Sunday, October 19, 2014

CCB Whidbey Island Women's Retreat 2014

It has been awhile since our church's women's group has had a retreat, in fact, several years, so of course my husband immediately thought I should go.  And it sounded like fun. . .but you know how it is, there is always SO MUCH TO DO.  By the time Friday came and I met with my last clients of the week, I was feeling like I really shouldn't go, I should stay home and GET SOME WORK DONE.  I could see the next busy week looming ahead with all the stuff I HADN'T GOTTEN TO this week and that it would somehow be multiplying like rabbits over the weekend.  And then. . . .

But I had not only agreed to go and had paid, but I was committed to drive two other women to the event as well.  So I got packed and ready to go.  As we headed for the Mukilteo/Clinton ferry, I almost immediately felt myself beginning to relax.  No point in wasting a perfectly good weekend worrying about what could and would be worried about next week!    CB and CC (my friends) and I had decided to leave as soon after noon as we could and by the time we got to Whidbey Island, we were interested in lunch.  We decided to drive into Langley and see what we could find!
 We were immediately impressed with the "Mediterranean Grill"  under the Cafe Langley sign. 
 This very cozy and nicely decorated little restaurant had wonderful aromas emanating from the kitchen. 
I should have taken the photo before I ate half of the entrée. It is not quite so pretty by this time.  It was chicken and tortellini's with broccoli and some sort of marsala sauce.  It was so good that I ate all of it --  since I couldn't take it home.  I seriously ate nothing else the rest of the day and even in the morning wasn't particularly hungry.  I am going back there again in the not-too distant future and hope that they have it is still on the menu.  Hmm.  I got a business card.  I think I'll call ahead and make sure I can get it again. Well worth a day trip to Whidbey Island!!
For an excellent meal, keep this sign in mind!
 We then wandered through a variety of shops.  CC and CB each bought some "Chocolate Mint Tea" at a little shop, and we saw some gorgeous and exquisitely soft clothing that fortunately for our pocketbooks wasn't our size! 
We had never seen a cross-dressing rooster before, but it was quite festive.
I noticed this terrific looking vintage truck on the street -- don't know if a regular or a visitor, but it was well worth a second look.
 We arrived at our retreat destination at Camp Casey (owned by SPU).  This was our main cabin and the women who were only staying one night had another cabin a distance away due to some scheduling snafu's.  We met here for our main teaching sessions.  Can you believe this houses ten women but only has one bathroom!  That is completely an optimistic world view.  Christian charity was practiced by all and no altercations ensued.
 TK and her daughter MI were the driving force for the the 5.5 meals that everyone enjoyed.  The point 5 at the end was the fact we made sandwiches to go for lunch to take on the way home.  We did not fear starvation this weekend.
 The purpose of the retreat was fellowship and fun as well as informative teaching.  We were all very encouraged to  remember the faithfulness of God to us all -- even in the hard times that several in our church, including some on the retreat, are facing at that very time.  MA taught on the visit of Jesus to Tyre and Sidon and his conversation with the Gentile woman who came to him asking for help for her daughter who was demon possessed.  At first Jesus ignored her request -- didn't say a word.  Later the disciples encouraged Jesus to just give her what she wanted so she would go away and leave them alone.  But He said He had come to the Jews and continued to ignore her.  She then came over and began worshipping Him, acknowledging that He was the Messiah and her Lord.  He then really shut her down by stating that one did not take the food belonging to the children and give it to the puppies.  But in a final, trusting and victorious repartee, she responded that "even the puppies eat the crumbs which fell from the children's table."  "Ah", Jesus said to her, "Your faith is great!" And He granted her heart's  desire and her daughter was healed.   MA noted that Jesus only said this about two people that he met, this woman and the Roman Centurion who had requested healing for his servant.  The Centurion noted that Jesus didn't have to come to his home to do this, He could just command and it would be done, His authority was absolute.  While marveling at this man's faith, Jesus only commented about him to others.  To this woman, He spoke directly to her, affirming her faith that had grown rather than failed in the onslaught of seeming disregard and congratulating her.  What a blessing to be encouraged to never give up when trusting in Jesus, even when He doesn't seem to hear and things look bleak!
The next morning the weather began clearing and for the rest of the weekend weather was wonderful!
 After breakfast we had a second  session with MA and this time the topic was on Psalm 91.  This fabulous Psalm centers on the complete security of the believer in the faithfulness of God. MA then expanded on how God's faithfulness covers all areas of our lives and shows that there is nothing that can impact our lives when we are securely in the hand of God, not even in death.
In the afternoon we divided into three groups for a "scavenger hunt" throughout the town of Coupeville. CB (with whom I carpooled) and MD and myself were the third.  Not being a "games" kind of person it would have been fine with me if there hadn't been room for me.  But  I was a driver and so was a first round draft pick! 
 First we discovered that the high school hides its mascot very well and there was no Wolf in view anywhere on the school property that we ever found.  So we moved on!  We had to find Halloween decorations across the street from the church with the steeple.  But wait, there were two sets of decorations -- so we took two sets of photos -- note the different angle! 
 We found the Court House with little trouble!
 We went wrong here.  The question was what was Penn Cove known for.  Well, they didn't mean Penn Cove Gallery.  They meant the mussel farms out in the Sound.   How would we know that?  We didn't know the water was Penn Cove!  Live and Learn.
 We managed to find a place to document ALL THREE local newspapers in one place.  Rumor has it that they are all owned by the same people!
 Then we went successfully on to find "the boy who always reads."  I think was my favorite statue around town!
 Then we had to find a reflection of ourselves without a mirror!  There were are with MD and CB waving and me holding the camera!
 Part of our mission was to find a "Welcome to Coupeville" sign -- there were standard issue City signs, but we thought this one by far the best!  CB is the scarecrow in overalls.  Me the farmer wife.  MD the bright and sunny sunflower!
We would get extra points for having at least one person from our group in the photo. MD doesn't look particularly wild about having to hang out with Myra Maines, but she is contributing. There are many creative tombstones in this seasonal cemetery -- and we were the only group who was able to document this on our hunt. 
 This was a remarkable piece of history.  This cross was erected to commemorate the receiving of the Gospel of Jesus Christ by Northwest Native tribes in 1840. Father Blanchet was asked to come and share the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ by Chief Talalakum to teach his people the new religion.  The priest was surprised that the people had learned the hymns and prayers that he had taught the chief the year before.  Tribes included Skagit, Snohomish, Skokomish and Clallam! 
 The upright beam is supposed to be the original of the cross that the Native Americans erected as they worshipped the Lord.  What an amazing story to learn.  Bet they don't teach this in the local history!
 We also had to find a dog using a fire hydrant.  We found this one.  But another group was totally gutsy!  Not knowing that this dog was around the corner, they had the personal fortitude to ask two perfect strangers walking two dogs if they could take a photo of their dog using the real fire hydrant!  The dogs walked back and forth without really providing the exact attitude desired, but I thought that showed an amazing level of self-confidence (or chutzpah) on the part of that other team!
 We had to document finding the jail.  The first time we drove through the parking area there was a Sherriff just leaving.  All the parking places were reserved for the police, so as we were under observation, we did not elect to stop and take a photo.  Rather we went around the block and the front passenger took the photo on the move.  We did NOT want to find ourselves viewing the jail from the inside!
 We figured out that basketball was the "sport choice of the big gray church."
 We needed a "flying fish" and thought that maybe the spinning dolphins (hard to see) above the welcome to Coupleville sign might qualify.  But we had an ace up our sleeve!
 We discovered from the gift shop owner that in spite of not being able to find a HS mascot around town that this necklace is based on the mascot, so we got credit for that!
And now for our big surprise of the day!  While still needing the "flying fish" MD was able to pull one out of a hat, so to speak, or in her case, but raising her pant leg a bit!  Just what we needed -- the flying fish!
 Starting to run out of time, we hurried and found the "antler'd" building with a wooden duck!  Loved that decoy!
 We hurried to take our photo with the Captain  The whole group had to be in the photo!  My second selfie (first one only had half my face).  Note to self -- raise camera and don't take photos up your nose!  Disgusting! TMI for sure!
 Something went wrong here.  This was the second photo.  The first had the "Cliff House" sign. But for some reason the sign was missing when the photo showed up.  A little quirk that will have to be investigated later to avoid similar events again. 
 We came back to the cabin completely cheered by two hours of pure laughter and fun!  A beautiful evening again declaring the Glory of God! 
Unfortunately, I didn't end up with photos of the people in the other scavenger hunting groups -- so many people are not represented! 
 After our last session with MA, where among other things we learned that Spurgeon called Psalm 91 the "Cheering Psalm" we said goodbye to many of our group who had to return Saturday evening for various obligations.  It would have been fun if they could have stayed longer.  Those of us remaining spent our time improving our already fabulous looks.
For some things there are no words. . . . .
 Sunday morning dawned bright and beautiful!
 Our last session . . .the last remaining members
-- even better friends than before! A few others not in photo.
At the end of the eventful and refreshing weekend, we boarded the Washington State Ferry and started homeward.  What a wonderful weekend!  I am already looking forward to the next time we can all get together.  Such quality time with wonderful friends and sisters in the Lord. 
(I only use initials for living people, or references to relationship to me if family to preserve what little privacy they have left in this world!)
Last thought. . .

