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Class Schedule - Fall 2018 Art & Faith Creative Retreat

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Class Schedule - Fall 2018 Art & Faith Creative Retreat

Hello! It’s been a busy month with everything going on, but I wanted to make sure I came on here before I left for Italy in a little over a week from now. We are busy getting things all pretty and packed up as well as preparing for our classes, and I wanted to share with you a glimpse into our week in Bellagio.

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It will be such a blessing to step away from our busy “home building” life and enjoy some time to sit. You will definitely find me sipping my cappuccino from this spot the moment I arrive…

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This is a little SNEAK PEEK into some of the little ephemera packs I put together for my classes.

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At this time of year the lake is quiet and still. This will be the perfect spot to take some moments to be refreshed…


Below are two of the classes that will be taught by Sheila Atchley in Bellagio, Italy for our October Art & Faith Creative Retreat. All the classes are available to register for on the SIGN UP PAGE, under REGISTRATION now!

Here’s a preview:


  1. The first class for Sheila Atchley will be her Altered Tin Class. This will be taught on October 8 starting at 9:30am. Cost is 50 Euro’s and you need to be local to Bellagio, Italy because this is not an online class. We will have a break for lunch, and then continue afterwards to finish this beautiful art tin class. Class will end by 4pm.

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2. The second class with Sheila will be held on Wednesday, October 10 at 9:00am. We will meet in San Giovanni to enjoy a Plein Air class as we walk and enjoy the surrounding beauty of Bellagio. Cost is 35 Euro’s & Class will be over at 12:30pm.

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3. I will be teaching classes during the week as well, and they will start with a class on Sunday, October 7th with Bible Journaling 101. This will go into detail about the heart behind this new “art form” as well as share with you the art products that you can use in your bible safely and delve into the worship aspect of Bible Journaling. Cost for this class will be 30Euro. (and again, you need to be in Bellagio, Italy to attend) This class will begin at 10:30am but you are welcome to join us at 9:00am for a time of worship and devotionals to start the day! Please Note: Picture below is just an example of Bible Journaling, not the actual pages we will be working on.

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4. On Wednesday, October 10th, after Sheila’s Plein Air class, I will be continuing to teach Bible Journaling. This class will be more in depth and if you have done Bible Journaling before and want to have time to delve into more techniques and just have time to devote a few hours to it, please join us! This class will just be a fun time of listening to the Lord’s promptings in His Word and journaling in our bibles. Cost will be 10 Euro.

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5. On Friday, October 12th I will be teaching the last class & it will be a Traveler’s Notebook Class. This is a FUN way to journal and keep notes on ANY subject in one place. (Just check out the hashtag #traverlersnotebook on IG and you will see a whole new world! :) This class will come with a Brand New, HANDMADE… ITALIAN LEATHER Traveler’s Notebook!! Yes, I am having them made by hand by our favorite leather maker in Bellagio! It will come with the inserts to go with it and a fun package of ephemera to get your started! I will teach the basics on how to use this system and we will be creating ART and documenting LIFE in our BEAUTIFUL new notebooks. Cost is 85 Euro’s as you will be given a handmade leather TN along with the class. NOTE: For this class & afterwards, I will have some extra Traveler’s Notebooks and will be selling them online after I get back from our time in Italy. I will give a SNEAK PEEK on the actual TN’s tomorrow!

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Ok, that’s a FULL load of classes and I know everyone joining us is super excited about them. We hope if are you local to Lake Como you know you are very welcome to join us in one or all of the classes! It has always been my heart to open these retreats to the local woman to join in our time together and to encourage community through these retreats. It has been a huge blessing to see the relationships that have started through this with women all over the world!

We can’t wait to meet you soon!

Hugs,

Laura


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Italy in the Fall...

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Italy in the Fall...

Let me introduce you to my beautiful friend Sheila Atchley.  Then I want to invite you to spend a week with us in Italy... because I know the Lord is going to show up during this week, and show us BIG things.  Below are Sheila's words (and if you follow me on IG or read my blog, you know I'm all about WORDS lately, and these words from Sheila got me...)

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"This October, in Bellagio, Italy, I will be bringing a word for those of us “in the middle”. While we are smack-dab in the middle of some of the most beautiful gardens in the world, ablaze with autumn glory, we will play with the idea of an Autumn Planting.

Gardeners do it all the time.  Cold weather crops may need a little extra nurturing, and a little different mindset, but cold weather crops are some of the best.

It is never too late to plant something new and different.

God can take what you plant, right now in this middle-season of your life, even what feels like “late in the season”, and give you a “winter crop” that will knock your socks off and bless you all your days.  

Through words and art, we will play with this and other “in the middle” themes, surrounded by the beauty that is Bellagio.

He makes all things new.  He does all things well.

No one reaches the middle without a few regrets.  Nevertheless (I love that word), we don’t have to settle for our present mid-life harvest, if it is even a little less than we hoped for.  We can plant again, for a future harvest.  Because our God makes and does, we don’t have to “make do” with what is.  Such grace!

Come away for a little while, and let God restore your capacity to play, to dream new dreams and to plant new things."

~ Sheila

Beautiful, right?

Well here is a sample of one of the classes she is teaching that she just sent me.  

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We are praying the Lord moves in the hearts of those that need to be at this retreat.  So pray about it and see if that's YOU.  

We can't wait to meet you in Italy this Fall!

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Find out more details here.  Or Sign up HERE.

Hugs to all,

Laura

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Love, Tuesday... Work & Italy

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Love, Tuesday... Work & Italy

I know... that sounds like an oxymoron.  Work and Italy together.

It's rough.  ;)

But seriously... we DID work, and even though it is the most incredible, inspiring and enjoyable place TO work, we want to make sure that when you come to Italy WITH us, we are showing YOU the most incredible, inspiring and enjoyable places while you are there!

