Announcing: Two Retreats {One Brand New!}… Come Play with Me?

I OregonCoastAmy1stood on a small bluff with my friend at the Magic in the Mess Writing Retreat in January as the clouds parted, and the sun pushed through, and the clouds closed again, and the rain raged, all in rapid succession on the horizon before us.

Jen and I watched for a while before she said, “I’ve never been to the Oregon Coast. Just the East Coast. … It’s wilder here.” And it is. With the waves crashing on the ragged, scattered rock shelves and spraying the sky, it’s hard to tell which is more eager to soak the air, the swirling clouds above or the mad sea below, and I can never tell whether they’re dancing with each other or parrying and thrusting wet blades back and forth, and back and forth, hoping for a final victor in an eternal fight for dominance.

The coast is my wild place, friends, and barefoot by the water with the wind whipping my hair soothes my restless soul. In a season that’s unsettling — full of strange politics and my muddled mind and unparalleled successes and failures in parenting and wife-ing and friending and being, which is, I’m coming to understand, the human condition — standing for a moment in the still, quiet eye of the storm is no small thing.

Salt. Sand. Sea. And somehow sanctuary, even though the wind and the waves on the rocks are as moody as me. As light and free. As generous and enthusiastic. As loud and strong. As dark and brooding. As relentless and fearless and cautious and wild and full of grit and grace. Sanctuary, still, that can’t be contained.

Whenever I look at the ocean or spend any time there at all, I wonder what its boundaries are and when it will overflow them. I wonder that about me, too. And you. And I want to explore that together. If you can. If you want to. If you’re game.

The point is, I’m offering two different retreats this June at the Oregon Coast, and I would love, love, love to have you join me in this strange, sacred space.


Both of these retreats were born out of my deep desire to create genuine, meaningful community around topics near and dear to my heart, and both are the types of retreats I’ve dreamed of attending for years; small, intimate, welcoming, relaxing and nurturing with a healthy dose of be-ourselves authenticity and ridiculousness and a good (included!) wine list.

I hope you’ll consider hanging out with me at…


The Magic in the Mess Writing Retreat makes space for writers to explore their creative voices, discover a supportive writing community, and give shape to the messy but beautiful stories we each carry with us.



The Grace and the Grime Spiritual Formation Retreat exists to create space to deepen our experience with God in an authentic, encouraging environment. In addition to the grounded and the graceful, we welcome those who are weary, wary or unsure, and we believe we’re all wildly worthy of love and grace.

If you need more info, click the links above or email your questions to me at I do hope to see you soon.

With love,







All of these amazing photos are the work of Amy DeYoung, a photographer from San Antonio, Texas who attended the Magic in the Mess Writing Retreat with me at the Oregon Coast in January and took these while there.

You can find Amy’s website here, and find her on Facebook here.

Thanks, Amy, for letting me use these pics!

ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
  1. I would love, love, love to come to your writing retreat! Except my new baby is just going to be over two months old then. Perhaps next year or the next. I just hope you keep doing them so I don’t have to worry that I’ll miss out now.

  2. Your blog spoke to my soul and brought tears to my eyes. Praying for the days when I might be blessed enough to join The Grace and the Grime Spiritual Formation Retreat (or at least something similar) my heart needs it. For those who can attend, may it be all that I imagine and more! xoxo

  3. I *WISH* I could come Beth!!! I want to I want to – but the last time I checked the flights I was like “um, unless I win the lottery or someone wants to give me a whole pile of airmiles…” (If anyone does want to give me a whole pile of airmiles I’ll be there with bells on if you’ve got room for a British “weary, wary and unsure” writer somewhere?!) Hugs.x

  4. “Salt. Sand. Sea. And somehow sanctuary, even though the wind and the waves on the rocks are as moody as me. As light and free. As generous and enthusiastic. As loud and strong. As dark and brooding. As relentless and fearless and cautious and wild and full of grit and grace. Sanctuary, still, that can’t be contained.”

    Wow. What an insanely beautiful paragraph. It was like reading ART. ((applause))

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