The Retreat

My friend Page and I rode into last weekend’s retreat for mothers who have suffered child loss together. The retreat was refreshing, exhausting… breathtakingly beautiful. Exhausting only because it’s been a while since I had  the chance to share Jenna’s story with someone in real life.

I thought I would share some pictures from last Saturday… it was definitely a trip to remember. Haven of Hope was shared with me by a friend and at first I was reluctant. The more I thought about it, {okay and found out who was going!} I began to get excited about the idea of going… I ended up spending all day Saturday at the retreat. Maybe next year I’ll go the whole weekend :)

On the way up there my GPS said we had 16 miles to go down this skinny country road and don’t you know it? I was on low fuel. I told Page – I sure hope there’s a gas station ahead… Low and behold, five miles or so down the road there was… only we couldn’t quite figure it out at first ;)

We laughed at how outdated this thing was, and at ourselves… after all it couldn’t be that hard. I walked into the convenient store, only this convenient store sold EVERYTHING.

Literally.

The customer in front of me asked the cashier something and I heard her yell across the store to the girl in the back asking if they sell chainsaws… UMMM…. EXCUSE me?! Yea, I’m guessing it’s your one stop shop around town.

Of course they had this hanging behind the cashier desk. ;)

It’s kind of blurry but it says “In a small town there may not be much to see… but what you hear sure makes up for it!” Sure does!!!

Anyhow after getting gas and thanking God for such much-needed laugh, we arrived at the The Retreat at Artesian Lakes. I did not know this place even existed.

There were alligators… yikes! Like… everywhere. You would look out the restaurant window and there’d be one or two or three just swimming around, baking in the sun, whatever.

Log cabins for the lucky gals who stayed the night there… very nice ones at that!

Some pretty pretty wildflowers…

There was also a really gorgeous garden… full of roses, beautiful flowers, herbs and some fruits and veggies. It was inspiring to say the least.

And lots of sweet fellowship :) I got to meet up with Mary again and meet Natasha for the first time.

me & Mary!

The craft project was brilliant. Can you guess what mine said!?

This is all of us ladies holding our precious blankets made by It’s a Heck of a Blanket. Please.. please check out her facebook page/ blog. Her story is stinkin’ amazing. I never talk about it but we buried Jenna with a purple blanket that said “Princess” on it. It just felt right, as it was always near her incubator. And it so happened to match her burial gown perfectly. After she was gone, I longed to hold that blanket again and wished I’d kept it. When Shannon gifted every last one of us with a personalized blanket, I literally felt like I got that blanket back. It was such an incredible surprise.

This is our small group… a group of amazing mothers who shared their stories. Ha, they made me feel normal!

It was a time to remember and connect with other mamas who just get it, but who are also striving for healing in their hearts and lives. So much planning went into this past weekend. Thank you Marsha, Susan and Daisy for all your hard work. If you live in or near Texas {or wherever!} I hope you’ll consider joining in next year.

xo

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    what great photos!! glad you had a lovely trip! I hope to be able to meet you in person one day fran :) we will make it happen :)

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    Natasha says:

    You got great pics Fran!!! I love that pic of the gas pump- lol! It was definitely a small town, right down to the whole no street sign thing- HA!

    Thank you soooooo much for helping me with my Aiden bracelet! I am so glad I finally got to meet you- you are just too lovely :)

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      Franchesca says:

      It was so awesome to get to meet you in person Natasha!! I felt like I already ‘knew’ you through the blogs, ya know ? :)

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      Franchesca says:

      Oh and the gas pump, the whole time… wow! I can only imagine driving down there for the first time at night!

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    Mary Thompson says:

    Wow, Fran! Looks like you guys had a great time! I would love to be able to join in one year, to meet some of the fabulous mommas I’ve met in blog land. In Texas, or just about anywhere. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there could be a national retreat?! Hmm…. :)

    Glad you all had a wonderful time, and, btw, I LOVE those old time gas pumps! You never see those anymore! I assume it was a working pump right?!

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      Franchesca says:

      Oh I totally agree, a national retreat would be amazing. Some of us have been tossing that idea around but we can’t seem to decide any real details like time and place haha… ;)

      Oh and yes, thank GOD it was a working pump!!

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    brigette says:

    What a lovely idea! I wish we had something like that here in Utah… Im glad you were able to be with ladies who truely understand!!

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    Mary says:

    Oh my goodness!! You weren’t kidding when you mentioned that gas pump! Ha! It is definitely OLD!! It was so great to see you again!! Oh and thank you for mentioning the retreat months ago…I don’t think I would have ever known about it if you hadn’t mentioned it :)

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    Caroline says:

    Great pics and so glad you had a good time. I know I would love to meet you one day.
    Love the Gas Pump pic reminds me of the small town I grew up in.

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    Holly says:

    Amazing! I would love to go on a retreat like this

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    Thank you so much for coming and sharing your precious Jenna Belle with us! I would love to get to know you better, Franchesca… even with my move halfway across the world. :) Lord willing, I will see you again at next year’s Retreat!

    Praying for you tonight…

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