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Paris Creative Retreat...

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Paris Creative Retreat...

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We are 6 days into our Paris & Bruges 10 day Art & Faith Creative Retreat!  It has gone by SO fast, I can't believe we all arrived last weekend and it's already almost the weekend again.

Each day has been full of adventure and new things and these ladies have been so much fun to share Paris with!  Most of the ladies have been to my Bellagio, Italy Creative Retreats so it's been fun to show them a new city.  Paris is completely different than Bellagio though... so getting used to a big city takes some getting used to.  With a group of 18 in Paris I have found some interesting challenges.   Why do Parisian stores and restaurants not like groups of people?  Isn't is more money for them?  hahaha  

Well anyways, I've realized that the next retreat here (in 2020) will have to be a bit smaller because they just don't like to accomodate that many people.  I'd share a story about Ralph Lauren's hostess at his restaurant... but I won't.  YIKES.   Thankfully these ladies have been so great and have really showed so much kindness and love everywhere we go!  In fact, they totally turned the situation around at Ralph's and even the people at Ralph's were won over and ended up accommodating us in their beautiful terrace!

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On Monday we had a beautiful Photography Tour with a Paris photographer who took Rebecca's Senior photos last year.  He did a wonderful tour of the Montemartre area of Paris and at the end gave us a SD Card full of photos!  Here's just a little sampling...

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Other things we have been doing are Art Classes,  a picnic of the Seine, a Cooking Class and today they are all on a Fat Tire Bike Tour!  (You can see photo's of these things on our IG account:  @Creativeretreats

Yesterday I did something that moved me to tears... a devotional in front of Notre Dame.  I can't explain how moving it was to stand in the shadows of this beautiful Cathedral in the literal center of Paris, with such history, and talk about HOPE in Jesus Christ!  Then we all went inside for about 10 mintues and took some time to pray on our own or just sit and feel the Lord's presence.  It was something I will never forget.

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Saturday we are onto Bruges, Belgium for the last 3 days of our retreat.  We are already sad just thinking about having to say goodbye to all these women!  What a JOY it has been to do another Art & Faith Creative Retreat.  We are so blessed to share our lives with so many wonderful people each time. This group is already family to us.

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Thank YOU for believing in us.  That you come along with us and travel far to get here means so much to us!  We love what the Lord has given us to do and we are so thankful for the people we cross paths with. 

This summer the theme of both retreats has been HOPE.  I can't believe the connection each woman has had with that one little word!   It's amazing to see how we have bonded over our faith and gained strength from each of our experiences in life.   What the Lord is weaving together through these retreats is just incredible.

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So in AWE of our God!

I'm a little sad to say that we don't do Paris Art & Faith Creative Retreats every year... but we are excited about our Venice and Bellagio, Italy one next June.  If you are interested in finding out more details on our retreats, please don't hesitate to contact us!  We are more than happy to answer your questions, and we look forward to meeting you some day at one of our retreats.

Hugs to all,

Laura

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P.S.   Art class in Luxembourg Gardens??  YES!  What a great class with Stacy Stultz in this beautiful location, learning about Rodin and sketching in our sketch books.  NO, you don't need to know anything about art, the artists we study or how to hold a paint brush!  We have every level of artist join us on our retreats.  It's a beautiful thing to watch the process in each person as their Creative spirit comes out! (yes, I believe we are ALL creative... because we have been CREATED by THE CREATOR!) So don't feel intimidated to join us at one of these retreats, we are just wanting you to prayerfully consider joining us and the Lord will put that on your heart if you are supposed to be here.

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Love, Tuesday...

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Love, Tuesday...

Does it feel like Monday to you?  This week got off to such a slow start and this morning I should be walking right now but the hubs is still in bed, so I'll just blog a little... hahaha

This past weekend I wasn't feeling great and took it easy over the weekend. (other than cleaning the darn house)  It felt good to take time to relax and sit out in the sun and catch up on some projects that have been sitting around waiting for me to finish. One of which is this album from the trip Rebecca and I took to Paris & Bruges last year to research and get ready for THIS year's Paris & Bruges Art & Faith Creative Retreat.  It was such a GREAT trip and just getting time to jot down our memories this past weekend brought it all back.  I love that about keeping our memories in scrapbooks or journals.  I've leaned towards journals in the last few years and the Travelers Notebook Journals are my favorite by far.  They are just the right size to travel with and they are big enough for space for photos and journaling and artwork.  Here's a few pages from this journal...

