Saturday, April 6, 2013

Why We Gather (and why we want you to come to Las Vegas this weekend!)


I'm getting ready for our Las Vegas Power of Moms Retreat this weekend.  It is going to be an incredible event, and every time I see a registration come in, my stomach jumps a little as I think about each deliberate mother I get to meet.

My feelings are a little bittersweet, though, because I've decided to cut back on the number of Retreats I attend in order to spend more time with my mom.  This one in Las Vegas and our May 4th Retreat in Park City may be my last for awhile.  (But you never know, things could change!  I'm just going to make sure I enjoy every minute of it.)

Planning this Retreat has really got me thinking about why we gather.

Why do moms need each other? What is it about these in-person experiences that changes us and strengthens our lives?

The best answer that I can come up with is that when we gather together, face to face, we expand our ability to influence and our ability to be influenced.  

When we're in our homes, typing on our computers or making spaghetti or unhooking the ping-pong net from the dining room table, we get caught up in our own little imperfect worlds.  So much of our motherhood lives is full of the same routines, the same frustrations, and the same insecurities holding us back.

But when we get together, we realize that all the long hours and hard work we invest in our families is actually quite magnificent.  We'll share a small idea that's helped us, and we get to see others' faces light up as they realize that our "small idea" will do wonders for their own families.

We get to hear about other moms living courageously and stretching their abilities, and we think, "Maybe, just maybe, I could do that, too."

Somehow, when we step out from behind our computers, do our hair and make-up, put on some nice clothes (nothing fancy necessary!), and sit side-by-side with other moms who really care about motherhood, we open ourselves up to great ideas and we recognize the fact that our motherhood skill set is nothing short of incredible.

I'm getting more excited every second.

Part of the gathering we're having in Las Vegas includes a special "Dreaming Night" this Friday--where we'll have a couple of brief speakers, lots of tasty snacks, and powerful, facilitated small-group discussions focused on helping mothers inspire one another to dream.

We held an event similar to this in January, and the wonderfully talented Macy Robison photographed it for us.

I thought I'd post a few of her photos here to help explain a bit more about what we do. (Because someone who doesn't know us might look at an event like this and wonder if we're all a bunch of crazy people.  Oh, I hope no one thinks that.)

We start out with low-key mingling.  We give the attendees suggested questions to discuss (related to the topic of the night), and everyone just gets to say hi.  Lots of smiles.  No judging.  Just a bunch of moms making new friends.
The "buzz" in the room is always neat to watch.  No matter how shy or nervous you (or I) might be at first, within moments, we all feel welcomed into the group. 
At our first "Evening of Inspiration"/Dreaming Night, we were privileged to hear from Whitney Johnson, author of Dare, Dream, Do.  She spoke about how it is our privilege and responsibility to dream.   I just LOVE her.
This is me.  I always get nervous before I speak because I don't want anyone to think that I think I know everything, but I'm hopeful that the ideas I share will be helpful to others.  It's SO much different to speak to a live audience than to sit here in my kitchen typing away while I'm wearing my polka-dotted pajamas.  (Maybe we need to have Power of Moms PAJAMA parties!)
This is Saren, my co-director at Power of Moms.  She's like a big sister to all of us in the Power of Moms community.  As the oldest of nine children, she learned at an early age how to organize groups of people and help them to accomplish some pretty great things.  That's what she does for us with all these Retreats, workshops and get-togethers.  Every time we hold one of these events, we're building on her dream.
Aren't these lovely ladies?  The biggest regret I have from this last "Dream Night" was not having enough time to talk one-on-one with each of the moms there.  We email, read each other's blogs, and share SO MUCH of the same highs and lows in our lives, but our time together in person seems to evaporate way too quickly.
The very best part of our evening events is when we break into small groups and just get the chance to talk with each other.  Tiffany, on the right, will be there this Friday and Saturday with me in Las Vegas.  If you haven't met her yet, you'll really want to.  Down-to-earth, funny, thoughtful, deliberate, optimistic, organized, smart . . . so glad I know her.
Here's a snapshot of the group discussions.  I wish I could jump into this picture and hear what they're talking about.
Here are Monica and Dawn (and sorry I don't know the mom on the right!).  Monica has been to several of our Retreats (Monica, are you coming this weekend?), and Dawn is on our board (she's the one who helped me totally get over all my body issues).  Love these women.
My friend Suzanne came and brought her DARLING newborn.  If I ever get a free moment at one of our Power of Moms events, I do whatever I can to borrow a baby for a few minutes.  I MISS this!  (But I do love sleeping all night . . .)

This is Macy Robison, Chrislyn Woolston, DeAnne Flynn, and Me.  It's so fun to spend time with friends.

At this particular event, we also got to hear a closing keynote from Saren's mom, Linda Eyre.  I admire her so much.  She is one of the first women who ever encouraged me to pursue my dreams.  She makes you feel like a million bucks and is so humble about all of her accomplishments.  Can't wait to see her in May.  (The Park City Retreat is at her house!)
All right, I think that's a pretty good walk through our event.  Let me know if you have any questions, okay?

If there's any chance you can join us in Las Vegas, please do.  (I even have a little room in my car if anyone else wants to drive up from Southern California.)  It's open to mothers of all religions, family size, background, age, etc., and we're even willing to work with you on price if you're having a difficult time right now.

Click here for the information page of the Las Vegas Power of Moms Retreat.

For those of you who have already registered, I can't wait to meet in person.  Please don't be nervous, okay?  And if you have a meltdown while you're getting ready to go this week, don't worry about that, either.  It's totally normal.

Love,
April

7 comments:

  1. I'm coming to the Vegas retreat this weekend! (I live in Henderson). I am SO excited for this opportunity to really talk to like-minded moms face to face. I'm somewhat new to the area, trying to meet people, extending myself, inviting, joining, serving, etc. . . . but what I am craving is some GOOD mom talk! :) Can't wait to meet you and the other moms who will be there! And sorry, I don't have a newborn baby to share with you.

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    1. Can't wait to meet you this weekend Shannon! I'll be there as well :)

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    2. Shannon, I'm so excited that tomorrow is the day! Looking forward to our time together. xo

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  2. I would love to see a retreat in Arizona.

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  3. You're kind. I'm not so sure anyone has ever called me optimistic before! Can't wait to see you next weekend. xx

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  4. I absolutely loved every detail about this weekend in Vegas with you ladies. My stress was lifted, I met some amazing women, and my confidence has changed. I needed a pick me up to remind me I CAN be a happy mom to 5 kids, and be deliberate. I was so focused on the things that were worrying me, that I stink at, that I was not finding much joy in mothering. I feel like I have a new plan to accomplish finding more joy in my every day life. The word that I would use to describe all of you ladies-April, Tiffany, Jonelle, and Cheryl, is GENUINE. I already knew that about Cheryl. :) I love genuine people, and genuine mothers are my new favorite group of people. You ALL are amazing. Thank you for changing my focus. <3 Angela B.

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    1. It was WONDERFUL to meet you, Angela! Thank you for coming to the Retreat, and thanks for all your kind words. Genuine mothers are my favorite group of people, too, and we had such a great group at this Retreat. We're all here for each other. xo

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