**Instagram names are used in this post–follow these wonderful ladies in my tribe!**
I don’t even know where to begin… I am overwhelmed by all of the awesome that happened this weekend at Big Oak Meadows in Ohio! The His Tribe Retreat, started by Bridgett Brainard (@bridgett.brainard) and co-facilitated by Nicolle (@my_jesus-graffiti) and Maria (@my_creative_worship), was my first bible journaling retreat and a huge success!
In a room full of teepees and @illustratedfaith bible bags, we were given a lot of swag through stickers, #HisTribe devotionals and stamp set, coloring books, bow clips and more! I was overwhelmed at the large amount of things we were given to journal with and I began to wonder if I would be able to bring it all back home, lol! (I did… I was determined!)
So much about this retreat filled my heart with joy! I tried to group it all and provide you with a list of 12 things that blew my mind!
12. Big Oak Meadows
What a beautiful location!! This retreat center was complete with bunk bed rooms, kitchen, sun room and a common room. I love that the site was so beautifully decorated and even blanketed with snow outside! I have to thank @allie_scraps for making my bed for me, @besavedbygrace for picking up the Starbucks I was craving and @britcarleton and @my_creative_worship, for being my personal baristas all weekend! Lol…
11. Giveaways & Goodies
Omgoodness, there were so many giveaways!! There was an entire giveaway table that overflowed with journaling goodies! All attendees won something at least once and many won two or three times! Many of my favorite brands donated giveaway items, like @bythewell4god, @creativefaithco, @topknotsandjesus and @writingaletter! My first win was a Growing Meadows stamp, washi and journaling card set; my second win was a traveler’s notebook standard insert and faith coloring book! Even if no one won a thing, we were abundantly blessed with alphas, stamps, washi tape, buttons, devotionals gifts from other participants and more!
Here are the items I won! Yay!!
10. Logos Bookstore
I’ve attended many events where vendors had a table, but have you ever seen someone set up an entire store?!!?? Ann, @ann_kardos of @logos_bookstore_kent, set up so nicely that we all felt like we were shopping in her store! I was so impressed that I made her an open/closed sign, lol. Not only did she have great products and sale items, Ann also gave every participant a $5 off coupon for the weekend and $10 coupon if we visited her store! What a blessing to be in the middle of journaling and realize you need a particular sticker and Ann had it in her shop! She was such a sweet Super Woman!
Here are the items I purchased from Ann… don’t judge, lol. (the Illustrated Faith bag was gifted to me from Bridgett!)
9. Journaling Time
I loved having moments to journal in my bible, journal to devotionals and music and observe the entries of my friends! These were such sweet moments that I definitely captured in my heart and will not let go! I even got to co-journal with a few of my faves! Love how our collaboration pages turned out and they left me sweet notes inside too!
8. Worship & Devotional Time
We began the exciting weekend with prayer and worship music. It was so lovely to have a live band perform as all of the participants stood and focused their hearts on Jesus. I learned new songs and held the hands of people that I finally met in person after only knowing them from Instagram. It was so magical!
We also heard heartfelt words from tribe members about what God was saying to us in this season about seeking refuge, tipi living and more! Each speaker did a wonderful job dropping heavenly jewels for us to ponder and pick up in our own lives!
7. Classes & Stations
Learning more about Jesus and drawing closer to Him was our ultimate goal! We were able to accomplish this through classes taught by talented attendees! I got really creative during @andiebjork’s journaling class! Her work is amazing and inspired all of us! I also stepped into new territory with my journaling through mixed media thanks to @besavedbygrace. She also inspired me to use my scraps in an old book!
The stations were so fun! Thanks to @my_jesus_graffiti, I am now able to jelly plate (first time I had ever heard of this!) a feather in my favorite colors (my dear @my_creative_worship added beads and a string to my feather too!). Thanks to @allie_scraps, I now have guest checks for prayer requests on a ring (stay tuned… I have an entire blog post coming up just about Allie, with her cute self…) Finally, I made bow clips for journaling entries and a shaker for my #HisTribe devotional!