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I altered this Traveler's Notebook before we left for Paris with vintage papers.  It made the journal a lot thicker but it held together and I love the look of it with our photos from Europe. 

What a GREAT trip.  I treasure those times when I am blessed to get away with one of my girls alone.  I get to have them to myself and spend time talking and laughing and gaining new memories... 

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I get to sit across from them at dinners...

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I get to embarrass them by taking goofy photos of myself... 

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I get to bug them about their stupid shoe choices...

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We get to share yummy treats together...

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And we get to watch TV together back home and say "We were there FIRST" when we see Arie (from the Bachelor) taking the girls to Paris!  hahaha

I'm so glad I was able to do this with Victoria and Rebecca and I look forward to the fun trips ahead with Isabella when she's a little older.  I think that time is truly important to spend with your kids when they are older.  I think it helps the transition from parent to friend in those last few moments they are still under your roof.  It doesn't matter WHERE you go, just go.  Talk.  Words are truly so important and I've been thinking about that a lot lately...  

I read a devotional last Saturday that really made me look at MY words.  

Are my words gracious, like honeycomb? like Proberbs 16 talks about?

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This has been ruminating in my brain for a few days and I want to dig deeper because words are uttered so quickly out of my mouth...  I think the Lord is showing me something that needs to be worked on and I'll share more with you tomorrow.  Now I need to go wake up my hubby and see what's up with that sleeping in??  Oh... and I need to work on the retreat this summer.  I am SO excited to bring another group of women to these beautiful places!  

Have a BLESSED day!

Hugs,

Laura

 

 

 

 

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Love, Tuesday... in Paris!

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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!

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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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Paris & Bruges 2018 Creative Retreat...

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Paris & Bruges 2018 Creative Retreat...

Paris is a city I have fallen in LOVE with countless times.  I think it's a city we've ALL dreamt of going to!  But getting there and being overwhelmed by all there is to see and do can be daunting.  That is why it is my passion to share cities like this with you in a very enjoyable way, that removes any of the uncertainty of traveling alone to a big city like this.  I have traveled to Paris many times and have found the best way to balance your week so you can experience all the amazing aspects of Paris.  We will explore the little hidden gems I have found throughout the city, visit the incredible landmarks of Paris, of course taste all the best food Paris has to offer and see the beauty in Parisian art and architecture. There is a simplicity in walking around this magical city of love and we want to share that with you.

After a week in Paris we will be transported to the much smaller city of Bruges, Belgium and it will make you feel like you've stepped back in time!  Bruges isn't one of the big cities most people think about when traveling to Europe.  It was actually a city that we discovered on a school trip a few years back. Rebecca and I fell instantly in LOVE with this city and cannot wait to share it with all of you! Every corner you turn is another breathtaking square with Medieval architecture or a canal path that explains why this unique city is known as "Venice of the North."  There are many  lovely little bridges with flowers and greenery growing everywhere, and you can't forget the smell of chocolate flowing out from the countless shops that sell the famous Belgium chocolate!  And let's not forget the best thing about Belgium (to me anyways)... their WAFFLES!  This isn't just your average breakfast waffle from Ihop... this is a waffle you will be dreaming of and scheming ways to get back to, trust me!  So much so that I had to rave about it on Trip Advisor... 

In addition to these two beautiful cities and 11 days together, the time we share growing in our faith will allow us to make the connection between "Art & Faith". My prayer is that through this retreat you are able to seek the Lord's will and live your life to the fullest!  He has a plan for each and every one of us and I am HOPEFUL that He will awaken that plan during our time together.  We will be sharing with you some classes in photography, art, and Bible journaling in the hopes that it will draw you closer to His Word and give you time to reflect on His calling in your life. I hope you will join us next summer on this journey of a lifetime in Paris & Bruges!

So without further ado...I am thrilled to finally REVEAL all the details:

2018 Paris & Bruges Art & Faith Creative Retreat  

The 10 night/11 day ~ Art & Faith Creative Retreat ~ July 15 - 25, 2018

 

Come join our adventure to France & Belgium and let us awaken your senses to the beauty Europe has to offer!  We will begin our adventure on July 15th in Paris, France.  We will discover this picturesque city for 7 days, stay in my favorite Arrondissement, and enjoy our time exploring around. We can't wait to share all the tucked away little side streets, the unique "cafe culture" and of course the landmarks that make Paris the city it is! Next, it's off to Bruges, Belgium for the remaining 3 nights as we step back in time to a medieval city that is known for it's chocolate, canals... and dreamy waffles!

