Tuesday, October 5

If I had never...........

Those words above are interesting. Sometimes we think "oh, if I had never .........." and that can be finished with things like............"oh, if only I had never locked my keys in the car"......."if only, I had never failed that test"........."if only I had never set that glass of milk on the edge of the table".......and on and on. So often, the word "never" has a negative connotation but I am going to put a positive spin on the word. Yesterday, I was thinking that "if I had never started going to church at Minnesota Valley Community Church (Prior Lake, MN), I would never have come to Villa Maria for my first retreat and I would never have met Carol." That's Carol on the left in the photo below. You already know me. :-)
Carol is the person that handles all the reservations and details for those who come to stay at Villa~Maria. I don't remember how long I have known her but I know it's more than a dozen years. I have mentioned her before on my blog and I wanted you to meet her because she is the one who gave me the quilt that was on the line last Monday. If you go here, you can see the quilt that belonged to her husband's family (originally from Pennsylvania). I also took a picture of the quilt draped over the park bench near the front entrance to Villa Maria. I plan to take the picture of Carol and I (above) and also the one on the right, and I'm going to print them on muslin so that I can make them into a label for the quilt. I will also print the info that Carol gave me on her husband's family name (Morgan) and that the quilt originated in Pennsylvania. I'll sew those muslin photos and info to the back of the quilt (it's backed with plain muslin) and whoever gets the quilt after me, will know it's story. I should do this to all my quilts but I labeled only a few of my quilts. I am determined to be better at getting them documented. There will be more on the subject of labels and documentation in a post that is coming up in about two weeks. :-)
So, back to my "if I had never ......" thoughts. As I mentioned,.............. if I had never joined Minnesota Valley Church (MVCC) in 1991, I would never have enjoyed a stay at Villa Maria. I had never even heard of Villa Maria, until I joined the women's group at MVCC. I had never been on a retreat and wasn't even sure what one did on a retreat. I was working full-time then, plus doing a lot of volunteering (but I didn't belong to any quilting groups). I was encouraged by friends at MVCC that I would enjoy the retreat and so I went. I remember thinking that it was odd that we were going to a Catholic retreat center when none of us were Catholic. Our church denomination was Reformed Church of America. However, someone in the group had learned of Villa Maria and I am so glad they did.
I remember the peace that I felt when I walked in those doors for the first time. Almost everyone who goes there says the same thing. I think it's partly because the building has an "old-world" atmosphere about it, and it's just very comforting. I enjoyed that retreat (1992, I think) and went back again for several more annual visits. Then our women's group membership declined and eventually there weren't enough to attend a retreat. I was so sad. And then, the church was disbanded due to declining membership. Really sad, then.
We were moving and so I knew I would find a new church here in Henderson. I also I knew that I would one day return to the Villa and host a quilting retreat. And I did, with my friend, Sara Peterson. Our first quilting retreat was in 2003. Actually, we did two retreats that year.... one in February (32 attending) and one in October (52 attending). We both had parental health issues and couldn't plan a retreat for 2004 but in 2005, I planned a smaller retreat with the friends you'll meet in my next few posts. Ahhhh, yes, "if I had never come to MVCC, if I had never joined the women's group, if I had never gone on that first retreat............I would never have met Carol and I wouldn't have that lovely quilt. And I would never have known wee Sister Marion (we all loved her) or the rest of the staff at the Villa. And I would never have hosted my friends at the Villa and now we are going back in April, 2012! We are going to change thinks up a bit, though. Because of my chronic back issues, I can't really be doing some of the lifting and stuff that I do so each of us is going to take an aspect of the retreat and make it a community effort. I will still coordinate the reservations, so that's my part. As Collette and I drove home from the retreat, we made a list of "jobs" so that everyone can be assigned a duty. Everyone of my friends who came to the retreat think this is a great idea. We are all excited about it and the date is a year and a half away! So here's another "if I had never"...........If I had never brought up the idea of doing the retreat as a "community" effort, I would never have known how much my friends enjoy coming to the Villa and just how much it means to them!
This may be more info than some of you want to know but if you have never been on a retreat or part of a group that quilts or stitches or scrapbooks, etc., take the time to find one and participate. And if you are thinking of hosting one and have questions about details, please feel free to e-mail me and I'll offer any advice I have learned along the way.
I have to share one more photo today. This is the stained glass window above the altar in the chapel at the Villa...............I think it's beautiful. Wouldn't the design make a lovely quilt? or a wool applique design? Hmmmm....I think I see a future project. :-)
Oh, and here's one more positive look at an "if I had never......."
If I had never started blogging, I would never have "met" so many new friends in all parts of the world. We are very fortunate to enjoy the exchange of quilty information, crafting, recipes, family stuff, and this, that, and the other thing!!! :-) If world leaders would take up stitching, perhaps they would relax and get along better. In fact, I think there could be world peace if our politician's started quilting because they would be so busy stitching that they wouldn't have time to filibuster or campaign forever and all that stuff. It's just a thought. :-) Remember, it's just a thought............
In the next day or so, I'll post those photos of my friends and their retreat projects.
Have a good day!
Sandi

12 comments:

Crispy said...

What a great "never" :0) Love the stained glass window!!

Crispy

luv2quilt2 said...

What wonderful surroundings for a retreat! I look forward to seeing the projects.

Pat said...

LOVE the idea of featuring your retreat friends in the upcoming posts. And how WONDERFUL to put a positive spin on statements starting with the words: "If I had never...."

Happy Cottage Quilter said...

Wow what a great post. I agree Sandy, if I had never started blogging, I would never have met so many wonderful quilters from all over the world!

Cindy said...

"If I had never" joined in the swap a year ago, I would have never met such a warm person as yourself.

You're always so welcoming.

elizabeth @ twelvecrafts said...

What a peaceful space! I love your "I never"! Puts a different spin on it!

Needled Mom said...

It is amazing how people come into our lives as a result of choices that we make.

That window is stunning. I can see it as many things, but the light coming through it makes it extra special.

aplainpath said...

I love your positive spin. The quilt featured is beautiful!

BillieBee (billiemick) said...

Thank you Sandi for sharing your "If I had nevers....."

I posted your link on my blog page for my friends to come read it and shared my "If I had nevers...."

Nanette Merrill and daughters said...

I'm a person that doesn't like to look back. Because I tend to look at the negative like you said in the first part of your post. But in life we do have to take the good with the bad. And focus on the good. There are so many good things we have done that you are right, it is sad to think of the negative. If I had never written that stupid post on that thread I would not have "met you". So even if we do something impulsively it can work out. This is such a beautiful building.

Catsngrams said...

I agree with "never" statements they should have a positive twist.
Lovely villa Maria and What a wonderful place for a retreat.

Stitched With Prayer said...

Words that I have also said many times with the more negative tone, but also used as you did in this wonderful post...pointing out that if certain things had never been done, or said, I may have missed out on some very blessed and wonderful things in life. Thanks for a really meaningful post.

"Peace can be found in the piecing of a quilt."
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