It was a Scrapbook “Retreat”

re-treat,  origin 1880-1885

noun           

1. the forced or strategic withdrawal of an army or an armed force before an enemy, or the withdrawing of a naval force from action.

2. the act of withdrawing, as into safety or privacy; retirement; seclusion.

3. a place of refuge, seclusion, or privacy: The library was his retreat.

4. an asylum, as for the insane.

5. a retirement or a period of retirement for religious exercises and meditation.

 

I recently spent a weekend away from home at a Scrapbook Retreat. In trying to decide how to write about the experience, I looked up “retreat” in the dictionary. The definition gives a good framework to tell you about the various aspects of my time away from home.

1. The past few months have been stressful as we have faced many challenges, road-blocks, and government incompetencies. This past weekend became a strategic withdrawal from those stresses. It also became a withdrawal from action—time to step back and stop working so hard to move forward in ministry plans and goals.

Ft. Lone Tree Gates

"The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him." Nahum 1:7

2. As I left town with a friend it definitely felt like we were withdrawing from our normal lives. We drove over 5 hours to get to the camp where the retreat was being held. (I must comment that as an easterner the distances across this and other western states still amaze me!) It was SO refreshing to have no to-do list, to have no family needing my help with this or that, to have no meals to cook, to have no phone calls or internet to keep up with. Although we were with a group of women and did plenty of talking as we worked on scrapbook pages, the weekend was still a form of seclusion from daily life. We were also in a beautiful setting, with rustic log buildings, mountain views, and colorful sunsets.

mountain sunset

Surrounded by beautiful scenery...

3. The campground, Fort Lone Tree, was a wonderful place of refuge. The “blockhouses” held bunk rooms. We had few enough women attending that my friend and I were the only women in “our” room—just two of us with a choice of 10 different beds to sleep on! (I doubled up the mattress on my bed…much more comfy.) We each had our own table space to spread out all our stuff and work on pages. There was no set schedule (other than meal times which had wonderful, yummy food served family style). Some women got up before dawn and started work…others, like me, stayed up till the wee hours of the morning, working and talking.

"Blockhouse"

Bunkrooms in "Blockhouses" at the four corners of the "fort"

4. Yep, you could also say this retreat was an asylum for the insane… After all, does anybody in their right mind work 10-12-14 hours per day for multiple days on putting together scrapbook pages?! Preparation styles also varied widely: some of the women thought I was obsessive in my organization since I came with just one suitcase filled with scrapbooks to be worked on. Each page protector was filled with the various paper, stickers and photos to be compiled into finished pages. On the other hand, I thought most of the other women were “crazy” to bring bags and boxes and bins of their supplies to compose pages on the spot. There was friendly banter back and forth about our choices…but the end result was the same. Page after page finished with photos, journaling, and embellishments, ready to be added to treasured albums.

scrapbooking

Scrappin' with my friend...

5. Finally, an unexpected bonus of the weekend was that most of the women who attended were clearly Christians. I had some late night conversations about difficult life journeys and about how our faith helped us survive. Wonderful worship music was part of the background music—in addition to an eclectic mix of Johnny Cash, John Denver, pop favorites, golden oldies, and more.

Ft Lonetree Lodge

An unexpected place for spiritual encouragement!

I went on this weekend expecting to finish lots of scrapbook pages and hoping to build a deeper relationship with my friend, both of which happened. But I also came home from this weekend refreshed and renewed, ready to face life’s challenges with energy once again. This was truly a “retreat” in all definitions of the word!

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