You can find all the details on pricing and what is included on the SIGN UP page at the top of this website.

Just click SIGN UP and the drop down menu will appear.  Go to PARIS AND BRUGES RETREAT DETAILS and click on that.  

Please feel free to email me if you have any other questions.  The SIGN UPS will be LIVE on Aprils 1st.  You will need to pay the non-refundable deposit of $695 to secure your spot.  There are VERY few spots for this retreat because I have found it best to travel around Paris in a small group. Since it is a smaller group we are able to enjoy the connections we make and really get to know each other. The retreat is limited to 12 people for easier access and transportation.  Please know that I have a very large list of people on my "Interset List" and it will be on a First come/First serve basis as far as sign ups.  So, if you are interested in joining us, please be ready to SIGN UP on April 1st at 8am, PST.  You have a couple weeks to think about it, ask me any questions you need answered, and be ready to sign up on April 1st.

Rebecca and I look forward to sharing this journey with you! We pray you will enjoy this time we have together in Europe and see where the Lord leads us during this adventure!

Hugs,

Laura

P.S.  Most of these photo's were taken by myself, Rebecca, or my husband Lance during our many trips to Europe... but I HAD to post a picture of the waffles I've been tempting you with and this one below I found on Google b/c my photo isn't as lovely. :)

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Planning for Paris...

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Planning for Paris...

It has been SO FUN to plan another Creative Retreat in one of my favorite places!  Rebecca and I are finding some great places to share with everyone who will be joining us and I wanted to give you a taste of some of those places...

Isn't this just the cutest place!!  It's a coffee house... and guess what else... CREAM PUFFS!  Hello?  You KNOW I will be taking everyone here.  I LOVE CREAM PUFFS! 

We all know where this is right?  Well last time this was such a FUN day trip from Paris to Monet's Garden!  

Biking along the Seine and having a picnic in the same place that Monet painted is one of the best parts of this day trip...  

I love seeing the different architecture of the homes as you get outside of Paris.

This is a pretty mellow bike ride and really for anyone who is able to ride a bike.

Monet's garden is just so beautiful... I can't wait to take everyone back here!

Getting outside of Paris really gives you a better feel for France and the beauty of this country!

Of course most of the time we are IN Paris, so I'll be showing you all the MUST SEE places...

Shakespeare and Company now has a cafe as well!

We will be enjoying a day of walking in Paris and seeing these beautiful icons of the city!

We will be enjoying a beautiful dinner within walking distance (and view) of the Eiffel Tower and of course taking some photos too! (this photo is blurry but just too cute note to show you.  Next time I will make sure I have my good camera at the Eiffel Tower!  oops...)

A day spent at a museum in Paris is a MUST and we will decide which one/s to go to during our week in Paris...

Love the "Cafe Culture" in Paris and will be talking about this as we show you some of the places Hemingway and Monet and Picasso came to "think"...

If you haven't had gelato in Paris... this is one of THE BEST.  Yes, I know we are not in Italy... but this place is SO good and within walking distance of our hotel...

Merci!  Love this place and had so much fun shopping here last time with the ladies!  If you love to shop.... oh you are in for a FUN week!  I can't show all my photos but let me just tell you we know THE PLACES TO GO!  I even have a friend in Paris that can take us to the best shopping streets and hidden gems in the city!

A trip to Paris isn't complete without two things... A trip up the Eiffel Tower...

And a cruise on the Seine!  Both of which are on the itinerary and waiting for YOU to join us...

This was so fun looking at all my old photos for this blog post!  All of these photos were taken by me with my Nikon D80 or my iPhone (except for the top photo that I found on IG)  I am looking forward to this trip with everyone and will be sharing the details in the next few weeks with pricing, availability and the firm dates.

If you are already on my INTEREST LIST then you are good.  If you haven't emailed me or messaged me in some way, then go ahead and send me an email via the CONTACT page on this website.  I can only take a select number of people each time because it's hard to navigate too many people around the city.  I am thinking about 15 -20 people max on this trip, but it may be a little less if I can't find a way to transport us in an easy way from point A to point B each day.  I know everyone takes the Metro in Paris, but I'm not a big fan and would prefer walking and Ubers.  

