To offer a glimpse of what we experienced at the May Retreat in Park City, here’s a photo collage and three emails with great stories that we received from attendees.
***Thanks to Park City Bread and Bagel for preparing amazing food for us. I’m still thinking about that raspberry turkey sandwich on fresh-baked foccacia – and those cookies!
Dear Saren, April and Charity (our Retreat Manager),
I have been trying to think of a way to express my feelings of gratitude to you for creating such an amazing experience this past weekend. I did not think of an awesome way to do it, sadly. But, I can tell you this:
A few months ago, some fellow mothers and I decided that we needed a “getaway”. We left our homes at 5pm on a Friday evening (after Dads got home from work) and went to a friend’s cabin. We were home the next day after lunch. It was less than 24 hours, but we did our best to relax. Before the overnight, I told one of my friends that the thing I was the most excited about was being able to sit down on a comfy couch…and not HAVE TO GET UP. Not have to get up and get anyone anything or pick anyone up or make anyone food. I was clearly in need of some sort of break. The overnight was divine. We ate wonderful food, soaked in a hot tub, talked until all hours of the night. Pure fun and no responsibility.
The funny thing was that all I wanted after those hours of break…was more break. When I got home, everything was the same. People still needed me to get them things and fix their problems and make them a sandwich. I felt like getting back in the car that very instant.
The Power of Moms Retreat was miraculous. Meeting other moms with the same desires to change, hearing answers to questions I had, learning ways to do things I badly wanted to do as a mother but didn’t know how. I enjoyed literally every minute of it. It was uplifting and inspiring. The food was delicious, the conversations were moving. The whole event was like a little hand-tied package and inside was a gift personalized just for me: the gift I have always wanted for every Mother’s Day, Christmas, and Birthday in years. It was the gift of hope, knowledge, and promise to be able to become the mother I always wanted to be. And that mother is not the mother across the street, or the mother of one of my high school friends who seemed to be the perfect mother in every way. The mother I’m talking about is ME. The best me I can be. For the first time I saw myself as the mother I always wanted to be. And that is a gift that is truly priceless.
The funny thing was, when I got home from the Power of Moms retreat…everything was the same. People still needed me to get them things and fix their problems and make them a sandwich. But this time…I was different. I scooped them all up into my arms and smiled at them. Over the past few days, I have had more patience than I thought existed inside of me. I have taken care of their needs (and my own) with more of me to spare. How is this possible? Because I see motherhood differently now. Motherhood is my gift…to me.
“Thank you” just doesn’t seem to be enough.
Another kind email with a story that’s all-too-familiar to many of us!
Saren and April:
I know you are busy catching up on life after the retreat, so I’ll keep this brief but I have to tell you about my homecoming. I went to bed after the retreat with a killer sinus headache and my husband seemed to wake up with the same thing on Sunday morning. I heard a warning voice in my head remind me to have extra patience with everyone (since I had very little energy to do much else!). I decided to start living some of my commitments I made at the retreat. I asked my 3-year-0ld and and 2-year-old to help me clean up after breakfast (we were going to build relationships through housework like we learned at the Retreat!). My 3-year-old wiped the table with a wet rag and then I showed them both how to sweep the floor with our small hand-held broom. I noticed that when I spoke kindly and positively to them, the morning grumpiness started to dissipate. I sat in awe as I watched my 3-year-old sweep the crumbs while my two year old held the dustpan carefully. They were saying “Thank you Charlotte for helping” and “You’re welcome!” I almost cried. And then I thought, “Wait, it can’t be this easy. Things are going too well.”
Sure enough, after nap-time I heard my 3-year-old call down, “Mom, come look at Charlotte!” I went upstairs to find my 2-year-old covered–no, PAINTED–with the contents of her diaper. We’ve had diaper disasters, but it has never been this bad. I almost laughed out loud as I grabbed the camera and took a picture of this clear reminder that it’s never easy, but nothing worthwhile is. Plus this will be an awesome story to tell her when she’s sixteen and dating.
That same day, my husband listened carefully as I went through pages and pages of notes from the retreat. We feel excited and confident in our goals as a family. Now whenever the day is getting rough and the girls are going crazy, I hear my husband shout out from his office, “You can do this!” And I yell back, “I can do this!” because I really believe that I can. Thank you so much for your instruction and example. I love the Power of Moms!
Janelle Phipps (certified POM’s trainer–woo hoo!)
And one last email with a touching story:
April and Saren:
I just had to send you note saying how much my friend and I loved the retreat! I have known my friend was struggling for a while — it was hard for her to get a handle on disciple, kindness, housework, and time for herself.
She called me on Monday morning after the Retreat to say that she and her husband had just addressed calendar issues, kids issues and what direction they want for their family for the first time. She said, “I don’t know what other word to use except I feel empowered. I feel like when I start each issue asking what is the end result we want as parents, it gives me a direction and purpose.”
I have known that she was stuck but needed tools to move to the next level. The Retreat offered her just what she needed – real hands-on solutions that can help you and your family live a life with purpose and unity.
Thank you for all the work you and the whole Power of Moms team does to help mothers find joy in the greatest (and often hardest) pursuit of all …. motherhood
If you’d like to join us at a future Power of Moms Retreat, please make sure you’re on our newsletter list or click HERE for details on upcoming Retreats.