Here is a snapshot of some of the places we saw while we were working:

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We have been to Lake Como many times, (I think this was my 16th time) but this was the first time we were there so late in the fall.  It was STUNNING.  I just didn't realize you would see so much COLOR.  Someone told me while we were there that on the lake they have about 40% of their trees that change color.  Wow, was it gorgeous!

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This little hamlet of Bellagio is one of my favorites.  It's very hidden and most people never explore it, but it has some amazing views of the other side of the lake and this building is one of my favorite buildings in all of Bellagio.  As we were walking here I had an inkling that this house would be beautiful, because in the summer it is covered in these green leaves.  Well, I have to say that at this time of year it is just showing off!  hahaha

I couldn't get enough of it... I think I took photos from every angle I could get.  :)

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We both just couldn't stop taking pictures!  And that is why I could kick myself for not taking the good camera!  I know the iPhone has a great camera, but it just doesn't have the capabilities of a good digital camera.  So remind me next time... take your good camera Laura!

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This is another angle of the photo I posted yesterday on "What path are you taking?" blog post.  This door and path is on the way to that same hamlet in the photo above.  I walk past this door every time I'm there and I had such a urge to open it and see what was "behind that door"   :)

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And of course I always find a "heart" rock.  Ok, they might not be perfectly shaped like a heart, but I'm ok with that.  To me it's just a "God wink" that I always find one.  It's like my little sign that I'm where I am supposed to be and the Lord is IN THIS.  This job, this dream, this mission... He has it all in His plans and we are just a tiny little part of the equation.  We have been praying over this place and what the Lord is calling Rebecca and I to do here and we know He is showing us some amazing plans! 

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And this lady right here, Rita, she is a BIG part of that!  The Lord brought her into our lives for a reason and we are so blessed by her.  She has such JOY and PASSION for her Bellagio.  I am so grateful we have been able to "team up" with her and that she WANTS to show us her lake!  It was such a fun WORK WEEK with her and we have lots to show YOU now.  

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Rita also introduced us to an amazing artist, right there in Bellagio!  We were so honored that he would take the time to meet with us in his studio and talk to us about his art, his plans for a studio he is building and how we can work together in the future.  Exciting things happening and I will be sharing more very soon!

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So there you have it!  We have some new things on the horizon for our Art & Faith Creative Retreats!  We look forward to what God is doing and what He has in store for those who come.

We are looking forward to meeting the next group right here in June of 2018!  If you are still interested in joining that group, there are a few spots available and I always, always say this... if the Lord is putting it on your heart to come, then listen to Him and trust that He will make a way.  

I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He brings the people to our retreats that He has already planned to be there... for a reason.  There are way too many examples of this to tell you right now, but the ladies who have come can tell you.  They needed to be there and it changed their lives in some little or big way...  For that reason we will continue to do these retreats as long as the Lord allows.  

Which brings me to the reason why we went in October... (although we didn't know it at the time... but the Lord is ever patient with us and guiding us to what He wants...)

We are going to do TWO retreats in Bellagio next year!!

Yes, we are!  We will be sharing the details of the next one VERY SOON.  We are so blessed by the lady who will be teaching with me and I still can't believe it!  We are praying about what this will look like and the exact dates, but it will most likely be the last week in September or the first week in October.  

If you are at all interested in coming to Lake Como, Italy with us next fall then please send me an email via the CONTACT page up at the top.  I will put you on the email list when we announce it... very soon!

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The Lord is gathering people.  He WANTS us to meet together.  I pray you consider joining us in that and seeing what He has in store for you.

Hugs,

Laura

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Let us Make... Part 2

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Let us Make... Part 2

If you are following the "Let us Make" class on Jeanne Oliver's Creative Network, then by now you are loving Sheila Atchley's class AND even more, her fun spirit and heart for the Lord!  

I have been learning so much from Sheila and have tried some of her techniques IN my bible.  I will also be working through all of her classes in the original media that she is teaching them in, but I wanted to incorporate the ideas in my Bible Journaling.  Some of the chemicals and art supplies that Sheila is using won't transfer over well to the thin pages of a bible, so I've had to make a few adjustments and that's what I wanted to show you here...

The page below was inspired by Sheila's "Day 2 Firmament Art" class.  (You can look back in my blog for the Day 1 Class in the post titled "Bible Journaling Techniques")

I titled this page "The Heaven's Declare His Handiwork"  Here's what I posted on my @awelldocumentedlife IG:

The heavens declare His handiwork. That is truth right there! How can you look at the beautiful puffy clouds, The starlit night sky or go through a loud thunderstorm and not see God? Genesis 1:6 talks about the expanse or firmament and how He separated the waters from the expanse of Heaven. If you sit out in a boat in the ocean or huge lake and see the horizon, you see this separation. How little we truly are when we look at how great the Heavens and the earth are... yet He made us as well... And even one better, he made us in His image! I am in awe of His handiwork in nature so many times, but it's not just there... it's in you and me and how He created us each as a unique person. Remember that "purpose" from yesterday?? I think we need to get on that... what is your story? How is all of this connected in your life? Would love to hear your thoughts. Journaling this class by @sheilaatchleydesigns in my bible is a little different than on the right medium like watercolor paper or canvas. Bible pages are very thin and almost transparent. So some of the products she is using for the class I can't use in my bible. I'll be sharing some of the supplies and techniques I'm using for my interpretation in my bible over on my blog late today. Have a great day and let's praise Him in the Heavens today! Psalm 150:1 #journalingmyfaith #biblejournaling#jeanneoliver #sheilaatchleydesigns#letusmake #illustratedfaith

It's very important when you are journaling and doing art in your Bible to prep your page.  (You can find out more in the blog post I linked above)  It is also very important to use products that won't bleed through to the other side of your page. This can be a scary process as you just don't know every single product and how it's going to work until you've tried it.  

What I have found is that most pigment based inks work really well and will stay on the top of your page and not bleed through.  If they are water based or dye based then they tend to show through.  

