Category Archives: Writing Retreats

DWELL–Retreat Announcement–Join Us?

I’ve been waiting to share this almost-a-secret for two months–ta da!

After last fall’s Abide writing retreat, which Kimberlee Conway Ireton and I both felt was a little glimmer of Heaven, we were very excited to hold another retreat. This one will be different, of course but we’re going to try to keep the same spirit of waiting on God and communing with one another that characterized ‘Abide.’

This September, we’ll be heading back to Grunewald Guild for a weekend of worship, writing, sharing, prayer, and community. Our desire is to create a quiet, relaxed retreat for women writers—space to write and create, to pray and worship, to connect at a heart level with other women writers, and enjoy the beauty of the natural world.
For those who want to be social, there will be plenty of time for connection over meals, over an art activity, and during the sessions. And for those who want to be quiet or alone, there will be lots of time to simply be (or write or hike or sleep)—we are intentionally keeping the retreat slow-paced and contemplative. We want you to come home refreshed and rested and energized for the work ahead.

Our theme for 2016 is ‘Dwell: How does Jesus live through our art?’

We dwell in Christ—and He in us. How then does He live through our art? Over the weekend we will prayerfully consider this question and explore a variety of possible answers.  

Our key Scriptures will focus on Christ indwelling us, and our dwelling in God. 
 
We’d like to spread wide our narrow embrace to encompass more—more possibility, more creativity, more beauty. More God. We hope and pray that this weekend, like last year’s retreat, will be the beginning of that wider embrace. If you’re interested in joining us, here’s everything you need to know:
WHAT: a weekend of worship, laughter (and maybe some tears), and camaraderie among women writers of faith. Kimberlee will facilitate lectio divina with our Scripture passage, plus a writing activity or two (at least one involving POETRY, of course.) There will perhaps be a guided writing time led by Jody as well.
WHO: YOU, we hope. (Well, and Kimberlee and I 🙂
WHEN Friday, September 9 – Sunday, September 11, 2016
We’ll start around 5 on Friday evening and finish up around noon on Sunday.

WHERE: Grunewald Guild (http://www.grunewaldguild.com/), near Leavenworth, WA

HOW MUCH $$: We have several options for lodging that affect the price. All prices include 5 meals (dinner Friday through brunch on Sunday).
Option 1: Shared room (one roommate): 
            $219 early bird (by March 1); $259 regular (after March 1)
Option 2: Private room (your own slice of silence): 
            $259 early bird (by March 1); $299 regular (after March 1)
Option 3: Dorm-style room (up to roomies; twin beds, 1 bathroom downstairs–rooms are above the Library)                   $159 early bird (by March 1); $199 regular (after March 1)
All shared and private rooms have a sink in the room. Toilet and showers are shared among all residents on a floor. Towels and bed linens are provided. (Toiletries are not.) Please note there are a limited number of private rooms and limited beds in the dorm. We’ll be handing them out on a first-come, first-served basis. For that matter, there are a limited number of shared rooms, too.
All meals are eaten communally in the Dining Hall in the Main Centrum Building.
We’ve got room for 20 people, friends, so get your registration in ASAP to reserve your spot!

How to sign up: Shoot me an email (heyjode70{at}yahoo dot com) with your ‘Yes’, along with your name, snail mail and email addresses, phone number, and room preference. I will be setting up a Paypal account this year, so payment will be easy.

Your spot is reserved once we’ve received your email AND your payment in full. 
(Keep that early bird deadline of March 1 in mind!)
Please prayerfully consider whether Dwell is a place that God would like to meet you.
It’s not for everyone, but maybe it’s for you?

