To say we were being spoiled would be an understatement!
morning walks were so beautiful and a quiet time with some of
the girls. Besides being such a great way to start the day....it
My heart and mind came home so full of
ideas, joy, creations, promises, truths. I keep thinking about
the amazing women I met. Their stories. Their pain and their
bravery. I really miss them.
of the most powerful writing exercises for me during the camp
was the day we made our promises book. I don't think I have EVER
written promises to myself. It is the only exercise that made me
cry. Not because it was hard....because it was precious. I felt
like I was making promises to myself as a little girl....and
that I would fight for her...I would support her...I would
believe in her dreams.
I then went on to write promises to each of my three children,
my husband and then our marriage. Sometimes you just need a
little quiet to hear the truths, make the promises and remember
that you were born to fly.
|On the first day, I met up with the other BRAVE GIRLS and we got
on a shuttle bus up to the CABIN. I was a little nervous. What
had I got myself into?????
I would have NO computer access, NO
cell phone coverage and communication with my family or work for
4 days. (did I mention I have huge work deadlines?)
The ride up
to the cabin in Garden Valley, IDAHO was wonderful. I could FEEL
something big was going to happen. I felt an instant connection
to the BRAVE GIRLS...
Melody met us up near the top of the mountain (just before we
got to the cabin) and we agreed to "be there" and leave our
concerns, guilt, fears, etc. RIGHT there... (we threw bird seed
in the AIR- yes, worrying is for the birds- right?) A short time
later...we arrived to beautiful girls who hugged and welcomed
us. I felt like I was a sister and that I was returning HOME.
|BEAUTIFUL lights and Green Lanterns were hung... It felt
peaceful and inviting. We listened to beautiful playlists of
music as we created.
This entire event was needed for me to REFLECT on MY life...
|Can you imagine - WRITING to yourself? it was like an AH HA.
moment. I fought back tears. I was thinking and reflecting on my
past- joys, sorrow, pain, lessons learned... and I focused on
the positive, and I have a tin full of cards/letters to myself
that I keep rereading to myself.
|We took lots of breaks for FOOD and snacks. Kathy showered us
with the most amazing food. I felt like I was at a CELEBRITY
retreat. I know Kathy and the girls put their HEART into the menu
and presentation. THANK YOU SO MUCH- I felt so pampered and
|We are BRAVE women...we connected, we laughed, we cried, we
created, and went on little sleep. We are better wives, mothers,
friends by all that we learned. I will NEVER be the same. It was
deep and intense and honestly...the ART was merely a vehicle of
pure love self expression to each of our souls. I KNEW I was
supposed to be at the event to make friends and to see LOVE in
action within the women there. I met so many women that FILLED my heart with
love and that I consider FOREVER FRIENDS.
|How do you put into words a life changing, out of this world
I guess I knew Brave Girl Camp was going to be pretty special
when we stopped at the base of the road that led to the cabin
and Melody had us toss bird seed to the ground and leave all of
our worries behind. She said we were to let go of our bills,
every day details, worries about our families and all that would
entangle our minds for the next 3 days. It worked too. I didn't
worry about anything for the rest of the week!
|When we walked in we were surrounded with the smell of home
cooked food (the best ever), and personal touches that made us
feel overwhelmingly loved. They had our pictures spread all
throughout the cabin. Isn't that just the best idea? Nothing
makes you more at home than seeing your children's faces or your
little Fergie staring up at you. It was wonderful.
|Everything had our name on it. They personalized our work aprons
and water glasses and lavished us with supply kits. They thought
through every little detail to make us feel special. They
memorized our profiles and thought of us as they sewed and
labored and prepared. When we got there they all greeted us and
gave us hugs. I'm telling you it was a love fest!! And I have to
think really hard to a remember a time where I felt more at home
and honored. It was magical!
|They painstakingly decorated an old ugly tent for us!! It was
just beautiful to walk in to that dreamy world. What would come
next would be days of soul searching, creating, exploring and
ultimately rediscovering who we were and what we wanted out of
|From Lissa ...
|Upon arrival we walked into a beautifully lit cabin with twinkly
lights and yummy smelling candles. (you know how that's my
There were pictures of our families, even photos of our pets
hanging around the room to cause us to IMMEDIATELY feel at home!
It felt like one big, HAPPY family!
