Viewing entries tagged
Creative Retreats

Creative Retreats - 2018...

Comment

Creative Retreats - 2018...

As we get ready to enter this next week of Thanksgiving and take some time off to enjoy family, friends and lots of food...

Here's some "food for thought:"

If you have signed up for one of our Art & Faith Creative Retreats next year... we are THANKFUL.

64439129f6367490aca73c2f802f7946.jpg

We are so very, very humbled by your desire to gather with us in these special places and see what the Lord is speaking to your heart.  It still gives me goose bumps... Thank you.

AND... If you are praying about joining us, please do!  We are always certain the Lord brings the people He is calling to come and we have seen amazing stories of that each year.

Here's an update on what we have available for next year:

Paris & Bruges.1.jpg

We just had someone that needed to back out of this SOLD OUT retreat, so if you were wanting to join us in France and Belgium next July... Now there's a SPOT for you!  Please email me if you are interested in taking this spot. The details are under the SIGN UP page at the top.

PLEASE NOTE:  The dates of this retreat have changed.  NOW they will be:

July 8 - 18, 2018.

Paris2018.1.jpg

Come join us for a 10 day adventure in beautiful Paris, France... Bruges, Belgium and the French countryside!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We also have 2 retreats in Bellagio, Italy next year!  

 

The first one is at the end of June:  June 24 - 30, 2018

cr2018.jpg

This Art & Faith Creative Retreat in JUNE has a few spaces left and we would love for you to join us!   This is the week of the San Giovanni Festival and an amazing "bucket list" Torchlight Festival!  If you haven't been to Bellagio, Italy this is a GREAT time to see it with us!  We will have two amazing artists joining me that week to teach us!  Sarah Bechler is a wool artist and will be sharing her amazing skills with us in a beautiful class you won't want to miss!  Simona Angheliri is from Como... the main city on Lake Como where our retreat is held.  She is a beautiful Italian lady who is very talented.  We are exited to learn watercolor art from her that week.  I will be teaching Bible Journaling during the week and I feel so blessed to get to share this passion of mine with those who join us!

All the details on this week are under the SIGN UP page, so just click on the Summer 2018 retreat to find the details, or you can email me if you have any further questions. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The second one if in the gorgeous Fall: October 6 - 13, 2018

fall2018.jpg

We just added this one and it's almost sold out!  We THANK YOU for those that have signed up!  This is going to be an incredible week with Sheila Atchley!  She will be teaching and leading us in what God has put on her heart.  I will be teaching Bible Journaling at this retreat as well and am so excited to see what the Lord is going to do.  This is such a beautiful time of year to see Lake Como and we can't wait to show you all of it's beautiful colors!

If you are thinking and praying about joining this week... we would be so happy to have you join us!  I think there's about 5 spots left, so we will be waiting for you. All the details for this retreat are also under the SIGN UP page at the top.  Just click on the Fall 2018 retreat and you will find out the details, or you can email me via the Contact Page.

Paris2018.2.jpg

So, whether it's France or Italy... We look forward to welcoming you to enjoy a week away... to step away from life and be RENEWED and INSPIRED.  To relax and enjoy time being creative in such a beautiful setting.

Jeremiah 31:25 says "For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish."  My prayer for everyone interested in joining us on our Art & Faith Creative Retreats is to seek out that time to be renewed in your faith and refreshed in your spirit.  To ask the Lord to draw you closer to Him as you open yourself up to being CREATIVE and finding that connection between ART & FAITH.  I hope you will take this time to "Be still, and know that He is God..."  while you wander down cobblestone paths, explore beautiful places, and enjoy delicious meals with new friends!  That is what our Creative Retreats are all about and Lake Como, Italy or Paris, France are the perfect locations for these beautiful moments to take place.  

septembercollage2.jpg

This also makes a great Christmas gift!  So if that is something you are thinking about blessing someone with, you are welcome to email me and we can put a beautiful presentation together  to give them this beautiful surprise! 

Have a BLESSED weekend and Thanksgiving week!  We will be taking some take away from work and social media.  We pray that you will all have a beautiful time being thankful for the many blessing God has given you!

Hugs to all,

Laura

Comment

Love, Tuesday... Work & Italy

Comment

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:

IMG_2482.JPG
IMG_0999.jpg
IMG_1062.jpg
IMG_3341.JPG
IMG_3396.jpg
IMG_3374.jpg
IMG_2796.jpg
IMG_2473.JPG

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!

IMG_3164.JPG
IMG_3077.JPG

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.  :)

IMG_2439.JPG

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!

