Blog description

A little blog about my big loves; family, friends, stitching and yep, chocolate!

Chocolate Loving Followers!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Finding your Smile

Dear Friends,

Before I get started, I want to tell you how sorry I am that I have been out of the loop for a while. My life spun out of control this summer (and not in a good way) and I am still recovering from it. Things are getting better - slowly and I have wanted to get back to blogging but just haven't been very motivated. I owe so many of you thank you notes (hover over names to see if there is a blog link) - Loraine, Andrea, Robin (no blog), Mylene and Melissa and will get them out soon, I promise. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for you generosity, love and understanding. I have lots to catch up with all of you and will be doing that in the week or two to come.

Do you remember the line from City Slickers where Billy Crystal's character says he went out west to find his smile? I felt like I did the same thing with our trip to Utah this past week. You'll see.....

Have you ever utilized an on-line dating service? Did you have success? Nah, I'm not looking for one but I was thinking that blogging is a bit like a dating service. We are attracted to men (or women) for different reasons, aren’t we? We like them because they’re smart, they’re witty, kind, generous and hopefully, attractively packaged. We are attracted to blogs for the same reasons. Those blogs that we all know and love feature all the attributes we’d like to see in another person, I think. I’ve often wondered with a dating service whether the reality of the date would match the expectation. I don’t know. But, I do know that the people behind some blogs I love really did live up to my expectations!

I went to the Shepherd’s Bush retreat in Utah, last week. What a thrill!!! The retreat was fun and believe me, I came home with lots of stash. But, the very best part was meeting and spending lots of time with friends I’ve gotten to know thru their blogs. They ALL lived up to (and surpassed) my expectations. Julie and I left Michigan on an 8:30 AM flight for Utah early on Tuesday morning (Sept 21st). We wanted to take an early flight so we’d have the full day to buzz around that first day and visit with our new, old friends (Deb came in on a later flight). Julie (no blog... yet!) and I shared a beautiful suite at the Escala Lodge with Loraine, Jolene and Kathryn (no blog, yet).

Looking out of our balcony (pics should be clickable):


This place was gorgeous! The first night, Julie and I both woke up at 3:30 AM (5:30 AM our time) and couldn't go back to sleep. We went out and sat on the balcony and watched the stars in the sky. The sky was the most beautiful shade of deep blue that seemed to be lit from behind it was so luminous. That spot is the only place I've ever been where I really felt like I could see and feel the earth moving. It was spectacular!

Anyway, while Loraine, Jolene and Kathryn all knew each other, they had never met us, nor us them. Meeting these wonderful women was such a thrill! Sweet Loraine, whom I’ve grown to know and love over the last couple of years, is just as her blog would lead you to believe. She is the most cheerful, talented and upbeat, glowing from the inside out kind of person I may have ever had the privilege to meet. Jolene, as you may know from her wonderful giveaways, is the most generous person ever. She spoiled me rotten and is the type of person who gets obvious joy from doing for others. Kathryn was our gourmet cook! She fixed most of our meals and did so with a cheerful heart and her fun and silly personality. She prepared the most amazing dishes for us: salmon in pappiere’, squash bisque soup, chicken over rice pilaf with the most amazing and decadent sauce, pizza, gazpacho soup, omelets and more! All the dinners were homemade and absolutely scrumptious!

Also staying at the Escala were our good blogging friends Cari (who really is “Simply Fabulous”) and her sister’s Cathy and Joan (no blog). Oh, my gosh! These gals were a ton of fun and they were exactly as I expected. Cari is gregarious, hilariously funny and was exactly as I imagined her to be. I am sure that she and I could get in a lot of trouble together (sorry about the spilled soda, Cari - you all know it had to happen to me at least once during the trip. No stitching was harmed.... too much!). Cathy was also very funny and couldn’t have been sweeter. Their sister Joan, a little more quiet than Cari and Cathy was just as sweet and kind and I felt like I knew her well after only a few minutes! I can imagine what a laugh filled home they had while growing up! We also met Cari’s good friend Karen who attended the retreat and Julie and I latched onto joined her whenever possible. Karen was a lot of fun and had a great pair of red cowboy boots that I’m still coveting!

