Friday, May 13, 2011

Stamp. Retreat. Renew.

We’ve done it three years in a row now. The first weekend in May, I gather up some friends and we head south for about an hour, to a ranch located in remote West Texas. We spend a few minutes unloading all of our most precious worldly belongings and we settle in for a weekend of uninterrupted creative time.

If you called it a scrapbooking retreat, you’d miss the point. It’s much more than that. Sure, lots of gals do spend the entire time adding parcels of love to their scrapbooks. They carefully select pictures, take time to organize and arrange a layout to include story telling with a visual expression of love.

I’ve tried calling it a stamp retreat. It’s much more than that. Some gals will create beautiful works of art that they will give away. It’s like sectioning off tiny pieces of your heart and spreading it out. Sometimes, gals will spend hours creating little messages of love that they intend for complete strangers. Donating their art to charity. I’ve seen it over and over.

This year, all the gals at retreat were blessed with the company of a tiny precious baby. It’s unusual for a new mom to bring a baby to something like this. She might worry that the baby would be a distraction. She might worry someone would be upset. Oh, my friends, not so. It was so terrific that I plan on recruiting a new mom every year! Having that tiny baby at retreat just made everything we experienced calmer. More precious. Can you imagine?

Retreat is a time for you. Whatever you need, seek, miss or have forgotten about you will find at retreat. I can’t explain it. It’s a feeling.

There are some things about retreat that can be explained. I can easily share the bottom line. This year ten beautiful friends created: 248 scrapbook pages, 57 cards, 7 MDS pages, 5 mini flip albums, 4 fabric, projects, 4 journals, 2 calendars, 1 basket, and 1 plate cover. We ate meals lovingly prepared for us. Delicious food that filled our bellies and our souls. We slept in beds prepared by those same loving hands. The quiet of the morning is only interrupted by birds singing or rain on the roof. (Yes! Despite the horrible wildfires and drought in our area, there was a brief morning rain on Sunday.)

Some friends stay up late and enjoy creating in the stillness of the night. Other friends might turn in early, and wake up before dawn to enjoy a brisk morning walk and quiet time at their table before the group tumbles in. At all times, there is laughter. At all times, peace. At all times, appreciation for this weekend that passes all too quickly.

I often found myself sitting at my table just watching my friends. Gals sometimes will group up and spend some time looking at a friend’s project. Can you imagine having your own personal cheering section for everything you do for an entire weekend? Share your scrapbook or card or album with one of these friends, and you will feel a deep sense of appreciation and respect. Your work is beautiful!

Retreat weekend is a blessing. Friends, mark your calendars for next year. Friday, May 4th through Sunday, May 6th. You will be richly blessed.

** Thank you to Karen C, Patsi H and Terri F for the photographs.

*** Additional disclaimer….. This is my job. Sometimes, I have to pinch myself because I can’t believe my good luck!


  1. Love the pics! Looks like you all had a wonderful time!