IMG_3249.JPG

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"   :)

IMG_3217.JPG

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! 

IMG_2519.jpg

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.  

IMG_2763.jpg

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!

IMG_3180.JPG

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!

IMG_2949.JPG

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

IMG_3508.JPG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comment

Love, Tuesday...

Comment

Love, Tuesday...

It's been a week since Rebecca and I got home from our time in France and Italy.  Here's a little bit about our time there and some photos from our trip on this Love, Tuesday...

We went on this trip was for two purposes.  I'll share the first purpose this time and later this week I'll share about the other reason.

Rebecca and I met up with two ladies this last spring in San Diego that live in France.  We were put in contact with them through a lady that contacted me via this website a couple years ago and is actually now going to teach with me next summer in Bellagio!  We are so thankful for these beautiful connections God places in our lives and know that there is a reason for every one of these connections.  We talked and connected and became fast friends that night in San Diego, and decided it would be fun if I would come to France and teach a class to a group of ladies they meet with every other week.  They started a group called the "Wisdom Cafe" for anyone that is interested in joining that live on the French Riviera and have really seen God working in beautiful ways.  So of course I needed my helper, Rebecca... and were off on a plane to France in the beautiful fall!

IMG_2145.jpg
IMG_2083.jpg
IMG_2072.jpg
IMG_2218.jpg

The ladies hosted us in this quaint little village of Valbonne, France in this adorable little hotel!  The weather was PERFECT.  We enjoyed that first evening just strolling through the beautiful cobblestone streets and delighted in the quiet pace of this beautiful place.  There was a definite Italian influence in this town that we noticed though and they said it was because at some point in time it WAS part of Italy!

IMG_2117.jpg
IMG_2115.JPG

The next morning we had a lovely breakfast in the town square and then headed to the home of one of the ladies who would be hosting the "Wisdom Cafe" that day.

IMG_2128.JPG

This very French style home is the home of Roger and Sarah, who have been living in France for 12 years now.  How can it get any cuter than this?

On a side note: One really cool thing about Roger & Sarah... they lived in Colorado for 16 years!  It was so neat to have a conversation about what we are seeing the Lord do in our lives in moving us to Colorado and hear their story of their time there as well.  This actually happened three separate times on our trip and I'll share the other two times in my next post. 

IMG_2149.JPG
IMG_2196.JPG
IMG_2163.jpg

We set up our class kits and then started welcoming all the ladies who were arriving.  Wow, they were beautiful ladies!  We found out that there were 9 different countries represented in the group that day and they all had amazing stories of how they came to live in the South of France.  We enjoyed a beautiful lunch that Cy and Sarah prepared and we took some time to talk with each lady throughout the day and hear their beautiful accents from all over the world!

IMG_2170.jpg

The "Wisdom Cafe" is something they started years ago as an opportunity to connect women and share their faith.  They like to discuss all different topics, but this was the first time they actually brought someone in to do an art class!  I was so humbled by that and really excited to share my connection with Art & Faith.  They usually have a long discussion about a certain topic for that day but since we were going to do an art project they asked me some questions and had me share a little of my story and my retreats.   We talked about art and the connection to faith and I spoke about our Creator and how He ties those things together for me.  One of the quotes that we really enjoyed talking about was this one from Pablo Picasso:

Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” ― Pablo Picasso.

What a beautiful description of how art can cleanse the soul.  Most of these ladies had not done any type of art since their school days.  So I talked a little about the innocence of childhood and how creative we are as children and as we grow up we loose that freeness of spirit... and how we need to try to get that back!  

Because ART is FUN and THERAPEUTIC and GOOD FOR THE SOUL!

Then it was time to make art.  

IMG_2174.jpg
IMG_2172.jpg
IMG_2176.JPG

As a teacher I am always wanting to make sure everyone understands what I am teaching and they are getting the techniques as well.  With this group I was giving them a couple different choices for their canvas so it was a lot to teach at once!  But they all looked like they really enjoyed it and it was so nice to see their finished art at the end.  Here's a picture of some of the ladies who were there and wanted their photo taken with their canvas.  I hope to see some of these ladies next summer in Italy! 

IMG_2182.JPG
IMG_2190.jpg

Here I am with Cy and Sarah, the two ladies who we met in San Diego.  These two have such a heart for France and have been such a blessing to so many people.  Thank you ladies for letting me come and be a part of what you are doing there!

IMG_2233.JPG

That night we drove with Cy to Cannes for dinner.  It was fun to see this iconic spot on the Rivera and have dinner at a cafe next to one of the most famous hotels in Cannes.

