The first day was basically a time to get settled, and I arrived early enough to create an illustration using a One & Done Line Art Transfer sheet. I really like this product that allows me to trace awesome images as I meditate on scriptures. (The DWELL theme wasn't really introduced until the first session the next day, so I chose to work on something from my idea file.) I placed this image beside Isaiah 49:2, which says In His quiver He has hidden me.
Our "assignment" that evening was to create a "meet the artist" page in whatever format we wanted. I ended up just painting and adding texture to my page, then stamping or writing in words and information about myself.
Our "meet the artist" pages were hung up in the kitchenette over the weekend as we all got to know each other. Can you spot mine there? :)
Each of the following three days began with a DWELL session that included a devotional led by Tonya Hamilton of Messy Bible and a time of worship led by a beautiful young lady named Tiffani Watkins. Then there were Bible journaling sessions led by Shanna Noel of Illustrated Faith introducing a new technique, product or prompt, followed by time to work in our Bibles. I must admit that I did not complete as many pages as most of the other retreat participants, however I did try each of the techniques and prompts in a traveler's journal, adding in notes and ideas along the way. I also used it for practice stamping and even cut apart & adhered the words to the worship songs.
I arrived late to the session where Shanna shared how to create our own stamps using foam because I'd been out riding around the ranch and snapping photos, enjoying being out in the sunshine and fresh air. Luckily, she gave me a "private lesson" when I returned and one of my table-mates, Karen, had a template that was perfect for what I wanted to journal. I made an impression on my foam, traced it with a pen to form the indentations, and cut it out for my very own custom barn & cow stamp. I chose to place this image beside Psalm 150, which is a praise to the Lord and a reminder to let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
One of the prompts was to add a hand in our Bible as we contemplated where God's hand was in our life. Many of the ladies rolled painted onto their hand and created a hand print in their Bibles. Honestly, I didn't have an idea for the prompt, so I simply traced one of the hand templates into my notebook and wrote a prayer inside it.
However, the next day after one of the DWELL sessions, I was inspired by the scripture in Isaiah (30:21) that says: Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, "This is the way, walk in it," Whenever you turn to the right hand Or whenever you turn to the left. I ended up tracing my hands and adding arrows and letter stickers to this page as reminder that the Lord will show me the way when I listen for His direction.
The retreat included a session led by Tracy Pounds, owner of The Little Blue House. We created a mixed media canvas using modge podge, old sewing patterns (for texture), paint, gelatos, plastic wrap, a hymnal page, flowers, and stickers. (And, yes, those are my flowers from Robbie there in the corner.)
There were quite a few steps to this project, and I'm thrilled with how mine turned out. It looks great in my craft room.
In addition to all these sessions and riding around the Whitworth Ranch Retreat, I thoroughly enjoyed the delicious meals and snacks provided by Stacy Seely and her mom throughout the weekend. I didn't snap any photos of the fantastic mealtime spreads or the desserts (Texas sheet cake, banana cream cake, peach cobbler rollups, cookies), but I did capture the sunrise along with the spot where I enjoyed all my meals outside.
I also took time to visit with each lady at the retreat and ask how I could pray for them. Then I took Emily (another retreat attendee) up on her offer to borrow her hammock for a while and spent quiet time with the Lord. This, to me, was truly the essence of DWELLing in His presence. It was such a lovely, peaceful day, and I felt honored to be able to pray for each of the beautiful ladies (ranging in age from 22 to 60+) that enjoy this FUN way of diving into the Word and drawing closer to the Lord!
And, finally, I included a few bits & pieces from the weekend in the front of my Bible to remember the retreat. I added it beneath a stamped image I added in last year.
Several of the ladies at the retreat created tags and other elements for each of the participants. I'm enjoying adding those to my Bible and will share them in a future post.
Have you attended any retreats lately? Do you enjoy following along and creating during each session or, like me, spend more time taking it all in and enjoying the time away without worrying about getting it all done?