6. Lettering for a Lot
It all began with my sweet friend, @andiebjork… lol. She asked me to write the word dwell over a page she had just illustrated in her bible. Of course I would because she traveled all the way from New York, she was my #StickerSquad POO thing last year and I have always admired her work and adored her! I wanted her to take home a little piece of me! Welp, by the time I was finished, half of the retreat participants took home a little piece of me too, lol! I didn’t mind at all as some just wanted their name written in the cover of their bible or they wanted a title on their journaling page! Here’s a look at what I did…
5. My First Bible Stack
I have often seen bible stacks on Instagram. I thought about how powerful it would be to have my book in a huge stack! What an honor to include mine during this retreat! This is just power stacked on top of power and it was an honor to observe in person! This stack represented women from all over coming together for the One and Only God: Jesus.
4. Learning New Techniques
If you look through my Instagram at my bible journal pages, I would say that they are pretty simple: not a lot of color in the background, stickers, minimal stamping and lots of lettering and washi tape. This weekend, thanks to my dear friends, @my_jesus_graffiti, @britcarleton and @besavedbygrace, I learned the “smooshing” technique of adding watercolor to the background of a page using a transparency sheet! I was so nervous as I was determined to not mess up my bible, lol. Nicolle, @my_jesus_graffiti, walked me hand in hand to the end of this process. She even wrote an encouragement note to me to remind me to keep smooshing even after our retreat! @andiebjork taught me journaling techniques (I tried to just purchase her completed journal but she wouldn’t let me, lol) and @besavedbygrace taught me how to do mixed media! I always knew how to do mixed media but I always tried to do it neat; she made me get messy!! I enjoyed every moment of it! It was fun and relaxing.
3. Meeting #MyTribe in Real Life
The highlight of the entire weekend for me was meeting my tribe! This was more than the name of the retreat for me: many of these women sent or received happy mail from me, regularly encourage me on Instagram, served on PR teams with me, etc. I felt like I knew them personally before meeting them because of their sweet interactions with me! Some of the ladies I didn’t know prior were added to my tribe too! I felt like I was with family: what a feeling to be a room full of people who do what you do and they do it so well, people who will pray for you without judgement… they are more than fellow Bible journalers—they are my sisters in Christ and my friends! I traveled alone but not one time during the retreat did I feel lonely! My tribe rocks!
2. Eeep! Gifts!!
I am a natural giver and I was SO excited to give every participant their small gift to go home with! Everyone received a pin that read “Queen Forever” that I purchased from @inclusiverandomness and a tea bag! It was snowing so many of the ladies drank their tea during the retreat!
I wasn’t expecting any gifts at all. I am so grateful to each person who gave or shared gifts or journaling supplies with me! A moment that touched my heart in a way that I cannot fully describe in words is when Kristi gifted a coil bound bible to me! I was admiring it when introducing myself to her as a part of her tribe! I sat down to continue to journal and about 30 minutes later she walked up, placed the Bible in front of me and said, “I want you to have this!” and walked away like a boss! I was so overwhelmed with her generosity that I made a pocket for the front of her new bible! Wow God, just WOW!!
1. Bridgett. Period.
I cannot end this blog post without thanking Bridgett Brainard (@bridgett.brainard), the visionary behind this retreat! I had the opportunity to see her fulfill a dream and pursue her passion and she did it so gracefully. I am so honored to know her and proud of her efforts to build up God’s kingdom! Bridgett, if you are reading this: God is going to supply all that you need because of your relentlessness to see his power performed here on earth. You gathered together His people—He will gather the funds, the space, the ideas and anything else you need for retreats to come. Don’t stop working for the Lord but do take a break to care for His temple—You. There is more in store ahead, captain… prepare the teepees!
This weekend has sparked so many fresh ideas in me, new collaborations with other great creatives and more. Even as I sat in the airport typing this—in spite of 3 delays and a cancelled flight—there is absolutely nothing I would change about this weekend!
What will you do today to support your tribe? Comment below!
The Confident Canvas