Camp Create 2018

Last Tuesday I hopped on a plane and headed to Kansas to hang with two of my most favorite women ever…Kimberlee and Meg!!  They run this crazy amazing Camp Create where women from all over can come and create and learn and rest and eat and feel seen and it is by far one of my most favorites places.  When they ask me to come to the craft house, I’m all, “Ummmmmm, yes, of course.  Are you kidding me??!?!  No brainer.”  It’s the best job EVER!!!!!!

It is fun and relaxed and the ladies create all day long….from morning to late into the night, but they can also sleep late too or take a nap, eat Kimberlee’s most delicious food, shop for amazing junk treasures, share and chat and laugh.  It’s an incredible time all around and the main reason is because  Kimberlee and Meg are legit good, like really really good at hospitality.  They make you feel seen because they choose to really see you.  When you hear there’s room for everyone around the table, they mean it.  I absolutely love that because they are everything they portray on the internet world and even more.  And that is refreshing!!!

The group of ladies who attended this camp were amazing.  They were loud and kind and inclusive of everyone there.  They shared openly and honestly.  They laughed and cried with each other.  It was such a genuinely sweet group of ladies and I was totally honored to be among them and hear pieces of their stories.

On our first night all together, shortly after arriving, my new friend Shelly walked over, hugged my neck and whispered in my ear, “I’ve been wanting to do this for the past year.”  Instant tears in my eyes and gratitude in my heart because there’s nothing like knowing our son is remembered and thought of by others.  Nothing.  And she chose to share that hug and her words with me.

Kimberlee’s food and the creating always top my favorite parts chart.  I loved listening to Megan Wells teach us how to create her funky florals.  I learned so much from Megan on several different levels.  When I picked her up at the airport, that was it, instant friends.  Megan is kind and funny and real and creative and honest.  I loved hearing about their foster journey and her business.  I loved seeing into her heart and felt so honored to get to know her, wash dishes with her, create along side her and eat peanut butter M&Ms by the handfuls with her.

I taught everyone how to create these crazy fun rainbows inspired by Mandi Smethells’ insane creativeness.  I LOVED teaching this and even more so, loved making more of them.  I thought of Everett the whole time.  Creating is a deep part of who I am, but since Everett died it has been  pushed to the side to make room for a whole list of things our kids, Josh and even others need from me.  And it is still pushed to the side to make room.  I know this is a season, but sometimes I feel like I’ve lost my creativeness altogether.  Never in my life have I done anything harder than being there for our children…walking this everyday journey with them…after losing their little brother.  While there’s not another place I’d rather be than helping my kids along this path, hard as hell feels like a light and airy description for a family of 7 grieving altogether.  Having this time at the craft house to create felt sacred and special to me.

When your child dies everything changes and everything gets harder…at least it did for me.  Things that used to be fun and nice aren’t anymore and your relationships with people change and are very different in general as well.  Holidays, special events, trips, work, hobbies, basically everything just feels harder than before and you re-learn how everything is going to work now.  With all those factors I’ve experienced plenty of highs and lows around life events the past 14 months.  I would work them up in my head and then be sorely disappointed and sad about the way they played out.  I’ve learned to try and go in expecting nothing from the actual event or the people I will be surrounded by.  The night and afternoon before leaving for Kansas I had moments of anxiousness and sadness.  Home is my one sure fire safe place so it’s always a bit hard to leave.

Let me tell you, this trip ended up being exactly what I needed.  A little break from the hard of our life.  I told my friend Sherry recently I’m always afraid we’re too much for others…we’re too hard, we’re too jaded, we’re too sad, we’re too loud, there are too many of us, we’ve got too many problems, we’ll eat too much of your food…seriously, all the too muches.  It’s always in the back of mind wondering when a friend or family will realize I’m too much or our family is too much and bail.  Kimberlee and Meg never make me feel like too much.  When Kimberlee tells me I’m her favorite person to feed, besides her husband 🙂 , I believe her and take it has the highest compliment.  They are both dear friends and when we hug, it feels like my Mom’s hugs did.  They have created a safe place for ladies to feel so loved and cared for and that’s exactly what they did for me yet again.

On one particular night at the craft house I missed Everett just so desperately.  Grief is like that and you are not in control of when it decides to show up in super intense waves versus more controllable ones.  I went upstairs and sat in Meg’s bathroom floor and sobbed.  It was one of those moments when I missed him so desperately I felt like my desperation could literally will him back.  I know that might sound nuts or crazy, but it’s my mama’s deep grief.  Desolate, desperate, insane and the most intense of feelings.  I finally picked myself up off the floor, wiped my face off and headed back down.

That night I went to bed really late, hanging and helping out, but still carrying the weight of how much I miss and need my son back.  I moved quietly through our dark room trying not to wake Kimberlee and Megan and in the dark I saw this little gold E sitting on my bedside table.  Meg told me earlier she had something for me and I knew instantly before she’d left that night she had placed that little E on my bedside table.  I held it in my hand, took the deepest breath and felt seen.  I want to do this for others.  I want to be the type of person who knows how the simplest of actions or words can make a persons deepest, loneliest part of their soul feel seen.

When Saturday rolled around the house started packing up and heading out to all their different states and homes.  I was excited to see Josh and the kids, but I truly had such a lovely time.  I left feeling lighter.  I left feeling loved.  I left knowing there are women who want to legitimately be a part of my hard story.  I left knowing I wasn’t too much.  And for all of those reasons, that is why I will head back to the craft house for Kimberlee and Meg’s hugs and friendship any chance I get.

2 Comments

  1. You are heard and seen! Thank you for sharing. I can’t imagine your pain and exhaustion every day. Special friends are true gifts from God! The rainbows are beautiful and so is your family. Everett is missed and won’t be forgotten.

  2. I long to someday go to the amazing Camp Create and Craft House. I’ve followed Meg for years on her blog and love how she does life. So inspiring. I’m glad you were able to get away and have fun and manage your grief surrounded by loving and supportive people. Friends make life just better. But life is also so hard and I pray for your family often.

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