I have a whole list of products in the post I linked above, but here is a list of the inks that I like because they stay on top of the page and don't bleed through:

Chalk Inks (several different brands)
Stamp Markers by American Crafts (these are ink based pens)
Faber-Castell Brush Pens & Gelatos
SEI Tumble Dye sprays
Liquitex Professional Ink

Now as you see in the photo above, I have other products like the black ink and not pictured were some old Tattered Angles Inks that I used.   Neither one of those were great on the page and in fact bleed through.  Here's a photo of the back side of this page:

It's not horrible and I can deal with this... but I'd rather not.  Also, if I had not prepped my page with gesso beforehand it would have been much worse!

If you look at the top of this blog post you will see some of the examples of Sheila's art.  This was based on the 2nd photo in that collage of her art.  Because this is again in a bible and not on the right type of art paper, I could not go as dark and heavy on the inks.  So this interpretation is a much more subtle version... but I love the ethereal feel of it! 

The gold detail lightly glides through the "cloud-like" page and I just LOVE how this turned out! I tried the gold ink AND I tried the gold gel pen for this.  I truly liked that I had more control over the gel pen and that is what you mostly see here. The Bible Verse that I decided too use for this study was found in Psalm 150:1 "Praise the Lord! Praise God in His sanctuary, praise Him in His mighty heavens!" 

Day 3 class was on Nature... and this one MOVED me deeply.  Here's what I wrote on IG with this post:

Delight in His Creation. Ok, @sheilaatchleydesigns you are really tugging at my heartstrings girl! I should say the Lord brought me to this point though... I grew up in the concrete jungle of the suburbs of L.A. but my summers were spent in Big Sky country. Horses, raft trips, country road walks ... outside in God's playground! And something is pulling me back to that... I feel it deep inside. I need to be outside, in the quiet, with the trees and birds and His still small voice. My soul is craving it. Maybe it's my age?? Hormones?? Idk but when I watched the video from day 3 of "Let us Make" on @jeanneoliver Creative Network it made me bawl. Like ugly cry people. 😂 The last few minutes of the video she just shows the scenery, the butterflies enjoying the flowers... and I lost it! So this is my interpretation of Sheila's Day 3 class in my bible. I added a vintage hymn "This is my Father's World" and it just brings me back to those days of walking down country roads in Montana, picking berries and wild flowers... and of this summers road trip to beautiful places. Thank you Jesus for bringing things back to our hearts in small baby steps... ❤️#journalingmyfaith #biblejournaling#letusmake #sheilaatchleydesigns#jeanneoliver #jeanneolivercreativenetwork#anyonehavelandforsale 😬

Sheila shared such a COOL technique that I wasn't able to do in my bible because of the chemicals, but if you sign up for her class you will LOVE this Day 3 class and I can't wait to do the actual "experiment" when my supplies get here!

So this Bible is an "interleaved" Bible which means that every other page is blank.  It's specifically for people who want to do art and journaling in their Bibles but don't want to do anything over the words.  Just a quick comment about that for those who are a bit timid to do this in ANY Bible.  That's completely us to you and your own feelings about it.  Bible Journaling/writing in your Bible has been going on for centuries... there's a great book by Lisa Nichols Hickman "Writing in The Margins" and I've linked an article by her about this, but grab her book on Amazon or at your local bookstore if you are at all interested in starting this journey INTO your bible!  I have gotten over that thought process by realizing I have a LOT of Bibles and the ones that I do art and journaling in are not the ones I take to church.  If I cover up the words with paint, etc. I don't think that's a bad thing, it's my expression of what the Lord is showing me.  If I need to reference the words that may be hidden I have several other bibles that I can go to.  That's where I have landed on this topic, but again, it's each persons preference and you can absolutely do this kind of art in an art journal.

This left page is the blank page and I wanted to collage in a hymn.  It's from an old Hymnal that I found on Etsy and this specific hymn just brings me right back to my childhood IN the outdoors of beautiful Montana.

These flowers are from my backyard and I know they will wither and dry up and I plan to go back in after they are dry and apply a coat of Modge Podge over them or a sealant of some kind that won't damage the page.

The Bible verse is in Isaiah 55:12 "For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace;"

Sheila talks further about this verse and what inspired her about this and how she ties it to nature... I'm telling you, you really need to take this course! :)

Ok, I'm going to go get out in nature... (my backyard pool... hahaha)

I will be back next week with more pages in my Bible AND share what Jeanne inspired me to do in my Bible as well!  Oh, and Rebecca and I have been working in our "junk journals" from Jeanne's class in Italy this summer while she's been recuperating, so I'll share some of our pages next week.

Have a GREAT weekend and I hope you will take the time to "Be Still" in God's beautiful CREATION.

Hugs,

Laura 

 

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Love, Tuesday...

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Love, Tuesday...

I LOVE the shape of a heart.  All different shapes and sizes.  I have put them on most of my artwork over the years and my bible journaling and I also have a thing for finding heart rocks.  If you've followed along you may have noticed that I find a heart shaped rock every single time I'm in Bellagio, Italy.  It's just a thing... well my daughters may question how much of a "heart" shape my rocks are, but this one right here take the cake for me:

Come on... am I right!?!  Yes, it's not perfectly shaped like the one in my bible down below.  But it's the most beautiful one I have found in Bellagio... ever!  It found "me"  when we were kayaking one day before the retreat with Jeanne's family and the Taylors and as we stopped for a little break the kids played in the lake and I looked down and there it was.  LOVE...

It's how I feel about this group of people that have been such a big part of our lives over the last couple years.  It was such a blessing to get to spend a little bit of time doing things like this before the retreat started, and it was just so fitting that I found a heart rock... with them.  

They are my prayer partners and I am so thankful for that!  For the last couple years we have ALL been through some very heavy stuff and it has been such an amazing thing to have this group of people that will pray at all hours of the day and night, whenever someone needs prayer.

We have shared our joys and tears together...

We've told each other our DREAMS...

and we've taken enough selfies to crash the Internet!

So this Love, Tuesday is for the "Bellagio Girls"...

"I thank God every time I remember you..."  Philippians 1:3-11.

