When is a House Not a HomeI have a friend who thinks that retreats intended for rest, renewal and spiritual growth are wrongly named. She thinks they should be called advances. She’s got a point. Particularly since I enjoyed a glorious retreat this last weekend at the C Gallery in Los Alamos, hosted by artist/owner and consummate hostess Connie Rohde. Those of us who attended advanced on numerous fronts – exploring inside and outside life issues in writing, learning new art skills and techniques, deepening relationships through substantial conversations, and not surprisingly, expanding our waistline with delicious food and drink. As an occasion to celebrate a couple of milestone birthdays with cherished friends, it was truly a treat.

Our teaching artist, Carol Kemp, kept us creating at a breakneck pace, introducing one new technique after another so we couldn’t over think what we were doing. As a result, our work because more intuitive, and thus, more complex and compelling. The writing we’d done the evening before with writer-in-residence Sharron Luft wasn’t exactly translated into overly apparent images, but it had opened us to deeper, more thoughtful issues simmering in the subterranean undercurrents of our lives – frustrations at work, major life transitions – retirements and relocations, aging, soul tending celebrations.

My three pieces all had unifying themes and color schemes. Themes of closure, movement and nesting. Perhaps somewhat of a curious combination unless you know that we have recently made the decision to sell our home of forty-five years (in the town where I was born) and move across the continent to North Carolina to be closer to our two youngest grandsons. Let’s just say I’m still trying to figure out how to creatively say good bye to our beloved house that we, our children, and our grandchildren consider the center of the Farrow universe. There is shadowing of what will be in the past, a floating house in the present, with a torn ground line that will fit nicely into a new landscape at some point in the future. Yet hazy and uncertain in the present.

RoadtripMy second piece, actually the backside of the collage entitled “Maps” posted March 5, is a creative nod to the road trip my husband and I will make when we move across country. I tore out the Route 40 portions of atlas maps of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Arkansas and Tennessee, the highway that will carry us from one side of the country to the other. The bird, a harbinger of change and creativity, waits at, perhaps, a window, behind which a stencil of gears is subtly seen, an image suggestive of the orderly movement of things that have to happen before our next step in the journey begins.

The third piece in the series is clearly future oriented. Entitled “Nesting,” this mixed media collage represents future home we will create. The now more colorful bird, facing east but looking west, is preparing for the future while being informed by the past. It is surround by three strong “sticks” in an abstract triangular arrangement – the most stable of all geometric forms. Those that cross as diagonals suggest a roof, the horizontal piece, a foundation awaiting the vertical “sticks” that tie all together into a nest we will on day call home. We may be retreating from our long-time home and community, but we trust we are advancing toward what we are being called to in the next phase of our lives.


If you’ve ever enjoyed a retreat, in what ways did you advance as a person? Have there been times in your life that felt like a retreat in the sense of fleeing from danger? What were they and how did those retreats eventually lead to your advancement…or perhaps Kingdom advancement? If you were to take a retreat at this point in your life, what soul tending celebrations would you hope for?

14 comments to Retreat

  • Jan

    SOOOOO excited for you, Lynne. The only time I’m sorry I made my similar move from Tucson to NE OH six years ago is when it snows every day for a month! Good luck culling and sorting and packing!


  • you have made a wonderful decision
    family is everything
    i speak from experience as i live in south africa
    and my entire family is either in australia or usa
    you will be fine

  • Deborah

    Beautiful art, Lynne!

