Everything about this photo is dreamy…the soft grass blowing in the wind, the rocky beach, the table, the gathering of friends. This is a gorgeous setting on beautiful Whidbey Island. What a wonderful gathering place! If you’ve never been to the Pacific Northwest in the summer, here is a link to peak your interest https://whidbeycamanoislands.com/things-to-do
This group of 8 girls, calling themselves Octo friends, gather every year. They all graduated from the University Washington, were sisters in Pi Phi and became lifelong friends. Most importantly, they could have easily gone their own way. But instead, they committed to once a year, taking a trip together. One of the girls plans the whole trip. Every year is somewhere different. Everyone participates and splits the costs evenly, regardless of where they are coming from. No partners (they aren’t married yet), but when they do, no partners. No children unless they are nursing. Just friends. A weekend away. A tradition set by one of their Moms and handed down to be carried on. That Mom still celebrates this tradition with her “sisters” from over 25 years ago. I was so inspired when I heard this story, and even more excited to see my daughter participate.
A Weekend Away
The weekend started on a Friday with arrivals and late night games. Lots of laughter and simple things like walking on the beach and campfires. A planned kayak excursion the next day led them out into the ocean nearby. And finally, making a meal together to close the weekend. Just look at the tradition rooted in the photo of the table. It warms my heart to see so much love. The table was set by my daughter Madison and her friend Maghara. It looks professional right? They gathered items from around the house they rented. Nothing was planned. This all came together in the moment. It makes it even more special with everyone participating. Look how simple it was to put this table together:
- Placemats carefully lined up to look like a runner
- Vases filled with plants from the landscape
- Decor from inside the house
- Everyone sharing a beautiful dish
- White Paper Towels – nothing fancy
- Texture, color, and layering
- A UW sweatshirt hanging over the chair showing their unity
The best doesn’t always come with careful planning. Don’t try to make things perfect, make it filled with love. Have everyone participate. Grab things that you love. Above all, make it happen with caring and participation. It doesn’t have to be with money and expensive items. It can happen with friends, food and time. A gathering. Just love.
Photo Credit: Madison Stoa Photography