Day’s Verse:
Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.
Proverbs 17:28

I went on the women’s retreat. I will fill in the following blank to describe it for now, and then share details later (maybe). It was a _______ experience:

Tiring: Not enough sleep and a lot of intensive interpersonal interactions exhaust me in no time flat.
Eating: The food was abundant, tasty, and frequent. Need I say more?
Cell phone: We had not driven 20 minutes before the first cell phone made its appearance, and although we were supposed to be retreating from our everyday lives, it seemed to me that nearly everybody called or texted home to talk to husbands and kids at least once a day, if not more frequently.
People: They kept talking about “getting alone with God” and “quiet time,” but I experienced precious little of either. From breakfast through after-dinner activities, the entire weekend felt like nearly every second had an activity for us to do in a big group. I doubt I ever spent more than 15 minutes by myself at one time.
Quiet: Not in general (if words were dollars, we would have all been multimillionaires by the end), but for me. I talked very little because I don’t really know the women in my church, and I don’t talk around strangers much. (See today’s verse of the day, above, if you want to know why.)
Photographic: In some of the small snippets of alone time I got, instead of grabbing my Bible and prayer journal like a good Christian woman, I grabbed my camera. Actually, I never let it leave my side. Of the 415 pictures I took (I know! But many are sets of three auto exposure bracketing shots of sunrises that I hope will convert into nice high dynamic range pictures), here are a few that Ian and I agreed stood out.

Sunrise on Saturday morning:
Sunrise September 19, 2009

Sunrise on Sunday morning:
Sunrise September 20, 2009

Newfound Lake, NH

Solid, Liquid, Gas

American Slide

Lifeguard Ducky

Here is the whole group of Fellowship Church women at the Camp Berea Women’s Retreat:
Women's Retreat 2009 Group Photo

And now, my favorite picture of all:
Urinals as Planters

KF quality

15 thoughts on “Quick Retreat Recap

  1. Great Photos Katie!
    I must take issue with one statement though. I didn’t talk to Carie via cell phone until Sunday when she was in the van and she wanted to know if I’d be home when she arrived home. Other than that she simply text me her arrival on Friday, text me that she loved me on Saturday and text me an encouraging text about church on Sunday, telling me once again she loved me. But we never talked until Sunday afternoon, and she never used her cell phone to change her facebook status.

  2. OK, you’re right — I can’t say what every single person did. I can only say that I saw the vast majority of the women on the trip calling and/or texting their spouses with remarkable frequency considering it was supposed to be a time away.

  3. Ok, I feel like Marty and have to defend myself. When someone writes “every single woman”, well, it means every single woman. And I wasn’t one of those. On Saturday people were asking me if I had talked with Steve. I said “isn’t this a retreat? I am leaving ‘home’ behind me”! 🙂

    As for Marty, I feel as though I have to defend myself when you say “Carie didn’t update her FB status”. Who cares? Seriously? If that is what you want to do on your time away, who cares? I can’t check FB, I have no internet. All I did was text a message. While waiting in lines of things I would never normally do like shooting rifles or rock wall climbing, I updated my status. Wow! It took no more than 15 seconds to do it.
    I got to know so many more ladies than I normally do while away. It made me get out of my comfort zone a little.
    Katie, I especially loved talking to you about camera stuff. I am new to this thing with having a new camera and not knowing how all the buttons work. Obviously, with the great pictures you took, you know what you are doing!!
    I also wanted to address the amount of activities they had for us. We didn’t have to do any of them. They left much free time, but I am sure they know that if they had absolutely nothing we would have said “wow, we spent $130 on what? a cabin and a couple of conferences?” I talked with many ladies that got up early by themselves and took an hour walk, or stayed in the cabins while other people were doing the activities. It was really that you had to be self-disciplined if you really wanted to do absolutely nothing.
    My question to you, Katie, is would you ever do something like that again?
    And I totally agree about the food! YUM

  4. OK, clearly I have accidentally offended some readers by my comments about the cell phone stuff. I have modified that section to clarify that this is *my perception* of what happened, and I made the statements a little less absolute.

    Tina, on the activities thing: I actually did get up early and take walks, and in the afternoon on Saturday I took a nap. However, I stand by my comment about “people” — if they emphasized “Getting alone with God,” why wasn’t there time set aside for that? Similarly, if Jane is talking about how insanely busy our lives are and how maybe that’s us trying to somehow earn God’s love, and then we have activities scheduled from 8 am to 9 pm on Saturday, what does that say?

