Monday, June 30, 2014

Theresa's Memories Of May -

Theresa Zurku, Treasured Friend of ReMe and Den Mother Extraordinaire, will be our host for this week's walk down memory lane.  Today, we'll update this post by adding her own words to these fabulous photos.  Please be sure to read through the end of this post today to enter to win this week's ReMe Memories of May Drawing!
ReMe 2014 has been festering in my best friend’s heart for many years. If you know anything about Jean Skipper you know that her mind works faster than her body can keep up with or for that matter for any of us to keep up. She envisions the bigger picture better than anyone I have ever met and when it comes to the vision of this retreat…she knocked it out of the park. I have been privileged to be a part of this dream with three extraordinary women and amazing artists. I am grateful that they chose me to accompany them on this journey and to make history in the first ever ReMe retreat.

Jean and I have been friends for most of our lives, and our friendship has weathered many challenges considering we have lived anywhere from 2 to 10 hours away from each other at any given time for more than half of our lives. I mention this in part due to the many women I have met that will be in my heart forever and now are a part of my extended long distance family. The bond Jean and I have has stood the test of time and now I see how strong the bonds I made with these women on the ReMe retreat are, and I can only hope we will continue to be a part of each others lives to share successes and sorrows for years to come.

Can you guess who our classical pianist was…..
Our gathering place…..the parlor. At the end of the day we came together to share our experiences and to get to know each other. The coolest thing was our first night ice breaker where we had to share something that no one would guess about you or your life. Throughout the week we would sit around and try to guess who was the pilot, the survivor of a shark attack, the race car driver, the author, the air traffic controller, the yellow rose of Texas with a big love of horses , the classical pianist, the person who absolutely loves hearts, or the one who's freakishly skilled at touching her tongue to her nose.  These women were truly exceptional and they never failed to amazing me.

The Island Inn was chosen for its character and charm and the house embraced us with the warmest of hugs all week long. It absorbed our laughter and tears along with the quiet moments each woman may have stolen for herself. Between the screen door slams, the creaking old wood floors and the tricky electrical wiring in the house, it definitely added its own sights and sounds to our retreat.

The first night the women jumped right into the retreat by creating individual prayer flags, I was apprehensive about making one due to my limited artistic abilities but each women encouraged me to join in and get my cooking apron messy. This are some of the work of others but I was shocked at how my flag came together- I recognized that art is more of an emotion than the mechanics of it and when you have inspiration and passion about something you just want to express it any way you can. I watched all week as these women expressed what was inside them and it was so contagious. 

Watching Jodi teach her painting class was so fascinating, she is a patient and encouraging instructor who knows how to bring the best work out of each student she teaches. Even though I did not have the courage to JUMP into this painting class this year, it is on my agenda for the next ReMe retreat in May of 2015. I WILL BECOME AN ARTIST IF IT IS THE LAST THING I DO….. or at least try my hardest. I am excited to explore the side of me that needs to be outside the lines and messy. I am sure my Jump buddies will encourage me along the way. 


So one day I get the phone call…..Theresa, I was wondering if you could make a small “gifty” to give the girls. We want to give the girls something we made them as a gift at the retreat. Well you can imagine how mortified I was to think I had to be creative and make something for this retreat… I panicked. But after careful consideration and thought I decided to make the old loom pot holders with a recipe from my families kitchen and of course it was held together by a wooden spoon. No kitchen was complete without the proverbial wooden spoon. Shout out to my sister Lydia who figured out how to tie it all together and make my idea a presentable “gifty”. I spent all winter making these 24 pot holders (it seemed much easier as a child), and to my surprise these women were so gracious when they received my gift. They made me feel special and gave me a taste of that unconditional acceptance that this group of artists expressed all week long.
Talk about one extraordinary woman. Laurie Beth stole my heart early on when she arrived a day early for the retreat after traveling for three days from her home state of Texas. Her first instinct was to panic and wonder what she was going to do, but she rallied and settled into a hotel room, phoned a friend for moral support and went out on the town for some dinner and a pool game. That was the start of the amazing transformation I witnessed with this woman that has beaten all the odds and pushes past things that people have told she will never do again. I was truly inspired by her in so many ways for her courage and tenacity to book the retreat at the last minute and drive off into the sunset to seek out Ocracoke and the unknown. Here’s to my Jump buddy who taught me that I have to LET GO in order to fully JUMP. I am privileged to have been a small part of her journey and she has been a big part of mine. Here’s to you Lori Beth #Let Go # Jump # NOW 
After watching the meticulous care Penny takes with creating and designing her pages and books I will never look, touch or smell paper the same. Watching her work with paper is amazing, she is truly a master at her art and I was intrigued with the projects and pieces that the women created. The ReMe journal she gave us as a “gifty” was so tenderly created and presented to us with an explanation of each page and stock used. She really helped me appreciate books and binding and paper in general. Beautiful work.

