As I was making my way to my plane at JFK my mind was focused on a sick boy at home, camp details I was missing, empty arms that I wanted to be in and just the tug I feel anytime I leave my family.

I had a nine hour plane ride ahead of me with the other teacher and at this point we were basically strangers.

By the time I got to my seat Stephanie Ackerman was already there and we had our first nervous exchanges which quickly turned into conversations and then laughter.

{photo stolen from Stephanie Ackerman}

Women are so good at this. We don’t realize sometimes the beauty of our easy conversations and our ability to get down to the good stuff.

{photo of Stephanie’s Bible journaling}


By the time the plane landed we weren’t strangers anymore and that time together had bonded our hearts together in sweet ways.  We were better prepared to teach the women waiting for us in Italy.


By the end of the trip Stephanie had made me laugh harder than almost anyone had in my life.  Laughter is my jam and this girl delivered.

The next 7 days would be filled with incredible food, afternoons by the pool, laughter, creating, art covered hands, cobblestone walks, feet dipped in the lake, wine glasses lifted high, cappuccinos and cafes and excursions that made us feel like we were locals.

Even those all of those things were like treasures to each of us this retreat felt so different for one specific reason.