Friday, June 21, 2013

Deliberate Motherhood Retreat

(I'm going to get back to the everyday kind of blogging much has happened in the last couple months...but for now I need a place to post all about this event!)

We did it!  We hosted our first Power of Moms Retreat in the DC area!  This is definitely a dream come true for me.  I've had a lot of Power of Moms posts on my blog in the past year.  I've gone from being an avid fan to a board member and now I'm so excited to be one of their trainers as they try to keep up with the demand for more events all over the country and world.  It's something I believe in and it's been a fun journey for me personally.  I'm so grateful for the excitement and purpose it adds to my already wonderful life.

Our mini-retreat was held at the beautiful home of Margaret Archibald in Maryland.  Saren Loosli (Co-founder of Power of Moms) was there to present and I had the privileged of being mentored by her as I helped to co-presented for the first time.  It was so much fun!

What a wonderful experience it is to gather with other moms that are trying their darnedest to be deliberate and intentional about their parenting experience!  My only regret was that it was so short--3 hours!

We covered some awesome topics.  
Peace, Purpose, Order and Joy.

It's really hard to only spend 30 minutes or so on each topic!  I wanted to soak up all that each mother had to say as she processed new ideas and shared wisdom that she had gained through hard experiences.  Instead, I enjoyed watching the light, laughter and sometime tears in their eyes as we covered the things we thought would make the biggest impact on their journey into being more deliberate!

One thing we talked about was how important it is to find purpose and joy as we mother.  We discussed how we find ways to merge some of our passions and pursuits with raising kids and other times how we lose the guilt and step away to have goals that we follow outside of mommy-hours.  It seems that most of the time when you ask another mother what they like to do--they giggle nervously--then say something like, "Well, I haven't really thought about that for a while...I take care of kids."  Sometimes those moms are already doing exactly what they love and enjoy with their kids, (hiking, biking, reading, swimming, teaching, etc.) but if we don't recognize it and allow ourselves to feel the joy of it, then it doesn't enhance our lives.  It's fun to be in these discussions and watch those moms dig into the deeper recesses of their memory to think of things that truly bring them joy.  There's something so empowering about having dreams and working towards them little by little.  It keeps a spark of life, excitement and joy amidst the more mundane parts of the day!

Somewhere in the middle we took a break and enjoyed delicious fruit and muffins.  A big thanks to our sponsors!

We try to give as many ideas and tools as we can in our time together.  But my favorite part is when we get a chance to split into small groups.  That's when the real learning happens as we all process the ideas and apply them to our current situations and problems.

As I sat at this retreat I was exhausted and overwhelmed.  (Sound familiar?!)  We just finished a hectic move.  By finished, I mean we are in the new house--with a lot of work waiting for my attention every day!  My kids were 2 days away from summer vacation and I was feeling less than prepared.  My 5 year old and I can't seem to figure out how to get along very well right now and that weighs heavy on my heart.  I just took on an assignment at our church to head up the program that is provided for the teenage girls--and their summer camp was starting in 4 days.  And, although it sounds unimportant, my 2 year old is teething molars and having a rough time with it.  She also averages about 22 minutes to get into her car seat (by herself!) which is testing my patience many times a day!

That was my story that day as I sat there.  I know each person had their paragraph of "things" going on.  There's something so reassuring to just sit next to others that understand where you're at...even without sharing any details.  I think that's one of the beautiful things about motherhood.  It can be a lonely career until you open your heart to the support and understanding all around you.  It takes a special group of moms to be able to offer silent empathy and support without judgement.  Women that understand that each mother is doing her best no matter what you see on the outside!

What a great day...

...such a joy and so much fun!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Power of Moms Retreat...Looking for a location

Do you know the perfect Northern Virginia/DC/Maryland location for a Power of Moms Retreat? 

Earlier this year I joined Power of Moms as a board member.  It is something that I love to do and I am so excited that we are planning a retreat in my neck of the woods this summer!  I'm hoping you can help me with some details...please forward this page to anyone that may have a lead for me...Thanks!

We're holding a Power of Moms Mini-Retreat Saturday morning, June 15th, and we're still looking for just the right place.   If you have any ideas, I'd love to hear them!

What are Power of Moms Retreats? 

Since June of 2010, The Power of Moms has held 22 Retreats and Mini-Retreats around the country and world.  This page on our website describes the Retreats in greater detail, but our main goal is to gather mothers to a beautiful location and give them an opportunity to strengthen each other, participate in meaningful discussions, and return home armed with ideas and inspiration to help them build great families.

A 1/2 day Retreat lasts about 3 hours, and it includes presentations by certified trainers or the Power of Moms Founders, April or Saren (with lots of audience participation), small group discussion and nice refreshments.

