This weekend I was given a wonderful gift.
I was able to go away with new friends for 24 hours of rest and relaxation and given space to laugh, breathe, and create.
Officially I was at our churches women’s retreat up on Petit Jean Mountain, but this years group was very small and intimate, so instead of an event, it felt more like an escape.
When we planned the schedule we tried to make sure that we allowed plenty of “downtime.” Most women’s lives are overscheduled to the hilt, and we wanted this retreat to be the opposite of that. So instead of over programming, we left a lot of room of “whatever you feel like doing.”
Some people hiked, some read, some napped, and a few of us crafted.
My crafts were experiments. Things I have been wanting to make and never seem to have the time to try.
These Prayer/Story stones were the first thing I made.
To make them I used River Stones from the Dollar Tree.
I prepared the stones by buffing them with a t-shirt.
Then I mixed some school glue with a little bit of water to make a sort of decoupage mixture.
Next I cut out my shapes (some better than others.)
I coated the top of the stone with my glue & water mixture, then laid the fabric shapes on top of that.
Once the fabric was tacky and sticking to the stone, I applied another layer of glue & water on top.
Then I let them dry.
The stones are now laying on our kitchen table and I am hoping that we can use them as Story Stones and Prayer Stones during dinner.
During dinner, if the conversation is lagging or getting mired in complaints and bickering (please tell me my children aren’t the only ones passing snide remarks at the dinner table? Please?) I may ask everyone to pick a stone out of the bowl.
Then I may ask them to tell me a story inspired by the shape on the stone, or to share a petition or thanksgiving that their stone brings to mind.
Because they are adolescents I imagine there will be groaning the first time I try this. They will think it is silly or childish.
But I also know from experiences that if I persevere and push to go deeper, our conversations and our hearts will be richer for this time of sharing.
I know that my youngest will try to make us laugh.
I know my eldest will share something he has been hanging onto for a while.
I know my husband will prove once again how insightful he is, or share some piece of his childhood I have never heard, that will explain another facet of his heart to me.
I know that I will experience a brief reprieve of the ever-present to-do list ticker tape running through my mind, as I caress my stone and think of my own stories and thanksgivings to share.
Of course I could be wrong. This idea could be a total bust.
But I think it is worth a try.
I think it is always worth a try to bring my family back around to faith, and laughter, and great conversations, because when we get to that place, it helps us to muddle through this thing called Daily Life better, together.
And that to me is worth suffering through a ton of eyerolls.
Peace & Blessings,