Half a dozen years ago or so, after attending yet another extraverted and exhausting writing conference, I began to wonder what it would look like to host something smaller, quieter, the kind of conference where more contemplative, introverted types like me could feel at home. No jostling in a crowd or jockeying for position. No big dark rooms with deified speakers on a spotlit podium while the rest of us sat in darkened obscurity. No giant screens and state-of-the-art sound systems.

Instead, a quiet, thoughtful, even worshipful space to hear wise words from those further along the writing road than I am, to engage in conversation with one or two other kindred souls, to eat good food and reflect on and maybe play with words.

Then my twins were born, and this little seed got buried in the chaos of life with four children…until last summer when Jody Ohlsen Collins watered it with her words: she shared a similar dream, she said, and together our little seeds began to grow.

Abide is the fruit of those little seeds. It’s a 3-day writing retreat for women who want to deepen their faith, their relationships with other writers, and their craft.

Our text for the weekend is John 15, Jesus’ discourse on the vine and the branches.

Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.

Over the weekend we’ll ponder the words of this amazing passage, meditate on them, play with them, and let them sink deep into us, let them abide in us, and let ourselves abide in Christ so that we can bear much fruit—in our writing, our relationships, our lives. We’ll remind one another who we are and Whose we are.

We’ll worship together, enjoy the beauty of God’s creation, share stories, reflect, and write. We’ll make art and play with words. Some of us (like yours truly) will cry. We’ll laugh—a lot. We’ll relax and drink tea and eat good food and rest.


So you totally want to come, right?

You just have a couple of questions: when is it? where is it? how much is it? And how do I sign up???


Friday, October 16th at 4 pm till Sunday, October 18th at noon.


The beautiful Grunewald Guild in the Cascade Mountains, outside of Leavenworth, Washington.

How Much?

The cost for the whole weekend is just $229.

This includes:

  • your room (Check out their facilities!)
  • board (Friday dinner through Sunday brunch, all of it as locally-sourced as possible, some of it grown in the garden on the grounds. Fellow foodies, we’ll eat our hearts out!)
  • art supplies (Yes, we writers will do art; it’s good for highly verbal people to exercise non-verbal parts of their brains. Plus it’s just plain fun.)

$100.00 is required to reserve your spot.

Sign Me Up!

I’d be happy to! Just let me know you want to come, and I’ll make sure you get a registration packet.


Still not certain? Feel free to shoot me an email with any questions you have.  Or just re-read this post :) And take some time to prayerfully consider coming.

But don’t take too long to consider. We only have 16 spots left! And the price goes up to $249 on June 1.



Photo by Janet Tarbox. Creative Commons via Flickr.

  • Kristi

    Was it intentional to post this coinciding with this week’s lectionary?!

  • Kimberlee Conway Ireton

    Nope. That was pure serendipity :)

  • Dena Dyer

    Looks amazing! And what a great way to go about doing a retreat. I’m all for quiet. :)

  • Helen Gaskins Washington

    Oh my soul just exhaled. Praying. About. This. Gift.

  • Betty

    Oh I so, SO want to be there. Pray that God will make a way. Airfare from Michigan will be the biggest challenge (Well, for me. Nothing is impossible for God.)

  • dukeslee

    Oh, this looks amazing.

  • Kimberlee Conway Ireton

    Jennifer! I wish you could come–it would be so much *more* amazing if you were there! :)

  • Kimberlee Conway Ireton

    And we want you there, Betty. Praying for the airfare to materialize.

  • Kimberlee Conway Ireton

    I’m so glad, Helen. I’m praying, too, that you would be able to come.

  • Kimberlee Conway Ireton

    Thanks, Dena! I know Texas is a long way from Washington, but it’s green here. Lots of water. And mountains. And quiet…

  • amyinperu

    oh, if i were in the US… portland to seattle is SO easy!!
    i doubt you know me, but i found you because… i read your comment on livingbookslibrary and then i clicked over to your blog and then saw that you were in seattle and then saw your writer’s conference invite and… well, i want to be friends. that’s all. :)

  • Kimberlee Conway Ireton

    Hello, Amy! Thanks for stopping by! I take it you’re from Portland? And now in Peru? I’d love to hear that story some time! I look forward to getting to know you!

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