So check back here in a few weeks and I will be emailing everyone on the Interest list as well.

Have a GREAT day,

Laura

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The Advent Season has begun...

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The Advent Season has begun...

A JOYOUS December 1st to all of you!

I am SO excited to start this month that is going to be not only a beautiful Christmas Season... but the month our oldest daughter is getting married!  

Lot's is going on in our house and it is a flurry of activity!  We have Dany's parents here from Italy now and they are CHEFS... so you can imagine the food we are going to eat over the next month! (We need to watch it BEFORE the wedding, but after... that's a WHOLE other ball game people...) Dany's brother and sister-in-law are also here and are EXPECTING!!  They just had an ultrasound yesterday to see what they are having and the whole family got to see it!  I won't divulge the news... just in case someone is reading this that they haven't told yet... but what an exciting time for them!  My daughter is getting married AND going to be an Auntie very soon!

In all this craziness, I still want to find the time to focus on what this time of year REALLY signifies and spend time in God's Word.  I mentioned on my last post that I usually do a December Daily album that shows what we are doing each day of the month as well as adding photos and journaling.  Well, this year I got the idea to do this with an Advent Calendar and Bible Journaling theme, so I am going to be incorporating ALL of this in an album AND my Bible!

Sorry for the awful lighting on these photos... I must confess that in all this flurry of activity at my house I completely FORGOT it was December 1st!  I had this page done a few days ago but didn't remember to take photos until this morning and thus the lighting... not so good.

But never-the-less, I am starting my month off with this verse b/c it is such the basis and foundation for all of us!

Romans 8:37-39 "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor peers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Please remember this when you may have a bad day, or you may not have family to celebrate with, or whatever you are going through in life...  None of "that" can separate you for God's LOVE!  That is something to sit on and think about and be SO grateful for!  He is longing for YOU to come to HIM.  For you to see Him at work in YOUR life.  He wants to be a part of it, every part of your life... so you know that His love is SO GREAT and SO POWERFUL it can change LIVES!

Here's a quick photo of some of the items I will be using for this month.  The album or journal is from Simple Stories and I am going to add the December Illustrated Faith Kit and all the fun Christmas themed items from DaySpring that I ordered last month!  I know a lot of people are probably doing similar things, but if you want to follow me on this month long adventure deeper into the meaning of Christmas, I will be posting on here (pretty sporadically) and also on my @awelldocumentedlife on Instagram.

I hope you take the time to really enjoy the meaning of this time of year and as you do, you draw closer to the One we are celebrating!

Love and hugs to all,

Laura

P.S.  Just an FYI...I am doing this on my own, so anytime you see any links to products, it is not because I am getting any payment or kickback.  I don't work for any company.  I just want to make it easier for you to find the things I am using and find these wonderful people and businesses I adore.  

P.S.S.  I DO however shamelessly plug my own Art & Faith Creative Retreats on here, because that IS what I do... and what I feel the Lord has given me as an opportunity to help others draw closer to Him... and I want you to come travel the world with me and be inspired with what God is doing through this ministry!  In that spirit, I did post on my @creativeretreats Instagram about an upcoming Art & Faith Creative Retreat, in Paris, France!!  

Yes, I am going back to Paris for a week in late Spring or Early Summer of 2018!  This time it will be a faith based event in the beautiful city of Paris and I can't WAIT to share it with you and see what the Lord does during our time there!  It's too early for SIGN UP'S quite yet, but I will be posting all the details on the retreat right here in Mid January.  If YOU are interested in joining me, you can simply add your name to the INTEREST LIST by clicking of the CONTACT button at the top and leaving me your information so I can contact you once the details are set.  I did write a little blurb on the Retreat Details page of this site (Under the SIGN UP button) as far as what is going to be included, but the dates and price are not set yet.  (It is my desire to keep the costs down as much as I can so as many of YOU that are lead to be there can make it... but I will admit that Paris is not a budget friendly place... so start saving now, you have well over a year to save up!)  Have I told you some of the amazing stories of how the Lord provided a way for us to go to Italy every year, since 2009??  It truly is God at work and I KNOW 100% if He wants you to go somewhere... He will make a way!

Have a GREAT December 1st everyone!

Hugs,

Laura

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