Melody and Kathy along with the rest of their family
just make you feel like you're at home.
|I read on a blog today that real
friends are the kind of friends who you feel comfortable enough
with to invite them over for dinner and serve left-overs. That's
the kind of friends I made at Brave Girl Camp.
|Brave Girl Camp.
What an HONOR to be able to attend.
I met the most wonderful women!
I met FIGHTERS!!!
I met women who left not only determined to fly but determined
I met women who INSPIRE me!
|No detail was spared!
Nothing was to much!
I remember Becky saying over and over "I feel so blessed... I
feel so blessed..."
|Beautiful, amazing, lovely,
funny, joyful Melody is instructing us on our projects.
She was so ready to open up her heart to each one of us!
You have never experienced such generosity! We were surrounded by
inside the tent... inside the cabin...
|...and then outside...The beauty of God's amazing creation.
|Thank you for all of your hard work!
I wish I could put into words how much you mean to me! Thank you
for making every meal, snack, dessert "the best food you
have ever tasted!
|It was life-changing....all of it. I learned (again) that women
need each other...we just do. We have a gift for nurturing and
inspiring and comforting and we ought to share that not only
with our husbands and our children but with each other. I
learned that everyone struggles, and that it doesn't matter what
our individual problems are, and if they're big or small to us,
our struggles are the same. But the biggest lesson I learned is
the lesson of CHOICE. That crap happens...life isn't perfect and
if we're lucky it never will be, but no matter what happens, we
have a choice about what to do with it.
|There was a project about making
promises to yourself. How incredible to make promises to yourself on things
you don't want to fudge on. Here are some of my promises -
I promise to take care of my body...to get to my right weight
and stay there both for myself and for my family and loved ones.
I promise to be true to the musician inside of me and to take
the steps needed to develop my talents even further. I promise
to use those talents to bless others.
I promise to be more forward, open and honest with myself and
others about what I really want.
I promise to start breaking down the walls around my heart that
prevent me from making deep and lasting friendships.
|This is an amazing, inspiring revolution - come be part of
it...come be a BRAVE GIRL!!!
|This was the scene of our
arrival to Brave Girls' Camp. Participants from all over
were driven from the airport to our lodge...
Snow, beautiful snow. All around us was snow.
|This is the scene within
the lodge when we entered. A beautiful table welcoming
us with a most delicious meal served to us by an
|After the hike, Melody shared stories of overcoming
challenges throughout her journey, and offered some
creative prompts centered on the concepts of protecting
that which is most important to us and in so doing,
finding strength to always move forward, and always have
The prompts were accompanied by tools and materials and
techniques that aided us to create book projects...I
focused on words that I find comforting when the going
gets tough ...
The most exciting technique I learned from Melody was
how to use her new line of chip art tools by GCD Studios
to create a letter press effect by inking her metal
stamp (like the little swirl you see) and then hammering
the stamp into mat board with a mallet. TRUE innovation.
(On the second day...)
Melody offered a new set
of prompts about how in life, there will be challenges.
There will be naysayers. There will be heartache. And
the thing about life is that we all know heartache. But
that regardless of all that, we can choose to move
Anyway. What a great word. Yes indeed
... I do know heartache. But I will keep building
between the projects and prompts, the best things were
created. Like roars of laughter ...
Fun and joyful times ...
Insights from books ...
And the resolve — regardless of what life throws at us —
to be good, supportive, and brave.
|From Camille -
gets so into the zone and creates the most beautiful and
meaningful projects. And we teach each other all of our
secret techniques and skills. Or SKILZ.
the supplies. Everything you could imagine and hope for.
Huge containers of found items of all shape and styles.
Paints and glitter, MOD PODGE. Lots of Mod. We love MOD.
Mod is our friend and constant companion.
really bond. I love this picture, not only because these
girls mean so much to me, but because it looks like I
have super long noodle arms and I'm strangling everyone
together for a picture.
beautiful brave girls create fabulous beautiful art....
into fabulous loving friendships...
friends. I want to start by sharing a favorite quote of
mine and something that really rang true of Brave Girl
‘My Friend, if I could give you one thing, I would give
you the ability to see yourself as others see you . . .
then you would realize what a truly special person you
are. ~ Barbara A. Billings
Such a great quote and reminder that we are all special,
unique and cherished individuals. I had mentioned that I
was eager to share about some of the things I created at
Brave Girl Camp. While Brave Girls were being pampered
by Melody and Kathy’s family . . . there was time to
create. Melody would prompt exercises and themes for
creating. Some did mini books, some canvas’, some
But whatever crafty thing folks were creating there
was meaning behind it prompted by Melody’s message,
words and phrases. The wonderful thing . . . there was
freedom to create with your own style . . . everyone’s
was different . . . unique . . . a message special only
to them. It was awesome and so meaningful.
|My style .
