Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am... stuck in the middle with you.
Last weekend was our much-anticipated Fortress Scrapbooking Retreat. The fourteen of us accomplished a weekend page total of 169 layouts.
WOO HOO! There is so much talent in this group of women. Nikki has an all-around amazing artistic ability. At one point, Summer asked me, "How can I make a banana?" My answer: "Ask Nikki to draw one." And she did. A perfect banana. Her lettering is amazing. I think she made titles for everyone there!
Then there's Nookie. It's been so much fun to watch her style evolve. She's got a great eye for color, and her pages are always interesting and fun, busy with fibers and rub-ons and lots of texture. Kaki, a first-time-scrapper, blew us away with her artsy-fartsy pages. Kristi continued to kick butt with her patterned papers. She can TOTALLY make the most random assortment of papers look good together. Cara spent all of Friday night saying, "I quit. I don't know where to start.", but as soon as she got going, she rocked ON with her bad self, creating some masterpieces. ("Hot Rod", anyone?) Lety made some beautiful layouts of her adorable daughter, but it was her heartfelt journaling that made me beam with pride. There was a time when Lety wouldn't write ANYthing on her pages. Now her journaling is the focal point. Mel pumped out page after page, happily scrapping away without having to share her tools and stickers with her daughters. Ms. D discovered (to my dismay, but I'll get over it) decorative scissors. Nathalie started her son's college football recruiting album. Listen to me now: someday, when Anthony is famous, I can say I played a role in helping his Mom create his first scrapbook. Someday, when he's a multi-million dollar NFL dude, I hope he'll remember my name and hire me to do HIS family's albums! :)
We had a FABULOUS time. It was the first Fortress retreat where we experienced true relaxation. I invited a guest speaker to come do our devos, so none of us had to prepare for that. We decided to let the cottage prepare and serve our meals, so we didn't have to do meal-planning, shopping, cooking, OR clean-up. All we did was sleep, eat, scrap, laugh, eat, laugh, scrap, laugh. I am not exaggerating when I say that I laughed until I ached. At one point, while literally rolling around on the floor in the bathroom, gasping for air between guffaws, with Cara leaning over me trying to catch HER breath, I had to ask myself, "Self? Are you sure you can't be pregnant? About 9 months pregnant? 'Cause this sure feels like back labor!" I'm telling you. The laughter hurt THAT bad. But man, it was fun.
We played the cup game, and the "It's a What" game, and some other game that I totally could NOT catch a clue on, which at 5 a.m. was a pretty hilarious thing. We busted into song at all times of day and night, we spent an hour outside taking photos. "Ok, now you and me." "Ok, now me in the middle." "Wait, get one with my camera." "Now let's build a pyramid." "Oops, take another one, my eyes were closed." SUCH FUN.
We also took a photo of our wrists, to send to Baby Ira. THe green bracelets say "Ira Lester Hays", and are meant to remind us to keep praying for him.
MAN, I needed that weekend. It took so long to get here and it was over too fast. And you know what? The whole purpose of the retreat was to minister to the ladies we love at Fortress. But I was ministered to just as much as anyone was. Sometimes, the middle's not such a bad place to be.