Kansas City, Mo.

“Thank you for a wonderful respite of peace and solitude. I needed that!” — Janet Barrow, Dover, AR.

“I came here tired and soul-weary from the chaos, noise and clutter of city life. I leave renewed and at peace. Thank you for that gift. I thank God for the beauty and simplicity of pastures, animals and sunsets. May God bless you and this place!”– Dawn Richards

“The inspiration of your hearts has created a glorious place for retreat and renewal. Your warmth blesses us all. Your peacefulness transfers to each of us who visit. Thank you for creating this comforting place to renew and refresh our spirits. Great blessings shower down on you for all your days. The God in me honors the God in you.” — Linda Puckett

“Came to help little brother and found a unique farmhouse that we really enjoyed. Keep up the good work.” – V. & G.

“Thank you so much for your kindness and hospitality during our time of need. You and your hermitage are a gift from God. We cannot express how thankful we are that you opened your home and hearts to us.” – T. and S.

“My stay in this hermitage has been the capstone experience to an amazing week. I came jut yesterday directly from a three-day workshop on the ecology of the North Canadian River watershed conducted by the Oklahoma Conservation Commission. I find great inspiration from those who are living and working to protect and educate others in awareness and harmonic living within our dynamic ecosystem. Perhaps God is reaching out to us in a silent yet profound conversation as we become more ‘in tune’ with natural systems. I am thankful for this experience. Peace.” — S.C.

“Turtle Rock Farm experiences are for people who care about the environment now and for future generations. We need to treat our world and others with more respect. (Important vocabulary: we, our, together.)” — M.A. R.

“Peace on the prairie
In my soul I will carry.
To share and to live
Is the gift I will give.”
— L.A.

“What a treat to be able to stay in the straw bale/adobe hermitage. It reminded me of ‘home’ in New Mexico! We are looking forward to collecting fish from Doe Creek. May the Lord continue to bless you.” — Jean Lemmon

“A perfect place! Thank you for this sacred space – and for all those sister travelers who have stayed here. Blessings.” — Jeannie Martin

“Thanks to God and to you who have provided this place of rest and reflection. We are blessed by your hospitality. May peace, hope and joy come to all who linger here.” — Danny and Joyce

“Thank you for letting me stay the night. I liked it. I loved the prairie and I loved all the animals. Most of all I liked spending time with you. Love, E.M.”

“Earth Plunge-a great experience and opportunity. Many thanks for this place.” — M.L.

“Earth Day and Good Friday. An inspiring, relaxed sharing, praying and playing together; to shear alpacas-and have the fleece spun and plied into yarn!; to bless this hermitage, where I am privileged to stay tonight; to share a simple yet delicious meal, and finish off the evening with music and dancing! What a blessed day! Thank you so very much!” — Sr. Terry

“It’s been a very quiet couple of days for me to do some deep and difficult psychological work. I benefited greatly from the energy kinesiology session, the massage, the crickets, Joe the Dog and the quiet.” — A.V.

“Played my flute in the teepee with the wind keeping time by flapping the canvas. Pounded my djembe within these thick walls {at the hermitage} and absorbed the solid, solitude, solidarity. Strummed my ukulele and was softened by the timbre of the taut, short strings. And sang in a voice only God heard. Thanks.” — D.C.

“We really enjoyed the Taize service as well as the quiet and peaceful evening and walks outdoors (although the wind was brisk and a little cool!) — Maribeth and Greg

“Woke to coyotes howling and geese honking-it couldn’t be better. An oasis for a weary soul! Thank you. Blessings.” — N.

“To a beautiful planet! Thank you, Ann and Pat, for great food and a peaceful time.”–Tina, Christopher and Ila

“Thanks so much for your hospitality and great food. We’ve all enjoyed our time together immensely. This is a ministry of blessing which you so generously share with others.” — Loma Sullivan

“If you want or need a serene, spiritual place to go, Turtle Rock is perfect for prayer and reflection. It has all the elements you need to find God and yourself.” — Cindy Bullen, Wickline UMC

“If you are looking for the opportunity to slow down so you can think, you will find it at Turtle Rock Farm. The Simpler Living Retreat gave lots of food for thought and helped me to find a focus from it that I can take home and apply to ‘real life.’ Your life will be impacted in ways unexpected. I feel like I not only gained more ideas for simpler living, but also acquired realistic ideas to coping with and sorting out various areas of stress in day-to-day life. Choose one small positive change you want to work on, commit to it, focus and anything is possible. Thank you Turtle Rock Farm!” — Michelle Hamilton


