What a wonderful time we had at the November 2011 Arizona Retreat!

I was privileged to spend a couple of days of learning and sharing with about 60 deliberate, pro-active moms with excellent ideas and powerful energy. I only wish I’d had a chance to individually talk with and learn from each mom who was there. Retreats are always too short and we wish there were time for a lot more small-group interaction and one-on-one learning with these amazing moms who are going through different things but whose hearts are knit together in love from the moment they get together in the same room.

*** We’re so grateful for the fabulous Saturday lunch sponsored by Wildflower Bread Company. Makes my mouth water thinking about those little turkey brie and jicama chicken salad sandwiches plus the amazing salads and cookies – fancy and oh-so-tasty! 

On Friday, we crammed about 30 moms into Shawni’s family room for a wonderful session led by April on Mind Organization for Moms. Every time I listen to April do this presentation, I pick up something new and important to help keep my brain more organized and less stressed. April truly is the guru of organization and figuring out how to get things done keeping an eye on what is most important.

 

It was so fun to be reunited with these great ladies who attended our very first Power of Moms Retreat years ago

Nichole and Denny Barney were kind enough to open their beautiful home to us for our full-day Retreat on Saturday. They not only let us use their home, they and their cute boys moved out all their great room furniture and moved in tons of chairs to set everything up for us. Shawni and I went over there Friday afternoon to check out the lay of the land and figure out where to hold different sessions, setting up a time later that night when we’d come back to move furniture and set up chairs. When we came back, voila! They’d already done it all for us. What amazingly helpful and kind people. Plus Nichole went on to serve on several panels as part of the program on Saturday and she offered great perspective and ideas. I love how old connections can come back to be new blessings. I first met Nichole and Denny over 15 years ago when Nichole was Shawni’s roommate at BYU and Denny was a pretty constant fixture in that apartment.

Doing our “Speed Friendshipping” activity as everyone arrived (sort of like speed dating)

Presentation with panel discussion featuring Shawni, Myrna Sheppard (AZ Mother of the Year)
and  Nichole Barney (our hostess)

 

One of our small-group discussions
Enjoying an afternoon break with fruit, chocolate, and great conversation
As much of the group as we could squeeze into a photo – what great women!

Another great highlight of this Retreat was the involvement of American Mothers, Inc. (AMI). As the American Mothers National Young Mother of the Year, my sister Shawni has been pretty busy with the American Mothers organization this year. She had the great idea of involving American Mothers in this Retreat. Our beautiful keynote speech was given by the AMI Arizona President, Janeen Wright (April incorporated part of her speech into a great article HERE) and we had Myrna Johnson, the Arizona Mother of the Year on several of our panels. Plus AMI put together a wonderful service project that we all helped with at lunch. We assembled and wrapped supplies for homeless expectant mothers and write encouraging notes to go with each. It was such a meaningful project for a very worthy cause. Assembling the gifts really made us think about our own blessings and writing the notes helped us reflect on what we might tell our former selves as we embarked on motherhood. (Shawni has a great photo of all the speakers including Janeen and Myrna but getting it from her is taking a while…)

Last but not least, we were so very grateful for the huge generosity of Wildflower Bread Company. We’d heard they had wonderful food and asked them if they might want to offer us a discount on lunch catering. They decided to provide us with a beautiful lunch including amazing sandwiches and salads plus drinks and desserts for free. It made my heart so glad to see such an outpouring of support and their contribution made it possible for us to offer reduced-price registrations to mothers who applied for financial help.  Plus the food was the best we’ve ever had at a Retreat (and it’s always pretty darn good so that’s saying a lot!).

I go into every Retreat so anxious about everything turning out and everyone getting all they need and hope for at each Retreat. But everything always works out beautifully. How could it not when such wonderful women are involved and when the Lord is in charge?

Our next Retreat will be in Southern California in January and then we’re off to Australia in March. We’re still trying to firm up our SoCal location (have some good options but want to explore just a bit more before firming things up next week and opening up registration – if you’ve got good ideas about locations in Southern CA, click HERE to read April’s post about details on what we’re looking for).  For all Retreat info, click HERE.