Tag Archives: renewal

Saying good-bye to an AMAZING week!

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good friends

It has been a wonderful week.

This was a vacation built around rest and relationships…

Exactly what we stood most in need of during this season of life.

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With our shared path forking into multiple directions in the coming month, this week of connection with friends and family was a wonderful gift before everyone embarks on their individual adventures.

The houseboat provided us the forced rest and stillness that is so hard to find in most other vacations we take. Rather than soaking up local sites and experiences, we soaked up sun. We moved through our days at a languid pace with no agenda or responsibilities driving us.

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It was a week built on simply being present,

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And was such a blessed gift.

Much of our week was spent floating in the water with the sun warming our faces,

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But we also spent time pampering ourselves,

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Playing games,

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Feasting on good food,

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Making friends with the local wildlife,

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Toby came very close to accidently stepping on this copperhead hiding in the brush.

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Soaking up the beauty of God’s creation,

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Capturing it through our lenses,

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And enjoying the blessed gift of laughter with friends.

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It was sad to see our time on Norris Lake come to a close, but all good things must come to an end.

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On Friday morning we prepared to disembark at the marina. The boat had to be returned at 10:00 am. Knowing this, the kids woke early for a final swim and kayaking through the morning fog that had settled on the lake.

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Bags were packed and piles we gathered as we headed back to the marina.

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We enjoyed a final ride on the top deck, soaking in the scenery and reflecting on the beauty and blessings of the week.

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Then it was all ashore as we unloaded the boat and repacked our cars for the trek home.

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It was an amazing week…

Simply magical.

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How grateful I am for this time of rest and renewal and the people I got to share it with!

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Red Door Retreat

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Every year I run away for a few days to scrapbook.

This tradition began over a decade ago when my dear friend, Becky, began planning a weekend retreat every January for her Creative Memories customers. It was a chance for us to get away and devote days to scrapbooking our lives without the interruption of everyday living. I have always had a strong testimony of the importance of recording the story of our lives and recording the evidence of God’s goodness in our lives. For me this began in the form of journaling, evolved into scrapbooking, and now is done primarily through blogging, but my heart is still most devoted to the art of scrapbooking. There is something almost spiritual found in the art of taking photos of those you love most, and combining them with written word and scraps of paper and lace, that fill my soul with joy.

My conviction about the importance of having a recording of our stories and capturing the moments of our lives through  photographs has only increased since we entered the world of adoption. I see how the lack of personal history in the form of scrapbooks or pictures hurt my boys, making me all the more determined that their current story be recorded and recorded well.

This annual scrapbook weekend also served the added purpose of being a time of rest and renewal. I was able to step away from the busyness of life that consumed my days and focus on self care, stillness, laughter, and creativity…all balms to my soul. And I could do it without feeling that nagging momma guilt, because I was gifting my family with something special and important.

Over time that weekend retreat evolved as some friends were lost and new friends were gained. It went from being Becky’s planned excursion at a bible college to something a group of us co-op moms picked up when that era ended.

For the last few years we have gone away scrapbooking for 3 days at Scraphappy, a charming little house rented out to scrapbooking groups like ours, but this year when we went to book it we discovered it had closed without notice. There was a moment of panic, as all of us really live for this creative retreat, but then we rallied and began searching for an alternative location.

That is when we stumbled across Red Door Retreat. Located near Sandusky, Ohio, this would prove to be a great Plan B!

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We left Tuesday morning with a packed mini van full of papers, photos, gifts, fabric, computers, stickers, and enough food to feed a small nation…eager for our time away to begin.

I was especially looking forward to a few days of respite.

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We arrived and discovered a sanctuary for our souls.

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The house was charming, and bright, and clean. The first floor contained our living area, kitchen, and four bedrooms with two twin beds each. There was a total of four bathrooms.

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Down a set of stairs lay our gathering place. It was an ideal workspace, set up for any type of crafter, with extra outlets, lots of light, and large personal work spaces.

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It our group we had an eclectic array of crafting going on this year. Typically we are all scrapbooking but this year we had Wendy working on a quilt for her son’s graduation gift, Corrina making homemade cards, Lana and Tauni scrapbooking traditionally and I spent three days digitally scrapbooking.

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While not my first choice, a digital scrapbook was the only choice for scrapbooking our seven week trip around the country. If I had scrapbooked traditionally I would have probably filled 10 albums, so a digital book was the best plan.

Over those three days I managed to complete my 90 page bus trip album and a 50 page Disneyland album…a huge success for someone so tech challenged!

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It was a wonderful three days. Most of our day was spent crafting, but we also made plenty of time for late night chats, lingering meals, and a lot of laughter and fun,

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Which came in the form of:

Fun gifts like this creative, homemade zippered container from Wendy. We always look forward to her home-sewn gifts!

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 Of Pandora II,

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A “Headbands” game created by the Hudak kids for our weekend,

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and fun prizes.

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It was just the escape I needed to catch my breath, refocus on the big picture, and reflect on all the blessing waiting for me at home.

Sometimes a girl just needs to get away

To want to come back home.