Writer’s Retreat Recap–Yes, He Abides

 

my friend Laura S. and I leading worship
~~~~~~~~~~~

Worship–A Pantoum
Inside, two friends bend hearts towards God
stops and starts, voices raised, a daring duo
strums and strings bring songs alive
while the Holy Spirit sings His song over you

Stops and starts, voices raised, a daring duo
carrying water for thirsty souls
while the Holy Spirit sings His song through you
deep channels, delivering life via verse and tone

Carrying water for thirsty souls
this, the joy of completing his song
channeling life via verse and voice and tone
inside, two friends bend hearts toward God.
~~~~~~~~~
My heart is so full I feel it will spill a torrent of words and you might all drown for the reading.

I still can’t quite believe what God did at our ‘Abide’ Writer’s Retreat in Leavenworth last weekend.  It was everything my friend Kimberlee and I prayed and planned for and more.
I have long sensed God was going to use this time as a catalyst, the beginning of a seed from His heart and mine to see women writers of faith encouraged and connected, uplifted in their communicating.

This resonated with others as well–the desire to not be well-known, but to be known well–by our Father and by each other.  The passion for God’s presence and a desire to hear His voice and be healed in the hearing.

Leading worship was a particular joy as I felt many times the power in the room, God’s light touch on my shoulder and tears on my face as He showed up.  We sounded like Heaven, I’m sure.

I shared revelations about what God did using Writing as a Spiritual Practice introducing the women to the idea of sitting with 2 or 3 questions and listening to what God might say. (prompted by my reading of ‘God in the Yard’.) The uncovering sparked many embers, lighting fires of discovery all around.

Kimberlee delighted us with playing with words and poetry as we each dove in to write a Pantoum–a poem form that is actually easy to use (look! I wrote a pantoum!) once you get the hang of it. We wrote our “Glory be to God’s” after Gerard Manley Hopkins and wished we had enough French berets for all.
Hearing the responses as women de-mystified the poetry process would have made my friend Laura Barkat swoon.
‘Hey, look, I wrote a poem!’  Priceless.

Shhhh…..the poets are working in the Library

Our retreat site in the Cascade Mountains of Washington lent itself well to listening and looking. The Library where we met was filled with Heaven from the moment we stepped inside. The camaraderie under the apple trees, the early morning conversations on the front porch, all were strands woven together in a beautiful piece of God’s own cloth.

Fall colors were everywhere
early morning walk, Laura S.

When we shared in our Communion circle on Sunday morning, the fruit of each person’s words fed my soul:

“I’m leaving here feeling expanded.”
“The healing is real.”
“Thank you for teaching me about poetry.”
“I feel refreshed, rejuvenated. Loved the reflection time.”
“I learned to abide in Jesus, not in my pain.
“I love opportunities like this to be together with people who all wanted to find God in the space.”
“Writing pantoums was like Legos with words.
“I enjoyed this, less because of the writing and more because of the people, wrestling through faith together, living through God’s calling in our life.”
 