Yep, had all this been set up by a dating service it would have been on one of those commercials that tells you how successful they are at matching people! What fun! Here are a couple of pictures of the group. I’m sorry but this pic was taken late into the evening and most of us were pretty tired……

From left to right: Julie, Deb, Jolene, Moi, Loraine and Kathryn.

This is a pic with me and “the sisters” as they came to be called, along with Karen. From left to right: Joan, Simply Fabulous Cari, Moi and Cathy with Karen sitting (no, she wasn’t that vertically challenged) in the bottom front. I absolutely loved these gals and can't wait to see them again!!!

Here I am with Jolene and Loraine who are the sweetest people ever and I love them, too!!!


The final picture (worthy of sharing) is this one of Cari, Cathy and me. We got ready to pose for this picture and I said "Okay girls, chins up!" Cari and Cathy quickly informed me that the best way to hide those chins is this delicate little pose. What do you think? Does it work?

Finally, I have to show you all the goodies that we were gifted. From Jolene and Loraine we got the most beautiful appliqué bags that were made from an old army blanket. They were all done in different colors that the girls thought matched our personalities. Aren’t they gorgeous? We carried them throughout the week and got comments and complements everywhere we went. Inside the purse were a ton of patterns from Hidden Heart Designs (Loraine’s business), and a wonderful little pocket of stitching essentials including pink scissors (what’s not to love)!? They also gave us wonderful pincushion that they punched and attached to a ribbon so you could hang it and a small pair of scissors around your neck. I love it!


This is a more accurate representation of the color of the bag:


I wanted to show you a picture of the wonderful pin cushion Jolene and Loraine made but I can't find it..... if one of you girls packed mine by mistake, please let me know. I'm distraught!

Cari, Cathy and Joan gave us these really pretty bags with a pretty flower on them that Joan made for all of us. Inside were these wonderful goodies:

A pincushion, a pin made with bright cheerful buttons, an awesome finger ring pin cushion, and old spool of thread, an old key and a vintage clothes pin. Is this not a great gift?

Here they are, all lined up in their pretty glory:
There is so much more to share…. Of course we visited Shepherd’s Bush and dropped a bundle of cash but we also visited Temple Square and the Brigham Young house and to say it was inspiring would be an understatement. We spent several hours in this area and got hit by a bit of rain but the fun of the day was not dampened one bit.

Here are some pictures from around town and at Temple Square:

The statue of Christ and the Creation at the Visitors Center:



Carvings on the banisters and furniture at the Brigham Young house:


Utah is the beehive state, after all. You just KNOW I had to come home with a beehive charm!!!

This water tower wasn't anywhere near Temple Square but it has a great old, green color, don't you think?

We had an absolute ball! I am sure that this will not be our last retreat together as we all felt like long, lost friends after the first few minutes!

I also got to meet some other famous bloggers; Valerie and Katrina and lots of other wonderful ladies, too! This was so much fun and I highly recommend it. Thanks to Julie, Loraine, Jolene, Kathryn, Cari, Cathy, Joan, Karen, Deb and all the other fabulous women I met, I found my smile - it was in Utah. Who would have guessed?

Thank you!

Peace,

Terri

64 comments:

Myra said...

Terri, I am so glad you found your smile but sorry you are enduring some tough times. I have missed you. :o) It looks like you had a fabulous time and how could you not find your smile with that group of fabulous ladies to help you.

Catherine said...

So good to hear from you! Your trip sounds fabulous! And those goodies - ooohhhhh!!!

Thanks for sharing all of your great pics!

Patty C. said...

Sorry I didn't realize you were in stressful times - I'm glad you enjoyed the trip
Take Care

Anonymous said...

What a fabulous trip you had! What wonderful pictures to share with us of your time together in Utah!

Have missed you, my friend!

Robin

April Mechelle said...

Your trip sounds like you had a great time !!! Praying that things are looking up for you!

Margaret said...

Thank you so much for sharing your fun time in Utah! It's so fun to see you all together! I'm sorry to hear you're having tough times -- hope things are getting better and that smile you found in Utah stays for good.

Vinniey said...