Have a GREAT Tuesday everyone!  We are headed out very early tomorrow morning for a LONG road trip to Michigan!  We are excited to see some friends along the way (maybe even one or two or more of these sweet people...) and praying for safe travels and protection as we go.

Hugs to all,

Laura

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Art & Faith in Italy... Part 5

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Art & Faith in Italy... Part 5

Buongiorno!  

We have been home for a few days now and I'm finally getting around to posting about the retreat!  We were in Italy for almost a month and all at the same time it feels like we were there forever and also like it went by so fast.  The week before the retreat we always arrive to start preparing for our group and getting everything ready.  Then the week of the retreat goes by so fast it seems like as soon as we are welcoming everyone, we are turning around and hugging them goodbye.  Then all of a sudden we are there by ourselves and it's so quiet and we don't know what to do with ourselves...  I guess it's a pattern we should get used to.

This year was so special and I hope I can convey that in the photos... but it was unique in a couple ways.  First, my Art & Faith Creative Retreats have mostly been all women, but this year we invited families and husbands to come!  It was such a different dynamic but so wonderful.  Some of the families we knew at least one person but to get to know the hubbies or children as well was so much fun.  My hubby also was there the whole time, which isn't usually the case.  Usually he comes for part of the time we are in Italy but then needs to get back to work.  But this year he stayed the whole month with us and was a part of the retreat as well!  I have to say that the guys had a GREAT time exploring and chatting and just getting time to be guys while we were having fun in our classes... I wish we would have taken a photo of all the guys.

Next year will also be open to families and I think a few of our own family friends are going to join in on the fun!  So if you are thinking of coming and want to bring your husband or family... I hope you will prayerfully consider joining us.  We are exited to see what the Lord is going to do NEXT summer as well.

But here is a photo tour of THIS year and what fun we had.  This is Part 5 in a series of blog posts, so I encourage you to look through the other posts that I shared during the week.  The previous posts also share my Pray. Wait. Trust devotional that I gave each student at the retreat.

 

Villa Melzi is a beautiful home and garden that is open to the public and rich in history.  We enjoyed many days wandering the gardens and sitting on the benches right under these magnificent Sycamore trees.  Sunday "church" for us was right here some times reading the Word of God and doing our own devotions and bible journaling.

Oh I already miss this group!  We become like a little family and I know we will all be connected because of the time we spent together... but I always wish we could have a little "reunion" again and I hope to see all of these people again some day.

Here's my space in the event room with some of our projects that we worked on during the week.  A beautiful art/junk journal by Jeanne Oliver, a prayer journal by Stephanie Ackerman and a mixed-media canvas that I taught. 

Here's Jeanne teaching and doing a devotional one morning.   I had asked each teacher to do a devotional on our theme of Prayer and it was beautiful to see their hearts and what the Lord put on their hearts to speak to everyone.  I love these ladies and am so beautifully inspired by them.  

The architecture on Lake Como is also so inspiring.  Art is everywhere here, everywhere you turn you can see the beauty of God's creation and how He has inspired people all through history to create beauty as well.

One of my favorite towns on the lake is Varenna.  It's got one of the most beautiful walking paths by the lake and it was so wonderful so spend some time with a friend of ours in his beloved home town.  He showed us things about his town and the history of his own family here on a beautiful afternoon last week.  Thank you Roberto for your time and friendship.

Here's a place I know you've seen me post many times.  Part of the reason we love the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni and why I always host my retreats here is this lakefront pool.  It's so refreshing after a day out exploring to come back here and relax.  They don't have enough apartments for all the people who come with me so I do use other locations, but if you plan to come some day to one of my retreats and you REALLY want to enjoy this pool (some people are not pool people) then let me know when you sign up that this is important and I will try my best to get you in this location. 

Another JOY of mine is to offer a cooking class with these two ladies!  This is Silvana and Elisabetta.  They are mother daughter and Silvana has a cooking class in town that her daughter helps her with.  It's such a fun time to learn from them and believe me when I tell you... the ladies LOVE this class!  It's most definitely a highlight of the trip!

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Here's one of the groups at the end of their class and meal with their Diploma's!

A day on the lake is alway a very special day during out week.  We have so much fun seeing the lake from the water and visiting some of the beautiful villas on the lake.

My friend Rita was our tour guide for this day and it was a GREAT day with her!

If Villa Balbianello is familiar to you... it may be because several movies were filmed here including Star Wars, James Bond and A Month on the Lake.

This girl... Stephanie Ackerman lights up a room with her humor.  I wish I had her sense of humor,  I just don't have that quick witted of a brain... But I LOVE to laugh and I am thankful for people like her and Jeanne that can make my stomach hurt from laughing so much!  Thankful she said YES to teaching with me again and thankful for her heart and what she so opening and honestly shared with us that I know touched lives in such a real way.  

Here we are peeking through some of the beautiful architecture at Villa Balbianello.  Isn't this just the cutest group ever??  Look at those cute kiddos we had!  Love, love, love all of them... especially "slim squeezy"  :)

Some of my favorite memories are shared over dinners together.  This can be said for most people I'm sure.. but when you have beauty and ambiance like this and such great people to share it with... it's as perfect as it can get I think!

This little cutie loves these retreats and loves helping set up and going on all the excursions with everyone.

My guy.  Words can't really explain how I feel about him.  He's always been my greatest "cheerleader" and supports what I am doing 100%.  He really got to see what it is we are doing here this time and I'm so thankful he was a part of it.

Oh, and he's just a tad bit excited about this peach sorbet... so much so that they know how much he loves it and he always tends to get the biggest bowl of it when we go here.  Don't they know I'm the one in charge... and I LOVE their peach sorbet too...  hahaha :)

On the last day we had a fun little picnic at the hotel in their gardens.  The weather did not cooperate this week very well, but we managed to make the best of it and enjoy so special times like these by getting outside and experiencing the beauty of this place.

