Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Family Vision Retreat Summer 2013

Though the time between our spring and our summer family vision retreats flew by, there was much to talk about and figure our during our 4 day stay at our friends' beautiful guest house in the country. It was only our second quarterly family vision retreat but I don't know how we ever managed without them! I think, as our vision for our family has grown, so has the need to get away and dig deep into what God is trying to tell us.

My biggest goal during this retreat?---- to wipe the slate clean of all I think I know about what it means to be a wife and mom and start from scratch using the Bible as our guide. One of the things I've realized through reading a lot of French culture books recently (Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris, Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting, French Women Don't Get Fat, and currently Women, Work & the Art of Savoir Faire: Business Sense & Sensibility), is that a good number of my thoughts on what it means to be a good wife and mom are just American ideas and not necessarily universally or Biblically true.

I'm not super interested in being a good "American" wife and mom. I want to take all my cues for living a good life from the God who created life and knows me better than anyone. So we read and dissected each reference to wives/women/mothers in the Bible. There are definitely things that I've heard people write off as "old fashioned"in there. But if you get to the heart of what is said, in light of the times in which it was written, it's good stuff!

Oh man, I wish I could sit down with any interested lady reading this and discuss what the Bible says about being a wife and mom. We'd drink wine and eat dark chocolate in comfy pants and talk for hours and it'd be awesome. (Then we'd love on our kids, buy a vineyard, manage our servants, dote on our amazing husbands, design our own clothes and home decor, run successful businesses, and create delicious exotic meal plans. Read about the Proverbs 31 woman...she is a rock star. I want to be like her when I grow up.)

Practical questions we asked.

1. What is Arian's value? I mean, I am valuable simply because I am human! But specifically what skills, interests, strengths, ideas, experiences, etc do I bring to the team? And are they all being put to use well in my role in our family? I am an artist. And art is valuable to our family. When we make art together it blesses us and blesses others. And I can make money from art so it's good financially too!

So how can we free up space for me to create art? We've hired a friend to watch the boys a few hours a week so I can work on art. When the kids are sleeping, she folds laundry and mops the floors. We send our older kids to public school instead of home schooling, unlike most of our friends. (I am pro homeschool for the right reasons, just to be clear.) And we hired a friend to cook a few meals per week for us. I set the menu, but she does the work. Doing so frees up a couple more hours for art. We opt to spend our money this way at, perhaps, the cost of fancy vacations or replacing the rusty '91 Toyota Daniel drives. All this because we think I was made to be an artist and therefore it's important that I be creating art, not just for my well-being, but for the good of Fort Armstrong!

(Single ladies---marry a man who values all that you bring to the table and has a big enough vision for your family that you don't have to duck down to get under it or bust out and do your own thing. Though I didn't know to look for those things at the time, I am REALLY grateful I chose wisely! Plus, Daniel is hot.) ; )

(not my baby, but very cute and holdable)

2. What is our value as a couple?
It's also important to see the value in BOTH Daniel and I being artists. We are realizing more and more that we were created to make art TOGETHER. So we are shifting our schedules and our priorities to make that happen. We're jumping into our next animated music video project together (this was our last one, btw) and figuring out how to make our co-created projects not just a hobby, but the means through which we support our family. FUN STUFF!

And while we did spend lots of hours hashing stuff out on the whiteboard, we made sure to have fun too!

The boys had a sweet time playing with our friends who own the property, swimming in their pool, and exploring the woods. We enjoyed good food, good wine, good conversation, and good music on the giant covered porch while it rained.

Our next family vision retreat is scheduled for this fall. Looking forward to it!


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