Glad to see you post again. I hope things are getting better. :) Looks like you had a wonderful time in Utah. Thanks for sharing all those beautiful pictures, love the "chins up!" picture (LOL). Beautiful bag from Jolene and Loraine.

Happy always. Cheers! :)

Andrea said...

Oh Terri, I'm so happy that you had such a great time and can tell by your pictures that you did indeed, find your smile!! And what a wonderful smile you have!
You've been in my thoughts and prayers for weeks!
So glad you were able to get away...wish I could've been there...
xoxo

Cari said...

What more can I say but.... I love you dearly !! Meeting you was simply frosting on the friendship cake of life!! BIG HUGS !!

valerie said...

"Famous"? LOL I'm surprised that people even know my name!

It was wonderful to meet you at Shepherd's Bush! Too bad we didn't have more time to chat but I'm glad that you had a wonderful time and found that smile of yours. Hope things keep looking up!

Just Me and My Shadow said...

Terri, thanks for sharing your wonderful time with us. Sounds like such huge fun. What nicer than to be with like minded friends sharing good times. Sorry to hear things have not been good for you in recent times though and hope the sun is shining for you again.

Chrissie

Annemarie said...

It does sound like you had the most wonderful time - and the pictures speak for themselves!

I hope that whatever it is that's going on in your life will pass quickly and that you re-find your happy self soon. Smiling definitely helps!

Thinking of you,
Annemarie.

KarenV said...

Glad to hear that you had a good time at the retreat! I'm sorry things have been so rough for you lately and hope this is the start of better things to come :)

Sheila said...

It looks and sounds like you had a great time in Utah . . and with a great bunch of ladies.
Hope life throws more smiles at you from now on :)

Siobhan said...

Oh, what a great blog post, Terri! It looks like you guys had an absolute blast. Thanks so much for sharing. I loved the pics around Utah, too; I've always wanted to go! I'm glad that you found your smile--I hope things settle down for you. (((((Terri))))

Bertie said...

So sorry to hear things have not gone your way!! Just thought you got a bit fed up with blogging but good to see it up and running again. Must admit I should do more of it.

Great pics of you and your friends having a ball, may that continue Terri.

Love the Utah pics too.
Keep well:)))

Giovanna said...

What a lovely time you had, so glad you found your smile (it's very visible in the shots!). I hope times get better for you now, hugs.

Shari said...

wow, how fun!!! There is nothing like a stitching get away to get our selves refreshed & motivated...
love all the pictures you shared.
on the personal side, sure do hope things have calmed down for you....

Manuela said...

Spero che tutto si risolva velocemente e nel migliore dei modi, scrivo di getto, quindi scrivo in italiano! Mi ha molto rattristata sapere che hai avuto dei problemi, ti penso sempre e tanto! A te va una mia preghiera ed un grande abbraccio.
Manuela

Annie said...

Welcome back to Blogland! We've missed you.

Nice to see your smiling face at what looks like a very fun retreat.

Jane said...

What a wonderful time you've had in Utah, catching up with new and dear friends. Loved seeing the pictures of everyone and the gorgeous goodies you received.

I hope life is back on track for you and sunny days are ahead.

Kajsa said...

That sounds like a wonderful get away! I hope it made the trick for getting you back into business again. Hopefully things are looking up now!

stitcheranon said...

I am glad you found your smile; your piccies made me smile too so thank you xx.
Utah hey? A bit far for me, but the photos did the trick ;-)

Katrina said...

Terri, sorry you have had such a difficult summer! I think the retreat is definitely a place to find your smile ;-). It was so nice to meet you in person.

Gorgeous pictures and wonderful goodies. Love the pin cushions and bags!!!!

Carol said...

I'm so glad to see your post, Terri--I was beginning to worry about you. Sending you hugs to help you get through any tough times that are still lingering...

Your trip photos certainly convey that sisterhood feeling that can be found among all of these wonderful stitching/blogging friends. Glad you had such a special time--you deserve it :)

Joanie said...

Sorry that you are in a rough space right now, I will keep you in my prayers for peace through it. I am glad you found your smile in Utah, it looks like you had a lot of fun with a great group of friends (I am a bit jealous and the color of that water tower, LOL!) Glad you are posting again, I missed your "voice"/

Faye said...

