A Writing Retreat in Park City

At the last minute, my friends, Julie and Shelley and I decided to have a little writing retreat in Park City.  Julie had some timeshare points to use or lose, so we gathered our things and headed to the mountains for a cold snowy weekend.

We started our Writing Group a year ago and we’ve faithfully met every week on Zoom to talk about our writing projects and share things we’ve written.  One of the projects we’ve worked on together has been from this book:

Our goal this weekend was to finish and share our 52 lists with each other.  It’s been a lot of fun.

Here’s a short sampling of some of the 52 Questions with some of my lists:

52 Lists for Happiness Writing Group 2022

List what makes you happy right now.
-My children and grandchildren. All are obedient, bright and good. All are contributing to society and the good in the world.
-I love my laptop and wifi and the ability to type fast.
-I love reading and never wanting for a good book.
-I love thinking about quilt projects in the middle of the night.
-I love our bed–big, comfortable, clean, cozy, and I love sleeping as long as I want to each morning.
-I’m happy to have enough resources around me so I can ration things. I love making things last longer than expected.
-I am happy to have my own space/office to work in.
-I am happy about where we live–it’s beautiful here–the mountains, the seasons.
-I’m happy to have safe healthy food anytime I want some.
-I’m so grateful for the Book of Mormon and the calm happy peace I feel when I read it.
-Music makes me happy. Beautiful music. I listen all the time.

List the Routines in your personal life and work.
These are things I do every day:
Linger longer in bed.
Check my phone for messages.
Check the news feed on my phone, mostly headlines.
Put my hair in a clip. Put on jeans and a flannel shirt or a sweatshirt.
For breakfast I eat a bowl of Raisin Bran or granola with plain Cheerios and Rice Krispies mixed in, topped with a big handful of walnuts. Occasionally I’ll have whole wheat toast with a little butter and honey, dipped in skim milk or Ovaltine. Hot in the winter, cold in the summer.

During the day:
Study French for about 30 min.
Write in my journal.
Read for at least an hour.
Listen to my favorite music.
Exercise (I try), I take walks.
Try to sort or organize an area.

In the evenings:
John & I are trying to catch up on good TV programming we’ve missed these last few years we’ve been away. There are some good series out there and we often watch an episode of something before bed.

I have my Quilt group every Wednesday (on hold because of Covid).
My Writing Group meets on Zoom every Thursday (except book club week).
Book Club meets every first Thursday of the month.

List the things you are really good at.
I made this list a couple of years ago in Yakima when I was thinking and teaching about serving from our strengths. Here is that list:
Cheering others on
Teaching Family History
Doing Family History, Sharing Family History
Journaling, writing
Photo journalism
Social Media, Facebook
Making soup
Eating healthy
Reading well
Networking others, connecting people
DfG leader, worker
Health & Strength
Public speaking
Finding scripture insights, applications
Collecting thoughts and quotes and talks, sharing handouts with missionaries
Living in hard places
Loving history
Some computer skills (not bad for my age)
Primary music
Good grammar
Great faith
Good at rationing
Vegetable gardener
Good at puzzles
Delayed gratification

List the best choices you have made in your life so far
To have faith and believe
To have a family
To stay out of debt
To serve missions –South Africa, Nigeria, Yakima, Abidjan & Bamako
To be healthy
To write every day
To be involved with Days for Girls
To going back to school at BYU as an adult
To learn German, to read German documents and learn to do German research

List the elements of your life where you feel challenged in a positive way
Not new technology–it just makes me feel stupid
Family History research, working with old documents and German records
Writing and looking for stories in everyday live and documenting them with photos
Finding ways to include extended in family history and learning about our ancestors
Quilting–trying new fabric combinations and patterns
Reading books about time periods or people I knew nothing about, then finding lessons

List the scents, spaces, textures, and sounds that bring you joy
Smells:  fresh cut grass, freshly turned soil, a first rain, plum blossoms, baking bread, a pot of soup on the stove, baby powder, burning wood, sawdust in Dad’s shop, a fresh pineapple, the smell of a match gone out, chlorine from a pool, swallowtail butterfly wings, pine or fur trees, ironing cotton fabric

Spaces:  My office and all the projects in it, the front porch in the fall, the back yard in the, summer time, libraries and archives, bookstores, the sky at different times of the day, clouds, colors

Textures:  Hard dry cornbread, fat baby thighs, the weight of a quilt at night, a cotton, sweatshirt, new socks, a firm handshake or real hug, driving over snowplow piles on the sides of the road

Sounds:  rain, thunder, the silence of snow, sacred Christmas carols, especially European choirs in cathedrals, Eva Cassidy’s voice, I love listening to Claire at her computer. Her fingers fly. Fast typing makes me happy.  Children playing and laughing, birds in the early morning, crickets late at night, shears cutting fabric on a hard surface, scriptures playing in my headphones

List the things you’re curious about
How things are made (like Cheetos), how things work (like compost piles), the names of weeds, insects and their life cycles, what makes my children happy and excited, every day life in times past, how the body heals, signs of the times and how to prepare for Jesus to come again.

List the things that felt important five or ten years ago but are unimportant now
Buying things we might need someday, storing for the future. My future is getting shorter and shorter. I’ve just be diagnosed with breast cancer. That jerks me into the reality of valuing every day, every person and every project I need to complete.

List the things, people, and experiences you want to say yes to
GrAnn, will you read to me?
Would your like to go to a quilting or writing retreat?
Do you want to stay home tonight?
May I please clean your toilets?
Do you wish you were thin??
Would you like time to finish every unfinished project before you die?

List the things you think you’ll want out of life five years from now
A cancer-free healthy life. Opportunities to visit grandkids. A clear and more pure heart and mind and energy to finish my projects.

List the things you are ready to rid yourself of, things in your home, in your closet, and in your heart
I try hard, but don’t always succeed in decluttering and thinning out the things in my life. I have things because they are useful, memorable or because they make me happy. I like feeling surrounded by my stuff. I have too much fabric (I’d need to live to 200 to use make quilts using it all), too many books (will I ever have time to read them a second time?), too many papers needing to be digitized and shared. There are clothes in my closet I may never fit into and old clothes that I love that are no longer in style. We have decorations we are too tired to put up and take down. We have enough food stored to feed a small army. I like to feel prepared by having this stuff around me.
My hope is that I could walk away from any of it if I were asked to.

List the compliments you want to give others
You are so good at that.
What you did made me feel . . . .
I’m so grateful for your friendship. It really means a lot to me.
I’m grateful for your prayers. I feel your concern. Thank you.
I love how you said/did that.
Wow, that was amazing!
You look fabulous today!
You’re always so thoughtful, thank you.
Your kids are amazing. I love how they . . . .

List your values and beliefs
I believe in Christ-centered living. I believe that covenants with God matter and provide us with power and peace. I believe God speaks to his children and has a plan for each of us, unique and individual. I believe that we are put into families and situations that will teach us things we need to learn. I believe God wants us to be happy and he wants us to feel peace, no matter what’s happening around us.
I value honesty, integrity, being responsible for one’s actions, kindness, sharing, helping, lifting, and living a productive life.

What a treat to be with friends, in our PJs, at our laptops writing!  I have the best friends ever.

About Ann Laemmlen Lewis

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