I cannot stop smiling! I am grateful after spending last weekend at a retreat center with a group nearly forty beautiful, talented, and amazing women. The focus of the retreat was “Interactive Gratitude.” Over the past three months I have worked with a number of women to put the retreat together. The weekend was filled with acapella singing, coloring, nature, laughter, puzzles, games, pajama parties, and joyfully sharing blessings together. I am overwhelmed with the blessing I received as I shared this time with my sister and friends.
I am grateful for:
1. My friend, a master gardener, who led us on a gratitude prayer walk on Saturday morning. We walked quietly as we paused to listen to the chorus of bird’s song. A light mist sprinkled gently as we passed the wildflowers and grasses that carpeted the ground. A curious cat joined our procession and continued along the entire journey.
2. For inspiring presentations about gratitude. One of my favorite moments was when Carol said something along the lines of, “If we spend our life focused on problems, we will lead a problemed life. When we spend our life looking for blessings, we will live a blessed life.” Laurie’s delightful photography reminded us that much of life’s meaning is found when we take time to notice the littlest traditions with family and friends and the simple things, like brussel sprouts.
3. We were also blessed by our “Gratitude Fairy” who flittered around and delivered notes of gratitude and smiles to many of the women gathered at the retreat.
4. My friend, Amy, created a gentle, healing experience centered around experiencing gratitude with our five senses. We ran our fingers through sand, blew bubbles, savored chocolate, and let our cups overflow with the gift of gratitude. My favorite part of the experience was the labyrinth made out of a colorful parachute (pretty creative!!!).
5. We created Gratitude journals to record our moments of blessing over the next twenty-one days… and more.
6. Many of us shared together blessings that make life a joy.
7. Several women brought Kelly Rae Robert’s angels for us to enjoy as centerpieces. These were coupled with joyful, bright, unique flower displays created by a couple of lovely, talented ladies.
8. For yummalicious food coupled with lots of laughter: bourbon chocolate pecan pie, chocolate milkshakes, quiche, chocolate, homemade sausages from Chapel Hill, fresh queso, grapes with gourmet cheese… oh, and did I forget to mention chocolate?
9. For the delightful pictures of this event taken by several women who graciously shared their photography skills so the rest of us can enjoy a memory.
10. I cannot stop smiling. Sharing an entire weekend of gratitude with others is one of the best things I have ever experienced. Thank you, God, for friendship, laughter, beauty, and time set aside to share gratitude together!