This Retreat was particularly special because (1) we also held our annual Power of Moms Board Gathering where I got to meet with 20 of my dearest friends (some for the very first time!) and (2) this was my last Retreat for awhile as I'm simplifying my schedule so I can spend more time with my mom (she's home from the rehabilitation center now!).
Here are some photos from the Retreat:
First, Andrea Davis and Rachel Nielson. Andrea works on our Book Team, and Rachel is one of our editors. This was my first time meeting both of them. Such a treat!
Tiffany Sowby (our wonderful Retreat Manager and Trainer Manager), and Dawn Wessman, our Bloom Manager.
Here are Saren and Rachelle (Rachelle does our spotlights and was the professional photographer at the event):
And here's Elsje Denison (from our dedicated editing team), Rachel, and Jessee Ure (one of our newest board members!):
Mary Croxford and Megan Stewart work with our Monthly Value:
And this is JaNae Messick, our Mind Organization for Moms Team Leader, who is also planning the D.C. Retreat with Saren, and Lacy Anderson, who has worked with our podcasts and is jumping into some new roles on our board:
Koni Smith handles every email that comes in through our "Contact Us" form, which is a huge help on a daily basis, and Alisha (on the right) is our Content Manager, which means that all submissions go straight to her. (She and I got to travel together, and it was so fun!)
Here are the board members who fit at this main table (thank you Eyres for welcoming us into your home!). Allyson Reynolds, who runs our Motherhood Matters blog, Christy Elder, our podcast editor, and Anna Jenkins, our Publications Manager and "Scholarship" Coordinator, weren't pictured above, so you can see them below (far right, peeking out from the middle, and far left):
Koni, JaNae, Saren, Lacy, Linda, and I sat across the kitchen at this table.
We enjoyed a lovely dinner and had a two-hour board meeting, where we discussed ways we can help Power of Moms better serve the mothers of the world. SO many ideas. (I'm still processing them!)
Here's our new photo for our Board Page (But oh, how we need the other half of our board in there. Next year . . .):
After our meeting, we just talked and talked, set up chairs for the Retreat the next day, and took pictures together.
Here's me and Dawn:
And Me and Allyson:
We stayed up way too late chatting, but it was so much fun to hang out in our pajamas and just enjoy time with people we never get to see in person!
Saturday morning, we were up bright and early to get ready for the Retreat. More than 80 people came, and it was spectacular.
Saren and I slipped out to the front porch to take a quick photo together:
Someday we're going to be grandmas, and we're going to talk about those "good old days" when we were young mothers putting on so many events.
This is me and JaNae, who I have been emailing for months, and I felt like I already knew her. It was an instant friendship once we finally got to connect in person.
And just one more of me and Rachelle. Rachelle is one of those people who is so thoughtful. She sends me encouraging text messages, mails a card for my birthday, and just watches out for me. I feel such a sisterhood with these ladies.
Every time I see a room full of deliberate mothers ready to start a Retreat, it takes my breath away.
Tiffany did a fantastic job talking about being "Fabulously Ordinary." Have you read her post? It touched my heart deeply.
Incredible mothers. As I look through these pictures and reflect on my conversations with them, I am honestly in awe.
We spent the morning talking about Peace, Purpose, Order, and Joy--the themes in our Power of Moms book (if you don't have a copy, Sunday is the very last day to get this first edition!). These women are so insightful.
In the afternoon, we talked about Family Systems, and we had a few husbands join us (because it's so much better to talk about these ideas with your spouse, if possible). I loved meeting them.
A Power of Moms Retreat is always full of discussions. That's why I like these so much. Everyone gets a chance to teach, and often it's the ideas learned in the small groups that really hit home.
At the end of the Retreat, we have to say our "Goodbyes," which are always the hardest for me.
We take photos with our new friends. There are lots of hugs. Occasionally we get to hear some of the stories these mothers are carrying in their hearts.
This is me and Sarah, who was in my freshman dorm back in 1996. I LOVE these mini-reunions and only wish we had more time to talk.
It was fun to finally meet Kirsten and Brooke from The Crafting Chicks. There are so many sharp women building online communities. I appreciate the chances we have to connect.
This is just about half of our editing team (Elsje, Rachel, Anna, Alisha, and Sarah). It's so funny that we work together just about every single day, but we only see each other once a year. These women are the ones who make the daily content on Power of Moms happen.
I had to snap a photo with Linda Eyre, one of the most influential women in my life.
I never dreamed in a million years that her daughter would become one of my very best friends and that we would be working together to strengthen mothers and families.
This is a dream come true for me.
And now I'm back home with my husband and children--living through all the chaos that is inherent with family life. I've been exhausted and kind of grumpy and a little overwhelmed, but in spite of all our imperfections, this is my number one dream. I'm grateful to be part of a family.