We focus on topics such as taking care of the person inside the mom, establishing family systems, moving good ideas forward, and keeping a healthy perspective on motherhood.  Each Retreat has been incredible.  Not because we think we're incredible, but because the mothers who attend are deliberate, sharp, wonderful women who want to create strong families.  Simply being in a room with so many good women who simply want to grow and learn from each other is powerful. 

The retreat we are planning for June 15th will be an inspirational morning entitled, "Live Deliberately: Dare, Dream, and Do".  A past event description can be found here.

Here are the details on our location search:

What are we looking for? While we are considering some beautiful hotels and event centers, we would love to find a large home that can seat between 40 and 90 mothers.  (We won't be bringing our children, so it will stay very clean!)  By holding the Retreat in a home, we are able to keep the costs down and enable more mothers to attend.  There is also something beautiful about being in a home atmosphere.

Location: Northern Virginia, Maryland or DC.  Our ideal location is somewhere near Vienna so it is easily accessible to the beltway and central for participants coming from Virginia, Maryland and DC. 

Ideal amenities: Convenient parking, space for small discussion groups to form (can be in the same area as the main meeting), two restrooms, and the ability to bring in outside catering for refreshments.

Date and Time: This Mini-Retreat will be Saturday, June 15th from 9:30 am to 12 pm. We'll need to set up the day before or early in the morning, and then we'll stay to clean up, so it will probably be more like 8 am to 2 pm with set up on Friday, June 14th sometime.

What will The Power of Moms provide?  Chair rental (if needed), catered refreshments to be brought in, clean up after the Retreat, plus all the set-up, logistics, etc.  Basically, if a homeowner is kind enough to co-sponsor this Retreat, we will take care of all the details and do our best to create as little disruption as possible.

Here are a couple of photos from our Retreats:

If you can think of a location that would be right for this event, would you please email janae.messick (at) and let me know about it?

Thank you so much!


Sunday, February 17, 2013


My baby.
I'm so thankful that she's a cuddly little one!
Is there anything better than a soft, warm little body sleeping soundly on you during church?
Once her head relaxed and she drifted off I struggled to hear anything being said...I just got lost in gazing at her perfect little eyelashes and cheeks.  I couldn't resist pulling out my phone and snapping pictures.  In the middle of the lesson.  I'll never regret it!

Monday, February 11, 2013

1st Annual Messick Day

We started a new tradition this month...We decided to celebrate our family!

Saturday was the 1st annual Messick family "We Love to be a Family" Day.

It wasn't my idea but I shamelessly copy brilliant people to enhance our family life!  Here is a post about the original idea and tips for planning your own (it's not as hard as you think...we decided to do ours 2 days before!)

It was so refreshing to pause all the other "important" things that steal our attention and keep us multi-tasking 24/7, to remember how much we love each other.  We celebrate all kinds of other holidays during the year...why not make time for the most important thing to us?  Our family.  Our plan was to celebrate our family by doing things that we like to do together...  

Ryan whipped up this treasure map with some paint and a brush at 10:30 the night before!  I added hearts that had our surprise activity scribbled on the back (you could get really creative with clues, poems and riddles...but this was our first attempt...simple!)

We started off with a little discussion about why families are important to us and covered some of our religious beliefs about the purpose of life and where we came from.  We talked about how lucky we are to have each other to experience life together.  It's good to remind us all that even though kids fight like crazy sometimes, we really are each other's best cheerleaders and truly want each other to be happy!

Then the girls and I got silly "striking a pose" for the camera!

Then it was time to start discovering the secret plans on our treasure heart at a time...

#1: Time for a Heart Attack!  Decorate the kitchen with family love.

We do this activity every year around Valentine's day anyways.  We hadn't done it yet, and it was a great way to start the day off.  

 Everyone started cutting out hearts and filling them up with all the things they loved about each other.  I love how involved even Audrey stayed the whole time.  She and Alice were our expert wall designers...they filled that wall up as fast as we could pump them out!

 #2: Call Great-Grandpa Jolley just to tell him we love him.  Sing some favorite songs to him.

We are so lucky to have my Grandpa living in Virginia with my parents right now.  The girls have fallen in love with him.  They were so sweet on the phone and he was thrilled to get a call on his slow Saturday morning!  We even sang "Twinkle, Twinkle" at Audrey's request!

#3: Take Treats to some friends that just moved back to our area.  Welcome Home!


#4: Watch a movie as a family (while Audrey takes a nap!)

 It's always amazing when we all sit down and take time to laugh together.  It seems like normally when a movie comes on I take advantage of the time to accomplish things that I can't do with kids under-feet.  It sure was nice to just be snuggled up with everyone in the middle of the day!

