The San Juan Island Christian Women’s Network has offered a retreat every Spring for the last 4 years. The retreat is held at Camp Orkila on Orcus Island. Camp Orkila belongs to the YMCA. It is a gorgeous place with all the comforts of home and none of the stress!
This is Raven Cabin. All of the camp cabins are named after the native wild birds. The cabins are incredibly roomy. There is a big common room with a full kitchen, large round table with 6 matching chairs, dozens of folding chairs (in a huge closet), plus a “living room” setting with lots of comfy easy chairs and a couch. The cabin also has four large bedrooms with two bunk beds in each room, and two bathrooms. Whoever designed the bathrooms was a genius because our cabin was full and there were no hassles. One steps into the sink & vanity area of the bathroom, which is quite spacious. There is a door leading to the shower on one side, and a door leading to the commode on the other, so three different people could use the same bathroom at the same time.
There theme of the retreat was, “You Are God’s Masterpiece” and the message was how very much God loves us. With a theme like “Masterpiece” you know we had a lot of God’s best works around us — from the majestic fir covered hills to the sea, and everything in between — including flowers.
But not all of God’s best things are trees and flowers. God also provides us with sustenance. The food at the retreat was excellent and abundant. I was too busy eating most of it to take pictures of it, but one of our lunches was “high tea” and I knew you would all want to see the table.
Each table had a unique tea service. Each table also had a hostess. Our hostess was a lovely teenager whose name I have forgotten, but I will never forget her sweet smile or spirit of service. She poured out the tea, started the conversation and made certain all of the food was passed and shared. I wish I had had that kind of poise when I was her age.
And, in case you think the food was in the least bit nutritious, think again. There was a bit of green salad. There was also a dish of tuna salad and a dish of chicken salad, with bits of bread to make sandwiches, but there wasn’t enough to go around.
Because I can’t eat sweets without protein, I actually left this meal hungry. As far as I know, this was the only feature of the retreat that drew complaints. And the complaints weren’t so much about the fact that there was too much dessert (there’s no such thing as too much dessert), but that there wasn’t enough nutritious food served before the desserts.
One afternoon was dedicated to ministry crafts. A group of people went to Nigeria last year and taught a women’s group there how to quilt so they could start their own cottage industry to support themselves. They had a table set up with photos of their visit, plus they had five sewing machines and taught a bit of quilting as they educated us. There was also card making, a great way to minister to the ill and shut ins. And — the one that kept me from taking more photos — prayer shawls, where we were taught how to crochet. I knew how to crochet as a kid, but it had been years so I wanted a refresher course. I put the camera down and picked up a crochet hook and a ball of yarn instead.
There were also wonderful worship services and we were ministered to musically as well. In every instance I took the camera with me, but I never took any photos. I was too busy listening to the message or raising my voice in song. It was a wonderful weekend. You can see more photos on the Christian Women’s Network San Juan Island blog.
One last flower:
Would you, could you, should you … eat a Viola? This plant isn’t at all what it seems. The flowers are artificial. The “potting soil” is crumbled Oreo cookies, and beneath the cookie is rich creamy chocolate mousse and Bavarian cream. This I ate and enjoyed. The meal precedi. This I ate and enjoyed. The meal preceding it was substantial and nutritious.
C because the camp is on a hillside and because traveling from cabin-to-cabin and the lodge required going up and down, I actually lost a couple of pounds while I was there. Or maybe it was all the laughter I enjoyed. Or perhaps it was all the enthusiasm I put into the singing. It was a great retreat. I am looking forward to next year.