Oh my heart.  To finally meet all of Jeanne's family this time was such a great joy!  She has an amazing family and we just adore each one.  Then I also got to have our dear friends Tom & Erin DeRusha come this year and help me with everything.  We had some special times with these people that I will treasure forever.  Thank you Jeanne and Erin so much for all that you are.  I can't believe I didn't take a "selfie" with my girl Jeanne... but I'm excited to say that I get to see her in a few days and I will make SURE that it happens!

This pasta... oh how we long for it when we are home!  My hubby asks for the recipe each year... and they don't share it with him.  (lol)  I guess it's just a thing we have to wait for when we go back each year and sometimes, if we're lucky, it pops up in our dreams when we are not there...

These cuties!  Mia is a "regular" at our retreats.  Funny, but true!  Her first time here was when she was 5 and then she came to my retreat in Paris a couple years ago.  Then we got so lucky to have her and her dad and mom this year!  The sweet connections my girls have made with the people who have come over the years is really life changing.  I'm so grateful for these connections and to have friends all over the world that we have made through these retreats.

My friend Rita.  I really love this lady and my retreats would NOT be the same without her.  If you've been before with me then you know why.  If you haven't been and will some day... then you will instantly know why she is so beloved!  Come for the art, come for the faith... come for the gelato... but you will leave with a friend in this lady, someone who is so passionate about her "lake" and believe me... it's contagious!

Gelato.  Yes we consumed a LOT of gelato!  But you walk everywhere so it's all good...  In all honestly there are so many aspects of enjoying a week in Italy that you will LOVE.  You can go with your family, you can go by yourself... or you can go on another tour.  There are many choices for you.  But I hope you will see that this choice, our Art & Faith Creative Retreat, is pretty special.  

The classes are special too!  Here's a little snapshot of Stephanie's classes.  We had so much fun making our OWN stamps! And her prayer journal is something I am using now on a daily basis.  I love this part of our time together.  To learn new techniques and really  make that connection between Art & Faith.  I will share with you on another post about how the Lord showed me how deeply He cares and how connected things are...

Here's a page I finished while I was there.  It's a page I started back at home and actually posted on Shanna Noels' Illustrated Faith Bible Journaling page on FB.  But I knew I needed to paint it with the colors of Italy, here in Italy.  I went back to Villa Melzi's gardens to sit and ponder these verses and what they actually mean for me, here in a place that I feel so called to.  To share the LOVE of Jesus with everyone who comes here and everyone we have been blessed to know here. I am in AWE of the Lords love for us and how amazing He is that His gift of love is for EVERYONE.  

I can't believe I got to spend a month in Italy with these people.  No it wasn't perfect 100% of the time.  But 100% of the time I love these people and am so thankful for them.  I think traveling far from home helps us to remember that we are here for a purpose.  Life is about people and the connections we make, not the things we attain.  I have always rather had a small home and less things so that we could travel and share those special times with our family.  It's never ever easy to do that and we have made sacrifices along the way, but it is so worth it in the end.  How many people have we heard that at the end of their life the only regret they have is that they didn't spend enough time with the ones they love.  We missed Victoria and Dany on this trip and are hoping they can come next summer... But what a JOY it is to do something you KNOW you are meant to do and be able to do it with the people you love!

And I have to give a big SHOUT OUT to this lady!  Erin is not only a friend... but was the 3rd grade teacher to Rebecca AND Isabella and she taught them how to swim as well.  She has seen my retreats from day one.  She has heard me talk about them, she has given me ideas for them and she was the first person to ask if I needed any help with them! (hahaha)  Well this year was the biggest year ever and YES, it was time to ask for more help.  She was fantastic and stepped right in and didn't get bothered by my "attention to detail"  in everything!  Thank you Erin, it was a trip I won't ever forget with you and Tom by our side!!  

I guess I'll end this long, photo heavy post with this girl.  She's now not only my helper but my business partner!  She has a heart for what I am doing and now what WE are doing here and all over the world, Lord willing.  I know we are praying BIG prayers together for what this is supposed to look like going forward.  Where the Lord is calling us to... What is should look like... and how often we should do these retreats.  So I'm blessed to see her heart for others come out so beautifully and I am looking forward to what the Lord is going to do through her in the future.

And if your noticing she is on a gondola in Venice, Italy... that's because we took a couple days and rented a car and stayed in Venice.  It was a GREAT little side trip and there may be some planning taking place for a future retreat here... but I will share more pictures from our two days in Venice next blog post, so stay tuned!

Hugs to all,

Laura

P.S.  Next years Art & Faith Creative Retreat in Bellagio, Italy is OPEN for Registration!  You can SIGN UP right here under the SIGN UP page at the top of the page.

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Pray.  Wait.  Trust....

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Pray. Wait. Trust....

Sometimes the Lord brings us on a journey, and it's always for a reason.

It can be a long journey or a short one, but it's to show us what He is trying to speak to us.

As I am headed to Italy I think of this journey that the Lord has brought me on and how before I was formed... He knew.  

 

He knew I would be excited and frazzled and open and fearful and willing... and every emotion I have right at this moment!

But He also knew that it was part of HIS plan.  The plan I didn't even know existed.  So off to Europe we are and as our pastor said last Sunday and spoke to my heart in such a profound way... we are taking Jesus with us.  It's a special time for me because my daughter Rebecca is feeling lead to be a part of these retreats and I just got her her own business cards... to make it official! hahaha  So I am praying that the Lord speaks to her heart as well and shows her what He is calling her to do in and through these Art & Faith Creative Retreats.

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I'd wish I could take EVERYONE with us, but in some way I guess I can...  Throughout this time in Europe I will be posting on here as much as the Internet and time allows.  I hope you will follow along on this journey.  It's for you too.  You see the Lord has put on my heart the theme of PRAYER for this years retreat.  I have prayed and seeked and written, and have put together a devotional for the ladies in Italy, but also for you.  I'm going to try to put up the devotional for each day on this blog so you can also be a part of this time and learn what the Lord may speak to you too.  

The theme is:

Pray.  Wait.  Trust...

