Category Archives: Retreats

Making Art Journals

Continuing with my Journal Challenge Week, I’ll be making some physical art journals using this method (composition book, Liquetex Matte Medium, Gesso) and probably edge the pages with embroidery thread and Washi Tape. I have denied myself art, beauty and reaching out to create because I was too focused on survival; along the way I almost killed off part of myself so it’s time to pull back and do some self-nurturing.


One journal will be about Money/Financial concerns. We have nothing into retirement – yes, it’s scary, very scary. We’ve come up with some plans on how to re-fashion our lives and most of this revolves around money, handling resources, and fostering abundance.

We will need to “think outside the box” and develop our 5-year plan. In five years: repair the house, sell the house, son graduates college, daughter enters college, etc… My goal is that in 5 years we are seeing a profit-income of $1500 per month from other resources than Grenwinaes’ job; an income that can continue from home after Grenwinae retires.


Another journal will be about the New House. In three years the house we are living in will be up for sale, and we will do a major downsize. Our plan is to buy land and build a house (construction for less than $25,000) smaller than 1,000 square feet.

This is the hardest dream for me to actualize as I want it so bad but we have been stopped at every turn from achieving this. I need to transform thinking this is an impossible dream to really seeing/feeling that it will really happen.

As the house repairs continue, and kids move onward in their education it will become more “real” but now is for dreaming and imagining so I will use the journal to fantasize my optimum living environment.

I can think of some ideas for further art journals but I think I’m getting ahead of myself. I’ll work on these two over the weekend as it takes some time to put them together and prep them for use.

The key for me here is to engage different parts of the brain through a creative (non-logical), 3-dimesional process (other than typing on a computer). I’m hoping this can bring back some joy and revive the tired, exhausted Spirit I feel I’ve been.


Deer in the park

We took our nature walk on Sunday. This is part of trying to keep connected to nature even though we are back to living in the city.

Entering the park, we saw a deer on the road ahead and stopped. Deer are usually in groups, and I figured she was waiting for someone. Sure enough, two more appeared to cross also, and we watched through binoculars as they passed close enough to a stopped cyclist that he could have touched them. So jealous!

On the trail we ended up taking a different path because of hikers who appeared. Good thing we did because we saw this little girl eating some leaves. Can you see her?


Coming Back ~ Couples Retreat


This is a multi-part posting – the latest post is seen first, so if you want to go time-wise scroll down and start at the first post (4th back): Couples Retreat: Pineville, MO.

Sunday we thought we would leave for the day and visit a nearby State Park. About 15 minutes on the trip and I had a really strong feeling we needed to turn around and go back to where we were staying. It felt like a solid weight in my stomach and it just got worse the more distance we traveled.

Luckily, Grenwinae had no problem with making that adjustment. I had decided on this trip to make an effort to be more intuitive and I think this really paid off in this instance.

As soon as we turned back we started seeing a lot of Vultures. I spotted one on the top of a telephone pole, his wings spread out like they do to dry them.When we got back, a Vulture flew overhead for the first time since our visit.


The last day and I decided to leave my Vulture feathers (without their beads or leather smudging handles) in the bowl of feathers in the cottage we rented. It was wrenching to let go of them as they were my first animal gift.

Outside, Grenwinae led our final goodbye and as he finished, a Vulture flew right over us, coming from my back – very low (maybe 12 feet above) and I knew I had done the right thing in releasing the feathers. It choked me up a bit…

At the gate a group of four Vultures flew overhead again, circling and giving their blessing on the return journey.


We deliberately left a bit early so we would have plenty of time to take it slow. This was probably the first trip return where I didn’t feel anxious or antsy to return. Because of the calm and peace, we decided (on impulse) to stop at this little state park that turned out to be quite something!


Someone will come ~ Couples Retreat


I walked up the gravel drive – it was strangely the opposite of another walk into the darkness done over a 18 months ago where I had begun this journey – where I entered the  National Forest – the unknown, the febrile dark – to give a thank you for the gift of two Vulture feathers.

Now my walk was upward. I chose a place under the shadow of the trees and settled down. The first problem I had was my Palo Santo would not light. It took me many tries before I got it burning and started a chant I had planned:

The Life that was Before
Is no more.
What we toiled for
Sent us through another Door.
The cord is cut
The rope is frayed
Shed and Dead.
It could not Last
We release it Now
And give it a Bow
Farewell (3 times)

When I got to the line about release, the Palo Santo went dead out. Okay. This isn’t going as planned… I quieted my mind and put out a call, holding my Vulture and Owl in my hands. No answer.

