Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween and the End of October!

Happy HALLOWEEN and the end of October!

This is a very special post.  Last month I vowed I would start October's blog post earlier in the month but as usual life got in the way.  I'm getting it out tonight no matter what so it's all good.

September 24th I went to a quilt/craft retreat at The Incarnation Center in Ivoryton, CT.  It was one of the most wonderful long weekends I've ever had.  The Incarnation Center is set on a beautiful picturesque piece of land.  It's a very spiritual place and well known for many types of retreats.  Sue arranged the whole long weekend with Marianne's (former owner of Quadrille Quilting) help.

As you drive up the long driveway you see a big sprawling lodge.  

There are several wings to the lodge and then lots of smaller buildings surrounding it.  This is the fire pit where at night people gather to make s'mores by the fire.  We lucked out with the most beautiful warm weekend. 

As you walk into the lodge this prayer greets you.

Here's the big room where we all worked on our projects.  We had sooo much fun!  I couldn't get a photo of everyone at their tables because we all flit around all weekend in and out of the lodge and talking to everyone.  

Our rooms were off this "dorm like" hallway.

Here's my room.  Sue was next door and Ellen was across the hall.

And here's my room!!  This little room may not look like much and certainly not like the hotel rooms we're all used to but it was the cozy, warm and safest feeling room I've ever stayed in.  By the end of our stay I didn't want to leave it.  I made a mental note to clean out my bedroom and every other room I've junked up and simplify my life.  Have I done it?  Stay tuned!

Surprisingly the bathrooms were beautiful and updated.  With all the ladies on the premises that weekend I rarely saw anyone except Nancy in the morning!!

So all weekend we worked on all of our treasures.  No housework, no shopping, no cooking.  NO NOTHING BUT FUN!  What a freeing experience.  We could go to bed whenever we wanted and wake up and not have a single thing to do except play!  This is Ellen's quilt.  It's beautiful and she got so much done on it!

Yes, we made a package store and chips/candy run before we got to the retreat!!  This is Barb's glass of wine sitting on Cathi's handmade coasters!

Cathi was a busy bee that weekend.  She was working on this applique cat and

this wreath.  Cathi is so funny.  She said she was going to get up in the middle of the night and work on something and she did!

Barb made these beautiful kitty totes.  I have one on order!  She was making them for an animal fundraiser.

She wore a different beautiful dress she made every day!

Here's Donna's beautiful quilt blocks.  We always had our snacks within reach!

Sue was working on her Irish Chain quilt.  

Here's Marianne's beautiful Grandma's Flower garden quilt.  Just amazing!!

Nancy is a terrific sewer and she makes the most gorgeous outfits.  This is a jacket and scarf she was working one.

There were all kinds of crafters at this retreat and spinners.

  Here's our wonderful private chef Tim!!  He made whatever we wanted and if he didn't have it he went to the store first thing in the morning and bought it for us! 

 Sat. night we had raffles and door prizes.  Sue bought the most amazing things for this retreat.  I never win anything and I even won a gift basket!!!

Maryse won something too!!

And we celebrated Cathi's birthday with a cake!

  Sunday morning I went for a walk all around the property and came to the Chapel. 

This is like a big sports complex.  In the summer this is a well known summer camp destination.

This is a little maple syrup shack. 

My walk took me past the petting zoo.  I loved watching these adorable friendly animals!

This pig made one lap around the fenced-in area and then went back to his little house and just laid down, closed his eyes and slept like a baby.

I wish I had food to feel this little guy.

Sunday afternoon after we packed up and started to head out we had one more area on this property to see.  It was the lake!

This part of the Center was the most beautiful.  

You would never believe this beautiful beach was there!

We felt like we were on a tropical island.

It was so tranquil and

quiet and peaceful!

If you've never been on a retreat before PLEASE go to one.  The experience we had was so profound we are still talking about it.  The best part of a retreat is it can be a getaway for anything.  It's a place where when you're there you lose track of the daily routine of normal life.  And that enables your mind to be free to focus on other things. There were AA people there, a church group and a couple's retreat all staying harmoniously on the property.  We only saw them in the dining room for meals and occasionally walking around outside.

That Sunday morning I met this handsome guy and we had quite a talk.  I told him a lot of things that were on my mind.  He planted himself in that stance and listened to my every word.  I was as mesmerized by him as he was by me.

When I was done talking he moved as close he could to me and gave me a big smile as if to say he enjoyed our talk.  I hope to see him again.  He was quite the guy.

Thanks for allowing me to share my experience of going on a retreat.  I can't wait to do it again.  This could just be one of my favorite vacations.  This was a very different kind of vacation for me.  For the first time in my 27 years of married life I was away without my family.  It was an empowering and enlightening weekend.  I know that material possessions don't mean anything really in this life.  Yes, they're nice to have but the simplicity of a weekend like this really drives home the fact that sometimes the simplest pleasures in life are nature, peace and love.  Leave the Marriott and Hilton's at home and go find a place where you'll find happiness surrounded by very little. You will come away just a little bit changed for the better!

See you next month!