Here are the lessons I learned in the last week while attending a quilt retreat in St. Cloud, Minnesota (in no order that really makes any sense):
1. It is important to go outside your box, outside your comfort zone. If anyone would have told me I would be attending a retreat with nine women I had not met in real life, and only a couple of whom I had a blog/email relationship with, I would have said, uh, no way. I am an introvert who works at home. For a reason. And travel alone? With a sewing machine for company? Okay. So my sewing machine was my beloved Bonnie. But still...Mark is from Minnesota and I always enjoy flying into Minnesota. Definitely the land of 10,000 lakes and lush green natural landscaping. Amanda Jean, her three kids, and Terri picked me up from the airport, and from that moment I knew I was in for a wonderful time. Was it possible that I had only met Amanda and Terri in person for the first time? It already seemed like we had known each other for a long time.
3. You can get cool stuff at the airport. But why are sizes so confusing? The t-shirt on the right is from the Minnesota! store, and is an XL. The one of the left is from the Seattle and is a M. Am I the only one confused as to why the XL is smaller than the M? And yes, I do like pink. Thank you for asking.
Terri and Amanda Jean, and spending the night at Amanda Jean's house, was amazing. I mean, seriously. You get to sleep underneath a quilt made by Amanda Jean (I stayed in her daughter's room).
(Want to see this block closer up? Check it out here.)
6. Temperature is a relative thing. When it is 90 degrees in Fresno, it means one of two things. If it has been 75 degrees, then everyone complains. If it has been 105 degrees, everyone is rejoicing at how cool and wonderful it feels. If it is 90 degrees in Minnesota, it is never a good thing.
7. Grubers Quilt Shop is overwhelming. It even says so right over the door: "prepare to be overwhelmed."
8. Sleep is highly overrated. Until you get home and realize you have work to catch up on. The retreat center had a great set-up.
A sewing room with plenty of space for everyone to spread out. And amazing things were created in this room. Doris did such a wonderful job of putting together a little spotlight of each person so I hope she doesn't mind me posting them here:
9. Laughter is the best medicine. There is a reason for that saying. By the time Saturday night rolled around, after two days of nonstop sewing and talking, everything seemed funny. We could have been on Saturday Night Live, we were that good. Even pictures of feet seemed like a good idea.
(Front row: Toni, Shelly; Back row: Doris, Michelle, Rene', Terri, Amanda Jean, Mary, me, Stephanie)
We traveled from all over to spend time with each other: Wisconsin, Missouri, California, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Georgia, Florida/Montana. People are always surprised to hear that I have close friends from blogging and emailing, and I know they are thinking "friends" with little air quotes around the word. Nothing could be further from the truth. We were ten women who shared a common bond. We laughed, ate, shared our lives, sometimes shed a couple of tears, were blown away by the creativity we saw, and were inspired by each other. I have strengthened bonds with those who invited me, and have formed new friendships that I know will be long-lasting. Thanks to you all. I hope we can do it again next year.