Hello? Anyone out there? I had this big meditation thing planned where I would be sobbing and crying over the past in order to release it and the only thing that has shown up here is crickets, cicadas and frogs. I think someone here is falling down on their JOB!

I used my Vulture feathers, running the tips across my face – they smelled faintly of Grandma’s cedar box where I stored them. I had the sense that these feathers, collected from the National Forest across from our old Missouri home, were done with their work. It was time to cast them out and replace them.

Faintly like a whisper: you’ve done the releasing – that is over – stop trying to do more “letting go!” I was given the impression to prepare for a new stage – one of growth.

I was puzzled as to why none of my animal guides seemed present. I had only seen one Vulture this entire trip and that was right as we started out from Oklahoma. No hawks. Some very faint, far away Owl hoots.

Again an answer: someone (new) will be sent for this work.

Again, I tried to light the Palo Santo and it refused – a bit irked.

You are done here! No more is needed (didn’t I get the memo!)! 

I said thank you and headed back to the house. At the fire, I pulled this reading from the Druid Animal Oracle Cards:

Hawk reversed (my animal guide blocked!) ~
Be balanced in your outlook – not too wide, not too close.

Owl reversed (another animal guide blocked!) ~
be active in the world. New beginnings.

Air Dragon ~ Intuition and creative flashes. Insight and Clarity. A messenger.

Now Monkey Mind quickly followed:

1.) WOULD “someone” show up? What if no one did???

2.) Would I RECOGNIZE it when it did?! What if I’m not paying enough attention?

3.) What if it isn’t something I LIKED? Please don’t be that Praying Mantis that was trapped in the house and than was on the fire pit circle.

4.) What if it doesn’t WORK???

Clean Sweep ~ Couples Retreat

The purpose of the retreat was to release what was old and not of any use – and ask for wisdom for the new, particularly some money we are expecting in December.

The money herb mixture I made for Grenwinae’s job hunt was dispersed into the woods with proper recognition ~

Herb Money, done your deed
Got a job, sowed the seed.
From seed to sapling
It grew with your Power.
We will continue
To nourish the Flower.
Thank you for your effort
On our behalf.
Now we cast you wide and out
For you to feed
Another’s need.

A shaker of salt was left by our former troublesome boarder. Renting a room in our house helped us when we were making two house payments but the first roommate was quite a piece of work.

The room had been cleansed right after he left; and the house has already been cleansed etc… However, that little salt shaker still needed to go! That energy needed to be vanquished ~

Letting go
Of the Old
Of the Tired
No Longer Needed
Or Required.
(this verse we did three times, you can clap or shout at the end for emphasis)

Grenwinae cut up his former library cards, ID etc… that were left from Missouri. As part of my work, I cut up my pair of scrubs – I won’t be working anymore for anyone else, particularly in the veterinary field. The last 18 months have shown to me that its thankless hard work that might have suited me 10 years ago but not now.

Cutting them into strips – ruining the cloths – making sure every circle, every pocket was cut open – did provide me some mental release an easing of my mind, and a weight off my shoulders.

Afterwards, I went off into the dark to do a meditation and to ask for guidance…

Couples Retreat ~ Pineville, Missouri

Thursday wasn’t a good day. We were preparing for a trip that I had decided I didn’t want to go on. This is a problem with planning vacations: I plan it, the money is tight, and I feel so worried about it that I become frustrated and angry.

This vacation retreat had actually been planned a year ago – so lovingly – and we didn’t go – adding to my trapped anger.

But than Friday morning it seemed everything was being smoothed out to make our path easier. It was like everything was falling into place: we had more in the bank than I expected from the paycheck, the car repair was $200 less than we were initially told; two bills I had planned on paying, showed a zero balance when I called the business office; and the packing went smoothly.

We arrived safely and well before dark. The house was lovely. The stormy weather only happened one day and was over by 9 a.m.

Once we arrived I realized that many of the plans we made for this trip would not have worked out. The forest was not very accessible (very dense undergrowth), the property not as large or as private as I envisioned, and the path to the water was very difficult. Even so I found myself being able to adjust to these problems and was able to let it go.

We burned in the fire pit a blue candle for healing and peace on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Monday morning was cleaning out the fire pit and the house, preparing to leave.