Sunday, September 23, 2018

Friendship, Fellowship and update on the Book Club Retreat

September sky...Tahilla Farm

"I love the thought of "The Gathering", 
"Cuairt" in Gaelic means
"heartfelt visit full of warmth"
Helen Tilston

I promised myself I would not write this blog post until I responded to each and every one of you following my last blog post.  I did it! At least I hope I did! Let me know if I missed you!

Book Club Retreat..
To refresh memories, I was asked by a reader what I thought about an idea to host a Book Club Retreat at Tahilla Farm. I threw out the idea to readers on my last blog post with a list of possible themes and asked you to pick your top five. What a surprise!

So many of you kindly wrote what ranks high on your list as a retreat interest. I am touched beyond words that so many of you feel a kinship with this property and would enjoy the opportunity to share in something special.

I asked for your top five interests (from my list) and got it...and then some.

 A tie between 

A few for health, a few for mindfulness and a few to create...all to feed the mind, body and soul.  

Recharge and Inspire..
There were clear winners but to be honest, it was so close it left me thinking that a series of retreats related to one topic would be ideal. Selfishly, I asked myself what I would like to do if I went on a my own house. What would I hope to gain over those 2-3 days and more importantly, how would I want to feel at the end of the retreat? It was the same thing I asked myself when we made the decision to buy the property and I have been working toward that goal ever since. A welcoming home where we (family and friends) can recharge and leave feeling inspired for the next journey. 

Friendship, Fellowship and Laughter..
We all seem to be on the same page thinking that small groups would work best. It was clear from comments that people see this as a chance to connect. Some would like to meet fellow bloggers in person, others are keen to forge new friendship. A fellow reader, Claire, said it so well when she suggested it would be a great opportunity for friendship, fellowship and laughter. A few other ideas that were mentioned...knitting, meditative labyrinth walking, plein air painting, a chance to talk about what comes next in life and more. 

Like minds..
Now that I have your thoughts, I can start to think it through in more detail. Mr. H is with the plan, research has begun, a project list is underway and discussions are spreading. I hope to test the waters with a few day events, a local discussion group and a test "retreat" run with friends. We all seem to be of like minds which makes life so much easier! If I get the timing right, you will see New England in it's autumn glory, rain or shine.

While all of this ticks along...I have places to see, people to visit and a carriage house to finish off. We have made fantastic progress on that front and are near the finish line. More on that next time.

In the meantime, I have a few items to share...

When Jeanne C. wrote to suggest her favorite discussion topic for a retreat "What's next in life?" the timing could not have been more perfect. I am in the midst of reading via Audible and my Kindle... It's Never Too Late to Begin Again: Discovering Creativity and Meaning at Midlife and Beyond by Julia Cameron who also wrote The Artist's Way (was it really published 25 years ago?). In her new book, Julia addresses the "second act", also known as retirement (a word I hate to use). She offers creativity tools to help navigate that nagging question of "What Next?". I am enjoying it and if you asked which one of the two you should consider, audio vs. written, I suggest you stick with the written version. Julia suggests week long projects which I think are better addressed in a book format. More on the Julia Cameron's philosophy here.

Still on a theme, Life Reimagined: The Science, Art and Opportunity of Midlife  is one of those books, I listened to once and know I will listen to again. Written by Barbara Bradley Hagerty and read by Barbara for Audible, Barbara writes about midlife and the steps we can take to make it the best time of life. Whether it is your career, marriage, name it..she offers a way for you to tackle them with intention. For me, it has been worth having both the audio version and book format. Actually, I have all three. Kindle, Audible and the book which never seems to stay in my house for very long...I tend to pass books along and this one goes out the door frequently!

Books! Books! Books!

The Brown Paper Book Club
While we are on the topic of books...we have been very busy sharing and exchanging book suggestions over at The Brown Paper Book Club. I am keeping track of our suggestions on Goodreads, you can find the most recent list here.

From my personal list...I just adored The Elephant Whisper by Lawrence Anthony. If ever there was an elephant tale to tug at the heartstrings, this is it. Simon Vance is the Audible reader and he had me hanging on every word. I have An Elephant in My Kitchen by Francoise Malby-Anthony on order. I can't wait!

Other books that I recently listened to on Audible and can recommend...
Warlight by Michael Ondaatje
Meet Me at the Museum: A Novel by Anne Youngson
Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish

I am currently listening to The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

And if that wasn't enough, I just purchased a few more while in one of my favorite bookstores, Diane's Books in Greenwich, Connecticut. For "Diane's Book Picks" read here. I am adding The Lost Vintage by Ann Mah to my airplane reading list. No. 43 in Hong Kong is only a few weeks away, where has the time gone!

She got me at "ADORE"!

I hope I haven't overwhelmed you! 
I get a little carried away when it comes to books.
Hence...a Book Club Retreat!

If you have more thoughts to share, 
I would love to hear from you.

As always, you can find me on
On the blog
and email:

Best wishes for a wonderful week!

Jeanne xx

Monday, August 6, 2018

What 60 looks like....and a question for YOU

What 60 looks like...
on the Selinda Spillway in the Okavango Delta

I have been thinking a lot about what a woman’s 60th year looks like. I can tell you it feels a whole lot better than my 59th year. About this time last year my air miles were off the charts and I was feeling well...tired..a weary tired. 

