Summer loving... Abiding Devotional Day 1

Ciao Tutti!


Hello everyone! We are back from a long trip to Europe and a week off from work for family time with my brother and his family from Michigan. I have to say that there were SO many sweet moments over the last 6 weeks to treasure and write down, we will savor these memories for years to come. That’s why it’s one of my goals at our retreats to share with you how to write things down and document “life” using the Traveler’s Notebook Journals… but more on that later. I love the memories we create traveling with family & friends, don’t you?

So our theme for this summer’s retreat was ABIDE, and also for this fall in Vermont, and it was really on our hearts and minds to share what the Lord showed us about this theme. What is “Abiding in Christ” and how do we live that out? How do we “Abide in the Middle” of… a busy life, difficulties, stress… you fill in the blank.

I wrote a devotional we printed for the ladies to put in their Traveler’s Notebook and I was planning on sharing that here on the blog while we were there, but it just got too busy for us during the retreat and the internet is so much slower in Italy. So we’re posting it each day for a week starting today right here, and you can find that at the bottom of this post.

We also wanted to share lots of pictures from our retreat and let you know what is coming up for next year! We have some exciting new things for 2020 and hope you will consider joining us. We’re already sold out on our very first Marriage Retreat which is AMAZING! But if you’ve been thinking about joining us on one of our retreats, then follow along this week to see more of what it looks like to come along and be a part of one.

This June we did something new and started our retreat in Venice. We gave everyone the option of starting in Venice for 3 extra nights or starting in Bellagio for the 7 night retreat, and about half of the group met us in Venezia! It was so fun to share another beautiful Italian city we love with this group. We enjoyed getting their rooms ready with gifts and food and meeting them in this new location for our retreat to begin in! We had a great three days filled with a food & market tour, a photography tour and a private boat tour through the gorgeous canals of Venice. We also started the day with devotions and prayer time, and had great discussions at meal times and free time. It was so beautiful to see the ladies already bond in the first day, and we really believe that is because we already have a deep connection in our faith. Here’s a few photos from our Venice trip:


Venice was stunningly beautiful and showing the group some of our favorite hidden places was so fun! Giving them some time to explore and go off the beaten path was also a great way to see Venice away from the major sights. I always tell people to “get lost” in Venice because it’s not that big and wandering down little canal streets where the locals live gives you a feel for this place that the Rialto Bridge can’t do. One morning we woke up really early to take a photography tour from two professional photographers that had great tips on angles, composition and tips for our iPhones and cameras. Just look at one of the photos they helped us compose in St. Marco Square with a mirrored image:


I think everyone loved Venice and it was a great start to our Art & Faith Creative Retreat. We’ll share more photos and memories from this retreat in Italy tomorrow.

OK, here is the Abiding Devotional from our retreat:

Abiding in Him - Day 1

How do we get filled up?

Yes, coffee is a daily part of most of our lives and is  a great and lovely part of life.  I just met with a friend for coffee before this trip and we had a great time catching up on our lives.  But this quote in my devotional a couple weeks ago made me think deeper on the HOW we are filled up because:

“you cannot pour from an empty cup.”  

But we go about our day with all of life’s responsibilities and we have no choice but to be “poured out.”  We all have a LOT on our plate… we have children who need us, or a job that requires a lot of time, or a husband that we want to spend time with, but we have so many things on our “to-do” list… so we can’t keep from pouring out.  

But are we pouring from an empty or full cup? 

You know that cup of your favorite coffee that’s down to the last little drip?  Don’t you want to just go back and fill that up again?  You had a smile on your face as you took that first sip from that FULL cup of coffee, and it was GOOD.  But now that your cup is empty, it’s a little sad… 

Well, do you ever feel that way about your spiritual walk?

If felt SO good when you were reading God’s Word daily, when you had that routine of getting up a little earlier so you could spend time in prayer and devotion with the Lord!  When you were praying all the time and having a deep connection with your heavenly Father.  It seemed as if your cup was OVERFLOWING.  And then there are times when you feel like you are on that last little drip of coffee at the bottom of the cup and you long for so much more…

This week we will be talking about Abiding in Christ, and how we can be filled up so we can be a vessel He uses for His Glory.   We pray the Lord speaks to you as you take time to “be still” and refresh yourself in Him.

Ask yourself today:

  1. How do you feel right now? Are you getting filled up or trying to run on that last drop?

  2. Do you long to be filled up, so you can pour out differently? Pour out more love?

  3. Read Romans 15:13 and ask the Lord to fill you up with His HOPE & JOY today.

  4. Pray and give this time to the Lord. He knows your days, your worries, your weaknesses and He is right there next to you, so lean into Him today.

  5. Journal or draw what the Lord is speaking to you or showing you right now.

    *If you would like a copy email to you of the 7 day devotional I wrote, please messages us via the Contact button at the top of our website.


*If you have a Traveler’s Journal and would like a copy of this devotional in a format that can fit into one, you can message us as well for that type of copy.

We would love for you to follow along and go through this 7 day devotional series as you write down in a journal what the Lord is speaking to you.

I’ll share a bit more later this week about the Traveler’s Journal idea and we are SUPER EXCITED to show you some that we will be putting in our SHOP soon!

We hope you have a wonderful Sunday and enjoy fellowship with other’s as you worship our Lord! We will see you back here tomorrow for Day 2…


Laura McCollough