Have you ever wondered what a Waking Up Grey retreat is like? I don't share a lot of what takes place on a retreat because I want to preserve the surprises. Perhaps a snapshot, a little peek inside can give a bit more clarity. I can tell you that every retreat is different. Even in the process of creating one, and the way the hours play out. For myself and my team, the creative process is extremely important as well as listening and praying. It becomes a collaboration with the Spirit of God as we listen for each woman and tend to what we're hearing. There is always a creative project, such as these beautiful mosaics. Being young moms with small children, most of this group could not find a time where all participants could come away for a weekend, so we did an abbreviated retreat to meet the needs of this group. Even so, we were able to work on these mosaics and have moments of quiet and reflection. Though community plays a part on these days, the space in the silence and the focus of upward connection are really what a retreat is designed for.
I recently had the opportunity to have my own European expedition and came back with a vision and a calling to extend this experience out to those in my reach that have already experienced so much creative and spiritual renewal. Perhaps this could be your next story of unfolding, since we know that our creative journeys continue to unfold layer by layer. I am even now working with friends to create the adventure, but it will likely include France and Italy. We will spend concentrated time with great works of art, the city of Paris and Florence, and have reflective time in the hill towns and countrysides of Italy. We will spend time together and alone as we listen to what God has to say to each of us. If you are interested in more information or participating, please join me Sunday night, June 25 at 7:00 pm in my home to discuss questions and details. Please RSVP to me at [email protected] to let me know you'll be attending. Can't wait to see what will unfold as we follow an invitation to come and listen, rest and receive renewal.
Book Release Celebration
I have some exciting news I want to share with you and also ask how you might help. We have been part of Journey Church, for the last year that loves and supports the Arts. I am so grateful for the ways in which I feel supported as an artist there. Journey Arts Collective is a ministry within the church that supports artists of all kinds. They have invited me to share my artistry in different ways. I painted a live painting during Advent. I taught an Encaustic (wax-based medium) workshop for one of the gatherings. And, most recently, they have invited me to participate in an Artist trip to Europe this fall.
The Worship Arts Pastor at Journey says, “Our goal on this trip is to remove the noise and ask the artists to slow down, to create space for them to experience restoration as they take time to be with God and one another. We want them to see God’s voice reveal their own as they participate in a series of self-evaluation exercises to help bring clarity of purpose and direction. The journey will create an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for who we are and the world in which we live.” I am also hoping that I can create ways for Waking Up Grey (the book I wrote on creative recovery) to have a larger international impact as it reaches more communities worldwide.
What Will Each Day Look Like?
Our time together will be spent in the cities of Paris, Lausanne and Florence. Each day will be broken up into 3 different experiences:
1) Space: We will be taken through a series of self-evaluation exercises that involve the community we are with and the cities we are in to explore our identity and purpose. It will also be a time to be still, reflect and pray.
2) Explore: We will have time each day to go and explore the city and choose our own adventure.
3) Community: We will be sitting in the homes of different local artists to share a meal as we hear their story and experience their art. It is an opportunity to learn from, encourage and pray for these artists.
An Artist's Response
One of the ways we’ll be responding to our experiences on the trip will be through the expression of our art. It is the aim of Journey Church to have an event and something online so we can share this art with those artists who participate as well as our sponsors. We look forward to inviting you to these spaces where art and story is celebrated.
Will you pray? Here are a few suggestions for the ways you might consider praying for us:
1. God prepares us for the adventure ahead. What we have planned will be a challenging experience for all those who come.
2. We "love well" the artists we get to interact with. Those that know Jesus are encouraged in their journey with him, and those that don't yet know him experience a taste of his grace.
3. For God to lead us in how we organize all the details of the trip and finances to be found.
4. Good health and safe travels.
Perhaps you can consider supporting me financially for the journey. If you have already, a deep thank you! If this is the first time you've heard of this trip, you can follow this link to find out more about what is needed: https://artscollective.squarespace.com/europe It is password protected, so you will need this password to gain access to the page: JACeuro16. Please visit this website often, as new information will be posted intermittently.
I need to raise my first $1,000 by August 1. We leave October 6 and return on the 18th. I am greatly anticipating hearing from God in ways I can’t hear from him at home. Thanks so much for supporting me as an artist and supporting this piece of my artist development.
With anticipation and gratitude,
As I began to think about LOVE and how that has shaped my identity, it became clear that this would be a layered piece. I wanted to include my broken parts in this piece somehow, since LOVE accepts all truth about me, even the darker parts. Jesus was inviting me to include everything.... that has become such a huge part of love in my experience.Read More
Recently, I was invited to bring an Encaustic workshop to a group called Journey Arts Collective Encaustic means "to burn in" in Greek. It is an old tradition dating back to ancient Egyptian sarcophagi, since the wax component stands the test of water and time. It has recently seen a rebirth among visual artists. Every element applied must be heated. The wax stays molten as it is worked with. It is an outstanding material for collage and mixed media.Read More
I was fortunate enough to be invited to a wonderful local think tank that The Know You Group in Brentwood has put together. This space has been created "where leaders in our community gather to explore creative materials and analytical resources." They asked me if I would come and lead a group through making a book and send them away with materials to begin to think about how to create a visual artist journal. In an hour and a half, each participant constructed a book that would be the structure to support the artistic and visual exploration of their lives, thoughts, ideas and stories. We had a great time in the process. There is something so beautiful and even sacred about creating in a communal space, tossing around ideas and applications for others to speak into. Jenny Black, one of the founders of The Know You Group, and I were involved in a discussion in which we coined a new phrase together: "When beauty emerges, there will be a protest," this being born out of our creative experience together. It is in spaces like these that we know we're not alone in our desire to make and desire to find camaraderie in the process of making. It doesn't have to be a lonely, dismal experience.Read More
"...this experience rates right up there for one of my 'most significant moments.' " ~ Colleen, speaking of the retreat
Thanks to the help of two innovative and resourceful leaders, we tried something new with Waking Up Grey this year. Instead of meeting for 11 weeks in someone's home, we met as part of the Women's bible study offerings at a church for 9 months, alternating weeks of Waking Up Grey with Journal days and Color Corridor days. At the end, we launched this brave and beautiful group of around 25 women into their next chapter of creativity with a weekend retreat. It was a day of quiet, beauty and the receiving of Jesus into the deepest parts of who we are.
The retreat took place near downtown Franklin at the home of Robbie and Sharilyn Grayson and their six children. They live in an antebellum home right in the middle of beautiful farmland. Robbie and Sharilyn are so generous and gracious with all that they have and we felt at home in a place where hospitality permeates walls and corners and hearts!
The retreat couldn't have happened without many hands! Pictured here is Ginny Miller, one of the servers of the day. She was present the whole day, in the kitchen, out and about, just doing things that needed to be done. So many people had a hand in the day. Not pictured, but present that day were Marilee Tice, Star Moberg, Sharilyn, Katie and Edith Grayson (also hosting).
Saturday, March 14, 2015
I teamed up with Kristin Vincent for this one day retreat to continue a conversation of what it means to hear from God from a place of rest and inner receptivity. Kristin showed us how to pray with Anglican prayer beads. I led each group in the practice of silence and the creative process. I had each person reflect on receiving and giving. Each person applied what they learned in the silence to two stones. One stone represented what they were to keep and not give away. The other stone represented what they were to offer out. The first stone they kept. The second stone was incorporated into a mandala mosaic. (Mandala is another word for circle, which symbolized wholeness and eternity). Each person constructed a 6" mandala which will be incorporated into a piece of permanent community art. Stay tuned for the remaining processes of putting the mosaic together and hanging it in the church!