    In short, it really seems like we were getting a dual message there. On the one hand the seminars told us: “Slow down and take time to be with God,” and on the other hand the schedule, packed with stuff, told us: “You’re only here 1.5 days, hurry up and squeeze every bit of experience you can out of it!” That felt internally inconsistent to me.

    Would I do it again? I’m not sure. I’d have to think about that and I’ll answer in another blog post, I think.

  5. Absolutely beautiful photos Katie, what a gift! I missed the retreat(new baby)…appreciated your honest take on it! I remember having similar thoughts about past retreats/groups….where’s the time with God when you’re jam packed with activites , books to read, etc. With each step we continue to learn and to grow…thankfully you’ve all returned with renewed strength & hope and maybe some new friendships formed. Hope I’ll be there next year!

  6. Some people are ‘The glass half empty’ and some people are ‘The glass half full’.

    I believe this retreat was meant to be – What can I take away from it to enhance MY life? The emphasis is supposed to be on the “I” and the “MY”. However, I feel, Katie, that you seemed to look at what everyone else was doing around you by your blog. Some people can find solitude in the midst of loved ones and some can find solitude alone with a camera. I don’t believe anyone has the right to judge another’s experiences. I don’t believe you have the right to judge the women at the retreat who checked in with their families, or spent time with others, or participated in activities and say that they didn’t ‘retreat’, that they didn’t step away from their busy lives, that they didn’t grow spiritually with the Lord. I, quite frankly, find it legalistic when people think there is only ONE way to worship.

    The whole premise for being alone with God I don’t necessarily think was just specific for the retreat. I feel Jane was very clear on Sunday that the retreat was like being at the Jordan river and going back to our lives was like being in the wilderness. I feel she was telling us that we need to be sure that we are always checking to make sure that the wilderness doesn’t over take our lives. That we need the Jordan to refresh us constantly.

    A healthy life is a balanced life. For anything to grow healthily, it needs a moderation of everything. Too much of one specific thing will cause it to be stifled.

    The fact that you didn’t get any alone time with God was not Camp Berea’s, Jane’s, or anyone else’s fault. The experience of the retreat was your own to make. To OWN it! It was up to each individual. It was up to you.

    Believe me – I am NOT trying to change your mind and make you fall in love with the retreat. Because that is not for me to say for you. I just wish you could do the same for me – for the rest of us.

  7. Di,

    Whoa there, hold on. Please re-read my blog. I am not, by any stretch, criticizing or denigrating Camp Berea, the speaker, the Fellowship Church women who organized it, or the choices made by women on the retreat; nor am I “judg[ing] another’s experiences,” suggesting there “that they didn’t grow spiritually with the Lord,” (where on earth did you read that in my blog? I said NOTHING whatsoever to even imply that), or that there is “ONE way to worship,” or suggesting nobody should have enjoyed the retreat.

    Please remember that this is MY blog and MY perceptions, and I am speaking solely about MY experiences: Here is what I saw. I didn’t even say I disliked the retreat! I feel you are reading too deep into my very brief comments on the retreat, that implying I’m a “glass half empty” person based on one short blog post is completely inappropriate, and that you may want to reconsider the defensive, even attacking, tone of the comment.

  8. Well… I have read the blog. About 4 times (twice last night and twice today) and it still kind of seems to me like you are looking down on those of us who were in communication with home, those of us who shared time together, those of us who spoke and shared and laughed and the fact that many activities were available. That is the tone I’ve interpreted from your blog.

    I am sorry that you feel attacked. That for sure was not my intent. Defensive? Maybe. Although, I don’t feel that I need to personally defend myself. I guess I feel like I need to defend the fact that from your blog it appears that the rest of us at the retreat did ‘No Retreating’. Because I don’t think that was how it was.

    You are right. It is your blog – They are your perceptions. But when you put those thoughts out there for people to read in a public forum, you should expect people to respond to it. Some of those responses may be positive and some may be negative. Just like you voiced your opinion – I should be able to as well. If you don’t want comments maybe you should take that option out of your blog (I say that with absolutely no sarcasm) The only reason I did voice mine (because I tend to stay away from blogs) is because I felt what you said painted the majority of us at the retreat in a poor light.

    Maybe we should just agree to disagree on this one.

  9. Clearly the problem is that you were “interpreting” Katie’s blog. When Katie blogs she does not put in any hidden meanings.

  10. Di,

    I apologize if my blog came off as condemnatory or negative towards women who enjoyed the retreat (I count myself as one, as you will see if you read my upcoming next post). That was certainly not my intent. Also thank you for being willing to share your comments — I really appreciate hearing what people think, whether or not I agree with them. Let’s let this go and I will try to watch the tone in my blog in the future.

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