As I said, my heart is full.  Here’s to Abiding.
~~~~~~~
I longed for this little Retreat to be start to more in real life encounters, particularly here in the Pacific Northwest, opportunities to eat and talk and maybe sing. Chances to share heart songs and stories amidst tea and cookies and kids.
(Maybe there’ll be a summer picnic, who knows?)
We have a Facebook page where you can join us.
We’re starting small and building slow, reaching out and reaching up,
continuing to bring Him glory.
***
The photos from ‘Light and Loveliness’ are Ms. Emily Allen, one of our Retreatants.
Thank you Emily!

Writing & Retreats, Accompanied by Angels

 Sometimes a big idea starts as a small nudge, a whisper you might ignore for the wildness of it all. You carry the dream of an idea around and wonder if someone else is hearing it, too. Then one day you jump in and ask, “Do you have a moment or two to talk about well, Something?”      
     And you make a date at the park, the one where the air show is practicing (’cause you forget when you pick the location that’s it’s August and the Blue Angels are in town) but you picnic anyway.
     And over tuna and chips you blurt out your “what would you think about????” to your bosom friend and she practically shouts (because of all that noise–remember the jets?), “Yes. I’ve been thinking that, too!!”
      And you spill out your thoughts, scribbling fast on paper (because she has four children to manage–all you had to remember was your lunch and your journal) and the dream starts to take shape.What if we did something different? Not to go against the stream, but create our own current?
     What if we found a quiet place for writing and retreating and relationships where women of faith could be encouraged to live into their gifts as Jesus grows in them?
     What if, instead of all the ‘how-to’s we gave away what we know–and Who we know–and wove that into 3 days of writing and listening and practice–and REST?                              
     What would that look like?  What would we call it?  You dub it ‘Abide’ and now that it’s named, it’s really happening….and oh….Jesus, we expect you to show up, big time.
     You find the Holy Spirit had been speaking to you both—for many, many months–about the same word–Abide. Through the same Scripture passages–John 15.  And you talk about what that might look like–a session on Lectio Divina (a phrase you’ve never heard but want to know more about) and maybe practicing poetry–even pantoums.
     And you share your passion about Writing as a Spiritual Practice–just listening to Jesus in the woods with your journal and pen and some questions.
     Then you plan and you pay and pray and you meet and over many more lunches (noisy ones, there’s all these kids…) and you cry for the connection and the peace that God is bringing with the little band of 12 women God has put together.
     Then you ask for someone to help you lead the worship and one of the attendees is a stellar guitar player and you practice (more than once) and the glory comes down like a kiss from Heaven that says, “Yes!” again.

And you know Jesus is up to something. 
Something big. As big as the sky with the angels above the trees in the blue you can’t see the end of.

And you thank God for your friend Kimberlee.
 
And you tremble in your boots at the big God that whispered the nudge
in all it’s wild goodness.
And you fly.
~~~~~~~
After eighteen months of prayer and planning, 
my friend Kimberlee Conway Ireton and I are heading over to the 
Cascade Mountains in Washington this weekend to scope out the setting for ABIDE.
This is our first writer’s retreat for women of faith,
a place of rest and relationship,
borne of a little dream from our big God.
You’ll come? 