One year later.. a GOOD TIRED. 

This morning I twisted myself into some version of a Vinyasa yoga pose that looked nothing like my instructors. I looked over into the mirror and thought ...Jeanne, you idiot, why did you look? YOU look ridiculous...and proceeded to flow (collapse is more like it) into a Child Pose. My default pose when I can not keep it together...which happens often. 

This is just one of the classes pushing me into a "good tired". I am also working with a fitness trainer, Carol, two mornings a week. We work hard and it leaves me near crawling from her studio up a flight of stairs to the car park but it is a good tired and worth the energy.

 It doesn’t stop there, I am also taking a Fit Camp class two times a week with a group of ladies who groan along with me as we feel the burn. I can not remember the last group exercise class I took only because I tend to avoid them. I can't even remember the reason why but after the first class I knew I had been missing out on a great source of exercise and camaraderie. 

I love a good tired way. 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

News from a summer porch in New England..

A summer porch....Tahilla Farm

Hello! Hello! Hello!

Goodness, it has been so long, how are you?? I am imagining many of you checking in from your homes across the globe...summer, autumn and all the shades of seasons in between. We are technically a few weeks away from the start of summer ( 21 June) but it feels heavenly from where I am sitting today. When I last wrote I wondered if I would ever see color in the garden again. We have it in particular, in shades of peony. 

When we bought Tahilla Farm five years ago, we inherited what I am guessing is the pink 'Sarah Bernhard' peony below. We had to dig them up carefully with a small tractor, gently taking everything that was growing with them to ensure they would survive. This is the first year since we moved them that they have blossomed in abundance. 

We added the pink 'Madison' and white 'Festiva Maxima' in 2016 when we established the gardens. I always feel a bit guilty cutting flowers in the garden, not wanting to take away from our floral landscape. Not so this year, there are so many that I will hardly notice and the fragrance makes me want to skip out of bed at first light and run around the garden in my pajamas with glee. Thank goodness we live in the woods!

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Stirring the creative soul...

Henri Matisse
1950's Karolina York Print

On this sunny morning in New Hampshire, 
something to stir your creative soul....
Henri Matisse and thoughts on life
by Helena Bonham Carter 

Monday, April 16, 2018

A cozy chair, a few books and a Carriage House

Whiling away the seasons...Tahilla Farm

Winter…Spring…Winter and a Cozy Chair

Good afternoon from wet and chilly New Hampshire! The calendar says spring but the weather says winter, again! We are all a bit weary of this never ending chill but as all New Englanders tend to do, we take it in stride. Our warmer days will the meantime, I plan to toss another log on the fire, grab a good book and settle into a cozy chair. My latest read..  A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, has had me captivated by every word.  I am listening to it via  Audible and it is just wonderful. Perfect rest material...I highly recommend it!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Cooking with Picasso and The Brown Paper Book Club

birds of a feather flock together
Tahilla Farm

Greetings from a still chilly New Hampshire! The calendar may say Spring but I can tell you, we are a good few weeks away from basking in that glorious sunshine. Which suits me just fine as I am still deep into a few projects that I am enjoying immensely. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Soul Searching...'Set Free the Statue'

Sharing: The Journey

Another snowy day is upon us...I should be shoveling, I should be outside snapping away at the glory of it all but instead I buried my head in files of papers and folders looking for a special story, 'Set Free the Statue', a story that was sent to me nearly fifteen years ago. It resonated with me so deeply at the time that I kept it to pass along to anyone else that might 'need' it too. 

Monday, February 26, 2018


Baby Roo

Mr. and Mrs. H are absolutely busting 
with grandparent pride today 
over the birth of our first grandchild, 
Cooper Lee Henriques! 
"Coop" came into the world
via Brisbane (Australia) last weekend.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

My three words for 2018...Create, Community and Health

Wintry sunrise..Tahilla Farm

I have a morning ritual, I rise, look out to the mountain and see who made it up first, me or "mama sun" (Mother Nature). It's a good day when I get to greet the far-reaching fluorescent starburst that vanishes as quickly as it rises. It’s all in the have to be quick with "mama sun"... she has a way of surprising you and shifting moods in the blink of an eye.

Monday, February 12, 2018

A few words on CREATIVE energy...and gratitude

February Tulips

My youngest son and I were driving to town this morning and I remarked that I felt really good today, brighter in some way, better than I had in a while. He asked if that was because he worked all weekend and was working a full day today. I said yes...partly, but for good reason. It gave me time to navigate my life around the house, something I promised myself in the month of January. It was time to delve into those boxes we save for a rainy day, in the cupboards we close as quickly as we open and think "not now". It was time. I had left it for nearly two years, it was time to properly unpack our belongings from Vietnam and place them where they needed to be. I knew it would be a lengthy task and I knew I could think of better things to do but we had rain for two days and I didn't feel like skating on ice. I put my apron on and thought...right..

Sunday, January 14, 2018

In the month of January....a 'recharge' and a reading list

Lavender, books and a view from Mr. H's 'Master and Commander' window.

Happy New Year!

I hope your year is off to a roaring start or a gentle one...whichever suits you best. I ended the year with a wonderful big family roar and now that everyone has flown the coop, am easing into a gentle start.
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