Thursday, June 27, 2019

Brave Writer Staff Retreat: Joy, Nourishment, Laughter, and Still Flying High

The Brave Writer staff retreat was held June 21-23 and I was delighted that I had the opportunity to attend. Atticus and I made the drive to Cincinnati together -- the road tripping was an added bonus to an amazing-in-every-way weekend. We got home late Tuesday afternoon, and I've been playing catch-up since then. Things are busy on the homefront this week!

At the retreat, I was thrilled to spend time with my dear old friend, Melissa Wiley (and, ahem, how did I know we'd stay up far too late on Friday night?) I was delighted to meet Julie and other Brave Writer staff members in person for the first time, and I feel overwhelmingly lucky to have made so many new and dear friends. These women are such inspiring, smart, encouraging and creative kindred spirits. They live and walk the same relaxed-homeschool talk that I do, and there's just nothing like the feeling of being in a room that's packed with your people.

Kirsten Merryman and Jen Holman put together a beautiful weekend, and Julie Bogart -- such an inspiring speaker and leader -- led the charge toward both personal and professional growth. I'm still processing all that we discussed and shared, and I definitely need more journaling time.

So many stories to ponder (and so little time today!) I'll share more soon, but in the meantime, here's a collection (woefully lacking -- I never get enough pictures!) of the joy:


Tabatha said...

Yay! So much food for the spirit in your weekend!

Karen Edmisten said...

It was indeed, Tabatha! Thanks for stopping by!

Jean Hall said...

It was a joy too meet so many of our people ��

Karen Edmisten said...

It was! Quality fuel that will keep me going for a long time. :)

Susanne Barrett said...

Love this!!! It was such sheer JOY to meet you, Karen, and to meet and re-meet these lovely and talented and compassionate women!

This is my first visit to your blog, and I noticed Suzie Andres' Catholic homeschooling book in your sidebar. She and I were pen pals back when the Internet was just revving up. We met on the Sonlight boards (where I met Julie, Jeannette, and so many past Brave Writer coaches and staff), and we bonded immediately, partially because of our names: I went by my legal name then (Susie). To prevent confusion, she christened me "Anne" (from Anne of Green Gables) while she became "Diana," and I eventually changed my name to Susanne, using both the root of my name plus the name she gave me. Over several years, we wrote real paper letters--yes, long letters on college-ruled paper, often numbering 5-6 pages, front and back. In fact, I still have the Renoir print she sent me about twenty years ago hanging above my desk. :) We never met in person, but we chatted on the phone from time to time in addition to e-mails and letters. I lost track of her when I became ill in the early "oughts," and your posting of her book (which I have on my shelf--she sent me a copy) has reminded me to contact her and perhaps write her a letter. (I miss writing regular old letters; my fingers actually itch to write longhand.)

In her letters and phone calls, Suzie encouraged me to convert to Catholicism, and my theological wanderings from the land of the evangelicals placed me quite joyfully in the Reformed Episcopal Church (Anglo-Catholic--next best thing, right?). My husband grew up Baptist and very vehemently anti-Catholic, but he allows me to attend weekly Friday Morning Prayer, Healing, & Communion services with Blessed Trinity Anglican. Gotta get my liturgy fix!! ;)

This is probably WAAAY more than you ever wanted to know, but seeing Suzie's book brought a rush of nostalgia that I just couldn't help releasing here, LOL! My apologies!!

Soli Deo Gloria,
Susanne :)

Karen Edmisten said...


No apology necessary, or allowed! :) I love everything about this comment! :)

It was sheer joy to meet you, too! And how fun about our Suzie connection! I love that you two wrote each other so many snail mail letters. Old school and wonderful! I wrote a chapter for Suzie's homeschooling book -- we had met somewhere along the way on an unschooling forum, and our online friendship progressed from there. I wrote that chapter for A Little Way of Homeschooling and then, in 2015, Suzie and I finally had the chance to meet in person when we both spoke at a homeschooling conference in Omaha. So. Much. Fun. Suzie is every bit as delightful and inspirational in person as you would imagine her to be (but you already know that.) :)

Thanks for sharing these memories and stories. You've inspired me to rekindle my Suzie connection, too, as we haven't been in touch for quite a while now!