Last year I decided that instead of making any New Year’s Resolutions, I would choose one word that would be the focus of my year. I chose “Finish” with the intent to focus on finishing many of my UFOs. Beyond quilting projects, I had several other projects I wanted to finish. I wanted to finish the website for my longarm business and several home improvement projects we had planned for a while now. So, I wrote the word finish on my sewing room whiteboard and on the mirror in my bathroom so that I had a daily reminder of my goal. 2019 was a good year. I finished a lot of quilts, my website, and the home improvement projects I had planned. I also finished a few things that I had not envisioned at the start of the year, including one unexpected finish in particular, the purchase of Koosa Mountain Lodge.
With 2020 upon us, it was time for me to pick a new word for 2020. This year, my new word is “Connect” I want to focus on making new connections with quilters and crafters. I also want to strengthen my connections current friends and my family. Of course, there is a quilting element to the connect theme. I want to connect pieces of fabric together to make beautiful quilts.
The connections we have with others impact our creativity, our physical health, and our emotional well-being. When we connect with others who share our interests and are supportive of our endeavors, it lifts us up. People who have emotional connections with friends have fewer cases of depression, they report higher levels of happiness, and they have more fun.
“The connections we make in the course of a life–maybe that’s what heaven is.” – Fred Rogers
We all know that connecting with others is important, but how do we do it? One of the easiest ways to connect is to get out of the house and do the things you love to do. For my husband, it is his love of hunting and fishing that allows him to connect to nature and to other people through shared experiences in the woods, a dove field, or a boat. For me, the love of quilting has helped me connect with so many wonderful people. When my kids were younger and needed more of my time, I did most of my quilting at home. I wasn’t connected to many quilters, although I did have a small group of friends that got together on a regular basis to sew. Over the years, the ladies in that group moved away or had changes in their lives that made it difficult to get together. I needed to find more and new connections. The best thing I did was visiting my local quilt shop. I started taking classes and attending the sew-ins and retreats. Through those classes and retreats, I made new connections which led me to join two guilds. I’ve connected with the ladies in the guilds, and I feel like I now have a tremendous support system. That support system gave me the confidence I needed to start Koosa Mountain Lodge.
If you are trying to connect with other quilters, there are many on-line groups you can join. Facebook is full of groups of quilters, and these can be valuable resources, especially if you don’t live near a quilt shop or guild. These groups are great, but they have a hard time comparing to the connections you can make with other quilters in person. Attending classes at your local quilt shop and joining a guild are great ways to connect. In my opinion, however, the best way to connect is to attend a retreat. Spending an entire weekend with a group of quilters gives you the opportunity to share meals, enjoy a sunset on the deck, and have great conversations into the wee hours of the morning. It’s become my favorite way to connect.
One of the amazing things that I love about owning a retreat center is the connections I make with my guests. I’ve held a couple of “dry runs” at the Lodge, and the ladies that I have gotten to know through those events are amazing. They are so creative and talented. I’m in awe of their abilities. I continue to be inspired not only by their quilting, but by their stories.
An unexpected treat for me has been witnessing the connections these ladies are making with each other. I’ve watched as ladies who didn’t know each other at the beginning of a weekend make connections that have lifted their spirits, inspired their creativity, and expanded their friend group. I love that I’ve been able to help quilters connect with each other.
I’m very excited about the opportunities to connect at Koosa Mountain Lodge. I believe the more we connect with others the richer and happier our lives are. I hope to form and strengthen many connections in 2020 and beyond.