Monday, March 14, 2011

Retreat

About 7-8 weeks ago, knowing Jenna and Lauren's spring break schedule, I got to thinking how nice it would be to find a short retreat that the three of us could share when they were home.  I checked all the retreat centers in Ohio with nothing being available this specific weekend.  I enlarged my search to Indiana and Michigan, and what do you know, I truly stumbled upon a Womens Spa Weekend and Retreat put on by a Catholic High school near Chicago. The retreat was in New Buffalo, Michigan.  I emailed the person in charge and asked if it was closed to just the schools members. She responded saying there still was room and we would be welcome.


I spoke with the girls and they also thought it was a great idea...(not exactly Panama City or Cancun, but hey, why not!) We left Friday morning and wouldn't you know, there were some great outlets within 15 minutes of our destination! We had a nice drive there and did a little shopping in the gorgeous sunshine before arriving at the Marina Grand Resort.  It is on the coast of Lake Michigan and obviously thee boaters capital of the area.  We had a wonderful room that overlooked the marina, (with zero boats at this time of year!) even complete with a patio and a fireplace.  The decor was Scandinavian, and although not "plush",  I will admit it is the first hotel room that I ever took pictures of! I'm sure my latest craze with design and decorating was to blame for that!  The lamps and fabrics and throw pillows on the bed (yes!) were all different from my traditional sense of decorating but, oh, so warm and inviting. 


I will try to make a long story short, but after feeling a little out of place by not knowing anyone, with everyone else having a link to this school, were quickly brought into the group by the participants and priests early Friday evening.  We went around the room and gave our name and relationship to Providence High School.  You can not imagine the response I received when I said I had zero relationship through the school but found it through a Google search! The place roared! From then on, we were warmly welcomed, and I bet over 75% of those ladies came up to Jenna, Lauren or myself over those 3 days and made us feel so very welcomed and at home.


The order of Priests that serves this area are called Augustinians. Their order is founded on the principles and life of St. Augustine. Wow! So very coincidental. It was fate and I truly felt we were supposed to be there. They felt the same way and were oohing and aahing when I mentioned that even though I had never heard of the Augustinians before, our home parish was St. Augustine.  Wow!  A very powerful weekend.  There was Adoration available, we had a wonderful reconciliation service, mass and the speakers were wonderful! 


Saturday evening we had a awesome meal complete with dancing and laughing and overall had a tremendous time.  Way beyond all of our expectations.  I must also mention a group of three women that we happened to sit with the first night.  Karen, Irene and Barb went out of there way to make us feel at home.  We joined them in their suite before dinner on Saturday and they hosted "thee" best quaint little gathering complete with food that I need to get ahold of recipes!  A crispy flat bread that was salty and marinated cheese and a cheesecake recipe that beats mine, hand down! We all talked as if we had all known each other for a while.  Even having the disparity of the age groups did not seem to matter. Oh, so special. 


There was also a little down time for the girls to get in some homework, but Sunday then around noon we left after brunch and I then brought the girls back to Toledo and I then headed for home.  Dan did a great job holding down the fort.  The boys had 15 friends (girls and boys) at our house Friday night and Natalie had her group Saturday night.  They all had a great weekend too! 


The mesages I heard this weekend will linger with me for a long time.  The topic was Forgiveness.  Wow, what a fitting way to start Lent. Powerful, yet simple words and phrases will affect me for forever.  The people, the topics, the message, the sharing, giving and the friendships will be remembered....

1 comment:

Rhonda said...

Julie

What a wonderful idea. I will have to try that sometime with my girls.

Renee