Look at these faces, what more do I need to say….pure joy and laughter and love. When you look at this picture you just want to get right in there with them and hug on them and belly laugh right with them. The kitchen was such a wonderful place where we all got together and joined the stories of our lives. But it was also the magical place where we (Jodi, Jean, Penny and myself) met at the end of the day to review the days challenges and successes along with discussing and coordinating the next days agenda. It was in these moments that things got real, we would bare our souls from exhaustion and excitement regarding the events of the day. I have never been so brutally honest and pure with three other women then I was that week. To pull this off we had to work magic and there were times when one of us was too exhausted to perform and the others would step in to push things along. It was not easy at times but what I learned about myself was immeasurable and I will carry those lessons with me forever.


This is just one sample of our scrumptious food at our retreat. At times it was a mad house in the kitchen trying to prepare the meals and get the recipes right but we all worked together to make it happen. In my family we have a saying “we may not have it all together BUT together we have it all” that is how I fell about my ReMe sisters. Bringing so many woman from so many walks of life and parts of the country (Colorado, New York, Montana, Georgia, Missouri, Texas, Florida and Massachusetts) was fascinating. The dinner conversations were never boring. I love the country kitchen and how all 12 of us fit at the table and shared a meal each evening and rehashed the events of the days and the events of our lives.
So what can I say about this beautiful peace of art work. The women were given a book to express their experience in throughout the week. They chose not to allow us to look at the book until the end of the week when they were gone. So the Saturday after we bid all of our new friends goodbye, cleaned up from the retreat and packed up our cars for our trips home, we decided to go out to dinner to celebrate the success of the retreat. Jean grabbed the book for us to look at when we were out but we ended up bringing it back to the house and sitting in the kitchen and scrolling though the pages. The book brought us so much joy, all of the kind words and expressions. Each woman stole a piece of my heart.
Okay, last but not least my favorite place in the world is Ocracoke Island North Carolina and to have the ReMe retreat on this precious little island was such an honor. The islanders were so welcoming as always. Out of all the lighthouses up and down the outer banks this one holds the softest most tender part of my heart. I probably have 1 million (and I am not exaggerating) pictures of this light house and when I look at my photos I remember taking each and every one of them. I pay homage to it each and every time I go by and I look forward to visiting it the minute I arrive on the island. I am drawn to it like I am drawn to this island since the first time Jean and I spent a night on the island over 15 years ago. From that moment on I knew I would forever be bound to this sanctuary and each visit I discover something more to love about my little paradise on earth. It was an honor to share this magical place with all of my ReMe sisters and I can only pray that the next group of ReMe retreat women can open their hearts and souls to this special place too.
ReMe Rocks!
In this week's edition of our Memories of May Blog Hop, one lucky winner will be awarded their choice of either a Rest Relax Renew Necklace or a pair of Highly Textured Earrings on Sterling Silver Earwires, both from Jean Skipper Originals. 
To register to win, please comment on this post. Provide your best caption for one of Theresa's photos; share what the perfect retreat means to you; let us know why you'd most like to attend a ReMe Retreat; or just let us know how your discovered our Memories of May Blog Hop
For an additional chance to win, please share this post via Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, and comment again here to let us know where you've shared. 

A few guest spaces remain for ReMe - Ocracoke– October 2014, and you can reserve your space by using the PayPal link on the left side of this page.Plans for additional ReMe Retreats are also underway.To be among the first to receive the news of these events, and all of our other ReMe happenings, please subscribe to our newsletter using the link on the side of this page and *like* our ReMe Retreats Facebook Page too.


Friday, June 27, 2014

Memories of May - Ocracoke 2014 - In The Words of Jean Skipper

Photo by Deborah Belica.
Years of hoping, dreaming, planning, and hard work went into the orchestration of our first ReMe Retreat, and every bit of it was worth it! I’m still floating on the memories of our experience together, and I expect that this will be the case for quite some time.

During our week at ReMe, life was in perfect balance. There was an overwhelming sense of community, and simultaneously our Historic Inn indulged us with abundant nooks and crannies where one could steal away for a private moment. 
  We embraced the wonder of Ocracoke, showered outside, danced in the parlor, feasted morning noon and night, indulged in the happiest of hours with Leslie Lanier at Books To Be Red, and practiced Qi Gong on the veranda with the inimitable Ann Erringhaus. 

And of course there was The Art.  We immersed ourselves in it both inside and outside of the classroom!


The house virtually hummed with the sounds of our voices, and we shared quiet contemplative times too. The soundtrack of our week was one of spirited conversation and laughter, and the memories that we created will last a lifetime.

Photo by Theresa Zurku and her Go Go Gadget Arm!
The lovely ladies who arrived as relative strangers and guests for our first ReMe Experience bonded almost instantly and parted company as treasured friends. I adore each and every one of these amazing women. I admire the willingness with which they shared their personal stories and life experiences, and I’m already looking forward to our time together in this magical place in 2015.

