Friendship, Fellowship and update on the Book Club Gathering

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


  1. Jeanne,

    Hello! It sounds as if the retreat is coming together and it sounds as if it is going to be exactly as you imagined fellowship, friendship and more. I cannot wait to hear more about it and to put myself on the list.

    I have now added your books suggestions to my growing lists of books to read from the club. I am a pretty fast reader but I cannot keep up with all of these fabulous suggestions!

    Have a great week Jeanne, enjoy the beautiful Fall weather!

    1. So glad you are enjoying the book list Elizabeth! :)

  2. Hello Jeanne
    A marvellous thought and plan. I am keeping this short as my last message did not go through so actually this is a test.

    1. No worries Helen, I am having problems with this site, I have been doing a lot of testing too!

  3. Hello Jeanne,
    I love the thought you have put into our Retreat.

    We are all delighted to bring our best behaviour, our good humour, positive stories and love of literature to An Cuairt. We promise to park at our home airports all negativity and sad stories. Often times during An Cuairt the entire family and guests are expected to entertain with their party piece. It can be a song, a dance or reciting a poem. I promise I will have a song as my party piece.
    Have a glorious week.

    1. I love the sound of a party piece Helen, I can see many groups meeting for different purposes, the possibilities are limitless when An Cuairt is inspiring us. :)

  4. Lovely book suggestions. Now that the crazy season is over and everything starts to settle into place I hope to have more time to read some wonderful books. Your book retreat sounds like a wonderful idea.

  5. Thank you for the book recommends. This is time to build the winter ready list.
    Whatever is the decision for retreats, I am sure they will be wonderful. I lean towards the fun aspect, like...How to sit in the snow without over thinking the World. Happy Autumn!

    1. Ha...that is a tricky one! “Sitting in the snow without over thinking the World”...yet strangely, I tried it several times and it is quite soothing...and cold. ;)


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