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And The Winner Is...

It's been over a month since Hubby and I went to Trail Days in Damascus, Virginia. So much has kept us busy, in a good way. We love to be in motion. Events are winding down and I attacked my to-do pile this morning. On the top was to choose a winner from those guests at Trail Days who signed up for my website.

I enlisted the help of Ziggy. He helps me pick things up from the floor, on the trail, in stores, or any place else I ask him. We make a game of it, which he loves because it usually ends with a cookie. I crumbled up the sheets of paper with the names of the entries written on them. Then I placed them on the floor in front of Ziggy and asked him to give me one.

And the Winner is......

Congratulations Greg.

With all this rain we have been having, the Maine rivers and streams are not the only things flooded, my brain is also. As I was thinking about Greg being the winner and what to send him as a token, I simultaneously was thinking about what I did this past weekend.

I had the honor of co-hosting a writing retreat for a small group of ladies. Wow, that seems odd as it rolls off my tongue, but tastes so sweet. I still find it strange to use the words author and writer in the same sentence as myself. My mom and dad would be so proud.

Our first gathering was in 2018 on the beautiful coast of Maine. That took place, thanks to the efforts of Meadow Rue Merrill, whose book I reviewed in a previous post. She called the retreat Art & Joy of Words. Her goal was to meet annually, but as you know, life happens and here we are in 2023 at only our second event. But this time we came together in central-ish Maine. The retreat was held at the Cold Stream Inn on Cold Stream Pond in Enfield, Maine. A building rich in history on one of Maine's most pristine lakes.

(Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Major)

I was thrilled Meadow chose this place as it is the lake I live on and the Inn is only four miles from my house. While all writing break-out sessions and sharing times took place at the Inn, a few ladies stayed here and on Sunday, we all gathered at my house for a brunch before we said good-byes.

What makes our little group so special is that we aren't just writers. We are Christians who write. And in this ever-changing world, it is difficult to find encouragement in such a calling. That was Meadow's main reason for creating the Art & Joy of Words retreat. Being a writer is challenging enough, then throw God into the picture and the devil rears his ugly head in the form of discouragement.

A re-occurring theme throughout the weekend was saying yes to our individual talents given to us by God. All of us are given a calling, all of us! Not just us in our group, but ALL OF US - that means you too. It is up to the individual to figure out what that calling is. Sometimes it is easy to figure out and sometimes it takes longer to discern. I take the easy way and simply ask myself, what am I good at? I try to use the talents God has given me for my own happiness but even more importantly to enrich the lives of those around me.

My friends and music ministers for our church, Our Lady of the Eucharist Parish, David and Mary, lead the Sunday worship at our house before brunch. Mary didn't know what our theme was and shared a little about what had been on her heart for the past week the night before. It was about saying yes to God's will and Mary the mother of our Lord was that first yes. And when we say yes to God, great things happen.

This is where thinking about the winner of my drawing and my weekend collided. I had winner on the brain at the same time I was thinking about the Art & Joy of Words retreat. That's when I had an Ah Hah, moment. Not only do good things happen when we finally surrender to God's will, but when we say, "Yes, Lord!" we also become winners.

We might not always feel like a champ while in the midst of doing what he want us to do. That is normal. Whenever there is good, there will be challenges from the dark one who does not want you to succeed. Several members of our retreat experienced great obstacles coming into the weekend and during our weekend. The key is to stay the course to your yes, and you too will be a winner.

I am completely discouraged in my adventuring right now not knowing if or when my hip will heal. I started a blog about life adventures, but now I can't even get out and hike. I have been following others on social media who are doing what I can't do at the moment. But, I have not given up hope. Apparently, actually hiking is not what I am supposed to do right now. I will figure out my new journey and say "Yes" to that. And when I say yes to whatever God throws at me, I will win!

Happy Hiking and remember to enjoy the little things.



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