The Guests who joined us on Ocracoke in May have each expressed their desire for a repeat performance, and they each plan to join us again in May 2015. We have high hopes that this event will become an annual reunion, and while this means that ReMe -Ocracoke – May 2015 is now booked to capacity, fear not! A few guest spaces remain for ReMe - Ocracoke– October 2014, and you can reserve your space by using the PayPal link on the left side of this page.
Plans for additional ReMe Retreats are also underway. To be among the first to receive the news of these events, and all of our other ReMe happenings, please subscribe to our newsletter using the link on the side of this page and *like* our ReMe Retreats Facebook Page too.

In this week's edition of our Memories of May Blog Hop, one lucky winner will be awarded a Solid Copper Cuff Bracelet in the style of their choice. To register to win, please a comment on this post. Please share a glimpse of your biggest wildest dream with us, let us know why you'd most like to attend a ReMe Retreat, or just let us know that you're with us in spirit via via the internet. Words, sayings, and textures.  Hand stamped or etched.  The choices will be all yours when you win this week's blog hop prize!

For an additional chance to win, please share this post via Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, and comment again here to let us know where you've shared.

Due to my unavoidable delay in posting, this week's winner will be drawn at 11:00 AM on Monday, June 30th, and the winner will be announced right here on the ReMe Blog. Theresa's edition of Memories of May will go live at noon the same day, so please stay tuned as the fun continues! 

Never underestimate the power of the hash tag! 
#HashTags - #ReMe - #FriendsForever - #ArtRocks - #GoodTimes - #Ocracoke - #Jump! - #Chica - #AwesomeSauce - #MiMo - #Community - #Artists - #Finish - #IThinkICan - #IKnowICan!!!


Monday, June 16, 2014

Memories of May -- Pt. Deux UPDATED With Winner!

UPDATE (06/23/2014) -- The Great Random has spoken:  Beverly Sparks, you are the winner of this weeks GiveAway!  Beverly writes:  "Am I too late to enter? :) Love the mini book..hope we don't have to have mini fingers to open it. lol Love your photos and story behind them. Thanks."  Congratulations!  Please send me your Mailing Address, and your Little Leather Booklace will be on its way to you.  Our thanks to everyone who joined in the reminiscing, this week.  Stay tuned:  we have more "Memories of May" headed your way with this weeks posts from Jean!
Greetings, Blog Land -- Penny here, for the June 16th installment of the ReMe Blog Hop.  Thanks for joining us in our revelry and recollection of a wonderful happening!  In addition to the Favorite Things that I shared over on my Blog, here are more moments that have stayed with me since that magical time in May…

Deb enjoys The Daily Dispatch
The open appreciation for all the “little things” that we planned for our guests was a balm to the anxiety-ridden nerves.  Seeing our Guests interact with one another within that ‘glow’ was what put any lingering worries away for good!

There was much sharing of the day-to-day happenings during our time together via Facebook.  One of my favorite "shares" of the week came from Patty.  After a couple of days of amazing photos posted to Facebook, a friend asked where she was, to which she responded:  "I'm at an artistic, personal growth, recharging retreat called ReMe -- it is all that and more!"  WOW!  Yes, of course we think that about our beloved ReMe; how thrilling to know that someone who came all the way from Colorado thinks so, too!  Patty shared a beautiful blog post, last week, recounting her favorite things about her ReMe Experience.  You also have the opportunity to read another guests' favorite things by visiting Deb's Blog.

Appreciation of what everyone had to offer
Another favorite thing, for me:  seeing my dear friends in their creative elements – sharing the love for and finely tuned sense of their craft.  S’Magical!

Jean shares her love of metal working

Jodi takes it to the yard

Finally, it seems that with every visit to the wonder that is Ocracoke Island I leave with another indelible memory of its natural beauty – imagery that travels with me, wherever my journey takes me next…  

Memories to treasure
The Light looms large in my memories
of this magical place!

Our giveaway for this weeks stop on the Blog Hop is one of my "Little Leather Booklace" creations!  For your chance to win, leave a comment on this post.  Want an additional entry?  We've got you covered!  Simply share this post via your favorite Social Media outlet (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.), and comment again -- telling us where you shared.  Bada-BING -- a bonus entry for you!  The drawing will take place Sunday evening (June 22nd), and the winner will be announced here on the ReMe Blog next Monday.  Be sure to join us again then, as Jean will have a passel of her own "Memories of May" to share with you!

The Little Leather Booklace
...complete with a silvery starfish and "O" for Ocracoke

There are a few seats remaining for our return ReMe – Ocracoke in October of 2014.  You can secure your spot by making a Deposit, today – simply use the PayPal Button in the upper left hand corner of this page (just below the ReMe Banner), and leave the rest to us!  Feel like you need additional information?  No problem!  Drop us a line at:, and we’ll be happy to address any concerns you may have! 

That's my Motto!
...and it only gets better
with memories like these to treasure
 Until next time,