Whew!! I was getting worried about you!! Glad to see this post and more happy to see you at the retreat with smiles everywhere!! Take care, Faye

Hazel said...

Looks like a fab retreat and lovely people too. xx

BrendaS said...

It looks like you had a fabulous time. So glad you got to meet new friends and enjoy your retreat. I'm totally envious (but in a good way:))))

Thanks for sharing

Anonymous said...

Terri, I loved meeting you and sharing the banquet time together. It really was a wonderful retreat. Mom & I took track A and cannot believe how much stuff we received in each class. Love everything. Can't wait til next year. Hugs, Marleen from Florida

Tammy said...

I was one of the lucky ladies that got to meet you. Your smile was so fun and contagious, I hope it stays right where it belongs. Thanks for showing Lancy and I your darling handmade strawberries. So cute!! I wish for you every beautiful blessing. Take care.

Jennifer said...

Great to hear about your wonderful retreat trip Terri and that you found your smile in Utah! I am so sorry to hear you have had some troubles.Hopefully the fall is bringing better news. Have missed reading your blog. Yours is one I go to on a regular basis. What beautiful goodies you brought home too! All the best for better times . You are so fortunate to have met those wonderful bloggers in person .

Natalia said...

Terri, it was a pleasure to meet you at the retreat... at one of the stations during the craft night !! You gave me your blog and I gave you mine (stitching-4-joy.blogspot.com) and I am so glad you did. I love your post and what a great title. It was a wonderful weekend, wasn't it? Full of beautiful memories and yes... LOTS of stash. LOL. I hope we'll get to do it again in two years...

Cathy Lloyd said...

Oh I miss you already Terri! I so wish we lived close and could get together often for a night of stitching and gabbing. You are exactly what I expected and I just ♥ you and your fabulous friends! It was sooo much fun wasn't it? Thank you so much for the fabulous and thoughtful gifts! Have a great week languishing in the memories. I know I will! :)

Kathy A. said...

wow, that was some wonderful weekend!
I'm glad that all your stitching friends were able to put a happy smile on your face and in your heart. I hope you hold it to you to help you through the hard times. Sending warm hugs

marylin & poussy said...

Satisfy with reading again you
Best regards marylin

jayne@~an eye for threads~ said...

I can not think of a better way to "Find your smile" after having a rough go. Congratulations! although, in looking at all of the pictures here and on Deb's blog I'd venture a guess that you would really have to look for a frown. I truly believe you were born with that wonderful smile and have had a few years practice with it. Thanks for sharing this experience with us Terri,

and about that Coke thing!!!!
Be always in stitches & smiles

Blu said...

Good to see you back Terri. Sorry to hear about the tough times.
Sounds (and looks) like a fabulous time was had!

KAREN said...

A Colorado gal always travels with her boots :) Miss everyone already. You and Cari have me thinking of doing a blog. Just what I need, something else to do. I have been "rolling in my kill for 2 days" and loving everything I bought and was given. When's the next trip?? Hugs to you and Julie

Karin said...

Terri, it was wonderful to meet you in Utah and you sure found your smile there!!! Every time I saw you that smile was there. Thanks for sharing all these great pics.

Kathy said...

What a wonderful trip you had! Thanks for sharing the pictures with us. I love all the goodies you received. What a wonderful way to find your smile.

Loraine said...

Oh my goodness Terri! What a fabulous post. I am still glowing from this past week. I can't tell you how glad I am that you came out to visit. YOU are one of the sweetest people I know, girlfriend! Thank you for your very generous and sweet comments about me. I'm still blushing. I feel exactly the same about you dear heart. You are a doll, and inspire me beyond words.
Your pictures are wonderful. I especially like the closeups of the things in the beehive house. Please share!
I'm printing out this post, and adding it to my scrapbook.
I'll post my stitching today, so people can see what you accomplished this week. LOL
Let's chat real soon. Until then, take care. I'm already missing my BFF's!
Hugs.

Mary said...

Terri I have missed your blogging so much - do hope everything is on the up and up now. Sounds like your retreat was just the thing you needed - lots of love and friendship and of course, stitching.
Mary

Stephanie (Joie de Bayou) said...

Welcome back!