IMG_2232.JPG
IMG_2240.JPG

We even had "famous" guests right next to us that were being filmed for a TV show... we think it was for a "Housewives" show.

IMG_2252.JPG

After dinner we walked on the boardwalk for a while and had a great time chatting with Cy about life here. Then she took us back to our little hotel in Valbonne, about 20 minutes away,  and we came back to the town actually "closed"...

IMG_2263.JPG

Yes, they literally close the streets at night and put the fences up so you can't drive in! Now that's a small village vibe for sure... gotta love that.

IMG_2277.JPG

The next morning we were up early and onto the train station to go get some work done... in Italy!

I'll share more about that next time.

Hope you enjoy YOUR Tuesday and I would love to hear what YOU love today.

Hugs,

Laura

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comment

Go out in faith...

Comment

Go out in faith...

Have you asked yourself this question lately... or ever??

What are you called to do?

 

No, not what you are doing... your job, your family, your everyday tasks...

Bigger.

 

Why are you here? What do you think is your calling?

20c3701ad4ade19fa869751dac7d4686.jpg

 

I'll be completely honest with you and tell you that that was not something I spent ANY time thinking about.  For way too long actually.

Oh there's that time in everyone's life when you're about to graduate High School and you think about what you want to do with your life.  Where should I go to college... what kind of job would I like to have... but "my calling"...  it's just not really something I spent time thinking about.  I think more of my life was spent LETTING things happen.  As a girl growing up 30 years ago I knew I wanted to be married, have children and I wanted to be able to stay home and raise them.  Those were my goals and even though they may seem so simple in this day and age, that was my hearts desire.  I don't see anything wrong with that, but maybe I can dare to say it was not giving God a big enough place in my life?  Or maybe it was a little self centered, or at best just "safe"?  Don't get me wrong... I want my daughters to have those same things even now and they are NOT bad things to want!   

But beyond those simple goals I had, I don't think I asked myself that question I just asked you.  But it IS a question to be asked.  It's SO important to ask yourself.  Because it gets to the heart of WHO God is.  

Who He wants YOU to be.  

We aren't here to merely grow up, find a job, get married, have kids, etc. etc...

Those things are going to happen.  But getting back to the bigger question, I want my daughters to ask themselves that NOW... I want YOU to ask yourselves that question now, at whatever age you may be.  So that you are driven by a purpose set in motion the moment you were born.  Each one of us has a purpose.  Do you know what that is?

2f3776e6c37e8b71c9c57e6e4689797a-2.jpg

Think of anyone you know who has a PURPOSE in life.  You can tell who they are.

I can think of some dear friends that I know KNOW their purpose.  I think of someone like Franklin Graham (and of course his dad Billy) who KNOW their calling.

I also know an author that is stirring up these thoughts in my head... here's a quote from his book "Chase The Lion"

"In every dream journey there comes a moment when you have to quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death.  You have to go after a dream that is destined to FAIL without divine intervention."  Mark Batterson

I know I have mentioned his name and his books many times... but it's because nothing, outside of the Word of God, has spoken to me so loudly at this point in my life!

"In God's book, success is spelled stewardship.  It's making the most of the time, talent, and treasure God has given you.  It's doing the best you can with what you have where you are."  Yes, that's Mark Batterson again.

Now let me tell you that long story I've been meaning to tell you:

This past summer we were supposed to be gone for 6 weeks.  We were also supposed to go to Paris, France as part of our trip.  I LOVE Paris and as you saw in past photos I took Rebecca this Spring, was there last week and plan to go next summer with a group of ladies.  

IMG_6245.JPG

BUT, I felt like we weren't supposed to go this past summer as a family.  So after talking with Lance about this feeling we changed our plans.  We had to change our plans again because when we were in Italy we felt like we needed to go home.  Which meant that we didn't go to Prague, we didn't go to Bruges and we didn't go to Michigan on the way home...

I say all this because it's part of the reason we are in escrow on 35 acres in Colorado!!!

You see I have been on a journey with the Lord these last few years and I am amazed at how much of a real, true relationship you can have with the God of the Universe!  I shouldn't be shocked about this.  I've always loved the Lord and have followed Jesus my whole life.  But I don't know that I have followed Him my whole life... WITH my WHOLE life.  And I also don't think I really listened to that "Still, small voice"... and that is SO important in this whole story.