It started months ago and this little blurb below IS from a while ago... I'll leave it because it's what goes with my theme and I will talk more about it when I share my devotional with you.

 

From May 10:

This morning I woke up, turned off my alarm and scrolled through my Instagram.  I give myself one "snooze" to look at my phone before I get out of bed. :)  It's just one of those things that has become a habit.  I like to see what my friends have posted while I slept (mostly friends from the East Coast or Europe) and I get to read my daily devotions through IG as well.  It's also so great to follow so many godly women who inspire me every day with their bible verses and beautiful photos and inspirational quotes.

This is the one that got straight to  my core this morning:

I don't know about you but that isn't a thought I have on my mind.  I guess I just didn't think of it that way, even thought I know that to be true.  This quote goes with the verse in Isaiah 64:4 "Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him."

 

That is an AMAZING verse and it spoke to me deeply.  I can't wait to share more with you!

So come back and follow along.  The retreat is June 24 - July 1st  AND I will try to have lots of pictures and the devotionals on here during that week.

ALSO...

I am going to try my best to have next years Art & Faith Creative Retreat SIGN UPS go LIVE on Saturday, July 1st!  I know the time change may play a weird role in this, but I will have more details on next year's retreat in Bellagio, Italy next week!

If you want to be put on the INTEREST LIST for that one in Bellagio, Italy it will be June 23 - June 30, 2018!  

Have a GREAT weekend everyone.  We would love your prayers as we leave today and head over there.  For our travels to be protected, for us to be used for His glory and for our loved ones who are staying home to be well. (Victoria and Dany couldn't come so they are staying at our house) We wish the whole family could have gone together but they have work and are waiting for Dany's green card to come through. (you can pray for that too :)

Hugs to everyone,

Laura

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Class Schedule -  2017 Art & Faith Creative Retreat

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Class Schedule - 2017 Art & Faith Creative Retreat

We are getting so close to another Art & Faith Creative Retreat in Italy!!  

I am amazed at how the year goes by so quickly as I announce a new retreat and we get the sign ups, then we get to know each person through Facebook and our email correspondence, and then we start planning for our time together.  Then it's here before we know it and we are sooooo excited to go an this amazing adventure together!  

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What they don't know (if they haven't gone on one before)  is that it is going to be such a transforming trip for them and that is what I look forward to the most!  The time spent in Italy is such a beautiful time of restoring our souls, meeting new people, and experiencing amazing places... each person comes away with a new set of friends, life long memories and Lord willing a new sense of closeness to Him.  Oh... I can't WAIT for June!

So for those of you who ARE joining us this summer in Italy, here are the classes you will be taking!  

For those who live close enough to come for a day trip... these are the classes YOU can sign up for right now, under the SIGN UP page at the top of the website!  I have always welcomed the local community to be a part of my retreats and that's what I think makes it extra special.  So if you would like to join us for a class, or 2 or 3... please go check them out and see if a time will work with your schedule and we would love to meet you and spend this time together!  I have about 10 spots I make available for local sign ups, so you will find out all the details under SIGN UP and then click on the REGISTRATION button to find each class.

Here is a sneak peek at each class we are teaching this June in Bellagio, Italy:

Class One | Creating a Junk Journal | June 26 - 9:00am

I am a huge believer that carrying a journal and a few supplies with us everywhere we go changes how we see the world. We will be creating in one of the most gorgeous locations in the world and I want to share some techniques that you can use as you explore and then also later when you return home. We will start by creating a handmade art journal full of watercolor paper, mixed media paper, vintage ephemera, fabrics and more. Each journal will have a hand stitched vintage French linen spine and will close with a leather strap.

Class Two | Stamp Carving | June 26 - 1:30pm

In this class Stephanie will show us how to create our OWN one-of-a-kind stamps!  She has been doing this for a while and will share her tips and techniques on making these fun stamps and using them in our classes during the week.  I don't know about you, but I'm excited to learn how to do this and I hope you will join us in this unique class!

Class Three | Mixed-Media Canvas | June 28 - 9:00am

During the week I will be teaching you some Bible Journaling techniques and we will be enjoying this time of art in our bibles!  But I also wanted to have something you could take home with you and hang or display in your home.  So this class will be on a thin canvas board and I will be teaching you some of the basic techniques of mixed-media.  We were learn how to create a collage base on our canvas and then we will be adding layers of dimension to the canvas.  In keeping with our theme for the week, you can add some wording with stamps and hand lettering or add your own saying to the canvas

Class Four | Prayer Journal Midori | June 28 - 1:30pm

In this class we will learn from Stephanie how to make a beautiful Prayer Journal.  She will share with us her insight on how to bring our prayer requests before the Lord and to remember to journal those answered prayers as well!  We will have fun putting this Midori styled journal together with all her colorful paints and stamps!

Class Five | Altered Journal Pages | Friday June 30 - 9:00am

We will then explore fun and easy contour sketching so you can learn to capture the beauty around you in landscapes, architecture and even people.  We will then create a two page spread in our journals as we practice mark making, collage and stitching to create beautiful works of art. My hope is that your journal will become full and well worn as you explore and create in Bellagio and back in your own towns.

So that is all the classes for this summer.  Again, feel free to sign up if you are local to the area and can be there for any of the classes listed.  You can go to the SIGN UP button and the click on the drop down menu on REGISTRATION and you will see all the classes and can pay as well.

If you have any questions you can email me via the contact page at the top of this website.

For those interested in joining one of these trips to Bellagio, Italy there will be another Art & Faith Creative Retreat NEXT SUMMER!  I will have all the details about that in the next month or so.  The dates for that will be most likely the last week in June of 2018.  If you want to be on an Interest List for next year you can also send an email via the Contact page at the top.

Have a GREAT day,

Laura

 

 

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June's Creative Retreat Class Schedule...

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June's Creative Retreat Class Schedule...

UPDATE 5/19/16:  WE WANTED TO OFFER ONE OF CORI'S MOST POPULAR CLASSES CALLED "ListersGottaList" SO WE HAVE CHANGED THE SCHEDULE A BIT TO ADD THIS GREAT CLASS!!

