saving our souls one tribe at a time.

SoulRetreats: How to gather your tribe. April 15, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rachelle @ 10:49 am

Our soulretreat was a raging success. So much so that we wrote a book about. Now you can gather your very own Soulssister’s retreat. Read on, dear friends, read on!

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: SoulRetreats

(To read the nararation about SoulRetreats instead, click here.)

Do you want to form a Soultribe of your very own? Are you longing to hole up with some like minded friends for nurture and comfort, but you aren’t sure where to start? SoulRetreats: how to host a tribe with art soul is just what you’ve been looking for — a practical-but-beautiful book to walk you through the steps of organizing your very own SoulRetreat. We’ll help you do it without financial burdens or hosting burn-out. And we’ll do it for just $20 — a small price to pay to be on your way to a tribe to call home.

Order SoulRetreats: How to host a tribe with art and soul. ($20)

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SoulRelreats: How to host a tribe with art and soulHere’s what’s inside:
SoulRetreats is a soulful, instructive eBook written by Rachelle Mee-Chapman, with special guests Jennifer McGuiggan, Jolie Guillebeau and Rebecca Dallin. Within its 59 pages you’ll find poetic essays nestled alongside practical “YBH” (yes, but how?) instructions. In addition there are webpages where you can share your experiences with other readers; and links to the free online tools you’ll need to make your Soulretreat practical and easy. Because art and beauty are of high value at Magpie Girl, SoulRetreats has an attractive layout with photos and design elements by Neil Sittler of Stickflower Designs.

When you buy SoulRetreats, you’ll also received a link to our free book, SoulFood: how to cook for tribe. SoulFood includes delicious vegetarian and gluten-free recipes by Jolie Guillebeau, and ecumenical table blessings gathered by Jessica Schafer. It makes cooking with your soultribe easy and satistfying.

You have everything you need! Let’s get started.

Order SoulRetreats: How to host a tribe with art and soul. ($20)

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Contents of SoulRetreats

  • How Something Good Finally Got Born
  • Preparing for Your Soultribe
  • Unpacking: Letting Go of Past Tribes
  • Invitations and Introductions
  • How to Quash a Gremlin Uprising
  • Not the Mom: Creating Co-Ownership in a Tribe
  • Sample SoulRetreat Schedule
  • Tabletop Spirituality
  • Ten Tips for SoulRetreat SoulFood
  • How Not to Lose Money
  • Follow-Up: *8Things to Keep Your Soultribe Connected

Order SoulRetreats: How to host a tribe with art and soul. ($20)

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The Magpie Girl Guides Promise
If you don’t find this book lovely and helpful, I will happily refund your money. Just email me within 30 days of purchase. No worries.

Love my work?
Spread the good word about this good work, and become an affiliate. (For this, I thank you.)

Need a Soultribe Right Now?
Come join us in our online soulspa, Flock: Soulcare with Magpie Girl. We’d be happy to welcome you home.


And Now a Word from our (Un)Sponsors July 17, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rachelle @ 5:24 pm

So I’ve heard through my Twitter and email that our Gremlins are chattering away at us and they aren’t being very nice. Gremlins, for those of you new readers our there, are the little voices in our heads who tell us un-true things. Most of the time they are trying to help, but they are a little mis-guided. But sometimes they are just downright being nasty.


According to Jen Lee, she of the Lovebombers–a group which was the inspiration for Soulsisters–the Gremlins like to get chatty right before we gather up with other powerful, creative women. And one of the things they like to say best is:


“You don’t belong here and nobody is going to like you.”


Yeah, you’re right back in Jr. High. Sucks.


So what can we do about it? I like to build my Gremlins a house where they can sit down and have a nice Gin and Tonic and SHUT UP ALREADY. I also write down all the things they are saying to me and put those quotes away for them. That way the Gremlins know I’m listening to them and sometimes quieten down. It also helps to say a little affirmation. My Gremlins are pretty silly, so I like the silly affirmation from Bill Smiley (was that his name?) on SNL:


“I’m loveable, I’m capable, and doggonit, people like me!”


