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.



  1. who wouldnt want to spend time with jean! shes a beautiful artist whose spirit shines through all her
    art..she has a great laugh that makes you laugh..xox~kim

  2. I'd love to attend to get my creative motor running a little smoother.

  3. Thanks for sharing more photos of our time together at ReMe--simply the bestest retreat ever!

  4. Ladies and their spoon swatch swag!
    This retreat looks so fun. It may take awhile, but I will come!

  5. I love my pot holders and you Theresa, I feel blessed to have meet you!

  6. Every photo conveys the warmth, happiness, and creativity in store for the next round of lucky attendees. Here's to October!

  7. What a lovely post! You are right---Theresa/s post is magical.

  8. Hello Ladies. I am so sorry that the announcement of our winner here was delayed. It's entirely my fault, not Theresa's...or Penny's...or Jodi's...and I have nothing other than the chaos of my daily life to blame. In fact, I'm ready to Rest, Relax, and Renew again on Ocracoke! :-)

    Drumroll, please..................................... The lucky winner of this leg of our Blog Hop is officially J. Elizabeth! Thank you all for joining us, and J. Elizabeth, please contact me by email at to let me know your preferences for your prize.


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