Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Fort Armstrong Family Vision Retreat

We just came back from our first ever and (hopefully) quarterly Fort Armstrong Family Vision Retreat. It. Was. So. Awesome.  I wanted to share a little bit about what a family vision retreat is (at least to us), what we did, and how it affects our life!

Why Family Vision?
Life is busy and full of unexpected surprises. It's easy to live it reactively, just responding to the need of the moment. We have dreams but no real idea how to reach them and no time to think about it. A family vision retreat is about taking time away to lay out all the resources your family has---money, time, relationships, talents, dreams, etc.---and then looking at that list of ingredients and asking "What's the most beautiful thing we can make with these and how do we make it?" We believe God gave us resources and wants us to use them wisely, investing them well and bringing in great returns!

So, we rented a comfy cabin in the woods for three nights-- us, the boys, and Jason (the single guy we keep in our basement and treat like family). Leading up to the trip, Daniel spent a few hours planning what we'd talk about and when. So we knew the schedule ahead of time. That was key.

During the day, Jason took the boys on adventures so Daniel and I could talk. And after the kids went to bed at night, Jason joined us.

We also left room in the schedule for a family movie night, hot tub time, and a big family hike. : )

The weather conditions were reflective of my brain and heart on this trip. It started out preeeetty foggy and dreary. But by the end, things were bright and sunny!

Here's the rundown of the sessions...

Session One: Story. We have the opportunity to play a part in God's story. Our sliver in history may be small but small doesn't have to mean insignificant. What kind of story do we want to be living as a family (i.e. vision)?

Session Two: Budget. The least exciting yet super important session. We tend to be idealists when it comes to budget. Ideally we can just spend what we want and it'll all work out magically and we'll some how end up with a giant surplus to hand down to our children some day. But math is math and unswayed by good intentions. Enter spreadsheets and lists and lots of time on Mint.com. Now we have a plan to get out of debt, not go into it. Oh, math.

Session Three: What Was the Story of 2013. i.e. Making specifics goals for this year. What do we want to be celebrating at the end of 2013?

Session Four: Schedule. How are we investing our other biggest resource---time. (money was the first one, fyi) Does how we currently spend our time reflect what we say we believe? (This one kinda rocked our world)

Session Five: Work. Is what we are currently doing to make money reflective of what we say we believe? Can we be better at what we're doing? Should we be doing something totally different?

Session Six: Jason. What's he doing to be a man worth marrying? How can we help?

Our brains are still kinda swimming with all that info. It became quickly clear that this needs to be a quarterly thing. We can kinda only handle three-months worth of goals at a time. We've already got our summer vision retreat scheduled! "If it's not consistent, it doesn't count" became the retreat's mantra. So we want to be consistent in our vision retreat scheduling as well.

So, yes, it was really really helpful. Daniel is a rockstar and he totally nailed it. He can wield a whiteboard like a boss. (which reminds me, I highly suggest using a whiteboard....it really helps to see everything all written out).

I hope you'll consider taking a family vision retreat of your own! I mean, we do it in business all the time and how much MORE important is the trajectory of your family?!

Truth, Love, and Dry Erase Markers,

Arian : )


Unknown said...

Love you guys! thank you for giving me a model to follow when it comes to what I want my husband/family to look like and the wife / mother i want to be. I have no idea what I would do without you guys, I love you more than I let onto ;) Thanks for being so encouraging to me!

Debi said...

Very cool idea. I like this a lot. Thanks for sharing!

Fruitytoenails said...

Thank you for doing this post! It has inspired us to do our very own version. Good stuff, Arian!

Arian said...

Yay! Let me know how it goes!

Unknown said...

My husband and I did something very similar to this over a fire pit in our backyard after worship on April 6th. It was wonderful. I love your suggestion about this quarterly to goal set! We definitely agreed that we need to reassess at some point but I like the idea of scheduling it now!

Unknown said...

My husband and I did something similar on April 6th after worship. We came home and lit a fire in our fire pit and had a conversation surrounding some key areas of our life. I felt like it was very productive. We set some good goals for the near future. I liked your idea of quarterly doing this and getting it on the calendar now! I think we shall follow that example :)

Lanna said...

I just got around to reading this. We might have to mimic your schedule when we do this! Thanks for laying it all out. I'm excited to start this with Matt :)

Alison said...

I'm single and want to round up my friends to do this together. Do you have any suggestions for us? What were some of the questions that got you talking in each session? Thanks!

Arian said...

Good question! If you shoot me an email at arianarmstrong(at)yahoo(dot)com I can probably share some of our google docs with some of the questions and such. I LOVE that you're doing this with your friends!

Alison said...

Thanks Arian! I sent you an email :)