Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Annual Brainstorming Retreat

As I mentioned yesterday, I'm back from my annual brainstorming retreat in Idaho but am still flying high on the shared laughter and love. I consider myself doubly blessed to be included in this group of talented writers and altogether fabulous women. This is our ninth summer to meet together––hard to believe it's been that long––and I think this year might have been the best retreat yet.

Brandilyn, Janet, Sunni, Karen, Robin, me, Tricia, Gayle, Francine, Sharon 

We've been through a lot together and on our first night there, we always share a recap of our past year––what God has taught us, what we've struggled with, what we want to praise God for, and how the group can pray for us. And of course, along with some tears, there's LOTS of laughter and praising, and delicious food! 

One of the gals LOVES Rolos candy (chocolate with caramel), so I tweaked my sweet mom's recipe for Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake and added some Rolos. Yum!! Then I glazed it with warm fudge sauce, froze it overnight, and popped it into my checked baggage. As they say in Steel Magnolias, "It freezes beautifully!" And traveled without a hitch.

Hanging out in the kitchen

 We all loved Janet's scarf and wanted to share it

We met a brown bear while walking (then quickly ran away before the homeowner came out and saw us accosting his decorative driveway art)

Beautiful wildlife would venture up as we were out on the back deck brainstorming 

Tricia's teaching me Mahjong. She knows how to do everything!

Robin "off kilter" (which is usually the case!)

Thinking about marketing these...
(for the "backstory" on this t-shirt, click here)

Even the trees have eyes...

Hard at work during one of our free times (well, maybe Tricia's still playing Mahjong)

Cupcakes for everyone!

Relaxing on the back deck

Having a ball as we brainstorm

And finally, the motley crew again...

It's a little sad to think of the retreat being over so quickly, but as fast as this past year came and went––and it flew!––I know July 2012 will be here before we know it. And there's another book waiting to be written that these gals helped me brainstorm. We've started recording the brainstorming sessions too, which helps a ton. I can't tell you how many times I've gone back and listened to when we brainstormed A Lasting Impression. I'm grateful they share their immense talent with me, as well as this earthly journey.

Okay, need to get back to A Lasting Impression galleys. Blessings, friends!
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