A while back I told the Lord to USE me.  I remember writing it in my journal and crying over those words.  Because those are SCARY words to say.  There's a verse in 2 Chronicles 16:9 that says "For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His."  He is looking for YOU, for anyone who is willing to surrender their lives to Him and let Him use you!  He has AMAZING plans for you!  Trust that.

I know that because I have seen that in my life!  (Remember, I'm the one who wanted to get married, have children and live happily ever after in safe town...)  I didn't desire for big dreams or to travel the world or to be in ministry... all over the world!  I'm the one who hates getting on an airplane... or speaking in public!! But He is using my Art & Faith Creative Retreats and I know He has given me such a heart for the women that He has brought into my life through this.  I will do those retreats for as long as He allows and I am SO blessed that I get to share His love with women in beautiful places like Italy and France!!  But He is stirring my heart to more.  To be used in more ways and maybe even in bigger, scarier ways.

Getting back to the story...

We ended up taking a road trip to Michigan because we needed to get there from California now that we didn't have the plane ticket from Paris to Michigan.  Yes, it was long and boring and hours upon hours of driving.  But along the way we stopped at some friends houses and had fun.  One of those special places we stopped was at my dear friend Jeanne Oliver's home in Colorado.  They have such a special place and you can SO feel that when you are there.  She was so open with us and loved on us and truly is a gift in my life that I thank God for.   We also had some sweet moments with the Lord on our trip.  And... something about Colorado made us stop and FEEL His presence.  It happened on the way TO Michigan and on the way home from Michigan.  The mountains stirred in me something I didn't understand yet. 

Isaiah 55:12 says “For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands."

colorado-photos_DSC6481.jpg

Rebecca and I talked about it all the way home.  We felt like Colorado WAS home.  That was so strange to us! All I can say is that the Lord was stirring our hearts and we were trying to understand it, but it didn't make sense.  Lance wasn't even on this road trip with us!  He's also a committed Californian... hahaha  He loves California!  We've talked about moving before and it just never worked out, but mostly because my hubby LOVES California!  Do you see what I'm trying to say?  This whole idea/desire brewing in us was CRAZY!  (God kind of crazy...)

So when we got back home we talked about the trip, all the long hours of driving, the great time we had in Michigan... etc, etc.  We told him how much we loved Colorado... and left it at that.

But in my own prayer time I started praying BIG PRAYERS.  Why did I feel so connected to a place that I didn't even think two thoughts about a month ago?  Why is my heart wanting to go back?  Would I REALLY consider moving out of California?  So in my own time with the Lord I asked him to do something.  I asked that IF He was stirring my heart to move to Colorado, then He would need to change Lances heart.  He would need to put a desire on his heart to want to leave California!  (I really thought "fat chance of that happening")

But things started happening...

One day a couple weeks later Lance said "I think I could move out of California".... What the what?

Then another day he said... "It would be nice to have space and land..."

Ok God... I see you.

At the SAME time, the Lord started showing ME things in His Word and in my prayer time.  I felt like He was directing me to the word "Gather" or "A Gathering Place" and He also lead me to some verses in Hebrews 10-:23-25 that confirmed this.  So at the same time that I'm hearing a foreign language come out of Lance's mouth (I could move out of California??) I'm feeling some confirmation on what is stirring in both of our hearts.

So I started doing some research.  Finding some reasons to move.  We started talking to people about moving.  It was crazy how fast things started moving.  Then one day Lance said, "Let's go check it out..."  

Now I'm all about moving and doing this if it's the Lord calling us to move and He has a purpose in all of this.  But I will tell you that I kinda freaked out for a bit.  I like California too!  And if I'm honest... I like my house, my backyard, my friends here, the nice warm weather here... we have it pretty nice here, in California!

But I also couldn't deny that the Lord was stirring our hearts and moving in our lives, and that is exciting!  It's scary... but it's also exciting when you can clearly see that the Lord is speaking and working in your life, for His purpose to be glorified.

So we went to Colorado... to look.

And it wasn't all sunshine and roses my friends.