. . well I called my book a ’Chunky Funky Shabby Chic’
style. This particular assignment Melody encouraged
Brave Girls to remember someone who loves you
unconditionally and ask what would that person say to
you. You chose from a sheet of phrases that really spoke
These are a few peeks of my project. I love this book
for many reasons . . . one it’s for me . . . rarely do I
create for myself. Two is that it is a wonderful and
encouraging reminder to me that I am greatly loved and
cherished! We need that reminder don’t we? Three . . .
it’s so me. It’s my style, my colors, my flavor. Lastly,
I had a ton of fun using my favorite Fiskars tools,
Melody’s ChipArt tools and many different mediums to
create it. I used Fiskars and Chipart on almost every
page. Oh love!
about life infused in art . . . expressing yourself. It
was about sisters I made for life. About living and
loving the best you know how. It was about leaving
lighter in some respects and gaining freedom. It was a
creative and musical experience. It was about detail and
servanthood. About facing the tough stuff and being
brave. It was about tools being used to create, express,
heal and grow. Yes, tools like Fiskars help heal! It was
about building and rebuilding lives through art and
lovingly serving. I was so grateful that I could take a
part in this experience. It is absolutely unforgettable
and I am so very blessed.
one not feel the love, love, love from this kind of
detail, knowing that our hostesses put their hearts into
every single step taken to ensure our knowledge of
wondrous things about to happen.
And wondrous things did happen under the twinkle lights
and lanterns. Life-changing experiences are just that
and the best ones are the least expected. They can knock
your socks off, take your breathe away, dispel the gloom
and open up those doors one thought forgotten and
These are two pages from my 'Beautiful Life' book I
made at camp. The lesson for the day was truth and lies.
I chose to make a book of affirmations of what I know in
my heart to be true; miracles, blessings, the becoming
of who we are meant to be and all the help along the way
if we let it.
Just under 2 years ago, turquoise became MY color. It
has a strong voice to it, and speaks of water and wide
open skies. It speaks to my duality and fragility of
self. This book is sooo turquoise and it makes me smile
every time I look at it.
I hope everyday it will remind me that I'm great at what
I do, even if it is different from someone else. I'm not
someone else; I'm me and I'll be brave in my own little
way, every day. And that is the best lesson - ever.
So Be Brave today and everyday-no more excuses.
the cover of my promise book I made at Brave Girls Camp
on the last day.
This little bird is so happy in his little nest, under
the swaying pine tree! I pass this curvy pine tree every
day on the way to my studio. I'm sure it was meant to
grow straight, but I love its curves. The curves speak
to me of the winding road we all take to get to where we
need to be. It just looks happy to be finally swinging
in the breeze because it's strong enough to take it.
This art gives me a simple peace whenever I look at it.
By this time at camp, I truly did have hope which leads
to peace and joy. Peace in knowing that I have what I
need right now and joy in knowing that is enough. We all
hope for more and that is okay too, but I'm learning to
have peace and joy in the moment.
|We were up
in the beautiful mountains of Idaho, away from the
"world" away from home, family, TV, internet, and
yes...Cell phones...I was worried at first...But as the
experience unfolded so beautifully I knew I needed the
Taking the time away when I have so much going on was a
gift to myself...
From the moment we met up I knew this was going to be
great! We were met by Marq at the bus stop and he
greeted us with beautiful handmade bags filled with
treats, a journal a beautiful map and a secret bag that
said "don't open yet." We rode up the mountain with some
mixed feelings...I was excited and nervous at the same
was to die for...
The detail was in every little thing...
We ate like queens...
some new tools for ourselves, some new ways of looking
at our lives, we shared stories, some very painful, raw,
and true...We cleaned house...Then we created to remind
ideas, learned new techniques, played with paint, mist,
mallets and and used the chip art to pound words that
meant something to us...
listened...We slept very little...Too much "work" to be
done...We made friendships that will last a lifetime...