I’ll admit it. I didn’t want to go. It’s the beginning of January and I have things to do… taking down the decorations, unpacking from trips, the start of school. I drove to Camp Allen ahead of the rain storm and all that was on my mind was getting back home on Sunday to the list of things to do. And then I sat down at a table for dinner. At that moment, I received a text from Tom saying, “Leave open the possibility of enjoying yourself this weekend.” And with that, I settled in to interesting conversations with women of all ages, about life experiences, raising children and grandchildren, careers, hobbies, TV shows, or nothing at all. The speakers, Lisa Fischbeck, the Vicar of the Episcopal Church of the Advocate, and Erin Dangler, an actor and parishioner at the same church, got me out of my comfort zone and off of the to-do list. I gave thought to how I pray and how I might pray differently in the new year. I explored how my role at Palmer has evolved over time, from a parishioner to a Sunday School teacher to a vestry member. Through all of these discussions, I pondered how I can grow as a person, a parent, a Palmer. Then there is the intangible at retreat…the time together. I probably laugh harder at retreat than at any other event all year. It is so good for the soul. As always, the committee did an amazing job of balancing time with our facilitators, time for ourselves, and time to be together. I returned home on Sunday feeling loved by my Palmer sisters, happy to have had the experience with them, and ready to start the year. If you are interested in learning more about the Palmer Women’s Retreat, please see the Palmer website. Next year’s dates are January 28-31 at Camp Allen.