  • Janet Rogers

    Good for you!!!! A whole new chapter in your life awaits you. We lived 32 years in Helena, MT and I was EAGER to leave. Yet when we arrived in Sandpoint I was longing for something familiar for about 4 months. Geez, to feel at home in the gas station would have been nice. 12 yrs later I am so glad for this new adventure we are having. Good luck to you both!!!!! Janet Rogers

  • Karen Mikuls

    Best thing we ever did was to leave Ventura and our house of 38 years. A whole new world has opened up with opportunities for a new life in our “golden years!” You will relish all the new people and new adventures that await your arrival. And you will never regret your decision to be closer to your family! The day we moved, after the movers had removed all of the boxes containing our life and our furniture, I expected to feel a sadness at leaving. But as I walked through the house one last time and turned to look at the empty rooms, it held no emotion whatsoever. It really was just a house like any other house on the street now that it was empty of our life’s history. A new family has made it THEIR home. The saying “Home is where the heart is” is so true! We love our new HOME with it familiar surroundings and we love our new life! Best of luck to you and Robert in YOUR new life! Can’t wait to read all about it in your blog!

  • Welcome to the “Now or Never” phase of our life!Last November I realized that my job managing a travel agency was literally making me sick from all the stress, and Mike & I decided it was time to sell our condo and do what we loved, which was travel in our motorhome, and visit our 5 kids and 13 grandkids. I felt like the proverbial Bird out of my Cage at first, but as the months have flown by, I know it was almost a life-saving decision. Family is so important, & the kids grow up so fast. I hope you embrace your new life, and each other. Congratulations!!

  • Luisa Johnson

    Dear Lynne and Robert,
    Congratulations and best wishes for this momentous change. I will forever be grateful for the many times Lynne and I met for spiritual direction since 2002. I will miss your smiling face and warm presence. But then there is SKYPE!!! God is good.
    Thank you, O wise teacher! ;-))

  • Deanna Bowling

    I’m glad that things are going well in your plans to move to NC. Your grands are great and will appreciate very much having you closer. Sitting at this point watching you journey for the last few years, and can see more clearly what GOD was doing. This move is indeed GOD’s work on yours and Roberts behalfs.

    As a side comment, I met someone who goes to Bible Fellowship who doesn’t know you personally but who spoke glowingly of your artistic works, especially over the holidays.

    Love you,

  • oh, yes it was a shock to hear, actually I gasped.
    You are such a shining
    light in everyway. No
    doubt when you are all
    settled in you will be a
    light in new lives that will
    need you. It is a loss to
    us. You have been such a blessing and we need to share you. We will stay in prayer fir yiur travels and your new adventure. Delesprie

    we’re kearning who you are and your insightful Therapeutic Arts. I have learned si much from you and your books.

  • Velma Everton

    That is pretty exciting that you are moving after so many years. You are the third person I know who sold their house after 40 something years and moved. The others didn’t move so far though. I am really glad that two of my daughters and my two youngest grandchildren live in Ventura or I would probably be packing to move also. Good luck and God bless you in your new home.

  • Barbara

    What a great adventure. Blessing to your whole family.

  • sharron luft

    The weekend together was fabulous as always. Thank you for mentioning my input with the writing; it was encouraging for me to hear that it prompted different reflections for everyone. I do love that about writing. We all start at one spot and wind-up at our own important locations. I will miss you so much but am thrilled with your new opportunities. I know you; you will make it a wonderful time for all.

  • karen greenslate

    Lynne, You have often helped many others to retreat in some way, take a step, through art or scripture and art, or beauty, to reflect and listen for good. Thank you for how you shared your gifts and enthusiasm for many of us to enjoy, grow. (even your funny story at a pajama fest)! IT Speaks to me how birds are prominent in your pieces. they are reminders to me of God’s intricate love for beauty and strength, and of His plan to care for His own, across 1000’s of miles, on journeys guided by stars, rivers, mountains and the inner prompting, ‘it’s time to move.’ Last week we were in a place where one of your works helped me worship…and….reminded me of you. I once followed a strong invitation to leave my career, friends, much family, to marry Michael and move from New Mexico to California. I am immeasurably grateful for this journey, 38 years continuing. And recently, I am so finding the birds overhead and those nesting nearby are wonderful reminders that I am in good hands. You are in good hands. I will think of you and your good husband and remember good days.

  • Norrene

    I’m gonna miss you bunches but you’ll never be far from me. Life changes. All I can think about is those lucky grand boys.
    Loved reading notes from your friends.
    Love you, Norrene

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