I am on a creative high after our retreat this past weekend! I can't wait to get my home ready for the holidays! I literally got out of my car and opened my packages from World Market and decorated my porch for Thanksgiving.
After unloading my car, I bribed my son-in-law to bring up the Christmas tree...it's not too early, right? My kids think I'm crazy but every year those retreats get me all excited for the holidays!
THANK YOU to all of you beautiful women who attended, who came with happy attitudes, who shared their stories, who crafted into the wee hours of the night and who bring such JOY to my life and who convince me EVERY time to do another retreat! After losing my husband five months ago, I have questioned everything I do...should I continue, is there a need and I believe, as I did when I began this journey that women need women. We are the natural nurturers. We are the lifters of spirits and the givers of love and support without conditions. I appreciate all of the love and support I've been shown and hope to continue with retreats as long as I can!
Thank you for taking a chance on me!
Enough mushy stuff...let's get on to the pictures!
Thank you to Aimee Ferre for teaching us the Shadow Box Christmas project! Look how adorable they turned out! Aimee will be back next September to teach us her FAMOUS Witch Boots! No kidding, she's really famous! Her boots made it onto our local TV station and were featured in a magazine! Aimee also brings her amazing talent and leaves us all feeling HAPPY!
Aimee may kill me for posting this but look at her, she's BEAUTIFUL! In her cute jammies and with deer horns behind her head, she is GLORIOUS both inside and out! Thank you for the time and effort you put into these retreats and for hauling all of your treasures up and sharing them with us!
Christmas Shadow Box by Aimee Ferre
Thanks to Shanon for the "Merry & Bright" sign and thanks to a durable Cricut machine that helped me cut all twelve sets of holly berry leaves for our Holly Berry paper wreaths inspired by Lia Griffith.
Saturday we shop and dine! Local eateries, vintage markets and sweet treats are always better with friends! Jen Reed of 3Dotters Vintage always puts on a rockin show!
First stop was for cinnamon rolls at Kolaches in Heber and next door to the Ramblin Rose! Rose always has amazing vintage treasure!
Ornaments at the Provo Vintage Market and visits with my favorite vendors!
Guru's for the win!
Back at home we got down to business. It's always fun to be inside crafting, with a nice warm fire. The snow came during our retreat!
Liliana (also known as Olga)
JoLeen and Ashley
Missing me in the pic and Kiley!
Thanks to the amazing Paula for cooking for us and to Shanon for all of the creative help she provides! I could not do this without them!
Love and thanks to all who came! I'll be posting information about my next retreat coming up on:
September 28 - 30th, 2018
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to save yourself a spot! Until next time, Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!
Hey Retreat Friends! I'll be sending out all the details this weekend for our retreat coming up in THREE weeks! I apologize for my lack of communication but my life has been CRAZY! My apologies. I can make you a promise though. This retreat with AIMEE FERRE is going to be AMAZING! I'm so grateful to my friend PAULA LOZANO who will be our fabulous chef and SHANON KENDALL who will be helping me with the projects! Grateful to all of you who signed up, sent me sweet prayers and wishes and truly reclaimed my heart! Countdown begins! Get EXCITED!
Today was a good day. It started out crazy with power outages, chicken chases, sick kids and getting to work late but the middle part was good. On my way home I stopped by Deseret Industries to drop off a bunch of stuff I cleaned out of my garage this weekend. An old rug, a box of holiday decor, some old shoes and two bags of my husband's clothing.
The man who helped me was very friendly. He was covered head to toe in some mighty impressive tattoos and we joked about the "Ho Ho Ho" Christmas sign that got broken on the ride over leaving only "Ho"...he helped me unload everything, chatting away and then wished me a good evening.
Little did he know that inside those bags were my husbands church shirts and the ties he wore every Sunday when he served as the Bishop of our ward. The jeans he wore when we went and saw Coldplay together, the t-shirts he wore when we ran our Saturday errands together. The Christmas pajama pants he wore during the holidays. We kept the "Jolly Old Elf" t-shirt that went with them.
