I don't think I could possibly "recap" this week in Italy, but I will give it a try...
As most of you know I have been doing Creative Retreats in Italy since 2012 and they have been truly one of the biggest blessings in my life! I would NEVER have imagined that my life would take this turn and bring me to a job that lets me travel to a place I LOVE and share it with other people each year.
But this year was even more special because I got to combine my love of Italy, my love of art and creativeness AND my Faith. I know most of you, if you follow my blog at all, know that I am a Believer and love the Lord. What you may not know is that I have wanted to combine all these things into a retreat since the very beginning and it wasn't until last year that I heard the Lord telling me "Why wait?" I always thought I would do an "art and faith" retreat some time in the future... but last year I finally realized there was no reason to wait. So I went forward and asked some of my friends to be teachers with me and I started the process. To be honest, I didn't know how many people would sign up. I also didn't know what it would look like to do this in Italy...
But through patience and prayer, I really felt the Lord leaning on me to do this and to let anyone who felt lead to go, come. But I usually only have about 20 people for each retreat. It just isn't the place to have a HUGE retreat. Lake Como is not easy to get around with all the small roads, small cafes, and small streets. But I opened the retreat up to as many people who felt they needed to be there and I kept asking my connections in Bellagio if I could get more rooms... So it ended up being 25 of us and even thought that is small compared so other retreats, this was a BIG number for me to get people to restaurants, excursions and just from place to place.
So I can truly say that EACH lady who came was there for a REASON. It was such an incredible experience to have each person share their life with the group and as we got to know each lady though the week, it just got better and better and really was an INCREDIBLE thing to watch as the Lord moved in each of our hearts.
The classes were so beautiful and the ladies learned so much from Jeanne and Stephanie. The devotional time was also just so peaceful and spirit lead. I had felt the Lord telling me to talk about our GIFTS and how He gives us these gifts to use us for His purpose. And how He CAN use JUST ONE PERSON to change lives, change the world!
Each person that came to this retreat was changed. We grew as a "community" of believers, we grew to love each other and care for each other as we go back home. We prayed for each other and our needs and made plans to stay in touch. We all fell in LOVE with that part of Italy too.. the beauty, the people, the simplicity of life. I know it also awakened the CREATIVENESS inside of sp many of the women. We ARE Creative, and we were CREATED by a CREATOR. I am in AWE of the way the Lord moved during the week to remind those ladies of this truth.
So if I can wrap the week up into a couple sentences, it would be this:
The Lord LOVES you and desires for YOU to be USED. He has such AMAZING plans for your life if you open yourselves up to HIS will. He wants to BLESS YOU and show you that He has so much MORE for you than you can ever dream! So let Him in, and let the CREATOR create in YOU a beautiful heart that shines for Him. This is what I hope and pray the ladies who came learned through this week together in Italy!
I didn't take very many photos this week because I was so focused on our time together and because I had an AMAZING photographer there to capture our time together... I will share some of the photos I took, and when I get the photos from the photographer I will also share some of those on here.
I will be posting the details of NEXT YEARS Creative Retreats on here shortly. I already have the teachers and dates for next year and the next blog post will be going up shortly with all those details!! So check back later today for that information.
SIGN UPS for next year will be THIS AUGUST 1st! So just in about a week from now. I encourage you to look at joining me next year in June or September. You won't regret it. It WILL be a life changing trip and you will come back renewed, revitalized and full of new friendships and memories you will have forever!
Have a GREAT day,