“Turtle Rock Farm is a wonderful place to come and be refreshed. To relax with nature surrounding you. To come away a stronger person – more able to cope with all the pressures of our modern lifestyle. I would highly encourage people to ‘escape’ to Turtle Rock Farm.” — L.D., Kansas


“It was a perfect retreat…New understanding has dawned illuminating my path with added clarity and compassion…The labyrinth was transforming, as was working with the mud in building inside walls of the hermitage. These three days signified family, roots, births, mothers, grandmother and the Great Mother, Earth. Your perspectives added richness to the experience as did Ann’s energy kinesiology session. Thank you both for providing a safe, sacred place and opening it to us. Favorite mental image: Grasshopper dancing in the fields!” — J.S.

“We felt renewed and relaxed (yes, even at the same time!) by the sense of community we experienced. Preparing the healthy and spiritual food was calming and centering for us both. I will always remember watching the momma cat affectionately loving on her white litter of kittens. The afternoon rainstorm was just what the land, and the soul needed! Thank you both!” — Raven Crowl

“It’s been rewarding and inspiring to be with people that love and care about life so much. Thanks for teaching me so many different things.” — Denise Bertoncino

“What fun, what joy, what a solid experience. To see all of us join together to create the hermitage was inspiring. This will continue to inspire me into building my own dwelling. Thank you!!!” — Cassandra Bachrad

“What a privilege, what a blessing to be part of building the first retreat building on your beautiful property. May the love spread through all who come to experience  peace in creation at its best.” — George Kilmer

“It has been a beautiful experience learning about beautiful buildings that help save the Earth and meeting such wonderful people in such a beautiful setting. Thank you all.” –Jim McKinney

“What a wonderful piece of Oklahoma! I have very much enjoyed the time I have been here and enjoyed the spirit of this place. I wish peace for all who come here. Thanks.” –Scott Jordan


“Your kindness and the community that has formed here make me fall in love with Oklahoma all over again. I feel so thankful for the old, open wisdom that has been shared. So many wonderful lives. Love it!”  — Steven Wooley


“Have you ever felt as if you could see the world in every direction? The labyrinth at Turtle Rock Farm is perched on top of a rolling hill, surrounded by wildflowers and prairie grasses and as you walk the sacred path, you can see beauty in every direction. Come and see.” — Jeni Markham Clewell

“What an amazing experience! Thank you ladies for sharing your love and land with us all. The labyrinth retreat is a must for anyone seeking to dive deeper into themselves.”– Shela and Kiran, Tulsa

“When you come to Turtle Rock, the world changes. There is an intentional connection to Earth, to the past, to the present, to the future. Turtle Rock is a place of incredible grace, a place of peace.” — Paul Calkin

“Awakened to a world washed clean from thundershowers. The birds are cheerful and greet us with morning song. A lovely retreat to enjoy the wonders of creation! My only sadness – it was much too brief. Eager to return.” — Shelley R.

“Thank you so much for your hospitality and generosity. Our kids had such a blast feeding the animals and using the kayaks and canoe. The fresh eggs were delicious and your home was so cozy and comfortable. We enjoyed being out in nature and being together as a family. The kids LOVED it all!” — Lisa, Madi and Christian

“A blizzard on the first day of spring. I should be worried about getting home, but I can’t find it in myself. There’s such peace here. Thank you for a quiet place to rest with God.”– Sara Marie Bodenstein

“We came for a gardening workshop and found so much more. We treasured our time here due to the incredible scenery and lovely people. We felt welcomed and at home. These days helped us rekindle our love and commitment to Earth. Thank you for sharing your land, passion and talents.” — Wendy

“This retreat is a great idea. Women who are military can get together to bond, share their stories and life with others who have the same experience. It is a ‘happy’ place.” — J

“Just knowing we, the women of the United States military, are not alone is beautiful. Thank you to Turtle Rock.” — Max, US Army

“I loved camping on the hill – beautiful views of the Oklahoma prairie. Beautiful place – thanks for sharing.” — M.C.

“Wow! What a peaceful, lovely place. Thank you for your hospitality. Looking forward to future visits and more peace…” — Molly Helm

“‘Unless you find belonging in your solitude, your external longing will remain needy and driven.’ Thanks again for your hospitality in this Sacred Space. Gracias! Blessings! Namaste!” — Mary Lou Bender