This past weekend I went to our church’s women’s retreat.
I must put in a disclaimer from the beginning that this is quite an incomplete posting of the retreat. Usually my posts tend to revolve around the pictures I take at the event. So this time I was prepared. I packed my camera!
But then once I got there, I didn’t feel like taking any pictures. So much for packing my camera. Part of it was because the room we were meeting in had terrible lighting. Part of it was because I ended up being busy doing stuff and talking to people. And part of it was plain laziness.
But here are a few things that happened.
My friend Karen and I headed down Friday, with a van full of equipment. I felt like we were moving house. The van was not only full of our usual luggage, pillow, blanket, etc, but many of the giveaway items and a ton of music and backup equipment. We brought an amp, mixer, mic stands, music stands, microphones, keyboard, keyboard stand, keyboard pedal, cables, power strips, and power cables. Gotta love being part of a startup church and having worship rehearsals at your house many years ago… why we have so much music equipment!
But that’s not all, folks! In addition there was backup equipment in case things didn’t work: video projector, projector stand, backup guitar, and my laptop. (I’m glad I brought it — turned out we needed to use everything!)
After a couple hours’ drive, we arrived at Presentation Center in Los Gatos. It’s quite a nice retreat center.
The dining center is very nice and apparently has green plants growing on the roof (though I forgot to look).
But my favorite part of the facilities was the courtyard with the beautiful cherry tree.
I could’ve spent hours sitting out there praying and looking at that tree. There is something about the beauty of flowers that helps me connect with God better.
I didn’t have much time to take pictures but right before I left I tried some closeups. I like how the closer flowers are in focus.
I discovered today from my friend Kristin that this effect is called bokeh, where parts of the picture are out of focus and parts are in focus. I always called it, “fuzzy out of focus effect due to shallow depth of field.” I must admit bokeh is a lot easier to say!’
Saturday night I was outside talking on the phone to Albert when I saw 7 deer wander by, eating the plants! They were all in a group. Some were babies. That was very cool.
Sadly, I got hardly any people shots. The room was quite dim. We had to carry over a halogen lamp and a florescent lamp just so the worship team could see the music! But my iPhone takes amazingly good pictures in dim light so I managed to capture one group shot of Rachel teaching. Our speaker, Rachel Johnston, was fantastic! I highly recommend her as a retreat speaker if you are looking for one!
Rachel talked about resting in God. She had such great reminders of the importance of slowing down and trusting in God! On Saturday we all took an hour to pray, read and reflect in silence. It was a wonderful time of meeting with the Lord (by the beautiful cherry tree). He gave me clarity and peace about many things that I haven’t had in a long time!
There were also relaxing activities, like beading (and also Scottish Dance, which I didn’t get a chance to see).
And food, of course. Yummy snacks. I found a new favorite snack.
I know I don’t really have the pictures to show for it, but besides meeting with God, the best thing about this retreat was the opportunity to meet and get to know many women.
I had a wonderful time with Rachel as we ran out to get communion bread and then got some yummy coffee and chai and had a chance to catch up with each other.
And Karen was an awesome roommate and we had some really great talks!
One of the most fun memories I actually have a picture of. Karen had brought a big mass of yarn she was trying to unravel. All the high-achieving friends around her had to hold themselves back from not jumping in and taking over the project to help her. But eventually I couldn’t help myself and started helping. And soon another started helping.
Later in the evening, I went by the snack room and saw this:
Pretty soon, along came another.
And then there were five…
There were a lot of jokes flying around about it being an Asian sweatshop. But the funniest thing of all… Karen wasn’t even there! She was occupied elsewhere oblivious to the fact that everyone had jumped into a team project with her ball of yarn! But she did go back later and joined in all the laughs. It was really a lot of fun.
We heard from women how the retreat was so good for them, in helping them to listen to God and also to connect with other women. I was thankful for the opportunity to go and also very touched by women just volunteering at the end to pack up everything… we were out in a jiffy thanks to all the hands who helped!
Then back home, to make up for my 3 nights of average of 4.5 hours sleep each night due to insomnia. Got to sleep in my own bed and finally got 8 hours of sleep last night and feel like a new person! I had a wonderful morning praying and reflecting on the things I felt like God was speaking to me about today and appreciated the opportunity to get away. And in the process got to know better a wonderful group of women!