The first full day we were there we met with a real estate agent who showed us some homes and land.  Lance wasn't all that impressed.  That day was long and rough and there was arguing and the girls were fighting and we didn't feel anything.  Oh Lance thought some places were nice, but not really what he was thinking it would be like.  So we got back to our hotel and it was not pretty.  Everyone was tired and less then in a good mood.  I thought ok Lord... we're going back home after this trip and California it is.  But I also cried and prayed and cried that night.  I asked the Lord to show us clearly.  I felt like He was opening doors and stirring things in our hearts, but was He?  Was this bad day we just had part of the enemy trying to step in the path of the Lords will and mess things up?  Was this just all my imagination/desire to move out of California and we weren't really seeing signs from the Lord working in us to fulfill a purpose?  I asked the Lord to show us or close the doors.

c2e4db09fa549657d127131fce899eb3.jpg

 

The next day we met with a home builder.  I had talked with him briefly a week before we came and told him the vision I felt the Lord was showing me.  He was also a believer and shared some things with me that I really thought were pretty awesome.  So that day we met at their office and we talked about what we were there for.  He then showed us about 5 or 6 properties.  The first one was 35 ACRES!  What?  We were thinking 5 acres, maybe 10 would be HUGE... 35 ACRES... that was CRAZY!  (But ok Lord... You have plans that we don't understand.)  

And that land was pretty awesome.  

We were all looking around and seeing the potential, and I felt it.  The tears started.  Rebecca felt it too.  Of course Lance was trying to keep his cool and not get too excited (always the negotiator) but we prayed over that land right then and there, with the guy!  

We left and saw the other properties and they were nice too.  And... we were just there to LOOK.  Right?

Nope...

Lance was in the front seat with Drew as we were done for the day and heading back to his office.  Lance was talking to him about the area, business in the area (because He is starting a new business soon) and then Lance says: "So Laura, do you want to put an offer on that land?"

What!!??!! Ok... YES!  

And then tears again, and more tears from Rebecca... and then tears from Isabella (but unfortunately for the wrong reason... she didn't want to move.  but more on that at a later time)

So we went home that following Sunday IN escrow on LAND in COLORADO.

There is much about that that can be said.  But I would call it a MIRACLE.

The mountains certainly spoke that weekend and I think of this verse in Psalm 121:

Psalm 121: 1-2 says: "I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth."

But I would also say that it started by listening to that "Still, small voice."  That it's more about the Lord looking to and fro for those who He can use.  That when you open yourself up to the PURPOSES of the Lord God who made you, He starts shifting things around.  Making things happen in HIS timing and in HIS ways.

That's not the end of the story though.  It's just the beginning...

And I'm going to be completely open with you.  It WILL take a MIRACLE to make this happen.

556d1527ccc7cfb261ee5ae3bc263689.jpg

I've shared a little about this move on social media and here on my blog.  We've shared this with our family and close friends.  But I'm going to tell you now... It will ONLY be God if this vision that He has given us comes to fruition.  You see, we don't have what it's going to take to make this whole thing happen.  35 acres of land, a house, a "gathering place," a vision for serving and loving others... It's all beyond our abilities.  But that is EXACTLY where God gets all the glory!  There are so many little things that we have needed to have answered in this process, doors to be opened, money to be available, (remember my husband isn't working...not so good for lenders looking to loan you money...)  and each time through this process we have had each one answered in the affirmative.  It's been amazing to see God working and we are trusting Him through all of this.  It's not an easy, stress free process as I'm sure you know.  But giving it to the Lord and trusting that He will shut or open the doors is where we need to be.  I'm so thankful to friends and family for praying with us, helping us with so many questions we have, and just listening to us talk it through.  Our church "framalies" our "Bellagio Girls" and so many more have been pray partners with us and we can't thank you enough!!

As we are going through this journey I have been reading "Chase the Lion" by Mark Batterson and there are so many things that speak straight to my heart.  It's really the perfect book at the perfect time.  Here's a few snippets from the book I have to share:

"God's dream for your life is so much bigger, so much better than breaking even.  If you focus on not making mistakes, you won't make a difference."

"When we lack the guts to go after five-hundred pound lions, we rob God of the glory He deserves.  By definition, a God-sized dream will be beyond your ability, beyond your resources.  Unless God does it, it can't be done!  And that is precisely how God gets the glory.  He does things that we can't do so we can't take the credit for them.  God honors big dreams because big dreams honor God."

"God is in the business of miracles and He also is wanting us to have FAITH in Him."

 

So we are going out in faith...

1c5abb681f60254d770fe4828ff56980.jpg

And we should know by next week some time if this land is ours.  (or I should say God's)

If the Lord blesses us with this land, then we will take the next steps, in His perfect timing.

And I will share those steps with you as well.

Because it's also for YOU.  This "Gathering Place" isn't just for us.  

IMG_2949.JPG

Hebrews 10:23-25 "Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together(gathering together), as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near."

Thank you for taking the time to read this LONG post.  You certainly don't have to and there is certainly so much more entertaining media out there then my blog!  But if you are here, I know the Lord is speaking to you and showing YOU that He has a PURPOSE for you.  He WANTS you to ask Him what that looks like... and He wants you to not be afraid to TRUST Him with your life.  