#5: Make an official 2012 Family Playlist/CD

I'm so excited about this part!

Everybody got to pick 3 songs.  Then we had a little space left (CD) so we all agreed on a couple more that had been big hits when it was time to clean recently.  I'm not sure if this screen shot is the final version but it's close!

We love music and singing and dancing in our house!  You'll notice from the playlist that we have a few Taylor Swift fans.  It was funny to hear them debate the songs.  They all agreed that certain songs that were suggested were "so last year"!  I think it will be so fun to be able to go back to see what music was the soundtrack of our lives 10 or 20 years ago.


#6: The finale!  CiCi's Pizza for dinner


The kids have been begging to go to CiCi's pizza for quite some time.  We knew this was an easy way to end on something they'd be ecstatic about.  I mean what kid isn't in heaven with all you can eat Mac&Cheese pizza?!?!

Of course I was so excited about this quality establishment that it slipped my mind to take pictures.  But you know what kids look like when they zone out to cartoons while they are eating!  Ryan and I enjoyed a decent dinner conversation!


I'm not sure how the date will be determined each year.  I'm certain that the activities will stay simple but won't necessarily be the same each year (except that playlist!).  We were definitely disappointed that we couldn't do one of our favorite family activities of hiking because the weather was so bitter cold and windy that day...maybe next year we'll wait until March?  

But...what a great experience!  I love how traditions and rituals are the glue that keep us together as families.  I think this one is already one of our favorites and a definitely keeper!

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Power of Moms

The Power of Moms

A little over a year ago, I discovered a little gem of an online community & support network.  I want to make sure you know about it because it has changed me in so many good ways!

This site is run by two amazing women who have put together a fabulous place for mothers to find tools, learn skills, and feel support.  I love that I feel validated during the hard moments of motherhood.  But I also feel safe because the site keeps an upbeat, positive message about motherhood.  When I am am tempted to travel a negative road and want to give up I know that the Power of Moms will steer me back to a place of hope and purpose!

The tag-line of their name is: "A gathering place for deliberate mothers."  I love the concept of being deliberate.  Thanks to the many articles that are posted on their site, I have shifted my attitude towards the daily grind of mothering (most days!).  I am slowly changing how I view my role.  It is an opportunity to grow and improve--not just endless trials I must survive.  I am slowly becoming deliberate in many parts of my parenting.  It feels so good to have purpose.  To choose how and why I want us to move through an experience instead of just surviving it!

Here's a short list of some of the resources that The Power of Moms offers:

Daily articles.  So uplifting!  They always end with a challenge that help you apply them to your life and make change.

Podcasts.  My favorite.  I listen on the go & make use of the empty spaces of my long drives to doctors offices! 

Mind Organization for Moms (M.O.M) program

The Power of Moms Mind Organization Program
One truth I have learned is that life never really slows down.  Next week?  Next month?  I always hope for that magical blissful time.  But the beauty is that life is packed full!  I have always been an organized person, but had never thought it possible to have peace of mind in the midst of such busy-ness!

The Mind Organization for Moms program has taught me a better way to direct the flow of information and thoughts that are flying around my head and my house!  It took me a little while to get it all flowing smoothly but now I feel like I'm not dropping balls all over the place.  I'm actually moving forward on projects and my priorities are defined so that I can make better choices about what I spend my time on (I can say "yes" and "no" to people with more confidence!)  My favorite part (besides no mountain of papers on my desk) is that it doesn't feel like one more thing to is simply the way I function and I can't imagine ever doing it differently.  The full program costs money but here's a free way to get started on the basics!

Free Programs from the Power of Moms

I love helping people get started so if you ever need to bounce questions around as your figuring it'd be fun for me!

Learning Circles

The Power of Moms Learning Circles ProgramA group of friends that meets once a month to discuss an assigned article.  Part girls night out (fun!), part book club & motherhood course, part support group.  This is the most meaningful girl-time I could have.  Through the monthly assignments I am slowly making real progress on myself and my mothering.  I have been part of a learning circle for almost a year now and I see the changes in me and my home and family!

The Power of Moms

If you sign up for a free account you get access to several things for free.  So go sign up.  Become the mother you dream of being and find joy in your busy, imperfect, beautiful family!

In interest of full disclosure I have decided to be an affiliate of the Power of Moms and I am super excited to start volunteering for them to help support other mothers.  Being an affiliate basically means that if you click on the buttons on my page before you purchase something on their site, they give me a small percentage of the purchase price.  My motivation is far from financial.  Its something I am passionate about and I hope it can change your life as much as mine!