I wanted to tell the tattooed man about the precious bag I was handing him. I wanted to tell him about my husband and what a good man he was. How we loved and miss him so much we can't breathe sometimes. I wanted to share everything about the man I love, the Father of my children, the Grandfather to my grandchildren. I should have but I didn't. He wouldn't understand, or maybe he would. He seemed like he may know of hard things. Maybe he's experienced a loss of his own at some point. I will never know. He handed me a receipt and I drove away.
You see. I know Gary wouldn't give a darn about those earthly things. He knows of Heavenly things now. Of promises made by a loving Heavenly Father who suffered the loss of a son. Of a Savior who loved us so much he died for us. I pray to remember these things as we go through our trials.
As I posted this picture I read Steve's story below. Our donations change lives. May my husbands clothing bring someone to a good life, a second chance and better opportunities. Gary would want that.
My apologies for being away for so long! Oh how I've missed you! My heart is full of love for the women who attend my retreats. We need each other's love and support. We need to create & craft, laugh and find joy and make friends. Women need women. . Little did I know when I began hosting these retreats how much my life would change. How did I know when I named this group "Reclaim Yourself Retreats" that I'd be at a point in my life where I'd need to pick myself up off of the floor and reclaim myself. My life has always been full of ups and downs, most due to dumb choices I've made, but luckily, the last 18 years, although salty-sweet with the good and the bad that is parenting, have been marvelous. I married a very sweet man. He and I became best friends. We parented, we loved and supported each other and we planned our life together. We'd spend Saturday mornings talking about what we were gonna do when the kids were grown, where we would travel, what we would see, how we would finally fix up the house. We looked forward to it, we'd never been a "couple" before because he married into an instant family. You see, I had four children when we met and he took us all lock, stock and barrel into his heart and loved us all in a way that fixed our brokenness.
Fast forward to March, 2017. My sweetheart wasn't feeling so good. "Tummy trouble" he'd say but yet went to work every day. He wasn't eating much because every time he ate, his belly would hurt. He dealt with this the whole month of March. He was used to pain. He'd been born with Sickle Cell-Beta Thalassemia, an inherited blood disorder. Pain was his middle name and he'd been fighting this since he was born. He just thought that he was having a mini crisis which is what "sicklers" call the pain that comes when their red blood cells form a sickle shape, start breaking down prematurely and then get stuck in the blood vessels. This, combined with the reduction or absence of mature red blood cells lead to pain. Lots of pain. Normally, bed rest, hydration and pain meds would get him through a crisis. This time that wasn't happening. Small miracles happened. We know they were miracles now. Gary's brother Gavin and his wife and children came to America for a visit. For the two weeks they were here, Gary had no pain. For the first time in his life, he took a full two weeks off to spend with his brother. Gary and his brother are close and this time together was the best medicine. We did many fun things while they were here and looking back, how grateful we all are that we did. One week later, Gary would enter the hospital with Pancreatitis and not come out of the hospital for five weeks.
He spent a week at home, surrounded by everyone he loved and died on June 9, 2017. He was escorted home by a large, full moon. That was his style. He loved the moon. Fast forward again to twelve weeks later and we are still here. Still alive. Still piecing our way through our sadness and grief but still able to find joy, to see light and to see good in this world. I want to record this, to document it, to look back one day to make sure I'm progressing and moving forward. Not forgetting him, no way. I could never forget him but now I'm making a new life. Making new plans, dreaming new dreams and reclaiming myself one day at a time while finding joy along the way. I thought about creating a new blog but decided to add to the one I already have. The blog with the perfect name and a dictionary description that reads...
To get back something that was lost or taken away. I hope you'll join me as I join the rank of bloggers again and write about so many things near and dear to my heart. Life, grief, finding joy, family, single parenting, widowhood (I hate that word), home improvements, travel, weight loss surgery, crafting, creativity, gardening, chickens, retreat fun and so much more...