When all else fails call a Soulsister and ask her to tell you *8Things that are Great about You. (She won’t mind, honest.) And remember, if your Gremlins are talking a blue streak, it’s a sure sign that something good is trying to get itself born.


Are your Gremlins coming out? (They also like to mess with your relationship with your significant other; sneeze on your children so they get strep throat right before you leave; and pour sugar in your carburetor.) What are your Gremlins up to? What are your tricks for dealing with the pesky little buggers? How can we help?


Good, Easy Eating for a Tribe July 14, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rachelle @ 8:17 pm
Tags: ,

Oh ladies, you are soo000 lucky! Jolie Guillebeau has such a great cook-together menu for us. I’m posting a sneak peek to whet your appetites and to show other folks out there in cyberland how to feed easy it is to feed a soultribe.  Everything is vegetarian, and there will be options for us gluten-free girls. (Shopping still in progress,  menu subject to change!)


Saturday Lunch: Big Spinach Salad with Crusty Bread,  Watermelon, Iced Tea and White Wine Sangria


Saturday Dinner:  Cheese, Crackers, Olives; Grilled Marinated Eggplant/Zucchini/Portobello Mushrooms; Foccacia and Summer Herb Relish; Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies or Chocolate Fondue or S’mores


All Breakfasts: Fruit, Muffins or Bagels, Hard cooked eggs, Coffee, Tea


Sunday Lunch:  Avocado, Nectarine, and Basil Summer Rolls; Fruit, Cucumber or Blueberry Lemonade


Sunday Dinner:  Chips, Salsa, and Guacamole; Cuban Bowls (coconut lime rice, black beans, roasted sweet potatoes, salsa, avocado, sour cream); Brownies


Monday Lunch: Individual grilled pizzas on naan or pita bread;  Truffles


Monday Dinner:  ?????

Tuesday Lunch:  ?????


Plus: Stock-Your-Own-Mini Bar. Everyone is bringing favorite beverages and snacks for our stash.


Meet Your Soulsister: Shari MacDonald Strong June 29, 2009

Filed under: Soulsisters 09,Uncategorized — Rachelle @ 7:35 pm
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The lovely and adventuresome Shari MacD.

The lovely and adventuresome Shari MacD.

Shari and I discovered each other a few years ago, as we tried to write and raise children together as Northwest neighbors. (Portland &  Seattle) We finally met when we were in Portland for a Zine festival — all five kids and husbands in tow! Sadly, we were parted by someone’s bright idea to move to Denmark, but due to the magic of the Inner-net thing we’ve managed to stay in touch. I know you’ll all love to meet this friendly, witty storyteller on Hartsine Island. But in the meantime, give her a virtual “hello!”

Shari’s Introduction:
I’m a freelance writer and editor who lives in Portland, Oregon.  I’m the senior editor and former columnist at Literary Mama magazine and editor of the anthology The Maternal Is Political: Women Writers at the the Intersection of Motherhood and Social Change (Seal Press, 2008). Irecently finished my first screenplay about the revolutionaries who assassinated Tsar Alexander II in 1881 and am currently researching a historical novel set in Russia. I’m the mother of twin boys, age 6, born via gestational surrogacy, and a daughter, age 9, adopted five years ago from Russia.


Meet Your Soulsister: Becky Knight June 25, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rachelle @ 1:44 am
Super mom, super therapist, super woman -- Becky Knight!

Super mom, super therapist, super woman -- Becky Knight!


I know this must get old, but basically Becky had me at “sexologist.” I mean, can you get a better opening line that? Beyond her intriguing job, Becky is an all-round lovely person, bright and warm with a generous spirit. We’ve been Twittering with each other this year, and I’m looking forward to meeting her IRL. Stop by her blog, Living Sexuality, and say hello, or take her survey on her work site for a little bit of introspection.

Becky’s Intro:
I am coming to the retreat because I know I need a time of reflection and inspiration. Juggling three kids, a busy and entrepreneurial husband, and a full-time career as a clinical sexologist is leaving me feeling spread too thin. I want to find a way to honor my obligations and still live the life I dream of.


Retreat Planning June 24, 2009

Filed under: Soulsisters 09,Uncategorized — Rachelle @ 2:43 pm
Tags: ,

Hello Sisters,

I’m sitting in the guest bed at Jen Payne’s house right now watching the sunrise and dreaming of our upcoming time together. Yummmmm…..


