Good morning, 2011!
New year. New you?
For many overworked and time-starved women, the new year and all the pressure to resolve to do better, be healthier and do more is just one more thing on an already burgeoning to-do list.
It's little wonder that New Year's resolutions fail.
So this year, forget the resolution to change, improve or give up bad habits. Instead, take time -- make time -- to focus on you: what you need, want and aspire to.
Which is exactly the purpose of "Relax ... Renew ... Rejoice!" a women-only day-long retreat hosted by Westminster Presbyterian Church on Jan. 8.
Although the retreat offers a Christian component, its focus is more on the human spirit and the things that renew, reinvigorate and relax women, said Maureen Hergert, one of the retreat organizers.
The day begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m. The $7.50 cost includes a soup and salad lunch. The retreat offers four 50-minute workshops. During each time slot, women can choose among three programs oriented toward the mind, body and soul. In addition, the church's meditation room will be open all day, so women who simply want some alone time to read, write, draw or even nap can do so.
"So often, as women, we serve so many roles," Hergert said. "We (traditionally) are the caretakers and have so many things pulling on our time, attention and energy. This gives women an opportunity to realize relaxing and spending a day on themselves is very important for recharging their systems, and reconnecting with other women and rekindling their spirit.
"We tried to think of different workshops that would be appealing to a variety of ages and interests and people at different points in their spiritual journey," Hergert said.
Above all, they didn't want women to feel intimidated about coming, regardless of their degree of faith. That is why women can spend their day exploring a variety of interests, from gardening to pilates to dancing, journaling, reading or at question-and-answer sessions with physicians talking about health and lifestyle concerns.
* Up-time with God, with Ellen Davis -- exploring what it means to rest and relax in the Lord.
* The Doctor is in with Dr. Amber Sturzenegger and Dr. Rachel Schutte.
* Mat Pilates with Julie Toalson -- a chance to try this balance, flexibility and strengthening program.
* It's a Grace, not Francie, with Francie Knosp -- learn to discover God's grace in your life.
* How to 'Contain' Your Garden with Kathy Collins -- learn about container gardening.
* Praying with Pen with Pat Leach -- discover the art of journaling.
* Helping Children, with Parrish McDonald -- learn to improve the lives of children.
* Letters from Nairobi with Kathryn Govaerts -- Govaerts will chronicle her family's life in Kenya in the mid-1970s.
* Dancing with Psalms with Laurel Van Ham -- interpret the psalms with music, spoken word and movement.
* Prayer Through the Ages, My Ages, with Beth Anderson -- what should I have learned and what did I learn.
* Books that help us know more about others, with Pat Leach -- discover how books give us new views into the lives of others and help us understand and empathize.
* Finding the Christ Within with Susan Smith -- workshop on guided imagery.
Even the lunch is designed around topics, with each table having a particular topic of discussion. People select their seat based on the table's topic.
"We wanted to avoid junior-high syndrome of worrying about who you are going to sit with at lunch," Hergert said.
The retreat is open to all women. Registration is requested by Wednesday; call 402-475-6702. Child care is available for an additional fee.
"We hope this is a way for women to start the year with a spring in their step," Hergert said. "We hope this is giving them something that could be a jumping-off point to get excited about doing something throughout the winter -- a new activity or a new outlook -- and we are hoping they can come away renewed not only as Christians but as women."