I can hardly believe we are already in May and next month I will be in Italy again!!  So excited for another CREATIVE RETREAT in beautiful Bellagio. I am extremely excited to share this week with the talented Cori Spieker!  She is one busy lady lately... Have you heard the BIG NEWS?  She has her own line with Simple Stories!!  You can check out her release on the Simple Stories Blog Here.

Here's her adorable video release on YouTube: Cori - The Reset Girl

Cori is such an inspiring lady and has quite the story of why she is called the "Reset Girl".   She will be sharing with us these stories along with three classes during the week.  She has a huge following on YouTube so go spend some time finding out more about her and her love of planners!!

Here's some SNEAK PEEKS of her new line with Simple Stories:

Take a peek at some of her planners and workshops:

These are just a few pictures of her planner workshops and I know you are going to have a GREAT time with us if you are joining us for the classes in Bellagio next month!

So I wanted to post about all the classes we will be teaching at the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni in Bellagio, Italy on this blog post.  ALL THESE CLASSES YOU CAN SIGN UP FOR right here on this website, under the SIGN UP button at the top.  Look for the REGISTRATION PAGE under SIGN UP and you can sign up to join any of the classes June 25 - July 1st.  SO LET'S GET TO ALL THE FUN CLASSES...

CLASSES JUNE 25 - JULY 1ST, 2016:

1. The Crafty Planner Girl Workshop  - Saturday, June 25 at 9:00am AND Monday, June 27 at 1:30pm  $55

THIS CLASS IS BEING OFFERED TWICE!  SATURDAY JUNE 25TH WILL BE FOR ALL THE LOCAL LADIES WHO ARE JOINING US AND I'M SO EXCITED TO SEE ALL MY BEAUTIFUL FRIENDS FROM ITALY, AND MAKE NEW FRIENDS TOO! (If you can't make it on Saturday, you are welcome to join the weeklong ladies on Monday afternoon)

Have you wanted to create amazing planners like those you see across the Internet? Do you want to take your planning to the next creative level? Do you simply love playing with pretty papers and stickers? If you said YES to any of those, this is the class for you!  

Cori will bring her inspiration and creativity to a four-hour workshop that will change the way you plan forever. You will make TRG style planner dividers, tabs, and customized planner accessories. You will also learn how to cover traveler notebook covers as shown in The Creative Planner Workshop. Cori will bring her TRG planner essentials and some of her personal planners so you can use her ideas for inspiration. You will leave with an incredible amount of ideas for the many different planners you can create to truly organize your life and your goals. Who knows, you might even open your mind to a whole new way of planning your life!!

This four-hour class will inspire you to get your crafty on as you explore the wonderful, wide-open, creative world of planning.  Sign up now to ensure your seat in this sure-to-sell-out workshop. 

Bring your own coordinating scrapbook paper. Also, bring your scrapbooking and planning basics like your scissors, pens, and most loved tools.  Plan on getting your crafty ON during this exciting workshop from The Reset Girl. Leave with a new A5 planner that seriously might change your life!

2. Travel Journal - by Laura McCollough on Monday, June 27 at 9:00am $50

Who doesn't LOVE to travel?  And lately I've been using the Midori style "Traveler's Notebooks" to capture my journeys in and they are PERFECT AND ALL THE RAGE RIGHT NOW!  This class I will be teaching with Webster's Pages brand new Traveler's Notebook Planners and they are SO beautiful!! I'm so excited to show you these new travel notebooks and you will see how much fun it is to record your memories in them.  Check out the beautiful colors here!

(I will be giving each student a choice of Rose Gold or the Walnut Leather) This once in a lifetime trip to Italy will be remembered forever in this journal that we will make together. You will be able to use this journal to record your thoughts each day during the week as well as keep your travel ephemera and photos in! Or for any local ladies joining us, you can use the Traveler's Notebook for a summer trip you are planning!  Here's a photo of a recent trip to Bora Bora that I made a Traveler's Notebook for:

Here's a little SNEAK PEEK from my class:

So come join me in this fun Traveler's Notebook Travel Journal Class!! Can't wait to see all my Italian friends again!!

3. The Faithful Planner Girl Workshop - Wednesday, June 29 at 9:00am $40

Are you ready to take a walk deeper in your Christian faith? Take this faith-building course and learn to set up a custom planner for bible study, journaling, faith & vision building, affirmations, and note taking. You will create dividers and tabs TRG style. Inspiration will be provided to you for building a planner and developing a vision for your spiritual walk. 

Cori will share examples of bible journaling in a planner for those who don’t wish to use the bible for their art as well as numerous ways to use the scripture cards provided. Be encouraged to journal, create, and be all you can be, while listening to worship music, enjoying refreshments, and being uplifted.  Cori will share some of her testimony and the many stumbles on her own walk along with the many triumphs. Leave this class with a deeper understanding of your personal faith journey as well as a creative way to document your individual faith. 

4. ListersGottaList- Friday, July 1st at 9:00am $40 (JUST ADDED THIS CLASS!)

Cori, AKA TheResetGirl, is a planner girl with a passion for encouraging and educating. She nearly always has a pen and glue stick in hand. Together with her husband and partner, Mr. Crafty, they own TheResetGirl shop and craft unique planner stickers.  She has come up with a fun monthly "ListersGottaList" club and this class will be based on this fun idea!  You can check out one of her videos below that shows what she is doing!  Here's also an example of her "ListersGottaList" monthly list below:

*All photos are representations of our classes and each class will have fun and new materials and lists.

Lastly, I wanted to mention that Cori also collaborated with Shanna Noel from Illustrated Faith recently to come up with this "Lists by Faith" that you can purchase at Dayspring.

So if you are joining us all week or just for the classes, we can't WAIT to meet you in Italy soon!

