Thursday, April 18, 2013

Our 2013 Las Vegas Retreat

This past weekend, I had the chance to go to our Power of Moms Retreat in Las Vegas. During one of the discussion groups, I slipped out to take this photo:

It was such a beautiful home, and I felt privileged to be there.  (Thank you from the bottom of our hearts, Dyana!)

Before I go any further, however, I need to explain that my life isn't just one happy Retreat after the next.   I do love these amazing events, and often times writing up a "Retreat Report" is what gets me to post on this blog, but 99% of the time, I'm just doing my best to keep my head above water.  (Just wanted to be clear!)

This week, in particular, I have had such a bad case of Post-Retreat Let-Down Syndrome (that was even the topic of Monday's radio show with Saren).  And with all the worry and mourning over the Boston Marathon tragedy, I haven't even had the heart to write.

But today, even though I didn't shower until 5 pm and I kind of had a meltdown in front of Alia during a stressful moment, I wanted to share a little with you about this Retreat.  It was wonderful, and I hope you can come to one soon!

On the drive there, my new friend Briana Johnson and I recorded this video together where we talked about what we were hoping to get out of the Retreat:

We had a four-hour drive, a fun morning together in Las Vegas (even got to take a nap!), and then we picked up Tiffany Sowby at the airport.  I can't tell you how glad I was to have Tiffany and Briana there with me.  They are so fun and so sincerely interested in helping other moms.  I loved our time together.

This is me and Tiffany right before the Friday night event started:

Greeting everyone is one of my favorite parts of the Retreat.  (I try not to hug anyone who looks afraid of me, but typically everyone is so nice and hugs me right back.)

New friends:

Friday night we had our "Dream Night" where we got to talk about what a privilege it is to dream--and then we had a series of discussion groups where we talked about making our dreams into reality.  I have a TON of notes from that night. Amazing, inspiring women were sharing their tips and tricks (and heartaches), and I left with a whole list of resources I need to look into.

(I didn't take many photos Friday night, but I did take a lot on Saturday, so I'll just briefly walk you through them below.)

Part of our Retreats consist of prepared presentations:

And then we break into discussion groups (which is my favorite part):

I love the power of deliberate mothers.  These women are phenomenal.

This is Jonelle Hughes.  She and Cheryl Cardall made this Retreat happen.  They took care of all the details "on the ground" and helped present, as well.  It was wonderful to meet Jonelle for the first time and see Cheryl again.

Jonelle shared this brilliant idea of a "Contentment Basket."  She fills a basket with things that really strengthen her throughout the day--like books, a creative project, an exercise DVD, and even little symbols that remind her of who she wants to be and how she wants to care for herself.  She carries this basket with her, occasionally, as she moves around the house.

We all loved that idea.

Jonelle used to be a doula, and she said that when mothers in labor would say, "I can't do this anymore.  I have to give up!"  that really meant, "I need support."

I mentioned that to Alia today, and she said, "Then Mom, can you just tell me when you need support instead of crying all the time?"  (I don't cry all the time, but I admit I should cry less . . .)

Here's our panel with Jonelle, Dyana (our hostess), Shannon Brown, and Cheryl Cardall (led by Tiffany):

And more discussions:

Cheryl's husband was kind enough to deliver the lunch (so I snapped a quick photo of the two of them together).

We extend a HUGE thank you to Marcus and Tina Stewart, who own the Great Harvest at 6475 N. Decatur Blvd. in Las Vegas.  They sponsored the lunch for our Retreat (thereby helping us keep costs down and bring more moms to the Retreat at a discounted rate), and the food was absolutely delicious!  

If you ever need a great lunch in Las Vegas, this is the place!

Dawn (center) was one of our participants who had a dream of becoming a Zumba instructor.  So during our Saturday session, she led us in a 3-minute workout.  So cute!

We all agreed that we would definitely take classes from her, if she were in our area.

We had lots more discussion time:

And I know this is a silly-looking picture, but I demonstrated how I wear my "Angry Hat" that when I am upset with my children and need them to know it isn't their fault (because sometime mom just feels "angry").  I have a whole post on that at Power of Moms.

Tiffany talked about this "Above and Beyond" list from which her children can pick extra jobs to do:

I have this dream of creating a whole series of Power of Moms t-shirts (our first one is in the works right now).  This is a little sample of a shirt I want every mom to have (but it will be much nicer and won't use an iron-on).

This is a video of some of my closing words at the Retreat (in case you'd like to see a little snippet):

For part of the Retreat, we split into groups based on ages of children.  It was great to see such in-depth conversations taking place:

We also gave everyone a little time to write down the main thoughts they wanted to take away from the day:

This is Jessee, and we're going to record a podcast together (don't forget to email me, Jessee!).  Her children are both under three, so some of the ideas we discussed will need to wait until her children are a bit older, but she said, "I don't want to wait until I'm in the middle of a crisis before I learn how to run my home and family.  I want to learn now while my children are young."  I think that is FABULOUS.

This is a photo of Tiffany, Dyana, Aleesha (Dyana's sister who flew into town to help with everything), and me.  I love these ladies.  They are truly deliberate mothers who have gone through a lot of hard things--but they care deeply about their families and they live their lives with purpose, doing whatever they can to help others.

Here's our group photo:

At the end of each Retreat, I'm always sad to say goodbye.  I do feel a bit relieved, and I am always excited to get home to my family, but there's something bittersweet about knowing you'll never be in the same room again with that exact group of women.  I just consider these Retreats a special gift.

Our May 4th Park City Retreat is the last one I am going to attend for awhile (so I can spend more time with my mom), and Tiffany is doing a Dallas Retreat May 18th.  If there's any way you can attend one of these, please do.  I know you'll love it.

Much love,



  1. I am SO glad we got you here before you cut back! You are such an amazing teacher and an inspiration to me! Thank you for all your hard work!

  2. Thanks for doing these posts! I'd love to attend every retreat and this helps me glean a little from your experience. I can't wait for May, but right now I'm headed to Walmart to find a "special" hat!!! PS Love your polka dot shirt!!

  3. Sounds like it was a great weekend as usual! Sorry the post retreat let down was so strong this time-- las week was definitely it was a bit of an emotional one. It truly is amazing how much you do and how many women you truly truly help and change their lives!

  4. oh April it is so fun to see our video!!! i think that for our first time, we did pretty good...besides me cutting my face in half for most of the time:) i am sooooo grateful for you and the time that you invested into me and my dreams. i feel completely enriched and empowered to go forth with these new tools i have learned. can't wait to see you again:)


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