Week 4 was our last week and also the 2nd Art & Faith Creative Retreat I've ever done.  It was a little bit different for this week though because I had most of my family there and also Oz and Sheila stayed for a couple extra days.  That weekend the retreat started was the San Giovanni Festival and it's not to be missed if you want to enjoy a real authentic Italian experience!  So most of the people arrived on Saturday afternoon, with the exception on one lady who had an emergency back home and came later that week, and we were in time to enjoy the afternoon before the Torchlight Procession started.

The town of Bellagio comes out to the GHVS and give everyone who wants to be in the procession a torch.  We're not talking some little kiddie toy... a real fire breathing torch!  To anyone... of any age!  (we said it many times this would not go over in the U.S.) But it's a "bucket list" experience for sure and I love sharing this with my groups.  We walk through the town, through Villa Melzi and some other beautiful gardens on the lakefront all the way to the village of San Giovanni where at the end is a HUGE party!  They plan for this party for weeks and most of our friends live in this hamlet of Bellagio so it's fun to see so many people we know at this.

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The next day we introduced the group to Rita, our dear friend and tour guide of Lake Como!  She has such a love for her lake and shares her love with passion.  If you ever come to Lake Como with me, you adore this lady and understand why everyone loves her!

The girls got to spend more time with Molly and get lots of puppy kisses!

The girls got to spend more time with Molly and get lots of puppy kisses!

Of course I always share this place with the groups and this night was especially beautiful with clear skies all around.

Classes started on Monday with a Travel Planner class that I taught and then the talented Cori Speiker taught and the ladies were very EXCITED for her classes for sure!  She is the Plannergirl Queen and really opened up our eyes to using a planners in so many different ways.  I really enjoyed her classes, especially the Faithfull planner which I will share some pictures of in a couple weeks after I get it all together (and we get back from our last trip of the summer)  But check out this amazing SWAG BAG that she gave all of us from the sponsors for the week!  (I'll share photos of that later too...)

The next day we took a trip to the city of Como and walked to the art store in town.  This store is more of a scrapbook and mixed media store and these girls were THRILLED!  Two of the ladies were from Iceland and one was from Scotland so they were happy clams to be able to go to a store like this.  (I think they bought out the store... :)

It was great to see Shanna's Illustrated Faith products in their store!

It was great to see Shanna's Illustrated Faith products in their store!

The nights after some little rain showers brought the most beautiful sunsets!

The nights after some little rain showers brought the most beautiful sunsets!

This was our fun day together on the lake!  So fun sharing these places with the group and having Cori along with us!  She was such a great teacher and fun girl to hang out with all week!

That night we were able to spend some time with Michi and have dinner with him.  This is one of the boys that spent the summer with us in California a couple summers ago and it was great to catch up with him.  His father is the one that passed away actually a few days after this night, so we were blessed to be able to talk to him about his dad and share with him how much we cared and were praying for him.  Michi is going to University for business in part because of how much Lance has talked to him about his company and I think they were talking non-stop all night about it!

Last day wrapped up with the last class and then they had half the day to finish any shopping or things they wanted to do before they were leaving the next morning.  We usually stay a few days after my retreats are over to pack up and relax a bit but this year we wanted to be home before 4th of July so we decided to spend the rest of the day by the pool on our last day.

Some of my best moments here this summer were taking my art supplies to the pool and work in my travel bible.

Some of my best moments here this summer were taking my art supplies to the pool and work in my travel bible.

Last night's finale dinner came with another beautiful evening.  I can't begin to say how amazing this week was.

My helpers.  These two girls were great!  There is a LOT of work that goes into these weeks and I really couldn't do it without help from them.  I am blessed to be able to bring people here each year and have these girls in my life that want to be a part of this dream that the Lord spoke into my heart! 

LOVE this card that Cori put in our amazing SWAG bags.  It speaks to my dream that started in 2010 and has been one of the craziest journeys I have ever been on!  I believe with all my heart if you have a dream the first place you should go is to the Lord in prayer.  You may not have any idea how the dream is going to come to reality... but that's ok.  Because that just proves that the Lord is the one who is making it happen and He get's all the glory for it!  Amen and Amen.

If you've enjoyed watching these weeks unfold on here or on social media and have thought about joining me for another retreat... well wait no more!

TOMORROW I WILL BE REVEALING NEXT YEARS ART & FAITH CREATIVE RETREAT!

So come back this Friday for the exciting details and maybe YOU will be on your way to Italy with me next year too!

Hugs to all,

Laura

 

 

 

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