Saturday, June 22, 2013

Washington DC Retreat

Here's a guest post about our DC Retreat from my friend JaNae (a dynamic Power of Moms Trainer and Board Member). I added a few of my thoughts at the end). JaNae somehow pulled off this Retreat in the midst of a completely crazy time in her life (read on for details) and she did a simply fabulous job. What a privilege it was to present with her and with Margaret Archibald, our hostess who's raised eight outstanding children (so fun to have her daughter with us at the Retreat).

From JaNae (original is found here):

We did it! We hosted our first Power of Moms Retreat in the DC area! This is definitely a dream come true for me. I've had a lot of Power of Moms posts on my blog in the past year. I've gone from being an avid fan to a board member and now I'm so excited to be one of their trainers as they try to keep up with the demand for more events all over the country and world. It's something I believe in and it's been a fun journey for me personally. I'm so grateful for the excitement and purpose it adds to my already wonderful life.

Our mini-retreat was held at the beautiful home of Margaret Archibald in Maryland (she offered a wonderful keynote address as well as offering her home). Saren Loosli (Co-founder of Power of Moms) was there to present and I had the privilege of being mentored by her as I helped to co-presented for the first time. It was so much fun!

What a wonderful experience it is to gather with other moms that are trying their
darnedest to be deliberate and intentional about their parenting experience!
My only regret was that it was so short--3 hours!

We covered some awesome topics: Peace, Purpose, Order and Joy.

It's really hard to only spend 30 minutes or so on each topic! I wanted to soak up
all that each mother had to say as she processed new ideas and shared wisdom
that she had gained through hard experiences. Instead, I enjoyed watching the light,
laughter and sometime tears in their eyes as we covered the things we thought would 
make the biggest impact on their journey into being more deliberate!

One thing we talked about was how important it is to find purpose and joy as
we mother.

We discussed how we find ways to merge some of our passions and pursuits
with raising kids and other times how we lose the guilt and step away to have
goals that we follow outside of mommy-hours. It seems that most of the time
when you ask another mother what they like to do--they giggle nervously--then
say something like, "Well, I haven't really thought about that for a while...I take
care of kids." Sometimes those moms are already doing exactly what they love
and enjoy WITH their kids, (hiking, biking, reading, swimming, cooking, teaching, etc.)
but if we don't recognize it and allowourselves to feel the joy of it, then it doesn't
enhance our lives. It's fun to be in these discussions and watch those moms dig into
the deeper recesses of their memory to think of things that truly bring them joy.
There's something so empowering about having dreams and working towards them
little by little. It keeps a spark of life, excitement and joy amidst the more mundane
parts of the day!

Somewhere in the middle we took a break and enjoyed delicious fruit, muffins
and granola bars. A big thanks to our sponsors!

We try to give as many ideas and tools as we can in our time together. But my
favorite part is when we get a chance to split into small groups. That's when the
real learning happens as we all process the ideas and apply them to our current
situations and problems.

As I sat at this retreat I was exhausted and overwhelmed. (Sound familiar?!)
We just finished a hectic move. By finished, I mean we are in the new house--
with a lot of work waiting for my attention every day! My kids were 2 days away
from summer vacation and I was feeling less than prepared. My 5 year old and I
can't seem to figure out how to get along very well right now and that weighs
heavy on my heart. I just took on an assignment at our church to head up the
program that is provided for the teenage girls--and their summer camp was starting
in 4 days. And, although it sounds unimportant, my 2 year old is teething molars and
having a rough time with it. She also averages about 22 minutes to get into her car
seat (by herself!) which is testing my patience many times a day!

That was my story that day as I sat there. I know each person had their paragraph
of "things" going on. There's something so reassuring to just sit next to others that
understand where you're at...even without sharing any details. I think that's one of the
beautiful things about motherhood. It can be a lonely career until you open your heart
to the support and understanding all around you. It takes a special group of moms to
be able to offer silent empathyand support without judgement. Women that
understand that each mother is doing her best no matter what you see on the outside!

My (Saren's) favorite messages from Margaret's keynote speech:

* Make sure your eyes light up when your children walk into the room 
(from the great author, Toni Morrison)
* Raise your kids so that each one feels like they're your favorite child.
* Think about what you want your children to be able to say about you one day - 
then work every day to be that person more and more.
* Technology distractions are huge, hard issues for mothers today - we need to
figure out how to keep our phones, Facebook, blogs and Pinterest from taking 
center stage so much in our lives so we can really be present for the joy motherhood
offers and avoid the "compare snare."

What a great day...such a joy and so much fun!


Cheryl said...

Sign me up for another retreat! They bring such focus about the true joy and purpose of Motherhood as well as letting me know its okay to be a person too! Loved this synopsis!

Andrea said...

not sure if it's just me, but the whole top part of the post is cut off on the right side?
The retreats sound awesome.

Saren Loosli said...

Andrea: Thanks for the heads up! I think I got the post fixed so it won't be cut off anymore. Not sure why that happened but computers sure do have minds of their own sometimes! And they can be pretty darn stubborn...

MaurLo said...

Come back to DC sometime soon! I so would have come with Julie...but alas had put off writing a stake conference talk...and that twelve minute assignment took my whole day. Drat! It sounds like it was lovely from all the reports I have gotten.


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