Years ago in the midst of motherhood, my husband and five children were the main focus in my life. My family was my everything. Being a mother brought me so much joy and fulfillment and was my number one priority. It is funny though—becoming a mother is so fulfilling, yet somehow through it all, we can forget or neglect our SELF. The lessons and experiences that I have had as a mother have defined me to the very core and I will never be the same. Yet through this amazing journey there were times when I looked in the mirror and wasn’t quite sure WHO I WAS. I often didn’t recognize myself as the girl I had always been. Sometimes I was not even sure who that girl was.
During these times, I was able to find small ways to rejuvenate myself and see a glimpse of that girl. Taking weekend trips with my Sweetheart, going to lunch with dear friends, reading a book late into the night…these were ways that I was ME. Day to day one of the main ways that I dealt with stress, work, and life’s trials was by creating crafts. I have always loved to paint anything and everything. I found an outlet by painting wood crafts to decorate my home for the holidays. I also loved making Christmas cards. This love led to me teaching monthly card classes. These classes provided a constant creative outlet for me. And best of all, through those classes, I created lifetime friends. Card class became one of my favorite days of the whole month. These classes FORCED me to be creative throughout the month. This creativity became my saving grace.
Making scrapbooks was another great love. I loved the idea of designing pages with beautiful papers and adding amazing photos of my family was the best part. It reminded me of my yearbook days back in high school. I loved the amazing element of design and making each page of a yearbook a masterpiece. I also loved the idea of creating family history and keepsakes for my children to enjoy someday. But I had a constant battle with scrapbooking—the more kids I had the less time I had to scrapbook. At this point in my life, I had a whole scrapbook completed for my oldest child, a half scrapbook for my second, a fourth of a scrapbook for my middle child, five pages done for my fourth child, and NOTHING for my baby. It was very overwhelming. I loved designing and creating scrapbooks but literally lacked the time to make any headway. This was when I started looking into teaching and going to scrapbooking retreats. In my mind I would try to figure out how to leave the family for a few days, but there just seemed to be too many obstacles and problems.
I specifically remember talking to my dear friend, who also happens to be my mother-in-law. She encouraged me to do those crafting things that made me happy. She told me that she had thought throughout her life that there would be time to do those things—after the baby was born, after harvest, after Christmas, after the graduation, and so on. She discovered that this perfect time never comes to do the things you love. She encouraged me to make time to take the sister trip, go on a scrapbooking weekend, and to craft. She told me that it took her a long time to learn this.
This conversation stuck in my mind. There would never be a magical time to do the things I loved to feel fulfilled. I realized that I had to find what I loved and figure out how to make that happen in my life. It reminds me of a saying, “She designed a life she loved.” This is so simple yet so profound. It made me realize that I was not lost as I looked in the mirror years ago. I didn’t need to go out and find myself. I just needed to design time for the things that I loved in my life. I needed to take time to fill my bucket.
I love this quote from Bernard Shaw that says, “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
I did start teaching classes scrapbooking classes at retreats. This led me to reconnect with dear friends that I had known since childhood. Through those retreats, a tiny seed was planted for me to host a retreat. I started designing the perfect retreat in my mind. One summer I spent many hours looking for venues to hold the retreat. Then that led me to think how these plans for a retreat could come together. I knew I needed the perfect partner. This led me to Stephanie, one of my childhood friends. We combined our ideas together and set out to design a retreat that everyone would love. Thus, Ruby Bucket was born. Step by step it all came together. Not magically, but piece by piece. The best part—EVERY single retreat is so much more than I even imagined years ago.
Our theme for spring retreat is “She Designed a Life She Loved.” Even though our lives are filled with stress and trials, we can make time to do things that we love. We all need to fill our buckets. Often, we wait for it to magically happen. Waiting will not work. We need to intentionally design happy moments in our lives. As women, we know all about designing amazing moments. Think about Christmas and all that “magically” happens in December. Think especially of Christmas morning. These events and Christmas morning were specially designed by YOU, for those you love, to be amazing. This is what we need to somehow apply to our lives occasionally. These designed moments will rejuvenate you. These moments will become some of your most treasured moments in life. What are you waiting for? It’s time to design a life you love. It’s time to fill your bucket at Ruby Bucket Retreat.