We have a very special kind of episode planned for today. Last month, I had the incredible honor of hosting my first ever ASCEND retreat for rural women in Destin, Florida. And on the final day of our weekend, one of my coaches and dear friend, Coach Kiah, pulled each woman at the retreat aside and asked them a series of questions about their experience. Coming home and listening to such beautiful testimonies of transformation and gratitude, absolutely filled my heart in ways that I can’t even explain.
You see, the very first inkling towards hosting a retreat for rural women came back in June of 2021. I quit my full time job with retreat hosting as the end goal. I just knew in my gut that it was something that I was meant to do. So to be able to put this all together in my first year as an entrepreneur was literally a dream come true. The interesting thing about planning something like this, though, is that from the very beginning, I could clearly see the vision. I knew deep in my gut what kind of transformation, community and impact was possible by bringing together like-minded, rural women together for a weekend focused around intentional growth. However, trying to accurately articulate that vision was a whole ‘nother story. So much of this kind of experience is indescribable.
My podcast manager and I wanted to use this audio to put together an episode to, first of all, serve as a beautiful tribute and keepsake for the incredible women who attended this very special, incredible first ever ASCEND retreat, and also as a tangible way to explain just what kind of magic is in store throughout the ASCEND experience.
For context, the word ‘ascend’ means to move, climb, go upward, rise to a higher point, rank or degree, embark, scale, escalate, aspire, grow, build, take off, soar, improve, expand, scale. etc. This retreat weekend attracted women from rural communities across North America. It was an experience all about turning inward. Figuring out what we really want and need, and then making an action plan to move forward. But even with that intention in mind, I will say, everyone came into the weekend with a span of expectations, worries, hopes, fears and dreams.
During our time in Florida, we dove into workshops, and broke into small groups and worked through different guided activities with the intention of figuring out what we actually want. What are the things that are no longer serving us? What do we need to let go of? How big are our dreams? Where are our priorities and where we’re spending our time. So often we are limited by what we can see directly in front of us. So having the opportunity to get away, and be in an immersive space like this with people who truly understand where you’re from, what your life looks like, and also the vision for what’s possible. It was incredible. It was incredible. And the number of people that walked away from the experience with entirely different intentions and dreams and priorities than what they expected. It was just, it was so mind blowing, and so special in ways that I can only barely start to describe. So I’ll let their stories tell the story.
These women, these brave, smart, passionate humans came together on faith. They saw the vision, they felt the tug. And even when they weren’t quite sure why they were signing up to fly to Florida to hang out with a bunch of strangers, they knew. They knew in their gut that there was something that was there for them. And I’m so grateful that we had the opportunity to share that time together. And I’m really excited because this is just the beginning. This is just the beginning. I know deep in my heart, that this is the way that I am meant to generate impact in this season. It is so stinking powerful. So this year, well, I guess next year, 2023, there are going to be more of these. And Kiah asked each of the women, if there’s someone listening, if you knew someone that was considering coming maybe on the fence about it, maybe kind of weighing whether this is for them, what would you say to them? And here’s what they shared:
Hey guys, Jill Carr here. I’m Emily’s podcast manager. And there’s one final segment I want to share. And I’m intervening a bit because Emily did not want to share this part because she’s too sweet and humble. You see, all the retreat attendees were asked if there was something they wanted to share with Emily; any encouragement, or what Emily meant to them, just anything at all that they wanted to tell her. And although these words that were shared meant the world to Emily and she’ll treasure them forever (trust me, we’ve had several conversations about them and tears shed together) she was going to keep them to herself as she didn’t want to come off as bragging. But I’m going to share them anyway because they’re too beautiful and powerful not to share. Sorry, Emily! So I’m going to share them next. And if you don’t know Emily, these words will give you some insight into the beautiful person she is. And if you do know Emily, you’ll be listening and nodding along and saying to yourself, “yep, that’s exactly right”. So here you go.
I am going to call this insert mic drop. If you have made it to the end of this episode, I don’t know what you’re waiting for. Our upcoming ASCEND retreat presale is now live. You’re going to head to my website for more information and to get your name on the list. These spots are going to go so fast. Because now you see, you see what’s possible. And you are meant to be there. That tug that you are feeling, that yearning, it is not an accident. This was made for you. And I can’t wait to experience it with you.
Again, I just have such overflowing gratitude for this experience. I am so proud of each of the women that said yes to themselves and to each other. And as you heard, whose lives are forever changed by this experience. I’m not being dramatic when I say that. When you give yourself the opportunity to really invest in your growth at this level, insane life change is possible. And it might not be in the ways you think it might not be a huge business plan or something like that. It might be something deeply personal as taking steps to love yourself deeper. It’s just very special to be in a room with like-minded women who deeply understand where you’re coming from, see the vision for where you’re going, ask you the hard questions and love you for all that you are, every step of the way.
So I hope to see you at an ASCEND retreat in 2023. Because in my opinion, it’s pretty dang awesome.
Where can I connect with fellow rural women who aren’t afraid to dream big dreams? How do I create and sustain daily habits that help me reach my personal and professional goals? Am I the only one that absolutely loves living in the middle of nowhere but wants to understand the world beyond my backyard? What should I do about the unshakable feeling that there’s more to life than just showing up? How do I break free from other people’s opinions and confidently live as my authentic self?
Welcome to Gather in Growth, a show created for passionate, growth-focused rural women like you. From mindset work and building strong habits to nerding out over personal growth books through the lens of life on a backroad, this is a show to leave you feeling joyful, inspired, ready to take action, and a little less alone.
Tune in for honest and heart-felt conversations with host, Emily Reuschel, and fellow thought leaders, to talk about personal growth and thriving as a rural woman. Here you’ll gain tactical strategies to bring your dreams to reality, real talk about the ups and downs of tackling goals, meaningful insight from fresh perspectives, and the confidence to step into the calling that’s been laid on your heart for a reason. If you crave to feel seen in a small town, you’re in the right place.
Whether you’re currently running on a backroad, shuffling kids to town, hopping along for a tractor ride, or three loads deep into folding laundry… we’re in this together. Absolutely anything is possible and I’m so grateful to be on this journey with YOU!
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raising rural voices
Welcome to Gather in Growth, a show created for passionate, growth-focused rural women like you. From mindset work and building strong habits to nerding out over personal growth books and exploring the unique joys and challenges of living rural, this is a show to leave you feeling joyful, inspired, ready to take action, and a little less alone.
“Being connected to Emily is a blessing because her radiant energy and positive vibes are contagious. She makes me feel like it’s okay to stay grounded in my own truths and be the kind of person who walks around with a smile even if everything isn’t okay. Her genuine smile and charming personality is a blessing to the world. She continues to inspire me even on the days when I feel uninspired.”
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“Emily has a beautiful zest for life and a true passion to help others achieve greatness. She knows the importance of self-investment, and not only encourages others to do so but also follows through with bettering herself in this way, too. As you get to know Emily, you’ll see a unique, loving and vulnerable person. She’s always open to learning and seeing things from different points of views because she knows that leads to true change.”