Go out in FAITH...

Hugs,

Laura

Next time I will share my week in France and Italy with you!  It was an incredible week teaching in France and working on some new things for our retreats in Italy.  So much fun stuff ahead!  Here's a photo I'll leave you with that was at the most beautiful villa on Lake Como:

IMG_0999.JPG

 

 

 

 

Comment

Love, Tuesday...

10 Comments

Love, Tuesday...

There is such a LONG post coming soon, I promise, but I just don't have time to catch my breath long enough to sit and blog.

Last week was our 28th wedding anniversary and Lance took me back to our honeymoon place... well multiple places.   We honeymooned in New England and had planned our honeymoon to coincide with the Fall Foliage.  So we went back to Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts last week and we had SUCH a great time!  

IMG_1275.JPG
IMG_1468.JPG
IMG_1467.JPG
IMG_1653.JPG

We had SO much fun and what a beautiful time to visit New England!  I highly recommend a visit to this part of our country if you can.

Then today was the day we had been waiting for for a while... to see if Lance had thyroid cancer.  Praise God he does NOT and we are overwhelmed with joy and love from all of you that have prayed for him and have been with us through this scary journey!  We know so many of you know how scary it is to find a lump or lumps and go through this process and we are so humbled by all the love and support we have had.  He does have Hashimoto's disease which he will need to take care of, but we are so thankful it was not anything worse.  

And now tomorrow... yes, life is a bit crazy right now... Rebecca and I get on a plane for France and Italy!  We have an opportunity to share the love of Jesus with a group of about 25-30 ladies in France on Thursday and we are so excited to see where the Lord is leading us.  It is scary to say "I am willing"  to the Lord, but when you DO, He sends you.  He opens doors you would never have imagined and He shows up.  I know He is calling us and even though things are a bit scary in the world these days, we know He will be with us and provide peace and protection.  When we are done in France we will head to Italy to do some work and see some new places for future retreats!  So stay tuned for some SNEAK PEEKS on social media!

1O0A9898.jpg

And,

if that is not all that is going on in our lives...

Last post I hinted at a trip we were about to take to Colorado to see if the Lord was directing us there for a reason.

Well, by the end of the month we might actually be land owners in COLORADO!

IMG_0947.JPG

We are in escrow on some land with the potential to build on it in the future.  We are not sure exactly the when, what or how... but are positive the Lord is directing it ALL.  I promise when I find the time I will sit down and share the whole story.  It's an incredible one that is still unfolding and I know it is all for His glory.  This is not for us to have land and build our "dream home" on and live happily ever after...  This is a vision the Lord has given to me over the past couple months and I have a husband that can see that vision, supports it and wants to be about the Lords business...  so we are in prayer about all of it. 

My favorite verse keeps coming up and it's one I am clinging to daily:

IMG_1957.JPG

We don't always understand what is going on in our lives.  If you would have told me 3 months ago that we would possibly be moving out of California and building on land that has cows and deer and bears and SNAKES.... I would have told you that you were CRAZY!  But it's not our place to always understand what God is doing or calling us to.  Our job is to TRUST the Lord and ACKNOWLEDGE Him.  That He is the author of our lives.  That He has SO much He wants to do in and through us... if we only allow Him to.  Honestly, until we let Him truly, truly direct our paths we  aren't living our lives completely.  But when we say "YES, Lord... I am willing," that is when the going gets GOOD.  Oh it's scary... like I mentioned before.  We don't like the unknown, right?  (Rebecca and I don't even like to fly or speak in public... so what is going on?  lol)  We like our safe neighborhood with fences all around and our sunny California weather with our pretty backyard.   But I can see more and more that the Lord doesn't call us to a "safe" life.  He calls us out.  He wants us to Go.  And that is when He shines through us and It. Is. Good.

Because He is GOOD.

Have a wonderful Tuesday!

Hugs to all,

Laura

 

 

 

10 Comments

Love, Tuesday...

Comment

Love, Tuesday...

I posted this photo a couple weeks ago and told you that I'd share more about this Bible Journaling page and then I forgot.  So on this Love, Tuesday let me share a little about what inspired this page.

IMG_7851.jpg

First off, can we take a moment and talk about the beautiful setting this is?  I'm at Jeanne Oliver's house in this photo and I was enjoying her gorgeous view and doing my morning devotions on our road trip through Colorado.  It was a real treat to spend time with her and her family and to enjoy time on their beautiful land.

