I recently discovered the power of stillness. When I take a moment to pause, I create a shift in my perspective and everything else in my life shifts. I find my to do list is less daunting. And by stepping away from the thought “everything must get done right now,” I find peace.
If you need to pause, join us for a retreat – the physical, mental and emotional benefits of taking a time out are phenomenal.
Maybe you’re familiar with the evening routine of cleaning the kitchen, doing laundry, answering emails plus a few other chores. Then falling into bed exhausted – maybe even falling asleep while reading or watching TV. That was the OLD me. Let me introduce you to the NEW me. I pick one thing to get done – not everything. And I absolutely do not answer emails past 7 pm. With all of that extra time, I take a bath, read, listen to a podcast or watch Netflix. Freedom!
When I stopped the constant “busyness” I had subjected myself to for years, I found, not only more peace, but more energy.
By giving myself permission to pause, I stopped the cycle of depletion and never enough time or energy. I found stillness allowed me to refill my cup.
I love the season of Fall: the cooler weather, the changing colors of the trees and especially Fall Dishes – soups, stews and and any recipe that uses the produce of the season.
These roasted veggies are heavenly. And so simple to make. When I make these at home, I add sweet potatoes or red potatoes.
At the retreat, this is part of our Friday dinner – served with Lemon Rosemary Roast Chicken, Mashed Sweet Potatoes and of course our Homemade Rustic Rosemary Bread.
- 10 carrots cut into coins
- 1 container baby portabello mushrooms, quartered
- 2 Yellow Onions, chopped
- 1 large butternut squash, cubed
- 5 Cloves garlic, pressed
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 5 rosemary sprigs
- 1 tsp salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 450.
- Wash and chop veggies.
- Place all veggies on roasting pan.
- Leave rosemary stalk intact and place in pan.
- Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Mix well.
- Roast at 450 for 30 (check for doneness) to 40 minutes.
- Stir halfway through,
- After roasting, remove rosemary stalks, but leave rosemary leaves.
- Sprinkle with a bit of balsamic vinegar to enhance the flavor.
These are a nice addition to your Thanksgiving meal. But also easy enough to make on a weeknight. They reheat well, so don’t be afraid to make too much! Enjoy!
Now that it’s November, you’ve probably seen different variations of a “gratitude challenge” or “30 days of gratitude” floating around on social media. Taking a moment each day to state – privately or publicly – what you’re grateful for has proven scientific benefits to the mind, body and spirit.
At Retreat in the Pines gratitude is part of everything we do – from each yoga practice to our outdoor Gratitude Meditation to our Gratitude Brunch (where guests take turns sharing what they’re grateful for) and of course our community of strong women. Discover gratitude as part of our retreat community.
Practicing gratitude is an excellent way to maintain both psychological and physical health beyond the month of November.
Benefits of a Daily Gratitude Practice
- Better physical health.According to a recent study, people who are grateful report fewer aches and pains than other people. It also follows, they are more likely to maintain their physical health through activities like yoga or other exercise and annual well visits to the doctor.
- Better psychological health. Focusing on what you’re grateful for can reduce the experience of toxic emotions like anger, resentment, and regret. Research also suggests that gratitude increases feelings of happiness and reduces depression and anxiety.
- Better sleep. When you’re grateful, you’re able to sleep better at night. A general reduction in stress brought on by a shift toward gratitude for what you have (rather than longing for what you don’t) helps minimize feelings of anxiety and sadness, thereby allowing more restful sleep.
- Greater self-awareness. Gratitude allows you a better understanding of self by turning inward. By keeping a gratitude journal, you begin to dig deep and find something “new” to be grateful for each day. This peeling back the layers of self allows deeper insight into your inner workings.
There’s no right or wrong way to start a gratitude practice, but in the spirit of the season, the best time to start is now! Be kind to yourself as you begin the process; it might not happen every day, but over time you may find it’s part of your morning or evening routine. Whether you journal first thing in the morning to give you perspective on your day or to help you wind down in the evening, know that you’ll be rewarded with benefits that feed your mind, body and spirit.
A gratitude practice turns what you have into enough. With a gratitude practice you’ll notice a definite shift. In your perspective, in your relationships and in your life.
At Retreat in the Pines we are a diverse community of women who come from different backgrounds and places. On the surface it may seem like we have nothing in common. But we have absolutely everything in common. We are connected by our common bond of what it’s like to be a woman in 2018.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the day to day minutia of life – the chores, the to-do lists, the schedules – and ignore not only our self-care but the human connection that has been proven to be essential to our physical and mental health. Science tells us we need connection not only to thrive, but to survive. Here’s the article. If we don’t take care of ourselves who will? As women, we MUST take charge of our self care. Only then are we able to serve our family, our friends, our country.
At Retreat in the Pines, you’ll meet women who:
- Lift you up.
- Encourage you to leave the toxic behind and take care of you.
- Inspire you take a leap of faith.
- Share stories of courage and determination.
- Shed tears as they tell of betrayal and heartbreak.
- Show you there is no perfect body to practice yoga.
You’ll meet women who prove you don’t have to do it all, to have it all.
When you join us for a retreat, you’ll connect to these exact women. Our retreats aren’t limited to women who can afford it, if you or someone you know needs a retreat, but has limited financial resources, check out our Retreat Assistance Program.
After 14 years of hosting retreats, I’m inspired by each woman in our community. Women who show up for each other – online or in person. Women who aren’t afraid to speak their truth. Women who don’t take no for an answer. I’m so grateful to all the women who make Retreat in the Pines a community. Women who join us for a retreat (or several). Women who follow us online and dream of the day they will journey to the Pines. And our staff – chefs, yoga instructors and women working behind the scenes; who make the magic happen at the retreat each and every weekend.
