I’ve got Mod Podge on my knuckle.
As I pick it off my finger, the thoughts flood in like white water. Spending these past 4 and a 1/2 days with women I now consider life-long friends was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. Sister-friends…with felt flowers in their hair, colored cowboy boots, large jewelry, paint on their fingers and bright eyes.
These are my people and I was definitely HOME this week more than ever before.
Beautiful, incredible women with such stories…so much to offer this world….
(sister-friends, my only regret at BGC is that I didn’t make you all pose for a portrait…you are all so lovely)
This whole thing started with a post from my friend Jeanne (being squished by me above) about her experience last year at BGC. To say I was excited to see her face in person is such an understatement. This is a life-long friend…a woman who knows so much about me in such a short amount of time. Just the best of the best kind of female pals…miss you, Carmel Corn Girl….
It was a week of deep conversations about our fears and secret desires for our lives and art and craft time to make meaningful pieces as promises to ourselves that we would honor the creative muses inside of us. I actually said the words, “I’m so happy right now” out loud while I sat twirling my paint brush in a murky glass of pink water.
With Jeanne cracking jokes left and right, Margie doing a stand-up routine in the corner and Mona playing “name that 80’s band” with me across the table, I failed to watch my watch which was still on Portland time. It didn’t need checking, for at that moment it was meal time again—time to be cooked and cared for by Melody and Kathy and her staff of angels. Malary, Melody’s daughter…
was in charge of high maintenance-difficult-to-feed campers like myself. I cannot express how incredible it is to have someone take into account your own personal needs and exceed every expectation with taste and presentation.
Kathy and Melody…(image from their site)
made sure we had special gifts at every turn…
…and the free reign in a to-die-for stocked craft room was almost too much for this Brave Girl to take in.
Looking at all of it, the relationships, stories of hardship and character-building and words of encouragement are the things I will hold the most dear.
I thought a lot about what I would say when someone at home asked me to describe the BGC experience. I’m still not sure….there are no perfect words…only feelings, eyes that are much brighter than they were four days ago, and a suitcase full of art that I’ ve been waiting to make for years.
My heart feels free and my spirit feels brave and courageous.
* * * * *
I did discover some personal truths this week through thinking, writing, art-making…There are many, but a few of my own are here.
-There is such a thing as a group of women who choose to lift up and abandon the tear-down (as so many women fall prey to ) and that this is the only kind of company I’m interested in keeping.
-It is unnecessary to repeat the mistakes of my parents…I am 100% in the driver seat of writing my own story.
-It is important to honor my parents in their own journeys of doing the best that they could with what they had.
-My family comes first in all that I do and I will never apologize for arranging my schedule to demonstrate this commitment.
-It is important and essential to cultivate bravery and courage into the belief system of my children…helping them find their own truths will be my greatest legacy.
-Being creative is like breathing and I need to incorporate it into my life as much as possible.
–Deep friendships with artsy, brave women is something I can’t live without.
-Any negative thoughts I have about myself can be ushered out (by a burly security guard) by reminding myself of my own worth in God’s eyes and in the hearts of people who know my story.
-It is possible to be a great mom and wife and creative person who gains energy and light from all 3 of these roles.
Truths on the lighter side…
(and no, I did not jump in…apparently not BRAVE enough..ha!)
–Mod Podge can just about adhere anything to anything.
-I will never let a Friday go by without wearing my tiara…it’s hard to be down when you’ve got a crown on your head (thanks, Elena…below, receiver of my ruby slippers pendant and my BGC heart!)
-Eating foods you don’t usually chow down on can cause some GI confusion in large numbers of people.
-I am capable of remaining sane with under 4 hours of sleep if I’m in the presence of awesome women.
BGC is an experience of a lifetime….proven by the “sold out” status of the 2011 camps (you can do their on-line E-course too, beginning in January–woohoo!!). If you were ever on the fence about attending this magical retreat, it’s a no-brainer. GO! RUN to this experience with wild abandon…even if your suitcase is full of the heaviest kind of baggage.
It instills Bravery in the hearts of even the most skeptical woman.
She had fear. She had doubts. SHE DID IT ANYWAY.
(my new mantra…thanks, Mel)