IMG_9164.JPG

Are we living radically different lives from the world?

That's the question that smacked me in the face a few weeks ago while I was reading the @ourdailybread devotional. Romans 12:2 says to not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind... So what is our example to look to?? Yes, Jesus. He modeled the Father to us, and we have the Holy Spirit in us to help us model Christ to this world.

IMG_9162.JPG

I know it's not easy, it's going against the culture of the day or even (dare I say... )maybe the traditions of the church. To be radical in our love for others, to go against what the world says is cool or acceptable.  It's seeking to share His love with a broken world. It's sharing the JOY we have in him with the person next to us at the store, or across the ocean.  Getting out of our comfort zone (our little bubble we live in) to go to the places we don't feel so safe in.

IMG_9163.JPG

It's radical... and I want to be all in!

The green "sea glass" is actually a piece of glass from Lake Como... in the shape of a HEART! It's been such an incredible journey to see where the Lord is taking our Art & Faith Creative Retreats and having Rebecca feel the Lord lead her to step into it as we are praying BIG prayers over where He wants us to GO, is so amazing!  Yesterday as we had our "mommy & me" day before she heads off to college we hiked Torrey Pines State Reserve and just talked and about what the Lord is leading us to do... and even though it's scary and "radical"... we know He is in it.

IMG_7716.jpg

This page was inspired by that devotional from Our Daily Bread and by my dear friend Jeanne Oliver who taught such beautiful classes in Italy this summer at the Art & Faith Creative Retreat in Bellagio. She has taught with me three times now in Bellagio and every time it's over I just can't imagine her not coming back again. I even hosted HER own, very first, Living Studio in Bellagio back in 2014.  So you will probably see Jeanne back in Bellagio one of these years... because I just adore her and I know she has such a God given talent to teach and inspire others!

But if you don't want to wait for another Art & Faith CR in Italy, then I highly recommend taking one of her workshops in her Living Studio in Colorado.  The picture at the top of this post is her studio and let me tell you... it is INSPIRING!  I want to take a class there!  We got to visit her a few weeks ago and going into the studio was just...in one word, LOVELY.  I wanted to go through and look at each nook and cranny because it is just filled up with all of her love and passion for art. You can feel it and it's a beautiful thing to see how it all came together for her.  So if you ever get the chance, go to a workshop there! (and maybe I'll be at one with you :)

IMG_7838.jpg

It was a blessing to be there, to sit out on her gorgeous patio, look out at the amazing Colorado mountain view from her home and I have to say it really put a stirring in my heart to be out in God's amazing "Big Sky" country again. (even her furry friends wanted to come outside and enjoy the view... haha) 

I've lived in California my whole life, but spent most of my summers growing up and exploring in the Rocky Mountain states.  It left a deep impression on me and I feel like it's pulling at me now in some way.  So maybe the Lord is going to do something radically different in our lives... from the "world" we are used to here in California.  Maybe He is shifting our focus somewhere else... right where He wants us to be??  If you follow my blog then you know I've talked about the 40 Day Prayer Challenge that Lance and I did back in January & February.  One of those BIG prayers was that if the Lord wanted us to move, He would show us.  Well after this summer I have felt Him moving in MY heart, but I've asked the Lord to move in Lance's heart separately.  So that I would know that it's not just my longing to move out of California, but the Lord putting it on both of our hearts.  It's crazy... and radical... and it's goes against every reason why we SHOULD stay here!  But if He wants to do something through our lives, then we need to be open to it, right?   

So I'm thankful for this summer, I'm so thankful for the beautiful people the Lord has put in my life through these Creative Retreats that HE designed for me to do... and my hearts desire is to do what these verses in the bible journaling page above are calling us to do:

Romans 12: 1-3 "I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."  ❤️ 

Have a beautiful Tuesday,

Laura

Comment

Love, Tuesday...

Comment

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

Comment

Art & Faith in Italy... Part 5

2 Comments

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!

IMG_5186.jpg

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.

2 Comments

Pray.  Wait.  Trust....

Comment

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.

IMG_6313.jpg

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

psalm523.jpg

 

 

Comment

Love, Tuesday... in Paris!

Comment

Love, Tuesday... in Paris!

I know it's been a while since I've been on here and I'm so sorry for that.  Life has had some busy moments lately and an unexpected trip... to Paris!

 

It's crazy how it came about but we knew it was the Lord working and couldn't say no to that, right?