Don't forget to go SIGN UP NOW right here on the website under the REGISTRATION PAGE so you are guaranteed a spot.  The classes are limited in size.  Again, you can click on the SIGN UP button at the top and then click on REGISTRATION PAGE and you will be taken to the page with all classes and info and you can pay online to secure your space at the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni in Bellagio, Italy June 25 - July 1st.

Hope to see you there!

Here's more information on Cori Spieker if you want to follow her on Social Media:

Links: 

Instagram: https://instagram.com/theresetgirl/

YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/CoriTheResetGirl/videos

Website: http://theresetgirl.com/

ListersGottaList: http://www.listersgottalist.com/

The Creative Planner workshop: http://christytomlinson.typepad.com/christy_tomlinson_worksho/the-creative-planner-online-class.html

The Reset Girl Shop: http://www.theresetgirlshop.com/

Have a GREAT day everyone~!

Hugs,

Laura

 

 

 

 

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Creative Retreat Update...

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Creative Retreat Update...

Hi ladies!

I wanted to do a blog post to update everyone on this years Creative Retreats.  I've made some big changes to the classes and retreat in June and thought I'd share what we are doing this summer with all of you!  


These are all changes that we have prayerfully considered and everyone feels a total peace about going forward.  I've talked with everyone involved and we are so excited to share what we are offering and I hope you will be too!

As most of you know, last year was my first Art & Faith Creative Retreat. I've hosted many Creative Retreats in Italy (and France) but this last June was my first where  we said "Art & Faith Collided"...  It was such an AWE INSPIRING week that it's hard to even explain how great it was!  I remember during that week telling some of the ladies "This is all I want to do from now on..."

 

To have a week that like minded women can come together and have a safe place to just talk and share about their lives and feel connected... and to feel pampered in one of the most beautiful places in Italy. It's incredible, and I want that for EVERYONE!  I want my Creative Retreats to be more then just a week in a beautiful place,  making beautiful things.  I want you to be changed.  I want everyone to grow and to learn, I want you to have your hearts filled up, I want you to see that you just made lifelong friends with the other ladies in this amazing location... and most of all, I want you to feel SO BLESSED.

So going forward this year I really felt the Lord putting in on my heart to bring this to the June Creative Retreat.  I know June was supposed to be just a "Planner Girl" week...  and that would have been fine.  But I feel like after last years Art & Faith retreat I should have kept with what I said and felt in my heart.  

So I am.

Sometimes you just have to listen to that small voice nudging you... (well you should probably always listen... hahaha)

With that being said... Now for the week of June 25 - July 2nd I am SO excited to tell you about the classes that Cori Spieker (of The Reset Girl) is teaching!  You can click on the SIGN UP button at the top of the website and click on TEACHERS & CLASSES to see an in depth description, but I wanted to give you some highlights here...

As you know if you follow Cori, she is a believer and has had a BIG "RESET" in her life and it's a big part of her business.  I wanted her to really share that with the ladies coming and help all of us with evaluating our lives and where we are.  That's ALWAYS a good thing!  So I am THRILLED that she is bringing this part of her to her classes and sharing it with us during our week together. Here's just a sample of 2 of the 3 classes she will be teaching:

Planning with Purpose: Are you ready to Reset Your Life? This amazing workshop is your first step towards your incredible transformation. First, you will learn what it means to build a foundation for resetting your life by first learning how to build a healthy relationship with yourself, learn how to truly understand yourself, and begin to show yourself love and kindness. Then, you will explore how to encourage yourself through setting strong goals. You will end the class with building a customized planner to help achieve your complete life reset.

The Faithful Planner Girl Workshop: Are you ready to take a walk deeper in your Christian faith? Take this faith-building course and learn to set up a custom planner for bible study, journaling, faith & vision building, affirmations, and note taking. You will create dividers and tabs TRG style. Inspiration will be provided to you for building a planner and developing a vision for your spiritual walk. 

Cori will share examples of bible journaling in a planner for those who don’t wish to use the bible for their art as well as numerous ways to use the scripture cards provided. Be encouraged to journal, create, and be all you can be, while listening to worship music, enjoying refreshments, and being uplifted.  Cori will share some of her testimony and the many stumbles on her own walk along with the many triumphs. Leave this class with a deeper understanding of your personal faith journey as well as a creative way to document your individual faith. 

Don't these sound like AMAZING classes to be a part of?!  I will also be teaching and sharing with you my life story and how I started this DREAM JOB and also how I got into Bible Journaling a couple years ago.  Throughout the week we will have time for getting deeper into the word through devotional time and bible journaling.  I will also be teaching a Travel Journal class at the beginning of the week that you will be able to keep your thoughts in throughout our time together, as well as your travel ephemera and photos.  And for those interested in watercolor art, there are two wonderful local teachers that teach painting classes and I would love to offer a class in watercolor as well if enough students are interested~

 

Sounds exciting, right?

I hope you will consider joining us for this week.  Oh... another BIG change is the PRICE for the weeklong event!  I've lowered the price for this week since it will be just Cori and myself teaching and accommodations are 3 to an apartment now.  (If you want private accommodations or 2 to a room, that is still available... just email me for pricing on that)  I just know with past experience that the ladies have had such a great time and the apartments are plenty big enough for 3 ladies so why not offer a better price break for that.  My heart has always been for the people who are feeling lead to come, to be able to come!  My pray is ALWAYS that the Lord would bring those who need to be there.  Even when I didn't have the space for anyone else and was "sold out" I knew that if there was someone who needed to be there, there would be room for them.  And there always is!  That's what's so awesome when you give it to the Lord and ask Him to show you what He wants things to look like.  Then you know for sure you are doing what is right and you are right where you need to be.

Well, I know it's a lot to "change up"  but I know it's the right decision and the direction I feel the Lord was leading me.  I hope you will consider joining Cori and I for this week filled with lots of FUN and PURPOSE. 

 

Feel free to email me if you have any questions or need help planning your trip with us!

Have a GREAT day everyone, and I can't WAIT to meet you... in ITALY this summer!

Hugs to all,

Laura



 

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