Women journey to the Pines for a reawakening of their soul. We come together as strangers, and after a weekend of sharing stories and laughing together, we walk away with a sense of belonging, a reassurance of “I’m not alone in this” and new friends who hold and lift us up. Powerful stuff.
Sometimes we get caught up in our busy lives and don’t take time to experience contentment. Recently PJ and her daughters, Sara and Megan, journeyed to Retreat in the Pines for our Mindfulness and Meditation Retreat. This is PJ’s story. You too can find contentment when you join us for a retreat.
Our drive from the Dallas/Fort Worth area was about two hours. As we drove further and further, the landscape became greener and greener, with tall pines, sycamores and live oaks reaching to the sky. We treated ourselves by stopping at the Dairy Palace in Canton and I had the BEST peach ice cream I’ve ever eaten!
Theresa has created the perfect retreat center, with everything that today’s woman needs to relax, recharge and re-energize her life. The modern cedar Main House has a full kitchen, community room, three bedrooms and 2 full baths. My daughters and I shared a bedroom with 3 twin beds, which was perfect for us. A large closet, night stands, lots of electrical plugs and nice bedding were available. Theresa even provided ear plugs! The bathroom offered nice towels, body wash and other niceties for our visit. Two bathrooms meant there was rarely a time when you couldn’t get into one! If it happened, there was a bathroom in the Dining Hall, one in the Yoga Studio and another one in the Guest Quarters.
The kitchen in the Main House was stocked with coffee, an assortment of teas and everything we needed to serve ourselves. A large refrigerator meant we could keep our waters, wine and other beverages cold.
The Dining Hall featured long wooden tables, put together in a U-shape that fostered lots of conversation and sharing. All meals were served buffet-style on a counter near the Staff Kitchen door.
If you’ve ever found yourself at a crossroads in life, wondering if there’s more out there to explore, you’re not alone. Some may argue that if you practice santosha – the yogic philosophy of cultivating a sense of contentment – then there’s nothing else in life that you need. But if you feel the grass could be greener, you can proactively create a life you love. After all, contentment is a choice.
At Retreat in the Pines, we offer weekend retreats so you can step away from the stresses of your life – perhaps even outside your comfort zone – to discover santosha while immersed in our safe and sacred retreat space. View our upcoming retreats here.
Discovering contentment doesn’t need to be a dramatic shift in your life. Making small adjustments in your day-to-day routine will allow you to find change and the greater satisfaction you’re seeking.
I have to admit, I absolutely adore chicken salad. Especially in the warmer months, when eating anything hot just seems like too much. Eating hot food (in temperature or in energetically) actually increases your feeling of heat. Something to avoid when the thermostat gets up to 100!
This recipe is a healthy take on a more traditional chicken salad.
If you love chicken salad as much as I do, you may be excited to know that Chicken Salad Chick is a restaurant that serves all sorts of chicken salad. I plan to check it out soon!
- 2 cups chicken, chopped
- 1 cup jicama, chopped
- 2 cups grapes, cut in half
- 1 cup roasted pecans, chopped
- ½ cup Mayo
- 1 cup Greek Yogurt
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly.
- Let refrigerate before serving.
Serve on a bed of greens or in a wrap for a delicious lunch!
At a recent retreat, I had the pleasure of meeting two lovely women from Houston. Carole and Cheryl took a chance and a step outside of their comfort zones, and got to know each other while carpooling to the retreat. They were destined to be friends.
Cheryl, a teacher and a divorced mother of 3 daughters, knew she had to take care of herself if she was going to continue to give so much on a daily basis. She came to the retreat on a journey to renew and rediscover herself.
Carole, having been through her own set of challenges, was coming to the retreat with her cousins for a get away to reset and connect with family.
Since Cheryl didn’t want to make the drive from the Houston area by herself, she reached out to me fo find someone to carpool with her. Carole immediately responded, finding it a coincidence that Cheryl had the same first and last name as her sister.
We hear the word freedom quite a bit at this time of year. We celebrate our country’s independence on July Fourth, but what about celebrating freedom in our personal lives?
You’ll often hear yoga instructors expressing this idea in class: clear your mind, let go. And in letting go, we can find freedom. This might seem like a very broad concept, so it’s helpful to hone in on what exactly you’re looking to let go of: self-doubt, negative self-talk, attachment to the past, attachment to any ideas of what the future “should” look like, and so on.
For me personally, the journey of letting go is something I must be intentional about. It’s easy to get off track. Here are ideas on how to do just that:
Let go of self-doubt. As women, we play many different roles in our lives: friend, employee, boss, mother, sister, wife; the list goes on. With all the hats we wear, it can be easy to doubt how we are “performing” in any given role. We might wonder if we’re good enough, or if we’re doing enough. The reality is that we are doing the best we can—and that is always enough.
This cool and healthy salad is the perfect way to keep your cool this summer. Enjoy it as a side dish, or add protein such as chicken or salmon, for an easy and delicious main dish.
In the heat of Summer, the best way to stay cool is to eat cooling foods, avoiding hot food (in flavor and temperature). Cooling foods such as melons, cucumbers, cherries and zucchini will definitely help you keep your cool as the temperature creeps up. Here’s a list on what fruits and vegetables to enjoy and what to avoid.
Wild rice is packed with protein (more than quinoa), low in fat and gluten free. The slightly nutty flavor and texture is a great base for any salad or just sprinkled on greens.