You know how, in motherhood, you often feel like "it's just me"? Well, at a Power of Moms Retreat, it is exactly the opposite. You spend a whole day with like-minded women who are going through pretty much the exact same situations you're going through, and while you're together, you talk and share and laugh and get a little choked up, and you think, "I can totally do this motherhood thing. And I can be good at it. And I'm not alone. Not one bit."
It's incredibly powerful.
I have a lot of photos to post here--some from my camera, the rest from my sweet friends and board members, Emily (she blogs at Emmy Mom), Allyson (allysonreynolds.blogspot.com), and Tiffany (ourmostofthetimehappyfamily.blogspot.com).
I went up Friday night and met Tiffany and her sister-in-law Cindy, who helped set up the chairs and coordinate the details for Saturday. (SO grateful for their willingness to pitch in!)
And then Allyson met up with me and took me to her favorite Japanese restaurant, which was such a treat, since Allyson lived in Japan for a year and a half, and I'd never really eaten Japanese food before.
The food was so beautiful that I had to take a picture.
And Allyson thought it would be funny to take a picture of me taking a picture, so we have these matching photos (except the lighting is way better on hers).
It's so fun to hang out with special friends. I need to do this kind of thing more often.
Saturday morning, we got up bright and early to get ready for the Retreat. We were so fortunate to be able to hold it at the Palmers' home again this year. Lisa is one of the most kind, supportive, easy-going women I know, and she was gracious enough to let us spend a full day focusing on motherhood in a lovely home environment.
My friend Lauralynn brought Alia up and back for me on Saturday, so it was sweet to get to have her with us. She says that she doesn't like "missing out on cool Power of Moms events."
Here's Emily, Lauralynn (and Adam), Cindy, and Tammy--getting to know each other before the Retreat started.
And this is my dear sister Laura:
Around 9:00, we gathered in the main room for our Mind Organization for Moms session. (This is the program we have at Power of Moms that is based on GTD, which has totally transformed the way I process emails, papers, ideas, projects, tasks, etc. I love this system, and I love having the chance to teach it.)
That session lasted about three hours, and Julia, Emily, Lisa, Tiffany, and Allyson helped out with the break-out groups and shared some of their experiences with the program.
Then we had a lovely lunch, which was beautifully organized by Marinda and Melanie (thanks ladies!) and partially sponsored by the La Canada Panera restaurant. We love Panera. It's my favorite dinner spot for date night. (I could live on their broccoli cheese soup, BBQ Chicken salad, and whole grain baguettes.)
Thank you, Panera!
After lunch, we did our "Taking Care of the Person inside the Mom" session.
It just does my heart good to see moms with little babies at our Retreats. I know it's a lot of work to feed, diaper, rock, and care for your little ones while you're also trying to take notes on your phone or participate in group discussions. But I wish every mom could have a retreat-type experience--especially when life is so busy with the little ones.
My friend Lauralynn is on the right, and on the left is Merrick, of the lovely blog, Merrick's Art. After reading through so many of her creative posts, it was fun to meet in person!
Sarah Hull (from A Hull Lot of Fun) talked about taking care of ourselves socially, and she did a beautiful job sharing her thoughts on "Warrior Moms." I need to ask her if I can post her whole speech. It was just beautiful.
This darling mom, Heather, taught us about caring for our physical bodies, and she did a brief exercise routine with all of us. We did a series of squats for about five minutes to some fun music. I had a smile plastered across my face through the whole thing. Such a great way to get the wiggles out . . . especially before eating our afternoon chocolate treats!
And Alisha, Allyson, Tiffany, Emily, and Julia shared so many inspiring ideas. Looking back on the day, I should have turned way more time over to them. I really like the sitting-down-and-listening more than the standing-up-and-presenting, and they are all such great, deliberate mothers.
(For any of you who write for Power of Moms, or who would like to write for us, this is Alisha Gale, our main editor. We email just about every day, and we don't see nearly enough of each other, so this was a treat.)
Isn't Allyson's smile in this photo so cute?
Alisha and Allyson!
And if you attend a Power of Moms Retreat, chances are you'll get to know Tiffany very well! She's our Retreat Manager, and she does such a fantastic job. Not only does she get all the logistics taken care of, but she works with any mom who wants to come to the Retreat and figures out what it will take to get her there. It was so nice that she got to attend this Retreat and share some of her great stories. We just love her!
And this is Laurie Brooks, who has helped out with Power of Moms for years. She's one of the authors in our book, Deliberate Motherhood (along with Allyson and Tiffany), and she is amazing. She and Tiffany were both at our very first Power of Moms Retreat in 2010, so it was a fun reunion.
I met Julia at last year's L.A. Retreat, and wow, was it fun to see her again. She has started a beautiful blog called "Blueberries in the Morning," and I had read and commented on it without even knowing it was hers. She has children who are a little older than mine, so I'm soaking up every word she says about college applications, family vacations, teaching teens about work and money, etc. Such a sharp, kind, incredible lady.
At the end of the day, we spent a couple of hours on Family Systems, and Alia couldn't wait to help present. We talked about our past family t-shirts, how we organize money and discipline, and how things generally run at our house. I love having my daughter there with me.
This is just a quick video to show some of the discussion that takes place at each Retreat. Watching everyone share and learn is empowering to me.
And here are a few group photos (this one has Alia in it):
This one has Emily in it (wish I had more photos of her, but she was the one with the camera!):
Just looking at these photos brings back so many happy memories. I meet some of the best women in the world at these Retreats. They are kind, good women who are building strong families. They share excellent ideas, they offer hope to each other, and they show me that even though it seems like the world is falling apart sometimes, there are strong, amazing families everywhere.
Here's one last photo of "the team" (missing Sarah):
|Lisa, Alisha, April, Emily, Marinda, Julia, Allyson, Tiffany, and Melanie|
Allyson was shocked when I told her I didn't know how to exfoliate my face and properly take care of my skin. (She had this huge bag of cleansers and moisturizers, and I didn't know what she did with all of them!)
So we dropped by the grocery store and Allyson bought me an early birthday present.
And then we got a yummy frozen yogurt. Such a great way to end the day!
And if you want to come to our Couples Retreat on February 8th, please do! It's going to be a great date night.