Sunday, October 05, 2014

1948 Christmas Wishes from Grace Doud to Susan and Herman Weber & family

The Grace Sherwood Doud referred to in the last blog sent a Christmas card to my Grandmother 40+ years after the time described in the previous blog post of the Doud Brothers in Tacoma.  Grace still lived in Tacoma and in 1948  and  sent Susan and Herman Weber a package and a card.  The reason I wanted to share this was because of the descriptive short note written on the inside.  Grace is remembering back to her  growing up years on the farm in Kendall (picture at the end of last entry); the same farm on which her niece Susan and family still lived and worked -- Spring Brook Farm.  The parents she is recalling are Richard William Sherwood and his second wife, Grace Gulvin Sherwood.  He had been married previously to Grace's sister, Mary Ann with whom he had seven children.  Grace Sherwood Doud was the last child of that marriage as Mary Ann died in 1866.  A year later, Richard married his sister-in-law, Grace Gulvin, namesake of his youngest daughter. The two of them had three more children, two of whom also moved to the Pacific Northwest.  During the early 1870's when the events Grace recalls happened, she would have been in grade school.    
December 15, 1948
Dear Susan & family,
            I am sending you a small carton of holly.  Hope you enjoy it.  I have a large tree in my yard.  It is so beautiful with its vivid green leaves and bright red berries.  It is such a beautiful reminder of this happy Yuletide.  My thoughts go back to a Christmas Eve long ago when Aunt Esther [Gulvin] was at the farm. She gathered we children around her and we sang carols at father and mother’s window.  It was a lovely night, cold and plenty of snow and the stars looked so close with the Milky Way a path all across the sky.
            We have so little snow here and none so far except in the mountains where it is deeper than it has been for many years.  Most of the passes are closed and there will be little skiing for a while. 
            Love to you all and a Merry Christmas from
                                                                       Aunt Grace Doud
Esther Gulvin, the Aunt to which she refers in this letter. Esther was another sister of Mary Ann Gulvin and Grace Gulvin.