Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Southern California Power of Moms Retreat is COMING!

Three years ago, I made a vision board to hang on the wall.  At the very top of my "Pie in the Sky" list was to put on a Power of Moms Retreat.

And now, due mostly to the incredible work of my Power of Moms partner, Saren, the generosity of Lisa Palmer, who has offered to open her gorgeous home to us for the weekend, and our two amazing Retreat Organizers, Sarah and Susan, we are getting ready to host our 11th Retreat . . . this one right here in California.

April Perry, Susan Chapman, Saren Loosli, and Sarah Chapman -- the last time we were all together -- Dana Point Power of Moms Retreat, September 2010

If I'd never attended a Retreat like this, I would probably be scared to death--thinking things like,

What if the people there don't like me?

What if I don't have anything cute to wear?

What if everyone is talking about how they are perfect moms, and I end up sitting in the corner crying?

I know those thoughts sound silly, but I'm not always rational.

So in case there is a mom out there with similar worries, let me share a little more about what happens at a Power of Moms Retreat. 

The purpose behind these Retreats is to gather moms in a comfortable, beautiful, professional setting so we can become stronger, happier, more deliberate mothers.

Every career has training conferences.  And whether you work at another job or not, what's more important than raising children?  Mothers definitely need and deserve a chance to get away, assess how things are going in their families, and discuss powerful ideas with other mothers.  Wouldn't you agree?

When you first arrive at the Retreat, you'll most likely be greeted with a hug (from me, at least . . . I can't stop myself), and then we'll take some time to get to know each other with a game called "Speed Friend-shipping."   Every few minutes, we'll switch partners, and after about 15 minutes, we'll all be best friends.  Seriously.  It happens every time.  (No one is crying in the corner.)

Photo by Saren

Then we'll start the sessions, which are basically interactive group discussions.  There are a few minutes here and there where you'll listen to one speaker or a panel, but for the most part, the presenters are sharing ideas and then asking for feedback.  We're all here to learn from each other.

Photo by Shawni
This picture makes me feel all warm and cozy inside.  I LOVE these ladies!

The hardest part about going to a Retreat, for me, is having to leave all my new friends.  (Thank goodness we have the website to unite us.)

Photo by Shawni

On Friday (January 27th), I'll be presenting the Mind Organization for Moms seminar, and I'm hopeful that this time I'm going to get some help from Sarah Chapman, who is a pro at implementing the system (and she makes it looks so PRETTY!).

For those of you who don't know me, M.O.M. is my passion.  Helping moms manage papers, ideas, goals, projects, and the incessant workload is one of my main purposes in life. The three hours we'll spend together at this session will be magical.

Photo by Shawni
And on Saturday, after we focus on "Taking Care of the Person Inside the Mom," participate in a thought-provoking presentation by Susan Chapman, and hear from Beth Aldrich (author of a book I think you'll love), we'll break for lunch and enjoy some small group discussions--on topics like balance, joy in motherhood, parenting partnerships, and helping children learn to love housework.

These lunch groups are my favorite.  It's not like high school, where you have to be "cool" to sit on certain lunch benches.  Everyone's invited.  Everyone participates.  Everyone matters. 

Photo by Shawni

After lunch, we'll focus on Family Systems--how to create a family legal system, a family economy, and a strong family culture.  Saren is WONDERFUL at this, and her enthusiasm is contagious. Then we finish up with practical ways to move good ideas forward, and we give everyone a few minutes to sit in quiet and digest what they've learned and where they feel is the most important place to start.  (The last thing we want is for anyone to leave a Retreat feeling overwhelmed, so we really try to make the transition home as smooth as possible.)

Once the Retreat is over, we talk and talk and talk until we know we need to get home.  There are lots of photographs, more hugs, email exchanges, and promises that we'll be in touch.  Because, really, how often do you get to meet in a room full of mothers who are as passionate about shaping the future as you are?

It is powerful, beautiful, unique, and life-changing--each and every time.

Click here to read a few letters we've received from participants once they returned home.

If you think there's any way you'd be able to attend, please take some time to review our registration page.

We probably won't be doing another Retreat in California for at least a year, and while we do need to cover the costs involved in making something like this happen, we are very willing to work with you on pricing if you need it.

*We also have a friend who is doing a giveaway (ending tomorrow) for a half-price Retreat ticket.  Click here for more information.

I really, really hope to meet you soon.

Much love,

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

It's Not Just You

I'm over at The Power of Moms today with a post titled "It's Not Just You" (for any mom who feels like she's the only one who isn't totally put together).

And if it makes anyone feel better, I'm still in my sweats right now (un-exercised), surrounded by laundry, contemplating whether or not I'll clean the upstairs bathroom today.

Life is still beautiful.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Family Testimony Journals

One of my favorite things is starting a new year. 

Grace made this cute little pop-up card for me that made me smile:

And don't you think the new year is a great time to start thinking about traditions?

At a Power of Moms Retreat, Saren taught us to base family traditions on the qualities we want our children to develop.  Since the main goal my husband and I have for our children is to help them draw closer to the Lord, we decided to create a tradition of writing in Family Testimony Journals. This is something we can do during special holidays, birthdays, or meaningful family moments.

I found these nice, leather-bound journals at Target last year for about $10 each, and since they only had two in stock at a time, I went back three months in a row in order to get the six I needed for our family members.  

Then last night--and hopefully every New Year's Day from now on--we gathered around the kitchen table and wrote our testimonies of Christ in our journals.   (Except Spencer.  He had to go to bed early, but he did draw a picture in his journal back in April when we first started writing in these.)

We gave our children the following prompts:
  • How do you feel about the Lord?
  • What experiences this past year have helped you to know Christ better?
  • When have your prayers been answered?
  • What habits have you developed that strengthen your spirit?
  • How do you plan to be closer to God in the coming year?
When we finished, we read each other's entries.  It was one of the sweetest experiences I've had.  

Eric and I work so hard to help our children to know God, and we remind them each day that their testimonies have to come from within.  No one can live on borrowed light. 

This exercise has also been powerful for us, as the parents, because we can see how our own spirits are growing each year, and we can share that process with our children.

Family living is often chaotic.  The workload is heavy, the responsibility is huge, and the rewards aren't always immediate.  (Right now, I'm sitting in my pajamas, surrounded by toys, dishes, and little ones who are anxious to get outside.)

But when we take the time to be deliberate--to create traditions that really mean something and build the character and spirit of our children, it all feels worth it.

Do you have any spiritually-strengthening traditions in your family that you would like to share?  I'd love to hear them.
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