Writer’s Retreat–Take Deux

Last month, I issued an invitation to a Christian Writer’s retreat–‘Abide’– that my friend Kimberlee Ireton and I are planning in lovely Leavenworth, Washington, the third weekend of October.
First of all, I want to say thank you for your enthusiastic response! I am so grateful and, frankly, floored that so many people are interested.
We have fielded a number of questions about details, so for those of you who want to know what to expect, here is a preliminary schedule:
FRIDAY Oct. 16th
4:30-5:30 Arrival & Check-in
5:30 p.m. DINNER
7:00 p.m.-8 ish
Welcome, Worship & Gathering Time
Kimberlee and I will go over the vision and schedule for the weekend along with any logistical details you need to know about Grunewald’s expectations of us while we’re there.
I will be leading us in a time of singing and worship.
Kimberlee will lead us in a time of lectio divina on John 15, our Scripture passage for the weekend. If you’re a writer and you’re not familiar with lectio, you’re going to love it. I am a writer but know NOTHING about Lectio Divina…I’m looking forward to being stretched
9:00  Coffee, Tea, Chit Chat
9:30 p.m. Quiet hours begin
SATURDAY Oct. 17th
8:30 a.m. BREAKFAST
9:30 a.m. Worship
10:00 a.m. Small Groups/Breakout Sessions
We’ll divide into two smaller groups. I will be facilitating a workshop on Writing as a Spiritual Practice.
Kimberlee will be facilitating a workshop on Playing with Words.
11:00 a.m. FREE TIME to read, write, retreat, hike, play, rest
12:30 p.m. LUNCH
1:30 p.m. Small Groups/Breakout Sessions
This time the group that was with Kimberlee in the morning will come with me for Writing as a Spiritual Practice,
and the group that was with me in the morning will go with Kimberlee to engage in word play.
2:30 p.m.  More free time to do whatever seems most restful to you
There will be an Art Space available, and a group art project that I will be coordinating. But this is totally optional. (more details later).
5:30 p.m. DINNER
7:00 p.m. Worship & Gathering Time
I will facilitate some poetry writing. Don’t freak out. We’ll be using a pantoum form, which makes it almost impossible to not write something lovely. And you won’t have to share if you don’t want to. I will walk you through the process. It’ll be fun. Trust me.**
8:30 p.m. Tea and Chit-chat
9:30 p.m. Quiet hours begin
SUNDAY Oct. 18th
8:00-9:30 a.m. Pack Cars & Clean Up
9:30 a.m. BRUNCH
10:00 a.m. Worship/Group Sharing
We may have a Morning Prayer service. We may have communion. We may have both. We’ll see how it unfolds. (Sharing is completely optional.)
12:00 p.m. Retreat Ends
All this goodness, including your room and five meals, for only $229!
(Through the end of the month; the price goes up to $249 on June 1.) 
You can pay $100 now to hold your spot (balance due August 15th). Single room prices are a possibility, also.
All you have to do to be part of it is send me an email with your name, mailing address, email address, phone number (and whether we can text you at that number), and web address or blog (if you have one). I’ll send you back my address for mailing payment.
But don’t wait too long. Spots are filling up. 
The price is going up. So you want to be signing up!
~~~~~~~~~~~
** (If you’d like to more about the pantoum form, read here. Kimberlee’s pantoum is here.)

Sharing a Dream–‘Abide’ Writer’s Retreat

A Retreat for Women Writers of Faith
 
Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing… You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will remain.”                                                   –John 15

When I first met my friend Kimberlee she had just returned from a writer’s retreat in Texas.  While we drank tea and ate sandwiches, she began to share a vision with me about a smaller, more intimate, restful kind of true writer’s retreat. You know what, it might look like if SHE were in charge.

God had been stirring a desire in my heart for the very same thing, but I held onto my Big Idea for awhile. I wanted to give it time…was this really you, God?

Then last summer I popped the question–What if? What if we did just that–started small and created a quiet, relaxed retreat for women writers? Provided space to write and rest, to pray and worship, to connect at a heart level with other like-minded creatives, and to enjoy the beauty of the natural world.

And most of all, what if we allowed the space–physically and spiritually–to tune into what the Holy Spirit might be speaking into our lives?
‘ABIDE’ IS THE FRUIT OF THAT DREAM

In October, we will be heading into the Cascade Mountains for a weekend at Grunewald Guild, a retreat center outside Leavenworth, Washington. We have room for 17 other women to come with us, and I would absolutely love it if one of those women was you.

We’ll be meeting from Friday, October 16th at 4 pm till Sunday, October 18th at noon

at the Grunewald Guild. (You can check out their website to see photos of the campus and the rooms: Grunewald Guild.)

Many times the words of John 15 are are hard to believe, especially when we don’t see the fruit we want to see. In such moments it is easy to shrivel up inside ourselves and our disappointment and pain. Instead, we need to keep clinging to the vine —because God is infinite possibility, and only by abiding in Him can we also dwell in possibility.

Over the weekend we’ll ponder this, reflect on ways to abide in Christ, worship together, share stories, write, make art, laugh, cry, and rest.
Kimberlee and I will be leading some small groups—very small, there will only be 24 of us altogether—modeling various writing practices. We look forward during this time to having other people share as God leads as well.
The cost for the weekend (room, board, art supplies) is $229.00.

$100.00 is required to reserve your spot.

If you have questions or want more information about the retreat, please don’t hesitate to ask! Just shoot me an email back, and I will happily answer your questions.

Will you please prayerfully consider coming? I would dearly love to have you there.
~~~~~~~~~~
A note about Kimberlee—she lives in Seattle, is a writer and blogger, mom of four and has a wicked sense of humor.

Her two books are ‘Circle of Seasons—finding God in the Church Year’ and ‘Cracking Up—A Postpartum Faith Crisis’. Her website is http://www.kimberleeconwayireton.net/