Last weekend I combined a church women’s retreat with a writing retreat.Sometimes it’s important to get away for contemplation, renewal, and refreshment. Fifteen women from Ridglea Presbyterian gathered at Still Water Lodge and Conference Center in the small town of Glen Rose, Texas about an hour from Fort Worth. A big thanks to Nicci Kennedy for great planning and organizing and to the women who came an participated. I learned from each of you.
I went down Friday evening to get a jump-start on writing. Well, I got away later than anticipated so I went to supper with four other women who’d also gone down early. We drove out of town to Loco Cayote for supper. A cool place down an old road, a shining beacon in the middle of a pitch-dark night. The restaurant looked like it should’ve been down on Galveston Island, very rustic with outdoor volleyball area and sawdust on the floors with picnic tables. We thought it would be Mexican food. Doesn’t it sound like that to you? Nope. Though they had awesome chips and salsa, it was BBQ, enormous sandwiches, and the best fried shrimp I’ve ever tasted.
Getting back to town was so much faster than going when it felt like we’d been driving for hours. (isn’t it always that way?) LOL I got back and poured myself a glass of wine and got to writing about 1500 words before I packed it in for the night.
On a wall at the entrance to the Retreat is this picture. Perfect.
My suite had a kitchen, living room area (with two twin beds) and a large bedroom with two closets, and awesome bathroom. Remember I said the facility had been a retirement center. My suite would’ve been plenty big for one of two people to live in comfortably. I even had a balcony. There was no radio or TV which made for a lot of silence.
The next morning, I got up, dressed, went downstairs for coffee and came back up to write more. Met those early arrivals from last night and we walked into Glen Rose for a yummy breakfast and then returned to the retreat center to write more.
The larger group of women arrived and the retreat got started at 11 with a break at noon for lunch which the center provided. Lasagna, salad, veggies and French bread. I took only a small portion of the lasagna, eating mostly veggies and salad. I skipped the desert.
Our theme was “Joy” and the leader did (with the assistance of all those gathered) a super job helping us find joy in all sorts of things, people, and events. Joy can be expressed in those “Oh, Wow!” experiences coming in lower case letter and also all caps. Of course I shared about our lakehouse and the pelicans which are a special gift of God.
One thing we did is something I need to do more of. Play. I’m all about getting the next task accomplished, and I too often forget the joy in play. We did Zintangles. Mine is the on bottom line center. Each one beautiful and unique like each of us, and coloring which I found enjoyable after I got over needing it to be perfect. LOL (I’ve now purchased my own coloring book and pencils at Walmart and spent about 15 minutes outside Tuesday afternoon.)
Late in the afternoon we had free time. I wandered down to the river finding animal tracks and listening to the gurgling sound of the river running over rocks.
Then back upstairs to write more. Of course, there were technology issues. I had been getting messages saying malware had infected my laptop. I hadn’t gone on line and the laptop had been sitting in a closet since the last time I’d used it. Can’t imagine how it would’ve happened. I kept ignoring the signs until my cursor seemed to get a life of it’s on, highlighting sections of text, moving, or deleting some. Not something you want to have happening to your manuscript. I replaced paragraphs, saved my work, exited, and pursued getting the security program to do all its updates.
That took forever. Just when I thought it was complete, another something demanded to be updated.
May have to get a swing for the lakehouse.
Before supper to help get in my steps, I walked downtown and made the square stopping in quaint stores. I returned just in time for supper. We had the most tender roast been I’ve ever tasted, mashed potatoes, green beans, salad and a desert which I again skipped. (I’d eaten two large chocolate chip cookies in the afternoon!)
Then we had the evening session. When that was over, folks went outside for a camp fire, but I went back upstairs to a fixed computer and whipped out more words. All in all, I produced 5000 words. Not as many as if I’d just been there writing the whole time, but the virus/malware thing cut into a lot of writing time.
I did get an idea for another book while I was there, assisted by Katrina Little one of the RPC women. You know how I begin with settings, well, Still Water Retreat is perfect. I went with the fact that it was originally built as a retirement center. A developer wants to buy the property to turn it in to a high-end conference center, which would bring in more tax money for the town. The heroine is a lawyer from somewhere who grew up in the town and has come to visit her grandmother who lives in the center. The hero is the mayor of the town who’d like to have a larger tax base, but he’s had family live there, too. So he’s torn. The developer is the bad guy. I”m sure there will be a murder or abduction. There always is in my books.
Writing is so fun.
Sunday morning ended with a moving service and then it was pack up time and heading back to the real world after a restful and challenging time away.
Do you go on retreats? What kind? Where? What do you like about them?
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