"Snippet" -- a small piece or brief extract
I've never thought much about the meaning of "retreat". Perhaps it conjures images of armies for you -- or maybe church youth retreats (which may have FELT like armies to the youth leaders). Perhaps it inspires pictures of soaking in a bubbly tub or camping in the middle of nowhere. The word retreat means "to withdraw, retire, or draw back, especially for shelter or seclusion" and that has never been a more apt definition than this week at the Sassy Goose retreat center at Cedar Mountain, NC. Susan VendeWeghe and her family have created such a lovely spot for "retreating" -- whether you are retreating from work, stress, family or retreating in order to work, recover from stress, or spend time with family, you'll find The Sassy Goose the perfect respite. This has been a beautiful week, full of new friends, new ideas, new insights, new resources, even a new recipe or two. :-). We've laughed, shared heart-wrenching stories, deep thoughts, big dreams and our passions. We've critiqued and encouraged and motivated each other in myriad ways.
I came Wednesday night with a vague sense of who one of these ladies was from our Twitter interactions. I'm leaving tomorrow (sadly) with 5 new friends who I know will be a constant source of knowledge, help, and encouragement moving forward. They have opened their little critique group up to me, a stranger, so beautifully, if temporarily. I worked as sous chef for evening meals, which gave me some one-one time with 3 of these ladies. We've shared stories of our lives, dreams and struggles over chopping veggies, shredding cheese, and searching out a new kitchen for just the right utensils. We've eaten well, and like any good writers' retreat, we've had wine and chocolate (and lots of healthy stuff too!) Susan was kind enough to make a variety of muffins (all of which were amazingly delicious!), in addition to providing yogurt and fruit and granola. Nancy and I made lasagna, salad and garlic bread Thursday night. Kelly and I made enchilada stacks last night (and improvised some gingers'mores, which seemed to be well-received). Tonight, Carolyn and I will warm some chili, bake some cornbread and put together a salad. We've eaten well and been sustained for all the creative work we've done.
Each morning we've chatted over breakfast and shared resources, spurred each other on to expand our social media presence through Twitter, Instagram, and even a YouTube channel. We've asked questions, and answered them, shared funny stories, ideas for books, marketing ideas, and so much more! Susan, an amazing puppeteer, took us to her workshop where we got to meet members of her marionette family -- the puppets that she has designed, created and performed with. for years. I even got to see some video footage of her performances and got to watch her light up like a Christmas tree as she shared her love of puppetry. We shared stories of our day jobs and hopes for our writing jobs. The ladies are all as different as can be, brought together by a love of story and wanting to share that love of story with others. Some of us are already-published or almost-published. Some of us have been at it for a while and still awaiting our "big break". Some of us are just beginning and figuring things out. No one held back. Everyone participated for the good of all -- whether it was unloading the dishwasher or critiquing a manuscript or sharing resources.
I'm going home with 9 new books by Miriam Jones Bradley, author of The Double Cousins series, and other great books. You can find more about her here: http://www.miriamjonesbradley.com You can order her books there for your children -- or one of her adult books for yourself!
Kelly Greene, aka Sunshine Story Time, is a story teller, story writer, VoiceOver artist, and so much more! She was our techie geek for the weekend, and she was our favorite read aloud artist for our stories for critiques. If you'd like to share some great stories with your littles, check out her YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/channel/UCsH0cTmTRGFhgWtxnaQR0Jg and keep your eyes open for more great content from her!
Carolyn B. Frasier has a brand new book coming out with more to come soon. You can stay abreast of her upcoming publication, pre-orders and more right here: https://carolynbfraiser.com
Nancy is a retired veterinarian with a passion for animals and lots of expertise and heart! You can find out more about her projects here: http://www.speakingforspot.com/index.php
Susan's website is here and you can find out more about her outside of her work at The Sassy Goose.
The Sassy Goose is sidled up in the NC mountains, and Fall held onto its color and was glorious in its display. Thursday poured rain all day, but after that the weather has been chilly, but absolutely beautiful. It is a gorgeous setting for a retreat, a family reunion, or any other group outing. They have 7 lovely guest rooms in various layouts -- the lodge, the cottage, or 2 cabins. If you'd like to get away, you should totally contact them. The pillows are comfy, they have sweet touches of home everywhere you look, a beautiful lake, breathtaking views, great hiking, and the oversized bath sheets in the bathrooms will wrap you in fluffy comfort as you come out of the bath or shower. There are games under a pavilion, swimming and fishing available and so much more. (although a little chilly for the swimming right now. . . .)
If you're a writer, and interested in retreating for writing, contact Susan for opportunities in March, April and September. If you have a creative group that would like to retreat together, contact her as well and schedule your own time to get away and get with it!
I highly recommend The Sassy Goose if you're seeking a retreat -- from life or for life. Tell Susan Tonnye sent you. It won't get you a discount, but it will give me an opportunity to pay it forward :-) and say thanks for this amazing weekend.
While the hardest part will be saying goodbye to these amazing authors and wonderful women tomorrow, I am incredibly blessed to have shared in this weekend of writing, inspiration, friendship and retreat!
I've been a teacher of K-3 students for over 20 years; I'm also a writer of poems, short stories, devotionals and picture books. I'm wife to an amazing husband and mom to Sparkles, Mocha, and Rusty -- our feline fur babies . I love reading, writing, singing and listening to music. I enjoy nature, Bible study and spending time with friends and family!
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