What a great trip. Glad to know you have some new stash and you will have plenty to blog about. Looking forward to seeing what you are up to next!

Melissa said...

I'm so glad you found your smile! What a wonderful trip and opportunity to meet your stitchy gal pals! The pressies they made look great too!

I hope things will get easier! Big Hug to you, Terri! Keep smiling!

JOLENE said...

So glad you found your smile in Utah, I think you got it back because of Loraine! You two seemed to steal the show! You two are definitely the light and life of the party. Thanks for all the beautiful and fun gifts you and Julie presented to us. I had a most enjoyable time with each and everyone of my new "sisters" from blogland. Can't wait to do it again!!!! You are such a cutie, keep on smiling, you're contagious you know. lol All I can say was it went by way too fast, thanks for the memories my sweet friend. Smiles

Alison said...

Terri, I just knew you would love the Sisters Crandall. They are just good fun. Love all your photos.

Now....where are the photos of the retreat pieces??? LOL.

Hugs.

woolwoman said...

it's been fun reading all the different accounts of the Utah trip - I envy all the fun and comrarderie you girls had - it's nice to meet forever friends in person. Glad you enjoyed it so very much! Hope you'll be back to regular visits in blogland - I miss you and I'm sure many other do as well. Hope you enjoy a spectacular fall season! mel

Sherry said...

good to see your post - I thought something was up when I saw you last month at K.S. - you just seemed a little down. I would give my (trying to come up with a part I'd give up) well - you get the idea to go to a retreat with S.B. Sounds like a fun and meeting all these people I have only blogged with for a half-year, but feel like lots longer, would be such a kick. And who do I have to blame that on - why, Terri! Thanks - not sure if I've said that to you - for introducing and poking me into blogging.

Hope your great trip spills over into home/work and keeps that beautiful smile on your face! See you in a couple weeks!

tnladybugs said...

Terri, I've missed you and your fun blog. I've checked on you almost daily and have been worried about you. So sorry you've had life to deal with. My Dad used to say, "life isn't always fair little girl". And he was usually right. Glad you and your smile are back.

Lois said...

Terri, lovely to see you posting again. I'm sorry to hear that things haven't been going so well and I'm glad that going to retreat helped you find you smile again. Sounds like you'd a wonderful time. Nothing nicer than meeting up with friends, old and new, and being able to do one of your favourite things, stitching.

Take care.

Karoline said...

Sorry to hear that you've not been having a great time of it but a trip to the SB retreat sounds like the perfect antidote. It sounds like you all had a blast

Susan said...

So sorry to hear that things haven't been going well for you. Let's hope this trip is the start of better things for a long time. Thanks for sharing--sounds like lots of fun!

MyLifesAStitch said...

Looks like you had a great time, Terri! So glad it was a good trip for you, and I hope things continue to settle down for you!

Mylene said...

What a wonderful time you've had, thanks for sharing all the pics.
Happy weekend!

Michelle said...

I'm sorry to hear you're having a rough time lately, but glad you found your smile at least for a little while. Your trip looks like it was a blast!

Melissa said...

What a fun week! So glad you found your smile.

Maggie said...

What a great post!

I'm glad you had such a wonderful time:-)

Suzanne said...

I hope that you are having a better time with things.

Great trip you had, thanks for sharing.

Pumpkin said...

Yes, it's been a rough summer for you :o(

I can hear the happiness through your post though and I think it was a good move for you to go to this retreat :o) How wonderful to meet all these gals! I'm SO jealous ;o)

Your goodies are...WOW! I'm drooling all over my keyboard. LOL!

Roberta said...

Finally catching up with all my blog reading from mid summer.

Sorry that life has not been good, do hope all comes together and you are back to what you need to be doing.

Sounds like a wonderful trip to Utah and it seems like it helped you out.

Keep smiling!!

Roberta

Sherry said...

Sorry I haven't commented before now. It has been really hectic around here. It looks like you had a wonderful trip and lots of fun!

BeckySC said...

((((((((hugs)))))))))
It sure looks like you all had a wonderful time :) I enjoyed your pictures very much :) Thanks for sharing with us :)
I'll be praying for you :)

KAREN said...

Just wanted you to know that I am thinking of you. Hope all is well.