Here’s all (most?) of the info you’ll need for the retreat. Please note there are lots of things I need to know, and they are bolded. So grab a cuppa and open up an email so you can answer my queries as you go. I appreciate your response as I’m horrible at tracking down odds and ends, so ya’ll will really need to take responsibilty for letting me know what you need, how you can help, and what info you’re missing, kay?


Here’s everything I can think of ….


Getting Started
We will have a “rolling start” from 1pm at my parent’s house, Pura Vida. We’ll have lunch and drinks on the deck, and four of us can set sail on The Lady Penelope. (More sailing to follow!) At 3pm we can check in to the Retreat House (on the other side of the cove). We’ll be sharing queen beds so if you have a bunk mate in mind let me know. If anyone feels like they really want their own bed, there is a single captains bed at the top of the stairs. So if you want to snore alone, but don’t mind not being behind closed doors, please let me know.


Food and Drink
Jolie Guillebeau is organizing our meals. The menu is fresh, yummy and vegetarian, with protein options. If you have special dietary needs, please email Jolie.


To stock our mini bar, please bring a couple bottles of vino, the makings of your favorite cocktail, or your favorite beverage. Also, please bring a snack to share.


Morning Work
In the mornings we will have time to ourselves to work on a personal project or just relax. Sunday morning the remaining sisters will be able to go on a sail. There is also a row boat and kayaks for our use, and of course HOT TUB! If you need to spread your project out, there is a craft room at the rental. If you need to bring some sort of special supplies, just check with your driver about luggage space.


Hostess with the Mostest
We are operating on the Sacred Commerce & Giant Pool of  Wisdom model, which means everything we are doing on the retreat is based on what you shared in your hopes and bios. If you can host one of the following things, please let me know. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Remember fast and dirty is the way to success! (Plus, you know,  it sounds sau-cy!) And please, if you just need to rest and to not have one single responsibility this weekend, we want you to do that. We need you to do that. If you don’t do that right now, when we are starting out as a tribe, then we won’t have “permission” to do that when its our turn to just float.  Trust your intuition. (The Muse, she is very smart.)


  • Share Something Gorgeous Hour:  I bet if you looked at our Guiding Values, every single one of us would have “Creativity” and/or “Beauty” on that list. So lets start out Saturday night with a show-and-tell of all things gorgeous. Read a poem, pass around a photo, tell us a story, sing us something, or put a favorite song on the CD player and let us all lay on the floor listening to it with our eyes closed — whatever feels beautiful and sumptuous to you. It can be something you created, or something you just love. If  there’s some way to share that thing with us as a take away — burn the song on a CD, print the photo on your color printer–then please bring a copy for each soulsister (9). We’ll create our own swag  bags! But please remember this is a retreat, not a who-can-be-the-most-complicated-and-creative contest. Keep it simple my loves! If you can be the hostess for Share Something Gorgeous,  please let me know.


  • Teach Ins: A couple of themes are emerging as we chat about our hopes and bios.1) We need a place to belong, or perhaps more precisely, to accept that we already belong. 
    2) We need ongoing help to name-and-claim our identities as creative beings and/or
    3) We need with the YBH (‘yes, but how) — finding and taking the next step with our creative projects, novel, business plan, etc. We can all write our Mondo Beyond dream list, but do we know how to jump off the diving board and into our dream?

    I know we won’t find the answers to all of these big themes in one weekend, but I am fully confident that we can find a break through or two in the Giant Pool of Wisdeom. So let’s play around with these themes with some old skool teach-ins.

    Lisa has offered to do something on “saying what you mean and meaning what you say” which will help us all stand in our own power and self-define what it is that we are going for. That means we have one space left for another teach-in. Please let me know if an idea is brewing in you for the second afternoon slot. Teach-in hosts will get a litte discount from their retreat fee as a thank-you for the advance prep work. And if  we need to pitch in to cover teach-in supplies, the hostesses with the mostesses will let us know.