I took my daughter Rebecca, who is graduating this year from HS and going into college for Women's Ministry, to Paris and Bruges over Spring Break!  It's amazing how it all came together at the very last minute... not even planned or on our mind two weeks beforehand.  But that's when you know it's meant to be and God just gives you crazy good moments like this when you are open to it!  And I want to add that not at any time while we were traveling in Paris and Bruges did we feel unsafe.  I know there's a lot of media unease about things in Europe but I will tell you that there is security everywhere and we felt safe in all the areas we went.  In fact because we travel abroad so much and know the areas to be careful in or stay out of, we really had a great trip and did not worry at all.  You just need to be aware of your surroundings and know the right places to avoid and not be fearful.  Life it to short to live it in fear and let that fear keep you from experiencing the beautiful world God created.

 

Rebecca was supposed to have surgery over spring break on her nose (it was broken in volleyball and needs to be re-aligned some day soon) but that didn't work out so I happened to check online one day at flights to Paris.  We had been talking about how we needed to go and do some work there for our upcoming retreats and we weren't sure how that would all come together, the if and when.... but when I checked flights I found one for around $450 ROUND TRIP!  Now that's next to impossible people... On British Airways no less.  So I surprised her and told her I was taking her somewhere over Spring Break and the planning began! 

 

What transpired was a beautiful time just one on one with one of my daughters.  I have been blessed to have had that special time alone with my oldest as well and I know I will make an effort to do this as well at some point with my youngest. It's just a really special time to bond with them as they are becoming an adult and going off into the world as a young woman.  And the cherry blossoms... Oh my goodness where they beautiful!

It was also a time for us to work together on future plans for our retreats and to get things organized and make these Art & Faith Creative Retreats as awesome as possible for all of you!

I also had a special surprise for her ON the trip!  Since we have been so busy and we hadn't scheduled her Senior Photos yet, I decided to have them done in Paris!  I actually found a photographer and hired him to do them while we were there.  It was such a special day and I LOVED watching him take photos of her all throughout the city!  It was AMAZING to watch her have this experience and he was so kind to her and really protective of her as we were going from place to place.  I appreciated the comfort level I felt and the joy just watching Rebecca have fun in the moment. I loved the photos and couldn't possibly pick a favorite... so here's a couple of the ones I loved.

 

Overall it was a GREAT success of a trip and I am SO excited to say that we DO have another Paris & Bruges trip planned!  I know the first one sold out instantly and we we're trying to come up with a 2nd week for all of you that we're interested and wanted to be on the WAIT LIST.

 

So the 2nd week will be scheduled for:

June 10 - 20, 2018

 

I will be emailing all those who are ON the WAIT LIST first and then it will be open to anyone signing up if there are any spots to fill.

 

This truly is an great opportunity to see Europe, experience a special time with other women of faith, explore history and art with a mind towards our Creator... and I hope you will prayerfully consider joining us!

If you want to be added to this WAIT LIST just leave a message via this website and I can add you to the list.

Here are a few more pictures from our trip that capture the beauty of this city:

We didn't realize we were going to hit the PERFECT timing to view the cherry blossoms in Paris!  It was so incredible to see and we were so blessed to be there at the exact perfect time!  They were blooming and full and then fallen and blown away within a few days, but we saw the whole process and were so happy about it!

One of our favorite things in Paris is to walk along the Seine and enjoy these green boxes.  They have been handed down from generation to generation and some have original artwork and some are just trinkets... but it's always fun to look through them and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Of course we had to come here and get a book for Rebecca's English teacher...and check out the new Shakespeare & Co. Cafe!  What a cute spot for a coffee or lunch...

Here's a little "behind the scenes" of the photo shoot for my daughter...

We were able to get a few photos together and I'm so glad he was able to capture these moments for us!

IMG_1368.jpg

Of course we HAD to find this place!  I found it a few months back through Instagram and reposted it.  What's funny is I think my other daughter and some friends found it as well through my post and now everyone is talking about this place. It was so adorable and on the cutest little street... and the CREAM PUFFS.... dreamy!  I will for sure be taking everyone here next summer!

I'm still thinking about these babies... they were SO good.

Well, thanks for coming along on this photo journey with us... 

We look forward to next year and our travels with YOU!  

I will share more photos next week from the Bruges portion of our trip... and give you the details on the other Art & Faith Creative Retreats going on in the future...

Have a GREAT Tuesday!

Hugs,

Laura

P.S. The classes for THIS summers retreat in Bellagio will be listed this week under the SIGN UP button at the top of the website.  If you live local to the area you are welcome to join us and sign up for a class!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comment