Thoughts from Seat 1A, Portland bound

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 heals.

It empowers.

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)


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15 Responses to Thoughts from Seat 1A, Portland bound

  1. Jen Osborn says:

    I loved everything about your post, but most of all hearing that you can honor your past without having to repeat it! That twinkle in your eye will stick with me forever :) So happy that I only have to wait until the end of March to hug you again. Thank you for making my Brave Girl experience so meaningful, Laura. You are one of those priceless souls that a girl needs to hang on to these days. So proud to call you my friend!

  2. M says:

    My fav~ choose to lift up something I WILL always work on! I’m so glad it was everything you dreamed it to be and you came home a filled up L. I love you and will always lift you up, M

  3. bonnierose says:

    LOVED YOUR POST Lara.. you are such an amazing woman.. and I feel really blessed I was able to meet you. Being brave is where it’s at! Hugs to you.. xoxoxo bonnierose

  4. kolleen says:

    out loud laughter.

    this is all that i felt and more in reading this beautiful testament of what BGC meant to you.

    you are such an incredibly beautiful person inside and out Lara…i loved talking with you on the bus heading to our most incredible destination! you just have such an ease about you…a really amazing spirit!

    i love you and am so happy we are sisters!!!


  5. Mikal says:

    I knew your words would be amazing; telling such a beautiful story as only you can do.

    Missing your beautiful smile already,


  6. Nooooo! I don’t want this post to be over!

    So happy that this was even more than you hoped for, L. And I’m entirely with YOU on choosing wisely the women I spend my time with. There’s no reason not to hold out for uplifters. 😉

  7. Vicki says:

    Wow. Really sounds like enough wow for several life times!!! Will love seeing how this experience is incorporated into your life….love being along for the ride with you! Ya for being brave!!!

  8. liz says:

    Hi Lara . . . I don’t know you very well – except for the nice chat we had a Barn House this past summer!! :) I just want to say that . . . I am Sooooo Happy for you . . . that you had this time with so many brave women with such positive energy!!!! Sometimes we all just need a bit of that!!! It is so amazing when something like this happens . . I can see the happiness in your words and it is my wish for you – that the memories stay close to your heart . . . as I can tell that they are very special to you!!! :)

    So, Soooo Happy for you!!! :) :) . . . liz

  9. liz says:

    ok, ok, . . . so I went a little overboard on the smiley faces . . . xo – liz

  10. chrissy says:

    dear dear lara…
    can i just copy this post and stick it on my wall so i can see it everyday and be reminded of the MAGIC of our week together? you summed up all my emotions and feelings of brave girls camp oh so perfectly. i love how you write. (just another talent to add to your MANY lists of talents sweetheart) your wisdom and your words and your SONG nestled right down into my heart and there you will stay. i look forward to having that space grow as our friendship continues. you are a light. you are the exact kind of woman i want near me and that i am grateful to call my friend.
    thank you for sharing your story AND your beautiful, amazing, dazzling photos.

  11. You melt my heart dear brave girl. You lifted me up and made me feel so special when even camp wasn’t doing the trick. A simple act of kindness and you will never know how much it meant.

    I am sooooo lucky to have met a tiara sister like you. See you every Friday! :) at least by SMS :)

    hugs hugs hugs
    love love love love love,


  12. Lisa S says:

    Isn’t it so wonderful to be surrounded by uplifting women? I love your post and it brings me right back to Brave Girls and when I attended last February. We are so lucky to have experienced it and my wish is for every woman who wants *more* in their lives but are unsure of exactly what that is to find Brave Girls Camp and experience it. It truly is life changing and *still* hard for me to find the right words to express just how much it meant/means to me.

  13. Lynda says:

    Fantastic post..the photos…the words… I so enjoyed this experience with you…amazing women=amazing time for sure!!!

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  15. michelle says:


    Such beautiful women, inside and out from the sounds of it! It looks like a lot of fun! You go girl!

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