  • The Feedback Circle:  Monday night there will be an opportunity to have the sister’s look at a project you are working on and get feedback. This can range from having us read and offer our two cents on the first pages of your novel to whispering the dream you have in your head so we can all say “Yes, that’s real. I heard that!” Maybe we can unstick a few blocks and help some new things get born. We need someone to host his time together, please let me know if this sounds like it’s for you.


  • Keep in Touch: Finally, on Tuesday morning over breakfast and before check out (11am), I’d like to spend a little time talking about how we can keep in touch and continue to support each other long-distance, and when we’d like to meet IRL again. I certainly don’t know exactly what the future holds, but one thing I know for sure is “there ain’t nowhere to go but together.” If you’ve got a knack for listening to what folks are saying and distilling a plan of action, please let me know that you could host this time together.


What to Pack
Just a word here on life in the Northwest. The island is beautiful but can get chilly. Bring something warm for your toes and a light rain jacket and/or fleece if you want to wander. It can be shorts weather, but you will also want a pair of jeans. And don’t forget your swimsuit for the hot tub. (Unless you are comfy with being au naturel.) Other than the food and drink items listed above, and the item for the Share Something Gorgeous Hour you won’t need much but the journals and art supplies you’d like to have on hand.


Odds and Ends
I’ll be using some of our retreat fees to purchase a small thank-you gift for our lovely co-hosts, my parents. If you sell a product that you think would be a good fit, please let me know. In the spirit of Sacred Commerce, I’d be happy to share the wealth within the circle.

Oh, and just FYI, I’m planning this retreat on a break-even model, so that it’s easy for others to replicate, and so that no one is making profit at the expense of the others. On the off-chance that we have any funds left at the end of the event, I’ll send you some change or offer to donate our excess to chairty.

If you haven’t received a questioneer from Jennifer McGuiggan asking for your basic contact info, a bio and a photo, please email her. Also, I’m putting up the rest of the Meet the Soulsisters every other day or so on the blog. Please stop by and say hello, and/or ask your sisters a follow up get-to-know you question.  Be forewarned, if you haven’t sent Jennifer or I a photo, I will gleefully cop one off your website or pull one from my digital hoard. :-)


Okay my sistahs, I think that’s it. Please say “I can do it!” in the comments, and ask questions or make suggestions. I’m looking forward to seeing you all very soon!

Much Warmth,



Meet Your Soulsiter: Jennifer McGuiggan June 23, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rachelle @ 6:27 am
Tags: , ,
Sunny, supportive Jenna McG!

Sunny, supportive Jenna McG!

Thank the good lord for BlogHer06, where along with all the choice swag I picked up a lovely long-distance friend, Jennifer McG! (Yo, McG!)

Jennifer has an easy way about her that makes you want to just sit back with an iced tea and talk the afternoon away. And as someone who’s boldly (and wisely) learned to call herself a writer, Jennifer will have traveled the path recently enough to help others who are trying to own their artistic I.D.

Jennifer’s been helping me get all our ducks in a row for Soulsisters ’09, so be sure to pour her an extra glass of white wine on our pretty oceanside deck this July. In the meantime, say hello or ask her a question in the comments below, or stop by Jennifer’s blog,The Word Cellar and introduce yourself.

Jennifer’s Intro:
I’m a freelance writer and editor. It’s taken me a lifetime of writing to be able to call myself a writer, but I finally reached that milestone a few years ago – and it feels good to have that as part of my identity.

This summer I will start my MFA in Creative Nonfiction, which is exciting and a tad bit overwhelming. I occasionally play around with paints and mixed media, but I’m not very comfortable in that medium yet.

I’m coming to the retreat because I’m lonely. I need people. I need a tribe. I’m hoping to nurture long-distance friendships, as well as figure out how to find some closer to home. I live with my husband and two grey cats about an hour outside of Pittsburgh, PA, in suburbia extraordinaire.

 More than almost anything, I dream of living near the sea. I’ve recently found myself in the midst of a spiritual crisis, as my old ways of understanding God and Christianity have crumbled before my eyes and left me moored in sea of confusion. (There are too many mixed metaphors in that sentence!) I’m looking forward to communing with women who can walk this path with me, either side-by-side, or as leader-helpers. I think Rachelle would call that “with-mates.”