Sunday, May 4, 2014

Church Street Retreat

Yesterday marked the inauguration of my writing retreat in Navasota. The Church Street Retreat house opened its doors to nine women who drove from Houston to write about "Life Matters," which was the theme for the day.

We had a grand day writing out bucket lists of the future plans, dreams and aspirations we have while we listened to a MP3 of Tim McGraw singing "Live Like You're Dying." The exercise helped us focus on what's really important to each of us at this stage of our lives and put us in the right frame of mind to compose legacy letters.

Legacy letters are similar to ethical wills, except ethical wills are usually kept with people's last will & testament and read after their death. People leave their material things in a last will & testament, and they leave their wisdom and values in an ethical will.

My sweetie's mother left an ethical will to her children in which she told them to prepare for heaven and the rapture by reading and living by the Word. She wrote that she loved each of them dearly and that she would see them again in the next life. A gold framed copy of that ethical will sits on the mantle in our living room.

A legacy letter, on the the hand, is one that you write and present to someone important in your life. It is one that expresses your love for that person as well as the insights you've had about life, thus far in your life (because you can write a legacy letter at any time in your life, not just toward the end of your life). For example, you could write a letter to your grandson as he is graduating from high school and traveling to another city, maybe even another state halfway across the country. You could share with him what you know now in your 50s or 60s that you wish you'd known when you were his age going off to college. Words to the wise, right?

My 40-year-old son Matthew earlier this year wrote me a letter that could easily fit the category of legacy letter. Being a modern day man, he emailed the letter rather than handwriting it, but I promise you, it is the most treasured gift he has ever given me.

The nine women yesterday wrote heart-warming letters, too. If you are one of the recipients, you will be exceedingly blessed by receiving one. If not, perhaps you can write one to someone you love or admire. In fact, if you will send me your email, I'll send you an outline for a legacy letter to get you started.

In the meanwhile, a heartfelt thank you to Carol,  Diane, Dixie, Gayla, Imelda, Lil, Nancy, MaryLynn and Wynell for making this first writing retreat so remarkable.

What's on your bucket list?