Cohort retreat

Yesterday I flew out to Seattle for a retreat with other women pastors from my denomination. This is the last retreat of our year-long leadership cohort program, which has been totally fantastic!!!

I am kind of a nightmare traveler, as evidenced by my flight out. You would think I was in la-la land.

  • I forgot to empty my water bottle. The guard had to escort me out, cut me back in to get back in security checkpoint, I emptied my water bottle and went through the whole security process again.
  • I got to the gate early and then got hungry so wandered off to look for food. Nothing looked good and I went back and saw people were boarding so I got in line. The lady by me had the exact same number, A60. She said, “That’s odd that we have the same number!” I said, “This is the flight to Seattle, right?” She said, “No. This is Los Angeles.” Oops.
  • So I sat down and waited and then realized I was at the wrong gate! I was at Gate 11 and I was supposed to be at Gate 13. They were next to each other but I was sitting in the wrong section.
  • Well I got on board fine but when I went to the bathroom I came out and there was a long piece of toilet paper stuck to my shoe so I was trying to get it off by walking in circles. (I had picked it up in the bathroom because it was such a mess in there and there was paper everywhere!) The stewardess gave me a napkin to pick it up and throw it away and said, “Good thing you noticed that!”
  • When I was getting off the plane, I heard a thunk and looked back and didn’t see anything. So I was going to head off, but suddenly felt a tug on my backpack. It was the guy sitting next to me, putting my water bottle in my backpack. It had fallen out and I didn’t even know. Fortunately there are nice people around!
  • Got off and now I was really hungry, so I stumbled upon a food court and spent a long time struck by indecision on what to eat. Finally I decided and ate a salad. While I was eating, the person giving me a ride had landed and said she was going to baggage claim. I said, “Baggage claim! Oh no! I forgot I was supposed to pick up my luggage!” Had to hunt around a bit but finally found it.
  • Fortunately my friends arrived and after that it was pretty smooth sailing, except when the van driver to the car rental picked up my luggage and put it on the top rack. I tugged at it to take it down and it moved like one inch. A nice gentleman said, “I’ll get that for you,” and took it down for me.
  • Once we arrived at the retreat center, it was a good thing another one of our party arrived just before us and was in the lobby because the doors were all locked! But we finally got there safely! Yay!

I was very impressed because all the other retreat centers I have been too have been clean but not particularly impressive. I was blown away that I get my own room! And there is free wireless access — and it’s zippy fast!

Look at how big this place is… compared to last time I had a room half this size that had 2 beds in it for 2 people!

Even the bathroom is so clean and new-looking!

The view is amazing. This is the view from the meeting room, which also happens to be the same view from my room.

Today we started out the day in silence, prayer and reflection. I spent part of the time walking around enjoying the beautiful grounds while praying.

Sat by the waterfall for a while.

Then I visited the stations of the cross and reflected on Christ’s sacrifice. It blows me away how much God loved us to allow His son to go through all that he did for our sake.

At first I didn’t know they were stations of the cross. I just thought they were decorations. Then I thought, hmmm, there are an awful lot of these around! And then I noticed the numbers and the light went on.

I walked down a ton of stairs to look at the beach. Then I had to walk back. There were a lot of stairs. I heard later there were over 100. Good exercise!

After that it was time to go inside by the window with the nice view and do some journaling prayer. After I was done, I noticed that my Bible and journal were pink. Too bad I didn’t bring my pink water bottle!

Speaking of similarities, I thought it was funny that all the blonde people sat in a row, totally unintentionally. In fact, I didn’t even notice until I took this picture!

It was really a great day of learning. We learned a lot about a positive-based approach to strategic planning (as opposed to traditional strategic planning, which is deficit-based). I took a lot of notes and have a lot of things to process with the people back home!

In the afternoon, we learned about creativity and innovation. I just couldn’t help taking a picture of the title slide, because it was in Comic Sans.

One of the exercises we had to do was to accomplish a mission:

Each team was given a box of supplies to use.

We had 15 minutes and began by discussing various possibilities. First we wrapped the egg in paper napkins and stuffed it in a pantyhose leg. Then we repeated with the other pantyhose leg.

Next the egg/pantyhose was wrapped in cotton balls and stuffed in the cotton ball bag and put in the box.

That was stuffed with lots of napkins.

And the whole box was wrapped with rubber bands.

We all marched out to the second story and dropped the boxes onto the asphalt below.

Here’s the little box after the fall.

We opened it up with bated breath…

Yes! The egg was whole! Nice flip of the hair there, thanks to the delayed click of the camera on my phone. Alas, my real SLR camera is in the shop for repair…

The other team made it to! They put the egg in pantyhose surrounded by cotton ball in the can.

Now, round #2. This time, we got a box of fewer supplies and only had 3 minutes. The other team accidentally broke their egg in the rush, so it was just us. I didn’t have time to take pictures but this time the box didn’t have a lid so we broke it down to make a flat kind of package.

Back to the second floor.

One thing we didn’t expect. The flatness of the package caused wind resistance, which slowed the box down as it fell! Notice the fancy curlicues on there just for decorations — a last minute add. The other team said we cheated because we went overtime putting curlicues on our box.

Then opening again… a baggie with cotton balls and rubber bands inside. The egg was in a toilet paper roll with cotton.

It made it!

After that we made parallels to our church situations and challenges and helps towards creativity. What a fun exercise!

A Yee

Angela Yee is a professional designer (graphic design, stage design, interior design — and teaches leadership skills at

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  1. Albert - April 13, 2010

    I’m sooo proud of my wife! My physics-teacher heart is warmed by your great egg drop results.


    I think I’m going to cry….


  2. Angela Yee - April 13, 2010

    See, I HAVE learned physics stuff from you! My husband is a good teacher! 🙂

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