Rocky Mountain Retreat: Yay!

by Jessawhy

As the lucky Monday Poster girl, I have the great privilege to share a few pictures and stories from the fandabulous Rocky Mountain Retreat.

After a series of very unfortunate events, EmilyCC had to cancel last minute (we were all devastated), so it was only MRaynes and I who flew from Phoenix to Denver on Friday (after realizing that driving 14.5 hrs each way was ridiculous). We arrived at the beautiful cabin just after dinner and as singing time was starting. There were so many beautiful voices. Then Claudia Bushman spoke about her grandmother’s life as documented in her journal and encouraged us to write our own stories. My favorite quote from this wonderful woman was when a man asked her to be his polygamist wife and she told him to “Go to hell.”

It was so great to meet and spend time with Jana, Brooke, Amy (amelia) and Caroline who were in our cabin. (Along with many other super women who say they are lurkers around here: show yourselves, I say!) We stayed up late talking about mystics, chocolate making, seeing spirits, and how we’ve dealt with abuse in our families.

Saturday morning was more eating and singing and then a panel with Paula, Caroline, and Jana about feminism and the internet. Much of the discussion was about What Women Know the feminist response to Julie Beck’s talk last fall, “Mothers who Know.” Jana also spent some great time in shameless self-promotion of our pretty awesome blog here: The Exponent. 🙂 Well done, ladies.

After lunch was free time and some of us visited the nearby hot springs and tried out a few of their 24 pools (some are just made for 2 or 4 people). It was relaxing and fun.

The evening panel was about how far feminism has come and where it is going. This session was actually very serious and many of us connected deeply about issues like the temple, being single in a married church, difficulties with church culture, and how to educate the next generation of women.

That night we sat around our cabin chatting about the crazy object lessons we’ve had in church and seminary to teach the principle of chastity. Most of them involved fruit (like bananas), we laughed and laughed.

Throughout the event,I was continually impressed with the integrity, education, and spunk of the women I met and came to love. Our weekend was filled with food, laughter, singing, crying, talking, and more talking.
Many many thanks to the wonderful women who planned this event in luxurious cabins in the gorgeous snow-capped mountains of Denver. I would love to return, and hope that any of you who want to join us next year can put it on your calendars (it’s the weekend after Memorial Day).


Jessawhy is a wife, mother, community volunteer, activist and student. She is currently working towards a Physician Assistant degree.

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No Responses

  1. Oh, oh! I can’t believe how much I missed you all! And I definitely missed those great conversations. I’m so sorry I couldn’t come this year. It sounds like it was wonderful.

  2. idahospud says:

    It was delightful to meet you, Jessawhy. Even though you and the other ExII women are just as articulate and fascinating in person as you are on the blogs, it was fun to just let our hair down together, too. Thanks for helping to make it such a great weekend.

  3. Jessawhy says:

    Sorry about the technical errors. I’m still getting familiar with WordPress.

  4. Jessawhy says:

    Idahospud, it was really nice to meet you, too.
    I must say, I was surprised at the sisterhood I felt with women I’d just met. It was really cool.

  5. Katie says:

    It was great to meet you Jessawhy! And the other Exponent ladies as well. I’ve always been a lurker, but it makes me want to follow the blog even more now that I can put faces to posts.

    I had a fab time at the retreat. It was really just what I needed. I often feel a bit alone in my ward here in OK, and will turn to my husband and say, “If the gospel is so amazing and so true, then why doesn’t it produce more cool people?!” Now I know the answer is that is does produce cool people, they just happen to live in various western state locales.

  6. Katie says:

    PS-Is it just me or did the Exponent blog used to be in the “more islands and atolls” section of and is now in the “even more…..” section?

  7. EmilyCC says:

    Oh, thanks for the update, Jessawhy–it makes me all the more convinced that DH had to do something really wonderful to make up for me having to stay behind 🙂

  8. Jessawhy says:

    I don’t know, but I emailed them over a month ago and haven’t heard back, it makes me think they don’t like us?
    It was great to meet you, too. I like what your husband said. There are cool people. I was telling my best friend (not super feminist) about the retreat and she said she wants to go next year. It’s all about the word of mouth.
    We really missed you. 🙁
    There’s not much we can do except plan another retreat and have more get-togethers. (or maybe take a weekend to go out to visit the girls in Irvine!)
    We’ll talk soon.

  9. Paula says:

    I’m glad that you could still refer to the cabin as luxurious when there was the hot water problem in the smaller cabin. And I’m glad that you had a good time. I met two of my old friends down in Denver yesterday, both not Mormon, and they laughed at me when I said that it was the best retreat ever. They said that I say that every year– but I really do think so this time. There were so many good conversations going on beyond the main presentations– it was frustrating to not be able to be involved in all of them. And, I’ve been anemic for the past few months, and thought I was better, but the high altitude made it very clear that I’m not– I spent too much of Saturday lying around, and wish I’d been able to make it to the hot springs.

  10. Caroline says:

    Jess, thanks for the write up. It was a blast. So much fun to meet you, mraynes, katie, frances, and all the other awesome women.

    These retreats have a real special place in my heart. It’s so refreshing to be some place where we don’t have to self censor – we can ask our questions and express our hopes and pain freely without fear of judgement. I love it. Thanks for working so hard to help put it together, Paula.

  11. Kaimi says:

    That sounds like a lot of fun — thanks for the write-up, Jess. The pics are really cute, too. The skyline is gorgeous. (And the bloggers aren’t too bad, either! 😛 ) Jana’s pics at PG are also great. It sounds like everyone had fun spending time with friends — there aren’t many things better than that, are there? Plus, listening to Claudia, who’s always interesting.

    Also — fruit? Yikes. There really, really needs to be a post about awful fruit lessons.

    You could call it “by their fruits, ye shall know them” . . .

  12. Paula says:

    You’re welcome Caroline– but any work I do is purely selfish, since I love the retreat so much. And I’m pretty sure the rest of the folks who make it happen feel the same way.

  13. Brooke says:

    Paula, I am totally with you. The only frustration I had was not being able to be in every conversation at once. It was inspiring and invigorating to be in the presence of such fascinating and strong and funny women–and like Jess said, to feel an instant sisterhood with them.

  14. Jessawhy says:

    I’m sorry that you weren’t feeling well at the retreat. You did a good job of hiding it. The conversations were very interesting, and at times very intense. I really wanted to videotape the entire thing and then edit it to the best sections. Unfortunately, I didn’t bring 30 tapes 🙁
    It was great to meet you. I have the misfortune of lacking a self-censor (or so says my husband), so I’m glad that the retreat as a place where I didn’t need one anyway 😉
    Kaimi, (I learned how to pronounce your name at the retreat from people who’ve met you!)
    Yes, the event was wonderful. I also heard that Sunstone is pretty great, too.
    I’m interested in learning more about the next one. Claudia is very fascinating. While re-reading my post, I realized I neglected to mention our discussion of her Dialog article on LDS women speaking out. It was very exciting to hear stories of success, and a little saddening to hear stories of failure. But, I was encouraged to hear how women are trying to make the church more equitable and charitable.
    Great title for the fruit post! I’ll have to add that one to my queue.
    It was really great to meet you (even though I thought you were a freshman in college or something 🙂 It’s always cool to meet people who have a lot in common. Speaking of commonalities, it seemed like most of us with children have boys (with the notable exception of Idahospud). That’s a little ironic among feminists, isn’t it?

  1. June 13, 2008

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